Mindful

I don’t even know where to start writing. It’s been so long! I thought about writing an update on my life, and then I realized I don’t really have a lot to update you on. I could talk about my recent trip or my recent work, but I haven’t quite found a good enough purpose to write about either of those. I could talk about fitness or mental health, both topics I love writing about, but again, I have not a lot of motivation to do so.

So I have decided to write about something cool that happened the other day. Two of my best friends and I went out for brunch to a local restaurant. We sat, chatted, laughed and ate. We talked about outrageous things that probably shouldn’t be talked about in public and every once in a while our server would catch a glimpse about our absurd topics and giggle along with us. She was the cutest server, that was so personable and honest. She was one of those people that just by talking to her, you could tell how kind she was.

After brunch, we all went along with our ways. I ended up having to go straight to work because we chatted our way into the afternoon. I didn’t check my phone until later that night and saw that I had a direct message. It was from the server we had in the restaurant earlier that day. She reached out telling me she recognized me from school and wanted to thank me for speaking about self-harm.

I love getting messages like that because I often don’t think my writing reaches anyone. I also sometimes find it hard to be so vulnerable in such a small-knit city. It feels like I’m standing naked in front of everyone, allowing my flaws and imperfections to be seen.

She also made a comment in her direct message, that I really needed to hear. Usually, around this time of year, I would be heading into calendar shoot weekend for the professional cheerleading team I was previously on for five years. This means at this time last year I had dieted and exercised my way to the “ideal” body that society would approve of. I would have a fresh tan and freshly highlighted hair.  Not always being able to maintain this body and ‘perfect’ look is a hard reality to swallow sometimes and has definitely been an adjustment for me. Finding a balance has been hard and is something I am definitely continuing to work on.

At brunch, the server had offered to take a photo of the three of us at our table, I laughed and told her: “No thanks, I look ugly right now with no makeup on”. I never really thought much about this comment, I just laughed it off. In the girl’s message, she said this comment hurt her heart. She not only thanked me for speaking out and giving people someone to relate to but she made the great point of saying that: “we often want others to feel this way (beautiful) but forget to remind ourselves”.

I needed to hear this comment. I speak so often about loving ourselves and being positive, I need to step back and be mindful that I am also living this way. I have come a long way from the hate I used to have for the way I looked and the body I was given, but this comment made to realize that I need to continue to work on loving myself and speaking to myself positively like I speak to the people around me.

Sending someone a message is such a simple act but can be immensely impactful.

Remember to take the advice you give others and speak to yourself with as much love as you do to those around you!

-A

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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


I miss you.

I think sometimes, as humans, we just need to be told we’re missed by another person.

The “I miss you” words, don’t necessarily have to be said with intent, but they just need to be heard.

These words could come from an ex, a faraway friend, a long lost family member or anything in between, but these words are proof that you did make a difference in another person’s life. That your presence left an impression, one that they miss from time to time, or maybe a lot.

An “I miss you” could give you the comfort that another person thinks about you, maybe as much as you think of them.

It shows that you crossed their mind, that something in their day to day life, reminded them of you.

It proves that despite how things were left off with this person, they still have a positive memory of you, enough to miss you, to miss your presence, your smile, your laugh or simply your being.

Always remember that, even on your lonely days. Someone misses you. Someone out there is thinking about you. And someone enjoys you just the way you are.

Almost.

The almost relationship.

The break up that you can’t even call a breakup because you never actually dated the person.

The heartbreak that you feel stupid for having because you don’t feel entitled to feeling hurt.

The wasted time, the lost words and the forgotten feelings.

Holding onto absolutely nothing.

And letting go of even less.

How do you get over something that was never there, to begin with?

How do you get that part of your smile back from someone who doesn’t even know they took anything from you?

Would you trade the almost love, the almost relationship, for not meeting this person at all?

Would you trade the laughs and memories, the things that now leave a bitter taste in your mouth?

 

Reflection.

