I will always be… (part 3/3) Life of a man

21yo-28 yo

I have never been an angel, and, OMG, how much I have disrespected my parents with my way of saying things and not really care about who I would hurt with my words. In my head, was me against the world. I had to survive.

And, sometimes, or actually at specific times,  we all need a slap on our faces to wake up to reality and move on. I got the one (or maybe two) that I needed, right from that Doctor I had just met. He not only brought me back to life, he brought me to reality. I was reborn.

I decided to move on. Take a few weeks in my parents home in the countryside, organise my 21st bday in the bday party in a bar in the capital so, in that way, I could say cheerio to all my close friends at once. One of them was moving to Italy, and I asked my parents to go with her and if they would support me. It wasn’t easy to leave the country, but it was necessary.

I put in my head that nothing ever would let me down that way again: what people thought of me, expected of me, judged me without knowing me. The years that followed, I decided to cut strings with anyone who would fall in that category and, oh boy, the list is vast. I decided to stop smoking and drink. I also decided to become assexual, not allowing myself any involvement, any feelings towards another guy. My plan was to find myself and be enjoy every moment of it.

So, I went from studying computer engineering in Brazil, to possibly study architecture in Venice, to no studies at all and work in a hotel in Oban. Serving those ladies, dance with them, getting a kiss from pretty much all of them, and oftenly questioned: why do I smile so much? The answer for that is simple: I’m alive.

My sister, my family, couldn’t believe I had ended up in a 10000 small town in rural Scotland. It could not have been more contradictory of my personality. My sister (or sisters) didnt believe I had given up smoking and drinking from 2005-2008, until she met me and actually seen it. My mum & my dad could not have been more supportive and understanding. And probably one of the things that make me cry a wee bit is knowing I have missed the teenagers years of 4 of my nephews and nieces already by not being there.

However, there is a great side of it: I moved from housekeeper to Duty manager in 6 months I was working in the hotel. That was also my first ever paid job. Amazing making some bucks to spend on Dolce & Gabbana or Emporio Armani 🙂 I had an amazing couple who thought me almost every department of the hotel. So I decided to keep within the Hospitality sector. This time, I never wanted to be the best in every department: I wanted to get to know every department and meet the best people in them, and learn with them.

In probably every job I had, I could count on a “kick-ass” boss and, to be honest, all of them probably hated being called or treated as “the boss”. They were just fantastic at what they did and so embracing with my strange accent, my crazy laughs, my way of thinking. They have contributed to mould me on the professional I am today.

From housekeeper, to bar, to porter, to duty manager, F&B Manager, receptionist & reservations, asssistant f&b, wine boy, restaurant manager to judge for the Scottish Hotel Awards: I had a ball, trust me! I was surrounded by people who admired me by whom I am and always will be. People who didnt judge me. Ok, sometimes I could see on their body language they were judging me a wee bit, but that’s fine: I do the same. It’s nature.

I travelled, I lived in staff accommodation, I shared flats, I made mistakes, I laughed, I joined the Voleyball team in Oban. I fell in love once (needless to say it wasnt successful). This one, after chasing me twice, decided that he didnt want a relationship. Two weeks later he was in a relationship. But the rebel in me became a bit active: he kind of caught his boyfriend giving me a BJ under my kilt in the middle of an after party. Yeah, I can be a prick. Twice.

No, no, no, no, don’t phunk with my heart.

So, I will leave the story about there, 2011. And I have been questioned the reason behind exposing periods of my life with so many details.

This is the past, where I learnt, I lived and I can’t change. Even if I tried. And I don’t really want to.

My main reason behind is to show that life is not a pot full of sweets, but what is sweet for you? I can always wake up in the morning and be grateful for what is out there for me. And pull my sleeves up and work for what is not there yet. Whether is work in my mind, going to the cinema, travel, kissing someone, flirting with another, or the actual physical activity to go into a place to work & earn money.

We can always choose to see facts through a different angle, as Jodorowski once said “birds born in a cage think flying is a disease”.

Try to see things from a different perspective. Love. Comprehend. Help where needed. Be kind. Look at their eyes. Make a joke. As my Bixa/little angel, who I met back in 2010 once said:

a bit of a flirt + a bit of innuendo + a bit of smut = great night 😉 xx

Make that into a daily dose of aspiration.

