Breaking up is hard to do...or not. January 2008

So, what, it's week seven I think here in Paris. For a couple weeks there I felt like I was losing my mind. Between the endless bottles of red and the tequilla and the partying, etc...I was starting to wonder what it was I was here for. Was it to indulge in endless spending and the frivolous egoist European lifestyle, or was it to find the inspiration I was lacking in Toronto and Vancouver. I didn't know. I just felt lost. Afraid to go outside. Afraid to answer the phone. My confidence waning with every passing day.

It's strange moving to a new place with all these intentions of bettering yourself. A good friend once told me, yes Steph, that's you - "It doesn't matter where you are, you are always faced with the same problems and the same self." This stuck with me almost more than the self-help book Amanda and I stumbled upon one stoned morning in Vancouver that read: "Wherever you go, there you are". It's stupid but undoubtedly true.

I'm finding I have way too much time to think about things here. It's hard not having a job and I am sickened at the thought of saying those words out loud because really, let's face it, I'm one of the luckiest (though poorest) fucks out there. I spend my days and nights going over these things in my head, doing exactly what Jason Yates warns one must avoid - REMEMBER JULIE, NO THINKY NO TALKY. But what else is there to do? As a writer, I find that it's really the thing that defines my being. Of course I overthink everything, I punish myself for my mishaps and I doubt my every choice, but there it is. Such is life. And it's something I am coming to terms with more and more. I am finding suddenly a new world has opened up to me and my ideals and my desires are becoming clearer than every before.

I don't know if it's the failed marriage, or the second HORRIBLY failed relationship or the string of lovers I have left behind me but last night, I was out with a French guy that I have been kind of been dating for the past little while. We slept together once, and I knew I was fucked. In France, kissing alone is a contract to be in a relationship and for me, my life here is temporary. I am not looking for a companion and though I am looking for more than a 'good time' as they say, it was nice to go out with someone I could talk to. Someone I found interesting and intellectual. Someone I could trust but a little terrified the next night when he asked me out to dinner.

We talked a lot this week about the seriousness of it all. He is just coming out of a long relationship too and I have no interest in starting yet another one that has no possible ressolution but a painful end and yet, we enjoy each other's company. He asked me to meet him for a drink and so I relunctantly went, thinking to myself, seriously, I've been on one date with this guy and already we have to have 'the talk'...I mean, C'MON! This is ridiculous. But so I went.

We met on a small park bench facing the Eiffel Tower which was in the midst of it's hourly sparkle session, something Ryley and I may never get enough of. Seriously, every time the lights start to go, we are lit up inside also with the realization that we are here. We are having a time. Something is happening in our lives and no matter how hard or how strange, it is magical. The two of us walked awkwardly towards the Modern Art Museum barely talking, chain smoking and I was thinking to myself, I don't know how to tell this guy to CHILL THE FUCK OUT in French, but I will...

So we arrive at the museum and climb to the top of the stairs. He tells me he has brought beers with him and cigarettes and we talk about the past week, about what has happened about how things are different in France. I laugh and reassure him that I do not think of him as my boyfriend. That I can't remember the last person I was with that I had these kind of serious feelings for and that he truly had nothing to worry about. I tell him that maybe I have become a bit cynical about love these past few years. That I'm not sure if it's what I'm looking for. I think more or less I am looking to fall in love with myself, not with another. I have spent too much of my life doing things for others and far too little focusing on what it is I NEED to get out of this crazy existence of ours. Maybe I've been reading too much Henry Miller, maybe I am growing balls, maybe I am just shedding the eternal fear we all talk so much about. Maybe romance is not for me, I am not sure.

We talked more and went out for beers and I told him that I enjoyed spending time with him and that I had no intentions of chasing him but that I was also open to spending time together as long as it was not of the serious variety. This idea was really foreign to him. I think it made him feel like a bit of a dick, which made me feel like a bit of a slut. I mean, am I just naive for thinking that it's right for someone to care about you if you sleep with them. We have such different systems of dating. The thought that this poor guy was out there thinking he was coming across town to break me heart to me was the farthest thing from possible. I mean, c'mon, we hardly know each other. Every fibre of my being here is telling me that life here is temporary. That it's a dream world that I am in and that there is little familiarity between here and my world back home. And funnily enough, I don't even know what home means anymore. Is it a real place or is it just this thing we spend our lives chasing, the way we chase love. Looking for security, for answers, for the 'chez-moi' that just never seems to arrive.

In any event, as we walked on, he admitted that he was having a lot more fun than he expected to and that he wasn't tired and wanted to keep talking if I was up for a walk. We made our way to Trocadero gardens and as usual we looked for some adventure to pass the time. Trying to find an entrance to this infamous cave in the gardens, we jumped a few fences and talked more and took a break to smoke a cigarette and chat. Before we knew it we were kissing, only this time it was kissing knowing what the both of us were thinking. It was not so much serious or filled with intentions or expectations, just with reality, with now, without promise and it was perfect and romantic in this odd way I have become truly unfamiliar with.

We kissed all over town, looking for little corners everywhere, dark ones to pass the time. We debated going back to my place and decided it wasn't a good idea. He is living with his mom and it just seemed disrespectful. In the end, we found a hotel in the 16th and passed a lovely night together talking and just being together and I must say, I think it is the nicest break-up I have ever had.

I don't know what to think now, I'm just trying not to think at all. And for the first time, I mean that. Jay, you must be so proud. Your theory has taken hold and I am happy, inspired and ready to face the next month of poverty here doing exactly what I want to do.

By the way, in case none of you know it, FRANCE IS FUCKED with bureaucracies. We can't take our money out of the bank, we can't sign a lease, there is always a problem every day that prevents me from doing what I want to do here.

I had a moment yesterday in Pere Lachaisse cemetery, looking out onto the setting sun and the empty branches of the towering trees, looking like the skeletons of life and I felt calm for the first time in a really LONG time. It was perfect. I am here. I keep forgetting. This is what I've wanted to do the majority of my life and I am here, doing it. I have friends and lovers and I am having a time I won't forget. Chapter Three is on the brink and any day now, Chasen will be on his way here and it will all start again. Crazy to think.

Anyway, thinking of you all at home but trying not to think about the past, to focus on the now. On what it feels like to be alive in this depleting body of mine. Health is a thing of the past for me but maybe I will find the balance I've been lacking. Maybe I just need to break-up with a few more Frenchmen, I don't know.


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