It’s Been A While

It’s been months since my last post, I’m aware.
Believe me when I say I would have loved to write down my feelings, and whats going on…
But the truth is, ever since people from my neighbourhood found this blog that was and still is so precious to me and made fun of everything on it… my blog hasn’t truly felt safe anymore…
It feels violated.
I don’t know who else is reading along, is it just my faithful followers, my wordpress friends? People I love and care about?

Or are those from my “real life” still around? lurking to see if they can find some juicy story that they can exploit?
How safe is it for me, to post things on here?
Will people read it behind my back? make fun of it? talk to my family or friends about it?

I have so many things I want to talk about… that I NEED to talk about.
Get them off my chest.

Even if no one reads them
comments on them or even cares about them…
I just need to write them down.

A few times I was here, writing those things down but ended up deleting them in the end… because I got scared.

I hate it.
My blog was my own space, my escape. With all these lovelies following me, the sweet comments, the good friends…

I hope that soon, I’ll feel safe enough to start writing here again…

Because I really miss this..
I miss this place.

I put so much time, effort and tears in creating this safe space.
This virtual world.

I’m not planning on getting it taken away so easily from me…

I’m a lover, not a fighter, but I’ll fight for what I love…

– Britt

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Marks Of A Battle

As some of you might have noticed I’m going through a rather dark period in my life, struggling with a burn-out and depression. This is very hard and very personal for me to write but I feel the need to share it with you lovelies, because that’s why you are all here; because I am honest to you guys. Because maybe when you’re reading my texts you don’t feel so alone, maybe you even feel understood. I hope you do.

I have pretty reasonable reasons to think that I am in fact bipolar, which would mean that I tend to get really down from time to time, which I do. When I do, sometimes I am so deep that I do something I’m not proud of; I tend to harm myself. I scrape layers of skin of my body and hurt myself. It hurts like hell and as soon as I’ve done it I always feel horrible.

I’ve been home about two months now, battling my depression, trying to get myself together. Thankfully I have my wonderful boyfriend who truly is my rock, my everything. And still… I hurt myself about a month ago. It still shows on my wrist as I’m typing this right now… A cold reminder.

Not many people know that I harm myself, because of the shame I feel about it and because of the fear how people will react once they find out.
I’m in a delicate spot before and after I hurt myself, which means that one mean comment can cause me to crash down once again. As previous experiences have shown me.

When people that know I harm myself ask me “but why?” it’s hard to explain…

Today I watched Demi Lovato’s Stay Strong documentary, and it was so inspiring, I also bought her book “Staying Strong 365 days a year”. I never really was a Demi Lovato fan, I didn’t hate her , loved the songs I knew but still. Until I found out her story when I heard “Warrior” for the first time, I cried. And I still tend to do most times because it’s so recognizable.
I watched an interview where she got really personal, talking about her own self harm and how she described it is how I often tend to explain.

“ It was a way of expressing my own shame , of myself on my own body. I was matching the inside to the outside and there were some times where my emotions where just so build up that I didn’t know what to do and the only way that I could get instant gratification was through an immediate release on myself. “
– Demi Lovato on cutting herself

I couldn’t agree with her more.
When there were so many thoughts and feelings going on in my head that in the end I didn’t even know where everything was coming from, hurting myself was a way to bring all those feelings, the pain, the suffering to only one point, mostly my wrist. It hurt like hell, every time again, but at least then I knew where the pain was coming from. It came from a visible spot, something that I could touch and put my finger on.
It was a way to release all of it, and in that moment, I needed it.

I don’t cut myself, because that would be too obvious when someone would see it. The reason why I scrape layers of skin of it because it looks like a normal scrape wound. I always hid my wounds, but even if someone would see it I could just say that I fell off my bike, or something like that, and people would actually believe it.

Yet, you can still see dark misinformed scars on my wrists and arm…
I am still very ashamed off them.

It’s been hard for me to acknowledge this, to acknowledge that I have problems that I need to face, work on. Which is what I’m doing now, seeking help wherever I can.

It’s been a hard, long road and I’m still getting better taking baby steps.
It has been a long road but I still got a longer one ahead…

Right now I try to surround myself with good thoughts, positive thinking, music and people that I love, while I try my best to stay strong.

I know I’m not the only person that feels like this every now and then, and if there is someone else like me out there: please know that you’re not alone. Please know that you too can get better. I hope we can get better together, helping one another. Helping to stay positive and strong.

Stay Strong, You’re Not Alone.

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I Believe In Fairytales

I believe in fairytales, true love and magic.
I need it.
I need to believe in it, because sometimes it’s the only thing keeping me healthy.
Alive.

It’s what I know, it’s what I believe.
It’s safe, familiar.
It’s my escape when all hope is gone.
It saves me.
Sometimes, it’s the only thing that even makes sense to me. 
My safe fantasy world.
A place where I can truly be myself.
Home. 

I need to believe that there’s a better world somewhere, filled with magical, wonderful things.
Every night I close my eyes and I go back to that place.
Where I’m loved, welcomed.
Where I’m not the outsider, just for once.

Where everyone has their own kind of magic, whether as a fairy, a mermaid, a vampire, a princess or someone with special powers.
Where unicorns and other mystical creatures run free. 
It’s a world where Narnia, Middle Earth, Wonderland, Utopia, Atlantis, Neverland, the kingdom of Oz, … 
all come together.

A home for everyone.

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Reminisce Of Memories

Today, as I was doing my usually reading of some blogs, I came on a text where the writer was angry at someone that had killed himself/herself by jumping in front of the train she was on.
She was saying how selfish that was of the killed person, that he/she should’ve just killed herself “instead of wasting other people’s time” and “ruining their day”.
This especially really pissed me off.
First of all: you don’t know what was going on in that person’s life, what drove him/her to make that decision. To end it all. Because, to me, it takes some kind of courage to see a train coming your way and still be able to jump in front of it. May sound strange, but since I take the train everyday, I couldn’t help but imagine that one day I’d just jump in front of that huge thing coming my way. No matter how depressed I might be. Still scares me, the thought alone.
And second of all: It ruined YOUR day? Just try to be human for a second and think of the people that knew him/her; friends, family, maybe wife/husband, kids,…?
How do you think their day went? Coming home and hearing about your husband/wife/friend/girlfriend/boyfriend/brother/sister/… that killed himself/herself by jumping in front of a train…
Maybe it also pissed me off because well.. suicide is one of my weak spots.
I’m sure everybody knows someone that has committed suicide. And if you don’t, I’m happy for you.
‘Cause it changes you, whether or not it was close to you. Or someone close to you.
When I was in my third year of high school, I had a great French teacher. She was like a grandmother to me. A loving,caring and very kind older woman. One day, she told us about her daughter, who was killed in a car accident in her early twenties. Her son never got over the dead of his sister, and one day, about a year later, he killed himself in a car crash, on the exact same spot where a year before, his sister had got killed. He left a wife and kids behind.
As if that wasn’t enough, her husband died shortly after that, cancer if I remember correctly.
So she was left behind all on her own.
I felt so extremely sorry for her. And I could see that it was still hurting her, of course it was, you’re able to give things like that a place, but I don’t think you’ll ever fully recover of it.
Even though it’s something so painful, she was kind of happy in her life. She was still smiling, enjoying life. Even though she lost her whole family.
I admired her so much for that, respected her more than anyone else.  And as you can see, I never forgot her story.

Of course, as I grew up, I’d hear stories about people committing suicide, how they took a bullet in the head, how they took pills with alcohol, … Different reasons why they’d done it: broken heart, money trouble, lost their house wife and kids, …

But are there really any good reasons to end your own life?

So besides that, I didn’t come in contact with suicide.

And then came that one day…
I know this story isn’t mine to tell, and I don’t want to offend anyone by telling it. But I just feel that I should tell it, write about it, to give it a place. To get over it in a way.

