Inspiration, by definition, is ‘the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative’. Therefore, inspiration is something that always causes a reaction. You can be inspired to do everything from exercise and eat well to create and paint or to write novels. You can be inspired to be a better person and to show more kindness, you can be inspired to make the lives of other people better or enhance the life of your own.
Inspiration is necessary for growth and in life if we aren’t growing, we aren’t changing and if we aren’t changing, then we’re getting left behind. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss a thing, I don’t want to get left behind.
My name is Ashley and someone told me once that I was a pleasant surprise. The entire scene was like being in some romantic comedy where the ‘always overlooked girl’ gets swept away for an evening by the ‘sort of rough around the edges poetic guy’ – there was even a guitar. Looking back at it now, it was incredibly corny and naive, but the sentiment stuck with me all the same. When I need inspiration, I frequently think back to that moment.
When I think about pleasant surprises, I think about an iced coffee with just the right amount of caramel drizzle or an afternoon that calls for rain but ends up being bright and sunny. I think about seeing a setlist at a concert but hearing your band throw in your favorite song just because the energy in the room was right. I think about the way there’s magic in some days, most often, the days you believe that it’s tangible, and I think about the way that when you give your heart to someone else entirely that you end up getting more love in return.
When I think of pleasant surprises, I think about inspiration and how you can find it in almost anything as long as you’re open to it. I think about the way a sunset can inspire a novel or the way a kiss can inspire a song. The way heartbreak can inspire great change and how music can inspire you to do almost anything. Inspiration is required for everything, the good and the bad, and when I let myself be inspired over the last two years, I’ve received more than I ever imagined would be mine.
As a writer, you have to be able to feel more than you see. You have to be able to taste and to touch and to understand that life isn’t about going through the motions; it’s about the seconds that turn into minutes that carry out your favorite songs and the days that turn into weeks that hold your most precious memories.
Some of those days turned weeks for me are the week of the fourth of July in 2010 when I found out that I was pregnant. The week of February 21st of 2011 when my son was born, early, and I was told the next day that if I’d waited even 5 more moments to go to the hospital I would have lost him. The week of December 25th when my son took his first steps and the week of January 20th when I spent my first birthday as a mother. The week of August 5th in 2011 when I started writing again and the week of January 2012 when I thought what I was writing was worth it.
There were important weeks between then and now too, many with my child – like the weeks we went through tests and found out he was autistic and the weeks of therapy where I wondered if it was my fault and his sweet smile reassured me that fault wasn’t the right word. He was given to me because our hearts are the only ones capable of loving one another correctly and that’s nothing short of a miracle.
Lately, those important days turned weeks have been thanks to CelebMix, Fan Fest News, and now Fuzzable. These outlets have given my words a method of outreach which has given me the power to touch the lives of those I love and those I don’t yet know. I’ve met my best friends through these opportunities, some of my favorite celebrities and musicians. I’ve gone to festivals and concerts and television show premieres and I’ve experienced more than I deserve.
Like the week of August 23rd when I went to Chicago and met one of my best friends in person, then met a pretty cool guy who texts me about The Winter Soldier, and then I met Norman Reedus. Yep. The week of October 29th was really awesome too because I went to Atlanta with another one of my best friends and got photobombed in a selfie with Michael Cudlitz by Scott Wilson, I saw Norman again – yep – and got to hear Tom Payne sing on stage with a makeshift band.
These things, these chances that I took and these memories that make up the best parts of my life wouldn’t have been possible without inspiration and that inspiration, in large, is due to one statement made to me back in high school. One statement that helps me out of my own head.
Sometimes, inspiration comes from believing in yourself even when it seems impossible and it comes from facing things that hurt, losing people you love, experiencing moments that weaken your spirit and standing tall when you feel like falling down. It comes from getting through the bad just as often as it comes from taking in the good.
If you’re still reading this, tweet me and I’ll send you brownies or at the very least, interesting gifs for allowing me to take up so much of your time. These blog posts are supposed to allow our readers to get to know us better and I think I may have sufficiently bored you out of truly wanting to get to know me at all. When I found out that I had to write about myself, I cringed, then I hoped that I could share something important to me and maybe that it would help someone looking for inspiration of their own. Maybe it could help someone see that they’ve already been given that seed that will allow their dreams to sprout and to grow, and that they might not even know it yet.
So I guess, in closing, I’m Ashley (again), I’m a single mom, a writer, a dreamer, and I like the color yellow and things that sparkle and iced coffee and One Direction. I like laughing so hard your cheeks hurt and the way you get butterflies in your stomach when you’re around someone you love. I also think Norman Reedus is quite possibly the coolest guy on the planet (and the most dreamy – sorry), and I’d love to get more about all of you, too.