by M. Pirozzi
She comes from Royal blood. But she doesn’t act it. Lory Molino is a beautiful, confident and intelligent woman. She’ll engage you with her smile and impress you with her intelligence. She’s down to earth and 100% genuine. Lory was born in the Philippines where her paternal grandmother was an aristocrat. Her Mom and Dad met in college. Dad was studying to be a lawyer and Mom a nurse. Soon after they were married her Mom went to Chicago for 2years to work. She wanted to find a new life for her family in the land of opportunity. A few years after her Mother retuned to the Philippines, Lory was born. At the tender age of 3, the family moved to NYC.
They settled in the Upper West side. The early days of her family life were happy. Mom got a job right away. Since her Dad was not a citizen, he couldn’t practice law. He had minored in psychology and got a job as a social worker. He became one of the most sought after in the city, and was a man the family was proud of.
Lory quickly noticed that she wasn’t like the other girls. Most were white, with blonde hair. Her skin and hair were darker, so she felt different. As an impressionable young girl, she felt that her looking different meant being inferior. By the time she got to high school, these insecurities were compounded by normal teenage angst. She acted differently than most girls as well. In her spare time, instead of “hanging out” she went to museums and the ballet. She took gymnastics and joined the famous Sokol ballet school. There she befriended Shamsky (daughter of NY Mets star Art Shamsky) and Brooke Shields. While in High School, an intro to psychology fascinated her. Her first aspiration was to be a clinical psychologist.
Upon graduation, Lory figured she’d attend an Ivy League school. Most of her friends were and her sister had gone to John’s Hopkins. But a financial crunch forced her to go to a state school. She was disappointed but played the Good Daughter. So, instead of the hallowed halls of Yale or Harvard, Lory college career began at SUNY Brockport. This was a blessing in disguise. The school was a perfect fit for her reserved demeanor. It was small, unassuming and the people were friendly. She studied clinical psychology and did very well freshman year, maintaining a 4.0 average.
She was more social, but the self esteem issues were always present. So were incidents of racism as well. One boyfriend took her home to his small town to meet his parents. It didn’t go well at all. His father looked at her with disdain all through dinner. After that night, the boy never called her again. She found that his father told him “If you bring that Chinky-eyed girl home again, I won’t speak to you anymore”. What angered her most was that her Father was a lawyer, her Mother had a Masters Degree and her sister graduated John’s Hopkins. This man had an elementary school education at best and had the nerve to look down on HER!
Lory went to grad school at NYU. She got her Masters in Bio-Psychology, a relatively new field at the time. She lived in Queens, with a boyfriend that the met in Brockport. This relationship was dysfunctional, full of mental, verbal and a few times physical abuse. She looks back and believes that her insecurities at the time played a role. She was by her account “clingy”. When told she was worthless, she believed it. It was a precedent for many future relationships. Her sister saw she was unhappy, and fixed her up with her fiancé’s army friend at her wedding. This got her out of that bad relationship.
The army man gave all the attention and love that Lory craved. He was romantic and showed it. For nine months the relationship was great. He was stationed in Georgia and she lived in New Jersey. He’d fly her down a few times a month to see him. He proposed, she accepted. At 25 she was eager to settle down, and start a family. But in life, things happen; and not always for the good. Soon after the engagement, his ex girlfriend came back into his life. He became distant and eventually broke it off. It hit her hard. She cried for 3 straight months. Her schoolwork suffered. The insecurities returned.
She decided to move back to Stonybrook and re-focus on her schoolwork. She met a pre-med student, and started a new relationship. Like her other relationships, it started well, but her self esteem issues became a factor. She saw rage issues early on, but stayed with him anyway. An unwanted pregnancy presented a problem; she wanted the baby and he didn’t. As usual, Lory gave in and terminated the pregnancy. Maybe from guilt, he eventually proposed, and maybe from insecurity, she accepted. Six months in, he asked for a divorce. This caused panic, and she begged him to stay. She couldn’t handle rejection again. Two years later, her 1st child was born.
