Fire

(! Caution: this read could cause altitude sickness. And could contain traces of drugs, nuts and nudity.)

I touch the fire and it freezes me.
I look into it and it’s black. 

Why can’t I feel?
My skin should crack and peel.
I want the fire back.

(-Once More, with Feeling
episode 7, season 6, 
Buffy the Vampire Slayer-)

People: “How do you do it? I’m already working my 6th consecutive Sunday in order to pay my bills. Damn girl, you’re living the life. How silly are we.”

People: “So you’ve traveled half the globe, went directly to the Tour de France and are now living the bohemian life in Ibiza. What’s next on the agenda, Ev?”

Me: “Worrying. Potentially with the outlook of living in a box for a while.”
People: “Sure. Since you live such a hard life party . LOL”.

Reality catches up on you like an FBI agent wanting you to comply to the rules everybody has to comply to.

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And it seems it’s time to go back to every day life.

That cruel, pitiless place that is nothing like the colorful sketch we see in romantic comedies or read about in novels.

It looks like I will stay in Antwerp for some time to come, to recalculate and find a temporary job to pass time. And top up my finances. (Since tax payers don’t pay for sabbaticals anymore.)

Money makes the world go round. And makes me go around that world. And since I’m not a gay dancer receiving 500 euro tips from Arabic bobos in Ibiza night clubs, I have to find a real job and walk the line for a while. The production line.

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It didn’t help splurging all my ‘Tour de France’ money in Ibiza. But that’s all part of living in the moment and leaving the worrying for after.

Err…Yeah, I didn’t really succeed in doing that last part either.

The idea sounds simple. Just living in the moment, sand between my toes, sun bathing, shutting down the hard drive, recharging the batteries, hakuna matata.

But, the truth is, I have always been a terrible in the moment liver…

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Due to some serious binge-traveling I knew I would be left with a financial and possibly emotional hangover. It was immanent. The thought was everywhere I went. While I was standing on the dance floor. While I was sitting on the back of the scooter clinging on to my best friend Cedric like grabbing on to life. While I was lying on the beach… Everywhere I looked I saw people enjoying a hard earned holiday. When I flew over me, I saw escapism. Topless escapism.

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Somebody who escaped everyday life in order to live in a dream bubble for a while -with unsupported breasts!- but soon that bubble would explode like Cinderella’s carriage that would turn back into an ugly pumpkin. And she would be left in the gutter. With one shoe. And saggy tits.

My head was under attack with these thoughts. At first I thought I was just PMS-ing.

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But it was something much worse.

I got hit by melancholy.

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Wiki: Melancholy or nostalgia is a state of mind that tends towards depression and is characterized by a sad look on the past or an unfulfilled desire.

Somebody else puts it this way:

I think the eternal melancholy of grown ups is: the desire for deep tenderness. Tenderness that goes so deep there is no worldly problem that can come between that. Giving everything. Receiving everything. Always receiving. It sounds immature but I think the base of melancholy is the lack of maturity. The desire for eternal protection.”

(Goosebumps, ammiright?)

It’s about 15 years ago I first came in contact with the word ‘melancholy’. (…) During an episode of Dawson’s Creek.

1997 The cast of "Dawson's Creek." From left to right: Katie Holmes (Joey Potter), James Van Der Bee

I was too busy with the superficial love story and was just waiting for Joey and Pacey to finally kiss that I didn’t really give a lot of attention to Dawson’s obvious teenage depression. I just thought he was a big nag really.

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Only now: it seems I’ve come down with the Dawson syndrome myself. THE WORST PMS EVER!

According to the internet:
Melancholic
people are emotionally sensitive, perfectionistic introverts.

No shit! I am emotionally sensitive and a big time perfectionist. Otherwise I wouldn’t have given up ‘the perfect job’, ‘the perfect relationship’ for some more meaningful life I know is just out there somewhere.
Reality is my biggest (fr)enemy. I want my dreams to be reality. But reality doesn’t domesticate that easy. And the introvert part? Well I don’t like people that much so I live in my own head a lot. Thinking, dreaming, worrying, … Worry if I will ever make it in this life. If I will find a balance between providing for a future while not forgetting to live and breathe and enjoy the ride.

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You: “Then why didn’t you just stay a newspaper journalist with a stable life and a fix income. Do you know how much people would kill to be what you were?”

