With Love: The Reflection You Asked For

With Love: The Reflection You Asked For

I am human.

I am flawed, imperfect, and ultimately vulnerable.

The other day, you commented on my blog hurtful and mean accusations and considerations about your perception of me. You labeled me a bad person, but you did so anonymously without a way to answer back thoughtfully. 

So here is my response:

When I post on social media and connect through social channels, I choose bits and pieces to highlight, but my blog is something I hold near and dear to my heart. I pour my spirit into my words. I am aware that I have hurt people in the past and I have been hurt in return, but the reality is, love and appreciation for life are at the center of my decisions. I value myself, I value my soul and practice self-love. This life is very short filled with uncertainty and it’s fair share of goodbyes and quite frankly, there is no room for hatred in my life and I do not owe anyone an explanation for what I deem right. 

My heart radiates with love and because of that, I have such beautiful connections in my life. I have friends and family who know my essence, my heart, my love and they understand me in ways you did not. I apologize that not everyone can see the true me, that sometimes the surface is all you get, but I get to choose and that does not make me a bad person. It’s all about your perception.   

I am allowed to make decisions that value my wishes and needs and I do have considerations for others, but I refuse to tear off pieces of myself to appease anyone else.

It’s not that I voice my actions or feelings to justify my doings. I do so to let others know they are not alone— sometimes we need to cut toxic people out, sometimes we need to escape, sometimes we need to be alone, sometimes words are not needed and that’s OKAY.

I have always struggled with goodbyes and sometimes I feel as though saying nothing at all is easier— that doesn’t mean it’s right. I’m flawed, but conscious of my desire to change to be more transparent. 

You have absolutely no idea what is going on in someone else’s head. You have no idea the internal struggles someone has, and I’m sure you are fighting your own demons, gracefully I hope. I don’t write for self-justification– I write to feel, share, connect, understand, learn, grow. I am a work in progress, who is learning and evolving from experiences and new connections. This is a life blog! I am living and LEARNING. I take responsibility for the lessons I’ve learned the hard way  as I do not consider them mistakes. I am exactly where I’m meant to be. Some things aren’t that deep and others are, and sometimes people aren’t on the same page. 

If I’ve hurt you, tell me. If I’ve offended you, tell me. If I’ve left you wondering, tell me. I am not a mind reader, and have a million and ten things on my plate and on my mind that sometimes things slip through the cracks. I am sorry that our connect may have slipped through the cracks. 

So here’s what I suggest— 

  • if you have a problem with someone or don’t like/agree with what they are saying, unfriend, block, delete them. It’s okay to move on. 
  • if you have a problem with someone or don’t like/agree with what they are saying, message them…… VOICE your concerns, voice your perception. Be human— nobody’s perfect. 

We were created to communicate, to connect, but that’s impossible when it’s through an anonymous outlet. My messages are always open. 

With love, 

Ash 

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.

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

A Whole Lot Of Optimism And Faith

A Whole Lot Of Optimism And Faith

I know something great is coming because I believe God is putting battles and obstacles in my life, so I can appreciate my life, my future accomplishments, and the relationships with my loved ones even more. Everything in my being tells me something big is in the works, and when I finally let go of other’s burdens and let go of my own resentment and pain, my energy can go towards the life of my dreams. Recently, life hasn’t been a walk in the park, like I had planned, but somehow, everything is working out exactly the way I need it to.

Although it’s not turning out picture perfect, I know I needed to experience the pitfalls to get to where I am now.

I guess there is a way you want things turn out, and there is a way you actually need them to, even if you don’t see it at the time; sometimes you need a win and sometimes you need to learn a lesson and use that to make better decisions for yourself in the future.

Things aren’t always going to turn out the way you thought, but life’s about figuring out how to make things work when everything seems to be falling through. I’ve learned lately and many of you can probably relate to the fact, we can’t control other’s actions or the way they treat us, and we definitely can’t control who loves us and who wants to be in our lives, but we can make conscious decisions to value ourselves, our needs and not be content with being in environments that don’t support us.

With every failed relationship, marriage, friendship, and opportunity, it’s best to focus on what you’ve learned from it and how it’s going to better you, and with that mindset, you are free and no longer have to carry around burden of another ending.

You have a choice: you can either play victim and act as if life is crumbling when your plans are interrupted or you can embrace the change coming and use that transition time to rebuild and become the person you want to be. It’s all up to you, but I promise when you let go of resenting change and open up your heart up to all the possibilities, your life will be hundred times better.

I am so thankful for the hardships I’ve endured recently because it teaches me to be flexible, receptive to the environment around me, and enjoy life, even when it seems to be beating me down.

Life is too short to be unhappy, but your happiness is a choice and you get to make that choice for every situation, no matter how heartbreaking it may be.

Optimism is your door way into your next big endeavor. You must believe that when one door closes, two more are going to open up for, and it’s imperative you take the leap and have faith into your next journey because what is to come is greater than anything you are leaving behind.

I’m not sure what’s next or what’s coming, but I have heard many times, “God laughs when you make plans.” so I trust that something monumental is upon me and I’m ready for the adventure ahead.

You Might As Well Learn Your Lesson The Hard Way

You Might As Well Learn Your Lesson The Hard Way

That’s when you learn the most.

