First of all, Paris IS EVERYTHING! I’ve been here once before and fell in love with the city then. It’s so nice to return to find that same love still exists and the city is as beautiful as ever (minus the recent Notre Dame fire and some regularly schedule rioting every Saturday). Seems appropriate to post some silly pics here for dexterity. Yea, I am your stereotypical American tourist and I will take silly selfies in front of very important historical places, but that’s just my jam.

Before leaving for Paris I wanted to list out a few tasks for myself, as you will. The most important thing on that list was making sure that I made this trip about Me and no one else. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just running away from problems at home, avoiding the tough stuff or hiding my hurts with a European trip blanket, you know what I mean?

Don’t just post about the good stuff. Ok, so I’ve found this to be super important these days with all that fomo (fear of missing out) type shit or people living vicariously through other humans. I am THAT person too. I watch others from my screen and wish I was them. They look so happy, their lives so perfect. When will it be my turn? JUST STOP! Trust that for every happy post a human makes, there’s a ton of nasty shit bubbling beneath the surface they wouldn’t dare talk about. This isn’t me being cynical or negative, it’s just simply the truth. We all have our struggles and issues, most folks just keep that stuff to themselves. I’m a newly recovering alcoholic with social anxiety, depression and recently heartbroken. I’m a big hot freaking mess. Gonna be REAL easy for me to look like the person who is having the best time of their life, someone to envy or hate from a distance with all the happy photos (oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy in those moments). But, I’m also the girl staring out the window wishing I was the other half of that couple in love sitting on the park bench. I’m also the girl struggling to get out of bed in the morning, battling negativity about myself and crying myself to sleep at night. Catch my drift?

Say Yes. Simple right? Just say yes to things. Say yes to new experiences, new foods or even yes to myself. The best thing I could do for myself is give myself permission to go on this trip. I don’t have very much money, my emotional/mental health is in turmoil with itself and I’m essentially homeless at the moment (not in the “i’m living on the street” sort of way, I’m just between housing arrangements). Everything inside me, before I left was saying, “Nicole, don’t go, stay here and wallow in your own self pity”. Yea it’s like that.

Share the Journey. It’s ok to brag about things you’re proud of. I have a tendency to overthink posting certain things because I constantly think about how it’s going to make other people feel. I so badly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings that I often take the “I’ll just not post it” stance. What a stupid way to live and think. I also think the classic “look at me, over-sharer”. There’s got to be an in-between somewhere and I’m sure to fuck up trying to find it. But I’ll give it a go.

Journal and Self-Reflect. The biggest thing I’ve learned recently is that I can’t control what other people do. I can only control myself and what I do each and every day. Take each day as it come, journal about it and reflect on it. I’m currently in a very big self discovery type phase in my life. It’s important that I remember my thought processes here for future reference. Writing certainly does that, even if I look back at it years from now and think that I’m a crazy person. Having the opportunity to do that is worth taking a few moments out of a day to write down the stuff in my mind (even if it’s bat shit crazy).

Lastly, Don’t Forget To Live – “N’oublie pas de vivre”. Probably going to get that tattooed on my body before I leave Paris, because….why not.

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