A Story of Divorce, Custody and New Life

I’ve been thinking about things a lot recently with the new year coming up and have decided it’s time to talk. I had hinted and implied before that I would someday tell the story of the hell I went through around 3.5 years ago, why I went away and why I avoided getting personal when I came back. You always love my personal posts, to my surprise, so I figure it’s time.

I’m going to tell this in a sort of way that does not publicly shame anyone (except maybe myself) or create monsters out of humans. First and foremost I am a mother to my dream come true, fairytale daughter and I share her with her father who was my high school sweetheart and who is now my ex-husband and with her stepdad who is the other love of my life. She is truly magical and you can only understand if you’ve met her and spent time with her… everyone she meets feels her light and says so. She is really a beautiful and special girl. An old soul. She is of the utmost importance always.

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Around 5 years ago my first marriage started taking a turn for the worst. I remember watching an episode of Intervention that explained why these adult children’s older parents were so bad for each other, why they shouldn’t be together because they enabled each other and it really startled me. How could they enable each other so much that they could never be out of that rut or get healthy together? How sad would it be to be married to your best friend and you realize you’re bad for each other? And you have children already?

We had our issues as everyone does and we shouldn’t have gotten married at such a young age after only dating each other and never living on our own. It’s all true. I think we were naive as most 20-year-olds are. But I thought I had what everyone wanted. I didn’t have to “date” and I didn’t have to be broken-hearted and go through meaningless relationships. I was always with my best friend and even though we fought and had so many problems we were able to ignore a lot of them and just get through together.

Until around four years ago when we didn’t and couldn’t. I didn’t know why but I was severely depressed and couldn’t find the light. I had this beautiful one-year-old baby I was spending my days with and a nice home and I could not get out of it and I felt like it was all my fault. I would pretend, I would make her fancy toddler meals, have tea parties and art class with her, take her to the park, I would sing with her and cuddle her. I still felt a hurt deep in my heart and I felt alone. I felt my husband didn’t love me or even like me. I felt like he never did and I just always pretended he did. And I was sick. Very sick. We tried a few couple’s counseling sessions, therapy, medicine, we tried it all and we would be ok together for a bit but then we would have an explosive falling out.

We couldn’t do that with a baby. We had our baby, the light of our life and we could not exist like we had for so long anymore. So in desperation I checked myself into a hospital (still feeling like everything was my fault and if I could just be better he would be happy with me and I would feel happy) and when I was released the castle shattered. I guess it was too late. It was horrible for everyone. He left with my baby, I lost my mind. I couldn’t get her because it was illegal for me to go to the home he stayed in when the owner did not want me there and the police said it had to be done through court. I had only been apart from her overnight once before this. It all seemed insane and I was so lost. I went to find a custody lawyer and all the depressed moments in therapy and hopelessness in my years of words were recorded in black and white. All of my medicines, any drug I ever used. I was always honest about my inner most flaws in therapy. I was depressed. I thought it was all me. I thought I would never be right again. I lost everything I’d ever loved and fell into a rabbit hole of despair.

Next came a three year divorce and custody battle. Feet were dragged, dates were moved, forms were lost. I was so ready to be done with this and it seemed every step we made we took fifteen steps back. Something else would come up or happen. Another delay. And another. Once the judge decided to leave town so all dates were moved. I’m not kidding, the court system is this flawed. Meanwhile I don’t see my daughter but every other weekend and the hope is getting smaller and smaller that it would change. I was such a trusting person that I never gathered any evidence to prove my innocence or the guilt of another. The only way I can explain it is I believed everything he had ever said and I knew he would never lie to me. I had years of therapy evidence against me about my own hopelessness and despair. The photos I took when I lost my mind after they left, the words I wrote when I felt violated. My tweets, status updates, videos. It’s so easy to blab things online that are inappropriate and think it will never haunt you, DON’T do it. It will never go away and it will always haunt you if ever your integrity is up for question. My phone was stolen and my private conversations with my best friend were used. I had years of evidence of using bandaids to cover the deepest wounds and those two months of nothingness enticed me to fall apart in the public eye. I had nothing to prove what was happening behind closed doors for all those years and so I could only take the weight all onto myself. I had no family. I had no strength, no self-love or confidence. It had been destroyed over a long period of time.

