Shireen Fashion Blog
The Colors of Sobral
Posted by Shireen Sandoval 01/04/13, 10:15am
I turned my face toward the scorching sun and that's when I saw Jesus looking down on me. I'd never been in His presence before. It was overwhelming. I was sweating and felt faint. I squinted, trying to look past the sun. The light was so bright behind him, it was as if he'd arrived from Heaven. He had long hair and was wearing a draped robe, just like I thought he would. His arms were outstretched to greet me. I'd never considered myself a religious person; more like, say, spiritual. But at that moment, "I believed."
I believed - I ended up at The Christ The Reedemer statue overlooking Rio De Janiero, Brazil for two reasons. The obvious: I was on assignment for Deco Drive, covering the movie premiere of "Fast & Furious 5: Rio Heist." The not so obvious; re-discovering a part of myself I had lost.
I had lost - a child, my health and my marriage (albeit, I was recovering from Guillain-Barre' Sydrome.) All of these problems strung themselves together like little cut-out paper dolls and for some reason, I just couldn't find the scissors to snip myself loose. So, I just hung there, weighed down in the middle, swinging back and forth. That is, until I went to Brazil.
There I stood. In front of the omnipresent figure, which was no easy task to get to (literally and figuratively.) Our trek (I was with some fellow journalists,) started at the bottom of the lush Tijuca Forest. We drove up as far as we could, close to the peak of the Corcovado Mountains, then we walked to Christ. The trip was hard. I was weak with illness and the sun was thankless. I wanted to give up, sprawl out on one of the many landings on the way up, but as I climbed the last few steep, limestone steps toward the monument (which stands 99ft. tall, weighs over 600 tons and took seven years to build, ) I had a flash of The Three Wise Men steadfastly, traveling from the East on camels (which must of hurt. I know; I've been on one) and how hard it must have been to get to Jerusalem to see Christ. They were probably exhausted, too, god love them. They didn't even show up empty-handed (they brought gold, frankincense & myrrh) and probably didn't complain. Me, all I had was my camera, a trusty Carlos Falchi travel satchel and enough emotional baggage to circle the globe, twice. So I sucked it up until the gigantic Jesus came into view. When it did, I finally understood why it had been named one of the new "7 Wonders of the World."
Unexplainably, after seeing Christ, my behavior changed. The next day, I rose early and put on a bikini. I hadn't dipped my toes in the ocean for two years (mind you, I live in Miami on the water.) I went to the beach and watched all the beautiful Brazilians walk by (in thongs.) I drank a Skol and bought a cheap dress for a few reals. I threw it on, took my sunhat off and basked in the glory of the goodness of my life.
The following day, after working atop Sugarloaf Mountain above Guanabaria Bay, I caught up with a good friend and we cabbed it to Ipanema . We were wandering around the loveliest park (Parca Nossa Senhora de Paz,) when we noticed the most beautiful, old church directly across the street (Church of our Lady of Peace.) My friend wanted to go in. I balked and slumbered outside on the steps. A few minutes later, I went in. I stared cautiously. It was peaceful. Serene. I never pray but I did. I asked for comfort from my string of cut-out paper dolls. I found the entire situation a little crazy. I had seen "Christ" and went to "Church" all in a matter of 24 hours. Not to mention, earlier in my life, I had sworn off religion after having it pushed down my throat. Surely, the world was ending. I jest, but I believe it kind-of was. At least, my old world was and for the first time, in a long time, I had hope for a new one.
My friend and I ended up at the Ipanema Forum Shops, where I immediately gravitated toward a quaint little jewelry store called Sobral. I may have lost my religion but I had surely found my Resin. Each piece was crafted as if it had its own story. The colors laughed out loud, like they knew the secrets of Brazil and the intricacies of my life. They were bold and brazen (like I used to be, like I longed to be, again.) I bought a clear, rather large Resisn medallion choker, flecked with gold (from Sobral's Metallique line.) When I put it on, it was like draping the sun around my neck. I bought two matching bracelets (one was a gift.)
I don't think my transformation in Brazil was religious per se, but as cliche as it sounds, Christ had changed my life. The simple act of making it to the top of that mountain, to see that statue, gave me hope. It gave me faith and really, despite what one worships, isn't that what religion is all about? As far as the necklace, I look at it sometimes and say: "What was I thinking?" Honestly, I was choosing the light and trying to snuff out the dark (metaphorically speaking.) It's called "retail therapy" for a reason.
As I write this, I have to remind myself, when bad things happen, it's important to live through them, feel the pain, accept the plight and most importantly, move forward in your path. For me, Rio was a beautiful mess; gritty yet gorgeous, dark but light, scary and thrilling. Just like life itself. So it makes every bit of sense, that's where I'd go to find it again. I can't promise you a spiritual journey but I can promise, at http://www.sobralusa.com/ you'll find a one of a kind piece of jewelry, to get you headed in the right direction. Here's to new beginnings. Happy 2013.