Letting the Light Shine

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I opened facebook today to see they celebrated my Winter Memories. I saw a beautiful spread of pictures from the last few weeks and it was so exciting to see how much I have been able to be Ashlee lately. This last stretch has been some of the most consistent that I have had which has been so great for my soul to constantly have things to look forward to. When my night ends, I don’t worry about how long it will be and with that, it feels so much more true to my soul that this IS my truest self.

This picture above was one of the memories that facebook posted and it was from a very tough time that I was having even in the thick of this great stretch. Sometimes I still struggle and wonder if I am ever enough. That night, I wrote the following…

“Struggling mightily the last 24 hours with my gender identity and my path in life. Feeling as if my identity is not valid because of the choices I’ve had to make in life and struggling with the thought that I am not “trans enough” and how others can look at my struggle as fraudulent.

I saw saw this post this morning and it brought me to tears and gave me a feeling of hope and renewed my faith to see that i am truly not alone in what I feel. I have known for a long time that in a perfect world transition would be the best thing for me personally but the world is not perfect and circumstances have made me feel that I need to misgender myself. And at this point in life, that can be ok and I can look at my progresses and committing to find more time to be my most authentic self as a huge win and something to be proud of.

I know my struggles and I know deep in my heart who I am within my soul. The struggle will always be there but it’s little things like reading this post that are a great reminder that i am not alone and it’s ok to be where I am.

Most importantly, I am so thankful for the many good people who are affirming, loving, and supportive. That love and kindness has built me up so much and helped me get to points that were unimaginable. Quite frankly, without the love and support from people within my social media circle I would not be here right now. I am so grateful for you all. Please keep putting love and kindness into this world – we all need more of it.

The struggle of not being trans enough has always been a struggle of mine. It can be incredible how some people can be so eager to police someone’s gender or their experience. Just because someone’s struggle doesn’t look the same as yours it doesn’t mean that it’s any less valid. We all have our battles and we all have to do what is best for us – whatever we think that may be. All we can do is our best. I have always struggled in the trans community with people getting angry – and some even mean and hurtful – because my struggle is not the same as theirs. One time, I was completely berated by someone who I counted on as a friend, and in many ways we started our journey together, all because I didn’t handle things the same way that she did. In her mind, because I wasn’t as desperate to transition as she was that I was a phony. My situation is different from hers – and that has to be ok. Another time, shortly after I started going out, another older woman got angry at me because I wouldn’t sign her petition with my ‘real name’ and address and phone number. She yelled at me and told me I shouldn’t come back to the club I was at because I was just some ‘faker freak.’ She told me I was young and had my whole life ahead of me so I had to transition – and when I told her I wasn’t considering that she was hateful and mean to the point that I left. I struggle going back to those clubs because of that experience.

Thankfully, I have found a great group to be a part of and have found tremendous love and support near and far. So much love and kindness is out there and people can appreciate me for me – not worry about my gender but appreciate my genuineness. When people see me as Ashlee, they see a different person and they see my truest and most authentic self. That’s what they judge me on. Talking to a friend recently who I have known for 10 years, she noted there following: i thought you were a very kind, caring, incredibly nice person before, but i didn’t know you very well. But now that i know you as Ashlee, i feel like i know you better and can see the light that you shine wherever you go!
What an observation! It speaks for the confidence and happiness coming out that I can just be truest to myself and the goodness that comes out. I can be more real and more authentic and that makes me the best person that I can be.

So many reminders are all over social media. Some can be challenging and difficult to take on but sometimes if you can appreciate just how far you’ve come, it can be a wonderful thing. Even just looking at where I was a month ago to now I have come so far and continue to embrace myself as Ashlee and appreciate the good people that will celebrate me too. Ultimately, this is my journey and I’m the one in charge of it. The negatives from others don’t matter and there is so much kindness in the world that there is so much better ahead. I don’t know where my journey is going to take me. I don’t know what I’m going to do but I do know I have good people that have my back and are in my corner. When you put out happiness and kindness it often comes back to you. Never feeling comfortable in my own skin as a guy held me back but my opportunity to explore life as Ashlee more has allowed my light to really shine and people are appreciative of it. Those are the people that matter. I may have to misgender myself more than I would want to right now but that can be ok. Because I am working at doing MY best so many people are seeing the true light in my heart. There is so much wonderful ahead.

