Road to success

The ‘success’-reel that is Social Media has been an ongoing topic (of complaints) for as long as Social Media have been a thing. The constant overflow of happy moments, with little (or no) attention to the failures, dark moments and ‘really seriously wrong’ things in the lives of those involved keep causing ruckus when it comes to our online intake. And I totally get that. All of it. Both the need to show off the successes, the good things and the happiness, AND the complaint that it’s stupid, unfair and unrealistic to do so.

It’s a mindset thing, obviously. One that, very paradoxically, we can’t really seem to pick a side in either. Because we’re taught to celebrate our successes. To revel in our wins. To be (overly) ambitious and to overachieve and and and. The rose-tinted glasses and the happy shiny sunny world are a big part of our personal path to paradise. But simultaneously we don’t think that we should be showy with these kinds of things. Simultaneously we think that people should be honest about how they got where, instead of just highlighting the end-results. It’s mindboggling really.

Take my LinkedIn feed, for instance. It’s generally got at least three posts on it from happy graduates describing their never-easy-path-to-that-diploma. Stories on how they battled the system, or themselves. On how they endured, persevered and struggled-but-overcame. Stories on how hard they worked, on how well they scored and on how proud they were. All’s great for them, obviously. In the end. Yet those victorious moments are very seldom enriched with the stories on how they also skipped school when they were younger, which is why they had to battle through three layers of education. They don’t detail how they fought their parents over not wanting to do homework. Or how they chose sorority parties over exam-crunching. They don’t show the frustration and tears over yet another failed exam. The corners cut, the C-sses that fill up the graduation sheets and the overall complete lack of reality in how-the-future-will look.

I take it all with a grain of salt.

Same goes for my Facebook feed. Man. It’s overflowing with weightloss or personal journey successes. Girls I know who lost 30kg in two years time (mad respect) and now look like shimmering happy stars in their own right. All the power to them. Yet their pretty-new-body pictures and cheerful power-posts and motivational speeches very rarely reflect the moments I personally KNOW they must have. The secret binges (and purges) when the crash diet just overwhelms. The tears when the scale AGAIN isn’t showing a decrease, even though you worked so hard. The moments in bed when you wonder why everything isn’t working out for you even when you’re doing everything right and the world is just horrible and you’re never going to reach that target goal and the fact that you’re even bothering is just insane so you just get out of bed and order a pizza cause fuck’all anyway. You know what I mean.

I take it all with a grain of salt.

Same goes for the happy parents showing off their precious new baby. With no mention of the bouts of anger and yet another period. The waterfalls of tears on yet another failed treatment. The intense horrors of a miscarriage, negative result or whatever-else-it-took to create that beautiful baby. Same goes for the loveydovey powercouples who got hitched in the most gorgeous locations, with the fanciest cakes and most beautiful dresses. No mentions of the nightly bitchfights and horrible inlaws. That one-time-we-cheated or the fact that they secretly feel that they’re just settling anyway.

Every journey to the top and every personal success has an ugly side. They’re all gritty in the down and dirty deep recessesses. The dark corners where failure and history and doubts and selfpity fester. And the fact that we don’t see them, that we’re not shown that they exist – doesn’t make their existence any less true.

Yet. I’ll admit. When people DO show their struggles. When they do get up close and personal, when they share all of their distress, and hardship and dark moments….I ALSO check out. I can’t take all of that. Shouldering all of those is a LOT harder when you know other people have had to endure them as well, and they’ll probably be in you future too.

Which is why one day I’ll resent the ones that showboat all of their successes. And the other day I’ll detest those who can’t get it done. Why I often find myself wishing I knew better, and sometimes I wish I didn’t know at all.

Because no matter what the topic – knowing that there’s a world outside your own personal bubble…that IS or ISN’T so much like your own…
Most often is not a comfort. It’s a weight that’s there. And honestly. I REALLY do want to lose some weight.

Wait. Maybe quitting Socials is just the simple solution here. HM!


Personal Blogging – The I-thing

One of the lessons about writing that’s stuck with me throughout my entire writing career (even though calling my writing endeavors a career is very ambitious) is a very simple one.

