I am so excited to feature Ashley Nash as a PHREAdom Leader! Today is her 21st birthday! I hope everyone will enjoy this profile just as much as I enjoyed writing it. Happy Birthday Nash! Your birthday wish was accomplished. You are a published author!
Last fall, Ashley Nash,left, and Amber shared their video about their personal reflection called “Behind the
Smiles, Beyond the Letters” by accident. It wasn’t supposed to go on Facebook or YouTube, but it was the easiest route to share the video for their class assignment. The video told their story about their suicide attempts and how they overcame that time in their lives. The video left the classroom dead silent. Although the classroom was silent, their phones were going crazy with Facebook notifications from friends, families, sorority sisters and classmates who were also watching the video. In a matter of weeks, the video became a hit to their community. To date, the video has more than 3500 views. Who knew words could be so powerful? They received numerous comments from people who told them their video saved their life.
In April 2013, Nash, a full-time honors student at South Carolina State University, has published her first book. Words for Warning is about a spoken word artist who commits suicide and her family tries to pick up the pieces to find the reason it happened. Her family realizes they should’ve been listening to the cries for help through the artist’s words.
Nash was working on this book for a year and a half, but living on a college income delayed the process of becoming published a bit.
It took between two to three months to publish because it cost around $800, she said.
Her birthday wish was to become a published author before she turned 21-years-old. She accomplished it.
“I ate a lot of ramen noodles and missed a lot of parties,” Nash said. “I wouldn’t take it back.”
At the age of 11 and growing up in Spartanburg, S.C., writing became Nash’s way of expressing herself and escaping from the family and self-esteem issues.
Nash’s first poem got published as a teenager. Her focus is mainly poetry, but she wrote songs as well. After graduating next spring with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Nash’s goal is to write to pay for everything else she wants to do including creating a neighborhood type environment for people of lower income. However, the likelihood of a second book is contingent of the sales of Words for Warning. She has received some support from her family, friends, but she hasn’t really received much outside support.
She usually has to re-introduce the video and then mention the video in order to get outsiders to actually help support her, Nash said.
Passion for writing and helping others
“My passion for writing and helping others is what kept me alive,” Nash said.
She explained during her suicidal phase, she remembers her parents leaving and she was forced to pretty much take care of their little brother. Her sister was pregnant at 16. Her brother who was three years younger than her had heart problems. Nash had to take on the adult role of making sure they had food on the table, homework was completed, and they went to school. She was barely a teenager herself.
She overcame her childhood through her words, service and dedication. She received a full academic scholarship at South Carolina State University. She was also awarded 2013 Bulldog of the Year, which is an award that goes to one female and one male every year.
When she isn’t working at Ryan’s, in the gym working out, or helping out with her sorority (Sigma Gamma Rho) doing community service, she is writing.
Hope is built and sometimes tested
Nash explained that she’s rediscovering hope and faith.
She said it was tested. She didn’t understand why God would put her through those tough situations.
She has tattoos of hope and faith to help her build it again.
Respect doesn’t always change with time
Nash said she’s experienced a lack of respect from some of her family members, and they would always see her as the chunky little girl with glasses.
Her relationship with her sister is much better, but her relationship with her mother and grandfather hasn’t changed much.
Empowerment happens overtime
“I never really felt empowered until joining different organizations in college,” she said.
Nash’s support was recognized and appreciated on the campus for different activities. If Nash supported the activity, others followed the bandwagon. Nash’s support helped their freshman class president win the election her first year at the university.
“It never really hit me how much of a voice I had,” she said.
Ambition to grow and not worry about mismatch socks
Nash wants to be able to give people an opportunity to get out of their situation. She plans to do it with the neighborhood which will include homes, daycare centers, jobs and schools.
Sometimes it’s hard to break free of situations, she said.
She recalls her former manager at her first job telling her the job becomes people. She didn’t see herself working at her job for the rest of her life. She wanted a career.
“I see how people forget about a career,” she said. However, she knew if she wanted to be more she had to grow as person.
“There’s no growth in comfort, and there’s no comfort in growth,” she quoted from her trainer and good friend.
Another one of her mantra’s is “Never worry about mismatch socks.” She got it from her best friend.
The idea is no one knows you are wearing mismatch socks or any other issue unless you tell them, she said.
Some issues just aren’t major to share, she said.
“It keeps me going,” Nash said.
If you are interested in purchasing Words for Warning by Nash, please visit Barnes & Nobles, Amazon, and Ebookstore by Sony. You can follow Nash on Twitter and Instagram at sincerely_nash or find her on Facebook as Ashley Nash.