Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Thousand Words

I could write (and have written) a thousand words about my post-hurricane experience. But nothing I could write would be equal to this picture, which for me speaks at least a thousand words about my experience. These are the boots that got me through those (literal and figuratively) dark days. The boots that kept my feet dry and safe whilst wading through sea water and sewage and tearing down drywall with my bare hands. I can't bring myself to throw them away, even though I know I can never wear them again (they are beyond damaged). So for now, they live in my room, an odd totem to my Sandy experience. And every time I see them, I give thanks for the protection they offered and the stroke of luck that kept me and my home safe during the storm. Thanks, boots.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Desiderata, by Max Erhmann, 1927

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

(thanks to Kyle for turning me on to this incredible piece of poetry. I'm totally obsessed.)


"I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being."
Maya Angelou  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tiny Feelings

I am having so many tiny feelings today. SO MANY. And they are distracting and they are non-motivating and I feel like I'm sinking into non-creativity, which makes me all the more distracted and unmotivated and non-creative.

I don't want to do anything but there are so many things that I have to do.

I don't want to go anywhere but I hate staying home.

I don't want to write but I know that I need to.

Singing and playing the guitar feels like a chore but I know it will make me feel so much better if I can just get all of these tiny thoughts out into the universe.

Meditating feels like inaction but, again, I don't want to do anything.

I'm pretty sure I'm in the definition of a rut.

Got some bad job news yesterday, which was and is disappointing and makes me feel sort of useless. I feel like I'm failing at everything, even the tiny things like taking my laundry to the laundromat. Every time I make progress in one place, something else seems to go all to hell. What is that?!

Ugh. I feel frustrated and trapped. I feel like a child but I have the responsibilities of an adult, which I'm having a hard time taking care of. I don't recognize my own self. When did I become this person? This person who is unenthusiastic about writing or anything creative? This person who is unmotivated? This person who doesn't fight for things? This person who is afraid to say what she really means? This person who is afraid of asking for the things she wants? Who are you, bizarro Ashleigh?

I don't like any of this. Not one bit.


This is just perfect.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Back to Normal?

The power finally came on Tuesday night. We were sitting in the living room with some friends surrounded by blankets and candles and wine and suddenly, miraculously, the power came on. And I didn't know what to do with myself. Because the time after the hurricane seemed like a thousand years. It was all encompassing. It was life defining.

Now that that time is over, now that things are finally back to normal...I have no idea what to do with myself. I'm...bored. With everything. with my apartment, with my work, with the way I spend my days. I'm just...bored. And I don't exactly know what to do next. The world spins forward and everything keeps moving and I just simply don't know what I'm doing or what's next.

The storm made me, I don't know, brave? I wasn't afraid to do things because I didn't have a choice, I just had to do them. Things I needed I asked for--showers, meals, a shoulder to cry on, everything. I didn't think, I just acted. It was...invigorating. It was also completely exhausting and not at all sustainable. And I know this. But I keep feeling myself, I don't know, mourning over the last few weeks? Does that make sense? Is that the worst, most selfish thing ever? I don't know, maybe I just need something new--a new project, a new friend, a new relationship, a new book, a new TV show to obsess over.

What I really need, what I really want, is direction. A new course to chart. New goals. New experiences. Because if this storm has taught me anything, it is that new things aren't scary if you look at them not as the unknown but as new things you get to experience. You have the privilege of experiencing all these new things, even if these new things involve you scooping out rotten food from a damaged basement or cleaning a thousand wine bottles. It is your privilege because you can experience them. You aren't hurt or hindered or limited in any way. You have the ability to do things. What a gift that is, the ability to do. To help. To change. To make. To be.

So maybe I'm not in mourning, maybe I'm not pining, maybe I'm just finally getting the lesson of this damn hurricane. And here it is--go do things. Because you can. Don't waste time over thinking or under thinking, just trust and do.

I think I can do that.


"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

 — Eleanor Roosevelt