I read an article the other night explaining how ‘love’ changes with every age. UGH, I KNOW GUYS. Here I go again on another rant about being broken-hearted and single and blah blah blah. BUT, that is not where I am going with this. As I read this article, unable to really connect much to it, I started to do a reflection of my year. I then rolled over and grabbed my phone, and started swiping through my pictures from this past year remembering the good and bad times.

How was my 2017?

Could I sum it up in one word?

I think the word I might choose is: chaos.

This year has been both amazing and heartbreaking for me. I won a lot of battles and had to fight quite a few as well. In 2017, I graduated and found a job I absolutely love. A job that is both fulfilling and exhausting, the way it should be in my eyes. I was surrounded by amazing people, but also got stabbed in the back by one too many of the people I thought respected me. I overcame a lot of personal battles, speaking out about my past with mental health, but I ignored the fact I still have a lot to face on that front. I stood up for myself when it came to the men I let into my life, but also found that I was still being walked all over.

Reading my last couple posts (after being made aware from a friend), I find that they do come off quite negative. The thing is, I am a very positive person if you ask the people that are around me frequently, but I do find I tend to concentrate and fixate on the negative things. I let the bad outweigh the good, no matter the severity of either side. With my job as a youth care worker, I spend the majority of my days, trying to convince the youth I work with to stay positive. To continue working on their goals and to continue pushing through their treatment and the trauma they’ve gone through in the past. After doing this consistently for 8-12 hours a day, I come home absolutely physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. These are the times I usually end up blogging. When I am all out of positive things and motivation. When I am at my lowest, and my mind is fixating on the negativity in my life, instead of the 10 smiles I put on the boys’ faces I worked with that day. This is when I take the frustration out on the people I care about, when I let my mind convince myself of negative ideologies and when instead of thinking about all the wonderful things I have going for me, I think about all the things I’m still lacking in my life.

I’m sorry to the people who have read my blog and left with a negative image of me. I am sorry to the people who think I am trying to throw pity parties for myself. I am neither a negative person nor am I trying to get people aboard my personal party of pity.

Life is a constant uphill battle for each and every one of us, and the way we each cope and deal with our struggles look different. I am 100% a very emotional person. When I am sad, every inch of my body feels it. When I am happy, I feel that happiness all the way to my soul.

With this year quickly coming to an end, and I continue to reflect on the many triumphs and challenges of this year, instead of talking and revisiting the negativity of certain situations, I am going to try and think about the lessons I learnt from each situation. Maybe I will post about these in the week(s) to come, maybe I won’t. But for those of you who have hung on strong all the way to the end of this lengthy post, I want you to remember and leave with this thought.

No one is perfect in this world, regardless of how they portray themselves on social media or in their day to day lives. Everybody has their own things going on. Everybody has their own battles to fight on a daily basis. All you can do personally is continue to treat people how you want to be treated yourselves. Try to see the world in a more positive view, concentrating on the beautiful things in life that often get overseen because negativity blinds each of us. Work hard. Be nice. And find something in every day that makes you smile and makes you happy to be alive.

-Ash

love.

I found this article while working my night shift tonight and I thought it was pretty interesting. Unfortunately, I don’t have a partner to ask these questions to, but I thought it would be cool to ask them to myself.

Here’s the original article: “40 Questions To Ask Your Partner About Love That Are Really Hard To Answer, But Will Make Your Connection Even Stronger”

My answers:

1. How do you know when you love someone?

I think everyone knows they love someone a little differently. Since I am already a very generous and caring person, I think I may feel love differently than other people. Is it too cliche to say: you just know? Because I think when you love someone or you fall in love with another person, you just know.

2. Is romantic love the most important love of all?

I personally don’t think so. I mean romance is awesome, but I think there are other types of love that are more important. For me, I would rather someone take time out of their busy schedule to spend time with me than to buy me flowers or give me some kind of gift.

3. Do you think once you love someone, you will ALWAYS love them? Or do you think love can fade away with time?

I think this is where people get love wrong. I believe love is something you constantly have to work on and continue to keep strong. In many relationships, people think the love they originally have, will be the love they have forever, but love fades, love changes, love is stronger at some points of a relationship and weaker at other parts, and that’s where the couple needs to see eye to eye in continuing to build on and keep that love strong.

