For The Strong, Independent Modern Woman With Emotional Issues

Splitting Your Personality

This very useful and popular technique is employed consciously or unconsciously by people who wish to maintain their autonomy, who constantly construct an image of themselves for the world to see, and who firmly believe in boundaries. Overall, people who are distant yet project a proximity to many people. It can thus be considered a self-protecting mechanism.
By splitting your personality into bite-sized chunks, you can hand them out easily to different people with different understandings of you as a person, while guaranteeing that no one person can get the full picture of what the whole of these chunks is, or was.
The advantages of this technique are as follows: (1) You own your whole self by yourself; (2) You don’t let anyone too close to you, but just close enough.
For instance:
You meet Jamie. You become close to Jamie and tell her that you’ve had an awful childhood. Jamie is a friend with whom you have shared a piece of your past.
You meet Joanne. You start dating and tell her that you can’t commit to relationships because that is not something you find appealing. Joanne is a lover with whom you have now shared a piece of your weakness and current vulnerability.
The important point is that Jamie and Joanne cannot put the two parts of you together.
Another for instance:
My childhood teachers think of me as a polite, kind, self-minding shy person. My high school friends think of me as an outrageous, from-somewhere-else kid, new on the block. My university friends think of me as either a nurturing, caring, doormatsy person, or as an independent, opinionated, politically engaged woman who doesn’t depend on anyone. My father thinks I grew up too fast for my good; my grandmother thinks I am too perfect and self-controlling, my mother thinks I am irresponsible and emotional and heartless and should be an artist rather than a scientist. 
I disappear out of my lovers’ lives completely; I jump into love within days and weeks and I pursue them until I know they love me. Then once I’m sure they love me unconditionally I panic and fear that I will end up loving them more than they love me, that I will let them hurt me, that I start building walls, then running to them over the walls because, the truth is I love them too, then I have a full-on panic attack and disappear. And this is probably why I always choose disposable lovers; nobody from my innermost circles, nobody whose life overlaps mine in the mundane, everydayness of life. 
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Love Songs

He’s Scared, She’s Scared says that people like us find each other. Not in the good way. As in, you know, druglords and junkies find each other. It says, how to change / how to find the love you want. Because you want this. You really do.

People want to put labels on everything. It is the tradition of the white man since the Enlightenment – name it and you know it. Cogito ergo sum. You know it, you own it. Which, as we know, is false. Dr. Doe has even managed to put sub-labels on a label we shun – the famous friends with benefits. Venner med fordeler. 

Esther Perel says:

It’s not that we’re not happy. It’s that we could be happier. This is why we can’t settle. This is why we sit together on the couch and make out and then Swipe left together. It’s not that we are looking away from you. We’re trying to look away from ourselves.

*****

Embrasse moi dessus bord
Viens mon ange, retracer le ciel
J’irai crucifier ton corps,
Pourrais-je depunaiser tes ailes ?
Embrasser, te mordre en même temps
Enfoncer mes ongles dans ton dos brulant
Te supplier de me revenir et tout faire
ô tout pour te voir partir et viens!

Emmene moi là bas
Donne moi la main
Que je ne la prenne pas
Ecorche mes ailes
Envole moi
Et laisse toi tranquille a la fois
Mille fois entrelassons nous
Et lassons nous meme en dessous
Serre moi encore serre moi
Jusqu’a etouffer de toi

Il y a des salauds
Qui pillent le coeur des femmes
Et des femmes qui n’savent plus trop
D’ou l’amour tire son charme
Papillons de fleurs en fleurs
D’amour en amour de coeur
Ce qui n’ont qu’une etoile
Ou ceux qui brulent leur voiles

J’aime tes larmes quand tu aime
Ta sueur le sang, rendons nous amants
Qui se passionne, qui se saigne
J’aime quand mon ecorché est vivant
Je ne donne pas long feu
A nos tragédies, à nos adieux

Reviens moi, reviens moi
Tu partira mieux comme ça
A force de se tordre,
On en finirai par se mordre
A quoi bon se reconstruire,
Quand on est adepte du pire
Malgré nous, Malgré nous,
A quoi bon se sentir plus grand
Que nos, deux grains de folie dans le vent
deux ames brulantes deux enfants

Il y a des salauds
Qui pillent le coeur des femmes
Et des femmes qui n’savent plus trop
D’ou l’amour tire son charme
des Papillons de fleurs en fleurs
D’amour en amour de coeur
Ce qui n’ont qu’une etoile
Ou ceux qui brulent leur voiles

