it's weird

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it's weird how sometimes you can feel yourself spiraling down a dark hole and you don't know if there's anything you can do to stop it. 

you're alice falling down the rabbit hole and the objects floating around you are just out of reach. 

it gets so dark sometimes and even writing doesn't seem to fully bleed out the infection. i journal often in an attempt to release the pressure on my chest, and it always helps - even if only a little bit. 

a past journal entry:

"i picked at a scab and now the wound is prone to infection. vulnerable against these harsh winds and i bare my naked skin despite my better judgement because all i want is to feel. feel the cold scream at my flesh like road rash, the icy burn lingers for days and i’m determined to dwell in it. i let the cold linger, it laps its frosted tongue at my soul like a dehydrated doberman, its intention to devour, to grow stronger at the draining of my spirit. i must pour out to make room to be refilled."


maybe these words make sense to you. or maybe they sound as crazy as i feel sometimes. like a rabid rambler, wild and weary but i keep spewing words like sewage out of my system.

it's weird how sometimes you feel like you're watching yourself like you do in dreams. you're watching yourself drown, the waves washing over you and you're screaming but only silence comes out. 

it's weird. 

each day that i walk through, sometimes struggling even to stand, i realize more and more that there's no such thing as 'normal.' if there is any normalcy you can count on, it's suffering. this is a tough pill to swallow, but once you do, you can start fighting against it. you can accept that everyone you meet is carrying a burden that you can't see. 

this realization is one that can truly change the world. knowing you're not alone, knowing that what binds us together is the beautiful burden of being alive. realize that you deserve peace, that you deserve to heal and grow and bless and the world will be a bit brighter. and when your world is a bit brighter, you can play a part in making someone else's world brighter. and this is the domino effect that i believe can change the world. 

i know it's weird. maybe for most of your life you've been told to hide your feelings, to be ashamed of sadness, to wear a mask and bury your fears. but i believe that it's okay to let yourself grieve once in awhile. to know that it's part of life, that you're not alone in these feelings. 

love yourself first. be patient, be gentle. we're in this together. 


"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
- Unknown


xo,
Ashley


Listening to:

chills

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hello dearest one. 

as november wraps up, the air has a crisp chill, the birds and leaves are leaving, and the holiday season is spiraling around us like soft glow string lights. 

sometimes it feels like we wake up each morning, sit up, and set our feet down on the hour hand of a clock. life moves us forward whether we like it or not. 

change is scary. 

like diving off a cliff into dark water, there is a thrill, a rush, but the unknown eventually swallows us and we can sink or swim. 

life has thrown some curve balls over here lately. it feels like the riptide is growing and the shore seems so far. 

most of my life i've dealt with seasonal depression. i'm guessing you or a loved one have too. if you live in a place where cold, grey, snowy days fill the winter months, it can be hard to feel like yourself. 

not to mention the holidays - an emotional time for many. movies and television tell us that holidays equal warmth and glowing fireplaces, love filling the rooms of our families. but this is not the picture that many people see. 

 
as the sun sets sooner, the warmth grows weary and layers are needed, it's easy to hide out in the dark.

it's easy to let the cold whisper lies burying deep in your bones that you're not brave enough to handle it. 

but this season, let's not do what's easy. let's not listen to the winter wind that pushes us into a dark corner, completely alone. 

because the truth is i need you.

i often end up isolating myself in the colder months, convinced that i'm hollow and have nothing to offer. 

so when you're bundled up and braving the brisk winds, smile at a stranger. give spare change whenever you get a chance. look into the eyes of the person taking your dinner order and know that she feels things deep in her soul that you'll never know.  

change is scary.

but you're stronger than you know.



xo,
Ashley



Listening to:



Secret Midnight Press & My poetry book

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hello, little sparkle.

i want to start this week’s post by saying, ‘thank you.’

thank you for taking the time to read my words today, and if you’ve been around here for a bit, thank you for your encouragement and your presence. i can feel it, and it gives my little heart strength to keep going. 

a couple of days ago, a dear friend of mine (jesse cale) and i launched 

if you follow me on any form of social media, there’s a good chance you’ve seen me post quite a bit about it, but I’d love to let you in on some behind-the-scenes of how this all came to life. 

let’s start at the beginning.


i learned to read at a very young age and was obsessed with books as a toddler. i’ve been drawn to literature my entire life, and over the years i developed my love for writing. 

little kisses on the cheek stand out over the years - like winning a writing award in 5th grade, and then again just before graduating high school, and then once more just before graduating college. 

i’ve had an overwhelming amount of encouragement through the years as well from friends, family, classmates, lovelies online, and the list goes on. 

with all of these kind words swirling around in my head, i finally had the courage to begin writing a book of poems nearly two years ago. i’ve been slowly adding and editing and knitting these words together to create something warm for you to hold during the cold nights.

these poems aren’t all rays of sunshine, in fact, most of them are not. but they’re real, they’re honest, and hopefully they’ll make you feel a little less alone. 

