You say “lack of ambition” like it’s a bad thing…

Last week my aunt Nikki came to visit. She’s the type of family member that asks how you’re doing and really wants to know the answer, whatever it is. Also, with a background as a councilor at a local university’s student services division, she always knows which questions to ask to get you thinking.

ambition-quotes-L-tmJybs

When I told her how I was doing at work, I had to admit I had just gone through a challenging period, coming to grips with the fact that bars and expectations were being raised, as more experienced colleagues moved on to new jobs and I was now often the most experienced person in the room.

Of course Nikki knows of my “lack of ambition” and / or “fear of responsibility” and presented me with the following riddle:

When you say you see the absence of ambition as a strength and a tool to protect and guarantee your own happiness, it sounds like it all stems from a fear of failure; either in the eyes of others [aka my parents] or your own. To what extent is this a twisted attempt to regulate the expectations of your parents?

Now… obviously… you know… it’s clear that… stuff is just not… sometimes, you see… yeah. no.

whut potc

Let’s just say there’s a reason why it took me over a week to put this thought process into words.

Growing up as a third culture kid, I always had ideas about having a job later on that would take me around the world. I remember loving the idea of being a stewardess, and at some point dreamt of being a “Flying Doctor”, a development worker or a diplomat.

This last idea was mostly my mother’s. It was something that she started saying jokingly, especially when I tried to negotiate myself out of a sticky situation. Up to this day it’s something she says to me every now and then, as an afterthought; “you really would’ve made a good diplomat, you know…”.

It wasn’t until I started studying at Leiden University, – which is close to the Netherlands’ diplomatic center: the Hague – that I really realized how wrong she really was.

women-competing

I so clearly lack the cut throat mentality it takes to even get into “het klasje” (meaning “the small classroom”, the term used in the Netherlands to refer to the diplomatic training institute), let alone to ever hold a position as diplomat. Also, the fact I suck at small talk and always forget to ask crucial questions such as “what does your father do” and “which university (and fraternity) did you attend”, doesn’t help.

I admit that when I go to work in the morning (in the Hague) and I hear the tip-tapping of hurried high heels walking behind (and all around) me, I get really annoyed. In my mind, that quick paced person is “one of them”; an ambitious self-proclaimed Barbie feminist. She’s probably overworked and on the verge of a burn-out, but is comforted by the idea that she’s “made it”. She looks herself in the mirror each morning and reminds herself this government job is exactly where she has always wanted to be. She just finished reading Ivanka Trump’s book.

WOW! This was a really round about way to arrive at the point… I apologize… Are you still with me?

I think the point is: I really don’t like those people and don’t want to be like them.

I’m actually really pleased I came up with Ivanka Trump as a reference. I don’t know how I would’ve explained this, without her and the video above. (honestly though… Is she for real??)

So yah… In my mind being ambitious has become synonymous to become an Ivanka Trump category person.

What I still have to figure out now, is if I can really answer my aunt Nikki’s question with “no, this has nothing to do with my parents”, which I would very much like to do.

I admit that my logic is still a bit fucked up and perhaps something I should work on. I would really like to be able to say that all though my lack of ambition may be based on silly reasoning, it’s definitely more than just a lingering rebellious spasm of puberty.

It’s driven by more than just my inner-child saying “I just don’t feel like doing what you want, mom”.

whut loki

Right?

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Dutch nationalism: Je maintiendrai

Those who have ever been to the Netherlands and / or have read some of my blogs must already know this: we are not big on nationalism.

Sure, we have our symbols.

Tulips-in-Holland.jpgAs far as our flower goes, I suppose it must be the tulip, all though I don’t think that’s actually official. But the rest of the world associates us with it, and we carry it with pride.

Our national bird is somewhat of a mystery to me. I think we might not have one. All the cool birds of prey were already taken, I guess, and claiming a bird of paradise didn’t fit with our Calvinist attitude, even though we could’ve adopted one from our colonies

Our coat of arms looks like this:

wapen-van-nederland-met-motto-je-maintiendrai-2622a3-1024.jpg

….which brings me to our motto: Je maintiendrai, which is French for We will hold on

Yes, you heard me: French.

