petite anglaise

April 13, 2006

en veille

Filed under: navel gazing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 8:29 pm

Every day I don my mask and go about my business. On good days, the happiness is not merely skin deep, it wells up from the very core of my being. I smile with my lips, my eyes and my heart.

On bad days the cheerfulness is forced and brittle, a thin veneer so easily shattered, my smile almost indistinguishable from a grimace.

On in between days I flit between the two states, one second positive and confident; the next casting around for something, anything, to break my fall.

People tell me I’m supposed to be revelling in this single state. Making the most of the time I have alone to form deeper friendships, give more of myself to my daughter, to learn how to be simply me. Undiluted, uncompromised, no longer bending to the will of a partner.

There are days when all this rings true and the world seems such an intoxicating place. When uplifting music on my iPod will make me smile in the métro at no-one in particular; when I want to hug myself with childish glee. Ahead of me lie inviting blank pages just begging to be covered with lurid, bold strokes.

There are days when everything feels utterly pointless if there is no special someone to share things with. Someone who hangs on my words. Someone who holds me tightly and buries his face in my hair. Someone who cares deeply about what is going on inside this head of mine. Someone to whom I can entrust my soul for safe keeping.

The mad social whirl, the party clothes and negligent new underwear are just pathetic ruses. I use artifice to try to trick myself into forgetting what is really lacking. I feed on superficial pleasures to fill the void.

I may be fooling everyone else.

“Switch me onto standby mode,
Until someone presses play”

Happy Violentine – Miss Kittin


  1. Someone, I wish I remember who, once said that life is a battle between liberty and security, and the world always clamors for whichever it has less of. He was speaking of systems of government, but the words are perhaps even more descriptive of the human heart. Right now, I find myself far more in need of safety. Ten months ago it was liberty. We are all searching for our balance. Bonne chance.

    Comment by Kerry — April 13, 2006 @ 8:42 pm

  2. We all wear masks at times, fooling only the most perceptivelly challenged.You are very hard on yourself, Petite.

    I know how easy it is to demanddemanddemand of oneself:BE good BE responsible BE entertaining BE a good mother…ad nauseum (at times, literally!)

    Sometimes you just have to breathe…

    Then you can realize that you are a unique being, a gift from your creator. Therein lies not only your strength, but the POWER to act upon your dreams. It is this which will attract to you the one who is truly meant to be yours, forever.


    Comment by Belle — April 13, 2006 @ 9:01 pm

  3. Hey, people are right, you are supposed to be revelling in this single state. Making the most of the time you have . . .
    And when you’re in a relationship, you’re supposed to revel in that. Making the most of the time you have . . .
    In fact, whatever your circumstances, you’re meant to make the most . . .
    Don’t let the mood you wake up in dictate your day. Choose to make the most of the day. Come what may.
    You can’t control everything about your day; but you can control your attitude, your outlook. And the more you practise, the better you get. And the better you get, the better your life gets.

    It’s free, and it’s immensely rewarding.

    Think positive. Think protons.

    Click my name for more. Go on, I dare you.

    Comment by Miss Nomer — April 13, 2006 @ 9:25 pm

  4. I’ve always beleived sometimes you just have to fake it. If this were Alcoholics Anonymous then it would be, “you have to fake it until you make it.”

    Sorry Petite — in time you won’t have to fake it.

    Comment by Chantel — April 13, 2006 @ 9:47 pm

  5. BE yourself. Change the track if you want, wallow with it if you prefer.

    And hang in there, being what other people want is never a good place to be.

    Comment by Gordon — April 13, 2006 @ 11:42 pm

  6. You describe what many people went/are going through brilliantly. No amount of self persuasion or friendship works on the bad days so hang on to the good ones. May you find a special someone to share the marvellous things going into this very special head of yours very soon.

    Comment by Maurine au bout du monde — April 14, 2006 @ 12:05 am

  7. Ups and downs…….ebbs and flows – it’s all part of life.

    Personally, as a single gal too, I know about what you feel inside……’s like in Sex and the City when people organise a great birthday party for Carrie and then no one shows. Her friends find her in the shower after listening to their messages of being late, and “start without us” crying with mascara down her face. They go to the coffee shop and she says “It’s scary because I’m 35 years old and I have no man that cares about me”.

