A Letter to January

Dear January,

Let me start by asking you how you’ve been because I’ve noticed that you haven’t been acting like your old self. I used to look forward to spending time with you, you were everything I could ever want- endless amounts of hope and motivation. You see, January, I’m just like you. We used to live in harmony back when you were my universe and I had more dreams than the stars in the galaxy.

You just have something truly magical about you. You’re overflowing with positivity and ambition that you can’t help but sprinkle it around like fairy dust. I guess I must have become addicted to the positivity that I knew you could inject me with. I grew accustomed to the buzz of hope that everything was possible, that every single thing I could ever dream of was attainable. But as time has slowly gone by in the past few years, I feel each star slowly fade away. I suppose I was just hoping that you would somehow be able to reignite that spark of hope that was once burning so bright.

I’m just confused, January. I thought we were on the same page. I won’t lie to you, for a week I felt betrayed. You noticed my vulnerability and you kicked me when I was down. I never thought that you would be the storm in comparison to the last few months which had been completely blissful. Forgive me if I’m wrong but I feel like you’ve always been a huge let down to many. I just hoped I would never be one of them. You see, you encourage such high expectations that new beginnings will always work out but little often than not, life still feels the exact same. But you always treated me differently, we shared the same outlook on the world.  Although it may not seem like you have a great impression on me as the clock strikes midnight, I promise you that deep down you’ve always made me feel most alive and most like myself.

But although you may not have been exactly what I had hoped for this year, there’s one thing that never changes, January, and it’s the hope that it will only get better. Yes, I may not be exactly where I want to be or I may not be spending my days the way I want to, but I’m further than where I was and I’m always moving forward. This time happier than before and not alone. We’re taking on the world together, one step at a time.

Always, Ashlea.

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A Letter to October

Dear October,

You have no idea how long I have been waiting for someone like you. Of all the wishes I have ever made, on shooting stars, 11:11 and eyelashes, they are finally coming true. It’s like you heard my silent cry and have magically turned my life around. You’ve been like my Fairy Godmother magically transforming the pumpkin into a carriage, but you’ve turned my lonely nights into memorable ones. And as each wonderful night slowly fades to morning, I now sleep with a smile on my face.

May I just say that I think you are absolutely beautiful, October. I’ve been watching you in awe, admiring your diversity of colours and how quickly it all changes. I suppose I better take it all in before you disappear for good as the Autumn leaves are falling and are being gently carried by the wind. I’ve been trying to figure out my reasons for loving you the most and I think it’s because you are like the sweetest smile on a familiar face, so warm and comforting like an oversized jumper. You are the perfect combination of electric coffee and glowing candlelight, late night drives and warm blankets. I think that’s why I love you so much, October, because you have brought the perfect balance of adventure and cosiness along with you.

Thank you October, for now I understand, you win some you lose some, that’s just part of the plan. Not everything works out if it wasn’t meant to be but one day when it does, it happens so effortlessly. So please forgive me October, for all the words that I said, for all the doubts that made a home in my head. You see, I’m just another victim of lost and faded hope but you showed me ‘perfect’ through a kaleidoscope. We’re all just people, a mixture of colours and shapes trying so desperately to find our place. We float around and swerve and crash, tired from feeling the pain of whiplash. But just give it time and it’ll all make sense, let go of your fears and put down your defence. It took a while but I finally see, that sometimes you have to get it wrong, for you to realise how right it can be.

Thank you for everything. Take care of yourself until I see you again.

Always, Ashlea

A Letter to September

Dear September,

I have to confess something. I have been mistaking you with August for the whole 30 days, I don’t even know how. I think it’s because you usually make such a dominant entrance that everybody can’t help but to acknowledge you. The change you bring to so many lives is undeniable, some people may even think of you as January’s twin. There are some students who dread meeting you, some who are excited and there are parents who are relieved to have routine and structure back into their lives. I, on the other hand, don’t fit into one of those categories. Although, I am no longer in education, I feel like I have finished the academic year, graduated with the grades to prove it and yet somehow I’m still there when I know I should be moving on.

You see, September, you’ve just left me feeling really confused (which isn’t unusual). If I know that I’m wandering down a dead end road, then why am I still walking? I suppose I’m just a little disappointed because I was really hoping that you would completely change an aspect of my life. I felt so ready to take the world by storm and to put myself out there and  progress. It doesn’t make sense to me why you’ve made me stay in the same place when I’m capable of so much more. I hope when we next meet, it’ll all make sense and that you are leading me to a diversion which will eventually take me to where I want to be.

