The winds are shifting and that’s ok!

How and why will I be focusing on travel content instead of writing fiction? –

800 words.

My love for writing fictional content is still here, and it will still happen, but as for right now, I will try something that was there before. Something that has been in my mind for the past 15 years. Creating traveling content to move forward to fiction in the long run.

February was a busy month.

I’m trying to keep up with the blog posts, while also managing to work full time and survive the cold Colorado winter. This year has been a hard hit for us. We have snow every week and frigid temperatures that make us not want to leave the house. Not leaving the house makes me not want to write anything. I need to find a coffee shop to get less distracted.

Two weeks ago, even in sub temp cold weather, we decided to drive to a ski area and have lunch there. We needed to check the ski resorts area and why not do that online when you can drive two hours just to have lunch and make a few videos of it?

The GoPro can work some miracles.

Photo by Jamie Fenn on Unsplash

I got a Gopro 9 for my birthday last October and that was the first time I used to film some content with it. Let me tell you, a GoPro makes an entire difference in video quality.

For someone who is a newbie like me, the Action Camera actually can work miracles. By the way, my next blog post will be about filming/editing gadgets for newbies.

One of the Youtube content creators I follow and make some awesome videos was talking about the gadgets he uses, as he has been working with photography for the past 15 years. That immediately took me back to the time I fell in love with Photography in 2004 and how different my life would be now.

What if I had followed what I wanted to work with? Would I be successful? Would I have a youtube channel talking about photography and videography? Would I be a pro at this point? It’s all in hindsight.

Life tripped me many times. I love writing fiction but I’m too insecure to write it. I’m very self-conscious and dramatic, and feeling like an outsider in this country doesn’t help me with my confidence. In my mind, I will wake up someday and write 300 pages and get published. My book will be chosen to be adapted to Netflix, Anna Delvey style.

The insecurity that comes from within.

Many times I ponder what is making me insecure? Why would I move mountains to live in the United States when I was younger and now that I’m here, I feel trapped?

When I was in Rio last year, my hometown, I felt like a winner. I could conquer the world, and as soon as I got back to America, my confidence was flushed and I was put back into my immigrant cave.

How does a person get out of this hamster wheel and get something done? That’s the reason why this blog exists, to share how I’m navigating life, as an immigrant trying to be happy, and getting things done.

Don’t be afraid to shift with the winds

By getting things done I mean, living my life to the fullest, while I do what makes me happy. I know what makes me truly happy. Traveling/Writing. That’s why I’m going to start filming some traveling content and posting it on social media. We will see what happens from that.

Don’t be afraid to shift the winds and adapt to whatever you are leaning to. Life is constantly changing and we are constantly evolving. I’m constantly in a spiral and I learn how to deal with my Brain giving me new ideas every day. I’m just happy I’m alive to try new things and make new plans.

Adapt.

This is not Toxic Positivity – It’s the positivity I have left to share.

I grew up with my mom saying “If you are not happy here, move.” We moved plenty of times and I had to adapt to different places and make new friends. So by my mom’s advice, if you are not happy, move. There is always a new day to try.

Change.

If what you are trying is not working, change the way you sail, or change where you are sailing. A couple of times in different pieces, I read that “You are not successful because you don’t stick with anything long enough.”

But what they never tell you is How long do you have to persist, before you start making some changes? It’s all so biased.

The video is a intro to the youtube channel I’m creating. I got some footage on Envato and the music I worked on Garage Band.

Like I said the word for this month is adapt. I’m going to New York for the first time in 15 years in two weeks. In summer we are going to hit the mountains with the trailer and create some content.

Let’s keep trying.

Fierce Living out loud too. Or at least trying to.

From time to time, I get to reevaluate why do I have this blog and my path to get where I’m today. It changed a lot, but one of the things that it hasn’t changed was the purpose.

Like the Titanic Engine, my brain is fuming and its max capacity.
My brain being bilingual

I’m out here, constantly learning how to navigate and live in a different culture that I didn’t grow up in, while I attempt to live a normal life. I dream in two languages and my brain is fuming like the Titanic engine. I get zero breaks.

