04 June 2007

Listen

Listen.

It's often said that life is worth it. I've never doubted its worth. I've often come to despise it, and find it pointless.

Udge was here. He was here for three days only, which may have been fortunate for him. I am not at my best right now. I find my life changing once again and even though it is all for the best it is wearing, this growing and doing and investing and taking risks and being mature abt it. We got to talk abt books, we talked loads abt books. It reminded me of how long it's been since I exchanged Must Reads with someone. I've missed it. That told me something. We talked abt growing old, we talked abt pain (told you I am not at my best right now). He said One must and One does and I said Fuck and Bloody hell and we agreed on the fundamentals of it all.

I hear it often, that pain makes you stronger. Pain makes you somehow more solid. Pain makes you better.

Listen.

That is a load of crap. That is absolute bollocks. That is the ultimate lie. Pain does not make you more solid, or better. Pain makes you afraid, and weak, and discombobulated. Pain keeps you awake at night and gives you bad dreams and an achey back and an even more achey soul, pain robs you of your breath and your time and your innocence. You are not made stronger, you rest in pieces, pieces of you.

We have a word in Portuguese, Saudade. It is the hardest word to explain. It has fueled us outward and inward as a nation, it has shaped us, from our Fado to our psyche. It has even spread to the French bcs Etienne Daho wrote a song abt it, even if he can't quite pronounce it. It is the purest thing we have and the highest contaminant. It means loss and longing and missing something and the sum of it all is always greater than the parts. It means we will never be whole again bcs we are forever waiting for Dom Sebastião to reappear in the mist that took him away all those centuries ago and save us all. It means we will never be fully grown up bcs we are not our own salvation and will never know how to be until we colectivelly grow up. And we do not want to, not only bcs we do not know quite how to, but bcs we are entrapped in this honour system of sorts where he who suffers the most wins. He who wails the most will be heard. He who runs on empty will one day maybe see the fog lift and the safe return of our caravels.

Saudade? You both feel it (sinto) and have it (tenho), only the Portuguese would be able to tie the tangible to the intangible and pronounce themselves half sane.

It seems that I, the proudly atypical Portie, am a saudade poster child. I am forever missing something. I miss my past and I miss the futures I shaped and never came to be, and I sometimes was happy and did not know it. I miss what I know could never make me happy and I miss believing it would, I miss the time I wasted trying and I miss not having tried harder and above all I miss it being simple. Simplicity is too underestimated.

And listen.

I miss me. I miss kowing me. I miss believing in me. I miss my ability to happiness.

I just want to curl up under a very hot sun with a pile of very non-vet books and the sound of the ocean. Maybe even the sound of the ocean.

17 furballs:

Milk Woman said...

The "saudade" poster child is a picture we keep deep down in our memories. Something we thought it's no longer there, but comes up as shit in water. It always floats. It's the despisable picture of the "boy with the teardrop" that hung in our next door neightbour's living room, under which I never sat, afraid of having my hair wet because of that damm teardrop. After all these years, I'm still trying to figure out whether saudade is the full picture or the lonely teardrop in the boy's face.

PS - AHAHAHAHA!!! I never thought I could have so deep thoughts regarding that damm picture.

PPS - I have the Etienne Daho CD, with "Saudade" along with a lot of very good songs. You know that I don't borrow CD's, but I'll happilly copy it for you.

portuguesa nova said...

Um abraco.

(I can't make the c.)

Aurelia said...

I'm not able to write something profound enough right now about this, but I wanted you to know I'm thinking about you, and this, and saudade. (I like new words.)

Lord Chimmy said...

I just want to curl up under a very hot sun with a pile of very non-vet books and the sound of the ocean.

I could go for something like that myself...

Yeah, I get you on the "pain not making you better." I know it is something we like to say...that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...blah, blah, blah. I guess it is just one of those things people feel like they have to say. It is like saying I'm not hurt even though you really want to cry like a baby.

I don't have any good advice...I never do. But, reading on the beach sounds like a nice alternative.

Manuela said...

Oh, honey...

You are right. Pain does NOT make you stronger. It creates scar tissue. And scar tissue is NEVER as strong and resilient as the rest of us. It's ridged, and tender, and visible to those who look closely enough... and leaves us forever vulnerable in that exact spot.

Sending you love, my friend. Much love.

Udge said...

He said One must and One does and I said Fuck and Bloody hell and we agreed on the fundamentals of it all.

A succinct and quite precise summary :-)

Ach, liebe Lioness, I wish there were some magical and potent anti-Saudade that I could wrap up and send you. Unfortunately, I don't know it either.

