Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: We All Want to be Liked.

IMG_1272

Last week I watched an episode of Frontline called Generation Like. It was an enormously compelling, at times inspirational, but ultimately for me, a disturbing look into the desire by teens to be “liked” on social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

On the one hand it was inspiring to see the accomplishments of some of these young social media “stars”, especially the ones with real talent. As the show illustrated, it’s a whole different world of connectivity, where a poor kid with buckets of personality, who also happens to be a crazy-ass gifted skateboarder, can achieve fame on YouTube, and maybe, just maybe, a fortune as well. This kid is a head-to-toe living-breathing billboard for Big Brands, all featured brightly on his YouTube videos. I say, good for him and all the others like him, who are using Social Media and these Big Brands to promote themselves and possibly transform their lives for the better. Of course, the darker side of all of this is that these kids are also being used and perhaps exploited. But that’s a whole other story, for another day, another blog post.

What really resonated with me in this documentary was the insatiable desire by all these kids to acquire the coveted LIKES, the currency of self-worth. There’s a wellspring of elation and euphoria if the LIKES are high for a particular post, but should the LIKE count dip, distress and despair follow. This is the tragic roller-coaster rise and fall of self-esteem and value in Social Media Land.

But here’s the rub. It’s not just teenagers who feel this way. I’m a fully-formed adult with a lifetime of experience in my rear view mirror, and at the risk of full disclosure, I understand how these kids feel. I get it. I was a teenager who was tailored made for Social Media, had it been around back then in the prehistoric days of dinosaurs and diskettes.

Truth is I wish I didn’t get it, that none of this made sense. Like the weirdness of Alice in Wonderland or Ozzy Osbourne. All this exhausting vying for attention, the begging and pleading to be noticed, acknowledged, complimented, desired and admired. The persistent popularity contest. The trendy or trending. The endless sharing. The viral. The cool. Fashionable. Commercial. And ultimately the marketable. It’s all so consuming.

As a writer, storyteller and blogger I’d be lying if I said that none of this mattered to me, that I was completely oblivious and above the fray. Yet every time I post one of my stories on Facebook, Twitter, Cowbird or Tumblr I say a small silent prayer that it will resonate with at least one person in cyberspace. And because I’m not a complete narcissistic ass, I also pray that my words will do some good. Serve humanity. Push the conversation towards optimistic, positive, hopeful, encouraging and promising places in the hearts of others.

But there are times, many times, when nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, happens. It’s like no one is out there. There’s a moment afterwards when I feel disappointed. Discouraged. Disheartened. Dispirited. Depressed.

I feel UN-LIKED.

When this happens, I’m plagued with self-doubt and insecurity. My Nasty Nelly inside-voice shouts, “You are not now, and never will be, among the great writers of your time. You are invisible and no one gives a shit what you have to say. So shut the fuck up. Quit.”

Then I brush it off. Like the dandruff on my shoulders. Or the dog fur on my pants.

Because I can. Because I won’t quit. And because I know better. None of this has anything to do with my self-worth. Or my ability to tell a story, for that matter. I gently and kindly remind myself, that I write because this is what I love to do. This is my big fat stupendous and spectacular passion. My magnificent obsession. I remind myself that this is one of the reasons I was put on earth, at this unique and particular time in history.

So I give it another shot. I kick the can down the road one more time. I write another story. Because in the end, when I drill down to the core of what motivates me. I write because I love the art and the process and the doing of it.

These days, I’m working on not giving a shit about the outcome, or how my stuff will be received. Good bad or otherwise.

The LIKES or HEARTS or THUMBS-UP are like the extra toppings on the Sundae. Nice. But not necessary.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/?fb_action_ids=10152966835316644&fb_action_types=og.recommends

IMG_2068.JPG

IMG_1276

IMG_2070 (1)

IMG_2069.JPG

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Be Someone’s Blessing Today.

