I don’t even know who I am out here…but maybe that’s a good thing

It “only” took 10 weeks for me to get sick of the overgrown-bushy-unkempt eyebrow look I’ve unsuccessfully tried to to turn into a thing here in Paris, out of, mainly, sheer laziness and lack of interest. I took an hour-and-a-half trip (each way) on the rer/metro today to have the extra hair whacked off with threads. I feel weirdly naked. But, when I look in the mirror, I feel more like myself than I have in weeks.

Being abroad has left me strangely vacant and more than a little off-kilter, in ways that I can’t fully articulate. (In some ways I can, see previous posts.) I have become fond of the phrase “I don’t even know who I am out here,” or, sometimes, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

a spectacular view of paris from the the tippy-top of montmartre.
a spectacular view of paris from the the tippy-top of montmartre.

I haven’t painted my nails in weeks. I rarely do anything to my hair, which used to be really fun for me. I never seem to know what clothes to wear anymore. And it’s not just physical. I’ve read two books in the past two weeks, which is more than I’ve read this entire year. (I usually read a lot.) I don’t talk to my family and friends as much as I thought I would, mainly thanks to the time difference and the demands on my time here in Paris. I’m often left feeling that the day has escaped me, even as I try to recap what I’ve spent the past 12 or so hours doing. I spend/waste way too much time online.

I just feel…off.

It’s wrecked havoc on my diet, too, which I’d worked really hard for the past three years to overhaul. I’m constantly reaching for comfort food. And even when I’m not, it’s common for Parisian diets to be full of bread and ham and sugary fruit juices and pasta and beef and crêpes.

the best crêpes (aka your belly's worst enemy) in paris—that I've had so far. from a street vender in le marais.
the best crêpes (aka your belly’s worst enemy) in paris—that I’ve had so far. from a street vender in le marais.

I’m having to contend with a version of myself that is unfamiliar and, in some ways, unpleasant, physically and otherwise.

Today, though, I had a thought. Maybe this is what it’s all about. Maybe all the talk about travel and change and growth and blah and yadda and whatever. Maybe it’s this. This weird feeling that you are not who you are accustomed to being. That you have changed, maybe temporarily, maybe permanently, and you will have to reconstruct what it means to be you at some later date.

Or, maybe not. Maybe so much change and newness has kicked me into some sort of mental lapse that’s not good at all.

Only more living will tell. For now, I’m happy that at least I’m more myself from the nose up.

[Note: I won’t be in France much longer—another month, probably. I’m looking to move on to either another country or back to the States for more adventures. Therefore, I really want to change my blog tagline and the accompanying photo. Something that encapsulates my vision for this year, to travel and learn and grow and not be defined by a job. Ideas? Creative types want to help? Lemme know!]

5 thoughts on “I don’t even know who I am out here…but maybe that’s a good thing

  1. What you’re going through sounds like an adjustment period, basically your whole life has changed and it’s totally de-centering. All your habits and routines and your supports have been disrupted and isn’t normal to want some kind of comfort in the middle of that? Even in Paris one can be sad at the losses changes entail. Good luck in your new phase!

  2. You’re welcome! It really takes a year to get used to something new. I think you’re doing great!

  3. Oh! I’m so sorry you are feeling “off” and sad to hear that you will be leaving Paris! I found your blog a few months ago and have enjoyed it very much as I plan my own year in Paris! I was so hoping to meet you and go for coffee (I have a list of a few amazing bloggers that I was going to reach out to!)! From my perspective, you seem pretty extraordinary even If you are knee deep in “I don’t know who I am”.

  4. I have been following your blog since I came across your writing on another website. You are such a great writer. Also I think it takes major guts to say ‘i don’t know anymore’ and to bare your feelings. Not many people decide to pack up their life and move to a new country, you are doing amazing work and good luck with everything!

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