It was Monday, the 2rd of May , 2011.
I was sitting at the table, having breakfast with my mom and younger sister. Getting ready for school. So it was about a quarter after six I think. My mom was standing at the kitchen fire, looking out of the window, seeing our neighbor (the wife) get up and do the usual routine.
Mom was just sitting down at the table again when we heard a scream, like I’ve never heard anyone scream before.
Mom hurried to the kitchen window by the fire to see what was going on. It was our neighbor, standing outside, screaming and crying, crying and screaming. There was so much pain and hurt and sadness in her screaming. She was hysterical and couldn’t speak. Except for a few words “please…help..he…”
We stormed outside, mom trying to calm her down a little to find out what was wrong. But she kept repeating the same words while crying and screaming.
She pointed towards the garage. Or to the space, some kind of workhouse right next to the garage to be more specific. Mom realized something was terribly wrong. And she went inside the workhouse. She ordered my sister and me to stay outside and go and wake Dad up. We had to tell him to get some clothes on and get outside. By that time, my sister and I still didn’t knew what was going on, even though we were asking mom. She just said that she thought something had happened to Rieke (our male neighbor, that’s what everyone used to call him, it’s a Flemish nick name for “Henri”, his real name). She thought he might have fallen.
My sister went upstairs to get dad and I was ordered to call an ambulance. Since I had done a few trainings of First Aid in the Red Cross, I technically knew exactly what to do. But with all the stuff going on, I was nervous, and constantly tripped over my words. For example, I forgot the number of our neighbor’s house, so I had to go outside and see for myself. The person on the other end of the line assured me that the ambulance was on their way. And I hung up. By the time I was finished making the call, Dad was already in the workhouse with Mom.
After what seemed like forever, mom came out again, looking for something. Since my sister had woken dad up, my little brother had gotten up as well, and he wanted to come outside, but my sister and I severely ordered him to stay in the house. In the kitchen.
I asked mom what the hell was going on, and she told my sister and I that Rieke had killed himself, by hanging himself.
That shocked both of us, and my sister started crying.
We stood there, at our front door, just standing by the street, not knowing what to do.
I don’t know how long we had been standing there, when all of a sudden Dad came and asked for me to follow him. So I did. We walked up the driveway, and I thought he wanted me to take care of our neighbor (the wife) but then we went past the garage, and I remember myself thinking “please don’t take me to the place, please don’t take me to the place, …” but he did. As I entered the workhouse, I could feel shivers move down my spine.
And then I saw him. A body laying on the floor. My mom hanging above it, she was trying to reanimate him. Pumping his chest, to get his heart started again, or to get it into the right tempo, resuscitating him… And then Dad said it. “Britt, help your mother.” I was paralyzed. I was in automatic pilot, as I kept staring at the lifeless body. His eyes were open, staring into nothing. He looked so pale… almost like paper. Pale and fragile and broken. I noticed a little spot on his pants, later, mom told me that when people hang themselves, all muscles tighten up, and when you cut them loose, everything relaxes, which is why they piss themselves. I sat down and waited for mom to give me orders. “Britt, you do the breathing, I’ll do the pumping.” Bam, another shock. “I…I… have to breath on…” I couldn’t say any more. I was pretty sure he was dead. He looked dead. He felt cold as ice… The thought of putting my mouth on those ice cold purple lips, with those dead eyes staring at me… It may sound horrible, I know it does, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just couldn’t. I crashed. I cried and begged. Said I couldn’t do it. Dad got mad at me. He said that I’m in the Red Cross, that it’s my DUTY to help a person in need. I was whining and crying saying I only practiced this stuff on a dummy.
Mom took over again. And eventually I got to leave the room.
As I went outside, one of the daughters arrived. She went in the workhouse, and I heard her scream “Dad, no… why?!” followed by crying.
The boy I always went to the bus with, by bike was standing at the street. It was 7a.m, time to leave for school. By that time, the ambulance just arrived. I got my schoolbag and my bike and walked towards him. He was looking confused, and asked what was going on. I didn’t answer him. I was still paralyzed. While we were biking, I said that my neighbor had hung himself. He didn’t answer.
We got to the bus, we got on it and then, as one of my friends from school asked me how I was I just… collapsed. I started crying, they asked the boy what was wrong and he told them.
They felt bad for me, but couldn’t say a thing. Not that it would’ve been any comfort to me anyway.<
I texted my best friend, my ex-best friend (long story) and my best female friend about what had happened.
By the time we got to school, I was numb…
As I went into the refectory, I started crying again as soon as I got to my locker. A teacher, my math teacher came and asked what was wrong, my friend from the bus told him and he just said “oh” and went away. Which I thought was very rude.
The bell rang and I got to my row, my class. I was numb. Looking like a zombie. My best friend from my class asked me what was wrong and I told her. I started crying again, a little.
She was silent. I just couldn’t get to the classroom…the teacher asked me what was wrong, she told him and he let me stay out of class to talk to her about it. I left my stuff in the classroom. My classmates were all being loud,asking what was going on and stuff but I didn’t care.
My friend and I sat in the hallway, talking. Though she was rather terrible at consoling people, since she had never lost anyone before. She did her best to make me feel better though. After that, we went to two classes. The fourth class however, sports, it went wrong again.
We were waiting for our teacher, and I wasn’t feeling well, I told her from the lesson before that I had a terrible headache.
As we were waiting, I said I was dizzy. And then my knees went weak and I fell against the wall. I was still conscious, but still gone in a way.
I don’t remember much of what happened next. It’s all blurry and vague.
I know two sport teachers laying me down on the floor in the cafeteria nearby, my feet on a chair. Talking to me, soothing me…They had called my dad and he had come to get me. He took me home. As we came home, I saw our neighbor’s house again. It made me cry, again.
My classmates had been making fun of me at school, saying I fainted and that I was weak. That I was just being a drama queen. Why did I even care anyway? It was not like it was my family. Shallow people.
After that it was a hard time for me, because of different reasons, this was just one of them.
I talked to many persons (CLB, favorite teacher, mom and dad, …) about this. It helped.  A little.
Later , we went to see him. Before his funeral. When he had been washed and dressed and stuff. I wanted to do that to remember him as the Rieke I had known, and not the dead doll that I had seen laying on the floor that day. With those strands on his neck.

