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.”
Him: “I wish I could make everything less heavy on you.”
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.
So, I’ll keep you posted…
I really want to go back to writing something about my life every week, but I feel uncomfortable writing here about where I’m going all the time. So instead of telling you about what’s on my to do list, I’ve resolved to write about what’s on my mind every week.
So, what is on my mind?
Not a whole lot. Or at least that’s my goal. I have been overthinking everything a lot lately. So, my resolve for this week is to enjoy the moment. Loosen up. Tell my loved ones sweet little nothings and make them laugh.
Not everything has to make sense. I don’t need my thinky brain all the time. Especially when I’m trying to be happy.
I recently discovered this interesting initiative by a German university to start teaching massively multi-user online courses. Free education for anyone who is interested. And the course that interested me most, was of course the one about storytelling.
It has inspired me to continue with that story I tried to write last year, the Cursecaster. I think I’ve figured out why I was stuck and what to do now. A bit of worldbuilding is in order…
I might post extracts from the story here as it progresses.
Like I wrote in this post, I believe we go through most of our life feeling somehow inadequate and incomplete. I look around and I see many people trying to solve that feeling. They promise themselves that one day they’ll be happy and perfect, if only…
…they were beautiful. Many people believe that all their problems will be solved somehow when they overcome their physical flaws, by dieting or surgery for example. Kate Harding once wrote an essay called “The Fantasy of Being Thin” that explains why hoping that your life will be all better when you’ve lost that weight can be such a disappointing quest.
…they were loved. Another big group of people believe that their life will be complete and perfect when they find true love. Elizabeth Gilbert explains in this video we shouldn’t expect others to complete us:
Make me feel complete… That is far too complex a problem to be solved by changing one’s physique, and it is far too much responsibility to just expect someone else to be able to do it for you. It can’t be solved by buying nice things, by a list of impressive achievements, and it certainly will not be solved by having high expectations of your children. You cannot burden them with your feelings of inadequacy, believe me, they will have their own.
I spend a lot of time explaining where it doesn’t come from. Because people are always looking in all the wrong places. It seems that the hardest thing to do, is to look at ourselves, accept the flaws we have, and believe that we are perfect and complete and beautiful anyway. Do not place your hope on outside forces, when the answer lies within.
I’m still here, still unemployed, still not writing, still keeping busy. Emotionally I’m good. I’m thankful for all the good things in my life. My friends who call me and break through the silence, the people who appreciate the work I’m putting into this new larp we’ve been working on with Badger’s Business, thank you. I’m still a happy person, overall.
The work for our larp “Lange Leve de Koning” is piling up. The other day I was at a plotmeet, and my partners were explaining the mechanics of the royal succession to me. I had to take their word for it, it looks solid, but I certainly can’t keep score. I felt thankful that they are organising this thing with me, that I can trust in their know-how.
We were going over some backgrounds together, tying all of the loose ends together, connecting players to each other, and I managed to connect and reproduce details from backgrounds by heart. Inge smiled at me and said she was glad for that gift I have for being able to remember all of the players’ stories like that.
Players message me on facebook, telling me how they’re looking forward to the day in December when we can all don our costumes and enter this world of my creation, play out this scenario of my invention. It’s humbling to see how they’re enjoying this so much already.
The reality of organising a larp is, from my point of view, a lot of text, a lot of emailing, a lot of communication, explaining, editing and trying to retain information. A lot of reminding, a lot of agreeing and then adding new things to the story. Other people do beautiful things like crafting and costuming, and I admire them for it. I do a lot of running around, telling others how it should be, how much money we can spend, and worrying whether I didn’t forget anything.
On the weekend, I will be giving a lot of directions, and speeches, I’ll be organising information, trying to not freak out, and then freak out anyway. I will be told to eat something, drink something, go to sleep, and I probably won’t. I’ll try to enjoy watching my plot unfurl, watching the players do their thing, and try to anticipate. When it’s all over and done, I’ll say thank you and coordinate the cleaning up.
It seems like a lot of work. But just reading the backgrounds already makes it so worthwile. The players put so much trust in us, they write these stories, they dig their own graves, write their own legacy, and they trust us with that. They trust us to make it into an awesome story, a weekend they won’t easily forget, with drama, confrontation and death. Thank you. I hope I can live up to those expectations.
