let me tell you a story

(I’ve wanted to write about this subject for a long time but never quite knew how.)
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2013. She went through 2 surgeries, a long time of chemotherapy and radiation. I knew the hospital like my home for about a year and a half.
I’m not going to write this as a cancer patient because I wasn’t one. I’m going to tell you how it was to meet the disease and how it was to see my mom live with it.
Nothing and nobody can prepare you for the day you sit in a doctor’s office next to your mom and he tells her she has cancer. That word is like a knife going straight through you.
The worst part is that it’s not you with the big bad disease. It’s your mom. The person you love most in this world.
So you look at her and even if you’re about to cry you decide you can’t. You’re going to be strong for both. You decide your job is to keep her safe. You decide you’re going to be by her side every single day. You’re going to get through this together.
And you don’t even have to tell her this. You get out of the doctor’s office and when you see she’s going to cry you hug her and you don’t let anybody else see it or feel pity for her. You are her shield.
We got in the car and we were kind of lost. We didn’t know where to go so I suggested the beach. And we walked by the ocean for the rest of the afternoon. We ate ice cream and took a picture.

I was the one to break the news to my brothers and my dad.

I don’t like to cry in front of others. For a really big number of reasons but mostly because I’m vulnerable and nobody needs to see that. So that night when I was in bed I cried. I cried for a long time. I cried for every single time I wanted to cry that day. And when I woke up in the morning I didn’t want to cry anymore.
In the beginning of September my mom went through the first surgery. It was the big one. The one with the most changes. I was in her room for the entire thing waiting for news and waiting for her.
It’s the scariest thing in the world because you don’t know what’s happening and you can’t do anything. So you wait.
Finally the nurses came to get her bed and a few minutes later there she was, kind of loopy but okay.

My mom was okay so I smiled the biggest smile I could smile.

The next few days were a relief. She was recovering and I just wanted to sit next to her and help with everything I could.
She came home with two surgical drains still attached to her but it was manageable. I was just so happy she was going to spend my birthday with me.
I don’t remember exactly what happened a few days later but she started to bleed from one of the sutures. She didn’t panic and we rushed to the local center. A nurse made her a new bandage and we went home in the next hour. I still don’t know how I was that calm. I didn’t know I could be that calm.
The results from the first surgery came and the doctor told us she needed to be admitted again. We had been informed it was a possibility but it was still a blow.
For the second surgery the nurse allowed me to follow them to the OR. I held my mom’s hand until the door opened and they pushed the bed inside.
I waited again. For hours. In mild panic, afraid something could happen. Answering my brothers’ calls from time to time to inform them.
Then I finally saw the nurses come to take her bed and I saw her minutes later.

My mom was okay so I smiled the biggest smile I could smile.

The next days were happy ones and she came home.
We went to nurses appointments for new bandages and doctors appointments for check ups. And then it came the big talk… the one about the treatment.
My mom would start chemo within a month or so. It was scary mostly because we didn’t know what to expect. Everybody speaks of chemo as a demon that makes people even sicker. That takes away even the smallest kind of hope and dignity.

We came in for the first treatment. I was able to sit next to her chair and we ended up spending a few hours reading and talking and sleeping. But this first day was the hardest physically. The day that made her really sick for the next week. Luckily after the doctor changed a few prescriptions, my mom never felt that bad again.

In reality, the chemo day wasn’t the hardest mentally. The days that would follow were the bad ones. My mom wouldn’t feel nauseated but instead she was kind of off. Forgetful, nervous, sensitive. These are all side effects that will always be here and we learnt to live with them.
Hair is a big thing. It’s true that it’s just dead cells but socially, if there isn’t any, people stare and comment. They feel pity and they’ll treat and look at you differently. So we got a wig.
The process of cutting all your hair and seeing yourself in the mirror with some that isn’t yours, affects your whole self esteem. My mom only felt like herself the day we went to take it off and saw her new hair. I loved her new hair. Tiny but awesome. She looked beautiful.
So I want to make it clear that cancer is not just a disease: it changed everything. Not just in my mom’s life but in the lives of everyone who lives with her. It not only changed her perspective of things but also the way our family looked to everything else in the world. Our hopes and our decisions: they were all based on if she was okay or not.
For us, chemo in itself was hope. It existed to kill everything that’s bad. And if it took some good too, then we had to learn to live with or without it. 
After that it was radiation. A few minutes a day for weeks… Every day there was a trip to the hospital for just half an hour.
The cool part was that my mom never stopped driving and being the person she was. So we would still go shopping and eat out together just as we always did.

And then it was over. No more treatments, no more being in a hospital everyday.

