How Dead by Daylight motivates players to work together


First the simple ways the game motivates players to do anything: you score points. You score points when you manage to find another player, and you score altruism points when you work together, when you heal someone or when you rescue them from a hook. But that is not all.

Staying together ups your chances of survival. When the Killer finds you and you all dash away, he can only catch one of you, the others are off the hook, pun intended. Baiting and trying to confuse the Killer is an effective tactic to give your fellow players more time to get away. Putting yourself in danger for them will not only result in points scored, but will also make them feel morally obliged to come rescue them when you’re in trouble.

This game really plays with your head, the sound effects are designed to make the Survivors freak out, and the visuals are designed to draw your attention to certain parts of the game. When a Survivor is rendered helpless and dying, the game makes sure the other players can see where it is, they can clearly hear the Survivor crying in pain, screaming for help, another way the game motivates players to help each other out. Clear red and yellow lights on your screen make it almost impossible to ignore the fact that another player is in trouble.

I think this is important to note for us larp writers: when a player is in need of help from other players, all you need to do is make the other players aware of it. Make it easy for them to find the victim, draw their attention and make it hard to ignore, and soon someone will mount some kind of rescue, no matter how desperate.

The way the game motivates players to heal each other is also novel, imho. You see, a wounded Survivor whimpers. Constantly. It’s not just an annoying sound, it’s also a sound that will alert the Killer to your location. Wounded Survivors are a liability and healing them as soon as possible is in your own best interest.

And then there’s that other surefire way that other games (like for example Guildwars 2) had already discovered to get players to heal each other: everyone can do it and it only costs time. Give out points for healing others and pretty soon your players will be getting wounded just so that others can heal them and get those points. Why do we in larps often limit the power to heal people to only a few players? What could be the advantages of giving every player the ability to heal, as long as it costs time?

How else does Dead by Daylight motivate players to work together? Almost everything a Survivor can do to get out of the match alive, repair generators, heal and save other Survivors, goes faster when two players do it together, and even faster still when more players help.

Now speed is perhaps not the reward a larp should give its players, but the principle remains: when players do something, cooperation should give them an advantage over doing it alone. It doesn’t even need to be impossible to do alone, as long as the advantage of doing it together is interesting enough. Speed and silence are of the essence in Dead by Daylight, but larps probably need to invent other advantages. Make a spell more powerful when two players cast it together? Make it cost less mana? I’m sure we can think of something.

I’m looking forward to your comments.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


Asymmetry and Balance in Dead by Daylight


The game is played 4 versus 1 and the first asymmetry that becomes apparent when playing this game is the different goals the players have. The Killer’s goal is to catch as many Survivors as possible and place them all on meat hooks to be sacrificed to the Entity. The Survivors however, their goal is not to defeat the killer in any way. They don’t have anything to attack the Killer with. Their powers lie in staying hidden and helping each other get away alive. Violence is not an option for them, which is one of the reasons why I want to study this game further. Because I love writing stories and larp plot where using more violence is not a good solution.

I see a lot of parallels with larp in this asymmetry; our monsters are also fewer than the players, and we want their killing powers to be scary, but we also want to make sure that if the players work together, if they play smart, they will prevail.

The Killers in this game are much like the villains I want in my larp: frightening and more powerful than the players. If they resort to an “every man for himself” mindset, the villains will pick them off one by one. And that is the thought at the heart of Dead by Daylight’s Killers: they can only focus on one Survivor at the time.

They can only hit one, and then there is a few seconds cooldown that prevents the Killer from moving or attacking again. The Killer can only carry one and they have to let the others get away. This makes ganging up on the Killer an exciting and effective tactic; a risk worth taking. And that is how you get your players to work together!

So asymmetrical goals. In larp, it may be the players’ goal to defeat the villain. We do like that in our classic fantasy larps. But it’s not our monsters’ goal to defeat the players, larp is no fun when the players are defeated. The goal of the game is to give the players a challenge they can overcome. In a way, our monsters and villains should feel happy and proud when the players find a way to defeat them and solve the challenge.

So how does Dead by Daylight make the Survivors feel like they can do something against this enemy they can’t defeat? Well, it’s not easy for the Killer to find a Survivor, for starters. This game is a beautiful rendition of Hide and Seek, with all the thrills of finding a good hiding spot and knowing that they can’t find you. And then once they’ve found you, you’re not dead yet.

