The Conversation: Melissa Fiacco

 

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I get incredible joy from making people laugh. I think good grammar is sexy and I really enjoy a lively debate. I like to be challenged in the way I think. I’m clumsy. I loath cynicism, it’s toxic, destructive and nobody wants to be around cynical people. I love Motown, “Baby, ev’rything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight…” I think perfection is the thief of joy more than comparison is. When I order drive-thru it’s a Big Mac with no cheese and extra pickles. I feel I have a responsibility to use my voice and to serve our community. My favourite part of the day is the first sip of coffee. My niece, Lenna, is my greatest joy. 

This was a challenging question to answer so I turned to the people who know me to my core, the people who I’ve really been through some sh*t with. You should try this, it made me feel like Beyonce!

“Wizard of the written word, ardent supporter of equality for women, fiercely loyal and kind hearted, almost to a fault.”

“The exact definition of feisty!; (of person, typically one who is relatively small) lively, determined, and courageous.”

“Self-directed and intuitive. Strong moral compass, iron will, empathetic, compassionate. Also, cut-throat where required.”

“A young, intelligent, no holds barred women. Strongly principled, forthright and able to command both the virtual and physical space.”

“charismatic, vocal leader. She will either sit back and take on her role or if told will act as a spear head in any situation. Emotional, thoughtful and a strong intellectual to say the least.”

“Opinionated. Empathetic but honest.”

What is your definition of beauty? 

“I think confidence is the core of beauty but it’s meaningless without kindness.”

Unapologetic kindness and confidence. I think confidence is the core of beauty but it’s meaningless without kindness. My mother is the definition of beauty. She’s so incredibly strong-willed but she has no ego. She’s patient and selfless. She’s clever and hilarious. She is the foundation of our family. That’s so beautiful to me.

How do you take care of yourself when you have those “not enough” moments?

I lean on the relationships in my life, the people who really understand what I need to hear in those moments when I feel shame or inadequacy. Dialogue is a coping mechanism for me. It’s how I find relief from those destructive feelings. I lean on my dad for advice a lot. I call them Pat Chats. He’s really good at recalibrating my perspective. He’s compassionate but pragmatic. He never judgemental or indignant. 

 

When do you feel the most beautiful?

I think feeling beautiful is an attitude so I try to embrace that attitude as a lifestyle. I feel beautiful when I’ve been kind. Nothing else matters without kindness and we undervalue how powerful kindness is. Make eye contact with the person who bags your groceries, thank the person who takes your drive-thru order. Be mindful of the people around you. That one person you thank or may eye contact with might have nobody, and that moment might remind them that they matter. That’s incredible to me.

 

Let’s talk feminism for a bit. What’s your hope for the future?

What do you think will take for men to join the conversation surrounding feminism? Is there something us women need to do to make them feel more comfortable to join in? 

I think men and women alike need to commit to listening to each other to learn from each other’s experiences. We need men to join the conversation to empower change. That is critical. I hear a lot of men say they don’t feel like it’s right for them to participate in the conversation because they don’t share the experiences women have had with gender inequality and that’s really troublesome to me. 

“We will never move forward if we are leaving people out of the conversation.”

We need men to use their voices to change the attitudes of acceptance towards gender inequality. We will never move forward if we are leaving people out of the conversation. When men are entering the board room and they see a significant gap in female representation, they need to look around the table and ask each other what they are doing to empower women to pursue leadership roles, what are they doing to recruit women into sectors in the workforce that are dominated by men, what are they doing to mentor women? And do not tell me that the #MeToo movement is making men feel unsafe being along with women. I will not accept that. When you respect people’s boundaries, when you value consent, you are not vulnerable to being accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault. I will tell you it is way more difficult for women to come forward as victims of sexual assault than it is to stay silent, so men, step up and lean in, we need you, you bring value to the conversation.

 

1 Comment
  1. Absolutely love this article! My favourite quote was “confidence is the core of beauty but it’s meaningless without kindness” and I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for sharing yourself with us Melissa and well done Leticia for capturing her beauty. Always enjoy this blog.

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