Ashley Wilda

Author

Tag: Family

Whim

I feel like I am being thrown, spinning, at the mercy of some playful, surging force that tosses me up above dark clouds into brilliant, spearing light–and then lets me fall, plummeting, hard and heavy, through darkness and mist, wondering where all the light has gone and desperately dreaming of how I can fly back up, even as I fall, with a leaden, sinking feeling.

I grasp hard to memories, fighting off pangs of loss and black fear even as I experience some of the most beautiful sights and warmest moments and purest joys of my life.  I know that I will lose them, even as they come to me and pieces of them stay and promise to return, and this tears me to pieces.  I hate goodbyes.  I hate searchings.  I hate letting go.  Somehow I manage to push this darkness away in these hours of sun-shafted wonder, yet I am aware of the struggle.

The grey road back to the city feels like the walk into the gladiator ring–inevitable, exhausting, flat, stony.  In a way, almost without feeling at all, just a hardness in my body and my chest and my head and a savage bite in my eyes.  The city closes about me like a cage, wrapping my world in slatted steel.  I close my eyes to it all, holding onto the last vestiges of green tree and stormy, windswept sky.  The van is quiet.  The trailer rattling in the back makes it sound like we’re in a train.  I wonder if the others feel like I do.

And now, in this utter free fall, indulging my despondent self with sleep and a warm red blanket and soft acoustics, I can grasp the essence of the past hours of adventure, the two days that seemed much longer than so, in the most beautiful way possible.  It’s a funny thing, I can never grasp the essence until something has passed, and still I cannot put it into words–it is always a feeling warm and glowing somewhere deep inside my darkness, and I hold onto it like it’s my life I’m keeping lit.  This time it’s like a wooden floor, and feathers on dreamcatchers blowing in the wind, the smell of loose dirt and pine needles and wood, laughter, peppermint tea, the wind on my face, and a warm touch on my arm.  Even that’s not quite right, but it’s the closest I can explain it.  It’s an essence, a spirit, a memory in a golden, transparent bubble. Something you let fill you and try to keep there by hoping with all your hope that it stays… not something graspable with flesh and bone.

In my playful moments, I call this ‘adventure withdrawal,’ although it really isn’t something that lighthearted at all.  In the grand scheme of things, I guess it’s ‘no big deal’… but for me, it’s something between withdrawal and depression and an awakening and looking through a window to a world full of color from within a grey, bare, dusty house.  Sometimes it lasts a day or two, and others a week or more.  It depends on the length of the adventure, and the intensity of it’s grip on me.  But even two days can be a heck of a lot more powerful than you’d think.  I hate this stage of the experience–coming down from the mountaintop to realize that world has stayed the same since you’ve been gone, although everything looks weirdly different, and you have to return to it–yet, that’s still what it is, part of the experience.  As much as I loathe the coming home from my world of sparkling moments and whimsical blue daydreams, I don’t know if these adventures (for that’s what they are, whatever they entail) would be the same without the pits.  I don’t know if I would so sharply realize who I was and who I am and who I am becoming.  I don’t know if I’d discover so bitingly what makes me happy and what doesn’t, how my life needs to change and what needs to remain.  I don’t know if I’d learn so much about people, both in general and individually, if I didn’t see them when the rightness and personality inside is shining out through every pore and when the oppressive buildings of the city somehow bring out something unattractive and darker and equally true.  I don’t know if I’d make these glorious days so much a part of my identity, if I’d hold them as close, if I’d treasure them up in my heart and hide them from skeptical eyes.  I don’t know if I’d feel so alone, yet so found by others.  I know that I am made up of so many other things, and some more important than this, but in some ways, these essences make up me.  And I have never seen this more clearly than now, in the valley, looking up at the mountain I just climbed.  I may not like the valley, but it sure does make the beauty of the heights stand out clear and sharp against the sky.