You should not start a sentence with I.

Not only does it apparently feel like an eyesore – it also quickly turns repetitive, is viewed as narcissistic and is just generally ‘observed’ as an unpleasant way of writing. I’m not joking. These were all things that I was told AND they’re on the internet so they must be true.

And honest to god, I’ve bent myself in pretzels over the years, trying to avoid starting my blogs with the word I. I’m a good little writer like that. Well-behaved, following the rules, standing in line. Yaknow. Blending in. Gotta do it right, or not at all, innit?

Well. Let me tell you one thing I’ve also learned:
This madness is completely and utterly stupid. For me. In my blogging.

Truthfully, I get how a book written in first person narrative MIGHT get a bit annoying to read if it’s 200 pages of ‘I this‘ and ‘I that‘ followed by some ‘and then I this and then I that‘s. My eyes would not be happy when submitted to so much I-ness either. It’s a sensical rule. It makes sense. There’s some good thinking behind it. It helps. It’s smart. I can’t fault the rule in that regard.

But. And it’s a STRONG but here. When it comes to PERSONAL blogging. You know, the type of blogging where you write solely about your personal life, and personal things happening to your very own person (and the unfortunate buggers involved in your personal inner circle). When it comes to personal blogging – I think it should be all about the I. I write about I, so you might expect some I’s along in the process.

Which, I guess, IS kind of narcissistic when you look at it. But honestly – the entire concept of me thinking my very-normally-normal life is interesting enough to bother the rest of the interwebs with is already the epitome of self-importance, ain’t it. So can’t really fault myself there.

So if I can’t really fault the rule for existing, nor myself for feeling it doesn’t suit me regardless…I think I might be stuck in an impasse. To I or not to I, that’s the question. And I think I’m just going to stay on the pretzel-path of attempted non-I-writing. But I refuse to completely avoid the I-thing from now on. I got rights too, yaknow. I can do what I want.

I will I.
And so should you!


PS. Wanna read more about the ins and outs and hows and whys of personal blogging round here? Click on, brave warrior, click on!
* Personal blogging – Risky Business
* Personal blogging – Dirty little secret
* Personal blogging – To be recognisable or to be unique?
* Personal blogging – Out for the count

* Personal blogging – Listless
* Personal blogging – The science of stars
* Personal blogging – The personal touch
* Personal blogging – The Voice

* Personal blogging – Patterns
* Personal blogging – Art of repetition
* Personal blogging – Choices
* Personal blogging – Looks matter
* Personal blogging – Clickitty PSA

Insanity

They say...
That trying the same thing...
Over and over again...
But expecting different results...
Is insanity.

But then why is it...
That when I gave you my heart...
I gave you all of it...
No holds barred.

Even though I knew...
Even though I see...
Even though the past has shown...
That it's not meant to be...

Mine.
Or ours.
Or Anyones at All...

Because love?
Real...honest...and true love...?
It's just the drop before the fall.

Isn't it.

But I'm still jumping.
For you.

Wee smirk

Man, I’m a sucker for accents. Totally and completely smitten with people who take sounding charming-as-fuck to the next level by putting a special layer of awesome on every word they speak.

It’s probably a remnant from my youth-trauma, growing up as ‘a Limburger‘. Limburg, for the Non-Dutch out there…is a province round here in the south of the country. And the people that live there…well…they have heavy accents. A soft G that they’re ridiculed about. And a practically semi-German pronunciation of a lot of things. It’s not like Frysian (which is its official own-language-within-a-country) but most Dutch people will confirm that ‘Limburgers’ practically speak their own language and are not understandable for anyone that isn’t from round there (hell, the people from one town to the next almost have entirely different accents altogether, even).

And. Honestly. Most people would also agree that that particular ‘Limburgse’ accent…isn’t particularly attractive. Pretty horrid, actually. Plus – it’s been proven that people instantly think that people with this accent are a lot less intelligent as well. Which, for someone who leans on their IQ quite a bit – is stupendous.

