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10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

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Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted.
One moment.
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
— Eminem
Cynthia Viola Swimming with Dolphins

I will be the first to admit that one of the best ways to describe myself is just a hot mess. I definitely do not have it all together but I give each day my best effort. Here are a few details that make me who I am.

I am an open book. Seriously, ask me anything. My ex-husband used to say I hold my poker cards facing out. There is not a topic under the sun or a hardship I've faced that I'm unwilling to talk about especially if I think it will help someone else brave through their own story.

Speaking of story, I'm a sucker for them. I love grand tales of epic proportion where the hero faces a dragon on the outside and demons within. I also love it when those same epic battles are realized in the lives of regular people, and we are drawn closer as the human race because of them. 

My favorite personal story is how I discovered I had 3 baby brothers and met them just a couple years ago. Being an only child for 29 years teaches you how to take care of yourself, how to be alone, how to have a conversation with adults, that you don't need anyone else, that it's you against the world... Being an eldest of 4 teaches you how to let go of yourself and anything you've ever wanted if it will help them in even the smallest way. It brings out a visceral need that cannot even be described, but being close to them is the only thing that satiates it. I *might* have even written a book about the experience. It'll be a while before the world's ready for it though :)

Cynthia Viola's Brothers

I'll try anything once. I love mountain biking, ultimate frisbee, paddle boarding, new roller coasters, and open mic poetry nights. On any given day you might see me kayaking or shooting hoops with some neighborhood kids, baking cookies or painting. I want to do it all. 

My favorite food group is chocolate, but I'm otherwise quite healthy. (think Paleo) I'm also partial to bourbon and the occasional cigar. Calisthenics are my preferred workout style (muscle ups, I'm coming for ya!) but I've found great community and unique challenges in Crossfit and am committing to their routines for this season. 

My favorite movie is District 9 due to the fact that it wrecked me. (I was working with refugee families at my first viewing and the parallel blew me away). For fun, I also love anything by Baz Luhrmann for his artistic style and Quinten Tarantino  for his sheer audacity. Music is usually dependent on my mood but you'll find Incubus,  Eminem or Shawn Mendes in nearly every playlist. Though I'm recently digging The Avett Brothers and Meghan Trainor as well.

Letty girl is my baby with my ex-husband, and sadly due to my extensive traveling she must stay with him but that doesn’t mean I love her any less. She goes zero to 100 in about three seconds when she gets excited (kinda like her momma) but is the BIGGEST snuggle bug the rest of the time. She was a rescue from the pound and is a Blue Pit in case you were wondering. :)

Cynthia Viola's Pitt Bull

I frequently have to remind myself to be a business professional. To get the work done first and play later. I do not love fancy clothes, struggle with details and technicalities, loathe to my very core the idea of being put in a figurative box, and want nothing more than to have my only concern be loving people well - to be amazed by the incredible stories others have to share. This probably has something to do with being an ENFP and Enneagram 7.

In high school I was a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol. I passed my tests quickly, and became an officer taking me to Leadership Training School and eventually I became the Cadet Squadron Commander. I loved it so much. I loved drill and PT, I loved the aerospace education, I soaked in everything my mentors gave me. I was accepted to the Air Force Academy and started logging hours to get my pilot's license. Alas, the journey from that path to the one I eventually found myself on was a long one that requires way more than a paragraph in a blog post, so I'll save it for when we have coffee. :)

Through it all I've learned to walk through life with my eyes wide open and hands held out - ready to catch whatever may fall out of the sky. Sometimes I end up catching bad things, but the vast amount of good that finds it way to me will forever surpass the bad. I'm extremely optimistic and can usually see the good in situations and in people. My littlest brother thinks I epitomize the character Joy in Inside Out and well, I think that's just perfect. :) I may be a little naive and some would say too trusting but I believe people hold this amazing ability to be extraordinary - to go above and beyond - to shine like a star - if only someone will believe in them and give them permission to do so. I will gladly be that person every time.

 

The fam

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I can’t believe I never noticed my heart before - until I noticed you
— Mute Math

If it weren't for A.J. this blog wouldn't be here. In fact, I wouldn't be here.

I've always fancied myself an adventurer who is willing to try anything new, show me the mountain and I'll climb it, the plane I'll jump out of it (or fly it), the road less traveled and I'm already half way down it. 

But apparently I have an irrational fear of all things new technology. (I still haven't tried the Pokemon Game or Instagram Videos...or whatever they're called). Raised by two people who swear the internet is evil, who don't own a computer or a mobile phone, who don't even like talking on a landline, I was a little behind the curve when I met A.J. I swear I'd still have a little flip Razr if A.J. hadn't forced it out of my hands years ago. He's constantly baffled at my ability to use "thingy" and "whatchamacallit" and "you know" to describe the really complicated things like the internet. :)

When it comes to the world of technology I am utterly dependent upon him. But I'm ok with that. I hear we're supposed to focus on our strengths and find other people to fill in our weaknesses anyway. 

That's just one of my witty husband's many talents. He also happens to be a phenomenal public speaker, entrepreneur, photographer, ultimate frisbee player, hilarious comeback wiz, wedding officiant, latte art master, life comedian, and of course dad to our pup Letty and the very best husband who ever lived. 

I figured today would be a good day to introduce him to you, as it is our 11 year anniversary. ELEVEN. It seems like we began one life in undergrad and found our way into a different one along the way. Every bump in the road has made us stronger and every detour given us a new skill set. He is far more than I could have ever hoped for and I think it's safe to say my love for him now is 11 times stronger than it was in 2005. He's just one of those people who make you want to be a better person.

Letty girl is pup number four for us. (had to leave the other three in the mountains) We've only had her for about a month but she's already family and matches our outgoing personalities perfectly. She's partial to coconut oil, belly rubs and wants to destroy every evil squirrel in existence. 

I couldn't do life without A.J. and wouldn't want to do it without Letty girl. They both make me stronger. Happy 11th babe.