Tuesday, July 31, 2012

After the torment comes the sunshine

A lot has happened to me since I last wrote here. I actually don't think I can even say that I just gave this blog a break. I definitely abandoned it.

The past months have been a huge exercise for me. An exercise of opening my hands and letting things go. I did that a lot, and as much as I suffered and I know I have made people suffer a lot because of that, I feel more in peace and much lighter now. I look at the mirror and I don't question "what the hell am I doing with my life?" any longer. I know where it is going.

In March this year I decided to leave my "stable dream job". Since the decision was made, this required me to exercise one of the things that have been the most difficult in my life, but to understand what and how hard that is, I need to share some perspective first.
When I started being active in the Free Software community, very rapidly I received a lot of invitations to deliver talks in different places in Brazil, then later abroad. That experience was one of the most amazing of my life. I met so many people and seen so many different places, I had a great time.

But as you can imagine, being constantly on the road makes you exercise another skill which is not always pleasant: detachment. Detachment from local available friends, from having a relation to the local shop by my house, from having a stable relationship, from having a home. I did have an apartment at that time, but I definitely did not have a home (maybe the constant presence of half-full suitcases around the floor didn't help to build up that feeling).

Wikipedia says "detachment, also expressed as non-attachment, is a state in which a person overcomes his or her attachment to desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective."

Depending on the level of proximity one need from people and desire one have of possessing things, and specially how much one need those things to feel safe, it is an exercise of making yourself so lonely, and therefore unstable, that you feel light. Its horrifying and nice. All at once.
Back to my current life, when I first told people that I was considering leaving my job, I don't think anyone even believed me. How come? 90% of all nerds in the world would love to get a job at Google. Are you sick in the head? Other people questioned the amount of money I was making, and how nearly impossible it would be for me to have same financial status elsewhere. 15% income tax in Switzerland, with big Google bucks is indeed very comfortable. But I was just not happy with my job and not specially happy with my life in general, so I had to change.

Early in March I received a job offer from Facebook. I really thought I had not made it through my onsite interviews. I thought people were nice to me, and that I did mostly ok, but I wasn't really positive that I would get a job. Maybe the fact that I was going through interviewing AND writing an essay for my MBA at the same time did not help on my interview performance either, but well, I am always doing 3 thousand things at the same time.

With the decision to join Facebook came lots of other life-changing decisions: I would have to change my entire life because of that. Bye bye 15% income tax, bye bye Swiss salary. After a lot of hard discussions and what I call "mindfucking", it ended up being bye bye to my relationship as well. My 4 months old marriage. What the fuck was I thinking? It just seemed right. I know I hurt people, and I am sorry I did that, but it wasn't optional.

I also had to say bye bye to all my local friends, the fun times, the very close friends whose affection became not only important to me, but essential. I am a community person, and I regard my close friends as the family I carefully built over time.

So all of a sudden I knew that, in order to be happy, I would have to temporarily go back to that place which made me feel very vulnerable in the past: the place where I am detached from feelings, objects and people. That place from where I can just open my hands and let things go.

I took the job. I shipped all my furniture, electronics and objects to Brazil. I carefully selected the clothes and shoes I was going to keep (if you know me well, you know how hard it is to give up on a pair of beloved shoes). I gave whatever I didn't think I should keep to my friends and other people. I was shrinking, not only in luggage weight but as a person. Getting smaller so I would get back to growing.

Currently I am in Dublin, waiting for my US visa to be issued, so I can move to San Francisco on October 8th. I have been working for Facebook for 2 months, and I am SO happy I can't even explain. The weather sucks. I just don't care. I am happy.

I have been learning about myself every day. Learning about my new job every day, and learning about what is important in my life. One. Day. At. The. Time.

I know how much I miss my friends. I miss them badly. Fortunately they are such fantastic people that they made a "let's not leave nanda alone" schedule for visits while I am in Dublin. I won't be cold and alone out in the rain (being in Dublin that is sort of literal).

I am very excited about my move to San Francisco. This move is sort of a personal debt to myself. My friends who live in San Francisco did not believe me when I told them I was moving. They said  "yeah, nanda, you say that every year". Dear friends, this time it is really happening!

I just feel like there's sunshine in my heart after a while living in torment.

"Quando já não tinha espaço, pequena fui
Onde a vida me cabia apertada
Em um canto qualquer,
Acomodei minha dança, os meu traços de chuva

...
Nada do que fui me veste agora, sou toda gota"

6 comments:

Marlon Dutra said...

You'll build a new "family of friends" in the Bay Area. At the end, you'll be happier and that's what matters, even paying a LOT of taxes. :-) You'll even have a little baby and two crazy dogs to visit every once in a while. ;-)

Fernanda Weiden said...

I am so glad you guys are going to share that change with me! We'll discover the Bay Area together. And don't worry, I am a very nice aunt and I love dogs. I'm certainly going to be around :-)

Fernanda Weiden said...

I am so glad you guys are going to share that change with me! We'll discover the Bay Area together. And don't worry, I am a very nice aunt and I love dogs. I'm certainly going to be around :-)

Mikel Jiménez Fernández said...

Thanks for sharing this Nanda ;)

camilasan said...

Esse post foi inspirador, admiro a tua atitude com respeito a essa mudança.
Você foi a primeira palestrante mulher que eu vi no FISL, e quando eu te vi palestrando, pensei "um dia eu ainda vou fazer isso (free software)". E fiz :) Obrigada e boa nova-fase!

Avi said...

Inspirador o seu post, Fernanda. A zona de conforto é uma delícia mas a longo prazo nos faz mal. É bom você sempre buscar evoluir.

Te mandei um e-mail no endereço que está no seu Facebook, mas voltou com erro. Acho que o endereço no seu perfil lá está errado. É sobre uma prima que acabou de se mudar prá Palo Alto.

Você poderia me mandar seu endereço correto para eu te reenviar? Prá avibrazil arrouba gmail.

Beijos e boa sorte