Whew chile! What a year!

Whew chile, what a year!

So 2018 was magical and phenomenal and everything I could’ve imagined. 

It was also difficult, terrible and at times seemed unbearable.

At the end of last year I decided to relinquish all rights of my life over to God because I can mess up my own life, but allowing God to lead me allows me to get through the tough times because He’s by my side.  Having Him guide me has really put difficult times in perspective for me.  It’s also brought me much closer to God and in that I’ve learned several truths about Him (5 of which I live by and constantly remind myself of).  I’ll save the five truths for another time 😉 

The Good

So this year I was accepted as a board member of the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence board, along with CEOs, lawyers and other big whigs 😬.  I also had so many doors open for me at church, which has been such an amazing journey.  The highlight of my year had to be starting A Look in the Mirror.  I got a chance to use my pain and help young girls learn a little more about self-confidence and how to love themselves.  You can find out more below:

A Look in the Mirror

The Bad

So, while my year was awesome it didn’t always have awesome moments. 

My husband lost one of his father figures, his Uncle Charles.  Uncle Charles gave me such a warm welcome into his family and he was such an amazing man to both his family and his community.  My husband took it rough and being his rock wasn’t always easy, but it surely brought us much closer together.

The very same weekend of his funeral, our house had terrible damage from one of them daggone hurricanes 🙄

It was stressful, but one of the truths I learned is that God never gives us anything more than we can bear.  *Amen* 

The Ugly

Okay…so here we go. 

With all of the amazing things that have happened for me this year, my work life became increasingly stressful.  I prayed about my next steps and a year ago God told me that I wasn’t meant to get promoted at my job.  I didn’t understand or accept this and was allll fast and applied for a promotion.  I got the job and thought it was enough to make me happy enough to stay, but it wasn’t. 

Since I was a young girl, I struggled with understanding why people would not enjoy my presence.  Honestly, I’m bomb. But anyways, I didn’t understand why people would talk negatively about me when I’ve done nothing that would warrant that type of behavior.  Needless to say during my time in my new position my anxiety got to a level that it hasn’t been in several years. 

I had my first panic attack in the 8th grade.  I didn’t understand what was happening, or how to control my breathing or how to stop my thoughts from racing.  Eighth grade was my first experience with backlash at a large degree.  I had several people who didn’t like me and talked badly about me.  I constantly felt like I was being talked about by the people around me and working at my job brought all of the 8th grade Ashley feelings back.  It was terrible.  I came home from work and had a panic attack, feeling the exact same way as I did in 8th grade, and in high school, and during all of the high anxiety years I experienced in college.  I didn’t want to go back to that time ever in life and here I was, post-therapy, body confident, self-loving Ashley having a panic attack because of her work.  Something had to change.

What’s Next?

Thankfully, God gave me a new job that I start at the top of the year.  It gives me the freedom to use my gifts, to be creative and to have a manageable amount of stress.  I’m thankful to God for this new position, but I’ve got to learn to re-manage my anxiety. 

I’ve also been striving to learn how to balance faith with anxiety.  See, my faith tells me that God will never leave me or forsake me and that in my weakness He strengthens me.  My anxiety knows ALL of these things and trust that God knows what’s best, but at the same time prepares for if things doesn’t go the way Ashley wants them to.  It may seem harmless to some, but it has kept me from celebrating all of the amazingness of 2018.  I’ve only been preparing myself for when things fall apart.  My goal for 2019 is to celebrate ALL things, not just the bad.  

I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me.  I’m trusting God ALWAYS and giving everything to Him FOREVER *Cardi B voice*. It’s only going to get better as my faith gets stronger.



She believed she could, so she figured she’d at least try: Week 1

Hey y’all!

So get this…ya girl went ahead and launched her self esteem program!

Image result for yay meme funny

I’ve been excited, stressed, nervous and just unbelievably happy!  I can’t believed I actually am doing something I’ve set out to do.  I’ve combated laziness and procrastination and this week I started my program with a group of nine beautiful young ladies.

Each week we have different objectives and lessons to focus on that bring us back to overarching goal of loving ourselves fully.  This week we did introductions and we got to know each other.  We played icebreakers that allowed the girls to forge a bond and learn to communicate with each other.

I can’t wait to spend the next  several weeks with these girls!  They’re a vibrant group filled with questions and such beautiful hearts.  I’ll be posting here every week to recap the sessions as they happen.

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 Form

Fat Pocket Chocolate Goddess.

So, here we are with another work week in front of us (boooooo!). I’m just coming back from a wonderful best friendaversary trip with my beautiful best friend! We’re celebrating 10 wonderful years. 💕

image5

To celebrate, we decided to go on a five day cruise to the Bahamas and honey, it was beautiful and extremely hot, but so much fun! I don’t know if any of you have been on a cruise before, but people have way less inhibitions about the way they dress, which I can appreciate. As the body positive person I am, I thought why not celebrate my body for all that it is. Every roll, every lump, every bump and cellulite. I celebrate all of it because it’s all of me.

IMG_5054

Now, wearing a midriff top, or a bikini as a fat girl is not to be understood by many, but who cares! Fat people vacation too and if someone smaller than me can cool down by wearing her belly out, why can’t I? I choose to show my fat pockets because it’s my right to wear weather appropriate clothing YEAR ROUND.

image1

Of course I got some stares. I always do when I break the fat girl norm, but since my body belongs to me I wear what I want. I’m not going to lie, the first time I ever wore a bikini I tugged and tugged at it looking for more material to cover my stomach. Eventually I got more comfortable in who I am and in my skin and now I rock my clothes with no regrets. It was 90 degrees in the Bahamas and this fat girl was not about to roast in pants and long sleeves to make others feel comfortable. If you don’t like what you see, DON’T LOOK.

IMG_5072
If you’re reading this and you wonder how to get some of the black girl magic, chocolate goddess delight, fat pocket having confidence I will tell you that it takes lots of time to develop your confidence and a lot of hard work. Luckily, if you’re in the Charlotte area I provide all of the tips and tools that I use to boost myself up and remind myself of my worth in a series of workshops in my program called A Look in the Mirror. If you’re interested please sign an interest form below:

A Look in the Mirror Interest Form

 

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.

11838602_10204893317198016_3736706682191134531_o

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