O inexistente olhar crítico do outro

Certa vez, tive que ir ao shopping pela tarde, sozinha, resolver umas coisas. Em casa, toda animada, me arrumei bem à vontade: saia longa azul royal, com uma camiseta de banda de rock preta super-sized amarrada na cintura, um par de tênis nos pés, cabelo desgrenhado, como sempre. Me olhei no espelho antes de sair de casa e me achei mó gata jovenzinha (trintona, hein?!). Estava me sentindo A ADOLESCENTE mais descolada e cool da terceira idade. Cheguei no shopping me achando, super segura e desfilando na passarela, até que… dei de cara com ele. Aquele que acaba com a auto-estima, confiança, segurança e amor próprio de qualquer pessoa. Um dos maiores vilões que já passou pelos corredores de todos os shoppings no mundo inteiro: ele mesmo, o seu reflexo na vitrine da loja do shopping.

O seu reflexo na vitrine da loja do shopping, a primeira vista, pode parecer um amigão, que tá lá pra te mostrar o quão gata você está. Então, assim que você passa pela primeira vitrine, você ainda está se achando e só falta dar uma piscadela para seu reflexo, bem coisa de adolescente babaca mesmo. Mas, na medida em que você vai caminhando pelos corredores, você vai passando por lojas diferentes. Lojas com manequins que estão vestindo roupas mais bacanas que a sua, mais caras que a sua, mais desamassadas que a sua, mais modernas e novas (porque sua camiseta já tá desbotada e meio que fedendo um pouco, né?). Quando seu reflexo começa a aparecer nessas lojas, ele começa a te olhar feio. Parece menos colorido, menos jovial. De repente, você olha e não reconhece a figura que está no reflexo. Cadê aquela gostosa que tava ali há um minuto? Quem é essa velha mal arrumada com essa roupa cafonérrima? E logo pensa: “que eu tinha na cabeça pra sair vestida assim de casa?”.

Nesse dia, minha auto-estima só durou até a terceira vitrine. Na quarta, eu já estava arrependida da roupa e pensando que besteira que fiz. Mas, mal entrou essa ideia e apareceu o segundo maior vilão do shopping. Foi rapidinho. Em termos de maldade, ela está pau a pau com o primeiro lugar. Ela é o segundo maior motivo das pessoas voltarem pra casa pra trocar de roupa: ela, a outra pessoa. Exatamente isso: a outra pessoa. Qualquer uma. Aleatória mesmo (faz sentido né? #SQN). Ela não precisa falar nada, fazer nada. Não precisa nem olhar pra você, nem passar perto. Basta que você a veja que acontecerá o feitiço que estraga o dia/vida de qualquer pessoa: a comparação.

Já não bastava que estava me sentindo uma completa idiota de saia azul longa com uma camiseta de banda de rock amarrada na cintura (que coisa brega!) e tênis (ai, jesus!). Quando menos me dei conta, estava olhando para as outras mulheres que estavam passeando no shopping e me comparando a cada uma delas. Era mais ou menos assim: “ela é mais alta, mais elegante; eu toda corcunda aqui, horrível”, “essa aqui tá tão maqueada; tão bonita; e eu aqui com a cara lavada cheia de rugas e manchas”, “caramba, que mulher linda, toda bem vestida; eu aqui, tão malamanhada, tão feia, tão brega”. Ad aeternum.

Fazia 15 minutos que eu estava no shopping, ainda precisava comprar 2 presentes, e tinha conseguido o feitio de sair do mindset “estou uma gata” para “estou um traste” em menos de 100 metros de caminhada.

Até aí tudo bem. Meu reflexo me olhava feio a cada vitrine e eu ficava me comparando com as outras mulheres, me achando um show de horror, mas as coisas estavam caminhando e eu não ia morrer por causa disso. Só tinha que resolver os presentes e ir embora. Fácil, né?

Era. Mas, aconteceu que nesse mesmo dia eu dei de cara com o terceiro vilão dos shoppings. O pior de todos. O que nos tira a tranquilidade, a paz na mente, a nossa auto-confiança e nos destraça por inteiro, de dentro pra fora. O maior vilão de todos os tempos: “o inexistente olhar julgador da outra pessoa”.

