My tale begins on a cold winter evening in Newport, Rhode Island. As the moon rises, high above the dark blue of the sea, I get lost in the solitude of my memories and in the vastness of my emotions. Everything hurts. I embrace my sorrow and I kindly ask the ocean to heal the open veins of my heart and the invisible wounds of my soul. I allow myself to be vulnerable and I welcome each and every feeling that makes me alive and all too human – angst and fear and sadness and rancor. I face rejection, betrayal, and disappointment, and I seek joy, relief, and comfort in my own truths. And while I confront the limits of my existence, I ask myself one question. Who am I?
I am my mother’s daughter. Every feature of my personality and character I received from her. My fearlessness, my courage, my resilience, my refusal to accepting dependent or secondary roles in life, my knowledge, my love for the arts, my passion for politics, my will to fight social injustice, my education, my urge for freedom – all these I inherited from my mother. My only privilege in life is to be her daughter. She is my universe. She is the core of my existence. She is all I longed to be my whole life. We have always had a difficult mother-and-daughter-relationship and today I understand why.
My mom was just a girl when she chose to give me life and become the matriarch of a broken family. I was 9 years old when I realized that I was a fatherless child. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. I was at my fourth-grade graduation party when the principal invited moms to dance with their sons and dads to dance with their daughters. There I was, alone on the dance floor. My mom was in the corner, in tears. But honestly, I did not feel sad at all. I loved her dearly that evening. And we danced together. This is the first great memory that I have of my childhood and I love it. I am the daughter of a remarkable woman. Even in the darkest and weakest moments, she remains beautiful, strong and faithful.
But who am I?
I am a thirty-year-old woman who craves love like oxygen. I simply love everything that is beautiful. And I love with reckless abandon. Everything. I love music – from jazz and blues to rock and pop and samba. I love written words. I proudly love my beautiful and amazing country, Brazil. I truly love the place that I chose to be my home, Rhode Island. I love my craft, Journalism. I love the ideals of socialism. I love the promise of America. I absolutely love living in the United States. I love nature – oftentimes I cry looking at trees and flowers and birds. I love watching the ocean tides and the changes of the moon. I love sunsets and sunrises and all those enchanting colors in the sky. I love the chaos of modern life. I love burgers and I obsessively love french fries. Oh, I love New York – the rush, the noises, and the endless possibilities. I passionately love photography. I love flirting. I love my tireless pursuit of freedom, my challenges, my flaws, my imperfections. I love to dance and to sing, although I’m terribly clumsy. I love every single moment of magic that continually happens around me. I love a passionate kiss and a warm hug. I long for a passionate kiss and a warm hug. And I simply love the way I love. Love is my encounter with life. Love is my encounter with Jesus Christ.
I was in my early twenties the first time that I truly loved a man. I dare saying it was love at first sight. It was fascinating. He was a writer, a renowned prosecutor, an intellectual. A socialist! He introduced me to Justice, Sociology and Philosophy. He introduced me to Nietzsche! Seriously, he used to read books to me all the time and I loved him for that. Together, we shared the passion for the beach, literature, soccer and samba. It sounded just perfect. And he broke my heart. He took a sudden and abrupt departure without saying goodbye and left me breathless. Truth to be told, I was just in the beginning of my adult life and a breakup was inevitable. I never made room for resentment. On the contrary, I still hold him in high esteem, he influenced me in great ways. And I will always be thankful for our encounter.
But I did grieve for that love. And after two long years, I was ready to meet my precious Rafa. A mutual friend was insisting for months that we had to meet. I was reluctant. I had previously spied on him on Facebook and noticed that he was a liberal. A liberal! How could I ever date a liberal after dating a socialist, I argued with my dear Felipe (the one who set us up on a date). He wouldn’t take no for an answer. And there I was, on a blind date, and as soon as I set my eyes on Rafael, I fell in love. He was handsome and kind. A gentleman in every single way. And believe it or not, we moved in right after our third date and lived peacefully together for three amazing years.
I introduced him to my views of the world and he introduced me to his. He introduced me to new technologies and to different cultures. He made me fall in love with Netflix, Kindle, heavy metal, whiskey, and all the Superheroes! He cooked for me delicious meals. He took me on a trip to Paris to celebrate love! We shared great moments of complicity. We played Mario Kart, we had some of the best burgers and we went on beautiful Harley rides every weekend. We enjoyed each other’s company in fast-paced cities and in the quietude of countryside. But somehow and unfortunately, we got lost and disconnected, and our farewell couldn’t be avoided. Letting Rafa go of my life was quite hurtful. He was a great partner. And allowing myself to fall in love with another man other than him was challenging and daring. Joyfully, we chose to make room for a fraternal love and we remain close friends. He has my back like a real brother would. I cannot thank him enough for his unconditional support and I am pleased to watch him become a fine business man. My dear Rafa will always have my fondness and loyalty. Simply because we share the same set of values in life.
I was meant to write a romantic tale of love a few months ago and I got completely overrun by cycles of passion and longing, madness and discourtesy. Back then I just wanted to tell the world how much I loved and appreciated my husband. If truth be known, we married for reasons other than love. Even though I am a romantic woman, I never had the dream of marrying someone. I am a free spirit and always looked at marriage as a contract that would never suit me. Until I met Cor. My dark rebel. He was the one who held my hands in the most difficult moment of my life and gave me hope for a better future. He was the one who made me believe in myself when nobody else would. He was the one who brought me back to my journey and encouraged me to dream again. He arose out of his darkness to give me air and light in moments of uncertainty and despair. And I will be forever thankful for all the goodness he brought to my life in such short period of time.
