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