Looking back on all the pivotal moments in my life can sometimes make me cringe or laugh or even want to burying my head in a pillow from embarrassment, but besides the different emotions I associate with my ups and downs, each failure, let down, and eye-opening experience was completely necessary. There were many cases where I didn’t handle things “properly” or display myself in the best light and then there were moments I felt pathetic, stupid, and worthless. There were experiences that stomped a little on my heart and pushed me to my limits, but as I grow and look back onto those experiences, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Everything happened exactly the way it needed to in that moment, no matter how I reacted, portrayed myself, or felt.

At 20, I still don’t have all the answers, and I’m wise enough to know I never, ever will. I have walked through a lot on my journey so far and still have plenty to go, but the knowledge and thoughtfulness I’ve accumulated over the years has brought me to these realizations.

You can’t change the past, that’s definite. Thinking about how you handled a break-up over and over again or the conversation you had, will not change it. You can take responsibility for what you’ve done and how you’ve handled things, but at the end of the day, we are all human— we’re learning, growing, and handling things our own way. Here’s a friendly reminder: there’s no wrong or right way of doing life. Your perception of the past is what it is, but now you have the present and eventually the future, so it’s important to take what you’ve learned and apply it to what’s to come. As cliche as it sounds, you are not your past and it doesn’t define you, but let it shape you into someone you’re proud of.

Now with your hard-learned lessons, recognize and acknowledge that you act out or let your emotions run rampage or that you need to watch your tongue or any of your so called “flawed” characteristics, so in future cases, you don’t allow yourself to make the same decisions that leave you feeling beneath yourself.

Growth is continuous and never-ending, so baby steps are okay too. It’s vital to remember how you felt in certain moments and why, so your heart and mindset can be in line with your actions and the way you communicate.

Most lessons suck, let’s be honest. Whether it’s locking your keys in the car, fighting with your best friend, getting that hard-core reality check, transferring colleges, the list could go on forever, but let’s be thankful we aren’t the same person we were five years ago or even six months ago. As I’ve said before, I have countless lessons to go before I’m wise, but shifting my mindset to valuing hard times as a learning experience has changed the game for me.

The Rarity Of Connection

The Rarity Of Connection

Sometimes a connection occurs when your mind starts screaming, “YES, ME TOO!”

A simple smile or conversation are good mediums of connection, but the connection I’m referring to is the gut-wrenching, soul changing vibe and draw to someone emotionally, mentally, and even physically. We know that doesn’t happen everyday— it’s rare and should be valued when you come across someone who sparks your heart and impacts you by being present.

Whether it’s instantly or formulates overtime, it’s so special to be able to completely you, without guards, reservations, or worries of judgement.

Often times, we go through life, morphing into what society wants from us without even doing that consciously, but when you are around someone you connect with on a deeper level, you become raw, real, and who you really are.

You can’t force it, and it can’t be one sided or it else it fades and fizzles because real connections never falter and fade, even through the years or distance.

When you see someone’s bare soul and they see yours, your heart cares for them for a lifetime through growths, downfalls, twists, and unexpected changes.

Life gets away from us at times— things change, people leave, distance fills in the spaces between us. But when you look back on your time around those people and how your energies meshed, you know it’s depth. That’s why I hold on so dearly to people, who just simply get me.

I believe it’s worth fighting for, cherishing and valuing it in the process. Fighting for people who make your heart flutter and push your mind to new heights isn’t an easy task, but anything worth having doesn’t come easy and sometimes people needed to be consciously reminded of the rarity of true connection.

Learn To Love Again

Learn To Love Again

A few years ago, I got into a relationship and quickly fell without really knowing what I was getting myself into and although it came to an end quite sometime now, I am able to reflect on that experience. I’m so thankful for the gifts and lessons I’ve acquired from the good and bad times. I faced a lot of fears and overcame many obstacles, and even though I chose to say goodbye, I am a better person because of this relationship.

I recognized the fact that I have divorced parents and at the time, none of my friends had a serious relationship in their lives, but I decided to go wherever my heart were to lead me and to not let my head always get the best of me.

The highs were breathtaking and beautiful, but I valued the relationship even more when things got didn’t go smoothly and it got real and we had to face the fact that nobody is perfect and it can’t always be rainbows and butterflies. The lows taught me how to be vulnerable, how to be forgiving, and how to be committed.

 

From early on, I had never been the girl to have a boyfriend or want anything super serious and it all came down to I didn’t have anyone in my life I wanted to go through hard times with until I realized life is worth taking risks, especially when it comes to love.

I always assumed I was better on my own because being isolated means I wouldn’t get hurt and I wouldn’t be let down and disappointed, but now I realize that was letting the fear of commitment win.

John 4:18: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect with love.”

Love and commitment are compliments (economics major, I can’t help it) and you can’t have one without the other. When we let God lead, He will lead us to the one who holds the key to our hearts, but we live in a society where cheating is almost acceptable, having a side chick is laughed at and expected, and commitment isn’t a given.

When I say ‘I love you’, it’s a promise to be there for you, to support you, to honor and respect you, and to be by your side when the waters get rough, but love comes and goes, and is often said before you actually grasp it’s magnitude (been there, done that). It’s one thing to say the words and it’s another to show actions that prove what you are saying because actions speak volumes.

We acquire many imperfections over the years and we have our faults that we carry into relationships, and who are we to expect our significant other to be flawless? God teaches forgiveness and when love is at the center of your relationship and there is genuine remorse, there is no point on being bitter or resentful to one another.

When you forgive, you set yourself free from unsettling feelings and then you can continue bettering your commitment to one another.

Basically, you should find someone you’d love to goof around with and grow with for the rest of your life.