Welcome to “I Am Me”

It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is in the journey that matters, in the end-
Ursula Le quin
logo-1People pass by you so quickly they are merely a blur in your peripheral vision. You are trying to focus on the task in front of you, but catch your thoughts wandering to the next meeting, homework assignment, what to make for dinner or perhaps, your child’s doctors’ appointment. We live in a world today that is unapologetically fast paced. It waits, pauses for no one. That was among the harsher of lessons I’ve had to learn recently. The truth is, time and life continues to tick by regardless of the situations you may find yourself in and if you cannot keep up, you get left behind… except that isn’t entirely true, is it?
I’ve spent the better part of seven years thinking that, until I stumbled upon the quote featured above. I was so focused on the milestones I thought I was missing: graduating on time with my peers, starting work after obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree or something as simple as living freely, contently in the moment. I had become my hardest critic. All this because I wasn’t timely meeting the goals I set for myself.
Wait, what am I doing?
I’ve undergone twenty-two surgeries in seven years. I’ve had three broken legs in that time, a broken heel chord, more than twelve cranial surgeries, three devastating infections that turned my body against itself and enough tears for a lifetime. Logically, I knew why I was “missing” those milestones. Yet it took this quote to hit it home, knock it so convincingly out of the park, I had no alternative but to believe it. My goals, what I was trying to accomplish indeed are important. However, I was too quickly dismissing the value in the time that it took for me to get to the finish line. The journey I find myself on is equally as important. I realize now so many of the recent lessons that have shaped me, are only as a result of the obstacles that I once perceived stood in my way! In the time since this revelation, my outlook, attitude and life has completely changed. I firmly believe that you produce the outcomes in life you believe you deserve. Positivity breeds positivity and the same for a negative mindset.
In a freer mind, a mind and heart open to positivity and possibilities, the idea of I Am Me was born. I kept seeing the time I had to take off as a punishment, a cage. Ironically, it was in those restraints that I found my freedom, my escape! Written words, feeling a pen in my hands glide across the page, these are the moments when my mind is most active, yet at its calmest. I developed my writing, nurturing it to become a coping mechanism. A way to deal with what was going on in life and because of the medical turmoil, I began to record my experiences. This worked for a while, but it wasn’t enough. In the last days in December of two thousand-twelve, as I was receiving medical treatment I consented to give an interview. I remember the interviewer very candidly, but sincerely said,
“I wish I could understand what you’re going through,” In a moment of weakness I answered,
“its okay. No one does,” She began lightly shaking her head and the words that followed planted the seeds for I Am Me.
“Ashlee, look around you. You’re in a hospital. Your medical conditions may be different, each of your experiences varied, but you are surrounded by an entire community of people that understand the emotional roller-coaster you are on,” and with that comment, the light was switched on. I Am Me was born.
I wasn’t as isolated as I allowed myself to feel. I was unknowingly already a part of a large community. A community of individuals that were not victims of circumstances, but victors. The question then became, how can I begin to bring them together? If I put myself out there, provide a forum of safe expression, community and inclusion, why couldn’t I use the blog as the magnet to attract them, our experiences and similar feelings, the glue that combines us. There was one nagging thought in the back of my mind though. Everyone has a story and everyone has crosses they bare, challenges they work through: some physical, others medical, also emotional and so many others. I could not possibly limit I Am Me to simply medical experiences, challenges faced by those trying to overcome illnesses, conditions and challenges.
Each of us has a story to be told. From those stories comes healing, a new perspective, victories that mean so much to us. I hope to learn as much from the readers as you, hopefully, will learn from me. It is my honor to have I Am Me serve as a platform for: inclusion, expression, community, hope, courage and triumph.
Thank you for joining me on the crazy, bumpy, emotional and beautiful ride. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it!