Interviewer: It's happening. Hey Melody, how are you?
Melody: I'm good. How are you?
Melody: Good. Note to the audience, we already actually said hello to each other [chuckles]. I welcome everybody who's watching either now or later. This is my second episode of Self Love Live. This is really a chance to break on taste makers and influencers to ask them about their journey of self-love, self-care, how they do it, how they make it all work, and continue to be their amazing self. I'm really excited to have Melody, founder of the self-love movement, Fred and Far on as our second guest because she is really like making a huge impact and putting self-love on the map. I want you to just tell us a little about Fred and Far and tell us why you started the movement.
Melody: Sure. Fred and Far is a self-love movement that's powered by the self-love pinky ring. The self-love pinky ring is a ring I created a few years ago when I found myself at a place in my life where I had everything that I wanted except myself. Due to a profound lack of self-love and self-care, I had lost myself and I needed a reminder to re-engage with myself and I thought a ring would be the perfect thing. I created this pinky ring when it made a difference in my life, I thought it would help other women as well.
Even though I don't really have any background at all in jewelry, I thought we live in such an incredible, extraordinary time where if you band together with other smart women and you put your authentic message out there, maybe people will jump on board. I've been really fortunate in that less than two years later, women in 40 countries have joined me and they've made a pinky promise to choose love and honor themselves on a daily basis.
Interviewer: Wow. It's a difficult thing to follow through with but that's such amazing progress in only two years. I didn't realize it'd been such a short time.
Interviewer: Can you go back to tell me about like the story of what happened when you came up with the idea of the Self Love Pinky Ring?
Melody: By the beginning of 2015, I'll give you a snapshot of where I was at, I was already a successful entrepreneur. I had started a writing business in 2011. I had a team of writers who work for me. We focus on career development. We were helping people transform their careers. Work wise, I was good. By 2015, I'd been married for five years to a lovely, lovely, lovely, supportive man. We had twin daughters at that point who were about two years old.
What I found is that even though I had reached all these milestones that a lot of women aspire to, I wasn't happy. That's the simplest way to put it. Every moment of every day was spent in service to someone else, whether it was taking care of my kids, taking care of my clients, taking care of my household. There wasn't a single moment where I was connecting with myself or even spending two minutes remembering what it was that makes me tick. I'm a very creative person.
Nothing creative had happened for several years at that point because I was so weighed down by responsibility and adulting that I had forgotten to be me so that was really my aha moment. It was the beginning of the year. It was January and I was fed up. I was fed up of all the weight I was carrying. There was like the physical weight of baby weight that two years later, I was still carrying around. There was the emotional weight of figuring out where my marriage was at because having twins was like a bomb went off in our relationship and we didn't quite know how to fix it.
There was physical weight, emotional weight, and there was just this overall feeling of, "I am not in my own life." That was my breaking point. For me, jewelry has always been something my family has used to commemorate milestones. I wanted that moment, that moment of enough is enough, to have something associated with it. I had already had an engagement ring. I knew what that meant.
That meant that I was committed to someone else and I thought, "Okay, well, what if I designate a new finger and a new ring and every time I look at it on a daily basis, when I put it on and at night when I take it off, I think to myself, what have I done for me today?" That's really how it began. Within a month, it made a difference. I started working out. I started seeing a therapist to get my thoughts in order.
For me, that's been the biggest part of self-care and self-love was getting reacquainted with my internal world and realizing that I actually do have a lot of control when it comes to what I think. I can change the way I feel. Once that changes, everything changes.
Interviewer: Thank you for elaborating on that. I think it was just palpable. I could feel it. I felt my own sort of breaking points at various different times but it's like all of these boxes are checked yet I'm netting zero. I just felt you talking about that weight, the emotional, the physical, and as a creative woman, I know that you share in my love for Instagramming as a vehicle to just create, when I am weighed down, I am not creative.
