I hope you brought your umbrella
Oh hey there
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Fancy seeing you around these parts. And seeing me, since I have been M.I.A. for too long. I’ll separate my life into distinct categories, since I am a list-oriented person.

School:
School has been absolutely insane. It always keeps me busy, but for the past two weeks, I have had to stay on campus working through various projects until midnight, and even later if I am lazy and stay hone to work. The big project that I have been working on since January is finally coming together, and will be finished next week. I’m excited to be finished with it, I’ve put in a hell of a lot of effort and I just want it over with. Classes, homework, essays and exams have taken up the majority of my time, but at least it’s worth the sacrifice. My marks have been high, which is my biggest goal. Work hard, do well, excel! Ha.

Work:
I haven’t been working much (three days a week) because of my class schedule, and I have been extremely stressed about money. This summer will be dedicated to debt repayment in the biggest way possible. Gah. I hate even thinking about it. Next topic…

Men:
As per usual, there is always some sort of thing going on in my love-life. I have been missing Carbis, but usually only when certain things remind me of him. It’s getting better. I’m still stuck on Houston, but that has always been chaos unfortunately. More on him later… Working with Guinness (or whatever I named him) has been hard, since every day at school and sometimes even when we don’t have class, we are in close confines working on our giant multimedia project. He is still as tattooed and beautiful as ever, but I have given up on him. I’ve been going on dates with a nice Aussie boy since Greer left back to B.C., but I am not interested in him any longer. He is too nice, too open and upfront and sweet… It’s not challenging enough. More on that also.

Ashley @ 12:52 AM
At peace
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Today, my soul and heart are happy.

This past week has been fantastic, filled with friends and fun and meaningful conversation. A good friend of HBan, Brain and Paddon came and spent a few days with us, and after he returned to his home in B.C. yesterday, I felt restored and slightly repaired internally. Greer is hard to describe, because although I’m not very spiritual at all, he is one of those rare people that have an aura so bright, you can’t help but want to be around them. It’s difficult to write this without sounding like I’m smitten and overcome with some new-age philosophy ideals, because that’s not the case. He embodies what I wish I could be, someone who completely goes with the flow and doesn’t worry about plans and structure and the mundane. I think that’s why I’m drawn to him like a magnet, my soul sees how free-spirited his is, and mine wants to learn from his. Greer lives for rock-climbing and snowboarding, not for possessions and money and all the other trappings of Western society. After he took a trip to Africa and saw how people lived there, he returned home and had an extreme reverse-culture shock and sold most of his possessions. He told me that after April 15th, he will have no ties to anyone or any thing. His contract at work will be up for the summer, his lease will end, and he will be able to do whatever he wants, and go wherever he pleases. He seemed so nonchalant at the prospect of these major life changes and the uncertainty surrounding the end of all of his commitments. I couldn’t believe how calm he appeared about everything; because I know that I would be in a full-blown state of panic if I was in that situation. I’m already freaking out about what I will do when I return home from India, in regards to a job and my debt repayment plan. Not only do I feel my soul was drawn to his due to my desire to live a simpler and more relaxed life like the one that he leads, but also because of all of the things we have in common. We have a mutual love and respect for nature, a wanderlust that will never be sated, an appreciation of books and art, and a thirst for knowledge and further enlightenment. The two of us seem to be a wonderful mix of yin and yang, complementary but not exactly the same. It’s rare to find someone who you can connect with on that level, and I love what a sense of contentment it brings. Greer’s spirit is like a feather that softly landed on my soul, gently made a profound impact, and then floated away in an updraft, moving on to the next resting place.

