Friday, 26 April 2013

When you're smiling..

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs       

- Norman McLean.

The most difficult part of the day was seeing my Gran's shoulders shake with emotion, sheltered between my two uncles shoulders. I sat one bench behind her, I've never seen her cry, but that was enough to feel further sorrow. My grandad has been a strong, quiet and noble figure in my life. He may have spoken few words, but in those words, you knew what he meant and you knew where you stood. To nail it down, Grandad resembles, hard work ethics, love of travel, humbleness, creativity and his marriage to gran. he was married to gran for 60 years and 6 days. it was my last conversation with him that drew more emotion than the funeral. the funeral, i see a box, and i see gates close. its symbolic for some, but i cant connect with that. what i could connect with though was every sentiment in our last conversation, he drew so much emotion and sincerity in one sentence of love and appreciation about my gran.  For me, that encapsulated it all. sixty years of love and togetherness, now divided, that's what makes me sad.
The blessing in such a sad occasion is reuniting with family who you shared Lego bricks with on a regular basis, burped the alphabet with, collected conkers with, got into trouble with.. are now wearing business suits and keeping an eye on their own precious bundles. As we moved towards the hotel, i described to my auntie how proud i was of grandad. that all these people should come and honour him.  So many accomplishments hidden with modesty. she replied, and its all of your genes.

the soup and seating at the hotel, is the most blatant psychology. I stood beside my brother, and listened as he joined conversation with my Gran's best friend. people began to take their seats, and i noticed that there was a mass migration to a table with my mums friends. great for banter, not so great as a teenager. a video, and any reaction to "Houston we have a problem" can be obliterated by the laughter from my parents dinner party next door. So that table was turning into a mafioso hangout. My brother was now sitting down by grans friend. Oh hell no, thought i. a funeral is bad enough without being stuck at a boring table. but its not the time to fluster and make quick decision. glance around, and make the move. My cousins sat together, strategically, I'd see them later.. and then i found the next fun table. it was the table where family friends all talked across the table instead of courteously next to one another. it was fun, there was laughing. only, the sandwiches were demolished in two minutes. we made a ply for the next tables supplies, but they moved in on the plates.

after lunch, there were the same questions, how are you doing? what are you up to now? i was in the midst of it when my brother joined. its amazing to feel the instant lift of pressure, simply by his humour. conversation rolled on. but suddenly whoever i was talking to, and also myself looked towards my brother, a little bemused, amused, quizzically.

Grans friend returned to the group to say her goodbyes.. ".. I don't know if i heard it properly in cross conversation, but i thought it wonderful to here about how men remove their chest hair". and to think I'd escaped this boring table..

As i left Scotland, it came over me, that whilst i am living quite quietly, working quietly, but in part time job i love being in. if i look at my four grandparents, then I am actually from a very good lineage. This came from a conversation i had with my sister. My Grandpa who passed away a few years ago, is recognised as an exceptional man, when Baz Luhrman mentions in song to never forget the power and beauty of your youth. Well grandpa kept that going into his nineties. His motto, live life with Gusto. "..Joan, i am 87 years of age. I can eat butter(lurpak) on my kitkat if i want.." many looked to him as an inspiration and their favourite, but i was grandpas girl. i know this because mum told me endlessly. which made up for the fact that i am neither daddy's girl, or mummy's girl. it is a lonely time when that elder in your family who understand you is no longer there. so for me to say the next part takes some. its not just one grandparent in my genetic make-up, there are four. and four of them have done amazing things.

Grandad, who, built his own house, made his own motorbike-sidecar, would humbly mention details of electrical work in many of Scotland's important "new-builds". the implication, was that he was there working hard in helping things to be made (Perth leisure pool, AK Bell Library, Stirling university, Robert Gordon University..) . he was more authoritarian in his guardianship. i was always frustrated that children should be quiet and sit on the ground,in my teenage years i was frustrated that he thought Whitney Houston was shouting (!?). yet in my twenties, he was the one who told me how proud he was that I'd grown into a lady. He loved to travel, and that is reflected in the majority of his grandchildren.

