This is the first piece in a weekly column by Ashley Johnson surrounding the struggles she has faced in her own life and the concept of being human.
Warning: some entries will contain strong content regarding abuse, addiction, self-harm and eating disorders.
We are all human! There is certainly no way around that fact. Despite my occasional best efforts to behave otherwise, whether it’s doing too much or acting as though I am invincible, the universe doesn’t adjust to my temporary insanity. That being said, the human experience is a beautiful thing.
For the purpose of this column, my desire is to express, discuss, illustrate, and articulate all the things that make us human beings. Not human doings, but human beings. That’s right, I just threw a little psycho-babble in there for you’re reading pleasure. We are not what we do, people. My hope is to bring to light the inevitable struggles we go through, large and small and everywhere in between. I want to find the beauty in the ashes and show the positive in those things that seem purely negative. We all go through various trials, tribulations, joys, triumphs and daily activities that qualify us as human. The emotions, laughter, tears, sunshine, and rain collaborate to mold this journey we call life.
I will combine personal experiences with various addictions, a variety of my own poetry, professional interviews, and student experiences and interviews. The things that I have gone through and done have made me who I am today, and I want nothing more than to help others who may be going through the same things. If my words strike a chord for just one reader, my heart will be made fuller and richer.
I am a recovering alcoholic, struggled with eating disorders for over 15 years, am a survivor of various forms of abuse, and have a history of self-harm. I certainly do not tell you this to earn pity points, but with hope that someone out there realizes they are not alone. I am in a better place today than I ever have been. An aspiring journalist that is back in college after a 7-year break, my goal is to use my writing for a greater good. I believe we are all in this together, united by a common thread of being human, and all have our various struggles that manifest in different ways. My hope is to explore some of the ways those struggles manifest, how we can get through them, and the lessons and growth that can be a result of such experiences. One thing is for sure, life is real, and this one is all we’ve got.
Join me on this journey of self-reflection of what it means to be human. I invite you to visit the dark corners of your world and bring them to light, or to simply observe from the sidelines. Whatever the case, I’ll be getting vulnerable with you all each week, and can only hope one of you will be touched.