This post is a very personal one and none food related.
Last week marked my fifth year in Paris. Five years since I waved good bye to my family as I got into a packed VW car filled with bags and ‘stuff’ that used to have their own place in my own one bedroom ground floor flat in Queens Park. My then one year old son sat in his car seat surrounded by ‘the stuff’ very confused, and my French husband behind the wheel looking at his side mirror watching me hug my parents goodbye.
That’s the image that is reflected back at me as soon as I see the date 11 October. The big move, the abandonment and the sadness and a lot of uncertainty. Thankfully the overwhelming dark feeling that wrapped around my chest dissipates within few minutes as I bring myself to the present with a deep breath. My chest is now inflated with pride and my posture upright as I smile at the momentous progression and mile stones I have achieved over that past five years. One of them is starting this blog !
I am no longer hunted by that date. In fact I honor it and validate all those feelings. The key is not to bring these feeling into the present anymore and no longer search for something or someone to blame. It is to accept what has happned, and know it was conspired by a greater power for my own benefit. The move to Paris was part of a bigger plan that I do not understand yet but have surrendered to it and fully trust it.
Trying to mark the occasion on my own as I did the previous years, didn’t really come to anything special. I just wanted to blame my husband for making me leave all I knew and all I was ! I wanted to blame myself for accepting to move. We both know the reason why we moved and we both knew who I was. Life gave us an opportunity to rediscover who we are as separate people and learn who we are to each other. It was part of the plan.
Later I was to realised blame and anger is to be replaced with gratitude for the abundant blessings I was given, and how truly I was loved and protected. I realized that my husband was just the person I needed to uproot me and to prune me like a tree so I can grow stronger and my branches find a different path to the light, so my roots can submerge into new soil and make it it’s own. To make me a better version of myself without forgetting the essence of myself. The move to Paris was just part of my learning and unlearning, abandoning impractical habits and thinking. The move was part of my development, rediscovering and accepting who I am.
I marked my 5th year in Paris by a morning walk to the city centre. I reflected on the above and admired my adoptive home city. I shut my mind and opened my eyes to its fullest, taking on and noting every details of this beautiful city with all senses. I allowed the morning sun light to warm my face as I crossed the bridge Pont Notre Dame, I looked out east to the rising sun over the Seine and I saw glory. I saw the planner and his love for me manifested in all things beautiful from the shaking yellow tree leave to the twinkle on the water waves on the river. How could I ever be anxious and angry about moving to Paris anymore ?
I am aware that I am stuck in the same narrative. I am my own worst critic. I think I must do some spectacular achievement on regular basis in this life to prove my worthiness to others. All the hard work and effort I consistently do is never enough for me and I belittle myself and actions and down a spiral of negativity and fatigue I fall. I am now very slowly claiming the truth even if I feel slightly uncomfortable with what I think is a taste of arrogance. In actual fact it is reality that I need to claim. A reality that presents me as me; a hard working woman, mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. A loving, loyal person who is selfless and sensitive. A spiritual being on journey of discovery. A curious learner, a committed person who is ethical and wants serve. An artist, a creative soul. Mother nature is my connection to the higher being. Of course I get frightened and worry. I plan ahead and prepare. I stumble and make mistakes. I am stubborn and at times my emotions rush before my reason. I am thankful and positive, I delight in fun mischief and laughter. I am complicated multi varied colourful woman. I am perfect, I am me.
I now look forward to the next five years in Paris and optimistically wonder what the planner has prepared for me.
Congratulations on 5 years here! Just reading this letter to yourself truly makes it clear how far you’ve come. I’m glad you’re seeing all the good around you and realizing that your worth doesn’t rely on your job or the place you live, but on the person you are. You’re such a special woman. Thank you for being so honest and open hearted.
Thank you Katie, so kind of you. I wasn’t too sure if I should share this blog, I felt slight shame that it has taken me that long to settle my demons and acknowledge where I am and that I am not my job, I am not what role society want me to be in, I am me! And for me to accept this is / was difficult. We are all special and on our OWN special journey x