I often read John Scalzi’s blog Whatever, and today he shared an old video of his daughter when she was young and adorable. It gave me mixed feelings. Then a friend on facebook changed her profile picture to the inspirational message: “There is absolutely no good reason to act your age.” Now I just have to write about my feelings…
I hate being reminded that I was a cute little girl once, my family has noticed that more than once. I still hate princess pink and bows in hair and many other cute things. I do not want to be cute. I feel that being called cute somehow cancels out my wisdom and my wicked smarts. If people think I’m cute, they won’t take me seriously, they won’t believe I’m skilled and organised and qualified. And I worked hard to become this skilled and wise. I won’t let a dash of hot pink take that away.
It’s silly of course, most things happen at the same time. Meredith Brooks taught us that we can be many things at the same time, and life in general has taught me in the past few years that I am a polymath with many labels. Still, I haven’t overcome my loathing for cute hot pink things.
Acting my age is what will get me a good job. People who work with me, have noted the peace and order I can bring to a project. The constructive criticism and sharp remarks I can give, are welcome signs of intelligence and experience. I’m proud of and satisfied with that part of me. It’s definitely not something a young girl could pull off. I never enjoyed being a girl. I am enjoying being a woman very much.
I had a dream early this morning in which Ork and Sna were organising a party for me. My mum was baking cake and there were a lot of strangers walking around our house. I remember seeing some strangers and walking up to them to ask them very politely to leave. “Sir, I don’t know you, and you happen to be in my bedroom. I would like to ask you to leave.” And the gentleman looked at me, and then looked at the dolphin in the swimming pool right next to him. I replied: “Yes, I am eccentric. I still want you to leave.”
There is no way I can possibly express my gratitude for all the beautiful people in my life and the gifts they grant me. But I want to try anyway.
Thank you for tolerating me; I am eccentric, I have quirks and flaws, I am far from perfect. I worry too much, I get carried away, I can be overly sensitive and I can be terribly dim. Yet you like me for some reason.
Thank you for being so kind and gentle with me; you have gone out of your way not to hurt me, you care about my needs and my well-being, you want to make me happier, to make my life better somehow. I noticed, and I have no idea why you deem me worthy of your attention. Thank you.
Thank you for just being you, for showing me your true face, for trusting me to come close and admire you. I’ve returned the favour and I’ve probably hurt your feelings somewhere along the line. I will probably do it again. Thank you for your patience and courage.
I’m honoured and humbled that you’re part of my life. I try to show it every time I see you. Thank you.
The way we play larp in our country involves combat. We like that, it's part of the fun. If you want to have fun at a Dutch larp event, you have to sit down and think about how your character reacts in combat situations and how your character feels about killing people, friend or foe. If you want to have fun, drink and laugh with the other characters, and not constantly feel guilty or sad about the amount of death and destruction that happens around you, it's easier to play a character who can shrug at the death of another character somehow. There is no time for mourning at a larp, even though we sometimes honour the deaths of heroes, I have experienced first hand that if your character is going to be shocked, frightened, sad or broken every time you stare in the face of death, that's going to be a very heavy weekend for you. Many players solve this by playing characters with evil or simply callous streaks.
But how do you play a Good, honest, god-fearing, compassionate and/or kind character in a story where people are killing each other left and right? Many larps try to solve this problem by dehumanising the enemy. We fight against zombies, monsters, demons amd other creatures who clearly deserve no mercy whatsoever. But the story does not always allow an inhuman, insane enemy that must be eradicated. Sometimes the story involves a misguided, ignorant enemy. People just like you, only with different idealogies or different laws and customs. How does your character react to the death of one of those?
At Charm this weekend, I saw a young elf be disgusted with herself and her orders when she had to kill a defenseless enemy, while others around her did the same without much afterthought. I saw an elven wardancer with tears in his eyes try to solve this conflict peacefully, because neither side of the conflict was his enemy, while behind him, orcs and dwarves were ready to smash in some skulls. My character panicked and froze on the battlefield, surrounded by people whose lives she wanted to save, but powerless to stop them from lunging at each other. How do you play a good character in a situation like this, without descending into trauma and grief?
When I look at this from a story-writer's perspective, I see that the combat at these larps is a plot device. Killing the enemy is an easy and satisfying way of resolving a conflict. There can be a sense of victory among the characters, which is very rewarding. Making enemies who can be captured and convinced that what they did was wrong may also be satisfying for the players, but that requires a different approach towards writing the enemies and the plot. It is simpler to let the characters defeat the enemies, than to capture them, hold trial for their crimes and letting them atone accordingly. It's necessary to let non-player characters die in order to let the extras change their clothes and play more characters that the players can interact with. If every non-player character is caught alive and held captive, you simply run out of extras too quickly, and player characters are usually not organised enough to handle such a situation quickly and effectively. There are good reasons why we write our larp stories like this.
