A sorta PSA during this NATIONAL WOMEN’S FRIENDSHIP MONTH…
IT IS NEVER TOO LATE
TO FIND (or FOUND) YOUR TRIBE
It’s a well-documented fact that Waxing Poetic loves/celebrates/wouldn’t exist without women: sisters (by blood, by blended family, by choice, by serendipity, by way of the Greek System, by divine providence) best friends, cousins (all sorts), mothers and daughters, aunts and nieces, grandmothers great and immediate, colleagues, co-conspirators, creative allies, mentors and mavens and…we could go on forever (and probably will in some form or another), and all manner of their friendships in between.
To that end, Women’s Friendship Day seems a particularly excellent ‘invented holiday’ to celebrate (honestly, it’s kind of a perpetual holiday around here) – but this is a post suggesting that beyond celebrating the friendships we already all have, we celebrate our capacity to keep growing more.
This doesn’t necessarily mean more new friends (though it can), but it does mean more incarnations of friendship: we propose celebrating our capacity as women to make, nurture, evolve, and grow our friendships writ large. It is paramount to remember that we are never alone, that we can always find our people, that our tribe is never too tiny or too scattered, and that we are only a slight risk (in terms of outreach) away from connecting with kindred spirits.
Some of us are very fortunate to have a longstanding, core group of female friends nearby (or very receptive to calls/letters/texts/girls trips) – those of us with sisters and close cousins even more so – but sometimes life intervenes and we find ourselves in new territories (literal or figurative) – and finding your tribe in a new place (like…we move across the country or the globe, we face unexpected health challenges and need a particular brand of supportive co-combatant, we go back to school or change careers and feel the odd one out) can feel daunting. WE NEED TO REMEMBER, ALL OF US, THAT WE ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS (whatever this is – whenever ‘this’ is happening), that nothing – not even fear — is not going to stop you from finding your ladies or us from finding you. We need to remember this, because it is sometimes easy to forget as we grow up, leave school and scatter – and sometimes find ourselves feeling strangely lost and alone. This is a fiction!
Wherever we are in our lives, in our geography, in our journeys – our roles and selves are always evolving, and sometimes this involves unexpected changes and challenges. As women, we are simultaneously awesome at taking care of other people and supporting one another and tending to our families and growing our businesses and expanding our networks and sometimes in all of that admittedly awesome stuff, we forget to make room to grow our friendships. Let’s all stop doing that.
Dedicated to all of our courageous sisters on #sistersday
When my sister Lizanne texted me her “WE GOT THIS!” Bitmoji response after she nailed a critical business need (in her typical, cool, take-it-on-effortlessly fashion… while mild panic likely ensued elsewhere), I had two thoughts (and one feeling):
She is a modern day superhero
She is a genius for figuring out how to dress her Bitmoji in a fitting Boston Terrier shirt
I LOVE HER.
Sisters, there is a reason so many women’s empowered movements have been successful: because when we get the chance, when we feel empowered, we can bring awareness, support and an unstoppable energy to the things that matter most to us. We are a fierce bunch.
We typically work hard for the benefit of others. It is what women do (most, at least… we are learning every day). It is what my sister does. And as sisters, our efforts are somehow amplified. There is just an unbreakable connection, and I know from my own working relationship with my sister, the WE is stronger than the ME.
My sister (each of them, I am blessed with two…, and all my other “sisters” – you know who you are!):
Does she not have my back?
Does she not care more than anyone?
Does she not put up with any of my bull$@*t?
Yes, yes and yes. Lizanne and I take this job of leading our Poetic family very seriously, and as we expand our own behaviors and beliefs into a value system that positively impacts so many people through our work, our care, concern and sometimes tough love matter even more.
Our relationship has transformed how we do business, and the lessons learned throughout our lifelong relationship are now being alchemized into a much bigger purpose. Other-mindedness. Really “seeing” each other. Cooperation over competition. Encouragement and support when we (and others) need it most. Not walking away when it is easier, but working through things. Always love and a mutually respect for each’s divinity, and our collective path.
The funny thing with sisters is that we know each other intimately enough to call out each other’s flaws, but usually, we help each other through those blind spots to a greater understanding that we have been given this bond for a reason. Showing up as each other’s keepers, mirrors, coaches, shrinks, best friends, sisters.
Passing along one more text exchange with my sister now:
She, understanding and encouraging me to have my bath and chill,
And me, all prayer hands and love.
So grateful for her.
There is much madness in the world, but don’t you feel it… the “we got this?” The world turns in thanks and praise for all the sisters who have ever spoken those words to one another.
