“Love is a silent film: remove the volume and concentrate on gestures.”
In the last year I’ve been thinking a lot about this thing of speaking actions. Gramellini explains it well in his book, I will try to make a summary. We remove the volume of words and look at the expressions, actions and gestures of the people around us. If someone tells us “I love you” every moment but then is absent, treats us like we were a piece of furniture bought and placed in the corner of the room (bright and airy, but always a corner) maybe it’s not love. At lowered volume his lips may have pronounced anything rather than I love you, like: “iron my shirt” or “I’m hungry for pizza” or “my foot hurts”.
If a person tells us “I want to be there for you” and then does not respond to messages, never calls, always has other things to do, in the moment of need is not available, turn down the volume and the sentence become “see you if I have time” or “I like the color blue”.
If a person tells us screaming “fuck you” but for doing it does 10,000 miles swimming, at lowered volume we will see how much passion and love he puts in his gesture.
My therapist showed me the opposite way. If I continue to say that something is not good for me, screaming, crying, writing, but I continue to do it, perhaps at a lowered volume I’m telling the opposite.
It is a year that I try to act on what I feel in my heart and what I say, and I also try to look at other people’s speaking actions. It is a tiring exercise because to look at the actions often I feel bad, but how much substance and truth jumps out!
Here then one of the most wonderful speaking actions that I happened to see, I would like to share it with you so that it is clear to everyone that if you want, you can.
Valerio is a friend of mine. He lost his mother when he was a child and there was a lump in his throat that is neither up nor down. He lived, grew up, had fun, but he did not tell anyone about his mother, how she died, what memories he keeps of her, how he felt devastated without her, how he feels in debt to life. Grown he has become a wonderful man, sensitive and vital, but insecure. It almost seems as if he expects that beautiful things are taken away from him, that he deserves it a little, like he’s not worth it.
Valerio is a wonderful friend and has fallen in love with Luca.
Luca on the other hand grew up concealing to his loved ones being gay. He lived his hidden life, perhaps for fear of being judged or for fear of being no longer loved, I do not know. I believe it is so for everyone, when we decide to show who we really are and we open our hearts to someone, the possibility of not being loved and accepted for what we are is scary, so we do not reveal ourselves. Luca is a wonderfully funny man, cheerful, hypochondriac, who takes care of his elderly parent with love and gentleness.
A while ago it happened that Valerio’s father died after a long illness. Valerio suffered, like everyone in a situation like this. But the death of his father moved inside him this block of his mother, hidden and buried but always present. Valerio takes calming pills, a bit too many, and has a nervous breakdown. Luca leaves the office and runs to him. He finds him upset in tears and lets him talk. Finally Valerio start to talk about things seen and feelings experienced and a paralyzing pain that a child should never feel.
Luca listens, he would like Valerio to take everything out but he knows that for these things it takes time, patience and love, that this hopefully is only the beginning of the opening, that there are no things that can say to make Valerio feel better, to make him feel loved. But there are things he can DO. Talking actions.
So he thinks about it for two whole days and then the action starts. He leaves home, goes to see his parents and tells them:
“You know, Valerio is not just a friend, he’s the man I love and I want to spend my all life with him. Not only I love him, but I want to marry him”.
Then he goes out and calls Valerio and tells him everything, like this was normal, like this was simple to do, like he said: “Let’s go to eat an ice cream!”
And this ladies and gentlemen, is the speaking action that contains in itself a strength and a love that I do not think I’ve ever seen before, certainly much more powerful and true than anything said at high volume.
The next time someone tells you: “it’s not that I don’t want to, but I cannot” turn down the volume and have a laugh thinking about Valerio and Luca.
Meanwhile, I prepare an exaggerated dress for the wedding, with a hat and gloves of course.