by Melinda Gallo

A moment to ponder

Today I went to a small restaurant near my apartment to have lunch by myself. Itís not something I do often, but I enjoy it greatly. Iím never really alone since I always have with me a book, a notebook, and a pen. I started out by reading my book while I waited for my lunch to arrive, but after a few pages I put it down. The writer in me craved for some time to write while my mind was quiet and there werenít any distractions like work, phone, people, or email.

I pulled out my notebook and began writing. I didnít know what I was going to write, but one word that I read in my book danced in my head: ďflowering.Ē That word brought up another one, ďflower,Ē which made me think of Florence whose name comes from fiore (flower). I began to think about my city and how I too am like a flower. When I look back at the many years Iíve lived here, I am overjoyed. I feel like a flower that has finally blossomed, and I give my beloved city much of the credit.

The greatest gift I have received from my life here in Florence is the peace that has settled in my heart and soul. I no longer have to prove myself to anyone, I donít have to become someone I am not, and I donít have to hide any parts of myself. I am accepted for the person I am.

When I lived in Paris in my twenties, I was only a blossom. A flower tight in her bud, almost afraid to blossom. After six years of living there, I developed, but hadnít opened much. My two-year stint in England was a welcomed pause that allowed me to define my dreams and desires and finally move to Florence. I had no idea what would be in store for me in Florence since my idea was to just stay three months to learn Italian and find my inspiration to write.

A month before my thirtieth birthday, I arrived, and after being in Florence just three days, I felt as if I were home. I didnít realize just how perfect the environment was for me to blossom, but I was on my way. It was an exciting two years for me. What flower was I? Who would I become? My life was unfolding in front of me and even if I didnít feel ready, I was. Fear bubbled up inside of me, but my desire to grow was stronger. I wanted to stretch and grow and had grown tired of my small bud. I was born to flower, and I wasnít turning back.

I began writing when I was living in Paris. It quickly became a passion of mine, but I couldnít stop work and just write. I didnít have the courage or the discipline to write full-time as a career. While in Florence, I unleashed my heart and discovered that I had a great desire to express myself through words. I initially began writing short stories, but this last year I have shifted my focus on non-fiction. It has been a surprise to me since I love the stories that twirl around like ballerinas in my head.

Along with the desire to write, I am fortunate to have many ideas for books and articles simmering inside of me. Sometimes I need a break from my daily life, like today even if only for an hour, to ponder and plan my next steps. I sometimes get caught up in the myriad of ideas and canít figure out which one is the most important for me in the moment.

I only read a few pages of the book I had in my purse today, but I am grateful to the author for having inspired me to ponder and write today. She stirred up some ideas and thoughts that helped me to redefine things in my life and allowed me to focus on my passion. I sometimes forget that I initially came to Florence to write. I am grateful that today I was reminded.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!