Dead by Daylight doesn’t have a hitpoints system. You start out as healthy, and if the Killer manages to wound you, you will limp, bleed and whimper, making it easier for the killer to find you, but you can still do all the things you normally can, at the same speed (and at higher levels, you can get an adrenaline power, making things go faster when you’re wounded). It’s just harder to stay hidden.

The Killer has to wound you again before they can just grab you and pick you up. And once on their shoulder, you can wiggle free and limp away again, stunning the Killer to give you more time to get away. If you don’t manage to wiggle free in time, the Killer will hang you on a meat hook and then you’re still not dead. As you slowly bleed out, other players can still come rescue you. When you are freed from the Killer’s shoulder or from the hook, you are wounded, but not helpless. You can immediately try to get yourself to safety, and fellow players can heal you to make you healthy and quiet again.

So, causing a player’s death is a lengthy process comprised of different steps, and the players have a chance to free themselves or each other during each step in the process. Are you larp writers taking note? This stuff is beautiful.

And no hitpoints. The Killer doesn’t need them, he can’t be wounded, only stunned. (Note this to your monsters: being slow and getting stunned is good!) The Survivors have different states: healthy, wounded and dying. In the dying state, you are helpless, but not dead yet. You can crawl to safety, and you suddenly have the power to detect your fellow players, to see if they are coming to your rescue and to be able to crawl towards them. One healing action will revert you from dying to wounded, and then another one from wounded to healthy again.

So asymmetry in goals and asymmetry in powers. Many larps strive to give players and non-player characters the same powers, because it’s practical in remembering how all the powers work, and because that makes the game feel fair. Which is funny when you look at Dead by Daylight, because a number of players were outraged about Killers also getting the power to hide and sneak. What feels fair or unfair is not always a correct way to assess the balance in a game, it seems.

I’m still processing all this information. Soon, I will write about how this game motivates the players to work together.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.



I have been doing research to try to better my understanding of the games we love to play. It will make me a better larp organiser if I delve into what makes games fun and challenging and what makes players cooperate when playing. For that purpose, I have been playing:


Seems like an odd choice, I know, but this game is intriguing beyond its survival horror pvp exterior. It’s a game of 4 versus 1, yet it is fairly balanced. How? I think that’s a question that can help me balance out my larps when answered. There is much to learn from the asymmetry in this game.

Furthermore, the game gives the players a very limited way of communicating with each other, yet it clearly pushes and motivates the players to work together and to take risks to help each other. How? When I understand that, I think I will have learned something valuable about how cooperation in different games works, including roleplaying games.

I’ve spent quite a few hours playing this game, but to truly understand, I think I will need to write about my observations. So I will be blogging about the various aspects of the game.

If you’re interested, you can watch me play on Twitch

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.

Never give up

Feeling good about your work is not about being rewarded, it’s about progress

I’ve been playing Dark Souls a lot these past weeks. Gotta do something when you’re jobless, right? And beside patience, this game has taught me something very valuable, something that goes beyond videogames. This extends into my working life and my social life as well.

Dark Souls is purported to be a really hard, challenging game. For example the part of the game that’s called Sen’s Fortress. Let me recount to you how my first playthrough of Sen’s Fortress went…

I walk up from the safe place over a stone bridge through the open gate into the fortress. I trip over a pressure plate and take four arrows in the face while two snakeheaded demons with scimitars storm towards me. When I barely survive that, I arrive in this room:

While I’m trying not to get horribly sliced by the swinging axes and fall into the pit where a headless undying demon will smash me to a pulp, a snakeheaded demon is shooting lighting bolts at me from a ledge and another snakehead is waiting to attack me with his scimitar halfway the bridge. When I’ve made it across two bridges like this, and I have survived another full hit in the face from an arrow trap pressure plate, I arrive on a staircase that feels wrong somehow. I turn to look what that rumbling sound is and a giant cannonball thunders towards me and rolls me out over the staircase like a hunk of dough.

I understand why some people would call this game hard, and I must admit that I was a little overwhelmed after all that. But let me recount to you how my most recent visit to Sen’s Fortress went:

As I enter the fortress, I step up into the space where I know one seprent soldier can see me while the other can not. As he dashes to wards me, I step onto the pressure plate and the four arrows in his back dispatch him. I defeat the other one with a fireball to the face. I hum a song to help me time my path over the bridge with the swinging axes, and I defeat the other serpent men with fireballs as well. I check my message that warns people for the second pressure plate and then dodge it. The arrows don’t ever go off. I time my run up the stairs carefully to avoid being hit by any cannonballs. The mimic is defeated with more fireballs before it can even try to devour me and then I take the elevator up without letting any of the spikes in the shaft hurt me and I pull the lever that makes all the cannonballs stop rolling down the stairs.

