Catalyst 

If I stare at this page for a thousand weeks will I find the courage to write what I think? You were a surprise. Pleasant and sweet. But where I’m from, that’s a precursor to defeat. I’m damaged baby. 

I’m trying to tell you, I really dig you. But I’ve dug before and ended up 6 feet deep. People just don’t love like me. 

I’ve been a novelty, someone’s conquest, a fleeting love at the very best. People only want the “survivor” when she comes without the past. I used to mistake empty hands for love, falling for dogs who just wanted a home, but baby I’ve grown, and I know the difference, between being in love and being a bone. I’ve survived these lovers after feeding their hunger; but only fools don’t learn the danger, the danger that comes from falling under. 

I don’t need fixing, so please don’t try. I’ve spent a decade learning how to fly. I’m not a damsel in distress. I’m an inferno and I can have your back. But I’m not a fucking midnight snack. I don’t play games but I always win and looking at you is close to sin. The way you smile sets fire to my skin but baby, you fuckin’ scare me. 

I breathe easy when I’m with you, laugh loudly and speak so true. But the comfort I feel when I’m with you, makes me think of every thing that was ever too good to be true. I think you’re different, I really do. But you’ll have to forgive my fear of you. You’re a foreign concept, something new. 

Because you make me wonder if maybe it isn’t so bleak. Maybe love isn’t always a one way street. Maybe you can actually see me. And that baby, is what fuckin scares me. 

I’ve grown accustomed to damaged men. The kind that lie and bleed you dry and leave you questioning your own insides. I’ve known betrayal. And I’ve felt the sting of self doubt. Because I believed the words that poured from another man’s mouth. I guess you could say I’m normally guarded at best and somehow you’ve made me drop my defenses and the only experience I have to go on, says that this is fucking reckless. Yet you jar my senses. Like you packaged happy and left it at my doorstep. How the fuck did this fuckin’ happen?

I’ve broken every rule with you. 

So why doesn’t it feel like I’m drowning? Shouldn’t it? Why doesn’t this feel like a mistake? Should it? Why when I’m around you do I feel like I’m home? And why when I’m with you do I not feel alone? Maybe you’re different. Maybe I’m broken. Maybe we’re just two sides of the same damn token. Maybe this is how it’s supposed to be and years of damage blinded me. Maybe we can be good and healthy. Maybe comfort shouldn’t fucking alarm me. 

I know I’m going back and forth but for what it’s worth, this is a first. I told you I’ve always felt discomfort, and that’s not some line I just like to use. You’re something new that I’m not used to and I’m not quite sure what I should do. I want to touch you, really touch you. But if that happens, what will it do? Because I feel like you’re a catalyst; like the second you happen, everything will be different. 

by Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

A Child’s Pain

This strange thing happens when you become a parent; at least for me it did. Every time I see someone hurt a child, hear a story about someone’s baby dying, or see something on the news about something that happened to a kid in some far corner of the country, I immediately think of my daughter. This thought then leads to a shudder or rage, fear or a sick feeling in my stomach, a visceral reaction to the thought of one of these things happening to my baby; or to any baby at all. 

I haven’t been a parent for long, but so far, the thing that bothers me the most is knowing that I won’t be able to save this amazing little girl from all the pain the world often throws at us. I can’t take every hit for her; and even if I could, I would only be robbing her of the opportunity to build her own strength. But the mother in me doesn’t care. It just wants to protect. I want her to have the strength and resiliency I have; but I would die to save her from the pain that I gained it through. My child will never endure some of the things I had to; but that doesn’t change the fact that she’ll have pains all of her own. And if it makes me sick and angry to see a little girl in a movie get hurt because her mother treats her poorly, then I can’t imagine how I’m going to feel the first time I see my little girl in pain. The thought of her hurting and me not being able to fix it keeps me up at night. 

However, I still refuse to shelter her from the real world too much. I will protect her like any mother should protect her young; but I won’t make her naive, and I won’t deny her the right to build her own strength. She’ll have to live and learn just like I did, whether I like it or not. But I have a feeling it will be much harder for me to watch her do that than it ever was to survive the things I’ve been through.

If only we lived in a world with no pain…

by Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

You Are Me, I Am You

I kiss the corners of your piercing blue eyes and my soul explodes as you reward me with your toothless smile. I will never take you for granted.  

I listen to your giggle as you play with your Gigi and I’m encompassed by warmth, enveloped with love, destroyed by happiness. How did I ever know love before you? 

