I don’t look like anybody.
No one has my eyes, my lips, my hair.
I know nothing about genetics except what I learned at school.
No one to tell: “I talk like you”, “I scratch my nose nervously like you do”.
I feel lonely.
I feel alone.
I have friends, parents too. I have a sister, she is not my sister. I’m home, but this is not my home. Am I wanted?
I don’t know. Sometimes I answer “yes”, but the road back to the original wound is short.
If I’m here, it’s because someone wanted me. I’m not so sure about that anymore. Coincidences. Like trains on tracks. Randomness.
I know I’m here and I’m not here.
I fall in love. I love. Authentically at first, then loving becomes an addiction. Not to be loved, but to love. Because it’s like I deeply know that I will be abandoned again, as has already happened. No matter how much I love them. One day they will be gone. That’s why I try to cling to the flesh and as long as I can to the leg of those I love. This is not love. That’ s not the way to love.
That’s trying to hold a liquid in my hands. No matter how tight I clench my fingers, there will always be a crack that, drop by drop, will leave my palms dry.
I look for words, glances, cuddles. The more I find physical contact the better. I already know I will lose them, I can feel it. But it’s as if I stay by the fireplace until the last bit of embers freezes. I know it will extinguish. But as long as I stay close I will live one more minute. I will relish an extra moment of warmth.
It’s not a fear. It’s worse. It’s almost like an awareness.
No matter how much I suppress myself in order to disappear into a person by giving them all of me. I will lose them as I have already lost myself in that relationship, by slowly erasing myself.
I want to be the way you want me to be, to please you.
So that maybe one day you won’t abandon me.
But I deeply know you will anyway, yet I can’t stop.
And it’s terrible, because it happens in the relationships I care about the most.
Why would someone be with a person’s shadow? Why would anyone be interested?
I’m not capable of getting out of it. I can’t love myself to the end. I am defined by how thin I become for other people.
I would also stop eating for you. So that I can think about you for as long as possible. I mask all of this well, behind witty words and apparently meaningful speeches. The truth is, I’m justifying myself. I’m trying to convince myself that I’m not a shadow.
I’m a cancer to the people around me. Forced to watch me grow in their lungs until they leave.
I wish they wouldn’t abandon me but, in fact, I do everything I can to make them want to. As if the outcome ultimately supports my fear and the insane theory that, in the end, I’ll be alone. It’s diabolical. I’m good at it. I’m really good at it. They don’t even notice. No one has ever unmasked my plan. Not even me sometimes. I believe this so much at this point that I don’t know what is real and what is not. If one lie becomes real, you can dedicate your whole life to it, convinced of your actions, without ever being aware of it.
I wish I were like everyone else: with eyes in which I could recognize my own. With nervous tics that are also someone else’s.
You people have no idea what a privilege that is.
Andrea Casagrande is and artist and photographer based between NYC and Milan. He was alumnus at ICP in NYC and has exhibited most recently at the International Center of Photography Museum in NYC. He has been assistant to renowned photographers such as Max Vadukul, Giovanni Chiaramonte, Lucio Gelsi and Teo Poggi among others.