Lágrima no canto do olho (coisas bonitas de cinco de Maio)

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Aloha, pequenos mamíferos anafados e roliços de boa disposição!

Hoje é dia de coisas bonitas, já vi. O dia começou de sol em riste, tempo abafado que eu já não sentia desde que saí de terras mouras, faz um mês e meio, qualquer coisa assim. É tempo de vestidos sem mangas, pernas sem meias, sapatos frescos… É tempo das caipirinhas na esplanada, água fresca com limão, salada de camarão (que fome!) e de gelados pós-almoço. É tempo de colher das flores do campo do vizinho e oferecer a alguém; a ninguém. É tempo de soltar os cabelos e prender madeixas com ganhos florais e primaveris.

É tempo de ler! Eu acabei, hoje de manhãzinha, carta ao Pai, de Kafka (http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Kafka). Que delícia de leitura, ainda lhe sinto o gosto. Mas, para limpar o paladar e porque eu não posso descurar outra vez o prazer da leitura, comecei logo a seguir a ler O grande Gatsby, de F. Scott Fitzgerald (http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._Scott_Fitzgerald). Tenho altas expetativas em relação a este livro mas, só vou dissertar sobre o mesmo, mais tarde.

Mas, como eu estava a dizer, hoje é dia de coisas bonitas. Não sei se é por ser dia 5, do mês 5 e esse ser um número muito espiritual, que reúne todos os elementos (água, terra, fogo e ar) em conjunto com o quinto, que é o espírito. Talvez seja por isso que hoje me sinta mais em contato com todos os meus sentidos. Mal saí da porta, pela manhã, entreguei o meu corpo ao sol, ao vento, à brisa. O toque da natureza na minha pele, os cheiros envolventes… Pisei a terra e dei-lhe valor. Acenei a desconhecidos, distribuí “bons-dias” e sorrisos a monte. Cumprimentei os animais, fiz festinhas e até consegui não desejar mal a nenhum pombo (já assumi aqui a minha fobia de pombos? Talvez fobia seja muito forte. Não é nenhum medo irracional e intolerável. Mas é assim uma aversãozinha. Coisa pequena, que ainda gosto mais de pombos do que certas pessoas). Portanto, como em dias de coisas bonitas acontecem coisas bonitas, já li duas coisas que me preencheram a manhã. A primeira foi enquanto andava à procura de matérias interessantes para dissertar e fazer uma notícia… E reparei num artigo, neste caso do site Madame Noire (http://madamenoire.com) que transcreveu um discurso proferido há coisa de dois, três dias, pela atriz Gabourey Sidibe (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2829737/). Quem não sabe quem é, basta ir à procura do filme Precious (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0929632/?ref_=nm_knf_t1), de 2009 e do mesmo realizador de O Mordomo (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1327773/?ref_=nm_knf_i2), que conta a história da menina preta com mais-que-excesso de peso, que é alvo de maus tratos e violações e coisas demais, em casa. On top of that, é iliterada e está grávida do seu segundo filho. É uma pérola cinematográfica, a que toda a gente devia assistir. Pronto, mas Sidibe não é daquelas atrizes protótipo de Hollywood que podem ser capa de uma publicação qualquer, para contar como engordou 30 ou 40 quilos para o papel e os perdeu em coisa de meses. Nada disso – Gabourney é mesmo gorda. Ou obesa, ou o que lhe quiserem chamar. E, como se ser-se gordo em Hollywood não fosse castigo suficiente, ainda tem de lidar com uma série de problemas que advém de ser gorda e preta. Há coisas engraçadas (sarcasmo).

