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Week in Review (Wherein Matt and I Are No Longer BFF's, Emma Leaves, & I Walk a Tightrope)

I don't know who the fuck I am anymore.

And I think that's fantastic.

A fact I've learned is that my humanity goes beyond Mormonism.

When I was actively Mormon, it did not.  It could not.  To quote my mother, "The Church is everything."  Every time I tried to push against the inside of that box, I was knocked back.

As I've said before, I lived in fear of stepping out of that box, out of myself, and walking a tight rope.

And why do that now?  Because there was something on the other side of that rope that I needed. Not the White Rabbit, not temptation...

What was waiting for me on the other side was... me. 

So, if that thing on the other end of the tight rope is Me, then why do I not know who I am? Because I haven't made it across yet.

It's hard and it's scary, so it would naturally be slow-going.  And yet it's the only place for me to go.  Going back now would be a lie.  

I will never be done talking about Mormonism.  I will never not have something to say about it.  I heard something on the radio today.  A classical music composer (can't remember the name) said, "Something that is learned slowly is forgotten slowly."

I'm not too proud to say that it might evoke a wonderful feeling, like today when I went to the Mormon church to watch Ada in the Primary Program.

Of course, I high-tailed it out of there right after that, because it's the next 2 classes that suffocate me.  I considered staying for a split second.  Then thought, Nope. Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope. 

I agreed to take my kids to the Trunk or Treat last night at the church.  It's a different experience being there just socially.  

I asked myself repeatedly while I was there, Do I miss this?  Do I miss the camaraderie? Can I pretend for a minute that I miss it? 

So I let myself pretend.  And then I felt... what's the word...sad.  I felt sad because I realized I didn't miss it at all, that feeling of community.  I felt sad that I didn't miss it.  Sound weird?  It's like a mourning, I guess.

And then the less emotional part of myself (yes, I do have one) said, "Breaking away from the church was something you absolutely had to do.  You don't need to pretend anything.  You are getting so close to discovering yourself that you don't need that community for definition anymore."  And I no longer felt sadness.  I felt... right with myself.

I have an inner voice that is old and wise and beyond who Ashley Wilkinson is.  And last night when it said this to me, it was calm and gentle and certain.

Walking this tightrope is something I absolutely have to do.

I've had some friends and acquaintances decide that they just can't watch me take this walk anymore.  I think they see it as danger- a dangerous thing I am doing to myself and a danger to themselves to watch me.

In addition, I am becoming unrecognizable to them, perhaps.  Makes complete sense.

And it's not that I'm just walking this rope- I'm running across it.  I'm running because I cannot wait to see the Ashley that is waiting on the other side.

Do you see this as an identity crisis?  I see it as identity rebirth.

In related news...

An evolution has taken place in my relationship with Matt while living here for the past 3 months.

I declared to him, in a very difficult conversation about many things, that I don't know think we can stand by our modis operendi of being each other's 'best friends' any longer.

We both cried.

It is very sad, but it is also beautiful.

We have evolved as individuals.  We're not the same 'Matt' and 'Ashley' that became the odd brand of best friends that we did 16 years ago.  And that is good and right and beautiful.

But things don't really feel beautiful right now.

I don't love Matt any less, but we never ever ever ever ever need to live under the same roof again, even on a temporary basis.

...unless there is some type of post-apocalyptic situation going on in our lifetime.

We will always be close.  Obviously.  But no need to be all 'Club Unicorn' about our friendship anymore.  

We've patted ourselves on the back.  We don't need to feel beholden to a label.  We are too different now.  We are ex-spouses.  It's not realistic.

I've also put on 10 lbs.  Shit. 


Emma is gone.  

She's back in Cedar.  

I hope she's happy and feeling in charge of something in her life.  God, everyone needs that.  

I didn't go with Matt and Hana to take her to the airport.  Matt said that when they said goodbye at the gate, he watched her walk away with an air of independence.  

I would have loved to have seen that. 


  1. MOR straight graduateOctober 28, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Yeah... Me and my ex ex gay went through that as well. A few years of a very unified front, followed by "why the heck would I want to spend a day with you?" he is still a very important person to me but we have said most all of what needs to be said and done between us. Over it. Moved on. Done. Well done. On a positive note, that's partly why I changed my user name from MOR survivor to MOR Graduate. Graduate is so much more positive. It speaks to learning things that made me more of a person rather than having things ripped out of me that I then needed to heal and replace.

    At first I was utterly broken, then I was a struggling survivor, then I just 'lived with' the effects of it all. But now? I am flourishing in my new and better life, so now I am a graduate. And proud of it.

    1. Love the change from Survivor to Graduate.

  2. You are truly an inspiration. Reading of you changing your life and being so brave IS inspiring to me and others who may be feeling the need to change up our lives to bring in happiness and fulfillment whatever our situation may be. Thank you.

  3. xoxoxox, Ashley. Keep evolving. Hugs and love.

    1. When does politics bring you to Cali? You owe me a beer... or visa versa. Can't remember.

  4. Finding who you really are takes time, but the journey is fuckin' awesome. I'm still learning things about myself through improv, the people I've met along the way, and personal reflection, and I still amaze myself sometimes.

    1. Rev, you ARE truly amazing. You have consistently amazed me since I met you 8 years ago.

  5. I loved reading this entry... there was something that saddened me though; "I've had some friends and acquaintances decide that they just can't watch me take this walk anymore. I think they see it as danger- a dangerous thing I am doing to myself and a danger to themselves to watch me."... especially that latter part. Why are people so afraid to see someone change and find the true happiness they need and deserve? I will never understand why when someone decides Mormonism isn't for them the majority of church members suddenly proclaim them to be "lost". For me this goes completely against what the Savior taught... who are we to decide what's best for someone else.

  6. Aw, give yourself some credit. Living with people who aren't your spouse/significant other or *minor* loin children is really, really, really hard. I can't imagine living with any of my actual friends. And an ex-spouse/significant other, even if I was on really good terms with him? Dude, no. I maintain that adults are built to live alone barring the situations mentioned above. There's territory to occupy, dammit.

    Not Mormon, former Mormon, or mixed orientation marriage refugee, but I do like your blog. :)


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