I was there. I was there every single day of treatments and appointments. Every hour of that waiting room and every minute listening to the doctor. I don’t know if that was much of a help but at least she wasn’t alone. I never wanted her to be alone.
We didn’t fight cancer. My mom fought cancer. I was just there to keep her company.
She followed the rules because she knew they had to be followed. It was not even a choice. It was unpleasant but she did it.

And she’s here. I have my mom. I wake up everyday and I can hug her. And that’s the biggest blessing I could ask for.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m really proud of my mom. Not only for never giving up or for being strong but mostly because I watched her get up every day, get dressed and do what had to be done.

Because we got through this together and this situation showed us the really important things about life.
Like I said before, I’ve learnt more these past years than in my whole previous ones.
There is no more silly drama that affects me or no more stupid worries to bring me down. I know now that I can’t waste time with what doesn’t make me happy and I’ve learnt to identify it.

Do you have any questions? If you know someone who’s going through something similar feel free to share it in the comment section below.

Daleian*

updates

September has always been a month for changes. School starts and the Summer ends.
With the arrival of Autumn there was also the morning routine of getting up early and catching the subway/bus, rushing and coming home with research or homework.
This was the first September in my life that I didn’t have to go back to School… which automatically transformed it into the best September ever.
This takes us to update #1:
I graduated college!
After being only a student all my life I have to figure out how to be a grown up now. How to deal with all the responsibilities on my own. All the schedules of delivering papers are over and it’s up to me to get my things in order without help from teachers or tutors. It’s scary to jump into the unknown but it’s also so liberating to stop following the natural order of things. To don’t have to go back to the same places where (let’s be honest) I wasn’t the happiest person.
Speaking of growing up, update #2:
I’m now 22 years old.
When someone celebrates their birthday people usually ask about what they’ve learnt the past year. I’m proud to say that I’ve grown a lot as a human. Not just this year but mostly since 2013.
I had to go through a lot of personal changes and family struggles while trying to maintain a normal front for everybody else. I made sure nobody knew how hard it was and nobody did.
And when all of that was taken care of I decided to take care of myself. It feels good to be happy. To look at my life and feel comfortable. To know that I’m capable of a lot. That I’m stronger and I have the tools to be great.
Update #3:
I walked more than 200 km in 5 days.
Me and my mom walked (with a large group of people) from where we live to a Sanctuary. It’s kind of a religious thing but I didn’t actually do it because of faith in a god or saint. I did it because I needed to be there for her and also because I wanted to know that I could do it.
We walked on average 40 km a day and once we got there there was this weird feeling of peace and one sense of accomplishment I can’t describe.
We did it. It was one of the hardest things I ever did. I had a lot of pain in some tendons and joints but I pushed through it.
This brings us to update #4:
I’m taking my driver’s license!
I love cars and I’ve always wanted to drive but never felt the need to do it sooner because I would take the bus or subway to school or I could ask my parents to drive me wherever I wanted to go.
Now I need to start driving myself…
So, as a birthday gift, my family offered to pay for the license and I’ve been attending classes for a while.
And with a car I can take kids to the movies… update #5:
I’M GOING TO BE AN AUNT!
That’s right! I’m finally going to be able to be goofy and watch Disney movies all day and tell stories in a tent in the living room and teach new things to a tiny human.
2016 will be a great year: while one of my brothers is planning his wedding the other and his wife are having a baby so I’m obviously already planning all the fun I’m going to have in an awesome party and with this new family member. I can’t wait!
I hope your September has been great! Look forward to know your plans for this Autumn!

Daleian*

my documentary

I’ve directed a documentary!
As a lot of you know, I’ve been studying film and one of my classes this last year was Documentary Film.
We were given the opportunity to chose our own subject and portrait it the way we wanted.
I had been in love with CrossFit for a while and when it came down to presenting my idea I knew what I had to say. As a result, I took the job of directing and turned everything that was in my head into a real thing.
Me Against Myself – CrossFit OPO (2015)
I thought it was my duty to show everybody what these people can do and what they’ve been working so hard to achieve. Everybody should have a place where they belong and my coaches make sure we do. They are awesome human beings and they deserve every bit of success in the world. OPO is just like home.
The name “Me Against Myself” is obvious to anybody who knows something about this sport but to a lot of people it’s just some cute thing to say. In reality, this is the philosophic definition of CrossFit: you work really hard against your own comfort and you struggle to be better and stronger as a person not only physically but, most important, you fight to be better mentally and emotionally.
I’m really proud of the final product, not only because I think we were able to show the box and the community exactly how it is but also because so many people have been sharing and loving it.
I know it will be strange to you because you probably don’t understand Portuguese but, guess what? I made subtitles just for you! Turn them on (the button is somewhere in the bottom right section).
I hope you liked seeing a bit of my world! And please feel free to comment and share it if you want!
Thank you so much for being here and supporting my crazy mind.
(Congratulations if you were able to spot me in there!)

