Sorry about that… Yeah, over the past months I slacked off a lot in terms of blogging. If it wasn’t for my Instagram you could pretty much assume I was dead. I wasn’t. But it’s a pity days are only 24h long.
Time… It’s funny how day-by-day everything feels the same, but when we look back all’s different. Over the last 12 months my life changed enormously. From those 12, it’s been almost 9 since I left Angola. You’ve accompanied some of my ‘adventures’ there, but, when getting back I didn’t say much about it. “Why?”, you might wonder. Because I felt that loss as such a failure I couldn’t deal with it right away. I see now it wasn’t any kind of failure, quite the contrary. But it took me some time to realize it. It took me a while to understand how all that struggle made me a better person. How over time, I healed my wounds and feel now stronger (even wiser, maybe?) than ever before.
I’m not one to complain much. Never was. I’m the ‘suck it and let’s do this’ type. We all take validation from different things in life. I take it from being able to do things on my own. The why isn’t important, but I learned to live with it over the years. For me, being strong and independent while going after things that challenge me are things that make me more proud of myself. They come with downsides, but they are definitely a key part of who I am. I’m also a bit of a control freak. I like to be in charge of my life, so it bothers me tremendously when that does not happen. I feel trapped and impotent and kinda loose sight of myself. That’s what happened over time while I was in Angola, due to a set of reasons now irrelevant. I got stuck. And as I know my limits (and believe me, I’ve pushed them) I decided to leave and start over. So I came back, defeated. It was a Saturday. For a day and a half I cried in the dark in my room. On Monday, I stopped it and began again.
The good thing about falling hard and low in life is that the only way to go after is up. It takes time and it takes courage. And perseverance and faith – in yourself, above all. After all, no storm can last forever and the strength and will to get past bad times is always in ourselves and no other.
Over these past 9 months I learned a lot of things. I think I can say with certainty that these have been the most intense and happy times of my life so far. I got clarity, perspective – about friendship, about work, about men, about people, but above everything about me. I now know who I am. I know my fears, my values, my worth, my weaknesses and strengths; I know that I’m far from being perfect, but guess what? I love myself anyway! How fucking refreshing is that?! No more self-sabotage, self-hate, self-judgment, self-pity (Ewww… God forbid!). I trust myself, my judgement, my gut and my power to make things happen the best way possible, even when they don’t come out as planned. After all, sometimes it is a blessing not to get what we want. In my case, when I want so many things out of life, all at the same time, that can’t be totally untrue.
It isn’t easy to look at ourselves so deep and upfront. As far as I’ve come to realize very few people do. Yet, they should. We all should. There will be more than enough people over the course of the years who will con you. Why be one of them? Of course we all deceive ourselves from time to time (it’s one way to deal with things), but, as far as I’m concerned, honesty has always been the best policy. Uncomfortable, but practical. Life is so short. Ain’t nobody got time to waste with crap!
So, how did I do it? Easy: I looked for all the resources I could get! I’m not one to sit and wait – or worse: complain and feel sorry for myself. That’s not only a completely useless approach, it’s also really annoying. No can do. Instead, I took action:
- I started studying again – I wanted something Fashion-related, so I tried Image Consulting at BLOSSOM – Loved it and strongly recommend it to anyone who’s interested in the subject! Dora is amazing and I admire her a lot for what she’s been building over the years.
- I focused on my projects and ideas – Crucify me if you will, but I still think most depressed people are pretty much just lazy. Fill your mind with (interesting!) things and I bet you won’t have time to even consider feeling sorry for yourself. I honestly wish I had time to pursue all my interests… and with this I don’t intend to imply I am a particularly interesting person – I might not be for most people – but I believe that if we focus on what makes us tick, things happen. Most dreams don’t ever see the light of day because people just won’t open the blinds. So I got together with friends I felt could help me build mine and here’s to hoping we can release some of these until the end of the year! Keep your fingers crossed for us, will’ya? Thanks! 😉
- I started seeing a therapist – Who was the best. Some people avoid therapist convincing themselves they’re aren’t crazy, they don’t have problems, they don’t need to deal with their stuff. Guess what? You probably do. And we’re all a little crazy… In my case, it was a huge help to get a lot of clarity out of plenty of things.
