Come meet the women of my land
I open my writing home with an homage to my ancestors, the women of my past, and Sardinia, the land where my roots are planted. Come meet them!
A special welcome to all of you who have landed here through the magical Creative Alchemy Showcase!
Come meet the women of my land, where the Northwest wind is home and your guest at the bar never lets you pay for your beer.
My Sardinia, land of bandits and sheep, of legends and seashores and nuclear waste.
My women are tough, faces sculpted in obsidian stone, tough as the land of rock and sea and wind who raised them.
We have been conquered by almost everyone with any ambition in the Mediterranean.
Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Spanish, French, and worst so far, Italians.
We've seen them all.
We've fought them all.
Many retreated inland, avoiding the coast.
The perilous coast teeming with invaders.
We retreated to the swamps.
Chose malaria over submission.
The Romans couldn't conquer the innermost part of my island, so they built a wall around it and called it Barbaria.
That's where the proud and pure Sardinians live.
Me, I am from the coast. My blood was bastardised by all the conquests; I long for what lies beyond the shore. Yet here I am, a Sardinian woman.
My Sardinian women have been through it all, head high with a big hand-woven basket on top.
Hands on their waist, always.
When I was a teenager, a friend told me don't put your hands on your waist like that, you look like a peasant.
Why not? Is it not the most powerful pose? Is it not the pose our women hold during traditional parades? And what is wrong with being a peasant, anyway?
We are a land of peasants. A land of sheep.
Two million people, four million sheep.
Sheep made our women free.
In Sardinia, the man brought home the money, but the woman spent it.
Husbands leaving home with the flock for months on end, up in the mountains.
Wives at home, holding the purse.
Sardinian gods are mostly goddesses.
My women believed in fairies rich beyond belief living in the mountains, snake creatures coming up from lakes to marry mortals.
My women worshipped a Mother Goddess.
Phoenicians brought us Tanit, goddess of fertility, love and the lunar cycle. Her husband Baal came along for the ride, but she was chosen as our Goddess. Our Mother.
When Christians arrived, our goddesses and fairies became Madonnas, they became witches or demons.
Yet the Mother Goddess is still on my desk, still in the hearts of all Sardinians.
The ancient temples are still there.
The sacred well where people would gather every equinox, shaped like a mighty vagina, down to the clitoris and the labia. The moon shining on its waters every 18 years and 6 months.
My ancestors worshipped the water because they had so little of it.
Every couple of years, a drought. More rarely, a flood.
My women saw it all and laughed it off, tough lips with powerful moustaches.
All the names for vagina I know in the Sardinian language and its dialects are masculine.
Maybe because my women wanted to assert their dominance, at least in the home.
Maybe because their men wanted to believe they were possessing at least part of them.
Maybe because of the powerful moustaches, hands on the waist and unwavering eyes.
A Sardinian woman doesn't look down.
Doesn't waiver. Doesn't hesitate. Not even when she should.
My Great-Grandmother forced my Grandmother to leave school when she was ten; no pleading would sway her.
My Sardinian women can be generals in the house.
Guardians of tradition.
Or outcasts, like Grazia Deledda, the second woman in history to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
She was never welcome in her hometown again, for daring to tell the tales that happened behind closed doors.
We don't show what happens in our households; we hide our joys and pains, dress them in biting irony.
We are a land of secrets. Or else.
We are a land subjugated, wounded, our Mother Goddess wept for us so many times.
When the Italian kings came, cut our forests, banned our language, sent the most vicious guards from the mainland to keep us under control.
When Mussolini drained our swamps to gain more popularity among us, and it worked.
Today, when most of our young people move to the mainland or abroad in search of work, our hearts forever torn and overflowing with stories of a sandal-shaped island beaten by the wind.
I bear a last name of Spanish origins, like many of us.
Was my forebear a conquistador, pillaging and ravaging the coast?
Was it a wealthy family, sent from the mainland, to crush these damn sheepfuckers once and for all?
It matters not.
I am a Sardinian woman.
I may shave my powerful moustache, but it's still there, stubbornly coming back again and again.
But I live my life in the sun, no more secrets or intrigues.
I have the imperious brows, the hands on my waist.
But I am sculpted in shiny, crumbly granite, with ever-changing hues. Not dark obsidian.
I have the yearning for the coast and the unnerving Northern wind.
I have the stories overflowing in my heart.
And now the sea is freedom, the sea is home.
I have the Mother Goddess of the Shardana in me.
I take her out into the world with me.
No matter where I am, she is with me. And I am her.
A woman of stone, sea and sun.