Friday, January 22, 2010

"An Education" & Life's Great Moments

When I was 13 my life was at full speed. How rare for a young girl raised in a Catholic school in a sort-of-conservative society!

And I wonder, where did I get my absolutely natural penchant for disbobeying the conventional rules?

Well, I must be honest: my home -although my mother tried her best- was nothing if a 'bohemian' and not too conservative environment, headed by a genial artist who with absolute lust for living broke all the rules --and a beautiful woman who raised me and my brother with at least 50% of the discipline that other Cuban homes adhere to. And she tried hard doing so!

Still...why did I so 'organically' loved those stories of forbidden love, flirtateous heroines, foreign places, insouciant men and women --and amazingly interesting and desobedient characters? Why was emotional (not physical) danger so alluring? Why sexy, irreverent and strong men were so important? Why did I yearn to travel to Paris with such intensity?

Nobody told me to do so, or feel that way! My family were not francophiles at all --but more Spain oriented in their tastes and customs. And TV was not the 24/7 machine gun of information that it is today. Life was more sheltered because the world was more sheltered. Things were more private. Taken more seriously. And people wrote more 'essays' and read more novels and interesting books.

Maybe that is why I loved Francoise Sagan's female characters from the moment Bonjour Tristesse (Buenos Dias Tristeza, since I read in Spanish) fell into my hands. And how I loved those Brigitte Bardot and Mylene Demongeot movies where little sports cars (the Kharman Ghia become my life obssesion during those years) were frantically driven around Paris boulevards by French heroines, donning a silk scarf tied around their hair and big sunglasses!

I wanted to BE those women! And in my 'real' life I imitated them as much as I could. For some strange reason my mother never objected that at 13 I wore dresses like I had been 21. Sleeveless, too daring round and V neck decolletes, cinched waists ---and flat shoes! Because wearing heels was definitely a no/no until I reached 15!...My boobs were showing, I was wearing a corset around my tiny waist (a 'corselete'), and it was OK ---but heels were only for 'big girls'. How crazy! I also wore my hair like BB and eyeliner! But no heels!

But it was so much fun acting out my fantasies! Fantasies that women today -unfortunately- do not have. They are missing such a great part of Life and most of them are jaded and filled with a disconcerting 'ennui'!

And my life at 13 and those feelings and fantasies came back to me vividly when I recently saw the English film "An Education". It takes place in the 60's --and the heroine (much more ignorant and naive than me and my friends were at our time!) did shared with us many similarities. It is such a cute and sweet film that I recommend it to all. Maybe seeing it gives inspiration to young girls to dream a little more. To enjoy the beauty of Life. To have more plans, more dreams....In it, the heroine ends up wiser, if not necessarily happier --but her trip to Paris with the forbidden man she loved would always live in her memory!

See the trailer for the lovely movie at