THE ROAD IT TOOK ME TO GET HERE
Hi Guys! If you’re familiar with me already, “hey boo”. If you are just finding out about me, allow me to introduce myself. Let’s start with the basics. My name is Ashley, a 30 something wife of (almost) 11 years and mom of 2 amazing kids, originally from Baltimore, MD. I’m a daughter, sister, aunt, god sister, friend, podcaster and a serial student. I’ve been to school for Broadcasting, Make Up Artistry, Fashion Merchandising, Psychology and most recently Public Relations. I’ll probably never get a degree, and I’m perfectly fine with that. But I know how to do a bunch of stuff that interests me. Growing up I wanted to be a singer or an actress. I can’t sing. I can act, so that’s still a goal of mine. I don’t consider myself a great writer. This is my 1st blog post in 5 years! I like to write, but grammar has never really been my thing. So if you see some misspellings here and there or a run on sentence, just keep it moving, lol. I’ve always envisioned myself being a Talk Show host. Putting that in the Universe too, because this face belongs on the tizzube. When “The Real” talk show debuted I was HIGH KEY hating. That was totally my idea. Fun Time Moms is my second lifestyle brand, the 1st was a lifestyle blog, I AM SUPERGORGE (2011-2016). I’ve recently become a bit of a DIYer. I love Law & Order SVU, Criminal Minds and any crime/murder mystery I can find. My current cocktail of choice is a lemon drop. I’m a Scorpio. Christmas and Halloween are my favorite holidays. I’m half keto/ half pescatarian, but I love to snack. I love Beyoncé, JLO and Kim K. And I’m 5’5 with brown eyes, smile like the sunrise. That about covers it.
From my blog post you’ll get to know more about me, my family, friends and all the things I care about. During the SuperGorge days, we earned a reputation of being super transparent with our blog post. I honestly believe that we are put through certain trails and experiences to help the next person out. And the only way to do that is by sharing, openly and honestly. Over the years I’ve received so many messages from people who say that I have helped them with my transparency. Those messages are the reasons why we started the Fun Time Moms Podcast and why I decided that FTM also needed a blog. A space for moms and women to come and feel safe in their thoughts and emotions. If you’re looking for someone who has it all figured out, then you’re in the wrong place, reading from the wrong person. I struggle, everyday and everyday I am learning more about myself and also learning from you all and so many women I encounter and admire. I am looking to continue to grow with you all through the many challenges and rewards that life will continue to throw our way. If you’d like to blog with us, submit your post to us via email ([email protected]).
I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to talk about for this 1st post. So I just wrote what was on my heart at the moment. After a lifetime of searching, I finally feel as though I am coming to a place of acceptance and appreciation for myself. I haven’t always loved who I was and would often put so much unrealistic pressure on myself. So here I am, 3 decades in, finally giving a high five to the chick in the mirror. Let’s go down the road it took me to get here.
I would often find myself jotting down thoughts in a journal, but after my blogging days came to an end I started journaling more. Whenever I’d go back and read things that I’d written about myself, it was always so negative. The only time I would write anything positive about myself was whenever, whatever self-help book I was reading at the moment told me to. I didn’t like myself, let alone love myself.
I’d let the outside world ‘s opinions of me or what I thought the opinions of me were shape my self-concept and self worth. I could easily tell someone else how amazing he or she were at something, how beautiful they looked, how awesome this or that person was, but I never felt any of those things for myself. If I were so great, more people would like me more. Right!? I’d be loved and celebrated more. Right!? I wouldn’t feel so lonely or excluded. Right!?
Let me interject here by saying that I suffer from abandonment/daddy issues, chronic depression, anxiety and insomnia. A cocktail for feeling worthless 90% of the time and not always seeing things how they really are.
While I’ve read a dozen of self-help books, I was constantly practicing self-hate. I’d tell myself “ I must be a bitch, everyone thinks I am. I have a horrible attitude, everyone says I do. I suck as an overall person.” I’d spend 15,20,30 minutes, at times staring in the mirror picking myself apart. ” I’ve gotten so fat. I hate my dark under eye circles. My left brow never grew back right from that razor incident in 2002. My ears are huge. My nose is huge. Are those lines….wrinkles? Great something else to hate. I’m overweight. Yuck, all these stretch marks are hideous. Ass looks great (always loved my ass)…wait no it doesn’t. All that cellulite, eww. My thighs look like elephant legs. My feet are huge. Am I missing anything? Oh yup, because I’ve been so depressed my hair, which was once “my thing” is thinning and falling out. No one likes me. No one loves me. They only tolerate me and they are only using me. What a waste I am” These are things I’d say to myself each and everyday. Things I’d slap TF out of someone for if they said it about someone I loved. But, I didn’t love myself.
So I figured, if I worked out a little harder, maybe I’d look better. If I learned this makeup technique, I’d look better. If I got this surgery, I’d look better. If I went back to school, I’d seem accomplished. If I stopped speaking up or gave my opinion less, people wouldn’t always be so upset with me. So, I started to become a shell of myself. I was me on the outside, but the inside I was barely existing. I also constantly put others before myself and made myself readily available. If I wasn’t looking better, I could at least be better. No wasn’t really in my vocabulary. If you needed me, I’d be there. I’d figure it out, often inconveniencing myself to be there for others. Because again, if I showed others how much I loved them, how much I was there for them and did for them, they’d do the same for me. Right!?
If ever I had a problem I’d try to talk about it, but then I’d think “no one likes a complainer” and “everyone else has their own problems, mine aren’t important.” Living this way year after year, I’m sure you can just about guess the toll this took on me emotionally. I constantly felt in a state of emptiness and on eggshells.
