10 Things I Learned In My 20’s

When I was younger I had these huge plans for my life, you couldn’t tell me I wouldn’t be rich and successful by 25. Well 25 came and went and no I am not rich and to be honest I wouldn’t consider myself successful based on my standards which aren’t just about money and material things just so we’re clear. I’ve taken hella detours on my journey of life and while sometimes I wish I did some things differently I know that my experiences make me who I am.

Over the past year my life has changed dramatically, from being on dialysis to getting a kidney transplant it has been a rollercoaster and even though I am not where I want to be I do know that I am blessed and forever grateful to see this milestone of an age. However on the other side of all of this positivity ya girl is scared AF! I would be lying if I said I’m approaching 30 feeling calm, cool and collected. It looks so on the outside because I don’t subscribe to public panicking but believe me there are 123253674 thoughts in my mind. Career? Personal goals? Love life? Health? Its a lot to think about and when you’re like me and the browser of your mind has a minimum of 50 tabs open at all times it can drive you crazy.

Some days I feel extremely overwhelmed by the pressure I put on myself to have my shit completely together, but the truth is life isn’t perfect. I’ve met people who seem to have it all together on the outside but in reality they’re also trying to figure things out. This social media world we live in makes it so easy to doubt ourselves or not fully celebrate our wins because someone else’s might seem bigger and better. Don’t let the highlight reel of someone else’s life fool you, we’re all trying to level up in one way or another. If you haven’t accomplished goals you expected to by a certain time or age try changing your outlook. Instead of feeling like you failed be thankful that God has allowed you to see another day to work towards those goals.

I’ve learned a lot about myself during my 20’s and one of those things is comparison is the thief of joy. You can’t admire the grass on the other side if you don’t take the time to water your own, how else is it supposed to flourish? Mind the business that pays you and I’m not just talking about money. Other things on that list include:

  1. A fuck boy will always be that… A FUCK BOY.
  2. Quality over Quantity and that goes for everything.
  3. Everyone doesn’t have the same heart as you.
  4. Always do your best. Put 100% into everything you do and you will reap the benefits.
  5. Some people come into your life to teach you a lesson.
  6. Never dim your light to let someone else shine.
  7. Stop entertaining people/things past their expiration date. LET IT GO!
  8. Its ok to love someone from a distance.
  9. What you allow is what will continue.
  10. PUT YOURSELF FIRST! No friendship or romantic relationship is more important than you and your health. That includes mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. If it doesn’t grow you or serve you let it go because what is meant for you will never miss you.

xoxo Ash

More Than 1…

Over the past couple of years the topic of diversity and inclusion across all industries has been at the forefront of so many important conversations. When I chose to pursue a career in fashion I was aware that the presence of people who look like me wasn’t felt and definitely not seen, whether it was on runways or at the offices of magazines people of color have not been represented the way we should. I wanted to be part of the change I wished to see in the fashion world I was just as well versed in fashion history (if not more) than my caucasian peers, my passion burned hotter than any flame, and creativity ran through my veins so why wouldn’t I want to have a career doing what I love while representing my people? Recently celebrity stylist Law Roach (@luxurylaw on Instagram) posted a picture of the Essence magazine cover featuring Kelis and in his caption he spoke about the fact that this was only the second time in his career that he worked with an all black team. Considering how long he has been styling and how many clients he has this is kind of crazy and is a great example of why diversity in the fashion industry is so important. In the caption he also invited all creatives to use the hashtag #morethan1 to challenge the norm of there only being one black person in the room, I was immediately inspired because there have been several times where I was the only black girl in the room. Whether it was at an internship or in a classroom while pursuing my degree I know what it feels like to acknowledge the fact that you are the only one in the room.

