Zombie apocalypse

This is Blog 26 in my A-Z Blogseries:
Zombie Apocalypse

Zombies are beings that continue to “be”, despite being dead.

You become a zombie if you get bitten by one, or if you get infected with the zombification virus in some other way or –according to some accounts-, by looking at them.

Zombies supposedly feed on brains.

… And that is all I want to say about that…

This blog is not about zombies.

This blog is about Zeef.

Zeef is my friend.

If grown-ups are still allowed to speak in these terms, I dare say she may even be my best friend.

I know she reads my blog (hai Zeefje!).

She reads it partly because she is interested in my musings, but I think a big part of why she reads it is because she knows it is important to me. That’s Z.

Anytime I find myself facing some odd conundrum, I can’t wait to throw it at her and listen to her beautiful gentle heart and shrewd mind give it a spin.

Her words are always carefully chosen without ever compromising on the message she wants to deliver.

I wish everyone could have a friend like her. As a matter of fact, I wish everybody WAS her, or at the very least had a little version of her on their shoulder to guide them through life.

I tell her this often which she tends to dismiss. She usually does this by pointing out she didn’t go through years of therapy for nothing and that the world doesn’t need more of that…

And that is true. After three decades of life, she has gone through a lot, both physically as mentally.

She is so incredibly receptive that, at times, it hurts her. It’s the fact that others are not so sensitive (and therefore unclear about their own feelings, intentions and actions both to themselves as those around them) that makes living in this world difficult for her sometimes.

All though I think she is one of the best things that ever happened to this planet, her feeling of self-worth is not always on the same level.

So, when a couple of weeks ago she boldly said she was expecting the Z-blog to be about her, my heart made a little leap for joy.

It means she is ready to be put in a tiny (anonymous) spotlight.

It also implies she trusts me enough to bring an ode to her.

Better even, she is ok with the image I have of her and maybe… only maybe… she is starting to believe she is as much of a rockstar as I give her credit for.

With Zeef by my side, I wouldn’t be afraid of the zombie apocalypse. She’d reason a heartbeat back into each and every one of those brain-eaters.

So dearest Z, I’m sorry for not being able to resist the urge to tease you by not naming the blog after you and giving you the impression I had ignored (or forgotten) your request.

I also realize the sudden switch from Zombies to Zeefjes may have caught you off guard. So, take a breath and let your racing heart take it in. You are awesome and I am so grateful that I can call you my friend!

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Prompt me

My blog and I are good friends.  Lately though, I’ve been behaving like the kind of friend that only shows up when life is shitty and I need a shoulder to cry on. I’m the type of friend that takes energy and gives little back. I’m not being a good friend to my blog-buddy and I apologize.

bad friend

Blogtober was too intense. Showing up because I have to is not how I want this to go. I want to want to be here. And I know I want to be here more often than I currently am, and maybe that starts with forcing myself to show up, at first(?). Inspiration is so hard to plan though….

And Daily Prompts aren’t inspiring me, either! I mean… Just one word? Why not set the scene a bit, like they you used to?

And what happened to the weekly Discover challenges?? I liked those!

Read Write Live‘s blog did inspire me though, especially when she (or he?? I don’t really know) asked her readers what she should write about. I’d like to be able to do that. The problem is that I don’t really have readers. I’m not even insulted. It is the way it is. I never really set out to have a following anyway, but for this specific experiment it would be nice…

But perhaps there is still a way to follow the same train of thought, but with just me, myself and I (and the handful of people that stumble upon my little corner of the interwebz).

How about writing what I want to read? And how about I base this on things I actually did read, like the blog I just mentioned? Instead of using the boring, standardized and uninspiring one-word-“you figure it out” Daily Prompts, I could pick a word or sentence from a fellow bloggers post and build on that… I’m sure they wouldn’t mind, right?

Yes, that’s what I will do. Now is the start, and it sounds like: Ladidada dada!

 

Getting rid of the rooster

According to the Chinese calendar, we are currently wrapping up the year of the rooster.

Chinese zodiac rooster

I think following the Chinese calendar might be just what I need, considering the first few weeks of 2018 have been a little un-fun for me.

The first week was actually pretty OK. 2017 ended on a hopeful note, with my father recovering well from a stroke he had suffered in the late summer and my brother taking back control over his life by deciding to move back to where he grew up, in Ireland.

