POTD: Spectacularly You

I used to be a very socially cautious person. Every word and action was planned and calculated, strategically placed to minimize embarrassment. I was absolutely petrified of embarrassing myself and others. It’s one of the reasons that no one has ever described me as spontaneous, not that I was trying to be. I flitted around other people, afraid of making too much noise or stepping on anyone’s toes. I have also been known to be far too apologetic. 

At the risk of sounding incredibly cliche, life is nothing more than a dance. If you ever wish to participate fully you must accept the fact that toes will be stepped on, including yours. It’s simply the nature of the thing. I’m not saying that you should go around offending people without a thought or a care. Always be kind and compassionate and do your best not to bring harm to others. 

But have you ever noticed how the best people are the biggest geeks? They are passionate and animated and opinionated. They don’t drift whichever direction the wind is blowing at the time. They take a stance and defend it with enthusiasm, knowing full well that there will be plenty of people who disagree. 

That is what I strive for everyday, to be completely, genuinely and unapologetically myself. I hope to never sugar coat any aspect of myself to accommodate the comfort of someone else. Besides, a life without a little discomfort is hardly one worth talking about. There will always be things for which you should apologize but being yourself is not one of them. Sing it loud and proud because there’s nothing wrong with making a little noise. 


Passion vs. Lifestyle

Photo by Luan Oosthuizen from Pexels

“Remember to follow your dreams, but also bring along your brain.” 

Those words were written in my mom’s familiar, loopy, half-cursive scrawl on a card I received for my 18th birthday. Too often, I think people only receive the first half of that message. Throughout life we’re taught to be creative and unique and to do what we’re passionate about. This is all fine and good but I do think it’s worth reminding everyone that you also need to pay the bills. I doubt your landlord will accept the lyrics to your someday hit single in lieu of rent payment.

The secret to happiness is not simply to do what you love but rather to align your passion with the lifestyle that you want. If you want to be a renowned artist but your talents haven’t yet been discovered and you can’t bear the thought of being broke, then I recommend finding another way to pursue your passion for the time being. I am by no means saying that you shouldn’t chase your dreams to their fullest potential, to the ends of the Earth even. Quite the opposite. 

Your livelihood and your future do not need to ride solely on this beautiful passion of yours. People tend to assume that ‘passion’ and ‘career’ are synonymous. They’re not. If you put too much pressure on your dreams, you may soon find yourself thoroughly disenchanted with them and hunting for a new one. There are a few questions you should ask yourself before diving into the abyss of discarded dreams.

  1. What do I love to do?
  2. How do I want to live?
  3. Does one support the other?

If the answer to the last question is no, don’t panic. It’s more common than you think. This is not a godly sign from the universe that you aren’t meant to do whatever it is you love to do. It just means there’s a little more work required to make it happen. This is where many people lose faith and interest. They encounter this roadblock, give up and go home rather than find a detour. So what if you have to take the scenic route? The journey is half the fun anyway. And I guarantee you’ll learn more about what you’re capable of after overcoming a few obstacles. Here are some follow up questions you might want to consider.

  • What am I good at that I enjoy doing?
  • Does this allow time/energy/resources for the pursuit of the thing I love to do?

It’s important to note that you are never stuck. What you do right out of school doesn’t have to be what you do for the rest of your life. But maybe it’s the first step toward that goal that you’ve been holding onto for years. By all means, follow your dreams. Let them take you to places you’ve never been and never thought you’d be. Just don’t forget to bring your brain.

POTD: Labor of Love (Creative Writing)

Creative writing is a little bit like not learning the sex of your baby before giving birth. I say this with the acknowledgement that I have never given birth and cannot speak to the physical and emotional changes which occur. But, by my understanding, it’s a labor of love. You’re excited to introduce a new life to the world. You hope it is good and beautiful and unique but you don’t really know what it’s going to look like when it comes out. 

It might grow up and surprise you with a sense of humor you never knew your genetics were capable of. It might have a sage, pensive side which occasionally spouts profound and undeniable truths about the universe that you had no idea you needed to hear. It came from you and is of you, but sometimes you can’t help but wonder how.

POTD: Good Job! (Joggers of Indiana)

Along the earthy emerald paths near the Indiana Dunes there exists a welcoming and supportive community of outdoor runners. Who knew? Coming across other joggers traveling in the opposite direction while out on an expedition through the forest is hardly unexpected. It is an absolutely stunning place, a colorful exhibition of nature’s irresistible majesty. Of course people would go running there. 

Finding other joggers on the trail is not unusual. I have however been pleasantly surprised by the team mentality they seem to have here. I grew up used to making way for faster, athletic types along many Colorado mountain trails. They were always polite and friendly but there’s so much more dialogue between the runners of Indiana. Nearly everyone I’ve come across has nodded and called ‘good job’ as we passed each other. People cheer for one another like it’s a race and we’re all on the same team. It makes me smile whenever this happens, seeing the heart of Indiana shine through before my fellow runners continue on their way. 

Please Love Responsibly

I don’t usually try to rhyme. This is one of my first attempts because playing with words is fun.

You love with the heart
Of an unloved man
Pitied for your part
Never sure if you can.

Claiming uncharted shores
And skies of deepest blue
While opening doors 
That you would never walk through.

I don’t understand 
Cherished everyday
Why you play the unloved man
When you know a better way.

