Mariagrazia Buttitta Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Mariagrazia Buttitta
Mariagrazia Buttitta is our guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
She is a lady who I am delighted to have on the show.
The reason why should be quite clear as we speak to her.
Join Up Dots has always been about letting you the listener grow the confidence to tackle all obstacles head on.
Smash doors in walls where there was no chance of escaping and living the life that you deserve.
Well today’s guest is doing all that and more.
How The Dots Joined Up For Mariagrazia Buttitta
She was a student at The College of New Jersey, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies, before starting in 2016––a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counselling from The College of New Jersey.
Which of course is impressive but not remarkable.
However added to the fact that she was born with an eye disorder called, Cone Dystrophy, which has now progressed to the state where she is blinded by all lights, you can see that she has a powerful mindset to achieve.
My mission in life is to continue to help spread awareness about mental and physical disabilities and with her book Now I See: How I Battled Blindness, Mental Illness, an Espresso Habit and Lived to Tell the Tale flying off the shelves it looks like things are going the right way after all.
So when she was first diagnosed with her condition did she understand instantly how it would change her life?
And how has she overcome the depression and mental issues that could have had her hiding away in the dark, instead blazing brightly across the world?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mariagrazia Buttitta
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Mariagrazia Buttitta such as:
How she can now see that her eye condition has become a true blessing in her life, and has literally taken her life in a new direction.
Why life can be so difficult due to the comments and opinions of others. They base their comments on what “They Think” is possible and can often limit us in our own adventures.
Books By Mariagrazia Buttitta
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Full Transcription Of Mariagrazia Buttita Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David, Ralph.
David Ralph [0:24]
Yes. Good morning, everybody. Good morning. It’s Join Up Dots. It’s Join Up Dots the only podcast worth listening to I’m sure there’s others. But you know, I don’t actually listen to any I only listen to my own Is that bad? Is that bad to admit that? Who knows? Anyway, today’s guest is a lady who is she’s she’s a special guest. I’ve been looking forward to having her on for quite a while because it’s a different story as you’re here as we go into it. She is well, she’s somebody that really has been tackling head obstacles head on, there’s no doubt about it smashing doors in balls where there was no chance of escaping living the life that she deserves. And if you think that you have got problems then just listen to this. She was a student at the College of New Jersey obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies before starting in 2016, a master’s degree in clinical mental health counselling from the College of New Jersey, which of course is impressive, but not remarkable, however, added to the fact that she was born with an AI disorder called cone dystrophy, which has now progressed to the state where she is blinded by all lights, you can see that she’s has a powerful mindset to achieve obstacles. mission in life is to continue to spread awareness about mental and physical disabilities and with a book now I see how I battle blindness, mental illness and expressive habit and live to tell the tale flying off the shelves. It looks like things are going the right way after all, so when she was first diagnosed with her condition, did she understand instantly how it would change her life and how she overcome the depression and mental issues that could have had a hiding away in the dark instead lazing brightly across The world well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mariagrazia Buttitta. Good morning to you. How are you doing today?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [2:13]
I’m doing great. Thanks so much for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here. Do
David Ralph [2:17]
you know it’s weird? We’re going to obviously be talking about your sort of AI issues. But as I was reading that introduction, one of my eyes stopped working. I think I came out in sympathy somehow I don’t know what happened, I’d suddenly couldn’t see it. So hopefully, I didn’t talk too much about too much. But it is, um, it’s a journey that you’ve been going on, isn’t it? The when you look back on it, I think that the number one question I need to ask is, if you went back in time, and you could sort of wind everything back. Would you go back to sort of being able sighted,
Mariagrazia Buttitta [2:50]
ah, you know what I you know, I was born, I never really had full, full vision. So, It’s always really hard to answer that question. But I, you know, I honestly, I don’t think I would change it for the world. as cliche as it sounds, I think it’s really helped me see the world much differently, you know, then then other people so I’m kind of blessed in a way. Although it took a while to sort of accept this part of you know, of my life.
Yeah, I can see that. So it’s a true blessing for you now you feel that strongly?