The idea was that he would re-connect with his younger self and the values he had been instilled with by his mother (we are step-siblings). It sounded like a good idea at the time and I was especially happy he was choosing where he wanted to go himself and going through all the motions (and paperwork) to make the move abroad possible.

Sadly, his addiction got the better of him quite quickly and quite heavily, causing him to be involved in an accident, probably caused by him (all though I’m not sure he sees it that way just yet). Any progress he had made in recent months was destroyed, and more, he has to face all sorts of financial, social and legal consequences. In short: stressful.

My brother called me a week or so after all this happened and confessed most of the story to me. He sounded angry, sad, disappointed and confused. Making excuses and simultaneously admitting and denying the one thing I have been waiting for him to say: I need help.

He asked me to not tell my parents about what had happened, but added “all though they expect me to fuck up anyway…”.

Drowning

Then, after not having heard from him for several days (and me not reaching out) an uncle of his called me and asked me how much I knew about my brother’s situation. After I told him what I knew, he asked when I had last heard from him, which turned out to be about the last time he had been in contact as well.

The additional info I got from his uncle: My brother had bought a crappy old car and told people around him he was heading back to the Netherlands to get professional help. The fact that he had not told anyone here that he was coming and the fact that nobody had heard from him in several days made all the alarms go off.

For the first time in my life I felt my heart quiver out of control, while sitting motionless on a chair. I sent him a message and went through every possible scenario. For about two hours, I thought my brother was probably dead….

brain puzzle

Even when he texted me back, my mind raced on. The reality of his re-existence suddenly felt more complicated than the momentary possibility that he might be gone forever. Needless to say, that realization made me feel horrible…

I felt guilty (which is one of my talents, I must admit).

  1. I felt guilty for feeling that nano-sliver of disappointment when he turned up.
  2. I felt guilty for not being able to run to his aid, but not really wanting to either.
  3. I felt guilty for forcing other (extremely sweet and good hearted) people to deal with him.
  4. I felt guilty for keeping it a secret from my parents.
  5. I felt guilty for telling my mother anyway, forcing her to lie to my dad and adding more things onto her list of things to lie awake over at night.
  6. I felt guilty for not offering up my house to my brother as a landing spot, when he let me know he might be coming back to the Netherlands.
  7. I felt guilty for implicitly asking my boyfriend to carry the load of my family drama.
  8. I felt guilty for hardly having the head space to listen to the answer to my “how was your day?”; especially when the answer was more complicated than “fine”.
  9. I felt guilty for emptying out my brain sewage on the laps of my favorite people in this world; people with so much empathy in their beautiful hearts that it is almost inevitable that my state of mind also affected them negatively.
  10. I felt guilty for losing control and not being able to fake it.

So, forget the Gregorian calendar. Enter Chinese year 4715! And the year of the dog is coming up. I like dogs. Dogs like me. I understand dogs. Dogs are fun. Dogs are goofy and bring out my inner clown (in a non psycho kind of way). This is good!

chinese zodiac dog 1

So, I’m gearing up my backpack for the adventures the year of the dog might throw at me and filling it with:

  • A compass, that points towards what is good for me.
  • My journal,
    • to be filled with small and frequent brain dumps, as to not fill up the brain buffer and empty out the cache.
    • to plan my life better and have (the possibility to create) more order in the chaos.
    • to keep the blog-juices flowing.
  • Scooby snacks, to keep myself and the dog smiling.
  • A lot of room for new experiences and lessons.

mindfuldog

Mind Cleanup – Summer 2017

After my recent blog cleanup session, I finally feel there is some room here for a Mind Cleanup post. I moved the posts about Roskilde Festival to a new and separate blog, where they will feel more at home.

This feels so much better. More casual. The Epiphany Blog needs to be a simple place for random thoughts and musings, as intended at its birth.

So, let’s let those thoughts wander and stumble their way into writing.

News

emoji reading newspaper-smiley.png

Besides all Drumpf related news, the one topic that I feel is probably more important than many news outlets are making it seem, is the Qatar boycott. I have been trying to understand what is going on and why, but haven’t come up with something truly satisfying yet. Reporting on it seems foggy; information blurry and inconsistent; fake news? Who are the the good guys (if there are any left at all)?

My thought process might result in a little blog post in the future. Not sure yet…

Self-reflection

mirror

  • A close friend had her birthday at the beginning of July, which I kinda remembered two weeks prior but totally forgot about after that and apparently these things really matter to people. The fact that birthdays really totally completely and whole heartedly mean nothing to me, makes it hard to deal with people who do. It’s hard to empathize. I’m trying (and failing (or maybe I’m still not really trying)).
  • I started a journal, which will hopefully help me put my thoughts in order and live more consciously (and less chaotically?).

