Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago, right around this time, I was getting on a plane to Italy.

By. My. Self.

I had never been overseas. Didn't know one lick of Italian except for spaghetti, ravioli, and pizza of course!

And my heart was broken. Shattered in pieces that I stuffed into a pocket in my backpack in hopes that maybe some good ol' fashioned Italian romanticism, red vino, and loads of Renaissance Art could help place it back together.

I had no idea really where I was going and when people asked what I planned to do there I always responded with "walk around".

And that's what I did for nearly a month. I aimlessly walked the streets of Italy to prove to myself that I could do anything.

That I was not my broken heart. That I was not the rejection of that man. That my life truly was mine for the making.

And I went there, because I believed that if I was really truly an Artist, then I needed to stare up at the Sistine Chapel for myself.

Backpacking through Italy by myself was a pivotal moment in my life's journey, and honestly I can't believe so much time has passed since then. People, still living in great fear and pain from the 9-11 events were terrified for me. Others told me how irresponsible it was for me to skip out on "real life" for a month. Some thought I was downright wacko for wanting to do it by myself.

But I knew. I knew it had to be done if I was going to break free from so many chains I felt hanging around my soul. I knew that I had to do this if I was going to be the woman I dreamt of becoming one day.

And now, I look at that sweet, 25 year old Connie and I just want to hug her so bad and say thank you.

Thank you.

She knew. She really, really knew.

Be sure to join in on the conversation on aging and age with Miss Jamie Awesome Ridler over at Roots of She.


cath c said...

good for you for remembering and recognizing what she was telling you.

funny, my brother and his wife were in italy when 9/11 happened and couldn't get a flight out for over a week.

Alma Stoller said...

WOW! that is amazing and so strong.


Ophelia said...

Wow!!! What a great story! Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

Indigo said...


I haven't quite trekked through a different country on my own, but I believe in doing what you want to do, even gasp, if you do it by yourself. I have so many friends who have never been to a restaurant or movie theater alone. I do it all the time (well more when I was single) but the point is woohoo!

sersk said...

As I read this I thought of the movie and book, Eat, Pray, Love. You "knew" wonderful!!

laurie said...

it sounds like a wonderful trip for the best of reasons. i love italy and find myself drawn back there often, sometimes with others and sometimes alone. but i have never felt lonely there. :-)

Brandi Reynolds said...

so brave.

Jamie Ridler said...

What powerful self-trust, Connie. Your insight and courage are beautiful - thank you for sharing them, always!

AnnaDenise said...

What a wonderful story. There's something about going somewhere you want to go by yourself. Seven years ago to the day I got on an airplane from Europe to the US. By myself. To study and prove that I was more than an eating disorder and a child divorced parents. I'm so glad I did that.

I hardly ever comment here, but I always always read your blog! Thanks for sharing!

Sally said...

Honouring our Heart Whispers, that quiet knowing that makes little sense to anyone on the outside looking in, but never steers us wrong ~ THAT is courage-and-trust-in-motion.

What a beautiful door you have opened to anyone feeling like 'running away' can only be defined as a failure of sorts. When actually, it can also be seen as 'running to', in hindsight.

Much love ...

Valerie Hart said...

Such a lovely post Connie. We all have different ways of listening and honoring the whispers of our heart. And I'm so jealous that you've been to see the Sistine Chapel...sigh. In a good way jealous. Happy painting!

Love & blessings,
xoxo Valerie

Valerie Hart

Lis said...

i forgot we shared this link - Italy - along with art history and everything else.

i love brave, 25 year old you ... i love that you knew the path to healing, to knowing yourself whole was through LIFE or, in this case, Italia which are one and the same ;)

For me, wandering the streets of
Firenze was like exploring my heart and realizing the wonderousness of it all and that I am a part of that. Sigh. Such memories on a cloudy day ...

love you big time

xo Lis

Susan said...

I am soooo impressed! What a wonderful journey:)

Good to see you!

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