Love: One Size Does Not Fit All

 

By, Stephen Clatterbuck

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Discovering brilliance in people mixed with unique characteristics can be, in my opinion, one of the most inspiring things in life. Ashley Moody is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University studying Graphic Design and has a unique background that has shaped her into the strong, independent woman she is today. Born in Sasebo, Japan, Ashley had a rather difficult time finding a “fit” in her home community given that she was the only Black and Filipino person she knew. “My mother is Filipino, and my father is Black. They met in the Philippines while my dad was overseas in the US Navy.” This feeling of disconnect helped her embrace herself as a person and brought about a new sense of motivation for her art as a designer.

“I started out and have been in art school all of my life. I got tired of engaging in the elitist, fine art community and design helped me communicate to a wider audience.” As a woman of color in the art field, Moody deems the experience to be quite difficult. “On one end, you’re tokenized and only looked at because you’re a woman of color, and on the other, you’re completely looked over because the design is a white, male-dominated field.” Over the years, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet with multiple designers of color who have shared similar experiences. “These conversations definitely make it easier to know that I’m not alone in this fight. Hopefully, in the future, I’m still doing what I love in a community that has a genuine appreciation for me and my talents.”

Moody has a very unique and respectful perception in terms of how she views love as an individual. Given that she isn’t searching for love, she still finds beauty in watching people falling in love. I was curious to know if her parents’ relationship influenced how she views relationships. “I think their relationship on their own, being an interracial couple, was extremely influential to me. I never felt locked into loving a certain kind of person, and to see a family and a whole new lifestyle come out of the merging of two cultures and love is really beautiful.”

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Moody continued, “I am a woman of color who has no intentions of getting married or having children. It's just not something I want to do. A lot of people tell me that it'll change as I get older, but I don't see that happening. I truly value my independence, and I don't have that urge to mate and procreate. I see no problem with that either. I am not bitter or hateful toward people or my friends who have these aspirations; they're just not mine. I love watching people fall in love and I love my family and friends. I don't like the idea of loving only one person ‘til death do us part.’ I enjoy dating, but I don't enjoy relationships. A lot of that just comes from maintaining control over myself. My autonomy is the most important thing to me.”

As spring begins to blossom and the wedding season kicks off, I found Moody’s personal experience of entering the design world as a woman of color, and the challenges associated therein, along with her unique take on love to be particularly interesting. The concept of love—like people who experience it—comes in all different colors and varieties. Moody is a pleasant reminder that love’s complex beauty is its inherent inability to conform to the notion that one size fits all.