The Leap

I remember standing on the ledge,

Staring at the road below,

I knew that I could never come back,

Once my body took this final blow. 

At the tender age of thirteen,

Somehow I had reached this place,

Where throwing myself off a ledge,

Was a better choice than life I faced. 

With a crackhead mother,

And a foster home I didn’t know,

I had lost the will to see tomorrow,

Or anywhere else my life could go. 

It was one of those crisp fall days,

Where the air smells of leaves and fires burned,

And while my surroundings were quite exquisite,

There was something in me starting to turn. 

I just couldn’t fucking do it anymore,

Live that life for one more day,

And so I stood on that ledge,

About to throw my life away. 

I remember seeing everything,

As if it was the first time I’d ever seen it,

The colors were brighter, the smells were stronger,

Like nature was trying to give me reason. 

Out of nowhere a thought occurred to me,

“If you take this leap, you let them win”,

And suddenly I couldn’t stand,

The thought of giving my life for them. 

So I took one step back and two deep breaths,

Using a moment to compose myself,

And it was in that space, in that moment,

That I chose to give this life some hell. 

So I made myself a promise, 

One never to be broken,

That no matter what I would never give,

The one thing left I had control in. 

I couldn’t always choose what happened,

Or where this life would lead,

But I could choose to live my life,

Instead of take that leap. 

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/

Ask Me Anything Monday

I’m going to try a few new things out here. Maybe some will participate and maybe this will sit untouched by anyone and be an epic failure lol. So here’s the plan:

I’m going to start doing this only two days a week: Monday and Tuesday. Here the idea…

Monday- Ask Me Anything. Nothing is off limits. It can be on any subject, from any perspective, and with any intention you wish. It can be as deep or as shallow as you can go. I’m a tattoo artist, a chronic pain sufferer, an abuse and rape survivor, a recovering addict, a female, a girlfriend, a daughter, and many other things. Your questions can be about any (or none) of the above. It can be completely random or targeted towards my specific experiences. Up to you 🙂 I will do my best to answer you as honestly and completely as possible. 

Tuesday- Tell Me Tuesdays. Tell me anything you’d like. Whether it’s a random fact, your story, a secret, or anything else you wish, it will be accepted with love, compassion, no judgement, and acceptance. 

So that’s the idea guys and being as it’s Monday, ask anything you wish. 🙂  

by Ashley Hebner (as always lol)

 

Morning Mindfulness

I’m attempting to spend a little bit of time, every morning, sitting down and just writing before I start my day. Generally mornings are not a good time for me because everything hurts, I’ve slept like shit, and I just want real life to GO. THE. FUCK. AWAY.

However, it hasn’t been like that recently. I’m in the middle of a flare up yet, I’m more positive than I have been in months; I’m sleeping better than I have in a really, really long time AND I actually woke up in a good mood this morning. If I walk out my front door and pigs are flying, I will not be surprised. I’m trying to figure out what exactly I did that caused this so I can continue it and the only thing I can figure is that getting this new job alleviated so much stress, even beyond what I knew was there, that now I simply feel lighter. I also have something to look forward to each day aside from my amazing partner coming home at night. I’ve always been the type to work. I’ve worked since I was 13 and any time I didn’t I always felt stir crazy and unproductive. You can imagine that these qualities in a chronic pain sufferer are not good, to say the least. So the last 7 years of my life have been an attempt to find a job I love, that also doesn’t kill me physically. Now that I have it, it almost doesn’t seem real. I keep expecting my boss to call me and say he doesn’t need me anymore. That’s just my “it’s too good to be true” mentality coming out though.

