a few small things about this small girl named ashley

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hello, moonbeam. 

i don't think i can say it often enough or in unique enough ways: thank you. i like you. i like sharing this space together. 

this is a blog post and i am sitting here right now writing it, but i don't know anything really about blogging. about what people really want to read or experience when they click a link or type in the letters that lead them to a person's blog. 

all i try to do here is be honest and a little bit vulnerable and hope deep down in my heart that it makes you feel safe and warm in the space you're in now.

so thank you for getting this far, for putting up with my ignorance and i guess my lack of research. 

i could follow hundreds of blogs and try to crack the code of 'How To Make Money As A Blogger' or 'How To Reach Existential Peace Through The Affirmation Of The Internet.'

well, maybe i'm a little guilty of that last one. aren't we all?


so thank you for getting this far.

this week i wanted to help you get to know me a little better. maybe you know by now that i write poetry. that i often do that in an attempt to battle depression and anxiety. that i write these things in an attempt help you feel loved and accepted and understood. but i thought this week maybe we could talk about some lighter aspects of my life. 

so, here we go. 

i live in columbus, ohio. i always have, actually. this may change someday, but for now it's safe and cozy. 

i have never broken a bone. knock-on-wood. 

i was vegetarian for ten years and about a year ago became vegan. i don't like talking about it that much because i hate to make people feel uncomfortable about their own diet. it's similar to politics & religion to me. if you ask, i'll gladly share my personal beliefs & i won't expect you to agree with every aspect of them. if you don't ask, i won't force it, and we can hold hands and skip off into the sunset.

i have two cats called charlie & india. they are so cuddly and bring me so much joy.


my husband andrew is my favorite person in the universe. he's stood by me for over eight years now and i'm a better person because of him. i truly hope everyone reading this has someone like andrew in their lives. his patience and love never run out and i am so thankful. 

many years and multiple tests later, i am still an ENFP. down to the last drop. this means i am terrified of people but i need them to survive so i'm almost always uncomfortable. 

i am always restless and i hope to travel regularly for as long as i can. 

andrew is a musician and craftsman and we manage some real-estate properties and you guys, we don't have a lot of money, but we have a lot of love and we always make it work. 

i am left-handed.

i played basketball and was in a few musicals in high school. i was friends with every type of person.



lastly, my loves, my book of poems will be out in december. my dear friend jesse cale and i are collaborating in some really cool ways and we hope to maybe have the opportunity to meet you sometime next year. this is going to be so much fun. 

and now. i would love to hear a fun fact about you. you guys are always blowing my mind with your giant hearts and your gifts and i love connecting with you. let's talk. we're in this together & i can't wait for what's to come. 

xo,
Ashley 



Listening to:

reaching out in the dark

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i'll be the first to admit that our vantage points may be wildly different. personally, i'm just a touch over 5'2 and concerts are spent on my tippy toes hoping the heads in front of me won't move together, closing the slim window of a view my money bought me. 

i wake up in the morning in a quiet little house on a quiet little street, in a rather quiet city (but hey, we know how to make it loud when the occasion calls for it). 

i had a wooden structure to surround me during my formative years and i (almost) never feared for my life. 

this vantage point could be incredibly different from your own. 

maybe you can always see perfectly in a crowd of strangers swaying to music. maybe your streets are filled with angry drivers and broken mufflers and maybe even worse - the house surrounding you wasn't a place of support at all. maybe it felt like the walls were slowly caving in or the floors were disintegrating beneath you and you had nowhere to run. 

but the truth is there's always somewhere to run. 

there are self-destructive places to run toward, or we could take a deep breath, gather our bags, and begin the march toward the light of freedom. 

this week i chose the latter.


in the spirit of 'radical honesty' (a term i mentioned in a previous post), i'll always be the first to admit that i need something/someone/a rope to pull me out of the ditch. 

so here i stand, shivering, blind, broken, at the bottom of this ditch and i've found a rope. 

sometimes this visual seems too simple. like it's not just so easy to find the rope while you're swallowed in the darkness. like it's not easy to hold onto it, not knowing where it will lead you. like it's not easy to leave the home you've made here underground, the blankets and the carved out portraits of a life you once knew. it's home now.

so how do you trust what's on the other side of the rope?

the first, & maybe most difficult step is vulnerability. you have to find your voice, practice if you need to, and speak out so someone can know where to find you.

it is important to find a safe person that you trust. (if this person is not in your life, there are still options - Suicide Prevention Lifeline - call 1-800-273-8255, operating 24 hours a day).

this week i made a phone call to a counselor (psychologist) i've seen before. this is an uncomfortable step, but i recognized that it was time. the appointment is set. there's hope ahead.



my main point here, friend, is to remind you that you are not alone. i'm right here with you. you don't have to live in the ditch. maybe deep down you know what asking for help looks like for you, and if something comes to mind as you're reading this - here is your sign. go toward it.