Embrasse moi dessus bord
Viens mon ange, retracer le ciel
J’irai crucifier ton corps,
Pourrais-je depunaiser tes ailes ?
Embrasser, te mordre en même temps
Enfoncer mes ongles dans ton dos brulant
Te supplier de me revenir et tout faire
Pour te voir partir et viens!
Emmene moi là bas
Donne moi la main
Que je ne la prenne pas
Ecorche mes ailes
Envole moi
Et laisse toi tranquille a la fois
Mille fois entrelassons nous
Elassons nous meme en dessous

Serre moi encore serre moi
Jusqu’a etouffer de toi

Serre moi encore serre moi

 

우리, 사랑하지 말아요.

Liebe Herr Jung, 

When I am in love I am afraid. You make me afraid. When I feel I might be in love, I run. You make me feel unstable, like a leaf blowing in the wind. I want to find all the reasons which prove you don’t really love me. That I don’t really love you – that it’s a wind blowing in the field, that it’s lust, that you’re a reflection of someone I never had. That you actually want to use me, for your comfort, for your convenience, to become a name on the list you will roll up and throw away at the backwaters of your memories once you’ve found her. That you see someone else in me. That you are pretending to be someone you are not.

When I was thirteen I went to the German psychotherapist in town. I sat in the brown armchair where the sunlight came through a round glass pane in the ceiling and told him, I don’t want to be happy because happiness goes awayAnd I don’t ever want to feel this way again.

우리 사랑하지 말아요 아직은 잘 모르잖아요 / 사실 조금은 두려운 거야 / 그대 미안해요
우리 약속하지 말아요 내일은 또 모르잖아요 / 하지만 이 말 만은 진심이야 / 그대 좋아해요

나를 보며 웃지 말아요 / 정들면 슬퍼져요 / 예쁜 그 미소가 눈물이 될까 봐
사랑이란 두 글자 속에 / 우릴 가두려고 하지 말아요 / 채우지 못할 욕심이니까

Portfolio Diversification

Kissing the best friend of a boy who I thought was too beautiful to love me after he asked me on a date, because I wanted to believe it wasn’t true. Falling for the girl who never looked at me in the same way you do. Loving a man who would never, ever love me.

Then you told me without speaking. Over, and over, and over again. Until one day, you were a part of me just the same way I was a part of you.

And I knew you would, I wanted to know that you would. That we would fall apart as all of the others did. We would break away and disappear from each other’s lives and we would find new love and become faded photographs. I want to believe that you were like all the others.

Romantics build walls. We build wall after wall because at the very bottom of things, we want to burn through all the walls when we meet you and stand naked. The problem is – there are so many times you can burn them down until you give up and say, that’s it. I’m upgrading to a Swiss-engineered vault. Calling it quits. Walking away with our heads held high – or rather, away from love.

We tell lies. To protect us from the people who have used our honesty against them. We pretend, that we do not care about people. We tell ourselves, that we do not trust people. We sneer and laugh and joke about the others. Those who believe, naively, blindly, and brilliantly. What we once were.

My mother told me, people who love others more than they should really want to be loved the same way. Maybe one day, I will tell you this. But, maybe you already know. Sometimes I suspect that this is the reason you love us. To forget that you want to be loved. To cut out the part of you that longs for forever and ever.

이렇게 당신이 읽지 못할 말을 적는 나.

Am I just a fool?
Blind and stupid for loving you
Am I just a silly girl?
So young and naíve to think you were the one who came to take claim of this heart
Cold-hearted, shame you’ll remain just a frame in the dark

The people are talking, the people are saying
That you have been playing my heart like a grand piano
The people are talking, the people are saying
That you have been playing my heart like a grand piano
So play on

Am I queen of fools?
Wrapped up in lies and foolish jewels
What do I see in you?
Maybe I’m addicted to all the things you do
‘Cause I keep thinking you were the one who came to take claim of this heart
Cold-hearted, shame you’ll remain just a frame in the dark

The people are talking, the people are saying
That you have been playing my heart like a grand piano
The people are talking, the people are saying
That you have been playing my heart like a grand piano
So play on

When We Were Young

 

Best Thing I Never Had

The first two boys I kissed work together cutting trees. They’re still best friends – I think. And I wonder if they ever talk about me. That a girl came between them once, a very long time ago. And I want to ask Jonas if he ever loved me.

