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An Office Barbeque And My Book Project.

I know that title is really lacking, but after my weekend of writing diligently I am way too spent to go digging through my brain and finding something creative. I am amazed I was even able to write this post after all I accomplished this weekend.

Saturday, I was invited to attend an office barbeque. One of the women from the CSR department decided to throw a little get together for Ladies Only. No kids, no husbands, no significant others. I was very apprehensive about attending. While yes, it is true that I feel a little more comfortable working with them, I didn’t know what to expect as far as socializing with them outside of the office. I wasn’t planning on going at all. I mean who wants to spend more time with the people you see every day at work? However, after I discovered the host had gone out of her way to buy ‘Meleah Approved Food’ specifically for my food allergies and medical conditions, I was so touched, I couldn’t say no.

Upon driving to the barbeque, I suddenly became nervous. I may seem like the free spirited outgoing type, but, in reality, I am often shy and introverted when taken outside of my comfort zone. I began to worry that I wouldn’t know how to act around these women. I started to question why I was even invited to this function. Other than work, what did I really have in common with these women? What would I talk about with them? What could I bring to the conversation? Or would I be really awkward and just sit silent with some dumb expression plastered on my face? I had gotten myself all worked up over imaging all of the ways I might inevitably make an ass out of myself that I ended up getting lost. Twice. (In my own town.)

When I finally arrived, an hour late, I was instantly welcomed with warm greetings. The girls seemed genuinely happy to see me. I was surprised and pleased to say the least. I found a comfortable chair, settled in, and let go of my fear. I was relieved when I did have something intelligent and appropriate to add to the conversation. In fact, I ended up having a great time. I was able to see another side of these women. And I liked this other side. I had no idea some of them are very funny. In the office we are so busy, there isn’t a lot of time for joking around. It was very refreshing.

I guess after 6 years, that old expression my father is forever telling me has come true. My father says, “After you spend that much time with the same people, the office people sort of become like a second family.” And yanno what? I really felt that way on Saturday. I am happy to say, I truly feel like I belonged as one of the girls.

After I came home from the party I was able to indulge in the longest nap ever. I slept for a solid four hours uninterrupted. Ahhh.

When I awoke, I was overcome with a deep driving urge to write. I wasn’t about to pass that moment up. I brewed a steaming hot cup of coffee, I slowly smoked a cigarette while I let certain words and ideas marinate in my brain. By the time I went back into my bedroom, I was ready. I dove head first into chapter three of my book project.

But, I found myself struggling with some of the dialogue. I had forgotten how different writing my book is in comparison to anything else. It’s a completely different style, with a completely different voice. It took 2 hours of ‘warming up’ before the words began to really flow.

In order to ‘warm up’ I decided to try something new. I usually have to write in complete silence. I can’t even stand the slightest background noise. However, I wanted to draw the characters out of me. I needed to visualize them with extreme clarity. I needed to coax them out of ‘That Place’ where I had buried them.

Music is an amazing tool. When I worked in the bar, there was always music, and to this very day I associate certain songs with certain dancers I worked with. For example, this one girl named ‘Lady’ danced to Led Zeppelin songs. She had very specific choreography and coordinated outfits for these particular songs. When I hear those songs now, I can clearly see her on stage spinning around that brass pole with style and grace.

I decided to use the power of music to my advantage. I started listening to all of the ‘Old Bar Music’ I usually tend to avoid when I don’t want to remember those days. That really helped bring back the memories in vivid detail. After two hours of listening, my characters came alive. They were dancing around in glorious fashion and talking to me. I could barely type as fast as they were developing.

I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. Until 4am.

As expected, I had some pretty bazaar dreams. I usually never remember my dreams. I don’t know what it is about writing this book that gives me crazy dreams.

All I do know is that the last time I was really serious about writing my book, not only did I have nightmares I exhibited some very strange behaviors.

I started sleepwalking. I would wake up in my own living room, re-arranging furniture and not know why or how I had gotten there. But the strangest behavior I executed was when I started sleep-calling people. Yes. ‘Sleep-Calling’ people.

In my dream, I was in the dressing room of the bar getting changed into a new costume. I used the payphone to call my drug dealer. In reality, while I was sleeping, I called my mother as if she were my drug dealer. I left voice mails on her cell phone, screaming at her to bring me cocaine. I didn’t even know that I had called my mother until she called me back, terrified, and played the messages.

