This story is in loving memory of my Bella, my child, my baby forever. Bella, thank you for giving me the gift of selflessness and unconditional love. I love you forever and every day I kneel down at the feet of Jesus trying to let you go. I try to give you to him, but I can’t. I don’t want to let you go. Maybe writing this will help me set you free. Holy Spirit you are welcome here, please cover the words that I write below, Lord help me to find the words that I have not been able to find in the past three years.
Ever wonder what God looks like?
Close your eyes. I want you to imagine that you are kneeling at the place where you surrender the day to the night, to the place where you safely rest your head to sleep, to the place you trust that you will wake up at tomorrow. Now close your eyes and imagine that you are kneeling for and out of mercy. Whether you are a believer in Christ or not, we have all needed mercy and most likely at one point or another, your soul has whispered to the sky for help without knowing who you were whispering to. Imagine that the pain you feel or have felt has brought you to your knees. Now visualize a desert sandstorm sweeping through the room where you kneel and as the dust gusts and blows against your skin it begins to sift and pierce directly through your body disintegrating every last cell of your flesh. As the dust clears, all that’s left of you is a kneeling skeleton.
Take away your flesh and what’s leftover is your bones. Take away your bones and what’s left of you then? What do you imagine of what’s left of you kneeling in mercy after your bones have turned to ash? Whatever is left, is still kneeling in mercy. You have not moved. You are still in the place where you surrender your day to night, and you are still on your knees. The next time you are in need of mercy, take away your flesh and bones and ask for help with what’s left of you. Take away your clothes because to be in need of mercy is equal to a naked and cold man in need of a blanket. Take away your labels, your idols, your titles, your social media, and your digital coins. After a sandstorm, all that was there before is gone. There is no trace of it. Your flesh and bones are gone – you can no longer carry these things with you. What do you look like now? If you are still there, then Who could be there with you? Think about it.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. – But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:5-6
If you’re new to The Last Gen, I’m Melanie and I’ve been on my knees for the past five years begging for mercy, but my flesh got in the way. There were moments when I thought I was praying, I thought I was hearing God, but what I was hearing was three voices – mine, God’s, and the devil’s. When Eve realized she was naked, she clothed herself. The devil, the enemy, tells me every day that I am disfigured and that my body is more important than my soul. On my knees I covered myself, I never truly sat with God- just me without all the stuff I was layering on my flesh and on my bones. I was ashamed to be naked in front of God, because what if He saw me for what I am?
In 2016 I dreamt up this website The Last Gen and deeply desired building something using all my talents and with my voice. I felt called to challenge the status quo and write on topics that no one at the time was discussing, which was the apocalypse of current social media-hypersexual-swipe-like-block culture and the dying breed of ‘The Last Generation.’ I defined The Last Generation as those who were born at a time when you still had to write with your hands because you had to, still had to look someone in the eyes because you had to, you still had to imagine before googling it, and there are so many other things that you were the last to have to do. But The Last Generation is also the first to experience a world where technology has progressed faster than ever before in human civilization. It’s both magical and a nightmare. Our brains have never been bombarded with so much information all at once. We are both first and last gen devices, we won’t know the long-term effects until we crash. The Last Generation is a dying breed, there will never be another generation like this last one.
The Last Gen’s vibe was to find the beauty and light in all things apocalyptic. We thought it was the end of times, but we were wrong. The meaning of the word “apocalypse” is not the end of times, but rather ‘an unveiling of something.’ In the bible, The Book of Revelation is called the Apocalypse of John, Revelation to John or Revelation of Jesus Christ. When something is unveiled to you, it changes you forever and thus it is the end of the time of who you were before. That is an apocalypse and The Last Gen had an apocalypse.
