Tag Archives: inspiration

We Remember… 9/11/01

Last summer, I visited the 9/11 Memorial for the first time. Actually experiencing being there was nothing short of amazing- seeing all the names of those we lost, my fingertips gently grazing some of their names while I was silently saying prayers for each of them, hearing the peacefulness and tranquility of the waterfalls; feeling the same emotions strike me that I felt that day -maybe even a tad bit harder by actually being there. I simply could not wrap my head around the fact that people had died right where I was standing, that the streets I was walking through to get there were the same streets that people were running for their lives- struggling to see, to breathe, to live…

These were the very same streets that the Heroes of New York were heading in the opposite direction, towards the buildings, towards the fires, towards the thousands of people who needed them and were counting on them. I cannot even fathom the anguish, the fear, the hopelessness that almost 3000 people felt that day right before they died; the unbearable pain and suffering that their families and friends endured- that they still endure.

Unimaginable.

I was pregnant with my son when I was there last year and I can remember having the painful realization that he was going to learn about 9/11 in a future History class. His generation and the generations to come will not know how each of us felt that fateful day, how we can all remember exactly what we were doing when we heard, how we all ran to put on the news and sat there numb, speechless, paralyzed while we witnessed the 2nd plane hit.

At the time, I was a somewhat sheltered 20-yr-old suburban college student whose biggest problem was what major I was going to declare and which party to attend the following Saturday night. Reality hit me in the face like a ton of bricks- panic slowly setting in with the realization that there are terrifying people in this world who hate America, who hate the Freedom that we stand for, who want to destroy us.

They didn’t though. They deeply wounded us, left us with abysmal scars, whipped us into a cold, hard, dark reality check- there is absolutely no denying that. They knocked us off our hinges for a long while, but we did not break. We did not crumble. United We Stand, strongly and proudly, as we remember those that we lost 13 years ago today. I know all of us live busy, hectic lives but remember to take a minute out of your day today and say a prayer to those that we lost.

Let them know that we remember, and that we will never ever forget…

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The Complications of Love

I wrote this piece 15 years ago and a lot of it still rings true. Though only 19, I seemed to have a lot of opinions on love at the time. Some of it I read now and shake my head, thinking ” you know nothing, little girl” but some of it, I don’t know, I think I captured some real and honest feelings that people feel but don’t come out and say. It’s interesting to think about it regardless, and isn’t that really the point?

The Complications of Love

There are many things I have figured out about love over the past few years. Some I’d like to forget but can’t, and some I hope to never forget but probably will. Life’s funny that way. One thing I know for sure is that love is something we will never figure out completely.

I’ve learned that when two people love each other, one of the two always loves the other more.

I’ve learned that sometimes even when you love someone, there can be someone else in the picture- whether they’re from the past but still engraved in your heart, or in your present- you know- the new guy who magically appears just when  you thought you were quite happy and devoted to your one true love, or the someone else could also be a hypothetical representation of a future;  a feeling that there is something or someone better out there.

I’ve learned that you always go for the one that could do you the most harm. It’s almost twisted and self-destructive. Because wouldn’t it be safer and simpler to go with the one who you know would do anything for you and would love you unconditionally? Sure it would, but there’s no challenge in it. It’s too easy, too boring, and too normal for your taste.

I’ve learned that sometimes in a relationship, the tables turn, and you feel like your world has also turned because before, you had the upper hand, but then it changed out of nowhere, and you are the one whose jaw is left flapping, and you learned too late that what goes around, will always come around.

I’ve learned that you can think your world will stop spinning if your true love left you, that you would die without them. But in the end, you’re still here, and your world is still spinning, and you’re still breathing, and then miraculously, that one you thought you couldn’t live without becomes a memory of a past you can’t even imagine being in now. The person you thought was your whole life becomes someone you hardly think about.

I’ve learned that everyone cheats at some point, whether it’s physical or emotional. You don’t have to be intimate with someone else to make it cheating, that’s the way society may see it but it doesn’t technically have to be true. I also think it could be a way of cheating with your heart, so to speak, when you share a certain glance or when you even think about someone else as a what-if scenario.

I’ve learned that love fools many people; blinds them, hurts them, scars them, even paralyzes them with fear. I’ve learned getting hurt emotionally is a fear that everyone in this world shares and everyone in this world will get their heart broken at least once. What many people don’t realize is that a broken heart will mend in time, just like a broken arm or a leg.  Nothing stays broken forever, it can always be fixed somehow.

