Browsing Category | road bumps

His Happiness is My Happiness

Photography by Abbey Kyhl, www.akstudiodesign.com
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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What I Can Do with My Anxiety

I’ve been having a no-good, horrible, very-bad day. It started with going to work. A huge panic attack arose. I couldn’t fight it, I kept it in as long as I could. Then I broke down. Cried really hard. Confessed honest feelings about myself to my husband. And here I am, watching Netflix already feeling panic about going to work tomorrow. 

After talking to my husband & my mom about the things I can’t do in regards to my life and mental health, I started to feel tired. I usually do. Crying brings a migraine and that brings exhaustion. But I felt strongly about making a list a things I CAN do when I’m experiencing anxiety.

It’s so hard to coninually feel like all you do is negative. All you talk is negative. Your thinking–negative. Because that’s anxiety. But I want people to know that I can function when I’m experiencing anxiety. Even if I can’t hold a job, I can still be productive and take care of myself too.

  • Read a book
  • Go to the temple and serve
  • Craft/create
  • Therapy
  • Clean
  • Small business from home
  • Meet with Karli–meal planning
  • Exercise ☝︎
  • Learn a new skill
  • Spend time with family/nephews
  • Go to the library
  • Blog
  • Maybe start growing a garden?
  • Go to church
  • Take notes on something
  • Hiking

These are just a few things I know that I can handle when I’m feeling anxious. I’m not some lazy human who sits at home and sulks in sadness. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with staying home. But I also enjoy having many interests, it’s part of being an ESFJ.

I’m going to try to make a self-care kit and probably include some of these!

That Entrepreneur Life – Multipotentialite

Ashley Ziegler headshot by Abbey Kyhl

According to Wikipedia (the most untrusted website) a Multipotentialite is:

An educational and psychological term referring to a pattern found among intellectually gifted individuals. [Multipotentialites] generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices.

AKA we never know what she is doing because she always changes her mind.


The first thing that came to my mind was, is this really a thing? I laughed about it for a bit the other day, seriously and laughing at the idea of it. Someone must have made this word up. It totally sounds like a made up word. And maybe it is, I’ll never know. But after doing more research, and watching this awesome TED talk, I’m starting to finally feel understood.

I can’t even begin to tell you/express how embarrassing it is to constantly be jumping from the next adventure to the next and hearing from others how it all just looks crazy and they just never know what I’m up to. Clients won’t want to book me because they’re afraid I’ll just cancel or change my mind on them. Nobody will want to buy my cute stickers that I make, in my Etsy shop, because there are soooo many people who already do. And my newest adventure, nail school? Yeah, I won’t be able to make enough to pay back what I spent on schooling… it’s depressing and extremely frustrating.

It’s a daily, consistent battle with myself. Do I really need to do anything at all? Do I really need to just find one thing? Can I really just enjoy having a job and nothing else? Can I handle just coming home and not having anything to do and be content with that? Do I really have the courage to give up my photography business, throw the nail school idea out the window, and believe that my designs for Etsy aren’t going to interest anyone?

Nobody is at fault here, and nobody has made these decisions or caused these questions. It’s how I’m wired. It’s just who I am. Entrepreneur? Probably, I can definitely be that. Creative? It’s my favorite outlet for ALL of my emotions. Each time I was in the hospital, my favorite therapy session was art therapy. I always felt most calm, most “in my element,” and most content. It’s the real deal for me.


I’m just ready to accept that I’m always going to be changing interests. I don’t have a “calling.” If I do, there’s definitely more than one. I’m happiest knowing that I can do and be whatever I want to be. I don’t have to be a doctor just because I’m really smart. I don’t have to be a wedding photographer just because I know how to use a camera. I can make all the flippin’ stickers I want because if no one else uses them, I know I will. I guess the price I pay for following many of my interests is the frustration that comes with road blocks. I’m sure it’ll always be that way. But I know, hope, believe and have faith in myself, and that I can do anything I put my mind and heart into.

 

Are you a multipotentialite? Let’s be friends!

xoxo

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Indecisive

Indecisive.

It should be my middle name or something.

I have this conversation with a lot of people, all the time. In fact, the reason I’m writing this post is because I had this very conversation with my mom (and sister I think) like two days ago. I also talk about it a lot on my blog, so if you’re reading this and you’re sick of reading it, just stop now.

I announced very publicly on February 22, 2017, that I would be stepping down as a wedding photographer. There were so many aspects of my life at that time that needed my time and attention. I was so heartbroken. I knew this was probably a good choice but I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was is. I wasn’t going to be photographing weddings anymore, booking new clients. I was done. That was it. No more photos. But I just couldn’t live with that, and almost a month later I wanted it back. But this is what’s best… or so I thought. There’s no way anyone will book you with how unstable you are as a business owner. <<<<< Literally my thoughts every day.

I missed meeting with brides in person to go over their big day. I missed showing up for engagements and getting the giggles out with great photos to show. I missed the bridals, the first look… that moment of “this is what wedding day will probably feel like.” But I most miss the actual wedding day. The cheers of congratulations from the guests. The cute stories I get to hear from the grandpas. I miss my gear. I miss learning and being confident in my work and my ability to produce the photos I wanted and did. I miss second-shooting for crying out loud. I miss having this as an outlet that I never knew how much I loved until I was in “photographer-mode.”

