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honesty

I’m Still Ashley, Just Different

October 5, 2017

I’m not really doing okay right now. I was totally going for a long streak of 0 bad days but it just didn’t happen. I just need to get some things off of my chest and I want to do it here, and on my blog.

To my friends…. I’m sorry that I never wanna hangout. I’m sorry that I don’t make an effort anymore. I’m sorry that I’ve become a flaky person. I’m sorry that I disappoint you when I cancel on our plans. I’m really really sorry when I promise to come to a party of yours, and I just don’t make it. I really am. I’m sorry that I seem checked out, withdrawn or uninterested. 

It’s literally not you, it’s me.

I really struggle in social situations. If there are more people than just you and I, I have a really hard time getting myself to come anyway. It isn’t because I don’t like who is going to be there, who your other besties are, or where we’re even going. Being around other people (whether I know them a bit or not at all) just gives me the most anxiety I’ve ever had in my life. Yes, I used to be social, and outgoing, and loud and made friends easy…. but that’s not me anymore.

I’ve changed.

This isn’t me having let anxiety take over my life. THIS IS WHAT ANXIETY IS. This is literally what I experience and it’s hard for you to understand, unless you experience yourself. I’m sorry, but it just is. Do you know how terrible it makes me feel when I cancel our plans? Do you know how sick to my stomach it makes me that my efforts are basically non-existent? Do you know how heartbroken that I am, watching my friends withdraw and find new friends? Heartbroken. H E A R T B R O K E N. I’ve spent many nights just crying and crying. Not focusing at work because I can’t stop thinking about all of the friends I’ve lost over the last 2 years. It isn’t easy for me. And I’m sorry it makes you upset. I am not doing this intentionally. Something in my brain, chemically, makes it hard for me to be in social situations, with a lot of people, or a few. That sounds needy, and dependent on others. It’s not, I just know (from experience) how my anxiety works and doesn’t work in different situations.

I’m a quiet person now. I prefer to keep things to myself (with the occasional Instagram post). I just want to be at home, with my husband, reading a book. It’s weird. I miss me. I miss being outgoing, and spontaneous, wild and loud… I miss being happy and friends with everyone… but I’m just not anymore. I’m good to have a close friend or two… someone I can truly trust with everything in my life. I need someone to love me. I need someone to stay in my life, as my friend, regardless of the struggle I have when it comes to socializing. I understand that everyone is different, and I’m not demanding all of my friends to attend to my every need. But what I am saying, is that it’s hurtful. It’s hurtful to know that I’ve disappointed you. It’s hurtful to know that I’ve hurt you by not being there. It’s just as hurtful for me as it is for you. And carrying that, is an even bigger weight. I’m sorry, I’m gonna say it like it is, without the intention of you doing everything wrong. Because that is most definitely NOT what I’m saying. 

All I’m saying is this. I’m losing my friends, left and right. More and more people I’m losing contact with. I know that 75% to probably 99% is my fault but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think about you every single day. It doesn’t mean that I don’t wish and pray for, every day, that we could spend more time together, and strengthen our friendship. I feel so lonely. Yes, I do have my husband, but he is not a girl, and girls need their girlfriends and girl nights. I’m only saying this because I don’t want anyone to assume anymore who I am, what I’m feeling, or decide for me, what I can and cannot handle as their friend. I’m just tired of it. I’ve changed. It’s okay. People change!! I didn’t expect to change, and I’m sure you didn’t either. But it’s okay. I love having friends, I do. And I wish that this wasn’t an issue in my life, but it is.

I feel really lonely. I feel sad that it’s hard for me to make an effort to be friends with someone. I’ve been on the back burner in many friendships before and it’s hard to continually put myself out there, despite my anxiety, only to be reminded that I’m not exactly that friend I thought I was all along. Gah, there’s so many mixed feelings going on in this post. Anyway, I mainly just wanted to say that I’ve changed. And yes, I’m well aware of how much I do not socialize anymore. I’m very aware of how different and withdrawn I am. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want any of you to be my friends. It doesn’t mean that one single bit. I’m just different, and I’m just asking you to love me for who I am now, instead of who I used to be. I’m still Ashley, I’m still here, I’m just different now.