In the flip side, when I'm light and I'm free and I'm tending my emotional and mental and spiritual gardens by going to therapy, working out, doing all of these things, it just flows. It's such a wonderful thing you're doing. Also, I think just putting as a tangible tool to just really remind you, "Hello." It's a great question. Go ahead.
Melody: Well, what I really like about it too is it's not just a symbol to yourself, it's also a symbol to the world. People ask about it and claiming that choice that you've made publicly is very powerful. I think that's why our movement has been so powerful because not only do women put on this ring as a reminder to themselves, they sign our pinky-promise pledge and they share their stories with the world and they basically claim themselves in a very public, authentic, and vulnerable way. I think that what's happening there is really a transformative thing, allowing women the space to claim themselves publicly.
Interviewer: Yes, or to reclaim themselves. I think that as you go in and out of these situations where you're like whether it be a new relationship or getting twins or starting a company where you're like, "Where am I in this situation?"
Melody: Well' I'm glad you used the word reclaim because we have a manifesto. The first line, the first words are, "Reclaim yourself." I think that's exactly what it is. I think one thing that I really passionately talk about whether it's on Instagram or anywhere else is that you are born you. You are born fully whole, all the most special parts of yourself are part of your authentic build. Sometimes, being in a dull, all of that gets covered up.
I use the word dust like that responsibility, that weight, disappointment, trauma, anxiety, depression, this is all dust that covers the beauty of who you've always been. Reclaiming yourself is really not about becoming something else, it's about returning home to who you already are.
Interviewer: Yes. Well, tell me a little bit about like in the more specifics? I relate to that dust. I guess how do you know that you're you? There's you with the dust, right? Then there's you and you're like your essence and your soul, your spirit who you were put on this earth to be. How can you tell when you're in either place?
Melody: For me, the dust is a very dull, numb place. There's a lot of tension. When you are you, when you're in that place of authenticity, there's electricity, there's energy, there's freedom, there's flow. I think you can, in any given moment of the day, feel whether you're dull and tense or whether you're free and flowing. For example, just pay attention to how you feel when you're talking to a friend. What does that friend bring out in you? This is something I had to really work on is setting boundaries because I had relationships where every interaction I had with someone made me feel like a tight angry ball or disappointed or weighed down or just not free.
I had to visit those relationships and restructure them so that I could shift that because I wasn't being authentic. I wasn't expressing myself. I wasn't letting the person know, "Hey, you are crossing a boundary here." Oftentimes, when you allow experiences or people to cross your boundaries, that's when you venture into the dust zone because you're not allowing yourself to be comfortable.
Interviewer: Yes, yes, yes, absolutely. I relate to that. I feel it. It's hard to catch. It's hard to catch when I'm covered with dust except usually like I sleep a lot. I don't know. It's sneaky.
Melody: Yes, and I think that's why whether it's journaling or meditating or spending a few minutes every day where you are really alone with yourself and distraction free is important so that you can check in because we are all going a million miles an hour and we're operating on so many different planes at the same time. We're dual screening life basically, that it's really easy to miss the cues. Whereas if you create a little bit of quiet space where you can go into your internal world, I think it actually becomes very obvious. You just have to make the commitment to going there.
Interviewer: Absolutely, making that commitment. I personally think the meditation has been the biggest game-changer for me. I guess I wish I would have known all along that going inside, that going within, that the answers were there.
Melody: It's scary. I think going inside is a very scary thing. For me, a lot of my meditation, believe it or not, happens in the car when I'm driving as it's one of the only times that I'm absolutely alone. I can't just run to my phone and check an email. I can't escape it so I'm forced into my own thoughts. In the beginning, part of that process is, it's like wading through the muck. It does not feel good, but if you stick with it and you clear through that, then you can start really feeling the liberation that comes with doing the work.
