My best friend is a wife and a mother of three beautiful children. She lives in a giant, beautiful, old home in the historic district of Oak Park. They have a full-time nanny, a backyard, and loads of friends who also have nannies and backyards.
I love her children as if they were my niece and nephews. We play trains together, put together puzzles, and read books. We discuss their school days and I show them on the map where I’m traveling next.
While being auntie is great and I enjoy being able to “give them back” when they’re crying, snotting, or have a dirty nappy, I want more than just being AA (their nickname for Aunt Ashley). I, too, want to be a wife, mother, and owner of a home with a backyard. And while I love being an auntie who can do whatever I want when I want, including multiple vacations a year, date nights by myself to the movies, and trying out new dance classes that start at obscenely late hours (8:30?!), I fear this isn’t going to be enough for the rest of my life.
Continue reading New Dating App: I’M READY (like, yesterday)
I liken dating to a stairway in the dark.
When you meet someone new, you walk into a dark, unknown space. You don’t know what to expect. You don’t know what’s inside. Eventually, you find stairs and you start to climb. The higher you climb, the more the excitement builds.
Sometimes the stairs end after one single step – a few words exchanged on a dating app – and you tumble over. It isn’t far, so it’s not a giant crash. You aren’t bruised at all.
Sometimes the stairs end after one story – a first date followed quickly by a ghosting – and you topple off the top of the steps. It hurts a bit, but you’ve been there before. Brush yourself off, walk out the door, ready for the next guy.
Sometimes the stairs are three stories high – a month or two of dating and then poof! When the relationship ends, the stairs end. You can never see where they’ll stop, but you can feel the fall. And this time it hurts. A lot.
Continue reading Dating: A Stairway in the Dark
The literal female human heart weighs only 8 ounces, a mere .3% of the average female’s body weight. The figurative heart, though, makes up a much larger percentage of a female.
When I think about my life and the things I love most, my figurative heart is nearly full of contentment, happiness, and pride. I’d say my happiness level is at a steady 90%. With work, hobbies, volunteering, teaching yoga, and seeing family + friends, my general daily life is pretty darn great. And while I’d love to focus on these positives – hell, 90% is fantastic – I regularly lament that 10%.
Until only recently did I think that void could be filled solely with a loving partner and a family. Actually, it wasn’t until I started to formulate my ideas for this blog post that I fully realized I’ve previously filled that 10% and even brimmed over it on many, many occasions. Sometimes these moments are fleeting, including my “I love Hong Kong moments” and my “I love Chicago moments“, and sometimes they’re longer: when I’ve been in love and when I’m traveling. Also, now that I’m back from Hong Kong, whenever I see my friends from there, watch videos, or read articles about it, I am teeming with an overflowing love and gratitude for my years there.
Continue reading Filling the Void in my Heart
Last weekend, I went on the perfect second date. It was astronomy night at Northerly Island, complete with night walks, telescopes, and nocturnal animals. He packed a picnic with all homemade items and cans of red wine. He picked me up. We laughed a lot. On a walk to watch the Navy Pier fireworks, the sky opened up and poured on us. We laughed more. Soaking wet, he told me I was still beautiful and then he kissed me for the first time. It was perfect.
When he dropped me off at home, I took a full 10 minutes to celebrate in my head. This boy is a catch – smart, funny, attentive, has a good job, etc. etc. Then the doubting girl brain kicked in: “Hey, girl, wtf?! Don’t you go getting excited right now. He’s a boy. It won’t work. They never work out.”
“But,” I reasoned with myself, “we had SO much fun! He’s different. I feel different. He acts like he likes me.”
Girl brain: “STOP IT!”
Continue reading Pump the Brakes
All of our lives, we girls have been told that big, strapping men are the best. That we will and should fall in love with a man who’s taller than us, stronger than us, heavier than us. So when we girls meet guys who don’t fit that criteria, we aren’t interested. We expect a guy to be able to throw us over his shoulder, carry us over the threshold on our wedding night, and not have to use a step stool to get something off the top shelf.
Biology has a say in this too: we want big strong men because they can protect us. Big strong men can also produce big, strong, healthy babies.
Concurrently, it’s portrayed that our mate will be our same ethnicity and that he’ll speak our same accent-less language. To add to that, I grew up in a small town thats population is probably 95% white and accent-less. Same goes for my college and the town I lived in after college.
Continue reading Dream Package
Eight years ago, I had a birthmark removed. I still have a dark, bumpy scar where the incision was made. My knees and feet are pocked with marks from topples I’ve taken over the years. I have a prominent scar on my brow from when I was a preschooler with chickenpox. My body is physical proof of a life lived: the tumbles, the mishaps, and the decisions I’ve made.
My now-ex, Harry (yes, the “nice guy” and I broke up since he wasn’t as nice as I thought he was originally), told me as we were breaking up that he felt I held my past against him, that I came into the relationship with a grudge against every guy I’ve dated, but that I was taking all of my grudges out on him. He said that I didn’t start him with a blank slate, instead it was as if he came in holding my baggage. Continue reading Can you See my Scars?