Mamma mia! mamma tua, mamma nostra. Do you have an Italian mother?

Woman talking about religion

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We all know that Italians are considered “Mamma Mia” people, do you know why?
There are many other ‘family-countries’ though, even more conservative, still Italy is the land of the ‘mamma’.
It looks like that people from Italy are the only saying these words, in the most various circumstances. It has been reported that, even when Italian Astronauts are in the space, they have used this sentence.

We could spend long time researching the reasons why those words are used so often and the history of such an attitude which is now a indisputable italian stereotype, but this is not the only matter of this writing.
This is also the story about my Mother.

I don’t know if I can call myself Italian, I mostly say ‘I was made in Italy’, or ‘I am biologically Italian’, but one thing is sure, I do use the expression “mamma mia! ” as well.
I’ve never lost the habit of using that sentence. Because of this, some people makes fun of me (non-italians of course), but I don’t want to force myself to change this way of speaking, if “mamma mia!” comes in my mouth, I let it go.


MIA MAMMA

I didn’t just use to say ‘mamma mia’ as a random exclamation, I used to outcry  those words -or just the first- regularly, every morning, as a kid, when I could not see my mother in range of sight.

While teenager I finally stopped being a “Mammone” suffering of “mammismo” (‘mamma dependence’), not just because of my age going up but also because my mom went away, somewhere, without coming back.
She left in 1998 and even if I feel her presence inside of me, I didn’t materially see her.
When she left I remember that I was about to leave myself, I could not accept the happening.

The bizarre surprise I had, was that in those days, when I was aged 16 and I lost her, I noticed all people around me turning into friends, even long time ‘enemies’ and people whom I was fighting with short before. Those persons were suddenly so kind to me, this was quite distressing.

There was one kid I was regularly playing and arguing with, he waas called “Gennaro”, we had daily contentions because of his habit to kill small insects just to enjoy the action, give pain to harmless creatures and making me upset.


One day Gennaro told me: “If I was in you I would let bury myself in the tomb with my mother… but you didn’t”- blaming me to not have done it. To not have have screamed in the streets.

He was not the only one who had such a way of thinking. In south-Italy the death of a loved one (or even a hated one) is often an misfortune where, if you don’t show your complete desperation to the public, you are seen as somebody who is not suffering and many will think you are a miserable person.
At school and in the neighborhood everybody recommended me to go often to visit the grave, to be a good “christian”.
I didn’t do it.
I don’t think this would please anyone, also because whenever you go to a grave in that area nearby Naples, there is a mafia-system with some individuals ‘taking care’ of the graves, asking you -or forcing you- to give them money (actually Mafia and Mama’s have also some connection, but this is another topic).
I prefer to follow her words: “love me now, not when I will be death”.
My love for her, I will give to what’s next to me, following her words and lifestyle, on my way. Being happy and trying to transmitting positiveness.

She was often talking to me about an Italian book, called “Libro cuore”, telling the story of a group of kids, students, growing up and having adventures, contrasts and loves. It was a patriotic, colonialistic story where the author aimed to give an ‘unified feeling of citizenship’ in the newborn Italian Kingdom.
Strangely enough, Japanese cartoonists made a Manga from that story, a cartoon that was quite popular in Italy, of course (as many other manga’s are), but had nothing to do with Japan.

I thought that if more cartoons were made with ‘worldwide’ patriotism, or in better words, where the attempt of the author is to connect all the citizen of the globe, we would feel as part of one big territory, we would not even need the feel of citizenship or having patriotism-issues anymore.
Many manga’s were actually made where the earth was attacked by exterior evil forces (Mazinga, Goldrake, Daitan, etc…) still, we needed to have someone else to consider outsider, the bed ones, – aliens, etc- , because we never manage to just feel as individual beings in serenity, but we need to group ourselves into one certain category or culture, in order to feel proud of being alive and belonging somewhere.

From the manga’s I also developed an uncommon love towards Japan, which I will reach by Bicycle in some time.


 

MOTHER’S HONESTY

Mamma’s are often considered holy persons, for sure in meridional Europe and in other southern cultures, such as Latin America.

If we look deeper in the ‘Mamma mia’ expression, we could find links to the christian personage of Maria, which is considered by many religions to be the mother of us all, extremely worshiped in Italy (and many other countries).
The Italians use the exclamation ‘Madonna’ as well, which has exactly the same usage of ‘mamma mia’, with some more holy inner etymology of course.
Some say even ‘madonna, mamma mia’ all at once. Those are extremist Mamma Mia people.

Mamma’s are considered honest thus, I don’t know if I can define myself as honest as my mamma, but for sure I aim to not be dishonest, I actually remember a scene with my mother that keeps reminding me to be honest.

I was circa ten years old, me and my mom went to take a metropolitan train, which in Naples area becomes a ‘panoramic’ train, because of the long unaspected stops and delays. We had to ‘jump’ on it fast cause it was about to depart and we didn’t have the time to make a ticket. Nobody checks tickets on that train, also because the quality of the service is really low. My mother made tickets at the station where we get off , afterwards when nobody could have checked. She would feel as a thief if she would not have done it. This may seem normal for someone from north Europe, but in South Italy it’s not.


 

MAMMA TUA

In Puerto Rico I met Jimmy Navarro, I am glad to have met him not just because he is a popular Actor and experienced Theater Artist, but because I felt a good connection with him. Probably because of some similarities in our past.

Most of the few friends, that get really close to me, have lost one of their parents, ironically I get to know it just after a while I met them.
I noticed that I have better relations with persons having a similar sad past as me. Remarkable? Normal? just a Coincidence?

I believe that the common unfortunate family past made me more connected and spiritually aware with those friends.

It’s the ultimate negative experience, when you reach the bottom, thinking nothing can be worse, that gives you the power to understand it was a sacrifice, a loss that will not be filled up with another individual person, but with love for who and what is next to you.


 

A BOOK THAT HELPED ME UNDERSTAND DEATH

It’s not easy to know what to do and how to behave when you face the biological death of loved ones.

A book that helped me understand was: “No fear, No death” – by Thich Nhat Hanh- . In Italian called “Il segreto della pace”. Book that goes profoundly  into understanding that we are one big organism and how life goes in circles…

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