Leaps of Faith

Posted by Michael Mazzella
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Posted on February 28, 2014

Michael Mazzella Risks, in my opinion, they’re the epicenter of the fear of the unknown. Everyone has their own goals for what they want their life to look like and for some it may be finding that one true love, creating a family, or like me, their career ambitions. How far is too far in desiring to achieve your dreams? Is it worth possibly losing everything you hold dear for a possible step up the ladder? I have spent many nights pondering over these questions, agonizing over them, really. I have gone to the ends of the Earth to reach a higher point in my career. Every time I take a giant leap, I risk it all. The fear is real. The fear reverberates in the “what ifs” and forbiddance of the future.

Here I stand, yet again, facing the ledge, and ahead of me another mountain, I know I must jump to reach the top. I don’t want to. I want to remain comfortable in my home, where I know I’m safe. The home I worked so hard for. The thought of yet another huge risk makes my soul ache. I’ve been told by so many throughout my life that in order to become more comfortable, you must take a step back and get uncomfortable first. This is true, it’s a fact, but I’m struggling. I’m hurting. To give up a home is a hard thing to stomach. Every hanging picture, piece of furniture, and decoration has a story behind it. There is nothing in my home that is meaningless.

Anyone who has followed my career knows that I had and have a major struggle with food. I’m a food addict, no ifs ands or buts about it. I have binge eating disorder and it will always be a struggle. There is no point in hiding it – it’s just as much a part of me as the color of my skin. My weight battles have been a point of much pain, but like all things it can be a force for good. No one facing this battle is alone – know there are others out there. The leap I stand before is starting to unhinge the doors that have locked away the monster that is food addiction. In the last weeks I’ve found myself so overwhelmed by the unknown, “the what do I do? Do I go this way or that way? Left or right,” that my daily practice of prayers, mediation, reading, and writing have fallen off course. I’ve slipped.

The irony? I asked for this, I asked GOD, the universe to grant me this but that’s just the thing, GOD listened. Sometimes it’s one thing to dream, to ask for a wish to be granted, but what happens when it comes true? For me, shear panic and incomprehensible anxiety and paranoia. My life is so simple, so why do I insist on complicating it with my own insanity? I suppose that answer lies in the fear of gaining it and losing it. Losing a dream is possible. Failing is possible. Success is also possible. Dreams can be real. The other shoe doesn’t always have to drop. I believe the universe rewards risks, by showing that you will put your own comfort second for the greater goal. This is absolutely a huge act of trust. Trusting that GOD will always come through can be hard. I admit I’ve had dark thoughts and questioned this to be real. GOD’s grace is real and mighty. He will not let his children suffer a loss that ultimately serves no good. There is good in all things, even those masquerading as brutality.

I’m doing it. I’m going to take the risk. Give up my home in Los Angeles that has held the key to my heart and uproot myself to New York City. I dream a dream that I know will be. I know I can help others and bring them joy. The sweetest sound is the sound of a fellow child of GOD laughing. In that split second of laugher there is no angst that exists.  To know that I can cause such a beautiful moment for someone is a tremendous blessing. Though my soul may ache through the leap, I know that if nothing else, when I get to heaven GOD will know I tried. Soon when I am able to bring joy to viewers in the comfort of their homes on a daily basis, my own personal comfort will no longer matter. The tears will have dried and the risks will be worth it. I’m choosing to believe. What else is there to do?

