Ever felt you are the oddity in the room? I do many times.
Yes, guilty! Born and raised in Paris, France. I hear my voice enunciating these facts every single time I meet somebody new. It usually opens the door to many banalities, questions or conversations.
“oh I studied French in high school” or “I visited France some years ago, what a beautiful country”. That’s it! That moment, I already lost them…their thoughts are totally twirling in a whirlwind of memories; mostly nice I should add. But at that minute, they don’t meet me, they meet my country. Some look at me and I feel their thoughts going faster than a train wreck. Anywhere, between Oh la la, to, you must be a marvelous cook…
We live in a fast-spinning world and stereotypes and expectations, largely because it is more comfortable. Very young, like a vaccine, we are injected with stereotypes to help us sustain our adequacy.
What does a French woman look like? Weird to admit that I don’t know.
What should I look like?
So, I googled: “what a French woman look like?” And here are some results:
Top of the choices: Googles images for what a French woman looks like.
Among the clickables, I see Parisian chic!
Do we all live in Paris? Certainly not!
Next, I click on “average”: among the pictures, a 3 young women composite style of the same face, one identified as Finnish, the middle as French and the right one German, wait a minute! that goes well beyond stereotypes!
Some more images, women in urban settings, essentially Parisians. I used to identify as a Parisian, 3 lives ago. What defined me then is not what I became or what I am now.
I’m an idiosyncrasy, I am a mix, I am a patchwork of past lives and present endeavors.
It seems easier to define what I am not, rather than what I am. Even though, I don’t feel lost…I still wonder what a French woman look like, without projecting the stereotype injected by society.
I still can’t pinpoint the reality. Why?
Maybe because asking what a Frenchwoman looks like is already a restriction. We come in all shapes or forms, all beautiful in our own way. I am 58 years old next week and wonder if I still qualify as a middle-aged woman? I honestly don’t know. Now I am touching another kink: age! I am a happy 58 years woman, French American, living between 2 countries.
This is it! My oddity is being a composite. I am an impressionist painting. A curvy, older, smiling, colorful woman, not restricted to a frame or in a sharper image but with a soft filter and an inner light.
Now it is your turn to experience and look at reality. Not what you hear, not what you read, not what stereotypes speak to you. Now open your mind and soul to decide for yourself.