Québec City : 10 Years After

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I first went to Québec City in July 2001 for a modern dance summer school. I was meant to stay for a month. My return ticket was booked and my bag was packed with summer clothes. I stayed for 3 years – 2 of them without seeing France at all. I slightly rearranged my original plans to go study at University in Lyon. After a few weeks in Québec, I called France and said: “That’s it, I’m staying.” I was 18 and crazily willing to embrace life. Now I am 30 and still being faithful to my posh gypsy life style. I embrace life in an even crazier way because I am financially stable and I don’t care anymore about what people think of me. I did all along my 20s. That’s enough. (Now I reply : “Fuck you. I rock the world.”) (I am very close to get “Fuck you” tattooed on my skin on a teenagy spot. Just like that.)

Back then in 2001, I randomly enrolled for a modern dance professional program without knowing too much what kind of trouble I was getting myself into. I loved it and hated it so much from one day to the other that I don’t think I’ll ever experience a similar level of thermic amplitude in my day to day routine whatever else I do in life.

Dance is both physically and mentally the most demanding discipline, because it requires all your body AND all your emotions. There is not much left to yourself. Passion for dance can resemble a malediction. I remember going through phases when I was crying everyday, not only out of sorrow or doubts – because questioning yourself rapidly becomes your daily companionship and you don’t notice it anymore. It was purely chemical, like the effect of adrenaline constantly rushing in my veins combined with nervous exhaustion.

I also remember that there has been no other period of my life when I was so strongly driven to get up every morning of my life with the certitude that my day ahead was super important not only for myself, but for the world’s karma. Dancers indisputably make the world a better place, because society misunderstands them and always implies that they are useless.  But they are stubborn enough to keep fighting this secret battle towards some kind of artistic and physical achievement. Dancers are my favourite heroes.

So every morning of my life, I was running to get settled at the ballet bar with the intimate conviction that I was at the heart of my own action, that I was touching the core of the true nature of my existence. I almost never found this exact same feeling again on a day to day basis, although I reshape my routine every couple of years. Just inhabiting your life and your body to the fullest, I suppose. I can confirm that I am way happier and more balanced today though. I couldn’t deal with this perpetual dissatisfaction of myself. I believe everything is at the right place.

On my 3 year journey to artistic introspection and self-discovery, through all the ups and downs, all the enthusiasm and passion followed by cruel disappointments were along with me 8 partners in crime. We were 9 strong-minded girls graduating together after 3 intensive years of bounding. We didn’t only dance together, we became adults together. And we wiped each other’s tears in a couple of occasions. But there was also tons of laughter, because dancing can be hilarious and we had a few nutcase teachers*. Most teachers had trouble with us, because they struggled coping with our strong collective energy. We were bound in a way that people exterior to our group couldn’t quite break into it.

We put our own show together over the last year, from fundraising (selling hot dogs or dates with random guys in a bar) (no kidding. I was sold $100 to a farmer for a date, to pay for our dance trip to NYC**) to conceiving the costumes whilst training and performing the choreographies.

I moved back to Europe shortly after our last ever show together, and we vowed to reunite every 5 years to keep posted on each other’s life. We’ve been successfully doing it. First reunion was in 2009. As the only foreign, I hadn’t seen anyone in 5 years and I was welcomed again like an exotic bird. Even some of the girls who didn’t finish the program showed up. That’s how hot we are.

Second reunion was last Friday. The 10 year anniversary of our graduation: 2004-2014. No one was missing! I took advantage of my adventures in NYC to pay those guys a visit. Our cult ballet teacher, λβ, gave us a class, reiterating as a motto to our old bodies : “The boundary between pride and stupidity is very thin.” Our cult percussionist, ΣH, was playing live music. It felt so natural to dance back together holding the same ballet bar that there was a time warp twist to it.

We had an endless dinner as it took 4 good hours to go around the table and collect everyone’s updates, what our respective lives are like now. Our 3 male waiters really took our group in affection, because every time they were entering our private room they were catching bribes of one or the other’s adventures and péripéties. At some point they even pulled themselves a chair to sit down at our table and listen to the end of a story. We were the last customers in the restaurant, the staff was desperate to go home but they still told us at the end of the night that we were a very inspirational group of friends and that all girls should stick together like we do! Oh yes!

We still had so much to catch up that we piteously ended up at the MacDonald’s drinking gross tea. Who cares, I would have eaten a burger that night just to enjoy more of the company. μμ, who turned 30 at midnight, had to spend the first couple of hours of her 30s at MacDonald’s, but with the hell of ladies around her to compensate.

At the last reunion 5 years ago, there was only 1 child for the whole group, now there are 9. And 3 pregnant women around the table. I am one of the 3 childless. I pondered and decided that I am fine with it. I had so many epic international house movings, horror break up and raising from the grave stories to tell that I effortlessly filled in the time I was allowed.

It was such a great day! It felt like a huge love puff. I needed it. My relationships with my female friends have sometimes been problematic, but these girls remain.

