Cast Blog: #RHONJ

Melissa's Painful Memories

Melissa shares how difficult it was to write about her father.

I’m so proud of Albie and Chris for opening their new restaurant Little Town, NJ! It’s sweet to see how Caroline and Albert’s boys have taken their parents’ restaurant talent and made it their own. I thought it was cute that Albert had to give his opinion on the menu. He’s a dad. He’s got to stay involved and try to help. And not for nothing, the Brownstone has been in business for over 20 years so he must be doing something right. I’ve been to Little Town and it has amazing food and an unbeatable view. If you’re ever in Hoboken, you’ve got to check it out

Thank God for Jacqueline with her angry Botox face. She made me laugh, which was much appreciated in a pretty heavy episode. Rosie killed me, too, when she said, “I’m not Amish.” She likes her scotch and smokes. You’ve got to love a woman who knows what she wants in life. Moonshine on, Rosie!

The scene with Kathy, Rosie, and Zia Maria was a bit uncomfortable to watch. Maria and her brother (Joe’s father) haven’t spoken in a while. It’s a sad situation for everyone involved, and a parallel to what you see with Joe and Teresa. I truly wish that all of these relationships can be repaired, or that they can call a truce and be civil. As you can see, this family does hold grudges. Some people get so used to holding the grudge it seems easier to cling to it rather than laying it down to rest.

Teresa said in her blog last week that I used “her parents publicly.” I’m going to have to disagree. As you can see, other people chose to show themselves going to the hospital. When Antonia and I went to visit Nonno, you did not see it. I didn’t want to exploit his illness on the show. Teresa is the one who kept and is still bringing up her parents. Publicly… on Twitter, in blogs, etc. Again, I’m being accused of something that someone else is guilty of. It’s as predictable as the tides. 

For the record, soon after my father-in-law got out of the hospital, he and my mother-in-law came over for dinner. We cooked together and had a wonderful meal. My father-in-law said nothing at all about any bad feelings. Afterwards, Joe and I were sitting with my mother-in-law, and I asked, “Are you mad at me, or upset at all? Have I done anything wrong?  Have I hurt the family in any way?” She looked me in the eye and said, “No. You’ve done nothing wrong.” Joe was right there. He and I know the real deal. Teresa was always claiming that she never said anything negative about me. I couldn’t help but notice how in almost every scene she’s in, the people she’s with trash me while she sits there smiling, nodding, and pretending she doesn’t want to hear it. It’s either her husband, her side kicks, or even her mother-in-law! On this episode, Teresa is shown being the “good” daughter-in-law. What I don’t understand is why on Earth would Joe Giudice’s mother want to spend her de-stressing pedicure time talking about me and how I dress? I wonder if she is regretting that statement now that she sees Teresa’s bubbies have been on display all season long.

I think you can see on my face that it was all weighing on me. I looked unhappy and aggravated. A lot was going on that had me in a terrible mood. It’ll all come out soon. Suffice it to say, I’m mad at myself for letting it get to me. My usually bubbly self wasn’t there.

The gym scene. Well, it started out hilarious. Joe and I giggled about his grunts. I work out with him. He does get into it when lifting, but I didn’t think his sounds were that loud! Working out is how Joe releases stress. Some of it comes out through the throat.   What I saw from my husband’s conversation with his sister is that Teresa can dish it out, but she can’t take it. Come on girl, toughen up! I take it all the time. On Season 3, she mocked my music and called me a gold digger. On Season 4, she said I’d leave my husband for a richer man and I was questioned by her about being a stripper. We already know I’m a bad daughter-in-law. I don’t know how many more negative things I can be accused of.

During their conversation at the gym, Joe stayed calm and just threw a little shade back at Teresa. And she freaked out, threw water, flipped a trash can and stormed out. He gave her a taste of her own medicine, and she did not like it.

