Lido Raposo

Lido Raposo

Music and Visual Artist

 

Baring My Soul

 

Last Updated : 07/22/2017

 

My parents (including my entire family heritage) were born and raised on the island of Sao Miguel (Saint Michael) of the Azores belonging to Portugal.  Therefore, I'm of Portuguese (Azorean) decent.  My ancestors were farmers, craftsmen, and of course fishermen.  However, after my parents married and my brother was born on Sao Miguel, my parents and brother moved to Caracas, Venezuela at about 1958.

Soon afterwards, in Caracas, my sister was born and then 5 years later, I was born (1965).  My father co-owned a convenience/fruit store and my mother was a stay at home mom taking care of the children, etc. My father was moderately successful and my parents loved the tropical climate.  I heard several stories from my family how as a family, we would escape north to the city of Maracaibo where the beautiful beaches met the Caribbean Sea, just to escape the hot tropical climate in Caracas.  And, my brother and sister were enrolled in the school system while I was still too young.  

Also, as a family, we immigrated to the United States legally with "Green Cards" in September of 1968.  A few years prior to immigrating to the United States, my father had visited his brother (my Uncle Lido Soares - whom I was named after) living in Massachusetts at that time.  In the Old World, people often had two last names.  My father's side of the family was (First Name) (Middle Name) Soares Raposo.  My Uncle Lido chose Soares as his last name while my father chose Raposo as his last name. Anyhow, during my father's visit with my Uncle Lido, my father clearly saw the greater opportunities that the United States had to offer and especially the better education and the brighter future for the children.  So, my parents packed up their bags, grabbed the kids, sold the house and two cars to have some starting money while settling in the United States.  We immediately settled in Somerville, MA while my Uncle Lido and Aunt Lidia settled in Lexington, MA.  As a family, we began our journey to live the American Dream! The only problem was that as children, my father only had a 4th grade education and my mother dropped out of school in the 3rd grade. Culturally, in the Old World, the female children stayed home to learn house chores, cooking, and sewing while the male children began working right out of school at 10yrs of age to help feed their families.  Yet, we individually each became Naturalized over the years.  I renounced my Venezuelan citizenship and became a Proud American Citizen one month after the 911 attack in New York City.  And, I have a Proud American Eagle tattooed on my left forearm to prove it.

So, with little education in the United States my father became a custodian and my mother worked in a local factory doing piece work by hemming curtains.  When the curtain business was good, she was called to work.  When the curtain business was slow, she was laid off (without pay) and had to wait unknowingly, if and when she might get called back.  Even through my entire adulthood with my parents, my mother never learned to speak English fluently.  My father, brother, and sister were/are trilingual while my mother only spoke Portuguese and Spanish.  My first words were in Spanish.  But after moving to the United States, my parents began speaking Portuguese at home. So, I quickly forgot the Spanish and traded it in for the Portuguese.

Shortly afterwards, I started school in the Somerville public school system.  This is where I really learned to speak English. After school, at home it was with old fashioned Portuguese values and only Portuguese was spoken.  This was confusing! I did ok on all subjects except one.  Can you guess which one?

Historically, I've always done well in science, art and music.  My father bought me my first guitar at around age 10.  It was a real cheapo.  And, I didn't know how to tune it, but I enjoyed "jamming" anyhow to my records.  It was plain fun!  When I was 13yrs of age, I asked my father if he would pay for private guitar lessons.  He saw how much I liked music and said "yes".  And so, I took private guitar lessons for a few years and my father also eventually purchased me a Guild electric guitar and a Peavey amp.  This was the real start of my music career.  I soon became the local church guitarist for about the next 5 years. I played weekly at the "Children's Mass" and sometimes for funerals, weddings, and certain other special church services. However, I did not sing.  Also, after being an alter boy previously for several years and later becoming a practicing Extraordinary Minister within the Catholic Church, I seriously considered the priesthood but soon realized after a couple of interviews that becoming a priest was not my calling. That naturally upset my parents of the Old World a little bit - ( My Son ; The Priest ).   

