This is it


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Having achieved perhaps my only dream that was rooted in emotion and desire and not in the idea to be more, better, perfect- to have a life in Paris, France- I was assailed with the idea “is this all there is?” and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t blissfully happy yet. The truth is that even when we get what we want, and are grateful and realize we still want it, life is still hard. THe even bigger, truer truth for me was that the second my dream began to materialize, I began to denigrate it, and feel I was stupid for wanting it, that it wasn’t big enough, cool enough, ambitious enough, MBA enough, capitalist enough, hippie enough, etc.  Not to mention the whole business of so called “abandoning my family” to pursue my own selfish pleasures.

So yeah, pretty much all my deepest darkest thoughts came to roost at more or less the same time that I needed all my wits about me to transition to another country, start a new job in a completely new industry, and through it all remember everything is/was impermanent and I’d have to start looking for a new job in six months or so when my yearlong contract was over. Well, as it turns out 12 months turned into 18, and then 18 turned into a permanent contract.  After six months, I’ll have something more or less like a tenured position, and the expectation is that I will stay at least 2 years and probably much longer.

Who knows at this point.  There will probably be significant opportunity in London, though I don’t really feel tempted at this point. Just before the attacks, I was in an angry mood thinking of all the difficulties in France adn that I should just go and make more money and benefit from more loose Anglo Saxon management and become the kind of person who flits from country to country leading a privileged and pampered life.  Even though for a while before I was sort of justifying all of my struggles as kind of a spiritual journey and practical doctorate in French language, business culture, and civilization- after another 3.5 years, I can ask for citizenship.

And then the attacks happened, and I felt a lot of life for my adopted country.

I may leave France, but I would like it to be with the assurance that I can easily come back, have a job, and really build a life, and not just as a tourist or hopefully not having to go through the rigamarole of getting a new work visa.

And truly, as I was seized with a desire I knew was slightly primature this spring, I would like to own a piece of Paris.

Because a 25 meter square apartment, a good enough salary, and a team that lets me learn new things are good enough when considered with my social, cultural, and spiritual life here.

My heart, at least at the moment, seems to beat the same rhythm. I feel like I am on the same frequency as Paris.

Earlier this year in Philadelphia, I understood why such a not bad, somewhat cute little city really bothered me so much as a graduate student

  1. it wasn’t Paris
  2. There was something out of tune, out of step, not on the same wavelength.

During that same trip, I thought to myself that the corporate life was wrong for me and that’s why I had a lot of struggle, that I should plan to get out of it as soon as possible, and that I am really an academic.

Well, I am an explorer but I am not an academic. I love to learn, but I like to learn from life and not only books and experiments. Though I thought I was a thinker, I am a damn good doer, and what’s more, learning by doing is really, really fun.

I’m pretty sure corporate life is for me, no matter how much it is maligned in the press and popular culture. I love the fact that I can do my art, travel, and live without worrying too much about money or having to try to make money from things that I love. I do love my job, to be quite honest, but I am soo happy I can pursue my hobbies and passions as just that without having the stress of making a profit from them. Maybe in the future this will change, but corporate life has been a huge source of personal and spiritual growth for me, and as an achievement oriented personality, I love the fact that there is ladder to climb, even if it is not as rigid and hierarchical as that metaphor makes it sound. It is great to be really rewarded in terms of money, status, responsibility, and scope to be a leader when you “level up.” Granted, that whole process is a game in itself, it is not automatic, but this too can be authentic and genuine, as well as effective.

But yeah it all depends on the person.

And the best thing in France is one can have a great job and a great life at the same time. There are few places better in the world to be a working woman and especially mother.  Wheter I’m a mother or not, this aligns strongly with my core values.

Also money is not the be-all end-all here, and people are not rewarded only in terms of power, which is more equally distributed since employees really  have a lot of power. Some executives pay was frozen at one point to ensure lower ranked employees could receive their scheduled raises.

This kind of environment is totally not beneficial to me as I’m not too far from executive class and am a manager, but still awesome!

So yes, there are a lot of things I like about where I am.

I wonder often whether I will become a high flying global executive type- in a way I hope so, eventually- and just flit from continent to continent in search of new adventures.  I also wonder whether I will just get deeper and deeper into France, and become an expert expat here, a “lifer.”

It’s interesting to see what the future will hold, but I don’t think there has to be a new destination, literally or figuratively.

And that is the biggest progress I have ever made, in my whole entire life.


The Key and the Lock are illusions too


I’ve gone through most of my life believing there was kind of a secret code, an “abracadabra,” that would reveal life’s mysteries and make everything work.

If I could only find the right philosophy or mindset, I could conquer the world, more or less.

If only I could figure out the missing ingredient, I could attract love in my life.

Once I reach X point in my personal development, money will never be a problem.

I will reach some point in my career and that’s where I will fit perfectly and never need to change again.

And then there’s the pervasive idea that once I find the magic bullet, I will never need to put any effort into being healthy and maintaining my ideal weight again.

Don’t forget that you will arrive somewhere and feel home and at that point all your problems from before will disappear. EMPHATICALLY NOT TRUE, I HAVE TESTED IT. I have found my home, at least for a while, and almost abandoned it because actually when I achieved my dream, all kinds of demons from the lower reaches of my mind wanted to do anything and everything to chase me away. Plus, life is just always going to be easy, anywhere.

Even in Par(is) dise on earth.

A favorite proverb goes, “the key that opens the door may in no way resemble the lock,” or something like that.

I thought of that when I thought of loving someone who did not meet my expectations, in particular.

But the truth is that the key and the lock are of the same material, and the idea there is some locked door is just an illusion, a concept.

