25 Candles: One (Challenging) Wish I Have On My Birthday

Today is my birthday and I’ve officially turned the big 2-5. I am 25-years-old. 

To be honest, I thought time would creep slowly to this point in my life but it still feels like yesterday as I watched the time on my alarm clock moving steadily on my last time being 19 on the eve of my 20th birthday. I imagined one thing when the clock struck midnight that my 20s would be a thrill and an episode of Living Single brought to life.

Well, I’m halfway through my 20s and quite frankly….
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I’ve had multiple quarter-life crises by the time I reached 23, in a panic about wanting to make the best out of this time of my life that’s flying by and I won’t get back. I don’t want to look back years from now and sum it up with miserable. I want to make the remainder of my 20s sparkle, right up to the last second before I turn 30.

Then I could set up the rest of my life to with what I’ve started now.

I’m an introvert with a flaw of being pessimistic when things in my life aren’t going right instead of channeling my optimistic self that can easily be boosted through an episode of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.  I’m guilty of keeping the things that are interesting, colorful and out-of-the box about myself to myself. I can be stubborn but at this point I can see how much all of that hinders me from letting my artistic nature run free. In 2015, I got a glimpse of the good that my visions bring when I let go and let God…a flood of people who appreciate and relate to what I have to bring.

I will use this as an example until you get the point! That article I did for Black Girl Nerds changed my life when I decided to cut the strings of one of my colorful balloons go (I like metaphors, okay?) and to my surprise, being admired by readers. It was the most liberating feeling in the world with all the messages I received on social media with people thanking me for writing it and making me feel that I wasn’t alone. And I almost didn’t write it. I would’ve robbed myself of a moment that made me want to keep telling stories and let every balloon free to float around.

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After reading Shonda Rhimes’ hilarious and insightful book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person (buy here), I was inspired.  A fellow introvert, Rhimes was propelled to say YES to things she was afraid of doing —  like avoiding press interviews, college commencement speeches and having a panic attack before an interview with Oprah that she doesn’t remember not one moment from — when her sister mumbled to her, “You never say yes to anything.”  

Those words set of a grenade for Rhimes who decided to dedicate a year to pushing that inner introvert conscious screaming no to say yes to what scared her and it changed her life. I flipped through the pages of her memoir and saw every thought reflected

So in honor of my 25th birthday, I’m making one birthday wish for myself that’ll be a challenge: to put myself and my dreams out of my comfort zone. I also thought, you feel awkward and self-conscious about being on camera, document yourself in the process. Put a bunch of eyes on you.

Thanks, me. I guess nicknamed myself after a fruit, claiming I could make it into lemonade would come at a price…making it.  Hopefully this will inspire at least one person who reads this and that’ll be the frosting on my birthday cake.

xoxo,

Ashley

Happy New Year!

Happy 2016!

I have to say, 2015 was a hell of a ride for me with ups and breakdowns, triumphs and eye-opening moments that fueled me. January 6, 2016 is special because it’ll be my 25th birthday and that’s a major milestone. I confess, I still feel like I’m locked at age 18 with a little more wisdom but learning to “adult” is a different world.

So, can I just say that having Rachel True (Half & Half) not only came to my blog but read my post about my weight loss. Get into that…

via Twitter
via Twitter

I have so much vision that I want to breathe life into and the little moments in 2015 lead me in that direction. I met Angela Davis and Laverne Cox in the same week, I saw Janet Jackson live in concert, I interviewed Amber Nash from Archer, Missy Elliott followed me on Twitter, a ton of celebrity interactions, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly album changed my life and inspired me to write a short story — that I’ve decided to submit to a contest.

One of the standouts for me was the love I received for my article for Black Girl Nerds called, “Human Kaleidoscope: To Be Black, Quirky and Introverted” that caught the attention of actresses Rachel True and Cree Summer.  My Twitter mentions were filled with retweets, likes and beautiful responses from so many people who identified with me coming to terms with who I am and embodying that. And to think I almost didn’t write it and second guessed myself but seeing that word ‘quirky’ while randoming poking around the Black Girl Nerds site sparked the idea.

A person on Twitter suggested that I start a web series about my experiences as a “quirky, black, introvert” and thought after a while, “Why not?” Then realized that I’m awkward on camera and a little self-conscious but then after watching Amanda Seales’ hilarious Get Your Life series and her brilliant idea, I’ve been coming up with ideas!

 

 

Her curls hold the magic of the universe.
Her curls hold the magic of the universe. (And I meant to say *past) 

Goals for 2016

  • Build a stronger relationship with God and lean on him instead of temporary things to fill my void.
  • Start a web series (and I thank one of my Twitter followers & Amanda Seales for encouraging me to go for it!) 
  • Get a full-time job (with benefits – because benefits are the cherry on the sundae).
  • Get my OWN apartment and become more financially stable and responsible. The after college struggle is real and I need my own space to truly be myself, create, run around naked and be free. 
  • Have my writing published in print or digital publications like Essence, Ebony, Huffington Post, Vulture, etc. 
  • Interview more notable people! 
  • Have my own ‘Year of Yes’ (word to Shonda Rhimes) and maybe…kind of…sorta consider taking up acting as a hobby. 
  • Write a book or TV script or hell, both! 
  • And when maybe when my stuff is all together….a boo will come along? 

What are your goals for 2016?