Carla: “I want to feel beautiful, from the inside out

Declare that you are a woman who likes to live alone, never wanted to have children, and is still enthusiastic about sex at almost 60 years old, is to delcare yourself a woman that makes many uneasy. Nonetheless, these statements are increasingly common realities among the Brazilian population.

“In 2014, 70 million Brazilians lived alone. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), in ten years, there was an increase of 13.8 million people in this group.”

“Among (white) women 15-49 years of age with more than eight years of schooling, 44.2% had no children in 2013.”

“From 51 to 60, 76.6% of women say they are sexually active.”

For Carla, a 59 year old native of São Paulo and practicing psychologist with dual nationality, her identity was formed long before the current trends were socially acceptable. “My grandmothers (one was Brazilian and the other was French) introduced me to books, both of their homes had libraries and from the time I was young I had access to everything. It was there that I met the Greeks, Shakespeare, etc. and then—with all this input—a girl emereged with one foot in France and the other in Brazil. I didn’t know who she was, but she didn’t want anyone to control her. My Brazilian grandmother had been widowed and soon after married a Belgian. When I was turning fifteen we went to Belgium and on this trip I met two girls. We began discussing boys and the desire not to have children, given that the world situation was so chaotic. And was then that I decided not to have children for fear of introducing them into this degrading situation that we witness today.”

Even though she didn’t want children, she valued sex as source of pleasure, without guilt or obligations. “I had always been a very strong girl. I had always been a critical and determined girl, always wanted to know why such rules or laws are imposed by religions. My sexuality bloomed very early; I had sex at a young age. I had some friends who married as virgins and others who didn’t. But still there was the hypocrisy of marrying in white. For my first marriage, I was married in a champagne colored dress with beige shoes. I couldn’t say loudly and clearly that I wasn’t a virgin, but I strongly tried to show it in another way.”

After a life of diverse experiences, she identifies healthy sex as “when we bring life to our body. Sex is something pleasant in our lives, like riding a bike, dancing, laughing with our friends. Healthy sex is the sex that brings you pleasure and that you give yourself to body and soul. The kind that leaves you with bright and shiny face the next day.

Her determination to live free, according to her principles, was one of the reasons for her second divorce. “I never wanted to get married on paper, living together was enough for me; it wasn’t necessary to get legally married at the justice of the peace (but she ended up marrying because of her boyfriend’s insistence). At that time (of the marriage), I worked in a bank that partnered with a travel agency and I greeted French and Italian groups in Brazil. But after three months of marriage, he asked me to stop working. I didn’t understand and said, ‘what do you mean stop working? You liked me because I was independent and completely autonomous.’ We started fighting and soon parted ways.”

Currently she lives alone and does not feel the need to get married, but still believes in love and future possibilities. Her optimism is one of her greatest success in life, “I have suffered so much for love. I consider myself a happy woman. I know I’m getting older, my body, especially, is aging. But still I believe I’m doing well. What I value is the health of body and soul, to feel good with the body we have and use it to our benefit. (I want to) feel beautiful from the inside out. I had a lot of relationships in my life. I have friends that believe in me and when we’re together say, ‘Wow, you are important to me, I deeply care about you.’ (That is what matters).”