45033_420496191265_675378_n-1 (1)

Girl Warrior. Be someone’s blessing today. A glorious Godsend. Wonderful windfall. Lucky penny. Look for all the ways you can make someone else’s life easier or more meaningful. Lighten their load. Lift their spirits. Ease their burdens. Dry their tears. Make someone’s day.

Listen attentively. And look deep into their eyes. Extend a helping hand. Wrap your arms around the one in need of a hug. Calm the trembling shoulders. Hold the door open. Be of service. Give someone a leg up. Or save their bacon. Do favors and expect nothing in return.

Be someone who can be counted on, trusted, relied upon, and the wind beneath the wings. Most importantly, just be there when needed.

This is the perfect paradox. Bless and be blessed.

1690009_10151899160441568_2016417184_n (1)

11207370_10155460840800507_2739536784479514537_n (1)

65232_10151451646216266_441374127_n-1 (1)

1001875_10151618842486220_1740230929_n (1)

10341901_10152215166781220_5496720267216791269_n (1)

321128_10150763352595254_7212688_n (1)

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Good Faith and Libraries.

IMG_1210

I recently finished reading All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews. Like her other novels, it too was beautifully written and a brilliant read. After I finished the book, I said the same thing I always do, “Damn, I wish I had her talent for storytelling and way with words.” Miriam deserves every accolade ever bestowed upon her. And more.

I loved everything about this book, even the puzzling double ending. But it was a particular passage on page 267 that really resonated with me. Quite simply, it blew my mind.

Here it is:

“What had she said about libraries and civilization? Because you make a promise, she’d said. You promise to return the book. You promise to come back. What other institution operates in such good faith, Yo?”

I’d like to see more promises of “good faith” like this.

Good faith that we’ll do the right thing because it is right, and for no other reason. No matter how difficult. No matter how much we rail or protest or rage against the credo or moral code. No matter how uncomfortable it makes us. We can even criticize, complain and condemn. But after all that, in the end, when the rubber hits the road, we’ll listen to the small quiet voice of our higher self. The voice of reason, truth and common decency. Do the right thing. Keep our promise. We will return the book.

Good faith that when I fall back you will always be there to catch me. And I will do the same for you. We will keep our promise to each other. We will return the book.

Good faith in the ultimate goodness of humanity, that we’re more good than bad. That somewhere deep inside each and every one of us this knowing and wisdom exists. Good faith that evil is an abomination and an anomaly. Not the norm. We will keep our promise to preserve and cherish our humanness. We will return the book.

Good faith that we are, at our fundamental core, good well-meaning folks, living in good communities with good leaders, sending our kids to good schools with good teachers, worshipping freely in harbors of safety, regardless of our beliefs and definition of God. We will keep our promise to be kind and magnanimous and neighborly. We will return the book.

Good faith that when I reach out my hand and heart to yours, that you will reciprocate. And together we will return the book.

IMG_1203

IMG_1215

IMG_0730

IMG_1213

IMG_1221

IMG_1224

IMG_1223

IMG_1227

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Work Hard.

10400954_30337461265_1058_n (1)

Girl Warrior. Work hard. Especially if you want those big dreams to come true big time. Be willing to do whatever it takes. And I mean whatever.

This may not be easy. The road may be bumpy and jagged and full of hairpin curves, blind bends and tricky twists. There will be setbacks and disappointments. At times, it’ll feel like you’re taking two steps back for every step forward. Nothing wrong with that. Think of the two steps back as your opportunity to regroup, reset and reconsider where the next step forward will take you.

And ask yourself this question, “Am I still willing to do whatever it takes?”

If the answer is yes, then get your ass in gear. And get going once again. If the answer is yes, do not stall out. Rest on whatever laurels you’ve managed to acquire this far. Or deploy any delaying tactics. If the answer is yes, resist the urge to make excuses. Whine or hold a pity party for one. If the answer is yes, acknowledge where you’re at and how far you’ve come already. Give yourself a pat on the back for that Girl Warrior. Then examine your options and consider what the next step will be. But if the answer is yes, you really only have one option. Take the next step.

