Why You Front’n?!

So not too long ago, Jimmy Dean Freeman asked me to join him on another synchronized blogging topic: Freedom to Confront Your Past.

After I got his message, I sat there for a minute and processed it… freedom to confront your past…freedom to confront your past.. huh. Nothing extremely inspirational made its way into my brain. Likely because I’ve talked about my own story so much, it’s even old news to me! You can read that here. Well, actually, nothing inspirational hit my brain, but there was this random piece of seemingly unrelated material:

I thought back to my days growing up in the glorious white trash town of Winder, in which I recollected a vivid memory. I suddenly remembered standing in the 6th grade hallway watching as two skanky teen girls started fist fighting and screaming, “YOU A LIE!! YOU A LIE!! WHY YOU FRONT’N?!!” For those of you who don’t speak fluent white trash, the term “You a lie!” and “Why you front’n” are slang for “Why are you pretending to be someone you are not?”…

I suppose somewhere in that strange thought train, my mind had translated Jimmy’s topic suggestion of “freedom to confront your past” as more of a “why hide from who you really are”. And at that, the thoughts began to pour…

Confronting your past can suck. Especially if your past sucks.

Take me for instance….my past kinda sucks.. a lot. As you’ve likely read on my blog, I was a kid with very low self esteem, who ended up taking a lot of verbal abuse and harassment and found myself hooked on drugs, alcohol, and other dangerous “pastimes” by 15. I dropped out of high school, straightened myself up for a bit, went back, determined to finish it all out….and then got pregnant months before graduation. I ditched college in favor of a full time job so I could support my baby. Somehow along the way, only God knows, I ended up getting this:

But despite having THAT goodness up there… things are not perfect at all. But I’m completely cool with that, and have no problem admitting that to anyone. We deal with tons of crap, life drama, financial garbage, family problems, and all the other good stuff that most of you know and understand all too well.

But hey, that’s life. I’m not gonna act like this crap is a cake walk! I own up to it.

I rarely intentionally throw myself into uncomfortable social situations, but I always end up in them some how. Any time I meet new people it’s the same old, same old: Filler Questions. Where do my kids go to school…What part of town do I live in [raised eyebrows at “Winder”], what does my husband do, what do I do…yadda yadda yadda… and YEAH.. this conversation blows. Let’s get to the point here and find out if we REALLY want to be friends!

“Question number one: Are you eventually willing to discuss your life mess instead of playing pretend? If yes, continue onto question number two. If not, shut your face. Two: Do you like running?….”

Ha. Not really. (But maybe a little bit really.) But why hide real life? Can we
not go there? Is it because we fear rejection? Because we’re scared of how bad it would hurt if people don’t like us?… Man, I don’t know… but we all do it. Here… check yourself! Bet you can identify with one of the following:

Are you front’n about your past? Hey guess what… we’ve all done some really freakin’ stupid things that we wish we could take back. But do you own up to it?
See, that’s the hard part…The easiest route is to cover up our past, and pretend like we have been outstanding citizens of Earth our whole lives. But that’s not the smart path. That’s the fake path that is well traveled, but leads to a dull destination. Because when you open up, and you’re honest about who you really are or what you’ve gone through in life–people get you. And they appreciate you because they’ve probably been there too. If they don’t, …then who cares? Let them judge.

Are you front’n bout your running?

So just the other day, I was running with my good friend Beth McCurdy. We weren’t doing anything especially hard, just 15 miles at an easy-to-talk pace. By the end of the run though, Beth asked me if I was tired… “Yeah,” I said, “I’m hurtin’.” She smiled and said, “I love it when you tell me you’re tired! Everyone else acts like they’re feeling fine when I say I’m tired.” I started laughing and questioned why anyone would act like they aren’t tired. But shortly after I said that, I realized why: people don’t like to show weakness. It’s so stupid too, because acting like you’re some superb runner when you’re not doesn’t get you any better results. If you’re tired..you’re freaking tired. Just say so. Who gives a crap? I don’t have a daily mile, but I’ve seen entries on the site…:

“So and So ran 20 miles and felt TERRIFIC! Awesome run!”

“Just slammed a 10k in 45 minutes… Easy run.”

“Ran 100 miles. Felt good.”

…..I’m calling bullcrap on that. Really?? It’s probably best that I don’t have a dailyMile, because mine would be more along the lines of the sickening truth:

“I ran 20 miles and felt like death. I wasn’t even going that fast because I’m pretty out of shape right now. About 10 miles in, I questioned my existence and why I even run in the first place. The next 10 looked pretty ugly. However, I finished that crap so I could write this post and show all you guys that I’m not really a wimp.”

….Preach.

Nobody ever said running was easy so maybe lets all stop acting like we’re always having such a blast.

Now hold up, before I move on, let me clarify that I’m am not an advocate of complaining. But there’s a difference in saying “that run was hard!” and going on and on for months about your sore knees… suck that stuff up, buttercup.

