Reemergence of Self:

When your personality and heart come shining through again after a rough patch. When that spark behind your eyes turns into a fire. When the strength floods back into your veins, pumping ferociously, jolting you out of bed. When you wake up in the morning and you smile. All because you know this life is yours to create--this life is YOURS, period. 


What a difference a week makes! When you mindfully and purposefully take a week off from thinking of other people and make YOURSELF the priority, it's interesting how your view of the world completely changes. 

I've been very reflective this week about everything: life, that guy, my tears, my right to have those tears, and how to become myself again. Even in one week's time, I feel a LOT like the old Ashley. She was lying dormant for far too long, and she's having a fucking parade celebrating the Reemergence of Self. 

I know I still have work to do, but it's funny how taking the first step toward loving myself has made all the difference.  


Quote of the Day

Obviously I'm in a self-reflective, sharing, creative mood! And so, this quote to inspire your lovely minds on a Friday:


Saying Goodbye, Wine, and Michelle Branch

I've been replaying Michelle Branch's "Goodbye to You" today. The reason is threefold:

1. I love her. Can she please make more music? And no more country crossover, Michelle!!!
2. "Goodbye to You" was an unusually good song for the time, and for such a young artist. It's classic.
3. I told the guy from this post that I needed some major space and we're not to see each other until I give the go ahead.

Letting go, indefinitely, of someone you really care for is heart-wrenching. Despite romantic feelings, he is a best friend, a confidant, a trusted 'NY family' member. But what's more important than all of that is my emotional well-being. Since I wrote the above post, I tried to keep him in my life, but change my outlook on him.

That failed.

And that's because I'm human. You can attempt to outsmart your feelings, but your feelings are not tied to your brain, they are tied to something much more primal. I knew I needed space, but tried to hold on. I had given too much of myself to him over a year. Thus, I began to become quite angsty. I was taking my anger out on the people around me that had nothing to do with the situation. I was pushing people away. I was becoming a nuisance.

Once I realized this, I started to profusely apologize to those around me. I cried and said sorry and made amends. And finally, today, I made the one change that was needed--I said goodbye (for now). I'm not sure how long goodbye is, but I needed to say it.

In the last argument I had with this guy, as I looked up at him with tear soaked eyes, he said in frustration to me "You're going to get mad at me for saying this, but you're young." He meant that I was naive. I realized at that moment he didn't understand my pain, but finally, I didn't need him to. The thing is, we all become a little young when we're really hurt, when we really love, when we really feel. We become more in tune with our inner child. I'll take young over being jaded, which is his outlook on life.

So as I sit here, drinking my wine, listening to Michelle, I carry on with the knowledge that I gave it my all. My whole heart was in it--my young, extremely loving, forgiving heart. I do believe I'll see him again. When I do, I'll have regained my strength because I chose to use my very loving heart to love me instead.


It's Time to Make Time

You may have noticed I haven't been around much.

That's all because I'm moving house, my personal life feels in disarray, and I have lots of worries about Turkey (I'll blog about this later). All of this has been STRESSING ME OUT LIKE NO OTHER. Of course, it's silly of me not to blog during this time, because writing out my obsessive thoughts most definitely de-stresses me. So, how frustrating that I've hardly had any time to do the one thing that can actually help!

The truth is, I need to make the time. Allowing surmounting thoughts to take over my mind, without utilizing my my best tool for unloading them is just plain stupid, for lack of a better word.

I mustn't forget my writer's soul. I mustn't forget to use my best weapon, the pen. 

So let me write out some calming things to help my over-analytical, CRAZY brain calm down (maybe they can help you too if you're feeling the same).

1. I am loved. I must stop taking things personally and let jealousy and frustration go. Since I am super stressed at this time, my relationships are suffering a tad, but they will be okay. It's fine that I'm not an easy breezy girl at the moment. There's always so much pressure to be the "fun girl." Well you know what? I'm the STRESSED GIRL right now, and it's fine. No one is going to leave me because of it.

2. Everything is working out fine. I might think I know what is going to happen in the future (which always seems to have some disastrous, fiery end), but I don't know. I'm not a fortune teller. I must let go of my need to control situations, and just let them be. Things have worked out fine thus far; and actually, they are working out better than fine, so why do I default to the negative when thinking about the future?

3. I am strong. But seriously, I am one STRONG bad ass lady who takes care of her friends, gets her work done (well), and looks pretty cute while doing it. I need to start taking care of myself, though, because that has been slipping by the wayside.

Okay...and BREAAAAATHE. It's time to make time for me, because this little life is more than just *a little* valuable.

Question to you: What have you been doing to de-stress? Have you been taking the proper time for yourself? Has anxiety been taking over your life of late? 


What's Happenin' (June and July)?

1. The month of June was really good for me. A major thinking month. A major growing month. A big part of that had to do with #2 on this list.

2. Going to Turkey was the best thing for my soul in a very long time. It had been 5 years since I was in Turkey. My trip was nothing short of magical. I remembered all the things I love about the country that introduced me to travel. I felt at ease and in my element once again. There's something about Turkey that seeps into the veins, the best kind of drug. Being in Turkey made me realize that London is not the only place I can love this much. Thus, going to Turkey has helped me embrace NYC in ways I was unable to before. I feel 100% ready now to do some LIVING.

