August 12, 2010 by jessperriam
Warning: this post may contain mild sentimentality and navel gazing.
It’s not very often a poster for a children’s movie resonates with me and makes me thinks, “Yeah. Right this very second at a Parisian Metro station, that poster pretty much sums up my life right now.”
Except I’m not a turtle, I’m not in the ocean and, I’m not voiced by Dany Boon… cool as that may be.
But my name is Samy.
Wait a second… I hear you say. Your name is not Samy.
To which I respond with a mid-to-late ’80s flashback moment.
My name is Jessamy. I like to call myself Jess despite the calls of ‘but Jessamy is such a pretty name’ because it’s annoying to repeat yourself and explain how you spell it. Especially when your surname is Perriam. I mean, come on – that’s 14 letters of explanation right there!
Anyway in the mid-80s when I was a little person an aunty decided to be mildly creative and call me Samy. Because while you can snip the -amy off my name and call me Jess, presumably you can snip the Jes- off my name and be left with Samy.
Clever, clever. Ten points for initiative right there.
So for the first ten or so years of my life, family called me Samy.
I just realised that was a lot of back story to explain a poster. I don’t care.
But at that very moment, right there at Javel metro station in Paris (yes, if you squint, you can make it out in the reflection), I realised that this little Samy was herself having a rather voyage extraordinaire. I couldn’t believe that I was there.
For the better part of a decade and a half, Samy had been an anxious little thing, wanting to see and do amazing things but petrified to get out at do them. Long story short, this all came to a head when I had to decide between indulging my fears (but working in a department store for the rest of my life) or facing them head on (swallowing my pride, admitting there was a problem and seeing a psychologist – but having a career that I love).
It was a no-brainer. Off to the psychologist I went. And I got the chance to prove I could face my fears by moving to the other side of the country to be a baby online producer (read: paid tourist).
And it was bloody hard. Hyperventilating while your mind tries to convince you you’re inherently wrong is never fun.
It’s at this point, I want to say that I’m not trying to ellicit sympathy or coos of ‘you’re so brave!’. I just want to explain why sometimes I feel elated to be doing this.
The hows and whys of how I came to be travelling Europe on my own are another story entirely.
I had booked parts of this trip with my then boyfriend. A pre-Christmas break-up kind of killed the plans of travelling together. But my notorious stubborness meant that there was no way in hell I would cancel my tickets.
There was a part of me that was incredibly concerned that ghosts of boyfriends past would accompany me on this trip, putting a dampener on it all in my head. And to be honest there was in the beginning.
But then you realise you only get once chance at this – this very moment – and you can’t wander around with the past adding an extra few mental kilograms to your backpack.
That realisation has changed my life. And so looking at that poster in Paris made me smile. I am having Le Voyage Extrordinaire de Samy, not Le Voyage Extraordinaire de Samy and…
And I don’t want it any other way. I think I would have been an ill-tempered mutated sea bass (yes, blatant Austin Powers reference) by now. The people I’ve met wouldn’t have really met me. They would have met me being overshadowed by someone else. I wouldn’t have seen half of the amazing things I’ve seen and I would have spent a hell of a lot of time arguing.
So this is why it matters. This is why I’m having the time of my life.
There are so many things I want to see and do. Now there is nothing holding me back. That is why it matters.