These streets have stolen my heart.
I guess Paris was everything I imagined, nothing less, nothing more. That sounds bad, like it didn't fulfill my expectations. In reality, it filled all of my expectations. And when I first came, it didn't feel as if I was a tourist trying to find my way around or fit in, even when that was, essentially, exactly what it was. I felt really comfortable here. Small, but in place. To myself, but still caught up in the commotion.
This sounds really lame, but as nerdy as it is, I truly do believe the Parisian daily state of mind aligned with my personality perfectly. I don't know. I don't really know myself that well, or maybe I do I can't put these leads into words. I always said other people knew me better than I knew myself. I also thought I was a person of extremes - I could be extremely picky or not picky at all, super depressed or incredibly happy, narrow-minded but open to try new things. In the past when I've gotten into arguments with people I've dated, I almost almost resorted to breaking up simply because I couldn't figure out any resolutions because I couldn't figure out myself. I am literally a ball of emotion, as lame as this sounds. It's not like I didn't care for the other person enough or wasn't willing to fight for us. It was moreso I was surrendering to myself . . because I couldn't do it, and I couldn't figure out the pieces, and I couldn't discern myself because I didn't know where to start. I didn't start challenging myself with that until recently. And it's hard and I'm still really bad at it. But I try and I get somewhere and even if it's only a few steps, it's a few steps more than I ever bothered to take before.
I still don't know myself perfectly. I admire those who know (seem to know?) themselves so well. Maybe this comes with being a girl too, just complicating the fuck out of everything. But being in Paris has revealed some leads. Having a month to myself to not worry about the tribulations at home, the pressure of nursing, and to just do whatever the fuck I wanted to do was a savior. The fact that it was in the summer and not a full semester really allowed me to step back from academic strains and release whatever was really in me, what drew me to Paris in the first place. I never knew about this place before besides the fact that it housed the Eiffel Tower, but the inclination was always there. Now, I know.
I'm not anti-social. I'm quiet and small. I stay to myself a lot and I really don't mind being alone at all. I enjoy it almost 99% of the time. But if you put me in social situations. I won't be scared to spark up a conversation with someone or feel intimidated. For a long time I struggled to ask myself if I was truly anti-social and have come to terms with the reality that no, I'm not. I don't mind meeting new people, I like being involved in things with groups, and I love getting to know someone. Not just talking to them - but genuinely speaking, talking, learning. It's the passion of nursing. But sometimes, if not always, I'd rather stay to myself or kick it with a select few. And in Paris, it's okay to do that.
I don't need to be at clubs, huge venues, poppin' parties every weekend. I understand that sometimes "it's the thing to do" and I do them only because I don't want to miss out on certain people and certain events. But I don't need to be at the heart of that party, or at that party at all, really. At least not every single weekend. If I'm there just minding what's going on, taking in people and the vibe, that's fine. No need to get fucked up. No need to advertise the fact that I just happen to be so drunk.
That's what the Paris mentality is. In class, we learned about the flaneur. In abbreviated terms, someone who remains anonymous outside of a situation and observes. And while he or she remains separate from the situation, they're also strangely involved, too. It's an unusual, intriguing balance, a beautiful act of screening delicate, everyday actions and ordinary people that all too often get overlooked. It's finding meaning in the small and the big. Thinking about occurrences that might bypass you, It sounds creepy. But it's really a close observation of everyday life and making something out of it. From the outside looking in. On the fringes but still involved. To yourself, but still absorbed in the commotion. This unseen distance is my zone.
After I had already submitted my college applications, I realized a better topic for my college essay and beat myself up for not having thought of it sooner. I've never let it go since.
The concept was the idea of an open window. Barely open, maybe cracked four inches wide. Whenever I'm driving or in my room sleeping or working, the window always needs to be open to some extent. It makes me feel like even though I'm confined to the solaces of me, I'm still connected to the outer world. The idea of still being linked to something larger than yourself, but still retreating inwards and staying to yourself, is really special to me. It's super interesting how you can be there and here at the same time.
I guess that's where I'm at. I think I have to start being more okay with not being out there all the time. I think it's important to remain outgoing to an extent. Forcing myself out of my comfort zone, trying new things, and making sure I'm never too comfortable will always be a part of me. I don't think I'll ever let myself settle or be too comfortable. I've just learned that I'm outgoing in a different way. And it was so hard to realize that back in the States, where it's all about who's the most popular, what the latest gossip is, which part is the spot to be. Fuck that.
I don't really care anymore.
Anxious to see where this takes me back home.