How My Trip To Italy Healed My Soul

Venice Doorways

As I unpacked my bags from Italy I noticed the small circular mirror in my toiletries case had broken. The first thought that came to mind was seven years of bad luck. I quickly came to my senses and changed the negative and superstitious thought into a positive. The broken mirror symbolized my new outlook upon returning home. I no longer looked at myself the way I once did. Leading up to the trip I knew that it would be special. I could feel it. I had no idea just how transformative it would actually be. I've tried to articulate my thoughts and emotions into words to explain how much it has affected me, but it's as if trying to explain love. No matter how many words you use to convey your feelings they can never add up to how you truly feel.

There were things I left in Italy. I came to realize that the feelings and emotions I held had been passed down through the bloodlines. They were not me. Many of the same emotions I've carried all these years, rage, anger, and jealousy, mirrored those in my father. I understood that they passed down from him and he possibly acquired the same when coming into the world. There was also a release of low self-worth. When I was young my father called me fat. I was a "baby hippo" and had “a big butt". There was one year on Valentine's Day where my mother made my father return the candy he bought me. She didn't think it was right for him to give me chocolates and at the same time say I was fat. When you are young words have a bigger impact than they do at a more mature age. When you hear something enough, you begin to believe it as true. My whole life I dealt with eating issues. For fear of people thinking I was fat, I had feelings of embarrassment when eating in front of others. I come from a family, both sides actually, who love food. I felt ashamed for always thinking about it. Years later when my life was not in a good place I developed and compulsive eating disorder. I ate and ate to fill the emptiness in my life. 

Standing high above the city on Monte Giove overlooking Terracina, where my father grew up, I looked out over the vast ocean. As I took a few deep breaths I released was not mine. All of the emotions, negative thoughts, and false notions that I carried for so many years. I no longer needed to carry what didn't belong to me. All of that baggage weighed me down and I wasn't allowing myself to fully shine. As we explored more of the ruins I noticed a tile with the year 1988 carved into it. My cousin told us that they rebuilt part of the wall that year during a project to preserve the temple. To me it solidified my release. When I was born the plan was in place for me to rebuild what fell apart. I would be the one to break the cycle. After 28 years I was finally able to do just that. When you allow the release of old patterns you clear the channels and open them for wonderful things to come into your life.

There was so much gained from this trip. Traveling with my brother brought us closer than ever before. We had two spats which were overcome quickly, but in relation to a two-week trip I would say that's pretty good. We made great travel companions. It was so important that we took this trip together because we met all of our father’s side of the family for the first time. We have four first cousins, most with children of their own, second cousins, aunts, and uncles. Each and every one of them was so welcoming, loving, and compassionate. The generosity they showed was heart warming to say the least. I have never met such sweet people in my life. Some of my family spoke decent English, but there were some that spoke none at all. Despite the language barrier the connections we shared were powerful. For the first time in my life I felt that strong family bond I craved. Even though we had only just met, it felt like we had known one another forever. I felt a huge sense of belonging upon noticing the similarities in looks as well as mannerisms with my cousins and the rest of my family. Meeting them was like finding the missing puzzle piece my life was searching for. I left Italy with a feeling of wholeness in my heart and completeness in my soul.