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absence again

by M

To make justice to my first and foremost "new year resolution" (which you can check out here wink wink) I'm sitting down to write. I would like to make a 2016 hindsight post, but this isn't it. Today I just want to catch up on the past month and a half.

Finals season (which was about four weeks) was the most drained, exhausted, unmotivated, stressed out I have ever been in my life. People in other (more "serious") degrees would laugh and roll their eyes, but I've come to terms with that. My degree isn't hard, my finals aren't that difficul either. It's just that I'm not carved for studying, for sitting in a classroom, for this teaching system... and after the excitement of the first few weeks, the dullness of school life came storming back in and reminded me all too well why I was so desperate to take a year out, to go learn things outside of a classroom for once and potentially find the motivation I lack and gain some much needed persistence. But I survived and my grades won't be those I wished for but for once I don't care. I don't care mainly because I want to be in London next year, in a program that's hopefully more creatively challenging, and I can't take my mind off that. I feel like if I lose my focus for just a second, months will pass by and suddenly it'll all be too late, endless nights crying because I've failed myself, shattered dreams and the scary feeling of settling down for something I don't want. I've learnt that lesson the hard way and I won't let it happen again. That's why I know this year will be different and unequivocally better. 


On another note, I think this (last??) year was the most Christmas Spirit I've ever been. I was listening to Christmas playlists on loop, burning spiced candles, decorating to the T, baking ginger cookies and all those shenanigans. It was a way of a escaping the absolute burden of school - I kept telling myself it's almost Christmas as if that almost wasn't a a fuckload of work to do. But it helped counting down the days with a purpose. Also, Christmas was pretty swell. Much like last year's (2015) I felt like it's definitely not about the gifts anymore, which makes me feel kinda old but also kinda proud. I was genuinely surprised with every single gift and I think the feeling that came across was how thoughtful those were, which for me is the main purpose of Christmas. Putting in the effort, taking the time to pick and wrap something for that specific person. I love Christmas and to be fair I'm kinda sad I can't listen to my Christmas jams and burn my Christmas candle and next week the decorations are going to be put down :(


I think (hope?? lol) I managed to pass all my classes and am now enjoying a month and half of vacay at home. This time though I don't want to lazy around in pjs watching series and waking up pornographically up. I really am getting old... So I have some plans - I need to finish my goddamned TEFL Course, I have just applied for a long awaited sewing course (!!!! v excite), I intend to go to Paris with month towards the end of the month, I want to ride twice a week and start doing yoga at home in the morning and maybe do a Digital Marketing Course that's free on google if I have any time left. Also. Sleep. Yes. I really want to sleep. And watch some series ofc. The list is endless. The list is always endless.

I wish I could properly excuse this absense with maybe some tropical adventure or a tornado cutting down internet connection, but really I've been just floating my way through summer break as swiftly as possible and words haven't really been interested in joining.

After classes finished, I turned the office into my personal habitat and emerged in piles of books and 3 years worth of notes and battled my way through finals. I don't do studying very well, but 700 years worth of History and 8 mandatory readings to throughly revise were a whole new level. The grades, however, didn't give away the struggle and the boredom of those few weeks locked away - I did pretty well (this might be an understatement). I don't see myself as someone who casually does "pretty well" in finals, but I did. I also filled my college application, with a final grade of 19/20 which I also never foreseen. It was probably the bitterest moment of summer break so far. 

I've been trying to be excited about uni. I've been wondering about waking up in Lisbon and making new friends, starting a new life on my own terms and embarking on the so called "college life". Mostly, I've been repeating to myself that whatever happens happens. Trust the universe, I say. I want to believe things will work out the way they are meant to, I'm trying to accept life doesn't always go as we planned, let alone at 17. But in the back of my mind I can't let go of the  plans I'd made for my gap year. I still think about the people who'll go to Costa Rica even if I don't and how I'll never get to know them. I can't deal with thought of a younger me absolutely broken by the fact that now-me is letting this go without a fight, settling for life instead of fighting for my dreams like I used to brag about.  I see such plans beginning to crack and shatter, piece by piece, and I can't forgive myself for not standing up for them, even if the right thing to is to go to college. 

The thing is - the future is now. Now is the time I hold on to my dreams and the things I have planned for myself and I start shaping the person I truly want to be. I just didn't know it'd be as dauting as settling down for the comfort of meeting other's expectations. 


prom 2016

by M


We've been talking, discussing, speculating prom since january. It was like this big mark at the end of the tunel school year, something we were unsure would happen. It feels like just yesterday I was 80% decided I wouldn't go and now it's over.


The prepping started last week, with our girly trip to the hairdressers. On monday I picked up my dress from the seamstress. On wednesday I did my nails. Yesterday I got out portuguese class earlier to do my eyebrows, crammed a quick shower before lunch and left the house at 3. Emma and I went to do our makeup, which was followed by the tingly panick that we might look like clowns and omg is this too much i don't recognize myself in the mirror. Then we spent 2 hours at the hairdressers, which got super late, only building up the nerves and anxiety. When I got home, I tried my best to stay calm... I helped mom pick her outfit, had a snack, prepared my purse and the cameras and put on the dress. Despite my best attempts to not stress, I ended up poking new holes on the buckles of my shoes with a clipboard pin fifteen minutes after the arriving time. Then, about twenty minutes of photoshooting at home and that was when I started getting that feeling I had back in january that I simply don't fit in prom. This makeup is too heavy, this purse is too girly, I don't like long dresses.

