If You Can’t Say Anything Nice

#SeLoFest17 – Day 1

(For the next 28 days, I will be writing a blog a day with something that has to do with my own discovery into self-love, self-esteem, and confidence. I did this two years ago, and I feel like it’s time for an update. Everything I will be writing about will be pertaining to my experience personally and my global perspective in regards to who I am as a person and human being, and my duty to myself.

If you’d like to follow along, you can do so by following this blog, and if you like what I have to say, you can always sign up to my Love Letters. This is my last month in France and I will be exposing my art, and reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Darin Greatly by Brené Brown, and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I believe that depression brain trains me and teaches me to be too hard on myself, and sometimes I need a hard reset, get myself back on the horse, and ride out into the sunset of living a creative life. If you’d like to be a part of the Facebook group that will be sharing their stories along with these prompts, feel free to RSVP to this event.  Or just write me at maelle@colormaelle.com and let me know. You can also just do it on your own, and/or post your thoughts on instagram and tag me at @colormaelle and hashtag it #SeLoFest17.)

And now for today’s actual Blog (prompt and activity below):


I was 29 years old when the importance of positive feedback really truly smacked me in the face in a lesson I never forgot. We’re always learning lessons at an emotional or cerebral level but that doesn’t always mean we necessarily know how to live that lesson.

I had a boyfriend at that time whose family I was close to, and for me, their dynamic was one where they encouraged each other through very positive means of feedback. For me, the contrast was that I had grown up with having been scolded very often in pretty harsh ways.

I’d like to take a moment to say that as children we can be our parents’ worst critics, and through these dissertations of my feelings that I dissect, I am in no way faulting my mother or blaming her for my issues anymore than any other human could, being a result of their surrounding, context, and parents successes and mistakes. I love my mother and am privileged, lucky, and boundlessly grateful for her commitment to motherhood and her powerful love, and the way she raised me. There were certain things that are simply a part of my experience and context, and I share these matter-of-factly, knowing that every parent and family has their flaws and qualities.

My context remained, that my mother’s way of handling my explosive feelings were through scolding perhaps out of fear or simply a reaction that parents have that I will most likely never understand as I do not wish to be a mother. However, scolding was what my mother did to help me grow, and as such my way of registering what I should and shouldn’t do was how to avoid being yelled at. I was familiar with positive reinforcements and words of love because when something ached, many times it was my mother’s soothing words that were the only ones capable of helping me heal the wounds inflicted by life, heartache, and such. My mother is also kind in nature. As her first child, she went through a learning curb with me and I learned to operate through the fear of not being yelled at.

At 28, however, I was welcomed into a family that had a disposition that I would relate to many American families. The southern hospitality mixed in with my then boyfriend’s mother’s tenderness, and both parents’ overflowing pride and love for their only child, made for a household that felt a bit like soft Christmas mornings every day and somehow always smelled of Chai tea. Of course I was now an adult and only a temporary installment, so there were layers upon layers that I was not privy to, but what I did get to experience was their constant friendliness. It was an American friendliness but with their own unique set of attributes as individual characters. A lot of positive reinforcement. Not compliments, but I don’t think I had ever been told what a talented writer and artist I was as I was told by my “In-law’s” back then. It made me want to flourish more, prove them right, be the person they said they saw in me, to deserve their praise. I felt love and appreciated, unconditionally, and yet encouraged to do better, explore deeper, strive further; not out of fear, but confidence. I knew I could, because they saw it in me.

That, along with my studies in Spiritual Psychology, a therapist, two unbelievable friends, and loving parents ever committed to our growth as a family, is what allowed me to first understand the undeniable need of self-love, or self-respect, for my own survival.

As an adult, my mother is now one of my main sources of positive feedback and reinforcement, as we have learned to listen to each other. Should anyone ever criticize her as a mother, I would have them know they have understood nothing about parenting or what my mother has done for the sake of my siblings and I and her family. She is a warrior goddess and I am proud of our relationship and how she’s grown.

As for the family that had accepted me through simply being the girlfriend of their son, I will always love them and consider them close to my heart.

Being kind to myself, learning to believe in myself, speaking to myself kindly, all of these things were practices I had to learn because they did not come naturally to me. As a child, I had it, as I believe most children naturally do. But the world taught me to reject myself for who I was. That wasn’t my fault. But owning up to that, and knowing that I have the power to undo that damage and understand the Truth, that is on me. I will not deny myself the responsibility because I do not want to deny myself that freedom. There is also the added pleasure of being able to be the source of pride for someone you love and respect. It is not only freeing, but a pleasure to live for.

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The Prompt: When did you learn about positive affirmation? Was your family and context something that taught it to you naturally or did you learn it later on? Did you ever learn it? Do you think you apply it now? Are you conscious of how you speak to yourself and what your inner voice sounds like?

The activity: Be the voice of loving. Think about this sentence “I love myself because…” and think of where you’ve come from, what you’ve been through, what you give, what you offer, how valuable you are. Understand the reality that everyone has a value but we determine what it’s worth based on what we put forth.

