Sunday, January 26, 2014
Dancing in the Streets, Facebook Envy, CSI Miami, French Fluency, and My New Joke.
Dancing. Hiphop. Tap. House. In the middle of Place Jean Jaures. A huge square in the middle of town. In the rain. By myself. With my iPhone providing the tunes. People walking by. Smiling at me. Some dancing a bit too. And the joy just surging through my veins. Before I started dancing, I felt a bit low. But as soon as I began dancing--wow--I just felt joy! Real joy! And it lasted for a long time afterwards too. This is something I need to remember: when sad, dance. And in a public place if possible! I remember doing the same in Grand Central Terminal on so many occasions and the very same effect came over me: joy. And people smiling. Dancing along with me. I sure don't have the solution to sadness, but I do know now how to bring a little bit of joy into my life. Truly, I don’t think anything leaves me feeling such joy and happiness as dancing. I started dancing in low spirits; when I was done an hour later, I was on top of the world. I’m not sure what it is. Dancing in open spaces? The songs? The rhythms? The people who see me dancing and smile, or even come and dance a little with me? All of it together, it’s bliss. And I need to remember that as a way to get me out of my moods. DANCE!
Which is good, because my internal mood swings are an ever present troubling parasite eating away at whatever consistent contentedness I might ever feel! Ha! It’s so weird that after sharing with my actor friend V how terrible I seem to always feel, he wrote something like, “Wow, you would never know it, given how productive you are and how much you are able to get done.” Looks are clearly deceiving. And I know that keeping busy is a way to keep my mind from thinking too much. And it thinks WAY too much as it is.
Anyway, that was Wednesday. That afternoon, in town, I also did a 1-minute full sprint and then a 12-minute jog, with no pain whatsoever, which really pleases me. I'm really hoping that my hamstring is on its way to recovery. I'm still concerned about China, and jogging/biking there, with all the smog...
On Wednesday, I also studied Swedish, German, and Turkish, as well as Norwegian, Russian, and Arabic. And of course, French.
After each day of school, I’m super tired when I get home. Busy long days. Every day. I’m always exhausted at night. Maybe it’s the damn cat: it scratches on my door at about 3am every morning. It is SO annoying. It wakes me EVERY night. If I leave the door open, it comes in and starts jumping on EVERYTHING, knocking everything over and making an even more disruptive racket. A catch-22. I could kill the cat I suppose... But then I might not have a place to sleep. See, catch 22! :)
I’m realizing too now that maybe two months here is just enough time. I’m totally comfortable here by now, and yet I still have 5 ½ weeks to go. And I’m really starting to understand the tv shows. The shows like CSI Miami, and Castle, etc. There are more American tv shows here than there are French tv shows. Dramas like that. NCIS. Elementary. I sorta feel like I'm home. I think by the time I leave my French will be double what it is right now, and I will be able to continue my refinement simply by continuing to read French books, watching 7Jours and Yabla videos, and watching movies with French dubs. For the first time in my life, I KNOW that I am going to become fully fluent in another language, and wow, it makes me feel awesome.
I'm happy also to report that the China Visa is coming along. I have to send them a rescan of the first page of the China work contract and voila, they will take care of the rest. I have to choose which Embassy to visit to pick it up. Barcelona? Paris? Rome? I'm frankly not sure. Gotta think about this.
I studied a bunch of Babbel languages yesterday: Dutch, German, French, Danish, and Spanish. I also practiced the Arabic alphabet in my workbook, studied German and French from my books, and I read a lot in Du Bonheur. Again, it makes me smile a bit to know how many ancient philosophers from Aristotle, Plato, and Diogenes to Kierkegard, Rousseau, and Freud all had questions and theories on happiness too. I’m not the only one… with mixed emotions. I'm not the only one who hasn't quite figured out this thing called: "Life".
People keep asking me WHY? Re: the languages? I have no definitive reason for studying them so intently; it’s just fun, and occupies my time. Gives me something to do to get my mind off myself. To help me stop thinking so much about myself and my life. And I enjoy doing so. And I enjoy the smiles it brings when I speak to someone in their native tongue. All this travel? I have no definitive reason for any of this either. To get away from all that plagued me at home? To broaden my horizons? Again, because it’s fun? I guess the answers are all yes.
I think about *her* constantly. And when I’m not thinking of her, I’m thinking about how disappointed I am that I can’t find anyone who wants to take her place. Going on two years, and nada. I’m reminded of the line from the tv show “Scandal”. Horace says “Some people are meant to be happy; others are meant to be great.” It pains me to think that I am in the latter category. But I strain to believe that it’s possible to be both great and happy. "Strain" meaning that I am trying my hardest to do so but it seems difficult. My readings in my happiness books must clearly continue.
