soaking up feelings as she goes

Everyone feels things differently. Everyone sees things differently. Part of what makes life worth it is trying to see what others see. Part of what makes her life simultaneously wonderful and so damn hard is feeling what others feel.

It’s not a superpower, it’s certainly not a gift, but it’s not a curse either. It’s just something she has had her whole life, it’s a part of her, it’s one of the things that make her her. She feels what others feel and she understands. Most of the time she keeps quiet about it, while constantly trying to help them, especially getting up when they’re low. Most people tend to like that about her, the way she cares, the way she helps. Some tell her, some of them don’t. Either way, it doesn’t matter, it’s just what she needs to do.

She never talks about this, but then again, she doesn’t talk about most things about her. It’s equally who she is, and no matter how hard she tried to change that, she couldn’t. But this is the one secret that also drowns her. Because she soaks up what others feel, she has little breath left to deal with her own feelings. So, when things hit her, they hit her hard, she swallows them whole. She’s incapable of telling you her sorrows until she has them figured out. This has nothing to do with trust and everything to do with fear: remember she feels you; she fears what is spreading underneath will hurt you too, and in turn making her hurt more. And so she retreats, leaving some to wonder why she’s gone, others to simply give up on her, saying “she always goes”. Funny how easily one forgets how many times she picked up the pieces. How bitter-sweet it is to recognize so little hands when she is the one who needs lifting.

If you worry about her, all you can do is be patient, wait and try to be there when she is ready. No amount of asking, of forcing, of screaming, will open the door. In fact, she’ll only shut it right at your face. Even if you want to shake her and tell her that what she does to herself is not healthy, understand she knows that all too well. If you fear everything might come crumbling out of her, be aware: it might happen only to those she trusts the most. She knows no one has to deal with her shit, and if it bursts out of her, it will never be on purpose. Before telling her that her feelings aren’t right, remember all the times the tables were turned. Know she doesn’t expect you to understand, she expects you to not be a jerk about what she feels.

Know you might be too much for her, no matter how much she loves you. Know she can’t help anyone if she can’t help herself, and she needs to help. Know she will leave if she has to put herself first. Know that is the hardest thing to do for her. Know that even when she is okay, she withdraws for a while to recharge. The world is too big for her, too loud, with too many feelings, too hard to bear. She feels things she sometimes wishes she didn’t. But she understands them. And so she fights every single time. Even when some think she’s running, she is fighting. Even if some think she’s weak or cowardly, she knows it takes strength to handle it all, and courage to keep fighting. Whenever she retreats, she’s not hiding, she’s gathering up the strength to help again. Sometimes she just takes a little longer to get back on her feet, but she always stands up again. You’d have known this if you’d paid attention. But that’s alright, she understands.

Most of all, know she sees you, all of you. Know she understands where people come from, she knows every single life is complex and intricate, and so she might forgive all too easily. She sees the best in people, she sees their potential and chooses to believe. She is a good person, but even good people have flaws and she knows hers all too well. She is easy to hurt, but any fool could tell that. She will not put up a fight, she will not make up threats. She will cry, she will speak the words she can grasp. She will resent the way the words left her lips and the tears her eyes. Above all, she will recognize if she was wrong and ask forgiveness. But she will also know if the other person is in the wrong. And if they are, even if she understands where they come from and forgives, she will still be hurting and she might leave — not withdraw, leave, for good. If she gives another chance (which she probably will), try to be fairer;  she has less and less patience for emotionally abusive and toxic people, as she grows.

Everyone sees things differently. Everyone feels things differently. This is a portion of what it is like for her to navigate the world through an empathic lens and a sponge heart, soaking up feelings as she goes, stopping to let people know she understands, leaving to let those feelings go and get in touch with her own.

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frozen

Work hard and it will pay off. That’s how I was raised. That’s what I always do.

