Hey You, Just Keep Going

@morganharpernichols

When people find out I post consistently on the internet, I’m inevitably asked about my ‘motivation.’

How can you be bothered to write something every week?

How did you get the energy or inspiration to get started?

This came up again last week when I caught up with an old mentor. As I was updating him on all the twists and turns on my creative journey, he interrupted and said, “I guess I just want to know how you stay so motivated, week in and week out.”

I stared at him, unsure of how to formulate a simple answer to such a loaded question.

 “I just do,” I finally said, before hastily moving the conversation along.

The thing is, I don’t ‘just do.’ I suffer from a lack of motivation on a daily basis. Sometimes I’ll feel short, rapid bursts of energy where I believe I can solve all the world’s problems by noon. But it always evaporates as soon as I try to execute my plans.

Just the other day, I had to type the words ‘keep going’ into the search bar because I needed to read somebody else’s encouraging statements.  I wanted someone else to fill me with inspiration and all the reasons why I shouldn’t give up now. I’m a huge believer that we need to be our own cheerleader, but sometimes we just need to hear someone else say that we’re still a strong contender in the game of life.

We’re living in a culture that idolises motivation. As someone who used to be an avid runner and a one-time participant in a marathon, people would comment on my running photo’s asking how I got the motivation to train. To voluntarily run non-stop for 42.2 km. Every time, I would just shrug, laugh awkwardly and say something lame like ‘vision boards.’ They’d then shake their heads while making some self-deprecating comment like “I don’t even have the motivation to run 500 m. Maybe one day I will.”

The thing is, I don’t know where I got my motivation from. All I wanted to do was test the limits of my own body and own a ceremonial medal. Now that it’s over (and my knees have given up), I no longer feel inclined to sign up for fun runs every Sunday. The desire to run at all, has well and truly left the building.

I’m learning every day that I can’t wait for motivation to show up before I commit to taking action. Motivation is that flaky friend who keeps re-scheduling at the last minute. She’ll make bold declarations of how you can conquer the world together, but when push comes to shove, she’s nowhere to be seen. Consistency and Accountability have no place in her vocabulary and she’ll show up only when it suits her. You get so frustrated when she leaves you high and dry, yet you also worship the ground she walks on when she finally graces you with her presence.

Oh, and her sidekick, Inspiration? She’s even flakier.

“You can’t wait for motivation and inspiration to hit you before you start,” is what a writer friend once told me. “If this is really what you want to do, then you need to learn to create on command.”

And so, come rain or shine, I’ve learnt to show up on the page every Wednesday so you’ll never refer to me as your flaky friend.

But the reality is, there will always be mountaintops and valleys. There are weeks where I feel like my voice isn’t enough to solve the world’s problems. There are days where it takes all my energy to string one eloquent phrase together, and I suffer from comparison on an hourly basis.

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably wondered if all of this is really worth it. No matter what you want to do in life, you’ve most likely stressed over whether the striving, the long hours, or just continuously putting yourself out there, will actually count for something. If all the grand goals you’ve set for yourself will actually be met.

I know you want to do big things in this world. I know you want to leave your mark on people and accomplish everything you’ve set out to do. But when the days are long, and you feel weary about the distance between here and where you want to be, it’s tempting to give up. I don’t blame you for feeling deflated when other people are running miles ahead of you, and you’re just tying your shoelaces.

I don’t promise this page will give you the motivation you’re looking for. But if you’ve ever needed someone else to tell you to keep going, let this be it.

***

Rome wasn’t built in a day

I will throw this cliché here because it’s a reminder that grand, beautiful cities with stories woven into every cobbled stone, don’t appear overnight. The place that we flock to, to eat pasta, gawk at buildings and fall in love, wasn’t an instant creation.

Neither is your legacy.

I’m guessing you grew up in the Maccas world like I did. The one where your hunger could be satisfied with $5 and in less than 5 minutes. I’ve now been conditioned to drive 500m and expect instantaneous results. So, it’s a massive blow to the ego when I can’t see the fruits of my labour immediately. I get salty. I believe I must have taken the wrong path. I wonder if I’ve gotten it all wrong and I’m actually meant to play small.

But no matter how many convenient inventions and shortcuts the world comes up with, the only thing we can’t fast forward is our own journey. That’s something that will never be instantaneous. The reason the universal remote from Click doesn’t exist is because we were made to live out every moment. We are meant to walk through every story, feel all the feels, and experience all the triumph. This is what contributes to your becoming. This is what makes you different from the pack.

I remember calling a friend last year and complaining about how discouraged I felt. I ranted about how I wasn’t where I wanted to be yet, and I didn’t know if I would ever make it.

“Maybe I’m from a different generation,” he said slowly “But four months isn’t a very long time. You’re barely halfway. We had to work far harder and far longer before we ever saw the fruit of our labour.”

As annoyed as I was by his advice, I knew it was rooted in truth. The moments I feel discouraged are the humble doses of reality I need to remind me that nothing worthwhile happens instantly. To fast forward the humble beginnings would be to short-change your transformation. To skip it entirely would be to miss out on a pivotal chapter of your story. So give yourself some grace when your dream is taking much longer than you anticipated. The slow journey is a gift and it makes every subsequent victory so much sweeter.

I’m starting to think my favourite word is Redemption because of how often I say it. I love redemption. I’m constantly praying and asking for the painful situations in my past to be redeemed with a sweeter ending. I get sentimental over dates on the calendar because I love seeing how far I’ve come in the span of 6 months or a year. I live for full circle moments where I can see the reasons why I had to endure a hard situation.

My most popular post by far is the one where I was raw and honest about the period of my life where I felt incredibly rejected and lonely. The circumstances that led to that was so painful and debilitating, that I would spend nights begging for it to be redeemed. Two years on from that fateful event, I was able to press Publish on a story I had once tried desperately to cover up. It’s now my most widely shared post. The vulnerability hangover hit me hard in the aftermath, but then people merged from the cracks to say ‘thank you for sharing, I no longer feel alone.’

And if I had to go through that angsty, dark period so somebody else would feel less crazy, then so be it.

In the same vein, I was so fearful of creating this corner of the internet six months ago because I petrified of what people would think. I wondered if anyone would really care about a 22 year old girl in Australia and all the hopes and dreams she had for this page. But last week, I got an email from a 27-year-old youth counselor in Montana telling me how glad she was that she’d found me. Someone who I never would have crossed paths with but for this corner of the internet, is glad that I’m showing up.

All that to say, if you give up now, you may never experience the joy that blossoms from seeing your journey come full circle. You won’t know who will benefit from the wisdom you have, or who needed your gift to the world. You may never experience the victory that comes from finding out why you had to endure that painful season or the redemptive ending of a story you’d rather forget.

Keep pushing forward irrespective if you believe other people are better than you. They may be, I don’t know. Someone else will always be better than you, but they sure as heck won’t have your voice, your stories or your gifts. To shut that down because someone else is playing in the same field, would be a disservice to all you have to offer the world.

Keep showing up even when you feel stuck. It’s normal to feel like you aren’t moving forward and like your circumstances are frozen in time. I used to always look for impressive signs and miracles, like fireworks in the sky or lightning bolts, to signify that I was on the right track. But the most impactful changes are microscopic. They happen slowly, consistently and gradually. Rest assured, no matter how stagnant you think you are, you’re transforming in ways beyond what you can imagine. You owe it to yourself to see that transformation through.

Keep going because you don’t know who needs you to appear in their life.

Keep going because all it takes is a smile from you to make someone’s day.

Keep going even when other people don’t believe in what you’re doing.

Keep going even when other people hate on your journey.

Keep going because it’ll break your heart if you give up now.

Keep going even if only one person cares. The ‘one person’ has to be enough for us. It’s tempting to want to live in the hearts and minds of a thousand people. But to chase validation from numbers will constantly leave us running on empty.

