Friday, September 28, 2012

Enter Sandman

Ever wonder what your dreams mean?

I do.

I became obsessed with interpreting dreams about 7 or so years ago, because I had this dream:

I was walking to my Lovey's house (I've known her since we were 15), and the ground was covered with thick snow.  Before I got to the door, I saw a frozen baby in the snow.  Frozen blue.  

Lovey and her kids came outside to greet me, but the first thing I said to her was, "Lovey, look! There's a frozen baby!"

Lovey waved it off and said, "Oh yeah, that happens."

"Lovey, we need to get her inside and wrap her in a blanket and put her by the fireplace!"

"Oh, don't worry about it.  It's fine.  This kind of thing just happens."

What I learned was that both the baby and Lovey were representations of me.


Mind blown??

A crucially vital part of myself that needs constant nurturing was being utterly neglected.

My fear of looking at the 'frozen baby', as it were, compelled my conscious, practical self to ignore, or even become complacent, with the state of my tender, dying emotional self.

That 'self' was easily ignored and overlooked as 'practical self' took care of a family of 6 people.

I've learned so much about myself through my dreams.  Your dreams are your subconscious, which is always going at full speed, talking to you about stuff you're not giving enough attention in waking life.

Yesterday, I had a dream that I was in Matt's bedroom here in Redlands, and a larger-than-life stick bug was crawling on the wall.

Can't be good, right?

Why don't y'all see if you can interpret that.  Let me know what you come up with.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


When I start to feel guilty about sleeping till 2pm, I remind myself, "I gave birth 4 times."

If I ever feel guilty that I've been off the grid for while- unemployed- I tell myself, "Oh, yeah, that's right.  I grew 4 human beings inside of my body for a cumulative of 36 months- 3 YEARS OF MY LIFE."

At times when I feel bad that I've been letting Matt support me in this time, my inner-wisdom says to me, "Hey, Ashley, Sugar Pie... You got fat and got stretch marks carrying his children.  He'll be juuuuuust fine."

Whenever I am bugged that I have to take Zoloft, I'm all, "Well, of course, I am taking Zoloft! I pushed 4 8-lb children out of my body!  I pushed them out of me! Have I forgotten how small of an opening that is down there?! I'll be medicated for the trauma of that for years and years to come!"

Occasionally, when I decide to not fold laundry or clean the kitchen, I'm sure to think, "Besides the breaking of the femur bone, you know first-hand the greatest pain in the world:  LABOR. CONTRACTIONS. Remember your epidural with Ada?  Remember how it only worked on the left side of your body? Ashley, have another nap."

When my children complain because I maybe got an extra piece of cake, my internal guru teaches me to say to them, "I pushed you out of my vagina once. My body needs another piece of cake."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shakespearean Dirty Talk

  • Yesterday morning, this happened:  

  • 23 hours ago
    Ashley Wilkinson
    • are you really up?

  • 23 hours ago
    Jeremy J Minagro
    • uh huh
    • Got up an hour ago
  • 22 hours ago
    Ashley Wilkinson
    • I love thee unto thine

  • 22 hours ago
    Jeremy J Minagro
    • Wha?

  • 22 hours ago
    Ashley Wilkinson
    • I am loving unto thee and forthwith

  • 22 hours ago
    Jeremy J Minagro
    • Surely you jest

  • 22 hours ago
    Ashley Wilkinson
    • Fie! I have loved thine orifice these 13 months!

  • 22 hours ago
    Jeremy J Minagro
    • How canst thou but to love me?

  • 22 hours ago
    Ashley Wilkinson
    • Good sir, you speak a speaking that I loathe to find contract with. I love thee, surely. But not just thine face. Were that thy face were that of a troll, I would love thee. It is the heart in thee that I would to husband.
    • (that was pretty damn fucking good, let's keep going)

  • 22 hours ago
    Jeremy J Minagro
    • Thy words are like honey unto the mouth of babes. Moreover, thine golden eyes are the stuff which compels men unto war, poets unto the pen, and fools unto love.

  • 22 hours ago
    Ashley Wilkinson
    • How can I hear this? How can I take heart unto thine words that are only words? They make me feel but like an ass. I am no lady. I am no queen. I am but a wench who doth fret for her bread and milk. Thou art but a fool, aye, that thou have spoke true. Get thou to a priest. A priest will make thee right.

  • 22 hours ago
    Jeremy J Minagro
    • Aye, but unto thee no priest shall I commit. I wouldst but have then for mine own self be true, and wilt thou not but be lady luck this eve? Verily, thou shalt know what it is to be a lady in mine arms.

