Tuesday, September 11, 2012

At Last

*I wrote this about a year ago, but I never posted it. In truth, I had forgotten all about it! 

Each day, at approximately 2:30 in the afternoon, I exit my apartment on the 34th floor and head to the elevator, where I push the button and wait for it to arrive. Once it arrives and the door safely closes I always sing a tune on the way down if I am alone. I like to see how far I can get in the song before the doors open in the lobby. The elevator lands and I scoot by whichever handsome man is waiting to take the elevator up, while pretending he could not hear me singing just a moment before. I walk across the lobby and out the revolving door and then it is two avenues and two blocks to the subway. I hop on the A train and take it down to West 4th st. When I exit the train I come up at 8th st and 6th Avenue. Then I take the charming ten minute walk through the West Village (which is where you would live in your dreams, trust me) until I reach the school where I pick up the children I nanny.

One day when I exited the subway I noticed there was a restaurant doing some construction right by the subway entrance. The windows had been boarded up with big pieces of plywood, but someone had scrawled the words "free at last" in black spray paint across one of them. For some reason those words struck me as I walked. I wondered who had written them. I wondered why they had written them. I wondered what it would take in my life to make me feel so free I would want to write it out in the world for everyone to see.

Every day for a month or so I walked by that window and I thought about those words and whoever it was that wrote them. As the days went by I would find myself running up the stairs out of the subway just to look at it...

just to make sure it was still there.
until the day it wasn't.

I stopped on that day, and I looked at the window where the sign had been, just for a moment. And I hoped that whoever had written those words still felt that free.

And I secretly hope to see them scrawled somewhere else in this city.

To Whom It May Concern

"To Whom it May Concern" by the Civil Wars

why are you so far from me?
in my arms is where you ought to be.

how long will you make me wait
I don't know how much more I can take

I miss you.
but I haven't met you.
oh, but I want to
how I do

Slowly counting down the days
till I finally see your face
oooh, the way your hand feels round my waist
the way you laugh, the way your kisses taste

I miss you
but I haven't met you
oh, but I want to
how I do

how I do...

I've missed you, but I haven't met you

oh, but I want to. Oh, how I want to

dear whoever you might be, I'm still waiting patiently.

listen here

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

hello old friend

I used to be so delighted over the fact that I had at least one blog for every month since I started this blog in 2009...that seems to be over now! It has been months, but I still love this here blog. I love knowing it is here, waiting on me to spill my heart and mind, and doing absolutely nothing else. This space is one of my homes.

my dad sent me this email on my 24th birthday (which was in October, I might add...). It is only a few simple lines, but it made me absolutely weep. and then I tried to read it to my roommate later and I wept again! and then I showed it to my friend, Rebecca and she, knowing my dad since childhood, also got teary. It is simple and beautiful. I hope you love it like I did. maybe you will weep too...

note* my dad was 46 when I was born and I was his first child. That is what he is referencing in the first line...

"My pretty Ashley:
24; The beginning. Forty six years doesn't seem that long, and yet it is. I was fresh out of the the service and into school at 24. A new V dub, my first apartment, riding high. In some ways I can still feel the excitement, only now its just a smile. When you talk of the restaurants and shows, the walks, the people. All new, that's 24. If life treats you right, you too will look back the years, in a quiet moment there will be a smile. Those days of 24.

Happy Birthday 24
Love Dad"

Damn it, he got me again! let the tears flow...good, grateful tears.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


This is an ode to my keds.

My keds are so beloved to me. They used to be a pristine, glowing white and I would wear them with sundresses and my pair of blue shorts. I walked about campus in them and wore them to Hollywood and I never played silly summer soccer in them because I wanted to avoid the grass stains on my beloved white Keds.

As it turns out, city folk walk a whole lot more than anyone else in the world. When I first arrived, this was news to me, but I came to accept it as a way of life. Now it is one of the things I love the most about living here. I don't bat an eye at walking 30 blocks. 30 blocks? That is child's play. There are days I have certainly walked more than a hundred. I do it absentmindedly now...I am not even aware I am walking. I am just getting to where I need to be. This city offers so much to see no matter where you are headed and putting all those blocks beneath my feet has afforded me the opportunity to see great things.
but oh, my Keds.

You may laugh, but my Keds are my sturdiest pair of shoes. Their white dreamy-ness was quickly lost in this city as they became my go to shoe. These shoes have seen three of the five boroughs, and logged endless miles. They have turned to a cloudy shade of grey, but somehow my fondness for them has only grown. These are tough shoes, my keds. I like to hope they will last forever: the shoes that helped me discover New York.

