Apology and Disclaimer: This entry is rather personal. I try to stay away from entries like this because I don't really want my inner life on display for the whole world, but as I have said in the past, "It's my blog and I will curse, use bad grammar, bitch, complain or cry if I wanna."
As the days slowly pass and the “incident” becomes less traumatic, I am faced with growing confusion and filled with questions. My mind and emotions have always been subject to what I like to think of as a roller coaster effect and for as long as I can remember, I have always over thought everything.
One of my friends (Amanda), recently said I am very cerebral, and well, if there is one way to neatly box my personality and my being, it is that word. Cerebral. I do live in my mind and have, more often than I care to think, wished the wheels would quit spinning. They never do, probably never will, so I deal with it the best way I can: burdening my friends with my thoughts, writing them down, introspection, etc. I always think by telling my friends and by saying what I am thinking out loud will help, but all it ever really does is annoy people. I know nobody can make my decisions for me, and I wouldn’t accept a decision from someone else, but for a brief moment, after letting it out, I feel somewhat relieved. And it is nice to hear other people’s reactions; it makes me feel less alone. When I can’t discuss things with others, I tend to have the conversations in my head, which adds to the roller coaster effect, which usually confuses me more. Writing (or rather typing, because I am a child of the computer age) never really helps either because I tend to write in the same circles. I always think, “If I can just get a clear and concrete idea….,” but those clear and concrete ideas elude me with every keystroke. What I end up with usually looks as if it should be bound in a psych book. Introspection is the worst, because, well, that is what I am usually trying to get away from. I can think things through and never find the answer, winding up more confused and more convinced that the answer will never come.
So that is where I am today. You see, what happened on the metro the other day seemed like a culmination of every negative feeling I have had since I arrived in France. At the time, it seemed like a cut and dry sign telling me to leave and yet, in retrospect, it wasn’t so bad. The guy didn’t mug me, he didn’t rape me, he didn’t shoot or stab me. Millions of people experience things ten times worse everyday, and I am whining about some guy who pulled my hair on the metro. Don’t get me wrong, I know it was horrible; I haven’t been able to sleep more than a few hours a night nor have I been able to eat, but am I overreacting?
Do I really want to give up a dream I have had for years just because Paris is a miserable place to live? Ever since the first time I came overseas, I have wanted to travel. Life is too short to wait until retirement; who knows if I will even be around that long. Living in Europe is increasingly hard for Americans because of all the restrictions of the E.U. If you aren’t working for an American company or in school, there is a very small chance of ever finding something. If I leave, I may never have another opportunity to come back.
I know my circumstances are terrible. My “home” is a morbid box, I share with students. I have to share a toilet, shower and kitchen with people 7 years younger. I live in a horrible neighborhood in the worst part of France and the place where I will move if I stay is much worse. The university where I work is despicable. There are no resources; I am expected to provide my own books and teaching materials. The classes are painfully overcrowded and the students are way too aggressive. I can’t learn the language; I rarely understand what people are saying to me and I don’t think it will get any better if I stay another year. Other than my few friends, I don’t like French people. I swear, I have tried, but more often than not, I find them to be miserable people. I don’t know more than a few people and those few people are the same people I met the first day I arrived; they were all introduced by my friend Sebastien. I have made no friends independently. As you can deduct, I am not exactly thriving here.
I know the good is outweighed by the terrible; the museums are great, the wine and food are fantastic, the city is romantic, and my friends are beautiful, but I feel, more often than not, that I have to struggle to see this through all the shit. I know satisfaction and happiness are no guarantees and they only come if you work for them, but I don’t know if I am fighting a losing battle here. I don’t want to fight; I didn’t want to fight, I wanted it to work, to click, or at least be easier than it has been.
I know I should leave, but I don’t want to run away from failure, that is not who I am. If it was, I would have run away at 19 when life was really crappy. I feel that running away from this will mark my personality and that it will always hang over my head. Logically, I should leave and try something else, something better, but what if leaving is not better? What if I regret it? What if it changes who I am?