Experience Over. You can come home now.

Deborah born in Brazil wrote:

I think childhood was the most difficult time of my life. I felt like I had been deposited into this strange world and had to learn how these aliens lived. Truly. I was always waiting for the spaceship to land and say: experience over. You can come home now.

One of my first memories – I was probably 2 years old at that time – is being sat around a table with my mother and grandmother. At that time, I thought everyone in this world had a job to do, a position, a title. My mother had been designated as such, so was my grandmother. I remember being surprised to hear my mother calling my grandma, “mom”. I also remember asking how come my grandma was my mother’s mom. I thought she was just my grandma. She did not or could not possibly have another job. They all looked at me puzzled and my mother said that she could not possibly be my grandmother without being her mother first.

I was outraged! My mother took my grandmother away from me. I felt that since she was first her mother, she would not be interested or do her grandmother job properly… And that takes me to my mother….

I will not analyze here why my mother acted in certain ways or tried to explain her feelings or her life before having me. This is to be discussed in another place, perhaps in another 3 or 4 books. I will just try to explain how the actions or omissions felt, from my little selfish point of view.

I do not remember my mother holding or kissing me. I remember her holding my sisters and brother. I remember thinking that if I were patient enough, after she got done hugging and holding everyone, my turn would come… well… it never did. She was not mean or anything. Just oblivious. There was always something important that she needed to do. I was the oldest. I had the obligation not only to understand, but to help her. So, I figured that there was something wrong with me. After all, she hugged and held my siblings.

I remember, to get a little hug from my mother, I would go deep into the ocean, whenever we were at the beach. I was a good swimmer and at that age, you do not have a sense of danger. So, my mother used to tell me to wait, she would go in with me, and for few minutes, she would hold me when my feet did not reach the bottom any longer. 

When everything else in dry land failed, I tried to be good, to excel in school. I was five and my hobby was to read encyclopedias and dictionaries. I was one year ahead in my class and the best student, which did not make me particularly popular among my classmates. That is probably why I do not have any connection with them.

This brought me some applause from my parents and a sense of pride to them, but no hugs for me…

What was wrong was still there and still wrong.

I loved watching TV. I guess that I thought by watching different characters in different situations, I could figure out what I was doing wrong. I especially enjoyed watching horror movies, the classic ones like Frankenstein, Dracula, the Werewolf. They also did not fit in. They also yearned for love. And there was an extraordinary explanation for their condition which was not their fault. There was also the spiritual side. The good versus the evil. The constant victory of the good

Watching TV made me analyze myself. How would I have reacted under the same situation? I would say: she is too weak. She is too bold. She is very courageous. I lived all these situations and by doing that, I learned very early on to empathize with others, to put myself in their shoes. And how I thought everyone expected me to act and react.

I was 6 or 7 years old and had received a small white Chihuahua as a gift from a former neighbor. I remember opening the box and my mother was beside me. I thought that she would be pleased if I acted surprised. So, with my best Oscar winning face, I opened the box, turned to her and said: “It is alive!”, with a big smile…  

Bingo! That was the talk of the family for a week. I laughed inside because I had just learned to manipulate my family! Little did I know that this early exhilaration would become a guilty feeling afterwards.