  • 22 hours ago
    Ashley Wilkinson
    • (mine own self be true! hahaha)

  • 22 hours ago
    Jeremy J Minagro
    • grin

  • 22 hours ago
    Ashley Wilkinson
    • Sir do I hear thee right and true? Dost thou proclaim to desire mine very own virtue? Dost thou desire to sweat and grunt like a beast unto mine own?

  • 22 hours ago
    Jeremy J Minagro
    • It is not right that I shouldst speak thus. I dare not.

  • 22 hours ago
    Ashley Wilkinson
    • I think true that thou hast done so, sir.

  • 22 hours ago
    Jeremy J Minagro
    • Thou hast caught my red hand in thy honeypot. Soft!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Am Sorry for Whining About My Amazing Life

Ever heard of the website Makes Me Think?

MMT is a site I discovered about a year ago through a friend.  I immediately bookmarked it.  I'm ashamed to admit that I have only visited there a couple of times since then.

I had been kinda upset the past few days when I realized that soon it will be my 3rd birthday since the divorce, and it will be the 3rd birthday since the divorce that I have been 'stuck' with all of my kids, because their dad will not be in the same town for one reason or another.  I mean, if there is EVER a day that I am ENTITLED to some 'Me' time...

Then this morning, on a whim, I decided to revisit MMT.

And I found this:

Today, I live in a tiny motor home in my grandmother’s backyard with my substance abusing mom, her boyfriend, and my two younger brothers. The place is basically to small to turn around in. It's always trashed with beer bottles and filled with cigarette smoke. I sleep on the only open spot on the floor while I give my mom the only bed and my brothers the couch. And I get up and go to school to listen to people whine about not having the latest iPod. What my peers don't appreciate MMT.

And this:

Today, I understand now that her being a passionate person is no excuse for her trying to choke me to death when we got into an argument when I was a kid. But that’s all I ever knew growing up. That’s just what I was used to from my mother. It took me nearly 20 years to realize there was a better way to live. And now my two kids and I have the healthy kind of relationship I never knew existed. MMT

And this:

Today I went for a walk with my mama. I was recently released from the hospital after my back/spinal cord surgery. Up ahead, a man walking his dogs moved over for me. We said our hello's and he asked me what was wrong. I explained to him that I had just had broken my back and was near being a paraplegic. He then told me to keep fighting because 3 years ago his son broke his back and is now completely paralyzed. The fact that I still have a chance MMT.

And this one:

Today, I just finished serving a 3 year prison sentence, and I am starting 6 years of parole, for a crime I never committed. MMT

And this, too:

Today, I struggled with my job as a tour guide. Having to constantly perform for a crowd can be exhausting. But after I'd finished, a man walked up to me with tears pouring down his face, pressed some money into my hand, and said "You look so much like my daughter, who died years ago. Your hair, your eyes, the tone of your voice, and most of all your vivacity and kindness remind me of her. Thank you for making my day." MMT

I will gladly spend another birthday with kids on October 10th, 2012.  Hana, Emma, Timothy, and Ada, I love you in ways that I nor you will ever be able to completely understand.  Let's spend the day together doing nothing and making pancakes and yelling at each other and laughing and making a huge mess.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ada & Church & Yesterday

Yesterday I woke up around 9.  And from the minute my feet hit the floor, the anxiety set in.  It was Sunday.  Ada would want to go to church.

I went about the morning not saying anything about it.  I waited for her to bring it up, knowing that if the day went by without her or myself bringing it up, we wouldn't have to go to church... and I would feel like a heel.

I thought about going again.  I thought about the previous Sunday.  Oh, man.  Those thoughts made bad feelings.  I kept talking to myself in my head, I can't do it.  I just can't do it.  I can't.  

But you need to do it for Ada.  She'll be so sad when you're putting her in bed tonight, and she realizes it's Sunday, and she missed church.  You know she will.  You've been through this before.  

But don't you remember last Sunday?  It was awful!  I was in hell!  

But you need to do it for Ada.  She'll be so sad when you're putting her in bed tonight, and she realizes it's Sunday, and she missed church.  You know she will.  You've been through this before.  


I battled epically with myself all morning long.  A self-battling of epic proportions.  Epic battling with my own self same self.

At noon, I was like, I'm really sleepy.  Time for a nap.  But the guilt won out.  I had gotten into bed, pulled the covers over me, fluffed my pillow... beat, beat... groaned, ripped the covers off me and got up.

I went into the living room, "Ada?  Come here for a sec."

"Okay..." she said.

She comes into Matt's room and stands in the doorway.

"Come here," I say as I get on the bed.

"Am I in trouble?" she asks as she nervously climbs on the bed.

"Oh, no!  No, no!  I just want to tell you something about church."

"Okay," and she lays down on her side.

"So, today is Sunday, be completely honest with you, Ada, last Sunday...when I was in church...I had some bad...emotions and...I...well..."  I was struggling to speak in a way that she would understand.

Have I read my my own blog?

As I was trying to squeeze out a sentence, Ada sat up and said, "Okay, stop," putting her hand over my mouth.  "I think I know what you're trying to say.  So I just came up with a plan."

"Um, okay." Wow.

"On Sundays, I'll get ready for church, you drive me to the church, take me to my class, and then just go home till it's time to come get me."

"Oh, okay."

Why did I think for a moment that Ada, the 45-year-old professor of philosophy and wisdom in the body of a 7-year-old, would have trouble understanding the situation?

I took her to church.

I walked her in.

She led me to her classroom.

When she opened the door, poking her head through first, all the kids in the class practically in unison said, "Hi, Ada!  There you are!"

I felt like a proud mama.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Meanwhile, Back at Headquarters...

So lately, meaning the past 2 or 3 days, I've been having thoughts like this:

I miss Cedar City.  

What the hell have I done?

Maybe moving here was the wrong thing to do...

I've been a bit like a zombie.

There is an emotional reality to my life right now and a logical one.  The emotional side of things is usually the stronger of two on Ashley Planet.   

Emotional:  The past 2 or 3 days, I have acutely felt the irony of having moved back into an old situation that I had moved on from.

Logical:  This particular situation- living with Matt again, acting as stay-at-home mom to all 4 kids- is only temporary.

Last night, Matt and I went out for a bite.  As we were driving to Chili's (shut up; it was happy hour) I said to Matt, "The past coupla days I've been feeling like this move was the wrong thing."

"Okay...elaborate on that," replies Matt.

"Nah," I reply.

Once we got to Chili's and I had begun to sip on a delish $4.50 margarita on the rocks, I then had some elaborations.

As Matt and I talked it out, he said a very profound thing that I'm sure I would have eventually figured out on my own, which was, "This living situation does not work for me.  It doesn't work for you, but... it clearly is working for the kids.  They are so happy.  This is the happiest I've seen Hana and Emma.  And it's obvious Timothy and Ada are happy.  And that's why we decided to do this in the first place."

He was so right.

And then I was all fine. Kinda.

And I was glad at that moment to be talking to someone who wasn't existing in a fog of emotion, like unto myself.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Guilt & Apostasy

Guilt has been a prevalent topic for me this week.  I find the topic of guilt absolutely compelling. Guilt is such a motivator for so many people, Mormon and non-Mormon alike.  Guilt is what drove my ex-husband from the church months before he'd ever touched another man.  Guilt is something I personally have not experienced at all in my journey away from the church.   

After posting this a few days ago, I got an email from my mom.  For the first time, she expressed her feelings about my 'leaving' the church.  I'll just sum it up for you by saying she has mourned my departure from it.  I don't ridicule her for this.  I don't in any way want to invalidate or belittle her very real and deep emotions on this subject.

What I do want to bring up in my post today is a specific part of her email that I found fascinating:

She believes that Guilt is part of the reason I couldn't stand being in the church building on Sunday or set foot on the ground of Temple Square in Salt Lake City back in April.  Guilt on my part.  Guilt for my dissent.  Guilt for no longer adhering to the Word of Wisdom.  Guilt for being sexually active with someone I am not legally and lawfully wed to.

What fascinated me was that even after I have written here on my blog, in more than one post, my feelings of hurt and deep disappointment with the church, 'guilt' is still the place she goes.

On the one hand, I see my anxiety and severe, negative physical reactions to being on church grounds as a result of the betrayal and loss of trust I've felt with Mormonism.

On the other hand, my mother, and I'm sure many many other active Mormons, sees these negative reactions as a product of my guilt.

I learned a few years ago in therapy that guilt is not only the opposite of constructive, but it is simply a cover emotion for something deeper.

To be fair, my mother did state that she believed my guilt was only part of something bigger- remembering.  Remembering somewhere deep in my soul that it's all true.  That my involvement in the 'one true church' was the best part of who I was, once upon a time.

I was breaking this all down with Jeremy last night.  He vocalized something I found thought-provoking, and I asked him to write his thoughts down for me.  His thoughts were less about guilt specifically and more about what active, faithful Mormons think of those who are no longer practicing/believing.  This is what he wrote:

As an ordained missionary in the New York New York South Mission I often found myself conducting a sort of "damage control" with people I spoke to concerning common misconceptions about Mormons. I often found myself baffled at how badly misinformed the average person was about the LDS experience. "How many wives will I get if I join yer church?" "You don't believe in Jesus!" "I heard you worship Joseph Smith" and my favorite, "My cousin who is a Mormon says he has to keep his garments on when he has relations with his wife" (I'm not making that up)

All of us have experienced it at one time or another; having to course-correct a friend or perhaps a stranger whose collective knowledge about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints comes from Christian literature and South Park. It can often be frustrating and time consuming for members of the church to have to deal with these objections, but we do. We patiently respond, with love and with kindness so that we may in turn open the lines of communication and share our testimonies. 