All the universe is one. The door and the lock and the key and the paradise that comes after it are all illusions.

There is no secret formula, secret code, philosopher’s stone.

All those things simply teach that there is no real difference between lead or god, and me and you are just illusions too.

Just helpful concepts.

Yes, we exist, but we exist as part of the fabric of Creation. We are part and parcel of every stitch.

And in this, we are never alone, in this, we are miracle workers, in this we are the miracle.

So don’t fret.  The emperor has no clothes. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.




Living with the hole in my heart



Recently, I’ve decided to “attack” the “problem” of being single with something even more daring than “I love myself, and I will wait for the right person and someday my prince will come.”

It is a hopeful and hopefully true thought, but confronted with all possibilities and the fact that life is so precious and short, I think true freedom lies in realizing that it will be ok, I will survive, even if it doesn’t happen.

And perhaps the only way to truly love someone is to have let go of the idea of love, in some way.

I may not get married, stay married, and have a child. I may not find that travel partner, best friend, confidante, amazing lover, and provider in times of need. I may not find someone who really loves me that I can fully explore my sexuality with. It might not happen for me.

I may not ever be a mother. I may not ever know what it is to be pregnant with my biological child, the physical fruit of a mystical union of love.  I may not ever hold my own baby, I may not ever teach my child how to read, I may not ever answer questions about how the world works, or raise a child to be better, kinder, and freer than I ever could be.

The tears are streaming down my face as I write this, but the thought has to be contemplated.

I cannot spend my life waiting for a man to make sense of it or give it meaning. This is not something I can control. And yet, my life is full, happy, prosperous, and free. I am rich and blessed and loved in so many ways.  Truly, I want for nothing but that romantic love.  I must be grateful for what I already have, the many blessings I receive every day.  Love is strong in my life. I am not alone. I am well-cared for, and there is already great meaning in my life.

Now, I’m not saying it will never happen to me. But that I realize that there is no hocus pocus of moving to the right city, losing ten pounds, getting in touch with my feminine side, learning to cook, joining the right dating site, or hiring a matchmaker that can guarantee that I will find someone to share my life with.

I think there is a lot I can do to try to encourage it to happen, including having an open heart, open mind, and always striving to be the best version of myself that I can. But in the end, it’s not up to me.

This is something that is completely out of my control when it comes down to it.

I guess practitioners of the secret would say that you attract what you are and make miracles through your thoughts. I think there’s a lot to be said for that, but my soul says that I won’t be free until I accept the possibility there will never be great love of the kind I envision in my life.

I don’t want to “love,” from a state of dependency, and just feeling that I have to pick someone before the game of musical chairs is up and I’ll be alone forever. I recognize that that’s an illusion, and the game is never over as long as you are alive- except to have biological kids, of course.

I want to love from a place of accepting the possibility of not finding it, rather than desperately clinging to the slightest semblance of it in hopes I can force it to bloom.

I want to live from a place of calm and ease and integrity and freedom, and I can’t do that if I haven’t fully accepted the idea of life without romantic love that leads to marriage and kids.

It is something that I really want, I have not in any way ceased to want it. I dreamed of children (not my own) last night, and what it feels like to hold a toddler in your arms.

Love is always on my mind, much as I don’t have any idea where the right place to look for it is, or if it’s worth looking for at all- they say it comes when you least expect it. I want love so much it can be painful to try to balance the possibility of getting close to someone and having it not work out with the fact that you have to venture in order to gain.

I hope this post will help me declare my freedom and in so doing, accept it. Not solely as a woman or an egalitarian feminist, but as a human.

Like the philosophers of old who slept in coffins to prepare themselves for death.

I do not want to die, not for a long time. I’m not sure what’s on the other side, but I do believe in the basic goodness of the universe. And I do believe in God and identify as a believer in Christ, if not fully following the way of so-called Christians.

The sting of  the possibility of not finding love nor having a biological family is really, really strong through.

I’m not sure if other people pass through this stage before finding love, and some part of me hopes that it will indeed make the process of finding it easier, and hopefully more successful as well.

The truth is that I love the world, I love traveling, I love making art in my way, I love writing, I love communicating, I love learning. I love my family and friends. The world is so full, and sometimes it has been suggested that it is my overarching love of the world and curiosity, aka wanderlust, that blocks me from finding solid lasting love.

So I tried to change and be like the people in my life I know who have successful relationships, like my parents. No such luck.

And in the end, I crave freedom more. Not freedom from commitment, but existential freedom, that is, having accepted life, making it my canvas, instead of being its victim.

So dear Lord, I do believe You are listening, and have heard my prayer.

In the meantime, please help me to accept Your will and my place in Creation. Amen.




Getting over myself


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Does love, and the search for it, have to be a constant disappointment? Is throwing in with another human creature bound to hurt all the time?

I know people say not to have too many expectations, but then they also victim blame you when things don’t go right because you didn’t think it through in the beginning.

I’m sad, because someone I really hoped would love me and I are not really on the same page at this point.  I’m not overly attached to him at this point, but the whole episode of trying to really give someone a chance has just really drove him the the fact that my fearless quest for love when it was clearly unrequited was just another hedge against disappointment, just like all those one night stands.

Because once I loved the nitty gritty of a real person, who didn’t check all the boxes but did make me happy some of the time, in fact a lot of the time much as I often feel ashamed to admit it, disappointed the shit out of me, breaking my confidence and my heart over and over, no matter how faithful and devoted he may have been.  He didn’t take care of himself, not to mention he was sometimes mean to me in ways I wish not to acept again. not that I was perfect either.

