...It Stays With You
This is where my review of Paris goes.
This is where I pick up where I left off, giving the universe, my small audience, and myself a place to come for inspiration, lofty ideas, love and art.
This is where I planned on demonstrating that you can critique something without tearing it apart, and still be helpful.
But instead, this is where I give in to the fact that my heart is absolutely broken.
For those of you who don't know, I spent all of October in Paris. The City of Lights, where even though I didn't speak the language, I was certain I was home. The art, the music, the dance, the food, the kindness of the people I met, and became friends with. Even the cigarette smoke lingering around every corner cafe, became a sweet melody in the key of la vie est belle.
The Spirit of Paris, her secrets and her delights, seduced me and my inner artist everyday. As my journey came to a close, the only thing that softened the edge of having to leave a place that felt more natural to my spirit than even my own home town, was the certainty that I would return.
Paris inspired me, and even on days that I stayed at home in the beautiful flat of my AirBNB host my heart sang, filling countless pages with new performance numbers, perspectives on life, and alchemical connections.
I frequently called my family in the states in the euphoria of the Parisian mindset, sharing how the simplest moments provided me a joie de vivre unparalleled in any other city I had experienced.
I had come to Paris to clear my head, after a rather unexpected year. I went to study metaphysics, and follow the path of the freemen, the Frenchmen. I found bliss. The beauty of Paris, I discovered, began with the original settlers the Parisii who were “conquered” by Rome. Parisians all through time have been laid back lovers of life and its secrets kept in plain sight. They may have been forced to yield, in some senses, to the “lovers of death” as Charlie Hebdo Cartoonist Joann Sfar, so cleverly put it in his response to the most recent attacks, but Paris has never lost the joy, the spirit, the true freedom of its free spirit.
That energy flows with the Seine into every corner of this great international city. Its citizens like the rest of the world take to their worldly responsibilities whether they be religious, economical or otherwise, and then when those obligations are replete, they fill the streets with joy, drunkenness and appreciation for life, this is the beauty of Paris.
Parisians may seem to have an odd obsession with death, but it is because they understand that it is inevitable, which makes life all the more worth living. When I made acquaintance with immigrants to the City of Life, and they spoke of the bleakness of Parisian sentimentality, I knew that they are the adults who see a hat (See: Le Petit Prince if this reference is lost to you). It was never worth making the drawing transparent. So I spoke to them about scotch and clothing instead. Paris celebrates both the adventurer and the settler. The city sees the beauty in both roles and knows that it takes both to make any story great.
And that is why, even as an American, who is no stranger to tragedy, this is the first time my heart is broken. The taking of life for any type of ideal is never excusable, but this incident, this horrific act came so immediately after I danced in the Equality, Liberty and Brotherhood of those streets. I mourn for my City not because this type of human abuse is uncommon, but because, this act stole LIVES, and LIFE from one of the last true bastions of freedom on Earth.
My heart is in Paris. My Soul is in Paris. I left my Spirit with that City for safe keeping and it is in agony as my mind tries not to play through the moments of terror. While in North Carolina I turn the station so that I cannot obsess helplessly about the locations I am familiar with and how they are forever changed. I am fortunate that all of my Parisian family is safe, but that is not everyones experience today, and I ache for those hearts.
… and yet, I am comforted to log in and see the spirit of Paris lives on. In cartoonists thanking the world for their efforts, but turning the attention to the still raised glass of champagne. I am encouraged that art, and music, and gaiety scoffs back, “We are not afraid, you will never steal our joy!” It helps me heal, it helps the world heal. And I am in love even more with my Paris, it will forever have my heart, my art, and my gratitude for bolstering my perspective on what's true, what's right, the beauty of the time we have here, the gifts we give back to it, and the people who make it all, the pain, the joy and the work, worth living.