I was a good kid, you know the one who towed the line, was conservative, diligent, efficient and feared authority, as good girls should. It was inevitable that my life would change as I grew older and sought more independence, a young man aiding in my self-discovery. After meeting the love of my life, we created the most beautiful daughter together.

Shortly thereafter, my father passed.

This shook my life and just when I thought that the way things were was going to be the way my life was forever, and after numbing myself to near oblivion emotionally, a road trip in 2013 changed my entire perspective on life.

After my lover left me, I needed to clear my head and discover once again who I was. I felt lost and extremely alone.

The change of pace and scenery on this memorable trip forced me to start looking at things and people in my life from a slightly different angle. I was rudely awakened by the fact that I was the cause of my own emotional distress, my life needed adjusting, now!

After blaming others for my problems for so long, I finally accepted that I would need to take responsibility for the goings on in both my personal and professional life. I would look to 2014 through a wide-angled lens and decided to resign from my unrewarding job.

Once the announcement was made and paperwork set in motion, I felt more of the old Mel creeping in. I needed a re-introduction to myself after all that had occurred.

After a few good tears, coupled with bawls of laughter, I decided to change lanes and found myself once again lost and alone, a wobbly start to say the least. I changed my reactions to the happenings in my life: my unplanned pregnancy, my father’s passing and my consequent depression would only add to the layers that formed ‘Mel’.

After a few months, things began falling into place again. My lover returned to my side and I found myself living out my passion of helping others by becoming a community volunteer. Playing with and mentoring little kids, storytelling, facilitating creative activities and running literacy sessions at a local primary school being a few of the jobs I had been tasked with.

My daughter is an amazing gift that I wouldn’t trade for all the world, even if she was a ‘surprise’. So if you feel like your life is in a slump, get out of your comfort zone and live! I found happiness beyond my own little stoepie (porch) and I’ve never looked back. I am blessed. I am me.