Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weekend Warrior: I'm Through the Fire, Now Where's My Honey?

I first read the expression "fire and honey" in a novel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips called Just Imagine. For some reason I fell in love with it. The love story between the main characters, Kit Weston and Baron Cain, is traumatic. They spend years resisting each other, even arguing and treating each other poorly. They then break the relationship off and spend time apart, both miserable, yet too proud to admit it to one another. Until finally one day, after years of torment, they come together and feel the soothing love of reconciliation. "Fire and honey," Baron said. Fire is destructive and chaotic, as is trauma. Honey is smooth and soothing, as is love and reconciliation. Kit and Baron made it through the fire to the honey, I however, did not.

Saturday started off very peaceful and routine. GTL, baby! Gym, tan, and laundry all day. Then, as per usual, I go from having all the time in the world to meet Lauren to being practically late. There was a credit card crisis, a massive line at the liquor store, I'm running around, sweating, forgetting to pack things, and stressing out. Not exactly traumatic but chaotic to say the least. However, the feelings faded when I got some much needed car time while driving dts with my best friend Lauren, who I hadn't seen in forever. We then enjoyed a nice home cooked meal with some vino and continued to celebrate the holiday weekend at Bar Anticipation (better known as "Bar A") with good friends. The bar is HUMONGOUS. As we danced around from one area to another, we ran into more friends and even an uncle! We also saw some Sona bouncers and were very happy to prove to them that we do go to other bars! And believe it or not, I actually had a great time with a certain "Roller Coaster" character. (Any new readers can get a history of "Roller Coaster" in Weekend Warrior: "Where's my girl?" ... it will help fill in the gaps)

Still not exactly traumatic but uncomfortable, I woke up the next morning still drunk, tired, hungry, and in pain from high heels. However, nothing feels more soothing than throwing your hung over body down onto the sand. The beach was pretty perfect. The sun was out but not enough to feel like you're going to melt. There was a nice breeze and we all took lovely little naps. The soothing sensation continued back at the house on the patio. Sandwiches, a refreshing vodka cocktail, and a card game. I'm not going to say who won the game but here's a hint....she lives in my mirror ;-) After this girl, who lives in my mirror, beat everyone at a game she was playing for the first time, I went for a long run around town. I couldn't believe how happy and relaxed I felt. I'm not a big "go down the shore all weekend" kind of girl but I was thinking about how content I would be to have a day like I did on Sunday all summer long. I was comfortable. I was spending time with a family, part of which I've known forever, and part of which I have only met a few times but I was loving every second of it. Sun-kissed and feeling accomplished for the day, I showered, ate, re-joined the card games, and the night continued in peace.

Wait for it...just wait for it....it's coming...

"We're having a great time at the house but let's walk to Edgar's and go out for a bit! Yay. Does anyone know if [Roller Coaster] is going to wake up and join us?" I decide to find out. The weekend was going so well and I thought that finally, after everything, maybe we actually have potential for something more here. So I go up to the bedroom, wake him up, and ask him to come with us to Edgar's Pub. "Don't you look pretty," he tells me. Well why thank ya, Roller Coaster. How sweet of you to say so. He eventually gets up and decides to join us. While walking to the bar, a slightly more intoxicated than the rest of us group member is in both mine and Roller Coaster's ears about "what's happening between us", "dude, she's a great girl, what are you doing?" and asking me why R.C. and I aren't together. I could feel it coming, this was going to be a disaster. We got to the bar and according to Roller Coaster, for the rest of the night I was invisible (and I wish I could say that it's the first time that's happened, but it's not). Hitting on other girls, completely ignoring my presence, and like Pauly D says, "you can't come in on Sunday with a big banana and expect everything to be peaches." Bringing up, talking about, and exploring "what's going on between us" is the big banana...this conversation never bodes well for me. Now don't misunderstand, I'm not blaming the group member. Roller Coaster's discomfort and resistance to the the big banana is ALWAYS an issue (that's what she said).

Anyway, on the walk home from Edgar's, Roller Coaster and I had a less than pleasant chat. He just left me in the trenches taking grenades, as usual. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for me) the details are fuzzy but the end result was "this is done, it's done." A few weeks ago he and I discussed the idea of actually going on a date and trying things out for realsies but this was shot down once again on Sunday. Think about something you really like or want, then imagine being able to touch it, talk to it, smell it, or if it's a person...even kiss it, then imagine me ripping it out of your hands, dangling it in front of your face for awhile but just far enough away from you so you can't grab it and then ultimately smashing it on the ground in little tiny pieces right in front of your face. Good thing I'm not dramatic or anything but this is what Roller Coaster does to me time and time again.

As traumatic as this was, I didn't know that I was about to walk into the house to find a BLAZING FOREST FIRE (figuratively, of course). Here I am, sitting outside by myself trying to stop sobbing so I don't disturb anyone, and I walk inside to find a house turned upside down with arguing. It's not my place, nor do I wish for my own sake, to dive into further detail about the content of the arguing but let's just say that I felt at fault. Revolving around the issues between Roller Coaster and I, there was crying, screaming, cursing, and storming around. Crazy? Yeah, you said it, Patsy Cline! This was a sight I never expected to see, especially not on this night, in that house, with this family.

