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The choices we make

Decisions-714972Deciding to live in another country is a tough decision. It comes with a price. It’s a decision to leave behind all you ever knew as right, as safe. It’s a decision to be far away from those you grew up with and love. It’s to know not only that you’re now responsible for your own laundry, your own cleaning, your own groceries, your own toilet paper, but also to know that you’re responsible for taking care of yourself when you’re sick, when you’re sad, and when you need to cheer up. You’ll meet new people, that’s true, but it won’t be the same.

Most importantly, to decide to move to a different country by yourself means to accept you’ll always have this voice deep inside of you asking “did I make the right choice?” In good days the voice will be so quiet you’ll forget it’s there. You’ll have moments so full of happiness you’ll think yourself to be a fool for ever wondering if it was right or wrong, and you’ll know in your heart you did the right thing. But there will be bad days, in which the voice will scream so loud you won’t be able to ignore it. You may find yourself stalking your hometown friends on Facebook and even regretting not being there when things happen in their lives. You’ll regret not going to a graduation or to a wedding, not holding someone’s baby in your arms, and not being there to see them attempting to parent said child.

I’ve been living away from home, from my country and the ones I love, for almost 6 years now. It’s been a long journey and things have not turned out as I planned, but for the most part I’m happy with my decision. Sure, there are good and bad days, but the good tends to outweigh the bad. Or so I choose to believe. What other choice do I have? Sit down and regret? Consider what if…? What good will that bring? 

In life we must make choices all the time. And since there’s no way of turning back time to try both decisions first, there’s no way of knowing which one is best. All we can do is trust our guts and hope for the best. After all, all we have is now. So make the best of it. Free yourself from the weight of guilt or regret, and enjoy your choices. Allow yourself to be happy about them, even if they didn’t turn out the way you hoped they would. After all, the choices you make are, at least at the moment you make them, the ones you want.

And when things seem to go wrong, do not waste your energy on what ifs. Allow yourself to say “Oh, well,” smile, and move on.

 

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Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends.

PS_I_Love_You_(film)Watching the movie P.S. I Love You today got me thinking. The movie starts with a couple fighting over some silly misunderstanding, ending with the couple having make-up sex. It then jumps to him a time where he died and she’s left mourning him as if nothing else in the world mattered and her own life had ended.

Is it a bit too much? Yes. Is her reaction too dramatic? Of course, it’s a movie after all. That’s what movies (and all other stories) do, they exaggerate feelings to an extreme. And even though we do know it’s an exaggeration, we still identify with it. Maybe because we have, at one point in our lives, felt a bit of the hopelessness she feels there, and it’s always nice to be able to identify ourselves with a character. And maybe it is an exaggeration, but when we are hurting, at that very moment, we do feel hopeless, even if for just a short period of time. We all know all suffering ends, but as we go through it, sometimes it’s hard to see the end of the tunnel.

But I do think that what’s nice about this movie is not the overwhelming hopelessness that makes us feel like our life is not so miserable, or even the love stories in it. It’s the other message. The bigger one.

This movie is not about finding someone to love. It’s not about the importance of finding love or of letting love find you. It’s about finding yourself. Holly is in a journey to find herself, and only after that she can find her happiness. Love will come when she’s happy, not as a means to happiness. And that’s something we must learn in life. You can’t hope that you’ll find love and that will solve all your problems. You must first fight and struggle and find yourself. Find yourself and learn to love yourself. You must find something you love doing and make it go from a dream to a reality. Not that you can’t find someone you love before that, but you can’t expect that love itself will fix everything. You are the only one who can fix yourself.

In any case, there are several little bits I like. I like the different characters, the cheesy lines, the crazy letters, and the idea of a kiss that will show you that life as you know it has ended. And that doesn’t mean life as you know it can only change once. It will change as many times as you allow it to happen.

