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Growth rings in my life

tree rings

Photo by Zen

It is spring and I find myself dampened by the moist air and warm in my own skin. I am raw. I am me. I am vulnerable.

Each spring I begin a process of self reflection where I turn myself inside out and examine all that I am. I pick at my flaws and build on my strengths.

It has not been easy for me to blog lately. I have been tearing myself apart. When I am like this no words come to me. I prefer to be alone and work through my growth ring by myself.

Sometimes, I feel like a child. I don’t really understand the world. My eyes are wide with wonder and my heart beats with excitement. I sit watching butterflies and finger a blade of grass falling in love with it’s green. The next moment I find myself standing in a field of darkness.

The past month, I have been wondering through my growth ring. Everyone knows that trees hide their age inside the trunk. I am like a tree. Don’t laugh because I think we all are. That means you are like a tree,too!

I never fight this growing process even if it is not easy to go through. I question my actions in my life. I question how I touch others. I question everything. Nothing is really sacred. I tear it all out. I throw it all in the middle of a floor and slowly put it all back into place. Let’s just say I am to a point now where I can walk through the clutter but I must still step over many objects that need put away or thrown out. I am spring cleaning inside myself.

I want to say that I am sorry if I have seemed out of sorts lately. I am out of sorts lately. I am a very sensitive person. My actions even when I feel I am right make me sad if I hurt others. Afterwards, I hold my actions up to the light and try see the whole picture. I make it right for myself. Only then can I move on away from it. I am in the process of moving on.

From now on I will write in this blog with purpose. If I don’t write for a day or two or three…don’t worry. I am still here. It is that I have promised myself that I will not write silly things any longer. I want to write with a passion. I am bringing back Thinking Thursday. If I only write once a week it will be on Thursday. I wish I would have never stopped Thinking Thursday and stopped the babbling every other day. I will file Thinking Thursdays under Pumpkin seeds. However, I will sign the bottom of the post with Thinking Thursday’s slogan…just think about it. I will pose questions to you, my readers. I ask that you participate (like always) and I don’t even care if you dissagree. Please, just be respectful as most of you have in the past. If you dissagree make your arguements clear and come back to read the responses. Don’t just fling out accusations without giving the accused a chance to explain themselves. There is no real good in doing that. I will delete those kinds of comments.

My posts will be clear on where I stand in the matter. I will post about things that touch me and that make me think just like before. I miss Thinking Thursday. It was a way for my to examine subjects that bothered me. I like to work through these types of things with words. I had a purpose in writing these posts and I learned through my research on the topics. So, this Thursday come back and read about whatever is bugging me at the moment. I invite your thoughful comments as always. Don’t be afraid to dissagree with me or others. Just make sure you are listening to others clearly. I know I am guilty of not always reading a post all the way through and making a comment. However, I do go back and read the other persons comment back to me. By doing this I am participating in a conversation. I am able to see where I didn’t read the post clearly and then I have a second chance to add a comment that adds meaning to the post.

Comments add to my posts. It is your chance to give more information about a subject that matters to you as well. Otherwise, you wouldn’t comment. Right?

No longer will I write to just write. I found that it was a way for me to push away the fact that I am not able to speak French well. I had a way to surround myself with English and I felt safe. I don’t want to be safe. I want to be free to live my life in France. I must step out into my new life in France and become apart of this country. I want to leave my mark and make France mine.

I don’t want to be an expat any longer. I want to be French.

I cannot live in France another year without letting her get inside me becoming apart of me. I love France.

Someone wrote recently to me in an email that they felt more American than French (they are French). I feel more French than American. This has been my problem. I hadn’t come to terms with this fact.

What does that mean?

I love America and I am American. Nothing can change that. It is just that I am happier living in France and that I identify more with the French culture than the American culture. I love American food, tv, movies and music…who doesn’t? I think recently my homesickness was more about sitting in my mother’s dinning room looking out onto her deck and watching the birds and squirrels. It was about drinking coffee and laughing with my family. It was about sitting down to dinner and eating with those that I ate with my whole life. The people that know me and love me and that I know and love. It was about missing my family. I really don’t miss America. I don’t.

