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Secret Life of Nerd Girl: Doing the Limbo


a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl needs a revamp. The original idea: single girl in LA, with a splash of animation, doesn’t work anymore. But what to do with it? Ernessa suggested I talk about limbo.

ng10You could say a soul in limbo is a soul waiting for its life to begin. Or, maybe it’s the soul of a 35 year old woman waiting for the next stage of her life to start, a plastic flake twirling in the snow globe of space and time, preparing her things and her mind for the day, sometime in May, that she flies to France.

On my 18th birthday, my uncle gave me 40,000 frequent flier miles, enough to go backpacking in Europe. I used them to fly to Ghana for a summer, then I did a semester in Madagascar. The few visits to Europe in my twenties proved my opinion that it was too expensive, too dusty, just one gray city after another full of old churches and museums. “I’ll do Europe later,” I thought, and then I forgot about it until last year, when I went to the French Alps for an animation festival.

I am not a big fan of the Hollywood system and felt the European animation industry suited me better. A place where a group of people could believe in a small project and spend a reasonable (read: small) amount of money to create a work of art, like The Triplets of Belleville or my fave film from last year Les Trois Brigands, was the kind of place I wanted to be.

I made some friends on that trip, and at other festivals, and with their help I have been working ever since to relocate to Paris. While I am in Maine I am working to prepare myself for the journey.

What’s most important is reducing baggage. Both kinds of baggage.

I’m meditating every day, though I am (so far) very bad at it. I want to know this is not a geographical cure. I want to resolve nagging emotional issues. If there is an issue that requires time to clear out of my mind, I want to give it that time and usher it to the door. I want to read all those books I thought would do me good, take time to inventory myself, and feel ready for the next stage. My whole life I’ve felt like I’m jumping ahead without doing the homework, I hit the ground running, as my mother says. Just this once let me feel prepared.

Physically, I need to reduce my stuff. In the last two months, I haven’t once needed to run down to the 25 U-Haul boxes in the basement and tear them apart in search of something I can’t live without. Please remind me of this when I start reorganizing them, because I’m sure every single item I own will be cherished again as I pull it from its box.

There are other things too, closing accounts, getting new glasses, studying the French language, history and culture before I arrive (a handful, to be sure). I am going to yoga every day, and by the time I arrive in France I want to have a steady home practice, to keep me sane as I search for affordable classes in Paris. There are small projects I need to wrap up, and my own portfolio to refine, so one day perhaps I’ll be able to work in the industry that attracted me in the first place. The cats need shots and papers, and I have to work on my debt, so it’s more manageable when I arrive in uncertain circumstances.

I want to bring a few boxes, a few suitcases, and my self. What do I really need besides a clear mind, a fast laptop, comfortable shoes and a sketchbook? A coin for Charon and I’m all set. So welcome to Nerd Girl Doing the Limbo, because she probably won’t settle until I straighten out again.