update

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hello, love. i hope that wherever you're sitting, standing, or laying your head right now is like a soft blanket protecting you. i hope that you feel safe. i hope that you know you're loved.

tonight, as the sun set, a small flurry of snowflakes started falling and the world felt quiet. for a moment. and then the loud hurricane of thoughts took over again and i was swallowed up. sometimes i can hear my heartbeat so loudly it paralyzes me. sometimes i can hear the blood rushing through the veins of humanity and i can't breathe. life can be too much sometimes.

and it helps me to come to this place. to know that you're here with me. to know that you're reading this now, maybe understanding or maybe not, but you're with me. it helps.

but i do often feel like i don't have enough to give to you. like i'm giving so much of myself away every day and there's nothing left.

secret midnight press is growing and changing and i want to give it my all.

that being said, for the time being, instead of posting every wednesday i will be posting every 1st and 3rd wednesday of the month. that way i can give enough of myself to my company, to my friends and family, and still have enough to give to you wonderful humans.

if you'd like to continue following along, you can subscribe and get emails whenever i post.

thank you for being here with me. it means more than you could ever know.

talk to you soon.


xo,
Ashley


Listening to:

Maggie Rogers - On + Off

on finding your purpose

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how many times have you examined your life and felt a gripping fear that you aren't living up to your full potential? that you aren't fulfilling your purpose?

i absolutely have/feel like it's consuming my thoughts almost constantly. this existential angst, this pounding scale that measures your worth, is a monster that grows as you feed it. the funny thing about fear is that it is fueled by you just as much is at fuels you.

maybe you're working a job that you're unhappy in. or you're in school without the faintest idea of what you'll do afterward. just a few years ago i was in both of these situations.

right after high school i started at a community college. i didn't know what i wanted to major in, so i thought this was a safe choice. as the semesters passed by, the options of careers weighed heavier and heavier on me. i was working in a hospital as a receptionist. i didn't hate this job, but i knew that it was only temporary for me.

working in a hospital opened my eyes to all of the career opportunities in health care. i decided to pursue a career in nursing. this was something i had never really considered for my life, but as america was going through a recession, my dad lost his business job, i felt that this was a safe option. the world will always need nurses, right? i started taking classes required for this degree and searching around for nursing schools in my area.

as i was taking steps toward this major, i felt this small whisper in my heart telling me this wasn't the right fit. i ignored it, kept moving forward, until so many roadblocks woke me up. i am terrified of blood. i have so many other passions. so i moved away from this career option.

i had been at community college for two years and knew it was time to transfer to a four-year college. all of this time i was at war within myself between practical/safe career vs. following my passion (a risky one). so i found a middle ground.

i have always loved writing & literature, so i thought that the smartest option would be to teach high school english. a noble career. i transferred to ohio state university (one of the nation's largest colleges). it was truly overwhelming. my classes were triple the size of the ones at columbus state, financial aid was complicated, and throughout my first semester, i felt like a number. now, many people i love have had incredible experiences here and at state colleges, but for some reason, things kept going wrong for me. similar to pursuing nursing, the roadblocks served as somewhat of a sign. maybe i should do something else.

and the thoughts of fulfilling my purpose grew into a crushing giant. i could hardly see straight. but i knew it was time to change.

to summarize the rest, i stumbled upon a smaller but reputable college in my city, transferred there, took teaching classes and eventually changed my degree to english language & literature. i knew teaching wasn't for me.

so there i was, cap and gown, my family cheering me on as i accepted my diploma. a long-awaited, hard earned, achievement. a step closer to finally resting in a nest made of my successes, dreams come to life, and feeling like my puzzle piece fits where it's supposed to.

and then that didn't happen. the next few months were some of the hardest i've experienced. my depression and anxiety came back with a vengeance. i didn't get the jobs that i wanted. and truth be told, it wasn't until a few months ago that i finally started feeling like i'm actually using my gifts and doing something i enjoy with my life.

all of these changes and choices over the years have only served to help me get to know myself a bit better. to experience things, to struggle with uncertainty, and realize that no matter what i do, i can't miss out on my "purpose."

i use quotations around this words because i believe it is somewhat mythical. at least in the way that it's a period at the end of a sentence. that you work hard and suffer and then all of a sudden your spirit is calm and resting in knowing that you've made it. you're done striving, you're floating in the warm sea without any more worries.

because here's the thing, i believe that the purpose of our existence is to struggle. in a sense.

to me, the definition of 'purpose' is less of serving like a tool, and more of serving like an organ in a body. 

a tool is created for a specific job. and when it does that job, you set it aside until you need it again. a tool can only do the thing it was made to do, and if it's not doing it, it's useless. i think a lot of people view their lives this way. if they choose the wrong city, the wrong college, the wrong job, they'll be useless.

but i see it as more of working your hardest to benefit the world around you. if the universe is a body, we're all microorganisms needed to keep it alive. we work hard at what comes naturally to us, what we enjoy (not necessarily your greatest passion), and it brings life to others, to the whole. so whether you're a cashier at a supermarket, a nanny, or a doctor, you're serving the greater good. you are not missing out.

my drive has always been to chase after working in a way that i feel will benefit the world best. for me, sitting in a cubicle for hours on end would only serve to crush the creativity in me, and i wouldn't be serving my 'purpose' as well.

so this is a rather long-winded bit of my life story. i strived for so many years to achieve this sense of peace in becoming the right tool, when all i really needed to focus on was loving & understanding myself, my gifts, my passions.

in conclusion, take care of yourself, love others, and your purpose will be found.



xo,
Ashley


Listening to:

Iron & Wine - Flightless Bird, American Mouth (Wedding Version)

february: a month for love

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it is evening here where i sit right now. i spent the day working on secret midnight press projects, just ate a light dinner with a glass of red wine and i'm sitting here, breathing deeply, reflecting on the moment.

at this moment the sun has already set on february first. february is a month i often dread. although it is the shortest month of the year, it seems to last the longest here in the midwest. winter is still alive and well & the world seems to be most often covered in a heavy grey.



february is often associated with valentine's day. candy aisles are brimming with pink hearts and chocolates and a chubby little angel ready to strike the heart with a romance arrow.

to the greeting card industry: valentine's day is a goldmine.
to me: valentine's day is an opportunity.

this holiday often reminds people that they're single, and this reminder isn't always welcome. it often reminds people that they can't afford to spoil the one they love, or that they can't even love the one they love. it's easy to look at all of the heart balloons and jewelry ads and feel a tinge of loneliness, a wave of emptiness, a whisper of inadequacy.



but here's what i propose: let this month be about love. if not romantic, let it be about kindness toward strangers, encouragement toward loved ones, gentleness with yourself.

if you don't have someone to take out to an overpriced dinner, spend the day doing your favorite things. reach out to an old friend. catch up with a family member you haven't seen in too long. give the server a larger tip than usual, smile at strangers, carry bottled water to hand out to the homeless.

valentine's day doesn't have to be about romance. go to a yoga class, get a massage, get your nails done if that's your thing. or find a friend to take a road trip to a concert with you. treat. yo. self.

because you deserve it.

you are more loved than you could ever know. you deserve the world. the sooner you believe this, the sooner you'll find healing. through this healing, your light will shine on everyone around you.





       
xo,
Ashley


Listening to:

Gregory and the Hawk - Boats & Birds



(artwork is not my own)

 

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