Sometimes it takes breaking one’s 3 month travel fast two weeks earlier to go to a war-torn Middle Eastern country rife with sectarian divisions to realize that Paris is not the navel of the world, and it doesn’t have to be the center of my life, or its constant either.
I don’t plan to physically leave Paris in the immediate future except for travelling, but I might move out of the city for the suburbs (strong possibility of that actually), and I might someday leave the country for some new expatriation.
Yes, France is my home away from home, but I was right to leave all those years ago when I feared I would never find my way back and it was just my fear and coldhearted calculation that stopped me from following my dream to Paris. And yet, like my friend at the time who was Paris or bust and who also read the Alchemist and has since become pretty much my best friend in Paris told me, Paris, and France, weren’t always my clear cut dreams, and I should continue on my program, suck it up, and come back if I still wanted it. I came back, I complained and complained better than a French person, I adjusted, and I started thinking that yes, this is it, Paris and its environs for life. Not to mention my vacation days and all that jazz. I called a mortgage broker, thinking despite the fact I wasn’t exactly ideally financially placed to do it, it couldn’t hurt to move to the suburbs to an area I could eventually afford to buy, man or no, and buy that apartment on my own in the ultimate act of woman taking charge of her destiny #feministmanifesto .
In fact, as men are concerned, I have finally accepted with some grief that no man is ever going to make up for anything I”m missing inside of me. Being in a relationship, while it might meet some intimacy needs that are hard to scratch with just friends and lovers, won’t fundamentally improve my day to day quality of life outside of the initial passion and validation part. It won’t give me purpose. IT will just be another ting to make it harder to find my way towards myself. Just another constraint , though potentially also a source of support, like marrying Paris. I believed so strongly just a few weeks ago, that this was my great love, and I wanted to get married- to Paris, to France, to something.
And then, in an act which may have set my budget back a bit but also saved me countless amounts of time, money, and misery in the future, I took off for a new world, for the Middle East, and I fell in love with Lebanon. Where there are more Mexican restaurants, friendly people, and attractive men than in all of Paris.
The answer of course, isn’t just to abscond to Lebanon, tempting as it was to consider just buying another ticket and prolonging my stay despite my responsibilities at work and the fact I have to find a new place to live in 2 months and all the other adulting stuff that lies ahead of me. Just two more days in the sunshine.
I kind of like being a mess, to be honest. I am glad I am not the straight jacked straight laced self I have always inspired to become. I love my crazy, my fire, my genius that won’t let me what I feel like “they ” have always wanted from me.
My depresion can be explained somewhat thusly: I tried to lobotomize myself, and just be all that is good and innocent and sweet. I couldn’t admit , couldn’t allow my ambition, my desire for more, and that part of me that wants to step up and take control and make decisions based off my own good sense instead of what I should do. There is a long road from an english teacher to an MBA, and I felt icky about my participation in a wicked and corrupt system, and turned my hatred of the system on myself.
I tried to stop all hint of superficiality and materiality, and just concentrate on being deep and moral and good. But in doing so, I broke the boundaries self love would have wisely maintained. I wallowed in guilt and shame, unable to wake up from the cycle.
I haven’t done the minimal things to help myself out because I was afraid of making choices from a place of freedom, afraid to take responsibility for myself.
But yes, romantic ideals like “paris or bust” and that having a man or baby or four walls of a home will give some meaning to my life have fallen like the walls of troy.
Maybe it’s ok to be a bit more of a fighter, a bit more pushy, and it’s ok that I’ll never eb truly French.
Maybe it’s not about choosing a new culture but about making one’s own lifestyle.
I’ve spent too much of my life looking for a place to fit in, and not enough time accepting myself. I do have a conscious community that does surround and support me everywhere I go.
Paris was not my dream- traveling and writing and leadership is.
Maybe I don’t have to own a piece of Paris. Maybe it’s enough to have lived here for a time, and maybe I will even continue living here.
It feels very sad to have lost faith in this dream, and to realize I have grown out of it in some way.
I prayed so hard that finally I would get everything I wanted, and I got most of it, and it still didnt’ feel enough.
I prayed that Paris owuld be my true home where I could stay forever, and now I recognize it is not.
As Paulo Coelho says, life is the train, not the station.
So today I am hanging around not getting dressed, watching TV, not doing anything of great help to myself for the moment, and just being.
I have a big week coming up, and a lot of things to think about.
or feel about rather.
My depression has lifted even more than before. Happiness came not from getting what I wanted, but from realizing my freedom.
I am a gypsy. I have feared this would make me unlovable, and I would never find someone as a result, and so I tried to plan myself in Paris, and I have blossomed.
Bu tI will bloom again.