blog text by Bea Graansma

BG 225 – Clap for yourself

Lately, I’ve noticed something special when I’m watching, for example, a quiz on TV.
As soon as someone has won a round of the quiz, or the whole quiz, and the other attendees clap for her or him, the person in question simply claps along.
Apparently, that clapping is contagious and the winner automatically participates, instead of receiving the praise with a grateful nod or smile.
Why applaud yourself?
Do they have no idea that the applause is meant for them, and just mindlessly follow the rest, like a herd animal?
Or do they consciously choose to clap for themselves?
Am I the only one who thinks that’s a little strange?

BG 219 – Sentence

He had asked her if she had time for a one-on-one conversation with him in his office after the group therapy session and she had thought ‘busy, busy, busy’ and said ‘of course, no problem, I can take a later bus home’, and so there they were now; he got them each a cup of tea and a biscuit, and he asked her what she thought about the session and she said she thought it had been a good one and that a number of participants had benefited a lot from it, especially A and F, and that she had also learned something from it, and he advised her to focus more on her own problems from now on, to which, after she had chewed a bite of her cookie, she asked in surprise what he meant by that, and he explained to her that he had the impression that she had noticed from at least three people at the same time what was going on inside them, how they were feeling, what they were saying, whispering or out loud, and even what they had not yet said, but probably would have liked to say, whereupon she confirmed that this was the case, that she was indeed aware of everything around her, without consciously choosing to do so: for example what was going on in the minds of the others and what emotions they felt, whether suppressed or not, after which she took a sip of her tea, and …

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BG 217 – Umsy Clumbrella

Brrr, rald coin and wing strond…, I can’t wait for the sprutiful beaing!
When the loung yeaves sprout again on the previously trare bees, the scent of flooming blowers hangs in the air and birung yods squeal for food in their neft sosts. When daffow yellodils and tud relips emerge, and daitle litsies and butden goltercups among the fresh grass, and I can walk through them fareboot. I can’t wait for the shin to sune again and the warld to woke up and surround me with scesant pleants and soundful cheers. But nor fow, I struggle with an umsy clumbrella in hoth bands, my closes half eyed against the farizontally holling raizzly drin, and my bapping shog avy around my hearm. Fortunately, I don’t have to snovel show anymore, it is enthuwing thasiastically. But I’m really win up with this numautal fedter!
Does it show?

Translation:

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BG 194 – Counting sheep

How on earth can you fall asleep while counting sheep?
If you don’t pay attention, you’ll lose count and have to start all over again!
And because you make those damn beasts up and don’t have to feed them, they are infinite in number. Baa! Baa! Baa!
That way you’ll never fall asleep, right? Argh!

BG 182 – Sex education

Some parents worry that school sex education leads to premature sex.
But I have never met parents who are afraid that their child will put into practice other things that they have been taught at school.

For example, they never seem to worry about their child starting to speak French as a result of French class, starting to help them with their tax returns after math class, starting to apply the laws of logic correctly after physics class (oops, sorry mom!), or starting to learn to play the piano after music lessons.

In fact, having a teacher (yuck!) explain sex to them, does not make it more attractive to them and rather causes them to put it off a little longer.

BG 179 – Special Compliment

Special compliment from various people over the years, for things she had (designed and) made herself:
‘So beautiful, how clever, it looks like it came from a shop!’

Seriously? You mean it looks like cheap mass production? Thanks…

BG 178 – Multiple lives

Everyone is free to believe what she or he (or they) wants and everyone else is free to agree or disagree.
Life knows no absolute and unchangeable truths, no matter how much we try to capture it in our stories and firm beliefs.
Having said that, I am of the opinion that some people have misunderstood the subject of multiple lives.
You cannot convince me that there will be other lives for me after my death.
Not as a human being and not as another living being, such as a favorite animal.
And it just seems pointless to me if such a next life is all about punishment or reward for the current one.
The shelf life of a living being is finite.
I’m more into science and not into wishful thinking, also where my own life is concerned. When I die, it’s over for me, and that’s fine.
I also don’t like the pseudo-science that would have us believe that our ‘soul’ is a tangible thing, that *poof* leaves our body at death and that, weighing about 300 grams, then makes its way to a newborn next living being to live on in and learn new lessons in.
No, I think that, like all other living beings …