The next morning I woke up with puffy eyes and a breaking heart. I went downstairs and was embraced with the honey of a hug. A big hug. The kind you can only get from a Ya-Ya Mommy. I was able to let it out, talk, and apologize for being part of the chaos, for being part of the trauma.

I spent the rest of Monday in a daze. I was emotionally and physically drained from the stress. All I kept thinking was, "If I treated you the way you've treated me, you'd actually hate me." But I can't hate him, it's too much effort and because of our history I still care about him as a person. However, I think I'm now finally getting it through my thick and stubborn skull that I ain't getting any honey from this one. This relationship has been a burning fire for years; it's traumatic, it's problematic, it's chaotic, and it's also incredibly passionate. However, Mama needs some honey real bad and I'm not getting it from Roller Coaster anytime soon, or ever perhaps. For real roller coasters, theme parks and manufacturers put a height requirement for riders in order to ensure safety and comfort. I don't think I'm tall enough to ride this one anymore. It's hurting too much. It's not safe.

Fire and honey. I think I just kept believing that the fire was so intense that the honey would eventually have to come, but why? Because movies, television shows, and songs tell me so? That's not real life. I haven't given up on this fire and honey theory altogether but I'm moving on from it with Roller Coaster. The ball was always in his court and if given ten opportunities to show me love, he's dropped the ball every time. I want the g.d. ball now and I'm taking it. I'm taking control of this as best as I can. It won't be easy, in fact it's going to hurt like a crazy ass mother effer, but I gotta move on and take this roller coaster off the tracks. I gotta figure out how I'm going to see him all summer and not feel the fire of trauma but rather feel the honey that resolution and moving on will bring me.

"It's hard to see you, we are older now / 
and when I find you, you just turn around
This is a black and white of you I've found / 
I hang you up and then I pull you down"
"Hang You Up" by Yellowcard

Sassarella Says...fire and honey. Recognize when the passionate fire becomes detrimental and there's no honey in sight. Recognize when it's time to move on, even if it breaks your heart. If you're like me and sometimes can't see it on your own (or choose to ignore the truth because it's not what you want), ask your mom to gently smack you across the face with reality. Recognizing your reality will allow you to move on and find peace within. (Corny, but you know it's true).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Runnin' Around: Rome Wasn't Built in a G.D. Day, Capisce?

Alright, alright, alright (Dazed and Confused style). So first of all, please notice the nice box above this post that asks you to submit your email address. If you'd like to be notified by email (and I don't know why you wouldn't) when I write a new post, type in your email address and !VOiLA! you will receive email notifications. Also, I'm hearing feedback that some people are not aware that any text that is underlined and in a different color is a link, so click on them :-)

I learned how to add that feature from a certain New Mexican soon to be in South Beach on his way to becoming another Jewish lawyer, so thank you. This future Jewish lawyer also started writing a blog today and I am SO EXCITED about it! Read it if ya know what's good for ya (this is a link to his blog). I'm very demanding today, sorry but I'm not sorry. Anyway in his first post, primarily about "hope and promise," he also makes a very good point about relationships. To quote him, "Without strong relationships life becomes much harder to survive." Plain and simple. I am going to take his sentiment in a similar yet different approach.

This past week I have been running outside in my little town of "Flo Po." At first, I am immediately struck by how much I prefer running in DC than I do in the 'burbs of NJ. In DC there is so much to look at and a variety of routes to take. I can admire the city from the waterfront, explore new neighborhoods, and feed off of the energy of the hustle and bustle of city life. I am also considering the social aspect. I had a community of people at my fingertips and because I was covering so much ground, I would run by all the pockets of places that I know people. I miss waving to the many police officers, classmates, and co-workers while I was out on the streets in my Nike sneaks (someone put that in a rap song). In FP, I am usually the only pedestrian which leaves me straining my eyes trying to see into car windows looking for someone I might know.

I got a little worried about this situation but as the week continued, I realized that I may have been too quick to judge my hometown. I remember two summers ago I was running on Brooklake Road and out of no where BOOM torrential rain. One of the delivery guys at Nonna's drove around looking for me, another minivan pulled up next to me and the woman inside said, "Hey, you're the Nonna's girl aren't you? Do you want a ride?" and even my neighbors stopped to make sure I would get home safely. Now I'm back and what I thought would be the difficult task of re-building my community is proving not to be so difficult. First of all, just being back at Nonna's to eat I am reminded of how much I love the small town feel....I saw my Butthead Friend who is, whatever, I guess no longer a butthead (for the time being), Gabbie was there, all of the waitresses and pizza guys are still there, and a funny thing happened while I was trying to find parking. I was blasting "Lights" by Ellie Goulding (obviously) when I pull up (topless lol) to a group of guys yelling at me and the one says ,"Great song!" I asked him if he was being serious or sarcastic and he says, "No I'm so serious. Ellie Goulding! I love it and no one knows it yet. You gotta get the "Bassnectar Remix!" [Like I don't have it already, yeah right]. I told him it was coming on next and as I pulled away I heard him yell, "And she's driving a BMW, I think I might love her, I LOVE YOU!" And today I received a text message from a middle school friend saying, "I just saw you running, go girl!"

