Monday, December 12, 2016

Proust Questionnaire

Marcel Proust, the French novelist and essayist, believed that by answering these questions, you reveal your true nature.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? I live in a tiny house with a bright yellow front door, creaky old wooden floors, round door knobs and little alcoves. There is a small backyard and in the backyard there is a large tree with knobby branches that spread out every which way. The lights sewn between the branches look like fire-flies in the night time and I spend all my time out there drinking wine and reading or talking intimately with ones I love. If I have a lover, I kiss him under this tree for hours until our lips feel bruised and swollen. Or the idea of playfully chasing my babies around the house as Vivaldi’s Summer Presto is playing too loudly throughout all the rooms is something I have daydreamed about more than a hundred times. But a simpler happiness: Happily rosy wine drunk at a late lunch.

What is your greatest fear? Not loving enough, not being loved enough.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My subtle lack of confidence or my intense sensitivity towards those I love.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cruelty.

Which living person do you most admire? The man at Country Inn, who hand-fed his sick wife and promised her if she ate, even just one bite, they would have one more day of living their life together that he loves so much.

What is your greatest extravagance? Letting myself feel very deeply for another without any qualms or hesitation.

What is your current state of mind? 'I exist as the solution and the problem'.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Caution and patriotism.

On what occasion do you lie?  I will lie to hide my feelings from others.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? My face never being able to hide the fact that I am on the verge of crying.

Which living person do you most despise? Abusers.

What is the quality you most like in a man?  A sense of humor. Generosity with things that are not material.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Boldness; a woman who is unabashedly herself.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I can't imagine that. I love you. I miss you. I'm tired. I didn't know.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Myself.

When and where were you happiest? It was the start of winter in Oklahoma and the air was starting to get bitterly cold. The chill would bite the tip of your nose first, then your cheeks and lastly your fingertips. I was starting to become so homesick, so lonely and felt an overwhelming gnawing sadness in my chest. But Ethan was coming to visit for the first time and I remember seeing him at the airport, he was wearing a black beanie with a thick white sweater. The happiness that flooded through me was immediate, powerful and healing.

Which talent would you most like to have? A SHARP TONGUE.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? One time my mom told me she wished I had thicker skin. It was a really simple statement, but a profound one. I think if I had thicker skin, it would solve some things.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Forgiving again and then again.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?  Sylvia Plath's poem Fever 103.

Where would you most like to live? Paris. I imagine an old apartment on Rue Vinaigriers, on the second floor. The hardwood floors are old and creaky and the color of wheat. In some parts, the wooden floors are rough on the bottoms of my feet. There are only two windows. A small one in the kitchen and balcony doors in the living space. I constantly battle between curtains or no curtains and I decide on no curtains. The space is tiny but I describe it as 'quaint' to friends and family back home. The walls are white but in certain light, the walls take on the color of a creamy butter. I have a desk in front of my balcony doors, even though it interrupts the flow of the room. Because of this, my bed fits awkwardly but I don't give it any thought. An old ash tray in a shape of a crescent moon sits on the corner of my desk. Sometimes there is ash in it, sometimes there isn't. Sometimes it's from my cigarette and sometimes it isn't. I have plants hanging from the low ceiling. A few potted ones live in my kitchen and smaller ones keep their place on my desk. I keep them as alive and green as I possibly can. I softly play music for them whenever I am home, because my grandmother plays music at all hours for her plants. She says it helps them grow, stay alive and keep happy. I have candles everywhere. Some are cheap candles, some are more expensive, some are ridiculously over priced. They are all white. In the evenings, I keep the lights off and the candles lit. I go through candles often.

My tiny refrigerator is only filled with half empty jars of Bonne Maman jam, wedges of Brie and peculiar glass containers of yogurt. The shelf in my kitchen is stocked with baguettes and one too many jars of Nutella. Half filled wine glasses are left everywhere. Maybe some are even growing mold. The French press on my counter is always full. My apartment has a smell of soft Merlot, clean linen, old coffee and warmth.

What is your most treasured possession? A leather bound journal with thick pages I started in the late 2015 and finished this year. It was a hard year for me emotionally and I filled the journal from page to page. I wrote every thought that I had. Every emotion I felt. Every worry I couldn't control. All the feelings I craved. I hope that one day when my future kids are of age, I can pass this along to them and they can read the thoughts and feelings of someone who existed a long time ago. Maybe if they feel alone in their thoughts, they will know that they aren't alone and they will be reminded that flaws and downfalls are a treasure, it only accentuates the goodness of your soul.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Silently sobbing in the shower with a hand over your mouth so your roommate doesn't hear you. Then coming out of the shower with a smile on your face asking how their weekend is going.

What is your favorite occupation? Loving. Researching art books on Amazon and reading every single review.

What is your most marked characteristic? Patience.

What do you most value in your friends? Passion.

Who are your heroes in real life? Those who left everything they know and sacrificed so much of themselves in the hopes of giving their future a better life. And Moms. Moms. Forever.

What are your favorite names? Sonnet, Theo, Luna, Nora, Honor, Oliver, Anaïs.

What is it that you most dislike? Confusion.

What is your greatest regret? Thinking I can take on everything myself, alone.

How would you like to die? Gently.

What is your motto? "Self control is just empathy for your future self."