So, I’m staying positive. I’m going to do the best job I can, enjoy every last second of it, and write daily so my life doesn’t become all work and no play. Aside from that, I’m coming up on 3 years clean in 33 days!! I’m beyond excited. I think I’m so excited for this anniversary because this last year was quite a struggle. I fucking earned this year man. In the last 1 year and 2 months I have healed from a car crash that should’ve killed me, had just returned to work when I then ended a 5 year relationship, had to move out of my home in the city I had just moved to, ended up living with a girl I barely knew; who then relapsed and lost her damn mind. Moved out of there and in with another friend as I was still trying to regain my financial independence after the move, car crash, and break up; and they ended up having bed bugs, which then reacted with my weakened immune system and made me really, really sick. So then I spent 2 months spending the night with various friends and my foster mom. During this time I met Ryan. Imagine how I felt meeting someone as put together as I normally am when I didn’t so much as have somewhere to sleep at night. Awesome. But he didn’t judge me and he could tell I wasn’t the person that my circumstances recommended. After all of this I then moved in with my foster mom when the pressure of never knowing where I was going to sleep became too much. She gave me the safe haven and bit of time I needed to get on my feet again. So I got a new job, was making decent money, and got a place with my boyfriend. All was well in the world. Then my boss became really abusive and I was forced to quit. Very stressful, if you can imagine, as I had just signed a new lease. But I hit the streets and was hired somewhere new within 4 days. Problem was, the money was terrible! And I mean “couldn’t support a 16 year old’s pot habit” terrible. So the job search began again, all the while I’m getting less and less shifts because they keep hiring on too many people. This went on with me being unable to help with bills for 4 months.

The biggest issue with this is that my addict brain used my inability to financially support myself as a playground. It says “hey, you can sell drugs and not do them” or “you’re never going to make it. You’re finally in a good situation but it’s doomed; don’t get used to it.” So needless to say, it’s been a stressful time. Yet I didn’t use, I didn’t sell drugs, and I didn’t lose my mind, completely anyway. So in the last year (plus) I’ve moved to a new county and city, mended a broken heart, lost myself, found myself, went through immense amounts of physical pain, worked 3 different jobs, found an amazing partner, and moved around. The whole time unable to understand why all these things were happening while I was trying so hard to do the next right thing for the next right reason and be a good person.

In conclusion, God, a high power, whatever, gives the toughest battles to the strongest souls. I took each new challenge and overcame it in the best way I know how. Which is by gritting my teeth and just doing it, regardless of my feelings, physical condition, or life situation. And today, I have a beautiful life. I get to write almost whenever I want, I have a supportive, loving partner who truly understands me, a home I feel safe and secure in, and a job that I absolutely love. I can go to the grocery store and buy food when I’m hungry. This is a luxury I will never take for granted. I have a car which I own and runs properly (most of the time) and that’s another luxury I’ll never take for granted, as it was the hardest thing for me to keep in my active addiction. My health is okay and I CAN FUNCTION most days without wanting to eat a bullet; which may not sound like much, but to me, is everything. And I’m excited to see what else life has to offer instead of dreading it with clenched fists. So yeah, it’s a good life WordPress. It’ll do love, it’ll do 🙂

difficult roads

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

Fucking Starbucks Blogging

I have never felt like more of a basic white girl in my life. I really wanted a Caramel Macchiato (don’t judge me), so I came to Starbucks. Since it’s such a beautiful day I brought my laptop with me because I was planning on going somewhere outside and writing. But, it got a little too chilly for my Fibro having ass so I decided to sit down and write inside the Starbucks instead. Here’s the problems with this:

  1. The barista dude put so much caramel in my drink that I literally can’t drink it. Yes, I asked for extra caramel but I told him I wanted roughly an inch in the bottom, he gave me 3. So now the delectable caramel sauce is causing a fucking traffic jam in my straw and I’m irritated. Don’t take a skinny white bitches espresso away.
  2. This place is packed!!! There are two young college girls next to me talking about the media’s effect on our society, a guy directly in front of me writing some kind of paper, two students to the left doing homework, an old lady falling asleep in the far corner (the irony of that is not lost on me), and lastly, a young man playing Angry Birds on his tablet. Aside from these fine specimens, there’s a swarm of people constantly circulating in and out. It’s hard to focus with so many opportunities to people watch around me.
  3. The music sucks monkey balls. I mean massive, hairy, middle of summer sweaty monkey balls.
  4. I look like a nut job trying to blow the caramel out of my straw.

