Coming to Paris is something I wanted to do for a very long time. It’s one of those cities that’s been on my cultural radar for years, but up until a few months ago, it never seemed like feasible possibility.
The fact is, Paris intimidated me. The French have long had a reputation for being rude, stuck up and unfriendly. Not to mention all of their admirable qualities (stylish, sophisticated, well cultured) that scared me too! All that rolled up into one large croissant of a society is a lot to take in. Especially when you’re just one a single man skipping across the Atlantic to say bonjour!
But there comes a time in your life’s journey when you realize your fears are completely irrational, and instead of allowing those thoughts to rule actions, you man up and own your power!
So I came to Paris to be embrace that fear. To be tested outside my boundaries. I came to Paris because my soul cried out for an adventure where no one would be around to catch me if (when?) I fell. I came to Paris to grow, evolve and blossom into my fully, fabulous self.
Looking back, I don’t know how I made it in one piece.
The city is massive and huge and bigger than any place I’ve been to before (or maybe it seemed bigger because I was here by myself?). Not even all the studying I did prepared me for my grand entrance on Le Metro. With the grace of God’s fortune (and several connecting trains), I found my home away from home with everything in tow.
When the jet lag wore off, I woke up in a world filled with light. A colorful, vibrant, awakened city filled with artists and dreamers who work with bourgeois fashionistas; business men who live alongside street people; and sophisticated yuppies who put up with visiting tourists (me!). A community – a harmonious collective whole.
It’s a place where there is an appreciation for the beauty in life and the way of life – food, culture, art, fashion, society, liberty, happiness. It’s celebrated while walking down the street clutching a warm baguette or riding the metro home and reading the daily news.
I came here with the expectations of visiting a city that was out of my league. Fun to visit and admire, but untouchable and inaccessible. But what Paris has given me is a free lesson on how to dream, how to live, how to be exactly who I am and to love every piece of that.
Like a scene straight out of Amelie, my Parisian experience has showed me that it’s OK to wear red socks with blue pants and purple sneakers because if that’s who I am, then that’s my gift back to this beautiful world in which we live.