❤ Ashlee

Reacting with Love

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Experiencing life in two genders can be such an incredible look at the way that we are socialized and how we are expected to act. Even the different mannerisms and cues that we each have become so different. Being someone who is trans but has very masculine tendencies these are things that I had considered when I finally began allowing my Ashlee side to live and get out there more. It can take a lot of mental thought to sit or stand a certain way that ‘Ashlee’ might do as opposed to what I have been socialized to do my whole life.

Recently, I found this hit me over the head on social media. Facebook’s new reactions have been a fun addition to the site. It can certainly cause uproar in some instances but for someone like me that really just uses facebook to keep up with people in my life it was a pretty simple addition. I have a facebook account for both my male and female accounts and on my Ashlee account I can’t hit that love button enough. Seeing other people happy is one of the things that makes me truly happy and knowing that someone is able to celebrate their wins on facebook is truly awesome, it doesn’t matter what it is. I think back to all the LOVES I’ve hit on my Ashlee page in the last week alone – a friend posts a selfie that she feels great about and you can see the confidence beaming from her: LOVE, a friend celebrates a new life change that has made her life free and wonderful: LOVE, a friend posts a loving picture with her child: LOVE, a friend NAILED a makeup look she has been working on: LOVE, a friend posts something proud of quitting smoking: LOVE, a friend posts an inspirational quote that really hit me: LOVE, a friend writes a blog that speaks to me: LOVE, a friend posts something where you can just see that she might need a little bit of love and support: LOVE – you’ve got this girl! Spreading the love is a wonderful thing – and from me it’s real. Each of those examples I listed – along with the many others I didn’t – are things that make me happy because I know that these things are making those people happy and that’s an awesome thing to celebrate and as Ashlee, it’s great to be able to do that and be real and spread that love and just send that message to the poster to say “this is fucking awesome.”

I had been on a run of LOVES on my Ashlee page and then logged over to my guy page. I scrolled through it a bit and found a beautiful picture of a friend of mine with his wife and young child and they looked absolutely adorable and so happy. I immediately hit the LOVE button….but then I remembered I wasn’t on my Ashlee page any longer…and then I changed the LOVE to a LIKE. I sat back and thought about the thought process that went into that. Just minutes ago I was loving posts left and right but the “change” in the person made me feel that I couldn’t show that same level of enthusiasm. I had to tone it down. It may be “just another like or love” to the poster and something that they wouldn’t think anything about otherwise, but I instantly felt a little bit of shame over it – like it wasn’t ok for me to LOVE this other guy’s picture. This is someone that I have been friends with for 20 years. Someone that works hard and has always been a great person – why wouldn’t I LOVE the fact that he has found a wonderful woman that he loves and has created a beautiful little family life? It’s just different for guys – and that’s kind of crappy.

As I have come out to more people, those that know me well would talk about how I always had those traits that are considered “more female” – that I was caring and empathetic and that I was more “soft” than most guys – but that I was this football player so how could anyone really expect this? Some of these things that I almost felt like I had to tone down to not be considered weak were actually points of strength and points that I should be willing to embrace and own. What a freeing feeling that realization was! As I have become more comfortable with myself and gotten that reinforcement to just be me, I have been able to allow that soft side to show more and it’s amazing the positive impact that it seems to show in my male life as well.

I really started letting it loose in the workplace. I work with college students and have always had that jock image – but more recently I have used it to my benefit to get students to think differently. If I can have a caring and supportive mindset and allow someone to be soft, then anyone would. If I say it’s ok to cry or show some emotion then people – my male students especially – feel ok and safe to do so. What an awesome power! I’ve created this wonderful safe space for my students – a spot that they can let their guard down and where they can be their true selves and not worry about that macho bullshit that they might feel they have to let out otherwise. Not only has this space been created but they come back for more and know that they can count on me. I’ve always had that knack with students but this has allowed a whole new opportunity and allows me to better do my job to support students. In my personal life, it has been a tremendous benefit as well to support my friends and allow them to be open and real. Allowing friends that have been buttoned up for 20 years to come out with their own struggles and frustrations I have been able to offer true help and support much more than the “it’ll be ok, man. You’ll get through it” bullshit that most men deal with. My friends are thriving and getting the appropriate support that they likely wouldn’t be doing otherwise – and I am damn proud of that!

