Power Outage in Paris. Thanksgiving 2008
Then, I think how sad. That the best thing in MY life is someone else. I suppose that's always the way, though. I am wondering more and more if maybe that's the most important lesson we're supposed to learn in this life.
We search incessantly to understand what it is we're doing it all for. For some of us, it's money, others it's comfort. Some people work because they know it's what they're supposed to do. Some people just do it because they don't feel they have a choice. I'm starting to realize that I definitely get up for one reason every morning and that is this faint glimmer of hope that one day, I will know what it's like to be loved, really loved and to be able to share the kind of relationship I have always fantasized about. Two people who are telling the truth and who are happy to be with one another. Not just satisfied but complete.
It sounds so sappy and I really don't mean for it to. I'm not saying I am dying without it and I know my friend Bice would say that it is a dangerous avenue for a woman to see herself as 'incomplete' without the perfect partner . As much as I ressent it while I have it (it cramps my style, it makes me do stupid things and makes me feel like I ought to be someone I'm not - a dancer maybe, or a cyclist perhaps), yet I long for love when I'm out of it. I question everything - what I've done wrong, what I could have done better, if I am better off or cursed. I ask myself a million questions until finally my head is on the verge of exploding and I just give up and arrive at this calm, unsettling place, this lonely place and shake myself away in my own real life and realize, what the fuck am I whining about?! Things are nearly so bad. And I do have lots of love in my life, it comes in the form of friendship and family and I am one of the luckiest girls in the world. Boo for me.
I am living the life I always dreamed of. I am working in a restaurant in Paris (though yes, admittedly FAR less glamorous than I imagined...) and even though it's not the perfect job, it's good for me. It gets me out of bed early. I arrive at the shop alone. Unlock the door and turn off the alarm. I go to the bathroom with the door open. I set up my laptop in my office and go through paperwork, check my email and prepare myself for a morning in the kitchen (something I've also longed to do). I play the music I want. I sing out loud and sometimes I dance around the plastic bowls and play drums with wooden spoons if I'm sure no one else has arrived yet. I speak French and English when needed. I come home, smoke a joint or have a glass of wine and maybe watch a movie. Maybe I'll read some more Henry Miller. I have a beautiful apartment in the middle of Paris. Some nights, if I have the energy, I get up and go have a coffee and sit in a cafe like tonight and do some writing. Sometimes I'll just walk along the river or in a busy market street and revel in the fact that I am here alone. Alone.
I am living this perpetual balance beam between what I am good at and what I want. The truth is, I am better alone. I don't second guess my every move. I am confident and I keep myself entertained. I cook for myself and eat well. I smoke less and read more. I pay attention and my eyes are open, the way they can't be when they're dreaming about this lover or that.
And yet, then there's the moments when my heart practically stops beating. When I realize that I miss him. That I want to put my arms around him, even if it's just for a second, but that I'd better not to. Might get all caught up in it again. Might make things harder for me. Maybe the lesson I'm supposed to learn is that I am destined to take the easy road one of these days. Seems every path I get on leads me to the lonely road. Back to country music and deep thought, deep sleeps and empty bottles of Jameson followed by staggered walks home.
This time, I'm not drinking. I'm not being stupid anymore. That's a grand statement, I'm sure I have no right to make but for the time being, I'm trying. I am going to bed early and trying to be more active, more accepting, patient. I spent the weekend in Amsterdam with some friends. Some old, some new, some strangers. I forgot how good it feels to get out on my own in a new city. To be brave and to do what it is I need to do. I spent a morning in Vondelpark drinking coffee and smoking and writing, something worthwhile maybe, even, who knows. I have decided to try to write like a man. It seems to me, all of these hard years of research may be worth something after all. If I've learned anything it's that I have an aptitude for obsessing over these strange creatures, these men. I am intrigued by them, fascinated, seduced. Why not try to put myself in their place for a while. Maybe it would do me some good. Maybe it would take a little of the weight off or allow me to see what it is I am messing up.
Spent the afternoon in the Dam walking around canals, smoking pot and framing out a new book. Fiction. I'd say it's just dessert. Reality and I, we may be through.
I am starting a new relationship in the book world for the moment too. I am bidding Henry Miller goodbye tonight. Packing him up for a while and putting Plexus to rest. I'll get around to Nexus very soon too, I'm sure. but for now, I am going to spend some time in bed with this new man, Carlos Castaneda. An old friend in Toronto sat with me on a bench one afternoon at dusk and told me he thought I should give him a look into. I was surprised to find the entire series of his books right in front of my face - IN ENGLISH - in a sea of Dutch novels Saturday afternoon. I bought them all and I have a feeling this could be serious. Maybe it's even meant to be. Or maybe, just maybe, I am the lunatic everyone seems to think I am! :)
At the very least, I am learning how to stand on my own two feet again, if barely. I am learning that I am little lost and that it's nothing to be ashamed of. That I've had quite the story and that I'm quite done with drama. What I'm ready for is to come home to someone at the end of a hard day and to lie with them awhile and enjoy those euphoric moments when, even if just for a small second, everything feels right and I know that I am cared for and that I feel love too. And if I'll only know that relationship with myself than so be it. As far as I can tell, there are worse partners than me out there. If someone can find someone more hedonistic and optimistic than me, I'd be willing to start dating again. If not, my light's off for now, maybe forever. You know what they say, three strikes and back away from the plate, baseball's not your game and you'll look like an idiot if you keep standing there waiting for a homer. Besides, at the rate I'm going, were I to try again, I'd be lucky to hit a pop fly.
So no, bref, there's not really a power outage in Paris. It's just me and as usual, I'm having a hard time finding the breaker and fiddling around in the dark looking for the match I know is there, somewhere. If I were smart, I'd think of Blanche DuBois and remember that I'm more comfortable here, in the dark, where my blemishes don't show and everything's still a little unclear, but if I know me...and I think I do, I'll be staring at my reflection in the hallogens for a long time to come. I won't stop until I've tried every swtich, exhausted every possibility and then, under the bright lights of the big city, I'll have to face my dirty pores and my ingrown hairs and my crooked eyes. Good thing I'm not in it for looks.
A bientot everybody!
Posted by Julie Jolicoeur at 6:43 PM