DO NOT EDIT- Meet Ashley
"I just want to inspire other women not to worry about the 'imperfections' we are blessed with because they are what makes us who we are."
Every choice we make And every road we take Every interaction Starts a chain reaction We're both affected When we least expect it And then when we touched And it all connected Every choice we make And every road we take Every interaction Starts a chain reaction We're both affected when we least expect it And then when we... (Natasha Bedingfield- Touch)
Have you ever sat, alone with your thoughts and experiences, and imagined the sort of person you would be without the myriad of influences you've encountered over your life? The good, the bad, the seriously awkward. What sort of person would you be without that timely advice or encouraging message? Would you be a little less burdened without those sharp words still stinging your heart? Have you imagined the sort of people you are molding and influencing around you? The words you say, the looks you give, have you though about how they reach out and touch others? We are the ambassadors of the change we want to see in the world! It's all connected and the responsibility we have to build one another up instead of tearing one another down is a very real thing! What I remember about photographing Ashlee the most is this light that radiated from her character. Can you even see the scar she carries on her right shoulder? Or are your eyes caught by her smile before you see other details? Ashlee had surgery on her shoulder when she was 16 but it wasn't even her story that became the focus of our time together. It was her absolute resolve to make sure she uses her experience as a way to help others. She could choose to allow her setbacks to drag her down, to make her a bitter and painful person. Or she could choose to use her hurt to heal others. Imagine the sort of ways she is able to touch the lives of those around her. Imagine the people who walk away from their meeting and think a little brighter, hope a little more. Because she chooses to bring light, not darkness to her sphere of influence. We, each and every one of us, have the ability to bring light to our own small worlds! Pain hurts, hard experiences do cause hardness- let's not be ignorant. Instead, let's remember how much potential there is in taking a bad thing and allowing it to become a good thing. And how healing it can be for everyone when we allow that change to take place! The great thing about loving people is the love you're promised to receive in return. I was once told, "Are you having a bad day? Reach out and encourage someone. You'll be amazed at how it turns around and makes your day better!" And you know what? It's true! When you place yourself in a position of lifting other people out of their muck with your words, your smile, your offered hand, you are drawn up with them. The heart cannot provide peace and joy without also being filled with the same feelings. It's just a principle of life. I do hear a little voice, a voice filled with heartache and it's saying, "Sarah, I want to be that person. I want to make other people feel full, but I hurt too much. I'm too angry. I don't even have it in ME so how am I supposed to give it to others?!" I know how you feel, friend. I was once there. Sometimes, on really bad days, I am there. It's a process. You know, a butterfly never changes over night. First, she has to do hard work on herself before she can show the world her new, beautiful colors. Be kind to yourself, reach out to someone who has already gone through the process and learn from them. And even though it will be scary, you will have to open your heart to allow the pain to leave. Once your heart is open? It will be free to let go of bitter and accept better. I promise. It's time to begin to constantly take into consideration how we touch people's hearts and lives. Stop before you spout words you can't retract and imagine how your actions are helping shape your world around you. Once you begin to notice, begin to change. And then expect the biggest change to take place within your own heart. <3