Ya see, my community is still here I just have to re-build it. I like being a townie and knowing people around me. In relation to life in general, my idol Kelly Cutrone, phrases it as "finding your tribe." To quote her book, If You Have to Cry Go Outside, "Your tribe members, whether people gifted to you by the universe or people you seek out and pay, will not only add something unique and essential to your journey but make it much more colorful and fun" (25). They are like-minded people who have similar interests or connections to people who do. They offer advice and they bring out those "Ah-ha!" moments. I'm building my tribe. I have my Ya-Ya's of course, but I am also finding those people who will guide and support me throughout the journey. They can be friends, co-workers, bosses, or the stranger sitting next to me on a random train.

P.S. I want Kelly Cutrone in my tribe because Lord knows I'd do anything in 
my power to positively contribute to hers.

And speaking of journey, please stop asking me what I'm doing now that I've graduated. I am helping my parents at their office for awhile, then spending some time in California with a tribe member who is going to hone in on my skills and interests, and then I'm going to come back here and apply to jobs in NJ, NYC, etc. I know I'm being sassy because the people who ask me if I have a job are only asking out of interest and because if I was, oh I don't know, say going to the University of Miami for law school, interning at AOL, or deferring a job at PWC while I finish graduate school then obviously I'd want to tell them that.....but I'm not. What am I doing? I'm building my g.d. tribe! So lay off me. I'm seeking out and stumbling upon the people who are going to help make my life abso-effing-lutely fantastic. I didn't try and fail so don't shake your head or roll your eyes or look at me sympathetically when I say I haven't started a CAREER yet, big deal. I didn't apply nor did I want to. I'm letting my brain relax and I have no doubt that in a few short months when I do get a "real job" that it will kick your job's butt ;-) Ok, maybe that was being dramatic, but it will kick butt none-the-less.

ANYWAY, the point of all of this ranting and raving is that it is so necessary to hold on tightly to the people you want in your tribe. Who is going to help elevate you to the next level? Who is going to keep your focus and who is going to let you forget your focus from time to time? Who are the people you can call upon when you need to pick their brain for wisdom and knowledge? Who makes up the group of people, your tribe, that positively affects your life? I'm telling you now though, it's a two-way street. Expect that the members of your tribe will need or want you to contribute in some way to their journey as well so get ready. I'm amped up and ready to go so let's do this shizz called life.

 Sassarella says...it's time to build my tribe. Who's in yours?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

DJ CFabb: Go Topless for Em Dee Dubbs!

Last week Allie and I were having a conversation about MDW.

Allie: "blah blah em dee dubbs blah blah"
Me: "Yeah so em dee dubbs blah blah"
Allie: "I'll be down the shore blah blah em dee dubbs blah blah"
Me: "I'm so excited blah blah em dee dubbs blah I think it's a Jersey holiday"

Upon saying "I think it's a Jersey holiday," I turned to Meghan for confirmation (since she was listening to the entire conversation and is not from NJ).

Meghan: "Uh well wha...I mean are you...hold on, are you talking about Memorial Day Weekend?"
Me: "My point exactly."
Allie: "Omigosh, totally going dts for em dee dubbs!"

I have no idea why New Jersey is so infatuated with Memorial Day Weekend but we are. Maybe it's because it is the first weekend of summer that we all head to our beloved Jersey shore or because we have Monday off but honestly, it usually ends up raining. Since the forecast is predicting rain, I'm not sure if I'll make it dts to help further understand our obsession, however, I did experience a different first of the summer today. I put the top down on my convertible for the first time in long time and was immediately disappointed in my lack of a "2011 Top Down Playlist." Obviously, this needs to be fixed ASAP....especially if I do end up fist pumping my way dts ("down the shore", for those of you who don't know the lingo) for em dee dubbs with the top down :-)

The "top down playlist" aka "I feel like going topless today playlist" is a combination of easy, breezy, summer driving songs to full on dance party music and a few obscure songs that not a lot of people know (to show off the indie girl in me). The key to the playlist is choosing songs that you won't be embarrassed to be listening to when you stop at a red light and everyone around you can hear the song you're blasting. It's a very calculated playlist and is crucial to successfully pulling off a top down ride in the car. Hopefully I get it right...

Easy, breezy, summer songs (which to me, usually means country):

"I Won't Let Go" - Rascal Flatts

"Just A Kiss" - Lady Antebellum

"The Rock and the Tide" - Joshua Radin

 Full on dance party:

"Show Me in the Deep" by Adele vs. Robin S

"Dirty Dancer" by Enrique Iglesias ft. Lil Wayne and Usher

"Til Death" by Wynter Gordon (L.A.M!)

"Love is a Suicide" by Natalia Kills

Obscure but still well-known enough (or getting there) to show off your good taste:

"Lights" - Ellie Goulding (I'll probably keep this on repeat...OBSESSED x1000)

"No Surprise" - James Yuill

"Home" - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

So no matter what you're doing for Memorial Day Weekend, "em dee dubbs", or MDW, go topless and keep it fresh in the car with fantastic tunes! Happy summer and if you ain't in the Dirty to celebrate...well then let me just say that I'm truly sorry for you ;-)

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm" - JFK

On this day last year.

