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  • Hi Gie, thank you for your time to read my poem. I appreciate your kindness to share your time and thoughts with me. Your comment means a lot. I am honored that line resonated with you. I wholeheartedly feel with you as that is an area too that I am working on. We are on the journey together. Cheers to growing and nurturing ourselves. 🙂 Happy Holidays!

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  • Unexpected but welcomed growth

    Dear friend,

    Is your time up?

    If you are a U.S. citizen like myself, it’s that infamous letter in the mail. ‘You have been summoned for jury duty.’

    Once or twice I had to postpone it due to life: a wedding, being out of state and such. But this time, this time. It was time.

    You know, it’s so true that something happens when you least expect it.

    I was called in for jury duty. The courthouse felt historic yet familiar. Those who weren’t excused for one reason or another were called into the courtroom by the judge.

    I remember entering the courtroom and the lights were bright. ‘In God we trust’ in silver letters behind the judge. All eyes on us—the defendant, the lawyer of the defendant, two prosecutors, several court officers and the stenographer—the 45 people moseying in the pews.

    Then we learned about the case from the judge. It was a criminal larceny case and the defendant was a young adult, 26.

    Before we knew it, it was then time to select individuals to be questioned to be a part of the jury. Imagine a ‘bingo-like’ machine that they used to randomly select cards which had our names on them. A hand reached in to grab the first one. My inner voice “Don’t be me, don’t be me…It’s not going to be me…” (a longer pause introspectively) “Oh wait, it’s going to be me.”

    They call out “Melanie” Juror number 1. (Me!)

    What are the odds?! Granted it was a one in 45 shot, but still.

    We were instructed by the judge to be fair jurors, judge the credibility of the witness equally regardless of their position in law enforcement or not, and that the defendant is innocent till proven guilty, among other points.

    All in all the trial lasted a week and we listened to four witnesses—and it was an emotional ride. The jury was made up of 12 people and we had 3 alternates. A diverse group of people in age, ethnicity, gender-identity, height, and those diversities unseen and not perceived by the human eye.

    Although we entered the room as strangers from different walks of life, we were all there united under a common cause for justice.

    When it came to deliberations, as juror number 1, I was the foreperson. Essentially I learned from the judge that I would be the person to ensure that everyone’s voice was heard, be the one to request evidence, and then… deliver the verdict in the courtroom.

    Oh gosh.

    After analyzing all the evidence, we eventually came to a verdict which reflected what we saw, heard, and felt.

    Guilty.

    I signed the verdict sheet and then the court officer validated what I signed. I was then handed a white envelope with ‘Verdict’ in black ink. I never knew a piece of paper could feel so heavy. Another juror asked me “How do you feel?” and I replied “The only way I can do this is by separating myself from my emotions.”

    My heart was racing. Pounding. Fast. The fate of someone was in my hands.

    Walking into the courtroom all eyes on us. Everyone in anticipation for the news that only the 12 of us in the entire world knew, and me the one responsible to share it. (Me!)

    ‘Please rise.’ When I stood, another woman, whom I have never seen before, started reading the first charge and then passed the ball to my court. My heartbeat was echoing across my entire body. I opened the envelope then the paper. Slowly and meticulously. I looked up and said “We the jury…find the defendant guilty.” I could hear and feel the nerves in my own voice.

    We were asked by both lawyers to repeat back if we all agreed with the verdict. A symphony of guilty. I got one last look at the defendant and my heart truly ached. I saw the humanity in the person and separated them from their crime.

    And that was it. We were thanked for our service and waited till we got our lunch that we so deserved. I wanted my cheese calzone. (Love a cheese calzone!)

    When I eventually got home, I popped. An emotional rainbow filled with many, many tears. Charged with sadness over systemic racism, lack of accessibility, access, and equity to name a few. Wondering why people make certain decisions and who they are impacted by to make those decisions. The empathic and sensitive person in me was emotionally exhausted. Praying that the defendant finds light at the end of the tunnel and has hope for better days ahead. As a multi-racial person and family, this all hits hard. I was, and am, so grateful to have been comforted by my loved ones when I needed it.

    Having come out of jury duty weeks ago, this experience taught me that you are put in situations that you may not be mentally prepared for, but there are bigger plans and powers at work. I believe that.

    I kept questioning “Why me? Why was I assigned to this case and randomly selected to be the foreperson?” Perhaps it wasn’t so random. I guess it was written in my stars. You know what, “Why not me?” I was so nervous and scared… yes…but I did it. I did it anyway. And now it is another layer to the person I am. Another experience that makes up the mosaic of me.

    For me, this jury duty experience was a culmination of all that I was challenging myself within 2023: strengthening how to trust my instincts, nurturing myself out of my comfort zone, and embracing the rainbow of valid emotions.

    Progressing in growth and wisdom, Melanie

    Voting is open!

