Aloha! I’m Ashlyn, a quirky, fun and adventurous creative with a deep love for food, anime, WWE, history and culture. So who am I? Well, I have been many things. From a budding photographer, commercial and stunt actress, to blogger and content creator. I should admit that I haven’t always been a creative person, at least not in my opinion. My creativity is something I have nurtured and developed over time. But there is so much more to me than this.
While I haven’t always been a creative person, I do feel I’ve always been curious, and I like to believe it’s my curiosity that lead me to where I am at today. I started out as a newborn and baby photographer, and it was while operating my business I realized how incredible a tool social media is for connecting people.
I. Fell. In. Love.
As mentioned, I was curious and social media excited me. I immersed myself in the industry and began building my own brand as a lifestyle / beauty blogger and influencer. As my personal brand began to grow, I realized that newborn photography simply wasn’t something I wanted to do forever. And lets face it, almost every millennial has a side hustle right? While still operating my photography business, I worked with local restaurants and brands to create content for their social feeds and marketing material. Unfortunately, the stress of operating my own business got to me and I no longer enjoyed newborn photography the way I once used to. Small business owners understand that operating your own business requires a huge investment not only financially, but physically, mentally and emotionally.
I struggled to handle it all. The mental anguish I experienced was unbearable. I could no longer keep up with it all. I hit rock bottom, and in October of 2017, I attempted suicide.
It’s something I never imagined myself doing. I’ve always considered myself a “strong person”, but there were days I couldn’t get out of bed. Days where I starved myself because I didn’t feel good enough to eat. I put too much pressure on myself and it ended up costing me my happiness.
When I attempted suicide, I felt the most alone I have ever felt, and like I had no community or support. I knew I needed to get help, so I did. At the end of the year, I had to decide what I wanted to do, whether I wanted to continue operating my own business or move on to something new. I had to figure out what would be best for me. While I thoroughly enjoyed being a newborn photographer I felt as though I had accomplished most of what I set out to and my heart was searching for something new and exciting. Most importantly, my personal mental and physical well being became my top priority.
In my heart, I knew I wanted to travel, explore and seek out new experiences. I realized this was something I couldn’t accomplish as a full-time newborn photographer. So I decided it was time to move on to new opportunities and closed the doors of my photography business once and for all. Today I am much stronger for everything I have experienced and overcome. My focus is on blogging, experiencing life, creating content for brands and local businesses, and I couldn’t be happier. I lost myself, but came out on the other side more sure of who I wanted to be than ever.
I love being able to express myself creatively. I love exploring and sharing my experiences with others, it’s one of the reasons why I love doing what I do for DTD. Community is incredibly important, and I love working with such a wonderful team of supportive, like-minded creative individuals who genuinely want to see you succeed and help you along the way.
There is so much out there to experience. I look forward to continuing exploring the world and creating new memories. My goal is to share my experiences with others in hopes they seek out their own adventures and new experiences too! I love that I can now do this with you all right here and I am excited for what the future holds for me.
Make sure to follow along with me on my journey via my Instagram account.
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Photos: All social media accounts listed above & Ashlyn Dawson
Mobile photos were taken with my #HuaweiP20Pro on the Rogers network