Today I am flying 1,125 miles to spend some time with my sister, Kasie, on the east coast. It was an impromptu decision which I made last week after months of searching for exactly what I needed to get through this time in my life. This time of indecision and heartache. This time of change. This time of bad choices I wish so desperately that I could take back, but know that I can't. This time that has lead me to a fork in the road, and while everyone around me is demanding decisions and answers, I find myself longing for silence. Solitude. The peace I need to make my OWN choice.
And so I'm going. I leave a wake of anger and resentment behind me, and I know it...they...will still be here when I get back. I don't think "running away" from my problems will fix anything, but I do think walking away from the noise, and the hundreds of little voices that are whispering in my ear will do me a world of good. Because for me this trip is a light-a hope. A hope that maybe-just maybe-when I get back I will actually know how to deal with all of it...them. That maybe-just maybe-I will finally have all the answers. That maybe-just maybe-I will actually be able to love the girl in the mirror who has let so many people down. Because I m tired of letting my mistakes and my past define me. I am tired of holding onto things that I need to let go. I am tired of letting all of that change me into a girl I no longer recognize-a girl that I or no one else cares for very much. I am tired of caring SO much about what everyone "is going to think" to the point that I have let that fear define me and my choices, and for the past 26 years I have made choices that are more about pleasing everyone else than doing what's best for me.
But, before I leave, I would like to say I'm sorry to everyone I have let down. To everyone that will never look at me the same way. There are no excuses, and no answers. But, despite the darkness, I know that for me there is hope. Deep down, I am still "good Ashley", and I hope to find her sooner rather than later. I know what I need to do-I just have to work up the courage to take the steps I need to get back to her. I hope you can all find it within your hearts to love me and accept me through this. You may not understand. You may disagree. But, the truth is I still need you-all of you. Even though I've pushed you away in my anger, resentment, and pain, I know deep down that you are all I have in this life, and I'm sorry. I hope that you can all find it within your hearts to love me through this. Because, sometimes the girl who has been there for everyone else really DOES need someone to be there for her.
So, here's to my brighter tomorrow- to my future that seems so dim, but has all the possibilities of being the bright and shiny hope it once was. Here's to the hope that I come back miraculously different-ready to take on the challenges I am leaving behind. Maybe this is my cure-maybe it's not. But, at least, I can say that I tried. That I finally gave into something my heart really, truly wanted. And even if it doesn't fix anything, for me, it was still a step in the right direction.