remercier

| to thank (verb) | /ʀ(ə)mɛʀsje/

France,

I have always been able to adapt to new, sometimes frightening environments, even if I trembled on the precipice before finally gasping and taking that leap. Once a timid introvert, I have become courageous. But I was not always so.

Two years ago, I crept, crying, into my father’s office the night before leaving for Bordeaux. “I am so scared. I will be alone.” I said, sobbing, as my father set aside his book.

I have only recently discovered this secret, shameful fear of loneliness in myself. I hate it. I have always envied those who enjoyed solitude. My fear of loneliness has led me to make foolish decisions that have left me bruised and abandoned.

And, France, you have been ruthless. You are like a merciless fire that has scarred but refined me. The experience was painful and terrifying, and how many times have I said, “Fuck you. I’m going home”? How could you treat me so after everything I’ve sacrificed for you? Like an absentee parent, your apathy has taught me to defend myself, to depend on myself. You’ve taught me to be strong. You’ve taught me that I am strong.

But you were not always so cruel. You have urged me to revel in my solitude. Your people dine and drink unaccompanied, so I’ve taken up the habit as well. And in doing so, I have come to enjoy–no, cherish–my own company. You see, I just needed to know I wasn’t strange. Thanks to you, I have finally found joy in solitude.

Though our relationship is wrought with fury, through the good and the bad, you have shaped me. And I thank you.

Yours truly,

About Gabriella

I'm a twenty-something insomniac with a caffeine addiction and chronic wanderlust. I recently graduated with my M.A. in French, and I've spent the past two years living and working as an English teacher in France. I now work as an English professor at a university in Lille, where my students are learning to never omit the Oxford comma.
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