DR. MEL'S MESSAGE - From my novels to my other projects, no telling what you will read. This is the only place you will get to read about how I developed a screenplay into a novel and what is the driving force. I will talk about many things from films to books to acting to producing. It really will depend on where my mind takes me. I hope you will join me on this journey.
The My Life As A Woman Project Initiative travels around the globe to explore the resilience, strength, and true power of women throughout the world. Having every woman's voice heard or read in some way is important because it is women who continue to remind us of our humanity, to love our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, and ourselves. From women all over the world, these are the stories from women, by women, for women, to men and women, about their lives and messages to all the women in the world. Born out of an idea during the COVID-19 quarantine, this project seeks to understand the challenges and successes of women in their everyday lives. The book provides a glimpse into the lives of women from different backgrounds to understand what women around the world have been through, what they are going through, how they overcame their struggles and challenges, to enter into a world where they finally feel successful and comfortable in their own skin. The book explores various countries such as North Korea, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Palestine, China, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Ethiopia, the United States, and many more. Where we could find women who were willing to share their story, we wanted their voice to be heard, their story to be read, and many women, who do not enjoy the privileges of free speech came forward to share their stories. Under the circumstances and a very unique situation, during the COVID-19 quarantine and lockdown, I realized almost every woman on the planet was at home. This was the perfect time to do this and probably the only time it would ever really be possible for me and them to reply so fast. Asking random women around the world to open up about their lives was very nerve-wracking for me, but I had contacted Valerie first, whom I had worked with before, and I explained the project idea to her, not even sure if she understood what I was asking of her. I had no idea where this project could go, and I just told her to write what was in her heart, and once I received the article from her, it would be Valerie, an African woman from Nigeria, that would lead the way for the potential of this project. "A Nigerian woman іѕ lіkе a rose growing out оf concrete. Wе are ѕtrоng, rеѕіlіеnt, hardworking, kind, resourceful, fаѕhіоnаblе amongst mаnу оthеr thіngѕ." - Valerie on Nigerian Women As soon I saw this passage, I knew what this project would be, and I provided the guidelines for how the women should write, although they were given the complete creative freedom to write as their story however they pleased, as long as they shared a glimpse into their lives. And soon, so many other women began to back the project once I told them about it and they were the ones who have made this all completely possible. Due to the nature of the subject, this project did not involve any women that I knew personally. To get the voices of these women, I never physically left my home, but I spoke to many of them first-hand through the Internet to earn their trust and share the reasons why this project initiative needed to happen and why it was important for the world, especially in 2020, to understand why women, now more than ever, can no longer remain silent in a world full of corruption, greed, suffering, hunger, and pain, as many of these women have witnessed firsthand and are still observing on a daily basis .It was not easy to convince every woman that she should be a part of this project. Many women were skeptical, and of course, women have every reason to be for the way the world has treated them. Fortunately, I do try to do more good than evil in this world, and they understood what I was trying to do. The message from women is clear: Women are Resilient. Women Are Strong. Women Are Powerful.
This is a great book, here you can find a lot of different stories of women living all over the world. It’s amazing to see how a human being called ‘woman’ can be so strong, purposeful and unbroken. You can learn a lot by reading this great book, it was something I needed after these hard months. Also a thing I liked a lot was that in the end of every story there were advices, how to bear all the difficulties that life gives us.
Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up,
where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the
My name is Matthew Gates,
not related to Bill at all, but sometimes I wonder if my parents are lying to
me. I grew up in New Jersey, born in the mid-Northern part of the state and
then mostly residing at the Jersey Shore. I went to Ocean County College and
Loyola University Chicago, where I studied psychology with some hints of
philosophy, theology, and even criminology thrown into the mix. I never dreamed,
nor has it even hit me, that I am a published author. I run a blog at https://confessionsoftheprofessions.com,
influenced heavily by my love of social and industrial-organizational psychology.
Confessions of the Professions is a website that focuses on jobs,
careers, and the workplace. Its importance in my life, since 2013, is that it
has largely shaped every part without me even realizing it. From my career in
web design to my understanding of SEO and marketing, and storytelling. It gave
me the confidence to believe that an invisible audience was actually reading.
I was also receiving over a hundred emails a month from marketing agencies,
freelance authors, research departments at universities, startups, and big
corporations were emailing me, asking me if I would be interested in publishing
their article. I published everything for free, only taking donations or
charging rush fees to support the website, building up funds, and saving those
for a rainy day. The justification that real people are on the other end,
reading your thoughts, ideas, and researched facts or opinions, means that
people are interested in what you are doing in your own life. It’s fascinating
to think that your website, something you built and came up with on your own,
is a part of their daily life as well.
Besides my website, I am a son, a brother, a husband, a stepfather, a cousin, a
friend, and so much more to many people. I work as a web designer and web developer
for a living. I do love traveling, hiking, biking, and swimming in my free
time. I am often working one of my jobs, running my business, or coming up with
a new project idea if I’m not already working on something.
Although I am an introvert with some social tendencies, I do enjoy meeting new
people. I love trying new foods and experiencing new cultures. I am a dreamer.
I do dream of changing the world someday, even if in a small positive way.
In speaking about
Confessions of the Professions and its profound influence on every aspect of my
life, I would come up with a personal project every year for my website. This
project was to think about something that would make people want to read or
visit my blog. The first year, I opened up the blog to accept more voices
besides my own. The second year, I began adding infographics to the website,
and so on and so forth. Last year, I introduced ONET Insights, which provides
you with a ton of job information and data.
During March and April of 2020, as COVID-19 was becoming a reality to us all, I
began a new project of collecting stories on Fiverr. And I knew exactly what
story I wanted, a story straight out of Wuhan, and fortunately for me, the very
first woman I hired to write a COVID-19 story happened to be from there. It was
fascinating to read her thoughts and what she was doing just before COVID hit
and what she was doing after, as China was already beginning to relax its
Reading her story, I wondered what other women’s lives were like in China at
first. Then all around the world. I looked at the list of countries on Fiverr
and thought about reaching out to a woman in every country? How could I
actually afford this? It was going to be costly. Well, it was Fiverr, and most
women were looking for work during COVID-19. So... I went for it. And the idea
for the My Life As A Woman Project Initiative was born, which resulted
in a book, My Life As A Woman: World Edition, available on Amazon.com.
Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
When coming up with a
project name, I had already had it in my head the book was about women, so it
just came naturally to me, “My Life As A Woman,” as explained by women from all
around the world. So when it came to a book cover, I looked for something very
specific, very unique. I didn’t want it to be like anything else or copied from
somewhere. I figured I’d keep the entire project on Fiverr, utilizing every
Fiverr resource I could possibly use.
I went to the Graphic Design section, and I saw it immediately. I did scan
about 50 more pages, to be sure, but he was already on the first page. Later
on, I realized that they don’t always keep the same people on the first page,
or at least, maybe it was my sort order, but I had to search for him again this
time to find him. Here is his URL: https://www.fiverr.com/mr_asfandyar778
I asked him if he was ready to take on such a project. He assured me he could
do it. What drew me to his illustration was that he is one of the few artists
who focus on people’s faces, where you can actually see the eyes of the women
on the book cover. Many other artists will draw a shape of a face or a funny
face, but his were just very mesmerizing.
He charged me a very fair price and sent back his first revision a few days
later. I had only given him an idea: “I want women on it who are leading
somewhere, like a revolution. I want a least seven women. Maybe it can be on a
map? Maybe in front of a bunch of buildings from around the world?” His first
revision began the idea of the women on Earth’s map.
My idea of this illustration was that it would portray real women in a modern
world as women look today. I wanted it as realistic and beautiful as possible.
I wanted to show as much detail as possible but only provide subtle hints into
these women’s lives, making you curious to know each of them. Or why I chose
those specific women on the map, which I had my reasons for doing so.
But there was a big issue I faced: being from Pakistan, his portrayal of women
was very stereotypical. And this is where I began collaborating with him on
every aspect. I wanted him to take it very seriously because he and I could not
afford to have our reputations destroyed by ruining the “Image of Women.”
When I explained to him the severity of his reputation being on a very thin
line because we did not want to offend the women of the world, he and I worked
tirelessly through ten revisions to get it perfect. Perfection!
Who has been the most
significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
There is a combination of
things that force me to write, but I would say the most obvious one is my job.
And the “who” is the team of people I work with, who all have their own
personalities, including and especially my wife, who I have been working with
for the past decade. I work for a great company, don’t get me wrong! I love my
job! I love where I work! I love the people! But there are always issues
surrounding the workplace that aren’t always apparent, and it is those issues
that often can make or break your dream job.
My life has been an intertwining circle that goes back to even before my
website, probably back to my college experiences, where I got to collect some
knowledge for my love of psychology. I met some amazing people in college, then
moved to Israel and lived there for a year, where I gained so much knowledge
about my own culture and learned what I loved to do and what I did not love
doing, to coming back home because of my student loans, to landing my first job
out of college, working for a tyrant, yet wise boss who taught me how to
analyze and monetize, and then meeting my wife at that very same job, who
sparked confidence in me to know I had a gift, or many, as I’ve been
discovering, to getting a job working for the media, and becoming exposed to
real marketing techniques and companies out there that dedicate their
livelihoods to marketing and networking.