The purpose of this blog is not to talk about me personally. It’s to talk about my experiences as an immigrant, in a constantly mid 30’s crisis, and with what I’m going through, find some people that can resonate with my experiences. I’m not an expert in anything.

I don’t have the authority to teach people how to do this or that, since I’m still living my life as best as I can.
Trying to be an influential blogger posing with my mug.

I could teach the younger generation how to work hard and chase dreams, but I’m still working on mine. Teach them how cool it was not to have a phone and be monitored by other people 24 hours a day.

You could just leave and walk around, without being disturbed by a thousand different media outlets. These days we carry a personal computer in our pockets. There was a time when to reply to emails, I had to sit down turn on my computer, wait for the internet to connect, and pray for nobody to pick up the phone and disconnect me.

The point is, I don’t have any authority in any subject. So I write about my struggles to get connections.
Disney Springs

I remember when I first started this blog, the idea behind was to simplify it call it “Live out loud”, because at that time I was still going through a Creative Writing bachelor’s degree and how writing in a second language, in the same level of a born and raised American was a daily challenge.

Writing about my assignments and the difficulty to fit in in the world of a writer was already hard by itself, having to explain that English is my second language was the real struggle. Even so with this being very difficult, I was still prompt to live my life out loud too.

I’m still doing my best to Live Out Loud Too

“Live out loud too” meant that at that moment I felt like I need to showcase my writing abilities, at the same time sharing my experiences as an immigrant. When I graduate the blog took a turn to a more serious tone of “why don’t I fit in?” when I moved to Austin, Texas.

Being in the south again, after living in Chicago, brought back memories of those years I was an outcast.

Living in Georgia for four years, meant I had to be on tiptoes constantly, explaining where I came from and what was I doing in America, why I didn’t want to stay in Brazil, and how peculiar my accent was. Southern hospitality is a lie. I even watched youtube videos on how to manage my accent and sound like a true American.

Yes, those videos are there for you to learn how to fake your accent. Just forget your first language and mimic the sound of the words. When you work in a place that is constantly harassing you for your “Language Barrier”, and giving better tables to people who speaks more fluent, you tend to get desperate.

When I moved to Chicago, it was fine. When I moved to Texas, even on my stop in Dallas, I already felt the burn of being back in the south.

 

on my way to Austin, 2019. 

The blog helps me personally and it has been a big part of what I love doing it. Writing and sharing stories about being an immigrant, in a constantly changing world.

After a time, with some comments and talking with friends, I realized that what I feel is not only immigrants’ perks. Americans and other people abroad feel the same way I do.

“Do it for the Gram.”

Some of the mid 30’s I know are also in a constant crisis, because we couldn’t keep up with what has been asked of us. Rent, bill, eat right, pandemic, work being a good wife, being a good mom, being a good employee, being a good friend. Look good for the Gram, have some special skills, like something artistic. Have a podcast, have a blog, write in the journal, go to therapy. Travel, showcase, eat outpost gorgeous places. When do we take breaks?

We all have dreams that we would love to make true, but we have to battle with the day to day life. Social media doesn’t make it any easier either. The feeling of constantly being left behind is real and it doesn’t mean you are not doing enough.

You are probably doing more than is asked of you and getting exhausted in the process. Believe, I’m too. We all are. While I’m still trying to Live out Loud too.

Trying to dance to my favorite song, watch my favorite movie for the 1000th time, try to bake bread that never raises. That’s how I live out loud too. Doing little things that make me happy and living my life the best I can.

While being an immigrant, while being in my 30’s without a promising career, without any funds to one day purchase a house. Life is here and now and one of the things I learned with the pandemic is that you cannot wait for tomorrow or next week to start doing things you like. Or you are at risk to be stranded in your house for years to come, while they try to “Flatten the Curve”.

Last but not least, Live out Loud too means acceptance. You have the right to live your life as it pleases you, as loud as you can.

