The Story of Home is Just Another Story
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.
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. Rather than my usual joy-stealing habit of constantly reciting a list of to-dos to myself, for the first time in a long time, my thoughts allowed me to internally gloat about what I’d already done.
My accomplishments are difficult for me to remember to share and celebrate. Despite being Very Online, I am always worried that when I take the time to say a kind thing about myself or something I’ve done, some old crone with a long finger is going to jump out of the shadows, pointing, and mocking me, “Look at her, Please! Everybody! All Eyes on Ashley C. Ford! She obviously needs you to look at her do another stupid thing.”
I hate that mystical mocking crone, but I know why she speaks to me that way. I know why she thinks she’s helping, and so I try not to be mean. I tell her it’s okay, and it’s safe for me to feel pride. No one I love is going to make fun of me, or attempt to protect me by not allowing me to think too highly of myself. No one is going to try to take this from me, and even if they did, no one could.
I’m about seven weeks out from my 34th birthday. I don’t know how to feel about that upcoming age other than curious about what the next year will bring. The pandemic is stifling, the election coverage has been excruciating, and there is always a chance things can get worse, but I try not to use that as an excuse to assume they will.
This past year, with all the pain and chaos that came with it, I hosted two podcasts, narrated an audio play, wrote two cover stories for magazines, re-started my blog, (mostly) finished my book, and invested in the long-term care of my mental and emotional health. I was a great partner, a good friend, and took nearly every chance I got…