4. What’s the first thing you notice about someone when you fall for them?

This one is hard for me to answer. I have told three separate people in my life that I was in love with them, and all three kinds of love I felt were completely different. Does that mean I was never truly in love? Maybe. Or maybe the love I share with different people is exactly that, different. I think the first thing I notice about someone when I fall in love with them, is how they love themselves and how they love those around them.

5. What’s one thing about love that scares you?

The one thing about love that scares me is not knowing if the person’s love they have for me is the same feeling I have for them.

6. Do you believe in love at first sight?

I used to. I think I now believe in love at first connection. It’s easy to have an attraction or lust for another person, but I think it’s the connection that you feel with that other person is what’s the most important.

7. Which do you agree with? Love should always feel comfortable, or love should always feel new and exciting?

I think love should feel comfortable. I think we should all feel at home with the person we love, and we should be able to be completely ourselves with no judgement.

8. What do you think makes people in love?

I think there are many aspects that make two people fall in love. Having a connection both physically and mentally. Allowing yourself to open up. Spending time together. Having that person there for you in good and bad moments of your life. Allowing them to be a part of your personal and family life. Seeing and talking about a future with them.

9. What makes you fall out of love?

Again there are probably many aspects that make two people fall out of love. Dishonesty, lost trust, an unequal effort being put into the relationship, different views on important things in life and not being able to find a compromise, jealousy. For me, I think the moment I no longer feel like I can trust the person I love, would be when I would start to fall out of love.

10. Do you believe people can change if they love someone?

I definitely think people can change while loving another person, but I don’t think you should ever build a relationship on the assumption that one or both people in the relationship are going to change.

11. Do you think knowing whether or not it’s love depends on how long you’ve known the person?

No. I definitely don’t think so. I think there are couples that know right away if they’re going to fall in love with each other (shout out to my besties Nic and Matt), but there are also couples that take more time to find that same love.

12. How long do you think it takes before you know you love someone?

For me personally, I’m not sure. I get love and lust confused all the time. I definitely love people easily, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am IN love with them. I think when I finally find the right person, I will know.

13. Would you still be able to love someone after they’ve been unfaithful?

I personally don’t think so. I have been the ‘side chick’ in way too many situations. I have seen many men disrespect their girlfriends and wives. I think it would take me a lot of time and effort to rebuild the same amount of love and trust I had.

14. What constitutes cheating/unfaithfulness for you?

I think a person knows if they are cheating or being unfaithful. Obviously any physical act with another person, but I think verbally talking or texting another person could be cheating as well. If it’s something you feel like you have to hide from your partner, you’re being unfaithful.

15. What’s worse an emotional affair or a physical one?

I think they are pretty equal in my eyes. If a person is seeking either of those things from another person, they are clearly lacking it in the relationship they are in.

16. If you love someone, is unfaithfulness/cheating something that can be forgiven?

Like I said above, maybe with time. But I think it would be hard for me.

17. When it comes to cheating, forgive and forget, forgive but don’t forget, or don’t forgive at all?

I think the only way to move forward in that relationship would be to forgive and forget, if you can’t do that, I think it would be hard to continue a relationship with that person.

18. Do you believe love changes you?

I think the right love would push you to change in positive ways. For example to be the best version of yourself, but never stray from the person you truly are. I think love changes me in a good way. It gives me the confidence to be myself and helps me remember I deserve to be loved and to love myself.

19. Do you think people should change themselves to find love?

No, no, no, no, no, nooooo.

20. What do you think is the most important factor of keeping love alive in a relationship?

To keep love alive, I think both sides have to continue to work on the relationship. That doesn’t always mean giving equally because sometimes one partner may need more support than the other, but it means being okay with that. Continuing to push each other, believing in each other dreams and making sacrifices.

