Dress Red Day (aka “Show Your Heart”)

[Event; ~ Pronunciation: /dres/ / red/ /dey/]

  • Definition: Wearing something red for a day to help draw attention to heart disease among women (or in my case: among everyone you know or don’t know – just everyone, basically).
drd“Always dress like you are going to see your worst enemy”
– Kimmora Lee Simmons –

Today is Dress Red Day in the Netherlands. Its objection is simple: wear something red to ask for attention for heart disease, as this is the number one cause of death among Dutch women.

I first got involved in this seemingly silly annual event when I was on a holiday in Norway. One of the guides had gotten a new heart years before the trip and when September hit its 29th day, our group joined in with wearing something red. To show respect, to ask for attention and to not forget it could happen to anyone of us, too: heart failure.

Red is not my colour, as you can see in the picture. Not only that, but I don’t own a single piece of clothing in this colour, apart from my Canada cardigan.

So in Norway I borrowed my cousin’s red hat, last year I put something pink as a compromise and this year I snuggled into my Canada cardigan, which, to be frank, was way too hot for today’s weather. Still, it’s red anyway and it cooled down outside in the afternoon, so whatever.

But my real Dress Red Day-saviours this year are my On The Catwalk!-lipstick (which I’d eaten off by the time I took the picture – I forgot to reapply) and my Juicy Love-nail polish.

I am afraid I’ll have to come up with something better next year, but for now this will do.

Why is this issue so important to me? For starters, I am a Dutch woman and heart failure is the number one cause of death among us. Heart dysfunction is often associated with older men, but unfortunately it also hits many younger women. So breaking the stereotype and trying to grow awareness is important! Spread the word!

Secondly, I heard the story of how C, the Norway guide, got a new heart. It was both scary and beautiful, and it set me thinking: what if it would happen to someone close to me? Or to me? What would I do, if there was nothing left but to wait for someone to die so I could (maybe) live? And about all the risks there are regarding receiving a donor heart? It’s all but easy, you know. Even after the operation and you live, it’s all but easy.
C‘s story gave me goosebumps and put things in perspective.

Finally, my aunt came around today and told me T, my cousin, will undergo heart surgery next month. He’s got Down Syndrome and has been in hospitals a lot, often for his heart, but I thought after the surgery he had when I was a kid he was doing fine. Guess not.
This news really upset me. T is a great young man and he hasn’t got a bad bone in his body. Even if we’re not really in touch (our parents fell out yeeaars ago), the thought he could die makes me very sad. He’s so innocent, why does this has to happen? He’s got such a big heart, why does it have to malfunction?

Dress Red Day is important to me, yes. But it’s important to so many other people, too. That’s why I keep trying to find something red to put on (me) each year, even if it’s just lipstick, to show I care. So I can stick to the official slogan, and show I have a heart.

Do you?

Dress_red_day_Large_FC -125
(Picture from: http://www.innitmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Logo-DRD.jpg)
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Wednesday Wisdom-Tile

Everything worth having sure is worth working for!


Evanescent (aka This Too, Shall Pass)

[Adjective; ~Pronunciation: /ev-uh-nes-uh nt/]

  • Definition: Finding yourself subconsciously thinking the life phase you are currently in is eternal, as you did with every previous life phase. Nothing lasts forever, whether it is something good or something bad: things will change, as everything in life is evanescent.
“Human life is as evanescent as the morning dew or a flash of lightning”
– Samuel Butler –

However evanescent a bolt of lightning can be, one did manage to hit me. Metaphorically speaking, that is – otherwise I wouldn’t be typing this post.

I have problems with change: every year at the end of December I get a little gloomy because another year has passed and I don’t like the thought of having to meet up with a new one. It’s not like I want to die, it’s just… a strange feeling of sadness overcomes me when the year’s up.

The same thing happens when I outgrow a phase in my life or a new one starts. Sometimes, though, I am happy for a phase to end, such as the whole of 2015, which was just downright brutal to me, or my mom’s cancer or my own depression. Those are moments in my life I never want to have to go through again.

But thinking about it, I am sad my adventure as a Body Pump instructor has ended, I am sad we no longer gather around the TV to watch a silly show or a Disney movie, together as a family. I am sad we no longer go on family walks on Sunday or that I get to be the top rank nerd in elementary school.

My sadness is based on the silly thought that while I was unknowingly in the phase that would end, I’d always think it would last forever. And nothing does.

It is like being happy or depressed. I somehow always imagine this time it’s for all eternity. And then it ends (which in the case of feeling blue is a good thing).

