Bullies and Blown Confidence

Posted on May 18, 2011


Dear Melanzane alla Parmigiana,

Eggplant parmesan. This was one of the best eggplant parm I have ever had! My nana’s sister Ro makes it and I have always liked hers but today there was some competition. This beauty was stacked 4 inches high with two different types of cheese, a slight spiced sauce and perfectly sliced eggplant. Since Miss Ford comes to this place often they seem to always give us hefty portions compared to people who are not “regulars.” I didn’t finish my helping but still had a ginseng caffe after lunch and Miss Ford shared a bite of her apple tort. We had a nice “girls” lunch and talked about the usual: boys, shoes and our trip coming up. I been in a mood lately where typically I will buy myself shoes but I am trying to be conscious of my luggage when I go home and save space. I thought about jewelry or makeup but those seem to be things that I hardly use or wear. I refuse to chop off my hair or dye it darker but I desperately seek change or something new. This is the first time that I have had to deal with my “self” and everything that I am feeling in the moment. Alone. I have no one to run to or drink away sadness with. Drinking finally is NOT my answer to everything. I know that if I was at home feeling the way I do it would be “easier” because I would be surrounded by plenty of people who want to be around me and would help me to see past all this. I feel as though this is all for reasons that are necessary for my change and growth in this life but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I wouldn’t be able to face all that I am feeling if I had everyone around me at home. Letting myself be truly sad and feel broken-hearted, tired and awake, and sensitive and overly irritated all at once is a big step for me. I truly feel that it is a combination of things that I have been coming to terms with. All of the birthdays, weddings, family get-togethers, funerals, and dinners that I don’t get to be a part of still shape me as a person on this journey. Somehow I still have my “place” 6,000 miles away.  I have not been gone that long at all and sometimes it feels like forever! Then at the same time I don’t want it to end so fast. I try my best to remind myself that I am not alone and that these boys need me and I am here for a reason. I do tire of things rather quickly and I am getting nervous thinking that I am “bored” finally. There are only so many things that I prefer to do alone. Places I want to visit and see are only as much fun as I make them when it is just me and my camera. I try to bring my iPod along but I think the soundtrack to my life is stuck on repeat and I am tired of my playlists. I work out and sleep in. I eat well and take care of my skin and hair. I drink only water, wine and a little coffee. Isn’t there a saying, “when you look good you feel good?” I know that I look good but why can’t I feel good too?! I feel so blahhhh. Everyday I tell myself that it will be a better day and I will not let myself feel sad or bad about myself but by the time 3 rolls around its like the wind comes up in my mind and blows my confidence.

Then the boys will do something or say something uplifting and I am back to myself. Tommaso was so excited to see me after school he jumped in my arms to hug me shouting “ciao!” Before I could ask him how his day was he just grabbed my hand and told me, “gooooood!” I let the boys play at the school until the nun rushed everyone away. We waited for the dirty bus to take us home at the bus stop and there was quite a crowd of kids. Tommaso and another kid began bickering and started to push each other! After we separated the two bullies they were at it again on the bus Tommaso leaning over to the other boys saying things he shouldn’t. Not exactly cussing but things like “stupid” and “fool” kind of bad mouthing. I told him to stop and blocked his route to the kids at the front of the bus and made him sit down. The last thing he needs is a full on brawl with someone other than his brother. This was the first time that he was acting like this that I have seen. If his mother was there I am sure nothing would have escaped his lips. When we stepped down from the bus he turned to yell some more to the boy still inside the bus and I grabbed his hair near his neck and gave it enough of a tug that he knew I was serious that he better quit it! He slumped and put his hand in mine to cross the street. At least he wasn’t mad at me!

After some time nana came to the rescue and I got to escape to my room for a break from cartoons. After a while Matteo came in to check on me and share his long story of how his knee came to be bleeding. I offered to help him clean it and put a bandage on it but he refused. Funny how just yesterday he needed a band-aid on his unmarked head but today seeing blood for real he didn’t want to hide it under a band-aid! Boys will be boys. Nana prepared some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and called us to the table. The boys had some rice before  enjoying the tasty cheese and ripe tomato with fresh bread. Matteo was too tired to eat because it took nana and I a long time to get him to finish. Italians like fresh parmesan on everything. Even rice. I understand risotto having a light sprinkle inside and as decoration but I think it is kind of funny that they like cheese on everything. Their favorite way is just a chunk to munch on. Like I have said before: fresh Parmigiano is like string cheese to the kids!

Still not feeling 100% better about myself Tommaso complimented me once more before bed. I was watching an Alicia Keys video on YouTube and it froze (as it usually does! Anyone remember that SNL about YouTube!?) on her with her head down and a slight profile. Tommaso came over pointed, looked at me, then back at her and asked, “e che voi? Tu?!” (Is that you!?) I tell him no and he asked if I was sure, “sei securo??” He shrugs and tells me goodnight as he turns to leave my room. Thanks kid I needed that one. Alicia Keys is one of the most gorgeous people who I have seen…. so if he thought she was me? A million thanks!


alicia keys- that you?

Posted in: When in Rome