I’ve learned that life will go on, that love will come again, and that our worlds will always keep on spinning. Hurt or happy, you’ll always overcome the one thing you thought you never could.

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One Step Forward

” We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” FDR

Where does it fit? Do any of us really know where their puzzle piece of life truly belongs? Do we ever really know for sure if the path that we have taken was the one we were destined to follow?  How will we ever really know  if we don’t surrender to the fear of putting ourselves out there, of reaching for our dreams, of following the path less traveled?

Was it all written in my script that I was given when I took my first breath of this air that keeps whirling me around and around, leading me in so many directions. This direction: safe, secure, normal, content, cozy. That direction: Unknown, Wild, Dangerous, Terrifying. Maybe it’s just the journey, not the destination. I don’t think I know exactly. I just know I don’t want any walls prisoning me.  I just know that in order to really see or be seen, one has to remove the blinders; life’s distorted sunglasses that keep obstructing the desired vision.  Will I go the distance to the other side of the dark? Can my mountain of insecurities be overcome? Will I turn the page to the new level of multicolored dreams awakening me, empowering me, every step of the way?

One step forward.

        Another step further.

No more cracks in the sidewalk. I will achieve the unachievable and I will not look back at footprints that walked over me, at hands that pulled me back, at eyes behind sunglasses that tried to blind me of my strength. 

 You have to be willing to put yourself out there, uncover the layers… take off your sunglasses.  You can’t play hide and seek with the stars forever. I took my sunglasses off and I lost them in the dust when the wind blew. Will you?..

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All that is not said

The Huffington Post's photo.

Sometimes the most talented of people simply can’t handle all they are given, all that they are destined for, all the greatness they were blessed with. Sometimes, they can be surrounded by many, celebrated by millions, loved by all, but the inner demons are so unbearably loud that that is the only sound that could be heard. A great man died today regardless if it was by his own doing or not, it’s still a tragedy all the same . An enormous talent and even bigger personality is no longer among us. Still, what remains is a tremendously wide scope of his various talents that will be forever cherished and treasured. If his death teaches us anything, it’s that even the ones that seem to have it all can still be suffering and going through their own private agony. Don’t assume someone has it all together just because the surface of things appear to be all rainbows and sunshine. 

A wise teacher once told me ” Remaining silent is a weapon used to defend their image” when I voiced concern that I was the only one asking questions or not understanding. She said sometimes my classmates didn’t understand either, but out of fear of looking stupid or fear of speaking up in class, they chose to remain silent and risked getting a bad grade on the assignment just so that they still appeared cool and like they had it all together. SPEAK UP. If you need help, ASK FOR IT. If you need a hand, REACH FOR IT. 

Anne Frank said ” In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”  I agree with Anne Frank. If you believe that too, you’d be surprised at how many people will help you if only you would reach out and ask. You’d be surprised at how many tortured souls we have lost that could have been saved had they just reached out and said the words that needed to be said. Help me. See me. Hear me. Feel me. Love me. Protect me. Save me….

  Speak up. Don’t become a victim of your inner demons and all that is not said.  

 

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Sunday Dinners with Mia Famiglia

Growing up, I missed a lot of  ” Sunday Fundays” with friends; whether they were swimming, hanging out, shopping, whatever. If it was a Sunday, everyone knew where I would be. Sunday was a day for family. All day long. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was an amazing way to grow up. It helped mold me into the person I am today and I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Growing up Italian Catholic meant two things on Sundays:  1) You went to church  and 2) you had Sunday dinner with your entire immediate family. To most, immediate families meant mom, dad, brother, sister, dog, whomever lives in your home, right? Not in our family.  Immediate family meant  my grandparents, aunts, uncles, first cousins, and yeah, even sometimes 2nd and 3rd cousins. And when I say Sunday dinner together, I mean all at one long table.  It doesn’t get any better than that… or any crazier/louder than that either.  The first time my husband who is only a tiny bit Italian came for sunday dinner, he asked why everyone was screaming, and he seriously had a headache the whole night after leaving.  I really didn’t notice what he was referring to!  “That’s just how we talk,”  I said! 