I still remember seeing the cord he used to hang himself hanging from the roof. Dangling in the air.
I can still see the body laying there. Those dead eyes…
I can still hear his wife screaming. Her scream went right through my heart, my soul,… It was the kind of scream you only hear in horror movie. The ice cold one.
The screaming and crying of one of his daughters when she arrived. Later, she said that her mother had called her, crying and screaming, the only thing she had said was “come…your dad…”. So the daughter had left right away.
It was a terrible day, and I doubt that I’ll ever fully forget it.

So people, if you have any suicidal thoughts, please, please talk to someone.
Suicide may be an option, but it’s never the only one.
And if you ever lost someone by suicide, I feel for you. Trust me. Be strong. And if it gets too much for you to handle, please talk to someone about it. And don’t blame yourself, because I did, for not wanting to do the reanimating. Even though he was already dead by the time mom and dad got to him. So there was nothing we could’ve done really but still. Don’t blame yourself. And please, talk. Do whatever helps you to place it and get over it.

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Sweet Dreams

This is a short story I wrote about a year ago, for a writing contest. It got elected, and ended up in the book of the contest. It describes a dream I once had, so it’s non-fiction. It’s about a few loved ones. It’s very personal and very dear to me. Again, it’s written in Dutch, so sorry for the English visitors of this blog, but don’t worry, I’m trying to properly translate it into English. So I’ll upload that later (might take some time though). Anyway, for all the Dutch people on here, I hope you’ll like it. I know I’m kind of proud of it anyway. Enjoy.

Mijn verhaal werd samen met andere gedichten, verhalen en foto’s door Ivo van Strijtem verzameld in het boekje “Sleeping beauties breken uit” nadat deze op de gelijknamige blog verschenen waren. Graag zou ik de inleiding gebruiken die Ivo van Strijtem bij mijn verhaal geschreven heeft. 

BRITT CARDOEN SCHREEF EEN TROOSTENDE DROOM VOOR ONS OP. ER ZIJN DROMEN DIE GRENZEN VERLEGGEN, DIE DE DORST LESSEN EN DE HONGER STILLEN, DIE BERGEN VERZETTEN. ZIJ BRENGEN ONS BIJ ELKAAR: DE LEVENDEN EN DE DODEN. EEN INNEMENDE VERTELLING, EEN HOOPVOLLE DROOM.

