What We Learn from the Negatives in Our Lives…

What We Learn from the Negatives in Our Lives…

It has been years since I watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.  Watching it now, I realize I had not watched it since I became an author.  There were some parts of the movie that hit home for me.

In the movie, the main character has a divorce that tears her world apart.  For me, it was losing the career I loved, followed by my health declining.  At the end of the movie, she talks about how, if you had only taken a step in a different direction, would your life be what it was?  In my case, it most certainly would not be the same.

We all have good and bad in our lives.  Perhaps your bad is minor, such as the store not stocking your favorite brand of cereal.  Even if your bad is REALLY bad, what impact did it have on you and your life?




Having a life that is all good would get old after a while.  And what one person declares as good, might be completely different for someone else.  Yes, having some angst in our lives helps improve them, as long as it isn’t too overwhelming.  What I have learned since my change in life in 2008 has shocked me time and time again. I had been writing for years, but only shared one of my stories with my daughter, Caitlin, several years prior to my sharing my stories publicly.  I still cannot tell you why I took that leap in 2012 to start posting my first story.  No one in my family (other than Catie) was aware of my writing.  It was not until after my first book published that my mom learned what I was doing.

At first, writing was just a way of dealing with the struggles I have endured.  What better way to deal with frustration than to take matters out on your characters?  Believe me, it can prove enjoyable to take one’s anger and hostility out on the likes of Wickham or Willoughby or Mr Collins or Caroline Bingley, or Lady Catherine.  Then, one day, I posted on one of the fan fiction sites.  From there, my world changed.

Posting was nice, it gave me the self esteem boost I needed at that time. And that self esteem grew. So I decided to publish my first book.  Most people have heard me say that I published it for my family. It is true. I had no notion that my book would sell even one copy. I did it primarily so my daughters, grandchildren, and my mother, could have copies of the book. For it to take off, selling so many copies, was shocking.  And it opened so many doors for me. Now I have a blog, post on DarcyandLizzy.com, am part of Austen Authors, have been to a JASNA AGM, and even have a “Darcy” and “Lizzy” in my home (my service dog Darcy and his cat, Lizzy). And I have hundreds of new friends that I never would have met.

Are there any regrets I have in my life?  Nothing major. I regret things like not telling my dad I loved him the last morning of his life. I regret my daughter suffering from a man’s unforgivable behavior when she was only 6 & ½ years old.  But do I wish that it could be changed? Not really. Yes, I would like to change things that were painful for me and for my family. But then again, I would not be where I am in life. I wouldn’t have taken such leaps of faith and made such drastic changes in my life. And I wouldn’t be here, now, sharing this with you.

One of Garth Brooks’ songs really hits this topic. The song says this: “And now I’m glad I didn’t know, the way it all would end, the way it all would go, Our Lives are better left to chance. I could missed the pain, But I’d have had to miss the dance.”

I am a firm believer that there is a reason for everything that happens in our lives. We are meant to be in certain places, at certain times in our lives. Losing my career when I did turned out to be a bit of a blessing and a bit of good timing for me. Thank you all for making the change in my life to become amazing.  Here’s to turning negatives to positives, and using what we learn to better our lives and the lives of those around us.


14 Responses to What We Learn from the Negatives in Our Lives…

  1. Melanie,I greatly admire your honesty in speaking so candidly about yourself and life’s woes.
    We all bear a burden of some sort but it really does help when others speak up and admit that their life isn’t a bed of roses.
    Well done. I don’t mean to be trite but they say the only thing you can do when you’re going through hell is to keep going.
    You seem to have a good support group around you. Be thankful for that and be kind to you.

  2. Melanie, thank you for being transparent. I do believe the Lord works in ALL things to bring about our good. Blessings to you!

  3. I am impressed by your serenity. I am very glad that you have an enthusiastic readership for your books. What a wonderful validation!

  4. 1999 was our “annus horribils” – the death of both my parents and a fight with our local education authority to get recognition that our son was Autistic Spectrum. Sometimes I had a choice of being at a hospital bedside or going to yet another school meeting. It was a two hour drive from my Mum’s hospital and nearer five from my Dad’s – they weren’t divorced or anything but just happened to develop their respective terminal illnesses in different places and never left the hospitals they ended up in. It was never easy. Although I don’t think I’d choose to live through those times again, I did come out of it stronger and more willing to assert myself when I disagree with something – not everyone liked the change but that was their choice. I wasn’t going to change back! Our marriage could have fallen apart but that too became stronger and I’m eternally grateful to my husband for looking after our then seven year old son whilst I spent a lot of time in the car and on trains.

    Thank you for sharing your trials with us, Melanie, congratulations on making it through them and for turning your talents towards writing.

  5. Well done to you for keeping going in the tough times. I’ve had some really rough times myself over the last thirty years and there was a time when I thought to myself I’ve had enough and I want to get off this earth. Luckily something pulled me back. I’m still trying to find something for me. Just something I can is mine. Something to make life exciting again. Hearing others stories always helps. Thanks for sharing yours. And what better way than writing!! Marvelous.

  6. Frances (Diane Lane): Do you know the most surprising thing about divorce? It doesn’t actually kill you. Like a bullet to the heart or a head-on car wreck. It should. When someone you’ve promised to cherish till death do you part says “I never loved you,” it should kill you instantly. You shouldn’t have to wake up day after day after that, trying to understand how in the world you didn’t know. The light just never went on, you know. I must have known, of course, but I was too scared to see the truth. Then fear just makes you so stupid.
    Martini (Vincent Riotta): No, it’s not stupid, Signora Mayes. L’amore e cieco.
    Frances: Oh, love is blind. Yeah, we have that saying too.
    Martini: Everybody has that saying because it’s true everywhere.

  7. Thank you for sharing the challenges you have experienced. I agree that the challenges are important and often happen for a reason. I’m also a fan of The Dance and can relate to its lyrics.

    • Thank you so much. In the past 7 plus years, I have a close connection with my daughters friends (in the photo), and get to be “Mom” to them. The shorter girl is my daughter by choice who has made me Grandma to her children. So I’m glad to enjoy the dance.

  8. Good.for you Melanie. It just goes to show you should never give up. I’m so glad you are enjoying your life and sharing it with us JAFF readers. Good luck in the future.

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