Today I went to McDonald’s for dinner. I do that a lot, sometimes. I thought I was just cranky and it was PMS, and I could feel a bit of neuroticism and anxiety rising up in me, seeming to confirm it.
one of the big draws to McDo’s is that there is a tv going, and I don’t have tv. it’s a chance to watch the new, which takes on a whole new level of meaning and satire when you do it in French, especially when they make fun of France’s current president.
Seeing the news makes me feel good about not going into politics or public policy- there are no easy answers to the world’s problems and to push for systemic change just seems so vast. Sometimes I am happy to be a humble marketer, not least because I am no longer an unpaid intern and having McDonald’s for dinner, even in overpriced France, while not exactly in my most ambitious is not going to break the bank either. And I enjoy my work, and basically do the same stuff as I did when I interned in Washington.
I realized that sometimes I eat out because I feel lonely and want to be around people, and because I’m afraid that once I climb the staits to my bedroom I’m just going to stay there and while away the night mostly on facebook and reading random articles. I also realized that planning a trip wiwth a friend who’s coming to see me has made me aware of just how far I’ve come, and just how little desire I sometimes have to go back. And hings are just going better and better here.
So then I went to monoprix, a grocery store here, and I bought a reusable tote. Which is something of a staple item here, the ones from Monoprix in particular. So French. And I look at the things I buy in my basket, and I realize, so French, or at least so not what I used to eat. Salad because it tastes good, wine because I know how to pick a good cheap one, a good cheese because cheese, and I also picked up some american mini cinnamon rolls that I HAD TO have,e ven though I had already eaten well at McDonald’s. These were the goodies that I couldn’t stop myself from stuffing down on more than one occassion, that come in packs of thirty from Costco and have haunted me during family events when we buy goodies in industrial size contianers.
So I walked back home, remembering just how much I like grocery shopping in France, and really engaged my surroundings. Just really enjoyed them. And realized I have no real desire to go to India or anywhere else for that matter, regardless of if it’s the thing to do careerwise hot topic wise or not. And at this moment, I have no strong desire to go home either. I really could stay here forever, and want to stay here for the near future. I really could have kids with names like Guillame and Manon, really could be shocked at my own reflection in a shop window-elegant, classic, and rapidly slimming with very little conscious effort on my part. You look more European every day, said a facebook friend of my most recent photo- I made it my profile pic.
I ate the mini cinnamon rolls, even though they were disgustingly too sweet and the pastry was just gross. Not up to my textural standards and they gave me a real sugar and fat industrial production high. They did taste better the more I ate. Why did I keep eating them? I could have just thrown one or two of the three away. I just wanted to fully satiate the craving, and I fell into the old habit of not wanting to stop what I had started eating. I had the feeling this was a situation where a stop back would springboard into two steps or more forward. My awareness was flooded with these remembered as tasty, delicious, uncontrollably scrumptious snacks but they were actually horrible, and you had to eat more in order for them to taste good, somehow. And I just remembered all the holiday parties and days and nights of temptation when they were just the best thing I could imagine at that moment. And I was almost sad to realize I’d lose my taste for them. To be fair, they were slighly past the best by date.
I don’t see disliking some of the things of my youh and that I associate with home as a sign of rejecting my roots- if anything, on a subconscious level I’ve been trying to keep some American in me if only in the form of junk food. In fact, I feel like a child again and more aware of my love for my parents especially than ever. But I do find it hard to imagine going bak- although I’d certainly be seeing my native home with new eyes.
The truth is, I’m happy where I am.
Now I don’t know if that has to do with self acceptance, or maturity, or the fact that things really are totally awesome when it comes down to it. Is it the inner or the outer happiness, or is there really any differene between them?
Honestly, I have found a way of life I like a lot- enough that many of my earlier fears and cravings-believing the perfect partner, job, or body would fix everything and I couldn’t be happy without everything in place, perfectionism fueld by a real lack of self love- have sort of faded away, and for that I am graeful.
And as my shell cracks away, I realize I may have ugly duckling moments, but when it comes down to it, I see in myself a swan. And that has made all the difference.