too much

It feels like it all comes back to it: everything is too much.

I think too much, feel too much, stress too much, and yet it all feels like it isn’t enough. Ever since I can remember I have been scared of living a boring life. When I was around 16 (the time I call « when I started becoming a person ») I met someone I quickly started considering as my role model. I saw things of myself in them and I decided I wanted to become like them. Not in terms of studies (we don’t study the same things to this day), but in terms of how busy and how many cool things they were doing at the same time. Now I had always been a busy kid: at the peak of my « athletic abilities » so to say, I was doing 9h/week of competitive gymnastics, which I then stopped entirely to pick up 10h of dance classes per week as replacement. In primary school I was swimming and doing rhythmic gymnastics most evenings, not counting the art classes I took and all the books I was reading. I aced all my tests and I always got home with a lollipop as reward despite doing the bare minimum and having skipped a year (typical gifted kid shit).

I was fascinated by my role model (I even wrote my journalism school application form about them – and got in!) and they probably don’t even know how they helped me through the last year of high school. That year, I was too focused on writing a dance piece of my own and flying to Vietnam without my parents to prepare for one of my national exams (which I got the top grade for without revising – back on gifted bullshit). But aside from that I also recall crying myself to sleep a lot of the time from the pressure and anxiety. I repeated to myself over and over their words: I refuse to be wasted away because my brain says so. I was determined to pick up everything I could, take every opportunity – and that’s what I did. 5 years later and I’m still doing it:

Year 1: had my pictures exhibited in an art gallery, took 2 or 3 dance classes a week, got my driving license, went to the Netherlands, passed all my prépa exams successfully, lived for a month alone in London while being a shadowing intern there.

Year 2: became a biology tutor for the 1st years (in English), was still taking a dance class, went to South Korea for a week, to Venezia for another week, pandemic hit and I was still nailing my exams, managed to find an internship amidst the disaster and spent a good part of the summer working.

Year 3: pandemic and mixing of students made me miserable but I became president of my school club, hosted a quizz over Teams in front of 120 people, burnt out but got the highest grades on my finals in the past 2 years, got stuck in France after Denmark closed their borders and still followed the classes, while making a podcast which I wrote, interviewed the people for and edited almost entirely alone, gave chemistry tutoring, got not one but two internships (which I both accepted after the first one cancelled on me in the middle of summer) at the first try (I applied to 2 companies and got in both, while people send 20 applications and get no answer?? back on the gifted bullshit).

Year 4: I worked full time (even overtime) at that international company speaking english everyday and being mostly left alone since my tutor was barely here for me, while still presiding the school club and all that comes with it. I broke hearts and made out with others. I got hired as assistant for equality at school, got interviewed in a panel live on YouTube, organized the anti-sexual harrasement system at each party the school organized (staying up all night watching over people), went to Marseilles in the span of two days for a seminar. I switched major and got catapulted into electronics and biomechanics (I made a robotic ankle orthosis?!) which doubled my amount of classes and work so I had to skip classes to go to others. I spoke without any preparation in front of an entire lecture hall of 3rd years and smiled under the applause while holding my arms to keep them from trembling. I got hired back at my internship company to work over the summer. I went back to therapy.

And this is all without counting the time I spent watching shows, reading books and the time generally lost on social media because my brain was too tired to do anything else. And so here we are. I have two and a half days to study for eight finals, and organize yet another dispositif anti-VSS en soirée, but I’m burning out again. I am too preoccupied with the feeling of being overwhelmingly lost to focus on studying.

I find myself going back to my role model’s words. After four years, I understand some of them better than I thought I did back then. I realize that they are a real person, with personal struggles that will never be mine. I keep coming back to that quote (which I even already wrote about)

Everybody is just a collage of their favourite parts of other people

I don’t really know where I stand anymore. Is there a core me, a captain self, or are we just made up of all our role models and people we meet over the years?

I am really struggling with my sense of identity. I am not the person I used to be. So who am I? Who will I be when the anxiety and the pressure is gone? Why do I have so many friends when I can barely stand myself some days? What do they find me? What do I stand for? Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? Will I ever feel like I’m enough? Why do I ask myself these questions over and over?

Many questions, not enough answers. They say it gets better, so I’ll be patient and keep moving on.

Soundtrack of my life #3

Another year gone by, another thousands of minutes spent listening to music. You’ll note that I wrote one of those half-way through the year so there is not so much that I’ll add to it. Without further ado, let’s have a look:

  • Tickets to my Downfall, by Machine Gun Kelly. Yes I already wrote that. Yes I listened to this album for an entire year.
  • SURVIVOR GUILT: THE MIXTAPE// by KennyHoopla. Idem
  • how will i rest in peace if i’m buried by a highway// by Kenny Hoopla. What can I say the man knows how to make music.
  • MONTERO by Lil Nas X. Yes.
  • Planet Her by Doja Cat. What. a. woman. What a woman.
  • Willow (Smith)’s songs, especially Meet Me At Our Spot (Live). I have absorbed their harmonies into my brain by now.
  • Josh Groban’s christmas album like last year.

I’ll also mention Starset’s last album, HORIZONS (why is it that everyone capitalizes their titles?), Imagine Dragon’s last album Mercury – Act 1 (and the song Wrecked), Tom Rosenthal’s Denis was a Bird, the Lockdown Sessions by Elton John and RADWIMPS’s FOREVER DAZE, all albums that I’ve listened to in one go and liked although not enough to be played on repeat (maybe that is for the better actually).


the blink of an eye

And just like that, four months flew by. I vividly remember the first days of september, when I was so full of energy and hope and determined to make things happen. I look at the calendar and it’s a new year. Not necessarily a new begining though: we only build from what has been seeded. And it’s tough, there’s no forgetting where you’re from, what you’ve done; like paint there’s only brushing over things until you are satisfied with the result, occasionally covering things up with white hoping for a place to start over.

