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Many lives

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Okay, again a personal post. The French text is what I recorded on audio in October 2023, while driving from Geneva to Biarritz (for WordCamp Biarritz) and what the road and dusk inspired me. It’s a mix of “art” and personal reflections, not necessarily autobiographical 😉

I recorded in French and post it here, as is, untouched!
An attempt at translating to English is below the French text! You may recognise some references (films, songs, places).

Edited on 7 April 2024 to add the footnotes, 1 to 6 for the original French text / 7 to 12 for the English translation. They have a meaning for me!

French

L’odeur des bougainvillĂ©es!

La vie de personnages de films comme Trinity, Lilou Dallas, Rachael, Agatha ou encore Miriam Blaylock qui a connu les pharaons, CĂ©sar et le Moyen Âge1.

Plein de liens diffĂ©rents et uniques avec des gens de partout, de savoir que plusieurs personnes quelque part pensent Ă  toi, te souhaitent que du bien. Tomber amoureuse encore et encore, d’hommes et de femmes, de toutes sortes de gens!

Des contrĂ©es, des senteurs, des atmosphĂšres, ĂȘtre Ă  la fois heureuse de voir quelque chose de beau et triste de ne pas pouvoir le partager, avoir une musique planante dans la tĂȘte qui te rappelle tel ou tel souvenir, avoir des musiques qui te font penser Ă  certains moments partagĂ©s dans tes plusieurs vies. Que ce soit musiques orientales, occidentales, actuelles, anciennes.

Avoir Ă©tĂ© celle qui, avec ceci, t’a fait rĂ©alisĂ© que tu es plus important dans le coeur de certains que tu ne le pensais!

Des chansons qui te parlent de privilĂšge, de pouvoir voyager partout, avoir cette “rage against the machine”2 parfois, le fait d’ĂȘtre soi-mĂȘme priviliĂ©giĂ©e et avoir la haine que l’autre ne le soit pas, que ton hyperempathie te fasse penser aux atrocitĂ©s qui se passent dans le monde, des gens qui perdent leurs enfants, les enfants maltraitĂ©s, des gens traumatisĂ©s dans la violence et la guerre.

Se sentir parfois si impuissante dans ce systĂšme qui fait passer l’argent avant la paix. Avoir des amis qui ne peuvent pas te rejoindre car eux n’ont pas le privilĂšge du passeport.

Traverser les contrées, voir un coucher de soleil, dans des endroits mythiques ou pas. Savoir que des gens vivent là, voir leur vie, comment elle est, partager leur quotidien dur ou facile, des gens proches ou loin, avec qui tu partages quelque chose, un lien qui nous rapproche alors que nos vies sont si différentes.

Avoir cette impression de faire quelque chose d’important mĂȘme si personne ne le saura, on aura oeuvrĂ© en coulisses.

Avaler des kilomĂštres un soir, et penser aux trains qui passent dans le Vercors dans la plaine, oĂč subsiste encore ton Ă©cho 3.

D’avoir connu des rockstars qui t’ont remerciĂ© de les Ă©couter4, d’avoir croisĂ© le regard d’un sans abri Ă  qui tu as offert un sandwich, et de mettre ces personnes sur un pied d’Ă©galitĂ© avec les grands CEO rencontrĂ©s dans les affaires et qui sont comme tout autre ĂȘtre humain.

De savoir prendre la joie en regardant une fleur, une chenille qui va devenir papillon, de savoir voir la beautĂ© des montagnes, des plaines, des campagnes, des littorals de mers jusqu’aux grands ocĂ©ans. Des eaux de Pacific Palisades Ă  celles des canaux de Venise, ou le fond des ocĂ©ans oĂč se seront crashĂ©s des avions5, des restes d’amis gisant par le fond.

L’eau des plages Ă  Mumbai, les trottoirs de Manille6, des femmes qui ont dĂ» vendre leur corps pour survivre, les gens rejettĂ©s pour qui ils sont et pour ceux qu’ils aiment, le nounours plein de sang pris en photo lors d’un accident incluant des enfants.

English

The smell of bougainvillea.

The lives of film characters such as Trinity, Lilou Dallas, Rachael, Agatha and Miriam, who lived through the Pharaohs, Caesar and the Middle Ages7.

