Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Well, At Least Someone's Self-Esteem Remains Intact

You can close the case on this one. Consider it over before it even began. Thank you, Crush Boy, for helping me figure out those brutally tough and honest questions I haven't asked myself at least a dozen times already. And thank you, too, for treating this whole situation like an objective scientific experiment. Injecting any sort of feeling into it would just make things too muddled, wouldn't it? My mistake.

I'm glad, though, that you seem to have a dalliance of women waiting in the wings. At least you won't be alone.

What do you all think? Here's the email response he sent me, followed by what I replied to him. Now I'm just sort of depressed and blah...much like this rainy day.

xoxo,
Mel

P.S. Let this be a little lesson for all you guys out there...



My Own Version Of The Classic Tie On The Door

Why is it that just when I sit down to write, some sort of distraction invariably interrupts me? A call from my mom. That celebrity magazine beckoning me from the coffee table. The gorgeous guy who just swaggered past me.

THAT'S IT!!!

I stumbled upon fellow writer Noelle Hancock's blog, and thanks to her, I have now found the solution.....



It's a splendid solution, right?

xoxo,
Mel

Bonding On The Blue Ridge Parkway

Editor's Note: I've been missing my father a lot these last few months, so this essay has renewed meaning for me. What do you think?

I grew up in the Midwest, a place I affectionately called “Flat Land.” The landscape stretched out in one even level, with the rows and rows of yellow cornfields streaming endlessly in the distance. The closest I ever came to seeing a mountain came in the form of a giant dirt hill in our backyard with the occasional blade of green grass peeking through the black Northern dirt. The stories of the mammoth, towering Rocky and Appalachian mountains became folklore in my childlike mind. But that all changed the day my travel-happy mother announced we were taking a vacation to the heart of that mystery: The Blue Ridge Mountains. And since my father’s death four years ago, the memories from this trip linger more than ever in my heart and soul.

MORE JUICE AFTER THE JUMP...

xoxo,
Mel


My family’s embarked on countless trips, from taking in the crisp, cool air during the last days of summer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to frolicking on the white sands of the Gulf of Mexico. We had seen quintessential America, but the one piece to complete the travel puzzle was the East. As we speeded down the highway in the heat of the June sun on that first morning of vacation, my imagination charged ahead even faster. What would I find in these mountains? Is there really a blue ridge? Will we come upon a black mountain bear?

The next day, the view outside my window began to change. The flat green countryside sprouted little peaks and hills nestled alongside little valleys. Those hills soon turned into patches of rocky structures. Walls of rocks on either side surrounded us, almost as if we were traveling through a hollow passageway. And then I saw it, peaking up from behind the treetops: Tall, majestic mountains towering in the distance; their sheer sizes made it look like they were giants watching over the Earth.

We had finally arrived at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, so we stopped to take that first glimpse at one of many scenic overlooks. The minute I stepped out of the car, I could feel the change. The thin air blew cool on my face and fog dotted the rugged landscape. My mother, wanting to document every minute of the trip, whipped out her disposable camera and snapped a picture of us standing on the Tennessee/North Caroline line. That was the first time I stood in two states at once!

As we piled back in the car, I realized this trip would be full of firsts. Our little car chugged up the mountain. We were going higher and higher, and it felt like we were driving right into the clouds as we passed through the fog. A mile marker directed us to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Apparently, it was the scenic route through the mountains, so being an adventurous family, we quickly veered to the left and were on our way. The Parkway took us even higher with every mile. To our left was a dense forest of trees allowing just enough sunlight to highlight the lush green leaves. To our right, more mountains standing guard over a deep valley of green trees, which looked like miniature ornaments from our vantage point.
Every 20 minutes or so, a loud screech would come booming from the front seat.

“Stop! It’s another overlook, and I have to get some pictures,” exclaimed my mother. So my father would carefully pull over to the side, so the photographer could snap her pictures. I didn’t understand why my mother needed rolls and rolls of film of the same mountain shots, but she somehow saw the beauty and distinction in each view.
While my mother, sister and I could admire that beauty, my dad had to keep his eyes firmly planted on the road ahead. The Parkway, cut from the side of a mountain, was full of twists and turns, and from my window. The next day, my father’s muscles were even sore from all those turns!

In addition to the sounds of nature, our soundtrack for the drive was a classic ‘50s tape. To this day, those songs still take me back to that mountain view. As the music played, we all laughed and talked. My mother laughed in her loving way as I droned on about the high altitude, worrying it would cut off our oxygen supply. And we all listened to my father, who had a knack for making stories come alive, as he told us about the newest piece of equipment he was repairing as an electronic technician at our local university.

Just as the tips of the mountains were close to the blue sky, we felt as close as a family. As much as I look back on that trip and remember the thunderous mountains and dense fog, I treasure my family’s bonding the most. When I picture my father today, my heart yearns to be back on those mountains. They brought us together and gave us a sense of peace. In them, we found the sanctuary we craved, and I wish that Parkway could have gone on forever. I sometimes think my father’s spirit in still roaming atop Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the mountains, drifting like the fog and watching over everything. And just like us during that adventure on the Parkway, something tells me he’s completely free.

Monday, March 30, 2009

My FIRST Taste Of The Teen Magazine World!

As the youth of today would say (and OK, I say it sometimes, too!): ZOMG! It's finally happened! After almost a year of pitching ideas (read: rejections) to Girls' Life magazine, I finally had a piece accepted, not for the magazine, but for their Web site! YAYYYYYY!!!!

I figure this is my first step to showing them my talent and getting an ACCEPTANCE for the print edition. Here's the link to the article...what do you think?

xoxo,
Mel

Ultimate BGF Guide

See, This Is Why I Should Never Even Attempt To Date!

I've been furiously biting my nails all weekend and replaying the entire scenario in my head, the thoughts spinning around and around like a stomach-churning ride on a carousel.

Honestly, I can't help feeling like I've gotten myself into one big giant mess, one I should have learned to 10 years ago. But why couldn't I learn it? Oh, that's right -- I spent most of my formative teen years hooked up to IVs or being given trippy anesthetic in preparation of another surgery. That's why, as I've said before, I feel so far behind my peers in a lot of ways.

And I think the way I'm handling the whole Crush Boy situation is just another example of that. When he hinted that he knew I was writing about him, I thought honesty would be the best policy. Right? There's no way he could ever, ever have feelings for me, right? Who would think I'm even dating material? I certainly don't sometimes. Besides, when I admitted it was him, I did so because most of what I wrote about him on this blog had to do with my feelings in high school. Of course I still like him, though I'm not so sure it's the "in-that-kind-of-way" like anymore. He was my first love, my first real teen girl crush. I figured he'd assume that's all it was too.

Then he sent me an email asking me what I was doing this weekend. And what did I do? I panicked? I didn't think it would go this far. I never intended for it to go this far. OK, for other people, more experienced people, shall we say, this wouldn't seem like much AT ALL. But remember a little thing called my lack of relationship rules and my tendency to be, umm, awkward? Yeah, that's not a good combination. Plus, he never answered my question about having feelings for me now. I tried to come up with a witty email to make light of the whole situation, and managed to come up with this:





So what's the verdict?? Give it to me straight -- I can handle it. Will I end up the old lady in the apartment building with three cats on her lap?

xoxo,
Mel

The Perfect Date Cups....

For those non-prudes who tend to think lots of dirty thought...no, I am not talking about those cups. Do you still think I'm that kind of girl. Really?

I was reading a new blog today, please sir, and found these adorable little cups. I don't know what it is, but for the last year, I've been obsessed with collecting tumbler glasses. And, in accordance to the dork that I am, I love pouring myself a small shot of root beeer or apple juice every night. Awesome? I know.

