• Claudia DiMartino

FORGIVE AND FORGET


Growing up in an Italian-American family, there was a key phrase, “I can forgive; but I can’t forget”.

This was especially true of my grandmother. She could really hold a grudge.

I never wanted to do anything that would tick her off.

Unfortunately, there was one day we did come to blows.

I was living in Connecticut; and I went to Brooklyn for the weekend to visit my parents. My grandmother owned the house I grew up in; and she always made her presence known.

She had a way of pushing my buttons and could say some very hurtful things.

That day, she pushed the nuclear button…

Being Italian, life was built around food. Needless to say, very good food.

“Mangia” was a big thing. There was such a look of disappointment if we didn’t dive into the amazing meals created by my mother, my aunt or my grandmother.

Then, after being told “mangia”, it became “you’re gaining weight”.

Keeping weight off has always been a challenge for me. I could just look at something delectable and gain 10 pounds.

During that time, I lost 25 pounds and was feeling good about myself. I was even wearing jeans for the first time. As a caveat, I was not allowed to wear jeans growing up. They were not considered ladylike.

I arrived at my childhood home. My parents welcomed me with open arms; and we were having a lovely visit.

My grandmother came upstairs; and I got up to greet her. She took one look at me in my well-fitting jeans and said, “You have a big behind.”

That cut so deep. I’m embarrassed to say, I went into a rage. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I started screaming at her as tears poured out of my eyes.

I grabbed my suitcase and started to throw my clothes in without even taking the time to fold them.

My parents tried to calm me down and diffuse the situation. They were in shock as I stormed out of the house. I drove back to Connecticut just a couple of hours after I arrived in Brooklyn.

After a few days, I decided to let my grandmother know how I felt. Instead of calling, I wrote her a letter.

Two weeks went by, and no response.

It was now time for another visit to see my parents. GULP!

It was obvious my grandmother didn’t want to see me. Her ritual was to come upstairs to visit me. This time, she stayed downstairs in her little apartment.

I made it a point to go downstairs to visit her.

Let’s just say, the reception was a bit chilly…

I asked her if she had received my letter. She gave me a cold nod.

I asked her why she didn’t respond to my letter. Nothing!

I explained how hurtful her words were to me. Again, nothing!

I realized the conversation was going nowhere. I got up and said, “I love you, Nana.”

She glared at me and said, “I’m Nana! You don’t talk to me like that!”

I knew my grandmother would never admit she did something wrong. That’s who she was.

I swallowed my pride and apologized for disrespecting her. It took a long time; but, eventually, I forgave her.

FORGIVE AND FORGET

Fast forward to the present day. I experienced a disappointing situation where I needed to forgive and allow myself to forget.

Building relationships is so important; and I felt very fortunate to build a relationship with a writer/producer.

About four years ago, I participated in a staged reading for a future film.

I kept in touch with the producers and was invited to attend special screenings for the film which was submitted to festivals.

At the outset, the producer mentioned that we would be considered for roles in the film.

About four months ago, I received an email from the producer. He asked me if I was a local hire in New York and if I was still repped by my agents.

I responded yes to both questions.

He immediately called my agents and told them what was happening.

I felt so happy that I would continue to be involved in this project. Prior to filming, I was invited to be part of the table read. As we were making our way through the script, I was delighted to perform four different characters.

It looked like things were going in the right direction.

I kept receiving updates, including the announcement that the film would be shooting in New York in June and that auditions were happening. I responded and made my agents aware of the timeline.

Tick Tock! Tick Tock! Tick Tock!

Time was passing; and the further we moved into June, the realization hit that I was not going to be involved in the film.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.

I do believe things happen for a reason; but I was finding it difficult to get passed the disappointment.

I needed to forgive what I felt was a broken promise. I thought I did, until I received another email. It was an announcement that they would be streaming live from the film set.

It was like pouring salt on an open wound. IT HURT!

I realized my attitude blocked my creativity. It quickly became obvious that I needed to…

If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s the need to learn from experiences and let go of the past. Letting go is freeing and it allows me to move on.

Recently, I was made aware of an incredible process that would help me to let go. Tears that are shed when one truly mourns have a different chemical composition than other tears.

I decided to be vulnerable and mourn the loss of this film role. I cried; and the results were AMAZING!

I now have no emotional connection to this situation. I truly let go and am looking forward to what is next.

I even responded to the last email wishing the producer well. I really meant it.

MOVING ON

I’ve invested too much into my lifelong dream of acting. I refuse to get caught up in anything that can hinder me from achieving the fullness of that dream.

I’m grateful I no longer carry that old Italian way of thinking.

I can forgive.

I can forget.

I can let go.

I can move on.

I can be free to remember…it’s never too late to go after your dreams!

Claudia DiMartino

#italianamerican #family #livemydreams #lifelessons #inspiration #forgiveness

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