Absolutely. Absolutely. Like I said, it’s, you know, it’s I yeah, I’m blessed.
David Ralph [3:39]
Now, in the image I’m looking at you obviously are very beautiful lady and it looks like you’re, you’re just wearing sunglasses. Is that kind of what they are? Are you clinically sort of blind or can you see stuff once you’re wearing glasses? What’s your condition like?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [3:57]
Sure, sure. So let me explain that to you. There are other more complex ways of explaining what my eye disorder is, but but I’ll kind of just give you a simple sort of definition. So I have what we call cone dystrophy. So what that means is so we have cones and rods in our eyes and our cones are really what help us see in bright conditions. So you have those working for you and I don’t so what that means is that anytime I’m exposed to any types of lights, my eyes just go completely blind. They shut down. So I have so it creeps people out when I when I first meet them, and I tell them that I need to be in the dark. So that really creeps people out. Imagine I’m on date and I tell somebody, hey, we need to be in the dark. That’s not very cool. But I’ll
tell you well, you know if I if I was with a lady and she says go somewhere where it’s dark, I would bring bring This is the best I’ve ever been on.
Yeah, yeah, try to think I’m making a move on them when it’s really just any types of light hurting my eyes. So, you know, I’m colorblind, I don’t really have, you know, I, my eyes, I do see better and night, but I don’t have a clear picture of things. So hopefully that sort of, again, people can look at, you know, different definitions and but this is sort of a an easy way to explain to people and hopefully, I’ve done a decent job explaining that to you.
David Ralph [5:34]
Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve got a good understanding of where we are, but what I am going to sort of delve into is more of a mental aspect because in Join Up Dots, it’s a very entrepreneurial show, but it’s about overcoming obstacles. It’s about seeing things in a different way finding new doors when there wasn’t any doors. You clearly said at the beginning that it is a blessing. It you have you always bought vow or at Have you had moments when you’ve gone? Actually, this is this is just dreadful. Why me?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [6:05]
Absolutely. The Why me question was haunting me for such a long time and so take a step back really kind of just tell you tell the audience really I was born and raised in Sicily. And I, they didn’t know I had an eye disorder. I was I went from one doctor to another teachers didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was actually diagnosed with a mental disability first. So they really didn’t know I had an eye disorder. And it was really devastating for my parents for me. And also I lived in a country where to be have a disability, whether it’s physical or mental is really a taboo. And so it was it was really devastating. So when finally I was diagnosed at 14, it was kind of it felt really good to finally have this diagnosis, but I I didn’t know the opportunities that I could have in my life. Because, again, I lived in a country where they didn’t embrace disabilities. So it was very dark. I was terrified. You know, I dreamed of driving a car someday and all of that was just kind of taken away from me. And yeah, it took a lot of grieving and it you know, I had really great parents to support me along the way.
But the good thing about never driving a car is you can have a drink whenever you want. Come here, there’s there’s
Unknown Speaker [7:28]
Mariagrazia Buttitta [7:31]
a drink problem but other than that,
I have an espresso happen not a wine habit. But
David Ralph [7:37]
yeah, but what I was going to talk to you about that because that’s a real interesting book title. Now I see how I battled blindness, mental illness and espresso habit and lived to tell the tale. How did that come about the Let’s start with the espresso habit. Slightly tongue in cheek or actually true?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [7:56]
No, it’s it’s so true. I tell anybody that knows. Me I’m like huge espresso. I it’s 10 in the morning here 1015 now in New Jersey and I’ll tell you I already had my three shots of espresso this morning. It’s been a real thing. It’s like I said born and raised in Sicily. espresso is huge. And I just started drinking it when I was young. I know some people are probably freaking out why is the young girl drinking espresso but but i but i did and it’s delicious and
that’s all I have.
David Ralph [8:34]
But But you’ve got a lot more than not having you in your life because it’s express our habit is one of those things that you think Yeah, anybody could have been you you had like three or four different issues or skirting around you at the same time. Which one or the one that you had to tackle first then
Unknown Speaker [8:53]
Mariagrazia Buttitta [8:55]
as well obviously, you know, 14 losing my vision And then getting into a deep depression and anxiety. So those those were big.