Now, go draw yourself a bath Sis (and all Sisters). Re-charge and be blessed in your sacredness to all of us. We’ll text later <3
Here’s an order/some advice: dream more. Start now. Reserve some time, every day, for big-dreaming.
Darlings, your daydreams matter.
So do your nightdreams.
So do your afternoon walk dreams.
So do your so-seemingly-impossible-but-also-weirdly-possible-wonderful-what-if dreams. Those especially.
American poet e.e. cummings is famous for his refusal to capitalize his name, for some of the most heartfelt and adventurous free verse poems of the 20th century, and for this very important quote:
DEEDS CANNOT DREAM WHAT DREAMS CAN DO.
It’s true. It’s always true. And in context, as we discovered when we realized that we ought to search out the original poem from which those seven words came, it’s even more true:
Behold, the final four lines in e.e. cummings’ poem [freedom is a breakfastfood]:
deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
—time is a tree(this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough
Those four lines, so true.
Time is a tree (this life one leaf), love is the SKY…
We weren’t pulling from this poem when we designed the DREAM BIG charm, but probably somewhere in the back of our consciousness, it was there, like a little beacon, a remember-me flash of feeling and form, mixed up with the melody of Blondie’s new wave ambient anthem ‘Dreaming,’ some fragments of Mama Cass singing “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” the semi-recent re-appreciation of “Once Upon a Dream” from Sleeping Beauty (having daughters brings all the good songs back), and so many other dreamy-centric songs, other poems, pieces of prose and…we had to make something to remind us to hold space for this under-celebrated practice. Because unless you are a child, or remarkably lucky to have not had your dreaming impulse ever go dormant, dreaming is…something we sometimes let ourselves forget to do. It can slip away slowly, like a second language you rarely speak, or it can vanish with haste, often because other circumstances make the practice of dreaming seem…less important than other matters. This is a mistake, and an almost tragic one — almost, because unlike some things, dreaming is something you can always pick back up.
Dreaming is paramount. Dreaming generates wishes and wonder and will. Dreaming is the fuel of doing because, as per e.e., dreams do infinitely more than deeds — they make us brave. Dreams set us free, they give us scope to hope and shape our futures and beautiful nows. There is no one ideal dream, no one version anyone needs to hold onto (precious, like a magical orb)
Dreaming is indulgent and empowering. Dreaming is liberation. Dreaming is vital. Dreaming is something that requires little other than giving yourself permission to consider…more and welcome abundant possibilities, maybe shyly, maybe rapturously, maybe awkward, maybe quiet, but always inviting and making room for wonder.
We made our DREAM BIG charm as a reminder of this — something to wear, something to give, but most importantly something to delightfully affirm every wearer’s fundamental right to DO IT AND OFTEN.
And this month, should you find yourself selecting treasures and keepsakes for your friends or family or favorite person, keep in mind that if your shopping basket crosses the $125 total threshhold… DREAM BIG can come home with you. With our cheering. For free. Use code: DREAMBIG
OR, being great at being yourself, with a little nudge from your father
I always knew what he was capable of. Constantly surprising us kids, never shunning hard work, constantly “going for it,” and upping the game of life. Growing up with Joe Pagliei as my Dad, life with this “man from nothing” was really “something.”
He let me puff his cigar at 8 years old after I begged him to try (yes, it was horrifying… but that didn’t keep me from taking up smoking a number of years later… but he got me out of that soon enough by having his doctor scare the bejezzuz out of me. Big thanks for this Dad!).
Then there was the goat incident. Dad brought one home from the racetrack in the middle of the night (don’t ask). We called him “Elmer” and gave him old shoes to gnaw on in the backyard. Soon, Elmer was on the shed. Surprise, this one didn’t last long (the neighbors were the thankful ones this time).
Dad was always destined for one thing: whatever it was that he wanted to do.
Larger than life, my smartly dressed high-school hall-of-famer, NFL championship team member, much smarter-than-he-looks papa (known as “Big Joe” to the neighborhood kids) also made an excellent fried-egg-n-grits breakfast, taught me to jitterbug, and dressed in drag as “The Godmother” for Halloween (his Italian Mafioso mother version of Brando, with knee-high stockings, hairnet, and an automatic in her grandmotherly purse, was spot on). And a million other hilarious, awesome, embarrassing, and brave things.
He was always on to great things, with each and every little thing, creating his remarkable story the whole time.
It took 3 years, but really a lifetime. I can’t say it was a total surprise, Dad writing his autobiography, because he has been telling these sometimes outrageous stories for YEARS and people have been urging him for YEARS to write and share them. But when he actually put it out there, when he said “I’m writing my book” we were all sort of like “wow, is Dad really writing a book?”
Yes, he was and he did. And it is GREAT. And I am so proud of him.