Grandma, wife to Grandpa, was the longest surviving patient of a special kind of heart operation. life expectancy, five years. Actual longevity, 23 more years. As dad said, you think she'd be happy about it. Grandma got fed up of living, Grandpa thrived on life. it was a funny combination. I'd pay visit, and a simple how are you today would result in a dual answer "oh super"/"Struggling.." Mum would tell us that it may be difficult to conceive, but Grandma was a firecracker in her day. She was the lady dancing on the bar tables.. and in achievement. she developed the first sexual health clinic in our town, when this subject was still extremely taboo.

When Grandma retired, Gran also a nurse, took over her roll. I look and see a lot of families having difficulty in connecting with each other, but my four grandparents connected in a special way. They would have had us believe it was all sun and roses, remembering their sailing trip around the Greek islands, with smiles and laughter (weeks before my parents wedding, a brave move.). it was only a couple of years ago that Dad told me, they'd come off the boat saying "Never AGAIN". Yet in later years, my grandad and grampas friendship was extremely strong. Playing golf weekly with each other, and in the last years, Grandad would visit grampa to watch afternoon concerts in the old folks home. In the last months, Grandpa was trying to organise the set up of wifi so that he could skype his grandchildren.. pioneer til the end.

So in looking with pride at my grandparents, and remembering my aunties comments. i carry memory of them in my head, heart, but also in my genes. And my question to myself is am i honouring them as fully as i can? and which areas do i need to work on? definitely focus.. definitely discipline..

At the end of the the sad day, after further eating,  chili con carne, and some, was finished, and some. big sporty students amaze me at the amount they can eat, and still look skinny. amazing.. but as we waved some of  my younger, olive cousins from the house. my youngest uncle kissed his wife. and a girlfriend from my blond cousins (grans mantelpiece holds a spectrum of school photos, from dark hair and big brown eyes.. to the milkybar kid.) Anyway girlfriend of blond, sighed.. ohhhh that's your uncle with the nice story.
My uncle met his wife, when they were kids. she was a niece of my grans friend and neighbour. and they met over the garden fence. One summer, she made him a get well card when he was in hospital. permission to be girlygirly ... awwww. but added to the story was that their paths parted, only to meet again twenty years later, on a harbour street on the Island of Mull. He was walking up one side, and she was walking up the other.
".. but isn't that nice!" simultaneously.. "its like fate!"
cousinblondes eyes sank back with overdose in oestrogen. "Girls."

photograph courtesy of The Carnaburg Guesthouse
Tobermory, Mull.

choosing which path is always my challenge. particularly with career. and particularly with a career which is not yet mainstream. i used to envy those who would say that they want to be a teacher,  want to be a footballer, i am a lawyer, i am a dj.. because the destination has a fairly distinguished route. you want to be this? this is what you do.. generally speaking. but in work that people cannot fully appreciate yet, because its younger than science, or outwith MTV thinking.. that requires a pioneer with business mind and confidence. Grampa was a pioneer.. but am i?  Grandad was a pioneer in his own right. but he only ate Gala apples. I only eat Gala apples. time will tell for the rest. 

In memory of Grandad.

"For the beauty of each hour.
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light,
For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent. child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild."

Friday, 19 April 2013

Abide with me..

Foreword - for those sensitive who are simply needing guidance  through the haze. Don’t worry about reading my story at this moment. Further down this scroll are a couple of lists with suggestions that might help you to feel more conscious and reconnected again.
Abide with Me - Emeli Sande


Last summer my time was split. I was living  in a hostel, where incredibly close connections were made.  The sort that big brother contestants talk about, without the cctv. And whilst it was wonderful to meet so many people, for being sensitive, it was not always so ideal.  There was

 Lack of space to maintain my own energy
Distraction from good diet, and a good sleep pattern
Crowds of people constantly around
Periods of change, in group dynamics, chemistry and emotion.