About a year after having her child, Lory became pregnant again. However, there were complications and the child was stillborn. Her husband blamed her, saying that because she’d had an abortion, she was being punished. Then the verbal and mental abuse ramped up. Again, being the good wife, she stayed. Soon after, her second child was born.
His residency took him to Temple University. Lory wanted at first to stay in Stonybrook to finish school, but financial pressure forced her to move to Pennsylvania, and get a job. She had experience working in labs, so she got a job at a pharmaceutical company. Still the problems between them were too strong, so they separated. This triggered erratic behavior by her husband. He stalked her, broke into the apartment, left obscene messages and a slew of other insidious behavior. As only Lory would, thinking about the kids she decided not to press charges. She did know that it was time to move on. She found the courage to say she wanted a divorce. He called her bluff, but she stood firm.
Her career was going well. She was a top employee excelling as a medical writer. She even met a new man. It went so well, that she and the kids moved in with him. Lory’s insecurities soon emerged. She became very clingy and it caused her partner to put up a wall. One that never came down. But they moved forward and 4 years later, got married. She had her third child with him. But now Lory wanted more. She spent her whole life as the Good wife and Mother. She wanted time for herself. He wasn’t interested in a social life, but she was. So, she did things on her own.
No more putting everyone’s needs in front of hers. She worked hard and was successful. She got her Masters Degree on-line while working and taking care of her family. She didn’t need anyone’s approval. She was happy with who she had become. There were snippets of independence along the way as well. While in Stonybrook for example, she got her learned how to SCUBA, and got advanced water, deep dive, photography and other certifications. She modeled a little as well. She also worked on a film, attaining her SAG card. Hard to believe she still had self-esteem issues.
Along the way, she felt it was time for a bucket-list adventure. She had always wanted to study martial arts, but her Mom being old fashioned told her it wasn’t “lady-like”. After her first marriage broke up, Lory stated taking classes. Within three years, she got her black belt. Two years after that, the opportunity to get her 2nd degree black belt presented itself. She knew she wasn’t ready so she didn’t take the test. What she did do was seek and start training with the best trainer she could find. She learned a lot, fought (and lost) a lot from black belts at higher levels than her. The coaches’ belief in her empowered her. She had become the person she was meant to be. It took 5 years of training and trying, but she did it. She got her 2nd degree black belt in 2008, all while working and taking care of her kids. It took that discipline of martial arts to bring about the inner strength.
She still faced challenges at work, and with her family. She was always a top performer, but hated office politics. Then her husband got laid off, and the burden of providing fell solely on her. But this time, she didn’t panic. After unscrupulous actions by co-workers drained her of her desire and motivation. It was time for a change.
In 2015 a co-worker asked Lory to get involved in a non-profit organization benefitting American Indians. She met a man named Joe. Joe was a tribal cop and chief. Right away, the movement felt right. She wanted to do more than donate money. She wanted to get involved. Joe ran the boxing club on the reservation, so he asked that Lory travel to the reservation in South Dakota. She did and loved working with the kids. This woman who spent much of her adult life putting others needs in front of her own, was finally doing something she really wanted to do. Ironically, it was to give of herself, and help others.
The reservation was rife with problems as well. Drugs, crime and alcoholism were rampant. She noticed that women had no programs for self defense. She began running self defense classes for women, free of charge. This giving spirit prompted Joe to “adopt” her as a “sister” into the Lakota tribe. She said that “Once I stepped onto the reservation, I finally felt that there was a place that I belonged.” Back in Pa., her job was still a problem. She wanted to leave and they wanted her gone. She reached an agreement to retire with severance pay. Again, there was no panic. She knew she would be fine.
A chance meeting with a film producer brought Lory to her current career. A friend introduced her to a major production company. They liked her, and quickly hired her. She started this new venture a little differently than the others. She was now armed with confidence.
As with everything in life, there are always twists and turns. The challenge of the film industry has taken its toll financially. But according to Lory “The stress that I have with money is nothing compared to the stress of where I worked before.” Where she goes from here is not certain. She may produce, direct, or go back to her first love, writing. Wherever she goes, Lory knows for sure that it is not the destination that matters, but the journey. It’s a journey that she is prepared to take and eager to get started.