35

So, it happened. I turned 35 last Saturday.

Five years ago, when I turned 30, I freaked. Well, I am a firm believer that everyone has the poetic license to freak out whenever they reach a milestone.

Back then, my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, asked me “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” .

The childless, single, living-in-Brazil, 30-year-old me replied specifically:

When I am 35 I wanna have 3 children and I wanna be living in a place that’s not New York but would allow me to go there WITHOUT getting on an airplane on a long weekend or whenever I feel like it.

He took a deep breath and said “well, that’s quite hard”.

I just kinda…

Dude… you asked me what I would wish for, if I could wish for anything in the world. I was not being realistic.

Except, it turns out I was.

So, here I am, the 35 year old me. I am short one kid (by choice) and I must say, despite all the fake-confidence I had when I said those words to my husband, I too am very surprised that in 5 years I got myself where I wanted to be.

But apparently, I do have the secret power to attract the things I say and I feel like that’s a power I should use.

So, I’m gonna make a wish for when I’m 40.

When I’m 40… I wanna be really happy. Just like I am now, except, without the panic disorder, which will allow me to actually ENJOY it. I  also want my girls to still be my best friends and still hug me. I want us all to be healthy. I wanna be in love with my city and if it’s not too much to ask… I kinda wanna be working with something fun and maybe be living in my own house?

Here I go again, people… shooting for the stars. And once again, I know I’ll surprise myself.

Letting the memories out

I just realized I had a record. I had a record of shit that’s been going through my head from the moment we knew we were moving to Canada.

So, I imported all my old blog posts to here ‘ cause I wanted to read them again and maybe figure stuff out.

At this point I realize there’s never been anything bad going on with me, yet, I always sound scared. I think it’s about time I control that. I mean, I should be an adult by now, according to my birth certificate.

The last couple of years have been turbulent, though. We’ve moved from Brazil to Canada and we are about to move for the 4th time in Canada already, which is a LOT, considering we have only been here for 1 year and 10 months.

Apparently, I am not that good with changes and I am desperate to go home. Not the home I came from. The new one. The new place that feels like home.

Two weeks ago when we were in Montreal I was sure I had found that place.

Next year, when you read this, I will not sound scared and lost anymore.

That’s a promise.

Bed bugs

The reason why I haven’t been writing is because we have bed bugs. Well, it’s not exactly “us” as much as it is our neighbors. At one point, they came to our room through the common wall.

I am very allergic to their bites. VERY. I couldn’t close my hands when they got me.

So, I didn’t go to work most of last week and we ran away to Montreal as the house got fumigated.

I figured, if we have to leave the house, we might as well go some place we had never been and have a little vacation…

Montreal is amazing! I love it – love it – love it !

It’s not just an amazing place, I mean, Ottawa has some nice buildings as well, but Montreal is ALIVE. People are OUT on the street, riding their bikes and there’s always something going on… I am in love!

I loved seeing the old ladies together having a beer by the river, just living life.

Plus, this is gonna sound weird, but my husband pointed out that the Catholic churches make me feel at home and I totally agree with him, even though we don’t go to church… it’s a very familiar “face”. I absolutely missed it.

But my favorite part of the trip was when I stopped panicking about shit that’s not happening. I kinda forgot to panic several times ’cause I was too entertained. At one point, when we came back home, even though we were under a lot of stress ’cause the bed bugs were still there, I was able to relax. I don’t really do that often.

Then, when I went back to work and all the panic came back.

See how things relate? It’s quite obvious when I talk about it : “Stress makes me think either me or my girls are dying.” Simple, right? If I’m happy, I’m ok. But controlling this shit is far more complicated than writing that sentence.

So, there’s a lot going on and we are busy cleaning the house and putting everything in plastic bags… we also decided to move and leave the beds behind. I’ll probably be quiet for a while, but I’ll try to post!

 

People are so mean.

I like writing. I like talking to people. If I see something that I like, there’s a chance I”ll wanna talk about it, but I rarely ever do that, specially on social media.

So, this morning I randomly complemented a famous girl on Instagram. It’s stupid to talk to the people who’ll never acknowledge your existence, but I do it from time to time, whenever I’m in a good mood.

Because of that, some random woman was rude to me.

She could have been rude to anyone down the street and they’d just ignore her and keep going with their lives. But it was me and I felt like I was attacked.

People are so incredibly mean and they have no idea how they affect others by doing that. The fact that that woman criticized my compliment made me shiver.

I have panic disorder -so they say-. I hate conflict. She doesn’t know that. All she knows is that something was going wrong with her life and she decided to take it out on strangers on Instagram.

Now I am questioning everything. I’m not sure if I’m healthy anymore. I start thinking I have some kind of rare disease that’s gonna kill me in months because that’s the way my mind works whenever I see conflict and I can’t stop it.