I have decided I want to do some redecorating, but you guys know me. Power tools and me, it’s very hazardous. So here’s my request: if any of you want to help me hang some lamps, drapes and other ornaments from the walls and ceilings of my house, please let me know. I have all the tools, I’m just afraid to use them. Let’s pick a date and I’ll make you yummies in return.
Romance in pop culture sometimes makes me very sad. Every so often, a romance story is about cheating on each other, about jealousy. “How can it be true that you love me if you say “I love you” to someone else?” The stories with this trope often end in break-ups because there can be only one. It makes me sad and I’ll tell you a very personal story to explain why.
Most of you know that I do live roleplay in my free time. A few years ago, after my warrior-woman character died at Maerquin, I started to play a damsel in distress. And I met Nachtvisser, who played the knight who saved me. Our characters fell in love, and frankly so did we.
You know I’m married. Me and my hubbie, we’re a team. I hope to be with him for many years to come, I want to be there to feed him icecream with a teaspoon when we’re both senile and shaky. Nevertheless, I fell in love with Nachtvisser, who has a happy family with two children.
We talked about it. A lot. We resolved that our characters would have their romance and get married, and outside the game we would just be friends. It was an elegant solution.
I am a flutterheart, this was neither the first time, nor the last that another person than my husband made my heart beat faster. A flutter of the heart is no reason to trust each other less, my hubbie said to me. It doesn’t make him jealous and it doesn’t make me unfaithful. Because at the end of the day, he still knows everything about me, he is still the man of my life.
And that is why the “How can it be true that you love me if you say “I love you” to someone else?” -trope makes me sad. Because trust and forgiveness are stronger than jealousy. Because the heart is not a thing made of glass that can be broken, or stolen or given away only once. I believe love is stronger than that.
I really need to stop questioning my decision to write every time I receive a rejection letter. But I can’t help it. I worked so hard on this, and they still don’t want it…
Tell me Mr Gaiman, Ms Rowling, Ms McMaster-Bujold, tell me how to not take rejections personally. Tell me how to continue believing this is still the best book I ever wrote. Tell me how to keep trying instead of retreating into a corner, wallowing in the knowledge that I just suck.
*holds up sign: will write for hugs*
It doesn’t matter how big the obstacles are, if you can conquer the first one, you can conquer them all.
There is this book called Words from the Heart in which the Dalai Lama says something like: “Be kind to others, because they will respect you more, and that will benefit you. Even if you are an egoist, you should at least be an intelligent egoist, and be kind to others.”
I read an article the other day in a Dutch newspaper called NRC about altruism. I was written by a psychiatrist and it argued that altruism is a façade. It doesn’t exist. Charity, health care, family. In the end, we always benefit. She quotes Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene and the above quote from the Dalai Lama. It made me think.
If an act benefits us, is automatically a selfish act? I have wondered about this before, a few months ago, I pondered the question: Is the search for enlightenment a selfish quest?
I believe firmly in the Rule of Three: whatever you put out into the world, be it positive or negative, it will return to you, threefold. This one is similar to the idea of karma, or the advice of Confucius to only do onto others what you would have them do to you. Basically, what they’re saying is: be a good person, and you will be rewarded.
Is it selfish to be rewarded? To enjoy the fruits of your labour and the gifts given freely to you? Or is it simply wrong of us to feel guilty about being selfish? Why is selfish a bad word, when it implies taking good care of ourselves? Do other people not benefit when we take good care of ourselves? Is altruism really about destroying oneself for the benefit of others? Because if that’s the case, I prefer to be an intelligent egoist.
I could write down the same thing here every week. I’m still looking for a job, still keeping my house clean, visiting friends from time to time, happy with my Hubbie, trying to get that novel published, excited by some videogame that allows me to make a strong female character, busy with our Lang Leve de Koning! larp plans, thinking too much about the meaning of life and what I am doing here.
A few times I thought about writing something here, and it turned out to be a depressing train of thought, about my outlook on life, or about human nature in general. Once, it turned out to be a very vague story about reiki and the balance of the universe. And I almost wrote a fangirling piece about a game I have already lost interest in again.