One of the most beautiful men I have ever met became a junkie, and the sparkle from his hazel eyes withered. Once, I sat on the back of his motorcycle and thought, I hope we crash into a truck and die together. Because I knew and he knew that I knew that he was head over heels for a mysterious blonde tomboy who came into town from the Canary Islands with a Czech name. That much I knew – that I wanted him because I could never have him. Then I thought of Saint Lucia, with her eyes on a silver platter, and of Dr Disraeli from Earl Cain by Kaori Yuki, who loved all things ephemeral he could never own. Destroying all things beautiful and fragile because he thought they would never love him back quite the same.

The woman I idolised during my teens settled. For a guy called Kevin who is beneath her. For a job that doesn’t go anywhere. For her father’s Royal Dutch Shell money from the Congo. It never hit me, that she was going nowhere with her life and that’s maybe why she looked so strong and pretty. Like a doe lost in the middle of the Champs-Elysées.

Teenage Dreams

The fourteen-year old Dutch boy who insisted “in Holland, we fuck at thirteen”, and who ten years later, proposed to marry me as a joke, had a child in Sicily. With a women ten years his senior. I’m still not sure why, but I’m angry at him. At a future that was never mine and which I don’t want.

A lanky pre-teen Belgian who shyly asked me if I wanted to date him turned up with a low, raspy voice and shoulders large enough for a lion to lay on. He is less blond than he used to be, but the curls still twirl as he swings his head from side to side, and I wondered, maybe, just maybe, what I see in Dutch boys is a longing for the childhood I missed. Or perhaps, I see his father, whom I found equally beautiful, the bohemian who used to ride his Harley around Rajasthan and who laughed when a shy girl told him he looked like a philosopher.

Then there was Sebastian, the German-French boy who I found too beautiful that he surely, would never love me. He is an accountant at Google, and sometimes I look at his LinkedIn page, wondering if he ever thought about me through the years. And I think, we could have walked past each other in Dublin last year, and not even recognised each other. Sometimes I rehearse an apology fourteen years too late and sit down with him at an imaginary café in Strasbourg, and he tells me that it’s alright because he never loved me anyway – It was all a pre-teen concoction. Deep inside, I wish he’s remained single throughout the years because I mean as much to him as he did to me then, and then still today.

It Will Rain / I Kissed A Girl

Boarding schools sometimes have non-boarding students. They might be called daytime students. A minivan would pick twelve of us every morning at 6:45 and drop us off at 22:30. There was a girl I saw in the van who took Japanese and was in a different class. We never got to talk to each other except to complain about how late the bus was. One night, as we leaned into the van, lowering out tiny bodies into the seats, and I thought: I want to kiss her. Here and now.

I didn’t kiss a girl until last Friday.

 

Maantien Laitaa

If we could be free and want each other always. Want each other to be free and to want each other at the same time. If these days could last forever and we would never change.

If my world and your world could circle each other around the same axis in a never-ending parallel. If we would stay the way we are, all the  while adding rainbow-coloured layers to our souls. If one day we would mend the broken pieces and we would be whole, whatever whole is.

If you could be happy for me when I met another woman. If I could be happy for you when you met another man. If you could nod when I told you the painter with the blonde curls was beautiful and you said, yes, she is. If when you nodded I could feel free to walk up to her and I’d hold her in my arms and you would smile.

If.

One day, I will wake up and see the light come through the jalousie in this house. This house that’s so comfortable and familiar, like you are. The light calls me, is nudging me to move on. Another day, you will walk through the kitchen and feel foreign in a place you’ve called home for all your life. All of its photos, all of the daisies you’ve tended to, the iittala dishes we picked out together. Those days, we will know that our orbs have shifted by a single milimeter and that the end has begun.

Daydreams and A Home That Never Existed

I sit on an imaginary hill that probably exists somewhere in this country and remember the time I sat on a train from Brussels to Amsterdam, thinking, this is why Rembrandt painted. Skies here hang low, the sun shines orange, the grass is lush. And somewhere in the stratosphere, a dandelion seed finds itself in the ether. It thinks, maybe this is my home.

But what is home to someone whose home is everywhere, and thus nowhere? Your apartment changes. Your friends move away to New York City. To Milan. To Bangalore. To The Bank in London. They put on suits and a face, or they put on jeans and a backpack.

Space and time.

