Ashley and the Tale of The Scientist

“Nobody said it was easy.. no one ever said it would be this hard. Take me back to the start.”

The universe has a funny way of reminding you that you are still alive. I can’t speak for you, but I know that there are many days I just… exist.. and go through the motions of my day almost like a machine.  The day is routined and manufactured to operate very similar to the day prior — you find yourself not being fully present, and then when you come to, you can’t really remember what happened.

Have you ever been driving home from work — you take the same roads, you hit the same red lights, you make the same turns… you space out, keep driving, because your body and mind know where you are going because you’ve travelled this path often enough.  You become the machine.  And before you realize it, you’re already home — and yet, you don’t really remember the drive at all.

Moments just pass by — where were you?  Where’d you go? Are you here?

How did we get here?

It’s an abstract thought, and in most cases, pointless — but humor me. Retrace your steps. What would have you done differently?  

I’m a firm believer in everything happens the way its supposed to, whether we want it to or not.  I believe the motions of life teaching us lessons that we need and want to learn, whether we know it to be true now or later. I know and understand conceptually that life happens not to me, but for me. 


If you could go back to the start, would you?

My brain often wonders. What if?  What would it be like? Would it be better? Worse? Would it still end up the way it has, because there are lessons to be learned, and this is how I’m supposed to learn it? 

If I could go back to the start, would I have chosen differently?

Where does it actually begin?

Is it last year? To fight or to love and let go?  He said to let him go, so I did.

Is it Fall 2015? To stay in Jacksonville in a job I didn’t enjoy as much I could have or to move to Orlando, support his dream and mine, and spend more time with my daughter? I chose Orlando.

Is it early 2013? Deciding whether or not we were going to start trying to have a baby. I chose Ella, and I would choose her over and over and over again.

Is it 2009? To make a vow in front of all our family and friends to be together until death do us part, or to run away from everything I knew? I chose “I do.” 

Is it 2008? When he asked me in that busy restaurant on a May evening.. we were running late for our reservations.. What if we missed dinner? What if I left the table? I chose to stay and said yes.

Is it 2004/2005? Deciding whether to move on my own to Saint Augustine, or choose a different path, a different school, a different life? I chose Saint Augustine. 

Is it 2003? What if I chose to become an athlete rather than a mousey theatre kid with a heart full of song, but no courage? What if I stopped hiding behind the curtain? I think we all know what decision I made.

Or does it go further back?

Life is made up of different choices, different decisions.. depending on what you choose, a different outcome may come into play. We are all living our own “Choose Your Own Adventure” story — we constantly come to forks in the road and have to ultimately choose which path to take. These decision can shape the rest of our lives — do you move forward? Do you retreat backward?  Do you breakdown and become stagnant?  Or, do you breakthrough?  Is it right? Left? Or, do you say fuck it, and create your own damn path because nothing else will suffice?

I read once, “There are moments that mark your life, moments that you realize nothing will ever be the same, and time is now divided into two parts: before this and after this.” Everything that has led to this moment has truly defined who you are and what you’ve become.

How will you become better?

No regrets.

I’m starting to breathe again.

The Story within the Song

I love music.  I don’t really know how someone couldn’t love music.  In fact, whenever I meet someone that isn’t into music, I question them as a person.

My love of music was instilled in me as a young girl — I have really fond memories of getting home from school and my dad would have our stereo system blaring with classic rock like CCR, Steve Miller, and Skynyrd.  My mom would always quiz us as kids, “Who sings this?”  “Name the artist!”  She told us it was good to know the artists behind the songs, which would make for great conversation starters as we got older.  And, she was right.  I couldn’t even count the number of times that I’ve used my random knowledge of musicians and song titles to network and build friendships. I usually start each morning with a song, and many nights, I end my day with a song.

It goes further than the music though — I’m a words person (are you surprised?), so lyrics and the stories behind the songs are really what draw me in.  And I use them to help me better explain my feelings — sometimes when I can’t find the words to really express how I feel, chances are, there’s a song that can help me get my message across.

Which is great, but the downside is the emotional attachment that can be placed upon that song. Good and bad.

The memories that linger even when the song has ended or the moment has passed.

That feeling you get when you haven’t heard a song in YEARS — you walk into a coffee shop, hear it playing, and it sends you right back and you want to rip your heart out of your chest and throw it in the garbage.

That warmth you get in your chest, and you can close your eyes and see your friends dancing around you, huge smiles, and you feel their energy.

That sharp stabbing pain you get in your stomach, when you hear certain words that basically describe your life now, as you know it.

That smile that creeps across your face, and you can close you eyes and see his looking right back at you, the same smile reflecting on his face.

The stories behind the songs, not just the song’s story, but your own personal story.  The song that would be playing in the background of that particular “scene” in the movie of your life, the overplaying music reflected in that cheesy 80s style montage moment, or the song that causes you to just sit back and stare pensively at a lake, or something.

And the relation piece.. god, sometimes there are certain lyrics that just pull on my heartstrings so hard that I feel like I’m going to fall over.

There’s the bittersweet past:

“How does it feel to know you’re everything I want? I’ve got a hard time saying this, so I’ll sing it in a song.” Still relevant.

“And, I wanna tell you everything, the words I never got to say the first time around. And, I remember everything, from when we were the children playing in this fairground. Wish I was there with you now.” Ah.

“So, please don’t let on, you don’t know me. Please don’t let on, I’m not here. Please don’t let on, you don’t love me, ’cause I know you do. I know you do…” Destroyed.


There’s the harsh reality:

“I’ve been afraid of changin’, ’cause I built my life around you.” Yep.

“Slow down, you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time.” “You can see when you’re wrong, but you can’t always see when you’re right.” Preach.

“She’s imperfect, but she tries. She is good, but she lies. She is hard on herself. She is broken, and won’t ask for help. She is messy, but she’s kind. She is lonely, most of the time. She is all of this, mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie. She is gone, but she used to be mine.” God dammit, Sara. Why do you know my life?


And there’s the hopeful future:

“Life doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints, it takes and it takes and it takes. But we keep living anyway, we rise and we fall and we make our mistakes. And, if there’s a reason why I’m still alive when so many have died, then I’m willing to wait for it.” 100%.

“When you wake up, I’ll be the first thing you see. And when it gets dark, you can reach out to me. I’ll cherish your words, and I’ll finish your thoughts. I’ll be your compass, baby, for when you get lost.” Yes please.

“If you let go, I’ll float towards the sun. I’m stronger because you fill me up. When the fear comes and I drift towards the ground, I’m lucky that you’re around. I wanted to play tough, thought I could do all this on my own… your love lifts me up like helium.” Every word.

“All we need is hope, and for that, we have each other.” Every day, my love. Every single day.


I could tell you a tale for every song. I could compose the ending for the lyrics that pain me.  I could breathe in the notes of each verse and exhale all the memories I cherish and did cherish for so long.

Maybe one day I’ll create a mixtape and share it with you, and we’ll smile, maybe laugh, probably cry… and the world will be just fine. It will be a changed world, but it will be just fine.