In the following years I got completely sober of alcohol, smoking and depression/anxiety medication. In those three court-riddled years I built a relationship with a man who had always been a trustworthy friend and someone I looked up to. In this relationship horrible pains were also experienced. I’m not sure anyone knows what it’s like to be in a relationship with a married woman who is grieving the loss of her family and a marriage to someone else. I’m sure it’s tough and I’m sure it almost magnifies the atmosphere for attacks from fears, lies and the darkness. We faced obstacles through this choice we made to be together during the divorce and other obstacles for simply living (such as when he got a concussion and severe amnesia you can read about here, my 17-year-old soul mate Hobbes passing, my emergency surgery, etc).

As I got stronger and had more bonding time with my child I found I had an opportunity to build something I had always dreamed of, something better and more beautiful than I knew I could have before. My partner had three young children who took to Colette instantly. They were all like long lost siblings within a year. Colette was a baby and because they loved me and always wanted a complete family and a little sister they felt the universe had also answered their prayers. We became the family we never had. I hear it takes around 3-5 years to fully blend a family. With young children I believe it can be much easier, especially when you have those children every other week together. We made sure we were blended before we talked of marriage.. and that the hurts of the past were healed.. and on October 25, 2015 we got married. My maid of honor was Mary (11, my new daughter), my flower girl was Colette (5, my biological, magical daughter), my best man was William (9, my new son) and my ring bearer was Samson (6, my other new son). Suddenly the right things looked like a puzzle that snapped together perfectly.

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How could we have been so blind all those years? I don’t know. I just think my ex and I deep down knew we were bad for each other but we wanted to stay together because we had only dated each other and the history was enormous. In doing that we only hurt ourselves and each other in different ways. We had planned our whole lives, had a beautiful child, had so many opportunities. We were best friends and we had a lot of good times through those years. His mom was like my mom; I really grew up with him. We just were toxic together. We were changing a lot and having growing pains and wanting different things. I see that now so obviously.. apart we do the things we need to do, we do the right things, we put ourselves last. Together we couldn’t do the right things, we couldn’t find the right path, we could only find paths to destruction and hurt in our own unique ways and our daughter didn’t deserve that. She deserved us to be happy apart rather than sick together.

Today we are, she has two families that love her more than anything in the world who would do anything for her. I don’t know a lot about his life these days but I know Colette loves her mother and father and feels loved by us. I still sometimes feel like I failed by not doing things differently, by not waiting to get married, not waiting to have a child.. however then the child wouldn’t have been her and that would have been it’s own tragedy. I wish things could have been easier for her sake because I know divorce is very hard on children even when they don’t remember it.. but I’m so grateful our mistakes could be turned into beautiful stories after all. My bond with her is so strong and special to me. We have a special connection that no one can touch whether she’s with me or with her dad, she’s the unbroken version of me as a child. I’m so grateful for her health and for this fact most of all.

So there you go. Although I was a little evasive.. you know more about what was going on and why you saw me 1. do a 180 with my health, appearance and heart; and 2. disappear for so long.

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Thanks for listening.. I adore you.

Crafting a Better Life of Love This Holidaisy

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I’ve been feeling a need to write. It’s been awhile that I have felt compelled to write a personal entry but I miss doing such so here I find myself plucking at the keyboard. I don’t often write personal entries these days because of what I’m still going through and an attempt to keep it under wraps mostly until it is long over. I’m still in the midst of a divorce and custody battle and I feel it’s best to keep it to myself and my family in order to protect myself, my ex and most importantly my daughter. It has been very draining to say the least, to start my life again from scratch after I had given most of myself to another for so many years. However even in the midst of this I have found love, happiness and the beginning of a family I always wanted that came easily and without negativity. Our home is filled with love and once everything is over I can fully start a new and devote myself to my new family, the family I had always wanted for myself and Colette.

So anyway, I am living many of the dreams I never really thought I would acquire. I am a housewife of a beautiful man who is a genius realism artist and gorgeous home in the city where I have everything I need to cook decadent meals and delicious desserts for family and friends. I get to spend my days working on beauty and fashion graphic design from my home office while chatting with my boss who becomes a closer friend everyday. I keep only true friends around and the rare free time I have for having fun I get to spend with amazing and creative women (such as Jamie Sucre) chatting and enjoying the finer things in life like sparkling cider, fairy lights and skittle-flavored shisha. I spend my evenings relaxing by the fire and crocheting with my mister by my side, taking a motorcycle ride through the city for a tasty dinner or playing games with our total of 4 children which include tons of laughter and imagination. I’m so inspired by this life filled with love and whimsical creativity and color that I cannot stop creating and planning for new projects for our family and for our work. I get to do many things it seemed I had no time or energy for in the past because I was so down about things I felt I couldn’t change.

