Hi I’m Ashley, and I am a recovering hater

Setting: Haters Anonymous meeting in a yoga studio on the east side of Milwaukee.  Everyone is seated in a circle, legs crossed Indian style.  We have just finished an hour-long meditation.  I am 3 days off of a 7 day juice cleanse

” Hi guys.  My name is Ashley, and I am a recovering hater”.

“Hi Ashley”

“I have been sober for 6 weeks.  Don’t even have the urge.  I have hated on friends, family members and strangers who look amazing on Instagram while they flex.  I used to get envious, jealous, and overcome with feelings of inferiority when other people were advancing and doing amazing things.  I felt like everyone was moving, and I was being left behind.  I cut off all of my friends and stopped answering their calls and supporting their endeavors.  Whenever I did attend something, I was there physically, but not in spirit.  I hated my friends because they were doing things that I was not.  I felt like I was sinking in quick sand and everyone was standing around watching me.  

Laughing

I hated going to parties because I knew someone would ask the dreaded, “What do you do?” As if I was at a job interview, after ranting about the their job and cool business ventures.  I didn’t want to talk about what I was or wasn’t doing because I had told, and convinced myself that I had nothing of value to offer.  What was I to say, “I work a job I don’t really like, feel pretty shitty and walk around wishing I was someone else more amazing?” I actually found it quite useful that I could tell people I was a teacher.  Everyone likes teachers.  Especially when you say you’re a special education teacher.  Then you get the “oh, that sucks for you but it’s nice you’re doing that job, someone’s gotta do it” face.  I used my boyfriend as my blankey.  With him to be my security blanket I could be invisible, antisocial.  Antisocial is better than being anxious and feeling like I was standing in the middle of a crowded room, naked.  He’s cool, everyone could just talk to him.  I always felt like people were looking at me and deciding whether or not I was important and worth networking with.  To safe myself, I flocked towards children because I never felt like I had to compete with them and could just be myself.  Children play at parties, not size each other up with worthless banter.

We left each soiree only after my hun-bunz had had enough of watching me be pitiful.  Leon’s frozen custard always renewed my pea sized spirit.  In the parking lot I would go on and on about everything I hated and pick each person apart like a true mean girl.  That made me feel powerful, strong.  But only temporarily because when I got home and laid in the quiet of the darkness, I wept.  Wept because I did everything right.  I graduated from college, I found a job, I had an amazing man who loved the parts of me that I hadn’t yet learned to love, but I wasn’t enough.  I wasn’t advancing.  I wasn’t doing anything.  I wasn’t worth talking about to others.  I was… nothing.  I silently let the tears moistened my pillow case, asking God to just make me better.

I hated my friends.  Deep in my soul I saw each of them as my enemy.  Like I was on a game show and they all were on the winning team and I, alone.  I wouldn’t congratulate them on accomplishments.  If they got a promotion, I would say congratulations but despise them.  If they bought a house, I would smile but be angry.  If they started a business, I would support but be hyper-critical of their choices.  Every time I saw them making moves, I felt smaller and smaller until I disappeared.  I didn’t even recognize the person I had become.  So negative, so judgmental,  so scorned.  If I wasn’t talking negatively about people, I had nothing to say.  No conservation.  My friends had become people who I casually spoke to because it was easier that way.  It was easier to pretend if I only had to do it on a limited basis.  

My boyfriend became my existence and he watched me be miserable.

I had not dealt with issues that I allowed to ruin me.

Issues like past toxic relationships, abuse, insecurity, low self-worth and the list goes on.  I dug myself a grave over time and was burying myself in my own unchecked behaviors.  I walked around pretending to be okay but internally I was crumbling.  My friends were stars that I wanted to shoot out of the sky; reflections of what I desperately wanted but couldn’t attain. 

Until I started doing the work and nurturing that dying plant that was me. 

I started calling myself out on my shenanigans, checking my behavior.

I started seeing my therapist who initially I was just giving my money to because I wasn’t using any of the nuggets she was throwing my way.  I grew from seeing me therapist, to trusting her.  I received her suggestions and slowly starting making small changes.  I starting communicating with the man I love instead of just consuming the air that he also needed to breath.  I shared my pain and insecurities with him and for a little while, his confidence was mines until I could find my own.  I tapped into the support group that is my family.  I talked with trusted family members about my issues and we worked through them together.  I started to believe in myself and my own abilities.  I disconnected from Social Media because I wasn’t ready to be a responsible consumer of the things others want you to see online.

I started to do the work

I tapped into YouTube and watched loads of ShamelessMya.  She was inspirational.  She was bold.  She was courageous.  She was vulnerable.  She was what I was not, but aspired to be. 

I started to sing again because singing is my free therapy.  Singing brings me peace, tranquility.  Singing reminds me that I have a beautiful gift that I can either share, or keep just for me.

I haven’t started reconnecting with my friends yet (well not fully) because I am scared I’m not ready.  Not ready to truly be happy for them in a non-envious way.  Scared that I will fall back into darkness.  But I am working towards binding the rope that I cut loose.  I am working towards being authentically me, and being truly happy for the success of others around me.  I think I am making strides!

I watched a video of one of my old friends online and actually did feel happy for her.  Glad that she was engaged.  I smiled when I saw the look of sheer surprise and glee on her face as her nervous fiance got down on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage.  I was excited that I didn’t feel, jealous.  I was ecstatic that such a deserving women was being proposed to, and that I wasn’t watching with a heart full of “but why not me”.

I am not perfect, but I am enough for me.  I look at my accomplishments and my current journey and think “I am doing dope stuff”.  When I write posts and share what I am doing on social media it is because I am excited and want to share!  I try to share the good and not so good because I am NOT PERFECT and I want people to know that.

I am Ashley Valentine.  I used to be a hater. But now I’m doing the work of pinpointing my own insecurities and learning what it means to be joyous for others, while understanding that I too have things to be happy about.

Taking a seat

Indian Style

8 thoughts on “Hi I’m Ashley, and I am a recovering hater

  1. This takes alot sis. Letting your pride down and admitting/acknowledging your faults and flaws to be free in your mind and spirit. Be happy be free and continue to be a leader for thoses who dont know how to take the jump of Faith and let god work on them. (Including me) love u and keep going.

    Like

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