Ashley Wilda


Author: ashley (page 2 of 10)

I want…

I’m reading and reading and this book is so good it fills me up and the new words, my own words, burble up inside of me and just want to be let out but I don’t know how to say what’s inside and I don’t know what it all means and I don’t have anyone to share it with.

And so I’m here, rambling again. Hoping someone will read it who understands.

I want to write about what it’s like to feel grief and love swirl inside you like they’re twisting into a black hole, a yin and yang, both forming me and devouring me all at the same time. I am emptiness and fullness, I am nothing and everything. Broken and whole. The potential for light and the crushing weight of dark swirling through me until I feel like I’m going to burst with the tension of it all.

I want to write about how, most of the time, it’s not like that. Most of the time it is silence and nothing. Most of the time it’s like padding down the stairs and hunching over a stool in the kitchen because your mother made you and trying to make cookies but the dough’s too thick and your limbs feel tired, oh so tired, because you’re oh just so sad, and the cookies go in the oven and you just want to lay your head down on your arms on the counter but you feel like if you do so you’ll be too tired to get back up… but I do it anyway and my arms and hair curtain me from the world and I’m crying. And my mother is there and I am not alone but feel completely alone.

I want to write about how the air outside is thick and warm and blowing. The best kind of wind, we agreed once upon a time. The wind before a thunderstorm. And I just want it to rain so I can sit in it and get soaked, just so that I can feel something again, just so I can pull myself away from my blanket tassels and book worlds and grey mornings spent hiding from the world and feel cold raindrops on my skin and be here, because I am never here anymore.

I want to write about the callouses on my fingers, how I like to push myself and push myself, climb higher and harder and longer, because sometimes it makes me happy, and even when it doesn’t make me happy at least it makes me present, and when it doesn’t make me happy and doesn’t make me present at least it gives me the gift of seeing you again. And I can’t say how much that hurts and how much I need it.

I want to write about texts from friends and staring at the screen and not wanting to respond and not knowing how to say oh I’m fine, but not actually, just really really sad and so end up saying I’m chugging along or just end up saying nothing at all. Just wanting to talk to you instead and knowing that I can’t and why?  Feeling like it’s not fair and it’s not okay and I don’t know how to fix it and just wishing on some horrible fundamental level that everyone would just shut up and stop telling me ‘everything’s going to be okay’ because how do you know? how can you look at my pain, no matter how ridiculous or inexplicable, and tell me that everything’s going to be okay? what does ‘okay’ mean? deep down I know they’re right, but it doesn’t mean I have to understand it. It doesn’t mean it feels right, in the moment.

I want to write about how beauty hurts even as I want to delight in it. I want to write about how when my brain wants to remember, I say ‘Stop, stay here.’ And even when I do stay here, stay present, my heart isn’t here at all. I want to write about how good memories hurt, because I’m not happy, and I’ve lost what made me happy, and how bad memories hurt, because they remind me of all the sad heavy things I carry around with me every day. And so I don’t remember, but feel like a cracked open walnut shell, dry and crunchy and brown, because without my memories, my feelings, who am I? But sometimes I can’t help but remember, and somehow that makes me feel better and worse at the same time, not empty but very far from whole.

I want to write about drawing when I don’t know how to write what I feel. About twisted trees like Baobabs in The Little Prince, taking over a black hole planet. About a girl on a black pebble beach, knees drawn up to her chest, looking out over a gray sky and a sun coming up over the ocean, not knowing whether it is a sunrise or a sunset. About a girl and a boy, sitting up on a tree house platform, leaning on each other, heads resting on shoulders, looking up at the stars and the moon, while a dreamcatcher spins from a branch below. About two vines, twisting up my forearm, entwined around each other like a double helix, one green and leafing, the other dried up with broken stalks, its glory fallen away. Yet still, entwined.

I want to write about how, when I feel like it should be shriveling up and dying away, my love for you has only gotten deeper, if stranger and heavier. I want to write about how hurt doesn’t push me away from you, but makes me want to draw closer. I want to write about how I shouldn’t believe in second chances anymore, but I pray for one anyway. I want to write about how losing the one thing I wanted to hold onto forever made me feel like I lost my whole universe. I want to write about why I keep going every day, why my heart can’t seem to give up on you, but I can’t, because I don’t know if I really know why myself. I only know that it’s true, and it’s not something I can choose. I wouldn’t want to make a different choice anyway.