On this day last year I was not a graduate of Georgetown University. I did not know the great pride I would feel when I learned that I got an A on my senior thesis. I did not realize how wonderful it is knowing that I won't ever have homework again. On this day last year I could never have imagined the rush of adrenaline that I felt when I heard my name and walked across the stage to receive my diploma from GU. I could only assume but not really know how accomplished and relieved I am to have finished the college chapter of my life.

On this day last year I did not know how significant it would be to have my Aunt Honey at graduation. The Big Hoya sent her there to be with me, I know that to be true. It was so amazing knowing that when I thought of him for a quick second while I walked in single file line in my cap and gown, that she was able to be there at the last minute. I did not know, on this day last year, how great it would be that the second I wished to see my parents in the audience I was able to spot them. On this day last year I did not have any idea how much I love and appreciate my grandparents and siblings for making the trip to DC this weekend.

On this day last year I did not know that I would cry like a baby when faced with leaving the people at Rhino and The Whale. I didn't think that I would get incredibly emotional seeing my parents and siblings having drinks at the bar. On this day last year I never would have guessed that seeing Oscar and my dad doing a shot of Jameson would mean so much to me. I did not know that even just seeing a picture of Trey talking to my mom would make me want to start crying all over again. I did not realize how much I would love having Shana pour gin in my mouth or hearing the DJ give my family and me a shout out. I had no idea how warm and fuzzy I would feel hearing from Larry, Billy, and Josh that they all love me too. I didn't realize that I would be so sad to leave George, Stiles, and Misty. On this day last year I did not know that Melissa would cry too and that I would so upset that JC wasn't around. I really did not know what it would feel like to leave B.Ryan and Soph. I never would have thought it was necessary to stop by Serendipity 3 to see Dave moments before leaving DC and I did not know that I would start crying again walking away. I had no idea that I would miss it so much that I would make my phone background a picture of Rhino. On this day last year, I did not wonder what it is going to feel like going back there down the road.

On this day last year I could not imagine how it would feel leaving Allie and Maggie. I had no idea how much I would miss walking into Allie's room to play. I did not know that I would want to freeze time a few weeks ago when Maggie was standing in Allie's closet having a fashion show. I had no idea how much I would want to go back to last week watching videos on Allie's Flip camera. I could not have known that I would feel compelled to write little notes to them explaining how much they mean to me. However, I am going to follow Allie's lead and stop here because as she is refusing to say goodbye to Maggie and me, I am refusing to believe that I am saying goodbye to them too.

On this day last year I did not realize how much my last cafeteria visit with Meghan would mean to me. I had no idea how much I would enjoy a dinner with our families together reminiscing about how we met and how our friendship developed. I could not have known how much going to NYC with Meghan for the JCP project would change my life. I did not know that I would meet Benzie and I certainly did not know how positively his presence would affect my last few weeks at Georgetown. I did not know how happy it would make me to coincidentally drive by him on the street, yell "Benzie" out the window, and jump out of the car to say goodbye. I didn't realize how thankful I would be to have him there as a shoulder to cry on throughout all of this.

On this day last year I did not understand the magnitude of senior week. I never would have believed it if someone told me that I would go out eleven days in a row and actually enjoy it. I did not know that some of the best memories from senior week would involve hours and hours of Mario Kart and James Bond video game competitions with anywhere from 4-15 people at a time ("BY DA WAYYY!"). On this day last year I didn't know that the incredible pain my feet are in from wearing heels every day would be so worth it.

On this day last year I had no clue how much all of the little things would mean to me. I somehow managed to lay eyes on all of the important people in DC in the last week. I could never have imagined that I would get a little emotional saying thank you to the guys at Wisey's for making my salads and sandwiches for four years. I could never have imagined how happy I would be to coincidentally see Pnut walk into Paolo's where I was having dinner. Or how happy I would be to see "The Most Fun Joe" out at The Whale on a Wednesday. I would have had no idea how much I would appreciate going to Clyde's with Jackie and seeing Bob.

On this day last year I had no idea how much I love feeling my bedroom carpet under my toes in New Jersey. For some reason it felt damn good yesterday. I could not have imagined how strange it would feel to know that I'm not just home for the summer but for good. There's no going back to DC in August, there's no strictly summer only job, there's no longer any routine of going back and forth to school or week long breaks. I would not have known how weird it feels to know that it's over. On this day last year I didn't understand the bittersweet feeling that comes along with graduating from college. I am sad to leave my friends and my lifestyle in Washington, DC. I am afraid that even when I go back to visit, it won't be the same and I am wondering whether the change will be good or bad. I lived an incredibly amazing life while at Georgetown University and I miss it already. Although on the other hand, I am so happy, so relieved, and I feel like a large weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The hard work paid off and it is time to move on. I am excited to get the next chapter started.