Cor never told me exactly when he fell in love with me. He says it was when he first saw tears in my eyes. And I guess I could say just the same. Every time that I saw tears in his eyes I loved him a little more. Because they were true and I could feel his pain. And when he surprisingly asked me to be his wife, promising me his love and loyalty, I did not hesitate and I left my heart wide open. I loved him faithfully every day we spent together as husband and wife and I thought I could battle his inner demons and teach him how to love a woman like me.
I wanted to give the world to him. I only had one demand: no frogs between us. Frogs in our relationship meant greed, envy, jealousy, sexism and rivalry. Unfortunately, he did not attend my request. I was determined to forge him into a lion, but he chose to remain a street cat. He soon became rude, careless and unpleasant. His love suddenly became toxic and tyrannical. He made way to anger and fake assumptions about his wife and mistakenly chose to be loyal to those who insist on keeping him as a court jester.
I was willing to be his caregiver for the rest of my life, regardless a romantic relationship. I believed that I could overturn his stereotypes and help him treat his mental disorders. I realize now that I was a victim of poor judgment. Although he is a man of brilliant intelligence who knows the code of the streets and is well-practiced in gallantry, he is incapable of respecting a woman. He insulted and humiliated me. He accused me of being a fraud and treated me like an enemy. He made me feel small and enjoyed it. I never felt more hurt in my entire life.
Our marriage challenged all my boundaries – my authenticity, my values, my mind, my heart, my soul, my whole self. It was the perfect storm, brief and intense. A paradox in its essence that invaded my life and threw every aspect of it out of balance.
I know that love does not die quickly. But this love arrived and has departed like an express train. It vanished like a whiff on the railway, leaving me with nothing but nakedness and exhaustion. I am now completely alone on the platform. The next train has been announced and will arrive shortly. But wait. I am not going to jump in. I refuse to be a mere passenger in this world. I shall leave the station. Perhaps I will learn how to fly now.
Once again, who am I?
I am the poor-born girl from Latin America who was raised to be queen, not a trophy wife. I am a vivacious woman and a skilled warrior of matchless spirit. I grew up witnessing the shadows of poverty, misery, and violence. I have walked a path of darkness most part of my life. But don’t get me wrong, I am not a survivor and I don’t take refuge in a world of appearances. Instead, I take bulls by the horn. I battle with words. My integrity is a non-negotiable demand and my strength of character is my greatest weapon.
I moved to the United States of America two years ago for one reason only: to pursue a higher education. I just wanted to go to school and dedicate myself to the Arts and creativity. Now I want much more. I want to study the Arts, Anthropology, Sociology and someday I would like to earn a Ph.D. in Political Science. Now I am going to work tirelessly to be among the most influential Journalists of my time. I will flee the world, sail the oceans, cross forests and continents. I will see war with my own eyes. I will meet the most interesting and genuine people on Earth and I will listen to them. I’ll learn about their struggles and dreams, and I’ll tell their stories. I’ll devote my life and existence to politics and perhaps one day I’ll become a Diplomat for my country, perhaps an Ambassador for my precious continent. And I will keep fighting for democracy, social justice, human dignity, labors rights, and communication as a human right.
And yes, I will marry again. For love. I will marry a man of virtue and faith who is insatiable for love and politics as much as I am. And I’ll be loyal to him from the moment of our first kiss until our very last sigh of breath in this life. He will be the father of my daughter and I’ll love him with devotion. I know I must choose carefully this time, but my heart knows when it’s love at first sight.
That same cold night in Newport, while I begged for healing, something amazing happened: I recognized my king. I recognized the man of my dreams just by his presence, as soon as he arrived to meet me. When I first heard his voice right from behind me, my heart stopped, and I haven’t fully recovered the beat yet. Seeing him for the first time brought tears to my eyes. I missed him all my life. The most intelligent and charming and well-educated man I have ever met. And since that encounter, he is part of every thought of mine, every dream, every hope, every single word. I never felt more in love. An outstanding feeling that ravished me and that makes me burn in fever ever since. I am completely terrified because I know love and I know you can never be entirely free when you love someone.
He was there to ask me one question: who are you, Camilla?
I hope he can find truth in my words. And I humbly pray that he chooses me to be his queen. If so, my army will meet his army and we will fight back to back. What could we accomplish together, I only wonder. What can I do for him? What could he do for me? I will rule the world of Communications. Is he going to rule the world of Technology? Perhaps Civilizations? Will he play the piano for me? This could be a promising and exciting courtship.
And here I am, dreaming of love again. But I must respect the seasons of my heart. Between one night and the next, between a memory and a dream, the stream of a river still burns within me. Before I embark on a new romantic voyage, I need time to mourn, to grieve, to heal, so I can truly love again. Because love is my source of life, it is the sacred in my everyday choices.
In this endless canvas of life, change has always been a constant in my world as I insist to live up to my dreams. I want to experience all that is beautiful and true and I’ll have the life that I am meant to live. My faith is all I have, all I need. And while I take the crown of my destiny, I wander freely, I walk proudly, and I remain fiercely loyal to who I am. And I am to conquer the world in my own way. Watch me.
P.S. I can be a handful at times, you better be a good pilot. I will only fly with you.