A Toxic Love Story

I recently wrote a post on Instagram reflecting on my growth within the last year, which led me to this point right here. *Teenage Fantasy plays in the background by Jorja Smith* Its time to tell the story of my first heartbreak and how it took me losing my virginity to realize I didn’t want to be with him anymore.

When I first started this blog I was writing stories about people and their lives and it never occurred to me that I had many stories of my own that I didn’t even think of telling. This story in particular is a direct reflection of why I WILL NOT settle and why I’d rather people assume I’m a lesbian than bring any guy home to meet my family.

I met him at church when we were still in elementary school. I couldn’t tell you exactly what age because I’ve blocked out most of my memory of him, which is probably why I never thought to write this story. His name was all over my notebooks and I was talking about him to my closest friend at the time. He seemed shocked that I was even interested him, which made me shy. However, it led to us talking on the phone every other Friday or so. Those were the days when you had to call another line to speak to someone who lived in a city an hour away from you. My cousin and I had to do it all the time. That’s how we got to know each other better and of course msn.

We were always on and off. Every time we were on, I would tell someone different. First it was my friend from church, then it was my sister, then it was my cousin, then I started telling my friends from school because they never knew him, then it was people who didn’t know our history. I gave him a lot of power because he fit what I considered handsome at the time.

When we started dating it was a secret from anyone who didn’t know we talked. I wasn’t allowed to be in a relationship and I had a lot of family who went to church. It was best for the both of us to keep it quiet. He could cheat peacefully and I didn’t have to hear shit about dating the male slut of the church. It didn’t last long because we were young and a secret relationship with someone you couldn’t be seen with when you could see them didn’t make sense. Plus, at that time he started asking for sexual favours from me. That was during a time when giving fellatio was not accepted. My cousin snitched to my older male cousin and that led to our break up.

You would think that was the end of whatever was going on between us, but it was just the beginning. On my 14th birthday I got a call from two of my friends at 1am in the morning. I thought it was a HAPPY BIRTHDAY CALL, but it was more of a birthday slap in the face. He planned on ruining my birthday by telling me about his summer fling with my friend. She got worried about losing our friendship and confided in our mutual male friend who convinced her to tell me. Great birthday! When they broke down how it all happened I didn’t shed ONE tear. I acted like I wasn’t phased at all. I cried like a bitch to my best friend at the time. I forgave both my friends and moved on, but never really moved on until years later.

Fast forward to 6 months later after finding out, I was kind of forced to attend a masquerade ball my cousins were organizing at church. We saw each other and the cycle continued. We were probably on the phone for 15 hours the next day. I woke up to his call and went to sleep after hanging up. A month later after my church lost an INTENSE basketball game where most of our good players were ejected we started dating. Our relationship was public amongst the young folk.

The thing is he wasn’t all bad. During this time, I got to see the good sides of him. He showed me his vulnerability and eventually I used that to my advantage and played him because he hurt me. I did love him, but we were toxic for each other. He taught me about self pleasure, which led us to getting caught by his mother. If he cheated, then she definitely knows. I was a virgin and he was experienced. I told him he had to wait until I was 16, then it was until I’m ready. He didn’t pressure me, until later. I think he was cheating and as his feelings started developing more he didn’t want to cheat, but also couldn’t wait to have sex because he was constantly sexually aroused. That’s my theory!

He took my virginity. He fell deeper and I fell out.

The sex didn’t make me forgive him for all the shit he did. He probably thought I didn’t know about the girl who gave him head at a party, but I did. What my friend and him did to me still weighed heavy on me. Plus, my family didn’t like him and their opinion mattered a lot to me then.

I looked like a “bitch” because I broke up with him, but he broke me. I told him it wasn’t working and he said “Ashley, its your call, but if you break up with me we’re done. There’s no getting back together after this.” I guess he tried to show me that he loved me, but like I said we were toxic for each other. He sent me emails that started with “I love you’s” then it was “you will never forget me; I took your virginity.” After that, he showed up to places I would be. I’m pretty sure my friends told him where I’d be because he was trying to use them to get me back. Again, I never asked my friends and didn’t care to know. I never told them I was going to break up with him. I just did it.

