Ele

Learning to know the self

Age: 28
Born: Desenzano del Garda, Italy
Lives Now: Turin, Italy

Reading time:
~15 minutes



January 2016
India, Goa

I was born in northern Italy in a place called Desenzano del Garda. It’s a lovely place. Garda is a lake, the biggest lake in Italy and it’s a lovely place. My mom and my father, even if they were both from the south, they were living there. So they found jobs there and I was born there, well actually after a couple of years that I lived there my mom got tired of that kind of environment, because northern Italy.. if you’re in the south it’s totally different, so it’s not very easy to get used to it. So I spent all my life in a little town, not a proper village, but a town, a city called Lecce in the south of Italy in the region of Apulia. It’s in the eastern part. It’s a lovely place.

I spent almost my first twenty years there and then I decided to move for the University. I had these excuses, because of course my parents, they of course wanted me to stay there with them. But I was not feeling like uhh.. pfft. I don’t know. Lecce is a nice city, but you still, it’s… You can appreciate it during the summer if you stay like one week, a couple of weeks there, but after a while it gets really tiring and really boring. So thats why I thought that the University could be a good excuse for my parents, because they are very into school. My father is a headmaster, a principal at a school and my mother is a teacher. So they were like very focused and very into education. So I told them ‘Okaay, I will go study in Bologna’ and they agreed. Ofcourse they told me ‘Okay, we will pay your taxes, your university taxes, but you have to finish your bachelor in 3 years. We pay you the 3 years, the normal 3 years.’ And uhh…

And I did it actually. I chose Bologna. Which is a very nice place in central Italy. It’s the oldest university in the world actually. It was founded in 1088. Yeah, so… the whole city is based on students. So it’s full of students, it’s full of faculties and in the proper city centre you only meet young people and students, while of course if you go to the peripheral area, there are families and everything. But still it was a super good impact on me. Because, you know, I came from a little city in the south and I was super young. So I started to make myself independent somehow. So I stayed there for uh.. 4 years in the end. I started with good grades, I graduated and everything. I studied communication at first. Which is a good course, actually… useless, let’s say, because it’s only good things to know, but still nothing to work on it. But it was nice, I had the chance to meet so many people from all around Italy. So uhh.. you know, my perspective changed from all the other friends I left in Lecce. My mind opened up a lot. I had the chance to do some drama courses. Umm, musical instrument, I tried to play bass and guitar, but then I didn’t continue and I met many many people and yes, I graduated and then I went to London for one year, to study again.

My scholarship was 6 months, but then I found a nice job and I managed to stay 9 months there. So from September to the end of the normal year, like June. Wow, uhh.. I didn’t like London that much to be honest. It took me so much time to get used to it. Like the first 2 months I was like pffft. Crying all the time, because I couldn’t understand people first of all. So it’s really… In school I studied english very good. I was one of the lucky persons who had a good teacher at school. But still I felt like very insecure, very unconfident with myself, with my english. Not my english, it was probably a matter of myself. So one of my biggest problem, my mom always says, is that I don’t believe in myself, I have no self-esteem. So I always underestimate myself. And of course when you are in a new situation, sometimes it’s super difficult to believe that you can do it. No? So I remember that the first 2 months were horrible. Horrible. I couldn’t understand people. I mean ofcourse, when I was at the university, the academy in english was perfect, because I could understand all the teachers and also speaking with foreign students was good for me, because I had no problem in this. But when I had to speak with local people and when I had to face the real life I was completely scared and uhh. Ashamed, because I was not confident of my english. So it took me a lot of time to be good in London. But London… I mean after a while, it… She gives you hand. After a while you.. You enjoy. I met so many people there. I did my first parties. I took my first drugs. It was amazing. Yeah, it was an amazing experience. And after one year in London I came back to Italy, but since then I had left my house in Bologna and I already finished my exam, I was very on time.

