Shaking off the funk: Ashley we are not a princess

I’ve concluded that the Vtine (theBpum as you know me) is a spoiled, fortunate, truly privileged young whiner!  Yes, it is true, I am one of those people who is so blessed, so favored, that when things don’t go exactly my way I crumble.  “That sounds completely insane right”, I ask with my legs crossed as I sit at my comfy kitchen table.  Drinking my $1.06 Arabian bean, partially burnt (I swear) Mcdonald’s coffee, complemented with six teaspoons of sugar and three Coffee Mate original creamers.   

Being favored and loved deeply is a blessing and a curse!  It has created a little Frankenstein and the more I am favored, the more the little monster inside me feeds and grows bigger (clearly Halloween is still on the brain). […]

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I’ve concluded that the Vtine (theBpum as you know me) is a spoiled, fortunate, truly privileged young whiner!  Yes, it is true, I am one of those people who is so blessed, so favored, that when things don’t go exactly my way I crumble.  “That sounds completely insane right?”, I ask with my legs crossed as I sit at my comfy kitchen table.  Drinking my $1.06 Arabian bean, partially burnt (I swear) McDonald’s coffee, complemented with six teaspoons of sugar and three Coffee Mate original creamers.   

Being favored and loved deeply is a blessing and a curse!  It has created a little Frankenstein and the more I am favored, the more the little monster inside me feeds and grows bigger (clearly Halloween is still on the brain).

From the time I was a child, I recall being adored.  First by my parents and family members, then by my incredible church family, and later by those whom I encountered who rooted for my success.  I have been blessed with so many opportunities.  Opportunities that I did not always deserve, but others saw otherwise-millennials are crybaby “give me this, give me that, where’s my trophy” beasts because society has made us this way!

I’ve become so used to doors opening and people yelling from the frames, “come this way” as I’ve stood clueless looking up at the sky, counting the clouds and looking for marshmallow-shaped figurines to glide by in glee, from the hall leading to the door, where the person stood with a bullhorn and neon sign, waving for me to enter and receive.

I am uber blessed you guys.  I have a boyfriend I almost don’t deserve (because he is just that awesome), a family that adores me, a grandmother who is wise and my number one cheerleader, an uncle who loves me like a daughter, a cousin who is an amazing example of what it means to be selfless, while navigating how to also nurture her own dreams and aspirations, siblings who look up to me and appreciate all the things I accomplish while supporting my goals and ambitions, an expansive slew of relatives who are successful entrepreneurs, a flock of Milwaukee leaders who are truly my friends, and still I manage to find a corner to sit in and complain about having to put in the work to be a BAOS (translation: a boss, not just any boss but a woman who is recognized for her great work ethic).  Yes, I want the crown and the glory, but I just want it to fall into my lap and fit my head perfectly, frame my face well and accentuate the golden undertones of my brown skin.  “The nerve,” you think, as you shake your head and roll your eyes at me.  But boy, in this world of instant gratification, THE DEVIL THAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA, and the “participation certificate” I have been groomed to want it all simply because… I desire it.

I woke up today thinking, “Ashley, damn, black people do really get sunburn (my forehead is peeling from an amazing 6 day birthday trip to Key West, FL).  What am I going to eat for breakfast?  Don’t check Instagram, don’t check Instagram-5 minutes later I was on it for AN HOUR!  Are you really 100% committed to this tutoring thing?  Did you honestly think it was going to be easy-to be completely honest, yes I did (puffing out my chest).  Now that you see that it isn’t, what are you going to do?  How can you create a market?  Do you really want to work a job?  Are you going to get to said “job” and start acting entitled and like you don’t want to be there?-No, I don’t want to work a job.  Yes I am going to act like I have a sea salt covered saltine on my shoulder because I’m not using every ounce of my energy to grow my own dreams.  Are you in a position to continue building without making a consistent, livable wage income? (Long hard reflection).  No. Ash, we aren’t in a position to continue at this rate and maintain.  What chu gon’ do Ash?  1. Get off of Instragram-I am honestly considering a hiatus from social media because I am not controlling it, it is taking over (I am melting, melting).  But really, I am not getting depressed and jealous as I did in the past, it is just a trap and I feel pressure to keep up with maintaining it and growing a following.  It doesn’t feel healthy and contributes to my decline in happy hormones 2. Get out of the bed 3. Take a bath 4. Go get coffee 5. Blog 6. Find that Beyoncé Album, turn it on, REPEAT, crank up the volume, all your neighbors are AT WORK, MAKING MONEY (sad face-mentally slapping myself out of it) 6. Make another set of flyers 7. Call Digicopy, get them printed 8. Go to the coffee shop, ask to post it 9. Follow-up with potential customers-crap my forehead looks worse now that I’ve washed my face 10. HOMEWORK!  11. Keep reflecting on how blessed you are 12. Find a meditation or yoga class-I need intrinsic motivation.  I keep relying on other things or activities to motivate me and this could be why I dip between happy and “the world is crumbling around me”.

