27 February 2012

pastels

when do we become the pastel version of the people we were when we were younger?!

I remember one time we visited my brother in his student place, and he put a cd on with music he'd learnt about recently. Quite startled we heard Firestarter from Prodigy make it´s way out of the speakers... What?! My brother into Alternative Music?!! Whatever next... A bit of leap from Iron Maiden and Guns & Roses in his teenage (my brother was in his early twenties when the Prodigy thing happened), but fairly understandable... Great was my bemusement when a few years later, he'd moved in with his girlfriend and there was no Prodigy cd  in the house, and gone too were the books that he'd been so chuffed with - every Dickens novel written - and practically every other item that may have been characteristic of him, or as i'd gotten to know him over the years, as a young adult. The music coming out of his stereo was bland middle of the road stuff and the books on the shelf were my sister in laws, or at least condoned by her... In fact the whole house was done to her taste, and Beige best described it...

Had my student-brother been a version of himself and was the middle of the road version the Real Him?
Do i have a similar story to tell - i remember listening to Nirvava and Pearl Jam and PJ Harvey when i was in my early twenties, feeling fairly displaced at the time and not knowing where to go, and a few years later settling down into a life that became predictable and a bit dull, with babies and early nights, my travelling bug quelled...

I've become a pastel version of myself....
Was that the real me?
Is who i am now the real me?

Who knows....


20 February 2012

i.d. please

Something must've gone terribly wrong when i was growing up and went through the 'identification stage' of childhood...
I've read enough books on psychology to know that i should've identified with my mother, and turned into a nice little girl, but hey, my mother had 'issues', and plenty of them, and most of them were to do with girl-things, so i found myself nudging towards my father... He was much more fun, liked me, and so it was way more comfortable to do 'guy-things' than girl-things... Though i learnt a few - i can sew stuff, and i can nurture my kids {thankfully} and i do actually occasionally wear skirts - but they're few and far between... I like popmusic, i make lists/charts, i like gadgets, i {want to} know how machines work, i analyse things into oblivion, i live on my own planet, i'm pretty self-centred... For a long time i never thought of myself as a girl, which was fine, until my feminine features started to appear, and i went into denial... And a huge crisis...

And still, i have no idea how to deal with my body, most of the time...
I have no idea how to be a Woman... Most of the time...
I don't want to be a woman...
And i don't neccesarily want to be a man...
But i feel incredibly attracted to men... {him...} {and him...} {to name just a few}
And not to women...

And so my identity crisis carries on...
Into oblivion...


14 February 2012

books that awoke my spirit

carrying on the Emerson-challenge, my blog-friend Kati and i
set ourselves a few challenges along the way...
We did one about books.

“Books are the best of things, well used. What is the right use? What is the one end, which all means go to effect? They are for nothing but to inspire.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

As an - eternally budding - writer, i place a lot of importance in some books that i've read during my life so far. I'm not a good reader, i must admit, finding it quite hard to stick with stories, losing track very easily {i blame dyslexia}, and i've found it wonderful that a lot of the Classics have been made into films or tv series {all kneel & praise the BBC drama department!!}... Recently the screen version of Great Expectations was shown, and now i finally got what the whole Miss Havisham thing was all about... Also the newly made, modernised Sherlock Holmes version - but for entirely different reasons - pleased me no end...

A few novels have opened my eyes, mainly during teenage, and a few as a maturing mother, and have been crucial in lots of different ways: in the way i look at myself, how other people view the world, and the way i use English -which is not my first language, but has become an incredibly important way of expressing myself, and defining who i am... Here's a few stories {in either book- or screen form} that made a difference in my life:

* brideshead revisited - evelyn waugh
Originally brought to my attention as a series, and never read as a novel (way too long), it opened my eyes to a lot of things: in Sebastian i recognised the oppressed, over-praised (as a child, especially by his nanny), under-supported side of myself, and loved the lavish language used - i thought it was beautiful, so florid and rich, something i so needed in the austere home i lived in, where copiousness was frowned upon heavily by my mother. I felt i found a world that i needed to be in, and the seed was planted to leave Holland a.s.a.p...

