Friday, December 30, 2011

Sometimes I wish people didn't compliment me so much.

And, no, this is NOT a fish for compliments.

This is not an excuse for me to list all of my good qualities and announce them to all four people who check this blog on a daily basis. (Hi, Matt!!!)

That was an honest statement.

Sometimes I wish people didn't compliment me so much.

I am always told that I am hilariously funny. I have to ignore that, because once you attempt to be funny, you're not funny anymore. I don't try to be funny...I just AM, apparently.  Someone even recently told me that when she's moping around about her horrible life, my funny Facebook statuses are the one thing that make her laugh. (I barely know this girl. I went to grammar school with her and have not seen her since the last day of the 3rd grade.) I know my humor comes through my writing, and as long as I'm writing comedy, it turns-out pretty well. I've even been called "brilliant" on several occasions. (Yes, the "b" word.) Another friend told me the other day that I am the most thoughtful person she knows. I'm no Scarlett Johaanson, but I get called "pretty" on a regular basis (and sometimes even that "other b-word" and "cute" and "adorable" on a very regular basis. (Whatever...I do.)

However, people tell me all of this stuff all the time about myself and I feel like, "If all this was true...wouldn't things be a lot easier? Or even just a little easier? Wouldn't I have a great job (or at least a job) and be luckier in love (or at least have the option of rejecting guys I didn't like)?" Because I'm sure there are millions of people out there who aren't hilariously funny and all of those things and are paired-off with a great salary.

I wrote a play once and the main character (loosely based on myself) was very insecure. My friend was helping me revise the script and he asked me, "Why IS she so insecure?" I couldn't answer that question about a fictional character when I couldn't even answer it about myself. The truth is, self-confidence has always been my number one struggle. I'm outgoing and bubbly and bounce-off of walls, which might throw people-off, but, deep down (or maybe not so deep down), I am very insecure about a lot of things. Some people would laugh when I would compare myself to Ugly Betty...because I wasn't that awkward outwardly...but on the inside, I felt as every bit unsure of myself. (I had to turn-off one episode when Betty was crying to her sister...after she learned her playwright boyfriend couldn't be seen in public with her because she was too...well..."ugly"...because it hit too close to home. I remember Betty crying and saying that every time she starts to feel pretty good about herself, something happens and she feels worse than ever. That's how I have felt, many times, in my life. Maybe many young women go through that. Maybe I'm just more honest than a lot of them.)

This year has been rough, and it's done quite a number on my self-esteem. I spent it looking for a job, interviewing like crazy for a job and constantly getting rejected, as I watch people all around me go on one or two interviews and get hired. (I'm happy for these people. I am. I just wish I was these people.)  The interviews go great, I get excellent feedback, people even tell me, "You're fantastic!" "There is something about you!" "YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO BRING TO THE TABLE!" but...(fill in the blank.) I feel like I am on a dreadful wild goose chase. I really doubt many people get such enthusiastic responses to their cover letters and such personal and encouraging "we aren't hiring you" rejection letters. So...what's the deal? Really. Why is this so hard for me?

All around me, people fell in love and even got engaged or married. While I don't particularly WANT to be engaged or married right now, it would be nice to know I had the option or WOULD be within the next 19 years. I've had two friends tell me that their respective boyfriends have BOTH said of me, "I don't get why Diana doesn't have guys lined-up around the block..." I guess that's a huge compliment coming from a young man, but still! It just makes me even more confused. I mean...well...why don't I?!

I was very open with my heart this past year and was quite kicked to the curb (you actually CAN hear your heart shatter when somebody shatters it, you know!) When this kicking to the curb happened, I blamed myself instead of person who did the kicking. (I didn't want to admit to myself that he was insensitive and didn't care about my feelings.) I told myself if I had just been different, I would have gotten different treatment.

This year, I have felt like I was stuck, like I was walking around with two black eyes and like things were never going to improve. A few weeks ago, I formally apologized to some of my closest friends for always being such a downer lately. I don't want to be a downer! I want to be happy and optimistic and have exciting adventures and experiences and I want to be able to cope well when things don't go so well.

You know what, it seems like the universe has handed some of the best women in history pretty crummy hands. I mean, we live in a world where a girl as awesome as Maria Shriver gets cheated on by her husband. Nobody was funnier or wittier or a better writer than Wendy Wasserstein (and she seemed like a wonderful and warm person as well) and cancer took her just as she had a young daughter to raise and so many more stories to tell. That was all infinitely worse than anything I have gone through, and they're infinitely more fabulous.

