When I went to London I was confident, vibrant and had a thirst for adventure. There were some rocky times, but I grew as I was over there, and all of these qualities were enhanced by the time I returned to Australia. I also developed a sense of acceptance of and appreciation for myself. One of the most flattering compliments I received when I returned was about how I’d “blossomed”.
Then, back in Oz, I couldn’t find a job. I applied continuously for work related to my experience and interests (publishing, editing, media and PR) for two months, and didn’t even get any interviews. I had a lot of free time and not much to do. And I began to panic. I began to criticise myself again. I started eating too much and doing too little. I lost my motivation, as well as my edge.
Thanks to my wonderful mother, I managed to get a three-month position in admin and then a contract in a communications/administration role. I loved the comms role – I was writing newsletters, reading news, learning about a new industry and also learning about graphic design. Unfortunately this role was gradually reduced to administration and, after ten months, I had very little to do. I spent most of my days having coffee breaks and photo-shopping my colleagues’ heads onto strange pictures (putting my boss onto Borat’s mankini-clad body was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever done). I began to get restless and frustrated again, sometimes going to the gym twice a day just to shake off the feeling.
I decided to come to Paris.
Living in London, Paris and New York has always been a dream of mine. Having already done London, and wanting to see more of Europe, Paris was the next logical step. I’d also done an online TEFL course in 2009, so I was fairly confident I could find work.
I organised the visa, but the process took longer than expected, and by the time I left I was so anxious to escape from an increasingly mundane life that I didn’t take the time to appreciate the incredible step I was taking.
As regular readers will know, life in Paris hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing. Although getting set up was a bit of a challenge, what has worried me the most is that there are times when I still feel like I did when I was in Australia – frustrated. Impatient. Unfulfilled.
Yes, I frequently admire the beauty of this city. I enjoy my work. I love hanging out with the friends that I’ve made. But I seem to keep gravitating to a place of dissatisfaction. I’m almost half-way through my trip – when will the adventure start?
I think I’ve realised what the problem is: I stopped appreciating myself the way I used to. And this is making it difficult for me to be consistently grateful for this experience.
So here is my new mantra – I am a Goddess.
- I am beautiful and sexy. I strut my stuff as if every street is a catwalk with bright lights and one of those fans blowing my hair back from my face.
- I am confident. I make eye contact with and smile at people in the street. Someone having more knowledge or experience than me does not devalue my experience, and I know that my input is also of merit.
- I am present. I experience each moment completely, with all of my senses. I listen to and look at people. I wait for my students to find the answers in their own time. I am calm and patient, knowing that I can think about the next hour/class/day/event when it arrives.
- I take daily breaks from my head with meditation or exercise. Even if it’s just for five minutes (attainable goals, people!).
- Once a week I try something new.
- I appreciate myself for all that I am, and all that I want to be.
I’m publishing this online so that you can call me on it when I next complain about being moody, de-motivated and dissatisfied.
Does anyone else out there have lists like this and, if so, what’s on yours?