Ashley Wilda

Author

Month: November 2017

clarity…?

a few days in the mountains brings clarity.

two hundred feet up with the wind trying to pull you off the sandstone as dusk descends… yeah, that will wake you up.

rappelling into the black, hiker headlamps bobbing in the woods, heading toward the not-even-a-town that’s sprung up at the base of Seneca’s spire, just overhang and air beneath your feet… that will remind you you’re alive.

the brother you’ve missed for too long, hard cider bottles with broken tops, baring souls by the fire, sitting in the hot tub until the water is lukewarm and fingers are prunes, spontaneous hugs and back rubs in the morning… these things tell you that life is worth it.

laughing like I used to, feeling my brain stop its crazy spinning, quietness in my center, something deep inside me trying to wake up for the first time in what feels like years… I remembered that happiness isn’t utterly unattainable, worth straining for.

driving back into the city in the dark, hiding tears at goodbyes, the lonesome radio chattering in my car, solo–the sadness and claustrophobia and missing descends on me again. it feels like it’s crushing me.

a broken, lovesick heart. trapped in an anxious, depressed body. living in a house my childhood memories don’t recognize. stuck in a city full of people I used to know. holding once-upon-a-time dreams I barely recognize as my own.

what the heck am I doing here.

I’ve tried everything to run from my sadness. I’ve traveled. I’ve climbed. I’ve read. I’ve lost myself in Netflix. I’ve listened to music. and made music. I’ve written. and written. and written. and slept. and slept. and slept. I’ve sat in church and sneaked out of church. I’ve talked to people and refused to talk at all. I’ve cried and felt numb. I’ve let myself remember and forbid myself from remembering anything. I’ve literally run, tennis shoes on asphalt, my breath shaking my world.

the sadness isn’t going anywhere. I guess that happens when you lose your whole world, its center and everything orbiting it. everything goes dark, because everything that was shining just isn’t there anymore.

but I’ve got to try to make it better. I can’t change my circumstances. I can’t make choices for other people. I can’t wait on someone who may never fight for me. my stubborn heart might keep waiting, but the rest of me has to try to find a way to live, even as it hurts. I’ve got to tell myself, it will work out if it’s meant to. no matter where I am. no matter what I’m doing. no matter if I’m happy or not.

maybe that means quitting school temporarily. maybe that means leaving the city, turning my car into a home, hitting the road. getting a dog. maybe it means finding a job that gets me outside and close to the wild places. maybe it means finding people who don’t know me. maybe it means chasing down the people that do, in Brooklyn and Boston and Germany. maybe. maybe. maybe.

maybe this will turn out to just be another form of running. maybe it won’t. but I won’t know until I do. and wherever I go… I’ll take the memory of you.

thanks, even in the dark

this day emerges, glowing, from a string of dark moments, demanding–look, look–see the light even in this forbidding forest.

and yes, my heart does give thanks, reminders that God does still give good gifts.

I am thankful for friends who won’t budge, even as I try to push them away.

I am thankful for sleepytime tea and blankets with velvet tassels. I am thankful for cobalt and orange and new green. I am thankful for the smooth brown bird that rests beside my bed.

I am thankful for poetry. I am thankful for stories with happy endings. I am thankful for scenes acted out on screens that wend their way around my heart and give me moments of rest in the chaos of myself.

I am thankful for the ability to seek help. I am thankful for the bravery (I don’t know where it came from) to walk into unfamiliar offices and trust the heart of a stranger with my pain.

I am thankful for walls that don’t move, a vertical movement to steady my spinning. I am thankful for strong arms and fingers, for rubber shoes with hard edges, for the friction of chalk on polyurethane. For adrenaline, for falling, for the thrill of height and victory. For the ability to give something my all.

I am thankful for tears. For the ability to release emotion. For the comfort found in the fierce embrace of a brother, one found and not by blood.

I am grateful for psalms, for hymns. For communion. For the expanse of the night, the fresh breath of wind, cool concrete under my bare feet. Dandelions.

I am grateful that He hears my prayers, and treasures every one. I am grateful that the Spirit intercedes for me when I don’t know what to say, or am too tired to say it again, “with groanings too deep for words.” That He gathers all my tears in a bottle, not one are lost in the ground.

I am thankful that the Son died for me, took all my sins, just because He loves me. Just because. I am grateful that love is so powerful. If it can do that, what else is possible?

I am thankful for the familiarity of a few old friends. Thankful for laughter and nachos and trust in the hands that hold the other end of my rope. Thankful for the relief in not having to hide, not having to pretend. In the fact that tears and giggles are both perfectly acceptable.

I am thankful for honesty. I am thankful for the ability to reach out in a text and know the distance will be breached, if just for a moment. I am thankful for the ability to choose.

I am thankful for memories, even the bittersweet. I am thankful for the moment your hand slipped into mine. I am thankful for every moment with you, before and after. I am thankful that you exist in this world, and that I got to exist with you. That our stars crossed paths for even a little while. I am thankful for the hope that it could happen again, that where there is life, there is hope of new beginnings springing from feared endings. I am thankful for the strength of beautiful things.

and where there is thankfulness, there is joy, and where there is joy, there is hope. hope that cannot be drowned, even in the rivers of sadness that plunge through my bones. and where there is hope, there is a promise–that today, and tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, will be worth it.

I need you.

Do you know,

(You must know)

And does it matter?

If you don’t need me,

Then it doesn’t.

© 2017 Ashley Wilda

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