W”RE WHISPERS 3. CINZIA – We Share Power

Cinzia is 55 years old. After studying languages, at 26 she married and at 30 she had her first daughter, Laura. After many years of marriage and three children, she has divorced and is now trying  to reinvent herself as a free-lance interpreter and translater. She is realizing how much she has always relied on her husband for money management and many other aspects; now she is dealing with it, rediscovering herself as a woman and as a mother. She always finds a way to create something new because she believes in relationships with others. Once passionate and feminist, she is brushing up her passions. #gentlefighter 

 

 

December 15th

Cinzia closes her eyes and leans her head on the wooden headrest of the sauna. She is naked and feels at ease, she smiles thinking about how, when she was a girl, before having Laura, she felt embarrassed to be completely naked in front of other people. Now, after three pregnancies and many battles, she feels at home in her body.

She is in a resort in the Dolomites at a yoga retreat with some of her yoga classmates. They are now friends, all of them have gone through divorce, and this made them immediately united. Of course, this long weekend didn't cost her little. Every now and then, when relaxation is too much and real life peeks into her thoughts as if it doesn't want to be forgotten, she thinks about all the problems she's had since she divorced: ​​paying the bills, managing her relationship with Laura and the two little teenagers, meeting new people, not feeling too old.

And, above all, not feeling guilty of finding time for herself, of being independent and spending some money for herself. Basically, everything she's let her husband do all these years, she thinks.

Yet, she can only think like that for short intervals. Leaving the sauna, she searches for the line again to send a message to her children’s group chat: Fantastic saun... Delete. It's beautiful here... Delete. She feels strange talking to them like this.

Is there still food in the fridge? 😊🎂🥙🥐🍟 Did you call grandma? I'll be back tomorrow. Send.

Then she goes into the room and lies down on the comfortable bed, she will miss this place. She looks at the effects of the sauna in the mirror and pulls the skin of her face to see herself as a girl again. She smiles. She thinks of Anna Magnani’s famous quote: “Leave all my wrinkles, don't take away even one. It took me forever to make them!”. The guilt feeling disappears again.

Continues.


W”RE WHISPERS 2. LAURA – Mind the Gap

Laura is 25 years old and is a freelance journalist who lives in Milan with her roommates. She writes about fashion and female entrepreneurship but her dream is to have a successful travel blog. Laura is an activist: the issues for which she speaks out are the climate change and the gender gap. At her age she's trying to figure out how to step into a woman's shoes, how not to look like her mother, and what to learn from her instead. Her mother is Cinzia.

 

August 27th

When Laura meets Nina at the café where they've set up for the interview, she thinks: she's cool. She can see it in her eyes, even if they are a little tired. Laura always trusts her instinct, despite being a twenty-four year old, she can feel it thanks to a sort of wise old lady who lives inside her, to whom she can always refer.

After just a few pleasantries, as Laura likes, she understands that Nina is slightly older than her, but with a completely different life. She mentions children. From the questions she has prepared, she discovers that Nina is an architect, who’s ended up, or rather stuck, in the fashion world, for which she has a lot of passion but which was not exactly her dream.

While they are talking, a message arrives on Laura's phone: "As soon as you return to Milan, call me". She rolls her eyes and Nina interrupts her speech. "Sorry, ignore it," they smile. "It's my mother, who sometimes decides to be a mother".

It's her prerogative having no filters, even with strangers. But only when the wise old lady trusts who she's talking to, otherwise she doesn't let anything pass. After a second of silence, that second in which she decides what to do, by looking at her interlocutor’s eyes, Nina says, smiling with a sweet confidence: "You don't know how much I can relate".

At 5.30pm Laura gets to her car to drive back to Milan, plugs in her phone and clicks play. The music starts. And as she whizzes along the highway, she thinks back to the hours spent at that table in a café. How similar one can be even when living completely different lives, and how much the wise old lady inside her still has to teach her about the infinite thread binding daughters and mothers.

Continues.

 

October 29th

"Claraaaaa are you ready?", Laura shouts from her room to the bathroom, where Clara, one of her roommates, has been locked for forty minutes, as always before going out. They are very different in this; Clara can't go out if she isn't made up and done down to the smallest detail, Laura is a fan of the natural look, or in any case it's the only one she can do. "I'm coming, I'm coming, don't worry. Give me the pink ribbon and let's go out." Laura and Clara are going to the breast cancer prevention stand, where they are volunteering to raise funds. In this they are the same.

