Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Game of Carols

I had this genius idea the other day.

Ever seen/read Game of Thrones?  If not, the phrase "Winter is coming" is repeated throughout.

What they are referring to is the fact that in this world seasons last a very long time, like, years. They are speculating that they are at the end of summer, which has lasted several years.  Then after a short autumn, winter will set in for a good long time.  And no one ever knows how long it will last.

Add to that these rascals called 'White Walkers'.  Zombies.  They live in the cold places, and when it's winter everywhere...

The Wall- a giant wall of ice and snow that separates the 7 kingdoms from the Wildlings

Night's Watch/Brothers in Black- the men who dedicate their lives to living at The Wall to protect the 7 kingdoms

Winterfell- Stronghold in the North (but south of The Wall)



My idea is a spoof-

"Christmas is coming."

It's said with just as much of a sense of impending doom.

I had Jeremy help me flesh this out:

Scene opens on 3 brothers in black of the Night's Watch who are north of The Wall.  They hear a sound.  Like a child squealing.  

They stealthily make their way toward the sound, but not without absolute fear in their hearts.  

One of their dogs leads them to something.  

The brothers dismount their horses to get a closer look.

We see their faces looking down at something on the snow covered ground.  Then they all look at each other.  

The oldest, wisest of the brothers in black looks off into the expanse of the wood, and proclaims bleakly, "Christmas is coming."

The next shot is of a mutilated elf in the snow.  

*****

We now are south of The Wall.  

Scene opens with the men of the noble Stark family who are dismounting their horses as they have discovered something on the ground themselves.  

We see only the Stark men, Ned and his sons, when Ned whispers, "I haven't seen one of these south of The Wall since I was a boy."

"Father, the mother is dead.  Her babes cannot suckle.  We should take the helpless creatures to Winterfell to care for them.  There is one for each of us," said Bran, who is only seven years of age.

"Too dangerous," Ned replied.  "Let nature take its course.  We must return now to Winterfell before your mother weeps for our absence."

"Father, I'm with Bran.  I could not bear to leave these babes to starve," said Robb, the eldest of the Stark sons.  "And Bran is right.  There is one for each of us, even the girls."

"But not one for me..." quipped Ned's bastard son, Jack Frost.  

"Well, wait a minute.  Look!  There's a runt hiding underneath its mother's corpse.  An albino even.  There you are, Jack,"  said Robb.

Ned admonishes his sons, "Very well.  You will each care for them on your own.  No help from your lady mother or myself, the Lord of Winterfell."

As they are remounting their horses, the camera pans down to the ground where we see a massive, slaughtered reindeer.  

 Jack names his white reindeer Spirit.  It quickly grows into the largest of the pack.  

The Starks adopt the Reindeer as their sigil. 

*****

Scene opens north of The Wall on a vast breadth of snow covered land, as far as eyes can behold. We hear the sound of marching.  

The next shot is of the face of a fat brother in black who is hiding behind a large rock, terrified for his life.  

The camera pans right to the sound of the marching, the culprit of the fat brother's fear.  

Sitting atop a larger than life undead reindeer, sits Zombie Charles Dickens.  Behind him are droves upon droves of zombie Dickens carolers, singing an eerie, unharmonious deluge of jumbled Christmas carols in sharps and flats.  They are marching toward The Wall.

*****

I would love to do a web series with this.  And cast my buddies.

Also, this is copywrited, bitches.






Monday, October 29, 2012

Children of Divorce

No couple brings children into the world thinking, "I hope my child grows up to be healthy and happy, gets a college education,  and will have to deal with the divorce of their parents!"

Tomorrow my youngest, Ada, will be 8.

She was 5 when we broke the news to her about the divorce.

I haven't written about that yet, because it's too painful to revisit.  I could safely say it was the worst day of my life.

I grew 4 lives inside of my body, never intending to inflict the most incredible heartbreak a child can imagine, next to the news of a parent's death.

When I was about 4 or 5, my mother called me to her and said, tearfully, "I need to tell you something...  Your daddy's brother, Glenn, died today."

I heard, "Your daddy died today."

Until I die, I will never forget the devastation and wrenching that my heart experienced in the next few minutes.  I remember crying like I never had before, from the very pit of my soul.  It was a Sunday.

My mother was thinking, Why is she crying this much about her uncle?  She only ever saw him one or two times...

Then, as I started to calm down, I said with a shaky voice, "I'll have to tell all my friends at church today that my daddy's dead."

Aaaaand mom cleared things up for me real quick.

When I realized my dad was NOT dead, the pain was immediately lifted.  I can't imagine what that pain would have been like if it had stayed, if my father was, in fact, dead.

This might sound crazy, but I grew up in those moments of accidental, yet, absolute heartache.  An emotion that ravaging is also transcending.  Never again will you see the world as you once did.  Never again will you be the same person you were before that news.

Granted, my dad was not dead, so the journey of grief that many of you have travelled, I have not and do not pretend to understand even a teeny tiny bit.

I tell this story to convey what my kids maybe felt on that day when Matt and I said, "We are getting a divorce."

You know the saying, "The 3 hardest things in life are moving, death, and divorce"?

