Author: Ashley C. Ford

Why I Want to Live Like I’m 40 In My 20s

My best friend and I are both named Ashley, we’re both 28 years old (born 12 days apart) and we both have brown eyes. That is pretty much where our similarities end. She loves animal print, high heels, Channing Tatum and holding onto the hope that she looks this young (or younger) forever. I love tartan, converse and Idris Elba. I also love aging. In my mind, every year of my life is an opportunity to learn more about who I am and what I want from this life. It also gets me closer to the age I’ve always wanted to be…40. I’ll be honest, watching the years tick by, another scratch on the wall, hasn’t always been a source of pleasure for me. When I entered college, I assumed I would graduate in four years just like I was supposed to, the way we all were supposed to. Being the control-freak I am, I’d studied my course catalog all summer, drawing my own charts until I was satisfied that I had a fool-proof plan …

Why I Begged My Mother to Take Me Out of the Gifted Program

I understand what they were trying to do. When my teacher nominated me to be sent to a different classroom for part of each day, a class with older and more advanced learners, it was her way of keeping me interested in the learning process. Our school system was 90 percent black and, according to standardized tests, most of us were performing below grade level. Not me. At nine years old, my reading aptitude test scores were at the college level. My mother was so happy that she took out an ad in the local paper congratulating me for my grade-school accomplishment. She was proud. I was bored. For weeks after the test results came in, my teacher would create separate spelling tests and reading lists just for me to try to keep me engaged and challenged. I understand that was probably an extra burden on her. If I was a third grade teacher and one of my students was reading Romeo & Juliet during silent reading time, I might suggest she needed to join …

Playing Dress-Up: Forget Fashion Rules, This is Me

Spencer was the most glamorous person I’d ever seen. The first time I met him, he was in five-inch heels and a pencil skirt, his curly brown hair dancing around the crown of his head. His makeup was minimal, like he put in effort, but knew he was already working with a better-than-solid foundation. I was walking through the atrium on our college campus when I first spotted him. He was sitting alone at a table, reading, sipping a drink, and even doing that in an impossibly pretty way. Because I am who I am, I sat down beside him and said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I think you’re beautiful.” He blinked his bright blue eyes several times before revealing his equally bright teeth to bless me with a smile. “Thank you,” he said. We bonded over our mutual inclination to burst into song, appreciation for good off-campus food and enduring love for Dr. Maya Angelou. Despite my initial observation, it quickly became clear Spencer didn’t see himself as particularly attractive. He considered …