Espirais

“É verão e ninguém me perguntou se estava pronta. 

Mas o meu próprio corpo não me pergunta se estou pronta (…), porque é que o verão haveria de perguntar?”

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É verão e ninguém me perguntou se estava pronta.

Mas o meu próprio corpo não me pergunta se estou pronta quando deixa de saber respirar, ou só sabe andar a tremer, ou quer correr e não pode, ou não consegue largar as mesmas espirais uma e outra vez…, por isso, porque é que o verão haveria de perguntar?

Está calor — que eufemismo! –, e o meu cérebro (como a maioria dos cérebros, de acordo com a minha experiência como observadora) bloqueia. Mas, no meu caso, isto também é um eufemismo (começo a achar que não conheço muitos mais recursos expressivos). Porque ele faz um duplo, triplo, quadruplo mortal para as espirais. Qual surfista, ele apanha as ondas que se vão, progressiva mas rapidamente, tornando gigantes, perde-se nos seus túneis que depressa se transformam em espirais, quais furacões que (por enquanto) não o matam mas não o deixam parar de girar, sem nunca ver o fundo e sem voltar à superfície para respirar. Daqui podemos concluir que 1) ele não sabe surfar e 2) eu não percebo de agitação marítima (nem de desportos aquáticos). Mas acho que passa a ideia.

Só que não, a ideia não passa. A ideia enrola-se nela própria: “não és boa o suficiente”, “não percebes nada disso”, “não mereces aquilo”, …. E se todos passam, num momento ou noutro, por ondas deste género, nem todos ficam presos regularmente nas espirais. E se o meu cérebro é o surfista, a minha ansiedade é a prancha que o puxa para dentro delas. A minha ansiedade pode ser conseguida com uma dose daquilo a que tenho vindo a chamar de “stress saudoso” (coisas que não aconteceram ainda e podem muito bem nem vir a acontecer), meia dose de stress normal (prazos, pessoas, doenças,… episódios de Westworld), 4 quilos de baixa autoestima (pun intended, ah!), e umas pitadas de síndrome do impostor. Tchanam!, temos a prancha, é só esperar que o meu cérebro suba lá para cima e vá à sua vida — novamente, fica claro que não percebo disto porque as pranchas ficam a boiar (não é?!), mas deixem-me em paz, estou a tentar tornar a minha ansiedade numa coisa bonita, shiu.

Estou a escrever de dentro de uma espiral. Ou talvez sejam várias, por esta altura é difícil de dizer. Escrevo porque quero voltar à superfície, mas essa, como já disse, também é difícil de ver. Perto do fundo, pelo menos o sal mistura-se com o mar. Talvez amanhã, ou depois, já dê para respirar.

Quando não se passa das ondas, quando não somos puxados para o fundo e não lutamos com todas as forças para não nos afogarmos, é demasiado fácil dizer que não há problema nenhum com a prancha, que ela não existe ou que ela não é nada. Ou que há pranchas piores. Mas não é por elas existirem que a minha se torna menos real. Não é por haver situações e vidas piores, dores e problemas maiores, que eu não me posso sentir mal pela minha prancha estragada. Desvalorizar os danos é uma das coisas que os faz reproduzirem-se como um vírus. Ignora-os por algum tempo e contaminas uma aldeia inteira.

O estigma em torno dos surfistas de espirais não facilita a saída de dentro delas. Para combatê-lo, o melhor é falar sobre ele, o que só por si levanta a maré e nos puxa para novas espirais. Porque, pelo menos por agora, continua a não ser social e/ou profissionalmente aceitável dizer que não conseguimos ir trabalhar naquela semana porque o nosso cérebro bloqueia, mergulha em espirais, tem crises de ansiedade ou que se autossabota. É segredo o esforço hercúleo que temos de fazer para conseguir sair da cama, não pelo sono mas porque o nosso corpo treme e as lágrimas não param. Por agora, temos de pedir desculpas, rezar a qualquer divindade para não sermos despedidos, tentar ouvir quando falam para nós e esboçar um sorriso, porque o que é que interessa que nos estejamos a afogar em remoinhos, o que é importante é produzir, porque os prazos estão aí mesmo ao virar da esquina!

Caros companheiros surfistas de espirais, isto é para vocês. Nos vários anos em que tenho vindo a tentar remendar a minha prancha, penso ter chegado finalmente ao cerne da questão. Não devemos gastar tanta energia a tentar colar os bocadinhos, ou a comprar ou fazer pranchas novas. Não vale a pena, ela vai estar sempre lá, esburacada e partida, e o nosso cérebro vai agarrar-se sempre a ela. Em vez de lutarmos contra ela, temos de lutar com ela e aceitá-la assim, imperfeita. E reconheçam, de uma vez por todas, que há força (tanta!) e coragem em fazê-lo. Não importa que mais ninguém o veja, desde que nós, os surfistas desleixados, o vejamos. E, mais tarde ou mais cedo, acabaremos por dar à costa.

É verão e ninguém me perguntou se estava preparada. Não estou, nunca estou, para nada. Provavelmente nunca vou estar, mas não tem mal.

Aos possíveis leitores que têm a felicidade de saber surfar sem se afundar em espirais, espero que consigam imaginar como é viver com as nossas pranchas. E daí talvez nem consigam, com tantas tentativas de piada pelo meio (dá para perceber que uso o humor quando estou desconfortável?!). Enfim, fica uma tentativa, tantas outras virão: afinal, as espirais são as minhas musas.

-Ana

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.

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.