The Experience That Taught Me What Love Is

The Experience That Taught Me What Love Is

I once loved someone so much that I was blinded by my own fascination and couldn’t see that his heart didn’t yearn for me, his hands didn’t reach for me, his mind was fixated elsewhere. I once loved someone so much that I was unable to face the reality that he just wasn’t into me, no matter what I was going to say or do, he wasn’t going to fall in love with me, he wasn’t going to wake up one morning and see that I am everything he could ever need.

I was vulnerable in my endeavor to dig digger, to give him the benefit of the doubt, but then the texts got shorter, our nights together became infrequent and I knew that, I had turned the corner from being caring and compassionate, to being pathetic.

I had to look myself in the mirror, and face the music that what I had been doing for a year was wrong. I was wrong— my gut didn’t lead me in the right direction this time….. or did it? I firmly believe everything happens for a reason and exactly the way it’s meant to, so as I experienced myself pining for someone to give me a chance, to look at me for me, I realized that’s not love, it never could be.

I was naive and became set on someone I couldn’t have— not because I wasn’t good enough for him, but because he wasn’t good enough for me and it only took me 365 days to figure that one out. I never wanted to feel like that again, and that’s why I had to endure breaking my own heart.

As I laid in my room, crying onto the letters I had poured my heart into, I learned I had loved the fairytale I had created with a mediocre guy, who could never truly be my prince charming. I created a love story and allowed my heart to pick someone who would only leave me wanting at the end of the day. Maybe, all of this, wasn’t love at all. My false perception of love that time round has taught me what love is, and what love is not.

Love is patient, kind, and forgiving— it’s full, promising, and warm; it makes your body weak and strong in the same instant, as if you can conquer the world, but you don’t want to do it alone. Love is freeing, with the birds you fly, open and observant, without fear of falling. You are free and secure in love, and isn’t that all we could ever want? I once thought I loved someone so much that I sacrificed the truth in order to be in his presence, and oh never again will I turn a blind eye to what my heart deserves.

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No Thank You, I’ll Buy My Own Drink

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Another night out with my girlfriends and I find myself analyzing every social interaction, despite how impaired I may be do to a few too many Rum Runners. The music blares and our laughter radiates throughout the bar, our current scene— I am having the time of my life, dancing away in the blur the flashing lights. New faces and old ones surround me, and some are getting closer than others, wanting to know my name they’ll forget by morning and where I’m from, so they may have a slim chance to make a hometown connection.

Maybe it could be chalked up to liquid courage, but they so freely touch my waist or push my hair behind my ear, as if I am a doll to be played with.

Some are hitting it off, some are barely conscious, and then there is me, and I’m sure many of you— overwhelmed. I love meeting new people, and sparking new conversations and listening to their stories, making new connections with faces I may never see again. The moments are fleeting, but freeing.

Then all a sudden, as the night goes on, I am hitting it off with someone, who then starts moving in too close, getting way too comfortable tracing over my curves, wanting to buy me drinks, wanting to bound me up in obligation.

As I know the ins and outs of going to bars, clubs, interesting scenes, there is no such thing as a free drink(s); there is always something tied to it— it may be simple like entertaining their company long after it becomes appealing, but some like to think that buying you drinks entails them to a right of passage.

So with that in mind, I say, “no thank you, I’ve got it” because I can’t accept a nice gesture without feeling as though they think I owe them, and it saddens me that too many women know this to be true all too well.

I know not all men think like this, I know there are exceptions, I know there are some genuine guys just doing something nice.

Yet, I want to reiterate to women everywhere—

You don’t owe anyone anything.

You are not obligated to anyone or anything.

You can go out and have fun with your friends without getting yourself into a question situation, out of fear of obligation.

So for the meantime, until this entitlement phase passes, I’ll be saying, “No thank you, I can buy my own drinks” and end up cuddled up with my girlfriends after a fun-filled night out.

Enjoy your time, and be safe ladies.

