I've been reading a lot about blogging recently. And I mean a lot. I've been reading about editorial calendars and keeping things interesting and fresh. I've been reading about how you should be yourself. I've been reading about how you should be passionate about your topics. And then I got fed up!
It's all good advice, well written advice that I seeked. I googled all these things I have been reading because I wanted to know more. This happens to me a lot - wanting to know more! When I love something, I'll find out as much as I can about it; it happened with photography, sewing, knitting, blogging... you get the gist. Yet, somewhere along my research journey I lost myself a bit. I wasn't quite sure what I was doing nor why I was reading all those things.
It seems to happen as much as my curiosity; the getting tired of the information, the feeling that I'm lost in it and no longer have a voice, leaving it all behind and going back to just doing it, my absolute favourite!
When I first started blogging, and sewing, and knitting, and photographing, and pretty much anything, I just did it. I wanted to do it and I did it. More often than not, things were good. I kept at it and improved. As I progressed, I became hungry for more knowledge and ways to become even better. This is a good thing, wanting to know more! What isn't a good thing is to get lost in an overwhelming sea of (not always relevant!) information to the point you're no longer doing the thing you're researching about, you're in fact just reading about how you can do it better... but not doing it... and losing your voice in the process.
What saves me, always, is getting fed up of it and taking a step back! It has happened with photography and only now am I finding my way again. With blogging, it was a bit quicker! I had backup; I went back to when it all began, not even this blog, but the one before that - my Portuguese blog. It was all there; my reasons to blog and how to do it.
I blog because I love writing AND love having that record of what my life was like back then (through a window, really, but still! I just discovered this second reason, literally, five minutes ago when I saw all those archives and cherished it so much!). And I can just do it. As I feel like, however I feel like, I can just come here and write to my heart's content. That is what makes me happy! And I should just take that and make it into a yellow balloon of happiness and use it as a reminder of why and how I do the things I love doing.
This hidden post was written in early May. It came after weeks of reading about blogging and wondering why I did it... yet again! I'm pleased to say - enough of that self-doubt. It's unedited; for publishing, I've added the image.
This has been a long week. The kind of long week that makes you happy and sad and ever so grateful for this little big thing called "my people". This tribe of mine is what makes everything I do possible. They are my rocks and each and everyone of them plays a part in making my life what it is.
I sit in silence. Silence is good, just now. It hasn't been silent for so long that I think I'd forgotten what it sounds like, silence. There's a torn peace that comes with difficult conversations, the ones you don't want to have because it hurts. Once you go through it, all that is left is the silence and the peace and that pain. And you grab that peace and that silence and hold them dearly, gently rocking the pain away.
The thing with difficult conversations is that they never goes how you'd expected them to go. Even when you think you didn't expect anything, you most certainly didn't expect that. It's funny, really. If only you could find things funny right now. But you can't. Right now things aren't funny, they are just silent, peaceful and painful, if ever they could go together.
Once the pain goes away, it will leave the void it now hides. The void of my everyday, for so many days, that I lose count. What am I going to do without you? And then the silence is stronger, so much louder than all the other sounds and in my head I'm shouting back what will I do without you?... but only the silence hears me.
This hidden post sat in my drafts for over three months. It was written after a conversation with Nick about the changes we would face to our routine. It's unedited; for publishing, I've added the image.
I'm at the airport waiting for my flight home - prime time for writing and blogging, in my book!
I like to get here early, beat the rush hour traffic and not stress about queues or bags or security. Whilst I lead a pretty stress free airport experience, that does mean waiting for a fair bit; today I have 1h30m all going to plan with flight.
Gatwick offers you 45 minutes of free wifi, which I normally use to browse Instagram and read blogs, after I've written something I'm happy with. More often than not, I don't blog at the airport. Today, I thought I could use the free wifi to check a specific post I had started on running. I wanted to pick up where I'd left it and this seemed like a good plan. And that's when I found them all... my drafts.
I have 14 drafted posts that haven't seen the light of day. 14! I thought "this can't be, just can't!". So I checked them all, one by one. Two are just the title (including the running one, funny how I thought it was half written!). That leaves 12 others. Three are on the same topic of blogging and finding your voice, from different angles, clearly in complete ignorance of each other - makes it pretty special that I have written them all - but reaching the same conclusion. And then there are nine (my maths never fails me, lucky me!). Two more on footbal and we're down to seven, my favourite number.
Some are alright, some are good, and one really stayed with me and took me back to the moment it happened. It's a raw post, different to what I normally post here. It's kinda sad too, but it warmed me up to read it now. When I finished reading it, I decided I would publish seven of those drafts, with little to no editing, throughout August. It felt good to decide that!
If I were to draw a conclusion from my writing and blogging based on my drafts, it would have to be from this last post, and not the three I already wrote on the topic. Why do I blog? To write and photograph. To tell my story, happy or otherwise. I'm cheering for happy though!
After six years working with some amazing people, and for an organisation which has the potential to change our future for the better, I decided it was time for me to leave. It was with a broken heart and tears in my eyes that I left my second home for the past six years.
So why did I leave? Hearts can be mended and tears dry up, eventually, but why (and how) did I leave a place where I was happy?
I spent the whole of last year embracing change. When I chose it as my word for the year, I had no clue it would mean so much to me then; the year ended up being an enormous lesson in accepting and dealing with change. This year, my word is choose. And I chose change.
It is so very hard to leave a happy place; you never know what you're going to find on the other side. Sometimes though, you know you need change; you know you need to shake things up a bit; and you know you want to see what is on the other side of that decision.
Leaving was hard, very hard. Not because I really liked my job (which I did), not because I worked for something I really believed in (which I did, and still do), but because of the people. My team and all the other colleagues and friends who made my life such a joy for the past six years... I leave them all behind, after they've told me how much they'll miss me and how good we had it! Damn you, people! Don't get me wrong, it's AMAZING to be told such things and see it in people's eyes and feel it in their goodbye hugs, but blimey does it make departing a tough business. I cried. I was hoping not to, but like my boss put it "this is who you are". I honestly hope he meant transparent and lovely, and not a crying baby, but I'll never ask and (hopefully) he'll never clarify, so we're good. And with complete freedom to give in to who I am, I cried for the people.
I have been fortunate to be part of an incredible team. One of my closest and dearest friends sat an arm's length away from me for most of these six years. He patiently answered my grammar questions and idiomatic queries without a complaint. He brought out the best in me every single day. Our team was a unit; we would talk and listen and hug when the road got rough, and we had laughter and joy for when the road got easier. We had trust and coffee.
I have also been fortunate to have phenomenal colleagues, who made my life easier and happier. People who helped me, laughed with me, made me grow and learn, made me feel part of something bigger than ourselves, and who ultimately made me a better person. A cliché, yes, but they exist for a reason... because they're true!
Leaving is indeed hard, but doable! Luckily, the tears didn't wash away the memories and I'll always have those. I love memories, good cheerful happy memories of the good old days. Yet, I know life is not only made of memories, life is also made of what makes memories worthy... and it was time I wrote a different chapter in my book.
Thank you to all who made the last six years such a joy ride!
You will be missed.
As I thought about what I could write for the Day of Multilingual Blogging, I came across an excellent article in the Economist on the subject of bilingualism. The article asks if different languages confer different personalities and then goes on to explore the answers brilliantly.
This question is one I often think about and have mentioned in previous blog posts, like this one. My writing style and subject matter are very different in Portuguese and English. In Portuguese, I tend to be nostalgic and let the hand do the writing straight from the soul. In English, I’m happier and determined to focus on all the good in my life. Interestingly, this applies only to my writing and not me.
What best than to just write in both languages now? Thanks to this year's Day of Multilingual Blogging, I sat in front of a blank screen and wrote. What you can read below is what came out of me in either language, unedited (sort of). In the name of science, the exercise was kept the same - fill an empty screen with a blog post.
Sou nostálgica, é uma característica que me assiste. Tenho em mim toda a nostalgia do mundo (e o drama, ao que parece). De mim saem palavras de outroras que foram e memórias que nunca existiram de dores que senti sem saber como. No silêncio dos dias, há uma angústia que me dilacera a paz de espírito. Se me sentar aqui tempo suficiente, esvaziar-me-ei de lágrimas que não tinha por tudo o que foi e não chegou a ser. Penso, como tantas vezes, no calor feliz da curva de um pescoço que me aqueceu a alma, mais do que outra coisa qualquer. Sempre a curva do pescoço, essa certeza quieta da intimidade... ainda que não certa. Lembro-nos a nós, ou outros como nós éramos, tão novos e quase felizes, que não se é feliz quando se é novo, só depois, quando o mundo não pára e os dias lentos podem ser, por fim, felizes na memória. Quero guardar-nos, ainda e sempre, no lugar fechado das recordações tristes porque tão felizes nos fizeram… um dia.