It is so easy to get down about things not going according to plan.  Worrying about money will put you at the lowest of lows and you start to lose focus (at least I do).  I can’t produce good work, stay true to my product and the brand I am building, or even appear content if I’m worried about a bill.  But if I don’t work this dream until the wheels fall off, I won’t be able to make money.  We all have highs and lows, but I was sitting at a low and setting up furniture in a space of funk.  I can’t be succumb to  feelings of worry and doubt.  I must continue to WORK for what I want because contrary to what I have internalized, I am not owed favor.  

Good morning!

I’m back and I’m better

Remember how I was pouting, and wishing it was time to come back home while I was in the home stretch of living in Guatemala?  
Well I dunno why-I’m kidding.  
I am happy to be back home.  I am still high on thoughts of living out a full, rich, and abundant life
my dream of being an entrepreneur

I have been slacking in terms of blogging (and lots of other things) as of late.  

I’ve missed you guys!!

If you’ve missed the news,

I’m back in the US

Remember how I was pouting, and wishing it was time to come back home while I was in the home stretch of living in Guatemala?

Oh wait, I wasn’t blogging about it, I was just sharing it with my lifesaving-uncle-to-the-rescue and laugh-at-your-pain-hun-bunz 

Well I dunno why-I’m kidding.  

I am happy to be back home.  I am still high on thoughts of living out a full, rich, and abundant life

my dream of being an entrepreneur

and the desire to learn, grow, blossom and see the world.

In a previous blog post, I wrote of how I have these grandiose ideas of themes to blog on, content to build, stories to share.  All this awesomeness keeping me awake at night as my brain goes into overdrive conjuring up a master plan.  For me to awaken feeling overwhelmed and produce…nothing.  

I am my own worst enemy in terms of productivity.  

I can quickly consume my mind with feelings of self doubt.

I persuade myself that tasks are daunting and out of reach.  

All of the glitter and confetti that’s housed in the “dreamy and artistic” lobe of my brain which makes guest appearances at night

settles when I wake

Is swept up and collected in a Ziploc bag as the sun rises

my memory erased by the Men in Black that live in the “logical” part of my brain.  

Until nightfall when the awesomeness busts out of the Ziploc vacuum seal, taking freedom of the red and blue stripes separated, only to marry each other, Mr. & Mrs. Purple

taking over again by morning.  

I do hella procrastinating (translation: I do lots of procrastinating) and it only makes me hide and avoid being awesome.  Come through glitter!

To challenge myself to secrete awesome-sauce I am pledging to a 30 day blog streak-big gulp, smh. I know, “how are you going to give yourself a challenge, and you are challenged with follow through?”  I haven’t quite figured out the logistics, but if I speak it into the universe, I’ll burp glitter.  

I have done tons of cool things since returning!  I can’t tell you anything about any of my adventures because I fear that I won’t have content for the next 30 days.  You know what, let’s go all out, beast mode.  I, Ashley awesome-sauce Valentine am going to blog EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY UNTIL OCT 31!  BAM-BOOM, drops mic-and picks it back up because I’m not finished yet.

Clears throat.  

I will share what I’ve been up to since returning home to no job, a bank account set on auto-pay with no incoming direct deposits, a hefty list of people I need to reach out to since cracking my shell allowing the social butterfly I wish I was to peek her head, and a business waiting for me to water and allow it to flourish. Oh how I miss swiveling around in an office chair doing none of my assigned tasks and receiving a full paycheck for making sure said chair was not a hazard and held up to his factory warranty terms.  Life is real for this dreamer turned entrepreneur-as I fall out on the cool, roasted almond-colored hardwood floor in my cluttered living room.  My glitter powers don’t like cleaning up (it’s glitter, glitter is messy)

Until tomorrow!