Ponder that as you like.

My sweet Ada asked several times if her daddy and I would ever get married again.  Each time I answered with a gentle yet clear, "No."

She cried each time.

I don't know what the journey of grief is like for my children of divorce.  My parents are still together.  As are Matt's.  It's very strange to put my kids through something that I don't understand at all myself. I can't make myself feel better by thinking, I know what this is like.  They are going to be fine.

A thought that gives me comfort is remembering the time I asked my sister's daughter how she felt about her parent's divorce.  She replied, "I hate it... but it's better than having them live together and fight all the time."

Matt and I didn't really 'fight' all that much.  Our way of being miserable was that loud quiet, those heavy passive-agressive sighs, and living desperate individual hells that we either repressed OR took out on the kids.

Ada will be 8 in the morning.  She's not little anymore.  But I could have said that about her a while ago.

Happy Birthday, sweetie.  I hope you are happy here in California close to your daddy.










Sunday, October 28, 2012

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. 

And...

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. 






Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Very Confusing Thing That Happened (with a Healer)


So, I went to see a Healer once. 

It was last summer.

What I mean by a Healer is someone who puts their hands on your head to fix a physical problem that is caused by an emotional problem.  I don’t mean he/she puts their hands on your head in a fashion like unto a Mormon priesthood holder giving a blessing, but rather, someone who has, or believes he/she has, a gift- a gift that is innate, inborn; a healing gift that is not ‘bestowed’ by a religion.
 
You may think that type of thing is hogwash, but just listen to the story-

{Sidenote~ I’ve been open to the idea that there are people with such gifts for a long time- yes, even when actively Mormon.  Why do I bring that up?  Because I think that in general Mormons aren’t comfortable with the idea that there is legitimate ‘power’ outside of the church/gospel/priesthood. 

And just a quick $0.02 on what my spiritual stylings are:  I see that we are all miraculous.  I see the Universe as miraculous.  Whatever force you want to believe is responsible for the Amazing, even if it’s simply Science, we are all a part of that Power.  And that means we also have Power.}

Back to the Healer.

I went mostly out of curiosity.  Some friends of mine that I respect had had an amazing experience with the Healer.  This is how I learned about him.  I was eager to check it out. 

So I made an appointment.  And the fee would be $40. 

I didn’t necessarily have a physical ailment I was struggling with, except depression off and on throughout most of my adulthood (you know, just that little thing), which does affect us physically and chemically.  But mainly, I wanted to see the Healer!

My friends who’d seen him said he looked just like a High Councilman (a very high up position in a local Mormon hierarchy).  They had also mentioned that he was in fact Mormon. 

My mind went to Well, if he’s Mormon, but considers himself a Healer, then he’s sure to be open-minded.

The day of the appointment came, and I was feeling strange about it.  I asked myself, Why are you doing this, Ashley?  Purely out of curiosity?  You’ve been on a great track lately.  You’ve been positive and growing and peaceful.  Nothing physically or emotionally going on that is particularly concerning to you right now.

My answer to myself was, Well, the appointment is already made…

I entered the appointment and, sure enough, he looked like a Mormon High Councilman.  I sat down, and he started asking me questions:

“What brings you here today?”

“Tell me about yourself.”

“What is the physical issue you’re having that you’d like me to work on?”

So in answering all of those questions, I shared things about my divorce, struggle with Mormonism, and those types of major situations. 

Then the time came- the time for the healing. 

In a chair with wheels, the Healer scooched quite close to me and said that he was now going to adjust some neuro pathways in my brain. 

So get this- he started moving his hands and fingers around my skull, his eyes closed, and I absolutely felt something happening.  I had a physical sensation that cannot be described as just the sensation of feeling his fingers and hands on my head.  Something was washing over me. 

After a very short time, he pulled back, but not much, and said, “Well, I can tell you first off that you’re on the wrong path.”

“Huh?”

“You will not be truly happy until you embrace the church again 100%.”

“ … ”

“I have a daughter who has gone completely apostate, and she tells me that she’s the happiest she’s ever been in her life.  That’s what you’ll hear a lot of apostates say.  And the reason for that is because…Satan withdraws.”

“ … ”

“His work with you is done.  He has succeeded in pulling you away from the gospel.”

You guys, I didn’t know what to think or feel in this moment.  I was certainly incredulous. 

And I was sobbing.

The session ended quickly after that.  I stood up still in tears.  I grabbed my purse and he said to me, “Um, I know this isn’t what you came here for.  The things I told you today are things of the Spirit.  So… no charge.”

And I left. 

I got into my car not feeling healed or uplifted or better for seeing him.  I felt like a piece of shit. Is that a thing of the Spirit?

I thought back to earlier in the day when I was questioning myself.  I should have listened to myself!

I called Lovey.  As I told her about it, she did not sound pleased with this man, but she also didn’t tell me one way or the other what I should think about it.

And the Satan withdrawing thing… what is someone supposed to do with that?!  Especially someone like me who’d been basking in peace and constant connectedness with God- being free of guilt and judgment, which allowed that sense of Unconditional Love to flow freely through me for the first time in my life!

