Sundaze – 2/11/2018

What to write this week…hmm…


I meant to write this post so much earlier this week. I feel like I had a million brilliant ideas for you, but somehow on this Friday morning, I have next to nothing. But what else is new? I’m sitting here on my naked bed, waiting for my laundry to be finished–it was a God-awful lot, let me tell you–so I can remake it with my sheets all nice and fresh. I have a textbook next to me, still open to the page I started on ten minutes ago because I decided I needed to blog. My planner is on the other side of me, with so many things crossed off! I write EVERYTHING down, one, so I don’t forget to do even the littlest of tasks, and two, because I feel far more accomplished when I cross things off my To Do List. And I have finally started to get in gear with my online class, ya know, after doing minimal work next to the piles of reading and writing I’ve been doing for my in-person classes.

I’ve been having a hard week–I know, shocker. I’ve cried a lot, mostly over little things. I’ve been struggling with my life as a writer over the last few weeks and after overhearing so many random people on campus talking about their future careers, I’ve been ever-so down in the sumps about my own. But I talked your ear off about that earlier. It’s just been hard.

But I do have a few wins recently that have somewhat counteracted the complete lame-ness of my life.

I ran a whole mile last weekend. And I did it again twice this week. That really doesn’t seem like a feat for any normal person, but for me it was crazy! I was at the gym with Tori and we decided to treadmill instead of elliptical. I typically turn the incline up to ten and power walk. It’s really a good workout. But Tori, who, like myself, is not a runner, wanted to see if she could run for a few minutes. Harmless, right? It’d been a really long time since I’d tried to run, so I went for it too. Somehow, by God’s will, I made it an entire mile without dying–and I could have probably gone more! But my knee started to hurt, so I chose not to. The other times I’ve been to the gym this week (almost every day!) I have picked a treadmill–mostly because it was insanely crowded and all the ellipticals were full–and I’ve run two more miles (on separate occasions).

Yesterday when I did so, my knee really was hurting, so I’m not going to be doing that again for a while. But just knowing that I could do it is a whole new world. I’m not going to start being a runner, by any means, but it just goes to show how far I’ve come. One of my resolutions this year was to be more on top of my health (as it usually is), and I’ve been doing so well with it. I’m really proud of myself and how not out of breath I am when I climb the stairs to my apartment.

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I have more or less fixed mychapter for my Senior Project Story. I was incredibly defeated by the feedback I had gotten in our workshop. I love feedback, I do, but something about this time really got to me, and it was really hard to bounce back from it. I worked really hard on the first scene, which was where all the criticism was, and worked the rest of the chapter around those revisions. I feel so much better about it! As much as I hated to change the original version so much, I knew deep down it needed to happen to make the story work better.

Revising, editing, and talking to my Writer Friends about my story has increased my morale quite a bit, and I feel so much better about myself. It’s really nice to hear that my writing is good from my friends, my mom’s friends, my family, or Matthew, but they have to say those things about it. I love it, though, I won’t say I don’t, it is just a bit more justified coming from other people who are studying and learning the dynamics of novel writing like I am. I mean, I’m still terrified I don’t know what I’m doing–in writing and otherwise–but I, at least, feel better about the one thing I’m so passionate about.

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It’s that time of the year again, folks: Girl Scout Cookie Season. As good as I am being about my health this year, there is absolutely no way on earth I would ever miss buying at least one box of both Samoas and Tagalongs every year, without fail. Hey, I still have a major sweet tooth, after all. Blame my mother and her constant baking for that one. As someone who had one of the highest sales year after year, I can’t not support this pre-entrepreneurship of the best kind.

Last year, a little girl and her mother came knocking on the door of the Super Bowl party we were at, and I dropped everything to buy two boxes. The moms are really getting with the times in a college town, and many of them are taking Venmo!! It’s a college kid’s dream. This year, I was waiting for that perfect moment to buy again–like a predator prowling for prey, actually–and that moment happened on Super Bowl Sunday this year too! My roommates and I had gone to get bottomless mimosas and brunch (I learned last time to really pace myself so I wouldn’t be napping until 6 pm) and right as we stepped out of our Uber in front of out apartment, there they were: a mom, two daughters, a wagon full of cookies, and a glittering sign (literally) that said “Venmo Me.” Needless to say we stopped them right there and stocked up. It was amazing. A miracle. A life-saver.

