Brave

15 Feb

 

The easiest way to be brave

is not having an alternative.

 

 

 

 

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The Secret of a Successful Marriage

28 Nov

On their 50th wedding anniversary, the celebrating couple was asked what the secret was behind all those years of happy matrimony.

“Good wine,” said the husband.

“And a bad memory,” the wife added.

 

 

 

 

 

A Hesitant but Accurate Definition of Feminism

14 Oct

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.”

-Rebecca West

 

 

36

9 Aug

For my 36th birthday (which was two weeks ago) I´ve given myself the permission to revise the list I made up last year and alter a few things, since we´re supposed to not only grow older, but also wiser every year.

Here are the things I so far accomplished:

These things will stay on the list:

  • Do a photoshoot with my daughter
  • Write a book
  • Paint a mural
  • Pass the Valencià Mitja exam
  • Read 100 books

That leaves me with 6 goals I feel I should change for more realistic ones.

Going to a music festival seemed like a really fun idea, but I´m afraid I´m simply not made for it. The older I get, the more difficult it becomes for me to feel at ease in a crowd. Instead, I´d like to change this one for two different things that combine certain aspects of the festival experience: one, go camping with my husband and daughter, and two, sing in a bar or out in the street.

To become politically involved in my community I´d have to master the language a lot better than I do now, and I´d have to learn a lot of stuff that´s simply not my cup of tea. Now that we have a new (very young) mayor, I have a slightly better feeling about how things are going here, and I think I should leave the political stuff to the people who know more about it.

Sponsoring a child in another country and working 100 hours as a volunteer seemed like very beautiful and altruistic things to do, but far from realistic for someone who, as a sufferer from aura migraines, keeps losing her job and that way doesn´t even have an income of her own. I should substitute these goals for working out a migraine treatment plan for myself (with the help of this fantastic book). Because you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.

I have been sending birthday cards, and I still think it´s a nice thing to do. But apparently nobody cares about birthday cards anymore, and it´s becoming rather expensive, now that the prices have gone up again. Instead, I was thinking of making photo-albums of my daughter´s pictures. I have my photos mostly on the computer, but it´s so much nicer and safer to have them actually printed out.

Having my hair like Jennifer Aniston was a goal that was actually supposed to motivate me to deal with trichotillomania. (Don´t worry, it was never as bad as in that picture.) But I think I made a lot of progress in that field and it doesn´t necessarily have to result in Aniston´s hairdo, because I think I look better with my hair a bit shorter than hers. Instead, I want to focus on another one of my childhood heroines: I´d like to dress up as The Little Mermaid at the local carnival. I already have my daughter´s full support.

That leaves me with 13 goals instead of 14. So I´ll add one more: in addition to reading 100 books, I feel I should brush up on my French and work a bit harder on my Spanish, so of those 100 books, at least 5 should be in French and 5 in Spanish. (Man, we Belgians are very good at giving ourselves homework, aren´t we. Not hard to see where the trichotillomania comes from.)

So this is the new list of things I want to do before I turn 40:

  • Sing at a wedding – check
  • Pass the Cambridge Proficiency in English exam – check
  • Sew a dress for myself – check
  • Do a photoshoot with my daughter
  • Write a book
  • Paint a mural
  • Pass the Valencià Mitja exam
  • Read 100 books
  • Read 5 books in French and 5 in Spanish
  • Go camping with my husband and daughter
  • Sing in a bar or out in the street
  • Work out a migraine treatment plan for myself
  • Making photoalbums for my daughter
  • Dress up as The Little Mermaid at the local carnival

 

Here we go.

Sew A Dress For Myself: Check

26 Jul

Number 12 on the list. Cost me blood, sweat and tears, and a lot of creative adjusting, because simply following the instructions in the magazine (for as far as I understood them, because they were in Spanish) didn´t do the Bippety-Boppety-Boo-trick of magicking up a dress that actually looked good on me.

So I changed it into something quite different, and now I think it´s alright. A bit bohemian maybe, or rather giving a bit of a Caribbean touch to this Spanish summer, but if you can´t do that here, well, where can you?

DSC_0518

What The Orlando Shootings Are Really About (In My Opinion)

14 Jun

So you can call this an act of terror, homophobia or blame it on islam. You can restrict the selling of guns (which I´m totally in favour of, don´t get me wrong), close the gates to foreigners (but mind you, this was a US citizen) or tell gay people to hide a little better (which is insane).

But wouldn´t it be a lot more effective to find a way to prevent people from feeling like killing others? A dramatic explosion of violence like this doesn´t just come out of the blue. Imagine all the anger and frustration that has been boiling under (and apparently above) the surface for years. Reading the papers, I get the idea that this man was someone completely out of touch with his own emotions. Someone who was immensely frustrated (I don´t know in what way, but it isn´t hard to guess, since it always comes down to the same),  but so completely unable to deal with all the negative emotions provoked by that frustration, that he became entirely engulfed by them.

So he projected all that anger and hate onto gay people. And he´s not the only one. Others project that anger onto foreigners, coloured people, women,… You know the stories.

Honestly, the root of the problem is not about gays or islam. It´s about frustrated, emotionally illiterate men who lack empathy and become a danger to society. In some societies they´re kept in check, but given half a chance, they´ll let slip the dogs of war, especially when they´re in a group. In other communities it´s them who rule, hence the institutionalised violence.

If we start teaching children today to become aware of their emotions and how to deal with them effectively, then within two generations this world will be the most peaceful place you´ve ever seen. Because someone who is aware of his frustrations and who tries to find constructive ways to deal with them, someone who is aware of his anger building up and who knows effective, peaceful ways to defuse it, will not grab a gun to make other people pay for his own rage.

But we can only teach our children and youngsters this when we know how to do it ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Reflection

22 May

Like a shy child

covering its red cheeks

he tries to hold back the love

that radiates from his face.

 

But she´s seen it

and beams it back.

Oh, to find your moon

in this infinite space.