Aside from all that mess, I’m just generally in the mood to write. Not about anything specific, just write. It’s pretty rare that I write about my day without it being from a third person perspective in a poem or a general piece that isn’t written as being personal to me. That’s just my style I guess. But today is different. I have a day off (from the new job, which I love) and I just can’t seem to get away from this laptop. Even now that I don’t have anything in particular to say.

So what to write about WordPress? Should I talk about how the students to the left are reminding me how much I absolutely loathed school? No, that’s not even remotely interesting. I went to over 16 different schools, was always the new kid, and I kept to myself because people couldn’t know what was happening within the walls of my home. Needless to say, this does not make for a sociable kid or positive school experiences. So that subject’s out.

I got a new cup 🙂 Dumped my drink into it leaving half the caramel in the old cup and I can now actually enjoy my drink. I’m a fucking MacGyver.

Should we talk about something controversial? I love controversial shit. Mostly because it inspires intellectual debate (which I’m a huge fan of). But also because I’m a  bit of a drama queen (my mommy is going to love reading that admission). Let’s see, what’s controversial? Abortion? Race issues? Ooohh…religion? No? How about drugs? Eh, we do that all the time. I’ve had enough of drugs for today. Maybe gender equality? A worthy topic, but I’m already working on another piece about that.

How about we talk about the reason any of these things are controversial topics to start with? Truly, I don’t get it. It seems to me that if we all just aimed to be good people and enforced good ways of living, laws, and standards then everything would be okay. But it’s never that simple is it? No it’s not; because my idea of “good” and your idea of “good” have the ability to be two completely different things.

That is where all controversy is born.

In people’s differences of opinion. What’s perfectly acceptable to one is utterly offensive to another. What’s “good” to me is immoral and wrong to you. We’re all so completely unique. Yet we live in a world that wants to argue, regulate, and normalize every kind of thing you could imagine. From abortion to taxes to marriage equality. Take for instance all of these companies that want the right to not pay for a single woman’s birth control because “it’s against their religious beliefs”. Here’s my question… they hired the woman to work for their company but her reproductive system choices aren’t okay with them? What do they care? They’re probably paying for at least 5 different addict’s pain killer addictions too, if not 20+. What she does with the insurance they provided her with after choosing to hire her is frankly, none of their business. But hey, that’s just my opinion. I’m rambling.

I just think we’ve stuck our noses in too many places they don’t belong. Why can’t the rule of thumb be “live and let live”? The world would be a better place if we conducted ourselves this way. My right to marry a woman I love, as another women, is not a legal issue, it’s a personal one. As is my right to get an abortion or not, practice the religion of my choice and many, many, many other things. Speaking of religion, it should not have a say in our laws or our bodies. We have a constitutional right to freedom of religion or lack thereof. So why is someone else’s God being used to justify proposed laws that will apply to everyone?  You’re God is not my God. Your religion is not my religion. We have to stop attempting to govern people’s freedom to choose things for themselves. Sure there are some things that we do need laws for (not killing people, not raping people, etc.) but we’re in a day and age where everything is being argued and regulated to death. It isn’t productive or healthy. Things that need attention (like homeless veterans) are being ignored while stuff like marriage equality is put in the spotlight. Why did we even argue about that? It should be a human right to love who we want and therefore marry who we want; so long as they’re over 18 and human. Who I marry doesn’t effect you; so why are we arguing it when millions of vets who fought and died to keep us safe are sleeping on sidewalks in the freezing cold? I mean really, what the fuck?

Okay I went on a rant there and I’m going to do the real asshole thing now and just end it here because I have to leave Starbucks for a meeting. So, bye Felicia!

……..I ended up talking about abortion and religion anyway, didn’t I? Fuck.

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

Pain & Strength

   If strength was a being who would it be? A quiet person with morals? Or a soldier who’s fighting? Does it wage brutal wars? Or stoke the calm flame? Is it a way to survive? Or just a pawn in the game?

