Autobiography · my story

Who I really am

To whom it may concern,

My name is Melissa Presser. I have been an attorney for fifteen years, have three children and am married. I’ve mostly worked in the criminal realm, but have done short stints in the world of family law that made me run back to the crazy and deranged world that is criminal justice. My life started over at thirty-five when I became a Christian and I am now blocked by most of the world’s opinions for my love for the Catholic church and all things that stand for life.

But that’s not my whole story. I wanted to be a writer. That plan was foiled when Columbia University in New York cost way too much for my parents. Instead, I flushed my seventeen years of near perfect academics into the toilet to leave my dream behind for safer grounds. I went to school for free on full scholarship thanks to the state of Florida and declared my major in Criminal Justice. I had no prior experience with the system but figured I would find a field that was the farthest thing from my dream of becoming a hippy writer on the upper east side.

I spent a lot of time in jails and detention centers. People’s stories were fascinating to me. I interviewed a prostitute my sophomore year in college as part of a research project until I realized it wasn’t a project, it was real life. She was sexually abused. So was I. The only difference between us two was she was in and I was out.

I taught in a jail in downtown Miami. Mom and dad thought that was scary. The scarier the better I thought. I challenged my own way of thinking. They were human to me, animals to others. I saw little kids in adult jumpers. They were really big kids who had committed adult crimes. They had a lot of pain, so did I. The only difference between us was that they were on the inside and I was out.

They probably would have made for amazing stories, all of them, but I never once thought about writing about any of them. Some stories were just too personal, some too painful. It felt exploitative to even consider telling their stories. But after a time, their stories weighed on me, which made me go back inside myself, which led to me writing about mine.

I don’t know why some of us end up on the inside instead of out. That still pains me. But what pains me even more is knowing that there are more of them, and fewer people wanting to do anything about it.

I have made a lot of mistakes. I hate cooking. I bring store-bought baked goods for school functions and I think whoever created Pinterest is responsible for the mass depression of mothers with young children. I don’t quite function like the rest of the world. I am happier working than sitting in a hot park while my children try to kill each other. The best moments are when my daughter tells me my breath stinks but wants to kiss my face anyway, when my son speaks to me in minion and I answer back in the same, when my husband and I talk about flakka, prison score sheets and death threats as if that’s normal.

I have never quite fit in. I may never be ok with that. There is something very freeing about being ok with not being ok. And for me that is usually at least seven days out of every month.

I’d meet you in the worst part of any neighborhood if it meant I could help you. I still cry when I see homeless people and ASPCA commercials. My husband still makes fun of me. I cry because you’re cruel and unloving and just don’t want to understand, but I’ll fight to the death in a court of law for the love of justice.

It’s all beautiful really. Being misunderstood. Love, hate. Friends that have left and unexpected friends. Being Jewish, becoming Catholic. Still not completely understanding it all. I realize, it’s ok to be me.

How about you?

***Thanks Paul

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15 thoughts on “Who I really am

  1. first of all, I don’t even have a printrest account for everything that you said—although there are a lot of creative folks out there—this once teacher of all things creative already had a plate more full than I cared for and didn’t want to take on a mantle of guilt with “why didn’t the art teacher think of that?!”
    Secondly–never ever apologize for who you are becoming—you’re not there yet Melissa, as none of us on this planet are—and also never feel you have to apologize or defend or explain that you pursue Christ under the mantle of the Catholic Church….you shouldn’t feel any need for that anymore than a Pentecostal person should or would for leaning toward the Spirit…
    (ps read that mutual “friend’s” post with a negative shout out toward Catholicism along with your response–
    he shouldn’t seek to push the buttons of his supporters I sometimes fear)

    anywhooooo—I join you in the tears, the frustration, the wonderment and the sometimes pain felt while in the Hands of the Master Potter as He works us and moulds us…..
    write on, sing on and scream on my friend…for it is all good as Christ remains the focus….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s been a bit of a frustrating time lately. I find myself very disillusioned by many blogs that claim Christ yet have negative things to say about other Christians who celebrate Christ in a different way. I cherish the scriptures but don’t bow down to them, I worship in a million different ways, I am Catholic because that’s where God called me to be. It’s hard to stop following some of the writers that used to inspire me that now make me sad. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all. This post was born out of all of that.
      Yes Christ remains the focus, the crucifix, the sorrow the pain and now the joy of Easter.
      Love to you my friend-
      M

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ll email more of my thoughts on this…but for now, I agree…sad yes, but when I often read between the lines…more and more where there is the thumping of righteous indignation, I hear more anger than sharing, more arrogance than offering, more accusation than opening…
        and today when I read that post, with it’s almost taunting nature, I was disappointed–but I feel that there are those who still look at both the Latin West and the Eastern Orthodox Churches with the suspicion of ignorance…that they do not understand the historical significance of the foundation of our faith….
        but as I say, more later….
        Be not sad Melissa—remain BOLD!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Being Catholic in a mainly Protestant country can be hard on you. This is especially true when it’s only you and one other family member that are Catholic. You should have seen all the head shakes I got from family and friends when they found out I was becoming Catholic.
        Not to mention just outright rejection of anything I had to say because I was Catholic. I was trying to tell a Protestant about how Halloween came about and she just looked at me and said, “You’re Catholic. You believe different things than we do.” It wasn’t even about faith, it was about history!
        I can sympathize with you on that and on being able to accept yourself. It wasn’t until I became Catholic that Lord Jesus was finally able to to get me to accept myself. I was an introvert surrounded by extroverts who wanted me to be an extrovert. It took a lot of pressure off when I realized it was okay to be me.
        God bless and try not to take these things to heart.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes I am ok with it all. It just oftentimes perplexes me. But like I have said previously, I look at the life of Mother Teresa, now a saint, and how she lived it. I have never been moved by anyone more than her.
        Her life was the embodiment of our Lord. She was able to move mountains by not saying but doing. She respected human dignity and life in a way that was unsurpassed and I just hope that in my own way I am doing the same.
        The way I see it, Catholicism has provided for me a lens into the deepest parts of the human heart, an uncanny connection with God and a closeness I just can’t explain. I am beyond theology or the catechism, I am in a realm of making each day count with the church has taught me, respect life and do not get caught up in this culture of death.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You are great Melissa! You have so many stories to share that the world needs to hear to find our own healing. Being a Catholic is the most beautiful gift my parents gave me. I t is a gift so many never understand. I am so happy to see you here 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for stopping by. My posts are typically not so depressing but I do allow myself sometimes to be exposed in order that people can see Him changing me. Yes being Catholic is a gift and I have heard it referred to as such so many times. I am grateful I was given this beautiful gift!
      Blessings-
      M

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Better late than never right? I was just wondering why you? Why am I here? Seeking out some kind of simplicity in just loving God, not divided into groups , no debates about how I am wrong and the world is right. Just honoring my one true God, nothing really touches on this without scorn or vanity. Don’t be offended by the world. Just declare that in your heart. Isn’t that what really matters . What is in one’s own way

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello , thank-you for your kind reply. We are gathered together and I call upon the Heavenly Father, God, to be with me and let me not deceive you with my own thoughts.
        Guide my right hand and remember the wounds of my left hand and the mercy of the truth in my heart. Let your chosen hear your voice in these words. Lead by the light of my love for you are my God , I don’t know what is the will of God to be with you, a calling to you and me. , I am blessed and loved, I have been so long carrying this light , if I can stand for you to know what I know, in your own place, then I have chosen life over death while I am still alive, you can see I don’t think I am so wise, to be with knowledge that is not known. But it is God I serve, and God alone,

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