    Sometimes I feel that – scared. Other times I revel in being single. But I know that I will always long for being part of a couple.

    But, after dating for a few months, I also know – that I’m waiting until I find someone I am really, really interested in before I date them. I’ve been on too many awful dates to do otherwise :)

    Bonne chance Petite!

    Comment by Kasey — April 14, 2006 @ 12:24 am

  8. Just keep listening to the music and learning.

    Comment by joeinvegas — April 14, 2006 @ 2:02 am

  9. Tho’ I lost some pretty intense relationships that haunted me for years, I never went through the trauma of losing a long-term partner as you did, and I didn’t have a kid until after I got married, but your words ring true for me anyway. (That’s what keeps me coming back to your blog – although so much is different in our lives there are so often posts that make me think “I could have written that – if I were a better writer!”)

    In my early 30’s I felt the way you feel – with no Tadpole to keep me going. My biological clock was ticking and I tried desperately to make the most inappropriate of relationships work. It was when I finally gave up that the love of my life turned up in the form of a very good friend. I would bet that though it may be later than you want it will happen for you too.

    Comment by Susan — April 14, 2006 @ 2:17 am

  10. Honesty as always. I like it.
    But come on, now, having a special man in your life will really “fill the void”? Truly? Securely? Forever? I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but has it done, so far, in your life? Is there any real and I mean REAL security in it? Men (or in my case, women) may come and go. So much for the constancy we hope for, face it. When you finally come to view an intimate relationship, no matter how lasting it may be, as just another “(relatively) superficial pleasure to fill the void” and you realise that even that won’t really fill it forever, then… ?
    I’m glad you TRIED though. It surely took a lot of pain for you to uproot yourself from your routine this time last year, and make an effort to seek for what you thought would make you happy. OK, so it didn’t work out. “The person who never made a mistake never made anything”, so they say. You’re a whole year older and wiser than you were last April. In the words of the Who song, you “won’t get fooled again”, not in quite the same way, at any rate. In the meantime, take heart: We’re all the same, behind these stupid plastic grins we wear, the truth is that we’re all unhappy, all searching, and all so afraid that we’ve only got a certain timeframe in which to find it.

    Comment by Tom Tyler — April 14, 2006 @ 3:12 am

  11. Fake it till you make it… the happiness will come back!

    And in the meantime, go shopping. Read celebrity gossip magazines…. OK was always my favorite poison while I lived abroad. It’s helpful.

    All the intense serious stuff can wait. Take a break from it.

    Comment by Shelley — April 14, 2006 @ 5:42 am

  12. It’s just a shame there’s not a ‘Shuffle’ button for life.

    Comment by US — April 14, 2006 @ 7:12 am

  13. isnt it vice-versa situation?
    i am happily married person, smtimes it is the best thing in my life, while other times missing new underwares, which looks strange on me in fact

    Comment by hera — April 14, 2006 @ 7:42 am

  14. The grass is always greener…

    I suggest only listening to the tunes that make you smile at strangers. Anything else is a sure spiral into depression. At least in my experience!

    Comment by BlondebutBright — April 14, 2006 @ 8:51 am

  15. Do you know what? It’s taken me all of my 37 years to work out that most people are faking it most of the time. Lots of the bossy, brittle , confident women – fake! Lots of swaggery suited and booted alpha males – fake! I think you are so in touch with your feelings and so eloquent that you are a tad too honest for this appearance obsessed city. Don’t worry, the happy bouncy person will supercede, she just needs a little break.
    And a cocktail or two.

    Comment by Flighty — April 14, 2006 @ 9:04 am

  16. I think we should all give a high five to Miss Nomer for the most platitudinous entry of the day.

    Comment by Trevor — April 14, 2006 @ 10:30 am

  17. sorry what was that about a platypus?

