I’m now a contributing writer for Oh My Malta!
Well something super cool happened recently. As it says in the title, I am now a contributing writer for Oh My Malta! The official magazine for Malta Tourism. They have a quarterly magazine that you can find at the airport, hotels and on the airplanes. Then they have an online magazine which they seem to add new things to every day. Great articles, incredible photos and videos. They are absolutely fantastic at everything they do. I reached out to the editor a few weeks ago and introduced myself. After a few back and forth emails and then a phone conversation we created my new column titled Emily in Malta! Right now we just have the introduction article and soon we will see the follow up article AND a video interview with a local farmer for locally grown Maltese potatoes! This brings up all my old insecurities and pure excitement all at the same time.
Here is a photo of my first interview with the local farmer Paul Zammit. He grows potatoes for Air Malta. He was the most lovely, beautiful and kind hearted man. When I called to ask where to meet him he said “and don’t forget, I am Maltese! I can find you anywhere if you get lost and bring you in! We will help you!” People here are a whole different game, and I love the game I’m getting to play over here. It was SO MUCH FUN! I can’t wait to do it again! And lucky for me…that day is tomorrow! We go again, to another farm to meet with another farmer and I am living one of my wildest fantasies! Below is Paul and myself with his potatoes and us getting to dig them out of the dirt! The bottle in front is from his farm, olive oil. We’ll be going back in the fall to help harvest and do the olive oil segment.
This for me is a dream come true to get to meet and interview local farmers and chefs and highlight all the foods and growing processes that Malta has to offer. Being in a GMO free country with regard to anything locally grown is a huge deal to me. I want to learn all that I can and meet everyone who will invite me in to see the foods as they grow or as they are prepared. Tomorrow we are doing strawberries and flat peaches. Flat peaches don’t exist in Georgia and they blow away any peach I have ever eaten in my entire life, even the Georgia White Peach that I always loved. It will be two separate articles and interviews. What I really love about this besides the whole deal is that people here seem to like me exactly for what and who I am. Back home everything felt like it was all about what size I needed to be in order to be successful. If you weren’t tiny and gorgeous, you had no chance. I always had so much pressure coming from all sides ever since college when they would weigh us in every other week in front of everyone for cheerleading. The remarks everyone would make toward all of us, the guys to the girls, the girls to the girls. It was ruthless. Never did we try to build each other up with the exception of a sacred few.
I’m 46 years old now. I struggle with the way that I look and especially the way that I feel about the way that I look. It’s easy to do photos and videos from a computer and only show the neck up. That’s not real life though. I know every angle that I look the best in and never post anything that isn’t in that box. But now, if I want to take the risk and say yes to every opportunity offered to me, I no longer have that control. I have opportunities coming out of the woodwork here. I’ve been on TV more times since I arrived in Malta than I have in ten years back in the states. I am who I am at this point. Yes, I will work a little bit harder to look better but I can’t make myself crazy over it. This is the version of myself that I am living in currently. It’s not as young or as pretty as it used to be, but it is me- raw and real and addicted to desert.
I have been operating under the guise that whatever determined my success was entirely listed by any given set of numbers. Weight, height, size, bank account, book sales, social media followers…you know the drill. It’s a powerful force in America to have to keep up with all the Jones’s. I carry a lot of voices in my head from a myriad of places and people. I’m most certainly not saying that I look my best these days because I do struggle with my weight. The short thick food lover in me has busted at the seems and it is not entirely pretty. My favorite comedian, Ali Wong, made a joke that now that she’s married and having babies she wants to fulfill her life goal of becoming a circle with eye lashes. I find this both hilarious and also a little comforting! Thank GOD I have a husband who still keeps the love goggles on because he never makes me feel anything but beautifully radiant. I am blessed that way to be married to such a gem of a man. He is the best, truly. I also have a trainer and we work out together three days a week and I do try to exercise the other days as much as I can. When I showed up for the first time to do the interview on camera, the editor who offered me this opportunity is beautiful, young, and tiny. All I could think was “why would you put me on there when you look like that?” She put me on there anyway and we had a blast. I am so thankful that people here make me feel so at ease and so accepted. It makes me want to be my very best. I love that she believes in what we are creating with this column and I love that they are happy to put me on camera and let me meet these incredible people. It turns out that no number can outweigh the quality of a person. I am starting to understand that more and more living here.
I will never fully recover from those years of cheerleading and beyond. Every comment that someone made without my prompting about my body and my looks have stayed with me like a horrible broken record. I’ve had way more compliments than insults in my life, but somehow those never play as loudly in my head. It’s sad what we do to ourselves. I know I’m not alone here. Of course I wish I look like I did back when people felt so comfortable criticizing me. I wish I looked like that now! But now that I’m in my mid forties, I see that this can not be all there is. This can not be the deciding factor on what I get to do with my life. It can’t decide who I get to be. And here in Malta, these young, bone thin, beautiful and precious people decided that I was plenty good enough to be in front of the camera and get to do my segments on food. Maybe because Americans as a whole are notoriously known around the world for being bigger. Maybe I fit the bill perfectly as soon as I say where I’m from! Either way, it has been incredibly eye opening and exciting to be offered these opportunities here even with me being thick and older now. Maybe even especially because I’m thick and older now! How incredible to be given these chances at this point in my life! It gives me the opportunity to really sit with myself and ask new questions of what I really want to be doing. People here seem to care more about what you bring to the table than what numbers you carry with you. They like to see what you’ve got and if it’s personality they want…that I can deliver on. Maltese people are loud…just my kind of people. I fit in well here. I love that they are loud, and laugh a lot, and talk with their hands and love life the way that they do. I’m learning a lot over here. It’s even undoing some of that damage that those formative years of comments and criticisms did to my younger self. Who knows…there may be hope for me yet to fall deeply and madly in love not just with all things Malta, but all things ME, too.
Stay tuned for the video interview that I did for the potatoes! I’ll post it when it’s up.
Sending you all BIG LOVE from Sunny, Beautiful, welcoming and LOVING MALTA