Aside from of that, in truth, and in all honesty, I stopped writing my book a long time ago because it was too painful for me to ‘go there’. I like to tell myself that I am over it. I like to tell myself that I have moved on. And, I have. I know that I am a different person now; I am not the same girl I was then.

But, the only way to write my book? Is to ‘go there’ mentally and emotionally. I have to go back to ‘That Place’. A very dark, a very cold, and a very scary place. It takes a lot out of me to go to ‘That Place.’ I have to put on her shoes again. I have to become Jasmine, in order to remember and spill it onto the pages.

I wonder? If I am so ‘over’ all of it, then why does it still hurt so much to ‘go there’?

When I am really focused on my book, I start reliving all those old feelings as if they were new. The pissed off sleeping teenager inside of me, wakes up. And she is still pissed off. (A. Very. Angry. Little. Girl.) I am not going to rebuild all of those walls I worked so hard to take down. But some of the familiar “I can’t be in my own skin” feelings come back. Things I thought I had forgotten become almost tangible.

Another reason I stopped writing the book, was the sheer horror of being that exposed. I am supposed to be this professional woman. I couldn’t have my colleagues or co-workers read or know any of these things. Maybe they would loose respect for me? Label me? Look at me with different eyes?

(I had to do a lot of soul searching to find the courage and strength to publicly post chapters one and two.)

Alas, now that I know who I am and what I want to be when I grow up, I am committed to reinvesting in the challenge of writing this book, with all of that gusto and passion bubbling inside of me.

I’ve figured out that even if I am not as ‘over it’ as I’d like to think I am, maybe I have to write this book to get over it. Maybe I need this emotional process to really heal. And, maybe I am the only one that needs to look at me through different eyes?

I haven’t decided weather or not I will post any more chapters on the Internet? While I’d love to share what I completed this weekend with every single one of you, I am slightly hesitant because I am not really sure how to ‘protect’ my hard work from being stolen. Until I figure that out, I feel it is best to keep things under wraps.

However, I have decided that no matter how scary things get and no matter what sort of side-effects I am going to experience as a result of writing this book, I have to believe this process will be worth it when it’s finished. I am not going to make excuses anymore. I am just going to do it.

I am not afraid of those demons anymore.

I am not Jasmine anymore. I am looking at her as a fictional character. As far as I am concerned, now, she is just ‘good material.’

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  • well wow, this was a good read in itself.

    if you worked at my office, you will never feel welcomed. it’s hard to squeeze a good morning out of them. i noticed that if i ignore them they are more likely to speak, say hello, you get nothing. you did good to go, glad you had a nice time. got lost? own town? i do it too. lol

    music lifts my spirits in so many ways. i forget that sometimes and have to remember when i’m in a bad or tired mood to put some music on – it does help a lot.

    about the book – sorry you have to ‘go there’ to write, but glad you are making progress with your work. writing is soooo therapeutic. xoxoxox

  • I’m so glad you had a good time at the barbecue! I hope this makes it easier to go to the office each day.

    I am in awe of your ability to write your book, to revisit your past, and to put yourself out there. I hope it makes it easier to know that there are people, like me, who have nothing but the utmost respect for you. Because you are a survivor. Because you brought yourself to a better place, the place you want to be in life, and because you are so brave as to share your story with others.

  • Meleah

    Actually, this time writing my book…it’s not so painful to ‘go there.’
    It’s almost as if it didn’t even happen to me anymore. I am treating Jasmine as a fictional character. And that HELPS.

    Music is the cure all.

    As far as the office party I was pleasantly surprised.

    What you said about my writing means a lot coming from the bravest woman I know.

    I am sooooo relieved all went smoothly with your surgery. I am happy you are home safe and sound.

    Oh and yes, the BBQ has made coming to the office easier!

  • I’m so glad you went to the barbecue and had a good time. How sweet of the hostess to have food specifically for you. That says alot!

    You have come SO FAR. This speaks VOLUMES: “I’ve figured out that even if I am not as ‘over it’ as I’d like to think I am, maybe I have to write this book to get over it. Maybe I need this emotional process to really heal. And, maybe I am the only one that needs to look at me through different eyes?”

    You are a very strong woman. Look at all the physical ailments you’ve had to deal with over the years. I firmly believe that makes you stronger. And I think this will be a major healing in alot of ways. I’m proud of you! xxoo

  • Meleah

    Chef Mom:
    The BBQ was a good time. I am glad I went. Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. It felt GREAT to really write like that again.