No possibility of exercising my normal vehicles of strength - horses, music, dancing. 

I was younger I'd be profoundly affected by somethings more than others. We had a utility room built into the house. And I could not get used to its strong smell, but I did develop a technique  of holding my breath to collect towels, or to pick something out of the freezer. Sometimes dad would put on Scottish music on, for a family ceilidh (non Scottish people, pronounced kay-lay) and I love to dance. For the fast dances, I would skip around, when the waltz was played, I would retire to the sofa feeling unusually sad. I had my own room, and Sunday afternoons, I would spend hours making mix tapes. I think this is when strength in music started to grow. When I used to get frustrated about things, by brother would say, "but you're just sensitive", and only now does it make sense.

 The year before last, I'd go out partying with my sister team, and I preferred one place to others. It had a reputation for being tacky, but the chemistry was great, it was a place I could feel good vibes from. Take me to the place next door, and it was itchy for a fight. Yet working in the countryside, I could feel aware of other things spiritually. But felt I had an understanding, I respect their space, they respect mine. And it worked there. There were sometimes somethings tried to "play" but my sense of being in control was strong, and it seemed to balance things.  But moving Amsterdam, well it took things to a different level.And toward the latter part of my stay there something opened my eyes to other things. To be called high sensitive. I think there are different layers and different levels. From what I see on forums, some are more perceptive in some areas than in others

 It put into an experience where I could witness how strong and malicious something can be.  There had been a fellow cleaner at the hostel, and for three weeks of her stay. She ignored me. But something, and I can't remember what, well it changed. She would begin to wake up at same time as me. .."good morning.. How are you?" with tone that even now gives me shivers.  Things spiralled unusually. With very unexpected behaviour from her. And one night, it began to disturb my living more. If you touch your face, what feels natural is the pressure of your own skin, the pressure of your own touch,  your own muscles moving in your own hand.  Its an unusual change, that as you prepare to sleep, the tension in your own hand changes, and then tension in your own lips change. And sounds are made, that you would never expect to make. My body is a control freak, the dentist could tell you that.  So  to lose that control of your own body, is un-nerving. The first time, I gave situation three chances, like I require the universe to give me three bits of proof to accept that something is a reality. Three times, happened, and to myself it was a extra acceptance, that I should have to confide in the member of night staff on. He was a fanatic, and I have a low tolerance with religious fanatics. Through three hours of conversation, we gained new respect for each other. He offered to pray, and it worked, it was like anaesthetic.

 Night 2, and it happened again, except the tension in my hands, felt like those of a dirty of a dirty old man. And those dirty hand began to fondle my precious hair. If you are in a bar, well this speaking from  Scottish perspective. You can give a dirty old man a good scorning, with vicious tongue or a good smack to the face.  But if its from an unseen entity, where you question your own sanity, and reality, then it not only confuses, but it violates your soul.  It makes you feel dirty, and the next morning fills you with so much grief to look a friend in eye invokes a flood of tears that can't be explained. To gain composure I went to the toilets, and screamed, but the scream was still not my scream.

 That morning I was due to work, and from there found that the lady I worked with was also sensitive, and in calm caring ways, mothered my sensitivity and its new wounds. That afternoon, I snapped at a brother figure who I respect a lot for strong attitude, realistic, cynical, and slight humorous tone of grumpy old men at Christmas.

"..are you alright love?"

" know what, I'm not going to answer that today, because you're just going to give me bullshit that it's in my head, so ask me again tomorrow."

Quietly and steadily.."..are you feeling attacked?"




Not much more was discussed on it, but I felt a strength of support from three friends and mentors at that point, the sensitive lady for care and encouragement, and the strength that a scientific mind found validation in my reality.  A third mentor came in the humour, voice and guidance of a wonderful Australian who swore outright in a christian hostel.  From what i learned from them, i hope that if there is also someone in the situation, this might give you a little strength or guidance.


