Why Do I Try?

I've always believed that if I always treat people the way I want to be treated, good things will happen to me.

That working hard and being kind will take me places.

That what goes around, comes around.

That all the times I've gotten burned is just me paying my dues, and later in life I will be rewarded for my selflessness. For my compassion. For my internal desire to want to make my mark on this world by leaving it a little more beautiful than I found it.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe the only way to get what I really want is to be selfish. To take what I want. To not prioritize anyone or anything else but myself and what I want.

But I don't want that. I don't want to believe that.

I can't explain why it is so deeply entrenched in me to always want to do the right thing, when my biggest losses in the past have proven that I will be just be taken advantage of.

Maybe I'm just being blind. Stupid. Naive. Ignorant. I don't know"¦

But I'll keep trying.

There has to be something good for me out there. Something that'll make everything in the past worthwhile.

At least I hope so.

Top 10 Ways to Win My Heart

  1. Keep your promises.
  2. Break me out of my introverted shell. Inspire me to step out of my comfort zone.
  3. Know when to be patient with me and give me space when I need it.
  4. Know when to be blunt and push me harder. Remind me you're pushing me harder because you want what is best for me.
  5. Understand that I have an emotional breaking point where my ugly side comes out. And don't judge me for my tendency to hold grudges against people that hurt me to that breaking point.
  6. Stick up for me and/or give me the benefit of the doubt when you hear shit about me, and then ask for my side of the story.
  7. If you hurt me, you apologize through actions, not just words (or text message).
  8. Inspire me to be a better person, especially when I'm struggling.
  9. Random acts of kindness. Surprise me with sincerity. Show me that our relationship isn't dependent on me initiating everything.
  10. Be straight up with me. No secrets. No lies. Understand that I might get upset at first, but in the long run it will strengthen my trust and respect in you.

Just One Person

liveajoyfulife:

Sometimes, I just want one person to look me in the eyes and tell me that they understand that I'm hurting and that it's okay. I need someone to tell me that it's okay to hurt, I need someone to tell me it's okay to be angry and upset. I need someone to tell me that I don't need to be strong all the time.

"¦I want to be selfish, just once. I want to cry, yell, throw things, scream at the top of my lungs.

"¦I just want one person to realize that I'm not strong as everyone thinks I am. I just want one person to understand where my bitterness is coming from.

I want just one person to understand.

Sometimes during the process of letting go, we have these moments of weakness. And all we're really looking for is someone to pour our hearts out to — confused feelings, flawed logic, irrational thoughts and all — without the fear of being judged.

Because we're human. We get hurt. We get weak. And healing can take a really, really long time.

-Mel

How I Spent My Year 2011

For the 9th straight year, this is my annual End of the Year blog post that I publish mainly for myself. You are more than welcome to read it (all 9 pages of it), but more realistically, I invite you to do the same survey for yourself. =]

Out of all the years I've done so far, this one was by far the most difficult. This post has been a struggle with finding the right balance of sharing how I really feel and respecting the privacy of some people. It was also a struggle of trying to reflect on everything in a positive way, without reopening certain wounds.

Without any further ado...

Read More

I got on Imgur's Best of 2011! →

Imgur:

When the disaster at the Fukushima power plant in Japan happened this year, this image was created to help spread the word about all the incredible things people were doing to help out. It was viewed more than 1 million times and currently sits at the top spot in our gallery and on Reddit pics.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. -Unknown

The #SantaHat Tradition: What It Means to Me

If you ever get the chance to know me, you'll find that I am the most sentimental person you'll ever meet. I love remembering anniversaries and key dates. I love keeping a detailed journal and large albums of photos for memories. I love traditions and what they stand for. I love tweeting things like, "Exactly one year ago"¦"

If you've known me in the past four years, you'll know about my most favorite thing to do during the holiday season — the #SantaHat Tradition!

I can't take credit for the idea. I got the idea from a messageboard back in like 2004, where graphic designers volunteered to put Santa Hats on everyone's avatars. I thought it was the coolest idea ever so I held on to that #SantaHat image and tucked it away for a few years.

In December '08, when btvfam started growing together and Facebook took over Myspace, I thought to myself, "how cool would it be to wake up to a ton of Santa Hats all over Facebook?"

So that first holiday season, I made it happen"¦and it was a hit!