I want to write about all these things, and more. But I don’t know how. So I try poetry, and I try drawing, and I carve things and climb things, and tell myself stories when I can’t fall asleep, of a brown wooden bird coming to life and flying me to a land where people are allowed to love each other. I imagine saying to you all the things I wish I could say to you right now. But I guess, in a way, I did write about them, just now. If only it could ever be enough. If only words could make everything sad untrue, and every love real again, something I can hold and never let go.


I never realized how illusive it was

until I didn’t have you.

sure, I had felt dark skies before

but no thunder like this

no wind which forbids me

to remain on my feet.

it howls quieter now

if only because time numbs

but not heals.

and still, it howls.

I think, you might be happy

it’s hard to tell from the outside

but I think, just maybe, you might be.

there’s nothing to tell me

any different.

why does that hurt so much?

why does something break inside

every time I think

you might not need me?

I do want you to be happy,

I do, I do.

I know I do.

but I’m not happy.

I am so freaking far from happy.

and this distance makes me feel

like you don’t care

and you’ve gotten used to being

happy without me,

when every day I cry because

you’re so far away.

maybe that’s not fair to you,

but this is also not fair to me.

I would do anything for you,

anything you needed.

I know you care,

but the only thing  I need

is you.

but maybe the bottom line

is that when I see glimpses

of your smile, your laugh

something inside twists

and pangs

because it reminds me

of how absolutely wonderful

you are.


a titanium element

as illusive as mercury

silver bonding and wending

breaking and twisting

beautiful and painful

it has built me up

until I feel all light

and shattered my bones

until I feel drowned

in liquid dark

like there is no air

left in the world

and I am its only inhabitant.

ever morphing

ever changing

awful and wonder

and yet still, iridescent

ever growing

even with the tides

and somehow,



You don’t have any idea

what you do to me.

When you’re standing there

just around the corner

it’s kind of hard to breathe

or other times

I’m shaky, and there’s elephants

dancing around in my chest.

Or you’re moving

not paying any attention to the ground

and I can finally just watch you

and try not to remember

all the things I want to remember.

If you do talk to me

for a second

I’m happy and sad all at once.

You kind of do that.

I can’t ever be truly angry

with you for long

and when I am it’s just

because I’m hurting.

Something always sparks

in my mind, a memory

a word or a gesture

something we shared

something that made me feel

whole, part of something special

and good

and warm

and that thing feels truer than my pain

and I’m not mad anymore.

Just sad.

Hope that can’t seem to

give up and die

reminds me of how

I just want you

just you…

just because

you’re you.

ever ridiculous

i miss you.

i think that’s the simplest way

to explain what in the world

is going on with me.

i can ask myself questions

until up and down aren’t

what they were

and i can block my memories,

high walls around my mind

keeping out all but

bland, empty present,

or drown in the deep blue heaviness,

but without you

i come up with no

new answers

and no new memories

except two words said in passing,

and flashes of sightings

from across a crowded floor.

when i see you,

even from a distance,

i get all shaky inside

and my heart doesn’t obey me.

yet when you leave i somehow

feel empty,

as if steeling myself at this yawning distance

is better than

not ever sensing this odd connection,

even if i don’t know

if you feel it anymore

and if you do

if you’re willing to do anything about it.

but really, it’s quite simple–

i miss you.

so i move through my life,

noting when it intersects with yours

even if only for a few precious seconds,

and pulling myself through

quiet blanketed moments of missing,

of reading books and sipping yerba mate

curled in the overhang of a dark

quiet gym as the lock in kids

giggle in a corner,

through moments of trying not to focus

on the ache in my chest

trying not to look at the picture

of the two of us on that mountain

and caving by looking at it anyway.

i sleep and i wake and it all feels the same

and you probably

don’t understand.

but for some reason, this is me.

and for some reason, i can’t stop loving you,

and for some reason, i have this ridiculous hope

that you’ll feel the same.

this ridiculous dream

that you’ll fight until you believe.

this ridiculous prayer

that you’ll keep trying till you reach me.

