Let it Go.

letitgoToday’s post is very different than my regular fashion or lifestyle post. This has been a post that I’ve spent countless nights tossing and turning in bed while thinking ‘will they still love my blog if I write it?’ Over the past 11 months of my blogging journey, I have been so blessed to meet the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my short 20 years of life. Each and every one of you has kept me inspired, motivated and excited to wake up every day and do what I love. I’m sitting here and still have the biggest fear that many of you will think of me differently after this post. But, that’s okay. Because I know that, by writing this, I will (hopefully) be helping at least one person who reads The Fashionista’s Diary. Ever since I was younger, I have always had a strong faith in God. When I have felt afraid, I turn to Him. When I have felt anxious, I turn to Him. But this past year has been one of the most difficult years I have ever had to endure and it has indefinitely tested my faith. Every New Year’s Eve, I hope and pray for a better year ahead. For health. For happiness. For safety. For my family. Going into 2014, I really believed it was going to be the best year of my life. I was positive that my health would improve, friendships would be gained and the anxiety would slowly fade. I thought ‘this is going to be my year.’

This past May, I was the victim of a crime that happens every single day and goes unnoticed. By saying it happens everyday, I am not saying that it is normal. Because it isn’t, and it shouldn’t be. It should never be okay. [Sigh.] In the beginning of May, I was the victim of a rape. I can’t begin to explain the toll it has taken on not only me, but my family as a whole. 2014 has proven to be the most difficult, sad and helpless year. It has left me cold and fearful every single day of my life. It has hindered my ability to get up everyday and go about my normal life. Because it is no longer the life I am used to. Needless to say, things have drastically changed. The reason I have finally decided to speak up about what happened is because I would never wish that on anyone and, if I can, I want to prevent this from happening to you. I want to tell you that you aren’t alone in this. There’s no doubt that it is a very scary world we live in. It’s a world filled with a lot of malicious people. But it’s also a world filled with beautiful people. The kind of people who have reached out to me, have held my hand throughout this difficult journey, and who have shown me that God will never give me something I am not able to handle. I strongly believe that this horrible incident happened to me because God knows I am going to use my words and my strong following to make a difference to someone, somewhere. Yes, I struggle with the reality of it all every single day. Yes, I have asked God, ‘why me?’  Yes, I have had many, many…many days where I’ve sat in my bed crying myself to sleep wishing I could rewind. Go back in time. Prevent it from happening. I’ve even gone so far as to blame myself. But it’s not my fault. It never will be my fault and I have come to terms with that. From time to time I still get very angry. I’m not perfect and I never will be. This will always be something that affects me, but it will not be something that deprives me of a happy life.

Out of fear, I chose to drop the case and not press charges. I didn’t want to be looked at differently. I didn’t want people to see me as that girl. And, for a while, my family couldn’t understand why I just let it go. I let it go because, whoever did it to me, will have to deal with God. He will have to live with himself everyday. While I resented him in the beginning, I hope he sees that this has made me a stronger person. He has given me the ability to speak up and make a difference. I let go of my hatred and thanked God that I’m alive. I let go of my anger and frustration and held on tight to my amazing family. I let go of wanting to know who did it so I could hurt him back and realized that doing so would not make me a better person. I rose above it. I put all of the negativity in an imaginary balloon, and I let that balloon go. I set it free. What has happened in the past does not define me as a person nor does it define my future. What defines my future is the actions I take today. The people I inspire right now and the love I pour out to everyone who crosses my path at this very moment, whether it be in person or through technology.

Today’s post is about letting go. Let go of those who have hurt you. Let go of the negative feelings that are suffocating you and stopping you from being happy. Stop looking for happiness in the same place that you lost it. I promise, you won’t find it there. This past weekend, I did something that I encourage you to do before the end of 2014.

I bought balloons. Each a different color, representing different things I wanted to let go of as we move into 2015. I closed my eyes, spoke out my worries, my anger and my fears in my head, then let the balloons go. I set them free. And, while setting them free, I set myself free. As 2014 comes to an end, I encourage you to do what I’ve done. Smile because you’re here today and you’re alive. Laugh because it’s a sign of pure happiness. Be a good person, despite the adversity you have faced. We may all be victims of something, but we should not let that ‘something’ stop us from being great and accomplishing what we want to in life.

Set it free. Set yourself free.

Be happy that you are here today. Life is too short to give someone the ability to strip you of the happiness you deserve.
letitgo9letitgo14letitgo13letitgo10letitgo8letitgo11

Thank you to my wonderful, amazing and infectiously positive photographer, Akamie, for capturing this moment perfectly.

letitgo6letitgo3letitgo4letitgo2letitgo5Philippians 4:13 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Lauren Ashley
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Comments

  1. Alyssa Aguero

    I think you are so strong and beautiful to post something like this. I was a victim of sexual abuse for a year when I was 11 years old. I understand your choice of “letting it go”. It’s something you need to do in order to move on. Thank you for posting something like this. God bless!

    xx, Alyssa
    http://www.kneehighsandpumpkinspice.com/

    Reply
  2. Tiffany

    You are one of the bravest, strongest, and kindest women I know. I loved you infinitely before I knew this story, I loved you infinitely when you shared this burden with me months ago, and I love you infinitely now for being brave enough to use your trials to inspire others who might face similar hardships. You are an angel, plain and simple. I know God is looking out for you, even when it doesn’t feel that way. I am so happy to call you my friend.

