What I Know To Be True
And other things I learned in Chicago.
A few days ago I had an incredible interview with a scouting agency in Brooklyn, albeit via video, and one of the questions asked at the end of the interview has stuck with me as I reflect on 2021.
As I sit on my bedroom floor with a glass of wine at my side, I giggle when I think of what I know to be true, for me. 2021 whooped my bum and in reality, it’s still really sore. Just moments ago, the delivery guy dropped off my sushi and as I was getting off the phone with my dad, I tripped over a half-packed suitcase.
Life seems to be spilling all over the place — but beautifully.
This year, there are no take-backs. Everything that has happened to me, good or bad, I fully accept. It’s either made me more resilient, or less worrisome. I love my life and I love me — just the way that I am. I’m constantly growing and learning how to be a better woman, friend, lover, sister, writer, daughter. Human.
One of the happiest and strangest moments of my life was in Chicago last summer at a street festival. I barely remember everything that happened that night for more reasons than one, but I do remember sharing a very specific moment with someone. I and a girl who was part of a larger group of guys that night, skipped away to find a bathroom. We were walking hand in hand (like college girls in the midwest do at late night parties when one is drunker than the other), chatting away loudly and laughing about nothing in particular. At one point, we sat on a sidewalk watching people walk up and down in perfect silence, both of us in our heads. The shop behind us had speakers out on the window, and Baby’s Got Sauce by G. Love & Special Sauce was playing.
That night, I got a chance to see my life from the perspective of someone else. I know that not everyone gets to live a life like mine — not saying that it’s greater or worse, but that it is unique. There are a lot of things I sacrifice (like not seeing my family regularly) but also many things that I gain (like an impromptu homemade pizza dinner on the beach in Dubai).
The most treasured part of this existence for me is getting to split my life between Italy and the US. I never take for granted how special it is to go from country to country, keeping traditions, and adopting new ones. I want that journey for you too — a life you live that you're proud of, that inspires you to make harder decisions and to reach for your goals.
So here you are, the five things I know to be true. Things that showed up in 2021 and taught me lessons, gave me opportunities, and made me see the beauty and complexity that is this life. Take what resonates, leave what doesn’t work.
5. It’s always good to step back. Regardless of the situation, the task at hand, or the confusion, stepping back from whatever unsettles you allows you a chance to pause and reprogram. I stepped back a whole lot last year, sometimes repeatedly. Stepping back allowed me the chance to not say things I didn’t mean, or make rash decisions that I would later regret. It saved me money, a few doctor’s visits, and even a fight with my mother. Give it a try — step back, have that gelato, and circle back a week later.
4. Loving people is hard, so cut yourself some slack. Deal with the cards that you’re dealt and accept that sometimes, loving a human being is hard. They have own their minds, their habits, traumas, and hurts that you could never imagine and they don’t owe you anything. Last year, I learned to fully accept people for who they are, and to also accept that love isn’t always the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Sometimes it’s the most infuriating thing in the world and you want nothing more than to throw the other person into the river Po (thank God for morals and meditation). Listen, when you just can’t stand it — or them — anymore, guess what you do? You cut yourself some slack and you go for a run.
3. Sex is healing if you pick the right person. You all know where I stand on this subject, so there’s not a lot I can say. However, last year taught me that sex is truly an act of healing. Our bodies can say things our mouths could never, and sometimes it’s a physical connection that allows you to understand where and how you see yourself in the world. Give yourself that, but pick the right person.
2. Food will make it all better. 2021 was the year of cooking for me. I cooked so much that I would wake up dreaming of the meal I made the night prior. I distinctively remember an afternoon in Abruzzo last June where I received some terrible news. At that point, I thought I’d just lost out on something and spent hours in tears. So I grabbed my basket and walked 20 minutes through farmland to the only grocery store in the area. There, I bought pieces of chicken, flour, heavy cream, and a bunch of veggies. I then walked back to the house and started making some buttermilk fried chicken. All the pain that I had felt that morning seemed to disappear with every sizzle of that oil. Later, I served that chicken to friends on an outdoor terrace as the sun went down. Food will always make it better, no matter what.
1. Change is the only real thing. Last year I learned that the best thing one can do is be constant in their quest for good. The world will change, people will change and circumstances will change. Change is the only reliable thing we have. If we understand this, then navigating life becomes easier. This year, I know that things will change in ways I’m not prepared for, but I’m also very grounded in who I am and have been in a long-term relationship with consistency. Neither perfect nor problem-free, I embrace change on every level. I’m excited to travel this year in changing environments, to pivot my career in unforgiving industries, to love people through ball-breaking situations, and to always find the perfect glass of red wine in whatever city I am in. Things will change, but my true core will not — I’m a due north kind of girl.
So my friends, here we are in a brand new year…ask yourself what you know to be true, and follow it.