Every time it is a bit different.  Today, I feel the sea–the salt, the wind, the air, the spray, the expanse, the colors, the sand, the shells, the energy, the storms, the foam–becoming a part of me in a way that it never has.  Today, I don’t want to turn my heater on, because I know how much fossil fuel went into making that electricity.  Today, I slept with my anklet of shells held close.  Today, I think fondly on the ways I’ve been embraced and loved by people who barely know me.  Today, I think of the ways I’m falling in love with them, despite our sins and flaws.  Today, I think of how I followed my heart instead of my head, said things and did things and reached out and was terribly transparent in ways that I never would have dreamed many months ago.  Today, I think of how I don’t know if what I did was right, but I think I can know that it was good.  Today, I think of how I messed up and how I might of, and how I can do things differently, or maybe I won’t, and how the consequences are hearteningly small either way.  Today, I think of how I love to create, and how easy and wonderful it is to create, and how everyone has this inner child that loves to see and touch and make and experience the world, no matter how much they hide it.  Today, I think of how much of creativity and friendships and community is openness and acceptance.  Today, I think of how sleep is such an intimate, revealing, trustful, growing thing, almost like eating communally but more so, and how much I love sleeping in a room full of people.  Today, I think of how if one person reaches out in a touch, breaks down that transparent barrier, says lets be true friends who aren’t afraid to be present, then the other person usually readily does the same, and is glad and grateful you asked. Today, I think of how darkness breaks down the physical and emotional barriers we put up around each other, how bumbling around in the night on a beach with blindfolds experiencing something totally new and different and bizarre and strange and wonderful makes people giggle and grin and speak up and pull and push and hug and lean on and discover again a bursting wonder for the world and be silly and vocal and not put too much importance on themselves or anything else and laugh and laugh and laugh.  Today, I think of how if you ask someone to share a piece of their soul with you, they often will.  Today,  I think of how there is always such a glorious tangle of multicolored threads inside someone’s mind, so much more value and activity than what meets the surface; how if you ask what’s going on in there, they’ll open a window.  Today, I think of how much meaning and value there is in a hug, and much more in many of them. Today, I think of how the whole natural world is much more alive in unseen, almost spiritual ways than most people ever take the time to experience or dare to think, and how it is so easy to forget that the elements themselves are not gods, but have such deep essences because they are pieces of the God that created them.  Today, I think of how freeing it is to be done with second guessing.  Today, I remember flow and freedom and hope alive and ocean blue and grasshopper. Today, I remember what they all said out on that beach in the night and I just wanted to feel goosebumps all up and down my arms with the thrill and the wonder and almost wanted to cry, my mouth often open in a startled breath of wonder.  Today, I remember how I will never forget.  Today, I remember sea blue and fine tan sand and a dead black swan and the sound the feathers made as we pulled them out, wincing and apologetic.  Today, I remember what it feels like to find your people, your kin, to feel like you have found another piece of your family.  Today, I remember when my eyes looked out over the green Otago hills and my mind said ‘home.’  Today, I remember walking through the mud in my bare feet and digging up cockles and laughing as the boys tried to sink their way deeper and hanging around the kitchen and stealing the shells as they came steaming out of the pot.  Today, I remember a long row of dreamcatchers blowing in the wind.  Today, I remember the sadness I felt deep in my chest when I had to paint my coral white.  Today, I remember his mischievous smile and warm brown eyes.  Today, I remember how laughably expressive her face was when we played mafia.  Today, I remember how kind and real her words were, how I could see the depth in her face.  Today, I remember the wonderfully peculiar blue of his eyes, light and almost icy but with a hint of ocean green–I wanted to tell him that his eyes looked like the sea and knew he’d like that.  Today, I remember what he looked like asleep–it was like seeing someone as they really are.  Today, I remember how I was forgiven for something I didn’t even know was wrong, or not. Today, I remember how one small heater can give so many warmth.  Today, I remember how the strumming of one guitar can make a room light up.  Today, I remember how one hand on a shoulder and the sound of many feet in the darkness can incite such a feeling of deep, deep trust.  Today, I remember we don’t need light to see.  Today, I remember what it feels like to be surrounded by people who are all pieces of yourself.  Today, I remember what it feels like to belong.

And today, as I struggle with the dead reality of being not in that place, not soaking in that essence and just being, today as I grapple with being not, I remember what I am, what the world is, what people are, what I have never really lost, and what I will soon be again.

Home

Today, I felt my whole world was right again.

You, something about you, makes me feel complete.

I laughed more than I have in a long while, it seemed.  Felt that thrill in conversation I only get with you, of hearts connecting, uplifting, encouraging.  Carrying each other’s burdens and somehow diminishing them in the process.

I’ve decided–your soul and mine are the same.  Sisters, meant to belong together since the beginning of time.  No, beyond time.  Before it.

I am happiest when we’re side by side.