Anyway – that’s my accent-trauma, I suppose. Even though these days I can manage to pass for someone not-from-Limburg on my good days, I’ve been told. It’s slowly fading (about time, after 15 years of not-living-in-Limburg). But wherever I go in the Netherlands, people instantly know where I stem from, without question. ‘You’re from below the rivers, aren’t you?‘. Le sigh. Yes. Yes. I am. -wipe tear-

So, people that DO have attractive accents get me all hyped. Especially Australian. That’s instantly drool-inspiring. But I like a lot of ’em, to be fair. English, any way it’s spoken, just gets me every time. Hell, I watched Outlander pretty much only for the gorgeous Scottish (men) and pretty phrasings (and Frasers). Peaky Blinders for the Birmingham yumminess (and Cillian Murphy, obviously). Call the Midwife and Land Girls for…well…everything. And don’t get me started about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie movie. Generally, period pieces in pretty accents are totally my thing.

And when I came across Derry Girls yesterday, I instantly rejoiced. Irish accents – praise be the Lord! I wasn’t disappointed. It’s awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this accent would fall in the ‘attractive’ category (it doesn’t) but it’s a feast for the ears none the less. But the words they have. It’s epic. They make me happy. The ‘wee’ everything they manage to slip in everywhere. YUM.

Aka – I was sat on me couch fer the entire night. Havin’ a wee smirk at all the goings on in 90’s Ireland. And for a moment I could forget my horrible roots and accompanying accent thanks to these wains and their madness!


Try Again

There’s so much we can learn from games and sports, I think. They’re a reflection of life, in a lot of ways. Although I’m kinda obligated to say that since I’ve already written a bunch of posts of ‘things I learned through playing games like Candy Crush‘ (or skating, or playing softball, or tennis).

And since I am still an avid Candy Crush gamer – I’m going to continue in the tracks of that first Candy Crush post I made, and share some new brightly colored wisdom found in a silly mobile app.

It is true that Candy Crush teaches you to not give up on a first try. It is true that it teaches you determination, creativity and demands some sort of practice to make it through some of the levels. And it is true that by buckling up and powering through you will usually be able to crush the hurdle that is keeping you from reaching the top.

But sometimes it isn’t.
Sometimes it, just. isn’t.

Some levels in Candy Crush are NOT designed to be completed with the basic gameplay options and limits that you’re given. They’re not made to be completed with the initially provided number of moves and ‘normal‘ type of gameplay. They’re not. I’m sure of it. I just KNOW that there’s some developer wringing their hands and maniacally laughing when they’re creating the impossible.

For some levels in Candy Crush…the only thing you require to be able to win the game – is help. And though this ties in nicely to last weeks blog which shows just how sucky asking for help can be – I’m not talking about someone looking over your shoulder and telling you how it’s done. Nope. When it comes to Candy Crush…the help you need is often given to you by the game itself. Strange, but true.

You see….the aim for the creators of Candy Crush is…well…to actually keep you playing their game (and preferably buying all sorts of crazy extra, additions and thingamabobs to fill their pockets). And, with this being their aim, it is NOT in their best interest to actually implement impossible levels and KEEP them impossible. Can you just imagine how quickly that game would die if they did?

Nope. These game developers are fighting to achieve a precarious balance in which they provide a tough enough challenge for the players to keep them interested. An impossible enough level to seduce them into buying ‘extras’ to help pass a level AND enough loopholes to make sure the people that are unwilling to pay to win still keep playing to be open for seduction on another day. Tough ass job, I’d say.

So this is what often happens when it comes to me playing Candy Crush. And THIS is a wisdom you should also apply to life imho.

Sometimes…when things aren’t going your way….you just need to let them rest. Put down the phone. Go do something else. Go for a change of scenery, activity or find some comfort elsewhere. Stop trying. Grinding. Frustrating yourself in that one level you just can’t pass. Quit. For a bit.

Because when you do, in Candy Crush, the developers start to panic a little. Oh drat, she hasn’t opened the app in two weeks. Is she coming back? Was the level really too hard? Did we lose her? Crap. We maybe lost her. And to counteract that panic and to lure a person back in, they’ve implemented a BOATLOAD of things to make sure you…just…keep…playing.

