My couch

A while ago, in the fresh beginning of the biggest (and still ongoing) change that has ever happened to me and to my life, I found myself one late summer evening, sitting on the worst bed I have ever owned, thinking, while tears ran down my face, if I would ever have a couch again.

On that moment, I imagined everyone I knew having dinner with their families, sitting on the couch all together before going to bed… and then there was me, all alone in a dark, ugly and strange room, all alone. Wishing a home. A family. A couch.

Last Saturday, almost two years later, my cousins and I had dinner together at my place. There were 5 of us, plus one, who was already there before coming out to this world. Later that night, after taking some funny and some cute photos, we all sat on my couch and we just stood there, laughing, joking and talking to each other.

As they left and I stayed, I remembered that moment with a very big smile: I ended up having a home. A family. And a couch where to sit them all.

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Poor girl…

I used to think of myself as a poor girl.

Poor me, I have to carry my own heavy shopping bags and take them home, by foot. Poor me, I have to constantly fight to find/keep a job so I can pay my own bills and live my own life. All the time. Poor me, I have to find out how to do things by myself. Poor me, I go to bed alone and I wake up alone every day.

And the list went on and on, under a sea of self-pity tears.

On the other hand, I used to look up to my housemate, who I saw as a powerful, strong and independent woman, who kept her job, made her own shopping and brought it home by herself, who travelled alone, who kept a house all by herself and didn’t even seem to be too worried about it. That was just it: she was an independent single woman. And I thought it was amazing and very remarkable.

That was when, one day, on my way home from a normal day at the office, I figured out: I am no less than her. Yes, I am younger, yes, I am still single and she is not anymore, yes, she is more confident than I am, but that is because I just found out this about me.

I am not a poor girl. I am a you go girl, who’s strong enough to fight her own battles with no shoulder to cry on when she suffers a loss, who keeps her world moving, never knowing what’s coming ahead.

I am no better than anyone else. I am just no worse either.

Reaching goals

I keep struggling with my body. I am short, my body structure is very narrow and I have a genetic tendency to easily put on weight and fat. I actually used to be way fatter until I went to college, so weight struggling has always been an issue, which got better the day I quit temporary diets and embraced a new living habit. A healthier one.

Still, there are times when things just don’t work, whether it is about my emotional situation at the time, the things I eat or the goals I establish for myself.

Right now, I wish I could define my belly, my arms and my back, so every day I don’t reach that goal, it puts me down. On the other hand, it makes me search for new solutions, regarding food and training plans.

For now, I am cutting carbs and improving protein. I stopped eating carbs for afternoon snack and replaced it with eggs, for example, and cut the fruit I was eating about 5 times a day, mainly out of y will of keep eating and not out of hunger.

At the same time, I was advised to take my training to another level, regarding intensity, so I have been doing hiit (10 minutes) instead of running for 30 minutes, supersets and active rests, with exercises that increase my cardiac rythm, such as:

  • Plank (for 30-60 seconds)
  • Jumps (for 60 seconds)
  • Mountain climbing (15 seconds)
  • Jump squats (10)
  • Squat jacks (for 30 seconds)
  • Rope jumping (for 60 seconds)

There are no miracles and I am trying many different things combined, so I find out what really works for me. It is not that easy when you have no biology basic information, but thanks to the help of the right people and to my own searches, I am confident I will find my way.

How to be single

I always thought that being single was only fun and interesting if you were like all other single women, who meet many men and have crazy and non-stop moments with their friends. I wasn’t doing any of that, which is why I used to think I was only wasting my time, I had to hurry up and meet my prince before it is too late and no one will find me interesting anymore, at least not in time to have babies and a big family.

I came to Lisbon trying to forget that idea that I needed a man and the happy thing is that I found out that I actually don’t. Obviously, life is better when you have someone to share it with, someone who will face difficulties by your side and who will celebrate your happy moments with you.

