The Freedom of Vulnerability

Hi. I’m Ashley and here is my confession: This is my first blog post. EVER. Do I know what I’m doing? Heck no. Am I scared? Absolutely! But I’m putting myself out there because over the past year, I’ve found my voice. I’ve realized that it’s okay to leave my comfort zone and try something new. You see, I had a friend encourage me to begin writing simply because I’m good at conversation. I didn’t believe in myself, but she did. She reminded me I don’t have to be a writer. She reminded me I can use my voice as a storyteller instead. I’m so glad she gave me the push because here I am.

I struggled with trying to figure out what to say as my first blog post. There is so much pressure! There are so many incredible bloggers who are more experienced and I don’t want to feel like a failure. Something I’ve learned over the past couple of years about myself is in order for me to feel comfortable with myself, I’ve got to be vulnerable. So here goes nothing. 

I got married at 19. I thought I was a grown up but I wasn’t. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I knew who I was until after my 11-year marriage ended a couple of years ago. It wasn’t until recently that I realized my value and worth as a person. For years I felt like I was annoying, unimportant, and nothing I said was the right thing. I was scared to be on my own person because I was afraid I wasn’t enough. I knew I was a lovable person and it was evident in my friendships. However, whenever I was around my ex, I often felt insecure. Why didn’t he enjoy my personality? What was so bad about me? The answer I finally came to the conclusion of was nothing. There was nothing wrong with me. I was enough. I AM ENOUGH.

Something that really impacted me during my divorce was an author who emphasized the power of vulnerability. I loved reading her because I could connect. She was so real and raw. I wanted to be like her…but I was scared. I was so incredibly scared of judgment. What would happen if I told my story? Would people look at me differently? I felt embarrassed I couldn’t keep my marriage intact. I felt like a failure. I have three little boys who I thought would crumble if their Mom and Dad didn’t stay in it for them. I fought. I REALLY fought to try to save my marriage…for my kids. 

What I didn’t realize is the example of “love” they were seeing wasn’t there. They didn’t have a positive example of what a healthy relationship should mimic. I didn’t want to stay but I didn’t think I could survive without him. I finally made the decision to leave and it was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. I was throwing myself into becoming a single mom and holy crap…it wasn’t easy. I thought I would never be okay again. 

Fast forward to 2019. I’m a completely new person now. I’m confident and happy and proud of who I am. I’m marrying my very best friend and biggest supporter this year. He has helped me grow so much into who I am now. He encourages me to do things I didn’t think I could do, gets me out of bad moods when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed and has gone from bachelor life to full-time step-dad with so much grace.

The best thing about my fiancee is that he believes in me. He believed in me when he asked me to do a Savage Race and I thought that I couldn’t do it. Guess what? I did it. He believed in me when I wanted to start my own business. Guess what? I did it. He believed in me when I wanted to advocate for my son who has Autism. Guess what? I’m doing it. And wouldn’t you know he believes in me as I step outside of my comfort zone and become a blogger. You can do it too. Please, please, please find a friend or a loved one to push you to believe in yourself.

But back to the power of vulnerability…

I’ve learned by sharing myself with others I have found freedom. It feels so pure to share the good, the bad, and the uncertain times with people. I’m raw and I’m real. This is just who I am. If you’ve ever felt like you a tiny human who doesn’t matter… STOP IT. Right now. Because that’s a lie. You, my dear, are enough. Find your voice. BE BRAVE. Open up and be vulnerable. You never know who might need to hear what you have to say.

And there it is. Freedom.