É isso mesmo que você leu: o inexistente olhar julgador da outra pessoa. Vou explicar porque ele é o pior de todos. Vamos separar as sílabas para que você possa entender. “O olhar de outra pessoa” já começa dizendo que outra pessoa está olhando para você. Ou seja, ela passou a vista pelo espaço inteiro do shopping, por todas as pessoas, e justamente a sua pessoa captou a atenção dela. Porque você é tão especial assim, bebê. E você nunca pensa “ela está olhando pra mim porque eu estou super diva hoje!”. É sempre “meu deus, será que derramei mostarda na gola da camisa? Devo estar só a bosta de feia”.

Mas, isso é até normal. Até aí tudo bem. Todo mundo se acha a pessoa mais especial do mundo e todo mundo está sempre nos olhando. Eis que entra a segunda parte do nome: “julgador”. A pessoa não está só olhando pra você. Não! Ela está fazendo um julgamento, uma crítica. Não só a sua figura chamou a atenção dela, mas chamou a atenção de uma forma ruim e a pessoa está mentalmente fazendo uma crítica extremamente rígida à sua pessoa, sua roupa, sua maquiagem, seu corte de cabelo, sua bolsa, seu sapato, suas tatuagens, suas escolhas. Na sua cabeça, a pessoa está te olhando e pensando “como ousas sair da tua casa vestida deste jeito? Vais causar vergonha a tua família e levá-la à ruína! Volte para a toca donde viestes e jamais retornes”. Porque, né? É óbvio que todo mundo falar assim e é claro que ela está pensando exatamente isso. Afinal, você está horrível e merece toda essa atenção.

E aí vem a terceira e pior parte do nome desse vilão: “inexistente”. Que significa exatamente isso: não existe. Nadica. Zero. Zip.

Porque essa é a pior parte? Porque, no final das contas, nada disso está realmente acontecendo. A pessoa não está olhando pra você, nem muito menos te julgando. Ela nem sabe que você existe. Quem diabos é Larissa no jogo do bicho?

Todas essas figuras são faces diferentes do que é, na realidade, um único vilão: o seu ego fragilizado. Quando pensamos em ego, pensamos em coisas ruins. Lembramos de pessoas egocêntricas ou egoístas. Mas, a saúde do nosso ego é importante. A interpretação filosófica do ego é que ele é “o eu de cada um” ou “o que caracteriza a personalidade de cada indivíduo”. Ele é considerado o defensor da personalidade. (peço licença aos psicólogos se estiver cometendo erros grotescos aqui)

Em outras palavras, é a nossa própria insegurança que nos prega peças como essa minha no shopping. Meu reflexo na vitrine estava igual ao do meu espelho em casa, quando estava me sentindo a maior gostosa. As outras pessoas não estavam nem mais, nem menos bonitas ou arrumadas do que eu. Elas estavam elas e eu estava eu. E absolutamente ninguém estava olhando para mim e julgando minha beleza ou falta dela. Tudo foi da minha cabeça, tudo inventado, tudo fantasia.

E sabe por quê? Porque na época, dois anos atrás, eu achava que precisava de uma aprovação das outras pessoas para me sentir bem. Só me sentia bonita se estivesse dentro dos “padrões” (quaisquer que fossem eles). Só me sentia segura se todos dissessem que eu estava bonita. Minha própria voz não era o suficiente.

Olha que tragédia. Nós não somos o suficiente. Ou não achamos que somos.

Mas, tudo muda com o tempo. De lá para cá, aprendi a me amar. Aprendi a me cuidar, aprendi o que gosto e o que não gosto, aprendi a me valorizar mais. A me comparar apenas comigo mesma. E ainda assim, ainda não estou num nível super power de autoconfiança e autoestima. De vez em quando, ainda dou uma olhadela para o lado e me questiono. Mas, hoje em dia, quando vou ao shopping malamanhada e me olho no reflexo das vitrines das lojas, ou eu não ligo, realmente, ou me acho bonita, mesmo quando não estou. Porque nesse mundo só existe eu igual a mim, ninguém mais que seja igual. Nem de longe parecida.

