The chronicles of the introvert

For years, I have struggled to openly and spontaneously talk to people. I always thought, ‘there is something wrong with me’ or I am anti-social and so on. Most of my friends would say, “You are not an introvert, dude”, but I am and it is fine.
I found the courage to sell or get rid of everything that I have and move. My one big inspiration was and still is, my little sister, Skye. She is the total opposite of me. When she says, she is doing something, she does it. She makes friends so easily and says whatever is on her heart. Because of her strong personality, a lot of people would say she is rude or too forward, but at least you always know where you stand with her and I admire that.
I never sat down and tried to find the root of why I am so quiet and introverted and to be honest, I still don’t know exactly, but an hour-long Skype call with my little sister (by love, not blood) broke it down for me quite a bit.

Me and Skye back in the day.

Yes, I am introverted. That is okay. It is fine and it is part of my personality and I shouldn’t change that to conform to people’s expectations. I should embrace who I am because you cannot change who you are to please others. Too many people change themselves to please someone else, but what about you? I am sensitive and have a lot of empathy towards people, towards animals, towards anything and that is a wonderful trait to have. I believe in love, not this “on show” stuff that we see online, but true meaningful ‘till death do us part’ kind of love. I believe in equality for both man and woman, I believe animals should be loved and I believe that everyone deserves a second chance.

When I was a few years younger, people would say hurtful things about me and I would put on a brave face and take it, however, almost every night I went to bed, crying my eyes out. In traffic on the way to and from work, I would cry. When I took a shower, I would cry. I hated crying in front of people, simply because I realised that (some, not all) people thrive on your failures, to feel happier about themselves. A lot of those people are still in my life because I don’t want to accept the fact that they are 100% mean. A few years ago, I felt alone and relationships made it worse too. I met people who I know, truly cared for me, possibly loved too, but I was scared and pushed them away. I pushed them away. I was living an unhealthy lifestyle, internally. I had abandonment and trust issues and that is something that I had to work on, alone. No one knew this, except for me and because of my issues, more stories were spread about me. In my final year of school, I supposedly had two abortions. Was told that I would be a single mom by the age of nineteen, that I was childish and wouldn’t get too far in life.
All those hurtful remarks broke me inside, bit by bit and I would cry and try to prove people wrong. But that is exactly the problem! I shouldn’t be proving anything to anyone except for myself. I know who I am now, I know why I am the way I am. I walk around Rome or the school campus alone and it is not because I think I am superior, it is just who I am. I keep to myself and I am working on myself daily. I a pretty freaking proud of myself, too. Skye told me about the Four agreements to personal freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz and already, it has already helped me to feel more confident and at peace with myself. They are four small steps but they speak volumes and I am going to embrace it.

  • Be impeccable with your word, speak with integrity. I am going to stop doubting myself and stop thinking that there is something wrong with me, but rather embrace who I am. Keep doing what I do and exude love, wherever I go. Forgive those who have hurt me and not dwell on the past.
  • Don’t take anything personally. I don’t ever want to feel like a victim again. It is draining and tiring. Their words are a projection of who they are, not of who I am. Some people have their own internal problems and do not know how to cope with it, other than hurting others and that is okay. Never allow yourself to suffer under their tongue.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Ask questions and express yourself, don’t ever think that you are not deserving because you are. Every person is. Like the famous proverb says, “To assume makes an ass of u and me.”
  • Always do your best. Under any circumstance do your very best, whether you are feeling down and unmotivated. Your best could motivate someone else to do their best and so the chain will flow. With this you will stop judging yourself, abusing yourself and regretting the things you have accomplished. Whatever happened in your life, just let it go. Don’t hold onto it.

Thank you Skye, for believing in me and pushing me to become a greater person.

(Source: Don Migue Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom)

Marche: Earthquake in Italy.

I have been living in Rome for just over a month, completing my studies and decided to visit my mom for the weekend, as I do every two weeks.

On Thursday, the 20th of October I went to Termini station after my English lecture, bought a ticket and got on the train to Foligno, about a 2-hour ride. I got into my mom’s car and we drove a further 45 minutes to Camerino in central Italy. When we arrived, we had supper, showered and watched a bit of TV before heading to bed. I spent the weekend, doing some homework and helping my mother at the hotel she works at. On Saturday, I felt so ill. I had a high fever and a very congested nose. I was sick and instead of heading back to Rome the following Monday, I stayed in Camerino and planned on staying in bed and resting until I felt better to head back to Rome; however, my plans were about to receive a reality shake of note.

On Wednesday, the 26th of October, I was laying on the couch watching Gilmore girls and Friends and while my focus was on the TV, I kept seeing a flashing light outside. For a brief second, I thought someone was on our property grounds but when I peered out the window, I found that it was raining and the flashing lights, were lightning. The thunder sounded off, powerful and loud and shook the earth a bit; that’s when I felt an uneasy feeling in my gut. I had a very bad feeling, yes I still am afraid of thunder, but this was another feeling.

19:11 – I was still on the couch, when the next moment, the house shook. The earth spoke, it’s powerful and muzzled earthquake sounds.

I got up and ran to the door, screaming “No!” “Nooo!!” I turned and turned the dial on the door as fast as I could and it eventually opened and I ran out. I was all alone at the house. My heart was pounding so fast and loud; I was terrified. I peered through the open door and say my phone on the ground, I ran in, grabbed it and ran out again, dialed my mother and she was on the way. I stood outside in the cold wet rain, shaken and afraid for 10 minutes until I saw her car. We went back inside the house, thinking it was just an aftershock of the earthquake from August. My mom prepared pasta, we ate and I made tea.

21:18 – We watched the news and they were interviewing a seismologist, who confirmed that it was an aftershock and will likely not happen again. As soon as those words came from his lips, the lights went off. The quake was back, angrier and stronger than before. I ran towards the door, my mother followed. We could not see a thing, I heard plates and glasses breaking and I yelled out “Mooooom!!!”, they door finally opened and we ran out.

It was black.

We could not see a thing, yet we ran. We stood still and listened to the earth move. The sound was stronger, almost like a pair of hair clippers chopping through someone’s hair, but more powerful, dangerous and louder. I thought the house would crumble.

Then it stopped.

My mom was standing outside with the blanket we had over us and the iPad; used as a source of light. After a huge debate, my mother ran in to get her car keys and ran out again. We got into her car and drove off. It was probably one of the hardest tasks that my mother had to endure as we were afraid.

We followed cars to the university sports ground, not far from my mother’s house, which has now been converted to a shelter. I was still too paranoid and we slept in my mother’s car for 4 nights. The last night, we got cold and decided to have faith in the building and sleep there. A lot of the people have been evacuated to Civitanova and Porto Recanati for safety as there are no serious quakes there, only small tremors. Since the first quake in August, there are 15 000 people who are now homeless and living in shelters. These quakes are not done yet, we just had another one, 15-minutes ago. The damage is surreal and it will keep getting worse until God knows when.

Picture: Hindustan Times – Alma feeding baby Francesco at the shelter.

To make matters worse, there are people who use this terrible time to ransack fallen houses and buildings. The city entrances are blocked off by the Carabinieri (Italian police), yet some folk are crazy and greedy enough to sneak into the city, rummage through the rubble and steal.

I think the thing that gets the people the most is that they won’t be able to spend time together with their family, under one roof, opening Christmas presents together and sharing that warm meal. I think that is part of the reason why most people are so sad. It is sad and not expected but the most precious gift in life is life. Although we don’t have much anymore, we still have a life and that is something worth celebrating and being happy about. The power of rebuilding and working together, building new friendships and seeing the positive in the rubble of negativity.

Updated details to come…