It’s late… very, very, very late. Tonight, however, I have been transported back in time to any one of the many college dormitories, I had the pleasure of residing in during my undergraduate years… I don’t know what your college experience was like, but mine involved a lot of screaming adolescents and young adults at all hours of the night… and day too!
Fast forward to tonight, to me… sitting here in my little studio in the beautiful city of Rome… and to my neighbours, both the Italian locals and the American college students, screaming at the top of their lungs and slamming their doors. Why? I don’t know. Moreover, I don’t care. What I do care about is the time… It’s after midnight. It’s actually 1:30 in the morning…
Listening to the carryings-on my neighbours (and from the little bits that I am understanding, I think there is a break-up in progress) and feeling my level of agitation growing (because of how late it is and that they are choosing to go through all of this at this time), I am struck with a thought – I am getting old.
You may say, “Yes, D, everyone grows older with each passing moment,” and I would agree whole-heartedly with that statement. What I am talking about is not a chronological shift, because that is happening no matter what (even though time is a man-made construct… but I will talk about that another time)! I am more focusing on an emotional/psychological shift – I realize that I have lost some of my joie de vivre … or perhaps never really gained a true foothold in experiencing it.
Thus, the passionate exchanges of younger people (whether this argument here in my building, or the carousing late at night of the young people and the young-minded people from Trastevere to Campo dei Fiori) have begun to feel like an inconvenience rather than something to celebrate and appreciate. I know there are some of you, who may think, “But D, you’re right! This behaviour is highly inappropriate!” And yes, on some level it is, especially for the not-so-young people. On the other hand, this is the process of youth, i.e. to experience and learn the intricacies of love, disappointment, excess, and emotional disaster. 🙂 Also, this is an experience and an expression of passion... Something, it seems, that I have grown rather tired of hearing… Well, at least when it is 1:30 in the morning. Still, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to explain in the morning to my young American female neighbours that there is great wisdom (on sooo many levels in the case!) in the old adage “Silence is golden.”
Over the last few years of my life, especially the last several months, I have been accused of being a dispassionate person – And rightfully so! I have worked hard to get to this place of objectivity and emotional control (for the most part 😉). As a therapist, it has helped me in my work to see beyond my own “stuff” (as one of my favourite fellow therapists would put it), and focus in on my client. In my personal life, it has also helped me to see beyond the “stuff” of the moment, and focus on what needed to be resolved. In all of this focusing and control, however, I realize that I lost a vital part of myself, i.e. the part that feels things deeply, the passionate side of me.
There are many sides to who I am as a person. Beyond the therapist, and now blog writer, I am also an artist, a poet, a singer/songwriter, a musician, a crafter and a designer. I also dance and act, and I have a wide array of other interests, to which I continually add. These abilities have all been a part of me from a very young age, and I cannot imagine myself without them. There was, however, a short period of time not very long ago when I was not able to use my hands well due to my fibromyalgia symptoms – This experience was emotionally and psychologically devastating, but it set in motion a series of internal and external experiences that brought me to this moment in my life, i.e. sitting in Rome writing this blog. For it was in experiencing the fear of losing my ability to create that forced me to confront myself. I had to look at who I was becoming and what I was doing to myself.
And what I was doing was trying not to live. Now, I don’t mean in the sense that I was trying to die. I mean that I was trying a sort of “nobody moves, nobody gets hurt” kind of policy, trying to keep still in my own life, in order not to cause trouble for anyone, myself included. What I realized, however, was that no matter how still I stood, the people around me would still experience hurt (this was out of my control). Furthermore, in standing still, I was only causing hurt to myself, because I was not living. (I recognize how cryptic some of this may sound as you read it, but to be more explicit about my meaning would be unbeneficial.)
Life is meant to be beneficial. Why we are here is not for the purpose of being dragged down into the gutter, in order to be made to feel unworthy of life. Why we are here is not for the purpose of being made to stand still, in order for others (and ourselves) to feel safe because they know where we are. Why we are here is not for the purpose of being elevated so high that we have no concept of the ground below us, in order for others to have someone to feel proud of and/or to knock down. We are here to experience, to feel, to learn, to meet, to grow… to feel passion.
In coming to Rome, I have made many realizations… and perhaps this is why I love this city so very much. Rome is not a quiet place.
Rome is “grungy” (Isobel agrees with me on this) and raw. Rome is sex, food, art, and wine. Rome is male and female in their purest forms… and all protesting about something! Rome is laughter, shouting, crying, and cold staring. Rome celebrates the process of life into death… and back again, plus the “stuff” in-between. Rome is constantly teaching its residents… its visitors… and me that both within and without… therein lies one’s passion, joie de vivre, and raison d’etre. (My apologies for all the French terms… I know I am in Italy.) 🙂
And so I am off! It’s sunny out today… and who knows what the city has in store for me. 😉