Our relationship continued to be toxic (on and off) for another 8 years in secret. We always said we’d explore with other people, but eventually we’d date again. When he was ready I wasn’t and when I was ready he wasn’t, but I eventually cut ties with him because our friendship was no longer serving me. He also made it seem like his family was not a fan of me.

I’ve grown tremendously since then and reflecting on this era of my life made me realize that I NEVER want anyone to have that much power over me. I’m NOW living in my feminine power and will no longer accept intimacy from toxic energy, which I believed I learned many moons ago, but didn’t know how to express that. He taught me a lot about myself so I am forever grateful for our relationship/friendship. We developed a bond that unfortunately had to be severed due to a difference of lifestyle.

Although losing my virginity to him made me realize I didn’t want to be with him long term, I still held onto the thought of him always being there when I needed someone sexually. Its crazy cause our story started at such a young age, so you would think that a puppy love relationship would have ended when it did. Unfortunately, it didn’t, but I learned lessons that have helped me today. I know what I want and what I WILL not settle for from a man.

I think its very important for people to learn how to heal from toxic situations. I’ve been on my healing journey for the past year and I knew this post was one of many that had to be written. I want to express my deepest gratitude to ** for all that you’ve taught me. If you ever read this, thank you!

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I did the Water Cleanse!

Earlier this year, I embarked on one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My family and I had a weight loss bet and I had one month to win so I decided to do the water cleanse. I did extensive research (youtube lol) on the cleanse to help me prepare for the struggle. I wasn’t able to complete the full 7 days without eating some crackers, but I managed to lose 16 lbs. The bet was called off because no one wanted this shhhmoke. Owww *Cardi B Voice*!

Although, I originally did the cleanse to lose weight my decision to do the cleanse again was purely for its benefits only. I didn’t care about the weight loss because I knew I’d gain the weight back. I needed to do the cleanse because it shocked my system and cleansed my system of all the rotten food that I was eating (No ones perfect).

My second experience with the water cleanse was a lot different than the first time because I had the time to relax. When I originally did the cleanse, I was working and didn’t want to take the time off to complete the cleanse, which was a suggestion from many Youtubers. Reflecting back on my first time trying to cleanse made me realize working made it a lot harder for me. I was able to focus on my personal healing and my cleanse the second time around. The first 5 days of the cleanse were easy for me. I was doing most of my regular activities like going to the gym, running errands, and walking my dog. I also lost 13 lbs in the first 5 days. On day 6, I felt my energy levels getting low; I tried to go to the gym, but it didn’t help or hurt me. I also didn’t drink enough water, which resulted in a 1 lb loss that day. On day 7, I was in bed all day. I couldn’t get out of bed because I had no energy.

I made it to day 8 before deciding that I was not going to continue to cleanse. I was nauseous all day long, and my head and neck were in pain. I considered juicing once my cleanse was over, but I needed food in my system after drinking a detox tea. (FYI: Don’t take any detox teas on a water cleanse… you will feel like death is knocking at your back door). I was down 13 lbs when I completed it, but like I mentioned before I didn’t do this cleanse the second time around for weight loss. Also, not having a end date helped me through the 8 days.

The days after the cleanse consisted of lots of fruits and vegetables. It is very important that once you break your fast you are eating small portions; I suggest only eating fruit and vegetables for at least three days. After the three days you can incorporate healthy carbs, but you should still stay away from meat and dairy products for another 4 days. You will avoid a lot of bloating and constipation.

Side effects of the water cleanse:

  1. Lethargy 
  2. Dry mouth
  3. Headaches if you don’t drink enough water
  4. Rapid weight loss
  5. Muscle weakness
  6. Bloating
  7. Unable to have a bowel movement

What I will say about the water cleanse is you shouldn’t do it if you are unable to spend time alone. People will judge you for your choice because they are either unable to do it themselves or they don’t know the benefits of doing the cleanse. I spent most my time alone, which helped me complete the 8 days of my water cleanse. The cleanse will also make you feel extremely connected to yourself. The only mistake I made was not meditating enough, which is why I plan on doing the cleanse a couple more times this year, but for 3 days only.

