My Twenty ’13

29 Dec

All in all, I cannot deny that 2013 was a great year. While tempted to dwell on another year unfulfilled in matters of my love life, I have so many other things to be grateful for about this year. I am proud to share here that I am not who and where I was last year as a person; I am so much better! I have reflected and compiled 20 achievements, revelations, triumphs, secrets, come ups and joys I experienced in 2013 have contributed to my glorious transcendence. In no particular order of importance here are the blessings I have received from life in 2013.

1. I almost fell in love: I don’t really care what Brandy sang in 1998, almost kinda counts. Almost falling in love improved my health, reduced stress, and most importantly taught me what I needed to be able to have a successful relationship with a man in the future. While the relationship ended with heartache, I am so fond of it because I experienced new things in new ways that I least expected. It was exhilarating and it was SO what I needed at the time. In moving forward, I am oddly anxious yet excited in constant realization of the fact that the very best man for me still lies ahead. 

2. I realized a dream: It has always been my passion to help young women realize their potential. In my role in my current job I created, produced, and planned an event to recognize nearly 200 teen parents within the NYC Department of Education who received their H.S. Diploma. It was remarkable, inspiring and the best thing I have ever done. In the moment, I realized the dream that I first had when I was about 21 years old and changed my major to social work. I wanted to share my passion for resilience and possibility and that’s exactly what I did on that night. Daily, I realize how fortunate and blessed I am to be doing exactly what is consistent with who I am, what I have come from and what talents I bring to the world all while getting paid to do it! So damn blessed!

3. I met Sheryl Sandberg: As if her book wasn’t enough excitement in opening my eyes to new ideas for my career, meeting her and speaking with her was nothing short of inspiring.

4. I turned 30: In the words of my friend Taryn, I deserve to be 30! Considering all I’ve been through and gained from life I am proud to say that I have lived and loved and have thirty years of experience to show for it. To me 30 signifies the beginning of who I have created and realized myself to be. Age makes me so excited and represents the blessing of progression and evolution.

5. I accepted my body & fell deeply in love with myself: Up until late last year, I struggled a lifelong battle with poor body image, hating that my butt is non-existent, that I have narrow hips,that my waist is wide. For years these views of myself produced severe anxiety, self-consciousness, depression, and even compromised my outlook for love and success in addition inducing physical illness. I had even booked cosmetic surgery (yep!) but my attempts to alter my appearance were unsuccessful (God is so damn funny). I was stuck and hopeless and as a result I was forced to live my life fully, accept myself wholly, and fall in love with my body and myself- even my slight hips and ass! This acceptance allowed me to experience intimacy (with myself and interpersonally), romance, an joy in a way that I had never. It was liberating!  “Who would I be if I had a different body,” I now ask myself. The answer is, “I don’t even wanna know, girl.” I can truly say something I have never been able to say without wearing a single touch of doubt, I really, truly, madly, deeply love myself. There is no body part or person who can depreciate that. My love has also fueled my passion  to challenge the notion that a black woman’s beauty, worth or blackness is found along the curves of her ass or that any woman’s ass is the source of her beauty and femininity. We need broader views of what makes women beautiful and I am committed to deconstructing the idiocies behind this- starting with this secret I just shared with you. #Iamnotmyass #Iamawomanfirst #teamnoass #teambeautiful

6. I got a raise:  Mo’ money, mo money mo!

7. I learned to swim: Swimming is something I’ve wanted to be able to do for years and don’t really know if I thought I could. Low and behold on my second lesson at the Y, I swam fearlessly and unassisted. It was a freeing experience and I can actually look forward to wearing a swimsuit and going to the pool or beach for a real reason – after a few more courses between now and summer 2014 of course!

8. I made my own music video: For my 30th birthday I wanted to something fun and when I heard Beyonce’s Grown Woman, my creative energy came out overflowing. Ultimately, I created my very own professional music/dance video with a bunch of my girlfriends all dressed up in costumes I designed. It was the best thing ever and taught me that I am very talented and creative and I can do anything that I put my mind to. I know that sounds cliché but I tend to forget that and not maintain enough discipline to realize the millions of things that come to mind. I am so glad I did this. I’m a grown woman. I do WHATEVER I want!

9. I attended the 50th Anniversary of my High School Drill Team: You may not understand and I can’t put into words in a convincing way that will convey the value of this experience without being called a dork so just trust me – this was a joyful and meaningful experience.

10. I lost a friend: I learned a tough lesson on being impeccable with my word and intentions within my friendships.  I took me losing a friend to realize how I was failing as a friend. Though it was challenging to accept, it was a profound and necessary experience for me and my remaining friendships.

11. I dated better: While my dating efforts haven’t landed me in the arms of my dream man, I dated some great, smart, sweet, successful men this year. Though I HATE dating, it continues to bring me more clarity and affirmation about what it is that I want. Now, Universe, provide! #noboysallowed #menapplywithin

12. I fit back into jeans from high school without even trying! Boom!

13. I got over that lingering bad relationship baggage: Thanks in large part to great the guys I met this year. They are the better I didn’t realize I could/should do when I was dating that guy back in Texas. In the word’s of Beyonce, “Man, that was so wack!”

14. I fell in love with reading as a hobby again: Thank you to my new favorite new books: Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi,The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

15. I met my favorite blogger: Cynthia of Simply Cyn or Addicted2Etsy is hands down my favorite blogger ever. I have been reading her blog for 5 years and her beauty, style, and authenticity just inspires and grounds me. I was happy to finally meet her in person this summer. I am grateful for the energy her blog brings to my world.

16. I discovered the best cocktail ever: ..and now it’s just me and whiskey gingers ’til the end of time.

17. I joined the New York Urban League: Joining and participating has been such a great investment for my social life and interpersonal growth. I should have joined a long time ago but glad to be here now. Yes new friends!

18. I got closer to friends and family: Through a series of fortunate and unfortunate life events this year, I was forced to rely more on my friends and family in ways that I have always been too ashamed or scared to do. Truths were told, sentiments were shared, baggage was claimed, and I am so much better for it.

19.  BEYONCE’: It was Friday the 13th and guess who played Jason?!

20. I finally decided on a business to start: I am a woman of many talents and many passions and over the years I have been paralyzed by them not knowing which ones to cultivate, thinking too much, being too flaky, and worrying about the outcomes. I tried to give up on the dream of owning my own business but then I realized that it was something that I would never be able to let go of. I sat and thought again about what I just love to do and what brings me joy and allows me t be creative. Well, I have figured it out somewhat and it is coming soon! 😉

In short, who needs a degree when you’re schoolin’ life! Thank you, God.

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One Response to “My Twenty ’13”

  1. Ebony Pitts December 30, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Amazing! You may not know this Ashleigh, but you are such an inspiration to me!
    Love you Always!

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