Undercover Romantic

I’m an undercover romantic,

A safe keeper of memories,

It’s always the little things,

The little things that get the best of me.

I’ll never forget the night of the fire,

The true beginning of everything,

You simply opened your mouth,

And we talked well into the morning.

Every part of me was warming,

And every part of me felt home,

I distinctly remember wondering,

Where that comfort was coming from.

I watched you form your thoughts,

As the color of fire licked your lips,

You gave me your honesty,

And in return earned my respect.

There was something in your words,

That I just found so attractive,

It’s a rare day you find the truth,

Offered in the same way you give it.

A meeting of such like minds,

An offer of experience,

You carried yourself so humbly,

I thought you were fucking brilliant.

I didn’t want that night to end,

I would’ve stayed till the sky turned red,

But when I finally hugged you goodbye,

I somehow knew I’d remember it.

I woke up that next morning,

With your words echoing in my head,

I couldn’t shake the sound of your voice,

And this thing right behind it.

This strange sense of belonging but,

You were the last thing I was looking for,

And the timing of it couldn’t be worse,

I tried to tell myself it was nothing

but there was something I couldn’t ignore.

Just a feeling, a hint of longing,

As I found myself craving your presence,

And even when the days got busy,

I still made time for our conversations.

I fell in love with your mind first,

How you weaved your words together,

And I don’t think I had laughed that hard,

In what felt like a thousand forevers.

You asked me to get together,

And I was all about it,

We met at a park in the middle of summer,

And I knew that this was something special.

The way you smiled stopped me dead in my tracks,

And baking in that sun I was still so relaxed,

We went to get milkshakes because I didn’t want it to end,

And when we finally went home,

Your smile stayed in my head.

You’ve smiled at me so many times since,

And it still feels as warm as the first time I saw it.

I’ll never be more grateful for offered experience,

Because out of a talk came a forever I believe in.

by Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

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Possible Again

I sat back today and watched him play with his kids, just wild and free, so full of love and life. It was like one of those perfect pictures that bullshit romance novels paint: Dad playing with the older kids in the yard, dogs running around enjoying the freedom, mom a few paces away holding the baby, feeling blessed, laughing wholeheartedly at the people she loves playing without a care in the world. It was perfect. And foreign.

It reminded me of a time when I still believed in white picket fences and happy endings. When families weren’t the people you were trying to become the exact opposite of. He reminds me of when I still believed in true love. When “forever” meant forever and wasn’t just a false promise used as a bandaid over another bullet hole. He makes me feel special again, like maybe people really can love each other for all that they are. He makes me think that fall evenings spent sitting on the front porch watching the kids play in the yard are possible. Like nights spent cuddled up on the couch actually talking to each other, not just existing in the same room, are real.

I’ve always had a habit of ignoring the warning signs. I’m not one of those women who can’t see them, I can always see them. But I would convince myself that I could work around them; when in my heart of hearts, I always knew when and how a relationship would fail.

I don’t have that here.

Everything is still so new and yet, I can’t see anyone else after him. I feel like I’ve finally come home after years of living in some alternate reality nightmare and all the sudden the world is an endless sea of possibility and happiness again. Everything makes sense again. It’s like I finally woke up and everything I once dreamed was possible actually is. Ask anyone who knows me well enough and they’ll tell you they’ve heard me say “Forever is a fucking lie we tell each other to hide from the pain that we know will always be inevitable.” And I said it because I believed it. I don’t know what that says about me… or the people who’ve supposedly “loved me” before, but I know that I believed it. That forever only meant “until this ends in a three ring shit show circus”, or “until I get bored and you get sick of who I am”, or at best, “until we fall apart because people can’t survive all the ups and downs of life together”.