However, it would be wrong of me to say that you have left my life untouched. After months, if not years, of loneliness and isolation and a couple of failed attempts at socialising, I finally found a group of people I fit in with. They are as warm and welcoming as an open fireplace on a cold winters night. You know what they say, third time lucky! So although my anxiety may have escalated in the beginning, and may continue to, I know that it is totally worth it and I should have nothing to fear. Here’s to me hoping that life will only get better from here.

Always, Ashlea

 

Update: Perfection is an illusion

Hi there,

I’m Ashlea and I’m a perfectionist. When I first started this blog I was only inclined to post masterpieces, I simply wouldn’t settle for anything less. As great as being a perfectionist may seem, it has its flaws. I am my own worst critic. The pressure I put on myself to only publish the best and to dismiss everything in between has been holding me back tremendously.  I think that not only myself, but my blog plan and its layout desired perfectionism. I am a writer. Writers don’t need everything they write to be perfect, and that’s okay. Sometimes it’s best to just write without thinking and not worry about who’s going to see it. It’s okay to crumple up the piece of paper afterwards, or to store it away and forget about it. That’s where growth begins. How do you improve if everything you do immaculate? This whole writing a blog thing, is a shot in the dark for anyone to ever see it. But I don’t write in the hopes of people reading it, I write for myself. And if by some miracle others come across what I have written and enjoy it or connect to it in any way, then I’ll be delighted.

The whole reason I started this blog was to document my thoughts; those deep, intricate, untainted thoughts that run through this young mind of mine. Ultimately, this blog is an insight in to Ashlea’s brain, in all its glory and confusion! I’ve said this before, but life is ever-changing, as are we. Whatever may be going on in my life and my mind will never occur again. The rest of my life is something I have to figure out, and what better way to do so than to write every step of the way?

So I came to a conclusion. If my blog was limiting my writing (sounds so ironic) then that is what had to change. So as you may already have noticed, I have changed the layout which I think encourages exploration. Instead of just writing a letter every month, I’m going to be posting a lot more, which makes me so happy and excited. I hope you are too.

But it doesn’t stop there, friends, Oh no. As I was just going about my day, at home by myself (which is very rare), I sort of had a moment of envisioning future-Ashlea. It was weird, I’ve never really thought about what her life may be like, but I could see her bordering 30, living in a cute little apartment in the city away from family, coming home from a busy and productive day. She’d be the type to start cooking whatever she wanted, not really bothering with anything fancy (trial and error sort of thing), dancing and singing happily away to her favourite songs, glass of wine in hand. Carelessly and shamelessly herself and loving it. I don’t know if she’d be living with somebody, be in a relationship, have a pet or if I was on her own. But in that thought, there wasn’t any stress of anything that could be missing, that future-Ashlea’s life may be far from perfect, but the vision of me living in my own place, being older, independent, happy and free, seems pretty perfect to me.

Also, I was reading a book and there was this one line that really made me think. The main character broke off her engagement and has a moment of looking back on their ‘perfect’ highlights. She describes the night she met his family, the first time he said ‘I love you’ etc (the obviously perfect moments in life) But there was this one moment that changed my way of thinking. It was the day they moved into their new house and sat on the stairs drinking champagne out of mugs. I just thought that life is far from perfect but that image of the time they moved into their new house, full of hope, happiness and love, spending every day with each other. That first day of moving, is not glamorous and is highly stressful – that’s the reality. So they took the reality and made it something beautiful to remember. They were together making the best of every situation – and that, my friends, is what life is all about. Perfection is an illusion. Most of the time, those perfect moments are the ones made up of imperfect details.

Thanks for reading!
Always, Ashlea

 

Letter to August

Dear August,

Apologies for writing to you so late, as you have now been replaced by somebody new and exciting (I deeply know how you feel). So let this letter be your memoir of everything you’ve left behind.

Dearest August, you have by far been the most ‘hot and cold’ so far, and I don’t just mean your temperature. You’ve had me going out of my mind, desperately trying to find the answer to rhetorical questions. Together, we’ve seen sleepless nights spent tossing and turning, attachment to distance and separation, and also days of doubts, worrying and an existential crisis. But in spite of all of those things, you’ve given me the confidence to start something new, an exciting new job prospect and most importantly, a lovely weekend to celebrate my new sister-in-law.

I just want to mention that I honestly think that the both of them are a great match. I know that’s what everyone says, but I really mean it. They didn’t meet each other early on in their lives; they’re not childhood sweethearts. They met during a time of ‘settling down’, when people start to worry if they’re not at that stage because everyone else around them seems to be. But what they have made me realise is that maybe, good things really do come to those who wait. Maybe all that time before meeting was their prepping stage – the time when they could figure out their own lives and dreams. Grow into the people that are perfect for each other. I mean, they’re not old, by any means. They get to live more of their lives together than they did apart. So in the end, maybe waiting for perfection is the best way.