No one on this planet has the right to judge you or tell you how to live. Or hurt you because you don’t act like them, don’t look like them, or don’t talk like them. To hell, these people keep putting you in boxes.

On my part, I started talking with my normal accent. No more hiding my flaws or the way I sound to please a honky tonky American who never let his county. How are you going to show you are living out loud too? Please let me know in the comments!

What would I tell the 21 years old me. Advice from the vault.

A couple of weeks ago, I started working in a Brazilian steakhouse, close to my house. I went there for lunch and they offered me a job. The manager told me they needed another manager and with my experience in restaurants, I could do the job. He called me the next day and offered me the hostess position. According to him “You will need to know the other employees first, so they don’t get frustrated with the new manager.” I accepted the hostess position. They just hired a new manager. 

Was I tripping? No, because we had the interview in Portuguese, so I can’t even use the excuse of being lost in translation. They just allured me into getting a job, to get a better position later, that won’t probably happen. So here I’m, 36 years old, working again as a hostess. 

For little to no money. It’s all good. I’m working with some 20 something years old, and I feel like I have a lot to teach and share my wisdom *insert sarcasm*. I think I do have some life experience that’s worth sharing, and the best part is, they listen to me. At least I think they do. 

So here is some of what I’ve been telling them. Some things which I would love that someone would have told me when I was 21. 

Arraial do Cabo – Rio de Janeiro – Sorry about the 2008 Camera Resolution.

Don’t jump into College so fast.

I started college when I was 19, almost 20, and I still drag thinking about what could I have done differently, if I had waited just a little longer. Tourism and Hospitality Management is a vague degree, that you normally don’t need to work in hotels and restaurants. I had friends who took journalism, New Media classes and went to Culinary schools, who don’t work with that anymore, in their 30’s. They all followed their heart at some point and decided to do what made them happy, instead of what society expected from them. 

It’s ok if you don’t have money.

Don’t get 70 hour work weeks and be exhausted to enjoy the time of your life, because you need to catch up with all the bills. Be broke, accept some help if someone offers. Help comes in different forms.

Maybe the help is staying in an apartment for free, when they don’t live there, like a housekeeper. Or some food donations from friends, when you have zero money. Make sure to befriend a chef, they are the ones who can feed you, because they always cook too much. It’s ok to struggle in your 20’s. I’m not talking about the kids whose parents are rich and yet they pretend to suffer when the only suffering is to check their bank account for allowance. 

I’m talking about the chicken noodle ramen folks. You know who you are.  

He/She might not be the love of your life, and it’s ok to admit it. 

Life will move on and so does you. They need to feel loved and validated is real and at some point, we all feel like we are going to die if the person doesn’t reciprocate the love. It’s a dead-end zone. Don’t give someone exclusive attention, if the feeling is not mutual.

It’s almost guaranteed you are going to crash at some point. Some people just do that to feed their ego and you are their unlimited amount of coins. You just have to hit your head on the brick a few times, and they get the coins.

Some people just like to allure you into their world, like nothing else matters, only to make themselves feel validated. Make plenty of mistakes, learn from them and move on. Or be like Taylor Swift who wrote a 10-minute song and profit from heartbreak. Something gotta give. 

Don’t let people dictate how you should behave. 

“Oh, look how crazy she is.” I’ve heard that plenty of times when I was just being as happy as I could be. I didn’t need anyone’s validation and tagging me like the crazy one was their easiest way to bring me down. As you start taming yourself because your loud mouth is not accepted by some members of society. People are usually led by church believes. Bless your heart, honey. Be loud, be crazy, laugh, and make memories. Those shameful folks are always going to judge you, no matter how you behave, so might as well have fun. 

First time seeing snow in 2007- North Carolina

Travel. As much as you can and as far as you can. 

I remember being in my early 20’s, visiting different places and staying at hostels. Hostels are shared accommodation, very popular in Europe, where the type of hotel was originated. You have CoEd rooms or Male and Female dorms, usually with bunkbeds. It gives you a sense of respect and freedom, and if you are traveling alone like was my case most of the time, you can make friends and meet people from all over the world.

