Monsters are real

Monsters are real, and they live in the darkness and the trials of our life. They are in the pain and the sadness of not being able to get pregnant; they are in the gut wrench of a rocky marriage, they are in the lies and betrayal of your best friend and husband. They are the gossip you can’t escape and the rejection that no one wants to tell your alk to you about.

I know my name has been in your mouth and I know what you must be thinking, I’ve thought the same things before. Why would she stay? She must not know. But guess what? You don’t know what we have been through and you know what else? You think you know what you would do in a situation until those cards have been dealt to you.

You think you know, but you have no idea.

Ya know what’s also real about monsters is that they aren’t really real. They only exist if we give them power. And I’m taking back my power.

It’s ok to sit in the darkness; actually it’s a part of life. I’ve been there for quite awhile, and I know it pretty well. There will always be darkness, and we will always have to sit there, it’s part of the healing process. But the best part about the darkness is the light and joy that proceeds. It’s crutial that we find that light.

For some people the light means leaving, sometimes that’s the better choice for all parties. But for me, that hasn’t felt right. I chose a harder choice… staying. Staying takes extreme courage and vulnerability. It also takes work, a lot of work that has to come from both partners. I have watched Paul throughout this process and if you know him…. you know, he is an entirely different person …and for the better. And I can say our marriage is better than it’s ever been.. ever! (Not that it’s anyone’s business)

Life is freaking hard, and I’ve been dealt quite the hand. But every tear and every pain is eased when I look into my Poppy’s eyes. She is the light at the end of my tunnel and the gift in the darkness. I will never be able to explain the weight that was lifted and healed the day she was born.

We will teach her to rise strong, to speak her truth and never be afraid of the power that she holds. But to also be kind and loving and to spread her joy to everyone she meets. We will teach her about the darkness and that one day she will experience it, but that she will always come out stronger than she has ever been. Like my grandpa always said “be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.”

The darkness is how we grow as humans. What would we be if we never experienced trials? Stepford wives? …Not me. We all go through them whether or not we decide to share them. I have felt the strongest urge for a long time that I needed to share my experience, but not everyone needs to. Your darkness is your journey. How you choose to experience it and express it is a very personal choice.

We typically only share the happy moments of our lives on social media, it’s our highlight reel. But it’s not our real, reel and that’s ok. We don’t need to share every last detail, but we have to remember that everyone is going through something whether we know about it or not, and my hope through all of this is that we can be a little kinder with our words, a little more forgiving and a lot less judgemental. We are all in this life together, and it can be a lot easier if we are on the same side.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t have to sit in the darkness forever. And believe it or not there are people out there who have gone through a similar situation as you… you are not alone in this.

“We are the authors of our lives, and we write our own daring endings, we craft love from heartbreak, compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, courage from failure. Showing up is our power, story is our way home, truth is our song, we are the brave and brokenhearted we are rising strong.” -Brene Brown
And from my girl Beyoncé “Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. Forgiveness is the final act of love”

My choice is love, love for myself, love for my baby, love for my husband and family. There is nothing weak about love.

28 thoughts on “Monsters are real

  1. This is so powerful! Thank you for being courageous enough to break the stigma our struggles with monsters brings.
    I wish you and your family so much love and happiness moving forward. Poppy has a very brave, beautiful, courageous, and strong mama! Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise. You should be proud of yourself. Xoxo

  2. Beautiful post, sweet Ashlee. You nailed it… people really think they know (..,details about you or your situation, or how it “should” be handled). They may size-up a situation with limited knowledge, they may share those opinions with others, or they may treat you differently because of what they think. Letting go of those judgements is liberating! You are wise beyond your years, and you are not only lucky to have the mother that you do, but Poppy is so lucky to have the both of you! Love you, Ashlee. You are beautiful inside and out.