The Fortress’s traps and enemies did not become any easier. They were simply consistent. I worked to get to know the (literal and metaphorical) pitfalls and how to avoid them. The game does not need to reward me with giant letters that say YOU WIN! across the screen. The smooth progress in the game is its own reward.

Friends, colleagues and family do not need to thank me or give me gifts for my hard work, they just need to show me that what I do has an impact, that there is progress or some kind of change. Change is its own reward.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


Spirituele shit

Mijn persoonlijke spirituele gevoelens en geloof zijn gestoeld op twee bekende principes. Maar misschien niet op de manier als ze meestal worden aangehaald.

Epicurus legde het duidelijk uit:

Mijn conclusie: wat men god noemt, hetgene dat men aanbidt in verschillende geloven, is geen omnipotent goed wezen. Wat het wel is? Dat weten we niet. Nee, echt waar, ook die mensen die heel erg overtuigd zijn van hun eigen geloof, ook die weten het niet. Niemand weet het zeker. Daarom is het ook geloven.

Het probleem van proberen te verklaren hoe deze wereld werkt, legt Plato uit:

Mijn conclusie: we zijn als mensen gewoon niet goed in staat om de wereld in zijn geheel te aanschouwen. We kunnen slechts de schaduwen waarnemen en daarop baseren wat wij geloven dat de werkelijkheid is en hoe het werkt. We kunnen alleen maar vertrouwen in onze eigen waarneming van de schaduwen, meer hebben we niet.

Waarom deze filosofieles? Dit verklaart hoe ik aankijk tegen veel onbewezen en/of spirituele praktijken. Wat andere mensen voelen en geloven, moet je in hun waarde laten, net als ik in mijn waarde gelaten wil worden over wat ik geloof. Dit verklaart hoe ik op jonge leeftijd niet veel heil zag in het hervormd christelijke geloof dat mij werd geleerd op school. Geen enkele tak van het christelijk geloof stelde mij gerust dat ik een gewoon mens ben, terwijl ik mensen kan horen denken, wezens zonder lichaam kan waarnemen, en emoties en energie kan proeven.

Ik geloof niet dat een omnipotent wezen mij deze kracht heeft gegeven met een doel. Ik weet niet of er iets is wat een doel heeft in deze wereld. Hoe meer ik om me heen kijk, hoe meer ik geloof dat we hier gewoon allemaal doelloos aan het bestaan zijn. Zingeving is iets wat je zelf moet doen.

Ik geloof wel in mijn eigen waarnemingen. Ik zie wat ik zie, ik voel wat ik voel, ik kan daarin vertrouwen, en dat doe ik nu al enkele jaren. Maar wat het betekent? Dat weet ik niet. Dat weet niemand zeker.

Enkele jaren lang heb ik boeken verslonden, op zoek naar hoe de menselijke geest werkt. Wat zijn dromen? Wat zijn hallucinaties? Psychosomatica. Wat kan een mens zichzelf allemaal wijsmaken? Ik ben een scepticus en Ockham’s scheermes is handig. Als ik dingen hoor en voel die anderen niet waarnemen, ligt het misschien aan mij. Ik heb psychologische werken verslonden. Hoe werkt menselijke interactie en communicatie? Wat zijn emoties? Hoe uiten we die en hoe delen we die met elkaar?

Mijn conclusie: Ik heb veel empathie en een natuurlijke aanleg voor cold reading, ik lees mensen onbewust en gebruik deze informatie om beter met ze om te gaan.

Zijdelingse conclusie: hypnose is superinteressant.

TL;DR: hypnose is een betrouwbare manier om mensen te helpen in trance te gaan en zich dingen in te beelden en voor te stellen en daarmee dingen te laten voelen. Het is geen mystieke kracht en het is ook geen mind control. Het lange verhaal over hypnose en de menselijke geest kan ik later nog wel eens vertellen.