One of the most amazing aspects of all of this is that although it was amazing to have Greer’s presence in our lives for those few days, I’m not distraught over his departure last night. These are not the words of a love-sick girl hoping for a miracle to occur (i.e. a relationship), although I think that we would be an interesting fit as a couple. I feel as though this connection was deeper than one on a physical level, but different from the psychological one that attaches me to someone like Spanish moss clinging to trees. I am at peace internally, which hasn’t been the case for three months. Now that I know that there are connections with men that can be much more meaningful than a physical attraction or a desire to be in a relationship, I feel like I’m calmer. There are people out there that feel the way I do about so many things, people that draw me to their spirit with a siren’s call. He gave me a long goodbye kiss before walking out the door for who knows how long, and rather than feel immediate sadness and loss like I have a history of doing, I was just happy. Goodbye kisses usually make saying goodbye so much harder, but last night, it was saying “See you again soon” rather than goodbye. I can’t put my finger on why this time is so different. Sure, I will miss the calming effect he had on the apartment, the relaxed way he approached life, and I will long for that in times of chaos that will surely pop up soon… It’s weird. Maybe it’s because HBan warned me that even if he and I did hook up, a relationship would never happen. Perhaps I braced myself and my brain ignored a key component of what contributes to my usual yearning for a relationship. Regardless, I feel completely happy with the way things were left.

I have been contemplating something that Holly said in passing one day, months ago. She asked “What makes you think the guy for you is in Calgary? You want to travel around the world; there are so many people you are going to meet in the future.” It has remained in the back of my mind, a seed of thought waiting for the right conditions to grow. It sprouted yesterday into something I contemplated for hours, instead of gave a mental glance at. In a way, it took off pressure that I have placed myself under. So what if I don’t find the man of my dreams in Calgary? Maybe I will find him in Australia when I move there in four years. Maybe I will meet him tomorrow at the Farmer’s Market. Maybe I will meet him in India when I explore the country and myself. Why worry about it? He will come, when my life is ready for it. Until then, I just want to enjoy myself as much as possible. I may be single, but I am surrounded by amazing people every day. I would love to find a guy to date, but it will happen eventually. (I say this now, but I’m sure pretty soon I will panic and go back to berating myself for not having a boyfriend. Oh well.)

All I know, and care about currently, is that I am content and I’m in a good place. For today, that’s more than enough.

Ashley @ 10:15 PM
Dreams
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I had a dream last night that Holly, HBan, and a few other people were all on a beach somewhere, soaking up the sun and having a wonderful time. Everyone was engaged but me, but the engagements were really light-hearted and not too serious.

When I looked to my left, I saw Carbis on one knee on a red blanket in front of me. He said “Ashley, if we’re both single in five years, will you marry me? I’ll give you a puppy.”

It was actually a pretty great proposal, because in my dream I was omnipotent and knew that he was accommodating the completion of my degree and my year in Australia with PLFB. Of course, I said yes.

Then a little time passed in the day and I was headed somewhere, but Houston intervened and pulled me for a walk down the beach, saying how much of a douche Carbis was for not wanting to marry me earlier. “What do you care?” I asked lightly, because I wasn’t letting Houston bring me down off of my quiet internal thrill over the proposal. He acted strangely and hinted that I should be with him, and…

Then I woke up. I hate that!

Ashley @ 10:00 PM
Shaman?
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I forgot to write about this last week, but it is stuck in my head.

I was at the local farmer’s market with PLFB, waiting for her to finish geeking out with the dozens of comic books for sale around her.

Suddenly, an old native man in a white leather coat adorned with beads and tassels comes up to me. “Excuse me. I just had to tell you that you are absolutely beautiful. Just glowing.”

I awkwardly stammered a “Thank you,” and waited for him to walk away. Instead, he stared into my eyes with immense intensity, and said “I hope that the love you are hoping and praying for comes into your life soon.”

What do you say to that? A million things went through my head. I replied “Me too…?” and he leaned in and hugged me tightly while whispering “I love you, sweetheart.” I was in such shock that my mind was completely blank. All I could mentally register was how much I hated the smell of death (leather).

He walked away, and I turned to PLFB and we both just stared at one another. “What the actual fuck just happened?” I eventually asked, before we both burst into awkward laughter. She asked me “Should I have intervened there? I feel as though I should have stepped in and stopped that.”

