Just ’cause you feel it…

 

 

I am translating my dad’s biography and it is so strange, so strange to see the world, MY world, from his point of view. Events narrated without the slightest awareness of what they meant to me, to my siblings, to my mother. No awareness of wrongdoing, no admittance of responsibility, no awareness of how others have helped him, not divine intervention: always either not his fault, or only his merit, or because of too much love. All excuses. And then, events that were some of the most amazing times in my life, dismissed as gruelling experiences and time wasted.

Our perception really is so fallible, so alien. I wish I’d understood this more as a child and a teenager: “But why?!!” was my favourite expression. Why has he stopped being my friend. Why does he not care about me when I care about him. Why has she shunned me. Why why why. Now, 46 years old, it all seems so much clearer, so hard and yet real: people don’t feel for you what you might feel for them. People REALLY can’t always see life the way you see it. Basic truths, so obvious and real, yet so very hard for me to finally accept and understand. The first breakthrough, the first eureka moment? In the height of pain, in the height of ending contemplation which this eureka moment actually encouraged further, was the line from that Radiohead song:

“Just because you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there”.

Yes. So I continue and persevere. And I can’t wait for it to be over. The work on the book, that is. Reading this account of the most important years of my life, years that determined what I am today, all I ever fucked up, all I ever suffered, all the mistakes I made, all the people I loved and lost, though his eyes, the eyes of my father, is slowly tearing me apart, stretching me, though I am now grown, and happy, and protected by a wonderful surrounding both in terms of my little and expanded family and the place I am living in, so I know I will return to shape, I will remain whole.

But boy should we make an effort for the good of us all to see how reality is, REALLY is, entirely different depending on your standpoint. We should tell our children.

I know anybody reading this would say WELL DUH!!

Well, duh.

Indeed.

 

Incidentally, if anybody is reading this of the people I used to follow more closely, please believe that I order to move out of the UK to here and now to work enough, as freelancers without a single safe penny in our name, I cannot afford to read ANYTHING except for the occasional headline and even then, I still try to avoid the news.
I often think about each and every one of you.
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Quaresima

Nemmeno la capisco appieno, ma le cose cambiano.

Vado su reddit r/ Italy e mi domando se sia il caso di cambiare il mio flair con la bandierina della regione Marche. Ma non sono ancora lì!

Non voglio scrivere alla scuola ancora, non sappiamo ancora se dovremo vivere in un luogo dove l’affitto sia bassissimissimo, perché dovremo sopravvivere con il lavoro freelance, oppure andare in centro, stare bene, o in collina, con macchina, e quindi permetterci di stare vicino al Lido di Fano, come scuola per M.

Non voglio vedere nessuno, è difficile per gli altri da capire. Voglio pensare solo a me, solo a noi.

Il cambiamento è enorme, e mi ingolfava.

Poi, la rivelazione. La chiarezza. Gaia è mamma, Dio è padre. È così semplice. Pezzetti di divino in ogni creatura, ma certo! Credere in Dio, in quanto Dio Amore che Crea, non preclude credere nella Scienza. La Scienza analizza tutto ciò che si è evoluto, ma non sa ancora cosa abbia messo il seme iniziale della vita nella fertile Gaia, madre terra. Ed è Dio. E Dio alle volte ha cercato di avvicinarsi a noi, e ha scelto di inviare un uomo pregno di divinità, così tanto da essere suo figlio più direttamente di tutti noi, santi, gente per strada, ha scelto mille modi di parlarci, perché con voce diretta non lo capiremmo, come potremmo? Come se piantassimo un seme da cui nasce tutto un microsistema e poi formiche e altri insetti e cercassimo di parlare con le formiche, come potrebbero capirci? Capiscono solo quel che fanno, quello che possono. Noi capiamo molto, tantissimo. Ma non possiamo capire tutto. E la mamma terra, la mamma natura, lei partorisce, la vita esce da ogni poro, e questo dovrebbe bastarci per ricordare che quello che lei esprime, è l’amore di dio, che arriva in ogni infinitesimale manifestazione di amore, nel mio cane e gatto che dormono insieme, nella bellezza di ogni fiore, nella particolarità di ogni albero. Lei ci ama, e ama tutto ciò che viene da lei, e da dio, insieme.

