November 19, 2018

The Circle of Life

While looking through an old filing cabinet to try to locate some documents I came across a paper I had written back in my early college days. It is a very long paper, one I have not seen in years—probably haven’t even read since long before I was a mom. (One of these days I just might post the whole thing on here.)

It is titled, “Educational Autobiography”, and it was written for a class I took in the education department at Utah State in a phase when I thought I wanted to be a schoolteacher. I don’t know if it is the pregnancy hormones, or reading stories from the past—written by a former me, but I cried the entire length of the paper. Thinking about all the years I have lived—moments in my childhood that shaped me into who I am today—good and bad memories of growing up and figuring out how to find joy in the circle of life.

I wanted to share with you guys the first and last page of this autobiography:

My life has blessed me with many lessons. There were times, thought, that those blessings felt more like curses. Through trials and even heartache I was taught at a very young age to ask myself, “What role did you play?” Did you better the situation, or did you weaken yourself or someone else? Change is going to come, inevitably and unpredictably. As with all things change can feel like a blessing or a curse. It can be your fault, or it can be something that you did not choose. I have learned that taking responsibility for what you can and letting go of what is not yours to take is one of the most important things to find true happiness. I have finally learned the difference between a blessing and a curse. What is the difference? I look back now and see that it wasn’t so much the situation, as it was my attitude about the life I was living—finding a mission and a purpose for not only the decisions I make, but my role in the lives of others. It is finding strength in our weakest moments. Asking everyday: What part did I play?


There are times in life’s journey when one feels like everything is lost. It is in these moments that we must take our lives and serve others. It is not about what others do for us that will help us realize who we are. There will be hard times and times to change. As long as this change is good, we must let it happen. A curse is a blessing, with just a different point of view. The choice is up to us; what will we be in the lives of others? I know that what once seemed like a curse, is now a lesson that I will never forget. I am grateful for all the curses and I am thankful that they were all just blessings in disguise. Joy can only come once you find happiness and happiness has to come from within yourself. So now I ask myself, “What role will I play?” The answer is, “Whatever I decide.” Learn from the past, plan for the future, but live in the now. It is in our weakest moments that we will find our greatest strengths.

It is funny. Some days I get myself believing that I was just so naïve, the girl I used to be. Happy, content, supportive—these were all “weak” things I did, before I knew better. Then this other message I battle tells me that NOW I am just broken, used up, and worthless. It is interesting how the adversary wants us to see all the moments of our lives as weak. It was enlightening to read an autobiography written by such a strong girl—who had no idea what was coming—and remember the strength, not naivety, she possessed. Today it really helped me find a different perspective on some of the dark thoughts I have been fighting now.

It has been a journey balancing out the fears of the past, and the strength that was always inside. The past few months, I have seen myself come to some of those crossroads again. Pregnancy has been a big trigger to some of those insecurities—bringing about fears that I was just naïve before. Memories of the last time I was pregnant, and the chaos that happened just a few months after his birth. Looking at my changing body in the mirror—and for the first time having fears and insecurities come up in gaining weight during pregnancy. New battles I have never had to fight in the past. This little voice in my head that stares at my growing belly and tells me that I was just stupid last time, and if I “get fat” again my world will crash in on me.

GET FAT  . . . that wasn’t even in my vocabulary the other times I have had a baby—now it is a fear I have had to fight every day.

They say that infidelity changes the way you view yourself and the world around you, nobody ever warned me that those fears would even try to use the greatest gift—of growing a human life—against me.

So here is to all the ladies, and men, who battle the daemons that tell you that you are not enough, that you are just a forgotten piece of the circle of life. Don’t stop fighting. It is funny, no matter how many people look us in the eyes—or words we read on screens—tell us of our worth . . . we cannot feel it until we believe it ourselves.

We have highs and lows—days of totally confidence, and others when we can’t remember who we are—that are all part of the circle of life.  So the real battle isn’t just finding our worth . . . it is coming to believe our truths.

So wherever you are on that wheel today, just know you aren’t alone. None of us have it all figured out. We ALL get to overcome fears, and find our strengths all over again. You aren’t doing anything wrong, if you sometimes find yourself back at the beginning. The circle of life will bring us back to the start a few times, but each time that wheel turns . . . we will gain a new perspective.

It is in our weakest moments that we—truly—will find our greatest strengths.


Dulcinea del Toboso said...

Ashlee... Thank you. I have been reading your stuff for years now. You have been such a strength to me NUMEROUS times. I wish I could take away all your pain, and I am sure you would wish the same for me. You don't have to keep sharing yourself like this, but I am so thankful for what you do share! I admire you greatly! At times when I have felt so alone maybe I was crazy, it was so nice to read your words and know that others, amazing others like YOU, struggle like this...and that is O-K! :) I could go on and on about all the things I have related to and ways you have helped me hope, see, forgive, and believe.

Thank you, beautiful woman. Sending a TON of love!! xo

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