You Will Find The One

During middle school, I was not the popular girl, I did not have many friends. I had a small group of friends that I hung out with, but I mostly played travel softball and that’s where I met most of my friends. Went I moved to high school, my small friend group cut in half because of school zones so some went to a different high school. I had a few friends, maybe two that went to the same school as me, and one of them has been my best friend ever since and is now my roommate here at VCU. For the first couple of months, I stayed isolated and focused on the new transition from middle school to high school and school work. I would go to football games every Friday night to support my school team. I met a boy who was a junior at the time and I was a freshman. This was my first serious relationship. We hung out almost every day, he was the popular boy in school with all the friends, good looks, football player, etc. and I fell head over heels for him. We dated for two years on and off and the main reason we broke up every time is still unknown to me. Having someone break up with you for no reason is so hard on a girl and the thoughts of “not being good enough” ran through my mind constantly. My best friend at the time was a boy, he was a year older than me and he would always be my go-to when things got rough. After my first boyfriend and I broke up, me and my best friend at the time started dating and things were perfect. He respected me, he made me laugh, his parents liked me, and it seemed like he loved me. I also dated him for two years. After he graduated high school, he joined the marines but was discharged for personal reasons. He was a changed person when he left bootcamp. He was not sincere or warm anymore. We broke up a couple times because of his lack of communication but during my senior year of high school, he told me he was moving to Pensacola, Florida to live with his grandparents. We decided to get back to together, I don’t know why because things went down hill fast. He would go weeks without talking to me at all, no communication, no texts, no phone calls nothing. After that, my wall was as far up as it could be. I was tired of being hurt and feeling like I was worthless. During this time, I was still playing travel softball, hanging out with more friends, and playing varsity softball for my school. I attended Ring Dance my junior year of high school, I went to my senior banquet and many more memorable events. Some traumatic events happened within my family as well. My grandma had a stroke and my grandfather had a heart attack, both caused from smoking and poor diet, and I got into my first car accident, totaling both vehicles involved. All the while, my neighbor, who had known me for ten years and was a year younger than me was right by my side through all of this. Sadly, he moved to Stafford, Virginia which is three hours away from my house but since our families were best friends, we still got to see each other.  He was my biggest supporter and was always my shoulder to cry on. I took advantage of him because he had always had the biggest crush on me, and I knew it but I always pushed him to the side. He really was the best friend any girl could have, and he still is. With him, it all started when he asked me to be his date to his junior/senior prom. I thought nothing of it and that we were just going as friends. I wore an all-black dress with laced up red heels and he wore an all-black tuxedo with a red bow tie and when he saw me for the first time, he was speechless. He had the biggest smile on his face and he hugged me and spun me around. At that time, I knew that he was someone that I wanted to be with. At his prom, we had our first kiss and slow-danced together. It heartbreaking leaving him the next morning to go back home but I asked him to be my date to my prom so I knew I would see him again in a few weeks. For my prom, I wore a flowy yellow and black floral dress that was shorter in the front and longer in the black and lace up black heels and when he saw me this time, he had the same reaction. A couple weeks I graduated from high school with honors and he was there to support me. A week later he asked me to be his girlfriend. I had no hesitation in saying yes because he respected me more than anyone, he made me laugh no matter the situation, he treated me how I have always wanted to be treated, and he was truly my very best friend. We are still together presently, going 9 months together. He comes to stay with me on the weekends, and I go to his house on the weekends to watch him play lacrosse and football for his school team. Moral of the story, do not let any boy treat you any less than what you deserve. You are beautiful, you are strong, you are worthy, and you are loved. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. It may seem like you will never find the one, hell, I don’t even know if I found the right one, but right now it’s all I need. Find someone that makes you feel calm, makes you feel free, and always lets you know you are beautiful.

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Following My Dreams

I have many dreams, wishes, and goals that I want to accomplish throughout my life. I also have many things on my bucket list that I want to cross off. I have goals right now that aren’t even reachable yet, but that is okay because there will come a time and a place for them. I have visions of myself in the future with an amazing career being a nurse and helping people in need. I see myself living on a ranch with a wrap-around porch on tons of land. Having a loving family with lots of kids and dogs. I also vision myself becoming closer to God. I want to travel to beautiful places, especially Greece- that’s at the top of my bucket list. I dream of getting into the nursing program here at VCU in a few months, I dream of graduating from the nursing program as a registered nurse in four years, and I dream of being a neonatal nurse a couple years after graduating. There are many things that I wish for and hope for and I can only try my best to make them all come true. You should never let someone tell you that your dreams are unrealistic and unreasonable… because they aren’t. I know it is cliché, but we can do anything we put our minds to. The journey to get to your end goal will not always be a straight path. People fail, people mess up, and that is perfectly okay. Everything will fall into place how it is supposed to be and if you don’t like the way it turns out, you can always change it. You should always end up feeling like you are exactly where you are supposed to be and want to be in life. Always work hard for your goals and what you truly want and wish for because when you get it, the reward will so be worth it. I have an amazing support system between my family at home and my friends and that is something that everyone should have. They always give me a boost of confidence when I don’t get it from myself. They comfort me and help me get back up to my feet when I fall, and they also encourage me to keep fighting for what I want and motivate me to stay focused. I always want to have something to strive for and look forward to whether it be something small or something big because if there is nothing to work towards, what’s the point?