I tend to give all of me or nothing at all whenever I commit to something, whatever it may be. I tend to want to do everything perfectly or not at all, most of the time. I get frustrated every time when the thought that there’s no such thing as perfection hits me hard in the face. And it saddens me to feel like nothing I do is ever good enough. The reward, the promotion, the job, …, everything always seems too far, out of reach. That breaks me. It takes everything I’ve got to get back up again and move. It takes everything I’ve got to keep going. It breaks me. It takes everything I’ve got to get back up again and move. It takes everything I’ve got to keep going. It has always seemed weird to me that I tend to not give up, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how much it hurts. I tend to push forward, even if the optimism in me is down to less than nothing. I wrap myself in a blanket of hope, that someday my turn will come and it will all have been worth it. I tend to do all this, but

I tend to do all this, but lately it’s been tougher than before. Because when you haven’t had any wins, and the clock keeps turning, and the plans you made before are coming to an end, and you’ve got nothing left to look forward to, the task of pushing seems all too exhausting to keep doing over and over again. So I freeze. I freeze in this stupid “mean reds” mood, where nothing feels right and even writing or dancing around in the room in my pyjamas seems out of place (and something is terribly wrong when that happens, trust me!).

Actually, this blog is just another example of this. I have to this point 19 drafts of different post entries that never got to be public. And that number would be much higher if I didn’t from time to time erase some. This is what I’m talking about: I wrote a few posts and now I can’t publish any other because they never feel good enough. This is certainly not a great post, it isn’t even good, but I’m forcing myself to publish it anyway because I desperately need to change things.

And I know, I know! This rant might seem like I’m an ungrateful bastard. But my life is not so bad: I haven’t had any wins, but I haven’t had many losses either. I know I’m good at most things I do and I know I can do almost anything I put my mind to. But everyone is entitled to having feelings, whatever those might be, and mine are just a little hard to swallow sometimes. I know, deep down, that if nothing great has yet happened to me is probably because I’m not ready for it yet. But it doesn’t make these feelings any less real. And it surely doesn’t make them go away, while the clock is still turning faster and faster than before.

A friend told me that this resilience is what she liked best in me. The fact that I don’t just quit trying on projects, work, people. And it is truly funny because I always recognized this trait in others as being a strength of character but when it came to me it always seemed like a burden, a flaw, a weakness, for leaving me feeling like this. But working hard takes strength. Trying again takes strength. Pushing, especially when there are no guarantees of what you’ve got on the other side, takes strength. I need to start seeing that in me, for my own sake.

It never takes me too long to defrost. This time won’t be any different. I hope.

-A.

 

a vitória do extraordinário

Sim, este é um texto sobre o Amar pelos dois e sobre a vitória dos irmãos Sobral na Eurovisão.

Rendida a tudo o que a canção transmite desde o primeiro momento em que a ouvi, nunca imaginei que tivesse qualquer hipóteses de ganhar fosse o que fosse. E esta minha perplexidade diz muito do meu preconceito para com os outros, que julgava serem indiferentes a algo verdadeiramente belo, por tantas vezes testemunhar tantas outras belezas serem ignoradas por fugirem às modas e ao normal. Esse preconceito fez-me crer que junto do espalhafato sonoro e visual que são regra na Eurovisão a canção dos Sobral cairia no vazio. Aqueles eram, aliás, os motivos que me faziam ver, rir e julgar o programa Europeu, acabando sempre por me preencher por uma enorme vergonha alheia e fazendo com que desligasse a televisão antes sequer de saber resultados, mesmo quando havia músicas de que gostava ainda em jogo.