  • "Whoa, I thought that Santa Hat was real!!"

  • "Where the hell are all these Santa Hats coming from?!" —@DerekPortea

  • "I want a Santa Hat!" —@AndrewAGarcia

  • "I don't remember them wearing Santa Hats when I took that picture"¦Oh wait a minute, I see what you did there!" [email protected]

But there is one reaction in particular that I will always remember:

@micah_moo randomly broadcasting on BlogTV, wearing a Santa Hat (a real one), rocking out to the 'NSync Christmas album with the biggest freakin' smile on her face. "Mel totally got me excited for Christmas!!"

That right there, out of all the reactions I have ever gotten, is the one that I hold closest to my heart.

The tradition became more to me than just the novelty of seeing Santa Hats all over Facebook"¦it became about spreading Christmas cheer! And spreading it to as many freakin' people as possible. Not just to my friends, but my friends' friends/followers as well.

So with each passing holiday season, I would do more and more Santa Hats. The first year I did 79. The second year I did 190. Last year I did 446. This year I didn't double my previous record but I topped off at a new personal best of 532.

(In case you're wondering how I decide who gets a #SantaHat, I honestly just do it at complete random. I'll sit at the computer, see a name pop up on Twitter or the Facebook Ticker, and I'd slap a #SantaHat on it. I don't create a mega checklist of names or prioritize certain friends over others"¦I just make a butt load of 'em.)

Doing this over 1,000 times in the past two years alone, I realized a couple things:

  1. I am truly blessed to have had so many awesome people come into my life. Truly, truly blessed.

  2. There are so many people that I have slowly lost touch with over the years.

As much as I look forward to doing this every year, it's become a little bittersweet. Here I am, bouncing around Facebook looking for photos to use, smiling at each memory along the way"¦And then for many of you, it hits me, "Holy crap, I haven't seen you in over a year"¦"

Some of it is life getting in the way, throwing complicated priorities on us, pulling us in different directions. That's totally understandable.

But there are also faces I hadn't seen in a while, not because life pulled us apart, but because we pushed each other away. Some of us may have hurt each other, either intentionally or unintentionally. Or we picked different sides in our friends' dramas. Or we just flat out didn't get along. Whatever the reason may be — no matter how legitimate or irrational or petty it was — we decided to push each other away.

With something as simple as photoshopping Santa Hats, it'd be easy for me to be all passive-aggressive about it. "This fucker said I have fat ankles so no Santa Hat for this bitch ass!"

But then I see playing on TV, one of my all-time favorite childhood movies — Home Alone 2. That old creepy shovel man that saves Kevin's life at the end, finally makes amends with his family after so many years. That scene always brought me to tears as a kid"¦and its message still resonates with me today:

Christmas is a time for forgiveness.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that one point, we were all good friends. Some harsh words may have been said (to each other's faces or behind each other's backs), bridges may have been burned...but once upon a time, that bridge was there. And it was good! For a while, it was good.

Nothing should ever take that away.

We may never be able to get things back the way they were"¦but is it really worth holding on to those grudges so tightly?

Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's okay to let my guard down a bit. It's okay to lower those walls I've built. It's okay to cease fire and take a moment to just breathe. At least for a moment. At least long enough for me to be able to look the person in the eye, see past the hurt they once put me through, and say with absolutely sincerity, "I hope you have a Merry Christmas."

It's not an easy task though. I have a stubborn heart and sometimes it takes even years for me to forgive someone. I still have a list of people to truly forgive, and an even heavier list of people that I'm hoping to someday forgive me. Someday"¦

So that's what the #SantaHat Tradition means to me. It's about spreading Christmas cheer to as many people as possible. It's about letting people know I still value the time we share or once shared. It's about taking the time to look into myself, finding forgiveness, and expressing it in one of the simplest ways possible.

As much as I look forward to doing this every holiday season to spread Christmas cheer, the #SantaHat Tradition is very much a humbling experience for me too.

To all my friends that received a #SantaHat this year, whether we've stayed in touch or not, I just wanted to say thank you for being a part of my life. And to those of you who made your #SantaHat as your default picture, thank you so much for helping me spread Christmas cheer.

To each and every one of you out there"¦I know I've typed this over 500 times in the span of one week, but I've always meant it every single time, from the bottom of my heart"¦

Happy Holidays, everyone. <3

-Mel