 The smell of sunday dinner is something that will never escape my memory. The smell of fresh warm garlic bread, a fresh batch of  gravy (no, not sauce)  on the stove simmering all day long, creating an aroma that filled your nostrils the second you walked in the door.  Wine was poured, plates were completely filled and you couldn’t leave the table until you finished your plate, oh and the salad was always eaten last.

I was lucky enough to begin life with both sets of grandparents.  That meant church, then going to my paternal grandparents for an early dinner (Italians also eat very early on sundays, usually around 2pm or 3pm) and then heading over to my maternal grandparents for dessert and then cards.  It was never a complete sunday without cards! And you want to talk about loud?  I think we knew every swear word in both Italian and English by the time we were 3!  My family always fought hard,  everything was an argument, but we loved even harder.  Kisses and hugs, food galore, laughter, love, and family, every sunday.  What more can you ask for? 

Unfortunately, Sunday dinners ended early on my paternal side, when I lost my Nani and Papa at a very young age. My Nani first, then my Papa a few years later. The void of losing them that early has still never left me. I was fortunate enough to still have my other grandparents and the Sunday tradition carried on with them  until I was 30 years old, almost 4 years ago. I lost my maternal Nani first,  then my Papa a few years later. History sadly repeating itself.  I’d say that is pretty lucky and pretty damn amazing though to be able to say that every sunday for 30 years, I had the wonderful comfort of knowing that no matter how bad the week was, what was going on in any of our lives, no matter what time of year, no matter who was getting along and who wasn’t, we were together as a family every single Sunday. 

We still carry on the tradition with my real immediate family now at my parents house with my brother and sister and their families and myself, my husband, and my son Matteo.  No, it’s not the same. It’s still loud, it’s still crazy, it’s still filled with love, but it’s just a little quieter,  a little tamer, our hearts are a little heavier with the loss of more and more family members each year. But I will say this, sundays are still for family, we still sit at one long table,  the pasta is still served,  the bread still warm waiting for us, laughter still fills the house from morning to night, and the love for one another is still growing strong. We still know that no matter what, we always have sundays together as a family. I like to think my grandparents are smiling down on us from heaven, clinking their wine glasses together, and still smelling the fine aroma of great food,  love, laughter, and family at every single Sunday Dinner.

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Pursuing the dream(s) : BIG and small

September 2012- Married the man of my dreams and high school crush. Had the Big fat Italian wedding followed by dream honeymoon in Atlantis,Bahamas -CHECK !
February 2014- gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy and named him Matteo, my all-time favorite boys name. CHECK!
To say those two milestones completed my life is an understatement. I was able to believe again. I was able to be whole again, and whole in a way that I never even knew I wasn’t.
Those dreams, small as they may seem to many ambitious others, were as big and imperative as they can get to me. It was all I ever wanted – to be a wife and to be a mother. And they came true! But don’t misunderstand, the road wasn’t an easy one . Our wedding song was ” God bless the broken road that led me straight to you.” It was the most fitting, most perfect way to capture what led my husband and I to each other. Obstacles were always in the way; hard-hitting road blocks deliberately placed to deter me from my dreams.
For starters -a previous relationship that scarred me so bad, I didn’t think I would ever be able to love myself, let alone anyone else ever again. I was a broken person that only my husband could heal. Then after our magical and perfect wedding came a heart-wrenching miscarriage. But then the light shined again and I was pregnant with my angel Matteo. Out of nowhere, two months before I give birth, I find out the company I’ve worked for for 11 years was being sold and I was laid off. I had planned to work there for my whole career. It was a great job and I was going to be able to work from home and raise my baby myself.
The blessing in disguise here was that I had more time to focus on my baby, and more time to finally stop putting off this fear of putting myself out there and daring to pursue my last and final life-long dream: to write. And not just write, but write publicly and not be so intimidated and bound by fear. I continuously have held myself back from putting myself out there and facing the unknown. I have always been a writer. I wrote poetry and wrote in journals since I was a little girl. It’s been my third and final life-long dream to one day write a book of my own, or publish a collection of my poetry, or now in 2014 – create a successful blog career.
No matter what happens, I will know this- that if I am successful or not, I at least made the first brave and raw step of putting my most private thoughts and feelings out there in cyber space for all the world to see. Though that may not make any dream come true, it does contribute to the 2nd dream. I can show my child that you should never give up on your dreams, no matter what obstacles stand in the way, no matter how big or small those dreams may be. The art of it all is to continue to believe, pursue, and never stop dreaming.

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