Love led to some ruin, both on my  side and his, particularly, with an extended trip to the psych ward. For me, I got into a toxic non-relationship spiral, created quite a romantic tale about a somewhat shadowy figure who passed into and out of my life and into unanswered chat boxes, and guys I fucked specifically because I didn’t think I would ever really care for them.

Now, all I want is to find someone worth caring about.

And it’s really, realy hard.

It’s really hard to care, without a guarantee it will work.

It’s hard to care, knowing everythingis in place for it to work and it just might work for a while and then crash, so-called wasting years of your life.

And it’s hard to believe I”m not alone in this universe, super egocentric and snowflake child tortured “special” romantic prodigy genius that I am.

What I am mostly though is sad.

I believed for a long time that those roads that did not lead me to love health and happiness, marriage and children, were just dead ends.

NOw I know, like the Sheryl Crow song I listened to compulsively after my first and only really serous breakup, that these detours are part of a winding road, and there’s no telling where it will lead me.

MOther, teach me to love with a paper thin heart.

There is some unhealed part of me, and it is a shame to say I really just want to fix it to make new love come in my life, and somehow have the reassurance that I’ve finally gottent right.

But I deserve to set it right regardless, and to let that festering wound, and the pain of my loneliness permeate my whole being.


I deserve more than that, to make it a wound where the light enters a la Rumi.  I rightly attribute a lot of my freedom today to breaking up with Victor, a decisive point in my life,a rebellion from routine and safety and comfort, where my authenticity and courage demanded me to stop taking the seemingly safe road. And I didn’t let my pain stop me, or my fear, from doing what I knew was right.

But I deserved to feel those feelings without inner censure. As I deserve to say that I am lonely and sometimes really just want to be with someone, without being told I need to love myself first or be more independent or what have you.

But the truth is that love is gona hurt. I hate the idea that someone will hold me back in any way, especially because nothing is certain, much less a relationship. And sometimes I don’t know whether it would be best for me to be bound or to stay free.

The goal was never to be a caged bird dwelling in secuirty and comfort, but it was to loved ad be loved, flying side by side.

Once someone loved me, and I broke him, the story goes.

But the truth is that the cracks were already there.

And even if I did break him, I still deserve love.

From a breakable man who could really love me, and not some indifferent prince charming so far away to ever really know who I am to love me, and far enough away that I could imagine it was my own fault in some way- my forwardness, my passion, my guilelessness, my disobendeince to “the rules’-

but it was never really under my control anyway.

Maybe that’s the point of it all.



Adventure- the real key to a meaningful life and love


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So I realized that I have become pretty calcified in the way I view my life- not being willing to move, to change, to grow beyond what I already have, being afraid of the future, afraid to take risks, etc.

The truth is that I still do long for transformation in my life, most especially in the area of love.

But I haven’t been willing to change my plans or even theoretically give up anything for anyone. I haven’t been willing to grow.

Looking back continually on the past, I’ve been afraid that if I was in a relationship, I would stop growing, and I would have missed out on so many of the wonderful opportunities that I’ve been able to seize.

But the truth is that love helped create those opportunities, both directly and indirectly.

Maybe my ex boyfriend din’t appreciate travel, but his grandparents did.

They continue to inspire me.

Maybe the one that it wasn’t meant to be with didn’t end up inspiring me to move back to Washington, but he did provide a lot of support for me and my life in France, and I think that he ultimately pulled the plug on our friendship because he felt it would block me from taking advantage of all life has to offer here. The lat time I heard for him, I told him I was hesitating to renew my contract, and all I really wanted was to go home and settle down.

Lies, though it didn’t seem that way at the time.

I have had very specific visions of what I wanted from life, and I thought I had hit the end of the road with my permanent contract and job I like in Paris.

But this is only the beginning of the road.

Whether I stay in France for the rest of my life, or I leave to go somewhere new in a heartbeat, I have to stay fresh and ready to transform.

And that special someone is going to change me. He is going to challenge me, and knock my life off course. He is going to ask questions that disturb me, and because of him, I’ll have hard choices to make- not only my interests vs theinterests of the relationship, but also as I ask the question, ” Who am I and what do I want?” that will change too.

If I fall in love, I am going to make some mistakes and sacrifices. Even if it all works out and the next day I date is the one I remain happily married to for the rest of my life, it’s not going to be easy, and no matter how compatible we might be, this person is going to change me, and I him.

There will be opportunities missed and paths I didn’t get to reach the end of.

But there will also be something real, a true story instead of the many possible futures. And it won’t all be perfect and easy and yes, it will change me.

Just as I was beginning to get this self love thing down, it will change me.

Just as I thought I knew what I wanted and could predict my life, another person will come along and mess all my calculations up.

I will hae to give up te illusion f control even more, and I will have to give up te idea that only I will influence where I am going.

t is a hard thing, to trust someone else to influence you.

It is a hard thing, to be vulnerable that way.

It’s a hard thing, that someday there will be a sacrifice- actually everday.

But I will get much more than I give, I do believe.

And I do get to keep my boundaries, and my power and autonomy, just not my certainty.

And not my heart.

THis will be the scariest thing I ever do, to fall in love as an adult, especially as a young adult, who is still impressionable and does’t have everything figured out.

I thought maybe I could wait until I was fixed in stone and my personality and life totally perfected befor efinding love.

Well, as it turns out, I am never going to be beyond improving, and love is about being imperfect and vulnerable and letting someone adore you anyway.

I am ready to be adored, and influenced, and protected and cared for, and advised, and sacrificed for.  Iam ready to love and be loved, and to let it change me.

Love is the only true adventure.

