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 makes you feel alive?

Coming out of the situation we were all put in last year, a few of these habits had the power to make me feel alive. Especially on those days, you had nothing to look for or any idea how long this situation would last for.

How long are we going to be in lockdown? How long are we only going to visit the supermarket and drugstore for fun? Thoughts like “will my life become entirely digital, without any other human contact, smile, or even facial recognition because we are all be wearing masks for the rest of our lives?”

There were so many questions I couldn’t find the answer at that time, and the only way out was to find things that made me feel alive. Felling alive and blessed for having a healthy strong system, enough to keep me safe during the pandemic, while a lot of people struggle, was a plus.

That led me to think and evaluate the true thing that keeps me alive and happy. Whatever brings a smile to my face or a giggle while walking around.

What makes you feel alive? Here are a few things that make me dance around.

The bright sun in the sky

At this point in my life in the United States, I’m somehow used to long winters. I lived in Chicago two different times and I know how dragging arctic winters can mess up with your mood, leading to seasonal depression.

I’m so thankful I was in Texas when the pandemic started because just imagining being cooped up in a tiny apartment for months, drops my mood to the ground.

I grew up in Brazil and we have the sun almost all year round, so when I had to deal with drag, short days, getting dark at 4 PM, that was it for me. Living in Colorado is also cold, but they have a lot of sunny days here, and that helps me to smile more. I love opening my window and see the light shining bright, it pushes me forward to keep moving.

Everyone looks happier when the spring and the summer start.

Dogs

Dogs are my kryptonite. I love dogs and I just want to be around them. I had two dogs before of my own, one we adopted and another one we foster at the beginning of quarantine. There is no greater love than the love of a dog, they want nothing in exchange, they just want love and treats, and that I have an abundance of. My parents adopted a stray dog, while I was visiting them in Brazil, last March.

Baby Kiara, the stray dog who won my heart <3

Baby Kiara is about three months old and she was found at the veterinarian clinic by the vet. She is the most adorable thing, but she is in trouble, because she looks like a little rat, running around the house, and sometimes we trip on her. She also bit the walls, everyone’s feet and she barks at an empty bottle filled with rice grains my mom gave to her. This time was especially hard to come back home because I got used to her. I hope she remembers me when I go back next year.

Walking around without a destination.

Usually, I put on my favorite playlist, something from the late ’90s or early 2000s, like Nsync or Britney Spears, and march away. Sometimes I walked so far, I had to take the bus back. That used to happen in Chicago a lot.

I used to live in Lakeview East, close to the Wrigley Field Stadium. Summertime comes around and I walked to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Had to take the bus back. On one of these random walks, I was listening to Beyonce and almost got hit by a car, because I was distracted and didn’t pay attention while crossing the street.

Listen to my favorite song.

Having a very peculiar taste in music, so depends on the day, I can go from Katy Perry to David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac in an instant. I traveled through decades and my playlist is adaptable. If I want to be happy in an instant, I will listen to Mariah Carey. I recently bought a karaoke mic and I’m driving my neighbors up a wall while singing “Emotions”. At least they stopped stomping in my head at 6 AM.

Food ( either cooking or eating it)

I get hanger. I don’t know how to deal with the feeling of being hungry. It puts me on a spiral of emotions and drama, I overreact to simple things, and have I mentioned drama? I love food. That’s a given and I also love cooking. I’m constantly checking for recipes and trying new ways to improve my meals. We don’t allow mac’n’cheese or frozen lasagna in this house. The joy of serving other people also makes me feel alive. For me, the act of cooking for someone else shows great compassion and caring for others. Food is energy and if you have good energy, it should be shared.

Observe the nature around me

Great things happen when you are not being distracted by your phone. A walk in the park can be refreshing and you can observe different scenarios every time you are out. Living in Colorado, I can see the front range mountains and it looks like a painting on the wall. Hiking gives you another sense of adventure and you can listen to nature and relaxing with the quietness, even though most of the time Mariah is singing her jams rent-free in my head.

Visiting my family in Brazil.

That’s the one thing that brings me the most peace and keeps me centered. Living in the United States, makes me feel I’m losing my identity, little by little. I know who I’m, but my life fluctuates between two different cultures.

My past and my present collide, sometimes I question my choices. When I’m in Brazil, I have all the love from my family, my food, my music, my tv shows. When I’m in America I have financial stability, some sense of security, and all the makeup Mac can make, that back home would cost me an eye and a leg. Life choices, am I right?

That’s how I see myself living in America.

I don’t regret living here, but I would like to go back to visit more often. My parents are getting old and I haven’t been there enough. Do you know that “missing hug people” you felt the entire last year? I have been in this situation for years

Find whatever makes you happy.

I read once that happiness is a feeling and not a constant state. That made a lot of difference in how I pursue things in my life. Gratitude and the simple things I can achieve helps me to move forward in life, without being so hard on myself.

That’s my list of what makes me feel alive. What’s on your list? Dogs, cats? Ice cream, traveling? Let me know in the comments!

XXX

J.Snelly

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