Month: June 2013

Week 1

(Hear me bemoan my first world problem!)

So, it has been a week since moving back to South Florida (well, tomorrow it will be, but nothing will have change by then) and I have already begun getting anxiety. Woo!

Anyone who knows me knows that whenever I get anxiety, this means depression. Oh, yes!

Hello, old friend. Fan-fucking’-tabulous to have you back.

Now, this breed of anxiety is different from the one I experienced back in France. There’s a sense of urgency tied to this one. A feeling where everything in my body vibrates, my breathing is fast and my thoughts are racing to all the possible ways I can take to get the hell out of here. The funny thing is, I feel lost. I feel like there is no way out and that I am going to get swallowed up by suburbian life, get a boyfriend with a fresh tape and drive a tricked-out ’94 civic to do grocery shopping at Wal*Mart.
(No offense to those who do).

I feel silly for airing my thoughts and for, those who follow, to see that there is simply no pleasing me. I’m here but I want to be somewhere else. And when I’m somewhere else I want to be here. It’s terrible. And I’m very judgemental of myself, so…yeah. Fun all around!

Don’t get me wrong, though! I have gotten a very warm welcome by old friends and family. It was great to see familiar faces again; to hear their voices and watch their quirks in action once more.

I am truly blessed and lucky to come back to people I love.

But then, there’s that nagging thought in the back of my head and that funny feeling in my chest, like I’m drowning.

Nothing feels like it’s mine anymore, which does not help the feeling of being an outsider. I don’t even have my own set of house keys (not that I’ve left the house much these past few days). I forget where stuff goes around the kitchen, I don’t know how to work new things, and I don’t remember TV channels.
Furthermore, none of my old clothes fit me so I’ve cleaned out my closet and replaced the old stuff with whatever I brought with me from France. In a few days will be put into another suitcase that will go with me to Middlebury for 6 weeks.
I guess it’s this in-between and the lack of stability that’s been affecting me. But I feel if I slow down now, I will not gain back my momentum.
And that’s really scary.

Also, these said clothes have been getting me plenty of attention.

I am by no means a fashion victim. I don’t even consider my personal style to be flashy or fabulous and yet, I made a quick trip to the supermarket the other day (where I got hopelessly lost) and I got gawked at more than I want to admit.

Who knew haarem pants would scandalize overweight housewives in tight mom jeans and neon tank tops?

I think one of them in particular would be more surprised at the amount of sugar her Dr. Pepper 24-case had. As a matter of fact, I’m scandalized by your poor eating habits, how you’ve let yourself go, and your sedentary lifestyle. (It’s hard to miss your love handles).

But what can be expected from people in a community where no one leaves? A place where everyone is so comfortable where they’re at that they don’t seek to move, to better themselves?
I am not any better than anyone but how can anyone be so complacent? So “ok” with their monotonous lifestyles? How!?

I wanted to go for a walk today, because I was incredibly bored (another side-effect of suburbia). I figured I’d walk to Target, but then I thought about it better and I suddenly got really depressed because I knew exactly what I was going to run into, so I changed my mind and figured I’d walk around the neighborhood. And then the reality of it all hit me: what for? There’s nothing to see! There’s no place of interest, nothing to look at, nothing to discover.
So now, my walk will probably be just to keep myself active and clear my thoughts and look at the pre-historic wildlife that surrounds me.

It’s hard being back, man.

Every night before going to bed, I have the same feeling I had when I was a kid and slept over someone else’s house. Yeah, I’d sleep and all, but it felt weird. I just wanted to go home, really. And that’s exactly that’s happening to me right now: I want to go home. I want to go back to my little apartment with the shitty shower and no oven. I want my desk; I want my things. I want to open my window and people watch down below. I want to plop on my pullout couch and eat couscous out of the pot.

But I can’t, because I am “home”.

Maybe I wasn’t so wrong when I wanted to leave in the first place. I did outgrow this place a long time ago, and it’s taking me this challenging experience to make me realize it and not (dare) forget it.
Falling back in love with the city I once loved so much and longed to return to is going to take me longer than I thought.
I’m sorry, Miami, but I don’t think this is going to work out for us in the end.