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I won’t continue to rattle on because I think a thousand words about cookies, writing, and running are far more than necessary for those topics. Mostly, I guess, I am just feeling a bit more optimistic. After a few weeks of dragging my feet through the mud, crying about nothing, and reading the same story over and over again in different points of view (yeah, I’m looking at you Robert Browning), I just needed a few wins. A few pluses.

Sundays are for renewal. Sundaze are for appreciating that. And while yes, I am writing this on a Friday, I am very much looking forward to that renewal. I certainly need it.

I suppose that’s all I’ll bore you with for now. Peace and blessin’s.



The Last Time

Senior year of college…it’s a pretty scary place to be. Exciting, sure. But still scary. Four years ago when I started my senior year of high school, I was beyond anxious to get through it and get out of there. I couldn’t wait to start life over in college. Now, I’m dreading June. I’ve had the time of my life in college, and moving on from this place and really putting myself out in the world is frightening.

I’m trying to think of a movie or TV show that prepared me for this moment and I’m coming up short. They all skip this part!

Maybe that’s a good thing. That way I can figure this out without any unrealistic expectations sprung on my by Zac Efron or Jennifer Lawrence, ya know?

So far, I’ve unsuccessfully crashed a class, successfully crashed two (one of which was bowling–I know, I know, but it’s fun and I need that), went through the grueling process of recruitment for the last time, and felt more like an old person because of my hips and back than ever before. But it’s been an experience.

My recruitment experiences have gone: freshman rushee, sophomore recruiter, junior traveler, and senior RC. I’m glad I got to experience it in so many different ways.


Going through recruitment as a freshman was exhausting and exciting and a bit stressful. But I had a completely open mind, having known absolutely nothing about Greek life other than what I’d seen in film and TV, and ended up in an organization that I love with incredible people. Sophomore year was even more exhausting because I had to do the whole process again while walking up hills in sky-high heels. Okay, okay, they were wedges, but it was still tough! Long days with little sleep and minimal food. And girl-flirting. SO. MUCH. GIRL-FLIRTING. But it was still a fun experience and I got to bond a lot with my pledge class. I’m so much closer to them than I thought possible. My third year, I escaped the heat and sore feet by jet-setting to London. You all know how I don’t regret that one bit. It’s been a whole year since I first stepped in that wonderful city!! And since I’ve met four people that completely changed my life. Did I miss recruitment? Not a bit. Did I miss the bonding time? Definitely. Was it worth it? You know the answer to that.

This year I decided to be a recruitment counselor, which meant I got a group of rushees and coached them through this experience. It was cool to see the other houses recruitments, since it’d been so long since I’d last seen any of them, and to get to talk to my girls about their own thoughts. I didn’t get to see them too much throughout the day, since I was stationed at a specific house, but I loved getting to chat with them at the end of the night. To check in with them and see how they were feeling about everything. So many of them had such different views about it than I did, but I so much enjoyed getting to chat with them about that. They’re all such wonderful young women and I can’t wait to see how they grow in their new homes (and out of them, for the ones who withdrew from the process).

I also got to be a part of a group of RCs–blue is our color! At first, there was awkwardness, as there typically is in a new group, but after seeing each other every day during meetings, we started to grow closer. The second day of recruitment, when we were all stationed at a certain house for almost the whole day, we really sealed the bond as friends: we made a snapchat group! They are honestly such amazing and strong women and I love them all, as well. I was so stressed out and emotional all weekend (I cried quite a bit) and they were right there to comfort me and make sure I was okay. Spending so much time together gave them a special place in my heart. It’s been two days, but I miss them so much already!


I wouldn’t take back anything that I’ve done over the last four years, recruitment or otherwise. So many people say that Greek life isn’t for them, or that they aren’t “sorority girls.” It’s completely understandable, but also, have you met me??? I’m definitely not a typical sorority girl. But I love my house.

I joined Greek life because I thought it would give me that bond of friendship, a purpose I cared about, and opportunities to make great memories. It’s given me all of those things and more. I’ve met my best friends and bridesmaids! (Okay now, I’m sounding like a srat star…)


It’s so much more than people give it credit for. After my God-awful high school experience–my life experience with depression and an eating disorder and anxiety…It’s given me such a loving and accepting environment to live my life in. I’m a stronger and more empowered person because of these people. They make me less afraid of post-college life. Ya know, when I won’t be watching The Office and eating truffle-salted popcorn with people I refer to as my Frat Rats. Or my Spookies.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll be doing that with them for the rest of my life. (Just less often…)

It might be too early to tell at this point, but senior year isn’t going so badly. Yes, I’m already a bit behind on my readings, I’m stressing out about sharing my writing with other people who want to be writers, and worrying about how my skills in poetry are still terrible. But like I said, I have bowling to diffuse that! And regular calls to Matthew to calm me down, of course. He’s so wonderful!!

