Thursday, January 27, 2011

I have a copy of The Secret

And sometimes I get really into it and promise myself that I am going to "use it." Last year, it seemed to work for me a few times. I entered a play I wrote into the New York International Fringe Festival. I imagined people reading it and judging it, smiling and laughing, thinking it was a great little play that people would really enjoy and laugh at. I imagined myself getting an acceptance letter and calling people to tell them the good news.

I was accepted in May.

Right now, I need The Secret more than ever.

The times they are a'screwy.

If you make time to list all the things you are grateful for, and you feel the feelings of gratitude, you will feel amazing every day. Your frequency will be high and you will move through your days in love with being alive, bringing joy wherever you go, positively affecting one person after another.

When you live a life like this, everything you want will come before you even ask.

I started keeping a Gratitude Journal a couple of months ago. I find those type of journals are better to be handwritten than typed...but for these I go...things that I am truly, truly grateful for.

-My health. I come from a family where people tend to die rather young. It's something that I think about a lot and makes me very, very sad...but I DO have my health, and I am very lucky for that. I actually felt that biological clock ticking recently and researched "freezing eggs"...the first things that came-up were resources for women that need to freeze their eggs because they are undergoing chemotherapy. How lucky I am because I do not have that promptly put things into perspective.

-The little kids in my life. My nephew, Andrew, and my two little cousins, Anthony and Mia, have become the chief children in my life and three of my favorite people. I love them so, so much and there is something so wonderfully genuine and ego-boosting about somebody's face (who can't read or doesn't exactly know English) lighting-up when you enter a room.

-My location. Lately I have been feeling frustrated that, since I have been out-of-work, I have been "stuck in New Jersey" and feel so far from New York City. Well, New Jersey is still as close to New York City as I am going to get, and I am very lucky that I am "stuck" somebody so close instead of so far. I could be stuck in Iowa. Not that anything is wrong with Iowa....

-My mother. I am very close to my mother. It was "just us" for a year after my father died. My mother loves me enough to really yell at me when I need it.

-My sister. We fight like siblings are supposed to, but I believe siblings have the type of friendship which you will have a million "inside jokes" that nobody will ever, ever understand. My sister also brought my "brother" Mike into my life.

-I had a brilliant, funny, wonderful father for about seventeen years of my life. Losing him was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, but I'm so lucky that I had him for so long. My mom says I inherited my "brilliant" streak from him. I hope that's true. He was so funny, so smart.

-I HAVE experienced that "love at first site, the world around you freezes" (like the popcorn scene in Big Fish.) I did not end-up with that person, but he is still in my life, and I am so grateful that I WAS able to have that. It DOES happen. It DOES exist.

-My "careers"...even though some of them had ended prematurely, a lot of them brought some very precious things into my life...such as...

-Barnes and Noble brought me exposure to amazing literature that will stay with me forever. It brought me friendships with people who continue to be parts of my life and that I was never want to lose touch with.

-The Pete Sanders Group brought me my first job "in the industry", while I was a wide-eyed, excited young intern, willing to do any task. It brought me the first Playbill that had my name in it. Through the Pete Sanders Group, I also met an up-an-coming Broadway actor named Cheyenne Jackson...who would turn-out to be a very special friend in my life and watching his career skyrocket has been such an exciting thing to me...and the fact that he has "taken me along for the ride" has been extremely special.

-Town Square Productions. I worked there part-time, briefly, but the people that worked there were so incredibly nice I will never forget it.

-The Shubert Organization brought continued excitement of working "in the industry"...comps to every show first trip to the Tony Awards...and one of my best friends in the entire world, Laura.

-Jeffrey Richards Associates brought more excitement than I ever could have imagined. I mean...Jerry Stiller sent me flowers for my birthday. I became on "Eurokiss hello" basis with Michael Feinstein. Whoever imagined things like that could happen to me? I also made some good friends, including my friend Elon, who has become oddly like an older brother to me, despite the fact that he is a almost a year younger than me.

-I am very grateful that I wasn't a young adult in the 1980's. I know that I would have lost a lot of friends to AIDS. I can't imagine how horrifying and heartbreaking that would have been.

-I was able to have my first off-off-Broadway production last summer! It was the most exciting, proudest experience of my life. I will never forget our opening night, being surrounded by an assortment of friends from all different stages of my life, and feeling like some kind of a "star". I will never forget it.

-All of my assorted family cousins, aunts, uncles. We have gone through a lot together, but we also have gone through it all with A LOT of laughter. Not many families can say that. Not many families could do that. I am so grateful for all of these loud, loving, lively people.

-My friend MATT who has become my quintessential "gay best friend", somebody I talk to every day, text like crazy and can tell anything to.

-Peter Cincotti. This sounds a little strange...but he has been my favorite (living) artist (after Harry Connick, Jr.) for years, and my goal has always been to collaborate with him. I think he's an astounding talent. Last year, I talked to him at an opening, and he kissed me on the cheek goodnight (we're Italian kids, and that's what we do)and asked me for my card. That was a pretty exciting moment...and maybe someday something will come of it.

-I have a friend all the way in Italy, whom I have never met in person, named Cristiana. Cristiana is a warm, wonderful person and has been extremely supportive of my work. It was her encouragement which helped me get my play, Pigeons, Knishes and Rockettes out there.

-My cousins. All of them. Cousins are sacred relatives. I love that I have so many cousins that I can count among my closest friends, and that so many of them have, through marriage, brought in others that I can also count in that same category.

-I was born in New York City and then moved to the New Jersey Shore. Those are two really terrific places to live.

-The work of Wendy Wasserstein. I love her so much. I reread her plays and essays often and they move me every time. I can only hope to one day be anything like Wendy. I want people to hear my name and connect it with the most positive connotations. I wish she was still here and we could be friends.

-I have had some great dogs in my life. Lulu was my dog from the age 10 to 25. She was a great girl and set the bar very high for all future dogs.

-I have grown happy enough with my appearance. I will never be 5'11. I will never have blue eyes or skinny legs...but this is me. I am happy with me.

-My friend Megan, who I sometimes feel had the same exact childhood as I did because we just have so much in common and get every last reference the other makes.

-I am grateful that nobody in my family or any of my close friends died on September 11th. I feel so personally impacted by the tragedy, even though I didn't know anybody who died. I spent my childhood in a building so close to the World Trade Center, and watching it collapse that day was like watching my backyard be under attack.

-My friend Christina, who is going through a lot of similar struggles as I am right now, and how much it helps to know that somebody else feels the same way about things and has the same fears.

-I have access to so much incredible and books and everything else. I know there are a lot of people who don't have that access.

-I love that I have curly hair. It's me. I wouldn't be "me" with straight hair.

-My religion. While I may not agree with everything "The Church" says, I am grateful that I have grown-up in the Catholic Church. On that note...

-The Youth Group I work with at church. I love those kids. I love that they're so hopeful for the future. I love instilling in them that they matter and can make a big difference in the world.

-Friends I have had since childhood...Meredith, Elizabeth, Michelle and a couple of Jennifers...people who remember what you were like (literally) twenty years ago are special kinds of friends.

-The Internet. I'm able to keep in touch with everybody...friends, easily...although I do miss writing letters. Writing letters was a lot of fun.

-I have a roof over my head. Even though I may lose jobs (more often than I'd like), I have always had a roof over my head.

-Theatre. Theatre. Theatre. Watching it live, listening to musical recordings and even writing my own plays now. It has become such a major part of my life.

-I am single, and sometimes that bothers me. But I also know that means I have not "settled" and that I most certainly have something (and someone) to look forward to.

-I was once billed as "The Teen Who Touched Frank Sinatra's Heart". Every so often I remember that...and I smile.

-I am a good writer. I create funny, natural dialogue and lovable characters. I make people laugh. I know this. I will use this.

-The future. Anything can happen in just a few days. I just might be in a completely different place this time next year. The excitement is just not reassuring as it would be to have a crystal ball just to know everything is going to be okay.

There are more. There are many, many more.

I am a lucky girl.

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Playlist for the Disheartened

I relate songs to moods...often the song that wakes me up on my alarm in the morning sets the tone for the rest of my day.

However, I have not had an alarm going off lately, since I don't have a job right now to get-up for...which is bringing me an incredible amount of stress and many sleepless nights, which turn into "nodding off somewhere around 5:00 AM and waking-up whenever I want to".

