A letter.

*big FAT Ashley Mitchell disclaimer.  This is NOT to anyone specifically, just to anyone and everyone that has every found themselves in this position.  If you think it is about you and you are hurt by this...maybe you are guilty of something, maybe not...again this wasn't about you.  

This is not a post about loving each other like Christ loves us.  Why?  Because that is NOT even possible.  There is not one human that I know that loves like Christ loved.  I know many amazing people that strive to be Christ-like but none of them would sacrifice their life for me, love me no matter how imperfect I am and forgive all my indiscretions.  

This is not a post about forgiving others and treating others like you would want to be treated.  We as humans are not very good at that.  WE are of a judgmental, grudge holding nature. We are extremely insecure and have not mastered the art of true acceptance.  Everyone has a different moral compass, some don't care how they treat others or how others treat them so that would be a pointless argument.  

This is nothing more than a letter.  

Dear misinformed stranger(s),

My name is Ashley.  I guess you know that already.  I have two kids and a husband.  I guess you know that too.  I live in Utah and I LOVE it here.  I know, I know you already know that.  You seem to know an awful lot about me and my life.  BUT my dear stranger, I have a feeling that there is actually VERY little that you know about me.

I am not in the business of convincing people that they should like me and I am NOT in the business of making apologies for who or what I am.  I am however here on my knees in tears as I write this deeply and sincerely apologizing to you for any harm that I have caused, any ill treatment that I have shown you  or any direct cause or pain that I brought upon you.  It is NEVER my intention to hurt another and I am deeply hurt if I have done so to you.  

I am a really good person.  I am fun and funny and a little crazy.  I am silly and witty and love to laugh.  I really love to help others.  I love to serve others.  I would literally give my shirt off my back if I needed too.  My husband and I pay out of our own pocket daily to keep my business going...not for fame, not for praise but because I LOVE the women I serve so much that I don't EVER want them to be without a safe place to share their story and to be celebrated.  EVEN if that means that I go without.  

Next I don't have many friends.  People think that I am surrounded by people, that I have all these REALLY close friends, like this following or something.  I can count on ONE hand the number of true, close friends that I have and this includes my husband.  Just because I am no longer in the circle of an individual does NOT mean that I hate that person or that I have "beef" with a person.  More often than not people are in our life for a beautiful season and they are here to be a blessing or a lesson.  Good or bad I have had many many amazing people in my life.....but just for a season.  That is the way that this life recycles.  Look back in your life, how many have crossed your path only to stay for a short while.  EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON that has spent time in my life was there for a reason, and they are greatly loved and respected and they wished nothing but the best on their next journey.  I know that people say they know me because we spent some time together, or because they have been in "my group" for a certain amount of time or because they saw me on "vacation".  People that say they are my friend most likely are not.  I love and serve many many people but my friends....my family doesn't stretch that far.  

I know I am not for everyone.  I am not stupid enough to think that every person that meets me is going to like me.  BUT I am willing to bet that if you actually took the time to know me, to sit knee to knee with me, to let me share my journey with you, to let me love on your heart and lift your spirit that more would like than hate.   People don't take the time to get to know people any more. WE think we know people because of what we post or write or share or comment but that is such a small small glimpse.  There is NO heart and soul through a screen and you can't pretend to know someone until you do.  I hope to get to know you better.  

I don't hate anyone.  There is nothing more to say on that subject.  We all have differences, just like I am not for everyone there are some that are not for me....but just because we choose different circles does not mean nor will it ever mean that I hate someone.  Period.

I don't have "beef" with people.  I am not circling the schoolyard looking for a fight.

I am always the first person to throw myself under the bus.  I promise you all the imperfections, all the things that you judging me for, I am sure I already know.  I am sure that I hate it about myself too.  I could go on page after page and list everything I have done wrong, all the people that I have hurt, all the mistakes and regrets and moments of shame and weakness....but that is not what this is about.  I don't have to do that...I know what I need to do with my personal sin.  

Although I should be flattered that you have nothing better to do than to talk about me, to try and pry to get dirt on me from others, and to spy on me....I am not.  Although I should be able to "shake it off, shake it off" when people gossip on me, hate on me, and slander my name...I can't.  I do however find myself locked in my bathroom YET AGAIN hiding from my kids, from my computer and my phone...sitting on the floor and crying my eyes out.  Crying from the hurt that you have caused, crying from the questions of why do you dislike me, crying from the misinformed perception that you have of me.  I should have a damn force field up around my heart by now but I don't.  I stay open, I bleed it out, I love anyway.  

I am open, a wide open book so if there is something that you are dying to know just ask! (If you haven't noticed I am very blunt and NO topic is off the table).  I am real and honest and blunt and sincere and I will tell you how I feel, I will share my thoughts with you, I will be open and honest IF you are willing to ask me.

I do NOT in any way share this because I want sympathy.  I don't need it.  I am not sharing this for you to get mad at another.  There is no point.  I can't make you stop gossiping, I wont beg you to like me and I would never ask that you stop slandering my name (although my lawyer thinks I should).

I walked away from something I loved deeply and that took years to build because of the hate that you have shown me.  You bullied me and made me doubt myself and pushed me out.   I will not make that mistake again.  You will NOT have that kind of control over my life.  

Once again I thank you.  You are someone that is in my life right now, in this season of my life to teach me and push me harder than I have ever been pushed.  To test more than I have ever been tested.  And guess what......I am winning because of you.  So thank you.  

I am a BIG TOUGH GIRL.  I know who I am, and I know you don't.  I know that there is more to my life than what you are trying to pin on me.  This is the last time I will address this issue.  Because I know better, because I am better and because "frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"