I love you guys. I love all of my friends very deeply. I would do anything for any of you. I’m thinking and praying for you always.

xoxo

New

September 2, 2017

Starting this week, I will be working for Deseret Book!! I’m so excited!! It is my most favorite store in the entire world and I cannot wait for the adventure. If I had any other dream job that wasn’t my last, this would be it. I could get lost in that store for hours. SO MUCH GOODNESS!!!

It’s about the same hours, less pay :( but it’ll be fun to have during the holiday season! I’m so excited for this adventure!

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Okay, let’s be honest. I meant to post this on Saturday buuuuuut I was out of town with little to no internet service.

Brady and I headed up to Idaho to stay with his mom and step-dad over the weekend. We went to the Eastern Idaho State Fair and saw tons of animals, died in the heat and had some decent food. I was wiped out and frankly, straight up hangry. We watched the movies Sully and Shut In. Sully was fabulous and Tom Hanks is just a really good actor. Shut In wasn’t even scary at all… it was jumpy, and I totally didn’t see it coming but wasn’t scary at all.

Sunday morning we woke up, got ready for the day and made a trip out to Montpelier. Brady’s step-dad owns a franchise out there, so we went to take a look at the area, while they were working at the fair.

Pause the story.

Brady’s step-dad, Barry, is an audiologist selling hearing aids in Pocatello, ID. We’ve teased Brady over the last couple of years that he should follow in his footsteps. When we decided to seriously consider it, Brady did a discovery day (job shadow) and couldn’t stop talking about it after. We both felt really good about it and we are excited. This is completely from left field but God’s timing couldn’t be more perfect, and I’ll get to that. Barry owns a few franchise in different locations in the Eastern-Idaho area, including Montpelier. The plan is for Brady and I to live in Montpelier, and he’ll cover that office and the surrounding areas while Barry works solely in Pocatello.

Back to the story.

We drove out to Montpelier with a few homes-for-sale on a list to look at while we’re out there. They’re small homes and mostly old but some are nice and we’re excited about it. When we got there, more homes had for-sale signs in their front yard than we saw online, so it was fun to see more. I was pained because even though we went up this weekend to see if we’ll be going earlier this year, instead of in late-December, early-January like we’ve been planning. Our plans have changed and we’ve tried to make going up early work so many different times that I’m growing impatient, fast!!!

Though we wish it were the case (going up early), it just isn’t right now like we thought and hoped. I’m really bummed out. I just don’t want to move in the middle of winter to a place with MORE snow than we already get here! I’m just really upset. After this weekend, I am more than ready to move. I am more than ready to be up there and get this new way of life going. I’m not even sure what I’ll do when we get there… I’ll need to pick up a hobby or something. But I’m dying to get there.
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With that being said, yes, Brady and I are moving to Idaho. We are moving late-December/early-January. Although I was excited for my new job at Deseret Book, I’m just not tonight. I’m not in a very good mood and my patience is running extremely thin. I wish it wasn’t the case and I’m sure I’ll just have to get over it in the morning and enjoy my first day at my new job but I just can’t be excited for it yet. I wish we were going up to Idaho in a few weeks. I’ve been telling people here and there, and our plans have changed at least 10+ times, but this is probably the final time. Unless we decide to do something about it and move ourselves up there and just work until Brady starts training. But I highly doubt that’ll happen at this point.

Maybe just say a prayer for me. That we’ll be able to get through these next four months peacefully, especially with a pay-cut. That I’ll be able to get over myself and quit the attitude and just be patient and grateful with God. I also can’t believe we’re for sure moving, and we might stay in Idaho forever. So, with that being said, I’d love to see all of my friends more over these next few months before I go. Or maybe y’all will just have to make the trip up to the lake and we’ll party one weekend :)

It feels so good to just get all of my frustration out. Gosh. Here’s to the new week with hopefully a better attitude. I’ll tell you more about my new job after my first shift tomorrow!

xoxo

Looking Back

August 23, 2017

I had a conversation with someone recently, and it sort of lit a small fire inside my heart.

