The Proust Questionnaire
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Oh, God! I don’t know. What I do know is that I am constantly in pursuit of it. The happiness thing. I know that in the past a lot of the stuff I thought would bring me some form of happiness have always failed me. I guess my idea of perfect happiness is something that doesn’t leave me longing. Something Complete. Whole. Still.
I do also know that when I lie down on my grandmother’s stoop during summer afternoons, I am still. Also, hugs and kisses from my family. So, I guess, happiness for me is being loved and loving my people back. And of course, the little things like frozen yoghurt (happiness in a tub), Chardonnay, Rose in a teacup on Sunday afternoons, tea, moonlight, star gazing, beach bumming, laughing (especially with my mama), basically all the little things.
2. What is your greatest fear?
I have a couple:
1. Waking up in a coffin. Being buried alive.
2. Losing my sense of humour.
3. Losing my light. I still love singing “This little light of Mine” as much as I did when I was in preschool. #letitshineletitshineletitshine
4. Being too sad to do the things I love.
5. I’m terribly scared of being attacked by a monkey, ape, gorilla, chimp or anything in that family. I don’t find them cute. Google Charla Nash before you judge me or click here to terrify yourself immediately
My greatest fear used to be losing the people I love but then my granddad died and I loved him and losing him made the sun seem to shine a little less, to me. Then my sister died and I loved her and losing her made the sun seem to shine a little less bright, to me. And then my dad died and it seemed like the whole universe lost all of its light. So, I don’t fear losing the people I love anymore because I know that my world will implode again one day. It might be tomorrow or on a random Tuesday while I’m making a tuna sandwich but it will happen. So why fear the inescapable?
But waking up in a coffin, that’s a rational fear because it isn’t completely inevitable. Is it?
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I wouldn’t use the word deplore, I don’t take myself too seriously to actually hate anything about myself. I do dislike that I procrastinate a lot (To my defence: I only do things when I am inspired to, which is actually the way it should be. I blame the capitalist system for creating a world where everything runs on deadlines and due dates)
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I read somewhere that the qualities and traits you don’t like in others are those that you, subconsciously, don’t like in yourself so I’m going to be lenient and say I don’t particularly enjoy the company of people who hold on to things for too long and want me to remain there with them. I’m not saying we shouldn’t deal with things in our own time but I can only stay there for as long as it doesn’t compromise my happiness and peace of mind. Call me selfish. If I am actively trying to bring myself into the light, I will resent you if you want me to stay in the darkness so you can have company. I’m not saying I don’t hold on to things myself. I’m human and some things take longer than others to get over or to learn to live with but I don’t invite others into my sadness for more than a minute before I reel it back to myself and try to heal from within.
I also don’t like people who stress or worry too much. I might not show it much, but I am very sensitive to peoples energies and when I am around someone who is angry, stressed or feeling other negative feelings, I sometimes feel it dragging me down as well. Sometimes it is even physical, my back feels tense. So sometimes I might seem detached but it is actually to protect myself from people’s vibes. The worst part is that I am hyper sensitive to my family’s moods, like when my mom or brother is upset at or around me, my back literally aches. It’s weird.
5. Which living person do you most admire?
Me. I have to live with myself every day. It takes a lot. Jokes.
It has to be my mama.
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
Travel. I’d sell my soul.
7.What is your current state of mind?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
9. On what occasion do you lie?
When my procrastination catches up with me. Also, when I pretend to be sober. Luckily, a couple of years of underage drinking and promising my mum I won’t drink until my 21st birthday has made me into quite a pro.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I’m not a huge fan of my belly fat.
11. Which living person do you most despise?
Everyone involved in my grandmother’s death.
This other guy who claimed to be my half-brother.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
There is no way I could ever just chose one, so here’s the list:
5. Sociablity and adventurousness (I’m a Sagittarius)
6. Quick wit
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
See list above.
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“I’m so confused”
“do the thing”
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What? Travel. Nothing gives me more joy. Also, anyone who has ever and will ever offer me chardonnay or champagne.
Who? My family and my friends who I consider to be my chosen family
16. When and where were you happiest?
When I made out with a French guy on the beach under the moonlight. I don’t know why, but I was happy.
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
Rihanna (yes, I understand the question and my answer is still Rihanna). I would like my talent to be Rihanna.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would stop living in my head. I do that. A lot. Like I do this thing where I think about things in advance, I plan in advance, the whole nine-yards, I just don’t do anything to let people know of my plans or what I need until it’s the very last minute and I feel like an idiot when everyone is like “why didn’t you say anything?”. I feel like an idiot a lot.
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Staying true to myself. I have, for the most part, stayed on course.
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I don’t want to be anybody else. I don’t know what it is really like to be them, I might like their life but I don’t know what they, themselves are like. I’d actually like to come back a as a bottle of champagne. A really good one, the kind that half naked blond girls drink on yachts in the South of France or in bathtubs the size of my apartment.
21. Where would you most like to live?
In the moment.
22. What is your most treasured possession?
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The absence of love, in whatever form it might manifest in.
24. What is your favourite occupation?
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
I can’t answer this myself, it’s for others to say.
26. What do you most value in your friends?
I’m really bad at making time for my loved ones. Be it via phone, text, email, in person, you name it, I’m bad at it. So, I most value that my friends still have love for me even with all my tendencies.
27. Who are your favourite writers?
Reading is one of my favourite pleasures so this will probably be one of the longest answers. Here it goes:
1. Me – I love reading my own work because it feels like I am looking into myself and life from the outside in. Sometimes I write things down that make me think about myself or things happening in my life differently. It gives me perspective. My favourite type of meditation.
2. Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist is my bible.
3. Hemingway – Never read any of his books but I have a whole folder of his quotes and I read a short bio on him and I felt like him and I would have gotten along.
4. Toni Morrison – I hold “The Bluest Eye” in the highest regard.
5. James Baldwin – My hero.
6. The writers at Saturday Night Live – I get Goosebumps every time I hear “And live from New York, It’s Saturday Night!”.
7. Nora Roberts – Don’t judge me.
8. Mara Brock Akil – she’s the screenwriter and creator of Girlfriends and Being Mary Jane.
9. Sophie Kinsella – I adore the Shopaholic series.
10. Terry McMillan – Waiting to Exhale is food for my soul.
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Amelia Earhart. Baby girl just wanted to fly around the world. I’m about that.
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
1. My Parents.
2. My grandparents.
3. Black women
5. Papa Penny
31. What are your favourite names?
My unconceived children’s names.
32. What is it that you most dislike?
33. What is your greatest regret?
I missed out on love once.
34. How would you like to die?
Old, long grey locks, in a really comfy bed, in the arms of someone I love and with my close family and friends around me.
35. What is your motto?
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough