Ce qui change

   Oui la naissance d’un enfant bouleverse le quotidien, questionne notre rapport au monde et aux autres, réoriente nos priorités, nous propulse dans la sphère des adultes responsables d’une autre personne que soi. Néanmoins, nous demeurons la personne que nous étions avant cette naissance. Avec nos qualités, nos défauts, notre impatience, nos peurs, nos envies, notre histoire. Peut-être même devenons-nous une sorte de version exacerbée de nous-même, avec ce nouvel instinct protecteur de (pro)créateur envers une progéniture qui nous semble si frêle et si unique à la fois. Alors non, tout ne change pas lorsque nous devenons père, mère, parents, mais indubitablement, certaines choses évoluent.

JudyDrew

Judy Drew, Love Of A Child

Ce qui change essentiellement, de façon presque palpable ? Le rapport au temps. Obtenir une heure à soi, c’est par exemple une victoire qui passe en un éclair. Lorsque mon conjoint emmène notre petit en promenade, j’ai à peine le temps de faire la moitié de ce que j’avais prévu de faire qu’ils reviennent. On nous répète qu’il “faut” trouver le temps (pour soi, de faire des choses, de voir des gens), et je suis d’accord, mais honnêtement lorsqu’il nous arrive d’avoir un moment de calme ou quand le dimanche arrive, nous n’avons qu’une envie : nous reposer. Regarder une série et faire une sieste. Se détendre, respirer. Oublier un instant seulement que notre bébé grandit de façon vertigineuse et que bientôt il sera un petit garçon.

Ensuite, la très grande majorité de nos amis n’a pas d’enfant. Alors comment faire pour que la conversation continue à être riche alors que nos quotidiens sont si différents et que fatalement, en tant que parents, nous en revenons souvent à parler couche et progrès de bébé ? Trouver des amis avec des enfants serait une bonne alternative mais il faudrait pour cela se rendre sociable et se faire violence. Car notre enfant ne va pas en crèche ni à l’école, lieux de rencontres inter-parentales. Non pas changer d’amis mais en chercher de nouveaux pour des moments parent(s)-enfant(s) qui pourraient être enrichissants.

Concernant les tâches ménagères attention grand sujet brûlant il a fallu établir des règles souterraines et opérer quelques changements. C’est somme toute assez simple : ce que je déteste faire, l’homme le fait, et inversement. Par exemple, il sort les poubelles, fait les courses, achète les couches et en ce moment comme je travaille, fait plus souvent la vaisselle. De mon côté je m’occupe des lessives, de trier les vêtements, du ménage (il lui arrive néanmoins de passer l’aspirateur), donne le bain à notre fils. L’homme garde bébé toute la semaine alors quand le week-end arrive, je me rends compte de l’intensité de travail et de concentration que cela demande. J’ai un peu honte de l’avouer mais mon travail me fatigue moins. C’est important de s’entendre sur ce sujet, sur qui fait quoi tout en ne figeant rien.

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Il est plus difficile de sortir. De sortir le soir n’en parlons pas (sauf si l’un de nous se “sacrifie”.) Certaines sorties sont à éviter avec un enfant en très bas âge : cinéma, musée, concert (sauf spécialisé jeunesse)… Depuis un peu plus de 14 mois, rien de tout ça. Alors nous faisons des choses “en famille” : parc, square, brocante, animations, institut suédois… Ça change mais c’est plutôt agréable. La liberté et la folie que nous avions il y a quelques mois se sont déplacées. Vers un ailleurs affectif. Vers une liberté d’aimer inconditionnellement sans avoir peur. Se sentir vivant et faire partie de la grande marche de l’Univers.

