No Place Like Home… —

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They say there is no place like home… but what if you have no clue as to where home is?

It used to be quite simple for me. Home was where my dog was, but due to time, the universe and me all being complete and utter assholes my buddy is no longer with me. She passed away last November, and after that it felt like I could never go home again. (since I’m not really down with suicide and I don’t really think I’m cut out for a quest like Orpheus was)  I had and still have no idea where home is anymore, or even what it is. With my buddy gone, I didn’t want to talk to my friends anymore, I ignored my family, and for the first few days after she died I cared not to get dressed, fed or showered.

From the moment my mom called to tell me she wasn’t there anymore, the flood gates opened. I spend days crying, staying in bed, having Vodka for breakfast and Gin for Lunch. All I could do was shed my tears and watch Community. It wasn’t until the umpteenth day of gut wrenching pain that I finally managed to kick myself out of the house to the coffee shop to do some writing; but instead of putting words on paper I sat behind my computer and wept. The “cool” kids in the coffee shop quietly drifted away as they saw me pour small bottles of Whiskey and Malibu in my coffee and wipe my nose on my sleeve. Clearly there are some car wrecks people don’t care to stare at; one of them is me drinking and crying covered in snot and tears.

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Embracing the Messiness — Also, I might have Dissociative Identity Disorder

Endless Rewrite

I don’t have many flaws; I’m beautiful, smart, compassionate, have a massive vocabulary and I can eat a giant bucket of KFC without ever getting sick. People look at me and think: “That girl just has it all. Style, flair, wit and enough sex appeal to make Brad Pitt pick up a phone in the middle of the night and give her a call.” I know this because I can also read people’s mind with surprising accuracy. It’s hard to believe but I really am that amazing.

When you take a minute think about it, you realize how impressive it is that in the face of my own flawless perfection I’ve managed to remain such a humble soul. I’m not a person who writes blogs to tell the entire world how amazing I am, nor do I feel the need to send a dozen tweets into the webosphere every single time I sneeze rainbows and fart roses.

Instead of becoming an intolerable douche bag, I like to think I’ve kept myself grounded, honest and approachable. One of the ways I do that, is by trying to blend in. For instance, sometimes I pretend to make a mistake so everyone else doesn’t feel so intimidated by my greatness. Like this one time when I was six I cut my own hair and let’s just say I could have done a better job at it. And the other day, I pretended to not be able to do maths in my head because I mix up the numbers and they make no sense because who decided 1+1=2 anyway?

Oh, and there was this one time… Never mind, I won’t go into that, because you possibly just had dinner and I don’t want to make you feel sick.

But let’s be honest, for a minute – weren’t you honest already, Janneke. You incredible beacon of humanity, you shining light of perfection, you Goddess of humility and decency?  – First of all, I don’t appreciate your sarcasm. It’s not very becoming on someone who doesn’t really exist and I’m making up as I’m typing this.

What, I meant every single word I said. I’m sure that if you are ever less than perfect, it is only on purpose to make us ‘lesser people’ not feel so insignificant.

Exactly. I’m glad you get me. It’s almost like you are part of me and also read everything I said above.

I did and I am. And I am here to tell you that you have problem and should see a doctor.

Enough about you, let’s talk about me some more.

But if I’m only pretending that I am far from perfect, I am very good at it. I am arrogant, selfish and I don’t think I can actually eat a bucket of KFC without being violently ill. In fact, my own imperfection keeps me up at night. I always feel like I should be better, different, kinder and less guarded. I’m pretty sure there are quite a few indicators in my childhood as to why that is, but that’s not the point right now.

The point it that I constantly have this need to be better. Not so much better than everyone else, because let’s face it, there are few opinions and people I care more about than my own and myself.

No, I feel like I should be better than I am… Which is a fucking pain in my ass. Because I’ll spend forever going over everything I said and did and how I should have said and could’ve done it better. I know this is the same for every person, and it is how we learn. But I have a harder time letting things go. In some cases it will take me years to get over insignificant mistakes. I will feel this dumb shame and doubt in disproportionate amounts long after the fact, which is just silly.

On some levels I guess it makes me actually be a better person and act with some more respect and kindness. Even though I sometimes like to have some peace from myself and my constant feeling I should be better somehow; I don’t think it is always such a bad think to chastise yourself and try to be a better, kinder, more open-minded person.

Except when I’m writing; because all of the sudden the endless analyzing and perfectionism becomes the worst fucking habit to have.

Don’t you think it’s good to be critical and strive for the best, Janneke?

Thanks for interrupting me, you dick. But to answer your question… Sure it is, but it’s just not very helpful to jump right into self-loathing and doubt when you’re just one page in to a story or a script. Things evolve organically after a long process of writing and re-writing, and I sometimes expect things to be perfect right from the start. Which pushes me time and again in the habit to start rewriting when there is barely anything to rewrite. I will start sculpting the fine lines, without ever hewing out the general shape of the thing.

And this is an almost impossible way to work, because without knowing the general shape, how do you know where the fine lines and details actually go? You can’t build a cathedral without first setting up a solid foundation (and everything I do of course has the grandeur and beauty and eternity similar to Cathédrale de Chartres)

So, while you may feel like you are making things better by just jumping in straight away, going back and fixing every single issue, you just end up going in smaller and smaller circles until you run into yourself, screaming and shouting and wondering why you are so incompetent. — Almost as though you are talking to yourself on your own blog? —

Almost like that.

Except here I don’t care. I can do whatever I want. I can talk to myself, I can talk to imaginary readers, I can pretend to be anyone and anything. It doesn’t matter. These blogs help me unwind, that is the only point there is to them. I don’t care too much about them. Here I have nothing to prove, not to myself and not to the world. These posts just exist. I barely rewrite them. I just type, press send and never look back. They are like mindless scribbles and sketches build from words. They are often a mess, either structurally or just poorly worded…and let’s not even start talking about the content… :)

That people enjoy them in spite of that is a giant compliment, and it does give me enormous joy. I’m not being callous when I say that I don’t care about this blog. I mean that I don’t care about it as much as I care about my actual writing projects. But for better or worse, this blog is helping me grow and develop myself. It has helped me find and improve my natural writing voice, taught me how to write jokes and how to come up with better metaphors and mostly it has helped me to not care so much about every single word I write.

Perfection is in the whole, not in every single nuance. You can have some rough edges and poorly structured sentences, as long as it all adds up to something interesting (and if not, at least I have plenty of pictures of upside down dogs and baby pandas to keep you entertained. Because in the end nothing is better than that and cats in cardigans)

So these days, I find it much easier to write on my actual projects, because I just don’t care so much about it being perfect right now. I am more interested in setting up the broad strokes first. In fact, I am much more interested in finishing something for a change, without becoming discouraged or hating myself for being such a failure.

And while I’m now 20,000 words into a story that is barely holding together at the seams; because I’m making things up as I go along, I am desperately trying to accept it the way it is and defy the temptation to rewrite. Every inch of my body and mind is begging me to do it, to just brush up the logical fallacies, I’ll promise to leave the grammatical errors and spelling mistakes aside (some of them are hilarious. I might share them some day), I’m not giving in to the feeling.

Yes, I may have a character recalling something in chapter 1, which is impossible because I kill him off in chapter 3. It doesn’t really matter. Because in the long run, the story isn’t about him. And it’s an easy fix. I know it is there, and once I am done I’ll go back to it and fix it. It’s not part of the narrative, so for now I’m ignoring it and just typing away.

I’m somewhere at a pace between 500 and a 1000 words a day, and so far I’m only speeding up; because I have embraced the messiness, and decided that whatever happens, things will be fine. There will be a rewrite at some point, when I know what the story exactly is. For now, I’ll just let my hands do the typing, write without judgement, and let the words pour out of me.

They might be terrible words, but they aren’t meant to be Shakespeare (because I don’t think I can be both that poetic and boring at the same time). They are rough, ugly and messy, but they are mine.

And if they are anything like me, one day they will pretend to be absolutely perfect.

Ted & Jann — I’ll be watching a TED Talk a Day

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I decided that it was time to do something cool again. By ‘Something Cool’ I mean something dumb and uninteresting that I will totally blow out of proportion and rave about for weeks before realizing it is pretty boring and no one cares and forgetting all about it.

I was thinking about watching every single movie on the Sight & Sound critics list. Which would be fun, but honestly if I have to see Citizen Kane one fucking more time this decade I will kill someone. And mostly I feared it would interfere with my writing (which is going fucking amazing, thank you for asking), so I shelved that idea for a while. I do want to do it at some point, or at least watch a bunch of more classics, because there are so many amazing movies I haven’t seen. Which is fine- you can’t see everything-, but I don’t really know how I can justify not having seen Ran when I have seen about 2 movies starring Paris Hilton. So some day, I shall commit to making myself feel slightly less culturally illiterate.

For now however I have committed to something slightly less time consuming yet equally awesome….

For the next six months I’ll be watching one TED talk a day. Why? I don’t know. Because I can. Because it’s never a bad thing to learn something new. Because there is this large vat of resources I’m leaving untapped. Because I’m too lazy to read a book. Because I have nothing better to do. Because I there is so much stuff out there I don’t know about. Because I think it’ll be fun. Does it matter? I don’t think it does. I’m doing it, and as the self-promoting narcissist I am, I’ll be chronicling it too.

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So swing by there or just the TED website if you have 20 minutes to spare. I’m going to try to have as broad and random a spectrum of topics and not limit myself to shit I find interesting (since I’m pretty sure there are not that many TED talks about Brad Pitt and unicorns out there). But if you don’t, cool too, because I’m not really doing it for you. I’m just sharing it on the off chance you find it interesting too. And I’m completely open for suggestions. So if you feel there is this awesome talk I’m missing, send me a tweet at @JannekeRood. If you don’t have Twitter, you should probably sort your life out because you’re failing at Internet (yea, Grandma I’m looking at you!).

I finally figured out what I want to do with my life — and became a Panda Philantropist. (You’re welcome)

You're welcome, Pandas.

You’re welcome, Pandas.

There is a certain kind of melancholy that creeps into your soul when you spend too much time in hospitals and surrounded by sick people.

The colour scheme of hospitals and doctors’ offices is something that just doesn’t make sense on any kind of level. It is cold and clinical, with hints of inappropriate attempts at homeliness. I don’t know who designs hospital rooms for a living, but it must be someone with serious schizophrenic tendencies.

Hospitals are not a place of healing, they are a place of dying where they occasionally manage to successfully re-enact parts of Frankenstein and save a life. And this is strangely enough not something I like to be confronted with all that much. (I know, I’m weird that way) The doctors use language that is designed to feel cold and detached from what’s actually going on. They speak their metaphores, euphemisms and meoisis in calm and soothing voices, taking as the edge off the message whole at the same time telling you absolutely nothing at all. Because in the end, it’s you that gets to make all the tough calls.

I would pay a lot of imaginary money to a doctor that just says things like they are. “Hey mate, you’re going to die. Which is going be tough, but you’re an asshole anyways, and better me than you I guess. But while you’re still alive I shall do my best to sedate all common sense out of you, so the end won’t seem so bad or scary.” or “Well, just so you know… the spider children that have been bred under your skin are going to come out of their eggs and crawl to your heart at a slow but agonizing pace. We will be here every step of the way, but to be honest, there is pretty much fuck all we can do.”

How great would that be?!

Ok. perhaps not. Perhaps sometimes a white lie is better than the truth, at least in life and dead cases. But in my case, where it’s probably not life and dead, -just me having “ordinary” blinding headaches and “casual” small seizures- I just wonder how many ways, shapes and forms they can come up with to tell me I have to be patient and they don’t know anything yet. Because in case you haven’t met me, I’m not the most patient person to begin with. Also, now that I’m writing this I realize that whomever decided on the double meaning to the word patient, had one hell of a sense if irony.

