Yes, this is somewhat of a repeat with new photographs. But, I have added to the message. This is important to me and warrants repeating. This morning, as I was walking in the park, I decided that a smile is our universal language. Everyone understands a smile. Sure, we ALL have a story. Sure, we are ALL damaged in some way. But, get over it!! Smile back. Or, smile first. Or don’t smile. Bah Humbug!!!
How can a person write a weekly blog without mentioning the news? I have so many thoughts and opinions about EVERYTHING and hate the current “regime” in the USA. I think that cruelty is prevalent and each day, gets crueler. I no longer have a country that I am proud of. What are we getting so terribly wrong??? Revolutionaries of one kind or another are forming a new country. The dialogue is not healthy. I have saved a lot of articles for posts but find that I don’t want to use any of them. My mission for Jayspeak is NOT to write opinion pieces for readers. And, every day I think that the news cannot get any worse, and it gets worse!!! This week was especially full of bad news (I think) and crazy rants of one kind or another.
No, my mission was / is to write about my life in France during my “golden years”. Well, actually in 2015 when Steve and I left Los Angeles to “do something else”, I was already in “my golden years”. He was 66, young and sexy. So, we had a lot of plans. Dying was NOT one of them. Yet, he is gone, and I am now living in Paris, France, in my “golden years”. Haha. That is not the way it was supposed to work. He was supposed to take care of me. How did all of this happen?
And, now that the USA is a country I barely recognize, I yearn for some semblance of the values that I still have. AND, France is hardly what I had in mind. Yet, here I am. So, I am taking classes to do what I have to do to become a French citizen (duel citizenship and not easy to get), just in case. Steve got his Italian citizenship before we left LA, but it doesn’t do me any good at this point. (I checked. He must still be alive.) And, I am unsure of any future at this rate. I am on my own with the U.S. Embassy in a fallback position that makes sense. Yikes!!!
Also, I have realized that there are people I am supposed to love, but don’t find anything loveable about them. And friends I am supposed to like that I don’t like. And there are people I love and like even though I don’t know them that well. Now, I know that maybe I am not loveable or likeable, but I am the person I live with. And, I love me and I like being with me. So……
Observation – I think you can see through people and know them even though you don’t KNOW them. I have become more and more aware of this during these turbulent times. I read people’s posts and instinctively don’t like them. ONE person said [edited by me], “I believe in freedom. If someone doesn’t want to wear a mask, that’s his prerogative. He did what he needed to do to feel “free”. Isn’t it great that we all still have freedom? Another person wrote, “Another person wrote, “God is preparing people for the Rapture. I don’t know when the rapture will take place but I do believe it could be soon. Until the Good Lord calls me away from this world to go home., I must repent to be ready.”
WHAT???? “Freedom is tied to wearing masks so that you won’t kill someone else?” “Ready for the Rapture?”
“FREEDOM” is a powerful word. It can mean a lot of things in a lot of different situations. It can mean democracy in government, personal independence, and a right to speak, the power to act individually. In a general sense freedom means NOT being enslaved. Most people at some point in time experience some form of enslavement. In the Free World and under democratic governments, for the most part, we don’t corporately face the physical enslavement that some other countries or people experience. For the most part, we as free people in these countries have a voice, a right to speak up and stand up for ourselves and take action from our own ‘free will’.
WELL, that is the problem. Apparently, not wearing a mask in the middle of a global pandemic under Donald Trump makes some people feel free. Free to KILL other people. Give me a break!!!!! These people need to experience life under Stalin in Soviet Russia and life in Germany under Hitler as a Jew. “Freedom” deserves more respect than that. The police don’t have the “freedom” to kill people. Why should you???? Freedom comes with a price. And, not wearing a mask in order to breathe in the middle of a global pandemic under Donald Trump is NOT that price. Human freedom is a social concept that recognizes the dignity of individuals and is the absence of coercive constraint. Because freedom is inherently valuable and plays a role in human progress, it is worth measuring carefully.
This coronavirus is highlighting the difference between reality and a narrative based in ideology. A virus has a rate of increase and a number of deaths either goes up or goes down. When I was in High School and diving competitively, I had to go on the bus to Atlanta each weekend to work out. I had a coach. I was a teenager and did not want to do that. Mr. Benson (my coach) said competitive diving requires practice. Either you get better or you get worse. You DON’T just maintain. Re this virus, the number of people going to hospitals either goes up or goes down. It’s not subject to debate because the hospital bed is either empty or it’s full, we either bury people or we don’t. Those are the facts. PERIOD. There is NO argument. There is NO ideology. Only the facts. In my walking, my legs either get stronger or they dont. THEY DON’T MAINTAIN according to whether I want to do it or not.
And, “Repenting for sins to be ready for an oncoming Rapture” sounds a lot like Jim Jones before he got everyone to drink the Kool-Aid. What if there is no such thing as a “Upcoming Rapture”. What if there is no “home” that you are going to when you die? Trump has NOT been sent by God so that you can go “home” to everlasting life. Trump exists. And, “free” people put him in office with their “Fuck YOU” attitude, of “freedom”. Give me a break!!!!
And vice versa. So, today, I am going to think about what I am thankful for. My friend Michelle does a post from time to time “Attitude of Gratitude”. So, I am stealing her idea. I want to list the things I am grateful for because I have a long list of things that I want to complain about. Haha. Yes, I am one of those who think that the grass is greener somewhere else. So, I am going to go against that grain and tell you what I am grateful for. Get a cup of coffee. I am going to get one for me, too. I need the caffeine to help me think and calm down. Haha.
- I am grateful that I am still alive and have made it through this pandemic so far.
(A lot of my friends and family are dead. Some died too soon, and others lived a long life. Darrell (my first husband and the father of all of my children) was young (52) when he was either murdered or committed suicide. We will never know the truth. It was either a coverup or self-inflicted. I believe it was a clever murder/cover-up. Pick your truth. We will never know what really happened. And, now, some of my friends have the virus. I hold my breath for my children and my grandchildren. I hope they are making good choices.)
- I am grateful that a friend is letting me rent her apartment in the 6e in Paris, France for a year. It is centrally located and allows me to learn more about the city while I think about where I want to live, once I move. And the Jardin de Luxembourg is nearby. (I am falling in love with Paris – everything is in disrepair and old. I love it! I can feel people from all of the ages that went before me and I am surrounded by the city.)
- I am grateful for my French class and Audrey, my instructor.
- I am grateful for the smiles I got from strangers this morning.
- I am grateful for croissants and fresh orange juice and good coffee.
- I am grateful for visitors (8,563) on Jayspeak.
- I am grateful for love of Missy, my cat.
- And on, and on, and on……. You don’t want to read this. I don’t want to write it.
Since I last wrote (last week), I have had two French classes, studied a LOT, gotten an appointment with the Paris prefecture for July to update my Visa, and taken a LOT of new pictures. So, I will post some of my favorites. July is going to be a busy month for me. And the French class will be over. Now, I must find a French culture course. And, there is also a mandatory civics course that I must take. So, with these pictures, I say “goodbye” to June. YES!! What a month! Hellooooooo, July!!
These are new photos. June is on its way out!! I apologize to anyone I offended. Or not.
None of this is easy. Thanks, Jay