#TheBpumReturns

Places the mic gently back into the stand and exits stage left

And today, I visited a small, local printing company

Today my work led to me traveling a bit, here in Coban with my boss.  I enjoy these moments because I get to explore parts of Coban that I wouldn’t alone.  Whenever my boss is here, I notice places and things I overlook when I’m alone.  I can let my guard down slightly. Take in my surroundings, instead of walking around more paranoid than I would like to admit. We made a few stops as we entered and exited the 10 passenger shuttle that became overtaken with supplies for the hotel.  Our last stop for the day, a small printing company. […]

Today my work led to me traveling a bit, here in Coban with my boss.  I enjoy these moments because I get to explore parts of Coban that I wouldn’t alone.  Whenever my boss is here, I notice places and things I overlook when I’m alone.  I can let my guard down slightly. Take in my surroundings, instead of walking around more paranoid than I would like to admit. We made a few stops as we entered and exited the 10 passenger shuttle that became overtaken with supplies for the hotel.  Our last stop for the day, a small printing company.
I’ll share, initially I wasn’t impressed with the idea of helping or working there for a few hours.  Let me backtrack and clarify.  I do a small amount of graphic design and needed to collaborate with the printing company to print a few tasks that I had been working on for what felt like forever!
I initially was excited because I got to see my little projects come to life but quickly overwhelmed when I was making last-minute revisions on a rigged keyboard.  I kid you not, none of the special characters were where they were supposed to be.  While the keys were in their respective locations, the functions were all screwed up.  What should’ve taken a few minutes took three hours as I strategically pressed each key while holding down the shift key with my pinky to figure out where each function was hiding-the worst game of “hide & seek” ever.
Even with my glasses on, I squinted at both the screen and keyboard as I hit the
question mark key for underscores,
the plus sign key for a parenthesis
the backspace button for enter
and several other unimaginable combinations.
It was like I was at one of those fancy coke machines and hit strawberry lemonade for water, Sprite for Coke, and Mello-Yellow for french vanilla cappuccino-don’t you wish they had a button for that?
I exercised the super-human patience that I bottle up and save for children, and made it through.
As I found myself growing frustrated and irritated at the tedious task, I paused and took in my surrounding.  I was literally sitting in the production area of a printing company watching a staff of both men and women create booklets, packets, textbooks, wedding cards and invitations by hand.  While they do the printing using commercial equipment; the binding, cutting of the paper, attaching of ribbon, glitter, glitz and personalized touches are all done tediously one-by-one.  By hand.
I watched a gentlemen sitting next to me carefully measure with a metal ruler where to cut the cover, apply the adhesive and attach the cover to the rest of the booklet.  I watched an abuelita measure and cut 500 ribbons to then tie delicately to tiny addressed cards that were cut individually by hand.

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I watched a younger woman hot glue those ribbons to the fronts of 200 cards.  I watched in awe as another women carefully drew a wavy line on each invite where the design was then cut out with a sharpened scissor, one card at a time.

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I couldn’t stop thinking about how shaky my hand would be.  The line originally planned to have a slight wave would be an unattractive zig-zag of some sort.
My whining and hair rubbing stopped.
I am always in awe when watching Guatemalan people work.  I never hear them complain, ask for their break, sigh, mumble under their breath or sit with a calculator, furiously calculating how much they make a day and contemplating if they can replace that income doing something else-I know I’m not the only person who does this!
When I finally finished adding the finishing touches to my designs, I walked over to one of the large industrial sized machines (I have no clue what it’s function was, I was just excited to be close enough to touch it).  I touched and carefully examined various paper textures to determine which would be best with the assistance of a staff member.  To see the amount of pride they took is showing me each pattern, texture, thickness and explain each slight variation I was impressed, beaming with excitement.
I couldn’t stop looking around, watching everyone creating amazing product all by hand.  I have grown accustom to going to Kinko’s or Digicopy watching lazy college kids hit print.  This was the real deal and I was standing next to the most amazing machines that did who-knows-what!
I paged through some of the work they’d completed for other clients and the precision to detail was amazing.  I couldn’t get over the fact that each binding was glued BY HAND!  Each staple, manually added.  Each fold, cut, crease done with care and special attention given to each detail.
It made me reflect on all the sloppy, shlopped together (translation: pulled together with no attention to it’s content-submitted for the sake of submission) work I had done over the years.  Each thrown together college paper, every copy and pasted file I submitted, every homework assignment from my youth crinkled up with smeared ink stains from where my mother made me cry as she “helped me” do my homework.
I vowed then to never turn in sloppy final products again and to take more pride in the tasks I complete.
You would think the products they sold were expensive, they are very reasonable.

