You are Enough.

You are enough.

Following the last post about being a failure, this question came to my mind, after listening to a podcast, of the actress/comedian Cristela Alonzo, where she addresses the situation of never being enough. I’m not done listening just yet, but it gives me a great idea to write this post.

The constant feeling of running around the clock, being always good in everything you do, and having great ideas all the time stress us out. Social Media tells us all the time we should get better, either trying to sell us beauty products, weight loss products, and trendy clothes. It’s like we are some sort of experiments for marketers, that gather all of our information, likes and dislikes, to sell us stuff. And make us feel bad. That’s only the portion of beauty standards. There is also the part of success standards.

In my last post, I wrote about how society wants us to be a certain way. Be married by a certain age, have a good job, either have your own company or be a CEO of someone else’s company, have saved money, travel to cool places, drink wine in Italy or Greece and post the sunset picture of these places. It sure feels like you are not doing it enough. We are not Paris Hilton.

It feels like, no matter what you do, you are not doing it enough. Not putting enough hours in your writing, not putting enough hours in your business, not making enough money. While all the worry happens in your brain, you open your IG, and there it is a broker who just sold a million-dollar house, traveling to the Bahamas, with her beautiful family, in a perfect setting. I know I’m not supposed to care about a stranger, but my brain goes to “What am I doing it wrong?’

Being a writer is a long way until you succeed if you ever. Some people are great writers and they can’t get past the fact that they will also have to promote their books, market, network. Unless the person is a personality, who already tackles the fame part. The book is just a bonus for them. I heard many times “Oh you are a writer! Do you have a book yet?” and the common answer is “I’m working on it”. Either on my brain, or I already put some pages out on my computer. Why do I always have to be explaining to look like I have my life on track? The answer is: I don’t.

I keep trying it, but somehow, I always get derailed by some wacky circumstance. Moving, not having enough money to invest in the apps I need to work. Having money to invest in the apps, but then not having the time to work on my projects, since I’m selling my time to a company. It all seems to be working against my projects.

Having to be convinced that all I’m doing is working the way it’s supposed to be, it’s a hard job. We are constantly interrupted by tweets saying “look I have a new amazing job!” or “Travelling around the world and film it to youtube. I already got paid for!” and all you did was eating cookies seating on your couch, while you scroll your phone endlessly. Remember, you are enough.

If eating cookies on your couch while you plan your next move, or dream about what you want next, is enough for now, is all good. Who knows if all that persons posting those photos wishes, were to be seated down, eating cooking while watching random shows on tv, in peace at home. Instead of being frankly posting about their life on the internet to please others.

It’s all about the point of view.

In the age of the internet instant famous people, it feels like you are always behind a new trend. The 30 something age group feels lost and creates animosity against the younger kids, who grew up with a phone in their hands and had plenty of time to learn how to use it. We, the folks that had to work for something, can’t keep up. That makes us feel like we are never doing enough to get the success we are aiming for.

Last year, I stop looking for jobs at LinkedIn. The pressure to succeed is enormous and in that platform, we get one kind of people: The coaches that shove in your face that if you didn’t get what you want, you didn’t work hard enough, woke up early enough, didn’t invest the coffee money. Sometimes you did, and most of still do. Some of us work super hard, but sometimes, we have to do it all alone and it takes longer than someone who had investors. Some of us slept more because we were tired from the day before. Some of us wanted that coffee to have some peace of mind before the day starts.

We are overwhelmed.

Raise your hand if everything was great for you during the pandemic, if you didn’t freak out about having your plans canceled, scared of losing your job, of loved ones getting sick and dying, of never being able to see your friends in person.

My mental health went down the drain and I’m still working to gather all the information we’ve been receiving, with all that happened last year, like a hurricane, spinning the house around and landing on the witch. The witch in this case was the plan I had to keep moving on.

You are not a failure and you are enough. You are doing enough. Don’t let anyone tell you you are not. Get suspicious when you see too much happiness on IG, a nice house and a great job are not always a sign of happiness. Most of the Americans I know are always after assets. These people work their entire life, endless hours, to get a better tv, a better house, a better car, a better education, and so on. The American dream convinces you to work hard to have the best of the best, without measuring the consequences of all this, like the levels of stress and the unhappiness all this pressure can bring. Society makes you feel like you are never doing enough

More! More! Always More.

Work more and show your boss your absolute devotion to a company that is not even his. Make other people feel bad to not work as hard as you. Make them feel behind in life, because your work your butt off, and they didn’t. Life is not always easy, but what everyone forgot is that it might not be easier, because of how you feel about others people’s attitude towards you.

In my culture, we work hard for everything we have, but we also know how to enjoy life the way Americans can’t. We barbecue, we dance, we gather friends and family every time is possible and instead of working hard for stuff, we put it on the credit card and make debt. Just like Americans, but lighter. Josh loves going to Brazil and eat good food and have fun.