But I don’t believe that now…

I actually believe I could sit back and watch the kids play and grow and evolve for the rest of time with him. I can see fitting into the crook of his body for every night of the rest of our lives. And that’s insane, isn’t it? Shouldn’t it be? It doesn’t feel like it is, or should be. I have always trusted my gut above anything and anyone else and everything I say now is coming from my gut, not some lust drunk, fantasy induced place in my head. I don’t see anyone else after him. I don’t have any “I wonder how long this will last” thoughts. I never wanted to believe in someone this much, ever again. I was completely unwilling to give one more person what I saw as being “too much power over me” ever again. I loudly refused to ever start over or try again.

Then he happened…

And now loving families, and crisp fall evenings, and white picket fences, and even happy endings, are all possible again. And I tell myself that I should be terrified…

But, I’m not.

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

8 Months Pregnant & Crazy Busy!

It has been way too long since I’ve written on here so I figured I would at least attempt to get something written down! First of all, thank you to all the readers who are still checking out my older posts and showing them love! I appreciate you! 🙂

Ahhh life, it’s been insane lately! I’m currently 34 weeks and 5 days pregnant and I’m loving every second of it! Truly. I know that makes some pregnant women hate me but I can’t help it (nor would I want to). There’s nothing in this world like feeling my healthy, amazing daughter kick around and do somersaults in the very core of my being. She means the entire world to me and I don’t doubt that I would do absolutely anything for her. Due to my jacked up ovaries I get ultrasounds every 4 weeks (another thing mommies to be hate me for) and I love getting to see her beautiful little face and hear her strong heartbeat so often. I think I would go crazy if I didn’t get to. She always clocks in in the 140 range as far as beats per minute and she’s been steadily gaining weight the entire time. At our last U/S they said she weighed 4 pounds 13 ounces! I’m carrying that around; not to mention the puppies a little further up north! She’s such an active baby and I can’t express how supremely grateful I am for that. I struggled with crippling fear that something would go wrong in the beginning of my pregnancy. That subsided somewhat once I started being able to feel her move but really, I was still nervous until I hit the point where she was considered viable even outside of the womb. That helped a lot. The chances of anything going wrong are much slimmer now. But the birth? That’s where the fear lives now. However, I find myself feeling strangely calm about giving birth despite the many things that “could” go wrong. Granted that may very quickly disappear once the time comes haha. But so far I find myself feeling as if everything will be okay, and I have faith in my ability to bring my daughter safely into this world. I’m much more afraid of the hospital making a mistake or something happening to me than I am of anything happening to her. I just have this calming feeling that she will make it onto this plane of existence healthy and whole, without any hitches.

bebe-2
The Single Greatest Love I’ve Ever Felt…

 

She is the light of my life. I questioned whether or not I would be able to have kids for many years due to my screwy ovaries but I don’t think anything in this world could’ve stopped her from being conceived. I believe with every inch of my being that she was truly meant to be here and it is my job to make sure she is healthy, loved, and cared for. It is my job to raise her into someone who will make this world better, not worse. It’s my job to give her a safe place to exist, to grow and develop, to learn and evolve. It is my greatest blessing to be the person who is to give her unconditional love and acceptance. It is my responsibility to provide her with an environment where honesty is acceptable, where her spirit can be exactly who it is and who it’s meant to be. And I have never felt more honored, or humbled, by anything else in my entire life. I believe that in some ways, people are who they are; but we’d be crazy to think that nature doesn’t play a significant role in the whole “nature vs. nurture” argument. Parents play an enormous role in what their children grow up to value, to appreciate, to believe in. Some of these things are left up to chance; but a portion of them are definitely instilled by the things and values that they’re raised around. My mommy raised me to value honesty above almost anything else. She also instilled in my siblings and I the importance of looking out for the little guy. To never be a bully, to defend the underdog. To be kind and strong. To stand up for ourselves without putting others down. To defend family; and that family does not always mean blood relation. She taught us many things and the older I get, the more I realize how much of who I am today I owe to her. I can only hope to have that same positive impact on my own child. God knows I’ve been shown a lot of what to do and what not to do.