Front’n Bout Happiness. This one is tricky. Because you can walk a fine line of being real and being emo. I tend to front about my happiness and I hate when I do it. I have a history of clinical depression. Not sure why but it creeps up every now and then in my life for a few months, and I’ll start running heavy miles like a mad woman.. I’m so phony about it when I’m going through it all though, I’ll be all smiles if I meet up with friends for lunch or something. And I should really stop doing this because I’m a bad faker. I always have to remind myself that it’s okay to not be [or act] happy all of the time. Sometimes life just sucks. I think it’s good to allow yourself to deal with suckiness in your own way, grow, learn, and move on.

Front’n on Social Media? PROBABLY! Social Media is seriously the Front’n Playground. Especially Facebook. It’s like we can be whoever the heck we want to be, easily excluding all of the crappy ugly parts of our lives and keeping the pretty stuff to share with the world. We act like “This is who I am!” when in reality, it’s only a glimmering polished fraction of who we are. But the funny thing is, it’s in those life moments that we don’t share– the ones where we act maybe a little too loony, get hurt, experience major disappointment, or struggle like crazy–that we connect with one another on a genuine human level. That’s beautiful.

…Yup. All examples of serious life front’n up there.

But wouldn’t it be great if we could move past all of the nonsense? I know whenever I move past the traditional “I’m doin’ great” facade with a person, I find depth and true friendship. My closest relationships are with people who have seen me at my best, but have also been down with me in the pits at my worst. Opening up about all of that human stuff–in the real–exposes us and makes us vulnerable to judgement and criticism, yet it also makes us relatable and lovable.

As for me, I’ll always risk ditching the former for a chance at the latter.

Oh..and by the way, this is a far more accurate portrayal of my family:

….okay…okay…maybe this…haha…

20130116-170311.jpg

_________________

Be sure to check out the other bloggers who joined in on Jimmy’s synchro blog!

Jimmy Dean Freeman

Nathan Coury

Katie DeSplinter

What about you?? Do you share your story with others? Why or why not? What are some ways that you experience “front’n”? Agree or disagree with any of the above? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚ ~Ash

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50 thoughts on “Why You Front’n?!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ash, you always know exactly what to say!!!!!!! You push buttons a little bit, but I appreciate that. This post most definitely made me think about my own actions in life! Thank you for that!

    Like

  2. JASON says:

    Loving that last picture. Priceless! I find myself having awful runs often. Truthfully, I don’t comprehend how people do it so much! I believe that perhaps I must not be that swell of a runner, and that is why I keep the real details to myself.

    Like

  3. Jim Chambers (@Marine_AT_Hiker) says:

    Nice honesty…you have accepted who you are and you recognize bullshit when you see and hear it. People that actually live the lifestyle that is representative of their chosen outdoor passion always know a “Poser” when they see one…..you’re no lie.

    Like

  4. Rory says:

    I want facebook to stop asking how I feel. Clearly, facebook does not care!. Jokes aside. I don’t like sharing the times I fall on my face. Especially on facebook. I feel that the majority of my facebook friends are mostly work and school acquaintances that get “twitter-pated” when people fall on their face. My true friends are mixed in and I often wonder if I need to purge the haters. Probably. Will I. Probably not.

    Like

  5. @RunJeffreyRun says:

    Another great piece. Be proud of how truthful your words are.

    It’s not why hide from who you really are, but who you really were. You’ve obviously come a very long way from then.

    Like

  6. Michelle says:

    Remember the days I sent you text messages asking if you felt like death? I was Front’ others to avoid getting demoted from crew duties. It was worth it then and the extra death it added later.

    Like

  7. jcmaillet says:

    I always love people who are straight up!! I hate people who always pretend they’re fine when they’re not and I also hate people who always go on and on about how tired or injured they are. Both seek the wrong kind of attention in my books. I love how you just do your thing regardless if you feel good or feel like crap.

    As for your past well you deserve all the happiness there is. It’s that simple.

    Like

  8. Corey Turnbull says:

    Really like this post Ash, thanks for writing. I had run ins with sever anxiety for quite awhile before I got involved in my endurance sports. Now, it’s more like “brushes”. Like you, I tend to seek the longer miles when I feel it building. There was a day I used to try and hide it, but I came to realise it’s who I am and how I became the person I am today. As for the social media…I heard a quote once that made me laugh….something like.. “Facebook is where you go to lie to your friends, Twitter is where you go to be honest to strangers.” Cheers! keep up the great work.

    Like

  9. migratesultras says:

    I could not agree more, come to think of it … everyone on Facebook acts invincible in their running. I cannot think of anyone saying they had a bad run. My “friends” assume I am invincible but my blog has been a great medium to show them that it’s rare that I don’t hit super low points. Nice post Ash!

    Like

  10. Deloris says:

    I have been injured in the past. I had plantar fasciitis in my left foot for nine months. During those nine months, every step was painful. I went to physical therapy once a week and they told me I could run a max of 15 miles a week. That is what I did and it tore me apart. It felt like I was complaining everyday about the pain and my limited running.

