Writer. Editor. Host. AshleyCFord.Com

Five Things

We can’t always help what speaks to our hearts

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Taken by me at Midland Antiques in Indianapolis, IN

Five Things is a weekly essay of five short thoughts inspired by my own life and observances now that I’ve moved back home to Indiana after years of living in New York.

One.

When I have nightmares, I sweat in my sleep. There are few things I dislike more than waking up to find my t-shirt or the bed sheet stuck to some exposed, damp portion of my skin, but it happens. It used to happen all the time, but now, not so much. The sweating makes the nightmare worse, like I have to wear the bad dream on my body long after the images have faded from the front of mind. …


Five Things

Why did I want a birthday cake I didn’t want to have to eat?

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Photo Taken by Me on Whidbey Island

Five Things is a weekly essay of five short thoughts inspired by my own life and observances now that I’ve moved back home to Indiana after years of living in New York.

One.

Desperate for a sanity-maintaining joyous task, I started looking for my birthday cake this week. The actual day won’t come for a few weeks yet, but I thought it couldn’t hurt, especially if I decided I wanted to order something special. I didn’t end up ordering anything. Half an hour into the search I remembered I don’t actually like cake. We didn’t have cake at our wedding. We served cookies and milk, among other things, and because it felt perfect to me, I never asked if anyone cared for or about the difference. I’d never liked cake. But I was doing that thing I do when I don’t know what to do. …


Five Things

I only want to be where I’m wanted

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Photo taken by me from my hotel in Miami

Five Things is a weekly essay of five short thoughts inspired by my own life and observances now that I’ve moved back home to Indiana after years of living in New York.

One.

Naming what I want, and actually following through, feels like I’ve gotten away with something. It’s fascinating how attempts at centering myself feel like stealing. I’m still getting used to getting my way sometimes, for asking for what I want and unburdening myself from what I don’t. I have all of this creative freedom right now. …


Five Things

There are all kinds of conflicts, and they’re not all mine to solve. Who knew?!

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Five of Wands, Photo by Me

Five Things is a weekly essay of five short thoughts inspired by my own life and observances now that I’ve moved back home to Indiana after years of living in New York.

One.

I’m a hard sleeper, but that hasn’t always been true. For most of my childhood, I struggled to sleep. For various reasons, I either laid awake in the dark, or woke intermittently through the night. I had to search for and practice experiencing the kind of rest that actually restores you, instead of the kind born from psychic exhaustion. The kind that forces your eyes closed after a fight. I suspect a lot of people must learn to do the same over the course of their lives, if the lesson didn’t come to them by way of direct guidance or structure. There are so many things we don’t know we have to learn. So many ways we assume we ought to be without ever having the chance to try and fail and try again. Those lessons come down on you like a hammer, if you never get gentle correction. Sometimes, you’re the one holding the hammer. …


Five Things

History is public, but the past is personal

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Drew Barrymore on the cover of the August 1998 issue of ‘Seventeen’ magazine in costume from the cinematic classic ‘Ever After.’

Five Things is a weekly essay of five short thoughts inspired by my own life and observances now that I’ve moved back home to Indiana after years of living in New York.

One.

Nothing about money was consistent when I was a child. So when my grandmother gave us an allowance for two or three months, I took my purchasing power seriously. Grandma was living with my mother for a bit, as she did from time to time, and every Friday, just after depositing her check, she would give me a $10 bill or two fives, then do the same for my brother and sister. …


Five Things

…belonging is another one.

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Photo by me, taken in Austin, TX (2019)

Five Things is a weekly essay of five short thoughts inspired by my own life and observances now that I’ve moved back home to Indiana after years of living in New York.

One.

Earlier today I tweeted that every version of me I’ve been so far would be proud of who I am now. This occurred to me yesterday, after Kel left for a hunting trip, and I found myself pattering around the house, doing small chores, and letting my mind run wild in the silence. …


Five Things

Who knows what I’ll do next?

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The last photo I took in Manhattan pre-quarantine

Five Things is a weekly essay of five short thoughts inspired by my own life and observances. Here are five things I’ve considered since Joe Biden was elected President of the United States of America.

One.

Buying a house.

Two.

Having a baby.

Three.

Running naked through the forest. (Except for airpods playing Kate Bush and a napsack full of candles and cut fruit)

Four.

Going back to school.

Five.

Writing a poem about babies, houses, forests, fruit, Kate Bush, and the woman with the smallest yard I’ve ever seen, tending to her grass, smiling at her neighbors, and talking to the dogs in the next lawn over. When she saw me, she gave me a thumbs up and mouthed, “We won!” That’s how I found out. That’s where I was standing when I felt a small, and mighty wave of relief. …


Five Things

Who knew you could miss the smell of a rogue skunk?

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Five Things is a weekly essay of five short thoughts inspired by my own life and observances now that I’m preparing to move back home to Indiana after years of living in New York.

One.

I’ve spent the last month preparing for the move from Brooklyn to Indianapolis, but didn’t stop thinking we wouldn’t make it there until the second we pulled into my in-law’s driveway. As I’ve mentioned before, this move is something I’ve wanted for a long time. Nothing against Brooklyn. I just know where I belong, and I couldn’t lie to myself about that anymore. That’s not fair. I was never lying to myself about where I wanted to be, I just wasn’t living like I wanted to be on my own side. Now, I am. On the way here, just before it got dark on the east end of Ohio, Kelly asked me why I was smiling, and I didn’t know I had been. …


Five Things

Death makes up most of what I think about these days

Moody photo of the ocean on the left & apartment buildings on the right, separated by a strip of sandy beach at Coney Island.
Moody photo of the ocean on the left & apartment buildings on the right, separated by a strip of sandy beach at Coney Island.
Taken by me at Coney Island on Christmas Day 2015

Five Things is a weekly essay of five short thoughts inspired by my own life and observances.

One.

It took me so long to write this first post because I don’t want to talk or write about death, but death makes up most of what I think about these days. I’m not quite arrogant enough to believe I’m alone in that during a global pandemic/climate emergency/racial uprising, but that shit don’t make me feel better. When I was a kid, I comforted myself by making up last minute survival scenarios in imagined, sudden, life-threatening situations. The school bus crossed a bridge on our route, and each time we reached it, I thought about what I would do if one of the guardrails gave out, or the driver miscalculated a turn. I had no fear of bridges or crossing them, but I was taught to look for danger, which was always coming, and to be ready to do battle when it showed up. I don’t remember a time before I knew death, for all of us, was only a matter of days and years gone by. It’s the oldest truest thing about humans. …


What even is this?

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Photo by Heather Sten

Years ago I maintained a mostly weekly blog on Tumblr called 5 Things. Every Sunday I published a post with five short thoughts or essays inspired by own life and public observances. It was fun for me, and I miss writing that way even though my life has changed considerably since my last post on that old blog in 2016. Since then, I’ve sold and will soon publish my first book, a memoir, and written seven cover stories for magazines. I’ve been a podcast and television host, and even did some underwear modeling which was probably a one-time thing, but I’ll be talking about for the rest of my life. As I prepare to leave Brooklyn, the apartment I’ve lived in longest since leaving my mother’s home, and share a story (a whole book!) from my real life with the world, I need a space to write about who I’m becoming and what I see along the way. …

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