so many people want to help you, but sometimes you have to make the small effort to help yourself first. you're worth it.

there is no shame in needing others

there is no shame in suffering

there is no shame in mental illness

we'll get through this together.


until next week, friends.


xo,
Ashley



Listening to:



for the wandering heart

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hi, dearest one. 

i hope that at this moment that you've found yourself reading the words on this page, your heart feels light. 

at this moment in my existence, it is a sunny wednesday afternoon. i am sitting in a small, crowded terminal in NY La Guardia airport.

airports are funny places. for me, they're the places i am the most curious, the most introspective but also outwardly observant. as long as i happen to be early enough and not rushing to my flight, i am able to just sit and watch. in airports i see humans around me and i want so badly to know their stories.

is he going to visit his mother in his home town? is she traveling home from a business trip? are they heading to their honeymoon? i am so curious that sometimes i make up stories for them in my mind.



it's a nice break from the usual overwhelming, heavy thoughts of existence and purpose. i can step away from that for a moment and see the people around me as souls with stories, an ocean of pain and joy within them and i am not an island. 

this is the reason i love to travel. i am self-employed, and although i am in an industry of thinking of other people, i still end up alone with my thoughts more often than not. and more often than not, these thoughts swallow me up until i'm an empty shell of myself. 


while i am able to occasionally break free from these ominous thoughts, i don't want it to seem like it's something i've mastered. far from it, truth be told. self-doubt still keeps a steady beat in the background of my murky mind. it thumps away softly, as consistent as my heartbeat. i often don't even notice it. but when i do, i always have a choice. 

i can listen to its cruel voice telling me i have nothing to offer anyone, that my life is a waste

or

i can fight it. i fight it by doing the things my thoughts tells me i can't.  

there were years where i thought i couldn't travel. that the anxiety would surely be so unbearable, panic attacks clipping my wings. 

i let it win until i couldn't give in any longer. last summer i took on two of my fears: being alone & driving long distances. i took a seven hour solo road trip and i swear it was like shedding skin. i felt new. the sunset washed over me as i drove through the hills, playing healing music, and my fear vanished. 



you wanna know a sure-fire way to get me to try something? 

tell me i can't. 

i've always had a rebellious spirit, & now i try to use this in a positive way.

i know that this is much, much easier said than done. and depending on what the mountain is in front of you that you're afraid to climb, it can take many small steps before you get over the highest peak. all i know is, this can never be done alone. 

i truly believe that as humans, we were created for community. it is one of our greatest and most important purposes. for me, traveling helps me to feel connected to the world, to stretch my heart outside of the tiny bubble of my personal reality.

for years i felt so lost. & at times i still do. but i do know that when i travel, i feel a part of something bigger. like i belong. like i am one with the constant current of life in this moment and it's not about me. 

finding the place you belong in this life gives you a fullness to overflow to others and spread light like an electric river through the veins of humanity. 

& once you find your place, your heart can truly take flight.



this is only the beginning, friends. there are so many more things about tackling fears and finding you place that i want to work through with you.

maybe traveling isn't an option or an interest for you right now. i'd love to know what obstacles you're fighting to overcome so we can get through it together. we need each other.



“growth is painful. change is painful. but nothing is as painful as staying somewhere you don’t belong.” - mandy hale




Listening to:

inspiration: hide & seek / part 2

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let's get right to it - daily life can feel like it's burying you and the last thing you want to do is hike up that mental mountain to your creative place. 

you've had a long day, and the monotony of everyday dulls the colors around you. 

i've been here - many times. 

so how do you stay inspired when it feels like the paint on your paintbrush has dried up?

think of it like this - you've been running around all day and haven't thought about eating until you walk into a cafĂ© and all of a sudden you're starving. the smells surround you and you find yourself breathing in deeply and you know what you want; what you need. 

when you're feeling uninspired, one of the best things you can do is dive into any art that is available to you. thankfully, if you have an internet connection, art is always available to you. and if you don't, well, looking up at the sky is even better. 


maybe that sounds too simple. 

because sometimes creating something is like an amputation and it isn't that easy. 

but i can tell you that with practice, it gets easier. 

when you step out of your comfort zone, you're building your creative muscle and with time, it hurts less and less. 

one thing that has worked wonders for me was setting specific goals. i had been writing maybe one poem a week, whenever i felt like it, which was a great start. then i told myself that i want to write one poem every day. for a year. 

i was very strict about this for months. even if it was a haiku or just a few lines, it was meaningful.

as i started working this new muscle it hurt. but i stretched and i didn't give up and now i can look at a blank page and words just come out. 

i take an emotion into my hands like a ball of clay and my warm hands mold it into something useful or maybe even beautiful. 


it's not overnight, but it will happen. 

practice your passions. 

follow and work with people that drive you. 

immerse yourself in a world that welcomes you, people and places that make you feel alive. 

be weird. be you. your purpose is waiting for you. 


xo,
Ashley 



Listening to:



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