Well I couldn’t.
Exactly one year ago, Angelo started a fire in me.

20150807 Angelo Valkenborgh - Mokri Potok
Deep in the Slovenian woods he taught me there is more to life than working your head off, paying bills and being a slave to society. “If you don’t like where you’re at in life, change the decor. If you don’t like the road that’s laid out for you, pave your own. If you don’t like the future that’s ahead of you. Draw a new one. The secret of leading a rich life is to let go. And find wealth in less.”

I was spoilt to land a job like that at such a young age. My golden ticket was handed to me, just like that. But I felt I was achieving for someone else. I was not living for me. So I went to confront, challenge and comfort myself. Comfort myself with the thought I stayed true to my gut. And dared to be me. Free. Instead of trying to be someone I was not. Caged.

But that morning in Ibiza. I was mourning.

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The fire Angelo ignited was slowly dying. Like somebody took a piss on it.

It was only later I discovered the new moon had poisoned me…

You: ??

Apparently there was a new moon rising. And apparently ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, ets.) take control during a new moon. New moon night is a golden opportunity for the ghosts to cause distress to man. It’s only since meeting Helmut in Tasmania and studying some Chinese philosophy in China I started to pay attention to the moon. And it being a carrier of human emotions.

My thoughts churning: “I’m alone. Alone with my responsibilities. And I’m tired. I’ve traveled so far. I have gained. And I have lost. Was it all worth it? I would love to be carried on a meandering river. Like baby Moses. Knowing I will reach a destination. Instead of taking this thorny road*.”

* Remembering a passage in ‘The Art of Learning’, a book I was reading, by Josh Waitzkin:

“To walk a thorny road, we may cover its every inch with leather. Or we can make sandals.”  (Indian parable)
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Make sandals. Got it. 

Some people admire me for making the decision. Throwing away securities to dig deeper, find a deeper meaning, savoring life to the fullest.

But that morning in bed, I couldn’t help but ask myself:

Is it nobel to live according to your ideals? Or is it just dumb, self-destructive and naive?

Is this the time I wake up, lose my innocence and change into the pessimist everybody else has already become?

joker

error

I mean how stubborn can you keep holding on to something?

I just wanted to crawl into a big sweater. One that fits my knees, curl up and whisper: “Life be gentle on me. Don’t drown me. In regret, financial debt or other heart ache. Life be gentle on me. Don’t drown me. In regret, financial debt or other heart ache. Life be gentle on me. Don’t …”

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Argentinian summer love*: “Hey Ev, wanna watch the meteor shower tonight?”
(*For those who don’t know, I had an Argentinian summer love in Ibiza. See previous post!)

Me: “M…meteor shower? Yeah, sounds great.”

“…Do I have to wear a bra?”

Argentinian summer love: “Err..no…”

That night at dinner, I turned to the Argentinian for a piece of advice. Since he studied Psychology.

Yes…:

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And sexually…

Anyway.

He’s a big realist. The opposite of the big dreamy drama queen I can be. And a Fire sign. Exactly what I needed.

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To him, life is just life. You don’t have to have it together always. You just have to always live. (…) And if you fail to do so, take some drugs, it will lift your spirits right up and get rid of your anxiety.

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Me: “Err, that’s not really my cup of tea. I mean, I thought about taking a pill in Ibiza, like that Mike Posner song suggests, but I changed my mind. I don’t do drugs. I’ll just stick to this bottle of wine.”

Argentinian: “Alcohol is potentially the worst drug out there. It’s just because it’s accepted and drugs aren’t that people think it’s okay. Coke is a natural plant. In the 19th century cocaine was to be considered a panacea for everything from headaches to indigestion to aches and pains. For instance, it helps against altitude sickness. I chewed some coca leaves while I was climbing Machu Picchu.”

Me: “Uhu.”

Argentinian: “A lot of brilliant scientist and geniuses established their best work under the influence of drugs. Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was an avid cocaine fan. The guy who discovered the double helix structure of DNA was under influence of LSD. Same goes for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and The Beatles.”

“You think you’re healthy cause you don’t take drugs? There are enough bad chemicals in food and pharmacies. Society has each and every one of us medicated and drugged. And it’s often worse than we think. Relax, I’m not saying we should all shoot heroin.”