O meu preconceito não me permitiu pensar que a composição de Luísa fosse ganhar, precisamente por ser de qualidade. Independentemente de se gostar do estilo, da voz e dos instrumentos, qualquer pessoa que tenha uma formação musical consegue perceber a beleza da canção. E o meu preconceito partiu daí. É que a música de que gosto, aquela que sei que é forte em termos musicais, que tem letras lindas e com significado, qualquer que seja o género, raramente é aquela que a maioria aprecia. E isso, como em qualquer outra coisa, pode tornar-nos arrogantes de certa maneira, ao pensarmos que só nós sabemos o que é “bom”. Aqui entramos no que o Salvador disse várias vezes (e não apenas quando aceitou o prémio), e na arrogância que alguns lhe apontam por negar a música de plástico, dos artifícios, feita em laboratórios electrónicos quase sem resquício de instrumentos musicais fisicos, em detrimento da “boa” música, a que tem sentimento, a que ele faz. Como já se deve ter percebido, eu não podia concordar mais com ele. Mas penso que também já mostrei que compreendo, até certo ponto, que este preconceito pode ser visto como arrogante. Não posso, contudo, rotulá-lo nesses termos, quando não foi mais do que consistente com o que havia dito e redito durante todo o processo Festivaleiro. Mas adiante!

O meu preconceito partiu daí, mas também partiu de outros aspectos da minha vida, porque não é, de todo, do que entendo por boa música aquilo que pretendo falar aqui. É desta vitória do extraordinário e do incompreendido. Do bom que não quer fama, apenas um reconhecimento de que o seu trabalho tem qualidade; do estranho que diz o que pensa; daquele que tem uma visão idealista do mundo e a quer partilhar com todos, continuando mesmo quando é ridicularizado e desprezado, porque essas coisas não interessam, o que importa é a mensagem passar. E passou, oh se passou.

O orgulho e a felicidade que sinto não se devem apenas ao nome e a música do meu país serem reconhecidos internacionalmente. Não, não, o que me fez verter várias, muitas, tantas!, lágrimas não foi só o ter sido uma vitória com boa música, de um bom cantor, de uma boa compositora, de uma língua maravilhosa. Não. Foi o ter sido também a vitória do fora-da-caixa, do diferente, do simples, do humilde e do trabalhador. Não existiram chico-espertices, nem máscaras. Não houve exageros. Foi a pureza de algo e alguém incomuns que conquistou a Europa no sábado à noite.

Pelos meus olhos, esta foi uma vitória dos desadequados, dos estranhos, dos inconformados, dos genuinos. E é por isso que a vejo agora como minha, e não tanto por ter sido de Portugal, em Português. Foi uma vitória dos constrangidos e dos desajeitados. Foi uma vitória de tudo o que durante os últimos meses têm apelidado o Salvador, mesmo que eu não concorde com metade do que lhe chamaram. Afinal, num ano em que se celebrava a diversidade, venceu um alguém verdadeiramente diferente, extraordinário, num troféu que me dá uma bofetada na cara, porque afinal os “outros” ainda ouvem alguém fora do comum. E se gostam do que ouvem… O Salvador ganhar foi para mim algo que tenho dificuldade expressar seja de que maneira for. Já tinha rabiscado este texto depois da canção ter sido apurada para a Eurovisão, e agora tive mesmo de acabá-lo. É que mostrou-se que, afinal, os desajustados importam mesmo, as nossas vozes, mesmo contra maré, podem ser ouvidas. Vale a pena tentar que a nossa mensagem seja ouvida, custe o que custar. E o mais bonito e irónico disto tudo é que ele conseguiu que a mensagem dele passasse de uma forma tão despercebida que pareceu quase sem querer.

Os irmãos Sobral não são heróis nacionais. Provavelmente também nem se revêem neste texto, nem é esse o objectivo. Este é o significado da sua vitória para mim e ninguém consegue diminuir ou retirar-me esta força que me deram, assim, sem estar à espera. E estes são os sentimentos pelos quais vale a pena viver.

Sim, este foi um texto sobre o Amar pelos dois e sobre a vitória dos irmãos Sobral na Eurovisão. Sim, foi também o meu primeiro texto (neste blog) em Português, porque é isso que este momento, este sentimento, pede de mim.

-A.

[crónica publicada pela primeira vez a 17 de Maio de 2017 no P3]

help a chicken out

Most nights in this house I can hear
an owl
at my window.
The song calms me down.

But one night
the song didn’t come.
Instead, I heard a chicken crying
somewhere where it shouldn’t be.

