“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This post is by Cristiana Cavalieri.

Can you imagine somebody seeing a cognitive therapist before their trip to New York? I couldn’t, until it was me. 

A couple of years ago I developed a phobia of flying. Through a few therapy sessions I managed to conquer my fear. However, after my parents told my brother and me about an upcoming family trip to New York, I was overcome with a feeling of anxiety as I feared terrorism.

Following a few therapy sessions, I began to relax and my anxiety subsided, especially after hearing that:

  • One is 2 times more likely to be killed by an animal (bee/hornet/wasp/dog) than by a terrorist
  • 6 times more likely to die from a shark attack
  • 29 times more likely to die from an asteroid strike
  • 260 times more likely to die from a lightning strike.
  • The chances of winning the lottery jackpot is many times greater than that of being killed in a terrorist attack.

Fast Forward past these therapy sessions and we are driving into New York. It really is like a scene from a movie. I think the four of us almost broke our necks looking up at the countless skyscrapers. With yellow cabs driving around, pretzels being sold around every corner and Starbucks coffee shops everywhere – there was no doubt that we were in a concrete jungle.

The primary reason for our trip to New York was the 2019 New York ArtExpo in which four of Julia Cavalieri’s paintings were exhibited. The four paintings are a part of Julia’s Nests of Time Collection. The collection “emphasises the abstract and emotional response to intricately woven, dissolving nests that unravel with time as fragile pockets of memories and dreams”. It was a truly amazing experience and being able to celebrate this achievement with my mother will forever be a memory ingrained in my heart.

Also extremely touching was our tour of Ground Zero. My mother and I had never been. I was four when the attack of 9/11 happened. I do not recall seeing or hearing about the attack, but this tour made the incident so real in my mind. The fountains of tears were breathtaking. Victims of the attack have their names engraved on the edges of the fountain. On some of the names, there were white roses. I asked what these were for and the answer was that white roses are placed on the individual’s name on their birthday. New Yorkers have found ways to commemorate those individuals lost in the attack and, in addition, have built the Freedom Tower. After watching a short clip on the building, we took time to walk around and appreciate a full 360-degree view of New York. 

On most days, it certainly did feel as if we had walked the whole of New York. Although I did not complain when the sole aim was to shop! I did however make the mistake of buying new sneakers and walking in them the next day – I spent the rest of the trip with my heels wrapped in plasters. Despite the pain, my mother dragged me to walk the High Line with her. The New York High Line is a 2.33km elevated linear park built on top of an old railroad track. With benches situated along the path, it turned out to be a pleasant walk (after which I snuck in an ice cream!) 

My experience in New York was an exciting one. It reminded me to take advantage of what the world has to offer, and not to let fear get in the way of that. I am so privileged to have gone, and so lucky to have spent such special time with the three people I love the most in life. 

Shout out to my family for such a swell time, to my therapist for helping me conquer a fear and to New York City for having us. See you soon Manhattan! #ILivedToTellTheTale

To view more of Julia’s art, visit her on Instagram, Facebook or on her Website.