Monday, February 27, 2012

Honest to Blog

Image via Matchbook
“The original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.”  Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets
Hello, lovelies! For the past month or so, there's something I've wanted to discuss with you. It's weighed heavy on my mind, and I guess I needed a few weeks to jot down some notes and iron out my thoughts. I want to discuss honesty with you, so let's get real, shall we? 

Your Choice.
One day I was chatting with my mom on the phone. I mentioned a card I saw at the mall that read, "I'm so much cooler on my blog." I couldn't help but laugh, but I told her how I often feel this way. Maintaining a sunny disposition each day can be a real pressure cooker. There's so much to be happy about, and I'm one blessed gal, but I have my good and bad days. In fact, I probably ended up bawling on the phone during this particular discussion, because I seem to have frequent sloth meltdowns with my mother. I think I let my guard down too much with her, but thank goodness she loves me all the same. I consider a successful phone chat to be one that doesn't end with a snot-filled hankie. Yikes! Sorry for the imagery, but today is all about being real. Anywho, I confided in her that my attempt at being honest with my readers is hard at times. There are challenges that I've faced or continue to face that aren't always pretty and witty and bright. There's a fine line when blogging -- How can I convey life's little details (the good, the bad, and the ugly)  accurately without being too personal? I mean, I don't need to air all of my dirty laundry. Then again, I don't want to come off as impersonal either.

I call it One Fine Day for a reason. It allows me the opportunity to focus on the good. On the flip side, it can also give this idyllic impression that my life is all stripes and peonies. Sweet perfection! Doesn't that sound divine? Well, it's not. I'm not always perfectly accessorized from head-to-toe, and my house isn't always sparkling clean and fur free, although I wish it was. While I never intended for this post to turn into Gripe Fest 2012, I thought I'd share a few little details with you.

Yes, I live in Hawaii and my husband flies airplanes (hence, Flyboy). I have two adorable dogs, an a-mazing and healthy family, and I live on a secluded hill (setting: Lil' Puna). That doesn't sound half bad, does it? You may even wonder what I have to rant about? In the big scheme of things, not much at all. Then again, to feel means that we're human and that we're living. Here are a few things I struggle with daily...

My plan vs. God's plan:
I try to remind myself to let go and keep the faith. It will all make sense with time. I need to strive to be patient (really not good at that one!) and grateful. When I take a step back and reassess, I'm very humbled by all the blessings I do have. Shifting my focus to the positive is paramount, but isn't always easy. I'm a work in progress, and I like who I'm becoming a little more each day.

My ego:
Most days, it really irks me that I'm not the successful bread winner I'd envisioned I would be years ago. Yes, I actually pictured myself living the frantic lifestyle of an editorial assistant in NYC, just working to get by -- all in the name of being published. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud as punch of Flyboy, and I believe in him and his career 100 percent. To be completely honest, I couldn't really picture our life together any other way. We complement one another quite perfectly, and I'm a better person because we're together. However, the way I measure my own personal success is based off of society's expectations. We put stigmas on young marriages and settling down. We assume "young love" won't last, but this old soul knew she'd met her match and wasn't silly enough to watch him fly away. Unfortunately, I've taken on the role of Stepford Wife in the eyes of some of my old college friends and professionals. I like to avoid the question regarding my career or current job scenario. It often makes me sad and angry; I'll do anything to avoid it. The variable of moving often and a slow economy doesn't make it the easiest to maintain a career or get a steady job for that matter, especially for a military spouse. How can I put my ego to the side and just be confident in the decisions I've made?

My "imaginary" career  and the worth in blogging:
I often wonder if it's worth the numerous hours it takes each week to post daily. Who's reading? Why do they care? How do I keep the creative juices flowing? How can I make something of this? Should I just give up and look toward another career? Is it really that easy? There are thousands of other bloggers who are more stylish, funnier, better at design, writing, etc. How can I keep this up without becoming boring?
Despite these hefty insecurities, my imperfectly perfect life can be quite comical. It's a lesson I learned from my parents, who are both seasoned when it comes to marriage and this military lifestyle. They've taught me that faith, family, and a good sense of humor can get you through the toughest scenarios. For example, here are a few "issues" that have occurred lately...
  • Because we live on a hill, we can't really have friends over often because there's nowhere to park additional vehicles (#punaproblems). This steep driveway makes me sweat every time I back out of our car port and come home to park. My leg literally shakes because I don't want the tires to squeal and burn rubber. If you could only see the maneuvers it takes for Flyboy to park his truck or leave the hill, you'd probably call him Austin Powers. He's got it down to a three or four moves, but my heart is racing every time that truck comes and goes. I'll have to take a video and share it with you sometime.
  • Hawaii might seem like paradise, but there's a catch! I clean up gecko poop on a weekly basis, and it's common to find cockroaches and giant centipedes in closets and cupboards. It's wet, so there's a lot of mold issues, and I find myself every other weekend bent over with a bucket of bleach scrubbing various surfaces outside. Because of the humidity and salt water in the air, I have to cover all metal surfaces with Pledge to prevent our furniture and appliances from rusting. The house is left smelling lemony fresh, but it takes a good hour to ensure everything is doused properly. Oh, and it's best to leave approximately an hour in advance of any commitment to ensure you arrive on time -- we're talking a drive about 12 miles in distance!
  • And from time to time, I might share a few beauty tips on my blog, but don't call me an expert. This past Friday, I recently took the advice of another blogger who advised her readers to get rid of yellow nails (after months of dark polish) by scrubbing toes with whitening toothpaste. What a mess!! My Essie Clambake stained toes were nothing but sticky and minty fresh. The toothpaste paired with cotton pads was a disaster and stuck to my fingers and toes. It took me a good five minutes to clean the mess. Yeesh!
Again, I realize these problems are all quite insignificant, but I want to keep it real around here. I want to strive to be my original, shimmering self with you. Cheers to the good and the bad, and to finding new ways to smile!
Happy Monday!