Enfim, nesta gala que aconteceu no dia 2 de Maio, se não vos induzo em erro, a atriz deu um discurso sobre o seu peso. E sobre a forma como lida com quem ela é, e com a forma como os outros a vêm. Ela começa por dizer que, normalmente, a pergunta mais frequente que lhe fazem é “como é que és tão confiante?”. Como se ela fosse um bicho que tem de viver sem confiança na pessoa que é. Eu vou-vos deixar, abaixo, o discurso que Sidibe fez, em inglês (presumo que aqui toda a gente consiga acompanhar), e que me deixou de lágrima no olho. É um orgulho que haja quem se sinta assim, bem ou mais ou menos bem, consigo mesmo, mesmo que os outros julguem.

Aqui vai (é um bocadinho grande, mas vale mesmo a pena ler. Não é tempo perdido).

I’m so excited to be here. Really, really excited. Okay, I’ll get to it. Hi. One of the first things people usually ask me is, “Gabourey, how are you so confident?” I hate that. I always wonder if that’s the first thing they ask Rihanna when they meet her. “RiRi! How are you so confident?” Nope. No. No. But me? They ask me with that same incredulous disbelief every single time. “You seem so confident! How is that?”

When I was ten years, in the fifth grade, my teacher, Miss Lowe had announced that my class would be having a holiday party right before the Christmas break. She asked if we all could all bring snacks or soda or juice to the class party. She also said we had the option of cooking something, if we like. I was so excited. I immediately decided that I would make gingerbread cookies, and that everyone would love them. I told my mom my plan, and I asked her for money to go buy the ingredients. She thought I should just buy store-bought cookies, but I told her, “Those cookies didn’t have enough love in them!” I had to make the cookies. So I bought the mix, and I bought cookie cutters in the shape of Christmas trees and bells, and I made a practice batch of cookies that went horribly wrong. Good thing they were a practice batch. They were awful. And then the night before the party, I made another batch of cookies. And they were also awful, but they looked a lot better. I carefully put the cookies in a Ziplock bag, so I could take them to school the next day. When I got to school that morning, I could not wait until that party. And I was so proud of those cookies, and all the effort I put into making them, I started to think that maybe I wouldn’t just be the first woman black President — maybe I would also be a celebrity chef! I mean, why limit myself?

The party was set to take place during the last hour of school, and I waited excitedly for it all day long. Finally, it was party time. My teacher asked what everyone brought, and I proudly announced that I had baked cookies for the class. I think I felt prouder knowing that everyone else just bought stuff. I was the only one who made anything, because clearly, I’m a little more clever than anyone else. So as the party starts up, I walk around the class, proudly offering cookies to everyone. No one took a cookie. No one. No one except Nicholas, who was the first person I offered one to. But after a few of our other classmates set him straight, he actually caught up with me as I walked around the class, and gave the cookie back. I walked around the class trying to hand out cookies to my class, until I ended up back at my desk with the same amount of cookies that I started with. I sat at my desk alone, eating those gross gingerbread cookies that took hours to make, all by myself. I put chocolate chips in them, that’s why they were gross. I wasn’t surprised. I just forgot for a moment that my entire class hated me. I had zero friends from the fourth grade to the sixth grade. Who the hell was I baking cookies for? I really got so excited to bake that I had forgotten that everyone hated my guts. Why didn’t they like me? I was fat, yes. I had darker skin and weird hair, yes. But the truth is, this isn’t a story about bullying, or color, or weight. They hated me because… I was an asshole!

Yep. I was a bossy, bossy asshole. See, remember when I said that I thought I was more clever than everyone else? Well, I did! And I told them that — every single day! Those kids couldn’t get a word in edgewise, without me cutting them off to remind them that I was smarter, funnier, and all around wittier than them. I was always sarcastic — I called it my birth defect. And let’s face it, kids don’t get sarcasm. They don’t appreciate it. They never knew what I was talking about. And when they would say, “Wait… huh?” I would say, “My God, Alicia, read a book!” I know. I spoke differently than them, I just did. I sounded more like a Valley Girl than a Brooklyn girl. My classmates always asked me if I was adopted by white people. I’d say, “No. Both my parents went to college.” I know that was rude, but I’m still really proud of that. To be fair, in my neighborhood, not everyone’s parents had the opportunity to go to college. Most of my classmates’ parents were teens when they had them. My parents had me at age 30. My father was born in Senegal. His father was the mayor of the capital city, Dakar, and my dad often took my brother and I back home with him to visit Africa, while most of my classmates had never stepped out of the Lower East Side. My mother was a teacher in high school, that’s why I went there, but my mom also had a voice, so when I was nine, she quit her teaching job to go sing in the subway. She actually made more money as a singer for tips than she made as a teacher! I know! And she was quickly becoming the underground version of Whitney Houston. She was the strongest, smartest, and most talented person I had ever known. Even today, I don’t want to grow up to be anyone as much as I want to grow up to be her. I know!

