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.

Ashlee’s Stories: The Last Straw

On a whim, Ashlee allowed the Instagram stories of the people she followed to cycle through, idly watching their motivational quotes, memes, and some of their activities as they slid by. It was a harmless activity, something that fed her need to be distracted.

Then Bam!

Disaster struck and she was hit hard as her eyes collided with a young face, happily and boldly peering out at her.

The young woman was smiling in the filter edited photo, her pretty face blissfully unconcerned about the damage she was doing to Ashlee.

As unexpected as it was to see this face she should not recognize, she reasoned that it really had only been a matter of time before he would want to let the world know how lucky he was. It makes Alee’s brain go off the rails and her once shattered heart, fractures a little.

The camel that was her shaky recovery collapses against the plushness of her pillows, under the weight of this last straw. The unexpected blow hurt, but it hurt for none of the reasons others would have found acceptable.

These photos of her smiling face denoted that life really was not black and white, that villains did have good luck and luxurious comfort and that victims could stay drowning in pain for years, climbing the slipperiest and most treacherous of hills – Mount Inner Healing.

Flopping back on the bed, Ashlee allowed the phone to fall from her hands, and started laughing.

Of course this would be the thing to push me closer to the edge.

Of course this would be the pathetic thing to bring all my failures to the fore.

The truth of it was that she didn’t care about their budding relationship, if she was brutally honest she had never cared about the relationship, only how it had broken the trust and respect he and Ashlee had shared.

Only how the more she unwittingly got slapped in the face with how time chose to pass, seemingly having no qualms in leaving her behind, even as she tried with all her might to move faster and faster. And got nowhere.

Her tired brown eyes, stared up at the ceiling, glazed over as her thoughts broke free and began to rampage.

In an attempt to avoid dealing with them, she left her room and turned on Netflix on the Smart TV in the living room.  The characters moved, said their lines, tried to emote and her thoughts could not have cared less.

They would not be silenced, nor pushed aside. She could feel them tugging at her physically, thrumming at her heart. Could feel them mowing down her good mood, devouring it like so much ice cream on a hot day.

Sighing, she turned off the television with a frustrated push of a red button, pulled herself up off the couch and mindlessly sought refuge outside of the house.  She chucked her reading glasses and mobile on the dining room table as she passed by, in search of her flip-flops.

Before she knew it, she was outside, being ignored by her cats as they converged on the steps, ready to start aimlessly walking. Walking always calmed her when her thoughts became too loud and too much for her to handle.

The sky a vast expanse of midnight blues, with scattered twinkling diamonds and wispy, cotton ball shaped clouds, called to her.

They urged her to stop running, to breathe in the chill air, sit on the wall of the house’s patio and give in. So she did.

She allowed her thoughts the freedom they were battling for and flinched as they scorched her.

“You are a failure,” it zipped around like the cars in Fast and Furious movies around her head in loops. Suddenly the lines of her palms were supremely interesting. She could not even feel the cold of the stone she sat upon, even as it sank into her thighs. “Today proved that everything you do sucks. You have failed at life,”.

Idly, Ashlee wondered what it would feel like to simply cut her wrists and watch the red spill over and out, taking the thoughts with them. She felt like crying, she was sure her eyes wanted to vent as well, but they did not. They simply settled for aching.

“You have nothing. You’re unhappy and you have nothing. You failed.”

She took a deep breath and made herself keep going, made herself look at the sky and the constellations. Allowed the imagery of them mocking her to fill her vision. Allowed herself to wonder why she was the only one being punished and how she could be better in the future.

The thoughts were right, she had to concede that, she had failed in what she wanted for herself. Her store had sold a grand total of unimaginably zero items. She had zero real love interests, her friends circle was about to take another cut and she lived with her parents.

She had no prospects no matter where she looked. She had no money, no means of making money that she could truly say she enjoyed, and even if she did find something not terrible,  the money earned would take at least 2 months before she could spend any of it; she was exhausted.

She thought back to the young woman’s photo on her ex’s social media and felt crushed. It felt as if he was winning in the break-up race and while that thought pissed her off, it also added more fuel to her pity party. Added more fuel to her deep loneliness and worry that she would remain stuck forever.

“Sometimes, I just want someone to hold me. To want to hold me and keep me safe and not try to touch my nipples while that’s happening,” she whispered to the wind.

In the dark corner of the garden, a toad shifted surreptitiously. It was high on the opposite side of the fence, poised as if to dive into the garbage pile there.

“Bet you never have to worry about failing as a toad, eh, Mr. Amphibian,” at the sound of her voice, the toad froze, scarcely breathed, waited for her to go away. She remained, watching him pretend to blend into the dark, “Wonder if you know how to human right…wonder if you can tell me…”

She stayed outside for a while, listening to the neighbourhood settling down and then made her way back inside, where she took a nice hot shower and continued to contemplate her life.

“ It’s not that I wish him or them bad, it’s that it has been two happy years for them and I wish I could say the same for myself,” she muttered as she lathered the yellow soap in her hands into creamy white suds.

“It’s that I feel as if I fell off-track and no matter how much I try to get back on and feel the rhythm, I just can’t seem to,” she began to lather her body, allowing the soap to cleanse her of her grime, the stress and frustrations of the day and hopefully if she scrubbed hard enough, the dark thoughts as well.

The warm water sluiced down her body, punishing in its intensity, steam rising and while it stung, it also felt so good as it shooed the retreating suds away. The more she focused on the water, the clearer her mind became and she felt strong enough to finally push back a little against the swelling, dark tide in her mind before it could truly pierce her heart.

“So what that I’m failing? So what that nothing has worked out even remotely in the direction I had been praying it does. I’m still here. I can still do this. I can mope and I can wait and cry and then I can clear my head and get right back on to trying again,” she said stepping out of the shower and walking to her bedroom, fluffy towel wrapped securely around her voluptuous body.

“I’m a work in progress and yeah, so right now everything feels off. That means that I can heal it, make it better and open myself to new things. I want to be happy. I want to be ready for Alpha and my abundance. It’s taking longer than I thought, but I can still keep going.”

She stood infront of her full length mirror after closing her bedroom door and flicked the towel from her body. Under the intense scrutiny of her own eyes, she looked at her body. It was imperfect and barely symmetrical, yet it was healthy, the smooth skin glowing, the muscles underneath beginning to tone and flex.

She was a work in progress and healing sometimes meant crying, raging and moping, but it also meant that after you stormed, you got back up and rebuilt.

“I am beautiful. I can do this and I’m strong enough to take it one minute at a time,”

She fell onto her bed and stared at the ceiling, letting the wind dry her skin and the first tear to slide down to her nose.

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.