Judging by the pace they are going at, I assume I’m not in any immediate danger of brain damage. I sneakily suspect that I’m fine and they are making me sick by giving me medication just so they can study my awesome brain some bit more. (it’s not delusional when it’s true). But sitting in their fucking depressing waiting rooms, some times it’s hard to not wonder what it would be like if they told you you’re going to die. What would you do, if you knew your time was limited and there was only so much left you can do.

And while contemplating this morbid notion, I realized something truly fundamental and life-altering:

All I really want out of this life is to hug a Panda bear.
Simple as that.

I see myself as a person that has all these goals and things she would like to see and do before she dies. But when I truly think about it, I will die a fucking happy camper if I can just hug a panda bear. There will be no regrets, no complaining. I will have fulfilled my life’s goal.

It looks like the most comfortable, soothing thing in the world. This big, fluffy bear that will put it’s giant paws around you and breathe in your neck. And you just sit there for a few minutes, hugging the goddamn shit out of the bear. If I don’t die from happiness on the spot, I think I would be very tranquil after that. (chances are I will die in the next week after that, being bloody murdered by one of you, fed up with my never ending story about my awesome panda bear hug)

And after our hug we will slide down the slide together and we will have ten thousand kinds of fun. Jokingly I will try to eat a piece of bamboo, but my teeth are totally not made to do that… And we will roll around on the floor, laughing our panda laughs because it is so funny. And I will offer them my Vodka in exchange, but the Pandas will all be like: No dude, we don’t drink. And then I will probably get bored and leave. But not before we all come together in a group (because I will be the Jane Goodall of Pandas at this point except it only takes me an hour because I don’t fancy crapping in a bucket for a year or so and Pandas know I am awesome) and hug our massive panda bear group hug. And we will all be better human beings than before. Except the Pandas, because they are already the best thing on the planet.

I’m willing to overlook the fact that these vegetarian bears probably smell like shit and and that hugging me is probably not their life’s goal- and that it in fact probably annoys the fucking hell out of them…. I won’t care, I will just keep hugging Ling Ling and Yao because let’s face it… this is about me.

Since I have realised how much I want to hug a Panda, I don’t care about my life goals anymore. I don’t care if I ever road trip across the US of A or if I ever ride the trans-siberian railway or if I travel Mongolia on horseback. Do not give a fuck. I hope I finish my novel and screenplay, but if I don’t. Don’t care all that much. I hope I get a cocktail named after me and get married and divorced, but if it never happens. So fucking what?

All I think about is how I just really want to hug a panda bear- everything else has become completely and utterly inconsequential.

Because what can be greater than putting your life and all your sorrows in the hands of this giant happy bear and just sitting there, finally at one with the universe??

I honestly do not know.

Look at that. (If you can think of something that’s better, don’t tell me because I’ll assume you’re a psychopath for not thinking that hugging Panda’s is the greatest goal a human being can ever hope to achieve. )

 

PS.

Also, even though I had zero money this month (or ever), I decided to drink 2 cups of coffee less so I could adopt a fucking Panda. And since none of you gave me anything for my birthday this year (thanks for that), I think you should do the same. Because if Panda’s die before I do, I shall be very upset with you all and I shall haunt you all from beyond the grave.

(How will I do that when I don’t believe in ghosts or the afterlife, you ask?? Well, right now I have a lot of spare time on my hands, and while I could spend that time writing and doing other useful thing such as organizing my sock drawer and googling all the dreadful diseases I potentially have…. I’d rather spend all of that time writing you angry emails that will automatically be send to you at predetermined time after my sad departure, just so all y’all know better than to ignore my birthday wishes)

So be smart and cool, adopt a fucking Panda Bear please. Dickheads.

(UK) https://support.wwf.org.uk/adopt-a-panda

(NL) http://www.wnf.nl/nl/shop_fun/adopteer_een_dier/index.cfm?act=adoptie.dier&dier=77

(US) http://gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Species-Adoptions/Panda.aspx?sc=AWY1302WC92

The art of moving on

When I was about 8 years old I won a cap from Donald Duck magazine. It was the first thing I ever won, and it was amazing. The cap was Donald’s face, and on it there was this little pouch you could put some money in. When my brothers, my friend Hans and I went to the swimming pool, I had to change in the girls’ locker room all alone. Being a shy and awkward little girl, this threw me off so much, that in my haste to not lose my companions, I left the cap with 10 guilders in it in the locker room.

To this day I still think about this cap with regret.

Recently, my boyfriend upgraded his title to ex-boyfriend. Guess he decided his life was definitely better without me in it. (The joke is on him, because I make everything 16% more awesome by just showing up. Fact!)  I like to say it didn’t hurt, but since I take human stupidity, global warming and what Peter Jackson did to the Hobbit personal, imagine how I feel about someone leaving me I wanted to spend at least some part of my life with.

I don’t just handle it badly, I take it horrifically unwell. If you ever want to lose all you respect you had for me, date me for a while and then break up with me. Rejection is a strange land, and I don’t get the rules.

I know I’m not completely alone in that. Most people don’t handle break-ups very well. Human beings as a species are ill-trained in dealing with loss. Excluding elephants, we are the only species on the planet that create magical ceremonies around the end of things. Just so it makes the passing seem slightly more bearable. I guess it gives us the feeling we have some control over the situation. That life, in itself, is not some uncontrollable force set out to piss on your shoes and laugh whilst doing that.

And while breaking up is merely the death of a relationship, it comes with its own rules and ceremonies as well. And because I am so terrible at getting over shit, I have set up a few ground rules. So, while all my instincts may be wrong, there’s always something to fall back on and I got amazingly great at breakups by the sheer force of my resolve to not give them the enjoyment of my pain.

In fact, I got it down to a science. Or an Art form even..

Is that possible, you ask?

Yes. Do I ever not deliver on my promises? I’m pretty sure I’m a genius, and I’ve seen my own brain now and it’s pretty big….. so listen and learn.

