When I was in Aspen for the very first time, it was early May in 2018. I had met Marcus (my husband) in person only a few days before, and this quote came up on my Instagram feed. I don't remember who posted it or who wrote it originally because, well, I was preoccupied I guess with what was right in front of me then (that, and I didn't really post anything about myself besides the occasional "I'm still making it, guys, don't worry" post in the form of a picture of me smiling (alone or otherwise). How real that smile was all the time is up for debate.
Anyway! The quote was:
DON'T TRADE AUTHENTICITY FOR APPROVAL.
Pretty good, right? I thought so then, and I think so now. At the time, I was on the precipice of a new relationship, the first actual relationship post-divorce. And man, did I need that reminder. In all of my romantic relationships up until that point, I realized I never fully showed up as the real, unfiltered Ashlyne. I watered myself down in little ways here and there. I might not show a quirk right at the beginning, or be reallllly aware of how much I talk (because it's been a thing in the past with other boyfriends)...I show up as the most upstanding, cheery Ashlyne I can be! And that IS me, but just not all of me.
In those former relationships, I wondered why the guys saw me a certain way, or rather why they seemed confused when I brought out some quirk or said something they didn't expect. Now I know they were reflecting the version of me they knew!
That's not the only reason these relationships went down, I know. But it was a factor!
So, during this trip...I was hell-bent on being me, all of me...because the point of the trip was to learn one thing: is this relationship even going anywhere? Could it? And would it be worth trying if we live states away from each other? There was no room for anything other than full-on authenticity.
Turned out, it was worth it, by the way :)