Being Single In Your Twenties

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Everywhere you look, especially on social media, countless people have found their one in a billion, their happily ever after. They’re cozied up with the one they want to share their life with, and those love bugs are following their feelings to the alter, into long term commitment, and forevers. You see couples kissing, taking cutesy pictures, exploring the world together, cheering each other on during the highs and the lows. 

I understand that comparison is the thief of joy, and I don’t believe the green is greener on the other side of the fence, but somedays, it’d be nice to have that one person that make you smile when you want to cry, that one person who makes you feel giddy when they walk into a room, that one person who is there for you rain or shine.

But I don’t have that. And that’s okay.

When you’re single in your twenties, it doesn’t mean you are not enough or worth it. It doesn’t mean you are going to be alone forever or that you are unlovable; it doesn’t mean you are behind in life. It can feel as though are, when your friends are bringing their boyfriends/girlfriends around, moving in together, doing all that jazz but you’re just chillin and third wheeling. 

Your life doesn’t start or become meaningful because you’ve met someone to share it with. Your life is meaningful if you give it meaning and purpose, when you know your essence and cherish your heart. You don’t need another soul to validate you or give you worth. You are worthy without the words to affirm it. 

Being single during my early twenties has taught me how to be vulnerable in who I am and what I want out of life. I’ve learned how to be independent, how to prioritize myself, my future, and my plans, how to walk into a room and know I belong without a familiar face in sight. I’ve learned the importance of being present in the moment, and understanding and controlling my feelings. I’ve found calmness in my own presence, and released the need to control what I can not. 

Going solo in my twenties and throughout college has taught me how to date, how to stand my ground, and stand up for myself. I’ve been able to find my voice, and not allow a voice to talk over mine. I will not make myself small for anyone. I figured out what career path I wanted to go on, took countless opportunities, and shaped my life the way my heart and mind desired. I didn’t have to compromise in monumental stages of my growth. 

Through my single years, I’ve learned valuable lessons like you can’t love people into loving you, you outgrow people who stay stagnant, and you should never, ever settle when it comes to love.

When you dream big and you’re a go-getter, you’ll scare people who don’t see the vision or can’t stand the heat. Thank them for the memories, but let them hit the road before they weigh you down. Attraction is essential, but if it’s not deeper than the surface, what’s the point?

A few side notes to it all—

Rebounds don’t work, but time does heal wounds. 

Forgiveness is your friend.

If you like someone, tell them. Show them.  

Jealousy is a waste of energy. No one is you, and that’s your power.

Don’t let your pride get in the way.

Understanding is the way to someone’s heart.

Love yourself and others will too. 

Trust the timing of things because you can’t rush something, you want to last forever. Enjoy the single season of your life because it won’t be like this forever. You have mountains to move and places to go. Have an open, receptive heart because you’re lovable, worthy, and deserving of a love as deep as the ocean. 

Cheers to being single in our twenties! 

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Graduation Reflection: How College Impacted My Confidence and My Heart

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I’ve had some time to reflect on the whirlwind of my life this past month— the newness of being a college alumni, the subtle emptiness of a once favored chapter, and the grand adventure waiting to unfold. 

As I graduated, I was in awe of all the work that had transpired for me to be in this moment—walking across the stage, receiving my diploma, turning the page on a place I called home for the past 4 years. I found myself thanking my family and friends, but most importantly, my gratitude drifted to all the letdowns and confusion I’ve endured because I was sculpted, molded by all my failures that became lessons.

Everything I had once wanted to work out, but didn’t, finally made sense. I understood why certain paths were just not for me, I was being prepared for my HELL YES.  

For a few short moments as I strutted across the stage, my life made perfect sense. I was me, and that was enough— no nerves, no distractions, just me and my value.

I had transformed, blossomed into a woman who is independent, resilient, and understanding of one’s self, others, and the world near and far. 

I had set my heart and mind to something and I achieved what I had planned to do; I accomplished something that once felt like a vague, distant dream. As I graduated, I watched it all come together, in harmony— a milestone, a coming of age story as old as time. 

A major revelation in my heart was that I am an adult now. I know they say 18 is the age you can vote and buy tobacco, move out and carry on, but as I hugged and thanked my mom, my presence was different— more confident, more assured, more adult-like. At 22, I became an adult. At 22, I graduated college and made decisions for my future that fell completely on my own shoulders. Longevity and fulfillment filtered into my decisions. 

I didn’t need training wheels for life anymore and for a few moments I glided as if I were invincible, as if I’d never fall. I rationally know I’ll rock back and forth, fall too many times to count, get a few scraped knees, maybe a broken heart or two, but with the wind in my hair and hope in my heart, I made one promise to myself— I’ll always get back up. I’ll always try again. I’ll always have faith in my heart to do better and believe in the magic of today, the magic of tomorrow, and the magic of loving myself. 

That’s one thing I hold near and dear to my heart, and know I must value through all the years to come— it’s so important to have love and respect for myself and the world around me. When I truly started to believe in myself, a ‘no’ could not stop me; countless no’s motivated me and served as a reminder that the ride is the most beautiful part of the journey. 

Graduating was rewarding, and it had meaning and fullness because of the grueling nights of projects and studying, because of the involvement I had created within my community with peers and professors, because of the passionate people I surrounded myself with, inspiring me day in and day out, and lastly because I was pushed outside of my comfort zone in every avenue. 

The ride was filled with tremendous growth and soul searching, experiences I wouldn’t trade for the world and as I reflect during my gap between graduation and leaving for the Peace Corps, I understand the important of the in between moments, making the most of the growing pains, and loving experiences before they are over. 

