On battered & shattered expectations.


Honestly, I sometimes dream about making this blog less hygge. For those living under a rock, hygge is the Danish word for cozy and this funny obsession that many writers and shows have mocked as people have flocked to build a “hygge lifestyle” in an attempt to solve all of their world’s problems. The New Yorker piece called “Is This Hygge?” walks through all the steps of lighting candles and wrapping up in soft blankets and sipping tea and opening up windows to figure out how to obtain the unobtainable. Writer Susanna Wolff starts the hilarious account like this: “I sit under a thick, lumpy blanket with my new book about hygge and light the ‘cabin-scented’ candle I got from my office Secret Santa, Gail. Is this hygge?

As soon as I drift off into a world of spreadsheets and plot out how to report facts to you, probably in an attempt to avoid writing about real-life messy stories, I am reminded that, as corny as it may sound, I am hygge. I light a candle called Cozy Cottage, I have a drawer of various patterned fuzzy socks that I rotate, I sleep on flannel pillow cases year round, I currently have access to four of the softest blankets sold on the market within an arm’s reach, I plan on spending my fall season in an Old Navy sweater that may fit a giraffe and be mistaken for a blanket, I just opened the window to hear the birds and feel the fall breeze, I dream of writing advice columns while still in my pajamas or to at least be the Meg Ryan to your Tom Hanksand I regularly wrap my frozen fingers around a hot cup of coffee as I meditate in the steam.

And I have a slew of girlfriends who I meet for hygge coffee dates. Within even the last two weeks, I have heard more women that I can count open up to me over the phone or through a text or over that cup of steeping chamomile tea, crying about anxiety over battered and shattered expectations.

I hesitate to publish this post because I will inevitably receive a phone call from my mother wanting specifics on who and what exactly is the inspiration behind this topic. Someone might stumble upon this post and think I wrote it about them. Really, though, one should not flatter themselves.

Expectations come in so many shapes and sizes, fit for giraffes and elephants and humans alike.

Is it wrong to expect for our employers to compensate us for our hard work? Is it wrong to expect for our friends to treat us with kindness? Is it wrong to expect almost boyfriends and boyfriends and husbands to show up? Is it wrong to expect other parents to protect our children as if they were their own? Is it wrong to expect old friends to put in equal amounts of effort to keep in touch when they move miles away? Is it wrong to expect to feel loved and cherished and heard and known?

Is it wrong to expect life to work out according to our perfect plans?

I think the only thing that’s wrong is to throw in the towel.

If you’ve spent any time here on my blog or reading my writing or with that cup of coffee, you’ll know that I’m passionate about not skipping the messy part. We rush to sing praises without allowing ourselves to sit and weep in our piles of ashes. I do not and will not make friends with people who constantly smile, people who puke rainbows and bounce around like a broken cassette tape stuttering on The Wiggles theme song. I simply cannot relate.

I relate to battered people, those who have suffered and endured repeated blows with bruises to prove they took the beatings over and over again, believing they deserved the punishment.

I relate to people who weep about shattered expectations, those who dream so big that they gasp for air when these dreams instantly shatter like glass into a million little pieces. I relate to those who still try to look at their beautiful reflections in that shattered mirror, those who work to put the pieces back together and have the courage to build the dream again with new dimensions and parameters.

I relate to people who show up, who grip onto the wooden pews and the wooden dance barres, crying out to feel something as real as those splinters. Crying out for someone or something to help them to keep holding on.

I relate to people with shattered expectations who talk in circles and forget often and need reminded — that they are worth fighting for.

Maybe we try to build this hygge lifestyle because we are sick and we are tired and we are lonely and we are afraid and there’s nothing cozy about real life drama. To make this blog anything less than cozy blankets and crackling candles and fuzzy socks and steaming coffee is to deny who I really am, the person who needs comfort to keep going, to keep fighting.

I want to be that friend who wraps you up in that soft blanket and tells you it’s okay to take a nap, to catch your breath. I want to be that friend that sips hot tea with you and rocks in a recliner, listening to stories about battered and shattered hopes and dreams, praying for you to keep going, to keep dreaming and believing that you deserve nothing but the very best, even when that looks nothing like how we expected.

I want to be that friend who tells you to stop talking in circles, to stop making excuses for people who have let you down, who haven’t loved and cherished you like you need.

I want to be that friend who shows you that your tires are stuck in the mud, but encourages you not to move forward too quickly or you’ll keep spinning out. Scribble and shout about the pain, tell the hard stories in a real way and not in a joking way that breezes over those days you spent puking over the toilet because life hurts more than they ever taught you it would.

I want to be that friend to you that I need myself. The one who gives you hugs when you’re not a hugger and shows up even when you tell them not to. The one who walks with you and reminds you that the leaves change colors and fall, but they will grow back again. And you can fully expect that new season to come.

Keep the lights on at ashleytieperman.com

Help keep the lights on and the coffee flowing at ashleytieperman.com. If you’re encouraged by what you read, remember that writing takes time and caffeine and lots of La Croix.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: