May 11, 2014

Three years ago, I made a decision that forever changed me and how I see the world.

After graduating with my degree in English, I thought I’d haphazardly tumble into a nine to five and make that my career. Job after job, different field after different field, I realized this would be tougher than I expected. I not only grew tired/bored of each profession after six months, I was despondent.

The thing about a calling; it is a whisper until you start walking in it.

And while I didn’t know it at the time, all these jobs led me on a journey of experiences and ultimately, to a serendipitous conversation making way to my entrance on stage. One of my former coworkers informed me of an open mic spot here in Fayetteville, NC and I knew I had to be there. Jitters aside, the calling started to reverberate in my ears. Tremble in my fingers. Ooze out my pores. I needed THIS.

Writing has always been my safe haven. A place where I go to heal, vent, create, break, repair, reflect, challenge myself/views, and do it all again. I’d convinced myself it was just a form of therapy.

Going on stage that day, the axis of my life literally shifted and everything started to make sense. All these relationships/connections I’d made and sustained long after handing in my resignation meant something bigger. I was born to speak for those who wouldn’t. I was created to take risks to set pavement for others. I was fashioned into a writer to help, heal, confront, dispel, inspire, and encourage others to soar into their purpose.

I have a story that I share. I have a message that needs to be heard. And though I struggle with the behind the scenes aspect, nothing is more freeing than writing and being on stage. I am living proof dreams are not meant to only be experienced through the subconscious. We’ve become too comfortable with mediocrity because the risks are minimal. We say we aren’t a failure if we never really gave it our all. There’s something worse than failing; it’s not trying at all. Relinquishing your right to a true state of nirvana on Earth because of fear. Fear is not real. It’s the distraction we allow to excuse us from living up to our fullest capabilities.

I write to free myself. I perform to free others.

A daily mantra I recite. I’ve committed to bettering myself over the last few years; growing in my writing, taking continual risks, reading, researching, and giving myself permission to make mistakes. The thing about being a writer and being a woman is I want it all to come together without struggle. To reach this pinnacle of perfection. I’m learning it comes together through the obstacles. Through the sleepless nights. Through the slip ups.

On stage, I am the most me yet the least me at the same time. An oxymoronic truth I’ve folded myself into. Perfection will always be the thing I strive for which in turn becomes my demise. I am learning people are looking for a connection. To feel they aren’t alone through my words, experiences, and continuous journey. And while professionalism is a must, it is not the end of the world should I stutter through a performance. Should I stammer in my delivery. Should I cry/fall apart. I am the vessel who’s been chosen to fill others through my transparency.

When your heart is in your art, the masterpiece is undeniable.

Today, I’ve touched more stages while learning with my supporters. I no longer scrutinize every single detail taking away from my personality/presence. Art is not meant to be confined nor restricted.  I bask in the moment, embrace the energy given to me, and reciprocate. No longer will I see each event as a performance, it is an experience which will be life altering for all involved, including myself.

Here’s where you, my reader come in. Look at all that you are. Think about that hobby you can’t live without. That thing you do in your spare time. The thing you treat as an afterthought. Pursue it. I understand and wholeheartedly agree you cannot just quit your job or abandon responsibilities. But you cannot abandon your purpose either. Make room for it, let it blossom, and multiply so you can do what makes you feel alive, full-time.

If you haven’t already, please check out my performances, here.

12 thoughts on “Realization”

  1. This was amazing Ashlee! You really do have a gift and I’m glad that you are truly happy and doing what you love!

  2. Awesome words! I love the part about fear not being real…… You’re an awesome young lady! 💟 💟 💟

  3. Really like the part of the realization of what you went through as experiences to a bigger path. It’s easy to see one thing (job or career) as an end and the only way to true satisfaction and force it to work when you know for a fact deep within it’s just not working. Taking strategic risks and embracing the fear of the unknown and new situations is scary, but it allows you to see your true strength and who you are and it really helps you reflect on what you can do for yourself and others. Thanks for the wonderfully written reflection.

  4. It is important we pursue our dreams. Easier said than done but you are encouraging and motivating others while changing the world. Your voice is needed.

    Blessings on the continued path of excellence!

  5. Another gem written by a very talented and driven poet and writer. You are an inspiration to many people and you not only ask people to walk into their purpose, you push them to find their purpose and help others find their purpose also. Thank you for your continued encouragement!

  6. Awww, I’m glad you came to that realization. I am soooo proud of where you are going with this! It is all about embracing the energy, positive or negative, and allowing it to flow through you and make you transparent. It is definitely an experience watching you on stage. You’re one of the best versions of yourself up there, and you have a knack for connecting to people of all ages. It was a priceless experience

  7. I super duper love my friend! Every time I encounter any part of life that has a part of you in it I feel blessed!! Thank you 💯😘

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *