Children despise your passion for fashion

Today I learned that my co-workers’ children have a few “bad” outfits, to play outside.

When I was a kid, all my clothes were to play outside. I had a few “good” ones for the occasional parties.
Because, you know, I was a kid.

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Cake recipe for your inner five year old

Since I briefly mentioned baking cake yesterday, I decided to share my basic recipe with you guys. It’s shamefully simple, but also ridiculously popular with my friends and co-workers, so I guess simple is good.

Before you get started, however, I’d like to tell you a little something.

Recently, I’ve been letting my inner five year old decorate cakes. It’s a travesty, mostly resulting in a messy kitchen, too much frosting, clumsy designs and colouring that looks far from edible. But it’s SO MUCH FUN!

Cakesofthefiveyearold

In darker times, I religiously aspired to making my cakes look like they came straight from the bakery: perfectly smooth, delicate and drop dead gorgeous. If I took them to friends or work, I wanted people to say: “Wow, you really made that yourself?” not think “Wow, am I really supposed to eat this?” Sometimes, baking a cake even became a little stressful because of that self imposed pressure…

But let’s be honest here: what’s the point of a homemade cake if it looks like it comes from a store? Any decent, quality bakery can provide you with a perfect looking cake; freshly made, with clean ingredients and without artificial bullshit. You might pay a lot for it, but you can go and get it any time.

My inner five year old however, thought me what “homemade” is really about. It’s about having a blast. It’s about imagination. It’s about getting creative and away from the conformism. It’s about licking the spoon and continuing to use it (yes, I confess).

Does this mean that I’m never going to make a divine looking piece of patisserie any more? Of course not. Does it mean I invite you to take your inner child into the kitchen and get crazy for once? YES!
Think about it: if the result ends up being really that ridiculous, you’ll just have to eat the whole thing yourself. And that is, indeed, the worst case scenario.

Draw your cake

Continue reading Cake recipe for your inner five year old

The right to be imperfect

Today, my superior shared an article about our “result driven society and demanding culture.” It explained that people these days are exhausted, because of a constant pressure to be perfect. I want to share my thoughts with you, because this text upset me. I got mad, not because of what it taught, but because of what it didn’t say.

The authors big example throughout the article, was that she’d let a subordinate leave the office because his son had fallen down the stairs and needed medical care. That was the moment, she proudly wrote, she stood up for a more empathic leadership.

Really?
Obviously a worker should be able to leave home early when his child is sick! What the…?

However, between the lines of the article I read that: the employee was allowed to be “imperfect” at his job, because it made him a more “perfect” parent.

And sadly it’s true:

Imperfection is only tolerated in one part of your life, when it adds perfection to another.

Any other: your talents, your house, your family, but NOT your soul. Even in our so preciously hyped “me-times,” we’re supposed to do something fashionable or productive these days. You’d better be good at it, too. And preferably, post something on Facebook when you’re finished.

The right to be imperfect
I’m proud that these days, I dare to post an imperfect drawing. (Especially since I’ve never made a perfect one)

Recently, one of my good friends lost her father. Needless to say, his death hit her hard. It hit her harder than most people are able to see. They’re not allowed to. You should know, my friend is the proud type. Reputation matters to her, and so do social expectations. She feels like she’s expected to keep strong. To show up at work and apologize for her (far too) brief absence. To do the same amounts of work at the same pace and perfection as before. To tell people she’s alright and avoid emotionality. To “not give up.” To “not give up on perfection.”

But what I see, is someone who is crumbling inside. Someone who doesn’t allow her own emotions even when she is all alone. Someone who keeps herself busy every second of the day (and night) to avoid thinking. To avoid feeling. To avoid a single moment of “weakness.” Someone who loses a dramatic amount of weight due to stress and sadness, but gets complimented on her figure daily. Someone who’ll always tell you she’s “doing alright,” and therefore gets praise. “You’re so strong,” people say, “I admire how you deal with things. You’re doing such a great job.” I, however, see someone who is scared to drop that fake image of “perfection,” afraid of what will happen when she does. And then I sit there, hearing people praising and complimenting her: but they make me want to cry. And shout. And fight the idiot bastards that shape such reality. Punch them in the face. I want to do all that, at once. And probably binge-eat something while at it.

Why?

Let me tell you straight: I am what they call a “weak” person. I have a little flame inside, like every one of us. A fire that sometimes burns so brightly it can light a whole building, but sometimes is no more than suffocating smoke and ashes. Unlike many people, apparently, this fire doesn’t fuel itself. I need to pay attention to it, constantly, to get the most out of it. I guess many people know how to do this mindlessly, living the life their fire desires. But with mine, it’s different. And I don’t have the desire to keep up appearances. I don’t have the energy, either. While growing older, I’ve learned to cherish my flame and every day I keep discovering more about it. I keep finding new ways to stoke it higher. I might be a weak person, but I’m no longer ashamed of it.

Those articles that talk about “a more empathic society,” they only defend the people with an “automated flame.” They defend people who need empathy because they are going through something traumatic, who need to be with their family, who have health issues,… They tell us it’s okay to fail as long as you do something else perfectly: keeping strong, raising children, eating healthy.

And you know what?

I’m sick of having to bargain for the right to be emotional. I’m sick of needing leverage in order to be granted a dash of imperfection. I’m tired of needing excuses for who I am and how I feel.

When will anyone, for once, defend people like me? People who try to just work on themselves, who try to live! Weren’t we born to do just that, after all?

But no one will, really, if that “working and living” doesn’t involve a sparkling career, lots of money or a best-selling book on mindfulness.

I live alone. I don’t have kids, pets, nor a partner to leave my job early for. But I travel. I work out a little. I draw and write and sketch, I dance around the room. I decorate cakes for myself, and take my inner child out to go swinging in the playground. I keep my fire burning.

Sometimes, I need to be home for me. And that’s just fine.

Autumn winds

What is it that my soul is craving?
Why do I feel so empty and lonely inside?
Why is it that I count the hours at day
Only to stare at the ceiling at night?

The skin on my bones seems to no longer fit
A trim on the edges could fix it, maybe
Shave the hair, burn the clothes
And wash off the itchiness, that is me

Autumn winds have scorched the leaves on the trees
Soon they will fall like death from the sky
They’ll be crumbled by the footsteps of strangers
Despised and forgotten, my friend, so am I

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My take on the world and the things I love. Prominently among them: travel, art and the ordinary. I share my discovery of our beautiful world, my self and the arts I'm trying to develop (photography, sketching and writing) in a way that is both honest and poetic. Please join my journey.

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