Your story in 10 lines
I was born in Naples born in 1970, the first of three children (I have two male brothers). Daddy’s little girl. My relationship with the boys of the house introduced me to the world of men, because of which I learned to never fear them as well as not feeling different in any way. Indeed, the boys of the house helped my femininity, they always made me feel like a princess. In high school I discovered my passion for “love-talk”. I quickly turn into a confidant, a supporter, a point of reference for most of my classmates. I knew I was going to grow into a psychologist and I knew that I would deal with sexology. I learned early on, by growing up in a provincial town, the importance and the value of freedom. The possibility of living, talking, wearing and loving whomever one pleases is something not often contemplated in a province town. For many, sex is still a taboo for, something to avoid and hide, that even in its absence affects all other aspects of life. At 18, in order to go to college I left Naples and moved to Rome. The initial impact is a happy one but over time the distance from my people starts weighing on me. I make peace with this feeling, I know that I have at least two souls to use: Rome is the head, my rational side, Naples is the heart, my soul, the deep and purely emotional part. It’s in Rome, however, that I find love. His name is Avner and he is even more Southerner than I, born in Libya, from Jewish descent. Someone most different you could not have found for me. Our differences completed us and enriched us, as the two wonderful children that we wanted so strongly: Geneva 12 and Victor 9. We’ve been together for twenty wonderful years. Unimaginable for someone like me who suffers from boredom, out of some genetic deformation.
What kind of encounters do you have when working? And when dealing with the association of psycho-sexologists of which you are the Chairwoman (AISC)?
Anyone who knows me also knows that I am used to say that “everyone encounters in life what he/she deserves” and if people are not “crazy” I don’t even look at them. I’m kidding obviously however because of the work I do I meet a lot of people, of all social classes, of all ages and with very different needs. The people I focus on, however, are those who can stimulate my curiosity, those distant from me, those living with emotions that do not belong to me. Sexologists who work with me are colleagues whom I have known by now for over twenty-five years during my college years of young graduates that I have taught myself and that after the experience of my internship at the center decided to put their roots also there and to start working with me. I must admit, it is the strongest among all possible satisfactions. It means having transmitted passion and enthusiasm. It means that they trust you and rely on you. Perhaps it also means that they love me.
When curing yourself from love, do you believe in all they say? Or is it a struggle up between the woman and the therapist?
The contrary is true. I never give out platitudes that belong to pure theory. Mainly my suggestions as a psychologist alway pass from experience on my skin and the solutions I myself activated. I think I have truly suffered for love only when, around the age of thirteen, I was “in love” with a singer who … obviously did not reciprocate… perhaps due to the strength of my family ties I have never been afraid of loving, of risking betrayal or abandonment. I have been dumped but it was never a big deal. I always relied on the thought of not being loved enough in order to cool down and turn the page. I had a harder time leaving. Out of decency.
What is society doing for you?
You are asking me this question at a point in my life where I keep wondering about it every day… “What is it doing for me?” But not only for me, rather for everyone … what is society doing? It sustains, nourishes, encourages, stimulates or destroys, criticizes, judges. It depends from where you decide to look at it, the mood you’re in at the moment and so, alas, from expectations.
What is society doing for you and for the city that you live?
I’ve been living in Rome for 26 years now but I still find it hard to define my city. I come from a provincial town and the big city still scares me. It’s both dispersive and inattentive. It’s hard to meet people as it is date and, for this reason, human relationships are more discontinuous less deep and less powerful. However I do love Rome, its contradictions resemble me. It is often a melancholic and nostalgic city and nostalgic but in can just as easily be cheerful, creative and lively. What is it that I do myself for society and for my city? I try to be honest, present and… I say hi to my neighbors when I bump into them on the stairs! Many are quite resistant but many others are learning!!
What’s a nice thing that has happened to you recently?
I live out of beautiful things I do not know whether they happen to me or if I make them happen somehow but I do make trigger many of them. Maybe I just have a very selective kind of memory that manages to get rid of ugliness. People like me who work with the pain of others, can build powerful units of measurement. I know that death and disease are the only things worth suffering for, the rest has always a positive side or it is simply funny. The rest is life. Recently, I was having dinner with my for our 20th year anniversary. We had fun making sums of the situation: who we were twenty years ago, who we are today, what we dream to be in twenty years. We said that we have become better people, one thanks to the other, and that we still have many desires to fulfill and project to realize over the coming. To make a plan and having the necessary enthusiasm to fight in order to achieve is among the best things that could happen to me in life.
A culinary passion?
I may result monothematic yet being a melancholic spirit my self I would say pizza without any doubt, the Neapolitan one of course and then bread. The homemade kind which leaves a good smell in the air and tastes like mom. I do it myself three times a week … and you can tell!!!
What wine / beverage do you prefer and why?
I don’t drink, I’m not straight-edge, but I don’t like the taste of alcohol. I only have one defect in terms of liquid and that is sparkling water.
Music or a book that accompanies you now?
Music has been my partner all my life, and it often still is. I think it’s a natural stimulant of great power. I mainly listen to songwriters. The melodies make their way into my blood but I need to understand the lyrics well, in order to be move, I need it to belong to me and to feed, also, my very complex soul. Music is my favourite therapy: whether it makes me cry or smile it helps me to release. Books I love them, they are my drug and a serious problem for my wallet, I read three or four per week … Now I’m reading “The symmetry of desires” by Eshkol Nevo. It’s set in Tel Aviv a city that I love and it’s about friendship, a theme that has always fed my studies and my doubts. I’m still not convinced that the real one, can really exist.
A talent you have and one you lack.
I don’t know whether it is a talent but I’m an enthusiast.
I like to do so many things without ever caring about achieving perfection. Perfection makes me anxious, makes things heavy and inhibits me… as they say … better done than perfect. I like to throw myself into new challenges. I wrote a book without knowing how to write, I organized charity markets selling handcrafts which I made without knowing how to do it properly yet it all went well and I had a hell of a good time. There, I’m an optimistic, perhaps superficial in some things but an optimistic neverthless. I rather believe in facts, facts rather than theories.
I lack … the ability to wait. I’m training but the waiting makes me really nervous and impatient. In every field.
What are your methods for living slowly?
Ouch … that’s a difficult one …. I have not yet learned to live slowly. I live, on the contrary, as if each day were the last. And, for this reason, I always have plenty to do and I try to live them all with extreme intensity, perhaps too much. I have so many passions and I try to spend a few hours each day doing what I like and what relaxes me. I very often sleep only three hours a night but I like to live like that … it will be terribly hard to change. Slowness doesn’t intrigue me.
What have you learned so far from life?
I am fortunate to have lived so many lives, some mine, some others through my patients and that is why perhaps I have learned so much.
I learned that the suffering of the soul in any form it may manifest itself is always a matter of disaffection.
I learned that we always end up suffering for what we have built for ourselves.
I learned that happiness does exist but it is a narrow road, and it must often be traveled alone.
I beat two tumors and because of that I learned to trust doctors and medicine, I learned that we can heal ourselves and that the positivity and joy of mind, love and the ability to laugh, is the most powerful medicine.
I learned how to resize expectations, to the point of erasing them altogether. When you don’t expect anything from anyone it is pure joy that comes afterwards.
I have learned never to trust too much, just that much in order not to feel alone.
For this reason, to paraphrase Coelho I learned “that no matter how good a person is, sooner or later he/she will hurt you.” All you need is to know it.
Translation by Michelangelo Miccolis