A Wedding Unfolds in Puerto Rico

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There is love in the air— flowing all around us, captivating our long weekend with appreciation and joy. The beauty of Puerto Rico, especially at where we are staying (blog post to come) illuminates the kindness and admiration in the hearts of my mom and soon to be husband. With wedding festivities on the cusp of the day, we are reminded that love is gentle and it’s kind, but you can’t deny it’s also trying and moving. It pushes you to be a better you, and along the way the true depth of love shines above all else and moves mountains to be.

And that’s the thing about love, it’s about just being. 

Being you.

Being enough.

Being loved for all that you are. 

I talk about this all the time— there are billions of people in this world and somehow these two souls found each other to adore, to build a forever with, and to love unconditionally. They found the one their soul needed and wanted, even if they were unaware of it at the time. Flaws and all, there is love to be shared. After five years, it was inevitable that they were hooked on one another for the long haul. The way Mark looks at my mom is as though she was the one who put the stars in the sky and could walk on water. He looks at her the way Nicholas Sparks writes in his romance novels, the way we all dream of being loved.

My mom and Mark taught me the importance of valuing myself and trusting that someone, someday will love my entire essence as they love one another, but my worth is not defined by someone else’s ability or inability to see all I have to offer the world.

You can’t settle in this life, there are billions of people awaiting your presence. It’s okay to love big because one day, it won’t go to the waste side. 

Love is at the center of all my interactions and my friends and family cant attest to how often I tell them ‘I love you SO much’. It’s a powerful lesson to love unconditionally without expectations or demands or reservations— let it flow openly and be enough to keep you afloat. 

As I sit here on my villa’s porch and write while watching the waves crash, I reminisce on my mom’s love story. I’ve watched hers and Mark’s love blossom over the years, an undeniable pull to one another, one that couldn’t be avoided if they tried. They are a force to be reckoned with, spit fires with adventurous souls. They bring out the best in one another, even if mom can’t navigate. It’s about having fun and enjoying this life together, and that’s what they are doing. 

This life is precious and short, and watching my mom and my soon to be stepdad love one another through trials and twists and turns, I’ve learned that you shouldn’t waste another minute with space between you and the one you love.

If you love someone, be vulnerable, give your love freely and accept them for who they are and who they will be. Nothing stays the same— this world is not stagnant, so grow together and make the conscious decision to be present and love into the depth of your core. 

So thank you Mom and Mark for showing me what a beautiful love looks like and I cheers to you a lifetime of happiness and loving adventures. 

When You Begin to Understand Your Worth

When You Begin to Understand Your Worth

 

The days became shorter, as the moments fluttered with urgency and I no longer got lost in the wonderment of dissatisfaction.

I walk through each door as if I own the room and I belong, but I had spent so many years putting my head down and weaving in and out of crowds I couldn’t face, filled with jealousy that they had a place and I was an outsider. Now, years later, I know the truth— I belong in each moment, each pathway because I choose to, not because anyone makes me feel welcomed.

This world, this life is a mindset, you can have the victim mentality or you can be the hero of your own story, you’ll never be completely free until you can look yourself in the mirror and know you’re worthy and lovable. I would look at my reflection outside and behind closed doors and worry, question, and fear that I was not good enough, that I am not worthy of blessings, that I am lacking when others are more put together, little did I know, everyone is a basket case, but not a single soul is a lost cause. I am not a lost cause. Some say people never change, that who they are is engrained on the walls of their body, but I believe the patterns morph and transform into who that person is meant to be— I’m morphing into who I am meant to be.

If we stayed the same, if nothing ever changed in our hearts, our world would be stagnant.

Our first love would be our only love and our hatreds would last a lifetime, and we know that’s not our reality, we fall in and out of love like it’s going out of style and I can’t keep a grudge for the life of me, but that’s because I realize that life is precious, moments should be valued and that genuine love should be at the root of every interaction.

Things are learned, patience is accrued and time is something you can never get back. One word: special, rings in the back of my head— it screams as I look for a once in a lifetime love, a one in billion personality, a heart of gold. I don’t even waste my time on the questionable when my feelings are on the edge, ready to flee and jump into the unknown to avoid to the mediocrity that surrounds me.

I can feel it draining my contagious energy when it’s not full, and I run. I don’t run because I am scared of commitment or love, I run because I am scared of settling and lack there of. Waking up one morning consumed with “what if’s” and “whys” is my greatest fear and I use it as fuel to be better, to love greater, and require more because I refuse to be “content” or have just enough when it comes to my life and future.

With a world as wide and full, I know there is room for me to achieve greatness and sculpt the map of my heart to endure hardships and remain resilient, optimistic.

Along the way, I’ve been given a purpose and know myself well enough to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, to not fitting in, to standing out. So, I take each moment and spin it at my will, knowing these days are good, but it’s only going to get better, it’s only going up from here, my heart promises so.

