Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Be thankful for the things that spread your soul throughout the sun, 
Though bits of toxic rays may make you frown. 
Be thankful for the everlasting glimmer of sweet hope,
Though moments of distortion bring you down.

When looking round the world today be sure to carry free,
From burdens turning happiness to tears.
The question of what's precious should be clear in moments thought,
Though often in the moment takes us years.

Today with lavish plates of mashed potatoes piled high,
We eat the things that fill and make us warm.
Imbibing sweetened memories and turkey roasted right,
A band of merry feelings to transform.

A holiday once based on wars and fighting makes us think,
Amidst all pain and strife there will prevail,
A glimmering affinity for love that carries on,
When storm will cloud the happy ending tale.

So make a list of things today that bring us all to joy,
No matter where in world or life you are,
A happy and ecstatic Thanksgiving Day to you all,
Now take some love and send it through the stars.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pop Dogma

We watch films, read books, listen to music and feel... Very few people escape the luxury of cathartic emotion when engaging in artistic forms. I love to laugh out loud or cry hysterically in cahoots with a character or a situation that has nothing to do with me or is a mirror image of my own life. Either way, it provides a release we often require to get through the day. Many people claim that perfectly happy endings can shelter us from cruel reality, or harsh truths are too severe for our delicate psyches to witness without consequence. The poetic musings of pop films or T.V. sitcoms provide formulaic recipes that cannot be followed in real life. But why not? I myself tend to prefer grand heroics and idealism to tortured souls and melancholy. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely a place for both. But in a world where things are often tricky at best, and possessing a psyche that does greater damage to myself than any external force can do, I will take my wisdom from sources that speak to me, however nonsensical...

Over the past few days, or possibly for my entire life, I have been wondering about many things. You meet people whose place is unsure, you go on adventures very much so uncharted, and you think about the things you most desire or fear. Love is a pinnacle for many and I am no exception. Amidst lingering heartbreak, there have been many random pop quotes that have leapt into my head of late, perhaps creating a lifeline to follow and provide the next step...

Adam Sandler said in the movie "Funny People"... "There is always the one girl out there, though, the one that got away. Guys have that... and serial killers have that, the one that got away. 'I had her, the trunk was lined with garbage bags, and then she got away.'" Except that many women don't have that. We hold onto love until it is finished and we don't look back. That doesn't mean there aren't attempts to move on or that years later someone can resurface, but while men are often content to compartmentalize and allow someone to walk silently into the night, I for one know that I love fiercely and full of bias until I am done. The end result may be desirable but the route can be tragically difficult... As the romantic comedy "The Wedding Date" suggests, “Every woman has the exact love life she wants”. Well, sorry ladies, but I sort of believe this is true. I look around at strong, confident, independent women ready to love and be loved without question and I see wonderfully inspiring relationships. That doesn't mean you can't meet people or try relationships or feel confident or have success under other circumstances. But I admit myself that unless I want to fall casually into a co-dependent or completely unbalanced relationship, something I have never been able to do, there are things yet to be done before my Prince Charming can sweep me away... Or rather, before I tell him loud and clearly that it's time to collect his profoundly miraculous prize ; )... I tend to dwell on possibilities rather than realities, relishing in fantasy instead of embracing what is tangible. Considering what could have been or should have been, what beauty felt like instead of what it will feel like again. The concrete and the creative, the imagination and the absolute are all necessary. We can keep our memories as brilliant pieces of who we are, but as Carrie Bradshaw so aptly puts it, "Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe, you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be."

If the pop dogma floating through my head is considered crap by some, then so be it. If it puts into perspective thoughts previously disconnected and makes its way into my writing, than not only has it achieved its artistic goal of making an impact and being remembered, but it has found its way into the unfolding dreams of a random wanderer. Such is the hope for all artists and soul-lovers.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Gems That We Collect

We all experience magical meetings that change the course of our lives. Some are small bumps in the road while others alter the entire route, often leaving us lost, confused, completely disoriented, but very possibly heading toward a bright new hope. In NYC I frequently felt like I was sitting on the side of the road or continually going in circles, whereas in Paris I feel confident that I am on a positive path, though destination very much so yet to be determined. 

