Yesterday, I commented in a Facebook post on Donald Trump’s language, suggesting that as he eggs on his supporters’ violence, offering to pay the legal fees of those who commit crimes against protesters, and he spews, almost daily, his own threats of violence against an ever-growing list—from Clinton to Mexicans to the families of terrorists, he embodies something that is not only un-presidential, but dangerous.
“Someone needs to say that violence is wrong,” I wrote. “That violence doesn’t unite us, uplift us, protect us. Violence is destructive and ingrains its destructiveness into all of us.”
I had been afraid to “get political” on my skincare line’s website or professional social media pages, but I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer. In fact, I wanted to be clear, this is not a partisan issue. My statement on Trump was a mere example of the global pervasiveness of violence, examples which, sadly, we have a dizzying amount to choose from each day.
“But this is not about Trump (or just about Trump),” I added, getting ready to lay out my larger, nonpartisan vision. “He simply provides one of an uncountable number of examples. . . . What we need to see is how violence preceded (and will succeed) Trump—it has infiltrated and pervaded our world for far too long . . . We must seek an end to violence’s ubiquity and we can do that only by peaceful means.”
After posting my comments on my business’s social media pages, I was excited: these were the conversations I wanted to be having. But there was still a momentary, lingering doubt: should I have mixed business with politics? Should I have mixed something so seemingly light and uncomplicated as organic skincare with the violence that permeates our world?
And then it hit me: how could I not?
I say that my skincare line is rooted in wellness, sustainability, and deep self-care. In other words, its mission is to spread compassion toward the earth and all the creatures that live upon it by insisting, over and over again, that we are one. Its mission is to lift everyone to the highest levels of health and wellbeing possible, because that is our birthright. And, finally, its mission to ensure that we feel loved, cared for, and supported. In other words, our mission is peace.
Suddenly, it became clear to me: I had wanted to stay out of the fray, to exist above the gritty conversations about violence, about racial, gender, and sexual divides. About women’s rights, prisoners’ rights, corporate insolence that’s leading to the earth’s destruction. I had thought that my skincare line’s mission would be purer, clearer, if I avoided the truth of what’s surrounding us. I thought I should avoid the touchy political divides, the ones so hotly contested and debated on mainstream media’s airwaves that they build animosity and have led us to sayings about never discussing politics at dinner parties.
But this is not politics. This is deeper than that. On my website, I write, “We will change the world through wellness—body, mind, and spirit.” But there cannot be wellness without peace. There cannot be wellness without equal rights. There cannot be wellness when sexual violence has become inextricable with war and when it’s invading our homes to the point where one in three women globally experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner: how can there be peace if women—and men, who, though less frequently, still notably and unacceptably experience this same violence—do not feel safe?
I also know that discussing this, getting into these grittier, nuanced conversations, animates me. There is no joy in the violence that erupts across our globe, including in our own homes, but there is passion: I am passionate that this is not ok. I’m impassioned because I believe we can and must change this. I feel passionate that the simple act of writing about what I see, what I hear, what I read is part of my purpose.
I set out to create my skincare line because I believed in change: I’ve always wanted it to be more than products, to be about a mission, an ethic. I wanted it to uplift those who used it or encountered it. I wanted it to be a medium for my voice and the voices of those around the globe who deserve to be heard. I wanted it to be a movement.
I make no promises of what will come next, because I do not know. But I ask you to join me in these conversations. I want to know what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, what matters to you. I want you to help me tap into another perspective, to make me think. I want to be surprised and continually utter, “I hadn’t thought of that before!”
And we have the power to move the conversation from the pages of ASHLEY ASTI to our everyday lives, to bring the discussions to our friends. To show that friendship runs deep, to show that friendship means getting vulnerable, opening up about everything we’re hesitant to talk about. Friendship is about creating a safe space to be heard.
Talking can be a revolutionary act. Will you join me?
Email me at email@example.com with what matters to you.