A Letter to My Valentine

Dear Valentine, 

I have written many letters and can’t help but notice that I’ve never written one to you. I feel that needs to change. I’ve just been so comfortable getting to know and love you these past few months that I haven’t had any real desire to find the words, until now. So, my first ever Valentine, this is your love letter. 

Although you have only been in my life for a short amount of time, it feels like I’ve known you a lifetime. They say there are such things as soulmates. Someone who you instantly connect with, someone you can’t imagine life without and there’s no doubt in my mind that you are one of them. From the moment I met you, I just knew I wanted to be around you. You had this warm energy that just embraced me in the warmest way. A contagious smile that always found its way onto my face. And your jokes that somehow made only us laugh. It’s something that can’t really be explained, it can only be felt. And from then on everything between us has been so effortless. The laughter, the smiles, the conversation; the love. The thing is, I still can’t comprehend how comfortable I am around you. I’ve always been beyond insecure and the idea of someone loving me was exciting yet it terrified me. But somehow you make it all so easy, like this has been written in the stars. Before I moved here I knew deep down in my heart that someone like you was waiting, it was all just a matter of time finding you. But as I always say, good things come to those who wait and you were so worth waiting for. 

So dearest Valentine, I need you to know that I wouldn’t change you for the world and that I’ll always choose you. You’re the sweetest, most caring, funniest, patient, loving, most wonderful man I know. And I am so lucky to get to call you mine. I could write you a book on everything I love about you, but I’ll settle with these for now. 

I love how you can always make me laugh, even when I’m in a bad mood. I love all of our little inside jokes and all the memories of us doing stupid things . I love how we can laugh at our mistakes and when I’m with you, I’m always laughing. 

I love that you’re the only person that can make everything better;  if I’m having a bad day and it’s only getting worse, the only thing I want to do is run to you. I know that during the bad days you are my only light and just spending a minute with you will make the day better. Or if I’m having a great day, you’re the person I want to tell it to. 

I love that I don’t know what you know and you don’t know what I know. I love that we can both teach each other things and that you never belittle me for not knowing something, you’ll always explain.

I love how compassionate you are and you always know how to calm me down in stressful situations. Like that time I had to drive my undriveable car while it was being toed and you knew exactly what to say and do, and I honestly couldn’t have done it without you. I remember looking over at you and I knew that you were the person I always want by my side. The only person who gets me and can settle my overactive heart and irrational mind. 

I love waking up to your sleepy face and you holding me in your arms. I love coming home to you after a tedious day at work and knowing that being with you will make it better. I love every boring task that we always make fun. 

I love every goofy smile on your face, every laugh your voice creates, every second in your warm embrace. I love your accent when it differs from mine, I love your dimples when they show from time to time. Lastly, I love that you’ve taught me what love is and what it’s like to be loved. 

You have my heart, always.
Ashlea x

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A Letter to November & December

Dear November & December,

I will admit that I've been holding back from writing this letter for a while now. I just haven't been able to put it into words. I don't know if it's because I have nothing to say, or too much. So I apologise if I have seemed to have forgotten about you, please don't take it personally. It's just that these past few weeks have been a total whirlwind and it has been hard for my head to keep up with how quickly everything has changed. It feels like I've been captivated into a blissful daze and found myself in a safe and calmly unfamiliar bubble, and to put it simply November, I got lost. I saw the sun rise and fall but I didn't acknowledge that time still moved and the world was still turning. It took a while but it's only now that I am realising that all the clichés are true. Before you came along I swore I would never be another victim but here I am claiming how easy it is to get lost in it once you've been bitten. And so I humbly apologise to all that I have abandoned, one being this letter. I truly hope you understand.

You have both been so good to me, I will always hold you dear to my heart. I keep thinking back to those days and all that accompanied it, and to be honest, I think I'll always go back there in my mind. Back to the beginning of secret stares with eyes that couldn't lie and sweet smiles that grew wider each time. To all the moments I spent laughing at jokes that only I found funny and rolling my eyes to the endless stream of sarcasm. Back to the moments when I was won over by that sweetest-dimple-exposing smile. When the nights consisted of constant laughter and teasing about different accents, cups of tea and silly debates over when to add the sugar. To all the many attempts of watching Harry Potter movies because distraction became a permanent friend. I'll still remember how those cold mornings became a constant struggle as the desperate urge to stay in bed was intensifying. Ultimately, it was a combination of late nights and early mornings, lost sleep and clumsy fallings. 

Before this letter comes to an end, I want to thank you from the bottom of my full and beating heart. Thank you for being the best to me and treating me with such care, for giving me the one thing I have always secretly craved. Thank you for your constant reminder that I am loved, even on my bad days and that the sun does rise and fall and I get to share them with my favourite person. But most of all, thank you for reminding me what happiness feels like. 

