The Proust Questionnaire

Delve deep into your memory – 10-14 years ago, perhaps – to a time when adolescent girls would copy  and paste surveys from a friend’s LiveJournal post to their own, delete their friend’s answers, and then reveal to the world that the song currently playing on their iTunes was “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers.

Now think of those same adolescent girls today. Some went on to university, earning degrees in subjects ranging from Business Management to Pre-Industrial German Literature. During this time, some came upon a vaguely similar set of questions, the answers to which were intended to reveal a person’s true character. Some discovered it in a Philosophy class. Some heard about it through a really pretentious friend that they don’t talk to anymore. And some – like me – discovered the Proust questionnaire in a copy of Vanity Fair, which normally includes a famous person’s answers to the questions on its back page. Or on a Tumblr post that linked to the interactive version that no longer works, let’s be real.

This set of questions I’m talking about is The Proust Questionnaire, made famous by French writer and one-heck-of-a-moustache-wearer Marcel Proust. The questionnaire itself is based on a series of questions that he answered in a confessions album as a teenager.

Decades later, Bernard Pivot, a French TV host, asked his guests these same questions on his weekly literary talk show Apostrophes. Host of Inside the Actors Studio James Lipton then piggybacked on that idea, adapting the questionnaire and adding the always delightful “What is your favorite curse word?” question.

So I’ve decided that, since this blog is still relatively new, I’d give the Proust Questionnaire a go and give you all an idea of my ~true~ personality. I’ve tried answering some of the questions in the past, but have either not thought of a suitable answer or simply found it too personal or even morbid. But instead of backing away, I’m going to answer every single question – even the ones I’d wouldn’t DARE post on my LiveJournal circa 2004.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being close to the people I love, in a place that I love, doing what I love.

2. What is your greatest fear? Not leaving a legacy or something to be remembered by.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Not giving myself the compassion or understanding I would normally give others.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Aggressive ignorance.

5. Which living person do you admire? Shakira.

shakira unplugged.gif
90’s Shakira is my personal favorite Shakira. (GIPHY)

6. What is your greatest extravagance? Probably my laptop. Or my art school education.

7. What is your current state of mind? Pensively chuffed.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Blending in.

9. On what occasion do you lie? If the safety or health of a person is more important than whether or not I’m caught in a lie.

10. What do you dislike about your appearance? I’m a bit self-conscious about my chin and jawline. I sometimes fear that it makes me look much, much older than I really am – like a Strega Nona in the making.

Possibly me in a few years. (via)

11. Which living person do you most despise? I’d rather not type their name here.

12. What is the quality you most like in a man? Curiosity.

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Strength and uniqueness. (Can’t possibly choose one.)

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Will do,” “Awesome,” the “laughing with a tear in my eye” emoji.

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? Travel and/or entertaining others.

gerhard reinke.gif
Doing a travel show like Gerhard Reinke’s Wanderlust would have been my dream job. (GIPHY)

16. When and where were you happiest? As a kid in Disney World.

17. Which talent would you most like to have? A stellar singing voice.

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d like to be creating more material than I am at the moment.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement? A mix between learning to speak Spanish fluently, getting my degree, and becoming an Italian citizen.

20. If you were to die and come back as a living person or thing, what would it be? I would love to come back as someone who could pull off a winged eyeliner. Or a drag queen who could.

alyssa edwards.gif
Me in my next life. (GIPHY)

21. Where would you most like to live? Scandinavia.

22. What is your most treasured possession? My DSLR camera or laptop.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Loneliness and lack of freedom and options.

24. What is your favorite occupation? Writer.

25. What is your most marked characteristic? Physically, my bangs/fringe. Personality-wise, my sense of humor.

Me: all day every day. (GIPHY)

26. What do you most value in your friends? The ability to pick up right where we left off.

27. Who are your favorite writers? Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Italo Calvino, Gabriel García Márquez.

28. Who is your hero of fiction? Perhaps the entire Belcher family on Bob’s Burgers. Or Dorothy Zbornak from The Golden Girls.

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with? I really. Don’t. Know. Not yet, at least.

30. Who are your heroes in real life? My paternal grandmother, Grace Jones, Tim Gunn – basically anyone who lives truthfully while simultaneously spreading wisdom and kindness.

grace jones.gif

31. What are your favorite names? Feminine names: Annalie, Harriet, Maren, Marisol. Masculine names: Gabriel, Marco, Rafael. Unisex: Keaton.

32. What is it that you most dislike? Backwards thinking.

33. What is your greatest regret? I try not to have regrets.

34. How would you like to die? Fulfilled.

35. What is your motto? Anything about focusing on the here and now and not comparing your behind the scenes to someone’s highlight reel.

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