Mind Cleanup January 2022

January. The month of new beginnings and new years resolutions.

New Job

This new year is looking good for me so far. I started my new job in the first week of 2022 and have been looking forward to each new work day since. My job title is “Communications officer” which makes me very happy to say out loud for some reason.

My position is a part of the company’s new sustainability department and in my first month I pretty much had only one task: write the Communication on Progress report. It was a great way to get to know the company and I think everybody was happy with how it turned out. Yay!

Music

A friend recommended me a band, called AnnenMayKantereit. Some of their songs remind me of Mumford & Sons. Only without the banjo. The lead singer on the other hand, seems to be a cross between Paolo Nutini and George Ezra.

Oh yeah, and they sing in German.

For us Dutchies, the German language is easy to understand as it is quite similar to our own language. Also, it is a mandatory subject in the first two years of secondary school, along with French and English. Because many of us still have an inherent and intergenerational aversion towards the language, it takes a bit of effort to admit when it is actually beautiful. Like now.

Go on, give it a chance. Look up other songs as well (they did some super interesting covers too).

And if you’re feeling ambitious, look up the lyrics and give them a spin through the Google Translate monster.

New word

I learned a new word. Or actually, I learned a new meaning for a word I already thought I knew.

Flakey

‘Flakey’ apparently means unreliable? Apparently its also used as a verb: “to flake out”, which means to miss an appointment… Really? Since when? I clearly missed the memo, but I recently heard it in a youtube vid and had to look it up.

OK, I did some more research. This video helped:

Am I a flaker? Eum… Yes, sometimes for sure.

Luckily, I have friends that can handle the truth, making “Sorry, I can’t deal with the world today” a totally legitimate reason to call off an appointment. And in general I really like their company, so that makes me really want to actually show up.

On to February!

“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.