Tuesday, July 6, 2010


During the last couple months, as I have began “getting myself out there,” I find myself repeating the same phrase over and over again. It started by me saying in my head but now I find myself actually saying it out loud. Sometimes it is said with a tone of disbelief, sometimes sarcastically; sometimes out of frustration and most of the time it is coupled with a shake of my head and a slight chuckle. It all started with my first Sunday in a single’s ward. For those of you who are wondering what the heck a single’s ward is, let me provide you with a short explanation. In the LDS church, the city is split up into sections. Each section attends a designated ward or worship service. The LDS church provides several different types of wards for target populations. There are wards for students, single people, families…etc. Going to one of these wards has its advantages and disadvantages. It is nice to be with people who are in similar situations and can relate to you. On the other hand, sometimes when you get too many people who are the “same,” things can get a little kooky. When I was married, I attended a family ward. I tried to continue going to the family ward, but I felt a little out of place being the only young single adult in the ward, so much to my dislike, I decided to give the single’s ward a try. I took a seat in the back and through my body language was trying to communicate to all those of the male gender what I was feeling- which was “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!” Well apparently some people don’t catch on to non-verbal cues, because before I knew it I had acknowledged that the seat next to me was not taken. The guy introduced himself. For confidentiality sake let’s call him Goober (and yes this name is comparable to his real name). Goober sat down next to me and began asking me all the typical get to know you (AKA sizing you up to see if you are eternal companion material) questions. I tried to be polite but I was quickly growing weary. And then I suddenly knew what to do….FINALLY, something the “D-card” is useful for. So I worked it into the conversation ever so smoothly by abruptly saying “Well I’m divorced.” I thought that would scare him off. Well apparently I underestimated Goober because I definitely didn’t expect to hear what came out of his mouth next. He said, “I can see why you were married….cause you are super attractive.” Later during the service, I told him to stop talking to me so I could concentrate on the speaker and he responded, “Again, I can see why you were married…because not only are you super attractive but you are super spiritual.” All I could think was “WOW…REALLY?” But Goober continues to exceed my expectations week after week. Either by giving me his “date card,” just in case I want a free meal or possibly a free t-shirt, or stating that he has a little crush on me. Apparently you get the t-shirt if you give him a kiss at the end of the date. I know, I know, say it with me folks- WOW, REALLY?!
I would like to say these are my only “wow…really?!” moments, but alas there are many more. Many of them happen via text message. I don’t know what it is about texting that makes a guy magically grow an inflated self-ego and say whatever the heck he wants, but apparently it happens quite frequently. Let’s look at a few examples, shall we?
Exhibit A: You meet a guy in a casual setting. You have a 20 to 30 minute conversation and he asks for you number afterwards. You give it to him, not thinking too much of it. He texts you and asks you what you are up to. You tell him you are about to workout. He asks you what gym you go to and you respond that you don’t go to the gym, that you do P90x. This is his response “I don’t know why you need to do P90X …You’re HOTT!” WOW…REALLY?! You really just texted me that. WOW!
Exhibit B: You are introduced to a guy through a mutual friend. He tells your friend that he wants your number. Your friend asked if he can give it to him. You think “what they hay…why not?” Well he texts you and the first thing he says is “How’s it going, beautiful?” AGH, gag me with a spoon! This guy doesn’t even know you! Wow…really?! Did you just text me that Rico Suave?
As I have pondered why these situations keep happening to me, I had the thought that maybe I am coming into contact with these guys because they need my help. How can I help them…well I can tell you not by dating them, but maybe by being honest with them. So I have. I call them out on it. In the infamous words of Bob Newhart, I tell them to “just stop it” (you have to check out this video! It’s classic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYLMTvxOaeE) I tell Goober he is too much and he needs to lay off. I told the other 2 guys that when you compliment a woman on her looks right off the bat it makes her think that you just want a piece. I have lots of great attributes, and my looks definitely aren’t my greatest one. So if they would like to get to know me and not just my “hotness,” I wouldn’t mind if they gave me a call sometime. I am surprised how well this tactic has worked. I’m sure the guy has been caught a little off guard, but in the end he is grateful for my bluntness.
Now, recently I have been surprised by a new meaning behind the phrase “Wow…Really?!” I have met several guys in the last couple of weeks that have been surprisingly amazing. I found myself saying “Wow…Really?! There are normal guys out there? There are nice, intelligent, good-looking guys still available?” So don’t give up hope girls. There are some out there. You might have to go through a lot of Goobers, but there are still a few good men. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