And I am committed to it, with head and heart.

Opening my heart to new love; how you know you’re over it


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A once dear friend and one time lover who I fell hard and fast for, a veteran and a gentleman and nerd and romantic, everything I thought I wanted, came into my life and then slowly, painfully faded out to black. It’s been more than a year since I last heard from him; he stopped responding to me.

I wish him well.

It was really hard to let go of the fairy tale I had built around him; maybe he wasn’t really all that great, and in any case, he wasn’t really available. Which made it easier to yearn for him from afar, of course.

But the hardest thing about letting go of him was letting go of a whole version of myself that would never be. The person I thought I really was, underneath, with France and everything that has come to me since just a momentary blip on the radar.

Well, it turns out it’s not, and I will never be, and never really was, the person who would be with him and live the little life I imagined.

I miss loving someone for real, and at the end of things with him, and throughout the many ups and downs of it, still believing in a happy ending, I realized it was just a figment of my imagination, just an illusion of my mind that I had lost, not a real person. It hurt a lot though, especially to my ego.

Since then, I haven’t found anyone like him, and I don’t know that I will find anyone like him here in Paris.

But the truth is, I”m no longer the person who fell in love with that projection of him, or the future I imagined with him.

The hole in my heart has a completely different shape these days; I have outgrown him.

I thank him for the lessons, and wish him well. I don’t want him back in my life, and while my ego really wishes he would get down and beg to have me someday, and the validation of refusing him,  the truth is that I wish myself a much greater happiness than that. And I do wish the best for him.

Most of the time, I have long forgotten him.

On Veteran’s Day, I can’t help but think of the hero who wasn’t mine, but I am wise enough now to know that heroes come in many forms.

There is more than one way to have a happy ending, and love doesn’t always feel like we’d expect.

They say, when you know you know, and I think that that’s true.

I do think that sometimes you are so convinced of what you are looking for, you fail to see what’s right in front of your eyes.

Once I thought I found it, that feeling of all I’ve waited for and I could not ask for me, but I would like to think that the universe has something even better planned.

Something so wonderful, I couldn’t even have imagined it.

Not a someone to fill my checkboxes, not a key to fit the specific locks I’ve put on my heart, a king whose kiss will wake me up to things I failed to see.

Veterans, I salute you.

But I’m still waiting for my hero.

My Dark Side: The Real Tragedy


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So I was talking to a career coach recently about how much I like my job and my life, but still feel plagued by questions that either invoke an inner Savior complex or point to a bottom less self-hatred/arrogance-

Why do I get all this when there are so many suffering people?

I’m just lucky, I don’t deserve what I have.

If I am unusually gifted, don’t I owe the world something? How could I give something back?

If I’m not aimed towards being the top of my field in the top of all fields, if I’m just another chick in a communications job, I’m nothing.

She suggested I seek a therapist, and I took some steps in that direction.

Yesterday, I had a talk with my manager about my yearly objectives, which looked a lot like last year’s, except for the fact that I”m basically picking up a bunch of work from a colleague that is now on another project, a move which helped my job become permanent.  They weren’t really bad, they just reinforced my feeling of being a stupid chick in a comms job which anyone with half a brain could do- which is a horrible and arrogant thing to think, being that I am surrounded by, and managed by, women working in marketing (but mostly) comms.

We talked about my future evolution- because I’m always thinking about that, and basically if I want to stay with the entity I currently work with I’ll have to move to London in the next few years.

But fuck London and the whole goddamn AngloSaxon world pushing their model on the restof “us.” I also need to stay in France for about four more years to get citizenship. If I leave at any point, the clock will go back to zero for my five years required to get naturalization. So basically if I leave France, I will need someone to sponsor me for a visa and all that jazz again, and I’ll be no closer to being able to work freely in Europe.

Not to mention, fuck speaking English and the English and leaving Paris after I have worked so hard to get here, and make a home here.

The last time I left Paris, knowing that I might not find my way back, my existential crisis/depression hit a new low, and I gained 30 lbs. In the end, i did come back and with a great position, or so it sometimes appears excpet days like yesterday, much better than a fucking English teacher or nanny anyway.  ANd here,  I have enough vacation that I can see my family and see the world. It’s not clear that would be the case if I were to go to London. Supposedly the marketing fnction will gain in stature and breadth so I could do more strategic things, but really the truth is that I am really good at what I do, and fuck me for not appreciating it.

Because the truth is that there has been a hole inside of me, nd I survive by not getting too close and occassionally sacrificng something into this false idol of my lack of worthiness. Like a pagan god, I toss in the occassional prize won of blood, sweat and tears- geetting and keeping and excelling in my job in France, allthose countless As and academic awards, the debate team, and when I’m really low, I try to do anything to appease the feeling of unworthiness, simultaneously reinforcing it and escpaing it through bad dietary choices or the worst, toxic relationships with men- and friendships with people who o so subtly brought me down.

But the truth is there is nothing that will fill this hole, except realizing it is just a concept I have created, and a false one at that.

Could it have been born when no one in my family had boundaries, when I hung out too much with my aunt with no self esteem who was generous to a real fault, not in a saintly way but because she thinks so little of herself? Could it have grown deeper when my father asked me, “what is wrong with you,” when I failed to do some elementary thing- I know he didn’t mean to hurt so deeply but I was always sensitive, or over sensitive some would say. Could it have reached bottomless level when my mother, when I told her I didn’t feel loved or appreciated and wanted to run awayfrom home, called me an ungrateful wretch? Because no one is allowed to have anything about happy feelings about their family, no one is allowed to doubt for a second that sacrificial love makes everthing ok and perfect?