For me to single out a single person who has been a significant influence on
me, I can’t point out just one name, though I will say that my mother is
probably my most significant influence. From her penmanship to her words to her
actions, my mom was the first woman I knew, the first woman I saw, the first
woman I fell in love with, and the first woman I loved. And because of my
mother, this book is a gift she has given to the world because of her actions
in raising me and discovering who I am and my purpose.
But everyone who has been in my life.. who bothered to know me, even if for a
few brief moments, is some type of influence on me.
What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get
this book written?
There were quite a few
challenges when writing this book. To be honest, I thought obtaining the
stories from a woman in every country on Fiverr was going to be a piece of
cake, and for the most part, it really was! The issues began when my credit
card company and PayPal started noticing some very high expenditures. You see,
I already had funds from Confessions of the Professions, as well as some money
I had saved up for a vacation, which helped fund a big part of the project in
the beginning. To the best of my knowledge and ability, every woman was
compensated with money for her story and her time. Just a few women donated
their stories and would not accept any payment because they believed that this
book needed to happen, no matter what.
Each company blamed the other, but none could pinpoint the exact problem of why
my accounts were being flagged, when I even called all companies to let them
know what I was doing and how much I would probably be spending. Their own
systems were flagging, and despite their “exclusions” they added to my account.
It was a total of about four to six times that I was locked out and prevented
from using my credit cards. Fortunately, we got through it without too much
incident or suspicion.
Another obstacle faced was actually getting women on board for the project.
Where women were not available, I had to hire men to help me, and any women who
completed their stories, I’d ask if they could help me find someone in the
surrounding countries, as they might have someone in their own network such as
friends or family. My team and I asked over 1,500 women if they wanted to
participate in this project, offered compensation and anonymity, and about 550
Finally, there was the Fiverr obstacle itself. Talking to over 600 women on
Fiverr personally, it is bound to set off red flags, and if I didn’t offend at
least one or two women along the way, well, what kind of man would I be? So it
was bound to happen that a woman or a man might report me for saying something
wrong to them or them taking it the wrong way.
your readers about your book.
My Life As A Woman: World
is just the entire edition of a book of many editions of stories about women in
the world from every country on Earth, from every background imaginable, with
every unique walk of life. We reached out to over 1500 women, and we obtained
530 stories from 201 countries and at least a hundred or so remote islands.
Inspired by a woman in Wuhan China, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I sought out
to hire my first woman to tell her story, not knowing what she would even be
writing about, but she happened to be a woman I had hired only once before, a
woman, named Valerie, in Nigeria. The significance of such a move on my part,
not even realizing it, is the fact that it wouldn’t be too hard to ask you to
believe that human beings all originated in Africa. Thus, making it authentic
that a woman from Africa was the first to tell her story.
Valerie had the hardest job of all, because she had to tell her story without
any guidelines. From her story, I knew what guidelines I could have the women
follow. These guidelines included telling me several key points:
- Where were you born?
- How did you grow up?
- Who influenced you?
- What were some of your dreams and goals?
- What struggles and obstacles did you face?
- What are you currently studying?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What advice do you have for women around the world?
The goal was to collect a story from one woman in every country. The adventure
arose when I realized I could not just ask one woman from each country.
Although COVID-19 helped women become more available, as we were in quarantine
lockdown, many women were out of work, and looking for work, so what better way
than to turn to Fiverr and write? And so, that is the book in a nutshell.
That is just one part of the book, as I take you on my adventure, conducted and
written mostly from my backyard. You get to learn about these women as well. I
struggled, and I faced unforeseen forces that helped me and hindered me. It was
as if the universe wanted me to get the voice of a woman from every country on
the planet into a book, yet life was throwing a lot at me at the same time. I
kept ongoing, struggling, but pushed on through, even when I was feeling
defeated. Isn’t that what women do, too? I knew I could not give up on this
What you get out of the book is a story beyond just a story, but a story of
stories and stories within stories, of generations of wisdom, from women around
I want to say my target
audience is women, and that is just a given, isn’t it? Or maybe this book is
for men? When writing this book, I took care to ensure that there was a very
fair balance of feminism within this book. It is not extreme, nor is it an
overpowering sense of feminism. In fact, hardly any of the women in the book
mention that their cause for doing anything was feminism. This book is not a
book that hates men at all or blames any gender. This book, is in fact, an
honorary celebration of all the women in the world who have ever lived, who are
living, and who will be living.
This book is for both men and women. But if you really want to know who this
book is for, then let’s dive into why it needed to be written so you can
understand who the target audience is. Remember, we asked over 1500 women if
they wanted to join, provided anonymity and compensation, yet many still said
no. Is this why the world is still the way it is? Is the world okay for women
now? Some of the stories in this book say otherwise.
