“As much as I would like to say that I married for love, I didn’t,” begins entrepreneur and speaker AdaPia d’Errico.
Shortly after graduating college, d’Errico was married and moved to beautiful Lake Como, Italy with her new husband.
“I would ride around in my Vespa, wind in my hair, sun in my smiling face. I had what you would imagine to be this Renaissance painting,” she says. “I had it all. Picture-perfect life on the outside. But on the inside, it was a different story. On the inside, it was like that painting was cracking and peeling.”
For nine years, d’Errico suppressed her feelings, her heart, and lived a life she hated and which made her hate herself in turn.
“I was lost and broken. I was afraid,” says d’Errico.
The painting crumbles
One fateful day, d’Errico and her husband drove to a nearby hospital see a pair of friends who had just had their third child.
But something had risen up within d’Errico that day that made her feel uneasy, anxious, though she couldn’t yet put her finger on it. “Something was not sitting right. I was not feeling okay,” she says.
Once at the hospital, on the way to the maternity ward the feeling grew ever stronger, now threatening to overwhelm her entirely. Moments later, she’s able to get away and find solace in an empty hallway. Finally, she breaks down.
“I don’t know what’s going on. And this feeling is just getting stronger. Shame and blame, ‘How could you?’ ‘You’re such a horrible person,’” she reflects. “Over and over again. I just wanted to jump out of the window and sink to the bottom of the lake.”
Suddenly, a realization strikes AdaPia through the heart. Finally, everything is clear.
“There was only one decision that I could make,” she says. “I had to leave. I had to leave this life. I had to leave the marriage. I had to leave everything and I didn’t know how because I had trapped myself in that painting that I meticulously curated for nine years and there was so much at stake.”
Listen to your heart
AdaPia knew she wasn’t happy and, if she ever truly wanted to be, she had to leave her life and everything in it behind.
“I didn’t want to hurt my husband. He wasn’t a bad person, he was a great person,” she says. “My family, our friends. Nine years of relationships. And then I would have to
face people. I was gonna get blamed. I was gonna be hated. I was gonna get yelled at. My dad was definitely gonna kill me. I was so afraid.”
Despite her fear, d’Errico took a leap of faith and did what was right for her for a change. She called her father to tell him what happened and what she had decided to do. “One of the most difficult ones was calling my dad and telling him,” she says.
I said ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so so sorry,’ and he pauses and doesn’t say anything.
He says, ‘AdaPia, come home. You’re not happy, come home.’
“I had no idea that he wanted me to be happy,” she says. “I had all these stories of what I thought he wanted for me, of what other people wanted. But the truth only came out when I had a conversation about it.”
Those uncomfortable conversations are the ones we really need to have.
“If he thought that my happiness was important, then maybe it was important. Maybe happiness is important. What I found when my life fell apart, when that painting of my life lit on fire, I found something I never expected to find,” says d’Errico. “I found a masterpiece.”
D’Errico had rediscovered her own heart and found the masterpiece that lie beneath the ashes of her old life.
Doing what is right is never easy, but AdaPia discovered that day that there’s no substitute for following your heart if you hope to be truly happy.
“I found my soul and whether you call it that for yourselves know that that voice inside of you is the voice that knows what’s right for you.”