Cultivating the Life you want to Live

Melissa McDowell

Hi Friends! For the past two years I have been on journey to cultivate the life I want to live. However, 2020 put the Kabosh on my plans to really make the things happen that I want to do in life. January started off perfectly. I graduated with my Ph.D. in Management and I was ready to transition back into my regular life after having to put everything on pause while I completed my dissertation research.

Melissa McDowell


The first crisis was that my depression and chronic pain all over my body increased to a level that I could no longer handle. I went to the doctor and discovered the debilitating pain I had been experiencing for years, has a name; it was Fibromyalgia. I was happy to be able to put a name to what I was experiencing but I had no clue what it was. The Mayo Clinic defines Fibromyalgia as follows:

Fibromyalgia is a disorder whereby your brain processes pain signals by amplifying painful sensations throughout the body. Symptoms include overall musculoskeletal pain combined with constant fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues.

Melissa McDowell

I was prescribed medication that significantly reduces my chronic pain and depression. Fibromyalgia can still be triggered by stress, despite medication, which is why I am so protective of my space, mental health, and physical wellness.


The second crisis that disrupted my plans to cultivate life in 2020, is the same one that knocked us all off our feet—the COVID-19 pandemic. Going into lock-down wasn’t that hard for me at first. It was the uncertainty of everything that really had me rattled. I also got extremely sick in mid-March. Sick enough that I had to drive myself to the emergency room (which I hadn’t done in 20 years) in the middle of the night.

Melissa McDowell

This happened at the beginning of the Corona virus, when hospitals didn’t have enough test kits and still weren’t sure how to treat the virus. I had all the symptoms we hear about on the news, except a fever. Because I didn’t have a fever, I did not qualify for Covid-19 testing. The emergency room physician wrote my symptoms off as a Lupus flare from being stressed out about the pandemic. They gave me a shot to stop the insane sharp stomach pain and vomiting and sent me home. I am completely convinced I had Covid-19.

Melissa McDowell


The third 2020 crisis came in the form of trauma from all the police brutality taking place in the country and the corresponding racial upheaval. As a Black woman, the killings and protests were traumatic and unsettling. The tipping point of Black Americans being beyond sick and tired of seeing people who look like us being killed has come to a head in a way that must bring about change. It’s very distressing to know that so many people don’t believe you should be treated equally simply because your skin is melinated.

Strides were made with brands and companies having to get off the fence and declare where they stand as it relates to discrimination, diversity, and inclusion. I'm happy that all the brands I work with as an influencer all quickly came out and declared that Black Lives Matter in this country and in their corporations. There is still justice to fight for and I will continue to lend my support to this cause.

Melissa McDowell


Fast forward to September 2020. We’re still in a pandemic and have had to change everything about how we live in this new world of Corona virus. But I made a decision to do a 2020 reset in my life. I am ready to move forward and make cultivating the life I want to live a priority again. I’ve decided that it’s not too late to hit the restart button. We all know that 2020 has been a dumpster fire that will not burn out, but we have to figure out how to climb out of the dumpster and save ourselves.

Melissa McDowell

One silver lining for me has been the time I’ve had to focus on my business. With limited social interaction, this season has provided the opportunity to grow my business in ways that I can’t when there are constant social obligations and distraction. I’ve been given the gift of time to pivot my business in light of the market changes due to the pandemic.

Melissa McDowell

I know this year hasn’t been great and it seems like day 1, 537 of the pandemic, but look for the silver lining in your life, pivot, and cultivate the life you want to live!

What is one silver lining in your life that has come out of 2020 so far?

Let me know in the blog comments!

Melissa McDowell

Once the world fully opens up, I can’t wait to dress up in all the clothes I miss so much. Like this super cute snakeskin shift dress and over the knee boots.


Scroll through and click on the images below for direct shopping links. You can also click on any of my photos in this blog post for links to this style. This exact dress is no longer available online, so I have linked similar options. You can also check out more designs vis this link: