It's Time.... {Long, Emtotional, Proceed with Caution}

3:23 PM

Here I am all....
last week I wrote a post that I had every intention of posting, but I went in to edit it and then never re-scheduled it. Just writing it was very cathartic and releasing for me, but I have decided it is kind of repetitive in regards to similar things that I have been posting so I will just leave it.
The short of it is, I am going to be giving up my features that I have held here for a while, I just don't want to do them anymore. So many of you encouraged me about this being my blog and I am remembering that. I feel like I had to let go of being in the lane of keeping up with "blogging Betty" whomever she may be, and I also know what it takes to keep your blog "growing" but I am just not feeling that right now.
I am going to be authentic to me, and my life.

Like I said in THIS post, I just needed some time to work on me, to change the page, to start new, to get healthy in my mind, body and spirit. And in the name of keeping with authenticity it's time to share what I have been up to these last couple months.

Now, those reading this may think...

"so what?"

There are other who will NOT relate to this post whatsoever.....
and I am such a place right now that I do not care what
reading this
thinks about me....
I don't! 
This is my story, my pain, my journey, my blog.
But for me this is a really big deal.

You see ever since I had my son I have struggled with depression. 
There are many older posts about that if you wish to read them. 
The biggest factor, or one of them, has been my issues with weight. 

I have never seen myself as thin or athletic. 
I was a cheerleader in highschool and that was in its own way a form of sport, and I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't label myself an athlete through this. 

If you ask my friend Amy, she thought I was jock before she met me. I have played a "LITTLE" of every sport, but I was mostly a bench warmer and things like getting cut from your jr high basketball team can leave an awkward girl devistated.

All through my adolescent days I never ever wanted to play any kind of games that were athletic for two very good reasons in my head. 

1) I would look fat and ridiculous playing them and everyone would feel sorry for me and secretly laugh
2) I would look like a loppy fool.

Granted some people are just naturally more athletic than others, 
and I am on the leaner end of that spectrum of talent.

But these two thoughts kept me on the sidelines of life. I did not want people to see me look like a fool. I did not want to feel like a fool. So very rarely when it was time to play volley ball, go swimming at the beach, go rock climbing, did I participate. In my mind, I was never going to be loved by a man either, because they only wanted the most athletic skinny, beautiful girls.

You see, I grew up around exercise. My mom taught Jazzercise from when I was in elementary school. The topic of food, weight loss, and the like were highly discussed amongst the women in my family from as far as I can remember. And it doesn't take a little girl long to come to the realization that she doesn't measure up.

The thing that makes me the saddest about any of this, is that I stopped it from letting me live my life to the fullest many times. Things that I probably would have enjoyed doing if I had just not worried about it. If I had just had a better self image, 

I wasn't BIG I just wasn't SMALL! 

But I learned early on the girls who were worth the most were the ones who were skinny, and in my mind, that wasn't me. So I would rather not parade my deficit in front of anyone.

Fast forward to meeting my husband. 

I was thin(ner) when I met him. Isn't that funny, and in some ways I want to tell myself he never would have been attracted to me if I hadn't been because there is nothing worth loving in a fat girl. But fell in love we did and we were married within the year. 

(By the way he is the most loving and humble man to ever walk the earth and I know he does love me, really ME, and not just how skinny or fat I am)

4 months after we were married I was pregnant and for someone with deep seeded body issues that I denied were ever really there, or just refused to look at, this was a strange and heart wrenching place for me to be in.

Here is a time when I was just getting used to being a wife, and loved wholly for me and learning to love and be in that role, and all of a sudden I was going to be a mommy! On top of this HUGE responsibility I now had no control over my body for 9 months, living with a man I'd known a year and that scale was going to creep up no matter what.

I felt horribly ugly when I was pregnant, and isn't it just the way that when you are most vulnerable (and not to mention HORMONAL) pregnancy becomes a time when people feel it is necessary to comment endlessly on your body, touch it, stare at it. I would hold my breath when I knew I wasn't showing yet, but that tummy I was able to camouflage with clothing for my ENTIRE life, now, people were assuming this was the baby bump. I just wanted to hide. Thinking of it now makes me want to cry. 

