It’s sunny with a gentle breeze today in Rome, and the streets are filled with all sorts of people: tourists, vendors, eco-friendly bicycle transporters, fake gladiators, and me, wearing my too-bright 1970’s dress and carrying a somewhat worn red Chinese umbrella. As I walk through the city, my mind registers that I am alone…no, not just alone.
I look around at the people who are busy making something of their lives or trying to. I see their desperation, from the vendors hoping to sell their wares to the couples hoping to purchase romance. Everyone is hungry for something. What about me?
When I first came to Rome, I felt out of sorts, as though I had no self-concept, no sense of self. My self was wrapped up in my illness, and bogged down by one word that represented the annihilation of my reality: fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia ate whoever I was, and she was no longer me.
Still, clinging to a part of self that no longer exist makes no sense. So, I let go and became no one. As no one I had nothing, no place, no connection, just some vague notions of a past and some hope for a future. The only thing that existed for me was my illness. Fibromyalgia was my reality, although it was not my self.
However, fibromyalgia is a hungry illness. It takes and takes and takes and takes…and it has taken many things from me. It has gorged upon my confidence. It has satiated its thirst with my tears. So much so, that there is no a void, waiting to be filled.
Gelato, bottles of iced water, freshly squeezed juice are all sold along Via Fori Imperiali. Fresh water runs freely from the fontanella in front of the Colosseo metro station. I am thirsty. I am hungry. I am tired.
I’ve only been out of my house for 5 hours, but I am desperate to go home, hungry for quiet and the peace that comes from being alone with whatever and whoever I am and am not.