Melissa of Mellow Doodles
Q1) Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m Melissa, an illustrator from the UK. I run my business Mellow Doodles full time and stare adoringly at my fluffy cat Pablo part time. I’m a creative soul and would be lost without my art and illustration.
Q2) Tell us about what you do, and why you do it!
Much of my illustration work is focused on mental health. I create images that explore self care, the causes and effects of mental health problems as well as reminders on how to treat ourselves with love and kindness. After my own personal journey with mental ill health, I feel really strongly about passing on what I’ve learnt to people who are suffering or finding life challenging.
Q3) What makes you feel courageous?
The first is taking risks. Whether they pay off or not, there’s something empowering about doing something in spite of fear. Often our best experiences and achievements lay just beyond that fear. Every time I take a risk, especially in my business or creative work, it makes me a little bit braver.
The second is making decisions for myself. In the past, I all too often sought the advice and approval of my friends or loved ones. Sometimes even people who didn’t know me well at all. Now I have started to make decisions based on my own internal thoughts, feelings and instincts. It releases you from the concern of other people’s judgement when you focus in on what YOU want. It makes me feel brave and so strong.
Q4) What is one thing you wish you could tell your 16-year-old self?
Oh my! So much.
I wish I could tell her how brave and resilient she is. That she must recognise her worth and not allow anyone to undermine that. That her feelings are valid and it’s okay to feel sad, hurt or disappointed. I would tell her that she is highly sensitive and although this will be her future superpower, she must make time to be on her own and have some quiet (which she rarely does!).
More than anything, I’d love to give her a big hug! I’ve done lots of work on my inner child and I feel real affection and love for younger Melissa now. I would definitely recommend other people look into inner child work or reparenting - it teaches you a level of kindness for yourself I have never before known!
Q5) What is one piece of advice you can give a fellow lady who might be lacking courage?
I would advise them to try to explore and think about why they feel lacking in courage. Is it fear of something? Keep looking until you find the answer. So often I’ve seen women be afraid of their own power - often it’s unconscious. This poem by Marianne Williamson sums it up perfectly:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”