What do you think?

xoxo,
Mel

Where's My Relief?

Editor's Note: I found a batch of my newspaper columns that I haven't shared with all of you. Thought it would make a nice 5-part series this week, so look for a new one every day!

My mother laughs at comedies as she pets our cat, Harry, on her lap each evening.

It works for her.

My aunt sports a nice basket of worry stones in every color of the rainbow that she bought on ebay.

It works for her.

My cousin treats herself to a morning spa treatment.

It works for her.

And my other aunt spends hours pouring over genealogy paraphernalia tracing our family tree.

It works for her.

I admire these people. Not for their high fashion (worry stones). Not even for their immaculate skin or perfectly coiffed nails (spa treatments).

They have found the secret to calming that inner voice, the one that roars as loud as a lion as you stand squarely on the edge of that metaphorical mountain. What do you see when you look down? A sea – a thunderous, churning sea – of anxiety.

But everyone in my family seems to have no trouble turning that storming sea into a lazy, calming river. They hold the key to some magical place, where the pretty flowers grow tall and the white clouds take the shape of cute little animals.

My family’s stolen the key and locked me out of this most glorious place. It’s not like I haven’t tried to soothe and calm myself. I have. Many times. In fact, I have a whole list of tricks I’ve tried.

We all try to help ourselves, to be strong and take care of ourselves, but the question still remains: Why are we reluctant to take our own advice? We are we so afraid of ourselves sometimes? Is it that the medicine is too hard to swallow, or are we simply our own worst enemy? Short of bending myself into a Yoga position and humming a calming chant, where’s my relief?

MORE JUICE AFTER THE JUMP...

xoxo,
Mel


I first took my cue from my ebay-loving aunt. Scouring the shopper’s paradise for everything from Pez dispensers to bath towels seemed like a good fit for my inner shopping fiend. So one hot day at the library, I logged on. The bright greens, reds and yellows – ebay’s trademark colors – practically jumped off the computer screen and into my soul. Maybe I wanted to give myself a makeover and dress like Paris Hilton post-jail, but my hands furiously typed hematite magnetic bracelet in the cute little search box. While on my Wild West Adventure, I’d seen them all over the desert and heard countless stories of their healing power. They must be able to help me, I thought. More than 500 auctions spanned some six pages, but my eyes were immediately drawn to a set of 20 colorful bracelets. That must be 20 times the healing power, so I entered my bid.

“You’re the current high bidder,” screamed a giant green checkmark.

I heard the “Ommm” of calm in my head already.

And then my eyes spied another auction. 40 bracelets. I sat giddy with anticipation as my hands graced those computer keys (apparently, I’d forgotten of the bid I placed a mere two minutes ago).

“You’re the current high bidder.” Again.

Two days later, my sleepy eyes open my email only to find I’ve won. Both auctions. I am now the proud owner of 60 bracelets. And I’m out a whopping $80.

The result? Embarrassment and even more anxiety over my shrinking bank account.

My next stab at relaxation came under the guise of feeding and comforting my soul. It’s a hush-hush secret among us freelancers, but the word freelance writer really means “being your own boss and making your own schedule.” I planned everything around my precious lunch. Three hours of it. Did I have an overflowing pile of query letters to write? They wouldn’t get done between hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. I prepare my fine cuisine of tuna, carrots and two Reese’s peanut butter cups. I even spice things up a bit with nacho-flavored Doritos’s or Jay’s BBQ chips. Only the best for me, of course.

So off to my mother’s cozy bedroom I’d go, spreading out my feast in front of me, and picking up the slick heavy silver remote to watch at least three hours of my 100-hours of DVR madness. Maybe it was the drama of Friday Night Lights or the comedy of Ugly Betty, but as I ate and ate – and ate – I somehow lost track of every morsel I crunched in my body. Only later, when I patted my little round tummy and had to loosen my stretchy shorts, did I realize this activity didn’t bring me the desire relief I craved.

The result? Glazed eyes from too much tube time and an unhealthy habit of singing along to the contestants of American Idol.

Singing. Maybe that’s what I needed. After all, I’ve always been the sort of girl who isn’t afraid to let her pipes roar in song, much to the chagrin of my younger sister. Music is a window to the soul; maybe it would be the only way to set my own soul free. The next time I stepped into a record store, I found myself veering from my usual pit stop in the pop/rock section. I kept going. Past classical. Past blues. Past R&B. Even past oldies but goodies. That’s when I came face-to-face with them. The Faith Hills. The Keith Urbans. Even the Miranda Lamberts. I was smack-dab in the middle of the country section. I’d spent my life making fun of the truck-driving, cowboy-hat wearing crowd.

Short of wearing the cowboy hat, there was no denying I was one of them. Because when I started to listen – really listen – to the lyrics of these songs, they told a tale. A story of love lost. A story of a broken heart. A story of a cheating boyfriend.

A story of a scared woman. I’d found myself in those songs. Those singers sang my life story.

The result? An overwhelming urge to learn to play the guitar and sing the blues.
But maybe all these activities are merely a convenient way to distract myself. Maybe that’s not the wisest route. I’m starting to think it’s even poisoning me. I need to find a balance. I need to be comfortable being a busy girl, but I need to be even more comfortable with not being busy. I need to smell the roses without worrying if they’re poisonous. I need to take a leisurely walk and not worry about getting overheated.

Maybe my aunt is on to something with those worry stones after all. Maybe I should check good old ebay again.

Man Candy Monday

*Stretch* *Yawn*

Still tired? Looks like you need something stronger than that mug of coffee. The only cure for the Monday blues and snooze....some eye-popping man candy!

This week's pick was the original Pimp Daddy. A Casanova. A charmer. And, he even had the ability to make early oversized '80s cordless phones look hip.....

ZACK MORRIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

xoxo,
Mel







Sunday, March 29, 2009

SUNDAY Column: WOW....Women Of Wonder

We’ve spent the entire month of March honoring me. Well, OK, technically not me exclusively, but other fearless, brave women like me: Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem, Rosa Parks, Helen Thomas (my personal and professional hero!).

I’ve always adored Women’s History Month. But frankly, and I say this with only the best of intentions in mind, it could use a makeover. It needs to widen its reverence of the women it honors. Why can’t we honor the fictional feminists who have the same determined, fiery spirit that their real-life, in-the-flesh counterparts have?

Don’t believe me? Check out these seven sensational fictional femmes who continue to rock our world today – and aren’t afraid to throw a mean punch when necessary.

MORE JUICE AFTER THE JUMP...

xoxo,
Mel


The women of Golden Girls: Some call these feisty femmes the “Sex and The City” for the geriatric set. Together, Blanche, Rose, Sophia and Dorothy showed the world that life doesn’t end after 50, but really is just beginning. Thanks for being a friend and inspiration, ladies!

Wonder Woman: Strong, powerful and sexy, she POWed and kicked her way straight through the once-impenetrable superhero, super glass ceiling. For the first time in action-adventure history, she proved that it’s not just a man’s (superhero) world anymore. And to those who say she betrayed women by wearing such skimpy outfit: You’re just jealous.

Barbie: America’s favorite doll celebrates the big 5-0 this year, but she’s seamlessly retained her youthful spirit. In the working world, Barbie is the most versatile – her resume includes jobs ranging from doctor to world-class chef. And you know it’s the sign of a strong woman when she can put up with the likes of Ken for a half-century! Although I’m behind on my fictional feminists gossip magazines: Is it true they really officially broke up some years back? Was Ken seeing Skipper behind Barbie’s back? FYI: Barbie doesn’t play second fiddle to anyone – real or plastic.