Fast forward ten years.

As a 
 non-practicing, non-believing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I have found myself having to defend my motives from active members of the church concerning exactly why I left the faith. I often laugh at the irony of the position I find myself in, when a member of the church tries to inform me of the real reasons I left as if they have a Urim & Thummim which peers into the deepest chasms of my soul. "It's because of the anti-mormon literature" "Have you been looking at porn?" "You weren't reading your scriptures daily" and my personal favorite, "Well then maybe you just weren't living it right." (No true, Scottsman)

Ladies and gentleman, I hope I have made myself clear that I have experienced life on two very opposite sides of the veil, and I have something I would like to say; We need to start a dialogue between members who are still active, and members who have, as is often whispered about them, "fallen away" (another misleading myth about apostasy). If you are an active member, I ask that you please put yourself in the shoes of the outsider for a moment. The outsider who on my mission thought that Mormons did not believe in Jesus. The outsider who since my exodus thinks the only possible answer is that I must have given into influence of the adversary. 

My purpose in this is not to mock faith nor challenge your testimony. I come to you now with the same sincerity I carried with me on the streets of Brooklyn ten years ago to tell you in no uncertain terms that many of the conclusions which you may have reached concerning your brothers and sisters who have left the faith are quite malformed. 

~Elder Jeremy J. Minagro
New York New York South Mission 2000-2001

I don't draw any conclusions here in the post about this conundrum, because it's just the start of a conversation.  Again, my mother was very loving and gentle in her words that she emailed to me.  I think that gentility is paramount in starting a dialogue between the believers and former-believers of Mormonism- a dialogue which I think most people on both sides of the fence aren't interested in having and would rather avoid.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In the Annals of a Momming Saga

It is Tuesday night.  And I love my children.  However, I am sitting in a shawerma joint without them.  And crying. (FYI, usually when mom's cry, it's due to mommy guilt)

I love my children.  But tonight my stress-o-meter was in the dark orange zone.  I pulled Hana aside with a look of impending doom in my eyes, and said, "I gotta get outta here.  I'm about to lose it. Please, do homework with Timothy and Ada, make them dinner, have Ada get in the shower, and put them to bed?"

I'm not gonna stress if not all those things have happened once I return.  Because the point was for me to leave the premises.

I do love them, I promise.  But I'm just a human being.  I'm just one person, one human, one mortal... ON ZOLOFT NO LESS!

Thing is I know that I need to leave the home before I reach red.  Before I reach the screaming/barking/fist-biting point.  That is more damaging to them than me evacuating for the evening, which probably isn't really too damaging at all.

What's my stress all about, you ask?  Why can't I handle what you handle beautifully every night?

Look, I've been in therapy.  I've done rapid eye therapy.  I've done free writing.  I've done art therapy.  I've done PsyChi.  I've done craniosacral work.  I did lots of prayer before.  Used to do regular scripture reading.  I'll go on:  Paid tithing/went to church/took sacrament/served/didn't drink beer.

Once about 5 years ago, Matt was out of town, as he was often, and the kids were ages 2, 4, 8, and 9 at the time.  I'd had a dismal track record with managing emotionally when he was out of town, because I had to deal with the kids on my own.  So this particular time, I decided to have a fast.

Fasting in Mormonism is like taking an extra step toward showing the Lord that you're serious.  You really really need help with something.  So you fast- give up 2 to 3 consecutive meals- to show real commitment to Him in hopes that He will return the favor.

I started my fast on a Sunday morning.  When you fast in Mormonism, you start out with a prayer.  I felt like a fast would grant me have an exceptionally peaceful day on my own with the kids.  I wanted that for them as much as me.  I wanted to enjoy them even if Matt was out of town.

That day ended up being one of the worst in my momming history.

We could get into what my emotions were at the end of the day.  My confusion.  My disappointment.  My tears.  My anger.  My desperation.  But I think I'm really just trying to tell you guys that I tried/try.  Everything I know how.

Okay, perhaps I'm being dramatic.  It's not this bad every night, nor is every night 'bad'.

The current formula that works better than having no formula at all (like earlier in my momhood) is when I have felt my personal tension building up for several days, and then one night I am dangerously close to threat level 'critical', I must remove myself from the situation.  Eat some shawerma.  Drink some Coke Zero.

And to give Hana her props:  I came home, and Ada had been showered.  Timothy's math was finished.  She had fed them dinner.

I did say thank you.  But I am taking suggestions for a grander 'thank you' for last night's rescue.

I am also taking suggestions on effective ways of self-medicating.  Pot never worked for me.