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Reflection

As we now enter the second half of January I have had time over Christmas and New Year to reflect on the year past. No, as probably for most people 2020 was not the best year. But as events unfolded in the first days and weeks of January it looks like this new year will be even worse.

In 2020, during the first lockdown, I lost my ex-partner and father of my oldest child to complications and possibly returning cancer. He was only 57. We were together for about 3 years and when my son was 2.5 I had to escape with my life after he became more and more aggressive and threatening. That was 15 years ago. My son didn’t have much of a relationship with him either, he hardly called and only saw him maybe once a year for a few weeks. Off course we live in another country but even before that he struggled to keep a connection going. He was a big, tall man with very few words. He struggled with empathy and had suffered terrible physical and emotional abuse from his mother. He has 3 brothers of which one committed suicide at 18. So yes, I understand why he was the way he was. We had made amends a few years ago, there were no hard feelings anymore between us. But still, his death was a massive shock for me, and for my son.

It is strange, lots of memories and pain surfaced in the wake of his death. When my son was 1 I became pregnant again, but after 3 months I had a miscarriage at Christmas. My mother had a dream about this baby, it was a boy and his name was Toep. But my partner was not supporting me at all. He got annoyed that I was mourning him, having waves of intense sorrow, I was crying for days and weeks. When he was born, he was so tiny, but perfectly formed fingers and toes. He was no bigger than the palm of my hand. I held him for a moment, and then I burried him in the front garden and planted a tree on top, called ‘golden rain’ in Dutch.

When I moved out and came back a while later my ex-partner had removed the tree. I don’t know why. But that was very painful. The whole separation was horrendous. I was terrified of him. I was really afraid he would kill me. He nearly did a few times. If I had stayed, I am sure it would have come to that. My son was also afraid. His first memory was of me and him huddled together under the dining room table, afraid his dad would beat us.

But, there were also many good memories, and we did have good times. So when he died all those also came back, and why things went wrong. I felt pain and intense sadness that we had failed our relationship and that now my son doesn’t have a father anymore. I feel very sad for my son, I so much wanted him to have a father, to have his guidance and friendship and love. I know his father has done his best with the few parenting skills he had, with the even less emotional skills he had to be a good dad to him. And really, you can’t do more than that. Now that he died, it made me reflect on my own parenting and behaviour towards my children. I am not much better off than him, really. And all I can do is my best with the tools and skills I can learn and have.

Yes, 2020 has made me reflect and then more determined to try and be a better person, a better parent and to work harder on loving myself, being myself and accepting who I am. My ex-partner’s death has made me realise there is no time to lose, I have to do what I want to do with my life now, today.

Last year I also broke with my parents. And renewed my relationship with my sister. I decided to try and live exactly the life I want, on my terms. That is not easy. To try and improve myself I had weekly phone calls with a very good therapist, who has helped me a lot. I started this blog, making drawings, poetry and photography to help with this too. And I started to study. It is ironic that in the year I decided to want to break my social isolation and face my social fears a pandemic breaks out and I am back locked up in my home with my children and my dog. And the devil I know.

So there we are, in January 2021. We struggle on.

An ice cold morning in January

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The Coup

Once upon a time in the West

People lived in peace

The white man came and knew best

To declare the land of the free

Owned by them, the brave

Soldiers with guns and flags wave

Killing the people in peace

The US of A

Masters of freedom and slaves

Always interfering

Teaching from their high horse

Imperialist wars

Then the clown became king

Never a loser, always a winner

His daddy taught him ‘Be a killer’

But not that day

Election stolen away

He gasped, egging his followers on

Storm the Capitol! they did

To declare the land of the free

Owned by them, the brave

Soldiers with guns and flags wave

Masters of freedom and slaves

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The Christmas Star

The Christmas Star

As I am here alone at Christmas, I think of Christmas past. Seventeen years ago I miscarried my son Toep. I held him in my hand for a moment, not bigger than my palm. His face, hands and feet were already developed, he had the tiniest fingers and toes.

I buried him in the front garden and planted a tree on top. As the grief washed over me, wave after wave, his father was cold and heartless. My cries annoyed him. My sorrow angered him. I ended up running away from him, with our son, fearing for my life. He died last year.

Now my son only has me, and my other daughter, his half-sister. And I grieve alone. I look back and I realise I have always ever been alone.

Just like that Christmas Star. It is enveloping me, like a comforting blanket. But it is time to get out there, and face my fears and demons.

So my goal for 2021 is that I make new friends and truly connect. I need to show my real me, but also set boundaries and protect myself. Because I don’t want to be alone at Christmas or any other day. I want to live outside the cage I built and truly enjoy life. And I want to share it with someone.

But only with someone I can trust and who is interested in me, someone who actually cares.

So for all of you out there, cherish the people who love you, and love them back. But most of all love yourself. At the end of the day, the person you have to live with every second of the day, is yourself, so you better get to love that person most.

If you are like me, treated badly all your life and you can’t trust your own parents, you have to trust and rely on yourself. What has happened to you is not your fault. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t mean you are worthless. On the contrary, you are precious.

If you can’t think of any reason why you should live, make time to discover your talent, your joy, your reason. Dig into yourself and discover the gem inside. There is one. But it all has to start with self love. Find the little spark of love inside and shield, feed and care for it. It’ll grow bigger, the care becomes easier. And you’ll suddenly find yourself enjoying something intensely. You are then on your way.