Annabel Andrews: Perhaps it was Jodie Foster who made it work, but every girl in the ’70s looked up to her character in Freaky Friday. She spoke her mind, played a mean game of field hockey and could easily have been the brassiest, most outspoken of your friends. In fact, that’s probably why she was your friend. Who doesn’t hope some of that no-nonsense attitude will rub off on them?

Jo Polniaczek: She and her boarding school mates taught us the facts of life. She was the girl who cared more about cars than boys and more about sports more than fashion. While this made her the perfect punch line for her frenemy, Blair, it certainly wasn’t a joke to those who saw a bit of Jo in themselves. Smart. Confident. Competent. Independent. A true individual. Besides, I give major props to anyone who can hold her own with a certifiable mean girl.

Dorothy: She may look sweet and innocent on the outside, but on the inside, this girl is one tough cookie (as any and all feminists should be!). After all, she survived a trip (a scary one at that; flying monkeys, anyone?) through uncharted territory, befriended a scarecrow, tin man and lion (oh my!) and never gave up on finding the great and powerful Oz. She showed us that there really is no place like home. Oh, and she stood up to an evil witch. That alone makes her a hero in my book.

Belle ("Beauty and the Beast"): Her story is your story: a young girl on the verge of womanhood trying desperately to declare her independence to her overprotective father and shoo away the pesky (and unwelcomed!) advances of a crude French blow-hard. So naturally, she actually does what every girl dreams of doing: She has the power and strength to run away. And in typical feminist fashion, she finds love when and where she least expects it. Her love – the sort of love that sees past physical flaws and preconceived notions – is definitely the greatest love of all.

Elle Woods: OK, so technically, Elle doesn’t begin her journey as a staunch feminist. She begins it quite the opposite, actually, when she so desperately wants her boyfriend back that she follows him to law school. But this is actually one of the greatest feminist stories ever told because we get to witness first-hand her progression from a diminutive half-wit sorority sister to a full-fledged lawyer. She believed in herself even when no one else did. A true and honest transformation indeed. And let’s just admit it: Her dog, Bruiser Woods, is adorable.

Feeling the power now? Good. Now get out there and show the world that no one can EVER put you in a corner – or under a glass ceiling.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Picture Of Romantic Bliss

Hello, lovelies -- hope you all enjoy the weekend! I thought I'd leave you with this picture to keep you smiling this weekend. Thanks to Glamour blogger Joanna Goddard for the inspiration. Check out her site if you haven't already -- BEAUTIFUL!

xoxo,
Mel

Now You Can Follow Me!

Over the last two days, I've done some tweaking to the site to make it more user-friendly.

Want to follow this blog? OF COURSE you do. Don't forget to click on Follow This Blog so you can see yourself in my handy-dandy followers box.

Cool, huh?

xoxo,
Mel

Freaky (Funny!) Friday

Previously on The Melissa Diaries: The boy toy in my English class proved a welcomed distraction from the torment and pain Brown-Eyed Editor was unknowingly inflicting upon me. I just couldn't take it any more, and with the second half of my Senior year just getting started, I realized I had a long road ahead of me.

xoxo,
Mel


Thursday, March 26, 2009

And Now....A Moment In The Mailbag

This email from a reader turned out to be the bright-spot in my otherwise dreary day yesterday! Big shout-outs to [F]oxymoron!

xoxo,
Mel

... and I just want to say I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog. Usually I leave a comment and say this... but I'm rarely this impressed with writing that is so consistent, authentic, and positively exploratory! (And I know writers like to hear genuine compliments like this... so go ahead, smile... :) )

Look forward to future posts!

[F]oxymoron

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dating With Disabilities: Crushes Every Woman Needs!

Happy Hump Day, my lovelies! Let me know what you think of this week's dating column...

xoxo,
Mel

Dating With Disabilities: Crushes Every Woman Needs

Wednesday Word of Wisdom



My mother has this sign above her bed (someone gave it to her, but something tells me she would have bought it for herself anyway). It makes me think every time I walk into her room. What is inspiring to you? What does the word even mean to you?

Inspiring is....
*NOT going with the crowd and loving it
*Telling someone how you feel and not worrying about the aftermath (Go, Honesty!)
*Doing what you want and putting yourself first (who's going to take care of you if YOU don't?)
*Seeing a child's face on Christmas morning
*The promise of Spring and the flowers in bloom (what's more inspiring than seeing everything come back to life?)
*Stephen Colbert. Obviously.

xoxo,
Mel

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The One In Which I Learn The Meaning Of Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat

I'll be the first to admit that I've been avoiding reading this email for a week. Yes, I'm talking about that email. Last week, I finally (thanks, I think in part, to this blog) just bit the bullet of confidence and unabashedly put my feeling's at Crush Boy's feet. I didn't intentionally do this (as in, deciding in 2004 that "OK, in March 2009, I'm going to tell him exactly how I feel." To the contrary, things just naturally unfolded this way. He reads this blog (who know, maybe he's reading it right now) he's a smart guy and we both knew who I was talking about, but neither of us would acknowledge that GIANT WHITE ELEPHANT in the room. I took it upon myself to just bring that beautiful elephant into the spotlight.

I wasn't expecting a reply. Not because the guy's a jerk (which, obviously, he's not), but more because I assumed I'd probably scared the poor guy out of the country with my musings. I thought it would just continue to be this weird, unspoken thing between us fof, well, the next decade.

Then last week, I got this email from him with the subject line Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat (I had to look that one up -- it means fortune favors the brave)



So after years of wondering what he'd possibly say if I ever uttered what I thought was the most unthinkable, desperate thing I could ever do, he ultimately thinks my act was a brave one? After all, I was still pondering if it was courageous or just plain stupid. Whew! I'm glad he thinks it wasn't stupid. Maybe not stupid -- more like painfully desperate.

But you know what? I somehow didn't feel so desperate. I felt just the opposite, actually. I felt a sense of power -- for the first time in my whole non-existent love life. I came to the realization that honesty is never something you should regret, feel ashamed for or metaphorically beat yourself up over.

What did I write back? That's where the whole week-long delay comes in. I, frankly, didn't know how to respond. Was he blowing me off? Did he think I was Fatal Attraction material? I settled on this:

Hey,

So I haven't been avoiding you. I've just been trying to think of a suitable reply. I can totally understand if you're caught off guard; I know I would be too if I were in your situation. I just felt like we both knew who I'm talking about on my blog, and since I'm all for honesty, I just thought I'd just bring it out in the open.

Anyway, it's totally cool if you don't feel the same. Don't worry. I'm a strong girl; it won't shatter my heart or anything. :)

Hope you have a good week!

Melissa :)


Can someone help me decode his email? Please? Because I'm getting the feeling that he's using one of 'those' lines -- you know, the kind you use to let someone down easy so you don't hurt their feeling when all you really want to say is, "Who are you, you psycho freak???" That, or he's looking at this as just some huge science experiment.

Thoughts? Observations?

xoxo,
Mel

Monday, March 23, 2009

This SO Would Have Been My Song Circa 1997

I just love this song recently for some reason...hmmmm. Thanks, Taylor Swift!

xoxo,
Mel

Man Candy Monday

There's nothing I love more than a guy with a sexy brain and a sense of humor. If you can make me laugh, you just capture my heart. I fell in love with this guy when I first spotted him in one of my favorite show, How I Met Your Mother. He's not afraid to show who he is - sometimes literally (read: Forgetting Sarah Marshall, anyone?).....


