First life : 1980 – 1994
I was born on July 17th 1980 in Bad Aussee, Austria. I would love to attach cheesy attributes to that, like “on a hot July morning” or “after a heavy summer rain”, but how should I know, what weather it was back then, so let’s go for it without any kitsch.
I grew up with two absolutely awesome younger brothers – Leonhard and Christoph. Leonhard, just a year and a day younger than me, was my closest confidant, a co-conspirator in any and every nonsense that you are supposed to do as part of your full-time job of being a child and a keeper of my innermost secrets and dreams.
Christoph, our little angel, was six years younger than me – my very special, beautiful, spastically paralyzed brother, who was the center of our band of siblings with his huge, warm and lovable personality.
In retrospective I think, that the first years of my life had been filled with all the love and encouragement someone could wish for, and that they constituted the basis on which to master the blows of fate that came later and which made me into the person I am today. It was golden summers at my grandparents’ farm, cosy autumns with long walks through colorful woods, snowy winters with hot cocoa and cookies and tender springtimes that brought back the color in my cheeks. Even today, these memories from long ago form oases of comfort in my soul. For today, they give me places of peace and strength deep in my soul, when the storms of life rage once again.
My very best and oldest friends were, from the moment I was able to treat them reasonably well, my pencils and sketchbooks with which I drew that which I did not understand, which touched or pleased me. Through them, I explained the world to and recreated it for myself. No sheet of paper was spared by me, no wall, no floor, not even car doors … which sometimes caused much trouble for my parents. But that is, I guess, typical for a child who’s godmother is the muse.
This first life ended with a big bang, which shattered my universe – with the fatal accident of my beloved brother Leonhard, the death of my cousin Jürgen, which happened so suddenly and too soon after Leos and the passing of my beloved grandfather.
When Darkness comes, it never comes only once. The two years of my first losses in life taught me that, and with the passing of time, the recurrences only confirmed this. Because Darkness is part of this life just the same way Light is.
The first hardship, that in life I had to suffer, was the death of Leonhard. I was 13 years old and i asked myself: children who die … How? Why? Is that allowed? Was it perhaps a mistake and everything will be back to normal tomorrow? Pretty pleeease?…
While other children were playing on the playground, were quarreling and reconciling or had their first crush, I lived in a nother world, asking myself the big questions of life.
Why are we dying? Is God fair? Is there a god? Are there more than one? Is it my fault? Is there a reason? If I have the privilege to continue living, what shall be my purpose in life and how do I find out what that is?
There was no one to talk to, so I answered those questions myself – with the help of my sketchbooks, my pencils, my lines, my colors, my talent.
Talent – in the end, is nothing more than the invitation to give yourself a direction in life …. to give meaning, substance, purpose to this fragile life.