Love letters: This is (not) a love letter II

Camila Ribeiro
6 min readNov 11, 2023

I need to add that I just found this text that I wrote other day and added something extra in the end…it will make sense (or no) at the end.

I’ve been trying to explain certain things that don’t even make sense in my mind, but I feel like I might not be the only one who goes through this type of thing. I’ve tried to explain it to friends, lovers, colleagues, therapists… and I still think that I haven’t explained it correctly, but I will try it now.

Okay, close your eyes and try to imagine your personality, the way you talk and dress, the way you interact and react alone or surrounded by people. Consider the things you say and the things you hear, the attitudes that you adopt, and the most intrusive thoughts. What would happen if you let them win?

I know very well who I am, and I don’t change my personality to fit others. If you like me, that’s great; if you don’t, that’s fine too — just give me a reason why. That’s how I operate; I need reasons, and things must make sense.

Now imagine what your friends, family, lovers, and haters say about you. Are you sure you’re all those things they say? Or maybe none of that? Who am I when no one sees me? Has anyone ever really seen me?

I am not here to talk about what I am or my personality… this project is not about me, but I must provide some explanations so you can follow it.

Since we’ve already made a little mess and your heads might be exploding, I will try to bring more clarity to the context.

I recently discovered a part of myself that I never thought I had before. I always made it very clear to say out loud, “I am not an artist! I barely am capable of writing my own name without missing a few letters.” But now, I can see very clearly that everyone is an artist.

We are taught that pretty things are perfect, with perfect shapes, perfect colors, perfect smiles, perfect clothes, perfect hair, perfect personalities… and that’s how we grow up with a distorted vision of who we are and who we can be. What is perfect for my parents? Did I accomplished that? What is perfect for my friends, colleagues and lovers?

How many perfect versions of me I need to create?

I’ve never tried to learn how to draw because I know I’m terrible at it. I’ve never tried to explore colors because I’m afraid of getting too excited and not knowing when to stop. I’ve never allowed myself the comfort of understanding that I am enough for who I am and that I don’t need to please everyone — no one does.

I have so many different aspects of my personality that most people haven’t had the pleasure to meet, and here’s the point: Who am I? Who is the Camila that you know?

I grew up hearing, “Camila, you’ll never get anywhere if you keep being so ironic and sarcastic.” I was around 6 or 7 years old… and indeed, I am very ironic and sarcastic.

I am also smart, ugly, sexy, soft, funny, desperate, a people pleaser but a “rebel with an attitude,” too thin, too fat… and all those labels that we can find out there.

“Camila, you are a rebel! Why are you so revolted all the time?” I also grew up listening to that.

None of that ever made any sense in my head. Am I a rebel? Wait a minute, why aren’t you revolted with all the shit happening around us? Why am I too much but your silence is okay?

I am too much. I give too much. I hurt too deep. I love too hard. I am all cuddles but also leave me alone; I need my space. I am never enough. I am always the perfect person at the wrong time. I am broken, and I’ve glued myself back together too many times… and all those glued parts add something to the list of things I am.

The duality of everyone’s personality can be split into much more than two. I can be cute and a little devil, I can go to church and be dirty, I can explore the world but still search for a house to call home, the feeling of being and belonging.

Clearly, I’m not great at talking about myself, not at all… I’m just confusing, and my words are a mess… but I would like to leave this here because this experience is like seeing who I am for the first time in my life.

I can be whoever I want, and no one needs to like it, but certainly, a few people do accept and love me just for who I am, this incredible mess, and that’s why I won’t be writing about me, but about those people.

I might be confusing, I might have many things to say about myself and never find the right words to express it, I might have been broken and lost my entire life, but there’s a small group of people who always made sure that I was standing up, and they filled me with all kinds of different shapes, glues, parts, and experiences… and I am all those things too.

Maybe last night I was Catarine, and she doesn’t like to behave; maybe today I am Elisabeth, a confused-minded writer trying to put into words what I am feeling, writing for no one.

I am all my past versions and all the versions of me that are to come, and I am sure that my people love all those versions.

I was taught that I need to be perfect for everyone, and I learned very well… the problem is that I am not even close to being perfect for myself, and I don’t even know what being “perfect” means. Do I want to be perfect?

We always see “important” people being praised for being great and amazing — they are just very wealthy and use some of that money to “help” people, sometimes — but no one talks about normal people, who have normal jobs, who suffer and hurt but keep going. And that’s what I want to do with this project: I want to show my people how great they are, even when they also feel low and broken.

I am many things, but most of the time, I wish I wasn’t.

Yes, you’re right! I keep saying that I am not here to talk about myself and keep mentioning this “project.” I guess if there’s anyone else besides my dearest friends reading this, they’ve already learned that I take long steps to arrive where I need to.

(I just found this text that I wrote the other night and decided it was actually very appropriate to post today.)

In my last text, I said goodbye to “you,” and now, revising this text, I feel so much connected with that text I just wrote and this one… because I don’t need to be “perfect” for “you” anymore. I remember well what the “perfect me” was supposed to be like, always there for “you” but always alone when I needed. “You” would call me and ask for a place to stay and behind my back, make everyone believe that I was forcing you to leave… but I was always there for “you”.

Maybe one of the times that haunts me most was when I walked away from you because I knew that was the right thing to do, but I was hoping that you would choose me, at least once. But no… and your silence was killing me until the moment you called me to say, “Don’t worry, I am not breaking up with you, no need to cry. I am here with friends having drinks; we’ll see each other tomorrow.”

Maybe I am being too specific about some situations, and it’s not my intention. “You” is not only one person; it’s many and many that treated me in exactly the same way and made me blind about what true love is.

So please, lover, you are not the center of the universe and have no power over me anymore, at least not here.

So I guess I will just add this second part of the letter, and this would(n’t) be a love letter.

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Camila Ribeiro

UX/UI Designer | I am a mess, and here is where I share some of my mental confusion.