Jessica: Yeah, well, it's hard when there's a stigma associated with modification and then I honestly think a lot of it has nothing to do with the stigma with modification and it has everything to do with the fact that their child is growing up.
Melissa: Absolutely. I think it's more so that. Yeah.
Jessica: Because like my mom will be like, oh, I like that piercing on so and so, but not on you, Jess and I'm like, huh? It's because I'm your kid.
Melissa: It's because it's personal. It's personal to them because they birthed you, they raised you, and they see that you have piercings and they're just like, I don't know what to think about that. I agree with that as well.
Jessica: If you were to do anything in your life, career-wise, or vocation, so like your life goal entwined in this job, what would it be?
Melissa talks about how she would incorporate art in the job she wanted to do
Melissa: One thing I have planned for sure is, I want to do something in special education.
Jessica: Oh cool.
Melissa: I just really, really do and I would love to incorporate art with it because I really would like to be doing more art than I do now.
Jessica: Yeah, like art therapy or ---
Melissa: Yeah, that's basically what I'm thinking is art therapy.
Melissa: I don't have any skills in that, but I feel like it'd be really nice. I had an internship where I did create some art projects for a special education program at my high school and I was an intern there and I really enjoyed it. I was just kind of like, I would even enjoy it more if I got to do this for longer.
Jessica: Yeah, that's so cool! So I'm assuming you've graduated high school?
Melissa: I did. Yes.
Jessica: I was like, I don't know you look kind of young. So are you about to start college or you're already in college or ---
Melissa: I've thought about it. I always second guess myself and I'm very reluctant. I take a lot of time considering an option and stuff like that. I just don't have enough money to go to college and then with the situation that we're in right now, even community college, I just don't have enough money to go and I've considered it. I've even gotten into the process of enrolling and I was like, I don't know, I'm like, I don't have enough money and then with the whole pandemic COVID-19, public schools are not open right now. They closed for the rest of the school year, and I was like, I wouldn't be able to do it. I need to physically go to a place, to go to school, get myself out of bed, because that's just how my motivation runs. I can't sit at home and work on the computer or else I wouldn't graduate. I put myself in the shoes of other people and think about the situations that they're in. If they're struggling, let's say they don't have WiFi at home, they don't have a computer, they're low income, they don't have transportation, it's like how are they going to be motivated to work on schoolwork at home on a computer? Do it online. It's like, I wouldn't have that motivation I probably would have dropped out in result of COVID-19. I'm just like, I don't think I would have graduated.
Jessica: Yeah, everyone's learning style is different too, you know?
Melissa: It is.
Jessica: I did an online school, but it was because I did better following my own tune kind of a thing versus -
Melissa: It's not [inaudible 16:37]. Yeah.
Jessica: Yeah and then when I was in a structured class, I just didn't really thrive at all because I get distracted.
Melissa: For me, I need to be pushed. I need to have somebody help push me. I can't do my own thing but it does help for somebody to be like, come on, let's get on with it.
Jessica: Let's keep on going!
Melissa reveals the reason why she wanted to help people who learn differently
Melissa: Yeah, that's why I was in an alternative education program that really, really saved me.
Jessica: Cool. Is that what led you to want to help other people who learn differently?
Melissa: Honestly, yeah, a lot of it too. I really, really liked my teachers as well. My school was actually like one of the first that had basically created that program and in that style, as well. So what it is, is you work on packets that go towards credits and stuff like that, but then you have one day where you will stay in the classroom to work on packets and then every other day of the school week, you go out to your internships.
Jessica: Oh! Okay.
Melissa: So it's really applying a lot of actual work skills.
Jessica: Yeah, so you're not just had knowledge I could actually work like, life knowledge.
Melissa: Yeah, you can definitely work in a professional setting. You get to experience that and apply that not just be told, this is what you should be doing.
Jessica: Only to find out that it's not what you needed to know at all.
Jessica: Oh, that's cool.
Melissa: I had a lot of---
Jessica: Do you think---Pardon me.
Melissa: I had a lot of internships as well.
Jessica: That's super cool and the special education was your favorite one?
Melissa: Oh, yeah. It was.
Jessica: That's super cool! Do you think that your experience being modified and interacting with people as someone who....as someone who is modified myself, I found that it's a barrier to people and I almost have to win them over with my personality before they can accept me physically. Do you think that has prepared you for this life dream of helping other people shine from the inside out?
Melissa: I do. Yeah.
Jessica: Could you talk a little bit more about that?