Faux Pas

Every new job is the same bloody thing. There's always the nice people, compassionate souls who are ready to extend their kind hands when you have that look of despair in your face; and there's the patronising bitches, who can't wait to see you making a mistake so they can tell everyone behind your back how dumb you are, after coldly throwing your faux pas back in your face. No, I'm not naming names, are you crazy? I never do. But I like to acknowledge, even when no one that matters in this particular subject will read this, that I am an extremely observant and sensitive person, therefore, I most certainly WILL spend the rest of my day ruminating specific attitudes from specific people in my head - until the next faux pas happens.
But hey, believe me, I care less these days. I didn't even cry when I thought I was supposed to, which is fairly amazing. Two things might be happening: a) I'm really growing up, and b) I'm learning to manage my monthly hormonal mess.  These are good news.


Normally I don't really mention here the books I've been reading - mostly because I read several at the same time, and depending on my mood, I might get through one a week or just leave it aside -  but tonight I will, just because I feel like. 

I'm reading Clarice Lispector biography, "Eu Sou Uma Pergunta" (I'm a question), written by a PUC (a brazilian private university) student as her MA final project. I haven't read much of her work to this date, and I have always made a mental note to read everything carefully because her style resembles that of my english favourite, Mrs Virginia Woolf. But then I wanted to read more in Portuguese, as my use of my own native language is in a steep decline, and I've decided to have a lo
ok in this book that's been with me for at least 2 years. The writing style is a bit shit, to be honest.  The author tries her hardest to be faithful to the documents she used for the  research (On the morning of 12 of December 1941, Clarice signed the document blablabla), while trying to make her amazing life story flow - and that's where I try to focus on. Her story is just... astoundingly inspiring. It's everything I wanted to do and be (well, not everything, but a lot of it). I want to have that devotion to my own art, and the discipline. I want to be able to translate my pain, not simply minimise it to get through my days in this cold land - like she did so competently. 


The Haircut Theory

I've got a haircut. "Oh, really, Einstein?", you might ask. To what I proudly answer, yes, I did. I've chopped off more than half of my long and heavy and tyrannical locks. To most women, and at least most ordinary women, going to a hairdresser regularly for "maintenance" is probably one of the most trivial of feminine beauty habits, one that belongs to their routine as much as brushing their teeth before bed, but to me it is more like a metaphysical experience. It represents much more than a simple decorative method of improving one's image. To me, it represents the most immediate act of rebellion, an emblem of internal transformation, a symbol of life's continuous and inevitable metamorphosis. In the beginning of this month, I've decided to turn my life around, and as soon as I saw the mechanisms of this transformation being ignited in meteoric speed, I knew it was time to bring that idea to the outside. First, via my hair. 

To understand the dimensions of this seemingly commonplace act (after all, which woman doesn't get a haircut when she thinks her life needs a shake-up?), it is best to give a little explanation. I NEVER go to hairdressers. I seek one once a year, when the situation is too calamitous and I need a little help in order not to look like a bag-lady. In my teens I used to be my local coiffeur's best customer, changing lengths and colours according to my hormonal moods, but since I've left Brazil I simply decided to let the thing grow freely and do whatever I needed to do on my own. It was a decision firstly based on money, obviously, and then later based on the principle that I would not waste my precious time worrying about my looks more than I was already obliged to. I could be reading a book instead.

But 4 years down the road, and I actually realised that my long unrestrained hair, which got endless compliments from people who would always say in the end "Don't ever cut it!", was actually imprisoning me. The longer it got, the more demanding it became. The more I took care of it, the more attention it got, consequently, the more pressured I've felt to take care of it. 

If there's one thing that defines me as a person, this is thing is my resilient insubordination. I DON'T like to be forced to do what I don't want to do. I get depressed and bitter if I see myself wasting time by not being myself (which is most of the time. It's not that easy to be original in Western society). And MY HAIR was doing that to me. It was time to do something about it.

So after calling my previous job and saying "Sorry guys, I'm taking the rest of the week off. See you whenever," I went to Central London and wandered in the first dodgy hair salon I found in one of those narrow SoHo streets. There were four hairdressers labouring over the heads of skinny and tanned over-40s men, so when the affected giant black men asked me if I had any preference, I simply said "no. Whoever is available first."