In most of the hostels, you have a communal kitchen, a shared living room, and sometimes a bar, as they had at the one I stayed in Perth, Australia. They offered breakfast in the morning and became a bar at night. 

While young and broke, visiting coastal cities in Rio, I had the chance to figure out what I love doing. Photography and travel to new and not-so-popular places. One of my biggest dreams at that time was to backpack around Europe. 

I even bought the guide and the backpack itself, but I couldn’t afford to go. I wish someone would have told me to take a risk and go anyway. That’s why I say, if you are broke, go broke. Sleep in a hostel, have one meal a deal, make friends, check out less touristic places, eat like a local. Make memories. Work abroad. 

The only time I visited NYC, in 2007. Stayed in a hostel, had 1 meal a deal, +coffee. I was utterly alone in the city. Asking for strangers to take pictures. Other tourists, cause new yorkers don’t stop for you.

If money is a real problem, work abroad. 

If I remember correctly, Europe has a type of visa called a Holiday Visa, which allows European citizens to work and travel around Australia for up to two years. And that’s how most of the people I met from Europe were doing in Australia. For some other people, you have to get a working visa and pay some agency fees, but you can get it back with your work in that country. You need that first investment though, but after that, you can make it. It’s all about taking chances. I did. 

Before becoming a permanent resident in the States, I came over two times on a J1 type of visa, that allowed me to work for a few months at a time, like in Ski Resorts and restaurants, during the winter season. I also went to Australia, on the same type of visa, to work for a year. Remember you can always volunteer, research what type of temporary visa the country you are interested in has and explore all the options. Not saying this is only a 20’s something thing to do, it’s because it’s much easier when you are younger. 

When you have some baggage, you are not as free as you were at some point. You are more cautious. 

I have this conversation with my coworkers and I feel like I’m their Mr. Myagi. Go ahead Hostess-San, be wise and live your life. Take chances. Giving some advice to the novice makes me want to stay in that place just for that purpose. My ego. 

See you next week, weather permitting.

XXX

JS

 

What is your comfort zone and how to get out of it. Or at least try to.

Why does everyone looks so cool and savvy online when I’m 36, feeling inadequate like I’m constantly having an out-of-body experience. My soul flying, like a kite, shaking and moving without steadiness. Feels like I’m not going anywhere, I’m just there wiggling on the wind.

Where does this feeling of inadequacy come from?

I guarantee I’m not the only one and it is not because I’m an immigrant either. I have friends from all over the place that feels the same way. We all feel like a hamster in the wheel, running to get nowhere, making money for someone else. Putting all of our passions aside because we first have to make a living, and we can’t afford to drop everything to invest in whatever we want to do.

@JSPhotography

For most of us, what we really like to do, we tend to keep a hobby. Either because we don’t think we are going to make any money with it, or in my case, I feel like I would destroy the only thing that makes me truly happy. I’ve been passionate about photography for over 17 years now. I never had the courage to make it into a career.

I’m too scared to be criticized for something I’m so devoted to. It’s like my writing.

I love writing, but instead of trying to pursue something with it, I’m still keeping it to myself because I’m too scared about what others are going to think of my stories, or if my character’s arc is according to the industry standards among other things. So I stay in my comfort zone. Writing on this blog.

What is your comfort zone?

Mine is working in hotels and restaurants. I’ve been doing it for so long, that it’s just a matter of days to be familiar with the new place and then I’m bored again. I feel compelled to try something else, but I always end up in the same spot over and over.

@JSphotography

I know that kind of job will give me the most secure of all because it’s something I dominate and like a robot, you just program it and let it do its stuff. The security comes from not needing to learn anything new, and with that avoid criticism of being a newbie.

It shouldn’t be like that, but we are all humans and we tend to not want to make drastic changes unless we need to.

Taking risks is not for everyone.