And today, you confirmed it again–you are too.  There’s something special about the thing that exists between the two of us.

You understand me, head to toe, inside to out.  I can tell you anything and you’d still love me.  More than that, you’d understand.  You’ll be there for me through everything, when life feels like walking through mountain-mist rainbows or slogging through mud.  I can say things to you, things that would sound silly or stupid to anyone else, and you understand and appreciate them.  Like how the sky is deeper upside-down, or how the farthest, palest-blue mountains issue a call that I can’t ignore.

Your soul is one of the most beautiful I know and will ever know.

I can be my complete self around you.  You understand all the sides of me, not just engage with one or simply appreciate them all.  You know me, see all of me.  You make my heart happy.

We can be our goofy, so-easily-entertained, child-like selves around each other.  Within weeks of first meeting each other, we were dancing in the rain… or should I say thunderstorm… and today, we hung our heads over the wall by the lake and stared deep into the pool of the sky and the ripples of the new water ceiling and talked and laughed and just soaked in the beauty of God’s creation.  For a good ten minutes.  Standing up was a new experience, and I was glad to share it with you.  Who needs to get drunk to be tipsy?  Not us.

There are days where my heart just aches for you, and yours for mine, but we know, just know, deep down, in the deepest part of us that knows and hopes and dreams and loves with a deep and abiding and fiery passion–

We will always love each other.

And best of all?  We get to spend eternity worshiping the One that saved us both.  Think there’ll be climbing in the new heavens and new earth?  I sure hope so.  Regardless, I’m sure we’ll have a blast.

Love ya, sis.

Ash 🙂

Wondrously Dangerous Thing

I don’t think anyone understands how fiercely I love.

I don’t think anyone understands how intense love grows inside of me, how quickly it blooms, how loudly it roars.

It bellows its presence and dares any challenger to remain standing.

I don’t think anyone can really, truly understand what love means to me.

Love means this: you protect your own at all costs.

Yes, I know the women are meant to be the “nurturers.”  The men are the ones with all that testosterone, the big muscles, the aggressive instincts.  They are the protectors… right?

Yes, I say.  Yes they are.  They are better suited to the task.  But…

Some of us are born just a bit different than the others.

Yeah, I do feel the urge to nurture once in a blue moon.  But to tell the truth… I enjoy a good tussle over a pedicure any day.  I enjoy things that get my blood pumping.  I enjoy things that challenge me physically and mentally.  I enjoy wildness and rough-and-tumble-ness and things that test my limits, push me ’til I break.  I like things that are rough and raw and real and challenging.  I think differently.

When I love someone, my first thought, my first instinct, is to protect them.

And I make that my mission.

This means that when we’re walking from the car to the dorm at night, and I get a funny feeling, my mind goes into overdrive.  I walk a little bigger, stand a little taller, throw my shoulders back a little more, walk with a slight swagger. Walk like I own the street.  The whole city, even.  A walk that says, don’t you dare mess with me.  I think of what kick or punch I would throw first, what I would say, what would we do.  I’m always aware of the people around us, the vibes I get off them, always scanning, always looking.  I’m analyzing places, situations, one step ahead, expecting.  Listening to my gut.

When I dream up stories and put the people in my world into them… the plot always turns out the same.

I fight for them.  I protect them.  I sacrifice for them.  I prove myself to be strong enough.

No matter what.

No matter what that means.

No matter what sacrifices need to be made.

I. Push. Through.

Yes, I care about feelings.  Yes, I love conversations that have depth and emotion and substance and are just plain real.  We all do.  Yes, I care about romantic relationships.  Yes, I care about the everyday ins and outs of caring for the emotional and spiritual well-being of those around me.  I am human.  And yes, I am a girl, after all.

But my first, primal, gut instinct that will not be denied–

My mission, my calling–

Is to protect you.

And this is why, oh this why, when something goes wrong and I find out and my gut just clenches and my breathing quickens until I find out it’s all okay and then I surprise myself and cry just a bit–

The first thought that goes through my head is why didn’t I protect you.  why was I not there to protect you.  why didn’t I see this coming.  

And every single time that has happened… it hasn’t been a physical thing that I can prevent.

It’s been a sickness.  A sad thing that’s affected you.  An injury.  Someone’s scared you.  Broken your heart.

