I'm not going to lie here: it's nearly 3 AM, and I'm starting to write this. I am well aware of the fact that it will take at least a couple of days to finish this. I'd like to take my time on this; this past year has been one of huge revelations, change and...well...a lot of harsh lessons. It's also the last article I'm going to be writing on here. Yes, that's right. After this final posting, I will be moving my whole blog entirely onto Tumblr.
And the scariest thing may be...that as far as the change and hard lessons go?
I think it's just the beginning.
Anyway. Let's get to the subject at hand.
Well, it was some year! It started off ok: I moved into a new apartment, that I actually really like. It marked my return to "the city"; ok, so I'm still back to Paris, but I finally, after a lot of effort, moved back to town. And it is great. I'm not talking just the convenience. I mean, the people are more open-minded, there's more to do, it's bigger, you know. Just more.
I actually also like being back in an apartment. I have to admit, I've never really "lived"in a house. I'm a city girl and I like the bustle, the crowds, the noise...there's just so much more life. I remember when I first moved out to the countryside, I couldn't sleep for months on end. The silence. It was deafening to me. It was almost terrifying, oppressive and made me anxious and restless. I spent hours just pacing the living room. And I remember walking out of the house late one night, and realizing that it was pitch black and completely silent. And that freaked me out. I stood on the steps, wondering what the hell to do. On the one hand, I felt claustrophobic and HAD TO GET OUT. On the other hand, the "out" felt even more closed in, if you see what I mean. I was wanting noise, street lights, bus stops, late-night bars and divey eats. All that I found outside was nothing but pure blackness. I stood there for a while, even contemplating getting in the car and making the hour+ drive to Paris. It was around 4 AM. I went back inside and tried to go to sleep instead.
My kid too. She's a lot happier now. It took a little while to get used to it, but she finally has. And she loves it. She's made new friends, and she really likes her new school. So, as far as that is concerned, I'm happy about that too.
Work. Well, as usual. Actually, not really. We knew that there would be upheaval and change: and change and upheaval did come. A lot of the people I thought would stay, didn't. And those I thought wouldn't make the cut, did. I'm not quite sure what's going on for me, as yet. But, as I said in the beginning, change, hard lessons? Yeah, that's right. They're just beginning.
Love. Yes. That is the most important thing, right? Now, if you ask me to answer that question....I'd say that's debatable. But we certainly can't live without it. And so here's what I have to say about it: meh.
No, really. Bliss? No. It hasn't been this year. Far from it.
So here is a list of the truths that I have learned in love and relationships this year:
1-Never, never, EVER trust a cheater. He will always cheat, no matter what happens, no matter who he loves. It's a plain fact. Once a cheater, ALWAYS a cheater. And never forget, if you become the Main Woman in his Life...well, that means there's an open job position that's just looking to get filled. Pun intended.
2-Don't give your heart away without knowing the value of your heart. Because your heart is usually much more precious and valuable than you think that it it is worth.
3-Don't kiss a fool. But most of all, don't be fooled by a kiss. That's way too easy and happens way too often.
4-Do not ever believe him when he tells you that he does not lie. Oh, no. That's just not a good sign. Most likely, if he starts saying that, the bastard has been lying the WHOLE DAMN TIME to you.
5-A relationship without trust is like an iPhone without connection. All you can do is play games.
6-Live for the happiness. Live for yourself. Apart from your own offspring, there aren't very many people and or events that really will make a huge difference to who you are. Once again, I repeat, please understand me. We all go through life-changing events. What I mean is, it is possible to heal from heartbreak. And life really does go on.
7-As my good friend (and CNN writer and producer Lisa) said to me just recently, "It's not hard to find someone who tells you they love you. What's hard is finding someone who means it." How true this is, I can't even begin to tell you how.
8-I do believe that true love exists. It may seem like a very strange thing to say, considering that this whole year has proven to me that true love is rare, if not impossible to find. But somehow, the more I see how low some guys are willing to go, the more I'm adamant in believing that true love really does exist. Maybe this is me trying to keep my chin up and fight, or maybe I'm just naive and innocent and nothing is ever going to change that. Whichever, yes, I still do believe.