The biggest risk I’ve ever taken in my life was moving to America to take English classes and not coming back to my home country. I had it all planned, but the way it unfolded still shocks me to my core. Actually moving to America was not too risky, what was really risky was moving to Georgia.Without having proper documentation.

me and my Kodak camera in 2007

I guess that’s why I’m in my comfort zone now, because all the happened over there, made me not want to take any other risk in my life. Like zero new adventures.

Living those 4 years in Georgia, made me create a cocoon. The reverse butterfly effect, where the butterfly grows out of the cocoon, I got back in. Have you ever had such a traumatic experience that shake your entire core and made you the most skeptical person to the day?

Mine was a series of things happening, in my restaurant career and my personal life, that made me see the worst in people, for way too long.

My comfort zone makes me look like I’m not doing enough to be wherever I aim to be.

It always feels like I’m not working enough, networking enough, sharing enough. I keep questioning myself on how can I do it better, or what would I have to do to not be so passive with my life anymore.

Can I have an exciting life, where I can showcase my travels, my achievements, my new career development? The comfort zone is keeping me where I need it to be, for right now.

I want to take a step further, but also, life is not a competition.

I’m not here to compete with anybody. Even though it seems like that’s all we are doing at this time and date.

Westminster Train Station
@JSPhotography

I guarantee you that you also have something you’d like to showcase, as something that you are really proud of, that something is holding you back. That’s where it lays your comfort zone, my friend.

A place where you know all your coworkers, all your friends are the same friends you have always seen, the same places you go to. There is nothing new to try. You are to accommodate to take a step further. The unknown is scary and who you might find there too.

This blog is an example of me stepping out of my comfort zone of working in hotels and restaurants. I come over here, every other week, to write a post about something that I’m feeling, and would like to share my experience about navigating life as an immigrant.

I don’t care if I have a lot of views or even if my blog hit the stats that I hope for. I write because it’s something that I feel like I need to do, in order to feel accomplished.

It’s my personal share of success.

That’s the only thing that makes me navigate life without feeling like a robot owned by a corporation, who pays me a little bit over a minimum wage and drowns my hopes and dreams. I need my comfort zone to be where I enjoy also to be.

What works for me is been taking small steps and making reasonable lists that I can accomplish. Out of my comfort zone. I’m also working on the depths of why I’m stuck in this position and how can I venture outside.

Does the comfort zone also have some to deal with anxiety?

I read an Instagram post about it the other day and it made me reflect on why my comfort zone is attached to my anxiety and ability to get my projects to move forward? If any psychologists are reading this, let me know if I’m thinking correctly.

Please let me know in the comments what is your comfort zone and what’s keeping you there? Are you afraid of trying, fearing something might derail you from what you are used to, or the unexpected reaction of complete strangers online?

Maybe both.

Stay healthy, stay well.

All I know so far. How P!nk remains a power house after 22 years, while embracing all the misfits.

 

 

 

 

I watched the new P!nk documentary on Amazon Prime “All I know so Far”. Is easy to see how she remained a powerhouse for the past 22 years. It’s ok to be different, you don’t have to fit in a box.

Yesterday I watched the new P!nk documentary on Amazon Prime “All I know so Far” and even though this is not a review, I’m going to say what it felt like for me, seeing a person that I have followed for the past 20 years, in her deepest fragility and strength P!nk is a powerhouse.

What makes her so great, I think, is the fact she sings for the raging souls, for the mischievous, the outcasts as she embraces everyone, making everyone feel like they are being heard.

The documentary shows her touring stadiums around all over the globe, while taking care of her family, also the relationship with the kids and husband, while managing to play in full arenas. I was awake almost at 1 AM, watching it without blinking. Again, P!nk is such an inspiration and her kids are adorable!

Love the documentary, love the album, love everything!

One of the most emotional moments, spoiler alert, was when she reads a letter from a UK fan, telling P!nk how important her music was and how she saved her life, during the most difficult moments. How her music and her attitude were always inspirational.

The girl also told in the letter she was being bullied at school and the only happy moments were when she arrived back home and put the VHS to watch something on MTV about P!nk. That’s when I started crying and thinking about my teenage years.

I want to be somebody else.

