Recently, one of the French magazines, Le Nouvel Observateur, supposedly more intellectual than others (!) had a special issue devoted to Simone de Beauvoir and the cover, which I do not want to show here, was a picture of her, naked, seen from the back. This is what culture has become in this country, one of the women writers, a philosopher and a novelist, the first woman to have achieved the then very prestigious Agrégation, a woman who’s been a role model for my generation, reduced to a naked backside photograph. But then what can you expect when the political press tend to deal only with Sarkozy’s love affairs?
The idea is to list five things in your life now that you would have never thought would be in your life when you were 25.
As I’ve said elsewhere, I am not really fond of memes, but I saw this at Kenju’s yesterday and found it interesting, so I’ll comply.
For one, when I was young, as I said before, Simone de Beauvoir was my role model. And I just wanted to be like her. A free woman who would live a free life, the way she chose, no strings attached, no bourgeois attachments, no marriage, no children, a succession of intellectual and fascinating men in my life. So if you had told me there and then that I would get married and have a child, I wouldn’t have believed you!
But I did! I met Roland, at the ripe age of 30 and we eventually got married.
Another thing is, I tried my hand at a variety of things, all having to do with languages. The dream of my life was then to become an interpreter and work in some international organization like the UN or the UNESCO, no less 😉 and do simultaneous translating.
I attended classes in a school for interpreters and translaters and turned out to be much to slow to fit the bill.
But there was one thing that I definitely knew! I could and would NEVER be a teacher. I must say that the teachers of my school days were far from being role models. Anyway, once, I was asked to substitute in a professional school as a teacher for one of my friends. What convinced me was that I didn’t have a job at the time, and that I needed the money.
So there I went, taught a couple of classes, certainly didn’t know what I was doing, but the students didn’t complain, and … I decided that this was what I wanted to do.
Till a very ripe age, I never felt that I wanted to have children. When they stuck a baby in my arms, I felt silly and awkward, infants and little children certainly didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t find them cute and I certainly didn’t experience anything like maternal instinct. Actually, that worried me a lot when I got pregnant, because I thought I would certainly be a totally incompetent mother and would never have the patience for a baby or a toddler.
Well, I surprised myself. I didn’t feel my baby’s diapers smelt as bad as other babies’ and got very interested in my daughter, although she always complained that I was not paying enough attention.
As I didn’t want to have children, it was very difficult for me to understand some of my friends who got pregnant as they were single, and decided to have the child. The raising and education of a child, with no father in sight, seemed to me some crazy goal and I thought that bringing a child to the insane world in which we lived was bad enough, let alone bringing up the said child on their own.
Little did I know what life had in store for me. On a bleak Tuesday of January, my Roland drove away to his death, leaving Julie, aged six and a half, and me, her mother, to fend for ourselves. This was exactly sixteen years ago today. A date that is like a hurdle I have to jump every year with ever renewed longing and sadness.
So raise a child by myself I did. And a proud mother I am today. Not proud of myself, because I did what I could, but proud that my daughter is such a wonderful and accomplished young woman that her father, somewhere, is certainly proud of, too.
As a little girl, and later as a young woman, I was a very keen reader. A speedy one, too, so I read literally scores of books every year. I borrowed them at the local library. Reading was just part of me. And then, somehow, I can’t even remember how or when, I lost the urge. I wasn’t interested in reading any longer. Or rather, I took to reading murder mysteries and nothing else. I couldn’t focus on anything else. And this has been going on for quite a long time, years in fact. This is really one thing I couldn’t have imagined happening to me.
And yet, in the last year, I seem to have resumed reading a little. Maybe your influence, blogger friends 😉
I won’t tag anyone, really, but I’d love to know what Ronni, Millie, Autolycus, Septuagent, who hasn’t blogged in a long time 😦 , Naomi or MotherPie would have to say.
Claudia of Toronto, if you feel like it, I’ll be delighted to have you as a guest blogger –you do the writing and I publish it 😉