La Notte Del Sette Pesce

The Night of the Seven Fishes / La Notte Del Sette Pesce is an Italian tradition of having fish on Christmas Eve.

Specifically it’s from towns on the seacoast. My mother’s mother / Nonna’s family was from Salerno in Naples on the bay.

I’m 50 now and every year since I was seven we’ve celebrated the seven fishes tradition. That’s 43 years of having lobster on Christmas Eve along with clams mussels shrimp other seafood and angel hair pasta with lobster or marinara sauce.

We are lucky to be able to afford lobster. I refer to this in Left of the Dial.

My contention is that a person can find pockets of joy in the hard times by enjoying a tradition. It doesn’t have to be lobster. It can be celebrating an equinox. It can be by doing volunteer work.

It’s possible to reclaim your self as well as your mental health after you’re diagnosed with schizophrenia. I understand that for some of us our old lives are gone and it seems like we’ve changed into a different person with new limitations.

This could be true yet I make the case for designing your lifestyle around your values and around an identity that is salient for you. As hard as it can be if you ask me celebrating ourselves is the way to go regardless of what has happened to us.

I identify as an Italian American. I identify as a Christian even though I don’t attend church and I’m not a member of any organized religion. I’m also a Fashionista and an Artist/Creative.

Finding an identity that resonates with us if you ask me is the key to transmuting our pain and changing our perception of what we’re capable of.

Some of us are going to have limitations imposed by the illness and others are going to have minimal disruption to our lives. Which is the prime reason I make that case for getting quicker, individualized treatment, appropriate medication, and practical career counseling–this Triangle of Mental Health can allow a person to have an easier time of it in recovery.

I have made this clear more than once.

I’ll go sign off now as I have to get ready to have the fish today.

Buon Natale a Tutti.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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