Not everyone is going to understand you or support you, and that’s a hard truth to accept. It hurts me now even just typing this, that the understanding I crave isn’t going to come from every single person. But I also think there’s beauty in it. Because when you find the people that do, it makes that bond extra special.

I don’t know where you are right now, but I know the story doesn’t end here. It can’t end here.

Eyes forward.

Stay the path.

Keep going.


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The Weeds That Trap Us: Thoughts on Comparison

@priii_barbosa

To know me is to know that I’m a hoarder of journals and scrap pieces of paper with ‘notes to self’ scribbled on them. I love reading the stories I used to write about where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. It’s a testament to how much things can change in a single year.

As I pulled my notebooks off the shelf and skimmed through the brittle pages, a multitude of memories flashed through my mind about the angsty struggles and insecurities I used to face. Hard conversations with friends exposing where I really put my worth. Having to say goodbye to someone before their chapter was truly finished. Playing small because I was too fearful of showing up. Watching other people live out the storyline I wanted for myself.

I say I ‘used to’ face these insecurities, but really, a lot of them are still flaring up in the present. Like babies that demand your full attention, these insecurities cry out and whinge until you start devoting all your energy to them.

The loudest of these is comparison.

Comparison has always been a struggle in my life, but I don’t think I ever truly understood how much damage it could inflict until two years ago.

Even to this very day, the memory of having to watch ‘my person’ get with someone else occasionally makes me cringe. I remember feeling overcome with despair as I watched on the sidelines while their storyline unfolded. It was like a tsunami of hurt and pain flooding through me. No survivors were found.

In the aftermath, and even after the punch to my gut had faded away, I couldn’t stop thinking about the girl he had chosen over me.

 “Is it because she’s prettier than me??”

“Is it because she’s smarter than me??”

“Is it because I’m not White??”

Like soldiers on a battlefield, I lined up every single one of our traits and began comparing them in an attempt to search for some sort of certainty. Some reasoning or explanation for why someone else, who was so painfully similar to me, was getting all the things I wanted.  

Every single thought was like a stab wound to my heart and mind- yet somehow, I couldn’t stop indulging in the belief that she must be better than me. As time went on, my uncontrollable urge to compare myself to her, and the inevitable thoughts of discontentment, mixed together to become a poisonous concoction of pain and anger. For months, I resented this person from afar and engaged in a tug-of-war battle in my head over who was better- me or her. Yet somehow, I was always the one losing.

Maybe you’ve never experienced comparison to the same angsty and dramatic extent. But replace my situation with a dream job prospect, a competitor in your business, or someone you follow on social media, and I bet you can start to recognise the discontent feeling that tells you you’re not enough.

Like weeds, comparison begins its lifespan so small and seemingly harmless that we’re initially dismissive of its existence. It starts off with a tiny twinge here, and a throbbing ache there. Its birthed from a small question, ‘why doesn’t my life look like theirs?’ and grows into a nutrient sucking force that wails ‘why aren’t I enough?’

You become wholeheartedly convinced that you’re inadequate and you’ll never measure up. You resolve to do whatever you can to close the gap between you and this idea of ‘enough,’ only to find it’s a never-ending uphill battle. For me, I became embroiled in the lie that I was destined to watch other people live out the story I always wanted.

Distrust and bitterness grow rampant when we continue to water the seeds of comparison. Left unchecked, it can entangle us in a never-ending cycle of wondering why other people have it better and easier than us. It can choke the life out of the dreams we’ve planted for ourselves and make us question if it’s even worth tending to our garden if someone else’s is just going to look better. It can be the driving force that compels us to keep striving to prove we’re worthy- only to leave us burnt out in the end.

Nobody wins when we engage in this battle of comparing ourselves to others.  Whether you’ve waged full-blown warfare against someone, or just made snarky digs at them in your mind, it’s a futile fight against the wrong enemy.

I think that comparison latches onto our hearts so easily because we want to become somebody. We just want to know that our efforts to make our lives meaningful, are going to pay off. So, when we see someone else get the things we want it can make us feel robbed. We wonder what’s wrong with us that we couldn’t achieve the same thing even with all our striving. Underlying all of this is the belief that other people deserve good things, but not us.

Two years on from that fateful event, I now know that what’s good for someone else, isn’t necessarily good for me. What one person perceives as a blessing, someone else is having to deal with the side effects that come alongside it.

Once I could separate myself from the poisonous fog that was clouding my mind, I could see that what I so desperately wanted was (thankfully) never supposed to be mine. I could see that, though my vison and goals looked similar to others, I was on my own, unique path that nobody else could claim.

Comparison is not something you conquer. It’s something you continuously acknowledge. I don’t think it’s something that we triumph over once and then move on with our lives without ever measuring ourselves again. Rather, we must intentionally uproot the lies every time it strikes our most vulnerable areas.

Although I’ve moved on from that event, I can still feel comparison’s snare around the parts of my life that I’ve invested in. I may not be competing for a legal job anymore, but I’m still wondering why other creative businesses are flourishing more than mine. I may not be competing for a guy’s attention, but I’m still fretting over why certain relationships in my life look different from other people’s.  

Comparison recently flared up again when I was scrolling through the posts of a writer I deeply admired on Instagram. Though I owe a lot of my bravery and wisdom to her, I couldn’t help but feel familiar twinges of discontentment whenever her posts popped up on my screen.

“I wish I could be as cool as her,” was the thought that kept circling through my mind as I watched her life play out on the screen.

‘Why is she making more of an impact than me?’

‘Why is she more successful than me?’

‘Why can’t I be more like her?’

It got to the point where I had to sit down over Skype and have a conversation with her about what I was feeling.

“I fear I’m trying to become too much like you and it’s manifesting itself in the way I write,” I told her.

“You’re not me and you never will be,” she told me. “You have you own stories to tell, and dreams and wisdom that’s yours and only yours. Focus on that.”

The lesson I learnt that day?

We were never created to be like someone else. We were never meant to follow someone else’s story. There is a plan and a path of your life that’s reserved for you and you only. Though you may be aspiring for the same things as him or her, and though they may have gotten it ‘first,’ it doesn’t detract from the truth that there’s something out there for you too.

There are stories only you can tell. There are gifts only you possess. It’s not a cliché to say you’re unique – it’s fact. You can’t compare two vastly different lives.

The irony is that, while you’re over here looking at another person’s life, someone else is probably wondering why they aren’t more like you.

And how heartbreaking would it be if you never discovered your full potential because you were too busy trying to imitate someone else.

So let me leave you with this, dear reader.

There is a seat for you at the table.

There is enough blessings and abundance in this world for both you and her to achieve the things you want.

Someone else’s success doesn’t take away the fact that there is so much purpose and impact running through your veins.

No amount of striving will change the fact that you’re already enough.

Though you may not see the path laid out before you, rest assured it’s there and it’s not going to be like everyone else’s.

How boring would it be if we all received the same things at the same time? What kind of storyline would that be? There wouldn’t be any room for redemption and triumph. No euphoric, uplifting thoughts of ‘it was all worth it.’

So how do you remove the weeds of comparison from your heart?

You unclench your fists and bless the other person. You stop thinking of them as someone to compete with, and wish them well on their journey. You pull on your gloves and start uprooting the lies that you are inadequate and that other people are better than you. You sow the seeds of truth that good things are on its way to you too.

I don’t promise it’ll be easy. There have been so many times where I have wished blessings over other people’s lives only to still feel angry the very next day. Even in the middle of writing this, I saw a post from someone else and got so triggered I had to stop writing.

But there is value in uprooting our tendency to compare. There’s gold in remembering who you are and the fact that you’re one of a kind.

You’re on your own journey babe, and nobody can steal that away from you.

Encouraging you always,

Ash xx


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Is It Too Late Now To Say Sorry?

Wednesday sucker punched me hard last week.