My teenage years were at the beginning of the 2000s. At the time, for role models we had Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, singing about a boy who drives them crazy for whatever reasons or singing “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman” in a gorgeous setting, with perfect hair, makeup, and body. In low-rise jeans. I wanted to be like them, so bad. I used to straighten my hair to the point of getting a headache in the morning. I thought that to be accepted, you had to be beautiful.

Living in Rio also burns you into being patronized. You must-have highlights, long hair, nails done, a big butt, and nice clothing. You have to look like the girls on TV. I had nothing of that. So when I was rejected by schoolmates, bullied over my hair or because I wore glasses, or because I was considered too chatty or “too crazy” for their standards, listening to Britney and Christina singing about boys, didn’t make me feel any good. That’s when I found out M!zunderstood, P!nk’s second album.

I’m not that complicated, I’m just misunderstood.

Even though I didn’t understand the lyrics just by listening at that point, I loved the melody and the waves of anger. P!nk was rock and roll, progressive, and ahead of her time from those other girls. She sang about the reality of most of us. She embraced all of us and sang about our broken pieces and our disappointments with life in general.

One particular song of that album, still ingrained in me, on to the deepest levels. If I listen to the first accords, I start crying. “Don’t let me get me” was a reflection of all my teenage years. I was a reject, an outsider, a stranger to myself. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. Nobody did. One particular night, on Valentine’s day, when my 13 years old cousin got a gift from a boy she had a crush on, I fell apart listening to this song. Why could nobody like me?

I was already 16 and nobody cared about me, much worse, there was absolutely nothing I could do to make someone like me. What was wrong with me? So I put on my boom box, turned off the living room lights, and stared outside my window. Cars passed and the songs of M!zunderstood cut me deep. So I realize P!nk would be the singer that would bring rough honesty to my life, singing about real problems we all go through and not some made-up shit about being pretty and boys making them wait.

Where I could run, as fast as I can, to the middle of nowhere

When she sang “Just like a pill” I felt like it would be great to run away from all my problems. At that point in my life, my mom was raising me, all by herself, in Rio, with 3 jobs. I used to talk to my dad on the phone every Sunday. Some Sundays he disappeared. He had depression and a drinking problem.

That forced me to grow up much faster than any of my friends, I had to be mature enough to understand why he was never there for me. He was living in a different state and 2002, communication was scattered, we didn’t have cell phones or internet.

Being bullied at school, talking to my dad every other Sunday, and having no perspective of the future, all I had was music and stories I’d write to escape from my reality. Fortunately, the time has passed, my face and my hair fell into line, but my attitude never changed. My essence is still the same. In 2012, when I met my now-husband, P!nk released a song that it felt was written based on my life, again.

No one else can break my heart like you

“True Love”, talks about the turbulences of being with someone you love, at the same time the person annoys the hell out of you. I told Josh, at that time, that this was going to be one of our songs. He didn’t understand, because the song has very sharp words towards a loved one. If he only saw me when I was a teenager, he would get it. Crying in the window while listening to P!nk, made me who I’m today. I’m so thankful for that.

If you are one of my seven readers and something doesn’t feel right in your life, please be patient. The universe always turns everything around. I never thought that when I was gonna have anyone special in my life, heck I never thought I’d have anything at all in my life, at some point.

That’s all I know so far

In my teens, I felt underappreciated and ugly. As time passed and everything got better. My mom says “There is nothing like one day, after another” or “The darkness of the night is here, so we can appreciate when the sunlight arrives”.

I don’t like toxic positivity, where everyone keeps telling you all will be alright if you just get over it, or work hard. I know it sucks but hang in there. It sucks for everyone, they just lie compulsively on social media for likes. P!nk told me that it was ok to be a chaotic mess in my most fragile moments.

I moved on. I’m happily married, to someone that loves me with all my quirkiness and loves my natural hair.

Do you have anyone in your life, like a singer or a writer, someone that inspires you, or help you get by? Please let me know in the comments who is this person in your life. As you can see, I rely heavily on creatives to help me to get over my issues.

XXXJS

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