    Comment by petite — April 14, 2006 @ 11:01 am

  18. I had to break off an engagement on the 31st of December… the best thing for a happy new year, and I deeply, desperately know what you mean. Nothing can fill the void, and although one makes friends, and good one’s at that, it doesn’t replace the feeling of loss, the emptiness, the having to go back home by oneself in the evening and climb into bed hoping that a dreamless night will wipe it all away into oblivion.
    However I’m sure that there is someone who is just right for you, someone who will care, someone who will love, as sure as the air we breath, so hang on!
    Churchill once said that “we only relly learn how to play a game once we have lost more than we can afford to lose” and I have found that to be true in my short time here.
    Look at it as a transition, a moving situation, not a still life picture: it will happen, and then go and listen to Oasis (Champagne Supernova) really loud: they rock this world!
    As for the underware, I’m not to much of a specialist but whatever makes YOU feel best, not the other way around…
    Good luck, a lot of good people would go out of their way for you. Me too, although I don’t probably qualify as “a good person”.

    Comment by Greenmantle — April 14, 2006 @ 11:03 am

  19. Bill fell some 60 feet from a communications tower, I reckon he was pushed, the big stupid positive-thinking c.nt!

    Comment by Trevor — April 14, 2006 @ 11:12 am

  20. The saying “the grass is always greener…” applies here. When we are single we forget what we missed about being single while being in a couple. Take time to do those things for which you hadn’t time while in a couple. Travel freely for awhile. Don’t hurry into another relationship and, whatever you do, don’t be desperate.

    The sense of well-being that you will exude, if you take advantage of your singlehood, will attract men. Just wait until you are ready.

    Comment by Lost in France — April 14, 2006 @ 11:32 am

  21. OK, so I’m lowering the earnest tone here but can somebody tell me what all this ‘underware’ stuff is about? Is it a geek thing?

    Comment by Parkin Pig — April 14, 2006 @ 11:58 am

  22. Put your energies into a new project, a writing project, go discover what no one else knows. Keep it safe, and take the same care of your soul. It’ll much harder for anyone to interfere with your happiness- or to pass unrecognised when they try.
    nb I’m not sure Trevor is all that. :-)

    Comment by fjl — April 14, 2006 @ 12:31 pm

  23. Sorry to read about what you’re going through, and let me add my two pennorth: don’t entrust your soul to another human being for safekeeping. No-one is that trustworthy except God.

    I read a book just recently that changed my life, and stopped that empty, is this all there is feeling. It’s called The Purpose-Driven Life, and I strongly recommend it to you or anyone feeling lost, confused or low about what it’s all about anyway.

    Comment by radio maria — April 14, 2006 @ 2:48 pm

  24. hmmmm… I have someone but he doesn’t hang onto my words nor snuggle up in my hair… we are at that point where after 2 kids and ten years, it’s enough to do the peck on the cheek in the morning… obviously it’s not enough but….

    Comment by magillicuddy — April 14, 2006 @ 2:54 pm

  25. I’m glad you at least have those up days.

    May I suggest a hot water bottle as a soul-soother till someone else comes along to fill the void. There is nothing like a hot water bottle on cold, lonely nights.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go out & buy a new one as mine’s sprung a leak.

    Comment by dongurigal — April 14, 2006 @ 5:38 pm

  26. Let’s hear it for superficial pleasures and negligent underwear! We all need some of dat whether part of a couple or not.

    Comment by Mancunian Lass — April 14, 2006 @ 9:07 pm

  27. Hear hear. For the first time in ages, I’ve spent a day enjoying the sunshine, being with my friends and feeling genuinely happy for just being alive and being me. Now I sit here, reading your blog, and feeling as though I’m waiting for him to walk through the door and cuddle up to me after a long week at work. There are good days and bad days, and sometimes they come both at once.

    Comment by mintypoppet — April 14, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

  28. While I sympathise (honest), I am lost as to how you can say you do not have a special someone to hang on your every word. You have Trevor. He seems very special.
    I find myself wondering if he is real or some sort of performance art (Yes, I mean art – no f).
    But I am commenting to right an injustice. In fact, J’accuse. I would point out that the underwear is innocent. It has clearly been fulfilling its duty admirably and any negligence is clearly down to you.