Which still leaves us with that question. How do you play a good character in a situation like this, without descending into trauma and grief? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
1400 words and counting. Finally I’m inspired and well enough to work on my next book, which is a novel in Dutch. I want to write a modern interpretation of Trilby and it’s going well so far. The detailed synopsis of the book is 777 words long and divides the book into 7 chapters. I have six character and a setting I know really well. The language is a challenge, but nothing synoniemen.net and onzetaal.nl can’t fix. All In all, I feel like a writer again. And happily so.
It seems the kidneystone is passed and life is returning to normal. My weeks consist of applications, visiting friends, chores and Bimfoodle, who likes having me around to open the door to the yard for him. I'm generally happy. Thanks for caring.
I flew all the way to Edinburgh. Those of you who have known me for a while, also know that I am not the adventurous type. Fazed by loud noise, scared of crowds, not good at thinking on my feet, easily overwhelmed, I hide in the safety of my house and the things I know. Or that's how I have lived my life in the past years. And I think that's over now.
I did my research, planned my tickets online, and then on tuesday I just went to the airport and flew to Edinburgh by myself. The flight was over before I hade made any progress in my book. A friend was waiting for me at the airport. We walked around Edinburgh and had dinner. He was gracious enough to let me sleep over. We went out for a big Scottish breakfast in the morning, for a walk in the green and hot chocolate at Balbirnie House in the afternoon, and dinner with friends in the evening. We leisurely made our way to the airport on Thursday and I made it safely back home, despite a coughing fit in the airplane. Everything entirely according my loosely pieced-together plan.
Making new frieds is still easy. I love people and they love me right back. There are so many beautiful things in the world, I could never see them all. But I can enjoy every day I can catch a glimpse of life's miracles. Thank you for enjoying life with me. Let's go on an adventure. In your head or your heart.
I flew all the way to Edinburgh. Those of you who have known me for a while, also know that I am not the adventurous type. Fazed by loud noise, scared of crowds, not good at thinking on my feet, easily overwhelmed, I hide in the safety of my house and the things I know. Or that’s how I have lived my life in the past years. And I think that’s over now.
I did my research, planned my tickets online, and then on Tuesday I just went to the airport and flew to Edinburgh by myself. The flight was over before I had made any progress in my book. A friend was waiting for me at the airport. We walked around Edinburgh and had fish and chips for dinner. He was gracious enough to let me sleep over. We went out for a big Scottish breakfast in the morning, for a walk in the green and hot chocolate at Balbirnie House in the afternoon, and dinner with friends in the evening. We leisurely made our way to the airport on Thursday and I made it safely back home, despite a coughing fit on the airplane. Everything entirely according my loosely pieced-together plan.
Making new frieds is still easy. I love people and they love me right back. There are so many beautiful things in the world, I could never see them all. But I can enjoy every day I can catch a glimpse of life’s miracles. Thank you for enjoying life with me. Let’s go on an adventure. In your head or your heart.
I remember how we stood naked in the light Huddled together and vulnerable As if we had just been reborn As if we were angels Chosen to bring the light to others It was so beautiful it burned I stood there weeping Taking it all in with my newfound senses You looked around for ways to protect us To shield yourself and become stronger Perhaps you perceived me as weak
You walked down the warrior's path It strengthened you and steeled you But when you beckoned me to follow you I turned back towards the light Perhaps you perceived it as rejection When I didn't want to wear your helmet But I felt I couldn't see with that thing on my head We never spoke again since
Sometimes I look at you Across a chasm of misunderstanding and silence You still walk the path of the warrior With your strong and confident friends You laugh at weaklings Your armour glints in the light I hardly recognise you I still remember what you looked like naked in the light
I once watched a woman live her life in the shadow of others, and for a long time I didn’t understand why she chose to live that way, why she helped others and cleaned up after others but never stopped to ask anything for herself. Sometimes, I would share a dream with her, we would talk about going to faraway beautiful places together and get pampered. But it never happened. I get the feeling she thinks luxury and pampering are a waste of money.
She has been careful with spending for as long as I’ve known her. If only I had paid more attention to her, I might have learned something about spending my money wisely. But she lived so far in the shadows, she put the needs of so many others before her own that I had trouble seeing her, understanding why she did what she did. Only recently I’ve begun to grok her way of life. And how much I am like her.