The benefits of the water cleanse:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Beautiful skin
  3. Lower blood pressure which equals less stress
  4. Less digestive problems (HUGE benefit for me)
  5. Emotional and spiritual strength
  6. Healing process for your body is much better (muscle pain from the gym)
  7. A boost to your immune system due to a better cell resistance

There are other benefits of the water cleanse that has helped individuals who suffer from various illness and diseases, but these benefits have personally helped me. I will continue to do the water cleanse and promote its benefits to all my loved ones to try. My challenge to you is to try the water cleanse for ONE DAY. Water has so many healing benefits that we’ve taken for granted, its time to retire the unhealthy drinks and drink more water (a God given drink).  

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Re: Girls Trippin’

In the era of positivity, I think its very important for us to pay attention to what’s real. The facts are we can’t always feel positive because we have real life situations to deal with. I’m not saying that being positive doesn’t work because it absolutely does. What I am saying is that being positive isn’t the only answer. Its time for us to be real with ourselves. Its time to tell ourselves the truth.

If you haven’t heard already, Jada Pinkett Smith has a new series on Facebook called The Red Table Talk which features her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones and her daughter, Willow Smith. On the episode I’ll be referencing, she sat down with Gabrielle Union to discuss their long time shade towards each other, which made me think about all the female relationships in my life that have ended due to us not being healed. Jada and Gabrielle stress the importance of healing and speaking to your sisters with love. I’m not going to lie the power I felt from the discussion moved me to tears.

After watching this episode, I recognized the pain I still carry about myself, which most of us choose to ignore. Gabrielle said she had to come to terms with the fact that she’s a hater. It got me thinking about the things that I need to let go of about myself and girllll they were not pretty.

  1. Petty (I learned there are some things that don’t require your energy)
  2. I always think I’m right (Working progress)
  3. I expect people to apologize, but struggle apologizing (Working progress)
  4. Insecure (Currently on my body positivity journey)

The list can go on because although I am on my path of self discovery and self love, I have a lot healing that needs to be done. I have a lot of growth in store for me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I also realized that I know a lot of people who are not healed. We all act like we are healed, but we are unable to let go of the hurt. Let’s start healing ourselves ladies, lets start being a place of comfort and peace for each other. A great book to read that has helped me tremendously in my healing is called Pussy by Regena Thomashauer. I’m not perfect and I have flaws, but its what you do with self discovery that determines if you’re ready to experience self love.

When I think about my life and how I’ve spoken to my girlfriends, I noticed that I always started off too nice. I always gave my opinion, but I never flat out said abort mission until recently. The more my sisters would express their frustrations the more hostile I got with them. I got frustrated because all I wanted was the best for them, but they didn’t get it. What I was saying was not resonating because of my hostility. We need to do better with communicating with our sisterhood. We need to tell our sisters when they are wrong, but we also need to approach the situation with love. Always approach a disagreement as a conversation and not like you are badgering them, or with a condescending tone.

Jada mentioned that she still struggles with how things have ended with some of her girlfriends; Gabrielle says she doesn’t struggle at all; I feel both of them. There are some “girlfriends” who need to be let go for your growth. It goes back to what I was saying – reference my previous post What Triggers You Guides You – about coming to terms with how people you may place in a higher regard than where they hold you. We need to be okay with people leaving us. We sometimes fail to understand and accept that in order to grow some “girlfriends” need to be left in the dust.

Girls Trippin’ was a perfect title for this episode because girls really be trippppppin’. We’ve mastered the art of miscommunication and jumping to conclusions. We can’t listen to our sisterhood if we aren’t ready to receive their loving words. We can’t give loving advice if we have none for ourselves. To my sisterhood, I thank you for giving me the time to grow, heal, and loving me through this journey of self discovery. I thank you for listening to my tears, complaints, and negativity and offering me encouraging words to help my healing process. I thank you for not judging me, belittling me, or scorning me for my unhealed ways. Sisters, if you see a sister struggling give her words of encouragement with a warm snug hug

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What triggers you guides you!