We are enough.

You are enough.

Stop for a few minutes and be thankful for just being alive. Make time to appreciate your surrounding.

Thank you for reading it.

I see you around on my social media, while I post pictures of my coffee cup and pie.

JS

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

What makes you buy a book? Ideas from a reader’s point of view.

What makes you buy a book? Is it good marketing? Is the author engagement with the readers? Charisma? A higher number on lists? For me: the subject and how the author engages with readers.

I remember when I was a kid, I used to buy comic books from the same author, week after week. It was a whole brand of products and that helped the brand to be known everywhere we go. It was almost an emotional connection.

Books are my favorite companion. I like to have them around, for fun and for advice when no one can hear me. I’m so glad I was raised with the habit of reading it, my house might not have much, but we did have books, magazines, and music.

Yesterday I bought a food photography book, from a YouTube channel photographer. I found out about Joannie and The Bite Shot when I was looking for more information last year about venturing into food photography. Two passions I have in life.

Food Photography.

Photographing The Starving Gypsy events, in Austin, last summer

After the first video, I followed her page on Instagram and started to learn all the food photography techniques, which I applied while working with Chef Deameatrie, at The Starving Gypsy, in Austin. I even made a few photography boards, as Joannie taught in one of her videos, it was a lot of fun. After knowing the book was coming out, I saved it on my list and planned to buy it as soon as it was available. When the book arrived, I started to think: What makes people buy books?

I would like to share a few ideas based on why I buy books I do, even though most of them keep piling up because I buy too many.

1- Favorite Author.

We all have one. Even if she acts crazy on Twitter, if she comes out with a reimagined Harry Potter book, people would still buy her material. She might even come out with a pen name, to protect her identity, because she butchered her persona with the lack of caring. I was never a Harry Potter fan, I did watch the movies, but I had a hard time engaging with the books. I always liked more the Bridget Jones Diary types of series. In 2005, I read a book by Sophie Kinsella and from that point on, I read most of her work. At that point, the story of a mid 20’ years struggling with life, while living in London, had all my attention, as I wanted to live there too.

2- Author Engagement with the Audience

As an author, and you have to blast the internet with your content or your soon-to-be-released book, you are not doing it right. I bought a few books, just by some of the people I follow, interviewing another author. It doesn’t matter that the author makes the New York Bestseller list, what matters is: the author engages with the audience and talks about their book selflessly. Yes, you can have an entire marketing team, but nothing works better than showing why this book is so important to you, and why I need to have it. What makes me resonates with you and your story.

3 – Good Marketing skills.

Not only it’s important to engage with the reader in a more approachable way, than showing that you have the skills to acquire and maintain the audience long term. Once they know you, they will keep coming back to new releases. It’s a good idea to have a Facebook page, an IG account, a Twitter account.

Be creative, and show the audience why do you care. Make connections. More important have a Pinterest board and invest in some ads. I was led to so many different websites through Pinterest and if you are not constantly making pins to promote it, you should try it. Last but not least, create an author website.

4- The book is relatable.

Self-help books take the most space on my shelf. I love a good story, but since I was fifteen years old, I keep trying to find answers to my questions and ways to improve myself. At that time, we only had books for that kind of content.

Now we have podcasts, Youtube channels, IG TV, audiobooks, and an array of different ways to consume the media, but a well-written word still makes me buy the book. I like to have something to come back and read it again, the marked pages with underlined passages can’t even be compared to listen to the podcast.

I’m also deeply passionate about cooking books, yes, I could find the recipe online, but if my internet goes down, I would still like to know what I’m doing.

5- Big promotion or Lists

Lists on Pinterest are how I find my next book to buy or Good Reads. I usually save the Pin or the picture of the book, to get it eventually. I also love promotions at Target. They usually have books selling with 30% off the full price and Amazon is usually butchering the Author. Lowering the price so much, the author has to sell a lot to make a profit.

Unless the author is already established. I don’t mind paying full price for a book if I know the (indie) author is getting paid too. I have a full understanding of how difficult it is to be a writer, I wrote and self-published a book for the Creative Writing Degree, and putting all the work together was intense.

I have been following and reading a lot of content about books and about what works and what not when it comes to selling your work. I don’t have any published (yet) neither I’m a famous publisher or whatnot.

The only thing I know is what makes me buy a book and talk about it with other people. Sometimes buy the book as a gift, because I liked it so much and I want people I like to read it too. That happened with “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis.

I understand she is also in hot waters now and probably taking a break from social media, but that book resonated with me when it comes to make time for yourself and stop making excuses as to why you can make it.

Here is my question: What makes you buy a book? Please let me know in the comments I would love to read your opinion!

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