Now your tears fall
Demanding an apology
That I didn’t call.
Oh, sweet tragedy!

Chin up darling.
You’ll find someone new
As soon as you stop pretending 
To be the broken hearted fool.

POTD: Smell the Flowers

Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the flowers. Make plans. Be busy. Don’t let life pass you by. But every now and then, allow yourself some healthy boredom. Take a day to lay on the couch with that book you’ve been finishing for months and maybe even grab a new one from the shelf. Sit back in your porch chair with a glass of wine and let your foot keep time to the rustle of leaves that sounds like waves lapping at a white sandy beach. 

Take joy in your home and in being in it. This is more than where you sleep. It’s where you live. Watch the vibrant greens of the trees fade to intricate black lace against the pale sky in the evening. Take a moment to feel the world around you. Listen to the voices of dozens of far away birds like the sparkling chatter of a flute chorus. Breath in the clean sweet floral air after a heavy rain. Look up at the bright canvas of silver-blue hues in the sky that make you think of the foam capped tides of a gently swaying sea. 

10 Things That Will Make Any Day Better

1. Make your bed – Just do it. If nothing else, you will have the pleasure of messing it up when you get back into it in the evening. It always feels better to crawl into a made bed. 

2. Dress for your day – It never hurts to be the tiniest bit overdressed. It may seem like others don’t notice or care but it will definitely boost your own confidence. Do that often enough and people will start to notice for the better.

3. Let the light in – Humans are not nocturnal. You are not a cave dwelling Gollum creature or a sparkly vampire and you need sunshine. Open your eyes and then open the blinds and let in the day.  

4. Start fresh – File away all the loose lists, papers and projects. Save and close all the open windows and documents on your laptop. Actually close the laptop and leave it in its case in the closet overnight. The separation will do you both good. Getting started tomorrow will be so much easier with a clean screen and work surface.  

5. Tidy as you go – I still struggle with this one but it’s true. Don’t leave dirty dishes to soak. Just do them as you make them and you will never be plagued with the anxiety of a dirty kitchen.

6. Sit down and eat – A meal is meant to be shared and savored. Food is one of the ways we like to celebrate. Even if you’re dining alone, allow yourself the time for these small festivities which can truly make any day a little brighter. 

7. Experience Nature – Go for a walk. Read a book under a tree. Mow the lawn. Make a day of it and go find a trail you’ve never hiked and let it take you somewhere you’ve never been. Get away from glowing screens and electronic alerts and breath in the fresh air. You won’t regret it. 

8. Feel the music – Any music. Sing. Learn a new tune on the piano. Pick up a new instrument. Enjoy the harmonious vibrato of your favorite italian opera as you lounge in a porch chair in the evening or bust a move in your car on the way to the grocery store as you belt out some 80’s rock and roll. 

9. Have a drink – It’s impossible to not feel like an elegant, classy, successful Wonder Woman as you sip a cocktail and watch the sunset. Similar to sitting down for dinner, take a minute to celebrate you with this small indulgence. You are one-of-a-kind after all.   

10. Go to bed on time – That means you must pick a time and stick to it. Late night college studying wreaked utter havoc on my sleeping habits but I eagerly await the day when I find a routine that has me waking up refreshed for the new day. 

It’s all the little things that can turn an average day into a spectacular day. This is my list. What’s yours? 

What My Ghost Looks Like

Check it out! One of my pieces was published on The Drabble. This was a creative freewrite that I did during a particularly rough day in college. Much darker than I usually go for but all is well now.


By Sofia Gamba

Her face is colorless, eyes dull. Heavy lids veil earthen green that used to sparkle there. Smile lines crease the skin around her mouth but they’re twisted the wrong way. Hair hangs loose, pale and cold like the rest of her. Fingers clench into fists that whiten her knuckles but she’s not angry. No. She’s chilled, exhausted; a strong wind might blow her away.

She’s a bad day I had once. She was searching for sunshine through the mirror. I still see her sometimes, for a second or two, never long enough to tell her that she found it.

“I write to relax and unravel the knots in my spaghetti brain.”

View original post

POTD: Pierogi Culture

I have found my people, folks who eat like hobbits. I am hopelessly in love with the pierogi culture in Indiana. This is a wondrous place where every county fair hot dog stand has a pierogi truck parked right next to it as the community unites to embrace its Polish heritage. The scents of sizzling sausage and frying pierogies wafts through the streets at every festival and farmer’s market. 

I’m proud to live in a place where every grocery store is regularly stocked with spaetzle and kielbasa and numerous meat markets boast the best cuts in town. This is a place where flour and yeast are hard to come by in a global pandemic because everyone had the same idea and is at home baking their own fresh bread. The world renowned Pierogi Fest in Whiting is the perfect culmination and celebration of Indiana traditions. 

POTD: Hello World!

The world is starting to spin again! For the first time in two months, I have plans. Businesses are starting to open again and people are dining out at restaurants downtown. People are going back to church and marking appointments on their calendars. It’s fantastic to see people out and about town, having face to face conversations (with protective facial coverings of course).

I am so ready to stop twiddling my thumbs and go out and participate in society again. This post is nothing more than a joyous and hopeful exclamation for all the good times to come this summer with friends, old and new. I hope everyone enjoys a safe, healthy and happy summer. Wherever you are, well wishes are coming your way from this Colorado girl in her Indiana world.