Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Who is Ashley?
Ever since I was 16 years old I have been Ashley/Bryan. During the years where most people form their identities and find out who they are, I was building a life with Bryan. Instead of becoming an individual, I became a couple.
Bryan was my first boyfriend. He was my first love. He was the first person that I lived on my own with. He was there the day my sister was born. He was there when my sister needed open heart surgery. He was there during finals week when I was 200 miles away from my parents and had to go in for surgery. He was always there... he was my everything.
I never really knew how much my life was based around Bryan until he passed away. Sure, I knew that I liked the same music as him... watched the same TV shows as him... and enjoyed the same food as him, but I never knew that my opinions and routines were all based off of the decisions that we made together as a couple.
I did not realize that I had became obsessed with cleaning the house because Bryan was allergic to dust. That I enjoyed fishing and watching the hunting channel because Bryan loved being outdoors. That I had become used to calling him every time I got in the car and planning out our dinner/night. Everything that I did and everything that I wanted to do was because Bryan and I had done them together.
He was my day... he was my plan... he was my life.
How was I supposed to go about my routine and daily activities without him? I wasn't.
After Bryan passed away... I felt lost. I did not know how to function or how to be me. I always thought that Bryan was perfection and that I was so lucky that he had picked me. I knew that I had struck gold with him. When I think back to our relationship I now know that Bryan made me feel like "someone" because he picked me. I knew that if I was able to win over such an amazing guy... I must have been worth it... I must have been special. When I lost Bryan, not only did I loose my identity but I lost my feeling of self worth. I went from cloud nine to feeling like a muddy slug that no one wanted to touch or see. I went from feeling special to feeling worthless.
When Bryan passed away, instead of becoming "Ashley" I became Ashley/Owen. I did not have a transitioning phase where I learned how to become an individual. Instead I jumped right into forming my identity with someone else. I never worked on figuring out what I liked or what I wanted to do with my life. Instead, I worked on doing things that made Owen happy. I was not able to take time and figure out who I was as a person without Bryan. I reverted right back to being semi-dependent on someone else. I never found me... I found Owen's mom.
Ashley was not an individual and had not been since she was 16 years old. Who is she? What is she like? When would she find herself? Would I like her?
When I take myself out of the situation and look at it from the outside in... I like to think that Ashley is a strong person (although I know I am not). I would like to think that she is a great mother and was a great wife. That she loves to write and take pictures and listen to music while she cleans. That she loves to help people and make people laugh. That she loves life...
But, on days like today, when I can't seem to figure out who I am or what I am here for... When I feel like I am not worthy...
I think back to those wonderful days in Sioux Falls. When I would wake up and roll over to Bryan's beautiful blue eyes staring into my soul. When he would tell me that he was madly in love with me and that he was so happy to be my husband.
When I go back to those days I feel worthy... I feel special... I feel wanted.