2016 Liebster Blog Award

So I am actually a few days behind on writing this here post because work and life have been so completely insane but, here goes nothing! So, the lovely Jessica nominated me for the 2016 Liebster Blog Award; so from me to you Jessica, THANK YOU! Naturally I was like “Awesome!….. what the fuck is that?” I followed the link back to her page and quickly learned what it is. Liebster is German for the word “beloved” and the award is given to newer bloggers with under 200 followers who have awesome blogs that are…you guessed it, beloved! So, that’s pretty damn cool 🙂

Now this award here has a couple of rules so I will post them below…

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Now, I’ve thanked Jessica for nominating me. I’m also going to take a hint from her and go to the people’s blogs I want to nominate and let them know personally because let’s be honest, that is so much easier than trying to tag 11 people in this post. Plus, I have to do some reading and deciding on the topic of who I want to nominate… I’m coming for you my fellow bloggers 😉 Moving forward…

 ~THE QUESTIONS JESSICA ASKED OF ME~

   1. What is your go-to comfort food?

Okay this is a hard one for me. I was raised Southern, therefore I have quite a few comfort foods. But for this question I’m going to have to go with tacos, Lupi’s cheesesteaks, and Rosemary bread with seasoned olive oil. I have a bipolar palate.

2. Is there a favorite plant or flower that makes you stop and appreciate its beauty? What is it? If not, what does spark that reaction in you?

I am absolutely obsessed with Willow Trees. Every time I pass a decent sized one with it’s beautiful, low hanging branches swaying in the wind it always makes me pause, even if it’s just for a moment. One day I would love to get married underneath one.

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  3. What makes you feel connected with the world when you feel out-of-place?

My family has a tradition of telling each other to “just walk outside and put your bare feet in the grass/sand/dirt”. We believe that grounding ourselves with nature is the easiest way to become grounded within ourselves. Oftentimes though I can’t stop long enough to do this so when that isn’t an option I drive and listen to music. That’s like church for me, it makes it easier to slow down and breathe most days.

   4. If you have children, what have you learned about yourself through raising them? If you don’t have children, have you been personally affected by a child and how?

I raised my little brother and sister along with a few other children who had absent parents over the years. They taught me to be mature, responsible, caring, tolerant, patient, and forgiving. They taught me what happens when a parent doesn’t put their own child first; the pain and lifelong damage that can cause is very hard to watch. They taught me how to be a mother. Something that will come in handy now that I’m 10 weeks pregnant with a child of my own. Words can’t describe how long I’ve waited to have a child and how much fear I had about my ability to conceive (I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). But now that my one greatest wish has come true all I can do is pray that I make it to full term and that my child is healthy. All of the lessons these other children taught me, in combination with the many things having my own child will teach me, are what I will use to be the best parent I possibly can be.

   5. Do you think you could handle being a special needs parent? Why?

I think it would be naïve to pretend that I can completely answer this question without having been in the situation myself. I have friends who are parents to special needs children and while it is incredibly rewarding and their children are amazing, it is also challenging and exhausting. I know that I have enough love in my heart, strength in my spirit, and openness in my mind to treat and raise a special needs child the way they deserve to be. One of my favorite little boys in the entire world has ASD and I absolutely adore him. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I already know how much his parents and many other parents struggle with the ups and downs of raising a SN child. So yes, I do think I could do it but I won’t pretend to know all of the hurdles that would be thrown at me. I won’t pretend that I would do it perfectly because NO PARENT of ANY child “does it perfectly. They just do it to the best of their ability and that is something I can say I would do.

   6. Who is someone in your life that you’ve lost that resulted in a total change in you? How did you change? Note: The loss can be due to death but doesn’t have to be.

I’ve lost so many people, in so many different ways, that this is a difficult question to answer. I could go with my grandfather, my first love, my last love, my best friends throughout the years, the 30 some odd people I’ve known personally who’ve died because of addiction in the last 10 years. So many options and each one played their part is shaping different pieces of me. So I’m not going to pick one. I’ll pick pieces of each. Losing my grandfather was my first real loss. He was the first one that hurt so bad I was sure I had broken in half. I went off the deep end and did a lot of drugs for awhile. I had already been taught in life that no one stays but he was a big hurt piece. We never saw it coming. Next was my first love. I absolutely adored him. He fucked my best friend in the entire world in my house, in my bed, where I gave them permission to hang out and party with a bunch of our other friends while I went to Vermont for 4 days. Why was I away? Because my mom and step dad had gotten locked up on the same day and left me with a house that was $3,000 in debt when I was 14 years old. Needless to say, I needed a break. What I got was heartbreak. I never really let anyone in after him for about 6 years until my ex and I got together. We had known each other since we were 15 and 17 and he was the only person who bothered to tell me that my first love had cheated on me as soon as he found out. All of my other friends knew because they were at the party when it happened and no one told me. But Gunner did. Gunner and I got together and stayed together for 4 years or so; through his PTSD, my active addiction, and so many struggles. We survived it all and when we finally reached the place of peace that we had aimed for the entire time… well, there was so much damage that we didn’t have the ability to maintain a healthy relationship anymore. We wanted to save the friendship above everything else, including the relationship, so we cut off the arm to save the body. We are still friends to this day, but that was an earth shattering, life altering pain like I had never known. It took me a great deal of time to heal and on some days it still stings like it’s fresh. I imagine it’s like that whenever you’ve truly loved someone. None the less, he taught me how much a relationship can survive and what things will break it in the end, no matter how much you love someone. That relationship forever changed me in more ways than I could ever write here. Last, but most certainly not least, all those I’ve lost to the disease of addiction. Each one was too soon, each one broke my heart, and each one is another reason that I stay clean. I will live the life they never got to see. I will stay clean to honor the lives they lost.

