Con•tra•dic•tion: direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency.
They exist all around us.
The insecure celebrity flaunting herself after one too many cocktails and crying over her less—than—classy appearance on the next day’s front page.
The materialistic Buddhists (I may too be guilty of this one) who unknowingly fail to practice what they preach every time they give into corporate greed and hit the mall.
The selfish philanthropist who demands from the masses the public appreciation that he “so rightly deserves” over public awareness of the cause.
You may not be any of these people; you may not be at opposition with yourself at all.
But I am.
I am a living, breathing contradiction.
I am ordinary.
I don’t have the intelligence of a surgeon, the beauty of a Brazilian goddess or the compassion of, well, my mother. I will never cure cancer, never speak Portuguese with a mother tongue and stop every man in his tracks (sexual orientation regardless) and I will never take every waking moment as an opportunity to make someone smile. (Yes, my mom is just that annoyingly kind. B*tch).
I am extraordinary.
I am always in two places at once, in my head and in my heart. I think logically and love illogically. I am more than ambitious and driven—I am passionate—and although I make plenty of mistakes, I am proud to say that I’ve come a long way from the infamous wreckage of my youth, which is more than most from my alma mater.
And on occasion, I’ve been known to be the exception, not the rule—something I’ve learned is insurmountably hard to come by from various romantic comedies and the like. (There’s gotta’ be some truth to those bad boys, am I right?).
I am impractical.
I yearn to find madness in mediocrity, aim to slip through the cracks of the well formed metaphor for what life “should” be. As my friends landed jobs on, in my opinion, the path too often taken, I made a promise that upon graduation, I would be moving to Spain.
And I don’t like to break my promises.
I seek adventure and distinction from the norm, and I am stubborn and diligent in my search—so diligent that I’m often too blind to see; too proud to know that to conform doesn’t always mean to fail. In my mind, however, the two are one in the same.
I am practical.
I realize that I feel less like a young professional and more like a 20-something on vacation, stuck in this limbo between college and the real world. I am a tourist playing dress up as a citizen, living both in and outside, walking a tightrope between my reality and that to which I want to belong. (Now I want to conform? Funny).
And I quickly found the flaws in my planned pursuit of some life-changing European love affair. It turned out for the best. For the moment, I am taken. I’m in an ever-evolving, fully committed relationship with me. Maybe the most practical decision I’ve ever made.
I am open.
Open to religions, ethnicities, ideas, people, you name it. I am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage and pro-happiness for any and every living creature. If you have an opinion, if you have something to teach me, I want to learn.
I am closed.
I can count on both hands the number of people who have truly and completely known the “real” me. To be fair, it’s only half the other person’s fault, because I am complicated to the core and tough to please.
To know me is to interest me; to captivate me is to astound me. Yet my discrimination is adverse, seeing as I can’t say I always have something to offer myself. And although I’m well aware, I am set in my ways. Only if you prove to me that you are worth my time will I let you in, and then I have all the time in the world.
I am fragile.
And I break. Confident and assured as I may seem on the surface, I am tattered, torn, defeated. I am my own worst critic—a two-sided mirror reflecting my self-righteous tone, my indignation and my abundance of insecurities,.
Most days, I like what I see. Some days, I feel unrecognizable, like a foreign body has invaded what I once knew as me. And these are the hardest days, the days I wonder where it all went wrong, and when it will be right again.
I am strong.
I have overcome loss, grief and heartache. I have been called many things, but weak is not one of them. I am praised for my spirit, my risk—taking, my inability to settle for less than I deserve. I hold true to my dreams, and I will fight for them with all that I have.
I am a living, breathing contradiction.
I am perfectly imperfect.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
An aspiring journalist, fashion enthusiast and lover of all things yoga, dance and green, Jamie packed up her life nine months ago and made the big move to Madrid, Spain from little old Ohio. Spending her days as an English teacher and soul-searcher, she is completely fascinated by international languages and cultures and won’t be satisfied until she’s seen it all. And so it begins.
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Editor: Kate Bartolotta