Insensitive jerks asking me at 3 months if I was going to have twins cause I was "so big", the comment of "wow you have gained  A LOT of weight", the swelling, the acne, the spreading nose. For others who may not have struggled their whole life with body image may not get it, but to me it broke me and it broke my heart.

As soon as I had him I was going to prove all those jerky haters wrong and I started working my butt off as soon as my c-section was healed. I lost nearly all of my baby weight in about 6 months.

I started running. 
I loved it.
I was good at it.
I wanted it to be MY thing, 
something I could finally be good at, 
something that I could do in front of other people and not be ashamed.

My mom started running, all these other people started running, and even though there is nothing wrong with that, and its so great for them and what is the big deal, I started to break again. 

Here I was with an infant, and here are these people with virtually no time constraining, pressing responsibilities in the same way as a baby. 

Not only that, but we were broke as a joke. 

I just felt like I couldn't keep up with the things I needed, the time I needed, I couldn't take the pressure of feeling like it was some sort of competition. 

On top of this, which I am sure had much to do with it, I was dealing with the post-partum which I am sure heightened everything. I felt like the world was against me, that I would always be a failure, that no one in this world, especially me would ever believe in me. 

What was I good for? 
There is always someone prettier,
more athletic, richer,
more spiritual, 
more important, 
to love...
what would the point be??

I tried so hard to be a good mom, but it was tough. 
My husband really saved me so many times through this hard time of early morning and endless crying.
I just wanted to be OK, I wanted to be enough. 

I would watch 
A Snoodles Tale from Veggie Tales 
where everyone painted a picture of him that was mean and wrong
and put it in his backpack to carry around, and it weighed him down. 

Then he meets the creator and he burns all those pictures and paints a picture of him strong and brave and able to fly, and tells him it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of you. 
Only what I think of you. 

I would cry every day watching this as I felt my life was falling apart. 

I didn't feel I was good enough to be loved by anyone, and people seemed to act this way as well in my life, they still needed me...
i still tried to give, but there was just nothing. 
I was so so empty and needy and I just didn't know what to do.

Then smack dab in the middle of this we moved to Colorado to start a church. Great idea. 
I knew I wanted to keep losing weight and feel better about myself, but more than that I wanted to know that who I was was ok, no matter what. 

That somehow I was worth being on this earth. 
I forgot to ask God to paint me a picture, so I just carried around the picture I perceived others had painted for me. 
A fat one, 
an angry one, 
one of a quitter,
one of a loser,
one of a failure, 
and this is all I thought about for a year.

And this is what I became.

And the more I thought about how, yes, actually, this IS the person I am...
the more I did not see a reason why I was here. 
I still didn't ask God for a picture, 
but I asked others to help me and I just felt continally rejected, 
over and over and over...
just compounding what I already thought of myself.

Yes, in a healthy brain these people's actions would have been every day normal....
but to me they were like being punched in the gut. 
It hurt me so incredibly bad, even though I knew in the deep part of my logic that they weren't intentionally hurting me, I was still hurt. 

I was just hurting in general. 
I wanted someone to not want me to die, I wanted someone to tell me why I mattered in the world.

But what I didn't understand was that, this was a long time coming. 
This was years of lies told to me, years of paintings on my back, and if you add just a touch of depression in the mix the whole thing just crumbles.

You can only act strong for so long.

I went and got some help, and it did help..i only went once, but it was enough. 
We moved, we went on vacation, some of my family moved out here with us. 
It was enough.

Before the New Year I asked the Lord to awaken me. 
Wake me up to the lies I have been believing, wake me up to who I am,
who He made me. 
I don't want to wander around life anymore in a fog, a spectator, a victim. 
And He has started.

The thing is, it's a process. 
I don't get better in a day, or a week, but day after day, week after week...he is showing me, He is so patient with me. 

I am willing to walk through it, no matter how slow we must go, or how long it must take.

This is what I have been walking through these past couple months.
It's extremley personal, but I believe their is power in vulnerability and also power in sharing our pain because nothing I have said needs to be held in shame or cloaked in darkness.

I am losing weight, I am focusing on health, I am training for a marathon.

Week in and week out, one day at a time, I get stronger every. 

