How I lost my happiness (again) without even realizing it.

I woke up this morning suddenly. The kind of waking up where your eyes literally pop open, staring at the ceiling trying to focus on the little nooks and crevices in the texture above you. I thought about the night before…texting this guy I’ve been seeing for a few months, trying to figure out at 1:30am if he “felt like coming over”. (Insert annoyed emoji face here) As I recalled my conversation from a few hours prior, I tried to shake the feeling of embarrassment I felt after exposing my neediness for company (and then being rejected, mind you), and after realizing how strangely awake I was with only 5 hours of sleep, I decided I needed to go for a run. That always clears my head.

I’d heard from several people about these “nature trails” here in Oak Cliff. Something to note for those of you that aren’t familiar with my neighborhood, it’s…eccentric. Oak Cliff is the kind of community where it’s common to see “OC” or “75208” tattooed on someone’s neck/fingers/other random body part. Don’t get me wrong, it has it’s charms like the Bishop Arts District and Trinity Groves, but overall it’s pretty colorful. All of that to say, I was slightly nervous about going on a several mile hike/run in the woods as dawn was breaking. But hey, YOLO, right? (haha… I hope you laughed as you read that last sentence, because I sure did as I was typing it.)

Seriously though, this adventure was SO incredibly worth it. Words cannot express how clarifying, inspiring, and cathartic it was. I only did about 3 miles, but it was a total body workout maneuvering the trails, climbing over fallen trees, and splashing through creeks. I was disgusting by the time I was done, and it. was. glorious. These pictures don’t even begin to do it justice because 1) I’m a terrible photographer, and 2) I couldn’t focus too much on photo quality so I could avoid getting clipped by mountain bikers.

IMG_2897

I realized several things about running in this new environment:

  1. Running without music – this was a new one for me. Usually I will NOT go without a form of entertainment while I torture myself with exercise. Ed Sheeran, New Politics, and Red Hot Chili Peppers are pretty much all that can get me through a 4-5 mile run on a usual week day. But today I decided to go without music most of the run because it’s easier to hear upcoming bikers as they whiz by you on these tiny trails. I didn’t even realize the sounds of nature I would have missed had I been distracted by my Spotify the entire run. Creeks gurgling, birds chirping in the trees, even just the sound of the rocks beneath my shoes had me feeling all fuzzy. I really felt at peace out there. Crazy words coming from being in the middle of Oak Cliff!
  2. Coordination is not my strong suit – I seriously almost ate dirt (literally) at least 12 times. I should have had someone film me, it was probably extremely entertaining watching me hop over rocks, jump tree branches, slide down crumbling trails so I didn’t bust my face open…I’m hoping these trails will help me learn coordination and muscle control, but I’m sure they will also get a little of my blood, sweat, and tears in the process.
  3. I’ve been avoiding a LOT – Almost halfway into my run I realized how light and at ease I felt about life. All of my anxiety had melted away and I wanted to just laugh and keep hiking on those trails all morning. At the start of my run, I had a lot of thoughts to sort out, and as I ran, the peacefulness of my surroundings allowed me to think through things without all of society’s constant pressures weighing down on me.

I now realize that I am a serial “changer”, as I like to call it. I will change myself, my interests, my habits, etc. all based on the person I’m dating. I won’t really stop liking the things I currently enjoy, but I’ll just put those on the back burner and emphasize whatever fits in with the current person I’m talking to.

“Oh, you enjoy tacos and Chipotle is your favorite restaurant? Me too!”

LIE. I hate Chipotle. I don’t enjoy Mexican food. But if you do, suddenly I’m open to the idea…

“You could watch only Will Ferrell movies for the rest of your life and never be sad again? That sounds like a great idea…let’s binge watch some next weekend!”

LIE. I’ve only seen like 2 Will Ferrell movies…I know, I’m weird. I’m not against them, per say, I just don’t actively seek out trying to watch them…?

“You can’t stand Taylor Swift? Ugh, me either, what a lame talent-less copy cat.”

Again, LIE. I literally have her newest album in my car CD player now. Don’t judge me, the girl knows how to write good lyrics.

I do all of this to be liked and accepted, and it usually works out well for a while. Then, as I realized this morning, I find myself having compromised all of my joy and excitement in life from doing what I truly enjoy…all in hopes for some attention and favor.

You like to lay in bed all morning on the weekends and not get anything done? Suddenly I do too! You enjoy staying up late because you don’t have to be at work at 8am like I do? No problem, I’ll stay up with you! You can’t workout for ______ reason? No worries, I don’t have to run today.

Who am I and what did I do with the girl who was Ashley? The real, happy, genuine, motivated, positive Ashley? I mean, it’s not like I became some completely different person…I was still me, but I just didn’t feel like quite the best version on myself.

Now, I realize that another person you’re dating should make you want to be that better version of you. They should enjoy what you enjoy, push you to work harder, go farther, laugh louder. I don’t want to keep being this way, I want to be me, the real me, with the guy I’m dating.