This is my last hurrah at Cal Poly, a school that has changed my life forever, and I’m determined to make the absolute best of it. I just still can’t believe the person I’ve grown up into over the last few years. This ride has been insane.


The Middle

Summer days mean a sweltering sun and lazy days, and even though I work most days of the week, I would say I’ve definitely been a model for this classic image. Catch me at the beach reading a little Stephen King or on my couch drafting my way through my novels. It’s a rough life, ya know?

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In reality, I have to start at least thinking about my future. My snap answer to “What are you doing after graduation?” is “Oh, I’m moving to New York!” Yes, that’s still my dream and no, I’m not giving up on it, but now that I am starting my senior year of college in less than two months, it’s daunting. I know that is still my dream–and I will make it happen–but I have to start looking for jobs and places to live and publishers. I’ve been hanging onto my book for so long that I’m terrified to put it in anyone else’s hands. Forty more pages and it might be time to send it into the world…

What a terrifying feeling.

It’s late on Tuesday night–or should I say a Wednesday morning–and I’m on the couch with Kristin, watching That 70s Show and talking about her latest Tinder date, our family issues, and boy things. We bought some nicer-than-Barefoot pinot grigio and are distracted by boy band videos on Facebook.

It’s kind of wonderful and it’s been distracting me from the major anxiety I’ve been feeling the last few weeks.

It’s not major, hyperventilating, crying in public, unable to control any kind of emotion anxiety. It’s more like under the rug, creeps in during a slow Led Zeppelin song, driving up PCH alone kind of anxiety. With so many wonderful things happening in my life, it’s difficult to believe that I could be feeling anything but happiness right about now. But I know very well that no moment is guaranteed bliss when you’ve been fighting a demonic mental illness since you were ten years old. And lately I’ve been trudging through an uphill battle.

I had relatively low levels of anxiety when I started grade school, but it really kicked into high gear when I was in fifth grade. I didn’t know my intense nervousness was more than that yet. It began affecting my immune system and taking over when I was a freshman in high school. Still didn’t have a name or reason for it. I didn’t know what that sickening, sinking feeling was until junior year.

It’s been hard for me to let go of that terrible, fluttery feeling in my stomach. Every day that I worked at Victoria’s Secret the last year, I felt nauseous. I walk into the store and smell the slightly-comforting scent of Bombshell and prepare myself for the inevitable stress of impatient customers who passive-aggressively snap at me when something goes wrong. Something out of my control. Retail is so important, but it is also a major stress. I quit that job for the anxiety it gave me–which is no one’s fault but my own. But now I’m a glorified Uber driver. I drive a couple of high school girls to and from summer school and tennis practice. I enjoy it, I do, and it causes me so much less stress than any retail job could.

But somehow anxiety gets to me anyway.

I can’t talk to people as easily about little things that might get to me, about a kind-of-unsafe driver who switched lanes recklessly on my way home, about how I can’t see a car that may look like a cop car without convincing myself I’ve done something wrong, about how I’ll drive through an intersection and panic because I can’t remember if the light was green (even though it was). Driving has always given me so much anxiety, but I act like it’s the normal, everyday activity it is for most people.

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I am Ross every time I’m in the driver’s seat.

I’m almost twenty-two, and I have the same sinking worries that I had when I was ten: do these people I care about actually like me? Do they think I’m worthy of their friendship? Are they going to stand by me when I can’t stand myself? Despite the evidence that they will continue to be my best friends and support me through my rough days, I still can’t help but grind my teeth in fear. Fear I’m not warranted to have.

I read a Teen Vogue article about anxiety today that completely represented how this illness has ruled my life for a decade–and how it has continued to impact me since I have completely embraced recovery from Depression. The article was mostly just a compilation of quotes from people with anxiety about the things they are afraid to tell their friends. Even though I do talk to my friends about my anxiety sometimes, these quotes hit the nail on the head on everything I can’t say to them.

“I already feel like a huge burden, I don’t want to add to it. And I honestly 90 percent of the time I can’t explain why I’m anxious. So I’d rather not say anything and just get through it on my own.”

