If Paris Was a Woman

If Paris was a woman, I’d want to be her friend.

She’s worldly and cultured, but unapologetically French. Effortlessly stylish. Secure in who she is. A subtle, quiet wisdom. Multi-faceted, revealing layers of herself each time we meet.

She’s one of the brave ones who’s had her heart broken, but still believes in love. The city of lovers. It’s everywhere. Couples walking hand in hand, gazing at each other. Kissing. Dancing in the streets. My first time to Paris I was married. Not unhappily married, but I knew something was missing. Paris gave me the courage to let him go, to set each other free.

She exudes the honesty and vulnerability that it takes to be artist. The next trip there I was alone. On a writing retreat. I’ll never forget the first day walking to the address of the retreat, feeling like I was in over my head, like I would never belong at a table of real writers. But I learned that everyone at that retreat was there seeking the same thing: validation. That’s what makes a writer a writer. That week I sought out the haunts of artists such as Voltaire, Proust, Wilde, Joyce, Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, and I needed no explanation as to why they too, were drawn to the gritty and beautiful and honest streets of Paris.

Paris is the woman others are drawn to at a party because she doesn’t take herself too seriously. It was this side of her that I experienced on the next visit, celebrating a girlfriend’s birthday. Paris didn’t care that we rode around on those tacky on/off big red tourist buses. Or that we drank too much wine at lunch, or that we took in the touristy cabaret show at Le Lido on the Champs-élysées. Paris didn’t even care that I had an embarrassing fall in my heels, just like Carrie Bradshaw, or that a man had to help me up because my friend was laughing too hard. I like to think if Paris was a woman, she’d have been laughing too hard to help me up, too.

She believes in magic, trusting in the process of life. Last Christmas I found myself in that beautiful city, once again, only this time with my six month old daughter in her front carrier, asleep on my chest. I’d left her father when I was pregnant and was feeling anxious about the future, but as I looked around at all the lights, at the vendors along the Champs-élysées, at the two dear friends beside me, I realized this was it. This was life. And it was beautiful. Christmas lights, music, vendors. Vin Chaud (hot wine). Suddenly I knew I didn’t need to worry about the future. I just had to keep taking the next right step. Keep trusting. Keep believing in magic. I realized I had so much love in my life… And, I always had Paris.


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