Ik dwaalde af in mijn onderzoek. Van trance ging ik naar meditatie, eerst een snufje mindfulness en daarna wat tantrische en taoistische achtergrond. Ik ben een vreselijke amateur in deze beide gebieden, maar ik weet nu hoe ik kan mediteren voor gemoedsrust, voor de verbetering en onderhoud van mijn lichamelijke gezondheid, en voor balans en controle over mijn eigen buien en gedrag.

Vanaf daar was het maar een kleine stap naar reiki, waarin ik ook nooit een officiele initiatie heb gehad, maar waar ik door de hulp van een goede vriend wel mee heb leren spelen. En via die vriend kwam ik weer uit bij wicca en ouderwetse hekserij, met een zijdelingse blik op Crowley’s boeken en een snufje satanistische filosofie. Het recept en de semantiek van hekserij deed me denken aan NLP en visualisatie, wat ik had bestudeerd toen ik hypnose leerde. Gek hoe het allemaal met elkaar verbonden lijkt te zijn. Of eigenlijk helemaal niet gek. Alles is verbonden.

Dat is de conclusie van mijn bij elkaar geraapte geloof, alles is verbonden. Chaos theorie en butterfly effect. Het leven heeft geen reden, geen hoger doel, maar alles wat gebeurt heeft consequenties, en door kleine duwtjes op de juiste plek, door het lezen van het patroon en jezelf aanpassen aan wat je wilt bereiken, is alles mogelijk. Mijn samenraapsel maakt dat ik me eindelijk thuisvoel in mijn eigen lichaam met mijn eigen vaardigheden.

Ik ben de beste ik die ik kan zijn. Alles is verbonden. En ik ben tevreden met mijn plekje.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.



It is a sad truth that lots of people die every day. I didn’t know any of the people who died yesterday. Or today. Or tomorrow. I have no reason to be sad. I just liked the sound of his voice.

We can’t go into mourning every time someone dies. It would make life into a funeral march. Let us celebrate life and the beautiful art our heroes gave us.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.



Migraine is een onbeschrijfelijke pijn.

Ik zou het kunnen proberen te beschrijven… Een ijskoude spies die door mijn rechter wenkbrauw mijn grijze massa in boort. Maar werkelijk, wie weet er nu hoe dat voelt?

Ik kan niet scherp zien als ik migraine heb. Lichtvlekken dansen in mijn ooghoeken. Mijn evenwichtsorgaan lijkt er van overtuigd dat alles eindeloos draait. En als ik dan ga liggen in een donkere kamer, zonder prikkels, dan doet het nog steeds gruwelijk zeer. Migraine doet er uren over om aan te zwellen tot een crescendo waarvan mijn maag zich uitwringt totdat mijn gezicht nat is van de tranen.

Het is gek eigenlijk, dat deze aanval mij nu treft. Ik probeer al jaren patronen te ontdekken in mijn aanvallen. Dat zijn de dingen waar ik over nadenk als ik in het donker ligt te wachten tot het voorbij is. Wat heeft deze aanval veroorzaakt? Hoe had ik het kunnen voorkomen?

Stress is een factor, zeggen veel mensen, dus ik doe aan zen en mindfulness en tegenwoordig ga ik steeds beter met stressvolle situaties om. Het weer kan een factor zijn, fel zonlicht, temperatuurswisselingen, daarom draag ik altijd een zonnebril en ben ik al een paar dagen niet buiten geweest nu met dit gure weer. Andere mensen zeggen dat het komt door wat je eet. Daarom zorg ik altijd dat ik genoeg vitaminen en mineralen binnenkrijg, daarom ben ik altijd zo voorzichtig met koffie en suiker en vet en al die andere dingen die zo slecht voor je zijn.

Ik doe zo mijn best. Elke dag, de hele dag, opletten, goed voor mezelf zorgen, mezelf de rust en ruimte gunnen die ik heb geleerd dat ik nodig heb. Nee zeggen tegen leuke dingen, tegen mensen die op mij rekenen. Sorry, ik kan er niet bij zijn. Ik moet weer terug naar mijn bed. Alleen in het donker met mijn schuldgevoelens en de overtuiging dat een zwakkeling ben. Want ik lig hier maar te liggen. Ik doe niks. En het doet zo zeer. Zo gruwelijk zeer.

Ik doe zo mijn best goed te leven. Waarom helpt het niet?

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.