As a young black woman who is pursuing blogging and has had great interest in the industry for many years I am well aware of the lack of diversity in the blogging community. Whether its a blogger award or a press trip there are always one or two black bloggers that have managed to reach a level of success that has allowed them to be recognized or included, but one or two is not enough especially when there are hundreds of talented black bloggers all around the world. Instagram is a prime example of how white washed the blogging world can be, if you go into the style section on the explore page it is 90% white and I’m not saying these women aren’t talented and don’t deserve to be there I’m just saying that there are plenty of black women who should be there also. Women who have dedicated uploading schedules, amazing style, unique content, and pristine pictures and yet they don’t receive the same acknowledgment.  When I decided to take blogging seriously I told myself I want to be part of the change that needs to happen I wanted to be someone who pushed for the necessary conversations to be had and to ultimately represent black women alongside others who feel the same way I feel about the lack of diversity. I’m a pretty small blogger I don’t even have 1,000 followers yet but I know I’m going to continue to grow as a brand and I promise to always use my platform to represent black women in this community. I will be using the #morethan1 hashtag on my posts moving forward and I hope that my fellow creatives of color do the same. We can’t only depend on celebrities and people in high places to speak for us and do the work we have to do it ourselves.

xoxo Ash.

The Imaginary Race…

As I approach the end of my 20’s I have to be honest about the amount of pressure I am feeling but the pressure isn’t really coming from anyone else but myself. Growing up I used to imagine what my life would be like by the time I was 25 and you couldn’t tell me I wouldn’t be this big career woman with ALL of my shit together, well 25 came and went and I’m still trying to figure things out. My life has definitely been a rollercoaster (I swear I’m going to write a book!) and I’ve had to deal with things on a daily basis that most people never even have to think about and yes I know life isn’t easy, and yes I know everyone has problems so I’m not complaining. I just know there were some things I could have done differently over the years and even though I hate to dwell on the past it is hard to not think about how things would be if I made different choices. In addition to things happening in my personal life I’ve also allowed fear and doubt to stop me from starting or doing things  that I should have done a long time ago and now 30 is right around the corner and I’m low key ( ok.. high key) panicking because so many people around me are hitting these milestones like starting their careers, getting married or having children and I’m just here trying to keep my shit together.

The past couple of weeks I have found myself in this weird space because I feel like I’m being left behind but I had to ask myself who the hell are you racing to the finish line? And what’s at this finish line? The first thing that comes to my mind is success but success means something different to everyone and I had to remind myself that this is MY path and MY story no one else’s. Now this isn’t an excuse to be lazy and not work towards my goals it’s just a reminder that everything happens when it is supposed to and I need to trust the timing of my life. If you’ve been feeling the same way remember that we all have our season when we come into our own, for some people that season comes earlier than it does for others but as long as we put in the work we will definitely reap the benefits. I have so many plans and goals for 2019 and I’m excited to see where life takes me. To anyone else who has been feeling the way I have been feeling don’t let your thoughts and fears consume you, use the feeling that you should be or could be doing more give you motivation to smash all the goals you have for yourself moving forward!

xoxo Ash

Thrifted Gems..

I’ve always loved the idea of reinventing things to make them my own, especially when it came to clothes. Vintage and thrift shops appealed to me because I knew I could take something old and make it new again by mixing it with my own personal style, like I did with this printed blazer. I believe that garments tell a story and when a piece is passed down someone else writes a part in that story through their experiences while wearing that piece of clothing, this probably sounds hella cheesy and dramatic to some but its the way I think.

To me thrifting is like a mini treasure hunt and if you get excited about clothes the way I do then you should definitely google thrift shops in your area and take a trip. I guarantee that you will find some gems to add to your wardrobe that won’t break the bank, and if your someone who cares about the environment thrifting is the way to go because your basically recycling a garment and giving it a new home in your closet. And I can’t forget the exclusivity factor because I can assure you there won’t be 100 people walking around in the same piece you thrifted, I get countless compliments on this blazer when I wear it because its a unique piece. If you guys would like another post on my favorite thrift shops or tips and tricks on styling thrifted and vintage items please comment down below and let me know. I would be happy to write a post all about it.

Do you guys own any vintage pieces if so what are they? Comment down below and let me know!

 

Clothes encounters..

