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Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Friday, November 21, 2014

An Inspirational Person I've Never Thought Of Before Now

Have you ever seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? You probably have. I have not. I don't know why. I have a tendency to not watch movies. But now I totally want to see it.

Next question. Was there ever a celebrity you really looked up to and thought of as a role model? I haven't. (Well, maybe when I was a little kid... I wanted to meet Soleil Moon-Frye. But I didn't really understand the actress part of it. I thought she really was Punky Brewster! But, as always, I digress...) I don't really pay that much attention to celebrities. I mean, I can name all four Beatles... but other than that, even if I love a movie or a song, the celebrities involved fly under my radar. Until now.

I have this free trial of Scribd, which allows you to read as many books as you want to for a monthly fee. And if you are me, that means, probably about 20 to 30 books per month... so I can really get my money's worth from this! As I was going through adding books to my "library," I came across one that was a memoir by a mother who had adopted a toddler from the foster care system. It interested me because I used to work with kids in foster care and I have always planned to some day adopt a child (or children) from foster care. Of course, the author's name meant nothing to me because I had never heard of the person. The book was called Instant Mom.

As I started reading it, it turned out that the author, Nia Vardalos, played the main character, Toula, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But I still wasn't all that excited, having never seen the movie or anything.

As I read on, though, I learned so many things about Nia Vardalos, that by the time I reached the end of the book, she had become one of the people I admire the most! For instance, I was really inspired by the story of how My Big Fat Greek Wedding came to exist. Did you know that Nia actually wrote the movie, which was based on her family and the story of her wedding?

She wrote it because she dreamed of starring in a movie, but she was having trouble getting anything but minor television roles. In her book, she writes how her being Greek and having dark features, as well as not being a skinny-mini, kept agents from taking her seriously. One agent even told her to change her last name to Vardalez and pretend to be Hispanic, because there were more parts available for a Hispanic woman than for a Greek woman.

Nia was used to rejection and had always just found another way to do something, when one way didn't work out. So, she decided she would just write a movie with a Greek woman as the star. So she wrote it. And when it didn't immediately get picked up by a film producer, she just decided to start performing it on her own. She actually rented a place to perform, invited people to come be in the audience, and performed it as a one-woman comedy show. And eventually (I won't tell you how because I don't want to reproduce the whole book here, since I think you should read it yourself) it was turned into a movie, with Nia playing the part of the bride!

The main point of the book was actually about her journey to become a mother. She really wanted to be a mother, but her body just wasn't allowing it to happen. She started looking into adoption, but that didn't seem to work out either. She almost gave up. But then she decided to try adopting a child from the foster care system. And (again, not telling you the whole story) she met her beautiful daughter! And now she tries to spread the word about adopting from foster care, encouraging other people to do it.

The moral of this story is that if you want something really badly and it doesn't seem to be happening, you should just make it happen. It sounds super corny, but Nia doesn't try to claim that this is an easy thing to do... just that, if it is something you really dream of and feel that it is meant to be part of your life, it will be worth all of the hard work. And it might even take a really long time, but it will be worth the wait.

I really admire Nia Vardalos after reading this book. I felt like she was just a regular person, because she writes about feeling really anxious about certain things, being uncertain and embarrassed and all of the things I feel on a regular basis. Sometimes she felt so nervous about doing something, but she just "jumped in" and did it. I think I need to do more of that, instead of letting my anxiety and my disability stand in the way between me and my dreams.

If you want to read Instant Mom, you can find it on Amazon, here. Oh yeah, and apparently she donates all proceeds to charity. So, go read it. This is not a sponsored post. This is just me telling you to go read this book.





3 comments :

  1. Thank you for writing about my book, especially on the eve of National Adoption Day on 11/22. Yes, I donate all proceeds to adoption charities my daughter chooses. Because sometimes things do work out. xo, Nia

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  2. I love Nia Vardalos. She's very a very real and good person and deserves every bit of her success.
    I've written in this post about why Malcolm Young (who is a musician rather than an actor) means so much to me and how devastated I am by the fact that he has (probable) Lewy Body Dementia and can't remember anything about his life any more. Trigger warnings for the post include harsh language and discussions of death and illness.

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  3. Thank you for sharing the very interesting background of this lovely author and actress. The movie is special to me because my oldest daughter married into a Greek family. Not to worry, the happy couple were welcomed on both sides! But the movie described perfectly the massive amount of cousins, generosity and enthusiasm that all Greek families seem to have! I love the strong values of that culture and am so happy that 4 of my grandchildren are "half Greek!"

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