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Why Victims Might Wait to Speak Up

A couple of nights ago I was watching the news and one of the anchors said “Why would a victim wait this long to come forward? Doesn’t it seem like opportune timing?” This is the rhetoric we are hearing everyday.

The media has been flooded with new scandal after new scandal lately. Every time you turn around a different famous face is now at the center of a full-fledged sexual assault/harassment accusation. One victim comes forward, then another, and before you know it, many famous faces you have looked up to are now monsters in your eyes.

I was blown away by the words of this news anchor. Mind you, there have been people who have made false accusations from time to time, but you can’t let that discredit the stories of true victims. While people may seem more jaded these days, you can’t throw everyone with a story to tell, into the fire.

My question is, why is timing even a question? 

If you survived a fire five years ago does it still make you a survivor of a fire today? Yes. If you were sexually assaulted years ago, does it still make you someone who experienced that today? YES. Regardless of the time that has passed and the reasons for not speaking about it, it doesn’t change the fact that, that is now apart of your story.

Why would a victim wait years and years to come forward? I’m no genius but, it doesn’t take one to know there are reasons victims sometimes don’t speak up. I am also no psychologist, but it also doesn’t take one of those to know that sometimes trauma doesn’t show itself right away. People don’t always realize how affected they are by a traumatic incident until they go to do something and pause, out of fear it could lead them back into an uncontrollable situation.

Other reasons? Maybe they are embarrassed? Maybe they have lived with the shame for years. Maybe it’s become a part of who they are. It’s become a normal part of their day. They wake up, they go to work, and they deal. As unfortunate as that sounds, sometimes that’s the reality that many people face.

There are many reasons why a victim wouldn’t speak up. Too many to list. The truth of the matter is sometimes this world is a scary place. Sometimes it takes one brave person in your city, school, or someone famous to state the facts of something that has happened to them. That starts a chain reaction because now famous people, and small town people know that they aren’t alone, and that what happened to them was wrong.

We live in a different world today. We live in a world that is less “tolerant” of bad behavior. This seems to be shocking and new to some, but it is long overdue. Bad behavior fifty years ago would still be considered bad behavior today.

You don’t have to be a victim, or a genius to know why someone who has ever felt violated or victimized wouldn’t speak up. Different people deal with things differently. It is not your job to judge the circumstances, the time passed, or the story.

Just my thoughts.


Engagement Photos – XO MELLA WEDDINGS 👰🏼 

It is an exciting time to be be engaged, and to be doing all the things engaged couples do. I have written about our engagement party, now I am writing about our engagement photos! 

First, you have to decide who you are as a couple. Me and my fiancé are not very serious people, we are laughing all the time. We knew we wouldn’t be able to be very serious or take typical engagement photos. We knew our dog had to be involved, so like every other engaged couple, we ordered a sign for our fur baby, announcing our wedding date.

I began searching Amazon for a reliable sign maker that specializes in dog signs! I found a company called Ritzy Rose. The personalizing of the sign was painless! I simply left our names, wedding date, and what color font, & string I wanted, and they made it happen! It was delivered on time and I was incredibly impressed by the quality of the sign. 

Like I said, we are always laughing… 

For my outfit I knew I needed something simple and fall-ish. 

The dress is a fit and flare $20.00 dress from TJ Maxx. My shoes are 39.99 wedge ankle booties from Target. My scarf was $34.00 from Francesca’s! 

I knew the best way to keep it simple is to stick with solid colors. Also, try to keep in mind the color of your surroundings. Being in nature I knew earth tones would be best. Also, try to stay in the same color scheme as your fiancé, but try not to be too matchy-matchy. 

I hope these tips helped! Please let me know any tips/tricks that you have learned a long the way and let me know what else you would like to see in Xo Mella Weddings. 


