Melissa

"Be love. Aristotle once said that we are what we repeatedly do. He was referring to excellence, saying that excellence was a habit, not merely an act. I think love can function in much the same way. If we repeatedly love, we become love. We let it transform and enfold us."

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"A Ground Breaking Woman is equal parts claw and compassion. She has an inner joy borne of suffering; she was forged in fire. Greatness was not just handed to them. A GBW knows who she is, and commands the respect and attention of others, while maintaining a commitment to humility and grace. She sees a little bit of herself in every woman and girl, and advocates for a better future for us to share."

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"A lot of people inspire me, particularly a lot of women who are fighting the good fight. But I think for the moment, at this stage in my life, my mother inspires me the most. Moms have a way of doing that. By the time she was my age, she had graduated high school, gotten a job, and married my father. At 25, she had me. She had started to claw her way out of poverty into a better life. She worked while I was very young, then quit to stay at home and raise my little sister and I. She was always there for us; I don’t remember a time when she wasn’t available. I always wondered if she regretted her decision to put a hold on her career; she didn’t work again until I was in high school, when she got her realtor license. I wondered if she regretted leaving Houston, a big city, for sleepy small towns in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Arkansas. I wondered if she regretted marrying my father, whose childhood was in many ways different from hers, and whose career dragged us all over the place. But my mother, she goes for it. She’s afraid of heights, but she climbed Irish cliffs with me. She’s afraid of water (and heights), but she parasailed with me. She’s a fighter, a survivor, an overcomer. She doesn’t back down, she doesn’t relent, she knows the validity of her own feelings, and she doesn’t take shit from anyone.

Time and time again, when I ask if she would go back and do anything differently, she tells me, “No. I did the best I could, with what I knew.” To this day, I try to think about that phrase when I look back at the stupid, ignorant, and downright shitty things I’ve done. I did the best I could, with what I knew. I’m not perfect. She wasn’t perfect. Nobody is perfect. But we’re all in the same boat, trying to figure out the world and taking baby steps to betterment. She did her best, and I’m here to do mine. Ignorance is bliss, but being empowered is heaven."

"I write a lot, in journals, on my blog, etc. I own and operate the #pawsitivity “brand” that a surprising number of people follow and enjoy. I try new restaurants. I drive a lot, so I can think, pray, and sing loudly (and badly). I pray a lot. I occasionally paint, knit, and upscale furniture. I also spend a great deal of time unwinding with my cats. I’m definitely an introvert. I love being around people, I love going out, I love trying new things, but at the end of the day, I just want everyone to kindly fuck off so I can curl up in bed with my cats."

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