A proud graduate of The Academy of the Sacred Heart, an all-girl Catholic school in Grand Coteau, La., I have maintained a deep interest in the advancement of women since high school. Sacred Heart proudly instilled in us five goals which, to this day, I can repeat verbatim: 1) A personal and active faith in God, 2) A deep respect for intellectual values, 3) Community awareness which impels one to action, 4) Commitment to the building of a community with Christian values while respecting other religions, and 5) A commitment to personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom.
As a part of a high school project, I spent three weeks in New York working with the homeless. That trip changed my life. It made me realize how blessed I truly was to be raised in a family with such strong men and women, and to study with truly amazing teachers. As early as I can remember, the adults in my life told me how intelligent and attractive I was, and, most importantly, that there was nothing I couldn’t achieve in life, no matter what.
Now, as a single mother, these are the same things I tell my child every single day, and the things I hope to share with the people I work with every day. As a makeup artist for many years, I met many discouraged women and men, that no amount of money or good looks could “fix.” My experiences included working with one women who had a family and all the money in the world, but could barely drag herself out of bed because of depression. Another client could have easily graced the cover of any magazine, but had severely low self-esteem. I once met a man who was so negative, he literally could not see the good in anything or anyone he met.
These people had several things in common — no motivation, lack of self worth, and negative outlooks. Quite frankly, being around them made me angry. I’m a firm believer that each of us has been given a unique gift or talent. I know life can be tough, but you have to be tougher, especially during tough times. Recognizing one’s gifts is an important part of life. It leads one to appreciate their contributions to society — however small —and to improve their self worth.
Because of these experiences I started writing a self-motivational book about a year ago, entitled “You Better Do It!” It’s filled with what I like to call “Ashley-isms.” The book, like myself, is a work in progress. I know that I don’t know everything, but I feel compelled to share what I have learned to help encourage people to live their lives to the max. People need uplifting and motivation. Even if I reach only one person, I’ve done something important.
One thing about Louisianans is that we are fighters — we try our best to stick with it and stay positive. My goal for this book is to teach people to move forward, let go of the past, release the hurt, and refuse to return to the old pain, because the energy it takes to hang onto the past holds you back from a new life. The book itself is short, to the point, motivational, positive, and sassy … kind of like the Creole woman I am!
I have always loved the quote “Believe in your dreams and they may come true; believe in yourself and they will come true.” I believe that this book will help a lot of people, I believe in myself, and I’ll chant “Who Dat!” because I believe this is one dream that will come true.