The other night I had one of those cosmic meetings that baffles because you are left feeling that you must have learned some sort of lesson, but have no idea what that might be. Sometimes I think it's possible that I truly am manifesting my desire to be a princess, find my prince charming, and live in a castle happily ever after done and done. Other times I feel profoundly certain that I am merely part of an existentially cosmic joke, with an increasingly twisted and eternal punchline. Either way, for most of the evening I once again stepped into a modern fairy tale...

I met a new language partner in a café near République. Yes, laugh if you will, we all know where this is headed when it begins with the words "language partner". But as it was my second meeting of the day, and I almost canceled due to exhaustion and the fact my French skills were seeming atrociously worse than ever after almost two weeks with English speaking friends and family, I really had no expectations. I even approached the meeting with cell phone in hand, hovering outside the café because my father was emailing me about flight plans to New York for Christmas. This new gentleman partner had to tap me on the arm and pull my attention to the fact that I was approaching a social slash educational engagement. We sat down together and I immediately began word-vomiting all of the thoughts in my head from the day, expecting once again that this man, like anyone else I meet, will simply jump on my crazy bandwagon or shutdown and wait for the ride to be over. Happily, he seemed relatively ok with my overflowing emotions, and suggested we order some wine, though I honestly and truly and sincerely had only planned on a coffee for the evening. Yes blah fine, it's like watching the horror movie and wanting to scream at the film screen, stop! Don't go in! It's a vicious trap!!! Wine... the ever-seductive sphinx-elixir full of charms and curses forever more...

Cutting to the chase, the evening transgressed into a cornucopia of similar tastes, creative effusing, mutual adoration, and lots of wine. A good six hours later after the café and dinner at another restaurant, he offered to drive me home across Paris on his motor scooter, where we stopped for yet another drink and I was painfully rewarded with preciously warm and yummy kisses along with the information that he does in fact have a girlfriend. I'm pretty sure he even mentioned this earlier in the evening, but either I didn't truly understand or just didn't want to understand, living in the moment as a neurotic girl from Connecticut can rarely do. There are many mysteries to why situations like this occur, and even fewer satisfactory answers. 

I am also currently in the process of letting go of another man quite important and dear to me. While contemplating the reasons for love and loss and wondering why we should ever have to say goodbye to people living and breathing and loving on this Earth, I continue to ponder many things...

The cliché of paths and roads and journeys are all so wonderfully true because they paint the picture of how it is to realize that there is no final destination. You can stand still, move forward, go back, get sidetracked, hijacked, ransacked, sprinkled with fairy dust, tormented by billy goats, given three wishes, etc... But the one thing I consistently confirm is that people are the things that have the most impact and therefore the most worth. Some are meant to stay in your life forever, while others linger longer than they should, leave too soon, or fly in fleetingly to some grand effect. In terms of friends and family, I am cosmically blessed with the ability to find and maintain a stunningly cherished set. As far as romantic manly suitors, the odds are not yet in my favor. But I will say that the most impactful men of late have been the ones that have inspired me and encouraged me to work on my art and create. Inspiration and connection are priceless and worth the confusion, even when we are often frustrated beyond reason until clarity is revealed. Either way, the people that we meet, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse, are truly the gems that we collect on this crazy life thoroughfare.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blonde Baby About Town

The very same day that my College Friend left Paris, my Father and Step-Mother arrived. While I am not one to look down on welcome visitors, I will say that back-to-back friends and family resulted in pure exhaustion. That combined with the fact that Paris spontaneously became bitterly cold and the sad reality that I often turn into a bratty 16-year-old for no discernible reason when around my Dad, and I somehow wonder how we all made it through the next several days. Little does my dear old Daddy know, however, that I consider him a rock that I really don't know what I would ever do without...

