I used to love to read the Proust Questionnaires that would appear in the back of Vanity Fair magazine.  The questionnaire, which was popularized by the French writer Marcel Proust, is made up of 20 questions that, when answered, are supposed to reveal who you are as a human being. 

Vanity Fair, of course, always enlists some celebrity to answer the Proust Questionnaire and occasionally, they make for interesting reading.  After you read enough of them, you come to realize that the Proust Questionnaire doesn’t so much reveal who someone is as much as it reveals who that person wants you to think he or she is.  The Questionnaire is less about the real person and more about the various personas that all of us — famous or not — tend to adopt in order to survive from day-to-day.  The Proust Questionnaire is ultimately less about who we are and more about who we think we are.

Anyway, I’ve always wanted to fill out the Proust Questionnaire myself so that’s what I’m going to do right now.  Who needs Vanity Fair when you’ve got wordpress, eh?

(I should add that what I’m answering below is Vanity Fair’s version of the Proust Questionnaire.  Much like the purity test, there’s several different versions.  By the way, the last purity test I took said I was still 6% pure so yay me!)

Lisa Marie Bowman’s

Proust Questionnaire

1) What is your idea of perfect happiness?

For me, perfect happiness would be to live in a nice, spacious loft with a movie theater and a used book store located on the floors below me.  I’d spend my days writing and/or reading and my nights at the movies.  Every weekend, I’d throw a huge party that would inevitably end up with all of my friends hanging out on the roof into the long hours of the night.  And then, once I got bored with the party, I would say, “Go home!” and everyone would have to leave.

2) What is your greatest fear?

Becoming a boring, bland, anonymous person who settles for security at the cost of my own independence.

3) Which historical figure do you most identity with?

Sylvia Plath.

4) Which living person do you most admire?

There’s actually three and I admire and love them all far too much to rank one over the other.  They are my three older sisters — Erin, Melissa, and Megan.

5) What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Far too often, I’m self-centered, selfish, moody, and way too needy.

6) What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Banality.

7) What is your greatest extravagance?

Life.

8 ) On what occasion do you lie?

On occasions that I’m later ashamed to remember.

9) What do you dislike most about your appearance?

My nose.

10) When and where were you happiest?

The summer after I graduated high school, traveling through Europe and especially Italy.

11) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would allow myself to let go of all the anger and sadness that has built up inside me over the past few years.

12) If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

My mom would still be with us.

13) What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I’m alive, stable, and independent.  I’ve never given into the temptation to just settle for what everyone claims will make me happy.

14) If you died and came back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

If God likes me, I’ll come back as a cat.  If he doesn’t like me, I’ll come back as myself but with an even larger nose.

15) What is your most treasured possession?

My mind.

16) What do you regard as being the lowest depth of misery?

Being anonymous and forgotten.

17) Who are your heroes in real life?

My sisters.

18) What is it the you most dislike?

Being talked down to.

19) How would you like to die?

I wouldn’t. 

20) What is your motto?

Stay supple.

 

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