On a day that’s universally known for being the most sluggish day, Wednesday threw up even more obstacles that caused me to fall and land flat on my face. Yes- Wednesday won.

He didn’t do it all on his own though.  

Recently, old wounds and past hurts have begun to re-emerge and wreak havoc on my emotions. I knew they had come back to haunt me when I woke up with a heavy heart and a crippling desire to stay in bed with the blanket pulled up over my head. Whenever my thoughts linger on the events that had hurt me, I end up becoming an emotional, angry wreck. Every time I’d try to seek help about it, all I heard were excuses and shrugged shoulders, which only served to make me feel more isolated.

I’m willing to bet that maybe there’s been an issue in your life that still has the power to trigger you and cause you to shut down. All you need to do is think about it for two seconds before you feel the wave of pain that causes you to question everything good in your life.

There is nothing more I want than for the issue to resolve itself and release its chokehold on my mind and my emotions. So it means that I have to become really honest and ask myself what resolution I’m truly seeking.

In a perfect world, I’d want for the pain to never have happened. I never would have become the collateral damage to another person’s lack of self-awareness or placed in a position where others had been hurt before.

Yet, I know that we can’t alter the past.

I don’t think we’ll ever get through life without collecting our share of scrapes and bruises along the way. Hurt people, hurt people. We’re all flawed human beings trying to live life with the best of intentions, but sometimes those intentions clash violently with others. I’m also a big believer that pain has to happen because it teaches us who we want to become. It highlights what our values really are and how we want to be treated. Pain, harnessed correctly, pushes us to become better, compassionate, people.

Since we can’t change the past or control the actions of others, what other resolution do we need?

At the start of last year, I sat across from someone who’d inadvertently wounded me with his lack of sensitivity. These wounds created a gaping distance between us, making it hard for me to return phone calls, answer messages or even look at him the same way again. The next time we had to sit face to face again, I knew he wanted an explanation for the distance I was putting between us. After a tense conversation, the only thing I could offer up in that moment was an apology. Yet from the way relief passed over his face, I knew it was what he’d been seeking all along.

I thought back to that encounter again as I sat mulling over what resolution I believed would release me from the pain others had caused me. People tell me all the time that forgiveness is necessary for us to release the hold on our burdens, yet it’s easier said than done- especially without an apology from the other person.

Apologies are powerful because it’s an acknowledgement that someone else’s actions, whether intentional or not, have hurt us. But it’s a daily, and even hourly, battle for me to accept that sometimes we will never ever get an apology from those who wounded us. People can leave our lives before they’re held to account for their actions. Others may be too prideful to see the effects of their actions. ‘I’m Sorry’ isn’t a phrase that’s easily uttered.

I know that so many of us are still carrying the wounds and burdens from interactions or situations that have hurt us beyond measure. Although it may have been months or even years ago since it first happened, our poorly bandaged cuts are still bleeding over the blessings of today.

Although it’s not on us to shoulder those burdens anymore, ‘letting go’ is an action that’s often done begrudgingly. Ideally, we’d all become people who know how to unclench our fists and forgive, irrespective of whether an apology is ever uttered. But for now, we’ll just have to settle for hearing other people acknowledge our pain.

You may never hear the words I’m sorry from the person that hurt you, but maybe just hearing it from someone else is the push you need to start your healing process.

I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has ever made you feel overlooked and undervalued. To be seen and known are basic human desires, but sometimes in the franticness of life, it can feel like people look straight past us. I want you to know that someone sees you and all that you’re doing to keep moving forward. Someone values all the ways you’re trying your best to show up and keep going.

I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has made you feel like you needed to become someone else in order to be accepted. I’m sorry if it’s made you feel like you’re not enough. In a world that worships celebrities and the ‘hustle’ mentality, it can look like the only way to gain respect is to become somebody who stands on platforms and wins accolades. Yet there are people who have won all the awards who still feel empty inside. Know that you’re already significant as you are. You don’t have to ‘become important’ to gain the right person’s approval. You’re already dripping with so much gold and value, it’s insane.

I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has ever made you feel small. Some people won’t be able to handle every vibrant, charismatic, larger-than-life encounter that you bring to this world, but that doesn’t mean you have to reduce yourself to fit their expectations. I heard Jim Caveziel say in an interview once that we are not called to fit in but made to stand out. That’s now the encouragement I give to anyone who feels like the odd one out. You were not created to fit into someone else’s mold but to break barriers and exceed expectations. You are allowed to take up space in this world.

I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has made you feel like you weren’t worth staying for. People will leave your life for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with you. This is life’s way of filtering out those who scare easily. Soon we’ll be able to cherish the people who know how to honour their commitments.

I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has caused you shame or made you feel like you’re too broken to be fixed. We are all forever a work in progress, but that is something to be celebrated- not condemned. Spoiler alert: you’re never too broken beyond repair. It may take extra time and extra tools from the shed but being fully healed from your pain is something that can happen for you.

I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has ever uttered words about you that are untrue and a false reflection of who you really are. People will harbour all sorts of opinions about you but it shouldn’t stop you from pursuing the things you’re passionate about or making choices that will push you closer to your goal. Don’t let someone who barely knows anything about you, shape your perception of yourself.

I could go on for pages and pages and it still wouldn’t begin to scrape the surface of all the hurt that we’re seeking an apology for. It’s ok if you only felt temporary relief before anger overwhelmed you again. Like all journeys, the road to becoming a better person is made up of baby steps and the occasional stop for directions. You may need to repeat these apologies to yourself a few more times or continue to ask for help, but the fact that you’re here and you’re trying, is testament to the courage that’s running through your veins.

Above all, keep showing up to your life, keep pressing forward, and keep being yourself irrespective of who does or doesn’t acknowledge their wrongdoing towards you. We can never seek to control the actions of others, but we can control how we let go of the pain and how we treat other people.

Encouraging you always,

Ash xx


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Stuck in The Middle With You

When I was 14, I was awkward.

I had terrible acne on my forehead, my self-esteem was virtually non-existent, and I had to emotionally come to terms with the fact that fat was appearing in places it had never appeared before. Everybody said it was normal to go through changes and feel out of place, but when I looked around me, it felt like everyone had everything figured out.  

People just somehow knew what to do, how to dress, and how to act. It looked like all they had to do was wake up in the morning and life just flowed in the right direction for them. For years I always wondered if everyone else had been handed the pages of a guidebook that I was clearly missing.

As a 22-year-old trying to make her way in the real world, I often still feel the same way. Except now I know that there’s no guidebook. No one is walking around with the answers, and the majority of people are still lost and unsure of what to do. All of us are just taking it one step at a time and hoping we’re going in the right direction.

That’s the most frustrating thing about adulthood.

We think it’s this magical era where things suddenly click into place. Except, when 18 came around, I was far more lost than I was at 14. And when 21 knocked on my door, I was only beginning to scratch the surface of who I was and what I had to offer the world.

If you’re anything like me, then you probably have big expectations of your life. You desire to do great things and have them mean something. You strive to look back and know that you’ve left a positive, long-lasting impact on people.

But when I look around, my life often doesn’t reflect where I want to be at all. Most of the time, it’s like I’m on a giant treadmill where, no matter how hard I run, I’m still stuck in one spot.

I’m willing to bet that perhaps there’s been a time where you felt like there was no getting out from the place you’re in. No escape button or map to guide you to the next season. Just uncertainty shrouding your mind like a fog.

You’re talking to the Queen of restlessness. As someone who wants to live life in the fast lane, it pains me to feel stuck in one place and have to wait on the next step to unfold. If we were on opposite sides of a shopping centre, I’d be the one to say ‘I’ll come meet you’ because I’d rather be the one on the move.

