(shine on)

every single day i am inspired by so many individuals -- whether it be people i know or people that i have only met through blogging in the last couple weeks. i am constantly being reminded that i am an amazing women, just for who i am. i love reading my girlfriend Chelsea's blog. everyday she has such inspiring words & truly it makes me learn to appreciate myself a little more. she recently did a post inspired by The Shine Project whom gives challenges to it's readers each monday that help them dig deeper into their hearts & learn a little bit more about who they are as a woman. sometimes the questions can make you feel vulnerable, insecure, and make you find something about yourself that you didn't know before. the challenge for this week is {wonderful} & it is a difficult question to answer, but that's why it's a challenge! but the challenge for this week is:


wow, how deep is that question? i had to stop a think for a good while. i mean there are so many different angles that you can come from, cause i know from my point of view i am constantly tearing myself down for {everything}. i mean that is even probably an understatement. i set such high expectations for myself & i expect myself to achieve them, & when i mean achieve i mean do the best that i can -- without failure.  & when i don't i am the one that gives myself the hardest time. no one else knows what i think or how i think & even when i try to confide in close friends, my family, or even my boyfriend they really don't understand what i am feeling. it's hard to explain to them that i am insecure, irritable, or unhappy with myself. or explain to them that i am sad & lonely bc i feel like people are constantly judging me & that i don't have many {true} friends. 

growing up was def. a challenge for me. ever since elementary i have been made fun of, picked on, laughed at, called names, or criticized because i didn't do or act they way others did. i grew up in a Christian family -- so i had parents that were extremely strict {especially with me being their first child & only girl}. i was the one that had to deal with all the rules. i mean my mom had a gazillion rules -- i could probably right a book on them! i was never allowed to do the things that all the other girls did -- such as when i was in elementary school i couldn't watch MTV, listen to secular music, wear revealing clothing, spend the night at a friends home that my parents didn't know or whom didn't have rules. i was constantly bullied on elementary school & i really don't know why & i am sure that i will never know. but then i moved onto middle school - & some of those same rules stuck, which is very frustrating because i didn't get to participate in things that others did. i started swimming year round, so my life was consumed with school & swimming. no outside fun, because swimming was my life. onto high school -- NOW this is where it got really hard for me. i was practically a nerd, who wanted to go to med school. my priorities were school & swimming {of course} but on the other hand, i still had rules -- no parties, no dating until 17, couldn't be in the car with more than one guy, couldn't call boys, couldn't leave away messages up on AIM, couldn't go shopping & buy the clothes i wanted to buy -- i mean these are just a few of the rules i had. but these rules -- i feel like caused me to have no friends. i never got asked to a single dance in high school by a guy that went to my school until prom, whom was the guy i ended up dating for 3 years. i never got invited to parties or to hang out on the weekends. i think i had couple girlfriends that were close with me, but they were def. close to others because they had more freedom then i did. there were times in high school where i just wanted to fit in -- i wanted to be like everyone else, but then there was something deeper telling me that i was better then that & that my mom raised me to be different & to stand out. some days were easier then others -- but i wouldn't change those rules that my mom had for the entire world. they molded me & shaped me in to {me}.

i was talking with my best friend Trista the other day {whom i met in an airport 2 years ago coming up in a couple weeks! that's another story in itself} -- i keep asking her, "why don't i have friends that want to hang out with me {besides her of course},  is there something i do or say that offends people? is it my attitude? to i come across snobby, rude, mean?" -- i mean i constantly feel like i am being judged & i am sure that i bring that on myself. i am constantly trying to win peoples gratification & approval when in reality it doesn't even matter what they think. sometimes i think people stereotype others based on their outward appearance, what the own, who they date, what kind of career path they are taking -- when people think that those individuals have it all together because they may be beautiful, have nice things, or have a smile on their face -- sometimes those are the people that need the most love & attention. 

"i am insecure. i am vulnerable. i am not pretty enough. i am not skinny enough. i am not funny enough. i say the wrong things. i am not a good friend. i am selfish. my opinions don't matter. i am too good. i am stupid."

I am none of those things. I am beautiful & wonderfully made. I am perfect just the way I am. I don't need to measure up to anyone. I am {me} & I am going to {love} me for me. 

via --{pinterest} & {me}
thank you for reading -- xxoo. ashlyn