September 20, 2008

A month in Puebla


I've now been in Puebla for over a month, and I've reached that time of reflection.  The time to look back and see just how far I've come, and the one thing I notice over the few weeks I've been here is that I still haven't let go.   I am still holding on to Madrid.  I haven't stopped thinking about it.  I bring it up in almost every conversation.  I think about it all day long, and I dream about it as I go to sleep.  Madrid is like a lover that I can't have, a crush, an obsession that occupies my every thought.  I mentioned to my friend the other day when we were talking about relationships that I couldn't remember the last time I had every truly liked someone, or even had a crush.  The majority of the people I have met and dated in the last year have been simply attractive and convenient, but not one of them invaded my mind or my heart.   Not one of them was the first thing I thought about when I woke up or the last as I went to bed.  Which is fine, I don't think that I need to be in love with every person I meet.  I think it's important to date lots of people and have fun.  Attractive and convenient isn't necessarily a bad thing, and quite honestly it was all I was looking for in Spain.  I had already spent the year or so before searching for love, searching for a real live boyfriend and had encountered so many failed and flawed relationships that Spain was finally my chance to say fuck it to all that stuff about love and just have fun - just be spontaneous.  And it was great, it was great to live without the constant pain of unrequited love and wanting, it was a relief.  But in my escapades and frivolous gallivanting, free from commitment and deep emotion, I was unknowingly falling in love with an unknown suitor.  Despite all my best efforts to guard my emotions away and stay emotionally unattached I was in fact slowly but surely falling deeply, head-over-heels in love with Madrid.  It wasn't until I moved away that I felt that gut-wrenching tug that comes after losing a loved one.  I started to fantasize about Madrid and remember all the good times.  I still flip through the hundreds upon hundreds of photographs that I took.  And every day as I walk around I am reminded that Puebla is not, in any way, Madrid.  And so I am unconsciously rejecting it, refusing to let myself be happy here for fear of forgetting and losing forever my first love, my Madrid.

I am aware of all of this.  I am aware that I am not happy here in Puebla and that every day I wish I was somewhere else.  I am also aware that this is not a healthy manner of thinking and if I continue on this path I will look back over this semester with regret and sadness.  I know all these things, but knowing and being are two different things, and so I struggle in every moment to bring myself to the present and appreciate where I am without comparing it to anywhere else.  I don't want to have regrets, it is my own personal mantra to live completely, spontaneously, wildly, and without regrets.  I live by Mae West's famous quote "He who hesitates, is a damned fool".  I don't want to hesitate.  I work so hard to just feel and do.  Like I read somewhere once, I feel the fear and do it anyway.  That is how I want to live my life, and I try.  I make myself every day get out of bed and go outside.  I force myself to call people and make plans, even though secretly all I want to do is roll up into a ball and feel sorry for myself.  I put forth the effort every day to be active, make decisions, go out, and have fun.  And I hope, above all hopes, that eventually it won't be such a job anymore - that one day I will wake and say to myself "I am so lucky to be in Puebla" and I will mean it.  That is what I want, because I fear that if I never get there then all this effort, this time and money and studying, will have been in vain and a complete waste.  I know that being here is too big of an opportunity to waste, and that if I can just get my shit together then I will finally be able to see all the amazing and wonderful things that are waiting for me here.  Madrid was an amazing year, but now it is over and it is time for me to start a new chapter in my life.  It is time for me to stop holding on to the past and step forward into the now.  The now is all I have and all I will ever have.  Always remember that.  The now is all that matters.

Now I will finish getting dressed and ready to go out with my friends here in Puebla.  My goal for tonight is two-fold: don't bring up Madrid even once & meet new people to go out with again.  Deseanme suerte.

PS.  I did something nuts today and got my hair chemically straightened.  It looks great.