A blonde, nonchalant woman was the first to finish. She got my overwhelming mass of hair out of my low ponytail and said "So, what you wanna do?", I promptly replied "Just get rid of it. Or at least half of it." She didn't bat an eyelid. I took out my mobile phone, started making a few phone calls, and half-hour later I remembered I had a mirror in front of me. The final result was definately not the most amazing haircut I have ever had - it actually reminded me of the first time my hair was stylised in endless layers back in 1991, making my 9-year-old self look like a midget wearing a monumental wig - but it was different enough from the girl who has been a slave of her own long manes for the past 5 years.

Not many people have seen it yet, and the ones who have didn't say much more than "Honey, it's a matter of time until we get used to it." To my immense satisfaction. Because one of the most rewarding realisations is knowing you did what you wanted to do without giving a single thought to what other people think of it. 


The Job.

So. I got the job. Yeah, yeah, I know.  That romantic unemployed moment became, well, just a moment. It's funny how everyone come to London to try and make dreams come true, and it rarely happens. Not that it doesn't happen. It's just that it takes so bloody long, and that is simply because London, on top of being everyone's promised land, it also happens to be the second most expensive city in the world, just behind that other crazeee metropolis, Tokyo. You want to do your shit? Pay the price, mothafuckah. You can do whatever the hell you want in London, be in the most talked about , courses and events and places around the world in London, see and maybe meet some of the most important and watched people in the world in London, and who knows, YOU may become one of those people that make London be one of the most juicy and yummy capitals in the world, but before that happens, you've got to pay your bills. No, that's an understatement. You've got to have money not just to pay the bills, but also be able to attend the events/places/courses where the so-called important people are. Because it doesn't matter if you want to be a writer or a cabaret dancer, a chef or a fluffer, you have to know the right people and be in the right places to get there. It's all too well wanting to be Charles Bukowski, penniless and worse for wear and using that as inspiration for writing poems and novels, or being George Orwell, giving up all comfort and wealth to write a book about homelessness in Paris and London, but these days that's rarer than Victoria Beckham's smiling. Without connexions, my darling, I'm afraid you won't get past the kebab shop on the corner, unless you happen to be very lucky and meet your personal messiah right there, gobbling down one giant chicken shish. 

So, that brings me to the job. 

And this one is proper. With proper contract, health insurance, pension contributions, and even travel and clothing allowance. Clo-thing A-llo-wan-ce .  The works. I couldn't say no. As I said before, and I will keep on saying forever and ever and ever: if someone throws an opportunity in your hands, even if it is not at the right time, JUST TAKE IT. Go on , have a look, try it for a bit, if it doesn't work for you, you can always say "sorry, it doesn't work for me."  Just don't sign anything. And if you do sign, then, oh well, try to be responsible, for a change. It's quite an OK experience. You can always use that as inspiration afterwards.

Eu só podia dizer isso em português.

Eu nunca quis conhecer o fundo do poço que você escolheu. Eu queria conhecer o fundo do MEU poço. MEU POÇO. O fundo do poço que eu havia escolhido podia ser fedorento, gosmento, emporcalhado, cheio de lodo e musgo e insetos flutuando na superfície da água escura e podre, mas era o MEU poço. Ter chegado no fundo do poço que você escolheu não valeu a pena. Foi uma perda de tempo. Do MEU tempo.


Pulling the brakes, part 3,189,287,642

You see, when I said earlier "fuck the plans", I knew I had a reason. I knew that when I make plans, they never work. Not the way I want them to anyway. At some point on the way, there's always a hole or a stone or a cow in the middle of the road that needs diversion. And after diversions I never go back to the road again. Or maybe I do, but never with the same enthusiasm and energy, and I reduce speed until I stop and forget that there's a road in front of me and a destination to reach. I just sit there and watch people pass me by, thinking "How interesting, they're going to that place I wanted to... It'd be nice to be there."

So, here it is. I said some posts before that I was proudly unemployed, looking forward to book a flight to that remote country called Brazil, and then enjoy my free time to push forward some ideas that I had in the back of my mind such as le book and le vintage fashion shop, and then, and THEN! I get a call, no, a text message, from a friend asking me if I want to go for a job interview in this really fucken' cool members club. Shite. I was NOT looking for a job, damnit. I wanted a proper job for so long, since I started university, or since I left Brazil, and no one wanted to give me. Now that I don't want it, they do. It's always like that. When you're single, no one bats an eyelid when you walk by. Then you find a mate, and you're suddenly the hottest dish on the menu. Not that I am at the moment (pfff, hell no), but it happened before.

