i only have my stories

I only have my stories.

I don’t have deep theological rants, or meandering dissertations.

I don’t lay bare my politics. I will no longer tell you how to mother your children. I can’t tell you what to believe.

I owned the answers, once, and I handed them out here and there and everywhere. My opinions were strong, my conviction mighty, my certainties unwavering. It all bubbled and spit until I laid it out in type.

But the boiling eventually spilled over, too much, too soon, and the heat was on. It all boiled down, and down, and down.

It boiled down until it was gone, all of it. The opinions, the doctrines, the practices, the reasons, the answers, the formulas.

pen

Now I have the stories.

I don’t have reasons anymore, but I am free to discover them again. I am here to be filled up, to seek and find. The boiling over and boiling down, it wasn’t for naught.

I’m filled with these stories, stacked by tens and twenties like an overflowing bookcase. I have stories of a little girl exuberant, knowing her own mind. I have stories of a young woman confident only in fear and self lost during the in-between years and little-girl-grown-up, found again.

Stories of handmade floral jumpers and pretty scarves of submission tied ’round my young head, of stapled paper magazines and old pen-pals. I have an account to give, here, of paradigms shifted, of crashing down and building up. Jesus known, Jesus lost, a new Jesus found.

Do you want to know the true tale behind that diamond ring finding its way to my 17 year old left finger, of babies born to young (yet married) parents, of childhood mothering?

I can talk to you about ten years of military life, the support, the hatred, the love, the quasi-pacifism, the pounding patriotism, the breast of conflicted emotions, the truest versions of those deployment sagas.

Let me whisper of family, the way we push and pull. The friendship casualties, the kindreds gained. I show the front of my marriage, the forward facing side, but perhaps this time I can be honest.

My ballet dancing son, my love of red wine, the way my fingers work yarn endlessly. My work and hiring a nanny. The way I read Common Prayer and took a break from church. The months spent curled in the corner of my sofa. The therapy and the doctor who discovered the secret. The horror of the midwife and the redemption of babies birthed. The months I contemplated walking away. My year in a hippie town.

These stories, I have them, tucked down deep and hidden, covered in a bit of a haze, bound tightly with a ribbon of fear. They beg to be released, to have the tape ripped from their lips, to climb to the rooftops and shout their own names.

Be warned, friend, I’m a new one, here. You know me and you don’t. I know myself and I don’t.

No cohesive topic. No pointed argument. No special knowledge to share. No axes left to grind.

But I still have my stories.

I only have my stories.

33 Responses to i only have my stories

  1. Hillary Rain April 26, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    There is such freedom in not having axes to grind. In abandoning the urgency to disagree and explain why. In not having those pointed arguments. This is such a wonderful place to be. Love your stories. They have a life of their own and sometimes, when we let them flow through, we surprise ourselves with all kinds of secrets and mysteries.

  2. sarah April 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    love your stories <3

  3. Diana Trautwein April 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    Beautifully said. For me, this is the heart of it . . . telling our stories, all kinds of ‘em. Stories that bring hope or ask a question, or wrestle with hard stuff. Yes. Thank you.

  4. tiffany April 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    so happy to see you here and writing again! i loved following you before you had your 3rd son and anaxiously awaited you coming back – hoping at least – but understanding you needed to be quite here for whatever was going on!

    i feel the same — i only have my stories, my experiences and what I have lived. I am no expert on anything other than what I have been through and I too have been trying to figure out how to write parts of my story on my blog – its not so easy for me, in some ways — i get all cought up in how i string the words together – I am not a good writer really, so anyway – sorry for the ramble – i look forward to reading your stories!!
    xoTiffany

  5. Whitney April 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Ashleigh,

    I have been reading your blog for so very long and have missed your writings so much. I am excited to know that you are writing again, as you are a very honest writer. Your stories are real and heartfelt. Although I am much older than you, I have just recently been able to tell the stories of my childhood on my website and I understand all too well how difficult that can be. But I will tell you this….it is healing. And it is real. You have a maturity far beyond your years and I am looking forward to reading and learning more from you. Wishing you peace and happiness.