Why I Wear Aid Through Trade Bracelets

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As many of you know, I am an economics major and economic development along with supporting women empowerment towards financial freedom are two things I hold near and dear to my heart and I will continue to gravitate towards brands that have the same vision I do. With passion and admiration, I choose to be an advocate for Aid Through Trade.

When I was in Key West last summer, I came across Aid Through Trade bracelets in a cute little shop and whipped out my phone to google them and was amazed by what I discovered. Not only were these beaded bracelets beautiful and elegantly crafted, but they also had a deeper meaning that made me feel as though I was helping make a difference, that I was a part of something bigger than myself.

Now a year later, my wrist is always clothed in the famous Roll-On Bracelets, no matter where I am going or what I’m doing.

When I read their vision: “Empower the lives of women through ethical, fair, and sustainable employment.” I was hooked. As a consumer and as an economic student, I’m reminded it’s in our power to buy products and support brands that make an impact on a larger scale as each purchase from Aid Through Trade directly supports their commitment to empowering women through ethical and fair employment. This is a company that is working to make a positive impact on lives around the world, and another way they are doing that is by being a part of Green America— which focuses on sustainability through limiting their environmental footprint.

What’s not to LOVE?

I mean, look how cute my Capri Coast Roll-On Bracelets are!

I’ve linked my bracelet below, along with a few of my favorites. Also, you can go to their website and browse for yourself and learn more about their ethical company.

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Roll-On® Bracelets <br> Capri Coast

When Your Best Shot Doesn’t Feel Good Enough

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You hear it all the time, and usually in a joking sense, but somehow the saying “shoot your shot” prompts you to take five steps out of your comfort zone because the reality is known that if you shoot your shot, the worst thing that can happen is…….. you miss. In most situations, you can only enhance what you already have or gain in some sorts.

“You have nothing to lose,” they said.

But what happens when you keep shooting again and again, and every shot is an airball, like continuous epic fails?

It’s easy to fall into a slump, especially in college when you are enduring so much pressure to do more, to be more, to beef up that resume while still trying to make new friends, keep old ones, and find Mr. Right. My head spins thinking about all I have to accomplish within a 24 hour span while trying to plan for the foreseeable future and the long-run.

Well, I’m here to say: failure is all part of the process that I’m desperately trying to trust.

After another failed attempt at something I wanted so badly, I felt slightly broken and far from good enough, but a comforting voice of reason in my life reminded me, some of the most successful people in the world have heard the word NO more than anyone else. In my economic’s class, Moral Foundation and Capitalism, we discussed that a NO/ rejection is a way of saying you and your time would be more valuable elsewhere and that with due time, you will find your place in this rocky world.

It’s all about risk and reward, especially in our society. Stepping out of your comfort zone and exposing yourself in a vulnerable way with everything you’ve got is risk in and of itself, but the reward that could potentially follow is monumental. Although the rejection (or like I said airball) may sting, don’t let it force you into questioning your worth and ability because that’s not the case at all; every no is one step closer to the right yes, where you will be valuable and blossom to new heights. You just have to keep trying, and never give up because if I stopped after every rejection or let down I’ve endured, I wouldn’t have used those lessons to achieve more and be where I am in this moment.

What College Major Should You Choose?

What College Major Should You Choose?

Choose the major that excites you.

When I graduated high school, the million dollar question was, “what do you want to do next?”

College was inevitable for me— I always knew higher education was the path I wanted to go down and eventually, I’d find a career that I love. Yet, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to go to school for or what my end goal was. I wouldn’t consider myself indecisive, but after different experiences and exposure to new knowledge, my priorities, goals, and mindset began shifts and alter.

That leads to where I am today.

I’m on the brink of entering my senior year of undergrad at a university I love, and I will be graduating with degrees in majors I love even more.

Pressures to be a certain way or choose a certain path can be very real, daunting, and even promising; the people with influences on our lives try to guide us in what they believe is best for us— but, just because they think it’s best for you doesn’t mean it is. What’s really the best for us is to be free thinking individuals who are able to be held accountable for our decisions and ultimately, our mistakes.

