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

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Daring to Look Under the Carpet - Reclaiming my Birth Name

What springs to mind when you imagine looking under the carpet?  I’m not talking about a rug, or a mat, or a runner – I’m talking about a fully fitted carpet that’s been in place for many years. It’s laid silently under foot, furniture and food for all manner of family gatherings – parties, playtimes and celebrations. It’s held babies as they dribble through from crawling to walking. It’s soothed pets rolling, sleeping and scratching. It’s witnessed breakups and makeups and all manner of other life time shakeups. And still it stays.
So now, can you get a better idea about the dirt, grime and unidentifiable ‘stuff’ that might fester there underneath the carpet pile? Yep, I scrunched my nose up as well – and yet that is where I have metaphorically visited this weekend. I finally found the route to venture under the rich and colourful carpet of my life to find out what was lurking underneath.
To my surprise I discovered treasure; a truth that had eluded me and had been buried there. It’s a beautiful, big, sparkling bundle of treasure that shines bright with its own powerful and loving energy. And that hoard of huge riches had been swept away and hidden under the carpet. No wonder I’d been tripping over so often!
In recent months, I’ve been experiencing resistance and struggle on various levels – from IT equipment suddenly not working to my car blowing up on the way back from dropping a friend at the airport. From ‘in the bag’ work contracts dissolving at the last moment, to uncharacteristic behaviour from people I believed I knew well. Illnesses, missed appointments, losing things… you name it. It’s been getting ridiculous! And it’s not just me – it seems to be happening with other people who are on this journey with me. To the point where there’s no other helpful response than to laugh at the absurdity of it all.
While I’ve been perfectly able to continue surfing the waves (this is all comparatively small stuff when I remind myself of the other challenges I’ve overcome) none the less it’s been frustrating, and has started to become exhausting. I’ve known that the answer to all of this lies within me – yet for some reason it didn’t matter where I looked, how far I went in, what additional tools I called on to find ‘whatever it was’ nothing seemed to change.
Until it suddenly hit me. I was in my kitchen on Sunday evening, making a batch of fig and ginger chutney that I’d promised myself I’d do after two years. All of this had been niggling at me, and perhaps it was the action of stirring the saucepan, or perhaps just because I was doing something I’d been looking forward to – I don’t know – either way, it just suddenly hit me that I was being inauthentic. Yes, I had not been being true to myself – and in that moment everything fell in to place!
My work, my life – my mission if you like – is all about authenticity, cutting through the crap and speaking out for what is right. And here I was, steadily creating a whole life and is-ness around that, when I suddenly realised what had been holding me back. Of course it was me. And when it hit me, it was all so blindingly obvious, as I find these things usually are – it’s never rocket science!
whats wrong with just being you
It was all in my name. I was not using my true name. Something that (ironically) started when I wrote my warts-and-all autobiography in 2012. I had never ventured into the publishing world before, so when I was signed by a well-known publishing house, I was over the moon and happy to learn how it all worked. That was when I came up against the fear-run libel laws that had my lovely publisher nervous from the start. Because none of the characters I had written about have been convicted, and also because they’re alive (apparently it’s not possible to libel the dead) it meant that names, places and relationships had to be changed – despite the fact that I had black and white evidence to support all areas of my story.
So although I voiced strong concerns about bowing to laws that seem more interested in corporate arse covering in case the people with no conscience decide to sue, and that do very little to support the voices of the innocent,  I went along with it, believing I had no other choice. And I was happy with my decision, because the most important thing for me was to get my story out there – to finally validate what had happened to me, and to reach out to others who might be experiencing the same difficulties. I’m glad I did, because I have been contacted by countless people who have suffered the same – including people who know the characters in my book. My story has helped others, for which I’m deeply honoured. And it’s also brought some wonderful people in to my life, for which I’m deeply grateful.
As well as changing characters names, it was decided that if I change my name as well it would help with the ‘final top and tailing’ with the libel lawyer (that proved to be a whole other experience that deserves to be told as a stand alone story!) So I chose to shorten my first name and adopt my paternal grandmother’s surname Carnegie. I had always loved Granny very much, and was also proud of the ancestral links to Andrew Carnegie. So it sat well with me. And other characters in the book went along with it as well, giving me pseudonyms they would be happy for me to use in place of their real names.
Incidentally, the only person who refused change his, was my beautiful son. “My name is Dylan” he explained, sitting on the sofa together one evening. “I know our story and I’m proud of who we are and what we’ve done. I’m not changing my name for anyone.” How I love my authentic brave son, continues to teach me every day.
So that was how my name changed. That was how I started using the name professionally in order to avoid confusion. And after a while I changed my name on personal online forums too, because people were searching for me as a result of the book. And I remained acutely aware of the publishers’ fears – so it seemed simpler to give people an avenue to find me, and also to honour the libel laws I had been told about.
The way I see it now though, is that by using a name that in effect was chosen in order to protect the very people who had treated me so badly, meant I had actually become part of the very problem I’m so passionate about changing.  Aaaaaarrrrggghhh!!! Now THAT real-eyes-ation hit me like a steam train. It meant that I was not being truly authentic. That even though the magical work of Light-Up has woken me and countless others up to real life, the very fact I’ve been working under an adapted name means I’m once again denying my true self. DOH!
The ridiculousness of the whole situation coupled with an instant feeling of freedom, brought me a sigh of relief and some giggles too. Why?
Because for so many years both my sister and I were quite literally brushed under the carpet.
Filed away in the ‘too difficult’ pile and forgotten about.
Isn’t it ironic that I had been doing exactly the same thing to myself, and even more ironic that it happened when I’d finally found my voice to speak out the truth?
So Sunday night’s super moon saw me reclaiming who I am, by reclaiming my full birth name of Melanie Pledger. For this is who I am, and this is the person who has survived and thrived, and who is now on a mission to share her work so that others can claim their true power as well. No more playing small, and no more being anything other than my true authentic warts-and-all beautiful self.
As with most profound realisations, it’s a massive shift for me that has in such a weird way changed everything and nothing. I know it’s significant, because just yesterday as it was all settling, I suddenly shared with Yasmin, my right hand lady at work and oracle in life, that I now know what it feels like to be normal, a feeling that had evaded me since I was very small. It means I’ve finally come home – to where and who I have been all along…
I do make myself laugh you know – us humans, we’re such funny and adorable creatures when we dare to look under the carpet…

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