And now, it’s time to answer five more self reflection questions:

What are you bad at but couldn’t care less about (even though others may think you should)?

Birthdays. My own as well as other people’s.

Who are the most important people in your life?

There are several people in my life that I value highly and couldn’t imagine living without, starting with my boyfriend. ❤

Next in line is probably my close friend, Z, who is such an inspiring and wise person, I can’t even begin to express her value. She’s awesome. She’s a hero. She’s my guru.

Then there are the people that are important, even if I wish sometimes they weren’t. Or maybe “important” isn’t the right word but something more like “powerful” or “influencial”. But no, my family is definitely an important factor in my life. Can’t even deny it.

How much sleep do you need?

I wake up early, even when I go to bed late so the latter is something I try to avoid. I function best on 7-8hour rest/sleep. I am blessed with comatose sleep.

Are you rich?

I think so. It’s something that I like to tell myself I don’t care about. But it does matter. I have exactly the right amount of wealth. But when it comes to luck and happiness I am filthy rich. Luckily, those two things I can make myself!

What is a controversial opinion you have?

People who can’t have children “naturally” should give up. Nature does not want them to reproduce. Darwin says no.

Movies / Series

emoji film

  • I watched the third season of Fargo > So much darker (and less funny?) than 1 and 2.
  • Doctor Strange > We want more!

Music

emoji music

  • Richard Bona > awesome Jazz bassist and singer from Cameroon, who just ventured out into Afro-Cuban territory with his new album (Heritage). Que yummy!
  • Natalia Lafourcade > One of my fave Latin American songstresses with a super soothing voice and a super friendly smile. Her newest project (Musas) – an album and making-of documentary – completely stole my heart
  • Jack Johnson > Spotify just pointed out this new Jack Johnson song. I think we all know who and what he is referring to when he sings:

    I don’t care for your paranoid us-against-them walls;
    I don’t care for your careless me-first-gimme-gimme appetite at all

I don’t care for them either, Jack. I feel you.

Looky here

look-down

Don’t particularly want to analyze this any further, but I thought this was interesting and amusing and thought I should share.

Hasta la proxima!

The Blue Sky Tag

My fellow blogger and like-minded soul searcher, LazyHaze, threw a Blue Sky Tag my way. Thanks a bunch for that!

She came up with some cool questions for me, as well. Check out my answers below!

What is your favorite song?

Just one?? That question is hard… bordering on cruel… 😛

But OK, if I have to go for just the one, then I choose Todo Cambia, by the legendary Argentinian singer, Mercedes Sosa. Gives me goosebumps every time.

What do you like to do in free time?

she ra.gifHmm… I tell people horseriding is one of my greatest hobbies, but I don’t really do it that often anymore. I used to have a horse of my own, but that was more than a decade ago.

What I actually do in my free time is not that impressive. I love me some netflix time, I love goofing around with my boyfriend and I love spending time outdoors, all though I do suffer from “good weather syndrome”. My definition of good weather isn’t “warm and sunny” per se, but I am definitiely not a rain lover…

What movie genre are you into?

My taste in movies is pretty varied, all though I am not a big fan of corny comedies or cheesy lovey dovey flicks. I can’t handle Scarlett Johansson’s eternal orgasm face or Nicholas Cage’s droopy mumblings. Will Ferrel, Steve Martin and  Hugh Grant are also deal breakers.

Not sure I’ve answered the question yet… but I think that’s all I’ve got to say about that… (movie reference! movie reference!)

If you had a time machine, where would you go?

Hmm, I don’t really have time travelling aspirations… maybe I’d visit a time pre-dating humans? Just to see what it was like. Maybe see if I could tame a dinosaur and ride one of those. 😮

What is at the top of your bucket list?

Rock climbing is at the top of my list. As in, it as actually the first thing on it. But it’s not at the top in the sense that it is the thing I want to do first or most.

As I just moved into a new house a few months ago, I’d like to build something myself. A piece of furniture or a bird house or something. I’m actually working on some ideas. They’re not quite ready to be shared with the world, but maybe someday.

Are you afraid to live or are you afraid to die?

I’d like to think I’m not afraid of death, but that might be a lie. I’m an atheist (allthough sometimes my stance towards religion leans more toward agnosticism), so I don’t believe there is anything after I die. It just stops. And that is fine.