I asked them if they considered buying more commercial products so they could be more efficient.  They laughed, told me they were efficient.  That it’s easier to do everything by hand to ensure everything is it’s best.  Doing everything by hand ensures that they have no customer complaints about quality and they keep long-term customers who consistently return.  Everyone agreed that they would rather have long-term loyal customers than to be fast and sloppy.

Makes sense to me!
I left, beaming. Happy that I could share the afternoon with them, talk to local business owners, watch them work skillfully and send me off wiser than I was when I entered.
Next time!
#SheJumped and vows to never give someone else a half-assed representation of my awesomeness

OH HAPPY DAY

As I wake up and start my normal “routine” (read my last post if you want to know what this fascinating process is like) I can’t help but to stop smiling because shawty is happy (translation: Ashley Valentine feels happy and is in a happy place).  Prior to departing the US in mid June I shared with my therapist how happy I was at that time, and how I was nervous that the gleeful spirit I housed would dwindle. I was overcome with thoughts that I could be back in my self-fed and created sunken place.  It’s been more than 2 months and although I do have bad days; everything doesn’t always go my way and of course I get lonely; I am overall still happy. […]

HAPPY SUNDAY (red confetti falls from the sky-oh and balloons.  Lots and lots of balloons)!

As I wake up and start my normal “routine” (read my last post if you want to know what this fascinating process is like) I can’t help but to stop smiling because shawty is happy (translation: Ashley Valentine feels happy and is in a happy place).  Prior to departing the US in mid June I shared with my therapist how happy I was at that time, and how I was nervous that the gleeful spirit I housed would dwindle. I was overcome with thoughts that I could be back in my self-fed and created sunken place.  It’s been more than 2 months and although I do have bad days; everything doesn’t always go my way and of course I get lonely; I am overall still happy.

When I have moments where I feel down, I concentrate on all the positives.
I am traveling the country of Guatemala, planning a business, closing deals that guarantee income streams when I return home, living abroad, experiencing new opportunities, making money, eating well, going to the gym, managing this stubborn adult acne, sleeping in a bed where I feel safe and making my own decisions.  I can say that I am in a much better position than I was in 5-6 months ago.  Then, I fixated on all that was wrong with my life and why it wasn’t as awesome as the lives you get momentary glimpses into on Instagram or during brief face-to-face encounters.

When loneliness comes over me, I try to sit with it, then let it pass.  Loneliness is a normal emotion to feel.  Rather than quickly jumping on the phone to call someone and feed my need for attention, I process exactly what is happening that makes me feel that way.  I have honestly never enjoyed spending time alone.  When alone I have been quick to call someone.  This has resulted in me spending hours talking about nothing (other people and their problems).  Or resorted in me occupying my time with people just so I wouldn’t have to spend it alone.  That led to tons of asinine decisions that I won’t get specific about and moments I can’t take back all because I was “lonely”.  Loneliness for me equates to idle time.  Idle time is generally spent making decisions off the cusp that aren’t thought out & have adverse effects.

I’ve began spending my lonely moments getting to know myself and being uncomfortable (I say uncomfortable because that’s exactly how it feels).  One lesson I have learned is that I have to be okay feeling uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable is where I think my best when doing true self-reflection.  Aside from reflecting, I try to find ways to occupy my time alone.  No, this time isn’t always spent productively (I don’t always write, or read a book, or plan out my goals, or watch a Netflix documentary on why I should be a vegan, pluck the hairs that meet in the middle to create my unibrow, or strategize how to become a baws- that’s my attempt to say “boss” like Rick Ross), but the feeling of loneliness subsides.  I’m never in a constant state of feeling alone because I know that regardless of the hour, I can hop on the phone and call someone to entertain me, laugh me out of crying, and comfort me.  I can also pray because that always leads to be falling asleep somewhere in the middle of the prayer and who can feel lonely in their sleep?

