God’s saliva: a search for Willem de Bruin’s identity

His father is from Curaçao, his mother from Holland and he grew up in a small village in North Holland. “When people hear Willem de Bruin, they think of a blond boy with blue eyes. A Dutch boy. No matter what I am, but not so average and what people expect,” De Bruin told NOS With the Eye on Tomorrow.


“It’s an experience because people keep reacting: oh, I thought you were actually someone else. As a result, at some point, I formed an image of myself. When I walk around Holland, people look at me that I apparently do not belong here. When I walk around Curaçao, I do not speak the language well enough. ”


“It’s at least a victory. I’m a chameleon,” says De Bruin. “I can adapt anywhere. It’s also a superpower I have, but I might be able to talk about it wisely now. I could not as a child. The place where I grew up was my home. I otherwise did not know why not call it my home. But I was still confronted with the fact that I apparently could not get out of there, or that I did not belong there, or that I had to return to my own country.

His father lived only briefly on Curaçao, but feels more like Curaçao than Holland. De Bruin does not have that feeling. “He has never had to answer for who he is. He grew up in a place that shaped his character. It was never asked: who are you then? He was a man from Curaçao. When he came to Holland, he was a man who came from Curaçao. For him it was very clear, for me it was not. “


“My mother was born here, I was born here. I do not know any other way than this is my country, but those who experience yes: it is just not good enough, because I look different, “says De Bruin. “If I had looked different, I would have been a full-fledged Dutchman, but because I have a color, I am not full-fledged. Of course, not everyone has said it to me that way, but I have often had that experience. ”


“As I say it now, I have certainly not always experienced everything that way. Sometimes I can laugh at it and I also like to play with it, but I say that now. As a kid, I could not look so smart, and I did not have the ability to analyze it all and be rational about it. And it really shaped me. I notice that it’s still today, I go into a place and think: you have to show yourself properly, otherwise you have those guards after you. They are triggers, they are still there and will not go away. “


He has therefore created the performance ‘Spit van God’ about his experiences and struggle with identity. “In 2018, I released an album, ‘Man in Need’. It was about a period that went downhill. I fell into a depression due to all sorts of circumstances. Through talking, I have come to see that it depression and the whole time state was actually a drop that broke the camel’s back. The bucket was already full, there were drops in it from the start. Then I saw that things like this were actually more of a problem for me than I recognized on it point in time. †

“I always think it helps, also to make music, if you write something of yourself. Then you can look at it in a different way. I find it hard to play because it is also very vulnerable somewhere and people look at me. I’m in an object and can not move. “During the performance, De Bruin stands in a glass triangle. Visitors then sit around him with headphones.” You are so seen in my mind, and I speak to myself. I can not get out of that room, so in that sense it feels very vulnerable. On the other hand, every time I play it, I get reactions from people, it makes me feel good, and I think: that’s what we need to do, this story needs to be told. ”


De Bruin’s thoughts that people may hear during the performance are sometimes negative about his self-image. “It is also somehow my superpower, it has brought me to where I am now. But there is also a part of it: that hard work, struggle and struggle, is about not being a victim. You can not pretend to be weak. You can not show that it touched someone, but it did, “he explains.


His father has already seen the show. “My father is not a man with many words. In his eyes, which perhaps speaks most of all, I could really see that it touched him. I think what my and mom have always wanted from me is that they have given me the freedom to be who I want to be. I could see in his eyes that he is proud that I have found my way of dealing with things in life that he has found his way. ”

The performance ‘Spit of God’ can still be seen in various theaters

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