Daleian*

B

Since B lent me a color pen that same day in 5th grade, we never stopped getting along.
She is the kind of person that even when everybody would ask her for something she would always do it and never say no.
We would sit on the same table and share school supplies and giggles for years.

She is just like me in so many ways… We’re both hopeful and we try to see the best in every situation. We have the same eye for what’s good or bad. We love similar things and we act in identical ways. I remember that if we could we would choose to stay together in almost every situation: classes, field trips…

Growing up we spent so much time with each other that people would ask if we were sisters. Even complete strangers could feel our bond.
I have so many nicknames for her. They allow us to remember something funny that happened before. When she gets mad I laugh even harder!
All through middle and high school we would talk about anything all the time. We would wake up and text each other right away, go to school and be together, go home and start texting on the way back. On family reunions and birthdays we would be with a phone in our hands.
Most of the time we would go to her house to write papers for school and do homework but we would never actually do anything besides joke around, talk a lot and play The Sims. She was the one who got me hooked on that game.
We were complete maniacs with it! We would know every characteristic, try every death possible, create thousands of creatures to watch them live awesome lives. Then we would forget about time and spend days playing. We would talk about it for hours and entertain ourselves with the most amazing stories about our little families.
Even though circumstances made us be apart for a year, it feels like we never stopped talking. It’s like our friendship is still unbreakable. 
I’ve felt suffering and pain but she learnt almost everything there is to know about it. She has mastered those feelings and wears them like armor. She is brave beyond compare and I would do anything to see her happy.
I’m sorry for all the hugs I couldn’t give you.
Just like C, she knows me. She knows who I am. She gets me. And that’s a really hard job! 
To be truthful she is a genuinely good person and once you get to know her: she is funny as hell! With B I feel like I can dream a little higher and smile a little longer.
Thank you for being patient, defending me and staying by my side through so many years. Thank you for helping me figure out what to do when I broke a tooth eating some fluffy french fry at your house. Thank you for supporting me in every decision I make.
I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time but I know one thing for sure. I love this person from the bottom of my heart. I wouldn’t be who I am without her.
Everything should be this simple.

To you, B.

Daleian*

C

When I finished 4th grade and had to go to a different school by myself I was terrified that I wouldn’t make any new friends. I was afraid nobody would want to play with me.
On the first day of 5th grade, a girl invited me to play hide and seek with everybody and suddenly there I was: a shy 9 year old making new friends. That was the moment I met B and C, who have been my best friends, my sisters, for almost 12 years.
Here we go, C.
The majority of times, C and I were the last ones to go home and everyday while we waited for our parents, we started to bond.
Let’s just say that we are so close that in middle school, when we started to like boys, we once liked the same one. 
We have really different ways of seeing some situations and that can be a challenge or a blessing: I’m the optimist, she’s the pessimist. I’m the one who keeps hoping and she’s the one who helps me to hope a little wisely and safely. She keeps me grounded.
At the same time, we have the same opinions about almost every issue, subject, concept that comes up. Basically we have similar brains with different experiences and slightly different personalities.

I can’t even describe her sense of humor. It’s really hard to find someone outside my family who understands mine and I’ve hit the jackpot here. We’re both really sarcastic and it gets dark and weird but it’s never boring.

We almost never fight because we know that even if someone does something stupid it is never deliberately to hurt the other. I can’t remember the last time we did fight but I think it didn’t last long.

I know for a fact that she appreciates my opinion and I value hers immensely. We talk constantly and we know the other so well that when she talks to me like a thug or when I’m an asshole to her it’s normally because we care and we’re trying to make the other see things as they are.
If there is one thing that annoys me about her and I tell her all the time is that she doesn’t realize how much she’s worth and how many qualities and amazing skills she possesses. She brings herself down and it’s my job to get her back up. I like this job because I love her so much I want her to love and see herself as I do.

She is a caregiver. She takes care of people and forgets to take care of herself. But she’s also fierce and stubborn because only that way can you persuade others to do what’s best for them.
Through our huge meaningful discussions we force each other to answer questions even though the other doesn’t want to or doesn’t know the answer just because it needs to be said and we need to say it to feel better. As I read once “Pain demands to be felt.” and we try to get it over with as fast as possible.

I have to thank her for so many things.
She has been with me through hell and back. She’s witnessed my heart being broken, my soul being crushed, my ideas and convictions changing and she has endured everything without hesitating.
She is a warrior. Her life hasn’t been easy either and maybe our survival skills are what unite us so much.
We’ve been fighting through life together and we’ll do that forever.

We’ve cried in a bathroom, laughed so hard in a dressing room, talked over text until falling asleep and made fun of each other practically everywhere.

I don’t know if this post says more about her or our friendship but it’s supposed to be a gift.

