artist, feminist, activist, women rights
Where are you sitting right now and what's going on in your world?
I’m at my mother's house now and since I got back to Brazil, I've been really trying to decide where I'm going to live and what I'm going to do and I’m not too sure. So I'm moving around a little bit and thinking about a new project, but yeah, but my life is very unstable. And now I think is one of the most unstable of all moments. So yeah, that's pretty much what's been happening since I came back from New York and it's just scary because I'm like, Oh yeah, I just came back from New York and I'm still figuring it out and my friend is just like, You’ve been back for almost six months, you didn’t just come back! I'm like, That's crazy. And then I like, oh my God, that's true. It's a ridiculous.
It's been a time, a whole lot of change in so many different levels and I'm really struggling to deal with all of that. So yeah.
I'm really in a moment that I have no idea where I'm going or want I want to do. I don't know if I want to keep living in Brazil because like my escape from the troubling moments was always to go somewhere else and have different experiences. But my therapist says it's not the thing to do right now.
They say I should stay and face it and deal with it, but it's so hard. And it's so desperate not to have a goal. So, I really don't know… I really, really don’t know where I'm going or what I want to do it and I don't have much patience to be in this state for much longer. I really have no answers at the point.
When did this current transformation start for you?
Okay, this can get a little deep. So you tell me if it's too much.
Because it's going to sound crazy because it is kind of crazy. So. Okay. When I was eight years old, my family went to this religion thing - a group in Brazil that drink ayahuasca. It was not like the normal groups.
There was this man that was like a psychopath or megalomaniac. He decided to recreate religion because he believed he was this spiritual entitled person to do that. And some people started to follow him and my parents went there and took me with them when I was eight.
When I was 10 I started to go into the ceremonies in drinking the tea, which in my opinion is really, really an awful thing. Because you were a kid, you are growing, you are starting to understand how the world works, And the tea, I have nothing against it itself, but it's used in indigenous and rituals and shamanic groups. They have different kind of contexts. I didn't have that kind of relationship with the world, with nature and with society and everything.
So I have nothing against them using it. But the problem is that when they bring it to your life in a forced way. Nowadays it's really common. Every 20-year-old is going to somewhere to drink this tea. But back then it wasn't so common of a habit.
The problem was that this guy was a crazy person, but back then he was considered a master. And he was using the religion to brainwash people. So I grew up being completely brainwashed by him and more and more apart from the real world. At some point, I didn't have any contact with people that were not there.
From 19 to 23 I was living there. I had no contact with my family whatsoever. Even with my mom, I couldn't talk to her for four years and my sister, nothing. I was in full isolation and since I was raised there I didn't have the ability to question.
Can I ask were you going to school growing up?
Yes. Yeah. I went to school before I was 19 before I moved there. Like I was raised there and kind of brainwashed in there, but I had contact with society I went to school where it was a little bit more normal. It was later that things got more and more radical. Like when I first got there it wasn't like such a crazy place.
So after years it became extremely radical and absolutely crazy, but since we were there and it was like done little bit by little bit, we didn't feel it the same way. So I had no better judgment.
And you were physically living on a property with this community?
Yes, what happened is when I went there with my parents, they had already moved to the community and people were living there. But they needed someone to stay there and volunteer to do it.
So when I was 19 a small group of people actually moved in, but not with the community. We moved in a place where we are working to make money to build the community because, in order to have those resources, he had three companies. We started working on those companies. So what happened to me of those four years were like the ultimate abuse in all senses. I worked 20 hours a day and I was completely psychologically and emotionally abused all the time.
He would say horrible things to me all the time. He wouldl lock me in a place where I couldn't talk to anyone for like weeks and then I couldn't sleep and was forcing me to do so much more than I could all the time. And I was already really overwhelmed and having problems with my health in the first years.
But then it got really worse. He became violent with me and he raped me. I was a virgin and he hit me a lot of times. I started having a lot of problems. Of course I went to the hospital because I was having high blood pressure. I didn't sleep anymore, I couldn't eat, I would vomit everything I ate. I started hurting myself. I tried to kill myself. So it was very dark.
And then when I was 23, I finally ran away from that place. I went back to my family and it was a long process of physical healing.