   7. If Earth was due to explode in 1 week would you seek out a new planet or hang out and explode with Earth? Why?

I would seek out another planet simply because finally, for once in my life, I have too much to lose to give it up so easily.

   8. Name a special memory you have that’s tied to the weather or a season.

Being with my ex and friends so many times, all around a bonfire, in the heart of fall. The smell of fire, leaves, and burning wood all around us. The dark night, bright stars, and their flame lit faces, all laughing and screaming so happily. I miss having bonfires. I would love to do it with the people in my life today.

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   9. Do you verbally communicate as well as you write? Why or why not?

Hahahaha no. I do speak pretty well these days but I’ll always express myself more honestly in my writing. Honesty=better. I tend to be shut off when speaking to people in person. I’m a bit defensive and careful about who I tell my stuff to because I have ridiculous trust issues.

   10. What is your favorite animal and why?

Snakes. I just love them. They’re pure instinct and I respect that. They’re fast, powerful, and unable to be manipulated. They just are what they are. They grow to know their owner’s scent and won’t bite if trained and cared for properly. That is as long as we’re talking about snakes that are normally owned like Pythons and Boas. If you decide to raise Cobras or Vipers then getting bit will always be a very likely possibility as they’re more aggressive and less tamable by nature. I love all snakes though and at one point owned quite a few. Now however, my significant other absolutely HATES them so I don’t get to have them anymore 😦

   11. What would need to change in your life in order for you to truly live out your dreams?

So many of my dreams have already come true. As far as the ones that haven’t, most of them require money I haven’t made yet. It’s a fucking shame how many things come back to money.

Whoo! That was a lot more than it seemed like when I started this post and now I still have to give you 11 random facts about myself (as if I haven’t spent forever writing about myself already) and then ask 11 questions of the people I will nominate. I guess we’ll do the 11 facts first. Here goes nothing…

11 FACTS ABOUT MYSELF

  1. I was born in Florida but have lived all over the East Coast and Kansas.
  2. I have 22 piercings and 19 tattoos.
  3. I have 4 sisters and 5 brothers.
  4. I switched schools more than 19 times between grades 1 and 10.
  5. I am a tattoo artist and a body piercer. I absolutely LOVE it.
  6. Writing has literally saved my life and my sanity on more than 1 occasion.
  7. I drive stick shift and get massively bored while driving automatic cars.
  8. I graduated from an online charter school because I couldn’t stop moving long enough to get established in any one school.
  9. I’m a survivor, of so many things and that’s an essential part of who I am.
  10. I fucking despise sauerkraut. The smell alone will make me projectile vomit.
  11. I didn’t see The Goonies until I was 22 years old.

What questions to ask the people I nominate? Hmmm… there’s so many things I could ask! I think I’m just going to wing it.

THE NOMINEE’S 11 QUESTIONS!!

  1. What do you think is the most important quality/spiritual principle to live your life with? For example, honesty, humor, forgiveness, etc.
  2. What really pisses you off? Makes your skin crawl, ears steam, head explode?
  3. Why do you think we (humans) are put on this earth? Are we here by accident or to achieve some greater purpose?
  4. Why do you write? What motivates you, inspires, you, or keeps you going?
  5. Describe one memory from your life that to this day you think of and replaying in your head often. It can be anything and can reoccur for any reason, it just has to be honest.
  6. What makes you feel at peace?
  7. What is one of the greatest struggles you’ve ever overcome? Describe.
  8. What’s your poison? (Everyone has one.)
  9. What kind of person are you really? No sugarcoating, no fluff, who are you really when no one is watching?
  10. What kind of person do you want to be?
  11. Write a song lyric that really resonates with you and tell us why 🙂

I’m excited to go nominate everyone for this award and I hope ya’ll enjoyed this post. A huge kudos goes out to anyone who made it through allll of that and actually survived to the end. I know she’s a long one! I can’t wait to read all your responses (a lovely pasttime for my vacation at the beach). Thank you all for reading and for participating! Support your fellow bloggers!!

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

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