She knows the human heart and how to read the stars

I’ve wanted to post new content on here for the past couple of weeks but every time I start writing something, I abandon it halfway through and ultimately delete it. The last thing I attempted putting together died a horrible death after I had written three whole paragraphs. I’m not entirely certain what happened, but I suspect my despondent mood had a lot to do with it.

The trouble is this: when I’m not feeling my best or my most confident, the words just don’t come out. Or, if they do, they tumble out of my brain and land on the page haphazardly and every which way. When I read them back, hoping to hit the “Publish” button, they make absolutely zero sense. Rather than spend the next three-and-a-half hours – perhaps even four hours – editing these random sentences down to a post that is relatively coherent, I just end up trashing it. It’s easier that way.

I don’t want to come off as permanently joyless and dry-as-a-raisin, but the past six months have been absolutely horrible ones for me. Things were looking up in April/May but promptly fell to the ground straight after in June and I haven’t completely recovered from that. Yes, my grandmother died and yes, the apartment I purchased four years ago got delayed again (for a third time) and yes, a romantic relationship that I had hoped would blossom into something more lasting faltered. All this, plus I had to forego seeing my best friend in the UK when I was forced to cancel the trip to London I had started planning back in Autumn 2016. I haven’t seen Katie for over two years. Let me repeat myself: she’s my BEST FRIEND. Can you imagine not seeing your bestie for more than two years? Worse, can you imagine having planned a trip to see her and then, at the last minute, having to cancel that trip while your grandmother lay dying in a hospital bed?

No, I thought not.

All this … this is precisely why my mood level has been below zero recently. And do you know what? I have no idea how to fix it. At this point, I don’t even care anymore – I don’t give enough fucks to rectify the situation. I’m just gonna sit here – or lie down – and wait for something to change. Wait for someone else to come my way (preferably brandishing a bunch of red roses and a Chapters/Indigo gift card worth $2,000) to take this incessant ache in my chest away. Imma wait right here. You carry on.

And everyone who’s been posting about #InternationalKissingDay on social media can go fuck right off.

Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over

Nonna noun (among Italian speakers) a person’s grandmother

Nonna died just under a week ago. You know what I’m gonna miss most of all? Her laugh. No wait! The sound of her voice when she yelled at me. No, really. Her voice was a fucking work of art – high pitched, searing, and unbelievably comical all at the same time. As I grew older, I couldn’t help laughing hysterically every time I heard her yelling (and that just made her yell even more – with a certain naughty glint in her eye ’cause she knew I secretly enjoyed it).

I’m going to miss all the Chapman’s Neopolitan ice cream she used to feed me (the one that came in the big rectangular cardboard box) and all the glasses of full fat homo milk she used to force down my throat. Who even drinks homo milk anymore?! Come to think of it, maybe all that homo milk is what triggered the dairy allergy that came to plague me in my late 20s. Way to go, Ma.

All those years we spent Christmas Eve at her and my Nonno’s house when I was growing up will forever be some of the best days of my life. My Dad’s side of the family would all congregate at my grandparents’ house for Christmas Eve dinner and present-opening every single year without fail until my Nonno died ten years ago and it got to be too much for just my Nonna to host on her own. I will never forget how excited I used to get during the car rides over there – I literally used to bounce up and down in the backseat from the moment we pulled out of our garage to the moment we rolled up my grandparents’ uphill driveway.

My Nonna taught me it was okay to want to be on my own. There’s no shame in wanting some quiet time for yourself and for wanting everyone else to go away for a little while. In one of the last conversations I had with her, she told me that it’s not worth it to settle. Don’t settle down with the wrong person and start a family just to say “I did it.” She’s actually one of the main reasons why I finally decided to start travelling solo. She’s the one who spoke no nonsense and always gave it to me straight, no matter if the truth was harsh or disappointing. That’s what life is after all – it’s not always rainbows and butterflies (no matter how much Mariah Carey tells us it is). It’s pain, it’s struggle, it’s hope, it’s effort, it’s joy, it’s perfection, but fuck it’s HARD.

What would she say to me now, now that she’s resting and is (finally) at peace? Would she say she forgave me for ruining her flowerbed all those years ago when I didn’t know any better? Would she tell me how much she admired my pluck and nerve when I sang along (super-loudly) to George Michael’s I Want Your Sex in Venezuela when I was all of six years old? Trust me, my family still talks about it.

I think she’d be proud of me – well, she was always proud of me – but I think she’d be particularly proud of how I handled her death. I didn’t cry, I didn’t break down, I kept it together at her wake and at the funeral, I stoically stood beside my sister while she spoke the eulogy and I wrapped my arms around my cousin as she quietly wept at the cemetery. I offered hugs and encouragement to anyone who needed them and I stood by my father as he watched his mother’s coffin slide inside the vault, right beside my Nonno’s coffin that had been placed there a decade ago.

This is not me tooting my own horn. Rather, this is me attributing all of my compassion, my backbone, and my ability to care for others to my Nonna. From my youngest days to my oldest, she was there. No matter how many sofa cushions my cousins and I used to build a fort in her living room, Nonna never got mad. She would hand us some more pillows and drape a blanket over us, making sure we were happy, warm, and staying out of trouble. She raised us right. Her way.

Thanks Ma xo