Ashlee’s Stories: The Breakdown

“It’s going to fucking suck”.

Those words reverberate in her mind, on loop, loud as if the person who first spoke them, so long ago on that dark night is standing right in front of her again.

He isn’t.

Her mind simply wants Ashlee to remember that healing takes time, that it will require the sacrifice of tears, and it will feel as if her entire body is being ripped apart from the inside, only to be reshaped, stronger, better into a familiar yet wholly new image, should she survive the onslaught.

It’s Sunday, a quiet day as Ashlee lies in her rumpled, utterly disheveled bed, laptop open to a blinking, taunting cursor, the only alive thing in an expanse of thirsty white.

She wants to fill that white, pristine page, with dark symbols, with words that will alleviate the pain in her chest, the heaviness that is lodged there and stoutly refuses to roll away like the boulder, Ashlee imagines it is.

Yet, while her mind tells her she can fill that page, her body lacks the energy and her mind’s background mutterings are filling her with a sense of melancholy, robbing her of her ability to focus on the here and now, with their loudness.

Huffing, she flops back against the two pillows adorning her bed, legs bracketing the laptop and her artistic mouse and stares as she seems to be doing way too much lately at the white painted wood of the ceiling.

Everything is quiet for a moment.

She can tell the wind is flirting with the green leaves of the mango tree as they flutter and preen in the golden sunshine, can hear the breeze as it shoots through the leaves, giving them a somehow soothing, rattling sound.

She can hear her parents, chatting about God knows what just down the hall, as they bake. She can hear her breathing, low and steady and she knows that if she looks outside, she will be treated to a beautiful, sea of blue sky.

She will be able to take in the natural beauty of the world around her, blooming green in good health and  it all bugs the fuck out of her.

Everything looks…happy. It looks cheerful and full of hope and laughter, and it is not at all palatable to her right now.

Not when she feels the exact opposite. Not when she knows, a pounding headache is working itself up to the front of her brain; not when she feels so displaced.

Ashlee is frustrated, overwhelmed and terrified.

She has never in her life cried as much as she has over these last two years, she has never felt as worthless as she does either.

Never felt so keenly the absence of hope, of faith and the belief that she will inevitably prevail.

“ Well, this sucks…,” She mutters, turning her attention to her mobile. She picks up the rectangular piece of technology and clicks to the YouTube app.

She wants to rage out, to give this bubbling, roiling tsunami of emotion that has been making it’s uncomfortable home within her for too long an exit strategy.

She wants to let it all bleed out of her, from her pores, through her mouth, from her ears, she just wants the stress of it all to leave her alone.

She listens to old rock music. Pulling up random sounds that will allow her to scream right along to them in her head, songs from Linkin Park that will evoke the purging, though scalding tears and as they play…

…her body and mind react in sync.

She closes her eyes, lets the music rage, swell and dance with her emotions.

In those moments, she is once again teleported to that darkened beach, thin sand crunching under their feet,  leaning against her car, with her long time friend infront  of her. They had just finished eating their chicken sandwiches and they were talking about how everything was going to change for Ashlee.

They were talking about how she was leaving her ex, going back home and her hope that soon her business would be booming.

She’d had so many ideas then, she had way more hope then. Sad that two years of hoping and trying had almost drained it all away.

Ashlee takes another deep breath, murmuring the words of the songs, even as her inner voice becomes a raging, performing rock star.

“ Inner work sucks! This really does hurt!” she grumbles. “ I cannot believe that I’m choosing to feel like this! This cannot be a choice, this cannot be how it is!”

The tears prick at her sensitive eyes yet again, demanding their freedom. Ashlee ignores them, she is sure she is about to reach an epiphany and the loud music is blasting away all the background noise for her.

She is so close to clarity, she can feel it.

When it finally comes, it’s after an hour of a what feels like the equivalent of an inner typhoon hitting a nervous system.

It’s after the tears become criminals and escape their bonds to slide freely down her face, it’s after her chest raggedly rises and falls, needing to release the wails, but unable to because her mouth is the only thing taking orders from her and remains tight lipped.

And all the while, her heart is pumping out inner, dull painful sensations as well as blood around her body.

Clarity, comes after the headache takes her prisoner.

It comes after her heartfelt chants of, “I just need a win, please just one win!”

And the answer for all the raging storm and devastation it wrought is simple, “None of this matters. Your health and happiness does. Take better care of yourself”.

You made it to the end! Wooot!

Subscribe to Ashlee’s Patreon ‘The Ash Files’ to be the very first to read, receive and offer feedback on her newest works. Subscribe here.

The Transformation- The First Step vs Your 100th.

Inspiration can sneak up and hit you over the head from just about anywhere at any time. Same thing with epiphanies and this week, I got a healthy dose of both, while watching a show on the E Network.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, what could she possibly have been watching?