In 2017 something happened and it’s a story that I have never truly told anyone until recently. Only God knows the awful bloody details, literally and physically bloody details, because there are still things and truths about what happened that I struggle to face myself. My flesh was damaged beyond repair. In a world where your looks matter more than ever and likes are a form of currency and worthiness, I tried to change something about myself, and not only did I almost lose my life but I THOUGHT I lost everything I had. I did change something about myself. The entire course of my life and my being changed because of this. Until right now, as I write, for the first time I am going to change my language and the narrative of this story. I thought I lost my dreams, I thought I lost every friend I had, I thought I lost my family, I thought I lost my innocence and I thought I lost time. But I was wrong. God redeems time. God redeems innocence and dreams. God is the only one Who can do this.
I read a meme that moved me. It said, “You’re a dangerous person if you go through things alone and come back better.” I thought I was alone, and for years I bathed in the idea of being a hero in the dark like batman. But every time I tried to give myself credit for small victories, my pride was struck down by the Joker with more failures. I was living in an illusion while I was falling deeper into a pit of darkness. Gotham city has a femme fatale gleam of romance, but in reality, it’s not reality. I am here right now because I wasn’t alone. For four years almost no one knew what happened. No one knew I had eleven reconstructive surgeries on my body, no one knew but God and Bella. I thought I was alone, but I had them. I am here because of them and I continue to be here for them and to give this pain a purpose.
Here and back again, a broken woman’s tale of her unveiling of Christ. In 2017, I hadn’t prayed since I was a child. While that third voice, the devil’s tried to take my life, I fell to my knees and made a deal with God. They say God doesn’t make deals, but maybe He cut me some slack. I said, “I have nothing left but these talents you gave me. If you help me create The Last Gen, I will tell everyone it was You. I will give you all the glory and credit for everything. Show me you are real.” I would have taken my life had He not come through. You are here experiencing this article right now because He made it happen and He is real. The only word I have for what happened after I fell to my knees in mercy is ‘miracle’. The miracles God performed could have only been written by God as I never could have imagined what happened next. God lead me to church.
A couple at my gym invited me to go to church with them and I had passed on it many times. One, I called my gym my church – Gold’s Gym Venice to be exact and it’s also known as The Mecca. And two, I didn’t feel that it was for me. I felt I could talk to God on my own but I was suffering and I was very lonely. What had happened to me was a secret for years and not even my family knew what was going on because I did not speak with them. I wrote a story called “A Good Family, You’re Undateable Without One.” I deeply feared that a man could never love me because I didn’t have a family. I’ve always dreamt of being a mom and building my own family, but mine was broken, shattered into a million pieces really.
One random Thursday night, I found the courage to show up and go to this church and that sealed the deal. God spoke right through that pastor’s mouth and straight to me. He yelled word for word, “If you are going through something alone, know you can’t. It will eat away at every part of you until there is nothing left. Things will get worse and worse until you surrender to God and until you welcome people into your life. Talk to the people that love you. Tell them what you are going through. You cannot go through this alone.” That night I called my dad crying and asked him to come to my place because I needed to tell him something in person. The next day he drove four hours to me and had a blank check with him thinking I was pregnant. Oh, how I wish I could have told him that over what I had to tell him, which was the truth. This was the beginning chapter of opening up to everyone I loved.
As my faith grew and I continued to seek Jesus and go to church, very quickly things began to change. Very quickly! The only way I know to describe it is that God began to wash me clean. He not only saved my life, but He repaired my flesh, my physical flesh. I have battle scars and my body will never be the same, but what he did is nothing short of many miracles. I hadn’t spoken to my mother in four years and one night God gave me a dream that my mother was dying. In that dream I was buried in a coffin and dirt was packed over me and I couldn’t get out to see my mother and say goodbye. When I woke, I emailed her and wrote, “Mom, I had a dream that you were dying. Please don’t die before letting me say goodbye.” That week I got a call telling me that my mother was in the hospital. I drove to see her and my mom was dying. She was unable to talk, but if she could she would have been speechless seeing me. There are no words for the release of pain I had seen her. Within a half-hour of me arriving at the hospital, my mom began to fade and her heartbeat stopped. The nurses made me leave the room as they attempted to revive her with a defibrillator. I could hear the pounding shocks again and again. Then there was complete silence. Out of that silence, my mom screamed and she screamed a scream of death. There are no words for this scream, but where there is breath, there is life. She was revived. My mom is still alive today and it’s taken a lot of patience and forgiveness to rebuild our relationship, but you only get one mother and God showed me this in that dream. My mom did see a light and I believe God redeemed time for both my mother and I.
The next miracle God performed was Harrison. The story of my brother and I is a story I once wrote about and it had a definite ending. My brother’s name is not Harrison if you’re wondering. Writing that story here in The Last Gen was my closure that we would never speak again and that I didn’t have a brother. I thought I was at peace that it was what it was, which was that it was nothing, we were nothing. The thing about my brother is I think I love him more than anyone in the world. From the age of 16 to 32, I had maybe seen my brother seven times and each time was heartbreaking for many reasons. No matter how much time passed, he has always been the one person in the world that I love unconditionally. We both went through some shit and things got hard and time went by and he started a beautiful life of his own. I figured I was forgotten. The day Harrison was born, God gave me the message. Harrison is my brother’s son. When God told me about Harrison, I looked on Instagram to confirm the message and it was true. All the pain and anger I had just went away, it was like sand blowing away in the wind and suddenly the air was clear and the skies were blue. In January 2021, I reached out to my brother through a text message for the first time in maybe ten years congratulating him on the birth of his son and the text bounced as I no longer had his number. Days later my brother texted me inviting me to his house to meet Harrison. I jumped in my car as fast as I could. Three hours later and a car ride of me balling my eyes out harder than I have ever cried in my life – God introduced me to a miracle I could have never ever imagined. To my brother, if you are listening to this because I know you don’t read – I am so proud to be your sister and I love you. You were absolutely born with a purpose.
God has shown me what it’s like to dream again, but “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” John 10:10
At the start of 2022, the thief, the enemy, the devil- I allowed that demon to come in the night and beat me up pretty good by leaving my doors unlocked. What I mean by this is although I practice extreme gratitude daily, I had stopped really truly praying, I had stopped trying to further seek God and stopped going to church, I had stopped kneeling down before His feet and thus when things got hard I was easy pickings for a break-in. Right now I am currently going through a season of loss and am back on my knees praying for mercy. The enemy blindfolded me and fed lies telling me that I was a loser, that I no longer had time, that I was old and ugly and deformed, and that I’d be better off unlive. Yes, those exact words have come out of my mouth when referring to myself. I’ve lost sight of God’s miracles. He healed me and yet when things began to fall apart in my life I began to give up on Him and doubt everything that He has done for me.
In this season of loss, all I’ve been able to see is the loss when so many beautiful things were happening around me. I lost my job that I felt completely trapped in, but I couldn’t see that now I am free. I can start to do the things that I love again, including The Last Gen. I lost the only home I had ever known to greedy blood relatives- but I couldn’t see that my home is my family and I have them back. I lost my 97-year-old grandmother that helped raise me. She died in a terrible way and I keep saying her dignity was stolen in the end, but my grandmother’s faith was unshakable. You cannot steal God from someone and God would never allow her dignity to be stolen. I lost half my hair from covid, but it will grow back and I was blessed with a lot of hair. I am having devastating issues with my physical eyes, but I still have my site and I know God will work on my eyes. I lost $9k worth of camera equipment that I at one point in my life I wouldn’t have been able to pay my rent without, but I have money right now to pay my rent and it’s all replaceable. I lost my mother’s ring which meant the world to me, but it is a reminder that I have not lost my mother. I lost a nice guy, a man of God, a man that embodied the characteristics that I had asked God for but the truth is I never really had him because he belongs to God so I didn’t lose him. And I probably wouldn’t be writing this had he not shown me the kindness that he did. And lastly, I lost Bella and with this – all I feel is loss and pain. My heart is broken and I am angry. Bella was with me from 16 to now, I am 33. Without Bella, I would not be here today. I would be dead and in the ground. When I had no reason, Bella was my reason to wake up. Bella was and is and always will be grace and mercy. She feels like a dream. When I look at photos of her, it’s hard for me to believe she was real. Every morning and night I fall to my knees at my bed and I try to give her to Jesus. Sometimes He’s holding her and she’s sleeping so deeply, but I can’t allow Him to walk away. I am ashamed to say, sometimes I try to give her to Him, but then I question what am I doing – what if He’s not real and this is all just wishful thinking? I want her back. I would do anything to have her back, but I know Bella was not with me all these years to be angry about her life. So fuck that thief. I will fight that thief until he is silenced and out of my head. I will not let that thief touch my heart.