I have put together a list of songs to listen to when I am feeling down and need to be picked-up.

Accentuate the Positive...this song was actually playing when I was drinking coffee before my last job interview. I have never heard this song in public and I took this as a complete sign that I would nail this interview and get the job. (I still haven't gotten an offer. I am extremely disappointed.)

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do just when everything looked so dark?

Man, they said "We'd better accentuate the positive"
"Eliminate the negative"
"And latch on to the affirmative"
Don't mess with Mister In-Between (No!)
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

Billy Joel's "You're Only Human (Second Wind.)" Billy is truly one of my favorites. I realized not long ago that I personfied the song "Leave a Tender Moment Alone."

You're having a hard time and lately you don't feel so good
You're getting a bad reputation in your neighborhood
It's alright, it's alright, sometimes that's what it takes
You're only human, you're allowed to make your share of mistakes
(You're only human, ooo-ooo)

You better believe there will be times in your life
When you'll be feeling like a stumbling fool
So take it from me you'll learn more from your accidents
Than anything that you could ever learn at school

Don't forget your second wind
Sooner or later you'll get your second wind

It's not always easy to be living in this world of pain
You're gonna be crashing into stone walls again and again
It's alright, it's alright, though you feel your heart break
You're only human, you're gonna have to deal with heartache
(You're only human, ooo-ooo)

Just like a boxer in a title fight
You got to walk in that ring all alone
You're not the only one who's made mistakes
But they're the only thing that you can truly call your own

Don't forget your second wind
Wait in your corner until that breeze blows in

You've been keeping to yourself these days
Cause you're thinking everything's gone wrong
Sometimes you just want to lay down and die
But that emotion can be so strong
But hold on 'till that old second wind comes along
(You're only human, ooo-ooo)

You probably don't want to hear advice from someone else
But I wouldn't be telling you if I hadn't been there myself
It's alright, it's alright, sometimes that's what it takes
We're only human, we're supposed to make mistakes
(You're only human, ooo-ooo)

I survived all those long lonely days
When it seemed I did not have a friend
Cause all I needed was a little faith
So I could catch my breath and face the world again

Wilson Phillips' "Hold On". (Yes.)

I know this pain
Why do lock yourself up in these chains?
No one can change your life except for you
Don't ever let anyone step all over you
Just open your heart and your mind
Is it really fair to feel this way inside?

Some day somebody's gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don't you know?
Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things'll go your way
Hold on for one more day

You could sustain
Or are you comfortable with the pain?
You've got no one to blame for your unhappiness
You got yourself into your own mess
Lettin' your worries pass you by
Don't you think it's worth your time
To change your mind?


I know that there is pain
[- From: -]
But you hold on for one more day and
Break free the chains
Yeah I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and you
Break free, break from the chains

Some day somebody's gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don't you know?
Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day yeah
If you hold on

Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day,
If you hold on
Can you hold on
Hold on baby
Won't you tell me now
Hold on for one more day 'Cause
It's gonna go your way

Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can't you change it this time

Make up your mind
Hold on
Hold on
Baby hold on

Des'ree's "You Gotta Be." I connect this song with my mother and the "we gotta toughen-up" attitude we had after my dad died.

Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
Stand up and be counted
Don't be ashamed to cry
You gotta be
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day
Herald what your mother said
Readin' the books your father read
Try to solve the puzzles in your own sweet time
Some may have more cash than you
Others take a different view
My oh my heh, hey
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day
Don't ask no questions, it goes on without you
Leaving you behind if you can't stand the pace
The world keeps on spinning
You can't stop it, if you try to
This time it's danger staring you in the face
Oh oh oh Remember
Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
My oh my heh, hey, hey
You gotta be
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

There's Always One More Time...not sure who we can credit with this song, but to me, it's Harry Connick...