Once you put down your phone and not crush Candy for a while, you’ll log back in to a hoard of bonuses. A plethora of extra moves. And an impossible level that you suddenly pass on your first attempt after a hiatus. I’m not even kidding. I’ve been stuck on levels for months, only to ignore the app for a while and come back and pass it.

I don’t care whether it’s the bonuses. Whether it’s the gods of Candy throwing you a bone. Whether it’s a fresh look, a new load of inspiration or just plain re-beginners luck…the truth is that often, when you stop trying your hardest all those times in a row – the next time you try it after having calmed down, reassembled your wits and got your ducks back in a row…you will succeed.

As you will in life.

There’s no use in getting frustrated when you can’t ‘get it right’ right away. There’s no use in trying to force things. Getting all cramped up, red faced and way-too-eager to get it done. There’s no use in talking yourself down, getting angry or letting things get you insanely sad, desperate or worse because honestly….some things in life ARE just impossible at the time you’re trying them. They are.

But just let them go for a little. Take your time. Recharge. And try them anew once you’re feeling it again and BAM. Life WILL throw you that bone. Because life, like those Candy Crush developers, want you to play its game AND keep playing it. So it’ll make sure you do.

If at first you don’t succeed…just wait a while and the magic will make sure you do anyway (and if that don’t work…try and try again!)

Resolutionizing – May

Did we make it through the snow and drizzle? I sure fucking hope so!
The massive sunburn I got yesterday when playing my first baseball-match (a 10-3 victorrrrryyyyy!) of the year-post-corona definitely suggests we might be on the road to better weather. And with better weather, come better moods. At least, for me. I’m a total summer person. I need temperatures above 20 degrees (Celsius, obviously) to at least function, and now that the sun finally seems to agree with that again (regardless of the AUTSCH IT BURNSES US!) – I’m looking at the world a whole lot more brightly.

Which means that it’s time to have a look at the things-accomplished-in-April which, overall – I deem as a GREAT month. I’ve made good progress on some resolutions, awesome progress on others, and even though I’m failing in some other areas, that’s not yet a reason for concern. 2021 so far is turning out to be a whole lotta lot better than 2020 (not that that’s really a challenge, to be fair).

And in looking ahead to June and the coming months – I’m seeing a return in normalcy FINALLY setting in. With me settling into a new relationship (still so friggin’ happy) and the world settling into a downward curve on the COVID-numbers, increases in vaccination numbers (I’m expecting to get mine this month, WHOOPWHOOP) and decreases in life-ruining-measurements…it sure looks like the world might be somewhat kind of normal again, sort of, maybe, hopefully, around September. But at least we get to play our sports again. Without a curfew. With the right to have a drink at the club afterwards. Like pre-pandemic-people. It’s awesome.

So now you know what’s up over here. Hope things are looking bright and sunny over at your end to. But if not, just keep reading and maybe some of the green in my list will rub off!

Need a refresh?
Find it here:
– The original list
– The January overview
– The February overview
– The March overview
– The April overview

And did you miss out on some of my blogposts?
These were (mine and your) 5 favorites from the past month:
– Cliched Epiphanies
– Mad trickster
– Relative Anonimity
– Juicy Buns
– It’s in the details

Outside of commenting on the Resolutions I feel need some backstory – I am going to keep it simple: Green are the resolutions I’ve (already) checked off the list. Fingers crossed you’re going to scroll and find some greens, right?!
Orange are the ones I’ve totally started on, attempted, am working on or have otherwise made some progress on. The unmarked ones…well. They shall not be mentioned. Until they’re mentioned. If they’re ever mentioned. Who knows!
And red. Well. Red are the ones that I’ve already failed. In month one. BUT (there’s always a BUT) will probably still be (re-)attempting for the remainder of the year ;).

