From the Heart:
The Takeaways

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I consider myself a fairly introspective person. I spend too much time in my head. I’m not sure my thoughts are deep. I can only say they are genuine and they are mine. That isn’t to say I’m immune to influence. I’m quick to make conversation with an intelligent stranger because I’m quite thirsty for information and knowledge. While I’ve had the pleasure (yes pleasure!) of making some great acquaintances, which have allowed me to grow in ways unimaginable, the greatest of my growth has taken place inside my head as a real manifestation of the experiences I’ve had. In winding down this time here in Paris, I wanted to take a moment and put pen to paper (literally – I’m only transcribing what was journaled) to memorialize what this has been to me and how I’ve changed as a result. And in the spirit of organization, I’ve thought about it in terms of five takeaways:

There Are Those Who Do and Those Who Don’t and Once You Become One Who Does You Can’t Ever Go Back 

In September 2014, while sitting in what we lawyers call a “war room” in Dallas, Texas, sometime before or after the first days of trial, I made the decision to move to Paris. It was haphazard, as most of my best decisions in life have been. I was desperately sad, bored, and uninspired, and the culmination of many recent experiences had left me with a broken spirit. I felt perpetually enveloped in a cloud of anxiety. Then Paris came to mind and it felt new and fresh and suddenly I was inspired again. So I quit my well-paying job and moved to Paris. I won’t lay claim to adventure, as surely there are people who are far more adventurous. But what I did was do it. I made up my mind about something totally random and I followed through. And so the other day, as I made my way through Saint Germain, across Ile Saint-Louis, and to Le Marais, my favorite Parisian neighborhood, without once having to rely on Google maps, I marveled at the beauty of this city and thought to myself, “I did it.” And now and forever I will be a doer. I’ve had many great ideas about what to do next. All have been inspired, which is the best way to have an idea. But I’m not scared anymore because I know that I’ll settle on one or two or three and I’ll follow through. I can never again go back to being a person who doesn’t. I am now a person who does.

Love is Spontaneous and Instantaneous 

I fell in love one night in June on a day that was most ordinary until it became extraordinary as it unraveled in the most unexpected but disgustingly delightful way. I remember the moment. He was sleeping on my hand and it became numb, which woke me, but then in his sleep he noticed I was conscious and in his unconsciousness, he started to stroke my hair and just like that I thought he could make my hand numb forever and I wouldn’t mind if it meant being physically close to someone who knows how to touch me in a way that makes me feel safe. Sometime in the last year of my life, love became synonymous with safety, and strangely, it’s exactly the way I think it should be. Weeks after this middle of the night hand numbing experience, I met a brilliant man who told me that love is spontaneous and instantaneous and then I stopped feeling ashamed or doubtful because I knew the moment was real. What I don’t know is what will happen. Surely, I have some control, but not all. There are always a gazillion external factors. The thing is, for me, the important part is knowing that the human heart, my human heart, is still ready, and that the experiences I’ve had have not closed it off to the possibility of random, spontaneous, deliciously exciting love. So really, the beauty of the human heart is its openness to vulnerability, even after its been broken a million different ways on a million different days and there is nothing more endearing, nothing quite as strong, as coming back for more pleasure, knowing full well the possibility of pain.

Life Really Does Begin At the End of Your Comfort Zone

I don’t care what anyone says – everything is scary when you are alone, in a foreign place, where you don’t speak the language. Even the terribly mundane things somehow become plagued with fear. The beauty lies in discovering that you have to do them no matter how uncomfortable or scared you are, and when you do, that you can. It doesn’t stop being scary. You just develop a mechanism for dealing with the fear. Every day in Paris has been a day spent hovering on the edge of my comfort zone. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ve Never Been So Alone, and I’ve Never Been So Alive 

I came here thinking I cannot be alone anymore. (See here). And I look back now and think, oh yes I can. There is time left still for loneliness. I’ve met many people, many men. I know the feeling of sitting across the table from a handsome gentleman and thinking I’m hopelessly bored and I’d rather be inside my own head, alone, than outside it conversing with you. But still, I know too what it is like to sit across the table from a handsome gentleman and think how do I make this moment last forever. It’s magical. So I’ll keep chasing that magic. And until then, I will revel in the pleasures of my own loneliness because you can feel just as alive in that too, as long as you let yourself. I’ve had days when I haven’t spoken to another human in hours, and I’ll be in a crowded place, lost in my own thoughts, maybe listening to music on my iPod, then I look up and smile at something beautiful, or am struck by a lyric in a song, or by a beautiful little girl stopping to marvel at my duck umbrella hanging out of my handbag, or at the full moon, or at nothing at all except a feeling inside me that I am really fucking alive and it feels really fucking good.

Today Is Wild and It’s Magic and It’s Yours 

I am a creature of comfort and habit. I desperately miss Tuesday and Thursday spin at Equinox, Monday and Wednesday pilates at Pilates Platinum, Friday mani/pedi’s followed by Urth Cafe, froyo, and Ativan, and my Saturday morning ritual. I can’t say I’m not excited to return to that life. But the real growth happens when you leave the comforts of your home, and seek adventures in this wild, wild world. Then one day you find yourself in another universe that could not be farther from your own – from your home – and there is nothing like it. You may have no idea where you are or how the hell you are going to get home, but then you look up and realize it’s the same sun, the same moon, the same world, and the only thing that is truly different is the way you feel. And until you leave, you will never know. Unitl you leave, you will never know.

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