It may seem like such a simple post, but it speaks volumes to the way society thinks people should be, to the way we judge or accept people in an instant. But to me it also speaks volumes as to how people to often hold themselves back, worry to much about the way others think about them.
Ashley and I connected over our love of reading and story telling, but our blossoming friendship - even if it is online as we live so far apart - grows, we continue to connect on a deeper level. As two people with significant and profound emotions, similar struggles in life, and so much more. We support each other, the encourage each other, and we accept each other.
Ashley makes me see the beauty in simple things, the enjoyment life can give. She's an old soul, with a huge heart, she's companionate, driven, and has the unmistakable ability to accept and love everything life has to offer, at face value, for exactly what it is.
As she faces her life, struggles, obstacles, and changes head on without a hint of regret. She inspires others, she inspires me. Because of who she is, the unconditional support she can offer, I learn through her.
I've learned to accept who I am freely, without questioning myself. I've learned to love the changes I see in myself. I've learned to accept the overwhelming emotions I often feel. I've learned to accept and face challenges that come to me head on, with determination to see me through. I've learned to trust in myself and my decisions.
And most importantly I've learned that making mistakes is ok, loving quickly and deeply and passionately is ok, having moments of weakness is ok, and being free to be myself, whoever that may be, is ok.
I've learned to stop caring what others think about me, to ignore others negativity and scrutiny. To be happy with the person that I am now, and always be open to the person that I could become in the future. She accepts herself, as she grows. She doesn't apologize for being her. And because of her, I've come to the conclusion that neither will I anymore.
I do not apologize for the way I feel about myself, my life, or others. I do not apologize for my opinions or thoughts. I do not apologize for my language being a little more colorful than others might find acceptable. I do not apologize for liking what I like, and hating what I hate. I do not apologize for the things I do in my life, that should really be no one else's business anyway. I do not apologize for being blunt, and sometimes brutally honest.
I don't profess to be someone who is holier than thou, nor do I pretend to be someone I am not. I am the way I am, and I am happy being me. If you like it, and me, the cool. If you don't, then cool. But I do not apologize for being me.
Ashley isn't really on some grandiose mission to change people or the world. She is just a women who is willing to share her thoughts, her life, her stories, and her feelings with others. And if she happens to reach someone on a deeper level, to help them want to be a better them, then that's a bonus for her.
Honestly, through her words, her friendship, her support, her love, and her blog she has certainly helped me to accept the changes that have developed in me over the last few years.