Naturellement, notre vie tourne autour de notre enfant, parce qu’il est petit, qu’il requière toute notre attention, tout notre amour, presque tout notre temps. Oui c’est ennuyeux vue de l’extérieur et parfois il faut l’avouer, aussi un peu de l’intérieur. Mais ses petits yeux remplis d’amour et la vitesse à laquelle il grandit, irrémédiable course contre la montre, sont des instants précieux qui s’échappent aussi rapidement qu’ils ne se présentent. Car lui n’aura qu’une enfance et c’est à nous de la rendre la plus heureuse possible, c’est notre priorité, parfois au détriment de nos envies. Et oui peut-être que nous sommes devenus “chiants” mais aux yeux de qui et à quel degré ? Hier nous dansions et rigolions devant bébé qui, assis devant le canapé, souriait de nous voir nous donner en spectacle. Parfois on se marre bien quand même.

Et vous, c’était comment cette première année avec bébé ?

 

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Things you might not need

When it comes to our home, the stuff we own should be useful. Not here just because everyone has got it or it is “the norm” to own them. I am not talking about decoration, art or stuff that makes us happy, those are more than useful and an expanding of our personality.

Here is a list of things you might consider not having in your life / home, especially if you live in a big city.

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  1. A car. Let’s start with a big thing. If you live in a big city, you do not need a car (at least in Europe.) Public transport is well thought, you can do everything and go everywhere easily. As for us, yes we do not have our driving licence (yet) which explain why we do not own a car but honestly, we really do not need one. Plus, it costs a lot of money and is bad for the environment.
  2. A fridge. It is absolutely possible to live without a fridge. For the story: last august, my ex-roomate left with the fridge and the washing-machine. We had to choose to spend our money in one item because we could not afford to buy both. With a baby, we chose the washing-machine (but for ten years I lived without one and it was totally ok.) Without a fridge, we do need to go more often to the groceries to buy fruits and vegetables, we cook only for one meal in order to have no leftover… but there is no big constraint. We do not eat fish, meat, milk or eggs so maybe it helps. As for the cheese (we do eat cheese), my brother-the-farmer told me that it is better to keep it outside the fridge in a special box: it will taste better (and smell stronger too.) My mum told me I had an great-aunt that lived 40 years without a fridge and died at almost 100 years old… See, very possible.
  3. A micro-wave. No need to explain. A micro-wave is a modern ustensil for hurry people. You really do not need one.
  4. A TV. I can not understand why people still have TVs nowadays. It is pure crap and with the internet, you can choose what to watch and when to watch it. In France in some places, the internet is very slow or barely exist but still: putting the radio on, listening to music or opening a book still are options.
  5. A cell phone. I did a post about living without a cellphone.
  6. Too many clothes. I have a reasonable amount of clothes (less than the majority but more than some people I guess) and a few pair of shoes and I do appreciate all of them. When we met with my boyfriend,  he had only a pair of jeans, one pair of shoes, two t-shirts and a coat… We bought him some new stuff since (for work or a big event like a wedding) but he really is what you can call a minimalist and you know, he is doing fine. If you love clothes, feel free to have a lot of them but only if you really enjoy having them around. If not, consider having less of them and keep the stuff you do wear. You can be stylish with just a few items.
  7. Too many cosmetics. I used to love beauty products and makeup, it was my “péché mignon” for a while. I still own a few makeup products (although I barely use it especially since I gave birth), a shampoo, a product to wash my face, a face cream and a deodorant. It is hard for me to let go but deep down I know I need less than that. My boyfriend use only soap (because I tell him to, if not for me he would use only water…), coconut oil (very useful) and sometimes pure clay. Maybe one day I’ll do the same beauty routine as he does… “If you can eat it, then you can put eat on your skin” he told me. Well, kind of logical but obviously, most of the products that are sold in stores are poison for our health, let’s keep that in mind before buying our next shampoo or body cream. Recently my friend Jamie gave me a soap and a creme that she made back in the US: check the Goat’s Goods it is all natural !
  8. Too many household products. Some soft soap (“savon noir”) and vinegar should be enough. Although I still find myself using wipes or bleach pastilles. Bad girl is still learning.

