When I was at my parent’s house last week I found this, my first published piece of writing, it was in a copy of my high school literary magazine Zenith. I had been writing diary entries, poems, and stories since I was very young but at age 15 this was the first time my words were submitted, accepted, edited and printed for the world to see (at age 15 high school was my world). I hesitated submitting something so genuine, I was worried that people would think it was cheesy (or as a Boston teen in the 90’s would say “friggin’ queeah”). I was worried that the cool kids would think I was some sappy poetry loser and publishing this would mean I would never be asked to drink on the tracks (on the weekends kids in my town got drunk on the train tracks behind our high school because getting inebriated near high speed moving vehicles is very safe).
My heart knew that what I wrote was good but my head, my ego, my cruel inner critic voice, kept trying to turn my pride into shame. My head was battling against heart. My heart knows I’m amazing, but my head loves to trick it into thinking otherwise. Meanwhile, my poem was about loving yourself, your true self and there I was freaking out that my real self wasn’t enough.
Almost 20 years later, I can still relate.
Before writing this post, for a moment, I was worried people would think it was cheesy. I wanted to conjure up some witty “sappy post alert” warning to let everyone know I’m going be corny. My heart and my head still like to argue.
Well, it’s my head that likes to argue. My heart is chill. My heart is humble. My heart is the part of me that operates on instinct. My heart sees the good in others. My heart doesn’t gossip or get jealous. My heart doesn’t worry about what other people think because my heart doesn’t think, it just is. My heart doesn’t care about expectations, timelines or comparison because my heart is too busy living in the moment, every beautiful messy moment. My heart takes responsibility and takes action. My heart trusts the universe and trust that whatever is right now is exactly as it is suppose to be.
My head is the asshole. My head isn’t up my ass, my head is my ass and it’s full of shit. My head is so loud. My head is all ego desperate for validation. My head is the part of me that operates on fear. My head thinks everyone is out to get me. My head judges other people and gets jealous of other people and then judges itself and feels guilty for judging other people and being jealous. My head is obsessed with what other people think because all my head does is think. My head expects the worst and the best at the same time, it’s negative and an entitled brat at the same time. My head is always in a hurry. My head lives in the past and in the future, drowning in old regrets and potential anxiety. My head is a victim and wants to give up. My head does not trust the universe, God, or itself.
That poem I wrote when i was 15 was written by my heart. There is no way in hell my head would have written something so sincere. When I was 15 I thought I was stupid and ugly and unlovable. Key word: thought. When I was 15 my head was screaming in stereo, a big double cassette with a 5 disc CD player stereo. My loud head kept me from trying harder in school, it kept me from auditioning for the school play or sticking with sports and activities, it kept me from having a boyfriend. And yet, in the midst of all that noise my 15 year old heart found a moment of peace and quiet to write about how she really felt and had the balls to share it and the result was wonderful.
The day that issue of Zenith came out many of my classmates complimented my poem and said that they related to my poem. Even some of the cool kids related to my poem which really blew my teenage mind. "Wait, cool kids have insecurities???" I just assumed "cool kids" thought they were cool.
The reaction my poem received proved something to me that I am still sometimes trying to convince myself of which is, when I listen to my heart the results are positive. When I give my heart the space to talk, that is when I succeed, I am productive, I make good choices, I attract likeminded people, I am in good relationships, I am healthy, I am responsible, I feel love. Life is still challenging but it’s not miserable. I have never failed when I listened to and acted from my heart. When you listen to your heart that means you are being totally and completely yourself, genuine, vulnerable, open, you.You cannot fail at being you. You are the only one that can be you! You can only fail when you try to be someone you are not.
Just now my head reallllyyyyy wanted to make fun of myself for that last line because it was so “friggin’ queeah” line” but I assume if you’ve read thus far you’re on board with this stuff.
Will our heads ever totally shut up? Probably not. Maybe. I don’t know. I do know I want to live a life where my heart is louder than my head. And my heart won’t even have to scream to be louder, my heart will be louder simply because my heart has more to say. Each year I heal more and more wounds, memories and lies that live in my head. The more I focus on healing, the less shit my head will have to say.
I used to cringe at the word “healing” when it came to emotions. I thought emotional healing was only for people who experienced some major life trauma, as if pain is like a frequent custom card where you have to earn a certain amount points to be able to trade them in for self-care and healing and a free frozen yogurt. I didn’t think my wounds were that bad. Meanwhile, simply being alive is traumatic. No matter who you are, even if you are a “cool kid” you have trauma and wounds to heal. And wounds are a breading ground for head noise.