But if there’s one thing that’s certain about this life, it’s that at multiple points, we’re all going to feel stuck in a place we don’t belong. Perhaps it’s stuck in a pit of depression. A pit of attempting to heal from rejection. Stuck in uncertainty. Stuck with people who don’t understand you. Stuck in a random country with only loneliness as a constant companion.

But there’s a tremendous difference between being stuck and being still. Being stuck is attempting to use all of your energy to break free from a position you don’t want to be in. You can rage and throw tantrums all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re there to stay. Being still is far more peaceful and relaxing. Though you’re not where you want to be, you accept your current circumstances is contributing to a higher purpose- even if you can’t always see it.

I’m a huge believer that there’s purpose wherever we are. That, although we feel like we’re stumbling around in the dark, we’ve been divinely led to the places that will refine and transform us into the people who are going to achieve great things. Something bigger is going to unfold in our lives, if only we just trust the process.

Throughout my corner of the internet, I’ve referenced multiple times that I used to be stuck in a battle for depression. For years, I was constantly going to war with the darkness for my self-worth, and I tried looking for it in all the wrong places. No matter what I did or who I turned to, I felt like there was no escape from the dark thoughts that constantly threatened to snuff out my light.

Dark thoughts and mental illness aren’t something I wish on anyone, and it can be infuriating to hear someone say that the painful things that you wish never happened to you, happened for a divine purpose. But now that I’m on the other side, I have to acknowledge the beautiful and golden things that came from being stuck in that one dreadful season. Wrestling with the darkness to hell and back has given me the words I need to talk about the despair and painful emotions so other people can feel understood. Where others only cringe and feel uncomfortable, I’m able to dive in and sit with you in the thick of your mess. Now, I get to tell my stories of hope, victory and redemption, so that no matter where you are, you know there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Something beautiful happens when you can see the value where you are. Although it may be the last place you want to be, we have to trust that if we’ve been led here, then there’s something we need to do or learn. As much as we would like the magic remote from Click to speed it up, we’re here for a purpose so we may as well milk every last opportunity from it.

I’m by no means advocating that you stay in a situation that’s no longer serving you. A lot of us have also been lulled into a false sense of security by staying in places that are no longer for us, such as a dead-end job or a relationship well past its expiry date. If you know in your heart that its time to move- then girl you gotta move.

I just think that it’s tempting to look for a back door when things get hard. But there’s a tremendous amount of value in just staying. Just because your circumstances right now may not reflect where you want to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. It doesn’t mean that it’s to be discounted or written off. You have no idea who needs you to be present, right here, right now.

I don’t know where you are right now, but I know that it’s not a mistake you’re here. You did not arrive by here by accident. You are not living out a remake of The Truman Show where everyone is in on some secret except you. The circumstances you’re facing, the emotions you’re enduring, the pits you can’t get unstuck from- it’s all contributing to the person you’re supposed to become. It’s preparing you to be someone who can handle those lofty dreams and big plans you’ve always envisioned for yourself.

Perhaps the impact you’ve always been longing for starts when you embrace where you are.

Pssst… if you’re one of my awesome subscribers on WordPress who isn’t receiving my new and improved Wednesday Club emails yet, you’re missing out! Enter your email below or comment so I make sure you’re on the list!


Ever needed anyone to show up for you?

Then you’re in the right place. I’ve made a promise to show up every Wednesday to validate the heck out of your emotions and help you feel understood!

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A Letter to You, My Reader

Hey you,

I love the fact that you’re my reader and you show up to read my words. I’m so appreciative of every single one of you that responds to my emails, slides into my DMs to share parts of your life with me or to say that my words resonate with you. Nothing goes unnoticed.

This corner of the internet was birthed from a nagging desire to use my words and show up for people where it hurts. As someone who’s more in her feelings than Drake will ever be, painful feelings can really debilitate me and make me feel like the biggest mess in the whole world. From crushing rejections to rapid-fire anxious thoughts, a lot of what I feel can make me believe that I’m going to be a hopeless, unlovable mess forever.

Yet, deep down I know this isn’t true and I’m not the only one who feels this way.

So know this, my dear reader. Your feelings are valid. Your emotions are beautiful. And sometimes the most comforting thing we can hear someone else say is ‘I know how you feel.’

My heart has always been to sit in the thick of your mess with you and tell you you’re ok. Even if you don’t feel it now, you’re going to be ok and you’ll meet someone who will love every emotional part that makes you, you.

My hope is that my stories of crying on a plane after a ‘breakup’, flip flopping in and out of depression, and experiencing crushing self-doubt, will help you articulate your own emotions and acknowledge that you’re not a loser for going through universally awkward and painful experiences.

If I’m 100% honest, I’ve often been too fearful to fully show up to this platform. From the beginning, I’ve only had one foot in the door and one foot ready to bolt because I’m a born and bred people pleaser who is afraid of what people will say. But I know that hiding our true selves never served anyone, and if I’m going to serve you faithfully then I can’t be scared of other people’s opinions.

If I’m going to encourage you to be bold and hush the thoughts that tell you you‘re not enough, then I damn well better practice what I preach and be fearless as well.

For that reason, I’m going to commit to going all on. This platform is only going to get bigger and bolder, and I want to invite you, my reader, to come on this journey with me by signing up to the new and improved Wednesday Club emails every week.

Someone told me that my words are like love sonnets- which is basically the highest compliment I can ever receive- so just think about it as the same love letters dropping into your inbox, but this time with extra frills.

I promise to share more stories about the failures I’ve had, the addictions I struggle with, and the things that break my heart. I promise to share my ‘so-tragic-it’s-funny’ and awkward moments so you won’t feel like the only odd one out here.

I promise to be vulnerable on the page so that even on your worst days, you won’t feel like the only broken one.

But I also promise to share the redemption stories, the laugh till I pee my pants stories, and the joy I feel in all my mess. Because you are worthy of all the good things too.

So for the deep feelers, serial over-thinkers and people who just want to read more of my angsty quarter-life stories, drop your email below and I’ll see you in your inbox next Wednesday.

Encouraging you always,

Ash x

Will be retiring the WordPress emails very soon, so if you want to keep receiving encouragement and confetti in your inbox, drop your email below x

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The Reminders You Need Today

I woke up early today intending to write a post that would speak to your needs, only to still have a blank page at 9am. Ideas were swarming around but nothing was sticking.

Some days call for flowy words and beautiful metaphors to remind us to stay hopeful. And some days, we just need someone to tell us the truth without any fluff.

I promise to validate the heck out of your emotions on every other post, but today I’m just going to give you the reminders you didn’t even know you needed.


Stop waiting for permission and just do the damn thing. I ‘ummed and aahed’ for so long before I ever considered forging my own path and publishing something online. I asked for 10 different people’s opinions and still kept procrastinating on my vision before I ever took action. If you keep waiting for support, you’re going to get left behind by the people who aren’t looking for a pat on the back. Understand that not everyone is going to support you 100% because it may seem completely left field, but other people’s opinions shouldn’t be the reason why you give up. Stop asking and start doing.

You don’t need their approval.

Whoever’s face flashed into your mind as you read that- that’s the person you need to stop begging for acceptance. Bending over backwards and changing yourself to gain their approval isn’t serving anyone at all. One day, you may gain their respect, or you may not. Either way, their opinion of you doesn’t detract from your worth or the impact you have. You are a light and lights don’t stay hidden.

Speaking of staying hidden, stop downplaying your gifts. Stop hiding what you really want to do because it contradicts with your current path or because you’re scared no one will get it. I used to speak about my writing in hushed tones and only tell people about it in parking lots like a shady drug deal.  But all I was doing was just making myself smaller. Be bold and unapologetic about the things that give you life and make you get up in the morning.  

If you don’t actually know what lights you up or what you want to do in life, that’s fine. The majority of adults are still trying to figure it out. I always wanted my life’s calling to be handed to me in a manual with all the instructions intact. But where’s the fun in that? It’s in the uncertainty and the confusion that you unexpectedly find what you’re looking for.