My heart aches for this photography life that I’ve been living the past 3 years. It aches for the excitement of learning, growing and being successful with something. College didn’t work out for me. Holding a job hasn’t worked out for me. But photography has. Photography was not only my creative outlet, but it was a way of serving someone and putting them first. It was a way that I felt made my dad proud of me. It’s one way I still feel connected to my dad. Photography is life. Whenever someone says, “we should let Ashley take the picture, she’s the photographer,” my love for this part of my life grows and I pray in gratitude every night that I have found photography. This is a self-taught skill. I have worked hard and I have worked my tail off to get where I am.

But I’m stuck. I’m stuck and I can’t get out.

I sold my gear. Yep, you read that right. I sold my gear. All of it: my camera body, two lens’, four batteries, and a few other things. All in one weekend. My baby. My life and my love. I sold it. Gone. Now, I have a Sony mirror-less camera. The new and cool. I don’t know how to use it at all. The lens’ are $$$$$$$$$$$$$ and the ones I have aren’t all that amazing. I don’t know what all the buttons mean or how to adjust with a snap of my finger like I did my Nikon. It’s frustrating. It’s discouraging but a good kind of different at the same time. What kind of client is going to book me with a small, point-and-shoot-looking camera? No one will take me seriously. If it’s not big, black and chunky, I’m not professional… right? That’s hard!

Why I switched, I’m not really looking to get in to that right now. Things are changing. Am I coming back? Probably… when? I don’t know. Someone once said, “we never know if you are or aren’t doing photography. You change your mind a lot.” I do. I apologize. I am so sorry for causing so much confusion and being so indecisive. I’m all over the place all of the time. My life is. I never know what I’m doing each and every day. I feel so unstable. A lot like my depression and anxiety. I never finish anything, yet I want to try everything. Maybe I don’t let things workout. Maybe I’m scared that something, specifically photography, will workout and I’ll be successful. Can I handle that? Is it what I really want? Will everyone support me?

 I want to make this work. I want to make photography be my thing. I want to be successful and love what I do in life. I’m hurt that a lot of other things aren’t working/happening right now and maybe this is it. Maybe this is what’s working/happening. Whether it always will or not, I really want to make it work. I want to book clients, be happy and photograph memories. I feel like specializing in weddings will ALWAYS be my thing, but maybe it’s time I become a hybrid photographer. Maybe I need to start photographing families (small families), seniors, missionaries, couples, anniversaries, portraits, head-shots, studio photography, lifestyle, in-home sessions… maybe I’m feeling this way because I’m sticking strictly to weddings? I’m not sure. Either way, I think it’s time I open my doors to some more work that I haven’t been doing for a long time.

There’s so much change happening in my life right now. The biggest hurtle I’ve had to overcome since February 22, was my dads 1 year passing anniversary. I miss him so much, right now especially. I’m just having a sad day (it’s 12:03 AM right now) and I just miss him. I’m tired, exhausted and I need to find balance in my life. Something, I need to calm down, eliminate/simplify and do what makes me most happy… and that’s probably photography, reading, blogging, being with family and … napping. HAHA but seriously. If you made it this far, I’m really proud of you because this was A LOT of word vomit. My heart just needed to say what was on my mind.

So the future of Ashley Ziegler Photography holds……. not really sure but I’m hoping something.

Celebrating Dad

I’m super late with this but better late than never.

I remember waking up with each event… every second and every minute of what today was like exactly 1 year ago. I remember having last hugged my dad and heard him speak the night before so I spent some time this day, 1 year ago, talking to my dad about different things and just holding his hand.

I wore a great shirt today. Grabbed some Diet Coke and Peanut M&M’s in his honor :) I miss my dad so much. We met at Texas Roadhouse together as a family, that was one of my dads favorite restaurant. The sun was shining after it had been raining all day and the day before. The time we planned to meet at his grave with more family, it was supposed to rain really hard. It rained the week after his passing, so it was almost expected. God must’ve been listening that day because it didn’t start to pour really hard until we all left his grave. We are so thankful for that and we know that dad was with us. We shared some thoughts, shared a lot of hugs, let balloons go, bubbles were happening and boys running around! They know that this is where Grandpa is and that this is his grave. They’re the most tender boys. They all love Grandpa so much!

I love my mom, she is so unbelievably strong. I love my brother, for helping my mom find the words that she just can’t seem to find. I love my grandma and grandpa, my uncles who are spitten images of my dad. I love my cousins, both on my moms and dads side of the family. I love my friends who reached out this day to remind me that they were thinking of me. I love my husband, who took the day off of work to be with me during this day and for being by my side through the last year.

It has NOT been easy. The year of firsts definitely made itself known, but we’re past that. We’re over the anticipated “1 year” since dad left us. My gosh I miss him so much. I’ve changed so much since that day, a year ago. Just doing my best, and our best, to make him happy because we absolutely know that’s what he wanted. He didn’t want his death to be sad forever. We love you dad and miss you so much.

xoxo