Why I’m Putting Myself First and Why You Should Too
If you follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter, you may have seen me sharing some pictures of a farewell party a couple days ago. And in case that wasn’t clear – since I wrote those captions on a terrible hangover-induced migraine – said farewell was to me. Yours truly, yes.
But Jules, what the hell?
Well, friends… I quit my job and I am moving back to my hometown.
Pause for the gasps.
As much as I’d love to tell you all I’m quitting everything go to pursue life solely as a blogger, this isn’t the case yet. I have a long list of reasons and this post is my way of sharing some of them with you guys. First one goes right with the title: I’ve decided to put myself first. Allow me to explain.
Six years ago I moved from a small, chill coastal town (not my hometown but right next to it) where I went to school in a building with a freaking rain forest as a backyard and a block away from the beach, to São Paulo, one of the biggest cities in the world with twelve billion people to share the subway trains. Back then, living here was my dream. And I’ll be damned if I say those six years were a complete disaster – it was a fucking huge, life changing adventure!
If you knew me before the moving, you can tell I am a completely different person than I was six years ago. I’ve learned things I could never put into words, I’ve been through unimaginable things, I survived a shitload of bad situations, I grew a hundred years in six and I’ve left behind so, so many demons. I’m a wiser person now, I dare say happier, more free than I’ve ever been. Moving to São Paulo turned the teenage Jules into a woman. I owe a lot of who and what I am to this big step I decided to take in 2012.
But those years have also left me severely bruised.
College is a subject I’m saving for a future post, it deserves its own moment to shine here. What I can say is that it was nothing like I expected and it brought out some pretty complicated stuff I had been hiding since I was a kid. The constant hurry in this city, the amount of people everywhere you go, the noise, the lack of sunlight (compared to living on the beach) and nature… It took me a long time to see it, but slowly every little thing started taking its toll. And I was getting sicker by the minute.
I’ve always been a bit of a hypochondriac, inherited it from my grandmother, but what once was just a little kid wanting attention became a very real adult suffering stress related issues she wasn’t supposed to at such a young age. In my first six months here, I remember I had five or six sties in my eyes. I came down with massive flues about ten times in one year. I developed rashes and allergies I never had. In my second year in college, I started therapy after a pretty big breakdown related to my binge eating disorder. In 2015, while I was working as a teacher, I had a nervous breakdown once, after one of my therapy sessions and I remember I started crying while still in there and didn’t stop until I took the road back to my mom’s place about four hours later. In 2016 I didn’t sleep more than four hours a night, not even once. I ended that year finding out about a herniated disc on my lombar region. Last year I was in the hospital four times, one them when I thought I was having a stroke.
In six years I gained 40 kg (88lbs).
Oh yes, and I’ve also acquired a considerable amount in debt.
This isn’t, by no means, a post trying to convince you all to never move out of your parent’s house or never go to a big city – THAT IS NOT MY GOAL HERE. It also isn’t me complaining nonstop, the complaining stops now, I promise. Everything that happened, everything I just listed, it has made me a much stronger woman now. Strong enough to make the decision that living here wasn’t the right thing for me anymore and that I should put my health, both physical and mental, first. I should put myself first.
The other day I saw this youtuber I follow, Nathalie Barros, talking about how us millenials (hate that word, will always hate it and never hide that I do), we are an immensely sick generation. And for some reason we think that’s okay, that it makes us cool or whatever. At the same time we are surrounded by other generations, maybe our parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, telling us that what matters is that we have a steady income and pay our bills and nothing else. Don’t get me wrong here, friend. Money is important, unfortunately, and I too pay my bills. But did I not just say I am in debt now? What has all that working like crazy, thinking I absolutely had to be going to two universities at once while still working, brought me? And worst of all: why should I settle for that kind of crazy, hectic life for an ridiculous paycheck just because people would care if I was unemployed or not?
People will always tell you what to do. They’ll always expect you to put them as your top priority, to live for your job even if you hate it, to be silently grateful that you have any income even when you’re being paid way less than you deserve. Hell, my boss looked me as if I was worthy of a straitjacket when I told her I was leaving so I could take care of my health and be closer to my family. Tell them all to fuck off. Maybe not as rudely, I admit, but ignore it. PUT YOURSELF FIRST. I know not everyone is lucky and privileged as I am to have parents that support me so faithfully and sometimes quitting your job isn’t a possibility. But put yourself first. Always.
There is a huge difference between putting yourself first and being selfish. The first means you’re looking inside first, working on what’s necessary so you can emanate good things to others. The latter means thinking you’re the only person in the entire planet worth something. Demand the things you have the right to, know your worth and what you’ve earned. If you think someone is treating you poorly, tell them. If you think there’s something wrong at work that is keeping you from doing your job right, speak up. If you notice a certain situation, or a relationship is making you sick, drained, tired, step out of it. We are better people to ourselves and to others when we feel comfortable, healthy, happier. We work more when we work with people that appreciate us for our hard work, people that recognize our skills instead of treating us like machines. We are better children, friends, lovers to those that cherish our existence. Putting yourself first means taking care of yourself, loving yourself so you can be stronger and capable of loving others with more compassion and empathy.
I am so very grateful for every little thing I went through while living in São Paulo. For every person I met, every friend I made, every bitch I had a fight with. Every single experience I added to my ledger. And I am all the more grateful for how much São Paulo has shown me about the world and about myself. I leave today knowing I am doing something for me, taking better care of myself so I can be a greater friend to my friends, a more loving daughter to my parents, a more comprehensive sister to my brother and yes, a more dedicated professional on my next job.
And who knows? Maybe I’ll come back in a few years, healthier, happier, kicking more asses than ever!
Put yourself first, weirdo. Do not let others decide what your priorities should be, ever.
Stay true, kitten.
PS: This whole thing also means I’m starting to work on my move and that is why posts have been a bit more spaced around here. Hopefully the craziness will end in about three weeks and CBC shall be running better than ever!