The Case for Getting Up (Ashley J.H)


Some thresholds were only meant to be stepped across for a healing visit. It was never the plan for our bags to drop to the floor, our clothes to be hung in the dusty closets, our shoes to be shoved beneath the creaking bed. Some houses were never meant for us to enter, let alone make a home out of them.

There is a scene in Tyler Perry’s ‘For Colored Girls’ where Phylicia Rashad’s character, Gilda, ventures next door in her decaying apartment building to console Kimberly Elise’s character, Crystal, after she has suffered a traumatic loss. The circumstances are uniquely and horrifically layered like the debris of whole homes and vehicles and belongings after a tornado. She is grieving something fierce. This scene reads so closely to how grief has hit me when I lost people and places and things I held fiercely dear.

In the scene, Gilda walks over to the curtains and throws them open, letting sunlight reveal heavy spirals of dust in the air of a home silenced and folded into itself with grief. Then, she gently holds Crystal in her arms and rocks her as she says,

“You’ve got to get up from here. I know it hurts...but there’s too much life wrapped in your voice. You gotta get up from here.”

That line reminds me of the grief I’ve felt when love and its possibility willingly walked away. It reminds me of the feeling of my stomach in free fall. It reminds me of the days I stepped into the bathroom to pull myself together, both palms plastered against either side of the stall, head down begging God for deliverance. It reminds me of the ten pounds I lost in a week’s time because my appetite left when he did.

That line reminds me of feeling like my entire world was enclosed in a bubble of slow motion. It reminds me of willing weak smiles to spread across my face as I watched others live their lives. It reminds of me the times I searched the face of God for the slightest hint of when I would be able to feel anything even slightly resembling joy again. It reminds me of how I made a home out of hurt when it was only meant for me to pass through. How I made a home out of a person who was ill-equipped to be my shelter.

Grieving loss, whether it is loss to death or abandonment or unrequited love, is a nuanced yet familiar thing. It has swallowed whole hearts, and dreams, and missions, and lives, making me believe it would be my new and permanent haunted home.

But there came a moment when - grieving and all - I had to decide to get up.

And the getting up is where the growth resides. The getting up is the bricks and mortar and thought and care and cornerstone of a new home. A temple, a refuge, a structure inspired by and for purpose.

There came a moment when I had to decide to push past the demons of rejection, hurt, abandonment, and low self-esteem and grab the hands of affirmation, community, joy and promise and hold on for dear life. Because, in truth, my life was only just beginning. Grief still hung around but I worked hard, prayed hard, laughed hard, fought hard, not to let it convince me to call it home.

The getting up is a series of moments. Some will be stronger than others. Some last longer than others. Some moments are hours-long talks with God, asking for renewed determination. Other moments are passing seconds of memories that sting. But the getting up is the key in the ignition that drives us away from the sorrow where we were never meant to live.

Time and chance happen to us all. No one is safe from experiencing the worst of life. But we owe no allegiance to that house. We don’t have to pad into the kitchen of mourning and eat the bread of sorrow. We can move. We can pack every good thing we came with and step back across the threshold. We can leave. The getting up is in knowing we have a destiny far greater than where we’ve been and just because we’ve experienced the worst does not mean we have to make it our home.

The getting up is in using the worst to move toward the best. So, yesterday, today, and forever, I will get up.

Ashley J.H.'s life is anecdotal proof that the messy, mundane, and miraculous can all be used to heal, restore, and evolve. She is a writer, creative director, and educator who revels in transparency and lives at the crash site of faith and everyday life. For more of her work visit and and her Instagram @ashleylatruly.

Honoring the collective voice of womanhood, the Lessons From Love series was created to provide a community of support for women currently in love, or healing from love. The series will use personal narratives + testimonies to empower women to make effective dating decisions and to pursue the love they rightly deserve. 

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