E mi distendo, e mi rilasso. E penso all’ansia e all’infelicità di molti atei, e alla serenità e tranquillità e pace che sentivo vicino a tanti cristiani, e mi rassegno all’evidenza, e sono sollevata, e così va.

Io ho bisogno solo di serenità, e di fiducia, e di sapere che ha senso questo amore infinito che provo per tutto questa che mi circonda, ogni minima espressione della natura. La vita che sento così definita e concreta in ogni filo d’erba a cui mi avvicino, e devo smettere di allontanarmene per fare piacere a chi mi circonda, a una chiamata intellettualistica che non ha alcun senso. Mi permetto di riavvicinarmi, e di gioire, e di confidare che andrà tutto bene.

Puglia.

Che poi, mi dico, magari invece no. In Italia cosa sarebbe successo? (Sto ancora pensando agli autobus). Probabilmente i passeggeri quasi tutti sarebbero accorsi a vedere che succede al guidatore, il più sveglio/infermiere/medico di tutti gli sarebbe stato vicino mentre un altro sveglio sarebbe uscito per strada a far circolare le macchine e un altro chiamava l’ambulanza. E’ vero, gli italiani si fanno molto molto di più gli affari tuoi, e questo a me uccideva, perché i miei fatti erano sempre diversi, sregolati, rispetto agli altri. Ma questo vuol anche dire che la gente actually cares about you more, nel male e nel bene.

A me attirava molto questa quiet dignity degli inglesi. Ma quel quiet dignity vuol anche dire che sei solo, como un cane. Sono tutti soli. In Italia la solitudine te la devi andare a cercare con forza.

Beh, comunque fra poco più di un mese inizia la nostra avventura. Con l’accomodation prenotata per la Puglia, stremo la prima notte a Bari, poi preleviamo l’amico M. e guidiamo verso Nardò, la cittadina che quando si guardava alla Puglia per trasferirci era la mia preferita in assoluto. Dopodiché, un paio di giorni a Giovinazzo, poi ognuno torna a diverse destinazioni.

Tornare in Italia mi terrorizza. Tutti a giudicare, a parlare chiaro e a dirti cosa sei, cosa ti manca… lo so che sono qualità migliori dell’indifferenza abissale che vige in questo paese, ma quando sei un pesce fuor d’acqua è meglio stare dove nessuno ha interesse che specie tu sia, piuttosto che in acquario pieno di bei pesci eleganti e che sanno fare tutte quelle cose e le fanno con motivazioni per te aliene.

Ma vabbeh, dovrò farmene una ragione. Di sicuro è paradossale vedere questo paese con gli occhi di chi se ne sta andando: è così grigio, che come ha notato mia figlia ieri, se eviti di guardare i fili d’erba che sbucano sembra che quel che ti circonda sia tutto in bianco e nero.

Dopo aver visto il blu immenso di una foto di un luogo in Puglia, ho guardato le foto di un amico a Edimburgo, dalla collina più alta, un posto incredibile, ma la vista era  un cielo plumbeo, e una città altrettanto grigia, fatta di tante tante casette grigie. E sì che io ho amato Edimburgo e l’avevo trovata bellissima. Certo, io l’avevo vista d’estate.

Rambling again, but you don’t mind, do you? Chissà chi rivedrò? Potrei ancora rimanere affascinata dalla Puglia e decidere che è lì che vogliamo stare, dove torneremmo a stare ancora lontano da tutti, lontano dalla famiglia a cui Fano ci avrebbe riavvicinati. Ma io sono abbastanza elegante per Fano? Non farmi ridere 🙂 Dovrò farmi un gruppetto di amici e di persone che condividano i miei punti di vista, perché ci sono, ne leggo sui giornali, leggo i loro articoli, so che esiste la gente come me. Si tratta solo di trovarli.

 

 

Impressioni di un sabato mattina.