I decided to change city, anyways all my friends from my student period, they were gone away to another city so I didn’t feel like staying there anymore. And sooo I decided to move to Turin. Which is uhh.. A city in the north and uh… I went there for an internship. I have studied in my masters degree, uhh.. a faculty, which is called the giocare. It’s an acronym, in italian giocare means play. To play. It’s an acronym and it means graduate degree in organisation and innovation of cultural arts. So it’s like cultural management. It’s under economics, but it’s not economics. The first year was terrible for me again. Because, uhh… It was full economics. Like statistics, and finances and all the stuff that I really hate. And so that’s why I decided to move to London for 1 year, to study there, because the university in Bologna was too tough. And umm.. It was a 2 years course. Entirely taught in english, so we had many foreign… I mean, the class was uhh.. 30 people and we we’re from different parts of the world. So it was set up to be an international course. So, there I met one of my… One of the person in those years who was super important for me, an Argentinean girl. And uhh… Then I decided to move anyway, because I felt a little bit bored of Bologna. So I moved anyway.

And uhh… What else… I was 23 when I moved to London. And when I came back I moved to Turin. And there in Turin I went there for an internship that I chose myself, because I really liked it. And umm… It was a company… one of the long lasting companies in Turin. Like a concert hall. It’s a proper place where they do concert and cultural advancement. But also they run an association that takes care of other events. So I did both, I had experience in both. I learned how to run a place, like a bar or a club, something like that. Not to run entirely, but at least the uhh.. I was taking care of the artist part. So all the needs for artists, accommodation, welcoming… So I had the chance to meet many international artists. Music, we’re talking about music. It was a very nice experience, but I didn’t actually learn a lot. Because in this kind of job, it doesn’t require specific competences. You know? It’s just about you, how can you deal with people. So no one wants to reveal their secrets. So I’ve been in this place for like 6 months, I enjoyed a lot, but still when I was asking my boss, my supervisor, let’s say… to… assist them in some more interesting tasks they were completely deaf to my request. Because they didn’t want to share the… the.. you know the secret, let’s say. Because it’s something that, I mean management in cultural industries is only about people. You have to be nice with people, you have to be… It’s something that I am forcing myself, it’s not really part of myself, let’s say. But if I want to do this job I have to do it so. It’s always about being nice and smile and be fake, sometimes. And I’m still not like this, so I had the chance to keep after my internship to continue in this place for a couple of months. I took care of the artist management of one festival, called the Traffic festival in Turin. Which is a big festival, so it was a good experience. But still, umm… I felt that that it was not my thing. You know. It was not what I wanted to do all my life. To be fake in front of other people, to pretend that I was enjoying while I wasn’t. And this has been a little bit the start of how I got frustrated about life, about everything. Because I… Since I was young I’ve dreamt about doing this job. Like managing artists and working with the concerts and everything. But you realise that even this thing that you liked a lot, at the end it’s not as you expected. You start being more critical about everything in life. So I felt a bit odd, what can I do? Now… These people is shit and now after these people grew big and so the whole world is shit and blablabla. So I started to get conscious, I started to grow.

So I started to get conscious of how the world sucks, hah. And how all the big companies are submitting us. And how everything is corrupted and nothing is clean. All the things that we all know. But still it was my first time, I was really… Before my 25 years I was a completely different person. I.. I loved being in the city, I loved being with people, to drink, to hangout and blablabla. But then after I realised this kind of dynamics, I started to be more umm.. more by myself, I closed myself a bit. I didn’t want to have fun anymore. You know? Because I thought it was not right. Why are you happy? You shouldn’t be happy, this world sucks. So I started not to go out, I started to be more on my own and I started to get a bit more frustrated. In the meantime I met one boy. Properly boy. Because he is now 24 so, at that moment he was 21, from Turin. We started a relationship and so I felt myself good in a way, but umm.. In the other end I was feeling that all the.. everything that was keeping me in that city, was him. So, I started not to enjoy and I started not to be joyful, in general, towards life. And this reflected also in our relationship. So.. things started to go really really bad. We kept on for 4 years like this, eh. So we really loved each other, but sometimes love is not enough. Of course you can try, you can try, you can try, but *sigh*

And uhh… Yeah Turin is a city that sometimes, I mean. I am from the south, I’m used to be exposed to the sun, heh. And to other kind of people, more rural people, I don’t know how to say. So in the childhood I was dreaming about the big cities, London and all the clubs and everything, but after a while I started to… to… step back, you know? And to try to look something… to look for something inside of me. Rather than outside. And so… and so… I spent 4 years with this guy and we had not uhh.. a good relationship. I mean it was not uhh.. something that I was enjoying at the time. So for me, the last 4 years have been really really frustrating. Because, I… I felt I had to do something, but I… I was simply afraid. It was always about the self-esteem and the blablabla. I was really afraid of changing my life, I was really afraid.. I’ve always been afraid about my parents. Because I’ve always tried to show them the best part of me. Soo umm.. I didn’t want… I mean I know for many reasons, they will not understand many choices. So that’s why… Thats why I had not a good relationship with my parents and not even with my family. In the south of Italy, normally families are huge, you know like 20 people in a family. We have this big christmas celebration, like big tables and everything. But still… my family was different. My mom and my father were like super uhh.. how can I say? They let me grow like with no problems, they were not pushy at all. They were very strict, but they trust me. A lot. And so I didn’t want to fail, because I didn’t want to… I didn’t want to… betray their trust in a way, you know. Because they were… they really… they… I felt that they were the only one that really thought that I was a good person, you know. So I always wanted to show them the best of myself. And of course they… they… were not happy with some choices I made in my life and maybe some of them they didn’t know.. I tell you only that when I had my tattoo and my parents discovered, one year and a half later, because they didn’t even look at me. For like 3 years I had the piercing in my tongue, they didn’t know, because they probably never look at my face.
So we had a very strange relationship, but umm.. anyway… I felt that… I had to be good for them, that they deserve the… the daughter that they wanted. So sometimes I also lied… to keep the situation ok. But of course they… this process can work at the beginning, but when you go on, and on, and on, you realise that it’s not sustainable anymore, ah? Because mm.. after a certain… when… there are some moments when you have to reveal yourself, to everyone. I mean you can lie for a while, you can try to… to shape yourself as people expect you to. And I’m really good at doing it. But still, at certain point you have to reveal yourself as who you really are.

And so thats why it took me like 4 years to… to speak to my parents and tell them. Listen guys I’m not the girl that you… that you… I mean, that you thought that you were convinced about. I’m totally different, I’m like this, like this. I didn’t study economics because I wanted to work in a bank. I just wanted to go away from your town because I feel bored. And uhh.. I want to travel the world. I don’t want to work in my life, because I feel like working is not uhh… I mean working is really intense, the system of work. The working hours and blablabla, it’s not something that really interests me. So as soon as I will… as soon as… No… As far as I can avoid it, I will do. So… They wanted… they started after my graduation to push me all of the time, because they wanted me to be safe with a job and blablabla. So uhh… it took me a lot of time to… to do this kind of migration from what I… what I really was. But uhh… now I feel kind of.. this. I think that this travel in India is my best proof. I mean this is the… the starting point of something really really different for me. Not a new life, but still uhh.. I have planned. I was planning 2 years ago to leave for India. Because I really felt like I need to go for a travel by myself and to get back that self-esteem that I didn’t have. But still… Yeah in these 2 years I was really, really sad and cynical about all life, about the system where we live and blablabla. And so I had this really bad mindfuck all the time, thinking about what to do, should I have to do what my parents want, should I have to… Because I didn’t… Until a couple of years ago and maybe until this travel, I didn’t choose much big things in my life. It was like written, you know. You go to school and then you go to university and after you are a smart girl so you will have good grades and of course you will get a good job and blablabla, blablabla. But in Italy now the things are not like that. So it’s not really the case that you are smart, you get out university and you find a job. And that for me was… luck, because maybe if I didn’t question myself at that time, if i found a job straight away from university, I would have kept on going with this. Like okaay keep on working, doing what my parents expect and blablabla. But actually I was lucky, since there were no jobs and couldn’t find any, I started to question myself ‘Do I really want to work? Is it a good thing? Is it the real life I want to have to be enslaved for someone elses money?’ So I was super lucky at the end to realise that many things in my life at a certain point. Lets say, 3 years ago, 2 years ago, they came together and I suddenly realised, what the fuck am I doing. I don’t want to live like this, I don’t want to work in a bank, I don’t want to live in the city, I don’t want to get drunk on Saturday night, because I have to forget all about my week.

So… yes, this is for me, since 2 years ago it’s been a new start. I have changed a lot. I have connected myself more to myself, more to nature, more to spirit… I never questioned about god. I mean, I took it for granted that it was bullshit, you know. God, energies, what the fuck? I mean… But now since 2 years ago, many things have changed myself. And I’m trying to do it… I mean, I want to change many things in myself and I started to realise that many things in myself were also not so good, my personal behaviour. After a while you realise that it’s not a good way to deal with people, to deal with things and blablabla. So if you… if you spoke with me like 2 years ago, you would have in front of you a completely different person, totally different person. But in these couple of years, I’ve been starting a kind of path, umm… And it’s working. I mean, I feel better. I am very proud of being here and traveling alone and… I knew that I could do it, because I did it also when I was 19 years old. I came from a little town in the south, I was alone in Bologna. I had to look for ones rent, I had to balance my money, I mean, I had no problem. But after a while, it’s like I forgot how good I was, so I totally lost… Yeah… Trust in myself. And the world of course. But now it’s getting better, and I think I will never get back to that life. Now I know that I don’t want to work in an office, I don’t want to live that life. That I want to travel, I want to find a job that could provide me some money, but no more than 6 months for here and then the other 6 months travel. This is the life I want to do for sure. I want to travel, and India is the best place to discover yourself. How good you are and… I mean, what you are good at.

I have now been almost 2 months in India, yeah. I started with my boyfriend, eh. We tried to… We tried… It was the last chance, you know. We said, ‘Ok, we love each other, but why the things are not working, of course they were not working. I was frustrated, he was frustrated, because of the same reasons, but when you are not good with yourself, you cannot give yourself into a relationship. So umm… we tried to travel together in India, but after 10 days, we broke up. So it was super quick. I mean we were in Nepal for 15 days and it was really, really bad. So I didn’t enjoy Nepal, like spiritually I mean. I was really bad. But this was… when I crossed the border into India. I had.. kind of an epiphany, you know. I was in the bus, I started crying. It was the overnight bus from the border at Sunauli, the border of Nepal and India, to Varanasi. I started to cry I don’t know why. I started to feel very bad, but… I… like I thought, ok now I can release everything, everything, everything, everything and a couple of hours later I’m sitting next to my boyfriend and I start speaking with him, and I tell him ‘Ok I want to keep with this journey alone. This is something that I really need to do alone.’ In Varanasi my boyfriend went back to Delhi and went back to Italy and I went to Agra and visited Rajasthan… and… now I’m finally in the south.

I still have 2 months and a half left of my visa and I don’t know if I will go back to the north, but still I… I’m not planning to go before my visa expires. Not at all… And when I will be back in Turin, I will be… I will be… I’m not gonna find a nice situation, I guess. Because my boyfriend.. I lived with my boyfriend, so all my stuff is still there and uhh… We have all friends in common. So it’s not going to be nice. But I’m forcing myself not to escape, because otherwise it will be too easy. I don’t know about Turin though, I don’t know if it will be… it’s not my city, I don’t feel like it’s my city. But my long term project is to travel a bit, to afford living somehow. I used to do english classes to little children in Italy, like private classes, and I could earn some money on it. Then I worked for this recording label, which happened to me… like… like a blessing, because at that time, as I told about the internship that I was feeling so depressed about, the cultural management in general. I thought ok, I don’t want to be a business woman, but still I can work with culture. I started also to… The first first 2 years in Turin I started to work with uhh… live concerts, big production and everything, but it was really too much for me. I didn’t have the attitude, you know. Like that you go: ‘Ooooh what do you, blablabla blablabla, this is my company, why don’t you…’ I hate those people. So I ended up like, a working cow all day, like 10 hours all day for this internship. Then like everyone enjoying the party and I was like alone in a corner. I was not like that before, eh. When I was young I really enjoyed to get drunk. I was always the one who was going to vomit first in the parties. Always, always. But it’s unbelievable how life changes like this and… Nothing happened. Only something inside of my mind. I mean, nothing contextual changed. But if I… if I have to look back at myself, I wouldn’t recognise myself. Totally different… totally different. Mmm and it’s not about getting old, like getting adult. No event caused it.

