Saturday, December 31, 2011

Who is that woman I see...staring back at me?

A puddle, a mirror, and glass windows at night all have one thing in common: When you look into them, you see
yourself…your physical self at least. When you look into a cappuccino, you see foam. But not this morning. This morning when I looked into my final cappuccino of 2011, I saw a reflection of memories and moments of 365 days of laughter, of tears, of smiles, of joys, of sadness—365 days of life—365 days of Me.

Many people will say that you are a man or a woman when you hit 18—that you have suddenly gone from being a teenager to a well-mannered adult who should be treated like one. Girls and boys are now used as terms to describe children, and man and woman are words that now describe you or your friend.

But I don’t think I really considered myself grown up—I don’t think I really considered the reflection I saw to be a woman—as opposed to a girl—until this year—until I really felt as though I grew up.

Over the course of the year, I made a grown-up decision to return to the states as my wallet grew thinner and my ambition expanded. I beat bouts of anxiety and downward excitement with conversation and coffee. I defeated dismal days of dread with an optimistic outlook. And I challenged myself beyond belief.

I made family a priority.

I kept my best friends--the best friends in the entire world.

I made new friends.

I found a family of comradery in a world full of comedy.

I discovered that the city is lonely til you reach out and make it not so lonely.

I learned that people here will support you as you unconditionally support them, and that giving a lot, means receiving a lot more.

I forged a friendship with several inspirational mentors who I never struggled to let criticize and push me towards my goals and my dreams.

I released those from my life that were creating a negative film over my perspectives and I made my own decisions.

I reconnected with those that I had lost touch with days, months, years ago; who once were a large part of my life, but had since been lost due to distance and time.

I kept in touch with those that I left just over a year ago to tackle my trembling fear that I would never return to Italy.

I let people in.

And I let me…know me. I smiled. I laughed. I cried. I joked. I stumbled. I stood.

And in the foam of this beautiful and delightful fragile cappuccino…I reflect. And I think “Looking pretty good Libs…Looking pretty great.”

Here’s to 2011…and Here’s to 2012—a year of excitement.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Let your heart be light; From now on, our troubles will be out of sight"

A reindeer stares a young girl in the face, and snow falls all around, as she shakes the globe with glee.

A relative jumps up and down in celebration.

She giggles. And then she claps "More. More. More"

The sound of a child on Christmas morning may be the ultimate sound to wake up to after Santa has eaten his cookies and drank his milk; after all the stockings have been hung; the presents left beneath the tree. It is certainly the most precious gift to have when you open your eyes and realize the magic still exists, that not all cheer has been lost--that tradition has carried on, and that it will be a merry little (or big family) Christmas after all--a merry little--or big life after all.

I don't have a child. But I have a beautiful, wonderful, brilliant, adorable young niece who calls me Bibby. She rips the paper on each gift, just a little, that isn't hers, and then smiles and giggles again. We all begin to laugh, proclaim cuteness, and then we go on to repeat the process as she finds another bow to take off another gift.

There are a lot of people who might argue with me that this is not what Christmas is about.

But it is...It 100 percent is. It's about being with someone, or someones who make you truly happy--who bring a smile to your face with the smallest gesture--who find your flaws and love you regardless--who wake up in the same place as you--and get just as excited to see you as you get to see them. Today that's my niece...but another day it could be a friend--or a family member. It could be that special someone, or it could be a pet...who knows. That's what celebrating, not only Christmas, but life in general is about...Getting excited for each-other--Getting excited to be with each-other. And getting excited for whatever your day may bring...every day. It's about reaching out to those you've lost touch with--and those you haven't lost touch with. It's about saying hello--love yah--hope to see ya soon. It's about loving, and living, and celebrating.

Plane flights may be too expensive--snow mounds may be too deep--but good cheer doesn't have to just be once a year.

So giggle really loud, like a little girl with a snow-globe. Jump up and down. Feel excitement. And wherever you are--whoever you are with--today--and every day--have a very Merry Wonderful Life now.

To all my friends, my family, and strangers who pop on over.
Happy Holidays to you !

Monday, December 12, 2011

I am so excited---and I just can't fight it!

We are just nineteen days away from a new year--a new year of wonder, a new year of hope, a new year of surprises. And a new year to celebrate. I cannot contain myself--I am so excited--(and I just can't fight it) for the good things I can see this coming year--I was so excited that I had to just post now--instead of 19 days from now.

Do you remember the first time you ever felt excitement?
No, not THAT type of excitement (though, I am sure you remember it). I mean the first time you jumped in the air for joy with your best friend and engraved a memory in your mind forever? I do.

