What's happened over the past couple of years?

What's happened over the past couple of years?
Come and find out about my lifetime mission!
Update April 2018: It's been a while my friends - and such a lot has happened since I was last active here!

When it finally dawned on me that I had been systematically abused - and not just by one person - my whole world collapsed around me.

You see, I had always believed myself to be a strong person. Capable. Successful and somewhat sassy to boot. A fighter. Someone who could overcome any challenge, as I'd proven to myself since early childhood, time and time again. So the knockout thud of recognition that I had been a 'victim' hit me with the full force of a steam train, tsunami and earthquake rolled into one.

"How could that have happened to me? How did I let it happen? Why didn't I notice it? Why didn't I stop it, or at least speak out?"
...and then came an all engulfing darkness of shame. And then the deafening silence.

It took me years to come out of that place. Years of hard work, self reflection and excruciating pain.

Which was how, ultimately, Light Up was finally born.

Now this work is being experienced and shared by many - and is growing in numbers and momentum. And I am grateful.
Grateful not only for my own experiences, also for the fact that Light Up gives people the tools to escape from their shame and pain in far less time than it took me!

We've already worked with trafficked women, abused children and traumatised adults, successfully guiding them back to completeness (without having to relive their horrors) in as little as two sessions.

People are waking up and finding their voices. I am a firm supporter of the #metoo movement, and every other group that sheds light on and offers a platform for people to speak out and seek a complete way of living.

Yes, there is darkness in this world. Yes, there is much that has been hidden away. And yes, now people are speaking out. Thank goodness for those voices! The quiet ones. The angry ones. The sad ones. The loud ones. All have their place. All have their unique message to share. All are warriors.

I am honoured to be in service, and to play my part in reigniting this beautiful world of ours. We are coming together now. We are gathering force. And I am glad.

Fellow warriors, I salute you. I commit to continuing to stand in this arena alongside all my brothers and sisters who know there is a better way and a brighter future.

Come and find out morewww.dnalightup.net

In continued love, recognition and gratitude

Mel xxx

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

And We Call This Humanity?

Humanity in Motion
Crikey, I've been having a funny old time of it recently, I can assure you! Mum would always ask me to qualify that kind of statement with the question "Funny ha-ha or funny peculiar?" and the truth is that this time it's been a pretty equal mix of both. So I'll stick with what I just said, yep it sure has been a funny old time...

You'll probably already have gathered from my last post that my roller-coaster life has once again kicked up a gear - and with that of course has come a few surprises. After my story appeared in the Daily Mail, I have been inundated with messages; from people thanking me for sharing my story as well as from media people keen to interview me. All good stuff, all confirmation that I'm doing the right thing, and all helping to raise awareness of my message that we all have the power within us to overcome adversity.

During this process, though, I have once again come up against one of my old adversaries. A part of society that plays a necessary role in protecting the innocent - but that also, in my experience, has also become part of the circus that unwittingly continues to support the less than innocent in their antics. What am I referring to? I am talking about the libel laws and their professional representatives. More of that in a moment.

Firstly, though, I am keen to highlight what I believe to be the media's misplaced thirst for selling bad news and discord. For those of you that have followed my story, you will already know that I am all about giving people hope, together with the necessary tools, to break free from being a victim (in any way) and to live life in freedom, choice and light. I know from experience that whatever life decides to throw our way, there is always something we can do to reclaim our freedom. There is always always something that is within our control - even if, as has certainly been the case for me in the past, it felt as if the only thing that I could control was my breathing. My message is about noticing and grabbing hold of anything and everything that allows us to regain our personal power - every tiny step is a step forward - until we are free from whatever chains (real or imaginary) that threaten to keep us prisoner.

You'd think, therefore, that perhaps I have some strong positive messages to share with people, that might actually serve to bring a little positivity in this increasingly confused world we live in? You might also think that publications with the power to reach millions would be interested in promoting such stories of hope? Hmmm... I thought the same. But it appears that instead of that, most of the publications that have approached me are only interested in the headline grabber. They want to focus on the 'poor woman duped by a sociopath' - and nothing else. Take the Daily Mail, who dictated how I should look (clothes, makeup, hair, pose, expression) to sell their story. They didn't want a photograph that shows the vivacious, positive person that I believe I am. Nope, I had to look severe, serious and (in my opinion) downright frumpy. Is it any wonder that the piece received a number of 'it serves her right she looks like a moose' type of comments?

