Stepping out the door and into the heart of my beloved Paris is a daily journey into a conscious choice of self-discovery.
And oh! The stories I could tell about this. I think of it like an artichoke; each leaf peeled back reveals another piece of the soul, working ever closer to the heart.
The main theme of Pink Floyd’s song, “Comfortably Numb,” is the distance between our minds and the perception of reality because of artificial relief. Escaping from life and its problems can deprive us of the purest form of humanity – feeling.
Paris is, for me, a playground of challenge, emotion, eternal joy, pain, searching, fatigue, the call for passion, creativity, and angst, a representation of our lives in the chaotic and turbulent mechanism of the time we find between life and death.
This city has sent me on a fever-pitch voyage of self-exploration, an unending cycle of discovery that felt painful at first because I didn’t understand what she was trying to do. I was lost, literally and figuratively, amidst the swell and turbulence of foreign white noise and foreign language dominating my landscape.
I was drowning in a sea of cultural identity and understanding who I was in a place this vast.
Paris wanted me to look inward in a way much like the conversations I have with new French friends.
Who are you?
What do you do?
What do you stand for?
What makes you different?
When I arrived, I didn’t know how to answer those questions in English or in French.
I step out each day, and I choose to approach this day, this place, this (French) life with eyes wide open. I do not embody apathy, mediocrity, or conformity. And I do not try to escape the pain, challenges, alienation, loneliness, or sadness that comes with my journey – this is not an easy choice.
I reject a numbing of the spirit.
Instead, I now allow Paris (and France) to help curate my story. And wouldn’t you say she’s done a great job with the latest chapters?