Thursday, December 30, 2010

dormant desire

dormant desire
aka: my life until now...

for as long as i can remember i've made it my mission to do two things- treat people as i'd want to be treated and never, ever be a cliché. the thought of being just like everyone else always terrified me and whenever i tried it it did nothing but make me feel even more unique and different.

my fear of being normal is due in large part to the fact that on paper- i am. since being accidentally conceived on moving day after the birth control was packed, my life has been painfully typical. upon entrance into the world i was cloaked in the most common name of the 80's, "ashley". growing up as a white, middle class girl with blond hair, blue eyes and having a pink 1989 vw cabriolet as my first car, it would have seemed that my barbie-doll life was well on its way to "happily ever after". where many would see a blissful, easy-breezy path towards the future- i saw monotony, complacency and the most dreaded of all- settling.

i've always had a love/hate relationships with plans. part of me yearns for the security of having an agenda and goals; the other part of me shuns anyone/thing that attempts to 'chain me down' and keep me from a freedom filled existence. in 2005 i graduated high school and there was no question- i was going to college for communications, in hopes of someday figuring out what the hell i wanted to do other than talk in public places and prank call people. (which i was very good at, i'll have you know)

it was an interesting place to be, between the certainty of the next four years and the looming uncertainty of what path i would go on after i got that piece of paper. i needed something more concrete. during my first year of college i tried desperately to sink my teeth into something fulfilling, something that would awaken me and set my dreams in motion. class after class; club after club; activity after activity; i found nothing that shook me to my core, i wasn't happy…i had to fix the problem.

there will always be those who doubt your choices on your journey towards ultimate happiness...sometimes that person may even be you. all too often we are scared to do what we want because we've been told "it's not sensible" or "it's not right" or "that's not the way it should be done". in 2006 i broke my parents heart and quit college in pursuit of my dreams.

my dreams were still pretty free-form at that point. ok, well that's a lie- i did know more than anything i wanted to be a stand-up comedian. it was the only dream i'd had since childhood that never went away. i love making people laugh, i enjoy being clever, and i like seemed like at every bend the universe was pushing me towards comedy. i wanted to move out to LA in hopes of making it big. ahh but then the pesky "i refuse to be a cliché" line kept swimming around in my head. "really ash? you think that you are any different from the countless other dreamers who flock to the west? you think an awkward, string bean of a girl would be successful on stage? you need something solid, something need to get a ball rolling on a career path."

after refusing to acknowledge my dream, i pushed onward in my search for happiness and i made a plan. i enrolled in a broadcasting school and quickly fell in love with radio. since childhood i could be found recording my own shows and forcing whoever would listen, to do just that. after being in school for a few weeks, i couldn't wait to get into a real studio. i snuck down the street one day after class and i talked my way into my first internship at a male talk radio station (unbeknownst to my teachers). the president of my school took me under his wing and pulled out all the stops in order to get my feet wet. he urged me to apply for a job with his daughter, which just so happened to be at the discovery channel. i landed the gig as a media librarian at the discovery channel communications HQ. in the year that i had been home after quitting college i had secured a full-time job with benefits, an internship at a popular radio station, and was going to broadcasting was truly blossoming.

during my internship i worked for the morning show which consisted of four main guys, two producers, and a movie reviewer. on day one they pulled me on air to get to know me a little bit better. at the time i had just turned 19 and i was only recently comfortable discussing my sexuality publicly. it wasn't long before i was known as the 'hot-bisexual-intern' to listeners (i came out as a lesbian a year later), which was a regrettable way of confirming to my mother (a station listener as well) that i wasn't kidding when i said i wasn't straight. sorry mom!

i gobbled up any job i could around the station. from setting up events to recording commercials to escorting strippers to the greenroom…i did it all and happily so. i loved my time as an intern but as soon as it began the ride was over. a day prior to my internship being complete i was offered a position at the station, which i took (to replace the job i had recently left at the discovery channel) and staid there for another year and a half.

people are incredibly dismissive of radio due to the FCC manhandling all creative forces at play on air. many also complain that radio stations play a selection of music that's repetitive and often way too mainstream. what few outside of the radio world know is that terrestrial radio has the potential to be entertaining, interactive, enlightening, and something really magical. i will never stop believing in radio- ever, i only hope that the FCC someday recognizes the err of their ways and adopts the mantra from our own constitution- "freedom of the press".

finding a sense of belonging in the radio community, i pushed forward on the airwaves. i left the unpredictable world of male talk radio for a more straight laced spot on the dial- news stations. with all the shtick and sexually themed conversations i'd been a part of in the past, i welcomed the complete 180 of being in a news room reporting on serious events. i accepted a job working weekends as a traffic reporter and in a matter of months i had moved into a full time spot during the weekdays. a year after my first shift on air, i was offered a position on TV as the afternoon traffic girl- at 21, i couldn't have felt more accomplished.

for the past three and a half years i've dutifully reported the traffic day after day in the nations capital. it doesn't exactly get me the ladies but i'm sincerely fascinated with the ebb and flow of cars (traffic nerd 2 da MAXX). a ride with me is often sprinkled with little known reasoning behind major work zones, or fun stories of major accidents. nothing brings me as much joy as discussing the gruesome tales i've witnessed/reported on throughout the years...unfortunately, this isn't a shared love and more often then not people think i'm morbid or weird for finding my reports on daily death so fascinating.