I try to think before I post, too many people don’t, and it has happened to me too many times as well. If you have nothing useful to add, better not say anything at all.
I am well, and I am busy.
It first dawned on me when I wrote a new CV a few weeks ago. I have experience organising events. Events where thirty people or more sleep, eat and play together for three consecutive days. And most of those events were a success thanks to the organisers, thanks to me.
It’s not just something that looks good on my CV, it’s something I’ve enjoyed doing immensely. But this time, it’s different. This is the first time that I can call the plot “My Plot”. I may have handled finances, food and organising stuff before, but this is the first time that the story is mine. Not entirely mine. I could never do this without Anastaszia and Erwinl. But it’s mine nonetheless.
One post on facebook and I get five new sign-ups. We have more than fourty seriously interested people. For our event in December. I am astonished and humbled. But I have to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Write more plot.
If you’re interested in what this is all about (and you can read Dutch): Lang Leve de Koning!
My husband and my closest friends will understand why this picture speaks to me so much.
When I was a child, there were a lot of albums of the Police lying around the house. This song made me think, the other day.
It describes a feeling I think everyone feels. Something is broken, “missing from my life”, and we spend a lot of time trying to fix it, trying to fill the hole. The Oatmeal wrote a comic about it the other day. I think we are all constantly trying to silence our demons of fear, doubt, regret and general blerchness. The Oatmeal runs marathons. I have tried to fill the hole with sex, with videogames and roleplay, with writing stories about people trying to fill the hole, and even by trying to help others battle their demons. Everyone looks for ways to conquer the void.
We just can’t. Nothing we do ever makes us truly happy. Contentment and peace are fleeting somehow, despite the invention of a number of belief-systems designed to find peace within ourselves. Despite all of the things we try. We remain inadequate human beings.
I have a theory that we come from a place of eternal perfection. Then, we are born into this world of beauty and misery to go on some kind on journey, to learn something. And upon death, we return with whatever we learned. Some religions describe something similar to my theory. But they often judge us, working with concepts like “good” and “evil”, being good will lead us to enlightenment or heaven, being bad will damn us to hell.
I don’t believe in that. I have never met a person with truly bad intentions. Sure, as a group, we do unspeakable things. There is evil in peer pressure, in mobs and in organisations. But not in people. We are all just misguided, troubled, foolish humans, looking for a way to fill the hole.
I’m just checking if the cross-posting from my website to livejournal works now…
I’m worried about what people do on the internet. Not because the internet is for porn. Porn is fun, if it’s made by consenting adults. What I’m worried about is that the internet seems to be for trolls.
I’m talking about the toxic language of comments on youtube and of tweets. The rules of basic human decency simply do not seem to apply. The other day, the woman who won Wimbledon was called all kinds of nasty things on twitter because some people don’t think she’s pretty. People tweeted things I’m sure they would never dare to say out loud, directly @ a woman who has just demonstrated that she’s a top-athlete. What is this thing about sitting safely behind a computer that makes people feel entitled to say unacceptable things like that?
You all know I love to play MMORPGs. I was online in such a game the other day when the chat channel turned ugly. Someone made a bunch of nasty remarks, including a rape joke, about people who could not play the game very well. And I raised my voice asking: “Is it acceptable to be mean to someone with inferior skills? Does that entitle you to call them names and make fun of them?” and I was met with crickets, blank stares and three smug “Yes, of course!” answers.
This is why I recently signed the Gamers against Bigotry pledge and I’m a little disappointed at the small number of other who have done the same. People need to become more aware that the internet is a community made up of people, people whose feelings can be hurt, and who deserve to be treated with respect.
I’m going to leave you with Jimmy Kimmel, who is trying to show us that the mean things people say on twitter do have impact, by showing us celebrities reading what people tweet about them.
I'm talking about the toxic language of comments on youtube and of tweets. The rules of basic human decency simply do not seem to apply. The other day, the woman who won Wimbledon was called all kinds of nasty things on twitter because some people don't think she's pretty. People tweeted things I'm sure they would never dare to say out loud, directly @ a woman who has just demonstrated that she's a top-athlete. What is this thing about sitting safely behind a computer that makes people feel entitled to say unacceptable things like that?