Interviewer: Yes, great. It's just like a muscle like as much as time I dedicate to working out with honestly, I don't know if I could actually be honest with everybody about how much I actually spend time working out. However, I could give meditation a try. I do daily and it's been easier, but you're right, it's scary because there's truth there. It's just like writing. Writing is really hard because a paragraph or two in, you're going to get some truth and it's like maybe you have to walk away from a relationship that you're in.
Setting those boundaries I think is what we talked about. It's the key I think to navigating all of this with dignity and grace, but I also find it's just, I don't want to say it, it's just challenging. I know that you're expecting. You're six months pregnant.
Interviewer: So exciting. Talk to me about how you navigate self-care, self-love, how do you stay true to your pinkie ring promise at six months pregnant or throughout your pregnancy?
Melody: Surrender, that's been my grounding word for this entire time period. I came home a month ago and I just sat down with my husband. I was like, "You know what? I can't do everything." Whoever said women can have it all at the same time was just setting us up for disaster because currently, I have two businesses I run, I have two kids that I'm responsible for, I have myself, I have my relationship, and now I'm pregnant. Something's got to give in that equation. I realize that it's okay.
It's okay if I need some nap in the afternoon. I'm going to do it. It's okay if I do a little bit less work than I would like to do. My work will still be there. It's surrendering to what your body needs and what this time period requires and recognizing, as my five-year-old pointed out, she said to me out of the complete blue, "Mom, did you know that when you're happy, the baby's happy?" She's right. I don't know where she got that idea, but it stuck with me.
My job right now is not just to prioritize myself for myself, it's also to do that because someone else is my mirror, my shadow, my other half right now. I owe it to him to give him this positive, happy time before he comes into the world and I have less control.
Interviewer: No, that's right. Well, that's a beautiful word, surrender.
Interviewer: Such a novel concept. Surrender yields a lot of good and unexpected surprises. So it's Friday afternoon right now. It's the end of the week. I'm thinking, "I've got to get every single thing done before the weekend," and then it's just like what if I just surrendered and just dared to be average.
Melody: That's the thing. I don't even think it's about being average. I think that, for me, I think a lot of people hear the word surrender and they automatically associate it with giving up. For me, I'm surrendering with confidence. I am doing it as a form of an assertion of power rather than as like a relinquishment of power.
Melody: Yes. My power comes from my ability to not have to do it all and still know that I'm worthy and that life is good and everything's going to be okay.
Interviewer: Yes, that's really interesting to think about it like that because then it also, it's like, "Okay, so I'm going to take-" what do you do with the actions that you choose to take, right? You choose to take a nap in the afternoon because for God, you have twins. You have got all of these things on your plate so you're going to do that and then choose not to beat yourself up about it.
Melody: That leads really nicely into something else that has been very important to me this year. It's the idea of guilt. I think that guilt is the single greatest driver of limitation when it comes to women and their happiness. I have a very simple formula for overcoming guilt. Here's what it is. All you have to do is have gratitude for the moment that you're in instead of guilt about the moment that you're not in. As a working mom, it's very easy if I wanted to, to feel guilty about the time I spend at work instead of being with my kids, but instead of thinking about my kids, I think about my work and I'm so grateful to have it when I'm there.
Then, when I'm home, I do the same thing. I have gratitude for the moment that I'm in, gratitude for the time I'm spending with my kids. I don't give my emails, my work, my client, my customers a second thought when I am fully immersed in the moment with my children. It's simple, the next time you start feeling guilty about something, ground yourself in the very moment that you're experiencing and your guilt will dissipate. Once that happens, that's the closest you'll come to having it all.
Interviewer: How did you figure that out? [chuckles]
Melody: Just experience. I started tracking when I felt good and when I didn't. I realized that it all has to do with where I put my thoughts. That's completely up to me.
Interviewer: Right. Can you hear me now?
Interviewer: I think I realized I've had these on but they weren't even working. Okay, the thing is so guilt and shame, guilt is what you do to yourself, the verb and shame is what you feel, is that right? How would you distinguish those two?