I’m ashamed to have been lifted so high to fall so far. In 2019 I wrote an article called “Ultimate Self. To become a Warrior, you must die first.” It was a story about my death, but it wasn’t the full story. The Last Gen was created with an alter ego of a girl that was healed, but it was a lie I told myself to keep surviving. I am dreaming again and I dream The Last Gen will be what she was always destined to be – a place where I could give God all His glory and to be an unlikely reader’s light in the dark.
Please do not judge me for what was once written here in The Last Gen before. There is a lot of anger and confusion in my previous articles in which I am ashamed. I ask anyone that I’ve hurt through my words to forgive me. I used to say this site was my rap album, an art exhibition – but if it’s a rap album then it’s a gospel rap album in the making and my safe space to seek redemption. Yes, I still love Kanye more than Kanye loves Kanye.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness” Matthew 6:22-23
There is a purpose to everything. I’m trying to find my life by laying it down. This is my truth, my reset. I’m trying to clear the noise. I pray God work’s on my eyes and wakes me up from this sleep of darkness and brings me back into the world of dreams. I pray for the future that lies beyond the stars. The Holy Spirit you are welcome here, at The Last Gen.
Please bear with The Last Gen as we (me and God cuz we a team) go through an entirely new design process that showcases not only God’s light, but that small glimmer of hope I have left. Last week as I cried to my brother on Google video chat, he told me to write down a six-month goal and a year goal. I wrote down The Last Gen and it made her real again. My brother said, “Don’t try to make everything perfect. Just put it out there and keep making new things.” So instead of rushing to redesign this site, I am going to be patient, gentle, and work with what feels right in time. Instead of hiding all my old work, I’m going to leave it there, for now, let it be a testimony that people can change. My grammar and excessive use of commas are perfect of course. 😉
I ask that everyone pray that my trademark for The Last Gen goes through. All these years I never trademarked The Last Gen and God, again and again, told me to. Just a few months ago someone started to use the name and my discernment reveals things that I must lay down to God and give it to Him. This website means the world to me and I pray God protects it.
To end, I was never alone. It wasn’t just God and Bella. There are beautiful creatures I met along the way that have forever changed my heart and shown me more mercy and love than I deserve.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from writing in The Last Gen, one of the biggest lessons is to never write about someone unless you are willing to lose them. So in this next chapter of The Last Gen, I will not only be protecting my peace and my privacy, but I will be protecting the ones I love. So instead of naming their names, I will find other ways to express who these people are in my life. There is my biggest fan, the harp serenading reptile man, who I know God placed in my life 15 years ago to be the first reader of The Last Gen and to be one of my best dream friends today. There is that girl far far away who is nothing short of an angel, whose faith is unshakeable, whose testimony is written, whose loyalty goes beyond this world, and whose heart as pure as they come. I love you both. There are so many more dream friends to name including the boy from Philly who is the toy designing motorcycle riding guy next door who when I’m down makes me laugh so hard it hurts, the reggaeton lady who cares for everyone and whose mom makes the best enchiladas in the world, the Latin pop star, my surgeon, the artist on the island, the badass chick with the two dogs down the street, and with the really nice guy that prayed with me – you are all my angels and my miracles.
Again, imagine you are kneeling at your bed without your flesh and without your bones. What’s left? That’s what He looks like too.
This one was for you Bella. I love you and I miss you.
February 14, 2006 to January 15, 2022