On a similar note: In Joel Osteen’s book, “Breakout” he writes, “Some people ask the question ‘What if it never happens?’ I like to ask, ‘What if it does?’” Something like that. And it’s an inspiring truthful way of looking at things. Everything is based on perspective. The difficulty is in changing that perspective for any considerable length of time. I know the truth: that any day—even today—I could find the girl of my dreams; find a wonderful new opportunity; learn to once again smile like I did; be happy with where my life has taken me; etc. And yet, ‘any day’ also seems like an eternity; like a really long time. My friend Max wrote to me, “You may find her tomorrow, or in two years!” Oh lovely. The tomorrow part is fine; the two years part is the killer. And it’s not the two years that is such a drag; it’s the ‘meanwhile’. One of my new Monroe Mann quotes is, “Time is a healer, but waiting’s a bitch.” And that’s the issue: the waiting. The waiting. The waiting. Patience patience patience. I’m just sick of it. I know that patience does not mean waiting; it means being steadfast despite opposition, but the opposition just never ceases. And it seems every day I am reminded of what I lost in Louisa: she was absolutely amazing. And now she’s gone. And I am off now vagabonding the world.
Back to the day to day: School has been fine. This past week I taught most of the classes the lyrics to my song, “The Sun is Always Shining Somewhere”. Gonna bring my guitar in tomorrow and we’re gonna have a few mini concerts this week. That should be fun. Gonna hand out some of my CDs too.
I’m also planning the trip to Barcelona. I expect that I will head to Barcelona this next weekend. Which means I need to finish my UofU assignments this week. Preferably today if I can.
My life here is becoming rather routine. Go to the school during the week. Walk around the city in the afternoon/evening. Chill out at Subway while reading and having a snack. Talk to the Turkish people at ParisIstanbul. Dance/Run on Wednesdays. And on the weekends, have the family meal at V's mom's house with Laura, Adrian, and hang out around the house and maybe go into town. Nothing truly exciting going on anymore. But I suppose that is the point of staying for a long while in another country: it starts to just feel ‘normal’ and ‘boring’. Just like I felt in Iraq after a few months: normal and boring, with an occasional terrifying brush with incoming enemy fire!
Interesting side note: V's sister has down syndrome, and a very serious case, so she is not able to really interact with anyone. She lives at the parents' house, and I see her every weekend when we go there for lunch. We went yesterday (as per the norm) and also today we shall do the same because it's V's mom's bday (Marie). Oh gosh, yesterday, I was STUFFED. So much food. It's killing me. Truly. I'm gonna become so fat or explode--one of the two. And today, it's Marie's BIRTHDAY: can you imagine? I don't want to imagine how much food there is going to be today. Oh my. Oh man. Anyway, this is the first time I've ever really interacted with someone with down syndrome on a regular basis. Usually she is quiet, but there is often a rumbling of noises she makes while eating. Those with down syndrome have a larger tongue than others (so Marie has told me) and for this reason, this is why her tongue is often protruding from her mouth. When eating, yes, there is a lot of drool, and the food gets all over her mouth, and at first, it was really disgusting to look at, but in time, I've come to just accept her as she is and realize that she's not doing it on purpose. And the other day, when I came in and said "Bonjour, Fanny" (Short for Stephanie), she said in return, "Bonjour, Monroe". The pronunciation was poor (but then again, even Americans have a hard time saying my name sometimes haha) but what touched me was that she remembered my name. How did she do that? And she smiled. It really touched me. And so we have a little bit of a relationship now, and I can see that despite the difficulties in raising her (she must be in her 30s or 40s now), I can also see how she is a loveable person too. And in fact... enviable, for she, most certainly, is far happier than perhaps any of us. Ignorance is bliss is it not?
Earlier today, I read more in my French ‘happiness workbook’ and also started another new book, “Je pense trop” (I think too much). It’s amazing that I can read these French psychology books as easily as I can read them in English. It’s amazing that my new hobby is reading books in French! Without a dictionary! Yes, there are words I don’t know and I underline them to look up later, but it’s only about five words per page, which is not much. And watching television: I am finally starting to break through the cloud. Each day it seems I understand more and more. Whereas it used to be a chore to read and watch tv, now it’s actually fun, and enjoyable.
One thing I really liked in the workbook is that positive visualizations are all fine and dandy, but in order for them to really take root, you need to do them at least five to ten times a day. The same visualization. They even recommend twenty times. To think of the same positive visualization TWENTY times a day. Pretty wild. I never would have imagined to do that on my own, thinking it was overkill, but to hear it from an objective third party, it somehow seems to make sense. Maybe that is the key to my feeling better: to make a deliberate attempt to visualize good things and positive futures MANY TIMES during the day. They suggest starting with something you know is attainable, so I am starting with the positive visualization of my finished novel, in book stores. Okay, that's twice now I have visualized it today. :) haha. Onward! On that note, gonna be sure to write another 1000 words today. And I guess I need to start visualizing myself as happy, with a girlfriend, and lots of friends, and lots of love...
And staying off Facebook. Not looking at the posts of others. THAT is a CERTAIN recipe for feeling better. That damn "Facebook Envy". It's real, and ever so powerful. It makes me so sad and so envious and so angry and so bitter. Facebook is a terrible terrible thing! It really is! I am glad I can message with people, but ugh, it's also a really easy way to get down on yourself. So if any of you are sad and use Facebook a lot, consider that there is probably a connection, just as psychological studies have shown.
Okay, time to get on with my day. Gonna read "The Seeds of Success" again by Og Mandino from his amazing book, "Mission: Success" before heading off to lunch. If you haven't yet read this book... do so. This week.
Au revoir! Et je vous souhaite beaucoup de bonheur!!!
P.S. - What do the French do when they are not hungry? EAT!
Posted by Attorney Monroe Mann at 12:56 PM