  3. Everything happens for a reason.. to teach us what we are meant to learn.. life is awesome.. becoming a mother is a joy like no other! Love the Queen B quote.. so true and your grandpa.. good stuff!! All the best xxx

  4. The most important message I got from this is you being an example of grace and Jesus. Monsters are real, and they can be all consuming. No one but yourself can determine how to fight those monsters either… whatever it is you’re referring to you will thank yourself for choosing forgiveness and love. It outweighs all things! Prayers to you and your family<3

  5. You are a beautiful strong and courageous soul. So much respect. You are facing your trials with strength and faith rather than fear. If we all could handle our trials with such grace this way what a wonderful world it would be.

  6. I just read this and it totally resonates with me… Thank you for sharing and for being willing to be vulnerable to inspire those of us in a similar type of darkness. I totally understand that we may think we know how we’d respond or act in a situation but until or unless we are actually dealt that hand in life- we don’t know. PS I also think staying takes a tremendous amount of faith, courage and love. <3 God bless you.

  7. Such a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing. I don’t know you or your story, but I’m certain that there is a God in heaven who loves you and knows you and who cares about you. You are facing a lot right now, and I’m sorry for all you are going through. I hope you find inner peace, strength, and grace through our Savior.

  8. So… I don’t know you. But I’m going through (what sounds like, based on this post) an incredibly similar situation. I think one of the hardest thing about it was that once it became “public”, rumors flew. Things were made up, made worse than what they were. People talked about it like it was fun and interesting. Gossiping about me and my life when I was losing everything. My entire life was falling apart and my everything was shattered. It’s so, so sad that people look at it that way. Heartbreaking really.

    I too, feel like it’s braver, and scarier to stay. It is not a weak decision. I am not weak. And I may be a little, temporarily broken but I will and am surviving. And hopefully be better for it at the end.

    Thank you for this post. Seriously, so brave of you. I’m not quite at the point of sharing. It’s been too painful and too humiliating. But I hope to one day be there. You are beautiful! And so strong. It’s strangely so comforting to know I’m not alone. And that there is hope. You’re doing it. So am I!

  9. Your post spoke to me and reminded me of my time in the same type of situation. I also stayed and it was hard, but it’s been worth it. 20 years later, I’ll tell you that I’d do the same thing again to get where we are now. I pray that your situation will be what you will be best for you and your precious daughter, in the end.

  10. I don’t know you but I appreciate you putting this out there for so many women who struggle alone. I was in a similar boat for 7 years in my previous marriage and people think they know what they would do. They don’t. I wanted to work it out and it ended up not but I will never tell someone what they should or shouldn’t do in any situation. You are smart, strong and I know most women are strong and each story is different with a million different outcomes. Love and prayers for you and your family. You’re beautiful inside and out.

  11. You are so right on and described what many people feel. For me, the monsters in my head were so much bigger and badder and uglier when I kept them lock up in my secret spot for no one to see. When I started speaking about my ‘monsters’, I realized they were not as nasty as I had made them out to be. By not being afraid to share, it opened my eyes to how I can help others through sharing. We as human beings are not all that different from each other. We just have different looking ‘monsters’. You are brave to share and I thank you for it.

  12. Hi Ashlee, I don’t know you but since hearing of the disappearance of your husband it struck a chord with my own experiences and I found your blog. I’m not going to pretend to know what’s happened in your marriage but I know what your talking about in this post and I agree with you that it’s easy for people to judge and tell you what they think you should do and when you don’t they frown upon your choices but the reality is things are easier said than done, and no one truly knows what you should do or what they would do in your situation. I agree that choosing to love and forgive is a much nobler choice than to bail on things that are hard. It’s. It’s not the easiest thing but it’s what commitment means. No one gets married thinking that one day all these complicated problems are going to arise and throw you completely for a curve, and make you question everything. It’s just so hard that more people don’t dish out compassion and empathy with the same force that they dish out harsh judgments and gossip. I’m sorry your going through what you are…. a “missing” husband is the worst feeling anyone can have, I can relate to your circumstances going through something very similar but on a much more private scale…. and no one deserves that fear or panic thrown upon them no matter what people say or think. People like you and me are just doing our best with what we have in front of us and still trying to maintain a smile for everyone watching. This is truly the test of your character…. like I said I don’t know you, and I don’t really even watch the news or keep up on what’s happening outside my own front door, but your story found its way to me and it’s nature of things I’ve exeperienced myself has left me heartbroken for you, and your husband. Even people who have a darkness in them are people we still love, even amongst betrayal. You are not defined by someone else’s choices, just your own, and from what I can gather you are amazing. Like Taylor Swift said “people throw rocks at people who shine”… don’t let anyone take away your desire to “shine”. You don’t have to be perfect to deserve love and support. I’m sorry your husband is struggling, I hope he finds the “best version of himself” that you married and is ok, and finds his way home to you soon. Don’t let the “worst version of him” let you forget what you had. Thanks for your vulnerability in this post, I know it helps people like me know I’m not the only one who has secrets and sadness surrounding someone I love and trust so much. No one is immune to darkness, and what you said about taking its power away was beautiful. Much love and respect.

