Sunday, June 26, 2016

On turning thirty

Almost 6 months ago I turned 30. Sure, this post might seem a bit late and it is. And also is not going to be only about books, but it does touch that subject, so bear with me.
I was saying that I’ve been 30 for almost half a year and I would be lying if I said I was cool with it at first. But then, something happened. The day after my birthday it was like a huge thing had been removed from my chest. Since then, and increasing every day, I’ve been feeling better and better about myself. This has not been an easy feat, because I am someone with issues, trust me. I think we should all accept the fact that we do, but in the meantime let us just be clear that issues and me are pretty much one. But for some reason I wish I could point out, is like I am more and more at peace with having them.

Things at the lab started working. Sure, it meant I had to work for about 3 months nonstop, and by that I mean average 10 hour days from Monday to Monday. Yes, you read that right, all week. It was probably the first time I was actually happy I was forced to learn to drive, because it sure came handy. 

I started going to the gym more often. Full disclosure, I hate exercising, with a passion. But, and here is the big but, I love what it is doing to my body. I started trying to be a bit healthier, since there’s a history of heart disease in my family and I was getting palpitations taking the stairs. Well, that no longer happens, and what is more, I have become stronger physically. I am actually having moments where I look at myself in the mirror and I feel happy, which means the voice that has been nagging me for ages now, is slowly dwindling down.

But I think the biggest change has been on giving less and less fucks about others. Yeah, that’s right, I just swore. While I still care about others I am caring less about what they think. This has brought me to several realizations, from the way I dress to the way I carry myself to letting little and even big things just pass by.

We are talking here about me suddenly seeing the person that has gotten on my nerves for the past 7 years and 90% of the time not caring (the 10% is because…well, you don’t know the guy, but he gets on everyone’s nerves) and just breezily carrying on with my life.

I am smiling more; I believe is because I am a happier person with who I am. As some of you know, I even dyed my hair, blue at first, is now purple, just the tips, but do I love my purple hair guys. And this is a big thing, because the truth is until recently I would’ve never done something like that, terrified to what my family (quite conservative on certain matters) would say or think or whatever.
I am not finishing more books than ever. You would think that it is a bad thing, as in, oh you are having less books that you like. But no, actually I am reading more books that I enjoyed. I just don’t put my time on the owns that don’t do it for me. Less time on bad (for me) books is more time dedicated to the ones that I love, and that my friends is a great thing. And I am actually killing it on my reading challenges, evne though I was working on my thesis.

More recently, and the trigger to this post if I am being honest, I got accepted to go to a conference as I mentioned on my last post. This one I am writing on my flight back. You see, I was a bit scared about travelling on my own. It’s been ages since I do that. Eating alone, walking alone all the time. So I had brought with me 6 books remember? Well, I did finish 2 and I am half way through other 2, but the thing is, I ended up doing something I haven’t done in a while. Being alone, alone. And that is, just with my own thoughts, not even the author’s in my head. 

It all dawned me yesterday, walking alone to my hotel room. Usually when I do this I will have an audio book or music with me, but yesterday it just didn’t occur to me. I had the nicest walk, all alone, with just me in my head. I was thinking about this trip. About how, sure the first 2 days were a bit of an adjustment period, and there is the fact that I got sick the first day (migraine due to the jet lag, I ended up crying with only made it worse, anyway) and nobody really likes being alone when fragile. But the rest of the time? It was a bliss. Having only my schedule, walking to my rhythm…and it’s not like back at home I am not allowed to do this, but because the people close to you are around, you gravitate towards them, which is great, but I hadn’t had time to be with myself in so long I had forgotten how much I like it. 

So yesterday, as I was trolling on Queen Square I realized that I love this thirty-year-old me. This girl, woman, whatever, that started dancing in her room and didn’t care and actually ended up sort off dancing to her own music while walking and not even once did she stop to think if anyone was watching and oh my what might they think?

I no longer care if the book I am reading has a “shocking” cover. I don’t care about wiring this piece and listening to Back It Up by Caro Emerald (great song, go listen to it) and I can’t help but dance on my chair. I don’t care if I am alone in a restaurant stuffing my face with delicious food and the guy in front of me apparently can believe I will finish my plate (oh I did, believe you me). I no longer care if people think my dresses are too girly. Guys…I don’t care.

It would be a huge lie to say that I don’t care AT ALL, because I do. I still like it when people like my outfits, or when I get a compliment or a “good job”. I still care about others and about certain level of propriety, especially in public spaces, because I do like living in a society. But, when people don’t agree with me, don’t like what I say/think/do? I don’t care. You should’ve seen me talking to this guy who was trying to bring my research down. I was so proud of myself, because (unlike the first time we met when he made me cry, thank you very much) this time, I took it all with a smile, knowing that I am perfectly sure of what’ve done. It got to a point where he stopped himself…and it was glorious. 

So, what I am trying to say is I never thought I would be this happy being thirty. Sure, there were some things I thought would be done by now, like my own place (no rent) and finishing my PhD. But I am finally ok with things not going 100% to the plan. I am happy with where I am and with who I am. And nobody can take that away from me. 

I’ve learned a lot of myself in this short trip. Or maybe is not that I learned but that I finally had the time to look inside and see the things that were already there. I have a little confession. I think I should do this more often, this being on my own. We will see. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Waiting for a plane

A photo posted by CaroGomez (@carolikesbooks) on

Hello! I know, I know, it's been almost six months since I last wrote. But I did tell you I had a big year coming on. As of right now, I am in the final stages of my PhD (finally) and today I am writing to you from Amsterdam while waiting for my connection to England, where I am giving a talk!

But enough boasting, let's talk books. This morning...well, I guess yesterday's morning, when I was still home, I was trying to decide what to bring in this trip, and by that off course I mean reading material. While my trip is relatively short, only a week really, it includes long waiting times between flights, some of them already long and most importantly, I am looking at my first time traveling alone since I was 22. And so, I ended up with three physical books and downloaded two audio the time of my landing I learned that another audio book I had reserved at the library was now available. So, yeah, I now have six books with me, one book per day, sure, why not. What did I bring with me do you ask? let me tell you:


I downloaded The Secret History by Donna Tart, a book I've been dying to try since I listened to The Goldfinch. Haven't started yet, but I'm quite excited about it. From my library I got A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. I finished a Darker Shade of Magic last week, and while I wasn't crazy about it (I suspect it was the narrator effect, we will see) I've heard wonders about the series, so I figured, I would continue it. And the other book I received from the library is The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. I remember reading good things about it, so here we are.


I started Woman from Shanghai: Tales of Survival from a Chinese Labor Camp by Xianhui Yang. This is a collection of short stories I've had with me for a couple of years now, and since I am trying (trying being the key word here) to read more of my already owned books, and I was looking for some short stories to take with me, this one was an easy choice. Besides this I took with me Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi and When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice by