After raising a family for twenty years, I decided to go back to work. I wanted to follow my passions, do what I love most. I did not even know what that was. My degree is vanilla: Bachelor of Arts with a major in Management and a concentration in Communications. I have always loved radio, writing, talking to people and discussing life. How could I merge all of that and start making a living? Out of college, I did not feel worth pursuing my dreams. I was not going to let that happen now that I was happier with me.
I still needed to figure out who I was. What was my message? My branding? What did I have to offer the world that they hadn’t already heard somewhere else from a more proficient speaker or author? What was my business? What do I name it? I kept thinking, “who am I?’ Am I somebody’s mother, wife, sister, daughter? Am I Steph Palermo? Am I just a Boston girl with Poland’s Syndrome whose struggles had been buried for forty plus years? No, I am just me, Just Steph!
What does that mean? I found out this past weekend. I traveled to Boston for my thirtieth high school reunion. Of course, my expectations for the weekend were to see as many friends as possible and party myself silly. Although all of that happened, what I actually received was a precious gift, a deeper look at who Just Steph is. I learned more about me. I have a more profound understanding of how truly blessed I am to have the life long friends who tell me exactly what they see in me. My homeys are genuinely happy when I am and expect nothing from me other than my presence. They “get it.” They know who Just Steph is better than I do. They know when I come home, I can finally breathe, and I cannot experience the Boston fix anywhere else.
At home there is no pretense. Nobody cares about my small hand, what I weigh, how big my house is, who my friends are or where I shop. They are glad if I am successful, and do not care whether I have a job or not? I am Just Steph. They love and accept Just Steph.
I had one dear friend tell me that this was my time to be me. I should take the time to be quiet in my own space and not be somebody’s something. He saw my situation with impeccable clarity and knew what I need to experience in order to continue to evolve as a person. His message was so simple, yet immensely profound.
I spent hours telling one of my dearest girlfriends about my struggles that I never before verbalized with her. She expressed how she saw kids not being kind to me and how she cried over it. Who knew? I listened to what others were doing with their lives, and for the first time in my life I was the real Just Steph with all of them. I opened my heart to share my story and receive the loving words from my oldest friends.
I stepped out of my comfort zone and the cocoon in which I hid in my youth in more ways than one. I relished the experiences of a weekend connecting with the only people other than my family who walked my journey with me. I even took a ride on the wild side, and, for the first time in my life, I jumped on the back of my elementary classmate’s bike and rode all over our old stomping grounds.
I will cherish the gift in each individual classmate who are beautiful inside and out. I am proud and honored to call every one of them my friend. This weekend, each person I encountered taught me how I can better live my own message to courageously dig deep and recognize my own greatness. Embrace my life. Savor every aspect of living. Find my own bliss and follow it. I peeled back another layer to get comfortable in my own skin; love myself. I am now freer to accept all of you and love you where you are.
Tell me what’s going on in your life. I want to hear from you.
Wishing you love, balance and peace.
Amore & Baci,