Posted in ASHLEY IN WONDERLAND, FUNERAL SERVICE, MENTAL HEALTH, SCHOOL

SCHOOL DAYS, SCHOOL DAYS

Today is my first day back to school in a year! After graduating and passing the national boards for mortuary science, I suffered some health setbacks and have had to come up with a back up plan for the time being. Bummer, I know. While I mourn my former career, I’m very excited about my future, and about the opportunities it may grant me.

I’ve chosen to return to school to study diagnostic medical sonography – so, doin’ sonograms, basically. Did I decide on this career while watching 16 & Pregnant? Well, that’s between me and Jesus. Regardless, I’m excited to say that because of my medical background with mortuary science, I have roughly 60% of the program completed already. I will be studying at Greenville Tech, and this feels like a good and safe choice for my health, both mental and physical, and my future – financially and job stability wise. And honestly, any job where I can wear scrubs full time is A-OK with me.

I’m ready to stop focusing on the setbacks in life and embrace other possibilities of my future. You know what they say about getting off the pot, right? Time to see for myself.

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Posted in ASHLEY IN WONDERLAND, FUNERAL SERVICE, MENTAL HEALTH, SCHOOL, writing

MILLENIAL DISENCHANTMENT

I didn’t necessarily mean to wait nearly six months to update this ole thing, but time slipped up on me – and I guess emotionally I wasn’t really in the mood to share all that much. Since graduating last August, life has been a slippery slope of highs and lows, and I feel like I’ve been running as fast as my legs would carry me the whole time. One might call this avoidance … and one would probably technically be right.

Continue reading “MILLENIAL DISENCHANTMENT”

Posted in ASHLEY IN WONDERLAND, FUNERAL SERVICE, MENTAL HEALTH, PHOTOGRAPHY, SCHOOL, writing

Summertime Sadness

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Well, it is unofficially and undeniably already here – my very own case of summertime sadness (thanks, Lana, for giving such a clever name to that listless and unfulfilled feeling that haunts me from late May until early September).

I’ve got a lot going on these days. I’m working full-time as apprentice funeral director/embalmer, I’m going to school full-time (which involves traveling an hour and a half away twice a week to Piedmont Tech for biology classes after work – meaning I don’t get home until nearly 11 PM at night) – this plus the rest of the coursework for other classes and trying to maintain sanity as I learn an entirely new career that isn’t quite so simple (I mean, embalming a human body is a little more complicated than working as a cashier at Target, and I can say that with confidence, as I have done both) – my point being, I don’t feel good. I’m stressed, and stress is hard for me, because I take it to a bad place. I take it to a place of blame and self doubt and it is truly the sickest and cruelest thing I could ever do to myself. I feel sad a lot lately. I feel overwhelmed and stretched thin and all of the things that I love seem to go abandoned – like blogging, reading, crafting, etc. I know – at least I hope and pray – that all of this will be worth it in the end, when I have that degree and my apprenticeship is complete, but it is hard to give away your time when you feel like you have none to give, I guess. Especially now, during my personal hardest time of the year.

I’ve always been prone to summertime sadness – while everyone else is orgasming at the first mention of summer rolling in, I withdraw, isolate myself, go away inside – I’m mean, snappy, frustrated easily, angry – I don’t know why this is. I just know that I have never felt joy in this time. It has always felt like something to be suffered (probably because I have the good common sense to be revolted by 95 degree heat). And mentally, as far as my levels and mania and ups & downs go – this is where I always find myself at my worst and most desperate. So to have an already heaping amount of external stress dumped on top of a place where I’m already trying to hold a hand over an open wound in myself feels like a mountain I’m too tired to climb again this year. Already, my teeth are gritted, shoulders hunched, “can’t can’t can’t can’t” a steady mantra on repeat in my mind.

