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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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.

Homeward Bound?

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As a kid, I very often could not remember where our house was. I would wander three blocks from home, with no idea how to get home. The streets all seemed familiar, but I did not know which way to turn to get to where I belonged. (It’s not that I have no sense of direction, it’s just that the world spins around all day long, so everything keeps moving and there is just no way to keep track of where everything goes… It’s not me… I swear… I’m great with directions. Ask anyone.)

About 20 years later, I’m just as lost as I was then… But rather than two blocks, my neighbourhood now spans two countries separated by a sea. They both seem pretty much alike, but they are very different upon further inspection.

Currently, I’m in a train between the two of them… and I don’t know which way is home anymore.

Light was my heart when I jumped on a train last week for a long overdue trip home; A place where the coffee is good, and they can serve me my favourite foods in my favourite places with my favourite people. A place where I know all the great hangouts, hardly ever get lost, and my friends are just a text message and bike ride away. A place where the sun always shines, the birds always sing, everyone is dressed like a rockstar and looks like a god. (true story)

In short, I was going home.

But then I got off the train, dragging a suitcase behind me over the poorly paved streets of Amsterdam. Looking desperately for a phone shop so I could buy a sim-card and call my friends, in the hope they can let me into their house… Struggling with the public transport because I didn’t remember the routes, and didn’t have my bike there anymore. To top it all off, it was raining. People looked like shit and the only birds that sang were fucking pigeons.

And I felt like I wasn’t home at all.

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Getting Ready for the End Times — 2012, Here we Come!

I was going to write an update, but then I realized that it’s almost 2012 and we might die any minute now. I’m not sure why, but apparently the Mayans (you know them? Those people who had invented the wheel, but couldn’t quite figure out what to use it for) decided that 2012 was the end for life on earth. Or the entire universe… I’m a bit hazy on the details. Anyhow, End Times. Yea!

The Apocalypse is apparently upon us. And it would be a mighty shame if the last thing I do is write to you what a ridiculous (yet cool) year 2011 was for me personally, economically, mentally and of course, cinema-wise. I’ve seen plenty of lists naming the best moments, movies and worst haircuts of 2011, and I think my lists are way more awesome. (Minus the terrible haircuts. I don’t do terrible hair)

But I’ll spare you my opinion for now. I’m going to get some coffee before the apocalypse hits. I have a feeling that it might be slightly harder to come by that holy hot black liquid after we’re vaporized by a cosmic ray storm, a radiation shower, a rain of comets or just the wrath of some lousy god. also, I saw on Twitter that some dude in Asia just died of a new strain of the Bird Flu, so a virus that will wipe out all of human life might be a possibility also.
(And Now Twitter is down. What does that tell you…. First sign of the Apocalypse?)

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

So, let me just wish you all a very happy 2012 for as long as it lasts. :)
I hope you all remember my words of warning and try to cram in as much luck, love and life as humanly possible. Also, find time to spend with your friends and family and if possible, save a puppy somewhere. According to our Mayan friends it could be over any second, and it be a shame if your last thoughts were: “Damn, I did not enjoy this ride at all. Also… I think I left the stove on.”

Well. I’m off for my last ever cup of coffee ever (although I’m keeping my fingers crossed that -unlikely as it may be- the Mayans just got really confused and fudged the dates up) so you bet I’m going to enjoy it!

Bye Bye Love

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It was the thing I’ve been dreading to do for weeks; say my goodbyes to my friends. It’s not that I thought it would be one emotional rollercoaster full of tears and dramatic confessions of long kept secrets (I wish). I just was expecting me to be sad, miserable and depressed the whole night.

But it turned out to be just fine. Perhaps because I’ve been bracing myself for weeks for this moment, or perhaps because I know that I’m not all that far away from everyone… But it was fine and I was fine.

I was genuinely happy to see everyone one last time before I leave. There were some people I wish I had spent more time with. There were some people I wish I had spent less time drunk with. There were some people I hadn’t expected. And then there were the usual suspects who stayed till the end. All in all, with a few exceptions everyone showed up. More people than I had counted on. It was a nice surprise and a very nice evening with not a tear in sight.

So, to those of you reading this… Thank you so much and thank you for all the wonderful gifts. They are much appreciated. The only thing that could have made this party any better was John Mayer… But that basically goes for anything in Life. John Mayer and cookies.

So, I’m gonna spend my last two days here hanging with my dog and quietly packing my stuff. I have no idea what I am going to bring… Except for this shirt =)

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One More Week — I’ll be Gone before the Milk goes sour

There’s stuff in the fridge that will expire after I’m gone. Fresh stuff. Stuff that has a limited shelf life. Milk. Yoghurt. That sort of stuff.

It’s just standing there -chilled-, freaking me out.
When your expiration date is shorter than milk, you know your time is almost up.