Take comfort that your reality is real.


Remember that the feeling of panic is sometimes more than the actual happening.


Take time to concentrate on a balanced, calm, loving "line" that centres your body, and breathe from it

Take full concentration to the texture of something beside you.

 Concentrate on The feeling of your weight in a seat


Imagine that there is a bubble wrapped around you, with that same feeling of the loving line.

Really take time to feel the weight of your feet on the ground. I found it useful to walk barefoot, and feel the texture and temperature of the ground I was walking on.

Take time to concentrate on how you breathe. Remove yourself, detach yourself from drama. If you feel yourself pulled towards drama, take time to breathe and balance again to that "line".

Find a place of prayer, prayer works. I don’t care which religion. I did find that there was a strength in Jesus name, but the name alone, was the entirety of the process.

 Take time to sing. and if you are not able to sing. listen to music that you connect with. and hold onto it like rope. some people suggested soft gentle music, but i am someone that likes punkass strong energy. Enya on this kind of occasion would just not bridge the gap. For me at this time, strength came through songs from Emeli Sande, and a dutch hiphop group called Zwart licht. they are more than worth a listen to.
Freestyle by Zwart Licht, (a future solo album from one of Zwart Licht is Daar Ergens)
As activity with friends went on, I had to take further time apart. It was frustrating at times as I missed out on fun. Or it felt like that. I could communicate one hundred percent but I was nowhere near one hundred percent connection. On a sunny afternoon, they playing guitar, laughing, shouting, and it was too much. So I sat, with a brother figure. Friends jamming with guitars on the other side of the court yard.  It was another brother figure that I talk to in Dutch, hoe is het meisje?

 "its shit. I want to be there. But I cant focus on them. The only things I can connect with from their reality at this minute, is to listen to the sound of the fountain on the water, or look at the sunlight shining through that segment of that leaf there on the branch. more than that, and i am lost. Do you understand?"

 "its deep. Pffff. But I do understand, but your learning is deep, you are just a special person."


Things got a little worse before it began to ease. its an alienating experience when things happen that disturb your comfort and reality, but which you cannot truly relate to the majority of your friends. Despite my struggle, "normal" life was going on regardless, passing me by without me being able to enjoy in a fully connected way. For ten days, until lady left, I was allowed to sleep on the padded chillout bench in the garden. There I  still had some attempts to settle to sleep.  But to hear the fountain was my focus.  The challenges became more intense, I would have lets say "invasions" whilst the lady passed, or as I looked in the mirror.  A blessing further came in two christian friends who also had discernment. Some Christians call it discernment, other more traditional and conservative minds, call it sin passed down from generations. these to two girlfriends became my anchors when things became unbearable. i am so grateful to have them in my life.

 It came to one final morning, when the feeling around me was crushing. and i think I'm allowed to be a drama queen at this point, when i say crushing i mean superman and kryptonite. bad ass.  The bible discussion that morning had been "appropriate", the manager looked at me to confirm that I understood. Stand strong and let the lord battle for you. That is all very good and well, if its in visual reality, you can see a bus coming hurtling towards you and know you were given legs to run. But how on earth when you feel that same force coming towards you, but you cannot account it to any proportion, how can you trust that the crippling will stop.  In that day, I stood with a friend behind the counter of the cafe, and she held my hand. And I breathed.

 "why on earth, would anyone want to open themselves to voodoo or ouija, they have no idea what they are playing with, and I have to martyr the consequences of her life choices and decisions.."

 The next morning, it was enough. The cleaning lady sought ought my space again in an unusual way, but I showed no negativity. The cafe team prayed. And I took five minutes to talk with the lady.  And towards the end, she looked me with tearful eyes. " know its not my heart, they come through my head". I knew it wasn’t her heart, she was a kind lady. But her choices in spirituality led me to weeks of discomfort and detachment.  In the end she chose not to pray, and she chose search out new religion, and she followed a path back to prostitution. As a sensitive,  walking through streets of prostitution in Amsterdam, ties feeling of a rope round your neck, and it pulls tight, and rejoices as it does so. and its not ashamed of rejoicing and defiance.

