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.
text by BeaG
“Not too high on that swing!” shouted an unfamiliar male voice behind her. But she didn’t care. The construction creaked every now and then, but it was able to support her almost mature body just fine. With her hands tightly wrapped around the rough ropes, sitting on the smooth-worn oak plank, she swung her legs straight forward and hanging in the ropes with the wind through her hair she went higher and higher.
At the highest point she felt for a moment like her intestines made a little jump, then she swung back down again. Past the lowest point she pulled her feet up toward the plank. High up at the back she hang motionless for a split second before whizzing forward again with even more speed and stretched legs, pulling on the ropes.
She went higher and higher. She felt like she was flying, like she was being released from the ground, from this playground, from her old neighborhood, from her narrow minded home.
Woohoo! Higher and higher! Forward – stretch, backward – fold.
Stretch – fold, stretch – fold, stretch – fold.
She could already look over the trees in the distance and see miniature houses and tiny cars and tiny people moving.
A sense of ultimate freedom washed over her.
“Not so high on that swing!” the same male voice called from behind her. Oh no? We’ll see about that! And she went even higher, ever higher.
Maybe, just maybe, she could do a somersault. If only she could speed up enough. Speed up enough to not fall straight down on the swing and break her bones on the wooden construction.
Better yet, she’d jump out. Jump out on the front highest point. She had done that before. Higher, higher, ever higher, and then let go at the halt point and let the swing fall back without her. The speed she was making would make her fly a long way forward. Really fly!
When she was little and swinging barefoot, things had gone wrong once: she had missed an old roll of barbed wire in the tall grass and landed on it with her foot. The little wound had bled, and she’d gone home limping to have it washed out, disinfected with iodine, and put on a band-aid. She had immediately gone back to play outside, but she was never allowed to jump off a swing again.
That was years ago. Now she was old and wise enough to decide for herself.
Occasionally, halfway through the back swing, she would push her feet off the ground to gain even more speed and height. She had to time that right, otherwise she would wobble and lose height.
Swoosh up, and swoosh down again, stomp, quickly raise her legs again and swoosh back up!
She thoroughly enjoyed it. Forward again, sticking her legs out as far as possible. But…, what was that? At the highest point, the toes of her shoes had disappeared for a moment…
Even faster, even higher! And this time she couldn’t see all of her feet anymore!
Woohoo! How was that possible?
Even harder, even further! Now even her ankles were invisible for a short while!
“Hey little lady, not so high!” the man behind her called out now. But he shouldn’t interfere. Sure enough, every time she went a little further forward and up, a larger part of her legs became invisible.
Would the others see that too? To her left a little boy was swinging, but he didn’t go nearly as high as she did.
Would she jump? “Don’t jump off the swing!” a voice from the past echoed in her mind, but here the grass had just been cut and there was no old roll of barbed wire hidden in it. Back and forth a few more times and then, when she really couldn’t go any higher, she would jump.
There she went! Woohoo!
The swing fell back without her and continued to move on its own for a while.
Now it was only an empty wooden plank hanging from two ropes.
Astonished screams sounded. The bystanders had noticed that she no longer sat on the swing. They looked around, trying to find her. Where could she have gone? Before them stretched only a bare lawn, where you could not hide. Where on earth had she gone?
“Hey hellooo?” “Hey, where are you?”
She heard their voices in the distance as she landed softly on lush moss growing in a clearing in a mysterious forest unknown to her. It was beautiful!
For the first time in her life she was free, completely free!