As I said earlier, I always knew what he was capable of, because if he had the passion and discipline to become great at fatherhood, football and the casino business, he could become great at other things, like being an author.
But it isn’t just passion and discipline. His real secret? He has always just been great at being himself.
Dad can say, do, be anything he wants, always (despite a humble upbringing and starting with very little, and many other obstacles) because he is a believer in instinct, the voice inside, his “gut.” He doesn’t look outside of himself for answers. He makes his own. He is, truly, self-made and self-reliant.
My dad understands, and taught me, the secret of being unapologetically oneself. He took this secret and created a colorful life, multiple careers, a family, amazing friends (both celebrity and non-celebrity) and now a book.
Dad, the world needs that special thing that only you have- thank you for being YOU. You have roasted, hobnobbed, rallied, danced, competed with, loved, cared for and blessed all of us who know you in one way or another.
Oh yes, and about that “nudge” from his dad. Big Joe says, “ If I were making my own decisions at the time, I would have stayed behind as a Clairton Bad Boy and not taken advantage of the ticket out that football was offering. I had this girlfriend at the time, and even with 105 colleges vying for my services, I had no interest in college. It was my good fortune that my father, Alberto, who arrived in this country 30 years earlier with no job or language skills, had the good sense to tell me, ‘You no go to-a-college; you no-a my son.’
Pop, thank you, and I’m glad I listened. I would have missed out on all of these memories if it weren’t for you.”
A real-life Zelig, Joe’s story starts in during the Depression Era, in a humble a steel-mining town in Western Pennsylvania, where he lived under the same roof as the local neighborhood numbers runner, and from there he never stopped surrounding himself with colorful characters. Going on to a professional football career, he has taken his natural-born ability for being everyone’s buddy and woven it into a narrative that covers much of the “back nine” of the 20th century.
As one of the top casino hosts during the Golden Era of Atlantic City, Joe entertains with how he was personally recruited by Donald Trump as the first employee hired by the future president when he decide to get into the gaming business. While working at the casinos, Joe found himself moving with an A-list crowd from sports and entertainment, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Rich Little, Don Rickles, Bobby Rydell, Charo, Chuck Norris, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Joe Namath, Billy Martin, Lawrence Taylor, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Torre, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Pete Rose, Julius Irving, Willie Mays, and Tommy Lasorda, along with other NFL hall-of-famers, and an assorted cast of high-roller types.
Friends, you can find it here!
At the end of the book, Dad says, “Being truthful with yourself and those around you makes it possible to go through the day with a winning attitude. I think I’ve been successful at relating this, because no man can be more blessed with a positive family than I am.”
Thank you for instilling your positivity in me, and for your many gifts Dad, this book being such a special one. When they make the movie, I will be buying the first ticket! I love you!
Located usually somewhere between late Spring and midsummer is a season unrecognized by meteorologists but deeply felt by those it touches (who are many): Graduation Season, a brief but seriously significant span of time in which we celebrate the completion of hard-earned goals and the literal commencement of new adventures.
To the class of 2018 — whether it’s preschool (adorable cuties in colorful mortarboards walking a short distance to receive cheerful diplomas sending them onward to kindergarten), kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, university, a professional degree, trade school, professional certifications, returning students or first time adult graduates — we are cheering and cheering and cheering some more.
You did it! Let’s celebrate!
While graduation celebrations usually revolve around the recent conferee (and with entirely deserved and joyful reason), we’ve been equally enchanted by recent phenomena in which graduates choose to share the spirit of triumph/completion/achievement with those that got them there — a move beyond ‘hi mom/thanks friends’ that can include (but are in no way limited to) recent grads throwing follow-up gratitude gatherings in honor of supportive families, or coteries of former roommates, housemates, and dormmates celebrating their interconnected adventures of all nighters/midterm struggles/highs and lows and all manner of stories.
Whether this is your first or fifteenth Graduation Season, make it meaningful, make it joyous, but most importantly, make it yours.
And for those of you who will be cheering cheering from the audience/grandstands/sidelines/backstage/top of a crowded knoll, may we suggest some celebratory swag for your graduates?
FOR THE LADS
Genesis Band Ring: Encourage your triumphant graduate this commencement season to commence his own new adventure with our Genesis Band Ring, engraved with a series of encouraging maxims to help him shape his new beginnings (along with your love and and support).
FOR THE LASSES
Write Your Own Way: Brave girls still need reminding and encouragement, even after accolades. Our WRITE YOUR OWN WAY necklace celebrates your favorite graduate’s independent spirit and applauds her determination both in school and beyond.
Compass Necklace: Your graduate needs to be reminded that wherever they go next, they have your love and support and faith in their ability to direct their own course.