Because for almost as long as I can remember, I somehow absorbed the belief that I, on my own was not enough. People told me I didn’t have to be the best at everything, but I felt compelled to at least try, because without trying I was just lazy and worthless. I believed since I was bright and school came easy to me that my academic achievements were pretty much worthless and I had to be good at sports- that didn’t really work out for me, and I gradually withdrew from that into debate and academic realms-only to choke under pressure there too.

Though I originally loved speech and debate, the doctrine of having a set limit of potential made me feel worthless after I didn’t get trophies as often as some of my teammates, and eventually I quit as I hadn’t improved over the course of my time competing, in fact I got worse, and I eventually withdrew from that and stoppped doing intensive extracurriculars. It just didn’t feel good.

WHen I was about five, I took an intelligence test to get into the gifted and talented class. Given the fact that I started reading at an early age and by about six knew all of the 50 statecapitals, I really thought I would get it, and when I didn’t, said that I hated myself, leading my parents not to want to me to test anymore. Finally, the librarian who noticed I was reading at a sixth grade level in second or third grade recommended that I retest and at that point I got it, although I think my results were borderline. As it turns out, the people who were in those classes from the beginning have taken all types of paths in life, and it’s fair to say that I am among the moreconventionally successful among them. One o fmy classmates had a really tough family life, and is now waitressing. It kills me to see people not have a chance to achieve their full potential, and I realize just how blessed I was and am.

I always compare myself against an ideal version of me, who is neat, and organized, and has exactly the same natural gifts and starting point, but far surpasses me with her discipline. I never win against this person. She is a straight a tri season athlete, and I”m just an A minus student who does winter track.

There have been a few points in my life where I feel like there was a big cleavage between what I could have been and what I am. I wish I had done crosscountry in my freshman year of high school, though I was drowning in school work at the time.  I probably wouldn’t have stopped running and would have kept something non-competitive in my life.  I was thinking that the other point was when I joined the speech and debate team in college rather than doing crew, which I’d always wanted to try- though found I was not in really good shape for. The girl who walked to practice and couldn’t do the initial run with me on the first day is still rowing.

Add to these stories the time in my life where I had successfully, healthily lost about 50 lbs but was still a tad pudgy, and then went a bit cuckoo, bordering on anorexia. And I still wasnt that thiN! But I remember comparing myself to model bilboards to see the amount of rib bone they had showing and their thighs.

COmparison is the thief of joy.

When I was stressed with not being the best student anymore in high school, that mostly went out the window.

I felt like I desered to eat like a normal person and still be thin. It didn’t really work out for me, though it wasn’t until bsuiness school that I became seriously overweight. I haven’t gained any weight since I’ve lived in France but as of this point havne’t lost any either.

I even faced the demon of Weight Watchers, which I once abused and tortured myself with, waking up starving and occassionally bingeing within my points limit since i barely ate for a week before.  That didn’t seem to work for me.

NOw I realize it’s healthy mind, healthy body, and recently have felt a lot better about life and found it easy tomake healthy choices and exercise a bit.

Just yesterday after my talk with my boss about yearly objectives made me feel really sad and self aware of this problem.

Because I can’t see clearly what is good and bad in my life, what I like ad don’t like, when I am uided by feelings of inadequacy whatever I do. In business school, I just gave into them. I can’t live my life like that though, and writing this is part of facing those really ugly feelings and a part of myself that has undermined my happiness for as long as I can remember.

Is it my idealism and believing we are in sucha fallen world? Is it Catholic theology of guilt and sin and over Platonized ideas of how far we are from the ideal that plagues me? Is it some combination of being an overgifted child who didn’t feel accepted except through her accomplishments, who eventually realized she woudl never be the best at everything leading her to great insecurity/arrogance, and having a life that doesn’t follow the script for my concept of what an MBA should be like, much as I hated my MBA when I was in and hated myself for not following a more charitabe or artistic path?

But at some point I realized, probably any path would seem stupid.

Except writing, maybe, which I don’t think I want to do as a day job.

Except that as a chick in comms, it pretty much is my day job, and has nourished my artistic self esteem and encouraged me to write more, and pays for my travel and creative stuff while also allowing me to live in Paris. Even if I feel like all I do is send otu fucking invitations and clean up after sales people whoare so fucking more important than I am.

Fuck you stem fields and feminist guilt about my pink collar job and being in a goddamn support function, this world where only numbers are respected.

Fuck you my stupid strategic brain, which is already worried about 15 years from now and if I’ll be stuck in mygoddamn support function, fuck you jealousy and envy making me feel like all my MBA peers are doing way better adn more “MBA-like,” work than me and my degree was a total waste and I”mnot leveraging it enough as a nana in comm.

Fuck me for wanting to be a decisionmaker, for wanting to be top in my field, when I’ll freely admit tat while I enjoy my job and continue to be ambitious, it’s not my main passion in life and I don’t want my job to take away from other stuff in my life.

FUck me for not submitting to travel magaznes and having a “real” blog and having sent a book of essays to tons of friends with only a few actually responding.

Fuck me for not taking the time to proofread things nad believing it’s all fucked anyway so better done than perfect- the flip side of perfectionism.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck.

The “tragedy” in the title is two-fold-

  1. The ill-gotten gains of this warped way of thinking have hurt more than they have helped. Could I have achieved all I di dand bein France and do all the things I have done, without this hole pushing me further and faster and onwards and higher? Yes and no. what I can say is that things I have done out of self hatred, like losing th elast twenty pounds, have not been really well appreciated at the time- I still didn’t feel good about my body- and ephermeral and have come back to haunt me. I weigh about one hundred pounds more than my lowest point now.
  2. The other aspect of this tragedy is that it’s pretty heretical against not only myself but also the philosophy of valuing life.  This tragedy is that it’s made me not enjoy the blessings of my life nd to doubt myself, part an parcel of God’s creation, endowed with basic goodness.  ALl of those seconds are times I will never get back. ANd it is the opposite of gratitude to believe you are never enough.

