Monday, 13 August 2012

Growing up

'' Civil partnership is NOT the same as marriage ! say for the millionth time to the girls.''

They obviously want to wind me up. AGAIN.

Just because I was telling them about my past. No matter what you do, your past is always catching up with you.

'' Annabelle, you were married!!!'' they tell me, laughing.

We all have a different thought system on Life

'' I was NEVER married''

To me and ze French , civil partnership is to marriage what fast food is to frecnh cuisine. You go sign a paper in a cold office and you can pay tax together happily ever after . That 's it. It's either for gay people or teachers .

We were teachers. Obviously. I am not going to tell you about my gay relationships quite yet ( read on) As the government sends the new teachers wherever they fancy ( mostly Paris ) me and my partner decided to get a civil partnership so I'm not sent to ze capital . Yes Paris vs marriage, I would chose marriage.

But it's NOT marriage , it s a civil partnership !!!!!!!!

France, July 2007
Guy in office : please sign here . And here. So ... are you happy? ( he had to say something romantic .The whole process in itself is NOT.

Us, together : Yes.

I meant it. I was the sort of happy I was taught to be. The '' I feel safe I found a very good man and I will soon have a safe job to go to'' happy. The '' I'm becoming an adult at last and I'm making everyone so proud,'' happy.

Grown up happy . He was like my best friend, my brother. Who needs physical attraction I mean. What counts is that we've got someone to grow old with , someone who could help you financially during hard times , sickness and failure.

Also know as a walking comfort zone

I was wearing a brown dress and my best friend was taking pictures of us in the nearest park in our hometown . It's called '' the English Garden'' . How ironic given the fact that I left him a year later to move to.... England .

Have you ever looked back to your Life with what you know now and thought it's hilarious?

I really felt happy and proud of reaching a high standard life. I had made it.

The oh so nice boyfriend, many friends around me and soon , a proper job.

But why is it I still think about that travelling thing?

A year before , I had decided to move back to France to get a real Life since my job working in a hostel in Canterbury , England was not bringing enough money ( thinking back I go HA-HA)  in and I studied to be a teacher. So why change my plans I mean , years of study to not make it in the end? Whether I liked it or not, it was my professional destiny.

It's good money , and it is job security. I can go work in hostels in July August. If I have enough savings that is.

Ok then.

Just like that I became a cover teacher in my old school and I met my '' husband'' ( it's a bloody civil partnership!!!!!!)

Yes, I felt happy to be so safe. Travelling can wait til I retire.In a few hours I will officially be a ....... teacher. The results are coming out and I know I succeded this year.

We go to a bar to celebrate the Union with friends and that. I look at myself in the mirror as I'm washing my hands later

'' WTF are you doing Annabelle? Grow up.''

That was the first time I heard the other little voice. The one that's telling you what you 're REALLY here for.


'' Seriously. Is this what you think Life is all about? COME ON''

Yes, I always knew it was not what I wanted to think about life . It's what others thought.

But who's got the guts to listen to THAT voice and think what you think ?

Certainly not me. But sometimes, life helps just a little bit.

I come back to sit down and my friends all had a sad face.

'' Annabelle, it's not for this year. You failed the exam''

The result had just come out and my name was not on the list.

WHAT? So I get to fail on my engagement day? Great.

Devastated ( and totally relieved for reasons I did not understand at the time too )

Poor Annabelle was always the one failing every attempt to be normal. And she tried again and again and again.........

'' Do you think we all are here for a reason?'' I would ask my ex every day , knowing that something was not quite right.

'' I don't know darling'' He would say to me.

Now he knows one thing . We are NOT here to be together . ( But he can have my furniture)

September 2008
Me : Look , I 've got a nice rental house, I ve got the sweetest boyfriend I love him , I have a safe job to go to , I have money saved up so.... why did I start to drink wine ALONE during the day ? Why am I feeling dead in the inside?
Psychologist : It's time to grow up , Annabelle.

I'm paying you 20 Euros an HOUR to hear this? That I'm NOT a grown up??! That's what I m trying to be !!!

Growing up : getting yourself a safe life. with a good man and job security.
The more boxes I ticked , the more wine I was drinking. Alone. In the afternoon. In my pretty house.
So maybe.... Growing up does not mean THAT to ME ?


Ok . How about trying to move back to England , clean toilets in a hostel for a living and live in a tent ?
Now that sounds a lot more grown up to ME.

London , November 2008 in an Indian restaurant.

I was going to do the first REAL grown up thing in my new Life . Leave my security behind.

Boyfriend : So you're coming back to France for Xmas then. I'lll wait. Then you might stay.In other words : you ll come back down to Earth and see what life is REALLY all about. Security and comfort.

There was nothing worse to me than people thinking I was now sick and running away from your responsibilities when I had actually just stopped doing that.

He had the '' you should see someone about it , it will help you grow up Annabelle'' sort of look

Helloooo I HAVE SEEN SOMEONE. That's why I'm here.

Growing up : forget what people expect you to think. Get out of your comfort zone to find out what YOU think.

What you really think about how you should live your life is buried somewhere inside of you . All it gets is the will to dig.

And did I dig for 4 years. ...

Now my vision of ''marriage'' slightly changed

Canterbury , now
'' Annabelle , did you get divorced at some point ? '' the girls ask me.

'' One of the partners has to sign a paper. The other one does not even need to be there. So I wasn't there. ''

'' U seen the paper?''

'' No but he told my mum.... And....''


SHIT. I never thought of that...

I had a beer ( ie I'm completely drunk) and I'm trying to explain what I deeply think about this sacred union

Annabelle is ''married''  now means to me :

1'/ '' Annabelle has got an Australian passport !''
2/ '' Annabelle has allowed someone she loved to get a french passport and he can now stay in Europe as long as he wants to ''

Then I stumble into bed , 4pm , drunk and married. I did not see that one coming either.

How different can we become when we just change our thinking. So , it ''just'' what it takes. To change your life you have to change what you think about it.

The bad news? It NEVER stops , that need for security , safety , comfort. You re still scared to lose your job, your friends , your money , your dog... . But with the years you learn to speak those 4 simple words louder and louder :


(... and GROW UP. )

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