For anyone that’s currently wandering aimlessly in a fog and confused about the direction their life is going, trust me when I say that the fog is a good thing. It’s the first step to making a breakthrough. The fog forces you to ask if you really like the direction you’re headed or if you’re just following someone else’s journey. Perhaps this is the opportunity you’ve always needed to chart a new course for yourself.

You need to stop thinking it’s the end of the world when you fail or when someone rejects you. Failure gives you stories to tell during an awkward silence at a dinner party, and rejection literally saves you from settling. It’s a time saver, not a time waster.

One of the bittersweet parts of life is that we don’t get to keep the people that come into our lives. I read somewhere that the people in the Pilot episode of our sitcom, won’t necessarily be there in the season finale. And I think that’s a beautiful picture. People come and go, but the next season always brings in new characters to support the protagonist. When someone leaves, let them go with the blessing that they now get a chance to impact somebody else’s life.

Savour the humble beginnings. Relish the seasons when no one is watching you or expecting you to keep performing. It may hurt when you look at how much traction others have gained while you’ve only taken two steps. But you have no idea what’s happening behind the scenes of their story. Just stay faithful to what you have and keep showing up to your craft and your journey. The rest will fall into place.

Stop finding reasons to run away. One day, the thing you’ve been waiting for will grace your doorstep. For once, it’ll be nearly everything you’ve asked for, and it’ll be so unexpected that it may take a while for your feelings to catch up. Your knee jerk reaction will be to nitpick at flaws till you find a reason to end it. But know that beautiful things take time to unfold and that applies to your feelings as well. Savour the slow burn and trust the process.

Speaking of feelings- you’re allowed to have them. So many people go about life desperately trying to hide the fact that they feel anything but happy and joyful. Your painful feelings are just as valid and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s tempting to want to fast forward through the achy breaky parts of your life. If the remote from the movie Click was real, I’d buy it in a heartbeat to skip the emotionally turbulent times. But the painful stuff increases your sensitivity for all the beautiful feelings as well. It widens your capacity for love. It breeds in you a deep compassion, astounding empathy for the hurting ones and an appreciation for who you are when you’re on your own.

You are worthy of good things. I know it’s easy to look at other people and believe that beautiful moments are only reserved for everyone else but you. But that’s not true. Your story may look a little different and it may not be what you expect, but how boring would it be if we all received the same things at the same time. Just hold on. Good things are coming for you too.  

Know that you’re not powerful enough to ruin the plans for your life. But you are powerful enough to persist through each day and keep walking even when it’s dark and foggy. You’re powerful enough to give yourself a fresh start any day you want.

Above all, know that there’s nothing wrong with you. The world will try and magnify your flaws, but your life can either be all about fixing yourself or serving others well.

You were not born with missing parts and attached to a label that says ‘defective.’ No. You are utterly unique and created for a purpose.

Encouraging you always,

Ash x

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB

Hey you, I see you struggling to get through humpday .

 Let’s be honest- nothing exciting ever happens to anyone on a Wednesday…

Except if you’re part of the Wednesday Club!

In just a click, you can look forward to me showing up in your inbox with a sprinkle of confetti and encouragement to make humpday fly by so you’re closer to dancing on the weekends. 

I won’t be like your flaky Tinder date. I’ll show up on time, every time, with insightful conversation, fun stories & a mission to leave you feeling inspired.

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The Battle to Overcome Rejection

One of the first pieces I ever wrote when I began this writing journey was an ‘Open Letter for When You’re Not Chosen.’ I was grieving hard over a rejection and, in my delirious, over-emotional state, I wrote a letter about how humans are like popcorn- not everyone chooses to snack on them at the cinema, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t tasty. I’m pretty sure I was dreaming that Cobbs would read it and sponsor me with a lifetime supply of Sweet and Salty.  

Even though the feeling of rejection was the catalyst that broke the writing dam, I’ve been incredibly reluctant to openly publish any pieces about it. Unpacking rejection would mean having to talk publicly about the humiliating events leading up to it and admit that yes- I have been rejected.

But I made a promise to be vulnerable and honest on this corner of the internet. If I want this to be a place where people who have gone through hard things can come and feel understood, then I’m going to have to be the first to shed some skin.

So here it goes.

Rejection is an issue I’ve had to wrestle hard with over the last three years. Every time Rejection and I had to face off in the boxing arena, I would always end up slammed and pinned down. In boxing, you have ten seconds to get yourself up before the game is over. For me, it took months before I could even peel my head off the floor.

On its face, it can appear that no two rejections are alike. Some are painful stings that last momentarily and can be quickly soothed. Others begin as an ache that continues to throb and flare up over a long period of time.

I have friends who barely bat an eyelid if a date went badly, but would sob over pints of ice cream when their job application is turned down. Now that we’re in a season where we have to apply for clerkship and grad offers, we hear more about the rejections emails than we do the acceptance calls. In the writing world, I see people mourning the rejection of their book deals and constantly asking for feedback on their pitches. For me, it was the area of romantic rejection that caused the most grief. I’m learning that the area that hurts the most is where we put our worth. As much as we try to conceal it online, everyone goes through rejection.

When you really dig deep, you’ll find that rejection – no matter what area of our life it hits- is actually the same for all of us. In fact, it’s laughable how repetitive it is. The more I experience it, the more I learn that there’s no creativity or innovation in the painful feelings that overwhelm us.  

Rejection is programmed to tell you that you’re not good enough. Like a bad record on repeat, it’ll tell you that you mustn’t be worth a lot. That you were never a worthy contender in the game you’ve made up in your head. Even when we know deep down that we dodged a bullet, Rejection will still slap a label on you declaring ‘Not Chosen.’

The word ‘chosen’ is a constant theme in my life. I have always wanted to be chosen by someone. I wanted to be someone’s first pick in the team of Life instead of always being second best. Plan A instead of Plan B.

 I want to pause and say that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be picked. I know there are people out there tearing themselves apart because they think there’s something hopeless about feeling this way. It’s human nature to want to be seen and known, and yes-chosen. To anyone who thinks there must be something defective in them because they feel this way- stop believing that. There’s nothing wrong with you.

The desire to be picked flared up a couple years ago when I became deeply infatuated with someone I really wanted to call ‘mine.’ I built up the feelings and replayed the fantasies so much in my head that when I found out somebody was already in the picture, I shattered. It literally felt like someone had punched me in the faceand kicked me in the stomach at the same time.

The months after became a full-blown battle between my head and my feelings. I’m talking a Hunger Games Style fight to the death. Every insecurity would swarm into my mind wielding weapons and slicing down every rational, positive thought I tried to have. Unresolved questions such as ‘Why aren’t I chosen?’ or ‘Is it because I’m not good/pretty enough?’ or ‘When will I be picked?’ would pervade my mind and interrupt my sleep at night.

Friends had to nurture me back to life with constant reassuring phone calls and Netflix was a brilliant numbing tool for the pain. Every time it felt like I was making progress, I would be dragged back down again whenever I lurked too hard on social media or witnessed something I didn’t want to see.

Amongst the many helpful conversations I had with my loved ones, the one I remember most happened while I was double fisting burgers. What began as a light-hearted banter between a friend and I, quickly turned into me trying desperately not to become a bawling mess in the crowded restaurant.  

 “It sucks that I’m not chosen,” I said while trying to hold back tears in my eyes.

“Yeah but you have to be the one that chooses them too,” she told me. “Is this person really your first choice?”

I think rejection hurts so much because we believe it’s one sided. We believe that the other party has all the power to either accept or reject us, when actually- we get to play a massive part in the decision-making process as well. It’s one thing to be chosen. It’s another thing entirely to choose them back.

In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t choose any of the people I thought were rejecting me. I eventually discovered that there was a severe mismatch of character. A difference in our life’s calling. An inconsistency with our values. The colour of his eyes and a crooked smile won’t hide the fact that they’re incompatible with your desires and ambitions.

When you make a choice-whether that be your grad job, your literary agent or the person you want to date- you want to be sure that they’re the right fit. Apart from that person’s looks or the reputation of that firm you want to work at, you want to be sure that you’re making a decision that’s good and durable in the long run. Not just in the moment.  

Of course- I didn’t want to hear any of this while I was in the spiral of feeling rejected and lost in self-loathing. I believed that there was someone out there keeping track of all my rejections just to use it against me later. Spoiler alert: No one is keeping score. That’s just you.

One night, when I was in the thick of my heartache and wondering if I’d ever feel peace in this area, I heard a voice say very clearly that ‘the victory will be sweet.’ Some will call this voice my intuition, but I like to think of it as God comforting me that night.

Sure enough, the peace came a few months later.

I had gotten so use to the pain that sat dully on my chest that I felt empty when I noticed it was gone. Then I realised it was because I felt weightless. Now that he and I get to reclaim the title ‘friends,’ I can feel just how euphoric the victory is. Now it’s the hopeful reminder I tell anyone feeling the ache of rejection: the victory will be sweet.

 Where there’s rejection, there’s also redemption. You’re allowed to grieve and throw tantrums at the blow to your ego. You’re allowed to feel sad and angry and wonder when it’ll be your turn to be picked. But above all, know that the point of this life isn’t to be chosen by everybody but to treasure those that do.

Rejection serves a purpose that’s far greater than you know. You may not see it while it’s happening, and you may never get the answers to why it had to happen this way. But one day you’ll be sitting at a job you love or besides somebody who makes you feel like home, and you’ll think to yourself ‘thank goodness I was saved from that other path.’ Hold out for this moment.

Flip the script that tells you you’re rejected. Cling tightly to your values and your worth. Continue to fight against the lies that tell you you’re not worthy. There will be cuts and bruises and it’ll probably be the hardest battle you’ve ever fought. But any fight to reclaim your mind will always be worth it. Know that you are always good enough no matter who picks you to be on their team. Maybe the point of all of this is that you finally learn how to pick yourself.

The irony is that I’ll probably publish this and then cry next week because I feel rejected over something else. This only goes to show that there’s no finish line with this thing. I say that a lot because I always thought that once I conquered a painful emotion, I would never have to deal with it again. Now I know that the pain just increases our capacity to experience all the good feelings too.

For anyone currently going through the ache of a rejection: chin up and eyes forward, babe. The victory will be sweet.

Encouraging you always,

Ash xx

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THE WEDNESDAY CLUB

Hey you,

I see you lurking and struggling to get through Humpday. It’s this dreaded, in-between, mess of a day where time slows to a crawl and your weekend is delayed. Let’s be honest- nothing exciting ever happens to anyone on a Wednesday…

Except if you’re part of the Wednesday Club!

In just a click, you can look forward to me showing up in your inbox with a sprinkle of confetti and encouragement to make Humpday fly by so you’re closer to dancing on the weekends. 

I won’t be like your flaky Tinder date. I’ll show up on time, every time, with insightful conversation, fun stories & a mission to leave you feeling inspired.

So what are you waiting for? Subscribe below and I’ll see you in your inbox next Wednesday!

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Success and All His ‘Friends’

I watched Bohemian Rhapsody last week.

When I first saw the trailer, I remember swearing that I wouldn’t pay money to see it because it didn’t seem like my type of movie. But then life, with its funny sense of humour, dropped 4 free tickets into my inbox to see it at the Open-Air Cinema. Side note: I ended up loving the movie so much I watched it again the very next night.

As we curled up on a picnic blanket and watched Freddie Mecury transition from baggage handler at Heathrow to the lead singer of Queen, I remember wondering, ‘When is the drama going to start?’ The first 30 minutes felt like a montage of him reaching milestone after milestone. He became lead singer, got the girl, landed an international tour and become world renowned, all within 5 years.

Even though Freddie and Queen were pursuing a vastly different goals than I was, I couldn’t help but feel little aches and twinges inside as I wondered why certain things hadn’t unfolded just as easily or quickly for me. Anyone with lofty dreams and big goals knows that having high aspirations comes with conditions attached. Namely, the self-doubt and anxiety that asks: Why aren’t things happening quickly for me? Why am I not there? How come I’m not as successful yet?

I want to pause and say that I know the producers probably didn’t have time to show all the initial striving and disappointments in Queen’s first five years. And surely it wasn’t as easy as I’ve described. But sometimes I think that’s all we see when we look at other people’s lives. At a distance, we only get to watch the highlight reel of someone else’s life and a surface level indication of the challenges they’ve faced. As a result, it can be really easy to doubt our capabilities and wonder if good things are only reserved for others.

From the outside, life really looked like it was coming together for Freddie Mercury.

Until it all fell apart.

The drama erupted halfway through the film when Freddie had to wrestle with the choices he’d made and his identity. I don’t want to ruin the plot, but anyone who’s aware of his life knows there was a point where everything came crashing down.

I heard someone say that becoming ‘successful’ opens you up to more vulnerabilities. That behind all the glitz and glamour, you have to deal with the side-effects of being in the public eye or having more responsibilities. The higher you climb, the further you fall. The bigger you get, the more public opinion you’ll inevitably attract. You’ll wonder if certain friends are genuine or just wanting a slice of the pie, and you’ll clash with people who don’t have the same vision as you.

Hearing that and watching Freddie’s character fall apart on the screen got me thinking that maybe I’m not ‘there’ yet because my character needs to be developed first. A lot of us fantasise about what it’d be like once we become successful, but we don’t stop to ask if the person we are today can handle the consequences of getting everything we want.

Obtaining the dream doesn’t transform us into someone different. We’re still the same person with the same insecurities and flaws. If we can’t handle rejection now, we won’t magically be able to handle it once we’ve made it. If we attach our worth to what people think of us, it’ll only magnify once we reach our version of success.

Getting somewhere too fast, too soon can attract a bunch of gate-crashers to a party with poor security. Left unchecked, Depression can slip in and drain your energy. Anxiety invites all his other friends, like Imposter Syndrome. They can squash you and your good intentions so you can’t remember why you started in the first place.  

While it can be easy for me to get trapped in my feelings and get salty about why I’m not where I want to be, I also know that I don’t want to be someone who crashes and burns once I reach my goals. Maybe all the waiting and the lengthy distance between our goals is so we can be ready to handle the ‘consequences’ come attached with my success. Because the good and the bad always come as a package deal. Above all, I want to be faithful with the little I have now before I ask for more.

It’s a hard sentence to process when someone says, ‘maybe you’re not ready yet.’ I’d be lying if I said I handle that thought with grace and poise. In reality, I throw mini temper tantrums because it feels like everything I’m doing isn’t enough.

Someone is probably going to read this and ask, ‘But when will I be ready?’ And the truth is, I don’t know. No one else will be able to know but you. You’ll most likely hate this answer, because I did when someone else said the same thing to me two days ago. But it’s true.

Being ready isn’t a destination you arrive at. No one hands you a certificate that says ‘You Made It.’ There’s no map that marks X as the spot and the trail you use to get there. A map implies that there’s a chance you’ll go the wrong direction. But no matter how long or slow it takes, or what path you choose, everything that’s happening is refining you into the person you’re supposed to be when things do fall into place.

It’s easy to discount the places where we feel like we’re moving backwards or are stagnant. I remember having dinner with a friend last year who told me there was a time where it felt like absolutely nothing was happening for her.

“A few months ago, I landed this job, then aced this comp, and figured out what I wanted to do. And now I feel like nothing’s happening and I’m not moving forward. I just want to go back to those months where I was kicking goal after goal and winning at life,” she told me.