It’s funny to have a sneak peak into life as both male and female and see the noticeable differences. Here’s to hoping that we can do better as we move forward – to know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, to empower ALL of our children, to teach consent and respect at an early age, to give all of our children their best opportunity to be the best person that they can be. But I do hope to continue to spread that goodness to all the people I can. To be more willing to talk about our feelings and not be ashamed of them. To know that there is a lot of wonderful in this world and the more that we can appreciate and build each other up the more wonderful it can be. I’m committed to continue to lead by example and hope that it can continue to blossom and that we can all just live our most authentic and true lives. It just feels better that way.

❤ Ashlee

30 Day Prompt – Day Six

When did I experience joy this week?

Celebration. Happiness. Joy. My whole life I have found the most joy in watching others. Knowing that I have contributed to making someone else happy is what makes me the most happy. I think it is because I know what it is like to be so sad and I don’t want others to feel that way. When I can make a difference in someone’s life, it gets me on a high much stronger than I can ever do on my own.

This past weekend I planned a birthday party for someone very close to me. It was such a thrill to see how happy they were and how appreciative that they were with everything. It is so great to see their friends and family come together to celebrate them and how happy they were in their element. The birthday party was perfection and was exactly what they would have wanted. Society and life can beat you down but for just this one day my friend could take everything in and and appreciate a day about them. It was a beautiful thing.

The feeling of a job well done is also a big high for me. It is something I struggled to get praise for because I grew up in an alcoholic family. I always felt I had to rise up and do more and no matter what I did it was never noticed or never good enough for anyone. I had to work so hard to get recognized so even still as an adult getting that praise for a job well done is so good for my soul. Friends and family were very appreciative of my work to put on a party for my friend and bring everyone together – another thing that I have always been good at as someone who didn’t really have family growing up so I had to rely on my friends to be my family. I am fortunate to have a great big group of friends from when I grew up and I am often credited with being a big reason why everyone is still so tight to this day because I am the one bringing people together and focusing on traditions and keeping the important things alive.

Doing things for others will always be my biggest motivation in life. It makes me think of one of my favorite quotes: Be the person that you needed when you were younger. I remember the first time seeing that quote and how it hit me. That it brought me to tears That I knew that it was everything I ever needed – that I had dedicated my life to helping young people and getting involved in helping college students at such a transformational time in their lives. I have wanted to be that person – I wanted to be that person who believes in people when they don’t believe in themselves. Turns out that I AM that person.

It’s been one hell of a year. There has been so much stress and anxiousness going on. I am beginning to find myself in ways that I never felt possible. I have had a tough year but I am going strong. My support and love for others is what keeps me going and continuing to push forward. Thinking over the past few days and the work that I’ve done with people it is always great to reflect on what I do for others and how I champion self care and self love for others – if now I could just do it for myself.

My self esteem has always been horrible. I have never believed in myself and question so much of my life. I have attempted suicide multiple times and have been pushed to the limits of thinking this world would be better off without me more than I can count – but thankfully I am still here. I have more self doubt than just about anyone I know which is surprising because most people think that I have it together. I don’t doubt my heart. I don’t doubt what I do for others and how hard I work to make sure that people feel loved and supported. When I think about what brings me joy it comes back to the joy that I can put in the hearts of others. When I see that I’ve made a difference in someone’s life that’s when I know I’m successful.

❤ Ashlee

 

 

30 Day Prompt – Day Five

What are 10 things that I’m grateful for?

As I have taken this blogging challenge I have been writing more on a computer than I have in a long time. Typing all these words out is much different than the physical act of writing so a simple list comes in handy today. My ten things are below.

  1. The people that love me unconditionally.
  2. Tremendous friends in real life and online.
  3. Coming to terms with who I am and letting her soar.
  4. The successes in my coming out stories.
  5. An ability to allow myself self care and reflection time.
  6. A drive to stay active and get out doors.
  7. The necessities of knowing I have a safe home, food to eat, and warm clothes.
  8. Long term friendships that never go out of style.
  9. Vacation planning.
  10. The fact I am still here.

Lists like these are inspiring and give you a great opportunity to reflect and appreciate what you have. It’s a nice reminder to check in with myself and know that I’m doing ok.

❤ Ashlee

30 Day Prompts – Day Four

What is going right in my life?

The common theme in my posts so far have been the happiness surrounding the support and love that I get from my Ashlee family. The willingness that people have to accept me for who I am and see how deeply happy I am as Ashlee is absolutely amazing. I feel so blessed to have such a strong group of people that I can count on and who have believed in me as a woman long before I ever believed in myself. That love and support has gone so far and has made a tremendous difference. I don’t know how I could ever say thank you.