I was sharing this experience with another very close friend.  When I was done, the friend said, “So… I say if what he says is true, and apostates only feel happiness because Satan has withdrawn…OKAY!”

About a week later, I was over it.  But I was pretty messed up for that week.  Miserable.  Frustrated.  Second guessing.  Angry. 

But I let it go.  And I was back on track feeling good and peaceful.

I’m sure the only reason I felt good after that week was because once I finally decided to let it go and continue moving away from Mormonism… Satan withdrew.  Again.  "See ya later, sucka."

But I'm still very confused about the whole thing.




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Some Things That I Used to Love, but Now I Hate So Much... and Visa Versa:

Homework.  I really did enjoy it all the way until 12th grade.  In college, not at all.  Now, helping my kids with it, makes me wanna punch windows out.

Blood and Guts.  When I was a kid, I couldn't handle the thought of shots, having blood drawn, surgeries.  When someone would mention such things, I felt like I was being cut into.  Also, I couldn't stand looking at wrists.  Now, I love Walking Dead which is all of those things.

Classical Music.  I'm not sure what the psychology is behind this, but it used to hurt me.  I mean, it made me have ANGST and wailing and gnashing of teeth!!!  Now, it is like pure oxygen and catharsis.  There is something about beautiful perfectly played music with no words to dictate what to think or feel.  The music is my own to interpret and apply to anything I'd like.

Reading.  I struggled to enjoy it for many many many years.  Now, it's one of those things that I wish I had more time for, like, a hot bath (but better).

Cooking.  Screw cooking and the horse it came in on!  I loved cooking one time.  When I was in first grade, I was making pancakes on Saturday mornings.  Loved experimenting and trying new recipes all during elementary school and up until college.  I stopped enjoying experimenting soon into my marriage and just stuck to casseroles and stir fry.  After I had my 4th kid- FORGET IT.  I hated cooking like Mrs. White hated that french maid in Clue.

The Shape of the Female Hiney.  I used to be embarrassed by it when I'd see one in movies and such.  And I never wanted to look at my own.  The woman's derrière is flat and wide.  Even in skinny girls, it's wider than any other part of the body, so it looks wide and flat.  That is because of our child bearing hips.  Now, today, I understand that men really love it.  At first, I was incredulous.  How can anyone like that shape?  We look like a cello back there.  Well, they really do love it.  So I thought twice about it.  More than twice.  Seven times.  I even checked out the view in the mirror once, trying to see it the way a man does.  I was like, Okay, okay... And now I love seeing women's rear ends at the movies!  And I'm straight!

Grunge.  You know, it served an important purpose- it changed the face of music when it sorely needed  nips and tucks.  That's kinda how I see disco.  Such a specific kind of music.  It was like that Monty Python, "And now for something completely different!" So needed.  But only in its time!  Now, I don't know, it's just boring.  With the exception of... Smells Like Teen Spirit.  That song will never go away.

Spring.  I used to get all kinds of excited about this Mary Poppins-y time of year.  Easter eggs and Easter dresses.  Wizard of Oz coming on TV.  Flowers.  Pastel M&M's.  But now it gets me depressed.  ??????  I really love cold, crisp, cloudy Earth-times!  And for some reason, I don't feel like I've been gettin' enough.  Cedar City, where I was for 8 years, is a desert.  That could be why.  Not enough gloomy weather to satisfy my broody, enigmatic personality.







Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Teaching Time Again! (I Am Wise Like Unto Galadriel)

Read this first.


Another teaching of sister Ashley....

Ashley says:
What can i teach you this morning?

Carrie says:
Why are women attracted to bastards?

Ashley says:
Okay...
It all goes back to Eve and her attraction to satan. We are born with it, like men are born with an attraction to any woman naked (see the correlation?). But just because we're born with it doesn't make it okay. We are supposed to go, "Okay, I'm not attracted to THIS man at all, so he must be a good guy. " So there's the formula for choosing a mate.

Carrie says:
LOL CRAP!!

Ashley says:
What else?

Carrie says:
OK..
Ex's. why?

Ashley says:
Because there is an opposite to everything in life: light/dark, sad/happy, current love interest/ex, eating/barfing.

Carrie says:
Why are they like recurring nightmares?

Ashley says:
Okay, well...
Yes, I'm glad you asked.
Ever see Clockwork Orange?

Carrie says:
Yes

Ashley says:
That has nothing to do with it.
Next question...

Carrie says:
Aaaahh!!
Does love really stink? Or does it just need to be refrigerated?

Ashley says:
Wow, you have really been using your noggin'!

Carrie says:
I figure if I just play Ice Queen in my relationships, the love will last longer. Is this the right thing to do?

Ashley says:
Love stinks only when you get drunk and puke on each other. Refrigeration is required only when love involves people you hate. So, yes, playing the Ice Queen means you love someone so much, you hate them. That is the dream! Ever see Mannequin?

Carrie says:
ahahahahhahahahahiwejgajreogsdfjgheoir

Ashley says:

I know you have, so- Andrew McCarthy-love him or hate him? BOTH -being made out of plastic is another way to show love.

Carrie says:
Because..maybe..feelings are feelings because we can't control them.

