The Lessons of Love

I think this post is going to be a lot more for myself, than for you guys (I’m sorry!!). But stay with me for a second. I want to go through all my old types of relationships, and explain what I learned from each of them.

“But Ashley, isn’t that a little cruel and harsh to your exes?”

Well for 1) I won’t use their real names and 2) I have nothing against the people of my past. I’ve come to learn that everyone enters your life for some kind of reason. I think all of them come with some kind of message or lesson.

Let’s begin!

My first love. Everyone has a first ‘love’. That first person that makes your heart flutter, your knees weak and your brain cloudy. I think this one for myself, was full of an important lesson. I wasn’t ready for love. I didn’t love myself enough, to be in love with another. I also couldn’t love someone else, into loving myself. If that makes sense. No matter how much love I could give another, if I couldn’t give that same amount of love to myself it wasn’t going to work. Simple as that. This first love for me could really have been two people from my past. They both taught me this extremely important lesson.

The love that got away. I truly don’t wish this kind of feeling on anyone. I think I could have fallen deeply in love with this person from my past, but my mind was to sick at the time, I didn’t treat them or any other people involved fairly. From this love, I learned that an unhealthy mental state makes you selfish, harsh and cold-hearted. It not only breaks your own heart, but it breaks the hearts of those around. I learned that loving someone with mental health problems is sometimes unbearable and isn’t always fair, especially when the person isn’t ready to get better.

The wrong place, wrong time love. I fell hard and fast into this love, engulfed by the perfect life we had set up for ourselves abroad. This love was in paradise, away from society, away from pressures and away from reality. This love taught me that I didn’t know myself well enough yet. I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted my life to go in and I wasn’t ready for that amount of love and commitment from another person. I learned that I hadn’t given myself enough time to learn who I was before I could possibly learn who I was with another person.

The love that tries to change you. This is still a tough love for me to talk about and reflect on. This person tore me down continuously and I don’t think they will ever really understand the damage they did (the fact that I am still in a negative mindset about this person, proves that I still have healing to do). This is the type of love that you never feel good enough for. You never feel pretty enough, or pure enough, or smart enough, or successful enough. This is the type of love that tries to mould you into the person they want you to be instead of loving you for the person you are and the potential you have within your own vision. This love caught me a lot. It taught me that I am enough. It taught me that if a person really wanted to change me that much, they didn’t deserve me. And it taught me that no person should ever feel that they are not good enough for someone.

The empty love. This is the type of love I’ve found myself in time and time again. It’s the love that you continually give more than you receive. You put this person first, make time for them in your busy schedule and often get lost in. It’s the type of love that you float blindlessly through, hoping that they will one day give back to you what you’ve given to them. These people left me feeling more empty. They play mind games. They trick you into thinking there is a future and they tip top around the word “commitment”. These people may not think they are doing anything wrong because “we’re just hanging out and having fun”. This type of love is tricky. You can’t convince them to want you as much as you want them. But you also can’t wait around forever. This type of love taught me, that sometimes the only company you need is yourself. Filling voids with people will not do any good in the long run.

I have a hard time letting go of things. I struggle holding grudges against people who have long gone forgotten about me. Holding onto lost love, hurt feelings and other negative things does nothing but hurt yourself. Reflecting on the types of love I’ve endured and felt has helped me realize the type of love I want. It has helped me move on and understand why things happened the way they did, and why certain people entered my life and then left. As hard as heart break is, I think one day it is something I will be grateful for. Thankful that I can share my lessons with you all and appreciative of the love I hope to one day find.

“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.”

Ellen Goodman

-A


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FOMO

The Fear of Missing Out, is one of our generations biggest upsets. It is the overcoming feeling that you are missing out on a being somewhere other than where you are or missing out on having something other than what you already have. It is the feeling that you are missing out on something in your life that would make it better.

Think about it.

We are constantly looking at pictures and videos of friends, family and other acquaintances doing things, subconsciously one-upping each other. The photos and videos we post online for all to see, are always from the times we are having the best time of our lives. Vacations and celebrations, filled with laughter and joy.

