by Melinda Gallo

Living out my emotions

One of the reasons I feel in my element in Florence is that it is where I can freely live out my emotions. When I was growing up, I was taught to show only “positive” emotions (and not too much of them either) and hide all the “negative” ones. I learned at a young age that no one wanted to see me angry or sad. All the “negative” emotions I had were to be lived out privately and more specifically when I was by alone.

One of the reasons I feel comfortable living in Florence is that all of my emotions--both positive and negative ones--are accepted. I don’t live out my emotions to their extremes, but I feel freer to at least to acknowledge them. It’s not a crime if I’m not in a good mood and don’t really want to talk to others or smile at everyone around me. My Florentine friends understand: they have their emotions too.

In Florence, when I don’t feel like doing something, I say, “non mi va (I don’t feel like it).” Nobody questions me or tries to get me to do it anyway. If I don’t feel like doing something, I just don’t do it. As they say, “ per forza non si fa nemmeno l’aceto (even using force you can’t make vinegar).

Living out my emotions makes my life so much easier. I don’t worry about people accepting me or not because of how I feel. Emotions are just emotions that have a beginning and an end. Once I express an emotion, or at least acknowledge it, it loses its power. I found that I am uneasy when I don’t want to admit that I’m feeling something.

Florence has guided me to accept my emotions because they are the keys to what is going on with me in the moment and are not necessarily a sign of who I am.

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