The Dreams are Alive!

“Truth to be told is: My dreams were not taken away from me. They were put aside, while I work on other things. I lived some, I ate great food, I had different experiences that, for sure reflects, on my writing today.”

I’m a writer. I keep repeating this over and over in my head before I self-sabotage myself again.

I see it already happening. I got a job in a hotel, again, and it’s only a matter of time for me to put everything I’ve been working so hard, like creating content, my blog, and food photography aside, to just be another numbered employee. I have lived like this for the past 15 years.

There are days I freak out and cry thinking about the time I lost. I’m already 35, for God’s sake! How did the time go by so fast and where are all the dreams I had when I was in my 20’s?

Self-sabotaging works together with my lack of confidence in doing anything else that will turn out to be something that brings me fulfillment and joy. I love photography, but I’m too scared of turning my passion into a hobby and end up hating the only thing that makes me happy.

The majority of us can’t afford to live our dream life.


Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

As ⅔ of the planet’s population, I cannot just focus on what makes me happy, because I have bills to pay and need food and a place to live. The majority of us can’t afford to live off dreams. I have been using this as an excuse for as long as I can remember.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened to my early 20’s dreams and where did life take the wrong exit. About a month ago, I had one of those epiphany moments where you get yourself thinking about your young adult dreams and what happened to them.

One of those mornings before work, I was listening to a horoscope podcast and I don’t know what kind of sorcery was that, it felt like it was saying directly to me, Joana.

“Good Morning, Libra. Today is the day that you will think about old dreams, and try to restore the passions you didn’t conquer from previous years” That was enough for me to spend the rest of the day thinking about my early 20’s expectations I had for the life ahead of me. I had many dreams and none of them were achieved successfully.

In some of my previous posts, I wrote about being raised by a generation that all they knew was to work and pay bills because that was considered a success. You feed yourself and can pay for the roof on your head, everything else is a given from God.

The podcast awakening

On that morning, that podcast awakens in me, the 20 something that had been put to sleep in 2007. Until that point, I had big dreams for myself, I was only 22 and I wanted to be a travel photographer, while I read the Lonely Planet magazine, I imagined myself writing articles and taking pictures of amazing places. National Geographic would work too, I thought, but let’s start somewhere. Time passed and I replaced that dream with the previous one, move to the United States.

While I’d be working in a hotel, I would be able to do whatever I had planned. What I didn’t know was that hotels would crush your soul and will to work on anything else. That’s where my dream got lost. I started to get tired to keep trying as I would have another 14 hours shifts the next day.

I made it to the United States in 2008. For a short period, the financial crisis sent all the foreigners who were working at the ski resort for the season, back home with canceled visas. I packed my bags and moved back home with my mom and dad, in Brazil.

Sometimes you need a setback in order to move forward.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

It was such a huge setback in my life, I put all my hopes and dreams aside and focused on moving to Australia, to do another internship in the hospitality business. My grip to leave Brazil for good was intense. My writing at that point or the dream of writing anything significant had been put in a box, on the back of my closet. So did my photography.

At that point, I was more inclined to learn how to cook, for who knows, maybe one day, become a Food and Beverage Manager or Director. In all reality, I wanted to be like Anthony Bourdain.

Disappointment after disappointment with the restaurant industry made me love food, but hate the way people work. I work relentlessly, hours and hours serving tables, working in different positions, I worked in every single job as the front of the house of the restaurant. Hostess, Busser, Food runner, Bartender, barback, Catering.

None of those fulfilled me or made me feel accomplished on anything. You are nothing but a number, a robot, a rusty machine. As you get older, you start to have pain in places you didn’t even know existed in your body. In 2016, after an acquaintance wrote on Facebook “I’d rather be in Brazil and than being a waitress in someone else’s country” Something hit me differently inside of me.

“Am I only a waitress in someone’s else country?”

The question played on repeat in my head. “Why have I become numb and just a working body?” As Josh was going through chiropractic school and shouting around the house that he was going to be a doctor and I was the only one working, I thought “What am I, but a waitress money-making machine?” It was time for a change. I already had my documents, so I proceed for the first time in 10 years, to create a blog about traveling.

If I only knew about blogging what I know now, it would probably be a different story. The blog was going to focus on showing the international students about life in the United States and how not everything is rainbows and flowers. I would travel to different colleges and universities, like cities that are considered “student towns” to show people how cool and different life in America is.

The only place I wrote about was Chicago and Orlando. I couldn’t afford to travel around, neither I would have the time. After 6 months, I deleted the blog. I felt deep in my heart, like once again, I had no right to dream. I had to start another 12 hours shift soon. I was bitter for the longest time, and my marriage was all over the place. Josh’s school offered some free therapy sessions, counseling for married students, so I ask him to set up an appointment.

You are the only person responsible for your happiness. Period.

My photo from 2010, in Broome, Western Australia.

At that point, I knew I need help. 2016 was an incredibly difficult year and 2017 wouldn’t be different. The devil took his place in the presidency. Josh and his entire family voted for him, my soul was nowhere to be found. So I went to therapy. On the first session, the therapist told me “You are the only person responsible for your happiness”

The next Monday I was slowly coming back to my body, got a phone call from Full Sail, and decided to go for it. That brings us back to today. I became a writer with a Creative Writing degree diploma.

“Truth to be told is: My dreams were not taken away from me. They were put aside, while I work on other things. I lived some, I ate great food, I had different experiences that, for sure reflects, on my writing today.”

I would not be writing the way I do today if I had to write 15 years ago. Joana from 15 years ago was naive, inexperienced, has a voice, and learned that sarcasm can take you long away, let me tell you that.

Not all is lost.

Hear me out! This week we are, hopefully purchasing a travel trailer, so I can somehow, make the dream to be a travel writer/photographer out of the box. It takes time, but you will make your dreams come true at some point.

This year, I will “summer” differently. I hope you do too!

Please let me know in the comments what are you working on to live your life to the fullest and how you are building your dreams!


This is my Meditation Video on my new youtube channel called Mindful Edge! I’ve been testing my video editing skills! Subscribe if you like this type of content.

5 Movies that inspired me to write

Do you have a passion for movies? I do. There is some of it that inspired me heavily to want to pursue screenwriting. First, let me warn you, I’m not a snobbish movie watcher, neither Am I a Rotten Tomatoes evaluator. I know what I like and I’m super ok with my movie choices.

I have been obsessed with movies for as long as I can remember, some of the movies I watched multiple times, learn the lines and repeat it often. What is the first line in your mind when you think about your favorite movie? Tell me in the comments! It would be fun to talk about it!

It took me a few days to write another blog post because I’m a very indecisive person, so I wrote down a list of movies that inspired me actually to write movies, and I ended up with a list of the movies I like, not movies that actually made me want to write.

It’s been a few weeks that all I have been talking about its social issues, rights, and ways of making life better to most of us (respect to the diversity folks!).

In this post, I decided to go a little lighter and talk about movies that inspired me pursue the screenwriter path. I made a small list, as I can talk about this for days, I had to narrow it down. Here are the movies I picked:

1- (500) days of Summer

The plot of the movie got me. The story of the boy being hurt and the girl being extremely independent was refreshing. I’m the queen of romantic comedies, I probably watched dozens of them, usually, the hero always gets hurt or chases the love interest during the entire movie, just to be together at the end. Its the so-called “Happily ever after”.

Spoiler alert, 500 days of Summer takes a different route and makes us think that female characters can be the cause of heartbreaking too.

In the story, Tom is a very normal guy, boring, if I dare to say until he meets Summer at his workplace. Summer is fun, refreshing, outgoing, and doesn’t care about what people think about her. She is also not interested in a serious relationship, at least not with Tom.

It’s almost like she shakes the tree, for someone else to pick up the fruits falling from it.

Tom creates the image of the perfect girl, and ends up destroyed by the fantasies he created in his mind about her.
Everything in this movie it’s perfectly executed, from the characters to the cinematography to the songs and dialogue.

2- Coyote Ugly

I love stories about people that live their old boring life to find their dreams somewhere else. My current working project is about an immigrant girl, who was adopted as a child, and as soon as she graduates high school, she leaves her southern small town and moves to Hollywood.

In Coyote Ugly, we have Violet/Jersey, who left her small town to be a music writer in New York. She is shy, sweet, and determined to win, she ends up working in a super cool underground bar, with a bunch of badass bartenders. It was the first movie I’ve seen that made me want to go to New York City to work in a bar and make it happen.