If we speak French in the Netherlands, you ask? Not a word! We speak Dutch, and if anything else it would be Frisian. Our English is pretty good on average, followed by German. Our French; deplorable.

I guess our founders decided it was better for PR to avoid the guttural sounds that are inherent to our own language when presenting ourselves abroad. And French is sexy enough, non?

But let’s proceed… Because let’s be honest, the choice of language is not the only thing that’s off…

Let’s look at some other country’s mottos:

  • Ordem e progresso; it may not be a very accurate description of the current state of the country, but it’s something to strive for: Order and Progress. You can do it, Brazil!
  • We’ve all heard of Cuba‘s: Patria o Muerte: Country or Death! A bit over the top maybe, but I’m definitely fired up! (no cigar and or rum pun intended)
  • And what to think of Egypt‘s: Ankh, uza, seneb, which translates to Life, health, well-being. Beautiful!!! Makes me want to move there.

Now, back to the Dutch motto: We will hold on.

crickets chirping.gif

Are you inspired yet? No, me neither….

It sounds like the motto of a slightly apathetic and bored teenager at her great-aunt’s 97th birthday.

I’m still hoping there is some historically interesting and motivational story behind it, but I think that what it all boils down to is a peoples that has struggled to make a living on a marshy bit of land that keeps flooding.

I mean, I get it. It’s super demoralizing to have to keep rebuilding your house and loosing all your livestock and all… But maybe that wasn’t the time to design that coat of arms…

Because look at us now! We battled the elements, built ourselves some pretty sturdy structures and have kept our fields dry ever since (*knocks on wood*), making it possible to feed and breed the best bloody dairy cows IN THE WORLD. And don’t forget the tulips!

So, we didn’t merely “hold on”, we whooped the sea’s ass! How about we write THAT at the feet of those fierce looking lions??

*pushing my luck here, knocking on wood again*

One of the Dutch provinces that we pumped dry, for example, has Luctor et emergo as a motto, which is Latin for “I struggled and emerged”. Something to be proud of, no?

I suggest we update our motto, as it was clearly written by the same people who thought our national anthem should ignore all things Dutch, and focus on some German guy, loyal to another king, as explained in a previous post.

First contender: If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much.

Still open for suggestions…

“Give me a piece of your mind”

My parents are honest people with strong opinions for which they sometimes need loud words.

Even now that they have grandkids, I have seen them explaining matters of the world in a way some others may feel is not appropriate for such young kids. Some kids dig it and others zone out when being spoken to in this manner, but I always thought it was kind of cool that my dad never “dumbed things down” for me.

A request I got from my father on several occasions (and far too often, as far as I was concerned at the time) was “give me a piece of your mind”.  You can imagine it was something he did to get a sense of what his sulky adolescent daughter might be thinking. I never really knew what he meant and my answer never seemed to be what he was hoping to hear anyhow.

You could say honesty was valued highly in our household. And to express your honest opinions it was required to be eloquent. “Just because” was never a valid explanation for anything and I was allowed (up to a certain extent) to expect the same from them.

I remember my first boyfriend was quite overwhelmed by the in depth conversations we had over dinner.

The biggest liar and most truthful person, all in one

A line that I wrote down in my “ideas journal” the other day, is that my father is “one of the most honest people I know, as well as one of the least”.

He is one of the most honest because he doesn’t seem afraid to have an uncommon opinion. He will stand up for his beliefs, at the cost of being “the odd one” in a crowd. He is also unwillingly honest, as his face just gives away what he thinks about you and your explanation.

At the same time, he is one of the least honest people I know because as much as he tries to uphold the idea that he doesn’t care what others think of him, his fear of appearing to be weak always wins. He will say everything is going splendidly and that he has never felt better, until he reaches the point that the only one buying it is him.

Then again, does it count as lying if he lied to himself about it first?

Also, his stubbornness sometimes reaches truly absurd levels. He will stay on a chosen course even after being disproved by someone. Adjusting your course would be admitting you were wrong at some point and that apparently is not an option in his world.