but what were we ever

but wonderfully ridiculous



all I have are questions

haunting me tonight

did I do something wrong

did I just not

do something right enough

and where the heck

did all the hope go

why do I feel so alone

is it possible

that you just don’t

love me enough to look

for what you don’t think exists

maybe I just love you more

or could it be that for

some reason I’m just not

worth it

maybe you don’t talk to me

because you have nothing to say

or too much to say

or maybe I just don’t matter

like you matter to me

should I talk to you

or should I pretend you’re not there

are you happy

and if you are

why am I not happy

and why is your happiness

not enough for me

why can’t I let go of you

when sometimes it feels comparatively

you could let go of me

so darn easily

even though I know it isn’t true

if I remember you told me

how much you care

then why do I feel so abandoned

why does not seeing change

make me doubt

how much God loves me

when He loves me infinitely

will you read this

or never see it

and if you do

will it make any difference

and will I ever know

why does it feel like

I’ve lost you forever

and why does that thought

feel like a darkness

that will never break

why after all these days

do I just want something to hold onto


anything at all

and why am I still waiting

for you to give it

and this is the way I feel

okay, you know what?

forget hiatuses.

because when you’re going crazy

splintering into a million fragments

disintegrating on the inside

sometimes a frantic shout into the void

is better than making no noise at all

if just because it makes the pressure

bearing down on my shoulders

lessen by a millimeter.

should I be ‘better’ by now?


am I idiotic and selfish and unrealistic?

also probably.

can I change the way I am? the way I feel?

heck no. not right now.

if the past few months have taught me


it is that.

I can turn memories over and over

in my hands like pearls

or shove them in a box

and push that box into a dark corner of my mind

and nail the lid on tight

but the outcome is not much different–

I’ve tried both.

it’s still hard to breathe.

I still wake up and feel an empty wasteland

in my chest.

the lights still. won’t. come. back. on.

my dreams

both waking and sleeping

still lead me straight back

into your arms.

I wish I could tell you that I need you

that I’m not okay

wish I could say, please please please

oh please try

look, fight, pray


for me

but I keep my mouth shut

and tell myself that maybe

you already know.

and how can I say

that even after all this time

the lights that went out the night I left you

simply have not come on again?

how can I say

that I pray every day

that you’d be the one to bring them back?

how can I find the words

or the moment

especially when you’re standing right there

when I’ve missed you for so long.

I’m even scared you won’t understand

the intensity of these feelings

that just won’t let me be

that you’ll think I’m weird or weak

especially when you’re so good

at controlling your own

when mine control me.

tonight it takes

everything, everything I have

not to get in the car

just as I am

and drive to you

and wait until you open the door

and just say, ‘hold me.’

this canyon between us

all that yawning air

crushes me

but I know I can’t bridge the gap

because only you

only a change inside you

can ever do that.

and yet sometimes, I am so angry

raging, not at you, no, how could I

ever be truly angry with you

but no, at me–

sometimes I hate myself

for my own inability to do anything.

for my own helplessness to see inside your head

and know for certain

if there’s any hope at all.

because if you ever make the choice

to try to reach for faith

there is hope.

if you’re ever trying

I want to know

even if you’re scared of hurting me.

maybe that’s selfish

but I do, I want to know.

but something happens that still

makes me smile–

even in my saddest, most desperate moments

I realize…

what I want most is your safety in Christ.

what I want most is for you to have a life full of joy.

what I want most is for you to be fully you

like you were meant to be.

even if that’s not now.

even if that never means me.

you are the most important thing to me.

and that is what I pray for every day

now a reflex learned of living days without you

and yes, I admit, worrying

but knowing there’s a God that cares about you

even more than I do.

and that God cares the same way about me

somehow, even with all this messy hurt inside me

He does.

when I don’t understand myself

when the hurricane of pain inside immobilizes me

He loves me still.

and sometimes, that’s all

that gets me up in the morning

but it is enough.

but even with His promise, His strength

my heart still wants yours

and aches with all the things I want to say

all the things I want to do

the dreams spun under sun and star

and every full moon that makes me think of you

every dandelion explosion

and every quiet music strain

that talks of love

for it is written

“love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things

love never ends”

and this is the way

I feel

about you.


when the only words

you share with the world

are the same

over and over

same thoughts

same rhythm

same emotions

sometimes it’s best

to keep your words to yourself

instead of hoping

you’ll be heard

or fearing

no one really understands you

maybe it’s better

to say nothing at all

and wait for days

when you’ll have something new

to say

something better

than the same



and so this page

is taking a wee hiatus

until sunnier skies

find me again

and whisper words

worth sharing

Wind. Ocean. Me.