Any suggestion ? Which things do I not need without knowing it ? 

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Riikka Sormunen

Living without cellphone

In september 2016, I got my cellphone stolen. It was an old one at the end of its life therefore I was not very very upset (except that I lost everything in it, like pictures or messages and that my credit card got stolen as well, not great.) Just upset and sad, this theft happening to a difficult time of the year. Life was playing with me and telling me something I needed to listen, so I decided not to buy a new cellphone. At least I decided to live one month without one, as a challenge to myself and the ultra-connected world we live in. 

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Matisse drawing a dove, by Henri Cartier-Bresson

This one month soon became 5 months. Here is my status report.

Advantages 

  • Disconnection. Without a cellphone, you are very aware of what is around you. Living in a big city can be tiring but if you focus on the right things and if you enjoy the time without checking your cellphone every 2 minutes, you will see things you would not have noticed otherwise. Being aware is always a good and salutary state of mind.
  • No more (useless) phone calls. As you are not reachable, people won’t call you to tell you stupid stuff or to bother you when you want to be left alone.
  • No more phone calls. At all. If you are not very comfortable when you have to pick up the phone, you won’t have to do it. Never. Same with sms you do not know how/want to answer. I guess it is a selfish reason, but it does not mean you won’t get back to people, just that you will take the time to do it.
  • More reading. As you do not have the chance to read your emails everywhere or to check your social medias, sms, mms in the subway or at the restaurant, you will be tempted to open a book, an actual book, more frequently. The same will happen if you do not have the internet at home. That is a perfect reason to get rid of your cell phone.
  • In a way, it leads to a more involving kind of communication because you will actually & only communicate with people in face to face, not via a machine. And you will make eye contact with people, strangers, friends or family. Something that does not happen a lot if your are glued to your screen.
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Portrait de Gertrude et Ursula Falke, 1906

Disadvantages

  • Disturbing for your entourage. The main problem will come from your entourage: they will tell you to get a phone ASAP because not being reachable is not acceptable, specially when you are a girl, in a city, late at night. It is not safe, you know ? And when your friends want to plan something, it is true that being reachable only via the internet a few hours per day is not convenient.
  • Professionnaly? Not responsible. You won’t be able to respond to your boss or collegues calls. You will miss any job opportunities, because they won’t bother emailing you twice if you don’t pick up when they call you. Too bad.
  • No music. I used to listen music with my cell phone as I do not have a mp3 player anymore. In my case, living without music was the hardest part. Although sometimes, surrounding yourself with silence can be quite enjoyable.
  • Life is not made for people without cell phone. You need a number to give almost everywhere you go, for administrative procedures to shops, medical stuff to any kind of registration, or even to make new friends. Not surprisingly, it is a very marginal and offbeat move to make the choice to live without a cell phone.

 

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Tove Jansson

Conclusion

Of course, it is possible to live without a cell phone. You just have to organise your life differently and be prepared to the fact that in these days, not having a cell phone is a very unordinay if not crazy thing to do. Personally, I felt that not having one for a few months was more unhandy and disturbing for my family and friends than for myself. You just get use to it very fast. Let’s see what it feels like to receive calls and sms again !

About racism

Gang

This is a message of peace. Please people, love one another.

Lately I came across with a lot of racist remarks and it is very painful to hear. I could stay silent but I decided not to. Not this time.

As a white female, growing up in an open, tolerant and generous family, I never was directly confronted with racism. My brothers and I always had the friends we wanted to have (male, female, rich, poor, blue, green, brown, yellow…) Racism was something very blurry. When you are a kid, it is a word more than a concept. Ethnicities and origins were celebrated as something positive that make us who we are. I became “aware” of its vague reality around high school but truly was not confronted with it (because well, it was not serious or real to me and I guess I was not paying attention.) Above all, I did not want to believe it.

Until recenlty.

