"The Ugly Duckling" is not about Beauty.

     Para a versão em Português, clique aqui. 
      
     Blame it on the filters, the make up and the gym membership, but most of us seem to carry within this feeling of having been one very very ugly duckling, now grown into the most beautiful swan in the pond. Honestly, any self esteem is good for the heart, and I won’t be one to question people’s search for an evergrowing love for themselves.
    
     However, growing up and understanding how much harm can be caused by the social perception of beauty has made me reject its importance in my life. You can blame it on Funny Girl, maybe, but the last thing that I want to be important about me is how pretty I am or am not. I enjoy having and expressing one very loud personality, louder than anything else – not necessarily screaming, but mostly. 
    
     I was thinking about this as I watched the dozens of swans living on the river right opposite to my student hall.
         
     One very interesting thing that studying Art allows me to is overthink about things, to the point of being capable of extracting from them hidden meanings and purposes theretofore nonexistent to me, but real enough for my subconscious to learn from them. So, Hans Christian Andersen was most probably only talking about his past as an ugly child, and rejoicing on the beauty and glory that the years had brought, but I’d rather understand The Ugly Duckling as a story about identity.
     
     If you have never seen swans, know that they are huge birds, constantly cleaning their white feathers, and usually spill water on those who don’t feed them (but I’d guess that’s an specific feature of the ones who live next to me). Their babies are greyish and could be the clumsiets and fuzziest creatures swimming on fresh waters. You can tell that swans and ducks don’t belong with each other, even though they can be seen hanging together.
     
     After being rejected by his mother, sublings, and basically every other creature he ever met in his life, the duckling strongly believed he wasn’t much more than one very unlucky bird. Even though he had already seen the swans, and was aware of their existence, he couldn’t see himself as one of them, because he couldn’t think of himself as anything other than what he had heard his whole life. His identity was distorted, as a fogged mirror in which he could only see disappointment.
     
     Life can be really ungrateful to those who take a longer time to finally fit in, because there is a rush; the world won’t stop spinning around for you to go somewhere else and try to figure out yourself. Then, we can all relate to the unfortunate events in the life of the duckling. Some may say that the tale enhances the idea of superiority between different types of people. I’d rather highlight that the duckling’s biggest joy wasn’t discovering himself as one of the beautiful birds – or even the most beautiful of them all – , but having found a place to belong, to feel welcome and important, instead of freezing to death alone in the winter.
     
     One of the greatest joys in life, for me, is that, after so much pain and trials, I know who I am and I have found a place, several places, in which my presence is desired, in which I can grow into a better person, and help others as well. I could say that, now, I am a swan surrounded by so many others swans, but we could be ducks, seagulls, bears, bees, ravens. And I may not always feel happy, but I am happy to have a purpose, a focus, a direction. The ugly duckling flew his way into the sky, and I’ve just spread my wings and followed his path. I hope that you will join us someday.
     
     

You don’t miss a thing.

     Para ler em Português, clique aqui.

     There is a mystery behind His eyes.

    
     To be fair, there’s a mystery behind every pair of eyes, once we were made in His own image. How we amazingly see each other through so many different lenses, how I wish I could see myself through other people’s eyes, and how I wish I could lend my own eyes to others, for them to see as much value as I see in such simple things. 
    
     But the eyes of the Lord – they run back and forth throughout the whole Earth. We’re 7 billion now, but our Mighty God has seen every single person that ever walked on this planet. Every now dead being got caught in the eyes of the Father once, twice, so many times. He sees it all, praise His name. He knows it all, glorify His name. There’s nowhere to hide that His Love wouldn’t find us – for the Lord is no Big Brother watching us, but He watches over us. 
    
     As I lay here awaken, way past my bedtime, and wonder about who I am, I still find it amazing that the Lord has seen me, and chosen me. I can’t blame those who find it hard to believe that God loves them and has a plan for them – although plenty of milleniuns believe the world revolves around them, depression and low self-esteem are getting higher every year. The world is toxic to us – to our identities, to every single special trait of ours. Everything is taken away. I have been there – hopeless, weakened, no direction, no purpose, so many fears, so many doubts.
    
     But, in this crowd of seven billion, He never misses a thing. 
    