A week from now, I’ll be sitting in the train. I’ll probably still be in the Netherlands, but closing in on Belgium soon. The flat lands will flash past the windows, while the hills of France come running towards me. I won’t be paying much attention to it, I guess. I’ll be engrossed in a novel or a film trying not to think about what the fuck I’m doing. But if I do happen to look outside, I’ll see my entire life disappear behind me. I’m stepping into the unknown (whilst sitting on my ass:).

With one week to go, I am desperately searching for a house. I had a room, but it fell through about last week. So now the search continues, and the fact that I’m overseas seems to make this really difficult. It all comes down to how much you trust people, and I don’t trust people at all. (No matter how much you pay your therapist… They never seem to be able to sort these things out. :) But I remain hopeful that I’ll find something. If not now, then when I do get there within the week.

But not knowing where I’ll live makes this whole adventure slightly more daunting. It’s harder for me to picture it in my head, which makes it harder for me to believe it is real. I still need to get a lot of stuff in order, so I need to know it’s real…

But I also know that things’ll turn out fine in the end. They always do. So, I’m content not doing them for a couple of more days.

Because I’ll be gone soon… And I’m thinking about the expiration dates on milk… which is an odd thing to think about. It’s somewhat depressing. And quite pointless.

But what else can I do. It’s much better than staring at my dog all day; feeling guilty for leaving her. And don’t get me wrong. I might be kinda freaking out about leaving. I’m really looking forward to London. I do know I want to find a job there asap. I’ve been sitting at home for a week now, and it is completely boring. Wow.

What do people do all day except for staring at milk cartons?

 

NaNoWriMo — 3 Days in and I’m giving up

It’s Day 3 of the National Novel Writing Month, and I’m giving up. Not entirely, but I already know I’m not going to write 50.000 words this month.

Basically, came down to a choice between enjoying my time left here with my friends, or escaping to some fantasy story. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to escape to my own safe little fantasy world, where anything (to some extend) would go as I planned it. Hell, it’s one of the reasons I became a filmmaker… absolute control. I love it!

But in the end, I am realizing that I can spend only so much time with the people I care about. I will miss out on so much when I am gone… And they will miss out on so much of me (I almost pity them). Who are they gonna ask to do their homework. Who are they gonna make fun of. Who are they gonna ask for help with their problems. And who are they gonna look to for organizing awesome surprise parties (Because they suck at it, trust me. My friends do not know how to create that surprise that actually surprises you.)

I did write some words today, but mostly I realized that I shouldn’t. I should be here right now. I should prepare for London. I should enjoy these last moments I have left here, instead of running off on weird tales of adventure in my mind.

So, I deleted the blog. Maybe next year, but for now I am focussing on other things. For one thing, that impending doom called: The Goodbye. I am fucking dreading it. There’s no other way to say it. I’m nauseous to the point where I don’t want to eat anymore. I fall into these weird comatose sleeps… everywhere.So yea, my body is freaking out. I almost rebooked my ticket to the 10th so I wouldn’t have to do it; say Goodbye. I hate endings. They are never as good as you’d hoped (Imagine how I feel about dying. Forever bummed out because it wasn’t as grandiose as I’d hoped:)

I’m looking forward to being in London, though. So, I’m holding on to that, just two more weeks… And in the mean time, I’m spending as much time as possible with my friends.

So, no novel any day soon… But in return some awesome JannekeRood quality time!

Bittersweet Nostalgia

It’s a good thing I’m not great with numbers, because if I could do the math in how many days I’m leaving, I’d probably freak out. I try not to to count. I try not to think about it. I know the day will come; I am dreading it and looking forward to it at the same time.

But the truth is that it doesn’t really matter how many days there are left, because in a way I am already leaving. And like the self-pitying Orlando Bloom character in Elizabethtown, I too have become an expert in last looks. That last deep unblinking stare someone gives you to ingrain you in their memories; that’s the look I’ve been giving my life.

I’ve been staring at my friends, my home town, Amsterdam, my family, my work, my hobbies, my Dutch food, my dog and myself… knowing that soon it’ll all be gone. This life I’m living right now will inevitably become nothing more than a memory. Knowing that makes it all seem really lovely all of the sudden. And I sometimes wonder: Am I crazy for leaving?

But then I realize I am looking over my shoulder into what is quickly becoming my past. And yes, they do look beautiful. But things always do when they are about to end. That’s why sundowns are so much more beautiful than sunsets (might also be that I’m not a morning person, but whatever. Let me make a point here!) And you know your brain is playing tricks on you when Lelystad all of the sudden seems like a nice place to live. That is just flat out my brains deceiving me with a fair dose of nostalgia.

Because that is what it is, Nostalgia.

And nothing more…

And on occasion I do let the doubt in, if only to remember how great my life is right now. But while my past may be viewed through rose-coloured glasses on occasion, the future must be seen through sunglasses, so bright is it shining. It’s hard to see what is there, in front of me. I cannot really envision it anymore. It might bring anything, I don’t know what my life is going to look like, what I’ll be doing, or in a weird way, who I am… But I know all of that will become visible again at some point. Either way, I’m going along for the ride and see where I end up.