"Yeah, but you're Ashley Weber."
I wake up at 4:30 every morning, Monday-Thursday, for a fitness bootcamp.
I know it sounds crazy, but I love it. I truly do. It's something that has changed me... not only physically, but mentally ...emotionally.
It's a fight, but it's one I can't imagine not fighting.
I work out with amazing people. People from every walk of life. People working to become the best versions of themselves. People with reason. People whose physical strength far outweigh my own and people who are just starting their journeys.
This morning, one of the bootcamp leaders said the above to me.
I looked at him feeling hopeless, feeling like I couldn't squat for another second, feeding him excuses. ...and he said, "Yeah, but you're Ashley Weber."
I didn't say anything back to him, but his words triggered an instant internal thought.. "What's that supposed to mean!?" "Is that supposed to mean something!?"
That's where I want to stop you.
...because it does "mean" something.
It means something for all of us... But it's up to each and every one of us to choose that meaning. To create it and to fight every day for it. What words float above your head, what meaning spins around your soul, your body, your being... What does your name instill in others?
What is your purpose? Are you happy?
Does your name represent the person that you truly want to be? The person that you think you are...
His question lingered inside of me for the rest of the work out.
It was there when I drove home, it was in my tears this morning as I sat at the bottom of my shower crying... partially out of exhaustion, partially because I know that I have busted my ass building myself these past two years. Because I have been struggling to define, "Ashley Weber." Because I have ripped so much darkness from my heart. Because I needed to know my own answer to his statement without having to question it for the rest of the day... the week... my life.
I have buried my name time and time again only to turn around to dig myself back up and wash myself clean. I have cried hopelessly and I have rejoiced in everything beautiful. I have walked a thousand miles away from the broken person that I used to be. And it was hard. It was fucking hard. As I type this, I feel both strength and complete weakness... but not only do I want to be completely open here, I want to make you feel like you can be also. I want you to question your name, your existence... because I want to tell you that your life can change. You can change. You can be happy and you can be the exact person that you want to be. And I want you to know that that it is hard, but it is worth it.
I pray that my words stick. I hope with every single part of my blood and bones that something I do today can change someone, something, somehow ...for the better.
I want my name to breathe gratitude, humility, selflessness.
I want to make this day count, because for all that I know, this could be my very last.
And it could be yours too.
I want you to know that I am here for you.
...That there are so many people that will be there for you. That you need to be there for you.
That your happiness can change others and that purpose can change the world.