You don't know me — so here's a little autobiography

Hi everyone! It's been a while. I've noticed that. though I posted twice here already, many of you don't know me, all of you definetely don't know me as much as the readers of my blog in Portuguese, and a most of you probably only know me from Twitter. If you're part of the last group you might be thinking that I am probably more than just the dramatic Brazilian girl whose tweets are 2/3 about Kira Kosarin and 1/3 about depression. Let me tell you then: I'm really not.
My name is Giulia Santana — Santana is not my last name, it's my first surname, but it just sounds better with my first name so I've been using it this way for a while. —, but as far as I know, I'm not Italian at all. I was born on a small town (people here will call it "developing", but don't trust them, it's a lie) in the state of Bahia, Brazil, on February 18th, 1998 to a nurse (Sagittarius - keep this information in mind) mom and an ambulance driver dad. My family on both sides is extremely conservative (though they're in different ends of the conservative spectrum) but they made one huge mistake: When my mom got pregnant part of her family stopped talking to her for a while, so I was raised under the freedom that being an unwanted child can give to you. I'm also pretty rebelious normally because I'm an Aquarius-Pisces cusp with Mercury in Aquarius, but that's not the point.
I am my mom's first child and my dad's third child, so I'm a middle child but I was raised as the oldest child. That means I am very protective of my little sister but I was never that much of a "I'll kill you, I'm the boss" kid. I was more of a "leave me alone, I have important stuff to do" kid. Problem is, I was the first grandaughter of my mom's parents and the first niece of my uncles, so I never got to be that middle child, fly under the radar kid. I was a little star and I hated to be upstaged SO much. No, seriously, I have a cousin 4 years younger than me and when I was 8 he stole my place of "smart kid" of the family and I'm pretty sure I still resent him for that.

Please look at this picture of me, aged 1, holding a pen and a notepad like the snob nerdy todler I was. 