It was such a crazy experience… I mean, looking at it logically a week later, I realize that he could easily have picked a girl out of a crowd and said the same thing to her, and most likely would have known that she was single. I wasn’t wearing a ring, I was there with a girl… Easy enough to ascertain that I’m single.

However, I prefer to think of him as my own personal shaman. When he was staring intensely into my eyes, he was actually looking into my soul, and somehow knew that I was looking for someone to love me. And with the hug he gave me, I am now blessed and will find it soon.

… Right?

Regardless, it was an interesting experience that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Ashley @ 9:54 PM
Well, that was scary…
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I have been having some wicked migraines lately, but today really topped the cake. I got to work and everything was fine, until suddenly I couldn’t read what was on the computer monitor in my office. I blinked a few times, pushed it farther away from me, and put eye drops in. Nothing helped, and I went to one of the optometrists in my office and asked if he would check my eyes after he finished checking the surgery patients. While I waited, flashes starting appearing in my vision, which made me panic. What the fuck was happening? I went from checking emails to not being able to read, and things around me were coming in flashes.

That’s when the pain of a million knives being stabbed into my brain at once hit. I turned the lights off in my office and put my head on my desk, waiting for the pounding to die down. After forty minutes, it was finally bearable enough to get up and get some extra-strength Tylenol, which dulled the pain enough to get through the rest of the day.

When I got home, I had just finished dinner when my phone buzzed. I stood up quickly to grab it from the kitchen, and fainted. I was only out for a minute or two, but when I realized what happened (and picked myself up off the floor), I got scared. I was meant to go to Holly’s to play some euchre with the group, but I was too shaky to drive safely.

I spoke to my mom, who also suffers from terrible migraines that are sometimes so debilitating that she has to stay home from work and sleep all day. She said she is taking a few different medications to help, and suggested that I call my doctor and set up an appointment. That’s what I will do, and hopefully something helps. I have had to cancel too many plans on account of headaches and migraines to let it go on any longer.

Ashley @ 8:58 PM
Quote of the day
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“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”- Robert Frost

This is so true. The only way to proceed is forward.

Ashley @ 10:05 PM
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Ashley @ 5:17 PM
Traveling
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My mind wanders across the plains of your body,
the hills and valleys of your sculpted shoulders,
the streams of your words flowing through my ears
and pooling in my heart.

Your eyes are the blue of
a lake trapped under ice for the winter,
lying in wait of the warmth of spring.

I know just the way to melt that ice
and unleash the sparkling blue,
the soft way to trail my fingers down your back
before diving in for a kiss in your depths.

Alas…

The rain from your eyes cannot fall upon
the forests of mine any longer.
Someone else has become the sun to free your blues,
and I remain in my gardens,
yearning for your eyes to quench the thirst I have for you.

Ashley @ 7:12 PM
Goals for self-growth
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Today at work, there was a meeting between the girls who work in the O.R. and the management team, and points of contention were addressed for the first time in a long time. This meeting was a long time coming, and it was a positive step.

Once the meeting ended, Holly and I walked to her car and debriefed. A few of the things that were brought up in the meeting include not feeling comfortable enough with certain coworkers to ask for help, and how overly-accommodating (I feel) we are with certain surgeons. Sometimes, I get so tired of hearing “That’s just the way it is, and there is no point trying to change it because change won’t happen.” Holly pointed out that sometimes, I am the only one that gets annoyed with the way things are. I admit that I take things very personally and occasionally misread situations, and when people rub me the wrong way consistently, I get very good at holding grudges. Most of the time in social situations, I feel pretty laid-back and more of an observer than anything else, but Holly made me realize that that isn’t always true, and I am the one being affected the most, and it is impacting my happiness in life and my satisfaction in the work place. I found these two quotes about anger, and they really stood out to me.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~Buddha

He who angers you conquers you. ~Elizabeth Kenny

The absolute last thing I want to do is let the people who make me the most upset to conquer me, and that really put things in perspective. I am aware that I take things too personally, and I often feel as though I am being attacked when I am approached with an issue and the person talking to me speaks in a tone that is not conducive of moving forward in a positive way. I am open to constructive criticism, and will honestly try hard to implement the changes necessary, but if the conversation is started in a negative way, I have walls that go up very quickly and I close off from any conversation at all. I let my emotions get the best of me, and it is something that I am working on in counseling.

