Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Who am I…?

If you ask me what I came to do in this world,
I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”
― Émile Zola

I wish I knew why I am here. I believe or want to believe, that we are here to do something; we all have a job, or a purpose and this purpose can be anything. I am not saying that we all have a purpose to be an Oprah, Stevie Nicks or Neil Armstrong; however I feel that we all have a purpose to be who we are meant to be.

A teacher, a mom or dad, a lawyer, a nun or priest, homemaker…an elected official…I  think this knowledge  of our purpose is inside us and through our years and lessons, we move toward our destiny. 

Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I have no idea what is my job. I say unfortunately because I’m on the cusp of an advanced phase and what I do now truly does not feel authentic, and quite frankly I am not specifically targeting my day job,(because my day job helps us live our own lap of luxury…food on the table, bills paid and an occasional excursion).  

Yet every so often, I feel this pang that I need to do … do what?   I have no idea; do more for others, do what I was “meant to do or be”, find my contentment.  

I’ve always felt that I was a late bloomer; this, of course, is my own perception, yet there are quite a few things that I did not jump on the bandwagon when contemporaries, peers, or friends had.  

I ask you to bear with me because this may be quite deep, or I might just drown in shallow water with this very piece.  At this point, I am not sure where this post will lead to, and it can be just random thoughts.

…It’s all a process!

Ok! Moving on, did you know that when I was 17 days old, my mom found me not breathing? Can you imagine what her condition was, and what was actually going on in that Brooklyn apartment?  A priest arrived to read me my last rites…everyone screaming and crying, one of my uncles called it bullshit, grabbed my mother and me, and flew/drove to the nearest hospital.  

At the hospital, no one was there except for a very small nursing staff, who instructed my mom to walk down the block or a couple of houses down, the nurse explained to my mom that a doctor lived there and that he would help; (It was a Sunday morning in the 1960’s; very different than today).

When they approached the doctor’s home, the doctor examined me immediately,  and then told my mom that I was suffering from an allergic reaction, most likely the formula; my mouth was filled with white spots he checked for a pulse on the top of my head and  gave me a shot… I cried, actually I wailed.

I think everyone wailed that day; I don’t think anyone took their eyes off of me, and I could only imagine the variety of emotions that occurred.

Afterward, my parents brought me to a very renowned pediatric doctor in Brooklyn, I was placed on a special diet, which was milk from a farm; my mom explains that it was either homogenized or pasteurized- the explanation is still a bit confusing.  However, what was clear was that a trip to the country was taken every week to get my milk. Another suggestion that the doctor wanted my mom to give me was beef tea, yes beef tea. I have no idea what beef tea is, (well my mom told me how she made it...that’s about it, so I do know), thus, the milk from the farm and the beef tea gave me the nutrients to make me grow, and become a somewhat chunky baby.

A chunky baby with one curl, always smiling and happy – I was also the first of all my siblings and cousins so probably, perhaps a little bratty at times.
This was one of the stories that my mom told my sisters and me during lunch or dinner because it would keep us sitting long enough to eat our meal.

On a side note, in my Italian family when someone wanted to sound cute or express a feeling, they would tack on an ending to a word to denote being “bad”, being “bratty”, or “adorable”.  Therefore, at times, I was called: Mariseda, Marisela, or Marisucha; (I think that that is correct –not sure of the spelling), but when using “eda” or “ella” at the end of my name I was bratty or maybe just a tad precocious. Moreover, if all the planets were lined correctly when “ucha” was added to my name that meant I was an angel. 

That could be wrong and it may be the other way around one meaning cute the other meaning bratty.

So we got that, right…. are you still with me.
Back to my near death experience; when word spread to the neighbors or paisanos, which mean countryman or brother.  The news spread fast, but what also spread fast was that I became healthy and growing and just do what babies do, so anytime I was out with mom or my dad, my parents friends would come over to see me and say in a way that only Italian women can say; “Questa e` la mortadecha!”  Translation; "Is this the cute little dead one…."

(Now do you understand why we had a lesson on the colloquiums of an Italian dialect – more specific a dialect from the Calabria region of Italy?)

Of course, at this point it is obvious that I wasn’t dead on my 17th day …that I was actually breathing. Thank goodness, I was found and that my uncle had the sense to get me to a hospital.
Clearly I had no idea this even occurred and I was not aware that old Italian women in my family called me the cute little dead one….( I know it sounds creepy); but it’s ok.

What is my point to this little bit of history about me…not sure.  Nevertheless, ever since I learned of this story it has become my story –Yet it has haunted me or has made me think about my purpose; if you ask my mom it was a scene like no other, with tears and fear and just sheer grief. However, here is a very important bit of history about my mom; prior to having me, she lost two pregnancies; one early in the pregnancy, and the one before me a still born…. 

I was the first to let her become a mom…. (Psst- because of this I am convinced that I am her favorite, and tell my sisters often.)

Therefore, here is a very long post that happened many moons ago and what is my point… I have none. I wanted to write about this because I want to know what I feel about it, I wanted to throw it out there into the universe and feel what needs to be felt.

This is my story… and I always felt quite special because of it – did it mean anything other than that, perhaps it does, or maybe it should have…but it didn’t.

After writing about this, I realize it’s a part of me, it’s part of my history as is my name; which I love because it is mine and given to me because of my size …..

Another tidbit about me that I find funny is  how I came in second in two contests and thought maybe that is my fate – after my near death experience and I started growing my parents put me in a Baby Magic contest -  guess what… I came in second.

My modeling debut

When I was in first grade, we were allowed to go to school on Halloween in our costume. I begged my mom that I wanted to be Bat Girl; so she sewed me a Bat Girl Costume. At school, I was chosen as having one of the best costumes, along with a costume of a princess; the entire class had to vote which was the 1st place costume, all the boys in the class voted for my Bat Girl costume, and all the girls voted for the princess costume - there were more girls than boys, oh boy!

I don’t think I entered any contests after that.
So that is my story or an account in my lifetime of so many stories – it defines me because no one has a story like mine it is as unique as my own handprint or my name. Because although my name has gained some popularity in the recent years, how it was given to me is not the same reason my neighbor named her daughter Marissa; using two S’s.

So what is my purpose – I am not sure if we have a purpose; oh sure there are some who achieved greatness by being who they are – there are also a few that achieved notoriety, was that who they were supposed to become- would a benevolent God do that to a soul? Hmm…

I don’t think it’s as important to find my purpose, anymore.

I think what I need to do is feel is my own worth, with all the anecdotes that made me who I am … good, bad or ugly I am who I am  - and that is ok.

Perhaps once I embrace that, the contentment and my authentic self will follow…

Maybe that is our true purpose.


  1. this post wasn't just rambling.
    this post was a wonderful story. one I hope your children know about now or will even be able to read here themselves sometime.
    and the last four lines say it all I think.
    except. in your heart. you surely know that you're a writer.
    you're such a delightful "cute little dead one!"

    1. Thank you - "except in my heart" yes that is true - :) XOXO


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