I learned how to read on my own when I was 4, so I skipped 1st grade and was ahead during all of school. That set a terrible precedent because deep down I believed that I didn't need school to learn what I needed, and though many times this proved itself to be true I ended up losing the ability to be disciplined at school. I'd get good grades out of my smart butt, but I'd lose points for not doing homework or not paying as much attention as I should . I've had teachers hate me all me life because of this.
When I was 9 I decided I wanted to be a poetess and wrote a book of children poetry with some of my best writing at the time. It was a hit - between my grandma and her church friends. On that same year, my brother started living with us and he presented me to my first American show - the NBC hit Heroes. Later that year I dreamt with the show's main actress and decided that it was a Sign from God™ that I should be completely obsessed with her forever. And being obssessed with an American actress (and singer. Forget Nashville, if you don't know Hayden Panettiere's old Disney songs, we can't be friends), changed my life. That started the process of learning English on my own by being surrounded and consuming American culture 24/7. Literally even in my dreams!
In 2009, my current obssession was Miley Cyrus. It took me nearly 3 years to find Hannah Montana because I only had internet on my house in 2008, when I was 10 years old (which in my humble opinion makes me more a Millennial than a GenZ, I don't care when I was born). Like a good Miley Cyrus fan in 2009 (we were called Smilers, right?) I used to ship Niley and ironically hated Selena Gomez. It used to be way harder to get news from your idols back in those pre-Twitter days, so it took me a while to find out Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus were back together from a short period of time back in that year (you know that story, they dated to promote Before The Storm and then broke up and Miley met Liam Hemsworth when she arrived in Georgia after a long plane cry to shoot The Last Song. I mean, who hasn't done that?), but when I did, I did the only logical thing an 11 year old could do: I started writing fanfiction. I wouldn't be able to tell you what the plot was, but I knew it was a Niley fanfiction located in São Paulo with a tittle that would translate to "Hope's Diary" (get it? As in Destiny Hope?).
Also in 2009, after a long will-they-won't-they period, my parents separeted and I moved to the city my mom grew up in for a few months. I seemed to be taking everything as well as I could but that was when the first symptoms of my depression showed up. At that point I had been having panic attacks for two years, but after I moved out I started crying randomly, having energetically bad thoughts and hiding from everyone. To close everything up, that's when I first had the idea for a book (originally a movie), where a superstmart scientist/superhero would go against the adults to save the world on the 4th of July. It was a mix of a bunch of stuff I loved back then (definetely mostly inspired by the movie Sky High -- which I also first watched 3 years after the release). Like I do today, I always did have my obssessions, fandoms and writing to keep me centered.
We moved twice again between 2009 and 2011 (Sagittarius mama, remember?). It was a hard time on me, and though my mom would always ask us if we're okay with it, I don't think I would have ever said the truth. I do think that period of time made me who I am right now. When I got a little older, every time things got a little bad, I'd want to move out and start over. After we got to Rio, I didn't want to leave, but I decided I wanted to be someone else entirely. Worked for a year when I was 13 — I was this super annoying, loud, confident teenager at that age, who was sure she knew it all and had seen everything. This was when I first made my Portuguese blog  — I was so sure everyone needed to know what I was doing. Then depression, chronical anxiety and panic syndrome joined a big toxic friendship and I lost a bit of myself.
The following couple of years were the type of sad mess I'm not good or old enough to joke about so I'll just talk about my writing. With 14 and 15 I started writing so much, I couldn't imagine a world in which I didn't do that for a living. I'd do insane hours, so much bigger than I do right now. I'd read and tweet a lot too. When I started second year of High School (HS has 3 years in Brazil), I had five active fanfictions online and I finished writing my first book. When I finished that year, I had my most popular original story out and I had finished my second book. At 15. My grades? Oh, they sucked. I almost failed that year. But I was finally doing what I wanted to be doing and I had found a thing I couldn't live without. Writing became part of me, once and for all.
I turned 16 in 2014 and so many people said that this was when things were going to change and I'd learn to love and accept myself for who I am. They were right. I grew so much that year and who I am now only happened because of it. I just don't think everyone should go to what I went through that year in order to grow up and love themselves. My mom died in April 2014. I was sent to live with my grandparents back in the city where I was born — that I hated and still do. So besides losing my mom, I lost my life in Rio, which wasn't perfect, but was my life. In the week after, my extremely toxic "friend" told me I deserved every bad thing that happened to me, because I was mean to her girlfriend or whatever, so I lost a "best friend" too — but don't worry, I still got other toxic relationships for a couple of years, like family, new friends, all these other people. I stopped being the snarky sickly attention craving middle child and started to be responsible for my little sister. Legally, I wasn't that for another two years, but here's the thing about losing your parents when you're young, but raised: Adults will promisse to take care of you — until they realize you have all these habits and little things that other adults gave to you. They can't raise you anymore so they have no wish to take care of you. It was me and my sister alone, and I was the older one. So I had no option but learn to love and take care or myself. Or I wouldn't be here today to drag you to my life story.
THAT WAS A BIT DARK, so I'll spare you from my therapy and psychatry comes and goes. I've been in therapy for so long that some of my emotional trauma was caused by therapy. It's mental illness inception up on my brain. What I will talk about is my weight gain — but not so much, since I had an essay published about it this year and I need you guys to read it because it was my first essay published in English and I'm way too proud of it. Panic disorder got me underweight for most of my teenage years. Then when I started my medication correctly, I got about 30kg (that's a lot of pounds. Like a lot of 'em.) landing on what I weight today. And that is great! I have to remember people that all the time, but my weight gain was awesome! I'm healthy now. My body is healthy now. I'm weighting a lot more than my 15-year-old, flat stomach self, but I love it because this body is healthy af. So many health problems I thought I would have forever were fixed by gaining weight. And I'll tell this story everyday for the rest of my life and even after that — I'll show up on Ouija boards just going S T O P   A S S O C I A T I N G  W E I G H T  T O  H E A L T  H until everyone gets it.
So what haven't I told you about my life story yet? Let's see. Oh yeah, the big bisexual elephant in the room. Alright, I finished high school, class of 2014. Just your regular nerdy, overworking girl. I did so well in my final year of high school, I should probably stop feeling guilty for the 2nd year but we're still working on that. I also had never been kissed (let me be a terrible novelist and spoil you: This is not your first kiss story because I'm a 20 year old woman who has never been kissed. Please redirected your shocked gasps to the comments section) or being anywhere close to being a relationship — I did fall in love a 100 times a year though, what can i do? I'm a freaking Pisces. In 2014, I knew I didn't experience attraction in a solely heterosexual way but you know, THINGS WERE HAPPENING and "oh my God, am I gay? Should I come out?" wasn't exactly as big a concern at that point. There was one particular church sermon back in that year that completely convinced me to ignore that part of me for a while. I cannot remember what that sermon said or what it was about, to be honest, but apparently it was intense.
And then COLLEGE HAPPENED. Here's the thing about journalism school: It's pretty queer. One of my friends once accidentally typed "journabism" instead of "journalism" and that caught on so easily that was almost the official name of the class of 2019. When I say that college made me realize I was queer everyone thinks I had several experiences and got GAY, but that was not it (like I said before, I still haven't kissed a single person. In fact, the most action I got was this one party in which I got drunk and eye-fucked my crush and then went home and tweeted Dove Cameron about how hot I think she is). The reason why college made me realize who I am is the fact that in  that little universe, the one where I'd spend most of my days in the following years, it didn't matter who I was. It didn't matter if I thought one thing about me and then completely changed my mind. I met so many different people, people who came from different places, with diffferent stories, people who found themselves only when they got there. And that's when I finally learned to question myself — my world, my beliefs, my relationships and mostly, who I really was.
It wasn't easy, at all. It took me such a long time to accept myself. I never properly came out to anyone — I just teased my friends out until they got it. I'm still not out to my family and I am scared some relative will decide to read this and find out this way, but I also don't care. There's power in giving a name to what and who you are — saying "I'm bisexual" means I get to thrist over whoever I want, but also means no one can take this for me. They can hate me for it. They can pretend it's not true. They can try and say I don't know what I'm talking about. But they can't change me. I'm lucky enough I got to find those amazing safe spaces where I can be who I am without question. Or where I can question who I am without people finding it weird. There's still miles to go (Miley Cyrus reference, maybe?), still comfort I want to find in my own skin before I get to scream who I am loudly. But to know and to own it, is good enough for me so far.


Giulia Santana is a bisexual Brazilian writer and journalism student who also has a 3-year-old cat named Etienne after the drummer of her favorite band. He's pretty cool and totally didn't force her to write this.

2 comments:

  1. Hey Giulia,
    I just came across your blog on twitter and I wanted to say that I see a lot of myself in your words and love the way you write. I also learned how to read at 4, had the chance to skip 1st grade but parents didn't let me, I was born in February 16th, 1998

    This is all unquested information, but I wanted to leave a comment .

    Bye

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WE ALMOST HAVE THE SAME BIRTHDAY!!! Sorry, I'm too obsessed with my birthday not to comment on that.
      This is so cool!! It's crazy to think we had such closer paths in life. PLEASE, no information is unrequested. I'm asking you now to comment every informaation you want to give always. I love reading comments! Glad you're liking the blog <3

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