Note: I posted this article last night, and received a bit of push-back on it — which I appreciated, as it gave me the opportunity to take it down, take a breather, and look at it again with fresh eyes. After taking the evening and morning to reread, read again, and read over and over — I still standby what I wrote. Please know that this isn’t intended to be a venomous attack — actually very far from it. This is called “Ashley and the Tale of Contradictions” — the contradictions being that I’m fighting conflicting feelings all the time. I’m hurt, but I love. I’m sad, but I’m working on acceptance. I’m a work in progress, just like the rest of us, and the point of this is to tell you that, although I might not say it best or act right the first time, I’m acknowledging and working on it.
I’ve worked very hard this past year to rise up, to set the example and be the example. A great friend told me that I had two options through this process: to be Ugly, or to not be Ugly. I’ve chosen to not be ugly. I’m going through a lot of emotions, yes – but in the end, I’m attempting to go through this life-changing stage with as much grace as possible. I have to believe there are rainbows at the end of this storm — I have to believe that in the end, the lessons I will learn from this will make me a stronger woman. I have to be able to show Ella that no matter what, she can get through the toughest of times and come out of it smiling and with grace.
There isn’t venom. There isn’t malice. Sometimes it stings a little, but if you keep reading all the way through, I hope you will understand that the point is, I’m telling you, despite everything, it all works out the way it needs to. And, although I’m not 100% there yet, I’m working toward letting go of the contradictions and holding out a hand to say, Okay.. let’s do this. Together.
So, read it if you want. Or don’t. That’s up to you. I can’t read it for you.. but please know, that as you read it, there isn’t ill-will behind what I say.
In this new chapter of Ash From Scratch, Ashley finds herself constantly arguing with herself. It’s good, its awful, it’s riveting, it’s boring. It’s original! It’s the exact same bullshit I’ve been writing for the past 11 months.
Are you even interested anymore? Lord knows, I’m pretty tired of talking about it.
Anyway, I feel like I’m in a boxing ring with myself most days. The roller-coaster of emotions is a bit exhausting. People keep telling me that it’s normal for someone going through what I’m going through, but I’m not sure if that’s comforting or not. In all fairness, it’s not exactly comforting as much as it is sad.. sad to know that other good people are going through or have gone through the same ups and downs that come along with that dirty, repulsive “D” word. I’m sending love and light to each of you.. the struggle bus is super real.
At least some days. Other days, it’s better. Just some days when it’s not better, its like… really fucking tough. All the tears. All the hurt. All the… questions. Will it get better for the long haul? When?
And then there’s you. You. You are the other person in this scenario who I haven’t talked about until now. With him, I question everything. With him, I get angry, sad, ALL the emotions. With him, I’m upset and can’t understand why he would do this… because he knew me. He knew US. Bonnie and Clyde. Us against the world… or at least until he found something else. Until you.
At least that’s how it makes me feel.
With you… you just leave me… confused. Conflicted. You cause me to be a whirlwind of contradictions, constantly making excuses, trying to understand, but then result in arguing with myself. You didn’t know me. You still don’t, and probably never will. Part of me feels like it would be better that way. Or would it? Maybe you should know everything. Maybe then you will understand that even though you say you’re sorry, it doesn’t make it any better.
At least not yet.
There are so many things I want to say to you. And then so many things I know I shouldn’t. It’s not worth it. Or is it? What if you actually stick around and I have to somewhat interact with you on the regular? Fuck.
Truth is, although most people like to stick their opinions into this, I don’t hate you. I don’t blame you for what happened to my marriage. You are a supporting character in the book of my life, a by-part of what was actually a bigger issue I failed to see or address. It’s not YOUR fault he left, he’s a grown man who can make his own decisions. And he did. He chose you.
I do question how you can wake up everyday knowing he did this to me, without questioning yourself if it would happen to you. How you can actually be “best friends” or “soulmates”.. or that you are the “Queen of Hearts”.. it’s just not true.
At least not yet.
Or maybe it is.. and I just don’t quite understand it yet. But, there’s a bond that comes with 15 years that doesn’t just go away overnight, no matter how hard we try.
But, that’s the beauty in it.
I’ve been there, since the beginning. I will know the stories of the past, better than anyone.. probably better than him, because let’s face it, love.. your memory isn’t the best. But, as heartbreaking as it is for me to write, that’s where I’ll stay.
In the past.
A faded memory of once upon a time, when we were young, happy, so in love, thicker than thieves. “How does it feel?” and “I’ve got a feelin'”, Chuck Taylors, 26 breaths per minute, 10:56 AM, red couches, coconut shampoo, car wash kisses, 10 miles barefoot, and saying we love each other through video messages. Back when daffodils were our favorite, we wore bowties before it was cool, and we knew the words to every Dashboard Confessional and ICP song (speaking of contradictions). I was there from the beginning — I remember the way his arms looked before all the tattoos, what his face looked like before the beard. I was there when he bought his first fedora, and we felt like rockstars walking the city streets, and missing opportunities to ride in a Bentley, but that’s okay, because we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. 15 years, 9 months, 30 hours, and a beautiful little girl to show for it. She wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the both of us, and damnit, if she doesn’t have the big brown eyes and long eyelashes we dreamed about. And my sassiness. That’s probably the only thing I can truly claim. “Over and over, the only truth, everything comes back to you.”
But you.. you get.. the future. You get to the opportunity to make new memories. Pick up from where the story ended and make new chapters. You get to see smiles and laughs that I’ll never know about. You get to experience the unknown.
And that’s super exciting.
And, in all honesty, a little sad. Septembers will come and go, but he’ll always kinda stick out in my mind when it comes around.
And with Ella Grey, I’m not going to lie and say I’m cool with it. I’m not. I hope that one day I will be, and I’m getting there… s l o w l y. The contradictions hit heavy when she’s involved. I don’t want to see you mother her — I’m her mother. I don’t want to see her smile and laugh with you — I want her to be smiling and laughing with me. I don’t want to hear how you are teaching her about makeup or Spanish words I’ll never know — she’s my daughter.
But that’s not fair.
Nor is it true.
I’d much rather her have someone in her life that is kind and loving than the latter. If you were awful to her, best believe, we’d have some serious problems. Just don’t try to replace me. I’m here. I’m alive and well. She is the ONLY thing I have, and she is my EVERYTHING. Please don’t try to take that away from me. It’s all fine that you love her and she means a lot to you — but you will never know what she feels like kicking in your belly. Or the sleepless nights. Or the beautiful milestones we’ve seen together.
I’m not saying that you are doing this, nor am I saying that you will. Its fear. Fear that one day my sweet baby will love you more than she loves me. It’s irrational, but it’s honest. I understand if you don’t understand it now, but one day, when you are holding your own little one in your arms, I think you’ll get it. There isn’t anything in the world more important.
I’m willing to work on this. And I am working on it. One day at a time. I hope you see that.
I mean what I say.
I meant it when I said if you weren’t happy with me, I’d want you to be happy with someone else. You are just the one he’s chosen to go be happy with. So go. Be happy.
I just hope I can one day make someone as happy as you once made me.
I hope that one day I’ll stop thinking of myself as the 30+ year old divorced mom who’s trying to get her shit together, that’s never going to be enough, much less ever find someone who wants to love her.. without me fearing that I’ll be left again.
I hope that one day I’ll stop the questioning and accept that I’m worthy again — and that maybe, just maybe, I have a future to look forward to, too. Full of smiles. Full of laughter. Full of unknown adventures and new memories. Life after TT.
Everyday is another opportunity to turn it all around. This is me, saying to you, that I’m willing to give it a shot.