Me childhood It was like that of the many other boys who grew up in the 90s in broken homes and with divorced parents. sons of capitalism At its peak, we grew up bombarded with movies and music in English that, from an early age, made us dream of seeing the world and living somewhere else. The grass on the other side of the puddle always looks greener and more flourishing. Since we were very young we lived with a monster that tormented us night and day, which was still very new and had no name or treatment. Today they would label it as anxiety disorders either panic attacks. That state in which you enter, you spin without getting anywhere, it anguishes you, it closes your chest, it leaves you breathless and you feel that at any moment you lose control and you die, that thought that can be uncomfortable but that, at after all, it is not dangerous, I called it “spiral”. But the worst thing was not that they incited us to want to live in any other place that was not ours (less if you were born in Argentina), the worst thing they did to us was to make us believe that being more or less good at something, everything was possible, that everyone could “arrive”, regardless of whether you came from a town in the middle of Seattle or Villa 31.
mtv showed us daily that if you put together a rock band with your friends and rehearsed a couple of times a month in the garage of the drummer’s house, in a year you were going to be a rock star and your band was going to play on the best stages of the biggest festivals in the world. They also told you that any cool actor who moved to The Angelsovernight could end up being the new Batmanor that to be a good writer you had to starve yourself and write about it and eventually, that was going to make you a millionaire and famous.
Famous, famous, famous. Fame seemed as easy to achieve as putting a piece of dough with cheese in the oven and 15 minutes later a pizza came out done. It was enough to have a little talent and encourage yourself. Encourage you to emigrate to a country where they painted you that everything was rosy. New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin. “Cheer up,” they said. “Get out of your comfort zone because the world awaits you.” The world is there, yes, waiting, perhaps, with its mouth open ready to eat you, most likely.
It seems that, every ten years, there is an electromagnetic force that prompts young people to emigrate of his country. It happened in the 2000s, it happened again in the 2010s, and it’s happening again now in the 2020s. Maybe it happened in decades past, too, but I was either too young or didn’t even exist back then to see it.
Anyway, I was one of those who emigrated in 2010. He was in my 20s, full of illusions, of hopes, and he believed in me. She met all the requirements to be one of them, one of those who arrive, of those who “can beat her.” He was more or less good at what he did. He had instructed me in mine. He had read the books I had to read, he had seen the movies I had to see, he knew the music I liked. So I packed my bag and left.
Anyone can pack a bag and go. But not everyone can surviving as an immigrant in an unknown land. I once heard that an Argentine, already old, very educated and talented, was asked “why did you never leave your country?”. He replied: “Why am I going to leave, if I have a better time here than anywhere else? Furthermore, in the ancient world, those who ’emigrated’ from Greece were the criminals and murderers, who exiled them by force, or rather, got rid of them”. But of course, I understood that much later.
I spent eight years living in London. I did and saw everything. I worked as hard as I could and lived many lives, except the one that had been promised me, that of fame. Throughout my trip I met many people. Most were other dreamers, idealists and naive like me. I got to know more guitarists working as bartendersplus actors working as waitersplus painters working as potholes than renowned artists exhibiting at the MoMa or the Tate.
Most of the people I met were short lived. One or two years maximum. When they really realize what it is like to live as an immigrant (a hostile climate of eight months of rain and gray skies, working long hours at jobs that mean nothing to you, not having enough salary, living in a room in a house shared with five other strangers because you don’t have the guts to even rent a studio apartment, and above all, the solitude of the immigrant) they leave. They return to their country, to the one they disowned so much, because they realize that they were better off there.
I wasn’t famous, and I couldn’t buy a mansion with a guitar-shaped pool like TV would have you believe, but I was lucky and eventually got a job that allowed me to travel the world. I was able to see and experience a lot, more than I had imagined. The architecture may be different, the foods and the languages too, but most average people are gifted the same anywhere in the world. They live stackedThey survive as best they can, with the bare minimum, without much luxury and with hopes already extinct.
Another thing you realize living abroad is that people don’t have time. Because they work hard to pay the bills, because they are very “in one”, each one manages their free time in the best way they can and nobody gives it to you. The other day a friend who lives in London told me that (in early June) he talked to a girl to set up a date, and for this and that they agreed to meet on July 16. That doesn’t just happen on dates or with random people, it happens with your friends. Each one is very much in their own battling their own war. We are all trapped in our own spiral. We do the best we can to survive, and that’s already a lot of work. Time is not money, time is life, and we have less and less of that and nobody wants to give it away. That’s why writing became my best friend. He is the one who is always there, to listen to all my problems, my happiness and my delusions. He doesn’t judge me, he doesn’t get bored, and he only stops reading when I decide to stop writing. There, in the solitude and emptiness of the immigrant, my book was born “To All The Spiral Boys In The World”.
*Nico Wussy is a novelist. His books are “Spiral” and “To all the spiral boys in the world”.
by Nico Wussy*