When I was a kid I fell into the sea because I was unaware of the danger.
I was spending a day at the beach in my village with my mum and some relatives.
This on reflection was the first time I remember I felt shame and fear.
I felt like I lost control of my body, I was unable to perceive the real danger and this experience stayed with me.
It is a recurrent dream in my mind and a feeling that follows me every time I am beside the sea particularly in Naples.
Fortunately I didn’t drown but the experience of nearly drowning, the fear, the embarrassment and the reaction of the adults around me caused me great shame and guilt. Leaving my city, my relatives and my home I feel the same shame and guilt
Neapolitan people don’t like to question things, they don’t like change, change is frowned upon. In Naples I am baffled by my fellow citizens, that they refuse to embrace change, to except a different reality, I always find that I am alone and isolated in my willingness to embrace change.
I would like to express the above, using the Neapolitan language to relate the tradition and primitiveness in my language (Neapolitan) which I find closest to who I am.
“Sonn’ ca’ nun teng père” the projected writing on the wall translates: “I dream that my feet cannot touch the bottom of the sea”. Essentially I feel I am trying to walk underwater all the time, but I cannot touch the bottom of the sea or find a new place or a less deeper sea in which to move, a calmer sea is out of reach.
I am in a limbo state where ” change” becomes a form of “guilt”a situation where I am unable to choose the easiest option.
My brick wall is the representation in how I wish to lay down the guilt and shame barriers, the heavy consciousness of this is the weight of the bricks, punctuated with the words ‘o scuorno ‘n faccia that means “shame on my face”. (It’s the wall of my shame).
My guilt and shame effectively holds me back from moving forward Neapolitans I feel do not feel this same guilt and shame, they are held back by tradition, history, religion and relay on “ciorta”. The white brick on the wall read as “ciorta” which means “destiny” or “fate” or “luck” and it is common to hear: “I am still waiting for my ciorta” from many Neapolitans. This expresses the fact that I choose a different life pattern, because I don’t want to wait for faith I want to decide my own destiny.
In the glass brick the words “paga prega” “pray and pay”, is a duty in a sense that religion makes people’s lives centred around feeling guilty and ashamed and pay their dues to God.