    Reply
  3. Savannah

    You are such an inspiration to all of us. Your beauty, love, dedication and inspiration feeds into all of your readers each and every day. I feel so fortunate to have been able to “meet” you through the web and I look forward to meeting you one day very soon! Love you girl and so happy you shared this amazing post with us all! I will be setting balloons free before the end of the year! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Brooke

    Wow…I am speechless and heartbroken that this happened to you. However, I admire you for having the courage to speak out. You are a beautiful young women and your message will be heard loud and clear. You are triumphing over a terrible situation and you are not allowing what happened to stop you from living a rich full life. God will continue to provide, put your trust in him. Hugs!

    Reply
  5. Teresa

    You are truly an amazing young woman. When I was a year younger than you something very traumatic happened to me and as I look back I don’t think I handled it as gracefully as you have handled this horrible moment in your life. This year (years after my initial trauma) I suffered two horrific health issues that have left me feeling broken and as though this year has taken any strength I had left in me. I started following your instagram because of your beautiful photos and yet here I end this year seeing that even though we have never met in person we were still meant to cross paths. Not just for a love of fashion but because of a love for life. Thank you for your inspiring words. I’m sure you are touching more lives than you know. May you have a happy, healthy new year that is full of love and laughter.

    Reply
  6. Grace

    I would be lying if I said that I didn’t tear up {aka bawl} reading this post. You’re such a strong, beautiful, and inspiring woman. I feel an overwhelming amount of respect for you. I’ve been struggling a bit with my faith as of lately, mostly because I’ve drifted away from prayer–but your post has inspired me to improve it. Thank you for sharing such a personal post–your strength is immeasurable.

    “Why are we inspired by another person’s courage? Maybe because it gives us the sweet and genuine surprise of discovering some trace, at least, of the same courage in ourselves.” -Laurence Shames

    xo,
    Grace

    Reply
  7. Jannely

    This is a very inspiring story. Never be ashamed what happened to you because God will always have your back. I enjoyed reading it and loved the idea of the balloons!

    Reply
  8. Shauni

    Amazing post! I caught myself almost in tears. I admire your courage for speaking out on this. You give me hope that all things are possible. Long as you keep the faith and have God on your side, you will be good. Your faith will take you places that you never could imagine. I think we all should do let go of all the issues and troubles of 2014 in the form of balloons as you did. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  9. Nesha

    Lauren, this post made me tear up a bit and in more ways than one, gave me hope; hope that this too shall pass and I too can get pass the horrible sexual assault that still plagues me and I am afraid to talk about. I now realize how much I have allowed this assault, that happened to me as a child; to dictate my life. Thank you for this post, it has done more for me than you will ever know. xo Nesha @ Island Hipster.

    Reply
  10. Stefanie

    Amazing post! Out of every bad situation you may encounter, there is always some good that comes out of it. Your ability to speak and encourage others is the good that has come out of it! Continue being brave and keep your faith close to you. I wish you the best!

    xo,
    Stef

    Reply
  11. Makayla M.

    Lauren, this post is amazing. If any of your followers look at you differently, it’s that they see you as a stronger person than they did before. Your story is touching and uplifting that you can look toward the future with a smile. I’m so happy you shared this, and I hope 2015 is an amazing year for you! You deserve it, and your blog rocks. Xo

    Makayla,
    Fashionably Kay

    Reply
  12. Stephanie from A Sparkle Factor

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I know it wasn’t easy for you to be so candid and open about this horrible thing you’ve grappled with. I admire your resilience and strength, and am so happy that you’ve chosen to lean on Jesus and to allow Him to use you to do amazing work, instead of allowing it to make you bitter and hard, as it would be so, so easy to do. (And really, if you had, who could blame you?) You are a beautiful person, inside and out, and I am so heartbroken that this happened to you. You are inspiring so many girls who have faced similar situations, and I am so proud of you for coming forward with this! I will keep you in MY prayers and am so happy that the blogging world brought us together!

    xx Stephanie
    http://asparklefactor.com

    Reply
  13. Carmen

    This is truly beautiful and I am so happy you decided to share your story with readers. Its important that other women know that they are not alone in this and that there is a God who will guide them through it! Your courage and bravery to share your story is commendable. And I pray many blessings and favor happen in your life!

    Love,
    Carmen.

