The Maternal Mela Murder
Mela is soft-spoken and confident, “Everything in my career and all that I have learned throughout the years have been leading me to this moment. Not the glamorized version– the emotional side, the exhaustion…everything that comes with single motherhood. I’m trying to convey it in this film because there hasn’t been anything, from what I’ve seen…nothing has been created like this on film about single motherhood.” She studies from time to time, her daughter, Amethyst, who patiently takes in her surroundings, contemplative, as if interested in what her mom is saying. Amethyst is a reflection of her mother—bold with eyes full of curiosity and life. This child, at not even 2 years old, is petite, yet so obviously mighty.
Mela was a product of a very young mother who had multiple children and was never without employment, working to make the ends meet. She struggled in motherhood, most likely silently, unaware of another way— a better way. “My upbringing was a bit bugged out, but full of love.” Mela is determined to break the cycle for her own life, but it seems, even more importantly, for others. Mela has created safe spaces for single mothers to gather and discuss their experiences. She has labeled these workshops, “Let’s Talk.” Mela has held workshops in New York and London, with plans for Los Angeles. She says, “The whole point of “Let’s Talk” is to let women know they can come forward, to vent, let go, and to know they have a support system.”
I think about the women and mothers who were inspired and forever changed–just her presence as she gently cradles Amethyst, has opened my heart. “I’m so happy for you,” she expresses to me. “This is such a transformative time. It’s major. Your life is about to change. You ready?” I know I am ready because of women like Mela. I had been watching her journey unfold on Instagram during her pregnancy. Fearlessly–posting videos of her and Amethyst’s father doing dance routines, pregnant belly and all. Dressing up for photoshoots or bearing her natural, naked body depending on her mood. Mela was very candid about her dissolved relationship with Amethyst’s father that segued into her new life of single mom-hood. Whether she knew it or not, Mela was an example of strength for soon-to-be-mothers; even Mela’s mother was inspired. Mela looks out of the window, proud and content, “She had never, ever been to Europe. I don’t think she believed it was able to happen. So now she wants to go to Italy. She wants to go to Scotland. She wants to see the world! …and I think it’s beautiful. She’s worked her whole life. She deserves it.”
After coming down from the elation of the Oscar nomination with The Florida Project, composing for Richard Russell’s latest album, Everything is Recorded, gaining an agent, constant traveling, auditioning for roles, short film directing, new-fangled matriarchy, and carving out a moment for herself–begs the question. How does Mela juggle it all? She just does. Love of your child will do that.
Special thank you to Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Carhartt WIP and adidas for providing clothing.