I could think of 4 direct social interactions that happened in my life, in less than a month, that included OPEN racist comments. From different people with different backgrounds. It affected me more than I thought and still does. It probably has to do with my boyfriend not being the super white regular french guy. What the fuck does it mean anyway?? As I am writing this I am getting more and more upset. And sad.

After a month in the countryside, I  have heard some alarming speeches. At first, you think it is not very serious, that people can have their own opinion. But when it starts to include violence or close relatives, you start to think otherwise. It is a serious topic. It leads to more than inappropriate comments. Why do people think like that ? Why do they come to the conclusion that their problems are caused by others, by “strangers” (sometimes less “strangers” than them)? I am not here to give answers, although medias and politics have their responsabilites, and instead of saying that these people are morons -which would be very easy and sometimes very true- I wonder why it is how it is. You can be proud of your culture, your traditions, your mother tongue and still be open-minded and curious, can’t you?

We are different indeed, but it is beautiful and rich. Those differences should not be hidden but celebrated and accepted. Respecting people is the number one rule. At least in public spaces, everyone should show a little more decency and respect since we cannot change people’s opinion on the very subject (= “Racism is a product of the complex interaction in a given society of a race-based worldview with prejudice,stereotyping, and discrimination.”) I used to be naive but adults are adults, I do think it is too late for them to change. I guess we will just have to educate our children to make a better World.

More than ever during this time of crisis, we have to show solidarity, love and never blame “others” for what is happening. Because these “others” we should fight are somewhere else, probably in a gold castle with giant diamonds and a private jet, petting their protected bank accounts with a vicious smile on their faces. With a money complexion. A greyish/greenish skin tone. 

So please people, love one another.

amour

First evening in Paris.  The straw that broke the camel…

The guy (a waiter) justified himself by saying “it was a joke”. No it was not. Jokes are funny. It was not funny but insulting. After he said what he said, I only made a statement that it was not really nice to say, without being mad or anything. The waiter apologized but only because “he made the lady sad”, not because he said something inappropriate. I would have left the place but my boyfriend told me it was not a big deal, I should not be getting upset. I replied that because he was used to it, it did not make it acceptable. Then he said “I am not used to it, I got maybe 10 bad comments in my entire life, it is not as common as you think”. Well… But STILL. I am not sorry for letting someone know that his behaviour is NOT ok. And yes I would be my boyfriend’s bodyguard if needed . “Half his size” bodyguard. 

Atelier

After reading a text by Paul Lafargue, I was inspired to create a book.

This book is in french but I did find an english version of the text if you are interested: The Woman Question (1904).

Page setting, illustrations, montage/seam by me.

Excerpt 

As Capitalism has not snatched woman from the domestic hearth and launched her into social production to emancipate her, but to exploit her more ferociously than man, so it has been careful not to overthrow the economic, legal, political and moral barriers which had been raised to seclude her in the marital dwelling. Woman, exploited by capital, endures the miseries of the free laborer and bears in addition her chains of the past. Her economic misery is aggravated; instead of being supported by her father or husband, to whose rule she still submits, she is obliged to earn her living; and under the pretext that she has fewer necessities than man, her labor is paid less; and when her daily toil in the shop, the office or school is ended, her labor in the household begins. Motherhood, the sacred, the highest of social functions, becomes in capitalistic society a cause of horrible misery, economic and physiologic. The social and economic condition of woman is a danger for the reproduction of the species.

A quick review

Why Love by Gaspar Noé is everything but a film about love.

!!! This review is going to be very subjective and non-professional.

In this movie, the parisian film maker said he wanted to show a love story without eluding the sex scenes. I was very excited about it. If you are wondering, I am not a big fan of his work but I admire the fact that he seems to film whatever he wants to film.

I thought I was going to like this one. Reading the plot and some interviews of Gaspar Noé, I was expecting a movie where we could sneak into the intimacy of a couple, sharing the pleasure of two characters in love, being a part of their life through many passionate moments via long and sensual exchanges (verbal or physical).

