What Other People Think of You is None of Your Business

When I decided to start blogging, so many people said to me, “Wow, good for you, you’re so brave!”  I hadn’t considered it an act of bravery.  To me, the opinions of strangers on the internet were insignificant compared to the opinions of those that live in my physical world.  I’m just trying to be the best me I can be.

We’re conditioned throughout our lives to try to gain other people’s approval.  This conditioning has only been exacerbated by the creation of social media.  That’s all we’re really doing there.  We post our behaviors and experiences in hopes of gaining popularity, “likes.” For some reason, there seems to be a level of disappointment if what we share isn’t received according to our expectations.  If we weren’t conditioned this way,  the beauty and fashion industries would be drastically different and I would likely be unemployed.  In a way, I’m grateful for it.

As a young girl in private school, I wanted my mom to buy my clothes from Nordstrom, like all the other kids, but my family couldn’t afford to shop there.  The other kids made fun of my clothes. That criticism stuck with me for a long time.  Physical appearance is the first thing some people notice.  Sadly, some refuse to look beyond that and make the effort to see the real person underneath the costume.  That’s all it is, a costume.  Your looks don’t define who you are but it’s natural to want other people to like us.  The truth is, some people may not like you and you will survive.

As a highly sensitive and introverted person, I am wrecked when someone doesn’t like me or even worse when someone did like me and changed their mind.    Particularly in my professional life.

I used to overthink it if a client canceled and didn’t reschedule. “What could I have done differently?”  “Was it something I said or the way I reacted to something they said?”  I put passion into my work and I have years of experience.  It is easy for me to take it personally when someone isn’t happy with the work I’ve done.  It’s one of those things that my brain would remind me of on a random Tuesday morning at 3am.  “I haven’t seen Judy in several months, I must have done something wrong and she hates me now.” Or, “Remember that driver who wouldn’t let you over and then flipped you off?  Yes, remember and stew over that for the next couple of hours for absolutely no reason.”  The reasonable, logical side of my brain would remind me that the driver isn’t up at the same hour conflicted over the incident, but I am.  Judy doesn’t really hate me, she probably got busy with work and kids and needed to find a place closer to home that could accommodate her schedule.  Why does what those people think of me even matter?  It doesn’t, but it took me a long time to be able to manage the emotion and just wish them all well.  Bless and release.

The mind replays what the heart can’t delete.  It’s not that we should walk around in life not caring at all what others think about us, or what we think about them.  But, if we care for people more than they deserve, we’ll be hurt more than we deserve.  The thing you’re not supposed to do is ruffle anyone’s feathers…but how many fucks should you actually give?

Trying to do all of the things for all of the people can make you crazy!  It’s impossible.  Other people’s encounters throughout their lives establish how they are able to see others.  You have no way to control their thought process because most of the time it isn’t really about you.  Let me say that again.  It isn’t really about you.  When I finally figured that out I felt so free.

Story time

I used to be friends with a man who revealed to me one day that he hated women.  The truth was that he was keeping score. Every time a woman let him down it was another check mark in the “Women Hurt Me” category of the game he was playing.  I figured that out when I was unable to attend his wedding reception because I had a migraine.  He told me that I was lying.   His belief… migraines were bullshit.  If I didn’t show up we would no longer be friends. He said there was no excuse for me not having the ambulance drive me past his house on my way to the hospital.  Yes, he actually said that and believed that’s what I should have done.  Because so many other women in his life had let him down, in his mind I was doing the same thing.  He couldn’t fathom that I was actually sick and the timing was unfortunate.  After that, I realized how much energy I was wasting dancing around his insecurities in order to maintain that/his “friendship.” For whatever reason, his approval mattered to me and it mattered that he thought I was lying.  There was nothing I could do to change that.   It’s called Narcissistic Personality Disorder by the way, but that’s another post.  <shrug>

Elbert Hubbard said, “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.”  I fact checked that quote by the way so if you think Aristotle said it, he didn’t. Walt Disney was fired from his job at a newspaper because he lacked creativity and imagination.  Thomas Edison had over nine thousand failed attempts before the light bulb was invented.  Steven King’s first novel, “Carrie” was rejected thirty times before it was published.  Can you imagine what these peoples’ lives and our own would be like if they had accepted that criticism and quit trying?

What if we flip the thought pattern?  What if we shift the focus to thinking more highly of ourselves?  If we are self-sacrificing in order to please others, what sense does that make?

