Bruna from Depois dos Quinze is probably my favorite Brazilian blogger and after spotting her ‘My story in 10 songs tag’ it inspired me to write this post. I actually rarely listen to the lyrics of a song because if the beat is catchy I’m good to go. So I was surprised that I couldn’t narrow my list to 10 songs and had to include 15 because they all reflect the many facets of my free spirit personality.
Music is magic. It reflects my mood, has the power to lift me up, make me cry or carries a memory of the good old days. This week I want you to get to know me better. And not by writing about it but by selecting 15 songs that tell a little bit about my story.
My taste in music is as eclectic as my story and background so you’ll find a mix of Cape Verdean, Brazilian, English & French songs. There are so many different music genres I love, I couldn’t narrow it down to a select few even if my life depended on it
“Se m ta pode vive na nha terra natal, tud se calor, se clima natural” – “If I could live in my home country, with its natural warmth and natural climate”
The first time I visited Cape Vert I was 10. I grew up in Belgium but always felt like a fish out of water and never felt I belonged there. I was right because when I arrived in Cape Vert something clicked and finally felt right: I was home. Even though I wasn’t born in Cape Vert I am Cape Verdean and damn proud of it. It’s my language, cultural identity, language, food and the context wherein I was raised. It’s annoying when you live abroad because often times it feels like you’re from the twilight zone. If you live in Europe you will never be considered a local and people will always ask you where you’re from and the people in your home country see you the same way. I don’t care what others think or say because I’m a 100% Capeverdean and will always represent my country any time, any place
“Vous parler de ma vie, Vous dire à vous d’ou je viens, Qui je suis, Je suis une femme de couleur
J’ai mon île au fond du coeur, Faut en parler, en parler” – “Going to tell you about my life, where I’m from, who I am, I am a woman of color, I have an island in my heart, need to talk about it, talk about it”
Even though I’m ‘light skinned’ growing up I always stood out in Belgium because I was a foreigner and had afro hair. One of the reason I never fit in their society is because I found the people to be very cold, distant and individualistic. I’m used to the Capeverdean mentality where people treat you like family even if they’ve just known you for 5 min, where we help each other out if it’s necessary and where people will talk to each other simply because it’s normal. I carry the Capeverdean sun in my heart. Even though most Europeans are very different from Capeverdeans I like how my people are and carry the mentality everywhere I go. People often ask me how come I’m so happy all the time or call me miss Sunshine. It’s because Capeverdeans are happy people in general and appreciate the little things just like I do.
“Same Day, different bottle,
Every night I pray, you’ll pour it down the drain,
I know, the truth is hard to swallow,
But you can’t keep going on, and on, and on this way”
I’m an optimistic person but growing up my life wasn’t easy. I grew up with an alcoholic father who was aggressive from time to time and emotionally distant and absent. Not only did we have to deal with this on a daily basis but when we went to school I felt like a fraud since I had to cover this reality and pretend everything was ok. They say parents need to lead by example and I agree but this doesn’t always mean that they are a good example. I learned a lot about what not to do from my dad.
Every time I would catch him drinking after he promised he would stop my soul was crushed. Why did he have to lie?
I always felt so powerless faced with his drinking problem because hopeful as I was I felt like I could help & save him. Deep down I always felt like his drinking problem was my fault and if I was smarter, cuter, more successful, more…. that he would eventually stop.
“Tout le monde sait comment on fait les bébés
Mais personne sait comment on fait des papas
- Everybody knows how to make babies
but nobody knows how you make daddies”
Even though I grew up with my dad I can totally relate to Stromae’s song about an absent dad he’s looking for. Even though he was physically there he was never present. Didn’t go to any of my school meetings, never read my report cards, asked how I was doing in school or didn’t care to every say he loved me or show any affection. When I would see dads and daughters on TV being affectionate with one another I thought it was fictional and not something people do in real life. Not getting the love from my dad has left me feeling empty inside, like something was wrong with me and left me wondering many times ‘what if I had a different dad?’. Knowing how to love and receive love would have been easier because his behavior left me with a blueprint that made me feel attracted to Mr. Wrong…
Learning… Always a student of Life
“Quero lhe falar
É bom viajar
Tocar pelo mundo a fora
Nova York é bom
Paris é demais
Algo que eu não vou esquecer jamais –
I wanna tell you that it’s good to travel, explore the world,
New York is good, Paris is too much, it’s something I’ll never forget”
My parents were very strict and didn’t allow me to do anything. I feel like I lost a lot of precious years of my life but it also made me realize I didn’t have any time to lose. When I heard I could participate in an Erasmus exchange program in Lisbon I was excited and fearful at the same time. Spending some time abroad would give me the opportunity to try something new, catch up for the lost time, gain my independence and have an unforgettable life experience. I was very afraid because since I’ve never done anything outside the house, I wondered if I would be able to handle it? I read a passage in a Paulo Coelho’s book saying that at some point we all look back and some will be sad to see they’ve missed the miracles the Universe handed to them because they were afraid and preferred safety over taking any risks. And then there are those who look back content that they lived their life to the fullest. And even if they had some scars to show for it, these were badges of honor that reflected their zest and hunger for a real life.