  13. “We typically only share the happy moments of our lives on social media, it’s our highlight reel. But it’s not our real, reel and that’s ok. We don’t need to share every last detail, but we have to remember that everyone is going through something whether we know about it or not, and my hope through all of this is that we can be a little kinder with our words, a little more forgiving and a lot less judgemental. We are all in this life together, and it can be a lot easier if we are on the same side.”

    Preach sister <3

  14. Thank you for sharing this. I stayed too when many others wouldn’t. Thank you so much for your words. I’m so sorry for your current trials. ❤️

  15. Nobody should suffer in silence.

    Best friend, husband and betrayal should never be in the same paragraph. If I am interpreting this right… this happened to me as well and in the end, the best friend part hurt most. My daughter was 2 at the time. I don’t talk to either one now.

    You are so smart as illustrated in your blog. You are so beautiful. Your daughter is too. You are so lucky to have each-other.

    And now your husband is missing? Love and light to you.

    1. I love this comment. You’re so right – those three things should never be in the same paragraph. I’ve lived it, am living it right now. Love forgives, love heals, and sometimes you will have to love yourself enough to let go and understand that for whatever reason, the life you expected and thought was, just isn’t. Then you have to heal and that takes some time – sometimes we carry those scars forever – but hopefully the experience helps us to have more compassion for others’ struggles, and opens our heart more to love rather than injuring it permanently. It is strength to go through this awful situation and just show up. Show up as a mom, show up in life. I wish everybody here that has expressed that they are also or have gone through this experience happiness, and peace in their hearts. I’m so sorry and so sad for you, Ashlee, that you are having to go through this, and that you can’t grieve in the privacy of your own life, and have had to be in the public eye (which can be unforgiving and sometimes very cruel). Please don’t listen to the negative out there. Please hear all of us that stand with you and are sending love and support. Also, thank you for this comment. Honesty and sisterhood are very healing, sometimes it helps just to know you’re not alone.

    2. I love this comment. You’re so right – those three things should never be in the same paragraph. I’ve lived it, am living it right now. Love forgives, love heals, and sometimes you will have to love yourself enough to let go and understand that for whatever reason, the life you expected and thought was, just isn’t. Then you have to heal and that takes some time – sometimes we carry those scars forever – but hopefully the experience helps us to have more compassion for others’ struggles, and opens our heart more to love rather than injuring it permanently. It is strength to go through this awful situation and just show up. Show up as a mom, show up in life. I wish everybody here that has expressed that they are also or have gone through this experience happiness, and peace in their hearts. I’m so sorry and so sad for you, Ashlee, that you are having to go through this, and that you can’t grieve in the privacy of your own life, and have had to be in the public eye (which can be unforgiving and sometimes very cruel). Please don’t listen to the negative out there. Please hear all of us that stand with you and are sending love and support. Also, thank you for this comment. Honesty and sisterhood are very healing, sometimes it helps just to know you’re not alone.

  16. Sweet Ashlee, I’m so sorry for what your family is going through right now. My thoughts are with you and I hope that Paul will be home soon, safe and sound.

    I have daughter named Poppy too, somehow that made me feel a connection with you.

