Life, Lemons, and Italy

I have been extremely negligent with my blog posting.  I could come up with a million excuses as to why I haven’t posted.  But my readers (and I) deserve the truth. The truth is that the last couple of months have been hard and I haven’t felt like myself.

Writing words and posting them online for people to openly reject is a difficult concept to grasp at times. Mix that with anxiety and depression, as well as feeling like nothing I do or write or say is ever enough, and your doubts will start to control you. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m good enough. Sometimes I feel like I have failed as a writer, before I’ve even begun. Fear paralyzes you into losing sight of your dreams and not realizing your true potential.

Honestly, I’ve had enough of letting fear and anxiety control my life.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m not ashamed of suffering from anxiety and depression. It needs to be talked about and I will talk about it until I’m blue in the face because the silent power it has over me has been weighing me down for years. And I am tired of it. I am tired of letting fear and self-doubt control my every move, my every decision. My ah-ha moment came to me this weekend. I’ve spent so much time feeling alone, but the truth is, I am not.

As my 29th birthday approaches, I may not be where I thought I’d be at this age. But through all the ups and downs, the bad dates and failed relationships, the battles with depression and anxiety, my family and friends have been there through it all. I may be single, but I’m not alone. There are amazing people in my life that I’ve been truly blessed with every second of every day. They’ve made me realize that I am loved and cared for. For that I am forever grateful and blessed. I’m not going to lie; the last year especially has been hard, but it’s a journey and it’s a moment along the path I’m taking. For the first time in a long time, I feel this fresh, new beginning that’s longing to start. And after a while in the dark, I’m ready to embrace it. Everything I’ve gone through has made me a better person. I’m stronger, smarter, and more loving because of it. I am me. And I will never apologize for that. I finally love who I am and I’m blessed with so many people who care about and love me for me. That’s what’s most important. I can finally see that clearly and honestly, I’ve never felt happier or more hopeful.

So after my revelation, I picked up my pen again and resumed work on my second novel and I picked up my Kindle again and resumed reading. The book I chose couldn’t have been more perfect for the struggles I’ve been having. That’s the thing about books; they show up when you need them most.

The book I read, and literally just finished last night, was Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel. I’ve read two other books by Kristin Harmel (blog posts pending) that I have adored and shook me to my very core. I still think about the stories and how they’ve affected my life. Books affect me. I think that’s magical.

Aside from my strong desire to visit Italy, Italian for Beginners appealed to me in so many ways. The main character, Cat Connolly, is 34 and single. She is incapable of maintaining a healthy and loving relationship (hey, I know someone like that!). She seems to be in a rut when the reader meets her, however Cat doesn’t really see it yet. She reminisces about the summer she spent in Rome while in college and recalls how much she loved it and felt at peace there. At the suggestion of her father, sister, and work BFF, she plans to travel to Rome alone for one month. Through a series of unfortunate events, she ends up befriending a native Roman, Karina. Karina helps her see that she has been living so cautiously that she has never truly lived. Cat begins to follow her passion for photography, reconnects with estranged family, and meets amazing people who change her perception on what it truly means to live. By the end of the book, she has done a complete transformation into a woman who is confident, passionate, and loves herself for who she is.

I was able to relate to Cat on many levels. This relation was confirmed through a family member’s advice during my recent struggles, “You need to get out of your comfort zone and take a chance”. It’s true; I do. So did Cat. As she followed her passion for photography, I thought about my pen and how long my journals, notebooks, and computer screen have sat empty because I was too afraid. But I’m not afraid anymore.

Lately I’ve been super into lemons, which seems appropriate, since life has indeed handed me my fair share of lemons. But this time, I drank wine instead of lemonade, a delicious Sauvignon Blanc called Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. It was the perfect pair to Italian for Beginners (even though the wine is made in New Zealand and not Italy). I made sure it was chilled prior to drinking it which made all the difference. It’s an excellent summer wine that I ordered through my Club W wine club. I will definitely be ordering a few more bottles this summer.

Cat and I both learned that life will always hand you lemons. But lemons aren’t always a bad thing. It’s what you do with those lemons that count. Personally, I like mine in wine form.

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One thought on “Life, Lemons, and Italy

  1. Janine says:

    Very well written and I admire your courage. You’re stronger than you know–and whenever you feel that’s not true, then you just need to drink a stronger wine 😉

    Miss you bunches. ❤

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