You all know I love to play MMORPGs. I was online in such a game the other day when the chat channel turned ugly. Someone made a bunch of nasty remarks, including a rape joke, about people who could not play the game very well. And I raised my voice asking: "Is it acceptable to be mean to someone with inferior skills? Does that entitle you to call them names and make fun of them?" and I was met with crickets, blank stares and three smug "Yes, of course!" answers.
This is why I recently signed the Gamers against Bigotry pledge and I'm a little disappointed at the small number of other who have done the same. People need to become more aware that the internet is a community made up of people, people whose feelings can be hurt, and who deserve to be treated with respect.
I'm going to leave you with Jimmy Kimmel, who is trying to show us that the mean things people say on twitter do have impact, by showing us celebrities reading what people tweet about them.
We're back from holiday, busy cleaning the house and stocking up. Later this week, our household will be fully operational again, with Hubbie at work and me looking for a job. But until then... It's a mess! And Bimfoodle likes to roll in it to make it worse.
We have been walking in Dartmoor and in Exmoor now. Both were very pretty, though Exmoor reminded me of my home in the Provence. Farmland with dry, rocky ground with streams running through the bottom of the valleys. Dartmoor was much more alien with its mossy rocks and lack of trees.
Driving in England is proving to be fun but tiring. Hubbie has taken to napping when we return to our room in the afternoon. We have arrived at a charming place called The Cedars Inn, and tomorrow we move on to Bristol and then Bath. On Saturday, we drive to Dover and then from Calais back home.
To anyone planning to go on Holiday in Britain anytime soon, I can recommend two organisations: the Old English Inns, which is a chain of both affordable and comfortable places to stay, and the National Trust foundation, which restores and maintains old estates and opens them up for public viewing.
All in all, this has been a lovely holiday. Don't mind me while I enjoy a pint of Strongbow in the afternoon sun.
Monday, we drove straight through Dartmoor, over rolling hills and cattle grids. Beside and on the road we saw sheep, ponies, ginormous cows and obnoxious goats. We walked around Becky Falls where I took loads of photos. Now, I love the outdoors, but when I was back at the car, I had this strange craving to get away from the moor and sit on a fluffy seat, being served coffee with too much cream by a youngster in a uniform. Ah, civilisation...
After that, we drove back over the motorway and visited Port Elliot. The weather turned lovely and we got a wonderful look at the historical building and its quirks.
I had some difficulty getting access to internet and it made me very grumpy. I'm going to interpret these feelings as homesickness and missing you guys. It's not that I'm not having fun, I just wish the things I love to do at home, chatting with you, were available here.
Yes, ok. And I wish the weather was a bit more summery and a bit less English.
We've been to Sherborne Old Castle and to Old Sarum and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that English kings were serious about their moat. Deep, steep moats. I think I may have learned more, but those were really nasty moats.
We are now staying in room three of an inn that only has three rooms in a hamlet that only has three buildings. An interesting contrast with the hotel/restaurant in the middle of a bustling town where we stayed yesterday.
We spent the afternoon lolligagging and loitering around Salisbury and Amesbury, with dinner at a pub, (I wonder why they call it steak and ale pie if it's just stew with a bun on top...) because in our real adventure would start at seven.
It was solstice today, which meant Stonehenge was open to every law-abiding person willing to make the trip and the queue. We parked the car in a field with hundreds of others, walked through another field, past bobbies and stands selling vegan and vegetarian food, to just walk up to the stones and hug them or sit on them if we wanted to.
The crowd was jolly and we watched the sun set while people around us played drums, sang, danced and did yoga. And drank the alcohol they brought, of course. We arrived back at the hotel just at midnight. It was a wonderful adventure.
Then we drove through morning traffic following the signs to the SOUTH WEST. We stopped in Chawton to see Jane Austen's house and have lunch at the Greyfriar pub across the street. When we arrived at our hotel in Alton, we got the key to room 1 and now we're going to have a nap, I think.
So what's it like to be jobless in May/June 2013, Nath? Well, the weather is nice, so me and Bimfoodle are enjoying the yard and the quiet around the house. I have decided to treat myself to a bit of a holiday, so I play videogames a lot.