He can also be very arrogant, in the sense that he will easily discard your idea as a lesser opinion if it is not in line with his. And not only is the opinion of low quality, so are you for coming up with it. He will use big, aggressive words to make you feel unsure about your line of thought, and make you back down. You might even accept his own idea at some point, just because he presents it with so much self confidence.

Intellectual & Emotional Honesty

What I figured out only recently is that the type of honesty I was taught to express was purely intellectual. That is the type of honesty that researchers and journalists apply in their work. It is the type of honesty that is based on logic, historical facts, knowledge, vocabulary and grammar.

This type of intellectual honesty is something that comes natural to me. I have never had trouble forming my opinion or pointing out to someone when they set off my bullshit radar and why.

Apparently the invisible, irrational, uncontrollable concepts of feelings are something you can be honest about too… You apparently don’t even need words to express them! Mind. Blown. And when it comes to being honest about those, I suck. I wonder why?

A child’s tears

This brings me to the final clue to my father’s dishonesty; he has never been able to handle my tears.

…Not that I even know how to cry anymore…

Unless some plant or tree is in bloom, or something.

And there’s some snot involved during these pollen allergies, as well.

But maybe they don’t actually qualify as tears.

Anyhoooooowww, see how awkward I get from talking about these things??

…where were we?

Ah yes, me crying.

Far before I reached an age that this was reasonable for, I was expected to be able to explain my behavior, especially when my behavior included tears. If I couldn’t come up with a “good” reason for my eye leakage, I was simply asked to stop doing that. And so I did.

All though my father told me years later that the crying prohibition was one of the few things he regretted in life, it did teach me to express myself pretty well. I know what I want and don’t want and am more capable than many others to express where my boundaries lie.

After analyzing the heck out of it during my long train ride home last week I came to a new theory. He saw my tears as criticism. Honest little wet mirrors rolling down a child’s cheek. And he couldn’t deal with that.

Time for a new lesson

Don’t get me wrong. My childhood was actually pretty awesome. Part of it was thanks to my parents, other parts were great despite of them. I hold no grudges. Or I try not to.

I am definitely thankful towards my parents for giving me the ability to discuss every possible topic, be it social, political or cultural in any crowd. When it comes to other forms of honesty however, I think I may have a lesson or two for them.

Article 1

Two of my previous blog posts started out as the introductory words to this one but they ended up getting lives of their own. Hopefully this third time will be a charm and help me get this story out of my head.

It all started when the annual Black Pete discussion reached its peak this last year. I had already decided I would not avoid confrontation on this matter any longer and would ALWAYS point out to the other why I felt Black Pete was indeed a racist element in our culture and that we were making fools of ourselves by denying it.

Sylvana.pngA Dutch celebrity that became very vocal on this matter is a lady called Sylvana Simons. I remembered her merely as a charming TV show host, that started out on a Dutch music channel called TMF. When she started to become a regular on Holland’s most viewed talk show and vented her thoughts about prevalent racism in our society people went crazy… CRAZY!!

She started to receive death threats straight away, which is apparently the thing to do these days when you disagree with someone… Facebook events were dedicated to her, with “Wave Sylvana goodbye”-day as the most popular one. People all around me thought the idea was a hilarious initiative: just gather at the airport holding sarcastic banners, to see Sylvana off because “she didn’t appear to like it here anyway”.

But it’s all good! Just tongue-in-cheek banter; no ill intent, nothing personal. 

Sylvana wasn’t even going to be at the airport! So why would she even feel threatened by this frivolous idea?

Oh sure…. that’s just typical that she would use this to appoint herself the victim role again.

…suggesting they were threatening to have her deported, was she? Why would she even think that?

…we were just kidding…!

sylvana uitzwaaidag.png

…and I was completely dumbfounded by it.

What shocked me the most was how unanimous this sentiment seemed to be. People that I had always considered to be progressive, nuanced and moderate in their opinions would say things about this woman that made my jaw drop and showed me how extremely deeply rooted this problem really was… And it only proved her right, too!art-1.jpg

Sylvana then went into politics, first with an existing (and pretty controversial) party called Denk. Shortly before the end of 2016 and with only a few months left to get a full program together Sylvana started her own political party: Artikel 1, referring to the first article in the Dutch constitution, stating everyone staying in this country is to be treated fairly and equally, prohibiting any form of discrimination.

