Ashley Madison was a typical mixed race child with her daddy’s features and her mother ways. She was a social butterfly when she was born but slipped back into her cocoon when reaching grade 5. Her family wondered what happened to the care-free child of birth but never was able to help her break out of her shell. They tried desperately to return her to the person she was at birth but failed in every attempt because Ashley was not ready to blossom. So all that they could do is constantly remind her just how special she was and to make sure she knew that the world was a much better place with her in it.
Through the years, Ashley remained somewhat settled within her shell and her parents would see glimpse of her when she was around family. It seemed that the harder she tried to make friends, the less successful she was. Ashley's interest in art was sparked when her parents purchased an art set for her one Christmas and that proved more helpful than anything else that the parents had tried. Ashley immersed herself in her art and with each completion of her topic, you could see the talent began to emerge. This love of art and support from her family allowed Ashley to concentrate on the one thing that would never judge her and the one thing that would always return as much love as she invested in it. Ashley’s art star was on the rise even to a point where she had an opportunity to enter the number one top school for art the Royal College of Art in London, England. She was very nervous when they had asked her to join them for an interview and the closer the day came, the more anxious she became. When those old feelings of inadequacy would rise up, she would retreat further into her shell, thank goodness for her parents standing guard on the door that lead further into that dismal place and not letting her sink deeper.
One day, before the big interview, Ashley was sitting under a big oak tree, playing out the interview in her mind, when she heard a soft male voice. She looked up to see Terrence, a mild-mannered young man whom Ashley had seen on the campus before but never talked to. He was standing to the left of her with the sun to his back and for a few seconds there Ashley actually thought she saw wings and a halo. He asked her why she was so sad and Ashley attempted to explain her situation. He displayed this warm and calming smile as she spoke and sit down next to her. He listened without saying a word to her entire story and after she had recounted her entire life, he placed his hand upon her hand and said “You will do fine”. She wanted to know how did he know and she reminded him of all the bad things she done and why this interview would not end well. Terrence explained to her, that all the bad things she had done in her life could never equal up to all the good things she has and will do with the rest of her life. He told her that she was about to bring massive happiness to millions of people just by doing what she does best and the billions of lives her art will save just by people seeing it.
For some reason, Ashley believed the words he spoke and became calmer the more he spoke. They spoke for hours without knowing it and as the sun began to set, it was time for them to depart. He stood up first and offered Ashley his hand. When she touched his hand, it was as if all the worry in the world quickly escaped her and the interview was simply an exercise instead of a life or death situation she thought it was before. She didn’t truly know how to thank him for what he had given her and the only word she could come up with that might express how she was feeling was love. He flashed that smile again and explained to Ashley that love is used a lot in conversation because people believe that it is the strongest of human emotions so the stronger you feel toward someone the more often it is described as love. He further explained that there was another word which is much stronger than love and that word was admiration. He explained that when you love, it seems to attach itself to that particular person and therefore one has to have enormous love to cover all those that mean or come to mean so much to them. He explained what makes admiration much stronger than love is that it does not only attach itself to that person but it also inspires us to do more with that feeling. He helped her see that admiration allows us to do great things and become great people because with admiration comes a desire to be better than we are and ever thought we could. Admiration of another makes us want to be better and often times the best that we can be to honor the person we admire. After their meeting, Ashley felt weightless and for the first time in a very long time happier than she had ever felt.
The next day was the big interview day but Ashley felt no pressure. She was sure of her abilities and knew that if the Royal College of Art was not meant to be in her future then it won’t but that does not mean she failed, it only meant that another school was preordained to be the one she excelled in. She finally realized that it wasn’t the school that would make her a better artist, it would be her and any school which accepted her would be blessed to get her. As she approached the interview room, out of the corner of her eye she saw another student. Maria had worked so very hard for this opportunity and you could tell she was very nervous. Ashley walked over to her and began to repeat the words she had heard from Terrence. This truly surprised Maria because for the entire two years they had attended this school; Ashley never said one word to her and even withdrew when Maria initiated contact. Ashely suggested that Maria spend the majority of her interview talking about her half angle cut on her sculptures and her over the top brush strokes on her paintings, she assured Maria that those two things is what makes Maria the best at what she does and is unique only to her. She promised that the interviewers would love it and flock all over her to show them her technique.
Ashley entered the interview room with a song in her heart and a smile on her face. She cannot remember how long she was in there but she does remember that someone had to enter the room and tell the interviewers that time were up. As she exited the room, she saw Maria preparing to enter, they touched hands and immediately Maria felt stronger and less afraid than she had ever felt. Ashley looked for Terrence but did not see him but for some reason or another she felt like he was standing right there beside her and he was in the interview room. She stopped looking for Terrence after that because she knew that Terrence would always be with her wherever she go and would be encouraging her in whatever she does. Ashley and Maria went on to the Royal College of Art and together they changed the lives of so many people just by them seeing their art. Each kept inspiring others as they had been inspired and to those they spoke with were the words first introduced by Terrence. The social butterfly was back, freed forever from her shell and her parents knelt again to thank Terrence for visiting their daughter.