Ashley says:
But, you can. At least for a while. It's called REPRESSION. It's a very healthy way of burying things we don't want to feel. If we didn't have this mechanism, as it were, the human race would be running around screaming and waving their arms all day.
Mayhem. Chaos. Anarchy.
Repression makes life beautiful.
And psychologists rice.
Rich. 
Not rice
Rice is for weddings. Marriage's survive because of repression.

Carrie says:
That is awesome

Ashley says:
Gotta go

Carrie says:
Bye





Monday, October 22, 2012

On a Jet Plane

I believe it was January of this year, while I was still in Cedar with all 4 of my kids, that Emma said to me one night, "Mom, I want to go live with dad."

And there it was.

That statement that every custodial parent of a divorce dreads to hear; that statement that my therapist said would come eventually from one, if not more, of my children.

Regardless of what the circumstances were that led Emma to want to leave my home and go to her dad's, I had to detach as much as possible.  I couldn't take it personally.  Even if it was personal.

Emma wanted a different experience.  Emma needed her dad.  Emma needed to have a sense of power over her life.  She needed to feel like she was in control of something. 

How could I begrudge her that?  She'd lost her idea of family.  She'd lost her childhood home. She'd lost her dad to another state.  She'd lost her mom for a scary time while I was a depressed blob of flesh.

So, when she said this, I don't know if she noticed any sign of my being taken aback, because I was, even though I'd attempted to be prepared for the eventuality. But I didn't skip a beat.  I said, "Okay.  Why?"

"Because."

"Because why?"

"I don't know."

"Well, that's not good enough, Em.  This is a huge deal."

Then she was able to relate that it basically came down to her really missing her dad.  I told her that I respected that and understood.  I told her, "Let's wait and give it a few weeks and see if you still want this."

She did.  And where Hana had to go live with her dad, Emma went to her dad's purely through her choice.  And the 2 of them left for California at the end of February of this year.

Fast forward to me and the other 2 kids coming to California 5 months later.  I'd always known, upon my split with Matt, that there was no reason we couldn't be as much a family as possible even if he left Utah.

So here we are in Cali.

Granted, all 6 of us living in cramped quarters/under the same roof is not the long term plan nor was it ever, but it is the reality right now.

A couple of weeks ago, Emma said to me, "Mom, I wanna go live with Lou." Lou is her best friend in Cedar City.

She had to say this a few times over a couple of days for me to really hear it.  When I finally gave her a legitimate response, it was, "Why? I thought you were glad to get away from Cedar City.  And you detest the snow!"

"But Lou is my best friend and I don't want to be here anymore and her mom said it's okay!"

I was listening.  I didn't know how to respond. She said it again.  "Really?" I asked.  "Her mom said it's okay?"

Now I wasn't surprised.  Lou's mom had been there for me- A LOT.  She'd told me once that as someone who'd been in my shoes and experienced 'dark, dark days', she knew that I would need help from time to time and was finally in a place in her life to give it.

I remember during my post-Boy depression 2 Christmases ago, she kept the kids for me for a night so I could go see Wagamama in Vegas.  When I came back to Cedar the next evening, I felt a sense of doom as I walked into Lou's house to collect the kids.  I was afraid to go home.  Before we walked out the front door to go to our house, I was already crying.

When I was driving home from work at the library several months ago, I knew that if I went home to my 4 kids and the mess and the utter sense of inadequacy I felt when I walked through the door -one more time- I would hurt myself or one of the children.  I called Lou's mom and asked her if she would pick up the kids, because I need to check myself into the ER.

Then when we were leaving Cedar this August, I dropped off one of my cats with Lou and her family. Lou's mom told me in no uncertain terms that she considered every one of us family.

My Emma needs something different right now.  She needs a place to breathe.  She can do that at Lou's house.  Could she suck it up and stay here?  If we told her that's what she had to do, then she wouldn't have a choice.  But that is what I am trying to give her- a choice.  Power.  Control.

It will hurt her dad and me chasms more than it will hurt Emma to be away.  But after days of talking through this and looking at it from many angles, we agree this will be good for her, if even only for the sense of control it will give her.

She will be with people we trust implicitly.  She will have plenty of room to breathe, unlike here in this tiny house with her divorced parents.

I am hoping she'll miss me so much by the 3 month mark that she'll ask to come back.  Can I tell you how much I would love to hear Emma say that she misses me?  Do you have any idea?

My heart has been breaking repeatedly the past few days.  Emma leaves tonight.











Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm Grateful for My Retainer

I am grateful for...

the unexpected fall weather in Redlands.

tender moments, teaching moments, and laughing moments with my kids.

California and Colorado both start with a 'C'.

the coffee shop down the street from me that has coffee.

my job at a very cool store which makes me feel cool.

my body and my large hip bones and my long legs and my ass.

my private jet.

my guest role on New Girl.

my guest role on Girls.

the smell of chimneys.

my boat.

my life with a man I am in love with in Colorado who gets me and supports me.

being the funniest person on the planet.

my brand new, perfectly functioning, air conditioned car.

my large new home with more than enough room for me and my kids.