Não é fácil e nem perfeito. Mas, quando ele aparece, chuto o inexistente olhar julgador das pessoas pra longe e chamo meu amor-próprio pra bater um papo cabeça. Ele é muito mais legal comigo. Afinal, quero perto quem me bota pra cima e não quem me olha de cima pra baixo. Concorda?

This is lizard shit

Before we begin, please do not be fooled by the natural glorified beauty of the lizard featured at the top of this post. The lizard I will be talking about is as horrific as its intentions. Beware.

One of the things I like to do the most every night when I come home from work is to pick up lizard shit from my kitchen floor. Sometimes there’s lizard shit in the morning as well and I always imagine that my reptilian friend might have had a little snack during the previous night, while the humans in the house were asleep. It’s a delight that I have been blessed with for the past five months.

I named the lizard Bob. I figured that if we ever met he would look like a Bob.

Bob is quite a character. He likes playing games and his favorite one is hide-and-seek. We play this game all the time. I’m always looking for Bob, but he is never anywhere to be found. Noah and I have searched for him for weeks, tearing the entire apartment apart in the process, looking for the little bastard, but he’s a sneaky dude.

In the beginning, we didn’t get along very well. When Bob first moved in, I was very happy living within a two-person only family, just Noah and I enjoying ourselves in our little nest, with no pets to worry about. But he didn’t ask to join us; he just moved in with his suitcases and settled in.

Every time Bob left his little turd in the middle of my kitchen, I would politely tell him – through some courtly yelling – to “get the fuck out of my house, you little shit!”, and proceeded to bang on every cupboard, table, sink and stove, moving the refrigerator and freezer out of the way, but… He always got away.

Being a single mother living alone in a big apartment, I learned early on how to deal with animals ravaging my place. I once had an epidemic of  small frogs that lasted for about 6 months. Every day I found little frogs around my house, usually near the bathrooms. One time I had the delightful surprise of running into one of them when I got out of the shower. When I pulled my towel from the hanger he came flying towards me. He had been appreciating the warm humidity of my dirty towel while I was taking my evening bath. This was Fred, by the way. Fred loved bathrooms. So did Rita and Jeremiah. They were a big bigger than Fred and had different colors, and they were always playing inside my bathroom, running their slimy paws on my toothbrush and hairbrush and makeup brushes. Great fun!

For months, every time I would find one of these little assholes, I would get a used plastic bag and throw it repeatedly on top of the sucker until it he was completely covered in it. Then, I would jiggle him around until he jumped inside the bag and while keeping the bag closed, I would take it downstairs and throw it on the other side of the building’s common area. I never killed a single one. I love animals, just not on my towels.

One day, I put poison for ants around the apartment and after a few days the frogs stopped coming by. It turns out they were here to hunt down the ants, so when I got rid of their food, they went away. Now I can pass this life lesson on to others: when infested with frogs, get rid of ants.

And then there’s the cockroach. Most people are afraid of cockroaches. A friend once told me that if she ever found a cockroach in her bedroom, she would get out, lock the door, leave the house, get in her car, drive to the airport and move out of the country, permanently. Alas, I’m not a regular woman. A cockroach will never stand a chance when faced with a single mother who will stop at nothing to ensure that she can sleep peacefully in her bedroom, without the slightest possibility of having a little sleazy motherfuckin’ cockroach walking around her bed at night. When it comes to roaches, I will hunt them down with brooms and flip flops and unless they realize the Stygian fate they are about to encounter and run for their lives, they will die by a power slap from a pink-colored flip-flop filled with hatred and also compassion – because, after all, I love animals.

And then there’s Bob. I realized the fucker was here to stay when he started leaving his excrement on my kitchen floor more than once a day on a daily basis. People to whom I reached out told me to leave the reptilian douchebag alone because he was probably eating other insects who could be even a bigger bother to me. Apparently, lizards are cool and having them in your house is a good thing.

I bet they have never gotten up from bed to get some water at three o’clock in the morning, after hours of insomnia, to find this on floor:

lizardshit

That is lizard shit.

It’s been 5 months. For the past weeks I have been trying to make myself open to the possibility of becoming friends with Bob; after all, he’s been eating insects from my house that could otherwise have been eating my food or getting into my cups and plates or making their way onto my arms and legs (roaches seem to like walking around my legs quite a bit).

The hide-and-seek wasn’t very fun for Noah and me – since we could never find Bob – so we started playing a new game. The game starts when we come home and open our kitchen door and try to get across the kitchen without stepping on any lizard dung. Whoever makes it first to the other side without ending up with fecal matter on their shoes wins. This has made Noah become eager to get home every day. He loves this game.

Having lizard stool on your kitchen floor is also very useful when you have to threaten your child with a lousy chore in case they don’t want to do what they’re told. “If you don’t finish your homework in half an hour, you will clean up Bob’s doo-doo.” When you’re faced with the possibility of having to clean up Bob’s crap, you get shit done.

This week, for the first time, we saw Bob. Noah and I went to the kitchen to get some food and there he was, stuck on the wall near the sink. We all remained very still, Noah, Bob and I. When Noah finally took a step forward, Bob leaped onto the floor and slithered rapidly towards our service area and got away through the open window. “Nice to meet you, Bob,” Noah said.

I like Bob. I think he’s a nice fella. He could leave his defecation anywhere he wants, making it easy for us to unintentionally step on it. But no, not Bob. He always discharges on the exact same tile every day. Although this makes the new game too predictable, it also makes my life easier.

Every day when I get home, I step over Bob’s creamy crud, get a napkin, pick the dung up and throw it in the trash can. Easy breezy.

Once, I put a huge box on the floor, covering the tile where Bob did his number two, and left it there for the day. When I got home, there was the deuce on top of the box. Bob cannot be fooled. He takes his feculence very seriously.

I don’t know how to get rid of Bob, so I will accept him as a guest for now. I often think about when I start dating again and have someone come over to my house for dinner. They will look at the floor and say, “What is that?”

“That, my friend, is lizard shit.”

Note: Below is a picture of a dead lizard. I hope to find Bob like that one day. I will be relieved, though sad. Remember, I love animals.

fd-matarlagartixa

On creativity, YouTube and giraffes – a talk with Noah

Metallica played in the background and I was nervous, legs crossed, trembling and shaking with anxiety. “Master of Puppets” is definitely not the best song to precede the first interview one ever conducts. I tapped my pen on my notebook compulsively to the rhythm of the song, while waiting for him to come. To me, he represented freedom and was the impersonation of creativity itself. The way he thought, talked and created was amazing and the ease with which ideas came to him, the way inspiration poured from his mind through his veins and was released from his body through movement, words and art was a mystery that I had to uncover.

The idea of talking to him for 20 24 minutes (he corrected me after reading my draft) and being able to ask anything I wanted about his life and creative process was a dream I have had for the past 7 years.

He was – at the same time – my greatest source of inspiration and my greatest creation.

He was my muse: my son, Noah.

He came into my office, sat down and rolled his chair around without even acknowledging my presence. He had that innate confidence of someone who has a secret and isn’t sure if he’s willing to share. He looked at me from the corner of his eyes every time the chair gave a full turn.

“May we begin?”, I said. He jumped from his chair, ran towards me, jumped into my arms and gave me a big hug. The interview had begun.

Such an important person always has a full schedule, with many activities and many different people involved, so I had always been curious to know with whom he liked to talk the most. “With you,” he said, “about what we’re going to do on the weekend.”

The simplicity and honesty of his words mirrored the sober-blooded nature of his soul. He was a natural philosopher and artist and the best place he found he could express his artistic endowment was at the park. “I have fun there. I sing and make up songs and always pretend that I’m giving a show,” he said.

His creations were always filled with nuances of style, rhythm and words of other artists that he admired. When I asked him which was his favorite style of music and artists, he told me he loved pop music and pop bands such as Queen, The Beatles, Metallica, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and Beyoncé. The references were endless and as eclectic as his own work.

Spongebob Squarepants and The Amazing World of Gumball were the cinematographic works of art that most influenced his thinking and creative process. They helped to bring humor and ease into everything he did.

Recently, he had seen La La Land, loved it, and was very distraught with the whole Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway thing that happened at the Oscars, when the movie lost the award for Best Picture to Moonlight. He had spent the past 5 months listening to La La Land’s soundtrack every day, learning the words, the sounds, the rhythm, the production, the voices, trying to suck as much inspiration as he could. And the dancing. Ah… the dancing. He created his own choreography for every song. In my opinion, his was better than the movie’s.

He loved to dance. “I like it because it’s cool. I can dance anywhere. If there isn’t any music, I sing one in my head,” he told me, “And I create all of my moves. They’re all mine.”

He is also a prominent visual artist, though for some reason unbeknownst to me he has not invested in it as much as in his other activities. “I like to create. I draw a lot of monsters,” he said, “But what I like to draw most is you and me and a tree.” I was humbled that he was inspired by me. We admired each other with the same intensity and eagerness.

To me, curiosity is what makes our creative neurons get to work. Wondering about things, asking questions, seeing problems in our daily life, it makes us come up with answers and solutions that might not have seemed possible or likely before. I wanted to know from him where he thought his creativity came from. He said, “It’s like, you know, when someone is talking about giraffes and I always wanted to know the length of the giraffe’s neck. So, I get curious and I draw giraffes because they’re my favorite animais. I draw huuuuuge necks.”

The end of our much-anticipated conversation was near, so I switched subjects to talk about his most recent work.

We had partnered up a few months ago to create a Youtube channel for him, where he could share his thoughts, talk about movies and TV series, and talk about his daily life. I wanted to know how he felt about being a youtuber and what it was like to make videos. “When I’m recording, it looks like I’m talking to myself, but I’m really looking at a camera and talking to all the people who are on YouTube,” he said. When I questioned him about the challenges of being a successful youtuber, he said, “You just look at the camera and before you know it, you’re famous.”20170506_091928

He was tired and I had a lot to think about and was eager to begin writing about the milestone insights we had uncovered in our talk, so we finished our interview with a hug and a kiss. I thanked him and he asked if he could have some tapioca ice cream. I said he could if he answered one more question. He agreed, reluctantly. I said, “What would you ask if you could have the answer to any of the world’s greatest mysteries?”

He said, “I would ask: how long is the neck of a giraffe?”

A short story about love

“I love you,” he said.
“I love you, too,” she replied.
“Do you really?”
“Of course I do.”
“Good.”
“Why ‘good’?”
“Because if you didn’t, none of this would make sense.”
“Yeah. Our lives would probably be very different.”
“If we weren’t together, we’d definitely be far away from this God-forsaken city.”
“I would be in New York, studying writing and literature. You?”
“Germany. I always loved Germany. I could study business and IT.”
“I wouldn’t be a slave to my job.”
“I wouldn’t have to do the fucking dishes every day.”
“You think I would’ve been making money as a critic or writer already?”
“Sure! And maybe I’d have my own business by now.”
“Would we be happy?”
“I don’t know. I guess so.”
“More than we are today?”
“I don’t know. How happy are we?”
“I don’t know. Moderately happy, maybe?”
“Maybe. Are we even moderately happy?”
“Well… Happy enough to stay together?”
“Is it worth staying together just to be happy enough?”
“I don’t know. Damn love. Ruining people’s lives. People who could be extremely happy, instead of happy enough.”
“Yeah. Fuck love!”
“But, do you really love me?”
“I don’t know what to think anymore…”
“Neither do I.”
“We should probably decide.”
“I don’t think I love you.”
“I don’t love you either.”

They sat drinking their wine, staring at the skies, celebrating their one year marriage anniversary.
At their last sip, the wine bottle was empty. So were they.