What triggers you will guide you to make decisions emotionally. Those decisions could be minor or major, but they still hold weight in the bigger picture of life. Before we dive into this post lets agree to pay attention to our triggers. Think of one trigger that sets you off your life course.

My moods change frequently throughout the week due to many different triggers. I’ve never paid attention to my triggers nor have I been able to pinpoint my triggers until recently. My frequent mood changes are not a stranger to my circle because one thing has the potential set me off, which I’ve been working on lately.

My moods as a teenager were more intense than they are now, but that I’m older I can feel when my mood is about to change or when it has changed, which has helped me control how I act around people. However, I never paid attention to what was beneath the surface, what was making me feel differently, or how I was going to deal with my triggers. We all have flaws, some we are aware of and some we aren’t; my current flaw is learning how to separate my moods from how I treat people when I’m in a negative mood. I’m a work in progress and I tend to spend more time alone when I get into a negative mood. I wear my emotions on my face and you can usually hear it in my voice so when I’m in a funk its quite obvious. I know its time to retreat and silence my phone for a few hours.

I recently went on a trip to Cuba and it was absolutely amazing. I heard a lot of negative things about Cuba, but I enjoyed myself. During my trip, I had epiphany moments about my triggers. Sometimes the trivial things trigger us more than the big things because the major things are expected to upset us while the minor things hold no value. I recognized that I have many trivial triggers that had control over my emotions and how I approach situations. I went into a time warp and flashed back to all the moments where I could have handled my triggers differently; I realized that I know what my triggers are, how my triggers have affected me, and how I can overcome what controls me.

As a child I didn’t get everything I desired nor did I always get my way. However, my brother, sister, and cousins always remind me that they were forced to watch Barney with me because I’d cry “blue wata tears” if they didn’t. Maybe my bossy, controlling, my way or the highway attitude was born during that time. Growing up, I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I also didn’t ask for much. My parents set boundaries that I never dared to cross, but I still remained the girl who wanted everything to go her way.

The path I’ve walked thus far hasn’t hindered me professionally, but it has blocked my growth and blessings. Think about it… if I recognized that when I felt a loss of control I’d lash out in ways that are out of character, I could have avoided certain situations. If I ignored people who chose to spread fake news instead of playing their game, I could have avoided drama. Its the little things that don’t require your energy that we give energy to.

Having people in your life that know what triggers you allows you to have the space you need to understand yourself. Its great to have people in your life that know what triggers you. I’m lucky to have family and friends that love me and accept my growth to discovery of self. Its important to set boundaries for yourself and to know who you surround yourself with. A lesson I had to learn recently is how to love a friend from a distance. Its a hard pill to swallow when you’ve given all your energy requires of you, but you want what is best for them. Its even harder when you’ve had someone in your life for years and they still don’t accept your growth.

This year has taught me a lot already, one lesson in particular was how to let things and people go. If someone shows you that they don’t want to be in your life, accept it. Take the blessing that God and the universe is giving you and allow them to leave your life. I always felt the need to fix things. Fix my friends, fix dead relationships, fix dead friendships, basically fix everything. I had a conversation with a dear friend and she said, “you can’t heal everyone; you need to learn to let things go.” She then continued to say when she decides to cut things off with someone or something they become six feet under. Its extreme, but there is magic in laying things to rest.

How has it taken me this long to realize that we have triggers we need to control? Honestly, I don’t know. I realized that life is too short to stress about the miniature things in life. Why harp on the trivial things that you won’t care about tomorrow? Recognize the difference between your positive and negative triggers because they control how you work, and live. When people mention triggers it often has a negative connotation, but it isn’t always a negative feeling that it derived from triggers. We sometimes get inspired by triggers. Let your triggers inspire you to be GREAT!

I ask that you live your truth in the most uplifting way possible. Spread those Bob Marley Vibes to create magnetic waves of pure bliss.

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Body Positivity Journey

If you were to playback my life from start to finish you would probably assume I have an extremely low self esteem. I was raised in a family where sugar coating things was not an option. My parents especially are tough love coaches. If you know me personally then you know I’m more like Iyanla than I want to be. However, as I got older and the world started getting more entitled. I found myself falling prey to this generations sensitivity. 

