What big eyes you have…

by Valentina Tomirotti
Valentina Tomirotti

What big eyes you have…

– All the better to see you with…

More than a fairytale, this is my love life.

Love screws you over and that’s a fact.

It sneaks up on you from behind like a Celine Dion song, leaving you unsure whether to commit suicide or buy a majority shareholding in a tissue company. It runs you over and throws you off course.

We need to understand this so we can learn to live with each other. We make the mistake of thinking love is something mathematically equal, something to experience in multiples of two. I think this is the mistake that we’re most familiar with. Loving yourself however, should first be a duty, then a constitutional right, something that is penalized with a life sentence of corporal punishment like forced abstinence from chocolate and junk food.

We only recognize love when the tears are falling, but we should also recognize it in our laughter lines. I’ve limited myself on this front, but I’ve never limited myself in life. I want to explain to you how I feel, in these lines where I ramble on to the point of choosing between living and existing.

If I had already reached the finish line, I would have a lot more gray hair than what I cover up every month, painting my head worse than a Picasso. However, I can tell you about a kind of love that is different, a love that is music to some people’s ears while grating on others’.

I make love with words before I make love with my body. For me writing is a physical exercise, while others let it out at the gym. I exercise my soul, drenching it with ink. It’s a beautiful escape, making peace with everything you weren’t given in life. When they were handing out perfection, I was most certainly absent, daydreaming, and they passed right by me. I don’t look perfect, sound perfect or even feel perfect, but I hunger for love, just as much as I hunger for chocolate.


I have started to paint this piece because love “sitting down” is understood as comfortable for convenience but not coexistence.

I am in love with myself first then with others, because this is the only way that people who choose to be by my side can reap the goodness that I carry within. We fall in love by respecting ourselves, but mostly by throwing ourselves into new experiences, listening to ourselves less, but talking more. We fall in love on the surface and beneath. I don’t walk, but I fall in love and I run with my feelings.

At 33, I still haven’t figured out if I fall in love to escape boredom or because I want to build something that goes above and beyond the expiration date. It’s difficult not understanding or knowing…this really is the phase of tangled questions that demand answers – answers that, in the end, are maybe just too easy to accept. And because I love myself, I decided to dust off the old Valentina, the good girl who is always on track towards good but ordinary goals. I am not normal on the outside or the inside.

After the Boudoir Disability project I never covered up again, I no longer cover up my ideas, goals or even my feelings. Things have changed, a lot, it’s like people need me to understand that under these clothes there is a real woman. Now that all these things have been nurtured and accepted, it’s raining disasters. Every day I wander deeper into this emotional labyrinth. I’m torn between heart and body and, while on the one hand the situation doesn’t seem that complicated, on the other I keep reaching a dead end when trying to make the decision between doing the right thing and enjoying myself.

The way forward hasn’t left me behind, but this time it’s baffling; with twists and turns, I struggle upwards and suddenly drop way down. This brutal hormonal game that’s too beautiful to stop. I’m not raising any white flag, I’m going to survive this slalom and stay afloat. Some days it’s as easy as breathing, other days it’s as easy as crying.

I follow two parallel paths that share nothing in common: I find myself suspended between the two, every day fondly cursing the outset.

I nourish a person inside me, she has inner peace, butterflies in her stomach, and palms that sweat while we wait for each other, she is always there and always will be there, for as long as she wants to be. She doesn’t know love, but she knows me better than anyone else. I can’t say that I love her, but I can come close, perhaps because with him I am her. Our relationship doesn’t need labels and it has no limits, but it has walls that we take turns building to keep ourselves from destroying everything.

It’s half a game of Risk and half a game of Monopoly: we’re at war, but we choose each other every time to keep building more. I don’t know where we’re going, time passes and I feel trapped by a situation that’s undefined, but nevertheless deserves to exist. We shouldn’t call it love, but need, the need to mark our territory, to plant a flag in the head of another person as if they were a trophy or an anchor so that we can feel alive.

It’s a daily struggle between feeling loved and being present in someone else’s life.

I don’t know where all this is going, but I entrust myself to my heart and my instinct. My own hands hold nothing if not him. What’s keeping me from leaving? At the end of the day, the suffering would be greater if he were no longer part of my life. Look at it as a small consolation. He’s a walking antidepressant.

The song birds are dead, the flowers poisoned and the sun is blocked out, if you look at the other side of the coin and you have a relationship with another person that wants you unconditionally, he accepts the complete package and he takes it all at once, while his girlfriend is busy daydreaming about their future. I’m the female version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I’m not proud of it, but I have the courage to admit it and to be sick every time I look in the mirror, but a lot of gray areas lie between wanting and being able to do something, amidst light and dark and so much healthy adrenaline.

I’m aware that I have no goal, that I don’t want to build anything, that I never discuss the future and especially that I never demand he change his life of which I am a part of now, even if I don’t exist.

God, it’s great to take advantage of these damn wheels just for the fun of it: being in a wheelchair allows you to be set aside and seen differently from other women, you’re not seen as a rival.

You wouldn’t expect a man to lose his mind (or something else) over a pile of defects that speak for themselves upon sight. This is what we call dirty egotistical freedom, but for once who gives a shit.

Ask about him, not about me.

Rather than a life, it seems like a game of Russian roulette. Sooner or later I’ll lose and I’ll pay for it, but for now I’ll make my mistakes with a smile on my face, waiting for an “I love you” to materialize and linger on my lips for more time than a kiss in the dark.


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