 Since then, regaining consciousness, and feeling connected is returning in baby steps.  Its unstable, but its given me new appreciation of the world around me. Though mostly still in small proportions, its given me focus and discernment in my own reality. Its most important for me to feel clean, to act in a clean way, to be clean. This is also small steps. as slow as it has been, its been a blessing in requiring me to reassess what is around me, and from that, what is important to honour.

On one of the last summer evenings, we sat in a group by the canal, hitchhiking a boat ride. and towards the end of a special evening, i sat back looked at the two groups of friends. how rich is this small tapestry of happening? one group, people from all corners of the world sharing a joke. so many kinds of different laughter and humour, the second group, well how amazing is life that it can bring two people from different life perspectives, and share their stories of Singapore. bringing understanding to one, and self worth to the other.  someone has created the brickwork that we're sitting upon. then towards the lighted bridge, how many stonemasons, and carpenters made the bridge and how many wives, families, pieces of bread and drinks of beer supported them?..and the lights on the bridge, those who connected the electricity, those who found inspiration to create electrical light, and those people who supported those pioneers to go forward in inspiration to create the environment that we are now in. As i was thinking about this, and thinking also about how not to get too deep in thought on this. how wonderful life has created itself, life is also the wind that blows ripples along the canal. its both the inspiration and action of man, yet also in nature and elements that I've taken for granted along the way. its a rich tapestry and it all connects.

 A list for the sensitives! and also of interest to others..
Firstly get to know your reality, make friends with it, by being sceptical that it feels clean. to illustrate  this further, this from spoken word artist UNOM, who belongs to part of the Poetry Circle Nowhere . An Average Citizen,


Take time to look and feel  whats been created around you. Nature and man made.
Take time to consider  the smallest bits and pieces around, and appreciate it.

Make time to praise.

Be thankful.


Paddle in the sea.

Keep some stones around you - amethyst, rose quartz, black tourmaline, jade..
Make time for animals. Make effort to be around nature. Make time to notice it.

Take time to detox.

Be sceptical of the food you eat. Eat clean organic food when ever possible.

Listen to, or read wholesome  or inspiring words. By this I don’t necessarily mean just the bible or books of faith. Something written by the heart, that inspires you, that moves you, that fills you with positivity.

Go see something human. Or organically human. Theatre, acoustic music, something performed from the heart. Something with energy.

 its a difficult process, but support yourself through it. keep going! should a wonderful event draw a large crowd. go enjoy it anyway! just find a wall to stand beside.

                                                                     Celebrate life!
This tune. though christian (i don't say this in a disrespectful way. but most christian worship songs focus that Jesus is the only way to following god. i do not sit with that as a truth, and therefore will not sing it. which makes for patchy chorus!) having said that, it is a very poignant song for me,  and would mostly appear at moment where i most needed confirmation that life or god, or the universe, was in control. I liked it because i could connect with with my experience, and the learning that i should not fear, or worry, but that things are, and would be taken care of, and that my simple roll was to rejoice in blessings, and celebrate life around me. This is an ongoing lesson. Because of the strong connection of this song with last summers happenings, it has the power to uplift me when i am rejoicing good things in life, or with the simple crack of an egg, it yokes every emotion of powerlessness and worry from me.
The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

I returned to meet friends from the hostel at new year. and this song which had been so poignant , unexpectedly appeared at the singsong shortly before the fireworks. it led me to emotionally meditate, feeling like i passed the finish post from a year that tore the rug from my feet and rebuilt me again, i was standing at the finish line. feeling somewhat battered and bruised but  I'd survived the difficulties with the support of life around me, and i stood weeping at the skies, feeling like i deserved every colour exploding from every firework.