- I got a coach – My dear and fabulous Anita who always pushed me and motivated me to be better but also kinder with myself!
- I got new looks – Multiple times… and at some point landed ‘my’ color: I’m definitely a brunette at heart!
- I got a new job – And then another one, plus a few side things… Did I mentioned days suck for being only 24h long?
- I traveled a little – First Paris with the BLOSSOM girls – kind of a field trip!; then a road trip through Belgium with Anita – pictures on her blog; followed by London (again with Anita) for a Cool Hunting Short Course at CSM that I loved! – here are her pictures; and finally Switzerland, with my BFF; plus a few more well spent weekends around… You know I love Lisbon and Portugal is a lovely, beautiful, magic country, right? I’m glad we have that covered. 😉
- I became a volunteer – With Dress For Success (though I wish I had more time to spare). Do you know them? If you don’t, you should!
- I tried yoga and meditation – To realize I’m terrible at Yoga… Meditation on the other hand is awesome and did wonders for me (I’m still the biggest rookie, though).
- I installed Tinder – Yes! After months and months of denial, I joined in and must say I don’t regret it one bit. It got me plenty of laughter (please, for your own good mood follow Tinder Nightmares on Instagram – it’s so bad, so good!) and a bunch of really priceless stories! And yes, there are cool folks on Tinder – damn, if I was there… – but few, very few. Yet, it was still an enlightening experience.
- I even saw a card reader! – Skeptic as I might be, I was also curious, and even though I honestly don’t believe most of what I heard (it was too good to be true, damn!), it was awesome to imagine such a bright future for myself! It even helped me put some things in perspective.
- I got my own place, with a delightful view – Probably a very impulsive decision, ‘cause I am now broke, but living alone is the best thing ever. I’ve been sharing places for 10 years. Enough is enough. And since I need to live nearby the water to feel good, a Tagus river view is a priceless thing to have. I might not fancy the neighborhood much, but one can’t have it all (yet…).
- I subscribed to the gym – Only to realize I hate it and I am still the laziest person on Earth. I’m unsubscribing it very soon (like right after I post this) because some things work and others don’t. Here’s an example. I wasn’t build for gyms.
- I got a plant – It’s a cactus distant cousin, but it still takes attention; I also got the 10th basil of my life… and it is – miraculously – still alive!
- I got a pet – My lovely baby Tiger, an adorable little devil to start my career as a crazy cat lady!
- And in the midst of it all, I found shelter in the arms of those who care the most – my people. I’ve been disappointed a lot of times by different people (haven’t we all?), but I’ve learned to accept that sometimes when people grow, they grow apart. Sometimes their paths cross again, others don’t. Times change, people change. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just the natural course of life. For the ones who’ve been supporting me and loving me for this crazy little weirdo I sometimes am, thanks for being there for me. Really. Love you! ♥
You were probably now expecting something like “I fell in love”, right? No, this is not that kind of story. Or maybe it is. Love comes in many different forms.
It wasn’t an easy ride. I made a lot of mistakes along the way (still do) – but it was needed. Mistakes make us grow. And it was worth it. Because I learned something in every single step of the way. Apparently it took me 27+ years to fall in love with myself. In fact, last month I turned 28 and while I usually get very anxious when I am about to become another year older, evaluating and dissecting every tiny bit of my existence, this year that didn’t happen. I was calm, I was content, I was peaceful. At last. And this reminds me of that saying around the internet that goes something like “You either like me or you don’t. It took me 20-something years to love myself. I don’t have the same amount of time to convince anyone else” – BAM! Ain’t that just right on spot?!
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
(E. E. Cummings)
So, yeah, do that exercise – take a close look deep inside yourself. Might be scary, but to know our true colors, embrace the nakedness of the real ‘I’ – find what it is that moves and breaks you, your roots, your biggest influences, your fears, yours dreams, your needs, what really does matter, who’s important, your core values, beliefs and truths – is like magic. Find that all out, uncover even the most shameful details – be honest. Write all that stuff down. Find help if you must! Like I did, for instance – and I believe I’ve covered plenty of options! Don’t be afraid to look/sound a little crazy… We all are and none of us are staying! Ask the whys and hows and be well aware of them. That’s who you are. And once you know that, no one can hold it against you. Imagine that!