Nature vs. nurture. A question we’ve been battling since the dawn of time, and yet no definitive answer. That is until now. That's right. I've figured it out. In 2012, I gave birth to twin girls who are polar opposites: Stella Avery and Violet Harper. Stella is a replica of my husband: tall, blonde, fair-skinned, positive, enlightened, fiercely independent. Violet is my mini me: petite, brunette, tan, emotional, imaginative, brown-eyed, and full of love. Five years later, they are exactly who they were at the hospital when they arrived six full weeks early. Watching them grow up has been a matter of validating and honoring who they were the very day they were born.
What was once Violet's cry at three months, is now a pouty lip when she has a feeling she doesn't know what to do with. Stella never fully let go as a baby, always doing her best to remain independent at all times, and even now that is still the case. In contrast, Violet lets go and just melts into me, just like she did when she was a baby. One is good with her mind, one is good with her hands. One is book smart, one is street smart. One likes crowds, one likes solitude. One likes to get messy, one likes to stay super clean. Like I said, polar opposites in every way, and have been every single day of their lives, despite the fact that they are being raised in the same environment by the same parents. They are simply becoming more vivid versions of who they were born to be.
So social experiment done. It's not nurture, it’s nature. Nothing I do matters, who they are is set.
That was simple, right?
Except it’s not just about nature. It’s about knowing your nature, and building a life that supports it, that allows you to thrive to your fullest potential. And that I suppose is where nurture comes in. As a parent, my job right now is to provide just that, the nurture to their nature. And for me, nurture is about giving them the skills to work with who they already are. And from there, the task will be to teach them to take all that, all the methods and ideas I've shared about self love and self care and self discovery, and continue to nurture themselves as they grow up. This is what I call the art of self nurture.
When I was a child, 95% of my extra-curricular activities revolved around the arts. Playing the piano, writing music, creating art, singing, you name it. And I loved it. In the era before smartphones and other digital distractions, my boombox was my best friend, and my tape (and later CD) collection is what kept me alive. My name was Melody after all. I was born to be a creative. (See, nature again.)
But then something happened. In sixth grade, it was time to apply for competitive prep schools. And I applied, and didn’t get in. And that was crushing. My competitive light switch got turned on, and for the next 10+ years, it was all about the climb. From attending one of the best high schools in the country through to a plum job at one of LA’s premier law firms, I climbed all the way to the top. And standing at the top, I left my creativity behind in my dust, all the way at the bottom. You can say I accidentally left myself behind. I didn't practice self nurture because I was too busy indulging my ego.
And so, despite being successful in my career, I felt a bit lost. Disconnected. Unfulfilled. “This is it?” I used to ask myself, looking at the women at the law firm three, five, ten years ahead of me. I was staring at my destiny, and I didn’t like it. So after one year, I took a leap. A leap from the top of the ladder back down to my creative base. I quit my job and wrote The Agency: Hollywood Talent, CIA Managed, a novel about a powerful woman living a dual existence: Hollywood talent agent by day, CIA operative by night. And that’s when everything changed.
A lot has happened since I quit my perfect job to write and self-publish a novel. I started one creative business, and then another, this one. With each new step in my career, I've remained true to what I realized was missing from my short but transformative career in law: my me, my true self, my authentic self, my nature. I try to practice self nurture each and every day. I strive to connect with who I am, and build a life and career around that. I make sure my environment and experiences are working for me, instead of against me. Self nurture, self care, self love... these are the tools that allow me to achieve equilibrium among all parts of myself. They are what allow me, to be me.
So if you’re unhappy or unsettled in your life, ask yourself: am I nurturing my nature? Think about who you were as a child, and find a way to connect with the things you loved before practicality, adulthood, competition, ego, trauma, or other external circumstances got in the way. And then nurture the hell out of your nature until you create the life of your dreams.