I already had lost many years so why continue being miserable and unhappy if I had the chance to try something new and change my destiny? I didn’t want to live to regret something I didn’t do. I prefer to fall flat on my face saying I tried versus regretting I didn’t try hard enough.
Two years later I travelled to Rio de Janeiro and this triggered my passion for travelling. Rio feels like home to me and I want to live there
some day next year. I fell in love with the city, the people, the food….everything. I’m a Carioca at heart and want to call my beloved city home asap!
“Vou deixar a vida me levar
Pra onde ela quiser
Seguir a direção
De uma estrela qualquer -
I would let life take me
wherever it wants to
follow the direction
of any star”
I met Gallit when I was living in Rio in 2007. I was always very goal oriented and especially after my time there I thought I knew what I wanted. I wanted to work for a multinational, do a traditional corporate job, get a boyfriend and then have kids. Gallit told me that even tough it’s good to have goals, life isn’t always a straight line and sometimes you need to explore the side roads and see where they take you. I didn’t want to do that. If I knew what I wanted why waste any time exploring the side roads? Looking back I see that my life has been all about exploring the side roads and not one straight line. I like surprises and life has treated me so well until now that it makes me eager to discover what’s next. My goals change because I’ve learned to let life take me where I need to be. I’m not that arrogant person anymore who thinks she has the answer to everything because what’s the fun in that?
“Sur ma route il y a eu un tas de bouchons
La vérité j’ai souvent trébuché
Est-ce que tu sais que quand tu touches le fond
Il y a peu de gens chez qui tu peux te réfugier
Tu peux compter que sur tes chers parents
Parce que les amis, eux, disparaissent un par un
- In my life there has been a lot of traffic
To be honest I stumbled a lot
Did you know that when you hit rock bottom
There are few people with whom you can take refuge
You can only count on your dear parents
Because your friends, disappear one by one”
I took my mum for granted growing up. She nagged too much, was controlling and didn’t let me do anything. But she did it because she loved me and wanted the best for me. It wasn’t until I had to deal with so called friends turning their backs on me when times were tough that I realized that no matter what my mum will always be the only person who got my back 1000%. I can kick & scream all I want but she is the most constant factor in my life and when I’m down her love and faith in me always sheds a light of hope on any situation.
“Ta mère est une fleur rare que t’abreuves par ton amour
L’en priver c’est la tuer donc n’abrège pas son compte à rebours
Dis-lui que tu l’aimes que tu regrettes ta manière d’être conflictuel
- Your mum is a rare flower that quenches you by your love
to deprive her of it would kill her so don’t shorten her countdown
Tell her you love her and you regret your conflictual nature”
I remember one day I stumbled upon an old classmate who had recently lost her mum. She was still so young yet she was forced to live by herself (since her dad wasn’t responsible), drop out of college and start working. She said it was hard because not only was life difficult (because how can you prepare for something like this) but she also lost her mum, her rock, her nr 1 supporter. Her pain hit me and when I saw my mum later that I day I cried in her arms. What would I do at that age without my mum? But it wasn’t until my second mum Sari (mi mami dominicana de corazon) urged me to contact my mum more often and be nicer to her that I really started appreciating the wonderful woman that my mum is. When I was a teen I remember laughing at a teacher who I would always see walking down the streets with her mum with no man in her life. I guess karma is a ‘bitch’ because now I’m that ‘nerd’ who walks and travels with her mum and I love it. I’m so happy, blessed and grateful to have my mãezinha coruja (an endearing portuguese term for mums who are overprotective) and I’m happy Sari made me realize that. I tell my mum almost every day how happy and blessed I am to have her as my mother. When it’s too late we realize we should have told our loved ones how much we loved them but why wait? Tell them now and make every day count!