I am always trying to find validation somewhere. I’m always trying to find my worth in worldly things. I only say that because everything I’ve tried to tie my worth to, has failed. I talk a lot about failure, hard times and sadness here on this blog. It’s just been my life for a very long time.

My last therapy session was really hard. It’s kind of what I call the “graduation” session. When you don’t really have anything else to work through. You know that therapy is there, if you ever need to come back, but that you’re doing okay. Before the session was over, my therapist asked me, “Does it make you uncomfortable not being in crisis?” And I just started crying. It does. It totally does. It’s so uncomfortable for me. It’s so uncomfortable for me to just be happy, each and everyday and have “nothing” to work through. Nothing to think about or ponder about. It’s just gone.

I’m not saying that I’m 100% okay. Because we all have our fair-share of crappy days, but for the most part I’ve been doing really well. I was going to share this on my personal blog but I felt it more appropriate for here. Looking back on my blog(s), Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I notice a consistent share in what truly makes me happy. What truly matters most to me that I choose to share with the world.

My Mormon faith.
My husband/marriage.
My family.
& the occasional hobby, interests, or quote goodness.

That’s what I want to continue doing. That’s really what I want to live my life doing. I did it before marriage, before college, before photography. I happily shared what I loved and I didn’t hold back. Sometimes I’m particular about what I share, because we only ever want to share what’s GOOD, #amiright? But I want to try to be more open to the goodness in my life and around me, and change that. I want to post crappy photos to my Instagram, or share about my most recent vending machine problem experience. I love it. I love love love love it.

Most importantly though, sharing my faith. I love being a Mormon. I love being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love going to Church. I love going to the temple!! I love reading my scriptures and my most favorite store in the whole wide world, is Deseret Book. It’s natural for me to feel this way. I feel most comfortable living this way because it’s me. It’s just me. It’s who I am.

I’m sorry if you dislike those who “overshare” their faith, but I’m not sorry that it’s who I am and it’s what makes me most happy in life. I do have an idea of a product I might sell if I get enough interest but that’s a secret in the works!

xoxo

May we take seriously the Lord’s call to “be of good cheer, for I will lead you along.” He leads us by the Holy Ghost. May we live close to the Spirit, acting quickly upon our first promptings, knowing they come from God. I bear witness of the power of the Holy Ghost to guide us, guard us, and ever be with us, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

– Ronald A. Rasband

His Happiness is My Happiness

July 24, 2017
Photography by Abbey Kyhl, www.akstudiodesign.com

Photography by Abbey Kyhl, www.akstudiodesign.com

 

When Brady and I were engaged to be married, 4 years ago, we met with our Stake President to interview for our living ordinance & sealing recommends. We talked about each other, and being husband and wife. He gave us great counsel, but one thing he said is something I have struggled with but finally feel like I’m starting to get the hang of.

“Ashley, if you put your husbands happiness before yours, you will be happy.”

That was it. That was the big winner. It has been on my mind ever since. It sounds like one of those sayings that you hear from everybody.


Somewhere down the road I developed a very selfish attitude. I was sick of people being rude. I was sick of letting others be mean to me specifically. I developed this attitude that if someone expects something of me, they are expected of the same also. I noticed a very angry and selfish person shine through each day. Oh, you want trash talk Mormons? Well no wonder they all trash talk non-mormons. Or something like that. Oh, you want me to accept the LGBTQ community and support gay marriage in Utah? Well you better love your neighbor, the Mormon, who doesn’t support gay marriage, and THAT’S OKAY. It’s just irritating. Even writing this still brings up some of those feelings.