One of the best things about my Father and Step-Mother is that they are epic travelers and game for almost anything. En route to Paris, they stopped in Iceland and Amsterdam before meeting me in France. Though I couldn't meet them until late evening the day that they arrived, I was able to spend most of the following day running around Paris with them after class. I once again returned to the awesome falafel spot in the Marais, the fancy eclair shop, and a beautiful little jewelry and accessory store that I knew my Step-Mother would like. We hit up some of the normal spots such as Notre Dame and Saint-Michel, and after a late afternoon café, I left them to go teach a few students for the evening.

The next morning, though I intended to go to class, I woke up early only to accidentally spill water on my already falling apart laptop. After freaking out momentarily, I whisked it away to an Apple store near Opéra, and was incredibly relieved that it was not irreparably damaged... Well, any worse than it already had been... Despite the chilly air, I met the parents for a self-guided "walking tour" through Saint-Michel and into the Latin Quarter. For the first time, I actually ventured into some unknown territory. A charming garden with picturesque views across from Notre Dame, Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche (which means "street of the fishing cat" and is said to be the narrowest street in Paris), St-Séverin, the Sorbonne, and the Pantheon. Despite the cold and my involuntary disgruntled reaction to my Father's self-guided tours, it really was a lovely walk. After I taught a few more students in the evening, I met them for a wonderful dinner of traditional crêpes at La Crêperie Josselin near Montparnasse. We of course ended the evening with a flaming crêpe tasting fantastically of rum that had not fully been burned off and stuffed with chocolate and bananas.

Saturday was the best day by far, in my opinion. Though unfathomably cold, we spent the afternoon doing two touristy things. Number one, a visit to Père Lachaise, the famous cemetery housing the likes of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. I visited this landmark over ten years ago when my College Friend and I came to Paris. It's actually quite beautiful, with stunning architecture, and a pervading feeling of historic tales and deep memories. Ten years ago, one of the best traditions was to kiss Oscar Wilde's tombstone with lipstick, leaving the stain of love and admiration for eternity. Tragically, now there is a large plastic covering around his grave with a sign saying that the cost of cleaning belongs exclusively to the family, and to please respect the grave. I felt a little sad at this sentiment because while I of course never knew Mr. Wilde personally, I feel quite certain he would revel in the kisses of the past and future. 
Happily, some devoted fans had recently climbed or flown or simply spirited their way over the plastic shield and a couple of kisses remained in homage.

After the nostalgia and sadness of a serene cemetery, we went to the Champs-Élysées where the Christmas market was finally open. A market like many others, there is all manner of terrible food, random nicknacks, and cheesy carnival games. The best part, however, is that unlike New York City, you are allowed to walk around with a cup of hot wine, warming my fingers and spirit as we wandered through the stalls. I also had a lovely little snack, made of marshmallow on a bed of waffle and dipped in chocolate in a variety of flavors. Mine was mint and it was heavenly. Oh! And there were scary scary animatronics for reasons I have yet to comprehend on any level. At long last, we made our way to a typical French restaurant I had chosen for dinner. Unfortunately, they were booked on a Saturday night, so we used my handy little smartphone to randomly choose something in not too far walking distance, since the cold was now becoming a bit intolerable. We found ourselves on Île Saint-Louis, where we indulged in more wine, steak for me, sausages for my Step-Mother, some sort of cassoulet for my Dad, and a shared chocolate mousse for dessert. By this point, I was admittedly quite tipsy and feeling much more homesick at the idea of them leaving the next morning than I wanted to let on. I did, however, guilt them into a final drink at another café across the street, resulting in several gossipy stories that I will not dishonor them by relaying. However, valuable lesson learned? Getting the parents drunk provides invaluable information that can be used as leverage in future ; )

A child of four, I am not the oldest nor the youngest, though being the oldest girl and having had some unfortunate health issues when I was young allows me an interesting position in the sibling rank. That, and the fact that I am notoriously narcissistic and when expected to behave as a responsible adult, my general response is that "I am just a child". I have also taken to referring to myself as "Blonde Baby" when signing emails or notes, so as to casually reiterate how adorable and irreplaceable I am. That being said, in my moments of less irrational childlike behavior, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have parents and step-parents who do nothing but love and support me in all of my crazy ramblings.