I watch you sleep, closely examining the rise and fall of your chest, listening to your soft snore and dream induced murmurs. I would give a million of my lives to preserve yours. 

I see you see things for the first time. Your eyes light up and focus in, your brow furrows in that curious way, and you examine. You take everything in and I spend a significant amount of time wondering what you learn from it all. I will teach you everything I know, and then I will learn more so I can teach you more. 

I watch you play with your hands. I love those little fingers and palms so much. You twiddle your fingers around each other and examine every inch of their magnificent creation, almost as much as I do. I wonder what things they’ll create, what they’ll touch and feel, where they’ll explore. I’ll show you every beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. 

I see your head turn on a swivel when you hear my voice. I feel your heart slow when you’re upset and I wrap you up in my arms. I play with you, imitate you, watch you mimic me, and I have never loved anyone more. I see me in your eyes and I see you in mine. I hear my voice in yours when you yell just because you discovered you can. You are me, and I am you…

I will cherish you every moment. I will remember every second. I will embrace every day I get with you. You are not mine, but you are a piece of me. I do not own you, but I made you. You are my daughter, you are my life, and I will protect you and love you until the end of time. 

by Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

Temporary 

Feelings can be a truly terrible thing. Only they are capable of making you think you’re suffocating when you’re not. That you can’t take one more step when you can. That things will never get better when in fact, they will. Our ability to feel is what makes us human; and it is what makes us volatile and unpredictable. They are why so many people stay in bad relationships out of fear, why people kill themselves, why so much damage has been caused by and to so many. They are the reason that everyone has a poison, whether it be drugs, sex, love, or any other thing that can be abused in an attempt to numb our existence just a little bit. 

They can make everything seem too loud, too big, too hard. Simply put, they’re extreme

But they are temporary. And they aren’t fact. A feeling is just your perception of any given person, situation, or circumstance; but the amount of power it holds over you depends on your state of mind for it’s survival. How you react to that is your choice. The ones who kill themselves break my heart the most. I’ve been in dark places before in my life, where I felt like suicide was the only answer. But I’m still here today. I’m here because someone told me “This too shall pass”, “Feelings aren’t facts”, and “Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens”. At the time, I didn’t believe a single fucking word of it. I had experienced so much pain in my short life that it was all just a bit too much; but their words were just enough to make me wait a few years. 

And today I am truly blessed. I have amazing friends and family. I have a beautiful daughter who fills my world with light. I have my life. The feelings are still there, sometimes they are still extreme, and some days I still feel suffocated by the weight of them. But today I recognize their impermanence; and I try to give that more weight than I give the feelings themselves. I actively practice acceptance and I make the conscious decision on a daily basis to just do the next right thing for the next right reason, regardless of how I feel at the time. I owe almost all of the love and beauty in my life to that practice. And I never would’ve learned it had I given in, let the feelings take control, and chosen a permanent solution to a temporary problem. So, if you feel like shit today, that’s okay. Own it, accept it; and know that tomorrow is another day that you don’t have to let be weighed down by the problems of tonight. 

Life is short. And too many people leave us too early. So embrace your feelings, however temporary they may be, and be fucking grateful for the fact that you’re alive to experience them…

by Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

Controlled No More

I’ve learned recently that narcissists are very concerned with their image, how the world perceives them, and the things attached to them… like their cars, homes, partners… 

I was a narcissist’s partner. I didn’t know he was a narcissist when I chose to be with him but I figured it out in time. Just like I figured out that he viewed me as an extension of him, a representation of him, something that was a part of him; but never just as my own unique, autonomous spirit. 

I remember he immediately wanted me to get a job when we got together so we could get a place. It seemed totally normal, albeit fast, at the time. I started looking for waitressing jobs because it was easy, fast money. He was fine with any job but he started pushing me to try to find “better”, like an office job. I got two waitressing jobs in the next few months but eventually ended up in an office job. I was really good at it, so it worked out. Nothing wrong there, right?

He always hated my car. It was a 2004 Mazda Protege. I remember him constantly talking shit on it. When it finally gave out he gave me his old car and leased a new one for himself. This coincidentally happened right as I was about to leave him because we were fighting constantly. I didn’t stay with him because of the car; I had chosen to stay before he ever told me his idea. But I couldn’t help but wonder if he was giving it to me 1. So his girl wasn’t seen driving a “piece of shit” and 2. So I would feel like I had to stay with him because he gave me a car. Immediately after that I got pregnant though, and everything was great for awhile. No harm, no foul… right?