ONWARDS – to full green! (Who am I kidding)

WORK-O-LUTIONS:

  • Land (at least) 5 >10m. deals successfully.
    Two HUGE wins this month makes for a total of three deals this year. I am not complaining! Plus, some additional small wins and a pipeline of two huge ones waiting to be won (results on the 11th and 18th, fingers crossed) make the going already good. And then there’s 4 more I’m working on already. So, this is going to get crushed, I’m expecting. YAY!
  • Get three additional certificates on relevant topics OR
    I can NOT find ANY time to get ANYTHING done in this area. It sucks. But I’m expecting that quarters 3 and 4 will be less busy, so I’ll just do a sprint at the end of the year
  • Follow six non-certificate-yielding relevant work courses.
    I did have a good talk with my manager and we’re looking at some cool options for professional writing trainings for the team. TBC!
  • Do whatever is necessary (and actively check this with management) to get the needed functional grade for the 175% bonus in 2022.
    I don’t wanna sell the hide too early, but the forecast is good!
  • Wear a costume in a Teams-call on Carnaval. And Christmas. And possibly Easter (I’d totally look awesome in bunny ears).
  • Donate the 2021 Christmas package to charity.
  • Don’t get a burnout. Or fired. Or in a fight with colleagues for no other reasons than them sucking (luckily, so far, all of them are pretty damn awesome).
    New colleague started (and she’s awesome in already picking up some of the crushing workload). Still doing more work now than in the busiest ‘this-is-too-much-period’ last year but hey…still managing!
  • Start writing a book. Or collect blogs to add into a column-bundle. Or do something anything whateverything to get published work in book-form out into the world.
    I don’t think I’m meant to actually do the writing thing for reals. Blogging is more my jam, so it seems!

BLOG-O-LUTIONS:

  • Keep. Blogging. In. 2021. (as in: the entire year!)
  • Write (at least) 200 posts
    Almost halfway! With 86 posts I’m making a good old dent in that number 200! I feel like this should totally still be manageable.
  • Find a way to ALSO make sure old content gets some luvvin’ every now and then.
    Did you read my top 5 yet? Which was your favorite?! :O:O:O:O
  • Get to 5.000 followers. Yes. Really. Gotta be ambitious, right?
    2570 people are already awesome enough to have clicked the follow button on this lil’ blog. That’s insane, right?!
  • Get to 500 unique visitors in 1 day at least once.
    What. was. I. Thinking.
  • Make a person laugh hysterically with a post. Or cry. Either works.
    The giggles are still happening, I hear. Dundundun!
  • Do a monthly Resolutionized-update so I don’t ‘forget‘ that I’m supposed to be doing this.
    I am actually surprised at my thoroughness so far. I’m impressing myself – now for the rest of the world!

DATE-O-LUTIONS:

  • Fuck dating altogether for the entire year and take a Zoë-year OR
  • Do NOT ‘date’ any of the old-stale-already-done-douchebags EVER again.
    AND (if I do end up dating)
  • No beards. Seriously. Just. No negotiating – no beards.
    Loverboy hasn’t suddenly sprouted a beard and is gorgeous as ever. So still good!
  • Stop downdating AND/OR downplaying myself just to appear acceptable and not-be-lonely.
  • Stop settling for soul-crushing limitations or demands and instead go for compromise-less loving.
  • Don’t opt for an imaginary boyfriend for lack of actual people potential. Pillows do not count.
    He hasn’t fled the building yet! So we keep the count going!
  • Don’t drunk-booty-call any of the old-stale-already-done-douchebags. Really. Don’t be that girl.
    I’ve been extremely well-behaved, I’d say!

SOCIAL-O-LUTIONS:

  • Make a new (group of) friends that DON’T all live at least an hour away.
    Grand ole’ failure still. I might just need to pick up a new hobby after I get vaccinated. Or rent-a-buddy!
  • Spend more time with the far-away-bunch of friends.
    Had a great dinner-and-Eurovision party, pubquizzed some more and visited some friends-down-under so I’d say: going strong!
  • See actual people IN PERSON at least once a month. No hermitting.
    Not even a challenge anymore. You may call me a social butterfly ;).
  • Write a letter to a friend telling them how much they mean to me. Try not to include swearwords too much.
    I can’t even remember why I thought this was a good idea.
  • Post something non-selfie-related to Instagram every now and again.
    Holla at yo socials influencer! I totally posted some things this month. The world shall see me rock!
  • Host a dinnerparty and actually COOK.
    Does frying goods count as cooking? I just ain’t no chef. Had a great dinner party tho!
  • Do something wine-knowledge related (a workshop, or tasting or high wine) so you’re not just downing bottles but actually know something about their contents.
    The drinking is still coming easier than the arranging :X
  • Do NOT. I repeat: do NOT install Snapchat. Or Pinterest. Ever. AND
  • Do not start Tiktokking. In any way, shape or form. You’re too old Zoë. Really. You are. Resist the temptation.