That is my Christmas pledge to myself and my message to you. Life can get better, just work on it one tiny step at the time.

Merry Christmas everyone.

In loving memory of Toep, rest in peace.

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Sorry Sorrow

All day I am surrounded

By no one, no one at all

Then when the gate clunk sounded

Your smile and call

Come in like a whirlwind

Of spring puppy play

A breeze of new beginnings a ray

Of sunshine and peaches

The leeches have crawled away

The darkness inside me

Lit up by your light

You hand me a chance

Which I just might

Be able to scramble

Towards me you come

You touch me, too much

Darkness in my tum

Envelops me as such

I can’t show you

My holy hollow

Sorry Sorrow

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Illusion

‘Illusion’

The light at the end | your hope is just bend | thoughts of inclusion| are just an illusion |

Your notion of love | intimate touch tough | to stomach for an empty shell | deprived like hell | but still you dream of fusion | it’s just an illusion |

Outward looking, searching | for empty promise hunting | unavailable profusion | resulting in illusion |

And abuse and rape | sadly not on tape | my emptiness ever growing | bigger want, bigger knowing |

Inward looking | towards the little sparkling | of self-loving reality | turning into validity | eventually | illusion to profusion | of love

Mayola | 2020

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One day soon

The Tesco driver has three jobs

Still his family goes hungry

The company made 500 mil

Still workers pay the bill

One day soon

The workers rise

When bust & boom will fade

We will be standing side by side

To take back what we made

The nurse goes to the foodbank

Made homeless by large debts

Still she goes to work each day

Running on an empty tank

One day soon

The workers rise

When bust & boom will fade

We will be standing side by side

To take back what we made

The firefighter risking life

The council cut the funding

Seventy two people died

Still nobody was done in

One day soon

The workers rise

When bust & boom will fade

We will be standing side by side

To take back what we made

By Mayola/2020

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Skipper sûnder see/Schipper zonder zee/Skipper without sea

Onwennig fan it wetter

bin ik as een boer op see

foar altiid seekjen

om myn skip

midden in ‘t âlde lan

ik bin thûs in Fryslan

de boer lûkt protten meeuwen

as ‘n fiskersskip op see

grutte wolken lûken oer

‘t waait ‘n bytsje

op ‘t lan golft het gers

as golven op ‘e see

de kij grasen as grutte skippen

troch het waaierende grien

as ‘n skipper sûnder see

waad ik troch

nog sykje ik myn skip

sjoch ik der silen?

der oan ‘t ein?

jawis, ik sjoch ‘t echt

it is een praam mei kei erin

Onwennig van het weer

ben ik als een boer op zee

voor altijd zoeken

naar mijn schip

midden in het oude land

ben ik thuis in Friesland

de boer trekt zwermen meeuwen

als een vissersschip op zee

grote wolken trekken over

het waait een beetje

op het land golft het gras

als golven op de zee

de koeien grazen als grote schepen

door het waaierende groen

als een schipper zonder zee

waad ik door

nog steeds zoek ik mijn schip

zie ik daar zeilen?

daar aan het eind?

jawel, ik zie het echt

het is een praam met koeien

Ill at ease from the weather

am I like a farmer at sea

forever seeking

for my ship

in the middle of the old land

I am home in Friesland

the farmer pulls swarms of seagulls

like a fishingboat at sea

big clouds drift over

it’s a little breezy

on the land the grass waves

like waves at sea

cows graze like big ships

through the fanning green

like a skipper without sea

I wade through

still I seek my ship

do I see sails there?

there at the end?

yes, I really do

it is a keel with cows in it

By Mayola 2004

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Goliath

I locked myself away

My safe place

Where I could be alone

But then Covid lockdown came

Everybody home

I saved you from the race

You saved me from the space

Around me fog

You took me out

And trained me

I got about

And let you be

A dog

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Douwe (RIP 07/05/2020)

Sterk, donker, breed

Stille wateren

Diepe gronden

Liefde in zijn handen gesmeed

Op aambeeld bewerkt en gekneed

Eigenzinnig and dwars

Anders en wars

Ik doe het niet

Ik doe het zo

Ik doe het wel

Ik doe het now

Ik ben hier

Blijf jij maar daar

Koffie, bier

Een sjekkie klaar

Ik werk, ik rij

Muziek en mij

Ik doe het niet

Ik doe het zo

Ik doe het wel

Ik doe het now

Strong, dark, big

Silent waters

Run deep

Love forged in his hands

On anvil modified

Wilful and wayward

Different, averse

I do it not

I do it so

I will do it

I’ll do it now

I am here

Do you stay there

Coffee, beer

A roll-up ready

I work, I drive

Music and me

I do it not

I do it so

I will do it

I’ll do it now

Vlieg vrij in het land van je dromen / Fly free in the land of your dreams – Mayola 12/05/2020

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Wonky Toe

I have a wonky toe

It will only just sit so

maybe if you step on it

It will straighten up a bit

But knowing who the owner is

It’ll probably be hit & miss

I have a wonky toe

It sticks out of the row

It always goes the other way

No matter what you say

I have a wonky toe