"Laura we must do something. Have you seen in Iceland? Thousands of women, including the Prime Minister, went on strike a few days ago due to wage discrimination and gender violence. We should do the same thing here too, do you know what would happen if 90% of Italian women went on strike?". Laura expresses the obvious with her eyes: "The country would stop, and it would be really cool to see it happen. I was already thinking about a post to make, then we can go to the Collective and jot down some ideas."

She doesn't know where she got this desire to have her say and try to change things. Sometimes she looks at her mother and it seems impossible that she got it from her, but lately she sees her in a new light that she still doesn't know whether to appreciate it or not. They end up arguing every day.

She takes her cell phone out of her pocket and opens Instagram with the EcoSisters account, the page she and Clara created at the end of an aperitif that lasted hours on the day they truly got to know each other, after two months of casual encounters at demonstrations and university assemblies.

New Post – Selfie with pink ribbon – Copy: “If we all went on strike, united, they would understand our value. See you at 6pm at the Collective."

Continues.

 

November 19th

Dear Wanderers,

I know you've been waiting a long time for this, sorry for the wait. I promise it will be worth it.

 

03.06.23 Mexico City, 10.58 pm

We landed late in the evening, after twelve hours of travel. We were tired but the adrenaline kept our eyes wide open. On the one hand it was the emotion of having arrived in that place full of life, on the other it was the fact of being two girls, alone, in Mexico City, in the middle of the night. I dare anyone not to be biased.

Do you know that Mexico ranks fifth in the world for the number of feminicides and is considered one of the most hostile countries in the world to be a woman in?

As often happens to us women, we do not have the freedom to travel carefree and light. You know that it is a topic that I care a lot about! In this story of my trip to Mexico with Giada I can finally tell you what I think about it properly. (These will be reflections made on the spot but nothing at all happened to us, on the contrary!).

Laura takes a deep breath. As always before immersing herself in writing her blog; she takes a deep breath as if she would then stop breathing for hours. As she does so, her eye falls on the completely white crumpled sheet of paper to the right of the mouse. She wonders how it is possible that she spends entire days writing about everything she's passionate about, what they pay her for and current affairs, but she can't put down two words for her mother.

That still empty letter has been there for weeks.

As she runs out of air and feels her head lighten, releasing all tension, she decides to postpone her written therapy once again and dedicate herself to what allows her to escape with her thoughts whenever she feels the need: her travels.

Continues.

 

November 26th

Laura is returning home by train after three days in Florence. She was there on behalf of Grazia, to write a piece on the annual festival dedicated to women. Her head is full of thoughts that bounce on the clouds and countryside that are accompanying her on this journey. She is thinking back to a speech in particular that she listened to shortly before leaving again. This was done by Carla Rinaldi, one of the few women in fashion management, who spoke, among other things, about the importance of financial education for women's emancipation.

Laura is thinking without knowing it: When I have questions about money-related matters I always call my father. When I was seven years old, my grandfather told me: Laurina, your husband will buy you a nice house. I want to ask for a raise, but I don't know if I deserve it.

Then she looks at the envelope she placed on the seat in front of her. It's the gift she got for her mom; Christmas is near. One of those gifts you don't look for, they find you. After the speech she went to introduce herself to CFO Rinaldi, they had a chat, and she received an invitation: "We are going to a Café, our friends hold a Talk, together with Oxfam, on fashion and empowerment. If you have nothing else to do, come!".

She had accepted, and on that afternoon of November 25th she found herself in a warm and informal corner of Florence, dedicated to women, fashion, craftsmanship and sustainability. She had felt at home. That's why the gifts had found her. It seemed to her that they contained everything she wanted to say. She had gotten a t-shirt for her mom, which she will give her when they are alone, and a tote bag for herself. To have her say even when she doesn't speak, she always wants to have her say. Because for her every moment is a good one to denounce patriarchal society. Because that gap keeps her up at night. Because it looks perfect with her black jeans split at the knee.

Laura bought herself a bag that says MIND THE GAP.


