My route to finding my passion in life was put on hold for many years, but I daily try to inspire other women to know that they haven’t missed their time… that they are never too old!
When I went to college, my dream was to work in the movie business. I studied screenwriting, tv and film production and was fortunate enough to land my first job in Hollywood, California working for the talent agency that put together a little show called America’s Funniest Home Videos. But through my work at the agency with hundreds of actors, actresses, writers, producers and directors, I found that my passion was resonating with the writing process. My favorite clients were the writers, the dreamers and the story creators. Part of my job at the agency was to review screenplays that were submitted for agency representation and it became abundantly clear to me that great storytellers were hard to find! As a result, I created a plan to move away from Southern California where I believed local university screenwriting programs were churning out writers who didn’t know how to tell good stories.
I moved to Boston to attend Emerson College for an intensive 60-credit Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing and I loaded my semesters with literature-heavy coursework. In just 2 years, I poured through more than 40 works of fiction like Vanity Fair and Don Quixote and non-fiction works by Camille Paglia. I studied the Comic Novel, Native-American Literature, Cultural Criticism and the American Biography. I took so many Literature courses that I was able to waive the comprehensive Literature exam that was required for my degree. But that was never my intent. I intentionally read as much as I could to learn the art of storytelling from those who have stood the test of time – who have crossed gender, racial and ethnic barriers – and from those were loved, hated and controversial. From Gulliver’s Travels, to Shoeless Joe, to Malcom X to Black Elk Speaks, I opened new doors in my mind about how to construct stories of fiction and non-fiction. I studied screenwriting, I studied playwriting and I studied short story writing. Moreover, I grew as a writer and a storyteller myself.
But life, much like stories, is most interesting with unexpected plot changes. About half way through my MFA program, I flew home to Southern California and saw an old family friend who took me out to dinner and we fell in love over the course of a long weekend. The entire path I had been planning to follow changed as I looked into his eyes over a romantic dinner by the beach and it was that night that I knew I would spend the rest of my life with this man. A year later, I married him and put my life on hold to follow his military career as a Navy fighter pilot around the country for 20 years. I raised our 3 children and ran the household amid multiple deployments and moves from state to state. I taught Creative Writing and I taught Advanced Screenwriting at the university level, but only as it fit around deployments and mom life.
I spent my 30s raising my babies and then found myself in a decade of grief during my 40s as a I mourned the loss of several loved ones who passed away. I mourned all that I had lost – my dear family members and part of myself along the way, as well. I had spent so much time being what everyone else needed me to be, that I forgot how to be myself and who I needed me to be.
Thankfully, as I moved into my 50s, I found myself again. I found my smile again. I found my purpose again. I found my passion to write, to create and to tell stories again. I came out of a makeup rut and a mental rut, too. I started creating makeup tutorials – in my 50s – for other women my age to teach them how to use makeup with confidence so they can see beauty is ageless. I started sharing my inspiration in video messages, as well. I started blogging and I started a podcast all with the intention of inspiring other women to see that they are never too old to re-ignite an old passion… or to start something completely new! They are never too old to become a better version of themselves! Glam is a state of mind!
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Please take a moment read the recent feature Sheri Dyas Mellott