I live in England.
There’s tea, always chamomile as it soothes me and helps me focus. My red notebook sits next to the laptop, a list of possible posts I’d like to write half crossed; this business of brainstorming post ideas is great! It’s not Monday yet but I can think of all the things which are making my belly turn with happy butterflies. Our home is one, perpetually happy with the new red cushions. And oh how I love the beautifully crisp morning light that comes in through the living room windows. I could sit here forever in awe of that light; in fact, I could sit here forever thinking of that light.
As I read above, I realise how great this Day of Multilingual Blog has been for me. It's sometimes painful to write in Portuguese as I seem to go deep into the unknown and bring a gentle sadness with me, but at the same time... it's a part of me, the writing and what I write. Rediscovering that connection felt amazing! It also felt good to know that my happy colourful style can roam free in English. I just love the freedom multilingualism gives me!
Photo credit: Vivacious Mel Photography
I agree. I so agree. And, perhaps more importantly, I accept it.
At a time when time is ever so precious and we're all going from commitment to commitment with pit-stops at other time consuming tasks (like doing the laundry, cooking, exercising... hum... sleeping), keeping a blog - and dedicating time to it, of course - may seem, how shall I put, a waste of time. For a while, I thought about this and questioned whether my time was well spent here. I concluded it is!
On important matters such as this (and take this as the first clue that this space is important to me), I like to consult with Little brother. It's a conversation we've had a few times and he always tells me the same and you know what? I learned it now. I love writing and I love photographing and I love putting it together here. What better way to spend your time than doing things you love?
Enjoy your wasted time this week!
This cosy small cowl took me less than four hours to knit. It has garter stitch edges and stockinette stitch for the main bit. It was knit in the round and I used no pattern, it's that simple.
Cowl :: I love it! It's cosy and warm and happy.
Yarn :: Manos del Uruguay. Gorgeous colour and softness. I recommend it.
Little Miss Joey is on Facebook. I have been there for a while, but I wasn't really there. Now I am. I'm enjoying writing about the small daily things that would never amount to a post. I'm enjoying managing the page from my phone, which is what makes it possible for LMJ to really be on Facebook. I'm enjoying the thought of welcoming you all there too :) Join me, if you'd like!
I cannot begin to explain to you how AWESOME my birthday was. Proper kid awesome, with eyes wide open in amazement and smiles filled with happiness. Some days just work, you know, and I have been lucky enough to have one of those days fall on my birthday.
Today is Monday (sometimes I like to tell you something you don't know!) and the sun is shining and life feels filled with wonderful things. LMJ had a good day, so there you go, Mondays can be good. And when the sun went away and life caught up a bit with LMJ, Dad calls.
This is a Monday of emotions and searching deep for the good things, only to find they are right on the surface of my life.
Little Miss Joey is now on the last week of the Raining Umbrellas course and has realised two things: 1. she doesn't like good things to end (what a surprise, LMJ!) and 2. she's an artist (hahahaha... still feels very weird but a goal is a goal and I like to stick to mine!).
A week ago I had breakfast in Portugal before kissing little brother and Mum a very early goodbye and being driven to the airport by Dad. As predicted, I miss all of them. I miss them annoying me and/or teasing me. I miss their quiet daily activities and their loud outbursts of silliness just the same. I miss their puzzled looks as I set up the breakfast table to photograph it and wonder why I'm letting my toast go cold. I miss our 324 attempts at having a family photo and managing to have one of us looking weird in every single one. I miss Dad talking non-stop whenever I try to take his photograph. I miss Mum moaning she never looks good in photographs but letting me try anyway (she is only the most beautiful woman I know!). I miss little brother photographing me so I'd have something too and how photogenic he is. I miss how we all work together in spite of being so utterly dysfunctional too. And I wouldn't have believed any of this if you had told it to me when I was younger. Gotta love being older :)
"You are good at... stuff!"
I write and photograph, and am a lover of natural light and colour. I also sew and make things, all sorts of things. I believe in simplicity and that smiles make the world spin faster!
Originally from Portugal, I now live in the magical city of Oxford, UK.Welcome to my online space, I'm thrilled to have you here.
I'd love to hear from you! Email me.
All words and photos are my own, unless otherwise stated.
Please do not reproduce without my permission. If you would like to use a photo, please link back to this site and give credit.
Profile photo by Vivacious Mel Photography.