oldpic2I am writing these lines with my past coming alive in my senses:  the smells of the house where I grew up, the wind tasting centuries old, touching my skin as I became a girl, the sight of those infinite adobe walls, gray and cold, able to hold time. Every crack representing a part of my life, a part of my reality. Perfection was alien in my world; everything I grew up with was flawed.  I was born on a cold autumn morning in April 1974, after my mother had trekked almost 5 miles to the hospital, when only the military had the privilege of walking the streets of Santiago at night. As she walked, her womb opening to the beginning of my life, she prayed for their empathy. My life began

I think back now to the colors and smells of autumns past, as I began to live my life surrounded by warm earthy colors – oranges, browns, and reds – in contrast with the grayness of my country under a military regimen. The discipline of a military government didn’t mutilate my desire to dream about becoming famous by making a difference in the world. I didn’t enjoy playing with dolls; my days went by playing make believe with my brother. Our house became a daily creation of our fantasies: we had different stages, from a hospital to a an enchanted castle to one of the most famous stages in the world where my brother and I imagined performing in front of thousands of people. Some days he would check out, had episodes where only his drawings and music exited him and I had no place in his world during that time. Vacations where never part of our agenda and I didn’t see much of my external world.

Not allowed to play with just anybody due to the social standards of my family. I was kept inside most of the time, as if my grandparents were keeping me from harm. I grew up trusting who I was, and the very little I knew about life, felt so right.

I grew up in a middle class family with a passion for life, red wine, tango and politics. Sundays was the best day of the week, the whole family would listen to Tango, my grandfather would read the Sunday newspaper from cover to end. My dad was the cook. It was his passion to delight us with an eccentric meal full of flavors and colors as a contrast to our monotone meals of the weekdays. I would patiently sit under the sun like a lizard waiting for my “Tata” to finish the newspaper so he could pay attention to me {I was his princess}. Time had no meaning, it was Sunday, a day to just Be and get spoiled by the love of each one of them.

A sacred day for my Grandma’s religious believes. My grandfather was an atheist. Sometimes I wonder if this had to do with the corruption of the Catholic Church, he spent all his school years in monasteries, educated by priests. I wonder if something changed his mind there.

My world started to change, as I became aware of things that I shouldn’t have under my perspectives. When I was about seven, I followed my dad to a nearby bar where he met this lady that looked nothing like my mom. I walked back home, very confused but I don’t remember if it hurt me. I guess I took it as one of those cracks in my walls, that life wasn’t perfect, so why should my parents be? It is probably a pretty mature response from a seven year old, but I didn’t think much of it, it is what I can make sense of now.  Meeting this woman had really no big meaning in his life, I never saw her again. When I think of the many instances where he just proved to live a life that had no tomorrow, wife or kids all I can think of was his passionate and self destructive way he had about living his life sometimes. Despite all his flaws my father was my role model; he made me dream big every time he spoke. He had a desire to build a life that was bigger than I had ever imagined.  I trusted him. With all his craziness, today he continues to be my hero…

My dad grew up in a high social class for those times, with a cook, a housekeeper, a large home. He met my mother by destiny.  He had been kicked out of so many schools that he ended up in this hole in the wall school and it was there he met my mother.  She was born from the passionate love between a waitress and a married banker both from very high standards families.  But she was forced to spend most of her life with a very poor adoptive family, which my grandmother paid to race her because she could not work and take care of her at the same time, she feared to just leaved her with anyone, her best choice was to leave her with this family on the weekdays. My grandmother lived a childless life with my grandfather from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, my mother would be picked up to spend the day with both of them and returned to her adoptive family during the week. A day that had a cleared contrast to the way she spend her most of her time with limited food in a house with 6 others kids of a single woman that survived with my grandmother’s salary.

My mother was a beautiful young woman full of life. She strive to do everything that was in her hands to give us a life of love and stability, the life she did not get to enjoy while growing up. Fighting against the instability of my dad, made it a real challenge. Her love for him was the only thing that kept them together for almost 20 years. Until the day came that she finally realized that this man that she had madly falling in love with was not going to grow up, at least not in this lifetime.

Those are the characters I spent my first 11 years of life with, living all together in a 18th century home until one day, my dad decided to change the course of my life 180 degrees, with out planning of course (as you all can imagine, he did a lot of living in the moment!). We came to United Stated of America, where my grandfather from my dad’s side had been living since the 70’s.

Today I try to live in the “Now”, but I can’t ignore how I got here.

The cracks on those walls taught me that either perfection is only a myth or that maybe that was perfection. The military regimen taught me that everything is temporary, nothing is forever, and if you hold resentment in your heart then they won the war. My “Tata” taught me that you can’t judge people for their religious believes, this man didn’t believe in God but had one of the greatest hearts I’ve known and I inherited unconditional love from my Grandma, always be there and show up regardless.

Remember who you are and then Re-Create.