I’m sorry, but is there a more obnoxious phrase than “pussy whipped?” I’ll die saying that a man who treats his wife with respect, who is loving, supportive, and faithful, and who comes home every night is NOT pussy whipped. In my book, that man is a king and his wife is his queen. My marriage is strong because of our mutual respect and devotion to each other. Joe and I have the relationship I always fantasized about since I was a little girl.

A lot of the episode was about my father. He was an incredible man, a loving father, and a great provider. As a husband, he wasn’t the best. It was a hard decision to write about him. But Love Italian Style is about my marriage, and my parents’ marriage is part of that story. In any memoir, the writer has to include a chapter or two about her childhood. I agreed with my team at St. Martin’s Press (love them all) that a memoir would be incomplete without it. The heartbreaks of those years made me who I am now. So Chapter 1 in my book is called, “The First Man in My Life,” about my father. I sought a partner like my father in many ways -- ambitious, funny, an adoring parent -- but his opposite in others. He didn’t come home every night. I was determined to find a man who did. And I found that man and more in Joe.

As necessary as it was to bring up those memories, it was painful as hell. It was devastating to go through the photos and find the card my father sent me within a week of his death. I struggled with translating those emotions to the page, believe me. Writing wasn’t easy, especially with three kids running around, screaming for cookies and juice. I had to do most of the work at night after the kids went to sleep. Joe wasn’t too happy when I got into bed and put the computer on my lap. But when I wrote the chapters about keeping our sex life hot after almost nine years of marriage, he couldn’t wait to jump in there to add his juicy tips! Wait till you hear them!

Joe and I are old school Italian in our values. I was proud to be a housewife before I became a Housewife. We have a traditional lifestyle, but with a modern twist. Mutual respect, support in what we do, and showing affection are just as important as who brings home the bacon and who fries it up in a pan. My book is part memoir of our story, and part advice about what we do to grow together so we never grow apart. I included chapters on how to fight right, look hot for your man, handle money matters, dealing with crises, and of course fashion and beauty. Four chapters are devoted to our favorite subject: keeping things fresh in the bedroom -- and other places, too.

Marriage has so many sides to it. The diamond ring Joe gave me when we got engaged really is a symbol for our marriage. We try to shine on all sides. And when we don’t, we set out to make it better. No marriage is perfect. It takes hard work. But nothing worth having is easy. I’m proud of us, and that’s why I had to write it all down. Hopefully, readers will relate to our stories and advice, and get some laughs along the way. If you’d like to see all our photos and read our stories -- especially Joe’s advice for the ladies -- in the book, we call them his “Joements” -- you can preorder Love Italian Style and get it mailed to you on September 17, 2013, my first pub day!
 
XO,
Melissa
 
Please check out my website for all my appearances and my performance schedule. Follow me on @MelissaGorga Twitter and Instagram.

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Amber: I Felt I Like I Was Being Hazed

Amber Marchese dishes on her experience this season on #RHONJ.

We made it Housewife friends! As it was my rookie season, I felt like I was being hazed in a sorority, but as hard as it was, I made it! I learned so much about how strong I am as a person and some areas that I can work on. I learned that I really do have a “no surrender, never retreat” mentality. I will go to bat with anyone, at any time, and will defend myself and my family at all cost. I also witnessed the undying love that my husband has for me and his family. He was not going to let anyone hurt me and will unleash hell if someone tries. He is truly my modern day Spartan warrior. 

I am so blessed to have shared my experience and struggles with breast cancer -- the timing of my five year mark, the photo shoot, and growing my hair for five years then cutting it for charity -- it was nothing short of a miracle that the Bravo was able to catch that all. It was just meant to be and God was truly working his wonders. Cutting my hair was completely symbolic for me, since cancer no longer defines me. I will never forget, however the pain, fear, and anxiety is in my rear view mirror now. I can sometimes look back to remind myself where I came from, but it in no way defines my future. It is my promise to all of you, I will never take that for granted, especially knowing that there are thousands struggling with cancer every day. 