The closer I get to these kicks and jabs and tumbles becoming a breathing, screaming, eating little person the more I can’t wait to meet her; and the more I know I’m going to miss being so close to her. Every night when I go to bed, I lie on my left side, place a pillow between my knees, wrap my right arm around my belly and tuck my right hand under the left side of my stomach. As I settle in, she does the same; slowly moving her body until her back is lying against the side of my stomach that’s touching the bed. She uses the side of my stomach as a hammock and kicks her little legs around until she gets in a comfortable position. Then she just relaxes, into the side of my stomach and the crook of the bed, her little hands and feet stretching out occasionally until she falls asleep. When I wake up in the morning I either roll onto my back or sit up and I feel her start to stir as she wakes up with me. Then she shimmies her way back to the middle of my stomach and does a bunch of twists and turns until she’s found her new comfortable position. As I wake up more, she wakes up more. Once I eat, she’s up and bouncing around, giving me many kicks and jabs to get to feel and smile at. I love this. I love it more than I’ve ever loved anything in the world.

bebe-1
Bebe girl using the left side of my stomach as hammock 🙂

My mom says she hasn’t seen anyone love being pregnant so much since my grandmother, and I feel honored to have that in common with her. My grandmother was one of the most incredible women I’ve ever met. She was endlessly loving and accepting and she had this way about her that put everyone around her at ease.  I remember the first time I met her (she was my foster grandmother mind you), I walked into her house and she greeted my mom and I at the door. She looked me up and down for a moment, gave me the warmest smile and a hug, and said “So you’re my new grand daughter? Are you hungry?” And then she fed me. We spent the afternoon talking about things I’d never discussed with adults before; like why Italian sculptures of men always have such tiny penises (they kept the rooms cold so no one would pop a boner) and what kinds of stupid and embarrassing things my new foster brother and sister had done in the past. Then as I was about to leave, my new grandmother stuck out her chest and said “Guess which one’s fake! Go ahead you can touch them!” See, I had just learned that afternoon that this incredibly warm woman had stage 4 breast cancer and had been fighting it for many years. She had gotten a single mastectomy at that point and was given a bra with one fake boob in it to hide the lack of breast tissue from her surgery. And she wanted to know if I could tell which boob was fake. So I grabbed a 60 something year old woman’s breasts. And the real kicker? I guessed the wrong one. I will never forget that woman for the rest of my life. Even in her last few years of life she never stopped smiling, she never withheld her love, she always hid her pain. Even when the neuropathy in her hands was so bad that soft fabric felt like razorblades, she still refused to let anyone else fold her towels. She was a powerhouse of a woman and she was just so fucking good. Everything about her was so good. If I can end up being half as strong, half as loving, half as incredible as her and my mother then my daughter will be just fine and will always know just how much she is loved. This is the legacy I want to carry on. Strong, loving women who take no shit from anyone and who defend their families. I am honored to be a part of this family and I am excited to bring my daughter into it. I can’t wait to see what kind of person she becomes with the many incredible influences that are going to be in her life. And I’m proud to say that today, I am one of those good influences. I have survived and overcome so much and I’ve done so without becoming a broken person. I can be a little rough around the edges and I’m definitely somewhat damaged but I am strong and loyal and compassionate. I am a survivor and a mother by nature and I will bend the earth over backwards and break it for this little girl. That is the least of what she deserves and the smallest bit of what I want to give her.

 

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

For My Daughter…

Being pregnant has brought up so much for me. Mostly, my childhood. Yeesh. I could spend hours thinking about the great multitude of things that I had to experience that my child absolutely will not. I learned many things growing up but most of them fall within two categories: what to do and what not to do. 

I will always put this little girl first. 

I will never invalidate her feelings. 

I will always show her respect, regardless of her age. 

I will never put her in a position to betray her own conscience, beliefs, or heart. 

I will create an environment where honesty is acceptable. 

I will never punish her for not reading my mind or for telling the truth. 

I will always protect her to the best of my ability. Completely and fiercely

I will never choose a man over her. 

I will teach her how a woman deserves to be treated. 