Well, it was Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian. Yes, I love that show and I’ll tell you why, as you read on.

For one, the show, especially this season, has a focus on not just the goal of weight loss, but on the wholistic journey of lifestyle change the individual is undertaking and it really shows how serious deciding to commit to the process and journey is as a continuing to grow person.

When these participants come onto the show, they are not just there to lose weight, rather they are there for help in dealing with their own demons, asking for help from these professionals to see what they are really fighting with and help them to shed the chrysalis and emerge the beautiful butterfly they know they can be.

They are ready to not just work hard, but also find their rhythm again and I relate to that so much!

While the show focuses on workouts and meal plans, if you really tune into what the participants are sharing with you, you would hear just how much of a lifestyle change for the better they are going through.

And it is rough AF.

It is the arduous task of changing habits, of not running to your security blankets, it’s about mindset shifts, discipline and self love.

It’s not just doing an exercise, but committing to the entire process, and even as they cry and sweat and think long and hard about giving up, many of them don’t.

They make a decision to see it through, they make a decision to be honest with themselves and their trainers and you the viewer by the end of the episode see a person who has grown into their next level selves.

Exercise and diet require the mind to be present and for it to work just as hard as you do when you push those weights, when you do that cardio and when you eat the veggies.

If your mindset doesn’t allow you to adapt, then you simply won’t.

So there I am, on the bed, watching these people, make the courageous decision to not only get their lives together, but also do so in the public eye and all I can think is ‘wow, that first step is so freaking serious! They are so brave!”

If you never understood about mindset and why it’s so important, look no further than this show, no further than those who have decided to enhance their own lives and made changes to further its positivity.

It is not an easy process, afterall it took you a long time to create and validate those same bad habits that you’re trying to change and it will take you making conscious efforts to create new best serving habits and make those the familiar ones.

At the end of the episode, they show you just how much the person has grown. You see them barely able to do the first portion of the exercise compared to them at the 12 week mark, when they are breezing through the workout easily and ready to level up yet again.

You see a difference in their countenance, they are glowing, and they are PROUD of themselves. No magic wands, no magic pills, just the happiness they feel that they achieved their goal and realize that they are different in a very intangible way now, with only love and excitement going forward in their individual lives.

The you at the beginning of the journey is not the you at the one thousand step mark of that same journey.  At the beginning, we are hopeful, terrified, excited but also plagued with doubts and anxiety about what we can truly achieve.

At the one thousandth step, you’re more confident, you realize that while you may bend, you will not in fact break. You may want to run and hide and give up, but you inherently know that you won’t. You know the goal, the things you desire and while things will go awry and we can get distracted by fear, stress and naysayers, you are in a place where you can acknowledge that all can be used to strengthen you resolve instead of weakening it.

You recognize yourself for who you are, ‘the fighting dreamer’.

It is intense and absolutely crazy, but you know that it is something that you need to do. You start to learn what real discipline is, what real self-love and confidence is. You start to push your own boundaries without the fear of falling and not being able to get back up.

You learn that strength is about never falling, rather about getting back up and keep going.

And this is why it is so important to have a strong, inner circle who are there to unconditionally support you during this time in your life. The journey will be rough by its very definition and that is why having those who believe in you and will guide you towards seeing your dreams achieved is so vitally important. They keep you grounded, they keep you motivated and they call you out when you want to break and run.

They are your real MVP and they come in all shapes and forms, from family, friends, trainers, coaches etc. They are the ones who understand that while they do not get your vision, you do and that is enough for them to healthily support you as you literally change your life.

For me, as I watch these brave souls work on their bodies and by extension their lives and see their mindsets shift, I think of  how beautiful they are, how heroic and it inspires me to believe that everything I want is achievable.

I understand finally that I’m not stuck, or lost, instead I acknowledge that growth is not linear, and that I will bend, shake and want to cry, but my resolve will not break.

I will change, and open myself up to even more possibilities, and all I have to do is have faith that I am safe and secure as I continue to grow.

My journey is still ongoing and if I’m honest, the game that is my life will always have new, exciting and challenging missions, however, I will be ready to meet them all head on, because just like those participants on Revenge Body, I too am ready to shed my burdens and reveal to the world the real me that I almost lost track of.

I know that life is about love, joy and all the moments that added to them, as well as, allowing yourself room to grow, to be disciplined, to be committed and to stretch.

It’s about honoring your own commitment to yourself and not resorting to punishing yourself for your perceived failings of mistakes, but about patience, forgiveness and love.

So have I fully inspired you?

Are you ready to also shift your mindsets into that of a fighting dreamer?

You made it to the end! Wooot!

Subscribe to Ashlee’s Patreon ‘The Ash Files’ to be the very first to read, receive and offer feedback on her newest works. Subscribe here.