(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.