I was in the middle of making notes on how to buy a combined ticket for the Musée d’Orsay and the Rodin Museum when I put down my pen. I suddenly knew why I was going to Paris.
It had become a reality so quickly. The possibility of taking a trip had been kicking around in my head as a vague idea for a few weeks. But making a decision to go to France and booking it happened in the space of about twenty minutes.
Audrey Hepburn declared that “Paris is always a good idea,” but I could have gone anywhere, really. And yet every time I told people that I was taking a solo vacation to Paris for the first time in late September, their breath would catch. They would tell me about their first time experiencing the city. Many recounted how they cried. Everyone extolled its beauty. And there were a handful that seemed to sense there was a deeper purpose to my voyage. They were the ones who told me that they experienced Paris for the first time exactly when they needed it most.
A friend was over for brunch when I revealed my raison d’être for Paris. My voice cracked, my lip wobbled, and tears surfaced in my eyes as I said it out loud:
“I’m going to Paris to fall in love with myself again.”
I have spent the better part of two years in love with a man who called me magnificent and rare but refused to engage with the obstacle of distance to undertake a sustained exploration of how that magnificence and rarity might enrich his life.
The tension between those irreconcilable differences has worn me down, worn me out, and fomented an assault on my sense of self-worth. The question that has hovered in my mind all day every day is this: “What more do I need to be?”
The answer, of course, is nothing. I am enough, just as I am. This intellect. This generous and honest heart. This body. This expansive soul. It’s all enough, even if he didn’t choose it.
And I am going to Paris to rediscover the wonder that is This Woman, in her totality. In the moment when I put down my pen, I realized that the desire to be steeped in the legendary beauty that is Paris, and the desire to do so in solitude, is the desire to see its reflection when I look inward.
A few people have hinted that their wish for me is to find love in Paris.
That’s my wish, too. I can’t wait to meet Myself again on those luminous streets in the City of Lights. And once again fall deeply in love.
Soundtrack: Rufus Wainwright, “Leaving for Paris”