Reflections

Life has a funny way of slowly slinking past you until one day you look up and a month has gone by. Birthdays and Holidays flash past in a fast paced tango and before you know it half the year has gone by and you are sitting on your bed reading through your Facebook Memories about what you were doing on this exact day 6 years ago. Well, maybe thats just me but you get the point. Life has a way of swishing past you like a grandma doing her fast walk at the mall and sometimes it takes the big moments for you to actually stop and reflect.

Think about it, how many times as day do you just simply sit where you are and reflect? If you are like me you usually spend your days cramming information into your overfilled brain all the while wondering what to make for dinner and what you will be wearing the next day. It is so easy to get lost in the motion of things, the every day worries. The outfit, food, weight, exercise worries. Then when a holiday rolls around or some major life moment comes to life you are able to finally look back and see where you have been and hopefully where you are going.

Tomorrow is my bridal shower. In exactly 15 days almost to the hour I will be marrying the love of my life. These things finally hit me today. I know, I know its a little last minute but its just how I roll. Going from finals week to instantly rolling into the full time summer gig I have, the days just zoomed by. But taking some time to stop and reflect tonight, the night before the shower I am just now realizing how far I have come. I would like to say that I have come to this reflection  by myself but, like most of my peers I would have to give that credit to facebook. Scrolling through my facebook memories I saw that three years ago today I was posting high school graduation pics with short hair and old friends. Four years ago I was rocking an orange shirt and a red pimple at my step brothers graduation party with my siblings. Two years ago I was offering someone a million dollars to find those iced animal crackers, it was a weird time. Five years ago I was dancing and walking in relay for life  with black nails and a short jean skirt. Needless to say I have come a longggg way. Looking back on all these random things that happened in my life throughout the years on a random day in June gives me perspective and excitement for the future.  Long gone are the jean skirts and pimples. Instead white pencil skirts and a trusted face wash take their place. My siblings have all grown older, I have fallen in love, moved away from home, graduated with an associates and continued onto my dream school where I am currently working toward my dream career. So many things have happened and time is flying so fast. So, I have a little word of advice for you my friends where ever you may be out there. Take some time to review, reflect and enjoy your memories. Call up that old friend from graduation and reminisce about growing up. Visit that park you always went too as a kid. Dont get so caught up in the everyday worries and learn to focus on the bigger picture. Find the old photo album, search through your laptop or break out the facebook. Whatever you do, dont let the big moments and holidays be the only time you reflect and reminisce.

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The Main Thing is to Not Get Excited

Aside

hey i missed you today.

I missed having the ability to watch my problems evaporate when your easy laugh wafted through the room.

I missed the way that you would hold my hand in the middle of the night because I was afraid, Lord knows I wish you were here to hold my hand now, because my problems and fears have only gotten bigger and scarier as I cross this path into adulthood.

I missed the way you would have told me you were proud of me and hugged me as I got my first college diploma.

I missed you sitting in your favorite chair turning around and smiling at me as I came to visit your house.

I felt you today.

I felt you today as the warm sun shined down through the trees on the path I was hiking. In the way the daisy’s lined my trail just like the ones we would pick together when I was small.

I felt you today as I drove down sun drenched country roads as the wind whipped through my hair.

I felt you today as I sat by the campfire on a chilly spring night and stared up at the stars that you taught me the names of.

The End of My First Journey.

As December swiftly runs past us and we begin to feel the weight of the year we are all about to leave, I have to say it packs more of a punch this year than it usually does. Today is my final day at my first college. Today is my final day at an awesome job that I have had for more than two years. Today is the tie up loose ends, say goodbye to everyone, and remembrance kind of day. When writing a couple of emails to a couple of people for a couple of things I have to clear up before I leave, I was written back almost immediately by one. And it read “Thanks for the update, Ashley. Congratulations on your graduation and best of luck on the next part of your journey!.” Which, made me realize that today I am completing the first part of my journey. And, isn’t that just terrifying and breathtaking and confusing and humbling. All this hard work and changing my mind and challenging myself actually accounted for something. I came to this school, got a new job, and once I graduate I wont be back. Today is the end of my first journey.

