If you’re stumbling upon my page for the first time, let me tell you some quick facts about myself: My name is Claudia Amendola and I absolutely adore Paris. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. Because, truly, it is my driving force through each day. What, in particular, you may ask? Well, the dream to one day pick myself up from this Western life and move on over to Paris.
I currently live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, which, to some, might get a, “yuck,” but it’s actually a very artistic, cultural hub of Ontario and I think it’s a great city. But in comparison to Paris, it’s crap, it’s absolute crap. It’s the gum stuck to the shoe of Paris. It’s the scum between Paris’ toes. It makes me sick. (If you get the reference, kudos.)
Seven years ago is when I first visited Paris, France, and it was love at first step. Paris, now, represents even more to me than it did those seven years ago. It is undoubtedly my haven, my solace when I desire escape. Parisienne books take me away, Parisienne movies transport me, and Parisienne smells and sounds simply take the cake. But, more than that, Paris is my “transformer”.
I use the image of Paris in my trauma therapy. I’m doing a specific kind of therapy called EMDR which combines eye movements, neurological traumatic memories, and new associations, to completely transform traumatic experiences. In November of 2006, I was sexually assaulted by a “friend” of mine. This trauma, along with things called “little traumas” over the years, have made me a rather complicated and multi-leveled individual, emotionally and psychologically. My therapist uses hand motions to change the emotional and psychological (and physical) ties to trauma, 180 degrees! This begins with thinking of a “safe zone”.
My safe zone was Paris, and we began treatment by embracing all aspects of that safe zone – the sights, smells, sounds, tastes of Paris – and tying those memories to her hand movements. Those same hand movements are then done as I recall traumatic experiences, and for some reason, the pain and anxiety are erased and replaced with the solace of the safe zone.
Paris is literally saving my life.
And so now, I just returned from a trip to Paris that was deeply personal, emotional, and crucial on my path to healing, and I’m suffering from severe ‘Post-Paris Depression”. It feels as though I have been forced out of my home. It feels as though I have been torn from the arms of my lover, unsure of when I might see them again. It feels as though I dove into an ocean of pure, beautiful bliss and then someone hooked me within their net and pulled me out to suffocate on shore. My heart is broken.
But this love is also a driving force; I want to move and make a life in Paris. I know I will be truly and completely happy if I, with my partner and with my animals, can leave this Western world and lifestyle behind and bathe in European beauty till the end of my days. I cried tears of happiness as I drove to the airport to take off to Paris. I cried tears of sorrow on the day before my departure. And as I write this, I cry tears of determination, of happiness and sadness combined, at the deep love for a city that I have inside my heart.
This page will chronicle that journey. This page will be where I share Parisian inspirations. This page will be where I share what steps bring me a little closer. This page will be for me, and will be for Paris.
This page is hope.