breastfeeding

On YouTube I came across a few videos where lactating mothers inspire other mums to breastfeed their children (openly). It seemed awkward at first to be exposed to such private content, for me it felt almost inappropriate to be watching this intimate act between mother and child. Despite my initial discomfort, I praised their openness and willingness to broadcast what is the most natural thing in life. I realized how my discomfort has been a learned cultural response, a proof of how our culture alienates us from what is absolutely natural and pushes us father away from our roots. Then again I got very upset to read a huge amount of negative comments/opinions concerning breastfeeding a child that culturally seems old (i.e. older than a newborn baby) to be fed mother’s milk. I cannot grasp how it seem wrong for a mother to decide how long her child needs to be breastfed.

Above that it disturbs me even more to witness how we as a society have been conditioned into believing it is normal for a grownup (wo)man to be drinking the mothers’ milk of another species. We as humans are the only species on earth to be drinking milk as an adult. This phenomenon does not occur in nature. Milk can only be produced when a mammal is pregnant, to feed her child. Let that sink in.

drinking milk

beste gemeente, beste overheid

Toen mij gevraagd werd een enquête over mijn gemeente of ons overheid in te vullen, heb ik maar eens mijn werk van gemaakt om aan te duiden wat er duidelijk moest gemaakt worden en ook toen mij gevraagd werd als laatst of ik nog een opmerking had, heb ik maar eens mijn mening uitgewerkt. Ik weet niet of het enige invloed kan hebben, maar ik vermoed dat minstens 1 persoon het ergens als job ga krijgen om die te lezen, en hopelijk kan ik die ene persoon beroeren en aanzetten tot meer, tot verbetering, tot bewustwording. Zo luidt het:

“Graag meer pesticide vrije landbouw, een diervriendelijke samenleving en een ecologisch beleid met oog voor een gezonde toekomst voor alle aardbewoners. Dat wil zeggen ook correcte informatie verspreiden over de oorzaak en grootste aandeelhouders in de aardeopwarming, lucht- en watervervuiling, de industrieën die het meest schade berokken aan het milieu, dat is met name de veeteelt-industrie die bovendien inefficiënt gebruikt maakt van landoppervlakte en hiermee contribueert aan wereldhonger, daarbij is een zuivel, ei, vis en vlees-arme dieet veel gezonder voor de mens (en dieren) en zouden de dokters hier ook meer van op de hoogte gebracht mogen worden i.p.v. geïndoctrineerd door misleidende reclame en multinationals die met oog op winst en geld, ten nadele van de gewone onwetende mens, schade aandoet aan alle partijen buiten de winsthebbers zelf. Onze samenleving moet meer gefocust zijn naar hernieuwbare energieën, beter leren sorteren van recycleerbaar materialen, het verminderen van afval en verpakkingen door ook het fiscaal stimuleren van verpakkingsvrije winkels. Een gemeente en een overheid zou voor haar inwoners goede intenties moeten vertonen, en een voorbeeld mogen zijn op grote schaal, op wereldvlak. wij mogen vooruitgang maken en dan pas kan ik trots zijn over onze samenleving, onze gemeente, overheid of land.”

sell your dusty guitar, keep the memories

I can only depart with this item if I receive money for it instead. Although I don’t like money just for the sake of owning money, because unused money for me is worth nothing. I prefer to exchange money for new possibilities. Such as selling something old and buying something new instead, investing in something that is worth it today. The idea to exchange something old for something new is how I like to change my life around.

For instance, I own a guitar and it’s quite a sentimental object to me. It has its own guitar-bag, guitar-stand, a footrest and some music books that go along with that one year I took music lessons beside (art-)school. I hated school and needed something to distract me and it worked wonderfully. I gained a new best friend that way and I had an awesome guitar teacher that looked like Johnny Depp.

I don’t know why I was good at it playing music at that time, I heard the teachers gave me one of the highest scores that year and I was shocked knowing that because for me I knew in my heart I wasn’t a natural musician. Everything felt unnatural and awkward (or maybe that was just me); holding the guitar, carrying it, reading the music score, taking care of my nails to a point of reaching perfection. I was obsessed with playing everything immaculately because for me music was black on white and needed to be played as it was written out. I didn’t enjoy rehearsing, I didn’t enjoy playing, I just had to play it right. I was lucky to have a teacher whom I loved very much, if it wasn’t for him I think I would have quit a lot sooner. Anyway, the year after that I moved place and I needed a new music teacher. The new teacher wasn’t my kind of teacher and I didn’t feel at ease with him because the way he taught music wasn’t as I had learned it so I had to basically learn everything from square one. Sadly for my guitar although luckily for me, I had a good excuse to focus upon my photography (at school) entirely and give up on the guitar.

Fast-forward a few years: I can’t read music anymore nor can I play the guitar. Everything I learned at that time is completely lost to me now. Although I want to believe that my subconscious will pick it up quite fast once I refocus upon that skill, I can’t prove it nor do I want to try it out. Because for me it ain’t worth it anymore. It is painful to admit that everything I once put much time, money and effort into, I completely missed memorizing a thing. And it’s quite embarrassing to come across a guitar and know I can’t play anything at all. On the other hand, I am very grateful it gave me the right distraction I needed at that time.

Today I look at this beautiful crafted peace of art and it pains me to let go of it. And every time I decide put the guitar somewhere else away, it procures a small wonderful warm tone that leaves me feeling quite sad about the person I once was. Honestly I know I’m not interested in learning how to play the guitar anymore.

But I can only separate with this item if I can get some money from instead, hopefully meet the new owner in person, exchange the goods, and for me it means I can invest that money in a hobby that is relevant for me today, instead of holding on to the past.

accepting digital loss

A few days ago, I’ve worked on something for several hours on my computer and I was quite pleased with the result of my hard work. Unfortunately a few hours later I’ve accidentally overwritten that file and so I lost the original content. Just like that, it was all of a sudden forever lost, god-knows where. I was being inattentive for one millisecond and that has cost me several hours of my day/life. It wasn’t like I have written the most important thing ever, but it really hurt me that I’ve put so much time and effort in making something for hours to go vanish in a brief moment. I know it shouldn’t be such a big deal, but I couldn’t help myself to desperately try to recover that file, that one file, alas unsuccessfully.

One time I completely lost the content on my phone and I don’t know how I managed to get over that loss so well, but I did somehow. I accepted the loss of many photograph memories and digital notes. Although I remember being very upset about it all, I really remember being mostly sad about one specific photograph, still till this day I don’t understand why that’s the case but I assume it meant a lot to me at that time for its sentimental reasons.

I found out that if you lose digital photographs of a souvenir, the memory won’t be taken away from you, such as the actual experience of it all; capturing pictures, remembering the day and even looking at the pictures for some time, therefore the loss of those pictures shouldn’t be so upsetting. The goal of an event is not accumulating pictures but actually experiencing what occurred that day. Therefore losing a digital token of that day won’t deprive you from that occasion. On the other hand when it’s actual work you’ve lost, it feels like you’ve been robbed of your time. The actual goal of your input in this situation is the result of your work, which is in that case more important than the experience itself.

What to do next? It’s sad but the only thing left is to just accept this. Let go of this unfortunate thing and move on with ‘knowing better, doing better next time’ and hopefully regain the courage to start over. It happened and I lost valuable time and effort, but in the meanwhile; I gained this frustration with the need to type down this piece of my personal reflection upon the matter, I also gained the understanding of digital loss a little more and I got the rework on whatever I was working on; not making it better nor worse, just make myself stand strong and keep moving forward with it all, which is in my opinion more rewarding that anything.

things we give meaning to

blad

I was in hurry when I found this leaf. It was a very rainy day and I was going through a rough period in my life. Sure as hell I wasn’t expecting anything good to happen that day. While running towards the subway station I noticed a bright green ginkgo leaf soaked in fresh rain water. I stood still and picked it from the ground. To me it couldn’t be a coincidence to come across a ginkgo leaf in the middle of nowhere -a plant that holds a special meaning in my heart-. I held this leaf with both my hands and felt reassured doing so. Finally, I could smile again. This leaf reminded me to stay strong and have faith in me and the universe.  And I knew everything would end up being okay.

While decluttering some of my emotional belongings, I came across this thing. It made me think about the sentimental value we add to stuff. I know it wouldn’t be a sentimental item if I didn’t have add this story to it, because on its own it’s just a simple leaf like any other. And I see now that to us personally many objects aren’t always what they are, but simply what they represent and the stories they hold.

As a striving minimalist, I challenge myself to let go and detach myself emotionally from things that add no value in my life anymore. I aim to use things as tools that can be helpful to me in a practical way and help me grow as a person. I think it’s okay to hold on to some emotional objects, but for me personally I would like to let go of that and let those items rest to the past. And I noticed how writing this story down and taking a photograph of this thing already helped me to let go of it. Letting go isn’t as easy as physically removing it from your life, it takes actual effort to say goodbye to the memories.

what clothes reveal

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I postponed dealing with my clothes for as long as I possibly could. I wasn’t quite ready yet to tackle the core of my cluttering issue, but I knew I would have to come back to my closet eventually. Cleaning my closet had absolutely nothing to do with clothing, instead it was a hard self-confrontational experience that opened my eyes about my self-perception.

Digging into my closet gave me a clear perspective about the way I see myself and the way I carry myself.

Every piece of clothing in my closet had a deeper story than just being clothing. At a moment it felt like looking at a historical museum; reviewing my self-image throughout the years and how that manifested itself through fashion.