An Invitation to France! Seriously?

Posted on Nov 8, 2011

My friend Louise went to France.

La Martiniere in summer time

She sent an email inviting us. I promptly threw a fit. She’s house-sitting for six months in a handsome chateau (complete with perfectly pale blue shutters) in the French countryside. She is brave. And smart. She also has no home, specifically. Thus, she finds one wherever she so chooses in the world. This time, it’s France. I admire her cleverness, resourcefulness and creativity.

I want to go to France (and stay). And I’m terrified of it. The language, the up-rooting, the aloneness. Well, if it were with Hubby, we’d have each other – we’d have our little bubble. And we’d be alone, together. From growing up on farm I know about isolation and what it does to a person. Yet I still choose it over social-butterflying. So what difference would it make to be alone in a foreign country than alone in the bottom-left corner of Canada?

This banter is screwy because I’m half trying to talk myself into it (going to France) and half trying to prove why it’s absurd.

If this were a book, you’d be cheering for me to go! pack your bags, lady, just go! Even more so if it were a movie because you’d get to see the romantic rolling vineyards and stone chateau that awaits. You’d believe in me, that I’d make it, that I’d be okay. You would want the best for me, for me to explore, expand my horizons and perspective, to try new things and taste other worlds. You’d remember that I am forever in a romance with France. Especially Paris, though.

See, the half-empty girl could convince me: this invitation is not to Paris—you always say you want an apartment in Paris—this is just random France. Therefore, Miss Half-empty could easily disregard the whole notion and continue with boring work writing about energy-efficient hot water heaters and zero V.O.C. paint. (Really, these aren’t so boring, they’re quite excellent in fact, but they pale in comparison to the notion of France, for God’s sake!).

How in the hell could I make this work?

Oh, see now there’s a good sign – I’m processing information in a logical sequence, which means I’m clearly trying to give myself evidence to prove that this is indeed an excellent idea.

And there she goes, Miss Half-full, patting herself on the back for believing she’s being logical and reasonable about a matter which is, actually, in the domain of the heart. France, that is. How could anyone argue with France? Well, any person with a soul couldn’t, that’s for damn sure…

Okay, hold on here. We’ve got a choice, you and me. We could pretend to be objective and detached from this situation, to come up with a  ‘reasonable and clear answer’ to my vague question of, What to do about going to France? Or! We could dive straight into the abyss of the emotional sea that evidently surrounds this most perplexing notion.

It’s alarming to me, the thought of freely exposing all my dreams and silliness around this idea. Somehow I think it will be used against me (in court of law?).

So, then, let’s release it all. Shall we just completely go for it, declaring all those quiet dreamy schemes and whispery impressions? Okay, let’s go balls out! (except I have no balls and don’t wish for any. At any rate, let’s DO this, people!)

Romantic, positively idealistic… a magical French wonderland where I would automatically be lovely and serene and in creative bliss, effortlessly, effervescently, every day. I would take on a certain glow, a luminosity only attained by living precisely in one’s authentic self. I would be intuitive and knowing just what was for me, what to do, what to write, what I wanted to eat, how I felt.

Words would come flying into my consciousness, out through my pen and keyboard at lightning-fast pace and I would be productive without even an inkling of fatigue or drain. I would pen a New York Times bestseller without so much as glance at procrastination. My health would be top notch and my hair would take on a perfect bounce and sheen in the French light.

There would be fireside nights when snow drifted down and across the stone terrace. I would have warm feet and there would be fine French goose duvets. It would all be so easy. Creativity and floods of inspiration would spill forth. I would swoop through the house on Saturday mornings, dancing as I swept the floor and singing as I polished antique mirrors.

I would know without a doubt that I was in the right place and it was incontestably the right time. My ideas would be fluid, lucid and impossibly poetic.

Everywhere I looked there would be beauty and the inspiration of nature and humanity’s most cherished traits. There would be stillness that comforts my soul like fuzzy socks on a cool night. The spinning mind would cease and all that would remain would be my luminous essence, my Truth, my very best self.

I would be kind, and gentle and the little forest creatures would come to visit because they could sense my compassionate heart. I would never be wanting for I would be in perfect trust that all that I needed was right before me. Everything would be perfect. Always.

I’ve just exposed this vision to Hubby. I started to smirk when I read aloud the part about the forest creatures… what a Disney moment. And sure enough, as I finished, he was smiling and asked if I was actually Snow White. Perhaps.

And now to explore what Miss Half-empty declares as her reality…

It’s preposterous to think I could actually get my act together enough to even consider packing bags for a month or more to go to France. Good God, I don’t even speak French and I’d be crying on day two out of frustration and homesickness. Don’t you remember how you cried yourself to sleep nearly every night you were away from home on modeling trips? You can’t seriously think this will be any different. You’re kidding yourself. People never change.

It’s just a romantic fantasy, this whole France notion. Everybody romanticizes foreign lands, but the reality is that it’s never home and never will be. Give yourself a reality check and just figure out how to happily live at home. This endless roaming is just a form of denial, an avoidance of reality. They even talked about it in the movie Midnight in Paris. Remember? Nostalgia and romance are avoidance of one’s current situation.