I was actually quite excited about Sylvana’s new political party and still have her in my top three candidates for upcoming Wednesday’s elections (all though not on number 1, I must admit).

It has been so difficult for me to understand why my compatriots have so little love for her, so these past few weeks I have made it my mission to figure it out.

I asked my closest friends to explain to me why their knickers got caught up in a twist every time I mentioned her name. They all seemed to agree that the way she brought her message across was counterproductive and divisive in itself. They said they did feel the Netherlands had a racism problem but that she was only pouring oil on the fire. They said it wasn’t WHAT she said but HOW she said it that bugged them.

I thought this was quite interesting, as people seem to use the opposite argument to explain why Geert Wilders is an acceptable option; they are willing to forgive him for his rude tone because they agree with the underlying message.

Why didn’t this logic apply to Sylvana, then? Her gender? Her race? Or is she really so much ruder than him?

When my boyfriend’s brother was at our place the other day and I once again got that look of disgust when I said I thought she was actually a pretty awesome power woman, I grabbed the opportunity to get some clarity.

I asked him to show me what I was missing. I admitted I didn’t watch any of the Dutch TV talk shows and that I may well have missed the bits in which she said such nasty stuff that made her deserve the cyberbuckets of shit that had been poured out over her since then.

So I watched interviews in which she definitely came across as bitchy. I saw her get angry and (unnecessarily) defensive. I saw how she interrupted other people at the table to ask them if they even heard what they were saying. I saw why people might find her annoying.

But nothing that I saw or heard justified how we were treating her. Nothing brought me that big eye-opening revelation I was hoping for. It turned out that it really was as bad as I had feared.

A woman… no… a BLACK woman… no… a BLACK DUTCH WOMAN was telling us the backbone of our Dutch identity was rotten and that we should be ashamed of ourselves.

The chapters of our nation’s history that we had so skillfully “re-interpreted” were being shown in a very uncomfortable light.

guilty dogIt kind of reminds me of one of Cesar Millan’s lessons. Yes, I am actually referencing the dog whisperer here… And yes, I am comparing the Dutch to the “bad dog” in the equation. Or more: I am comparing the Dutch to a dog that has been showing the same behavior for far too long and has a panicky fit the first time it is asked to show different behavior.

We are facing the wall, trembling slightly… not knowing what to do now… Avoiding all eye-contact. How do we go on from here? How do we change the behavior we’ve always shown? It’s uncomfortable. It’s uncertain. Who knows what else we might have to change once we allow this!

I think we all need a pep talk.

Writing a conclusion to this story is making me kind of nervous…

I would like to say tomorrow (election day) might be the nudge we need to get our minds back in motion. To straighten our backs and lift our glances back up from the floor. To admit that we were wrong but that we know better now.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Cruel intentions

blunt thoughts

My sense of humor can have a cruel touch.

Besides making jokes on specific people’s expenses I also always enjoyed making offensive jokes about entire groups of people. Literally any group. Men. Women. Chinese. Latinos. Jews. Dutch. Gays. Cripples. The elderly. Hippies. Farmers. Lawyers. You name it and I would make fun of them and enjoy myself shamelessly in the process.

Not only have I enjoyed making these jokes, I have also loved being on the receiving end of them. There are few things that I find more entertaining than being in a humorous battle of wits and being outgunned by someone quicker than me.

And don’t forget dirty jokes! People don’t expect them to come from my corner and the looks on faces when I let one loose is highly addictive; A priceless mix of confusion and shock, topped off with a swirl of delight and disgust. Love that shit.

I speak in the past tense, as if it is something I don’t enjoy in present day. But I do, just not in the same way. I still make the same remarks, just not as loudly. In some cases I may even bite my tongue and chuckle silently as I share my witty remark with just me, myself and I. If I’m lucky there is a kindred spirit present to exchange glances with.

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There are times when I really mourn the loss of my snark and want to blame the world for stirring up my conscience to such politically correct levels.

The sentence above is something I wrote weeks ago. Maybe even months. It’s been moved around from one draft to another until last week when I started to doubt it’s meaning.  I was planning on going into my own personal anti-political-correctness-tirade, which would have boiled down to something like this:

The last few days though I have felt the need to do the opposite and come to the defense of political correctness and promote it as the only true and right attitude to have.