that itch that prompted me to leave college is flaring up again in a major way. in recent months work has demanded nearly all of my time. i don't say that in the way that most people do when they are mindlessly complaining about their job- i say it in the most honest way possible. while i've gone to a social gathering here and there, since the end of the summer i've been swallowed socially by my job. sitting in it- driving through it- reporting on it- or trying to avoid it; traffic is all i can see. in years past, complete career saturation has been a welcomed occurrence; i like loving my job and don't mind being consumed with it. but the moon is shifting and the tides are changing in my little world, i'm gaining the confidence needed to reach out and follow the stars that live in my heart.

i know dreams won't stay asleep forever...i just hope i wake up in enough time to chase mine down.


  1. you would make a kickass comedian.

  2. Fascinating reading. Dreams and traffic reports on the same post. Getting to know you thru your writing is always interesting.
    Get another path if this one is not quite working anymore. Paths -good or wrong- are still free, he.

  3. Take a Chance!!!!

  4. I don't normally watch the news in the morning, but as I turned on the TV this morning, you were on NBC reporting. And then I finally get around to reading this post!! What a coincidence!!

    I totally understand the feeling of restlessness. You have done well since the last jump you took, I say go for it again!!

  5. It is actually quite fascinating that you would fall into a line of work such as that.
    It explains why you seem so comfortable behind the camera for your videos.

    I personally think you should keep following your dream of being a Tree, but what do i know :)

    This was a very interesting read. When you know what you want, you really seem to go for it, and that is a fantastic trait.

  6. babygirl, the world is your oyster, innuendo and all. <3


    Eric Darby – Scratch and Dent Dreams

    Come on in, I’ve got a sale
    on scratch and dent dreams,
    whole cases of imperfect ambitions
    stuff the idealists couldn’t sell.
    Yeah, I know none of its got price tags,
    you decide how much its worth.
    And none of its got glossy colored packaging
    but it all works just fine.
    I’ve got rainy day swing sets
    good night kisses and stationary stars
    still flying at the speed of light.
    And over there out back
    if you dig down through those
    alabaster stoplights and those old 45’s
    you’ll find a whole crate of second hand hope.
    Yeah right there, that’s no chrome,
    you just gotta work, polish it up a little bit.
    Most folks give up too easy,
    trade it in for some injection mold
    and here and now.

    And over there across the freeway,
    you see that purple awning flappin’ in the breeze?
    Well that’s Momma Genuine’s shop.
    She’s older than all of us put together
    but she still laughs like a house.
    Now, she only sells tools but not like ya know,
    she’s got saws that put back together,
    drills that make whole. Mommas a cool legend to know,
    and she sells duct tape too.

    And down there at the end of the block
    are two kids, crew cut and pig tailed
    sittin’ behind abindle top table
    selling peanut-butter ice-cream out of a galvanized pale,
    and there’s no metaphor there its just good ice-cream.
    So here’s what ya do, take a look around
    pick out what reminds you of places you wanted to be
    but gave up on going and jam it all in this big box called “now”.
    Then go across the street to Momma Genuine’s,
    ask her how she’s been , show her what I gave ya,
    she’ll know exactly what you need
    and then go back in the center of that freeway
    and get to work making it all fit.
    You wont have any directions or factory number tabs but don’t panic,
    there’s a hundred ways to do it right
    and none to do it wrong cause your startin’ out
    with what’s already been given up upon,
    you cant do any worse.
    Use the tools momma gave ya,
    hum a little while ya work.
    Then you find yourself sproutin’ extra thumbs

    Take a break.

    Go around the block,
    get yourself an ice cream.
    Smile when they hand it to you,
    tip em if you can
    and when you get back it’s all gonna make sense.
    You’ll see where it’s gonna fit perfect
    and where the duct tape has to go.
    And when you get finished,
    take whatever spare parts you got at the bottom of “now”
    and make yourself a little sign that says “tomorrow”,
    and hang it on your masterpiece.
    Then you go back down the block
    to where those two kids are packing up
    their peanut butter enterprise
    cause somebody told them they’d fail
    and I want you to hand them tomorrow.
    Make sure they know how important it is.
    After they’ve run off with it all elbows and smiles
    y’all can come back here, we’ll do it all over again.

    Now im not telling you this to make a profit,
    that’s how so many good ideas go wrong.
    I’m just tired of seeing every day people
    screaming through these doors convinced
    they’re gonna hock even their littlest hopes and dreams to fund their 401Ks.
    I’m tired of seeing this whole world bet on going big
    or giving up. Only handing out glory to newspaper headlines
    and story book endings, ‘cause the truth is
    I think we need those swing sets most on the rainy days.
    I’m happy going to sleep after just a goodnight kiss,
    and I believe that beauty can be as simple as two kids,
    crew cut and pig tales, handing me a scoop of peanut butter ice cream
    that’s so good, you’d think it was a dream.

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