I will write a post about the attacks and my time in Turkey later, but for now, I wanted to just talk about how it is the center of my heart. Turkey, thanks for saving me, yet again.

3. July will be a month to have some summer fun in NYC, arguably the best season in the citayyyyy. I have some fun plans revolving around picnics, concerts, boat rides, possible weekend trips to a nearby beach, and just general embracing of life. Being in the sun, breathing deep, drinking coffee--basically all the best stuff.

4. Music is a big part of me. I went to a free Blink 182 concert presented by Good Morning America:

With David at the Blink concert at 7am. Nostalgia is worth the early wake up time. 

I've also been digging these artists lately:

Grace: an Amy Winehouse reincarnate. Only 19. Has some growing to do but she's pretty damn good as is. Oh, and she's Aussie, so her cute accent comes through sometimes. 

Years & Years: Electronica group from London. Smooth dance music with catchy-as-all-hell hooks. CAN'T STOP LISTENING. 


That's the gist of what's been going on around here. What's been going on with you?!? 


Berlin: A Heavy Past Turned Into a Resilient City

I haven't posted in an exact month, oops! My parents visited NYC, and then I went to Turkey, and then LIFE. But I can tell you that things are going REALLLLLLY WELLLLL, despite everything moving so fast.

Sooooo...I went Berlin over a month ago, and it finally deserves a post.

*Post on Berlin Commencing*

Berlin is an interesting, sort of cold, sort of ugly-duckling-turned-into-beautiful, sort of hip, kind of place. I would describe it as a lot of "sort ofs." Obviously you all know the past of Berlin, so let's skip the history lesson. What is very true today is although the Wall has been torn down, there's still a huge difference between the look and feel of West Berlin vs. East Berlin.

Some examples of East Berlin, once ruled by the Soviets:

I like to call the above photo "the propaganda building." It's got a militaristic feel, and that's not surprising! Lot's of art, quirky cafes, and concrete-buildings-turned-into-new-flats litter the city. It's amazing what people can create out of sadness; yet, how what they create is still very influenced by the sadness. I was mesmerized by East Berlin!

On the other hand, you have West Berlin, once ruled the by the U.S.:

It's pretty! And very European, no?

The difference between the two sides is STRIKING. This makes Berlin one of the most interesting cities I have visited! Despite feeling the heaviness of the past, the residents have made Berlin something to be proud of, something that is a true phoenix.

Just look at the pictures! This is a special place:

 This is Checkpoint Charlie (border between East and West Berlin), by the way. I wasn't gonna take this photo, but homeboy on the right grabbed me, stuck a Soviet Hat on me, and had me pose. Oh goodness...

 Above: A Beer Garden in Tiergarten. Yeah, it rhymes :) It was a little cold the day we went, but I imagine this place is BANGING in the summer. Below: GERMAN DESSERTS, YUMMMMM.

 And the parks in Berlin, splendidly green! 

I've been told that Berlin is very different from the rest of Germany, and that makes sense. I have yet to see the rest of Germany (one day!).

However, in Berlin the beer is grand, the sites are super interesting, and the history is still very alive in the city. I love that humans can learn from the most dismal of times, and something utterly gorgeous can still come from it. Berlin is not gorgeous in a traditional sense. It's gorgeous in it's resilience. 


London, You've Still Got It

It's no secret on this here blog that I adore London. So I won't bore you with love letters about the city. This trip was not so much about me, but about showing off London to two guys--one who had never been (Christian), and one who had been and didn't care much for the city (David). I was on a mission to show them my London--all the places in LDN that are dear to me, and that I miss the most.

 On the first (stormy) day we went to my favorite pub (The Dove) situated on the river. 

The following the day, the boys were *blessed* with a gorgeous sunny day--ALL DAY.

Christian was particularly fond of the fashion scene in London, and started to call America "so uncivilized." HAHAHA--I'VE SHOWN HIM THE LIGHT!

I made them try Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars (the BEST). And took them by the most grand, amazing sights in London. Big Ben (the Elizabeth Tower) is a sight I never tire of. It's beautiful, and it's a representation of London. It's my tradition to take a picture of Ben every time I'm in London town:

The next day, I showed the guys my old home, Richmond. Laura, my ol' bestie in London, met up (do older readers remember her?) 

 My other good friend, Tim, popped over that night for some pints and laughter.

I can now happily report that Christian is in love with London and David now likes the city he once hated. My work here is complete!

But London, I wasn't ready to leave you yet! Until next time...


Breaking Down These Walls

Just got back from 8 days in London and Berlin, which proved to be some ample life-contemplating time. And yes, the above photo is of the Berlin wall--well, a section that has been kept and turned into continuous art where Berliners can add layers and layers of graffiti (this is also an outdoor concert venue and park).

There's something really awakening about staring at a section of the Berlin wall. Thoughts about humanity, despair, loneliness, and perseverance all come to mind. It also made me think about the walls I put up around myself, and how I've carried on in New York over the last 9 months.

