New Year’s Wishes: The One Thing To Really Put On The List

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I’ve been trying to write something for The Carioca in the spirit of wrapping things up, so to speak, and say a proper farewell to this unique year that was 2018. But I found myself struggling… Not something common for me. Though writing is always hard work, the so called “blank” or “writer’s block” has never been part of my nature.

Suddenly, I figured out the problem – and it was the very thing (I instantly knew) had to be the single item on my list of wishes for the new year, as 2019 was rising on the horizon: I wish to BE MYSELF.

Thinking “oh, this is just too simple”? Think again. After all is said and done, I notice the thing we end up lacking is usually… ourselves! And that is why we sometimes keep feeling so empty, even when it seems we have it all.

I first stumbled over this thought as I was trying to write about “end-of-the-year-blues”. I just couldn’t do it. I was writing and writing (and boy, was I writing badly!) and nothing was really coming out of that. Suddenly, I got it. That wasn’t “me”!

The idea was honest. I felt compelled to write about it after noticing, once again, that some truly fine and relatively happy people tend to feel really down this time of year and why I thought this keeps happening. So the theme was there, in my mind, some words just dancing around, but it was not shaping up easily as it usually does.

The truth is: my heart was not really in it, for these days I’m not so much a person to talk about problems as I am about the solutions. Not so much about the past (or the future, for that matter) as I am about the present. Not so much about sorrows and doubts, as I am about joy and faith – not in a religious sense, not at all, but faith that there is not such a thing as loss, but just a process of learning and enjoying life, even when it’s not exactly a walk in the park.

That notion carried me very deeply into myself while I tried to remember what was that I wished for during other end-of-the-year periods. So many images came to mind…

I wished for better grades at school the following year.

I wished to get rid of those extra 20 pounds!

I wished I would finally study drama and creative writing.

I wished for a chance to travel everywhere.

To publish a book.

To see one of my scripts turned into a real movie.

To never again worry about money!

Well, I don’t know about your wishes. Maybe you had (or even have right now) some in common with mine. Maybe not. That doesn’t matter at all. Because these wishes are actually… well… they’re kind of fake! They are a package, a cover, a mirage masking their one true meaning. What I really always wanted (and, I truly believe now, so does everybody else) was to be more of MYSELF.

The problem wasn’t that I wanted good grades. It was that I felt, sometimes, that I was not matching my true potential. And it certainly was not about being overweight as a teenager; but, instead, about the fact that I was not recognising myself in the mirror! Studying drama and writing was not solely about the activity, per se, but about putting myself in situations where I was fully conformable in my own skin – instead of doing other courses that were also absolutely interesting and useful, but that were what other people  thought would be right for me. And so the list goes on and on.

It was never about the things I thought I wanted so much, but about moving towards home. For that is how I think about each one of us today. We are our very own homes. At least we are supposed to be. If we only make the very simple, but hard, effort to shut down the outside voices and align with that thing that is ours to claim. Our essence. Our home. Ourselves. 

Starting Fresh… Is That Really Possible?

Life as a blank piece of paper. Every stupid mistake you’ve ever made erased. All the possibilities in your hand like a brand new, beautiful pen. You can just start writing a new story and this time it will all be just right.

Recognise the fantasy? I bet you do, because we all indulge in it, from time to time.  I, myself, probably began by the age of twelve – for my friends never get tired of telling me how very old I was from the early days and, well, they do have a point!

Well, right now, in my life, I had the opportunity of turning fantasy into reality. I decided to go to another country. I got rid of everything that was old, or broken, or not quite to my taste. I carefully selected my favorite clothes, books, small objects. I even did a complete check-up with my doctor just to make sure I would be turning the page in a perfectly healthy, fresh, perfect way. And then, suddenly, I found myself inside an airplane. Ten hours later, here I was: in my very own “starting fresh dream come true”.

But was I? Really? It never felt completely like that… I mean, the whole new country, new city, new apartment, new everything feeling came over me, of course, and it’s quite overwhelming – in a nice way, I mean, at least for me, a person who does love changes. Getting passed that, what did I really find on my supposed-to-be blank page?Myself. A lot of new things, for sure, but they were just sitting on top, and being shaped by, the same old base that I know so very well and answers by the name of Flávia Ruiz.

Was I suddenly braver or more of an extrovert just because nobody around knows me anyway and who cares?… No! I was all the same in that department. Was I free of my fear of heights? Or birds? Horses? Bees? Basically everything that is found in open air spaces (yes, the list goes on and on….)? Absolutely not. What about cooler or more confident when it comes to my ambitions and my work choices? Oh, yes, you keep dreaming!

The thing is, I quickly found myself dealing with the same things in my own same way. Does that mean I will, from now on, advise people against big changes? Not at all!Much on the contrary. I urge everyone to do it, in any way they want or can. For external change is the thing to always look you in the eye and scream to your face: “you cannot run away”. From life, from weaknesses, from yourself. You cannot. In fact, the opposite happens.

Some strange force of nature pushes you to be more and more of yourself. Sometimes, in an intensely painful way. And the very moment you realize that, is the moment you begin walking the path that leads to what you tried to do in the first place, in a more instantaneous, but not at all real, way: to write a new, not story, but chapter. For the story has started a long time ago. It can never be erased. And isn’t that just precisely what makes it so amazing?…