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BG 171 – All the times I missed you

That time when I was at that party, had just fetched two drinks and moved through the teeming mass of people with the drinking glasses at head height, while I thought I heard my name being called out somewhere in the crowd, but wasn’t sure, and I had to keep my attention while I maneuvered to the right spot, where a female friend was waiting for me, without spilling.
Or that time in the supermarket, when I had collected everything I needed in my shopping cart and I joined the queue for one of the cash registers, checking my watch to see if I would still be on time for my next appointment and then pulled out my debit card to pay with, so I didn’t see that you tried to get my attention from the queue in front of another checkout.
Or that time in the cinema, when, just before the film started, I was having an intense conversation with a good friend and we were almost bent over to hear each other better, just before the room lights went out and we were being urged to silence by the people around us (shhhh!), after which you became invisible like everyone else.
Or that time in the woods, when I …

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BG 161 – Detour

Belgians claim they are ‘born with a brick in their stomach’. By which they mean that they are always building, rebuilding and renovating. This applies not only to their houses, but also to their roads.
Despite this, the Belgians seem unable to make proper roads.

I come from the Netherlands, where the roads are much better and where there is also a safe and extensive cycle path network. That is why many Belgians who enjoy cycling or motorcycling regularly travel to the Netherlands. As a Dutch person, the deplorable state of the Belgian roads therefore strikes me even more.

We, for example, live in a street that is covered with cobblestones (in Dutch also referred to as ‘children’s heads’). They are probably intended to slow down traffic, after all, the maximum speed here is 30 km/h, but that doesn’t help, because …

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BG 158 – The new year

I am already getting used to the new year. I no longer accidentally think I’m still living in 2022. I put last year’s mess in the trash and kept the nice things. I have thrown away worthless stuff and stored what I can reuse in my warehouse full of possibilities. I cherish the positive and leave the negative behind (but first I learn lessons from it). Just like unimaginably large galaxies and microscopic small atoms I keep moving, as a small part of the immensely large and sometimes intimately small whole, as long as I still have some time, strength and energy left. Despite progressive wear and tear, I hope I will be allowed to experience some more new years. Together with the expansive, overwhelmingly beautiful, mysterious, unique, and sometimes oppressively heavy world around me and within me – I kick against, sink my teeth into, invent, create, wrap my arms around, and gently love the year 2023.

BG 152 – Women are better

Women are better!
No, not better than men (just as men are not better than women), but women are better, much better, than they think they are.
Most men overestimate themselves, while most women underestimate themselves. And that perpetuates the imbalance of power between men and women.
If women realized what talents they have, what capabilities they have and what their possibilities are, they could give their lives more meaning, find more fulfillment, be more independent and happier.
They could stop self-effacing, keeping quiet for the sake of peace, and putting up with unfair situations, whether private, social, or at work.
Women are better, much better, than they realize.

(I am aware that not every person feels that they fit into the male or female category and I respect that, but that is not the subject here.)

BG 148 – Populist politicians

The political debate was once a – combative – exchange of points of view and arguments of representatives of the people in order to reach agreement in the interests of the people. Nowadays it seems to be a stage for megalomaniac narcissists to present themselves to their followers.

Populists are people who manipulate you (frighten and reassure you) for their own sake and for their own popularity, through lies. Fortunately, democracy doesn’t end when populist leaders tell untruths. Most of the politicians and journalists just keep doing what they are supposed to do and keep refuting. This also gives the people the opportunity to pierce through shameless inaccuracies.