David Ralph [9:10]
Depression. I don’t understand it because I’ve never, you know, I have days but I go feel a bit depressed today and
Unknown Speaker [9:18]
we all have those days.
David Ralph [9:19]
Yeah. But when somebody is actually clinically depressed, it isn’t something that you can just pull yourself together and get out of it. It is, you know, it’s a clinical illness. Have you had that when you’ve said Oh, I’m not feeling well today or I feel depressed and people sort of say to you, you know, there’s nothing to be depressed about, or maybe they think that you’ve, you aren’t going to be naturally depressed because of your eyesight issue. How do people, especially strangers respond to you?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [9:51]
Oh, you know, you know, there’s a lot of, you know, there. There’s definitely a lot of stigma around the topic of depression. And I think when somebody is depressed, we tend to just say, you know, things like, Oh, you know, snap out of it or it’s just the phase, you’re gonna be okay. There’s worse in the world, you know, you have nothing to be upset about. You should be really fortunate I have people that tell me all the time, hey, at least you have your arms and legs. You might not have your sight but you have all these other things and you start to compare you to other people who have it maybe better and, and I personally think that’s just the worst thing you can do is to compare it everyone’s experience is unique, and it’s different. So
David Ralph [10:44]
so so how do you battle through this? Because I know there’s gonna be many listeners out there that are probably dealing with depression at the moment. And maybe we’re not even sure that they’re depressed. You know, I remember going to a doctor about six months ago and he said to me You’re dealing with depression. And I went, No, I’m not. And he said, Yes, you are. And he tried to prescribe me tablets. And Anyhow, I wasn’t having it. And I didn’t take tablets and I just kind of carried on with my life. I didn’t believe at all, but I was depressed and I still don’t. To this day. How do people become aware of Actually, yes, they are depressed, and then they need help, because life is just a conveyor belt sometimes, isn’t it? You just get on and you do it, and then you go to sleep you wake up the next day?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [11:30]
Yeah, so, um, you know, obviously, everybody’s different. And everybody’s going to have a different experience with depression so I can share my own experience of sort of what happened to me. You know, I mean, I’ve been dealing with depression, I’d say for a very long time in my life, but for me really hit me. I started to not be able to, obviously wasn’t it didn’t happen overnight. So I took about a few months. sight, I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. And I started me personally becoming really suicidal. That’s all I could think of. I was feeling really hopeless. And people around me were starting to see the change. I was starting to isolate myself. I just didn’t want to live anymore. So I, I reached that point where I, you know, people around me, my family, my friends really sort of pointed it out that it was, it was definitely time for me to seek help. And so I did. I took the pills on, you know, again, some people are against the pills, and they’re not for everybody. But for me, having a good balance between seeing a therapist and taking the pills were really, really helpful and I’m glad to be here alive.
David Ralph [12:55]
Well, absolutely, but but do you think doctors just prover pills in the direction Do you think that there’s always an underlining cause for depression? Or does it just sort of, I don’t know enough about it. Is it like a chemical imbalance? Or is it something that triggers it?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [13:12]
You know, it’s a research will argue this I there’s definitely both, you can definitely it can definitely be biological. But then situations, you know, I look in my case you know, just growing up being different, being diagnosed, being told my entire life that I was never good enough and that I would never be successful. That really damaged I was bullied a lot, you know, so it’s just that alone really, really, I think affected my mental well being. So I for me, I think I would have to say that it’s been a little bit of both.
David Ralph [13:58]
So sorry, just They sort of chipping away at you constantly by sort of negative remarks or situations just sort of gets gets on top of you.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [14:08]
David Ralph [14:10]
And will you now say to the people who’ve been said to you, you’re not gonna make anything of your life? Yeah, I was on Join Up Dots. I was on Join Up
Unknown Speaker [14:19]
Dots. You decide today. I’m on the podcast, and you’re not.