Why do we feel that the situations we go through or the way we feel right now will last forever? That the people we are surrounded with will be there until the very end? Why do we take our lives the way they currently are for granted?

I don’t know the answer to that. Probably because at this moment, this is life for us. We might want change, we might even work towards that, but right now, this is life as we know it. And truth is: nobody knows what’s going to happen next.

But nothing lasts forever, not our time on Earth, nor anything in between. We make friends, we lose them. We find a job and we lose that, too. We gain knowledge which in the end we forget. We live and then we die.

Everything in life is subject to evanescence, and by this I don’t mean the band. I mean change through time.

So take a good look around you and ring up your total: do you like where you are right now in your life? Is your job satisfying? Is your partner making you happy? Are your hobbies fulfilling?

If the answer is yes, then make sure to enjoy your life to the fullest, as it will undoubtedly change one day, all without any sign or prediction.
If the answer is no, be relieved by the fact that tomorrow it could all be different.

I hope your answers are yes and that you, and me, won’t forget to appreciate what we have every now and then. It will be gone before we even know what happened.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Sunday Summary

(Week 38)

summary“Much learning does not teach understanding”
– Heraclitus –

It’s actually Sunday! Who knew I still had it in me to post on time 😉

Here’s what I learned this week:

  1. Not everything can be rationally explained

    Remember I wrote about my house being haunted (number five)? A while ago I lost the case I keep my iPod in, and I couldn’t find it. It had to be in the vicinity of my bed, because that’s where I last had it, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.
    This Monday I decided to give it one last try, thinking I’d be able to find the case if I’d break down half my room. I did, but I found nothing. It’s just vanished, completely lost. If anyone has a rational explanation for this situation, please let me know because I am at a full loss here.

  2. Why wild bunnies have white tails

    I never gave this topic a moment’s thought, but it was on TV (where else, right?). Wild bunnies have a white tail so that when they get chased down by an animal of prey they can alarm each other. They often appear in the dusk and the only thing visible then when they hop away is the white fluff of their tales. Basically, if one wild bunny starts to flee, seeing its white tail move quickly away will alarm other bunnies to run for cover, too.
    I bet you didn’t know this, either. Don’t you feel smarter already? 😉

  3. People don’t take you serious when you’re blonde

    A friend of mine, M, is also blonde, and when I saw her last she told me she had her hair dyed in a darker shade because she noticed customers at work weren’t taking her seriously. Even if she’s been there for a really long time and knows everything about the business. M confessed she got so annoyed by people treating her like a fool she coloured her hair into a darker blonde, after which she immediately experienced a shift in how customers treated her: they actually take her words for real, now.
    Imagine that. I might have to dye my hair one day if I want to become a successful counsellor. Yikes!

  4. Sometimes the Universe cannot tell you if things will be okay, because they already are

    I confess: I talk to the Universe. Sometimes I ask for signs to know if something will work out or I ask for “birthday magic” and you know what: the Universe always listens. So when I asked them for a sign to know my life will be okay, and the sign being me finding my vanished-and-strong-point-of-annoyance iPod case, I honestly thought I would. But when I didn’t I got very upset, because I thought maybe my life wouldn’t be okay (as if not finding a missing item could ever be an indicator of your life going to h*ll).
    In the end, I realised that sometimes the Universe cannot give you what you ask for, because it’s already here. I have a roof over my head, I am healthy, I have a kind-of-job lined up and I am going back to school. How can my life not be okay at the moment? Take it as it is.
    Although it would be very nice to find the iPod case back -_-

  5. It’s okay not to always please others

    My friend’s hen party was yesterday and it was a fully booked day: all kinds of activities were lined up and I knew the day would end by going out clubbing. I do not like clubbing. Normally, I would have just joined in to please everyone around me and to not come off as a dull nerd, but I just didn’t feel like it. So I told the people in charge I was going to go home after the final activity. And you know what? Everyone respected that and everyone was happy, me included.
    A similar situation happened today when my mother asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner tonight with her and my dad. Normally I would not even think about it and just join them, but I was still feeling bloated from the hen party’s dinner and I didn’t feel like going out again. So I said no. My mother was a bit surprised, but let me stay home in the end and I feel fine about it. I’m happy I didn’t tag along to please them. It never works out, you know, trying to always make someone else happy.

