Saturday, June 25, 2011

Searching for monsters

Paris, France Saturday June 25th, 2011

It started with the cutest remark: ”…they went there, Nina, to Paris, the monsters are there”. I giggled. My niece knew where I was traveling to when I told her my next destination (she even said “are you going there again?”) it was impressive. “When is day time here it is night time there for you, Nina”…she is smart and has my kind of memory for details.

Monsters then I were sent to find. At first I thought of looking for a poster, a post card or any cut out with the green and blue characters from Monsters, Inc. Perhaps pull an Amelie and take a picture with the Eiffel tower behind. It has been almost a week since I arrived to Paris and every day I take a walk back and forth the same streets, all by myself after finishing work. The sun sets quite late this time of the year here, so I get to enjoy the nice weather and sunny evenings for a little longer.

No signs of monsters though. They are not easy to find. Streets are crowded with multinational visitors as well as multi-layered locals, all somehow captivated by the city, the shops, the scents and the looks – brasseries, pubs, cafes all full. Trendy cigar smoking Parisians sporting their snobby pouts and tiny glasses of wine. Ultra skinny model-like youngsters, filling up ashtrays with yellow cigarette butts, drinking funny looking spirits, speaking rapidly but no food on their plates.

If you don’t ask they just don’t care if you are standing there politely, waiting patiently for a table to be assigned. Finally they push you to a confined place as if being one plus NONE is some kind of defect. For everything else I am so self assured, why is it then that I feel so intimidated by these arrogant Parisians looking down at you? Why do I feel so exposed eating alone in this city? I’ve done bigger things all by myself, much daring than ordering an entrée.

There and then I realized that my search was over… I’d found the monsters all around me – the ones with sharp brown teeth and smelly breath, others with no eyes (or pretending not to see), many with big mouths laughing and chatting in French, laughing at me.

But the worst of the creatures, the scariest and meanest, is the monster inside me. The one that makes me feel small and uncomfortable in my own skin.

The day after, I decided to face the damned creature to tell it straight: stop it! I am in PARIS! It is NOT sad and I am NOT a looser for going out solo…

…so, I am writing this thoughts with my glass of champagne, front row table, spreading butter on my bread at the Louvre Brasserie*, pushing down my inner monster, the sabotage master, cruel judgmental, overwhelming and intimidating evil being…and you know what? It does feel rather great.

To my dear wise day you will come along to one of my trips, but as always, you are here with me.

*Brasserie du Louvre
Place du Palais Royal 75001
Paris - Ph. 01 44 58 37 16

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The bone collection

Image Source:
 May 30, 2011 flying from Houston to Sao Paulo

Who doesn’t know Lady Gaga? She is in every radio, Ipod, in ads, magazines, TV shows, anyway, everywhere. Her music may be pop and not ultra special, but nonetheless as catchy as it is commercial. Her looks? Well… let’s just state she is not the usual standard. You either love her or hate her, but she is definitively not indifferent to the general public.

I was getting cozy for my 12 hour-flight last Monday with my new book and my fabulous fashion magazine (“picture” shopping Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Dior and Louboutine’s) which was featuring, well, you know, the one and only MotherMonster: Lady G, as the flaming cover. The image impacted me – not only the super black long overall, hyper high platform heels, extremely thick black eyeliner and pinkish long hair all twisted in a weird pose, but she was sporting… new bones.

Assorted flesh-covered pointy bones around her cheek bones, forehead and across her shoulders; they didn’t look prosthetic, they were not the Halloween scary over the top props, somehow they looked natural - ok maybe not that natural… but real. After surfing thru the colorful pages invaded by brands, there it was: Gaga’s interview and more pictures.

I have to admit, the girl didn’t sound staged – she has very particular ideas and points of view as well as some self confidence and poise that is almost tangible. Eccentric, radical, extreme, energetic, are just a few words that came to my mind while reading the bit. Of course the “bone” collection question popped, for which her answer was something like “these are my bones…they have always been in me… just waiting for the right moment to show up”. I had to read back… I had to think hard. By the time I finished reading my mind was in a strange mood, almost meditative (crazy, uh?). It was just not possible for somebody, even for a famous pop culture icon to be that crazy, that stupid, and that pretentious. Again, she doesn’t give me the impression of a shallow marketing- created puppet with no purpose – her words, attitude and artistic style have to be something more.

Whether the bones are implants or surgical transformation of her own bone structure, it is not relevant. The bones are making a statement: if plastic surgery is acceptable to make cookie-cutter noses, lips and cheek bones, it is also fine to apply it for something else. I get that, no big deal. Did I like it? Not really, but who cares. She is not making a revelation on what true beauty should be, nor is she trying to set a trend. Then, why was I so impacted? Why was I not able to stop thinking about it while looking thru a tiny window 33,000 ft above ground?

…these are my bones… they have always been in me… just waiting for the right moment to show up…

It was the wife in love fighting day by day to keep a marriage together, tolerating more than one can get, accepting excuses as promises that soon everything will be the way it should be… and then one day this hidden warrior grows a backbone and says “no more” …bringing things to an end.
It is the men always in charge, always on top of his game, perfectionist and even arrogant if you like, with un-accepted flaws and many sins…finally having the guts to recognize and face his errors… asking for a second chance to make it right, to make it better.

It is the nerve of some people, to pretend everything is fine; to act like is just normal and perfectly right to misbehave, to ruin somebody else’s life.

Is the people we love, that special someone teaching us how to survive, how to be better, how to grow up, how to forgive, how to recover and start from scratch…when they spread their angel wings to fly up to the sky.

We all morph… we can be monsters…act…react…be victims…sinners or martyrs… with the right timing and the suitable outlet…we can all be good or bad.