Ashley Wilda

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Tag: Creative Nonfiction (page 2 of 2)

Girl, without the Y

When I was younger, I hated the fact I wasn’t born a boy.

I hated having to smell nice, look nice, act nice.  I wanted the oft’ wryly said phrase “boys will be boys” to apply to me.  I wanted to live “free and in the wild,” as I told my parents.  To own a horse in my backyard.  For ages I firmly believed I didn’t want a husband, ’til one day I declared I had changed my mind–he would be useful for shoveling horse poo.

Although my opinions about being a girl have slightly changed (I do want to marry, and not just to acquire a stable boy), there are still many things about being a girl that bug me to no end.  Crossing my legs the feminine way.  Wearing skirts that force me to shorten my steps.  Shaving–completely unnecessary in my opinion.  The inability to wrestle with the guys.  The shortage of girls that don’t mind blood and sweat and dirt and good hard work and adventures and wild places experienced fully and up close.

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized one thing…

My version of femininity is up to me and God.

I can be a girl without the “y”… being “girly” does not have to be part and parcel of being a female.

So this… this is what has risen up in the soul of me and trumpeted itself clear and I will not disobey its call.

I will go barefoot as much as possible.  Run in the rain.  Laugh loud and hearty.  Splash in puddles.  Play in the mud.  I will wrestle when I can.  Play stupid pain games with the boys.  Be more comfortable with proving myself physically than in petty social games.   Ooh and ahh over fuzzy green moss rather than flowers.  I can shout loud and try hard and grunt and strain with the best of them.  I can climb tall cliffs and swim in freezing lakes and splash up forest streams without a care.   I can get psyched at the growing callouses on my hands and feet.  Take pictures of flappers and blood blisters, battle wounds.  Be proud of every single one of my scars, and know the stories that I carry with them.  I can love big, and love hard, and love unreservedly.  I can prefer bear hugs over side hugs.  I can choose jeans and flip flops over dresses and jewelry.  I can love bright colors over pastels and lace.  I can feel most comfortable in a tank-top, flannel, and hiking boots.  I will prefer to eat my food simple and outside and end the days with campfires.  I can smell like wood smoke and good ol’ hard work.  I can howl at the moon when I feel like it, star spin when I feel like it, pick my crazy friends how I feel like it.  Love like my heart’s leading me, laugh as joy explodes with in me, be free and wild when the urges overtake me.  I can be impulsive.  I can be silly.  I can be adventurous.  I can be me.

Me, Ashley Elizabeth Wilda.  Or just Ash, what my closest friends call me.

A woman.  A girl.

Not girl-y… no, just a girl.

But still me.

And I like myself better for it.

Missing You

You know–that core inside.

That place in your chest, beyond the bone, beyond the muscle, a place you just can’t physically reach.  You.  Your soul, I guess.

The place you feel things.

Deep things.

Inescapable things.

You know, that place inside that just. plain. hurts.

When I’m going about my day, and something’s just all wrong, and I’m grumpy and snappy and just feeling sick and dead inside and in a word just “meh” and “bleh” and I can’t for the life of me figure out why–

I remember.

You.

When something just feels dead inside.  Hollow full of aching.  Grey.  Hard flaking.  Lonely.

And then I remember saying goodbye, and hugging harder and longer than normal, and fighting the tears I didn’t expect to come.  I thought I wasn’t going to fall apart.  I was dead wrong.  I completely lost it.  I watched your cute blue car drive away and just lost it.  And then did it again.  And again.  And again.  A few minutes later.  An hour later.  A day later.

My heart just dang hurts.

I do stupid things like wear your necklace around and finger the scrap of paper on which you gave me your email address when we met those four years ago.  Has it really been that long?  I remember all the things we did and all the things we wanted to do and I wanted to say and we never did.

I remember things.  Your sunscreeny, sunshine-on-skin smell.  The braided permanent bracelet you always wore for four long years and your wrist just looks naked and wrong without it.  Your double chaco tan.  The way we wrote letters, real letters, while you were at camp, giddy with the unexpected, explosive joy of fourteen year old bff love.  The blue and yellow friendship bracelet you sent me that summer.  How I can’t help but stop singing for a moment in church, just to hear your voice.  The times spent splashing in the creek.  That one afternoon I sprayed you in the face with the hose.  How you can’t eat fried chicken without having a minor, greasy-fingered panic attack.

It’s these moments.  I’m holding on.  To them.  To you.  Holding on tight.  Forever.  That’s a promise–you better believe it.

I keep reminding myself–it’s just college.  Nothing’s going to change, you told me yourself.  And I believe you.  I really, truly do.  But it still hurts.

I can’t talk to anyone like that but you.  Can’t do stupid things with anyone like that but you.  Can’t completely be myself like that with anyone but you.  You do more than not judge me.  More than be like that with me, like the twin of my soul.  You love me.

And I love you.

And just as I’m beginning to handle one missing, begin to stop dreaming ceaseless dreamings of odd, earthy adventures and best-in-the-world bear hugs, begin to stop obsessing over silly phrases and weird ways to tie knots–just when I stop randomly crying all the time for no reason at all and diagnosing myself via the internet…

then you leave.

I had forgotten that you had to leave.

I still forget that you have left.

And even though you’re technically still in the city for a scant two more days, our goodbyes have been said.

And although I know that with us, it’s never really goodbye, that the late night talks and unstoppable giggles and sisterly hugs can only be numbered with infinities…

I wish we could just dance in the rain together, forever.

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

-Winnie the Pooh

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