Day 2 – I was awestruck the entire day. I’ve spent my first twelve hours in New York City and felt overwhelmed at every second, at every single step. A great energy sweeps the city: it is strong, it is powerful, perhaps because it is many things at once, and all these things give to the city extraordinary charm and romance. New York City is old, antique, conservative, while at the same time new, modern, progressive. So are the buildings, the trains, the people. It’s as if you oscillate through time at every block. You are completely overcome by its magic. And above all, it feels like you can be anyone you want to be, or the exact opposite.
Day 21 – I woke up very early, just to see the dawn. Photography at sunset is amazing and the pictures are intense and beautiful. The colors fascinate you; there are shades that can teach you something new every day. Every sunset is unique. But photography at sunrise is even more magical. Every day starts from a new dawn; it is the perfect metaphor for life and for every new beginning. It’s a pity not to stop and appreciate how those colder colors are able to give us the same warmth, the same strength, but through a different kind of poetry. I cannot imagine something more special than this. Anyway, as I was saying, I wanted the dawn today. It was dark outside. Eight subway stops and I was on the East River. I smelled the breeze of a quiet Saturday morning and I felt good. I love wandering around here with no direction, always finding new spots, and taking pictures seemingly without a purpose, but at the end of the day I can recognize myself in them. I thought about you for more than 5 miles. I thought about our second date. I dream of having that night back again, when I was on that wall close to the Tiber River and right in front of you. It was a perfect night to me and my wish is to be there again and to be kissed by you. I promise I will not avoid you this time and will embrace everything you wanted to give me. There was no reason not to open my heart to you; I was just too scared by what you have meant to me since the first time our eyes met.
And if someone asked me “What superpower would you like to have?” I would answer that I want be able to go back to all meaningful moments in my life and relive them intensely, without having to ask myself ever again “What if…”.
Day 77 – First it was “Do you complain about your back pain because yesterday you had rough sex with your boyfriend?”; then it was “Come here, let me caress you”; then again “Why don’t you want to talk to me anymore? What happened?”. I never had the answer ready in any of those circumstances, the answer that puts a person like that back in place in a moment. Assuming that there is one. What I’ve always had instead was to feel wrong myself, to feel dirty myself, as if I had somehow encouraged him to enter my private life, into my safe place. He was able to touch me because I was too busy blaming myself for something I hadn’t done. I never said yes, come closer. And I didn’t explicitly say no, but there wasn’t a part of me that wasn’t clearly stating it. But, in any case,he shouldn’t have made advances like that, just because he thought he had the right, or power, to. It wasn’t violent; it was more devious than that. It was sleazy, inappropriate. I have been thinking about how the key is consent, the part that preempts the violence. Without that understanding, without creating the common consciousness that makes you say, “you are already disturbing me”,”you are already going too far,” or, “you are already making me feel uncomfortable because you are approaching my body in a way that offends me,” there is no way to protect ourselves. Consent is the key; it is what is there before the moment you receive unwanted words, it is the moment before being touched, and it is a cultural issue. You have to talk about it, define the limits. At school, at home, on the street, everywhere.
*I brought with me that days and that filth for a while. Then I talked about it, and for the first time I realized that it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to deal with something that has marked you as long as you are aware of it and then can face it over time. Only then I felt free and I was probably ready to find the words I needed.
“You must have known
You were wrong
When your fingers
Were dipped inside me
Searching for honey that
Would not come for you”
Rupi Kaur – Milk and honey
Day 135 – Yesterday my best friend told me that she misses me, and more. She told me she would love to see me soon, that she really loves me and that she can’t wait to smell my perfume again. Her words had such a strong power on me and made me think about how much people stay on you and how they come back to you with colors, sounds and smells.
Day 138 – This journey is the best thing that has happened to me in a while. For the first time today, I’ve started thinking about my return to Italy. Something has changed in me over the last few months, and now I think I am ready to go back home. More than this, I’ve discovered another part of me, or maybe it was always there and I was just never ready to give it a voice until now. I felt completely naked: I cried, I was very sad, I thought I could not handle this, but I was wrong. I was able to be happy, and smile for no apparent reason, and I had butterflies in my stomach again. When I started to realize that being vulnerable was not my defeat, and that it was not for showing myself that I will be hurt again, in that moment I stopped being afraid and I felt strong.
*Maybe, composed of May + be. Say yes to chances –
Rupi Kaur – Milk and honey