It was my seventh grade year of middle school. Spring. And one of my best friends and I at the time were sitting in my parents office space-staring at the telephone waiting for it to ring. My friend hadn't yet signed my 6th grade year book, which had now been sitting in my room for nearly 9 months, so she began to pen a long living message.

Then the phone rang.

"I am calling for Libby Segal"
A voice on the other end came in clearly.
"This is she, " I said while I motioned to my friend that this was the call....
"I wanted to congratulate you on...." before the voice on the other end could finish his sentence I was jumping up and down with my best friend screaming.

I confirmed that I heard correctly and I hung up the phone.

I had officially made the middle school softball team after a week long tryout of running, throwing, catching, fielding, and hitting- I had made the first team that I had ever had to try out for - and it set my expectations for life- not only in working extremely hard but in honoring that payoff with excitement-- and pride.

After receiving a phone call that I had been given the internship at NYC Media just over two years ago, my excitement also elevated--significantly. I was moving somewhere new, somewhere amazing, somewhere perfect. I was moving to the big city. And every time I get a new project, a new assignment a new challenge, here at the office, I react the same way. Many people will tell you that this is how I often get after even the most tiny significant thing in life. "I tried a new cappuccino today." "I met a great friend today...I think we'll be friends for a super long time!!!" "My boss told me I did great today!!!" (Seriously--I just get excited about so much that laughter and excitement are tied for my two favorite emotions).

Because that's how we have to treat life. With every moment that compliments our efforts and our hardships and our commitments with a smile on our face and a gut feeling of anxiousness and heart full of joy. With that feeling that baseball players get after hitting a walk off home-run- or that children get after receiving an ice cream cone after a perfect score on a math test. We need to celebrate our accomplishments and share that celebration with others. We need to jump in the air as if we can touch the clouds- and we need to keep working toward that next moment, that next excitement: that next chance to dance on top of a bed with our best friend.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"I'm not stopping for you-No matter what you do-I'll just keep on dreaming"

“Weren’t you the one that said I would be nothing

And now I am about to prove you wrong”

-Rebecca Black

In one of my middle school yearbooks, there's a message scrawled out making fun of my bright red face that never seems to fade. There’s another message noted about my hair and another about something dismal. In middle school, these words hurt—and they are forever engraved in a yearbook that I look back on.

The truth is—middle school is tough. Kids are mean. As 12 and 13-year olds we endure some of the hardest times of our lives. We aren’t even really beginning to figure out who we are yet and suddenly we are answering to classrooms of kids who think they know exactly what our life is going to look like—and what we are going to look like and what our lives will be for the rest of it.

If we are too tom-boyish as a girl, we may be the last invited out for a girl’s night. And if a person is too girly as a boy—they get ridiculed and picked last in kickball. Kids use words like gay and fat and ugly and corny and loser and suck-up to harm others. They tell peers they would be prettier if they just ______. They make "jokes." They make internal bruises.

If we put ourselves out there—and let people define us, we are often harassed to the point of exhaustion. It’s sad, and hurtful, and terrible—and PAINFUL.

On Monday, I will be acting on set as a suicidal figure for a PSA that my station will be releasing next year. To get into the role, I will focus on sad thoughts and sad feelings. I will channel middle school—I will channel moments where I felt little—where many people feel little.

About seven months ago, I heard the song “Friday” for the first time by Rebecca Black. Until now, I didn’t know how young she was—I just knew that I envied how viral her video went in just days. Katy Perry then asked her to be a guest in her own video and Jimmy Fallon parodied it with Taylor Hicks and Colbert. I thought it was awesome. And now that I know she’s just a young teen…I think it’s even more awesome.

Rebecca Black was 13 when the video dropped. And immediately thousands and thousands of people began hating and ridiculing her for “nasalness” and “cornyness.” She received hundreds of thousands of comments telling her how horrible she was. And up until recently I didn’t realize just how drastic the insults and words were. She received messages that she was fat--and that she'd just be so much prettier if she became anorexic. She received DEATH THREATS. People are fragile—we tend to forget this…we break.

If anything, Rebecca Black, now stands out as a role model as she has handled the bullying with grace. After having to leave school she told her story to ABC –You can see her interview here:

Just a few months ago, Jamey Rodemeyer was bullied, literally to his own death.

When we are younger, our parents teach us that sticks and stones will break our bones but that words will never hurt us—but they do—and they can cause a whole lot more pain than a scratch or break or a bruise…They can change us for life.

We need to stand up in the face of bullying—no matter what the circumstance and remind ourselves—our 13-year-old-selves—and our 23-year-old selves—and our 50-year-old selves that the only person who can define who we are—is us.

“Your life is in your hands

So take it just as

Far as you can

But trusting in yourself.

Forget everyone else”

-Rebecca Black