   Is it a silent man, who endures straight-faced? Or a screaming woman, boiling over with rage? Is strength attempting to keep the pain in one place? Or is it the words that I pour on this page? Is it silent and steadfast or not built to last? Does it live in your heart or come from your past? Does it stay with you forever, always in the background? Or does it dissipate, like the dew on hot ground?

Is it something you’re born with? Or another thing to gain? Is it constant and present? Or brought on by pain? It’s one of those things with so many sayings. Lyrics and quotes, given free with no paying. With pain comes strength or the tendency to break, it’s safe to say we all need it some days. But what if you don’t have it? Do you wither away? Or is there a piece to the picture that nobody’s saying?

I was lucky enough to be quite resilient. Coupled with strength, it’s a mixture of brilliance. These things ensured my continued existence, my drive to survive was of a thing of persistence. But as I grew up the question asked itself; was I born like this, or did I gain it through hell? Could my luck run out? Or was it made to last? Cause god knows my pain isn’t just in the past.

I had always assumed my strength was born of the struggle. Till one day my love suggested another. He said strength is innate, not something you gain. That the pain didn’t make it, it was already made. And I tend to believe him as we’re two of the same.

We have two different stories, mine riddled with trauma. And while his is rough, there’s not so much drama. Sure he has pain, just like everyone else; but our pasts so are different, except how they felt. So if we have two different histories, one “less bad” than the next, then how can he have the same strength I possess?

I can only guess that this strength is innate, built into us, right from the gate.

But then what do we say, of the people who possess no strength? Are they doomed to fail, to crumble in pain? Or is there a way to survive that’s yet to be seen? Too many questions to cover in a day. But at least if we ask, there’s something to gain.

We all have to hold these painful burdens, and pain always demands to be heard of. So we talk about it, scream, and pour it on a page. Everyone has to find their own way. Some people turn to drugs, cutting, or sex, pain always brings out the worst in them. At the end of the day, it demands to be felt. How you deal, is up to yourself. Cause see pain and strength are forever entangled, without feeling one, the other’s a stranger. Two peas in a pod, two sides of the coin, this all leads to the same viewpoint.

No matter what, pain’s always felt and strength is what helps you not destroy yourself.

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

8 Songs for Strong Women by Strong Women

  1. “Black Sheep” by Gin Wigmore

First off, Gin Wigmore is just outright amazing. With her gravelly voice and deep lyrics, she’s everything a woman could ask for (in my humble opinion). Black Sheep, from the Gravel & Wine album, is an ode to misfits, freaks, and… well, black sheep everywhere. This song truly inspired me (which led to the words “Black Sheep” being tattooed on the outside of my wrist). I’ll never forget the summer days spent driving aimlessly in my car belting out the lyrics like it was my last day on Earth. Check her out.

“I got lots of jealous lovers that all wish they had me back. Gotta pistol for a mouth, my old mama gave me that. Makin’ my own road out of gravel and some wine. If I have to fall then it wont be in your line.”

 

2. “Hard Out Here” by Lily Allen

Hard Out Here is a poppy electronic song about gender inequality. She embraces the term “bitch” and owns it. It’s not what I normally listen to and yet, every time I hear it I’m guaranteed to be humming it for the rest of the day. It’s just catchy and furthermore, talks about very real problems in the world today. Lily Allen is unapologetic and I love it.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to say. I’ll go ahead and say them anyway. Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits. It’s hard, it’s hard, it’s hard out here for a bitch.”

 

3. “365 Days” by ZZ Ward

ZZ Ward is my hero. No seriously though, this woman is incredible. I’ve never heard so much soul in a modern day singer. And not only is she a singer, she also plays the guitar, harmonica, and piano. She’s an amazing fusion of blues, hip hop, and pop. Full of soul and genuine lyrics she is what the women of today need. Check out ALL of her stuff.

“I won’t be your debutante.
Won’t be the fool to your savant
I can’t fix your cracked-up dreams
While the leaves fall off these trees
I won’t spend the winter nights
Holding on to what ain’t right
You might break your words real fast
But mine are made to last

365 days, you’ve been making me wait
So keep your two-timing games
It’s a lot of too late
The summer’s over.”