Ci ho messo un po’ a uscire di casa. Maggie che voleva farmi vedere i mods di Minecraft che ha orgogliosamente imparato a gestire e scaricare da sola, gatte da sfamare, cane da accarezzare. Ho cercato di vestirmi in modo anonimo,  da non attirare l’attenzione.  È difficile quando hai tre cose.

Finalmente m’è tornato in mente che dovevo prendere il coso per sturare le orecchie a P., e quindi dovevo uscire per forza e non rimandare ancora una volta.

Devo riportare libro e tessere alla biblioteca.

Andando giù,  faccio appena in tempo a sentire che il Deejay di BBC2 salutava, è l’ultimo suo broadcast dello show dopo ben 27 anni.

Non lo conosco, ma mi fa venire il magone. Brutto invecchiare.

All’entrata di Chesterfield,  dopo la rotonda, due autobus si fermano fianco a fianco, bloccando il traffico. Solo una macchina suona il clacson, il resto silenzio. Arrivano tre giganti autisti, l’autobus sulla destra riparte, si vede che il conducente ha avuto un malore. Quello sulla sinistra si era fermato apposta per bloccare il traffico.  Questi erano gli inglesi che amavo.

Stanotte ho sognato B., e poi Elena, mia cugina. Bei sogni, soprattutto il primo. Mi manca quel B., ma non ci casco, so che non è più così.

 

 

Il colore blu, suoi significati , sue varianti e curiosità

Vorrei reindirizzoare il più possibile questo blog verso cose belle. Il mondo è già bello incasinato di suo, non vedo perchè contribuire a che lo sia. Vorrei segnalarvi questo bellissimo post trovato oggi per caso come inizio (spero) di una rivisitazione del mio blog verso il bello.

Il Canto delle Muse

Il blu: un colore divino
————————
Il colore è la percezione visiva generata dai segnali nervosi che i fotorecettori della retina inviano al cervello quando assorbono le radiazioni elettromagnetiche di determinate lunghezze d’onda e intensità nel cosiddetto spettro visibile o luce. Tutti i colori che noi percepiamo sono dati dalla mescolanza dei tre colori primari: giallo rosso e blu. In questo articolo prenderemo in considerazione il blu.
La cultura occidentale precristiana era molto attenta alla forma ma poverissima di colore: le sculture e le pitture erano compiute con colori eccessivamente sgargianti ai nostri occhi, ma sotto-percepiti come normali dagli antichi greci. E’ nel medioevo i colori iniziarono ad avere anche un significato simbolico. Nello spazio divino il colore rivelava la presenza di Dio, i colori sono infatti il frutto dell’interazione fra la luce e oscurità. Nel medioevo si pensava che la luce filtrando tra le vetrate colorate delle chiese avesse…

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Dancing with myself

Credit where credit’s due: Billy Idol

It’s lonely in this little echo-chamber of mine, but it’s the best I’ve got. It’s ok. I know people I actually know read here just before they contact me to “see what to expect”.

Some bloggers read me because I discussed issues dear to them, but given the unpredictable changeability and variety of my thought patterns I can’t stay on one subject for ever, and rightly, they have enough to do on their own part, so they move on. Plus, my life is so filled with stuff all of the time that dedicating time to reading other people’s blogs was a pleasant but all consuming activity, unfortunately, so quite rightly, why would you still read me if I don’t read you? It all makes sense and it’s fine.

This all sprung from this article: I actually took the time to read it all the way till the end. It was retweeted by people whom I respect and yet, I feel, this type of article and mentality is what brought Trump (and Brexit) about, not what this article claims did.

Read it here

This was my comment:

I respect the amount of time and effort it took to write this article. I am appalled by the triumph of Brexit, anti-immigration ranting, and Trump.

I, however, was nowhere near surprised and I am already tired of the amount of explaining that is going on, to explain why they were successful.

Nevertheless, your article was shared by people I respect so I read it all down to the last line.

I feel that the reason behind their success is not what you state, I feel the reason for their success is WHAT you state, and how you state it.
Listen to those who voted, instead of analysing, interpreting, rationalising. It is precisely this intellectualisation that has made these people angry.