She said, it doesn’t matter where I live. I’m excellent at becoming a part of strangers’ lives. I am beautiful and people love me. My job gives me money to spend and my job’s salary depends on where I’m stationed and frankly, I’ve had the better end of capitalism. Family is a concept I adhere to reluctantly, but sometimes I feel I’ve been orphaned while having four parents.

In a way, my only real constant home is the cybersphere. People have followed me for years, and they’ve watched my thoughts and my smiles for longer than anyone in my life. So fuck you Plato, fuck you and your cave. When the cave becomes more real than reality, then it’s time you call off your Pygmalion experiments. I am more real and more wholesome on my monitor.

The pessimist leaves. A cup of Rooibos and I talk to Dani about how we want to finally settle down. Buy furniture that’s not assembled. Not have cardboard boxes and immigration-size suitcases become part of our décor just because we don’t know what will happen next year. To own dinner sets, with curry saucers and egg whisks and plates with decorated rims. To be a minimalist by our choosing and not our of practicality. To not be perpetually aware of the shipping rates for parcels in the country we live in. To not have to write down your bank codes and names because you keep opening new accounts every six months.To have a bar you can call your “regular spot”.

But whether it is a dream that is fully mine, or something that popped into my head as “fun” just because I have never tried it, I do not know.

 

 

 

 

Saint Lucia & The Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage

Trust is a beautiful thing. Which means that it is easily broken. And once it is broken it cannot be mended, unless you’ve mastered the Japanese art of Kintsugi. Even then, we are humans, made of flesh and bone and minds that wander. Far.

People trust so easily here. They assume that nobody is out to get them. They do not worry about getting robbed in daylight. They do not fear a person who is nice to them wants something from them – money, connections, “face”. They do not worry that a person who sleeps in their apartment will take something from them. They do not buy laptop locks for the library. They buy group tickets with complete strangers from across the country – from s’Hertogenbosch to Hoorn to Kampen.

“But you are family” “Of course you can spend the night here” “You’re welcome to stay in my garden house” “But do take some cupcakes with you” “Do you want to stay here while I get us some food?”. Things you say but I would never say this soon. Maybe never. Because I want to assume that people are, on the deep inside of their minds, out to use others. Maybe this thought comforts me even though I wish it weren’t true. Like a house that is worn down but too comfortable, just like in Tokyo Tower (2004).

Kintsugi-4[3].jpg
Kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken pottery
You say you want to spend the rest of your life with me, possibly. You say that I am beautiful, regardless. You say that you will never leave me. You say you’re afraid I will leave you one day for a beautiful Swede with long curly locks. And then I see what I see everyday in the mirror, but on the outside, like Alice Through the Looking-Glass. And I laugh. Then you laugh.

Fear of rejection. Of abandonment. Of feeling like I am everywhere and nowhere in the world, like “too much butter spread over too much bread”.

I dream that one day I will give you that card I bought years ago, the one that reads “You’re My Favourite Person In The World”. With its yellow and black writing from Harrod’s. I have tried, three times. To give it to you. But every time, a voice told me: They will leave you and then you’ll feel silly. Don’t let others leave you. You leave them.

saint lucia
Saint Lucia, who pulled out her eyes in order to devote her life to her true love and belief.
To sacrifice oneself, but not too much. To keep them off the world behind my wall. In a dream, I saw myself on a Sahara-like dune with a Norwegian fall sky. The dune was full of writhing jet-black branches and bushes made of scrawny arms. You stood on the other side of the branches and I saw you, but I saw not your face. Then I shot you.

I want to be able to say, I love you, without expecting anything from you. Without using it to make you love me more. Without making you change how you feel about me. I want those three words not to rip away a piece of me and get sucked into your being, like a puzzle. I want to not have to stop myself from saying this in my head to you every time you look into my eyes and tell me you love me without speaking.

The four letters weigh down on me like shards of glass. Feathers on a noose in my purple landscape. There’s too much attachment, too much meaning in them that I want to deny they exist. Instead, I say, I like youIch finde dich süß. Ik vind je leuk. Jeg leker deg. Like is a jam I can spread over several slices without feeling like I’ve been a glutton. Love is the nutella I put on the top shelf, and I kick away the Ikea stool. Auto-censorship is what it is.