Breakups…. 9 times our of 10, you see them coming. So make sure the other guy gets the rules. Be fucking, gut wrenchingly clear that if shit is going to go down… it will go down your way or the highway (which may be the only time, those two are the exact same thing).

My boyfriend broke up with me over Facebook. I guess he would have liked to have a platform to say how sorry he was. And he could have picked up the phone, but he didn’t. And now I’ve changed my phone number, deleted him from my Facebook, blocked him in whatsapp. In this day and age, that pretty much means he has no way of reaching me. He can try and email me, but all that will happens is that he gets a pointedly worded email as an auto response. His email will directly go into my trash. I don’t care about what he has to say because there’s no point.

Don’t listen to Adele, Duffy or fucking Mumford & sons. Things aren’t that bad. Not so bad you have to go down that road.

-Don’t torture yourself with all the good times. Those are gone. I can spend hours thinking about how he held me in the middle of the street when I couldn’t stop crying because my dog had just died… Or how I woke him after the first night I stayed over, at 6AM because it had been snowing and we took a walk through the empty park. But whatever, those days are long gone.

– So instead, I’m just fucking angry. Remember all the shit they pulled, and then some. Beautiful memories are for later. But for now, just hate them with the fury of a thousand suns. I make fucking lists… Like remember that time he ruined your birthday because he was so fucking depressed he could barely get out of bed. Or that time you nearly drank his pee because he pissed in a bottle rather than like a normal human being and you spend and hour hurling over the sink trying to get the smell of ammonia out of your nose. Remember all the times he could not bother to call you or text you back, but managed to update his Facebook status with some menial comment about whatever made him look cool. Yea, that guy… Not worth your pain.

– Don’t blame yourself. Not yet. You may have been the worst person ever and lessons must be learned. But that’s for later….  for now. You’re not the one doing the breaking up. You are the one being dumped. Which immediately gives you the moral high ground. So, whatever made them decide you are not for them… That’s because there is something wrong with them, not with you.

And since they are wrong and fucked up…Don’t talk to them. Not until you can look them square in the eyes and go… What the fuck did I ever see in you. Which may be quicker than you think. Thanks to the fact that every thing wrong in your life, is now all of the sudden their fault.

– Even if they want to talk to you, remember they have no claim on your time anymore. They lost that the moment they said goodbye. They may want to explain and make themselves feels great about leaving you. Fuck them. Their reasons may be as legit as they come. Not your problem. You don’t need to hear how he met the love of his life 3 days ago, or how his ex really is the one and you just helped him realize that. They don’t get to explain themselves. It doesn’t matter. In the end, what it comes down to is that they don’t want to be with you. Accept that. That is all the reason you need. You don’t need to hear anything to doubt or hate yourself. Trust me. You’re fine.

Don’t cry. — When I was at the height of being sick, I cried over everything. I couldn’t leave the house. Bawling. Couldn’t open a jar. Tear fest. Forgot to charge my phone. End of the world. Then one day, I decided it was silly. I was wasting my tears. (Like baby eggs, you only get so many in a lifetime. Don’t waste them) I made a deal with myself. If it wasn’t as bad as my dog dying of Cancer, it wasn’t worth my tears. And while writing this, I might be fighting them back… But I sure as hell won’t waste one, on a person who can barely do me the honors of breaking up with me. So don’t cry. They’re not crying over you. Smile instead. It feels better.

Stay busy. Sitting at home alone, crawling in bed, stuffing your face with junk food (or in my case, solitary drinking) may seem appealing… But it only leads to self loathing. And you’ll get fat, which means you’ll have to go to the gym… And if there is anything more depressing than going to the gym… I don’t know what it is. So instead, go out. Have fun. Make new friends. Joke around. Life is too fucking short to be sad.

Set a goal, or do something productively with yourself. Get a hobby, go on holiday, make a plan to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Because there’s two ways you can do it, you can get bitter or you can try and make the best of it. You decide which is more awesome.

Take care of yourself. Drinking is always my first escape. Unless when I’m not drinking. Getting high is a great option too. But know when to stop. If you find yourself with a heroin needle stuck in your arm in an alley six months from now, you have gone too far.  Don’t forget to eat and sleep. Because

Know that things will get better some day, and you’ll not remember the pain and suffering you’ve gone through. So hang on to the lists you’ve made. Whenever you think you may want to be friends again. Read those goddamn lists, and decide if they’re worth it. In most cases, they are not. Or you’re just a better person than I am.

Get back all your stuff. It may seem like a tempting option to leave something precious back, so you have to see him one last time. And you’ll end up standing with your crap in front of his house, when he’s all cool and distant because he is fucking over you.

So if I could, I’d take everything that even has a smidgen of my DNA on it with me. I am fucking thorough. Not just your clothes, but letters, presents you gave him, presents he gave you, art work… Anything. Take it all back. Give back what is his as well. You don’t want him to come round knocking for it. Even when you really secretly do want that. Close that door as firmly as possible. Nail it shut, then bolt it, and poor it in cement, then bury it. But definitely make sure you have everything back. Especially the personal stuff. Lock them away in a box, with a note. One day when you’re dead and gone, the curator for the museum dedicated to you will open it up and be all like. Wow… What a treasure. And they will find a letter from you to them, completely tarnishing your ex’s reputation. So he’ll go down in the memory of the planet as a bunch of fucking assholes. He who laughs last is a fucking winner.

Tell your friends. Than shut the fuck up about it. Because you can go on for hours, and days and months about how much you’re hurting and how miserable you feel. But in the end, your ex will still be controlling your life from beyond the metaphorical grave of your relationship. You think they are crying and feeling miserable? No fucking way. So don’t do it. Suck it up. And shut the fuck up. It’ll be over a lot sooner that way.

Oh, but it’s OK to write bitter blog posts about it, Janneke? Yes, because I can do whatever the fuck I want. And if you want to comment or judge, I invite you to start your own blog and piss and whine about it there.