I hate the result of their anger, but I understand their anger. I was trying to communicate the anger I could feel rising around me years before this mess all came about.

Too many people laughed it off, ridiculed it. Now, the angry ones won. “In your face” they say. As a child’s tantrum that DOES get explained away, which expands into smashing a very expensive pane of glass. “NOW do you get it?!” —  they say. You don’t, but it doesn’t matter: the power is in their hands now.

“ the left should not be paralyzed with horror by the deplorables, but rather view them of as a symptom of a larger problem, one which only the left can truly solve.”

Can it? I disagree wholeheartedly. The Left brought this about. The left should admit defeat, and roll up its sleeves and actually stop dividing the world in left and right, the deplorable and the enlightened, and actually merge with the angry and truly, humbly, speak to them at their level. Like they’re people who deserve a voice, and to be heard, not just dismissed as silly little children.

 

Trump and Brexit against anxiety

I want to start by citing, anonymously because I don’t know whether she’d like us to share her post, an old friend of mine who lives in the United States:

 

As many of you know I run a women’s group for arab refugee women here in Houston, most of whom are from Syria and Iraq. Innocent victims of horrific civil wars. Trumps immigration order is beyond evil. I can not comprehend how it can be allowed in a humane society. The era of ignorance has truly dawned.

Her words need no further comment.

There are many things I can be grateful to Trump and Brexit for.

One of the greatest ones is having decreased my anxiety hugely.

In the same way I always believed that depression is actually our body’s way to react to us giving up on changing what is wrong about our lives, I believe that a lot of anxiety is caused by the perception of danger, not imaginary danger, but actual danger, except it is not defined enough for us to put our finger on it, or, sometimes, it is not clear enough for anybody to tell us “shit, you’re right, that IS scary”.

Trump’s actions, and Theresa May and much of the British population approving of them, is just what I expected. Actually, I expected them way back in 2001, when on the 11th of September I saw, on the TV at work, the Twin Towers crashing down in fire and dust. I remember thinking, as soon as I heard what had happened, that it was something organised by someone claiming they worked in the name of Islam, “Oh no, now the world is going to fear the Islamic people, racism will be go back to being a thing of the present, everyone will hate foreigners” and so on.

People told me not to think badly of Brexiters. But THIS is what they voted for. I want no part of that, even if it’s true that they haven’t kicked ME out.

trump-farage

I will leave this country in April, and pray to all gods of all religions that I can make it so I don’t have to return.

In Italy, for which I hold a passport and a citizenship, I can actually DO something against all this.

I can get a master’s degree or start working towards helping refugees, and helping them get their rights, and helping the rights of foreigners in a country where all that should be required from them is what should be required by the nationals of that country, no more, no less.

I now have a plan, something to do. The first part of the plan, is to LEAVE. Yes, just as my neighbour’s huge sign in the garden demanded back in pre-Referendum times.

Thank you Trump, and thank you Brexit, now my anxiety is almost cured, because now I know EXACTLY what I’m scared of. And it’s the people who made you happen.

 

And.. we move on.

The bets thing to do, with friends or boyfriends who no longer want you, and with countries who no longer want you.

And once you’re over the grief, the missed opportunities, the “oh but it could have been so perfect”, you move on, or at least I move on, and I am infused with new energy, and I wonder “why did I even bother wasting my time in the first place”.

So we’re off. I’ll go first, look for a house, then the rest will follow.

Bye bye England!

 

Letter from a Labour-friendly Italian national/UK resident

Sent to leader@labour.org.uk

Dear Mr Corbyn,

To see you are Labour MP for beloved Islington makes this even more poignant for me.

I’m sure you’re busy, and most probably won’t read this, but I really need to say these things to you, so if you got this far, please hear me out.

My love of London began in 1984, when from Edinburgh where I was staying for a couple of months there with an Italian foreign language school we went for a two-day visit. I was 13, and Carnaby Street still meant something.

During those two days I skipped the planned itineraries and with a friend went and explored London. We found ourselves near the St James Park, and entered a pub where we saw the most beautiful men, and only men, The Almighty God had put on this planet (we were teenagers, easily impressed).

