Being Gia (the Saga Continues)!

This is the story of me… Of Gia.

I was born in a blizzard, the day after St. Patrick’s Day, in Billings, MT.  I don’t believe this would, has, or will have any impact on my life, except that I love getting snowed in,  everyone is usually hung over on my birthday (from the day before) and the last time I was in Montana was when I was born in a blizzard.

Within two months or so we moved to Colorado and I lived there until I was 18, when I moved to California for college.  I proudly call Colorado my home. No matter where I have moved or traveled to, my heart will always be here.  I believe traveling the world is one of the most important ways to know yourself and others.  The world holds so many beautiful things to be seen and experienced, but it wasn’t until I was older that I truly understood the idea and importance of a home.

As a young child, I was attracted to the arts.  I began singing and dancing at the age of three.  I was always encouraged to follow my dreams, no matter how big or eccentric they may be.  I can remember many times singing musicals in my living-room with a metal pot on my head (that my mother had placed there), so I could hear my pitch.  My grandpa (especially) encouraged my artistic talents, and by the time I was 18, I held second in state for women in swing dancing and had been in numerous productions of plays and musicals. From the outside it would seem that the performing arts would go on to be my career path and I would end up in either New York working toward a role on Broadway or in L.A launching my film career, Oh, but how our paths do shift!  And sometimes what once was even ground takes on different direction and terrain.

Of course, like most people, I have many passions.  I get fired up about politics and social issues.  I’ve done my fair share of volunteering and giving to causes.  I have a personal conviction toward any work for the LGBTQ  community, as this cause sits dear to my heart.  It was beyond politics and arts, that my questioning mind always led me and I couldn’t quite kick my intrigue and need to understand history, the human condition and spirituality.

When I was about 10 years old, I became obsessed with religion and theology.  Everything “unworldly” was fascinating to me. I wanted to know why we was here, what our purpose was and what happens when is all comes to its end, or did it ever end at all? These were questions I could not ask at school or to friends, because children my age did not ask questions like that.  Often times, I would wait for the opportunity of an empty house, which would give me the chance to blare my music and make up wordless, soul-filled harmonies. I started to believe this was how “God” (if there was such a being) communicated to us.   At times, I would lay on my bedroom floor, letting my mind just wonder and create whole new worlds.  Music became my voice, my meditation and my freedom.

I was not raised any one religion.  My mother was raised Roman Catholic and was going through her own religious and spiritual struggle and did not want to place that on me and my sister.  We frequented the Episcopalian church for a bit and then switched to a very low-key Catholic church with a groovy priest, named Father Bob.  Although, I have no harsh feelings toward and hold full respect for my mother’s beliefs, by the time I was 14 it was fairly clear I was not going to be subscribing to the Catholic or Christian doctrines.  It was at this time, I found the Unitarian Universalist.  I was invited to join their youth group by a classmate from school.  Her and I had become friends, one day, after we had gotten into discussion on spirituality.  It was then that I finally realized there were people out there that thought like me. That I wasn’t alone or different and in that moment my world changed.

For the first time I was not a “freak.”  I had found a group of people who supported me for just being me.  During those years, my life was in a place of questioning and the UUs set up an atmosphere where I could comfortably and safely ask, not just spiritual, but all life’s questions.  Though, I would not end up in the UU faith as an adult, I did serve the UUs as Director of Youth Ministry for six years and I will always accredit the UUs for helping me discover my spiritual home.

After high school, I moved from my mother’s house, in with the family of a close UU church friend.  My friend’s mother had converted to Judaism, some years before, and that September invited me to join them at the Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) service at the synagogue.  It was on that night, I found my faith and community.  Everything about the service, the people, the music, the ritual, all of it was already so familiar to me.  Like I had just been on a long trip and finally returned home.

Six months later, I moved to Chico California to start my undergraduate degree, in Musical Theater.  Although, busy with school I still made time to go to temple and I joined the Chico chapter of Hillel (the Jewish Student Union).  I greatly enjoyed my time with Hillel, but it was not until I took Judaism with Professor Jed Wyrick, that I started feeling my life pulling me in a very different direction.  Jed was an amazing professor and later a great friend!  Also, Jewish, he taught the Hebrew language classes, as well as Religious Studies classes.  I took every class he taught and next thing I knew I was taking every Religious Studies class I could fit into my schedule.  Until, one day, Religious Ethics had suddenly become my second major (to be more specific the major was in Religious Ethics with an emphasis in apocalyptic narratives.  Needless to say, I got to see and read a ton about zombies!  Which was awesome!)   As for my Musical Theater major, I was still performing constantly, sometimes in rehearsal for two shows at a time, but would stay up till 4:00 AM reading religious and spiritual texts and go into the RS department on my break so I could have discussions with like-minded people about what I had read.

Two months after I graduated, I took a job in Colorado, working with the Unitarian Universalists as Director of Ministry to Youth and Young Adults and would spend the next five years serving a group of  the most talented, intelligent, and amazing young people. I attended the synagogue, when I could, and had established a bit of a film career in the Denver area.  Although, I was relatively successful in theater and music my call to service and justice was becoming much louder. After six years of hard consideration and turning down two acceptance letters from top music/theater schools in the country, it was clear I needed to change directions.  The state of our country and our community was far too great for me to ignore and I felt I could do best serving those who did not feel they had the voice to speak for themselves.

 

Today, I live in Denver, where I have finished a Master of Art in Social Justice and Ethics from the Iliff School of Theology.  I am currently preparing to go to law school with the ambition of practicing civil rights and public interest law.  Inevitably, I would love the opportunity to do mediation between Israel and Palestine, an issue that sit close to my soul (ALL PEOPLES deserve the right to a happy, free and just life.)  I activity attend the synagogue and other Jewish community events.  My family and community, are very important me, as they are my support, strength and love. I believe our family is more than just our bloodlines and throughout my personal history, family has looked many different ways. Through everything, I continue to sing and perform, as music is my life and spirit.  I am fierce in my love and devotion to others and believe truth, integrity and love will be the only things that matters in the end.

So, my friends, live your life in the fullest of those three traits and without a doubt, you will have lived.

Gia

I hope you enjoy your time in my Dream Dumpster and when you leave, by all means, spread the joy and inspiration, you take from here, onto your and others life journey.

Live your practice and love to all,

Gia

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Monica
    Jan 20, 2013 @ 00:05:42

    I think I feel blessed to call you my soul sister

    Reply

  2. Ray
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 06:37:31

    Miss your post.

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Being Gia (about me…revisited)! | Dream Dumpster
  4. Tokoni O. Uti
    Dec 22, 2014 @ 05:55:57

    Hi,

    I’m Tokoni i’m a student and poet. Its nice to meet you i would like to invite you to my blog, http://www.insanitybeautiful.wordpress.com if you’re interested. Thanks!

    Reply

  5. Lizzie
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 10:53:51

    Hi Gia,

    My brother and I were wondering how you were doing, we miss you, and decided to look you up and found your blog. Just wondering how you’re doing, looks like you’re doing great. Miss the youth group days, and I’m glad to see you’ve found your path 🙂

    Reply

  6. Trackback: Being Gia (the Saga Continues)! | Dream Dumpster

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