That thing occurred during my travels in Iceland. I didn’t try for it. I am not sure how the events lined up from dawn to dusk but they paved my way into the bed of an unknown Viking. I embraced … Continue reading
My life has been on hold.
I am intellectually aware that it is moving towards some kind of direction, but I quit wondering whether I really choose that direction or not. Do I have any power upon what’s happening to me in the end?
Everything has been feeling on hold since I collapsed in Ushuaia at the beginning of the year. I haven’t been able to write about it yet. Ushuaia has been by far the most extreme event of my life, almost like a near-death experience. My adrenaline is taking ages to come down.
What’s the point of extreme experiences after all? I am not even sure that it helped me get to know myself better. I’ve been stuck outside my body since then. Nothing went back to “normal” after Ushuaia. Any sense of normalcy has deserted my life, my expectations and any perspective there is to have on that side of the planet.
Many blog posts ideas ran through my head over the last months, but it has felt kamikaze to share my intimate thoughts with the rest of the world since I’ve been living in the Motherland (aka France). I’ve wanted to write posts called Gasoline, Hell Is Having To Please People, Metaphysics of The Lollipop, Secret Garden, and Your Comfort Zone Is A Bitch. But I didn’t and it’s OK.
Most mornings I feel like I will never write, dance or fuck ever again; those things that used to make me feel ultimately alive. I’m moderately alive, but I’m not feeling borderline either, and that’s probably a sign of progress towards the sense of serenity I’ve been pursuing all my life.
This thing happened the other day. I was walking in Saint-Germain-des-Prés with my friend J from Canada. We met sixteen years ago; I hadn’t seen him in four years.
We entered the Marks & Spencer store in Saint-Germain covered market and tears came to my eyes. Can you believe it? I instantly got moved to tears by Marks & Fucking Spencer. That’s the bottom of shame.
It reminded me of London. It reminded me of my London life. It’s not that I miss London and London people in such extent that I would cry all over it. Of course I do. But I miss my London self even more. Walking down those shop aisles, I remembered what I used to pick from the shelves when I was my London self. I remembered what my London self was eating.
I put my finger on the core of what I had been missing all those months. It wasn’t a job, or a group of people, or a person, or a place, or the architecture of a city. I miss the side of me that was free, adventurous, sexual and creative. Where have I gone? I forgot what makes my heart beat and my body thrill. I guess I’ve been building up again some ground under my feet after it all fell apart in international chaos. You can’t embrace freedom when you’re not even able to walk straight. But it’s taking so long and I’m impatient to be born again.
The bottom line is: I don’t like my French self, my “back home” self. What home? I don’t like my personality here. I don’t like the way I speak. I don’t like hearing my own voice. I don’t like the way I’m perceived. I am feeling self-conscious and it makes me be the dull version of myself, like my wildness was forever tamed. How do you recreate the magic in the city where you are from?
I want to go travel again. Alone. Alone always. I want to drive fast and I want some wind in my hair. I want to stop in odd towns and make weirdos dance for their artistry can be more gigantic than anything you & I have seen so far. I want to do epic self-portraits in stunning landscapes that would represent for real who I really am and not what people think they’re seeing because that’s just their own projection and their own issue most of the time, and I am now done with that. I want to develop my photographic blog which I will call Skin Is The Deepest and for which I had such a strong call when I was trekking in Patagonia. I visualised it so clearly.
And above all, I need to have the courage to love and make love again and run the risk of inner devastation that goes with it.
Who would have thought that picking a mango and crayfish salad from Marks & Spencer would have triggered such philosophical introspection on my urge to break my love shell. Ha! I’m terrified.
May is my 8th month off work and without a regular home.
Living life is my full-time job right now, like Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in Emile, or On Education (“Vivre est le métier que je veux lui apprendre” ). That’s presumptuous but that’s temporary anyway.
At first, I was the victim of my own song. Like, I once again quit all I had fought to establish because it felt meaningless and I had a call from the wild to confront the Unknown. But things turned out unexpectedly big times, and it’s been taking so much longer than I planned to fall back on my high heels.
I’ve been feeling like a total loser at times, because I am a 34 year old single lady who doesn’t earn money and doesn’t have keys to an apartment of her own. I didn’t manage to even get a bank account or a phone contract until recently. I’ve been literally stuck for all the daily life stuff. I couldn’t vote for the French presidential elections. I’ve been a “pariah” wrapped in trendy clothes.