Harry Potter.

season 3 of The Walking Dead.

all the money I make that keeps pouring into my life like those letters from Hogwarts did in the first Harry Potter.

my eyebrows being blonde enough that you can't really tell how long it's been since they were waxed.

opportunities to give and help and support and share with others.

my blog.

my readers.

all of my tremendous, astonishing, mind-blowing success.

nachos.  Always nachos.





                                               

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Women

As I contemplate my own strength gained through life experience, I think of women who are amazing examples to me of those things.  Not that they have reached some idyllic destination, some end all be all or that they got it all figured out.

It's their journey and their survival that amazes me.  It's watching how they learn to cope.  It's seeing how astounding the female creature is in reaching new planes, new heights through trials while sometimes seeing their male counterpart let life affect them quite the opposite.

Women GO ON. We improve.  It's not that we don't wallow or cry or even shut down completely for a time.  We eventually find a way, almost subconsciously, to use difficulty to flourish.  There is something about what we do with any crap that life dumps on us.  We become seasoned- more and more seasoned as we get older and move further along our unique paths.  We embrace the knowledge that is gained through hard experiences as a gift.

We turn loss, weakness, and hurdles into GIFTS.  We are magical...

I think of my friend, Awesome.  I am amazed at what she can do on her own while her husband does virtually nothing.  Six kids, no money, never a spare moment.  When we talk about how hard it can be, she can find a way to laugh about it.  She takes what she has to work with and makes it beautiful.  That is strength.

I think of my friend, Southern Sister, who became a mother later in life than us Mormon gals.  What she has had to do on her own has made her grow in Love and Compassion.  It's beautiful.  I feel such peace and safety in her presence.  She has struggled with health issues.  She has been heartbroken time and again by her male counterpart's cold feet while uprooting herself because of loyalty and hope, leaving behind those who would buoy her.

I think about my friend, Candy.  Her journey has led her down an unexpected path where she finds herself all alone.  Some people would see that as a crisis.  Candy sees it as growth.  Her immense love and devotion to her family is something she would never want to compromise, but at the expense of honoring her true self. That paradox forces her to dig so deeply within herself that I think it hurts her.  But she goes on and embraces the joy and fulfillment that she gets from her soulmate/husband and beautiful children.

I think about my mom.  She is a grown woman who has chosen her life.  She keeps going.  She gets up in the morning.  She finds joy in simple things.  She knows who she is.  I watched her while growing up as she would take care of other women.  It's her mission in life, I think, because she means what she does.  There's no obligation there, only compassion.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to reach that.

I think about my sister.  She has chosen an unorthodox path, because she is giving herself the freedom to find her Whole self.  There is much sacrifice, but through that, the Universe balances out by giving her Awakening and Metamorphosis. 

I think about a mother I know whose male child started literally asking God in his prayers for a vagina before he knew how to tie his shoes.  After much love and distress and searching, this mother has now embraced her unexpected daughter.  Love unconditional.

I think about another mother I know who lost her only baby.  And yes, the child was a baby when she lost him.  Because of a rare genetic disorder, she was given the gift of bonding and loving that we mothers with healthy children can't fathom.  And then she lost him through a simple accident.  As she travels this journey of grief and pain, she grows ever brilliant and full of love.

It's not that we women have some trick to rid ourselves of pain (No, no- not even late night ice cream).  But on some level of consciousness, we understand that our pain is a Tool, perhaps the greatest tool, toward immeasurable illumination.

It's about the journey.  It's how we travel through it.  It's not just surviving, but becoming greater.

We have the makings of miracles within us.

We are literal goddesses.








Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tips on Parenting by Ashley

When talking with your teenagers, use the word 'penis' as often as logic will allow.  For example, when you're teaching your teenage daughter to put air in a car tire.

When you are buying alcohol at the grocery store, and your young child asks if the adult beverage is for you, smile confidently and say, "No. It's for your father."

When the children don't obey you when told to do their chores, say, "Okie doke.  Suit yourself." And then when their gay father pulls into the driveway from work, begin to laugh, heartily.  Tell them, through your laughter, "Your dad's home!  He's gonna be so pissed at you guys!"

Make jokes often and consistently about hefty topics, i.e., gay dad, teenage sex, STD's, money, your only male child's genitals.  It really breaks the ice and everyone becomes much more at ease with discussing things openly.  And that's good, cause good communication is real important.

When the kids' bedtime is rolling around and you are too tired to go through that rigamarole, go to sleep yourself or just leave the house.  When you wake up/come home say in disbelief, "Why are you guys still awake?! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"  It teaches them to be independent.

When you move back in with your ex-husband and things don't seem to be going too special, take advantage of this teaching moment with your kids.  Smile and say, "See, it's really good that your dad and I got divorced!  Isn't it wonderful?  Everyone should get a divorce!"  This will make them feel special and privileged.  They will assume that all their friends with married parents are jealous (as well their friends should be) and sad.  It's a surefire formula for more confidence in your child's step and success in school.

Say your middle school child is late, because she doesn't get out of bed when her alarm goes off, or when you have attempted to wake her up between 4 and 7 times.  If she asks for a ride, because there is not enough time now to walk the quarter mile to school, throw the tea kettle that is in your hand across the room and scream about how she needs to use her fucking brain.  After which, whether or not you drive her to school is irrelevant.

