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  • Writer's pictureashlynnmalia

December 2023

Oh my goodness we are on journal entry No. 12. We have made it. One full year of me spilling my guts to the few of you who currently know about this.  It’s been fun and a good little self-experiment, as well as a cool way to reach out to y’all. I think I wanna continue it next year. Honestly, let me know in the comments if there are ever any specific things you want to know about or want me to touch on - writing inspo is always welcome. 


As one does during those last few days of December, I've been reflecting a lot. I don’t really give myself credit for how I handled the cards I was dealt this year. The times I've taken a deep breath and really, truly thought to myself, “I'm so proud of you for how you got through that” are few and far between. But I am really proud of myself. Like if you look back to January I literally couldn’t fucking walk. Like hello. I’m doing fine. It's so easy to see how well everyone else is doing, so easy to look at other people in a loving way, to see their strengths before anything else. All those “2023 highlights” posts coming up on my feed. I actually love those, it's cool to see people excited about how they’ve spent their year. It makes me happy and hopeful. It’s just sometimes difficult to look at my own life as a series of highlights and wins, even though they’re absolutely there. 


I’ve been a broken record these days in my private journal entries. I keep saying that it feels like there's this big fog over my future. I can’t see more than a step or two ahead, and consequently am having a lot of trouble planning ahead (not helpful when you have an Album coming out next year) This time of year is usually when I get so excited for all of my resolutions. It’s vision board time, it's the time of making lists and planting seeds. Setting new intentions. But none of those things feel quite right - nothing feels solid enough to even get excited about.


I was given what I believe to be a nice little gift from the universe yesterday, though. I drove past this overlook in LA and all there was was thick, cold fog. A perfect spot to sit for a minute and meditate on what I've been feeling. Laid out perfectly in my path. So I sat. and I stared. And I breathed. And I wrote this in my phone afterward: 


If I can just breathe

Let nature do its thing

Let the sun warm the world for a few more minutes

The fog clears itself up.

No need to plunge head first off of a cliff just to see what lies past it

No need to strain myself to look at what obviously doesn’t want to be seen

Not when my immediate surroundings are perfectly clear

The foreground of this view

That’s what is known

That’s what I engage with

What is here for me right now

The present is the most abundant, always.


To rush nature is to suffer and live in endless frustration.


(said fog)


I met up with my friend yesterday. We were talking about the years we both had, the things we want for ourselves going forward. I came clean about the fog. We talked it out. I asked him, “does it ever feel like the more you want something, the further away from you it becomes?” Both of us have experienced accidental careers in other fields during our pursuits of the ones we really wanted (for me, that was dance, it was never my intention to become a professional dancer, however grateful I am for every aspect of the experience and happy it played out the way it did. Music has always been my be all end all) and it's funny to me how the things we held onto the tightest seemed to grow stagnant more often, but what we weren’t constantly analyzing or strategizing about flowed to us with much more ease. To my question, though, he said, “Is the thing you want right now truly the most aligned with who you currently are? Or is it a dream created by an earlier version of you?” I’ve known him since I was a teenager. “If the goal is to be the youngest, most talented person in the room then it makes sense that you feel further from it every passing day. Because you’re growing up.” 


It didn’t hit me until then how much my youth was tied to the success I wanted; how it always made me feel behind, being in this industry for ten years (since I was twelve) watching teenager after teenager find success. “Making it” by a very young age seemed the most acceptable. All of the long-lasting female icons I know of in this time period started before their twenties - look at Taylor, look at Beyonce. I discredit everything I’ve done with the love I’ve had for art since childhood, simply because in my head, it never looked enough like the molds I so badly wanted to fit growing up. I’ve been discrediting the uniqueness of my own journey, of my own timing. I haven’t trusted it enough. 


(I feel very myself in this picture)


And I think that’s exactly why the fog is there. To force me to focus on who I am instead of basing my identity on what I'm chasing after. What do I choose to fill my days with? What things light me up and feel right to me? I made a list, partially to lay it out for myself, partially to see if there’s a new, updated dream to be made of all this. 


Things that feel right:


  • The vocal stacks I record on all my songs

  • Writing poetry nobody will ever see

  • Road trips

  • The treadmill at my gym

  • The vintage lamp next to my bed

  • Being around passionate and driven people

  • Drinking green tea

  • My group of girl friends

  • Orange wine

  • The star card (tarot)

  • Rooms with ambient light

  • Making music videos

  • The period of time after writing a song where I haven’t shown it to anybody yet and it feels like my own little secret

  • My guitar

  • The brown leather jacket I just thrifted

  • Salted caramel latte

  • Laurel canyon

  • Sharing a journal with my friend

  • Taking a deep breath

  • Hanging out with photographers and getting to see the world through their eyes

  • Taking a shower

  • Performing for live audiences and making them laugh even though my songs are sad

  • Trees


See you in 2024, 

Ash

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mapleleafcaptain75
mapleleafcaptain75
Dec 31, 2023

One thing I would like you to touch on is your time as a Kidz Bop kid, and what it meant to you and how much it helped you. Happy New Year.

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