Your Story Makes You Beautiful
How about this for inspiration:
“I get the beginning.I get the end. Then I write the middle. That’s how I do it.” Chazz Palminteri
Don’t Run From Your Past
I am not running from my past. I am embracing ever last bit of it. Perhaps, now is the time that you embrace yours as well. From the ups to the downs, everything that has happened in my life has lent a hand to the who I have become today. And, I am proud to share it. After traveling to New York with my kids this past weekend, I am proud to honor the part of my story that is Italian-American.
We went to Columbia University, where my grandparents met many years ago. My son was recognized for his grades and leadership skills. We went to the theater. Sharing with my kids a love for Broadway, I am sure that they see new possibility come to light through the creative arts. Then, we attended the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of the Bronx and Westchester awards founded by my grandmother Betty L. Santangelo, now continued by my aunt and current president, Pat Santangelo and her committee. My daughter showcased her exceptional singing talents there. As I sat and listened to the honorees relay their stories as it relates to their Italian heritage, I thought about my own.
The Story of a Beautiful Dream
I did not have to get on a boat and travel across the ocean to claim my American Dream. My great grandparents did that for me. I should know well the villages and regions my ancestors came from, the difficult conditions that forced them to leave, the serious prejudices and hardships they faced when they arrived in America, and the sacrifices they made to overcome illiteracy, poverty and prejudice. Sadly, as a third generation American, I am not as well-versed as I could be. I am proud that my parents passed on strong Italian-American values: a wonderful sense of family, a strong work ethic and faith. I will commit to keep this going; a less watered-down version is called for.
I love being Italian. As we add to the great melting pot, I want to share with others where I came and the who I am. I am the beneficiary of passionate people, Sunday family spaghetti dinners, strong ideals and a deep sense of pride as a people. Upon this foundation, I continue to build so that my beautiful dreams can come true. With the gift of education, I knew how lucky I was to have the opportunities available that my relatives did not. Now, I embrace the relentlessness of those who came before. Because they reached for the stars, I knew I could too. And, here at this luncheon, I recognize the result of these values. These Italian-Americans make up a community of people who are top in their fields of medicine, finance, journalism, law enforcement, the culinary field and the entertainment industry.
Time to Write an Amazing Middle to End!
My great grandparents came to the United States in the late 1800s. They worked hard and taught their children well. From simple people, my grandparents were teachers, doctors, lawyers and in business. They passed the torch to my parents who planted seeds of greatness and opportunity in us. While it has taken me a long time to fully embrace the baton, I now don’t run from my story. I learn as much as I can about my roots so that I can inspire my own kids and others. After so much time searching, I have a clearer picture and pay attention so that I don’t miss the message or clues. Certainly, I have big shoes to fill and welcome the challenge.
I get the beginning. I write the incredible ending continuing a legacy that is my birthright. Now, I am writing and living out the middle where I have identified and given life to my dreams. My relatives put aside fear to make it here, I can do the same. This period of becoming is where a tradition of values, integrity, inclusivity, hard work, family and service come to light. This is the time where I honor my ancestral heritage and the values and traditions associated with it. I set my mark making a difference for those who come next. I am privileged to shine like the beautiful Italian butterfly, La Bella Farfalla, welcoming all of you to together do the same- embracing the skin that you are in as we share our stories.
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Your Story Makes You Beautiful! was originally published on Meg Nocero
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