Sometimes in life truth can be stranger than fiction. Over the past nine years that I have hosted Conversations LIVE the radio show I have heard some amazing stories of individuals who have been able to pull themselves together when it seemed as though the world was trying to tear them apart. How did they do it? In most cases it came from realizing that they are more than the obstacles in front of them. When they came to grips with their own worth, they were empowered to move forward, not allowing their trials to define them. They might have been scarred along the way, but they survived.
Such is the case with Toni Marie Ricci. The world caught a glimpse of her story through Investigation Discovery's show "I Married a Mobster," where she shared some of the details of her marriage, divorce, and the Mafia lifestyle. There, however, you got only a part of the story. Now writing her autobiography SCARS OF A REAL MOB WIFE Toni Marie is set to allow the world into her life, the ups and downs and everything in between and how she was able to come out on the other side.
When I got the privilege of speaking with her we talked about the road that has led to where she is today and what she wants all of you to know about how she got there.
TONI MARIE RICCI ON BREAKING HER SILENCE:
"There comes a time in your life when you have stayed quiet for so long that you have to show people you have a voice. I always did want to write my book, and I thought I would just wait until the right time. It was important for me to let other women have an insight to what I've been there so they knew they were not alone and could survive. If I can help one person, I've done my job. "
"My experiences definitely made me less trusting. Through them I learned a valuable lesson: You should love and respect yourself first before anyone. You don't have to stay in situations that you're not happy in.I know what it's like to have the fear of the unknown. There were times when I wanted to get out but wondered where are you going to go what are you going to do. Ultimately the longer you stay in that situation the more you lose your dignity and self respect. No one is worth losing all of that. No one."
TONI MARIE RICCI ON WALKING IN HER OWN TRUTH:
"I had to encounter many deceits so I can now know who I am. Growing up in a certain environment people think they know you. They have a perspective that women in this life know what they are getting into. That's not always the case. It wasn't something that was spoken of publicly. I know that if it wasn't for my son and my family members I wouldn't have had the strength to pick myself up and keep going. It's not all what people think it is. In the end it's nothing but heartache."
TONI MARIE RICCI ON WRITING HER BOOK:
Writing this book is very therapeutic for me. It has taken a lot of the weight off. I needed to step up to the plate. It hasn't been easy, but you have to do what you have to do. Sometimes you don't have a choice. Sharing my story makes me feel like I've accomplished something. I want readers to get from this book that you need to find the strength and people who will be on your side. I want them to know there can be happiness. The unknown is the scary part. Start from the beginning. Know that at the end of the tunnel there is light. You have to pick yourself up, know your strength, and you'll persevere. I always believed that I deserved better."
Part of Toni Marie's journey has been keeping in touch with her fans on Twitter. "It's been an amazing resource for me," she told me during our conversation. One of the great connections that has come from the social media platform has been meeting acclaimed artist Michael Bell. He is working with her creating a series of 7 paintings that help tell her story.
To stay in contact with Ms. Ricci and her book, follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tonimariericci.