NOISE CHALLENGE #1: THE PULSE
If your city had a defining sound, a defining pulse, a defining heartbeat, what would it sound like? look like? or feel like? …where would you go to find it? You have 1 week to venture outside and find the pulse of your city.
The pulse of my adopted city, São Paulo beats in my veins. It is the never ending sound of the traffic, and silent Sunday mornings. The sounds of the life I left behind also pulse behind each beat of my heart, the sounds of Brighton beach, the sea, the sound of my past.
This is the story of my arrival in August 2011.
Brighton, I love you but you’re bringing me down
I’m here after seven long months of outlandish claims that I was moving to São Paulo, the momentum of the boast took over and I found myself leaving everything behind to come here.
The last few days in England are a total blur, never one to take the sensible option and embroiled in this dysfunctional, destructive relationship, it was chaos. It was a heady mixture of passionate declarations, booze, drugs and no sleep. A mad mixture of huge flurries of activity punctuated with tender moments and sad goodbyes, desperate pretenses and hard labour.
I packed nothing before that weekend, did nothing, we lay in a tangle of duvets and gradually my life emptied around us, like the sand in the egg timer, each item that went was another moment towards the end. For me the fear of what I was doing was creeping closer, for him the loss of the bolthole of me and the castle I lived in, his escape from reality no longer available. As we cried about the end our self centred minds were both on other things, we are not a good combination, which is why I had to leave.
I had spent seven months congratulating myself on not being scared, I couldn’t really understand it. When people told me I was brave. I thought to myself, I am fucking brave. I suspected (and I now know this to be true) I was more foolhardy than brave, jumping off the cliff with no thoughts for the consequences of the leap.
The fear, when it did come, was overwhelming terror. It almost stopped my heart and my journey. I flew from London to Paris, as I expected, a bit tearful and sad at the loss of leaving. At Charles de Gaulle we sat on the shuttle bus waiting to go to the plane and it started. Panic, couldn’t catch my breath, and couldn’t think straight, I had to fight the urge to run. We sat that there forever, waiting and waiting, my own private battle raging inside of me. When you are a selfish child like me, and in general you do what you like, the emotional battles are primal. Usually I don’t want to go would mean, I don’t go, but not this time. When we finally got to the plane, the last part of my journey I was literally willing my feet to walk up the steps, breath in bursts tears running down my face. I was so frightened of taking this step in to the unknown, I had find the inner adult to carry me up the steps and aboard that plane.
Slowly over the 11 hour flight I began to calm down. Logical arguments with myself, give it a few days, come home whenever you want. Pride kicked in, the humiliating thought of scraping home tail between my legs, this great enterprise I’d talked of for so long, a failure, failed. Pride started to win over fear.
And then there I was, my first morning in my new life. Lying in my bed, watching the sun rise over my new city. The fear had subsided to a dull ache. I knew I was here for a reason; I was here to make a change. He and I talked about it over and over before I left; this has to mean something for him and me. We caused pain to others through our choices, hurt people. If that year of passionate friendship is to have a purpose, and it spurred this journey, then it can counterbalance some of those hurts.
It’s strange to remember know how afraid I was then. How the city seemed so daunting. I sat in the echoing empty space of my new apartment and willed myself to go outside. There was no excitement now only fear. I thought I had taken that first step off the cliff. What I didn’t realise was that for the first few months here every day would be another leap of faith, another challenge. On the good days that energised me. On the good days that reminded me why I had taken this journey.
I stood on the balcony looking out across this vast city many many miles from the life I left behind and I felt relief, safety and relief. I was proud of myself I’d walked way. I remember him boasting in that last weekend ‘She’ll never leave me, would you leave me?’
‘I am leaving you’ I replied ‘I’m moving to São Paulo’.