April 2016: After three years away from this blog I'm back. It was originally started so I could make sense of the madness that ensued after my marriage to a sociopath. Much has changed, grown and been created since then - including reclaiming my full birth name Melanie Pledger.
My voice has become stronger, and so has my mission. I'm here on this earth to share the life-changing magic that developed as a result of my personal journey overcoming abuse, abandonment, manipulation and betrayal. I've learned that many of the rules we've been taught about life are fundamentally wrong. They've been misunderstood by most, misused by some, and deliberately misdirected by the manipulators who live and breathe among us. I've also learned that it's easier and more enjoyable than people think to shift things around...
Now I know there was a reason for it all. So now I'm back to fill in the gaps. To share what I've discovered, and dispel the myths that don't serve us... I look forward to reconnecting with old friends, and discovering new ones.
Thank you for being here.
Mel xxx

Friday, 28 December 2012

21st December 2012... The End Or The Beginning?

Well, it's finally happened. After all the ups and downs, the in and outs, the backwards and forwards (and any other number of opposites you care to mention!) by book has finally made it out to the world. Not as a 'pre-order' or 'will be available some time in the future' - nope, it's available NOW on Amazon Kindle worldwide, as well as iBooks and other ebook outlets... Hoorah!!!!!

It has been one heck of a journey getting to this stage. Strangely enough, the actual writing of the book was one of the easier parts. It was the following parts in the process that made life tricky. Tricky and interesting enough, perhaps, to form the basis of another book...? Maybe. We'll see about that.

But for now, I'm delighted, excited and more than a tad bit nervous that my story is 'out there'. I can no longer edit, review, proof, or shift it in any way - it's done, dusted and available for anyone to read.

So what's all this got to do with the title of this post? Well, after all the publishing shenanigans, the day that the book became available on Amazon was 21.12.12 - the day that, apparently, the world was due to end. Or change. Since I'm writing this post on 28th December, I think it's fair to say that the world didn't end... or if it did then I'm living in some kind of parallel universe. So then it must mark the beginning of a change?

I believe that changes are afoot. Big ones. Good ones. Although not necessarily all comfortable ones - I've learned that the process of real and positive change can rarely be described as comfortable! Perhaps this is all part of the bigger plan...?

It's fair to say that in this particular adventure of mine there have been so many 'co-incidences' that my faith in a bigger picture has strengthened enormously. As a typical example, of all the dates possible, how peculiarly delicious that my story be made public at the end of the Mayan calendar? For me, it certainly marks the end of one world - a world where my voice was silent, where there was 'bad stuff' to deal with, and where the fight was relentless. In its place is the new world. Where I am surrounded by love, peace and opportunities for continued growth.

I don't know what this book will bring, but I hope beyond hope that it somehow manages to help others. I already know of one person it has helped even before it was published; so I guess in a way, whatever happens I've already achieved my goal. Anything else from this point forward can only be a bonus :-)

Funnily enough, it seems that a Twitter trend for 21st December was "I'm Still Standing" in response to the end of the world prophecy. Another 'co-incidence' or another example of that bigger picture I spoke about earlier...?

Of course I can't say for certain. But I can say, because I feel it in my bones, that 2013 is going to be one heck of a year. Not just for me, but for many of us. The wind of change is blowing. Things will be different. And I intend to play my part in consciously creating a better world. Out with pain and suffering, and in with speaking out and healing.

Or as the late Vaclav Havel put it "Truth and love must prevail over lies and hate".... Bring it on, and count me in. Because I, for one, am ready!

PS - What I forgot to say was that the official release date is noted as 18th December... my birthday. Curiouser and curiouser don't you think?

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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Orphans Make The Best Recruits

Last night I went to see (and thoroughly enjoyed) the new James Bond film, "Skyfall". Without giving away any of the plot, "orphans make the best recruits" is a line directed at Daniel Craig's 007. Delivered by the wonderful Judi Dench as M, the words struck me with such surprising force that I gasped out loud, instinctively clasping my hands to my mouth to muffle the sound. I had gone on my own, and I can tell you I felt more than a little embarrassed when people started looking my way to see what had caused the slapping sound!

I missed the next couple of minutes while I tried to make sense of what had just happened. Where did that response come from? How had those words, out of the blue, had such an impact? What did it all mean? M's statement and my questions swam round and round my brain, slowly but surely connecting with and awakening something from deep within...