  17. Hi ashlee. This is a beautiful blog post. I just wanted to tell you I am so sorry for everything you and your family are experiencing right now. I can relate intimately to what you wrote here, I live in Utah and am from a similar background…I understand the culture, and how hard it is to be vulnerable like you have and open yourself to the sometimes soul destroying judgement and gossip out there in the internet world. I understand that it is STRENGTH that makes you choose to stay, when staying is the right choice, and STRENGTH that also makes you choose to leave, when you feel that is what your heart tells you to do. I used to get very sad and hurt by the things that were said about me and the “friends” I thought were truly friends who believed lies and turned their backs when they were needed the most, and I don’t know if you are going through any of that – but I did notice the gofundme comments and I just wanted to say that I am sorry. I’m sorry that on top of everything else, you are having to read some of the most awful comments and accusations of conspiracy, etc. Please just remember that many more people are out here praying for you (and your family, and for Paul), wanting to help, wanting to be there if you need anything, and that your light shines through this regardless of what is being said. For those that can’t understand often they will react with accusations. Often, I’ve found that people just struggle really hard to be compassionate and empathetic when they are behind a keyboard, and they aren’t close to a situation. Also, jumping to conclusions, or coming up with conspiracy theories because they may not have every.single. piece of information (and they do not NEED to have every single juicy tidbit…whether they want to believe that or not), and so they lash out. If you read some of the other comments, there are many more who are wanting to support you and your family, and that support is unconditional. I just wanted you to know that I am so, so sorry for all of this that you are going through, and I’m sending love and hugs your way. Take care, Melanie

  18. Good point. You’re not alone, not the 1st or last person that will face it. I’ve been there and man does it hurt. Especially when people let their ugly show and think they know what’s best for you. I’m not like you in the sense that I won’t talk to anyone. It’s still very shameful for me.

  19. I’m sorry I fell for the alternative story. I was so sure there was more to this story than what was being said. I was so sure he was alive and that he just left. I fell for the gossip. I try do hard not to judge situations and make assumptions because thoughts like that are usually wrong. You are right, monsters are real. They live in each and every one of us when we give in to gossip, prejudice and judgement. The only way to defeat them is with love, kindness, friendship and understanding. I’m sorry for the hurt you don’t even know I was a part of. I’ve learned a lesson I hope I will remember the rest of my life. I hope all of us who judged this tragedy so wrongly will think twice before we give in to those monsters again.

  20. I just wanted to say that it is such a rare person who can go out there and publicly apologize, especially in this day and age. It takes a great deal of humility and maturity to own our behavior, and to have the empathy for those we may have affected, or hurt with our actions…and then do our best to rectify the harm we did, or fix the mistake. I don’t know you, but if I did, I would give you a big hug and tell you thank you, and you are such an amazing and sweet person to write what you did – we are all fallible, we are all human – and learning and growing as we stumble around on our journey of life is what we do 🙂 We can choose to be proud, and never have any insight for the way our behavior impacts those around us, or we can open our hearts to others, like you just did, and it is beautiful to see, because that is how we become better people and how we grow. I also wanted to tell Ashley my heart is broken for you and your beautiful family and I am so sorry for this sad news about Paul. Just wanted you and your family to know that even though you don’t know us personally, our family is sending so much love and prayers your way and we are hoping that you will find some comfort and peace in the coming days, weeks, etc. as you grieve such a devastating loss. I wish there was something we could do, I can PM you my number if you need anything or we can do anything to lighten the burden for your family. We are in Utah, as well. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweetheart. Hugs. xoxo

  21. You’re braver than you know Ashlee. You are an inspiration of strength to us all. Your benevolence you’ve shown, under such tragic circumstances is the epitome of grace.

    “She is a goddess, a warrior. Worth more than her weight in gold.
    She is a guardian, a nurturer. With spirit young and soul as old. She has words for all occasions and is wise beyond her years. She has a heart as big as oceans and will always face her fears.
    She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.”
    #lovewarrior #lovelikepaul
    Love to you and your family
    Xo

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