Her Story: Ashley Onusic

Motivating Stories from Local Women

Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for four truly motivating stories by the women who experienced them firsthand.

Photography by Emily Long / Photos taken on location at The Westin Chattanooga



Do you have a story to share? Click here to tell us how you have experienced adversity and continue to maintain a positive outlook on life.


Ashley Onusic laughing at the Westin Chattanooga


Ashley Onusic

North Chattanooga

I thought the peak of my journey to self-love/awareness was in my adolescence. But while I experienced freedom from body shame, I had truly only scratched the surface of understanding my value. 

In my mid-20s, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. This trial and the journey it was about to take me on would awaken an even deeper seeking of truth and understanding within me.

I had no clue what an autoimmune disease was at the time. My life quickly altered, and doctors were prescribing what the rest of my life would look like. Fear of the unknown quickly arose, and not being able to have control welcomed anxiety. All of a sudden, I had to rediscover this new body and how it was fighting against itself. I felt myself go back to that young girl that felt disconnected with her body. This time, it wasn’t only my external self that felt foreign to me, but it created self-doubt about who I was and what my purpose would be. Am I worthy? Am I gross? Do I have value?

I leaned into these questions, and God began showing me it was okay to know and love myself. He was revealing that healing needed to take place deep within so that the internal would reflect positively in the external. I began to understand I had the power to shift my self-talk from negative to life-giving inner dialogue. I was learning that I was incredibly strong, vulnerable, and compassionate – qualities I would have never allowed myself to own previously. 

In hindsight, this journey was harvesting a renewal. A Crohn’s disease diagnosis transformed into a new beginning. It taught me the power of compassion, community, curiosity, and leaning into my gifts and imperfections. It transformed the way I speak and care for myself and the value I see in others.

It has also sparked an undeniable passion to serve women and help them know their worth. Now I have the honor of walking alongside women who are journeying through autoimmune wellness, self-love, and empowerment as a life coach.

I am grateful for my story. HS