Yes, as those who know me and my writing are already aware, my parents were both dead well before I reached seventeen - not still a child but not yet an adult. So it is easy to understand the immediate connection with the word 'orphan'. But it was more than that. Because suddenly, out of nowhere, I could identify with Bond's approach to his world. Now hold on a moment, I'm not saying that I'm some kind of secret agent, nor that I possess any special skills or super powers that could in any way liken me to 007. No, it's not that at all.

What it is, though, is the realisation that being an orphan has, perhaps, made me much more prepared to take on battles - for others as well as for myself. With that comes a better understanding why others, perhaps, are less willing to push as much or as far as I do. It's fair to say that I am driven - some friends might even call me obsessive. That's why I'll consistently stand up for what I believe to be right. That's why I will not stay quiet when something needs saying. That's why I strive to help others tap in to their own inner strength. Last night, though, I realised with startling clarity that up until now I had felt more shameful of my early label than I had previously acknowledged. With that came the shocking realisation that despite all my efforts, I have been holding on to that shame in some way.

I'll always remember 'the handbag scene' (as I call it) from the play "The Importance Of Being Earnest" when Lady Bracknell scathingly rebukes the title character on discovering he has no parents "To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness!"  For my sins, I of course had been far worse than just careless; not only did I lose both parents, but I was also effectively disowned by the rest of my family as a result of my determination to fight for my sister. Goodness only knows what Lady Bracknell would have made of that...!

When M's words shot out and grabbed inside me, shaking me by the scruff of the neck, I knew it was an important message. Thoughts and feelings tumbling over one another, I suddenly saw with cinematic clarity how it is that I refuse to give up. What it is that drives me to be the best I can, and to make the best of everything that comes my way. Why it is that I will fight to the death for something that I believe in.

Until last night, though, I'm pretty sure there that somewhere deep down I had been somehow trying to 'make up' for being not quite complete. Striving to create a proper family, a nurturing home, authentic relationships and loving friendships to mirror the ones I knew in my early childhood. Don't get me wrong, I am still keen to enjoy all of those things in my life - but something has changed. The past few weeks have taken their toll on me for various reasons, and I have often found myself in a pretty dark space. I always say that the darkest hour is the one before dawn, and I am fully aware that recently I have been a pretty complex and sometimes difficult companion. Tears flow easily, and I am no stranger to staring face first in to the pit of despair. It doesn't scare me - I just thought that the answers might lie somewhere in the murky depths. But I think... hmmm.... nope, I know... that I have had an unexpected epiphany thanks to a line from a Hollywood movie. Funny, eh, how these things can just sneak up on people like that?

I am no longer ashamed of my past. And, more to the point, I am actually proud of who I am and of what those experiences helped me become. Things happened, I can't change them... and now I see them as a blessing not a curse. I'm lucky to have the additional 'armour' that makes me a force to be reckoned with - it's who I am. Not who I was, or what I should or could have been... It's who I am right now.

I don't need to search out the perfect family. I don't need to prove myself. I don't have to push myself to the limits just to prove that I'm good enough. There's no going back. It's frankly no good me looking to recreate the same love and safety I felt as a child. It's a futile search and I shall never find it - those days are long gone, and I am finally ready to let them go and accept a new reality of my own making. No comparisons. No measures. No attempts to recreate. Because things are different now.

I am me. And yes, like James Bond, I had to grow up pretty darned quickly. Heck, those same experiences eventually made his character an international hero for goodness sakes! But you know what? I can't change my past, and I can't reclaim any perceived loss of childhood or innocence - and  neither should I even think about wanting to do so. Because the fact is, I am who I am, and I believe that I'm blessed with the strength and determination that is a direct result of what happened. It means that I carry on regardless, knowing that I survived the worst. Each additional shockwave has only helped me to grow. That's why I'm one of the best recruits for this life...

The difference, since yesterday, is that I am going forward as me and for me. It's ironic how regularly I encourage my clients to look ahead, to grasp the future with both hands. I have a sneaky feeling that perhaps I've been ever so slightly holding myself back and holding on to the past... Doh! Well no more. What's done is done, and I'm proud of who I am and the life I have lived until now. The past is indeed the past. It is buried and I am whole. And I am finally ready to step in to the new world.

Mel Carnegie reporting for service - bring it on!