“If you noticed that I’m different
Don’t take it personally
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
And it ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of free”
People who say that people can’t change don’t know what they’re talking about. I’ve grown so much and I can honestly say that every year I’ve discovered a brand new kind of me. If you’re evolving as a human being isn’t that to be expected? It’s easy and safe to settle down into a person that is stagnant and remains the same for 20 years. You can predict what will happen, how you’ll react and you can be (almost) sure that the same friends will stick around. But that’s not in my nature. Tyrese likes to say that every level has a devil and the same goes for my personal growth. I feel like my personal journey has been like peeling an onion taking down one layer of false self after another. And it doesn’t come without some heartbreak.
It takes courage to dive into the deep waters of your soul and look at your shadow, seeing things you’d rather not claim as your own or having to say goodbye to friends simply because the new you is not a match to them. But my life has seasons just like nature. In Spring there’s new life, new people and new qualities I discover about myself, during Summer I celebrate them, when Fall comes I say goodbye to all the things that are no longer serving me and when Winter hits it’s time to grief, accept what is no longer part of my reality and let it go.
“Pourquoi tu run, run, run, never stop
Trop déterminé, tu vises the jackpot
Prêt à sacrifier tout pour ton job
Et tu finiras lonely, you only, so lonely
- Why do you run, run, run, never stop
Too determined, you aim the jackpot
Ready to sacrifice everything for your job
But you’ll end up lonely, you only, so lonely”
I love my job so much that I find it hard to stop. There’s always something I can do & improve but resting and taking time to enjoy life is also important and yet I often times forget this. I don’t believe in coincidences and often times the message I need to hear comes in the form of a song. As I was listening to the radio I heard Indila’s song and I knew this was my sign that I need to slow down. What’s the point of doing what you love 24/7 if you can’t share it with a special someone?
Me, myself & relationships
“I know we try to believe and forget any better when so much is going wrong
And you need someone by your side for when you’re weak baby they will be strong
So I’ll be the one,I’ll be the one to help you do what you gotta do
Just to make it through”
I love my friends & family and want the best for them. When I’m in, I’m in 100% so I will always try to help and be there for them in any way possible. I’m a giver yet I find it hard to ask for help or even receive it. Finding the right balance is something I still need to master
“I don’t really like big crowds
I tend to shut people out
I like my space, yeah
But I’d love to have a soul mate
God will give him to me someday
& I know it’ll be worth the wait
So if you’re out there I swear to be good to you
But I’m done lookin’, for my future someone
Cause when the time is right
You’ll be here, but for now
Dear no one, this is your love song”
Before I would approach relationships with a ‘what’s in it for me?’ mentality because I had a void inside of me, was craving approval and needed someone to tell me I was lovable. If being single for so long has taught me one thing it’s that I can give myself all the things I look for in another. I’ve grown, travelled a lot, had incredible life experiences and have become a whole person. My soul is overflowing with love, wisdom and care and I have a lot to give to others. I approach my relationships with a ‘how can I serve?’ mentality now because I truly believe that we’re here to help each other live a better life and that the Universe equipped us with a skill set to do so.
Songs others use to describe me….
A couple of years ago I was chatting with my friend Alex. I don’t even remember how the conversation went but at some point we were discussing which songs described our personalities the best. Alex said ‘Control’ and ‘Glamorous life’ were written all over me. I could definitely relate to the Glamorous life, but control?
“I did what my father said
and let my mother mold me
but that was long ago
I’m in control
Never gonna stop
To get what I want”
But Alex was right. Growing up I felt so trapped. I couldn’t do anything, couldn’t go anywhere and didn’t have any friends as a result of it. I was so eager to discover the world and myself even though I was afraid. Since my parents were so dominant and wouldn’t allow me to do anything I’m allergic to anybody who wants to tell me what to do or control me. I felt imprisoned most of my life so my freedom is one of my most precious possessions. I value it so much that I find it hard commit to a love relationship…
“She wants to lead a glamorous life
She don’t need a man’s touch
She wants to lead a glamorous life
Without love, it ain’t much”
I live with my head in the clouds because I always have a big dream I want to realize. I have a lot on my mind because once I realize something there’s always something else that pops up. I have so many interests that it doesn’t take much to inspire me. But like Sheila said without love it ain’t much so I do realize I need to slow down and find my partner in crime who will be willing to join the ride and travel around the world with me
“Piri, pipiri, pipiri, piri piradinha
Ela tá doidona, fora da casinha -
Cray, cray, cray, cray, crazy
She’s crazy, out of her mind”
I’m crazy, sexy, cool and if I had to pick one song that embodies both my happy spirit and goofy character it would have to be Gabriel Valim’s ‘Piradinha. Or at least my sister and mum like to think so lollll
What song(s) describe(s) you the best?
Thanks for reading!