The point is, I was a snob. I thought I was better than the kids in my class, and I let them know it. That’s why they didn’t like me. I think the reason I thought so highly of myself all the time was because no one else ever did. I figured out I was smart because my mother would yell at my older brother. She’d say, “Your little sister is going to pass you in school. You’re going to get left behind and she’s going to graduate before you.” But she never said to me, “You are smart.” What she did say was, “You are too fat.” I got the message that I wasn’t pretty, and I probably wasn’t normal, but I was smart! Why wouldn’t they just say that? “You’re smart.” It’s actually not that hard. My dad would yell at my brother, “Gabourey does her homework by herself! Why can’t you?” But he never said to me, “Good job.” What he did say was, “You need to lose weight so I can be proud of you.” I know. So I got made fun of at school, I got made fun of at home too, my older brother hated me, my dad just didn’t understand me, and my mom, who had been a fat girl at my age herself, understood me perfectly … but she berated me because she was so afraid of what she knew was to come for me. So I never felt safe when I was at home. And my response was always to eat more, because nothing says, “You hurt my feelings. Fuck you!” like eating a delicious cookie. Cookies never hurt me.

“Gabourey, how are you so confident?” It’s not easy. It’s hard to get dressed up for award shows and red carpets when I know I will be made fun of because of my weight. There’s always a big chance if I wear purple, I will be compared to Barney. If I wear white, a frozen turkey. And if I wear red, that picture of Kool-Aid that says, “Oh, yeah!” Twitter will blow up with nasty comments about how the recent earthquake was caused by me running to a hot dog cart or something.  And “Diet or Die?”[She gives the finger to that]  This is what I deal with every time I put on a dress. This is what I deal with every time someone takes a picture of me. Sometimes when I’m being interviewed by a fashion reporter, I can see it in her eyes, “How is she getting away with this? Why is she so confident? How does she deal with that body? Oh my God, I’m going to catch fat!”

What I would say, is my mom moved my brother and I to my aunt’s house. Her name is Dorothy Pitman Hughes, she is a feminist, an activist, and a lifelong friend of Gloria Steinem. Every day, I had to get up and go to school where everyone made fun of me, and I had to go home to where everyone made fun of me. Every day was hard to get going, no matter which direction I went. And on my way out of the house, I found strength. In the morning on the way out to the world, I passed by a portrait of my aunt and Gloria together. Side by side they stood, one with long beautiful hair and one with the most beautiful, round, Afro hair I had ever seen, both with their fists held high in the air. Powerful. Confident. And every day as I would leave the house… I would give that photo a fist right back. And I’d march off into battle. [She starts crying] I didn’t know that I was being inspired then. On my way home, I’d walk back up those stairs, I’d give that photo the fist again, and continue my march back in for more battle. [She pulls a tissue from her cleavage and dabs her eyes] That’s what boobs are for! I didn’t know I was being inspired then, but I was. If they could feel like that, maybe I could! I just wanted to look that cool. But it made me feel that strong.