Depending on the Vantage Point — We’re all Assholes

if-assholes-could-flyIt’s been the quarter of inter-personal crises here at Camp Awesome. In the last few weeks and months, I’ve managed to crash and burn more personal relationships than George Lucas has crashed franchises. And usually this would mean that I would spring into self-defense mode, claim the world is an idiot that will never understand my beautiful genius, and finally move on with my life waiting for others to clean up my mess.

But moving to a strange and exotic country (as England -with it’s foreign wildlife and strange cultural rituals- is commonly described) has it’s perks. You get some distance from things. (Or maybe I’m just finally growing up, but let’s not make things worse and more terrifying than they already are.)

So, instead of picking up my war hammer and rallying the troops into action, these days I just rope off the disaster zone and let it sit there while I get ready to inspect it further. I’ll be the first to say that my grasp on reality is flimsy at best, and that this is something I usually only realize in retrospect… When the dust of the battlefield has settled down, and it dawns on me that perhaps that enemy I knifed down was more a case of friendly fire.

Oops.

But when you’ve burned all your ships behind you, it’s really hard to go back again.

So, the last few crises I’ve tried to be more of a detective than a warlord. Of course, it remains difficult for me to look at my own actions with some objectivity. There is always this filter of self-delusional awesomeness covering the lens. I have no problems believing that I am both the worst and the best person on the planet. The self-loathing creep that tells me I’ll never be good enough walks hand in hand with the self-applauding freak that thinks I’m god’s gift to mankind. I guess they are equally true and untrue; that they meet in the middle and I am just as mediocre as every other fuckwit I meet.

But as I write that, I don’t really believe that. I am only saying that to not sound like the Asshole I know I am. And as I write that my entire being defies the notion that I am an Asshole, because I am trying so hard to be a good and kind person and I am really nice sometimes. And as I write that, I know I am an Asshole just for thinking I’m not actually an asshole. (I hope you guys have a lot of spare time on your hands, because this line of reasoning goes on pretty much ad infinitum)

But thanks to me roping off all my personal crises and having a better look at them first, before doing anything with them, I have learned one valuable thing… As much as I hate myself sometimes, everyone else on this godforsaken globe is an Asshole too. (And don’t go” “Ehrm… not me.” Yea! Especially you. And you know it, you fucking asshole) It just depends on the vantage point.

I know this is not some notion that will rock many people’s world; the idea that there is good and bad in every single human being. And I guess I am a horrible writer for only coming to terms with this notion now (Not to mention a horrible human being for caring more about being a horrible writer). Except, I never really understood how actions can be interpreted as both evil and great, depending on from what angle you look at it. And the idea of this, the shifting perspective, it is just too thrilling for me drop without quickly jumping at the opportunity to talk about myself a bit more.

Because I’ve always been more than curious to know how other people see me. Perhaps this stems from the fact that it is impossible for me to have a realistic look at myself -due to my previously discussed self-deluding commitment to only see things how they should be rather than as they are- and me roping off my pain and failures for a later date, perhaps has finally given me some new perspective that was lacking before.

I think today is exactly a year ago that my then-future-boyfriend crouched down beside me, and as per my instructions, asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. He made me actual mixtapes with hidden USB-ports in it, because who has a tape-deck anymore. He made me mohitos when I was sad, because nothing cheers you up like the promise of a massive hangover. We would spend each and every day texting back and forth, to a point where I was developing RSI in my thumbs because our hands have strangely enough not evolved for the sole purpose of typing on iPhones. In short, he promised me wild adventures and other groovy times.

He declared his undying love for me one early morning 3 weeks after we had met. I was completely weirded out by this, but as I hovered in the door opening on my way out, I realized I loved him too so I didn’t care. He found me the most amazing human being on the planet, and I thought he was pretty great too, even if he had hairy feet and weird hands. It took us about a month more to move in together, partly because being apart was almost unbearable (partly, because I was homeless). This may seem pretty fast, but given the fact that we discussed out plans to not have kids together on our first date, I’d say we were right on schedule.

In short, it was the classic tale of boy meets girl and they fall in love… albeit with a few more Batman references.

Flash forward to one year later, where I haven’t seen or spoken to him in over almost 2 months, and the mixtapes and other crap he gave me have been safely boxed away in a cardboard box with ‘Dark and Twisted Memories’ in big black letters on it. (In case I forget what’s in the box that has been wrapped in so much sellotape even a lunatic would find it excessive.)

My ex-boyfriend managed to dump me in 6 poorly written lines via Facebook-mail while he was visiting his ex-girlfriend in New York. It is admittedly a less than classy move, especially when put like that. Everyone immediately declared me better off and him an Asshole for it. I guess he is. He could have been a man about it and have some respect and pick up a phone. So yea, he is definitely the asshole of this tale (except those bits later on in the tale where Darth Vader shows up… But that won’t happen until a few years from now).

But I guess that if he were to tell the tale, it’d start out the exact same way. But then when we get closer and closer to the end, we take a different path, our vantage points more and more dramatically. We get a different perspective on things… Whilst still telling the exact same story, things would be completely different.

In his tale, I’m the bigger asshole. He’s the guy who really struggled to figure out what he wanted, and only could do with some distance. Then I forced him to tell me what was going on, he reluctantly did, expecting to be able to fully explain when things had settled down. Except he found himself cut off from my Facebook, my Twitter. I had changed my phone number and blocked my email account. All of his stuff had been returned and mine had meticulously been removed from his house. All that was left was a shitty note saying goodbye -a thing he never got to say-, please give me back my notebook, and I don’t want to be your friend so don’t bother contacting me.

Yes, I am an asshole in this tale. If a friend would tell me how his ex just cut him out of her life from one day to the next… I’d declare her a fucking asshole. Except that the asshole is me here, and I know precisely every fucked up reason why I’d rather not talk to him. So, will the real asshole please stand up??

Continue reading

Negative Writing Space.

This picture has little to do with this entire post. I just like it. If this bothers you, please send a written complaint to someone who gives a shit.

This picture has little to do with this entire post. I just like it. If this bothers you, please send a written complaint to someone who gives a shit.