This part of the journey that is coming to a completion today, I believe, was about growing up, figuring myself out a little bit more, and learning to trust my instincts. Right before I got this job and began school I moved out on my own. I went from living with a rather large, loud and rambunctious family of seven to a small, quiet place with just me and my best friend. I also went from a soft little town with bright stars and limited dreams, to a booming downtown city where the dreams where massive and stars impossible to see. I also started college, got a new job and changed my major. Which, as one could only imagine lead to may tear filled nights, lost days and confusing choices. As you could also imagine, I had to pick up the run of the mill adult stuff like paying my bills on time, how expensive heat can be, how to not burn your apartment down, and how costly groceries are. But, I also learned the more meaningful value of being an adult. Things like learning to trust in yourself, having to make hard decisions, never letting fear stop me from attacking my dreams, and of course that you are never to old to call your mother crying asking for help.

Not only have I learned a lot about my somewhat new role of being an adult, I have learned a lot more about myself on a personal level. I learned that I am only responsible for myself and my actions, that happiness comes from within, and the true importance of being a good friend. I have learned to forgive even if someone has not apologized, learned to put faith in myself and the abilities I have and, that above all else my family is the most important thing in the world. I have learned that I love the bustling of a downtown area and plan on living in New York City one day. I have learned that I also require time outside where I can spend a moment figuring myself out. I have learned that yoga helps my clear my head, exercise keeps me from wanting to punch people, and eating healthy is a value that is important to me. I have learned that communication and trust are the most important things in a relationship and that learning to live with someone you love is a challenge but it is so worth it. I have learned that I love brunch on Sundays and sleeping in late on Saturdays and weekends filled with food, friends and laughter. I have learned the kind of movies I like to watch, the books I like to read, and the music I enjoy listening to. I have learned that while it is absolutely terrifying to go to school for something that you love, in the end, with hard work, determination, and never taking no for an answer it will all be worth it. I have learned so much about myself and the person I want to be. As the year is coming to a close and the curtain is abut to close I realize that today is the end of an era. The end of my very first journey. It has come with its fair share of hardships challenges and obstacles but, I have made some hilarious memories, wonderful new friends, and instilled an unshakable faith in myself. Soon I will be off to my last school with a new job and new sights in store.

A New Kind of Love

Let me start off with the hard hitting facts. I am 21 years old, a college student, and planning a June wedding to my wonderful fiance who also happens to be, wait for it, 21. We are no stranger to opposition, to weird side glances, and almost disapproving looks from many. Many moons ago getting married at 21 was by far the norm, the days of our grandparents where getting married by 18 was something to celebrate. Getting married at 21 in the year 2014 is more like being a traveling circus or an exhibit at the Ripleys Believe it or Not museum. Most people handle it pretty well when the topic comes up, from peers its usually goes something like this ‘ohhhhhh wow! You are engaged? How old are you again?’ and from older adults it goes a little something like this ‘Wow, um Congrats! you both are so young!’. Which, is true, we are young. The rest of the truth is, I have been with my fiance for almost four years and, we have never had a conventional kind of love. He is from Brazil and the day we met was the day we kissed and the day we started dating and, if you ask him it was also ‘the day he fell in love’ (what can I say, it took me awhile to make sure). We were 17 and widely in love and that feeling hasn’t gone away through long distance, holidays, graduation, college, and now living together. We are a normal couple we have our arguments and fights but one thing we decided long ago not to fight was societal standards.We decided long ago that we would do what was right for us, not what the world expected from us. Now don’t get me wrong, if life had not taken me on the journey I am on today, I would probably also have respond to a young woman’s engagement with a little bit of confusion and a whole lot of sass. I also understand how older adults, my mothers generation, tend to be suspicious and how they love to give out the ‘well this isn’t going to last long’ look, with the rapid divorce rate among that age group how could you blame them? But what I don’t think people understand is that every love is different, and this is our love. Every love moves at a different pace, it falls apart at a different time, it works through its own unique obstacles, it fights its own fight. This is our love and for once in my life I have decided not to take my love up to the thrown of society and asks what it wants with me. I have decided to let our love evolve naturally and without reservation. I have decided to not let the disfavoring looks of my peers and my elders and society to control our love. Because, this love is ours. It talks different, walks different, moves different than his kind of love, or her kind of love, or your kind of love. Every love is different. And, it is about time we start to revel in that. We need to not let our own ideas of love and our own prejudices dictate someone else’s. Because, in the end we are the only ones who have to deal with the consequences. If it end we are the ones that suffer, or enjoy, why then should we allow society to mandate unnecessary love guidelines if we are the ones who have to face the music in the end? Will we have children, will we settle down in New York, L.A., London, will be get along, will be be married until death do us apart? The thing is I have no idea and, man, how happy that makes me. Once you cut the ties of normalcy and the irrelevant standards set by society over your life and love you will experience a freedom unlike anything you have ever known. Cut the ties. Experience your love. Enjoy your life.

