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Lessons from...Paris

And I didn't get it immediately.

It was early morning in Paris, cold enough to feel the skin stiffening. It was just a few years ago but it feels like a past life, not of mine. I was in the middle of nowhere in Paris, stylish people passing by in a hurry.

While standing there looking for someone willing to help me find the direction, tension made me tremble like a wet dog.

I had to find the shooting place, the job for that day.

He looked like a father who had just dropped his kid at the kindergarten. His black coat and nice, warm looking scarf looked trustworthy.

-Excuse me, I said in English, how do I get here? pointing to the paper I was holding dearly.

I was really worried.

He takes a look at me but does not see me. I am used to that though. His mind is ruminating, feeding on something unseen.

Takes a step closer, reads the address.

-It is over there, just turn this corner and then walk a little bit and you are there, he said,

In French which I do not speak but can understand if I have to.

I was so happy to finally have made it, my agent would have been quite upset if I didn't. I felt heat flooding by bloodstream again.

I thanked happily and wished a good day, in French.

Smiling lightly, looking at me for a minute, he said : Bon courage! turning around walking into his day, slightly bent.

I keep this short encounter in my memory as one of the kindest moments I lived in Paris.

Otherwise, given my job, life was raw. I was literally and figuratively striped down to nothing but hopelessness.

Paris left a deep mark. It broke me open to life, through mental and physical pain. The only way I was capable to understand life at that time.

Paris felt like Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur did, but it was somewhat different. It felt raw, bloody and painful. The travail of becoming. Only creators and people who don't care to know, but to feel, can live there.

There are synapses in my brain called Paris.

They infiltrate into my brain like blood dissolves in water. Like ink dissolves when tears fall on paper.

I remember Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, Dior, Stella McCartney who was so kind to me. McQueen’s death falling heavily down on all of us one day, cutting though those living strings holding the industry together. When his death was announced, the announcement itself, arrived to me in slow motion. We were all getting ready for another day of Paris , it was early in the morning, the TV was on.

There was death, glamour, exaggeration and pain all over.

I was isolated by this invisible pain I could not talk about. Anything exterior felt and sounded very far away. Unreachable. I carried it all in me and around me. Nobody and no time to talk or feel it through.

It made me hate myself and the life I had in me. I used to think it is my fault.

Paris left me a few things.

That feeling of living and witnessing memorable events, being so close to creators. Creators of life, of how life could be.

Paris opened me up into the creator mind.

It gave me the change to be in those rooms, where the creative spirits walked around and breathed life into the world thought color, form and materials. More than anything, clothes of a certain quality transmit a feeling, a state of mind, another dimension of life.

Paris abandoned me to the creator state of mind.

It gave me Bon courage! which I learned to say to myself.

Paris made me decide : live or die. You know by now the answer.

Bon courage à tous!

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