David Ralph [14:22]
Yeah, absolutely. You get to listen to this. So why did you decide that your issues were actually a kind of a business really moving forward? It’s become your mission. And as we talked about on Join Up Dots, a great way of starting a business is finding other people’s problems and trying to solve them. And you used your sort of overcoming a BS to be quite positive. When did that start to come about for you?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [14:49]
Yeah, so. So when I moved to, I’ve actually been in New Jersey now for about nine years. And when I came, I was sort of Finally, given the opportunities, that’s tools, I was in contact with the Commission for the blind started going to college. So I think it was at that point that I was given the opportunity to, to share my story. And I just realised the impact that I made, and and how inspirational I could be. And just, I remember sitting in a panel one time, and just having people come up afterwards and thanking me and telling me, Wow, you really inspired me. Thank you so much for sharing your story. And I think it was at that point that I realised that that I had something and that I could serve as an inspiration to a lot of not just the blind world. You know, you don’t have to be blind to get me Because obviously, we all know what what it’s like to be hurt. So I think it’s just really nice to be that person for so many people, whether they’re blind or whatever they may be going through life, I think I think we can relate.
David Ralph [16:02]
And why when you say that they don’t have to be blind to get you, what kind of people do you think really get you? Well, the kind of people that come up to you afterwards and shake your hand and say, thank you so much for that.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [16:15]
Yes. So, so give me an example. One time I was I was on campus and I was I just gave a talk and I had this one young lady come up. She was she had been dealing with a lot of anxiety. And she just said, How, just me sharing my experience about going through dealing with panic attacks and talking about my anxiety and just getting better, was really helpful for her because when we’re in a really negative fat spot, it’s you think there’s nobody out there in the world who can possibly understand you. So just to have somebody out there, share their story, and say, You know what, you’re you’re not alone, and it’s really going to be okay. It’s good. Take some time, but you’re gonna be okay.
David Ralph [17:03]
It’s quite obvious really when you say that, but you’re not going to be alone. Because if there’s 7.8 billion people on the planet, it’s going to be very rare that you’ve got something that nobody else has even that sort of the weirdest diseases and stuff. It’s normally one or two people get it,
Mariagrazia Buttitta [17:18]
you know, it’s, it’s really difficult, you know, I think, you know, depression or anxiety or anything sometimes can, you know, can make you feel really lonely and it’s really hard to believe that there’s going to be somebody out there who’s going to get what you’re going through. Obviously, we’re all different. We all have different experience.
David Ralph [17:41]
I don’t know if anybody would get me Genova. I don’t know whether I could be open enough. It’s funny on a podcast situation. I literally speak from the heart and everything comes out of my mouth. I don’t hold back anything. But in a kind of new life situation. I hold it all back. I don’t like to Share I’m not very good at sharing that sort of dark stuff in my life. I just breeze through it now, it doesn’t matter. Oh, yeah, everybody has the same things or, or sometimes Maria Garcia, I lie, I lie and I make myself to be to be better and happier than I am. Isn’t that the way that sort of life is really bad? We all just saw about our time and occasionally we let it hang out, but then not many people actually want to hear about it anyway. Do they just want apply early morning? How are you? Yeah, I’m fine. And that’s it. They don’t want this all the warts and all story of what’s going on in your life?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [18:38]
Sure, sure. Absolutely. You know, if you brought a good point, you know, we have the same. We walk around and we ask people in the morning how they’re doing, but do we really want to hear you know how they’re doing? You know, what if somebody says no, you know, I’m not doing well. And then you find yourself like, Oh, that’s not what I meant. I just kind of I actually learned that when I came from Sicily when people started asking me how they were, I remember initially telling them and then I realised it was just sort of a quick, easy way of saying hello.
