My name is Ashley. I’m 24 years old. I live in a tiny southern town where, stereotypically, every knows everyone else’s business. Today, I was reading about the Traveling Red Dress. I thought of Jenny Lawson’s (The Bloggess) courage in writing about her struggles. I’ve been called courageous by a lot of people, but I haven’t lived up to that title in years. This is my attempt to reclaim it.
I have had issues with mental health in the past. I still deal with some of these issues today. Only this week, I was placed back on medication for anxiety. That is OK, but so many of us hide these sorts of illnesses. They do not make us less than. We should not be ashamed. I won’t be ashamed anymore.
I am a 24 year old “birth mother” or “first mother” who has fought eating disorders, PTSD, BDD, major depression, and anxiety. My child was conceived during a rape. I want to make clear that I love him no less, and that this did not influence my decision to choose adoption. However, I was fifteen years old and did not report the rape. My son’s biological father attempted to overturn the adoption. I fought for 18 months to keep my son safe with his parents.
To this day, that is my identity. The girl who gave her baby away. The girl who sold her baby. That whore who sold the baby. Stole the baby from his father. Ruined his life. On and on. After so long, I’m not even sure who I am anymore. I’ve become a caricature, even to myself.
I’m sick of running from that. I’m sick of being hurt by those comments. I know exactly what I did and I know why I did it. I have no shame.
This blog will likely chronicle a bit of my life today. I will tell stories about the things that I have gone through, in hopes that others will be helped. I will also try to rediscover who I am, outside of past diagnosis or accusations.
This blog will be my red dress…and if I happen to get my hands on one of the real Travelling Red Dresses, I will rock that dress. And post photos.