It Happened For Me & It Will Happen For You Too

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post… 
As an avid blogger I try to share my experiences because they are what I know best. As I try not to over share, it is important that I let you all in on some parts of my life. 
What inspired this post? A few times now I have been asked about my engagement and how we met, and every once in a while I add in that yes, my future husband, was also my first boyfriend. *gasp* 
The reaction has always been positive. People comment on how sweet and old fashioned that is, and that it gives them hope. It makes my heart happy when people say something I have said has given them hope, as a blogger I have tried many times through my writing to do just that, give people hope. 
If you’re reading this and you didn’t marry your first love, don’t feel as if you aren’t “old fashioned” or that your love story won’t seem sweet to others, because it will. People love, love. People just sometimes forget to know what is love, and what isn’t. People forget what is worth settling down for, and what is just settling. 
It was a couple weeks after my 22nd birthday when my now fiancé asked me to be his girlfriend. It was 11 months later when he asked me to be his wife. The road to finding my fiancé wasn’t as sweet and hopeful as my now life is though. 
I had a feeling I would have one boyfriend and that would be it. Mainly because I was picky and a complete “old soul.” So I knew any guy that I would agree to seriously date, would have to be someone I could see myself with long term. 
I am so happy I waited all those years and didn’t listen to people who called me picky, or that I would never find the perfect person. I wasn’t looking for the perfect person, I was looking for someone perfect for me. I knew he was out there, I had complete faith, I just hadn’t met him yet. I knew this all along. 
While the road to my fiancé was a long and winding one, I would travel it again and again, as cliché as that may sound. It made me who I am now, and I wouldn’t appreciate someone had I not known what it was like to not have someone for so long. 
The point of all of this is, 22 years is a long time, but many people wait much longer and deal with much more. You cannot become bitter, you cannot become hopeless, because it will not happen if you don’t appreciate what you currently have. Life gives you what you need when you need it. It took me 22 years to find out who I was before I could meet my future husband. For some people it takes less, and for some people it takes more. 
You have to ask yourself what you want out of your life? Also, what reasons do you want it? Lastly, are you seriously ready for it? 
It is easy to think of all the reasons you want certain things for your life but you have to make sure that the reality is also what you want, and what you are ready for. 
If you haven’t met “the one” ask yourself if it would make sense for where your life is right now. Ask yourself if you are seriously ready for “better and for worse.” These days, not many people ask those kind of questions. 
Don’t fall in love with the idea of long term commitment and major milestones. Fall in love with your life for what it is right now and yourself for who you are right now. Then ask yourself if you could fall in love with another person for who they are right now, whole heartedly and who they might be 10, 20, 50 years from now, no matter what. 
It is easy for me to write this now that I am outside of the “will it ever happen for me” type of thinking but I haven’t forgotten what that feels like. I know it all too well. I also know all too well, that it will happen for you, at a time and a speed you will have to accept. It might not be tomorrow, but when it does happen there won’t be any looking back. Don’t make yourself look back and wish you had just been happy and content then, because to your disbelief it did happen for you. 