David Ralph [19:14]
It would be great though, if you actually, you know, said, Well, actually, I’ve had a really bad Tommy this morning. And yeah, I was up all night and see what their response would be. Because I bet often, people would just back away because you just kind of don’t want that. Do you want this bubble of? I tried and that’s it. And away they go.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [19:35]
David Ralph [19:38]
Where Where is it with you then? Where are you most open now? Are you just an open book with everyone? Are you aware of that, as we’re talking about people savy want to help, but they don’t. They’re busy. They just want to be on their way. What are you like, are you sort of walks in or are you very cagey with what you offer to people?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [19:59]
I mean, You know, I try to be open as far as you know, sharing my experience. And I, you know, I wrote a book, I wrote a memoir and, you know, I try to be open. I mean, I can’t say that you’re gonna know every little single thing about me in that book. But But I really, when it comes to being open, I always ask myself the question, will it benefit the audience? You know, my readers? Really, I think it’s more about them and not about me at the end of the day, you know, what would me being open, who would have benefit, you know, and if it’s going to benefit them, then I try to be as open as possible and help people as much as I can.
David Ralph [20:44]
I was down the pub with a lady the other day, not just the lady in case my wife is that there was a few of us down there. And I was talking about how we we make we just get a feeling about somebody when they walk into a room. And we decide on them very, very quickly. And she said to me, you know, how did you decide on me? And I was very, very honest. And I won’t say on here in case she’s listening, but anyhow, she did she, like, Yeah, she didn’t like the answer I gave. And she sort of went quiet. And I didn’t sort of notice it. And then my mate afterwards said, didn’t you notice you really upset her? I said, Did I, you know, and for about three days, I sort of emailed her and said, Look, I’m really sorry about this. You know, I didn’t mean to say anything. You know, it was just me being honest. And she wasn’t happy with this at all. And then afterwards, I thought to myself, no, actually, why am I getting worked up by this? I was just honest. You know, she asked for my opinion on something I was honest. And if she doesn’t like that, that’s not my fault. And I’ve kind of switched off from it and now and I’ve sort of moved on, and you must find that as well. But some people will ask your opinion on something you give it and then they get that look in their face, too.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [22:00]
Yeah, um, it I’m sure it happens with with a lot of things.
I’m trying to think of a specific moment. But
David Ralph [22:11]
just just like Maria Garcia, you know, you don’t have to think of a specific one just like that’s what I do.
Unknown Speaker [22:16]
Okay, just lie. Um,
Unknown Speaker [22:21]
I, I mean, you know, I
David Ralph [22:25]
yeah, I’m drawing a blank right now. While but it was it was me talking about myself really I was I was getting I it was like therapy, I was getting off my chest because I drag that around with me for quite a while and now now I’m free. I’ve let it go, as I say they say in frozen. So have you converted your authorship into a whole business? Is this something that pays your salary? How have you actually transitioned from that point to actually supporting yourself?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [22:55]
Yeah, so Well, um, you know, that’s what I’m Still going to school. So obviously, it’s always good to have a plan B. But really, it’s it’s about, you know, I try to do talks when I’m given the opportunity, and that really does help a little bit. But, you know, obviously it’s not
it’s, it’s, it’s really trying to juggle school and talks, and I’ll be doing some book signings over the summer, things like that.
David Ralph [23:27]
But let’s play some words. Now. Then we’re gonna delve back into the motivational side of your story. He’s Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [23:33]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [24:00]
Now those words are really sort of important for your story, because so many people said that, you know, you weren’t going to succeed, but you’re actually flipping on his head and you’re going for something you love. Is it something you love? Or is it something that’s been forced onto you with your sort of situation? Is it love or responsibility?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [24:20]
No, absolutely. I’d say it’s, it’s love. Um, I mean, you know, I, you’re right. I had so many people in my life tell me that I wasn’t even going to go to college. So, I mean, I just, it’s just really exciting to, to, you know, to be where I’m at today and prove really everyone wrong. I mean, I, you know, I had so many people tell me I wasn’t going to write I wasn’t going to be a speaker. I so just, you know, and I, But to answer your question, I really genuinely enjoy it. It’s It’s so empowering to know how many People can really benefit. It’s, it’s rewarding.