My gender issues have been such a big source of fear shame and depression growing up. I was always pushed into sports and found myself to be good at them so it was such a distraction. I always had a softer side than most guys and made friends with girls easy – they always commented about how I was different than the typical jock. I always feared that being looked at as the jock type would make it hard for anyone to look at me as Ashlee. As I made more friends as Ashlee, I kept my guy life pretty private not wanting anyone to know of my more male side as I worried how they would see me. I’m a laid back person – I’m not like the flamboyant drag queens that you see on tv and if you saw me as a guy there is no way you would see this in me. You see me as a male and you see ‘all guy’ and I had so much worry that would ruin things for me.

All of those worries turned to be nothing, people see me as they do. I remember talking with a friend who had only known me as Ashlee and a mistake I made told her who I was. I was devastated and scared. She knew my profession. She knew my guy name. She could put together that I was more of the guy’s guy type and I thought it would ruin me. I was THISCLOSE to cutting her off and blocking her from my life. The way she handled things though was amazing  – so encouraging, supportive, and reassuring that she would not out me and I didn’t have anything to worry about. NOTHING would change because of this and she was still going to look at me as Ashlee. Four years later, she has continued to be that amazing and encouraging friend that supports and believes in me. No matter how she sees me, she sees me as Ashlee and that’s a wonderful thing. She sees me for me.

I still have such a long way to go but it’s good to know that I have good people in my corner and people that want to see me happy and celebrate my successes. I have always been someone that truly values friendship and I have hit a true home run with the people in Ashlee’s corner.

❤ Ashlee

30 Day Prompts – Day Three

What would make me happy right now?

Consistency. Finding my path.

For years I have lived a life thinking that I am stuck. Stuck as a male who cannot transition or find a true path as Ashlee. My life was a secret and I lived in such shame, not believing I had this life in me. I have lived for so many other people and thoughts that I could never truly transition and that I would have to live in this life forever. Never quite fulfilled.

More recently though, I have challenged that thought. I have looked at different options and considered a transition more than ever before. For the first time in my life it looks doable – even believing in that is such a huge piece for me. I still feel like I have so many roadblocks – highlighted by my want to live for others instead of living for myself – but for the fist time there is a true hope.

I came out to many friends that I have known for a long time over the summer and their acceptance helped me get into a groove that I had not found in 10 years. I have been able to prioritize Ashlee time and make it my own. I have had 8 straight months of at least one Ashlee night and many of those months have had multiple opportunities. I am connecting with friends – those that I knew as a guy and online friends that I have known only through a computer. Most recently, I found outings just days apart with online friends that have built me up and made me feel welcome. They did not look at me different but they looked at me as a woman. The gender didn’t matter – I was their friend.

The idea of acceptance has been a beautiful thing. There is so much growth among our society and something that seems like such a big deal years ago really seems small now – I am judged for the person that I am and nothing else. It’s all about what is in my heart. Last week we saw International Women’s Day. So many people were quick to point out the importance of including ALL women – women of color, women with disabilities, and so many more, including transwomen. While it is always great to see that represented on random posts it really meant something to me when I had friends on both ends reaching out and wanting to include me as well. I have been accepted and loved as a woman.

As I move ahead and think about what will make me happy – I need more consistency. I don’t know where these gender issues will take me but having a plan is so helpful. One of the most important things and keeping me in my groove has been to have something to look forward to each time. I planned the next outing to keep a focus and know that even at the end of the night as I have to take my true face off that I still had something to look forward to. A true commitment to loving and embracing Ashlee has worked wonders for everything that I needed. That commitment to the next time has been a huge help but as I look forward I want to have a new plan to find the consistency in my options. Is there a way to give myself a few times a month? Can I make Wednesdays Ashlee nights? Are there different ways to incorporate Ashlee time even in the busy times? Finding those boundaries and setting those goals should help me find that peace into myself and the more that I can find that peace and the more I can break those parts down, the happier I will be. So much good ahead.

❤ Ashlee

30 Prompts – Day Two

For my second day of The 30 Day Challenge my question was: What do I need more of in my life?

In my writings so far much has focused around the trans issues and the stresses I deal with there and it seemed the obvious answer would be to say “more Ashlee time” but after tonight, I’m going to take the question in a different angle and say more time with people that care about me – regardless of the gender they see me as.