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Michael Mazzella

Michael Santino Mazzella Imagine a place where drive-through alcohol and bookie-gambling fathers are the norm. Stumped? Well, that place is Lafayette, Louisiana – the place of my birth. It is a fun loving, cocktail-in-the-morning, gossiping kind of town. My mother, a housewife with the most bless-your-heart southern charm, and my father, a jet-setting dad with a glamour-filled life only Hollywood could concoct, were my only sages. Growing up in a small town, my world comprised of my parents, a sister, a community of ladies who lunch, and a rigid religious education. At the tender yet tyrannous age of four, I had a feeling that there was something other than my present circumstances that I was meant to pursue. I knew then and there that I was on this planet for a reason. Granted that at the age of 4 my ability to articulate such thoughts was close to non-existent, but the “feeling” was absolutely there. We all have that “feeling” and mine was all encompassing. There was nothing worse than having the “feeling” and not knowing how to pursue it. I gained weight. I suppressed the racing intents of my mind because I was a cord with no outlet, and it hurt. The birthing pains had begun...good times? I grew to a robust 300 lbs. At the time I didn’t realize it, but this too was part of my path. One day, I was watching TV with my mother and we came across a woman named Joy Behar and an actor she was interviewing on the now iconic talk show, “The View.” THAT was it! THAT’S what I was born to be! I was meant to become a storyteller of the human experience and continue on an exploration of the human heart through entertaining others. But how? How on Earth was I going to embark on becoming a storyteller, entertainer, and instigator of laughter that would bring joy to people and open their hearts to the human experience? I needed to learn not about people but about being human. This question and answer manifested itself through tennis. In Lafayette, tennis was at the epicenter of the social scene, so I naturally followed it closely. During one particular match, I overheard a commentator that the tennis player in front of them attended the IMG Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. In my extraordinarily naive mind I thought that if this player achieved such success in his career, I must follow in his footsteps and attend this institution too. Two weeks later, I moved to Bradenton, Florida to attend Bollettieri. The day-to-day hell, physical and mental beating, endless life lessons, friendships that will last a lifetime, and stories of triumph and failure are far too many to list here. This part of my journey brought me closer to realizing that “feeling,” my Dharma. I knew to get even more comfortable, I was going to have to take a step back and get incredibly uncomfortable first. That discomfort appeared as a debilitating left shoulder injury. As a left-hander, this meant the end of the glory days as well as my career in professional tennis. At the age of 17, I left the institute, knowing I had learned all the lessons it was meant to teach me. I said goodbye to those who had become my new mentors and leaders in thought, such as Monica Seles. I blindly moved to Los Angeles with the knowledge that failure only breathes when lack of effort does. My latest sage, Wendy Williams, became my idol. I watched her everyday knowing that one day I would have a stage too that would allow me to be a vessel for whatever message I was am meant to relay. This road is hard; it is riddled with success greater than anything my mind of limited capacity could have conjured, but it has also come with great grief, disaster, and deep loss. I believe these are all lessons part of my path. Today, I have appeared on “The Wendy Williams Show” and spilt my time between Los Angeles and New York City, producing celebrity events and programming. I have learned a lot, but I certainly have a long way to go with countless life lessons in front of me. I’m on a journey and trying my best to blindly trust that it will be “all good in the hood. “ Think of me as the love child of Wendy Williams and Andy Cohen, with a Godmother named Oprah, born in Jessica Lange's Asylum. Aka, Blanche Devereaux.

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The Misses: A Life Lesson

Posted by Michael Mazzella
|
Posted on February 19, 2014

Michael Mazzella I by no means am an expert on this thing we call life. I by no means am an expert of how to be the best actor, talk show host, comic, author, singer, or dancer. I am simply a child of GOD, just hopefully gazing, like WE all are. Recently while eating dinner at my favorite Los Angeles restaurant, Villa Blanca, I had a conversation with someone whom I deeply and passionately respect. She spoke to me and our other darling friend about life’s little misses. You know, those moments where you are just so close, an inch from the kiss, but for whatever reason, known or unknown, the kiss is interrupted and what would have been is lost.

Her words were profound. The juxtaposition of complete devastation and learning lessons of those little misses were mystifying. The language I was hearing reverberated throughout my body. I was unsure if I was going to cry over her frustrations or rejoice in her strength. Life truly can be a contradiction, but isn’t that part of what makes it so beautiful? I believe it was Susan Sarandon who explained that her life had been built on a series of stupid mistakes that eventually took her to where she ended up. This same ideology can be used for those little misses. Perhaps it is those misses that end up taking us to exactly where we need to be, exactly when we need to be there, leading to the big hit we were hoping for the entire time. I believe this to be true. We are exactly where we need to be right now in GOD’s divine and perfect plan for us. Each miss can be painful, heart wrenching, but as the great teacher of life Iyanla Vanzant says, “The best students get the hardest lessons.”