Why?

Donald Trump.

Yes, I am really trying to ignore and deny his existence but he’s just so LOUD. The kind of stuff he’s been saying in the last couple of weeks has really truly blown my mind:

In the good old days, they’d rip him out of that seat so fast. But today, everybody’s politically correct. Our country’s going to hell with being politically correct
February 26, Oklahoma

And:

Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t worry about it. … We had four guys, they jumped on him, they were swinging and swinging. The next day, we got killed in the press — that we were too rough. Give me a break. You know? Right? We don’t want to be too politically correct anymore. Right, folks?
March 4 in Michigan

These are just two of the many things he said when confronted with protesters at his rallies. I don’t know if I am more angry or sad.

And then yesterday, while campaigning in Tucson, Arizona, he promised the world he would be acting more “presidential” in weeks to come (whatever that means). Not because he wanted to per se, but because his wife and daughter “begged him”. Ah yes, of course the weaker sex would do that… And as a good husband and father he can’t help but give in…

So yes, if opposing political correctness puts me on his team….

….I don’t even know how to finish that sentence but I think you get the point. I’d rather give up humor for a decade than associate myself with this man in any remote way.

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Movie yays and boos

You know how, back in the days when people still used to buy these things, guests would stroll over to the cabinet with all the CDs and DVDs and rate your taste? It says so much about a person, don’t you think? I’ve written blogs about my musical preferences in the past, so it’s time to reveal where I stand on a filmographic scale. It was really hard to limit these two lists to just ten movies but I managed, in the end.

thumbs up

All though the thumbs-up-list was much longer than the thumbs-down-list a couple of minutes ago, I managed to bring it back to ten, with pain in my heart. The movies that survived the cuts are all movies that I recommend to anyone. They’re not the best or most complex movies I’ve ever seen but I could definitely re-watch any of these on any giving moment for the ten millionth time and not mind for a second.

I will give every movie three key words to illustrate my affection for them.

  1. Snatch
    hilarious, quotable, interesting
  2. American History X
    confronting, intense, thought provoking
  3. the Mexican
    odd, light-hearted, amusing
  4. The Dark Knight
    dark, troubled, awesome
  5. Hotel Rwanda
    tear jerking (only movie that ever accomplished that with me), important, full of love
  6. Finding Nemo
    Deep 😉 , inspiring, beautiful animation
  7. La Vita e Bella
    unique approach of WWII theme, motivating, heart warming
  8. Shrek
    Fun, amusing, clever
  9. Sleepers
    captivating, gruesome, stirring
  10. Collateral
    Surprising(ly good acting), entertaining, uncomplicated

thumbs down

The next ones are pretty bad, all though I still think I owe a special shout out to every movie ever made starring Steven Seagal… Let’s bowe our heads in sorrow for all those mistakes and hope they some day stop being aired on TV.

I’m afraid I can’t summarize in 3 words how and why these movies are so bad, but I’ll try to be brief.

