Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I will always have Paris

Have you ever been to Paris? It's everything they write, sing and paint about -- and more. The light really is different there. The people are wonderful, the food amazing, the coffee tastes different, the entire city smells like a perfume bottle and there are romantic bridges, and secret alley ways and art and music pouring out of every corner, window  and doorway.  Which made the news over the weekend of the Paris bombings so painful to watch.

I love Paris - I was there years ago, and it remains one of my favorite trips ever. I did the boat ride down the Seine, walked all over Notre Dame, Montmartre and did the labyrinth inside the cathedral of Sacre Coeur. I toured the Louvre, the Tomb of Napoleon, and drank coffee at a street side table on the Champs Elyse. I felt so grown up -- and I was all of 17 when I did this. A friend and I did this trip to the City of Lights at 17 years of age - and we felt safe. We never saw a bogeyman, no one bothered us and we did everything we wanted to without supervision. Paris and I had a teenage love affair that I will never forget. I will always have Paris.

(And just for the record, it is every bit of wonder, beauty and fabulousness you think it is and more...)

So Paris being the target of another bombing this weekend went straight to my heart. I hate this. I hate that I hate watching the news. I hate that my memory of Paris now includes monsters lurking in the shadows. But I will still have Paris. I will not allow these animals to ruin my favorite memory and my beloved city of lights. And when I feel threatened as I did this weekend, I get radical. I think out the box. And I make change, like drastic change. I love change, I embrace change, my middle name should be "Change." I grew up with change - that's what happens when your mom wants to move every year and your dad works for the government and you have no say in the matter. So six grammar schools and two high schools later, I got change down. I own it, I embrace it and I make The Donald crazy with it. Its just how I roll.

I had a Jean Moreau moment this weekend and I am fully embracing my archetype. After 2 years in dreadlocs, my scalp was hurting all the time. The weight of the dreads was constant - I never realized just how heavy all that hair had become! While waiting out a painful joint healing, I was stuck in front of the TV, watching the news and crying. And then, I said enough. I need change and I need it now.  I got out my metal comb, lots (and lots) of oily conditioner and began the excruciating process of combing out the locs. 18 hours later, my newly freed head feels amazing. I keep running my fingers through my (very) short hair, and the feeling of it brings back a lovely memory from my Paris trip (I had very short hair then, too.)

My friend and I had just come out of a candy shop, and were meandering down the street when a couple of handsome young French boys dashed up to us, grabbed our hands and twirled us around. Then, they snatched a piece of candy from the bag, kissed my cheek and with a "merci madamoiselles!" dashed off down the street, leaving us a bit shocked but giggling like the school girls we were. Flattered by their forward moves, we spent the rest of day elated and happy. I want that feeling again.

So I've cut off all my hair, releasing my aching neck and painful scalp. Its short and trippy and very Jean Moreau. Or Jean Seberg, I can't decide.  It'll always grow back - that's the great part. Like Paris on the rebound, my hair will come back. It always does. In the meantime, I am embracing the look of both Jeans fully.  Gonna wear red lipstick and striped tee shirts. I will be a rebel Vodou angel, praying for Paris and for the people who were injured. It's November, the month of the Ghedes. I will give an  action de gras in honor of those who have died. And I will sing for the Ghedes, so they can do their work in Paris. My shorn hair is an offering to them, so that they can carry forth in this world.

Paris and I are burning but in a good way. With anger. With pride. And with patriotism. Je suis Paris. Ayibobo.

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