ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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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.

My third thought: STOP BEING SUCH A GUTLESS CANDY-ASS.

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, 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.

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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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