When You’re Tired Of Who You’ve Been [By Ashley Coleman]

For the Twenties Unscripted fifth anniversary, I’ve invited five writers who have been anchors throughout my journey to contribute guest posts during the month. I asked each writer to pen whatever they’d like relative to the theme of transformation and turning tides.

Next up is Ashley Coleman.

Ashley is the mover and shaker. Whether she’s penning books, hosting workshops or standing at the helm of Permission to Write, her boundless energy never ceases to amaze me. It’s no surprise that she was the first person to send her guest post in for this series! But, aside from her unwavering discipline, Ashley intimately understands the DNA of her dreams. She is unafraid to take risks, innovate, improvise and do what’s necessary to translate her aspirations into action. I’m beyond inspired by her hustle, and I’m grateful for all the ways she roots for me and encourages me to push forward. I hope you enjoy her piece “When You’re Tired Of Who You’ve Been.”


It’s getting harder to remember who I was in my twenties. The things that I did, the jobs that I worked, the people I was around are all vivid. But the mindset evades me.

I think I’ve become so enveloped in who I want to be that the memories of who I was seem to be fading. All things become new right? But I try. I try to pull her up. I try to look back through those eyes. The girl who spewed anti-religious rhetoric before she knew who God was for real. The one who wasn’t sure she would ever love anyone the way she loved him. The budding songwriter. She’s peculiar to me now.

I see my higher self. Almost like she’s trapped and if I keep banging hard enough eventually the glass will shatter. I have laid myself on the altar because trying to do it all on my own has just left me tired and frustrated. I am learning the depth of what it means to be easy. Of what it means to be scarily focused yet extremely flexible all at the same time. I am learning what it means to have peace. Real, from the inside peace that is not easily shaken by outside stimuli.

I don’t want to be who I’ve been.

Ambitious yet doubting in my spirit because it’s just not moving fast enough. Wanting more money to have options but being afraid of who that makes me. Being grateful but wanting more. Wanting to send the card on time and be thoughtful, but constantly missing the mark.

The constant warring is unhealthy and to take a note from Nayyirah Waheed, “all the women in me are tired.”

I read the other day in the Bible that I am light and that a house built on a hill can’t be hidden. But can I be honest and say that sometimes I do feel hidden? Sometimes I feel like there is this huge life on the inside of me that for some reason just can’t get out. Recently, I have felt like I am in the way. Like I am the obstacle and the barrier for that life to escape and if I just could move. If I could just change and it’s both encouraging and maddening all at the same time.

See, because if it’s just me that’s in the way, that’s the one thing that I can control. But there is a pruning that needs to take place. A refinement. I need to be ushered into my best and highest self, which is no easy feat.

So much of this life has been about chasing things. About materialism and achievements and accolades. But in this space, I realize how much of my life needs to be about chasing me. Making the best decisions for myself, believing in myself, letting go of the nagging voices that just try to tell me I’m not good enough. Or that make me take for granted all that I do have, all that I am.

There is no more time to play small. There is no more time to simply react to life instead of setting the tone. This is your life, what will you do with it, Ashley? This is what I have asked myself on multiple occasions.

I can’t afford to wait for the tide to turn, I’m turning it.

I don’t want to exist in a life that feels stuck and unresolved and full of maybe ifs. I don’t want to exist in a life where I am plagued by the memories of good times instead of creating new ones. I will live assured, fulfilled, and with unmatched confidence.

The reality is I am not who I’ve been. Who I was would not even be able to see this clearly. I’m wedged in between who I was and the woman that I want to be, and I see her so clearly. I am the bud on the brink of blooming.

“I’m in charge,” to be read like Taryn Manning in Hustle & Flow. I am in charge of the transformation. I am at the helm of the ship. My thinking, my mind. That’s where it starts. The steering. Our lives will go in the direction of our thoughts. What have you been thinking?

I know for me, it has not been that I am fully capable and worthy of every great thing. But it is changing. It is morphing. It is transforming.

The girl in my twenties, I am okay with letting her go and realizing that the journey I am on may leave me unrecognizable on the other side.

Ashley Coleman is a writer and entrepreneur based in Philadelphia. The cultivator of the online space WriteLaughDream.com, she writes about life, love, and pursuing goals as a writer. She splits her work between helping other writers develop their voice and writing habits through one-on-one sessions, courses, and workshops and her own work in books like “Dear Love” and “Love on Purpose.” Ashley has been a guest lecturer at Temple University and a guest speaker at Blogalicious 8 in Atlanta. Her work has been published in GRAMMY.com, Essence.com, JUMP Magazine and more. 

50 Blogs To Take Into 2015: WriteLaughDream

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Throughout January and February, I will be featuring several of the bloggers from my 50 Blogs To Take Into 2015 list. Today the series continues with Ashley of “WriteLaughDream.”

I’ve never had the chance to meet Ashley in person, but she was one of the first people to respond back in November when I reached out to various bloggers asking for donations to contribute as gifts at my NYC Bloggers Brunch. I know it isn’t easy or always doable for entrepreneurs to offer up their products for free, so Ashley’s generosity really struck me. That spirit of generosity comes through on her blog “WriteLaughDream.” where she writes for the “thinker, the music lover, and the person looking for a little reassurance and inspiration in their life.” Meet Ashley.

Name: Ashley Coleman
Location: Philadelphia
Age: 28

Tell us a little more about WLD. Why did you start the blog? How has it changed since you started?
Funny enough, I started the blog actually somewhere around the end of college. But it had a completely different name and focus. It started as “Music’s Chess, A Pawn’s Story” and it was all about my adventures in the music business. Because let’s just say, it really is some type of alternate reality. But it wasn’t until four years ago that I came up with WriteLaughDream. It started as a central place for myself as a writer with my music and freelance stuff and then grew into focusing mostly on content for the blog. It started with a phrase … I write, I laugh, I dream in color and that’s what I wanted to be able to share with people, each part of that mantra.

Love serves as one of the main sources of your content as well as for your book. How would you define love? Where is love most prevalent in your life right now?
Well it’s easy for me to define love now. Before I probably would have stumbled over exactly what to say. God is love. So everything that surrounds God incorporates love. He is our greatest example of what love is and how to love people. I spent so long thinking that love was this feeling as opposed to an action. It’s something you have to do all the time, something you have to make a conscious decision to do and something that doesn’t always make you feel all buttery and warm on the inside.

Love is all around me. From my significant other, to my family, to my church home, to my love for what I do. I am enveloped in love. I’m really blessed and grateful because I know not everyone has that. I’m not lacking in sources of love.  Funny enough when writing the book, my mom told me a story about my Dad. My brother was born first and of course little boys are close with their mothers. So my dad said to my mom “I want a daughter so I can have someone to love me.” So our joke is that I was essentially created to love.

In what ways is the word “love” misconstrued in today’s world?
Aw man in so many ways. We think it’s what we see on TV or Instagram or Twitter and it’s not. So many people are lost because they don’t know where to look for love. Or they know where to look but they don’t want to because it changes the idea of the feeling of what love is supposed to be. And when that idea changes, love is a lot less glamorous than society and TV tell us it is. Often we think that love is all about us when really you have to be so unselfish when it comes to loving other people. Not just romantically, but across the board. You have to learn that love is a choice first of all. You have to choose love instead of which is often easier, to hate, to be mean and to be selfish. Second, you have to learn that it is an action. It’s in what you do and how you react, not in what you say. And believe me, I write about love but I am still in the journey with everyone else. I am still a student. I still screw it up sometimes. But I always know where to come back to and that’s really important, in my opinion.”

What 3-5 posts best represent your work on WLD?

These posts at the core represent the space that I am working to create with WriteLaughDream.

Dear Love – I beg to differ, Love is a choice.  This was a good one because in all my talk about love, I want people to know that it’s a choice. It’s not something that just magically happens to you.

DREAM – Sometimes it’s just about being in the room. We all have dreams. It’s my mission to manifest the big life I see for myself. So I love these posts because as I work to achieve my dreams, I’m hoping someone else will be inspired to take the next step toward the rest of their life.

WRITE – Holding Your Breath – I love this because I try to impart on my readers that I am figuring it all out too. I don’t have the answers, but I enjoy exploring life with others through my writing.

WLD Edit

 

Tell us more about your “Bold, Brown and Beautiful” series. What is the goal of the series and where do you see it going in 2015?
The BBB Series is like this little baby that I love so much. It started out with two events in 2013, one in Philadelphia and one in DC. The focus was to bring women together to talk about colorism in reference to two films, Imagine a Future and Dark Girls. As a lighter skinned black woman, I wanted to be able to create an inclusive environment to talk about these very real issues. And apparently so did a lot of other women. It was really important to me not to create something else divisive, but something that would bring us all together. The series promotes that our beauty can co-exist, whether light or dark or in between, we can all be beautiful without putting anyone else down.

What I also found was that this wasn’t just a black issue. This was a woman of color issue. And so we wanted our campaign to be inclusive of many other races and shades. Our goal simply stated is redefining brown girls: what you think about us, how you see us and treat us. In that it’s helping define our own images of ourselves instead of being held captive to what media, society or men say about women of color. And to promote confidence, self-esteem, and healthy body images.

For 2015 we are planning an awesome event series based on body image that will include a writing workshop. We’re going back to DC and Philly and hopefully adding New York. I’m hoping to be able to put together more video content for BBB. And eventually I would like to see us be able to honor brown women of diverse backgrounds for their contributions to the world.

 

What is the best advice you have received as:
A writer?
If you only write when you’re inspired, you have to learn to be inspired by everything. I’m sure that came out somewhere in my poetry as performance class at Temple University with Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon.

A lover? Real love is for adults only. My Pastor, Lester Brown said this one Sunday and it blew my mind.

A dreamer? A head full of fears has no space for dreams. We let fear stop us all the time, in so many things. I’ve learned to do things afraid.

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What’s next for you?
Total world domination? No, I am just so excited about all that’s in store for the year. I am doing some speaking engagements with the book, which is cool. We’re working on the BBB Series events for spring. I’ll be hosting the next Dear Love brunch in March. I’m editing my second book which will be completely different than Dear Love. It probably won’t be out until very late in the year or next year. I just want to be God’s muse. Wherever he takes me, I will go.

What inspires you?
Everything. Literally I feel inspired sometimes by the fall leaves on the ground. I’m inspired by happiness, by love, by perseverance, by faith. I’m inspired by words’ ability to make you feel. I’m inspired by people finding the most eloquent ways to express the exact way I was thinking. I’m inspired by the wonderful people in my life who keep me going in ways they’ll probably never fully understand. I am most inspired by the design of our lives to impact others, to change something and to leave a mark in this world that will last long beyond our physical breath.

Ashley Coleman is a writer, pen and paper enthusiast and love advocate. Her book Dear Love is available for purchase on Amazon, Kindle and Createspace. 

Twitter and Instagram: @writelaughdream

FB: /writelaughdream