This Is The Sweet Life;
Pearls are always appropriate.
Jackie Kennedy  (via smilesandgrace)
Twenty Thirteen

I’m not on Tumblr as much as I used to be, but I think it is still a great outlet for me when I need to blog. (And after looking around and who I follow I do miss it!) Every year around this time I always like looking back on the year. Time seems to be going by more quickly every year and things happen day-to-day that it sometimes feels like everything just blobs into one. But it is nice to write and save end of the year blog entries to see how you grow. 

Speaking of, I just read my post from last year. At the end it said “I am hoping at this time, next year, my end of the year post will be happier and what I picture. 2013, the year of no fear. Fearless.” This made me so emotional. I have been unhappy for awhile but 2012 was definitely my worse year mentally. Every year I was sick of wishfully hoping “This year is it, it will finally get better” and nothing really changing. I remember at the time of writing that, even though I couldn’t picture anything changing at all yet again, I still had whatever remaining hope inside of me. So the fact that I am writing this today saying yes positive changes did happen this year, makes me want to hug the 2012 Ashley and just let her know even though you may see the darkest of days, everything WILL be alright. Throughout depression you always hear “It will get better”, “This is just temporary” but you just feel like yeah maybe to other people, you are in so deep you can’t picture those things ever happening to you. I was empty and felt lost and done but at the beginning of this year I thought just let the feeling of “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired” fuel you, just at least try. And thankfully, I can say that I got rid of everything that made me unhappy, and it worked out even better than I imagined. You may be stuck in deep but honestly everything happens and your personal path is for a bigger reason that maybe one day we will all figure out. And that is the crazy ride called life. 12 and 13 are my numbers. Maybe the year of ‘12 tested my strength and self reflection, and the year ‘13 tested my ability to apply those things. This year taught me a lot about myself, I feel like a stronger person and that through good times and bad times things are all meant for a reason. Who knows what I will say around this time next year. But just as if I didn’t know then and trusted it, I have to also trust what this year will bring will be meant to be also. One of my favorite lyrics from Wicked is “There are bridges you cross you didn’t know you crossed until you’ve crossed.” So bring it on 2014! I may have been knocked down but I have learned to get back up, fearlessly. Even though this was the most important part of this year, here is what happened in between;

I had my 21st birthday. I got a new nanny/babysitting job. I spent the weekend in Newport at Salve Regina visiting my friend Adriana. I started meeting with (finally) a good therapist who helped me sort out so many of my issues which is one of the reasons I resulted so well I think this year. I drove down to Pennsylvania to surprise my friend Maddie on her closing night of her high school play career. I went into NYC with my friend Sarah to see Wicked again. The play hits so close to home it made me reevaluate my life and decided on what I wanted to change. I went to the Garden State Mall with Adri to see Megan and Liz preform/M&G. There was TJ’s kickoff summer party. I saw Aly & AJ reunion concert in NYC and met up with my old friend Megan. I took the plunge and started the process of starting school. I saw what was now the last Jonas Brothers concert. One of my personal highlights from 2013, getting a VIP ticket for Taylor Swift’s Red Tour at Gillette Stadium, field seats. WHAT A DAY. Then shortly after my worse moment of the year, getting into my first car accident and ruining my forever baby, Miss Melody. She will always be my first car with SO many memories. That day was awful despite the really fun weekend I had with Nikki and her sisters in West Chester. Everything did work out but I will forever miss that car. I saw Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5 in concert. I saw Megan & Liz on finally their first headlining tour. I OFFICIALLY STARTED SCHOOL AS A VISUAL AND PREFORMING ARTS MAJOR. I went to my cousin’s wedding in RI. My other cousin had her first baby. I FINALLY LEFT MY JOB AFTER FOUR YEARS. I picked up extra days with my babysitting job. They are a wonderful family and I finally get respect and don’t get anxiety before going to work now. I went to Wicked’s 10th Anniversary show. I saw Justin Timberlake in concert. I helped with putting on my college’s fall play. I redecorated my bedroom. And finally, I ended the year with a completed first semester in school, getting a *drumroll* 4.0 GPA! WHAT.

Random side-note, I am extremely grateful for my friends. They are seriously the best friends anyone could ask for. They helped me so much this year and have been nothing but supportive and tell me how proud they are of me. They always cheer me on, but I couldn’t get through this year especially without them.  

If I read this post to myself last year, I would have never believed any of this happened for a second. But it did, and I feel like a completely different person. Everything about my life now is new, nothing in it is left from my old life. I’m noticing those shifts as I was writing this. Even if they were terrible or fantastic they all happened for a reason, growth. There is still more to work on, but hopefully with a stronger back bone we shall see what life throws at me for this year, 2014. Thank you for all the lessons 2013. <3 - Me

Having tattoos and piercings is not unprofessional.

What’s unprofessional is turning down an aspiring employee due to superficial reasons and not their skill level or experience.