I have not been writing a lot here, because a lot of things that are going on my life right now are not for everyone to know. I never really thought about privacy until now. Most of the things I end up writing here are under tight locks for select people. Things about my family, my relationship and my spiritual life. I want to write them here to remember them, but I don't want to have to explain or justify it. And most of you are really not that interested in details about my sex-life or what my totem taught me lately.
I will tell this: Hubbie and I are going on holiday next week. Off to England, to see Exmoor, Glastonbury and Bath. We are taking our own car, so it's going to be quite an adventure. I might take pictures and write about the things we see there. We will be back by the end of the month. If you want a postcard, please leave your address below in the comments, I'll screen them so your address doesn't become public.
Nothing noteworthy has been going on in my life, I'm taking it easy for now, visiting friends, finishing crafting projects and larp plans. I have been seeing a lot of Twilightbanana and Lanzaned with my new train pass. I'm working on a new one-shot larp project with the team from Badgers Business.
Now first thing I have to do is pack for Seven Gates.
-Costume with the white tights and pretty shoes
-Also bring boots for when my feet start to hurt or when it rains
-Gloves and handkerchief
-Various alchemy supplies, writing supplies and books
-Something to wear when it rains
So, I leave you with a rather philosphical question that's been playing through my mind:
Is the path to enlightenment a selfish quest?
Meanwhile, we booked a holiday for June, we're organising our summer larp activities and we're trying to keep the house clean as well. Sheesh, how do people with jobs get around to all this stuff? ;)
Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.
People have often told me I'm soft, naive, delicate, not assertive. I have been searching for myself a lot, learning to defend myself, to assert my opinion, to withstand criticism and be stronger. I've worked very hard at that in the past few months. And when I look in the mirror, I don't like what I see. I don't like Bitchy Nath. She's not the person I aspire to be.
I want to go back to being sensitive...
Getting fired in the Netherlands is not so bad. It's not like I'm out on the street with no income. There is a settlement, and then there's unemployment benefits. I'll be able to hold out for a while.
What kind of a job am I looking for? Good question. I have experience in the office with many things, I'd like to be an editor, but I have no qualifications, just a very big mouth. It's not going to be easy.
Don't worry about me. But if you hear about a nice job, let me know.
Here, please enjoy this song my love sent to me
So... I cannot brain anymore today. I have brained enough. The stuff involving my job is almost done and over with. Dug my way through six pages of legalese. I am now allowed to stop braining.
I still have to stop by work to finish up some stuff.Have to get things done for Maerquin. We got a TV evening at Paco's place. I want to visit Lan on Thursday. And on Friday, it's time for Maerquin Weekend 32!
But for now: cannot brain anymore. If anyone needs me, I'll be in Tyria.
Bimfoodle was lying on the couch when I started up the vacuum cleaner. It was all in his eyes.
"Human! I was having the nappiest of naps! Why did you have to bring the noise-machine into my room?! Take it away! Away, I tell you!" And then he fled upstairs.
Taking the train from Nijmegen to Delft can be quite a trip. And with all the work on the railroad going on yesterday, I started out at Nijmegen Dukenburg, changed at Oss, then again at Breda, and again at Dordrecht to arrive in Delft less than three hours later. Luckily, the trip back was less eventful, just Delft -> Rotterdam -> Utrecht -> Nijmegen -> and take two buses to get home. I realise I don't actually live near a train station, but hey, it works. And there's something quite satisfying to seeing my new train card say "free" when I check into the train.
This week Hubbie has gone back to work. I have hope that things with my work will be resolved quickly and then I can start focusing on booking a holiday trip. England, Hubbie and I have decided to book a trip that will let us drive around from one Inn to the other, with stops at pretty places like Bath, Exmoor and Glastonbury. Sounds like a plan.
This week will be all about us trying to get some fun things done, instead of going to visit Dad in Eindhoven all the time. Hubbie wants to hang out with his friends and play those horrible 1830 games, and I will go visit my friends for fun and games. We'll quietly spend the weekend together again after all of that.
Many people followed us to the graveyard, despite the freezing wind, to say their last goodbyes. More than fifteen people came solely to support me and Hubbie in these difficult times. The family really stuck together and all in all, though it was a very tiring day, it was beautiful.
We are grateful. For having known Moeke in all her greatness. For your support now that we grieve her loss.