Melody: My understanding is that guilt is when you let down your own values. If you have a value that you're not meeting, you feel guilty and that's self-imposed. Shame is more of when you let down the societal value. It's more externally imposed on you. For example, if you're a girl in your 20s and you want to have sex. You may feel shame because your mother, your community, your religious organization, your peers, they all make you feel like that is not what women should do. Guilt would be what you would feel if you yourself had set a value that, "I'm not going to do that," and then you go and do it.
Interviewer: Okay, okay.
Melody: I think when it comes to being a working parent, they both come into play. I'll give you an example. My kids were at school and a family member's kid bumped into them and said something along the lines of, "I heard that your grandmother spends more time with you than your mother does." That could have given me a profound sense of shame if you cared what these people think but I don't. I would feel a tremendous amount of guilt if I agreed that I wasn't spending enough time with my kids.
I could have felt both. In reality, I felt neither because I'm very comfortable with the decisions I've made with regards to how I balance my time. I felt neither guilt nor shame, but you have to be really self-aware in order to get there.
Interviewer: Yes. I think that's like if I hear from you and when we've talked in the past, it sounds like it's essentially an emotional science experiment going on constantly with weighing these different variables especially how does your body feel when you're with this person and if you set the boundary, how does it feel now? Self-awareness is so important because if you're not awake, if you're not sort of present to witness what the heck's going on in your emotion, in your emotional world, then you can't ever sort of crack it, right?
Melody: Yes. Look, I could sound like I'm very grounded and well-adjusted but you're talking to somebody who's had 30 years of being extremely passive-aggressive. Eating all my feelings, absorbing everyone else's feelings because I'm very empathetic. Everything that you see today and everything that I'm working on today is the result of a tremendous amount of work. That work started when I made the decision and I put on my ring. That's why I continue to try to grow Fred and Far and to grow this mission because for me, that was the turning point that led to all of this.
Every single day, I'm reminded of it because I look down at my hands and I have my self-love pinky ring there. Whether women decide to get our ring or they decide to have a paper clip that they attach to their notebook that serves as the reminder, I think having a physical reminder is really powerful. It's something that anyone can create for themselves.
Interviewer: That's right. Well, what's like sort of on the docket besides having another child, bringing another human into the world [chuckles] for 2018 for Fred and Far? I hear that you're focusing on guilt. Do you have any sort of goals that you're shooting for this year?
Melody: Well, we launched a new website at the end of last year. I'm really proud of it because we've built a very robust content portal. On that portal, we're not only sharing original resources that pertains to self-love and self-care, we're also sharing a tremendous amount of content built around the stories of our tribe members. On Friday, we're doing what's called a Friday feature where we're interviewing a member of our tribe to get their stories and to have them answer common questions about what it means to choose yourself.
Then, we're also just collecting on Instagram and elsewhere shorter stories from our tribe about that moment, that aha moment of when they chose themselves, where they were at, and what it signified for them to get the self-love pinky ring. I just think I'm so passionate about the stories and the women. That's going to be a huge focus in 2018 is really putting more of that content out there and also focusing and being narrow in what we stand for because we're not a jewelry company with a mission.
We are a mission-driven company powered by a single piece of jewelry, so kind of remembering that in everything that we do in staying true because I think the last year was about exploring and figuring out all the different ways in which we could grow. This year is about understanding where we can make the greatest impact and growing in that direction.
Interviewer: Yes, I think it's kind of intuitive to think that being narrow and being niche will actually result in the most impact but I've seen that in my own branding and watching my peers grow their businesses. Yes, I think being narrow in focus is really important. That's exciting. so content user-generated, really focused on the tribe, having a baby.
Melody: One more thing that we're doing that's really good.
Interviewer: Yes, tell me.
Melody: We're introducing self-love pinky ring in various birthstones. Originally, when we launched the brand, we used the white sapphire as our signature stone because metaphysically, it aligns with our values of clarity, trusting your intuition, fueling your talents, and really generating that self-awareness. Now, what we're doing is really trying to allow people to have a more personal connection. That means in February, we are featuring an amethyst. It's absolutely gorgeous and then in March, we'll do an aquamarine. That's been a fun way that allow people to kind of personalize their commitments a little bit further.
