Self Reflection: Shaping my Meltuition
Before you follow your #Meltuition, let me first tell you about Mel, short for Melanie Hussain. It’s been a lot of following my own intuition to get me to where I am today.
Self reflection and self expression has been one of the most challenging processes for me. I say process because it’s an ongoing progression of the self.
The basis of my work today as a therapist is to have my clients reflect on themselves. There are many contributing factors that have impacted the way that I have seen myself- one being my own self-esteem.
I always felt “different.”
I didn’t have any issues with it, but I always questioned how I looked. The internal stressors of wanting to blend and fit in with the other students in school growing up, or with my friends, played a significant role in how I viewed myself. The more self-aware I became, it heightened my anxiousness. The way that I was viewing myself internally was heavily influenced by my external appearance.
Let me backtrack a little...
I am an Indo Guyanese woman, born in Toronto and raised in West Virginia…
I know right? My family moved often due to my father’s profession as a medical doctor.
As you can imagine, being of color wasn’t accepted easily by the community in the rural town my family and I lived in. Naturally, I had self-image and self-esteem issues. However, through adversity, it taught me more than I ever could have imagined. It taught me patience- patience with anyone I meet, it taught me cultural sensitivity, and it taught me how to be more self-aware, to a fault at times.
What helped me the most was my family.
With my father being in a healthcare profession, the idea of going into medicine always peaked my interest. Watching him interact with patients, collaborate with other professionals, and provide a sense of home with anyone he met, developed a longing for that connection.
I wanted that too, for myself.
In my high school years, I focused on studying science because of the exposure to medicine all while becoming very interested in the world of fashion. Clothing was always a source of comfort for me. I would spend my time looking at fashion magazines, yearning to be a part of a big city. It wasn’t just the fashion aspect, but the style and what the clothing represented.
To me, clothing is a nonverbal form of language. With that being said, I would wear clothing that reflected how I felt. For example, when I would be experiencing sadness and low self-esteem, I would either dress myself up and hide how I was feeling or I would wear sweatpants and lounge wear to feel comforted. Most of the times, I would dress up. No one could tell if anything was wrong because I was telling the world the way in which I wanted to be viewed.
My friends were noticing my interest in clothing and fashion and I immediately became the “stylist/personal shopper” of my social circle. We would go shopping and I would help them pick out clothing for any occasion. For me, it wasn’t just shopping, but the ability to be creative, express yourself, and wear things that make you not only look good but feel good.
With this interest in mind, I had thoughts of going to fashion school, but due to my own insecurities I didn’t academically pursue this track. Instead, I continued my personal interest in clothing and fashion in my undergraduate studies at West Virginia University while majoring in the field of Psychology. This seems like two pools of thought- trust me, I thought the same until now. I did some soul searching like many post undergraduates, working in different fields, trying to find some direction.
My internal compass led me to South Florida in 2014 to further my studies in the Family Therapy program at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). I spent time in a school system and a clinical-base practice, gaining much experience with a diverse population. Never losing my fashion interest, I realized I wanted to channel that passion in the work with my own personal research and clients. Weaving the threads of the mind and clothing helped to carry me throughout my doctoral studies. But, if you can recall, I loved medicine as well.
How could I integrate everything I’ve been exposed to and enjoyed learning, in my professional path?
Fortunately, during my doctoral training, NSU opened a Medical Family Therapy clinic (Med FT), and I have to say that was when truly so much was coming full circle in my life. I had the opportunity to run the clinic, collaborate with doctors and healthcare professionals, and integrate therapy in the clinical setting. This allows me to practice from a holistic approach.
I started realizing the work I was doing from my young adulthood to now has truly been my driving force and I have found a way to apply it in everyday life.
I spent the past three years working in private practice and in NSU’s medical clinic, obtaining my certification in Family Systems Healthcare (MedFT) specializing in women’s health and within the LGBTQIA+ community. The time spent with clients has been so fortunate because I have the opportunity to listen to their stories, the underlying tone is their eagerness to work on themselves, look better, and feel better…I knew this was my calling to empower and be a resource for them to express their individuality.
I believe the way we feel inside is a direct reflection of how we feel on the outside, and vice versa. It’s all circular. I specialize in image empowerment, styling my clients from the inside out and from the outside in.
Each day is started with the clothing we put on. Without even speaking, we are telling the world something—clothing is a form of nonverbal language. The colors we choose, designs, patterns, textures, and so much more allows us to self express and communicate to the world without us even realizing it.
How we feel and view ourselves transfers to how we dress. Our own relationships we have with our self-image impacts the way we want to communicate with others. There are many factors in one’s life that can contribute to one’s self-esteem and emotional system, in turn impacting multiple systems within our lives. However, through self-exploration and joining the forces of self-image, emotion, mood, and clothing choice, it is possible to empower someone to make this world their own runway.
This is my hope for my clients, I want to want to share with them that we are all unique and one of a kind. We have so much to offer, they have so much to give- and through a collaborative and working relationship, and the empowerment of the self, it can help them to always follow their Meltuition.