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So, about the title…(Part Deux)

Shameless selfie! When did selfies become a thing?

Shameless selfie! When did selfies become a thing?

Hello lovelies! Thank you so much for the response surrounding my past post. It was very hard to write; so hard that I had to stop myself a couple of times to let the tears flow and breathe just to keep the words flowing from my whole being onto the page. (Sorry, that sounded sooooooooooo emo.) I also had to stop myself from going super dark and revealing everything, because it’s not time yet to reveal all of the dark corners. Trust me, lovelies, we’ll get there. 🙂

And now, let’s talk about puppies let’s talk about more about the title (specifically, the motivations in naming the blog itself). Part Deux awaits!

Knowing what I had gone through thus far in my 30 years of living on this earth coupled with the fact (or, at the very least, my truth) the only way to change something in my life that has caused me so much pain is to be brave and ask for help when needed. I decided that if I truly wanted to slay forever my weight (from obese to healthy), my attitude, and 30 freakin’ years of virtually no self-love, self-esteem, and all around toxic words I (and others) have told me regarding my body and how I look, I need to FINALLY be honest to all about where I am, and where I want to be. I need fight this fight publicly, and I need to do so with a community around that will fight this with me, and can encourage me and keep my accountable. Frankly, I needed to get out of my own way, and let others (that I love and trust wholeheartedly) fight this good fight with me. To honor this community that I’ve assembled, and to keep everyone updated on my progress (as well as revealing things about myself that I have kept from everyone), I decided to do something equally courageous and drastic: write a blog. As in, it’s on the interwebz for all to see. Yikes.

Within this spirit and with the goal of starting this blog, I knew what the first step needed to be. A little while ago on my Facebook page, I asked people to help me come up with a name for my blog, in order to help me actually get the thing started, and to perhaps help me focus what exactly I wanted to write about. I knew I wanted to write about 2014 being my Year of Courage (I turned 30 at the end of 2013, and I wanted my 30th year to be a year where I try new things and to be bold, hence the declaration), but other than that, I was drawing a blank.

Here is what my loved ones came up with:
1. Ashley’s Silver Lining
2. Journey to New
3. Beginnings
4. Who New?
5. The Love-Me Blog
6. Be-You-Tiful
7. My Year of Courage
8. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Myself* (*Full Disclosure: I was thisclose to naming my blog this.)
9. Loving Myself by Grace
10. Blossoming in the Spirit
11. A Thousand Mile (and Grace Filled) Journey…
12. The Year of Ashley
13. Inside Out – Bringing Inner Beauty to the Surface
14. The Amazing Adventures of …
15. One person didn’t have a title, but suggested something with a phoenix. LURVE THAT.
16. The Lovely Blog
17. Baptism

Let the record show that I know some awesome people, whose love in suggestions for a personal blog still astounds and humbles me to this day.

However, I was drawn to the word lovely. It’s a word that my generation doesn’t use much anymore, and I loved the classic, feminine, vintage, and inherently Southern vibe this word gives me to me. I didn’t want the blog (and by extension, myself) to be pretty, beautiful, astonishing, ravishing, hot; I wanted it to be lovely.

So I decided to look up the word lovely on the internetz (aka Dictionary.com), and this is what it came up with:
1. Charming or exquisitely beautiful
2. Having a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye, as a person or a face.
3. Delightful; highly pleasing
4. Of a great moral or spiritual beauty

Sold.

This is the kind of beauty I want to achieve in my life (vs. the other words mentioned above). I want my beauty to be reflected from my insides (my mind, heart, and soul) to my outsides (my face and my body). I truly believe that when one focuses on treating and developing his or her inner health (i.e. character, intelligence, confidence, etc.), this will be reflected in your outer health. Meaning, if you let your light shine on the inside, it will shine through to the outside of you as well. (As I mentioned before, light attracts light.)

Pursuing this kind of beauty takes courage, whether one decides to take this privately or publicly. Asking for help for anything in life also takes courage, no matter what the task may be. As I pondered all of the titles suggestions, and pondering what my heart already knew about my Year of Courage and the things I wanted to achieve, the title came forth: The Lovely Courage.