It turned out, it was a gay bar. Men held each other by the hand and went downstairs together. After a minute of extreme disappointment because those men were not available to us, my friend and I were exalted. Men could be gay in the open like this? What a place of magic this was!

We then went to Piccadilly Circus, and entered a jewellery store, where a very elegant uniformed girl with punk pink hair and nose rings greeted us and treated us like ladies. We were head over hills in love with London.

I returned to London many times after that, mostly skipping on my transfer flights from Milan, where I lived, to Washington, where I would visit my father. Sometimes I would take the train.

On one occasion, instead of those three days we’d planned for my transfer from Washington to Milan, I ended up staying for various months. I found work for the hostel I was staying at, in Notting Hill, getting Italians off the station and convincing them to stay with us. I got involved with a crazed Dutchman and with two (the sweetest) alcoholic Irishmen, had a tattoo done by a fat squatter who offered me tea very politely in the dirtiest cups, and made friends with two Pakistanis who introduced me to a guy they later warned me away from, but it was too late and I moved in with him, in his council flat at the 20something floor, a dump, worse than the squat.

It turns out he had just been released from prison for the suspected attempted murder of his ex wife. He was 20! I must have been about 16. He stopped talking to me the minute I moved in so after a few days I stole his jar of pennies as I had not a penny left on me and bought a ticket to Heathrow, to use that open transfer ticket back to Italy.

You’d think that experience would put me off London. It really didn’t.

I had grown up in New Zealand, Venezuela, Peru, The Philippines and now I was in Italy I was attending the Sir James Henderson school in Milan, an English school: I was exposed there to the crème de la crème of English rich people, also non-English rich people, also an East Ender who’d come to seek lost loves and I made friends with. Good and bad, I loved them all, they were familiar to me.

After that, I began attending a posh Italian university, and despite my grades being very good, I slammed the door in their face with their pretentiousness and narrow-mindedness and shot back to London, actually selecting the University of North London (ex Poly, now defunct) for their Humanities programme.

I loved it. It was noisy, falling apart (I attended the Kentish Town site, now a Pizza Express), but it had a great pub in the basement where many Philosophy classes were held for those lucky bastards, there was a strong gay community, a lot of crazy and delightful Irishmen (some not so crazy, one of them was a genius who told me about the Internet before the world knew about it). Then the Kentish Town site closed down despite our protest occupation (SO much fun! but alas! it didn’t work) and we had to relocate to the Holloway Road site, near Islington (this is where the circle closes), and I was miserable there, I hated the building, people were unfriendly, lots of architecture and engineering students I couldn’t relate to, my lovely Humanities people all scattered, the student accommodation was abysmal and depressing and I ended up having my first suicide attempt. A California-surfer type from Essex rescued me, though it was too late for my hair, which I had completely shaved off.

My first partner was a Liverpudlian who came to Uni with me, and we ended up separating bitterly, though we had two amazing boys who are now both at University in this country and are entitled to a dual citizenship. My eldest was born in The Whittington Hospital, in North London.

My experience of England has never been rosy, as you can see. And yet, there was something that always drew me back to this country, which drew me back now, when, for the latest time, I left Berlusconian Italy in disgust and made a home for us here, back in 2006. My daughter with my Italian husband was born in Leeds. In Yorkshire we loved the people, and we saw the ugliness of some people. I adored the countryside, and my husband had to struggle to cope with the darkness, the damp, the grey and the rain. But we made dear friends, and we loved it.

We moved to Cambridge, and there, I started to perceive the growing discontent. Despite being a very Liberal voting town, and a strong Labour presence too to our great pleasure, and despite people telling us “The Tories could never win in Cambridge“, the Tories won, thanks to all those who believed in the Liberals and saw their party backing the Tories instead of Labour. And I saw the discontent growing, the racism, the hold UKIP was starting to have, not just on the harsh and ignorant racists they openly appealed to, but on the common people, the working people, though secretly and hush hush.