LIFE-O-LUTIONS:

  • No more alcohol (during weekdays, and in the weekends only when in company).
    I’ll admit, there was booze this month. But lots of good occasions to drink it it as well. I say it’s a win.
  • Lose an additional 9.1 kilos to finally end up at a healthy 22.6 BMI.
    The scale is not my biggest fan right now (nor am I a fan of the scale) but with loverboy being away for the most part of June I’m planning on a shake-crash somewhere this month to get back on track. Which should be easier, now that we’re back to actually playing sports again to burn off some excess fat as well. Fingers crossed!
  • Get a ton of exercise. Or at least – a bunch. Or you know – try to go walking for an hour at least once a week.
    Maaaaan – had a match yesterday and I swear, there’s things hurting that I didn’t even know I had. But hey, training tonight so no nagging, I guess.
  • Get my account balance/savings up to that number I internally discussed and at least stop spending fortunes on Thuisbezorgd.
    With 9 times of food ordering – I can understand why my perpetually non-saving attitude is still a thing. Add some new Ikea home additions and garden tools and well…I fucked up this month. Again. Drat.
  • Don’t start smoking. Or get 12 cats. Or take up skydiving. Or become a vegan. Seriously. Don’t.
  • Actually finish watching Arrow.
    From 57 episodes to go to 45 remaining, progress is being made. Show is still crappy as fuck though. The suffering continues. Luckily I binged Cursed, Reign and Z nation this month as well, so things are disappearing off of my to-watch list rapido!
  • Keep the Christmas tree up year round. IT’S HAPPENING! Gotta make it to August!
    I had my curtains open last week. The mailman remarked on my tree. Still. Going. Strong. .
  • Learn a new language
    😦
  • Play Zelda Breath of the Wild. Whether it’s at a friends or whether I manage to convince myself that I deserve a Switch. It must be played.
    Yassss! We finished Zelda. As in, finished finished ALL of the quests, sidequests and shrines in the game. Outside of some gear enhancements and a loooot of Korok hunting – we rocked out on that game! I’m kinda sad it’s done though. Countdown to the new one in December! And planning on getting Witcher 3 in the meantime. LOVE!

May was a good month. Really. It was. And I can’t wait to get started on June!
Huzzah 😀

It matters, doesn’t it?

Another meeting
Another day
Another procedure
Another play

What were you saying again?

I was thinking about how being gorgeous works...
When beauty is supposed to be in the eye of the beholder...
But society paints the picture
That those eyes are taking in.

Another meeting
Another day
Another roundabout
Another way

What were you implying again?

I was thinking about how being loved works...
When your heart is supposed to be given, to the one who it belongs to...
But no one ever considers whether it's deserved.

Another meeting
Another day
Another blockade
Another stay

What were you demanding again?

I was thinking about how envy works...
When the grass is supposed to be greener at the other side...
But you don't know why green would even be the best color.

Because in another meeting...
And on another day...
Maybe in another world...
Or in another age..

You'd be asking me the questions...
That really matter in the end...
Instead of whether or not we should or shouldn't..
Make some money, win some deals and push to win or bend.

Allergies

They say that the things that bother you the most about other people…

The things that make you ‘clash’ with others…

The things that you can’t deal with from opposite parties…

Are the things strongly represented in your own personality. Positively, or negatively so.

Your ‘allergies’ when it comes to human interaction – can be the things you are, do and radiate yourself (in exaggerated form) and thus can’t handle in anyone else, or are completely opposites to things you hold very near and dear exhibited by people who approach life entirely differently.