  1. From Paris with love
    Oh John… I never even gave the rumors about your alleged homosexuality any thought until this movie came along. You tried so hard to be manly and bad-ass and failed so terribly horribly miserably.
  2. Saving Private Ryan
    Did we REALLY go to this much trouble to retrieve one insignificant dude from behind enemy lines? Just to save one random mother from any more grief? I.just.don’t.get.it.
  3. the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    I like Sean Connery, but wtf was this? I’m even into superhero stuff, but this was such a weak attempt that it failed in all senses. A pity, because it did have potential, imo.
  4. Lost in Translation
    Slow, boring, overrated. I want to say how much I hate Scarlett Johansen’s acting (in general, not just in this flick), but I know how guys get when I say that, so I’ll just leave it… 😛
  5. World War Z
    Apparently zombies are hot & happening, and I was prepared to embrace this fact, as I thought Brad knew his way around the undead since his stint with the vampires twenty years ago (!), but boy was I wrong. This was just disappointing, predictable and boring.
  6. Seven Pounds
    Watching Will Smith being depressed for 123 minutes is not my idea of fun. It’s a total downer. No happy ending or nothing. It doesn’t suit you, Will. I like you funny.
  7. Gran Torino
    This wasn’t even a disappointment as I kind of knew it might suck but I also kind of hoped Clint had one more good movie in him… but nope… just meh.
  8. Crash
    I actually don’t hate this movie. I actually was quite impressed with it, I just never want to watch it again as it plummeted my faith in humanity down to an all time low. I don’t need that kind of truth. I am cynical enough as it is.
  9. Pitch Perfect
    Beside the fact that the story was uninteresting, boring and predictable, the singing wasn’t particularly inspiring either. Can’t think of any good reasons to watch this again in my life.
  10. Indiana Jones – Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    All though I’ve put this movie on nr ten, it definitely doesn’t mean it’s the least bad of all of them. It’s actually the only one that actually made me angry, because I was actually looking forward to it. I wanted it to be AWESOME. I craved for another Indiana Jones movie. Bad special effects are totally OK. A little self-mockery is fine too… but this was really truly an insult to everyone. This should never have happened and I regret having spent money on it. Shame on you, Harrison, but most of all you, STEVEN SPIELBERG!

Smug in the now

In these crazy times many people are turning to Buddhism (or its derivatives) to find peace. I have never attended a yoga class or read any Buddhist teachings (unless the dozens of pretty quotes I see daily on social media count…) but I do appreciate the thoughts behind it.

Mindful quote 2For those of us who are not prepared to go all the way and declare ourselves true followers of the Buddha but do like our occasional yoga lesson and chew on superfoods every now and then, there is Mindfulness.

Again, I’m not sure if I ever got to the core of it, but what I have taken from leafing through the bestselling self-help books sold on every corner of any self-respecting town, is that it’s about breathing consciously, loving yourself, living in the now, valuing life and being positive.

I can do that! I like the idea of focusing on the present (and not only because I don’t want to think about that bill that just landed on my doormat). I appreciate the moon and the summer breeze and the song of the birds outside my window. I make sure to be kind to my neighbors and give the cashier an honest smile when I buy my hypothetical almond milk and goji berries, brief as this encounter may be.

However, I have come to the conclusion that I am not a big fan of the rest of the mindful clan. Actually, it is because of them that I have decided I am not mindful at all, just because I don’t want to be part of their little hypocritical, preachy little chanting circle.

harmony boy color

I must admit some of my anti-mindfulness feelings may have a dislike for the attitude of some of my ex-colleagues at its core. I have had this draft sitting on my dashboard for many months and knew I needed to get rid of some of my bitterness towards them before I could publish it. I switched jobs since then, which makes it easier for me to analyze it. I guess sometimes you need to not be in the now to be able to see something clearly. 😉

If I could explain to them now what it is exactly that bothered me, what would I say? Let’s make a list!

1) Privileged by unique knowledge

People that practice mindfulness (or other “live in the moment and love yourself”-ideologies) are told to be very self-aware. They analyze their breathing and how they feel in the presence of a certain energy. They get to know themselves better through meditation and self analysis. In the process of learning more about themselves they learn more about mankind in general, about emotions and reactions and feelings. I’m sure some of this is very valuable information that undoubtedly can reveal subconscious issues blocking someone’s growth.

However, sometimes people lose their mirror along the way and start applying their new found wisdom on those around them instead of themselves. This self righteousness is not only extremely irritating it is sometimes also wrong.

2) The over-analyzing whatever I am about to put in my mouth.

Mindful quote 5I have this idea that as long as you feel good about what you are eating, it can’t be all that bad. Of course, I understand that eating purely deep-fried food is a bad idea. Luckily, that’s not something I would crave for anyhow. What I mean is that if you eat all the best vegan, raw, superduperfoods, nuts and seeds available and do this without actually liking its taste, and are craving for a donut while swallowing your quinoa-salad, eating becomes a punishment. I believe that you might as well eat that donut, firstly because stress is probably the worst thing you can do to your body and secondly because living 10 years longer thanks to your diet without ever again enjoying the ritual of eating seems like a pretty pointless extra decade…

Anyhow, here is a list of the things I have been condemned for eating / drinking:

  • meat
  • tuna
  • soy-milk
  • chocolate
  • vegetables / fruit grown the wrong way
  • a smoothy I bought (ergo, not made by my own hands)
  • unpeeled apples (because the peels contain gluten?!)