I also used to cringe when I heard the term “inner child” but the truth is your inner child is very real. Your inner child has wounds to heal but also has some wisdom to give. My inner child gave me wisdom when I found that poem. It reminded me that while I may still possess some of the same fears and insecurities as I did when I was 15, I also still posses some of the same strengths. I still try use my words for good. I still try to find creative ways to connect and heal. I still try to see the beauty in things. The more I think about 15 year old me, I think that she was pretty awesome. I bet if you think about 15 year old you you’ll see you were and are still awesome too. And if any 15 year olds are reading this right now, please know that you are pretty awesome as well.
I never did get invited to hang out on the tracks with the “cool kids.” I wish I could say I didn’t care, but I did. And there are still times when I’m not invited to hang out on the tracks: I’m not asked to perform on that shows, I don’t get asked out by that guy, I’m not invited to that party, I’m not included on that list, I’m not offered that job. When I feel rejected my head begins to say that I did something wrong, that I should feel ashamed, that I’m a loser. The goal in those moments is to be so busy dancing to the sound of my heart singing my praises I don’t even notice my head speaking.
Turn up your heart’s volume, it’s got a lot of nice things to say.
(Thanks to my amazing therapist Janet Navas who was the one to first introducing me to the idea of our hearts and heads co-existing but not always cooperating.
LA friends, come to IO West 6366 Hollywood Blvd tonight 7:30pm for Bad Bride!!!
What if the happiest day of your life brought out the worst in you? In this candid show Giulia Rozzi ‘fesses up about being a depressed, drunk, coward that said I do” when she should have said “I don’t.” Written by & starring Giulia Rozzi Directed by Brandy Barber
The final performance of Bad Bride at the UCB Theatre is this Thursday, 9:30pm and it’s a NY Times critics pick! Get $5 tickets here: http://newyork.ucbtheatre.com/shows/view/3556
Recently too many of my dear friends have been affected by cancer. It absolutely breaks my heart so see them experience illness and loss. I feel angry for them and I feel angry at cancer and I feel angry that cancer treatments cost so fucking much money, I feel helpless as to how I can ease their pain, I feel like I don’t know the right thing to say. This article gives some really great advice on how to be a good friend to someone who is going through a tough time. It reminded me that the most important thing you can do is let people know how much you love them.
NYC friends, please save the date for my new solo show
Written & performed by Giulia Rozzi
Directed by Brandy Barber
MARCH 14th, 6pm at The UCB Theatre (26th St 7 8th Ave)
This show is just like My Big Fat Greek Wedding! If that Toula chick was a depressed dysfunctional drunk that didn’t want to get married.
Tickets are $5 and available at
Facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/507147385993859/
This performance is part of the UCB”s Spank series which means it’s an audition for a run at the theatre, so it would be have your support. There are 2 other shows on the line-up that night starting at 6pm, my show won’t be till 7pm (although it’s best if you can come for the entire 6-7:30pm evening so you are guaranteed a seat)
Read about my scary relationship and my irrational fear of Don Knotts at xoJane.com
My sister (who is a therapist) posted this photo and caption on Facebook and I love it:
This bamboo is from my office. A client noticed how much it grew. It made me think of all the emotions that come out during therapy sessions. And how those emotions helped this bamboo grow.( Because talking to plants help them grow, right?) I really believe in the power of love and talking to get through tough times. Not just therapy, but to feel supported and understood and not judged. So I hope you can use this image as an inspiration to let your feelings out. It will help you grow, just like this bamboo.
OMG I sat across from the cutest cracked out couple on the subway today. I think they were on crack, or drunk, or perhaps just high on true love. I dunno, what drug makes you open and close your umbrella for 40 minutes while loudly mumbling Rhianna lyrics?
The D train was once again not running to Manhattan from Borough Park due to construction. Whatever construction they’ve been doing, it has yet to “improve service” as promised for the past two years. After being re-routed south to go north on the N train, it stalled forcing me to go even further south to Coney Island so I could get north to Manhattan. Long story short, the MTA can be as terrible as it wants because commuters have no choice but to use it.
Luckily these two got on the subway at Sheepshead Bay to keep me entertained during my three hour commute. Ahem, THREE HOURS!
Had I not been trapped on the train I wouldn’t have learned all about cousin Jonny who is in detox, “that skank” Rachel who stole money, and Ricky who “owns like 40 guitars. He’s got like $300,000 to $600,000 worth of guitars. They are like signed by Aerosmith and stuff.”