People were growing from a majority of wonderful internationalised fair British people I loved to a majority of scared people, keeping to themselves, fearing the foreigner, despising even us, who used to be treated as friends: the Portuguese, the Greeks, the Spanish, the Italians. They called us PIGS, but never to our face. English and foreign friends I spoke to didn’t believe me when I told them what was happening.

Then the Referendum came, because Cameron was a coward and took a stupid gamble for the promise of being in power, and it all rolled down hill from there.

It turned out I was right. A majority of British people were secretly harbouring resentment towards the refugees, the foreigners who came and took advantage of their country, and they voted out. Terrorism, just as I feared when they brought the Twin Towers down, had finally won. It had gotten exactly what they wanted, and why stop there? They would consolidate their work, dividing Europe further, making people fearful of diversity instead of embracing it proudly, as they used to.

I don’t think you can appreciate what a shock it was to me. There I was, ready to finally put some money aside to apply for Citizenship, so I could be proud to call myself British, so I could vote my Labour Party not just in local elections but at National Level, and then this.

When I started to read about you I regained hope. I thought here is a man who is solid, who has strong beliefs, a strong voice. Yes I knew you were a Euroskpetic, but surely you would see that any government is imperfect, and it NEEDS criticism, but that doesn’t mean you choose to do without one altogether!

Surely you’d see how the workers you wish to defend have a better chance being able to work all over Europe, than being stuck here in this country? Surely you’d see and SAY how all of us foreigners, here in this country working, paying taxes for you, ready to help your disabled, your poor, are an asset, not a drain on the economy?

I thought you would have the courage to stand up to this madness that has taken over much of Europe and America, and say how diversity is good, multiculturalism is good, we have more young, more strong people to help those who are helpless.

The NHS is struggling to hire nurses, and are recruiting from Europe, but why would a European nurse want to come here now, where they are looked at as benefit suckers, and not made to feel at home? Who will look after those very elderly who voted to leave Europe, crippling all the chances for your younger generation?

I was so disappointed. At one point it sounded like you, yourself, had said that us European workers were “undercutting” British workers. You then tried to rectify but the damage was done, or rather, the objective reached: your party wanted to appeal to those very voters who believed that, and you enabled them to think that you were on their side. We “undercut” the British workers.

Diversity and multiculturalism, tolerance and integration are achieved by having foreigners work in MORE places, not less. It is achieved celebrating our diversity, not using it as an insult. You want to eat a varied diet, not just potatoes, don’t you? So many English, Scottish and Irish people would agree with you!

You let me down, and you let all of us, and there are many, who came here NOT because they wanted to cheat your system, or take advantage of you, or undercut your British workers, down. We came here because you represented how the world should try to be more like.

All your talks are about the British people now (but somehow not those still reeling from this decision, still hoping it can be reversed), and all those like us, who were merely happy British residents, and who would one day have been proud to become British citizens, even though they didn’t need to thanks to European treaties, have been conveniently swept aside, and forgotten.

All those children, and young people, who could have worked and lived with no problems anywhere in Europe they chose, all have been swept aside, and forgotten, and called remoaners. All for the sake of remaining in power, all for the sake of appealing to the populists, the isolationists, the fearful.

I am now in a position where I have to put all my plans aside. The love for this beautiful house we are renting in Derbyshire, a strong LEAVE voting region. My daughter’s whole life, as she never lived anywhere else but in England. I have to plan to move away from my boys who are at University and are likely to start working. I have to think about leaving the friends who grieve the passing of the European dream, and some that don’t, and I just don’t understand how they don’t. I have to think of leaving this stupid weather I love so much, and all the stupid imperfections that used to make England nevertheless appealing to me. I have to think of moving back to a country that never really felt like home, despite its warmth, beauty and so much better food.

I had such high hopes of you. I know some of my friends paid to register to vote for you, also expecting more, also hoping you’d put up a fight. Instead it seems they got yet another leader who no longer has the courage to stand up and say “This is madness, stop it already”.

Anyway, I know this is pointless, especially coming from me, not even registered to vote Labour, not even a British citizen.

I just needed to tell you, as the epitome of pretty much everything I used to love about this country, that I am very saddened by the course of these events, and until Article 50 is called or whatever, I still have a lingering bit of hope.

Sincerely,
My name and surname

Ah melancholia

Well, yesterday I felt like this:

Title: CTRL Z and delete
If only life could really work like this. If only we could take back stuff we said, the idiocies I decided to share with the world. I can take back some, I can remove all these posts, I can now even delete messages from Telegram, for everyone in the chat, like they never happened.
I have the arrogance and thoughts of a CEO or president of a small state, and the capacity of the smallest employee, the one that gets the minimum stuff done, you know? Because she just can’t cope with anything slightly more complicated.
Many people like me, simple, who have achieved very little in life, done very little, really, apart from thrashing about spouting idiocies. Not so many those like me who have the arrogance to believe they did anything more than that.
I don’t know anything about anything, I built nothing, made nothing, my greatest merit as a mother is that my children survived me, and as a human being that I am still around, though that might just be cowardice.
I am not depressed just.. aware.

How many have felt like this before, and will feel like this again.

How many will have felt similarly, for longer, sometimes way too long a period.

It takes nothing to let go, to sink into this pit and to sink deeper and deeper until there is only way out.

I was disappointed with myself as it had been a while since I’d felt it so tangibly. I’d been doing so well, for so long.

A friend of a friend, an old acquaintance of mine, recently lost his wife to suicide. I hadn’t realised at first, but after a friend pointed it out, he detailed his and his family’s sorrow and the funeral news and everything publicly on Facebook.

My friend was disconcerted by this choice. She worried about the voyeurism element, quite understandably. I secretly worried about the triggering factor. I always believed that we shouldn’t be careful about what we write about in order not to trigger someone, because if we are triggered by something, it is up to US to fight it, and not up to the world to be careful with their need to communicate. On the whole, I was grateful that he did it, and felt it would help him, clearly, but also it would remind people that the people we see and follow on Facebook are real, real things happen to them, inconceivable grief is round the corner or under the surface for us all.

I should have known that something would happen to me as a result of reading through his posts, and seeing the pictures of his wife.

It was sneaky. It began with what should have set off the alarm, a feeling I know many people feel when they read about a suicide: a sneaky, pervasive, shameful feeling of envy.

When that is the feeling you get when a tragedy such as this one occurs, that is your alarm bell, that is when you should get up an do something, talk to people, open up.

I didn’t, this time. I mentioned to my husband what had happened and how terrible it was, just a statement, nothing more. Secretly perhaps I hoped he would say:
“I know you’ve felt like doing the same in the past” or “It is not absurd to think of how she got there for you, was it?” or “What was she like?” and reading about her, he’d see how I could identify with her, how easily I could see similarities in character, and in spirit.
But he didn’t, my husband is not one for subtleties of this sort. That’s ok. I love him for that too.

So when the sneaky possession took hold of me, that black liquid oil sticky shadow, there was nobody there to distract me.

It didn’t last long.

Of course there is no knowing when IT really started to work on me. On New Year’s Eve, when I first heard the news? When Corbyn made a mess of his speech and I realised all hope was lost for us Europeans living in the UK? Yesterday, after Theresa May’s extra speech?

I think it began when I read she had studied Human Rights after studying Journalism.
In the past few weeks, I’d been toying with the idea of getting a Master’s Degree, here or when we moved back to Italy, in Human Rights, or as a Refugee Mediator. Just so that I could have more authority when speaking about these issues, that are so important to me, and actually DO something.

I guess that was the connection, and her lack of an open-mouthed smile, her beauty. I don’t know. It’s their immense tragedy, it had nothing to do with me, and yet, there it was: it opened the door to the sneaky sticky black oily shadow.

So how did I stop it? Because the purpose of all this is to try and be helpful towards those who feel like this, and worse, so much worse, for longer.

It was hard at first. As all who feel like this know, all “good thoughts”, productive thoughts, are lucidly and solidly dismantled by the Authoritative Black Shadow’s Response.

I chose to try and think as little as possible. Candy Crush, Anna Karenina, Discovery of Witches, a bath, more reading in the bath of course, no dinner. I avoided my daughter, nephew and husband as I didn’t want to snap at them. Then I told my husband a little on Telegram and he responded, in his usual undiplomatic manner, but his love was sincere and real.

One of the elements that had contributed to the Sneaky Dictator’s appearance was that I felt my husband was not taking the possibility of me doing a master’s degree in human rights seriously. I had tried the i-ching and they were favourable to it, but I took my husband’s caution the wrong way (everything can be taken and used the wrong way when you are in that state) and it sparked off my feeling of inadequacy, of never having achieved anything, of I am such a failure and so on.

I tried the i-ching again once I was in full sinking mode. I asked: “What of me?”. The result was astounding, the result described the person I feel like when I feel happy and strong, but more importantly it used the exact reverse of the words I was calling myself in my sinking state: where I called myself arrogant, it called me humble. Where I called myself a fraud, it called me real. My husband walked towards me so I closed the pages without saving it and without reading it further. But I was left with half hope and half a sneer: yeah right that’s just bullshit I am SO not humble!! That is my aim but I am NOT humble, in my arrogance I have lost friends, I have alienated my dearest people!

After I went to bed and after I made the right decision to open up ever so slightly to my husband, albeit only through Telegram, words started to get through: his words of love and how much I was worth, and the i-ching’s words, and the reiki precepts I had been reciting to myself a couple of days before in order to try and snap out of one of the downward steps:

For Today Only:
Do not Anger
Do not worry
Be Humble
Be Honest in your Work
Be Compassionate to Yourself and Others

 

I kept thinking I am NOT humble, I am NOT humble, I should have been, I never was… and then a voice got through to me, and said:

If you were not humble, you’d not see your arrogance.

Maybe that voice was mine, to me in the past it could have been the voice of “god”, the Jesus I used to speak to, the voice of my beloved dead friends, who for so long I felt helped me and spoke to me, it didn’t matter where the voice came from. That was the moment it all stopped sinking and slowly I began resurfacing.

My daughter got into bed with me, all excited about her Harry Potter chapter. I realised I was really hungry, not having eaten much all day. I became aware that my husband was talking to an old friend of his, and my husband does not deserve to be unhappy because of me. But that phrase, an outside voice, was the moment it all started to come back into the light, slowly but surely.

As often happens, I look back at how I felt last night in the pit and wonder how on earth I could feel that way.

Depression, bleakness, call it what you will, it is a monstrous creature that takes over completely and is quite difficult to fight against.

What I have learnt in all this time fighting it, is that the open fight never works. IT is clever, smart, IT has all the answers. There is no point in arguing against it.

Depressed people are no fun to be near. They are frustrating and nerve-racking. But if you have one near you, just be around. Don’t try to fix her or him, don’t try to shake them back into awareness. Just bits here and there, be around, be available, but leave them to it, because anything you say could become just more material to build that wall. Water seeps through a wall, it is more powerful than rocks thrown against it. So my advice to those with someone who is depressed is: don’t abandon them, but don’t try and fight it, it’s their fight, not yours. You can just leave little helpful mementos here and there, but you can’t give them the strength to use it.

When my friend R. saved me that time, from my own plans of disappearance after a long, long stay in my pit, it wasn’t her physical forcing me to travel with her by booking me on the flight with her and forcing her presence on my planned solo one-way trip to Spain: it was her saying so what if you cry all the time, cry! I’ll do my thing you do yours, and if all you want to do is cry and mope, that’s fine by me! But we do it together.

As for those who are the depressed, don’t seek the magic words, don’t seek the magic help from those who love you. Don’t fight your depression: get distracted, do stuff, even if you don’t want to, even if it’s just many, many small things here and there. Don’t try to explain it all to your loved ones, just say a few words, just a few, just say: I am feeling sad, low, not very happy with myself. Don’t apologise, don’t look for solutions. Just try if you can to keep your options open: the right something might just slip through, and all it takes sometimes is for one good thought to get through, and the rest can follow.

This is just my two cents, I am certainly not a trained psychiatrist or counsellor, nor am I anything, really. Just someone who has been there.