A beautiful house in Provence or a prison?

Life is often a matter of perception.

This is the house where I spent most of my childhood summers and where I spent most of my teenage years. A beautiful old property only 45 minutes away from Cannes in a small village called Pegomas. It was a nice place, with a pool and a huge garden and I hated it. Even today I can’t go there without feeling sad and oppressed. Each time I set a foot in this gorgeous property, I wonder why it affects me so much.

I came from Paris and this place was where my cousins were visiting once in a while to play in the pool. This is where I was helping my dad building a wall or taking care of the trees when I was a kid. This is also the place where I learned what solitude felt like. Yes, family was visiting but most of the time I spent my summers there by myself, inside this house. My parents where busy, my brothers too old to be available and then out to college. Pegomas was to far from any town where my friends were living. I had to walk in the dark to take a bus to take me to school and walk back in the dark to come back home. And yes it was scary.

As I became a teenager and wanted to go out or see my friends, this place became my prison: a beautiful one, too far, no transportation. So I sat there waiting for the days to pass. At least that was my interpretation of it. Maybe it was not exactly the way it was but it was the way I was seeing it, the way I experienced it.

Today as an adult I choose to change this message for few reasons. Countryside does not have to be synonym with darkness, gloominess and fear. Solitude doesn’t have to be sad and miserable. This was my perception as a kid and it left a trace into my subconscious. This trace I feel it in my body each time I go there or to an isolate place and I can’t breathe. Today I choose to let go of the impression it made on me. I look at that photo once more and cry over the young girl who was so sad, so scared and lonely. I am not this girl anymore. I am not a depressed, isolated, unconfident teenager anymore. I am an adult woman with more friends that I can count. I can travel over the world. I know how to see beauty in a tree or a newborn animal. I know how to appreciate the joy inside myself when I don’t have anyone around. Today I know that I am free and full of love, of life wherever I am. Today I choose to breathe.