This was one that really stuck out to me. Most of the time I can’t tell you why I’m anxious or depressed because I simply don’t know. It’s just a feeling that creeps up on me. I can’t stop it. There’s nothing anyone can really do to help, either, so I just don’t mention it. Instead of reaching out for any help (because to be honest, that doesn’t do anything for me) I shut myself away from everyone for a while. I have to let myself fall into it to get out of it.

When I was in Burbank in May and my dad was driving me to the train station to come back to SLO, he brought up the ever-difficult topic of anxiety. I know my parents read my blog sometimes–so does my grandma–but it doesn’t make it any easier to talk to them about any of this. It’s my way of putting everything out on the table, but we never talk about any of it when we see each other. Except this one time.

My dad told me that he used to struggle with anxiety. I guess I wasn’t surprised, but I just didn’t think about it. I’ve always felt so distant from my parents that it just felt like they would never understand what it’s like in my dark little world. But my dad did. He said my grandmother struggled as well–I never got to meet her, but I’m so much like my dad and his family that I guess it makes perfect sense. He said that if I ever have bad anxiety to talk to him and my mom about it. It’s probably the nicest sentiment, to actually talk to the people that can help me, but it’s far easier said than done. And like I said, it’s so much easier to get through an episode on my own.

Maybe one day, Dad.


I’m trying to find a point here. Maybe it’s that I need therapy–which is something I mentioned to Kristin during our wine-induced venting session. I’ve made a lot of progress on my own, but it’s still hard. I mentioned to my boyfriend (yeah, you read that right) that I’m so much less responsive, talkative, and emotional when I text him when I wake up because sometimes I still can’t feel anything in the morning. I wake up and I feel numb to the world. It takes a little while for actual feelings (of any kind) to kick in. That’s why it takes me so long to get out of bed every day. That’s the Depression in me, but it all stems from my anxiety. Sometimes it’s still hard to be a real person, even with the people I care about the most. Every day I try to be better at it for those people and for myself.

I hate that all of this still gets to me, but at least I can feel now. At least I know that there is more than the numbness. And when I feel (or not feel) like everything is hopeless, I remember that it’s not. I’m better than that.

See? All I need to do it write it all out to find that silver lining. I’ll see you when I’m out of this little funk.

Thanks for listening.


Day Tripper – Tube Round 2 & Exploring the City

Hello, hello!

So I decided to take on the task of adventuring into the city on my own again. I had some doubts and a lot of anxiety, of course, but I had a ticket to a sightseeing bus tour and I was going to take it–no matter how much my anxiety tried to talk me out of it.

I woke up at 6:30 am (I know, I am shocked at myself, too!) and got ready. The first tour bus was leaving at 8:20 and I was going to try and make it on that one. I left my flat at about 7:30 and headed for the tube station. I had my screenshots of Google Maps, and I was ready. Calm, cool, and collected. Well, it only took me a block to realize that there are streets on Google Maps that don’t exist in the real world, so it took some mental rerouting and deep breaths to find my way. And when I saw that red sign above the entrance, I was so happy I could cry. It’s the little victories.


Before I knew it, I was out on the streets of central London! Just wandering. I came out of the tube station all turned around, so I just kind of walked until I saw signs that pointed me in the direction of Buckingham Palace, which was where I wanted to go. At this point I was too late for the first bus. I knew they run every ten minutes or so, so I was okay with strolling. The front of the Palace was deserted–not surprising once I remembered it was barely 8:30 on a Wednesday. Everyone was off to or at work.

After a few snaps of the Queen’s official London residence, I found a map in Green Park that pointed me towards the first bus stop on the tour. I was excited to be in the city and see all the sights, but this park was also pretty fantastic, so a leisurely stroll was in order. I had time.

Onto the tour! I am trying to think of things I did not see on this tour, but even just the Red Line loop that I did was a lot. From Elizabeth Tower to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge (London likes Towers, apparently) to Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. We drove down Oxford Street and Regent Street, and let me tell you, I was ready to hop off right then and shop my bank account into the dust. But I have three months to do that–I can’t get too crazy yet. And I did eat lunch at the (very first) Hard Rock Cafe, which was very cool. My musical heart was happy, but it was a little pricey (I knew that going in, though).


I didn’t hop off the bus at all or take the river tour (which were options available to me). I just wanted to sightsee. I didn’t need to go and see the attractions quite yet. Plus, I was alone, so no one could take my picture. I have about a billion photos now, but I am in zero of them. My selfie game isn’t too strong, so I couldn’t really do that either. (Insert some laughs here). But the pictures I got were great! And I drowned my Snapchat in them–with fun commentary, per the usual.


All I can say is that I love this city. It is weird to think that just a few days ago, I was feeling so frustrated with it–and myself. I was worried that I had gotten myself into something I could not handle, once again pushing myself too far. I thought I had failed, but I just figured out what not to do when googling directions. I have to trust my instincts and stay calm.

The city was amazing, and I cannot wait to go back. It’s so close that I can go anytime. But I think for the next few days I am going to take advantage of my own little neighborhood and explore some more. I live a hop, skip, and a jump away from a cute little park (with a mini zoo–not kidding). And like I said in my last post: everything is brick and I love it. Love.

I still don’t really feel like any of this is real. I’m in London? I adventured in the city by myself and my anxiety didn’t swallow me? I ate lunch at a restaurant by myself? I took the tube confidently? I feel like I might be living someone else’s life. I would not trade it for anything, though. What my first day here taught me is that I have a lot to learn and have a lot of growing to do, and this city is going to be very good for me. This day being the polar opposite of the one just a few days ago means that there is a lot of work to be done. Not all my days are going to be like this one, and I am not expecting them to be. Tomorrow I plan on staying in bed late and then going for another walk in the park. That will be just fine with me.


I just still can’t believe I did all that, rode home and walked over to High Street to buy outlet converters (since mine broke–THREE DAYS it lasted) and an extra blanket, and still got home to my flat before 8 am California time. Crazy.

Treating myself to some Netflix and Stephen King now. Thanks for keeping up with me!

xoxo, Ash

London Town – Saying goodbye to America and hello to England!

So this is it…I am leaving the country tomorrow for three months. I am going to be living in not only a new city or state or even country. No, I am moving to a completely new continent. Almost a new hemisphere! Crazy is an understatement.

So is panic. I am still in the process of packing, for crying out loud. I know, I know. I am such a procrastinator, but this is one of those moments in my life where I won’t be sure it’s real until after it happens. And even then, I might still be in denial. This is exactly the kind of thing I always wanted to do but I never thought I ever could (thanks, depression).

But lo and behold, here we are!

Over the next three months I will still be blogging about my life and my struggles and posting little exerpts of my writing, per the usual, but I will also be documenting my adventures abroad: traveling, eating, drinking, the works. I know I have been posting very sporadically lately (I’ve been busy and quite frankly, uninspired), but this is my chance to step my game back up. I can give y’all updates that are more than: “So today I went for a hike, and it was beautiful! Then I went to work. And I ended the night with 5+ episodes of One Treet Hill.”

Be prepared for an absolute overload of pictures, cute boy sightings, and tales of an American girl adapting to a new world (or if you want to get technical, the Old World. The Mother Land, if you will). I hope those cute boy sightings include at least one member of One Direction. Please, God, just one!

I cannot wait to share my adventures with all of you, as I share just about everything else! Hopefully I will get a great chunk of writing done, both for Book 2 and the blog–I’ve got a new blog series in mind coming your way in the future). And I figured it was time for a little change in theme, as well, to go with my change of living situation. Stayed tuned for it all!

Things I still need to do:

  • finish packing–this should be done, but I clearly am a failure at having my life together
  • get my car washed–seems unnecessary, but it must be done
  • get a decent good night’s sleep
  • say goodbye to Gracie–this is definitely one of the most important ones
  • change my phone plan
  • print an abundance of paperwork
  • finish the bottle of wine JoDee left for me–at least, it’s not the Malibu
  • get In-n-Out–for obvious reasons

Things I am going to do in London (but not limited to):

  • High tea at the Ritz
  • Big Red Bus Tour–because I need to be a tourist before I can be a local
  • Tate Modern Museum
  • Princess Diana Memorial
  • Shop on Oxford Street–trying to underpack so I can shop till I drop, basically
  • St. Paul’s Catherdral
  • Millennium Bridge
  • Ben Ben (Elizabeth Tower) and the House of Parliament
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Buckingham Palace
  • King’s Cross Station–Harry Potter is love, Harry Potter is life
  • Monument of the the Great Fire of London–for you, ENGL 205
  • Abbey Road–also for obvious reasons

I went through so many ups and downs to get here, and now that it is all finally happening, I can’t believe it! I am ready to take the leap across the pond and see what the rest of the world has to offer. My little corner of the internet is getting a whole lot more exciting.

See you guys in England!

XOXO, Ash ❤