dinsdag 30 april 2013

summer in the city

my list

What I am going to miss the most after my stay in America:

1)  Time
2)  Whole-grain bagels
3)  Lunch breaks in the sun
4)  Again, time
5)  Yoga with Taunia, my favorite teacher
6)  Fresh soups & salads at Panera Bread
7)  Southern hospitality 
(from “How do you do”, to “Aren’t you the sweetest”, 
to “How cute do you look today?”)
8)  Random conversation
9)  Sunshine (is a friend of mine)
10) Structure and sports
11) Time to think, talk & write
12) Skype
13) Speaking in another language 
(luckily, my brand new boyfriend speaks French)
14) Birds, squirrels and huge trees
15) Belcourt Theatre (remember: Sugar Man, A Late Quartet
From Up on Poppy Hill, Annie Hall)
16) Travelling among States 
(I love to take a plane from time to time)
17) New York 
(I love to stop by New York, from time to time)
18) International friends that feel as if you’ve known them forever 
(Daniela. Kate. Derek. Dashiell. Josh. Caroline. Claudi. Maria. Sina. Dimitri, Una and Ani. Marina, Scott & Sean.)
19) The Lebanese in New Orleans
20) My apartment. 

woensdag 10 april 2013

je veux

Things I want to buy that make me happy:

Massimo Dutti summer bag

Lanvin – Eclat d’Arpège

Clarins – Beauty Flash Balm

Work in progress. 

dinsdag 9 april 2013


All my life I tried to be perfect. For my mom, my friends, my family, and for me. Now, I start to realize that maybe the only way to be happy, is to be imperfect. I’m tired of the fight – I’m tired of the doubt, the guilt, the insecurity, the feeling of not being good enough.
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. At home, I most of the time felt terribly incomplete – I felt as if I didn’t satisfy, while all I actually should have cared about, was me. This year, I took my gap. I took my break out of my daily life existence, and I started to care about me. Still, I am frustrated – it is hard, to please myself, with scores that are far too high for a girl of my age. No – that was who I used to be. I’m 26 now, and I don’t need to proof anything anymore – I should start to enjoy life, day by day, while slowly moving forward in my own unique direction.
I must admit: I do not know all of the time where I am going. Still, I know what matters most: I want to have a family, someday soon, and I want to spend most of my time with the man I love. There is no picture-perfect. There are dreams, hope, perspectives and plans. That’s all there is, and that’s all I need for now. It is enough. It is more than enough to make my dreams come true.

vrijdag 5 april 2013

stronger now

Time goes by and then things change. Now already, I’m saying goodbye to the past, welcoming a new future. Any future. 
Time goes fast. I spent a year in the United States, living my dream. Today, it's almost over. Sometimes, I’m afraid. I wasn’t afraid to come here – I was full of energy, like a rock star, ready for the road. Being here, I learned a lot. Most of all, I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid. I’ll get there, and while doing so, I am there, too. I should enjoy my daily living, instead of worrying about the future, the past, or today. I should focus more on what’s happening now, instead of worrying for what’s about to come. It will all be fine.
Also, I learned to rely on myself, more than I did before. I learned to trust my heart, instead of my head, and honestly, it led to some awesome opportunities. I still try to go to bed early, to avoid processed food, to drink less diet drinks and to ease on the chewing gum. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I am – definitely – too hard on myself. I spoil happy moments by judging myself on my looks, my behavior, my feel – even though I’m quite pretty and honestly feeling fine. 
Maybe the most important part is realizing all of this – putting it in my backpack on my way home. I don’t feel like going home. It’s too early – I still need to consolidate all that I’ve learned and learn more, every day. There's so much to discover. There’s a time for everything – this is the time to say goodbye. I’m terribly afraid of the demons out there, the bad memories and the good and the people, the events, even the fun. I needed a change. Now, I need to make sure that some things will change. 
Actually, nothing can go wrong. It can only be better than before. Different, but better.

dinsdag 2 april 2013

skinny bird

So I read an article on how to set goals. It reminded me of my yoga practice (“take a moment and set an intention for your practice; why are you here, what are you here for?”). Also, it reminded me of my future perspectives. Three main goals colored my life: 1) No more Ritalin, 2) No more Nicotine gum, 3) No more Dulcolax. Plenty of people take medicines to survive daily life society. I decide not to. However, when growing up, I got used to my little list of addictions, too. Now, I would love to come clean. 

Goal 1: done. Although it is still quite hard to focus and concentrate, I do feel slightly better than before. I feel more pure. I am more me. I am no longer directed by chemicals, changing my mood. My dopamine-levels are back to normal. I am more in control of my emotions, although they do pop up randomly, at any time of the day. I am less interested and motivated for school, but I do reflect more often on my natural passions and skills. For that, I feel as if I am making progress. Well done. 