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but a couple of years ago I made it my motto to “clean house.”  I called it, “Getting rid of the riff-raff.”  What that meant for me was letting go of people or things that didn’t serve me or make me happy.  “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.” Ironically, when I told a friend at that time, she said,  “what are you talking about?  You can’t just get rid of people.” I bet you can guess what happened to her…

I didn’t like the idea of having to do things that I didn’t want to do.  Lunches with girlfriends full of salads and small talk. No, thank you.  Loud parties full of people I would never want to associate with beyond that particular invitation.  I was making these plans in order to preserve other peoples’ feelings when the quality of time was what really mattered to me.  It’s perfectly fine to acknowledge the invitation and decline.  What works best for me now, unless I’m positive it’s something that I really want to do is to be non-committal.  I RSVP as a “maybe” and I decide when the time comes.  That way I don’t have to cancel, disappoint someone, or force myself to go to something I don’t want to.   It took a couple of years but when I let go of the people and tasks that were of lesser value, I suddenly had all this time to invest in the people and activities that fulfilled me. The need for approval went away because I was the one approving everything.  Queue the Aha moment!

Let’s talk about boundaries.  It’s okay to say, “No.”  Other people aren’t your responsibility.  No one is going to care more about you than you.  You have the right to your own feelings, they’re your feelings.  If other people get mad at you, that’s okay.  They’ll get over it and if they don’t, remember what I said earlier, other people won’t like you and you will survive.  At the end of the day, what matters most is that you are living with integrity, kindness, and love for yourself.  What others say about you only matters if you believe it to be true in your heart.


Little Ol Me…

I’ve been writing all week.  I set a goal to publish something every Thursday about topics you shouldn’t talk about out loud.  I decided to wade into the blogging water slowly instead of diving into the deep end head first.  The good news is that I have some really good stuff to talk about, but I want you to get a feel for who I am first.

Hi, I’m Mel.  I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles.  I never cared for the heat of California, mostly because our house was built in the 1950’s and had no air conditioning. My dad loved to fish in his spare time and my mom always cooked what he caught.  My family was lower, middle-class, so we made good use of everything.  To this day I have an aversion to the aroma of seafood.

I never felt like I belonged in L.A.  From a very early age I marched to the beat of my own drum, questioning everything.  At sixteen I took my high school equivalency and signed up for cosmetology school.  That decision came as no surprise to my family who watched me remove the heads from countless Barbie Dolls to cut, color and style their hair.  The legs and the outfits were worthless to me.  I would carry around my mom’s empty compacts and pretend to powder my nose at the table when she was having lunch with her girlfriends.  Beauty was in my DNA.  After graduation, and a few years of apprenticeship in Beverly Hills, I became tired of trying to keep up with the lifestyle. I drove a Volkswagen not a Mercedes and carried Guess not Prada.

I met a boy who lived in Seattle.  After a few visits, I decided that was where I wanted to be and who I wanted to be there with.  We were married and I got a job as a bank teller, continuing to do hair out of my home for several years and building up my clientele.  After several years we divorced and I was on my own for the first time in my life.

During that time I had helped my dad face his battle with Leukemia.  Unfortunately, Leukemia won.  Sharing that experience with him really forced me to re-evaluate my own quality of life.  By that time I had advanced my way up the corporate ladder and was absolutely miserable.  So, I quit!

I was able to take some time to figure out my next move and catch my breath.  The divorce and the death were weeks apart from each other, that was a lot to deal with emotionally.   About a year later, I felt the desire to go back home, to the salon.  Home is where the heart is, after all.

I started dating again and after a few years I met, “Mr. Wonderful.”  His name is Mike and he truly is wonderful.  We’ve been together for a decade this November.  We live in a suburb of Seattle with our two adorable Ragdoll cats, Moxie and Foxy.  Mike is a scientist and I own a small salon on the east side of Seattle.

In my spare time, I enjoy stand up paddle boarding, painting anything from walls to furniture to canvas.  I love exercise, music, going to concerts, movies, cooking, entertaining, interior design and wine tasting.  I’ve recently started studying astrology and plan to become a Reiki Master.  Our life is full and we are grateful.

I’ve been wanting to write for a while and I’ve been told that I should.  I love telling stories and have some really good ones that I hope to share with you here.  It’s a great outlet for me, I love to create things.  I’m looking forward to painting a picture for you every week with my words.  In turn, I hope I’ll make you laugh and perhaps think a little deeper about topics you may not have felt comfortable with in the past.

A few other fun facts about me:  Things I love…

  • Tacos, or any food that I can also make into a taco
  • The color orange
  • Coffee
  • Being clean and organized
  • Glassy Baby
  • Cats/animals in general
  • Art
  • Naps
  • Being in nature
  • True crime TV shows
  • A good bargain
  • Quotes
  • Sunday mornings

And a few things I don’t:

  • Our current President
  • Seafood
  • The color pink
  • People that are pushy
  • Technology (it doesn’t like me either)
  • Air travel
  • Traffic
  • Baking
  • Loud eaters
  • Being interrupted
  • Winter in Seattle
  • Burpees

Is there anything else you would like to know or know more about?  Leave a comment!  Let me know what you would like to read about in the future.

Thanks for reading!