In the last weeks, something shifted in my mindset. I started finding a harmonious rhythm in the chaos. I even grew to love my nomadic situation and to find peace in it, like the character of Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia, who finally finds a sense of serenity when nearing the apocalypse. I’m nowhere near the end of my world, but I always identified with the twisted peace of that girl. Don’t we all find soothing in odd circumstances?
I start not wanting to ever go back to “normal life”. I start dreaming of launching a different life style, a collective movement. It has been so rich and joyful to couch surf around and SHARE PEOPLE’S LIFE. I got to know for real some people I have known forever but actually didn’t know that much. I had never spent time with them and done casual stuff together, witness what their life is like.
Maybe “normal life” should be about claiming time and screwing the boundaries of habits. It’s such a downer when everyone lives in their own little appointed square of space because we’re used to it and we want to be quiet in our unsatisfying comfort zone. Whereas impromptu flat shares turn into exciting and creatively emulative pyjama parties. This is how I found myself doing a house removal wearing Vivienne Westwood stilettos – I mostly held the doors open – and modelling naked in the living room for an artist friend. Her cat spilt ink onto the drawing. We laughed. Then we swapped roles. She modelled naked for the first time of her life and I drew splendid masterpieces (*irony*).
I am daydreaming of a free and spontaneous life style, but this period of time as a “pariah” is making me more aware than ever of the holy trinity that provides us with social identity and emotional and material security:
– A home (or at least an address)
– A job (or at least a profession)
– A relationship (or at least the desire to establish a steady one)
As stated above, I’ve been deprived of all three for months, and I begin to do so by choice just to study how I feel and define myself without the holy trinity of basic needs, without any sense of belonging at all. Does that make me a marginal? Does that make me a failure? Does that make me useless in the eyes of society? What is my value in that moment of transition? What am I producing if I don’t take part in the economical activity? Was I producing anything of true value when I was contributing to the economy of the country? Should I be rescued and put back on track? And after all, what if I was utterly happy right now?
It’s still and forever all about challenging the fucking norm.
But. The truth is, I am mostly happy right now, if it wasn’t for the voice of patriarchy repeating in my head that I should feel guilty for not “producing” anything of monetary value. Yet I am feeling like a vibrant part of society, even without a job. I feel like I am producing things of value, even if I don’t sell them. I have a strong sense of belonging to a community, which I haven’t felt in a very long time. It’s the first time in years that I haven’t been feeling lonely, even if I am not in a romantic relationship. I’ve even been feeling useful for a change. I organise myself not to spend much money. I walk when I can, I see free art, read books, cook all my meals and get beautiful free clothes from good people.
I feel like I am exploring, revealing and flooding with fabulous colours the social interstices of the metropolis. With social interstices, I mean, everything that’s left when you don’t have a home, a job and a partner.
And there is so much to find out that I never suspected.
Cover of the graphic novel ‘Mauvais Genre‘ by Chloé Cruchaudet
I read that sentence on the page of a yoga workshop the other day. “Addiction is the memory of pleasure”. Something clicked in my head. Click and release. I instantly understood my most recent human addiction. Maybe it wasn’t about love after all, or about the ecstatic feelings that I had. Maybe the purity of the heart has nothing to do with it. It may solely be due to the strong memories of pleasure engraved in my body.
My most recent addiction was a girl who used to be a boy. I haven’t written about her. I vaguely evoked a brutal ending somewhere at the beginning of the year. I couldn’t write about that as long as I was riding the waves of metamorphosis that are still spreading across my system. I know I’ll keep unfolding the layers of that brief and madly intense story for a very long time.
Saying that it’s the greatest human connection or the best sex I’ve ever had would trivialise it. It’s much deeper than that. She shook my core, she tainted my essence. She awoke a wide range of subtle sensations and emotions in my guts which had been numbed out for decades, or didn’t even exist before. I read in an article that people with sexual trauma often happen to have “emotional anaesthesia”. Like most girls, the integrity of my body has been violated at different levels more than once.
