I Believe That We’ve Each Been Created Uniquely For A Reason...
My name is Melaney. I’m 27 years old and from Toronto, Canada.
I’ve always had a spirit of adventure and a deep curiosity for the road less travelled. Since I was young, I’ve lived in my own world in my head, generally unfazed by societal norms and status quo’s. I’m grateful to have had parents who encouraged me to experiment with and cultivate all sorts of diverse interests while growing up. As a young black woman, I’ve been, and still am, a minority in most of the settings where I find myself daily. I didn’t think much of it when I was young, but as I got older, I became increasingly aware of the way society is structured. Along the way, I stopped thinking of my differences as valuable and unique; I started thinking of them as detrimental. I fell into a mindset where I felt alone and afraid, vulnerable in the world and my own head.
Most people who know me personally would say that they admire my optimism and confidence, but very few people know that I’ve gone through many extremely low points in my life, mentally and emotionally. Seasons where I felt like I didn't want to be ME; but I also had no idea WHO I wanted to be. Not really specifically wanting to be someone else-- but feeling misunderstood, as if I was an outsider. I was afraid and confused about my place in this world, which launched me into eras of darkness and deep sadness.
“Not belonging" in the spaces I find myself in is the most familiar sensation I can describe feeling throughout most of my life. I have memories of feeling strange as a kid during swimming lessons, after realizing few others looked like me. I remember looking around the gymnasium during sports camp during my childhood summers, wondering why some of the boys didn't want to hang out with me (one of the only girls), even though I was good at sports and one of the most competitive kids there. I recall conversations during university, while studying for my Civil Engineering degree, where I would meet other students at a party and they would express shock, disbelief, and sometimes confusion when they realized I was in an engineering program. Nowadays, there are times when I've been stared at while working, and been told condescendingly "I didn't realize these types of companies would hire people like you". I've been underestimated and frowned upon countless times. Don't get me wrong— I've found great friends and kindred spirits in every space I've entered. I’m describing these instances though, to demonstrate how lonely and awkward it can be, along the journey of "embracing one’s true self” in a world filled with longstanding, inexplicable stereotypes and expectations.
My journey toward self-acceptance has involved a lot of prayer, therapy, conscious daily decisions, and support from an army of the best family and friends I could speak of.
Each day is a new adventure for me, and sometimes I still feel like I live in a tug of war in my head. I hop between extremes of “not giving a damn what anyone thinks of me”, and “trying my best to employ empathy, compassion, and kindheartedness" toward those I interact with. The juxtaposition of these sides rattles me to my core at times— but then I remember that those two states are actually not in conflict with each other. It’s not one or the other; I need to employ both.
I believe that we’ve each been created uniquely for a reason. These things which make us “different” and “stand out” are our strengths— we need to lean into them. However, our greatest areas of strength are simultaneously our most likely places of weakness. We need to become conscious of our propensity to run away from our true selves in an attempt to escape potential discomfort along the way.
These days, I'm trying to spread love, authenticity and vulnerability as best I can. We all have a gift to share with this world, and we will only find it when we begin to accept and admire the person we were created to be, deep down.
This is me. Take it or leave it :) <3
Thanks so much for reading! Check out my own blog at
www.staymellow.wixsite.com/blog, for reflective pieces, creative writing, and poetry.
Or visit me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/717mellow.