In no way, I am saying that we shouldn’t do this because I do it also. If you scroll through my Instagram feed, you will see pictures filled with a larger than life smile, bright colours and photos from all my proudest moments.

The point I am trying to make is we need to take a step back and stop comparing ourselves to others. We need to stop lusting over other people’s lives and make our own lives one to remember. We need to find a job that we love and enjoy going to. We need to put down our phones and enjoy the moment before it’s over. We need to put value in our friendships, instead of screen time. We need to realize our worth is not based on the number of likes we get or followers we have.

I want to challenge each of you to do something.

Every morning for a week, write down three things you hope that will happen that day. At the end of the day, I want you to write down three things you are grateful for, and one thing you wish you would have done that could have improved this day.

In doing this simple activity, you are doing three things. You are putting intentions into your day of what you want to happen and by doing this, you are setting yourself up to be successful because the thought is now in your head. The next thing you are doing is concentrating on the things you have to be grateful for or positive things that happened within your day, instead of the negatives.  I find we often (myself included) concentrate on the negative parts of our days, instead of the positive. Let’s change this mind set. Lastly, we are leaving room for improvement. No one is perfect and no day is ever perfect. By writing one thing we want to improve on, we are leaving room for growth and leaving space and acceptance for imperfections.

I think that this feeling of FOMO is one of biggest driving forces behind the anxiety I often get. I get stuck in the mindset that I need to constantly be doing something, posting something and talking to someone, to be successful day to day. If I can change my mindset and focus on what I am doing that very second, instead of concentrating on what I SHOULD be doing, or what I need to do next, I think I will take a huge weight off my shoulders.

I think social media is both a blessing and a curse on our society. We have access to more than ever before. But sometimes this transparency can do more damage than good.

-A

What Does Depression look like?

Depression looks like a big smile, but a hopeless heart.

A heart full of love to give, but never open to receive.

Depression is sleepless nights, and unproductive sleep filled days.

Nights, where you’re brain doesn’t stop working in overdrive and days where hope can’t be found.

Depression is hoping someone will see past your mask, but praying they don’t at the same time.

Holding onto the false reality that everything is okay, but desperately drowning in a sense of numbness.

Depression is knowing you need help, but convincing yourself you’re okay.

Finding both comfort and discomfort in the dull pain of loneliness.

Depression is being told positive things, but only hearing the negative.

Concentrating on and overthinking the unsaid words.

 

my hope.

I haven’t felt like this is a long time, the good kind of missing someone when you’re not with them and knowing they could possibly feel the same way about you.

The feeling of hope. Hope that someone could possibly like me, for me. Not the person that people perceive me as. Not for just my body or just my brain, but for everything about I am.

No, they don’t know all my cracks, or imperfections yet. And no I don’t know theirs. But this moment right now, is right where I want to be.

The butterflies. The firsts. The laughs. The sleepless nights of doing nothing but enjoying each other.

Even if this moment doesn’t last forever or go any further than where it is now. I am thankful for this person. Thankful that he reminded me what I deserve and what I am worth.

-A

The ‘Ashley Twerk’

I am officially 1.5 years seizure free. Oh yea, baby! BUT (there’s always a but), it has not been an easy year and a half. The older I get, whenever I have a seizure the more complicated it gets. Losing your license in your late 20s, is 100 times worse than before. The choice of medication and side effects become worse and harder to control (my doctor pointed out at my last appointment that pregnancy should be considered when considering medications. I don’t even have a boyfriend, so imagine my reaction to this ‘recommendation’).

I wrote a post a while ago about my seizures (original post). I don’t like it. I didn’t even want to attach it to this post. Reading it, it sounds very impersonal and textbook-ish. Not my type of writing at all. So I’m going to give it to you raw and real right now.

