I was born because they told me so. It was around seven o’clock in the evening, on the 23th of January of the year 1969. Always according to the Gregorian calendar. Anyway, that day at that time, I didn’t care much that it was that day and at that time. Blessed wisdom of the newborn. I did it, being born, under the sign of Aquarius and the ascendant (I’ve never lacked suitors who gave me star charts) was Leo. At the time, I didn’t care much about either the sign or the ascendant. Nor do I care now.
As well as a time, there was also a place. A town in the North-East of France, near Rheims, in the region of Champagne-Ardenne. Well. Why not?
I start to ask.
In 1985, sixteen years later, a key event took place. I have my first cat; “Minette”. A female cat. Before this, I lost my virginity, not necessarily in order to get the cat. The atmosphere in the family home is dense. I start noticing that something is happening; I feel drawn to what’s forbidden, what’s improper, what’s banned and to the writing of Marguerite Duras.
I break a bit.
Midday. The Angelus.
I follow the steps. I try to adapt to the established patterns; good education, sleep, a secure, well-paid job, eat, start a family with private health care, get bored, get a guaranteed retirement plan, die. I matriculate and graduate from a demanding university; Economics and Applied Foreign Languages. I start using five languages and fewer tongues than I wanted. Nevertheless, between doctorate lessons in Strasbourg, more or less exiled from everything but myself, I learn rude songs. “Si tu avances et tu recules, Comment veux- tu, comment veux-tu que je t’encule?...”
I start singing out loud
Well-prepared for one life and existentially tormented by the other, I make a grand entrance into the working world. My first Spanish-speaking lover, terrified, runs away from the Simca Mil when I tell him, with my naughtiest smile, that I hadn’t put on shorts. In that car I understood that socks weren’t shorts. Not at university.
I work as a senior executive for different multinationals. I travel the world, the world you can reach with flight tickets. I get visas for that land that has no space or limit; myself. I read Socrates and I subscribe to the school of the Boeotian poet Pindar; “Become who you are”. The metaphysics start poisoning me, I start getting to know things with my fingertips, I keep on depositing a lot of cash.
I break it.
I wonder to myself, out loud.
There was a vital reason for working as a prostitute: to get to know myself. There was a vital reason for making it public: to show that this could be the reason to do it.
I patch myself up.
I know my heteronym: Valérie Tasso. She keeps my family of origin. I start writing. One just writes to oneself. My skills as a whore become functional, my doubts about the human condition drill my eardrums. I don’t lack simpletons of different kinds and manageable neuroses who keep me as far as money is concerned. Simpletons who come along. Simpletons who demand. I need no patron. I don’t lack love for him. I build up books. About the human condition. They call me “a word joiner” on a television programme. I smile and I hand him a handkerchief. In the meantime, I grow internationally. My work is visiting the world, with visas and flight tickets.
I write to myself.
The first afternoon arrives
I live in the widest sense, with an odd bloke, made of the same stuff as dreams. A bright artist, born under the sign of Leo with Aquarius ascendant (he never had enough lovers who gave him star charts) who usually does not show himself socially speaking. Quiet. Different. Everyday, I learn that love is, as Chandler said, “the music heard faintly on the edge of sound”.
Ready not to be buried on holy ground, I start my PhD in sexology. Just to know. I live in the countryside. In the open fields. We are, he and I, happy, unusual parents of three small lively kittens. They play in the garden, among the speckled hens and imaginary four-leaf clovers.
I catch a glimpse of a ray of sunlight. The relative humidity of the air is reasonable. The temperature, moderate.
I’m still under 37.
Valérie Tasso, January 2006