There is no greater joy in the world than supporting others, helping others learn and grow, making them happy, making their dreams possible. They are the captains, and deciding the course is hard work, they can’t do it without support. Being that someone who makes sure that everything runs smoothly, taking the little worries out of their hands so they concern themselves with the big things, that is the best job in the world. Living in someone else’s shadow is a sheltered life. A safe nest built with coordination and love.
I am honoured and proud to be the spitting image of my mother.
I was disillusioned when I was just a teenager. I saw a man almost work himself into a second heart attack to make his dream come true, and he taught me two things. Well, to be honest it’s impossible to count how many things he has taught me over the course of my life, but two things stand out.
If you want to make your dream come true, you have to make a plan. Nothing will ever happen if you don’t have a plan. No one else will do it for you. You have to set everything in motion, and keep it running. But follow the plan through, make it detailed and adjust it after every step, and you will have your results. And over the years, I watched him make new plans, while I made my own, and I saw him crumble and retreat when the world ruined his plans.
I saw him work and work and work and make shit happen. His dream came true and he sat down and he was tired. Entirely exhausted. And unlike the marathon, there was no one at the finish line to cheer for him and give him flowers. Achieving his dream had just changed the scenery. He was tired in a different place, a different man perhaps, but there was no happy ending. The world went on, and he would have to get up and make new plans again. Because living without a new plan to work on was even more depressing than dreaming and never realising that dream.
A very different wise man I never really knew said: “Life is what happens when you’re making plans.” I have been living without a plan for a few years now. Not without a calendar, because that first man, my father, taught me how short term plans make things happen. And I’ve made quite a few beautiful things happen thanks to that lesson in the past few years. But I’ve been living without a dream ever since it popped. My dream used to be a family. And now I just don’t know. It feels like I’ve already made all my other dreams come true. More dreams than I thought I’d make real. Larp truly is the most beautiful hobby ever. And I have numerous awesome people in my life, for which I am endlessly grateful.
I look out into the world and think: “What else could I possibly want? What could I start planning for now?” And I just don’t know. Visit my loved ones. Write more stories. I can’t think of anything more. I am happy. All my dreams are true. You are here. Thank you.
While many of my larpy friends are in Denmark, I'm home alone tomorrow. I'll use that time to think things through. I don't larp as much as I used to, as you can see by the list of larp events on my website. There was a year that I went to 13 larp events. Now, it's a lot less. I was never passionate about making my own costumes, it's all about the drama and the interaction for me. Which is funny, because I also prefer fantasy larps over more contemporary settings, which means more costume stress.
I've had a lot of time to think about my hobbies and why I do the things I do. Right now, I'm not tremendously interested in experimental larp. Me and the other Badgers, we'll be over here doing our thing, which is Firefly at the end of this month, and perhaps other things later, when we've made up our minds. Isak speelt has recruited me to help write and play in one of his larp plans, but I won't divulge much about it. That's not up to me. I want to focus on other things. Or rather, people.
If I don't find a job in the coming months, I'll use my free time to visit those people I don't see often enough, to reforge and strengthen bonds. Some of them live across the country, some in Scotland and France. I'll plan trips and visit and bring gifts. I've come to realise people are just more important than silly games to me. I'd rather listen to you than pretend we're going on an adventure together, or challenge you to do something you'd normally never do. Life makes us run and challenges us constantly. I want to pause the world and give you a hug.
So if you wonder where I am, I'm probably off to hug a friend.
Why is it that I really don’t mind doing all the stuff that needs to be done and all the stuff no one wants to do at work, but I really don’t feel like doing anything like that at home? Maybe I should treat myself the way I’d like my boss to treat me. Maybe I should just be my own personal assistent for a while…
It’s not like I’m bored. We have the house in Eindhoven to worry about. And Badger’s Business. And the Maerquin ALV. And my book. And job applications. And the daily chores around the house.
To celebrate our 12th year together, Hubbie and I went to a hotel near Heerlen this weekend. It’s so strange to celebrate happy things when there is still grief and loss looming over us. I don’t care if my tears mean I’m sad or I’m happy. Love is sharing tears with your spouse.
Tomorrow is Monday again, and I’ll get back to business then, as my own personal assistent.
Almost christmas, what a perfect time to do a badgers business plotmeet. While the weather outside was frightful, we spent an entire day digging through player backgrounds and how to tie them into the plot. Very soon, the plotteam is going to send some emails with questions to the people who still have holes in their backgrounds, and role suggestions to our NPCs. In the first week of January, we aim to send updated backgrounds to all players, and the invitation to the NPC-day in Nieuwegein.
Christmas is a time for family dinners, and even though the funeral is still fresh in our memories, we will spend time with family. This is the first year that I cook a three course meal, with the wonderful ingredients and instructions of HelloFresh. I’m not promising pictures, because I’m not particularly fond of food pictures on facebook.