I hope you like it, C.
I love you. And I’ll never stop.
Daleian*

happy endings

Since I was a little girl I’ve known how powerful stories can be. I love them.
They make us move and hope and dream. It’s all about emotion and how you connect to it.

From my Instagram @daleian_

I prefer the love stories. Any kind of love. For me they’re the only type of stories worth living for. And I say living because I think I live for them, as a writer should. I live to read them, to see them, to write about them… I usually blame Disney and the princesses for all of this.

Narrowing it down to romantic love stories, let’s talk about the most incredible part: I root for the happy endings.
You know when, in books/movies, the guy or the girl does something that hurts the other? Or when they realize they’re hurt? That split second when you can see the sadness start to form in their eyes: that’s my favorite part. (sort of)
Call it my twisted mind or weird sense but that’s what I find one of the most romantic things in those stories. It needs to happen. It’s necessary for both the story continuity and entertainment purposes but, most of all, for the happy ending.
To allow someone to hurt you or to let yourself be hurt and feel hurt means you care. It  means you gave the other person permission to carry your heart before it was smashed into tiny little pieces, even for just a few movie minutes, book pages or real life days.
When Savannah told John it was over through a letter, when Jane saw the article Kevin had written about her, when Noah broke up with Allie and when Leo walked away from Paige – that’s when you knew they loved each other. That’s when you knew they we’re meant to be together.
If film school has taught me anything, is that there are no coincidences in movies. Everything is planed out. Every word and character is there for a reason. So, if a couple fell in love and there’s this huge fight, it probably means they’re going to get their happy ending. (at least in “regular” storytelling)
Maybe this is part of the reason why I look at life the way I do. I don’t like bad endings or not-endings. For as long as I can remember I want everyone to live happily ever after.
It’s not like I think all real life couples are meant to be and should stay together despite everything (I’m a dreamer but not that naive). And it’s not like I think things are just that easy and filled with hearts and flowers but I kind wish they were… And that’s a big part in this whole life thing:
I believe that, even in those hard crushing moments we’re going to get out the other way, we’re going to get through it and find what we’ve been looking for.
I believe in love at first sight and its power. What many people would call crap I call faith.
To me, being a writer, a filmmaker, being someone who likes to read or watch movies means being someone who has faith. Faith that things are going to look up, that everything is going to be ok, that we’re going to get our happy ending.
At least that’s how I see it. Maybe this is just me rooting for my happy ending.

Daleian*

let go

As you grow up you start to realize that cutting people out of your life is ok. Sometimes this happens on its own, but on other occasions you have to do it yourself.
These decisions are permanent and they don’t need to come from a vindictive place. Most of the times they are a loving and caring way to secure your own happiness and well being. It doesn’t make you a horrible person. It makes you better for everyone around that still appreciates you.

It’s hard to say goodbye to years of close friendship, to hundreds of memories… but it’s also hard to keep feeling like crap because this is no longer a friendship: is work.

It is normal for friends to argue or stay mad for a while. It is not ok for friends to loose interest on other friends’ lives. Then you stop being a friend and you’re just an acquaintance.
This is the hardest part: to know when someone is no longer your friend.

Once you accept that there is nothing you can do, move on without regret.

I wrote this for an old friend. Call it my goodbye letter…
“I used to love you. I used to stand by you and your decisions. I used to be by your side and help you through everything that was bad.
I kept defending your choices, I kept trying to make you see ahead. Maybe you didn’t need that.
I like to think we grew up together, learnt together, lived each other’s lives. There is a part of me in you and a part of you in me, forever.
But time made our eyes look in different directions. Time turned us into different human beings.
I can’t be your friend now. I’m not capable of changing back and neither are you.

I cherish our memories together and I wouldn’t change them.
But if we met today, would we like each other? Would you stand by my side and defend my choices? Would you love me?

I always tried to see and understand you as you really were but somehow there was always this filter that made you look at me and see some kind of Bad Witch to your Snow White.
I can’t live with your jealousy anymore. I can’t be your competition when I don’t even know what game we’re playing. I didn’t sign up for this.

I didn’t excuse your lack of compassion because I wasn’t sad: I looked the other way because I hoped you would see what I saw. Treating your friends like your enemies is not right.
I’m not a bad person but you make me question my own motives and I refuse to let someone turn me against myself.

I admit I started to drift away and part of this is my fault too but between being a bad friend or nothing at all I would choose the latter every time. And I won’t wait any longer for someone who sees me as someone I’m not.

I wish you the best. I hope you lose your fear of being alone. I hope you’ll stop chasing guys that don’t deserve you. I hope you’ll see past them and their problems and start focusing on your real friends. The ones that you kept on pause while you looked for someone better, cooler.

You are a good person and I really wish you happiness.

But I hope you understand I can’t do this anymore. I quit.”

Daleian*