When you are in a bad mood, a negative mood, a stressed out state, or sad, GET LOST.  Go away and come back when you are in a better state of mind to deal with the kids.  Taking your shit out on them is damaging.  But if you don't do this, and lose it one night with the children, post about it on Facebook.  You'll usually get a lot of people commenting that they have been shitty parents at times, too.  Then you'll be able to sleep better.









Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Birthday Night at Taylor's

So, I wasn't sure if I was gonna tell ANYONE this, much less put it on my blog, but I'm feeling pretty good about it.

I worked the night of my birthday.  Enjoyed every minute of it.  Came home, got kids tucked in, and decided to go try out a bar in town that I'd heard has karaoke.

Matt was out of town.  Didn't want to call up any of my new friends here at 11pm.  I went alone.

I walked into the bar, and there were 2 people there-  the bartender and some guy.

And it was dead quiet.  No music.  No talking.  Obvi, no karaoke going on.

I saddled up to the bar and started asking questions:

"No karaoke tonight, huh?"

"Why is it so quiet?"

"Why is there no music playing?"

"Is it always this empty?"

After I got all my answers, I nodded slowly and said, "Well, I'll stay for a drink.  It's my birthday."

The dude sitting at the bar told the bartender, Kathy, "I'll buy her drink."

"Awww...thanks.  I'll have a lemon drop!"

Delish!  Drunk in under 4 minutes.

The 3 of us are chatting.  Then it becomes just the dude and me chatting.  He tells me he's a doctor.  He tells me he's Seventh Day Adventist, but he called it 'SDA'.  He's 31.

I tell him I have a boyfriend (subtext- "Feel free to stop buying me drinks, cause I ain't going home with you").  I'm new in town.  Bla bla bla.

I order a Bicardi & Pineapple, which the doctor paid for again.

After chatting for quite a while, a gorgeous Guatemalan girl comes in.  She's very bubbly.  Her name is Astrid.  The doc is still vying for my attention and trying to convince me to have dinner with him.  That it would be harmless.

"I'm sorry.  I just couldn't do that.  I know you just want to have sex with me."

Next, a couple of policemen come into the bar.  They are friends of Astrid's.  So she is mainly talking to them, while the doc tells me he doesn't want to hear about my boyfriend.

Then Astrid plays a song on the jukebox and tells me to come dance with her.  "This is a song for the birthday girl!  Get over here, bitch!"  So I do.

Then one of her cop friends comes over and handcuffs us.

He pulls out his phone to take a photo.  Astrid puckers up like she's gonna pretend to kiss me, so I pucker up and close my eyes, you know, for the photo silliness.

Next thing I know, Astrid's mouth is on my mouth.  Then she opens her mouth.  Then her lips are closing and opening.  Then a tongue happens.

I'm trying to keep it together.

When the photos were done being taken, I said, "Well, I think I'm all sobered up now.  Gotta get home to the kids."

As I'm getting in the car, I hear Astrid shouting, "You better call me!"

I drove home, mildly freaking out.

I was thinking, No one must ever know!

I went home and watched a movie that is chock full of hetero sex called The Lover in order to cleanse myself of the girl kiss.

Matt messaged me from Utah, "What did you do tonight for your birthday?"

"Um, I can only tell you if you promise not to tell anyone..."

"Whatever.  What?!"

I explained.  His response was "Oh my god!"

"I want to move to Denver," I said.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA," Matt said.

P.S.  I went back a couple nights later for karaoke.  I killed it.  People were asking me where in the world I came from.  I just don't know anymore.  I just don't know...




                                                     

Monday, October 15, 2012

A New Story

 I have a dear friend that I will call My Angel.

She taught me a concept that is brilliantly brilliant.  It's all about Telling a New Story.  Changing the old story, because the old story gets old.

After some raw emotions and potent posts recently about Mormonism, and a friend pointing out to me that I am still so defined by that, I've decided it's time to Tell a New Story.

So here it is:

I am defined by me.  I am defined by who I am, and what I choose to surround myself with.

I am surrounded my loving family and friends who are accepting and nonjudgmental of me.

I am surrounded by opportunities for growth and success any which way I turn.

I am free of any obstacles that hold me back from Spiritual Growth.

I am on a clear Spiritual Path that leads me toward enlightenment and joy.

My experience with religion brought me what I needed for very crucial periods of my life, but now I have moved upward to more light and truth and beauty.

I am grateful for how Mormonism served me at times in my life when I needed guidance, when I needed a path, when I needed structure.

I am now secure in myself and my gifts and my own power.

I am light and knowledge.

I am joy and brilliance.

I am free.

I am limitless.

I am connected to the force that is Love, which created all things.

Through that connection, I create a life of fulfillment and grace and abundance.



                               

         

                                                             

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hana's First Driving Lesson OR Hana is Such a Girl OR Not Such a Great Idea

This was yesterday.  









                         

   


                                                          

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Today's Special is... "Identity"

Food for thought...

I posted an article on my boyfriend's wall a couple of days ago.