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For instance this year I crafted my daughter’s costume because I couldn’t find a Chibi Moon costume small enough for her size and we dressed up together and Sailor Moon and Chibi for trick-or-treating! It was her first time to actually go and it was a blast. We traveled through the colorful leaf covered sidewalks to houses with lights and faux spider webs to fill our bags with candy. It was like a dream. Then Colette and I hung our tree very early this year, Nov 1, and decorated it with candy sweet adornments. I hung my stocking, sewed a French-y damask one for mister to complement my Versailles style stocking and promptly bought gorgeous, fluffy fabrics for the children’s stockings and embroidered characters on the front. Theirs are still pinned and waiting to be completed but they are oh so excited!

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Winter is my favorite time for yarn crafts as well, don’t you feel the same? I’ve currently got a crochet project going on for Jamie and a knitting project using a magic yarn ball someone made me last year. I was so excited about this yarn ball I saved it until I got settled in my new home so I could look forward to knitting my mother a scarf this winter. It’s not my style of colors and happens to be her favorites: muted forest greens and soft blues and purples all woven together in wool. I’m so taken by this yarn ball surprise I’m crafting one for a penpal friend online and we’re swapping soon so I will be sure to do a feature on that for you to participate in the fun! I feel there was a period in my past I was almost so excited because I spent most of my time crafting things for friends and family while my baby cooed in the background. It’s so fun now that she’s 3 and can actually help me or give me advice on things she likes most. She will always be my little cherub, the center of my heart. She is too perfect and I cannot wait to spend my whole life with her and my soul mate crafting a better life of love, color, whimsy and true, internal happiness which I once thought unreal. I hope you are also feeling reminiscent and content at the end of this year seeing what resolutions you will make and what things you are most grateful for.

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Also for some random updates I finally got my hair done for the holidays as I had planned, scary change but I felt it was time for a big change to match the way my life has changed. I’ve also become really into American Horror Story on FX — I watched seasons 1 & 2 around Halloween and now I’m caught up with season 3. I had stopped watching horror entertainment for my whole previous marriage because my life felt so chaotic without it. Now that my life is secure and stable for the most part, filled with love and calmness, I have gotten back into horror for fun. What are you into this year? XX

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I’ve Since Been Crowned by Flowers and Love

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to update and felt free enough to explain a little of what has been going on in my life and all of the changes and struggles I have encountered. I felt very disappointed that my work and my blog fell to the wayside in the midst of this but my life was in dire need of most of my effort, the rest was given to love and support my little girl and my boyfriend (Mister Educated).

Although I can’t be too specific because it’s not appropriate and feels gross to put other’s private lives on a public blog, I can say the basics. My marriage fell apart in June. It had been falling apart for quite a while prior to that but it reached it’s breaking point in June. I’m not hurt about it anymore as I was when it happened, I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had and most importantly for the beautiful little girl myself and my ex share. If you met her I have no doubt that you would instantly smile from ear to ear. She is the kind of special soul that leaves a positive imprint on everyone she meets and everywhere she goes. She’s always happy and saying something very clever for her age or something completely silly and comical. She reminds me so much of myself when I was little and enjoys playing with miniatures in her doll house with her Sylvania cream cats, love all animals, loves painting and loves to be outside. She can find fun in most situations and is a ball of cuteness and sweetness.

I also started talking to another very special person in mid-August. This is a person I had cherished having met and being a friend of mine. He taught me a lot of valuable skills and ways to see the world and I openly considered him a mentor. I met him in 2003 in college but remained friends with him after graduation via short occasional chats online about our families and work. We decided to hang out after we began talking again in August and the connection we had was still there but things had changed quite a lot. The connection was less of a friendship and inspiration connection and more of a romantic connection. The attraction was almost unbearable and we couldn’t get enough of just hanging out and talking or going to dinner and laughing, everything we did together was a very uplifting experience for both of us at the most painful time in my life. A month went by and things became gradually more serious until in late-September when I moved in because he offered that I needed a safe place to get my new life in order and get back on my feet. Since then we have became not just star-crossed lovers and soul mates united, but a family. We have a gaggle of smart and beautiful children that adore each other and hanging out with us and we are both happier than we have ever been before and so thankful we were united at last.