    Now that the PF is gone, I appreciate every day I can run. Any day I can run is a good day. I know many people may not agree with that, but that is how I feel. I’m not super human. I ache, get tired, but I’m not going to complain about them. I feel that there is already enough complaining out there. No need to add more.

    Your family is lovely! Your kids are so cute.

    Like

  11. Myia Miller says:

    What a great post, and timely for me. The other day after a hard treadmill workout I found myself very upset. My father passed suddenly almost two years ago. As I sat there on the mat stretching I started to cry! In pubic!! My brother and I had been texting and he said “who cares, cry in public,” so I did. It felt great to just let it out right there and move on with the day. We should all be more genuine and real with ourselves and others.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Like

    • Ashley Ringo Walsh says:

      I don’t even know you and I love you! ha! That is so me- breaking down in public & such. I get it from my mom I think LOL! But I agree with your brother- it feels so good to let it out! Thanks for sharing this.

      Like

  12. Kent Burke says:

    I have no problem telling others about my past or the stupid things Ive done. Problem is that I rarely do it cause I feel like no one would be interestad anyway (not good). Since I started taking anti-depressants in August, (it took 40 years to hear what was going on) I’m happy to say that I have the freedom to cry just as hard as the wife at every romance or Christmas movie we watch!

    Like

  13. Olga King says:

    This is awesome. “I rarely intentionally throw myself into uncomfortable social situations, but I always end up in them some how”. I don’t even know who you are, and I linked up here from other’s synchro-blogs, and the only person I know in face is Nathan, and I heard the couple other names – and I am loving it. I might hitch the wagon:) I always say in this country I hate the most when people say “How are you” to hear “Fine”. What if I am not fine? Who is fine, anyway? You want to hear about my kids’ lives? Are you really ready, or want to hear “Great”? I have a 22 yo who is an alcoholics and a drug addict and basically homeless – and we spent 7 years and over $100k of last penny trying to help. I have a 17 yo who is “ok” but hey, these days and age, around here, smoking pot is “ok”, right? When is he leaving house? How was your run, you ask? I managed to average 10 min/mile today, and that was something I could do in my sleep in a 50. So, yeah, great, feeling rejuvenated, while fighting adrenal fatigue and a bunch of deficiencies. Ashley, your writing is from the heart, and it blows hard where it needs to. Keep on, girl. And thanks.

    Like

  14. Christine McCarthy (@OatmealBowl) says:

    Well we share similar pasts. i haven’t opened up to it, but have owned it. not easy to do.

    I don’t open up to my friends because they don’t know how to handle when I am feeling anxious or crappy. but they have helped me in indirect ways, so they are my friends. And when someone asks how I am, I usually do say “i am fine”. what are they going to say if I told them ‘i feel crappy’ (might be amusing to try). my husband and mom are the only ones I really say how i really feel. But they are the two people who have really been there for me…

    during the recent, most mentally crazed hypervigilant-anxious time, I just went thru, which caught be completely off guard, since Halloween (and just now starting to end)…i stopped working out, lost 12 pounds, lost some friends and now feel like a totally different person – like its been some weird spiritual awakening – I’m not kosher with this phase yet. but i know that i will never ever going on anti-anxiety meds again. they are evil.

    however, I did learn that community & family is important and to trust your body. even after going thru all that above. I’ve learned anxiety and depression, in my case, is my body’s defense mechanism. I’ve suffered from it a long time. Despite the bout above, most of the time the funks are not as bad as they used to be. especially when i have people to help me back up. and it last about 6 months duration (approx every 3 for me – like memory Tcells – though I’d like it to stop). and i found my depression is not always depression, but loneliness (very similar feeling). and am now learning to do things in my life that I enjoy (instead of hoping on everyone else’s train to make me ‘happy’).

    i’m still trying to find that ‘i love my crazy life’ < have any tips?

    Thanks for letting me spill my guts. Glad you wrote the post, too. and FB is totally fake statuses. πŸ˜‰

    Like

  15. Lars says:

    It would be consequent to be open and honest. But I find it difficult even after years of psychotherapy and self-search to do so. It might sometimes better to hide your true self, in order to protect your inner child. Thank you for being so open and to share your inner world with others. I’m really curious what adventures are lurking behind marathons – maybe I should find out…
    Keep on blogging, even if it’s not about 100s!

    Like

  16. kirs10woods says:

    Nice post! I enjoyed reading the comments too… When I was a teen, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. I tried my best to keep it from my friends. I didn’t want them to learn about my joint problems as I know that they will make fun out of it. I almost ran out of excuses to say whenever they invite me for a late afternoon run or hanging out in our fave restaurant… I remember those weekends that I had to stay in bed and wait for my painkillers to take effect… Anyways, I had stem cell treatment (recommended by my aunt Lily who had patellar tendonitis), after my physical therapy failed to give me relief. My stem cell was scheduled for 5 weeks (once a week session) with Dr Purita, an orthopedic surgeon from Stem MD. The therapy went well and I was able to get the beneficial effect few weeks after I had my last treatment session… I wish I had the courage to tell them what I’ve gone through and see what their real reactions would be….

    Like

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