Imaginary Interview for the amazing series I Do Give Half a Fuck, Thank You For Sharing
So, you’ve been writing on Medium for how long, now?
A little over a year.
And what brought you here?
Well, I first heard about Medium when I worked as a marketing contractor for this big IT company. They wanted their developers to write for their blog and I was in charge of making that happen. I did everything from motivating them to write, translating and editing their stories, and helping them find decent images. One of the marketing girls mentioned Medium in a meeting once and I created a profile for myself and started reading. It wasn’t until half a year later that I would start writing here.
What made you start?
You see, Brazilians are the heaviest of heavy users of social media in the whole Internetz. I’m not a typical Brazilian in many senses (if there is such a thing) but the social media thing, I can relate to that. The big IT company sacked me (they didn’t, they just didn’t properly hire me, which is something they would have had to do if I continued to be a contractor for over six months) and I got a job at a translation services multinational. Pretty cool, huh? Except they have social media firewall blocking. If it was just Facebook it wouldn’t have made a big difference but they blocked tumblr too, and that was where I had been publishing most of my writing for the previous two years or so. Lucky for me, Medium does not show as a social network, so I had a place to unwind in between tasks and publish the pieces I needed to publish in order to cope with my day.
What would you say you write about?
I try to capture the things that move us all. As cliche as it is, it is all I can aspire to. I have tried to be more factual, but it hurts my head. For instance, today the government decided that workers in Brazil will need to work for 50 years before they can retire. It is important to write about that, but it makes me so angry I want to get stupidly drunk and not go to work in the morning. So because I’m a grown-up I just keep on trying to write for that unreal universal human in each of us and save enough money to buy loop thingies to make music with.
You’re a Brazilian woman writing in English. Why?
Mostly because I saw more English here than Portuguese. I felt like the Medium had no way of seeing me if I didn’t reach out to it, and at the time writing in Portuguese felt isolating. At the same time, I can say that writing in Portuguese also felt like too much exposure. I didn’t like the idea that all the people who saw me in the real world would automatically understand (and judge) what I wrote (specially my family). English felt distant enough, safe in a way. It was also a good way to practice. Of course, after a while I found more people writing in Portuguese and even someone who wanted to translate from Portuguese to English. That made me sort of reclaim it a bit. But it still feels weird. Portuguese sounds too ‘written’ to me when I write it. I have a hard time saying the things I write in my head, it is as if writing them strips off their naturality. With English, probably because it is already not that natural to me, that doesn’t happen, I can feel myself saying what I write as I go. In Portuguese I always think I sound too silly, like I’m trying too hard to be cool and failing miserably.
You publish a lot. Do you actually write every day?
Yes. Mostly philosophical nonsense, tho. I’ve been trying to make my writing a bit more plot oriented but I’m too lazy I guess. I’m writing a novel right now, in Portuguese, so extra challenge. The plot is already in my head, it is as though I had a three dimensional vision of the story as an object. I just can’t seem to transpose it in a way that pleases me. I know it’ll take long. If I start fading out here, you can guess where I am.
We’re all wondering, why did you change your username?
I guess I wanted to take the pressure off a bit. And with all the recent attempts at porn and all of my natural anti-corporate rants, I started to fear that someday my employers would find me and who knows.
Well, I had this boss once when I worked as an interpreter at an international crafts fair. He was from India and I helped him sell carpets and stuff. Anyway, there was no way he could pronounce my name, I have no idea why. Instead, he just decided to call me Teas for 10 days. Then my family adopted the nickname, and then some friends heard them and started doing it too. Before I knew it felt like an endearing way to refer to myself.
That’s cute. Anything else you want to say to your readers?
What can I say if not thank you? I mean, the world is huge, Medium is quite big too. The fact that some of you actually consistently click on my thingy instead of doing anything else at that moment is already changing my life. Also, feel free to give me your hearts, I’ll handle them with care. ;)