How to Deal With Things Out of your Control 

I struggle on a daily basis to be content with life being ever-changing and the fact that most things are out of my control. I live a beautiful life, but some daysI let my feelings of not being where I want to be in my career get me down. 
I graduated college May of 2016, I was 21 years old, and I had no idea what I wanted to do. As I sit here a year and a half out of college, STILL not using my degree, it is very easy for me to become disappointed with that aspect of my life. You can go on all the job interviews, pull yourself in 17 different directions trying to figure it all out, but if it’s not your time, it’s not your time. That’s just the cold hard truth. 
Feeling lost in your early 20’s can feel second nature for some. You might feel that certain aspects of your life aren’t where you thought they would be, but there’s really only one way to deal with what feels like disappointment in yourself. I mean I have dealt with it for the past year and half, so I’m starting to do better than I was. 
It’s all about perspective. What’s the one thing you can control? Your attitude and YOUR perspective. Keep in mind what parts of your life are amazing, and try to muffle your thoughts about what leaves you feeling disappointed or feeling less than. You can’t let what you can’t control leaving you feeling bitter, that won’t do anyone any good. 
You CAN let go of your expectations. I remember how down and out I would get after disappointment, after disappointment when it came to everyone before my now fiancé. I remember feeling that annoying nagging feeling that it would never work out. I would get disappointed over things I really didn’t even want. I would stress myself out trying to make things work, that just weren’t going to. Then one day, my own life surprised me, and things did work out. All of a sudden it made perfect sense as to why nothing ever worked out before, and I felt relieved but like I wish I could have gone back and told myself that it was all going to be okay. I would have tried to enjoy that part of my life. But you live and you learn. 
No part of your life is ever going to be perfect. As I plan a wedding and embark on experiences I have never have before, I find myself feeling badly about not being where I want to be when it comes to work. 
I am extra transparent on the internet in hopes that some other twenty, thirty, forty, sixty-something, might get just the slightest bit of clarity. 
When it’s your time, it’s your time. You might think back and wish that you would have just let things go and not been so stressed out all of the time, whatever the issue is. If someone would have told me I would be engaged at 23, 2 years ago I would have laughed.
I would hate to look back and think that I wasted days, months, years, feeling less than because of things outside of my control. I would hate for you to do the same. The only way to stop that from happening, or living your life like that longer, is changed behavior. 
Think about what you are grateful for, think about what you thought would never work out, but did. Why couldn’t it happen again? It could be tomorrow, next month, or next year, but it will work out, and you will wish you hadn’t worried so much about what you cannot control. 
Everybody has there day in the sun. And when it comes, all the struggle will make it that much better. 

How to Make Sense of What Will Never Make Sense

I always try to keep my blog pretty positive, upbeat, and always trying to see the best side of things. That doesn’t mean that it can’t touch on things that happen in the world, many things that we can’t understand. That is one way to try to keep unity. Use your words to show others, who may be feeling heartbroken when tragedy occurs, that it’s okay, to not be okay. 

I woke up in the middle of the night to the news, of the tragedy that occurred in Vegas. People were dead, people were injured, and I was sitting there, like millions of other people, staring at a screen saying, “how could this happen again?”
As humans we immediately want to know, why? But the truth is no matter what the “why” is, it won’t give us any sense of comfort. There is no comfort in knowing that these types of senseless acts of terror can occur. 
Where can we find comfort? In knowing there are people who have hearts like ours when tragedy strikes. There will always be helpers. One of my all time favorite quotes to look to is one by Mr. Rogers. He said, “When I was a boy and would see scary things on the news I would look to my mom and she would say, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.” 
You can never make sense of these horrific tragedies, we aren’t supposed to be able to. Anyone with a heart can’t make sense of these types of acts. So step one would be to stop trying to make sense of things that won’t ever make sense. Spending your time trying to make sense of horrific acts will be endless. Spending your time praying, spending your time loving those around you, or spending your time trying to make the world around you better despite what’s going on, will do your soul and the world around you, good.
Step number two? In the words of Mr. Rogers, look for the helpers. If you can’t see the helpers, then be a helper. Listen to the stories of people risking there lives to save the lives of strangers. Look to find any type of hope. Listen to the good, and when you can’t see the good, be the good. 
It’s a simple message but it rings so true. Sometimes reiterating a message that is simple but comforting can ease at least the littlest bit of worry. I am a writer, a blogger, and someone who hopes that sharing your sorrow, your disbelief, and your words, can bring comfort in times where it is few and far between.

Prayers for Vegas.🙏🏼
Xo Mella Blog 💋

When Things Take a Turn

When I started seriously writing during my junior year of college, I capitalized off of telling stories about what I had been through, and the uncertainty of my future. Many scorned girls followed my path as I had some tales to tell, that were relatable. When I started dating my now fiancé, I felt that it wasn’t right to continue to write about what I had been through, while it was relatable and really what many people who followed my writing liked, I felt the need to respect him. While he didn’t care what I wrote about, I knew that I needed to turn a new leaf, and somewhat rebrand Xo Mella Blog. 
Writing became harder because I didn’t want to write about the happy things because a lot of people don’t want to hear about that. I went into major writers block…MAJOR. 
Having to rebrand yourself, turn a new page, and having to finally let go of the past, teaches many lessons that some aren’t prepared for. If there is one thing I have learned from a major hiatus from writing, it would be to trust the journey you’re on, but before you can trust anything, you have to let go of what used to be. I have written at least ten million (exaggeration) thought pieces on letting go (all on XoMella.com & Xo Mella Blog Pinterest). 