A few months back I was talking to my mom. My mom is an amazing woman. She is one of the strongest people I have ever met and never is afraid to admit her mistakes so she and others can learn from them. I was going through a particularly rough patch at that point in time and I was telling her how I had wanted so badly for my marriage to work out. I didn't want to be divorced. I didn't want to have to start from ground zero. I didn't want to live with roommates and more than anything, I didn't want to go back to the world of dating. My mom told me something that I will never forget. She said, " I know honey. I know you wanted your marriage to work and you wanted to be married, and you don't get that one thing right now. BUT, think of all the other things you can have. Think of all the dreams and goals you have. Think of all the things you like to do. You can have all those things. You can travel, live wherever you want, go to grad school, develop new hobbies...etc. You can can have all those things, thousands of experiences and opportunities, you just don't get that one thing...right now." It gave me perspective. As I have pondered it more and more, I realize that really what my mom was saying is be grateful for the opportunities and where your life is at now.

I remember as a 15 year old teenager, I thought my life would start when I turned 16. I wanted to be older. I thought life would be more fun, exciting and better. My mom always told me "Ash, you only get to be 15 once in your whole entire life. You better live it up and make it the best 15th year ever." It is so true. It is human nature to always think we will be happy when x,y, and z happen. I will be happy when I am in a relationship or am married. I will be happy when I graduate. I will be happy when I move out of Provo. Happiness isn't some magic fairy dust that is sprinkled on you when you turn 16 or you say "I do." Happiness is a choice, a conscience decision to look around and take hold of the opportunities presently available to you. I am 23 years old and I will only be 23 one time in my whole life. I might as well make it the best year so far. I was flipping through the journal I kept while I was in Romania. I stumbled upon a "gratitude" entry. I know, I know, it is kind of Molly Mormon, but it helped me remember the simple goodness found in life. I can honestly say I am happy right now in my life. I have so much to look forward to, so much to learn. I feel I have come leaps and bounds from where I was before. I feel open to life and am not limiting it based on my relationship status. Of course I still have my days and no one can hang streamers for her own pity party like I can, but I truly love life. I love my job; I love my family and I love my friends. I am so blessed. I am ready for big things. I am ready to travel, meet new people, try new things, and maybe even...date! I might have to retort that last one. I'll get back to you in few weeks. Life is too short not to enjoy, regardless of one's circumstances.

I decided to share with you a few things for which I am grateful. Please feel free to share add to the list via comments.

I am grateful for:

-Family because I love them no matter what and they love me despite my faults- we stick together
-Good friends- I have amazing friends. My life has been so enriched by my relationship with such amazing people
-Breathtaking views-because you feel so small in the majesty of the Lord's creations
-Little hands clasping your pinky- It makes you realize how much God loves his children and how perfectly innocent they are. It makes me stand in awe at his creations
-Dancing- because you are free. I like dancing alone in my apartment and singing at the top of my lungs.
-Laughing until your stomach and face ache
-Finding the perfect gift for someone
-Going on a good hard run
-Feeling the sunshine on your face
-Butterfly, Eskimo and Cow kisses (giving them, not receiving them…thanks Larue)
-Driving with the windows down and the music up
-Tickle wars, water fights, and midnight giddiness
-Mom's hugs- especially when she hasn't seen me in awhile…I also love the look she has in her eyes- I don't know how to explain it…I guess it's just love
-Sittin on Papa Hook's lap
-Inside jokes- because most of the time they are so stupid, but so funny
-Uncle Fred's shaving advice
-The Atonement of Jesus Christ- It gives me hope and strength and provides me a way to return back to my Heavenly Father.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm Coming Out

