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  • Writer's pictureAshleigh Burton

Old Keys - New Doors

I'd like to think I'm pretty self aware.

I also pay incredibly close attention to those around me.

Something I've noticed that most people have in common - fear of the unknown.

I'm not talking about "Are aliens real?" "What's at the bottom of the ocean?" "I'm scare of the dark."

I'm talking about a HUGE realization that occurred to be while in the shower the other day. Don't we all do our best thinking in the bathroom, any way?

How often do we stay in a situation (i.e. job) or relationship (romantic or platonic) that we know is hurting us, but we stay because it's all we know. (I'm not diving into domestic violence, at all. That's not where this is headed.)

Let me tell you what I mean:

A few days ago, I got a message on Facebook from a person that I had no spoken to in about two years. This person used to be a dear friend - my best friend for years - was there for me during some pretty dark, ugly stuff in my life. When they left - it was sudden. It stung. I cried for days. I was mad, hurt, and then I had to learn to live without this person. It took months to heal from that hurt and I thought about them every single day - until they started to fade.

When they reached out to me - I was totally surprised. They filled me in on their life, apologized for what happened, and signed off. I stared at that message for a long time. I was so happy to hear they were doing well, felt sort of oddly comforted to know they missed me too, as I began to type back a response - I stopped.

That's not me anymore. They don't know me. I don't know them. That is not a door I want to open anymore.

If I open that door again - that same old key to that same old door. I know where it goes, but I still was tempted to open it because it's known. It's familiar. Even though painful, I know what to expect.

But GOD how many times to we keep a person around because it's comfortable?

How long do we keep one of our personality traits around because it keeps us safe?

We'd rather be complacent with the pain we know rather than risk the joy/success/happiness/love/light that COULD be out here. What happens if we let go of the relationships that hold us back? What if you stop with the self deprecating humor? What if you stop resorting to "whatever you want is fine with me" and start speaking up for the things you want and need? But it's all those what ifs. It's always the what ifs. The Unknowns.

You might lose that relationship when they can't call and vent but not offer you that same space. You deserve space to be able to talk.

That old key opens a door to restriction and burn out. Carrying your burdens by yourself but sharing the load off someone else only holds you down more. That boundary is so incredibly important and I'm just now starting to learn it.

People can't make fun of you anymore when you stop making fun of yourself.

I had to learn this lesson - still learning it daily. As a pretty insecure person, this is one of my hardest boundaries to set and hold. I've always lived under a "laugh at yourself first - this way they laugh with you and not at you" mentality. That never works.

You thoughts, feelings, opinions, wants, and needs are just as valid as everyone else's that you seem prioritize!

I'm currently in a big season of change, growth, and opportunity and I'm scared shitless. I'm currently faced with this key ring full of keys - old keys. Familiar keys. Safe keys. I know the doors they open, I know where those doors lead, and I'm tired of walking those same halls with the same results.

No matter how big or small - progress is progress. They don't call it growing pains for nothing. It's time to grab new keys to new doors. It's time to step into the unknown. It's time to take the risk.

I don't know what journey you're on, but I'm glad one those keys you have lead you to me.

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Feb 23, 2021

Great thoughts, Ashleigh. The fact that you recognize that you are going to have challenges and are endeavoring to grow is half the battle. You are going to be just fine. Look at the communities you have built. I personally take part in 3 different communities you have started, YouTube, Facebook and Patreon. I hope you don't think it's weird that I will sometimes post on all three.

I have been there. In 1981, when I was 25, I took a job in Southern California and transferred from Massachusetts. That's a 3000 ile move. I didn't know anyone when I made the move and it was quite scary for me. But it was the best move I could have made.…

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