It’s been said that you can only truly appreciate something when you distance yourself from it and gain perspective. I have only now begun to appreciate the value in those words. This Christmas, (though they are all special) is one that I will remember for many years to come. This year was the first time in about six years that Christmas was spent at home, on my beautiful island of Bermuda. With my family being spread out over different parts of The United States, Christmas has been spent more recently in Florida and Vermont. My family and I talked about it, and with this being the Christmas, one month, before I started university, it was decided that Christmas would be spent at home. Admittedly, the idea took some getting use to. I couldn’t remember the last Christmas I spent at home. I couldn’t remember a Christmas without those members of my family that lived in other states. While they were missed dearly, this Christmas I was reminded of the power of family and the importance of the memories made with them.
One of my Christmas presents came early this year and it coincided with my arrival, quite literally, to Bermuda. I Am Me was officially launched the moment the plane’s wheels touched Bermuda’s tarmac. The team that helped me with I Am Me (which were truly a godsend) and I discussed when we wanted to launch the site. Together, we decided that the one thing we were most certain of, is that I am an island girl. So much of me was nurtured and influenced by Bermuda and what they say is true: you can take the girl out of the island, but not the island out of the girl. What better day than to launch on the day that I returned to the island that inspires me?
I remember turning on my phone as the plane was taxiing on the tarmac and sending a prompt email. Within seconds, my phone signals a text message that read, “Congratulations Ashlee! Your dream is live!” For a second I held my breath and clicked on the link that was included in the message. I had seen screen grabs of the sites pages, but I hadn’t seen the site in its entirety until just then. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so many emotions at once: anxiety, nervousness, excitement. I am a more reserved individual and I don’t share with many certain aspects of my life. With I Am Me however, I knew I had to drop the fourth wall. If I was going to make the impact I intended to, I needed to be honest. I needed to share the good, the beautiful, the difficult and the gut wrenching parts of my life. As most people can agree, sharing those parts of yourself is not easy. I remembered though, why I had this dream: to connect, to make a difference and to inspire. As I gathered my bags and waited for the passengers to deplane, I looked out the window and I just knew, I, the website and my new journey to come, it was going to be much like the website’s process: Terrifying, difficult and utterly, unequivocally worth it!