Next was my credit score. He did all these things because he was so concerned about me building better credit. I’d been on my own for a lot of years and had been fucked over a few times so I didn’t have the best score. He added to me to his credit card, only after telling me I couldn’t use it unless I was absolutely fucked though (not that I ever would’ve). Then the clutch went on my car (his old one) and instead of fixing it he decided that I needed to lease one so it could go towards my credit score and so I’d a nice four door for when the baby came. That’s a good thing too, right? 

Then he set up my car payment and car insurance through apps on his phone. I was putting up the money for everything but he was the one actually making the payment. It saved me the trouble, but it bothered me. All of our bills were already in his name and I just gave him the money every month. I felt like a fucking tenant. But he really wanted to “take care of it for us”, so I let him. But the car and insurance payments bothered me. I have always been very independent. I’ve always taken care of all of my own responsibilities. I told him this and he asked me to “please let him do this for me” and for me to “think of him as my lawyer who’s just looking out for my best interests.” So I let it go. Takes the stress off of me, right?

Then I got laid off and went on unemployment. You have to refile your claim biweekly when you’re on unemployment. He said he would do that for me too. I pointed out that that was ridiculous. This isn’t a car that he’s a co-signer on, it’s something that’s solely on me. But he said he would feel better if he just did it and that then I “wouldn’t have to worry about it and could just take care of the baby“. We had an argument over it and he ended up being the one to file it. But hey, I couldn’t possibly ever forget to do it then, right?

Then we broke up. And he threw every single thing that he ever fought to do for me in my face. And in retrospect, he always did. He always talked about how much he “did for our family”. All the things he achieved for us. And he did do a lot for our family. That’s an admirable thing. I will always be grateful to him for helping me better my credit score, get a reliable car, and making me more conscious of how I spend my money. Those are good things. But he wanted constant gratitude and validation for it. And any time we fought he acted as if it was him paying all of our bills himself and providing this life for us. He was making the payments but I was giving him 75% of my income towards them. I pulled my weight until I gave birth to our daughter and then she became my full time job. Then even when I was the only one caring for her 99% of the time he still felt the need to minimize it and act as if I wasn’t doing anything to “help him”. He would “suggest” his way of doing things (what had worked for his first daughter) weeks after I’d found the perfect way for our daughter, and when I didn’t take one suggestion or another because I’d already found my own way he’d accuse me of “acting like I knew everything” and “being close minded”. There were suggestions I did take when I needed them thou0h and it was like he needed me to constantly praise him for doing another thing for me or for us. I told him how proud of him I was all the time. I thanked him constantly for doing the things for me that I had told him I was more than capable of doing myself. But no, he had to do it; he just also had to receive constant admiration for it too. Somewhere in all of this I realized that it was all about control. Control of his responsibilities, my responsibilities, our life, me. 

I wonder if he ever saw me as the person I am or if I was always just a thing to be had. Something to check off of his five year plan. Girlfriend, apartment, nicer car, mortgage, house. Check, check, check. I loved him for who he was when his narcissism wasn’t running his life, our life. But he lost to his ego and I lost him. Then I walked away, because I had to. I am not a thing to be controlled or owned. I am a strong, resilient woman; made of fire and iron, compassion and love, empathy and scars, past and present, venom and fangs. I am so many fucking things and I just couldn’t fit into the box he wanted to keep me in. I couldn’t love someone who didn’t seem to love me for who I truly was. I couldn’t love someone who couldn’t truly see me. So I walked. And it hurt, it still does. I see him in my daughter’s face everyday and I’m reminded of all the good times. But the man I fell in love with is not the man he is anymore. And I didn’t sign up to spend my life with his body; I signed up to be with his spirit. And his spirit is being suffocated by his narcissism and ego. 


The second you control something you love is the second you destroy it. 

by Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

Ask Me Anything Monday

This is a little fun exercise I used to do last year that fell into obscurity between working and being pregnant. Soooo, I’m giving it a shot again. If you’re interested, ask away 🙂 

Submit any questions, queries, or random wonderings you may have! 🙂 As always, it can be a personal question about me or my life or it can be completely random. And I promise to answer it as completely and honestly as I can! There are no rules or limitations. Let’s go! 
Much love,

Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

The Soulmate Pt. 1

I remember the first day I saw you. You walked down the hallway in school and the second I laid eyes you everything stopped for a moment. You stuck out. I remember thinking, “I’m supposed to get to know him. He’s supposed to be in my life.” But I was self-conscious back then; and so you kept walking, without me ever saying a word. I remembered you though. You’d cross my mind from time to time and I’d wonder why I couldn’t get you out of my mind. Two or three months passed by and I was sitting at lunch one day when you walked up and started talking to my friends. Then, as if you’d just noticed I was there, you looked at me and asked “Who the fuck are you?” To which I so intelligently replied, “NO, who the fuck are you?”

