I moved to Scottsdale just over seventeen years ago to participate in People Unlimited. It was the best move I ever made! I used to feel I had no future – now I know I have one. Once it was hard for me to see that I'm responsible for what takes place in my life. This separated me from people, whom I was generally suspicious of. I never gave or received much physical affection, now I'm a hugger! I’m living a fuller life than ever before. I was born in Belgium. When I was five my parents decided to fulfill one of their hippie aspirations and moved to the countryside of Andalucía, in southern Spain. We lived on a mountainside ranch about twelve kilometers from the nearest village (population 2000). There was no access to the property by motorized vehicle, just a path about two feet wide that could only be traveled by foot, donkey or horseback. There was no electricity and no running water. We raised chickens, hogs and goats.
Since the nearest school was a two-hour trip one-way by foot, I did not attend. At the age of nine my parents had my first brother, and two years later they had boy number three. Now with two more kids my parents struggled to provide the basic necessities and there was a lot of tension between them. I went to work for a neighbor who was a goat herder in exchange for food and shelter. I was in charge of about two thousand goats. I drank, ate and slept with them.
When I was fourteen, we moved back to Belgium. I struggled in school. My father who had a flair for drinking and being abusive got worse as time went on. Somewhere along the way I got excited about dancing. Every day after school and every weekend I would get together with a couple of other delinquent teenagers and practice. After they went home for the day, I usually stayed on and kept practicing just to avoid being at home.
After about four years of this, I went to an audition for a professional dance company and was accepted. It was a dream come true. I was often on TV, traveled to different countries in Europe and I was hanging out and working with celebrities. But after a couple of years the novelty wore off and I felt just as lonely as ever. My life became increasingly more depressing -- I was somewhat of a celebrity myself now, working my dream job, making a bit more money. I had a girlfriend and my own apartment -- but I saw no future!
In the meantime my mom had gone totally nuts. She began talking about physical immortality and she began saying SHE was physically immortal. And as if that wasn't enough, she now also wanted me to come with her to meet "other immortals”. Her friends proceeded to tell me how beautiful and inspiring I was, which I had never heard. Some even tried to kiss and hug me, really! The last time I was kissed and hugged by anyone was... well, I didn't remember!
But it wasn’t until I heard Charles Brown, Bernadeane, and James Strole of People Unlimited speak that I knew what my next move needed to be. I moved to Scottsdale about sixteen months later, and the changes have been coming ever since.
I used to be somewhat of a loner, uncomfortable in social situations, impatient and irritable with people. It used to be hard for me to express my love and affection for others. But through my involvement with People Unlimited, I’ve learned to open up. I’m less in my head and more in my body. I used to live in survival mode and not even know that that was what was driving me. Now it comes up less and when it does I'm aware of it and can do something about it. I now take total responsibility for my life, which means the victim is gone from my life forever.