The End of My First Journey.

As December swiftly runs past us and we begin to feel the weight of the year we are all about to leave, I have to say it packs more of a punch this year than it usually does. Today is my final day at my first college. Today is my final day at an awesome job that I have had for more than two years. Today is the tie up loose ends, say goodbye to everyone, and remembrance kind of day. When writing a couple of emails to a couple of people for a couple of things I have to clear up before I leave, I was written back almost immediately by one. And it read “Thanks for the update, Ashley. Congratulations on your graduation and best of luck on the next part of your journey!.” Which, made me realize that today I am completing the first part of my journey. And, isn’t that just terrifying and breathtaking and confusing and humbling. All this hard work and changing my mind and challenging myself actually accounted for something. I came to this school, got a new job, and once I graduate I wont be back. Today is the end of my first journey.

This part of the journey that is coming to a completion today, I believe, was about growing up, figuring myself out a little bit more, and learning to trust my instincts. Right before I got this job and began school I moved out on my own. I went from living with a rather large, loud and rambunctious family of seven to a small, quiet place with just me and my best friend. I also went from a soft little town with bright stars and limited dreams, to a booming downtown city where the dreams where massive and stars impossible to see. I also started college, got a new job and changed my major. Which, as one could only imagine lead to may tear filled nights, lost days and confusing choices. As you could also imagine, I had to pick up the run of the mill adult stuff like paying my bills on time, how expensive heat can be, how to not burn your apartment down, and how costly groceries are. But, I also learned the more meaningful value of being an adult. Things like learning to trust in yourself, having to make hard decisions, never letting fear stop me from attacking my dreams, and of course that you are never to old to call your mother crying asking for help.

Not only have I learned a lot about my somewhat new role of being an adult, I have learned a lot more about myself on a personal level. I learned that I am only responsible for myself and my actions, that happiness comes from within, and the true importance of being a good friend. I have learned to forgive even if someone has not apologized, learned to put faith in myself and the abilities I have and, that above all else my family is the most important thing in the world. I have learned that I love the bustling of a downtown area and plan on living in New York City one day. I have learned that I also require time outside where I can spend a moment figuring myself out. I have learned that yoga helps my clear my head, exercise keeps me from wanting to punch people, and eating healthy is a value that is important to me. I have learned that communication and trust are the most important things in a relationship and that learning to live with someone you love is a challenge but it is so worth it. I have learned that I love brunch on Sundays and sleeping in late on Saturdays and weekends filled with food, friends and laughter. I have learned the kind of movies I like to watch, the books I like to read, and the music I enjoy listening to. I have learned that while it is absolutely terrifying to go to school for something that you love, in the end, with hard work, determination, and never taking no for an answer it will all be worth it. I have learned so much about myself and the person I want to be. As the year is coming to a close and the curtain is abut to close I realize that today is the end of an era. The end of my very first journey. It has come with its fair share of hardships challenges and obstacles but, I have made some hilarious memories, wonderful new friends, and instilled an unshakable faith in myself. Soon I will be off to my last school with a new job and new sights in store.

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The Day I Forgot to Wear Makeup

If you made it through the title (a little lengthy l I know) then you will know what your lovely little eyes are about to read. I decided not to go with a moody, could be something but not sure title and stick right with the point. Trust me I took AP English in high school, I know what its like to spend hours having to decipher what the author possibly, probably meant by using that one word melodramatic title line. But, back to the point. This was one hell of a week may I add. Most people would simply blow through this title and mumble quietly to themselves “get some real problems lady”, but you didn’t, go you. While this problem may seem like something small in a world filled with violence and mass corruption lets remember, I am a Type A perfectionist and if you are unfortunately there with me then you get the heaviness of this problem. This problem also taught me an important lesson, funny how the world does that to you isn’t it? Lets start at the beginning shall we?

Well lets begin with the ‘forgetting to wear makeup’ thing. As a young women, who goes to school and holds down a job one would expect that you wear makeup on a regular basis as to not look ‘tired’ or I don’t know, like a 15 year old maybe. Forgetting to come into work wearing makeup is a mountain I had yet to climb, until last week that is. I came in to open work at 8 am and upon stepping across a mirror, realized that I had failed upon leaving the house to apply even a drop of makeup. Yep you heard me right, early morning on the job, sans makeup. Quite a scene that sets. I instantly went into a deep panic and when I say panic I mean I freaked out. I didn’t bring anything with me except lipstick and that wouldn’t help a sister at the moment. I immediately messaged by fiance and asked how on this precious earth had he forgotten to remind me that ‘hey you are leaving the house looking all sorts of crazy’? To which he simply replied that it wasn’t a big deal, that I was pretty and he hadn’t noticed. Which sounded like a lot of blah blah blah to a women who had just walked into her place of employment looking like a bag lady. Until I could run out and grab some drugstore eyeliner I knew I would be fresh faced and hiding my face. About a steady hour into hiding my unmascaraed face with my hair and computer, I started thinking. And, this is where the life lesson comes in. Why in the literal world was I so scared of not wearing makeup when this is how I look. And, no amount of makeup would ever change how I look when I take it off and lay my head down to sleep each night (quick side note to all my ladies, make sure you take that makeup off at night unless you want to wake up with those dreaded raccoon eyes or even worse…..a pimple).These beady blue/green eyes, transparent eyelids and naturally rosy cheeks belonged to me. I sound like a real knockout don’t I? But, this was the way I was made, this is the face I have been given and we must live in a pretty messed up society if I felt ashamed of it. If I literally spiraled into a mid morning panic thinking that GASP, someone would see my real face. That begs the question of what the heck is wrong with the world? Well there is too many things to really put down here in words but something that we can start to do is stop loosing our minds about looking done up and perfect. Because frankly we aren’t. We have pimples and bags under our eyes and scars with long stories. We have too curly hair, too straight hair, too wavy hair. But hey, that is what makes us ourselves, our unique uneven skin toned selves.Think about it, can you to leave the house without makeup and still think, I may not look like Americas next top model, but I am myself and that is a great thing to be? If you are a mother then don’t let makeup rule your idea of beauty, children will latch onto that. A day never really went by when I didn’t see my mother putting on at least eyeliner before we went anywhere and upon forgetting hear the ‘OMG I AM NOT WEARING ANY MAKEUP’ panic we all know and love. Unfortunately the society we live in pressures women of all ages to a obtain an unrealistic expectation of beauty. From young teens to women in their sixty’s, there is some sort of pressure. We all think to ourselves, well hey those celebrities are 14 but look 20. Or, those sixty year olds look 40.Which is not realistic. Those celebrities don’t even look like those celebrities. By the time makeup artists, Photoshop, fans and airbrushing gets done with them they become the poster child of an unrealistic and way out of control beauty system.Embrace that  no matter how many times you try your eyelashes will never curl properly and, no matter how much contouring you do, you in fact still have a round face. Embrace that you have freckles (if any of you want some, I have plenty to go around) and embrace the fact that you will never be able to tan. Embrace your big nose or your small nose or your long nose. Embrace the color of your eyes and the way that your skin is never perfect. I challenge everyone to take a step outside their comfort zone regarding appreciating your natural beauty. Whether that be not putting on makeup to go to the gym or taking a #nofilter, no makeup selfie, do something. You are beautiful and stunning and all the other adjectives your little heart can think of. Be proud of who you are, rosy cheeks and all.