I am also thinking that maybe everyone should live, for a time, in a place where their main mode of transportation is their own feet.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happiness is

I am finding myself undeniably happy these days.

I feel like my life is full of promise and possibility. There is always this underlying notion of "anything can happen" and that is thrilling. I feel full.

It took me a long time to get here. The New York road was a bumpy one and I got lost a time or two, but I have finally found my way to a home. I feel at home. I feel happy. And it feels so good after so long.

It is a different happiness though.

When I was visiting California the moment I got off the plane I was overwhelmed with happiness. I just felt this surging joy and certain belonging. I still feel all those things when I think of California. I am happy in California. That is just a fact. It is effortless and wonderful. I love the people, I love the way of life, I love the weather, I love disneyland, I love driving, I love my friend-family. There is no work to my happiness when I am there. It just is. And I think that is a rare and beautiful thing. Someday I will return to that Happiness.

My New York Happiness is different. My New York happiness is earned. I have to work for it, and I always will. It will never be effortless and simple. It will always be a fight and it will always need to be maintained. It will waiver on many more occasions. But all those things do make it feel so very satisfying. It feels so empowering to know that I earned this happiness. To know that I can be in a place where I felt so lost and broken and sad and still come out the other side with a genuine Joy at the life I get to live here. I made this happiness. I built it on my own. (0bviously not completely on my own....I can do nothing on my own. I can see God's handiwork all over this last year when I look at it and I don't mean to claim any victories were mine. They were all His, but through me.) I found a way to stand back up. I am braver and stronger than I thought I was. I feel as though I can do anything.

Oh, New York Happiness, you complicated beast, Bring it on! I am ready to fight for you this next year. You are worth it.

somebody to love

There is a hurricane brewing outside.

When I moved to New York I never imagined hurricanes to be on the list of things I may have to worry about, but here we are. Actually, I am rather enjoying it; it feels exciting.

Right now the rain is coming down in heavy sheets and making a soothing pitter-patter-y noise and occasional gusts of wind whistle against the windows. The power keeps going on and off, making my evening viewing of "Cast Away" impossible and so I sit and write. But what should I say...

I think I have come to a realization recently: I have a problem with dating. That is to say, I can't get one. not one date. Of course that is not the realization, that is old news after 23 years. The realization is as to why.
After I moved to the city I decided to join okcupid under the peer pressure of some friends. That is a tale in itself, but to sum up: I hated it. Oh, how I hated it. And I am simply no good at meeting people in bars or clubs and it has been hard to make friends out here, let alone find anyone to be interested in.
So, I got to thinking, what was it about internet dating and things of that sort that I, personally, don't like. So I spent some time mulling it over and this is what I have come to:

So many people in the world want to fall in Love. They want it like a goal or a New Years Resolution ("This year I will fall in Love!"). They want to do whatever it takes to be in Love, to feel what that means, to live the way one does when they are in love. And it does sound like a noble goal, to fall in love. It sounds like such a nice thing to go after. How wonderful to be in Love...that is a great New Years Resolution.

However, I don't want to fall in love.
I want to love someone.

Falling in love feels much more personal to me than searching through a host of people who are all searching for someone, anyone, to love them. I don't want to find somebody who is just anybody. And I don't particularly want to be just anybody either.
I would rather meet someone and get to know him a bit and then realize that perhaps I like him and then maybe love him. And maybe he will love me too. But the falling in love is based on the fact that I met him specifically. Not because I was searching for somebody to want me, but because I was living my life the best way I could , and loving people the best way I could, and I met him.

I don't feel the need to chase after "falling in love" because my life has no lack of love. I have so much love in my life, certainly more than my fair share. I have so many people to love and so many people who love me. I have a full life that is filled with passions and adventures and doing things I have always wanted to do, as well as things I never dreamed I could. In truth, I want for nothing. I don't really think you can find love if you are looking for it because you feel like something is missing. I guess I think real love sets to overflowing an already full life.

I am finding it difficult to explain exactly what I mean by all this...I don't mean to say that it is wrong to want to fall in love, or that you shouldn't feel lonely, or even that finding someone online is, in any way, a cheaper experience than another way...I don't believe any of those things.
This was more my realization about what I want from love. About why it is difficult for me to find. Of course, this realization doesn't really change anything. It doesn't get me a date and it still finds me hanging out, eating vanilla ice cream and watching "You've Got Mail" by myself on a friday night. But I don't mind it, at least not for now. (in my book, anytime spent watching "You've Got Mail" was 2 hours well spent! haha)

My life is so full of wonderful right now.
and that is something I would not have said a mere few months ago. And I am so grateful.
and so loved.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Can someone please tell me what happened to July?! Where did it go? How can it be over?