JASON SEGEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

xoxo,
Mel







Sunday, March 22, 2009

SUNDAY Column: The Invasion of Chirpy

I’ve never known a single person who wasn’t afraid to shout their big little annoyances from the tops of every metaphorical rooftop. Some cringe at the sound of nails on a sleek black chalkboard. Some people wince at the sound of others’ grinding their teeth.

It’s those small – yet, for some, quite big – annoyances that seem to torture its victims until said victims are at the breaking point – at their wit’s end.

Not to brag too much, but I’ve never had that sort of trouble plague me. And as such, I could never quite understand (not to mention sympathize with) those who were climbing the walls from that pesky torture. Maybe it always had something to do with my remarkable ability to swiftly tune out excess noise or any other noise that wasn’t pleasant-sounding to my little ears.

“Why don’t they just ignore it?” I thought. “It’s really not that hard to simply tune it out.”

And then, probably as the result of some sort of Karmic retribution, Chirpy came to town. My town, actually. My house, to be more specific. Chirpy sounds like a cute name, doesn’t it? Like a little cricket that burrows itself behind a desk or underneath a bed, seeking refuge.

The only problem? This was no cute little cricket. The Chirpy I speak of proved far more cunning and sinister than an innocent little insect.

So who exactly is Chirpy? And what’s more, why did I ever let him have such power over me? Couldn’t I just have taken my own advice and “tuned it out”?

MORE JUICE AFTER THE JUMP...

xoxo,
Mel


I was enjoying the lackadaisical days of my spring break (one of the many perks of working for a community college). I spent my days reading magazines and catching up on my 98 hours of DVRed shows I hadn’t had time to watch during the hustle and bustle of the work weeks. I was even enjoying sleep late – until 8 a.m. (remember, I usually rise promptly at 6 a.m., so two extra hours of sleep was quite the luxury for me that week).

Everything was going as planned. Maybe even a little better than I ever could have imagined, too. And then I was rudely roused from my warm bed chambers at 6:15 a.m. on that fateful Thursday morning. It started out as a prolonged “Beeeeeep” emanating from the depths of our smoke detectors. I layed there for a moment, partially thinking – hoping against all hope – that I was merely dreaming of a cute fireman (which I have been known to do once or twice).

It wasn’t a dream, and over the rest of the day, things quickly turned into a nightmare. More gruesome than Jaws. More heart-pounding than Gremlins.

No, luckily, there wasn’t any sort of fire blazing through our house; it was a simple problem. The batteries were low. So like any good homeowners, we changed them. Once. Twice.

“Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp.”

We eventually deduced that it was not the batteries that were defective – it was the smoke detector unit. Yes, all four detectors in our house needed to be replaced if we ever wanted that little chirping noise to silence. Simple enough. An electrician would arrive at 3 p.m. to save us.

Now, this would have been all well and good if not for one slight problem: I was home all day. With the chirping. From all four detectors. Every 30 seconds to a minute. For 7 straight hours.

“It taunts me,” I couldn’t help but think.

Wait. It doesn’t sound so bad, does it? What’s a little chirp (did I mention that all four detectors were connected, so the chirping would rotate from one to the other, sort of like a chirping musical chairs?).

I consider myself a very sane, very rational, very strong person. But that chirping? It changed me that day. I was pushed to dangerous lengths to try to soothe my mind. I popped an Advil at lunch to soothe my ever-growing headache. I bought a plethora of country songs (eek!) on itunes in an attempt to drown out the painful noise. I even extended my daily two-hour TV-watching schedule to a full-fledged marathon of four hours.

And yet still, I couldn’t find any relief or solace. Chirpy was always there, front and center, like an itch you just can’t scratch away – another one of those pesky annoyances, which, I was obviously learning that day, are so little and indeed far worse than the word “pesky” implies.

Then, I finally heard the chirp I’d been waiting for: the ringing of the doorbell. Our savior – the electrician – had come to right my world. Thirty minutes later, I just sat in the kitchen letting the quiet sounds of silence rush over me.

The sound of nothingness was a beautiful sound indeed.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yep, This Basically Sums Up My Disability Journey



When have you taken the road less traveled? What's the story behind your journey?

xoxo,
Mel

Friday, March 20, 2009

Freaky (Funny!) Friday

Previously on The Melissa Diaries: My Senior year was quickly becoming the opposite of what I'd expected. Brown-Eyed Editor was sending me something far worse than mixed signals: no signals at all. I just couldn't make sense of it. But I was about to find a welcomed distraction in a very unlikely place...

xoxo,
Mel


Thursday, March 19, 2009

My French Connection Continues

Thanks to the newfound confidence this blog seems to be giving me, I actually wrote back to my French Fan. I figured it was the least I could do since it was my first international fan letter -- hope more are on the way (*hint, hint*). I woke up this morning to this response from him(note, my friends, that we have a name now. Meet Jeremy....):

xoxo,
Mel

Hi dear Melissa,
I'm happy I've pleased you with my comment... though I just pointed out some obvious facts ;-) Cool you like my blog, it's just a kind of diary you probably saw it...about things I don't usually tell to people who live around me. It allows me to let drop the mask I'm wearing the whole day.
I understand that you may lack self-esteem...so much for superficiality nowadays! I'm not even sure that what I'm about to say might comfort you or not because I'm just one guy among hundread thousands; but you quite impressed me. Usually I'm not that easily impressed, but reading your blog I thought 'Gosh, she's great, I hope she gets this.' As I don't confess my first impressions on someone that often, do me a favor... be aware of your captivating side if you're not already, and put the rest aside ;-)

I wish you a nice day,
Jeremy.

The One In Which We Debate The Merits of Questions And Answers...And Conclude That Puppies Are Cute

Oh, Facebook Flirt, how you bring miles of smiles to my face every time we chat. Really, you brighten up my work day with your head-scratching lunacy...it's sort of hot, actually.

What do you all make of this, the transcript from our recent afternoon Facebook chat??

You know, I really do think this blog is giving me a new sense of confidence -- or at least a new sense of boldly boldness.

xoxo,
Mel

Melissa
Is that you in your new pic?
btw, i keep forgetting to poke you with this new facebook!
Facebook Flirt
yes, that is me
Melissa
pretty nice there, springsteen
:)
Facebook Flirt
grassy ass
Melissa
how are you?
Facebook Flirt
I am a scanner darkly
Melissa
i'm a xerox machine
Facebook Flirt
you are? what does that mean?
Melissa
i'm a copy cat, basically...
;)
Facebook Flirt
ahh...IC
Melissa
not really...i just couldn't think of anything else witty to say!
Facebook Flirt
wHitty
Melissa
that's not how you spell witty....have you ever used a dictionary?
apparently, you're not very witty either... ;) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/witty
Facebook Flirt
I know that. I was pretending for a moment that I was Hank from King of the Hill
I have used a dictionary as a matter of face
face
face
face
fact
there we go
Melissa
and apparently you're a bad speller too. ;)
thank you for making my day a little better....
Facebook Flirt
I have done nothing of the sort
Melissa
AND you don't know how to take a compliment! are you even human?
Facebook Flirt
Partially
but not entirelly
Melissa
you really like to play with my mind, don't you? do you ever answer anything with a straight answer? and if you say sometimes, i am not liable for your injuries. :)
Facebook Flirt
I like to play with everything....because play is more fun than work. I just answer with whatever pops into the ol' dome piece
what other way is there to answer questions?
Facebook Flirt
If someperson asks me a question about computer speakers, and the first thing that pops into my head is Exoskeletal junction at the railroad delay, then I'm going to answer Exoskeletal junction at the railroad delay.
Melissa
by giving an answer that is even remotely related to the question
OMG!
Facebook Flirt
All apologies.
Melissa
well, i suppose i can forgive you this time...only because you're sort of cute...
Facebook Flirt
like a puppy
Melissa
Yes, like a cuddly little puppy....i'm a sucker for anyting cute...anyway, i've got to go now.
Facebook Flirt
bye bye now
Melissa
are you being sarcastic?
Facebook Flirt
nope. not at all
Melissa
because sarcasm is only attractive on me...