A Letter to my Older Self

Dear future self,

I’m so proud of you for whatever you have accomplished so far. Stop stressing about every little thing and take some time to ‘treat yo self’ because you deserve it. Ever since you were little you always had to be one step ahead of yourself and everyone else around you. Pamper yourself occasionally. Go get a mani/pedi with your friends or your mom, have a glass of wine with your husband when the kids are asleep, relax a little. Don’t ever feel guilty for doing this. Do all the things on your bucket list including going to Skopelos, Greece. Enjoy your life and cherish all the moments that you have with your loved ones because you are never promised tomorrow. You’ve spent most of your life rushing to grow up and become an adult… was it everything you expected it to be? If not, change it so that it is. Be gentle with yourself and your emotions. It’s okay to be messy sometimes; not everything is going to be perfect. Life is going to be fun, boring, sad, happy, depressing, and exciting.  Everything will work out exactly how it is supposed to in the end so don’t worry about that. You may have failed a couple times during your life, but it hasn’t been the end of the world yet. All the heartbreaks, failures, successes, and victories have all been worth it. I hope all the frustrating moments and the times where you felt like giving up and had you on the verge of quitting made you a stronger woman. Your life is going to be beautiful just like it is now. Your husband will hopefully cherish you and respect you and love you and your beautiful kids with every piece of him. You and he are going to raise a wonderful family.  I’m sure your parents are beyond proud of you and everything that you have accomplished and became. Keep setting goals for yourself and continue to strive for them. Always be grateful and thankful for everything this life has given you. Love who you will become. You were and always will be your true self and that is all that anybody wanted you to be. Life is a gift, not something that you are given; enjoy every second of it while you are here on this beautiful planet. You are truly blessed. I love you.

A Letter To My Younger Self

Dear younger Ashlynn,

You are going to experience amazing things and accomplish even better things. The world is so much bigger than you and it surely does not revolve around you. You will learn to push yourself to your limits, so you need to inspire yourself and motivate yourself so you can accomplish everything you’ve ever dreamed of. When you get into high school, you are going to meet people who you will think will be your best friends until the end of time. Don’t get too attached to them because their friendship won’t last for long. It’s better to have a small friend group, people who prove to you that will always be there for you and will show you that they love you just the way you are. You’ll meet a boy when you are fifteen years old and a freshman in high school. He’ll be a junior and one of the most popular guys around. He will make you feel like you’re on top of the world and you’ll fall for him harder than you could think of, maybe he will fall for you too, you’ll never know. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Do what you want to do, be who you want to be. Stop belittling yourself in the mirror every morning before school and every chance you get. Society has made beauty to be fake, botched, plastic, and anything but natural. You ARE beautiful, you ARE natural. Just because you are not the skinniest girl in school does not make you any less of a woman. I know how much you are hurting, I still feel it to this day. The mirror is not your worst enemy. Know that the people you surround yourself with love you with every ounce of their soul, even though you don’t love yourself. I know it may seem like your parents are out to get you, especially your mom with her judgy comments about your weight and always pushing you, but you will come to see that they really and truly just want the best for you. They want you to be happy, healthy, and successful. Hangout with your sister, she truly adores you and looks up to you more than you could ever imagine. Go out to lunch with your dad when he’s home because he misses one-on-one time with you more than anything when you still played softball and he would sit on the bucket for hours catching your pitches. Go shopping with your mom and hangout on the couch watching movies with her as much as you can. They will have a really hard time when you leave for college. Your sister, especially, will take a turn for the worse. Life is full of twists and turn. You should never be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Keep trying your hardest and it will take you to all the places you have dreamed about. Don’t get too wrapped up in boys, the right one will come unexpectedly. Don’t be afraid to fail; failure will only lead you to success. Listen to your heart and always fight for what you believe in. Take your time growing up, you only live once, so live your life to the fullest.