ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Why Circles Are Better Than Lines

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired

As a child, there was always one geometric shape, if you will, that I strongly disliked:

The straight line.

Straight lines were always so rigid, so severe, and dreadfully boring. They were fixed, cold, unfeeling little marks that, as I saw it, had no character. I far preferred to take my crayon and haphazardly smear blue violet swirly circles all over the page, resulting in a playful demonstration of my uninhibited, childlike innocence. There were no rules in drawing. Anything went, and the paper was mine to explore.

Now, as an adult, my disdain for lines has grown to be even more so. The colors of the lines we draw as adults aren't in Crayola's collection; these lines are invisible, yet are very, very real. Adults draw imaginary lines between one another.

They still represent all that is rigid, severe, boring, cold and unfeeling, but now in a way that has far greater ramifications than whether or not my paper looks pretty. And our lives–what was once a blank slate–become defined by the lines that we draw.

Growing up, we drew some of our earliest invisible lines separating girls versus boys and adults versus children.  Those were the categories, and we organized the people around us accordingly.

As we progressed through school, we learned to draw more invisible lines between the haves and have nots, the popular and the unpopular, and slowly began drawing the first segments of the line that would eventually divide black from white and tan to brown.

Within those categories, we even went as far as to draw more lines to distinguish between smart versus not, attractive versus not, athletic versus not and many others.

As young adults, we then transitioned into making longer, thicker lines that were even more rigid and fixed. Socioeconomic status became even more of a concern, as we attempted to recognize our own and then transcend the lines we inherited from our parents, as we tried to rewrite what was already there.

In order to do so, we then drew lines between those people that we felt would favor the preferred outcome versus the rest that wouldn't.  We drew lines between white and blue collars, the successful versus the unsuccessful, and that which we wanted to be, versus that which we didn't.

Today, we're still constantly drawing lines for ourselves.  As the world has gotten bigger, we've had to organize its people into more and more complex categories to allow for the vast diversity.  We now have drawn lines between rich versus poor, republican versus democrat, citizen versus immigrant, conservative versus liberal, educated versus uneducated, capitalist versus communist, pragmatic versus idealistic, first versus third world and many, many more.

There's a reason, however, that we draw these stiff lines; oftentimes, it isn't for the sake of pigeonholing others, but rather, in the name of finding our own position relative to them.

As humans, we need to know where we stand in order to derive our perspectives, our sense of understanding and our self-esteem, and the only way we can do that is by figuring out where others are located on the spectrum.  So we label.  We judge.  We categorize.  We draw our lines. And in the end, it's our lines that show us who we are.

While such lines are useful in terms of organizing our life and the world around us–essentially helping us find our identity–the danger to this tendency is that if we're not careful, we can draw too many lines that end up forming a cube that does more harm than help, because we become boxed in.  And naturally, when we're boxed into a confined space, there's only so much room for us to grow.

Lines limit our experience.  Once we make them, we're hesitant to step over them.  It confuses us, and causes us anxiety.

Am I on this side of the line or the other?

And that's why I dislike them so.  By drawing lines, we're forcing ourselves to choose one side or the other.

But nothing in this world is that black and white.

 

 

Aug 31

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So, I’m sitting in the bar at this restaurant. I’m lovingly twirling my fork into a steamy, lemony, buttery, most delightfully angelic heap of angel hair–the creamy, makes-you-throw-your-head-back-with-glee kind of pasta that, I was thinking, should probably be forbidden for nuns, because, I swear, this pasta is far more decadent than the best sex you […]

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“Quitters never win & winners never quit.” Excuse me, divine gods of all Protestant work-ethic-inspired proverbs, *takes drag of imaginary cigarette* but I beg to differ. *Apathetically exhales and flings cigarette to ground before grinding it with the ball of not-so-imaginary fire engine red high heel.* We’ve heard these types of statements all our lives:  […]

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Education & Wage Slavery: Hand In Hand?

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A no-nonsense look at the education system’s hidden agenda–why we’re being taught what to think, instead of how to think, and how this affects not only us, but the bigger picture at hand. Put on your thinking caps for this one. (P.S. Please don’t egg my house if this makes you angry.)

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Oct 23

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How to Be a Human.

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I sat in a plaza yesterday, behind La Moneda–Chile’s version of The White House. Diagonal paths come from all directions and meet up in the center, before darting off in opposite directions. People walk gruffly, generally ignoring one another–cell phones, busy faces, stern looks, fast paces. And just like in plazas everyday across the world… […]

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Sep 9

2019

The 1% Rule for When You’re Feeling Rather “MEH, SUCKS” About Everything and Everyone, Even That Hot Pastry Chef

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Well it’s Thursday and for everyone’s delight, I’ve compiled a random list of shit I absolutely should not know, but do: That you should photograph interiors with a wide-angle lens, set to 20mm instead of zoomed all the way out. (Otherwise you get distorted walls that curve in.) A ball of wool is technically called […]

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Jun 14

2016

Is Your Life *Actually* a Good One? Can You Even Decide? What Does Good Even MEAN These Days?

Jun 14, 2016

It’s hilarious, really. You spent the first twenty years of your life worrying what the f*ck you were suppose to do on this planet—with your ONE BIG PRECIOUS LIFE that every other Pinterest poster won’t shut up about—only to spend the next twenty years wondering if you did it right. Because, did you? Was this […]

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Apr 17

2017

Change Is Fucking Messy (Thank God)

Apr 17, 2017

Change is fucking messy. You’re effectively molding yourself, and re-molding yourself, the way a sculptor would a piece of clay. And yet, nobody says to the sculptor: Shame on you, butter fingers, for not having it perfect the first spin. Rather, there’s an expectation of process. Of trial, of error, of slow transformation; of forming, […]

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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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