So here’s to authenticity. Being vulnerable in who you are. Loving yourself and being happy no matter what. And to not giving a shit if they don’t like it. 😉

Sure, I’ll take some more pain, please.

No, the title of this post is not in reference to some weird 50 Shades of Grey thing…sorry if I got your hopes up, haha.

I realized this weekend that human nature is a funny thing. I watched myself and several of my friends go through different experiences where we chose to put ourselves in mentally painful situations, repeatedly. At the end of the weekend I was exhausted, I had nothing productive come from my two days off from work, and I thought, “what the hell are we doing? Are we happy being miserable? Do we just want to be unhappy?”

I know, I know…you’re thinking, “What is she talking about? Give us the dirt! We want to hear what hot mess of a situation you got yourself into!” Alright already…but you’re just going to shake your head at the end of it, I’ll say it now: I told you so.

After being in a long term relationship for so long, one could say I’m a little afraid terrified of settling down and getting serious with someone right now. At this point in my life, it’s nice to just have companionship and someone to text or cuddle with when you’re lonely. So, in the midst of online dating/Tinder-ing/whatever you want to call it, I found someone who is pretty cool. We hung out for about 6 weeks or so, seeing eachother a couple times a week, and it was going well. Couple of things to note: we never discussed past relationships (this is big for me, as a huge part of my identity was found in the label of being “divorced”), and also, we never had the DTR (define the relationship) conversation, this led to many nights of confusion and wondering about what we were doing.

Okay, you probably want to stop me here. Looking back, it’s easy to say, “Why didn’t you just ask? You could’ve brought up the past. Etc, etc.” Can I just tell you, easier said than done. I have this thing with wanting to be the “cool girl”…it’s a term that’s very common in the dating scene. As a young woman, you want to be cool enough so that guys are attracted to this mystery and easy-going-ness, but you have to be strong and opinionated just enough so that they know they can’t walk all over you and they must respect you. It’s a stupidly fine balance that is impossible to achieve.

Anyway, I finally broke after 6ish weeks and risked the conversation of “what are we doing because I’m going crazy trying to figure this out without communicating.” (Shocker, I know.) It went surprisingly well, with us both being on the same page of keeping things “casual” and not wanting anything “serious”. We were open to the other going on dates with other people, but if anything became serious, we would let the other know. It seemed like the perfect situation at the time… (cue dramatic music, please).

It’s been almost 3 months, and SURPRISE, this girl now has feelings for the dude. Yep, I said it. Out loud, to the masses, and I can’t take it back now. It’s not like that “can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, world series kind of stuff”, (props if you caught the 90’s It Takes Two reference, thank you Kristie Alley). It’s just like, you wake up and want to text him (but I don’t), or you catch yourself listening to different music because he introduced you to it. Hell, I even went to a Mexican food restaurant (that didn’t have hamburgers!) for him.

So, now I’m in a pickle. He is still being very casual and I can tell things haven’t progressed in the emotional department for him. My choices: 1. I have to still play the cool girl role and pretend to not want anything more. or 2.  Be honest and risk losing what we do have for something more. That’s a big risk to me, and one I’m not sure I’m ready to take. But, on the flip side, it kinda sucks having to act like I’m less interested than I am and constantly hoping for more, and consistently being disappointed,

The doozie happened this weekend when he said he’d come to a party for my roommate’s birthday. The morning of said party, he asked me what time things were starting, and then said he’d “let me know”. I know, how non-committal. Well, I didn’t hear from the kid again until Monday. He just never texted me about the party, didn’t show up, didn’t call or text, no lame excuse for backing out, nothing. Just a casual text on Monday about his day, like the discussion about the party never existed…I was thinking I was crazy. Who does that?

Quiz time! What did Ashley do in response?

A. Confront him about not showing up to the party.

B. Call him a jerk for bailing and never talk to him again.

C. Answer his text politely and positively about his day and completely avoid the party conversation.

Yep. I did C. I know! This is the part where you’re shaking your head and throwing your fist in the air! Why didn’t I stand up for myself? Why did I give him an out? Why would I let him think that’s okay to treat others like they don’t matter?

Ehh, I don’t know. Why do we, as people, do any of the above things? Why are we okay with being continually hurt by the same person? Why do we pour out our feelings and be honest time and time again, just to be let down as we knew we would be? Why do we pursue friendships and relationships that are only one-sided?

Maybe we are hoping for something better. Maybe we have this idea of the situation being improved or the person being who they could be. Perhaps we think that if we make the same mistake enough times, we will get it through our thick skulls that things won’t change and we should just move on. Who knows, really. I think we each have our own motivation for making the choices that we do, and I’m not one to judge…I for real have had my share of stupid decisions. (See above for the most recent, then all previous blog posts for prior dumb mistakes, haha.

In light of this weekends shenanigans, here’s my quote for the week:

Nora Ephron Quote

Moving Forward

Whoops…I totally just ate about $6.75 worth of cherries in one sitting. Sadly though, it wasn’t that many cherries. Ah, well… at least they weren’t Skittles. I mean, I’d be okay with that…but my jeans wouldn’t.

