November 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’ve been asked to provide a background story, going even further than the crypt. I didn’t until now because I felt that’s the start of the story, because in real life, for me: it truly was.
I didn’t feel like writing about anything before that because it was just plain normal, and that’s not the purpose of the blog. Boring you to death. In any case, I’ve reconsidered and figured to honor the request. I will provide a background story on me, a prologue, which is meant to be read as a precursor to the first post, the first part of the story, which begins with “the girl who came back”.
Once again, I ask of you: please read the blog from the beginning. The three most important posts are “about this blog” – “old town” and “on dracula” – also the “who am I?” page will help with clearing up some confusion about who’s writing this. All in all, those are required to read if you plan on understanding anything out of it.
Without pushing it further, here it is.
I was once unaware of what lies beneath our sight. I was a normal, unsuspecting teenager, which cared about nothing more than parties, girls and antiques, which was an unusual hobby of mine, as a teenager. All that changed one November day.
I was born with great struggle and nature itself seemed to repulse my birth. The skies turned dark and there was a great storm the day I was born. Seriously, I have it on tape and also know this from my mother, for she remembers the day perfectly, the day in which her child was born, she was denied hospital by fate, because of that very storm, she never made it to the hospital and had to stay at home, giving birth to me.
I try to think of that as a coincidence, and that it is. A pure coincidence. There are lots of rainy days when people die, and it doesn’t mean anything. The world had punished me not even three months after my birth, when communism fell, violently, riots and shootings, my life was almost taken on a cold December day, by a stray bullet. I survived. But nature had reserved even more for me, for I was only eight months old when fate pulled one on me again, and condemned me to death before I even had the chance to say my first word. I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in a time, and a country, which had no means of getting out of [communism] and had no means of helping you either. Nature didn’t want me. Trying to take my life before I was even born, then twice in my first year on this Earth.
My mother did give up on me still – and with great difficulties she got me across the border into neighboring Hungary which had just opened its first clinic that dealt with infantile leukemia, and six months later, after being the sole survivor of this horrible disease, I walked out on my own two feet out of that hospital.
The doctors were well prepared – in theory – saying 1% chance of survival for my condition, and they were right. For I was that 1%, although I’d soon find out it wasn’t the doctors which healed me. Nevertheless, I had tricked nature once again.
Years later, my older brother and I, my mother and my father, are a happy family – we get along so well that we can’t recall our last fight as a family. Even as far as my brotherly relationship, we were special. We were best friends and brothers in the same time. We were living in the town where I was born, I was the sole member of this family to be born here. We were living in Sighisoara.
We were living at the base of one of the oldest citadel in Europe, a citadel that gave birth not only to me – but also someone you might have already heard about – Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula himself as you know him, was born here.
We are a wealthy family and I was the boy who never missed a thing in his life. I had it all, even though I was so close once to not having anything at all. I was handsome and I knew it – my high school was buzzing with other people just like me – but all looked up to me. I set the tone for parties, I set the tone for anything that happened in those four years in the high school.
My friends respected me and I respected them. We liked each other and I liked them even better, for accepting me as their leader. I never searched for this. It was just who I was. I never considered myself better than anyone, but they always saw me as shining brighter than anyone, being smarter, better looking, more wealthy – and more than a thousands times I received the same compliment which haunted my life since I can remember – “you make me feel better with myself in some way” – I never understood why people told me that. Boys and girls, they all seemed to be better, happier and lively – in my company. I didn’t do that. It wasn’t me doing any of that. I was sure of it, but had proof only years later.
I enjoyed taking decisions for them, I enjoyed leading. I enjoyed having the power to say NO to anyone and I enjoyed girls looking up to me, day dreaming. I was any teenagers dream, yet I never worked towards it. It just came to me, naturally.
They enjoyed having someone to rely on also – they enjoyed asking me for help and I always supplied. They were always sure I will tell them the truth no matter what, even if it hurt. And I did. They were sure I will fight in their name if I regarded the cause as being unfair to someone. I did. They put their trust in me with the most delicate issues and each and every time, I came through and never in my life betrayed them or let them down. Nobody, friend or foe.
I had a certain style of thinking, making decisions, accepting risks and facing consequences that no one else had. I was brave when others bowed in cowardice and I was humble when others boasted their strength. I said NO when everybody said YES and I asked WHY when everyone obeyed blindly. I prefer to think that those were my most important qualities.
At the end of the day – I was a normal teenager. I went to school, came come, went out with friends and then repeated. It got boring at times, in a small town like this, but not too often, and I was content with my life. How couldn’t I be?
I lived everyday to its full – I was well aware how precious life can be and I was always haunted by memories of needles in my bones – bone marrow extractions – at the age of one. I remembered them vividly. Take no pity on me because of that, for they were my greatest weapon. They made me who I was. Those memories. They made me live my life, they made me face it bravely, they made me happier than everyone I knew, because I knew how to taste life and die happy at any moment, if the moment would be to come too soon.
I had no religion. I was never baptized. My family never had a religion. I have never prayed and I have never set foot in a church. It made me sick – to my stomach – thinking that people prefer asking for help from some all mighty power instead of doing something themselves – I call it cowardice. It made me sick seeing how the churches and priests are dressed and covered in lush garments and ornaments, golden goblets and crosses, yet they were preaching self-sacrifice, a life of piety and help for the poor. I was raised not to trust fairy tales and not to act out of faith, but to trust reason. I was raised to examine and think for myself. I was no fanatic of any other style of thinking or rules and morals that I have been taught, by books or other sources. No, I had formed my own. No. I had grey morals and values – I believed in doing what’s right – but I decided what was right and wrong. I believed in doing what is right, regardless of consequences. I was raised by my parents as an independent man – they gave me free will and plenty of decisions. They supplied me with more trust that any offspring could take. They gave me total control of my life from a young age. I chose my own path. I chose my school and university later, I chose my friends, I chose when and where I went out. I chose everything in my life and that only made me stronger, for I was aware that my morals were just and my choices were right. My parents have never, ever, doubted me, my thinking or my decisions. They supplied advice, but never interfered. Do what you wish, and learn from it. That was their creed. And so I did.
I received training from a young age in philosophy, critical thinking, piano, hand-eye coordination exercises, self-defense lessons – I enjoyed sports and I trained consciously everyday. I ran as far and as fast as I could, everyday, only to do it again on the way back home. I enjoyed swimming wherever possible, diving as deep as I could and holding my breath until I was to brink of death, every time. I mostly enjoyed swimming against the current – in icy waters – in the river of my town. I felt like defying the tides, defying nature, spitting in its face. A river that told me to go down, with it – I refused – I swam upwards, against it. That would later become the story of my life. The boy who always swam against the current. My parents taught me that self educations is more important above all – I was taught that school does not teach you anything, it guides you, but you are the one teaching yourself. I was encouraged to learn only that what interests me, and not to waste time on things I consider unnecessary. So I did.
I studied things that we were not taught in school, and in the same time I neglected school in some areas. I had no interest in learning all the rivers of the country by heart, yet I wanted to know more about world geography. I had no interest in knowing which battle took place in a certain year, yet I was interested in the political and economical reasons behind it. I had no interest in learning about mundane stories, prisons or convictions, but I was keen on learning about the reasons behind them, and the law to which they submitted. I had no interest in learning each and every declination of each and every word of my language, yet I was keen on learning Latin and English and later, as my mind allowed it, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese – make no mistake, these were all easy languages for me, given the nature of my native language. Romanian, at its core, Latin, like the others. I had no interest in learning advanced algebra, yet I was very interested in chemistry and physics. I had no interest in learning every species of owl and frog that inhabit the Earth in Biology class, yet I was more than interested in learning human anatomy beyond what we were taught in school, studying the general anatomy of said species, studying the hormonal system – that which powers our emotions – and studying neurology in humans, from a very young age.
Don’t think I was a genius – no – I was, and am, no smarter than you. I had barely scratched the surface of all that I mentioned above, but the important part is that I knew their basics and I was interested more than ever in them.
Other than that, I had few rules and principles in my life, but the ones that I had were set in stone: never let down your parents, never forget about your brother, take care of your blood for it is not the same with water. Don’t bow your head and believe the saying that the bowed head the sword will not cut. It will cut it, and even easier. Do not bow your head.
I was fair with my friends even when I had to lose – I always knew that I wanted nothing else from then in return, except the same privilege. I was an independent and morally mature person by the time I hit 10th grade and yet, I was a child enough to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
I knew how to forget everything and leave everything that I have learned aside, I knew how to let go and relax. I knew how to dumb myself down and enjoy my life, with friends. I knew that the outlier will be pushed out by society, so I forced myself between two worlds. The world of knowledge and the world of average, the latter allowed me to be happy and social.
I changed since – all that changed one day – when my simple, wonderful and at times boring life changed. I was headed yet once again, for a new day and new smiles, new memories and a high school life to remember and cherish. That one particular day of November – I never made it up the stairs. I had failed to set foot on the last of them, I had failed to say hello to my friends once again. I had been pulled like a fish out of the water, from my dreamy life and banished into what seemed for me at the time, the depths of hell.
Now you know me, go forth and read the story – see how I became better yet in the same time lost all of the above. See for yourself what learning something impossible does to a person. See how you can shed your skin overnight and shift your priorities. See how it’s never right to lay a plan for your whole life ahead of you, when everything in your head can shift radically, with one look in the wrong direction.