P.S. Thanks for listening, but this isn't just a one-way friendship. I've got a set of ears, too! As Tom Hanks said to Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail, "I'm here. Talk to me."
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  1. I always try to keep this bit of wisdom in mind: "Don't compare your behind-the-scenes with someone else's highlight reel." I try to remember that while reading blogs. For the most part, they're all sequins and sunshine, but I think that getting real like you just did makes your blog even more special. I love reading about cupcakes and kate spade, but that's not life. And it isn't fair to pretend it is. So thanks for keepin' it real, Ash. You rock!

  2. Ashley, those of us who know the real you know that you aren't a one dimensional personality; the sunshiny part is just one facet, and it happens to make for great blog material. Hearing about the Puna problems every so often is entertaining, though (gecko poop? Ew!).

  3. Thank you thank you thank you!! As a young blogger (and young lady still in school) this post was nothing but encouraging to know someone else feels the same way. One of the things that makes your blog one of my favorites is your honesty! You keep it real:)

  4. Keep it up! I look forward to checking out your blog daily. Everyone has ups and downs so don't fret. I definitely like hearing about the newest trends out there, but it's also good to hear about your daily struggles. I think it's because I can relate with you to an extent so it's good to hear someone else going through the same things. Blogs are my free therapy and I thank you and other bloggers for that!

  5. I can definitely relate to this post, especially your comments on blogging. I've come to the conclusion that if I enjoy blogging, I should just do it for myself, and if other people read - that's a bonus! It seems like you have some loyal followers, though, including me! Side note: Have you tried using lemon juice on yellow nails? That's what they always did at the place where I used to get manicures, and it totally worked. :)

  6. What a beautiful post! I think one reason why your readers (including me!) love your blogs so much is because of your honesty in your posts. Thank you for bringing a little sunshine to all of our lives each day!

  7. ahh... the struggle of our mid-twenties! When the life we always thought we'd have is quite different from the one we're living out! I join you my friend in that struggle. Odd but I haven't posted anything in a few days because I've been thinking on just that - how I read other blogs and they're so much better put together in my head and wondering, if someone else is already doing it well, why should I try! But I know (as so many others commented) that these blogs are our little corner of creativity, of putting the sunshine out there and allowing the gloomy days to follow to express the truth of our lives!

    Keep plugging, through the smiles, giddy heel taps, tears and frustrations!

    Love you much Ash!

  8. I love all your blogging! I am always ridiculously impressed with your gorgeous layout, witty remarks, and fantastic content! Today's blog was great too!

    I hear you on those struggles! I think you ticked just about each one that I struggle with too, especially the part where you talk about how the scrutiny of some old friends make you feel in regards to your career and life choices.

    Thank you so much for blogging! I love your uplifting content and your honesty!

    I hope you find some good friends on the island who are willing to routinely brave your driveway!!

    P.S. In New Mexico where we are, we get this horrific dust layer. I have to dust at least every two or three days or it looks like I've never dusted in my life! The dust is also red, which does not look good with most furniture or carpet. We have a lemony fresh house too :D

  9. keep up the good work... i love your blog! i stumbled upon it a few weeks ago and have been back almost every day to check for updates.

  10. I love your blog even more now, expressly because of this post. It's really exhausting to sift through all those 'other' blogs where people (usually girls) go on and on (and on) about their newest luxury cars and Tiffany jewelry and designer bags. And how it's impossible to find decent hostess gifts for under $100.

    That shiz is for the birds. You have to put one foot in front of the other, and sometimes you're going to stumble. We all do, but (cliche alert) it's all in how you spring back to form. You have to do what's right for you in that moment, and although I have not met you in person, I can say that I'm very proud of the life you've established. Bump those girls who are throwing shade your way. There's no set timeline for how you have to live this life, and what would be far worse is getting into something that's not right and then living every day with regret.

    Whew. I just heard my soapbox groan with strain. Keep doing what you're doing, Ashley. Your blog is a treat every single day, and as long as you let your voice shine through, you have nothing to worry about--snot and all.

  11. Oh man. It's unfortunate we didn't get to know each other better; the "my ego" piece feels like it was removed from my head word for word. I've met a few people here who feel the same, too. Whether others' judgements of our paths are real or perceived, or a bit of both, they are one of the hardest parts of this lifestyle for me. I, too, avoid the "so what do you do?" question and simultaneously wish I did something fantastic and meaningful and interesting enough to warrant endless questions (as I always thought I would). So anyways. You're definitely not alone-- You totally echoed my every thought about where I've been and what I've done in the past couple years. Who knows if what we imagined will ever come to be, but I know if it doesn't it's because God has something better in store! :)

  12. Comparison is the thief of joy AMAZING! I have never read that before and for the past few days I been comparing myself with my boyfriend's future sister in law. She is just so pretty. Skinny, long hair, cute, great style and the point is that I kept on comparing myself with her and I realize I was making myself feel bad.