As discussed in my last post I am living my life at rock bottom at the moment, feeling like an emotional and physical train wreck survivor. To be honest though, as a person who spend the majority of her life literally at the bottom of the world, right below sea level, I feel quite comfortable having some quiet time until my mind and heart are healed again.

What is way more frustrating (than getting my heart broken and my brain scanned, because let’s keep it in perspective people!) is that I am currently writing at a negative pace. As promised (to myself) I write- almost every day- a whole bunch of words down. I think I average just over 500 a day, which isnt’t all that much. But I think it is still impressive considering the fact that I have to nurture my alcohol addiction (just kidding mom, it’s a pill addiction), google pictures of fat, angry, dressed up cats and my brain trying to throb it’s way out of my skull at the same time.

Of course, to you- a mere mortal- 500 words a day may still seem impressive. Perhaps because you are much better at math than me, and can quickly figure out that if I am telling the truth, that adds up to about 3500 words a week, which is 15,000 a month. Given that the typical novel averages at around 60,000 words, at this pace, I should be putting my finishing touches on something resembling the size and scope of the bible (but of course, of much more cultural importance and way more references to Brad Pitt’s naked torso.)

Except that I’m not. At the time of procrastinating on this blog post, I am stuck at 10,833 words. Which is, now that I’m thinking about it, not as bad as I thought. Except that a week ago I was somewhere around 14,000 words. So rather that progressing, in some ways I am moving backwards.

Today for instance, I wrote about 1200 words. But now, at the end of a grueling writing session (without any coffee, I should add) I’m actually stuck at minus 1600 plus words. I know this because I meticulously keep track. With every word I write, I can see my own statistics glaring at me from my screen, counting up word for word… but the last few days mostly counting down. (I do whatever I can to make myself feel like a lazy failure)

Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 6.10.34 PM

Welcome to my fucking world.

How come, you ask? Can’t you just stop keeping track and pretend writing is fun or something?

Well, to answer your question…  Getting beat up in a dark alley, drunk dialing your ex and getting hit by a truck (simultaneously) are all things I consider to be way more fun than writing. But you don’t do those things, you say. Well, first of all; fuck you, how do you know? Second of all… No, sorry…. I got nothing…. No funny come back or something to make this seem less like a dumb segue that I am too lazy to edit out.

I just wanted you to know that I don’t really enjoy writing.

Well, than it’s probably a good thing you don’t write all that many words… why are you fucking even complaining about it and wasting my fucking precious time!! Don’t you know I have stocks and shares to buy and poor people to oppress?!

Will you shut the fuck up for a minute, imaginary reader who happens to be an oppressive dictator because that is what I think the average readership of this blog is! I didn’t ask you for your opinion. You don’t see me come to your (imaginary) blog and interrupt you when you are busy writing boring pieces about how you are writing negative words (or killing puppies, because you’re a vile dictator and that’s what you do for fun on Wednesdays).

(Hey, everyone looking back from the future when I really am in the asylum… You really can’t say there were no signs of my impending mental collapse.)
Anyways, sorry about that. The things I do to not have to write a story…  Getting back to me complaining about boring shit in… 5…4…3…2…

Basically what happens is that every day I write way more words than I end up with. I think about half of everything I write bites the dust before the day is over. The rest will be erased over the course of the next few days. And slowly, but gently I’m shaping this tale into something that is both amazing and heart breaking (read: self indulging and cringe-worthy). Because it is relatively easy to write a thousand words in an hour, what is much, much harder is for those words to form logical sentences and actually make sense. And if you want all of those sentences to shape and build together to something even bigger… It takes time and a lot of rewriting.

And sometimes you get stuck, and there is nothing to do but trash 2000 words. Not all of them bad, in fact, some of them are great. (Obviously, since I wrote them). And I would say that gets frustrating (as I did when I started this post). But it really doesn’t. Because I am building a house of words, and if the foundation isn’t solid. There is no point in continuing.

So yes, most days I really hate writing. It’s a drag and you feel you end up with nothing but good intentions and bad sentences. But in the end, I know that what I hate even more than writing is not writing. So, I am condemned to crawl behind my shitty old computer and punch away on the keys, feel like a talentless hack and do it anyways. Because it’s kind of all I have. (Hey people with real jobs and lives, don’t you feel great about yourself right now?!)It’s coincidentally also what I came here to do, so the fact that I am finally, consistently doing it gives me some small feeling of pride. (at this point in time, I’ll take what I can get)

I may be writing at a negative pace right now, but in the end, I am still almost 11,000 words into a story that is kind of funny (it’s about suicide. Always a hoot). And I am learning all new kinds of things (mostly about killing yourself -for instance, did you know it was painful and unpleasant– and the Looney Tunes).

And someday soon, I might post the first chapter here. So you guys can tell me whether I am the genius many prophets once proclaimed I was, or if I just should get on with it and kill myself. (Just kidding, I am totally waiting for that Apocalypse. I’m crossing my fingers for either zombies or an ice age!)

Scariest. Fucking. Thing. Ever.

Scariest. Fucking. Thing. Ever.

P.S.

The first person that emails me saying that perhaps writing would go a lot faster if I didn’t waste 1200 words on a blog post where I mostly talk to my imaginary dictator friend and ramble on about boring shit that really no one in the world gives a shit about except myself…  can expect a bullet engraved with his or her name in the mail.

Maniacal laugh

Greetings from Rock Bottom — Population: 1

rockbottom

Somewhere last week someone told me the immortal line “Things always have to get worse before they get better”. I made a joke whether he had a death wish for me, because that seemed like possibly the only way things could get any worse. Part of me meant it.

The day before that, I had my MRI, and after the excitement of seeing my own brain had faded (Yes, it was awesome. And yes. I took pictures.) I had what can only be described as a full-on nuclear meltdown. One minute I was walking down the street, minding my own business; the next minute there was this explosion of emotion and I couldn’t stop leaking hot, salty water out of my eyeballs. It dawned on me that I just had my brain scanned for tumors and what not. Which is bad enough as it is, but I also realised that if they don’t find anything, I just may have to accept the fact that I am fucking crazy. And I honestly don’t know which option I fear more.

