Life Is What Happens When You're Busy Making Other Plans

Everything has a price. Tudo tem um preço. That's what I've thinking today - and for the past 4 years, to be more precise. Two days ago I've completed 4 years living in London, and I've just suddenly realised that this idea has always been part of everything I do since I arrived here. I have always had choices - too many of them, I must say. But looking back, I see that for every choice I've made, I've paid a price, sometimes high, sometimes low, that would not necessarily be the same had I chosen something else. In 2003, I arrived at a determinate crossing, and I had to choose a route, a direction to keep moving forward. I only realised that I kept choosing wrong paths 3 years down the road, and from there I've trying desperately not to think about all the possibilities/opportunities/different pathways that I left behind, and just follow my instinct. 

(pause to breathe). 

I still have choices. Still, plenty of them. And sometimes I think that this is some kind of double-faced entity, a curse and a blessing at the same time. I see a lot of people that don't have many choices, or no choices at all, and they can't spend their time writing pros and cons lists. They need to give their best shot, because it might be the only one. I'm terrified of this idea. Because as much as I want to make things work, I don't want to think that it is my only chance. I simply hate being stuck inside a pressure cooker.

But maybe that is the reason I can't make anything work. I have ideas, one after another, and nothing ever leaves my head or the paper. If I'm not stuck inside the pressure cooker, I'm stuck outside anyway... just drifting aimlessly. 

The truth is I've arrived at another crossing and I've been there for over a year, afraid of screwing up again.

I need to make contact with my inner Major Tom again. 


The Worst Party

So, my weekend has been extraordinaire. To the ordinary observer, however, nothing has happened much that deserves special remembrance. But it does to me. To the normal listener, i would describe my saturday night as being defined by the worst party I have ever been in recent years, if not THE WORST PARTY I have ever been since I moved to London.  But that's just my humble opinion, of course. The fact that I don't enjoy, or simply DON'T FIT IN, in a tacky warehouse club full of sweaty, stinking, tasteless people stomping and clapping like monkeys to cheesy and idiotically loud music, is obviously my problem too. Nothing against people who like this kind of shit. Well, not true. I have everything against people over 20 who think it's absolutely normal to dance like a super-thirsty epileptic moron to music as interesting as a malfunctioning washing machine. 

I just feel like saying, "c'mon, darlin', take a look at yourself in the mirror. Silly, isn't it?" Maybe the government should make some kind of law obliging super-clubs and warehouse parties to hang huge mirrors all over their walls, so senior clubbers (those cretins who got stuck in the 90's) who spend their nights out rolling their eyes with a dimwit smile glued to their faces should realise the extent of their stupidity in public.

Or maybe not. People like this would probably think it's funny and say they never had such a good time.

Do I sound like an old snobbish and disdainful granny? Oh well, maybe I am. Or maybe I'm just immensely relieved that I've been through this phase while I was still young enough to look cute while behaving like the silly teenager I was. Not like the silly teenager I wish I was. Sometimes it's good to grow-up.


The other thing I've concluded after 3 very long hours inside that club was that I should, indeed, be immensely proud of who I am. Instead of constantly biting my nails because no one wants to hang out with me because I'm neurotic and obsessed (that's my head working 24/7), I've actually realised that it's ME WHO DOESN'T WANT TO HANG OUT WITH THEM. How can I, when most people around me (and by that I mean the shitloads of Brazilians who populate this enormous city - excluding a tiny smart percentage, which I'm proud to be friends with) are such ignorants in... how can I say... everything? The only way I can have fun around them is by sitting in a corner with a drink observing the ridiculousness of their gatherings - which I actually enjoy, because it provides material for my whinings. I definitely need a new crowd, new surroundings.


Dark Night of the Soul

The Guardian is publishing daily interviews with legendary public figures, from Marilyn Monroe to Hitler, and today Mr F Scott Fitzgerald features. He, who knows everything about writing to keep one's head above water when things are spiraling downwards, explained to perfection what happens regularly to those stupid manic-depressive aspiring writers most of the time when they are thinking about the future:

"Now the standard cure for one who is sunk is to consider those in actual destitution or physical suffering - this is an all-weather beatitude for gloom in general and fairly salutory daytime advice for every one. But at three o'clock in the morning ... the cure doesn't work - and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day. At that hour the tendency is to refuse to face things as long as possible by retiring into an infantile dream - but one is continually startled out of this by various contacts with the world."

Now, I'm not feeling particularly pessimistic today, quite the opposite. But I couldn't ignore the fact that the my routine has been extraordinarily described for everyone to see at the newspaper, by someone I absolutely respect. Thank you.


The sum of all things - so far.

So, what on earth has happened within the little boundaries of my universe in the past months? More than I thought it could have happened, since the beginning of 2007. In no particular order:

- I've studied art and found out that I am capable (obviously not impeccably - if there is such thing as "impeccable" in arts these days) to think visually and make my hands produce stuff other than writing. 

