Well, I'm a dude, and dudes don't tell stories unless they are about fishing or sports. But once in a lifetime, even a dude will have a personal story he wants to tell.
When I met Mel, I was a closet addict. My family and friends suspected that I have an addiction but were just too loving and in denial about my condition. We were a happy family. I never wanted anything. My mom stayed at home, taking care of my brother and me, my dad was the man of the house providing for us and setting the rules. We were perfect.
I think my addiction started in high school when I struggled with my grades but couldn’t tell my parents I am failing a school. The pills kept me up, I could focus better, got better grades and more pills. By the time I went to college, I had the perfect formula and formulation to ace that too. Pills got me promoted when I got my first job within eight months; pills helped me pick-up dates because I could recall almost everything the girls said, so they knew I was paying attention, and that paid it back.
But with my high achievements, being the perfect son, boyfriend and employee also came the pressure and the need for more pills. I started keeping company with the wrong crowd and drinking a little bit more to help me relax. Soon I had a two-step problem.
A friend and I were thinking of starting a company, but we had a limited amount of money. We had just enough to get it right the first time. We decided to get a business consultant to launch us right. A buddy, who had worked with her and was doing really well, suggested that we try his people and we agreed. He mentioned something about Mel being intuitive but who believes such stuff, right?
We met Mel at a small Mexican restaurant, after her meeting with him. Mel was nothing of what I expected a business consultant would be, let me tell you this much. We joined them on the table as soon as I sat down, she looked straight at me and stared for a moment. I felt very uncomfortable, and I joked, “What are you staring at?”, To which she replied in a very even tone, “You are an addict. You are killing yourself.”
Whoa! Who the hell this woman thinks she is! No one knew about my addiction! I have thought myself to hide it and manage it so well, how in the hell did she know?” I brushed off with “I’ll be your sweet addiction.” although she was twice my age, I played it as she was making a pass on me. Well, she put me on the spot, she deserved it. Right back at’cha!
She did not say anything. Further, we spoke about our business plan and asked her what she thinks. She listened without interrupting us once, and then she said our plan is great, but she will not work with us until I deal with my addiction.
I got so upset; I went into “Who do you think you are?” speech but she was totally unmoved by it.
We left, and I went home. The next morning, my buddy called and said our deal is off if I don't work with Mel.
I thought about what she said and how she said it. She did not say, “You are suffering from addiction.” There was no compassion in her voice. She did not see me as a victim. I was not powerless; I have chosen the addiction because it served me. The question was, can still be the golden boy without the pills?
So I called the damn woman. We talked. Everything that I wanted to tell her, she knows. It is infuriating to meet “I know it all” and for them to indeed to know it all. It is not pleasant. You can’t make excuses, defer, omit the truth. My personal “drama” was funny to her. You cannot make her believe you, no matter how believable you are, and I am darn charming!
She gave me homework as if she was my math teacher. The things she had me do! Paint a rose, with all the damn details with watercolors and ink pen! I couldn’t even draw a straight line. I had to paint the thing like five times. It took me a month to get it right because she asked me to snap a picture of the real rose so that she can compare the likeness.
Breathing exercises, deep abdominal breathing, have you heard of it? Neither had I. Read Tolstoy's "War and Peace," oh, she loves to assign reading. It seems that she didn’t have much to do as a child, so she read, and now she thinks we are all illiterate. She would say numbers and sentences in different languages I don’t speak and ask me to recite them backward or say the third word first, the second last, etc. Next Mel had me repaint my home. Energy colors in the kitchen. Focus colors in the office. Relaxing for the bedroom. And I had to learn how to cook Crème Brulee! She asked me to drive to an animal shelter and become a foster parent for a mutt. She even told the personnel that I am not fit to take care of a dog just yet, so they shouldn't let me adopt.
I hated her guts, but I owned it to myself and my buddy to keep working. And I wanted to see if I can do it without the pills.
But during the months I worked with Mel, I did not take pills. She would have known, is I did, that's for sure. Now looking back in retrospection, the rose drawing kept me biting that brush’s end. I was so focused on the details that I forgot to take them pills. Then reading "War and Peace" 700+ pages also kept my mind away, because she would ask me to do a literary analysis of the book with her, and she has memorized the whole thing. Then I had to focus even more to repeat these phrases in foreign languages back to her, to pay attention to the pronunciation and such. I can still say “You suck at basketball!” in Russian and in Greek. Then came the mutts.
I slept better. I did breathing exercises at work. I even brought the mutts to work, and my colleagues became foster parents too. Now I have two beautiful lab mixes. I met a girl, a dog lover one day, while walking my dogs. Jeff had a baby boy, and we decided that he will take a year to be a dad and then we will start the company. With Mel!
I never met a more incredible or wiser woman. Mel is the best mentor money can buy and if I told you there is madness to her method, don't believe me. It's more like magic. Either way, it is highly effective.