Survivors Share This: Just Lean Into that Messy Work Life Balance Because It’s All about the Blend

by Ashley Lowe, Karana Rising

Work and life. There is a lot of talk about balance. What if it’s not balance. Now, more than ever, it’s blending your life in a way that works for you and those you love. So, lean into the beauty of a messy life of work, home and everything else happening around you.

I am a 26 year old mom of 2 boys and two girls who keep me on the run. I’m also in business school and a professional advocate for survivors of human trafficking at Karana Rising. I”m also a survivor of child sex trafficking in America.

Five years ago, if you would have asked me where I wanted to be in life, I would have said nothing. Honestly, I felt like I was going nowhere. Now, I’m blending a life of love, family, advocacy and a dream of helping girls who are going through what I went through.

I am creating a blend of life that works for me. Let’s see if some of what I’ve learned can help you, too.

Define your blend

Okay, so you have two jobs and 3 kids? Or, no job and 10 bills? Let’s figure out what all do YOU have to do to get by each day? That’s like the core blend. I do this by honestly making a daily list of the 4 things I have to do. I strive to make sure those are done. For me, that’s making sure the kids eat well, my school work is done and I make time for my husband and I. If I end up only giving the kids frozen Mac n cheese, I know sometimes that is the best I can do.

Know what’s bothering you the most and do not run

You have to deal with the things bothering you the most because if you don’t, you won’t have time to do all that stuff that makes your life blended. So, if you are worried about how to pay that phone bill, look at what you can do to solve this. That might mean being humble and asking for help from a friend. It might mean calling the phone company and exploring options. Or, maybe you are dreading a conversation with someone you love. You don’t want them to be upset with you. Well , in my experience, if you get these worries out of the way, you have more time to be flexible enough for a blended life.

Hold onto your dreams.

It took me years to see my future was really possible. If you had asked me five years ago what I saw for myself, I would have simply said, “I don’t.” I didn’t have dreams and so life was empty. It took years before I saw my past was not what was holding me down. It is actually my wings to help myself and girls coming up behind me who deserve to have dreams, too. I am currently in school for my bachelors degree for business administration and accounting. This is a little crazy with kids at home and working as an advocate, but my dream is to start a nonprofit to help girls who are struggling like I was when I was a kid. I have been in these girls shoes and so I can relate to them.

Know your own story and let go of shame

Growing up I have been in a lot of placement like group homes, juvenile detention centers, and much more. I was very angry and broken as a child and my actions definitely showed it. I literally ran from help because I didn’t think I deserved it. Under that anger was a little girl covered in fear and shame. I was labeled a runaway, throw away, prostitute and worse by the time I was 13 years old. I was even arrested for prostitution as a kid. Even then, I knew that was wrong. Now I know that I was right to be angry. I was mistreated but it was not my fault. Now, I can hold space for my past but it does not drag me down. I’m no longer ashamed. I’m proud of overcoming. Don’t ever be ashamed of where you have came from it doesn’t matter, what matters is where do you stand in today’s life change just doesn’t happen over night. It’s a time consuming project and it’s okay because it definitely took me a long time to get to where I’m at today.

Let Those Who Love You In

I have four kids. Yes, I said it. Four. I talk to my kids about who I am and how I feel. I also let my husband know how he can support me. When I’m working or trying to finish school projects, I can get stressed because the kid are running around me wanting stuff. Only, I’m realizing that it’s okay. It’s literally okay to let my kids be in the room while I do my stuff. They should see their mom working. They should even see that I also have my moments. After all, I’m doing this so they will have a better future for themselves. There is nothing wrong with being blended we all have been in the mixing bowl at one point in our life but it something that can be fixed and have a beautiful outcome.

Ask for Help

I feel as though if you have the right people in your circle and the right motivation and guidance you will get through, trust me you can’t do it bye yourself. There is nothing wrong with you asking somebody for help. This world was never meant for perfect people because we can’t even agree on what “perfect” is anyway!

Find Someone Who Mentors You During These Crazy Times

I needed it I didn’t even know where to turn for help until I meet Andrea from Karana Rising. Not only has she helped me, she made me realize and understand that I was a victim, not in the sense where I needed attention or to be babied, but the attention for me to strive and thrive. She really got me out my shell.

In a way I am thankful for the challenges that I have faced in my life because even in your darkest moments there is still that light that is ready to shine on you. So blend your life so that you are surrounded by your dreams, own your struggle and have those who love you no matter what is past or is to come.

Ashley Lowe is an advocacy lab associate at Karana Rising as well as a jewelry designer, mother, student and poet.

Survivors Share This is a production of Karana Rising. Join us each week to learn with and from survivors and allies as we build a global space for survivors changing their lives and the world around them! Support our survivor team and the support we offer all survivor members to ensure they are safe, connected and able to thrive.

Karana Rising is by survivors, for survivors. Our team leads innovative labs in wellness, design, advocacy & education to support survivors of human trafficking

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