All of my elegant change I spent on you

Each month has its days dedicated to something or someone. There is the international day for the fight against smoking, the international jazz day, the world bee day! There are really something for all tastes; from the very serious and heartfelt ones to the more curious ones like the day dedicated to tuna! I went through the list and there are so many.

When I was little, as I remember, in addition to traditional celebrations, there was only Mother's Day and Father's Day. For some years, on the other hand, even in Italy, precisely on October 2nd, some figures very dear to me have been celebrated: grandparents.

I have a very sweet memory of all my grandparents, but I have to make a confidence: one of them has a special place in my heart. Nonno Ciccio was a very important person for me, he was my safe haven. When I weighed 108 kg, all the relatives were on me to make me lose weight, and in this way they did nothing but put more anxiety on me. “Consuelo, you are so beautiful, but why don't you lose weight?”, “What a beautiful face you have, if only you could lose weight”.

They loved me, I know, but in that way they did me nothing but harm. Nonno Ciccio was an elegant and distinguished person, he always spoke impeccable Italian, almost never in dialect. The only times you heard him speak in Sicilian was when he had to say something important. Or when he got angry! And when he saw me overwhelmed by those talks about my weight, grandfather Ciccio got angry and the room echoed with his "Lassatila stari, lassatila stari!" I can still hear the warmth of his voice repeating "Leave her alone, when she feels like it, when she feels ready to help, she will!"

He was a tall, clean man… with his graying hair and scented with gel in that bottle green coat of his he gave me serenity with just presence. When I then heard him take my side in such a decisive way, that he did not allow replies, my anxieties vanished.

When I was sitting on her striped sofa, all red and silver, I felt like I was on a safe island. With grandpa Ciccio I was safe! I watched TV from that sofa, and every now and then I shifted my eyes from the cartoons to him, who used to rest next to me. And I approached in silence, so as not to wake him, and checked if he was breathing: I was so afraid of losing him that even a nap would alarm me.

Why this story? Just to describe the unconditional love, the trust that grandfather Ciccio most of all gave me. Without exaggerating, I can truly say that he was the one who saved me. Over time, with hindsight, I often thought and often still do, how he defended me from the attacks of those who wanted to force me to lose weight, who did not accept me as I was, who did not give me the trust I would have needed.

What did grandfather Ciccio do? He loved me in such a disruptive way that I started loving myself!

My grandfather was right when she said “when she is ready, she won't use food like that”: loving myself was the first step towards change.

Today I eat with peace of mind, I have stopped binging compulsively. Food is no longer a fake friend with which to fill my voids or a tool with which to satisfy a hunger that has nothing to do with my stomach and my desires.

Food is now simply what it should be: the gasoline for our days. Of course, it is still a pleasure to savor a gluttonous food, share good times at the table with loved ones, but food is no longer an outlet.

This is the importance of having a person next to you who loves you without constraints, who accepts you as you are and who gives you trust.

This is true for all harmful attitudes, not just those regarding food. The various addictions, emotional or material, the various ways in which we hurt ourselves more or less voluntarily, are certainly not contrasted by the type of phrases that I heard myself repeat as a child. And which often have the power to achieve the opposite effect.

Celebrating this day dedicated to grandparents, I wish you to have a grandfather Ciccio next to you and, if you don't have one, be the grandfather Ciccio for yourself!

I hope that my confidence in the form of an article has been of some help to you, especially in making you understand the importance of trust and strength that a few simple sentences can have on a person's self-esteem.

Write to me and together we will find that strength you feel the need. That strength that as a young girl I did not know I had and that the words of a loving grandfather were able to bring out.

Happy birthday, grandparents!