Thursday, January 6, 2011

Alone On A Hill

Like many artists I was a miserable child.  I was born
in Rio de Janeiro.  Between 2 and 3 years old, my
mother got sick with what they thought was lung
cancer.  She could not take care of me, and she had
just had my younger sister.

I was sent to my Aunt's house in Mississippi.  I did
not speak English, and most nights I woke up
screaming, 'BEESHU (phonetic spelling) which
meant bogeyman in Portugese.

My mother's lung mass turned out to be tuberculosis.
She was given a new lease on life, and 3 months
after I'd been sent away to a foreign country (the U.S.)
where they spoke a foreign language (English)
I was reunited with my parents in the States.

They had moved back.  In 3 months I had forgotten
all my Portugese and spoke only English.  I was clearly
depressed, and after that I was a mess.  I was teased a
lot, and my misery was what made me feel special.
I often cried myself asleep.  My mother would come
sit on the edge of my bed, trying to figure out what
to do.  I took a perverse pride in the other kids not
liking me and thinking I was weird.

Then one day I was walking up the hill to a neighbor's
house.  I often picture myself pushing a bike on this
occasion, but I don't think I actually was.  Out of the
blue I thought,  "Do you really want to be like this -
miserable - the rest of your life?"  I was a little
surprised to realize that the answer was no.

Things didn't suddenly get easier for me overnight.
I continued to struggle, but it was the turning point
of my life - alone on a hill when I asked myself a
question and was surprised to find over the next few
months and years that the answer meant something.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

How lucky for you to have had that epiphany so young. Took me 42 years to take control of my life that way. Not that I was unhappy (ok, well I was for some of that time) just that I didn't understand that I could control how I felt about life...and what life had to give to me.

GO-GO RACH said...

Sarah, you are spot on with your comment! Ditto from me.

Hurt,

I am very impressed by how you recognize the "perverse pride" being weird offers. My extreme rebellion always gave me the same feeling. I can relate. I only wish I had been so insightful as a child. Good for you!

XXX
GGR