Every single day my kids look at me and say I’m beautiful. This weekend, I was in bed suffering from a hangover and feeling like death, and they brought me the same story. I always had this difficulty of taking compliments. Freud could surely explain it, but understanding how someone saw something nice in me is really tough stuff.
In one of my first jobs — and before the #metoo movement— I had this boss who used to look at me and say from the bottom of his heart: “You look beautiful today!” I used to respond with a mean face. He named me Zulu (the reference is in the link) and his entertainment became saying I was beautiful to imagine me dancing with that sour face – or at least that was the excuse I made to smooth the situation.
There was a reproduction of Caravaggio’s Narcissus at my grandparents’ house, painted by grandpa. It was located at the very top of the right side of the wall, under the TV and the video cassette with cable. I remember spending a long time sitting in the sofa, staring the guy, surprised with the fascination he had with himself.
I always liked the mirror, I love to see the shapes we can take when we change the clothes, the face, the hair… But there was another thing, the Narcissus was so hypnotized he couldn’t see anything else.
I’d love to see myself with my kids’ eyes. To be honest, sometimes I doubt what people say about kids not lying, and I just think that mine like to tell me that to see my reaction —following the same strategy of my former boss. But, somehow if they’re saying the truth, I’d love to see it, to see yourself beautiful when you wake up, to feel wonderful even when you’re doing the dishes.
I love being a woman. I love the fact that I have a complete body; I love to take care of myself. But falling in love with one’s own beauty unfortunately doesn’t match with a mirror full of bias. That’s why I admire people who believe they are beautiful. They believe so much you start to believe in it too.
I’d love to have this possibility to see myself and feel the same enchantment of Narcissus, to feel the overwhelming passion that makes you travel deep in yourself. Maybe that might the base of the fear: digging too much inside and discovering what you have there is worse than the package. Or maybe all of it it’s just a very dumb thought.
The Caravaggio’s Narcissus is at the Barberini Palace/Corsini Gallery, in Rome and it’s that type of win/win tour: you win with the beauty of the building and the collection. Go to Rome, see the Pope and don’t forget to meet Caravaggio too. #takethetip