I’ve grown wise enough to not waste my valuable time talking about others.  I have this theory that when people run out of productive things to say, or have finished talking about what they have going on in their life, dead air’s filled with negativity because you have nothing else worth saying but insist on still talking.  How can you truly be happy, if you are speaking ill of others?  Maybe someone else can, I wasn’t.  The energy I used to try to crush someone else was dampening my ability to shine.  What I thought made me funny and witty was indeed a character flaw that needed checkin’.  How foolish to sit around being jealous of people, sharing this bitter jealousy with others then sitting in the same space as the person who I had thought enough about to discuss in private and smile in their face all while soaking up even more fuel for my jealous fire (shaking my head at the thought of my own ways- tisk tisk Valentine).  If you’re walking around talking badly about people, just stop.  You’re like a balloon filled with flatulence releasing that toxic gas into the atmosphere.  You stink!  Really, just stink!  Figure out what it is about that person you

1. secretly desire, or

2. dislike to much that drives you to speak openly about it openly.

If it’s something you want, stop talking about them and use that time and same ehnagee (translation: energy in my Brooklyn accent, because I like the way they pronounce energy with such power) to work towards the things you want.  If it’s because you dislike something they’re doing consider just making a mental note and avoid making the same “mistake” if that’s what you see it as.

While on the phone with friends, babe-a-licious, or family, when I run out of things to share and them out of stories to tell & updates to brief me on, I get off the phone.

Not eloquently either.

Rather abruptly I’ll say my go-to, “Okay, that’s all I have to say, I don’t have anything else to talk about.  Call you later”.  This prevents the gossip demon from submerging from it’s grave (it’s still kind of shallow, I’m working on throwing more dirt on it and packing it down well).  I no longer want to house that spirit within the soul that I am working on repairing and growing.  I’m going back to good-ole’ motto: “If you have nothing nice to say…” you know the rest.

Lately, every time I sit to write about my travels, food I’ve eaten and experiences I’ve had I always end up straying off topic and landing somewhere in the “Get Yo’ Life Together” section of the blogging world.

Mission update people on Guatemala failed!

But this journey has turned into one of self-work and self-reflection with sprinkles of googly-eyed tourist throughout.
I promise the next post will be ON TOPIC, I swear.
Until next time!

#SheJumped and is focused more on building, cleansing and growing, and less on walking around taking pictures of random stuff and telling you about it.  But I swear I’m going to get back to it because that’s why many of you come here.  Pinky Swear! Don’t unsubscribe yet!

Oh I’ve the perfect song this week too.  Enjoy

Sister Act 2-Oh Happy Day

Blessings Keep Falling in my Lap

This is my season!  
The stars are aligning
God looked at the calendar and decided it was my turn for some extra blessing dust
the homie tagged me in
the double-dutch-rope-turners have got the ropes turning steady I’ve hopped in and am bussin’ moves.  […]

nd

This is my season!
The stars are aligning
God looked at the calendar and decided it was my turn for some extra blessing dust
and the homie tagged me in
the double-dutch-rope-turners have got the ropes turning steady, I’ve hopped in and am bussin’ moves.
Clearly I am happy for each one of my amazing followers who don’t know me personally!
A quick recap…
I have continued to work for the hotel that I came here working for doing online marketing and promotion.  My job is to expand their customer base, increase their ratings and following online.  This is my first time doing this specific work but I think I have a niche for it and am successful at doing my job (hair flip).
I have moved to Coban (home of McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Subway) because I wanted to dwell in a big city and focus solely on the work that brought me here.

When one is focused, happy and given the tools to succeed, they perform at their highest potential.

Since moving, my role has expanded  as I  have produced a greater quantity of quality work, my boss (the handsome Israeli with the type of eyelashes that naked-eyelashed-women would pluck, hair by hair and pay for (virgin eyelash hair anyone?)) has given me greater responsibilities.
I have gone from passively managing the hotel’s online presence to aggressively seeking opportunities to further grow the hotel and dominating active existing site rankings.
I now live in an Airbnb (that’s a hotel marketed as an Airbnb).
Long story short, the owner of this Airbnb knew that I worked for a hotel in Lanquin doing online marketing and she is interested in me providing the same services for her, marketing her 2 hotels and cafe.

