I find women the masters of reinvention and I love the stories I hear of what women go through overcoming the challenges they face in life.
This is Melissa’s story!
Art, Color, Textures & Travel Inspire me. I have always had a LOVE for adventure, the unknown & surprises; a curious creature at heart. After receiving my B.S. in Merchandising & Design from University of Rhode Island; I fulfilled my life long dream of moving to the Fashion capital of the world~NYC. I knew no one except my college friend Denise who worked for the UN. That was ok~I’d make friends I wasn’t worried about it. I lived and breathed NYC and worked for fabulous brands including Capelli New York, Levi Strauss & Co., & Coach Inc. My NYC friends used to tell me I knew the city better than them. I never took cabs and lived by public transportation. I lived in NYC for 7 years after running away from my dysfunctional family. My parents had divorced in the late 80’s when I was 15. I was the oldest of three children; my sister 16 months younger and my brother 5 years younger. My Dad was a high functional alcoholic, an Engineer and had his Phd from Harvard who struggled with addiction his whole life. Growing up I was always the protector, the dreamer, the peacemaker. My Mom always says I was the child drawing butterfly’s and rainbows. My Mom would sit us down in our playroom as kids and have us play with paints, watercolors, playdough, board games, coloring books to distract us from my alcoholic Father. I don’t remember a lot from my childhood but that was my coping mechanism. My mom taught me how to be independent and survive on my own.
Art was always there to comfort me, calm my anxiety, let me play with my inner child. I was a shy child growing up & it wasn’t until I moved to NYC I found my own voice. I had to; in order to survive in this great big City I had to stick up for myself, be independent and take risks. I was determined to find myself and live on my own & make it in NYC & of course meet the man of my dreams!! Well I never did find my husband in NYC; Happy to say I am in a happy & healthy 7 year relationship with an amazing man. I did date lots of men in NYC and had some amazing dates, fabulous dinners, concerts~ Sting live in NYC, James Tayler on Jones Beach, B-52’s in Central Park, shopping at Flea Markets, Street Fairs, Museums, Dressing up for the Halloween Parade in the East-Village, rollerblading and biking in Central Park , Trying the latest & greatest restaurants, Museums~The Moma & Met were my favorite, wine, concerts, you name it I tried it. After 9/11 I was laid off from marketing job at Levi Strauss. I was determined to survive in NYC on unemployment and didn’t want to move back home to Boston.
However, in 2005 I interviewed with Victorinox Swiss Army, gave my 2 weeks notice to Coach, the company I worked with after Levi Strauss, on Madison Ave and packed up my rental car & moved back to my Mom’s home 40 miles North of Boston. I had decided I was done with NYC and ready to move on!!
After 7 years with my Corporate sales job with VSA in Sales/Marketing; I was laid off in Jan 2012. That by far was the best day of my life, I was burnt out, exhausted and ready to make a change. I was tired of traveling, living out of suitcase/hotels and eating bad food. I was great at my job but it didn’t light me up and have one ounce of creativity in it. I don’t think I knew how miserable I was till I was out of it!! I took time to focus on myself, taking Jewelry Metal Smith classes and diving into B-School with Marie Forleo and Flourish & Thrive Academy with Tracy Matthews & Robin Kramer. I was on a good path and started participating in the craft circuit around New England selling my Whimsical & Colorful Jewelry and launching my Biz~Color Me Happy by Melissa. I continued exploring different techniques with Jewelry; Metal, Resin, Paint, Beading, etc. But it wasn’t until after my Dad’s passing from Cancer/Alcoholism in Aug 2013 I discovered my LOVE & PASSION for painting & mixed media. My Dad’s death brought up a lot of mixed emotions & feeling in the family. Silent, hidden emotions that were finally let loose into the open.