Interviewer: That's great, and also, they come in, I know gold and-- Did it come in rose gold as well?
Melody: Right now, they come in either solid gold, like 14-carat solid gold, rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold. Then, we also offer it in sterling silver. Everything we make is made in Los Angeles which I'm really proud of that we're keeping it local.
Interviewer: That's amazing, that's amazing too. Wow. Well, before we break because we're going to break soon, I feel like I'm getting all of these comments that people are really loving what you have to say. I don't know. I'm really excited [chuckles].
Melody: Thank you.
Interviewer: No, I mean because it's so clear to me. It is a lot of work. I've been on my own self-love journey and it is a lot of work. There's a lot of ebbs and flows, right?
Melody: That's why having a tribe that is rooting for you on a daily basis and is right there with you I think is so powerful and so important. I think that's why we're able to make an impact and people are able to honor their commitments because every day, when they are on Instagram for example, they're getting reinforcements. I think whether you find your tribe through us or whether you find your tribe through your friends and family, sharing what you're trying to accomplish and having people rally around you and witness and celebrate that is extraordinarily powerful.
If you buy a ring, you get a personal email from me and I ask for your Instagram handle. I do that because as a company, part of our value system is to follow as many customers as we can who would like to be followed so that we can root them on because it's one thing to be like, "Okay, buy this ring. It's going to change your life." It's another thing to say, "If you choose to, you can put this ring on and every day, you're going to have support from us whether it's through Instagram, us liking and commenting on your pictures or it's the resources we're sharing or the stories that we're honoring. You're never going to be alone." That's really a big part of our ethos as a company.
Interviewer: That really, that matters. That matters when you like someone's photo who is just starting to grow their Instagram or Facebook, whatever, it makes a difference I think. It makes a difference for me.
Interviewer: Yes, it does. If this is the way in the world that today that I'm going to be able to be seen by someone like my photo, then I'm going to say, "Thank you. Thank you for seeing me and supporting me."
Melody: I think it's funny because a lot of companies right now, they're so worried about their follower-following ratio, right? You always want to have more followers than the people you follow. For us, it's like totally upside down. It's like no, we would love to follow more people. If you're part of the tribe and you're watching this video and we don't follow you, please tag me in something because it's really the greatest pleasure when I catch women exploring self-love and self-care, just having a great day or if they're having a low day, to be able to step in and be like, "Hey, I'm here," then, "I'm sorry that you're having a low day but tomorrow's going to be better."
Interviewer: Okay so tell me one thing, what are you going to do to love yourself today? Maybe you've already done it.
Melody: [laughs] What am I going to do to love myself? That's a very good question. It might have to involve--
Interviewer: To throw that question back at you, that the ring like “what have I done for me today?”
Melody: Yes. Well, I think one thing I've done for me today is I decided to work from home because I have a sick kid at home today. It's purely selfish. It's not even that I had to stay home to take care of her because I have help and she's in good spirits despite having a fever, it's that I saw this unique opportunity to spend a couple hours with my kid one-on-one, which when you have twins, it doesn't really happen. I got to watch her sing and dance for two hours this morning.
That's a memory that's going to stay with me forever. It fuels me. That was a choice like do I go to my office and tackle the 10,000 emails I have waiting for me across five different inboxes or do I spend two hours playing the greatest hits from every Disney movie? I made that choice. That was a really good one for me today.
Interviewer: Great. I feel very grateful number one, because you just really brought me into the moment, brought me into gratitude, and taught me a lot. Thank you.
Melody: Thank you. You asked really great questions and I'm so happy to be able to share these ideas. I think everyone deserves to not only hear them but to practice them in their own lives and then experience the magic that happens when you choose yourself.