I prayed for years and years for change. I always knew I wanted a life for myself bigger than just caring about myself, and I got just that. 

I feel grateful every single day. Most days I don’t feel I deserve the good things that have come my way in the past couple of years. It’s easy to lose sight of your own struggle. The important thing to keep in mind is that life changes every single day. Most, if not all of us have had at least one or for some, many moments where it felt like our whole world got ripped out from underneath our feet. Sometimes you get so far away from that, that you get caught up in petty things, or pointless worry in effort to try to make yourself feel something other than happiness. That’s when you need to stop. 

Remember the day you received the worst news ever? When you felt like maybe the words that came out of someone else’s mouth knocked the wind out of you? You realized how much you had taken for granted. Maybe you started to become a little more grateful for the little things. Maybe you started appreciating things you had lost sight of. 

You did your time, paid your dues, had many sleepless nights, prayed, a lot. This could have been months, or years for some. Your life starts finally changing, and you realize how happy you are, and how terrifying it can be to really get what you prayed for. 

In these times don’t worry, don’t let anxiety creep in, don’t lose sight of the dues you paid to get here. You didn’t come this far to let the good parts of life scare you, when you’ve not been scared yet, after all you have been through. 

When you feel undeserving, or like you will never cross the bridge of finally letting go of all of the bad, remember one thing. You’ve had some sleepless nights, where the sun always came up the next day. The world didn’t stop turning because you had a bad day or felt fearful of something. Everyone has times where they can’t get out of their own head. Everyone has felt less then. That’s a part of it all. It’s just about knowing how much is just apart of living life, and how much is too much. 

You will have your days in the sun, and you will have days that you’re not sure why all of it is happening. All of it means you are trying, and all of it means you are human. Be easy on yourself. 

Short Story Series Part I – Ari

I threw my keys on the table and sulked down to the ground. “How is this my life?” I said aloud. After another failed online date I couldn’t believe that at 26, this seemed to be my only option to find a partner, for life.

“How terrifying?” I thought to myself. Is this really how I wanted to meet my future life partner? Swiping through apps and going on cheap dates with even cheaper people?

Tonight’s date was Nick, a 6’2 dark haired, “entrepreneur.” He thought it would be a good idea to pick the worst Mexican restaurant in New York City, and also thought it would be a good idea for me to “cover this one.” So I picked up the check, ordered a margarita to go, and flagged down the first cab in site.

It was more of a fight or flight response. It wasn’t expected that he would pay for the date, I mean as much as that’s how I believe it should be, I am realist. Guys are going on so many dates they are running out of money to fund their attempts at romance. So to dim the cuteness level from a hot fire because they executed the perfect date, it dwindles down to a slow almost non-existent burn when they want you to cover their meal too.

As I sat on the floor of my one bedroom apartment, I thought, “Well Ari, at least you’re not at crying-on-the-bathroom-floor rock bottom. I was only about a few inches from where my bathroom and kitchen met. Oh the joys of living in New York City.

I got up off of the ground, and looked in the mirror. My perfect brown curls had fallen, my contour was no longer on fleek, and my eyeliner traveled from my eyes to underneath my eyes, making me resemble the raccoon digging in the garbage outside of my apartment.

I took my standard first date dress off and changed into my favorite oversized pajamas. I poured a glass of my favorite rosé and got into bed. “I can do this” I thought to myself. I plugged my phone into the charger and logged onto my go-to dating app. As I began to delete the app I had a second wind of guilt. What if the next match is my person? What if I’m one date away from the love of my life. I put my phone down and decided to sleep on it. As I began falling alseep I heard my phone go off. It was Nick. The text read, “Ari, I’m really sorry about tonight. I know it could have been better. I picked Mexican because honestly, I thought you would have liked it. Thank you for picking up the tab. As soon as I get a job, I will take you to a nice dinner, you can pick the place. Text me if you’re ever bored.”

