Three years ago, when I stepped into the world of TCFT, I could never have imagined what would happen to me, to this project, or with people I met there. At one point after the first year, I was thinking about myself; that before TCFT I was negative person, just sitting in the corner and not doing anything.
But now after three years of experience, of thinking, of processing, of interacting with other people, of making friends and family with people that I barely knew, I can say… no, I wasn't a negative person. I was just somebody who was confused about a lot of things that happened to me, and also a lot of things that were surrounding me at that moment. I was someone who didn't get a chance in life before or maybe someone who wasn't heard before. I had big thoughts inside me; I had light that wanted to shine.
In the beginning it was hard to believe that this thing, this project, wasn’t something that I was used to going to, like every other project that was happening in my country. Really, as I said in the first writing for "The Book", it was like a fairy tale and a dream that won't ever come true.
But as I always give a chance to anything, and anyone, I really wanted to try this, to open up again, and maybe, maybe this time somebody would hear me.
TCFT – The Complete Freedom of Truth; I started laughing, utopia my friend, utopia. Those were thoughts from my head when I heard the name of project for the first time. But Sandra, let’s try it...
Some of you know that firstly I was working with Alex, this kind sensitive man, who was so gentle. I think he knew I needed that kind of care and compassion, even though I wasn't telling him anything about myself. Alex gave me my voice again – I could sing. And on bad days, when no one was there, when I was just a little girl, the only thing that I could do when I was scared was to sing. Yeah, I'm still afraid of the dark, but with good song, every bad ghost goes away.
Then I met Tina, and there aren't enough words to describe this woman. I remembered the first time that we spoke, I was barely speaking English, but I could see that she was a really good listener. After every sentence this amazing woman could give you brilliant advice, or just a thought to think about, but it was said in a way with so much space for you and your own thoughts, that I couldn't just let it go. I wanted to think it through, and to become that wise. As I am studying philosophy, I could see she was a living philosopher in front of me. She was the person who taught me that there is The Complete Freedom of Truth, and that I could be a part of it.
Darren, our therapist, our coach, our mentor... With him, I learned. I discovered pieces of myself that I could never have imagined existed in me, and I started believing again; not just in myself, but more in this incredible society that we created through TCFT.
Now after three years of the TCFT experience, after this final year in Sarteano, I finally found my place – not just there in the beautiful world of TCFT. I found my place in my country, or more closely, in my town, with my friends, with my family. Not every part of that transition was nice, not at all. It was a fight – firstly with myself, to accept the fact that I am a member of the LGBT community; that I'm someone who is born in a country of separation, with origins that are a mixture of every separated part; that I'm someone who can be discriminated on every level in the place where I live, and sometimes I was. After that fight of acceptance, of accepting myself and actually not fighting anymore, I discovered new people. Not just in TCFT, but people from the place where I live. I discovered that I'm not alone. Because I was free, free to create my own world.
The two most important truths that I’ve learned from TCFT are...First, that it all started through art! Through music, through poetry, through photography, through theater, through painting, through dance…
Through art, and not just me! We had our voices again – we could use them to sing, to speak, to scream, to laugh… We had our bodies again – to dance, to move, to jump, to run, to hug, to feel all the sensations that we need to feel in life. We had our minds, our brains – to think, to imagine, to wander, to discover, to observe, to be curious. We had our hearts – to love ourselves and embrace others.
Second… we live in a world full of people, but loneliness is on every corner. People not understanding each other, not paying attention, bad corrupted political systems, bad education, not enough space to be creative… So, we have to start with this… Breathe in. Embrace your sadness; let it flow through your body, through your organs, through your veins. Understand your sadness, your problems, your thoughts, your fears; be aware of it... Let it go through your lungs. Breathe out. And you will live!
The past is there to learn from, but not to live in. Try to understand other people, other cultures, other religions, different kinds of art, enjoy it, and as Walt Whitman said, ‘'Be curious, not judgemental.''
As I said at the beginning, TCFT is a process, a healthy process, and one thing that I picked up from speaking with members of TCFT is that it takes time. It took me three years to become the person that I am right now. And in the future, when I think like a philosopher, I will see this TCFT project as an example of the society where we all could live. Not just people who were included in the project, but also different countries. It could become a great system.
Photo by Rachel Dunford.