French, French, French!
French people, cities, culture, language – I have the strangest relationship with it all.
In Grade 9 – age 14 – I gave up all efforts to learn the language of love. My school system made classes optional from Grade 10 onward.
I was a straight-A student whose only sluggish mark was in… French.
Perhaps I lacked the knack for learning a second language, maybe I didn’t fear the language of love but rather the underlying principle of love itself, or maybe I just had a bad experience.
I allowed a pivotal moment in Grade 9 to carve a deep groove into the path of my future – it was an experience that left me feeling like a failure instead of empowered (and empowerment is where it’s at – we’re all amazing!). It was a small moment with big impact.
It was report card time. I was standing in the hallway reviewing mine when my French teacher peered over my shoulder with a smug face and a quick glance. Her response to my report card and my overall performance was an instant, and might I add, very dramatic:
“WHHHHHAT?!?” with questioning tone and genuine shock.
“I didn’t know you were a GOOD student!!! Had I known that, I would have given you a better mark.” she said.
“WHAAAAAAT???!” went through my mind with questioning tone and genuine shock.
I couldn’t believe what she had just said! Her judgment of me not only changed my mark but also her willingness to take me seriously and support my learning.
My initial response to the situation was an array of feelings including mad and cheated. However, looking back, the most important thing had nothing to do with her and everything to do with me – I gave her all my power. I let her change the course of my life. For what? For whom?
Her opinion of me was not a permission slip to give up on myself.
Furthermore, I let the experience hilariously tarnish all things French. For quite some time, I found myself annoyed by French fashion. I hated the overuse of stripes and the way men tie their scarves doubled around their necks with the ends pulled through the loop at the front.
I doubt he is French but he is wearing stripes AND “the scarf”.
Even while visiting the French island of St. Pierre I was graced by small children throwing dead seagulls at me, yelling in their finest English:
But at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter – not the defeatism and not the way men tie their scarves. When something is part of your path, the universe gives you many opportunities to redeem yourself – to try again, to learn and grow, to find your purpose and path.
Much of our lives are predetermined but not to the minute detail. We still get to choose many things such as: our life partners, where to live, how many kids to have, and where to vacation. However, the big patchwork pieces of our individual lives are crafted like a quilt in the ether and summarized by the stars (my gentle reference to astrology). These things make you, you, and include: social preferences, the importance you place on family, your interests and innate skills. Are you enlivened by literature, luging, or lugging a suitcase half way around the world? That part of you is not a choice – it’s either something that fills your cup or not.
I tend to scoff at the Nature vs. Nurture debate. To narrow the scope of life into such slender terms of assessment is, in my opinion, very flawed. We must always make room for the complexities of the soul.
Years ago, I made the choice to avoid all things French. Now, whether I choose to learn the language or not, there is no more denying that France, French culture and French people play a very important role in my life. The more that I accept that, the more things work out.
French is a recurring theme and a near impossible avoidance. However, it would be foolish to close the door on things that are prewritten in the fabric of my life.
I’ve had French-Canadian roommates, French (from France) roommates, French-Canadian boyfriends, French (from France) boyfriends, and French lovers in both Laos and Canada. My best friend is French (Hi, Emmanelle!), I’ve been to France twice, I love French cuisine and of course French wine. I’m even a resident of French-Canada!
“Universe! I get it.”
I gave my power to that French teacher all those years ago. However, my move to Montreal, officially took that power back.
How do I know?
I receive clear information without even speaking the language. Spoken word is unnecessary once you attune yourself to the subtle messages that confirm your path.
I moved to Montreal almost 4 years ago. In that time I’ve learned to overlook how the men tie their scarves and even grown to love stripes. However, it has been one hell of a wild ride and that ride ain’t yet over.
Even in the chaos of those four years where I’ve started and closed a business, studied, opened another business, travelled, moved to The Rockies for a while, moved within Montreal, fell in love and had my heart broken (a few times) – I still get a “YES”.
Since I was 17 years old, I’ve not lived in one place longer than 3 years – until now. It seems I’ve been given the “okay” to stay.
When we stand in our power, find stillness in chaos and practice listening to our deepest-self grounded only in our truth, we become masters at this thing called “life”. From this place, we learn to maneuver through madness with ease, find joy in the simplest of moments and owe no explanation for our choices – they are simply the whispers of our all-knowing.
From this place, peace becomes a partner in the process.
This is the result of moving from integrity – you get to walk gracefully along your life’s blueprint, both fated and free.
This is what happens when life says “YES!”