On this day last year I was a very different person and by this day next year, my life and I will be completely different again. It's funny how that works. Keep reading because I'm absolutely certain whatever I do over the course of the next year will at times be wonderful, out of control, absolutely hysterical, or even saddening, but most of all it will be new, ever-changing, and blog-worthy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekend Warrior: Meet Your Unofficial Soulful Striver

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, 
but I think I have ended up where I needed to be" - Douglas Adams

Last Wednesday night I intended to get my hair cut at Bang Salon in the Verizon Center and then go to a Washington Capitals bar to watch the game. As you can probably guess, this did not happen. I got the fastest hair cut known to man (or more likely known to women) but because of this, I had hours before the Caps game started so I decided to go home first. No one was available to meet me at Sign of the Whale when the game started so when I heard the door slam to my house (as if someone was leaving) I poked my head out the second floor window and asked Meghan if she was going to her group meeting. Turns out that was just where she was going and out of boredom (and of course some interest in the project she had spent the semester bitching about / loving on) I decided to attend the meeting with her.

This was the final meeting before her class of 15 students traveled to NYC the following morning to compete in an advertising competition. For the last few months they worked on developing a new advertising and marketing strategy to attract more 25-34 year old women (which the group nicknamed "Soulful Strivers") into JCPenny stores. Meghan was one of three team leaders and was also one of five people chosen in the group to be a presenter. I intended to listen to them rehearse once or twice and leave but as you can probably guess, that did not happen. I ended up listening and asking questions to help them prepare for the next 3.5 hours. 

Why? Well I'll tell ya why....they are Georgetown. As I sat there and watched, listened, and even participated in the bouncing of ideas back and forth, I realized that this is what I have craved from my Georgetown career. In high school when I imagined what it would be like to go to Georgetown, this is what I intended to experience: insanely smart and clever men and women bouncing ideas off each other, participating in classes, discussions, and projects that actually mean something to me, and feeling a sense of fulfillment and even joy out of school work.....as you can probably guess, this did not happen. However, for those 3.5 hours that I sat in their group meeting, my image of Georgetown came to life. Other than Meghan, I didn't know these people but after the short time I spent with them, I was overwhelmed with pride in my school and in the work they had done. I was inspired. I was in awe of my peers. I was also exhausted but I didn't even care because I actually had fun in an academic environment (I can count those times on one hand). 

On a selfish note, I was proud of myself as well. As I have mentioned in other posts, I often feel like the underdog at Georgetown. I am frequently unaware of my intelligence level, especially when I am in contact with business school students. I started Georgetown in the business school and transferred out when I realized I kind of hated it and frankly, didn't want to have tutors for four years. In helping them to prepare for Q&A, I found myself very comfortable speaking up to kids who had previously extremely intimidated me. Sassarella intimidated? YEAH RIGHT. Really though, smart people sometimes scare the crap out of me and I know it sounds ridiculous but like I said, I often forget that I'm one of them. Anyway, I intended on being the cool kid outsider just listening in but as you can guess, this did not happen. I ended up staying all night and saying things like, "I'm so impressed by your work. Know that the time and energy you've put into this project is worth something. Believe in what you're selling to the judges and you can't go wrong."

Thanks to Trey, Sign of the Whale, shots of Jager, and biggie-sized vodka sodas with Meghan my dorkiness escalated. The emotions from the night, my personal discoveries, and my overwhelming pride in my new friends (and of course, Meghan) caused a late-night CVS run to make goodie bags. The Easter candy was half off so I bought a random assortment, three little blue bags for the boys, and two little pink bags for the girls and dumped all of the candy into them. I also attached a nice Dr. Phil-esque, hand-written, inspirational note to send with Meghan on the bus for the five presenters.

So waking up Thursday morning, as you can imagine, in my sobriety I was a bit embarrassed. However, this is how you know something is right - they loved it (thank God). They could have been freaked out that the new girl got overly involved or even thought I was a loser, but they didn't. I intended on continuing the weekend in DC by going through the usual motions but as you can probably guess...that did not happen. I made it my mission for the next few hours to get to NYC to see the presentation (and then of course go out afterwards to celebrate).

One thing lead to another and next thing I know I'm on a Bolt Bus traveling up the east coast. I stayed home in NJ Thursday night and got up Friday morning to head over to the auditorium. While in the Lincoln Tunnel with my mom, I suddenly feared how awkward and ridiculous this could be. It's one thing to be drunk and make goodie bags but now she's changing her life around in a moment's notice to come watch. Well thankfully these fears were put to rest when I heard, "She's here!" from one of the presenters. Meghan also told me that Mama Fish was happy to have someone there on Team Meghan for support. Ok, I can breathe again. I arrived pretty early and while sitting ambiguously in the lobby, I overheard someone from another school say, "Shit, Georgetown's here!" and another say, "I think Georgetown is next, I really want to see that one" and even the emcee for the day commented, "I bet Georgetown is the one to beat." ... effing right we are (yes, "we" because I made myself an unofficial group member).

I felt like a proud lil mama and they looked amazing - so sophisticated, so professional, and I'm pretty sure "beautiful" was used to describe the overall look of their presentation. They eloquently and wholeheartedly presented the 20 minute script and gracefully handled the judges Q&A. I say gracefully because if I were them I would've gracefully punched that little JCPenny woman in the coo cah for saying, "For the future, we refer to employees as associates, not employees. Your 'Employee Empowerment' program title would have to be changed" blah blah blah biotch (but they kept their cool).