I don't do it to be loved more,

I don't do it to be with the "in" crowd,

I don't do it so "so and so" can find me acceptable, 

I am doing it so I can live my life

I am doing it because I am strong. 

I am doing it because I am not defined my anyone's opinion of me.

I am doing it because I can be an athlete, regardless of my past. 

I am doing it because I am only 30 and I have a lot of life left to live.

I am doing it because I am a gosh darn FIGHTER

I am doing it because I am not going to be defined by my mistakes. 

I am doing it because I am not perfect, but NO ONE is! 

I am doing it because I can overcome. 

I am doing it because I AM A RUNNER

I am doing it because

I am doing it because I AM ALIVE! 

I am doing it because Jesus came to save me,
I am the one who who SAT IN DARKNESS, 
who He is bringing into light

I was the one in chains, 
who He is SETTING FREE! 

My life is not over, and 
I will BE with I AM.

So this blog will be now spliced with some running, some inspiration quotes, some recipes perhaps, and just my journey.

I would love for you to come along, be free with me. 

I appreciate all and any support.

Much Love, 

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17 Thank you for your thoughts

  1. Hallelujah, Ashley!!! Every word you said I could echo. Every. word. Girl, from the depths of my soul, I know.

    I am so, so very happy to read this post.

  2. I think you are so brave. Kudos to you for reclaiming your life and your blog!

  3. Wow! You have no idea how thankful I am for you sharing this. I am not married and I am not yet a mother, but I have struggled with depression for many years. I have also struggled with weight and I have to remind myself daily that just because someone is skinny, it doesn't mean their lives are perfect. I have been working on getting things right with myself and with my God, so I wish you the very best of luck and I will keep you in my prayers. Feel free to message me if you ever need support. Hang in there girl! We're gonna make it! :)

  4. I LOVE this post and love that you are ditching the "label" and just being you. As human beings we change and evolve and that's a GOOD thing.

    Also, I too have struggled with weight at my thinest I wieghed 90 pounds, and I wasn't happy, I was miserable and hated myself. At my heaviest I weighed 190 {pregnant with my first son}, and I was truly happy. It's not about the number on the scale it's about the things that weigh you down that keep you from being you.

    I'm so VERY proud of you and can't wait to see what's next in your journey.

    HUGS to you.

  5. Well said! You just keep on keeping on. Thank you for sharing ~ I know it isn't easy to share your most vulnerable thoughts and feelings. It is through other women sharing as honestly as you have that my faith in women is renewed and restored. We all suffer (to some degree) and struggle to paint a picture of our authentic selves. Reading posts like this reassures that the journey does not have to be walked in solitude. Best wishes!

  6. Well said! You just keep on keeping on. Thank you for sharing ~ I know it isn't easy to share your most vulnerable thoughts and feelings. It is through other women sharing as honestly as you have that my faith in women is renewed and restored. We all suffer (to some degree) and struggle to paint a picture of our authentic selves. Reading posts like this reassures that the journey does not have to be walked in solitude. Best wishes!

  7. I loved the post. It made me realize how much my husband and I talk about our weight, eating healthy, and exercising and now worried it might affect my little girl. We just want her to grow up in a healthy home. I know exactly where you are coming from because I was always the "skinny" girl, and trust me constantly getting called that isn't peachy either growing up. People telling you to put meat on your bones, or guys at school making fun of how flat chested you are, or people saying when I stand sideways I am as thin as paper and the wind will blow right thru me...anyway. As I got older I exercised and got toned, and then I was really happy with myself and then I got pregnant and that was all I talked about. It made my husband sick! I did the same thing and within months was back to my old clothes. Now after my second c-section I am in that rut again and not being able to find time to exercise with two kids drive me crazy. I am not depressed about it all the time but every time I look at my stomach I get a little down and tearful.

  8. I think you are amazing for coming out, being honest with yourself and with your fellow blogging friends. You are a wonderful daughter of God!
    Your post will help many who are struggling with maybe the same thing :)

  9. Lovely, Ashley! Oh how I adore your honest and openness...and look up to it and you! I have actually done just what you did, write a blog post, but then not actually end up posting it...just writing it did a lot for me, like therapy, so, completely understand what you are saying! Depression became an issue with many I know and someone very close to me as well and I have seen just how much it takes its toll on one's life. I just wanted to say good for you all around, taking control, putting it out there and on your preparation to run a marathon too...that alone is such a great thing and will be such an accomplishment! You are a true inspiration on so many levels!