So my Dad came to visit about a month ago. We had a blast! We went to a play, hiked in Moab, went out to dinner, and just talked. I realized it was the first time I had gone out in 6 months. I had forgotten how much I enjoy getting out of the house, hitting the town and socializing with someone other than the characters in my latest novel. So, I decided to start getting out there. I thought hanging out in a group would be a good start. My friend asked me to go out dancing in Salt Lake. I was hesitant at first, but I finally agreed. The day of the event came and I was ready. I had skinny jeans that actually made me look skinny, high heels that made my legs look miles long and didn't hurt my feet. My hair was tousled, I mastered the smokey eye without looking like a raccoon, and my lips looked voluptuous in red lip gloss. Yeah, I looked pretty hot. I opened the door to the club and the breeze wafted my hair just like one of those Victoria Secret models at a runway show. The song "I'm coming out (I want the world to know. I'm going to let it show)" sounded in the background and everyone turned to see who this new vixen could be. The hottest guy in the club came up to me and said "Hey, you wanna dance," and I said, "Sure (in a breathy, seductive voice)....but just so you know, I'm divorced. I don't know if you are okay with that. I mean you can take back the invitation if you want." The music cut and I woke up in my pajamas and with a head cold. Needless to say, I did not join my friend dancing that night. I stayed at home and spent some good quality time with Tylenol Cold and Sinus. I am happy to report my real "coming out" was much less dramatic and embarrassing than whatever happened in my sub conscience!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Thank you for all your comments. It has been strengthening to hear your encouragement, experience, and expression of love.

One night one of my friends and I got into a deep conversation about spirituality. We were talking about the struggles of life and how they affect our spirituality. I began to express something to her that I have never talked to anyone about. Obviously, the past few months have been difficult for me, but I have never felt angry at God. I have never doubted that my Heavenly Father loves me and is aware of me. BUT, it has been difficult for me to pray and to read my scriptures every night. It is not because I don't believe Heavenly Father will listen to me or because I feel unworthy. It is quite the contrary. I know he loves me so perfectly, so profoundly and feels my sorrows. The reason my prayers or my scripture study aren't as sincere as they could be is because there are some nights when I just don't want to feel. There are some nights when I don't want to get down on my knees and pour my heart out to my Heavenly Father because I don't want to cry. I don't want to be sad. It's like when you are upset about something but you can hold it together as long as someone doesn't hug you or ask you if you are okay. When I pray, I feel my Heavenly Father's arms around me and I weep. I sob like a little child. I know that it's probably not healthy to hold in my emotions, but there are some days when you just don't want to cry; when you just want to be "okay." And I think Heavenly Father is okay with that. I think he understands and knows I am doing the absolute best I can.

A lot of people ask me why I am not angry at God about what happened. I "did everything right" and yet it turned out so wrong. While I was separated, I listened to a lecture given by an LDS speaker named John Bytheway. The lecture was called "5 Scriptures That Will Get You Through Almost Anything." One of the scriptures he read and discussed was found in the Book of Mormon (Another testament of Christ that accompanies the Bible)The scripture is found in 1 Nephi 11:17. It states "And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." John Bytheway talked about how many things happen in our lives that we don't understand. Because each of us have our own free agency, we have the power to choose and unfortunately sometimes the choices others makes hurt us. God allows tragedies and hardships in our lives. There is a big difference between causing and allowing something to happen. So we may not know why things happen to us, but the one thing we do know is that Heavenly Father loves us. I don't know why my marriage fell apart. I don't know why I felt good about marrying my husband. BUT I know my Heavenly Father loves me. That is my absolute and constant. If I hold firm to that knowledge, I do not need to know the reason behind all things.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


What is it about hair stylists, physical therapists, massage therapists, and any other personal wellness professional that makes you want to bear all? I swear, when you get in the chair or on the table, things just come spilling out of your mouth and after you say them, you just think "why did I just say that?" Yet, you continue. It's like these people are experts on slyly probing you for information. It usually goes something like this. The other day I went to get my hair cut and the hair stylist and I were just making small talk. She asked if was married and I said, "no." She responded, "really...you are so cute." It started as a trickle-"Well, I just recently got divorced." She said, "Oh really I am sorry to hear about that. That must be really hard." Then the whole dam broke and before I knew it I had shared my whole life story. Starting with when my ex-husband and I met, all the way down to when our marriage dissolved. She never asked me to tell her the whole story, but all the affirmations, exclamations, and clarifying questions worked as a catalyst.

