on emptying myself and what it means to be a writer.

I constantly have words swirling around in my head. All day, every day.

When I’m in the shower, or doing the dishes, or taking Everett for a walk around our neighborhood, I’m writing in my head. I have no control over it. Even if I deliberately think to myself: Ashlee, relax! Just be here and breathe and stop thinking so much! I can’t. I can’t stop thinking and I can’t stop the words from forming. They are just…..there, dancing around in my brain waiting for me to put them somewhere else.

So you see, I need to empty myself.

I need to write, to get the words out, because if I let them stay there in my head, I start to feel too full, like how a person feels after Thanksgiving dinner. I get stuffed. And then I start to feel a little sick.

And then someone brings out the dessert and I’m like HOLD UP.

Hold. Up.

There is always room for dessert.

So I change out of my real pants into the stretchy kind and make a little extra room.

And I dive right in, licking my fork with each delicious bite.

………….

This blog has always been the place where I empty myself. It’s where I dump the words that are swirling around in my head all day, to ensure I never get too full.

And now, I’m embarking on a new writing journey, a bigger journey, to dump even more words and truly empty myself. I am still not sure what will come out of it, but I think it will be an ebook of sorts. I don’t know if I will attempt to self-publish, or if I will find someone to help me. I don't know how those things work, but I'm willing to figure it out to share my story. It will be a collection of short essays, things I’ve learned in my twenties---lessons on friendship and marriage, grace and motherhood, who I am, who I am not, and who I want to become someday. Sometimes I think it’s a great idea, and sometimes I think it’s dumb. I’m thankful for friends like Katie who read pieces of it and say, “Keep going!”

In the meantime, I’m still here. This is still where my heart resides. I’m learning that the more I empty, the more the words come pouring out. I’m like a sixteen year-old boy, a bottomless pit.

So thank you for being here, for reading, for listening. While I am emptying myself on other pages, I will continue to empty myself here. I am grateful for this space, for this community, for you.

This is where I change into my stretchy pants, where I lay the napkin across my lap and grab a clean fork in eager anticipation.

This is where I make the extra room.