How did you land that?
I didn’t

I spent one afternoon talking to this beautiful, poised polite women as I gagged on papaya and chugged the finest of Guatemalan coffee to rid the horrid taste of meat tenderizer papaya from my traumatized tongue-I detest papaya but it was offered to me and I was trying to appear appreciative and polite.    She proceeded to tell me what she knew about me working in Guatemala.  I found it astounding that a woman who I had only spoke to once in passing knew why I was here and who I worked for-while I am 2 hours away from my employer.

Word travels fast when a brown girl with Chacos walks around for a while getting darker & darker with each passing day.
She asked me if I could help her grow an online presence and help her with marketing her businesses to tourists.  Before I could give her a definite answer, I was extended an offer to travel with her to visit her cafe and spend the evening at the farm hotel to see if it was something I would be interested in.
I haven’t given her any definite answer but to even be considered to help her build her brand is a blessing!

She said many companies have offered marketing and promotional services but she didn’t trust their intentions.
I am so grateful for growth.  I don’t have to convince people of my character and abilities.

People see

take note

and share with others.
She shared with me that people had told her how kind, polite and serious I am with my work.  I have had not a single conversation with anyone concerning the work I do.  I shared that with her as I contemplated the possibility of her cozying up to the wall that separated our living spaces with a cup, listening to my conversations.

She replied, “I am friends with the attorney of your boss who you met with.  I know the cab driver who you call when you want to go out.  I see you working diligently and free of distraction (she must not know what Facebook and Instagram look like).  I hear you conducting business calls.  You have a humble spirit.  I need you on my team”-who, me?  As I clutch my pearls and shake my head from side to side scanning the empty room-wait, she said I was humble; taking off the pearls and resting easy in my seat.
But God!
None of this is my own doing.  I say again, I am walking in my destiny and am favored!
I will soon be blogging (hopefully tomorrow) about my experience at the Finca (the farm/plantation) as a guest.

As you move throughout your community, your job, your day, remember that someone is watching.  Your character is being judged.  Plans are being made.  Put yourself in a position to be ready when someone is inviting you to be included with them.

I don’t know what will come from this and right now I don’t have to.  I’m doing what feels right while also thinking beyond my emotions to ensure my safety and well-being.
I’ll update you on this next chapter later!  I know the Finca has a pool so I plan to swim until my fingers and toes are pruned over (glaring over the rim of glasses.  Translation: shriveled and wrinkly, similar to the appearance of a prune, the fruit).
For now, a la finca!

And oh yeah moral of the story, eat papaya even if you feel like you are going to throw up in your mouth.

#SheJumped and is soaring

While you’re here, check out some of my other blog posts.  They’re equally awesome, I promise!

Enjoy: Chance the Rapper-Blessings

Monday Motivation

Today as I wasted a guilty amount of hours scrolling aimlessly between Instagram and Facebook watching pastry chefs cut through the center of cupcakes and fill them with sprinkles, popular clips from America’s Got Talent that moved me to tears, and enough weave installs to earn a cosmetology license; I realized that I am my biggest distraction […]