After christmas, the rest of the holidays are for the family we choose for ourselves, the people who support us time and time again through these difficult months, and who always manage to bring a smile to my face. I am thankful for the joy and love in my life, especially in these dark winter days.
Sometimes you work very hard, you do everything right, and you get nothing in return. You’re tired, you gave everything and to top it off you organised your own victory party. And you have to clean up the mess by yourself afterwards.
2014 was an unbelievable journey. And now I’m back home, I have jetlag and I have to do the laundry. Metaphorically speaking.
This is my last week at work. I think it's hard. There are christmas gifts and holiday greetings, lots of reasons to connect and care. And I have to disconnect and stop caring, because it's not up to me.
The calendar is full of holiday cheers and dinners with people I love. I am grateful for the joy and friendship in my life.
And the material things. I'm grateful for that too. We have a comfortable new couch, we have some very nice videogames and we get wholesome food from HelloFresh with easy instructions on how to cook it. (Let me know if you want to try it out, I can get you a discount)
I’m happy every time Hubbie hugs me and shows me he’s doing fine.
I’m sad every time we receive another condolences card in the mail.
I’m happy my parents’ health is good.
I’m sad when I try to remember what my in-laws used to look like when they were healthy.
I’m happy my brother has a new awesome job.
I’m sad that my last workday at Cito is approaching.
I’m happy I can get unemployment benefits.
I’m sad that some of my friends are broke.
I’m happy I have good friends.
I’m sad that someone really hurt my feelings.
I’m happy because I still have a lot of fun things to do with people I love.
I’m sad because some things just end and will never happen again.
I’m not unstable, my life is just complicated right now, ok?
You’ll excuse me. Today is not a monday. But today is the day of the funeral. No doctor could make him better anymore and he didn’t want to make us unhappy by going in and out of the hospital for weeks. So he died last tuesday, at home, with his brother and his children beside him.
Hubbie and his sister are such champs, spending days on end at Dad’s house to get the funeral in order. Hubbie even wrote a speech. Meanwhile, I just have to keep going. My last workday is 18 december, and I can’t be sick or take another day off. I just won’t. I care about that place and about my manager and I want to see that I’m replaced and that she doesn’t miss me.
Anyway. Today I donned my black suit. Hubbie is nervous and we’ll probably leave the house way too early. He’s in charge now… And I just have to keep going.
Even though I had a very nice weekend, I have a lot on my mind right now. My father-in-law is not alright. We have moved him to a nursing home, but he’s out of breath as soon as he tries to get out of bed. Eating and drinking and taking all of his medication on time is problematic. Hubbie visits him often.
Meanwhile, I’m back on the job market. I will be available as a management assistent, office manager or website editor in January. If you know someone who needs a personal assistent, I am qualified and I have a glowing letter of recommendation from my current manager. Here is my CV.
Today, I’m just puttering around the house, putting clothes in the laundry, putting things back in the wardrobe, cleaning the floor. It’s the monday after a larp-weekend.
Friday, I helped get the groceries for 70 people: food, drinks, toiletpaper. We drove to Oosterhout near Breda and installed ourselves in Kamphuis Ahoy. We donned our costumes and spent two days in the fictional Barony of Marsilac, where I am Viscountess Ellenora. There was intrigue, magic, combat, mystery and drama. We went to sleep late at night, and had breakfast with pancakes and eggs at nine in the morning again. It was Rene and Anita’s last weekend as plotteam, and for the last time they gave us everything we asked for, careful what you wish for.
When it was all over yesterday, Remco and I left early to check on his father in the hospital. He’s fragile and not all there, but we might be able to move him to a nursing home later this week. Looking at him, holding his hands in mine, I can hardly contain my tears…
It’s a very normal november day today. It’s chilly out, but it didn’t rain today. Trees are losing their leaves. Bimfoodle watches birds in the yard. I have a cold and I wish I could sleep and breathe at the same time.
I really don’t see why this day is special to anyone. Sure, I see the significance of this day 33 years ago to my parents. Sure, I understand that people care about me and want to let me know that they do. They can do that any day. I don’t feel like I deserve any gifts or cards or hugs because today is today. It’s just another day in november.
My uncle funeral was last thursday. It gave me a lot of thoughts and ponderings about beliefs and values. Ask me about it sometimes, if you want to have an interesting allbeit serious conversation.