After 2009 reunion, I remember that I was feeling uncomfortably different, “why-don’t-I-have-a-house-and-a-boyfriend” type. I actually found the answer to “why don’t I have a boyfriend” that summer, and I believe our reunion rushed my urge to come out as a lesbian (including to my mum).

This time, just like every other girl of the group, I am feeling better with myself, more on track and in sync with my own rhythm. I may have children in this life or I may not. I am comfortable with both ends.

I will anyway keep creating my own type of life fertility.

*This is a broad topic that should be subject to an independent post

**This was very lucrative but really got us in trouble with the board of our school. Don’t sell people to make fast cash!!

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Montréal Amazing Chicks

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I arrived in Montréal on a Monday morning at 7.20, after a night on the Greyhound bus from the Big Apple.

I walked a few steps in the central bus station and all of a sudden, after letting go of New York and its restless excitement, I felt unable to move or even stand. I almost collapsed and slept for a couple of hours on a public bench like a homeless. I was opening my eyes once in a while and I could feel the rhythm of people’s feet, their coming and going, sensing the different heartbeat of the city. Most of them were rushing to start their week of work, while I was starting my vacation in the most peculiar manner.

After my power nap, I went to the bathroom of the station to try to look like something. Next to me at the sink, washing her hands, was a girl that I met 13 years ago when I had just moved to Québec City. I recognised her right away, although our encounter was brief at the time. I even remembered her name. I am psycho with names and faces. That’s how I get to randomly come across so many people I know throughout the world. It is only that I have a borderline paranormal memory for faces. She didn’t recognise me, and I didn’t try to talk to her. I just thought that my Québec time had kicked off and that I had received a warm welcome sign from the francophone metropolis.

At 11, my dear old friend μπ picked me up from the subway on the south bank and greeted me with a warm: “ça c’est de la pelure de clown!” (“what a clown coat!”) at the sight of my rainbow fur coat. It sounds way funnier in the original version though. Canadian French doesn’t translate. 

μπ is one of my most spectacular and bubbly friends. She should be featured in the Quebecer version of “Sex & The City” because she has the best boy stories ever. She often puts herself in improbable love situations, which she feels sorry for, but as we catch up every 2 years at the best, she always has a shit ton of funky stories to tell me. She is very theatrical so it is like going to a stand up comedy show you’ve been looking forward to. As I am not the last one for good stories either, we had to drink an equally shit ton of Amaretto Sours to catch up about our mutual drama since 2012. The day after, we literally spent all day in watching the last winter snow flakes fall lazily, getting food delivered and drinking booze. We also pronounced a magic formula that her fortune-teller gave her in order to get what we want from life. We had to write it down on a paper, repeat it 3 times and burn it from the top left corner. She asked to be happily coupled, I asked to be working in New York in this outstanding job I applied for. Oh my God! This thing is so going to work. 

We went for drinks and poutine with μC and her girlfriend, a power couple who inspired the shit out of me. μC is a schoolteacher/comedian/stand up comedy girl who recently came out to her dad on stage. She used to date a French Femen activist but she paid her flight back to France just to get rid of her. She is now happy with a super cute girl who is fighting cancer and has the intention to blog about it to share her experience. Go Girls! I think my biggest assets in life are none of my relative qualities, but are the people I know. 

On Wednesday, I brunched with another amazing woman, CC. We met in 2001 when we were both living with nuns in a convent of Québec City (no kidding. I lived with the nuns for 2 years in a Catholic residence. I got my first lez experience between those walls. Wonderful memories.) CC is a bisexual writer, traveler, artist, questioning human being who gets inspired by queer women artists and eventually sees herself in some kind of love/creative relationship with a girl. I went with her to the job centre where she had an appointment because she wants to become a self-employed digital story-telling workshops giver. She told me that her sister is now her brother cause he is transitioning from female to male and she actively supports him. I was super interested by his story, because I hang out so much with queers and creatures but strangely enough, I am not close with any trans people, which is a big miss.

CC came with a surprise for me. At the time when we were living with the nuns, I was studying contemporary dance and she was studying fine arts in a building called La Fabrique – a former corset factory. She once dragged me to a fine arts students party and I was amazed by the freedom and relax style of the people, coming from a world where we were told off if we didn’t wear pink tights and uptight hairstyles. Everyone was wearing Birkenstock shoes with winter socks inside them. CC introduced me to a very tall girl called V., who was passably drunk. Tall girl looked at me from up there and said: “Good eveninglittle thing!” Before I understood anything, she was petting my hair and gave me a kiss on the top of my head. I was stunned for a second and then cracked up and later on told this anecdote to everyone as a very cult moment of my life. Well, V. came over to the café the other day, and it was the first time we met again after our unforgettable introduction. She hadn’t changed much. She told me: “I think of you often.” I replied: “Same here. You pop up in my head very unexpectedly.” What an incongruous reunion.

All those beautiful and fabulous Montréal ladies made me laugh and made my heart swing with joy, curiosity, excitement, admiration. I love them all dearly.

By the way. The skull shirt from my blog cover picture died tonight. It is sitting lifeless in my bin. It followed a lot of my adventures since 2007 and had an AWESOME life. Like me.