What I wished I’d said back then was that it’s easy to desire this idea of always jumping from one mountaintop to the other. It’s easy to crave the cheap thrill of a victory over and over again. But it doesn’t work like that. We eventually have to come down from the mountaintop and live our life in the valley in-between. Because it’s in our everyday life that we get to encounter all the things that’s going to prepare and equip us for the next victory we’re about to have. Your valley may be teaching you how to be patient with people or how to handle your finances. It may give you the opportunity to be a follower so you’ll know how to be an effective leader. And what a pity it would be if you missed all that gold because you were too busy chasing after accolades and validation.

Instead of wondering why we aren’t there yet, we have to appreciate the valley we’re in and trust it’s preparing us for the next level. So for the people who are going to read this then go back to scrolling and feeling discouraged, know that your mountaintop moment will come again soon and you’re exactly where you need to be.

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB

Hey you,

I see you struggling to get through Humpday. It’s this dreaded, in-between, mess of a day where time slows to a crawl and your weekend is delayed. Let’s be honest- nothing exciting ever happens to anyone on a Wednesday…

Except if you’re part of the Wednesday Club!

In just a click, you can look forward to me showing up in your inbox with a sprinkle of confetti and encouragement to make Humpday fly by so you’re closer to dancing on the weekends. 

I won’t be like your flaky Tinder date. I’ll show up on time, every time, with insightful conversation, fun stories & a mission to leave you feeling inspired.

So what are you waiting for? Subscribe below and I’ll see you in your inbox next Wednesday!

Enter your email to receive confetti and encouragement in your inbox every Humpday!

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The Fault In Our Friendships

The following message was re-posted with permission. I get a lot of questions about friendship and finding the right people, and it seems to be a recurring theme in people’s lives. For some reason, friendships only get harder as we get older, so I wanted to post this as a way of letting you know that you aren’t the only one trying to figure it all out.

So I’m currently in a phase of post college working life. And I’m just questioning if my friends are just friends or proximity of actual friends. I love them, but I just don’t feel like they put in the effort to hang out or catch up. I understand we’re all busy cause of full time work and church etc. but I just miss them. When is it time to just let go and invest time elsewhere with people that are willing to invest time back? Or am I just thinking too much into it? I just feel like I don’t have any friends but I do. Are you still close friends if you don’t see or talk to each for weeks/months? I don’t know if this makes sense, but have you ever been in the position of having to reconsider your friendship circle / your inner circle?

I threw myself a birthday party last year.

Since I was overseas for my milestone 21st, I figured I would compensate by throwing a huge party for my 22nd. In reality, I procrastinated so long that by the time my birthday came around, I had no choice but to host a small get together instead.

When I set up the Facebook event and sent out the digital invitations, I was immediately flooded with anxiety over whether anyone would show up. I began to question if I had been a ‘good enough’ friend to others and wondered where I stood with certain people on the guest list.

The next day, I sat across from my counsellor and word-vomited all my angst over the event. Am I worth showing up for? Would my friends still make an effort even if I wasn’t offering a $1000 bar tab and a killer DJ?  

After a solid 20 minutes of me listing all my fears, she finally said “Have you considered that your friends might express their care in different ways?”

“You value showing up for people,” she told me. “It’s clear in the way you speak and the way you endeavour to be there for others. But your friends might express their love differently. They may prefer to send you a gift instead, or they may think that cooking a meal for you is more important than their presence at your party.”

And this mind shift made all the difference.

As a serial overthinker who values words and quality time, it can hurt when others are seemingly not making an effort to be there for me. Thoughts like ‘are they really a good friend?’ and ‘do I bother investing in them?’ can flit through my mind when I’m feeling overlooked or unloved. But I constantly have to remind myself that it’s rarely a reflection of their care for me, and actually a revelation on how they express it.  We’re all unique and that translates over to how we love on each other. I have to trust that, although they aren’t free until June or some ridiculous date, their heart is in the right place. It’s hard not to take it personally, but like every good relationship, the problem can be solved by just knowing how to communicate your needs and wants.

That being said, I also know that friendships go through seasons.

There have been periods of my life where I’ve leaned heavily on one group of friends, only to have Uni, work and other commitments, separate our course. As hard as it is to have people you were once close to, get pulled away, I also think there’s a lot of beauty in it. I’m a big believer that we all serve a purpose in each other’s lives. God always knows who we need and when we need them, and He is faithful in making sure our paths cross.

 There was a girl that I barely used to see. I was lucky if I even got a 5 minute one-on-one conversation with her. But now that we’re both forging new careers for ourselves, we get to spend so much time working together, supporting one another and pushing each other to keep moving forward.

In the same way, I used to see one of my closest friends all the time when we both really needed each other’s support and wisdom. Now that she works full time, I rarely get to see her but I know that it’s a new season for her to invest in her career and form friendships with her new co-workers.

The fact that you don’t get to spend as much time with certain people doesn’t de-value the quality of your friendship. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t friends anymore or it’s time to cut them off. ‘Being close’ to someone isn’t dependent on how often you see them, but on how safe you feel when you’re around them. There are people I see on a weekly basis who will only know what’s happening on the surface level, and there are those I only see yearly who know the words in every chapter of my life.

One of the bittersweet parts of life is that we don’t get to keep the people that come into our lives.

I used to wrap my self-worth around other people and look at the quantity of my friends as a measure of how ‘enough’ I was. But that’s a really dangerous position to be in – especially since we can’t mandate that the friends we love will stay with us forever.  No matter how much we declare that we’re going to be BFFS 4EVA, people get pulled in different directions. They may get married or have kids or move overseas, and we have to let them go. As a result, people leaving used to feel like literal stab wounds and I would take every single one personally.

I’m now learning that every friend I have is a blessing, not an entitlement.

People aren’t possessions that we can hoard and keep in our treasure chest forever.  They aren’t a measure of our worth or made to carry the burden of our expectations.

Now, when people leave, I let them go knowing that while they’ve been a blessing to my life, it’s now time for them to impact somebody else’s.

Then comes the age-old question: When is it time to re-invest in new friends?

In high school, I was friends with a group of girls who were fluent in tearing each other down. Secrets and gossip were basically our second language, and we’d always find a way to undermine each other. I can’t speak for the rest of the members, but I’m sure deep down we would leave each encounter feeling worse about ourselves and with large dents in our self-esteem. I never had the courage to break free until school ended. But if I could do it again, I would tell my younger self that life was too short to hang out with people who don’t know how to uplift and support one another.

The same thing happened in Uni when my values clashed with another friendship group. Although there were days when I would feel euphoric hanging out with them, when conflict inevitably struck and things got hard, I found out where their loyalties really were.

To this day, I still look back at that period of my life and refer to it as ‘the year I had no friends.’ It was heartbreaking and traumatic, but I can also look back and see God’s hand all over that crisis. If I hadn’t lost them, I wouldn’t have found the people who helped shape me into who I am today. Confident. Self-assured. And most importantly, joyful.

There’s a saying that you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with. If that’s true, then you’d want to be intentional about who you’re spending time with. I can only speak for myself, but through all those ‘trial and errors,’ I now know that I want the people around me to be encouraging, others-focused and pursuing a great call on their lives.

To the person who sent this to me, and for anyone else questioning whether it’s worth staying friends with certain people- I can’t tell you what to do or who to stay friends with.

I don’t ever want to show up on this page and claim I have all the answers. It was so hard writing this and knowing there were ten different ways I could respond. Relationships are intricately complex and diverse, and I’ll probably write another post in a year’s time with a completely different opinion.

I don’t know where you are right now. Maybe you’re someone who got to stay friends with the same 5 people you’ve know since primary school. Or maybe you’re now trying to pick up the pieces of a broken friendship group and wondering if you’ll ever find people who just ‘get you.’

All I know is that friendship is one of those things that’s worth taking a risk. You need people around you that will remind you to keep going. To push you to be the best version of yourself. To call you out when you’re about to do something shady. Like every other relationship, you’ll act salty towards one another and then make up in the next week. You may inadvertently hurt each other, and someone will leave.

