© 2018 by Ashley Thomas

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Seems odd to live in the tension of wasting away when you are knocking on the door of 30. While I suspect I have a lot of life left to live, I can’t neglect the life I have lived thus far and all it has taught me about myself, my family and friends and the greater community. Nicknames are often given as terms of endearment by those who know us best. My nickname is Smash. I was given that nickname at a very young age. It quickly caught on as a name close loved ones used for me. Eventually others heard my family use it and chose to use it too. Eventually “Smash” represented the athlete.

 

The athlete who appeared to have it all together. The athlete who performed at a high level and wanted everyone to be enamored by her performance. If that sounds exhausting, trust me it was. Especially when I was unwilling to allow people into any other part of my life. My family endured challenges and setbacks while I made poor choices personally, academically, and relationally. I did it all with a smile, few words spoken and a knack towards storing everything internally. Life for me was a game that a few won, leaving most of us in the rut of continually training to do so. I was interested in winning and when it felt like all I was producing were losses - I didn’t find value in life. Although, I continued to play the game.

 

When my career ended there was a period of time where I would cringe every time someone called me Smash. I was not proud of who I had been and I was fearful people wouldn’t be interested in getting to know the real person behind “Smash” or the athlete that hid behind that name.

 

Before I sound like someone with a personality disorder, let me just say - the names we are given can and often influence our identity.

 

My hope is that this blog will help you remain rooted in the only nickname that matters...beloved. Together we will explore the power of being radically vulnerable and intentionally present in a community that longs to know and be known. I will share my own story as well as those near and dear to me: broken men, women and children. Some broken in familiar ways like prideful, selfish and vain and others in not so familiar..addiction, abuse and homelessness.

 

Together, we call out and call up one another to BE who God calls us to be.. BELOVED sons and daughters.

I once read it is important to write; even if no one ever reads what you write. I have found writing to be one of the most therapeutic things in life. It has helped me remember, shifted my paradigm, forced me to be present and transformed my mind, body and soul. I write for me, and by the Grace of God I hope it helps you too. I hope it allows you to see the value in your words and the opportunity you have to instill truth, inspire and invite others to live a flourishing life. 

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