I think the only way to win against the hole is to deconstruct it. TO realize, perhaps first of all, that worthiness is a concept that I have created in such a way that it’s like a basket with holes that cannever be full. There is something wrong with my definition, and I also have to realize this is just a concept. It is something I and society have made up. But it doesn’thave any real existence in itself. That being said, concepts can be useful, but my concept of self worth is so flawed that it’s not even worth arguing with. IT is something that can’t be repaired, hence why it’s such a bottomless pit.

I’d like to take a second to reflect on how high functioning someone can seem having this problem. I didn’t drop outof b-school, though I threatened to. I didn’t refuse to get out of bed. I still ahd some energy, and I never succombed entirely to self hate. ANd people really don’t understand your suffering when your dreams are coming true and you have everything and more to be happy.

But the truth is that this is an undoing in itself, because it further invalidates your feelings, and any sense of self worth.

THa’ts a thought- that honoring your feelings is the key to self worth. I’ve always been more of a thinker and seen following ones feeliings as week- hence the recriminations about going to France, etc. One can validate the feelings without agreeing with them. But telling someone theirfeelings don’t matter is indeed, saying that they don’t matter, only what the outside looks like.

This gets into shaky ground since subjectively people think and feel tons of things that might be completely baseless. I love making fun of the safe space and trigger warning crowd (excluding people who might have actually beenvictims and suffer from PTSD) and thought police crowd, who say their feelings matter more than anyone’s right to do practically anything.

But yah, I tink it’s fair to say that if any time your feelings are dismissed wih people saying, “but everything is prefect for you,” it would indeed contribute to the feelingthat you yourself are worthles, all that matters is what you achieve or accumulate in the eyes of others.

I guess allowing myself to feel my feelings and make choices based on my feelings without comparing myself to other people is probably going to be the way out of this.


Yeah, I hope I can just stop fighting withmyself.

I hope Ican stop suffering. I want to stop suffering.

ANdI don’t wnat to turn this journey into the latest step of the quest for perfection.

“If only I get over my feelings of worthlessness, then everything will snap into place in my life an I’ll be lovable, thin, financially secure, and socially wel-adjusted.”

ALthough I do think that self worth will hep with a lot of those things, I know that is a trap.

I will know I have succeeded when I feel better.

It’s up to me.

Namaste and joy to you.




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Yesterday on my excursion to the chateaux of the Loire, I hung out mostly with a group of South American (and one Hungarian) girls.  I did not really identify with the blonde, legging as pants wearing, study abroad girls who a Brazilian guy remarked looked just like the mean girls from American high school films. Nor did the French take me into their fold, but then as to be expected, they appeared to all be close before the trip and doing it together.

A good part of my animosity towards study abroad girls and American nannies who marry French engineers whose names they can’t pronounce is jealousy. I didn’t do study abroad, my family wouldnt ‘have stopped me but in the end I graduated early to save money instead. And when I did think of studying abroad, I thought I should go to Morocco as a more practical choice that woud set my resume apart from the hords of girls who studied in France, plus I could learn the trendy, in-demand language of today, rather than the language of high society of yesteryear and a seemingly waning power on the world stage.

Well, I’ve definitely gotten my chance to live in France though. And I wouldn’t want it any other way, except I wish I could have done a homestay.  ALthough if I do end up with a French guy, or simply stay here long enough, I think that will more than make up for it in terms of my language skills.

A few years ago, I was volunteering at an Elks event in New Jersey, surrounded by the middle class white people, of which a large percentage were Cattholic, almost WASPs of integrated Irish, Polish, Italian descent, and felt myself a part of the group, understanding that this was my heritage, this crowd of cops and teachers and upwardly mobile middle class people whose parents or grandparents struggled in some ways.  I felt like I needed a partner who would understand the mythology of the group, the meaning of country music in this context (or not), how good people can be a little bit Republican, someone who knew the songs by heart that my family played every year on summer vacation, who appreciated the Boss and Bon Jovie not just as a cultural curiosity but as someone who sang their song without thinking too much about it.

I was wrong.

And when I was in business school, and we went to rooftop bars (after I had subsisted on mostly eggs and pasta as an English teacher the year before), and while most of the people did not come from money or have particularly lucrative careers before, they were now part of a global managerial class, optimistic about their future and ready to work hard and long so as not to struggle financially with the little thigs and to move up in the world. Not really caring that much what they did as long as it gave the lifestyle they wanted.  Not particularly curious, but purposeful.

I felt very alone in this group, and like I didn’t belong.

Because just before that, I hung out with people who wanted to change the world. Who really believed in the noble purpose of their clerical tasks done for little or no pay at a non profit or advocacy organization. Who worked as waitresses to afford to work for free on Capitol Hill. Many of whom simultaneously believed in the political system and wanted to be part of it as they condemned at some level how the sausage is made.  Well not all. Where purpose and privilege- not everyone had to worry about paying the rent as much as others- often coincided, though there was self consciouness about the problem and scholarships there to help people get on the first rung. Where everyone has two master’s degrees and might well still be struggling to fin da job or make ends meet. Where people care passionately about things and develop skills that the rest of the world finds irrelevant, mostly useless, and horribly boring…

When one changes or jumps or adds another layer to identity, the feelings can be intense. I felt I was selling out when I went to business school, but what I wanted from life and the way I saw the world had changed irrevocably. I may not be a study abroad girl or a Paris or nothing type who has no other ambitions, but yes, I have indeed chosen Paris over all other things, for the moment, and I bear more resemblance to them than I ma willing to admit. When I was dating the Algerian guy and he didn’t understand why I was so upset to leave Paris, since his dream was to go to New York and he played the greencard lottery every year…

Identity feels like a messy collage. I have been many things, and I hope to be many more.