Our home is a big, old house. Over 100 years old to be exact and my Mister (as I lovingly call him because we will not be publicly open until after everything is resolved sometime next year) spent most of his past free time fixing and remodeling every room, nook and cranny until we got serious and I began helping as well. It feels like such a positive environment as soon as you walk in the door and you feel a lightness that is created from love, effort and a million memories left from a happy family. The floors, stairs and accents are lovely and original hardwood, there are 4-stories including a finished basement and loft studio and our sparkly mint and latte fireplace we just rehabbed and intricately tiled is the heart of the home. There is a large, fenced-in backyard with gardens of all kinds and a play set for the children. The front has gardens, stones and red hedges to welcome passersby. There are two balconies, one amazing one off our bedroom and another unfinished as well as a big front porch. It is a big change going from apartment life to a antique mansion but I’ve adjusted quite nicely and I adore living here. I haven’t felt I had a home since I was a child and I feel through and through that this is my home and my long lost beautiful family, my cute 15-year-old house cat Hobbes included.

I am happy now. I have found my higher power and I don’t take any medications for anxiety or depression anymore, I don’t ever drink even recreationally or socially and I work towards a more healthy self daily. I still have struggles such as doing extremely trying self work and moving on completely and I recently found I have pre-cancer which I have been getting treated but I never thought it was possible for me to have what I have. It has been an IMMENSE amount of work thus far and still is as I am still not where I want to be. I’m rebuilding myself online yet again and offline as well in my new community. I adore the opportunities that continue to pour in and I very much missed blogging and doing designs especially for you. I am home now and I am back. Thanks for hanging in there on this long and bumpy ride. You wont regret it!

Some exciting things coming in the future that were put on hold over a year ago: kid-friendly projects and activities, more reviews, interviews and features, his and hers articles, the world according to us articles, more tasty and easy recipes, positive energy projects, diy and craft projects, kawaii kitty care articles, art features, more products in our new shop (officially open again!), pretty photo shoots and daily life shoots. Stay tuned!

Let’s Make Cupcakes with Disney

In a cupcake making mood? I definitely am after seeing all of the adorable cupcake decorations on Disney’s Family Fun website here. I joined a few kiddie websites for fun inspiration and I cannot wait for Colette to be old enough to enjoy them! There are so many cute recipes here for kids and adults to enjoy together. If you haven’t seen the magazine yet it’s also filled with adorable recipes and crafts! I highly recommend it.





Japanese Magazine Clippings: Happy and Free

I’m starting off Wednesday with another Japanese Magazine Clipping Inspiration Board. I’m really loving the 80s-kiddie style they’re bringing back in Japan (as well as Fairy-Kei!) — it’s really exciting for a candy girl like me.

I used to only want to have had kids if I could have them in the late 70s/80s (haha) because everything is so magical then. Don’t you agree?

I’m also so glad they’re re-releasing all the 80s character designs in Japan again, too! It’s like they took a page from the 90s-Miseducated book.. 80s nostalgia & rainbows obsession.

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Thankful for Monday: Feeling Wonky

Hello, candylanders! Fear not for I did not and could not forget you. *majorsensoryoverload* My time is much more precious with baby girl around, I feel she deserves every waking moment and I seem to have no problem at all giving them to her!

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I’ve started a new artist project and have been scanning my old sketch/inspiration book.

Changes

Life always changes.. and the past sometimes seems amazing when you try to reminiscence about it.. but in reality you had problems then too. When you’re thinking about how wonderful things used to be you’re probably only focusing on the negatives now.. what what about the positives? I have to say I love changes because although I think I hate them and would want to be a child of the 80s forever — they’re amazing. Life changes all the time and you just have to enjoy each and every part… You only live them once!

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A print I made for Colette before she was born.

Japanese Fashion Magazines

So I’ve been away from all of my goodies (aka: loot) for quite awhile now.. it’s all still boxed and labeled nicely in storage until we move. I miss it so much! I’m probably going to do an *obsessedwithjunk* post when we move and photo-shoot everything I always took for granted!

I again remember why I miss Japan and the life I had there.. so amazing and filled with health, good food and happiness. The magazines take me back to a time when I surrounded myself with everything adorable, bright and colorful so that I wouldn’t focus on the bad. I tried to focus on cute things that made me feel happy (my Hello Kitty and Sanrio goodies go back to 1981!) and squeal. Japan makes that world of cute lifestyle real to me, I feel so at peace and home when I’m sleeping there.

On a really materialistic note I miss the stores, clothes, magazines and food a lot, too. These magazines are like rainbow soup for my candy-lovers soul.

Sketching

I love sketching once more. When I started painting again recently for a show I found my sketching skills as shaky as ever and I decided to start perfecting them again for this artist feature I’m participating in. I cannot WAIT to show you because I have some great ideas!
😉 I’m doing a sort of a scrapbook in my notebooks as well.

Cotton Candy

I think that with a name like fairy floss this candy pretty much speaks for itself. It’s sweet and flavored (if you’re lucky) sugar melted and dried by a cooling fan. Usually it’s melt-on-your-fingers pink and lick-your-lips blue. I had to go to the local fair recently to snag a monster-sized bag, no questions asked!