One of my goals is to try to constructively work on gaining control over my emotions. Far too often, I allow people to get the best of me and I get angry about it. Part of the disorder I am working through is that when I am disappointed in someone, or if they can’t live up to the impossible standards I begin to hold them in, I get very angry and disenchanted with them, and they “fall from grace” in my mind. It’s hard to place so much in people, to have them plunge in esteem (in my eyes), only to put them right back up on that pedestal. It’s part of the fear of abandonment that is inherent in the disorder. Over the next year, I will be working diligently to figure this out and find ways to not have these giant fluctuations. It’s damaging to my psyche, and my heart, honestly. Learning to take each day, each hour, each minute at a time and live more in the moment is something that is part of my weekly therapy, and something I am trying to be more mindful of. It’s a struggle, because I feel as though school and work and trying to have a semblance of a social life is hard enough, let alone the “assignments” my counselor gives me to complete on top. It’s a major juggling act, and although I know it’s something necessary to do to better myself, I haven’t found a balance yet. Unfortunately, I feel as though the counseling aspect is what I am working on the least, when I really should make it a priority.

One of my favourite quotes is “We need to be the change we wish to see in the world” by Ghandi. It is something I try to remind myself of often, but I will make this more of a personal mantra. So what if I can’t stand the surgeon or certain classmates or this or that? THEY aren’t being negatively impacted by my feelings of dislike, only I am. I want to try focusing my energy on overcoming rising emotions and staying calm, rather than having my energy go into hating being in the vicinity of certain people. It really doesn’t help anyone at all.

Wish me luck, this is something I have been meaning to address for a long time!

Ashley @ 12:47 AM
Trying to find a pattern in chaos
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Tonight, my roommates and I discussed movies, television, and books. I listed off some of my favourites in each category, and HBan cocked her head to the side and said “I’m trying to find a pattern in what you like, and there just isn’t one.” Brain agreed. This was after we discussed romance movies/books and Brain said “You just don’t like romance, do you? You’re looking for love, but you don’t like love.” I disagreed, because I am a true romantic in real life. I’m the girl who will go to the ends of the earth to ensure the man I love is happy, and romance is something I look for in a relationship. I just don’t like romances that include things as improbable as vampires and werewolves. But love stories that could happen in real life, like a girl loving an enigma of a man and tries her best to figure out the puzzles he creates around his heart, or a girl who falls head over heels for a guy covered in colourful tattoos but is completely out of her league, those are love stories I can get on board with. (I wonder why…)

Ask Badger. We constantly fought because I never felt like he made an effort to show me he loved me. I wanted grand gestures like Seth Cohen made for Summer in The O.C. I want someone who will stand in front of tons of people and profess his love for me. The couch thing with Tom Cruise on Oprah? Sure, it was a little overzealous, but he LOVES her, dammit! I want a boyfriend who sends me flowers to work, who creates his own little tradition with gifts that are inexpensive but completely heartfelt, I want to be “Facebook official.” That is the kind of romance I thrive off of, because chivalry and romance is all but dead it seems.

That being said, romance is not a one-way street. I go out of my way to pick out gifts that I know my boyfriend will love. I spend hours making truffles just because I want to bring a smile to his face. I put effort into letting him know that he is on my mind, and that he makes me happy. There are so many things that I want to do but haven’t had the opportunity to do.

Only PLFB knows the ridiculous plot that jumped into my head that involved a very high Visa bill, but to avoid the threatened slap to the face, I will refrain from doing so. But let me assure you, it was the grandest, most romantic gesture I might ever thin of doing! It worked for Mr. Big and Carrie, which is one of the greatest love stories of all time…

Ashley @ 7:57 AM