    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Melanie, this is beautiful. I too am a person looks beyond the surface and asks questions like “Why did this happen?” “What led them here?” and also, “Can I help?” It’s an emotionally exhausting perspective. But also one that comes from a place of love for all people — the ability to see humanity in all people. And while it can be exhausting at t…read more

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  • The light is within you

    A seed is planted in the ground with purpose, igniting a fire, taking up space
    A new life is born
    Our ancestors were born at a precise moment in time
    Allowing you, me, we to be born
    Written in the stars we were to live in this moment
    A mosaic of all those who came before
    Walking alongside us, growing with us
    Time alive is precious

    Flowers inside of you and me
    Garden of thoughts of who we are and becoming to be
    Pluck out the weeds, but observe their growth
    Understand why they do, what are weeds saying to you
    Conserving energy to understand what makes you thrive
    Stretching roots can be scary, but who knows what’s on the other side
    Growing pains sometimes they are
    Yet I still rise
    Some days can be filled with rain and storms
    Normalize the rainbow of emotions to find freedom

    Watch the birds, bees, and butterflies fly through, around, and over you
    Benefiting of off your gifts to the world,
    Watch and observe and don’t forget to treat yourself
    Find your tribe to support you, the flowers around you
    Authentic in their own right, different and diverse, as are you

    Strong rooted in community
    All together growing and blossoming
    Growing at your own pace and glistening

    In this world don’t be anything but you
    The light is within you

    Melanie

    Voting is open!

    Voting ends July 31, 2024 12:00am

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    • “Conserving energy to understand what makes you thrive”
      I read this line over and over again! I even wrote it down because this is something I have struggled with for a while, I want to conserve healthy energy and give that same energy back. Thank you for planting the seed. 🙂

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      • Hi Gie, thank you for your time to read my poem. I appreciate your kindness to share your time and thoughts with me. Your comment means a lot. I am honored that line resonated with you. I wholeheartedly feel with you as that is an area too that I am working on. We are on the journey together. Cheers to growing and nurturing ourselves. 🙂 Happy…read more

        Write me back 

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  • Thank you so much Lauren, it means a great deal. I feel very grateful for the love and wisdom I learned from my Mom and Papa and for the safe space to be able to share with this community. I sincerely appreciate your kind words of support and encouragement. Thank you for creating this community <3 Melanie

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  • You are an authentic hourglass

    My dear friend,
    Time is a gift. Every year you get to celebrate your birthday and choose how to celebrate it: with those you love, doing something fun, going to a nice restaurant, or lounging in sweatpants watching Netflix. Choose to live every day as if it is your birthday because every day is a new day, a new beginning – being born again.
    Imagine you were born knowing the day that you would no longer exist in a physical form on this earth…would you choose to live your life differently, speak differently, think differently? Would your outlook on life change? Would you have fewer regrets or simply no regrets at all? I know that can be unsettling to think about but marinate on it if you will… It is meant to be an awakening. Time is ever-passing and changing, like an hourglass.
    Your time is finite, but the actions you take may be boundless and have an infinite impact. Your mom always reminds you to not let the obstacles, challenges, burdens, or negativity of yesterday, alter the beauty of a new day – every day is a new beginning. Remember those words “Keep on going,” wise words from my papa – he would always remind you and your family that no matter how tough it gets… keep on going. Wise words to cherish always – tattooed on your soul forever.
    It’s liberating to always remember to live purposely, each day, each moment. It’s how can you be happy now, how can you make a change now, how can you make yourself happy now – what can you do in this moment to make yourself happy. It is okay to cry and let free your rainbow of emotions. All are valid to be and exist in this world. I know what that voice in your head is telling you, or falsely making you believe. Your anxieties and fears have shaped your perception. I know how difficult it is to not ruminate on those emotions, illuminate your thoughts. What is in the past, is in the past. What is in the future is your wildest dreams. If only you could see me now, see us now. Know that what seems impossible on most days, or harder to believe, is possible. I am so proud of you for going to therapy and putting in the hard work to validate your rainbow of emotions and nurture myself in embracing my vulnerability. I know it is so difficult and challenging on some days, but you will get through. You are setting the foundation; keep on going. Thank you for all that you are doing and for all that you are being and becoming.
    You are not alone on your journey; your family, friends, therapist, and mentors. One of my greatest wishes is that you are unapologetically yourself and free. Stay social, nurture yourself through self-care, laugh at yourself, and listen to your soul. Remember plants grow towards sunlight, their stems always find a way. You will too, keep on growing and glowing.
    I believe in you, your power, and your purpose. Your ancestors met at a precise moment in time that allowed you to be born and allowed you to be you. You are so special. Be the best you that you can be, and don’t let fear, negativity, or worry suppress who you were born to be. You are a glorious, authentic, lively hourglass.
    With grace & love,
    Wiser Melanie

    Melanie

    Voting is closed

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    • Melanie – This is great. YOU are very wise, as is your mom and Papa. I love love love this line, “Your time is finite, but the actions you take may be boundless and have an infinite impact. ” It is soo true, and you are clearly on the path to bring all of the greatness inside of you to life. Your journey is just beginning, and your mentality and…read more

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      • Thank you so much Lauren, it means a great deal. I feel very grateful for the love and wisdom I learned from my Mom and Papa and for the safe space to be able to share with this community. I sincerely appreciate your kind words of support and encouragement. Thank you for creating this community <3 Melanie

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