(Hang in there, this blog all comes together eventually. Plus there are photos of lovers, redheads, and dogs at the end. See example to left.)
Fighting with Perfection in Paris
Perfection does a hatchet job on Good. She’s a diva that tolerates no supporting cast, and She has been riding roughshod over my ability to write a blog since I arrived in Paris 12 days ago.
In addition to not writing blogs, I have not been to two of my neighborhood restaurants, Laduree and Mariage Freres. They are my usual haunts and I believed they were essential to my settling into the City of Lights.
I have been taking long walks and hundreds of photographs with a focus on lovers, redheads, dogs, children, art, and the homeless that I post on Facebook every day, but no writing.
What is going on?
Let me tell you as best I understand.
For one thing the Israeli killing of 2100 Gazans and then claiming more land in the West Bank ad nauseum not only depressed me but has shown me definitively that there are people who are not only far more expert on the subject than I am but who write much better. (Un-huh, I know Israelis were targeted by Gazans firing missiles and that 50 some Israelis were killed – all except six in the military – but this blog is not about politics and I’m not in the mood to equate 50 some Israelis to 2100 Gazans and call it a draw.)
For another, I have been taken over by an internal son et lumiere show in which a cacophony of characters bide with each other for the spotlight. Inside me is a mélange of languid sexy women wearing silk lavender, clowns in cone hats with red pom-poms on top, the child I was on the farm in Iowa, an overly-sensitive female who is subject to Stendhal Syndrome, and a hawk-eyed hunter-photographer who preys on and captures the innards of innocent people.
Over it all sits the Perfectionist Judge (she’s a female, dammit!) who says that if I write something it has to have a deep and meaningful impact in addition to good grammar. Otherwise, it isn’t worth bothering with and clutters the landscape.
Also, I’m in an apartment I once co-owned with a husband we don’t need to mention except that I don’t want you to think I could ever have bought an apartment in Paris on my own. The apartment is exactly as I left it except the floor-to-ceiling silk curtains are shredding on the window side and there is a humidor on the desk and new sheets on the bed – oh, and an updated master bathroom. This is a special kind of déjà vu made possible by the new owner.
Thus, a sonne et lumiere and cast of characters goes with me through the streets, into the cafes, across Luxembourg Gardens, and into the Louvre to view 17th and 18th century French paintings. It is a pleasant but timeless experience that is not very solid, wobbly even. Writing a blog requires concrete sentences in real time.
However a deep and impactful truth (at least for me) has finally taken form. I believe that having our moorings loosened and our time sense scrambled – and losing people, gaining people, and experiencing our self as multiple people is imperative to becoming more aware of the miracle that we are here at all. We cannot know more until we give up old beliefs that we know what is what. We need to be tumbled.
Often this happens by trauma. Breakage and loss undo our world, and in undoing our world they make us look again, experience again, change. We are forced to be flexible.
We are forced to be flexible in what we thought was existence – large and small – and who we are in it. It is easiest to do this if we accept the unmooring and the cast of interior personalities and float.
The Perfection Judge says, “This is not adequate. It’s too airy-fairy. You need to say something helpful when our world is in such crisis.”
You see, the Perfection Judge tolerates that I post photographs of redheads and lovers on Facebook, but she wants my blogs to have more depth, which means the only way I can write is to stand up to Her and say, “Half-ass and mediocre are just fine, thank you, anyway.”
Even so, I will now make an attempt at depth, or perhaps just at loosening your moorings: There are as many stars in the universe as there are grains of sand on planet earth. Odds are beyond all reckoning that we are not the only thinking creatures in infinity.
We don’t know much of anything but we experience that we exist. That is a place to start.
Two days ago I bought a work of art titled “Paradise Lost.” (See photo. Xavier Somers, Flemish, is the artist.)
In the beginning were Adam and Eve and they discovered the pleasurable things that men and women can do together. Behold, Eve laid an egg in the nest of temporal life and free will. Alongside it in the nest is the devoured apple of self-knowledge. The beginning was the awareness that we existed. It might not be much, but it is a start.
Everything my knowledge and experience tell me is that bliss is the natural state and it is humans who f**k it up. We all know the second part of that sentence. I believe the first part is true also. We “fell” out of grace into self-knowledge. It was the only way to know we are here. Now the task is to climb back up and join self-awareness with bliss. (. . . which raises all sort of questions such as which came first the bird or the egg.)
In “Paradise Lost” the golden male has a large key that inserts in the keyhole of the golden female. It joins them into one creature, a larger egg with legs. I’m just letting you know that without further comment.
And this Adam and Eve devoured the apple. Of course! If we’re going for self-awareness, we need to get as much as possible.
And the nest is made of barbed wire. And so it is. Look around.
And because our self-awareness is still so miniscule, such a grain of sand in infinity, we harm each other and call it justified and self-protection and rational.
And I look around this apartment where loss has occurred and where beauty and blessing pour in the windows, and I cart my mélange of characters around with me and tell the Perfection Judge, “Bugger off.”
I say, “Bugger off. You, Perfection, are the scourge, thinking you know what is right or good. You, who wants life in perfect grammar and manners and brilliance. Look around, Perfection, next to the lovers are the homeless. Look, Perfection, look well, and tell me that you have a right to judge. We rejected you when we began to become aware and to care for all that fails your false standards. Bugger off.”
Photos of Parisians below, being their essential selves, even when dogs: