Saturday, February 4, 2012

The True Story Behind Tangi's Teardrops

It's been a while since I opened up and gave you another peak into my life or my past. In this post I intend to tell you a little more about the real Liz Grace Davis.  

"But I thought the post will be about Tangi's Teardrops," you might ask. 

My answer is, "It is." 

The truth is, I can't talk about Tangi's Teardrops without talking about me. We’re connected. First of all, Tangi is one of my middle names and secondly, Tangi is me. The first half of Tangi’s Teardrops is based on my childhood.

Right, what do I and Tangi have in common? Suffering at the hands of People who were supposed to care for us.
For those of you who don’t already know, I was born in a refugee camp in Angola and stayed there until I was eight years old. In 1989, I arrived in Namibia and since my parents had to start building their lives from scratch, I lived with a relative for about a year in the village. It turned out to be one of the worst years of my life. This relative loved me and treated me with kindness but she couldn’t be there every minute of every day. Instead, two nannies/housekeepers looked after me and my cousins. They did look after the other children but made my life hell because of reasons I don’t understand and stopped trying to.

Right, what exactly happened? Cruelty happened. During that year, those two women beat me, starved me (I was forced to watch everyone eating) and forced me to do work no eight year old could handle. When I disobeyed them, they even went as far as burning me with hot coals from the open fire or pushing thorns into my feet. Most mornings they woke me up at four or five to do their work—pounding flour, working in the field etc. while they sat nearby to watch and hurled insults at me. At around eight or so, I had to go to the village primary school so they made sure to sneak me back into bed shortly before we had to wake up. 

I never reported them. I did everything I could to hide the scars or wounds because I was afraid of more pain. I tried reporting them once and paid too high a price. 

One thing that kept me going, kept me sane were fairy tale books which I found at our primary school. Dreaming of other worlds, beautiful places, was like a temporary balsam to my wounds. When I wasn’t reading, I made up stories that I replayed over and over inside my head.

When I left that place and went to stay with my grandmother on my mother’s side (where I was embraced with so much love), I was ridden with all kinds of illnesses. Among others, my eyes were so infected, I lost a lot of eyelashes from trying to pull the eyelids apart in the mornings and I suffered from constant styes. I had almost permanent stomach aches and my stomach was bloated. I probably had kwashiorkor.  In short, I was in and out of hospitals constantly.

So, why did I decide to tell Tangi’s story now? Because I'm at a place where I can look back and instead of feeling bitter and sorry for that little girl, I feel sorry for the women who might have been so unhappy with themselves that they hurt an innocent child to make themselves feel better. In the beginning it used to hurt. I cried myself to sleep, had nightmares, became withdrawn and very fearful of so many things and situations. It took a long time to heal because the pain those two women had inflicted on me, was only an addition to more pain others had caused me long before they came along. But that's another story for another day.

People often want to know if I forgave all the people that hurt me in my past. I did, but I can’t say I forgot. I didn’t forget and probably never will, but I can’t afford to be bitter because laughter is just much more fun. We always have choices in life. We can choose to stay focused on the past and let it taint our futures or we can accept what had happened and move on. There’s so much more to live for and be grateful for. That’s exactly it. My past has taught me to be grateful for what I have, where I am and who I am.

Differences between Tangi and I

There are some differences between Tangi (from the novel) and I. She is twelve; I was eight and suffered more abuse than she did. I had to tone it down in the novel. I didn’t want to scare anyone. Tangi is disabled, I’m not. Finally, both of my lovely my parents are still alive.

By the way, with this post I’d also like to announce that Tangi’s Teardrops is finally available in Paperback and can be purchased HERE
And the E-book HERE 

7 comments:

  1. Ah, this explains why your book feels so real to read and is so vivid. How awful that you were treated so cruelly and yet how wonderful you have been able to write about it. I could weep for the little girl you were.
    Good luck with the book x

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    1. Thanks so much Teresa. You're very kind.

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  2. I will get your book today. This is such a story of strength. Reading this post brought tears to my eyes. I admire you.

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  3. Congrats on your award! Glad I found your blog.

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    1. Thanks Rebecca for dropping by. Nice to meet you. Of to have a look at yours.

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  4. Jaqueline Reithofer-LaxFebruary 7, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Dear Grace, congrats to you! We wish you all the best and a lot of success with this and all the future books! Jaqueline & Robert

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  5. Dear Jaqueline. Thank you so much to you and Robert. Lots of hugs.

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