Thursday, 24 July 2014

Strange days

 
Centre of Delft

Things are slowing down tremendously here. The holidays have started, the weather is warm and, as a result, my writing routine has slowed down somewhat. The little voice in my head - let's call her Little Miss Demanding - has been nagging me about it, but it is a voice I have learned to ignore. Mastering this art has taken me a long time; for many years I was dictated by Little Miss Demanding (LMD for short), telling me to do this, that and the other... or else. It is of course this or else that is interesting and when I delved into it, I discovered some odd, underlying assumptions: Or else people will think you're a slacker. Or else you won't measure up. Or else people won't like you.

Wow, what a voice to be tormented by.

The older I get (did I just write that?), the more I find myself shouting back at LMD - something along the lines of so what! (let's keep things decorous) - because really, at the end of the day, who's keeping tabs on what I do? Only me, surely. Having said that, there are of course quite a few things I want to achieve in my life, mainly creative projects, but they will be achieved not thanks to, but in spite of LMD. A negative, nagging voice serves no purpose, after all; it does not encourage and motivate - it only beats down and belittles.  And besides, I know that slow cycles and rest, as well as allowing emotions to flow and run their course, are a necessity for creativity. And emotions have certainly been flowing here. For these are strange days in the Netherlands.

Yesterday flags hung half-mast as the first forty of the two-hundred and ninety-eight victims were returned for identification. Daughter N and I were sitting on the sofa where I watched one coffin after the other being unloaded from the plane and into hearses at Eindhoven airport. I assumed she wasn't paying much attention, until she suddenly spilled her thoughts: Why is everyone so quiet? Are there people in those boxes, just like granddad? Will they be able to get out when they've had enough of being in there? Aren't they going to take walks or play ever,  ever again? They were difficult questions to answer and just as I was trying, a neighbourhood girl and her mother rang our doorbell to ask whether N would like to come and play. "Yippee!" N chortled. Her questions and need for answers had vanished into thin air, and off she went.

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I would like to thank everyone for their wonderful, kind comments on my last post. Thank you.



26 comments:

  1. These are very difficult days, especially if someone you know has been affected by such a dreadful tragedy.
    I can so identify with what you have said about LMD too. I no longer work, but still seem to push myself to meet (now self inflicted) deadlines and often wonder why. The world will not stop if I let up.

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    1. Your last sentence really hits the nail on the head - so true.

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  2. I have found that the older I get, the less I care about meeting the expectations of others on what I should be doing or how I should behave. Life is short, heartbreakingly short for some and can be snatched away in a second. Live your life as you want to, banish LMD and be kind to yourself xx

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    1. Wise words, Chickpea. Ones to really keep in mind.

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  3. Your LMD is a Big MD here... Although I am getting older... I just don't get her to shut up :-(...
    When I read about your little daughter, a feeling of jealousy passed briefly through my mind... How sweet were those years, when one was a child... Not a miss demanding in sight... and no worries about "the big world issues". Playdates were way more important... And that is how it should be - children shouldn't worry about all the negativity in the world... At least, let them grow up worry-free...

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    1. Yes, isn't it wonderful how children live in the moment and how playing is way more important than life's big issues or 'stuff that needs to be done.' I find I learn a lot from observing my children in this respect.

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  4. I'm sat here with a headache and I have a voice saying " Come on you were supposed to be painting the ceiling today" It won't shut up no matter how old I've got. Maybe I can turn the volume down a little while catching up on some blogs though.

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    1. That's a coincidence, because I have some ceilings that need painting too. It's a bit of a DIY summer around here - but this heat makes it all a bit much so progress is slow.
      You tell that little voice to take a hike, kick back and relax :-)

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  5. These times right now are indeed so hard. I am glad that your daughters questions disappeared, but so sad that these events are happening and that you have to even consider explaining such things. I have one of those voices, always wondering what others will think, but as I too get older I can brush it off a little more from time to time. These dreadful things happening remind us that we must indeed do what we want to do and make the most of life while we can as we never know what will come. I hope that peace comes to you soon. xx

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, Amy. They mean a lot.

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  6. Children live in the now, don't they? And they are so matter of factly, too. I sometimes wish I could go back there, to that time of innocence. My thoughts are with everybody affected by this terrible tragegy.

    LGM dictates my life.... But I do try to be stronger and keep her locked up in the garden shed sometimes :) Cx

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    1. The garden shed is an appropriate place for LMD - why didn't I think of that? x

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  7. I hope you find peace soon Isabelle. The news at the moment is full of sadness and anger, blame and mistrust is difficult to know whether to expose children to it but it seems you daughter will deal with it in her own way. She may bring it up again in a day or two.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words.

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  8. First may I say what a beautiful photograph - it looks so idyllic. Thank goodness for children to keep you grounded in these terrible times.

    Little Miss Demanding gets short shrift from me - it is Little Miss Negativity that I have sharp words with.

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    1. Yes, isn't it wonderful the way children keep us grounded - such a relief at times!

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  9. I remember when my daughter first learnt about death thanks to watching 'The Lion King' when she was 3 or 4. She would play games with her Barbie dolls and I'd find one on the stairs only to be told she was dead and was in heaven, She understood and accepted, I suppose, which is pretty much what your little girl did.

    As for LMD, I ignored her all day and we went out to enjoy the sunshine. So clutter remains in place and school magazine still not started. But she'll be back tomorrow, no doubt, nagging even more insistently.

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    1. Yes, my girl did that (dolls in heaven) when her granddad died in April. So interesting how children deal with loss and death.

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  10. Beautiful post - so hard to have these conversations with little ones when it's something as an adult you can't quite comprehend either.

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  11. BigR is very interested in death at the moment. She's asking lots of questions but, as many of us find difficult, can't quite grasp the finality. I don't know whether to keep the news on or turn it off! Hope you're managing to keep LMD in check.

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    1. Daughter N can't quite grasp the finality eiter. She still says: when granddad is fed up with being dead, can he come over?
      I often keep the news turned off - sometimes it's just too much to bear. Perhaps that makes me an ostrich, but my kids won't benefit from having an anxious and tired mum.

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  12. Hi Isabelle so glad to have found you here today also (thank Leanne from Today's Stuff) xo

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  13. Hi Isabelle, have been reading through lots of your posts this morning, and now following you on bloglovin. Don't listen to your internal demanding voice! Every time LMD pops into your head, say out loud, very firmly 'You are not needed or wanted. I do not want you in my life. Go away and never return' (Probably helpful if you make this powerful statement when you are alone!) I find saying things out loud really helpful! X

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Thanks so much for taking the time to visit. I love reading your comments so please feel free to leave one (or more, if the mood so takes you) in English and/or in Dutch.