Today, I’m going to the wedding of a friend. I haven’t known her very long, she’s one of the new friends I’ve been making. My attention is shifting, away from my old boardgame friends who complain a lot about politics and work, away from the larpers who just want me to listen to their problems and agree with them, to people who really care about what I like and what goes on in my life. I’m glad and I feel fortunate to be able to distinguish between friend and acquaintance.
This will be the fifth wedding I go to this year. Only few people I know are still young and unmarried. It says something about my age, and what I’m supposed to be doing in life. I can’t count the amount of babies in my circle of acquaintances. And I don’t want to. Realising that I would have wanted a little blond flappy-eared Hubbie-clone still makes me cry. They are all moving on in life, with children and grandchildren, the way it’s meant to be. And I’m just stuck here, selfishly living for myself.
I’m going to wear my grey suit and a cloche hat. Because the bride loves hats and suits. I hope the weather will be nice to them. I hope to see a number of people I love today and give them hugs. I hope for many happy days to come.
My uncle passed away in his sleep. My aunt found him saturday morning. My father-in-law’s health is not well. These things happen, this is life. Every new day is a miracle and a nightmare of scary, painful and unkown things and beautiful, enjoyable wonders. All at the same time.
I want to enjoy more. I want to enjoy my father’s cooking. I want to cook for them. I want to take my mum to a museum. I want to spend time with people who make me smile and who allow me to cry. People who want to be with me whether I’m sad or happy.
I want to enjoy your presence and hear your ideas. I want to sit together and do nothing more than touch each other. Body and mind.
We have again arrived at that time of year that my fingers and toes are perpetually cold. The train and the bus, when they're not cold too, are crowded and I have to stand a lot. Some people are just never pleased, no matter how hard I try. And my body has these little flaws and defects that hurt or make me run to the bathroom, but it's not bad enough to see the doctor. Oh, and Bimfoodle thought it was a good idea to bring me a heavily wounded but alive turtle dove.
On the bright side, because there's always a bright side, we have ordered a new comfy couch, I have Harvest Moon on my DS and plenty of time to play it on the train, I have made some new friends who make me very happy, my workplace is still a very nice place to be, and an oriental supermarket opened near us, where I can get all kinds of exotic goodness.
The autumn weather has me all confused whether to wear a sweater or a T-shirt, and I hate standing at the busstop in the morning at eight in the dark. It’s that time of year again, I’m tired and cold and in need of hugs.
On the bright side: I feel welcome and needed at work, without undue stress. I’m the assistant to a manager who really cares about getting all the work done right, all the projects finished and financed, and the interim manager overseeing the reorganisation of our unit likes me to make his presentations and mood boards, and his coffee.
In other news: almost seventy people have signed up for Maerquin in November. It’s good to see the group of adventurers in Marsilac grow again, and I hope this will make Rene and Anita’s last event as organisors a memorable one. Me and Jørgen will try our very best to be dependable and available OC while living dangerously and challenging others IC.
But there’s still a few quiet weeks before Maerquin. Poor Bimfoodle can’t get used to living indoors now that we both have a job again. We try to console him with hugs in the evening. I swear he’s going to sit on my lap and let me hug him one of these days.
It’s been a while since I tried to reinstate the weekly. Not only that, yesterday I resolved to reinstate the weekly on mondays. You see I’m great at keeping promises I make to myself…
The new and improved weekly post may or may not include the following topics:
my thought of the day (thinking is a dangerous pastime, I know)
what I’ve been writing
what I’ve been playing
So, on that note:
I’ve been playing a lot of Guildwars 2. I absolutely love this game for so many reasons, I couldn’t possibly name them all. What? You want me to try anyway? Ok, here goes:
Guildwars 2 has no monthly fee. You simply buy the game and play as much or as little as you want. There is a possibility for micro-transactions, but only to obtain bonus or cosmetic items, you can play all you want and excel at the game without ever spending an extra cent in the in-game store.
It’s very pretty. The artwork has a brush stroke quality to it that perpetuates in the game’s menus and on the map.The grass moves when you stomp by in your combat boots. You leave tracks in the snow. And the footstep sounds in these two examples are beautifully different.
The game is detailed. Walking around villages and underwater caves and other places where humanoids live, I see books, campfires, bedrolls, graffiti, food and drink, endless detail. Of course there are NPCs who stand around doing the same thing all day, but most don’t. Most will turn to face you when you speak to them, most have voice-acting and dialogue options. Most will defend themselves when enemies attack, and many have silly banter and/or events that will make them talk to you and guide you to new places and new enemies.
The concept of hitting or missing works very well. In some games, this is a question of numbers, armor class, dodge chance, but not in Guildwars 2. Here, all attacks are area attacks. Differently shaped (arrows have a long, narrow area while melee weapons have a short, cone-shaped area), but still area attacks. If you’re in the area, you’ll get hit. If you manage to move out of the area, it misses. It’s that simple. (I once accidentally shot an owl that just flew by between me and a troll… Did I mention detail? There are owls in the woods, and other wildlife.)
