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Hélène Marquer - cofounder of Village de Pourgues. Hélène studied sociology and management of media and then realised she couldn't sit sticking on a chair no more longer. She then took the videocamera to make reports about permaculture (for UCIT), democratic education and other subjects she loves. She's now settled in Pourgues, looking for her inner artist. In the village, she has fun by organising weddings, festivals, sewing yourt's hessians, pillows and dancing as often as she can !
"Sometimes I feel like I live in a huge "bouillabaisse" where all the elements of my life mix like little vegetables, rocked in a community sauce".
This sentence came to me one summer morning. I didn't know the recipe of the bouillabaisse and I'm not sure I've tasted it before. This was certainly to be my illumination of the day, inspired as I was in my seaside mobile home.
So I had to look for the recipe for this Marseilles dish. In the bouillabaisse there are many different fish (monkfish, scorpion fish, conger, live fish, red gurnard, st stone) -according to the taste of the cook-, then small vegetables (onions, leeks, etc.) and rust (a mixture of garlic, peppers, olive oil, milk and bread crumb). Note that in the bouillabaisse, we put everything, including fish scraps (head and tail). When I saw the photos on Google, this dish seemed appetizing (even if I don't eat fish), a rather colorful mixture of red, with parsley leaves floating in the middle of the fish shares.
Why would my life in the village look like a bouillabaisse?
My first answer would be: because everything is mixed up. Living with others I don't always know how to do in this very fragrant but sometimes completely stunning bouillabaisse. A few months and years ago, I could separate my life into pièces as boxes, like little vegetables and each piece had its own frame and associated codes (language register, configuration, interaction types).
For example, I had the university box = courses, library, class colleagues, timetable, drinking parties, foggy mornings.
Home = parents, sister, office, bed, rest, creativity, shelter.
The Radio Campus box: radio, colleagues, red chairs, journalistic conversations.
Similarly when I look at my neighbours' lives, I imagine that they have a house/family box and then work/colleagues, sometimes the car/traffic box, at times the free/leisure box, the "friends" box and then the holiday/family/travel box.
When I think about it, living in these boxes, in a way, I could see quite clearly. I could jump from one part of my life to another, according to my desires. And this segmentation was possible because my activities took place in different places.
Living in community, the boxes explode, spicing up my daily life!
The work box joins the leisure box, mixes with the friends box and often flirts with the family box. It has some good. I enjoy living with people who are my friends, close to me. Others are my family, whom I like to meet every time I return to the village. Some of them are my colleagues and we are working hard on our next projects (for example, organizing a Guinguette). At the same time, I sometimes feel drowned in the bouillabaisse.
I know that some members of the community like to say "Here, the concept of weekends no longer exists, we are no longer attached to that! ». Certainly, for some, it means "Here, it's every day like holidays since I decide my schedule as I want". For me it's sometimes too exciting, since the community is my place of life, I can hardly move away from it, unless I "go on holiday". Yes, I noticed that I like using this term when I leave the community... Interesting.
In fact, I have the impression that the community is somehow like a company: there are things to do all the time and I find it difficult to allow myself rest...
Now I no longer live in the common house so I can choose to segment my moments better. But sometimes I would go downstairs for breakfast in the common kitchen and be plunged straight into the sauce. I heard remarks like, "You know who left the spoon in the bowl all night? "And, by the way, for the welcome procedure, we should think about adding a new proposal ! ». Now that I have my own little house, I can choose when I want to dive deep into the community and its challenges.
Also, imagine that you oftenly have new people in your daily life. They are visitors, friends of one or the other, happy to be there and they want to meet you. And you, unlucky, that's when you're in a bad mood, you're up with your left foot. In short, you have no desire to socialize or answer this person who asks you "But where are the clean sponges? ». (We even thought about putting armbands on our arms to let people know if we were willing to talk with others (green scarf), or not (red scarf). This idea make me laugh:). And yes, there are moments, not having a real limit between a personal and intimate space and a community space, well, I need some air.
My heart needs solitude
How do I live with my partner in a community? Being in Pourgues has shattered some of the representations I had of the couple. Here, I can spend a day without seeing my lover. We often cook for ourselves at different times. I no longer feel obliged to do certain things marked "couple". Not without fear, I free myself from conditioning, even if it means finding new ways to reinvent the relationship. Each on of us wants to have his own little house next the other, to choose the moments when we want to sleep and be alone, and those when we want to meet at one or the other's house (like lovers who would join each other in the evening by climbing the wall to reach the window...). We are both too attached to our precious solitude...
Here, everything that is usually segmented: family - work - friends is connected. So it's not easy to see clearly. I live with the people with who I do my main activities, with who I have intimate relationships. Um um.... How do I feel about all this? My self mixes with my couple who mixes with a community, with other people. All in the same place. Sometimes it has its good sides: I get angry with my dearest, I don't want to see him anymore. All I have to do is come down from the hill and plunge into Liliana's arms to confide her my burden. Likewise, I want to go out to a jazz concert, I come to see Xenia and we go together. It's simple and immediate, I don't need to send 10 texts and call 6 people to set up an appointment with someone I can meet only 3 hours later. But sometimes I wish it was more segmented.
So I'm going to discipline myself!
Bouillabaisse, I'm going to swim in your juice like a fish in water and choose my itinerary!
Because I think the community burn-out can quickly happen. If I go into the common house, I can see 1000 things to do (tidying up, organizing, etc.) and at the same time, have 1000 possibilities: play a small game of Splendor with Arthur, garden with Benoît. It requires me to clarify what I want to do and draw my own boundaries. I need to juggle between determination and letting go, but still remaining open to what is coming up. I feel like a kind of tightrope walker on a wire, trying to find a balance at all times. Balance my personal needs, my needs as a couple, my needs with the community and those with the outside world.
Since that's the way it is, I'm going to recompose the recipe my way! It is said that the new recipes were made with mistakes, isn't it (ex. « tarte tapin »)? So whatever rust, scorpion fish or gurnard! I can replace you as I please and re-dose my ingredients. And then I imagine that depending on the mood of the cook, the dish is not the same. So should I just learn to taste it as it is? Bouillabaisse, I'll get you!