self love

What Does It Feel Like To Exhale?

I never really thought this day would come or fall into my lap the way that it did. Every time I think of it, warm tears well up in my eyes. I’ve always felt insecure and I’ve always felt extremely vulnerable trying to rip the pain that’s inside me and plaster it on my skin.

When you’ve fought so hard to prove a point and you fought so hard to be seen differently than what you portray, it builds up. I never knew I could still be alive while I held my breath for 8 long years with this monster we call Multiple Sclerosis. I found ways to exhale while not letting out a breath. I had the best force of help from my Heavenly Father, I had a support system that didn’t need to be hand full amounts of people; just the ones who wanted to stick around. And I always found ways to make my pain so beautiful that it became invisible.

So now I’m here, exhaling and gaining color back to my skin. It feels beyond surreal and it feels like I’m in another world. To be able to open up a chapter that will break down the walls of anxiety is such a blessing. To no longer be carrying extra loads of wet sand on my heart feels amazing. To know that I can take a break feels abnormal because all I’ve ever known is to fight for everyone else but me.. but me is all I have and now I can receive what I deserve.

And now I can focus on bettering myself and now I can show people worth having around me, how I deserve to be treated because now I have put myself first. So you ask “what does it feel like to exhale?” It’s a compilation of emotions but the next time I inhale, beware of the strength I release once I exhale.

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self love

Anxiety , Depression & Chronic Illness – Unfiltered Thoughts 💭

I easily forget that I created this blog as an open space to connect and be open with you all. I created this space for people to feel invited and understood even if just one sentence resonated with them.

I created an Instagram page for my poetry and my book that I published almost 2 years ago. I had all the right intentions of marketing and continuing to write and yet I have found myself in a place where it triggers me. Being unable to work has heightened a whole other level of anxiety for me.

I find that my home is the biggest safe haven for me. The sun can be shining and the weather could be great but I would rather be home in bed blasting music through my ears. To feel the presence of distant memories is what I thrive to grip onto between four walls.

On top of anxiety I deal with my MS which leads to depression. Recently, I was ordered an arm crutch through my physical therapist and I figured in my mind: “hey this is what you need for stability and avoiding falls and can even help your long pending disability case.” Okay, that sounds all politically correct but hot tears still stream from my eyes.

The reality of my circumstances I fight for it to be seen and also hide it from my heart so it won’t further shatter. I started going back to therapy 3 weeks ago and I’m trying to remain positive about it. I want to be able to connect with this person, not seeing them yawn or seem uninterested. There’s one therapist I connected with heavily but doesn’t take my insurance.

That in itself broke my heart because she knew every detail and wanted to find details through my bones! She knew how to draw me out.. I feel like the parts of me that I held on to so tight I had to let go and I’m grieving each phase in doses. My words and thoughts are all of the place as I’m typing this but I don’t know any other way to explain it.

This is raw feelings and emotions that I know at least one person can relate to. This is what anxiety, depression and chronic illness will do to you.

self love

MS Walk 2019

Hi guys! So I wanted to extend this opportunity to you all about the Ms walk I’m partaking in this year. Having Ms has been a challenge in more ways than one and I try to find ways to be uplifted and encouraged.

Taking advantage of the MS walk is one way to stay upbeat and around those who suffer the same challenges I face. It also puts me in touch with informative vendors who have more information on this debilitating illness. I have created shirts for my team and any one else who wants to support and donate for MS! I’ve attached the link where you can purchase.

The T shirt campaign ends March 8, 2019 11:59pm EST !

I’d be so appreciative if you could help me reach my goal! Thank you in advance!

MS TShirt Fundraiser

self love

#PaintingUsVisible Interview with Caitlin Brown

Laura Ashley is a 27-year-old from New Jersey, USA. She is the author of “Table for One” a book of poetry exploring heartbreak, pain and self love. Laura Ashley also loves hair and makeup and has a beauty blog full of useful tips on caring for natural curly hair. She created “Chronically Beautiful” shirts that represent showing your beauty regardless of chronic illness.

Caitlin: What is your condition and how does it affect you?

Laura Ashley: My condition is Multiple Sclerosis. This is a silent chronic illness that I deal with on a moment by moment basis. It effects my emotional, physical and mental well-being. Each day is different and truly unpredictable. It’s affected my mobility, my speech and my sight. It has now gotten to the point that I am unable to work or do certain tasks independently. It’s affected my relationships and friendships with people that has left it difficult for me to heal trust new situations and paths. It’s not easy being different from others when you appear to look the same as them. 

 Caitlin: What is something you wish people understood better about your condition?

Laura Ashley: I wish people would think before they say certain things. Although I know the difficulty with not knowing what to say but “you look just fine” or “you’re young you’ll fight” doesn’t really help. I’ve gotten sarcastic and slick remarks in regard to fighting this sickness that plagues me. I want people to know that this is a difficult disease to beat especially because every person who may have MS has it at different extremities. 

 

 Caitlin: Is there something about yourself you’d like to share?

 

Laura Ashley: Despite the fact that I deal with this, each day I look for beauty, lessons and motivation to deal with it. I’m grateful for my spirituality and faith that pushes me through each passing moment and knowing that this will all be in the past. Also writing poetry and publishing my book has helped me to open up a platform to connect and empathize with those that deal with relatable feelings even outside of chronic illness. 