In my senior year at Somerville High, I joined the chorus for an easy credit.  One week later, I found myself trying out for Northeast District Chorus.  A program to find the finest high school singers in Northeastern Massachusetts.  I believe there were only 50 slots available for each part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass).  This meant that I had one week to quickly learn how to sing the tenor part note by note with this particular auditioning piece.  And, it had to be sung a capella. I got in! The concert was held at Boston Symphony Hall.  It included a full chorus of sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses.  I remember singing a piece I believe by Bruckner that started with a fugue.  I found the piece to be incredible! It started with the sopranos, then altos, then tenors, and then the basses.  But, the best part in the piece was when the chorus then split into 8 separate parts (Soprano I, Soprano II, Alto I, Alto II, etc).  I had the record of the live recording, but I lost it!  I still have the fond memories though.  And, they misprinted my name as "Leo Raposo" anyway.  Oh, well.

Beginning September of 1983, I attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston (UMASS/Boston). I sang in the chorus at UMASS/Boston for one semester.  I took the course partly because of the easy credits, but also because in high school I discovered that I could practice and play another instrument - my voice.  We held a concert in one of the university's halls accompanied by the Principle Harpist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I also, completed my college degree while working all through college and taking classes during the summers.  That's why I graduated Sept of 1987 and not May of 1987.  I hold a Bachelors of Science degree (not the B.A.) in Biology which meant I had to take more classes to become a more desirable scientist.  My Biology concentration is Organismal Biology consisting of: Microbiology, Endocrinology, Neurobiology, Developmental Biology, and Anatomy/Physiology of Botany.  The curve was high because many of my class mates were competing to get into ivy league medical schools such as Harvard, Brown, and Stanford.  And, they got in!  I never applied to medical school.  Instead, I wanted to be a professional scientist and I felt and still feel strongly against dissecting a human cadaver.  It's a personal choice.  I had my share of dissecting mammalian animals just to get my bachelors.

 

Now, let's fast forward and get to the nitty gritty - (what you really need to know) :

During my high school years I began experiencing depression during my summer's off.  Then, during my college years it got worse because the depressions got deeper, lasted longer, and were increasing in occurrences.  However, unfortunately in college I never took a psychology class.  So, I never knew what clinical depression (the illness) was and that I was suffering from it.  I never shared it with my parents because they knew nothing of it since they were hardly educated themselves. During college, it led to self-mutalation and 2 failed suicide attempts that were hidden from my family except later to my siblings.  From then on, I just tried my best to live with it believing the problem was solely mine and that other's didn't experience the same themselves.  

About 5yrs after graduating college, I was no longer working in the biotech field and was rather working within the medical field. I was wrongly diagnosed as having bipolar disorder at about age 25 because autism was still not well understood.  I was actually relieved that there was a name for what I was experiencing, that I wasn't alone, and that "it was treatable".  So, came the meds (one after the other).  Meanwhile, I had earned a professional job, owned a condo, had two retired greyhounds, two cats, a new car, and had been in and out of the Boston Gay Men's Chorus over the years.  It was during this period that I witnessed the AIDS Epidemic amongst my many friends in and out of the chorus.  I had no choice but to witness their quiet suffering and dying.  I literally got tired of watching so many young people with great personalities (doctors, lawyers, bank tellers, etc), suffer and die quietly because of the stigma.  And, my best friend for many years at the time Charles F. ( Charlie ) Rose, also eventually succumbed to AIDS.  It's incredible the looks you get wheel-chairing an emaciated person with AIDS through a hospital to attend their appointments!  I was his health proxy and glad to be so.

Medicine is an art and a science.  So, it's not perfect.  However, the side effects of the meds quickly began to interfere with my job performance.  They were really the wrong meds for me. Rightfully, I received one written notice for making a mistake in my work.  It was my responsibility that I provide true and accurate test readings so physicians can provide proper medical care to their patients.  Testing hundreds of samples a day, I made a mistake on one patient's result. Luckily, the physician questioned the results and reprocessed a new patient sample which came back normal and tested by a different person in the lab.  Also, about the same time, one of my greyhounds was diagnosed with metastasized bone cancer.  She was only 6 years old, suffering, and dying.  I needed a break and took vacation time and earned time to deal with my dying dog and find peace from the fast paced laboratory job place.  Eventually, my dog was euthanized in my arms and Charlie immediately drove over for support.

