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Self Introduction

The most important thing to know about me is that I love reading and writing as both of these activities have followed me throughout my life and provided me with the ability to dream and create. However, I have found that the actual act of writing only makes up a small portion of what it means to be a writer. A writer, to me, is someone who not only shares the subjective lens from which they view the world via their writing, but who is constantly placing themself in new (often uncomfortable) situations in order to absorb as much real-world experience as possible. I have taken this philosophy with me throughout my life and it–in turn–has done the same.

I was raised primarily by my father’s side of the family (my paternal grandparents, my dad, and my brother) who are of Cuban descent, so that culture colored my perspective growing up. I was lucky to have a great family that I was very close with–particularly my brother–and we remain that way. When I was in high school my brother joined the Army National Guard and I thought that sounded pretty cool, so a few months later I did the same once I turned 17. I enlisted as a combat medic and served six years in an artillery unit. While we never deployed overseas over the course of my contract, I served on active-duty orders throughout the COVID pandemic at various nursing homes and testing sites which was a memorable experience to say the least.

Outside of the military, I volunteered and worked as an EMT for a long time and met practically all of my closest friends in this line of employment. More recently, in 2022 I became a firefighter after a good friend suggested that we both give it a try. So far, the fire department has been a very interesting experience for me, and I look forward to seeing where it takes me.

To make a long story short, I have involved myself in some interesting organizations over the years. These jobs have provided me with knowledge of fields that I never would have dreamed of being involved in when I was a kid and opened up many doors. Perhaps best of all, they introduced me to some of the funniest, strangest, and most intelligent people I have ever met (as well as the reverse side of the coin). I hope that graduate school proves to be another such door.

An Introduction to Me!

Well, hello my fellow classmates ~~

Francesca Di Fabio, here – we already went over how and why I got my name; so, let’s jump straight to it. I come from a hard-working, Italian American household, raised by both of my lovely grandmothers, mother, father, and older brother. I was blessed enough to have one grandma – my Nonna – live down the street, and my other grandma – who we called Morning – live in the bottom half of our mother-daughter house. Both of my Italian grandmas have passed but our lovely memories of drawing, painting, gardening, cooking home-made pasta and sauce together will live on forever.

I sleep in the very room my mother did too, when she was a young girl, following the motions toward womanhood. Now a grown woman myself, I take pleasure in waking up late on Sunday’s to the smell of Morning’s marinara sauce recipe boiling on the stove top – cooked by my mother and passed down from her own. Ready and served no later than 3 PM every Sunday. I learned quickly how to make room for two dinner servings every Sunday, because if not, my mother will take it as an insult to her cooking. It’s very simple: If we don’t eat, my mother is not pleased. My mother – a Jersey City Italian who’s a mix between Judge Judy and The Long Island Medium. Trust me, you want to please the woman!

But who exactly am I? I wish I could tell you – I’m still figuring that one out. What I can tell you is that I obtained my bachelor’s degree in English, Writing, and Education from Kean University, and graduated in the Spring of 2022. Sometimes, I still can’t believe that I have a degree in English and am getting my M.A. in Writing Studies. Growing up, I often became embarrassed, frustrated, and overwhelmed that school was hard for me compared to the “average” person. I questioned my dyslexia every day and how it impacted my ability to read. And the worst part of it all was that I loved to learn but I just could not understand the information. 

Instead of hating school, I decided to challenge academia. I became obsessed with teaching myself how to read and write. I would spend hours glossing over pages until I understood what the text was trying to tell me. Endless nights were spent worrying if I looked dumb to my peers or wondering why a simple assignment took me twice as long. Somehow, I graduated undergrad with a flawless 4.0 GPA average, not allowing myself to receive anything less. 

It took time to be proud of myself about graduating college with a 4.0 GPA: apparently, that’s a huge accomplishment. I’ve always had difficulty congratulating or celebrating myself. Because, what if it all doesn’t go as planned? How could I celebrate such an accomplishment when there are endless possibilities for failure in the future? Unfortunately, that’s how an anxiety-induced, perfectionist thinks. I know it’s a problem; hence why I spent three months in a partial, hospitalization center – famously known for being referred to as ~ rehab ~. I have no shame talking about my struggles with mental health because it’s my reality. The random panic attacks paired with the spiraling thoughts, throw-up fits, and arthritis flare-ups come with being a perfectionist.

So, I write to understand my thoughts because it turns out I got a whole lot of them. I write for my therapist. I write for myself. I write my kids yoga lessons. I write short stories that mirror my very, deep feelings and emotions. I write because I never thought I could. I read to teach myself how to write, so that I can turn around and tell the next person, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!”

Introduction

This is my first blog post for my Writing & Theory Practice class. I am introducing myself for the purpose of starting dialogue in the class. This is my second semester in my English Writing Studies Masters Program and I will be taking another three classes this semester. My pronouns are he/him/his and I am 23 years old. I am a black man, 2nd generation Jamaican-American black man, and I was born on the very second day of the 21st century. My interests are in creative fiction writing, music appreciation, walking in warm and cool weather, reading outside in good and cool yet warm weather, learning how to draw, writing my thoughts down, organizing my personal spaces, and learning to better myself as a person.

For this semester I want to engage more with others, as last semester I was more withdrawn and kept to myself more than I wanted to. Also, because covid-19 is still a problem I intend to take newer and safer precautions when going to classes.