Mel’s Story: Finding Liberation Through Choice (Part 2)
Real independence is the freedom to choose.~Melanie Peskoe
The following article written by Melanie Peskoe, is part 2 of how she began her successful late-blooming career. I introduced her to you in her first piece titled “What’s All The Buzz About LinkedIn?” If you missed the first part of Mel’s story you can check it out here: Mel’s Story: Finding Liberation Through Choice (Part 1). Enjoy! ~Steph
Marriage, Motherhood & Finding Self-Acceptance
In part one of my story, I shared my rocky road to finding self-acceptance. I’m still finding it! Things are a lot different for me now and while I continue to learn and grow, I can say with joy that I am in such a better place than I was in my early twenties. I’d guess many of us would say that though.
After finding people who were doing the things I wanted to do—living their lives on their own terms, comfortably choosing to accept help when needed and asking for accommodations—it was such a meaningful time in my life. It was a time when I felt that I could finally be happy being me – blindness and all.
I didn’t immediately go back to college. I got married, had a baby, and tried my hand at being a stay-at-home mom. I have to pause and give huge props to the stay-at-home moms out there! It’s not an easy job and while I enjoyed spending time with my daughter when she was young, I learned that it can be very hard work!
A Professional Longing
Once my daughter started to get a little more self-sufficient, I began to play around with the idea of going back to school. As a person who loves to learn, it felt like something I just wanted to do for myself. So I reenrolled in college and got a bachelor’s degree in communication. And wouldn’t you know it, this time I made the Dean’s list!
After college I started working, and I really enjoyed my job, but I didn’t feel like it was what I truly wanted to do professionally. I felt in my gut that there was more for me to do. During this season of my life, my husband and I decided it was time to bring another child into our family, and my son was born. I was so happy to have another child, but at the same time I felt this sense of starting the clock over as it related to being able to work outside my home in a job that was truly fulfilling to me.
So what did I do? I went to graduate school, of course! I chuckle to myself here, because I have no idea why I thought that having a preschooler and a pre-teen would be a good scenario for night classes and daytime studying. But I did it, with honors! I was in my early thirties and starting to really feel like my professional clock was ticking. I had a graduate degree, but I still had no idea what I really wanted to do with it.
How Mel Got Her Groove Back
I began doing some volunteer and contract work, which did help me get moving in the right direction. I had a great contract job that I enjoyed very much, but like many contract roles, it ended. This contract was helping employees at a government agency learn to use their screen magnification tools with the programs they used most at work. I really enjoyed helping other people like me. I knew I was onto something.
That all is what led me to American Foundation for the Blind, where I am happily employed today. I didn’t have a straight path, and it wasn’t exciting or prestigious, but it was mine and I own it.
Today I’m with an organization that I love and doing professional work that I enjoy. While I am not young by any stretch of the word, I still have lots of good work years left to make my way. I am happy and fulfilled, and most of all, I am confidently doing it as a woman with low vision. That’s not to say that things are easy, not by far. Sometimes I struggle – I feel old, I feel unworthy, I feel less than, but I always come back to my senses and, just like Stella (if you read the book or saw the movie you know what I mean), I got my groove back.
Before I sign off, I’ll leave you with these parting words. None of our stories look alike. We all find our way through different paths. What’s been good for me, may feel all wrong for you. Know that there are many roads that lead to happiness. If you find that this part of my story resonates with you, I encourage you to be curious, explore, challenge, and soak it all in. Find what gives you passion and take it as far as you can!
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Melanie Peskoe is a vivaciously, middle-age, late blooming professional woman, and Bold Blind Beauty Contributor and Advisory Board member. She currently works as the Talent Acquisition Specialist with the American Foundation for the Blind. Prior to AFB, Melanie worked with the American Printing House for the Blind as a Digital Content Specialist for the ConnectCenter and the VisionAware website. She has a strong interest in aging and vision loss so she stayed on at VisionAware to serve as a VisionAware Peer Advisor and many of her blog posts can be found there. Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Melanie has two older kids, and loves to crochet and read (preferably at the same time!)
Connecting With Melanie
- Close up of a mother’s hands holding her baby daughter’s feet.
- Close up of a vintage clock with Roman numerals.
- A woman on a life quest with obstables drawn on the wall i.e. start, storm clouds, peaks, valleys, goal.
- Author bio photo is a headshot of Melanie her light brown hair is styled in a fashionable bob and she’s wearing red lip color with a black v-neck top.