We spent only three months together, and it’s going to be four months that we ended it. But I am still absorbing the after effects of her, digesting the rushes of adrenaline in my blood and the rushes of cerebral pleasure. That’s where the addiction lies. My conscience doesn’t miss her, but my brain and body do. It’s taking forever to evacuate her from my system, like she was always meant to be a part of it and she’ll remain in my cells.
I won’t go into practical, anatomical or social considerations of what it’s like to date a transgender woman. It’s totally not the point. What I care about is how odd and complex, yet super logical and beautiful the combination of our souls and bodies was.
Go figure that frontal collision. What was the chance? An extremely feminine girl trapped in a male body and an assertive yet questioning & traumatised lesbian femme taking off each other’s clothes with all the passion and tenderness there is in the world. It was perfection made fuck. It was superbly absurd. Life-changingly sensual. There was so much love when we started. I don’t know where all that love went. Is it in storage somewhere between Paris and South America, or did it dissolve like our communication? I wish there was a place to claim lost love like lost property.
Making love with her resolved my sexual traumas without her even knowing about them. Therapeutic sex. I realised that I have no hatred or disgust of the male body. I only have hatred and disgust of male authority and desire, of men’s certitude that they are superior to me and can own me.
I verbalised my main sexual abuse to some of the people who were the closest to me, and they didn’t even acknowledge that I said something. I’ve been trying to resist judging or being mad at them. It is their right entirely. I’ve been trying even harder to resist feeling guilty that I spoke up. But all in all, if I could go back in time, I would keep my fucking mouth shut, because speaking up utterly screwed a number of my friendships despite my will.
I think I reached out for help and people didn’t answer – or maybe it didn’t sound like I was reaching for help. She helped me. She fixed me without knowing. It had been a mind fuck for so long, but the other day, I was in the elevator, and I suddenly understood that for the first time of my life, my approach of human sex was absolutely, entirely and magnificently FLUID and joyful.
I identified as lesbian most of my adult life. I now identify as pansexual. The potential objects of my affection are: everything that’s human, adult, consenting, and bizarrely beautiful.
All the knots and obstacles that were ever put on my intimate path gently dissolved in her arms. She’s been my biggest human adventure of all times.
My trips around the world are officially over. (Till next time).
Things are changing. My 95 year-old grandfather stops obsessing about me getting a steady job and tells me I must write about my travels and the people I meet. He said: “I don’t worry about you finding a job cause I know you will. I’m not talking about jobs. I’m talking about your intellectual arousal.” Bless him. I promised him solennellement that I was going to publish my Patagonia adventures to record that big human drama theatre.
I’m moving back to Paris. I almost have a French bank account and I almost have a flat. It wasn’t planned, but one random fact led to another, and why not after all. I didn’t know what else to do with myself: no one or nothing is expecting me anywhere. Circumstances paved my way to a sofa in the 13ème arrondissement that should soon become my “permanent” home.
That’s the longest period of ‘homelessness’ I’ve ever experienced. It will be six months on the 5th of April that I don’t really have a home. The other sleepless night, instead of counting sheep, I counted the number of beds and sofas I’ve slept on since I moved out of my London warehouse last October. It came up to 37 different places.
I used my hot wax machine again this morning to put my pilosity in order. I was shaving with shitty razors while I was gypsying around the world. I thought: “Hot wax means that the nomadic period is behind”. It’s the ultimate stepping stone to settling down again. Cheers to that.
I haven’t lived in my home country for seven years. I was a student and a baby queer back then. The atmosphere and social contexts were different. I’m disconnected. I walked to the social services office today to claim unemployment allowance and my shoes cost about half the amount of a monthly pension. My days of designer clothes may be behind but I couldn’t care less. I knew what I was signing for when I quit my comfortable life. The future is uncertain, but one thing I’m sure of is that whatever happens my fashion will remain.
On my way to the social services in my fancy shoes, I walked past a famous school of graphic design and I spontaneously walked in to drop my life model business card. I used to model in art schools to pay for university. I have missed the atmosphere of drawing classes, the smell and sound of charcoal, the density of the concentration in the studio. I love the challenge of being energetic in stillness, capturing the attention of an audience by giving them everything I have. Life modelling is the best job I’ve ever had, cause it’s the only job where I’ve had the space to expose myself fully and stand in front of people completely as I am. I didn’t have to conform.
