* Grok : to understand (something) intuitively or by empathy *
Hello people of the Universe !
Last week, Paris suffered from bombings, fusillade, and hostage-taking. It is not the first time I speak about it and even if I stop doing it here, I am not sure to be able to forget what happened… I am still shocked and I see signs everywhere. I can’t help wondering who will be next, when and where it will occur. I am not sure to be able to put aside my feeling of insecurity. If you want, I invite you to click here to know my first reaction, at 2 am, while I was watching the news. It is not a beautiful article, it is a feelingful article. You, also, can click here to read a text I wrote to give hope. I think it kind of works as it made me and two friends cry, say I love you to each other, and smile like Neville when he decides to ask Luna out during the final fight of Hogwarts. Actually, I believe we all should be and act like Neville today. He has never lost hope. He has never stopped loving. He has always been there for his friends and his family. He knows what honesty, brotherhood and solidarity mean. We all should be Neville.
When I decided to get deeply involved into grokking about what surrounds me (and you can join us here), I never thought of doing it that way. I thought I would share my opinions on feminism, culture, drugs, news, education and everything that could be improved, criticized or explained, but I never thought it would move me so deeply. Like last week.
To grok something, I need to understand the topic with all my body. It goes with the brain, with the eyes, and with the heart. It is a connection between everything that makes you, you. You have to be aware of your knowledges and their orientations, the filters on your eyes and the bandages on your heart. Grokking doesn’t have to be objective but you have to know your influences. Actually, that time, I had to grok about what makes me, me. I had to grok on my culture, on what I represent, on what I defend, on what I blame. I had to use what makes me who I am to defend who I am. I had to rise and be proud. But last week, my foundations were devastated. My person was falling apart.
I am a woman, I am 19, I am a student, I am French. I love smiling, I love literature and encourage all kind of arts. I love pains au chocolat, cups of tea or hot chocolates taken on the terrace, come rain or shine. I love everything that has been destroyed on Friday, 13th. I am everything that has been ravaged on Friday, 13th. And I have to stand up and say why I have the right, the freedom to live that way. I am devastated.
So last week, I grokked. It was the only thing I could do. I had to feel, deep inside me, what had happened. I had to put a name on my feelings, I had to accept the horrible but so needed paradoxes: I was heartbroken for my country and all the families who lost their loved ones, but relieved that my brother and friends were safe. I was ashamed not to think of the other countries at war for so long, but so moved to see my country united. I was mentally dead, but my body wanted me to live. Do you know what made me hold on? My friends who kept saying “come with me to Izia‘s concert”, “you’re French, you’ll keep drinking and eating when you want, where you want, what you want”, or “cinema tomorrow, just you and I?” These words saved me. Life calls you from everywhere, at every second. Don’t hang up.
But you know, during hours I tried to understand. During hours I read tweets of support, wrote messages to friends to say I am here, rely on me. During hours I grokked, and grokked, and grokked again until my head explodes and my sight becomes blurry. I grokked on my own, in front of my laptop. I grokked while reading a book, starring at the blank space between the lines. I grokked while sitting on the bus and looking through the window with Adele and Holy Two in my ears. I grokked while taking a shower, under a very hot water that ran on my skin between my shoulder blades. I grokked on Facebook, too. I asked people to think with me, because I was lost, because I needed help, because I needed to speak about it whereas my ears wished to be deaf. I received powerful messages of support telling me I had written exactly what they wanted to say but hadn’t the words to express it. Wow.
It is so powerful to understand something intuitively, by empathy. It can take your breath away, monopolize your thoughts, turn your stomach upside down. Sometimes, it even makes your eyes cry.
I grokked and I cried.
I often cry, I am very emotional and anything brings tears to my eyes. A word. A movie. A post-it note with “this made me think of you” and the title of a song. But I barely cry thinking of all the bad that happens all over the world. I tend to rationalize those things. I tend to discuss them with technical words, by naming famous economists, and end up with “oh, what can we do?” Europe is so involved in everything that is going on the world, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan… I just feel like everything we are trying to do is to close loopholes and say we are sorry by giving a consolation prize. That is why I need to rationalize. But last week, I wasn’t strong enough to protect myself and had to face violence, crimes, nonsense, fear, racism, chauvinism… It was too much. All my feelings mixed up. Fortunately, I found a way to get up and see positive things. I thoughts of my values, my watchwords. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. They were attacked because they represent democracy, safety. They are the reasons why you can plan your future and believe in your life. So I stood up and I kept grokking to calm down my fear and seize what is positive.
I grokked with freedom, by freedom, for freedom.
I put on my walls speechs of hope. There is Mayim Bialik’s commencement address at UCLA in 2011. It reminds me of why I want to become a psychologist and why I am enough strong and willed to succeed. It reminds me we all have our destiny in hands and no one has the right to control it for us. There is Roxane Gay’s Ted talk about her “confessions of a bad feminist”. It makes me think of the long way we have to go, but I am optimistic: we come back from the brink. I keep on my bookshelf a notebook where I gather poems of Victor Hugo, quotes of Bernard Werber, and even The Tale of the Three Brothers. Writers are precious, even silence stays quiet to listen to them. They don’t need mikes, their words speak loud enough. I count around 50 novels and books all over my apartment. The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger is under The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry. The Vagina Monologues by Ensler is next to the Bible and Judaism for Dummies. Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis by Freud is really close to Middlesex by Eugenides. Literature is my world, my art, my love. Recently, a friend of mine said my writing is influenced by the Enlightenment. I think it is. I do want to fight obscurantism. I want to laugh, make laugh, debate, criticize, jump on tables and be a good speaker. I want to defend equality, respect and freedom. I want to represent and defend my culture til the end, with its strengths and its weaknesses. We are a people of pleasure(s), filled with joy. So are our roots, our history. Carpe Diem. We have always defended artists because art is our savior. It makes us respected, it makes us love, it makes us dream. We speak art, we eat art, we listen to art, we create art, we think art. Art is what we are because c‘est tout un art d’être français. And I promise, we will keep using beautiful literature to express our thoughts, keep eating good food and drinking good wine til stuffing our face, keep listening to rock like rolling stones. We will keep living because it is the only thing we can do, and we do it well.
Love, Marion 🕊