I began to think of my own misses. While my life has been much shorter and far less expansive than the greatness of whom I was sitting next to, the lesson was the same. It is our darkest hours that make us the most beautiful and lead to our greatest triumphs. In my opinion a triumph could be defined as the moment when we are blindly traveling down GOD’s path for us and a street lamp illuminates, allowing us to see exactly where it is we are in that very moment. A wink from God showing us that we are where we need to be, having made it to the next mile marker along the journey of life.

It’s been said all people will have a “dark night of the soul” at one point in their lives. A night where all of those little misses culminate into one gut ripping moment that causes you to vomit the blood of life’s painful experiences while simultaneously feeling tremendous heart ache ache and sorrow. However, like a cloud that floats through the air transforming into ice, rain, or snow, we will be a new while remaining the same.

 

Michael Mazzella

Michael Santino Mazzella Imagine a place where drive-through alcohol and bookie-gambling fathers are the norm. Stumped? Well, that place is Lafayette, Louisiana – the place of my birth. It is a fun loving, cocktail-in-the-morning, gossiping kind of town. My mother, a housewife with the most bless-your-heart southern charm, and my father, a jet-setting dad with a glamour-filled life only Hollywood could concoct, were my only sages. Growing up in a small town, my world comprised of my parents, a sister, a community of ladies who lunch, and a rigid religious education. At the tender yet tyrannous age of four, I had a feeling that there was something other than my present circumstances that I was meant to pursue. I knew then and there that I was on this planet for a reason. Granted that at the age of 4 my ability to articulate such thoughts was close to non-existent, but the “feeling” was absolutely there. We all have that “feeling” and mine was all encompassing. There was nothing worse than having the “feeling” and not knowing how to pursue it. I gained weight. I suppressed the racing intents of my mind because I was a cord with no outlet, and it hurt. The birthing pains had begun...good times? I grew to a robust 300 lbs. At the time I didn’t realize it, but this too was part of my path. One day, I was watching TV with my mother and we came across a woman named Joy Behar and an actor she was interviewing on the now iconic talk show, “The View.” THAT was it! THAT’S what I was born to be! I was meant to become a storyteller of the human experience and continue on an exploration of the human heart through entertaining others. But how? How on Earth was I going to embark on becoming a storyteller, entertainer, and instigator of laughter that would bring joy to people and open their hearts to the human experience? I needed to learn not about people but about being human. This question and answer manifested itself through tennis. In Lafayette, tennis was at the epicenter of the social scene, so I naturally followed it closely. During one particular match, I overheard a commentator that the tennis player in front of them attended the IMG Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. In my extraordinarily naive mind I thought that if this player achieved such success in his career, I must follow in his footsteps and attend this institution too. Two weeks later, I moved to Bradenton, Florida to attend Bollettieri. The day-to-day hell, physical and mental beating, endless life lessons, friendships that will last a lifetime, and stories of triumph and failure are far too many to list here. This part of my journey brought me closer to realizing that “feeling,” my Dharma. I knew to get even more comfortable, I was going to have to take a step back and get incredibly uncomfortable first. That discomfort appeared as a debilitating left shoulder injury. As a left-hander, this meant the end of the glory days as well as my career in professional tennis. At the age of 17, I left the institute, knowing I had learned all the lessons it was meant to teach me. I said goodbye to those who had become my new mentors and leaders in thought, such as Monica Seles. I blindly moved to Los Angeles with the knowledge that failure only breathes when lack of effort does. My latest sage, Wendy Williams, became my idol. I watched her everyday knowing that one day I would have a stage too that would allow me to be a vessel for whatever message I was am meant to relay. This road is hard; it is riddled with success greater than anything my mind of limited capacity could have conjured, but it has also come with great grief, disaster, and deep loss. I believe these are all lessons part of my path. Today, I have appeared on “The Wendy Williams Show” and spilt my time between Los Angeles and New York City, producing celebrity events and programming. I have learned a lot, but I certainly have a long way to go with countless life lessons in front of me. I’m on a journey and trying my best to blindly trust that it will be “all good in the hood. “ Think of me as the love child of Wendy Williams and Andy Cohen, with a Godmother named Oprah, born in Jessica Lange's Asylum. Aka, Blanche Devereaux.

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