    Reply
  14. Allyssa

    You are beyond loved and admired, Lauren! You have such a beautiful, successful, and happy life ahead for you. THANK YOU for sharing your story and turning such a dark, negative event into such an uplifting, beautiful article to help women everywhere. 2015 has great things in store for you, beautiful! <3

    Reply
  15. Alison Jeanine

    I read this post last night & felt so many emotions for you — first sadness, but then complete awe. You have such a positive spirit and now knowing your past trials and tribulations, it’s even more inspiring now. Thank you for sharing this on your blog, girl. Cheers to a brand new year and truly, letting go! Xo, Alison

    http://www.simplyfairbyalisonjeanine.com

    Reply
  16. Monica

    Lauren,

    This post completely broke my heart and completely lifted my spirits all at the same time. We never will fully understand Gods plan for our lives, but hey, we aren’t supposed too. You are truly amazing for sharing such a personal story. It absolutely kills me that such an awful thing happened to such a beautiful person (inside and out). You are such an inspiration to so many. Although I haven’t dealt with a situation quite like yours, I definitely have other things that I need to “let go”. Thanks for sharing this sweet girl. Your strength and courage are incredible. Love you!!! <3

    Reply
  17. Andrea

    I couldn’t believe such a horrible thing happened to such a wonderful person like yourself.
    You’re extremely brave in sharing but I’m more impressed with the way you’ve let things go, that is the most difficult part when dealing with things that have hurt us.

    2015 will be your year <3
    Love you girly!

    xx,
    Andrea

    Reply
  18. Adriana

    Lauren, you are one of a kind brave, beautiful girl! I know Jesus will make beauty from ashes in you. If you can read that book from Joyce Meyer (maybe you already have), I know you will find the purpose in all these since you already started! Many girls will come up to you looking for help. This is a crime that we all woman (and men) have to fight together. I am only concerned that there are a rapist out there and it could be more victims. I do believe in redemption (since I was forgiven too of all my sins by Jesus) but I don’t know if not pressing charges is the right idea (just my opinion). Letting go is important, but also we need to create awareness of this. You are a blessing!

    Reply
  19. Genesis

    I am deeply sorry this happened to you. You are so brave to speak up and share with all of us what you went through. All the anger, the pain, and for something that NO ONE SHOULD EVER GO THROUGH- EVER! While reading this blog today, you’ve inspired me to let go of a lot of anger that I held onto for many years. Thank you so much for this and I hope 2015 is filled with joy and happiness for you, your family and everyone who reads your blog. Best wishes!

    Reply
  20. joseph

    i so sorry that this happen to you.. but like you said he has to answer to God… God you be with you as he said lay all you problems at my feet… he is a healing God and i know through him you will have strenth and hope.. for this world is full of evil but thier day is coming to an end… when i was 13 i was sexual abouse by an older guy.. it took me a long time to get over it.. but i did most people dont know what i went though but i smile because i have God in my life.. so i say may God Bless you and give you strengh to carry on and hope for a better future….

    Reply
  21. Sherelle Gilbert

    I am so encouraged by this message. It’s so funny how we have plans in our heads for how we want our “year” to be, but then God has something else in mind. Who knew that your year would turn out like this and God would use that tragic test and turn it into a beautiful testimony! So thankful to have read this. Keep inspiring women!

    Reply
  22. Heather Lopez

    Thanks for sharing your story! That took a lot of strength to open up about this and if people stop reading, then they are not the kind of readers you want following you. God is making you stronger.

    Reply
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  24. Janet Eltaktouk

    I;m sorry for what happened to you,and its not alright for him to Not be jailed for what he did. But I totally respect and admire your courageous decision. Im happy to know that you have put your faith and trust in God and have turned to HIM in your time of need. HE is your Strength and your protector, and only He knows how you are to learn and grow from this horrible experience. But you already have begun to transition your thoughts into healing by just sharing your experience with the world,WITHOUT SHAME. God will use you to reach others. Here are some great scripture verses, May God always be with you.

    Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

    Ephesians 4:31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as

    in Christ God forgave you.

    Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped my heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

    Psalms 9: 9-10: 9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

    Psalms 18:12 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn [a] of my salvation, my stronghold.

    Psalm 34:18: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirits.

    Psalm 71:20-21: You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. 21 You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.

    Reply
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  27. Sara

    I am so incredibly sorry that this happened to you, and I am so proud of you for sharing your experience online. Thank you for speaking up. You deserve so much love and praise. Blessings to you.

    Reply
  28. Suzy Beltran

    Okay I can’t believe I commented (on instagram) that you are becoming my fave blogger WITHOUT reading this blog entry! Girl, you are a beautiful human being!!!!! I am officially inspired and in awe of you! I am from Miami but moved to Chicago to start a PhD program (in social work), and let me tell you, the social worker, the Miami girl, and my entire being is so proud of you! Keep on keeping on!

    xo,
    Suzy

    Reply
  29. Shevonne

    Lauren I am SO sorry this happend yo you. Thank you so much for sharing this. I can’t even imagine myself writing about something lime this but you are so brave, and for that I truly admire you
    Your post gas definitely helped me to be more aware of my surroundings. Stay beautiful and be careful eveywhere you go. I pray that things will get better for you.

    xoxo

    Shevonne

    Reply
    1. Lauren Ashley Post author

      Thank you so much for your kind words. <3 I really appreciate it. God bless you!

      Reply
  30. Kyia

    You are so strong and brave to share this post!! Thank you for being so open. This post makes me have the utmost respect for you as a person, not to mention you are one of my favorite bloggers!!

    Reply

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