I have a nightly habit. It’s not a good one, because I’m sure it doesn’t help me sleep, but it’s my nightly habit. I read for about an hour before bed and then I scroll through Instagram, where I look at pictures of French Bulldogs in different time zones and I flip through the day’s Tumblr posts. This post kept me up the whole damn night. I’m sure this photo conjures up a lot of emotions in a lot of people. Some may be angry, others shocked, some, like me, dumbfounded.
And I’m not really sure if the one I thought I was at any point in time was actually true. I’m thinking back to ghosts of lovers past who made me think I felt like a goddess-they bought me Chanel purses, Louis Vuitton this-that-and-the-other-thing, first class airline tickets, three hundred dollar dinners, antique collector’s-edition books that only I would be excited about, Cristal, expensive hotel suites, but- and this is a big but-they were cheating on me. Was I a goddess or a doormat? Back then I thought I was a goddess, but now that I’m older I realize I was a doormat in disguise.
Fast forward to now and I have a wonderful job in a city I love, I’m fulfilled from the work I do, I’m surprisingly well-liked (I mention this because it’s a complete shock to me, as I do not go out of my way to be lovable), I have people telling me every single day that I have the coolest job in the world (I am starting to believe this sentiment, by the way), I am starting to grow a mall, but mighty circle of friends in Los Angeles, I’m looking into taking some classes in the spring and when I write this all out, it seems very goddess-ish to me, but I don’t feel like much of a goddess. Maybe it’s because there is no one to share it with. In fact, my life is quite prohibitive to sharing it-I’m on the road a ton; I’m around men nonstop when I’m on the road, which is quite threatening to any man who would ever even consider sharing time or space with me even though I look at them as some of my bros, like we’re all in some frat together; I am fiercely independent; I am impatient; I am stubborn. I am aware of all of these things.
I woke up with crazy hair after a restless sleep and did the obligatory email check from bed (another terrible habit) and looked at the date. It’s November twenty-third. A month from today I land in Paris, a trip I’ve been dreaming of for a long, long time. I am lucky enough to have enough airline miles stored up from years of travel to be away for twenty-three days. I’m going to Paris, then Florence, then Rome, then back to Paris. I am one part ecstatic, one part terrified because I’m traveling alone, and one part thinking I should pack pants in multiple sizes (but I’ve gotten so skinny lately…maybe just the skinny pants!) I think a lot will be revealed in those twenty-three days. There’s going to be a lot of time to walk and think, my two favorite things.
Maybe, just maybe the best souvenir I bring back won’t be a bottle of olive oil, or a piece of jewelry, or a piece of chocolate. Maybe just maybe I’ll come back knowing whether I’m a goddess or a doormat and I’ll have the courage to continue being that person in front of people who seen me one way or the other. And maybe, just maybe I’ll be the person some people knew I could be, especially me.