a conversation with sofia/être soi

V: Tell us a bit about yourself Sofia.
S: Hello everyone my name's Sofia, I'm on my mid-thirties, I'm portuguese and I live since 16 years now in France just outside Paris. I live with my husband who is french. I have one sister, older than me. My mom died when I was still a child and this loss has been with me ever since, in whatever I do. I'm from the south of Portugal but I have always longed to live somewhere up north, especially the north of Europe. When I was a child we had family and friends where all over the world: Belgium, Germany, Holland, Australia, Canada, etc and even Macao. I have always been used to the idea of having the world as my home, just like in the song "wherever I lay my hat that's my home" : ) 

V: How would you describe yourself?
S: First of all I'm a maker; I exist to, and because I, create and I create to exist. I'm very opened to spirituality and I believe that what I do is my way of living my spirituality everyday. I'm a person who loves to learn all the time, I'm always looking for new ideas, I'm always searching, I never stop searching : ) With the years I have also learned to see life differently and to accept what I can’t change; this has been a major change in me and I’m grateful that thanks to my searches and to my open mind I have been able to arrive here and to continue my path. Of course, I also believe that nothing happens without a reason, so I’m sure that everything comes at the right time. Every day is a new day to learn what could be better than this?

V: Can you tell us about the title of your blog?
S: Oh, yes être-soi means to be yourself, this is what my blog is about, the possibility that we all have to be ourselves, the choices we make in life even if we think that sometimes it’s life that has made its choices for us, which erases the responsibility we have but at the end we are the ones who accept it or not. And this also means not only on a physical level but on a mindful one too, especially on this one. Sometimes we prefer not to see life the way really is, so we keep on telling ourselves that we made what was possible but deep down inside we know that we haven’t. Life is about transformation and fortunately it is never too late to learn and become who we really were supposed to be. On my blog, I write about everything, some more deep subjects but the most frivolous ones too, because life is made of both. I also wanted at first to talk about spirituality and I haven’t really done it on a regular basis until a few weeks ago when I started making some podcasts (holistic moments) about what I feel, based on my own experiences only.

V: You are an artist working with different mediums like textile, painting and also writing.
S: Yes, at the beginning writing was my first love, I never thought that I was able to paint because I didn’t knew how to draw, this is what I was told has a child, so I wrote all my teenage years, I wrote my first short story at the age of 10. I always kept on working with textile because this was and still is the only link I kept with my mother. Textile, painting and writing are all intertwined for me; they are all part of me and my story. My artwork is based on my personal and cultural/collective story. I was born 1 year after the Salazar dictatorship felt down on my country and I was born into a new world rocked by my parent’s dreams for freedom. They have long gone but I keep on dreaming for them too

V: Can you tell us a little bit about what you are working on at the moment?
S: At the moment my main work is a book I started writing, here in France we call it an auto-fiction book because it blends both reality and fiction and it is written as a journal with daily flashbacks into my memory. I’ve also started to work on “Tisserie de poèmes” which means more or less “ the weaving workshop of poems” , where like always I try to mix painting, collage, drawing and my words. And of course I continue to write poetry.

V: What inspires you?
S: Everything inspires me, I have come to a conclusion that it’s life: mine and others that inspires me, so it’s really difficult to say one or 2 things…. Life is art and art is inspiring!

V: What makes you happy?
S: A lot of things make me happy, mostly the little things of daily life. As happiness and any other emotion is not a permanent state I am very grateful to be able to find meaning and beauty in what surrounds me. But how could I not say that a perfect 2 hour walk through green parks and blue lakes are on my top list

herbarium 7, watercolor/pencil drawing

V: Artists that you admire?
S: Vilhelm Hammershoi is my favorite of all time, the beauty of the ordinary life he has painted puts me on a meditative state; it’s amazing. Louise Bourgeois is an icon for me, as she has succeeded to make art with her life and to exorcize all the demons in her life through her art and for that I admire her. I also love Sophie Calle, Annette Messager, Christian Boltanski. As for writers Fernando Pessoa, Florbela Espanca, Hélène Bessette, Sylvia Plath, Silvia Baron Supervielle, Virginia Woolf, Olivier Adam and Nancy Huston are the ones that I carry with me wherever I go.

V: When i say creative you say....
S: Alive

V: Something you have learned the hard way?
S: To let go: from a loss, from a lack, I’ve learned that we are stronger than we can imagine and that we can manage to go through anything in life.

V: What do you especially appreciate in your life at the moment?
S: My time; I know that we can’t have everything in life and that sooner or later things have to transform so while I have this time that my job offers me I’m happy and grateful. I had to say goodbye to a lot of things, and that includes a big part of my income, I have learned how to live differently, but nothing’s more precious than the time I have for me and for the ones I love.

V: How does a perfect day look like for you?
S: My perfect day is to get up at 8am and do some Yoga, than take a shower and eat a delicious and healthy breakfast, while doing it I listen to radio podcasts about philosophy, spirituality and literature and I browse through the internet. I make some household tasks while listening to these podcasts too. I than spend some hours until lunch normally writing or painting. I make lunch and eat lunch and after that on a perfect day I would stay home writing and painting again, but on a normal day I just go to the museum where I work until 6pm and come home where I will prepare dinner for when my husband arrives, we eat dinner and we watch a movie together just before going to bed early around 10:30pm this is a perfect day for me and it looks like I live it because this is exactly what I live daily

private poetry crocheted necklace
V: I know you treasure a good book, can you share some of your favourites with us:
S: Well, “The book of disquiet” by Fernando Pessoa is my all time favorite, it is my bible, the one that is constantly have beside my bed and that speaks to me at any moment of my life, than I have so many that it’s hard to name a few but I’ll try. “Cliffs” by Olivier Adam is a personal masterpiece, I’m on every page! Any book by Nancy Huston also, she’s an amazing writer and she writes so well about women. Also any Andrée Chedid’s poetry book is a must.

V: Do you have a favourite quote or saying that you would like to share?
S: Yes and it’s by Fernando Pessoa :

"I am nothing
I shall never be anything
I cannot wish to be anything
Aside from that, I hold within me all the dreams of the world."

V: Where do you like to be in ten years from now?
S: I just would like to be where I am but being able to pay my bills with what I create, no more no less just that.

V: And last: can you please share one of your own poems with us?
S: My pleasure They are all written in French so the translation is not the best, hope you’ll like it anyway:

I speak an unknown language
at the end of a colorless day.
Through the window, the
painless light sends me back
my split up image.
Just above the last cloud is dying,
on me,
over the imperfect hours.

I know now where I go.
After my coffee
I leave and
I forget my name.


Je parle un langage inconnu
à la fin d’une journée incolore.
Par la fenêtre, la
lumière indolore me
renvoi mon image fragmentée.
Juste au dessus le dernier nuage se meurt,
sur moi,
sur les heures imparfaites.

Je sais maintenant où je vais.
Après mon café je
pars et
j’oubli mon nom.

sofias blog, etsy shop and website.


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