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Monday, January 4, 2016

Beginnings Disguised as Goodbyes

I'm leaving tonight. And tomorrow morning, I'll be in Texas.
I've been preparing for boot camp for nigh on eight years. And I think I'm as ready as I'll ever be.
I know there will be embarrassments and discomforts. Depression may strike briefly, homesickness make my mouth taste acrid. Despair or rejection or frustration may come. But in my mind, I have the tools to overcome those things. I've been preparing as much as I can, ever since I was 14 and realized climbing up a hill was hard and I was out of shape. Besides, you can only prepare yourself so much for a kick in the balls.
My room is pretty barren. I'm not really sad to be leaving Alaska, or moving out of my mother's house, because I never intended to stay. I've always known I would leave. And I know it's not forever. I can't make a home of the world, falling in love with every new town, if I can't let go of this home from time to time. Now is one of those times.
I've grown up a lot since I started this blog, and hot damn have I grown up a lot since May 15, 2013. And it feels impossible that I'm only 19-going-on-20 and I'm going to grow much more. I know that between now and when I come to Alaska again, I'll be a new person. But I wonder if, even if my mannerisms and demeanor alter, I'll still feel just the same. Feel like a sixteen year old wearing my skinny jeans, band tees, hoodies and converse. Who knows?
I'm not nervous. I'm excited all right, but not scared. I've been living for this for almost half my life. This is my checkpoint, though I don't know to where. I'm so ready for my life to change. Not to be better or whatever, because I know that happiness grows in conjunction with sadness, but for it to change. I haven't progressed or changed since I was 16. A lot of the time, I still feel sixteen. Of course I've changed a bit, but not in any important way. And this stagnancy needs to come to an end so I can continue to develop as a woman, a Jew, a human, a member of society.
No, I'm certainly not nervous. The hot feeling in my diaphragm is anticipation. Because I've been dreaming of the day I graduate from boot camp. I suppose it could change to nervousness, and when I get off the plane, it may, and I won't be ashamed of it if it comes. But for now, I tell myself not to be. I let palpitations play themselves out so I can be in the moment, without it marred by irrational fear.

The next adventure is now, and I can't describe my excitement.
I know I've said 'be brave' a lot, but I don't think I explained why bravery has come to mean so much to me. When I was fourteen, I wrote a poem, in which I tried to differentiate between Bravery and Courage. In the poem, the two adjectives argue about which is better. In the final stanza, Bravery says: "Bravery is to defy the pattern, even against the world/ to seek knowledge and embrace it, growing to woman from girl/ and knowing it may backfire, but with trembling lips to cope/ for while Courage is to be fearless, Bravery is to hope."
And hoping for a better future, for a reason to live, is what stayed my hand when I meant to kill myself those years ago.

Being brave is to be afraid, and not let it hold you back. There are too many cowards in the world, and most of us have no idea we're cowards. We die without ever having lived. Cowards, for not taking a risk. For not taking opportunities, for not doing what we want or need, for not speaking up or standing up straighter, for letting life get in the way of life. 

Sorry if my thoughts are scattered.
Well, not really sorry.

Not nervous, no, I'm terrified by the future. Exhilarated. Biting my nails.
But I can feel that bravery sparking in my veins, making me hope for the best, eclipsing any trepidation.
You should do it too.
Hope.
Be Brave. 
~Ashley 

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