Genius, right?

But that was it;  we immediately hit it off and you became my best friend. You were like my mirror image in a man. We loved all the same things, agreed on so many important issues; you didn’t judge my crazy family and I didn’t make fun of your completely normal one. You meant so much to me. You were friends with my then fiancée and your girl friend and I were best friends. There was never an awkward moment with you. I remember sleeping in the same bed as you during a time in my life where the only man I could sleep next to was my fiancée; and I had no issues. I didn’t stay awake all night waiting for you to make a move on me, I didn’t jump awake because of a nightmare brought on by sleeping in an unfamiliar place, I was completely comfortable with you. I trusted you; and that was something I rarely experienced.

As it turned out, the fiancée cheated on me; and all of my friends knew and never told me. You were the only one who didn’t know but when you learned of it, a year after the fact, the first thing you did was drive to my house and pick me up. You showed me the respect of telling me the truth and not getting mad when I punched holes through your bedroom wall. I loved you for that. And then you drove me to beat the shit out of the girl, like any best friend would.

A few months went by and the time came for me to move up north with my birth mom. I obviously couldn’t live with the now ex-fiancée anymore and I had nowhere else to go with the money I made from my shitty waitressing job; so I moved. You were the only friend from our area who took the hour drive to visit me. I’ll never forget when on one of those visits we went back down to our area and ate at our favorite diner with a bunch of old friends. You and I went outside to smoke a cigarette and on the way back in we sat down on a bench in the waiting area of the restaurant. I turned to say something to you and you kissed me…

And the entire fucking planet stopped spinning.

In that moment everything froze. My heart leapt into my chest and even though I had no idea what was going on I was absolutely sure that I had never experienced a kiss even close to this. It was like you reached in and wrapped your arms around the very core of me. Everything had fallen into slow motion and there was nothing in the world but you and me and the feeling of your lips on mine. Slowly we pulled away from each other and the look in your eyes could be described as nothing other than pure fire. One word left both of our moths at the exact same time, “Wow”.

We went back into the diner and pretended like it never happened.

In hindsight, had we pursued anything at that time in our lives we would have absolutely eaten each other alive. I was still damaged from my first love, you couldn’t keep your dick in your pants after having your heart broken by your first love. It would have been absolute mutually assured destruction. A fact we agreed on 4 years later when we finally caught up to each other again. After the diner incident we moved on with our lives. I built a life in Allentown and you joined the Army and married a junkie (not that you knew it at the time). After getting home from deployment you learned that your wife had slept with all of your friends and ended up in jail for possession of heroin, so you left her. Awhile later I was down in your area doing tattoos and you saw so on Facebook. You initiated contact and it turned out that I needed somewhere safe to stay while I did work on a bunch of people. So you offered and I accepted.

And it was like we had never lost contact. You were still the same man I had always known; one who could make me laugh until I cried and who I felt truly at ease with. I could always be exactly who I was with you and you loved it. You were incredible. But something was different…

I didn’t just see my childhood best friend anymore. You had grown into a very attractive man; one who reminded me of a never spoken about kiss many years earlier. You were sitting on the lounge section of the couch a couple feet from me and we were talking like we’d never missed a beat. All of the sudden the conversation just stopped and I asked you why you were sitting so far away. You moved right next to me, put your arm around me and leaned in to kiss me…

I remember wondering if the years had turned our first kiss into this unrealistic, unattainable fantasy. Could it really be as amazing, as earth shattering as I remmebered it? Had time blown that one time connection way out of proportion?

Turns out, it had not. The second your lips touched mine everything stopped all over again. Every moment between us was fluid, intuitive, in sync… You seemed to know exactly where I was going to go, what I wanted, how I wanted it. Everything just made sense.

You. Made. Sense, and I couldn’t imagine not being with you..

I didn’t go back home for two months, even after I finished the tattoos I was initially in town to do. When I did finally drive my crappy Hyundai Tiburon back to Allentown it was with you behind me, in a Uhaul full of your belongings…

To be continued…

by Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017