I can ride those kind of storms - of course I can. There are always people who revel in making judgemental and negative comments. Sadly there seems to be a growing culture of cyber bullying and vile comments posted by a small minority. But that's not the point. I believe that we have a bigger issue. I believe that by consistently focusing on the 'bad news' we are only encouraging the baying mob and in the process we are in the process of dehumanising ourselves. I've seen it time and time again in my professional life - working with people who are either too afraid to speak out against wrong-doings, or who simply can't be bothered. "What's the point?" is, sadly, a phrase I have heard far too often for my liking.

So back to the libel lawyers. Those who know me well are already fully aware of the absurd battle I faced in even getting my book to publication. The details of which are far too complicated to write about here in a blog, so they are going to form a large part of my next book. The series of unbelievable events I went through are enough to make anyone's teeth curl! (Another wonderfully colourful expression my mother used on many an occasion). Suffice it to say that I have learned a huge amount about what can and can't be said. What can and can't be expressed. And how the most important thing is to make sure backsides are covered - instead of focusing on supporting those of us who have been through the ringer to get a real message of hope out there. It's skewed, to say the least!

But that's ok. I worked with these laws to get my story published - as I have said in the preface to my book:

"I am an ordinary woman who has faced a series of extraordinary circumstances to become the person I am today. Privacy laws dictate that I cannot divulge identifiable details about many of the people and situations that caused me so much pain. It’s a law that exists to protect the innocent, even though many of the people I’ve come across have, in my opinion, been far from innocent in their actions. That law, paradoxically, has actually worked in my favour while writing this book because this is not about ‘them’. In truth, it never has been; it’s about me. This is my story."

So I've done the hoop-jumping, and I've played my part. I have black and white evidence to support everything I've written about. I have witness statements and more. I've changed names, places and details so that people cannot be identified. And as I said, that's ok, it's more than ok in actual fact.

So last week, when I was contacted by a well-known morning TV programme inviting me to appear on their show to talk about my experiences, I welcomed the invitation with open arms. I was well aware that they'd want to focus on the tabloid headline grabber (that was inevitable) and I knew that once I was given air space I could work on getting the bigger message across to the audience. So I started talks with the programme producers. I supplied all the supporting evidence I had collected during my publishing journey. I explained the steps I'd taken to protect privacy. And I agreed to go in with their headlines. But that wasn't enough.

Ofcom rules dictated that they had to get a 'right to reply' from the people I was talking about - which meant making direct contact and asking for comments. Now, I understand the need for Ofcom's rules - of course I do. But in this particular case it seems crazy to me on so many counts. Not least of which is the fact that, having done so much to mask identities,  it would have meant divulging real names and locations to a bunch of strangers... how could I be sure that these details would remain confidential? (Not such a strange question to ask once you understand my previous experiences with another libel lawyer...) The main sticking point though, for me, was that I was once again being asked to put myself at the mercy of a disordered person. Someone who had already very nearly claimed my sanity with his lies, leaving me in a situation from which I had successfully fought so hard to escape. I was not about to give anyone that kind of power over me - not then, not now, and not ever again!

So politely, and firmly I declined the invitation, making this point at the same time: "... It's a shame that the 'rights' of someone who is clearly disordered takes precedent over sharing truths that help so many other people..."

And I felt pleased. I chose to step away from something that would have not only compromised my position (and that of others) but also given me a voice only on the condition that I talk about the headline grabbers rather than the bigger story. I had already been told "we only want to talk to you about the sociopath, nothing else..."

That same day, walking through the train station after a late evening meeting in London, I saw a young woman sitting and crying on her own on one of the benches. It was gone midnight, and there were very few people there - apart from a few policemen who were gathered at the ticket barrier - but I was astounded that nobody seemed to be helping her. So I went up and asked her if she was ok? Of course she wasn't, and as she shook her head, her face crumpled and her eyes filled with tears. I sat down next to her and held her hand as she explained what had happened.

She told me that she'd missed the last train to London by two minutes, and even though the train had been at the station, she had not been allowed to go through the barriers. She knew nobody locally, and was facing the prospect of spending the night in the train station. Hearing her story and seeing the policemen nearby, I went up to them to ask for their help. They'd been watching me all the while. Guess what they did as I came close to them?

They bristled, pulled themselves upright and shoved their hands in their pockets while the cold expressions on their faces gave me the clear message that I was to back off. You know, I actually felt I'd done something wrong! It's a darned good job that I am a trained communicator, because it took all my skills to crack through those defence barriers. They told me that they had it in hand, that the young lady was 'a mess' and was 'inconsolable' - rolling their eyes as if to say 'you see what we have to put up with?' My blood boiled but I kept calm. It turned out that they were waiting to hear whether they could get her on the last staff train home. But they hadn't told her that. And when I asked what could be done to make her wait more comfortable, they shrugged their shoulders, with another rolling of eyes, and told me that there was nowhere warm she could wait.