Somewhere around Dekalb Avenue, this gal decided she HAD to sit on her fellas lap. When she dropped a pen cap and screamed “pick it uuuuup!” he swooped down and rescued it while still balancing her on his lap like a slurring, half asleep Superman.
As captain of the politeness police I almost asked them to “please stop kicking the pole, it’s really really really annoying” but I was worried she might slap me across the face and I didn’t want to get Meth on my new cute furry collar coat.
Then in a moment that moved me, he kissed her forehead and said “yo, you crazy but you my crazy.” And although I think these two idiots belong in a padded room, at least they’d be in that padded room together.
Moral of the story, there’s someone for everyone. Also, the MTA sucks balls, hard.
…is now up, with special guests Brent Sullivan, Rachel Kramer Bussell, Cock Lorge and our sidekick producer Zach Dresler. Subscribe at iTunes!
This weekend my boyfriend’s grandmother, Dadi as she’s called in Gujarati, passed away. She was a kind, funny, strong woman who lived next door to us with her daughter, my boyfriends mom. Having lost all my grandparents, Dadi became my grandma the moment I cooked her homemade meatballs on Easter Sunday in 2009. Since then on an almost daily basis I stopped and say one of the only things I know how to say in her language “kem cho” (how are you? ) to which she’d pause from her crocheting to respond “saru che!” (fine). Then she’d reach out her hand and rub my arm and with a big smile she’d ask “cold?” Even in 90 degrees she wanted to make sure I felt warm. Her touch was so soft and gentle, the kind of softness and gentleness only grandmothers posses. My Nonna touched me this way. My mother touches my nieces this way. This was our routine.
It’s a strange thing when a grandparent dies. I think often the instinctual reaction to “my grandmother/father died” is “that’s sad but they were old, at least they lived a long life.” True, living a long life is a huge blessing. But that grandparent is still someone’s mom or dad. When my mother lost her mother, her best friend, in 2007 I tried to console her by reminding her how lucky she was to have her mom till age 94 to which she replied “I know, but that’s my mom. There is no bond like the one you have with your mom.” Loss despite age is never easy. Sure, it’s expected and inevitable at an older age, but it’s never easy.
Whomever you’ve lost, a grandparent, parent, other family member, friend a pet, or even an icon you didn’t know personally but felt connected to (I know some people think it’s silly to grieve over someone you didn’t know but if that person affected your life then it’s valid and important and no one can tell you who you should or shouldn’t mourn) you have seen the beauty that comes with death.
For the past three days as I’ve watched as family and friends have stopped by to visit, I’ve watched something beautiful. Something beautiful that seems to only happen when death inspires it…
The longer than usual hugs exchanged.
The offers of “if you need anything let me know” and messages of “I’m thinking of you.”
The reminder that life is precious and to spend more quality time with those we love (and by quality time I mean those seemingly rare moments when we are directly speaking to and perhaps even face to face with a human and not distracted by a smart phone, computer, TV, or some other shiny flashing machine).
The uncensored purging crying. The kind of cries that come from parts of your body you didn’t know existed. The kind of cries that feel like you just lost 10 pounds of tears and emotion. The kind of cries that only true love can evoke. (Even our dog Mina, Dadi’s good friend, has cried. Animals are so in tune, it’s amazing)
The uncensored laughing. The kind of laughter that makes you cry and nearly explode. Reminiscing about good times. Making jokes to ease the pain and to celebrate the life of a loved one.
The promises to others or oneself of “wow, life is so short, I have to do more to make myself happy!”
The uniting of family, especially family that have been foes (a fact I will never understand. I will never understand how petty things will make siblings stop speaking to each other or cousins curse one another. I’ve sadly had this happen in my own extended family and the families of most of my friends. Sometimes a death will mend a broken family bond, sometimes it will create it. If you’re reading this and you’ve cut off a family member over something stupid, shame on you. Please, resolve it before their funeral).
This compassion and love shared when someone dies is one of the most beautiful things in the world. I wish more often we shared this beauty caused by death even when no one has died: that we’d all hug longer, offer to help each other and think more of each other, cry and feel deeply and shamelessly, laugh and celebrate deeply and shamelessly, do more to make ourselves happy, and be united with our families always and not just in times of need.
That is what I pray for when I talk to those I’ve lost: that we can all share more of life’s beauty with each other while we are living, even if it’s something as simple as a soft and gentle grandmotherly touch.