And know this. Other people, circumstances, situations, events, finances, or the state of your current affairs, do not crush dreams. The biggest destroyer of dreams is inertia. Doing nothing. That’s the enemy.

Do nothing Girl Warrior. And that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Mel on horse 1

421176_10150556952351266_949705973_n

Mel on horse 3 1

10400954_30716631265_2806_n

44324_421488096265_6902401_n (1)

Mel on horse 4

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Dream Big.

601065_10151710636256266_2019693118_n (1)

Girl Warrior. Dream big. In ultra-high-definition. Of epic proportions. Beyond the beyond of the beyond. Without brims, borders or boundaries.

The sky isn’t even the limit when it comes to your dreams Girl Warrior. That’s just for starters. Your little aspiration appetizer. Amuse-bouche. Take these dreams of yours to the moon and back, from here to infinity, and then some. See what happens.

And don’t stop at just one. Have so many dreams your heart and mind and spirit cannot contain them. Break all the rules here. There is no magic number. You are not born with a finite quantity. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Dreams are designed to be an embarrassment of riches.

These sweet dreams are the beautiful seeds that grow the beautiful you.

And always remember that you are the star of your dreams. They belong to you. They are the essential element of your blockbuster kick-ass tale. And absolutely crucial to your never-ending life story. These supernatural keys unlock every door of opportunity. Every possibility, promise and potential begins here. And the best thing is, they are yours to shape and mold and refine in any way that pleases you. Plus the bonus bit is, you can change your dreams at any time you choose. That’s the beauty of it. Nothing’s ever really locked in.

So start dreaming Girl Warrior. And blow the roof off this place.

292031_10150292708461266_294709481_n (1)

259917_2137401798606_2658362_n

549068_10151311860481266_832046573_n (1)

1173628_10151712873436220_493252858_n (1)

10552534_10152118582106266_787675819753823537_n

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Fairy Dust and the Heartbeat of Oneness.

Halloween Mel as Princess

Do you ever wonder why some things in life appear as though they’ve been sprinkled with the enchantment of fairy dust? Why do some people, places or things touch our hearts in a way that is utterly ethereal, inexplicable and mystifying?

What causes this heart connection?

It could be anything or anytime or anyplace when this connection occurs. You’re watching one of those ubiquitous television programs like America or England or Japan’s Got Talent and some awkward kid comes on stage and starts singing like an angel. At that moment, we’re touched by the kind of grace that only The Divine can deliver. Not only is our heart affected, but our spirit as well. Our emotions are fully engaged. Quite simply, we feel like better people for the privilege of witnessing this singular moment in time. We know intuitively that we are part of something much grander than ourselves.

We are all breathing in tune to the Heartbeat of Oneness. This is the transcendent flash. Our knowing. The sudden awareness that our prosaic humanness is also magnificently divine. We get a glimpse into the soul of another. And what an honor this is.

You can’t force or manipulate these things either. You can’t define them. Direct, determine or describe. There are no words that are truly adequate. Impossible to articulate, communicate or enunciate. For if you could, then the magic would turn to vapor and disappear. There would be no fairy dust.

For this is the beautiful inherent intangible, the essential enigma, the precious paradox.

boo ballerina

Aimee Prima 2.

baby abby in white dress (1)

Abby on stool in purple

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Be Honest.

mel's notorious shirt

Girl Warrior. Be honest. Speak up. Speak out. Speak your truth. Express yourself. Whatever that means to you. However that looks. Tell it like it is. Or how you wish it was. Be bold. Audacious in your speech. Intrepid with your message.

But don’t use your words to slaughter. Use your words to empower. Elucidate. Illuminate. Exalt. Demystify. Take ownership of what comes out of your mouth.

Make it good.

3 girls tattoos

mel's rings

Abby total fox

mel's storm tattoo

Aimee's breathe tattoo

mel's tattoo

danielle's crown tattoo

mel's love tattoo