Ik vind het een raar woord, maar dat komt misschien omdat ik ook nooit echt waarde hecht aan verjaardagen en trouwdagen. Mijn lief heeft het in onze kalender geschreven, het is een herinnering voor hem aan de dag dat hij voor het laatst zijn vader’s hand vasthield. Aan de zware beslissing om de zorg en de medicijnen en de pogingen van allerlei dokters stop te zetten, omdat het genoeg was geweest. En aan de ijzige koude dag in de kerk en op de begraafplaats waar zoveel mensen hun medeleven en steun kwamen betuigen voor ons verlies.

Weinig van hen weten hoe zwaar het was voor hem, ik moet bekennen dat ik het ook niet kan bevatten, mijn lief is een stille, hij gaat door met het leven en staat er niet vaak bij stil. Als hij dat wel doet, zie ik hem broos worden, breekbaar, zoals zijn vader in dat ziekenhuisbed. Het is een familie van hele koppige mensen, toegeven dat het zwaar is, ondraaglijk misschien, dat kunnen ze geen van allen. Hij valt even stil, zijn ogen worden vochtig en zijn stem breekt, voor een enkel moment. En dan stopt hij het weer weg. Schraapt hij zijn keel, kijkt om zich heen naar de wereld en alle dingen die hij nog moet doen en gaat aan de slag. Hij lijkt zo op zijn vader…

Het is een zware tijd geweest. Toen Moeke eenmaal begraven was, trok zijn vader zich terug. Hij liet ons niet weten hoe het precies met zijn gezondheid ging, en op familiedagen en verjaardagen verstopte hij zijn slechte gezondheid achter grapjes en gemopper. Mijn lief wilde ook liever niet het verlies onder ogen komen, we bezochten zijn vader niet vaak en we hadden hem ook niet veel te zeggen. Hij kon slecht voor zichzelf zorgen en tegelijkertijd weigerde hij vaak hulp. Het was een pijnlijke situatie.

Het huis is nog niet verkocht, dat gaat moeizaam, het is een luxe huis, weinig vraag naar. Mijn lief komt er liever niet, alsof het verlies daar als een beklemmend spook rondwaart, ook al hebben we het huis al helemaal verkoopklaar gemaakt. Toegeven dat hij liever niet in dat huis komt, is ook zo’n breekbaar moment. Hij vergeet het liever dat deze dingen hem dwarszitten, hij vergeet deze gevoelens letterlijk, hij ploetert door met het dagelijks leven, vuilniszakken, winterbanden, de rollenspelvereniging.

Ik weet wat zijn moeder zou hebben gedaan. Eindeloos pogen een gesprek op gang te brengen over het verlies en alle gevoelens. Vinger op de pijnlijke plek. Mijn lief vond dat ze zeurde. Hij vond dat moeilijk vroeger, nam de telefoon niet op als zijn moeder belde, geen zin in het gezeur. Dus ik weet in ieder geval wat ik niet moet doen.

Als hij even broos wordt, neem ik hem in mijn armen. Ik kan me niet goed voorstellen wat hij voelt. Toen we vorige week iets ingrijpends meemaakten, wilde ik meteen mijn ouders bellen. Grappig, want mijn moeder moppert ook wel eens dat ik niet vaak genoeg bel. Mijn ouders zijn er nog. Die van hem niet meer.

“Stomme ouders,” moppert hij dan, alsof het kinderen zijn die hem een duw hebben gegeven waardoor hij op zijn neus is gevallen. Meer komt er niet uit. Het lijkt alsof hij niet de rust kan vinden die ik heb gevonden, de berusting dat ze nooit meer beter zouden worden en dat ze nu in ieder geval niet meer hoestend met pijn op hun borst allerlei medicijnen hoeven in te nemen.

We hebben ze allebei zien sterven, misschien niet op het moment zelf, maar wel over de loop van een aantal maanden. We hebben gezien hoeveel zieker ze werden van in het ziekenhuis verblijven, en hoe weinig alle medicijnen leken te helpen. We hebben gezien hoe afhankelijk ze waren van elkaar, hoe bang ze waren van de dood, en van echt tegen ons zeggen wat ze voelden. We hebben hun lichamen zien kromtrekken en vermageren, hun huid werd doorzichtig en hun ogen glazig. Hun handen waren koud en hielden ons maar slapjes vast. Handen vasthouden. Hem vasthouden is het enige wat ik kan doen, lijkt het soms.