If I am afraid at all, I think it might be of the actual process of dying, not death itself… Does that make sense?

Who is your hero/heroine?

Michelle Obama kicks ass.

Oh and Malala Yousafzai.

Malala-most-inspiring-quotes-One-girl.jpg

What helps you get out of bed in the morning?

I am actually a morning person and have very little trouble getting out of bed in the morning.

What do you think of pornography? Do you think it should be banned? (Indian Govt. tried to do just that)

I’m not sure banning pornography is even possible… It’s a phenomenon stronger than any regulation can enforce and has been around for as long as history can tell.

I have no ethical problems with pornography in itself. I mean, I have no problem with the idea of men (let’s face it, it’s made for men… am I right?) watching naked people having sex or masturbating.

What I do have some issues with is HOW sexual interactions are portrayed. It’s so different from reality. And I do believe that people with little experience may get the wrong expectations from it that may harm women in particular.

Which blog do you read every day?

I am actually not very loyal when it comes to blogging or blog-reading. I forget about my WordPress friends for weeks at a time and then stick around for a few days and then disappear again. I’m horrible that way…

–=-=-=-=-=–

I tag:

The rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer their questions.
  3. Tag people.
  4. Give them questions to answer.

My questions for you:

  1. What is something you enjoy doing but are ashamed of telling people about?
  2. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
  3. What do you think of tattoos?
  4. Can you handle tickling?
  5. Which song do you know all the words to?
  6. What do you see when you walk out your front door?
  7. What does your dreamhouse look like?
  8. Are you a morning person?
  9. What’s your favorite piece of clothing?
  10. Do you celebrate your birthday?

Have a good weekend and happy holidays to all of you celebrating Easter, Passover, Pahela Baishakh, Songkran or some other festive occasion.

Giovanni & Pisbee

When I was about two or three I had an imaginary friend, or actually there were two of them: Giovanni and Pisbee.

People weren’t allowed to sit on the chairs where Giovanni and Pisbee were sitting and my parents would have to hold the door open for them after I had already entered. At dinnertime Giovanni and Pisbee needed to be fed, just like I did and of course they were bathed and tucked in with me at night.

I can retrace Giovanni’s origins, as that is the name of the juggler from one of my favorite childhood books: The clown of God. Pisbee however I can not account for. I can not explain to you the etymology  of his name nor would I be able to give you any description of what he may have looked like, which makes me sad in a way. He was a friend to me and I wasn’t able to hold on to any part of him in my mind’s eye…

illustration by Alex Maw
illustration by Alex Maw

If I look the name up on Google, the only significant result comes from some sort of satirical play referencing Pyramus and Thisbe by naming the main characters Thyramus and Pisbee. So was Pisbee my childhood forbidden love? Did he die tragically due to a tragic misunderstanding, like in the above named saga? Was Pisbee even male?

I do imagine him as a male figure and for some reason I see him as foreign, slightly exotic looking. Some sort of gipsy, maybe? A protector, like Giovanni was too. Did he know any circus-worthy tricks, like my juggling buddy? Were they a travelling duo, like Don Quijote and Pancho Villa? In a way that does sort of fit, as most people only know Don Quijote by name and always forget about his loyal (and more sane) sidekick.

Why did my two buddies stop being a part of my life, turning invisible even to their creator? How did I lose the ability to see them? Did I lose interest? Or were they no longer necessary? Did the world of five senses finally convince me it was odd, inadvertently convincing me to let them go? Did I lose them during our move abroad, which happened around that time as well? Or did I start to bore them and did they just move on to another kid? That would actually make me feel much better…

I can daydream about these types of things for hours! Maybe tonight, when I go to sleep, my two old friends will return to me. All I have to do is remember!

Beware of the Chinaman (and his money)!

argument shadowsThe other day I had a disagreement with one of my best friends, let’s refer to her as Annie, that lasted no more than ten minutes but has been bothering me ever since. I’m not sure if it’s fair to play the Frisian card, but after digesting my annoyance with her for a couple of days I am tended to do just that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Friesland. I spent the greatest part of my teen years there and am always happy to go back. However, it is also a very unforgiving place. Not only is the wide emptiness of its landscape overwhelming to city slickers, but it’s harshness can also be felt in its people.

The blow up
I’m sure this disagreement I had with Annie will sound incredibly silly to many of you and you wouldn’t even be wrong. But bare with me, I’ll lift it to a more abstract level further on that might (or might not) make it sound less petty. If you’re not in the mood to read about a childish disagreement between two grown women, skip ahead to the analysis, down by the Snoopy cartoon. I totally would. 😉

Anyway, it started out with us chatting about soccer, and SC Heerenveen more specifically. They haven’t been doing so well lately and on top of that the club’s board of directors is struggling with internal conflicts and childish name calling.

While I was chatting with Annie one of the members of the board, Mr Hettinga, resigned. In his announcement he said his position had been put up for discussion and he felt there was no longer enough support for him to be able to stay on. He also described threats he had received in recent days but he felt the final straw break the camel’s when angry “fans” had come to express their anger at his home and threatened his family.

I must admit, Annie is way more into the daily hustle and bustle of the club and often has more inside information than I do. She told me he was ruining the club and that if he had had his way there would have been no more Heerenveen. She said his resignation only demonstrated he had no true heart for the club and that his complaints about his safety reaffirmed he was self centered and a coward on top of that . My reaction was, “What the hell were supporters doing at his house!?”.

So how had he been damaging the club? Was he stealing money? Was he involved in some gambling scam? Was he selling off our best players with no profit for the club?

No, the issue was that he had dared speak to a Chinese company, who had shown interest in investing in the club…

Annie sent me the links of several newspaper articles to back her story up, but the more she showed me, the more I disagreed with her.

argument disagree rightI told her I was mostly disappointed in the fact that heerenveen fans were starting to behave like hooligans and that that was more damaging for the club than a guy discussing the possibilities for foreign investors.

She told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and that if Hettinga would have had his way there would have ended Heerenveen. She didn’t say “Heerenveen as we know it”. She was literally convinced the club would be wiped off the face of the planet…

I expressed my doubts about this. I told her that ruining the club was not in the interest of an investor. They want profit. I reminded her Heerenveen, like so many soccer clubs, had been struggling financially. Even though we may not like to see it that way the club is actually a business and if an investor offers to pump money into it, you would be irresponsible to NOT consider it.

When she noticed I didn’t share her hatred for mr Hettinga nor her fear for the Chinese, she made a quick attempt to change the subject. However, I wasn’t ready to let it go just yet.

And that’s when she exploded. She let all the sarcastic bile out of the bag and said something along the lines of “I guess you don’t care about the club anyway so why don’t you just hand in your membership card straight away and request a Cambuur membership card”. To understand how serious this remark is, you may want to read back the blog I wrote about the rivalry between these two clubs.

In short she was calling me a traitor…

Her reaction was so strong that it startled me. At the same time it made me giggle because it was so bloody ridiculous! I asked her, jokingly, if I should barricade my house now that I had dared disagree with her and her beloved newspaper (notorious for its crappy journalism, but I didn’t tell her that). She said maybe that wasn’t such a bad idea and might give some of those hooligans a call. We both laughed, but with clenched teeth…argument snoopy

Analysis
So…. What was this really about and why did I feel the urge to write about it here? After thinking on it for a while I decided you can boil it down to one word:

Xenophobia.

Such an ugly trait. Narrow minded and based on fear.

My friend Annie and I were raised very differently and we get along both despite and because of our differences. She is a farmer’s daughter and was the first one in her direct family to get on a plane. Her family were only OK with it because it was with me, and I understood the world. We have traveled long and far together, which is why it pains me to see I have not been able to rid her of this ridiculous fear of the unknown.

I have compared Frisians to hobbits before and I think the comparison still fits in this context. I believe it was Bilbo who wrote to his nephew:

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

Frisians have a similar attitude towards traveling. It’s mostly something you hear about from those black sheep in the family that dared wander beyond the border, where you can no longer see the town’s church tower. It’s endearing, in a way. But when it translates to wariness and mistrust of all things foreign, it becomes not only annoying but also dangerous. It makes a community close up like a clam or a fearful hedgehog with its spikes all out.

It impedes them from seeing beauty in new places. And even if they saw it, half of them would never dare admit it. It gives me a nasty taste in my mouth to think that my great friend can not overcome such pettiness and I guess I am disappointed I didn’t influence her as much as I thought I did.

And at the same time… It’s what I love about her. She’s strong willed and unapolagetic and I’m pretty sure next time we meet we’ll give each other a punch and a hug and continue on as we always did, because as the Chinese say:

Chinese proverb friends 1