I blocked the worst things that happened in the last two years I, I blocked from my mind. I just blocked it it out. And I didn't want to talk about it. I never had any therapy and I didn't want to think about it or talk about it. I just wanted to try and have a normal life.
So I went to Ireland to studying English for awhile and it was the best period of my life and I came back and I moved in with my boyfriend and I went to college finally and started working. And I thought: Okay, that's it. It's like I have a normal life. Everything's gonna be okay. It's just like it's in the past and it's gone and that's it. But, unfortunately, that's not how it actually works because if you don't deal with stuff it’s gonna come up.
But then things start getting worse. My hormones were like crazy,The doctors couldn’t control it and physical symptoms started to rise and I was feeling extremely suffocated in everything I was doing.
How long ago was that or how old were you?
I was 28. So it was four years ago. At first I was trying to have this normal life. Eventually I was traveling alone for 20 days and I was like, Okay, this isn't working. I'm not happy with anything in my life. I'm not doing anything I believe in. I'm not the person I want to be.
I admitted that I was fully depressed and then I came back, I quit my job and I started doing my project. It’s the project that was awarded by the UN that then took me to New York later. But I just started doing it with my friends. It was called a word for feminist. So I took women and I would shoot them with no photoshop and very artistic black-and-white way. They would write with lipstick on their body a word with the meaning of feminism in their lives.
During this time, I was deeply in this project and talking about a lot of things that I hadn't talked about before — about feminism and about autonomy, about process. And this started to bring up things that were buried inside.
So my life really changed. I left Sao Paulo and I broke up my relationship and I went to live in the middle of nowhere.
Do you feel like you're in the stage of just letting things come up, sort of like that it's almost just happening to you? It's not like you're in control of it or do you feel like a story comes up and then you try to direct it and like change it?
So I went to a therapist that does regression work for a whole week of treatment because I was desperate. I was really freaking out. It was a week of it and was really intense. Things were just like bubbling out.
Our first session took almost six hours. She said she said she had never had something like that happen. And this whole week it was just like things would come in and I had no control but it was really good. Her work was amazing and I felt relieved, ready to release. But I knew it wasn't going to be so easy.I had a lot of stuff with like a pile of rocks on them. So she took off the rocks and I could breathe, but then all this other stuff started coming up.
And at this point I'm really just so exhausted. Like my therapy sessions are not really worth it because I feel like I'm kind of stuck. Because it was so intense and it was so exhausting and I just am so, so tired. That's the feeling I have. I'm really tired.
It's hard to know what's helping or not a certain point.
And sometimes they're like you need to accept that you are in this moment right now. But then I just put more pressure and be like, Oh my God, I need to accept it. And our mind is so crazy. It never stops. My head never stops. And the more mental chaos, the less I can actually rest or do stuff.
I think the word is drained. I feel so total tired. I'm just: Okay, can we just stop everything please? World, can you please stop for awhile? Because that's how I feel. I feel like that's what I need.
We all have these stories of people that talking about things that happened in the past, but everything went great later and they're successful and everything. And I'm like: How do I know I’m going to the right path and that I'm going to get there, wherever there is.
I don't know where to go and it's not easy to go through it, but it's easy to talk about it and create this trajectory once you are successful and everything is the past. But it's really unsettling to think about it. What way to go? It's like two different routes. Which ones should they take you? It's really hard, right?
I do think it's interesting, a lot of the people I've talked to being mostly millennials. This transformation for a lot of people have, has happened around 28, 29. I think there's something around this decade of as well.
Yeah. I'm 32 and my roommate Alice did my reading when I was in New York. I was like having second thoughts about coming back to Brazil because I could stay for a few months more in New York if I wanted to.
And she was like, no, it's time for you to go back, to rest, to be with yourself, to go to your roots to work on it. And I'm like okay. I think I'm in. I'm in the right direction here, but yeah, Saturn’s return. I tell people when I was 28 I was like kind of married, working with advertisement, living in San Paolo, blah, blah blah.
And when I was 30 I had quit my job, published a book, changed careers, broke up my marriage, shaved my head and went to live in the middle of nowhere. So it's transformation going on.