by Guest Blogger, Ashley Adams ǀ @a.n.adams
“Ashley Adams, that sounds like the name of a writer.” Those nine words in one casual sentence were all I needed.
Ashley Adams, that sounds like the name of a writer.
Little did my father-in-law know that I had been writing off and on for the past fifteen years. I had kept a secret collection of my writing filled with my pain, hopes and dreams that I had shared with only a couple individuals throughout my life. I knew there was a whole world inside of me that contained depths, which I had only dove into when the shallowness of this world grew too tiresome. It was my secret universe, but it felt wrong to have it in a way. I thought others would view it as selfish and/or childish so I kept it hidden. Then there came three years of my life where I stopped writing completely. During this time, I was purely surviving and the door to my universe closed and instead I dove into the depths of someone else’s universe. It was a dark and constricting place and nothing like the expansive freedom that I had felt in mine. I eventually left this other universe bruised, broken and with my capacity for the depths limited.
It was six months after I had begun my healing journey that my words came back to me in a flood. Here was the first spoken word poem that I wrote in fifteen minutes:
So here I am. A girl with broken skin that shines with a million colors in a rainbow of light.
Do you see my truth? It’s there and here in the broken shards of glass that make up my skin. They reflect you onto me in a way that doesn’t seep inside so I am still safe, protected and me. You see some people don’t have skin of broken glass. Instead those with glass cut them. It’s better to have glass. I will reflect you onto me and you will suspect nothing. Until you try to touch me. Until it all becomes real and your hand reaches out with rough skin and it’s like I am in space. Floating no air no gravity. The feeling is like a summer breeze in a meadow blowing through the flowers and yet I am suffocating. Suffocating because your rough hand might be able to pass my broken glass and to the depths inside that don’t reflect out but reflect in. The places where I am me wholly, purely, perfectly. Or at least I used to be. Hands dug inside the depths before and took what reflected inward and marred it to my skin to reflect outward. But you can’t take a soul and flip it inside out. It shatters. So here I am. A girl with broken skin that shines with a million colors in a rainbow of light. A beauty but just a reflection.
But I look closer at your rough skin and you have glass too. Show me your truth. Smaller pieces some fused, some jagged and stretch your heavy arms out to reflect the Light above on you. It creates such a spectacle that I am blinded but I finally see you. Not the rainbow of color or spectacle but just you wholly, purely, perfectly past the glass. The Light reflects from deep unto deep. For once I don’t feel the glass cutting into my skin, or hear the clutter of the glass but I am back in space and I feel the wind blowing through the flowers in the meadow. This time I breathe.
Something was beginning to unlock inside of me with the support of my community. I was starting to unlock me and not just the old me, but a stronger version of me that was able to dive to deeper depths in my own universe after being forced deeper in someone else’s.
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet asks herself, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I have had other names and they did not smell as sweet. A name provides an identity to live into. For me, my new name and the man who gave me this name also gave me an identity that was wild and free. He mirrored for me the gift Jesus offers to us all and the new name we receive when we become His. We are joined into His family and become heirs in Christ, living from a place of holistic freedom. With the help of my community, new name and a lot of work, I have now made the transition from healing to thriving. The depths of healing I have traveled has allowed me to tackle a whole new profession in sales and marketing, which I had previously been terrified of, but now I love to my core. On my weekends I focus on self-care, which for me look like adventuring in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest to my heart’s content. And now I have added a new dimension of discovery, which was so close to my being that I didn’t even know it could become a reality. I am a writer. The more I speak and write that sentence, the more it becomes real.
Expanding yourself beyond the limits placed upon you takes courage and grit, but with each step you take forward you create muscle memory for your new life.
I am only beginning the first steps of my thriving journey but it feels amazing. I now invite others into my universe with arms flung open. It’s safe, joyful, funny, sexy, raw, and most importantly free. Thriving while it feels fucking amazing is also extremely scary. Expanding yourself beyond the limits placed upon you takes courage and grit, but with each step you take forward you create muscle memory for your new life. It becomes easier to perceive the expansiveness of how God created you and how He is creatively using your talents and passions. I experience more joy and fulfillment than ever before and not with a forced smile, but with joy bursting through my seams. With the warmth of the Son on my face, I am blooming.
Ashley Adams ǀ @a.n.adams
Ashley is a writer, poet and advocate based in Portland, OR. She is a firm believer in more vulnerability and less BS. In her spare time, she explores the Pacific Northwest wilderness with her fisherman husband.