So anyway, we all intended on winning but as you can probably guess, the judges are stupid and this did not happen. Although they still kicked ass and got 3rd place! Later in the evening I met my sister, Beth, at Three Monkeys. At both happy hour with her co-workers and later at Gossip talking to a nice man named Edward who bought us drinks, I was word vomit on the group of kids, their project, my contribution to all of it, and the randomness of the judges' decision, "I think it's saying something when the judges are asked to say what it was about the winning team that really impressed them and really earned them the top spot, that they blatantly couldn't give a specific, clear answer," I vented on and on to poor Edward.

So I intended on continuing my New York City night after leaving my sister and meeting up with my Georgetown friends and whether you can guess it or not, that's just what I did. The absurdity of the events that occurred between 1am and 5am can be summed up in a few quotes: "Studio 54 closed 30 years ago, honey," "FREE SAMPLES," "I blame the Hound Dog", and in the words of Britney Spears, "Ohh ohh oh oh oh ohhhh!" In an attempt to find a bar to go to, one of the three group leaders instructed us all to get in a cab and follow each other because a "fun bar in NYC" awaits us. We got out of the cabs and learned that she thought we would go to Studio 54 until a perplexed man on the side of the road informed her that it had closed 30 years ago. Then sometime after I bought rounds of shots and drinks at Black Finn, we ended up at Three Monkeys. Here is where I got the nice little bruise on my shin from climbing on bar stools, texting songs to the DJ, dancing with our dancing queens of the evening morning, and wondering where the square-framed glasses went. 

And what would a night in NYC be without $0.75 Famous Rays Pizza? It would be incomplete, that's what it would be. After many dollars worth of pizza, a half hour duet with a homeless man, and a few even took a trip to Times Square, we ended up at the 24-hour Duane Reade next to our hotel. The previously mention fearless leader grabbed a dress full of "free samples" that turned out to not be quite so free, "The boxes were on a table and looked like free samples but I definitely opened the packages and just started grabbing stuff." "Want a cookie? Blueberry covered pretzel anyone? Please eat this stuff, guys!" Somehow we all safely made it back to the hotel rooms and continued to unnecessarily take shots of Hound Dog Sweet Tea flavored Vodka. The next morning we shockingly made it to our bus and still intoxicated, tried to convince our bus driver to take us to Disney instead of DC while serenading everyone on the street with our version of Britney Spears' "Til the World Ends."

That Saturday night I, Christie aka Sassarella, actually started and finished my night at The Tombs with some kids from the NYC trip, and thoroughly enjoyed it. No disrespect for my Rhino/DC bar lovies but as the four years is wrapping up, The Tombs was just where I needed to be. Will I be able to do it every night? No, of course not, but if there was ever a time to enjoy being in a bar completely surrounded by my fellow Hoyas it is now, just as I'm about to leave them.

Most of you reading this will not be nearly as entertained by the intricate details of the night out in New York or at The Tombs as I am but here comes the point of it all: "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." I never intended to do any of what I did in the last few days but it turns out it was exactly what I needed. I needed the night in the business school classroom critiquing their project because it gave me confidence in my intelligence and fulfilled the missing piece of my time at Georgetown. I needed to go to NYC and watch the presentation because it proved how much I love my school, how much I love my own spontaneity, but most importantly because of how much I love feeling part of something bigger than myself. I needed to meet this group of people because I was so struck by how comfortable I felt with them. I would never have had a chance to get to know any of them if it weren't for that night. I needed the random time in New York City because it confirmed for me that I was crazy to think that I would not want to live there as a twenty-something. So to change my mind for umpteenth time, I can't actually move to California but I can visit. I needed the laughs and I feel very grateful to have experienced something so Georgetown-y, so fun, so life-changing, and so utterly unintended.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Oh you're gonna have to walk faster than that! You're gonna have to turn into friggen Flo Jo to get away from me!" - Lorelai

With Mother's Day approaching, (by the way how did that holiday sneak up on us already?!) I'm obviously thinking about the mothers in my life. First and foremost, my mother. I mean after all, she did give me life! My mother is the best. She raised me with a unique balance between hard ass mommy Nazi and best friend. Her opinion is the one I value the most and I consider her support the most encouraging. I can only hope to become half the woman, wife, mother, and friend that she is. To attempt to do justice to her greatness and to the special bond that we share on a blog post is just silly because anything I say won't be enough. I love her, I need her, and I couldn't survive without her. The profound influence she will always have on my life is indescribable.

In so many ways, my mom and I are them.
There are so many clips but this one is always a personal favorite:

My mom-mom is a special lady. She let Sammy and me color on her walls, build forts in her living room, and create an entire beauty salon in her kitchen. I believe that if we asked her to today, she would still play hours of restaurant and hotel with us too. She's created full-on scavenger hunts for Christmas presents, she got me the coveted My Size Bride Barbie, never forgets a birthday, takes a thousand pictures that I am so grateful to have today, and is my biggest cheerleader in anything I do. Admit it, you're jealous she isn't your mom-mom.