Maybe even French, in three years or so.

And I”ve also become, with the help of a very globetrotting friend who’s lived everywhere and sees through a lot of the tribal bullshit, a person who sees past my non falsifiable beliefs about the world, who may get offended when people gratuitiously insult both my country of origin and my adopted home, who may still participate in a religion, but sees through to the power structure and doens’t buy into it, who wants adventure, and stability, and transformation into the kind of person who gracefully handles all of this, and lives more simply and not so much in my head.

The kind of person that loves being on the road but also loves home, and who realizes this will all change eventually.

But who looks around and thinks, Damn, I never want to leave.

And quite recently, someone who calculated the airtravel costs of visiting the remaining 3 continents I haven’t seen- Australia, South America, and Antarctica (which would be a flight over the continent without landing)- and found it to be a mere 3000 euro. Doable for sure.

1 year ago, I signed up for another six months in France, fairly certian I would go “back” after that, and I travelled furiously trying to tick off items from my bucket list.

3 years ago, I thought I would just go ‘Home” to DC and that my study abroad year was my last hurrah in France. I remember telling my parents Paris was just a big city, and there was no real draw to being here.

6 years ago, I was walking to econometrics and a professor asked me if I wanted to go to Madagascar and I said yes.

12 years ago, I thought I’d never be kissed, and a few months later met someone who did indeed kiss me, and whose family opened up my eyes to a world I didn’t know existed, or never thought I’d be part of it.

24 years ago, I was probably watching Beauty and the Beast and longing to be Belle, and have the townspeple wave to me, “Bonjour!”

Who am I? All these things and none, and more to come.

Identity is a funny thing, and I think the most important thing is to remember that we create it.

We do get to choose who we are, and the choice to change is not an act of betrayal of our former selves, it is the ultimate creative act.

Choose wisely and without fear.



Accepting the parts of me that don’t seem so noble or pretty


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So I went to visit the chateaux of the Loire valley this weekend.

Our first stop was at Cheverny, a palace that has been continuously lived in by the same family for more than 600 years. Pictures of the family and their family tree (where it was quite clear that they continued to marry within the French nobility) were proudly on display. The guide was dressed as one might expect in a smart, neutral conservative outfit and seemed happy to say that she was employed directly by the family.

I felt a strong desire to be part of such a circle, to embody the elegance and yes, dare I say, nobility of such a beautiful place and people who were clearly cultured, whose manners would be impeccable, and who would know all the rules and when and how to break them. Or so I think.  Not being from an equivalent sphere in America, I can only imagine what the French of that not just income strata, but also social class are like.

I was seized with thoughts of doing a finishing school, trying to find ways to penetrate such a circle, and feeling like in a way, all my desires to speak French, read classics, and become a person of high culture and class kind of made sense through this lens. It seemed rather sinister and social climbing to want that.

Let it be known in any case that in the US it is generally easier to amass a fortune and generally background matters less when becoming part of the elite.  So if it was just money or to be nouveau riche I was after, I probably would not be in France.

My ex boyfriend’s family had Picassos, and traveled, and shared books with me. I was rather charmed by their way of life and felt that I did prefer their occupations more than those of the average American hotwings, beer, and football, which have never held any appeal for me at all. I think it is fair to say that American society is fairly anti intellectual, and that money does not mean someone is smart although typically, education to achieve a certain “class” often follows someone in the family having money, so they seem to go together.  While I am sure and do know of struggling artists and music teachers and the like, I think it is fair to say that in general, upper classes are perhaps more accepting of the arts and all than is the vast bloc of middle class American people.

But anyway, I broke up with that guy, and am happy I did. I do want a man of character, culture and ambition. The money can come later.

And yes, money. It feels so grimy to say taht I want it, and that I have made some life choices influenced by what was a mostly unconscious desire to have more of it, that when unearthed, I buried and self-sabotaged in some ways out of shame.

But yeah, having nice things is nice. Being able to afford to go on trips and go out for dinner and have a nice apartment is nice.  Amassing wealth is not my primary motivation in life, though for some people it is and it is wrong of me to judge or look down on them. We all play our games. Today travel is in vogue tomorrow it will be pinterest crafts.  No one is served by denying their desire for money.

And the other thing that I want that feels really shameful? To be thin.

It seems really wrong not to want it purely on the basis of health, or to say I am anything but curvy and proud. But I am tired of having people tell me I have a pretty face and it’s a shame I am overweight, much as it is none of their damn business. It wouldn’t hurt unless I thought that way too.

To a certain extent I thought my weight gain was due to wanting to protect myself from the gaze of men at a vulnerable period of my life, and I think also feeling as though I was undeserving at a core level of my many blessings.

Guess what? Life is a gift.

And it’s not wrong or shameful to put down a snickers bar in part because you care about how you look. Because part of showing you and successful and determined and in control in today’s world of abundant food is not being overweight.

I have followed my impulses and not put my best footforward in many ways- in the way I dress, eat, etc- out of shame that I should try in anyway to manipulate my image to influence others. To claim that seemingly dark power.  To accept that life is not as idealistic as we woud hope, and to coorporate with the so called machine.