9-And oh, just how low are some guys willing to go just to get you into bed? God, I'm not sure you'd believe me. I'm not sure I believe it myself. But yes. Some guys really are that toxic.
10-And no, I'm not talking about the guy you just met at a bar or nightclub. I don't do things like that, not because I look down on things like that (hey, listen, all's fair in love and war and everybody YOLO), but simply because I'm (or thought I was) in a relationship and I've been in one for the past 8 years now. No, what I'm trying to say, is exactly what Sharon Stone said, "Sure, women can fake orgasms. But men, MEN, they can fake whole relationships."
Moving onto more joyous things.
My favourite song this year? It's got to be "Born to Die". Or "Video Games". In any case, a Lana Dey Rey song. I mean, this year, her album was on repeat and shuffle on my iPod. Also on there, was "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry, which pretty much summed up my whole emotional year. And Gary Clark Jr. Love this guy. Oh, and Ellie Goulding. I discovered her, and WOW! Total love! Otherwise, I had a huge problem this year: most of what I listened to was going back to basics, which means that my favourite song this year, is an old favourite and has to be on my list of Top 100 Songs of All Time. "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin. Unbeatable song. Thank you so much to the 4 sorcerers of Led Zep. You guys rock. Still.
My favourite movie? There's quite a lot on the list for that! "Argo". Ben Affleck, you did good here. Real good. "Life of Pi". Ang Lee, you managed to transfer onto the big screen one of my favourite books of all time. "Amour". Oh Jeez, if ever you're like me and are pretty much terrified of the implications of getting old (no, I'm not at unease with death. It's unavoidable and I'm at peace with that. This is precisely the whole thing: just because I'm at peace with it, doesn't mean I don't care about it! I'm not looking for it to happen any time soon, I'm doing my damn best to avoid it as much as possible and I'd like to grow old healthily and being as functional and coherent for as long as possible.) then this movie is going to pretty much depress you and set you crying for, oh I don't know let's say, 4 months? But that does not take away that is an amazing film.
But my absolute number 1 of 2012? "Moonrise Kingdom". Oh yes. Wes Anderson. I have long been such a fan of yours. But this, this, is your masterpiece. I loved everything about this movie: the cinematography, the plot, the script, the acting, the actors, the setting, the music, the ending, just everything. This is a movie about love. And more than love, about true love and true romance. No, you know what? This is THE movie about true love and true romance, and how wonderful, disturbing, life-changing, passionate and irresistably lovely it all is. This is the movie that made me feel so happy and light when I left the cinema; I loved Wes Anderson's portrayal of the pain but also the beauty and innocence of true love. Because when love is true, there is nothing evil nor dark about it: it is light and pure and real. And "Moonrise Kingdom" showed me that.
It made want to have a "Moonrise Kingdom" of my own, and wish that everyone has one of theirs too.
Best TV series? I don't know. As much as I'm a cinephile, I'm not a TV kid. But I will say this: out of all the stuff I did see this year, the one thing that got me (and my daughter) hooked was "Once Upon a Time". I just like the concept of it, because I agree with it. Life is NOT a fairy tale, even though we'd sure like it to be sometimes. And just because you think you've found your Prince Charming, doesn't mean to say he's your forever. Nor that he really is that Charming after all. But somehow, we want to believe in a Happy Ending, and in a world and time when there just aren't enough Happy Endings, it's nice to be reminded that we should all be fighting for one.