I guess what I’m trying to say, August, is that they have taught me something rather valuable. Love should have no time limit. You shouldn’t worry over the details of finding that person or what they will be like. They will find you at the right time and that’s something you just have to believe in.

 

Until next time August,

Always, Ashlea.

P.S I really hope that when my time comes, I can look as beautiful as she did. 

Dear Loneliness

Dear Loneliness,

So this is what you feel like. I’ve got to give it to you, you’re subtle yet powerful, like an undercover superhero, except you’re not saving me from anything. At first, I didn’t realise it was you, you had me blaming others for the way I was feeling and acting, but now I know it was you all along. I can’t exactly pin point how long you’ve been lingering around me, but I know it’s been far too long. The thing about you, loneliness, is that you come in waves. Nothing for a while and then all at once; one little thing can flood back a million sinking feelings.

Living with you is as unpredictable as English weather. One moment I think I’m fine; I can deal with it, but then overthinking intervenes and dissatisfaction sinks in and then you strike like lightning through my veins, illuminating every inch of unhappiness in my body.  It’s not so much the sadness that comes because I am alone, it’s the fact that you prevent me from making plans. You prevent the hope that I will find happiness again someday. I’m your prisoner trapped and encompassed in your darkness, like I’m the princess locked away in the highest room of the tallest tower. Which then makes you the fire breathing dragon forbidding me from any form of social satisfaction or true happiness.

“I found loneliness,
not through tears and heartache 
but through anger and jealousy.

I lost myself,
not through personal choice
but through hopelessness. 

Nights weren’t the hardest,
those hours you can escape. 
It’s the days when you’re awake.”

But as we have spent more time together and you have dominated my life, I have realised something really important. The thing is, as much as I would love to believe that I could be a princess, a damsel in distress that needs saving, life isn’t like that. There is no prince or knight in shining armour that will appear at my door one day and save me from this nightmare I’ve been living. No one is going to save me, but myself. So I apologise. Maybe I’ve been pointing the fingers hoping that my life would somehow change without me having to try. Maybe I was hoping that life owed me, that it could all just magically amend itself. But I hold my hands up and admit that I was wrong. I thought that you, loneliness, was the thing holding me back from living my life, but I’ve realised that it was me.

 

Always, Ashlea.

 

P.S Thank you. You pushed me to the point of breaking and without you, I wouldn’t have had the courage to make a change, despite all of my fears, and finally break free.

Letter to June

Dear June,

How half the year has gone by already is beyond me. It feels like only yesterday I was hoping and praying that this year would be better, that I wouldn’t be alone anymore, that I would find my person. That maybe, just maybe, I could be happy again. And now here you are. Although you haven’t given me a miracle, you’ve given me a taste of excitement, a glimpse of everything I’ve wanted. It’s been the start of something, hopefully amazing, filled with expectation and potential but also apprehension, anxiety and lots of doubts. I joined the club that I was considering for a while but was too scared to actually do and finally met people my age. They are all so lovely, it’s just that being the shy natured person I am, it’s been difficult and I haven’t pushed myself enough to enjoy all of its possibilities. But I suppose I am still growing and it’s something I need to work on. But through all of my worrying and doubts of never being good enough, you have comforted me with your warmth and allowed me to simply, walk the feelings away. There’s something so therapeutic and calming about walking alone down empty country roads, surrounded by nothing but fields. It’s given me a lot of time to think, more so than usual, and that’s probably why I’m in this mess right now. Although where I live is beautiful, it’s boring and hauntingly lonely.

In the past week I’ve had three people I once knew, ask me how I have been in the years they haven’t seen me and each time, I’ve lied. I tell them that I’ve been okay and life has been good, but these past two years have been the toughest. I’ve reached lows I never knew I could sink to. I’ve had breakdowns from feeling too many emotions all at once. I’ve over thought every single detail to the point where it drives me insane. And throughout these two struggling years, I have never been more alone in my entire life. False hope can destroy a person, building up their hopes just to watch them crash again.There’s only so many times you can pick yourself back up; I wonder how many more I’ve got left.