And outside I’m normal but inside the anger sparks and flares and shoots into the dark dark sky and I’m all big and bursting and aggressive inside and ready to lash out at whoever hurt you, make him pay…

But sometimes there’s no one to blame.  And sometimes there’s nothing I can do.  And sometimes I have to take a deep breath and realize that I can’t protect everyone I love from the world.

But I can try.

And I can be there.

And if, heaven forbid, it actually happens some day, actually happens that I have to put my life on the line for you–

I won’t even blink.  Won’t even think.  All this purposeful, cyclical, pointless thought will turn into action.

I will become so ferocious you won’t even recognize me.

A she-panther fighting for her cubs.

I will fight tooth and nail.  I will take a bullet for you.

I’ll simply explode.

And you will know exactly how big and ferocious and burning and unquenchable my love is for you.

And so when I watch that movie, and hear the girl crying, and I start and my heart twists a little bit because for a second it sounds just like you…  I’ll smile ruefully to myself.

But the truth is… I wouldn’t change a thing.

And if it all crashes and burns someday…

You’ll know.

Love is a wondrously dangerous thing.

Strong Enough

When I realize I’m not strong enough.

When I feel like I’ve failed when I thought I just might be good enough.  Yeah, I was on the edge, but I thought I tried hard enough…

I tried my best.

But my best wasn’t strong enough.

I immediately think of all the things I’m doing wrong, all the things I could be doing that I’m not, comparing myself to all the other people–because, obviously, they were strong enough.

And I wasn’t.

They’ve got something I don’t–and I’m gonna run myself into the ground until I get it.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be strong enough.

Sometimes I don’t think they can know that the littlest word or phrase or touch or look can light up my day or rain on it.

I don’t think anyone understands how badly I want this.

I feel like I can almost guarantee that I want it at least just as badly as the most passionate person there–at least as much as the most determined, yearning, wanting to be included, to be strong, to win.

And yet–I still wasn’t strong enough.

I didn’t realize how bad I wanted this–didn’t realize until I didn’t get it.  It’s always this way for me–there’s nothing I can do to change that.  I always say I care, but I can handle the disappointment.  That I’ll be fine either way.  But no–and deep down I know I’m telling a lie to myself.

But at the end of the day, I know… that it’s not about being strong enough.

It’s about running ’til you can’t breathe, pushing ’til you can’t stand, fighting until you win or lose.  It’s about straining every last muscle and pulling every last breath and shouting, rooting each other on until you lose your voice.

It’s about learning.  And playing.  And loving those around you.  It’s about doing something fun and crazy and taking a deep breath through your nose and feeling sweaty and powerful and new.  It’s about embracing the game and being there for your team.  No matter what.  Winning is great–but that’s not what it’s about.  That’s just the icing on the cake, if you’re lucky.  But that’s not what it’s about.  Yeah, I know it sounds cliche–

But it’s not about being strong enough.

It’s about being you.

And when I think of it this way, think of it as the grass prickles my neck and two lone stars shine through the yellow light of the street lamp–

I remember.

Remember the way the whole team is so close, like a brotherhood.  Remember how I want that, yearn for that, long to be part of that, accepted.  How they didn’t act like I was new.  How they didn’t disdain me for my limitations but accepted me with them.  How I got passed to and messed with from day one.  How I respect my captain, as a coach and as a team player and as a person.  How I appreciate every high five, every look of respect, every team huddle, every “We are UR.”  How I feel wanted whenever someone takes the time to help me out.  How I felt on top of the world when he told me the strengths he sees in me–basically, that I belong on that team.  That they all want me on their team.  How I’m part of another family again.

And they’ll never know how much that means to me.

They see my commitment.  They see how much I push myself for the last everything I have in me.  They see how I smile when I play and how my face goes grim and intense when I’m determined, when I really get into it.  Hey, I even got a nickname today, because I don’t go down easy.  They hear me when I cheer them on, accepting them as I hope, I think, I know they’re accepting me.  I love even the pep talks, even when others just smile, I feel something.  I love this essence, this tangible thing, that we have with each other, on and off the field.  We are family.

I think it’s called a team.

So whenever I get frustrated with myself, think myself weak.  Inadequate.  Insufficient.  Not good enough.  Not strong enough…

I will remember–they think me strong enough.  More than that, they think my heart big enough.

And that’s enough for me.

-stone dragon

Wings

Tonight’s a big night.

The last night in my own bed for a while.  The last night of summer for a year.  The last night with my family in a long string of nights.