Best Book? I'm an avid reader, and there was so much that I enjoyed, and that I loved. I could compile a pretty long list here. I read where most people watch TV. (And I thank Groucho Marx for that little line there!) I'd also like to point out that I read all kinds of books, so in my top list has to be a book that I happened upon, that originally wasn't for sale, but that I was able to get my hands on by charming the pants off the book's owner (no, I don't mean literally!). The book that I'm talking about is the book written by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, in which he consigns all about the making and conception of his film "Babel". Ok, so first off, this movie is one of my all-time favourites. I'm a cinephile, like I said, and I like Inarritu and his work. "Babel" is a beauty, a "chef d'oeuvre. The intertwining of stories and destinies, all over the world, like the beating of a butterfly's wings is just precious and so very real. And this book, written and compiled by Inarritu himself, with pictures that he took, his ideas, his inspirations, his thoughts, his self, is just one of those books that I thought WOW when I opened it. And I get shivers down my spine every time I open it up. "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity" was so well-written. An immersion journalisitc document, Katherine Boo wrote an example and type of the kind. "Bewilderment", David Ferry called his National Book Award a "preposterous pre-posthumous award". That's pretty much Ferry and his style, and it's a joy to read on every single page, I promise. "The Secret Children". Listen, I picked this one up entirely by accident. It's maybe a little on the dramatic side, as in, TV dramatic style, but it's a first book, and I have no doubt that Alison McQueen will mature wonderfully in her style and prose. What surprised me was the fact that the book is all about her family; I only saw that at the end, because the end contains her inspirations as well as numerous family pictures, and that's when I realized that it was absolutely normal that her style was a little overboard at times. We all tend to romanticize our past, and especially our ancestors.
From "Babel" edition Taschen
Cover of "The Secret Children"
Otherwise? Favourite drink? Hot Buttered Rum. Wowsa! Ok, so it's strong. I mean, STRONG. But on a cold winter night....yum......Favourite food? This year was the year of noodles for me. In all different forms and cultural origins. Pho, ramen, udon, pappardelle, rice noodles, buckwheat noodles, zuchini noodles...you name it, I had it. And it was all great. Favourite trip? It's gotta be Brest. It's the first time I went to this city; on the absolute Western tip of France, it is to be found where the "Land Ends" or Finistère, and it certainly has that feeling. I went not just to discover the city but mostly, go sailing. I had been told that the Iroise Sea (which comes from the old Gaelic word that means "Narrow and dangerous" - yes I can fully confirm that) was only to be tried if you had excellent gag reflexes and nerves of steel. Well....I guess my gag reflexes are pretty good (although they were certainly tested....) and my nerves, well, my nerves are pretty good too, so I'm glad about that. Hopefully that means my heart is pretty solid! Oh, and when I could finally swallow something solid, the food is pretty darn good in the city as well.
I know a lot of you are waiting for this: my fave and best beauty products of the year. Boy, well, I got lots to say about that! I don't want to start here: I'd like to dedicate a whole page to this subject, and yes (because so many of you are asking) I will shoot an episode on it as well. I promise. Just give me some time, as I've got bronchitis right now, but once I stop coughing like a pneumatic cow (or at least, I'm coughing less...) I will shoot it and get it up for you. But let's just say, that there is lots, LOTS of nail varnishes (well what a surprise, eh?), lipsticks, and lots of other yummy things!
And finally, because I like Happy Endings:
I am affected, not just by Sandy Hook, but by all the terrible and tragic shootings, deaths and events that happened this year. We have lost many innocent lives, and this year many lost souls reacted in ways that were totally desperate and extreme. I know I keep saying this, but being that this is not the end of the world, I'd like to send out one thing, if anything here: Love. This is the most simple thing and yet we complicate it, we twist and mutate its essence, we turn it into something that is nothing like its true nature, and by that I mean purity and light. Love is unconditional and untainted. It is, by its nature, innocent and light. And it is meant to be shared and passed on. We have to stop being afraid of it and start fully living it in our everyday lives. It's true that the Apocalypse didn't happen yet, but this planet isn't eternal. Like all physical things in the universe, our earth will disappear, and so will all of us with it. But our home is here, at least, for now and the foreseeable future, so for and once for all, let's not only take care of it and cherish it, let's make love our absolute priority, shall we?
That is what I intend to do for 2013 and for all the years to come.
I hope that you will join in with me.
From me to all of you,
I wish you a very Happy New Year and may it be one of peace, harmony and wisdom. And living that wisdom every day of our lives.
*All photos copyright Maria Iida Perry
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