When you make decisions and choices that are going to impact your life, it’s essential to remember that you are worthy and deserving of happiness and that with dedication and drive, your wildest dreams aren’t just wishful thinking.

Those aspirations can and will be your future if you allow yourself to absorb knowledge, grow through what you go through, and embrace the beautiful uniqueness of your soul.

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When you pick a major you love, you blossom and connect with a new sense of love for learning and growth.

You can envision a tomorrow better than your yesterdays. When you choose to expand your knowledge in a field that inspires you, you are setting up yourself for success and with that optimism and fortitude, you’ll either find or create a career that brings out the best in you— whether that’s through leading, educating, care-taking, and the list is never ending.

When you allow yourself to follow passion, working doesn’t feel much like work, but more as an opportunity for betterment and fulfillment. Good luck, you’ve got this!

 

21 Things I’ve Learned By 21

21 Things I’ve Learned By 21

Some of us 21 year olds are getting engaged and starting families, some of us are in college or finishing cosmetology school, some of us are working away and joining unions, but there are three things we have in common: we are three years into adulthood, we are legal to consume alcoholic beverages, and we don’t really have it all figured out yet. However, I’ve journaled down thoughts that I’ve learned over the years and I think they may serve as nice reminders for you all. So here are the 21 things I’ve learned by 21:

  1. You’re young— know the difference between being selfish and valuing yourself. It’s okay to put yourself first, your future depends on it.

  2. When you’re upset, mad, or frustrated with someone, don’t start texting them a million things that you’ll later regret. Take a breather, and call them and meet up with them later. Texting solves absolutely nothing.

  3. Forgiving yourself and forgiving others is not an easy task, but it’ll set you free and allow you to move forward with your life.

  4. Quality over quantity, especially when it comes to friends; valuing close, genuine friends is so much more important than being surrounded by the masses.

  5. Your greatest power is being you, embrace that with everything you have.

  6. No matter how old you get, you have to follow the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated because being kind and loving doesn’t cost you a thing.

  7. Make decisions that excite you, don’t make decisions based on what someone else wants you to do. You’ll end up, going in circles.

  8. When you put in the extra mile, it always pays off. The effort will serve as guidance for what the next move should be for you.

  9. There are spiteful people in this world, that are venomous with their words, but those people don’t deserve a place in your universe.

  10. Although there are hurtful people out there, there are also absolutely incredible ones who bring so much light and love into your life.

  11. With that being said, you never regret telling people you love them, value them, and appreciate their existence. Whenever you get the chance to engulf others in your admiration, do it.

  12. Enjoying your own company better be on your to-do list because people come and go, but you’re a constant and when the day turns into night, your mind must be kind to you.

  13. You don’t have to be who you’ve always been; there is room for change and growth and realizations to become who you are meant to be.

  14. You aren’t going to be liked by everyone, you’ll be too much for some and not enough for others. That discernment has nothing to do with you, and entirely to do with the person making those judgements.

  15. You DO NOT need a significant other to be whole. You DO NOT need a boyfriend. You DO NOT need someone to tell you you’re pretty, valued, and worthy; you should know you’re all those things without relying on those words of truths from someone else. You are complete, whole, and enough on your own.

  16. Taking the opportunity that fuels your curiosity and excitement is one well taken. Whether that’s moving, taking an internship, exploring a new country, you will find out new things about yourself along the way.

  17. Holding onto rage and anger hurts you more than anyone else; let that baggage go and know you don’t have to be bitter.

  18. Your circumstances do not and will not define you; you are not a statistic, you are a person and you can beat the odds.

  19. Sex can wait, but it doesn’t have to; whatever you prefer is right. Whether you’re in love or looking for a fun time, you must remember to be kind to your body and soul and make sure to value yourself and your sexuality. You don’t have to give yourself away to anyone who asks.