The game doesn’t have a rigid class system. Your choice of class doesn’t mean you’ll always have to do x or can never do y. Every class is self-sufficient and capable of different roles. If you want to deal lots of direct damage with a melee weapon, you can do this in any class. Same story if you want to hang back and support others. Same story if you want to cast a lot of spells or do damage over time. I’ve never seen a game so versatile and simple at the same time.
There’s an upside to my recent inability to relax: I’m getting things done. Household chores, things no one wants to do at work, planning ahead. I’m amazed at the amount of things I can suddenly do in one day.
There’s an upside to my new job consuming 32 hours of my time every week: my bank account is healthy, despite my spending spree at Castlefest.
There’s an upside to working in this entirely new branche, with very different people: I now have some perspective on why I was so unhappy at my previous job.
There’s an upside to travelling 40 minutes to work and 40 minutes back home again: it gives me time to clear my head.
There’s an upside to working with lots of part-time colleagues: they respect each other’s free time and applaud each other’s efforts to go home on time.
There’s an upside to working in a supportive role: people thank me all day long for everything I do.
There’s an upside to having lots of friends with busy schedules: I know all of the fun things I’m going to do with them, weeks in advance.
The past few months have been so kind to me. My self-esteem and my acceptance for the world grew. My love-life makes me intensely happy. My family is alright and they love me. I found a new job before I ran out of money, and my new colleagues seem to be happy to have me around. I look at all this and I think to myself: “I should be happy.”
But I’m restless. I can hardly sleep past six in the morning, when the birds and the light beckon me to get busy. I have trouble concentrating on one task for more than an hour. Whenever I write something, say something, do something, I immediately realise that it’s not the best I ever did, but I just don’t know how to correct it. My memory is playing tricks on me; I forget the laundry in the machine again, and anything that happens with a delay. I even forget meetings with friends. Which makes me feel flaky and horrible.
Maybe flaky is what I do under pressure. Maybe I need to learn to relax again. Maybe I’m just trying to protect myself from disappointment, anxiously waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop and make my life a stressfull mess again.
I always let people talk me into things. This writing is not about me blaming them for forcing me. I genuinely think their ideas are better than mine, their feelings are more important than mine. When I go along with them, I am rewarded with smiles and they tell me how much they like me. When I say no, in any sort of way, no matter how small, they react negatively, I feel punished. And sometimes they try to convince me anyway, they don’t take my no as a valid answer.
I’m learning to say no to my husband first, but it leads to arguments and shouting. He tries so hard to be the perfect husband for me, he wants to find that place where I never need to say no. Too bad that place is an unattainable fantasy. Saying no when I want things to stop, when I change my mind, when I’m feeling bad, it’s part of life. I should have the space to do that.
Still it feels wrong to disagree with someone. Like I’m hurting their feelings. I’m learning to voice my disagreement and it feels horrible every step of the way. Friends give me flustered looks. I feel like I’m not allowed to decline nice things, like I’m not allowed to change my mind. Once I agree to come to your new year’s eve party, I have to come again every year. Once I have been your friend for a few years, I can’t decide that we have little in common and stop calling you. I have to slither and back out of these things like a horrible person. Because if I ever found the courage to say “No thanks, I just don’t want you in my life right now” I would be the bad guy. There is no nice way to say no.
So I still let people talk me into things. And I take full blame. I choose to bend and change to accomodate others. Sometimes I even do it consciously. Because I’m still too afraid. After all these years, after all this work, I’m still too afraid to stand my ground. I’m still too afraid to be “not nice”, even for a second.
Sometimes, I test it, in public. I do small things. I don’t move over when other people want me to. I ask them to move aside for me. It never works. I always get pushed around and sometimes I even get shouted at.
So I give in. I let people talk me into things. My need to hear people tell me how nice I am, is somehow still greater than my need to be respected.
The world is full of suffering. Our lives are short and what with all the pressure we feel from society, from our peers and our family, finding happiness in life is a challenge. Hard work or fighting the good fight can bring fulfilment, but I think everyone also deserves to sit their ass down sometimes and just be happy with themselves.
Happiness is not a goal you can strive for, it’s not a prize waiting for you at the finish line. Many people tell themselves things like “If I just lose fifty pounds, if my career takes off, if I find true love, I will be happy.” And I have seen too many of these people be disappointed.