If your whole life somehow
Wasn't much 'til now
And you've almost lost
Your will to live
No matter what you've been through
Long as there's breath in you
There is always one more time

If your dreams go bad
Every one that you've had
don't you think that your dreams
Can't come true
Because it's funny about dreams
Just strange as it seems
Becouse there is always one more time

Turnin' corners
Turnin' corners
Only a state of mind
Only a state of mind
Keeping your eyes closed
Keeping your eyes closed
Worse than being blind
Worse than being blind
If better a heart out there
If better a heart out there
Looking for someone to share
Looking for someone to share
I don't care if it's been
I don't care if it's been
Turned down time and time again
Turned down time and time again
And if we meet some day
And if we meet some day
Please don't walk away
No, no don't walk away
'Cause there is always always one more time
One more time
‘Cause there is always one more time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness"

I liked Savage Garden a lot when I was in high school. I used to like reading their lyrics as much as I liked listening to them.

"I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness."

Those words have been playing over and over in my head lately. It's time for me to forgive.

I just read an article in Marie Claire about a teenage girl who killed two senior citizen sisters when she was driving drunk.

She's become a speaker about drunk driving (even though she is in prison) and before the first time she spoke, the daughter/niece of the women she killed hugged her, forgave her and told her that if she needed strength, to ask her mother/aunt for it, and they would help her.

I felt incredibly guilty after reading that story.

If this woman, whose mother and aunt were taken from her by a drunk teenager, can forgive...why can't I?

Why am I carrying around all this hurt and anger towards somebody that HASN'T killed any members of my family? Isn't that the worst thing somebody can do to another?

"Forgiveness is the key to my unhappiness."

I can't be happy and I can't move on until I I am going to forgive.

I forgive this person for how they treated me for years. I forgive this person for how they threw me away and disregarded me like I never mattered, like I never did a million things for them, like I wasn't the best I possibly could have been.

I forgive.

I forgive.

I forgive.

I forgive this person, because as much as they hurt me, they are not hurting. They do not care. And the only person I am hurting is myself...and I deserve better than that. (The people who do friends and family...also deserve better than to deal with a melodramatic mess.)

Other lyrics that come to mind (I'm big on relating songs to real life) is Don Henley's "Heart of the Matter."

"There are people in your life who have come and gone/They've let you down, they've hurt your pride/Better put it all behind you because life goes on/You keep carrying that anger it will eat you up inside."

I forgive you. Even if you don't deserve it. I am not forgiving you for your own good...I am forgiving you for my own.

I am forgiving you and I am moving on.

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, January 22, 2011

30 Day Blogging Challenge

Day 1.

A photo of yourself and a description of your day.

I am currently on a hunt for a job. (My fourth since I graduated college.)

I have had a seasonal job since November, but since the season is over, I need to find another part-time job to hold me over until my next full-time job comes along. Today I put on my warmest coat (color: rasberry dazzler) with my matching beret (I had on the same ensemble when I ran into a certain two-time Tony nominated actor recently. He told me, "Aren't you looking adorable in your little mauve motif!" Thank you, Gavin Creel. Thank you.)

I decided I wanted to wait tables. I have never done this before, and figured I should...just to say that I did. My mother told me it was a bad idea. (I think she has seen me crash into way too many things and fall down one-too-many flights of steps.)

Whether or not I would have been good at this, we will never know...apparently restaurants don't want you unless you have experience. (And how am I supposed to get that experience?)

I then went into a number of small retail shoppes (because that "e" at the end makes it look so quaint) . No luck. Anywhere. Not even at the yarn shop.

(For people just joining this blog, in August, a play I wrote which involved a magical yarn shop.)

I almost yelled at the woman in this yarn shop (which didn't seem very magical), "I'm sorry. BUT DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?"

I came home after about five hours still jobless and freezing cold.

I am incredibly frustrated. I have never been completely without a job for this long. Even after college, although it took me two years to find a job, I worked full-time at Barnes and Noble the entire time.

I'm doing my best. I am applying to everything. Something will come along...............................

Diana Rissetto

The people who TRULY care about you are also the ones who will yell when you need it.

Maybe I'm letting boredom getting to me. Or the cold. Or money issues. Maybe I'm constantly reliving something that happened three months ago over and over in my head and wondering when I'll ever get over it and how badly it made me feel.

It's actually all of those things. Combined. A very bad combination.

I type without thinking. I type to comfort myself. I don't know how people who aren't comfortable writing are able to clear their minds. These past few weeks, I have been rambling in emails to a very select couple of friends who I know I can count on and who know the details my situation well.

However, I also often type and end-up getting myself into a lot of trouble. My mother always warned me not to put anything in writing...but I really don't know any other way to be.

Yesterday, I got a phone call in which my friend started with, "I'm calling you instead of emaling you back. And I hope you know I say this with all the love and support in the world..."


I was told I have to snap out of it, transform all this stress and bad energy I am feeling into something positive (like writing a future Pulitzer winner!) and not let other people dictate how I feel about myself.

The people who don't want to listen to you will walk away and not bother with you once you turn into a raving lunatic. It's a good way to find-out exactly who you can trust, who will be there for you when you're not feeling exactly optimistic about life.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, January 16, 2011

You know what? I was actually kinda sad... learn that Jeremy London was appearing on Celebrity Rehab.

Ten years ago, I interviewed Jeremy for Teen People .

We talked about a project he was working anti-smoking film aimed towards teens. I told Jeremy that my dad, a smoker, had died of lung cancer a bit over a year ago. He told me, "We're doing this for kids like you."

He was very sweet and passionate about this cause...

And now he's on Celebrity Rehab.

Drugs are a very horrible, scary thing, aren't they?

I truly wish Jeremy all the best in turning his life around and ridding himself of this awful addiction...even if he had to go on VH1 for help with it.

Diana Rissetto

It's okay to have a few rough days.

I haven't been myself lately.

After a very big, unexpected change a couple of months ago, I have found myself struggling a bit. (A bit?)

While the most logical thing to say in such times is, "I am so fortunate! I have a roof over my head/a family who will never let anything bad happen to me/good health"...that always doesn't cut it.

In fact, reminding myself of what a mess this world is in just makes me feel worse. Last week, I was watching coverage in Arizona, especially stories about the 9-year-old girl who died, and cried all night. I see commercials for St. Jude and the ASPCA and I signed-up to be a monthly donor for both of them...but those commercials don't stop and I don't feel like I've done much good.

I live alone, which is difficult and lonely sometimes, especially now, since I'm not working full-time with no real routine. I miss my routine. I miss riding the train, seeing the same people every day, and kicking-back on weekends because I have earned the right to kick back.

What happened in November had a domino effect on my mood, my self-esteem, my spirit.

To repeat what I said in my previous entry, I also can't help asking, "If I'm really as great as people tell me I am, why are there any issues at all? If I really WAS this smart/funny/talented/pretty, shouldn't I have some awesome job that also pays really well and where I am respected? Shouldn't I be an off-Broadway playwright by now or have sold a script for $1 million? Shouldn't I have a string of wonderful boyfriends? (or, at Jake Gyllenhaal?)"

I think there are plenty of people in the world who aren't all of those things and they seem to have it all why don't I? How come I feel like I have fallen very much behind everybody else? Will I ever catch-up? Do I NEED to catch-up? What exactly is "wrong" with me?

I was sad this week. I cried a lot. And then somebody who I have only met twice likened me to "a little energizer bunny." I guess I put-up a good front.......................

I'll hold onto that whole "darkness is just before dawn" thing.

Until then....................


Monday, January 3, 2011

I feel like I could use a self-confidence seminar sometimes.

People I am close to are well-aware of the fact, but others are usually fooled. I'm outgoing. I laugh a lot. I'm comfortable being silly. I'm well aware that I'm a little unusual, and am okay and unapologetic about that. (I don't think I'm overtly weird. I got my own drum thing going, though.)

I don't act like somebody who is lacking in self-esteem...even though I very much so am (sometimes).

The other day, I saw a relative I barely see. The first words out of her mouth were, "My friends all LOVE your facebook statuses! They say how hysterical you are...and I tell them how one-of-a-kind and awesome you are."

Okay, since I have a private facebook, this means my cousin actually has to make an effort to share my statuses with people that don't even know me. People I have never met think I'm hysterical and look forward to my updates. I don't think enough of anybody's random updates or blogs to bother sharing them with people that they don't know.

If these friends of a relative think I'm so great and funny, why shouldn't I? Why should I ever be lacking in any kind of confidence? I SHOULD feel good about myself. I SHOULD realize that I'm of very much worth and that many people would love to be my friends or pay admission to sit through a play I wrote.

I think the world needs more funny women. I'm happy to know that strangers think I am hysterical and one-of-a-kind.

Diana Rissetto