A Message To Leavin' (Oops, I mean Levi) Johnston

EDitor's Note: Consider this the letter I'll send out to any man who tries to take advantage of me...not that they'd even have a chance, though, even if they tried.

Dear Mr. Johnston:

I'll just come right out and say it: you're an original grade-A schmuck. I heard through expert sources that you recently broke off your enagement with Bristol Palin because you want "to mature" before marriage.

"It's just us not, me not being mature enough, or something, and having a kid and thinking ... it could be better – better for us to separate for a while," you told Good Morning America.

You went on to say... "We were just, we were in a fight. And trying to see if we can make things work. But this is what it kind of ended up turning into."

You're a boy of specifically vague words, aren't you? Didn't your parents tell you that having a good time with your girlfriend could "kind of end up turning into, oh, I don't know, a child?"

I'm sorry for you, but unlike an engagement, there is no refund or return policy of children. You can't just decide one day that the "impulse purchase" (and I stress the word impulse = sex?) doesn't look as appealing the next day and take it back with a receipt, no questions asked. Because in real life, there will be questions. Lots of them. I'm sure you've heard them all from the media already.

What's that? You haven't received too much flack? Oh, right, I forgot you were a "man" for a second. Now let's be wild and crazy (think of your days with Bristol to get a clearer picture here) for a moment and imagine you were a woman.

1. You would be bombarded with criticism, in the first place for even getting pregnant, and now you'd be hung out to dry for abandoning your baby.

2. You'd probably be called names like "unfit," "crazy," "irresponsible," and probably "abuser."

Instead, you're not. People praise you for doing what you need to do for yourself, for taking the time you need to figure things out. I'm sorry, sir (or rather, boy), but as I always say: If you do the crime, you do the time. You have just as much responsibility for this baby as Bristol. You should be ashamed of yourself for walking away when times get tough. That's life, buddy. It's not very attractive to get a girl pregnant and then leave her in the dust. It's the coward's way out, plain and simple.

Adults know that. Oh, wait, that's right...you're not an adult. In that case, might I suggest you become one or at least try to purchase a spine from somewhere...though I hear those aren't readily for sale either. Maybe they are in Alaska; you all do things quite differently up there, apparently.

The sign of a real man - and woman - is sticking it our through the tough times. I'm a Democrat, though. Apparently, you Republicans do things differently - very differently. But at least you have your values (cue sarcasm).

xoxo,
Mel

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Tradition: Wednesday Word of Wisdom

I'm a lover of words, as I've said before: how they mingle and dance with one another and have the power to create thousands of visual images in your mind.

But a single word can have just as much power, can't it? In this case, one really isn't the loneliest number, is it?

I Thought this might be a nice ritual to give us a little boost during the week. Here's how it works: Think of the feelings, images and emotions the Wednesday Word evokes in your beautiful brain (and a sexy brain, too, I'm sure). Let me know what the word means to YOU!!

xoxo,
Mel

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Happiness is...
*My loving family
*Writing
*baking cookies
*walking in the sunshine
*polo shirts,
*sun hats
*Yahtzee marathons
*casual chitchat
*presidential trivia
*grooving on a Sunday afternoon

The One In Which My Sass And Charm Cross The Pond...

I got this awesome email yesterday from a fellow blogger (check out his awesome blog). This is one of the beauties of blogging -- "meeting" people you might not otherwise come into contact with. Surely, this will go a long way to expanding my somewhat sheltered, bubbled life - it's my first time meeting a Frech man!

xoxo,
Mel

True, your style of writing is appealing, and kinda addictive. It's all original, so well-written and sincere. I've been reading your blog for 2 weeks now, and I never tire of it. I do not try to flatter you - your talents are obvious enough already! But you made me aware of something, and I'm grateful for that; I definitly prefer smart interesting girls with a wonderful writing style instead of.. others, eventhough all the people who know me wouldn't quite believe it. The proof's that I'm addicted to your blog, and the one of another girl whose writing's fab, just like yours! And I don't even know about her (and your) looks. Your effects on me are a hundread times stronger than the one of Miss America... No kidding, just facts.
Thank you then, for making my damn high sense of masculine stupidity decrease a bit ;-)

I added your blog's link to mine, hope you don't mind ?
I also apologize for the mistakes I could have make - the thing is I'm French.. Well, even when writing in French, I make mistakes :-/

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Make A Wish On A Four-Leaf Clover

Top of the (late) afternoon to you all. Hope you found your Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow today.

xoxo,
Mel



Dating With Disabilities: The Grand Inquisition

Top of the Mornin' to all of you! Here's this week's relationship column; this is one of the issues I'm most passionate (and opinionated!) about, obviously!!

Dating With Disabilities: The Grand Inquisition

xoxo,
Mel

Monday, March 16, 2009

Memo To Men: This Is NOT The Way To Flirt With Me

MEMORANDUM
TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: A woman who knows how NOT to flirt
RE: Your flirting technique needs an upgrade
DATE: March 16, 2009

Assuming that's what our dear old Crush Boy was trying to do; you know, I can never be certain. But I do know one thing: lecturing me about the 'give and take' of life is not the quickest route to get my heart a-pumping with love for you.

Melissa, it seems that you don't appreciate that life is about give and take. If you want to participate in my institution you have to follow the rules. I send many people postcards because in the past they have sent me a postcard and I choose to continue the exchange.

MY REPLY...*coughSARCASMcough*

Yes, sir. I shall do my best to learn the rules of life....

xoxo,
Mel

A Hot Guy Who Loves A Girl Who Can Write!

I got this response from a very nice (very handsome) blog reader last week. This, boys, is how you compliment a woman (read: Crush Boy)....so maybe my quirkiness does attract the boys!

xoxo,
Mel

Thanks! I'm usually drawn to blogs by people who can write...and you definitely have a talent for writing. And if the subject matter/content is a little out of the ordinary, I usually find it interesting and stick around for awhile.

Man Candy Monday

Do you have a case of The Mondays? Well, as usual, I've got the perfect cure. He's sweet. He's talented (we're talking singing, dancing AND acting here). And he's young (read: fresh meat is the BEST!).

ZAC EFRON!!!!!!!

xoxo,
Mel







Sunday, March 15, 2009

SUNDAY Column: Skip Life And Get To The Living

They say it’s always life that gets in the way of actually living. It sounds like some mind-boggling 1950’s beatnik, but it’s true. Really, really true.

It’s true that March has most definitely come in like a lion. A roaring, scary lion at that, and I’m not just speaking of the weather here. It’s been a tough couple of weeks.

In addition to seeing the sixth anniversary of my father’s death come and go, I also saw the death of two other people – one of my mother’s coworkers and a member of our church. Indeed, it seems to be a sad time for many people, and I often wonder, now more than ever: How can we move past life and get to and appreciate the good part – living? And why does it take death sometimes to give us that little extra push that we so obviously and desperately need?