* maurice - e.m. forster
Another one of recognition and discovery, the feelings of passionate love for someone when it wasn't 'the done thing', i also recognised myself in the main character of this book - the gay young man, who is trying to find a way in which he can deal with his true identity, knowing he will lose the support and 'love' of his family and the people around him. Somehow this is far more natural for me than any woman-based stories i've come across... However well written...

* it could happen to you - isla dewar
which then is pretty contrary to find a feisty Scottish woman in my list... When the kids were growing up, i discovered - in the local library, here in Holland, of all places - a stack of novels by aforementioned lady... I loved them, and i also felt inspired by the way she wrote... Granted, there was no Waugh-style floweriness, or Forster's almost distant way of looking at the human condition - these books had feeling... And back then, that was what i needed more than literary distance... I felt somehow a slight shred of confidence to put pen to paper and construct my own stories... Although i still compare myself to the way the Great Writers wrote and feel that i fail miserably...
Also, the landscapes she described - barren Scottish coastlines, craggy beaches - appealed (and still do) massively to me...

* stuff by margaret forster {no relation}
more distant than Dewar's writings, less emotive, very beautiful... Looked at life in Northern England, the harshness of it, at the beginning of last century...

* winnie-the-pooh - a.a. milne
pre-disney, of course... Crammed full with nuggets of wisdom and beauty...
 'some people care too much... i think it's called love...'

7 February 2012

switching sides

i keep reading in all my self-help books that the people that are in my life are there because i attracted them... Which - basically - means that {coining a phrase i'm very familiar with} it's my fault that they're there, and i made my bed, so now i'll have to lie in it... Duh...

At first this notion  depressed me intensely... I've attracted the people that give me grief, that aren't very nice to me, that keep making my life stressfull, rather than mellow and peaceful... It's my responsibility... By being the way i was in the past, this is now my reality... How awful!! Boohoohoo...


But slowly it's dawning on me that there's a massive plus there too - if i can attract negative, then surely i can attract (and i am attracting) positive as well?! I can turn this around, be responsible for the good things in my life too?! By fading out the negative in my thinking, hopefully it will be replaced by more joyful, fun, happy people and situations. Only: that takes time, and i'm not very good at 'time'...

1 February 2012

fifteen minutes to go

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last year i did the writing challenge that was devised 
by the good people of trust30
an organisation that sets about to keep the thoughts
and beliefs that R.W. Emerson, 
a thinker and do-er form a few centuries back, alive.
This challenge was set out to get people
to think about their lives 
as they are now, and could possibly be changed,
through {daily} writing excercises...
i decided to do them again, in English this time, 
and weekly rather than daily, 
see what comes out almost a year on...


todays' challenge:
You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live. 
Set a timer for fifteen minutes. 
Write the story that has to be written.


Life's too short to be wasted on silly nonsense...
Yet a lot of the things i do is pretty silly...
Watching stupid clips on Youtube, having arguments with the kids about the clutter in their rooms, fretting over feelings and the lack of certain things in my life... Why do it?
Cos that's what i've been trained to do, by the best trainer i had in my life: my mother... 
And i can see that it brings nothing of value, no happiness, no joy, just tension...
And if there's one thing i should've learnt - almost a year ago now - is that life is so precious... And it can be over, just like that...
Thing is, i have spent most of last year figuring out what it is that i really want to do, who i really want to be with, and although the answers are there, the guts to execute them, to live by them escapes me... and yeah, i admire people who can follow their hearts, do what they feel is the right thing to do for them, i feel a failure for not being able to do the same...

Maybe i judge myself too harshly - the time isn't right, things aren't falling into place as they would do if the time was right, and i know that as soon as the time is right, things will happen, but my level of patience is too low to accept that for now....
{well, actually, time's running out, i've only got 5 more minutes...}
So:
 live, enjoy, love, feel, relax, be patient... 
Be happy with what you have... 
Do silly things...