A mutual friend of ours commented:

"Hey Ash! Remember how your life still revolves around the church, I mean, I am an active Mormon and I don't post, blog, talk about or even think about the church half as much as you do. Will you ever find a way NOT to be defined by the church?"

My private reply to this was:  


"So to respond to your question about how much I talk and think and post about the church...
Breaking away from the church was like losing an arm or a leg, even if I decided to chop it off myself. If I'd lost an arm, I talk about it a lot and what life would be like without it, thinking about my arm more than I thought about my arm when I actually had it.
Breaking away from the church is also like a divorce. I still talk about my divorce from Matt a lot, because I'm still dealing with how I have changed because of it. I was married to Matt for only 13 years. I was 'married' to the church for my entire life.

Maybe you and I were different kinds of members.
Also, I lost the investment I made- my Mormon ideal. You have not."



A couple of months ago, a friend of mine commented on a post I wrote with this:  


"Ash, forgive me for saying this, but as mad as you are at the church, and/or it's members, eventually you're going to have to take a step back and decipher how many things you can realistically pin on them. We all make our own choices."


That is not the only time someone has made that type of remark to me.  And I get what they're saying.  But what about this:  


Growing up Mormon, when done 'properly', it becomes a part of your identity.  I mean, like your last name.  Or middle name.  Whichever you prefer.  The church intends for this to happen.  Let me present exhibit A, a primary song that was taught to the children when I was Primary President:  I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/I know who I am/I know God's Plan.  

That is merely a drop in the bucket of how we were taught to really own that identity.  

I'm not saying that Mormonism is the only religion that does that.  Again, I'm sharing my experience specifically.  


We are taught to base every decision on the gospel, and growing up, the church and the gospel are synonymous.  No question.  And no decision or issue was too small.  Having a bad thought?  Sing a Mormon hymn.  Someone asks you to join them at a party with alcohol?  Proudly proclaim that you are a Mormon and you cannot do that!  I'm not angry about this or saying that it was bad, per se.  I bring it up to point out how much of the unfolding of my life's events had to do with my identity as a Mormon.  



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Official Birthday Post Written by Melissa Singleton as Me

So, it's my birthday.

Fuck.

As a Mormon I was conditioned into believing that on this day, similarly to Mother's Day, I should have a homemade breakfast in bed put together by none other than my kid's sticky fingers and the all glorious non-gay non-ex husband should be standing in the door way waiting for the sticky fingers to clear so he could properly finger me into a birthday orgasm.

Okay, well the breakfast part anyways.  I've never heard anyone in my years of Relief Society attendance even whisper the word finger...  And they should! But that is for a future crumpet blog post.

Instead I groggily type away before i roll out of bed and my sticky fingers ignore me and if I'm lucky my gay ex won't finish off the coffee before I get to it.  

But.... The thing is about it all is that even though there is a bunch I'd change, today will be quite the day because "I'm a bad ass mother who don't take no shit from no one" and "I can do anything good. I like anything. I like my dad. I like my cousins. I like my aunts. I like my Allisons. I like my moms. I like my sisters. ... I like my hair. I like my haircuts. I like my pajamas. I like my stuff. I like my room. I like my whole house. My whole house is great. I can do anything good. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I can do anything good, better than anyone!"

Thank you Jessica and the Jamaican bob sled team.

And until I see the glorious love of my life my fingers are quite the talented ladies.



Taking the Kids Out in Public


Birthday dinner last night (I work tonight) with kids at Eureka Burger in Redlands.  









 In this photo I was telling Emma, "Shut your mouth, or I will smack you."






Sidenote:  The Universe is bringing unto moi all the wonderful things for my birthday- This morning driving Hana to school, the radio gave me some Elton John, Guns N' Roses, Muse, and (wouldn't ya know it) Heart.  






Happy Birthday in a Hot Bath!







*Don't forget to submit your posts to me at ashleystinycrumbs@gmail.com!*




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Birthday Gift From You to Me

Tomorrow is my bday.

And y'all get to give me a birthday gift tomorrow for free!

You get to write a brief post for my blog as if you are ME!

It must include:

1) at least one swear word

2) something about Mormonism

3) something about my kids

4) something about my gay ex or divorce

5) it MUST be funny

Remember write it as if you were me.

Send me your writings at ashleystinycrumbs@gmail.com

(Look for more fun posts for my bday tomorrow!  We're all in this together!)

Love, Ashley


Living Sans Fear

Jeremy suggested I post about this topic.

The night after we met, Jer and I were at a karaoke bar in Cedar City.  I was attracted to Jeremy.  Hugely.  If I'd had a penis, it woulda been chubby.

Karaoke had become a part of my modus operandi a few years prior (in case you haven't divined this fact from my blog already, I AM THE QUEEN REGENT OF KARAOKE).  So when my turn to sing came, I changed Jeremy's world forever. That girlish, giddy attraction didn't stop me from being exactly who I was in front of a new crush.

I asked him later, "So what'd you think of my song?"

He replied, "I saw a woman who has been liberated."

My mental reaction was like, Yeah, duh!

