One of the fun side effects of living at home is that I find lots of old treasures in my room. Many of those treasures are pieces of writing from a long time ago. I've already re-read my junio-high and high school journals a few times, and I am always entertained when I read them. Having a glimpse of my mentality of the time is funny and strange. I feel close to the girl in the journal, but I don't always feel like she's me. She probably isn't anymore!
I've recently stumbled on more recent writing, from 3 or 4 years ago, when I was living in Paris for my masters. It wasn't a very easy time. Actually, it sucked a lot. I had periods of deep procrastination when trying to write my dissertation ; my self-esteem was in the pits... But reading the prose that accompanies that period is very revealing. The writing is raw and articulate. I was figuring things out while also being in pain. At the time, I remember thinking that I was writing uttter crap, like everything else. But it may be my best writing yet. I'm not going to share it on here, because it's just a bit too personal to be public, but I hope that I'll be able to use some of those passages in fiction, to tap into a character's struggle in making decisions and carrying on living.
These days, there are highs and lows in my everyday life, but I feel mentally and spiritually stable. Sure, I don't have steady employment right now, but give me time, and I'll sort myself out. I'm very thankful that I feel calm and a lot more self-assured than before. Paris feels like a whole new city, this time around. Yes, it can still be a little closed off, but it's also beautiful and I'm willing to live here and give it a fair shot.
I'm well aware that I gained confidence living in the States and being surrounded by people who challenged me and believed in my creative voice. The support I got in the States has allowed me to come back to France renewed, and feeling less French than before. That's actually the best thing that could have happened to me. Because, by not feeling completely French, I have the distance I need to navigate the culture: I'm not oppressed by it, therefore I can observe it with curiosity and delight. There's something liberating about that.