365 Days ZZ Ward

4. “Happy Ever After” by Gin Wigmore

Okay, I know she’s already on this list once but I love her music. I just can’t help myself. This song helped me get through a brutal breakup and gave me some much needed perspective. I still catch the feels every time I hear it. So feel lucky because I listened to it in order to make sure this was a good version.

“It’s been a long time coming
And this house is burning down
Don’t know how I ever loved you
I was blind and running into what’s in front of me
If I only knew, that happy ever after wasn’t you.”

Happy Every After- Gin Wigmore

5. “Hard” by Rihanna

Now I’m normally not a huge Rihanna fan. Her voice isn’t very good without auto tune; nonetheless, this song can make any woman feel ready to take on the world. It’s catchy, confident hip hop. And so, it goes on the list.

“They can say whatever, I’ma do whatever. No pain is forever, yup you know this. Tougher than a lion, ain’t no need in tryin’. I live where the sky ends, yup, you know this.”

Hard by Rihanna

6. “U.N.I.T.Y.” by Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah is a thoroughbred woman. Period. I forgot she ever even made music until I heard this song. She calls misogynistic men out and encourages unity among women. It’s awesome old school sounding hip hop. Beautiful sax notes with Queen Latifah’s ever recognizable voice.

“You say I’m nothing without ya, but I’m nothing with ya
A man don’t really love you if he hits ya
This is my notice to the door, I’m not taking it no more
I’m not your personal whore, that’s not what I’m here for
And nothing good gonna come to ya til you do right by me
Brother you wait and see (Who you calling a bitch?)”

U.N.I.T.Y. by Queen Latifah

7. “Yellow Flicker Beat” by Lorde

I either love or hate this woman’s music. This song is about everyone who ever abused or mistreated her. My favorite line says “And now people talk to me. I’m slipping out of reach now. People talk to me, and all their faces blur. But I got my fingers laced together and I made a little prison. And I’m locking up everyone that ever laid a finger on me. I’m going in.”

Yellow Flicker Beat by Lorde

8. “Salute” by Little Mix

This quartet of strong women know how to get you hype with a song. This military theme song calls all women to stand together and move up and on in the world. Favorite line?

“Sisters we are everywhere.
Warriors, your country needs you.
If you ready ladies, better keep steady.
Ready, aim, shoot it.
Don’t need ammunition. On a mission.
And we’ll hit you with the truth.
Representing all the women, salute, salute!”

Salute by Little Mix

I love music. More specifically, I love music that makes me feel. These songs do that for me. There will probably be many more lists like this to come but for now, my ADD has kicked in and I want to move on to something else. 🙂 Enjoy.

by Ashley Hebner

Miscommunication

Miscommunication. Words strung together in carefully crafted lines. Lines that are misunderstood, almost every single time. Feelings that are hurt because we misrepresented our sides. An argument ensues, devoid of sound mind.

We said this, but meant that. What’s meant as a plea transforms to an attack. These words that we hurl, we can never take back. What happens in that space between what we meant and what we asked? How come nothing is as simple as a statement of fact?

We try to explain our insides, show them to another. We get lost in translation, confusing each other. A concept so simple becomes distorted, we’re flustered. Why can’t we simply understand one another?

Inside our minds, the thoughts were seamless and neat. But when they exit our mouths they’re garbled, unclean. The side we meant to show becomes an emotion tainted scene. And every word out of our mouths is not what we mean. Why isn’t real life ever like the movies?

When feelings are involved, things get messy. I need a mediator, someone to express me. Cause when I say words I’m devoid of the blessing, of saying things without second guessing. I question myself till I’m backed in a corner and it feels like everything’s so out of order. No wonder my words confound, they’ve become distorted. Because I’m so worried of words misworded.

This need to be understood, turns everything bad that started as good. Why can’t I say my words the way I type this page? In simple lines, easy to gauge. Easy to read, no misconceptions. Communication is a bitch of a lesson.

If only I could talk as well as I write my expressions.

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016