Especially when I heard that last comment I almost lost it… Dafack is wrong with you?!?! Where do I even start to explain how moronic you sound? Do me (and the world) a favor and go ahead and eat your apple whatever way you want to and just let me die of a gluten overdose, will you?? (hmm, sorry about that, it seems I haven’t gotten rid of all my bitterness after all…)

3) Quoting exotic luminaries

I wrote this point down a long time ago and I have to admit I can’t remember the exact occasion that triggered it but I can imagine how it went.

Let’s say I blew up in someone’s face after they expressed their concerns about me eating an apple with peel and all. The person I would be directing my words at would look at me, probably nodding but with a blank expression demonstrating their inability to process the information being thrown at them, and would then quote some guru to invalidate whatever I just said.

You know Sarublabla Yogi Nagchampa once said that being angry is a choice… And sometimes you might believe you are doing this consciously, but it’s really just a compulsion. If you practice this often you can learn to stand above your emotions and find inner peace…

… and then they might smile, in true belief they just did me a huge favor… Or perhaps follow it up by telling me my energy was messing with their aura, or something….

4) The eternal search for the deeper meaning for things.

As a sarcastic soul, it is hard for people in general to sometimes get me. But these self-aware spiritual types get their panties in a twist trying to grasp the deeper meaning behind my words. The beauty of sarcasm is that it is often pretty straight forward communication in a “what you see is what you get”-kind of way. There is no deeper meaning and if you feel you are being mocked, it’s because you probably are. It’s not meant to be hateful or mean and I am not being negative, on the contrary. I am actually having a lot of fun, but I must say your slow analysis of what is going on is kind of killing my buzz.

Sarcasm without the right audience feels like screaming into a black hole. It’s like saying you don’t believe in fairies (you know one dies somewhere on the planet when you say that, right?) and as if the joke was never made. Such a loss…

5) Avoiding life

This point is actually a very interesting one, in my opinion. I have discussions with my father about this quite often, as I believe his loyalty and dutifulness is killing him. He does things purely because he believes he ought to, because it’s what people are counting on or because it’s written on some decades old piece of paper. When I told him I thought he wasn’t doing a very good job at being happy he told me not to worry. He admitted there was a lot of nastiness in his life and that it affected him at times but that it was a load he could carry… Not exactly the response I hoped to hear and all though it’s in no way reassuring, I guess he’s a grown man and knows what he’s doing…

I put quite a high value on my own happiness and make decisions based on the belief that it will be better for me and my state of mind. I believe that when a situation gives you negativity and stress without the prospect of improving any time soon and there is no satisfaction or success for you in it prospect, you should remove yourself from this situation and go into self-protection mode. I am a great promoter of this and apply this to my career as well as my personal life. It works for me.

Now, back to the part that I DON’T like… I believe that there are people that, in the name of mindfulness, run away from challenges without ever giving it an honest try, out of fear for how the bad vibes might affect them. They shut down difficult conversations without ever even having had a discussion about it. They cocoon themselves in an incense scented world of herbal tea, relaxation music and mandalas.

Besides the fact that I don’t buy that fake smile for a minute, it isn’t right. Having a discussion can be healthy and productive, despite the annoyance and grey hairs that come with it. Avoiding confrontation all together just feels so odd to me, as you sometimes need some friction to bring out the beauty.

I also think people that choose this strategy are fooling themselves because avoidance just helps the fear build up inside and I don’t believe all the meditation and yoga in the world can help you get rid of it without confronting it head on.

6) Killing emotions

Last but not least, I want to say that feeling things is wonderful. Strong feelings like anger, fear and sadness are not all bad. If you eliminate them all together, how can you ever appreciate true joy again? I myself love a good fight and we all know the value of a good fright! Sadness, admittedly, is one I am not good at expressing and according to some it is something I should work on, as a good sob is supposedly extremely relieving as well.

So, what would Buddha say about all of this? Something like this:

Mindful quote 4