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ashley may. – Reading My Tea Leaves – Slow, simple, sustainable living.

ashley may. – Reading My Tea Leaves – Slow, simple, sustainable living.


Ashley Might is an unbiased instructional marketing consultant dwelling together with her husband and two little boys in Los Angeles, California. Her Instagram feed is full of glimpses of her life—typically from the vantage level of her kitchen. Right here’s extra from Ashley on motherhood and resistance, cooking and ancestry, and the way her religion evokes and informs her simplicity.

ERIN: Let’s begin with you sharing a bit about your self with RMTL readers who won’t be acquainted.

ASHLEY: Along with my husband and two small boys, I stay in Los Angeles in a candy bungalow nestled in probably the most good spot between the seashores of my childhood and the tree lined hillsides my sons have grown to like.  I’m an academic researcher by coaching and at present tackle simply sufficient tasks to maintain my toes moist within the waters of my subject whereas balancing life with one baby in class and one house with me. I assume I carry a sure diploma of privilege within the sense that youngsters are my work on this world and whereas the times typically really feel so lengthy earlier than I can sit quietly at my desk to work, not a second with my youngsters escapes with out inspiring me to assume in new methods about instructional analysis and follow.  We stay a easy life, collectively, with magnificence and intention. By selection, necessity, and sometimes custom.

ERIN: I are likely to function people on this collection whose work I’ve adopted on-line, so by default, the interviews are likely to give attention to individuals who share snippets of their life publicly. In your Instagram profile you describe your work there as “archiving joy and motherhood as an act of resistance.” Are you able to describe what you imply and why that’s necessary to you?

ASHLEY: My work has all the time centered youngsters like me—or the kid I as soon as was—youngsters like my youngsters and any little one which navigates this world in otherness. As an ethnographer working in schooling, I discover nice pleasure in documentation, storytelling, and narratives that create foundations for crucial discourses about youngsters. Now, once I turned a mom, my mental curiosities shifted barely. Naturally, I assume.  And, as my infants grew, fear took over. I questioned how they might navigate a world that I felt would by no means actually see them for all the sweetness they maintain, and from there a deep want to know what it means to mom from my place, and the act of located mothering usually, grew. I feel it was a superb factor. So, I started to doc my motherhood and the various methods by which I lean on infusing pleasure and love of self into the moments I share with my youngsters.  

Regularly, I discovered myself eager to push the dialogue additional on the actions that pour again into us, into our households, into our communities. Us which means black and brown moms that don’t have the time or the power to be seen activists.  Black and brown moms who shield their power and area as an act of self preservation. I needed to know what our actions seem like. Are they silent?  Are they invisible? And in that case, is that also a motion? In fact it’s. However, is that extensively understood? I don’t know that it’s. So, I need to the inform the story of the actions that liberate Black and brown moms, the actions that give us life.  For me, that’s greatest seen in moments with my two sons. Embracing them, loving them, educating them to like themselves—the elements we share and the elements we don’t share. As a result of though my youngsters and I each determine as Black, we’re ethnically totally different from one another in some ways. Our household histories, similar however totally different. So, I’m studying to mother or father all of the elements of them. And I maintain a particular place in my feed for that. Most significantly, for me and for different moms, like me, who have to see it. And lastly, for ladies who don’t essentially maintain complicated identities of their hearts, however may have a wholesome dose of perspective. A reminder that the solar doesn’t rise and set on their pleasure alone.

ERIN: Once I take into consideration your Instagram feed, my thoughts goes first to pictures of your kitchen—the pots on the range, the little cream-colored tiles, the photographs of your palms turning dough. Cooking and getting ready meals typically looks like burden—and a time-consuming one at that—however what’s the connection between simplicity and cooking like for you?

ASHLEY: In my residence I put together easy, significant meals. Significant meals which connects us to our tradition, to our ancestors, and even to our languages. My pantry and messy kitchen notes maintain this apply. A darling cabinet on the aspect of my range holds every little thing I have to make the meals that feeds our souls. A set of bulk spices in tiny jars and really giant quantities of the staples we use in so many lovely methods means I can pull collectively soul warming meals at a second’s discover. I favor to get my arms deep on this apply, as I see you’ve observed. I don’t personal many home equipment and that’s on objective. I cream, grind and blend by hand or picket spoon.  I’ve an immersion blender that works simply fantastic and a stand mixer that I inherited from my grandmother. It’s the identical one we stood in entrance of and made cake after cake once I was just a little woman. And, that’s it. Name me cussed or difficult, however easy meals doesn’t actually need rather more than endurance, a great knife, heavy pots and the perfect components obtainable to you. Oh, and a cheerful prepare dinner.

A really small curated cookbook assortment perched on prime of my fridge acts like a useful resource library for technique, however I favor to lean on oral custom. My notes inform the tales of my childhood and my husband’s childhood. I spend extra time perfecting our personal conventional strategies and fewer time experimenting with different meals traditions. I make certain my youngsters have alternatives to take a seat with me as I wrap savory pastries, fold flat breads, and hand peel greens. These are the issues that they should carry with them of their hearts lengthy after I’m gone. And, identical to once I was just a little woman, and when my husband was slightly boy, it should all ultimately develop into a ravishing lingering reminiscence when my youngsters get older.