So, okay, we’re back in fifth grade, and I just had been rejected by 28 kids in a row. And I was sitting alone at my desk, with an empty Ziplock bag, crumbs in my lap, and I was at this great party that I had waited for all week. I waited all week for this party that I wasn’t invited to. And for some reason I got up, I sat on my desk, and I partied my ass off. I laughed loudly when something funny happened. And when Miss Lowe put on music, I was one of the first ones to get up and dance. I joined the limbo, and ate chips, and drank soda, and I enjoyed myself, even though no one wanted me there. You know why? I told you — I was an asshole! I wanted that party! And what I want trumps what 28 people want me to do, especially when what they want me to do is leave. I had a great time. I did. And if I somehow ruined my classmates’ good time, then that’s on them. “How are you so confident?” “I’m an asshole!” Okay? It’s my good time, and my good life, despite what you think of me. I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. I show up because I’m an asshole, and I want to have a good time. And my mother and my father love me. They wanted the best life for me, and they didn’t know how to verbalize it. And I get it. I really do. They were better parents to me than they had themselves. I’m grateful to them, and to my fifth grade class, because if they hadn’t made me cry, I wouldn’t be able to cry on cue now. [Dabs tears] If I hadn’t been told I was garbage, I wouldn’t have learned how to show people I’m talented. And if everyone had always laughed at my jokes, I wouldn’t have figured out how to be so funny. If they hadn’t told me I was ugly, I never would have searched for my beauty. And if they hadn’t tried to break me down, I wouldn’t know that I’m unbreakable.[Dabs tears] So when you ask me how I’m so confident, I know what you’re really asking me: how could someone like me be confident? Go ask Rihanna, asshole!

Para quem conseguiu entender tudo sem dificuldades, acho que não fui a única comovida e tocada pela brutalidade de um discurso que, mesmo que enaltecendo o que ela é, com todas as qualidades e defeitos, não a faz mais especial ou menos que os outros. Mas torna-a um ser muito mais forte, ainda que esteja longe longe do que lhe é pedido e idealizado.


No seguimento das coisas bonitas e inspiradoras do dia de hoje e, em continuação do Dia das Mães, que se celebrou ontem mas que se deve celebrar todos os dias, vi uma foto-reportagem no jornal Público (http://www.publico.pt/), de Manuel Roberto, intitulada “A minha Pietà“. É uma história contada pelo mesmo, sobre a sua mãe. Sem a enaltecer ou polir para quem a lê, mas mantendo-se fiel à mulher que ela terá sido. É uma coisa deliciosa de se ler, mesmo. É o chocolate da leitura. Dos Belgas. E, no final do relato comovente da vida de Maria Luísa, Manuel Roberto dá-nos o cheiro com fotografias de sua mãe e de sua família. É uma delícia, repito. Acho que hoje foi o dia da lágrima no canto do olho, aqui pela redação. Mas de felicidade. E contentamento, porque ainda há coisas muito bonitas que se escrevem e que se dizem!

Aqui vai o link, com a foto-reportagem (http://www.publico.pt/multimedia/fotogaleria/a-minha-pieta-333811).

Por agora, nada mais tenho a acrescentar. Deixo-vos, antes, com a banda sonora do post. Anthony Hamilton, que eu gosto tanto (https://play.spotify.com/artist/2DzRMyWgjuMbYvt5BLbpCo), para dar aquele ambiente soul e jazzy.

E, se quiserem, como eu, a lágrima no canto do olho, muito Africana, ouçam-na na voz do Bonga, aqui (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufL85FJAgZQ). Bonga é outro que me leva às (poucas, mas boas) raízes de África lá em casa. O pai ouvia, a mãe deliciava-se pela sonoridade, que a levava até casa. Luanda, Angola preta, mulata. Bonga, Bonga, que bom é ouvir-te. Ter-te ouvido a infância toda, misturando o Tuga com o Mwangolé. O cozido à Portuguesa, servido à mesa com Moamba (que saudades de comer Moamba. Que fome, parte II).

Gosto de saber que vou divulgar estas coisas bonitas às pessoas e espero que fiquem tão comovidos como eu.

Beijinhos, com aroma a Manjericão, porque o tempo pede frescura!

C.

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