This is not my only experience with this. The other day I was talking to my massage therapist and she asked me about my relationship status and the whole thing happened all over again, except she asked me questions. She asked me, "So what happened? What do you think it was?" The hardest thing about the reason behind my divorce is that I'm not sure what it was. It was so abstract and somewhat incomprehensible to me. went through all the list of possible reasons and before I knew it I said something like, "Well, I don't know. Maybe the intimacy wasn't good for him." And immediately I thought, "WOW! Did I really just say that? WHY THE HECK DID I JUST SAY THAT?! Am I really telling my massage therapist about my love life." I wanted to die! Right at that moment my physical therapist walked in and he said, "Oh honey, there's no good or bad sex for guys, there's just sex." I am pretty sure I turned all the shades of red. Luckily my head was shoved into that little hole, so no one could see the humiliation on my face. Although I have to say, the comment from the physical therapist was quite humorous.

So, why do people in these professionals inspire you to confess everything? Do they receive some special psychological training while they are school? Is it because you are trapped on a seat or table for an hour or two and there is no where to run or nothing to distract you? I don't know what it is, between getting my hair done and getting PT appointments 2 times a week, who needs a therapist? I work on all my issues while I work on my split ends.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Table for One Please

A few weeks ago, I was out running some evening errands and wanted to stop and get some dinner. Most of the time I just take it to go or eat it in my car; however, that night I just felt like sitting down in a restaurant and having someone serve me. So, I waited in line at the hostess desk. When it came my turn, the hostess said,"How many? Are you meeting your party here?" I looked her in the eye and gave her the biggest smile possible and responded, "No, table for one please." I could read the awkwardness in her eyes and body language. She looked past me and said, "Ok, great. Follow me." So I sat down and ordered. I was in my own little world until I realized a couple staring at me. Then I started looking around and noticed the majority of the room looking at me. Their heads all snapped back to the forward postion when my scan passed in their direction. It was like everyone was uncomfortable for me. I was the only person in the restaurant eating by myself. I laughed at myself. I had broken a Happy Valley social norm, one of the unwritten commandments: "Thou shalt not be a loner." It was almost satisfying making people uneasy. I sat there the whole time. I didn't call someone to detract from my solitude or ask for my meal to go. I just sat there, enjoyed every morsel of my meal and basked in my social rebellion. I have to say, I was quite proud of myself.

So go to the movies, go out to eat, go camping...just do something by yourself. Be rebellious. Don't care what others think. In fact, defy them. If you are anything like me, it will make you feel stronger, bolder, and risky. Go ahead, take a walk on the wild side!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The "D" Word

I just became aware of a new colloquial swear word in Utah Valley. It is the “D” word. No, it’s not the “D” word we are all probably familiar with. It is the word that you whisper and sometimes even mouth because you don’t want to utter it. You say it just waiting for everyone’s reaction. Will it be shock, sympathy, awkward silence, judgment? It’s always prefaced with some question about marriage and you say something like, “I’m…divorced.” Then without fail, there is a short pause and the disclaimer comes pouring out. I heard my mom give a disclaimer for years after her divorce. “I’m divorced….my husband was unfaithful.” Why do we feel we have to give an explanation? Is it really anyone’s business and more importantly, why do we have to feel guilty? It is because you would never want anyone to think you just gave up on your marriage; that you are like the 40% of Americans that decide to call it quits. I believe in marriage. I would have done anything to make my marriage not only successful, but happy. I never thought I would be divorced. I feel marriage is so much about commitment. When you are completely committed to a person, a different kind of love grows. So many people say you have to have love before commitment. I truly believe that the true, lasting love is a product of commitment.

Although at times I feel I should be strolling around Provo with a scarlet “D” on my sweater, I know most of the judgment from other is perceived. In Happy Valley, it is sometimes hard to know how to react to anything but happy endings. What we have to remember, is that just like any good fairytale, the opposition always comes first. The heroes are always faced by some struggle or villain. So this is my villain and someday I will have my happy ending. No, I don’t think everything will be perfect, but I will be happy. So here is to happy endings!