I am sorry this is always how it goes
The wind blows loudest when you’ve got your eyes closed
But I never changed a single color that I breathe
So you could have tried to take a closer look at me
I am tired of punching in the wind
I am tired of letting it all in
And I should eat you up and spit you right out
I should not care but I don’t know how

So I take off my face
Because it reminds me how it all went wrong
And I pull out my tongue
Because it reminds me how it all went wrong

I am sorry for the trouble, I suppose
My blood runs red but my body feels so cold
I guess I could swim for days in the salty sea
But in the end the waves will discolor me

All boundaries are conventions

“So, here you are
too foreign for home
too foreign for here.
Never enough for both.”

Poem: Fragment from “Diaspora Blues” by Ijeoma Umebinyuo
from Questions for Ada (2015)

Sixsmith. I climb the steps of the Scott Monument every morning and all becomes clear. Wish I could make you see this brightness. Don’t worry, all is well. All is so perfectly, damnably well. I understand now that boundaries between noise and sound are conventions. All boundaries are conventions, waiting to be transcended. One may transcend any convention if only one can first conceive of doing so. Moments like this, I can feel your heart beating as clearly as I feel my own, and I know that separation is an illusion. My life extends far beyond the limitations of me.

Eyes, Nose, Lips

Drama burns us. It’s why we try to stay away. We fear. That it will consume us, burn us like dry leaves and branches, and eventually, become a parasitic fire of hell. A hell that keeps us obsessed, poring over the memories and letters and body memory.

Is this why the French cling on to summer romance? An ephemeral happenstance which will fade away into photographs of sunny woods in the Ardennes, the Alpes, Aruba. Fleeting memories of walking barefoot on the beach. Sharing cups of hot cocoa. Of sitting on the grass, listening to the birds and reading my Kindle. The ladybug who came to sit on your lap, white and red spots on a layer of denim.

Emotions, we are told, must be reined in by the rational. Heels over head. Don’t lose yourself, she told me. Years later, she told me, you’re too rigid. Why don’t you have any feelings to show? I said, well, you told me emotions were booboo. You fucking raised me.

And after all, it may have nothing to do with our lovers. It may be, surprise, surprise, all about us, the actant. Does it matter, then, who it is? As long as we know we are the constant variable holding it all together. A voice in my head says: Are you using people? I tell him, Well, it’s mutual, don’t push it, angel.

A woman once taught me the art of fragmenting and compartmentalizing one’s history. The most broken, strong, and ‘hard’ woman I have ever known told me:

You tell Adelaide about the time you cut your wrist. For the tenth time.

You tell Lila about the time you had sex with a black man and couldn’t get it in, how it was funny and you both had a good laugh and remain friends and you will go to Taco Bell with him at base camp this week.

You tell Blue that by age two, you were abandoned by your family and sent away to Canada and you have a constant fear of abandonment and feel like you have to be perfect always everywhere and this is why you have a drinking problem and are a nymphomaniac who releases all tension through orgasms but at the same time is afraid of getting pregnant for the social stigma but also wants to appear cool enough to her fuckbuddies not to fret about insisting on using condoms and menstrual cycle calculations and never having sex until two weeks from her last period but when you stress out you don’t get your period anyway and you haven’t been to see the doctor because you don’t want to know whether you’re pregnant or having completely messed up hormones but you think, hey, if I get pregnant now, maybe that will be a good excuse for me to kill myself, and at least it will be a socially acceptable tragedy, not like my fucked up childhood or trauma.

You tell the smartly dressed man sitting next to you at the bar that you were raped. You never told anyone else this, because you’re a strong woman and strong women don’t get raped. They are independent and fuck anybody they please and they don’t give a fuck. When the man starts taking interest in healing you, you walk the fuck away because he’s a fuckboy.

I tell Adelaide. I tell her in my head because we haven’t spoken in years because we drifted away, but I tell her because I know she would simply look me in the eyes and say, fuck thatFuck people.

I tell Adelaide that I’m both in love and not in love at the same time and that for the first time, that is okay. I tell her, maybe she and I don’t know what love is, because we were never given it in our childhoods. Did we even have childhoods? Does any one of us do? Then we laugh and say, ain’t nobody got childhoods, just fucked up parents who want the best for their kids – but the kids, they are on pot and ecstasy and running away from the dreams their parents blow up for them like balloons at the amusement park.

Then I tell you in my head, you who is both an amalgamation of my imaginary perfect-beings and a God I don’t believe in, that one day, I will hand you all the fragments of my life and that you’ll still love me and remember every one of the stories I tell you a year from now, long after I’ve forgotten them.