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

 

 

 

Maddie Ruth’s “If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is”

Maddie Ruth’s “If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is”

This is the start of something really special; Maddie’s story is the first one I get to share on my blog for Empowering Women and I can’t thank her enough for being real, vulnerable, and open with you all to share her experience, insight, and advice. To read more posts from Maddie, her blog is https://withlovexom.blogspot.com!!!

It has been eight months since I made the best decision of my life.

I wanted to be in love with myself. With who I had in my life at the time, there was no way that would ever happen. I had to delete the negative to be able to receive that positive I was searching for.

So there I was, I was in love.

Love is great.
Love is strange.
Love is also blinding and my first love blinded me.

He turned me into someone that I never want to know again. I am going to share with you my story about how the man of my dreams made me realize that just because it is a ‘dream come true’ does not mean it suppose to be a forever type of love.

Why am I sharing this?

I never want someone to feel the type of pain I felt.

You know when you like someone and you want them in your life, you start to look past all the red flags. You just shrug them off and think ‘he really loves me so it’s okay.’ and begin to justify their actions.Well, it is actually not okay.

When I was a small child, my cousin sexually abused me. He was much older than me; the memories of this caused me so much pain, anxiety, depression and fear in my life. The problem about being a fighter (I use this word instead of victim because I am not weak) after sexual abuse is that you carry that weight on your shoulders for the rest of your life. Of course, you find ways to cope, but those memories never go away. You just learn how to make them hurt less with time. Which is a bunch of shit, if you ask me.

Now fast forward to where I was about a year and a half ago.

After finally coming out about my childhood nightmare, all I ever wanted was to feel loved. I’m not talking about the kind of love you have with your family because I had that— I love my parents more than anything. I wanted the love where you feel craved and desired. I wanted a love that would make me feel good about myself.

Then, there he was— blonde hair and blue eyed, standing there looking so good I wanted to eat him. It didn’t take long because a week later, we were dating.

That should have been the first red flag.

Who dates after only knowing each other for a week? I am sure people do, but I knew nothing about him. He came off timid and sweet and I was head over heels. I will tell you I had the best first eight months of my life with this kid. He was a dream.

A dream. That is all he ever was. We were long distance so I only saw the part of him that he wanted me to see. I will never forget the day he said to me “What if I change and you no longer like who I am.” Months later he did change, and not in a good way; I guess he was trying to warn me.

This relationship wasn’t all that bad. I learned a lot, I learned enough that I am going to share with you what I learned to help you. (You can thank me later).

He puts down his mother?

It doesn’t matter the circumstance…RUN. If he doesn’t respect the woman who gave him life then he will never respect you.

“All women just want the money”

If he says that and he breaks your heart just remember I warned you.

He tells you, “You’re so stupid”

First of all, throw the heaviest object at him that you can find at the moment and then end things immediately.

“You’re so clingy”

If you just want to cuddle tell him goodbye, if you want his location, boss’s phone number, social security number, and a phone call every hour you for sure need to chill.

“We can only talk on this day, and at this time”

LOL…True story I was blinded enough to deal with this. If this happens to you I want to remind you that no matter what he looks like undressed this type of personality should immediate turn you off.

He tries to change you

I have never understood that when people try to change the person that they are dating. I mean your personality from the start is what drew them to you, why suddenly is that no longer doable for them? If your S/O tries this, laugh and tell him to screw off.

Complains about money

I’m sorry?

Compares you to an ex

HA HA HA HA HA HA girl you can do better than him anyways

Doesn’t support you

This was my major problem in my last relationship. Support is everything if you are killing it and he is unable to recognize that I am making this clear to you that you can find better. There is someone out there looking to give you the recognition and support you deserve for all of the bomb s*** you do.

Remember your happiness comes first
I was always so afraid to upset my ex. I would get so worked up over nothing and that was not fair. Your health and happiness should always come first because happiness comes from with in. You can’t rely on someone else for your happiness.

He may try to hit you with the ‘let’s be friends’ line and honestly if you two couldn’t connect in an intimate relationship, a friendship might be hard to create after a break up.

Overall, what I want you to get out of reading this is that you have the power to be a self-motivated, independent, happy woman. I can’t tell you what to be, where to be or who to be, but I can tell you that if your man does most of these 10 things you can do better. I don’t believe men do it unintentionally sometimes it just happens out of anyone’s control. How you can control it is stick up for yourself.

If you see something you don’t like say something don’t be passive.
GIRLS ARE SO PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE.
I know I am and I am working to be more honest, straightforward and confident. Never let a man dull your shine girl, we all have had that one major heart break and I am telling you that you will survive.

Be you, know your worth and the right person will come along. You don’t need to put up with a guy just because you feel as though you can’t live without him.

With lots of love,
M