Social Interstices

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 Melancholiawho 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.

Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia by Lars von Trier

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