My whole life I was done up in an imaginary image. “Baby, Mel know she wild,” was the refrain; typically after I’d just jumped from a tree or been pulled from a fistfight, with the lace from the dress she spent all night sewing as a deterrent from such ratty behavior trailing behind me, marking another failed attempt at making me a lady. Orderly and just so wasn’t my style. I wanted as much life as my little hands could hold. Which included wanting to know about sex. Unfortunately, sex ed in my conservative, southern, Christian upbringing was strictly on…


My biggest mistake as a young parent was thinking that parenting would be like taking care of my younger siblings. I was 22. We notoriously know nothing, yet believe we know everything as 22 year-olds. Reality set in for me when my firstborn was yelling his head off and couldn’t understand that mama would be right there as soon as I finished taking a shit. I painfully remembered who I looked to for help when my sisters were yelling their heads off. As I sat on the toilet in defeat with my screaming child in my arms, I remembered I…


“Do you know what it means…”

“I’m from Louisiana,” I would say, hoping that would satisfy their question. More definitive than “the South,” yet less specific than the real answer; the answer that automatically contorted faces into masks of sympathy. I often found myself imprisoned in a well-intentioned conversation that would unearth all the things I buried just so that I could make it out of bed in the morning. Saying “I’m from Louisiana,” gave me a shot at being seen as Melanie: a normal person participating in a normal conversation. They could love me, or hate me, or even forget me the way normal people…


It just walks in dressed however it wants. My mother and sister died after prolonged illnesses. There is something strange about watching the deterioration of a vibrant woman that shakes me to my core. Because I see the person they were, then I see the person they are.

Terminal illness plucks away at a person. It’s strips this ability and that thread of dignity here and there, until it is just an unbearable weight. You don’t want to lose the person you love, but you don’t want them to suffer. …


Today almost passed me by. I woke up both hollowed and heavy — confused. It’s your birthday. I remember the hurried designs you crafted, turning me into a person. I remember cooking and sewing, combing hair and playing referee. You were an architect with vision and I was the wayward building that never fell, but despite your best efforts, leaned into its own gravity. You died so young, but I remember believing that you would not have left if you didn’t think you had prepared me. You told Madeline, “Melanie is going to be just fine. As long as she’s…


“We have gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”
- Prince

Nothing makes me laugh harder than a classic Kelly moment. Our family had a giant station wagon growing up. You know the type, with the front seat, the middle, and of course, the coveted “way back.” In my family, you didn’t half step. You sat in the front or the way back, because the middle was for babies. Two giant car seats took up the middle, belonging to “the babies,” Kelly and Chloe, which left space for one of us to be in the front, and…


My mama was a poet, an artist, a seamstress, a fan of etymology and Matlock, and could run like the wind. Those are the things I recalled when I did the exercise of remembering her outside of her service to others. It takes work for me to remember her as an individual. My knee-jerk recollections involve everything but her being her own person, even in death. She was my mama. She was my daddy’s wife. She was God’s servant. Most people who only know her through my stories don’t even know her name: Lou Verda Mae.

Children were always mama’s…


Everyone has a story. There are wins and losses. If you’re lucky, the former outweighs the later, but many of us are just praying to break even. The parts of our physical, spiritual, and emotional selves make up a complex body of experience. Some things are strengthened, some things are weak, and of course there are the scars.

Having won and lost a fair bit, I’d say that I’ve managed to break a little more than even. My life, while not charmed, certainly has something special tucked in its back pocket. But there are scars. The most honed instinct I…


Did you get to it yesterday? The thing you’ve been working on? Praying on? Crying about? Did you get to the next step, the final product, or the money? Why not?

I’ve been asking myself these questions every day for the last week. I survey my day, and if I haven’t met the goals for that day (I have not in eight days), I account for why. The answer has been disturbing in its consistency: procrastination. Five minutes turns to an hour turns to tonight turns to tomorrow. And tomorrow. And tomorrow. (Word to Macbeth.)

Today, distractions jump out at…


Anxiety and depression have been a part of my life since my mother became ill. It was exacerbated by her death and the countless other things that surface when you’re thrust into adulthood. The older I get, the more I tussle with insurmountable tasks like combing my hair and getting out of bed.

Depression and anxiety lie to me. They tell me that tragedy lurks around the corner of my happiness. That I can’t accomplish my goals because I just don’t have what it takes to see things through. “You’re going to do well, then have one bad day and…

Melanie Dione

Extraordinary machine

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store