Grandma Rose is the quintessential Italian grandma. She introduced me to the necessities in life: black cherry soda, rocky road ice cream, The Price is Right, eggplant parm, and chicken cutlets. Her hot coco and chicken soup after a day playing in the snow warms the soul. I will always remember watching Mary-Kate and Ashley or Disney movies on the couch when I was sick. And then there's that red sauce - "Want something to eat? Let me make you something! No? Come on, just a taste. Little taste, come on." Yup, that's Grams. Ok great, now I'm hungry.

I have other mommies too: Shiiiirl, Rachie, and Mama Kath. Sheryl is my little love bug. When Sammy and I were growing up we used to say that we were switched at birth. However now I like to think that Sammy and I are a wonderful combination of both L and S because they pretty much raised us together. "Bud Light, she said!" or how about a Disco Inferno lyric? Both remind me of her and my mom. Sheryl's laugh brightens a room and I love that even when I'm 40 years old she'll still call me "Little Girl."

Rachie loves me to the very end. She is the first one to talk me up to anyone she meets and is never shy in expressing just how proud of me she is. Without her and her support, middle school and high school could have been pretty miserable. I still value her advice today. Need a cheerleader? Go see Rachie. Need a big party? Go see Rachie. Need motivation to study? Go see Rachie. She is one of the strongest and most capable women I have ever met in my life.

There is not a shot that I would be who I am today without Mama Kath. She introduced me to the kind of life I want to live. She is fun, caring, incredibly beautiful, and hard-working. Her strength is overwhelming in a "you go, girl" kind of way. She is clever, sassy, and quick-witted. She knows what she wants and she knows how to go out and get it. All of the above personality characteristics of Mama Kath are qualities that I hope will describe me some day.

The six women I just described all have something in common: me :-) Obviously they have each had an influence on my life and will continue to inspire me until the day I die. They have all also raised incredible people. My mom, well she raised me, so 'nuff said there. My mom-mom raised my mother. Grams raised my father, who has the biggest heart of anyone I know. He also helped raise my sister who I look up to and admire. Sheryl produced that little Sammy girl of mine. That little Sammy girl gave me a childhood full of wonderful memories. She's stuck with me for the long haul, that one! Whether we're raising kids or starting a company, she's family. Rachie raised my Gabbie-dabbie-do and I will never forget the moment I knew she was a keeper. She stuck up for me and has stood by my side since we were youngin's. YA-YA! And Mama Kath, thank God for her and that girl of ours. She raised my rock, my dancing partner, my support system, and the friend who can never ever leave me or I'd be lost. She raised my sister, my partner in crime, and as far as soul mates go, well Mama Kath raised her. I love you all more than I will ever be able to say.

On a slightly different note, I'd like to take a minute to acknowledge the most influential people of my Georgetown experience. I'm just going to list them because, like I've said, there is no way to do justice to people and their influence on a blog post.

My parents, my family, the OKS bubble (Tim Lear, Mary Sciarrillo, Joan Paster, & Veronika Zavaleta-Tejada come to mind immediately), Coach Pat, Scrubby, Courtney Hub, Meghan, Maggie girl, JKluWhatItDo, KZ, Kat I, Tinaaaaa, Professor Zimmers, Fr. Maher, "The Boys," and so many more. I would not even be here, I would not be surviving and flourishing here, nor would I be just about to graduate from here without all of them.

And to bring it all back around: I love you, Mom.
Happy Mother's Day!

"...If you're out on the road, feelin' lonely and so cold, all ya have to do is call
my name and  I'll be there on the next train. Where you lead, I will follow 
anywhere that you tell me to. If you need, you need me to be with you, 
I will follow where you lead..."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fear: "that's the way we get by"

Fear. Fear of spiders, fear of heights, fear of commitment, fear of failure. Our fears are different but we all have them. I believe fear is healthy in small doses. Fear motivates us and drives us to be better or to to do differently. Fear scares the crap out of us because it means we have something to lose.

Thursday night I went out to Bodega for a drink. I was celebrating the completion of my senior thesis and the end of my last day of classes....EVER. A gentleman sat down next to me and he appeared to "be somebody." The owner shook his hand, he had on an expensive suit and shoes, and ordered a glass of wine. I later found out that he co-founded a capital management company, lives in Chicago, and consults with President Obama and his team on occasion (which is why he was in town last week). As we talked I also found out that he has a daughter in college and that a woman on the street that day told him he has kind eyes. At first I was interested in the conversation. We talked briefly about politics, about college, and about California but then I realized that I hadn't actually said much and that he was beginning to preach.

I couldn't blow him off though because to me his "kind eyes" looked like sad eyes. He claimed to be a happy man but I was getting the feeling that he was actually quite a lonely man. The words kept coming out and it was as if he hadn't talked to anyone in years. For such a content man, I couldn't help but notice how many times he said "I'm afraid." Sometimes it was in that smart person, spectacle-wearing way like, "I'm afraid if I don't use very big words that you won't know I went to an Ivy League university" but other times "I'm afraid" was used to express legitimate fears. "I'm afraid our country has lost sight of what is important and I fear that our economy will fall behind the Chinese. We are so focused on the problems that we are failing to innovate and prepare for the future," he continued on and on, "I'm afraid we have an odd system of beliefs; we believe that we can bomb a country or a person and disguise it as helping them." This man is afraid. He is afraid of the path that our country is headed down.