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Today as I wasted a guilty amount of hours scrolling aimlessly between Instagram and Facebook watching pastry chefs cut through the center of cupcakes and fill them with sprinkles, popular clips from America’s Got Talent that moved me to tears, and enough weave installs to earn a cosmetology license; I realized that I am my biggest distraction (as most of us are, but I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve accepted responsibility).
Yes, it is Sunday.  This day in dedication to Jesus, fun, bottomless mimosas, the Gods of brunch and laziness.  I’m being honest, so I’ll share that I have been Sundaying all week!  I’ve developed the poor habit of waking up, checking my social media AND upgraded to checking it… all day long!
But why Ashley, why?!?
It started as a giddy gesture.  I’ve been excited to watch people like, share and comment on my posts.  It’s intoxicating to see red hearts pop up on your Instagram notifications and alerts.  It’s captivating to watch the hypnotizing circle refresh to update my notifications on Facebook. Yes, I’m a phene for tracking my progress.
I’ve stooped to the level of a child, beaming as they prance on stage at the first dance recital.
Staring at their divorced parents who still make joint public appearances; making sure they witness every spin and shimmy.
Much like Stuart on MadTV, “look at me, look at me” with glee
What started as a simple moment of excitement has turned into a pattern of wasting time!
I went from refreshing every few hours
to refreshing every 30 minutes
to staying engaged with social media and watching those obsessive short clips between refreshing
to only watching the damned clips and not even posting so the need to refresh vanished
I know, I did upload 3-4 days ago
I personally feel that I am wasting my own time and the kid (yes, I’m referring to myself) feels pretty guilty.  I think there certainly are levels to time-wasting.  I’m on the low-end of the spectrum, setting off few radars. But can see how this can evolve into wasted weeks, months, and then I’m 35. Sitting in my living room, laughing at Instagram clips and corroding.  Talking about the things I wish I would’ve done when I’d positioned myself to.
Am I being drastic?
Certainly
Drastic is what is going to keep Ashley Valentine from being a bum.
Not a bum as in the derogatory term used to demean a person living without a permanent address.
A bum: A person with potential but no discipline.  A professional in the career of a lip service provider.
Discipline is what’s going to take me from being a woman who quit her job with a dream, to a woman who left a position that was preventing her from doing the amazing things she’s done.
After a week of passively living up to my own expectations, I walk into Monday focused and ready to get things accomplished.
Have you been bummin’ lately?
I know I’ve got some fellow slackers reading.
While I’ve been bummin’ I’ve seen other people active on Facebook Messenger ALL DAY! How are you being productive (HOW SWAY)?!?
Okay, I sit my Judge Ashley hat to the side and let these locs breathe.
But if there’s something that you’re chasing or working towards, you’ve gotta spend some time
Some energy
Some resources
Get personal
You’ve gotta roll up your sleeves, pant legs, tie that 24 inches of bundles in a Boy Scout knot and get in it.
For me, that means finishing up this business plan, dedicated more time to building a strong blog site and following.  I have to become a master of my craft because mediocrity isn’t a space I congregate in.
If I aspire to greatness, I have to work towards that.  One isn’t defined as great simply because they profess that.
While I understand that the road towards building a brand is just that
a road
I don’t want to be stuck on the same square piece of cement.
I have to progress
That means no random social media surfing as intriguing as is it to my overstimulated mind.
Back to the basics for me!
What dreams do you have, still up in the clouds? Pull em’ down and start anchoring them on paper.  You’d be surprised what you could do if those dreams were given some life.  Share them, let this be your first step in the direction of living them.  Post them in the comment section!

#SheJumped, saw a shiny reflection of sprinkle-filled cupcakes, and fell face first but is back and focused on the slow grind

Happy almost Monday!

Rat on top of the cage yelling “REVOLUTION” update

I’ve always heard people say, “ask and you shall receive”.  But I only really thought that applied to Pastors on Sunday mornings.  Or during revivals, retreats, musicals, church anniversaries, pastor and wife anniversaries, scholarship drives, capital campaign fundraisers and at funerals.  Well maybe not funerals but you can’t say I’m lying about all of the other random occasions⎯  and people say the consumer industry that created Valentine’s Day is cruel.  BEFORE ANY OF MY CHURCH-GOING READERS GETS UPSET AND EXITS MY SITE PERMANENTLY: this is a joke, but in the words of the King J Cole “ All jokes contain true sh*t”.  

I am now a believer that I can have anything I want without being “that girl” who does regretful things for monetary gain or gifts.  

I asked my boss for a drastic change to make me happy with my current situation and he said “YES”!  I feel as excited as a woman who has been a girlfriend for a long time, coerced her man into finally “popping the question” and now she gets to invite all of her girlfriends to brunch just to gloat, than send her envious girlfriends home to make their men feel inferior and ruin the rest of their Sunday.

If you’re reading this and have no clue what I am talking about, it’s okay.  I haven’t been blogging long enough to have a real following aside from my family and all of my 4 friends who feel obligated to support me.  But I’m still not going to give you any context. Go back and read the last blog.  How about you subscribe so that you are able to get updates and I don’t have to keep plugging myself in every post (just a suggestion, not a push)!