So go, live your life to the fullest, and watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends. 🙂

Quotes:

Gotta be rich to be insane, Hol. Losing your mind is not a luxury for the middle class. ~ Sharon McCarthy

So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is, if we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that too. ~ Patricia

Oh, is that why? [fake smile] Oh. Okay. Because I thought it was something different. I thought that it was because I thought I deserved the best and he’s out there. He’s just with all the wrong women. And let me be clear. After centuries of men looking at my tits instead of my eyes and pinching my ass instead of shaking my hand, I now have the divine right to stare at a man’s backside with vulgar, cheap appreciation. If I want to. ~ Denise Hennessey

All I know is, if you don’t figure out this something, you’ll just stay ordinary, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a work of art, or a taco, or a pair of socks! Just create something… new, and there it is, and it’s you, out in the world, outside of you, and you can look at it, or hear it, or read it, or feel it… and you know a little more about… you. A little bit more than anyone else does… Does that make any sense at all? ~ Holly Kennedy

We’re so arrogant, aren’t we? So afraid of age, we do everything we can to prevent it. We don’t realize what a privilege it is to grow old with someone. Someone who doesn’t drive you to commit murder or doesn’t humiliate you beyond repair. ~ Daniel Connelly

Lemon drops and Tequila, my friend. The moment where a 30-year-old body does not recover quite as fast as a 29-year-old body. ~ Sharon McCarthy

Honestly, I don’t blame you. It’s not your fault, it’s mine. I didn’t plan on liking you, it just sort of happened that way, I’m sorry about that. ~ Daniel Connelly

If you can promise me anything, promise me that whenever you’re sad, or unsure, or you lose complete faith, that you’ll try to see yourself through my eyes. ~ Gerry’s letter

You made my life, Holly. But I’m just one chapter in yours. There’ll be more. I promise. So here it comes, the big one. Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends. P.S. I will always love you. ~ Gerry’s letter

Gerry Kennedy: You have my jacket.
Holly Kennedy: I’m keeping it unless we meet again, otherwise that will be the most perfect kiss ever shared by two strangers
Gerry Kennedy: I bet we will meet again.
Holly Kennedy: You better win that bet, because if we do, that’ll be the end of it.
Gerry Kennedy: The end of what?
Holly Kennedy: Life as we know it.

Dear Gerry, you said you wanted me to fall in love again, and maybe one day I will. But there are all kinds of love out there. This is my one and only life. And it’s a great and terrible and short and endless thing, and none of us come out of it alive. I don’t have a plan… except, it’s time my mom laughed again. She has never seen the world. She has never seen Ireland. So, I’m taking her back where we started. Maybe now she’ll understand. I don’t know how you did it, but you brought me back from the dead. I’ll write to you again soon. P.S… Guess what? ~ Holly Kennedy

 

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Letting go

release

Just let go…

Why is it so hard to let go of things from our past? And why is it that the hardest things to let go are the ones that hurt us the most? Why can’t we not let go of good things instead? I don’t have the answer to those questions, but I sure wish I did.

Things from our past, especially the painful ones, seem to stay with us longer, and letting go of them seems too hard at times. I don’t get why my brain chooses to remember the painful things. Maybe it’s a lesson I’m supposed to learn. Maybe it’s so I won’t make the same mistakes in the future. Maybe it’s so I learn not to let people treat me the same way ever again. But in the end, the reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is the way we feel when we think about those things.

But now I think I may be learning to let go of some of those things. At least the last time I talked about them, they didn’t hurt the same. It still hurt a little, but not nearly as much. I’m starting to think those things are not influencing me as much. Am I growing up? Or is just that I’ve decided that I won’t let that pain dictates my future?

Hard to say. But whatever it is, I woke up feeling much happier about that.

Photo credit: Sophia “release” by David Hayward. And by the way, if you click on this link you’ll see what the artist wrote about the drawing and it goes pretty well with this post.

 

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Welcome to Monsters University!

Earlier this week I went to see Monsters University. I have to admit I was pretty excited about seeing this movie but also quite a bit worried about it. It’s just that making a prequel is not the same as making a sequel.