“Better!” I thought to myself. Better? Maybe a lot better! Then the rest of the message sent shock waves through my head. Apparently entrepreneur was fancy for no job. Apparently the next time he wants to see me is if I am ever bored. Lucky for him, I won’t ever, ever be that bored again.

I turned my read receipts off, and realized I had to be to my 8-5 job in less then 6 hours. I set my phone down, and decided to let my mind rest for a few hours, I wasn’t going to solve all of my deepest, darkest issues and insecurities at 2am after a hot mess of a night.
As much as I dreaded working, my Friday came and went a lot faster then expected. I ran out of the office and into the lively streets of New York on a Friday at 5. I was off to meet my best friend Vivienne for a drink at our favorite upscale bar, Reeva’s. Reeva’s was definitely too pricey for me even on my best pay days but I live by my “Treat Yourself” motto a few more times a month then I should. You’re only 26, single, and drowning in college loans once, right?

I ran up the rainy sidewalk, my 3-year-old Louis Vuitton pumps clicking to a different tune then they did on the way into work. There I saw my best friend Vivi. She waved excitedly and called my name. I grabbed the door and suddenly heard my phone ringing. Shuffling through my purse I grabbed my phone. “Eric?” I thought to myself. Eric is my ex-boyfriend of two years. We’ve only been apart for three months but I hadn’t heard from him since he slammed my apartment door shut, and made the next-door neighbors question my sanity. I shut the door, gave Vivi the “I’ll be right back” wave, and stepped to the side of the building.

“Hello?” My voice cracked.

“Ari? Is that you?” Eric mumbled.

“Yes? You did call me?”

“I miss you. I need to see you, I have some things I need to say. I think I really might have messed some things up.”

“Eric really? On a Friday night you suddenly feel you have messed some things up? I honestly don’t have time for this.” I tried to stay as stern as possible. But I knew that it would be hard. A part of me still loved Eric, but I hated who we made each other.

“I’m really sorry for bothering you Ari. I’ll leave you alone. I just had to tell you that I am sorry and I hope we can be in each other’s lives again one day.”

“I have no literal words Eric. What do you expect me to do with your impromptu drop in on my Friday night? Do you think I’m just supposed to accept everything you say and move on with my night?” Now I am getting aggravated. How dare he drop in on my high-class happy hour like this?

“Well you should be able to handle hearing from me Ari, unless you’re still in love with me? That’s the only reason this would upset you.”

He said it so smugly I wanted to barf. High-class Wall Street wannabes were never my thing, for these reasons mainly.

“You are still the same narcissist you were all the years we were together. Nothing has changed, and don’t tell me you magically had these feelings out of nowhere. You are bored and in need of some kind of validation, don’t put that on me.” Wow, I couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth. Where did this backbone come from?

“Alright, this was a huge mistake. Have fun maxing out your last credit card tonight. I’m sure you’re on your way to Reeva’s now for happy hour. I don’t want to intrude on your predictable Friday night more then I already have. Love you, Ari.”

The line went dead. Eric had hung up and I was in disbelief. Our history is long, messed up, and at points it was kind of magical. He was my first love and hearing his voice again really made me shutter. Hearing him say that he loved me made the waterworks start. I slowly put my phone into my purse, wiped away the one tear that was slowly dropping from the corner of my eye, and walked fiercely into Reeva’s. Vivienne had been waiting alone all too long, and I had a night out ahead of me in a city that was made for girls like me. Made for the broken hearted, and beautiful at every corner for those in love. Everyone sees New York a little differently depending on what stage of their life they are in, and for tonight, I needed it to be more then a city, I needed it to show me how to feel alive again. Tonight, I was using this city to show me what it was like to truly be happy again, even if it was temporary happiness. 




22. Coffee. Music. Running. Shopping. Blogging. Wine. & Hoarding motivational quotes.

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