David Ralph [25:04]
And we need to get those kind of words out Jim Carrey speech to all the youngsters out there when they’re going through college and they’re going through high school and it’s a difficult time and you can see it when they’re little. And you say to a kid, you know, what do you want to be and I go, I want to be a princess. I want to be an astronaut, and they begin to do amazing stuff. And then by the time they’re sort of like, 13, they just shrug their shoulders and I don’t want to, you know, don’t know what I want to be, you know, and it’s kind of been beaten out of them somehow, not physically, but you can just see she chipped away, and my kids, 14 or 15 and 12. They certainly aren’t as spunky, as I say, as they were when they were small as they are now. They just seem to be kind of subdued versions of themselves.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [25:49]
Yeah, yeah. I you know, I think it’s a
they’re so, you know, I think the more choices people have, the harder it becomes. To make a choice and I don’t know if that makes a decision, I don’t know if that makes any sense. They’re just you know, there are so many things that so many directions people can take. And I sure would not have blended where I where I am, if it wasn’t for my blindness, and if it wasn’t for my struggles, I would probably be with with those kids trying to figure out my life, maybe I you know.
David Ralph [26:26]
And so, did you think that you’ve had less choices? Is that where you found your thing?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [26:33]
Ah, absolutely. When I when I first came, I thought I, I started off thinking I had no choices at all. So I just thought, Okay, I’m gonna, if they tell me I can go to college, I’m going to go to college and I started off taking a few classes here and there and I at the time, I had no idea of what I what I was going to do with my life. I was just taking those general courses and I was hoping to figure it out. Eventually. And then it was, it was once I started to really share my story and have people tell me that they were inspired or they enjoyed my writing that that’s when it’s sort of that spark that that hit.
David Ralph [27:17]
And then do you actually remember the moment when you suddenly thought, hang on, I think I could do this because what a lot of people get, I get that feeling of, I think I’d like to do this. And then instantly, it’s like devil, an angel on their shoulder, the devils going, Oh, that’s never gonna happen. You know, it’s not even worth putting the first words down on a book. No one’s gonna read this. Do you remember having those feelings and actually having to push through?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [27:42]
Absolutely. I mean, you know, you’re always you know, I still to this day, I you know, it’s hard to get rid of every single person in my head. It’s told me that I was going to me a complete failure. So I always have those battles. I’ll tell you how I get through them is, is by supporting myself with, with great people who believe in me today. So, I’ll tell you, I got rid of a lot of toxic people in my life and I’m just surrounded with people who, who got my back, you know, if I’m having those days, they will remind me that, that I can do this. And all I have to do is, you know, remind myself to why I’m doing it. And the reason why I’m doing this is really to give someone else a chance and to help them see themselves for who they are,
David Ralph [28:37]
is so important to surround yourself with the right type of people, but I know that so many people will find that hard getting rid of the people because you just naturally attached them to yourself as you sort of grow up. You’re not necessarily friends, but they’re just their iPad mates in the past that I’ve known for, like 20 years and I would say no Looking back on it, probably 18 of those years, I couldn’t stand them. But they were just, they were just kind of there and you just kind of had them in your life. How did you go about that? How did you go about getting rid of them? Because I think that’s an important message for our listeners out there.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [29:16]
Sure, sure. Well, I I’m Sam Sicilia. No, no, again.
Well, it was just I had to ask myself,
you know, are these people serving anything? You know, are they? You know, I think there’s there was a point where I really wasn’t getting anywhere, and I might. It’s just one of those things that I think
it’s really hard to do. And there’s not one way to do it, but.
But like I said, I think just having the right people in your life, to help you understand of the toxic people in your life. I think that’s That’s it’s pretty complex, I think. And it’s not an easy thing that can happen. I think overnight, it’s just you have to make that decision and you got to be strong, and you got to do what’s best for you at the end of the day,
David Ralph [30:14]
because I haven’t got many friends. But I always say that the friends I’ve got are amazing. I would say I’ve probably got three friends. And one of those is my wife, who’s my best friend, and they’re the people that I surround myself with. But then you go into virtual reality world. And if you go into Facebook, I’ve got thousands of friends. And I don’t know any of them. To be honest, they all asked to connect with me. And you see their lives and you see the way they’re operating. That’s quite hard, isn’t it? It’s easy almost to separate yourself from the real life people being the sort of virtual world but we’ve allowed to grow around us.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [30:53]
Sure, sure. It’s, it’s, it’s it’s definitely pretty, pretty difficult to do.
