Blazer, Kohl's | Button-down, thrifted J.Crew | Skirt, Target | Boots, Old Navy | Necklace, Walmart (like I've said before, haute couture)
I'm afraid of losing her sometimes--the girl who wears English like a second skin, like a favorite t-shirt that feels just right.
When I transition between languages--between identities--I feel unsettled. After two months of living primarily in my French persona, I feel more and more removed from English. When I speak in English, my voice sounds cold, foreign, awkward. When I speak in English, I develop a dull headache, the physical manifestation of intellectual strain--strain that I once associated with speaking in French.
The seasons have changed, and my favorite t-shirt no longer suffices. To stay warm, I need French, a boxy sweater that fits far from perfectly. At times, I feel constricted, unable to freely and accurately express my my thoughts. Other times, I feel liberated, equipped with a multilingual vocabulary to tackle the world. But the sweater still doesn't feel quite right.
For now, I am language-homeless, identity-confused. I am a wanderer, meandering between who I was and who I am becoming.
I hope I'll grow into that sweater. Or, I hope that with strategic layering--ample practice and attention--the sweater will begin to feel just right. I've already begun to have more interesting, resonant conversations in French, and sometimes I even think in French. And when I write in English, I catch myself wanting to interject French phrases that feel more accurate than any English equivalent.
As I grow more and more at home in French, I feel more and more like myself. I am no longer the girl who couldn't bear to leave her life at her home university, who couldn't let go of a year that was meant to be beautifully ephemeral. I am no longer the girl who dreamt audaciously but in reality craved the comfortable familiar. I am whoever I want to be.
So in the end, there's nothing to fear. I may be losing her, but I'm gaining myself.