These days, living outwith Amsterdam, i am able to feel more balanced and building reconnection, and still have some healing to do,  and so to honour and celebrate my hair that took the brunt of violation, for meaningful occasions, and those days i need reminded of beauty,  i adorn a flower.

Photography courtesy of Gudrun Sjoden

Monday, 15 April 2013

The wind..

This week I picked up my belongings from Breda, its been a year. And seeing them return is really a luxury, there's something special about reuniting with a favourite cup. Its really cool looking at it, and makes up for the journey. The journey was hap-hazard, the lady I work for, appreciating how sensitive people dysfunction under pressure, had calmed the situation, this is what she has a lovely skill in. Don’t worry, the first ten minutes will be a bit rocky, but you'll get the swing of it again. I'll leave you to go drive to take the pressure off. Well that was the intention. Unfortunately, I stalled right outside the family's window. Music blaring because I could not find the frickin volume switch, or the off switch. Cheap pop blaring, and no matter how hard I was pressing on the pedals, the car was just not going. Period. The lady came out again, and turned the music off, "try it again, maybe less power, or more power, but everything will work out fine." It was in a wonderfully warm and comforting manner. But no direct do this, fix that.  So it was up to me. The car still completely stalled on a one way, one lane road. At times like these its better to dejunk the drama. OK lets reduce things down. Breathe. lets check vitals.. Head. Still on. Just a bit fuzzy. Hands, on the steering wheel - great.  Left foot where are you?? - clutch, great. And Right, where are you…? ...erm on the Break? On the frickin Break, you IDIOT.
 After that, the journey went relatively smoothly. But it got me thinking, as a tired head does. Are there other times where I've sat with my foot on the break?
There were endless times my old horse riding instructor would shout this in every general direction across the sand manege. She was a cool riding instructor. There are two types of riding instructor who shout, those with pmt-esque humour, and those with no reason to shout, she was the first kind.
"...therrre is noooo point in getting your horse to do anything if you still have the break on"
 I learnt very quickly from her that there is no point in saying "No". asides from the riding instructors that shout for no reason, there are also those who are swayed by a very girly, soft, big eyed (yet surprisingly un-pathetic) excuse. I don’t feel able to do this today because I may break in two..  My riding instructor was not one of those. I felt it strange one day, because she seemed overly considerate and asked me which horse I would like to ride.  I took the generous gesture, and of course chose my favourite. My teacher, my security blanket, a retired ex racehorse called Sinbad.  I learnt to jump as a child, but I learnt balance and confidence in jumping again. Sinbad, holding his neck strong as I fell forward, we kept on jumping, and accomplished obstacles that I later found was unexpected from him. (The underlying theory with wiser horse people is that horses choose humans. Its true.)
 This time. I did not read anything into the addition of extra tack appliances. atleast not until we turned away from the manege and into the woodland. Horses enjoy hacks, and the energy can change from best behaviour to "feck yeaaahhh", I suppose a its bit like Eton boy mentality.  For me at that time it caused a fear, rather than an appreciation of energy. But at the time it helped me get through to "lets do this".  As we got to the local airfield, it was literally time for take off. I joke not, it was a local airfield in which we could ride across.  I could feel Sinbad leaning and fighting against the reins, just wanting to go faster. But I did not have the real ability to communicate in his language at that point.  Panic did start to spiral.
 "Andy(!!) .. I don’t think I can stop..(!!)"
 My Instructor, just in front,  was riding a young, Trojan looking pony. A complete powerhouse. And her voice articulated through the wind.
 "Well.. I don’t think I can stop either. So we better just keep  going.."
 Fuck. Is there any point complaining further when "No" is not an option. Lets go with it.
 My comfort and awareness of energy changed when i began to work with horses full time.  To learning how outside emotions can affect me, and how to create more of a boundary. By walking with horses I found that concentrating on that feeling you get by listening to don’t worry be happy by ….. Or that feeling when you scraped pass on a test, that sigh of relief. Or that feeling of coming back home. OK example, if I am walking with two horses each side, and the feeling is fright. I recognise that its not my fear I am feeling, and so concentrate myself on feeling that sense of relax.  And breathe. And to create that trust of relax, well that depended on individual horses, some related to touch, some to general conversation, some to song. Some just to the realisation that you trust them, and that you like them. I never felt the fullest ramifications of this until the following morning.