  • You are a brave and courageous woman Meleah. You will make it through writing the book. I know you will!

    And the BBQ…oh how I love a good BBQ.

  • In corporate world you call that team building. Its good to get to know people in thier normal place. It does bring down the wall a bit. Helps you get to understand why someone is bitchy, or see a side you never knew. All good honey, all good.

    I don’t know much of your book project but it sounds to me like it wold be very rewarding for you to do. Write it under a psudonym, a different name. Sometimes telling stories helps you appreciate them more and gives you a spiritual release. I tell stories a lot and have no problem telling those “awkward” ones. Go for it!
    BTW – Oscars Tavern could use some bar stories… We are going to have…”guests”.

    Look in that mirror and smile at th epretty lady. All Good, all good.

  • Meleah

    Thank you. You rule.

    While it may be a good idea to write under a fictional name, for other people, that is NOT AN OPTION for me. I will be taking full credit for all of my words under my REAL name.

    If you’d like to know MORE about the book I am writing, please click on any of the links in this post, or you can click right here: http://offthepole.melevision.net.

    I have plenty of bar stories. 10 years worth of stories as a bartender and as a dancer. Let me know when you will be having guests and I’d love to share.

    Hope you had a good weekend, glad you aren’t cranky anymore

  • Very good post, and I think you are doing all the right things. Hopefully, after facing all that darkness, you will be able to finally put it behind you.

    Many hugs and wishes for success.

  • Looking at Jasmine from a 3rd person perspective is indeed very wise. Now not only you know who you are, you know who you are *not*, and that realization itself is a sign of enlightenment.

    Ah, really glad that you had a great time with your co-workers outside work. I work from home, and I really miss having people around.

  • I think you have more answers than you ever could imagine.

    Isn’t it funny how if you look at them in the right light, the demons just aren’t as scary as they are at other times??


  • Meleah

    That’s just it. I am facing my past but I am not living or re-living in my past. It’s a very different experience than the last time I tried to write my book. I think this is the right way to go. While I have to ‘go there’ to remember certain events, it doesn’t feel like its happening to me again. Its like I’m watching an old movie of the events. Does that make any sense?

    Yes!! THANK YOU for totally getting what I am saying. You are the bombinatrix.
    Hey of you are lonely, I will keep you company! BTW: I would kill to have the luxury of working from home.

    I know right! Its different this time. I am having werido dreams, but I am not behaving like that Angry Little Girl.

  • yo momma

    “I am not Jasmine anymore. I am looking at her as a fictional character. As far as I am concerned, now, she is just ‘good material.’”

    There are no words to describe how grateful I felt when I read that paragraph. Thank you G-D!!!!

    love, hugs & kisses,

  • Hey Meleah,

    Not sure if I mentioned this one (and if I did, it’s because I’m getting old so just tell me to go back to my corner and sit down) but you must read, Bird by Bird, written by Anne Lamott. The best book ever on writing. Hands down. It is my writing bible.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for your sweet comments on my blog. I’ve been in a bit of a funky lately but it’s blogging buddies like you who make it all much better to tolerate.


  • Meleah

    xxoo xxoo

    I was wondering where you were. Consider that book being BOUGHT this evening. Thank you darling.

  • cmk

    When I was in therapy–with the GOOD therapist–we got to talking about the sexual abuse I went through as a child. While I thought I had ‘gotten over it,’ he told me to write it all down for the next time I saw him. During our next session I explained to him what writing down the story did for me: Before I really examined the abuse, I would think of the incidents in color. As soon as I wrote it all down, I saw them in black-and-white. Writing about it took away so much of the emotional power I was under. AND I realized that there were many less incidents than I thought. I will NEVER forget what happened to me, but it no longer has the power over me that it did. You WILL find a freedom by writing all of this down–even if you never make it public.

    Love you, my dear! xoxo

  • I have a question…how many (if at all) of your co-workers know that you author this blog? (Sorry if I somehow missed that in the post).

    At first I felt silly about sharing mine with some of the people that I know and next thing ya know, they’re reading it! Not sure how they came across it, they just did…

  • I have been in those situations where I did not want to go to an event because I may not fit in. But, like you, I wind up having a great time. As for the book writing, I think you have the right idea. Jasmine is now a role. A thing of the past. Study her and use her for this book. She sounds very interesting. Now I don’t want you to get split personality disorder or something. Meleah by day and then Jasmine by night where you run around Newark in a leather suit smashing in windows and stabbing people with knives then waking up not knowing what happened. But for the book, this is a great approach.