As a child I was extremely skinny. Unfortunately, I was skinny with a protruding tummy, which made me popular for jokes. My family had all kinds of nick names for me, but it never bothered me. I never looked at myself and thought I want my body to look like that. I was happy, blissful even. I didn’t play much sports. I only ran track, which was purely for my love of running and had nothing to do with being fit. 

In the 12th grade, I noticed my body changing. Looking for a prom dress was horrific. A lot of changes happened in my life that year that may or may not have cause my weight gain. However, nothing fit properly and it was making me feel insecure about my body. 

A year after graduating high school, I gained 15-20 pounds working at a fast food restaurant. My best friend and I started working out in my basement, which eventually led us to join the gym. At 18, I started my weight loss journey and its been a rollercoaster ever since. 

I went through depression for a period after losing a lot of weight. It didn’t stop my daily routines, but it stemmed from being unhappy about my body. I lost a lot of weight, but it still wasn’t the Beybody that I wanted. This caused me to eat… eat a lot. I would eat a whole medium or large pizza, homemade loaded fries, burgers, and a ton more. Being unhappy about my body caused me to hurt it even more. 

Almost 10 years later and I still haven’t reach my weight loss goal, but I’ve conquered some fitness goals and plan on conquering more. I am so happy about where I am mentally and how important a healthy lifestyle is for me. Physically I struggle with joint pain, but I fight through it and my body has become a lot stronger because of my fight. I still have cheat days and I’m still working on portion sizes, but your girl feels sexy all the time.

My weight loss journey has now become my body positivity journey. My vow to myself is to be comfortable in my own skin. I vow to empower people to be comfortable in their skin. I vow not to judge anyone’s body because I don’t know their story. 

Its funny, during my weight gain my family would make some remarks that would probably make some people cry. My cousin said to me the other day, “Ashley, your glowing, you’re losing weight, your skin looks good. Don’t let anyone take that from you.” As much as my family may criticize, they take note and give me so much support. They may have some harsh words, but they also have the most loving. So I thank them for checking me when I’ve fallen off the wagon, and not coddling me. I also thank them for their continued support. 

Love your body so much that you only want what is best. Feed your mind as much as you feed your body. Give it the nutrients and knowledge to look like Cicely Tyson at 93. 

Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder Crossover

A little background on me… I’m a TV show junkie. You know how Nola Darling calls herself a cinephile in She’s Gotta Have It? Well I’m a… TV-ologist, a binge watcher, a TV show enthusiast. I love television shows because they don’t end and movies do, or maybe I love them because they have more dialogue. Television gives writers more time to develop characters, scenarios, and the overall story. I’ve probably watched more television shows than movies at this point. Shonda Rhimes and I have connected on a writers’ level that no one but myself will acknowledge, but that’s ok. I feel the connection between us. As you all may know I recently revamped my blog page in bold, black letters it says… ALLOW ME TO REINTRODUCE MYSELF. I think there is power in saying that. Its letting the world know that YOU are still here, but you been reborn, you have turned into the butterfly that you were born to be, you have evolved and that’s why I put Jay-Z’s song lyrics on my page. Now, as I turned on the TV, pressed PVR on my remote, and chose the latest episode of scandal I literally screamed. I mean I felt honoured to have chosen the same title as Shonda Rhimes, but also honoured because she chose this title for Olivia Pope who I admire as a character. Her name exudes power and although she’s been receiving flak – which is warranted – I still respect her character.

Anyhoo, last week Shonda Rhimes decided that she was going to do a crossover episode of Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder. I’ve been waiting for this crossover since we all saw Olivia at the court house and Annalise in the Oval office on Instagram. I was completely blown away by the two episodes because it was amazing and everything I wanted it to be. I loved every bit of it, but what I loved the most was how powerful it made me feel. I was literally clapping my hands, stomping my feet, and telling YASSSSS at the TV during both episodes. Two powerful, black women in their field coming together to make things right. Any black woman, shit, any woman would feel powerful watching this episode.

