I'm back in the United States, and I'm not happy about it.
It's been about three days now, and I keep indulging myself with "life is unfair"-type musings and wallowing around eating canned soup and Ridged Barbecue chips (ew). I'm not at equilibrium. The air seems stale and the colors are muted everywhere. Basically, I'm a whiny little bitch!
I stopped writing in my blog a few weeks back because, somewhere near the end of my stay, Paris become more than a trip. It became personal, a part of my identity. Being distant from the vibrancy of this city, away from the romance and the people and the sunsets—I don’t think I can stomach it.
And of course there’s Fabien. Why he was placed in my life, besides as a slow, cruel torture, I do not know, but I know I am a new person because of him. I should see beyond the positive in people; I should speak what I feel; I shouldn’t idealize others. Things aren’t permanent but that’s okay. And that’s the hardest part. I may like new things and adventure but I don’t like change. I want to stay here in Paris and continue to evolve.
But maybe leaving is my evolution. Maybe going back to the states and living in my old environment is the only way I can truly grow, seeing the stark contrast between who I am and who I want to be—or in a more tangible phrase, where I am and where I want to be.
Fabien sees “with the good eyes,” as he put it, the world and how to protect oneself. I have never had that need, to be protected. I am open and honest, but not in the way he is, not in the way the French are. To be honest is to live openly but to embrace the good and bad, because they both lead to who we are eventually going to be. Announcing one’s opinion does not make you honest, it only makes you loud. (At present, I am definitely in the "loud" category of people.)
Paris has left me feeling liberated. Liberated in the sense that I have been enlightened to how life is meant to be lived. It sounds selfish to say the pursuit of self is the supreme goal of life, but we all believe it, even if we say it differently. The Holy wish to be sanctified in order to feel safe and secure in their rightness; those that offer their lives in service are really just seeking forgiveness and validation for being a human. I am neither of these things, however, so luckily for me this shouldn’t be too difficult.
I need to carve my superficiality into a small, complex nugget of who I am, instead of letting my image guide my actions. I need to become my truest self, and this is where I am both most excited and most afraid. I want to just coast. I want to “end up” in Paris, just “be” with Fabien or some other charming foreigner, and somehow “make” money out of nothing. I have to learn French and graduate and mature and gain life perspective. I need to be fucked up, get knocked around a little. I need a bruised lip and a broken ego. I got a taste of that with Fabien in the café my last night, the rain literally cascading off the awnings around the Marais as he metaphorically rained on my chirpy little existence. He let into me and told me who I was, the kind of bruising essential for the forming of new flesh.
What is it about a physical place that makes it so important? Why is Paris different than Austin and different than New York and Tokyo and Barcelona and Stockholm? A physical environment is just a construct within which the spirit of the city is held; so is it purely what’s “beneath” or is it also the aesthetic? In the case of Paris, of course it involves the aesthetic. It’s the most beautiful city on earth. But the people are also the most beautiful people on earth. So which influences which? Perhaps they live in synchronicity, each invigorating the other with joie de vivre. But I think it begins with the people. People like Fabien do not exist in other places on the earth. He would like me to think so, but who is he to talk? He has not dated anyone non-French, as far as I know. He is gay, he is a man, he is a dentist, but he is French first—whether he realizes it or not.
And now I'm lying here in the room I grew up in, with it's oddly human air and the constant business talk of my father in the rooms across the house. I have emerged from Paris not wiser but more aware of my lack of wisdom. I’m no longer going to live my life with my eyes innocent and open only to the good; without the bad I cannot grow. But above all, I cannot lose sight of what I want. (Which would actually be a contradiction in the eyes of the French: I cannot “plan” what I want to be serendipity.)
I am pretentious, annoying, superficial, and melodramatic, but at least I am sure of myself.