Our society teaches us that doubt and critical thinking, perfectionism, can help us make things so much better. Don’t settle for mediocrity, you too deserve greatness. But the thought of “Is this good enough?” can be crippling.
I’ve found out that happiness is a state of mind, an active thinking process of contentment and fulfilment about who you are and where you are in life. It includes an acceptance of all the imperfections of life and human beings, the ability to see past all that and bask in your own glory and beauty. I think I can do it, and I think you can too.
When I was young and insecure, I craved the approval of others. I felt like I had no frame of reference and I needed others to tell me whether I was doing things right, whether I was a good person. Looking around for the approval of others in this society has taught me one very important thing:
When a young woman has an opinion (no matter how valid or personal) men will call her naive. When a young woman disagrees with a man, she is wrong. When she insists, she is emotional and probably on her period. When she becomes angry, she is a bitch. And when she says no, she will be ignored.
Some women became vocal feminists because of this. Not me. I was too scared of conflict. I grew silent. I wanted approval, so I smiled and did what was expected of me. I carefully reworded my opinions to try to convince people I was worth listening to, and not as emotional as other women. I found insidious ways to avoid saying no to anything. Sometimes I manipulated and lied to avoid no, and sometimes I sucked it up and let people walk all over me. Neither technique made me happy.
It took me a long time to understand that it wasn't my fault. That the people who don't approve of me being who I am don't matter. That I can be a good person without their approval. That I am a good person despite anyone who disagrees. Even if I love several people. Even if I like sex. Even if I have a voluptuous body and no intention to change that. Even if I like to sometimes be grumpy and sometimes nice. Even if I believe there's good in every person. Even if I believe my own observations over scientific proof. Even if I say no to you because of my feelings right now.
These are things that define me. And unfortunately, my need for other people's approval is still here. It's going to take a while for my confidence to grow. So if you believe in me, please bear with me.
Lan's back prevented him from coming with me to Charm. But not from gifting me with peace, confidence and his power amulet.
We walked to the lost and found station in Schiedam to get his wallet back and we had pizza in bed while watching cartoons. On friday, we leisurely got out of bed at one and I arrived at Charm only minutes before Hubbie did.
I hope he'll feel better soon. I will most definitely be fine.
I am a product of my upbringing. I have been conditioned my entire life to be a good, friendly girl who smiles and does as she is told. It’s rude to say no, it’s rude not to smile, so I have endured being used and put down with a smile.
I wasn’t shy as a child. My flustered smiling is a learned habit. Speaking up when a bully said something mean got me in trouble. Speaking up when someone made me uncomfortable was rude. Speaking up when men commented on my looks got me in even more trouble. There have been many times in my life where I wished I was invisible. But I am tall, blonde and busty, and many people seem to want things from me.
Until my late twenties, I was that good girl the world told me I should be. I thought that if I would just try to fit into that box, life would sort itself out. If I just changed myself, ignored the parts that didn’t fit, the mold would become comfortable at some point, and I’d be a happy mommy like everyone wanted me to be. Then I woke up and realized how unhappy I was.
In the past years, many people have helped me realize that life is a journey of self-discovery. That I have something to teach and inspire in others. That I have a right to feel what I feel, to think in my own way. I feel liberated, as if the mold has broken and fallen off.
So here I am, naked in the sunlight for the first time. Without the mold, I’m not quite sure what shape I am. But I’m curious to find out.
We had a continuous Maerquin adventure this weekend, with hardly any sleep. I love Maerquin because the team makes sure there is plenty to do for every kind of player, and not every plot can be solved by using foam rubber violence.
My characters often gravitate towards the “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” trope, the woman that must not be crossed, passionate, opinionated and painfully honest. I spend a lot of my time at larps argueing with people, loudly calling them horrible things, and then later making up again, with real tears. It’s cathartic in many ways, because I’m such a people-pleaser in real life.
Ellenora was a reluctant noblewoman, ran away from home when her parents’ expectations were too high, married an impulsive adventurer, and then the country exploded into war. She put on her big girl dress and shouldered the weight, believing in peace and trying to be an inspiration to others. Fighting on the frontline against the forces that threatened her people, she even helped assassinate the noble who would lead her people even further into ruin.
She worked so hard, gave everything, did only the right thing and asked nothing in return. And then her people kicked her out. They didn’t want a baroness, they wanted a council of the people. And the people voted that Ellenora should be kicked out of her own country, because she hadn’t supported them enough.
My character is depressed now, Ellenora is quite capable of drinking herself into a stupor and/or attempt suicide. It’s a little hard to separate that from my own feelings, but once done, I realize this is a beautiful story. A realistic story of humans being human: cruel, naïve, idealistic, bitter, strongwilled, flawed. Beautiful.