  • Maybe that’s what I need to do in order to write without interruption…stay up until 4:00 AM.

    As much as I would love to read every tidbit, I think it would be safer NOT to post. You just never know.

  • GREAT POST! And what a weekend you had. It is scary but true that the work folk become our 2nd family. And now I want to be adopted by someone else’s family 😉

  • Meleah

    First of all, THANK YOU.
    You are very brave and inspirational for sharing so openly like that with me.
    With all of us…
    You Rule.

    Second, your comment is the perfect way to describe what working on my book THIS time feels like.

    I have written up to chapter 16 as ‘Rough Drafts’. Very sloppy Rough Drafts and missing massive details. When I went back into chapter three in order to rewrite, edit, and structure the mess I left on the pages, I felt like I was reading/watching a movie. The “color” was gone.

    But, whats even more awesome? Yes. The original ‘color’ is gone, but now I can choose what colors to use to re-paint and fill the black and white outlines with characters readers will believe, love, hate, care about, identify with, ect ect ect.

    I am not sure what will happen, or how I will feel, after I get through all of the rough draft versions and I have to start new stuff…But for now….This is working for me!

    Ricardo B:
    All of my co-workers know that I am a blogger. In fact I was almost FIRED for this blog. That’s why I don’t blog during the day anymore or leave comments on anyone else’s blogs or visit other poeple’s blogs during the day. (Another reason I am up until forever in the middle of the night…to read and visit everyone else.)

    Ricardo #1:
    Ha Ha Ha Ha. I am not going to have a split personality. Well. Not. Again.

    I was Meleah by day and Jasmine by night for the 1st year at the bar…until Jasmine took over. In fact, I have a chapter all about that.

    Anywho. The work thing was cool, but I wish I had more time to write. Yanno? I am finally in a place where I CAN DO THIS. The only thing that gets in my way is the LACK OF TIME.

    Why cant there be MORE HOURS in a day?

    Momo Fali:
    Exactly why I am NOT posting it. I may email a few people the 3rd chapter, just for feed back. Because I want and need some hard core brutally honest New Eyes to look it over!

    The reason I have to give up sleep is because that is the only option Ive come up with to get this done already!

    Michael C:
    Really? Thank you.
    I want to be adopted by the Apple Family.
    Thanks for all of the support.
    You know how much it means when comments come from my ‘twin’

  • I wonder? If I am so ‘over’ all of it, then why does it still hurt so much to ‘go there’?

    some things you never “get over” you just have to learn to use them to bring out things in you that are not accessible any other way…

    i am feeling quite the same about some of my life experiences,, and the way they have and continue to teach me things about myself the father away from them i get…

    love you girl,, and i cannot wait to get my own signed copy of your book the moment it comes out!!!!!!


    Remember we never want to go back, but we can not forget where we came from. It makes us who we are today!

  • Meleah

    Well said.
    Thank you for that point of view…
    And a voice of reason…
    (not to be confused with the voice of doom)
    Love you back.

    Thats why I have to write about “it”.
    And, that’s why I have to write about “her”…

    I want/need to ‘remember’ “her”…
    (so that I never duplicate her mistakes).

    But that doesn’t mean I have to BE, act, talk, look, or behave, like her.

    Thats what makes this time writing ‘the book’ so different than any other time.


    (PS: nice to see you participating again.)

    HUGS / KISSES … And All That Jazz.
    I will call you during the week.

  • Hey Mel,

    I’m very happy you went to the party. You know I would have been the same exact way if it were me who had to go to something that I didn’t want to go to. I get all crazy inside and sometimes I just DON’T go…and that’s not good either… so going was a great step! AND you had fun!

    Glad you got some writing in as well! I can’t wait to read more!

  • You are doing so well with your book. It can often be painful to revisit the past, which doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t over it -some things you just don’t forget, you know?
    Way to go on attending the BBQ. How thoughtful was that co-worker to buy you the right foods?
    I may be wrong but I don’t think you should post any more chapters. I think it is the type of thing that could be stolen quite easily and I would hate for that to happen. Like all your other readers, I will order a copy straight away when it is done. Can’t wait!

  • I love barbecues so I’m glad you had a good time at yours 😀

  • Meleah

    Jen R:
    Going to any office function was a Big Step for me…I am glad I did it. And I am even more happy I wrote my little fingers off.