He's mentioned this spirit of liberation he's seen in me a few times since then.  Interesting how he could identify 'liberation' specifically when he didn't know me before I was liberated. The reason he knew without having to know me prior is because he understands Mormonism.

Now don't get your copy of Proclamation on the Family in a wad...

What I'm really saying here today is:

I, Ashley, am no longer afraid of eternal damnation.

I, me, Ash, am no longer afraid of how my kids look compared to other people's kids.

I, Ashley Wilkinson, am not afraid of whether or not I am doing enough crafts or scrapbooking as a daughter of God.

I, Ashley Wilkinson of Winterfell, do not live in fear of how my blog posts might be received.

I, Pamela Ashley Wilkinson, the Beloved, am no longer living in fear of how it 'looks' that my older daughters don't go to church.

I, P. Ashley Wilkinson Neves, am longer afraid of how the quantity of my scripture reading affects my happiness or abundance.

I, Ash, me, my own self-same self, do not live in fear of being a 'bad person'.

I, Ashley Wilkinson, who is not dead, no longer fear that I may not be worthy of God's love.

And here is why:

1) As I am exploring and re-exploring, defining and redefining my spiritual path, the one steadfast idea to which I hold is that Love is the ultimate Force, Energy, Purpose, Gift, Creator. And that being the case,  I will never live in fear of whether or not I am 'good' or 'righteous' or 'perfect' again.

2) I read a book a couple of years ago called Real Love.  The crux of the message is that real love is not conditional, it doesn't not need to be earned, and real love is complete acceptance without exception.

So why would anyone ever need to live in fear of who they are?

This blog has given me an opportunity to be who I am without fear. To be Naked, Candid, & Authentic.  When I am all of these things, I am embracing and loving myself.  I am celebrating who I am, right now, today.






Monday, October 8, 2012

The Next Tide of Cultural Change That Will Force the Mormon Church to Reform, Yet Again

The California ban on conversion/reparative therapy...

Been thinking about it.  A lot. 

When this ban becomes more widespread, what in the world will the Mormon church do?  

What is it going to do now in California?  

Bishops in California can no longer recommend to their gay members under the age of 18 to a therapy that is now illegal.  

Let's say the ban never happens in Utah.  Never ever.  

There are gay Mormons in other states.  49 of them.  Slowly, but surely, some of these remaining states will follow suit with this ban on conversion/reparative therapy.

And the Mormon church will have to ride the wave of cultural change.  Again.

I'll go a step further.

What will the church do if they cannot tell its gay members that homosexual 'tendencies' can be 'fixed' or even assuaged because there is no where the church can send them for it to be 'fixed'?  

Will they start accepting, once and for all, across the board, that it is just as much a part of an individual's identity as someone else's heterosexuality?  

And THEN will they continue to encourage their gay members to enter into mixed-orientation marriages? And if not outright encouraging such unions, will they continue to condone them? 

Of course they will.  But will it make it harder for them to do so, harder for them to feel good about condoning?   

And how will they do it? 

Maybe like this~  

Bishop/Stake President/You Get The Idea:  "I'm sorry that you are gay.  I really am.  I wish there was something I could do for ya.  All I can tell you is to get married.  It's what the Lord wants.  I mean,  proclamation on the family...celestial kingdom...all that"

Gay Mormon:  "But how will I find joy and fulfillment in this life?"

Bishop/Stake President/You Get The Idea:  "Through all your church service! And tithe paying! And child-making!"

Gay Mormon:  "Oh, well, but, I read this blog about this girl who was in a marriage like this, and she said that it wasn't so great.  She said that her full-tithe-paying habits and ever diligent church service and her making of 4 children didn't equal her and her gay husband's fulfillment.  She got depressed and stuff.  She wanted to die and stuff..."

Bishop/Stake President/You Get The Idea:  "Well, she obviously didn't really have a testimony."  


Here's how it is currently for the most part~

Bishop/Stake President/You Get The Idea:  "Get married.  Your spouse will help you overcome these temptations." 


When the world of psychology begins to overwhelmingly accept homosexuality as legitimate as heterosexuality, the church can no longer use words like 'temptations' or 'tendencies'.  And, thank god, they can no longer compare it to alcoholism!!!  Praise Jesus!  Glory Be!  

When conversion or reparative therapy becomes broadly illegal, they will have to face that they will be encouraging unions of unfulfillment.  Then they will have to take a harder look at the suicides and suicidal thoughts of the spouses of MOM's, gay and straight alike.  

Now I ask this:  In California (and other states in the future) where it's illegal for church leaders to send their young gay members to this type of therapy, will they do it anyway?  Will they break the law?  

And if not, how can a bishop promote this therapy, say, in Utah if it's not being promoted in, say, California because of its illegal nature in that state?

Can the church change its doctrine per the laws of the state?  Can the church in Utah have different doctrine than the church in California? 

No, it cannot.  That is not how the church operates.  It is a worldwide church.  Tithing is 10% everywhere you go, whether that be Mississippi or North Dakota.        

But, wait, Ashley, the ban doesn't affect adults, only those under the age of 18, and only in the state of California.  

To that I say, get ready.  Wax your surfboards. This is just the beginning.