2016-it was only as bad as you make it.

Over and over again, 2016 has been deemed the worst year ever.  At first, I thought it was only me after suffering from another seizure, losing my licence for another 6 months and having my heart stomped on by one too many boys, but supposedly I was wrong. Over and over again, funny memes, articles, tweets, Instagrams and lengthy facebook statuses, have named 2016 overall just bad.  The more people continue to say this, the more I turn around and look at my 2016.  Was it really as bad as I think? Was it really the worst year EVER?

I wanted to start off this coming year by writing a lengthy post about my resolutions and plan to create a better me in 2017.  I wanted to have inspirational quotes, to also help inspire all you to do the same.  You know what, while doing so, not only did I find some Ashley worthy quotes, I came to the realization that 2016 wasn’t all bad and I don’t really need a full makeover.

This year I learnt a lot about myself, a whole lot in fact. I learnt that saying ‘no’ to people won’t make them hate you.  I learnt that asking for help is perfectly okay. I learnt that no matter what, the people that want to be in your life, will be, no matter how busy you both are. I grew stronger friendships with so many life changing people. I told people my story and changed many lives by doing so and I shared my feelings, saving myself and the other people a lot of time if the feelings were not reciprocated. Good things happened in 2016 and bad things happened, but I think it’s important to learn your lessons from the bad things and concentrate on building on the good things.

Going into 2017, I have a lot I want to accomplish. I want to focus on myself and my dreams, and let the rest fall into place around me.  I read a quote the other day, that I really liked:

“When you are torn between 2 choices, always pick the one that will make the best story ” 

Elephant Journal

When I travel, this is how my mind thinks, and this year I want to start living my day to day life like this as well.

I also found this video that really made me think about how much we share on social media, and I think is another thing I am going to work on in 2017.

3 Things to Keep Private

The last thing I want to share is some positive things that happened in the world in 2016. We live in a society that concentrates on negativity. Our newspapers and news stations are filled with tragedies, deaths, disasters etc. and people often forget that good things happen every day and good people still exist.

Dear world, I wasn’t all bad. Signed, 2016 (Thank you to my friend Kyle for sharing this!)

I hope you all find happiness, love and adventure in your 2017s and you are able to look back on this past year and remember the good things that happened and learn from the bad things.
So much love and positive vibes to you all!

🙂

Ash

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**really cool idea to help you concentrate on the positive things that happen in your life throughout the year! 🙂

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Time

The concept of time is such a crazy thing. A thing that so many people over think and over analyze. I was out with a group of friends last night and we started talking about how fast time starts to pass by the older you get.  One of my friends explained it really well.  He said when we’re first born, that first year of our life is our entire life.  The next year of our life, is literally half our life. Then the third year of our life is a third of our life, then a quarter, then a fifth.. etc etc. The older we get the less a year is in comparison to our entire life.  I never really thought of it like that before, but it makes sense when you put it like that.

I think the most important thing about time is how you choose to spend it and the people you choose to spend it with. Never ever waste your precious time on someone who wouldn’t be willing to spend their time on you or waste your time doing something you don’t love. This past year I learnt something very important.  If you spend your time making other people happy, and putting your time and effort into things that will leave an impact after your time passes, those are the things worth spending your time on. Time doing things that help others, is never time wasted.

“Time is something that cannot be bought, it cannot be wagered with God and it is not an endless supply. Time is simply how you live your life.” -Craig Sager

Though the concept of time, is way larger than any of us, it is all our own personal choices how we spend it. With 2016 coming to an end, and 2017 starting, I for one, am vouching to no longer waste my time on things that do not help me grow, smile or leave me feeling full. My goal in life has always been to leave some kind of impact on our world, and it is time I start working towards that goal.

This past week, the world lost another beautiful soul, Craig Sager. I had heard his name before, but I wasn’t really aware of the impact he made until I watched the video below. This is the kind of person I aspire to be.  Happy, positive, inspirational and life changing.

Craig Sager Tribute By NBAonTNT

Happy Holidays loves!

-Ash

This is.. 26?

GUYS! Long time no talk. What is going on with me, you ask?? Well, quite a lot. Why haven’t I written? Becuase I am a doofus and left all my essays till the last minute (not surprising) so I have been grinding to get them all done.

