Here it is the first chapter of my book with the release on EASTER 2021! -Chapter 1- It was a recurring dream. Buildings, trees, and people stretched in size in a fraction of a second while I shrunk. All that grew in me was the despair of not being heard in that distorted world. My screams echoed through the giant legs of my parents and brothers, but did not reach the parabolic ears. The worst was realizing that they didn't miss me. Family members, friends and colleagues showed no concern for my whereabouts, as if there had never been a Richard Wygand in their lives. When I remember the loneliness I carried in my chest when I awoke from the nightmare, I feel deep compassion for that frightened boy. Ah, Rirou, my man! How I wanted to be able to go back in time and hug you. Sit next to me and say that a man cries too and that you can cry when you feel like it. I was also going to teach you that you can say what you feel and listen to the music that moves you. Heavy metal, punk rock, reggae, samba. Does not matter. Try all styles, kid, that's what I was going to defend. Then, I would invite you to go skateboarding until the sun meets the sea in Rio de Janeiro. A meeting like this could take away that bad dream from the lonely room of the apartment at Cosme Velho, in Laranjeiras, once I lived my childhood and pre-adolescence as the beginning of a trio of energetic boys, children of a marriage that ended when I was 3 years old. We lived with my mother and grandparents in a middle-class condominium that was two kilometers from Christ the Redeemer, a symbol of faith similar to the giants that drowned out my pleas for help while sleeping.
It took me decades to realize that waking up from that nightmare didn't mean relief. My voice also did not find any attentive ears in the real world and, just like in the dream, I kept shrinking until I became an introverted, depressed child, with binge eating and bursting with aggression. In the first fight at school, I remember crying. My colleagues didn't understand anything, because I had hit the boy. The disagreement started with a soccer crash, a trigger to vent the toxic masculinity that many men carry. The boy cursed me, I snapped, and he tried to kick me. As I was already beaten by two much bigger than me, I managed to defend myself. I reacted by reflex, grabbed my leg, swiped the other for support, and my colleague fell on his back, running out of air. We still clung to the floor and I started punching him, while crying.
I cried a lot until I was 7 years old. Any change in a place’s energy or a person’s mood was enough to tighten my grip. Soon, thick tears were streaming down her face. My brothers, their friends and my own made fun of me when I reacted crying to a disagreement on the playground or suffering from a stupid joke. I remember singing “Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure and laughing in my face. As any child would, I ran to the nearest adult who could protect and comfort me from that tightness in my chest. But the giants did not seem to hear the little one and preferred to ignore what was happening to me. So, after hearing so much that I was a big boy and that a boy shouldn’t cry, I ended up learning to swallow my tears and hide my feelings. Ah, Rirou, my man! It didn’t have to be that way. Yes, a man cries, and it is very good to cry, see? Several generations of boys have been manufactured by this violent way of relating to themselves, to others and to the environment in which they live. The result was billions of insecure, frustrated, depressed, unhappy and destructive men.
After 33 years and thousands of kilometers traveled, after countless therapy sessions, of all kinds, and meeting wonderful beings that allowed me to conquer the freedom to enjoy my pleasures without censorship, I can say that I am closer to healing than who never imagined little Richard Wygand, so frightened in his world of oppressive giants.
In that unlikely encounter, in addition to comforting you from the bad dream, I would show that the Rirou 2020 version has grown enough to face the internal and external monsters. I'm sure he would be proud to know that in the future he would become an accomplished man, husband and father. Such a return to time would be so incredible and important that I would not hesitate to tell you that we are now strong enough to declare war on the greatest dehumanizing of human creations: the Roman Apostolic Catholic Church.
Yes, because I do not blame my parents or grandparents, nor any adult who contributed to my education. My mother, poor thing, recently divorced, trying to return to the job market, without time to watch three big guys. In that chaos, saying that a man doesn't cry was the easiest way to create a shell on me to withstand the world outside.
The problem is that out there was a society based on religious principles, poisoned by limiting truths about what is right and wrong and ignorant enough to threaten children to hell just for not following Christian moral standards to a T.
Swallowing my feelings was the first armor I was put on to deal with the world of real giants, but no one protected me to absorb the raised fingers in my direction who thought I was a bad boy for listening to heavy metal, punk rock or skateboarding.
I was eight years old when I heard from a friend of my brother that the Slayer undead poster, which he had in his room, was the certificate that the final judgment would not be easy for us rock'n roll lovers. "You listen to these songs of the devil, know that Jesus is going to return with a train, take whoever believes in him, and burn everything else," was what he said.
For those who liked the style, like the three of us at home, hearing that sentence caused me a lot of fear. That boy knew something that I didn't know. I could be right, I don't know.
Unable to cry and terrified of suffering the judgment of others for being who I wanted to be, I ended up withdrawing until I deserved a good guy pat on the head. The reward came in calories. I devoured all the food I saw in front of me. Half a packet of white bread with honey or ketchup was a common snack in my afternoons. At birthday parties, no one exceeded my count in the number of hot dogs. Overweight, at the age of 7, I became a boy who knew he was a good person, but who anesthetized himself with sodium and sugar to fall asleep without fear and guilt. The worst of it is that none of this saved me from encountering the giants and loneliness in a nightmare.