    Lots of hugs,
    Liesl :)

  10. I'm a fairly new follower of your blog and just had to say this post is so great... I too have struggled with depression and my weight for a long time, it's a daily struggle. But you're right, with God, nothing is impossible!

  11. Hello Ashley,

    I know how hard it is to tell your personal story of your life, but to include the whole truth about your struggle with depression and weight issues is so much more difficult. Thanks for being you and sharing how you are getting though your days now.

    I'm deeply struggling with these issues too in addition to dealing with chronic pain due to a medical mistake during 1 of 5 back surgeries in less than 2 years. It's been almost 3 years since my last surgery and since then, my days have gotten dark as my soul cry's in silence. I'm getting through my days as best I know but it's very tough as I wonder how to carry on for just today.

    Sending warm thoughts to you to let you know your not alone.


  12. I'll still follow ya! :-)
    It is refreshing seeing a blog who doesn't always have giveaways and links parties and just busy work. So I commend you for making it YOU!
    And as I deal with my self worth too, but I'm at the opposite end. I'm thin and always get the negative marks for not eating enough. Even though people don't say certain things to my face I feel like they are questioning me for having an eating disorder, which is so false! It can take an emotional toll on me. So my counselor is helping me see myself for who I really am.

  13. Thank you, Ashley, for sharing this journey! I bet almost every girl feels the battle to look the way she feels she should-society and people are so unfair. I am so sorry you struggled with depression, but I am thrilled to know you are leaning on Christ to give you strength and help you find joy! I gained about 70 pounds in each pregnancy due to all kinds of medical issues--I wasn't eating bon bons, contrary to what people said. I hated pregnancy. I just recently watched videos of me a week after I had my second and I winced. I am still 20 pounds heavier than before I ever got pregnant, but I got pregnancy induced Hashimoto's thyroid disease. I eat low carb and exercise and still lose weight so slowly it kills me. Anyhoo, I struggle with hating my body too. Then I remember God gave me my body and my underactive thyroid to grow me in reliance on Him and to find my security outside of things that are fading away. I too grew up in a home where dieting and exercise were constant. I was praised for being thin, and when I did gain weight as an adult, my mom told me she "didn't recognize me anymore."(I was about 10 pounds heavier than I was at skinny me at the time). People can do numbers on us, but, like you say, it shouldn't be about their hurt and issues. We need to be responsible for ourselves and let hurtful people work on their own issues they are trying to project on us. Praying for you! I love your blog no matter what you have on it! I decided to do this blogging thing for me a long time ago--the numbers game is draining and not nearly as fun as just posting what makes you happy!

  14. I'm glad you opened up and shared with us! I find that these are the posts that often resonate with me the most and then make me wish I could figure out how to spill my guts in such an eloquent way. I think it is SO good that you are recognizing the lies that the enemy is trying to hold you back with because the Lord can heal you and fill you with truth one day at a time. It is so crazy how hard it is to fight mental patterns that we become accustomed too. I'm battling my own stuff and man...Satan is such a punk...and every day I'm saying, "get behind me Satan!" Greater is He that is in US than he that is in the world! Amen! Praying for you!

  15. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. I struggle with an obsession about making sure to work out/exercise daily and want to do a better job of realizing that my physical appearance is worth nothing in the eyes of God. I am a runner and want to be healthy but need to not obsess about it. I'm definitely working on not letting it control me. Thanks for sharing your heart! and good luck with the marathon training - running a marathon was one of the best things i've experienced!

  16. Wow I definitely needed to read this today. Thanks for being so honest on here about your struggle. I too have struggled and continue to struggle but I am trying to get out of the rutt. Go girl!

  17. You know what I love? Besides your honesty and just everything that you are as a person.....but how you didn't care what people would think about this post....and look how God is using it to encourage others? LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing....def could relate but you already knew that. :)


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