Last week was Valentine’s day. I don’t celebrate it, because I think it is extremely commercialized, and it makes most people who are not in a relationship feel unaccomplished. I’m happily married and I don’t think I need a special day to make my husband feel special. We buy gifts whenever we feel like it. Before I keep writing about my week in Creative Writing school, let me just explain why I stopped caring about Valentine’s day.  When I was about 15, my face was all formatted wrong by that time. Basically, like the drawing at the end of the post.

I grew up in Rio, where there is a cult for body image, and everyone is part of it, it is very radical. People work out massively during the week and Sundays they go to the beach, which for me, it was like going to the butcher shop. Nobody has fun, they turn to the sun, with the bikinis up their butts, and just burn. They look around, they flirt, they suntan. It’s like a lively market. I never felt so uncomfortable, and some of my friends, who remain my friends until these days ( We shared the pain of being normal amidst the zoo) didn’t feel comfortable either.

I continuously felt bad for not being their type of beautiful. My hair was dry, I didn’t have fancy clothes, didn’t go to cool places. Nothing felt right. Valentine’s day would only make it worse. The girls from school used to talk about what they had planned with the boy they were hanging out with and I was sad to the core. The only thing hanging with me would be my Backstreet Boys poster on the wall. One of my friends, a bit younger than myself, got Valentine’s card, from the kid she was seeing, she was 13, and I was 15, almost 16. Ah! The humiliation!  I went home and burst out crying. When would that ever be me? When would it ever be my turn? I cried listening to Pink, at the window, because that is how intense and dramatic I was (it didn’t get much better). I promised from that day on, I would not care. So, until these days, the only good thing about Valentine’s is the day after, when I get to buy all that candy for cheap. Ha! who is winning now? And yes I learned, you shouldn’t feel bad about yourself ever. I learned throughout life that people are mean and senseless. It’s ok to be yourself.

Back to my Creative writing, and the reason why I’m not writing here more often,  is because all I do is assignments. Last week, I had to create and illustrate a kids booklet. The instructions said 24 to 32 pages, no more than a thousand words, keep it simple, the age group is 0-6 years old. That means that I had to have an easy vocabulary, maybe rhyme and visual that would follow the story.  I bought new pens, I scribbled insanely on photoshop ( I’m still learning how to use it), I kept coming back and forth with the decision if I would do it on the computer or by hand. I decided to do the whole project by hand. On Sunday night, I finished the drawings, wrote the story on the pages, took photos, send it to my computer, put it on powerpoint, save the file on PDF. I re-read the instruction before submitting. Only to figure out it was either 24 or 32 remember? I had 19.

By that time, I was exhausted, my right eye was hurting, according to my chiropractor husband, due to stress and screen time, I couldn’t do anything else. My brain was on fire. I draw by reference, meaning, I see a picture, and I followed the same lines, sometimes it works, it depends on my dedication. I did a few more drawings, took photos, added to the slides, uploaded. Now I just have to wait. I wrote the teacher a couple of times, and he said the grades are not coming from the drawings. And for that I’m thankful.

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