I thought that taking a mini vacation to Disney World before this semester began would be a really good thing for me, and in some ways it was (pics to come later) – I flew again for the first time in years and got over that major fear (HALLELUJAH), and that felt AMAZING – plus I had a great time with my best friends at one of my favorite places in the universe, so you really can’t complain about that. Sadly, some “triflin’ shit” got in the way of pure & total rest & bliss, and it put quite a bit of a damper on my relaxation, but that was also a learning opportunity, too, which I’m grateful for – I’m quite used to trying to constantly be everything for everyone, and I worry to the moon and back about everyone’s happiness but my own. Fortunately, the aforementioned “triflin’ shit” helped me to put my foot down and realize that sometimes I deserve to be happy, too. And I think that was a big step for me – and having that notion cinched in my mind is something I’m going to carry with me into the summertime sadness – I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY, TOO. There. I said it. It’s on the internet, so it must be true.

I think something important for me, at least during my bouts of summertime sadness, is to be mindful of my triggers, so I can at least step around the landmines as best I can vs losing my damn leg to one. But how to get past the depression? That, I have no clue. This is how I always end up around the beginning of September plotting my suicide and being irrational and out of control to the point that none of us – my family, my friends, myself – know how to handle me- I get so down that I can’t see up, only straight ahead.

I guess I just wanted to chat with myself on my blog and rationalize what I’m feeling. The first step to getting over or past any hurdle is to accept it, and I accept it – I’ve got the damn summertime sadness. It’s a real thing, it’s valid, and I’ve got to somehow gird my loins and try to make it through. And mostly I think I just needed a good whine, and writing always makes me feel better. I get so damn hung up about writing and trying to make it perfect, but none of it will ever be perfect – and I guess I’d rather post lots and lots of sullen or meaningless crap than look back and wish I had taken the time and wonder what I was thinking way back when.

Feel free to leave your favorite summer suggestions in the comments – just remember, I hate the outdoors, all people, places that aren’t air conditioned, and basically everything. Just kidding – I’d love to know your tips and tricks for summer fun – or, even more importantly, what helps you get through your own version of “summertime sadness”.

Till next time xx

Posted in FUNERAL SERVICE, SCHOOL, writing

GLORY DAYS

Below is the first submission I made to my first class when I returned to school in February of 2014 to become a funeral director. We were asked to introduce ourselves, and I remember how exciting that felt – I was saying it out loud (well, typing it, really) for the first time: I’m here to become a funeral director. I’M GOING TO BE A FUNERAL DIRECTOR!

Now that I AM a funeral director & am back in school once again, this time pursuing my associate’s degree in mortuary science, I had to laugh at how Miss America I was about it all in the beginning – because this time around, I’m pretty I’VE F’ING HAD IT, bloodshot eyes & constant thoughts of murder about it all.

Long story short – I guess it is kind of adorable to look back and see how sweet and excited I was about it all in the beginning. This first semester back has been so damn difficult and draining, I won’t lie – I’ve had a few moments where I’ve been up to my eyeballs in never-ending work & have thought “weeeeeeellll do I REAAAAALLLY need to embalm, too?” (the answer is yes) – so I kinda needed to get back to that vibe – because at the rate I’m losing sanity this time around, I’m thisclose to abandoning my career and going to sell pretzels at Disney World for the rest of my life. Anyway, read on!

“For the past eight years, I have been working as a Cosmetologist, with a focus primarily on makeup application and hair cutting. My time at Piedmont Technical College will be spent earning my Certificate in Funeral Services.  For some, the jump from Cosmetologist to Funeral Director seems like a huge leap, but many of the same qualities necessary for a successful Cosmetologist can be translated into a future career in Funeral Services. While the idea of re-entering education as an adult did seem intimidating at first, I am looking forward to the challenge. I am excited to experience the next chapter in my life as a student.

Aside from my professional aspirations, I am a native of Greenville, South Carolina. I love to travel and see as much of the world as I can. I am always up for a spontaneous road trip spent in the company of good friends. I also like to go to as many concerts as I can, because music is very important to me, and is a huge part of how my friends and I bond. When I am at home, I enjoy spending my downtime time reading a good book, knitting, catching up on TV shows, or spending time with my family.”

Cute, right? I know, I know.

Back to the books.