Pieces of Me: A Peak Behind the Curtain


My story is coming out in pieces; something my over-analytical inner-critic is furious about. I’ve spent the last few weeks avoiding writing most days, while setting aside my progress on the days I do write. I sit down with the sole purpose of writing, no real plan, only the faith that something will flow out of me. I’ve found this to be the most therapeutic form of writing; something I embraced in an attempt to strip my inner-critic of control.

Sadly, I have a pattern of clouding my creativity with expectation and condemnation. Something that always starts as a gift and a lesson gets muddied by my need to control things – to do everything right. 

A new friend asked about my blog last night, to which I replied ‘oh, I have’t written in weeks.’ I corrected myself by explaining that I write all of the time; musings in notebooks, files full of word docs, occasional journal entries, and phone notes. I have dropped words in abundance in all areas of my life, but I often do not share. 

Overthinking is clearly the culprit – fear in every form lurking around the corner. Mostly my fear of being seen. It’s hard to put my vulnerability out there – the way my mind works and how I can’t always navigate the path set before me. My writing starts with great purpose and potential (in my head), but I feel I lose myself while traversing the turns. Always finding myself stuck in the mud and muck of details and connection. My mind is the queen of ‘but I digress!’ 

Fear of unfinished things leaves me stunned and eager to file my words away. But here I sit this morning eager to share – desperate to release it piece by piece. I find myself tremendously grateful for new connections and the words

‘Maybe you should just post whether it feels finished or not. Whether you think it makes sense or not. Just post without worry and concern.’ 

I’m paraphrasing but this was the message I received loud and clear from someone who knows nothing about me. A beautiful young woman shared compassion and encouragement with a virtual stranger, without hesitation or expectation.



As seen on June 28, 2017

I spent my entire life being defined by the role I played in the lives of others. My success or failure solely based on how well I played the role. My first role as “daughter” was one that developed me into a master chess player. Able to read my parents moves and moods in advance. Foreseeing any “bad” that could occur; in turn causing me to make moves to secure everyone’s happiness. (I possess this skill to this day). Sadly, my parents never seemed happy and by six years old, I had taken on the additional role of “caretaker” to my alcoholic single mother.

As the years rolled on, I learned new roles; student, friend, best friend, girlfriend, employee, manager, wife, and mother. All roles we play but I had developed a habit of needing people to need me. As long as people seemed happy with me, I was happy. My idea of love was conditional. “I make you happy and in return you will love me.”

In 2013, a head-on collision changed everything. In a blink of an eye, I know longer knew who I was. I couldn’t work, couldn’t finish my degree, my son became my caregiver, I felt useless as a wife, and my Mom stopped speaking to me. I was destroyed physically and mentally and every role I played was stripped from my life.

I walked away from the crash alive but with multiple herniated discs in my back and a laundry list of additional injuries and concerns.

I have fought for over four years to not only improve physically, mentally, and emotionally but to also take the time to grieve the little girl lost inside of me. As well as, finally allow the REAL Aubrey to stand and SHINE! Without fear of judgment or condemnation! I’m taking back what has been stolen and given away repeatedly. I’m taking back my identity!

I will no longer feel bad for being overly empathetic and catching people’s feelings. I will no longer apologize for my deep thoughts and constant chatter (I was muffled for 40 years). I will not feel the need to hide when I cry – which is A LOT (I spent 10 years burying every tear). I will not let this world crush my spirit! I will be ME, whoever that may be.

As seen on January 27, 2018

As I sit here contemplating the winter season, I can’t help but feel the heaviness of these past five years. It’s rather peculiar looking back with an unmistakable view of every season passed. It’s possible that I’ve been driving this car with no view of progress, promise, or purpose. In the beginning, during the season of recovery, I felt I would put my time in, do what was necessary, and return to my life. I honestly saw this moment as a bump in the road. I never imagined it was instead, a detour.

Objects are closer than they appear…

I spent months attending rehab three days a week for my back and shoulder. The more time passed, the more I was unable to ignore the pain and prognosis. Multiple herniations from top to bottom, a tilted pelvis, and more. The ‘more’ never being addressed during the season of milk my insurance for all it’s worth. At the end of it all, when there was no money left, I was left with no job, no answers, and no future.

Yield to oncoming traffic….

The truth is, I was taken advantage of and I totally allowed it to happen. For the first time in my life, I found I was unable to standup for myself – terrified to speak up. Consumed with the idea, I must be imagining this – my pain can’t be this bad. Unable to ask for help. Unwilling to be needy. I rolled over. And still, I sit here and know that this season of my life gifted me with growth, wisdom, and momentary gifts.

Sharp turn….

The best gift of the season? The gift of creativity. At the time of my accident, I had a connection with a friend from school who is tremendously creative. Watching her grow into her gifts has been an inspiration. I’ve always loved admiring her from the sidelines, but never imagined she would inspire me to try my hand at something, especially painting. Yet somehow, (I’m going with God on this one) I found myself stocking up on supplies, with only a dream of what could be.

See, I’ve never painted before. My greatest artistic accomplishments include splattering watercolors on cheap paper and free drawing a White Lion album cover in ’89. And still, there I sat, cross-legged, canvas, paints, and supplies in-hand. I was surprised by my mediocre ability to paint. Considering I had no idea what I was doing, I considered each painting a victory. Sadly, a season of beauty was stolen from me when I allowed perfectionism to creep in. What started out as raw, honest creativity, turned into a nightmare of overthinking and self-criticism. A temporary season of beauty and growth, ending as abruptly as it started. My dream tucked away in the closet, quietly awaiting the season of purging.





Photos by Rob Laughter & Hans-Peter Gauster

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