|Interview, Character Matica
Matica, Hero of Talon, Come Fly with Me by Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer
January 28, 2012 — Pat Bertram
What is your story?
The title of my story is: TALON, COME FLY WITH ME.
My name is Matica and my story is for children as well as for people of all ages to teach self-confidence, to learn and to cope and to deal with all sorts of afflictions, conditions and disorders, even being rejected by other people, to learn to face and to deal with being different, as I am different. But in spite of being different, I’m not a person that looks negatively into the world. I am a positive person looking positively into the world. My mother always tells me: ‘There is something special out there, just for you.’ And I must say, yes, there is.
I say: If you don’t know how to go on in life, whatever it might be, even if you have a disability, find a ‘condor’. That is what I did. Read it in my book, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Now I can handle every obstacle. And then I was loved by everyone, not rejected anymore.
Who are you?
My name is Matica and I am a special needs child with a growth disability. I am stuck in the body of a two year old, even though I am ten years old when my story begins in the first book of the Talon series, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Because of that disability, (I am saying ‘that’ disability, not ‘my’ disability because it’s a thing that happened to me, nothing more and because I am not accepting it as something bad. I can say that now after I learned to cope with it.) I was rejected by the local Indians as they couldn’t understand that that condition is not a sickness and so it can’t be really cured. it’s just a disorder of my body. But I never gave up on life and so I had lots of adventures roaming around the plateau where we live, with my mother’s blessings. But after I made friends with my condors I named Tamo and Tima, everything changed. It changed for the good. I was finally loved.
Where do you live?
I was born in Australia and moved with my missionary and schoolteacher parents to a remote little village, Pucara, in Peru, South America. Here the local Indians didn’t accept me because of my handicap and because of that I wasn’t allowed to play with their children. Since I had no friends, I was lonely and so I roamed around the plateau of our village, Pucara, with the blessings of Mum and Dad. They understood my misery. After two years of loneliness I finally made friends with a pair of condors. From this day on, they were my life.
Are you the hero of your own story?
I think I am the hero, because my mother, Mira, told me again and again:
‘Sometimes the worst and greatest problems in life cannot be solved. They can only be outgrown.’ And I have been outgrown them. Many times, I might say.
Yep, I certainly am the hero of my story. I am even a hero in how I befriended the condors I named Tamo and Tima. I am also a hero raising Talon, the offspring of Tamo and Time, to the majestic condor he needs to be. I am a hero because of defeating the poachers.
Do you embrace conflict?
I had embraced my problem before I made friends with my condors Tamo and Tima. I held onto it and I felt sorry for myself and cried a lot, wanting to run away or somehing worse. But did it help me? Did it become better? Did I grow taller? No, nothing of that helped me. I didn’t have those questions when I was still in my sorrow, but all these questions came to me later, after I was loved and was cherished.
One day I looked up into the sky and saw the majestic condors flying in the air. Here and now, I made up my mind. I wanted to become friends with them. I believed if I could achieve that, all my sorrow and rejection would be over.
And true enough, it was over. I was loved. I even became famous. And so, if you are in a situation, with whatever your problem is, find something you could rely on and stick to it, love that and do with that what you were meant to do.
Do you run from conflict?
Well, right, I did. I wanted to run away, then later, when I made friends with Tamo, I wanted to fly away with him, away from the Indians with their rejection and their bad words and their teasing. I couldn’t hear it anymore. But now I face them because I have learned to face all sorts of conflicts. What would I have given to change myself. But it wouldn’t work. I had to face myself. And so I did, with making friends with the condors. It wasn’t always easy, being a special needs child. And so I was lonely and I cried a lot in the beginning after we arrived in Peru and the locals didn’t let me play with their children. But when I made friends with the condors, I knew my life would change. I didn’t run away, even though I wanted to. Actually I wanted to fly away with Tamo from the day I made friends with him. But not anymore.
How do you see yourself?
Now, after the time I was rejected by the Indians in Pucara, and I learned with the help of my condors how to cope with rejection and other things, I see myself as a girl who doesn’t let anything stand in her way anymore, ever again. I know bad stuff happens, but I don’t let it get to me and let it drag me down, not anymore. Why? Because I found out that I can overcome whatever problem I have, if I set my mind to it. And with that, I win, and so can you. Don’t stick your head in the sand like an ostrich when it’s afraid. It won’t solve your problem. All you gain is getting sand in your eyes. I now meet the problem head on. Look for your condor as I have done. I don’t mean a real condor like I have done, but something that works for you, relates to you. Be like it, relate to it, love who you are, or do what it takes to be who you want to be.
How do your friends see you?
My best friend Amos sees me as a strong person – loyal, trustworthy. My four-year-old brother Aikon sees me as his big sister, even though I am smaller than he is. My parents see me as a success.
Do you have a goal?
Oh yes, my goal is high. I want to be someone in my life. And if it is to live with the condors, then it will be living with the condors, helping them to survive, that they will increase in their numbers again.
What are your achievements?
I have overcome the disability that had taken over my body. I am somebody and the local Indians love me now. But not only my Indians in my village, far beyond our village I am loved and cherished and appreciated. That is my achievement and I am proud of it.
Do you talk about your achievements?
No, I do not talk about them. I show them through my actions, my deeds.
What do you regret?
I regret that I hadn’t started earlier in my life to see what I can achieve, instead of brooding and feeling sorry for myself for having that growth disability. But that is over and forgotten now and I won’t think back. But now and then it takes me over and then I regret it, deeply.
Do you have any handicaps?
Yes, I have. It’s a horrible growth handicap. The local Indians didn’t accept me because of that and so I wasn’t allowed to play with their children. They thought that I was demon possessed or something like that. And being lonely, I made friends with the condors and helped raising their offspring, Talon, after poachers nearly stole their egg. How I did achieve that, you have to read my book, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. It wasn’t easy, but with determination and never giving up, I succeeded. And so can you, whatever you put your mind to.
But now even the Indians regret that they have rejected me and have apologised to me because they didn’t know better. Now they have learned and understood not to reject unexplained things like being handicapped or disabled but help that person because that person is not sick.
Did you get along with your parents?
Yes, I did get along with my parents because of their positive attitude. But sometimes I thought, before I made friends with my condors, why didn’t my parents do anything to me, to let me grow? But when I became older, I understood that there was nothing they could do for me. So I very slowly accepted it, but with bitterness, sorrow and sadness. But my parents always lifted me up, never spoke negatively to me. And so I finally thought, maybe they are right, maybe there is something out there for me. I only have to find it.
My parents always told me that I am special, that I am made for something special and that I will find it one day. And so it was. I found why I was made as I am, with the growth challenge, being so small. In the beginning the teasing of the Indians in Peru aggravated me a lot. But Mum told me: Don’t let yourself become aggravated from the teasing of others. It’s not worth it. And now I am loved, never having to face that ever again.
Have you ever had an adventure?
My whole life became an adventure with befriending the condors Tamo and Tima and then raising Talon to become the majestic condor he has to be. I live for the adventure.