I owe you. 

Always, Ashlea 

 

A Letter to New York

Dearest New York,

Of all the places I have ever visited, you are by far my favourite. (Shhh, don’t tell the others!) We first met when I was thirteen and I had no idea what to expect, but I can happily say that I was pleasantly overwhelmed. I’d heard a lot about you (mostly praises from my sister) and I would like to declare that all of the clichés are true. The lights are bright, the streets are busy, the food is amazing and the buildings are sky high and incredible. You are absolutely beautiful, New York, not just in your breathtaking views but in the way you make people feel alive! You inspire every single person you meet, accept each and every one for who they are and encourage them to dream big. You make it easy for us to believe that anything is possible as you demonstrate that the sky really is the limit. I think that’s the biggest reason as to how you’ve captured the hearts of so many, because you are the nurturer of dreams, the epitome of possibilities and the bearer of hope. When I’m with you I feel at home, like my inner dreamer is at peace.

I do have a question for you though, New York. Do you ever get tired? I mean, everyone knows you as the city that never sleeps but your energy barely falters. Even in the early hours of the morning you are still shining, people are still roaming the streets and shops are still open. I wonder if you are better at night; if there is a valid reason why you never sleep. I can’t tell if it’s exciting and wild or sad and lonely. Are your sleepless nights caused from the interest of being awake or because you can’t sleep? I feel the need to find the answer when I next see you, but at the same time I don’t want to ruin the perfect illusion I have of New York nights. Something about it is so enchanting to me.

But by day, I have wandered through the many avenues feeling your electricity run through my veins and although you may be a very well structured maze, I can’t help but get lost in you. There are just so many little hidden gems, well known movie scene locations and there is always something going on or new to be found. The possibilities really are endless and that’s why you are so exciting. I mean, you are the heart and home of Serendipity so we never truly know what wonderful things may be waiting just around the corner.

Of all that you have to offer, these are probably my favourite that I have been to:

For the Tourists & Prime Photography locations: 

  • Empire State Building (that’s where you got your name, right?)
  • Times Square
  • Central Park – Strawberry Fields
  • High Line
  • 9/11 Memorial
  • The Freedom Tower / One World Observatory
  • Top of the Rock/ Rockefeller Centre
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Grand Central Station
  • Radio City
  • Chrysler Building

For the New York experience:

  • 5th Avenue & Madison Avenue (Shopping galore!)
  • Tiffany’s & Co. (For those Breakfast at Tiffany’s lovers)
  • Macy’s / Bloomingdale’s
  • Serendipity (After loving the film, I need to try a frozen hot chocolate)
  • Broadway (Theatre is amazing!)
  • New York Public Library
  • Wall Street
  • The Subway
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Coney Island
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park

As much as I love you, New York, I have to admit that maybe distance is a good thing. Too much of something can ruin how much you love it. You are too exhausting for me. As much as it pains me every time I have to leave you, there is a little relief when I return home; for my feet that haven’t stopped walking and for my neck that has been constantly gazing up the whole entirety of my visit.

It’s been two years since I last saw you and introduced you to my favourite people; I hope you know that I miss you dearly. I hope to see you very soon so we can embark on more adventures together and I can continue to discover those little hidden treasures that I know you are bursting with. But for now, stay beautiful!

Always, Ashlea.

P.S Until we meet again, I’ll keep looking at my photographs and reminiscing on our time together! 

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‘New York Rain’ – Times Square
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Concrete Jungle from Empire State Building
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‘Empire’
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‘Meadow of Lights’ – The Empire State Building
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Central Park
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‘Radio City’
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‘Lady Liberty’
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Sunset views from The Empire State Building

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 Friend

Dear friend,

I don’t know if you’re reading this, but hopefully you will one day. Friend, I want you to know that I love you and that I’m never going to leave. You are a wonderful and absolutely beautiful human and I need you to understand that. You are so much more than you think, so much more than what you see in a mirror or that awkward picture that somebody else took of you (you know the ones I’m talking about?) I know you just want to feel pretty but honestly, I don’t think that can be entirely down to appearance. Your looks aren’t what define you. But the sad thing is, you never get to see yourself for everything you are. You never see yourself laughing in hysterics, or smiling at a stranger down the street, or looking into the eyes of somebody you love. You never see the way your face lights up or how it looks when you’re excited. You never see yourself lost in deep thought or making jokes with your friends or caring for someone. Beauty is not in the colour of your eyes, or your bone structure or your dress size. It’s in the way you love people, the way you want to change the world, your laughter, your kindness, the way you make others feel and always put them before yourself. Beauty is instilled in your soul, it’s flowing through your veins. So don’t you dare think that you are not beautiful because you my dearest friend, are the definition. You are worth so much more than you could ever think. If you were in my shoes for a day, you’d see it too.