We’ve all heard the saying “when you look good you feel good” and that goes for your health and how you look physically as well as what you wear. It sounds a little shallow but what you wear can say a lot about you, it helps express various moods and individuality. I’ve been struggling with my body image for the past few months after losing 27 pounds due to kidney failure and being on dialysis, needless to say I haven’t been feeling like myself and this feeling often translates to how I dress. Sweats, leggings, hoodies, and t-shirts have pretty much been my go to choices due to the overwhelming need for comfort (as well as camouflaging the catheter in my neck) but to be honest I am still uncomfortable. My clothes don’t fit and I don’t feel like myself. Getting dressed is usually my favorite part of the day because my style is heavily based on my mood but most days I’ve been serving sweatpant realness and to be honest I’m over myself.  And to be even more honest I HATE getting dressed now which makes me sad because fashion and style is everything to me and my clothes shouldn’t feel like the enemy. I swear it takes me hours sometimes days just to find a outfit I feel somewhat comfortable in for blog posts and even then I’ve adopted the “fake it till you make it” philosophy and take the pictures even though I think I look like shit. Having this negative relationship with my clothes right now sucks and I’m sure we’ve all felt insecure about our body image before but the important thing is to not stay stuck. I see people like fashion blogger Kyrzayda Rodriguez (@kyrzayda_ on Instagram) who is battling stage 4 cancer and through everything she continues to push through her struggles with her own body image and does it so gracefully. We both love fashion and she has refused to let her health stop her from getting dressed and looking her best and she is a major inspiration for me to really push myself as far as my blogging is concerned.

I need to get back to who I am when it comes to my personal style and I’m going to do that by focusing on the pieces in my closet that make me feel comfortable and confident. Whether I am 140 or 113 I need to love my body because I only get one and self love is so important. If you’re struggling with your body image focus on the positive and make a conscious effort to change the things you don’t like, and remember the change won’t happen overnight but it will definitely happen.

I’m going to push myself to get back to the old me and I hope you guys push yourself out of your fashion comfort zones or any comfort zones moving forward. Happy Friday!

Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month so expect to see me wearing a lot of blue in my upcoming blog posts. Today I am getting a little personal about my diabetes which is rare but necessary for me at this point in my life.

Extreme thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue. Those are the three  symptoms that I remember leading up to my diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at 12 years old. Some days I would just stand in the kitchen with the water running drinking glasses back to back but it was never enough. I couldn’t quench my thirst. This went on for a while and even though I thought it was weird I was more concerned with things like my crush at the time and what to wear to school the next day, my priorities were obviously in order. One day I had really bad stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting (something I would become all too familiar with over the years) and I knew something wasn’t right. My mother asked if I wanted to go to the hospital and I said yes, everything was really a blur because I was in so much pain. I had to give a urine sample in the ER and when the doctor brought it back he told us I tested positive for juvenile diabetes. Shit just got real.

I cant tell you how many times I cried in the hospital during that week, there was so much information to take in and I just didn’t want to deal with it. Learning all about insulin injections, finger sticks, and counting carbs was just the beginning. I practiced giving injections on a yellow sponge similiar to one you would use to wash dishes, but that didn’t compare to doing the injection on myself. When it was time to do it for real I cried…again. No amount of tears was going to change the fact that this was now my life and I had to grow up in the blink of an eye. What twelve year old was mentally prepared to take on diabetes and everything else that comes with an invisible illness? I sure as hell wasnt. Over the years I struggled A LOT with my diabetes and looking back I realized I was angry and I took that anger out on myself by not not taking care of my health the way I should have. I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital battling with my diabetes but really battling with myself. I wanted to be “normal” so bad, I was ashamed of my diabetes and I felt like some people took pity on me which I hated. I wish I knew then what I know now because I would have been more kind to myself in so many different ways.

 

It took me a long time to get here, I’ve been to hell and back but I’m currently at a place where I am comfortable with my diabetes. I still have my struggles because diabetes is a tough disease but I do my best everyday. I’ve never openly discussed my health and there are things I will never share and things that people will never understand unless they are also diabetic. But I do think I am ready to be more vocal about diabetes and show people that it doesn’t stop us from living our lives just like everyone else. Limitations have been put on me countless times but I pay them no mind. I’m still setting goals and smashing the hell out of them all while juggling pricking my finger, counting carbs, giving injections, and doctors appointments. I want people to be more aware and educate themselves about both types of diabetes because the diagnosis has become very common. If anyone is reading this and happens to be newly diagnosed or knows someone who is struggling with their diabetes I just want to let you know that it gets better. Always put yourself and your health first, make sure you have a solid support system, and know that everyday will be different. You just have to count your blessings and stay strong!