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Sunday, September 04, 2005

a date with solitude


What do you want out of life?

The car? The kids? The family?

The perfect job? The briefcase?

The fame? The fortune?

The beautiful wife? The swimming pool?

The vegetable garden? The summer cabin?

The perfect body?

The university degree?

I guess what we essentially want is happiness, but are the things we pursue really going to make us happy?

Sometimes we only pursue a goal because we have something to prove, or because we’ve over estimated he final result.

I say this because my goals are confused. Everything I thought I wanted has turned into a Monet, beautiful from afar, but blurry and confused up close.

I wanted the city. I wanted the perfect job. I wanted the independence, the status, and the bank account of a modern day woman doing well for herself.

I wanted high fashion, lunches in restaurants, one-night stands and late night martinis.

But as I walk this city on my own, thinking deeply as I stare at café walls, I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what will make me smile at the end of the day.

What I do know is this summer I felt genuine happiness more than I ever have in my life. Never in my entire existence have I felt so much compassion for myself and for others. I found myself randomly embracing those around me, dancing by myself late into the night, and practically skipping down old roads, throwing my arms up for the beauty of living.

I finally felt I truly loved myself. I tanned topless. I wrote a song in French. I made elaborate meals, even if I was dining on my own. I spent nights drinking and talking with people twice my age.

I was inspired by the love of life of those around me. People spoke, drank, danced, sang and smoked with a passion. The old and the young gathered at local festivals and dances and clinked glasses. I walked through the streets of this small town in the South of France, and most people knew my name. I walked into the Tuesday Market and laughed with the vendors. I went to the restaurants and knew the workers. And I had the security of being with someone I wanted to be with. Someone who, for a moment, made all my insecurities disappear.

Maybe it was the summer sun.

But for the first time I didn’t want to be alone anymore. The life of solitude and the dream of being an unknown foreigner to those around me faded into the evening sunset, alive in orange and pink, eventually fading into a dark star lit sky.

I’m still holding onto the thought of it.

And now I know that I want something real.

I want love. I want good conversation. I want friends. I want people that love me in return. I want nature. Health. Hobbies. Passions. Good food. Late nights. Morning walks. That’s what I want. That’s the life I'm going to work for.


You think you’re happy alone,
You think this is the way it should be,
You feel strong,
Good on your own.
You laugh at the idea of family,
Of marriage;
Of depending on others.
You don’t need any of that.
Until one day,
One day you taste it.
Someone falls into your life,
And you fall right into them,
You need them;
You can’t breathe properly
When they’re not by your side.
And you’ve never,
Never felt so alive,
And the world embraces you.
People tell you things
That make your face
Come alive with a smile,
And you discover
A new radiance,
A new life
In yourself,
And you return it,
You embrace it.
And suddenly you want family,
A real life.
You don’t want to be on your own,
Because being loved,
It just feels too good.


I saw a face in the small mirror that hangs above each tunnel, before you enter into the darkness. Hair blonde like a Polish girl, she sat concentrated, her made up eyes fighting back tears.

I saw myself. Staring at the wall, crying on the metro.

It’s funny, people don’t know what to do when they see someone crying. They glance at you nervously and quickly look away. I don’t think Parisians cry in public. I do.

And I hear all the voices that tell me how lucky I am. Who wouldn’t want to be in Paris?

So many people have good memories here. I watch lovers, taken by the romance of the city. Tourists swooning, finding it hard to believe they’ve finally made it here.

All day I speak to kids that want me to feed them, and at night I speak to men that want to fuck me.

I don’t feel human. I only have my emotions to remind me that I am.

All it takes is a moment of silence to make me cry.

I don’t know what I want. Everything is an illusion. The cafes, the sights, the Seine, the restaurants and the charming waiters. They’re all imposters in cheap costumes when you’re down.

I can’t walk the streets at night without worrying about being attacked. This is my time of liberty, of freedom, and I’m so restricted due to the dangers of the city.

I love my solitude, and yet I feel so vulnerable, like one small animal in the jungle of it all.

And so I cry on the metro.

It feels almost taboo, being so openly emotional. Next time I’m taking the metro naked, just to test the crowds, to see how they react.

I’ve given up on trying to hide the way I feel. I feel alone. I feel sad. I feel like crying. And that’s all there is to it.

It’ll make me feel better eventually.


With the tears gone from my eyes, I can see clearly again. I can do this. I have myself.

paris by night


Blogger Electronsean said...

noone said life would be easy...

i think i am in the same boat, though the trips to france/forward thinking has been and gone. now i actually have to make dollars to eat. that is what will make you see clearly. (bytheway, this making dollars is very recent)

2:18 AM  
Blogger Lucy said...

for sure it is not always easy dealing with real life opposed to the visions that we imagine it to be ... yet you are really challenging yourself, and I can see that you are still painfully aware of all the little details, even if they are not always pleasant. That is though what you will be grateful for in the end. being aware, and being in the moment, however hard that moment might be. You have many who care about you, and do not be afraid to cry and be sad and be disappointed and be questioning yourself. This is what it is about, our youth, our learning. I know that you are experiencing many beautiful moments as well, and may those be the ones that you cherish. Once again, I admire you for doing this. Thank you for your honesty.



11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


in your words I feel some emotions I faced having moved to a big city (Rotterdam, Netherlands). Leaving everything behind and starting in a strange and unfamiliar environment I almost felt like a number, anonymous and unknown to all. All my fantasies about the vibrant city (night-)life felt unreal and wrong and for a moment I thought I made the worst move of my life.

I guess it just represents a period in which you're figuring out yourself and the things that matter most to you. It might not reach your expectations at first... but give it a chance and you will rise and shine (again). Good thing you use this blog to share your feelings and doubts with us. Hang in there and don't lose faith...

Love from Holland

1:34 PM  
Blogger Wenda said...

Thanks for your poetic honesty. You help me to explore my own truths.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow suck it up buttercup, un fortunately i have no sympathy. everyone faces confusions but they deal with it. i dont wanna be mean but you need to get stronger.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

Thanks. I know that this is good for me, and I'm happy to be here, it was just a bad few days. My health has been poor and has made me very fragile, and my emotions messy.

Anonymous, I don't ask for sympathy, and I'm very strong, but we all suffer from moments of weakness. And please don't refer to me as buttercup.

5:03 AM  

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