Die breekbare momenten geven mij niet-gevoelens: Ik wil dit niet, ik kan dit niet aanzien, ik kan het niet beter maken, ik weet niet wat ik ermee moet. Hem vasthouden, hem overeind houden, hem weer zien glimlachen, dat is alles wat ik wil.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


PSA account will expire soon

My paid account here at LJ is going to expire soon. The way I've been not really using it, I think I'm just going to let it expire. I have a Wordpress to blog, I have facebook, this place seems a little dead...

That's all folks. You know where to find me.


Excuse me, I’m not ambitious if that means rising in the corporate ladder, but I am living up to my full potential. I have more important things to do than work.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


Beautiful summer

Moments ago, I was grumpy. Hubbie was playing guildwars 2 while eating sandwhich before work and I realised I hadn't touched the game since I started this job. I wanted to sit down and play, but I just don't have the time right now.

Life has whisked me away from behind my desk and into the Dutch summer with it's fickle temperament. I'm grateful for this opportunity. I'm grateful so many people and the things they do for me.

I'm grateful for my new work and the opportunities there. I'm grateful for balfolk music and the people who enjoy my dancing and singing. I'm grateful for the people who welcome me into their homes and their hearts.

Life is too beautiful for videogames right now.

Acting my age?

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


strange dream

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.”

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


Things I would have liked to learn in school

You know, instead of trigonometry, abstract math, acrobatics, korfball, classical physics and the eighty years’ war.

  • Etiquette when paying for a service and how to calculate a tip
  • Business jargon, communication and negotiation
  • How does a mortgage work?
  • How does insurance work?
  • How could I get in trouble if I’m not insured?
  • When and how can I sue someone?
  • What are my legal rights?
  • What are the laws of our country and when can I go to the Police for help?
  • First aid and when should I go to the doctor?
  • More detailed anatomy of the human body: genitals, teeth, brain chemistry, digestion
  • More on food and cooking

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


Thank you

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.

Thinking pose

playing a Good character vs combat and killing people

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.
Must Write

writing again

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 and can’t fix. All In all, I feel like a writer again. And happily so.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


Back in the saddle

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 went on an adventure

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.
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I went on an adventure

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


in the light

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


making plans

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


Hobbies and things to do

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.
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I’ll just be my own personal assistent for a while

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.



A friend of mine has pointed me towards a self-publishing service that she’s very happy about. So I’m looking into finally, really publishing my book. So you can all read it. If you want.

So keep in touch. My book is coming out.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.



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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.

Sam hurt

Life is not a meritocracy

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.



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)

Lots of things to be grateful for...

emotional multitasking

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?

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


just keep going

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


very monday today

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.

CV Ellen Roepert

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.

Sam hurt


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…

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


I don’t understand birthdays

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.

Thinking pose

Wedding and a funeral

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.

I love xkcd

Every new day is a miracle

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.

I may finally be learning this mindfulness thing…

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.

Sam hurt

as mondays go, this one was pretty crappy

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.

thought of the day

I wrote a few posts here today, and I deleted some again. Because I was not honestly sharing. I was just looking for approval. I have been looking for approval for everything I do all of my life.

But the truth of the matter, my thought of the day, is:

I am a tree in the forest. I am here, blooming and silent. I do not need to make a sound, I do not need to fall over, I do not need anyone to notice me, in order to be real.

I’m still learning this lesson.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


waiting for daylight savings

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


Reinstatement of the weekly

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
  • Bimfoodle

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.

Ok, fangirl out now. I’m off to level up.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


always look at the bright side

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.

Life is not so bad…

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


the other shoe

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.

Well, I’m open to ideas, what do you think?

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


there is no nice way to say no

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.

Sinfest Girl

and then, out of nowhere…

I have a job! They want me to start on monday.

It’s a challenge and they were upfront about that. But I could just see the HR manager’s eyes light up as I answered questions about myself. They have high expectations of me. Let’s do this!

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.



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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.


Geluk is…

…met chocola en frisdrank samen onder een dekentje TV-kijken.

…lepeltje-liggen terwijl je moe bent en eigenlijk weet dat je zo niet in slaap kunt vallen, maar het ligt gewoon zo lekker.

…die grijns op zijn gezicht als ik hem bij zijn koosnaampje noem.

…het geluid van een spinnende kat die kopjes geeft tegen mijn elleboog.

…je realiseren dat, ook al ben je nu volwassen, samen spelen heel erg leuk is.

…even alles zijn beloop laten, want het komt wel goed.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.



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 & Nath

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.

Originally published at my website. You can comment here or there.