Love, naturally

There is a Brazilian popular song called “Deixa Acontecer [let it happen]”, by Revelação, that tells the story of a couple who is in different syncronies: the girl is madly in love with the guy, but he doesn’t feel the same way, so he asks her to let love happen naturally, to have patience and he promises he will overcome his fears of falling in love again with her help.

 

It may seem odd to write about a song who is not known by its poetic lyrics or by the music quality or innovation. It’s just a popular entertaining song, a huge success amongst Brazilians. Even if a Brazilian is not a fan of pagode or Revelação, there is a fair chance he or she can sing along the chorus without issues. It is catchy, oh so catchy!

Why write about it, then?

First of all, it has been on my mind since yesterday. It is stuck deep in there, so maybe it will help me forget it for a little bit. Again, catchy.

Another thing is: pedantic intellectuals would never, ever confess that sort of thing. Some people judge things exclusively according to their taste and to me this is just a waste of time, a narrow view that only reinforces what they know and like. I am not a fan of the band, or the genre for that matter, but why not give credit when its due? This song has a  very clear and contemporary message: let love happen naturally. And this is what draws me to it.

Scrolling down my facebook timeline the other day, I found a post from a very popular page called Humans of New York where a woman states that “If I feel like there’s a chance of losing someone, I’ll always try to be the one that backs out first”. If you are familiar with the page, you know they always post a picture of the person interviewed and a quote of their conversation.

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That quote stuck with me for a few days, then the song, and I felt like they had the same underlying topic: fear of relationships. It is something universal. Not to be cliche, but I am sure yesterday night at a bar somewhere two friends sat down between beers (or cosmopolitans, or caipirinhas, or martinis, or pisco sour, or merlot) and had a conversation about relationships. Maybe the guy was complaining the girl expected more than he could give, because he didn’t feel the same way. Maybe the girl was interpreting his distance as a sign that he would dump her, and she decided to break things up before getting so deep emotionally involved that she would surely get hurt. Maybe it was the other way around.

When did we become so afraid of love that we feel the need not to feel it? Or, at least, to believe that we don’t feel it. How many times after breaking up because she was too demanding or he was too sticky we come to realize that maybe we loved them all along?

When did we start putting up barriers to avoid being hurt and setting ourselves boundaries to contain our emotions?  When did we start thinking about relations strategically? Oh, if I send a text at 3 a.m saying I miss her she will misinterpret as a booty call and she will lose interest. Oh, its saturday afternoon and if I call him now to make plans for tonight I might seem too desperate. How much of life and love are we missing by taking the safer route?

Sometimes, I think we are getting it all wrong. We are letting our brain take control of things that are not measurable, touchable or reasonable. And, in the process, we lose our minds with all the variables, possibilities and interpretations we are drawn to consider before making any relationship decision. Why not let things flow more naturally? Why not follow our hearts? They are pure muscle, you know? Work it and they will only become stronger.In this sense, the song sets a good example. Yes, the guy says he is scared of falling in love, but he also asks her for help to love again and he implies that because of her help their love may grow and be eternal. Their love, not their relationship I must say. But he is willing to try, and that is all it takes. Lets it happen naturally.

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

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I finished reading The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, by Neil Gaiman, a few weeks ago, but I had to give myself some time to process emotionally and rationally what the book had done to me. Being so talkative about books, this time I was strangely silent.

First, I have to admit, I had this little disdain for it, stuck with the idea I had already read something like it. I couldn’t remember where, so I moved on, thinking to myself how foolish I have been and focussing on how creative people can be when it comes to fantastic fiction. It seems the possibilities open up to a broader range, making the narrative more fluid, poetic, complex. And there I was, stuck again, this time with all the concepts of literary analysis I had studied at school. I got caged in the theory, without properly looking at the novel itself.

Then came a very nice blogger review, talking about how the book made her cry about the lost childhood, the home she would never be able to go back. I felt like there was something missing in my interpretation of the book, perhaps the sentiment of the book. It was running through my fingers, I was letting it scape. It was urging me to revisit my own childhood, teasing me.

I spent most of hot summer nights in a beach called Barequeçaba, a couple of hours away from São Paulo. The only thing I could count on was that I would reunite with cousins and friends that I haven’t seen all year. We would have long walks on the shore, philosophical talks at moonlight. We would swim on the ocean at the end of the lane, the real ocean.

I met my first love on that ocean in my teens, when we first exchanged kisses in between the waves. Both of us liked walking to the end of the beach and swimming to the other side of the mountain, following the rocks, where we would find a small inhabited beach. We had fun, but we grew up and those days became a sweet memory. It has been years since we managed to get together again.