- I have, consequently, learned to appreciate the work of artists in a way I have never, ever really done. Once you put yourself in the artists' shoes, you realise the extension of their geniuses. Museums and galleries' trips have never been more captivating.

- I've nervously toyed with the idea of plastic surgery, nurturing and subsequently sending to hibernation a slimmer and prettier image of myself. 

- I have, as Richard Dawkins puts it, come out of the closet as an atheist, to the horror of my weirdly spiritual but not religious family. 

- I've cut relations with all the people that made me feel bad about myself, thus reducing even more my already reduced social circle. Not that these people noticed my absence anyway.

- I have indulged in my on-off relationship with music, and decided to not let it define the person I am. Music can be the answer to all your problems one day, and the most annoying form of art the next. Who the f*** invented nu-rave, anyway? 

- I have postponed indefinitely the pursuit of a journalistic career. Apart from the reading and writing, there isn't any aspect of this profession that appeals to the person I am. I am not extroverted or nosy, I have immense difficulty to verbalize my ideas in a coherent way, I'm anxious, insecure, with a self-esteem more unstable than the Brazilian economy, and I definitely, definitely HATE to shoot questions to people who have no wish or intention of answering them. Going out there chasing stories that are of no particular interest to me is one of my ideas of hell. And living in hell for a salary that can barely feed my cats is like ... fishing in the Dead Sea? You know what I mean. 

- As a consequence of the previous decision, I have inevitably come across people from all sections of society asking me the legendary question: "So what the hell are you going to do with your life?" Variations are: "So what is your plan for the future?", followed by "Are you going to throw away all you've done so far?" If there is a thing all parents should teach their children, taking a leaf from the French book of habits, is to not ask these kind of questions to people. It's rude, period. People are never genuinely interested in your future achievements. All they really want to know is what are the chances of you screwing up badly, so they can continue to indulge in their judgmental tradition, thinking "thank god, at least someone is worse off than me." So, whenever this question pops out, I simply say "well, I don't know. What about you?"

- I've started to hear the tic-tac of my biological clock. Loudly. 

- I've slapped myself in the face and hired a personal trainer, gave up (at least temporarily) alcohol, and started eating and sleeping better. Without any false modesty, I can't remember the last time I've felt this energetic and fit. Oh, yes, I do. That was 1998.   

(to be continued...)

PS: By the way: "thank god, at least someone is worse off than I am"


The Incessant Return

And so, as it could have been obviously foreseen, I am back to the world of blogging. For there is no reason why an aspiring writer would not attempt to publish her own misleading, irrelevant thoughts in a web page lost in the internetic (internetical?) ocean. Writing a public diary, even if there are no readers with lots of time and boredom in their hands left to accidentally bump into this modest journal, can still be seen as practice - not only as in language experimentation, but also in demonstrating the results of a so-called experimentation for a potentially limitless (and scaring) audience.

Which brings us to the age-old but still firmly rooted decision that this scriba has made a little more than a decade ago. I still haven't given up on the romantic idea that I will write a book. Eventually, it will happen. It is simply implausible to think that I've spent nearly half of a quarter of century yearning to do something and spend the three other quarters without seeing it happening. Now, why would you give a rat's ass about my seemingly selfish desire to see my words bound nicely in a square stack of paper, then it's another story. Because, honestly, I don'y give a rat's ass anymore about wether anyone thinks I should or not go for it. What I've found, after all these years muttering to myself the oh-so-cliché idea "I've got a book inside me", is that I've been wanting it for the wrong reasons. Which was simply to expose my self. Get attention. Show off the amazing personality that I think i've got and no one really knows about. Yadda yadda yadda.

Now, does that sound slightly... how should I say this... fuckin' self-absorbed and immature? That's what I've come to conclude as well.

So, after long reflecting about this matter, which now counts over 12 months during which I've tried my best (well, not really) to clean up, if not all, most of my emotional and practical rubbish, I have arrived at the following conclusion: I want to write because IT JUST GIVES ME PLEASURE. Because I JUST FEEL GOOD WHEN I'M ABLE TO ARTICULATE MY THOUGHTS. Because if I'm doing it for myself and taking my own time IT'S undeniably FUN.

Well, the last part is a load of rubbish which will probably not take me anywhere, because writing, as a profession, as a career, is DEFINITELY NOT FUN. I know what it is to spend days agonizing over a blank screen trying to find the right words to express ideas. It is time-consuming, hair-pulling, jumping-up-and-down-screaming-in-agony stressful. And it is also sad. But in a strangely soothing way, when you find those stupid little words, these seemingly small and foolish concoctions of alphabetical characters heavily charged with the meanings of everything you are, it is also deeply rewarding.

So, I'm back.