W"RE WHISPERS 1. NINA - Fearless

Nina is 38 years old, lives with Alberto and their two children Zeno and Luna, and is an architect. She dreams of opening her own studio, in the meantime she is trying to make ends meet with work and family but she doesn’t always succeed. Her greatest fear is that of failing in her relationship with her children and, at the same time, that of losing credibility at work. But she doesn’t stop believing in love. As a woman she often feels inadequate compared to the standards imposed by society and social media “fit, fashionable, sexy, career, perfect mother and lover”; she therefore looks for situations in which she can remain herself, be calm and make mistakes lightly. Her best friend is Carla. #believer

 

May, 26

Someone said “fashion is like architecture, it’s all about proportions”. Was it Coco Chanel? Nina repeats it to herself every day, while driving to work, or at the airport, and takes a deep breath silently inhaling the smell of the sweater her friend Carla bought for her many years ago, before everything changed in their lives. She often puts it on before leaving, to always feel at home.

Then, at the red light, she lets go of the wheel and pulls down her baggy cuffs, now deformed by time, to cover her hands. Proportions, well, in that sweater no longer exist. That involuntary gesture they made as young girls, today is a search for protection and a familiar place that somehow reminds her who Nina really is.

“Fashion is like architecture, it’s all about proportions”, she repeats it like a mantra, to bring order to the chaos in her head, in search of that harmony that she loves and has studied so much. A harmony that does not seem to exist for a career mother.

“Where are these proportions, eh Coco?”, she whispers, while she sees in the mirror the empty baby seats, and feels an emptiness in her stomach. That’s how she feels, every time she leaves for work.

Where are these proportions when it comes to someone who’s a woman and a mother?

Continues.

 

June, 17

Nina opens her diary and smiles, the Emilian countryside darts by the train window under a beautiful sun. She has always liked the train, it gives her a sense of security. As she rests her forehead on the window, and lets herself be cradled by the vibrations and warmth, her hand holds the diary open, as if closing it won’t make her plans come true.

She’s going home.

Under her fingers, on the date May 16, she has written a big “HOME”. Surrounded by a pink circle. She always does it, even if she’s away just for two days, enlarging the exact moment in which she will be able to strip off the Nina who deceives the world with her fake confidence. The other Nina, striving to realize the dream of opening her own architecture studio – a concentrated, balanced, great lover of art, and at the same time capable mother and confident lover – and finally showing herself for what she is, as soon as she takes off her coat, lets go of the trolley in a corner, pushes off her shoes with her feet, throws the keys into the plate of wood, and says

“Here I am”

Here she is. Full of love, she doesn’t know where to direct it, of fear of never being up to it, of apologies in the eyes for Zeno, Luna, and Alberto, her life partner. She looks at him as she hugs her children, they tell each other everything without saying anything, and she finally feels at home.

Continues.

 

July, 17

She’s been home for a month. Right now, she feels good as a mother: she takes care of the small details, organizes get-togethers with friends and children, manages things which had been postponed for months, but above all she is in their routine – breakfasts, games, swimming pool, she and Alberto on the sofa while Zeno and Luna chase each other.

The Nina-woman, on the other hand, is worried as always that she is not doing enough to open her studio. She feels the days spiraling out of control, never enough hours and too much work. Now, while waiting for Carla on a bench, ready to go and see an exhibition on Yvonne Rainer and her The Man Who Envied Women, she is on Laura Ferri’s Instagram profile. A young freelance journalist who collaborates with a fashion magazine and whom she will meet tomorrow morning for an interview about her company.

12,000 followers, environmentalist, she is not even twenty-five years, thinks Nina. She’s looking at her photos with that pinch of envy she always has when she’s on social media. It seems to her that everyone is freer than her, more beautiful than her, more focused than her. Deep down, she knows it’s not right to think like that. But she always finds in others what she lacks, she has done it since she entered adolescence and high school was clearly divided into “those who could and those who could not”. She hasn’t stopped since then. So, while she thinks about tomorrow morning’s interview and looks at the stories of a girl who seems strong and free, she already knows that she will have to let out the “other” Nina: the one feeling (or pretending to feel) self-confident, in a way which even surprises herself. 

And like every time she feels she needs it, as if these embroidered words between her shoulders became her own skin, she will wear her fearless shirt.