I have been told two things throughout my life. One of the the things I often "heard" via a teacher's spidery writing in the comments section of my quarterly school report cards was, "Erin does not work up to her full potential." The second thing, usually after I had penned a poem, or a middle of the night term paper jacked up on caffeine and nacho cheese Doritos, or an e-mail from a sleazy western European (Paris included!) Internet cafe, or even the occasional eulogy is, "You should be a writer."
Secretly, I have always wanted to be a writer. And secretly I have always worried that I am not living up to my potential. Last year when I quit my-perfect-on-paper job, I felt more of my unreached potential get even farther away. Around the same time I started writing my blog.
I intended to write my blog anonymously as a way of exercising my writing muscles. I wanted to write candidly, be funny, sexy and even a bit scandalous. I didn't want to worry about writing the wrong thing or offending people. And then I got the idea to write about my Paris. Not Paris from a worldly or an intellectual view but Paris from the perspective of someone who loves it like their first love: unabashedly, wholeheartedly, every-moment-an-utter-thrill, vulnerable, can-do-no- wrong love.
Because writing about Paris makes me so happy, I started to admit I was writing my blog. Naturally, my husband was my first fan and he has been relentless in getting his clients to read it, displaying it in his shop and funding the copying of printed copies to give as handouts. Recently he designed me a blog business card which I give to everyone I know and leave in book stores, cafes and pretty much everywhere.
But I still feel that I am not living up to my potential. I watch my friends juggle marriages, careers, children and mortgages. I watch my husband throw himself into his work and marvel at his drive and his success. I watch myself with no clear idea where I am going. I look after my horse, take my vitamins, go running, plan trips to Paris, read about Paris, and dream in French.
At what age does this become ridiculous? At what age do I become a frivolous, never-been woman clinging to a Parisian dream that will never happen? I am a woman in my thirties who doesn't want children, doesn't want a mortgage (unless it's on a Parisian flat) and wants to spend my free time writing about Paris.