I refuse to complain, but things have been far from easy in the last months. It’s challenging to find what to cling to when you have no daily habits and can’t find reassurance in material things. I’ve had to reinvent myself every single day. I open my eyes every morning and think: “How am I going to use my free self wisely today in the broad wild world full of possibilities?” It’s like heaven and hell in the same sentence. Freedom is terrifying.
Yet, in the middle of my deliberately chosen struggles, I’ve been told several times by people in more comfortable positions that they would like to live like me. I’m told “I wish I was you”, “I wish I had your life”.
This is raising an infinity of questions in my head. How do we perceive other people’s life? How do you make total freedom and security co-exist? How do you find comfort in a nomadic life? How do you thrive and find peace as a creative, non-conforming, super sensorial queer woman in today’s world? How do you keep refusing to get back on the beaten path even when you’ve exhausted all your inner resources? Like the founder of the 5 Rhythms, Gabrielle Roth, used to say, it takes such great discipline to be a free spirit.
I really aspire to become the serene version of myself now. Maybe I’ll even settle down for good. Envy is not part of my mind set, but I envy people who have reached some kind of emotional stability. I am promising to myself that this period of time will be the last roller coasters of my life.
I arrived in wintery Berlin beaten and bruised-hearted.
I’m on my sixth month of gypsiness around the world. This is by choice, so I would never dare to complain about it, but sleeping on sofas and being jobless whilst processing a brutal breakup is getting somewhat rough.
But Berlin’s nightlife shifted my moods and softly helped me reopen to life.
I was invited to a Russian Disco themed party on Saturday night. It was organised by the tenants of a communal building, typical alternative Berlin life style. They had turned the top floor into a genuine USSR flashback. There was a body search performed by officers in uniform to access the premises. I got stamped with a red star on my left hand and got in. The event reminded me of the Brighton-based performance group Duckie. A band of fake Pussy Riots was playing. DIY Orthodox icons, ice skaters and Matrioshkas frames were hanging on the walls. Someone put a communist hat on my head and that was it, the spirit of the East was in me. I danced till 4am. God! It saved my life. I felt deeply happy and full of perspectives again for the first time in months. A guy much younger than me came to me and put a drink in my hand saying he had been watching me dancing. He was cuuuute. He flirted with me all night and I remembered that people will like me again.
I went to bed at 5am on Sunday and made my way alone to the Berghain at tea time. The Berghain is Berlin’s most mythic club. It’s located in a Stalinian building which used to be a power station near a wasteland. It’s reputed to have the best techno and electro sound in the world. It’s also famous for its entrance policy: not everyone gets in and nobody knows what the selection is based upon. The Berghain has legendary back-rooms and a very particular atmosphere inside. There’s barely no light, no mirrors in the bathrooms, no photos allowed, and the most admitted outfit is of BDSM tendency together with football socks and Doc Martens shoes.
I didn’t wear any of this but still managed to get in after queuing ten minutes, but everyone seemed to get in that day. I paid 16€ and got a stamp that said “Faggot” on my right hand. With the red star that remained on my left hand, my hands were saying “Communist Faggot”, aka “I had a great Berlin weekend”.
I only stayed couple of hours inside, I was wandering around the different floors and spaces to observe people’s style and vibe. There was a lot of charismatic creatures like I love. I felt good by myself. Only one person talked to me. He asked:
“Do you like beer?
– Do you like cocaine?
He gave up on me. I laughed and I danced alone in the small room with hundreds of strangers. The music was really great, even the Kylie Minogue remix. I was relieved that I was able to be happy alone in a crowd. I felt my heart pumping and my blood running faster.
Dancing saved my life again. When I walked out of the club, I found an authentic 70s disco ball vintage top on the street. The universe loves party girls.
Someone once said in front of me that they got a “more authentic life” once they stopped partying. What a silly thing to say. Why would partying be superficial?
I totally consider that partying can be a spiritual practice. I have never done drugs in my whole life and I don’t even drink much these days. It’s all about the human encounters and burning the dance floor in liberating outfits. You can be the quintessence of yourself for an ephemeral moment, and there’s infinite truth in that.
The dance floor is where people reveal themselves. It unlocks moments of realness. It triggers epiphanies. It’s always been my way to find redemption and feel alive again. When everything else goes wrong, I know the dance will take me back to the present moment and provide me flashes of pure joy.
At the Russian Disco, there was a guy in a wheelchair on the dance floor. He stayed for a long time. People were dancing with him. It was great to watch.
I’ll never forget one of my most beautiful dance floor moments. It was in Lisbon, in 2012. I was visiting the city alone and was living up the night life, the best I’ve experienced. I went to dance at the Finalmente, the only drag show club in Portugal. The crowd was all gay men. We were only two or three girls. I spotted a very short man in his early 50s, wearing an elegant shirt. I noticed him cause he looked like my former economy teacher in high school. I started observing him. He was dancing his heart off with closed eyes. He was so dedicated. He seemed alone in the world. He didn’t pay the slightest attention to people around him. He moved me to the core cause he was so present to himself and there was something nostalgic about him. I made up a whole story about his life in my head: he was coming from a village far from the capital and couldn’t assume his gayness till a very advanced age. People had been picking on him all his life. He finally moved to Lisbon to be himself, and was finding his way and salvation dancing every night at the Finalmente. But he was still closing his eyes not to read any judgement in people’s glances just yet. He would dance with open eyes some day soon.
I still have his expression of realness printed in my memory. This is when I realised the deep therapeutic powers of the dance floor and gained eternal respect for its benefits.
I’m leaving Berlin in two days. Spring has arrived in the meantime. I know I’ll end up living here.
Some people have been asking me where in the world I currently am. I also have a hard time following my own peregrinations. Things didn’t quite turn out the way I planned.
So. What happened?
I last posted in November from Buenos Aires, at the beginning of my Latin America adventures.
In a nutshell: I went to Brazil. I proposed someone to marry me. She said yes. Actually, she said “Of course!” And everything collapsed in front of my eyes in the course of 7 days. I left Brazil at the beginning of 2017 to explore Patagonia alone. I had big highs and big lows. I hit the bottom of sadness as I hit the bottom of the world, in Ushuaia. Because I couldn’t go any more down geographically and emotionally, I knifed my way to the surface again.
From the Land of Fire, I jumped on a plane to Buenos Aires. There was a heat wave in the metropolis. One day, as I was walking to the Recoleta cemetery to visit Evita’s grave, I was hit by the certitude that my trip was over. I had seen what I wanted to see and lived what I had to live.
I prepared my emergency exit, spending hours figuring out how to get my ass to Europe ASAP. Anywhere in Europe. The cheapest destination occurred to be Paris, my birth place. The day after, I was flying back “home” on a two day journey via Atlanta and New York. Trump was omnipresent in the background of my US stops. I realised it wasn’t a joke anymore.
I landed in Paris-Orly on a Tuesday morning at the end of January. It was my first time landing in my home country since 2009. First time I was lining up in the “Citizens” passport check in 8 years. There was a cold wave. I had no clothes with me, just a little backpack, cause I have left all my stuff in Brazil. My belongings are scattered across 3 countries.
I contacted a very few friends to open me their door because I don’t have a home right now anywhere in the world.
My friend C welcomed me with croissants for my back home breakfast and gave me tights, socks and an adaptor to charge my phone. That was 23 days ago.
Since then, everyone has been donating me clothes. Beautiful ones. So I feel like a super glamor homeless.
I’ve been hanging out in people’s homes while they’re working. I’m offering myself the luxury to process my emotions as a full time job. I’m not trying to distract myself. I barely go see things or do anything. I’m spending most of my time seating alone to preserve the exact nature of my intense emotions. The last few months have been the most extraordinary, challenging and earth-shattering of my life.
I’m writing this in London, at the Circus Cafe in Crouch End. London is one of my energetic centres. There’s 6 years of my life here. I sleep in a whole lot of different beds and sofas. I love it. I am surrounded by an army of good souls who open me their door and provide me with everything I need, may it be a bed for the night, breakfast, words of comfort or Dragon Red Chanel nail polish. In exchange, I tell life stories, listen to life stories, and do the washing up.
I’m also hanging out in London to consult a transgender woman therapist. She’s bad ass. I pay £97 per hour and she holds the sessions in socks. I take off my shoes too and we become super casual. She told me that she revealed herself in Berlin in the 80s, “like David Bowie”. Everyday after work, she would take off her male suit and hang out at the Kit Kat Klub where she grew to be the woman she was born to be. I adore her already. She says that I become animated when I talk about my writing. She told me: “You’re going to write that book and I want a copy.” So I must do it.