You need to just buck up and get on with working and making some money. You’re always stressed about money, why don’t you just take care of that? Going to France isn’t going to make you money, it’s going to take your money! Seriously, everybody else has jobs and takes on responsibility if they want to live in reality.

You’re just a dreamer and you’ll never make it. You’ll go, it will be lovely for one day and then the truth of it will set in and you’ll realize that in fact the grass is NOT—and never was and never will be—greener on the other side. Why do you perpetually torture yourself with these romantic notions? You want this dreamy, magical life but you don’t want to work to achieve it… sounds childish to me… Why can’t you just make a plan—a reasonable plan—and then follow through? What’s your problem?

You think it will be like a slow motion scene in some whimsical movie, but the cold hard truth is that those scenes are fake, and when their hair is supposedly being gently tousled in the breeze, it’s a big mega-volt fan and flood lights making that glossy shine you long for. It’s not real! You know this! Come on, you’ve been on sets and behind the scenes of these escapades countless times, you know damn well it’s all a façade and yet here you sit trying to convince yourself it’s possible. In fact you’re not only trying to convince yourself it’s possible, but that YOU could be the one in the scene. Get over it!

Ahck! That scathing bitch! She must be stopped. Enough! Zip it.

Well that was a mood killer. I don’t think I’ll let Miss Half-empty run rampant like that again. Jesus.

Since I’m the one responsible for my attitude, I suppose I ought to talk myself back to at least a sort-of neutral position…

Okay, Hollie – oh, no wait, for these writing purposes my name is Olivia, which is far more refined, like I keep forgetting to be. Okay then, Olivia… Ah ha! Curious…the moment I speak to myself as Olivia, it only seems fitting that I jet off to France.

Seriously, wouldn’t a young brunette woman named Olivia venture off to faraway lands in search of her authentic self (hopefully wearing a heather grey cashmere sweater over a perfectly thin white T with slim dark denim and tall riding boots)? Oh, and I think she’d also wear dangling vintage earrings and her hair would be a long, wind-swept version of 1940’s Veronica Lake curls. She would have a tidy traveler’s manicure and carry over her shoulder an age-softened Louis Vuitton bag. Sometimes she would wear simple lipgloss and other times stained red lips with eyes in Bardot black liquid liner and impossibly long lashes. On Bardot-eyed days she’d wear red-soled Christian Louboutin heels and long glittery vintage gowns.

Oh, my dear, sweet imaginary life. But really, can I make it not so imaginary? Could I manifest just a little sparkling sliver of it?

Wait! Hold the phone there, tiger! Let’s back this shit up a second. I did manifest this. Well, to be specific, I called upon the Universe for guidance on what would be next for me. It has barely been 24 hours since I asked and already it slipped my mind (or maybe that Half-empty bitch is sabotaging me?) At any rate, it all began on Thursday night. Then early the next morning my response to Louise’s email invitation went like this:

OH MY DARLING.

You’ve made my day.

Last night my restless soul was spinning on ‘what to do… what to DO’….  Which, of course, is a really big question to ask the Universe at 1 AM. All I know is that I am supposed to first focus on who I am to BE in the world, then the DOING—whatever that may look like—will follow. With that in mind, I asked the Universe to please provide me with clarity on what’s next for me…. and fell asleep.

When I woke up this morning I decided I wouldn’t ‘make decisions’ today, but rather, I’d follow what was presented to me, and if I was unclear, then, in a very scientific way, I’d ask my crystal pendulum. Yes, today would be a day for listening to that pulse of knowing and intuition…that calling from within.

That being said, I still didn’t want to get out of my warm bed this morning. Hubby was the first to brave the cool floor. He got up… checked his email and announced, “We’re invited to France!” He didn’t preface it with any useful information whatsoever, so I was still in the dark as to how or why or who, but the word ‘France’ was enough to propel me out of bed.

You see, ever since we came back from our last trip to Paris in September, I’ve been saying (outloud to real people!) that if we could find a way, we’d definitely go for a trial run of a few months in France. Generally, it’s Paris, but somehow, the whole of France has a hold of my heart.

I asked him what the hell he was talking about and he explained. Oh, Louise! To my email I went… I opened it up, saw your photo of the chateau and was smitten. If I keep my promise about listening to the inner pulse, then I know exactly what to do. I must get thyself to France. Jeez, that was easy.

I announced to Hubby that I was going to France. LOL.  Then I realized that iTunes was paused. So I hit play, and the words immediately sang out, “No fear, no doubt, I provide the answer….”  Who knew such wisdom could be found in a David Guetta remix?

Evidently, my middle-of-the-night vague question of what to do? has been answered. Shit. Do I have the tall riding boots to pull it off? Oh no. I do have tall riding boots. Okay, well, but do I have the grey cashmere sweater? No. Ha! And so the question remains.

But it mustn’t! It doesn’t. For heaven’s sake, the question is indeed answered. Face it. It’s France. I know I asked for it… but now that I’ve got my answer I’m a fidgeting wreck. I am le merde de poulet (aka chicken shit).

Perhaps tonight I’ll ask just how do you expect me to pull this off?


 This post refers to a morning that occurred on Tuesday, November 8th 2011. I’m in the process of sorting out the chronology on this blog at the moment.

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