Me thinking: “I’d rather have you shoot me with your loaded gun.”

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Argentinian: “I’ve seen you worrying. You’re absent. You live in your mind too much. Let me just tell you: the future is not here yet. No matter what you choose, there are no bad choices. Whether you choose to leave or stay, it is going to be good.”

Me: “Okay cut the psychobabble bullshit, Freud. Let’s watch the stars and touch each other!”

I don’t know if it was the wine or the meteor chemistry above our heads but I was slowly starting to come… alive again. One scooter ride later we were on the roof of our Spanish hacienda. It was pitch dark. Only the sky was lit in an emerald glow and every 5 meters street lights were stitching the sky deck to the earth. While the bright celestial fire balls were bravely sliding down the atmosphere, something changed inside me. I felt a flow. -No, not my period.- I was feng shui-ing again. The bad demons of the new moon had left the building and I was released from evil spirits. (…) And pants.

That night on the roof, …

I got the fire back.

XO

People: “Gee Ev, you talk so openly about your intimate… thoughts. Aren’t you ever embarrassed to show yourself this naked? Or afraid of what your parents might say?”

Me: “Err no, my parents raised me this way and I don’t take myself seriously. At all. I am a free spirit. I’m breaking down my barriers, releasing my inhibitions. And spreading the word of self-love, self-development, self-reflection and self-deprecation.

 

 

When life gives you lemons…

lemons

be creative.

 

Same goes for watermelons.

watermelons

Let’s just all embrace our blonde/cluelessness together! 

cable-guy-jim-carrey-visits-matthew-broderick-in-jail-review

Peace out.

 

Se7en

Following my latest blog post, I started thinking about relationships. And why we’re in them.

Not only is a vast majority of people I know reproducing, …

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… there are also couples breaking up before my eyes. Good friends of mine who turn to me for relationship advice and who are just battered and bruised from the process of desperately trying to stay together.

Hence the question: Why are we in relationships?

We get brought up with the idea we’re half a coin. A Yin without a Yang. Someday you have to find someone, your missing puzzle piece. This idea is forced upon us by media, advertising, religion, parents, …It is such an obvious thing that we forget to ask ourselves: Why?

Aren’t we all complete persons already? And isn’t it possible that having a +1 could potentially devaluate our coin? You could be a gold medal trading it in for silver or bronze. Or tin.

Why are people so scared of ending up alone?

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I haven’t been in a relationship for two years now. Only recently I feel like I am ready to potentially start a new one. I had my time to catch up with myself, put my own needs up front for a while, and now I feel I’m ready to walk the road with someone next to me. But I’m not forcing anything. The right relationship will come around when the time is right.

And that’s what some people just don’t have the patience for.

I feel like a lot of people settle just to settle.

1. For some it’s the outlook of unlimited sex.

2. For others the warranty of reproduction. Caused by unlimited sex.

3. For others it’s a sense of security/safety because they’re scared of being alone.

Usually things go well for a certain amount of time, but when that relationship comes under siege, it’s very hard to keep the ship afloat.

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I have a friend who’s holding on to the cracks in her boat in order to keep the water out. She’s putting in all her effort and energy eventhough she knows the ship is going to sink. And the orchestra is already playing their final tune.

Then there is another friend who’s married and has kids. Her husband also has a second girlfriend. She knows, and he has promised to leave the other woman many times, but he still hasn’t, and they just stay together for the sake of staying together.

When it comes to relationships, is it sensible to bend not break? Or should we just stay true to ourselves and take the high road?

sinking minion

12-The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-quotes

In my opinion there are 4 distinct types of relationships:

1. the full on romantic relationship (this one is all about soulmates and true love and is very rare to be seen in real life),

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2. transitioning relationship (band-aids to heal from a previous ‘full on romantic relationship’, aka ‘rebound’. Usually one focusses only on physical characteristics and compatibility and refuses to build a deeper connection with the person),

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3. the forced relationship (forced onto people by family, environment, themselves),

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4. the professional agreement (love is replaced by money and the relationship is merely a status symbol)

Leo

For me, option 1 is always the goal. I would really love to find that one true puzzle piece. To fall madly in love, to share the rest of my life with one person. But is that thought realistic? Maybe love is a losing game and we should all stop believing in fairy tales.

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The older I get, I can’t help but thinking true love is something that died with Shakespeare. Monogamy is a hoax and ‘Till death do us part’ is just a metaphor for : ‘When I found someone better and leave you behind’.

Even the best things get boring after a while.

french fries

Why do we try so hard to ignore the equation if we already know the outcome?

Roses die.

You either make potpourri and appreciate it for the little scent it spreads or you throw them out and get fresh ones every once and a while.

Your loyalty towards someone changes when your needs change. And in that opinion we are living in a time where everything and everyone is easily replaced.

For instance: Why invest in a quality razor if you can shave almost equally good with throwables? You don’t have to worry about maintenance, customs, and the possibility of accidentally leaving it somewhere.

Maybe true love is more like true friendship. You respect each other. Adore each other. But stay individual persons with individual needs. Love is replaced with lust. Lust is to be find in different places. But you stay true to a friendship.

sandy

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of the idea either. I’m just putting some observations out there, since ‘open relationships’ are all the rage these days.

But as far as I’m concerned a good relationship is all about simplifying things. Toning down expectations and putting things into perspective.

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Whenever I would meet someone I would always try to envision a future with that person and then decide if it would be someone I would want to invest in.
That’s silly, of course you cannot know from the very beginning. You’re only sabotaging yourself by creating these high standards, cause no way you will ever achieve them. And you will end up only disappointing yourself.

In that mind set I tried the concept of a summer love. It wasn’t a well thought plan or anything. It just happened here in Ibiza. He’s from Argentina and -at this moment- he makes me feel good about myself and I enjoy my time with him.

I don’t envision a future with him. And that’s the first time I’ve ever done that. It’s a bit weird at the beginning. But it’s all part of living life in the moment. And following your gut instead of your brain.

 

Knowing that, I finally gave up on the idea of ‘saving myself’ for mister right. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This stays between you and me okay? I have had a total of 6 bed partners in my life. Now, I’m not proud of it, if it were me I would have only sticked to one but life pushes you to make some mistakes along the way in order to find what you are really looking for. Anyway, there was something about number 7 I didn’t want to give up to just anyone. So I saved myself. And lived like a nun while traveling Australia, China and Japan.

Friend: “Maybe you should drop the whole magic number nonsense. I already reached seven when I was 14!”

Well, now I can say… I finally reached seventh heaven 😀

seven

You: Gee Ev, you have to kiss a lot of frogs not f*** them!

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And especially for this occasion. Music maestro!

XO

Oh baby.

It’s a girl!

A little over 27 years ago my parents must have shouted it from the roof tops. I was a girl alright. A 4 kg heavy ball of delicate skin and bones. The hairs on my head, raven black. No, I wasn’t born all blonde and clueless. Life made me that way.

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My brother obviously loved me from day one ❤

It was October 19th 1988. A Wednesday. I was born a Libra. Pisces would be my ascending sign. It’s the sign that comes up, moves, or transitions at the exact time you are born. It would explain -years later- how an independent perfectionist Libra like me, who struggles to make decisions on a daily basis, suddenly threw all her comfort zones overboard to experience new things and explore the world.

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*This Libra / Pisces likes to shoot from the hip*

When I was in my early twenties, I always said I would start having babies by the time I would reach 27. Reality is: I’m further away from having babies now, than I was then. At least I had a relationship at that time. And I was very much convinced we would have babies together. Oh cluelessness.

By the end of 2015. While I was silently preparing my way to escape every day life and obligations,

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people were apparently doing the exact opposite thing. They were settling down. And having loads and loads of reproductional sex.

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It’s unbelievable how many people I know had babies this past month. My brother, one of my best friends, a friend from college, friends from friends, … I started looking into it (read: getting my Facebook spy on) and discovered how old class mates -even the biggest geeks alive- were already married, having children, starting families, building futures, … They we’re giving their love and being loved in return.

Friend: “I think I’ve missed my train.”

Me: “Whut?”

Friend: “I think I’ve missed my train.”

Me: “What are you talking about? Your car is parked right outside.”

Friend: “No… My train in life. In love. Where am I going to find someone? I’ll be 30 soon and everybody I know is settling and having kids. Maybe it’s just not meant to be for me.”

Me: “Hey! Are you crazy? You’re the sweetest girl alive and incredibly gorgeous, you are not missing your train, do you hear? If anyone is missing her train, it’s me.”