I’ve had some writer’s block since my vacation. I can’t tell if I’m just in a different state of mind and I can’t really get back to where I was before taking a couple of weeks off… or maybe I’m just out of things to write about right now.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like my life is picture-perfect right now, it’s actually just really, really boring. Plus, I’m still dealing with a lot of the same emotions I’ve been writing about, but I know that people don’t want to read about the same things over and over again.

I’m ready to move forward. Maybe talking about it and actually putting it into words will bring this idea into existence and I can act on it. So, move forward in what, you ask? Well, that’s easy – pretty much everything. I mean, there will be a few things I want to stay the same like family, friends, and my job. But bigger picture things need to change…tout suite! (That saying is ridiculous to me…but just ridiculous enough that I had to use it.)

Obviously, the first thing that probably came to your mind when I said I’m ready to move forward was a maaann, right? Well, you are right, of course. I don’t want to be that crazy, old single, cat lady for-ev-er! I know to those that haven’t been in the close circle of knowing all the drama going on in my life for the past few years, it may seem like I’m “moving on” rather quickly. But, I’m here to tell you that I’ve been single (without the label) for a long time now. It’s just become official/titled/public knowledge in the past few months. I’m not talking about jumping in with both feet into a long-term committed relationship, per say, but I just want to have some fun, meet some new guys, and see what’s out there. That’s okay, right? Well, I’m telling you. It’s okay!

Also, I’m really thinking about my career. What do I see myself doing at say, 45? 55? What do I want to retire from? I love my job now, and have no plans of leaving any time soon…but do I want to work in a private practice forever? Maybe. I can always go back to graduate school, move into more of a speech therapist role that I intended on going into. I love what I do now, and I know I want to care for people and change lives for the rest of my life, but I just don’t quite know in what avenue yet.

Of course, there are other things I want to start making plans on moving forward with. Where do I want to live? I could move anywhere right now…well, not literally right now. A girl’s gotta plan it out and wait until her lease is up…but then, I could move anywhere! Denver? Portland? East Coast? Austin? We could get really crazy and talk about over-seas living. Say whaat? I know I could really go for a new man with an accent…yow-za. (Yep, I just used yowza…handle it.)

Lots of things on my mind tonight, but it feels good to get in the groove of letting some of it out here in this space. Oh, and I feel like I haven’t said it in a while, but thanks again for all the support with this blog!! It is so encouraging to know that people actually read some of it, and (maybe?) look forward to my ramblings. Love you guys!

Back To Reality.

The second part of my vacation, the family reunion, was amazing. There’s something about reconnecting with family and friends that just feeds the soul. It had been roughly a decade since I’d seen most of them, but that’s the thing about family,you can just pick up where you left off and it just feels good to be surrounded by people that love you…just for you you are.

After this weekend, reality hit like a ton of bricks Monday morning. It wasn’t anything in particular, like work or emails. It’s just the little things that you’re reminded of, constantly poking at you from everywhere. Sure, there’s the normal things like laundry, dishes, bills, etc. But there’s another list that I completely avoid by creating a separate to-do list with my priority items…oh, you would like to know what’s on the avoid list?

  1. Find room in my already over-stuffed dresser for the random stack of sweaters/old jeans/college t-shirts that has been sitting in a messy pile since I moved in. Okay, it’s one of the messy piles in my apartment I haven’t gone through.
  2. Go through all messy piles and organize. (…riiiiight)
  3. Find drawer pulls for my over-stuffed dresser…I’ve discovered they’re weird measurements and impossible to fit. Hence the avoidance.
  4. Clean out the over-stuffed dresser to find a “new me” through my wardrobe…this sounds creative and should be fun, but basically I just imagine a bunch of re-folding and finding clothes that still don’t fit. Nope.
  5. Convince Sophie with numerous carrots and other treats that we need to trim her nails. This leads to begging, wiggling, whining, snapping, and finally defeat. (And those are just my reactions, I can’t even get into her drama.)
  6. Find my lost copy of The Notebook…it didn’t make it with the move, and it’s pretty much the best movie to watch when you want to just ignore all of your pain and feel like a teenager in love again. Maybe it’ll be in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart…but that would actually require me to leave my apartment and run errands. Like an adult.
  7. Dust. Everything. Enough said.

Life is hard. It doesn’t give breaks, it doesn’t “go easy” on you. Life kicks you in the rear and expects you to say, “Wow, that was great, please do it again! I love you, Life!”. It’s like this for everyone, I get that. Plans fall apart, life is unexpected, but we get up and move on.

Right?

I learned/realized/got slapped in the face this weekend that I am more-or-less an adult. No longer can I blame poor decisions on my youthfulness, or, wait for another chance to tell someone how much they mean to me. Something else to add to my to-do/avoid list:

  1. Learn how to do this whole “succeed as an adult” thing.

Ahem, I’ll get right on that. Well, thank you for following along on this mess of a post tonight. It’s been random and jumbled and terribly written. As always, I hope it was a little entertaining, at least!