FAMILY

The little family I have makes me happiest of all. If I didn’t have them I would be a lot crazier than I am now! 😉 Ben has always been amazing to me and Colette makes me smile more than I ever thought I could! Everyday with them is the best day.

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Old inspiration sketch.

Japanese Magazine Clippings: Cute and Collected

I went on another Japanese magazine rampage.. I do this once a year usually during the summer when I start to really miss summer in Japan.

I’ve decided that while looking at the magazines, when I see something especially Miseducated I’ll clip it out for you to see.

The magazines I collect from are CUTiE, Kera, Zipper, Spoon and assorted fashion features.

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Did you know there’s a new Japanese magazine called I LOVE MAMA? I’m in love!

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Find Out What You Really Want

Have you ever walked to the ocean, when no one else was in sight? The seagulls aren’t even awake yet and all you hear is the roar of waves crashing against the rocks? The sand is still cold because the sun has yet to emerge from the horizon, the sky is still gray. All you hear is that deep, rolling thunderous noise of the tide coming in.

And all you can think is “Woah.”

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Because you see, with your own two eyes, just how big the ocean is. That it’s so much larger then you originally thought. Sure, textbooks may have taught you that our Earth is mostly water, but now you’ve seen it.

I definitely had my own, ocean-sized ‘Woah’ moment last night.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ashli Jade, I’m an on-again-off-again blogger living in the suburbs, which has led to several cases of same-house-syndrome ( Ever walked into one that wasn’t yours?) as well as- in combination with other things going on- mild and moderate depression.

My parents had met in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The second most populous city in the state and you still have to drive an hour to Denver if you want to do something worth your time. They married shortly after I was born, and soon after a separation between the two landed myself, my newborn brother, and my mother in Sacramento, California with a strange old woman who smelled of something she called ‘spinach’ and hung lowercase Ts in every room and made us touch our foreheads, chests, and shoulders before eating ( I would later learn that she was my grandmother).

Eventually, a divorce was issued, which brings us to them now living on opposite sides of the same street and me not remembering a time when they were together. You’d think, after sixteen-seventeen years I would have gotten over the fact that I never really had a family. That I would have found some way to cope after all that time. But the truth is what I didn’t know what a family was, or what I was missing. I had been under the impression that what had happened was what was supposed to happen ( Don’t get me wrong. Both my mom and my dad are amazing people and we love each other very much and so on and so forth.)

The shocking thing was, as I got older and became more associated with other people and their families, and saw what they all had in common that mine didn’t ( ” You eat Thanksgiving dinner together?”), I never really became resentful toward the situation, sometimes upset, but strangely never bitter towards them. And that’s where our story begins.

For as long as I could remember, I’ve had one mission and one mission only: Get a boyfriend. In second grade, all I wanted was a boyfriend, and the same goes throughout the years until about midway through my sophomore year of high school. As I continued getting older, the obsessive goal had become more and more intricate. Suddenly, I didn’t just want a boyfriend, I wanted a high school sweetheart who I would get married to and we could have a healthy relationship and nothing would ever go wrong.

Crazy thing was I never really got one. Of course there had been flings here and there, but I was far too picky. No one that crossed my path lived up to the ridiculous expectation.

But never once did I question why I had wanted it so badly. Yes, all my friends were always in loving relationships, but they all also had horrible piercings and self-done tattoos and I didn’t want any of those.

Last night, something came to the surface. It was never about having a date on Friday night. It was never about just having a boyfriend, that’s not what I wanted. I had wanted my own family. My own family to have holiday dinners. My own family to sit with at church. My own family.

Currently, do I know that I have a family? Yes. Did I have to date someone to find these wonderful people? Absolutely not.

But that it isn’t the point of this.

The point is that sometimes, if not all the time, we need to ask ourselves why. If we don’t, we may spend our lives trying to accomplish something that isn’t worth our time, nor is it what we really want. Because if you don’t ask why, by the time you realize that that what you’re really striving for isn’t what you want, but the feeling associated with it, you will have already wasted to much time and energy you could have put into doing something you love.

Money, fame, significant others, luxury items…They don’t emanate some healing force that magically cures unhappiness or illness. They don’t make you young and full of energy.

Ask yourself why, and keep asking yourself why you want what you want, why you’ do the things you do, and eventually you’ll come to the bottom line find feelings that you’ve been chasing, and you can decide whether or not it’s worth going after. Or if you’re going after it the right way.