So, I have been coming to terms with the fact that while I will always be American I don’t ever want to live there again. Even as a kid, I dreamed of living somewhere else. France was always the country I dreamed of. Now, I am learning to live in the country of my dreams knowing that it is a real country full of real people. It is not perfect but I wouldn’t be able to leave France. It is my home.

If America and France ever went to war, I would be hard pressed to take a side. I couldn’t. I couldn’t. And, I wouldn’t like it if my kids did either. This is one of the hardest parts about adopting a new country. You are still connected to your birth country while buiding a life in another country. However, you never forget your roots.

I think over time I will miss America. I will search for her in France and hold all that I find close to my heart. But, for now I must tuck her away. I must move forward in my new life and make my way across this cluttered floor.

Warm weather is coming and I want to get out more. I want to explore Strasbourg without my husband. I want to walk and talk with others in French. I want to be free and unafraid.

I want to live.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Pam April 17, 2006, 11:29 am

    Sounds to me that rather than wanting to live, that you are indeed living! I think it is a wonderful gift to process, to question, to desire growth – all of which I read in your thoughtful words. Which is another great gift that you have: the ability to express your spirit by way of the written word. You are awesome!

  • kim April 17, 2006, 2:39 pm

    You are awesome! And I totally agree, I MISS THINKING THURSDAYS TOO:)

    I love how you articulated how you tear yourself apart, I do the same thing, in what you were writing, I was thinking, OMG, I am doing the same thing now, well I just started, reorganizing my goals and wants and needs! Now through you, I am more aware of what I am doing, I mean that I knew what I was doing, but I never took it as a growing process, I just took it as me getting down on myself and trying to change it, I love your outlook on it much better, I am growing my tree ring!

    So to answer your one question, yes you touch people! :)

    I love your outlook on France too, if we ever move there, I picture myself feeling the same way:)

    Take care, and happy picking, pruning, and peeling, and more importantly growing:)

  • samantha April 17, 2006, 3:46 pm

    Pumpkin, I don’t think you should stop those “silly” posts too – I liked reading them, seeing pictures of your children, etc. I don’t think blog posts need to be thoughtful or inspiring 100% of the time – that’s putting an awful lot of pressure on its author. Good luck with your “spring cleaning”.

  • Wendy April 17, 2006, 4:02 pm

    Lovely new layout and header.

    I wanted to comment earlier but your post made me cry and I couldn’t..I still can’t actually – feeling very down today..but I agree with Samantha about not only doing thinking posts…sometimes it’s lovely to blog about the lighter things in life.

  • Tongue in Cheek April 17, 2006, 4:43 pm

    Your blog is a good mix, I enjoy it, light hearted and full of depth. Whatever you decide I’ll keep reading…no matter if yo become French or remain American.

  • Pumpkin April 17, 2006, 5:43 pm

    I will always be American but I just want to stop thinking of the French as “the French”. I want to be apart of France and not feel like a foreigner. I know I will always be different because I wasn’t raised a French but I want to embrass France with an open heart. I can’t do that if I am always comparing France to America or my French life to my American life.
    I will still talk about my kids and life but I want to do it in a way that is richer. I think for the most part I do that but sometimes I post things that could be better if I spent more time developing my thoughts and words. Really, my blog is a journal that I hope my children and grandchildren can read.
    Wendy, you must be spring cleaning too! :) I think most people reflect on their lives in their own ways. I know what always helps me keep my feet straight on the path is taking note of the beauty in the world and my family. It gets me through everything.

  • Meredith April 18, 2006, 8:51 am

    I really like reading all of what you write.

    I feel as you do about being in france. France is my home now, what I really miss about america is my family. And once in a while there will be some little thing that gets to me, but not enough to make me want to pack it all in.
    I have been here almost 16 years now, and can’t imagine going back. I am fluent in french after classes and living here so long, which helped in my blending into life here.

  • Pumpkin April 18, 2006, 9:31 am

    I am trying to figure out a way to take classes at one of the universities here in Strasbourg to learn French. If I can do that we will go ahead and register the girls into the international public school in the city which focuses on the French and English language. We would stay in Strasbourg until I finished my classes and then move. Most likely a year from now. We are trying to decide what is best or if there is some way for me to learn in Sélestat. I would love to be bilingual. It is frustrating living in a county without being able to function in that countries language.

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