Anyway. I had to pull the brakes and do the famous diversion, once again. You can't say no when opportunities come knocking on your door. You go there, check it out, and if it works for you, then you go for it.

I'll never reach my final destination, will I?


So many people, and not one able to read my mind.

It's been nearly 18 months since I last left the UK. Pretty long, considering I wouldn't stay with my feet planted anywhere longer than 8 months. Always on the road, since I left that immense country down south, my home. What it used to be my home. Now I'm here, free to go, and I don't really want to go anywhere. Can't think of a place better than right here, right now, in this city I've been loathing for most of the time I've been residing within its chaotic districts. Always hating the grey sky, the toxic air, the coldness of its inhabitants, the trains always late, always packed full of sweaty, sick, frustrated people, most of them dispirited immigrants trying to make ends meet and fuck off back home asap. Thinking, "this is not it. This is not where I should be." And then, 18 months later, the city has finally pushed me on my knees. "Here is the truth, so now you can hate me": I surrender.

I've cried so many times in so many places, in pubs, in buses, on the street, in my bed until I fell asleep with exhaustion, that I can't bear to leave a place that has so many pieces of me scattered around it. The only other place that holds most of my scars in custody is Balneario Camboriu, my darling little beach town, BC. Everything I'm scared to do these days I did it in BC. I was a ballsy little girl back then. All my first-times happened in BC. The drinks, the drugs, the boys, the men, the sex, the tattoos and piercings, the fights, the passions. The going-back-home-stoned-and-barefoot-on-the-beach-early-mornings, the driving-high-on-a-acid-from-one-town-to-another, the blow-job-in-the-car-at-night-on-one-of-my-friends'-brother, the shutting-myself-in-my-room-crying-and-listening-to-TheDoors.

Then after all that, I grew out of my skin, too big to stay in that little town, so I run away. First to Curitiba, then to New York City, then to London. But the bigger the city, the smaller I became. Too many people, and none of them able to read my mind. None of them interested in looking at me, or more to the point, see through me. I was like Alice in Wonderland, when she takes that magic potion and diminishes until she is as tiny as an insignificant insect. That's me. A little insignificant bug in the middle of the jungle, afraid to die smashed under the giant paw of an elephant. 

It was never supposed to be like that.

Now, all I can think of is how to be unafraid, how to make my point come across. How to grab people's ear and say "Oi! listen to me!" Because I don't know how to do that, I don't know how to be visible without worrying about being irrelevant. I don't want to waste anyone's time. No, that's not it. I DON'T WANT TO CARE IF I'M WASTING ANYONE'S TIME. Don't want to listen? Fuck off back home then. 

So, that's why I'm now unable to go anywhere else. Because right now I need to find my place in this spectacularly grand city. 


ps: can't stop listening to radiohead's new album "In Rainbows." Must be one of the most beautiful albums ever made. No excuses not to buy it: you can give as little as $0.01 for it. But I were you, would give more, because it's JUST SO WORTH IT.  


Starting from Scratch

I simply haven't had time. Or wasn't clear-headed enough to be able to write a word properly (meaning "hangover-to-the-point-of-not-having-any-brain-cells-left"). But that's because I was too happy. Yes, I know, that's a first. Being happy and drinking my arse off just because I could is something so rare in my life that it felt like it wasn't really me. Only that it is the real me, for the first time, in ages. Not afraid to fuck up anymore.

I'll tell you. Last week was one of those weeks when everything suddenly falls into place through a mix of luck, instinct and, well, balls. It started on Sunday, when I dragged my friends to see Lee Miller's exhibition at the V&A. The first time I heard, well, read about Lee Miller was in this novel by a Brazilian lady that I was slightly obsessed with when I was about 12. It happens to me all the time. Every now and then I get obsessed about some woman that represents part of what I am or want to be in life. Women like Tracey Emin, Virginia Woolf, Juliette Lewis, and more recently Amy Winehouse. All dramatic, emotionally intense, slightly crazy women with a drug or drink problem, but so, SO talented. Fearless women who pour their hearts out in their art, who don't draw a line between their work and their lives. In the novel, the heroine goes through shitloads of surgery to look like Lee Miller - the ultimate beauty with brains - just so she can catch the eye of this famous photographer. I read the novel way before I got access to the Internet, and back in my little Brazilian town it was as easy to find books about 1930s' photographers as it is to elect a Brazilian politician that is not corrupt, so I never really found out much about her work until a few years later - probably until I left Brazil. Then last Sunday I went to see her work at the museum. And it's not that her pictures were amazing themselves, or the fact that she, along with Man Ray, invented a technique to invert highlights in a picture, or that she was the first female war photographer during WWII. No. It was because she was FEARLESS. And passionate, and unstoppable, and audacious, and very, very ballsy.