I’m going to experiment glamorous homelessness in Berlin next. I’m going on Tuesday. I have no plans. I want to spend my days in free art galleries and write my book in cafés. And maybe reconnect with my queer dancer late at night in interlope clubs?
This is my life as of now. I love it. I love my life. I’ve never felt that much centred and that much awake in the present moment. I know I’m on the right track, as in MY track.
I’ll return to a more structured life sooner or later. I was proposed a flat-share in Paris. I said YES! So, by the spring, all my scattered belongings will converge to the 13th arrondissement. I’ll store my suitcases under my bed and I’ll have an address and a job again.
I’m truly excited about that perspective.
Till then. Anything can happen. I’m wide open. Life is fab.
I arrived at the airport late at night. I couldn’t withdraw pesos at any of the ATMs. I thought it was my foreign card and freaked out that I was going to get stuck there for good. I found out later that ATMs often run out of cash in Argentina. One day in the city centre, a nice lady let me walk with her for 15 minutes to a bank which was actually giving money.
Everywhere in public places, I only heard international hits of the 90s. I wondered why?
On Sunday morning, I saw more rain in a few hours than I saw in London over the last year. I braved the weather. The streets were completely empty.
Dove hand soap smells like Dulce de leche.
(Dulce de Leche is a religion).
In Palermo, I saw a number of dog walkers, one guy with 7 or 8 big dogs, one really looked like a sheep.
I recognised traits of Haussmann architecture on several buildings. Didn’t feel like Paris though.
The streets and parked cars are covered with the purple flowers of this tree I’ve never seen before. I asked what it was but couldn’t get an answer.
I was hanging out all the time in a colourful café called Bartola. The first time I went, I was reading Vernon Subutex by Virginie Despentes. The waitress exclaimed: “Virginie Despentes! La Teoria de King Kong!” We talked about feminist writers for a little bit. I felt welcome at heart by international sisterhood because King Kong Théorie is a book that changed my life.
I went to a tango class at the Armenian centre in Palermo, because the friends who hosted me told me that the famous open air milonga in La Plaza Dorrego San Telmo was a dangerous area alone at night. Later on TV, that night, we saw that the body of a big finance guy had just been discovered in a suitcase in that neighbourhood.
The tango class was kinda bad, there were mostly washed off dancers in couples. I was one of the youngest and I was by myself. There was a man who was the curly Argentinian version of an idiot guy I used to have a crush on in London, so I kept staring at him biting my tongue not to giggle. I, of course, randomly ended up dancing with him and I didn’t know any of the steps because I was focusing on his resemblance rather than on the teacher. At 10:30pm, everyone started dancing rock’n’roll out of the blue.
I was hosted by a lovely couple who are friends of my lover. I had never met them before but they opened me their door, gave me a set of keys, fed me empanadas for two days and helped me in every way they could. When I left for the airport, the guy dropped what he was doing and came with me to make sure I was getting on the right bus although he had a deadline for university that evening.
I took the bus back to the airport near the Rio del Plata. Some people were fishing. The dusk light was stunning. When I come back here, I’ll walk on the bank of the river for a whole day.
I crossed the city by bus as the night was falling. The further we were driving, the more the atmosphere was changing. At the periphery of the city, some houses were made of wood and cardboard. I saw a nun talking to a whore on the street – unless I’ve seen too many Almodovar movie and this was just my imagination?
This is the house where I grew up.
I hadn’t been for eight years. 8 YEARS. I don’t know the precise reasons of my absence.
I was 25 when I was here last. I was, back then, an aspiring baby queer who hadn’t even come out to herself yet. I had just cut my hair short for the last time of my life (I understood soon after that it doesn’t suit me). I was a confused Parisian student with chubby cheeks. I was at the very beginning of my empowerment. I now gauge myself to be half way through it. I am proud.
It is 1:40 am as I am writing this. I can’t sleep. All my life possibilities and burning desires are spinning in my head. I turned on the light to smoke a café crème cigarillo. I’ve cruelly missed gypsy time management. I am humming an old East 17 song, ‘Alright, alright, everything’s gonna be alright‘. I am contemplating all the time and freedom ahead of me. I know I can do absolutely anything there is to be done on that side of the fucking planet. Like one stereotypically says, the rest of my life is a blank page to be written. I am going to write it like I write my blog posts. Spontaneous, volcanic, irregular.
