Once upon a time there were two girls. They were named Ashford and Lauren and although they were cut from the same cloth they were very very different.
You see Ashford is ready for the world in all it’s glory. And Lauren is timid and afraid that she might be hurt.
Ashford is secure in her faith knowing that God always has a plan regardless of her agenda. Lauren sometimes wonders if there really even is a God and if there is does He really even see her?
Ashford is funny and dynamic and magnetizing. Lauren wishes she could disappear sometimes and worries what other people think of her at every move.
Ashford has dealt with her husband’s diagnosis of cancer with tenacity and has beaten this disease with her mind and her intellect. Lauren stays in bed all day wracked with fears and sobs and impending doom.
Ashford has taken her tendency toward depression and stood up and loudly demanded that someone help her. Lauren has remained buried by years of not undiagnosed but untreated illness, she questions her every move and timidly cries out in silence.
Ashford always sees the bright side of things, the humor. She can make a joke out of anything. And Lauren sometimes wants to crawl inside herself and never see the light of day again.
Ashford is a good mom who owns her imperfections proudly as a badge. Lauren holds on to her shortcomings and uses them against herself time and time again.
Ashford confidently enters any room and becomes the life of the party. Lauren goes home alone and wonders if they really truly liked her or if they were just being nice.
Ashford laughs at her children’s imperfections chalking them up to “boys will be boys” and “what’s a girl to do?” Lauren lies in bed mulling over her parenting style and what she could do better.
Ashford openly and courageously owns her shortcomings as a wife, a parent, a human. Lauren twists and turns over every situation trying to understand what she could have done better and what she could change next time.
Ashford drinks wine because she enjoys the taste and the camaraderie. Lauren drinks wine because she doesn’t know how to act without it.
Ashford lies in bed and falls asleep from sheer exhaustion of the days adventures. Lauren downs a handfull of pills with a prayer that it will be enough to save her from the insomnia that wracks her brain every night.
Ashford is everything that Lauren wants to be. And Lauren is everything Ashford tries to hide.
You see these girls are both one in the same. They are both me. I write by my middle name which is Ashford (my birth name is Lauren). She is everything I want to be but she is also everything that I am.
There is another me hiding inside, hiding behind this screen. I can feel the schism of my psyche. I want so much to be this confident, well-adjusted person that I have inside me. But the reality is that there is another side of me who isn’t confident. Who isn’t well-adjusted. Who is still a terrified traumatized 7th grader who just wants to be accepted. Sometimes I feel more Ashford than Lauren and sometimes it’s just the opposite. My hope is to meld these two into more of one cohesive being. Where I don’t have to be one or the other. I can just be me.
There are lessons to be learned from each of me. The trick is to bring it all together.