After about 8 months, my vacation and earned time was used up.  So, that meant that I had to return to my job for pay. However, I was on the same meds and had the wisdom to realize that this job is no longer suitable. So, I applied for disability and received it. Luckily, I worked for an organization that continues to supply me with supplemental health insurance; and, categorize me as a permanently disabled employee. It may sound confusing because it is, but it works.(?)

Charlie later took me to the hospital to be evaluated and to check myself in.  I never saw a nurse cry before while evaluating me. So, I listened and did it.  This was the first of a series of hospitalizations and partial hospitalization programs over the next many years all based on the bipolar disorder diagnosis.  I was even placed on Thorazine for a few months until I complained about the side effects.  I didn't know it at the time, but Thorazine is the chemical equivalent of a frontal lobotomy. Why would they do that to me?  My parents went with the flow because they weren't educated enough and didn't speak English well enough. I'm glad I complained about the Thorazine.

So, my parents took me back to their home to help me.  I rented out and then was forced to sell my condo.  So, just before my 28th birthday, I tried suicide for the last and final time.  Loosing my health, home, job, etc made me very depressed and suicidal. So, I did something very stupid. This time I reached out.  If it wasn't for the quick thinking of my sister and brother-in-law, I would surely be dead by now.  My lungs were collapsing, I was unconscious, and the doctors were seriously considering placing me on a ventilator in the Respiratory Intensive Care Unit (RICU). However, while in the emergency department my lungs came back.  It just wasn't my time.  And, despite enjoying classic rock, I was not aware of "The 27 Club" nor want to be any part of it, although I feel strongly saddened for those great artists who are.

My father soon after passed away at 68 years young from vascular problems. Charlie, then shortly passed away as well in his early 50's.  Eventually, all my animal companions passed away in my arms except for one, Marco an Italian Greyhound.

After living with my mother for a long time and my niece from out of state about to move in, my mother and I thought it best for me to move out and become more independent. So, Marco and I moved to Waltham.  Chuck Messina found a place for Marco and me. Also, he loaned me the money to get started.  I repaid him in full as soon as I could, and did.

Eventually, I couldn't keep track of all the pills I was taking - at last count it was almost 800 (eight hundred) pills per month!!! - no kidding.  My primary care doctor had sat me down more than once and t-r-i-e-d to explain to me that I was over medicated.  I heard her clearly, but I couldn't respond intelligently.  So, I finally did the unimaginable.  I quit all my meds at the same time except for one anxiety med that I knew was helping me.  I did this without consulting my doctors.  I was either going to die or live.  But, I wasn't going to continue living taking all these medications that I didn't need.  I lived.

Shortly afterwards, I was up all night with Chuck at his hospital in the Emergency room.  I convinced him to be seen because he was complaining of some ankle swelling and cardiac problems the evening before.  I left the hospital the next mid-morning while Chuck remained in the hospital for more testing.  On my way home, I was passing near my mother's home and thought of bringing her some breakfast.  However, I realized I was far too tired and decided to drive back home to Waltham instead.  On my way back home, I fell asleep at the wheel.  I crossed the yellow line by one foot and had a head-on collision with another car - no kidding.  Both cars were totaled. Thank goodness, the other person managed to walk away from the accident without injury!  After regaining consciousness, my door was opened, I was cut, four airbags deployed in my car, my seatbelt was unbuckled and a strange man in plain clothing (probably an off duty fireman, policeman, EMT, etc) was caring for me until the ambulance arrived.  I was hospitalized for a few days and given a $100 dollar citation by a policeman who met me at the emergency room.  I earned that fine!  I never got the name or got to thank the plain clothed person who helped take care of me.  If your reading this (which I hope you are and not for personal gain) - Thank You !!!