What I can say, all in all, is: I don’t accept homophobia as an excuse to try to put others down. Firstly, because my role in society nothing has to do with what I do sexually with anyone else. Secondly, because up to now you probably didnt know that I tried suicide several times because of homophobia. And thirdly, I will fight to not let other people go in the same way I did.

So, some people might see the ‘sharing my life’ as a sign of weakness. And I can tell them: I have never felt stronger.

And if I can stop one teenager, who might be going through the same thing right now, or anyone who might think there is no light in the end of the tunnel for depression, it’s mission accomplished for me.

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. I can build tunnels and the put the light, or the buckets of white paint, wherever I want.

Enjoy the pics 😉

D x

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I will always be…me (final part of 3/3) Life of a man

– 28yo onwards –

Yeap, if you thought I had finished, I decided to come back with the post-credit scenes. After all, I am not 28.

I will always be me. That’s it: me, only. No other fucking labels that society try to create in order to group each human being: black, white, gay, straight, European, American … I am me, first and foremost. And that’s who I want to be. I will do whatever I decide I want with my life, with my time, with my feelings. So should you. Never be afraid of saying “no”, of telling the truth, of following your gut. If you don’t live and love your life, no one can do that for you (even if a few will try, but trying is not the same as doing it).

And according to the latest addition to my playlist… “If I was you, I’d wanna be me too, I’d wanna be me. Too.” (Meghan Traynor – Me too) Well worth listening to.

So the last years of my life I have accomplished many many things I am proud of:

  • became a judge for the Scottish Hotel Awards and was mentored by the one and only Gary, with amazing connections developed after that including Renata and Peter. Took home a couple of awards: Overall Customer Service Excellence + Best use of Local food & Drink, with the Waterfront Fishouse Oban, for the Highlands & Islands; finalist with Breizh Cafe in the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce awards; 1 Rosette awarded with Pig’Halle Brasserie; finalist with Topolabamba as the Best Mexican in The Food Awards Scotland last year, again finalist with The Entertainment Awards this year, Top 30 on Tripadvisor for Glasgow; Hospitality Rising Star medal from Scottish Hotel Awards (just before I became a judge).
  • had the pleasure to work and learn the “Joyeux de la vie” way of running a restaurant with the explendid Paula & passionate Herve (Breizh & PigHalle), and they have been by far my inspiration of louder background music in the restaurant and the flowing atmosphere some of my staff keep listening to me mentioning it.
  • Did a Reiki Course so I could meditate better in times of stress
  • Started my healthy routine (or almost healthy) after I found out I am hypogliceamic, and had the two most amazing personal trainers ever, Jon in Perth and Jay nowadays in Glasgow, and they totally changed my mind about going to the gym and actually have fun with it.
  • Got an A on my HNC in business (didn’t finish the degree though as something more important and valuable came on my way ;)) – but tried to keep up with my managerial studies with Tickety-Book in Dunblane, which is much more fun & I get much faster results.
  • then, last, but not least: being able to get reunited with my Oban mentors Paul & Calum in their venture in Glasgow, also as known as… Topolabamba. And them both inspire me to be the best I can, every day. Mr P in the command of the operations: the most inspiring guy when it comes to commitment in providing the best atmosphere, service and product to anybody who walks through our doors, as well as having our staff as number 1 and looking after us extremely well. And that folks, is the reason that dropping out of Uni was more valuable. Learning on a daily basis with the best plus developing my managerial skills with Tickety-boo, it beats any University Course in Hospitality & Management.

Now, everything does come with a price. I havent seen none of my family since 2011. Holidays were inexistent until my Bixa got me into two of the most amazing holidays this year and my friend Ju from Brazil came over to celebrate our Bday travelling around Scotland. Relationships (or possible relationships) got dismantled before they could have even developed – trying to work in hospitality and see someone who works 9-5 Mon-Fri does not work, trust me.

I met the person who I thought it would be the one, but it was on that exact moment when we were in two completely different career paths, and my choice made me not available on weekends, when he was off.