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.
look at them go
between the houses
offices, apartment buildings, high-rises
over asphalt, along concrete
hurried, rushed, stressed
constantly surrounded by
noise, light, bustle
traffic jams, air pollution
their gaze and attention on
barely aware of
their own inner self, let alone
of nature, of the
wonder of the universe
that surrounds them
of life itself …
One of the reasons we humans love music so much is that it gives us a grip on time. The time that often makes us feel powerless, by flying by relentlessly. We grasp it with music, connect it to tones, to rhythms and to melodies. We give structure to time and arrange it so that we can enjoy it. The basis of music is usually a fundamental rhythm, much like our heartbeat, or, on a grander scale, the coming and going of hours, days and seasons. That rhythm, that variable beat, dictates the tempo and keeps track of time for us. Precisely because life is so fleeting, we naturally like patterns and repetitions, recognizable rhythms and arrangements and unexpected deviations from them. Music influences our heartbeat and triggers emotions in us. We can influence our perception of time with the help of music and shape it to our own pleasure. And, unlike clock time, which is already behind us before we are aware of it, we can experience music over and over again whenever we want.
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, …
Special compliment from the deputy director, when she was his secretary and went through his mail with him:
‘Wait a minute, stop working, I’ve been wanting to ask you this for a long time: why are you on that side of the desk and not on my side?’
Damn tree with shit birds
Lying on his back, in the young grass, under the curly hazel.
The branches move gracefully in the wind. The leaves are bright green, the sky above blue, the sheep clouds cute white.
He shuts out the city noises, concentrates on the twittering of the birds.
Magpies, magpie-birds. There are two in the curly hazel every day.
The same every day? He doesn’t know, he can’t tell them apart.
She will not come again. Not today, not tomorrow, not all summer.
She will never see the magpie-birds with him again.
Goddamn, right in his eye!
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 …
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.
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.’
Today I turned 58 years old.
You can’t call that middle age with the best will in the world, unless you believe I’m going to live to be 116 years old.
I am already well over halfway and already quite worn out, but I have learned many wise lessons.
That we ourselves determine the meaning of our lives, for example.
That we should not let other people determine who we are and what we should do with our lives.
That life consists of time, that it is finite, that it seems to go faster and faster.
That we ourselves also consist of time and are therefore finite. That this finiteness makes life worth living, makes it precious.
And that we can give meaning to that fleeting time by …
There is nothing inherently wrong with the internet and social media.
They are very useful and popular.
But because politics, education, healthcare and legislation always lag behind technological developments, especially since the exponential growth that is inherent to digitization, a number of things have been messed up.
– A handful of computer geeks have become absurdly rich with the introduction of the internet, online commerce and social media. It’s time we pump those extreme riches back into society. We could even use that money to solve climate problems and restore nature.
– That same handful of computer geeks have become far too powerful for lack of appropriate legislation. It is high time we gave that power back to our elected representatives.
– A large group of users of the internet and social media have inadvertently become addicted to dopamine kicks, addicted to shopping, victims of psychological problems and/or convinced of extreme and incorrect ways of thinking.
But now back to the technology.
The internet is a wonderful system that gives the majority of people access to almost all existing knowledge. We all benefit from that.
Social media were created to facilitate and revolutionize our social interaction. That also worked out well.
But not in the way we envisioned.
Guess what? …
– a good health
– nice contact with other people
– pleasant experiences
– good luck working on your goals
– enjoy your activities
– a lot of relaxation
– solutions to the climate problem
– recovery of nature
– more positive than negative moments
And above all I wish you:
– the insight that you yourself can contribute to these things.
Because when you get up, longer and longer, but shorter too, sat on the chair, that you look at things from a higher perspective, but from a smaller angle, from up there, to down down, yes, twice down, look, but just not see, because when you get up and get taller and taller, stay, stay in the same place; you can imagine that you down, that you go down, or maybe even back on the chair, but certainly not too long, and then she said, because you still have to, you, today, still do so much and think of so much, and then she said, but for that you have, that you don’t have time to get up, no dówn, to sit up dówn, but you must now actually go, or to descend, but that you today, that you now, would rather descend up than ascend down.
Now that we are easily connected with lots of our fellow humans,
have round the clock access to communication equipment,
and social media websites where we can share everything,
we increasingly feel the need to convert everything we see and hear,
and everything we do and feel into digital data as soon as possible
and add it to the large global database of human meta-data.
To confirm that we matter.
Here’s a thought: we matter, even without that database.
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.