This answer was prompted by a last minute gathering to extend a 6 year tradition of getting together with friends to watch the first round of The NCAA Tournament. One of my best friends had hosted the event for the first five years and had expected to do so this year in his beautiful new house that he bought in June before his wife left him in September which seemed to blindside everyone that knew either of them. He has struggled with the breakup and has been someone that we have all tried to rally around to build up – myself more than anyone – so continuing this tradition was a major step.

Seven of us got together to reminisce and connect and watch basketball. It was such a good, low key night. It reminds me of home and brings me back to the good old days. It also makes me proud to see how well we have all grown up and that after 20 years we can still be as tight as ever and show up for each other when we are in need.

We all do a great job to get together for our big 3 events each year. Some of us are lucky enough to see each other even more than that but it’s nice to find these moments to make this a priority and just make happen. It’s the reminder that this is the important stuff and we all need more of it.

Friendship has always meant so much to me growing up in an alcoholic household where I couldn’t count on anyone. I leaned on my friends to be my family and have always been considered one of the rocks of the friend group and praised by many wives/partners that I play such a huge role in keeping our friend group together. Days like this are a reminder that we need to spread more of it. Thankful for the good ahead.

❤ Ashlee

30 Prompts – Day One

Today I begin a 30 Day Challenge for Self Discovery based on the encouragement of a friend who began her challenge today as well. I am thrilled to start this challenge on a day that I got to spend as Ashlee to allow for a clear mind and an ability to be my best self. Today’s question is as followed:

1. How do I feel in this moment?

I feel on top of the world in this moment.

Today was amazing and it was so affirming for me to just be me. I met a long time online friend for the first time today as we had planned a girls day of playing with makeup and going out. She is crazy talented and wanted the challenge to try to do my makeup. I was so excited to see what she could do with me so I was thrilled to give it a shot! I had been looking forward to this for a bit.

This experience was a big deal for me and spoke to how far I have come as Ashlee because I was going to allow my friend to see me as a boy. I work very hard to keep my lives separate because I don’t want people who know me as Ashlee to have that tainted by seeing me as a boy. Even a year ago, I would have freaked out at that thought and would have wanted to meet her as Ashlee to not let my typical overly masculine look make her feel any different but I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter. People look at me for my heart and those that know me can see that I am Ashlee in my heart and that’s how they want to see me. They don’t see the gender, they just want me to be happy. I never expected anyone could truly want that for me but it’s true. Good people do care and good people are going to love me as Ashlee.

Getting ready was so simple. A task that was so nervwracking in the past. Cause I didn’t want someone to look at me as male was so simple. I got take off the hoodie and sweatshirt and out on a cute top and skinny jeans and feel so at ease. I was becoming myself and she saw it happen right before her eyes. We laughed and had so much fun. We talked different tips and tried different things to get the look just right and it was amazing. I felt so good about myself.

We went for dinner and drinks. I drove and we parked up the road from the bar – in daylight – something that gave me so much anexity in the past and I just owned it. Walked down the road like I owned the place and was so at ease. We walked in and had a great meal without a care in the world. In the past, my radar was always so high that it was hard to enjoy a dinner because I was waiting for someone to clock me or to figure me out or to say something rude but today I crushed it. I felt good in my skin and felt beautiful that if someone was going to look at me they were going to think “wow, she is beautiful.” I owned that moment.

When thinking of how I feel today, I am just so excited that I can own it in society. The gender issues are always a challenge and I have struggled with it for so long but at this point I am living my best life and doing what is right for me and what makes me happy. For the most part, society is getting more accepting too and we are more mindful of the differences around us. I take my role in the trans community incredibly seriously because I may be the first experience someone has with someone that is trans and I want that first impression to be a good one. The impression is someon that is classy and carries herself well. Someone that is kind and positive and looking to build others up. That person may have a negative preconceived notion about trans people but when they look at me I hope that they can leave with a different perception of trans people or reexamining their thoughts. I’ve had strangers share as much with me in public and are more willing to learn when they see how I can carry myself. It’s such an important role to play and I’m glad to be making a difference.

On the drive home, I chatted with another friend that I came out to recently. She is a fellow introvert who is obsessed with makeup too. I was always this football jocky guy to her and when I came out to her I could tell she was skeptical. When I shared my pictures she was blown away and has been an amazing support ever since. I joked with her about “how once she got the blending – of her smoked eye – down she would have so much fun” and she laughed about how it was the perfect pep talk than she need. I further joked that it was from the most unlikely source ever. But that doesn’t matter. She looks at me for the person I am and was able to put what she knew about me down to celebrate me for who I am. Acceptance is a beautiful thing.