 

Passion

I thought I had many passions, but in these last 2 years… I realised that uhh… I still… that they were fake passions. I mean, I realised that I got interested in something, but in my old life, in the past 24 years I was like, ok I do something, I like it and after a while I get tired of it. So probably it was not real passion, so that’s why… This is one of the most important things I would like to know about myself, with this kind of path I’m doing, spiritual path let’s say. Soo yes, my… my… my passion has always been culture, like art, and music and umm… writing and all this kind of cultural, intellectual stuff. But I… I couldn’t do… I couldn’t feel comfortable in expressing myself in anything of these. I’ve tried many things in my life. I’ve tried to do drama and I realised that I was really good and then I stopped. I don’t know why I stopped, I really don’t know why. I mean in that period I was in the city again and so it was only contextual events that brought me to stop. But in the end… I know that I could keep on doing this, but I don’t know.

In this last year I’ve realised, that there was nothing that really interested me so much. And so this is one of the things I want to discover now. So that’s why now I’m starting to… to change myself and to learn something new. Now I’m learning this hula hoop thing, because I want to feel more confident about my body. Because, I’ve always been like shy… Not evidently, but still inside. I’ve always… felt not really confident about my body, etc. So this is absolutely part of my quest, my path. So trying to discover what I really like, what I really enjoy, and which one is my favourite colour, which one is… you know, the basic things that I really never talked about. Never talked about.

So actually, now… If I have to answer to this, my passion is… pff I don’t know. Discovering. Like curiosity. I’m really passionate about learning, in this moment of my life. Because probably I think I… I am not done with it. I mean, I have to.. I still need to learn a lot. So.. yes, I am trying to get passionate as much as I can towards life, towards people. Because I started to feel very untrust… I started not to trust people very much, like umm… I started to.. to always.. always doubting people, being uncertain about people, if I can trust people. At first I thought it was something smart, like ok I’m smarter than you, I don’t trust you. But after a while I realised that you miss so many beautiful things of human relationships, you know. So.. yeah, I want to get more passionate with people, with life in general, with simple things. I’m trying to get passionate with… with my everyday life that I can build up with my hands and my thoughts with my everyday life, and not to think that I have to be the prime minister of some big country and rule the world. That’s what I was trained to think, also my family they used to tell me: ‘You’re good, you’re good, you’re good. You’re smart, you deserve a good job. You have to be ambitious and blablabla’. But now I really don’t feel like this. Now I… I really need to be more humble with myself and to open myself to other people, and to open myself to different experiences. I’ve always had the feeling that I didn’t want to really try new things, because I didn’t want to challenge myself, because I could realise that I was not good at it. Now instead I’m trying to also change this kind of scheme in my mind and… tell to myself: ‘Ok.. nothing is impossible. If you can do it, I can do it.’ So we are.. same same. Same same but different. Two hands, two legs and… so my… but yeah anyway, the passion that hasn’t changed in all of my life is about art and about expressing yourself through art. This is probably what I missed when I was young, because my parents forced me to… to do ballet and I did it for 8 years when I was little and umm… Actually I was good and I enjoyed it. But it was more like competition in the class and blablabla. So there were many dynamics that were… that were not good for uhh.. growing.. internally, you know. So for me also dance has always been a passion, but still I couldn’t exercise it in a pure way. Like as I do now with my hula hoop. Because, I want to clear my mind and don’t want to see everyone looking at me, you know. I want to… I just don’t care about other people and just express myself freely. This is one of the things… that I… think is the most important thing in the personal growth, not to care about people judging you. Yes, I’m still looking for my passion. You realise it after a while.

 

Happy

One thing that I really believe in, is the so called things of ‘Laws of attraction’. So I think there is something that flows inside everyone, that makes something more attractive or less attractive to us. I mean, mmmm… Something that attracts you, is something that you want to experience. And so, I may define happiness… as.. a good balance of… hmm… A quest, for sure.. because its not stable, you change so of course it changes. So it’s this continuous and unlimited quest for… all the things that attract you the most. The point here is that these things you don’t really know if they attract you until you experience them. So happiness for sure means, of course, means try… try everything in your life, don’t be shy, don’t be scared, trust yourself and try everything you can as much as possible and you will be happy. Yeah…

 

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