Your Scarlet Letter – Come Laugh With Me

by Melody Jean

contemporaryseekerscarletletterlaughWhen you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky. —Buddha

Is it really this simple? I now believe so.

A Dream-Like State

I think that most of us are just stumbling through life in a dream-like state. It’s a haze, another reality if you will. The world and its people are filled with expectations. Most are unrealistic and much doesn’t even apply to the realities that we face today.

It’s evident in all aspects of our lives – business, religious, familial, friendship, love, government, self-improvement, among others. There’s a plethora of expectations that create a reality, which most can’t live up to.

–> A System of Rules

Whether we’re divorced, childless, never married, overweight, atheist, agnostic, homosexual, or that we lack a college degree, white-collar job, a house with a white picket fence, a degreed occupation; we are expected to be something other than we are. Yes, unfortunately thanks to some unwritten system of rules from days gone by, the list really is quite endless of where we can fall short.

–> Purple Worldly Crap

It’s as if we walk about in this purple haze of worldly crap. Essentially a world that nobody, absolutely nobody, in their right mind or able-bodied state can fulfill in its entirety.

Your Scarlet Letter

As a result of “expectations,” most of us, at some point, feel unfulfilled, lost, and despondent in some aspect of our lives. We feel as if others look down upon us with shameful glares because we didn’t meet all of the expectations set forth.

–> Zeroing-in On Expectation

In turn our minds are conditioned to focus on those elements that we don’t have. Ironically we manage to zero-in on it, even if we don’t want these things because we think we’re “supposed” to want them.

–> Nobody’s Exempt

We all have our scarlet letter, our “S.” Yet unfortunately, the “S” I speak to does not stand for superhero. It’s comprised of those aspects that society says we need, but somehow lack.

I believe one’s jaded if they think that they’re exempt from this. We all wear a fiery “S” at some point. What’s yours?

I’m Guilty as Sin

I’m that person who in the past went to that place. That mucky, cold-dark place that exists deep inside our conditioned core. It’s the place that beckons my mind to entertain the idea that others see the wrong in me.

My humongous “S,” my scarlet letter, was that I was deemed damaged goods because of my familial state of existence. The defining element behind my “S” was that I didn’t marry or have children in my 20’s, which is considered “normal.” It’s just expected. Yes, there’s that idea again – an expectation of society. That expectation was the weaver of the “S” upon my shirt, my soul.

So while today I’ve admonished the purple haze and heed Buddha’s words above, I admit that I once donned an “S.”  Yes, I’m guilty. Guilty as sin.

It Fell Into Place

It was one day through a conversation with my dad that I was struck with the reality behind Buddha’s sentiment. Once I came to know, I felt a sense of relief unlike any other that I’ve ever felt in my life. It was as if a three thousand ton weight was lifted from my shoulders. I was light, airy and free again.

In this conversation my dad essentially said, “Mel you could have married any number of boyfriends along the way, and perhaps even been divorced now too like many in their 30’s. Yet, you had other things to do. It wasn’t your time. Once you can accept this you’ll be at peace. Further until you accept it, you’ll never get those things that you “think” that you need. So stop comparing yourself to others. You’re unique, and your plan was different.”

It was then, right then, that I sighed a huge sigh, and looked up to the almighty high and uttered “thank you.” I was free. No longer did I give a hoot that I wasn’t married and childless. I also no longer cared about the stigma attached, or how others viewed me.

Packing Up My Scarlet Letter

It was in that moment that I put out the fire and packed-up my scarlet letter. I didn’t want to throw it to the waste-side though. The box that holds my “S,” serves as a reminder. A reminder of how high I’ve climbed.

I also finally realized a few imporatant elements. The reason why those two aspects of my life have yet to be is because something greater than me is at work. My ‘wants’ have little bearing on those particular outcomes. Further, since I didn’t have any ties to bind me, I’ve been free to do as my heart desires in my world. Not some purple hazed world that society created for me. It’s my world, the one I control, and the one that I created.

–> My Real World

Over the last 15 years I’ve lived and experienced life in several different cities – from Syracuse, to Boston, to New York City, and Harrisburg. I chose to continue my studies and received a Master’s Degree. To get to where I am today in my career, I worked long hours late into the night and many early mornings. I utilized my free time working pro bono on marketing campaigns for artists and authors and establishing blogs for myself and others, like this one. I taught students in the college classroom, took guitar lessons, began cycling and hiking, traveled to foreign countries, and experienced so many unforgettable moments.

–> Stepping Outside The Crappy Haze

Perhaps what my dad meant when he said that my plan was different was just this. If I’d married young and started a family I might not have grown and experienced all that I have over the last 15 years.

While some may think I sacrificed family life, I believe it depicts how I chose to step outside of that purple crappy haze and instead created my true reality.

You see, it’s a trick of the mind. If we create our own brightly colored world rather than live in a shade of purple created by society, we can forgo our scarlet letter.

Laughing at the Sky

It’s really a gift you see, our scarlet letter. Well that is, if we can unmask it. In reality everything is perfect in our lives, just the way that it is, as Buddha alludes.

So yes, now I’m able to look-up in a ripple of laughter. In sharing this story, it’s my hope that you too can find it within yourself to glance-up and laugh at the sky alongside me.

You may also enjoy my post which further elaborates on this called, Surviving in a World That Tries to Make You Someone Else.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }


After my I split up with my ex-husband I definitely felt as though I wore TWO Scarlet letters! One for being the “divorcee who failed at her marriage and added to the statistics” and one for being the “poor single Mom.” The truth is it takes a lot to get past that worry about what society thinks of you when things in your life don’t go as you thought they would. You have no choice but to turn inward to heal and recognize that all that worry really just pretends to be necessary! I now could care less what anybody thinks about my situation. Although I’m in a long term relationship again (4 1/2 years) and “society” wonders why I haven’t remarried, the truth is most often I’m quite content in my current situation and recognize my many blessings. Of course I hope to get remarried at some point. However, that will come when the time is right for us and our kids regardless of what “society” expects.


Melody Jean

Very well stated Jen, thanks for sharing. It really does take strength and courage to disarm the “S.” Society wants us to maintain these perfect, cookie cutter lives, replicas of each other. In reality most don’t want what the picture presents and what happens when it doesn’t turn out, as you said “the way its supposed to?” Really nobody can fulfill every expectation so once we learn to accept, as you have that everything in our life is perfect the way it is … we can laugh at the sky 🙂 Thanks for your thoughtful post!



good stuff. I especially like the part of not completely throwing out the”S”. In this life I have learned many times that the way is through and all moments have value.


Melody Jean

Hi Willem,
I agree with you and your sentiment.
Thanks so much for sharing!


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