After making sure that they would indeed keep her up to speed with what they were doing, and would keep an eye on her while she was waiting, I made my way back to her and put my arms around her (making sure, of course, that the policemen saw what I was doing). I reassured her that they were doing all they could to get her home and that she was going to be ok. I then helped her do up her coat and put her hood up so that at least she would be warmer. I stayed with her until the tears stopped and she let me know she was confident that she was being looked after. Looking over at the policemen, I made sure they acknowledged me with nods and reluctant smiles.

So why couldn't these policemen have offered this vulnerable girl just some simple human kindness in the first place? Have they perhaps become so used to people attacking them that their automatic response is just to stay away? Was that why they all bristled when I went up to speak to them...? Or perhaps they've just joined the 'what's the point' brigade that is threatening to drown our system of humanity. Have we become so trapped by our rules, following blindly without checking the results or even questioning why they are there? Are we becoming that robotic in the way we lead our lives that we've become immune to what's really happening?

I don't know. But as I walked away from that young lady, knowing that at least I had done all that I could, I felt even more certain that I'd done the correct thing in turning down the barbed TV invitation. It's a sad state of affairs when it seems fear and separation is seeping in to our society - but it's not too late to do something about it.

I for one am absolutely determined to do all I can to stand up, speak out, and jolly well wake people up to the reality that we CAN make a difference. It doesn't take much. Just an honest reality check and a small amount of courage to shift the way we respond.

I am on the case and fired up. Watch this space my friends, watch this space.

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  1. Mel, I came to know of you through LoveFraud, and was brought to your blog today by a Facebook post by Fishead. Much like you, my life unraveled instantly almost two years ago. The man I loved and had planed a future with blindsided me after seven years together by walking away from our relationship unilaterally less than 60 days after closing escrow on our "dream home" in a state where I knew no one, had no job, and had just invested my life's savings in, among other things, the down payment in that home. Since then I have come to understand that I was a victim of a sociopath and that I am far from alone. On his way out the door, he made it clear in very specific terms that his leaving was all my fault and "kindly" offered that he might have been open to my "mending the fences" if I could come up with an approach that would satisfy him. Thank God he was cruel enough for me to decided not to contact him again, except through an attorney. Since this time he has made life as difficult as he can for me, including stopping paying his share of a very large house payment. The reality of who he is and what he was involved in without my knowledge only came to light months after he walked away. I now know I had absolutely no idea who he was, I only knew what he chose to show me.

    I was fortunate enough to find a very good job shortly thereafter (I am a licensed professional in my field) and was excited to have the income as well as something useful and fulfilling to do with my days as I worked to recover. Unfortunately, this job did not work out, as there was incompetence and deceit, and after initially being seen as an asset to the organization, I became the "problem", since I spoke up on the incompetence and refused to participate in the lies and coverups. The past six months have been especially tough, since I've beem marginalized by my (male) supervisor and the office (mostly male) acts as if I don't exist. Although I need the income, I turned in my resignation last Friday without another job to go to, because my integrity and self worth are more to me. I will spend the next two weeks at my desk, in an environment that is so cold my lips are turning blue. I will leave with class, dignity and the knowledge that I will be just fine.

    I identify so much with your story abuot the crying girl and her despair. In fact, I can play either role. Those policemen would have been outraged had the crying girl been their sister, wife or daughter and been treated with that disregard. But once again, life has taught me that so many people care only about themselves...the concept of what is right, and human, means NOTHING to them.

    It does take courage to act, and make a difference. I have had that courage since I was a little girl, and I'm glad I do, even though the uncaring faces of others have broken my heart numerous times. Thank you Mel, for speaking up with courage! There are so many of us whose hearts beat with yours.

  2. Bless your beautiful strong heart, MD... I am right here by your side. Well done for having the courage to stand up for what is right. It's difficult to do, I know that... then again I guess nobody said being a pioneer was going to be easy!

    The fact is that so many people have become so disconnected or 'dimmed down' until they forget that they have a light inside of them, that it's become an uphill battle to fight for what is right. I truly believe, though, that we CAN make a difference - it's not too late. It's just going to take a few courageous ones to go the extra mile, and I know in my soul that given time we can turn the tide.

    I salute your courage and determination. You're actions are inspirational and you ARE making a difference :-)

    Sending you much love xxx