I guess I can complain and say, "WHY ME?" right now...but I guess a better question is, "Well. Why NOT me?"

Rough times and feeling not-so-great about yourself happens to everybody.

Just gotta keep movin' on. There's really nothing else to do.

(Besides, I'm well-aware everything can change in a day. By next New Year's Eve, I could be ringing-it in with my boyfriend Josh Groban and promoting my new off-Broadway play or book.)

Happy New Year, everybody.

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Perhaps one day I'll stop doing stupid, emotionally naive things...

...and will no longer walk right into getting hurt and feeling bad and secondguessing myself.

I heard once that everybody is basically doing their best and acting the only way they know how...so, when somebody hurts you, it's not because they want to hurt you, they don't enjoy seeing you in pain and it's not because they dislike you or don't care about your feelings.

The other night (the night before Christmas Eve), I once again went against my better judgement and ended-up feeling terrible when somebody didn't act the way I wanted them to. I felt let-down and very hurt and confused. I actually thought for a few minutes, "Maybe I don't deserve this response...maybe it's me..." But of course it's not me.

I'm not angry, but I am a little sad and confused.

Feeling disregarded and blown-off hurts a lot...so that's when you have to surround yourselves with the people who really DO treat you like you're important.

I still feel bad...but I'll get over it. I know that person didn't mean to hurt me.

Writers are sensitive, emotional, overthinking people..................................................

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I always look for crying people in elevators.

Four years ago, I was hysterical crying in an elevator and a woman I barely knew from my workplace took pity on me, calmed me down in her office and made sure I got home okay. (It was my last day in that workplace.)

I never forgot about her and ever since then, I always look for crying people in elevators...or on the bus...or in the street...that might need somebody to reach-out to them. I haven't done much yet...I always ask people (usually young women!) "Are you okay?" if they're crying. (It's a stupid question. They're obviously not. They're crying!)

A few weeks ago, I was in that very same elevator going to a job interview and spotted that very same lady.

I didn't say anything, but I instantly remembered that day four years ago, and how she helped me and was my friend that day.

I sent her flowers when I got home.

I wrote in the card that I saw her in the elevator but didn't get to talk to her and that it reminded me of how nice she was to me that day...and that those flowers were four years overdue.

She emailed me to thank me (she had kept me on file) but I think those flowers probably made ME feel better than they did her. I feel like getting flowers from somebody you barely know four years after doing a nice deed for them HAS to make your day. I know it would make my day! And knowing you've made somebody's day MAKES YOUR DAY RIGHT BACK!

I told this story in my Positive Thinking Class.

They all clapped for me and the instructor said my good deed would come back to me.

I think it already DID come back to me. It made me feel great.

Diana Rissetto

It's a Wonderful Life is my all-time favorite movie

It has been probably since I was in the second grade, and, by the time I was in the fourth grade, I think I had it memorized. I remember going to my aunt's apartment one Christmas Day and running down the New York City block calling-out, "Merry Christmas movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium!" I think it's not only the best Christmas movie ever made, but also the best film ever made and definitely the greatest love story ever told. (That kiss scene by the phone was my ideal of romance for most of my life.)

I remember seeing a musical production of it when I was 10 with my dad, glancing at him towards the end and realizing he was crying (my dad was tough. My dad was athletic. But my dad cried for movies and shows. I had to have gotten it from somewhere) and then when we exited the theatre, found it had started snowing. Just one of those very perfect Christmas memories that you can't make-up.We even had a tiny porcelain Bedford Falls village we set-up.

Last year, my play Pigeons, Knishes and Rockettes premiered off-Broadway and it was about a young man who hates Christmas and the young lady who changes that. Halfway through the play, the character of Peter goes into a rant about how much he hates that movie and how in reality, it is very depressing, pointing-out all the things that are wrong with it. (I mean...why DOES Mary only wear glasses when George doesn't exist? Did George have really good eye insurance or something?)

I don't echo Peter's sentiments. I love that movie. I love George Bailey.

So, when Carl Howell, the  actor who played Peter told me a few months ago, "You're going to think I'm lying, but I'm directing a youth production of It's a Wonderful Life..."

I knew I couldn't miss it. It's a Wonderful Life and little kids are my two favorite things in the world.