The first Go For It muse.

Now, think: how brave a woman had to be in the 1930s to demonstrate she possessed  balls? She was a bloody genius, and on top of that, she was sex-ee.

So, after I went back home, I run a bath and while sitting there, like a boiling egg, I decided. This bloody stuckness has to stop. No more waiting for my life to start. Obviously I knew I was still powerless to deal with some aspects, but I could simply, you know, adopt the attitude. And make some phone calls.

So the next day I called my current job in that bar and told them I needed a few weeks off - with no intention to come back.

Then my landlord told us our rent was going to go up and we needed to decide if we wanted to stay and pay more or get out. I said we're leaving. 

Then I've checked my savings and made a few calculations and started to draw a plan to see how long I could be proudly unemployed, while also starting my little fashion business (more on that later) and write my book, the little bloody fucken' tormenting book. In the end I didn't really draw a plan, because plans scare me more than actually help me, so I simply threw caution to the wind.  Fuck the plans. I'm just gonna dive into the unknown for a while and see what happens. Carpe Diem for real.

Then my passport came back after endless, long months at the hands of the British authorities, holding my permission to come and go for years to come.

And so it is that now I've got no job, no home, little money and colossal (but limited) freedom. All in the tiny space of a week. 

I haven't been this excited in a looong, long time. 


Michael Jackson is my guru.

It might sound, like, whatever to you, but I always knew I would go back to my roots. The first album I ever bought was Michael Jackson's Dangerous, and all the following ones were from His Majesty King of Pop as well. I was a Jacko's Hardcore Fan at the tender age of 10, with curly fringe, fingers bandaged, manic poster collecting, all that shit. I even mimicked the guy at a school play, singing "Heal the World" dressed up as in the "Black and White" video, to my mortification years later. I think I actually learned my first English words by translating the lyrics of his songs, which I would not have a clue what they meant afterwards.


Last week I just heard 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" playing in the background at a bar and it reminded me of my pre-teen obsession, so I decided to buy (yes, b-u-y, not steal) the song on Itunes, and PLIM! I had an epiphany. Michael Jackson knew it. He always knew. The lyrics of that song, well, they were written for me. It's just the most ironic slap in the face I've ever got, and now I think HE is a bloody genius to have written those lyrics (not to say the beats, which are pure dance music genius too).

Anyway. Pay attention:

I Said You Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
You Got To Be Startin' Somethin'
I Said You Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
You Got To Be Startin' Somethin'

(--> that's me there, always trying to, er, start something. But...)

It's Too High To Get Over (Yeah, Yeah)
Too Low To Get Under (Yeah, Yeah)
You're Stuck In The Middle (Yeah, Yeah)
And The Pain Is Thunder (Yeah, Yeah

(-->see. He knows. I'm doing everything wrong, that's why I'm stuck, and suffering the consequences).

You Love To Pretend That You're Good
When You're Always Up To No Good
You Really Can't Make Him Hate Her
So Your Tongue Became A Razor

(--> well, that's just him telling me the truth. I don't know who is "Him", but it doesn't matter. I'm up to NO Good).

You're A Vegetable, You're A Vegetable
Still They Hate You, You're A Vegetable
You're Just A Buffet, You're A Vegetable
They Eat Off Of You, You're A Vegetable

(--> That's my favourite part. I actually sing that to myself in the mirror every morning.)

If You Cant Feed Your Baby (Yeah, Yeah)
Then Don't Have A Baby (Yeah, Yeah)
And Don't Think Maybe (Yeah, Yeah)
If You Can't Feed Your Baby (Yeah, Yeah)

(--->that's just self-explanatory. Like, "stop that biological clock now.")

Lift Your Head Up High
And Scream Out To The World
I Know I Am Someone
And Let The Truth Unfurl
No One Can Hurt You Now
Because You Know What's True
Yes, I Believe In Me
So You Believe In You

(---> but then, THEN, he finally says "Thais, it's alright. I know you're good, you just have to believe yourself").

That's it. Who needs horoscope when there's Michael Jackson.