This way of thinking is often captured in Daniel Ofmans Core Quadrants – which take any quality you have (or want) and break that up into four distinct areas to your personality and/or behavior. And that, my blogging friends, is an interesting way to view yourself, the people around you, and qualities in general. A good basis for reflection, I’d say!

Daniel Ofmans Core Quadrant theory

I mean. One of my core qualities, I’d say, would be my efficiency in all things. I always strive after Bill Gates’ words of finding the lazy people to do the difficult jobs, cause they find the easiest ways to do them. C’est moi. Things. Need. To. Go. Quickly. Efficiently. Fast. Thoroughly. Completely. Which means that my pitfall might be rushing (and thus skipping on details) and being pushy in getting things done. Which makes patience my downfall and makes me absolutely HATE passive and calm and collected people who….take….their…..time. For everything.

I can’t deal with people who think before they speak. Who weigh their words, options and choices. Who value quality over speed and who make sure everything is right on the first try. Which. In truth. Describes a LOT of people in IT, who can be a frigging deathtrap of an quality minded bunch. Yet, simultaneously – I do NOT respond well to being rushed, either. Mostly because I’m usually the one rushing others AND because I’m probably already working at top speed anyway. Aka. My allergies go both way. I’m both allergic for my own core qualities in other people (when overly present) AND to my allergies displayed in others.

Same goes for Directness – another one of the things I consider a core quality. I WILL tell you how it is. Always. Making me a rude, mean and unnecessarily disruptive person sometimes. It’s a pitfall. I know. Aka, I love people who are thoughtful and attentive and politically correct, except for when that boils down to people-who-always-agree or who nod yes to your face and then do something entirely different behind your back. BUT I pretty much also detest people who say it straight to my face like a blunderbus. Too much directness, like my own….and I get severely allergic.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this:
If your allergies towards people can be triggered both on personality overdoses, or withdrawal in your co-inhabitors or co-workers – life can be hard as fuck. Because not ending up with a murder charge is hard, when some people just grind you the wrong way. Constantly.
I often think of myself (and call myself) a simple soul…but on days like these I realize that, if this theory were to hold true, I’m one hell of a complex person. Because BOY are a LOT of people in my allergies sometimes! Core qualities or allergies – I think the easy way of looking at them (for me) is like this: as soon as you put TOO in front of anything – it’s not gonna mesh with me. I’m such a person of extremes, I vibe best with people who are moderate.

The right tools

I pride myself in being a strong and independent woman.

I do. And not in one of those fierce sjw over the top excruciatingly force-feminism-down-your-throat kind of ways. But in a show-rather-than-tell kind of way.

And to me – being strong and independent often manifests itself in a very obvious way: my intense desire to be able to do everything (by) myself. There’s an important distinction there. A nuance, if you will.

Because not only does strength and independence, in my book, apparently hinge on doing things ALONE. It also shockingly requires me to possess or acquire every possible skill in the world as if it were nothing.

Which….

Come to think of it…

Is kinda dumb..

You see, the thing is…that I myself, we as women and the world as a whole have an entirely unrealistic range of expectancies on the human capacity. In my honest opinion. Not just for a gender, or a race but for every single individual as a whole.

Something I can’t exactly complain about since my brain is a more than willing co-conspirator, but it still nags down there in my subconscious.

Because – even though I don’t FEEL like it’s true (for me) – I KNOW that it is impossible for any one person to be able to do every one thing that there is to be done in the world – all by their lonesome. It’s not a thing.

The fact that ‘simple’ (ugly word) things that we’re supposed to ‘just’ be able to do (like cooking…or gardening…hanging a painting…or changing a tire) have actual people making their professions out of it already suggest that there is more skill, depth and ranges of adeptness to EVERYTHING. And that, even though you very possibly can, could and would if needed do all of these things – not doing them yourself does not in any way make you more or less strong, nor independent.

I ordered curtains earlier this year. Heavy, sunblocking and ringed curtains. They were a bitch to put up. Or well, actually they weren’t. Lemme give you some context:

I ordered them for the front room first. Almost broke my neck (and the curtain rod) while trying to put them up by myself because ‘I’m a strong and independent woman, I don’t need no one to help me do nothing‘. So I struggled to balance a 2.5 meter rod with 30kg heavy fabric above my head while precariously balancing on the top of a couch and a windowsill (because I had no stepladder) for a good hour before I managed to hang ’em in pure exhaustion. And living in fear they might come down at any moment the week after.

