mardi, janvier 27, 2004


I have begun to realize that there are certain kinds of men that get a little "troubled" by me. On the French meeting site where I chat away the hours of the weekend spent at my boring second job, even without actually chatting with me, there are men who have their foundations a little rocked by being attracted to the likes of me. Today I came home to a message from a nice-looking young man in the Parisian area, who said, "I wanted to let you know that even though I can tell we are not on the same wavelength (you seem to be one of those modern women who want to have plenty of aventures and a full life), I had to write you to tell you that you have "troubled" me." He went on to explain that although I seemed like a really "great person" he wished me luck because the kind of life I have chosen is a hard one.

Where do I start?

First off, I must explain that "troubler" in French in this instance is more equivalent to "disturb in a pleasing way." And I think that is more to the point of what he was expressing. This young man of 26 finds himself attracted to my photo (I am assuming it is what made him click on my profile in the first place) and by my written profile (which talks mostly about being transferred to Paris with my job and how that is a dream come true, about some of my passions and other dreams, none of which involve a man) in spite of himself and his principles. I assume that he makes the assertion that I am a "modern" woman who is not looking to "settle down" because of the dreams and desires mentioned, there is not one to find "my other half" my "media naranja" my "soul mate." Most men who are attracted to me in spite of themselves and disturbed by this completely miss the sentence in my profile (or in real life miss my revelation) acknowledging my good fortune to have felt and lived deep love.

To love and have been loved back, passionately, wholly and selflessly, is something I am grateful to have experienced. It makes the loss of it easier to bear, and the move to Paris feel less like running away and more like the right path to pursue. I loved Paris before I loved him; I love Paris, and him, still.

My love for Paris, irrational, sparked at an early age, and almost completely without explanation, is much like my love for him. Those who would scoff at the cliché, the naiveté, the very sweetness of loving such a thing as Paris, for which I could have no true understanding, whose depths, jagged edges, and unpredictable ways I could surely not comprehend, are no doubt cut of the same cloth as those who would tut-tut me and look at me with something resembling pity, thinking "Poor thing, she is still not over him."

Love, for Paris or for him, or for little hardcover books, for that matter, need not make sense to anyone but he or she who loves. Love, like hope, is irrational. It exists entirely outside of circumstance, logic and reason.

Why do those who have known nothing but conflict, suffering and misery, have hope? Why do those who have loved and lost love still?

lundi, janvier 26, 2004


I had another journal, a black hard cover book with white unlined pages whose very blankness intimidated me.

What would I have to say? Who would read it and what would they think? I was 17 and had just moved to Madison, Wisconsin from Atlanta to attend college. I was feeling out of place in the very white, bland sameness of that Midwestern town, and wanted to record my thoughts and feelings. I think the first entry started, "Finally! I have met someone who knows who Igmar Bergman is." Reading the entry years later, I was mortified at my pretention, but then again, these are the things one does at 17 when feeling a little lost.

I had plastered my side of the dorm room, shared with April Avril of Bethany Beach, Maryland (and whom I delighted in informing that her name was April April) with pictures from a magazine that featured photos of the very funky and alternative neighborhood of Little Five Points, alongside a cutout of the Eiffel Tower. I wanted to own these places and use them to differentiate myself from what I perceived to be the very uncultured, naive and mainstream masses at the large university. I had cut out faces of models and actresses from magazines, people I hoped I looked like or strove to emulate, separated into black and white and color sections.

Faces have always fascinated me. I made a good friend that year, who remains one still, and the night we spent talking and soul searching until dawn in her apartment, I remember seeing her face in the way I had always seen it, but when she shared something that was a window into her mind and her person, her one-ness, her face slowly changed in front of my eyes. It was as if it broke into separate pieces and then melded back together, but in a slightly different way, an almost imperceptible shift. Her face altered itself in the very instant I began to know her, as if a mask, a public face, had been peeled away and the true one revealed.

I observed my roommate at a safe distance of disdain, noting how she lined the built-in bookshelves on her side of the room not with books but with the most impressive array of hair care products I had ever seen outside of a drug store. I joked to others how she must have been afraid there would be a world-wide styling mousse shortage, and wanted to be prepared. I toured my friends through her side of the room, smirkingly demonstrating for them her three-way Illumina make-up mirror set up on her desk, which was bizarrely exactly like the one my grandmother had that I used to play with as a child, with its different light settings for "office" "daylight" "evening" and "home." It didn't have what I thought would have been a more useful setting of "department store dressing room fluorescent" which would really help a girl get her foundation just right.

I regaled in observing the ways in which she was different than me, most especially in her speech. She had been a lifeguard all through high school, and in my total ignorance of the rest of the country, I had thought Maryland so far to the North that I pictured her atop a lifeguard stand on a New England-like rocky cliff, like a tiny blonde lighthouse beaming her tan from ashore. She used expressions my growing up in majority black inner city schools left me completely unfamiliar with, like "Can I tell you..." to start a sentence (whose rhetorical nature I did not recognize and to which I always mistakenly said "Yes") and how her verbs almost always ended in "ing", as in, "This weather is totally sucking," or "I am sooooo not liking this." In a fit of linguistic superiority, I asked her once, "Why do you use the progressive tense so much?", to which I received an icy tanned glare and a flip of moussed blonde hair.

dimanche, janvier 25, 2004

Blogging Journal

I haven't kept a journal since I was in the fifth grade and thought Jason Kenagy was the hottest thing on earth. The prerequisite hearts and exclamation points were drawn at every mention of his name, and being a drama queen even then, I had peppered my rantings with a "Sigh!" here and there. The passion and ardor I exhibited scared the wits out of him, for years, and amused me greatly when, as teenagers when we no longer went to the same schools, he would avoid me if he saw me.

So this journaling thing is a little daunting, a little navel-gazing, and I fear using it for rantings about boys, but it will hopefully get me to write regularly, something I have been woefully deficient at for years.

I do want to thank and her site for inspiring me. I was one of the millions who got to her site through the WW cards, and through reading her posts, (which I think are most excellently written and bursting with insight, humor and so much talent,) I was inspired to start my own. So thanks, Wendy. And keep writing, please.