And in that moment, I though I had hit rock bottom. Things couldn’t really get much worse than this; I had a dead dog, stupid break-up, crazy brains and dumb health issues all weighing me down. The way I saw it, there were few ways my life could get much worse. At some point only the extremely cataclysmic still registers. And after being hit one shit storm after another, it seemed I had reached that point.

I think it is safe to say that I take things slightly more dramatically than is probably good for me. It is one of the big downsides to being me. Everyone always calls me tough, but I am only tough because actually feeling stuff is way too draining. But as much as I like to keep stuff out, some things just get stuck in my brain. It’s like a story that I tell myself, and naturally I bring it to its most dramatic conclusion. So for the next few days, as far as I was concerned, I probably was dying. (my fingers are still crossed for an Apocalypse)

I still don’t have my results, so for all I know, I really might be. But I am not nearly as fatalistic as I was a week ago. So what happened?

Well, for one, I really hit rock bottom.

The rest of the week, I couldn’t eat. If I tried, I would just throw up. I couldn’t sleep. The only way I could fall asleep was with a podcast or audiobook on, so my mind would be preoccupied with that. Nevertheless an hour or 2 later I’d be wide awake again, and even less able to get some rest. I partly blame me and my boyfriend finally breaking up for that. We all know how well I deal with failure. But trust me that it’s not easy falling asleep thinking about how you would look with no hair, or what you would wear to your own fucking funeral. Especially when you have no big ole dog to cuddle, with a soft fur to bury your face in.

To top it off, my hormones were just raging through my body. I felt like my nerves were shredded in a way I have never, in my life, felt before. I was this walking open wound.  spend most Friday just fighting off the blues. I was incredibly apathetic and I really was convinced I had hit rock bottom. But in one furious act of defiance, I decided I should leave the house and go out. Have fun with some friends and not be all gloomy watching Community in bed. So, I got dressed and left my house. Applause.

I don’t think I had walked 20 meters when not despair but dizzying gravity dragged me down. I hit my head, and fell on the street. And as I was lying there, bleeding out of my head… I knew I had finally reached it for real.

Rock Bottom.

And that was probably the most liberating moment I have had in a very long time. After months of feeling shitty, being sick and trying so fucking hard to be happy and healthy, I knew things couldn’t get any worse. And that now that I was there, it didn’t actually seem all that bad. And I just felt the greatest sense of relieve. This was it. The worst it could possibly get.

No matter what will happen, I will be fine. I will start climbing back up again. It may be a long and hard road, but hell… It’s not the first time I’ve had to do it and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last time. So, you know… I had training. And I’m already better than most at it. I’m a fucking emotional mountaineer, and I will reach that peak where I am fucking deliriously happy again.

For now, I am content to stay at rock bottom, because I don’t have the strength yet to climb back up. (besides, I’m writing like crazy and there is nothing better for writing than feeling shitty) There’s still doctor’s results on the horizon and one way or another I will have to deal with them. I will have to deal with the fact that whatever they are, I am struggling to get to work and make it through a full day. I have to deal with the fact that yet another relationship went down the drain, because I am way too much to handle for normal people. I have to deal with the fact that I miss my dog so much, I don’t even know how to go back home again because she was my home. I have to deal with the fact that since she died, I haven’t spoken to any of my friends and the consequent fact that perhaps that makes me a selfish asshole (Although I think it makes me awesome, because I don’t want them to have to listen to me complain all the time. (instead I do that here) Hey guys, if you’re reading this. I’m in emotional Iraq at the moment. I’ll talk to you when I’m fucking happy again.)

But I will deal with all of that. In fact, just knowing that the unmoving soil of rock bottom is directly underneath me supporting my weight, has helped me. I am no longer staring back at the train wreck (aka my life) behind me. I crawled out of that, and now I am just sitting here. Looking at the wonderful things I have ahead of me. But since that will be a long climb back up, I’ll just be sitting here for a while, chilling out, enjoying the view, waiting for any news from the doctor so I can decide which path to take.

And while someone said that saying you’re at Rock Bottom is negative and not in line with all my positivity talk (BTW, go fuck yourself. You come sit here, and then we’ll talk) I wholeheartedly disagree with him. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging where you are, how you got there, and trying to make sure you get yourself out of that situation. I am not being a negative Nancy here, I’m being a fucking realist. Also, my name is not Nancy, so it makes no sense anyway.

My life could be a lot better right now, and knowing that will help me make it better. I can blindly shut my eyes and start screaming that everything is great. But that is, in my book, the definition of crazy (although, I am the lady that worries she is actually crazy… so what do I know).

But to be honest; people should try accepting where they are at. Which is exactly what I am trying to do. This is my life right now. It may not be great. — no wait… That line should say– It may not be great yet… But it will be.

Because it really will be great again. It’s inevitable. And to be honest, some things really are great already. And I doubt that 6 months from now, any of these concerns and struggles I am having still seem valid. They rarely do (although, I will still miss my little buddy.) If there is one thing I know about myself is that I am full of hope. To me; Schrödinger’s cat is not so much about Quantum physics, but a test about whether you are a positive or a negative person (or a real scientist who can say both (or neither) and thinks my interpretation of the cat conundrum is dumb). To me, when you open up the box; the cat is still alive (possibly angry) and will land on her paws.

I know I will be fine. Always. Sure, it’ll be a struggle sometimes, but in the end, things work out. Even if it is only for a little while. I read way too many fairy tales and saw way too many Disney films to believe otherwise.

So, for now I will sit here at the bottom of the Universe until I know how to move upwards again. And for all I know; I really might be crazy thinking that rock bottom is not the worst place to be. (But then I think of Belgium, and I know I am right. Imagine having to live there) To me, it’s a comforting thought, knowing you cannot fall any further.

And at least for once in my life I know exactly where I am.
(and since Google Maps went off my phone that truly never happens indeed. So yay!)

