Monday, 24 October 2016

Feeling so vulnerable sucks.

Wake up, shift position, adjust the blankets.
Pat around with eyes closed, searching for my phone. Finally, first thing I see almost every morning: bright screen.
Check the time, put phone down for a moment, remember all facts about life I consider reality, adjust, mentally prepare.
Usually, at this point I check if my cats are on the bed with me and if they are, I pet them or pick them up for a cuddle. If they're not, I call them to see where they are, without getting out of bed.

Then, it begins.
Pick up phone. Quickly scan through dozens of useless notifications, avoiding important emails (I will get to those later) until I find something worth checking on social media.
A video of my idol, flawless. He's dashingly handsome, ridiculously smart and talented, caring and funny, and with the best shoulders-to-hips ratio I have ever seen in my entire life. It weighs me down thinking how less I am. Less fit, less pretty, less talented, less smart, less funny, lesser body ratio.
I continue. Oh, a picture of my sister! I love her and miss her so much. She looks so pretty in her tight red dress. Beautiful tiny waist and apple hips. Shapely thin legs, long thick wavy hair, perfectly arched eyebrows. She even has this tiny mole above her lip, just a tiiiiiny speck, so charming.
My chest feels heavier. Why did I have to be the fat sister? The "smart" one when we know my sisters are damn smart? My legs are less shapely, my hair is less thick and bouncy, my face is less youthful, my entire self is less youthful, less pretty, less vibrant.

I switch gears and get up to get coffee and maybe do some reading.
Reading is my favorite activity.
It makes you a better person while it entertains you. In reading, I don't compare myself to everyone else, but rather, I become everyone else. I feel comfortable.
But after an hour or less, I have to get to work, facebook, emails, whatsapp, calls.
I made a mistake on a document, didn't catch the mistake, and sent it to my client like that. When I notice, it starts again. I did another mistake. I'm losing grip of the situation. Maybe I can't handle all of this, can't handle this job. Everyone is starting to get annoyed at me for failing to be at the level they expect.
I am just not capable enough, not smart enough, not good enough.


Why do I even have to write about this? Everyone feels like this. Everyone I talk to, always plagued by anxiety and insecurity and standards.
I met a really wonderful girl through work and she is so smart and cool and she told me that I should stop listening to the voices that are holding me back.
And in that moment, I really wanted to do just that, but the voices were saying, "did you notice she's a lot more confident than you?" and "she's your same age but has accomplished so much more already!"
And it's so hard to see myself without all of that attached to it.
Asking myself constantly why do I need someone to show up here and tell me that I'm doing well, that what I did was good, that I can and will succeed?

And I don't know why. I don't know why my inner critic is so loud, why my inner critic makes me hate myself and feel paralyzed and full of fear, when what I really long for is the wings to rise above it all and tell you, and everyone in the whole world,
This is who I am
This is what I do
With a tremble in my hands, a soft voice and no conviction whatsoever.

And still the world can say,

I see you.
You are my daughter.
And you are more than enough.

Monday, 22 August 2016


Since I changed jobs, I've had a lot more energy to devote to the things I enjoy doing, like reading, drawing, writing, taking pictures.
I've been thinking how I used to do a lot of little short videos when I was living in Holland, and I would record tunes to go with them.

Basically, I would say my level of talent and skill is very basic, but I don't think I've ever tried to make good music or good videos or good photography.
What I'm interested in is actually more story-telling. I wanna show you who I am, not by showing you my body, but by showing you my perspective.

Where I've been, what I've seen, what caught my eye. So when I take a picture, I'm asking you to come into me, to become me, even if for a fraction of a second, to enter my own perspective, what it was like to be me in that moment, the feeling that pushed me, the sight that moved me. I'm asking you to stand where I was standing, look at what I was looking, and hopefully feel what I was feeling.

And I think, that talking and interacting and sharing experiences together is a great way to know one another, but story-telling, in which ever form it may come, is the most intimate, the most vulnerable; it is the way of saying, "this is something that means a lot to me, something I wish people can see from me."

At the end of the day, it's all we have. Perspective, our own perception of the world, our own interpretations, our own priorities. And that's all I'm trying to show.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Innovation for everyone

This past weekend I attended a talk on makerspaces and the creative, so thoughtfully invited by Christie Mettes from Brenchie's Lab.
Brenchie's Lab is a makerspace, I came into contact with them when we collaborated our spaces for their genius design project Plastic Beach Party, which will be holding a few more sessions at our Beam Building next week.

The talk was given by the very friendly and helpful Gabi Agustini from Olabi, a maker space in Brazil. The small gathering counted those in the creative industry in Aruba as well as some people who were just interested in the idea and wanted to learn more.
As I've been working with Beam since June, I was very interested in learning how other creatives are making their models functional, what their principles are and how their goals are similar to ours.

