DANCING WITH DESTINY

January 25, 2019

 

 

I often look at my life and wonder how did I get here?

 

There have been so many twists and turns, ups and downs and flat out moments of stop the world I want to get off.

 

Through it all, I’ve come to understand that everything has a purpose.  Oftentimes, it’s hard to understand why things happen.  I many never know why. 

 

As a woman of faith, I believe that “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

 

CALLED FOR A PURPOSE

 

In November 2001, I walked away from a 22-year marketing career.  Honestly, I didn’t plan it.  Circumstances drove my decision.

 

I was living and working in New York City.  On September 11th, the unthinkable happened.

 

 

At that horrific moment, I was in a meeting.  Suddenly, the door to the conference room swung open; and one of my subordinates came into the meeting.  She was hysterical.  Her fiancé was in the south tower.

 

We didn’t even know what was happening.  Then, in a moment, it all became very real.

 

Everything came to a screeching halt, as we dealt with the tragedy of that day.

 

I remember taking a moment to look out of the seventh-floor window of my office building; as I watched stunned New Yorkers walking up 6th Avenue from downtown.  They were covered in ash; and their faces were numbed by shock.

 

 

This was a sobering moment.

 

I was working around the clock; and I was so stressed out and miserable.  Add the stress of 9/11 on top of that; and in October 2001, I was rushed to the hospital from work fearing that I was having a heart attack.

 

Another sobering moment.  I was grateful it was only a panic attack; but this is when I realized life was too short.

 

In November, I had a long talk with management; and I was offered a severance package.  I think I danced out of the office that day!

 

 

I didn’t know where I was going or what I was going to do; but I was given the gift of some time to figure it out.

 

I started my own small business as a business advisor to small to medium-sized businesses.  I had a knot in my stomach; and I didn’t pay attention that this just didn’t feel right.

 

Lesson learned.  It wasn’t the right road for me to go down.  The one major blessing was I had one client, who, to this day, is one of my dearest friends.

 

I also had to learn the hard way:

 

 

It’s always wise to seek and meditate on advice; but when I can’t find an inner peace, I must shut out the outside voices and pay attention to that still small voice within.

 

I needed to step back and relax.  I decided to take a class for fun on commercials for real people.  I figured I’m a real people.

 

I had no idea that my childhood dream of acting would rise to the surface; and I took a step of faith to pursue my dream.

 

I booked my first major audition on Law & Order in March 2004; and in February 2005, I really took a step of faith and moved to Los Angeles.

 

DREAM INTERRUPTED

 

It has been quite a journey; but in January 2010, the pursuit of my dream was seriously interrupted.

 

I was driving on a freeway and saw that traffic was building in front of me.  I had plenty of time to stop. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the car behind me barreling toward me.  In a split second I turned my wheel to get out of the way. I was hit at high speed and was propelled into the carpool lane.

 

I’m beyond grateful I walked away from the accident; but as the weeks went by, I realized I was dealing with injuries that were not evident at first.

 

I was very foggy and couldn’t focus.  I kept asking:

 

 

As time progressed, I was having trouble reading and comprehending.

 

It wasn’t until two and half years later it was diagnosed that I suffered a concussion that went untreated.  I was dealing with cognitive issues that were crippling me.

 

As an actress, I needed to read and be able to memorize my lines.  This was extremely difficult.

 

I was referred to a therapist who was instrumental in helping deal with the fallout from the accident.

 

I was always someone who was on top of things.  I could easily make decisions and could multi task.  This was no longer the case.

 

As we worked together, she indicated that I suffered a left frontal lobe brain injury.  She explained that I as an artist I was given a gift.

 

A GIFT! WHAT GIFT???

 

She said, that because of the injury, my creative side had been released.

 

 

She said, I would never be the person I was and that I needed to embrace the new me.

 

To say this was difficult is an understatement.

 

It took several years to bounce back from that accident.  During the process, something happened.

 

I started to write.  In business, I always found it easy to write reports.  I have a very logical mind and a keen sense of structure.

 

When I was ten years old, I even won an award for writing a composition on fire prevention.  I represented my school at the New York City awards ceremony.

 

 

I started to write poetry.  This was new.  I had never written a poem before; and they just kept pouring out of me.  With the thought of publishing my poems, I have a copyright for them.

 

I wrote and performed my one-woman show, It’s Only Lipstick.

 

I’d never done this before; but even though it was nerve wracking, I had a blast.

 

I started writing blog articles based on my show.  This endeavor has morphed into sharing life lessons to help inspire and encourage others.

 

I’ve even written the pilot to my sitcom.

 

DANCING WITH DESTINY

 

As a little girl, I dreamed of being an actress.

 

As an adult, I listened to others and pursued the “responsible” path in life, which was business.

 

It took the tragedy of 9/11 for me to have the courage to leave corporate and put one foot in front of the other which led me back to my childhood dream.

 

It took the tragedy of an accident to unleash my ability to write, which was evident when I was ten years old.

 

I believe that everything that has happened in my life has been for a reason.

 

I’ve learned to embrace the new me.

 

I now realize that each step I’ve taken has been my dance with destiny.

 

Look at life as your dance with your destiny…and remember… it’s never too late to go after your dreams.

 

                                                               Claudia DiMartino 

 

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Claudia DiMartino is a successful business woman turned actress and playwright. She took a risk and left corporate America.  She now shares her life's journey which helped her realize - it's never too late to go after your dreams.

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