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I never really realized it until I said it.

But while I was sitting on the perfectly tiled terrace of my new found baby momma friend, gazing over to my three Sex and the City-girlfriends, I suddenly realized: if life is a board game, I’ve been dealt the shitty cards here.

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*Smiling though slightly panicking*

The friend who supposedly missed her train has just bought an apartment all by herself, the baby momma -obviously- just had a baby, already has a flatter stomach than me and is going to get married in Spain next year. And the other girlfriend is living together with her boyfriend thinking about having loads and loads of reproductional sex too.

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*His Storm Troopers attacking her Death Star right about now*

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I’m pushing 30, I have no property of my own, no more savings left, no boyfriend, no job and no sex whatsoever.

I couldn’t help but feeling everybody was passing me and I was somewhere hanging in the back. Waiting for a broom wagon to pick me up and put me out of my misery.

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* Broom wagon : the vehicle that follows a Cycle Road Race picking up stragglers (or sweeping them up) who are unable to make it to the finish.

Ten years ago I was the first of all my girlfriends to have a job, a career, a relationship, a house, a dog, … I was the bloody Chris Froome of the peloton.  Suddenly I became the red lantern.

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I’m 27 and I have no clue what I’m gonna make of my life. While my friends are leaking milk for a higher cause, I will be partying in Ibiza this week with a bunch of bronzed gay gods pouring milk over their hot torsos. And that’s about as far my outlook goes!

(…)

While I was fretting over my future and stuffing my face with hummus at my friend’s place, I decided not to give in to these negative thoughts. They’re way too easy. And I haven’t crossed half the globe to be defeated this easily.

Shifu Gao won’t let me.

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Me in a bid to pick myself up: “Let me put it this way. If you could go back in time, would you really have wanted to trade all your life lessons to have the secure life at 27?”

“Well….no…”

Since, first of all, I don’t yet feel the need to reproduce, as I still am very much a child myself. And second: no matter how much of a terrifying and uncertain mess my life came to be, I am extremely happy I chose to live my life in the most honest way possible. By staying true to myself and care after MY needs first before saying ‘I do’ to a partner, a house or a family. I felt I needed to learn before I could love. And so I traveled in order to go do that.

If I get a baby soon, and my hubby decides to dump me for not finding me attractive anymore, at least I will be strong enough to 1) proper Kung Fu kick his ass and still know I am an amazing person and he is just a douchebag who will get his karma bill presented sooner or later and 2) provide a sane environment for me and my child, the most valuable people in my life.

But, for now, I don’t know where my unplanned life is going. It’s impossible to know. And -in the end- nobody does. A baby or a husband or a bunch of bricks aren’t going to ‘unchaos’ my life. I just need to have faith in things happening and letting go of the process.

It’s hard work. Especially when your surroundings are constantly putting you on a shelf to analyze you. Looking for holes in your game structure.

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Well, don’t bother, my game structure is full of holes. I play with my heart on my sleeve. With my queen exposed and vulnerable. I get hurt easily. But it’s the only way to live this life profoundly.

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Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The race is long, according to Baz Luhrmann, and in the end it’s only with yourself.

I’ve decided:

I’m not in a rush. Society is trying to set a pace for me but I’m not participating. Life’s not a Time Trial. I much rather enjoy myself and the scenery in the back of the gruppetto* with the rest of the underdogs than fly over the finish for a yellow jersey, a stuffed animal and a big pay check just for the sake of being the first.

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* The autobus or the gruppetto is in bicycling terminology the name given to the group of cyclists in a road cycling race who form a large group behind the leading peloton.

I have the power and freedom to follow my own path to success. Because I have something many people forget to invest in. Me. And whoever wants to share the road with me, can tag along. But I’m not compromising.

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Attached to that thought: I have closed my Tinder profile. It wasn’t for me anyway. I don’t want to find a man who’s on Tinder. And why would any serious man want to find his girl on there anyway?

I’m too much of a Libra/Pisces for that.

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Up to Ibiza! Mommy’s gonna pour her some milk!

lecheeeee

XO

By the way: I used some cycling lexicon to bring this blog post about. As you may or may not know, I just came back from one month worth of touring and traveling France as a PowerBar hostess in the Tour de France. It was b-e-a-utiful! My job consisted of keeping the riders energized, healthy and happy ❤