A couple of days after I’d spoken with and taken her portrait for the project, Melody sent me a text voicing some concerns with her answers. In particular her answer on love. It is a very personal and vulnerable story that she shared and that is why the answer is so perfect.
There are no “wrong” answers to these questions, but there are answers that reflect a deeper truth and knowing and those answers comes from the heart, from the gut, and the truth of how we really feel.
When we speak in our own truth, especially if it’s not something that we’ve trained ourself to do, it’s like releasing a pressure valve. A great sigh of relief at finally saying and acknowledging everything that we are. It’s our subconscious-selves. Our gut feeling finally being given a voice. It’s stating the person that we are beyond all of our actions or lack of actions, and displaying the person that we truly are and sometimes wish to be.
It is also at that level that we can meet and come to know every other human on earth. A level that goes beyond our immediate stances, opinions, and ideals. It’s where we connect with one another on the basis of humanity alone.
It’s been nothing short of a humbling privilege to share such moments with people over the scope of this project. Today, as we are all unsure of the changes to come in our social climate, this project seems more important than ever.
We must strive to connect with one another on this level of understanding and empathy.
Melody and I shared simple, honest, and heartfelt conversation. It truly is as simple as that to connect with another. We set down the phones, spoke truth from our own hearts and connected. We even discovered our shared individual desire to master The Lindy Hop and danced a little bit. (She’s way better than me, obviously.)
Her words are important because they show the rest of us that we're not alone. On the contrary they show us, as all of the answers to these questions have done, that we are far more connected than we initially feel. That despite whatever our own chosen guidelines are for life and living it we are all the same people just below the surface. We all have driving forces, lessons learned, and no matter what our experience, know that love is one beautifully-complicated and often difficult road to walk down.
I want to challenge you to connect. Get out of your echo-chamber environment, set aside your preconceived notions and pick up the scope of curiosity. Really talk to another person and then really listen to what they have to say. We all want to be loved, heard, considered, safe and wanted. We all understand, to some degree or another what it is like to not have those things and how much it hurts. I can almost guarantee you that if you give those things openly and honestly to another that they will be retuned. If they're not, don't be discouraged and walk in the knowledge that you were true to yourself and are an example of a wonderful person to admired.
Melody, thank you for being such a person and sharing your heart and mind with myself and all of us.
Love Aimlessly, My Friends
What gets you out of bed every day?
I would say first, this one. (petting the cat next to her) Every morning she crawls up on my chest and puts both of her feet on my face when she wants me to get up. I’m absolutely a morning person. I love getting up in the morning. I always get up way before I have to so I can tool around the house and sip on coffee and catch up on things. I love my job and my space. Getting up and getting ready for that is never a chore, and now days I would much rather be in bed by 10:00 and wake up at 6:00am. Just having a new day and feeling ready to take on the world.
I’m an eternal optimist. I’m always ready to go and see what lies ahead. I feel my best in the mornings and I don’t know if there’s anything much deeper than that.
To date, what is the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
I have a few of those. First and foremost, trust your gut. This is something that I’ve had to remind myself of a million times in my life. We’ve all been through plenty of hardships that put little scars on our hearts. Some are much deeper than others. We question ourselves because we think that our old wounds are going to come back to haunt us, but in the end our instincts are usually always right. Trust your gut.
Also, don’t sweat the small stuff. That’s something that I think is really important. We’re all human beings and we’re all trying our best... learning and growing with every new experience we have. We have to remember to give ourselves and others a break sometimes and learn from mistakes to be a better person.
Also, make sure that you show and tell your friends how much you love them. They’ll always been the ones there to pick you up and dust you off when you can’t do it yourself. Sometimes we can take them for granted and those are the relationships that will last for forever. It’s good to remind yourself just how important those people are to you and to tell them what they mean to you.
What is love?
I prepared something to be said for this one:
“My idea of love has changed a lot over the years. I’ve been in a handful of long-term relationships; loving all of them in different ways. I’ve found reasons to run from every one of them, leaving some broken hearts in my path. Then… there was him.
From the moment that we met I felt like we were old lovers that had been reunited. As if we’d spent hundreds of past-lifetimes together and a new one was just beginning. There was a voice in my head telling me to be cautious, but I was swept away by the man. It was like I’d finally met my match.
His arms fit around me just right and I surrendered to him in a way that I’d never done with anyone before. He filled my head with the sweetest words and love songs. We laughed and played like children, and danced and made love with every spare moment. It was intoxicating.
Then, that little voice in my head got louder. I passed off my own instincts until they were screaming at me. Sure enough, there was much more to this love story than I had been willing to notice.
A darkness that was masked by a loving smile. Sadly this story didn’t end well, but I know that I gave all that I had and then some. I felt love in the deepest sense of the word and in the highs and lows that came along with it. I would rather have a lifetime of heartbreaks than to never feel again the way that I felt with him when love was young.”
I guess I just always had this idea of what love was or what it should be until this happened. I realized that loving someone isn’t always pretty. It’s the best of the best and the worst of the worst... something that I don’t think a lot of people ever feel in their whole lives.
I guess you have different versions and levels of love with every person. I just never really knew how all-consuming it could be. How it could change you as a person forever. How it could change your life forever.
About Melody : Melody is owner/operator of HOLIDAY. A hair salon and barber shop as well as retail space.
Lives in Nashville, TN