I previewed and posted my last post feeling discontent, cheated and upset.  Upset because my needs were not being fulfilled.  Upset with myself because I was allowing people to treat me how they saw fit while I stood by silently, scared to advocate for myself.  I learned that I cannot be mad at people if I don’t speak up.  And not speak up two days later as I fester in frustration and plot on how to ruin them in my mind.  Speak up, immediately.  A delayed response only makes me suffer as they continue to make me unhappy.   It’s like going to the store and getting the wrong change, not noticing until a few days later and trying to go back and ask for your $0.29. The gusto is gone, and if you tolerated living without those coins for a few days, you saying you need it now is less effective.  

To make me whole, I sat and thought about what I needed, to fix the issues I had (and again I can’t go too deep into detail because I still work here and I’m sure my boss looks at my Facebook posts and blogs⎯  Good morning handsome).  Here is what I came up with:

  • I work the hours of a mad man, doing something that doesn’t gratify me

My remedy:

Change the schedule to better reflect “underpaid worker’s hours”
(whenever I want to work, or at least 6-7 hours a day)

Do the job I agreed to do before arriving

learn to say “no, that’s something I don’t think I’ll be able to do”

  • I’m sleepy most of the time

The remedies for the first issue fixes this problem too

  • I don’t want to sleep in a dorm style room with strangers and all of my possessions potentially being “up for grabs” while I slumber like Rip Van Winkle

Remedy:

Move to a smaller room that isn’t generally available to customers.  This would prevent me from ever having to move into the dorms if the hotel became fully occupied

  • I don’t appreciate being micro-managed by people who don’t know what they are doing and are not my boss

Remedy:

Move?

  • I don’t enjoy wearing multiple hats as the underpaid worker

The remedy for the last issue also works for this one as well.  All of the tasks I agreed to do here can be done remotely.  

All roads led to me telling my boss that I intended to move to a larger city (which happened to be Coban because it’s within the closest proximity).  

I did not ask to move because I didn’t want there to be room for my boss to say no.  If he had said no, I was prepared to give him time to rethink, and me potentially walk away.  

I proposed that I move to Coban and argued that my productivity towards online tasks would increase if internet wasn’t a novelty, but a norm.  I told him that I was moving on Tuesday, July 11th.  He asked what I needed from him.  I quote, “I am a genie here to grant your wishes”.  I wasn’t expecting him to say that, so I added some sprinkles to my request by asking him to help find a place and provide transportation for me to get there and return to Semuc Champey when necessary while I am away.

He agreed

Later I was notified that I was going to be given a raise and if he is happy with the quality of my work, I have the opportunity to receive a bonus or stay on the job longer⎯  I think that my boss is just trying to ensure that I actually am going to continue working and not quit.   

I am beyond excited!  I spoke up and got more than what I asked for.  

Man, this is my summer to shine.  I am radiating!  

Although I asked for help finding a place to stay, I did my own investigating and found a place on trusty Airb&b and was able to negotiate a lower rate for an extended stay.  

I’ve also learned that EVERYTHING is up for negotiation!  I’m NOT saying that it will always work in your favor, but I’ve figured out that it is best for me to ask and be told “no” than to be left wondering.  

Want something? Make a proposal and try stating what you want in a “telling tone”, rather than in an “asking manner”.  I was able to articulate what I wanted this way because I was willing to walk away if my request wasn’t met with a “yes”.  Walk away for me means leave here, and shop around my talent at other hotels or just go on an extended vacation.    This is possible because I trust in the power of faith and am confident in my own abilities.  

I wasn’t always this way.  I’ve evolved  into being confident in my awesome-ness while being here in Guatemala. I have certainly learned to appreciate myself.  As my own confidence has grown, the way I present and carry myself has changed.  My presentation (the way I walk, sit, converse, respond) shows others that I believe in me.

I felt the need to explain how this is possible because I don’t want others to read my blog and think I am wealthy and living in some sort of La La Land.  I want to be completely transparent to show you that we all have the capability of being in situations where “you are winning.”  But to get there takes sacrifice and being open to challenges.  I am truly exercising faith because again, I do not have all of the answers, yet I just believe that I don’t need to worry.  What is for me, is for me and I will flourish.

Until next time!

Be brave people!  

Even if it’s a small thing, change something!  

Practice, so that self advocacy becomes a routine!