Being back between the walls which absorbed my passed fears helps me realise how much I’ve accomplished. It’s been moving me in a good way to be here. I went through all the things I’ve left in storage over the years. Each box represents an era. I ship more unwanted things here with every house moving. That’s a lot of archive to look at. I had forgotten about some of the clothes I used to wear. I tried some on again. The books I miss, the letters I received, some pictures of my younger face.
Since 2008, I’ve been an inhabitant of Paris, Berlin, Paris again, London, New York. All the trips. All the jobs. I am now an officially unemployed inhabitant of nowhere and this fills me with ecstasy. All my belongings are in storage. I am flying out to Buenos Aires in ten days to travel around Latin America by myself. People are afraid for me. I am not afraid for myself.
Above all, there’s been a ton of new people irrupting into my life since I was here last. I fell in and out of love. Got hurt and disappointed, but had brief moments of bliss on the way which made it all worth it after all.
I am now falling in love again and I am hoping for the first time in years, but my system seems to cope better with the big void of loneliness than with the effervescence of hope. I shared my ongoing agitation with my good friend μ4. He simply said: “Maybe this time you’ll have a smooth ride.”
At first, I wasn’t even sure what he meant. I had to rephrase to confirm I got it right. I was like: “Do you mean that things may be easy?” I realised that I’ve never quite seen things under that light. It’s just not part of my mindset. I’ve been repeating this quote like a mantra. It is not so much that I am afraid of life or that I am a natural pessimistic. Not at all. I am just not good with peace. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt serene in any way. I am so talented for chaos and violent feelings. It is a nature to tame.
Maybe things actually do sometimes get alright and stay alright in the end?
There’s been the Paris attacks, which targetted people like me. Being a trendy Parisian is no longer safe. I am down one home.
There’s been the Orlando attacks, which targetted people like me. Hanging out in the queer world is no longer safe. I am down two homes.
There’s been the Brexit, which targetted people like me. Being a European citizen in the UK is no longer safe. I am down three homes.
Contemporary history has been slapping my immigrant queer French female face over the course of eight months. Pulling the carpet from under my feet.
My world as I’ve always known it is vanishing, and I haven’t even turned 33. I never imagined I’d be hit by nostalgia so long before menopause.
I suppose that it is how it goes about privilege: you don’t realise you have it until it gets abolished. I never thought an era would come when I would be part of the threatened group(s). I am grateful for having lived a fairly protected life so far. My “only” experiences of discrimination and violence have been sexism, street harrassment and homophobia – which are all solid trainings. Yet, I never imagined being afraid for my life in the city where I was born, nor being seen as an unwanted immigrant whose accent is a flaw rather than an aphrodisiac.
It feels like London’s face changed overnight after the referendum. London has always been that extraordinary Tower of Babel where all humans have been creatively co-existing, sucessfully mixing and joyfully getting along.
I refuse to see the end of that ideal world of clever diversity.
Because fate has humour, I happened to hand in my resignation on the day of the referendum results: June 24th, 2016. I had been planning for months to give my notice at the end of June, and just like a lot of people, I never believed in Brexit. My professional rebellious statement got somewhat absorbed by the political context. I wanted to send a firm message across to my upper management about my worth and how much I should be paid and what a terrible loss I represent, but when I found myself in my resignation meetings, all I could talk about was Brexit. ‘I am not prepared to face xenophobia. I am not prepared to see the new face of London” I said in all honesty and humility. Fuck my career statement. I claimed my love for diversity and the EU for 40 minutes to American managers who had just got in town. They were somewhat thrown off. I didn’t plan that my 4 year career in corporate would end on such an emotional and humanist note.
I am relieved to leave the ship. It feels like a wave of cool people will be leaving the UK, the progressist Brits and the gutted EU citizens. Hopefully we’ll all meet somewhere immigrant-friendly, queer-friendly, equality-friendly, to carry on.
The question that is running on everyone’s lips is: Where shall we go next?
Where in the world will I receive some fresh and hopeful wind on my queer immigrant arty woman’s face?
Which dance floors will I burn next?
Oh Gawd. I am there again.
Found in London underground 5 days after the referendum