I hate it. I hate this person I’ve become. I hate the way I’ve changed. I’ve somehow become this very closed off, anger bottled up inside, complaining woman and I hate her. I’m tired of being her. I’m tired of feeling hurt, singled out, lonely, selfish…. I’m tired of anxiety and depression. I’m tired of the way it controls my life. I’m tired of letting my friends down by not showing up. I’m eternally sorry and I regret not being a better friend. I’m just tired of all the negativity in my life. The “nothing ever works out for me,” or how about the “well, with depression and anxiety, everything is 10x harder,” and while that may be true (that last one) it doesn’t give me the right to see myself as more-deserving than others BECAUSE of this difficulty I face each day.

What does this have anything to do with the title of my blog post?

I promise, I will get there.

With this new attitude or “way of life,” it started to destroy everything in my life. My friendships, my relationships with family members, my marriage relationship/friendship, my work-life, my church-life, my health & fitness, my finances…. everything. I felt like everything was falling at the drop of a hat, and it definitely was. It was around the end of April when I met with my new friend Karli. She and my sister had planned to meet up one Saturday to do weight/measurements & meal planning. My sister said that she was a previous trainer at the gym she attends, but now she does more personal training/meal planning for others. I was interested because again, I was miserable with this way of life I was living. After the meeting was over, I thought about it for like 30 mins – 1 hour before texting Karli myself. We picked a date & time to meetup. I was serious about this life change, and I knew my health was the first place any of this wanted “change” was going to happen.

On our first meeting, we recorded my weight and measurements so we knew where we were starting. We created goals together and talked about foods that I liked (or should I say, foods I DO NOT like). A couple of hours after our meeting, she emailed me with my meal plan attached. I was so freaken scared but knew deep down, I wanted this for myself. I wanted this for myself. Fast forward to today. The day I made the decision to want to make the health change that I needed, I changed. I noticed a physical change as well as a change in my every day thoughts. I honestly wanted to spend more time with my husband. I wanted to see my family and friends more. I started making an effort to go to social events (aka hanging out with friends) even though I thought I would die from anxiety. My effort at changing my attitude about and at work started working. I started CHOOSING to feel happy, to be nice to others, to do something for my husband, to just clean the freaken bathroom. I can’t tell you exactly what it is or why things in my life started changing but they just did.

You cannot make someone change or become better, or do something different. They have to want it for themselves. And until that happens, all you can do is love them.


My life is different now. I feel different now. I’m choosing reading over social media. I’m choosing private blogging over trying to be a business blogger. I’m choosing personal photography over business photography. I’m choosing my health over temporal “wants.” I’m choosing discipline/debt snowballing over obsessive compulsive/anxiety-driven shopping. I’m choosing honesty over hiding. I’m choosing God over doubts. I’m choosing the Gospel of Jesus Christ over finding joy and peace in temporal things or people. I’m choosing to smile when I wake up because I prefer to have a better day than yesterday. I choose my husband over anyone else. I am choosing to give the benefit of the doubt. I am choose to say sorry and to admit to my mistakes.

I love my husband. He is my best friend. I love spending time with him, cuddling, watching a movie, or driving in the car together. I love that he teases me and I love that he accepts my apologies. I love that, even though times have been hard, he’s choosing to be with me forever. I love that we’re growing stronger together as a team, rather than two individuals legally married. I love him. I love him so much. He is the calm to my storm and I’d be lost in life without him. Putting his happiness before mine has truly changed the happiness I experience each day. He means so much to me and it’s important to me to make sure he is happy. His happiness IS my happiness.

I cannot end this blog post without first sharing my gratitude towards my Heavenly Father. He is always there when I need someone the most. He is always there when I’m upset about how lonely I feel each day. He comforts me in ways that I never look for comfort in. He answers my prayers when I kneel humbly each day. He has blessed with me with a beautiful life, an amazing husband, a loving family and endless opportunities. Heavenly Father comes first in my life. Without Him, everything else isn’t possible.

I’m doing my best each day and as I make these new decisions to cultivate what matters most to me and the Lord, I find myself feeling happier and more at peace.

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