Women Talk

Wednesday, 15 March 2017 10:23

Today I was for four and a half hours on the phone, with just three people. It wasn’t a typical day, as days may go by without a call. Thus I do feel a little tired by all this listening, answering, interrupting, laughing, listening and then talking again, but I can’t complain. It’s not that my tendency towards fewer words has changed. It’s that I’ve finally managed to decode and profit from what is derogatorily called incessant blabbering.


Women are considered to talk a lot, and this quality is dismissed as frivolous. But would it be sustained if it were useless? Something lasting through the centuries must have a purpose.


I didn’t touch upon the current Dutch elections or the impact of the Frankfurt School on Marxism in my conversations today, and that’s probably a pity. However, I learned that two of my friends get intimidated at work and that makes them question their self-worth. I also learned that another friend feels socially awkward among the other mothers at school. So, besides being there to comfort them, to act as a counsellor and crying shoulder, how do I benefit from all this information?


Women tell each other their stories and pass on not only their experiences but the workings of their minds. Women are excellent observers of their own emotional life and sharing their insights ensures the preservation of an already immense network of support and understanding that leads to awareness and growth. Women are involuntary researchers, using the ancient and dependable techniques of oral tradition to communicate their findings.


In a day full of distractions and urgent tasks having people talk to me about their fear of rejection from their individual but commonly hostile environments wasn’t a burden. On the contrary, it was a lesson. Without them having payed attention to their own feelings and having decided they were important enough to discuss, I wouldn’t have realised how common my anxieties are: I’m not a freak and I’m not weak. Thus, by giving a stage to my friends’ ramblings I discovered that what has been looked down upon as a waste of time is no less vital for our species than buzzing is to bees – although equally incomprehensible to those outside the hive.



["forever friends" is part of the greens collection]


Published in experience

Ode to Women

Tuesday, 08 March 2016 08:59

When I decided I was done with exploration and started to actively search for specific qualities in people, those who emerged through the fog of human relationships happened to be women. In time, my existing relationships became stronger, I’ve reunited with friends from the past and my long-distance friendships flourished. It was only then that I started to consider gender identity as perhaps something more than a crude categorization for sociological use.

In many past instances I would have reacted differently, if I had the friends I have now. In fact, considering their impact, my whole life would have been different. My women friends are my guardian angels. Women have shown me immense compassion and forgiveness. Women have offered me everything they had to offer, spontaneously and unconditionally. Women have accepted me and I have found them to be so satisfyingly complicated that I enjoy their company as much as I enjoy tea and a good book.

And then, there are the women of all ages I meet on the street, in shops, at the park, on the tram. There is mutual understanding and a spirit-lifting momentary bond in a smile, a gesture, a touch, in offering and indeed in asking for help. There is a restless sea of silent emotional interaction between women out there – a fascinating ecosystem that doesn’t need saving.



Published in experience

Late Swimmers

Wednesday, 12 August 2015 13:40

They come from the sand, ready

in tank suits and floral caps

with territorial air and scorn

for those who waste time lying in the sun.


They are like sea turtles, from their sense of purpose,

to the color of their skin to their wrinkled everything.

They trudge on shore but then swim forth

in straight lines cut with punctual strokes and eyes

fixed on a horizon beyond the horizon, closing

for the nares to take in the waft of brine.


They keep swimming back and forth and never talk

counting silently, in a self-devised mantra mode.

And the October sea stays calm, nurturing

and warm – because it knows.


They are like sea turtles

only that their heads always stay above,

as their statement of dignity and manifesto,

and they always return to the shore.



"Late Swimmers" belongs to the chapbook In Womanly Fashion.

Published in poetry
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