March 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

The last few weeks, to put it lightly, have been moderately hellish. Between the demands of my membership at the American Advertising Association and the six-hour long meetings to stockpile our competition book together, my recent undertaking of sewing a full-blown gown for the Emerson spring fashion show,  and my recent acceptance into the Miss Emerson competition have been wearing on me. So, it came as a surprise to me this morning when I woke up in a pleasant half-daze thinking about when I was back in third grade.

Back then, I was the “creative” kid in the class. I laboriously hand-made intricate bookmarks with animals, cats made of staples that would sit when you pressed their tails, and miniature cities to put inside of your desk, complete with miniature animals to move around.

My classmates would ask me “Melanie, who made your bookmark?” To which I would reply shyly and with some embarrassment, that I did. I was painfully shy as a child, and I had always automatically assumed that since the other children didn’t talk to me often, these individuals who sought me out were coming to criticize my work, or worse, bully me to tears.

But they weren’t. They wanted some of what I had made, too.

Quickly, these objects became my voice, my connection to the other students who saw the same beauty in my minute creations as I did. I pumped out miniature staple cats by the dozen, and what had began as a single cat on the corner of my desk during snack time had inexplicably turned into an army of staple cats scattered on desks everywhere.

While the other students saw me as magic, the teacher thought of me as flat-out nuts. I remember being gone to the bathroom during desk-cleaning time and returning to find my teacher with her hands full of wrappers (bedding), wax globs (animals), and scraps of fabric (clothing). To put it simply, I was heartbroken.

Another time, when the growing presence of staple cats caught my teacher’s attention at last, she asked us what they were. Being as painfully shy as
I was, I stooped below my desk in fear of punishment.  One of my classmates kindly answered something like “they are little cats- Melanie made them. And look-” she said, pressing down the tail of one which caused the back legs to fall flat “they sit!” The teacher crooked an eye. “huh.”

But she wasn’t my target audience, and even as a third-grader, I understood that. What really mattered to me was the look on the faces of the students whom I gently handed my creations over to, that vibrant happiness that filled both of usas I let my creation talk for me.

Their happiness was tangible, and as I woke up from my rest this morning, that same feeling overwhelmed me. I hadn’t felt it for so long. I thought of the happiness of seeing my creations scattered across desks classroom-wide, the pureness of joy from my classmates as they admired their new belongings, and the happiness which radiated from them to be able to express themselves through my creations. I genuinely smiled for the first time in weeks, unperturbed by the stress of reality.

This, I told myself, is why I am here today. To create expression for the expressionless, to give a piece of my heart with every one of my creations to a new owner who will love it as affectionately as I did.

Today is the audition day for the nationals team in AAF. Call me crazy, but I am inclined to believe that I had this memory, which was vividly real, for a reason, to re-ignite the flame of my passion for marketing when I needed it most.

Wish me luck (=



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