Three weeks later another set arrived. I left them on the table for a week until loverboy came over and helped me hang them. In 15 minutes. Without breaking a sweat.

Same thing went for hanging a couple of paintings. I hung one myself once. Spent 30 minutes trying to drill a hole into solid concrete without it budging to my mini ikea cheapass drill thingy. So when the grandparents had me take two new paintings home – loverboy showed up with his pro-as-fuck drill and voila. 5 minutes. No effort.

And I’ve been dreading doing the garden work this year. I bet my neighbors extra-hate me for my unkempt garden compared to their retirement-perfected yards. Mostly because last year I tried to trim the hedges with kitchen scissors and weed out weed with a tiny knife and no gloves. This year I ordered a hedge trimmer, shears and a weed scratcher (and a load of vinegar) and things seem a lot less daunting.

The thing is: I KNOW I can do all of these things by myself perfectly fine if the occasion or necessity calls for it. But in truth, it very rarely does. Because when it comes down to it – I just don’t have the right tools or experience for a whole lot of things in life. That’s a fact.

And no matter how much my inner voice screams that I SHOULD – there’s no denying that having the right tools, skills and experience makes ANYTHING a 1000% easier. It just does.

And me thinking I should suffer and struggle through these things on my own to prove that I’m strong and independent is a warped image. Because honestly – the true strength, I realize more and more – is in getting the right tools and having the right people to help you do things better, faster and easier. Your independency follows in the getting it done. Not from the doing it yourself.

Bam. Life lesson right there folks.

Nostalgia Googling

Every now and then I get these moments where I suddenly see something that takes me back, way back. Moments where old memories come rushing in and where I’m flooded with nostalgia.

Not saying that I’m THAT old, looking back on a life well-lived, but I just apparently have one of those brains that makes obscure connections on unconnected things and then connects them to connecting back with my youth. I’m weird like that.

Yesterday it was someone clinging to Captain America like a little koala bear (the binge continues!) or capuchin monkey while in the air. Tooootal mindleap but I was instantly brought back to birthday parties at my aunts house when I was little.

We Dutch have this concept called ‘kringfeestjes’ which is pretty much the gruesome exercise where they turn a joyous occasion into an entire afternoon of obligatory sitting in a circle of chairs with the complete extended family while enjoying cake and coffee and meaningless pleasantries.

There’s no music. No booze. No fried goods or piñatas. No dancing, no bouncy castles. Just sitting. Talking at a normal volume. With people you’d just seen last week for a similar party and thus endup repeating the same topics.

Luckily – we kids were usually allowed outside where we’d take to the streets en masse and still had fun enough afternoons with the cousins. But not at this aunts house. She lived in a tiny apartment in the middle of a bustling city (for Dutch standards) and busy road with too much cars for us to go outside. So we were housebound while there.

Sometimes we’d get to watch a Disney movie on the vcr (ok, maybe I am getting old) but most times we’d battle over my aunts collection of animal pole magnetty things. I dunno how to describe ’em differently. But they were pluche soft animalshaped magnets whose arms and legs would lock when touching. So you could attach them to curtains. Or clip ’em around your finger. Or straws. Or the tablecloth. And so on and so forth.

They. Were. Awesome.

Which is why I decided I need some in my life. I mean. I have my own curtains now. And still have a taste for cliche, goofy, unnecessary house-additions that make me look like a child in a grownup body.

Sadly…when you Google animal pole magnets…you get a looooot of interesting suggestions…but not the right one. Not my aunts oldschool afternoon-and-life-saving magnets. Which would make sense, I suppose. I can’t actually believe they’d still make those things with their complete uselessness as actual magnets.

But still.

You better believe I’ma keep nostalgia Googling. Still looking for the cherry shaped weights to hold down tablecloths that my grandma used to have as well. Just for the hell of it.