Skip to main content

The Love Series: Building a New Identity Through Love

The other day I was sitting by the small window in the corner of my living room. A seemingly insignificant spot in a new place, candid and clean, yet permanently stained with a premature cocktail of meaning and memory. I was having a cup of bad coffee as I made a list of all the things we still need to buy for the new house. A rug, a new lock for the bathroom, a TV set. I was trying to think of wallpaper for my room, choose a colour and a pattern, something that speaks to me and about me. I’ve always striven to describe myself through my surroundings: every object and stain on the wall must have history and sense and meaning. But that’s not easy to do when you have no idea who the hell you are anymore.

I went from being a person with the strongest sense of self to being… someone else, a stranger to myself, a different man in a new house and a new skin. What had changed in the past six months? Well, things have happened. God, sometimes it feels as if, in my life, things never stop happening, that I can never catch a break. And yes, admittedly, some of these things have left a permanent mark on me, but it would be reductive to assume that such radical inner revolutions are the result of ordinary life events. They’re not.

I probably haven’t changed. I think I am just now realising that I am not who I thought I was. Perhaps all the living and feeling are finally revealing my true colours, the ones I was too blind to recognise in the past.

But how do you come to this realisation?  I would say that, of all the life-changing things that have occurred in my life, nothing has been more crucial in this process of self-discovery as love. I am building a new identity through love - the promise of it, the idea of it, the longing for it. It was by loving that I realised that all the pre-conceived ideas I had about myself, based on groundless myths heavily conditioned by my upbringing, my naiveté and my obsession for fictional narratives, were just a fairy-tale I told myself to placate my worries as I helplessly observed my sense of self wear thinner and thinner.

Life was easier before love got in the way. Not a day goes by that I don’t envy the loveless me of last year. An unstoppable force, a hurricane in reverse that created more than it destroyed. An invincible lust for life, a willingness to participate in it, to sow the seeds of expectation and reap the beauty that came from them. That stuff’s still there, I just don’t know what to do with it anymore. I don’t create much, these days, I am just too tired. I spend my time and my energies trying to understand how I can love better, how I can change someone’s life, how I can give them what they wouldn’t be able to get from someone else that isn’t me.

Yes, I was blind with happiness last year, but things are a bit different now. I guess you can’t really keep up such madness, it’s like a year-long acid trip that your body and your heart can’t possibly sustain. That’s why I had to stop. Perhaps, the more you participate in life, the more you consume it, the more you feel compelled to take a step back and find some time for contemplation. I know that if don’t, I’ll end up burning bright and fast, and despite there being a chance that this is indeed the unhappy yet romantic destiny that awaits me, I don’t want that to happen. Not yet, anyway.

Love has changed many things:  my appearance, my taste, my sense of morality. There are some things about myself that will never change, but all the rest is up for negotiation. And that’s what love is doing to me. Building a new identity around the things that I couldn’t (and wouldn’t want to) change, helping me achieve my full potential, showing me that there are so many more sides to being human than I could ever have imagined.  

Sure, my life without this kind of love would be so much easier. I’d be happier, healthier, richer. But I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t know myself. I would be living yet another lie and God knows I am done with lying. You know at the beginning of a new romance, when all you want is to uncover the mystery of the person sitting in front of you, to know what drives them and what moves them? That’s how I feel about myself now. I don’t know who I’m becoming, I don’t know if I’ll like it, but if there is one thing I know for sure is that I must keep on loving if I ever want to find out.


Popular posts from this blog

The Love Series Podcast - Episode 1: "Mirror, mirror on the wall..."

Nightmare scenario: have you ever met someone from online to find out that they look... NOTHING like the pictures? Host Valerio Esposito talks us through the scary world of millennial dating: from first-date horror stories to the most common myths on conventional attractiveness and dating "out of your league". Click on the following links to Episode #4 of  The Love Series Podcast 

The Love Series Podcast: "It's Ok He Already in My DMs"

Host Valerio Esposito speaks to algorithm 'experts', Insta-celebrities and a scientist to learn the rules of love in the age of social media. From posting 'thirst traps' to sending tasteful nudes via sliding into someone's DMs, only one thing is certain: dating after Instagram will never be the same. Click on the following links to listen to Episode #5 of  The Love Series Podcast 

The Love Series: La (Not So) Dolce Vita

Being Italian has been the single most beneficial asset in my dating life. Growing up in Naples, I was just a guy. In London, I became a “charming” Italian guy. In Milan, my Neapolitan accent is a liability. In the UK, apparently, it’s the sexiest sound known to man (and woman), the immigrant version of the siren song.   After taking residence in the Big Smoke, I quickly realised that Brits have a very precise idea of the Italian man, made up of mainly preconceived notions. They’re harmless for the most part, certainly romanticised, often flattering, but prejudiced nevertheless.   You know what they say: if you can’t beat them, join them. And join them I did. I first came to terms with the extent of my super-power that one time in 2015 when I held the door for a middle-aged woman at a Pret in North London. I said something like “after you” or “good morning” and as soon as she heard the effortless way with which the Rs rolled off my tongue she almost dropped her butternut squash salad o