In a sequel, things move forward, so almost any action can be justified, since the future has not been determined. It can be a disaster, and fans can be disappointed, but there’s more freedom in them. In a prequel, things need to move toward an established truth. The characters already exist and act a certain way, and the prequel must show the characters as they were but also be true to who they are now. Prequels don’t leave much room to play with the ending, which usually pleases the fans more than sequels, but it also creates a lot of expectations in fans, and when expectations are not met, things can get complicated.

I was relieved when I saw that MU was not at all what I had expected. It was so much better! I was happy with the choices made for how the characters met and how they were in the past, as much as what led them to choose the path they did later in life and how much college life influenced them later on. I was happy to see that Mike and Sulley were not best friends from the start, and that Randy was so insecure. It showed how little experiences and how you deal with them have a huge influence in who you’ll become.

“Just wait, hot-shot. I’m going to scare circles around you this year.” ~ Mike Wazowski

Oh, and before the movie, as it happens with all Pixar movies, there was a short animation film, The Blue Umbrella, which was adorable! I loved it! Here’s a clip of it. I’ll post the full version when available.

 

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And then I saw Despicable Me 2

I somehow got tickets to go see this early screening of Despicable Me 2. How? I’m still trying to understand that part myself. The best part is: I saw it! And I loved it! And I want to see it again!

Gru as a father is adorable. He’s so dedicated and overprotective it’s adorable. The girls are still funny. I kept hoping Agnes would say “It’s so fluffy!!” at some point, even though I highly doubted it would happen. She does say something else with the same passion, but I won’t mention here as not to spoil for those of you who haven’t seen the movie.

I loved that the minions appeared more (or so it seemed to me) in this one. I also loved Lucy and her weirdness. The way she says “Yay” is funny.

And after watching the movie three things were on my mind: I wanted some guacamole, a stuffed minion, and to watch the movie again. Loved it.

 

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The Plot Whisperer

ImageAs you (probably) already know, I’m a writer. No, I haven’t published anything yet, but that will change pretty soon. But I am, nonetheless, a writer. And in my pursuit of more knowledge on the subject, I read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master, by Martha Alderson. Now, you have to understand I’m not the kind of writer who sits down and plots her whole story. I usually have an idea I want to write about and I just sit down and write. After I’m done, then I’ll structure it for the editing process. I found that to be helpful. It helps me see the story as a whole, without limiting me to follow a structure before even starting. That’s because I don’t really know all that’s going to happen in my stories. I see plotting as creating expectations for a story, and not following the plot would seem disappointing to me. That’s why I only plot after finishing my first draft.

But what does the book has to do with it? Well, I read the book in the hopes it would help me understand plot a little more and maybe help me improve as a writer. I was, however, a bit skeptic over the whole idea, since I don’t plot before writing the story, but I found out The Plot Whisperer was a great help. It’s not a book only for those who plot beforehand, and it has helpful tips for all kinds of writers. It talks about “the universal story,” the plot planner, the scene tracker, the barriers we find along the way, and much more. It also has exercises here and there that can help you with your writing.

Anyway, I found the book very helpful, and if you’re a writer (beginner or not) I certainly think you should take a look at this book. Then come back and tell me what you think.

 

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Learning the craft

2756494307_4018808b1b_oI’ve been taking creative writing classes and enrolling in creative writing workshops for the past two years and I can say they have changed me. One professor in particular has been a huge part of it. Before taking his workshop I could read all kinds of books and I was fine. Now I feel like my way of looking into things has changed. Every book I open, every story I read, is different. I see things I had never noticed before. I see little flaws in technique that I wouldn’t be able to identify before. I see what could be done to improve the flow of a story and what is stalling it. And although I might not always agree with his point of view, I am thankful for all he has taught me.

I’ve recently read 1Q84 and my reaction to it was not what I expected. Thank you to my professor I paid attention to details in this book I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ll talk more about it later, in a separate post, but all I say is that my opinion is influenced by all I’ve learned in the past few years.

Learning about writing has changed me. It has made me aware of how to approach it and what I need to do to improve my own writing. It has made me a better writer. And I can’t wait to learn even more.

Photo credit: Nic McPhee

 

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