“And when you become a diamond, you’ll see why life had to pressure you.”
There are so many reasons why I feel like 2018 will be an amazing year for me. I felt it in my spirit at the end of last year as I prepared to give birth to my baby, my blog, my living spree. However, it was confirmed on my birthday last Thursday when I turned 29. It was almost as if I had a revelation right there at the dinner table. One of my best friends asked the very common question, “So how does it feel to be 29?” I responded, “My 29th year of life feels awesome, but not in the same way turning a year older usually feels. I feel like I’ve arrived. I feel like a grown woman. I love myself now more than ever before. I know what I want and I know exactly who I am, whose I am, and where I’m going.”
As I made that statement, it made me very emotional because I could recall a time when I didn’t love myself. Not in the most obvious way, but from a place where I allowed people to treat me less than what I deserved and I adopted the awful habit of settling. Many people don’t realize that when you truly love yourself, you are protective of yourself at all costs. You won’t allow certain people or situations to occur out of love for yourself. You won’t disrespect yourself or let others disrespect you. That was my wake up call. How people treat you is a reflection of how you treat yourself. I realized I had to change the way I viewed myself and therefore everything/everyone else would fall in line. In 2016, I was in a very dark place—it was like I was trapped in a hole. Then, I spent 2017 digging myself out of that hole. I spent the entire year improving myself and learning how to truly love myself so that I wouldn’t end up in that dark place again. I did a lot of “heart work” to say the least. Now, in 2018 I am completely out of that dark place and not merely surviving, but thriving!
This little light of mine
After our dinner, my best friend asked everyone to go around and share how I’ve impacted their lives or inspired them in some way. Their words were so touching and reassuring. They went on and on until I was literally balling in tears (I’m always crying smh lol)! I got emotional hearing how people I admire consider me an inspiration to them and how they view me in such a positive light. There was one affirmation that almost everyone mentioned and it was, “You are a light to others, so let your light shine and don’t dim it for anyone.” This stuck with me because I remember a time when I wasn’t so sure of myself, felt extremely insecure, and couldn’t be my true self out of fear that I wouldn’t fit in with others. In the past, I definitely felt like I had to tone down my personality, the way I dress, my “extraness,” and even hide my creativity in order to fit a mold. What mold was I trying to fit into? It was imaginary, to be honest. It really depended on what others around me were doing. Not anymore! No longer do I tailor myself to others. I realized that I am the mold! I am a light and I will continue to let my light shine!
You made it
Lastly, at that table, I realized that I was exactly where God wanted me to be and that the work I had been doing for others and to improve myself was pleasing to him. I am living a purpose-filled life and pleasing God is what matters most to me now. I no longer worry about pleasing other people and worrying about what they think of me. What matters most is my own self-concept. As I mentioned in the first post, the blog was the first leap of faith—a catalyst, if you will. The work that God wants me to do in this world goes far beyond the blog. My only job was to say yes and move forward. I went through all of that to share my story and give hope to someone else. There is beauty in the struggle, please believe that. This year began with me taking huge steps toward my destiny and it is the most amazing feeling in the world! It is so empowering, liberating, and most of all inspiring. The day I turned 29, its like everything clicked and I was like, “Wow, Ashley you did it. You made it out on the other side. You’re on the right path, exactly where you need to be.” After years of feeling lost and unsure, you could imagine how amazing this revelation was. Chapter 29 is a REVIVAL!
As we embark on a new year and a new journey, sometimes it is good to stop and reflect on how far we’ve come. Sometimes our reflections not only motivate us to move forward but also give us some insight to where we are headed. Is there anything you learned in the past that was particularly difficult, but now you look back and realize why you had to go through it? What are some things you are looking forward to working on or doing in 2018?