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When You’re Suffering, Do It Anyway. And Let NOTHING Stop You.

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life

“I'm sorry I bailed on you,” the neatly folded note began.

It was 2013. I am at a retreat, and this was the note I received from a fellow participant; a lovely woman in her early 30's with whom I had made Friday night dinner plans.

I had waited for an hour in the lobby, my black jeans tucked into my chunk heeled, cream-colored leather ankle booties. I wasn't in a hurry; I'm never in a hurry. I just assumed she was doing a little last-minute armpit shave, or, you know, wearing red lipstick. Because, red lipstick. It's never quick, nor easy, and Gwen Stefani can piss off.

Yet, after an hour or so had passed, I started thinking to myself what everybody thinks to themselves:

Did I screw up the time?
She'll be here any minute.
If I leave now, I'll miss her.

*scrolls through Facebook feed*

What if I leave and she thinks *I’m* the no show?
Maybe something horrible happened.
Maybe she's being held hostage by a masked murderer at gunpoint.
(At a women's wellness retreat. Because isn't that where YOU would go if you were a masked murderer?

*googles “masked murderer wellness retreat”*

She must have forgotten.
Ugh, I hate when I forget stuff.
Wish I had her phone number.

*glances around while trying not to seem overly eager*

Needless to say, I was waiting there for a while.

When I finally thought to check the mail room—just in case the masked murderer was polite enough to leave a ransom note in my mailbox—my heart broke into teeny tiny little porcelain pieces as I read what she wrote.

“I really wanted to go to dinner with you. I got ready and put my makeup on, and even wore my favorite sweater. But the closer it got, the more nervous I got. The truth is that I kept thinking that you would be bored in a conversation with me. You're just so confident; so cool. I didn't want to make you suffer, having to talk to a person like me all night.”

The next day, my new friend was gone. I never saw her again. Never got the chance to tell her that she was wrong.

I hated she that she suffered.
I hated I made someone feel that way.
And most of all, I hated that someone felt that way about themselves.

Oftentimes, I think of my friend any time I'm scared, or nervous, or lacking confidence. And then I think to myself:

Am I going to write the world a note? Or am I going to do the damn thing?

And time and time again, in honor of my friend and myself, I elect not to write the world a note.

Because maybe by doing so I'll escape a potentially fatal, entirely awkward, terrifying situation. But most often, I suspect I'll find myself in a new one in its place: One where you can't trust yourself anymore.

As I've grown as an entrepreneur, a business owner, a human, a friend, and sassy-lipped flying saucer, make no mistake…I've made a lot of mistakes.

But the only way I've been able to recover from those mistakes, has nothing to do with having money, or having influence, or having friends, or knowing the right people…and everything to do with trust.

Trust that you’ll be okay…no matter what.
Trust that you’ll make it happen.
Trust that you’ll figure it out.

But the trust doesn’t just come; you can’t just sit here and say, “I’m going to trust myself more!” Doesn’t work like that.

The only way you can stumble upon conviction in yourself—

Is by not stumbling upon it…but putting yourself in situations requiring it.

By making promises to yourself that you’re going to do something…and then doing it. Come hell or high water.

Promise yourself you’re going to write every morning from 6am-7am? Let NOTHING stop you.
Say you’re finally going to start that new website?  Let NOTHING stop you.
Tell yourself you’re going to find the perfect little French chalet to go on a quiet little relaxation weekend all for yourself? Do it…and let NOTHING stop you.

Follow through.

Even when you don't want to. Even when you're scared to death. Even when you aren't so sure anymore. And let nothing stop you.

This is how you learn to trust yourself. Little by little, promise by promise, vow by vow, action by action.

And soon, you won't want to write a note to the world.

Because you'll know that the real person you're bailing on…

Is yourself.

Nov 27


Self-Care Isn’t Always Glamorous.

Nov 27, 2017

Sooooo, it’s the holidays, and you know what that means? We all need to figure out how the hell we’re going to take care of our drooling, forgetful, overwhelmed selves, come the new year. (Oh, you’re not drooling and forgetful? GET OFF MY YARD.) Which brings up the topic of self-care. Jesus christ we’re bad at […]

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life


May 31


If Somebody Told Me to Pick a Husband at Age Twenty-Three, I’d Likely Be Waking Up Next to Some Guy Who Can’t Spell “Lemon.”

May 31, 2018

You know why we’re all unhappy and restless and jaded and depressed? LIFE IS BORING US TO TEARS. Boredom is the devil, but most people don’t realize they’re bored. They’re busy working. They’re busy running. They’re busy doing ALL THE ERRANDS and keeping up with those fucksticks, The Jones’. It doesn’t feel like they’re bored, […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired, Feeling Disillusioned With Life


May 11


Burnout Doesn’t Come From Your Business

May 11, 2017

At one point or another, you’ll question your work. You’ll question what you do, and whether you like doing it, and you’ll wonder if you’re on the right path, after all. At one point or another, you’ll be convinced that you hate your work. You’ll be disappointed by clients, discouraged by logistics, and burnt out […]

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life


May 31


Maybe We Need to Rewrite the Narrative Around “Hustle”—Because, Hello, It’s Fucking Killing Us

May 31, 2017

The wine was poured. And then it was poured again. Sometimes, a third glass. Jackpot, the whole bottle. It wasn’t really the wine I was after; it was what the wine gave me. GLUG GLUG GLUG. Look, I’m relaxing. GLUG GLUG GLUG. Emails? What emails? GLUG GLUG GLUG. I clearly can’t do anything productive now.  GLUG […]

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life


Jun 14


If You Ain’t Feelin’ Your Work Anymore: HONEY, BURN THAT ISH DOWN.

Jun 14, 2019

So, here’s an idea: making money is not courageous. Anybody can ring a bell for twenty years. “Look, ma—I’ve been standing over here ringing this bell for two entire decades—durh, durh, durh—and I finally got a sticker!” Making money is a relatively straightforward consequence of showing up to breathe in the right place. Cause and […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired, Feeling Disillusioned With Life, Hate Your Job?


Jul 28


What Does It Mean to Take Care of Yourself, Right Now?

Jul 28, 2018

A question I ask myself often: What does it mean to take care of myself right now? It’s FREAKING TERRIFYING how much we do on autopilot. We order the second glass of wine. Stay to be polite. Agree to help! HELPING EVERYBODY! Eat what everybody else is having because you don’t want to make a fuss. Let them talk and talk and […]

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life


Jan 7


You Are Not a 7-Eleven.

Jan 7, 2014

“People need to understand what the fuck BUSINESS HOURS mean. I’m not 7-eleven, folks. I am not. If I wanted to be, I’d just run a 7-eleven. Big Gulps all the fuck around.”– Got that email from a frustrated business owner yesterday. I laughed so hard I almost spit wine on my bed. (I said almost. […]

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life


I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

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But no serial killers. I promise I won’t send those.

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