Labor Day weekend soon commences… the last summer hurrah will unfold. And I hope you find joy in the days ahead, as well as in the rentrée fast on its heels.
I have been away a long, long time, I know. I feel as if I write into a void, one of my making, so it’s all the more difficult to find the right tempo, the right voice, at this moment. When left to my own devices, I am all stuccato, as my fragmented diary entries from the summer show. I’ve never been so in love with lists. They were about all I could wrap my head around, including (especially) when contemplating my emotions.
I am back in New York, wrapped up in work and love.
I have met my beloved’s family and friends.
We now plan a trip to introduce him to my family.
This is utterly precious to me, this connection and pleasure and joy and love I have with him.
I honestly don’t remember any relation that came before.
My French improved. A lot.
But alas, my illness didn’t.
I turned the second (solitary) half of my summer in Paris into a silent retreat, coaxing my body to begin digesting food again, to begin walking and moving again. That is not hyperbole.
I have, you see, a rare chronic illness that I will have to manage all my life. Okay. That’s about all I have to say or share on the matter, because I have no desire to write a chronic illness blog. My time in Paris ended up being the beginning of a life-long management plan-in-process. It was messy. It was exhausting. It started to work.
And now I continue in New York.
By the time I came back to New York, the person who left for Paris seemed like from a different era. This, too, is why I haven’t updated the blog. Self-transformation seems to have been happening rapidly. Even when I felt stuck or lost. Maybe that is common. You can tell me.
I returned wanting lightness. Wanting conciseness. Wanting the puzzle of daily life to be easier to put together. So, by the end of the second week, half my belongings were jettisoned. Entire old lives were said goodbye to. I’m about the future, not the past. The people and the objects of my present are the velvet ribbons leading to that future.
Tip: Do this sort of grand release in private; if people know the particulars of what you let go, they will freak the f* out. This is a private ritual when you say goodbye to past lives.
And what is that future? I cannot know for absolute certain because of that uppity chronic illness, but these are my guiding principles:
Photography and writing
I can see myself taking off for three or four months at the beginning of the year with only a carry-on. Indeed, that’s the hypothetical plan, though I’m wanting to watch myself a little bit longer before deciding anything final beyond the holidays in France (with the beloved). And I can see myself doing another couple of months in the summer. In other words, I see a near future that is all about what I can physically carry (which is not a lot and a lot less than before).
That encourages release.
Being with a Frenchman, being increasingly part of a French community, and staring at bobo and working women Frenchies in the Marais this past winter and summer… These bring changes too. Especially on the style front. They have simplicity down. They know the art of “the repeat.” Nothing showy. Discretion. Class.
And I’ve found freedom in this. I’ve drawn my style lines closer and closer and closer to my own idea of simplicity. I’ll always be the “special” American with all her big silver jewelry (so not French, which I’ve known before the Frenchman) (second aside: “special” in French doesn’t mean the same thing as “special” in English). But I’m starting to note how different I “dress up” for American friends versus French ones. I think it will be easier to streamline all this into one aesthetic presentation when I have less.
So I’m selling things.
Lots of things.
Even set up a little “store” on eBay.
Yes, with Hermès.
There will be other things too (as I have time to photograph, to post). Like my red and my black Kelly (the porc Kelly is already gone), more scarves, teacups, a few fountain pens, some grand-scale Issey Miyake and Comme des Garçons.
I mention it because people are starting to see and put two and two together and contact me to buy things directly. Which I welcome.
Why this much change? I’ll repeat what I said above: I see a more nomadic life. I see leaving my apartment and my things closed up for six or more months out of the year. It’s time to consider not only what belongs to a past life… but also what is too beautiful to stay locked up in darkness. A Kelly bag is one of the latter. Because I’ll be carrying my canvas camera bag.
I’ve thought about you often, about the blog often. Like wanting to share the perfect navy blue top/T-shirt I found at the Paris soldes. Or the maxi Diane von Furstenberg dress worn to meet the beloved’s most special friends, completed with gold sandals and a clutch splattered with Sakura blossoms. Or the tea drunk in Paris. Or the fall-over-style-love I now have for Repetto’s Dance Line.
So maybe all that can be revealed in the weeks ahead.
In the meantime, have beautiful celebrations this weekend.