The Marks & Spencer Effect

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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 PeopleMetaphysics 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.

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