Tell Me Where Your Worth Lies: Weeks 3-4

So, hey y’all!

I know I was gone last week, but I’m feeling much better and ready to give you another recap of A Look in the Mirror, weeks 3 and 4.

Week Three

During Week 3, we talked about our emotions and reactions to the things that happen around us.  We played a little game of charades, where we examined what our emotions look like in action.  We talked about times that made us feel that way and discussed how to work through our emotions.

We also talked about perception vs. reality.  People will tell you that you are something that you’re not.  Ugly.  Fat.  Stupid.  But the beautiful thing about living life is that we make our own realities.  Who cares what people say about us?!  As long as we know who we are…we’ll be just fine.  The girls made affirmations that remind them of exactly who they are.

Week Four

This is most likely my favorite week so far.  We talked about self confidence and our worth.  I asked each girl to discuss their worth and how that relates to the people we choose to surround ourselves with.   All class we sat in a circle of positivity, so that we have can an honest discussion and so that we can see each other when we’re talking.

We talked about some tough stuff: school, bullying, confidence.  We also did the work.  We discussed what confidence means to us.  Each girl talked about what negative and positive impacts their friends have on them.  This allows us to really analyze who we’re surrounded by and how they affect our lives.

We ended class by sharing positive thoughts about each other.  Each girl stood in the middle of the circle and was given positive thoughts by the others who remained outside of the circle.  Admittedly, I had no plans on participating myself.  I felt like this was an activity for my girls, but they encouraged me to participate.  After a terrible work week and stressful home week (our home needs MAJOR repair after the hurricane) it was nice to hear such positive things from them.

This program has rejuvenated something in me that my regular work doesn’t allow: freedom to feel.  As adults we’re told to swallow our feelings, to keep it moving, to keep pushing and to keep making money, but following my dreams and having something to give to these girls has given me a joy that I cannot describe.

If you’re interested in bringing this program to your place of business you can do so using the link below:

A Look in the Mirror Contact

He makes ALL things new…okurrr!

Hey darlings!

So, I’ve been super busy with things that I love to do and this post serves as an update to life!  I’ve discussed on here before the distress with my job and how I have been waiting for something greater.  After the last unpleasant incident I decided to focus solely on my God given gifts.  I have a knack for planning and organizing events and things and I also always have a new idea.  I also like to use my experiences to help others going through the similar things.  So…

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I’ve decided to buy my blog domain name!

I know it doesn’t sound major, but it means that I’m willing to invest money into myself…which in turn means that I believe the things I do are of value to this space.  That’s big FOR ME.  Who knew that I’d ever be confident enough in myself to take steps like this?  If you would have told me this 10 years ago I would not have believed you.

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I’m also in the process of creating the curriculum for a self-esteem program for children and teens.  Once I focused more on God and the gifts that he has placed in me, my whole outlook changed.  I’m grateful for my gifts and I’ve been enjoying this newness.  I’m also trying to blog more and post more videos and things, so be sure to follow this blog and also my YouTube.  I’ve made updates to this wordpress site so take a gander.  As usual, thanks so much!  Even if no one ever reads my blog…at least I tried.

Let’s Chat!

This week I got a chance to relax and reflect on life and all the joy and pain it brings.  I thought about all that led up to my life today, and I felt compelled to share.  I’m not too shy about sharing my journey to a better Ashley, but I often hear a lot of the same things when I share.  So, I decided to make a video and talk about my journey and to shed some light on self-esteem, self-worth and self-love.

 

LOSER!

My name is Ashley, and I am a loser.  You’re probably a loser too.  The definition of a loser is a person that has lost something or that loses. By definition, I am indeed a loser. I’ve lost family members. I’ve lost job opportunities. I’ve lost a countless number of other things that I have no idea about. Losing has been part of my identity for a while. Since the day I realized what it meant to lose, I’ve been a loser because I’ve experienced lost. I remember the first time I actually realized and felt how much of a loser I am. It was right after I graduated from school. My grandma had recently passed, I had to move back in with my mom and finding a job was a struggle. I went to job training all the way in South Carolina for a week just to not get the job. I drove all the way to the other side of my city for job training just to not get that job. I came home crying so much and I told my mom that I was a loser. But all my losing wasn’t bad. I’ve lost out on opportunities that may have been more harmful than good for me. I’ve lost out on guys who may have ended up mistreating me. I’ve lost out on job opportunities with places I would not be happy at. So, yes, I am a loser, but I’m a proud one.

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The way I see it, there are two types of losers: A Losing McLose Pants and a Winnie Winning Loser.  A Losing McLose Pants loser decides to live in the land of rejection.  I completely understand because I’ve lived there before.  It’s easier to accept defeat!  Accepting defeat means you’ll never win.  Never winning means you’ll never move forward and lots of people are okay staying where they are.  A Winnie Winning Loser takes their losses and learns from them.  They find some solace in knowing that every loss brings you closer to a win.  Even if the victory is small, you’re one step closer because you’ve taken your loss and gain something from it.

