• Valentina Poletti

A safe home

As a child I always felt safe in my grandmother's home. It was a magical house, with clocks and bells, including a cu-cu clock. It had lots of cabinets filled with treasures, such as a story books with images that popped up. In the evening we played cards in the living room with another aunt or a neighbor. She would should me her plants on the balcony and how she watered them. She used to hug me tightly and say "ah you donut!". She used to cook delicious things, and always had some kind of cake in the kitchen. We used to watch movies in the living room which were translated in Polish with an over-voice. No-one was allowed me to beat me, insult me, or yell at me under my grandmother's presence in her house. I felt safe there. I felt loved. After years passed family and work kept me away from my grandmother. Even after all these years, and in spite of our differences (she is very cynical and negative and abandoned herself to victimism with regards to her degrading health), I still feel the same in her house. I feel unconditionally loved here. So why can't I stay here? The victimism and cynicism act as a strong point of repellion towards me, no doubt. Moreover there are frequencies in Poland that are hard to deal with. As I walk on the neighboring streets I can feel the darkness of the surrounding people, it is something in the lines of hopelessness and worry, of just getting by and surviving. People here also have a terrible relationship with food, which they use merely as a comfort or a way to escape themselves. It is heavy with meat, dairy and refined flour and sugar. There is little room for health. Old people drag their overly heavy and sick bodies around. Young people are overly concerned with work and life issues. I kid you not, when I was walking in the neighborhood yesterday I saw an old man steal a head of garlic from a grocery store. Today as I jogged on the streets I saw a large Polish flag hung on a main crossroad, with something written on it "Warsaw has not forgotten '44". When I stopped in a meadow to do some post-run stretching, two old people stopped to ask me if I was ok, if I had fallen. When I explained I was simply stretching they said "but the grass is wet". I wanted to jokingly respond "I will try not to get poisoned by the water", but I realized they might take my comment seriously. These frequencies are so heavy that while you stay here it is not possible not to be affected by them. They crash you with their weight. There hasn't been a single day here where I haven't felt tired. My stomach also sometimes feels a bit uncomfortable, particularly when I try to eat their foods. It has been very hard to keep my healthy habits, such as exercise, and the relief promised by comfort foods has been quite tempting for me as well. There is no space for proactivity, dynamism and constructive thinking here. My dynamicity pulls me away from here, and is indeed the very thing that is distancing me from this place.

It is interesting how on this long journey I keep encountering this contrast between dynamicity and stillness and their shadows.

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