It’s been awhile. I could go on and on about how this has been going on and how that has been going on that has prevented me from posting, but it’s actually simpler than that.
Lack of inspiration.
When I say lack of inspiration, I don’t mean that I’ve had a lack of ideas. I receive ideas everywhere and from anything. My mind is constantly trying to piece things together and discover ways to talk about the things that I’m passionate about.
But I haven’t been inspired lately. I haven’t been staying in my lane on the AVE.
This year, I have adopted three core values for this space – authenticity, vulnerability, and empowerment. Out of the three of these, I’ve found authenticity to be the hardest for me at this point. And as much as I want to say that this is new, it isn’t.
One of the things that I’ve hated the most about being in any position of power (or connected to any person in a position of power) is the unreasonable expectations at times. As a PK, I have struggled lots to live openly in a way that would not disgrace my parents and not produce any extra grief for myself. What this has cultivated in me is an ability to pretend – to pretend I’m certain ways, to pretend I like certain things, and to pretend I’m not affected by certain things like others. Pretending is not something exclusive to PKs; most people have something at which they are great at pretending. We learn early to cater to the audiences that we are around and that we answer to.
The Girl with Black Pearls has been great because it has allowed me to be as courageous at being Ashley as I desire to be. It allowed me to voice things I may not be able to say and it has allowed me a way to overcome some of my biggest fears – fear of failure, fear of imperfection, fear of rejection, etc. At the same time, however, it has allowed me to fall into a familiar place where my words and my actions didn’t quite add up. And while I find it particularly easy to say on here that I’m not perfect and that I am a work in progress, I also grew to find it easy to be comfortable in staying where I am while coming on here and talking about growth and maturity and moving past hurts.
I got to a point where I wasn’t even trying to get past certain situations, where my fear of rejection drove me to stay in places I had no business. The more I talked about being a more confident and self-assured Ashley, the more I felt comfortable staying with those actions that fed my insecurities behind the computer screen. I wasn’t being authentic anymore; I wasn’t working to deal with the issues anymore. In at least two areas of my life, I had settled for crumbs of a cake that wasn’t even mine.
So the inspiration stopped. I was becoming more and more frustrated every time I sat to write, knowing that it wasn’t coming from an authentic place. I didn’t want to just write for the hell of it. I wanted my words for count for something, if not for you, for me.
Lots of good things have happened over the past month; I will be sharing some of it at the appropriate time. But more than the new job and the upcoming move to a new place, the most important moment in my life came when I decided to finally (really) end a chapter that really ended a while ago. I was so afraid to choose me, even in the face of possible rejection, that I held on for way too long. I knew that I was going to be devastated after I did what I had to do but do you know what happened? I turned around and slept the whole night through.
“I want to write out of healed wounds, not out of gaping sores.” – Nadia Bolz-Weber
I say all that to say this – it’s OK to be authentic. There are too many of us out here who are too comfortable with the various personas we have. And while I understand that some of us may feel that we need to do it out of necessity, I think it is important for us to be OK with who we are – our greatness, our strengths, our flaws, our blemishes. ALL of that makes us who we are and is a necessary part of our narratives.
I haven’t arrived yet. I still struggle with certain things. Some days I look in the mirror in disgust. And I have maintained some friendships way past their expiration date because I don’t like losing people and always want to feel wanted/needed. I tend to be sensitive and take any type of critique personally. This is [part of] who I am and am learning that I don’t have to pretend for me to be effective. My wounds have branded my story in a certain way but I don’t have to let them define me nor do I have to constantly bandage them in shame. I can let the air hit the scars so they can heal and if I decide to share a few with you, I can risk your judgment because I know I’m doing the work to heal. That makes it worth it.
So I’m just staying in my lane on the A.V.E…
It is authenticity that enables me to be vulnerable in order to enable empowerment (for self and for others). And I hope that you, too, are encouraged to do what it takes to be true to yourself while continually pressing to be better.