So, who are the women who joined this book project? They are the rebels. They
are the women who don’t say no. These are the women who want to see change in
the world. They are the ones who see something wrong, and they change it. They
see something, and they want to improve upon it. They are the game-changers,
the ones who stand up and fight, the ones who get back up when knocked down
because they can’t be told no. They are the ones who saw what needed to be
changed in the world, and they changed it. They made a difference in the world.
They are the ones who joined this project to share their stories with you.
Who are these women, and aren’t they your best friends? These are the women who
will keep you out of trouble, tell you that you can make that money, be who you
want, do what you want, live where you want, and dream up anything you want and
make it happen. These are your girls, your ladies, your women. These are the
women who keep you on track. The ones who see you struggling to raise your
child, but tell you it’s going to be okay, that you’re going to make it, you’re
going to be someone, you are someone, and you’re not only the best mother ever,
but you’re the best friend, the best sister, the best mother, the best
daughter, the best cousin, the best wife, the best friend, the best woman, the
best everything. You deserve that in your life, don’t you? So... when you ask
who my target audience is... are you among these women? If not, tag.
What do you consider your
greatest success in life?
My greatest success in
life is probably achieving all my goals, while dreaming about all my goals.
There are, of course, some things I was unable to achieve. Whether it was a
love lost… an opportunity that never got to be, selling off a stock too soon,
or just being in the wrong place at the right time or the right place at the
wrong time... there is always a chance for anything to happen in your life. You
have to want it and go for it. The opportunity to obtain a story from every
woman on the planet was a glimpse of a moment that was seized. If I had done
this just a month earlier or a month later, I do not think any of this would
have been as possible or went down the way it did. While there were some
issues, I’d say overall; it was a great project.
You must notice the moments and either take the risk or don’t. Either way, life
is going to happen with or without you. Get your answer and move on. Live
happily by always living in the moment. I’d say if I had to choose one moment
of success: it was the moment I earned a penny. The story behind that is: I had
been working at a job for three years and had only gotten maybe one raise
because of the site I was working at as a security officer. I asked for another
“base pay raise.” I was hoping for $1 for my loyalty to the company. I realized
my company had none to me.
The boss said, “I’ll see what I can do for you.” Two weeks later, payday, my
paycheck has a penny raise in it. I called my boss up and asked him about it.
He said, “It must’ve been a glitch.” I said, “The fact that after three years,
my paycheck never went up, except once, and now it goes up just a penny means
you control the amount I get. And a penny is what you think I deserve.” I didn’t
quit that day. Instead, I went to college, and I studied on company time, while
they paid me to go to college.
That spawned everything that is now my life. If none of my life went down the
way it did, this book, My Life As A Woman: World Edition, would have never
What one unique thing sets
you apart from other writers in your genre?
Uniqueness. We all have
it, don’t we? We’re all special in our own way. The one thing that sets us all
apart from everyone is ourselves. The scary thing about life is having to move
on and end relationships in order to create new ones. The scary thing about
death is having to forget the life you lived in order to live new ones. When
you realize that you are every woman in this book, you will understand your
purpose in life.
I’d get this question: “Why is a man writing a book about women?” To which I
can only respond, “Why not?” I find women fascinating. I love women. I love the
women who make me think of my mother. I love the women who make me think of my
crush. I love the women who just make me think. I’m not going to lie and tell
you I understand women completely. I get women. I understand a lot of the
story. I’m a man. I can never know the pain of childbirth or even the fear of
Something I think sets me apart from everyone else is my ability to think in
long-term consciousness for humanity. In other words, I saw this as a project
that could help humans to hear from women, to read from women, to know from
women, to obtain wisdom from women all over the world. I reached out to several
women’s prisons to see if I could offer donations of this book. They are still
women in prison, regardless of the crimes they committed, so giving them a little
bit of hope, to spark some humanity back into them, just to know, even
incarcerated, they can still make changes in the world or in themselves. Maybe
hearing from other women, they will continue to have hope. I am honored the
Appalachian Prison Book Project accepted my donation because if you can change
the life of one woman in a positive way, you’ve changed the lives of an entire
I had been accused of wanting to write this book, so I could take advantage of
so many women. I had received these comments from both men and women. It was
quite hurtful. Every chance I get, most of the proceeds often go towards
funding projects that further the message of these women in the book; thus,
these women and I are always working together to help other women out in the
world who need women to help them. This is a book for women, by women, to
women. This is the My Life As A Woman Project Initiative, and within it…
is a world of knowledge and experience that every man and woman could use at
one point in their life or another. This book is our gift to the world. May it
inspire your ambitions.