The Midnight Burglar

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Screw Cancer. It’s like a burglar that comes at midnight. It comes in the middle of an unsuspecting night, while you lay fast asleep cozy in bed next to a loved one, or your favorite stuffed animal. Whether it tricks the lock or scales the windows and doors it somehow manages to slip through the smallest unexamined crack, and finds a way in to the place you always assumed would be safe. It defiles your home and leaves you feeling vulnerable and confused. It comes swift and bold and strong. It moves silently, slipping into every room without you having a chance. It ransacks your life, it goes through your belongings and it makes sure you don’t hear a damn thing while it carries out its selfish intentions. It works tirelessly, to gather all the things you hold dear so it can take it for itself.  And, by the time you wake up and roll out of the warm comfort of your bed, by the time you walk down the stairs, by the time you catch it, it has removed everything that holds any real value and leaves not a trace of evidence behind to have a culprit to blame. Screw Cancer. It takes your TV and your curtains and all the money you have ever saved. It takes your peace of mind and any idea of security you have ever had. It takes your favorite necklace and your favorite shoes and any favorite you have ever had. Just like the midnight burglar it is needy and silent and fast. It’s only motivation is to take all the things you love and leave you feeling helpless. It has no remorse and no conscience. It is quiet and cunning and destructive. Screw Cancer. If only we had a vague sketch artist drawing of you that we could pin down Criminal Minds style and lock you away for life. If only we had a leading witness to testify against you in trial. If only we had a face to blame. If only we had a way to get all the things back you stole. If only you weren’t the best thief there ever was.

Memories

“Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those sense weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.
Life has to end. “Love doesn’t.” 
Mitch Albom,

Happy

If walking through a store or possibly a home and spelling that perfume, I will instantly and forever think of you. Happy by Clinique. Something that doesn’t fit neatly into one category, much like you. Something that constantly revolves around musk or floral or orange, not easy to describe in any sense, much like you. But without a doubt it is a scent that is so delicate and happy, much like you or much like you strive to be. Perhaps you wear a perfume that smells like happy with some desire that this word will somehow sink through into your veins, sliding gracefully into your heart cavity and permanently reside there. That the happy you wear wont have to come from a perfume bottle anymore. You, someone who had a life that was not filled with too many bottles of happiness perfume. The loss you suffered, the decisions you were forced to make, the strength that almost seemed mandatory. The moves, the disease, the breakups, the harshness of the world in general. Maybe, just maybe that’s why you drench your clothing and the nape of your neck in something that promises the smell of happiness. If only you are able to inhale what happiness is supposed to smell like, then maybe, just maybe you could taste happiness, live happiness, feel happiness. Long ago this perfume seemed to be a mask. One that was obvious, one that you believed had people fooled. That if people smelled happiness on your freckled skin, then you believed that they would believe that you were in fact happy. But, lately the happiness of your perfume seem to express your inner thoughts and happiness rather than mask them. It seems to be an extension of the deepest part of your soul and, nothing makes me happier than knowing that now not only do you smell like happiness but you feel like happiness. Happiness for you doesn’t come out of a perfume bottle anymore, it comes out of your soul and that perfect smile of yours.