To admit I want more power- socially, economically, and yes, through beauty.

To admit that my best self is in some way motivated by how others perceive me and contemporary values, and that sometimes virtue alone is not enough to motivate me to do things that are actually good for me.

To realize that I can make authenticity- power on my own terms, to use as I see fit- the basis of these actions.

And most of all, that I am only human, and these urges are not sinful or wrong, it is that carrying them to excess and using power to hurt others to benefit oneself, or letting the quest for these things overpower our better instincts, is wrong.

THe movie Mean Girls is really interesting. Those uncool people who call themselves out of the circle of power and go out of their way to make themselves out of the game rather than compete in it actually covet power the most.

They want it so badly, they don’t even try.

They push others away through their appearance and unwillingness to change a bit to fit the herd, and then use a spy to infiltrate the popular, powerful group- also engaging in manipulation and trickery, even if not the horrible antics of the power plastic crowd.

I think it is better to acknowledge these influences in ourselves to better understand why and how we are subconsciously being controlled by them- when we may really be mean without realizing why, and why we want things so much that seem pretty arbitrary. Because group dnamics is pretty strange.

I do think that power and authenticity are compatible, if one adopts a definition of powerthat requires authenticity and an understanding of aunethenticity that encompasses understanding using one’s infleunce over others.

But no, it is not wrong to want those things.

Denying we want them won’t make us better, and will probably on ly makeus self sabotaging and worse.

And most of all, as long as our desire for power goes hand in hand with our higher nature, it’s all good.

Human beings are not always pretty, but we are real. ANd without accepting our base instincts, we are controlled by them. Without acknowledging and owning our so-called demons, we can’t be true and authentic.

We need to acknowledge these desires to reach our full humanity, and yes , wish for their fulfillment and much more.

Because none of these things will bring meaning or purpose to your life, but they can help you get the things that will. And they do make life easier.  Theres’ no nobility in chooosing weakness over strength as long as that strrength is not at the expnese of another.

Of course, if we do buy into the machine, we are in real ways strngthening it. If you diye yor hair blonde, well, that’s another confirmist on the planet,and you are only streghenting the trend towards blondes.

But you are also strengthening yourself.

And if you feel good, why not?

I don’t know, I haven’t figured out all these things.

But I do know that honesty wins.

So namaste- after having admitted some things I am trying not to feel ashamed of but seem so un-yoga like- and let us embrace the non-duality of life.



Another idol smashed- Renouncing the ideal of wife and motherhood…and “settling.”


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As a successful professional, solo traveling, sexually adventurous, socially well-supported, creative, blah blah blah amazing young woman, I have found fulfillment in many areas of my life.  I would say I am mostly happy with my life, and on more days than not, hapy with who I am and to be myself. I am an incredibly blessed person, and what’ smore, I lke hth eperson I have become.

But yes, I always fel like there is something that is missing, Not only because I havne’t lost the last ten pounds or even the approximatley thirty I put on during my spiritual crisis, but also because the idea of “SUCCESS” has alwas included other people. ANd it always seemed that in the end, I would be complete without these two elements.

And now the most upsetting truth has become clear to me, up there with the idea I don’t have to live my life the way my parents do in order to be a good perosn:

WIFE AND MOTHERHOOD will not create th eperfect picture fanatsy life. They will create feelings of certainty. The will not be easy to bear, comforting knots.

It will be difficult, and you’ll never know how it will work out. You’ll never know the person will stay with you, or how your child will turn out despit eyour best efforts. Both of those things are pbetting your current and future happiness, your whole life, to beings you cannot come close to controlling.

And yet, we hear in society that this is the only thing that relaly matters in the end for women, unelss they are carer women of course.

I can’t resist without being in relations to. I cannot be myself without being with HIM and having HER.

Bu tthis i sjus ta concept. And it mayor may not be tru.

This is certinly something I cnnot directly control, except to avoid bad guys as much as possible and try o hang around good ones. And don’t forget, I can smile.

This is not to say I don’t want to be a wife and mother, but now  Ithink I am closer to understand what they are.

THey will not heal everything in my life, they will not provide a sure and certain drp of external validation that will make up for any inner lack of self fullfiment.

They might be wonderful, beautiful things ni their own life, but ultimately, th ebeauty of my life is up to me.

So this is one way my brain has jumped outside of the cadre, outside of the framework.

Thanks in no sall part to my older and single friends, who are fabulous.

THe truth is, I just haven’t met someone worth not being single for yet.

THe truth is, everything is taken care of by a higher power.Even the story I told myself, abotu hselling out to the man and leaving France and traveling to india and then still missing frnace, gaining my soul called heart’s desire, and reaoizing it alone wans’t gonna do the job.

I have done A LOT of iner work over the past year and few years.

At least when you smash an ido or kill a buddha, you get a surprise.

Not unlike the kinder surprise that are illegal in america, but more like a fortune cooke.

We spend all our lives chasing our dreams, only to find that when GOd graces us with them coing rue. It is always and ultiamtely tthrough his grace. We are nver perfect, and sometimes not quite deserves, but GOd believes we deserve better and gives it to us.

ANd it is ALL the spiritual journey.

Every second.

Nothing is ever so simple as hapening as a consequence of our actions and only that, we are part of so much more.

And yes, the universe made my dream come true, by the grace of God, and then it happened, and I was STILLL depressed. Now I am happy, I aam happy for what I figh for.ofught for.

So please, if you are in despair, reach out to someone.

ANd please releaize happiness does not come frm gettingwhat you want.

It comes from wanting what you have!




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