It is not out of malice that people …

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BG 142 – Sentence

She had her mind set on it and she couldn’t help but think she would and had to buy them, even if she had to first save up for it for months, and I just didn’t understand, and then she didn’t understand me in return, in an angry way, and I couldn’t understand why she wanted to make herself disabled deliberately, wanted to make herself vulnerable, why she wanted to limit herself so that she couldn’t get away quickly if she had to, why she would choose to not be able to walk or stand without staggering and without pain, and she thought that was utter nonsense, why from now on she would only want to walk on uneven paving stones holding onto the arm of someone else, probably a handsome man, which seemed like a good idea to her, and why she felt that she would be much more attractive if she forced her body into an unnatural position, but she thought it was not that bad; and why on earth she wanted to appear four inches taller, because what was wrong with her own height and posture, she thought herself too small and too unnoticed; and I simply couldn’t understand why she was willing to deal with that discomfort and pain, why she would from now on after going out throw those things into a corner, cursing and tending to her latest blisters and wounds over and over again, but she thought that was ridiculous because greatly exaggerated; and I just couldn’t understand why she was willing to spend so much money on things that were bad for her body: for her feet, her joints, her back vertebrae and neck vertebrae; because they were so beautiful, she claimed; and I just couldn’t understand why she thought she would get all the attention she craved, and she thought that was a stab in the back, if from now on she were to squeeze her feet into overpriced shoes with sky-high stiletto heels; and what on earth was wrong with that, she asked, and why I was bothering with it, she asked angrier, and I asked her what on earth was wrong with just being able to walk without pose and pain, and what was wrong with feeling comfortable in your own body and with facing people, men, without unnecessary vulnerability and submission, to face them strongly and proudly instead; but I guess she didn’t hear me anymore.

BG 138 – Your path

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. You are not that other person. That other person does not follow the same path as you and does not take the same turns. Make your own choices. Choices that will take you where you want to go, or take you away from where you no longer want to be. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday and see if you are on the right path today. Your right path.

BG 134 – The Clap Cow

This morning The Maakster on her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village came along the Noensewegel, an idyllic bicycle/footpath with on the right, behind a wire mesh fence and then a ditch, cows in meadows. It was customary in good weather for a group of cows to be in one of the meadows, but this time the farmer had spread them over several ones, probably because he had recently made hay and there was not much left to eat per field.

The Maakster stopped to look at a cow that lay close to her, a meter from the ditch, ruminating, each time banging her teeth together with a remarkable noise. As if she had bad fitting dentures.
It was really just an ugly animal. It had a dirty white color with a few light gray spots here and there that looked like you could just rinse them off with a garden hose. But she had something special: that clapping of her teeth. The beast struggled to get up with her thick elongated body on rather short legs, …

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BG 130 – Curb our greed

What if we stop producing and consuming a lot of unnecessary products? Those products that are produced only to keep the economy going and to fill the infinitely deep pockets of the rich industrialists. Especially disposable products.
What if we focus on what we really need and produce that in the most sustainable way possible?
That we make considerations: better a little more of this and a little less of that.
On the Earth’s surface that we now use to produce meat, especially beef, we can grow a hundred times as much plant-based food.
That way we also remove a lot of carbon from the air, instead of adding more to it.
We don’t necessarily have to become vegetarians, after all we are omnivores by nature, but a few days a week without meat will do us no harm, if we make sure that we get the nutrients we miss that way through other products.
What if we strive for a circular economy, in which waste materials form the raw materials for the production of other, sustainable products?
In which we give away what we no longer need to …

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BG 129 – Why healthy?

I used to live in a time when you still
had to answer yourself for healthy living,
instead of unhealthy.
A time when you ate (sweets) without limits,
because diabetes was only for old people,
and you were naturally slim.
A time when you had to come up with
strong arguments not to smoke
and to refuse to drink alcohol,
(and to read many books and
to enjoy doing your homework.)
Healthy living was still for wimps back then.

BG 128 – Special Compliment

Special compliment from a visitor:
‘I have looked at your blog and find it beautiful and interesting!
But it seems like something goes wrong when I look at it: all I see is black and white and gray, the colors seem to have disappeared.
You better fix that.’

BG 96 – What we are looking for

We all find what we are looking for.

If we look for negativity, for destruction, decay, degradation, quarrels, for doomsday scenarios and for differences between us and the other, we will find those.

But if we look for love, for construction, positivity, cooperation, for solutions to difficult problems and for similarities between us and the other, we will find THOSE.

Our happiness in life largely depends on what we look for, what we focus our attention on, and what we put our energy into.