MORE JUICE AFTER THE JUMP...

xoxo,
Mel


It’s so easy to get swept up in the “busyness” of life. I know this all too well. There are lists to make (lists of things you think are so important, of course, that every item needs to be checked off within a 24-hour period), people to call (usually work-related), events to plan (events you probably will spend more time planning than actually enjoying) and just generally, so many things you have to do that the very thought of them puts you in a frenzied state.

Life, ironically, can seem like it’s sucking the living right out of your very soul. Before you know it, you’re feeling like a drone on a large assembly line – going through the motions just for the sake of, well, getting it all done and checked off that ever-growing list, which is large enough now to fill up an entire notebook.

You just keep running, trying and trying tirelessly to catch up, but the second you feel yourself approaching the finish line? Ooops. You just thought of 10 more things to add to the list. It looks like you can’t take those running shoes off just yet. Now you finally understand why they call it a “rat race.”

And too often, the people in your life take a backseat to, well, life itself. Words go left unsaid. Get-togethers get postponed, usually indefinitely. It’s as if you are merely ghosts or ships passing each other in the night – a quick kiss before you rush out of the house or a half hug before bed.

But then something happens that jars you out of your go-go-go coma. It could be something as serious as the health crisis of a loved one or something not-so-serious like an old friend moving across the country; while not heartbreaking, it pokes a little hole in the bubble you’ve come to find yourself living in.

Suddenly all that other stuff – the stuff you once thought was crucial – doesn’t seem so important anymore. In fact, it all seems rather pointless and trivial, doesn’t it?

I’m not usually one to be a preacher (our church friend could have attested to this), but don’t let tomorrow’s to-do list get in the way of today’s must-dos. Put that to-do list away (or be a big, bad rebel and throw it in the trash). Do something fun and spontaneous with your family. Just be with them, hug them and hold them close, because in the end, that’s really all that matters anyway. That is, really, the true sign of living. Unlike life, there’s no script to following for living.

The only requirement? Engage yourself fully in it and be present. Living may be messy. Living may be complicated. But when you look back on your “living” in 20 years, I bet you’ll see more smiles and laughter than you could ever dream of seeing.

My mother has always said “never go to bed angry.” She’s a pretty smart lady, so I’ve always lived by this notion. I always, much to the chagrin on my sister and mother, tell them how much I love them. I probably tell them at least 20 times a day; it’s my little reminder to them so they never, ever forget what is most important to me. And, probably much to their chagrin too, I’m going to keep on saying it. Because even thinking about not saying it is heartbreaking enough. So tell someone close to you – heck, tell 10 people – how much you love them today, tomorrow and always. You never know when the chance will have passed you by.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's True: I'm Really, Really NOT Taylor Swift

Here's some added humor for your weekend. Enjoy, but remember that I was a much, much younger and different woman back then. I like to think I've matured since then. In fact, I know I've matured: I haven't tried this whole songwriting thing since. Yes, I've indeed learned my limitations as a writer...

xoxo,
Mel

P.S. Taylor Swift, as good as these "songs" are, please don't steal them. Well, if you do, at least give me a writing credit.

"Never Again" -- Wow, this could be the theme song to this whole experiment of mine.
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"I'm Over you"
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"Heartbroken"
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Have A PEEPtastic Weekend!


Ahhh, it's almost my favorite season. Peeps are my one true love. FOREVER!

xoxo,
Mel

We Can Establish That I'm No Taylor Swift

I feel no shame in exposing my naked self through my diary entries each week, so I figured, "Why not go all the way" (and no, boys, I'm not talking about that).

Remember a few months ago when I posted these original lyrics of mine that I was so sure would be Top Billboard hits? Well, I found more gems.

Go ahead -- tell me how bad they are. And yes, if I remember correctly, some of them were inspired by good old Crush Boy (see notations below)

xoxo,
Mel

P.S. Please respect the Copyright, though I don't think that will be a problem. :)

"It's Not Me, It's You"
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"I Want You Tonight" -- This was my attempt at being very bad-ass. Looking back now, I see it just came out baaaaad.
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Guy Quote of the Day!

Oh, Facebook Flirt, how you make me laugh so!!

xoxo,
Mel

P.S. I've seen said mohawk. It's pretty damn sexy!

"The worst part about having a mohawk is waking up late in the morning and not having time for a shower before work and having your hair be all kinds of f@#$% up and stickin all over the place because you slept on it funny."

Guy-Mail of the Week!

I got this email from Cute Guy Friend on the anniversary of my father's death. It made me remember that there are still some good guys out there....

xoxo,
Mel

Hey Melissa,

We're thinking of your family today, how is everything going?

Sincerely,

Cute Guy Friend

Freaky (Funny!) Friday

Previously on The Melissa Diaries: Life (and my Senior year) was going by in a hazy blur of silent yearning and unrequited love. Brown-Eyed Editor's mixed signals were beginning to give me a headache. I needed to focus on other things, but even on the eve of taking the ACT, he was all I could think about.

xoxo,
Mel


Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Have (Yet Another) New Theme Song

The band's name is Gloriana. I've never heard of them, but I can't get enough of their song "Wild At Heart."

It sort of describes me, don't you think? A song for us Proud Virgins, perhaps? The lyrics in bold particularly speak to me...

xoxo,
Mel

Down a back road
Long, hot summer
A couple kids runnin' loose and wild
He kissed her
She said mister,
Take an inch and I'll give you a mile

I ain't here to do anything half-way
Don't give a damn what anyone might say
I just wanna free fall for a while


That rebel moon is shinin'
Those stars burn like diamonds
Hell bent on chasin' down that crazy slide
I'll follow you where you're leading
To the first sweet taste of freedom
You got me runnin' baby,
Wild at heart

About midnight, he tells her
I ain't got no come-on lines
Well I'll love you, or I'll try to
We got nothing to lose but time

Stick your hand into my back pocket
Light me up like a bottle rocket
I just wanna free fall for a while

That rebel moon is shinin'
Those stars burn like diamonds
Hell bent on chasin' down that crazy slide
I'll follow you where you're leadin'
To the first sweet taste of freedom
You got me runnin' baby,
Wild at heart

O-oh, alright
Tonight is tellin' us we're way too young

O-oh, that's alright
I've forever on the tip of my tongue

That rebel moon is shinin'
Those stars burn like diamonds
Hell bent on chasin' down that crazy slide
I'll follow you where you're leading
To the first sweet taste of freedom
You got me runnin' baby,
Wild at heart

That rebel moon is shinin'
Those stars burn like diamonds
Hell bent on chasin' down that crazy slide
I'll follow you where you're leading
To the first sweet taste of freedom
You got me runnin' baby,
You got me runnin' baby,
Wild at heart

O-oh, alright.

Oh, The People You'll Meet On Twitter
















I love Twitter (follow me @melissablake ). But I love the funny jokesters/posers I run into from time to time even more. A few days ago, a certain man (@WealthyChats) decided he'd like to follow my very-exciting life via Twitter.

So of course I take a gander at his profile and conclude: He's a royal snob. I tell him so, actually with this message:

A little full of yourself, aren't you?

I awoke this morning to his reply:

Thanks! I have a full profile on wealthychats.com. Username Johncacs2008, you can view my albums and blogs there.

AND...

Just send me a free wink there, I will email you. I'm a certified millionaire there.

No, I didn't visit the site. I'm not that stupid.

I probably did, though, just crush the heart of a poor 16-year-old sap who thought he was the first person to think of masquerading as a gorgeous millionaire online to lure women.