    Thank you for that lovely comment. I will not be posting anymore on the internet. Its too risky, and I am working way to hard on this! xxoo

    BBQ is the bomb.

  • me.olly

    WOW that’s a mouthfullllllll!
    Bless You.

  • I am sooooo happy you went to the BBQ!! How incredibly nice of them to buy you special food.

    There’s a book entitled, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” – have I told you about it already? I can’t remember. Anyway, its all about unifying the different aspects of who we are in a kind of loving acceptance. I read it and did ALL of the little exercises – which I NEVER do – and the result was amazing. The aspects of myself that I thought I would never be able to forgive, let alone have compassion for, were understood as wounded and lost – among other things. It was really healing.

    By the way, whenever I hear Dire Straits, “Money For Nothing” I’m immediately transported to a really dark, dank, shameful place in my life. Ugh.

    I am also ecstatic that you were able to get so much writing done. …and I agree completely that you should no longer post it publicly. Too many literary predators out there on the web.

    I’m so happy for you all the way around, Honey. xoxo

  • Meleah

    Yep. This was one of my longer posts.

    Me too. I was sincerely touched the host went out of her way like that. She is awesome.

    I will think about looking into picking up that book, but 1st I have to get the one Random Chick suggested above.

    I was thrilled to get back to writing something of substance. And I am relived that it is NOT as painful as it was the last time.

  • Mel, I absolutely love when you reveal yourself. You are never more engaging for me than when you write like this. If this is a glimmer of you revealing yourself, than you have nothing to fear or worry about.
    You must be so proud of yourself for turning things around. I don’t know how the hell you did it. I find it difficult to change. I sometimes feel that there’s this big, bad dark core of who I am and I can never change it. But you did it. You crossed over. You amaze me.

  • Meleah

    Brenda Starr DARLING!!!!

    Thank you for your amazing comment. You have no idea how much this makes my day, and makes traveling down this path a whole lot easier.

    “If this is a glimmer of you revealing yourself, than you have nothing to fear or worry about.”

    Thats a relief.

    “You amaze me.”

    I am flattered beyond words.


  • Lee

    It’s funny how we build up these scenarios in our heads about how things are going to happen when we go somewhere new, or meet someone that we are apprehensive about. Then the reality turns out to be something totally different. I’m really glad you were able to relax and enjoy the BBQ. It’s a great way to get rid of stress.

    It sounds like the creative juices were flowing freely this weekend. That’s a good thing too. I agree with your analysis of the therapeutic value in writing your book. What I hope you find out when all is said and done is that choices we’ve made in our past don’t define who we are. Bad choices do not always mean that the person making them is bad. We make decisions and take paths in our lives based on the information available at the time and our ability to process that information.

    The great thing is that all of our experiences contribute to making us the persons we become. From all indications, you’ve become a fantastic mother, daughter, friend and all-around great individual. So thank God you were able to take all those experiences of your life and make something positive of them.

  • Meleah

    That was such an inspirational and touching comment which I will treasure forever. Thank you for being so awesome.

  • leave all your fears behind…the time has never been more perfect for conquering this lesson. You are brave.

  • When you’re picking up the writing book Random Chick suggested, you MUST get Stephen King’s On Writing. Its a masterful presentation on the art of storytelling – of which he, of course, is a master. Seriously, its a must read for every writer.

  • Meleah

    Thank you for the support!

    Okay. Deal. Thanks for the awesome tip.

  • First of all…congrats on the picnic! That’s so awesome that not only did you GO, but you ENJOYED it! (Its ok to get lost in your own town, I do it here in NY all the time. Damn damn one way streets.)

    Second of all…so glad that you’re working on more of the book. Keep going, like I told a dear friend of mine who’s going through some bad times – “Write it down, you don’t have to publish it, but it helps to get the words out and let someone else carry them around for awhile.”

    And isn’t it interesting the memories and feelings that music can bring back? I found a CD in my car the other day that made me smile and cry at the same time.

    Keep going! Can’t wait.

  • Meleah

    I cant even imagine NYC one way streets!
    Music is incredibly powerful!
    Thanks for the support on my book!

  • So proud of you for this accomplishment. Certainly more than I can say for myself. I understand not wanting to revisit what’s past. I spent some time writing today, and am thinking that all is much better if I just don’t write it down. It won’t make any difference. But you? You GO girl. GO!!!!!

  • Meleah

    You will do it too. When you are ready to do it.
    xxoo xxoo

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