Yes, so, the reason why I was collecting so many beginnings and then losing them, discarding them, restarting them is because I never wanted to get to the point.
I have been asked by my sister-in-law to write about my first forty years. She has quite discreetly manifested curiosity towards my past life in the past, and I have just as discreetly thought – no way, that’s never going to happen – because I love my sister in law, I love her family, my husband’s family. I used to love my reputation, too, though it has been nasty for the greater part of my life.
I keep thinking I would be a good fictional writer, if only I could step over that huge huge boulder which is the nagging thought, the nagging dragging pounding finger that tells me “tell YOUR story first”.
I have been often preaching about the importance of being yourself, why do I do that? Because I wasn’t, I never was. I was always someone else, depending on circumstances, on the people in front of me. I was always me, I couldn’t help being me, but I would always adapt that me to the circumstances. Please read any Pirandello to understand. My favourite, the one that spoke to me most, was Come tu mi vuoi, As you Desire me.
It meant so much I had the phrase tattooed (oh so badly) on my arm in a squat by a stinking fat squatter, in the company of my friend, possibly a violent psycho (I didn’t know then, fortunately I never found out for sure), drinking tea in dirty mugs and laughing my head off ’cause the needle tickled, below a swallow which he convinced me to turn into a “Japanese” swallow. It’s still there, the body colourful, the writing incomprehensible and the head still in black and white. I never returned to finish it off.
I’ve had a naughty, naughty life. Now I am a parent I wonder how my parents survived me, I wonder how they ignored me, I wonder about a lot of things and know for a fact that as a parent, you can make big fat mistakes, but hey, having a headstrong chaotic daughter doesn’t help. When I was fifteen (sorry if you’re reading this daddy, I love you!) and my dad had just found out something crazy I was up to, my dad yelled at me “I know you, I know your PAST!”. I look at my fifteen-year-old ward and think: for Christ’s sake, she’s still a child. She is starting her life. When I was fifteen, I already had a past.
I have tried many ways to tell this story. More ways than I can tell, I’ve been trying to tell my story just so I can vomit it out of me for good and leave space for something else since I was thirteen. I guess blogging is the only way for me: instead of telling you the thoughts that go through my head, I tell you stories of me. Instead of trying to find the right words, the right medium, the right tone of voice to tell anybody who will listen about me, I will just do it. Blurt it out. If any of those who know me read this, they will think “Do you ever, ever do anything differently? When do you NOT blurt it all out?”
Now I don’t care anymore. I am forty. I am finally a grown up. Despite the world trying to convince me of what being an adult means, I know that it must mean what I always thought it meant: finally being able to be yourself, and not being afraid to be it. I brace myself and carry on. Thank you for listening now, later, occasionally, regularly. Whatever. This is for me.