The clock is ticking, which means I’m about to enter the fourth year in the UK, which means minus 2 to the citizenship.
Recently, very recently to be honest, I started to feel a change. A tiny one, at first. It’s crystal clear that I’m here for a reason. The place I’ve been living in for the last four years, geographical or psychological that be, it’s one that belongs to the very inner myself.
Except for my childhood, and several years after I moved from the small town to the big city in the late 1990s, I spent forty years estranged from the place where I was born. It’s not very easy to explain the way I ended up enduring a slow pace life, as a stranger in a strange place. Living like a misfit for more than three decades.
Now I find pretty normal and understandable the way my fellow compatriots react in front of my complete distance from anything italian. I’m giving up with all the anger I’ve accumulated in those years, it’s like pissing away a serious hangover. And the very few bits of news that pass through my complete embargo against Italy, finally get filed under “folkloristic”. It simply doesn’t affect me anymore. Admittely, I’m quite happy about it.
I guess having met some really great people in Italy, having loved them — and being still in unconditional love with them — helped a lot to cope with the rest of the doomed nation. I think once you’ve realised you’re a misfit, it’s likely that you end up with other misfits, and the odds are that you’re going to love each other very much for a long time. Or forever. It’s also natural animal instinct. I consider myself very lucky for having such a lovely family and friends.
Then, all the fuss about being uprooted — about the “I need to set my roots in the new place”, and such. Not really an issue, isn’t it?
I’ve never been an italian. Ever. Really. Always a grumpy introvert misfit, looking towards the northern European countries in awe. It’s somehow hard to remember precisely how the choice of fleeing the country didn’t come much earlier. I guess because, like most people, I got used to to my introversion, to the anger, to the daily fix of bullshit. I tend to be happier about the other fact: that it’s over. It took a while, but it’s done. Not interested in wasting more time, in the mythical search for the perfect soil where to put my new roots, waiting for the Spring to come. Spent enough time in the past, trudging slowly like a numb already.
So, no surprises when I find myself responding to my british mate’s question: “what place would you live in, other than Britain?” with a quick “some place further north”. Like Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada maybe? No surprises if I fancy Scotland to be my honeymoon destination. No surprises if I love the windy rainy weather over the summer heat. And if I ever get the typical holiday-related question: “Why don’t you take a vacation on some island?” I’m ready with the honest reply: “But I LIVE on an island”.
As men that spent a lifetime feeling like they were women trapped in a wrong body (or viceversa), I was born in the wrong place. Grown up loving the right people, in the wrong place. Nothing to be blamed for. No one is to blame.
One day I’ll be feeling simply comfortable, not an expat anymore. Hopefully one with a slightly interesting accent, not funny anymore (the accent). Strength to rise up, strength to win.Comments