“Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live.”-
I went outside this morning to get something from the pharmacy and when I stepped out I could breathe. I have been trapped in my apartment for a few days now because of my own emotions. I have had some deep and heavy family stuff going on this week and it was too much for me to bear. I’m writing this for the people who are really strong, but when too much happens at once they just don’t know how to handle themselves. I don’t think that things should be hidden and sugarcoated all the time. Life isn’t that way.
The attacks on Paris hit really close to home last night. Last year during Charlie Hebdo, I was in America with my family feeling very sad for my french friends and family but still standing united. As I was feeling sad for my family last night and feeling hopeless, my mom and best friend Michael called me asking me if I was okay because there were explosions in Paris. I turned on the news and couldn’t believe my eyes. Just 3 days prior my best friend from Atlanta, Maria was in Paris and we were on the streets from 6p to 2am frolicking and living out girlish dreams of seeing Paris through and through. I have always said that I feel much safer here than in the US. Last year, in New York I was on the same metro ligne and street as the man that killed himself in the metro after killing two NYPD cops parked in their car in retaliation to the Eric Garner case. That was terrifying in itself, but this.. being in a foreign country alone. Knowing that places I was happily walking through just a few days ago without a care in the world were places where bodies were piled up last night. It’s bittersweet to live in this kind of world.
I feel so free here, but now that feeling of freedom has somehow turned into fear and confusion. If I hadn’t of felt bad because of what my family is going through and stayed home all day, I would have been out working out and walking home like I usually do or having a drink for a meeting for a DJing job. I am blessed to have stayed home, but at the same time keep thinking, what if?
This morning when I went outside to get some air, I was scared to see sadness and feel this feeling that is lingering in the air in Paris right now. I spoke with my pharmacist and he said that when he was on the metro on the way to work it was empty and people were looking down and not talking. I saw a pregnant muslim woman crossing the street in tears. I was surprised to see that for a saturday morning in my neighborhood it was quite busy. I saw people our pushing their babies in strollers, the line for the bakery was out the door and around the corner, even saw a little boy riding his bike alone and I locked eyes with him. How beautiful that the french people decide to get up and still live their lives after such a tragedy. I feel confused by this, but I also feel comforted. My father is from a country that is no stranger to these types of tragedies, and I try to think of the muslim people and how they must feel. It’s not easy or fair to blame them for this. I am not muslim but I have many friends that are and family, and I know they do not stand for this kind of behavior or recklessness.
This beautiful city that I love so much, where I have found my womanhood and feel so very connected to, I cry for you. In this time I encourage us to use this moment as a period of growth and rest… and know that there is a tomorrow. We cannot stop living, and loving and hatred is not the way.
As much as I wish to be home with my family right now, I am happy to be here safe and to go through this with my people of Paris. Live your life, be good to one another, spread love and do your best. Use this tragedy as a reminder that LIFE IS SHORT, BUT IT’S SO SO SO SO SO SWEET.
LIVE LIVE LIVE.
artwork by: Jean Jullien
photos: Aurielle Sayeh, 17eme- my neighborhood