The others answered her,
brothers and sisters
(or maybe just neighbors),
wanted to come to the rescue.

But the giant cage in which they rule
didn’t let them move
and so I fell asleep
wanting to help that chicken
find its own owl

 

 

(this is not made of metaphors, there is literally an owl outside and a chicken did call for help somewhere far away… Don’t worry though, it came back)

the one that got away

“the one that got away”…
That’s an expression
I’ve heard since I was a child.
Never truly understood it,
Until now.
Or have I?

Romantic at heart,
yet I don’t always accept love.
In fact, with open eyes and fighting tears,
I said “thank you” and hoped you could forgive me.
I watched your face as it faded into a million pieces,
With it, your heart.
And I said “what?”, “thank you”, “goodbye”.

My new best friend, shattered, just a piece of paper crumbled on the floor.
And I hope you can forgive me.
For I have been there too,
I know how the pain twists and burns inside you,
and I saw it in your eyes.
Or was it reflecting my own burning pain?

So we make amends and try
to be just like we were before.
My new best friend!
Until voices gather around us, screaming “lovers”…
And I say “what?”, “thank you”, “goodbye”,
turn my back on my new best friend,
broken, shattered, crumbling on the floor.

But forgiveness came, and with it new thoughts
and conversations about this frightening world,
and the deepness of the human mind,
of your mind.
Even with all the fights and arguments,
I realised that maybe, just maybe,
I could love you. Because love grew
Like a seed grows into a tree,
Or a…..

But love isn’t a metaphor.
Love isn’t a “could”
Love isn’t a “it would never work out”
And so… you never knew that I “could”.

When you said “goodbye”,
my face fade into a million pieces.
With it, my heart.
And with open eyes and fighting tears,
I said “thank you”, “goodbye”.

Romantic at heart,
There’s an expression I’ve heard
Since I was a child:
“the one that got away”.
Never truly understood it,
Until now.

Or have I?

 

under anesthesia

I think that throughout the 21 years that I’ve been alive I had very few moments when I completely blocked out. There are things I don’t remember of course, not because I passed out in those moments but because my brain can’t grasp everything it lived through.

There was, however, that time, somewhere between grade six and eight, when someone kicked a ball right to where my head was and I passed out. To this day, I only know this story of my life, I don’t remember it.  I’ve heard it a million times, just like I’ve heard other stories of my childhood a million times and either I never remember them or I think I remember it – it seems like a memory, but in reality I know it isn’t quite right, I feel like it’s probably someone else’s memory, not mine.

It’s not only that I’m afraid I’ll someday get amnesia… I guess it’s also because I’m just afraid I forgot a lot of stuff from my past not because of someone hitting me on my head, but because I didn’t enjoy and savour those moments enough. And because of this I want to write down another story, a more recent one, where I lost consciousness:

Last Autumn I had a surgical emergency and obviously was knocked out. That was the first time in my life and it scared me. I haven’t talked about this bit a lot because it truly scared the hell out of me! One minute I was there, the other I was gone. I was really nervous, and it might have been the nervousness of having to go through a surgical procedure,  or it might have been the absolute fear of having my body failing to function as it should have, either way all I know is when I started to wake up, I didn’t remember anything that happened before. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to know or remember how it felt to have surgery. What scares me is that my brain seemed to be shutdown during that period… It’s like I was dead somehow.

I didn’t want this to seem so dramatic, it wasn’t that bad and I know there are things far worse. Still it lingers with me, that fear of being oblivious as to where my brain was during that time. I also know there are scientific explanations to everything I just wrote, but that’s not the point, really. Why? Because I’m talking about that specific feeling, that I can’t shake off. It was one of the weirdest moments of my life.

The few stories I know where somehow I lost complete consciousness of what surrounded me make me very afraid indeed. The oblivion, the nothingness of those moments might scare me the most since they are constant reminders of the other something else I can’t shake off: that I live my life constantly under anesthesia.

-A