In 2017 my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Emotionally I didn’t know how to feel. Should I scream and cry? Should I “just leave it to the Lord”? I had to put on a strong face for not only my mom, but for my husband who has lost both his mother and step mother to cancer and an even stronger face for my 2 children, who I didn’t want to devestate over their grandmothers diagnosis. So I’d try to talk to my friends about it. Wait; no don’t bother them with it. Some of them have lost parents. I didn’t want to bring up bad memories for them. So I’d just tell them what was going on, not sharing too much of my emotions, that’s wasn’t fair to them. Right?
During my moms 1st rounds of Chemo, I was in go mode. She was going to beat it. Don’t cry, Ash. Hard for me to do because I’m super emotional. But, she did it. She beat it. But then 4 months later, it was back more aggressive. The chemo wasn’t working. Was this it? The end? I’d go with my mom to her appointments and then cry on my hour drive back home. Making sure to turn on my brave face before I saw my kids. That became my routine. My mom ultimately had to be hospitalized for a month to receive a stem cell transplant. Everyday it was like holding breath underwater. Would the transplant positively take? Will the donor cells attack her cells and make her sick. Then a day came when my mom had stopped breathing. I’d just gotten home from visiting her from the hospital. Minutes after walking in the door, I was getting my daughter ready for her dance class, when I noticed I had a missed call from the hospital. When I called back I was met with “Mrs. Silva your mom became unresponsive, we are moving her to ICU. Get here as soon as you can.” Her lung had collapsed from fluid surrounding them and they were afraid she had pneumonia. This was the time for me to cry. To be upset. For others to be there for me. I was internally loosing my shit. Through the grace of God, my mom’s strength, the hospital staff and I’m sure the energy of myself, my sister, Alicia, my husband and my God Sisters being in her hospital room that night, woke my mom up. My mom is now again in remission. What a relief, but every few months when she has to get rescanned, I hold my breath until the results are in. I don’t tell her that, because I don’t want her to be worried about me, being worried about her.
I forgot to mention before that I am a bit of a hyperchondriac. After my mom’s second cancer diagnosis, my thoughts started running rapid. I became overly concerned that I’d one day develop cancer. My grandmother had it; my mom has it, so of course I’ll get it. No matter what I eat or don’t eat, no matter how much I work out, yeah I’ve never smoked cigarettes, but I smoke hookah… And while feeling this way I then remind myself that I don’t have the right to ever feel down for myself, because someone, somewhere has it much worse, right!? I have a friend who is a couple years older than I am, who will soon undergo a double mastectomy to help prevent her from developing breast cancer, as her mother did at a young age. And another friend who is going through chemo right now. So how dare I worry about myself? It felt selfish to worry about my feelings and future health, when in this very moment I am very healthy and able. But the truth is, everyone is battling something that’s’ a mountain to them. We shouldn’t have to downplay our or other people’s hardships.
After my mom began recovery I told myself to stop. Stop never allowing myself to feel my own sadness or fears. I’ d become such an angry person. All my emotions had been bottled away, in a beautifully decorated bottle, that’s great for decor but had no practical use. I was being a disadvantage to myself. I ended up having a full mental break down and a weeklong hospital stay. I’d reached my lowest point. I felt tired and ready for all of my pain to end. I’d spent so much time trying to make others love me and be there for me, but as I looked around all that I’d done didn’t make anyone love me more or be there more for me. And the only person I could blame, was me. I wanted people to love me, to be there for me and I wasn’t even doing that for myself.
How you think of yourself and treat yourself will eventually manifest into your reality. My biggest fear has always been to be alone, not in the physical sense, because if you follow me you know I like my 3-4 hour long baths, alone with no interruptions from my family. I mean alone in the lonely type of way. In a few months span I thought I was going to lose my mother to cancer, I was contemplating getting a divorce, friendships that meant the world to me were basically non existent and I wanted the nightmare of my life to come to an end. I had manifested my deepest fear and it felt as shitty as I imagined it would.
That was my wake up call. Ashley had to start to like Ashley. Build a relationship with her and hopefully find love in that relationship. I am learning to change the narrative on the way that I speak to myself about myself. I’m not “a Bitch”, I’m assertive, direct and speak honestly, and not everyone can handle that. I don’t have a bad attitude; I just don’t like lies, BS or anyone playing Switzerland. I say how I feel. And that’s ok. I am worth being loved and celebrated and if others can’t see that, that’s on them. I’m learning to release my anger and frustrations. There are apologies that will never come, and I have to make peace with that.
I also know that I have to check myself too. It’s not always the other person. This one takes some work, but we all need to do it. Get real with yourself, about your fuck ups. There are a lot of things that I could have handled better. When you get to that point of feeling that you were in the wrong or that you’ve hurt someone, APOLOGIZE. This seems like the hardest thing for so many to do. When you hurt someone, you don’t have the authority to tell him or her that you didn’t.
I currently want to do more of what makes me happy. 1st up was me finally loosing the 30lbs that I gained in 3 months, years ago. I’m finally at a place of liking my body again. I’ve worked damn hard to get here. Also doing things that I enjoy includes traveling more, meeting new people, skipping an event if I want, not answering a call or merely saying NO to things I don’t want to do. I’m learning to change my perspective on things. I’ve always looked at my glass as half empty, when indeed it’s half full. I’m married to the love of my life, my kids are pretty amazing, my mom is doing better in her health, my relationship with my sister is better than it’s ever been, my nieces have grown into beautiful women. I have a beautiful home, nice car, food, clothes, a few great friends, my health and abilities. I’d say my cup is actually running over.
I want to leave you all with this. Forgive often. Even when it’s hard. Love often. Even when it’s hard. And, don’t forget to give yourself some of that love that you so freely give others.
March 9th 2020