Hello Aurora, How are you?
I love Sunday mornings for it gives me repose and space to write.
I now respond to your query.
As a second generation Calabrese Italian women of 52 years of age I am at a point in my life where authenticity is important to me.
My Mother and Father are older now and I want to value, appreciate and understand my memories and their memories and so I started to write a blog.
This blog Kindred Link is really about the connection to the past, the present and to each other.
I write these stories to document my own history and my own sense of purpose without censorship.
I want to give myself a voice, that has been stifled by the status quo and the society that sifts and filters, constructs and omits stories of migration, of women of the disabled- the stories that are allowed are always of heroes. What for the stories of those who are less than that- they too have stories to be told that others can also relate.
I am keen to establish spaces where people can tell stories and through these stories connect. Kindred Link.
The topic you seek is so grand- it’s also so convoluted, and you can find much to explore and write that really addresses this topic from our interview. Academia sees us stuck in our heads, thinking rewinding and reworking loops of discourse and natter that can send us loopy without really getting anywhere- but maybe that’s part of the process of evolution?
I have some great ideas for installations and stories, different ways to present my stories too, but not quite there yet to realize them physically. It does interest me though.
Now in terms of the topic- when I write, it is about discovering and creating meaning, it’s about valuing the past, where I have come from. It’s about looking at how we can learn to better live, to make a good life. That we do not need more stuff in our lives to live good lives but that what we need is connection, understanding, appreciation. So when I look at the way we lived in Calabria that there is a lesson in simplicity- that life was hard, but life was also simple- it had structure and purpose because everything we did was to create life- create, to create is important. The notion of sustainability and living with less is also pertinent and a good lesson here in terms of how we need to consider alternative energy sources. So we came here for a ‘better life’ to make life ‘easier’. We thought we needed more, but the consequence then is less connection for in having more we became more ’showy’, more arrogant, competitive. “I’m better than you”, not that it was really like that- but in that vein, we can lose our connection to each other and what is truly important.
In my stories I seek to find/ discover the lesson, what is that we gain through migration, not what we lose, what is it that we gain, that changes and what is it then that we become. There is a transcendence a change because what we bring to this space is also transformed to something else and in this sense then becomes uniquely Australian- Italo Australian.
You need to factor distance and resources, I have never been to Italy- it is expensive to travel and it takes time- so for those who live in Europe it is only a train trip away- for us we are disadvantaged by distance, Australia is a long way from everywhere- so in that sense there is exile. However, I do not feel exiled as such. When I met you I was most surprised to hear that Calabrese people are shunned upon in Italy. I can’t say the Italian Government inspires me in any way at all for leadership that points the finger with blame is flawed. And so disappointing- Australia has given me an education and a keen sense of what it means to lead with integrity and purpose and love of the human condition.
My parents recreated piccolo Italia here in Mildura and built a life. They had a system that evolved with the practical hands-on knowledge of hard work. They know so much that is innate. Intuition is so lowly regarded- what we feel to be true in ourselves- I have learned this notion in yoga practice. I have often been demoted for feeling, especially in a workplace situation and I’m afraid that as a woman I have hit the glass ceiling- I’m glad in a way because clawing your way to the top is so overrated that we lose sight of the importance of what it is that is the truth. I am glad to have my eyes opened and refocused.
So in writing my stories I am not seeing the problem, I am celebrating the revelation, honoring my heritage, curiously discovering and rediscovering where I have come from and stories that enable us to reflect on better ways to live.
In that migration story, what do we gain?
In the story of our parents and others, what is it that they bring that gives us knowledge and joy and a way of life that is so unique.
That we are indeed blessed for all that it brings.