Silvia, Italy

“During the pandemic, I came back home to live with my family after a long time. I usually live in another city, Palermo.I moved to Palermo more than three years ago to attend my university. I left my little town in the province in hopes to land in the fascinating reality of the big city( a bit sarcastic). Three years is not a long time but it's enough to be able to integrate in new social circumstances and especially for developing a sense of independence which is essential in order to have the space where someone feels the freedom to express oneself.

I have to put down this need in this period. I went back to share all my space and my time with my family, which caused a lot of worries and anxiety.
I love my family and I'm not saying otherwise but well we are also very different. The strongest concern in this period therefore concerned only me, I felt very limited, I felt lost because I was expropriated of my space and unable to see possibilities in the future.

I find it hard to talk about the struggles for me during the pandemic. When we talk about fears, we touch a very deep part of our being. For me fear is not jumping in front of a spider, better it is but on a superficial level. I think it’s something deeper, not entirely individual. I’m convinced that fear is closely linked to the awareness that we have of ourselves; for example there are concerns that all we have in a specific time of our lives. The fear of not being accepted when you are a teenager, the will to be fulfilled in the youth that often creates worries, the fear of loneliness in old age. Fear is a human condition. Now like many maybe, my struggle is about my future, I can’t think about it without considering the consequences of the pandemic.

Through difficult times like this, I've come to realize that all lives are closely connected with each other. Thinking in this way can help us to have a more concrete relationship with the world.

Also the realization that there’s nothing I care about more than my freedom. For me, the freedom means the freedom to be oneself. In Sicily, for women this possibility is not given especially if you, like me, are born in a small town where male chauvinism is the mindset of most part and the female is considered the weaker sex and linked to a whole series of stereotypes. This is what I meant when I talked about the limit of freedom of being oneself.

There is still a long way to go to achieve significant changes but recognizing freedom and wanting to be free is fundamental

I've also learned to have a different relationship with the spaces, experience them, use their greatest strength which is to unite individuality. For example, I want to surround myself with the people that share my ideas and understand me for I am and not hang around with people who don't give me the things I think I deserve. I want to be more brave, confident and to be comfortable in my own skin.”