After getting engaged, I went back to that same beach to visit the house my grandmother had sold a couple of years ago. I think the last time I had been there was when I met my husband. I wanted to show him that part of me that was gone, but I couldn’t translate into words what I wanted him to see. I wanted him to see the old me, the one that had run up and down those sand rocky streets in her swimming clothes and bare foot. The teenager that could sneak out of her house to see a loving friend at 2am, sometimes bringing beers under her arm. The woman that had taken a couple of friends for a Carnival (or Mardi Gras) at the beach and ended up at a party at the club a couple of miles away that one day she met him. Afterwards, she returned home, slept and woke up the next day to see a phone with an incredibly big number of text messages. What I now realize, though, was that I went there to show myself I had grown and the past was gone, remaining only the memories and the good feelings. I guess you could say I wanted to show the ocean where I swam so many times how I was doing without him.

Little Women versus Pride and Prejudice

L.M. Alcott. Little Women. Boston: Roberts Bro...

L.M. Alcott. Little Women. Boston: Roberts Bros, 1868. Illus. by May Alcott. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just finished reading Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, for the very first time. I have to admit it has been a long process. Just when I started reading part II, I felt really engaged in the story and concerned about the girls distinct characters. They seemed all so amiable, diligent and so annoyingly sweet and proper that it took me a while to realize that I wasn’t giving themselves credit for being young, poor little women fighting and working to make their means. Something not quite common back them, I would imagine. Also, they seem to be acutely aware of their constrains as women, what makes them even more fascinating, specially Jo, who openly defies social conceptions of how a woman should dress, look or behave. Well, Jo is also someone who is so dedicated to writing and reading that I couldn’t help but feel closer to her, since we had so much in common.

English: Image at the beginning of Chapter 34....

English: Image at the beginning of Chapter 34. Darcy proposing to Elizabeth. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. London: George Allen, 1894. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a battle between Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott, though, when it comes to how they portray poor women, marriage and social conventions, Austen wins in my opinion. While Alcott writes a book embalmed in morality and virtue, often times preaching the value of work, love and family against the luxuries of money, Austen seems to have a more realistic point of view. In Pride and Prejudice, money is a big issue. It is what drives some people to act as they do, like the pushing mother, Mrs. Bennet, who wants all daughters to get married for money, or the young Mr. Darcy, who loves Elizabeth Bennet but avoids marrying her because of her family attitudes. The Bennet family, excluding Elizabeth and her sister Jane, all behave frivolously, always seeking for social status, money.

Although Jane and Elizabeth end up marrying for love, and becoming rich as a consequence, the other characters of the novel illustrate different aspects of marriage a social contract. Lydia, Elizabeth’s younger sister, rans away with George Wickham, an officer at the militia, to marry him, causing her family disgrace. She doesn’t seem to  feel any remorse about it, showing a dismay for social conventions and moral. Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s friend, marries William Collins at 27 years old because she was afraid of being a burden to her family. In that sense, she marries for financial stability, but she doesn’t appear to be judged for her decision. This different situations serve two purposes: they show the customs of a the 19th century english society, and women’s dilemmas when it comes to marriage, but it also reenforces the importance of love in marriage, giving Jane and Elizabeth as the ultimate examples.

In Little Women, the March girls marry only for love. Meg falls in love with John Brooke in the end of the first part, and the second part is devoted to their life as newly weds and parents of the twins, Demi and Daisy. There is one episode where you see Meg struggles for being poor and not being able to have all the luxuries her friend has, so she buys expensive silk to sew herself a dress. When she tells John what she did, she realizes what a mistake that was, sells the silk and everything is back to normal. From that moment on, the couple is portrayed as being happier than ever in their lovely cozy home, a feeling that no money in the world could buy. Jo marries Professor Friedrich Bhaer and, after inheriting a state from Aunt March, opens her school for boys. Her dreams come true and she is as happy as she can be, although they also are poor. Amy is the only one that thinks that she should marry for money in order to be able to help her sisters, but that is momentary. She ends up falling in love with Laurie, a family friend who happens to be rich, and they too live as happy as they can be. The sisters story are, therefore, only about virtue, love and family, not bringing to the surface other examples that would add meaning to their resolutions. It is almost like moral speaks for itself, not requiring a counter argument to makes its first argument stronger.But, at the same time, the result is that you don’t have a critical view of society and marriage in all its multiple aspects, you have a statement confirming the importance of moral over money, which makes it a little dull.

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