Here I am looking cute in a café on the sidewalk of a street somewhere in Paris. This is exactly the image I wanted. The city of love lives up to her cliché, as I do to mine. I needed this little break. I needed the sun and my best friend and the endless wandering in a foreign place to re-align me. We took to the streets, chasing light, admiring all the beautiful French things. Paris does not disappoint when it comes to beautiful things. We drank it all up with huge glasses of icy Rose. Summer has always been my savior. And then there is this: Who the fuck am I to sit here and pose drinking espresso in the most ‘insta-perfect’ way? The police are walking around in hordes with machine guns, which makes me feel neither safe nor scared. The soundtrack to this mini-holiday would be the constant cling-clang of the Eiffel Tower key rings sold on the streets. Five for one damn euro. And Lord, do these poor guys haggle for a few extra cents. Entire families of refugees, so many with small children, are begging on the streets as we wander past in search of our next quaint café on the sunny side of the street. It never feels okay for me, being so blessed and privileged in a world in so much pain. And why should it? I stare at these people because if I look away it would be too easy. Ignorance hasn’t gotten us anywhere but here. I think about the god-awful injustice, even the worst life for them here is better than their best life wherever they came from. I feel so helpless but press on and order quiche and continue discussing my own challenges. This winter I found myself back in a dark abyss, where every anxiety-fueled afternoon had me questioning if this is finally it, the hour I slip from struggling to psychotic. Our suffering is not comparable, it never will be. Whether I like it or not, my struggle is so real for me, so present in my everyday experience of the world. I cannot ignore this either. There are just too many circumstances outside of my control. I keep learning again and again to focus on what I can do, to keep showing up to my own healing. This means honoring the contradictions, embracing the sunshine while refusing to look away from what hurts. (at Paris, France)