    Whitney

  6. Jen April 8, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Your stories were what first drew me to you, what first made me love you, what has kept you in my thoughts and heart often, and even though we don’t talk much, you are very dear to me. This post made me bubble up inside with excitement for the voice I think will come out. You were made for such a time as this, dear one.

  7. Tracey April 7, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I just re-subscribed. Bring it, dear one. xoxo from Colorado.

  8. Alissa April 5, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    I loved every second of this!! Every word and I cant’ wait to hear more my friend. xo

  9. Shannon April 5, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Beauty from ashes. Our stories making us more than parts…a journey to finding the whole.

  10. Jaclynn April 5, 2013 at 12:53 am #

    I know only a little, but I’ve always had respect for you and your journey and how to weave words and share your heart. Please keep on. :) *hugs*

  11. Chelsea April 5, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    This. Is. Amazing. I am inspired and in awe of your writings. I see myself coming out in this. I think we all do. We all have secrets, wrapped up tight, and waiting to be released. The only way to find freedom is to release them. Your strength might inspire hundreds to release their own. And find freedom too. <3 You're awesome woman, and I can't wait to read more.

  12. Sarah Denley April 5, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    This is beautiful. And I can’t wait for more.

  13. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect April 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Me too, friend. When I’m honest…me too. And I love that you shared all this. Looking forward to more of your stories!

  14. Wendi April 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    The stories are what make us who we are..they are the up’s and down’s of life, the good and the bad they make you who you are:)

  15. Leilani April 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    HI Ashleigh! I’ve been reading your blog for years now and it’s one of my favourite places to visit. I was so touched to read this post. I feel like I am in a very similar place. Everything has changed. I’m happy to hear that I am not the only one! Looking forward to reading your stories and I know already I will be encouraged and inspired by them!
    God bless you
    Leilani

  16. barb April 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    wow. keep writing them. you are very talented. i want to read more now, many, many more.

  17. Sharone April 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    So glad to read this, friend. I’m greedy for your stories, excited by the storytelling gift in you, loving your heart. I have the best kind of chills.

    • Carrie August 14, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

      Times are chnnaigg for the better if I can get this online!

  18. Melissa April 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    And I am so thankful for them:))

  19. LoraLynn April 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    I wanna read ‘em all. Give it. Lemme hear those stories…

  20. Chantel April 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    It’s been quite the saga. I love you…your stories. The person you’ve always been through all these seasons. Thankful to know you and to call you my friend. <3

  21. Becca Williams April 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    I am excited to keep reading. Please keep writing

  22. Andrea April 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    I am excited about this. I like this a million times over.

  23. Kelly @ Love Well April 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    What do any of us have but our stories, really? It’s the stripping down to the essence of who we are, who God is making us.

    And you, friend? You are beautiful.

  24. Sarah Bessey April 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Talk about a journey, eh? My goodness. You know I’ll go where you go.

  25. nicole April 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Love this. I can’t wait to read your stories.

  26. Hännah April 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    <3

    good.

  27. the Blah Blah Blahger April 4, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Balls…that gave me chills. I love you and can’t wait to hear the stories that come racing out once the tape of fear is removed.

  28. Amber C Haines April 4, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    You have always been an amazing storyteller. I love you, sister.

  29. Lisa April 4, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I’ve been reading you for awhile now, Ashleigh…way back from Heart and Home. Appreciate your words here because when it comes down to it everyone has a story. It springs out and blows sometimes, and it lays dormant and hibernates, too. What strange complexities! Keep writing those stories…with pen and ink if needed. ;)

  30. elisha April 4, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Anxiously waiting for what lies next here:)

  31. HopefulLeigh April 4, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    I love this, Ashleigh. I sense a rebirth from these words. I love your stories and I love you.

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