I assume, all the things I do on this kitchen is ultimately related to reminiscence. I feel that’s what retains me right here—the connection to reminiscences previous and the promise of latest reminiscences to return. Just like the reminiscence of my paternal aunt’s roasted hen which has all the time lingered in my coronary heart for so long as I can keep in mind. She would rub the hen in olive oil or butter, or each if I keep in mind appropriately. Then bathe it within the juice of recent lemons and mud with herbs from my grandfather’s backyard. I can nonetheless odor the herbs hanging to dry within the kitchen earlier than being saved away in tiny jars that I can nonetheless see in my thoughts’s eye. And when she went out to the backyard to snip a recent herb right here and there, I assumed it was magic. I actually thought it was magic. How particular it was that she might simply get what she wanted from the land round her. And, I really feel like these reminiscences made me the prepare dinner I’m at this time. I see the legacy of moments spent in my grandfather’s house wafting by means of my kitchen alongside the odor of roasted hen and may’t assist however smile each time I’m going to open a cupboard and my hand meets a bunch of herbs hanging, ready to seek out their means into my pantry. I discover myself roasting hen identical to she did. I’ve gotten within the behavior of drying herbs on hooks and knobs and in sunny home windows. Some herbs gathered from walks in area people gardens or gifted to me from buddies. In reality, I’ve obtained this bunch of herbs dried beneath the solar in Morocco by the arms of my candy good friend’s mom. Speak about native. Speak about a narrative. That is the sort of great things that makes me comfortable to face on this kitchen on even the toughest of days.

ERIN: You latterly mirrored a bit in your instagram feed about motherhood and the way it’s modified you. For me, there are many ways in which motherhood made the on a regular basis logistics of my life really feel extra difficult, however paradoxically, there are additionally ways in which it’s pressured me to decelerate and simplify. What’s been your expertise?

ASHLEY: Motherhood pushes us to seek out options to what we understand as issues, which actually are simply representations of a shift in who we’re. I’m a agency believer that no lady navigates motherhood unchanged. Similar points, new lady to a sure extent. Whether or not the shifts to the self are drastic or minimal, motherhood forces us to consider issues in new methods. Each time nervousness takes over and I begin considering “how the heck am I going to do this?” I take into consideration the ladies I served throughout my time working in childcare subsidy, coverage and advocacy. Moms would wrap their infants up, put them within the stroller, and take the bus for miles simply to signal or submit a doc and stay certified for the childcare they desperately wanted to attend faculty or go to work. Or, each. Speak about perspective.  

So, when I’ve to ponder the challenges of my very own expertise of motherhood, I discover the most effective options have been rooted in slowing down, inhaling, and taking the straightforward route. And, I really feel like at every stage of my youngsters’s’ improvement the enjoying area shifted. I went from a working mom together with her first child in childcare, to a keep at house mom of 1, then a work from home mom of 1, then of two. All through all of it, I’ve been most comforted by slowing down and dwelling merely. Now, six years since that first child, most of the habits and practices we adopted out of necessity stay part of our household values by selection. They’ve sustained us, they’ve taught us what’s most essential to us, and from these tiny shifts through the years we’ve discovered a lot.

ERIN: Your feed typically consists of tales of faith-based celebrations and I’m all the time particularly fascinated by the slowing down that your loved ones does round Ramadan—partially as a result of it doesn’t typically fall in a second of the yr when my circle of relatives is engaged in comparable quiet moments of reflection. What sort of position, if any, does religion play for you in pursuing a easy life?

ASHLEY: Our religion evokes us in so some ways. From the best way we interact with nature and the world round us, to the meals we put in our physique, the place we spend our cash, to the rhythm of our days we’re deeply guided by the teachings of our religion. We aren’t good; we’re human. For us, an moral act is, a stupendous act and we attempt to go about life accordingly. As you’ve noticed, throughout our most blessed days such because the month of Ramadan, Eid al Fitr, and Eid al Adha, I decelerate and focus my time and power on bringing consciousness to the true essence of these days—paying shut consideration to why we rejoice them and what we should always get from them.  

I really feel that from an Islamic perspective simplicity is a path to a lot greater issues. Constructing a minimal stockpile of straightforward, lovely issues isn’t the gold on the finish of the rainbow. At the least not for us. The reward stands with the soul that surrounds itself with magnificence, who’s content material with the straightforward issues in life, taking solely what it wants, who resists attachment to very worldly ideas akin to consumerism and in consequence finds contentment within the coronary heart and a deeper connection to the Divine.  And whereas hospitality and present giving are each massive elements of our religion, there’s all the time a strategy to go about bringing these values into motion whereas sustaining a easy and significant observance in the course of the holiest of days. I feel I’ve a reasonably good concept about what meaning for my household. The brand new traditions we create throughout our festivals and in our on a regular basis actions, rooted in simplicity and a love for our religion, are planting seeds for the longer term. My humble want is that each one that I do reaches my youngsters’s hearts and continues on lengthy after I’m gone. That’s the kind of ancestor I attempt to be.  


To see extra from Ashley, comply with chasingwildones on Instagram.

Pictures courtesy of Ashley Might.

The Easy Issues Collection is impressed partially by curiosity piqued whereas writing my e-book of the identical title. I needed to know what easy issues have been for folks. And why simplicity mattered to them within the first place. My personal Easy Issues story got here out in January of 2016. It’s nonetheless out there the place most books are bought. (Signed copies can be found regionally at Tales Bookshop!)