Dit is misschien wel één van de mooiste dromen die ik ooit heb gehad.

Het was nacht en ik sliep, toen ik plots buiten zachte muziek hoorde. Ik hoorde ook geluiden in het huis, al was ik blijkbaar de enige, aangezien de rest van het gezin gewoon door bleef slapen. Ik besloot dan maar zelf te gaan kijken wat er aan de hand was, met een bang hartje weliswaar. Bij iedere stap die ik op de trap zette zwol het geluid aan, ik meende iemand te horen lachen, een jong meisje. Ik volgde het geluid tot in de tuin. Eenmaal buiten was ik sprakeloos.

Onze tuin werd verlicht met wel honderden lampen en er stond een grote treurwilg met een schommel aan. De tranen sprongen in mijn ogen toen ik zag wie er op de schommel zat; mijn zusje Dorientje, als pasgeboren baby overleden toen ik vijf jaar oud was. Ik had haar nooit gezien, maar herkende meteen het beeld dat ik mij door de jaren heen van haar gevormd had. Ze was een jaar of tien, twaalf, had een rond gezichtje met een prachtige glimlach en stralende blonde haren. Tevens had zij de typische blauwe ogen die iedereen in ons gezin heeft. Toen ik van die verrassing even bekomen was, zag ik dat ze door mijn Bompa, overleden toen ik twee en een half jaar oud was, werd geduwd. Ook Meter, Nonkel Mon en Lady, onze hond waren er bij. Allemaal overleden. Ze zagen er allemaal net zo uit zoals zij in mijn herinnering waren blijven leven. Meter zat van in een stoel lieve dingen te roepen naar Dorientje, terwijl ze af en toe Lady’s balletje weggooide. Nonkel Mon was ook met Lady aan het spelen, terwijl hij, zoals zijn gewoonte was, een dikke sigaar aan het roken was. Het werd mij allemaal even teveel en ik begon te wenen. Lady kwam bij mij, haar kop tegen mijn been, troostend, zoals ze dat altijd deed als ik triest was. Ik knuffelde haar stevig, van plan haar nooit meer te laten gaan toen ik een stevige hand op mijn schouder voelde. Het was Bompa, hij draaide me om, keek me recht in de ogen en vroeg me rustig waarom ik zo huilde. Ik antwoordde snikkend dat ik hen miste, hen allemaal en dat het niet eerlijk was dat ze weg waren, voorgoed. Bompa moest eens lachen. “Maar meisje toch,” zei hij zacht, “de dood is niet het einde, het is het begin van iets nieuws.” Ik snikte en zei dat ik mij zo aleen voelde zonder hen, waarop mijn kleine zusje naar mij toe kwam en mijn hand vast nam. “Lieve grote zus, wij zijn nooit echt weg geweest, en dat zullen we ook nooit zijn. Zolang je je ons herinnert, ons in je hart draagt, zullen wij altijd bij je zijn. Iedere nacht zal je in de hemel vijf sterren zien, dicht bij elkaar. Dat zijn wij, die over je waken en je beschermen.” Ze glimlachtte eens en ik viel in een rustige slaap. 

Jarenlang werd ik gekweld door nachtmerries, iedere nacht werd ik schreeuwend wakker, terwijl de hete tranen over mijn wangen liepen, roepend op mama, die dan gehaast en ongerust mijn kamer kwam binnengestormd. Iedere nacht droomde ik over hen die ik moest missen, over hen die ik verloren had. Iedere nacht raakte ik hen opnieuw kwijt en voelde ik die pijn terug. Iedere nacht opnieuw. Maar na deze net vertelde droom stopten de nachtmerries. Ik had hun dood eindelijk een plaats kunnen geven, dankzij hen. En telkens als ik mij ‘s nachts eenzaam voel of hen mis, kijk ik door mijn raam naar buiten, naar de sterrenhemel, waar ik elke nacht opnieuw vijf schitterende sterren terug vind, dicht bij elkaar, en dan weet ik dat alles goed komt.

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