    Comment by laurence — April 15, 2006 @ 12:07 am

  29. Well said, Laurence. I see Trevor very much as the voice of reason in all this touchy-feeliness.

    Comment by rhino75 — April 15, 2006 @ 12:27 am

  30. I know it’s rough for you but you really should try and stop thinking about it so much. You don’t HAVE to go out. You should just go out when you want the way you should just do what you want. Such a worrywart you are…

    Comment by nardac — April 15, 2006 @ 3:17 am

  31. First time writer here…wow, how i completely empathize with everything you wrote. As a single, 30 something, I feel completely lost and am searching for more meaning in this thing we call life. Thank you all positive thinkers out there. Although I agree to some extent with your comments, the hardest thing to do when one is down is pick oneself up from the abyss. However, having the support of ‘friends’ and ‘lovers’ always does help. I know, Petite, though that these dark, lonely, feeling sorry for oneself days will pass. Knowing this is what keeps me going day to day. I wish you well.

    Comment by travelingpixie — April 15, 2006 @ 7:57 am

  32. No no no no no no no.
    There ain’t no meaning and there ain’t no point.
    Don’t go searching for it or you’ll fritter your life away when you should be getting on with living it.

    Comment by Aaron Seasearch — April 15, 2006 @ 12:23 pm

  33. Thank you for wrtitting this blog


    Comment by Pierre Clavilier — April 15, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

  34. Give yourself a break Petite! I would think you’d still be in the grieving process … not exactly ready to revel in your single status … that can come later. Take care of YOU and get to know YOU. After leaving my marriage with three little boys in tow, I’ve been happily single for over three years. Of course, I’d love nothing more than for someone special to come along and sweep me off my feet ~ I am a romantic, after all ~ but I’m prepared to wait … not rush into another crappy situation out of a perceived need for love and security (which, really, can not be met simply by the presence of a warm body beside you!). I deserve that much. In the meantime, enjoy the quiet time of being just you and your daughter.

    Please don’t just ‘tread water’ … that’s taking away all credit to your being.

    Comment by Kerry — April 15, 2006 @ 10:22 pm

  35. Petite, I think some people are misinterpreting what your well-meaning family and friends meant (or this one at least). “Revelling in your single status” means giving yourself a break – enjoying just being yourself for a while – NOT taking up a wild party lifestyle in a bid to find a new man as soon as possible. Kerry, that’s in fact exactly the same as what you’re advising!

    Comment by old school friend — April 16, 2006 @ 11:02 am

  36. PS Of course it’s hard though – nobody is denying that… Maybe there is some new interest or activity that you could throw yourself into to take your mind off everything? That’s usually the best way. And who knows, it might in time lead you to Mr Right – someone who shares your outlook and passions.

    Comment by old school friend — April 16, 2006 @ 11:04 am

  37. Hey petite – you know, I think we all live life like that. It’s ups and downs, there and back again, all the time. Best just to accept it.

    Comment by Ralph — April 16, 2006 @ 2:39 pm

  38. The hardest thing about being single is the nagging doubt at the back of your mind that it will never end. But it will. Just believe.

    That new man will turn up when you’re good and ready -when you don’t need anyone else to press your ‘play’ button but can do it for yourself. In the meantime just enjoy the new opportunities and freedoms that life will bring you every day.

    I look back on my days of singledom in my early thirties with huge nostalgia and know that I would have enjoyed them even more if I’d been able to fully extinguish the nagging doubt.

    Comment by Paola — April 16, 2006 @ 3:00 pm

  39. I get told off about being negligent with my underwear. It’s wearing very thin.

    The statement, not the underwear.

    Comment by Greavsie — April 16, 2006 @ 9:32 pm

  40. I’ve enjoyed this blog immensely for months, thanks so much for sharing so much of yourself with your readers. I am the exact same age as you, Petite, and went through the break-up of a 5 year marriage just a few months before your relationship with Mr Frog ended. My husband was French as well – we met in Europe but lived together in Canada together. Anyways, about half a year after our separation, I met a new man and had stars in my eyes. When that relationship ended as well (it was too early for me), I decided to pursue my own interests and not to date for a while. I ended up learning to salsa dance, and am now passionately dancing every weekend. I’ve lost 15 pounds, feel great, and am enjoying my independence immensely. I highly recommend taking up a new hobby – the sense of accomplishment and pride helps assuage the inevitable bouts of loneliness. Mind you, there is nothing to replace the enormous high of being in love – but for me salsa dancing is a way to express my passion for life and love without having to give up too much of myself to a man before I’m ready.

    Comment by Andrea — April 17, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

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