Happily Ever Ashley
Cultivating a life of joy
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A little bit Ashley
A year ago, I was rear ended on the freeway and Fiona the Ford Focus was totaled so I got Trixie the Tucson and I loved her. She was a great car but she got totaled on March 3rd (along with my eye). So now I’m on the hunt for a new car. My criteria is as follows: * must have backup camera because when you can’t see out of your right eye it’s really hard to go in reverse. Seriously, try it! It’s a pain in the ass. *preferred blind spot alert system. Again I’m trying to do what I can to help the whole half blind thing. * So much safety that it feels like I’m riding in a ball of bubble wrap. * A small SUV style vehicle with good trunk space because I haul around a lot of stuff. *in short, a super safe small SUV that caters to people with only one eye. Leave your suggestions in the comments!
Last year, I decided to do something I have always wanted to do. Something that until then, I was afraid would make me stand out too much or make me seem unprofessional. But it was time and I was ready to be different so @cosmoallis helped me get purple hair. 💜I was in love. It felt like I was always suppose to have purple hair. It felt like me. The majority of my purple is actually hair extensions, so after my accident one of the first things I did was have my extensions taken out. I needed things to be as easy as possible and at the time I wasn’t allowed to shower so Justin was helping me wash my hair. I didn’t want to complicate things for him or for myself. But now, as I work towards figuring out my new normal, I find myself missing my purple hair- a lot. It’s funny that I got it because I was no longer afraid of being different. In a lot of ways maybe it was helping prepare me for how different I would feel after my accident? Either way, I’m not afraid of looking different. One eyed, purple haired but still the same me. Photo by @katrinawallacephotographers
Today I told Justin that one day when we get married we have to switch sides. Instead of standing at the alter on the traditional bride and groom sides I want to make sure my good eye is the one that get captured in our photos and video. Not for the vanity reasons, but because I want to make sure the joy in my eyes is captured. The joy I watch in all my brides eyes. I don’t want that to be missed because of traditions. It’s little things like this that I’ve been thinking about the last couple days. All the little ways my life will be different. Honestly, there are a lot of little things that will be different moving forward. And as long as I look at each little thing on its own, it doesn’t feel so overwhelming or scary. Photo by @aprilmaura (circa 2016)
I still believe in body confidence, only now it’s taken on a little different meaning. Suddenly the size of my ass doesn’t matter at all to me. The size of my body is completely insignificant compared to its ability to heal from trauma. My face is never again going to look like it does in this photo, but I think I’m okay with that. My face will be different but the person underneath the skin is still the same. I don’t feel like this experience has changed me- it’s only amplified within me the qualities I already possess. So while I think body confidence is important, I think the most important thing is to know that your body is just a capsule that houses all the very best parts of you.
I can’t think of anything more personal than losing a piece of yourself- no matter what piece it is. I don’t think anyone has any kind of preparation to deal with that kind of loss. For me the stages of grief are all over the place. I feel like I just bounce around from one stage to another and I haven’t completed any one stage yet. I’ve tried to be as honest as I can with everyone, including myself. Right away I considered if there was any benefit to negativity. Negativity would draw out the pain for longer. It pushes people away and ultimately just makes a hard situation even harder. So even though I have some very negative moments, I try not to sit in them for very long. I try to remember that I still have a good eye and I can still see. I still have my life and a chance to use this experience to impact the world in some way. That feels a lot better than feeling sorry for myself. I have a lot of fear that I’m working through. Fear of how this will effect my life once the world gets back to normal. Fear of driving again. Fear of the unknown. Fear of how my face is going to change. Fear of failure (but let’s be honest I’ve always been afraid of that). Being honest and open about it all has helped it all feel less dark and scary and more manageable. By being open about this experience, I’ve allowed my community to support me. And holy crap I have been humbled by that support. 💜
Physical update: On Monday I met with a series of doctors to figure out if we should keep my eye. The verdict was that I would never regain vision and it would never hold shape and pressure. These issues had the potential of causing trouble for my other eye in the long run. So for the health of my good eye, we decided to remove my right eye. I needed surgery on my tear duct anyway so they could do both at the same time. The surgery was scheduled for 6 AM the following morning. For the second time in my life and in a week I would be going under general anesthesia and having surgery. Everything went well and I am recovering nicely. ⠀They put a ball in for my muscles to attach to and next we’ll be talking about a prosthetic to attach to it. ⠀Science is cool! Emotional Update: Everyone has commented on how positive I have been through this and while it’s true that I am doing everything I can to focus on the good, It hasn’t been all positivity and grace. I have gotten snippy with Justin out of frustration. I have been a total bitch to the tow yard receptionist. I have cried so hard I was worried I would bust my stitches- multiple times. I have felt completely terrified, lost, worthless, sad and weak. I am mourning the loss my eye and the loss of ease and normalcy my life used to have. But at the end of the day, I’ve never been good at being a victim. I can’t stay in sadness for very long because I have trained myself to see too much good in the world. I have trained myself to problem solve and to take a breathe and refocus. Every day, sometimes every few minutes, I take a breathe and refocus. I focus on what I CAN control. I focus on what I CAN do. I focus on what my future CAN look like moving forward. My right eye didn’t make me who I am. It didn’t make me a better or smarter business woman. It didn’t make me more creative or more kind. It didn’t give me passion or drive or confidence. All of those things, all of who I am, came from within me and all of those things still live in me. I still have the same vision (pun intended) of what I want for my life and if nothing else, even more drive to get there. Photo by @staceypoterson