Lots of different and unique connections with people from all over the world, knowing that many people somewhere are thinking of you, wishing you nothing but the best, falling in love again and again, with men and women, with all kinds of people!

Lands, scents, atmospheres, being both happy to see something beautiful and sad not to be able to share it. Having soaring music in your head that reminds you of this or that memory. Having music that makes you think of certain moments shared in your many lives. Whether it’s Eastern, Western, contemporary or ancient music.

Having been the one who, with this, made you realise that you are more important in people’s hearts than you thought.

Songs that tell you about privilege, about being able to travel anywhere, about having that “Rage against the machine8” sometimes, about being privileged yourself and hating the fact that others aren’t, that your hyperempathy makes you think about the atrocities going on in the world, people losing their children, children being abused, people traumatised by violence and war.

Sometimes feeling so powerless in a system that puts money before peace. Having friends who can’t join you because they don’t have the privilege of the passport.

Crossing countries, seeing a sunset, in mythical places or not. Knowing that people live there, seeing what their lives are like, sharing their daily lives, hard or easy, people close or far, with whom you share something, a bond that brings us closer together when our lives are so different.

To have that feeling that you’re doing something important even though no one will know – you’ll have been working behind the scenes.

Swallowing up the kilometers, one evening, and thinking about the trains passing through the Vercors on the plain, where an echo of you still remains9.

To have met rock stars who thanked you for listening to them10, to have met a homeless person to whom you offered a sandwich, and to put these people on an equal footing with the big CEOs you meet in business, who are just like any other human being.

To know how to take joy in looking at a flower, a caterpillar that is about to become a butterfly, to know how to see the beauty of mountains, plains, countryside, seashores and large oceans. From the waters of Pacific Palisades to those of the canals of Venice, or the bottom of the oceans where planes have crashed, the remains of friends lying on the seafloor11.

The water on the beaches of Mumbai, Manila’s sidewalks12, women who have had to sell their bodies to survive, people rejected for who they are and for who they love, the teddy bear full of blood photographed in an accident involving children.

Footnotes

1 to 6 for the original French text / 7 to 12 for the English translation

  1. En rĂ©fĂ©rence aux personnages fĂ©minins de ces films: Matrix, Le CinquiĂšme ElĂ©ment, Blade Runner, Minority Report, Les PrĂ©dateurs (Miriam a plusieurs milliers d’annĂ©es et a tout vĂ©cu) ↩
  2. En rĂ©fĂ©rence au nom du groupe “Rage Against the Machine↩
  3. En rĂ©fĂ©rence aux paroles de la chanson “La nuit je mens” d’Alain Bashung ↩
  4. En rĂ©fĂ©rence aux groupes Opeth, Enslaved et Arcturus ↩
  5. En rĂ©fĂ©rence au crash du vol SR111 (voir aussi mon post My Love and Hate relationship with Aviation) ↩
  6. En rĂ©fĂ©rence aux paroles de la chanson “NĂ© quelque part” de Maxime Le Forestier ↩
  7. Refers to the female characters of the following films: The Matrix, The Fifth Element, Blade Runner, Minority Report, The Hunger (Miriam is several thousands of years old and has lived everything) ↩
  8. Refers to the band name “Rage Against The Machine ↩
  9. Refers to the lyrics of that French song “La nuit je mens” by Alain Bashung ↩
  10. Refers to these bands: Opeth, Enslaved and Arcturus ↩
  11. Refers to the crash of the SR111 flight (see also my blog post My Love and Hate relationship with Aviation) ↩
  12. Refers to the lyrics of that French song “NĂ© quelque part” (meaning “Born Somewhere”) by Maxime Le Forestier ↩

2 responses to “Many lives”

  1. Hari Shanker avatar

    What an intriguing post! I loved the various shades in your life portrayed elegantly in the essay. Thanks also for sharing the English version, it was good practice for my very limited French. I enjoyed reading through this, and I must admit, some of my “random thoughts” are very similar to yours.

    P.S. Trinity (The Matrix series), and Rage Against The Machine fan here as well!

    1. Patricia BT avatar
      Patricia BT

      Thank you my friend!

      Yes it’s an intriguing post, even for myself 😅
      I hesitated a lot before to publish that and decided to transcript as it was recorded, on that moment last October! That’s why there are a lot of unrelated thoughts, and it’s a bit messy.

      To “working behind the scenes”, friendly yours!

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