I worked in a bar indeed, but in a Georgia suburb, and the only I time danced was Cupid Shuffle during New years Eve, on the floor, close to the computer. I guess a coming-of-age movie, about finding yourself and your dreams, it’s always a very interesting concept to write.

It’s a formula that always works and has been working for years. Girl leaves small town, goes to the big city, gets run over by all the possible situations, and makes it in the end. She usually has a love interest and sidekick. How many movies have you seen like that? I’ve seen plenty

3- Spirited away

I’m not a big fan of Japanese animation, I’m not much into anime or manga. This movie hits me differently because of the time in life I’ve seen it. In 2003, I was working at the movie theater, it was my first job. Every first Sunday of the month, we had a meeting, and after the meeting, my coworkers and I stayed over instead of going back home, before our shifts. I remember watching Spirited Away in the morning, right after the meeting.

Over and over. Also, at night, before I go home, I stepped into the movie screening, just to listen to the original dialogues in Japanese.

The movie talks about Chihiro and it’s a coming of age tale. In a similar outcome like The Wizard of Oz, the hero has to grow and overcome her fears in order to save her parents and go back to her normal life. Chihiro has the hero’s journey very well rounded and the story has a lot of intakes of Japan after WW2, where growing society and social impact move the country forward.

Spirited Away is a production of Studio Ghibli with the creator and director Hayao Miyazaki.

There is a lot of hidden meaning behind the story, some videos on YouTube associates some of the characters with some of the cultural aspects of the country. It’s a great screenwriting study source, quite different and somewhat complex to the American public.

4- Devil Wears Prada

Miranda Priestly. That’s all. I have to be honest, I bought the book but I never read it. Instead, I watched the movie about a million times and as I said before, I can quote these lines from my heart. Andrea aka Andy is the definition of the Hustle.

She is the type of character we cheer for and in the hope to have the same courage she exudes on the screen. Right after being shamed by Miranda at the way she dresses, Andy gets help from Nigel, which is like a fairy godmother, giving her a makeover.

Channel boots, a new haircut, tailored couture outfits, and a great boost of confidence. The montage scene of Andy going to work, with Vogue playing as the soundtrack it’s my dream scene to recreate to myself when New York. I tried, in 2007, but I was low maintenance Andy, from the very first scene, before she gets the job.

I also don’t think Miranda is a horrible boss. You want to know why? Because if you don’t behave like a shark, you will get eaten by all the tiny fishes around you. Makes sense? For me it does.

In one of the scenes, while Andy is having dinner with a guy who is not her boyfriend, she said and I quote “If Miranda was a guy, they would not be talking bad about her, they would be congratulating her for being a great boss.” We have seen horrible and demanding male bosses in plenty of movies, but when a woman does that, she is an evil witch.

5- Titanic

The crop the la crop. I could talk about this movie for days, but I will try to focus on how that inspired me to be where I’m today. Titanic was the first “grown-up” movie watched at the movie theater, also the first time I had to read subtitles, at 12 years old. As a child, I didn’t speak any English whatsoever.

My dad had just moved away, and I was living alone in a 1-bedroom apartment with my mom. Titanic took me out of the rut I found myself in, it gave me the chance to dream. I decided I wanted to move to Hollywood. Once again, I repeat, I was only 12 years old, living with my recently divorced mom.

After watching the movie, I had decided I was going to leave Brazil. ASAP. At first, I wanted to act, so the plan was to take some acting classes and make my way to America. I couldn’t afford any classes, I could barely afford to rent the VHS tapes to watch the movies.

Time passed and that dream of going to Hollywood to work remains alive and well, but now, I would be writing movies like Titanic, so I could give a chance to other kids to have dreams as I did. The movie was a much-needed crutch at that time in my life.

Everything in that movie worked to become the classic that it is. The plot, the romance of the poor guy and the rich girl, the “make each day count” state of mind of the main characters, Rose’s transformation from a quiet suffocated person into a strong woman, the decision making, and chances they took. Again, the Hero’s journey is all there. Looking back, Titanic has been my film school for the past 22 years.

I realized after writing about these movies is that all of them are centered in a female strong character. Woman who took decisions that would change their lives or careers and that makes a lot of sense for me now. During my research for this post, I found a term that I’m going to write about next week the so-called “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”.

What Summer, Claire, from Elizabethtown, Charlize Theron in Sweet November have in common? They are all living their own truth. They are the protagonist of their own story, even though they were not written with that purpose.

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