Time is flyin...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

a tale of woe

Saturday last, I had a lovely evening. A lovely day really.
I went to my class and I wandered out around madison square park in the rain. I went to see an Improv show and enjoyed a beer at the bar. I used all my guts and talked to the bartender.
I felt rather good about the day.

At 11 I decided it was time to head home and I left the theatre. It was still raining out, but not terribly, just a little drizzle. I didn't even open my umbrella, I just clutched it in my hand along with the bag of leftovers from dinner. I carried my purse in my other arm.

I had known it was supposed to rain that day, but for some reason I either didn't want to believe it or I was in denial, and I wore my flip flops. That was unfortunate.

So there I was walking along down 23rd when suddenly around 5th ave the pavement got very smooth and suddenly before I knew what had happened I was on the ground. Yes, I completely ate it on the concrete right on the wet corner of 23rd and 5th in Manhattan. I heard people gasp all around me and begin proclaiming, "are you okay?!"

No one has ever jumped up and yelled "I'm fine!" faster than I did at that moment.

I scurried away as fast as I could, even while the passers-by were still trying to ask about my condition.
I know how to end a good day!

Tents and houses and homes.

I have ever so many homes.

Some of them are more solid, and some of them are the tents my heart has pitched as I have gone along.
It is funny, I never really realized how many places take up space in my heart, even places I thought I would never want to return to. I was fortunate enough to get to visit many of my heart's homes a few weeks ago.
I went to visit my friends (who are really much deeper than simply friends) in California where we all went to college together, and most of them still reside. I don't know if there will ever be a feeling so warm as returning to those people. I felt so loved and so interesting...so worthwhile while I was with them. So known. Especially after a year that was filled with so much loneliness, I felt so joyful and alive to be there! We just did the regular humdrum type of wonderful things; we ate, and slept, and laughed, and cuddled, and ate in-n-out, and caught up on our lives. We had a bonfire at the beach (oh, is there anything more wonderful than a bonfire at the beach). We built a sandcastle and the next day my legs were so sore! I do think that nothing was ever more worth the sore muscles than 3 hours of sandcastle fortress digging! Mikael took me to the ballet...
and then Mikael and I went driving down pch one dark night. We got all the way down to Pepperdine and that is when I first realized that, despite leaving that school after one brief semester, and thinking I was miserable while I was there, it had cemented itself as one of my homes for a time. I had little memories pinging all about my mind as we drove down the highway. I thought of how devyn and I used to steal salt packets from the taco bell because we thought it would save us money (I think we were both unaware of the fact the salt is like $1.50...). I thought about late night photo shoots and dorm room silliness. I thought about my solitary hikes to the ocean and how I loved them. I thought of ocean devotion, and malibu yo, and that one time Dev and I volunteered to be a part of that crazy research study even though we had no idea what it was. And for that time my heart felt a small stinging loss for that home. But a bittersweet loss, because leaving that home led me to so much greater places.

Then I started thinking about all my homes. I thought about my APU home, and my little apartment in Denver home, and my Pepperdine home, and my Broomfield home (I actually got to visit my broomfield home as well in a surprise turn of events! oh, Heather what fun we have together...). All these places are so dear to me now, and each of them have changed me and shaped me and taught me more about what it means to be at home. And I started thinking about New York.

Sometimes you leave a place for a short while and you realize that it has somehow become your home unwittingly. I think a part of me wished for that. I wanted to go to California and think to myself, "wow, I really miss New York. I can't wait to get back there!" But that did not happen. In fact, I rarely gave New York a second thought while I was there. I cried on my last California night because leaving this beautiful, wonderful home felt nearly unbearable. I was never more certain that New York was not my home.

I got back to the city and resumed my life. I looked for things to do and I kept busy and I remembered that New York is full of many wonders. so much beauty and inspiration haunts you here. I have found a way to feel at home here. I think you must always find a way to feel some sense of home wherever you are, there is always something to find comfort and happiness in if you let yourself find it.

New York is not my home. But it is one of the places my heart has pitched a tent. And, someday, whether it be this year, or the next. or five, or ten years from now, when I leave my heart will sting for the loss of it. There is good to be had here, and I am going to have it all while I can.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

radio silence. over.

once again, it has been much too long since I have written anything...
I literally have a constant list on my computer of things I want to blog about and I am not sure why I haven't written about any of them, but right now it is three in the morning and it is time to turn in.

but here is one random fact about me just for fun:

I love jalapenos. my mouth, however, finds them much too spicy.
I eat them anyway.