I know that reading this won’t change your mind, it won’t give you the proof you need to love yourself better but please don’t hate yourself, because you don’t know how lovely you truly are. I wish I could magically cure your mind from all the disbelieving and destructive thoughts you have about yourself. If there was a way to show you how incredible you are, I’d do it, but all you have are these words and hopefully the belief that I think so highly of you. But if these words aren’t enough to save you for a night, then please come to me. I don’t want you to think that you’re alone in this, fighting a losing battle by yourself. We’re in this life for the long run and I will always be by your side getting through it together.

‘If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sun beams and you will always look lovely’

-Roald Dahl

Stay strong & stay beautiful.

Always, Ashlea

Can guys and girls just be friends?

Friends? Totally.
Best friends? That’s where it gets complicated.

Let me start off with a quote, taken from the movie ‘500 Days of Summer’
‘A guy and a girl can be just friends, but at one point or another they will fall for each other. Maybe temporarily, maybe at the wrong time, maybe too late or maybe forever.’
 

So, just friends?

I don’t think this causes much debate, friends are people you like to hang out with, who make you laugh and you enjoy being around. Gender has no say in whether you fall for them or not. But best friends? It’s complicated. I do think it’s possible for a guy and a girl to be best friends and not develop feelings. It may be the goofy kind of relationship where you embarrass yourself way too much in front of them, or have gross conversations that you skip the feelings and just see them as more of a sibling than anything. Maybe you value your friendship so much that you fight off any sort of feelings because you don’t want it to ruin what the two of you have. I do think it’s possible, but I think the chances are pretty slim, too. I mean let’s face it, you’re best friends so you are with each other all the time. You know everything about them, their habits, their behaviour, their secrets etc. You’ve got them all figured out and memorised like the back of your hand. You know them so well, it is so easy for you to know when they are not okay, despite them saying so, and you also know when the time is to either cheer them up or let them be. You know how to make them happy and that’s all you want to do, or when they are sad and need someone to talk to, they will always come to you. You’ve got to that point where you’re so comfortable around them that you can sit in silence, doing your separate things and be happy. Where you can make a fool of yourself and not feel completely embarrassed because they will laugh with you. You’ve met their family and your parents know about them. You can talk about everything and anything and have had plenty of DMC’s and late night conversations, where you’re surprised when you look at the time. You look out for each other and know that if you’re ever in trouble they will always be there for you. You may even get to the stage where you do everything together, it’s weird if they’re not there. You both have your inside jokes that can make you both cry with laughter and everyone else around you rolls their eyes because they don’t understand. You’ve got to that point where you are both so invested in each other, you know every little thing about them and time with them is invaluable.

So if you have that type of relationship with your best friend, congratulations, you have something incredibly special. Now let me ask you a question, with everything I’ve just said, what is the difference between that relationship and a romantic one? Physical intimacy. That’s it! And most of the time best friends hug or hold hands, so there’s only a couple of things you don’t do. So, developing feelings for somebody whom you’re already emotionally intimate with is almost inevitable. Let’s face it, you’ve already got the foundations of a beautiful relationship. I mean, how could you not fall for them? So now, I guess the question is:

Will a romantic relationship ruin the friendship?

This is a question that will never have a black and white answer, I’m afraid. So if you’re in this position I definitely recommend you think it through… a lot! I think the biggest thing you need to take into serious consideration, is if your feelings are true. You have to be in the mindset of ‘I really want to kiss him’ rather than ‘I wonder what that would be like’. You should be thinking ‘I would love to spend my life with them’ rather than ‘I don’t want to see them with anybody else’. You’ve got to think that you have really strong feelings for them rather than you’re just intrigued to find out what it would be like.

After all of this pondering, you should come to a conclusion. You have feelings or you’re curious. If a decision is hard to come by, then leave it for a while. See what your subconscious concludes. Then you need to think some more. If you have feelings for them, think of every alternate way of telling them and what may happen afterwards. The main thing you need to think about though, is if you tell them and they don’t feel the same way, will that ruin everything you have and make it weird between you two? You’ll never know until it happens, but primarily you need to weigh the positive results with the negative.

  • Can you live with yourself if you have to hide your feelings every time you’re with them? Is it fair to you?
  • Is your relationship so special it would kill you if it ended because you told them how you feel?
  • What would it be like if you never said a word and found out years later that they felt the exact same way but you were both too scared to tell each other?

Whatever decision you make, just make sure you’ll be able to live with yourself without having any regrets. Who know what will happen if you never try? It could be the best decision of your life, or it could ruin a great friendship – but maybe it’s something you can both get over and laugh about in the years to come.

Is the risk worth the potential outcome?

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Always,
Ashlea