  6. You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for

    Think I am crazy for believing in the Universe? Try this: after I got home really late last night (even without clubbing I saw the clock turn Saturday well into Sunday) and having a few drinks, I got up at a reasonable time this morning and… Went on a run.
    Yea, I know. Totally cuckoo.
    BUT! I ran over 5k today, even if at one point I wanted to quit. So there you go: there’s so much more potential inside of you that you don’t realise is there. Keep pushing yourself and keep amazing yourself!

  7. This week’s paper-wisdom reads as follows (it’s a lot!): I do something that looks easy like it is very difficult, and I do something very difficult and make it seem easy: the first so that confidence won’t make me ignorant and the latter so that discomfiture won’t break my spirit

    best_wishes In a way, this week’s paper is pretty sociological in origin: sociologists are taught to see the ordinary in the extraordinary and vice versa. Never cease to keep learning and growing, always keep an open mind, whatever your endeavour.

This week’s Earworm Of The Week gets all credit from a special pub quiz that was created for the hen do. We had two teams and I was on the one without the bride-to-be. The host of the quiz looked at her and said: “I guessed, taking your age, you used to be a Britney-fan.” To which I excitedly yelled: “She wasn’t, but I was!”

We had to guess which Britney-songs he played the intro of and this was the first one. I heard one tone and knew it directly.

Never in my life did I think my previous Britney-fanhood would ever come in handy, but last night it did: we won the quiz! It was a close call, so I reckon Britney did kind of help us out, haha.



Paragon (aka If Conditioning Does Not Work, Try Setting A Good Example)

[Noun; ~Pronunciation: /par-uh-gon/]

  • Definition: Instead of effortlessly trying to re-install some common sense into your parents, set a good example by exhibiting the desired behaviour yourself. In other words: stop complaining to get something done and be nice for a change.
paragon“I’m not saying I’m a paragon of virtue, but it’s hard for me not to be honourable”
– Wayne Rogers –

Since my mother’s cancer she hasn’t been the same. It was about five years ago that she got diagnosed and started treatment, and ever since then she’s not been her old self.

Which is fully understandable, although I often forget. Not because I want to hurt her, but because I am so mad I’ve lost my mother I tend to get very snappy around her at times. Especially when she’s forgotten something again or seems to not be paying attention to what anyone is saying.

I know where it’s coming from, but at times I find myself being angry at the situation, at the pieces of herself she’s never recovered, and I snap.

Luckily, the same cannot be said about my father. I mean, he is even snappier than me and it seems to be a continuous state for him, but what I mean is luckily he’s not been sick and is doing fine physically.

Mentally, it’s another story.

My father retired last year and has since refrained from doing anything worth mentioning in the household. He helps clean the dishes twice a day (we live a pre-historic life without a dishwasher) and he vacuums the floor once a month or so. And he fixes things around the house, but only when prompted several times over, usually with a little extra incentive by the use of bad words and/or threats (“if you don’t do it, I will!” – he knows we’ll only make it worse).

My father’s idea is that as a retired man he’s entitled to be spoiled, well taken care of, and off the hook regarding whatever household chore you can imagine. Me and my mother, on the other hand, don’t necessarily agree. We let him have his time to adjust to the new situation (as we needed to do so ourselves, too), but that time has passed.

I am thus trapped in the middle, with a mother who cannot keep her focus and a father who’s all moaning and groaning around, telling people off for everything while not doing anything significant himself.

Actually, I believe he’s gotten worse, because he now also assumes me and my mum will go around after him to clean up his mess. There’s been several occasions already in which he seemed unable to throw his dirty laundry in the correct hamper, if any hamper at all. Or make tea for his daughter when I come down for breakfast and he’s making coffee for himself. He won’t even offer or ask.

My latest attempts at conditioning my parents (think Pavlov’s dog) have proven unsatisfactory. Yelling at them doesn’t seem to work either and only makes me feel like a villain.

So what is there left to do?

I think I need to set an example, I need to become a paragon for good behaviour. For my father, so he won’t be upset with my mother any more when she’s being forgetful or aloof. And so he remembers to put his dirty clothes in the wash.

For my mother, so she won’t feel bad when she’s telling the same story again without realising she is, and to make sure what she really forgets is how much she’s changed for the worse after her cancer.

And for myself, so I won’t be prickly all the time, raising my voice so much or slapping my forehead every two minutes (it’s only going to leave a nasty red mark anyway).

Patience is key, and if you can’t tell them what to do, you better show them instead.

Like Kung-Fu Panda in the picture: let’s be a paragon to those around us and show them how it’s done 🙂

How about you? Are you a paragon to anybody or is someone an example to you?