My seizures have been my biggest struggle I have had to deal with. I am saying this as a person who has been dealt many bad hands in the game of life. I have lived with an eating disorder, self-injury and growing up with a parent addicted to a substance. All those things I have always felt I have had some sort of control over. I could choose whether to eat or not. I could choose whether to put a blade against my skin and I can choose whether to allow this addiction ridden person into my life. But seizures I have had no control over. I had no control over the side effects of the medications, having my license and independence taken away from me or from the depression that took over me this past year.

This last seizure was by far the hardest on me. The medication I was put on, though is supposed to be the best out there, killed my spirit and threw me into a hole of darkness. I pushed away anyone close to me. Friends and family became my biggest enemy. I didn’t want anyone to care about me when I couldn’t care about myself. I have never thought of suicide more then I have since I’ve been on this drug. Watching my natural positive attitude be taken from me, and having no say over it, was devastating. A simple comment could push me over the edge. Constantly feeling exhausted from my emotions going from extreme highs to extreme lows in a matter of seconds. Sometimes staying in bed for days at a time just to hide from it all. Throwing myself at men in desperation to feel anything at all, anything but numbness.

Surprising thoughts and words to hear from a girl with a smile as bright as the sun and a laugh that echoes through your head, I know. The girl who’s nickname is “Disney World” at work. But I kept up that persona for the past year and a half, half hoping that someone would finally see past the mask and half hoping to disappear altogether.

So where can I go from here you’re probably wondering? It’s simple, just stop taking the medication I’m on or switch to another one, right? Not so simple. To keep a license, I must be on some sort of medication (or so I thought). Other medications have even worse side effects (says my neurologist) such as weight gain, teeth and gum bleeding, hair falling out, cognitive issues, etc. My body is also addicted to the medication I’m on, so to abruptly stop taking this medication would throw my body into withdrawal.

I went to my family doctor at the end of December, in desperation for some kind of help. I think she could tell by my shaking voice, that I needed something, some kind of answer other than the ones I was getting from my neurologist who had postponed my yearly checkup continuously for over six months. I think she could tell that I wouldn’t last much longer without some kind of hope that someone would fight for me, and someone in the medical world would be on my side for once. It’s surprising how fast mentioning suicidal thoughts can get you the attention you’ve wanted for the past year and a half and even though these words were hard for me to say, they were true, they were serious and they got me the hope I needed.

 

I am hopeful. Scared, but staying positive that I will not have any more seizures in my future. I am trying to stay as consistent as I can with my exercise and eating, which helps me minimize side effects of the medication I’m on. I am trying to only surround myself with people who lift me up and bring me happiness to cut out any extra stress and negativity. And I’m trying to hold myself accountable and mindful of my negative thoughts and feelings.

If anyone reads this and has any tips, please let me know!

-A

Scar Removal Update #3

**photographs may be triggering

Update #1
Update #2

For those of you still following allow my scar removal journey, here is an update.
We have started the next process, micro-needling. I found the lasering, made a huge difference on my leg scars! My arm as well, but I can see the most change on my leg for sure. I explained before, what micro-needling is, but I will again in case I have any new readers. So micro-needling is a treatment done that uses small needles to puncture the skin and trigger the body into healing mode, stimulating cell production and new collagen to form. For me specifically, this will greatly help the texture of my scars.

The first photo is my leg with the numbing cream on, which had to sit for 30 minutes. The second photo is directly after the treatment. This treatment hurt more than the lasering (about an 8/10 for pain) and did result in some bleeding (which is standard). The healing process is way quicker than lasering though. The day of the treatment I had some mild discomfort and the day after I barely felt anything at all.

These photos were taken in the evening after the treatment. A little more red, but already starting to heal.

IMG_4708 (1)

This final photo is from the day after. If you look close you can see the little holes from the micro-needling. All swelling has gone down, and no pain other than when my sister’s dog jumps on me.

I go back for another treatment in 3 weeks. I am looking forward to seeing the results of this treatment, because the lady doing my treatments, believes this one will show the biggest changes in my scarring!

Ash