When we parked the car outside the venue, my stomach was crunched and I was a bit what the fucked by the whole situation, but when I laid eyes on my friends all dressed up and gorgeous it all vanished. It was fine. And I think perhaps that was weirdest thing: seeing our casual friends, people we see everyday, I went to school on a tracksuit yesterday, everyone dressed like adults. But not like kids disguised as adults, actually us looking like adults. Like ties and beards and high heels and makeup. And everyone looked great and glowed. So at first of course everything is a bit awkward, but the guys did a great job of telling us you look beautiful tonight ladies and eventually we felt that warm comfort of casually us again. 


It's probably relevant to mention that we've been rehearsing prom for three weeks. My school takes prom to a whole new official level. We had to learn our entrances, our poses, our timings, our positionings and--most importantly--the freaking valse. But yesterday they still managed to fit in a couple surprises for us. First 4 "couples" (pairs?) had to go cut the dessert cake, which we knew about, but they added fire spark jet thingies and champagne. Then they proceeded to call us one by one to give us a senior high attendancy certificate and we had to call other people that were meaningful to us during high school. And lastly my head teacher prepared a slideshow with pictures of us since we were little. 


Another remarkable thing is that I didn't fall off my heels all night?? And didn't trip through the valse. But the first thing I did afterwards was taking off my shoes. I spent the whole night dancing nonstop with the most random improbable people bare feet with my dress dragging through the floor. And at 4am when we had to leave, only few of us were left but honestly it was the ones who mattered. We were sweaty, hair messy, makeup smugged, ties undone but we danced til the very last minute and then gathered to take a picture together, which was cute. And it's not like we were tipsy or anything--everyone was as sober as it gets, just genuinely happy carefree joyful proud. I can't find enough adjectives to explain the vibe in that room and especially in ourselves last night, it was like everything was exactly where it was supposed to be and as we all danced in the dimmed lights, looking each others in the eyes I swear we were infinite.


Situations like this always get me thinking about how drastically different my high school years could've been had I not gone back to that school in the middle of freshman year. A lot of the times I know I don't exactly blend in that crowd and I certainly didn't make any lifelong friendships in that classroom. But yesterday it felt so right, like there was absolutely no other way things could've turned out because that's where I belong at the end of day, with those people who might not be my bestfriends but who certainly are my friends somehow and people with whom I've grown to feel so comfortable and at home with. I was filled with that overwhelming yet exciting feeling that the universe knows e x a c t l y what it's doing. Back in freshman year the universe pushed me towards that place and those people and for awhile I couldn't explain why, but moments like this and especially especially especially prom yesterday just make sense.


At the same time it was a closure kind of celebration as well. It was the raw realization that we are indeed graduates, we are indeed basically out of the school system and the future is now. Poking at our eyes, slapping us in the face. None of this will be our reality in a few months time and if that's not scary, I don't know what scary is. Another shitty thing is the fact that with all the communist bullshit maneuvering the government in the sidelines our school might not even freaking exist next year or at least in the near future. I woke up with that bittersweet feeling of oh man last night was epic but also a knot on my throat and a taste of nostalgia because it's over. 


I wonder what this week will feel like. This last week, that is.


about time

by M

After my performance was over, the make up removed and my hair tied in a messy half up-do, I sat on the floor with Emma, next to a couple of teacher's chairs. They smiled and congratulated and after awhile, one of them handed me a camera and asked if I wanted to take pictures. I did, I'm always down to snap some shots, but only a couple of moments did I stop to think about it... There's supposed to be a certain gap between teachers and students - even if that gap it's just "authority" -, yet there I was, sitting beside them, almost midnight on a Friday night, taking pictures with a camera that was trusted to my hands so nonchalantly, like I was just anyone they knew, not their student. Which I'm not anymore, it's been a while. 


I've been going to that same school for 7 years now, and only in that moment did I realize how much of home it is. I've been dealing with roughly the same group of teachers, going up the same old beat up stairs, spending breaks in the same corners, since I was 10... That place and those people have been a part of my life for long enough for it to be absolutely second nature to even just live there. So at that moment I sat on that red chair, beside my old teacher, taking pictures of familiar faces, I stopped to think about how it's the last time I'll experience that ever again... I'll never have school concerts on Friday night again, I'll never have to wait in line for cafeteria again, I'll never stay late for rehearsals again. As these things come to an end, one by one, I realize how I'll miss it. It's not even about High School itself - I hate it and it was one of the worst experiences of my entire life so far -, but so much about that bulding and those people and the things I've done and conquered in there. 


The weirdest part is not thinking about how everything is ending... I guess I'm too excited (& terrified) for whatever next year brings, leaving school will be such a relief. The weird thing is thinking about how everything will just stay the same in there. There'll still be an opening cerimony and mass, and they'll call my name as one of the gradutes, but I won't be sitting in the bleachers watching. There'll still be a concert next january, but I won't be skipping lessons to rehearse nor running around the hallways in sweatpants and socks. There'll still be teachers teaching and students studying, field trips to go to, spring parties on june; my Portuguese teacher will still sit on top of the desk and quote Os Maias with that spark on his eye; the waitress at the café will still laugh and squeek hysterically; the headmaster will still walk around throwing 'good mornings' ocasionally. Everything is so ultimate for me, yet everything is going to be exactly the same in that place. Point is, I don't find it particularly sad to leave, it's the thought of things carrying on forever without me being there to watch  for the first time in 7 years that bothers me... and not in a selfish way.


I'll miss it. More than I ever thought I would.