Updated: Mar 19
My mother was a very strong, talented woman and the way I see it, her roles shifted between mother and sister, teacher and friend.
She was my mother because she reprehended me, took care of me and loved me. She was like a sister because somehow, I protected her from my grandmother. She was my friend, because she confided things to me that might not have been the norm.
She was my teacher, because mothers often are to their children, and because she taught me how to dance and draw. She was my second art teacher and remains my best friend.
I do not recall if I asked for this or if my mother wanted me to, but after my parent’s divorced, I used to sleep in the same bed as my mom, even though I had my own room.
For a large percentage of my childhood, my mother dated Carlos, the man that later became my stepfather.
“Seven years of Calvary”, she liked to describe it. It was not the typical relationship since she was the only one committed to it. I can’t begin to count the times she would get up in the middle of the night to paint, trying to exorcise the turmoil within her due to him.
I would accompany her down stairs and quietly observe her paint her sorrows, until the sun came up or until I could no longer stay awake.
Her brush stroke was dynamic, expressive, strong and very organic. I must have been 8 or 9.
And what about my father? He worked on a boat I’d been told. He was the mechanical engineer of the vessel, so while they were married, I did not see him that much, or I simply don’t remember.
After the divorce I probably saw him for a few days maybe every other year or so. He would call for my birthdays and Christmas and besides that, not much communication with him or that side of my family.
There was a period there where I did not know of him for about eight years.
My identity, my existence was based on these amazing, complex characters that shared my everyday life, and the absence of a father. I was told and could see, conflicting reasons of why he was not there.
I was an anxious, lonely, angry child, or at least that is how I remember feeling. I had a few close friends but felt most comfortable in my bedroom drawing or dancing (about 4 hours a day), especially performing.
Art became my escape. I could submerge so much in it, that nothing mattered except that moment, the now.
At some point around the time that I was 11, Carlos, my mom’s “Calvary”, proposed matrimony to her. Of course, she said YES! and since he was living in the United States, we packed our bags and left everything we knew and loved behind.
So far, my life had felt like a roller coaster combined with scenes from a dark comedy. I had no idea what was up ahead.