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First off, let us take a moment to appreciate our God-given skin, crooked smiles, uneven hairlines, chubby cheeks, tight or big eyes, big or small noses, for some, asymmetrical faces and…well….all of what we are naturally. This is me. Without makeup. Without fake hair. Without the long lashes. Without the fresh cut (haha). And I could have very well placed a filter on this picture or took it from another angle to make my face look slimmer and so forth (come on saints, you know what I am talking about!! lol!), but as I have articulated in the past, I have freedom from the bondage of “needing” something on me to be complete. And if that is NOT how you feel, this may not be the blog post to read yet. No point of decorating an internal mess to mask it from the masses. He sees you. And wants to fix it. BUT if you are here and can attest to makeup simply being an outlet of art for you, WELL KEEP SCROLLING! =]

NOW……WHAT YOU REALLY CAME FOR

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This is a zoomed in picture of my golden child eyebrow, a.k.a my well behaved brow, model child brow, just awesome. It has only been brushed with a spoolie (which is the picture to the right). And if you do not own a spoolie, maybe it is time to rethink your life….LOL joking, but seriously, these are pretty essential.

LET’S GET STARTED!!

DISCLAIMER: STEPS 1 AND 2 ARE COMBINED IN THE 2 PICTURES BELOW

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*Okay, there will be a lot of photos, BUT, I wanted to show actual photos in case you wanted to pull this post up on one of you makeup hauls! Zoom in if need be =] *

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For my eyebrows, I choose to use a MAC eyebrow stencil in the color SPIKED. I feel as though I have more control with this type of eyebrow tool when it comes to darkening and outlining.

With this pencil, you will outline your desired brow shape. You will first go along the lines of your natural brow shape BUT it you’re like me and do not have symmetrical eyebrows, you have to get kind of creative. In the picture below, on your right, that is the eyebrow that I am showcasing above. I have to manipulate my eyebrow that is on your left in order for it to look like the right. So the eyebrow (and you will find this out soon if you haven’t already) that you deem as the more “perfect” brow, outline that one first, and try to mimic on the next. Even if it gets messy, meaning you are filling in parts above your natural eyebrow line to create the desired shape.

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AFTER OUTLINING AND FILLING IN…….

Step 3

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This concealer is heaven sent!! Any concealer that you purchase should be a shade lighter than your actual skin tone. I use the shade COOL TAN. These concealers are sold at several beauty supply stores (and online) with testers to try on the back of your hand. To be very exact with the “cleaning up” and “outlining” of my eyebrows, I use a concealer brush (the brush with the orange tip) and a blending eyeshadow brush (the brush with the brown fluffy tip) to blend the residue of concealer in my skin.

NOW THAT THE EYEBROW IS ON FLEEK…

Step 4

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I PRIME my eyelids with the concealer above and cover it with L.A. Colors setting powder in a shade similar to COOL TAN. This is to make the eyeshadow colors pop more. Dust off the excess powder.

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Now, this section will not be long at all. Eyeshadow is NOT my greatest area soooo I will breeze through this pretty fast haha. This palette is WONDERFUL for many looks and gives you earthtone colors. A tip to get colors to stand out on the creases of your eyes, spray setting spray on a smaller concealer brush then pat brush on desired color and then apply. The brush that comes with the palette is really great for application as well!

EYESHADOW IS COMPLETE! SO NOW…

STEP 5

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MY HOODED EYELID LADIES (I am in that group as well)!!! The wing look is VERY MUCH desired now but you HAVE to be strategic in doing so!! *video tutorial of that coming soon* I use the liquid liner first THEN go underneath on your waterline with the MAC longwear eyeliner crayon in NOIR/BLACK.

How to tell if you have hooded eyelids? Go back to the first picture of my bare eyelid and notice how there seems to skin that doubles and droops over while my eye is open. If that happens to you (and it varies as to how much), then you have hooded eyelids.

MY FAVORITE PART….LASHESSS!!

STEP 6

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YALL. THESE. LASHES. ARE. THE. TRUTH.

I came across these eyelashes a few months ago and my eyelash game has never been the same 😂 💁🏽 They have multiple styles in case you feel as though these eyelashes are too dramatic or not dramatic enough for your taste! They are very affordable and one pair lasts a long time (if they are taken care of properly).

