• Claudia DiMartino

PURGING THE PAST


Growing up in an Italian-American household, I was surrounded by the three Italian Mamas, my mother, my aunt and my grandmother, who were to say the least, clean freaks.

There were the proverbial plastic cushion protectors on the sofa and chairs. This was especially rough in the summer, when our skin would just stick to the plastic. OUCH! The smell of bleach always permeated the air.

A speck of dust didn’t even have a chance to land on the furniture. My mother was so organized that she had individual jars in the junk draw that were labeled. She even had a jar labeled “string”.

My mother vacuumed the carpets twice a day. I thought it was ridiculous. To make my point, I would run across the vacuum marks on the carpets leaving my little footprints in my wake. My mother was not happy.

To say I hated cleaning and doing chores is an understatement. I once told my mother I was born to have a maid. I thank God I’m still breathing!

My mother and I could not be more different. My mother was very structured. I’m more the free spirit. Hence, the Italian nickname my grandmother gave me, “ruffiana”.

My mother got joy out of cooking and cleaning for her family. I would rather spend time with my loved ones.

Since we lived in a tiny apartment, there was no room for anything extraneous. If it wasn’t needed, it got tossed.

I tend to keep things for, I hate to admit it, way too long.

Then the realization hits.

IT’S TIME TO PURGE

I celebrate the Jewish feasts; and I decided this year that I didn’t want to go into the new year holding onto stuff from the past. I wanted to start the year off fresh and be ready to take on the new.

This can be challenging, as I tend to thrive creatively when things are not neatly tucked away. I literally know where everything is located.

This time I was on a mission. It was time to let go of the past.

As I started to rifle through the stuff, I was amazed at how long I’ve been holding onto things.

The difficult part is how unwieldly things get when cleaning out closets. It’s a mess before it gets better.

As I was plowing through, I was putting my shredder into overtime.

Then, something wonderful started to happen. Not only were things neater; but I felt a sense of freedom.

I wasn’t just cleaning out closets. I was truly letting go of the past and those things that had no bearing on my life today.

Like any normal woman, I have about three different sizes of clothing in my closet. The thinking is, “I’ll fit into it again.” Maybe, but usually NOT!

It’s the same thing with keeping things for so long. It’s like I was trying to move forward going after my dream of acting but holding onto the past which was my comfort zone.

I spent 22 years in corporate America; and I left the corporate world behind in November 2001. I didn’t know where I was going; and I was putting one foot in front of the other on a very uncertain journey.

During this purge, I believe I had an epiphany. I realized I’ve outgrown that part of my life; and I fit very comfortably into who I am today. I am an actress and a writer. It feels so good to take ownership of my dream and who I am. The business side will always be a part of me; but it’s an adjunct to the person I’ve become.

MOVING ON

I have been following my dream as an actress now for 16 years.

Little by little, I’ve been letting go.

It’s been a time of healing. It’s been a time of discovery.

What once seemed like tragedies in my life have turned into fodder for my writing.

My show, It’s Only Lipstick, which I premiered in 2017, was the outcome of the healing process.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would write and perform a one-woman show; but it enabled me to look back and laugh at those things that once caused me to cry.

My show has now morphed into my writing articles with the goal of encouraging and inspiring others with a little laughter along the way.

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes. Each person is different. Each dream is different.

I believe now that to fully come into that place of living out what drives us and sets our souls on fire, we must purge those things out of our lives that hold us back.

It’s not easy. It’s scary.

But, that feeling of triumph of coming into one’s own is so worth it!

It doesn’t matter when you start. Just remember…it’s never too late to go after your dreams!

Claudia DiMartino

#family #italianamerican #cleaning #livingthedream #inspiration #career #hopes

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