Stories of Significance

Ali: The healing process never ends

Hey! I’m Alexandria, but most people just call me Ali. I live in Georgia with my husband and two wild things (aka my sons). Usually I can either be found outdoors with my kiddos, or searching for a moment of quiet. I am a firm believer that a good cup of tea can make a bad day better and a great day all the more.

I entered adulthood in a whirlwind of insecurity and depression.

For the first time in my life, I was allowed to listen to my own inner voice. Instead of starting my journey of self-awareness and recovery, I was met by a very loud group of concerned people who decided that the best way to help was to tell me how to dress, think, and act. This lasted for years.

I became obsessed with pleasing the people around me because I admired them so much. I slowly died inside until nothing was left.

No one actually expects to have suicidal thoughts.

It’s not something that gives itself away slowly so you can hit the brakes. It hits you like a freight train and mine blindsided me during a trip across the country to see family and friends.

Luckily that was not the end of my story. A few dear friends saw me past the noise and held my hand through that rough time. My husband, who is my dearest and best friend, also stayed by my side, helping me find creative ways to aid in recovery from my darkest days.

Dealing with depression requires a very different way of doing things. You have to set different standards for yourself, allow yourself to heal, and set rigid boundaries to keep unhealthy criticism at bay.

As soon as we got back from that trip I hit the trails near our home. Focusing on the next step in front of me, being swallowed up in the silence of the forest, and witnessing the beautiful scenes around me became my biggest form of healing.

The first time I experienced the Rocky Mountains was a day I will never forget.

The sheer mass and beauty of the ranges took my breath away and had almost an artistic way of putting life into perspective. I seriously couldn’t sit still in the car on our hour ride from Denver. I was so excited!

Do you ever have those moments of pure bliss, when all the things that tell you to be cool just vanish and you reconnect with your 8-year-old self? That was this moment.

I’ve been hooked ever since first stepping on the trails, and now as a mother I spend every day instilling an appreciation and love for the outdoors in my boys. I am the mom with the muddy Chacos in the grocery store. The one with the kid rocking a man bun and grass stains on his jeans and a toddler who likes to howl like a wolf in public places.

The healing process never ends, and I am finally at a place where I am unashamed of that.

There was one time I actually considered never stepping on a hiking trail again. My husband and I decided to take a last minute hike together one afternoon on a nearby trail. When we reached our destination we realized the sun and gone down much more than we had realized through the trees. Halfway through our return the sky went black and our headlamp started to run out of batteries (always check those, folks). Suddenly we heard something bounding towards us through the leaves. We believe it was a territorial buck, and after chuffing a couple times he thankfully turned and left.

Whenever I am nervous I think back to that moment and tell myself, “If I can stare a buck in the face (forget the fact I couldn’t actually see him) then I can handle anything.”

People are always going to have opinions of you. There are those who love you and lack tact, and those who will never be satisfied unless you fit in their box and under their thumb. The first simply need to be reminded of the power behind their words. The second is toxic and it is neither immature or weak to step away from the relationship.

It is something I am still learning and reminding myself.

We often feel like we have to keep everyone in our lives, for better or worse. Often times it can be unhealthy.

I am passionate about encouraging moms to embrace their instinct and unique selves while inspiring them to get outdoors. Parents live under this umbrella of facts and opinions that are ever changing. We are made to feel that unless we are perfect and always positive we are ruining our children.

No one truly talks about loneliness, insecurity, or mental health within parent groups.

Getting outdoors with our kids, watching them gain confidence from risk assessment, and learning to stop and soak in the moment can not only revitalize us but when done with other parents can create an environment where we feel free to be ourselves.

Towards the end of her life, I was blessed to have met a woman named Sue. In the few years I knew her before her passing she instilled in me the notion that all great things begin and end in intentional love.

It is one thing to be a good friend, parent or person, but to choose to love someone in every moment intentionally means you see past their flaws and into their potential. You recognize growth in a person and encourage them through speaking words of love and truth into their lives.

I strive to have even an ounce of the compassion she possessed.

Inspired? I sure am! If you want to hear more from Ali, check out her blog The One Dudette, where she writes about her journey through parenting boys. Her hope is that it will encourage families to get outside, and moms to rock life in their own unique way.

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