Lovelies, this blog title has since become my mantra, my life’s purpose. I have fallen in love with the passion and intention behind these words, and I love how these words combine together to imbue the tone of this blog, and the both the journey and fight I have ahead of me. Not only am I fighting for my beauty; I am fighting for courage to lay it all out there for all to see.

Welcome to the Lovely Courage. Enjoy. 🙂

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So, about the title…(Part Uno)

Oh you know, just waking up...to fight for my life. (Please ignore the fact that I am waking up at 1:19. I am not a vampire.)

Oh you know, just waking up…to fight for my life. (Please ignore the fact that I am waking up at 1:19. I am not a vampire.)

Warning: this post may or may not have been written with tears in my eyes.

Hello lovelies! Before I truly get started on this journey (which involves me being honest with you about my weight…yes, I am planning on saying how much I weight on the internet), I wanted to explain the title in further detail. I deliberately left that explanation out of my first post, because if I didn’t, the first post would 1882323405953053 words long and you would STILL be reading it. Chaos would ensue. 😉

However, something happened when I tried writing about the title. I kept wanting to make it 1882323405953053 (this is totes a real number) words long. Which is fine. Truthfully. Except for this: I kept skipping past the vulnerable part of really truly explaining why I came to this title in the blog and what I believe about myself and the whole blogging process. I was just explaining titles I loved and words I loved having together. Kind of like downright SPRINTING (I really hate running, sweetsies) past Go and demanding that I collect $200 from all of you. NOT FAIR.

So here it goes…I will be brave, and faithful to this process and all of you, and explain the processes behind this blog and beginning to explain my title (and new life mantra).

(Pep talk to self: Be brave Ash.)

For as long as I can remember, I have never thought I was beautiful. Ever. Yes, I have had fleeting moments of feeling powerful, strong, loved, and pretty, but never beautiful. Truly beautiful, from my soul (inside) to my face and body (the outside).  I so badly wanted to be skinny, with the perfect hair, skin, teeth…I really could go on and on, but I will stop here. Every time I thought that maybe I could be beautiful, or at least worthy of all of the good things in life (we’ll get to that in a second), the following things happened that slammed the proverbial beautiful door shut:

  • Being told (in 7th Grade) that I would never have a boyfriend because I was fat, ugly, had pimples, and was preppy. (WHO THE EFF CARES HOW I DRESSED?!)
  • Being given a weight loss book when I was in high school. For Christmas. I didn’t ask for it. (In my relative’s defense who shall remain anonymous, this person didn’t give me this book to be mean, but out of concern for my health. Regardless of intent, this gift still brings tears to my eyes and breaks my heart to this day.)
  • Being called fat IN FRONT OF MY WHOLE SHOW CHOIR (again, in high school) by our choreographer. Yay.

(Aside: Writing this is breaking my heart.)

I quickly bought into the lie that if people were saying this about me, then it must be true: I was gross, unworthy of love, and peace: all because I weighed differently than most people I knew. So I had a new job: protecting people from my heart, and myself: you will see me laugh, smile, and make you laugh and smile in the process, but you will never see me cry. Because (I so badly believed this) I wasn’t worth your time anyway, and since no one was going to defend me or come to my rescue, I had to do the job.

Lovelies, this is no way to live.

I don’t write the above for your pity, shame, praise, or what have you. I also didn’t write this to make you sad. (Don’t be sad sweetsies!) I write this because I am tired of living in my own shadow, in my own castle with a freakin’ moat to keep all out for their own safety. I want to live my life with an open heart, with all the love, kindness, and peace bestowed to myself by….myself. Being beautiful does start within, and it one is brave enough, it will push its way outside. Light attracts light, you know.

Hence, the purpose and title of this blog: The Lovely Courage. (True story: I kind of want to tattoo this somewhere on my body. Don’t tell my mom.) The very idea that in order to find your own beauty and live it in every single day, you have to travel through some mountain tops and valleys in order to get there. You have to accept the joys and the sorrows, and you have to be honest along the way. Yes, it is one thing to have your lip gloss be poppin’ and your hair did, but it quite another to face 30 years’ worth of demons in the name of loveliness and begin the fight to slay them…forever. If I am going to truly embark on journey, I want to make sure no stone is left unturned.

I’m ready. Are you?