     To be fair, I am not much of a big deal. None of us is, we can’t do a single thing on our own. We are limited, but He does for us everything we couldn’t do. When we fall, when we don’t know, when we can’t say, when there is no other hope, He is always there, waiting for us to to cry to Him with our voices. He is the Light that burns brighter than the Sun. And I am just a tiny little thing, making my boast in the Lord. I celebrate my life, celebrate the years behind me, the years ahead of me, the year I’m living now. I celebrate the hard days, I celebrate the pain of coming and going, because He goes before me every step that I take.
    
     I believe that the mystery of godliness lays in how the glorified God places us safe in His arms, and has a plan for us. He speaks only the truth, and His truth sets us free – for when the world tells us we are weak, and small, and buries us under fake notions of unattainable perfection, the Lord is merciful, and His mercies are new every morning, and we rejoice in being weak, for His power is made perfect in weakness.
    
     Years may go by, but my heart is permanently amazed by this unstoppable Love that saved me, and saves me every day, and that I will never be deserving of. I was born for the glory of the Lord! My Father loves me. Let the whole world hear that I am loved, let all the bullies, the highest, the lowest know that I have a shield around me, a best Friend who lifts up my head and takes me by the hand when everything falls apart. There was a mystery behind His eyes, and I have solved it, as I looked into them – I am His, and He is mine.
     

 
     

When words fail

     It’s hard for me not to think about the time I’ve been abroad whenever I try to write down my feelings and ideas, because that’s basically the most important thing going on in my life. 81 days now. Trying to explain how fast it’s going is pointless and hurtful, because I’ve caught myself thinking of how I could just stay here and never return to the mess that my homeland has become a lot more times than I wish I had.
     
     Anyone in this same position of not only leaving home, but moving to a whole different country, will definitely waste a lot of time complaining about all the comfortable things one has lost when deciding to go on this life-changing jouney. Luckily, I’m not anyone to complain on how I miss my car and my warm weather without speaking first of all these new things I’ve figured out about myself. That’s why I think that most of us eventually end up with some huge text posted online. Internet has made it easier for anyone to catch up with our latest experience. That’s phenomenal. We just love to tell the world how we are.
     
     I ocasionally end up talking a little bit about my experiences here on my snapchat, not just because it’s a fantastic social network (yes, it is) because of how quick you share things and they disappear forever shortly after, but also because I know that there’s a lot of people who care about me and that expect me to tell them what’s going on with my life on a daily basis (hi, mom), and snapchat just makes it a lot easier, closer, more human. I could actually be doing this on snapchat, recording my words and the weird yet funny faces that I effortlessly do.
     
     But this is a reflection about writing. And writing demands words to be typed, read, felt together. God bless those who made it possible for blind people to read with their own hands. The inner feeling we get with our eyes is surprisingly comparable.
     
     I’ve tried to understand what writing actually means to me a bunch of times. I believe that I may have finally and inadvertently assembled a rather satisfactory answer to that question, while renewing this blog’s layout. “Escrever é meu mapa pessoal do tesouro de ser feliz” (“Writing is my personal map of the treasure of being happy”), and I am the land to be explored.
     
     The truth behind that may be the key to this wonderful self-awareness I have developed over the past years. As complicated as I may be, as uncontrollable, unstable and emotional as I may get, I would have never been able to acknowledge that through any other way than literature. I may have abandone my tales and poems for a while, but I still see myself in each one of the characters I created, and I ocasionally think of them and wonder how their lives would be now if they were alive somewhere else than inside my head. But, still, I can’t help but write all the time.
     
     I haven’t been exposing myself lately in a desperate attempt to protect my own heart from my own stupidity, but I must say that I am most certainly tired of covering my feelings up. I have too many, and they just don’t fit inside this body of mine (even with all the weight I’ve gained since moving out). I live in a constant overflow of feelings. Even if my words never reach the paper, never get typed, I write all the time inside of my head, as if my gray matter demanded imaginary words written on its surface. My passion for the Arts and the Sciences may be high, but I am a writer, after all. I may be writing at you right now, actually, on the lines of this beautiful colorful iris of yours that I’ve been staring at for so long.
     
     A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I only know of music speaking whenever words fail. But that’s something for a different moment. For now, words are enough for me.

Frowning

– Are you sure you want to do this?
– Oh, Harriet, stop this drama. It’s just a birthday letter. Letting me read it won’t kill us at all.
– Ok, fine, I’ll let you read it, but do it out loud. And don’t forget what I’ve told you before.
– What have you told me?
– *sigh*Honestly, Elise?
– It doesn’t matter. I’ll just start it, before you take your words back.
– Quick, please.
– “Dear Harriet,”
– Oh, here we go.
 – “It’s undeniably interesting how time runs slower or faster according to one’s point of view.
“You know, dear, reality is just a matter of perception – time and space perception, to be more specific. A person can, eventually, unwittingly pass through its entire life believing that living miserably and mediocrely is the undiscovered key to happiness (instead of trust and self-assurance, as The Eagles would say), and without noticing how subjected to circumstances out of its own power it is. And, of course, I don’t mean subjection to others’ power alone. I mean subjection to the undeniable and untouchable power of The Universe, supported (in its whole mean) by whatever stands behind it – I’d say ‘God’, which is true for me, but I must definitely respect your always valuable opinion; or opinions, we haven’t seen each other for a while and I’m not quite sure of what’s been in your mind. Or out of it.”
– And you wonder why I frown.
– Silence! “There’s a moment – a take-it-or-leave-it one, anyone would suppose – in which serious decisions should be taken, with no excuses allowed; it doesn’t matter how seriously committed with the truth one might be. It doesn’t matter how much love, passion, anger, or any other feeling, fulfills this one’s heart. Nothing can actually set us apart as ‘crucial moments free’, but there’s definitely something to set you apart from this misguided crowd of misguided mediocre existences; unfortunately, I haven’t really discerned what this ‘something’ is or means, once I had been looking for a general however specific and unique definition. Nonetheless, I have reached the conclusion that each useless person in this world can be a stood out – although that would be undeniably bewildering, once a crowd wholly stood out remains a crowd –, and standing out is something that can be done through one’s own individuality and special abilities, besides the help of one or one hundred more powerful people, and by powerful I mean ‘moneyful’. You may say how obvious this all sounds, but if so, there would be much more proper genius walking on this Earth and, provided I’m much of a proper genius, I am sure there aren’t many properly established around.” What?
– Keep going on, there is a moment in which everything makes sense.
– “You could wonder the reason why all those specially nearly delusional sentences were typed in the same letter, forced within the same context, running out of any sticky logic putting it together, such as sense, order, cohesion, etc. Well, dearest of them all, I have no other intention than to make you aware of how important, special and full of potentials you are. Nevertheless, don’t feel offended by me saying ‘full of potentials’. I have been watching your growth and encouraging your always mind-blowing intelligence for so long that I have lost account of time myself. And, once you’re turning 18, I believe it is the perfect time for your naturally outstanding person to turn those already bright potentials into consumed acts. Much more to-be-acts than I can actually count using nothing but my fingers and toes. If you’d prefer, I could consider my hair and arms as countable tools, but that wouldn’t be necessary whatsoever. There’s no need to count the stars, once you’re sure they’re so many they light up the sky from the brightest day to the darkest night.” This is so sweet, Harry.
– Keep reading it, Elise.
– “Year after year I send you, alongside a sweet vintage gift, one of these always long and senseless letters, even though filled with the best of kindness I can extract from myself, so I suppose the lack of sense and warmth must be getting into your mind as the most normal, sweet and full of logic stuff. If not so, please don’t let me know. There are few things which I would rather not be aware of. In general, they are considerably important things in my life and routine, so consider yourself as part of this select group hidden inside the closest to ‘heart’ I have ever had. Oh, and, of course, let me say ‘happy birthday to you’, Harriet. Being expelled from your grandmother’s uterus has never been quite of some happiness to me, but as I’ve already told you, you’re significantly significant for me to receive my cheering words for being around for 18 years after you own expel, but from my sister’s uterus, of course.”
“Keep up with the good work. You’re one of those rare life winners, which managed to be successful and happy altogether. Never lose that, or you’ll never recover your humanity – always see me as the best not-to-follow example of them all. And don’t forget that, although you have one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen, the most powerful one is hidden near your eyebrows.”
“Truly yours,”
“Your (may I dare say ‘beloved’?) Uncle S.
– *sigh* So, what do you think?
– I remembered what you said.
– Oh, really? That fast? *laugh* So, what was it?
– You said these letters were the reason why you’d always frown.
[Pause].
– Why do you frown, Harriet?
– Well, I would say I’m just smiling, but upside down.
[Composition for english class – C1 level]