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2023 was a year of transformations. I had finished putting together this website when everything started rolling. My family imploded, my friends became ghosts, and I had to learn to curl up with my pillow to contain myself. I have panic attacks, few people confess it because there are more than ten prejudices that drive them to tell you> You have to relax, it's better to do therapy, you lack self-control, relax, you could do yoga, it's probably because you sleep badly, sport will cure all your ills, but look how lucky you are, you should be grateful for more in your life or, Best of all, you should stop and rethink your priorities in life. It's as if mental health is a matter of will and not chemistry combined with personal characteristics that we should enjoy in the same way that we have green eyes or are good at dancing. 50% medicine and 50% who you end up being.

Despite everything or, rather, with all this present, 2023 was a year where I achieved many personal and professional successes. Let's go easy first. At work they promoted me, they offered me a job with better conditions abroad, I finished a critical edition of poems by Christina Rossetti, they invited me to a conference in Buenos Aires and I finished a master's degree in Comparative Literature. When you write it it sounds more than it felt, it was a flow with the intensity that characterizes me. Now let's get to the hard part. I managed to keep myself doing sports at least three times a week, I fulfilled my dream of baking bread, I enjoyed my relationship with my uncles and I felt all their love when I needed it most. The extension of one area of my life over another shows my clumsiness. The head goes faster than the body goes and day-to-day life has more to do with sensory enjoyment of what surrounds us. I think that's why I like poetry so much. It is a way of observing the world carefully and with the help of someone who makes words come to life beyond the space where you receive them.

I confess to having lost the courage that this project mobilized, initially I dared to sign my name with everything I wrote. Now I need time to recover the lost energy, the fluidity of a language that has been buried in hours of sleep, crisis, crying and fear, a lot of fear. I know that the latter is always followed by a jump, a way of growing that must be similar to when you transplant, you recognize how their roots are released to the earth, some even break in the process, but in the end you know that it is for their good. I think I have never been so aware of that movement, of gently abandoning what gave you confidence because instinct calls you to make decisions that you cannot explain rationally. Because yes, I will be very mental but instinct never fails me, I feel it in my stomach. In colonial chronicles they talk about the center of the body using the expression "like the kidney of winter." Perhaps they were more aware of a body than we are who hopefully hear the heartbeat.

I am in a foreign country, I hate their food and everything seems so noisy to me that I have already bought two earplugs to go to cafes and restaurants and read in peace. Antisocial? No more than it was in Chile and much less than the local people who live engrossed in their cell phones. I'm alone, but I don't feel alone. I brought 20 books and left all the others in Chile. I have returned to the Kindle and it is comfortable enough for me to take it everywhere without carrying too much load. I will return to physical books, I know myself and eventually they will come knocking on my door on their own.

Come 2024, I am happy to start new challenges and get to know a place as strange as Texas for a Chilean who had never been to North America in her life.

A hug!



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