Thank you Shonda Rhimes for showing powerful ol’ me that it is possible to thrive and be on the same wave length as you. Thank you for creating these powerful, vulnerable, human, black, female characters that literally made me clap my hands at the end of the episodes.

#BMV; Bob Marley Vibes

If you’ve been around me then you probably know what BMV stands for, if not, then let me tell you why and how BOB MARLEY VIBES was created. During my discovery of energy, spirituality, truth, positivity, and self love I wrote a poem that included One Love by Bob Marley. The poem was about discovery for me. I was working through my own thoughts and beliefs through my poem, which led me to Bob. More specifically, “One Love, One Heart, lets get together and feel alright.” I’ve always stood up for people I love, but also for things I’m passionate about and I’d like to say that it took me some time to get to a place where I can change the course of my day if its going bad, so why not instill that or try to for those around me. I felt like I needed a positive reinforcement to say on days when life tried to knock me down, so I started saying BOB MARLEY VIBES ONLY! Bobs words have touched the lives of so many people and have brought a lot of people through troubled times it was only fitting.

I grew up listening to reggae. It was played at every holiday party, family function, and at home. If you were to put my siblings, cousins, and me all in a room I’m sure we would all be able to recite the lyrics to all the 80s-90s reggae tracks. Its in my blood. Bobs music was deeper than reggae, he was more than a Jamaican man with a great voice. Bob was an activist; some would call him a prophet. “Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.”

For Black History Month, I wanted to share why BOB MARLEY VIBES should be travelling through our homes. Why I want to emulate who and what Robert Nesta Marley stood for and why. The vibe of the legends music was light, airy, positive, powerful, bold, and revolutionary. It expressed a new way of thinking, living, and loving. He challenged us to think for ourselves and not to be intimidated by those who’s only mission is to see you fail. He said things like “Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold…” and “None but ourselves can free our minds.” Break free from the chains that hold you captive from your total being, “love the life you live. live the life you love.”

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He embraced life like he was fulfilled just by living. His words don’t leave you confused or lost, but he offers clarity when he speaks, sings, and moves. There is a reason why when Bob Marley starts playing through our speakers a specific sway begins. You know the one when your body is flowing from left to right and your feet do a little kick up with every sway.. yeah that. The sway can get deeper while the feet kick up a little higher depending the rhythm of the Bob Marley track being played. That is how he moved people. “One good thing about music – when it hits you, you feel no pain.” His mission was to heal and help others. “Live for yourself and you will live in vain; live for others, and you will live again.”

Bob Marley Vibes is about living like Bob. No, I don’t mean smoke up, but don’t worry about a thing because every little thing is going to be alright. Be authentically you. Its about embracing what life has to offer you; instead of focusing on what you don’t have. Its about being one with nature. Letting loose in every setting. Kicking off your serious boots and trading them for some FREEDOM REIGN SLIPPERS. BMV is about accepting yourself, and loving yourself. “Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?” Are you? Ask yourself these questions. Are you willing you stand in a crowd and say, “I AM ASHLEY SCREAM AND I AM STILL WORKING ON BECOMING A BETTER ME, AND I STILL DON’T HAVE LIFE FIGURED OUT.” Remaining strong when you aren’t feeling positive. Fighting when you are weak. Giving good energy, vibes, and love when you’re feeling drained, and hopeless.

Bob Marley touched on so many things in his short time here on Earth, but the message was always about love and spreading love and light. Living for others, but also living the way you want to. Not being a slave to the masses and that’s exactly what I want for myself. So in honour of one of the greatest men to live, Bob thank you for giving me BOB MARLEY VIBES, I will continue to spread your wisdom and vibes everywhere I go. Thank you for doing it for culture, but also for HUMANITY. You’ve touched all kinds of humans and for that #BMV fooo life! Happy Black History Month.  

 

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“If you’re white and you’re wrong, then you’re wrong; if you’re black and you’re wrong, you’re wrong. People are people. Black, blue, pink, green – God make no rules about color; only society make rules where my people suffer, and thats why we must have redemption and redemption now.” – Bob Marley

Rest In Sweet, Magical Paradise Bob Marley.

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