WITH THE STEPS OUTLINED ABOVE

YOU GO FROM THIS

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TO….

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THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME FOR THE FIRST PART OF THIS SERIES!!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY

Growing up, you had those friends who would always smother people with hugs, strangers or not. These friends would go out of their own way to touch you and let you know how much you meant to them. “I love you” rolled off of their lips just as easy as the next breath. And if we’re being honest, these people are still the same way today lol.

It is fair to say that we put these people in the “affectionate” category.

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But then you have those friends who just didn’t like to be touched or loved on at all. Rarely do they ever show too many signs of emotions either. It had to be a big deal, such as graduations, someone leaving for a while, those sorts of things. It is done when it really means something to the other party.

We put them in the “unaffectionate” category.

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My category. Or shall I say, former but most familiar with category.

If you have been keeping up with my posts, you can concur that I am a pretty friendly person, social, talkative, and love getting to know people. So how is it that someone so social did not enjoy being touched or loved on by others?

If you don’t deal with it, it will deal with you. The IT ladies and gentlemen isssssss…..INSECURITY! I know I bring this up a lot, but I am a living testimony of how insecurities and low self-esteem will blind you and make you think something is there, that is not. The two things that I am typing with right now, the two things you’re using to hold your phone, is something I have hated about myself for a long time. My hands.

Wait, did I read that right? The girl don’t like her own hands?

YES, you read it right unfortunately, and NO, I did not like my hands for a very long time. The size of them. The fact they would get sweaty when someone held them for too long. The fact I was labelled as “heavy handed” when I really tried to be gentle. These hands have broken so many things growing up. They have accidentally hurt people close to me.

Ok, so it’s okay to laugh now. I know I’m describing myself as Godzilla or something, but that is what I felt like. A monster with these huge things.

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Let me remind you of who I am. 5’10” plus size female. My father is 6’4” , played basketball, and as you would guess had very large hands and feet. Guess who inherited those things from their dad =]

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I am not sure why, but it was always a thing for my peers growing up to measure their hands against other people’s hands. I quickly noticed that girls were associated with smaller hands and feet and men were associated with larger hands and feet. Whenever anyone randomly wanted to measure their hands to mine, I snatched my hands away, folded my arms and made up some excuse of “Ion know where yo hands been??!” or “Personal space, please??”. This usually made them back off for a while. I just got tired of hearing the gasps of people watching to see that my hand was the same size or even bigger than some of the boys’ hands in the class.

MY SHAME GOT REALLY BAD..

I remember in class we were doing popcorn reading with one of our assigned books. I was probably in 9th grade at the time. It was a book discussing the descendants of slaves in Mississippi and this particular scene was about the family’s grandmother who cooked everything. Before I would have to read anything out loud in class, I preferred to skim over it so that everything would flow out naturally. I was so annoying haha. But my part happened to be the portion of the author describing the grandmother’s characteristics, including her big and rough hands from always peeling food and doing hard labor.

I froze.

What if they laugh? What if they look at my hands and think that was the perfect description of me?

Yea it was bad. I switched my paragraph with a friend to avoid embarrassment.

Even if a boy liked me and tried to touch me, I would do anything to distract him from holding my hand.

I feared that a boy would stop liking me because I was man-lier than he had previously assumed.

Sounds ridiculous and extreme, but it was the truth.

FAST FORWARD TO COLLEGE..

I was pretty comfortable with myself, but I had made it up in my mind long ago that I would not be forward with affection so that I could avoid rejection. At the time, I really didn’t know that that’s what my body was doing. I thought I was just wired to love through words and not the physical.

THEN WHEN I ACCEPTED CHRIST TO REIGN AS COMPLETE AUTHORITY IN MY LIFE….

