Photography: Terry Goodlad
Model: Nashay Smith
Charles R. Swindoll once said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” I’m betting Mr. Swindoll has seen his fair share of rainy days and I like to think that he simply got tired of squandering them on being miserable. While pondering his thoughtful waxing recently, my friend Nashay came to mind.
Nashay Smith has had her fair share to deal with. She has no father figure in her life, never has. She was raised by her mother and grandmother. While she did her best to get along with everyone in high school, Nashay was never the most popular girl. As she says it, “I had my own awkward experiences and bad hairstyle decisions etc. but I remember that I always tried to push myself to be as happy and successful as possible while I pursued different extracurricular activities.”
She joined the Navy when she was twenty-five and was medically discharged shortly after enlisting when she was diagnosed with depression. “It was one of the hardest things I had faced in my life. It was a major battle and still is something I struggle with and likely will for the rest of my life,” says Nashay, but she didn’t stop there. “I started lifting in 2014, and that has been the most rewarding journey I have been on so far. The gym isn’t my entire life, it is a part of my life but it has kept me grounded, kept me going and has given me at least one thing I can focus on accomplishing every day.”
She works as a server at my favorite breakfast spot and every time I see her there she has a huge smile on her face. After leaving the Navy she set her sights on nursing school but nursing school isn’t free. When she isn’t working, or at school, or studying, she is at the gym. I asked when she was scheduled to graduate nursing school, which translates into how much longer can you keep up this pace. She smiled and not leaving room for even a sliver of doubt said, “I am going to graduate from nursing school in August 2021. I never thought I wanted to be a nurse growing up but I prayed about it and felt God telling me that it was something I was meant to do. I will be able to help people and care for people in need and have a rewarding career that I know will have its challenges but I LOVE a challenge and can’t wait to persevere and be the best nurse I can be.”
I have no doubt she will graduate when she said she will, she is a driven woman.
Amidst all the change and frantic schedule, she met the love of her life early in 2018 and a couple months ago they got married. “When we first met, it was love at first sight and it still remains the best decision I have ever made. We both love God with all of our hearts and have chosen to put him above us and as the glue that will always hold our relationship together.”
I asked her a while back if she was interested in modeling for Blessed Bodywear. That warm smile got even bigger and she said yes. The first time we shot was magical. Her energy and positivity filled every shot which is rare for a rookie model. The second photo shoot was even better as we pushed the limits of her modeling ability and she responded by giving the camera even more. It’s not that she is more gifted or bursting with a bottomless well of self-confidence, she just doesn’t give up on the task at hand, or herself.
When I have a rough day I think of her and how she carries all she has to carry yet does it with a warm smile that brightens everyone else’s day. Rather than dwell on her misery, Nashay steps outside of herself and pours her heart into making others feel better. And when she does, the world gets a bit warmer, things move a bit slower, the fog lifts, and what’s truly important slowly fills our hearts.
“I can honestly say that I am the happiest I have ever been, and I owe it to God. I know that not everyone believes in religion but it has made me happy, hopeful and through my faith, I have learned to love myself and see myself the way that God sees me. One of my biggest dreams is to positively influence others, even without religion, to help them learn to love themselves and to keep going no matter how big or small their goals are, ad whatever the goal may be. It is so important to push yourself out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith or two in order to gains the best experiences in your life.”