Author, CEO & Founder

Learn More >>

The Tired Excuse That Women Need to Stop Making (Have You Ever Used It?)

In: Finding Your Voice

Last week I almost made a very big mistake.

You see, I had THIS GRAND IDEA that led me to performing the following slightly delirious activities:

  1. Scouting jungle wallpaper for my dressing room;
  2. Buying a T-Rex head to hang on the wall of said dressing room; and
  3. Calling a notoriously well-known closet design company to come custom fit the rest.

Now, mind you: I grew up in a Pennsylvania trailer park. The closest we got to “custom fit” was the skirting that went around the exterior's edges. So to even be having a conversation about “gold and acrylic handles” and “shelving lighting” is positively ridiculous. Talk about imposter syndrome!

But it was one of the very first things I wanted to do in the Philly apartment I bought this spring: forget the kitchen, forget the bath, let's organize my panties, shall we? I need a clean and organized space in order to be my best self—an important priority when you've got a book coming out in FEBRUARY. (More on that later this week!)

So the girl comes. We nervous giggle and then walk back to the dressing room. (Which is really just a giant closet at the end of the hall—but “dressing room” is my new favorite word, so suck it.) Then she spends some time here at my new kitchen table, designing a closet on the computer, while I looked at cabinet finishes and pretended not to be STARVING. Turns out? I'm a basic bitch, so I liked white. Just clean old classic white. I told her to keep it simple—I didn't need gold trim or even the backs of the closets, since I wanted the wallpaper to pop through.


And then, as we sat here sipping coffee, she gave me the quote: $13,413.


I went into shock and my eye started twitching and I'm pretty sure my armpits leaked some of their juice.

“Cool, cool, cool,” I said. “So this includes Justin Timberlake coming over to install?”

We got the price down to $10,790—a real fucking bargain—and then she left and we said we'd be in touch. But me, on the other hand? I was like: OUT. I mean, come on: I could remodel the bathroom for that, or buy one of Khaleesi's dragons.

So here's where things get interesting: THE FOLLOW UP EMAIL.

“What do you think? Ready to move forward?”

And this is when it happened: the mistake I almost made. The mistake wasn't in buying an astronomically priced closet (I didn't), but rather, in the way I chose to decline.


My first thought: make an excuse. Blame my “husband.” Say he thought it was too much to spend, and that my hands were tied.


My second thought: tell her that something more pressing's come up—an unexpected cost that would mean we couldn't move forward at this time.


I really had to stop and examine my thought process, and why I wasn't just owning it, like anything else, and tell her the truth: that ~ I ~ thought it was too much money. That ~ I ~ didn't want to move forward. That this was ~ my ~ decision.

It's called personal agency, and usually I had tons of it. Why not that day?

I quickly realized why: because by taking responsibility over the decision, it would open the doors to try to hard sell me; to push more; to try and convince me to do something I didn't want to do. And I didn't want to deal with it. If I tell you “no” once, I expect that you'll respect it. Nothing gets me more riled up than someone who doesn't respect my “no.”

But also? “No” means “bitch.” It means “diva.” It means “difficult.” It means feeling guilty for being discriminating. So placing the blame on an external force seemed desirable at first. Look, my hands are tied, I'm just this weak little lady who has no say in her life or her finances, and my husband decides everything for me. As if I were just an accessory to someone else's life.




Yuck, yuck, yuck!

When that thought crossed my mind, I literally almost vomited. And so, uncomfortable as I might have been, I decided to write the consultant back and say this, instead:

“While I love your design, I've decided that spending $10K on a closet is not a responsible choice. If you can halve that, let me know.”

Because I am in charge. And I am in charge of my own opinions. And I am in charge of how much money I'd like to spend—whether I have it or not.

But sometimes, we need to be reminded that power is not a bad thing, as long as you remember how to use it.