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It felt like another person was released through me. IT WAS SO HARD NOT TO HUG PEOPLE. What was happening?!! Ashley was now giving people hugs, telling them she loved them, and just all other crazy affectionate things. Seriously, you can ask my friends haha. The affection that I was trying to suppress all of those years had no choice but to burst forth when I accepted the Lord’s love for me. In Him, I felt/still feel accepted and loved completely as I am. So it did not matter who rejected my affection from that point on. I knew that they were simply shying away from what/who was in me. I didn’t take it personal anymore. But the process of truly submitting all of my life to Christ transformed me. Being stand offish was no longer my defense mechanism. It felt good to finally show people love and allow people to love me. I relinquished control and let the Lord show His love through me. Although the devil intended for me to stay in this bondage of hate for my hands, the Lord placed His hand on my life and broke chains I didn’t even know existed. “I love you” is no longer taboo for me. I thank God that I am not the same person. Do I still have times when insecurities flare up? Sure I do. But I am a witness at how His love can change your direction and make you see yourself towards how He created you to be. Fearfully and wonderfully made.

To God be the Glory

What is a “great” personality? Half of my motive for answering this is so that I can stop putting the word great into quotation marks..honestly..truly.. I am referring to a charismatic person, one, who is more times than not, warm, accepting, cool, fun, optimistic and all of those other great adjectives we hear about. Or maybe let me put it this way. When you’re around this person, you just “feel” better in one way or another, for some odd reason. (Oooooo I see you smiling! Who you thinking about??? *aggressive eye emoji inserted here*) . We all know one. Or more than one.  And I am one of these people. Not in an imperious way though. I have consciously tried to master this in the earlier years of my life when I struggled with acceptance. Now, it kind of comes naturally.. Enough about me (for now)

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So what’s so great about great personalities.

OPPORTUNITIES SEEM TO JUST….OPEN UP

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One day you’re having a conversation with someone and the next day you have a job. You could have been simply talking about the joy of making pies with the elderly or the commonality of the euphoric feeling after seeing a superhero movie. But it is not what you said; it is HOW you said it… your timing…and how you made that person feel. It’s an…. art almost.

ALMOST DRAMA FREE

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Now there are some people who are just determined to not like you because other people are drawn to you. But besides that, you’re most of the time seen as a confidant, mentor of some sort, or everyone’s close friend. You walk into a role or roles in people’s lives without asking. And since you are someone that matters to people, it is a low probability of them trying to ruin that.

And of course there’s more, butt that was not the point of this blog =]

Ok so now that my least favorite portion is out of the way. The cons.

YOU’RE SO DARN LIKABLE

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I had to ask myself, Wait is that bad? Ehh, it depends. I remember watching the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Lisa was blaming Will for being just too likable. And Will responded, “Oh darn, that’s a character flaw.” I laughed out loud literally and not the fake smile scrolling through social media. Then, I began to think about it. People LOVE to feel loved, appreciated, respected, and valued and people with great personalities usually know the things to say or do to spark those feelings in other individuals. It’s human nature -> when you find a source of those “good feelings”, you return to it. And expect more. And can end up abusing it if not careful. People then like to soak you up for their own good, and leave you dry. You’re definitely likable alright, but you never know for what reason until the relationship takes its course. Now if my self-esteem hadn’t been worked on while mastering this great personality, I could have turned into a people pleaser, but thank God I know how to say no and learned self-care. You then have to become strategic when guarding your peace. When I say strategic, I mean you have to choose days when you will simply focus on yourself and what you like to do. You have to avoid places sometimes because your energy is automatically expected and it’ll be a disappointment if your “charm” was not put to work. There are more scenarios, but you get the point right?

YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL FRIENDZONER     

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          ……   

Ok so this one could just be me, but I am going to elaborate because it matters. What does it mean to be a professional friendzoner? Do take note that not everyone with a great personality is a friendzoner, buuuuttt those who friendzone usually have a great personality. I mean think about it. A friendzoner is nice enough to allow their rejection of you rest in friendship so you’re not completely devastated (bahaha). But a professional friendzoner has experience in the friendzoning business. At least 5-7 years under his/her belt. You say something or do things that either discourages the other person from pursuing/having hope in you or you have no idea how to even let the other person know you are actually interested. There are more complex definitions, but let’s stick with that. Now in my training to master this great personality, my confidence was low in the beginning. If I knew I didn’t look like the most wanted girl, I had to develop some skill to keep people’s attention. So if the guys didn’t “see me like that”, maybeee they eventually will with what I say. (around 12 yrs old at this time) But I quickly got discouraged with that thinking, and said “Hey, I at least want to be able to communicate and make friends”. BINGO! I did that. And well. Too well…I could not see beyond anyone looking at me besides that good reliable friend. Unless the gentlemen DIRECTLY said “Ashley, I am interested in dating you”, I missed all of the signs in the world. I mean there could have been a billboard…I digress. And of course they wouldn’t know that I liked them because I just knew how to talk to people. I knew how to keep up great conversation. I was a great listener and so forth. Flirting was not in my repertoire and I missed that class in my teenage years. I didn’t really know how to single a person out and make them feel special because…. I talked to everyone the same. I friendzoned out of familiarity, even when I really liked someone.  Don’t worry; I’ve gotten a little better (haha) And if you’re anything like me, your friendly manner also gave people the wrong idea unintentionally. Sigh, I just like people man.