 They were the last horses I developed a bond with where I was confident enough to walk two at a time. Both were huge, height of 1 meter 70,  weighing roughly 1500 pounds. Farao was a show off, and walking with Odessa was like communicating with a kite. But I had guessed we had forged an understanding between us, enough to walk competently all three of us together. But I had not comprehension that they perceived it as something meaningful.
We three of us had been walking daily together for a few months, it was a spring morning, and as we turned the corner of the manege towards the path to the field, someone had hung out Saddle pads to dry, and array of colours blowing in the wind, and enough to become a bit scary to Odessa and Farao.  My first reaction was to walk it through and work it out as we went. But at one point  ropes and horses got tangled. And instead of the habit of being fearful at what might happen next, I let them go. I let them run, because what else could I worry about, even if it took all day, I would catch them eventually. And they ran. They had the choice of running for Acres, free, they're not trained like dogs. But around the corner, about 20 feet away, they stopped running, stood parallel to each other, looked back and waited for me. Waiting, be it from animal or human, well for me it’s a surefire sign of friendship.  And so I picked up the ropes, and we continued to walk. As friends.
 I regarded all of the horses I worked with as friends, just some where different bonds to others. My closest bond was to Igor. I was lucky to help look after him whilst his owner was pregnant. He had a quirky personality,  his owner described him as a one person horse, he was a bit quirky, he could be sweet but also highly strung, he could be gentle, but could pester other horses just with overexcited agitation. One afternoon, as I watched him with Max. I asked her "there are a lot of horses that are extensions of their owners (as some dogs are similar to their owners), why do you think Igor has chosen me?"
Because you're sensitive.

 And it was true. By working with him on the ground, I could measure the affects of my energy. Taking on a mood that I am about to go out clubbing, and he would gallop like a nut job. Work with him when I was feeling ill or down, and he would show no energy. Being aware of this, if things were very difficult for me, I would not work with him that day for fear of transferring my negativity towards him. Because i care for him, and i want to protect him. But if i am sensitive, can i expect others to moderate their moods when around me? i don't expect them to, but should they? if they were aware of their moods affect, would they change it out of politeness or consideration as one would offer a seat on a bus? i am sensitive, but I'm not a victim to it. though it sometimes feels like a martyrdom, there is no blame game. people are entitled to feel how they feel, but am i also entitled to be sensitive?
 This week I had also had a pre-birthday meal. My flatmates cooked, and I invited one of my best friends from Breda.  She was my manager, and friend, she managed three of us sensitive girls. And she managed well. As we said goodbye it made me realise how much easier it is to be around sensitive people, the people who just know you, know how you function, and those who you don’t need words to communicate with. But if I know that I don’t need to communicate so much verbally, I don’t use so many words, and probably I become lazy. So in one way I think its healthy for me around "normal" functioning people. My flatmate is normal, and she believes that if I am having an insular day, I should just sit down and talk about it. But it takes effort for  me to describe what she finds difficult to understand conventionally.
 She can't comprehend that others emotions can soak into me.
 That a lot of negative emotion from others is tiring.
 That domestic affairs or her own bad moods feel like thunder to me.
 That after a trip to a city, or worrying news, or just a lot to deal with. I need time in the quiet of room to decompress, like a deep sea diver would do.
That thoughts to me can be triple the load. Not just like apples, pears, bananas. But varying types of apple to first sort through.. gala, granny smith, pink lady, goldendelicious… overload.
For the sceptics out there, this is not hippybullshit or people in make believe over reacting to silly situations. there are scientific studies that suggest 15-20 percent of the population are showing high sensitivity traits (Aron, E.N. (2006), Ketay, S., Hedden, T., Aron, A., Aron, E., Markus, H., & Gabrieli, G. (2007, January), Belsky, J.; Pluess, M. (2009).