Goal 2: Almost done. I know now that I am able to no longer chew Nicotine gum. I can chew normal gum, although I do prefer the Nicotine substance – it is more chewy and takes more time to digest. Also, it helps me concentrate and keeps me away from food. However, as it is a bad habit, I decided to quite. Instead, I am eating a lot of carrots.

Goal 3: Work in progress. I started using Dulcolax when I was 10. I found it in my mom’s drawer and I read about it in a magazine. I felt fat. I was little, confused, disorientated and disappointed by all the change happening around me. I used it once. I felt so sick that I spent the whole night in the bathroom. The morning after I was as light as a feather. Empty mind, empty stomach, empty perspectives. I felt perfectly fine. 

Years went by and I started using Dulcolax more frequently. I got used to the dosage and started taking more pills in less time. Things got pretty bad. When I was 17, I got hospitalized for 7 months in a specialized clinic “for teenage girls with eating disorders”. I did not stop using Dulcolax. I learned how to eat “as normal people do”, but as soon as I got out of the clinic, I learned that “normal” does not exist. I had to develop my own eating pattern, based on my personal preferences, feelings and friends. Then, I went to the University. For the first time in my life, I was in actual control of – everything. Things got better. I got pretty skinny, I had good grades, plenty of friends and a feel for the future. I felt fine. 

When I was 20, I moved to Paris. There, I learned to eat “for real”. I started drinking alcohol, served with bread, butter, grapes and cheese. I ate with friends, I went to restaurants, spend nights at clubs and mornings in the park, having breakfast at noon and dinner at night. In sum: I learned how to live life the Burgundian way. I loved it. 

After Paris, I had gained several pounds. I felt horrible. Not in Paris – in Paris, everything felt fine. At home, things felt terribly different. I returned to Belgium with one matter on mind: I have to lose those pounds. 

I lost all of them, quite quickly. I started re-using Dulcolax after meeting a boy from overseas. We fell in love and traveled the world, together, for a while. Eventually, we broke up. I remember using Dulcolax for the first time, in a long time, after I visited him in Tokyo. His last words, before I got on the plane back home: “I love having you around, but I’m not sure if I am going to miss you. I think I need some time alone, now”. 

I recovered. It took me some time and an awful lot of partying, but eventually, I felt better. I left to Bali for the summer and spent another month in New York, with people I met in Indonesia. Then, I started working as a lawyer. Under pressure of work, friends, family and – maybe most of all – my own rigid standards, I started reusing Dulcolax. To delete whatever failure I felt, whatever wound I thought bleeding. I knew I had to leave. I had to find my way out, figure things out, and leave. 

And so I left. I left to the United States. It was one big adventure, a roller coaster ride through a sea full of stars - most of all, for me, a time out. For the first time, I realized that taking Dulcolax is bad for my body. I am ruining my natural metabolism for the purpose of being skinny. Part of me is calm. The pills are designed for a regular medical purpose: using them is making use of the regular medical framework, FDA approved. Why should I be worried? Another part of me knows the truth. It is addictive, it made me go to the hospital and it harms my physical nature. I may no longer use it – period. 

I haven’t used Dulcolax for a while now. I know why: I am loved. Still, the battle is hard to fight. Sometimes, in the morning, after another night out or a dinner in town, I could cry – I ate. I ate dessert, I drank alcohol, I did not remove the cheese or butter from my plate – I ate. Currently, I feel quite fat. Honestly, I feel as if I haven’t been fatter before. I’m not sure if it’s true. Still, I feel a failure. I gave up my strict rules and I gave in to “normal” dining. I’m not sure whether I will have to look much further for the truth: I am feeling rather disappointed, but maybe this road will lead in the long run to happiness. As in: I am no longer perfect, no longer the skinniest girl in town, but I will be able to live freely, make love, and go for 21st century dining. 

I think I am making progress – slowly, but certain. I am sure that I would like to live my future life differently: I will marry a nice guy, cook for him at night and take care of my children. Therefore, I am sure that I will adapt my food pattern, for the purpose of my own destiny. I probably shouldn’t worry that much, as most of the time, everything turns out fine. I might have too much time to think, and I definitely feel the pressure of figuring things out before I go back home. I don’t want to go back to how things were before. I am certainly stronger now – I hope I am strong enough. 

Note: After reading my article, I might have to frame things differently. I am strong enough. I will do things differently. I will not go back to the way things were before. I can only move forward. So forward we go. Together.