When I think about how I am feeling in this moment, I am feeling amazing, I am feeling excited and I am feeling like the best is still to come. There is something amazing about being able to be yourself and do anything you want. As I sat at the bar tonight with my friend, people were looking at us as two women. I was at ease and I belonged. Such a great feeling!

💋Ashlee

Snow Day Reflection

Like much of New England, I found myself buried with a snow day today. The snow has been steadily coming down since 5am and I spent much of the day getting out to explore the woods and spent my night sipping on host chocolate.

These days get to be incredible to get out and be one with nature. It allows for a personal reflection and s chance to just be. Walking through the woods and down by the river makes me think back to tougher times and how far I’ve come. It’s a wonderful feeling of empowerment and success. A full heart.

I credited an amazing friend for starting me into this blog.  I had been journaling through difficult things for some time on my own but this was my first time putting thing in an online forum. She has invited me to join an online prompt discussion over the next 30 days to work the path of self discovery. When I saw some of the prompts I was taken back and brought to tears just thinking about some answers. I am so thrilled to take the challenge and see what truly comes up in my own self reflection and how my gender identity issues play out so deeply with everything.

Looking forward to the journey and to see where this all takes me. I’m at such a transformational time in my life right now and my life could go in 100 different directions. This could be the first step for the rest of my life in hopes to find my true happiness. So much good ahead.

❤ Ashlee

When the paths are no longer intertwined

I read a quote recently that blew my mind…

“I think when you care for someone, you truly want what’s best for them. You smile when they laugh, celebrate their wins and suffer together through the losses. You adore the moments you share and give them enough space to be free. But part of wanting what’s best for another may involve accepting when your paths are no longer intertwined. It’s not to say that the moments you had aren’t real, but rather coming to terms with the inevitable truth that sometimes showing someone how much you love them means letting them go.”

Breakups can be excruciating. They can tear you down and make you feel lost. You can feel inadequate or like a failure. You may even feel like you will never find that true love. Did you miss your chance? Did “the one” get away? This quote challenged me to really think and re-examine the idea of “the one” and of soulmates. It also made me reflect back on a recent breakup and wonder about the role we played in each other’s lives. While it did not end how either of us would have hoped, we both learned tremendous lessons from the relationship. We were able to love on a different level and experience things better than ever. We had a dynamite love built on mutual love and respect. We clicked in every way possible and there was nothing I would rather do at the end of a long day than rub my partner’s feet and hear about their day.

in the end, particulars became too much. We lived nearly 3 hours away and opportunities to close those gaps were minimal. As things got tough and dragged on, the relationship continued to strain. A relationship that was once so promising was being run down by two tired people looking to try to keep that spark going.

The relationship went on far too long and it was nobodies fault. We both wanted so desperately to feel that love that was inside of us – and is still inside of us. But you can have the greatest chemistry in the world but if you don’t have the right timing….well, the timing can be a real asshole.

I loved this person more than I have ever loved anyone in my life. I truly believed they were my soulmate. Perhaps the idea of a soulmate is tough these days. Maybe there is that one perfect person out there for everyone and some are lucky enough to find it, but perhaps in this day an age that is harder to do. But what if we all have several people out there for us? The idea that there could be many people who we totally click with and that we all have several people that we may be better suited with. Regardless, it takes a lot of work. Love is hard. The more intimately you know someone the clearer their flaws become. You may love someone deeply but how do you respond when they are down on their luck, they’re out of money, or they are under pressure that you cannot understand? Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing darkness in another but still choosing them every single day.

We all deserve that amazing, once in a lifetime kind of love. We deserve to be fulfilled and have a partner that we love and can bring out the best in us as we bring out the best in them. We cannot settle. And saying you cannot settle does not mean someone is a bad person or that you are better than them but it simply means that at this point they are not the person for you – and that’s ok.

Its a fine line to figure out where to go with love. How hard do you fight and give it everything you have vs leaving when it’s not feeling right? My partner and I fought so hard to keep our relationship going. There was no question that our relationship did not fail because of love but the particulars became too much to handle. I wouldn’t have changed it. We fought like hell to make it happen but it was just too much to overcome. We gave it the fight it deserved and I’m proud of that. This quote gives me a better feeling that we did the right thing and that we will both be better off for it. It may be hard to say goodbye but it can be the best thing for everyone involved. So much good ahead.

❤ Ashlee