Through the Fog

The fog has rolled in, thick and grey and obscuring. It reminds me of looking at the future. You think you see something in the distance, but then its gone from your sight, only to flash closer again in a few minutes. In the fog, light refracts and it can be misleading, causing collisions and near misses. This is what it is like to count on something for the future, only to have it hit you head on when you least expect it or miss you completely. 

My future and questions about it have been on my mind constantly. Each time, I have to remember the fog, obscuring my long view. When I remember to stop scanning the distance desperately, then I am finally able to see what is in front of me. The tree with brilliant red and orange leaves reminds me that this season is not forever. The muddy ground fills me with the sense that the earth is absorbing all of the rain and will sprout grasses soon enough. The rain is all of the troubles I face, the muddy ground my soul absorbing the lessons to be learned. 

The Bible says that every day has enough trouble of its own. There is no need to dwell on the future. (Matthew 6:34) Even better, I like the words of Eckhart Tolle. “You create a good future by creating a good present.” Focusing on the distance in the fog is useless. It is the present that teaches us, preparing us for the future. 

Carpe Diem. 

Candidly, 

Ash

Laying Claim

Afraid of wanting.

That’s where I am at today. To want something is to face disappointment head on. I think that is sometimes why I don’t admit to myself that I want things.

I want things to be more meaningful. I want to write my truth. I want to write fiction. I want the is in my head to manifest into actual things.

I want so badly to be free.

I am afraid that these things will never manifest. Yet, it all starts with today. What do I do today to set myself free? Do I sit down and write or say that children running around prevented me? Do I let there be excuses? Do I see the meaning in the little things?

Because all of it is there. All of it is possible.

If only I claim it.

Candidly,

Ash

Remembrance

I forgot why I write here.

I had to take a break, because it didn’t feel worth it. I thought I wanted a blog to share a message, to earn a paycheck, to be successful at something for once. I thought I wanted those things.

Turns out I don’t need those things from this blog. I write because every time I do it a little piece of me comes back to life. Dead things rise again when I write. They come to life not because I’m some great writer, but because by expressing them I am set free.

I think this is something that we as humans need. To do something just because it sets us free. It makes us truly alive. Therefore, it has value regardless of whether its popular, appealing or earns us a paycheck.

I forgot all of that.

I’m glad I remembered it again.

Candidly,

Ash

Disorganized Memories

Yesterday, I tried writing about a time in our lives when our finances were a huge mess. We lost our house, moved to a tiny apartment and started over. Yet, I struggled to summon memories from this time in my life.

That’s when it occurred to me that I have some unprocessed pain. My brain is clearly trying to protect me from the pain of remembering, but what if I don’t want to be protected anymore? What if I want to explore this and learn from it, process it? How do I break through to the memories?

I think part of the process is just recognizing that the block is there, keeping me from something. It’s frustrating though, because I want to wade through this in an organized manner. I want to get to the other side of it and see the lessons learned, the final outcome.

Life’s troubles aren’t processed that way though.

They come in patches and glimpses, minutiae and pieces. Our job is to sit with each little thing and work through it until the next thing comes.

Man, that sucks.

Candidly,

Ash

Honor the Girl Inside

I used to push through things. Difficult things. Easy things. Dwelling on problems or negatives didn’t solve anything. I had to keep going.

After my stay in the hospital that all changed. In therapy, I was able to recognize that part of the reason I wanted to end it all was that I had pushed through things too many times. I was living a life that I didn’t want.

For most of the time since then, going on four years, my goal has been to listen to myself and honor the things I feel. For several years, this meant waking up to suicidal thoughts, sharing them with my husband and him staying home or calling a friend to stay with me. It hasn’t been an easy road.

These days, I don’t wake with suicidal thoughts very often. I believe a steady practice of listening to myself has helped me create a life I want to live.

Like (probably) many people, I still have days when I wake up without motivation, not wanting to do the things the day requires of me. Today was one of those days. It has me walking around sad, consuming caffeine to feel strong and equipped for the next thing. It hurts to push myself, but maybe sometimes that is okay?

Harder than pushing myself is discovering what I need, because it feels incredibly like something is missing. So I go through the motions and I try to listen to the sway of my feelings, while still keeping up with the day. I find this to be infinitely harder than the pushing onward.

Honoring the girl inside.

THAT is the real struggle in these days.

Sepia-toned Rainbows

I worry that my medication affects my ability to write. It has me so stable that I don’t feel those highs and lows anymore. I miss them. I never thought I would miss those vicious swings, but I do.

The rational part of me says this stability is a good thing. I really can’t argue with her. She points out things like functioning well and making good decisions. She tries to remind me that I wanted to die so badly that a lot of times I needed someone with me. She has lots of good points.

Then there is the side of me that feels things. I don’t want to call it the irrational side, because I don’t think feeling is irrational. She says to observe my life and see if I notice the beautiful things just as much as the difficult things. I don’t. I see glasses half empty all around. She says to pause and see if you can sit in silence doing nothing. I can’t. She says to whisper sweet nothings and play with the children. I can’t.

I believe this is the point where maybe someone who is bi-polar considers going off the medication or cutting back.

It’s so hard to live life in sepia tones when you’ve been full spectrum for so long.

Perhaps this is the hard part of being diagnosed at 34 years old. I have lived a good amount of life in the struggle and in the beautiful. What if stable isn’t what I want? What if I want the ups and downs?

What if I can’t have them?

Candidly,

Ash

Small Hurts, Big Lessons

I scratched my eye.

It hurts and waters and, in general, makes life miserable. Who would have thought that something so small could make such big waves in my life?

This reminds me that even our smallest hurts, pains and fears must be recognized and felt. Like the splinter that is never removed, they can become infected and an even larger pain.

I think this is part of what happened with me. I never attended to the small hurts and pains in life. I think of the disappointment I’ve often felt in myself, how I didn’t want to feel it. Instead I became angry with myself as a way to mask the pain, but this only made the pain greater.

My therapist once described it as hurting myself, then taking out a hammer and hitting myself again.

Pain on top of pain.

I think disappointment with myself has been the most difficult small pain in my life. The hardest thing to sit with and feel.

I’m still learning, but I need these reminders. Reminders not to belittle myself, to feel the pain and let it guide me.

Because pain can be a guide.

Pointing us toward change, showing us our sensitivities, teaching us what works and doesn’t work.

Yes, the scratch may hurt, but I’ve learned not to wear my contacts for months on end. I’ve learned to give my eye a break so it can be healthy.

Maybe I can feel the scratches to my heart, but learn to take care of myself in a greater way.

Candidly,

Ash