Be, Do, Become!

This relates so much to how I feel. Some days, I know where life is taking me and am confident in that. Most days, however, are still filled with doubt about the future. And that is okay, I think. At least, it is fine for now.

If I had one single dream, there is no doubt that I’d chase it ferociously. Thing is, I have too many that I can’t articulate, so I find myself stuck. I love fashion, I love writing, I love photography, I love music and gardening and painting and people and…and…and…

I’ve always struggled with this- with having to define myself into one mold. (Which is probably why I’m 28 with an undeclared major.) There are just so many things that interest me, how is a person to only pick one to succeed at? To support their family with?

I was watching some documentary about these people who were so passionate about mountaineering they made it their life’s work to summit the worlds tallest mountains. This was their specific passion even though alarmingly dangerous, and they took it very seriously. In a country where you can pretty much do and become whatever…

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Graduation from Disney College Program

Graduating with Mickey and Minnie

Mickey and Minnie celebrated my graduation!

Today, I attended my program graduation. Although rather sad, this ceremony was mostly fun. Meeting with characters, eating normally, laughing with friends, and getting prizes were highlights.

Over the course of these past eight months, I have learned so much about Disney, working, friendship, and myself. Has the journey been painful? Yes, but worth each moment.

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Being Blind To Your Love; An Open Letter To My Mom

I love you, Mom. This is not what I did exactly, but you went through plenty of rough times with me. However, you never gave up on me. You remained my #1 cheerleader even when I yelled and blamed you. Thank you for never giving up on the mess that I am.

AshlynInProgress

Dear Mom,

Remember in seventh grade when we moved to a new city? I thought that I hated you for it. I thought that you had an evil plan up your sleeve to rip me away from all my friends and family. Little did I know that you were providing me and my siblings with new opportunities we never would have came across if we would have stayed in the little town of Emporia.

Dear Mom,

Remember when I wanted to chop all my hair off and dye it funky colors? Looking back at those pictures I question why you would ever let me make such decisions (because let’s be honest, I can not pull off a bob hair cut and purple/pink hair), but you always made me feel beautiful and told me that I could “rock it.” Another example of the many times that I was not opening my…

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Afraid to Think of Growing Old

my headshot with short hair

2007 when I had short hair

I always wanted to be younger and dreaded growing older. Sure, birthdays were fun, but the reality that they brought haunted me. With each year, I become less innocent, more guilt-ridden, less joyful, more anxious, less healthy, more messed up.

Just the thought of being older terrifies me. I do not want to use a cane or go into a nursing home. Nor do I want to watch my children leave the home or my spouse die. In fact, maybe I do not even want a spouse or children.

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Listaliciousness: Captain Jack Kindness, Dog Bucket List, and Prank Apology

Me with a sundae in an ice cream pail

My friend and I ate this at Blizzard Beach. It was a great sundae!

I am trying not to freak out right now. For the most part, my two days off – today and yesterday – were lovely. Having my hand kissed by Goofy, relaxing in the sun with my friend Daniela on Blizzard Beach, eating a pail of ice cream, faking my way through Star Wars weekend despite not seeing any of the films, meeting new friends from around the world in Epcot…it was all great.

However, I just had a mix-up in my scheduling, my computer mouse is still not working, and my phone has just stopped working too. All of this makes life so much more stressful. I do not know how to fix this all on my own.

Anyway, here is a brighter note: my top ten links! Let me know something that interested you.

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Listening to the Silence

Little girl looking out over water

Losing my childhood innocence and security in the world shattered part of me.

I wrote this personal essay for school and wanted to share it with you. Hopefully, it will make you think about your first memory and the loss of childhood. This experience still haunts me at times.

Childlike, haunting music repeating endlessly – that’s the first thing that I remember. I was two years old, snuggled into my bed. Warm, safe blankets with loving, present parents in the next room, I understood the world as a child does: concrete, simplistic, beautiful, self-focused. Yet on that one night, one song motivated the cackling Greek fates to unwind the darkened portion of my life’s ball of yarn.   Continue reading

What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self?

How often do you look at a little girl and tell her that she is ugly? Do you regularly tell a toddler that he is useless? Normally, we do not tell children these types of hurtful statements that we tell ourselves.

Yet, all of us were children at some point. One of the coping skills that I learned in treatment was to hang a picture of myself as a baby or toddler near the mirror. Whenever I wanted to degrade myself, I was supposed to look at the child that I was, the child that I remained to a certain extent.

Looking back, there are many messages that I wish I could tell myself. With this knowledge, I would have escaped heartbreak, rejection, and physical pain. However, lessons that made me a stronger person might have been lost.

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Bringing Back the Childlike Holidays

Holidays can be a season of brightness and joy. However, for those with depression, this time of year can be overwhelming. Instead of feeling cheery, you simply have to force a smile on your face. Even for those without mental illness, Christmas may be a difficult time of year.

When did this shift from joy to hopelessness happen? For many children, this season is a magical time of year filled with treats, religious hope, presents, family, and fun in the snow. What changed as we grew up? Who or what stole away the mysterious, jubilant, fascinating nature of Christmas?

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Recovery in the Media: #65. Pictures of Hollis Woods

Pictures of Hollis Woods

This novel depicts a young girl who slowly realizes the need to open herself up instead of staying locked in pain.

65. Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

Growing up can be a challenging time for any youth. However those in the foster system face many difficulties that those with loving families do not. Few books touch on this element as honestly yet tactfully as Pictures of Hollis Woods. Although written for children, the themes and emotions in it apply to all ages.

Synopsis: No one wants to care for orphaned Hollis Woods. Not only is she already 12-years-old instead of an adorable toddler, her isolated and stubborn temperate make her a less than ideal child. Hollis’ life changes, however, after she is brought to the home of a retired art teacher named Josie. Healing begins to enter the preteen’s life as she discovers her creative skills with Josie’s guidance. However, the elderly woman’s forgetfulness and the girl’s deep pain begin to threaten the new life for which Hollis deeply longs.

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Recovery in the Media: #64. Big Hero 6

64. Big Hero 6

As anyone who has read my blog regularly probably knows, Big Hero 6 is one of my new favorite movies. Ever since seeing it last Sunday, I have not stopped raving about it to all of my friends. Thus, this post on Media Monday should not come as too much of a surprise. Hopefully, this review will convince you to see this film if none of my other comments about it have.

Big Hero 6

This film is more than just a fun kid’s movie; it is a great piece of art, humor, and inspiration.

Synopsis: Hiro might have graduated high school by the age of 13, but he certainly is not using his brains to make a difference in the world. That bothers his older and similarly brainy brother Tadashi. The older boy is attending a university and invented a robot named Baymax who can access one’s health state and provide any medical attention needed. Sure, that might not be too exciting in Hiro’s eyes, but he still loves his older brother. When a tragedy darkens the young adolescent’s life, this squishy robot might be the answer to his emotional as well as physical pain. Continue reading