Oct 21


The Greatest Form of Suffering of All: Inaction

Oct 21, 2010

Once upon a time, I was feeling stuck. If my suspicions are correct, many of you reading this might feel the same way right now. You can’t get motivated. You aren’t excited about anything. You’re tired all of the time. Lifeless. Indifferent. Apathetic. You’ve stopped caring—about yourself, about your goals, about the things you used […]

In: Finding Your Voice


Feb 14


24 Ways to Love Yourself Fiercely + Bravely—Even When You’re Feeling Like a Heaping Hot Mess

Feb 14, 2018

Loving yourself means: The courage to reject their opinion. A kind, but firm: “This is what I want.” Remembering to be a mother to yourself, every single day. Asking more questions: What do I really crave? Does this make sense for me, personally? Does this feel heavy or light (or fucking dreadful?). Asking fewer questions: […]

In: Finding Your Voice


Aug 12


A Note of Support for All My Dreamers Getting Their Ideas Pooh-Poohed By Their Family, Their Friends, Their Spouses, and Their Neighbors (Fucking Neighbors, Am I Right?)

Aug 12, 2017

In the year 2010, friends would call and say: “So, how’s your blooooooooggggggg?” The tone was obvious: How’s your cute little imaginary friend that you think is going to save you from the real world that the rest of us have to suffer through? The year 2011, I made $103,000 with that blog—a far cry […]

In: Finding Your Voice


Sep 1


The World’s Funniest Fucking Soaps, Uh, Ever

Sep 1, 2017

You should know that I have officially discovered THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER BEEN MADE (after Cards Against Humanity, of course) and I had to share with you because I don’t keep anything from you (except for that one thing) and because we could all use some inspiration and also because CAN WE JUST LIGHTEN […]

In: Finding Your Voice


Jan 14


Sometimes in Business, You Need to Do YOU.

Jan 14, 2016

The dead horse of the decade is the target customer. You’re asked to create personas. Put yourself in their shoes bras. Get inside their head. Imagine what’s keeping them up at 3 o’clock in the morning. (For the record, it’s that their ass is getting fat and they totally forgot to make cookies for their […]

In: Finding Your Voice


Apr 18


Growth Requires Muscle Tears

Apr 18, 2017

Yesterday I talked about change—and it’s no coincidence. I’m making some big changes myself, given that a lot of things are coming to an end, right now. Because iteration is what we’re all doing, every single day, even if it blows by us going 100mph down the freeway. (In a red Ferrari, smoking a cigar, […]

In: Finding Your Voice


Oct 22


Your Opinion About Yourself Doesn’t Matter

Oct 22, 2016

Real talk: I think you’re a liar. A very, very convenient liar. I can call you that because we’re all in the same club. Because the thing is, when you’re out there doing creative work, and new work, and work that has no manager, no support team, no pat on the back, there are days when […]

In: Finding Your Voice


Apr 5


Fuck Plan B. You’re on the A Team.

Apr 5, 2012

His name is Oskar. He’s Rastafarian. I met him when I first came to Costa Rica in 2004 and watched him trying to sell his paintings day after day on the beach, sweating, struggling to speak English to the tourists who passed by, working from dusk until the wee hours of the night to make […]

In: Finding Your Voice


Jan 25


Right Now, Someone Out There is Admiring You, Greatly.

Jan 25, 2018

They might not have said it. In fact, they probably kept it to themselves—“don’t want to seem like a creepy ass stalker.” But no matter who you are, you have changed things for someone. You have made them rethink their career. Rethink their stance. Rethink their makeup. (Because, hey, Urban Decay is a religion.) You […]

In: Finding Your Voice


Jun 11


When You Feel Worthy of Being Seen…It Shows

Jun 11, 2016

  Let me tell you what: American women may have Victoria’s Secret, but Italian women have another secret altogether. You know it by the way she holds her head a little higher than yours, eyes on fire, gliding down the god damn sidewalk as if her and Mother Nature were tag teaming. It is not just […]

In: Finding Your Voice


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.

Enter your email address and I’ll send you my advice column every week sharing everything I’ve learned—and so much more.

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

Privacy Policy Info Here