Italy: Glass Half Full

. . . Glass Overflowing, and Now There’s a Storm!


When a storm happens in a movie or a story, my dad always says, “You know what that means, something big is going to happen.” The storm as symbolism for change, turmoil, dramatic conflict, or the reminder of our lack of control, whatever it was, I felt chased by it in Italy. Maybe it was just a literal storm, but it seemed to mirror my emotions of unrest, yet my longing and delight when the calm would appear. I had ideas and romanticized what Italy should be as a place to visit. Clouds, thunderstorms, power outages, flooding, endless tourists etc. were not part of my fairy tale. We are never promised anything in this life. I am learning and attempting to live a life full of gratitude for the blessings I am given. And not to ruminate on the ideas of ‘what I’ ‘where I’ or the ‘who I’ should be at this point of my life, ideas often projected on to me. I am learning to be at peace in the midst of storms. My acknowledgment of my complete lack of control for what happens around me, and my need to temper my inner control of how I respond. I may have cried myself to sleep while a massive thunderstorm crashed above me in Lucca, tears that came from my questioning what was I even doing in this place, on this road, taking this journey by myself, while winter approaches in Italy. Despite being tired from traveling nonstop for a month, with a literal and figurative cloud(s) above my head, I found moments when the storm would break and sun would shine.

I chose to embrace the glass half full. In Italy I was full of food, art, and reflection. Italy allowed me to eat my best life, so much so I got tired of pasta, pizza, and panini, but never of gelato. I made it my duty to eat gelato everyday. I took a cooking class, which was on a list of things to do for my ‘year of discovery.’ (The name I gave this year when it was only a dream in my head or list of places on my phone.) My eyes were filled with art. Whether it was the classic architecture, satirical street art, modern artists, endless sculptures, inspiring photography or Renaissance paintings I felt the overflow.

My spirit was reflecting the outside storm. I felt very alone in Italy. I am usually very comfortable being by myself, but somehow felt a fierce loneliness. Waiting out the rain in my hotel room, having few encounters with others, missing the comforts of home, feeling instead surrounded by tourists, I looked to the horizon for my calm. My heart was full eating chocolate gelato, getting lost where tourists don’t stand in lines, looking at art from Banksy to Caravaggio, knowing I was in Italy and though I realized it wasn’t exactly like my fairy tale I was lucky to be here at all. Life is beautiful. Even when it is stormy, life is beautiful. We are fed fairy tales and made to believe if we don’t buy this, make love to that, get the right angle on our selfie, project a perfection than our lives lack a worthiness. I believe we are worthy without the facade. It is our storms, our failures, our imperfections that when we hold them to a mirror and truly reflect we can embrace growth. We are able to see our beauty in the messiness. Don’t buy the hype, happiness happens from the inside and shines out, not the other way around.

A link to an image that encompasses the Banksy quote above!

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