ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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You cannot be a sane person all the time. But you *do* get to choose where you spend your sanity.

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life

You know what’s a real mind fuck?
The whole “getting taken seriously” thing.

Let’s be honest: How much do you just wish you could just hammer down some Doritos and blog about your mother-in-law? Or talk about the fact that, yes, you definitely swore under your breath at tourists last night, who, in their “Pura Vida Costa Rica!” childlike optimism, declared that the city-wide blackout—the one that happened RIGHT BEFORE YOU WERE ABOUT TO MAKE CHICKEN QUESADILLAS—was “charming.”

Charming?

Did you say…charming?

BECAUSE I AM NOT EATING MELTY HOT CHEESE RIGHT NOW AND NOTHING ABOUT THAT IS CUTE.

You thought pregnant women were scary? Try being anywhere within a 50 foot radius of me when the power goes out.

I know, I know. Some of you are desperately wishing I’d just try yoga, already. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GET THIS GIRL SOME YOGA. But the thing is, it’s different when you’re on vacation and the power goes out and you’re all like, “cuteeeee, let’s sing kumbayah,” versus when you’re on the verge of a deadline and the only thing you can do is sit there in the dark sweating. And by sweating I mean actual sweating, because the A/C is off, and the fans don’t work, and by the way, neither does the internet OR the water. Because, water pumps, you guys. Which basically means that at all times, you MUST have giant missiles of water jugs lined up like rolling pins underneath the bed in the guest room, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s not that humans need water:

It’s that toilets do.

Ahem.

You know, it’s really not that bad. I probably just needed to write about it in a blog post or something. Because see this thing? This is called a blog post. And when I first started blogging, way back in the 1900’s (okay fine, it was 2009), this is how I used to write all the time. You know, like me.

But then a year ago or three, it happened, Darla.

IT HAPPENED.

I started taking myself too seriously.

I never, ever thought I’d do such a thing. Really, taking yourself too seriously is a catastrophic affliction. It’s known to cause headaches, nausea, stick-up-butt writing syndrome, and the inability to horse laugh in public. (A trait I hold near and dear.) But the fact was, as I grew my business, my presence, my platform, my reach, more and more “serious” opportunities (as well as threats) started presenting themselves. And the more serious they got, the more serious I felt like I needed to be, in order to “be taken seriously” in return.

And holy mother of mayhem, hadn't you felt it in my writing? I bet you had. (Especially those of you who’ve been with me since the 1900’s—wink.) But, fortunately, as it turns out, everything is temporary—except for who you are.

And the person that I am has learned so much behind the scenes. And one of the most annoying lessons I learned was this:

More progress, more pickles.

Or, in the notorious words of Biggie: “Mo money, mo problems.”

Or, in the not-so-notorious words of my brain: SUCCESS HAS A SUCKY SIDE, TOO.

Which is obviously shocking because once upon at time I assumed, like most squatty girls from Pennsylvania, that once you become “successful” (should we be capitalizing this, like God?) all your troubles melt away like makeup and everything is smooth sailing—to use my least favorite cliché—and then it all pays off as you play pinochle by the fire before riding your horse into the sunrise, nibbling on one of those fucking little Happy Cow cheeses.

First of all, you can’t even find Happy Cow cheeses in Costa Rica. Or maybe that’s a lie, I’m not entirely sure, but wouldn’t you rather a nice hunk of grana padano anyway? Especially if you’re on a horse. Little awkward when Happy Cow goes happy squish in your pocket.

And second, success often works, to my displeasure, like Parkinson’s Law, except instead of the work expanding to fill the time available, the complications expand to fill the available sanity.

Someone recently asked me if I thought they should grow their business, and I was like: I don’t know, HOW MUCH FREE SANITY YOU GOT? Because it will, inevitably, get eaten up by new sets of problems that you never had before. And I guess that’s really the question, isn’t it?

Not whether you should grow your business, but whether you’re willing to invest your sanity on it.

For me, I am. I love what I do. I love writing my brains out every day, creating books and digital experiences with words, and coaching my Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends (and hosting top secret meet-ups for them, like the one we’re having this weekend in a mansion villa overlooking the ocean)—even with all the complications included.

I choose to spend my sanity here.

But sanity, like patience, wears thin, too. You cannot be a sane person always. You just can’t. By the end of the day, the sanity becomes threadbare. It’s just a natural part of the real-woman hustle.

So then one day you might find your writing voice accidentally getting bombarded by a barrage of success pickles. (New phrase.) Or maybe you’ll find yourself muttering obscenities at tourists when the power goes out, at which point they’re all like, “Crazy B,” and you're all like, “DO YOU EVEN HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH WITH THIS?” Which of course they don’t, because most people use the internet for things like sending passive aggressive emojis. (Best friend cancel your plans? Thumbs up emoji. Somebody let you down? Thumbs up emoji. Gotta work late? Thumbs up emoji!)

The thing is, running a business is hard enough—especially when you start to notice new ripples of cellulite draping down the back of your thigh. There’s no greater slap in the face—ass?—than Macbook-induced cellulite. I’m pretty sure that the universe should really consider this for their rewards program. You do good work, ALL CELLULITE GETS ERASED. Can you imagine how many entrepreneurs we’d have then?

You’ve got to choose where you invest your sanity, because you cannot be a sane person all of the time, and that’s actually okay. Because complications will always arise—and more likely than not, they’ll start showing up in all new ways. Ways you weren’t expecting. Ways that may change the shape of how you show up…at least, for a little while.

But soon you’ll remember that the very traits you were self-doubting? Are the same ones that got you where you are. And betraying them wouldn’t just be a betrayal—

—it would be a beheading.

Because as it turns out, everything is temporary.

But the one thing that is here to stay?

Is you.

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Listen: Do What You Crave Without the Guilt. Travel to Italy. Enroll in That Workshop. Make Your Art Every Afternoon. And Hurl Yourself Into the Unknown—For This Is The Best ROI That Money Can Buy.

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My almost-mother-in-law gets really fucking nervous when I travel—especially when I bomb off to South America for a month by myself to drink ALL THE WINE and celebrate ALL THE BOOK DEALS. But she doesn’t get worried in the typical way a mother might; not the way my own mother would have been worried, which would […]

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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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