I will raise her to be worthy of other’s respect. 

I will teach her to be strong without being a bitch, how to be compassionate without being naive, how to be giving without becoming a doormat. 

I will explain to her all the things that were never explained to me. I won’t leave her just barely treading water in a sea of new experiences and questions. She’ll be taught about periods and boys (or girls) and sex. She’ll know what’s okay and what’s not. I will be someone she can always talk to (even if she refuses to.) She’ll be taught to follow her gut, because it will guide her long after she buries me. 

I will pass along the words of my mommy, my grandma, my friends. I will do my best to pass along my years of hard earned wisdom, to help her learn from my mistakes… and to take a step back and let her learn from her own. 

I will do her the favor of not always breaking her fall, for she has to hit her knees if she’s to learn how to get back up. But I will also be there to catch her when she needs it. 

I will not abandon her. 

I will never give her reason to question my love for her. I will challenge her to question her motives though, and the motives of those around her. 

I will protect her innocence. 

But I won’t let her walk into the world blind and unprepared. 

I will teach her that “No is a complete sentence”. It requires no explanations, no qualifiers, no fuss. I will teach her how to use this word to protect and defend herself. 

I will balance as much of her life and upbringing as I can. 

I promise her, and myself, that I will do all these things; but I’ll do them without being a control freak (most of the time). 

I will show her (and remind her) how deeply loved, immensely adored, and uniquely special she is.

I won’t take her shit. I won’t turn a blind eye. I will be her mother, not her friend (at least until she’s an adult anyway, at which point I’ll still be “mommy” whenever she needs). 

I will give her fair rules and the consequences will always be the same; not changing by the day leaving her not knowing what to expect. 

I will be loving, consistent, kind, patient, and understanding.

I will always accept her truth. 

I will never make her feel like she has to hide herself from me. 

I will teach her how to love herself. 

Raise her to have a strong backbone. 

I will show her how to define herself; so that she never allows the world, a man, an experience, to define her.

I will raise her to believe in herself, enough so that she challenges even me when she believes in something. 

I will be her mother, her confidante, her shoulder to cry on, the ear that listens to her, connected to a heart that will never judge her. 

I will give her everything I can that I never got, or got so late. I will live up to the mother that my mommy has been. 

I will raise her to be a good woman and a good person. 

I will give her the best of me that exists within the deepest pits of my bare soul. 

I will treat her as my daughter, the love of my life, my flesh and blood, the greatest gift I’ve ever been blessed with. 

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

Innocence

At what point in life does innocence die?

The first time we hurt or the first time we cry?

Is it the gradual death of a million forced smiles,

that all eventually build up in their time?

Or is this loss just a thing that occurs,

Another part of life,

with no need for concern?

If that’s the case why can most of us tell,

when someone has crossed into the next realm?

What is it we see, that highlights the difference between innocence and aging?

Is it something under the surface that slowly changes?

Do we recognize that the illusions are fading?

Is it the damage that we’ve all taken,

or the inevitable consequence that comes with aging?

Is wisdom worth this innocence breaking?

And what is the opposite of this innocence?

It isn’t guilt,

just a loss of ignorance.

We become aware,

of all our surroundings.

The good, the bad, the ever outstanding.

Innocence is innocent because it’s ignorant,

with facts come pain,

and recognition of stimulus.

It’s not necessarily always a bad thing,

but once it’s acknowledged, it can’t be unseen.

That’s why that light disappears from our eyes,

To make enough room for the rest of our lives.

I don’t think innocence can be maintained,

Life’s too violent not to taint. 

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

Catching Up & The Creepy Guy

It’s been a week or two since I’ve written consistently. Life has gotten VERY busy! Between working, celebrating 3 years clean, and not sleeping well I feel like I haven’t had any time! Normally I’ll wake up a little early, write a post, and then go to work. But, I’ve been sleeping like shit the last two weeks; so I’m not doing anything early. It’s been a struggle to get out of bed everyday and my significant other keeps waking up in the middle of the night to find me sitting straight up in bed, sleeping, whilst talking about completely random shit like “looking the cars up.” I know this happens when I’m not going into REM sleep properly, which is common for Fibromyalgia sufferers. But it still sucks. 