And now I’ll suffer. For minutes, hours or even days. It’s hard to say.

I’ll suffer because those tiny words from someone I’ll never meet triggered something on my brain that I fight day and night not to trigger so I can have some peace.

But she doesn’t know that.

None of us know the ghosts the live inside other people’s heads, as we wake them up day after day.

Yes, I am over sensitive and most of the things that disturb me are only inside my head and not actually happening. But I still suffer from that, unfortunately.

Oh, how I hated the “eat pray love” lady.

I have always hated the girl from “Eat Pray Love” because I thought she was so ungrateful. She was a healthy well established woman who could just chose to not work for a year and go to the end of the world to find out what the hell it was that was missing in her life. She was doing all these amazing things but she still had the saddest narrative … like it was all so empty and pointless just because she didn’t have the right men next to her or whatever , while the rest of the women in the world, possibly with real problems, had no choice but to suck it up and get to work.

Yes, she made me angry back in the day. But I kinda get her now. A little bit.

Despite the drama and the fact that I still do think she’s ungrateful, I realized, as I come closer and close to turning 35 that I too had the luxury to make some important choices in my life.

I wanted to live in a city I absolutely loved, like I mentioned before and that was important to me. That was settled.

I also wanted to not wanna kill myself every Sunday night because the next morning I’d have to get up and go to work.

You’d think, though, that after 34 years of living inside my head I’d know myself enough to have a proper answer to the question ” what do you wanna do when you grow up” , correct?

Yeah, well, me too.

But it turns out I don’t.

If I were ever to pick the thing that I love the most and never-ever get tired of doing, the answer would be “decorating”. It’s fun, colorful, dynamic, there’s always something different… In fact, it was such a great concept that I absolutely bought it. I picked it. I became an architect.

 

And then reality came.

It turns out I liked decorating for ME and doing things I thought were pretty. Decorating for other people kinda sucked. I can’t handle people.

Ok, let’s put a big “NO-NO”  in every existing job involving clients so I can go on finding out what I wanna be.

I figured I could engage on teaching. So, I tried it.

A teacher is like an actor. I had to put on a show every time I was in front of the class to make sure I was being interesting enough that they would learn from me (and not fall asleep). I was totally fine with that part.

The problem with teaching is that some days I was tired. Sometimes I wanted to go to the bathroom, sometimes I was very hungry and sometimes I wanted to check my phone (’cause I’m a paranoid person with 2 kids)!

So, by the time I quit teaching,  I knew  wanted something that :

  1. Would allow me to take a 5 minute break whenever I needed one!
  2. Had no clients.
  3. Was more mechanical than creative (’cause I am not creative under pressure).
  4. Had flexible hours in case I slept in or the phone didn’t ring.
  5. That paid decently. Kinda.

 

So, I got my current job… which surprisingly checked all the requirements on my list and also allowed us to move from Ajax – a place I couldn’t see myself growing old in.

Isn’t life just great? Am I happy enough now, or am I the bitch from “eat, pray, love” ?

Yeah, I’ll be the bitch from the book.

I wanna add things to my list and I hope that’s not a crime. I mean, I hope that’s not me being ungrateful for the things I have.

By the time this project is done and I’m off job-hunting I’ll look for something exciting, life-changing, world-changing, I’ll design video-games and have time to paint!

Yeah, bad example. I still don’t know what my awesome job will be. But if I showed you that list above just 2 years ago when I was living in Brazil and added “live in a first world country”  to it… you’d also say I’m a dreamer.

It turns out I don’t hate the ” eat  pray  love ” lady. It turns out I too am her. In my very own version… and I cannot wait to read my book!

juliaroberts

The kid that figured out the puzzle

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When I was 20, I pictured the 40 year old me. The ” life” ? Well, that’d be all figured out.
The mystery of “who is the person I’ll marry and how many kids we’ll have” ? Also solved.
And I’d just sit back on my fluffy couch and stare at my accomplishments. Life would be good!
By the time I hit 34, I had my routine. I was so lucky to have my girls, to have moved to Canada, to have found a good job.

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

But, even though luck was a great thing, it’s not enough if you don’t really live it. I started to feel like every day without laughter was a waste of life.
A psychologist once told me that I had an urge to live. Could be. I DO get bored quite easily and the responsibilities of adult life had taken me to a place where I couldn’t remember how to enjoy things anymore.
I’ve mentioned this here before. Everything was at it’s place, yet, something was missing.

And then, the other day, I met a kid.

The kid had this thing inside him, an attitude towards people, that no matter how exhaustive the training we were participating on was, he’d always find an excuse to laugh. Make a joke. As if he was not standing on that same office I was, which was filled with computers, and learning about programs most people wouldn’t want to get involved with. While all of us, old people, could barely find the strength to smile at his jokes.
He made me wonder when exactly do we lose that enthusiasm? When do things stop being funny? Or was I the only one losing it at all?

