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feels great, baby (literally)

I'm 16 weeks pregnant, surprise!

If you don't follow me on social media religiously, 1) you should, & 2) this is probably pretty, pretty shocking to you and let me just say...samesies.

Anyhoo, the P word is something I never thought I'd be typing in a blog, but here tf we are. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure if I wanted to share the news. I look up to a lot of writers who keep their personal life supremely DL, which I completely respect. For me, though, this is a huge ass dream come true.

I compare it the NFL Draft, which I was lucky enough to cover this past year in Las Vegas. Let me clarify: I wasn't credentialed and reporting live from the red carpet (one day, don't worry). But I did get the invite to play a role in the 49ers Rush podcast, hosted by John Chapman. I even hopped on the pod and gave some draft advice, all while keeping the hot seat warm for 49ers LB, Mr. All-Pro Fred Warner himself. He showed up mid-sentence, so I relinquished my seat to the legend.

That was a Top 10 moment of my life, actually.

There's just something about the NFL Draft that gives me all the goosebumps. Think about it: Athletes bust their asses to make it to that stage and after a lifetime of dedication, blood, sweat and tears, they finally have a shot to accomplish their goal of playing in the National Football League.

I absolutely love to see it, to be honest. Now, before some of you screenshot this blog and pick apart every word I say (or don't say) to create your own narratives about what I'm comparing, hear me out. I've chased plenty of dreams in my life. Writing for an online publication with a big reach: Check! Interviewing star players from a plethora of pro sports: Check! Living in different parts of the world and creating my own reality of what I want to do in my career: Considering I currently live in Italy and work for an incredible esports company as a verified journalist/content creator, I'll give that a big old CHECK!

Humble brag, sorry not sorry.

The truth is, most of the dreams I've had in my 33 years on this planet, I have been able to accomplish in some way. That's not me boasting, either. I'm stating this because I believe if you work hard and you're a good person, good things will happen to you and the things you want will be attainable.

Someone I kinda, sorta look up to feels the same, actually...

Side note: look at that smile. The title of this blog is a slight homage to Jimmy Garoppolo, of course, since his iconic phrase from a 2019 interview with Erin Andrews is forever etched on my heart (and in tattoo form on my upper, upper back thigh).

Garoppolo may not be the guy. He's not elite. Hell, he may not even be the San Francisco 49ers highest-paid backup QB soon enough if the Dallas Cowboys make the right offer. But he's taught me to really look inside myself and focus on what truly matters. A lot of folks wrote him off and continue to do so. What they don't realize, is that Jimmy Jawline is living one of his dreams.

And all those critics on the sidelines or their mama's couch might not be doing the same.

It's taken me a couple years to accept the things that have happened to me that, at the time, I felt derailed me from achieving my goal of being a proper reporter in the NFL. I got close a few times, and then life did what it does and seemingly placed me on the IR/a different path than I wanted for myself. I've made some mistakes, like befriending the wrong people and not taking accountability for their actions by standing up for what's right. In turn, I had to walk away from a role that I felt would get me to that sideline.

Letting go of one dream is okay, though.

Losing that opportunity pushed me to apply to new things and eventually led me on a plane with my fiancé and doggo to Italy. I've been living here for nearly one year now and writing remotely for a well-known esports website out of the UK. My parents are both Italian, so the transition wasn't as tough as it sounds.

Minus the language barrier. That's a work in progress, lol.

Living beside beautiful Lago Maggiore has been everything. I don't take for granted where life has gracefully brought me to in this moment. Bumps and bruises along the way? Sure. But being here has given me back a sense of my peace that I lost a long time ago after experiencing a pretty gnarly domestically violent relationship.

After what I had gone through, I never thought having a baby would be in the cards, actually. The physical and mental scars made me feel like I wasn't good enough to be a mom.

I let go of that dream, too.

Yet being here and reflecting on all those defining--sometimes icky--moments gave me hope. I guess within that hope, my dream of having my own little family and giving so much love to a tiny human resurfaced.

A dream is just a dream until it's a reality. We all have the chance to pivot from situations we're not overly happy about and make them better. And even if we must let go of some dreams, there will always be a reason why.

I'm finally realizing mine.

I don't know why I felt inclined to write this today. Week 1 of the NFL season has come and gone. Headlines around the league highlight players "havin' a day," like Patrick Mahomes five touchdowns for 360 yards or the return of Saquon Barkely, who many analysts are saying is, in fact, back.

Those stats are great and mad props to those guys, because their journey started with a dream and here they flippin' are just absolutely crushing it.

As much as I want to write about all the stories this season, I'm changing up the script a bit on this blog and will be staying on brand by writing the Feels Great, Baby moments from each week that go beyond the gridiron and focus on a player or coach whose story is worth more than 280 characters on Twitter.

And since I've got my own lil [feels great] baby on board, I'll parallel each week with every bump (see what I did there) and curve this new dream has gifted me.

Week 1, we saw monsoons and injuries; dreams put on hold, and others shapeshifting into something more wonderful than ever imagined. That's what I hope to showcase for you all. So, if you're willing to, I invite you on this new journey with me.

The good, the bad, and every crazy moment in between. Ask me how it feels to be writing again...

Fuckin' great, baby!

xx crys

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