"'How sharper than a serpent's tooth 'It is to have a thankless child'". - William Shakespeare
I waited a long time to write this post because I thought about it. I wondered if it would be appropriate. If only it had been right to share, to open the heart, to make oneself vulnerable.
Then I decided to publish it today, on a special day: your birthday.
The reason for such a gift is explained in the following lines.
The moment I decided, for the first time-if not the last-what I would have done when I grew up was when, at 9 years old, I found myself sitting, lovingly, on the legs of one of the biggest criminal lawyers in Italy, the Avv. Nino Marazzita. I remember watching him enchanted, with the same malice that is typical of children who observe the world for the first time. He was defending his dad, who died prematurely.
He looked at me softly and asked me--probably because I seemed older and ready for those kinds of life choices--what I wanted to be when I grew up, what I wanted to be, and what I wanted for my future. Well, at that time, there was no astronaut, doctor, or expert in butterfly movement: "I want to do what you do. Help people". In your ears, YOU sounded sacrilegious. "Ninni you have to use the polite form." Perhaps that was one of the times you were most ashamed. Ah no. The worst situation was when I gave my hand to the designer, Valentino, while wearing gloves. Whatever.
I lived in the worst suburbs of Rome, and I had seen things pass under my nose. I could have been a worthless thug. I decided to keep that special meeting in mind. And the love for the profession grew enormously, although for reasons not quite nice. I think I've seen enough of courts, lawyers, judges, and social workers. It's enough to make anyone jealous. And the children asked me if I was afraid. "Fear? "No" I couldn't be afraid of something that was so fascinating, so immense, and extraordinary to me. Being a lawyer and filing a case in court.
The years have passed inexorably. I could certainly have changed the course of things. But nothing. On the other hand, I have always had a predisposition to learn languages faster than others. Having foreign origins made it easier for me. But I never got the hang of it. I didn't like this silent recommendation. In addition, I had a strong artistic vein, the result of a talented family. But this thing that I could get everything more easily didn't like it. I always liked complex things, the result of which was not always certain.
And that's why I chose law school. You always told me that I had the right tongue and that-also for this quality of mine (or better to say, defect)-I would have made it. Only you knew how messed up I was about things. As a child, if something stopped working, I took it apart, studied it, and tried to restart it. And if I could, you would say to me, "Ninni, but you are a genius of your own." I was doing puzzles backwards because I wanted to dare and succeed. always a perfectionist.
You told me that I would be what I wanted and that I would be flawless. Remember when I took the general part of the criminal law exam? I came home moved because one of the most rigid professors, Vincenzo Scordamaglia, told me: "You know, I've met some people. And I think you have a strong motivation to become a lawyer. Is it because of personal reasons?" I remember that I was petrified and the only thing I could do was nod. She stood in silence, stared at my booklet, smiled. " You see, I had seen a lot. Although I'm old, I'm still not totally senile. " We laughed for 6 seconds. Then he came back, serious and austere, and I stayed with my usual chubby smile. Then he pressed again: "I think you will be a very good lawyer." So hard in the head. It was one of the most beautiful compliments I have ever received in my entire university life. That day, we ate gumdrops to celebrate. Yours. The ones you were so jealous of that you hid behind the pillow.
How did you notice I was spending the afternoons on the books? And how many times did you stand in my way? You were afraid that I would actually make it out of you. And then the disease, against which we fought together.
For almost 3 years, I stopped my university studies even though I thought I was a papabile student "full of marks and honour". But I ended up with a simple 99. Without any honour, but still happy.
I was ready and charged to begin my path as a law graduate. But things took a different turn once again because someone said it was nice, too. And it was even if the guilt and the emptiness I felt in those years in the United States never really abandoned me. Even today, I feel that something is missing, that I cannot have it back and that I will miss it forever. But things never-or almost-go as planned. Working in an international studio has been the most rewarding and formative experience I have ever had. But the state exam in Italy was asking for something more. Maybe I wasn't really ready. I had too different a mindset because I had chosen to be different.
Because love had won over me. But grandma, I never forgot what I wanted to be.
And because of that, the path that made me suffer a lot started. I know, you know. For a moment, they made me feel dirty, wrong, and smart aleck. Not ready. And I never understood if those who told me that I wasn't ready had it in their minds that being ready is not a status that you acquire with birth.
But then my conscience brought me back to reality. I could look in the mirror and walk tall even though I often suffered inside, I realized that perhaps no one had ever really understood how painful, frustrating, and awful it was to choose something else from what I had set out in my crazy life plans. How difficult it was to choose Plan B. When you start over again, you completely reshuffle the cards. That then plan A, to reconnect to the above speech, was also an interesting challenge-just the ones I like-but not honest enough and well playable for my taste. I'm willing to lose, but I want to be put in a position to lose. I want to try and lose, which is far from losing to the party. Finally, however, that day came, Grandma. After 30 exams, two theses, and a state exam, that day was mine. No, sorry. Ours. Mine and yours already. And I dedicate to you this memory and this story just today, when you would have turned 98. You are the only person who ever knew that I could stand anything but not being a lawyer. Sometimes I can hear you whispering to people, you know?
Here we go. We did it. The gummy candies are missing, that family feeling is missing, the ritual of your birthday is missing (strictly lasagna and tiramisu). I don't deny there was a time when I wanted to quit. I think I would have liked to be a fashion designer. But I remember thinking, "Who knows what Grandmother would say to me? Maybe she would be disappointed. " And the idea of not knowing what you would think made me stay on my feet. And then I realized it was awfully right.
Many things have been said to me. Perhaps I would say too many. And I don't think I've ever really deserved them. But I know you know that. I suffered so much. I knew that you believed in it, and I continued to believe in it too. So I went straight, I fell, I stayed down, and I finally got up. And I wore the toga on that memorable February 13, 2020. Okay, maybe I'll never be the screaming lawyer, and I swear, even with a little bitterness, I won't make a disease out of it. I will study and learn day after day what I could not learn when it was time and when I had the strength.
I became what I was born to be, what I wanted to become.
One last thing, and then I'll leave you alone. On the day of the oath, the president said a sentence that struck me very much: "Parents have given you a gift that you have not asked for and that is the gift of life. Today, with this oath, you make yourselves the gift you have chosen for yourself. "
"Attorney Silvestri, good morning. May I trouble you?".
Now tell me you wouldn't have cried with satisfaction.
Well, today I give you that satisfaction.
28th of February, 2020 In memory of my grandmother, from whom I learned the meaning of sacrifice and "do not postpone to tomorrow what you could do today."