  20. Let life take you where it wants you to go, you’ll end up exactly where you’re meant to be.

  21. As cliche as it sounds, really don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. You are an important and have a valuable mind that is unique, so know you have the ability to stand out and achieve all your wildest dreams. You will fail, oh you will fail plenty, but you just have to keep getting back up and try again.

So if you take anything away from my lengthy list, it’s that you are important, loved, and valued, and you should live your life with your urgency and drive.

A Key To A Happier You: Forgiveness

A Key To A Happier You: Forgiveness

This past week I was in Chicago for the holidays and somehow, Chicago has a way of inspiring me to produce my best work. So here are some of my recent thoughts on forgiveness and self-love.

The city evokes my curiosity, the wonderment of the unknown, uncertainty, and largeness of the masses. As I grow older and have new experiences under my belt, I begin to wonder, could I find sanctuary in the chaos? I don’t say home because home, for me, is more of feeling and less of a residency— home never quite felt like home and love from just family never felt quite whole, so I searched for a substitute for what I lacked my whole life.

I came up empty, filled with resentment, anger, and even jealousy to those who had what I did not.

Now, my heart understands and my mind is on the same page— disappointment runs in my veins because I create these expectations in my head about how people should be, act, and care for me when the reality is, most things don’t revolve around me and their inconsiderate manner is just part of their universe.

I can’t change them, especially when my resentment covers me like a silent plaque, until I am no longer accepting their existence. I go ghost into my own world, uninviting and shrill to their ideology, because no matter how they cling to me, I act as though it’s never enough, and that is entirely on me. My skin screams to be touched, to be hugged, and to be loved, but their presence only lingers in the back of the room, refusing to put forth effort I desperately crave.

For a long time, this one undeniable thought laid prominent in the center of my mind through all my acts, “I’ll never be enough for you.”

But through the years, it’s not that I am not enough for them, but actually the opposite begins to ring true. That I know, and how is that fair for me to be so judgmental and act as though I am superior? When I am not, nobody in this world is.

So I chase it back to the source—

I take a look at who I am and what my needs are, and focus on some of my truths.

I would never be happy in a small town with small minds and small endeavors with the social norm being to marry young and have babies to carry on the name to raise up to be football jocks and record breaking stars. I would never be happy to work for someone day in and day out with little growth, no new knowledge, no experience that leaves me feeling fulfilled and enlightened. I would never be happy, if I chose to stay instead of leaving for my next adventure, but with choices comes opportunity costs and trade offs.

In order to take on a new adventure, I had to say goodbye to the only house I ever knew, goodbye to the closeness of my father, goodbye to my best friends who have been by my side almost every hour of every day.

I had to embrace the loneliness of the newness in hopes of finding what my soul needed most; Fear lingered, but I never allowed it to make me back down. See, I have no problem engulfing myself in new passions and desires, but when I try to free my heart of the restraints of sadness I’ve endured, I refuse.

I refuse to start new with the ones I love most— I refuse to truly forgive and let down my walls I’ve built up to keep them out, but that’s the start of my journey to self-love.

In order to love myself, I must be free from my burdens, relinquish any hate festering in my soul, any and all unsettlements to my soul and I’m starting with taking responsibility for my soul actions and acknowledging my imperfections, bruises, and lackings in a vulnerable way to heal and repair what I view as broken.

Who I am— is what my soul exudes. I have the choice to be a better, more loving version of myself, who honors effort and has faith in mankind, who understands most people are just doing the best they can. People love differently, handle stress differently, communicate differently— not wrong, just because it’s different than what I choose to do. I’m aware that love needs to be at the center of all interactions, and people deserve second, even third and fourth chances, without having burdens held over their head.

Forgiveness for yourself, forgiveness for others will be the one thing that will restore your faith in unconditional love.

I’ve linked one of my favorite articles below, so check that out!

Forgive… And Feel Happier

You’ve got this,

Ash