On ne découvre pas de terre nouvelle sans consentir à perdre de vue, d’abord et longtemps, tout rivage.
One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore- Andre Gide
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.- Michelangelo
A few months ago, I wrote about my yearning to buy an apartment in Paris, something I had never thought of doing before.
A few months before that, I wrote about being an “impat,” and having lost sight of shore.
I haven’t been writing that much recently, I have been reflecting but also out in the world doing and discovering, and becoming and accepting what I’ve become.
Most of all, I’ve been really, really happy for the first time in a really long time. Like really happy, and so grateful for my life, and for the first time in forever since I was a student in Paris the first time, not wanting everything to change.
Feeling like I belong, and I just might be good enough.
Realizing that I am a winner, and also entitled to be human.
Accepting my blessing with open arms.
So yeah, things have been great.
In the past few days, my mood has been a little bit more anxious and pensive. While it’s related to the weather and seasonal changes, I think it’s mostly in reaction to realizing not only that a new season of my life is here and the old one is passing away, life is finite, youth is precious, and time is one of the few things that really matters, and yeah, I’m really not an ugly duckling, I am a swan, and no, I don’t really belong with those people who made me feel ugly. I don’t belong with those thoughts that make me feel ugly. I am not an ugly person and there is nothing wrong with me. Just different, and it’s beautiful.
Sometimes my family makes me feel like an ugly duckling. My sister even called me an odd duck. My mom used to try to get me to stop posting inspirational quotes on facebook, although now she likes all of them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I am sad that all the things that make me special are the things I was taught to hate about myself. Or at least teased about. Am I dramatic? Am I sensitive? I don’t know, but I am getting pissed off that it seems to only ever be me with that voice in my head thinking it’s always my problem and there’s something wrong with me.
But I love my family.
I’m not willing to trivialize my own pain anymore though.
Feeling like I fit in is a huge thing for me.
As my mom once said, “you are always a little weird anywhere you go so it must be nice for you to go to a place where it’s normal that you’re not like other people.”
Meanwhile, my friends and coworkers adore me for my courage and openness and I feel like I have my own bit of influence in the Facebook world. My curiosity, one of my defining characteristics, no longer feels like such a liability, such a desirable in small and comfortable qualities but needs to be reined in when company is over part of myself. It feels like I might be a little crazy but I’m really, really ok.
I am allowed to question the judgments of other people too, not only my own, and dismiss them as I see fit. I don’t have to immediately call everything about myself into question.
And it’s perfectly ok for me to want a belle famille (in laws) that like the books I like and have similar interests.
I also feel like it’s ok to be ambitious, and not just a question of being a nerd or a good girl who wants to please. It’s not a question of overstepping myself, forgetting where I came from, or wanting to be better than anyone else. Although yes, I do want to live by life as best I can, and constantly improve myself, and not everyone seems to want to challenge themselves to be better. That’s up to them, and I have so much work to do and a lot to think about for myself. ANd thisis maybe good nor bad about me, maybe mostly good because self development isn’t a bad thing, although being a little content doesn’t hurt either.
So no need to feel shame over that, or the fact that I had what it took and luck that someone else didn’t have and at that moment and didn’t get the thnig they really wanted in life. In any case, my wishes’ fulfillment doesn’t consistute that someone else’s didn’t come true. Life is a bit unfair, and yet we have to keep on living, and trying to make it better even if it’s against our own interests.
In any case, my suffering for naught won’t erase privilege, and my self sabotage won’t give a thing to someone who might be deserving.
And yeah, feeling guilty doesn’t make me a good person. Taking action to help others does, as does my compassion. Not my guilt at not pleasing everyone all the time.
And there is nothing wrong with the fact that I have more in common with people who are not my real sisters.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a place and with people who appreciate you and where you feel you belong.
There is nothing wrong with living and let live if the society you find yourself in isn’t a great fit and you stumble upon something that you believe is better, for yourself at least.
Yeah, I love America, but I live in France.
If I had to choose between the two, I would choose France because that is where I want to live.
Thankfully I don’t have to choose, except in the sense that time is precious, and this is where I choose to spend my days.
I wanted so badly something to cling on to, something to anchor me to Paris beyond all space and time, a 30 year yoke and 4 walls. Anything to give me the excuse to stay, as though I didn’t deserve to follow my heart. As though it wasn’t worth listening to, and I shouldn’t give a damn about happiness if it’s not found in an “acceptable” way.
Well, I do.
I love America, but that’s not where I want to live right now.
I love what America can sometimes stand for, and I believe I practice American virtues in many ways.
But I am not an expat, or an impat, I am an immigrant.
I have lost all sight of shore, and I have no idea of if or when I’ll ever come back, and at present, no desire to be there.
This is really it, for a while at least. I don’t know why or when I would go back, if not for my family.
And I am not the same person I once was, I am not the person my family and schoolmates teased me about being (though she was quite all right), I am not the person I believed I was.
No, I am so, so much braver than that,first of all, and so, so lovely and powerful and charismatic and kind.
I am a strong and beautiful person,and sensitive, and yes,they can all go together.
I am not a wannabe Lost Generation star, or Grace Kelly, or an attempt at living in a romantic Parisian past. I am not a clueless, careless, impractical academic; I am not timid or awkard; I am not selfish or worthless.
I am still a bit stuck in the marble, but day by day I’m chipping my way out. The angel breathes.
I am endlessly, ceaselessly becoming the person I was meant to be all along, the truth self that was obscured like a masterpiece under pitted glass, like a beautiful woman in a funhouse mirror.
No longer deluded, occluded, or eluded by my truth.
Or “the” truth.
I don’t have to be the person my parents wanted me to be.
I don’t have to be the sister they would have preferred who is more normal and like them.
I don’t have to be a Mainstreet everyday working class American hero.
I don’t have to be a caricature of Frenchness ether; I don’t have to give up anything, just keep building onnward and upward.
my innocence is wearin thin but my heart is goin strong; call me, call me Miss Movin’ On.
I’ts an ending a a beginning, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Get French citizenship
Own an apartment in Paris
Visit all 7 continents before the age of thirty
Create a widely read blog that is followed by 10,000 people and provides a source of side income.
Work at the group level.
There’s no man or baby on my list because you know what? They will find me on my quests, and they will not provide fullfillment in myself.
But hey why not?
Lovely, sexy, tall, adventurous open minded, kind, brave French guy with well-educated, kind, open minded and well cultured parents, who has a great job and can keep up with me 🙂 and build me up.