“When you’ve based all of your self-confidence on intelligence, or something else, it becomes very complicated when your inner landscape collapses. How does one live with oneself? For me, it was important that I felt superior, smarter than others. Whatever the word “intelligence” means, namely not much. I didn’t need to put in much effort to succeed at school, so there was this kind of illusion that everything was easy for me, a kind mythology of the genius in his bedroom who doesn’t need to do anything. And it actually worked for some time.
Here comes the fall… I arrived to my highschool exams thinking “I’m going to ace them without doing anything”. Well, of course that’s not what happened, and there was a first disillusion. Then I entered the EPFL [engineering school in Lausanne]. I failed the preparatory year, and then I failed my first year. So for three years in a row I was faced with the fact that, whether or not I was genius, I had actually failed.
During 7 years at the school of architecture, I spent my time trying to convince others, in order to see in their eyes the image that I had of myself. That lead me to quite profound states of distress. There were moments when I would drop everything to run away from myself and my own judgement. I would spent two weeks without leaving my bedroom, barely eating. And then you have to take responsibility once you reappear in the world. I remember tetanizing moments when I had to re-enter a classroom, and I had to justify to everyone why I had just disappeared. Sometimes I would stay 3 hours in front of the doors.
Now, I find myself in a different social reality where people aren’t aware of my past. So the question that is asked of me is: do I want to perform the same role or not? These are interesting moments. I can see that I’m struggling to get out of this role that I’ve always played. But maybe for the first time, I don’t feel the necessity to reproduce this character that I’ve built for myself.”
(Gare de Chêne-Bourg | translated from French)