sometimes the weight of life feels too heavy, and when that happens i write. and the pain dims, even if just slightly. 


it has kept me alive through the darkest times.


our hope is that this website, this community of feelers, can do this for you as well. that it can help you feel strong, brave, and so worth fighting for. 

jesse and i have been friends since we were 12 years old. we bonded through music and art and feeling so many feelings. we were so convinced that no one could ever understand us. we were boiling over with angst, but we always had each other. 

we have stayed friends all these years, constantly encouraging and challenging each other to grow into our sensitive, colorful, lavender-scented, satin skin.

it's not always (rarely) easy to walk through life with the weight of wonder and curiosity and creativity, but knowing that you're not alone makes it possible. we share the weight, we get stronger together. 

our hope is that this grows into something like a life-raft for when you feel like you're drowning. 

we're deep-feelers and we're here for you. please join us.


my book 'smoke signals' is available for pre-order currently on secretmidnightpress.com. all pre-orders will be signed. 


also - please take a look at the new header links on the blog! we'll be touring next year and would love to meet you.

we will be live on facebook thursday, november 17th at 7pm EST reading our poems and chatting with you. 

follow along here:



xo,
Ashley

Listening to: 

this one is about love

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"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




**about 24 hours ago**


i write this as i watch the television in america on tuesday november 8th, 2016. 

once i post this, a decision will be made, the leader of the next four years of our country will have been decided. 

but right now, we are all waiting with bated breath, gripping onto ideologies like childhood stuffed animals like we can't make it a day without them like if they're taken from us we won't survive. 

and i am guilty of this. i am terrified of the outcome of this night for my country. 

but what calms my nerves right now is the faith i have in love. love will win. love has to win. 

here's what i know: every human longs to be seen, to be accepted, to be loved. this longing drives us and sometimes in the wrong direction. when we don't receive these things, we can become distorted versions of ourselves. 

what i believe is that all brokenness stems from a lack of support or acceptance in an area of life. 

so what can we do in this difficult time?

we can love. vague, i suppose. but a timeless virtue that has never failed. 

smile at a stranger. give spare change to those who ask. encouragement to acquaintances. hold hands with the hurting. 

we can rise above this, friends. 

we can come alongside humans that are different from us. different faces, different orientation, different preferences, we can look them in the eyes and say, "we are the same."

we are broken, we are beautiful, we are trying. 

as long as we have love, we will survive. we will continue on and we will grow.

we need each other, fellow humans of the world. let's hold each others' hearts like precious diamonds and never let go.

** today **

i've been fighting back tears all day long. my heart aches for this country, for this world. 

i write this as a straight white female. i can't begin to imagine what my fellow LGBTQ, black, hispanic, asian, immigrant, young, old, poverty-stricken, marginalized brothers and sisters are feeling right now. 

here is what i know: we can rise above this.


hope is a well within you. the rain fills it and you can dig in, you can quench your thirst, you can overflow.

love is the answer. we must love with boldness in this difficult time. 

you may not feel accepted, understood, loved. but i want you to know - 

please know - 

take this and hold it like a torch, bright and contagious -  

you are so valuable. you are so precious. despite what this election may mean for our country, love will drive out hate. 

there is still good. look for the good. be the good.

if your heart is breaking today, tomorrow, the next day, please speak out. there is still good in this world & we need you so desperately. we need your gentle spirit. stay.



"This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it. It is, it is worth it." - Hillary Clinton


xo,
Ashley

Listening to:



1-800-273-8255 is the US National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

i am here with you. i accept you. i love you.

seasons

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for as long as i can remember, depression and anxiety have been in my life like distant relatives.

sometimes we go years without seeing each other. and then all of a sudden they show up at my front door. somehow without even opening the door they're inside, ready to get to know me. they're in my life now like an infection, eating my food, breaking my things. and they always overstay their welcome.

but eventually, usually slowly, they're packing their bags, and leave in the night without saying goodbye.


i know they're gone, but their cigarette smell lingers in the house and i can't get all the stains out that they made. they've left an imprint and i know one day they'll be back. 

but i breathe deeply, knowing i'm free for now.

what i'm trying to say, friend, is that there are seasons. it can get very dark and cold sometimes. but the sun is always there behind the clouds, you've just got to hold on until they clear. 




i don't always know what season i'm in. sometimes all i can do is get through the day ahead of me and brace myself for the night. sometimes i wake up to the soft glow of morning and feel the warm embrace of spring. 

these highs and lows are like paint colors on my life's canvas. they make life beautiful. they make life vibrant. 

maybe the paint brush doesn't seem to be in your hand, but i can promise you it's sweeping in a beautiful dance, each stroke a pendulum swinging with your heartbeat and when you step back, it's a more perfect masterpiece than you could possibly dream.

keep holding on. the sun will be out soon.




  xo,

Ashley



Listening to:

Zee Avi - Concrete Walls

 

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