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Losing fostered resilience in me. That did not happen overnight.  Some things that I’ve lost were my own fault.  I would never try because I didn’t want to fail.  I didn’t want to feel like a loser because feeling like a loser made me feel worthless.  When I separated loss from self-worth, it became clearer that losing is not always such a bad thing.  Now, I lose…a lot, then I get back up and try again…a lot.   I lose, but my faith isn’t shaken and I handle the loss with stride.

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 I’m humbled by my losing. Nothing will keep you more grounded than getting denial after denial, but don’t stay in that place of feeling like you’re worthless because you’re always losing. I’m so humbled by my losses because everyone doesn’t get the opportunity to lose. Some people are given things that they later regret. I’d rather gladly lose than unhappily win. Now when I look back, I realized that the jobs I wanted then have absolutely nothing to do with what I want to do now and they may have been more harmful than anything.  There’s always a purpose and a plan to life’s ups and downs.  You’re probably reading this and thinking that you’re a loser too.  Yes, you are indeed a loser because everyone experiences loss, but don’t give up. Get back up. Let this loss teach you what it means to be a loser. Be a loser with pride. I am a big loser, but I’ve gained so much in my losing.  I am proud to be such a wonderful loser.

It’s been a year…already.

I often describe love as a beautiful nightmare.  I know that sounds super morbid, but hear me out.  Love is so wonderful and so beautiful.  When you find someone who loves you so deeply it’s amazing, but it’s scary.  This one person holds your heart in their hand, leaving you vulnerable to anything.  They can both make your entire day and destroy your entire life.

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My husband and I have been on our journey together for almost 4 years.  We’ve had such wonderful moments together and we’ve had some terrible times together.  I’ve learned so much about love and life during the time that we’ve been together and I couldn’t imagine sharing my life journey with anyone else…he felt the same way…that’s why we got married.

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Marques and I got married one whole year ago today!  They always say the first year is the roughest and they’re probably right.  We’ve grown so much in this year together.  Marriage is as hard as people say, but being with him makes it all worth it.  He makes me smile on the inside.  He makes me heart happy.  He pushes me to follow my dreams and he works so hard so that we both can achieve our goals.  He makes me want to be a better person.  I couldn’t imagine being married to anyone else.

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Marques, if you’re reading this, thank you for being you.  Thank you for listening to my stupid stories and for putting up with my Friends obsession every night.  Thank you for pushing me to follow my dreams and to be the best I can be.  Thank you for all that you’ve taught me about politics and taxes.Thank you for spoiling me in your own special way.  Thank you for not stifling my independence.  You’re a wonderful husband and I love you more than the amount of words I could ever type.

 Happy Anniversary, babe.

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Chile, Don’t Believe THAT Hype.

So, I was reading a very interesting blog piece when I performed a Google search a few years ago.  The Google search I conducted was “How to get a boyfriend when you’re fat” and the article focused on exuding confidence, while trying to get as skinny as possible so that the boy you’re interested in will like you.  Pause.  What?  That was the most terrible thing I had read in a long time, yet I was trying hard to follow that advice…

You see, Old Ash wasn’t as confident as Current Ash is.  She thought she was fat and ugly and not enough to be considered by any man…ever.  Drastic, I know, but very true…at least that’s what I thought.  I would look at body confident warriors on the internet and wish my parts were as beautiful as theirs and wish I could have the confidence they had so that a man can find me attractive. Chile, I was in such a dark place.

Nadia...my most favorite body warrior.

Nadia…my most favorite body warrior.

Lots of things contributed to the way I felt about myself, but the most notable was the affections of my “high school sweetheart” who didn’t want to claim me in public and who had affections for me, but only secretly and who was worried about being with me because I was plus sized.  These are things he told me verbally…romantic, huh? Eventually my self-esteem hit a dark place and it took the love and care of my best friend, Rutha to help me see that I probably needed to talk to someone about how I feel.  I started therapy sessions and they were the BEST.  Apart from marrying my heart, therapy was the best decision I ever made.  After my sessions I tattooed a reminder to myself on my body so that I’ll always remember that EVERY part of me is beautiful.  From my head all the way down to my feet.

Reminder...

Reminder…

When I started to be pursued by Marques I let it be known that I love me and that the only person changing this body was me. He fell in love with every single part of me and I love him even more for that.  If anyone ever told you that you needed to be a certain size to be pursued by a decent enough man, don’t believe them.  You can be whatever size you wanna be and whomever you are with will love you anyway, if they mean it.  If someone truly loves you, something like weight, which can change any time, would not hold them back.

Body. For Days.

Body. For Days.

I’ve become my own body warrior.  I think I’m great and I can do and wear anything I want and I don’t care what anyone says.  Most importantly: I love me.  Don’t ever let anyone make you think you’re not worth anything because of how you look.  Anyone can buy body parts, but no one can buy personality, compassion or individuality.

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You’re beautiful and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.  Don’t believe THAT hype.