It’s been exactly one year since I launched this site and began blogging again – and wow, what a year it’s been.

I wrote in that first post that I wasn’t sure then if this was going to lead me to making pottery for a living, but it has, I am – and it’s better than I had imagined it would be.

Looking back on everything that has happened I am overwhelmed by the out pouring of positivity, support and love I’ve gotten from all of you. When I started writing online again I wasn’t sure if my past readers would be interested, but you came back! You’re here and your emails, comments, tweets – just knowing you’re reading – has filled me up with so much joy.

Not only are YOU here, but so many new and wonderful friends too. Thank you thank you thank you for joining me on this journey. When I sit down to write here I think of all of you and I smile.

So much has happened over the last 12 months, here are some of the highlights for me:

• Seeing Massive Attack in concert was a life changer for me. I was inspired to do my part to make this world a little better, a little brighter, a little happier. I get to listen to a little bit of Atlas Air every time my phone rings and I often take a dance break in the studio whenever the song comes on the stereo.

• Going to Newfoundland was also a life changer. Saying goodbye to Grandma was so very sad and my eyes still get hot and wet when I remember I can’t hug her anymore. But the trip to the Rock was almost like a gift. Mark and I reconnected with my family and somehow we’re closer than we ever were before – and we’re a really close family. Newfoundland is written all over our future plans and inspired my most recent tattoo.

• Another life changer: being accepted into the entrepreneurship program last April. I had ideas about the business but that course cracked my pottery world wide, wide open. Everything is bigger than I had imagined, bigger and better and more in line with WHO I AM.

• Yet another life changer: It was that course that made me realize that I AM AN ARTIST. And I’ve always been an artist. I just buried that part of me for so long because of what I thought I should be.

• It was also a few very good friends I met in that course who convinced me it wasn’t too late to get my application together for the One Of A Kind Show. Carlin, Charlie, Chris, Marlis & Ramona quashed my doubts, kicked my ass into gear and encouraged me to go for it. And I did. And I was accepted. And I am still over the moon about the fact that I am a One Of A Kind Exhibitor. (Speaking of One Of A Kind – have you seen how much press I’ve been getting because I’m part of the One Of A Kind community? Check out my shiny new Press page.)

• The Olympics. I’m actually surprised I typed that. I am one of the most un-sporty people there is but being in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics was incredible. Joining a throng of people, wandering down Granville Street, all of us spontaneously belting out the national anthem while a street hockey game broke out filled me up with so much Canadian pride. I love this country.

One thing that I hadn’t thought about a year ago, which weirdly caught me by surprise, is that my pottery skills are awesome. There was a time when it would take me weeks to use up a 25 pound bag of clay, now it takes me a few hours and you know what – every time I throw on the wheel I get better and better at what I’m doing. I can bang off 50 Wobbly Shotglasses in half a day (though I won’t do that again).
Melanie Mena at the wheel making pottery
One other thing that has changed that I hadn’t thought about is my body. I am so much stronger now. Throwing pottery is so physical, my arms and my abs need to be strong and stable and they’re more toned than they ever were before.

Plus, my hair is long now, for the first time in 14 years. I swore I’d never grow my hair out again because it would take too long to do in the morning before work. But work shmirk, I make my own schedule now and my hair is long. And I love it. So my hair has changed, my body is healthier, my skin is even better (I think because I have way less stress in my life now) so along with feeling good, I look good.

The months leading up to the launch of this site were a somewhat dark and difficult time. I lost my job, I lost a friendship and it all made me question everything. There was a point when I felt quite lonely but I was wrong to feel that way. When I went through that tough time my family and friends who are spread out from Vancouver to Toronto to St. John’s to New York to London to Sydney all rallied around me to lift me up and get me through to the other side. Then with Colin’s help I launched this site and that opened me up to a whole new world of friends who have supported me in ways I never could have imagined.

When I look back on 2010 the image that pops into my head is a heart filled with so much joy and love.

This has been the best year of my life.

The words “Thank you” don’t feel like enough, but Thank You.

I’m going to continue reflecting on this past year and looking ahead to 2011. I’ve joined the Reverb 10 gang so for every day in December I’ll post my #reverb10 contribution here, on Twitter or on Flickr (or all three!) that’s 31 days straight of straight up me. Which means I’ll be thinking of each of you every day for the next 31 days (and beyond!).