After 13 years I have returned to my Italian roots. I understand and don't understand why it's been so long. After all, I spent the first 20 years of my life there twice a year. And there is a lovely extended family with lots of interesting people that make it up.
See I have always had a love-hate relationship with Italy. The chaos, the food, the opinions, the politics, the fashion, the image of the woman, the Vatican, the papacy and Heavens don't get me started Berlusconi - the north-south divide.......
In my early adulthood I was trapped in a multicultural-identity turmoil, desperate to find my own point of references without interference from my Italian father and English mother and Swiss partner. I felt I didn't have a voice that was mine. Worst of all my accents in Italian and English weren't mine, they mimicked the one's my parents had from their respective backgrounds and my Swiss cadence, well that one has always been a bit of a homeless mish-mash.
So on I went on my journeys, rebelled and rejected, lived and sampled, made my own opinions, to only throw them out later and...... landed where I am today.
Today my Italian accent can easily have a bit of Roman in it, if I chose, much to the annoyance, I am sure, of some and certainly to my father's disapproval, but to my pride.
Roma - I salute Cinema Nuovo Sacher, Villa Doria Pamphili, Priscilla the cool Jungian therapist, Santa Maria in Trastevere, Gelato, Pizza Bianca & Nutella, Mario the guy on the loud vespa, the deli shop round the corner, Piazza della Radio........ Officially my Italian citizenship now has the stamp of Rome and not that of the home village of my farther.
And our honeymoon was on Stromboli in stark December.
So - am very pleased that I made my relationship to my Italy my own.
However, there is that 13 year gap. I am only now waking up to building up a new relationship to the Italy of my childhood. My cousins are heading slowly towards their sixties whilst their children are now in early adulthood. We are all older and the younger generation are now fighting their battles.
My children have just woken up to the fact that their mother has an Italian side that has remained so far in the silent background.
And I am wondering what is this Italian side? As a child, as a young person, I felt threatened in my girlhood, in my womanhood. My blond hair and English complexion has always attracted sometimes unwanted attention and adoration.
Today I feel strong as a woman. Having carried and born three children, has given me Power, and has also healed.
Maybe the key to my longing as a women for the wild side, for expression, for the cycle of creativity and destruction, must pass through the Italian connection? Maybe without that link something is missing? Maybe it's time to lay down the rebellion, to start the journey of making conscious, to start looking for the Power of Life?
So I invoke, I appeal.....
....................... Italia, aiutami a trovare il tuo spirito nella mia anima.
Before the festive holidays I was feeling run down and struggled to get through the last weeks. On advice of a friend I booked myself into the Sanctuary in London, a sort of beauty spa place I was vaguely aware of but never really entertained going to.
It was an interesting experience.
Before going my imagination went wild, as it does, and I painted a picture in my mind of a sort of sacred place, as the name suggests, where women can be themselves, tune into their bodies and nurture their souls. A place where we sisters can let go of the pressures of the outside world, where we put to rest our duties of super woman, super mum, and multi juggling and holding being.
The reality was more of a well run for profit organisation selling us women the idea that 'we are worth it', as the famous add says, whilst their tills ring in delight. A lot of women seemed to be going in groups to have a 'good old girlie chat' and hang out together. I imagined something a bit more introspective and quiet.
And what really bugged me were the women's magazine all over the place selling an image of a woman that we all know really does not exist. But that image plays nasty tricks un our subconscious. Not surprising then perhaps that women in the spa did not go naked, as I imagined, but hid their bodies in bikini, for those with fitter bodies, or swim suit for those with more flesh to the bone, which in turn were tightly wrapped up in a thick bathrobe.
I left feeling a bit sad. Yes I did have a nice treatment that loosened up my stiff muscles, and I did enjoy the pools and the sauna and I managed to get through my last days of work in a much better shape but I was wondering what kind of image haunts women and how the beauty industry makes money out of women's insecurities.
Where is the wolf woman? Where is our wild side? What happened to our power of presence, with curves, bones, wrinkles, creases, dents, and stretchmarks, whatever the landscape of our body?