Robin Williams …What a Concept

Robin Williams, what a concept. Billy Crystal ended his tribute to the genius comedian with these words. As he shared stories of their friendship and highlighted William’s career, I reflected on my own research of issues that are so stigmatized in our culture that they haunt and threaten our individual and collective psyche – in many cases, they cost individuals their lives. When I was writing My Diary Unlocked, I collected thousands of diary entries on topics that affect our self-esteem and strip the pillars of our soul. I learned it was not only depression – or mental illness in general that diminishes our sense of self-worth. Anyone outside of the “normal” bell curve is subjected to how the elephant in the room, our society, deals with our very human characteristics and anomalies. Treating the disease of addiction with restrained resources in comparison to other diseases, withholding rights from our LGBT brothers and sisters, teaching our girls that their value comes from the shape of their bodies, ignoring the complexity of teen pregnancy with sweeping laws and no empathy for the teenage girl or consideration for what will become of her families’ future, giving lip service to bully prevention while cable news channel reporters run rampant and have access to millions of homes as they act like elementary school children and belittle their “enemies” … These are just a few things about which we need to take inventory as a culture if we are going to begin to break down the barriers for people like Robin and millions of others to become vulnerable enough to call for help. Today, right now, begin thinking what you can do to open up to a little more tolerance for others. A little more tolerance leads to a little more acceptance, which leads to more action. As we make our voices heard one by one, we influence the people who we elect to speak for us, and who decide whether we are insured for the help we need, and advertisers who sell our daughters short. Maybe, just maybe we will open their hearts and create a revolution of compassion and empathy for those that round out the entire curve of the bell, not just those at the top of it. How’s that for a concept?

Ferguson Drama Reflects Injustices Perpetuated Since Civil War

The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri exposes a painful pattern of the mindless cycle of violence and injustice that emerges in our homes, our neighborhoods and our society when generation after generation fails to rise above the indoctrination of hate and fear.

Although I live in San Diego, I was in St. Louis last week when Brown was killed and riots broke out. Ironically, I was there to distribute my newly launched book to local bookstores. I say ironically because the overarching theme of my book, My Diary Unlocked: Stories of Teen Girls Heal the Inner Adolescent of Our Soul

Old mistaken beliefs from Civil War live on today in Ferguson, MO

St. Louis Riot in 1861: Old mistaken beliefs from Civil War live on today in Ferguson, MO

is to recognize the fears of our individual and collective soul handed and to harness that awareness to reflect within our own soul for guidance on what is right, fair and just.

The timing of my book distribution, I believe, while it could not have been planned by me, was orchestrated in a way that every bookstore I visited wanted to make the book available to their customers. They are tired of the sustained violence in this deeply divided city. For it was in 1861 that the first riot broke out between Union and Confederate forces in St. Louis led to the death of 28 people.

From the moment of first contact when the police officer told Michael to “get the F— off the street,” to his multiple gunshot execution, the attitudes of the Civil War era handed down through time without questioning are being manifested on the streets of the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson today.

What can we learn from this situation? What can we do as individuals? We can start by questioning our own beliefs. We can commit to ending the mindless cycle of allowing our fears to create conflict in our own psyche and our relationships in our daily lives. For when we as individuals become open to a mindful redirection of truth and take charge of making our own decisions, we not only create the peace we desire in our own lives, but we are able to rise to the call to action to stand with others as a force for peace and justice for all.

Belt Beating Whips Soul from Kids

Spanking, belt beating and hitting children is a tragic attempt at disciplining children and teens that results in battered spirits, crushed self-esteem and beaten souls. The kids lose trust as they feel shamed and betrayed by the people who are supposed to love and protect them. In their teen years, they are likely to become resentful and rebellious, if not depressed and withdrawn. The parents disregard more effective ways of discipline, such as using logical consequences, because they are caught up in the moment of anger and they struggle for power.

Often, the kids are being developmentally appropriate. Testing boundaries, exploring limits and yearning for healthy discipline that will help them grow into confident and authentic adults. Yet the parents, like Texas judge William Adams, have unrealistic expectations and [Read more…]

Dear Diary: How Do I Heal an Eating Disorder

Adults and teens learn tips on preventing eating disorders and dealing with eating disorders through the power of writing in a diary or journal. Learn the power of the “pause,” and how mindfulness can heal thoughts and redirect behaviors. Janet Larson Melugin, creator of the My Diary Unlocked movement, interviews Joanna Poppink, psychotherapist and author of “Healing Your Hungry Heart.”

Listen to internet radio with mydiaryunlocked on Blog Talk Radio

Dear Diary: How Do I Prevent Teen Pregnancy

My Diary Unlocked on Blog Talk Radio. Janet interviews Andrea Kane, Sr. Director of Policy for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Tips for Parents, Trends and Policy in U.S.

Listen to internet radio with mydiaryunlocked on Blog Talk Radio

Self-Esteem and Body Image

“57% of all girls have a mother who criticizes her own looks.” Dove Campaign for Real Beauty – Dove Self-Esteem Website

We model behavior, whether we know it or not. What are we teaching our impressionable children?

Mary Pipher made it clear in the 1990s in her book, Reviving Ophelia, we live in a girl-poisoning culture, especially in the area of nurturing a healthy body image. We are all aghast when we hear the statistics of the number of teens with eating disorders. We wonder why this can be happening.

Yet as parents, we often don’t make the connection between our self-deprecation and the imprint those remarks may leave on our kids. Jokes about our disgusting muffin tops hanging over the waist of our jeans, chants of our perennial plans to lose five or ten pounds teach our kids that we are not OK with ourselves the way we are. We have sold our inner peace to society’s image of a photoshopped cover girl. [Read more…]

Introduction to my Blog

You are not alone. You make a difference. These are just a couple of messages that become clear by following this blog.

I’m Janet Larson Melugin. Welcome to my blog. My hope is that whenever you visit this site, you will feel like you just came home. Pretenses are dropped as we share riveting actual diary entries (names can be changed) that deal with real issues. Inspirational quotes surrounding the topics will be shared. I invite comments and emails from subject matter experts to provide guidance, and subscribers to offer insights. The goal is to look at the raw experiences – via the diary entries – and learn a new and healthier way to face them. Together, we’ll create a village to support and encourage families and teens as they face issues that affect their self-image, self-confidence and self-esteem.

While the topics that surface in this forum are relevant to our entire society, for now, I’m focusing on diary or journal (same thing) entries that face teens and their families. Of course, this includes families with young children, because we know that if parents don’t have a respectful and trusting relationship with their children as they approach their teen years, it’s a mountain climbing battle instead of an uphill battle at that point.

[Read more…]