Have you ever browsed through your social-media timeline or a blog and been hit with a pang of jealousy? A seemingly perfect photo can cause a downward spiral and make you ask yourself ugly questions like, “Why don’t I look like that?” and “Why can’t my apartment be that beautiful?”
As they say, comparison is the thief of joy. If you’re feeling envious of another woman’s life, you might be failing to see the struggles and insecurities that woman has gone through, that we all go through. As they also say, her success isn’t your failure. Instead, praise her for her journey and praise yourself for yours.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 11.5
Some women are incredibly lucky and know their career paths very early in life. That can be discouraging to those of us who are still trying to figure it out. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered that between the ages of 18 to 48, women have an average of 11.5 jobs. And that makes sense. Our lives are so different at age 20 than at 35. Maybe you have kids, move across the country, get burnt out or even come across an amazing entrepreneurial opportunity. Today, let’s give some gratitude for all the opportunities we have had and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Ashley Woodson Bailey, Photographer
Ashley Woodson Bailey is an example of a vibrant woman who altered courses in her career due to a life-changing hardship, and turned her misfortune into a blossoming business. Ashley was a raving success for two decades as a floral designer, a passion that began when she was 19 and desired a lavish Midsummer Night’s Dream kind of atmosphere for her birthday party. While working with the florist to make that dream come to life, Ashley had an even bigger realization: She had found her calling.
But in 2012, fate handed her a shock: a near-fatal car accident. Amazingly, Ashley survived the collision, but sustained massive injuries, including a broken back and broken ribs, and spent seven months recovering. During her time of healing, she recognized that she would no longer be able to physically live the life she once did, providing floral arrangements for grandiose occasions. But Ashley didn’t despair. She didn’t give up her floral dreams. Instead, she took her love affair with flowers to a new level and found a new way to express it: by taking photos.
Initially only using her iPhone, this self-taught photographer shot and posted photos of flowers on Instagram and achieved quite the following. The concept bloomed, and before long, Ashley found herself amid a thriving business that grew beyond social media to include prints and images on wallpaper and even clothing.
And success couldn’t find a more deserving woman. Late last year, Ashley posted a photo of herself sitting at her kitchen table, a giant body brace holding her up. The photo was from the day after she was released from the hospital. Bandaged up, a grin on her face, she arranges flowers to be given to those who cared for her while she recovered. That’s just the thoughtful kind of person Ashley is.
When it comes to sharing her story and experiences, Ashley has plenty of insight. Her advice for young artists is simply to try everything, and eventually, something will feel exactly right. Then, be sure to follow through, as Ashley has done. She says she’ll take 200 photos of a single flower at all stages of its life, from freshly picked to wilted. Ashley’s expressive images depict both the darkness and lightness that flowers—and life—can bring. And she is the perfect example that, despite what life hands us, there’s always an opportunity to turn over a new leaf.
QUITE THE QUOTE
With Ashley Woodson Bailey’s amazing story in mind, I’ll leave you today with this quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald, who said:
“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.