But on those days when I had nothing much to do and I only went to the gym and stayed at home cooking and watching a movie or a tv series, there was that voice who would whisper on my ear: you are a forever alone, everyone else is out there, having dinner, dancing, having drinks in nice places and going on trips with their friends and you are only wasting your time.

The other night, I watched How to be single – a movie about a girl who becomes single and does exactly what I thought I should have been doing as a single person but, in the end, finds out that this is, indeed, the best time to build a good relationship with herself, taking advantage of those moments when you don’t need to have a relationship with anyone else, not even your friends.

And that was kind of the approval I was looking for. It is ok to be home alone, if that is what I want to do. I don’t need to have a plan for every free night if being at home, or going to the gym or going for a walk by myself makes me happy anyway. This is not a quest for the man of my dreams. This is my only chance of being happy. Everyday. With whatever I have at the moment.

Living Lisbon : Casanova

The world keeps moving, indeed, and it surprises me sometimes.

It have been a couple terrible years. I had never cried so much, felt so alone and so lost in this world as in the las two years. Moving to Lisbon was, so far, the best decision I could have done in order to heal myself: my eyes haven’t felt tears for a while, I haven’t been kept awake at night thinking about how over my life is, almost before it had even started.

This week, without any prediction of it, I got invited to a dinner with a former colleague. I went to the gym and prepared for what turned out to be one of the most amazing, peacefull and happy nights ever.

I have been trying to impress him for some months now and I know I have always been unsuccessful. And I knew why all along: because I wasn’t me – I was a sad and unhappy version of me trying to pretend I was happy and joyful.

I have no idea if I impressed him this time. But the truth is, I don’t really care. I didn’t even care! For the first time in a very long while, I was trully me: I was genuinely happy and joyful for the first time around him and – funny fact! – it was the time I felt the most comfortable and relaxed near him.

We went to thins nice italian restaurant in Alfama called Casanova. I remember the staff being very nice and the space very pleasant. I have a vague idea of the food being delicious, but to be fair, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Shamefully, besides my very interesting company and the neverending conversation, the one thing I may stress is the prosecco with cremolatti, passion fruit flavour.

(I have no photos. My focus was somewhere else that evening)

Peanut

I really love peanut, whether it is whole or transformed into butter.

I use it in salads, with toasts, with pancakes, in oatmeals or with nothing at all, just out of my gluttony. Some weeks ago, I was truly depressed about the way I looked: I lied on the bed and my belly was so bloated that I looked like a 5 months pregnant woman. I felt puffy, my clothes wouldn’t fit and I cut my portions.

Still, my whole body was normal, except for my belly. I hated it, stopped using dresses and skirts, started wearing only large clothes to disguise my appearance and even quit gym for a while, because I could not stand the way I looked in gym clothes.

Something was really wrong with me. Ok, I had been cheating on my healthy eating plan here and there, but it was not enough to be like that.

Then I realised: I hadn’t change the huge amount of peanuts I had been eating. In the morning, in the afternoon and at night, as if I was drinking water. There was no way my body could escape from that. It is healthy fat, I know, but it is still fat. Plus, it fills your intestines with gas… so there’s that.

Now, I started eating it only in the morning and I will even cut it out a bit, replacing it by cashew and almond butter.

Family matters

I had to spend last weekend in Porto, since it was my grandmother’s fancy birthday, and – the true reason – it was my sister’s birthday as well.

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I had amazing times, ate a lot (which is stressing me a little bit) and laughed really hard. I hadn’t feel this happy nor relaxed for too long. This kind of serenity was what I had been pursuing for the past couple of years and it was somehow overwhelming achieving it out of nothing, in a regular weekend in the middle of may. Ironically, precisely one year after I got divorced.

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I have no doubts: friends are awesome and it is great how some people we didn’t even know were brought into our lives to stay here, to love us and to make us happy. Spending one hour or two having fun and talking to them, remembering old days, is priceless. However, family is what really matters: they’re that group of people who were put in our lives by a random natural selection and who, no matter how hard, how deeply the world spins, will never go away. happiness

Family matters.

And the day I realised that for sure, I felt safe. I am now complete.