It’s a shame you’ve caught me writing this at the end of the month, given a couple of weeks ago I was bright with hope and life started feeling as though it was heading in a better direction. But once again, the hope that once filled my heart has been diminished by life’s mysterious and confusing ways. I honestly thought I had it figured out, that I had cracked life’s code and was finally on my way to happiness. I thought about my journey in so much depth, that I was convinced that this would be the right road. I would face my fears and truly be fearless, I would become independent and confident and meet people and it would all fit together like it was written from the start. But of all people, I should have known better than to trust the blind hope that always finds a way to creep back into my mind. And every single time, it lets me down.

So you see, June, you’re leaving me lost and confused. After all of those walks I took to try to calm my anxiety and to settle my worries, my mind is still running wild. I’ve never felt so lost, searching for answers to help make sense of this life. Being here doesn’t make sense. I don’t belong and I have nothing worth staying for. I feel like I’m just withering away into nothing.

So now the question is, do I continue down this lonely and unforeseeable road or do I turn back?

Next time around we’ll both know the answer, but until then,

Always, Ashlea.

 

Letter to May

Dear May,

Please take me back. Back to the days when the sun shined on rainy days and tears were shed from laughter. The days when happiness wasn’t just a word, but a feeling I grew accustomed to. The days when I spent every second with the people I loved; the people who were brighter than the moon and stars combined and who helped me shine too. Take me back to the person I used to be, when I believed in everything and thought anything was possible; when all I saw was beauty and positivity, even in the darkest of corners. Those were the days when everything made sense, I was where I was meant to be and I belonged.

It’s been two years since my happiness came crashing down at lightning speed and I was left with nothing. Everything was over and it destroyed me, my thoughts of the past haunted my every second. I remember thinking how frightening it was that happiness could turn to depression so quickly. One minute you could be floating on cloud nine and the next thing you know, you’re lying on the ground wondering how it went so wrong. And to tell you a secret, May, I don’t think I’ve gotten up since. These bittersweet memories have been holding me down for a long time. Those days were the happiest I have ever been and to be honest, I’m terrified that that’s the only chance I’ll get, that those two years of my life were my prime time and I’ll never feel that happy again. Because let’s face it, I will never get those moments back, I’ll never step foot in that environment again with those people, we will never feel the same. We were invincible and hopeful. Ambitious, carefree and daring. And even though I’ve known this for a long time, I think it’s only now that it’s truly sinking in: I can never go back and life will never be the same again.

So to throw myself into more nostalgic heartache, I somehow found myself looking through old photographs which made me want to turn back the clock even more! Reminiscing is a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong. It’s beautiful and helps you realise how good life can be. But reminiscing for me at this point in time, is heartbreaking. I can’t help but be reminded of everything I’ve lost; and how my present life cannot compare to the happiness and fulfilment I once had.

Life is so different now, that I don’t think I could have ever imagined it would turn out this way. I never thought it would be this hard. I feel like I’ve been left behind, even forgotten, like our glorious time together are now just fragments of memories, faded like old photographs tucked away in scrapbooks. All my friends have moved on with their lives, they’ve met new people, started new adventures, created more memories that add to our existing ones and I’m still stuck in the past, feeling replaced.

I feel as though I’m driving through thick fog. It’s dull and lifeless and I can’t see two feet in front of me. I’m trying to concentrate on what lies ahead but the sun from behind me glares off of the rearview mirror and I can’t help but look. It’s blinding, but in the best way. It’s warm and blissful, fun and beautiful. I know it’s where I want to be right now, but no matter how much I look, the car keeps moving forward and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Helplessly, I watch as the light fades away and the fog encompasses me. 

One day, I’ll find the strength, contentment and happiness I need in order to reminisce on old fond memories and not feel that heartache. But for now I’m going to continue to document my life because I am now fully aware that life is ever-changing and I want to remember as much of it as possible.

Always,
Ashlea

Letter to April

Dear April,

I’ve had this conflicting feeling for such a long time now and it has been the most confusing thing to try and comprehend. It’s something I can’t express in so many words so I thought of trying to phrase it differently, so without further ado, here’s my poem.

Black Hole

Before the days that I met you
I was certain that you were blue.
For you would be:
an ocean of sadness that comes in waves,
like raindrops that fall and race down my face
A feeling so prominent, I couldn’t escape
But now that we’ve met
I no longer think this way.

For now I see that you’re contradicting;
a conflicting feeling
of contentment and dissatisfaction,
of silence and interaction.

You’ve made a mess of me
eating away at my sanity,
And every time I think I’m free
You pull me back like gravity.
It’s impossible to be happy
When you’re the black hole inside of me.
I’ve been taken captive in your darkness,
Where all I feel is emptiness
But now I realise what this is,
You are the feeling of loneliness.

Always, Ashlea