Hi, my name is Ashlee, and I've had a really hard few weeks. And actually, if I'm being honest, my name is Ashlee (at least that part was true) and I've had a really hard year. I find so much value in being happy and upbeat and looking at the bright side, but I've learned that grieving, admitting hardship, and being sad is just as healthy as being happy. I so admire those who are able to only share the good things with others, like so so SO admire it, but just in case there's somebody out there in this big ol' world that needs a reminder that not everybody is happy all the time, I'll tell you a little about my biz.
We moved to Wisconsin. which totally rocks, but that also means we moved really really really far away from our family (and a little closer to some, but still not close enough) and that totally stinks. When we got here we planned on buying a house ASAP and living in a hotel for a couple weeks while we found a place to live. Well, to make a long story short, almost 6 weeks later, we are still in a hotel we still don't have a house and that's just one little nugget of a large pile of nuggets that has been making me feel sad lately. But I've tried to stay happy.
Wanna know more stuff that makes me sad? Keep reading! I wrecked our car this week. It was on a day where we had just gotten some bad news about the house we want, I was feeling pretty home sick, I was worried about finances and other real-life problems, and I underestimated the size of our car and ran it right into a wall, student-driver style. Mind you, we only bought our car 5 weeks ago, so that rocked. But nobody was hurt, so I insisted on being cheerful, still!
We also found out that the seller of the house we're hoping to buy was going to let us move in early and rent. Then he changed his mind. Then he changed it back. Then he changed it one final time and said we can't move in early. This was all over the course of 5 very, very long, emotionally roller-coastery days that came with visions of sleeping in a house not a hotel, and then back to nightmares of room 315, then back to visions of kitchens and home made food, and then back to nightmares of pull-out beds and junk food. It was taxing, but I kept a smile on!
Then today I was determined to forget about all of the things that were making life hard and just BE HAPPY!!! I had a wonderful visit from my visiting teachers and this was going to be a good day. Then Nolan and I picked Collin up from work and drove to get some dinner and on the radio came a Patsy Cline song, and not just any Patsy Cline song....it was 'Crazy'...the Patsy Cline song. Let me give you a little background.
When I was young, maybe 10 or 11, my Mom and Dad and I were driving through town in our Ford Aerostar van. They had a Patsy Cline tape playing and I remember quietly singing along in the back seat. But as we passed the swimming pool and rounded the corner onto Central heading towards Short Stop, my parents stopped talking and I could tell they were listening to me sing. My mom turned around and said "are you doing that thing like Patsy Cline? That strain in your voice thing?" I knew exactly what she was talking about because I had been listening to LeAnn Rimes for months and months all the while trying to perfect that strainy, yodley, crack in the voice thing that LeAnn did at the beginning of each really important word in a song, which she totally did because she had listened to Patsy Cline, but I pretended I didn't know what my mom was talking about and I just shrugged. Then she and my dad asked me to do it again, to sing along and do that crack thing like Patsy Cline. The song was 'Crazy' and I nailed it. Now, I don't have a lot of talents or things I do well, but as a 10 year old girl, I had that crack in the voice thing DOWN, and my parents liked it, and they were proud of me and they thought it was awesome, and I will never, ever, EVER forget that particular ride in the car. It became a part of me. In fact it became such a big part of me that I learned all of Patsy Cline's songs, and the one that stuck, the one that I played in my down time, the one that my dad requested on a regular basis, the one that I played and sang my way into college with, and the one that was the first song I ever sang for Collin, was 'Crazy', and it all started with my mom and my dad thinking that the little crack in my voice thing was awesome.
So today, when I had spent weeks and weeks trying to be happy and put on a smiling face, and then 'Crazy' by Patsy Cline came on my Pandora station, I lost it. I lost it like I haven't lost it ever before in my life, and I think in that moment all the emotions I'd been suppressing for weeks and weeks and maybe even a whole entire year, came to the forefront of my life, and in particular, to the forefront of my face, in the form of tears and snot and ugly, ugly crying. I cried out of guilt for leaving my mom in Arizona. I cried out of hatred for hotel life and one more fatty, MSG-filled meal. I cried for the weight that I've put on and the self-esteem I have lost. I cried because I miss my mom and my mother in law and my father in law and my brothers and my sisters in law and my nieces and nephews and my friends, and my cousins, and all of my family. I cried because I felt the weight of my little family's world on my shoulders. And gosh dang it I cried because my dad died. MY DAD DIED!!!!!!!!!!! That is not an easy thing to admit, or to think about, or to feel, or to remember or to process. But it's true. It happened. And today I realized it. I don't know if I've fully realized it until today. It has just sort of felt like my dad took a secret job with the CIA and he had to fake his own death but he'll show up on Thanksgiving and he'll hug me, and he'll put his big strong hands on my shoulders and he'll call me sweety peety, and he'll kiss my cheek, and he'll rub my feet, and he'll ask me to play him a song on the piano. But today I realized that's not actually true. And I cried. And I cried. And I cried, and I cried, and I cried. And a few hours later when I had finally gained my composure, I promised myself something...I will never be afraid to be sad again. I will never feel like I have to be so tough and so strong, that I will deny myself the process of grief. I will never pretend to be happy for so long that I hurt myself. I will stop trying to be somebody else's idea of perfect RIGHT NOW.
Hi, my name is Ashlee.
I am over-weight.
I don't have a home.
I am self-conscious.
I miss my mommy.
I miss my daddy.
Sometimes I'm a really crappy mom and wife.
Life is hard.
But THAT is okay. Life isn't always necessarily okay, but admitting that it's not okay IS OKAY. So here I am admitting it....life is hard.
But I must never ever forget that as real as my feelings of sadness and inadequacies are, God is real, too, even more real. He is here, He loves me, He knows me, and He is good. And one of the biggest ways He shows His love for me is by sending messages of hope through His servants to me.
General Conference couldn't come at a better time. I'm going to watch, and I hope you will, too!
Also, it HAS to be noted that while I had my epic emotional melt-down today, my mom and my BFF Markee totally let me vext (vent+text) to them, and Collin...well that Collin of mine is just the man. That's all there is to it. And also, over the last week or so, my sisters in law have somehow known just what to say, just when to say it, and just how to say it, and all of those little Facebook comments, and texts, and instagram shout outs, and things that all of you say mean a lot to this home-sick, emotional girl. And my brothers are always so kind and helpful, and really so is everyone. So, thank you. A lot.
Also, these pictures have nothing to do with this post, but what's a post without a picture?!