Inside my head — taking a look at the big sack of goo that controls my life.

let's hope it doesn't look like this -- Because than I'd look like HomerInside my head lives my brain, which is both the best and the worst part of me. Or perhaps more accurately, inside my head, I live. And today I get to have a look at that place— I get to have a look at myself.

I know I should be worried -and I am, trust me. But after months of waiting and feeling worried, it’s about time as well. So in a strange way I am mostly excited. I get to see my own brain. How cool is that!

I get to see myself, in a way I’ve never seen before. Someone is going to pop the hood, and there is that thing that controls my life. I am self-obsessed enough to be more than intrigued by that prospect. And if they won’t let me see my own brain, I shall be more than upset. Not only because I don’t think I can stomach waiting much longer for the results (and of course I’ve seen enough Grey’s Anatomy to have the expertise of a neurologist and determine for myself if there lives an evil alien in my head.) But also because some good must come out of this whole situation. And I choose that upside to be the perk of getting to see my own gray matter. And once and for all settle the that ancient question of: are my frontal lobes really are unusually big?? (The answer is yes)

Which is exciting enough to let me forget that I am actually gonna get locked in a cold magnetic tube for a good 20 minutes, to see if there is something wrong with me. (Ha, that joke pretty much writes itself. Don’t bother making it. And shame on you if you already did…. too easy.)

I have always been fascinated with brains, since they pretty much run your life. I am as deterministic as one can get, without crossing the threshold to insanity. I don’t really believe in free will. How can I when looking at the scientific data— or at my own life and behaviour for that matter. For instance, did you know that before you make the conscious decision to move your hand… your brain has already fired off the neurons to your hand many milliseconds ago. All you experience is the idea of free will. You move you hand, therefor you must have decided to do so… And in a way you did, just not a you that’s conscious.

And if you think that data is skewed, or that there is no way for scientists to determine that. (Than first of all, quantum physics is definitely not for you.) If you like to believe that you and you alone are in control of your own life… Think again. Remember that time when you said you wouldn’t eat junk food for a month, and then you woke up with your face in a bucket of KFC? Or that time you bought that new outfit when you knew you didn’t have the cash for it? Or that time your friend said something and you reacted in the strangest way ever and later on you really don’t know where that came from? Remember that time you were horribly depressed, or crazily ecstatic for no reason?

You don’t control your own life. Electromagnetic pulses in your brain control your life. Hormones control your life. You mindlessly tag along, thinking you’re in the driver’s seat.

This notion, which is not as foreign as it may sound, has some rather striking consequences. Let me start of by saying that it in no way means you can negate responsibility for your own life. We can still hold ourself to a higher standard. We cannot just give in when we do something wrong, and say… My brain made me do it. We experience free will for a reason. We get to think we are in control. We get to decide what’s right or wrong, and try to avoid turning to the Dark Side (Yea, I’m talking to you, Anakin)

The fact that we are nothing but slaves to a big sack of proteins in our skull- in my opinion- should not be a notion of hopeless resignation, but one of compassion. People do horrible things. People are horrible to each other. People are horrible to this planet we live on. People are horrible to themselves. And in no way should we condone that. We should always aspire to be good and kind, and do the right thing and eat lots of donuts. We have to have a standard, and make sure as a society we set to define what’s right and what’s wrong. But when people go off the beaten track, realize that they aren’t always in charge of their own actions.

After all, we are nothing but cave people that moved into slightly more sophisticated dwellings. You could try to resist that bucket of KFC, being mean to that person you really don’t like or sticking your willy in a 12-year-old boy. You know it’s wrong, and if you don’t— it may just be because you’re brain is not programmed properly… (unless you’re just a really big dick). But when the brain misfires— because that is what happens— punishment shouldn’t be the answer. It should be treatment. Locking people away is not always a solution. In some cases it makes things worse. And realizing people are nothing more than flawed programs might actually make you a nicer person. (And you’ll feel really great about yourself. Because when every other person is a flawed program, you are definitely one software update ahead of them. You rock!)

For whatever it is worth, I am just as flawed as the next guy. Perhaps even more so. (Because why be standard when you can suck exceedingly) I am an imperfect person. Like I said, my brain is the best and worst part of me. It messes with my head, all the time. Sometimes in a good way, but more often than not (and especially lately) in a very bad way.

But I try to be nice and happy and kind. And I guess that makes up for a lot of it. Doesn’t mean I always get it right. I am imperfect. My hormones run away with me at least once a month. :) I am a fucking human being. I am flawed and broken, just like every other fucking person that ever lived on this planet. (Yea, that goes for you too, Jesus)

And if you still think I’m full of shit. Read this entire post. At no point did I think I’d write this. I have no idea where it came from…. this post is just running away with me. I do not control these words, even as I am writing them. Which you can take as, I am just mindless and should stop writing nonsense. But perhaps there is something more to it. Just have a look at the people around you. Do they seem like rational, sane people who are in control? I suspect not, and if they do… That probably only means you’re just more out of control than they are.

Think about it…

And while you do that, I’ll go rush out the door. Because today I get to see my brains, and that is amazing. I don’t have to die and my skull chopped off, for the world to have a look at my brain… and go “Oh, yea. That figures. It didn’t fit in her skull. Too big. Well, now she’s dead and it’s too late”. Because some smart people used their brains and figured out a way to use electromagnetic waves to see inside my head. And no matter what the reason may be that I actually have to let them do it, I still think that is pretty amazing and I’ll try to enjoy every second of it.

Because thanks to modern science and the awesome power of big-ass magnets, I get to have a look at me and my giant monkey brain… And that is unbelievably cool!

What he Said

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming ‘Woo Hoo what a ride!'”

– Hunter S. Thompson, who truly lived (and died) by those words. He left this planet with a burned up body and a note that -as far as suicide notes go- was pretty awesome. He also had one of the better funerals I’ve ever heard about.

And yes, I know quoting famous authors makes you a pretentious douchebag. But hey… when the shoe fits, fucking own that thing and wear it with pride…