21. Would you rather have EXTRAORDINARY love that doesn’t last forever, or ordinary love that does?

Hmmmm. Tough one. Shouldn’t all love be extraordinary? I don’t just want ordinary love. I want the type of love that makes me smile just thinking about it. The kind of love people can feel when they are around my partner and me. So I guess the first answer and then I’ll just turn into a crazy dog lady when it ends.

22. Do you think the way your family loves has affected the way you love?

It definitely does. It’s a psychological fact. The way you were treated growing up and the love you saw in your parents or from your family around you, definitely has an effect on not only the way you love but how you view love.

23. Who is one couple you know that you admire in terms of love?

My parents and the way my dad has stood beside my mother through thick and thin (more thin than thick).

24. Do you believe you can be friends with someone you loved in the past?

I think so. It may take time but I do think it’s possible. I think both people have to be over their romantic feelings for the other person though.

25. What makes a relationship healthy?

Equality in all aspects. Openness and trust. Being able to say: “I’m sorry” and mean it. Understanding that you will sometimes have to make sacrifices and put the other person first.

26. What’s more important physical connection, or emotional?

I think both are very important and I think both are connected. I think having sex with someone who you have an emotional connection with is way better.

27. Is sex more of a physical connection for you, or emotional?

For me, it’s both. It’s very hard for me to not get an emotional connection with someone I have sex with.

28. Which makes you fall in love with someone more, physical attraction or a non-physical connection?

Non-physical connection. Opening up to someone or having someone open up to you is so huge.

29. Have you ever loved someone who you hoped would change for you?

Oh ya, probably way too many times. I think we’ve all experienced this (except maybe a few of the lucky ones). Take it from me, IT NEVER WORKS.

30. Have you ever changed yourself to make someone love you?

I’ve definitely tried, but again IT NEVER WORKS. I’ve learnt to save myself from disappointment and heartache and just be myself.

31. If you had a child what’s the first thing you would teach them about love?

I think the most important way to teach children about love is not by using your words, but by showing them by the way you love and support your spouse.

32. What’s one thing about love that scares you?

Having my heart broken, because it’s already happened too many times.

33. Do you believe vulnerability is a good thing when it comes to love?

Yes, it definitely is important.

34. What is the most vulnerable way you let someone into your life?

I think the most vulnerable thing to do, is to let the other person see you in your good and bad moments of life. Let them see you when you’re on the top of the world, but also let them see you when you feel as though you’ve hit rock bottom.

35. Define love in 5 words.

Honesty/Openness
Fun
Friendship
Trust
Connection

40. What’s the craziest thing you’d do for love?

Move my life for my partner.

My purpose.

Do you ever wonder if we were each put on this earth to do a certain thing? To change something. To create something. To save someone. I often wonder why I’m here. Why I was born where I was born. Why I’ve made the life choices I’ve made so far. At the time I was making the choices they were all for a certain reason, but I wonder in the end if it’ll all add up to something.

I often think about my grandma who passed almost two and a half years ago. I asked her once if she had any regrets in life. I was hoping for a witty, sassy response because that’s the kind of lady she was, but her answer wasn’t what I was looking for. If she was still alive, I would ask her so many questions about life. I would ask her if she found her reason.

This world is so much bigger than me, and I feel like I’m being consumed by it. I’m letting it break down me down and wear me out. My mind is always running at high speed. Overthinking. Over-analyzing. I’m constantly searching for love or trying to make myself into something I’m not. I’m trying to break out of the mold, at the same time I’m trying to fit into it.

I let other people tell me I’m not good enough, and I let these people’s thoughts pollute my mind. I constantly try to be this perfect poster board cut out, at the same time as I let depression and anxiety eat at my brain.

I let people walk all over me, though I tell myself I don’t deserve it. I let people use and abuse me for their pleasure until I’m empty and feel nothing at all.

But where does it end? Where do I find my reason in this all? When do I get my time?

I often say that we create our own happiness. I believe this 100%. I can sit here and pout about the past all I want, but in reality, it’s never going to get me anywhere. The thing is, I feel as though I create the perfect situations for me to be happy, but I never reach that point. There’s always something missing. Maybe the thing missing is my purpose, and life’s just not ready to show it to me yet.