As a child growing up I always felt lost, never ‘quite’ fitting in anywhere. There are no early recollections of doting grandparents, pets, best friends or favourite places before the age of six. I have absolutely no memories of those early years or what life as a preschooler might have been like. I later learned I spoke only French and idolized an older sister who I tagged after whenever I could.
Shortly after turning six I was placed in an orphanage and the next two years were a blur. I have vague pictures of severe, forbidding nuns who had no tolerance for a curious child. I do have a sense of being unhappy and very much alone.
At age eight, I was again uprooted. My meager belongings fitted into a small dark brown suitcase – a few clothes, no toys or dolls. I was going to live with a family in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, a few hours from where I was born. The trip was long; I was feeling carsick and very frightened.
My new parents were staunch middle class people who were rigid in their beliefs and morals. Although they adopted me and were good people, they had no time for my daydreaming, but felt an education was the most important thing I could possess.
I guess you could say life began for me at age eight. I had acquired two brothers, parents and a nice comfortable home. It was also during those early years that I discovered my unquenchable thirst for reading. I had stumbled across a big box of books and devoured the words. I learned that I could literally lose myself for hours on end only surfacing when I had to.
Although I eventually settled in and grew to care for my ‘new’ family, there was always a void in my life, a longing that could not be satisfied. In my early 30’s, I began a search for my birth family and found my mother and siblings which helped somewhat.
Fast forward several years later – more time with my biological family, having my own family, great jobs, my own business – and finally the decision to pursue my dream of painting.
There are still times today though that I feel completely alone, that lost little girl, adrift and belonging nowhere. That old cliche “feeling alone in a crowded room,” is very true for me. I think this is what inspires me to continue my love of reading, and to discover myself in my new passion – painting. It is here that I hope to fill that void, to fill my soul with love and beauty. I dare to dream!