My life has taken many twists, turns and paths. I started off a great student then became a very bad student. I have also been a mediocre and Straight A student. My personality, though steady, has been influenced in the past by friends, boy friends and family. My core has always been someone who would rather be alone with a book than the gregarious, social personality that shows more than the book person.
I never did think my path would go to the places it did. When I was a small town Staten Island girl applying to college, I stayed in my small town. When I graduated, I got the surprise of a lifetime in the offer to study at the Rome Italy campus for a year. It was like a giant hand held up a sign that said, "Plot Twist!" but it was a great one.
I have written about my youth and some of the less fun "plot twists" that I dealt with a-tale-of-two-novembers.html; picking up and moving to Italy was probably one of the best twists in my path. It was not something I had foreseen or planned for - it just happened. I was ready for it, moved away and kind of became a different version of me. I did not become a different person but from talking like Marisa Tomeii in My Cousin Vinny, I know had a more refined voice honed from the fluency in Italian. Hot damn, I was now fluent in Italian. I spoke about my relationship with my hair and getting it chopped to within inches of its life while living in Rome am-i-me.html.
In college, when it was clear I had become the "uber student" - captain of the Speech and Debate Team (why, yes, that is why I love to stand in frond of crowds and speak), a member of the highest honor society The President's Society, straight A's, etc, etc, my grandfather looked at my Sicilian childhood sweetheart's dad and said, "I hope your son is going to be willing to have the babies because this girl is NOT going to have time for that." I think it was the most proud thing my grandpa had ever said about me - the Sicilian did not like it as much.
I remember telling my grandma, who helped raise me and my brothers, that I had no intention of getting married or having kids until maybe 40. She thought that was a great idea. I was raised as a traditional Italian Catholic girl with strict rules and curfews but I was not pressured to have a family, to get married. Everyone thought it was awesome (or told me they did) that I had no intention of rushing into anything - despite the fact I was paired off since about 12 with the same guy.
I wind up getting my MBA and beginning a career that was both mystical and boring. I wind up traveling the world for work and going to my beloved second home, Rome, on long weekends just to stay fluent and with the people I love as a second family.
I meet my husband, quickly move in together (plot twist), get engaged and plan multiple weddings. We kept planning and cancelling weddings - cold feet, personal issues, you name it, we went through it. My path kept twisting and turning and it could not be written as better drama than it was in real life.
Before I know it, we are married and expecting a child. Everything shifts -my life changes in a way I never thought possible, a way I never understood. After my first child, when we try for a second, I have a kind of secondary infertility caused by a genetic disorder. By the time I do have my second child, it is during a stretch of my marriage that can only be defined as "crumbling". That crumbling kept shaking off crumbs for many years. My husband and I barely communicated. I did not appreciate him, he tolerated me. I always knew he loved me though.
I started working on my own - teaching classes ad hoc at local colleges and universities (because that is what I love to do) and then running my own business as I needed to have flexibility in my schedule. In running my own business, I started using social media and blogging and found that writing is my favorite thing to do. I write more, filling 4 self-published books. This is a plot twist - I always dreamed of being a published author but had always tried my hand at fiction, which I suck at. I can never figure out how to manage the dialogue inner and external.
Then I get hired for a full time job for the first time in 8 years that seems to be the perfect job for me and it is until it isn't anymore.
The biggest plot twist, right hand turn, gunning it off the cliff like Thelma & Louise of course was being diagnosed with breast cancer. I already wrote about how I thought my risk to get the disease hovered between 0 and -25% what-is-your-breast-cancer-risk.html. I am embracing this diagnosis though and saying to all and sundry that it will not change my life, it will not change me - it is just changing my path the way all of those other "plot twists" did in my life. It keeps me strong and focused and makes me remember that I am me, Lisa, and I am important and need to take the time to work on me and my needs. Oh and also it makes me realize my husband is kind of a great guy and that my kids can do things without me being the only person there to do it.
Big lessons at 40+ years old but ones that are necessary for me to stay well and healthy in the time between.
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