Do I regret making those career choices and giving up on love? No. Not at all. Does it hurt? Yeah, sometimes, when I look back and think the space beside me in the bed could have been filled with the same cute ginger haired face every morning (and not with random twinks who insist in referring to me as a ‘hot daddy’, or pshyco twinks which was even worse).

Then, remember when I mentioned “try to see things through other perspective”. If it werent these choices I made, I probably would not have met half of you. Either in Oban, Perth, Glasgow, or through my trips with the Scottish Hotel Awards, which I got to visit sooo many beautiful places around in Scotland. So, family, we do not choose (although I must say I do love mine to bits). But the extended family, we can choose. And that’s pretty much what you guys are for me. You have all embraced me in a certain way that I can’t be more thankful for and you make my stay in Scotland a wee “Adventures of Denny in the Kiltland”

You inspired me so so so much, that even brought my artistic side back existent during my 7-14yo era. The side of me who would write poems on all walls in my bedroom, in my parents home. The one who would drawn, who would write quotes such as “prejudice is just another word for ignorance”. So, I blame you all for not being able to contain my artistic side. This time, I could not write on the walls, as I am constantly on the move due to renting a place. Basically whenever I write on a wall can also be read: I found my cosy wee place. It feels home. But anyway, so, because I cant write on walls, I decided to write on my skin. This is also as known as my tattoos, which are made of the quotes & explanations below:

1 – “Love more, live more” : basically a summary of words of the quotes and meaning ‘Love is a choice you make from moment to moment’. Therefore, ‘I love, because live without love is a like a blunt pencil: pointless’. Be kind, be gentle, comprehend, share. Love more what is around you, live more what is there to be lived.

2 – “If there were no changes, there wouldnt be butterflies” – Changes are necessary for progression, evolution. And there might be a beauty of a life after the change, so don’t be afraid to facing change. It will happen. Let it be.

3 – “A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for” : don’t be complacent, dont be afraid. Spread your wings and fly away babes. So many things there to be seen, so many things out there to be experienced.

4 – “Remember, when dealing with people you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion” , by the Scottish chap Dale Carnegie, in his book ‘How to win friends and influence people’. The battle of logic against emotion on my chest. The work of Da Vinci (refraction of the lenses and Vetruvian Man) agains the cupid by Raphael. Two antagonistic geniuses who lived in the same era and their principles. Which one wins? The explosion of colours reveals my answer. But, does it really? 😉

5 – “In life sometimes you have to be like a shark: you have to keep moving through trouble waters, otherwise you die” . Again, the choice is always ours to make. Be like a shark when that doubt comes.

6 – “Birds born in a cage think flying is a disease”, this is the latest one, still to add some colour. But pretty much my stand against homophobia, small minded people who keep judging others without realising the consequences of their judgment. Anybody is allowed an opinion, whether we agree/disagree/partly agree with it it is our choice to make. Judgement that might impact severely on someone else’s life in other hand, I don’t think so, sorry. The main difference from opinion and judgment for me is: opinion we ask, judgment we don’t (so it doesn’t really matter for me if anyone judges me, as I am really no interested in their opinion/point of view). Does that make sense?

So, all in all. If anyone has a problem with me being me, then the previous sentence says it all: the problem is all theirs, not mine. I will let them go and deal with it. Their problem, not mine.

And I will always be me. And you should always be  you. Don’t let anybody take that away from you. Absolutely no one.

Much love,

D x

“if I was you, I’d wanna be ‘me’ too, I’d wanna be ‘me’ too” – Be the ‘me’ that you want to be xx

The clicky-finger social media

clickyfinger

As many of you might have noticed, from the 10th of May to the 10th of June, I decided to do an experiment: can Denny survive without social media? Will I go crazy? Is it an addiction? What impact does social media have in my life? I took my time to write about it, as so many points came to my mind and not sure if I will be able to cover them all, but the findings are epic and not sure if you will really have the time to read it all, although I think it is worth put it out there.

First of all, let me state some facts: since when I was 10, I was glued in front of a computer screen. I’ve  annoyed my parents to pay an programming/IT school so I could attend the classes to learn how to develop softwares, as I wanted to be Bill Gates. I wanted to have the market share of Microsoft, with the design of Apple and the domain of the chip world like Intel at that time.  I wanted to be the richest one so I could help the children and build a sustainable city where everybody had everything they needed. So basically computing was part of my life.  Being glued on a screen, my first online friends, and also my first two boyfriends. That was how I met the world. The computer understood me, it was easy to deal with a machine rather than humans. 1+1 most of the times equals 2 in a machine, while in humans they 1+1 is never 2.