The Philipstown Depot Theater was quite a hike away in a tiny theater with a sign warning people not to skateboard on the premises. (Thank goodness!)  It's quaint and lovely and charming. (The last thing I will ever become is a "Broadway snob." Wonderful theater is all around us.)

Now, I've learned over the years that sometimes it's hard to sit through a children's production if you don't know any children IN that production. A few people asked me which kid I was there cheering on. ("That...little kid with the curly hair! Yeah...she's mine.")

However, not the case with this show! I "awwwed" and cracked-up at these kids every bit as I would have been had my little cousin Mia been playing Zuzu herself. The play was only 75 minutes long...much shorter than the movie, but they also completely kept ALL of the heart of it. I didn't miss the swimming pool dance floor or the scene when they show Harry in the warplanes at all.

(My favorite part of this production was Harry Bailey running-out at the end in his little soldier's uniform. I wanted to adopt him, but I'm sure his parents might mind.)

Carl, the director, has never seen the movie and decided to keep it that way, letting these beautiful young kids bring nothing but the purest and original interpretation possible to this classic tale. They all succeeded. It was wonderfully done. I listened to an audience member tell Carl that she was crying at the end due to the innocence of the children bringing-out the meaning of the story. She was right...you don't need Hollywood legends when you're acting from the heart.

Four stars to Carl and all of these fantastic kids on a brilliant re-imagining of characters almost familiar to me as my own family.

Diana Rissetto

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gratitude

My Positive Thinking Class stresses an Attitude of Gratitude.

Along those lines, I would like to state once and for all that it bothers me when people don't send-out Thank You notes.

I know we don't give gifts in order to get Thank You notes...but if I'm going to your parties and showers and spending money and time on your happy occasion, it would be really REALLY nice to know you spent three minutes writing me a card.

I don't hold it against them forever or dwell on it, but it does bother me.

Last week, I gave a young man I volunteer with a handmade sweater for his baby. (Just in case nobody's grandma made one for him.)  Four days later, I got the sweetest Thank You note from his very sweet wife. (I have only met her once.) This card was extremely personal and genuine and kind.

And with this single card, this new young mother has negated every eyeroll I have ever had over not getting a Thank You note in response to other gifts.

Instead of getting annoyed when I DON'T get Thank You notes, I'm just going to feel extremely appreciative when I DO get a nice one like this card.

In fact, I'll go so far as to say that getting a really nice Thank You note is better than getting a really nice gift.

This baby is lucky to have such a sweet, thoughtful mom.

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

They make classes for everything these days.

I have been going to Positive Thinking Class on Saturday mornings lately. (I told my friend and she thought I was making that up. No, I'm not. They do exist.) In fact, the second time I went, two random strangers smiled at me on my way there. It's almost as if they KNEW where I was going...............................

One week, we talked about how if you're truly a confidant and healthy person you will not attract people who ARE NOT into your life.

I thought about this.

I have never tried to conceal the fact that confidence has never been my forte. I'm not sure why. There's really no reason I should be insecure. I've been off-Broadway, among a bunch of other accomplishments. I have a lot of friends. Sometimes people laugh at me so much I kinda feel like Jerry Seinfeld. I am extremely guilty of comparing myself to (random people from high school who I wasn't even really friends with back then) and feeling incredibly far behind, which I need to stop doing.

I was in a very toxic relationship for several years. That relationship ended and I blamed myself and felt horrible, and let myself feel worse and worse.

However, this relationship ended shortly after the greatest time of my life (so far). I had never felt better about myself. I was on top of the world and saw ahead me, a very very bright future.

And then that relationship ended and I felt worse than ever.

Listening to the instructor of this class talk about how no confidant and healthy person will ever attract the opposite into her life, I realized WHY that relationship ended.

I was happy. I was feeling good about myself...and there was no room for an unhealthy, toxic relationship. I was telling the universe, "Send me great things and great people because, heck, I AM great!" and so the Universe took this person and situation out of my life. But I didn't know well enough to say "Thank you SO much."

Instead of realizing it at the time, I took the blame and let my self-esteem take a usual beating.

I let myself become the victim...when...no no no...I am NOT the victim.

I am the spirited heroine who is going to triumph because she is awesome!

This Positive Thinking stuff is no joke.

For 2012,  I am asking the Universe for a fantastic new job, several different productions of my plays and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Diana Rissetto