I wonder if Trump wants to see bin Laden's official death certificate.

Last night President Obama informed us all that Osama bin Laden is dead. The people of Washington, DC stormed the White House and cities across the country rioted in celebration. This (the royal "this") all started out of fear. We were afraid (and rightfully pissed off) on September 11th, so much so that we retaliated with attacks of our own but now what? He's dead. Some fear that we are in for more attacks now that we've killed him. Some fear that more of our troops will be killed despite his death. Some are fearless and see his death as closure. They are too happy to care about the repercussions right now. I don't have clear opinion about "this" stuff yet but it makes me think: What am I afraid of?

In comparison to the magnitude of the bin Laden situation, the possible future attacks on our soil, and the unstable condition of our economy, my fears seem utterly insignificant. I am aware of this; however, they still exist.

I'm afraid I won't feel good enough about myself in the next couple weeks to really enjoy the end of my Georgetown experience. I fear the fun I'm supposed to be having will have a not so fun affect on my body and its appearance. I'm afraid my physical insecurities will overshadow the bigger picture.

I fear that I won't get a good grade on the senior thesis I spent a semester stressing about.

I'm afraid that if I move to California that I'll miss out on what's happening on the east coast. I'm NOT afraid of the move, I'm NOT afraid to take chances or to "see what happens" but I am afraid of missing out. Of course the east coast and the people who I love will be there when I get back but nothing will ever be the same. I've learned that I excel in new environments and switching it up is unbelievably healthy and necessary for me to survive but that's a BIG ass change. I'm afraid that I'll move there, start to build a life, and then want to come back but am unable to after a certain period of time.

On the other side, I'm afraid that if I don't move that I'll get stuck in old habits, old ways, and old routines on the east coast. I'm afraid I'll go back to the old Christie, the Christie I was before I moved to DC and became Sassarella. I fear that I'll get bored, restless, and frustrated. I'm afraid I'll wait around.

I'm afraid that he'll never grow up. I don't fear whether or not he'll say the three damn words, but I do fear that I'll care if he does or doesn't. I fear his indifference. More importantly I'm afraid that my fears are out of loneliness and not out of real love. I fear that I'll go away and then he'll realize. I fear that I'll stick around and he'll never realize. I'm afraid I'm going to be waiting a long time to find someone as fearless in the love department as I am.

I am excited yet fearful of the unknown. I am fearful (and annoyed) that I will have to endure more months or maybe years of the lectures and the looks on faces when I say, "I'm not sure what I want to do yet" or "I think I might like to be a writer of some sort." I stopped in a restaurant in my hometown over Easter weekend and the owners there have known my family and me for years. We used to go there several times a week throughout middle school and high school. The husband couldn't believe I was getting ready to graduate and the wife asked me what I majored in and what I was going to do. When I told her sociology and English and that I still don't have a "real job" she just stared at me. I felt compelled to say more, "I might want to write," I said and still nothing from her. She was fighting her judgement and finally she said, "Okay well you can come waitress for me so you have some money, come see me, I'll train you." She wasn't entirely serious so we both laughed but I left a little pissed off. I was mad that a woman who actually doesn't know me very well, just how I like my burgers, was judging me and my life. She assumed that as a writer I won't have any quality of life. (I was also insulted that she thinks she would need to train me how to waitress...get real, lady). I was mad that this is a similar response from a lot of people I talk to recently. I get the, "Oh okay, well you have time, don't worry" ... If I want to worry, I can worry but don't assume I'm worried about it. I do have moments when I worry but I don't need people who don't know me very well lecturing me about the future. Even the sad eyes man was talking to me about happiness, life, and change without knowing that I am quite an evolved young person. And if I want to write then I can write. I'll be sure to send the wife a "thank you for serving me egg whites all those years, OH and for being a brat that one time you looked at me funny for being 22 years old and not having my entire career planned out yet" note with my first best-selling novel, script, or whatever. Yeah, whatever, this is a post in itself but I'll cut it off before I start babbling about how I'm afraid I'm going to start comparing myself to my friends and their careers yada yada done.

I'm afraid I'm going to throw my laptop out the window if it freezes and re-boots one more time while I'm trying to write this post.

I fear that one day in a fit of anger I'm going to take the jackhammer that wakes me up every morning and use it to kill the construction workers who have been "fixing things" all g.d. year.

I fear that I won't have the patience to wait all of this out and let fate take it's course. I fear that in my need to make things happen for myself that I will be sometimes too impulsive, too aggressive, or too pushy for things I might not actually want simply because I am impatient. Then again, I fear that in my attempt to be patient that I will let opportunities pass me by. Ha! Yeah ok, I take that part back because that really doesn't happen very often. I fear that I'm going to drive my mother crazy in the process of all of "this." Anyway the point is, fear affects us in all kinds of ways. It makes us bomb other countries, it makes us move away, it keeps us around, it makes us work even harder, it makes us confess our love, it makes us deny love, it makes us hesitant, it makes us bold. Whether we're fearful or fearless...it's the way we get by.

"The Way We Get By" by Spoons

What will fear do for you today?