 

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Coming home

I know, I know. I’ve abandoned the blog. In my defense, however, I had a transatlantic move to take care of.

Leaving Paris was rough. There were many tears, many funny feelings and a determination to go back I didn’t even know I was going to (ever) feel.

(Now, brace yourself, this post is going to make me sound real condescending. But so be it!)

Even before landing back in Miami, I was having some reverse culture shock.

See, when I left my brain did this funny thing were it kind of just erased all memory. It was as if I was never coming back so all useless things were cleared from my brain.

At the line to check in, I heard the infamous Miami accent, the one I have and the one I used to dream about hearing again. I was shocked by my reaction, however: complete and utter rejection. I “ugh”ed so many times in my mind. Stupid tourists.

I eyed the girl on the row next to me. She took some pictures of (what do you know?) her duck face in front of the Eiffel Tower. The urge to shake her by the shoulders was great.

After a few hours flying, the in-flight entertainment, some TV show about the houses of billionaires, became the gauge of how much my mentality had changed.

It was all about excess, and it has always been so (at least in my community). It’s all about how much money you have, the extents you’re going through to show it, and how people are supposed to ooh and aah at this. I found myself feeling a little disgusted at the gloating of the people on the show and their exhorbitant amounts of money.

In France, money is taboo. And I like that. It’s not about what you have- it’s about your intellect, about how you put it to use. People are not flashy. It’s like people have something to prove here.

Also, upon landing, I realized how much people jiggle. Bro, everyone’s fat! Young, old- it’s crazy!

I decided to go for a walk in my neighborhood and it was all so desolate! How is it possible that in a gated community, where one is surrounded by houses, there is no one to be seen? Only cars zipped by me. It was eerie.

Food is bad. Real bad. I miss my light stuff. Even lettuce here is…fake. Or at least it feels like it.

Am I sounding like an insufferable bitch yet?

Good, because I still have more to say.

Everyone is still in the same place in life as they did when I left. Now, I’m not saying that everyone needs to radically change their life because, let’s be real! Not everyone has the same goals or even interests but damn! How is it possible that in a whole year no one has made any sort of advance? Everyone has plans, but no one pursues them. Pembroke Pines and Miramar brethren, open your eyes! Now is the time! Stop giving yourself excuses and go do things! Please!!

To make things even weirder, I look at everything like a scared child. My eyes dart from place to place, looking at things with a feeling that’s a little hard to describe. I feel a little insane when this happens.

Furthermore, ever since getting here, I’ve lost my inspiration. Writing takes me longer and longer. As a matter of fact, I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but the words just didn’t flow. I actually really hate the tone of this entry.
Fuck you, suburbia.

I have purposely not installed a new Sim card in my phone, nor set foot inside the Wal*Mart Super Center in my town. My body is rejecting everything and I’m embracing this rejection, to the dismay of many.

But I don’t apologize.

PS: Seeing people bang pots and pans with the Heat victory yesterday was amusing at first, then I felt a horrible disconnect. 

A Farewell to Paris

(Let’s get uncomfortably personal!)

When I started this blog, I was merely following the suggestion of a very dear family friend who saw in me what I could not see (and still fail to see sometimes).

I, in the middle of a severe bout of depression, was desperate for a means to let out what I had bottled up inside my mind, inside my heart.

I hated Paris. I hated it so much. I hated its gray skies, its horrible, cold weather, its grumpy people…but most of all, I hated the isolation and the loneliness I lived in.

I know I have talked about the subject before, and it probably annoys the hell out of readers, but let me go into a little bit more detail, so you can understand what transpired:

It was first a little bit of seasonal depression. The lack of sunlight began to affect me here and there. Then, in the middle of this period of time, I had a falling out with someone I cared (and still care for) deeply. It was a fast descent into what has been probably the hardest time of my life. I found myself alone, half a world away from any source of support, and broken-hearted. There was a moment where everything settled and things seemed to finally be going well again, but once more, I tripped over the same stone and fell hard. Two people can care for each other all they want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will end up happily together.