Aside from that, work has been good. Still learning a bunch of new things and trying to be as useful as possible with what I’ve learned thus far. Just a few minutes ago an incredibly creepy guy came into the office, never gave me his name, and was asking what we do here and if we’re hiring. He made my skin crawl. He randomly told me he got fired from his last job because “some woman” alleged he sexually harassed her. He said “woman are just like that”. Then he looked at me and it must’ve occurred to him at that moment that I am also a woman and might find that offensive. He then corrected himself and said “Uh, uh, well maybe not all women.” He was asking me all these questions about what exactly we do here, where I’m from, what my name is, etc. He was generally just “off”. So much so that I texted my boss and let him know (because of course this is the one day I’m in the office completely alone). I even attached a picture of the guy to the message because he creeped me out that bad. I truly believe he had bad intentions but when my boss called he started backing away and stood in a defensive posture. Then I had to call the magisterial court to pay a ticket one of our drivers got and the guy left very quickly. Before all of this he had asked for an application, sat down with the clipboard and pen, put his glasses on and then blurted out that he “wasn’t good at this stuff” and asked if he could take it home. The entire reason he came here was because he “wanted a job”!!! Maybe he didn’t want me to know his name? I don’t know. Either way, I was looking around for something that could be used as a weapon. 

I TRUST MY GUT. 

I’m sure to some of the people reading this I may seem like some paranoid, damaged woman but at the end of the day, we’re given intuition for a reason. There have been many, many times where I felt the same way about someone as I felt about this strange man and it was proven to be true. When I was 14, I told my mom that the stray guy my mom and ex step dad started working with was a rapist and I didn’t like him. She told me not to “say stuff like that.” A week later he disappeared and a week after that we found out he was wanted in the rapes of a 4 year old and 5 year old. That ex step dad I mentioned? He also gave me the creeps; 2 years later he stuck his hands down my pants while I was sleeping. Some of my friend’s boyfriends have given me a bad vibe and then they would turn out to be woman beaters or cheating assholes. It’s always something and it is always right. 

I have also ignored these vibes before. I’ve thought, “I’m just being paranoid. I need to relax. A history of trauma can skew your perception of people; you know this Ashley. I’m sure he’s a good guy, don’t be sexist or judgemental”. That’s  just to name a few. And then whatever person I ignored the vibe about would end up hurting me or someone I cared about. The days of ignoring this hyper sensitive intuition I’ve been given are long past. This thing I have is a gift… And a curse. 

I’ve avoided many bad situations but I also know things I don’t want to. I know almost every single time someone lies to me. We all lie. Everyone does. But I can see it. I can feel it. Generally it almost sounds like their voice changes; even though the pitch change that occurs during a lie is undetectable to the human ear. Regardless, I sense it all the time; in my friends, my family, the cashier at Target who says she’s having a good day. Sometimes, ignorance would be nice. All people have motives behind their lies and generally I can sense that too. Whether the motive is to fit in, stand out, hide something, hurt someone, whatever, I can almost always feel it. I’ve had to watch my friends not trust me enough yet to tell me the truth. I’ve seen them hide things so they won’t disappoint me. I’ve seen my mom lie to me to protect me. I’ve seen deep seeded pain in a stranger’s eyes and have just wanted to help them. But I can’t; I can’t even bring it up  without seeming like a psychopath. So I see these things all day long and all I can do is try to protect myself and my friends, be incredibly understanding of human nature and what makes people lie, and just live my life. I’d rather know than not, but it isn’t always a fun things. It’s made me a very non-judgemental person. When you can sense things like that no situation is just black and white. The emotions and intent of the person involved can change everything. You see things you don’t want to, things that save you, things that hurt you, etc. and all you can do is just accept them and move on. 

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016