In your journal: Write yourself a letter. Make it a love letter. Make it authentic. Get over the fact that it’s silly, think about how much you actually truly do deserve a love letter, think about what you would say to someone who you love and appreciate and the things they’ve done for you. Realize that you’ve been with yourself this entire time. Write a letter saying the things you wished someone would say it to you. Be as creative as you’d like, but make it beautiful and well-written. Take pride in it. If writing a letter is difficult, try making a list of things you appreciate about yourself. With your affirmations, use positive and affirming language. (Don’t put “do not” for example. Put what you DO want, not what you don’t want.)

15965820_10155520185040021_1041353946404623188_nStreet Art in Genova – January 2017

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 Above water

I thought I had written more. 

I’ve been writing Love Letters but sometimes I’m too deep in my thoughts and it’s too heavy and you don’t want to send that. 

We were one of the first ones on the cruise.

Sebastián and I explored the ship back and forth but left the bottom half to be explored later. We got to our toom and the parents were still out. We hung out and watched the water undeneath us. The boat is so still. Like a building. 

There’s a certain unease. Maybe its just me. 

A discomfort. A guilt to so much unnecessary luxury. I make a mental note to be grateful at every moment,  but make this my last cruise really. 

It’s beautiful. The boat isn’t moving so we go indoors and I propose we write a song. We try to but right at that moment our parents arrive and then we have to do the lifejacket drill. And then the ship takes off and I breathe. 

My shifting discomfort had been holding its breath to this point. There is something effortless about emotionally processing on a moving vessel. It’s as if the processing is more easily done. As if it comes better. You go through it and it goes through you. 

I think about my future and my present. I release my past. I see how I’m coming full circle. I feel the wave. I slow my breaths. 

I am uncomfortable in the lap of luxury, but I allow myself to feel tended to, taken care of, loved. I enjoy my family. I coax myself into what is coming. I realize. I inhale. 

Inhale. 

Inhale sea water. 

I cheated Monday

I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself a balanced person. Either by association or practice, extremes were where I was (am?) at home. In my mere existence the paradox of blissful joy and incoherent anguish coexist with me at any given moment. When brushing your teeth is still an acutely painful moment of existence,  the whole concept of mindfulness becomes more of a survival mechanism than an eye roll. Be here now is a concept I become familiarized with whether I want to or not. Thankfully, I do want to. So in coexisting with extremity on a day to day basis I seek out the shades of gray that don’t feel like I might explode.

In experiencing others live their extremes however,  I became aware that I wasn’t as extreme in everything as I thought I was. Which ironically enough, scared me, at first. Like if I’m not my extremes, who am I?  If I’m not my sadness, my anxiety,  my fight and struggle, then who am I?

Then I remember. 

There have been moments of my life, brought on very strongly by school or friends or meditation or just a moment where i see and feel and know and remember and understand it’s all ok. Joy is such a strong part of who I am that even in moments of deep despair I can feel the Me-Ness and know somehow not to give up.

Which is hard. You need the right motivation which isn’t always easy or constant. And I understood that about myself and spend my life actively seeking ways to make life bareable. Enjoyable. Blissful. Desireable. Liveable.  Exciting. Fulfilling. Enriching. Meaningful.

Balance is essential to this. And Monday is such a bad word in our present society. Not balanced. The return to the “harsh” “reality” 

How do we exist like that?

I can’t. I stopped existing. I was barely surviving. There was a list of things I’d have to do.

My days had to be balanced. And as someone living in extreme, I learned abut balance as a palpable skill. A tool that I could actively use to make life what I felt it was supposed to be.

So Monday could not be an extreme. I need gentleness in my body and my life. Softness. Sharp edges cut me; I have thick skin but every lash hurts as much as the first one. Life is a constant state of the Mondays and there is already a harshness to it depending on our context  why replay that inside of ourselves?

I am always starting over anyway, so I figured I’d start over with intention.

Was I going to spend my Sunday in anxiety over what had to be done? Or was i going to shape life to fit what i could handle?

Monday.
It can’t be a blunt movement into something I don’t want. Otherwise I never achieve anything good and constantly feel like I’m fighting someone else’s struggle and my achievements don’t feel meaningful. Am I making a difference in any ones life? How about my own?

So inside me, with all the resources I have, I take it easy, and make Monday be a celebration of some kind. Look forward to Monday. Make it a day of joy. Where the whole point is to make the effort to be good. Happy. Make the healthier decisions. Have fun. Take it easy. Be loving towards myself. Smile at myself. Soften. Whatever I need.

All while being actively participant in my life and working towards something in the future. Investing in someone and letting someone invest in me. Allowing myself to be the lead in my life all while recognizing the supportive roles. Where would I be without them? No matter what, not better than now. It’s about active gentleness. Peaceful action. Soft  rebellion. Being a worthy lead for myself.

Monday becomes the war cry and roundtable for my dreams and joy to quietly play and come into action. It’s a new beginning into the reality I actually want all the while leaping a little into the abyss. Taking a leap of faith. Daring a little.

Trying again. I flip it around.

I cheat Monday, and I live the life I want to live.

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Office in the flowers: self employed joys