I became a carcass of what I used to be. I no longer smiled, I started skipping class, I failed courses. I did not eat nor get out of bed. My thesis remained unwritten for the good part of 6 months. I lost sense of what I came here for. I was ready to abandon ship and go home.

But I couldn’t do that.

I decided to take matters into my own hands, and with the help of a friend, I found a psychologist.

The healing process began and I have to say that actually working through these issues was more difficult than the situation itself. There was a lot of guilt, a lot of resentment, anger, regret, self-doubt, and sadness. I felt stupid to be going to a shrink because of a silly broken heart, but as it turns out, these sessions where I would be torn down were what helped me get my head once more above water. I learned it’s fine- nay, necessary- to ask for help. It’s not that you can’t help yourself, it’s that you’re ready to pull yourself by the bootstraps and carry on.

Slowly but surely, I came back to being me. A renewed me. A me that loves life so much more, for I realized what a beautiful gift it really is. I learned that I was the one who gave myself my own worth, I learned that even though I am a small person, I muster the strength of a giant.

I look back at this dark time, with this new perspective and I realized how necessary this whole ordeal was. How I could not change a single thing about it.

Today, I am where I want to be: I am sad to leave Paris.

But it has to finish. The ending page of this chapter is upon me, and I must turn it and continue writing my story.

As disappointed as I am to be leaving, I find comfort in knowing that I dictate my own life.

In Paris, I was torn to shreds, and I was able to rebuild myself. This has given me a new outlook: I can do whatever I want.

Last week, I defended my thesis, and passed. The sole act of finishing the document was a victory itself. To pass the test of fire (that was the defense) was proof that an effort does pay off and that I am a fighter and I can conquer even my greatest demons.

Furthermore, I realize now that I was never as alone as I thought I was. Despite the big distance, I had a huge support system that constantly made me feel like they were near me. Over the time I have been here, I have also forged the most beautiful friendships with the most caring and welcoming people. Their kindness and love will never be forgotten. I lock the memories in my heart, to always remind me that there is goodness everywhere and that I, too, must be as good to others as this group of individuals has been to me.

As for that gentleman I mentioned earlier, all I have is gratitude towards him: In giving me the darkest time of my life, in inducing in me the most pure and thorough of sadness and fear… he gave me light. He gave me the most beautiful thing you can give anyone: a stronger, more compassionate self.

Though it is highly unlikely these lines will ever encounter him (which is what emboldens me to make the statement about to come), it has to be said, at least once: I love you. And I wish it could be something I could tell you, face to face. Why? I know you don’t understand yet, but I love you for the beauty and joy you brought to my days with your sole presence, with your conversations, with the knowledge that we had each other and (at least on my end) we were thus invincible. I love you because I saw how big your heart is. I love you because I fully admire your determination, your courage, your ability to reason.

Now we go our separate ways, and that’s all right because that’s how things were supposed to play out. There is no point in going against anything. I embrace it, and seeing that you have not cast me aside (for whatever reason), despite all of our misunderstandings and heated arguments, has taught me compassion and forgiveness. I love you, and I will love you, because of all the wonderful memories I hold of us together along the years. My sole desire is that you, too, will smile when you think of me and that next time our paths cross, we are just two happy people.

And so, in six short days I bid farewell to this magical city- the place where in a single year I learned what should be learned in ten lifetimes. I go back home a different person, excited to begin life. I wish I could carry in my skin the grittiness of your streets, the sensation of freedom I encountered once I realized that everything was going to be OK. But I can’t. And that’s all right- I’ve learned to be patient.

 

Thank you, Paris. 

A day in the life

So this is what a very typical day consists of for me. Do notice a few things:

1. It’s very raw footage (shaky, etc. I’m warning you right now so don’t come to me with the “omg it’s shaky” comments afterwards). I’m a complete mess when it comes to iMovie and stuff.
2. Notice how many stairs I have to climb.
3. Notice how on the subway I was the first in line, and suddenly some guy gets in front of me (typical Parisian).

Enjoy!