About Me — Lara da Rocha
I convert my bad luck into stories (to fool myself into believing there is a point to any of this)
Most events in life can be categorized in one of two ways: a good time, or a good story.
― Margot Leitman, Long Story Short
This quote summarizes my current philosophy towards life. I’ve had plenty of shitty things happen to me throughout the years (read more about it below!). I can’t prevent them from happening. But I sure as hell can make the most out of them by writing stories.
Who am I?
That’s a tough question.
I am a 33-year-old Portuguese woman living in the Netherlands with my partner and two cats.
I was confronted by tragedy from an early age: my mother died from an unknown illness when I was 12. That had a significant impact on how I see and interact with the world. I know that death is a part of life, and I have a dark sense of humor about it.
I’m a writer at heart, but that’s been buried by years of neglect. I used to write a lot as a kid but stopped because it took too much time away from studying and all the useful stuff that adults tell you to do. I was good at math and science, so I obviously had to pursue a career in STEM (Ph.D. and all). I ended up with a nice job as a data analyst at a cool online travel company, perfectly safe and predictable — my grandmother’s wet dream.
Then, in January 2020, I was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer. Since then, I’ve had an urge to write personal essays and humor. Because what else can I do but laugh at how unfair and ridiculous life is? Writing is therapeutic and fun, which is now way more important to me than the smart career choice.
I also love playing board games, anime, and dancing Lindy Hop.
I started the Medium publication Innards. It’s a platform for people to share their experiences with health conditions and medical procedures.
The idea came about because I saw many publications on Medium about mental health but struggled to find one on other illnesses. So I thought, why not make one? We need more of this. It’s both therapeutic to write about health as well as a big part of the human experience. And also, those are some of the best stories around.
What do emergency rooms, going bald, back pain, diarrhea, and cancer have in common? They are the source of great…
Submission Guidelines for Innards
If you want to write about the weird things your body does, read on
Writers and comedians I draw inspiration from
These people are amazing, and if you’re not familiar with them, I highly recommend you check them out:
My writing accomplishments
I was a finalist for the ThinkingFunny 2021 Humor Writing Contest, a semi-finalist in The Medium Writers Challenge 2021 and a finalist in Tell Your Story’s Fall 2021 Writing Contest.
About the name Lara da Rocha
My full name is Lara da Rocha Vaz Pato. It’s that long because, in Portugal, everyone keeps both the mother’s (da Rocha) and the father’s (Vaz Pato) last family name. For practical purposes, people usually drop the mother’s name in most settings (damned patriarchy!). So most people know me as Lara Vaz Pato or Lara Pato.
For my artistic name, I decided to put my mother’s name (da Rocha) in the limelight for once. My mother’s side of the family is also quite artistic (poets, painters, movie producers), so this is an homage to them.
My writings by topic
I publish most of it on Medium, as I find this an easy platform to share my writing.
Family and growing up
Beauty is a Steaming Hot Layer of Wax
3 generations of women fighting the never-ending battle against body hair
Homesick for a Sick Home
A surprisingly difficult goodbye to my decrepit childhood apartment
On having cancer and other illnesses
Eve-of-battle Speech by the Great Leader of My Cancer Cells
The unseen and unheard side of the War on Cancer
School and work-life
The Interview Question I Couldn’t Prepare For
From an early age, I felt the urge to warn people that I couldn’t do anything well. I’d say, “I can play the piano,”…
The Call of the Bog
Mia’s first scientific expedition to the bog turned out to be her last
Poetry and short little things
Gratitude Letter to Medicine
I wrote this poem during a one-week stay at the hospital in November 2020.
Please don’t tell me “It’s going to be OK”
How many times do I have to hear things like “It’s going to be OK” or “I’m sure you’re gonna get it” from someone who…
How to contact me
The most obvious way: write me a note on Medium.
Connect with me on LinkedIn (tell me you’re a Medium writer on the invite note): https://www.linkedin.com/in/larapato/
Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org