OK, you guys knew it was coming! Let’s throw being a believer in the mix.

Along with that great personality, AND being a believer….Now you’re stuck feeling

YOU CANNOT HAVE ANY BAD DAYS

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………     

Your great personality goes from something you mastered to you exuding the joy of the Lord. Which is NOT bad. But if not careful, people will put you in this happy go lucky Christian box and assume if you are not showing your best side and entertaining the entire room, your relationship with God is rockkkyyyyy. “I thought you were a believer?” “Are you not glad God woke you up this morning? I mean isn’t that what you tell me??”

There can be a lot said about people thinking you turned into a jubilant robot after giving your life to the Lord, but I think I’ll just do another post on that…another day.

So for those who are reading this and thinking “Oh come on, howwww dramatic can you be right now!? So are you upset that you have a “great” personality?? ‘Sucks’ to be you huh??”

LOL. No. BUT. If you are one who heavily leans on that awesome friend/person that can just brighten up your day with two words, just be mindful of possible things going on in their lives you have no idea about. Be considerate. Don’t abuse these people with your never ending problems. Ask them how are they once in a while. AND if you are someone who can relate to what was described above, make sure you have someone in your life that you consider to be awesome so that “this greatness” is not a one way street. Someone that can uplift you as well. Or recognize it in yourself because YOU my dear friend are hard to come by. Most people suck. Just being honest.

I’m just thankful that God placed some amazing people in my life who were able to see past my “great personality” and pride and all the other flaws to love me unconditionally.

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To God be the Glory

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I wrote this to merely share an experience. An experience that went beyond me, to speak volumes for me, before I could. Although the previous sentence sounds a bit invasive and silencing, this was all of my doing, and sort of a social experiment.

I am sitting in a chair anticipating the moment. My name is about to be called. I am about to graduate from college! A place where my purpose in life was confirmed through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and those who were around me helped to affirm that as well. My peers and professors saw me as the dancer, the leader, the “girl who co-lead Bible Study”, the student on several executive boards of organizations, the disciplined student, the listener, the counselor to a few, and much more. I had reached a milestone in my life that millions never got a chance to reach. And this chapter in my life was about to end…. But what is scaring me, what is actually on my mind is what I look like….and what I am about to look like. And no, I do not mean the Is my makeup okay for the photo op afterwards?” “Will this cap stay on my curly wig??” “Do I look like a whale in my cap and gown??” type of questions. I was passed this portion of anxiety.

I knew that after my day of graduation, I had a decision to make that would affect something so pivotal in my identity. I was cutting my hair. To a low fade. No color added to “soften” the look either. What.are.THEY.gona.THINK!? “They” included family, friends, and potential male suitors. With just a few of the titles I had mentioned above, I knew that I held a certain place in lots of people’s lives and it made me nervous to shatter an image they had of me. So fast forward to Memphis. I am sitting in a chair anticipating the moment. My name is about to be called. I am about to cut off all of my hair.

