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.


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.


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!