Tomorrow’s a big day.

The first night under a new roof.  The first reunion with my friends.  The first in a long string of celebrations of just living.

Tomorrow, I spread my wings.

I want them to be strong.  Big.  Powerful.  Gentle in their brown soft feathers speckled with sunlight.  Gentle in their strength–yet ready to whip the wind.  Shape it to my command.  Ride it, soar me high, anywhere I want to go.  To anyplace.  To anyone.  Following my heart, at my will.

But not only are my wings strong–they are wise.  Faithful.  Loyal.  Intelligent.  Not only at the beck and call of my heart but also in line with my head.  And on a perfect day, those two will never be at odds.  The center of their compass is love. Home.  Constancy.  Protection.  Sacrifice.  Ferocity.  Forever embrace.  Reliability.  Adventure.  Love is all of these things–love is my friends and my family.  Those dearest to my heart.  Those I would give anything for at a moment’s notice, although I may strive to see the small needs right in front of my nose.  Although my wings fly on the call of the wild and the whisper of the unknown on the wind, they train true to the strong beauty of love.

When I spread my wings, it will mean six things–

I am ready.

I am strong.

I am free.

I am brave.

I am an explorer.

I follow my love.

And when I get a little scared, and my wings wobble a little even as they hold me up–

I will remember to be confident, and trust the One that gave them to me.

Recombobulation of Love

When I was at the airport a week ago, I was reminded how disorienting security checks can be. Take shoes off, pull jacket off, empty pockets, remove computer,  dump backpack, raise hands, lower hands, hold breath as the x-ray machine scans, answer police with yes ma’am and yes sir, pick up backpack, insert computer, refill pockets, don jacket, yank on shoes.  It’s enough to make a girl dizzy.  And by the end, I sometimes don’t know what to feel.

Figuring out crushes is kind of like that.

I didn’t have my first real crush until I was seventeen.  A little late, I know.  It didn’t truly last, but now my brain is catching up with the reality of the huge switch that’s been flipped.  My mind is still a bit shocked at this new fact…

that boys are cute.

Yeah, I’m a little behind schedule.  I’ve realized this over the past few months, and I decided to make a list to help reorient myself as I figure out what all this means for me.  Almost like the humorously entitled “Recombobulation Area” in the airport… a place to gather my wits, figure out how I feel, and get my feet back under me.  A place to begin directing my thoughts toward the future and embrace this new season.

Here goes nothing…

  1. I do want a relationship… and eventually marriage.  Dating will never be recreational, but instead always have a purpose, linked to marriage in distant possibility at least.
  2. There’s a difference between thinking someone is cute and having a crush.  The first is just a fact, but the latter is something more real.  A crush is also based on someone’s personality and character, not just looks.
  3. Kissing always sounds “bleh” (aka disgusting)… but that’s okay.  Kissing will come with actually falling in love.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  The day I hold hands with someone will be a huge step–and truthfully, I like it that way.
  4. Dates are not as confusing or scary as they sound.  Two people hang out on their own, and the guy usually pays for things, but that’s it.  Nothing to shy away from.
  5. Chivalry is okay.  Actually, better than okay.  I have emerged from my hard core tomboy stage realizing that if a man holds a door open for me, it’s not an insult… it’s a complement.  It’s not that I can’t do it on my own; he just wants to do it for me.
  6. Wanting to spend lots of time with someone and enjoying his company is a better sign of interest than how high he rates on the cuteness scale.
  7. I don’t feel the need to be as strong or as athletic or as tough as a guy I truly like; the ones I strive to impress in that way, I see as brothers.  Someone I can be my true, goofy, Ashley self around… that’s different.
  8. Marriage means life forever with your best friend with something else thrown in… I think it’s called romance.  A ring is freedom, not a restraint.
  9. The four criteria for dating material: a) He must be a true Christian. b) I feel completely safe around him. c) Attractive not only physically but in personality and character. d) I enjoy just spending time with him.
  10. He will talk about God with me and will not be afraid to be deep and real in conversation.  He will appreciate my passions and value them even if they’re not his thing.  He will enjoy my quirks.  He will love me for being me.
  11. I’m not a girly girl, but I do like flowers.  Stars and campfires seem much more romantic than a fancy restaurant and expensive clothes.  The smell of wood smoke is better than that of perfume.  Candles are good.  Jeans and flannel shirts are comfortable and attractive.  And I do love to dance.  He will be the only one I’ll willingly wear a dress for, and he’ll understand the significance of this as soon as he talks to my mother.
  12. He will see me as equal but special.  He will understand the power in a simple touch or a smile.  He will help me get over my phobia of phone calls, simply because I’ll love to hear his voice.  He’ll call me by my nickname, without being asked.  He will have a goofy, wild streak.  He will understand the power of adventure and spontaneity and the untouched, open places.  He will know when to rough around yet how to always be gentle.  He will know how to enjoy the comfortable silence between two open, happy souls.
  13. I’m going to get scared.  I’m going to be that blindsided, deer-in-the-headlights kind of girl when asked on my first date.  If I accept that now, it’ll be easier when it happens.  I must never shy away from an opportunity because I’m scared, yet I must never do something stupid because I’m scared to miss something good.  I’ll be a little slow, but that’s okay.  Scary and exciting often go hand in hand.
  14. How he interacts with those who can give him nothing in return will say more than how he interacts with those who already love him.  How he interacts with children and his elders will say more than how he acts around those his own age.
  15. I love you will be the most powerful words for us–never common, never trivial, never misused.  His love should not be unlike the love of 1 Corinthians 13.
  16. He will make me laugh, make me smile, make me be silly, make me sing louder, make me dance faster, make me try harder, make me see more beauty, make me live fuller.  Make me more than I am apart from him.  We will be better together than apart…