It was in 2001 that I used to spend my free evenings hanging out in a bar with a bunch of fantasy nerds. One of them was a wonderful story-teller, I spent hours listening to him recounting the plot of the Wheel of Time books as if he had been there himself. And I thought to myself: “This is why I want to write fantasy. Because one day, I want to be in a room and hear someone passionately tell a story that I wrote as if it had happened to them.”
Today, I walk through a room in a daze. Around me, everyone is excitedly telling each other the secrets, intrige, and dramatic moments they have seen in the past 48 hours at Lang Leve de Koning. And on my mind is only this one thought: “None of this would have happened without me.”
Him: “I wish I could make everything less heavy on you.”
Me: “The world is heavy. I think I have been trying to lift it. By myself. No wonder I’m so tired and I feel like I can’t do what I set out to do. Maybe I shouldn’t be feeling so inadequate about it. Sorry that I cried and argued with you. Thanks for loving me.”
Is feeling much better, btw. Not because he got the right medication, mind you. Just the right vet. Who takes us seriously as intelligent and well-meaning owners, who trusts us with giving the right amount of medication correctly, and giving him all the information he needs to diagnose the problem.
Bimfoodle coat is again glossy black and his urine looks normal now. The house is quiet and back to normal again.
This week, Maerquin is on my mind. I’ve just woken up from endlessly dreaming about the adventures we had this weekend. and I simply must write about it, or it will haunt me for weeks. So, excuse me.
Ik aanvaard volledige verantwoordelijkheid voor de dood van Isabella von Strahd. Zij was als een zuster voor mij, beiden beschermd opgevoed door strenge vaders die hoge verwachtingen van ons hadden. Ik aanvaard ook de verantwoordelijkheid voor het volk van Zepultoera, en ik wil iedereen die zich nog Zepultoeraan wil noemen, oproepen terug te keren naar Ten Vorsel en Siloportem, zodat wij kunnen beginnen aan de wederopbouw van ons verwoeste land. Wij zijn niet in de positie om hulp te weigeren, of nieuwe vijanden te maken. Daarom zullen wij Marsilac verlaten met slechts onze eigen bezittingen, en de lichamen van onze overleden vrienden.
Het is mijn intentie om een nieuwe wet in te voeren in Zepultoera: de Wet van de Natuurlijke Dood. Annmarack is als God de enige met het recht om te beslissen wie er wanneer hoe sterft. Wij stervelingen kunnen dat niet. Eenieder in Zepultoera die een moord begaat of een andere misdaad, zal worden geketend in de Tempel van Vergiffenis, die ik laat bouwen, alwaar zij zullen bidden tot de Goden hen een teken van vergeving schenken door hun ketenen af te laten vallen.
Ook wil ik oprichten in Siloportem, de Orde van Claudius, waar kennis van alle soorten zal worden verzameld en opgeslagen, toegankelijk voor eenieder die nieuwe kennis wil opdoen of delen. En de Orde van Aurelia, soldaten die zullen strijden voor de bescherming van het leven en de onschuld, en die nimmer hun wapen als eerste zullen opheffen.
Dan wil ik ook nog laten bouwen, naast nieuwe huizen en landerijen voor de inwoners van Zepultoera, het Weeshuis van Alle Kleuren, vlak aan de grens met Marsilac. Daar zal eenieder die zich ontheemd en eenzaam voelt, jong of oud, ongeacht van rang of stand, welkom zijn te verblijven, zolang zij meewerken aan het verbouwen en klaarmaken van het voedsel.
Het is mijn intentie dat Marsilac en Zepultoera een vreedzame tijd tegemoet gaan, waarin wij een nieuw vertrouwen kunnen opbouwen, zodat er veilig gereisd en gehandeld kan worden tussen beide baroniën. Het is mijn mening dat wij allen teveel hebben geleden onder de aanvallen van de Zwarte Graaf, en dat wij nu allen rust en vrede hebben verdiend. En ook aan elkaar zijn verschuldigd.
What’s on my mind this week? My poor black cat is. He has had a bladder infection for weeks. His howling tells me it’s painful. So he tries to pee in many different places, to see if it hurts less. Some of the drops of pee are red.
My vet said it’s stress, after two treatments with antibiotics (five days each) nothing has changed and my cat is still in pain. He can’t find any bladderstones or bacterial infection, so it must be stress.
So this afternoon, I’m taking Bim to another vet. I can’t just sit here and wait for it to go away while he is obviously in pain. There must be something that will bring relief. Painkillers, something the other vet overlooked. There is something making him pee blood, ffs! Don’t tell me it’s stress. Stress does not make you pee blood.