As someone who’s come out on the other side of many toxic friendships, I can still say that it’s worth going through the hurt to find the right people. You may not find them tomorrow. Or even by next week. But gosh, if there’s anything I know it’s that you were not made to do this life alone, and God will always give you the people you need.

Encouraging you always,

Ash xx

Know anyone struggling with friendships? Share this post with them!

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB

Everyone struggles to get through Humpday. It’s this dreaded, in-between, mess of a day where time slows to a crawl and your weekend is delayed. Let’s be honest- nothing exciting ever happens to anyone on a Wednesday…

Except if you’re part of the Wednesday Club!

In just a click, you can look forward to me showing up in your inbox with a sprinkle of confetti and encouragement to make Humpday fly by so you’re closer to dancing on the weekends. 

I won’t be like your flaky Tinder date. I’ll show up on time, every time, with insightful conversation, fun stories & a mission to leave you feeling inspired.

So what are you waiting for? Subscribe below and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered:: A note on Valentine’s Day

The tradition began in 2017.

I used to work for a global flower company, so I know just how crazy the world can get over Valentine’s Day. Nearly every industry hops in to capitalise on your emotions and convince you that you aren’t doing enough. It’s hard to escape from the reminders about LOVE and incredibly easy to feel overlooked. No matter how many times you tell yourself ‘it’s just another day,’ it can be hard to bury the feelings of loneliness and longing that threaten to rise up.

So two years ago I visited an indie stationary shop to find the pun-iest cards I could and scribbled a love letter to the friends who may be feeling overlooked. I licked stamps and posted it snail-mail style to their homes so they would have something special to wake up to on the 14th.

Sending out cards with handcrafted messages and knowing that someone was going to feel seen, encouraged and loved, has surprisingly become my favourite tradition of the year. If I could, I’d write every lonely heart that stumbles onto my page a handwritten letter that lets you know how utterly brilliant and significant I think you are. But all the stationary in the world wouldn’t be able to do it justice.

So here’s my digital letter to you.  


Hey you,

Firstly, you’re allowed to feel like punching the person who patronises you for being sad about your singleness. All of a sudden it feels like everyone becomes an expert when it comes to why you don’t have a partner. “Read more books,” someone once told me, as if the answers to my singleness could be found by flipping through endless pages. Although they carry good intentions, people can inadvertently say the wrong things when you open up about your dating struggles. They’ll question and pull apart everything about you such as whether you’re searching too much, if you’re putting yourself out there enough or if your relationship is right with God. Soon all you end up with is a laundry list full of inadequacies and all the ways you don’t measure up.

Be hyper-intentional about who you choose to be vulnerable with. Limit it to the people who know what to say to make you feel better and politely ignore the ones who hold out measuring sticks and point out why you aren’t enough. If you’re the type of person that needs a permission slip, let this be it: You’re allowed to feel sad, you’re allowed to feel lonely, you’re enough as you are. Your relationship status is not a reflection on you or whatever faith you hold.

I know how tempting it is to break out the spreadsheets and analyse why you haven’t been lucky yet or why someone who you secretly think isn’t as great as you are, managed to find their person first. But doing so will only drive you crazy and fuel the lie that good things are reserved for everyone else but you.

When I first moved into my new house, everything looked brand-spanking new from the outside and my friends gushed over how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place.

“This house is such goals,” a friend squealed as I gave her a tour.

But upon closer inspection, we realised the builders had left behind some pretty significant flaws. Small ones at first, like a badly done paint job and a few missing tiles. But soon they were bigger issues, like misaligned kitchen cabinets and a horrifically constructed fence.

In the same way, it was really easy for me to assume that everyone’s relationship was perfect when I was scrolling through their Insta feed or looking from afar. But once I became privy to the intimate details of the relationship and found out what was really happening behind the scenes, I quickly learned that the reality didn’t quite match the picture-perfect version that was being portrayed online. All that to say, you have no idea what’s happening beneath the surface of someone else’s relationship or their life. You have no idea if the couples you’re admiring are in it for the long run or dating for dating’s sake. Although other people’s stories may be happening right now, hold onto the hope that soon, so will yours.

When I get really caught up in my feelings, I like to cave in to the belief that I’m too messy for anybody great to handle. It’s taken a lot of good friends to show me that this was another one of those bullshit lies our mind likes to offer up sometimes. We all think that we’re messy or too much or not enough to ever find someone who could fit us. But show me someone who is too much of a mess, and I’ll show you someone who dared to take in a chance in Life.

Years ago, I read someone say that they would rather have their heart cut and bleeding over the floor after daring to take a risk, than have it standing perfectly cold and pristine in the corner. I clung onto this so tightly and it’s become my favourite encouragement to give to anyone who’s wondering if the pain will ever go away. The messy ones are the ones that are warm, and brave and dared to put their heart on their sleeve. They are the ones to be admired. So don’t go adding it to the list of reasons why you’re not enough.

The person you are now is not the person you were two years ago, last month or even yesterday. You are forever growing and transforming, and so is your person.

As someone who used to be a secret writer of various YA fiction, I know that my most well-received stories are the ones where the protagonist has undergone great character development. Where they’ve experienced hardships or encountered obstacles that ultimately prepare them for the story line that’s about to unfold.

And I like to think that’s how each of our stories will pan out. Everything we’re doing, and everything that’s happening to us, is ultimately refining us into the person we’re supposed to be when we meet our significant other. I don’t have a timeline for you but when they come, you’ll be in your element, and he’ll be in his.

Above all, I know that there’s a well of untapped love and affection inside of you that you’re waiting to lavish on the right person. I used to hoard the amount of love I had, as if there was only a limited quantity I could offer the world. I’d go about my day and think about all the crazy date ideas and gifts I would get my person when he finally graced my doorstep, and I’d keep it all to myself just waiting and waiting.  

It was a long time before I realised that this was a scarcity mentality. You are not a squirrel that has to store nuts to survive in the Winter, and who has to bare your teeth at anyone who comes near your stash of love. You are a human being that’s been designed with an overwhelming capacity to love others.

The best thing I’ve ever done for myself on this romantic holiday & even on regular days, was to pour the love I’d reserved for my person, onto others. It was deciding that although they hadn’t come into my life yet, I wasn’t going to sit around and let my compassion for people wither away and grow bitter in the dark. Instead, I was going to show up and love others the best way I could. And if words and feelings are the best way I can serve people, then so be it.

The reality is that we’re broken humans living in a broken world. There are people who need you to see them. Like really see them. Like get -down-in- the- mud-and-look-at-them-in the eye type of see them. And what a shame it would be if we missed the people who really need us, all because we believed our love was only worthy of the romantic kind.

Because here’s the kicker:

Your love is not reserved for your significant other.

Your love has the ability to mend wounds and spark hope.

It is capable of inspiring encouragement and reminding people to keep pressing forward.

So on a day where the pressure is on to have the best, most Instagrammable moment, let’s bring it back to love.

Encouraging you always,

Ash x

Know anyone feeling angsty about V-Day? Show them love and forward this letter to them x

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB

Everyone struggles to get through Humpday. It’s this dreaded, in-between, mess of a day where time slows to a crawl and your weekend is delayed. Let’s be honest- nothing exciting ever happens to anyone on a Wednesday…

Except if you’re part of the Wednesday Club!

In just a click, you can look forward to me showing up in your inbox with a sprinkle of confetti and encouragement to make Humpday fly by so you’re closer to dancing on the weekends. 

I won’t be like your flaky Tinder date. I’ll show up on time, every time, with insightful conversation, fun stories & a mission to leave you feeling inspired.

So what are you waiting for? Subscribe below and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

Enter your email to receive confetti and encouragement in your inbox every Humpday!

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