And it will be good.

I think… I think… I think that’s called love.

 

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

Legacy

Life–what do I want out of it.

In the end, what matters most.  In the end, what will I regret missing.  In the end, what will leave me satisfied.  In the end, what will leave the mark I want, the legacy that shines in the dark.  Me.

Live Fiercely.

I wanna live fiercely, clutch at every moment, hold on with a literal death-grip, ’cause we’re all dying.  I wanna jump out of planes and climb cliffs and punch hard and sing loud and loopy in the car at night on a mountain road.  I wanna spin through meadows full of sunshine and multicolored pinpoints of waving wildflowers.  I want my soul to fly fly fly on a warm summer breeze.  I wanna wade deep in ice-cold lakes and laugh breathlessly as the blue blue waters lap on bare tanning skin.  I want to let orange lizards crawl dry-sticky up and over my arms and laugh at flutting butterflies, pieces of sky, landing on my smelly shoes.  I want to run in the rain, barefoot through the grass, she and I laughing at the sky while the thunder booms.  I want to giggle at every crazy car ride and splash in every single puddle.  I wanna live to the fullest and laugh the most, ’cause everyone needs a little life in our lives.  We take it all too serious and need to take risks and let go and let be and just live and be alive, every nerve tingling, aware of each and every breath, like a gift.  We were never meant to live like we’re dead, but instead live like we’re dying.

But more than that.  Oh, more than that–

I wanna Love Well.

Yes, love well.  Love BIG.  Love free, love unafraid.  I wanna love vulnerable, because it’s impossible to love without opening up your heart wide and being okay with getting hurt–and it’s gonna happen sometimes.  But loving big means you get loved big back, and that’s the best feeling in the whole wide world, the greatest freedom, the greatest adventure of all.  And when I’m lonely and sad and there’s a big ache where my heart’s supposed to be, I’ll remember–remember his big strong arms around me, making me feel like nothing in the world could touch me, could harm me, unless he let it, which he never will.  Remember her perfect brown eyes, the way they smile at me, the way they say you’re my very bestest friend and nothing’s gonna change that.  Or the way he laughs, silly and free, the way he’s always looking over at me, watching out for me, making sure I’m okay.  The way she tells me that she’ll always be there and it’s gonna be all right.  Friends.  Family.  Friends-Family.  And I know I’m not alone, that I never was, and that I never will.  When you love hard, it’s gonna hurt sometimes.  You worry, you ache, you pray and plead.  That place in your chest is gonna feel plain hollow with the magnitude of that love.  But I’m gonna love recklessly anyway–’cause I’ll get loved recklessly back.  I’m gonna open my arms wide and they’ll never be empty.

Because if we’re supposed to live like we’re dying, even more so we’re supposed to love like we’re living… like we’re gonna live forever.

Yeah–when I’m gone and dead and just a memory in people’s heads… that’s what I want them to remember.

My life-loving laugh, and the feel of my arms around them, never letting go.

© 2017 Ashley Wilda

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