The verdict: I am such a hipster, no-nonsense gal!

xoxo,
Mel

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dating With Disabilities: Eye Candy

Here's my column from Online Dating Magazine this week. As always, your thoughts are always welcome!

xoxo,
Mel

Dating With Disabilities: Eye Candy

A Message To A Man Named Darryll

According to this Facebook quiz, I'm supposed to be on the hunt for Darryll. Have you seen him?? Send him my way!

xoxo,
Mel

Your Result: Darryll



He is the most romantic of all of the guys you will ever meet. You will know that it is him because on your third date he will give you a beautiful red rose. Yet, watch out, he is a player but he will love you for who you are. Don't worry he will change for you, and will do anything you want him to!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What Dreams May Come...

Although today has been a hard day, I felt a smile cross my face when I got this email from my aunt about a dream she's had about my father:

He was riding on a Greyhound bus with many other people, and it must have been summer in country Illinois because the corn was high. The bus stopped because it had a flat tire, and the people got off. They began looking at the scenery, and Brian said "It's okay, I can walk from here" and began walking away with a medium rectangular brown suitcase which did not seem to be heavy. In the distance, to the east, was the DeKalb water tower. He was wearing jeans and a short sleeved button front plaid shirt, a sort of blue/teal/aqua with white and a touch of orange.

So maybe my dad is closer than I think. Some people say they can feel their loved one's presence after death. I've never had that feeling in the last six years. But maybe my dad really is carrying that suitcase and coming home to us, somehow. It's a nice comfort to end the day.

xoxo,
Mel

Survining The Suicide of a Loved One: Six Years Later

I wrote this piece in 2006 as a newspaper column. I was scared, at first, to share my story with my readers. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like I'd be doing them - and more importantly, my father - a great disservice by keeping quiet, and letting the stigma of suicide continue to speak louder and louder.

xoxo,
Mel


Well, my secret is out. I've spent the last week debating this column. Throughout the week, the questions rang in my ear. Should I write about this? Should I avoid the subject altogether? Thankfully, a little daily newspaper called the Chicago Tribune (maybe you've heard of it) gently took me by the hand and made the decision for me. They ran my essay, "Emerging from the grief of suicide,” in the Sunday Commentary section on Oct. 29. Being published in the Tribune has been my writing dream for as long as I can remember, but more important than the byline is that it lifted a weight off my shoulders. This weight has been pulling me down for the last three years, perched atop my shoulders like a boulder that you can't seem to move. You try to walk around it. You try to walk on top of it. But it's no use. You're stuck right where you are.

But you know what? My feet aren't glued to the ground anymore. The column set me free. I suppose that's where you come in. You've let me come into your life every Sunday morning, and I've appreciated your willingness to listen, which is why I'd like you to come into my life. I feel a sense of purpose with this weekly column, so I feel like not sharing this story would be doing a grave disservice. In fact, it would go against everything I've been working toward since March 10, 2003. There are some stories in the world that need telling - that scream to be given a voice. This is my story.

Yesterday was National Survivors of Suicide Day. Sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the day is a time for thousands of people to come together to reflect and remember those they've lost to suicide. Thousands are left in the murky swirl of dust the loved ones leave behind. I never thought I'd be one of the thousands, but suicide touched me with all its might. My father committed suicide on March 10, 2003. I've been through the ups and downs and the twists and turns of the last few years, and along the way, I've learned more about grief than I've learned in the entire quarter century I've lived on this earth. To other survivors - and anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one - I offer these words:

It's most important to realize you'll never feel the same emotion twice, at least not in the beginning of your grief. It's not uncommon to feel waves of confusion, sadness, loneliness, guilt and, especially, anger. Trust me, for a good two years, anger took center stage in my life. You know me, I'm usually a golly-go-lucky person, so feeling this anger proved quite unsettling. I tried to push it aside, pretend like I was invisible to anger, but it stuck in the pit of my stomach, its little tentacles grasping firmly. So I started writing. I filled up pages and pages in my journal describing the intense anger I felt toward my father. How could he do this to us, the family he loved so dearly? Did he even know what he was doing? I asked countless questions, and, even now, I still don't have all the answers. The word "why” implants itself in your mind, and this word replays itself over and over like a broken record. You're trying to make sense of this tragedy, so desperately trying to find answers to your pain and suffering. But asking why is OK. It's healthy.

Keep asking the questions until you feel secure in knowing you may never come to any conclusions. You will know when that time has come. Grief is unique. With suicide, I've found that people do care, but if they've never experienced the suicide of a loved one, they simply don't understand what you're going through. You will undoubtedly feel alone in your grief at times. That is 100 percent OK. I, Miss Center of Attention, craved silence and solitude during those lonesome times. You need that time for reflection and to be alone with your emotions. It doesn't mean you're sinking into a black hole of despair. And it certainly doesn't mean you don't appreciate the people around you. It simply means you need to give your mind and your body a chance to rest and start down the road of healing.

Those in the midst of grief also feel this intense drive to talk about their loved one. If you've been an avid reader of my columns, you know that my dad has been a central figure in many of them. He's tied to all my memories. He's still such a strong force in my life. I'll admit I felt a bit guilty bombarding you with all my memories, but then I realized: I need to talk about him, just like all survivors need to talk about what's happened. We not only want to talk about the grief, but we want to share the stories of our loved ones as a way of keeping their memories alive. This is so important, so I urge you to seek out those trusted souls who will listen with an open ear and an open heart.

So by now you're probably wondering: What's the good news in all this? There is light on the other side of the darkness. It's the brightest light I've ever seen. When you're in the midst of your ugly grief, it's hard to imagine a world where you laugh and smile. But you will come out on the other side, I promise you. You'll never forget what happened. But each day that you live, some of that gloom will be replaced with sunshine, and you'll notice more of those happy times peeking through the clouds. In the end, you can't discretely push grief under the rug like a small piece of dust. You can either deal with it or let it eat away at you for years. Part of breaking the stigma attached to suicide is not being ashamed of what happened. Don't hide from it. I've chosen to face the demon of grief straight in the eyes.

I got an e-mail message last week from the Commentary editor at the Tribune who accepted my piece. She said that I should fight for happiness because it's worth it. I intend to go forth and fight for every bit of happiness.

Click Here To Buy MY Book!

Good mooooorning, everyone! I hope you're having a happy Tuesday! Today is a big day for me - a sort of bittersweet day, actually. Today marks the sixth anniversary of my father's suicide (the bitter, obviously) AND the release of my first book (the suh-weeet!). OK, well, technically, it's not just my book -- it's a collection of sorts. But mine is the best essay in the bunch, of course!



Yup, that's it. It's called Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins & More, and an essay I wrote on a set of precocious and precious triplets is featured in the anthology!

So buy a copy. Tell a friend. I'll even autograph the book for you!

xoxo,
Mel

Monday, March 09, 2009

Man Candy Monday

I love scary TV shows. And I love scary TV shows with some nice eye candy even better. And I love scary TV shows with nice eye candy and nice brain candy the most!

You all know I couldn't live without my daily fix of The CW's Supernatural - that loveable show about two brothers traversing the country in a 1967 Chevy Impala determined to save the world from ghosts and ghouls and other scary creatures.

My sister loves the show too, but we seem to disagree on who is the hottest Winchester brother. She likes Dean for his rugged attitude. I love Sam for his hot brain - there is NOTHING sexier than a SMART guy. So, in that spirit, I bring you the man behind Sam.

JARED PADALECKI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

xoxo,
Mel







Sunday, March 08, 2009

SUNDAY Column: Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?

I come to you from the future. Or I come to you from the past. Or I come to you from some alternate universe via the space-time continuum. I’m not too sure, actually.