On to my perspective on the season finale! I am not quite sure why the twins make it a point to confront others in front of large crowds. As Teresa said, they had two weeks to call her and speak to her about what Victoria Gotti had said to us. If they had an issue or wanted an apology, so be it, but what ever happened to being a civilized human being and picking up the phone to call? They did the same thing to me. Two weeks went by without any phone call from them. In fact, they never returned any of my phone calls or texts! They decided to make a scene in front of an entire party. Difference is, this was at a charity event with children in ear shot. Can you blame me for not wanting to bring my babies to this event? I would have absolutely loved my children sashaying down the runway, but there is absolutely no way I would EVER allow my babies to hear what went on. I spoke with Teresa and I knew the twins never called her. So I knew exactly what was brewing, so did Dina. My children come first and mama was protecting her children. Dina was brazen enough to kick Jim and me out of the Florida home for less of an offense, why wasn’t Dina kicking the twins out because they were making a scene at her own charity function for children?! Can we say double standard? Where were her “heads rolling” that she claimed would happen if someone started anything at a Ladybug event? 

I will add that I completely understand how hurt the twins are. I can understand their anger. However, I cannot understand their way of handling conflict. That level of “hot headedness,” I would think, cools down at a certain age as we tend to calm ourselves, think clearly, and with wisdom. It is a level of discernment that should happen after a certain age or experience in life. 

Dina claims to be Teresa’s friend of 25 years, but does not back up her friend at all. If that was my friend, like Christine or Angelia, whom I have been friends for just as long, the twins would not have gotten to the letter T in stupid before I would be dragging them out of the event by their ears. Dina doesn’t have to agree with her best friend, but she should also never allow someone to call her friend of 25 years stupid, at her own charity function no less. Especially knowing what her friend is going through, which pales in comparison to some stupid rumor.

Since Dina has unwarranted venom towards my husband and has completely snubbed him for his previous contributions to The Ladybug Project, I am going to thank him on their behalf for coming up with the idea of the children's fashion show, as well as the connection to East Coast Stars. Since Jim did not attend, he also made a sizable cash donation on behalf of our family. Jim had also worked hard before all the drama to make sure Ladybug even had a venue with all costs covered, including food and beverage. The venue was ultimately not chosen, but Jim had still worked hard to give Dina an option for the event. Instead she chooses to focus on Jim’s comment about her IQ after she interrogated him at an extremely inappropriate, charged moment right after his wife was attacked. Despite her inappropriateness, Jim still ended up apologizing to her. However in my opinion she should have apologized to him for being so glaringly insensitive. 

It may seem as if my perspective is harsh for an end of season blog, LOL! But it is what I was feeling at the time. I owe it to you all to give you my honest interpretation of it. However, at the end of the season, I came out having a certain amount of respect for all of these ladies. Being on a reality show is hard; it pushes us to our limits and it is nothing short of psychological warfare. I truly hope you will support all of us, equally. Teams are good, and appreciated; however, keep the hate towards other Housewives out of it. Perspective are OK, different points of view are what make the world go round, however, when your perspective rises to a level of cruelty, it takes the fun out of our jobs. Allow us to be ourselves, with the good moments and even the moments when we could have handled ourselves a little better. At the end of the day, the Housewives are girlfriends that have strong personalitiesand disagreements -- we love, we hate, and we make up. That’s life. 

I have would like to thank: Denee Lockhart, Amy Malkoff, J. Vincent Jewelers, Cate Scaglione Photography, Castle Couture, Action Media Productions, Elinet Cakes, Christine’s Restaurant, Historical Names, East Coast Stars, Zaboyon, Greenhouse Flowers, Johnny Donavan PR, Anthony Palmieri stylist, Tony Bowls evening wear, and finally, my husband Jim and my mom, Pamula Aguero. 

It was an amazing experience that I would not change for the world. I want to thank all of you for you love and support. This was a wild ride. 

Many blessings to all!

Amber Marchese

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