Being Artistic Comes with Responsibilities
The path to finding our passions doesn’t have to be smooth or easy. Mine wasn’t, yet that didn’t stop me.
When I was a child growing up in Italy, I didn’t have choices. Parents of my generation, bless their souls, made our choices for us—always with the best of intentions.
We were never asked, “Who would you like to be?” or “What would you like to do?” For girls, our biggest aspiration, we were told, was to marry well.
Ever since I was a young child, I’ve been artistic, yet my artistic tendencies were never encouraged or nurtured. A future as a creative woman was unthinkable. The most I could aspire to was being the secretary to an architect. That’s just the way it was.
I was conscious that I was visually driven, and colours spoke to me. I would spend hours after dinner colouring or drawing or designing knitwear. I also loved writing, and later on, I loved to make visual art with sentences.
In retrospect, what almost killed me made me stronger, and going against the grain became natural for me.
Being Artistic is a Gift that Needs to be Nurtured
As I grew, I came to understand the importance of broadening one’s horizons, and life has turned out well for me. The path was not a direct one, but I’ve made it to a fulfilling finish line.
One of the things I was forced to do along the way, in high school, rather than follow my artistic leanings, was to study ancient Greek and Latin. To my surprise, this turned out for the best, because I learned what it meant to be a humanist—a lover of all sorts of people, who feels deeply about inequality and the ills that divide us.
From there, I was able to expand my horizons in unconventional directions.
I look back now and smile at what I put my parents through. The endless discussions, questioning the status quo, are now carved in my memory as funny.
My parents believed what they’d been told, and their parenting was the same as they had received. A million times I heard it said, “Because that’s the way it is!” A million times I retorted, “But that doesn’t make sense!”
The world we live in now proves that the way it always was hasn’t produced the best results.
Now we allow our children—we encourage them—to express their feelings. To say I love you. To show anger. To cry. All without diminishing them.
Having to struggle to follow your passion, to find the highway to achieving your goals, is not a negative thing. It strengthens your belief in yourself, in who you are and what you do.
It makes you question your priorities, test your values. Obstacles along your path make you assess and reassess your essence and your integrity.
So, when I went home to Italy after moving to Canada, I was a vegetarian. My parents just shook their heads and asked me if I wanted prosciutto for lunch.