I am not the person I was four months ago. It is crazy to thing how so little time can change a person so much, but I’ve grown, considerably. I made new friends, new relationships, earned recognition, made a place for myself and had to leave suddenly all that behind. I built projects and poured my heart in them, because that is the only way I know how to do things. I laughed, I wept, I feared, I loved. I have so much I want to say, yet so little words to explain how I feel.

I feel like the only thing I know how to do is make connections, random connections between everything. Jumping from one idea to another in a desperate attempt to relate, convey something. I feel as if my entire being is a mismatched patchwork of everything I’ve ever seen and heard. Even saying that reminds me of a video I watched and talked about in this other article. If you had a look at my bedroom you’d probably understand better. There is no decoration, rather a meticulous assemblage of everything that makes me me. It is the visual, externalized representation of myself as a person (please read the article I mentioned). But what I am trying to say is that the media I consume heavily influences me, it feeds my internal world. Among those recent reflexions:

– there is no true good or true evil, the importance of found families (The Witcher TV show)

– words living inside of you, being the cartrographer of your own world, loving people and dealing with grief (Aristotle and Dante dive into the waters of the world, truly moving)

– the immense fascination with the deep waters and deep space (the 10+ postcards, art books and novels I’ve collected)

– the reckless urge to scream at the top of your lungs because the world is fucked up and unfair and you cannot humanly save it all by yourself, all you can do is take it one step at a time and push through with all the kindness and rebellion you can muster while carrying hope like a banner on your heart, knowing that it is fragile, but strong in its fragility – if that makes any sense at all

I’ve been meaning to say more but I got lost in thoughts and anyway, there’s a time for everything. Peace and calm be upon you everybody.

Oh if only she had known

On January 26th 2020 I wrote:

I am now finally home, and (mostly) ready to start school again. It took me 5 weeks to wash away the stress from last semester and recover, but I think now is a good time or else I’ll never want to go to school again. I shall also mention that since Januray 1st, I spent a total of 10 days in my hometown. That is insane.

2020, you are crazy. »

If only I had known. Known that I would not stop there and go to Venice, Italy the next month. Known the chaos that would ensue. « I’ll never want to go to school again ». I chuckle, oh babe, you don’t know yet. But a part of me knew it already. And I was right in a way, 2020 was crazy.

Soundtrack of my life #2

(Yes I’m aware that this is the most dramatic title I could find)

A while back, I can’t believe it’s already been his long, I did a recap of my musical discoveries of 2018. It was really fun to lay down all the tunes that had kept me company during long commutes in the winter and late homework sessions. Let’s look back roughly at my songs.

Begining of 2019, I listened to Florence + The Machine (I’d even say almost excusively). High as Hope, Ceremonials and How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful; all shuffled together.

End of 2019 I remember crafting a playlist of songs to listen to at 5:40am in the RER to go to a special facility for my lab practicals in the south suburbs of Paris. It was full of lowkey depressing songs like Talia (King Princess), Aurore (Elia), The End of Love (Florence + The Machine) or Black Bird (Shake Shake Go) to cite a few.

Begining of 2020, right before the world ended, I remember re-discovering Mr. Brightside (The Killers) which became my religion for the next 6 months, Fast Car (Tracy Chapman),  People I’ve been Sad (Christine and the Queens) and Would That I (Hozier). Those 4 songs basically got me through the first months of 2020 and the lockdown.

The summer commute to my internship was accompanied by In the Name of Love (Bebe Rexha & Martin Garrix), Mr. Brightside again, RAIN (Ben Platt) and When It Rains (Paramore).

In autumn of 2020, I got Deezer Premium and it made me rediscover music to a whole new level: I started crafting playlists and listening to whole albums. I haven’t stopped yet, and that is why I thought I would share the music that got me through (I know it’s getting redundant but really, it helped) two other lockdowns, finals, burn out and slumps.

Without further ado, here are the albums I listened to:

  • Wasteland, baby!, the album by Hozier
  • Transmissions by Starset (go listen to Halo)
  • Noël, Josh Groban’s Christmas songs album (worth putting here because of my grandma’s precious reaction to hearing the songs)
  • i,i by Bon Iver
  • Birhtplace by Novo Amor, and Bathing Beach (I call those dupes to Bon Iver because I can barely tell which song is by who and I listen to them in a string of indsrupted music, meaning I don’t know any title to any song)
  • Build a Problem by dodie (this is here as honorable mention, I listened to it in one sitting and then never replayed any song but I love dodie)
  • La Vita Nuova by Chris(tine and the Queens), and Ungodly hours by Chloe x Halle, to pass time during that one 12h bus ride
  • Tickets to my downfall, by Machine Gun Kelly, which is the album that probably had the most impact on me this year. I love about 90% of the songs (which is super rare for me to listen to whole albums) and it launch my emo punk rock revival era or something, anyway
  • SURVIVOR GUILT: THE MIXTAPE// by KennyHoopla and Travis Barker (this is also some punk rock revival shit but it slaps)
  • Inside (The Songs), by Bo Burnham (these are the songs from the comedy special Inside that Bo Burnham created during the lockdown). I think this special broke a piece of my soul, in a good but painful way. Please watch it (if you’re mentally okay) and cry with me when All Eyes On Me starts (I’m listening to it as I’m writing this)

And that is it for the albums (that’s already more than usual though). I won’t go into details for each songs because I listen to very miscellaneous stuff – January and February were mostly movie soundtracks and anime openings for example!

Hope you enjoyed this mid-year musical update 🙂