Day 83 – Dinner time shenanigans

Just a normal evening in the Romano house…

In a Sea of Strangers

It sometimes bothers me how long this memoir project is taking. I’ve been working on it now for more than nine years, on again off again, like one of those annoyingly tumultuous relationship storylines on General Hospital or Days of Our Lives. Yet part of me knows that it’s not exactly healthy to completely immerse myself in this particular project. It’s not easy to dive head first back into the worst days of your life, to dig down and dredge up all the pain and the uncertainty and the shit that you worked so hard to overcome and deal with and leave behind.

So, for nine years, i’ve been easing myself into it, working my way through the manuscript and the memories bit by bit, piece by piece, dissecting my life and the moments that have defined me with a surgeon’s precision, and bring it all up under the lights–the good stuff, the ugly stuff, and all the stuff that fell somewhere in between.

It’s interesting what you find when you go back through your life with a magnifying glass and a fine tooth comb. And the longer I work on this project and give shape to the story, the more I think about all the important moments–both good and bad–that ultimately define me.

But the one thing I never do is play the “what if” game, or look upon any of it with regret, because without those moments–all of those moments–I wouldn’t be here now with my hubby and my hound and my babies tucked snugly in their beds.

So, I am thankful for all of it–the shit and the sunshine–because it’s raw and it’s real and it’s mine. And I’m ready to dive back in again and keeping writing, keep writing, keep writing to fill in the rest of the holes and finally share my story.

In the meantime, if you’d like to follow along on the journey as I complete the project, you can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/InASeaOfStrangers

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Well, Hello 2015

Stevie and I have pretty much accepted the fact that our lives are always going to include a certain level of chaos.

It’s okay. We’re learning to embrace it.

Because somehow, things always have a way of working out. Things might not always go according to plan (in fact, they rarely do). And sometimes the end result is quite opposite of what we originally intended, but still, there always seems to be some order in the disorder. And sometimes the things we never knew we wanted turn out to be exactly what we needed.

Funny how things work out.

For us, 2014 was a year of self-discovery. New jobs, old jobs, new opportunities, new life. In the last few weeks alone we found out that we have a new baby on the way, decided to sell our house, accepted an offer, celebrated Christmas, rang in the new year, and decided to put an offer in on a new house.

It’s been one helluva ride since Thanksgiving.

We’re rolling into 2015 on a wave of possibilities, and we’re excited to see what comes next.

Stevie and I aren’t really big on New Year’s resolutions, but I have two personal goals that I plan to accomplish this year, in the midst of all the other happenings.

1. Finish my memoir. It’s been sitting around in this “draft” stage for long enough and, come hell or high water, it’s time to move forward. I already started a Facebook page for the project, and I need to get back in the habit of writing regularly (and hopefully blogging regularly) to finally get it done. If you want to follow the project, you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/InASeaOfStrangers

2. Make NY-style pizza. Stevie and I are tired of the lack of true NY-style pizza here in Nebraska. So, I’ve been researching some recipes and dough-making methods and I’m determined to master making NY-style pizza before the year is out. With my mother-in-law’s sauce, some freshly grated mozzarella, and the right dough, it’s going to be epic, and I’m determined to do it.

How about you? What are your plans for 2015?

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Regaining Balance

It’s been way to long since I blogged. That’s how I know things are out of balance…when I can’t find any time in my day to sit down and compose a few thoughts just for myself. I haven’t picked up a camera and taken a picture of my own kid, my own family (other than random iPhone photos) in months. I haven’t had enough time or energy to sit down and write much much of anything for a couple of weeks now. Even my memoir project has hit a minor stall.

But the tides are finally turning, and I feel good about the way things are heading.

After saying goodbye to my Poppa D (my birthfather’s father), surviving a 10-day work trip that ended with a nasty eye infection, and deciding to finally leave behind a job that I’d grown tired to trying to “fix”, there are new adventures and opportunities on the horizon.  I’m making great strides working on the memoir. I’ve made some really great friends and gained some really great experience after returning to an office job a little less than a year ago. And I’ve got a brand new job starting in two weeks.

After such a rough ride, and so many forks in the road, it’s nice to finally crest the hill and see the open road stretching out before me.

But at this stage of the game, even when I can see a storm brewing in the distance, I know I can handle it. All I have to do is hold on, and try to enjoy (or at least appreciate) the ride.

Let’s go. I got this.

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A Damn Good Place To Be

I can give you a long list of reasons why I haven’t finished my memoir–we moved (multiple times), bought a house (or two), got a dog, had a kid. We both have full-time jobs. Steven took a class two nights a week. I started a photography business and have a pretty regular influx of freelance writing jobs. On top of that, I like to hang out with family and friends, and actually spend quality time with Steven and Cadence when we can find a few free hours in the chaos.

There’s always something standing in the way, always some excuse.

But what I have realized, more and more, is that there is a part of me that has given into the excuses, a part of me that always willingly pushed aside the project. As much as I long to tell the story, I know it is also going to take me back to some of the darkest, loneliest, and most uncomfortable times in my life. I know it’s all in the past. I know that I’m in a different place. I know that I’ve worked through my issues and successfully battled the demons that I ran from and fought for so long.

But even if my brain knows that I’ve moved passed it all and found balance, there is still that part of me that is terrified of descending back into the abyss, even if I am walking in older, wiser, and fully-armed.

And it’s that part of me that has been quick to put the project on the shelf and tuck the manuscript away in the drawer anytime some relatively valid excuse presents itself.

So why haven’t I finished writing my story?

Yeah, I have no good excuse. I have allowed my fear to get the better of me.

It’s time to stop running.

With the dawn of this new year, I’ve decided that enough is enough. I’m calling my own bluff. The only thing standing in the way of me finishing and publishing my story is me, and I have stood in my own way long enough.

The past can’t hurt me. In fact, I am thankful for it, because every experience, every decision, ever step I took (not matter how painful or difficult) was one step on the path that led me to this place I am right now…and this is a damn good place.

So, I hope you will all come along. It’s been one helluva ride, but it brought me here. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

You can follow my memoir project as it continues to take shape on the In a Sea of Strangers page on Facebook.

In a Sea of Strangers

And feel free to drop by my latest post and let me know what you think…

June 1998 – Dear Mom