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Before the movie I was like Yeaaaah…

Now I feel like I just watched a movie with flat dialogues between two (or three, or more) people constantly hurting each other and fucking to feel alive. I have to agree with people though: this was not strictly a porno because the sex scenes sometimes were soft and slow and the girls had pubic hair. (No need to say I was happy to watch it alone and not with my mom…) The sex was ok. The rest painful to watch.

In GQ France, Gaspar Noé himself even said he wanted to show a love story but not during the steady stage (wtf?) of real love and trust. More the passion’s fever.

Mon but était de raconter une histoire d’amour. Pas l’état amoureux stable entre deux personnes qui s’aiment et qui sont confiantes. Plutôt la fièvre de la passion.

He just made a point. Why did he have to call his movie Love then? If only he had called his movie LustIt is indeed a story about desire, destructive passion, lust. They cheat. They lie. They cheat and lie. Of course, they also do drugs and have sex with several people at the same time. Well, a regular couple really. From the very begining, this couple had no chance. Lust without trust -and so without love in my opinion- does not end well. Actually, if this movie was an article on the internet, it could be called “Top 10 Reasons Relationships Fail: Follow Our Instructions To Destroy Your (Love) Life.” (the main and boring character ends up with the wrong woman and an unwanted baby).

Love1

…and then I watched it.

I would like to quote R., an awesome friend: “Haddaway used to say in his song what is love, that the baby must not hurt him not hurt him no more. Is that what people strive for nowadays? Is that what love is supposed to be? Lots of sex with bags of walking std and a miserable couple?”

You know what? Maybe the movie shocked because the contents were pretty (very) empty compared to the many sex scenes, not just because of them. Also, I do not like being manipulated: “I am going to show you love and sex = No, you showed me sex and self-destruction.” To the people claiming that this is a movie about love, I am wondering if they are having fantasies about a love/hate relationship because they never truly experienced passion/lust or if that is truly how they see love.

I love trust. I love sex. I love having feelings. I was not moved once. I was not really turned on neither (at least not more than porn). What is left? I guess I did not like Love, The Movie, and I am the first one to be disappointed.

What about you? Your thoughts about the movie?

That band I shall always love…

No matter how mainstream it became.

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Nirvana

A few weeks ago, my sister (she is 13 years old) and I were surfing the net together when a picture of Kurt Cobain came up. “Hey isnt’it Nirvana? Soooo mainstream!!” she said. I looked at her, speechless. I have to say the word “mainstream” in her mouth sounded really pejorative. My heart just broke. “Why are you saying that?  -Well, this band is everywhere: t-shirt, bags, pins… Everybody knows it.”

Wait a minute.

I explained to her that before becoming this hudge industry, Nirvana was a band. It means these three guys made music, and a pretty good one. “All these people that got something with this famous smiley or a picture of the band, do you think they know their music? I asked. -Not sure, I guess not. But we know the visual, she said.”

nirv

That was my fear. Seeing Nirvana becoming a brand, a logo, does not bother me that much because it means they are famous and I genuinely believe they deserve to be listened over and over. Sadly, it appears that one can have one without the other.

Nirvana

Being 26, I was too young to live the exciting time when Nirvana exploded. Although I spent my teenage years, like most of my generation, listening to Kurt Cobain in my room, singing with him, crying with him. That is why I wish we would learn to appreciate again how honest and passionate they were, before putting a pin on a jacket. We must not forget that in a way, this fame and craziness killed Kurt, because he could not handle it, and for that he deserves to be heard.

Kurt-SteveGullick

Kurt by Steve Gullick

Next time I see my sister, I am going to give her a CD (yes a CD, probably the old one I customised back in the days) and will ask her to forget about the mainstream spirit that goes along in order to focus on the music.

Kurt-MarkSeliger

Kurt by Mark Seliger