Even though I was the luckiest person on the planet, I still couldn’t laugh. And I missed it so much. I’ve never missed being 20 ’cause I believe right-now is the best part of my life. This is not what this is about. But I realized missed having friends. The friends that would fill out the time while I stared at my accomplishments with their silly text messages and youtube videos. It didn’t sound like much… but I still couldn’t have it.

The cliche was right. It IS in fact all about the people around you rather than the things you have or the place you are (even though, the concept of ” PLACE” is important for me).
So, yeah, that kid’s changed me. For once, he made me realize that even the longest meetings may have funny moments if I change the way I look at things. Just as in life.
The other change was that he made me believe there’s a chance I’ll have a new gang here one day. Because I might still have the ability to make friends. Not everyone in this country is necessarily so different from me that we can’t relate, like I thought. I am guessing there are probably 5 bearable people around here somewhere… And there’s a chance we’ll bump into one another other one day and end up playing video games together (as if I could actually play videogames).
The kid got the puzzle together for me. Showed me what I was missing – and it was not setraline pills.
As it turns out, the mysteries of my life are not yet solved. I was wrong.  I’ve still got plenty to find out.

Thanks, kid. Really, thank you.

For making me realize those things and for making me laugh again. I absolutely missed that. I absolutely missed being me.
Please note that I do not indent to sound like a creepy old lady. I just realized we can learn and recapture important lessons from the youngsters too. Unlike that popular belief that says that only our gamma’s know it all!
You can have your mom call me at anytime!

You don’t like my point of view, you think that I’m insane.

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I do doubt if we are, in fact, from this world from time to time. I secretly wish we are not. Well, maybe I am not that secretive about it.

Sometimes I believe we have a soul. It happens when this world stops making sense. For instance, when I’m staring at the mirror for so long I don’t recognize myself anymore or when I say my own name over and over. “Michele, Michele” what the hell is a “Michele”? What a weird word that is!

Also, there are always those dreams when you see someone you know and they look different, but you still recognize them. Right?

That leads me to believe that there’s something else hidden inside all of us we’d still recognize even without an specific body form. Like an energy.

And that’s probably the kind of crazy shit that’s got the psychiatrist thinking I was borderline schizophrenic. I do emphasize the word “borderline” (as in ALMOST, not as in the disorder!) ’cause she said I was not going to develop it. But don’t get me wrong… I am, apparently far, far from normal.

There’s something on my brain that makes me wonder. I wonder about tiny symptoms that could kill me in minutes like no one else does. It terrifies me. And then it’s gone.

My friends say it’s depression. But I don’t feel sad. I feel terrified. Like there’s a huge black bear running on my direction and a cliff in front of me. Which reads to very little chance of survival and high heart rate! Except, I’m sitting in the office. I forgot.

She suggested medication, but only if I wanted to. That is, only if my mind wonders to the point where I can’t concentrate on life or actually suffer from things I somatize into my body or things that aren’t actually happening.

Which I do.

But isn’t that what makes me, me?

Yes, the crisis suck. But what kind of boring person would I be if I worried about society or money instead of how infinite the infinite is?

Unfortunately, being crazy is not always fun and games. There are always those days when the tactile hallucinations take over and don’t allow you to enjoy a sunset or a board game with your kids ‘ cause you think those are your last minutes on this earth. So, yeah… I guess the medication would be the “responsible” thing to do even though I am torn.

I mean … a medication that controls your thoughts and your personality seems so… so… what? “Controlling” I’d say.

I’d very much like to believe that I CAN control my own brain. Well, at least my thoughts. But hell, no I can’t do that! I can’t even control my weight! And that’s like the mechanical act of putting chocolate into my mouth!

I also need to say I am curious about the medication and what it actually feels like. Will it make my annoyingly happy like a smurf? Or will it have absolutely no effect and I’ll keep waking up in the middle of the night thinking who the f&^% is that person lying next to me and what room is this?

The first week is supposed to be bad – like, people try to kill themselves (WTF?) but, eventually, the sertraline on your brain is controlled and you’re all good.

*scoffs*

Yes, I doubt it.

For the record, I’d like to say that I considered the psychiatrist to be very superficial on her analysis BUT since the medication she suggested is also used for a bunch of stuff I absolutely agree that I have (like the hypochondria that I mentioned) , I’ll give it a try. Had she only picked up on the fact that schizophrenia runs on my family and decided that I had something related to that, I wouldn’t agree with the medication. Not ’cause I’m on denial, but just basically because I am pretty sure the radio is not talking to me. The closest I get to that kind of situation I believe is writing here as if someone was reading this and I find it quite offensive to the people who actually suffer from this terrible, terrible illness that is schizophrenia that the disease was even brought up.

Having said that…

Experiences with panic disorder and hypochondria medication, anyone?