Is your head spinning yet? Welcome to my world. It’s a pretty mind-boggling world. But then again, I can’t fault myself for my lack of space-time knowledge. You see, I tried being friends with a physics class in high school. We learned about the speed of sound, the speed of light and something about velocity (or maybe that was volume). Either way, we didn’t get along and broke up (read: I dropped that course like a hot plate coming out of the oven).

But this weekend, I had to put to work what little physics knowledge I had buried in the recesses of my brain. After all, it was time for man to do the impossible: use his mighty hands to actually alter time. Literally. We went to bed last night, and woke up this morning in the future. Well, not exactly the future, just an hour later as a result of Daylight Savings Time. It’s called springing ahead for us lay people (we do spring ahead an hour, right?).

And if you’re like me, you might even curse the term Daylight Savings Time too. All the questions rattle in my brain, and I need answers: Why are we so affected by a little thing called time? And, is the FDA ever going to approve some sort of pill that can at least help ease the symptoms during that horrible “I-want-to-take-to-my-bed” transition?

MORE JUICE AFTER THE JUMP...

xoxo,
Mel


I’ve always been one of those people whose inner clock is overactive. It’s practically on highest alert every second of every day. I live by the ticking hand of the clock. I rise precisely at 7 a.m. I eat lunch exactly at 11 a.m. And I can usually be found snuggled in bed by 8:30 p.m. – at the very latest. You see, I need time to be the one constant in my life, sort of like a gentle, invisible hand that keeps me going in the right direction and never lets me get lost. My own GPS system.

And don’t even get me going about traveling through time zones. I went to California a few years ago (remember that hot desert?), and for an entire week, if anyone asked me “What time is it?” my honest reply remained the same: “I have no idea.” It was the truth. All I knew for sure was that sunlight meant it was day and a dark, starry-lit sky meant it was probably night time. My mind and body even take a beating when I’m in the Eastern Time Zone; I think if I ever venture across the pond to Europe, I’ll need a heavy sedative or at least something to soothe my stomach, which will undoubtedly be twisted in knots for the duration of said travels.

But maybe I’m outraged merely out of frustration. Perhaps if we knew the history and reasons behind the time change, our lives would run more smoothly, sort of like we were suffering in the short-term for the greater good of humanity.

According to the U.S. Government, “One of the biggest reasons we change our clocks to Daylight Saving Time (DST) is that it reportedly saves electricity.” OK. Fair enough. I’m not opposed to saving energy. In fact, I’m pro-energy.

And then I discovered the true history of DST. Apparently, clock-fiddling began in 1883 to “standardize their schedules.” Who are they referring to? Our lovely railroads. So I’m suffering twice a year because some ancient train conductors more than a century ago wanted to make things a little easier for themselves? I’m not so sure I can accept this reason.

I apologize that outburst. You see, the time change is fully beginning to affect me now – apparently mentally as well as physically. But don’t you ever wonder where that missing hour goes? Think of all the things you could do with that extra hour. Sleep. Shop. Start your taxes. Sleep. Read the newspaper. Sleep. Couldn’t history make an exception for us 21st Century folks?? Or, at the very least, me?

Maybe I should have finished out that physics class after all. With my luck, the professor probably went over the space-time continuum during the second semester.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Things That Make You Go "Awwwww"

As the saying goes, "THINK SPRING!" Well, I've been thinking, wishing, praying (and you know I'm not a very religious woman here) and hoping for spring since the last leaf fell off the tree last fall. It's been a long, dark, cold winter(much like my love life, or lack thereof), and I'm ready for spring. The sun. The blooming flowers. The Easter candy.

I just couldn't help but post this picture......What things make you stop and go "Awwwww"? Let me know!! I might even post your responses!

xoxo,
Mel

Freaky (Funny!) Friday

Previously on The Melissa Diaries: It was getting harder and harder to know where I stood with Brown-Eyed Editor since Evil Gossip Girl showed up. I wanted to tell him so badly how I felt, but the timing never seemed to be right. And now with competition from Evil Gossip Girl, it looked like I was going to have to buck-up and do something - or risk losing everything.

xoxo,
Mel


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The One In Which We Discuss Immortals, The Ribik's Cube & A Love of Hedgehogs

I love Facebook. I really do. In fact, I've loved it for four years, since it was just a humble site for us college folk. And I became literally ecstatic when I came across this handy-dandy chart courtesy of TheFrisky.

You see, I've consulted countless people on the elusive meaning of the Facebook Poke. Some say it's just a form of saying hello, like a high-five between two friends. Others, like myself, say it's a subtle form of e-flirting, the real-life equivalent of poking that boy you like in elementary school. But thanks to this hand-dandy chart, my theory is confirmed! FINALLY!!!!! Someone who understands the power of the all-mighty Poke. Oh, yes, my friends, there is power behind The Poke. It's a passion. A yearning. A sort of e-tango. Don't believe me? Check out the chart for yourself:



And in the spirit of full disclosure, I thought I'd post a recent chat I had with (yup, you guessed it) - Facebook Flirt. Our hot and steamy poking war is still going strong, and I've even worked up the courage to chat him up a few times via Facebook. Here's how one of our recent chats played out; it's all ready and waiting for your expert analysis.

And yes, I'm aware that I'm an incredibly awkward flirt, but remember: AWKWARD IS THE NEW COOL! So hahaha! :)

xoxo,
Mel

P.S. The smilies were way sexier as an actual smiley on Facebook.

Melissa: Hey! I was just about to get on your case because I read your status wrong....

FF: get on my case for what?

Melissa: I thought the word funk was....you know... ;)

FF: ah, yes...well I do have quite a potty mouth

Melissa: or an honest mouth, i guess...so how are you?

FF: I dunno...whatevery you want to call out...a mouth that tends to offend a good number of people. I am flaptastic.

Melissa: Flaptastic...I love it! :)

FF: word.

Melissa: so i have to ask...are you really invincible?

[Editor's Note: I asked him last week if he would be able to keep up this poking war we've got going because I for one had no intention of stopping any time soon]

FF: invincible and immortal

Melissa: no, sir. remember, I'M the one who is both invinsible and immortal....

FF: ya ya...whatever you say

Melissa: so you don't believe me?

FF: nope

Melissa: and what could i do to convince you, besides live forever?

FF: thats about it. I am truly immortal, so I will be here forever.....if you live forever too, then I will believe you.

Melissa: so that means we'd be the only two people left on the planet....that would make things interesting...

FF: not necessarily. There are other immortals

Melissa: So that's your way of giving me the brush-off.... J/K :) Who are these other immortals?

FF: whats a brush-off? there are quite a few....hundreds...in the world

Melissa: oooh, FFt, looks like you need my teaching again. you know, a nice way of saying, "if we're the only two left on the planet, i'm going to go find someone else..." and that shows just how un-funny I am, apparently.

FF: hmmm...a brush-off...ill have to commit that one to memory.

Melissa: Yes, you should....

FF: My memory is not very grand. And I wasn't very good at the rubix cube...rubics...however the hell you spell that

Melissa: I've never solved it either. I have it on the bookshelf next to my bed and have been trying for years to solve the damn thing...

FF: Im getting a hedgehog

Melissa: a real one? was that a stupid question?

FF: yes. a real one

Melissa: may i ask why?

FF: Because I like them.

Melissa: how big are they? i didn't even know you could have them as house pets

FF: the last one I had was about 7 or 8 inches long

Melissa: are they cute?

FF: That depends on your personal opinion

Melissa: well, you had one, so you must have some sort of emotional liking for it.

FF: They are pretty sweet. i like them

Melissa: well, i'm pretty sweet too, though I'm not a hedgehog

FF: and you dont have spikes

Melissa: well, not literal ones anyway :)
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