About a month later, now taking public transportation, I visited my mother because she requested some food because she wasn't feeling well.  I knew something was wrong when I purposely unexpectedly bought her one of her favorite foods and she didn't recognize the food at all.  Luckily, I missed the last bus back to Waltham and called my sister to see if she was still at work (in Boston) and wouldn't mind stopping by to a) check on my mother, and b) drive me back to Waltham.  When my sister arrived at my mother's home, my sister immediately noticed my mother's mouth a bit slanted.  I did not.  My sister is an experienced registered nurse.  My sister immediately made an appointment for my mother to be seen by her primary care physician the very next day.  The doctor saw my mother and requested that my mother have an MRI of her head in the emergency room for a possible stroke. Instead, they found the worst type of brain tumor you could have in the center of her brain and it was "the size of a golf ball".  My mother then moved in with my sister and died a week later after being diagnosed. I never got to say "goodbye" to either of my parents.

Shortly after my mother passed away, my siblings sold my mother's house.  We divided the proceeds three ways.  I wanted to live in a loft style apartment.  I researched a great deal and worked with my real estate agent to find a loft that I could afford with my share of the proceeds. I was unable to afford a loft in Massachusetts, so I began looking in Rhode Island.  There was a corner brick unit that I could afford in Woonsocket, RI. I never heard of Woonsocket before, but I bought it.  I'll never forget the moving date. Marco and I moved in on Valentines Day (February 14, 2011).  It was definitely a heart-felt day because this was all possible because of my parents, yet they weren't here to share it (bittersweet - no punt intended).  My siblings also helped me to settle in because purchasing the unit did not leave me with much funds to live properly. And, since I totaled my car, my brother and sister gave me my mother's 2000 year model car.  It's old but I'm not complaining - I'm Thankful !

After moving out of the Boston suburbs and moving into a community style living situation with autism (that I didn't know I had at the time), social interactions with neighbors became frightful and difficult.  I was experiencing Social Phobia, developing Agoraphobia, and experiencing more and more frequent Panic Attacks ending up in the emergency room several times.  If you've never experienced a Panic Attack, consider yourself lucky!  As with virtually all people with autism, I felt a lot like a social idiot and outcast.  I shared this with Chuck who didn't know what to say.  So, I researched and researched until I found a possible fit.  I asked my doctor if I could be tested for Asperger's Syndrome.  So, after a great deal of testing through the Alan and Lorraine Bressler Program For Autism Spectrum Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital, I was clearly autistic and not bipolar!!!  I was diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome on October 11, 2011. Since then, the new DSM V has gotten rid of the Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis and now considers people to either be or not be somewhere on the Autism Spectrum.  I agree with this change. Although there are definite traits to autism, it's a Spectrum Disorder meaning no two autistic people are exactly alike while being on the Spectrum. Every autistic person has their own particular personality, intelligence, quirks, tics, talents ("special interests" -in autism language), etc., but in general are terrible in social situations and are often misunderstood as "weird" or "a freak". Since being properly diagnosed, I've learned how to better communicate with people one on one.  The best way I found is to just really be myself (quirks and all), to just go with the flow, and lay all my cards on the table.  If need be, I'll even explain to the person I'm autistic.  I'm not ashamed.  I need to be true to myself despite what other's might think. People with autism are just literally "wired" a bit differently.  And now, I'm on the correct medications! So, here I am creating my own music, visual art, music videos, and a personal website!

After I moved to Woonsocket, I also became very depressed again because my parents were passed, and the community I grew up in and learned to love was now gone forever.  My best friend Chuck looked after me; even missing his own families' gatherings during those holidays.  He also, took care of Marco for me.  He fed us and watched over us. Chuck and I understood each other well because he also suffered from clinical depression and anxiety due to his cancer diagnosis. 

It was also, soon before the clinical depression that I had discovered the Attleboro Arts Museum in Attleboro, MA and took some classes and workshops during the next few following years.  I was even awarded some free classes.  This discovery was the real beginning of my truly becoming a visual artist.  I learned how little I really knew regarding the visual arts and how much I still needed to learn!  I also learned that artists are usually very sensitive people and feelings can get hurt easily.  I witnessed this several times.  If your going to focus on any artist, try to see the glass half full and not half empty.  Focus on the artist's positives and forgive their short comings because artists are human too and their works are an extension of their inner selves. And, I would not have discovered this lesson nor the Attleboro Arts Museum if it wasn't for moving to Woonsocket, RI. Up until my mother passed away, I never imagined ever living in Rhode Island.

Shortly afterwards, there was a terrible accident regarding Marco.  Under Chuck's care, Chuck let Marco off the leash and Marco walked away from Chuck, back towards Chuck's car.  However, Marco got hit and killed by a passing motorist who never stopped on the parkway.  Meanwhile, while I was on the way to see my autism doctor for an appointment, Chuck called me to explain what happened.  He loved Marco too.  So, you can imagine the anguish and guilt that Chuck endured, especially witnessing the accident. Chuck cried for days and paid himself for the all the medical costs and private cremation.  Marco was 13yrs young and I forgave Chuck immediately because I know Chuck would never intentionally have hurt Marco.  I trusted Marco with Chuck.  It was simply a tragic accident.  At my appointment, I told the autism doctor what just happened to my dog. My doctor said I was in acute grievance and that I should be hospitalized (again).  I just went with the flow.  This happened to be the real start of my piano playing.  This time at the hospital, I found solace everyday, several times a day, playing an old, out of tune with a broken string - upright piano.  I found the acoustic sound of the piano to be healing.  The sound resonated with me inside (heart and soul).  Every time I played I found it to be more and more healing.  I would just get lost in it and play for hours at a time without sheet music.  Sometimes, other patients would pull up a chair and just quietly listen.  I hope it helped them too.

When I got out of the hospital, I treated myself to a student Yamaha YPG-235 digital piano around early 2012.  Between studying the visual arts at the Attleboro Arts Museum in Attleboro, MA and at home, I played this piano occasionally learning more and more as I went along.  I tried using music sheets for piano, but found it too frustrating.  So, I just play by ear and intuition.  In fact, I recorded the song "Goodbye My Friend" using the Yamaha student keyboard.  It was a low budget project.  I recorded the song "Live" at home and sent a copy to the SoundLAB of Disk Makers for mastering. I quickly got the mastered music back.  The music is the foundation on which the music video is to be created upon.  After receiving the mastered version, I was able to begin assembling the music video.  

Shortly after purchasing the Yamaha keyboard, I got a new dog companion named Romeo (now 3 yrs young).  Romeo is another Italian Greyhound and with the same birthday as mine - no kidding. Romeo is special.

Today, Chuck has also passed.  This also means that I don't presently have a best human friend anymore (just Romeo my dog).  When Chuck was with us, I shared with Chuck that I really felt like an "artistic monk".  I really feel that way now more so than ever, esp since Chuck's passing!  

Working with Sweetwater Sound, I've managed to upgrade to a New Professional Roland RD-800 Stage Digital Piano, New Taylor T5z Standard Guitar (pictured above), New Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus, Pleck'd - Midnight Ebony, and New Fender American Standard Stratocaster Outfitted with Custom Shop Single Coil Vintage Strat Pickups. I still have my 1998 Gibson Les Paul Standard Guitar (also, in ebony ), and a new guitar rig I created with the help of Sweetwater Sound as a present to myself for my 50th birthday.  I'm doing all this on my own, by saving and scraping.  

At this point in time and after this website is published, I just want to live a structured quiet and very peaceful life (like a monk, but NOT a hermit) with my dog, find better balance in my life, and play the piano, guitar, and vocals to my heart's content for at least one year.  I want to better my musicianship.  Occasionally, I might do a painting, drawing, etc.  I want to be able to offer quality over quantity.  Maybe, in a year I'll have written enough songs for an album or created another new music video?

Inspiration comes at any time of the day or evening, and I truly (personally) believe it's from a higher power.  I don't ask questions, I just follow and go with the flow.  I"m just a human being like you on this journey called "Life".  Where this will lead if anywhere, I don't know? However, I feel very honored, humbled, and blessed to have these special interests, tools, and this rare opportunity to further explore these special interests. Hopefully, I'll have the opportunity to further share these special interests too.  Maybe, this time, this is my true calling and vocation in "Life"?  I certainly, hope so.

If you see me around, please say "Hi".  I promise, I won't bite.  I'm just a bit quirky and I love to laugh!