Just this: perhaps there really are days and situations to which the only rational response is to howl like an abandoned dog, and maybe the howling helps a little.

And perhaps you should treat yourself to a day of sunshine and books at the seaside. Don't wait for mid-July: you need it now, so do it now (well, OK, on a non-school day).

Big hugs, a gentle head-bump and thoughts of comfort and sleep to you from Germany.

Anonymous said...

(((Johnny)))
(((Johnny)))
(((Johnny)))
(((Johnny)))

When I'm finally back on your side of the world I will arrive with strawberry shortcake Haagen Dazs, in case you can muster an appetite, and maybe a movie and some late-night potato chips, and I will bring you loads and loads of pulp fiction paperbacks (would you send me an updated wish list, already?!) for you to dive into deeply when you can give yourself time to breathe and escape. And if post-exams you'd like to take Papoila from the coast (where I assume you'll be staying then?) on an adventure out to Portinho da Arrabida for a gorgeous hidden-away sunny beach day, I'm ready and available. And that's just what I can think of right now. (This summer I can be the centered one.)

Sending you hope and love.
N.

CarpeDM said...

Hey. More than anything I wish that I could see you and hug you and share a tube of Paprika Pringles with you (damn I miss those (you more, of course)).

Saudade explains everything that I ever felt before Effexor. The hole that will never be filled, the numbness that haunts me, the ache that cries out for release. Thank you for giving me a word for it.

I love you. And I believe in you. Take a break and read a good book on the beach. You really, really bloody well deserve it.

JennaM said...

"I miss what I know could not make me happy and I miss believing it would, I miss the time I wasted trying and I miss not having tried harder..."

Fascinating stuff, and I think I'm finally starting to catch on. I have romanticized some of the most frustrating periods of my life in retrospect, and it's not just nostalgia. It's an appreciation for the things and feelings and experiences that make me feel ALIVE!--even if they are painful and/or wrong, wrong, wrong... Nothing simplifies like sadness.

Thank you for this. I may tuck a copy in my wallet to take out and read when I am too smoothed out to be me and I need a bitter touch of life to rough things up a bit.

Much love and admiration,
JennaM

Lioness said...

You lot, you're lovely. Really you are. I dream of beach, yes, but exam on Friday. Big, big exam on Friday. Terrifying exam on Friday. And from then on, exams till the end of July, 2 whole months, so no non-vet books for me. But come the 27th of July I'll have 10 days, all to myself. You'll see.

(N., you've gone mental. NO MORE BOOKS.)

JoeinVegas said...

Oh. Maybe sunshine on Saturday? Please take a break.

cat said...

When those exams are all over luv... sit in the sun somewhere, preferably near that ocean of yours. It won't bring back those things you miss but it might help you remember you didn't misplace them after all.

*squishy internet hugs*

Lioness said...

Oh Cat, but I did. I did.

Lilian said...

Wow... this post is pretty amazing, particularly the pain part and the treatise on Saudade -- "Saudade poster child" -- what a title, such an amazingly fitting description. I think I was one too years ago, but that has changed a bit lately. And I feel saudade of myself from when I felt more saudade.

This:
"I am forever missing something. I miss my past and I miss the futures I shaped and never came to be, and I sometimes was happy and did not know it. I miss what I know could not make me happy and I miss believing it would, I miss the time I wasted trying and I miss not having tried harder and above all I miss it being simple."

And that:
"I miss me. I miss kowing me. I miss believing in me. I miss my ability to happiness."

no words. Só um punhado de saudade, talvez.

brooksba said...

I want to find the right words to say, but blast, I don't have them. I'm planning on writing a long email to you soon because I want to.

Your description of the word reminds me of the loss of innocence. It seems we spend so much time trying to get older, to get wiser, and then once we make it aways, we long for the days before. Wanting to go back. There are times I want to go back to, of course. Times that I wish I could appreciate more 'this time around'.

I know you have school and stress and want to just curl up under the sun and listen to the sea. And it feels like you have to keep on pushing through. Life does not have a pause button on it. Just think how nice that would be.

You need a break. You need a holiday and an escape. I'm glad to see in your most recent post that you're going to Israel in August. You deserve the trip. I hope that you do get some time, soon, to relax and get lost in furry friends giving wet kisses and head bumps.

Love you Dahling. I wish I could make life simpler for you. Damn, I wish I could move Minnesota next to Portugal so I could drive over and give you a big hug and have a girls gab fest and take you shopping and just be there for you. I miss you terribly and send my love.

Patience said...

I wish I could express myself as you do Lioness.... this post speaks to me at the core.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez said...

how beautiful. and terrible... the words on pain, and saudade.

i feel for you.