Thank you so much Caitlin for including me in this honor to be apart of your awareness to chronic illness. This painting is truly beautiful and stroked with love and care!

self love

Invisible Disabilities Week

This week is invisible disabilities week. We won’t talk like everyone doesn’t know my MS is the elephant in the room. Dealing with MS is truly a challenge and has grown to be more difficult as I’ve gotten older. Things are changing and happening that I never experienced when I was first diagnosed; it’s like you’re aging quicker than usual. It gets tiring when you see the facial expressions when you say “I’m tired” or your ready to go home or you just want to stay in bed.

It’s never my choice to isolate myself or not become social. The challenge is that dealing with a chronic illness is exactly that, it’s chronic. It never goes always. It’s more of a constant lull and intensifies when it wants to without warning. It also effects so many areas of ones life: social, emotional, relationships, lifestyle etc. You’re constantly adjusting your life to your physical circumstances and not many people want to shift with you; and that can hurt.

It’s embarrassing no matter how understanding someone is. No one ever wants to feel like a burden or feel as though they are “killing the vibe”. That’s why I don’t get out much unless my family is with me or if I’m able to drive which is almost never. My anxiety crawls all over me, I lose my energy very easily, I can’t keep up with the crowd. People ask why don’t I drive, because I am constantly scared. My legs can give out at any point and it can cause dangerous consequences.

Dealing with a silent disability is a constant fight within yourself to be normal even though you look like you are. It’s a total mess of thoughts and solutions that in itself exhausts someone. The way it effects the brain where you can’t even remember what you said last or what to say next. Again, I don’t express these feelings to depict a depressing attitude but I’m showing the reality of it all. Learning to love someone dealing with something like this has to come from a deep place.

I would always hear “you need someone who is really going to love you and care for you” and I get the reasoning behind that but at times it can feel like my sickness makes me harder to love. But then I had to readjust myself and remember that love moves past any negative thinking because you court someone with the mindset of knowing anything can happen whether it’s in the beginning, middle or end.

One thing I can say is to always surround yourself with those who will understand, who are willing to understand and also accept that not everyone will understand. I’m sure the latter will hurt the most but that’s why you’re reading this.. because I do understand. I’m here to help you see you’re not alone.

self love

What is beneath your Smile? – Pain and Healing

Everyone has heard of pain and healing and we may all roll our eyes at that sometimes. When we are faced with situations, that leave us literally on the pavement, healing seems unattainable. That’s how I felt at one point and still struggle with mildly. I suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and dealing with a chronic illness touches many assets of your life.

Between relationships, friendships, self esteem, self worth, you name it! When you go from being completely mobile, to a doctor telling you at age 19 that you have a debilitating illness is heart shattering. I didn’t know what to do or how to feel. One thing I can truly say has helped me is my spirituality and relying on my faith to strengthen me. By doing that, I was able to see the beauty within my cracks.

Although each day can be a fighting struggle, you also deal with the outside world not quite understanding how you feel, can’t you agree? No one seems to want to care, looks at you different or just ridicules you. Being young, many think I can spring up and conquer the world! But every single day I am in pain whether I want to admit it or not.

Pain is something we can feel internally and externally; I have to say internally is the most painful. Then healing comes into the picture, trying to become your friend and you don’t know how to keep it there. You start doubting if you’re capable of even making adjustments, being a positive person or genuinely being able to smile.

Well, let me just say it’s possible! I’ve never received so many comments about how much I’ve been radiating lately. It requires time, work and persistence. Am I saying this is easy? Absolutely not! I would be a fool to say you won’t have your bad days. However, I can say that keeping a routine and looking for ways to satisfy that emptiness helps me. Although I have limitations, I know that I can still enjoy life at my OWN pace.

I have created a platform for myself explaining how I dealt with my pain and healing. I thoroughly enjoy writing and poetry and even publish my own collection of poetry “Table for One” which is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. It is possible to enjoy doing what you love and making small milestones. I’ve learn to do things within reason so that I don’t inflict more pain in my life. Healing is a full-time job and will NEVER stop but you will feel your skin become tighter and tougher.

Never give up on your healing because there are so many gems and beaming light waiting to be seen. So much awareness is being given to those suffering from special needs, chronic illness, mental health and more. We aren’t alone and with the right support we can push through our battles.

Be sure to follow me on social media : @speakunspokenly and my YouTube channel “Unspoken Beyoutee”. Also take a look at a new project I’ve been working with on YouTube and FaceBook called “The Polka Dot Project”! Here are the links:

Unspoken Beyoutee

The Polka Dot Project

self love

Giving my Feelings a Voice

Hi guys!

So I officially made my YouTube Channel! Ahhhh I’m so nervous and excited at the same time lol. I’ve literally put this on every social platform I have, so pardon my repetition.

I wanted to talk about why I’m doing all these things and switching up the game. I felt like I was so stuck on writing for the most part and that was one step ahead to putting myself out there. However creating videos and hearing my own voice project what my mind feels, makes it more complete for me.

It’s easy to hide behind the screen and honestly it’s also scary to come forward. In posting my first episode of “Unspoken Beauty”, I was terrified! There’s so much negativity out there and people shaming you or correcting you for every little thing. I had to look past that and focus on the message I’m conveying to others.

People want you to feed into their negative vibes so that they can feel better but I rather focus that energy on what makes me happy and how I can comfort others. The main focus of my channel is to bring out more spoken word of my poetry, talk about chronic/mental illnesses and any other topics that’ll bring empowerment to light.

I’m no perfect person and I definitely am not an expert on any of these things; I’m learning just like the rest! But I want to start somewhere and feel comfortable with my journey. I’d love to gauge as many people as possible who want to join my journey in growing and glowing! And maybe one day your unspoken beauty will be heard.

I’ll leave the link attached to my channel – subscribe, like and share 🙂 https://youtu.be/qlKmxpyJ2QI