David Ralph [31:00]
So with your book, where can people going get it? Is it gonna be made into a movie a musical? Tell us about it.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [31:09]
I hope I’m sure so people can. So the book has been on pre order since January and my official release date is going to be October 3 people can go on my website at embracing your differences comm slash preorder. And the nice thing about it is if you preorder a copy, you get the book sometime this summer, I’ll sign it for you. And it’s just a great book to you know, I get free buy for yourself buy for friend. So it’s a nice funny read. So I definitely a good
a good read definitely recommended.
David Ralph [31:55]
And is it for everyone or is it for a specific audience avatar As we say,
Mariagrazia Buttitta [32:02]
Oh, you know it? That’s a good point. You know, I, you know, I don’t know if everybody’s going to get it, you know, like you said, I you. And that’s really hard to say who it is for and who it’s not. I mean, if it’s, some people can read it and really might not get it, or because they can’t, they don’t know what it’s like to lose vision or maybe experience chronic depression and anxiety.
But, you know, but a lot of people will get it. So it’s just, hopefully,
I’m hoping that more people will get it and not.
David Ralph [32:42]
It’s a human story, and we can all relate to human stories.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [32:47]
David Ralph [32:49]
Well, this is the end of the show. And this is the part that we called a sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Maria Grassi. What age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because we’re going to play in a theme when it shakes you up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
With the first bit of the show, remain anonymous.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [33:34]
So I’m going to choose Middle School. I, I think I mentioned this before in the podcast, but I was bullied a lot.
Unknown Speaker [33:46]
But one of the things
Unknown Speaker [33:49]
Mariagrazia Buttitta [33:51]
was worse than being bullied is actually becoming my own bully. I started to be really critical of myself. So if I could give advice to my younger self, I would probably tell her middle school isn’t forever, and you may not be where you want to be you but this, this is where you are today isn’t going to be where you’re going to be someday. So that’s, that’s probably the advice I would give my younger self.
Really not to be so critical of myself.
David Ralph [34:33]
Right advice and is the depression a thing of the past? Or is it something that could come up at any time?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [34:42]
I you know, I still, you know, I still struggle with my anxiety and depression. I still go to therapy. I still take my medication. So it’s obviously a thing in my life. But But what I do have are great tools that helped me over Come in battle and deal with mine. You know, my depression and so I have you know, I make sure that I make mental health a priority and I do the right things every day whether it’s exercising, meditating and I just you know, I Some days are harder. And when that gets harder I just pull the right people in my life. Um, you know, my support system and they they usually have my back.
David Ralph [35:28]
Well, great stuff, great stuff. How well as well I suppose the last thing to say is really it was what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Mariagrazia Buttitta [35:37]
Well, if you go to my website at embracing your differences, calm you’ll be able to sort of get in touch with me there whether it’s if you want to email me just to say Hey, are you can follow me through my social media, Twitter, Instagram, and just kind of just keep in touch and you’ll get to see what I’m what I’m up to.
David Ralph [35:57]
We will have all the links on the show notes Thank you so much for spending time with us today joining us. Great. Yeah, it’s great to have you here. Please come back again, when you have more dots to join up, as I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mariagrazia Buttitta, thank you so much.
Mariagrazia Buttitta [36:17]
David Ralph [36:21]
I really admire that lady. She’s such a positive spirit. And she could be sort of moaning and groaning about her lot, but she’s turned it into a positive and I think it really is a point of Join Up Dots. But we all go through dark times, but it’s what we make up those dark times. And more often than not, as you’ve been listening to in the conversation. When you’re far enough away from those dark times you actually hope well, thank God for that. I can certainly do that. And I think most of the people I’ve spoken to, it’s a dark times we’ve really got to look out for and embrace because that is where the true gift of life is. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Join Up Dots. And until next time, we’ll see you again soon. Cheers. See,
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.