Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Me, Happy Me

I am often asked why I don’t want to come back to live in France. Seriously, what is wrong with me? My roots are there, I should come back. Well, I can confirm that I am not coming back. Because over here, in London, I feel like a Goddess. And, best of all, I did nothing for this. Absolutely nothing. But somehow, just by crossing the Channel, I became a vamp. Let me take an example: in France when I wear my torn jeans, I look scruffy. Over here, I am stylish. Effortlessly sexy, even. How did this happen? I have absolutely no clue. But it sure did.

I love it here. I receive, once or twice a month, flattering emails and also tweets mentioning how good I look. This simply never happened in France. Ever. When I was sixteen, one of my best friends managed to have three boyfriends in a year. I didn’t manage to get a single one. I remember thinking that I would live like a nun for the rest of my life. Thankfully, I didn’t. I ended up having a British husband (Cheers to happy-endings!). My then-friend stayed in France where despite being skinny she feels fat and diets all the time. She eats nothing, and her face is full of worry-wrinkles. The fact that she smokes didn’t help, I think. Apologies for being so mean: I used to like one of the guys she went out with. It looks like I haven’t forgotten. I am still meridional after all these years, after all. Anyway, in London, I stuff my face with full-fries and red velvet cakes at every possible opportunity, and I feel great, because I can go for a run in the park to eliminate afterwards. And all this good food is making me look plump -no wrinkles just yet. YAY! I am convinced that if it makes me happy, it can’t be that bad, right? Maybe I learned to live guilt-free over here. And it must show. Just a thought.
To top everything up, every time I say something even remotely interesting about food or wine, people listen to me and coo. Apparently, I am soooo knowledgeable (Ahem…I am not). To top it up, somehow I always feel thinner than the other women at dinner parties. There is a conspiration against women in the UK: once you have kids, you are led to believe that it’s ok to put on weight. You will be told that this is how women are supposed to look, and if you remain normal-looking you will implicitly be judged, because surely it means that you don’t put your children first. 

Well, as I am French, I didn’t listen to this rubbish. We French women have been taught never to let ourselves go (too much). So I didn’t. And as a result I have it all in London. Friends find me vibrant and beautiful. In France, I just feel normal. Don’t get me wrong, normal is good. But I have to admit that I am getting used to the extra attention. Come on, nobody ever confused me with Juliette Binoche in my home country.
What can I say? I feel special here -and in a good way. No need for expensive clothing or fancy manicures. Just being me is enough. What’s not to like?
In short, I found my inner Goddess this side of the Channel. What about you ? How did you find your inner Goddess?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • Wow! So so happy for your happiness dear Muriel…. what can I say…you’re a rockstar! 😉

    • Thank you Rohit! I am much happier in London. I am not sure that I fully understand why, but hey, here it is!

  • I think when I was younger, I felt rather goddess-like, but at 49, I look at my under-eye circles and my little beginnings of wrinkles and feel aged and bleh. I am thin without trying very hard (yay for that), but no, I don’t feel the goddess in me, even with male attention and such. I think I am having a mid-life crisis. lol! And really, I should feel pretty great considering I am in pudgy U.S., but maybe I need a makeover to boost my attitude, yes? But you? Yes, you have Inner Goddess radiating from you just from looking at your picture and reading your lovely essay. 🙂

  • Glad that you are a hit in London! It’s you, though, not just because you’re French but I imagine that helps.
    London wasn’t great for me. But then I’m English. In Mexico, I was a hit, and didn’t do bAdly in the US. My British accent is a huge asset here.
    You know that you’ve got it, Muriel, and you know how to flaunt it!

    • I will, Pennie, I will. I just find it easier to be myself this side of the Channel.

  • Good for you, Muriel! Glad to hear you’re sounding so happy and confident. I think most women (or maybe its a British woman thing) struggle with feeling confident about themselves and their bodies and personalities, thanks to the influence of all kinds of things, including dreadful womens’ magazines. It’s an inspiration when one of us fights on through and makes it out the other side, in all her fabulousness!

    • Thank you Flora. It may also have something to do with the fact that i started running again. And running in London is unbelievable, isn’t it?

  • Well I’m certainly not emigrating to France then! I completely understand why you would want to stay in this country. You can show us how it’s done. Oh la la! I’m glad you’ve found your inner Goddess…she was always there, but sometimes we have to be shown her by others before we can see ourselves.

    • Very true, Andrea, very true. Somehow I feel more at ease over here. I don’t know why, that’s just the way it is.

  • What a refreshing take on assured self confidence. I also think that in France they are do super critical that even if you are content they tell you what they aren’t happy about like invisible love handles and misery loves company. I think that a little effort does go a long way here whereas it doesn’t in France.

    • Very true Naomi. People are super-critical in my home country. that’s why being here feels liberating.

  • I’m still looking for my inner goddess!

  • You are too gorgeous 🙂

  • Yay! I’m so happy for you Muriel. I love Paris but London is home currently and it rocks. 🙂
    I’m in search of my inner goddess too. She’s hiding there somewhere obscured by the ‘mummy pounds’. 😉

    • Well, mine was too…And you know what: the mummy pounds will go if you want them to. And if it is what it takes to find your inner goddess, I say do it! x