Without being too specific, I feel like writing about something that has been affecting my heart over this time period. I've been very attached to one person here in New York. So much so that I pretty much fell for said person, but it never developed past a best friendship.

I asked myself, how did I become this girl? A girl who falls for a best friend and can't move past it? A girl who gets stuck in unrequited love?

To be easy on myself, it's quite effortless to do so. And I think I'm pretty notorious for wanting men that are unavailable emotionally, because I have a noncommittal spirit myself. Of course, my heart became saddened and constrained everyday by wanting more from him and not receiving it...a vicious cycle of wanting and hurting. I do not blame him, because we cannot ask more from people than they are willing to give. In this hamster wheel sort of relationship--seeing this person nearly everyday, and sharing deep secrets, and having great laughs and many tears--I focused too much energy on him and not enough on getting to know New York. The walls I built up, in this case, kept the city out.

I think about my time in London often, and the biggest difference between the two cities is that I really let London soak in. All gates, locks, walls, and fortresses around my heart were abandoned, and I jumped head first into adventure. While I will always prefer London over NYC (because, I'm a Londoner, ok?), I think I have not given a fair chance to this fine American city.

Something switched in me during this recent trip where this all became apparent. And it happened in Berlin, staring at these oppressive walls.

I know what I must do now. I will not allow myself to become stuck in the confines of my self-loathing thoughts. I want all these walls to come crashing down, as if it were 1989 and because it's damn well time to. You can have all the love in your heart for someone but know that it's just not serving you well.

I have about a year and a half left to live here, and I am going to visit all the jazz clubs, and eat all the pizza, and engulf myself in literature, and go on dates with new men, and just...let myself be open. I will say yes to life, and yes to New York. You'll see this mighty woman, standing proudly on a pile of rubble that was once a huge wall, head held to to sky, open for adventure once more. 


A Three Sentence Movie Review

1. Batman v Superman

I just...don't like this director much (the same director as Man of Steel). While I'm sure he's trying to get all the comic book facts right, his major sin is OVERSTUFFING, leaving the viewer with a bit of headache at the end of the film. Ben Affleck made for an okay Batman, but the real superhero here was Wonder Woman, who kicked better ass than all the boys.

2. Concussion

I like that this film sheds light on how the greed and corruption of the NFL is affecting its players' health. The film is good overall, but offers very little comedic relief, so make sure you're in the mood to watch something very heavy and a bit sad. Decent acting from Will, but not Oscar-worthy (sorry, buddy!).

3. Spotlight

Interesting movie about investigative journalism, reminiscent of All the President's Men, but not as outstanding (because you just can't beat Robert Redford). Overall a very solid film, but not deserving of the Academy Award. Another example of films winning the main prize because they're on controversial topics (I'm also still peeved Brooklyn didn't win, so maybe I'm biased).

4. Captain America: Winter Soldier

THIS is a real superhero movie--great pacing, lots of adventure, fantastic storyline--it's one of the best superhero movies I have ever seen (yes, I'm really late to watching it). Chris Evans makes for a great Captain America, that hunk of man! So now, I can't wait for Civil War to come out...I think I'll go opening weekend!

Photo Credits: 1/2/3/4


What's Happenin' (April and May)?

I'm gonna merge April and May for this post because of the amount of travel I put on my plate (totally feasting on said plate), and the small amount of time I have in between to post.

So what's been happening in Ashley's world?

APRIL was the month that belonged mainly to San Diego. I was soooooooooo ready to soak up some sun. I was in SD for work, but obviously had the pleasure of seeing friends and family whilst gorging on Mexican food and In N Out for 2 straight weeks.

San Diego, in a nut shell:

Being in New York for awhile has made me appreciate San Diego to the MAX: It's clean! It's warm! It's a comfortable life! And being in San Diego for 2 weeks made me want to go back to NYC: It's interesting! There are things happening! CITY CITY CITY!  

That's why it's good I found a job that caters to my very gypsy soul that skips between different patches of green grass. I'll never change. 


MAY is going to be the month where I'll be heading to London and Berlin for an 8 day trip. I'm stoked! My 2 favorite New Yorkers are coming with me, whom you will see in my upcoming posts. It's been quite awhile since I've set foot in Europe (a year--that's LONG for me!), so May 10th can't come soon enough. 

Other stuff that's been happening recently: 

1. It's SPRING in NYC. Break out my denim jacket...weeeeee!  New York is gorgeous in the  springtime, ya'll. 

2. My cousin has a bestselling book in Turkey! My family is cool: 

My cuz (BegΓΌm) totally inspires me to be creative once more, especially when it comes to writing. One of my life goals? Become published (at least an article). 

3. I've made the decision to stay in NYC next year. This is a city that will give you a beating, but in a way that brings out a fervency to be the best. I reckon there will be a point where that will become exhausting, but I haven't reached it just yet. So it's one more year (at least) in the big city for this little lady. 

And there you have it, folks. The "main headlines" of Ashley's life for April and May. And if you feel like sharing...what's been happening with you? 

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