  • Depth of processing.
  • Over aroused (easily compared to others)
  • Emotional reactivity and high empathy
  • Sensitivity to subtle stimuli
Strengthened boundaries through working with horses have really been appreciated. i met one girl who has sensitive last summer, and immediately i could see she had very little boundaries in place, and she was just lost in a disorganised babbling mess. i have my own areas in which i need to pay attention to, and can expect days where i am overwhelmed, and by overwhelmed, i can only really describe it as an emotional hangover, on those days, i can expect more tears, less focus, feelings of detachment, and a feeling of being unable to connect fully.

As my friend left, she said, she may not seem it, but she is sensitive too. Just toughened up with harder knocks. That’s true. And as I describe my frustration at explaining myself to normal people. A simple  answer.. "well that’s part of the process". The process is not comfortable, its challenging with discomfort. and so this evening, i discussed it through with my flatmate. two different ways of functioning, and an attempt to gain understanding in how living with an hsp and non-hsp can work. i do yearn for an easy living environment where i am "just" known and vice-versa, until that happens again, life gives an opportunity for me to learn about where i can expect my boundaries to be respected, and on the other hand areas where i have to accept and tolerate. its not going to be an easy lesson to digest, but we will see what happens.

 And this learning softens my compassion to christian thinking that I was made aware of in the last week or so. There is a pressure to marry, there is a pressure to date prudently, there is a mindset only to date possible  christian spouses.  On hearing it, it made me angry. when I hope for a world of sincere love and unity, I hoped that religion wouldn’t be such a divisive factor. Love thy neighbour.  How can you guarantee someone else's faith? How can you guarantee that someone else will not turn  to your faith?  The frustration got me to a shouting-point in Dam Square. If we are putting ourselves in a faith for what god has planned, putting our life to gods work. then who the fuck are we to think ourselves power of attorney when it comes to relations? Are we so arrogant to think that we have better plans?


Christian girls that I have spoken to, have their reasoning, I don’t agree with it. But I respect it. I just do not like any feeling of "us and them". I look on a forum for sensitive people, and there is sometimes also a notion for "us and them". Normal people don’t understand sensitive people, and normally i have found they don't. but is that through their own decision, or lack of awareness? It would be easier for me to associate only with people that have a deeper understanding of me. But as difficult as it feels, I am in situations where I have to make myself understood. It feels safe to be in what you know, and it feels comfortable to be in what you know.  To be sensitive in a "normal" environment, well it’s a roller coaster. On bad days its oppressive in feeling, on better days though it allows deeper appreciation of good that IS in the world. But it also gives me opportunity to further look at my own sensitivities and reassess areas in which my foot is on the break. Areas that I can change to make my life feel easier. I think that the point I am trying to make is, also with my christian friends in mind. what we want is not always what we need. Christian girls may want a christian boyfriend, i may prefer at times to seek out those who understand me better, but if gods plan is for what we need in his eyes, maybe our perspectives, and expectations need to soften and become more welcoming.

 I like the idea of being connected, but in order to connect, its not always comfortable. I am not sure where this process is going, but I am trying to keep my foot off the break. and depending on the traffic, well I'll send you a postcard.

".. You can't choose what adventure your on necessarily, but you can choose the attitude you take to the adventure… if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Well I say, why not make margaritas? You can choose"                             
                                                                           -  Ruper Isaacson (The Horse Boy Foundation).

These last weeks have been somewhat intense, so a leaving tune is one to get dancing during testing times. Shake it up.

Black woman by Gery Mendes AKA  GMB.  I would heavily encourage you to check him on Facebook or Twitter