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and reflections like this, and I owe a lot to Florida Gulf Coast University for being the foundation for me to find my confidence and love for myself. Thank you mom and dad, Mark and Morgan, friends and family for the endless love and support, and rooting for me.

So cheers to new beginning and valuing those special people I wouldn’t want to live without! 

 

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.

Make a purchase
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Roll-On® Bracelets <br> Capri Coast

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

Being a GirlBoss with HBO

Being a GirlBoss with HBO

This is a sponsored partnership with HBO and Her Campus. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Thoughtful Blonde possible!

Whenever my mom calls me, she doesn’t even try to guess where I am anymore because I am everywhere and anywhere, between meetings, clubs, school, events, volunteering, and working.

Lately, life has been extremely crazy and filled from sun up to sun down, but I’m sure you can relate. I just finished curating my spring schedule for school, creating a budget for my organization, pitching an idea with a program I’m involved in, interviewing for summer internships, attending classes, taking exams, and the list could go on all day.

While I have a mini-rant about all the things I have to achieve that are diligently written down in my overflowing planner, I remind myself– I need to make time for things I enjoy and escape from the craziness so I don’t get buried down in all business, and no play. Sometimes, my brain is moving so fast and I’m suppose to be in more than one place at a time, as if that were actually possible. Wouldn’t that be nice?

However, no matter how busy I get, I have a constant escape— HBO Go and HBO NOW

Of course I have certain shows I refuse to miss like Game of Thrones and Ballers when they air, but sometimes, life gets in the way and I’m forced to avoid social media until I get on the HBO Go App or go to https://play.hbogo.com and watch the episodes I missed. Every season, every episode is patiently waiting for me to watch on my own time, which is perfect, when I don’t have a consistent schedule. Who says you can’t balance it all? Let’s just leave out the social life aspect though because I value curling up in my bed, in sweatpants to catch up on my shows more than going out and being social, more often than not.

 

So, I downloaded the HBO Go App on my phone and that has made life so much more enjoyable during the little bit of extra time I do have. Whether it’s downtime between classes or meetings or waiting on my friend who is always 30 minutes late, I just catch up on some of my favorite series or explore some of the new HBO movie options. So the downtime is fine because it’s easily filled with exciting new love connections and plot twists from HBO Go and HBO Now.

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ALSO, a really great charity event and giveaway HBO does is “Night of Too Many.”  HBO will be giving away 2 tickets to A Night of Too Many Stars in NYC (with hotel and airfare covered). On Nov.18th at 8pm (ET), HBO will be airing NIGHT OF TOO MANY STARS: UNITES FOR AUTISM PROGRAMS. With an estimated 1 in 68 children currently affected by autism, this was created to support autism schools, programs, and services and they’ve raised over 24$ million to date. So in order to be entered into this giveaway, post a picture of something you have “Too Many of” with the hashtags #NightsofTooManyStars & #Contest because you already know you have too many shoes, too many makeup pallettes, and one too many homework assignments.

For giveaway rules: http://notmscontestrules.dja.com/

For more info: INFO or http://itsh.bo/NOTMSTickets

To view the trailer for this awesome event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl3JqKXO_OU

No purchase necessary. Ends 11/8. Open to residents if the 48 contiguous US and D.C., 18+

So check out my entry for this #contest #TooManyOf #NightsofTooMany

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I totally have too many books– maybe you can call me a hoarder or an excellent collector, but books are the one thing I have #TooManyOf so show HBO what you have #TooManyOf and good luck! You’ll see this on my IG: Thoughtful Blonde

 

 

Ladies, This Is Not A Competition

Ladies, This Is Not A Competition

Better than I was yesterday. That’s who I want to be.

Going through life changes and actually evaluating yourself is at often times challenging, but we make it more difficult than it needs to be. When we look in the mirror and analyze who we are, we are gazing over the exterior first and then sinking deep into our soul; we constantly highlight our flaws and what we’d change, both physically and in our personality, and as we do that, we are subconsciously comparing ourselves to the girl who seemingly has it all together. “Comparison is the thief of joy” but it’s all we do. 

Social media will be the death of us. We see the girl who is Instagram famous with a million guys pining over her and two million girls dying to be her. We see her highlight reals and perfect selfies. We see her excelling, and having the perfect hair, body, friends, family, house, etc. We see perfection when we analyze her, but when we look into ourselves, we see flaws and imperfections. We see everything that is wrong. But why? Why are we so quick to adore others, but forget to see our worth? Ladies, we are not in competition with one another; we all have different strengths and weaknesses and far different hearts. 

Having a pretty, symmetrical face doesn’t make you more beautiful than the girl who has a soul that radiates.

We have this mixed up perception that others don’t struggle with the things we do, but I promise they do. We work tirelessly to keep our flaws hidden, like we are the only one who struggle with anxiety or depression or have shaming circumstances. We assume the girl that is smiling with her perfect friend group is what we should be aiming for, but we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. We don’t know who she is without her mask; being real, especially on social media, is seldom the case, but yet we compare like it’s our day job. We are all guilty of it, like highlighting or acknowledging our flaws to the world is lethal, but it’s needed.

Self-love is a crazy concept because that means accepting and loving yourself with all your craziness included.

You can love yourself while wanting to better yourself, but do it from a place in your soul that craves to be a better you for you. It’s all about intentions so only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday and keep improving to be the best version of yourself. You will be so loved and beautiful.

 

xo,

Ash