F E D E R I C A

Rome | 2019

 

F E D E R I C A

City Rome
Age  31
Love life Single
Profession Restaurant owner
Years in Rome All her life
Location — Restaurant Rolli 1

T H E  R O M E  S T O R I E S

‘I GET

UNDER-

ESTIMATED

A LOT’

  • What makes you happy? “Family. Women in Rome are obsessed with their families. Without my family I wouldn’t be able to function, everything I do revolves around them. Last year, when I lost my father, the pain was indescribable. Someday I would like to have a family of my own, but first I need to find the right person. As a kid I grew up with this beautiful ideal of what a family is, but creating your own family is not so easy these days. We kind of lost seeing the value of having a family. Maybe because Italian parents tend to hover and suffocate the dreams of the kids. Italian kids are less likely to leave home, because they are very attached to their family. And once they do start a family of their own, they can’t always maintain unity. Maybe because women and men are too independent from each other nowadays.”
  • What is your best personality trait? “Doing good. I always try to help everyone, especially the people close to me. But I’m helping too much, so now it’s starting to take its toll. I probably should change. My family takes it for granted that I take care of everything, because I’ve always done it. Also, when I fall in love I give too much. I’m very compliant with the other person. It’s a disappointment that others don’t treat me the same way I treat them. I should learn to not take it so personally and to not expect anything in return. But I keep failing at that. Sometimes my good intentions are misunderstood, people think I have no ‘character’, or something, but being friendly fundamentally is my character. Even when dating. Once men notice that I’m polite and smiley, they want to take advantage of me. I always need to work out whether this person really cares about me or not. Maybe I should act more aggressively and wear a mask, to make people believe that they can’t mess with me. But when you know someone well, it becomes more difficult. I’ve been told to act more arrogantly, but that just makes me laugh.”
  • What makes you different than other people? “I think most women of my generation like to stay on the surface. Sometimes I pretend to live like that as well, but I really can’t do it. It’s also a lot about appearance, about posting selfies on Facebook or Instagram, but I’m more private. Nowadays that is considered strange.”
  • What is your biggest struggle? “Every day I’m hoping to put some of my problems aside, since I do have some issues with myself. I don’t always accept, or like, myself. I’m not very self-confident and I’m very strict with myself. Objectively, I know I don’t look that bad and I’m not a bad person, but I don’t always feel it. Probably because I’ve been taken for granted and get underestimated a lot—and I don’t mean to have a pity party here. I have to work on being straightforward with people and making sure they value me for what I’m worth. But I always get mad at myself instead of others. I sometimes hurt myself and do things I shouldn’t be doing. I stay awake and eat a lot, basically to get sick… It’s an escape, but in the end, I have more problems. Maybe a psychologist could give me the strength to face things. Right now, I’m facing disappointment in love, with family members, in work life. Altogether, I’m tired. It’s life, but I could do better.”

  • What is your biggest life lesson? “The end of my relationship two and half years ago has taught me a lot. The relationship itself taught me what it means to truly love someone. I gave all of myself and discovered the greatest love of my life—but also the greatest suffering when it ended. I grew from this experience, it made me understand life better. I know now that it’s ok to trust people, but to make sure to have your own life as well. Because one day a person might be there, and the next day he’s gone. And then you have to go it alone.”
  • What is your biggest disappointment?
    “I’ve always been very closed off, since I was little. I likely should have lived more. There are still a lot of things I want to do that I haven’t done yet because I was afraid, embarrassed or because I thought it was improper. I was so rigorous, I wanted to appear and behave perfectly in front of the entire world. Now, I’m rebelling. If somebody tells me what to do, I do as I please anyway. Another disappointment was the end of my relationship. He was much older, and he would make me feel very important. Before I met him, I was a dreamer. But he destroyed my dreams about marriage and children and everything beautiful, and put my feet back on the ground. Now I’m scared to love again. I want to be more relaxed about it, but I keep on opening up to people who don’t deserve it, and then I get disappointed again. I know I’m a valuable woman, I know how to do a lot of things, and I find it scares men off. Italian men are not used to a woman being pretty and hard-working in her own restaurant and making a home. Even intelligent men tend to think no woman can do it all. A lot of men like you best if you’re a bit stupid—it’s easier for them. They want you to believe they would do anything for you, but in the end…”
  • What the best advice anyone ever gave you? “My ex always said, ‘the woman makes the man’. Which is true. Where there is a great woman, there’s a family. A true woman keeps the family together. Otherwise, many families wouldn’t exist anymore. A man could never manage all the things women do for their families. When I look at my mother, I see an example in her. More good advice is to have the courage to forgive. For love or for your family. I no longer want to give validation to the person who gave me this advice, but it’s true. When you love someone, you forgive them. I forgave. Sincerely, I tried to forgive. Even when it was hard.”
  • What advice would you give other women? “Take everything that life hands to you. Probably because I would like to hear this myself. You don’t fully experience life if you keep telling yourself, ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’. It’s like Robin Williams says in the film Dead Poets Society, ‘Carpe Diem, seize the day’. So live your life and have fun, because today we’re here and tomorrow—you never know. I missed out on things because I was constantly restricting myself, always concerned with work or family. So I’m still in the process of taking my own advice. To really try to live fully and embrace everything that life brings. Even when people come along—perhaps they only make you happy for a week, but at least they help you go on.”
  • What is your biggest dream? “To live peacefully with the right person. Or maybe there doesn’t need to be anyone next to me, as long as I reach a place of true inner peace. Preferably, someone who gets close to me would make an effort to make me happy as well. Instead of trying to use me in some way, whether it’s sexually, or in a friendship, or at work. I believe I deserve to be happy. I’m a good person.”
  • Is there something you regret? “I could have been a singer. Singing is everything for me. It would have helped me to deal with life, for sure. To truly cultivate something just for me. It didn’t work out because of work and because I can be shy. I also regret that I never went to study psychology, because I got engaged. It would have set a different turn of events in motion. Most of the jobs I’ve had have been physically challenging and exhausting.”
  • What does Rome mean to you? “Home. Just home. When you’re born in a city like Rome, it’s impossible not to be in love with its beauty. I love my city, warts and all. When you get the opportunity to experience life in Rome fully, city life can be rewarding. But I don’t like the chaotic rhythm of life here, it’s too much and too stressful. It leaves you anxious. If I look at who I fundamentally am, I would immediately move away. But every time I stay away from Rome for too long, I miss it.”

Photos by Piero Cremonese
Make-up by Evgenia Pukhaeva

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