First off. I’m 26!! Weehoo. And surprisingly I had no breakdowns, meltdowns or “I’m getting old” pity parties.  I was in Toronto for Grey Cup, surrounded by the people I love, honestly what more can I ask for? This year I am looking at my increasing age as a blessing.  I am lucky enough to be a year older. I am lucky enough to be healthy and happy and have a roof over my head and food to fill my stomach. Was 2016 my best year? Probably not. But, could it have been worse? Definitely.

I’ve been fighting off a lot of demons lately.  For some reason, Christmas is always a hard time for me.  I’m not sure if it’s cause my family doesn’t really celebrate it plus the combination of stress from finals, but whatever it is I always find myself down.  I’ve been trying to keep myself positive by listening to what my body and mind needs.  I often like to remind myself by reading old posts, to see how far I’ve come. I came across this post from 3 years ago and I thought I would share it

I celebrated the beginning of my birthday with someone I was to quick to judge and he told me something that made me view my day differently. Today made me anxious because it meant I am a year older, Im a year closer to having a real life, with real life problems, with real life decisions. I told him that I hated birthdays because it meant I was now old. He looked at me and sincerely said.. “You should celebrate your birthdays proudly, because there are many people who aren’t lucky enough to have any.”
Im 23, I’m a year older, but that doesn’t change anything about me. Is my life where I thought it would be by 23? No. Would I change anything about it? No. This year started off with an up hill battle. Being more depressed than I have ever been. Losing my license for 6 months and having to be on these insane meds. This past weekend proved to me that no matter what, life will always get better. I would not choose to be anywhere else than where I am right now. I would not choose to be surrounded with any other amazing people. Thank you to the people who stuck with me. Thank you to my new friends for the new memories. And thank you all for reminding me that life is worth living.

It’s so funny. I feel as though I could have written this on my birthday this year, and nothing would have changed. I lost my license again this year, and again I am on crazy meds. I spent last night, talking on the phone to someone who makes my heart so happy, but this person is again someone I was quick to judge at first.  This person reminded me to be thankful for all I have because some people aren’t as lucky as I am.

I am so lucky. Lucky to get an education. Lucky to have people around me that love me. Lucky to grow another year older. Every year brings new battles, but these battles don’t have to ruin the whole year, and sometimes I forget this. Every year these battles make me stronger, they become who I am. Sure this year some shitty things have happened, but if there’s anything I’ve learnt, it’s these things that shaped me into the person I am.  These battles make my smile bigger when I defeat them and these battles make me appreciate when good things and people come into my life.

-A

Seizures 101

So Ashley, what is it actually like to have a seizure?

Oh, let me tell you.

I would just like to start with a question for you all.  Why is it when people find out I have seizures, the first thing they say is “I’m sorry”.  Like what are you sorry for exactly? haha Please don’t tell me you’re sorry, or you feel bad for me. There are far worse things in life than having seizures (especially mine).

To start off I’ll explain the kind of seizures I have.  I am not epileptic.  Usually, one of the first questions people will ask me. As of right now, there’s no reason doctors can find, why I am having the occasional seizure.  They think the triggers are: lack of sleep, stress, not eating properly and too much caffeine (so basically any university students life). I have tonic-clonic (or grand mal) seizures, which, unfortunately, in my opinion, are the worst ones to have. I like to call them the “Ashley Twerk”.  I lose consciousness, bite my tongue and cheeks and shake. They usually last (for me) 30 seconds to a minute, though tonic-clonic seizures can last up to 3 minutes. Another thing with my seizures is I only get them when I’m sleeping and I’ve only had a total of three over six years. One was in a hostel in Mexico, one was on an airplane to Toronto and one was at my house.

After my seizures, I feel confused, insanely exhausted (both mentally and physically), my body is extremely sore from being tensed and my tongue is sometimes numb and bruised from biting it. 2/3 times I didn’t know I had a seizure, people around me had to tell me.  During most seizures, I don’t feel, think or dream anything, but the one on the airplane I had, I dreamt the airplane propellers were chasing me and I was trying to dodge them, which is why I was shaking.. weird, I know.

The worst part about seizures isn’t even the losing your license part, which you do every single time you have one (first seizure is 3 months no license, then every time after that it’s 6 months), it’s the medication you have to go on.  There is no medication yet that fixes seizures, only medications that prevent them.  BASICALLY, in my opinion, finding a medication for your seizures is a trial and error process until you find one that you are able to withstand the side effects the best.