The wind whips in a grey sky, intensifying as we climb the steps to the beach, diminishing again as we descend. Somehow warm and cold at the same time. Salty, moist. Sand ricochets in pale streams across the shore, minuscule particles stinging my shins. The pain almost feels good in a weird, sadistic way, like scratching an itch too hard.

The sea is in a frenzy, lines of whitecaps charging the beach, waves steely soldiers. Foam accumulates in burgeoning, beckoning piles at the wash line, round pieces of fluff pinched off and whisked away across the sand like evaporating tumbleweeds or dust bunnies.

I am drawn to the water, the open wildness of the surf and horizon, like I always am.

I run down to the beach and into the water, which is all at once cold and surprisingly warm. Soft. Surging about my legs, white and clear beige and transparent gray swirling about tan skin. Rule-less. I belong here. I am understood. I am free. The hollow place inside me is known and acknowledged and respected. Unhidden, Given a stern nod of recognition. Felt. Real. Who I am and where I’ve been and what I feel and who I love, validated. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone here. Don’t have to pretend. I just am. Like the ocean.

My bare feet step deeper, farther than the others are willing to go. I spread my arms to the wind, embracing the sea. I stand. I exist. The wind cleans me, takes me out of myself, out of my own head. I smile.

And I can breathe again, breath I didn’t even fully know I couldn’t reach, or that I was deeply missing.

Verdict: Broken, and Beautiful



Grey broad backs rising clean and wet out of the water. Gentle. At home. Just themselves. Graceful.

Seeing them makes me want to cry. I almost do.

Verdict: Beautiful.


The mangled thing inside my chest, like crooked pieces of machinery, the gears and rods that make my heart beat.

Crushed and left to hang, barely together, by a giant’s apathetic fist.

The hollow is silent, empty.

I don’t work anymore.

Verdict: Broken.


The soft way the brisk seawater foams and fizzles around my legs.

Delicate white infrastructure, poofy, like sponge cake or dandelion thistles blown in the wind.

I love the sound it makes, evaporating. I love the friendly hissing of a wave’s end, contentedly resigned to having reached its limit and crashed into little things, small ripples where children’s feet play, pretending to be horses.

I remember.

The ocean doesn’t feel sad, or angry. It doesn’t know. It just is.

Verdict: Beautiful.


Looking back at my footsteps in the sand, seeing them alone, just imprints, fast disappearing.

I remember a time when I could look back and see two sets of toe prints, wet on slate, one bigger, the other smaller, the one following the other, sometimes first, sometimes second. Or dirty footprints, coal black on quiet, echoing tile halls. Always together.

Lonely feet. It didn’t use to be this way.

I like to close my eyes and pretend it isn’t. But sometimes the comfort hurts too much.

Verdict: Broken.


And lastly (and yet), the sunrise–magenta, whole, clear and glowing, round.

Rising as if steadily pulled by a transparent string on a strong arm from beneath the ocean and into the pale purple morning sky.

The ocean is calm in breathing, respectful greeting. All is right.

The clouds mirror the rising glory’s brilliance, like small, happy cotton balls pulled out, stretched, misted glass to grace the exchanging of the moon.

Verdict: Beautiful.

I watch, and I (Verdict:) am Broken. Somehow together, the sunrise and I, are broken and beautiful. The tired, hopeful, bleeding thing inside determinedly beats its wee, shattered wings in miniature flurries, trying to break free and reach the home, the countersoul it has lost, although its cage is itself, an impossible prison.

Yet that small hollow shines, with good and beautiful gone-by’s, preserved in full as long as the little bird’s wings keep beating, no matter how crushed. No matter how alone.

I have found that all beautiful things now make me want to cry. Sometimes I do.

I guess, can this mean, maybe I am beautiful, and broken, too.

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