Maybe I am a kindred spirit with Selena Gomez.
We are both July 22 babies, she had lupus, so did my grandmother, she needed a kidney transplant, and I lost a kidney to cancer. I think she is a lovely girl, seemingly different from the pot-smoking, pill popping Starbucks clutching, Patron shooting celebs of today. I wish I was her age; I wish I looked like her, but, wait, she’s been through a lot of shit in her 28 years.
She probably thought her life would end with Barney… because as the mother of two young thespians, the goal is achieved at the time it is achieved… the lead in the school musical, the bit paid employment gigs, and boom…you are defined by fourteen or eighteen because there is no Baba Vanga and Jean Dixon meet and greet to tell you the life you bob and weave through now may be totally different than it will ever be when you are thirty. Enter wisdom… enter hindsight… enter the hungover Monday morning quarterback still wreaking of Doritos and Bud Light. Smelly, vile, but it got your attention.
So, Selena. I guess she offered her world and her “old soul” to Justin Bieber a few times, and although he didn’t roll down his limo window to spit at her like he did an adoring fan, he buried her beauty in his own insecurities, and like we oh so nurturing, insecure sensitive July babies tend to do, we take it on. We believe who Justin says we are…and we just keep trying harder and harder to conform, to make Justin happy, and then, the pivotal moment of destruction, the implosion of all that is good in our souls results in the interment of our heart in a shallow emotional grave via rejection… and we take it on because we couldn’t do enough, be enough, jump harder, more hoops, more energy, like an exhausted poodle and PT Barnum. And when you are done performing for the day, all energy expelled, waiting for the treat and the accolade of acceptance and obedience, it doesn’t come. Your only job is to try harder, because maybe tomorrow is the day.
Obviously Selena and I do not know one another. Through the magic and filth of social media, I know her very well, and this cute little Latina, through her trials at only 28, gave me a gift: her song, “Lose You to Love Me.”
We are all told we need to “love ourselves” in order to be loved. It sounds like just a trite little crumb of pretty advice to get you to self empower, kind of of like Stuart Smalley’s Affirmations on SNL. But, I am living it more and more as I crawl out of the catacomb of divorce. What did my love Keala Settle scream to the world in The Greatest Show…”I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be…this is me.”
I am Linda. I am a writer. A great writer. I am not an angry writer. I am truthful. I am an overbearing, nurturing pain in the ass mother who lives for her children every day of her life. I am funny… I have a good sense of humor and can initiate humor and not just laugh at someone else’s jokes. I’m chatty, but I can talk to Mr. Bean and still have a conversation. I have body shaming issues since I was twelve because I always had boobsand an assnow I’m proud of those Italian curves. My father gave me money to live the rest of my life comfortably because I was his child, and I will spend that money on others who may never, ever have the opportunities I did or give to their friends and family like I can. I will cook and give to others and not be ashamed because it is what I was given by the Lord…the gift of kindness and talent to bestow upon others. I will no longer be embarrassed by my generosity… from the smallest task to the most gargantuan show of love. I don’t care if I haven’t cleaned out my closet or my office in a decade… I was busy taking care of my family. I chose, instead of running a business to be a wife and a mother. I am not a failure… I have learned my level of giving and dedication and devoirs to my vows is unprecedented. I don’t walk away from commitment or obligation. I stand firmly in that promise to my children, and I will not walk away from them. My dedication to the Blessed Mother and the Lord will not waiver… it is genuine. I don’t care if the sermon at Mass sucked or was pontificating and condescending. I was there to receive the Lord. I am proud of what I have accomplished as a Summa Cum Laude graduate and the choice I made to be a mother and wife instead. If someone does not appreciate the beauty that is Linda, well, I have learned to. And, the most amazing part is that my mirror was delivered by others… those who have shown me love at a difficult time in my life. Those who came out of the woodwork to offer help. Those who call me strong, and my friends who love me for who I am and who call me an inspiration. I made a difference in someone else’s life. Even the smallest difference is my purpose on earth. My purpose is not to bolster someone else’s insecurities or be a punching bag, it is to give all I am warts and all to someone who loves me unconditionally, cuz guess what, nobody is wart free.I have learned that love and forgiveness are not easy sometimes, yet, are easy… and liberating. So liberating. I will not promote hatred or sneers… it is uncomfortable. I am human. I fail. Every day, but I will not be defined by a messy closet or unfinished paperwork or clutter. My focus is on other things… I am a cancer survivor with a penchant for living. I will not waste my life or wallow in pity.
My Italian guilt and tears will initiate my reactive demeanor, but after that, it’s all hands on deck. So, to those who put me down, see me as a Real Housewife of NJ..FUCK OFF. You don’t know me. For the first time in about 30 years, I am proud of who I am, and what I have to offer, and I will never, ever be a salesman for myself…if you want me, you need to work for this…give up what I am willing to give up for you, compromise like I compromise and love so fucking hard…like I do.
And, remember all you Nostradamus' out there….not so fast…just when you thought the Lord had you firmly planted in your life…think again. Not every temptation to change your life is the devil, or evil…sometimes God is bringing you on a journey you did not expect because you deserve better…or different…or because someone else needs you. Let Him take you there.
Yes, Selena, thank you, because, after 30 years of conforming and giving in to someone else’s happiness, I had to “lose you to love me.” And, I did.