ByPaula Lemos, writer at
22. Brazilian. Advertising student. Frustrated script writer. Loves beaches, sun, music, movies, books, fashion and cooking/eating.

To miss something or someone; melancholy feeling of loss; a mixture of sadness and desire, like a dream that will never come true. A constant and vague desire to have what you can not. Recurring theme in any art form and probably subject of many sessions with the therapist.

Saudade, a word impossible to translate with a "I miss you" for the simple fact that it is so much more than just the act of miss. Perhaps this word is one of the biggest - and best - contributions that our colonizers left to my people. Saudade. Saudade was what they also left when they came out of our lands along with our indians blood, our diverse and rich native languages, our majestic trees, our bright gold and our colorful birds. Okay, at least we got the "saudade", understood and spoken from the rich livestock lands in South, to the so abundant in water lands in North.

Saudade pronounced with strong and sharp vowels, usually accompanied by a bright, penetrating gaze. Or perhaps for a sad emoji, nowadays. A word that should only be spoken to others when the feeling is strong and unfeigned. It's like the blessed "I love you", which if always spoken, it loses its meaning. It comes from the Latin, which generated the Portuguese of Portugal and mixed with the anscient Tupi* became my beloved Brazilian Portuguese. A word that is a blend of solitude (solitatis) with greetings.

Spoken by over 200 million people in my america (a continent where not only the "Americans" live in) and understood by all of us with compassion and caring. Saudade hurts and there is not a single person in my immense and multicultural Brazil that has never experienced this terrible, exhausting and melancholic word in its purest meaning and sense. "Yearning" is just not enough to really contemplate what saudade means and feels.

Wonderful and evil word, ranging from simple distress to complex cases of depression that must be treated with anxiolytics: because the saudade is always in a hurry to be ended. We all want to be killers of you-know-what. Killing saudade is an arduous process of reflection, breathing and has everything to do with the famous five steps of acceptation of loss and is extremely linked to death. The worst kind of this word is the one you know you cannot kill, is the one that death was faster than you and took someone you love away.

Sometimes an "I love you" has no meaning as strong as an “I have saudade of you”. Knowing you are being missed and that the person remembers your presence with pain in the heart, although it sounds evil and self-centered - and it really is - it gives you an unique sense of belonging. And in this mortal and fast life, being part of something bigger than yourself is amazing. You are not alone when saudade is present, though sometimes it seems that being alone is better than suffering with this intense feeling.

My people is "saudoso". Something that would be a mixture of longing, with home sick, with wistful and nostalgic. We have saudade of other springs, other loves, other carnivals, of that song from that summer on the beach, that sunset, your dog that stayed home, the grandfather's embrace, the card game with your aunt, fisheries with your father, conversations with your mother. It seems that we live with her and for her, this feminine word that is as seductive as it is destructive.

For us, saudade is like the sun, football, samba, barbecue, caipirinha, laughter, Vinicius de Moraes poetry, very cold beer and all other stereotypes that you can relate to Brazilians: yes, we can not live without it.

If it were a person, Saudade would be attractive, with dark brown skin, full of curves, would wear a bright red lipstick and a vivid flowered dress. A sweet and deadly mixture walking to the rhythm of the famous Girl from Ipanema, immortalized by the saudade Tom Jobim transformed into music.

If it were a Hollywood film, it would last for four hours and would be divided into two discs. Tarantino would be the author, so it has enough blood and it also may have a touch of that guy who turned all his books into films and always has someone who dies of cancer ... Nicholas Sparks. The soundtrack: composed by Hans Zimmer, to give the melodramatic tone and still be full of exciting and fun turning points.

Saudade can be more faithful than your dog, it is present from the moment you wake up until the time you fall asleep and often appears in dreams in forms of monsters and scary things.

Saudade is always polarized: it is hot and cold, dream and nightmare, love and hate, sadness and happiness. Saudade is what I feel in this new journey of life. Saudade is what kills a little bit every day, but that's what keeps us alive to reach the end of it and know that it is always worth. Saudade, in other words, is love with distance of time and space.

"Enough of saudade", Tom Jobim would sing.

*Tupi: most spoken language by the native people in Brazil, before the Portuguese arrived.


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