My Unclogged Blog

I started this endeavor exactly one year ago. Like a brand-new outfit, I wanted to wear it immediately and then every day thereafter, but it ended up in the back of the closet, forgotten; like a rumpled, old hand me down. I like this outfit though, so I decided to try it on again to see if it still fits. I’ve added a few accessories and tailored it to fit a broader audience beyond my first attempt. It’s not just a blog about cats, surprise! This week though, I’m going to reflect back to what inspired my desire in the first place and give you some insight as to what I might write about in the future…The things you aren’t supposed to say out loud. I’m going to say them. This is huge for the introvert that I am. It’s so easy to type what you feel because there is safety behind the keyboard until you publish it. Here I go…

This week.

It’s here. I’ve been dreading this week for a year. Conversely, I’ve been looking forward to each passing day as a cumulative path to healing. One day becomes two, then a week, a month, six months and here I am. My hope, my wish is that someone will find some inspiration in what I’m able to share. We’re all in this together.

What is this week? This week marks one year since the passing of my (our) beloved cat, Lola. I adopted her at age two from a local pet shelter. After searching high and low for the perfect new family member, I walked into a pet store where they were holding an adoption event.  There she was. It was love at first sight, for both of us!

Lola was with me through the best and worst times of my life. She was always there to lay on my lap and assure me that everything would be okay again, as long as I kept her fed. I’ve never met a cat so concerned about when the next meal was going to be served, as if she ever missed one.   She would remind me when I was late getting home from work that it was dinner time and faithfully followed Mike down the stairs every morning to remind him she was ready for breakfast. Lola didn’t really care for people, except for us. She loved to take naps, lay in the sunshine and chase her soccer balls around the house, specifically around 3am. We were devoted to each other.

I’ll never forget that day.

I went to work on an ordinary Wednesday. I specifically remember chatting with a client about Lola as I often did. Everyone knew about Lola, my first born, my fur child. She asked if we had any fun vacations coming up before the end of summer to which I replied, “We can only do short trips because it is so stressful on Lola when we’re gone.” That’s the thing about animals, you are their whole world. I came home from work, starving; threw some food on the stove to reheat and ran upstairs to do my usual check. Lola was in her favorite spot on the bed and I began a conversation with her while I hurriedly changed my clothes. My heart sank when I realized that she had fallen into the “Big Sleep.” We had known she wasn’t well but we never expected it to be THAT DAY. You never do. We don’t know the actual cause but we are so grateful that she didn’t suffer. Don’t we all hope that when death knocks on our door it will be as peaceful as it was for her? She had fourteen wonderful years.


I couldn’t be in our house without paws. Two days after Lola passed Mike and I were on a mission to visit cat shelters. We were open to adoption but not seeking it out. I had been a volunteer at a shelter and knew that there were so many cats who would just be happy to have a visitor for the day. It would help to fill the void in our hearts. In the same fashion that I found Lola and at the same place, were these two, adorable ragdoll kittens. Sisters! We weren’t ready but we felt that Lola had arranged the meeting for us. We brought them home the next day and over the past year they have provided an endless supply of laughter, love and healing.

You could call me fortunate but I had never suffered a loss like this before. My father passed away in 2006 but we had a different type of relationship. A friend of mine said it perfectly, “The loss of a pet is so much more painful than the loss of a human because pets aren’t assholes.” Isn’t that the truth?

The thing you aren’t “supposed to do” is say that you are depressed. You’re just supposed to put the mask on and go through the motions.

“Hi, how are you?”

“I’m fine.”

“How was your day?”


“What’s new with you?”

“Not much.”

I was in a deep depression for about 6 months and then I finally had enough of being sad. That’s not usually how that works. I decided for myself that even if the glass seemed half empty I would pour it into a smaller glass and make it full. It made me feel good to have plans and actually follow through with them. The sun came out again. I got back to LIFE!

I feel a responsibility to note that depression often doesn’t look like you think it does, much like drowning, sometimes referred to as a “silent killer/death,” “silent” being the operative word in this case.  Drowning in your own emotions, if you will. If you have a friend you haven’t heard from in a while, check on them. If you’re experiencing a deep sadness for yourself, there are free and confidential support systems available for you. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Tel: 1-800-273-8255.

Today is the day.

One year. I can’t believe it. It seems like it has been so long and yet it feels like yesterday. I still cry from time to time but not as much as I used to. Things are different but they are great. We’ve become a new family and our hearts have expanded by eight paws, not diminished by four. There is always room for more paws although eight really is enough. The most difficult part of having a pet is the day you lose them but every single moment in between makes it worthwhile. The girls, (Moxie and Foxy) are two years old now and thriving. I look forward to sharing more about them with you in the future. With two long-haired cats in the house, I now understand why they call it, “FUR-niture.” I will always remember the great times we had with Lola.  I’ve come full circle with my grief and with this new outfit. It’s pressed and ready for a new adventure. I hope you’ll come along and bring your friends with you.

Foxy window
Moxie box