february 14, 2017 // verona, italy
casa di giulietta: a place where women (and some men) of all ages come with their timeless questions and heartaches. you know, the age-old tropes: "does true love exist? but does it exist for me? tell me, juliet." heavy hearts and weary hands pen letters to juliet in a quiet desire to be heard.
from here, head through the main square, pass all of the young lovers sharing cappuccinos at sidewalk cafes, take a right down a sleepy cobblestone street, and on the left you’ll see it: club di giulietta. here, volunteers—dubbed "juliet’s secretaries”—spend their days writing handwritten responses to the hundreds of letters that come in each day from around the world.
hope lives here. hope is with the women who give up their time—expecting nothing in return—to offer solace to the broken-hearted. hope is in the written reminders—you are beautiful, you are important, you are worth loving. hope is always in the most quiet, unassuming of places, like here, in a little corner of verona.
i spent the day here, reading dozens of letters and replying to the ones that spoke to me. i read of a woman in her 70s who fears her marriage has lost its spark. "how do i get it back, juliet?" i read of a girl, 15, feeling abandoned by her friends who were all getting their first boyfriends. "when is it my turn, juliet?" i read of a woman in her 30s who has been in love with her best friend for years and doesn’t have the heart to tell him. “is it worth the risk, juliet, to tell him how i feel?" i even read of a man who has all the love in the world to give, but no one to share it with. “i want her to sleep in the bed i made, under the roof of the house i built, but where is she, juliet?"
my heart is heavy for them. i wish i had the words that could change their circumstances, but instead, all i can offer is the solace that someone hears them and that their pain is valid.
i’m reminded of this today: everyone just wants to be loved and heard. it’s really that simple. may we go easy on each other, for every heart is jagged around the edges. may we be safe spaces for one another, for everyone deserves a place to be heard and seen.
thank you, club di giulietta, for letting me participate in your magic.
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