Then for the people who met me lately, they always think I could not survive without the use of my mobile, checking emails, update facebook, instagram, twitter, linkedin, snapchat, foursquare, grindr, gaydar etc etc etc.

So I have to quote one of the best ever realistic sarcastic quote about modern life, from T2 Trainspotting:

“Choose… designer lingerie, in the vain hope of kicking some life back into a dead relationship. Choose handbags, choose high-heeled shoes, cashmere and silk, to make yourself feel what passes for happy. Choose an iPhone made in China by a woman who jumped out of a window and stick it in the pocket of your jacket fresh from a South-Asian Firetrap. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and a thousand others ways to spew your bile across people you’ve never met. Choose updating your profile, tell the world what you had for breakfast and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose looking up old flames, desperate to believe that you don’t look as bad as they do. Choose live-blogging, from your first wank ’til your last breath; human interaction reduced to nothing more than data. Choose ten things you never knew about celebrities who’ve had surgery. Choose screaming about abortion. Choose rape jokes, slut-shaming, revenge porn and an endless tide of depressing misogyny. Choose 9/11 never happened, and if it did, it was the Jews. Choose a zero-hour contract and a two-hour journey to work. And choose the same for your kids, only worse, and maybe tell yourself that it’s better that they never happened. And then sit back and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s fucking kitchen. Choose unfulfilled promise and wishing you’d done it all differently. Choose never learning from your own mistakes. Choose watching history repeat itself. Choose the slow reconciliation towards what you can get, rather than what you always hoped for. Settle for less and keep a brave face on it. Choose disappointment and choose losing the ones you love, then as they fall from view, a piece of you dies with them until you can see that one day in the future, piece by piece, they will all be gone and there’ll be nothing left of you to call alive or dead. Choose your future. Choose life.”

And then why have I quote that?

During the 30 days that I decided not to use social media, I had the time of my life. Before I felt I was failing in society, but not being able to be everything for everyone. I felt without breath: I can’t answer all the messages in the same day; I can’t be everywhere everyone wants me to be; I dont have time to justify not being able to do something that someone expect me to do on a unrealistic approach; I can’t check emails every 2 hours as I might be watching a movie that last 3 hours or I might be sleeping, or I might want to look at the face of the person in front of me and admire every single moment with him.

I prioritise the wrong needs on the last two years, and instead of prioritising what I wanted, I probably prioritised what society wanted me to be, or to become, or to fulfil, or my views of what that might be.

When I took time for myself, I realised I had lost the person who I loved because I had to cancel two brunches with him  to be in somewhere to cover for someone. I realised that i had lost holidays which I wanted to have gone to. I realised that I havent spent much time with my friends as I was too busy updating social media, checking emails, overthinking about the big picture instead of living to admire the subtle elements and components of life in general.

So I decide to spend time with myself. To go for a walk, to do whatever I want to do. To be happy.

So why “clicky finger”? Most of you might know I’ve been working in restaurants for the last good few years. One of the things that annoys most servers is when a customer click their fingers in order to get attention. That, for me, never bothered me. It’s a different culture in Brazil altogether, so it doesnt impact me at all. But then I realised that the needy social media users annoy the hell out of me. The one that send you a message at 9am and if you don’t reply by 8:59am of the previous day, they start their paranoia “?” “?????” “?”, “you’ve been online and not answered my message?”, “you went out and not invited me?”, “you haven’t tagged me on that post? do you not love me anymore?” . You know the pearls.

So the conclusion is: I am fed up of giving a f*ck about your needs, and from now on, I am prioritising mine. Because when I was prioritising yours,  I felt I was failing in fulfilling my role in the society, while the truth was: I was forgetting who I actually am. And if you have a problem with that, as I usually say: you have the problem, not me.

P.S: and even on the 4 weeks I was out of social media, and 8 weeks I did not go out a single day, certain people still accused me of being out and about. One suggestion: go and live your life, rather than trying to live mine. Point your fingers to your own nose.

Rant done.