THE LEAD UP

Hair was always very important in my family, as it is in many African American families. I remember the days of the burning relaxer, or the soreness of the scalp after sitting for hours for individuals, or the headaches after wigs being tightened a little too much for a little too long. Did not matter how I was feeling or what was happening in my life, my hair was to be tamed and admired. Yea I said it, Admired. If there was nothing cute on my person that day…week..(there were  some rough college weeks) I lived for the compliments of my hair. It made me feel good. I put a lot of time in styles and spent a lot of money on my hair. Many do not know, but I have a scalp situation called seborrheic psoriasis. It is not fatal and it was NOT the cause of me cutting my hair. But with this condition, my scalp is very dry and dandruff are my shoulders’ best friend (ew, I know right). When I heard of people going days without washing their hair or rarely dealing with dandruff, I thought wow, what does THAT feel like. I know I am sounding pretty dramatic right now, but I basically have to wash my hair about every 3 days. I am PUSHING it when I wait until 4. It is not that bad of a condition, but it has always made me self-conscious about how others saw my hair and scalp. I had to be very selective on hairstyles or I could run the risk of scaring people thinking I had lice or something. So long story short, my hair was my pride and joy for it felt like an accomplishment for my hair to be praised with all of the work I had to put into it.

To add to the scalp insecurity, I have struggled with body image just about all of my life. Plus size, heavy set, fat, whatever you want to call it, that is the body type I identify with. Because of this insecurity, I focused primarily on the neck up. I loved, and still love, my face and the grade of my hair. If I put my energy into those two, surely no one will pay attention to the rest of me. Irrational thinking, I know. But if I was able to ignore my body, then I just expected everyone else too.

You might be thinking, Well Ashley if you loved hair so much, why is it all gone? Sigh, let’s keep digging shall we.

SO WHY??

I was asked this question a lot. And that is understandable. It was pretty abrupt and seemed “out of character” for someone like me and my hair history (haha, hair history really tickled me). So to cut it all off without warning—I get it. I get the confusion.

Homegirl must be going through.

Wow, she’s so brave.

You know what, I don’t usually like when women cut off all of their hair, but it’s real nice on you.

Wow girl you got the face for it, couldn’t be me!

 

 Just to name a few responses.

 

But when people would ask me, I could usually tell if they wanted the sugar coated version or my real answer. Just like when people ask “how are you?” in passing, they are NOT expecting the real answer to slow them down from their destinations. A simple “fine” would suffice. Just like a simple “Trying something new” suffices for most people. And trust me, I am not salty about that. Repeatedly explaining it gave me a sense of accountability with my reasoning (good ollllleeee accountability).

 

Earlier, I discussed my body image insecurity briefly. God has a funny way of reminding you that it is impossible to fall in love with Him and His people…and forget about yourself.

 

Mark 12:30-31 NIV Love the Lord with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind and with all of your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

 

And that is what I have tried to do knowingly and unknowingly since I decided to give Him all of my being in December of 2015. Cutting off my hair meant I couldn’t run from ME anymore. I was forced to face who I was and what I felt about myself. Some readers who have interacted with me may be a little confused at this point. “But Ashley is so confident, I don’t understand”. “But Ashley lead the Bible Studies with so much authority, I knew for sure she was confident in who God had created her to be.” “But Ashley has encouraged ME to be a better me.” But Ashley….But Ashley….is human. Is flawed. Is imperfect. BUT loves the Lord with all of her and allows Him to use her/me as a vessel for His people. Trust me, I am not here to brag on my reputation, for none of the glory belongs to me, it belongs to my Father.

 

ALMOST THERE…

I played multiple scenarios in my head to brace myself for impact. Impact of reality- I was going to be a 5’10” plus size female with no hair. There was no way I could “hide” from myself anymore. I could no longer distract the men in my life with my various and unpredictable hairstyles from my excessive weight gain. But the beautiful thing in releasing something so important to you, whether it be hair, food, control over your destination, whatever, God is able to show you just how much it is not needed to be whole. I didn’t need it to be beautiful. I didn’t need it to be accepted. So as the compliments and criticisms continue to pour in, I see that I have never been happier with a hairstyle before now. I am not sure how long it will be this length and I am not sure if this is how it will be forever, but this experience altogether has pushed me to see myself more as my Heavenly Father sees me. It has also pushed me to write to you all. To challenge you to literally “let go” and let God show you more than what you bargained for.

To God be the Glory

 

This is a wonderful moment. You are reading my very first blog post. Yea, YOU! I mean, how cool is that!? If you head to my About page, you’ll get the information on the why behind this creation and what you can expect from it. But for now, just relax with your phone in a comfortable position or from whatever you are reading this on, and slide to my real first blog post hehe. Again, welcome =] Oh I left you something down below, you have officially found the party *cool emoji inserted here*