All the medications I’ve been on, I’ve completely hated (if we’re being honest here).
1) The first one I was on was Lamotrigine.  This one affected my speech the most. I constantly slurred my words and couldn’t remember certain words when I was talking. This medication also changed my vision 100%.  Both of these side affects my neurologist did not tell me about.  I was on this medication for about three years I believe, but then stopped taking it and had another seizure. *eye roll

2) The second medication is the one I’m currently on. It is Keppra.  It is the bane of my existence BUT it is one of the newest ones out (which supposedly means it’s supposed to be good).  With this one, I have found that, thankfully, hasn’t affected my speech (thank goodness) but it affects my short term memory.  So I am constantly losing my keys, wallet and phone everywhere I go cause I can never remember where I put them.  This one also affects my mood, giving me extreme highs and lows and bad anxiety.  Lack of energy is another side effect I have felt from both this medication and my first one.

There are far worse things in life, I know.

Let’s Talk About Sex Baby..

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Well now that I have your attention, let’s get down to the real topic.. haha just kidding, it is sex.  Sex, casual dating, hookups and everything in between.

My interest in this topic sparked when I read an article from Elephant Journal (which I will have linked below).  I don’t always agree with everything Elephant Journal writes about, but they always bring up very interesting topics.  Once I clicked on this article, more and more began to appear on the topic of dating and the hookup culture.

This topic probably sparks my interest so much cause I am literally right in the center of it all. Desperately hoping I will not be single for the rest of my life.  The issue for me is, maybe I want to be.  With all the options out there today to connect with people all over the world, are people really ever going to be completely satisfied with one person for the rest of their lives.  Obviously, being an optimist, I hope so, but if you look at all the stats nowadays, it frightens me a little bit.

Before the time of Facebook and Tinder, people met through friends, family, and proximity (meaning the area you live in), now our options to meet future partners are literally endless.  I have people from around the world that add me on social media accounts. There are ways to connect with almost any person you can possibly imagine. Tinder now has the option to swipe anywhere you want in the world and there are not only local dating sites but also worldwide ones.  With all these options out there, is anyone ever going to be 100% satisfied with just having me?

I’m not going to put the blame entirely on our culture because I know for a fact the men I usually go for are known to have a wandering eye but I’ve literally gotten to the point in my dating life, where I feel the need to state: “I am not only looking to have sex with you” on every first date I go on.  Is sex really a requirement for first dates, because that is how it feels.

Women tend to get the wrath for a lot of things in our society.  Yes, I do take a lot of women focused university classes, so I get to see and study a lot of first-hand things that happen to women in our world, so maybe that’s why I tend to notice it a lot more in my everyday life as well, but seriously.  The United States just elected a man who used the phrase “grab ’em by their pussy”, to run their country….  Please try and tell me that women and men are treated equally in today’s world. This unequal treatment translates over to dating. I feel like when it comes to casual dating and the hookup culture, women aren’t allowed to do it.  Men make the rules and women try to keep up with them. “Is it too soon to text him?” “Is it slutty, if I’m talking to more than one guy at once?” “Will he think I’m too clingy if I ask him to hang out, instead of waiting for him to ask me?”  The unwritten rules of casual dating (for women only), because it’s a game after all, right? **insert eye roll

In saying this, I am going to make a disclaimer and say that it’s not the case that men don’t also get the wrath, for example, the term: fuckboy.  This was created just for men.  I’ve also heard multiple men say that women have just started classifying all men into this category and there are men out there that aren’t like this (IF YOU ARE ONE OF THESE MEN AND YOU ARE READING THIS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.. hahah)

For me, I can’t just have sex with someone and not catch feelings for them, I don’t know if that’s a personal trait or if that’s a female trait, but sorry hookup culture, you aren’t for me. Sex is great and all, but you know what’s even better?? Sex when you care about the other person and when the only thought in your head isn’t just about your own pleasure but also of theirs.  Maybe that’s a personal choice I need to make.  To start refusing to only be used as a late night booty call, and wait for someone who is willing to share themselves with me.. Maybe I need to accept that lonely nights, will be worth finding a life long partner in the end.

I know I will be easily criticised for writing any part of this blog entry. Rule number one is people, women especially, don’t openly have public conversations about sex, especially casual sex, sex before marriage and sex with more than one partner.  And in writing this, it makes it sound like I’m breaking all of these rules. I still believe in the sacred-sy of sex, but I can not explain the difficulty of trying to start a relationship in the midst of this sex-obsessed culture.

Agree or disagree with me, please have an open mind on this topic.

-A

*Below I have linked the two articles that sparked this blog post!! High recommend reading, especially the Vanity Fair one!

Elephant Journal Article

Vanity Fair Article