The first part of the talk, Gabi presented the different projects she's been working on. I was impressed at the scope and reach of their projects, but mostly, I was very inspired by the motivation behind it all. I got a sense that they are trying to re-propriate genius and technology, reclaiming the creative and making it serve the needs of their own communities.
These days, most people are gladly consumers of technology and creative culture (from cellphones and laptops to movies and fashion) and seemingly disinterested in using these tools to better their own day-to-day lives.
Gabi showed us how technology is being used mostly by white-majority countries, from a white-male perspective and for a white-male user.
In Olabi, they are using reverse-engineering to learn to re-purpose available technology to create new things that better satisfy the needs of the community, by involving South American and women populations.

I found it so courageous and fresh of them to just take the resources available and put their creative energy to use to create something better and something useful.
I guess I feel really comforted in knowing there are so many people in the world now who are actively working to push their own narratives and experiences to the forefront and to independently find solutions to their challenges.

The latter part of the talk consisted in a round-setting exchange of ideas where I took the opportunity to ask for Gabi's advice regarding our own platform, Beam, and how to get people interested and involved. It takes something to push people to a shift in perspective, and, as I am still lacking a lot of experience, I wanted a hint on where to start looking.
What I took from this was that it takes a lot more vulnerability, just sharing your story and weaving a narrative that will resonate with people.

I think in the end, everyone has it in them to re-purpose all creative content to suit their own needs, be it personal expression and convenience, or to solve social challenges that benefit their community.
I came away feeling thankful to be linked to those who not only understand the challenges faced by independent creative movements today, but have great ideas on how to tackle these challenges, and are willing to inspire and support.

For more information:
Brenchie's Lab

Thursday, 18 February 2016


When my sister gave me the news of my grandfather's passing, my heart sank.
Through the pain and sorrow of his departure, however, there still remains a gratitude and joy to have known and loved him.
It's hard to talk about but I really want to share just how wonderful he was.

My grandfather read the Bible every day and he had a great faith and beautiful relationship with God. He not only knew the verses, he lived by them. As we mourned together, my sisters and I asked each other if we could recall a negative memory of him. None of us could think of anything. He was such a kind, loving, patient man. Not even as a teenager was I ever annoyed by him.
He always gave us love and understanding, even when we were less than perfect, and he gave that to everyone he encountered.
He was an exemplary man. Everyone who knew him, loved him instantly. He was the most perfect person I have ever met, he knew how to make people feel safe and happy, he accepted life for what it was and did his best at everything.
He loved us without restraint.

And I watched how he received back everything he put forth. His life was so full of blessings, the type of little blessings his beloved Bible had promised him. God as his friend never let him down, accompanying him through the rough patches (that he never begrudged) and granting him wonderful time with a big family.

I am hurt and want to mourn, but there is no way I can mourn having been so blessed to have someone like him in my life. Someone who loved me, taught me, made me fruit jams and bean sandwiches, bought me snacks, made a bed for me to sleep over at his house, told me about the figures of legends that he had encountered, about our family history. All the love he gave me, I can only be ever so happy. And he deserves to rest.

He had a long, happy life, full of adventures. He used to say he had lived all life had to offer, that he was content. That he wanted to join the love of his life, my grandmother, whom he lost fifteen years ago.

If ever there is one person I believe with all my heart is sitting under the promised fig tree, resting under its shade, with a beautiful sunset and a warm breeze in the garden of Heaven, it is him.

Rest happily. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thursday, 4 February 2016


The experience of being a human is so burdensome. It is truly painful to just live, to be alive, to experience a wide range of emotions.
Being human is being majestic and clumsy at the same time. Enduring so much hardship with relative ease but getting hurt at the smallest things.

I am very sensitive and prone to depressions. I don't talk about it, with anyone. It feels un-real to talk about downs. When I'm sad and hurt and I lack direction, I don't know how to connect. I can't connect, I don't want to, because talking to people, connecting and trying to find understanding and relation makes me feel vulnerable. So I close off and let myself fall into it, whatever depressing feeling is taking me. I fall all the way, as deep as it goes, eyes open. Another part of the experience. Like pressing on a bruise, just to take it as far as it can go, to make it hurt in all its realness.

Often times, I try to see myself from the outside (although I know it's impossible) and it really is heart-warming how we, as people, try to go through life tripping and falling and dancing and laughing and in the end that was life and that is all there is to it.
And all the reasons why I hide seem so meaningless. All the things I am always feeling so embarrassed, awkward, scared. The unshakable feeling that there is no one out there who truly knows me, it always makes me think that no one really knows anyone else.
Some people I think sometimes come as they are, show themselves, but then, I still don't know. Surely all of us hide in ourselves. Keep quiet not to disturb, not to interrupt, not to spill our own selves into everything. Leaving enough space for others to exist and express.

Ah, these are just 2:32am ramblings.