Sunday, September 25, 2011

today is ashley's birthday


Well actually, last week. My birthday was last week + a few more days before that. So maybe it's odd to point out my own birthday, especially as it is belated, but I have been thinking a lot in my recent bloggy silence, and most of that thought has to do with the dates on the calendar, and the age that I've just become, and the days that made this year up - and at the end of that: who I am because of it.

As I counted the days of 2011, I realized that I could tell you about this year with wholehearted sarcasm, if I wanted to. In fact, just this morning my pillow and I constructed a lengthy blog post about the ironic bitch 2011 has been. But I decided that classy women don't swear in public, and they certainly don't complain at length, so I am biting my tongue and eating my repressed feelings in the form of Cheesies and ice cream cake (though, not together). Oh, I am also not writing. You may have noticed. If you didn't notice, don't tell me; 2011 also deconstructed a lot of things and I will joke about you in public to make myself feel better.


This birthday marks a decade - and in that, a decade of endless decision that I'm going to write books; that my voice will matter and that this world will unfold for me and my pen like a willing oyster filled with open doors. I imagined that I would feel accomplished in my own right by now, or at least have a morsel of my proverbial shit together. Instead what I've encountered is writers block, blank pages, stupid boyfriends, stagnant ideas, and bad advice. I don't know how to stop tripping, or being alarmed by the fact that I trip, or being shocked that the general public are excited to walk on doormats.

I don't know how to write about life when it's inmyface; I don't know how to not write about myself. Poor phrasing, I suppose, as all writers write from their own perspective. But I have left behind the desire to share my thoughts with the world. At least, for now. The reality of the decade is looming, in more ways than one. I am feeling the need to withdraw to a place devoid of public scrutiny. Maybe then I won't get random text messages telling me I talk about ________ (insert topic) too much and must be a desperately sad person, or emails that spell out certain Bible passages at length, or a growing list of advisers giving advice on things they were neither invited nor qualified to give. Maybe people will stop reminding me of all the ways I am not meeting the status quo. My biggest hope, even more than those, is that I will figure out a way to stop caring so much that these people exist at all; that they see what I put out there and define me first, without bothering to know. I need to figure out a way to stop caring.

Luckily for me, New Year's comes in September; when the leaves change, when the air gets crisp, when my life gets a little older. In so many ways, my birthday this year was a needed catapult to changing winds. I am ready to shed this decade and start a new one; I am ready to leave these past few years on the pinboard of "times I pulled the short straw". And until I can write about something good, I won't be writing. I have made myself into someone that cares what people think and the wrong people know it. I accommodate beligerance on my behalf, absorb rudeness, and tie my responsive mouth shut.

I don't want to write because I don't want to give myself out like that anymore; at least until I know where the boundaries are, so I can tell people to fuck off if they're getting too close, because I don't know how.

Oops. There goes my class.

Maybe this is the good thing about the decade mark: it's time to do a little housekeeping, define myself for a change; take my heart off the dartboard. Happy birthday to me.



Mama said...

Sigh....if it's any comfort, I certainly don't feel accomplished and wonder if I ever will. I also wonder if it even matters if I ever feel accomplished or not. Besides, the most important things to me next to Jesus love and salvation, are your Dad and you and your sisters. You all make me feel incredibly accomplished even though you are each a gift from God.
As far as people offering unwanted, unqualified advice...I've always been stupified by those who do that to others and, sadly, those kinds of people will never go away. They will just keep thinking that others can't possibly survive the day without their stellar wisdom being inserted into it (yawn). In my experience, the greatest gift that comes with age is the incredible gift of not giving a rat's ass (pardon me) about what others think of me. It really was quite a pleasant surprise. Such a burden was lifted. The opinions of those I love, they matter. That's it.
You're a classy lady, don't let others take that away from you.

anita said...

yes, happy birthday! I love you my friend. Dearly dearly dearly. Thanks for the post. I'll let you off the hook now ;D

Ashlea said...

Ashley, I enjoy reading your blog. Love your honesty. I hope this next year brings you joy as you discover more about yourself.
Happy Birthday!

anita said...

You've got a great mom! Fantastic & true insight. She's right. I wish there were a way of downloading the future understanding that age brings gifts of deep satisfaction and inner I'm-ok-with-it and less getting phased by life. But still, slurp each day now to it's dregs and look for Jesus in the middle of it all. He's there making things HD.
There. Now that I've inserted my stellar wisdom into your day you may proceed ;D xo

Natalie said...

The new place is good! Where's the blog?

Mama said...

Anita, you really made me laugh and thank you for the compliment. I love your stellar wisdom, in fact, I think I'll write it down. You are wise beyond your years.

Colleen Taylor said...

Happy seems like the wrong adjective for birthday greetings in the face of this post, Ashley. I pray the new year brings you from disillusionment to peace and hope in the One who matters and who promises to be with you even when life is shitty.

Anonymous said...

Ashley, I'm sorry you are in this painful time, and yet I'm excited for the good things that believe God will bring into your life. You are smart, funny, and so talented. I love your writing and your spirit. I'm sad for myself that I won't be able to read of your bums me out kind of like when my favorite aerobics instructor quit (dating myself!!) But I support you in "taking (your) heart off the dartboard". Be blessed, Ashley---I pray that God will fill your cup to overflowing---Nancy Jones, Spokane WA