Bookish posts · personal

My Weird Reading Habit: Why (And How!) I Annotate My Books

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I used to treat my books like sacred beings. And it was normal, most other booklovers I know were this way. They are these precious, beautiful vessels that hold a story that we must protect with our lives. They give us so much, so the least we can do is to keep them clean and perfect.

But.. it’s exhausting. The whole keeping your books pristine thing is exhausting. It got to the point where I would feel nervous putting books in my backpack and would have to carry them in my hands so I could keep my eyes on them at all times. I would make sure tables were totally clean before I set them down, and it was just so impractical.

So, I just kind of stopped caring. I started breaking the spines of my paperbacks (it’s much more comfortable to read that way), dog-earing the pages and.. writing in them. And I love the way it looks. Every single page that I read has been ingrained in the book itself. For me, a read book doesn’t only tell the story that’s printed in the book, but also the story of how the reader read the book.

Why I annotate my books

I already mentioned this above, but I love making the book my own. By annotating a book in one way or another, I’m having an active conversation with the author and I’m transferring some of the thoughts I had in a specific moment onto the pages. That way, I can look back and see what I had thought the first time I read something. It’s a way to see how I first experienced the story.

I love seeing how my thoughts have evolved upon rereading the book later. I might think about a passage in a certain way now, but future me could totally disagree with past me! In a way, my book notes are my literary flow chart. It shows how I’ve grown and matured as a person.  Continue reading “My Weird Reading Habit: Why (And How!) I Annotate My Books”

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personal · Travel

Why You Should Visit The Montjuïc Cemetery in Barcelona

I like cemeteries, I’ve always been fascinated by them. Whenever I travel to a new city, I always like to visit at least one cemetery; it’s a way for me to acknowledge significant events of the past related to that city.

When I went to Barcelona, my boyfriend and I visited the Cementiri de Montjuïc, one of the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever visited.

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The History

The cemetery opened in 1883 and is located on one of the rocky slopes on the Montjuïc hill in Barcelona. The use of the 56-hectare space on the side of Montjuïc Hill was part of an initiative to expand and improve the city, which was growing exponentially at that point. The chief designer of the cemetery was architect Leandro Albareda. There have been over 1 million burials at this cemetery, and there are currently more than 150,000 graves.

Why You Should Go

Many of the more prominent and wealthy families of Barcelona requested the construction and design of their own mausoleums. It resulted in some of the city’s best architects playing a role in constructing some spectacular pieces. Many of the larger mausoleums and monumental tombs have little signs next to them with some information about the architectural style.

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The place is honestly breathtaking. It’s huge, bigger than I could ever show you with photo’s. The monuments and massive mausoleums make it feel more like a miniature city than a cemetery. Continue reading “Why You Should Visit The Montjuïc Cemetery in Barcelona”

opinion · personal

The Old Taylor Swift is Dead: a Track by Track Review of ‘reputation’

First things first: I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan. Ever since I heard her song Teardrops on my Guitar somewhere on Myspace in 2006, I was sold. Her dreamy and personal lyrics about heartbreak and young love were relatable for me at that time. But as Taylor grew up, so did I. Her debut album  Taylor Swift (2006) and Fearless (2008) will always have a special place in my heart, but I don’t relate to the lyrics in the same was as I did back then.

If you listen to Speak now (2010) and Red (2012) you can hear Taylor Swift grow up through her music. 1989 (2014) – her first official pop album –  felt like the conclusion of that. In a way, I grew up with Taylor Swift. As I matured, so did she. Of course, her well-curated public image refrained her from singing about certain subjects explicitly, and I think with reputation (2017) she’s finally letting that go. It’s like that with this album she’s saying ‘‘well, everyone already knows what kind of a sneaky snake I can be, better embrace it.”

So without further ado, here is my track my track review (and favorite lyrics of each song!) of reputation.

…Ready for it?

This song actually came out a few weeks before the album as one of the promo tracks. It was one that I immediately liked. I think the heavy bass that the song starts out with are a really good introduction of what the album is going to be like. It also introduces a metaphor you will hear throughout the rest of the album. It’s very Crime & Punishment. Favorite lyrics: he can be my jailor / burton to this Taylor. 

End Game (ft. Ed Sheeran & Future)

When I saw this was on the track list before the album came out I got excited and scared at the same time. This track was either gonna be good or an absolute mess. It ended up being pretty damn good. I could do without Future’s part, mostly because I feel he’s super toned down in this song, but I really enjoy Taylor and Ed’s parts. When (and if) this is released as a single, I think it’ll be really successful just through momentum alone.  Favourite lyrics: I hit you like bang / we tried to forget it / but we just couldn’t / And I bury hatchets / but I keep maps of where I put ’em / reputation precedes me / they told you I’m crazy / I swear I don’t love the drama / it loves me.  Continue reading “The Old Taylor Swift is Dead: a Track by Track Review of ‘reputation’”

personal · Personal Development

The Post In Which I Talk About Being Your Own Friend

When I was a stubborn thirteen year old, my psychologist at the time said something to me that stuck with me forever. ”Would you treat your friends the same way you treat yourself?” Of course not, was my immediate reaction. They were my friends after all. And at the same time I realized something important that day: I was treating myself like shit.

Looking back, I know exactly why. Because I thought I was shit. That I wasn’t worth anything. That I didn’t belong. There was something wrong with me. I was broken, didn’t have talents, was unable to make my parents proud. Or at least I felt like that. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’ve come a long way since then. And I can finally say that now, I am my own best friend.

The road to better self-esteem was anything but easy. And like anything worthwhile in life, it was hard work. But my life became much easier and much more enjoyable when I became my own friend.  Continue reading “The Post In Which I Talk About Being Your Own Friend”

personal · Personal Development · tips

Why I Decided To Go Back To College At 21

It’s funny to think of my sixteen year old self. I had just graduated high school, and I went to college for the exact same reason everyone else goes to college here: Because it’s the logical next step. It’s what everyone else does. Because where would you be without a college education?

So I went to college. Knowing that I had a knick of writing and at that point, had been published in a few (online) magazines, I went into journalism. Looking back, I loved my degree and the school I went to. I’m happy I chose to follow my degree at an art school, because my college was very open, creative, and we got lots of space to work on projects with students who were in completely different courses than we were.

I learned a lot about myself in those years, and I remember how proud I was (and am!) for getting that diploma at the very end. But I also remember myself thinking: now what?  Continue reading “Why I Decided To Go Back To College At 21”

opinion · personal

The Old Taylor Swift Is Dead: Writing A New Narrative

I was actually going to blog about something else today, but I can’t wrap my mind about anything but Taylor Swift right now So here I am.

Because Taylor Swift, an artist I’ve been a fan of since 2007, has just released a new single.

Look What You Made Me Do & its interpretation

Look What You Made Me Do is the introductory track to Taylor’s new upcoming album reputation (small R, according to her official website). The song is darker and more vindictive than anything she’s ever done before. Taylor Swift is an artist with very distinct ‘era’s’ – with a new era starting whenever she releases new music, every two years or so. From 2006 till now, long-time fans will be able to tell when a certain song was released or a picture was taken based on her music style and fashion choices.

Since it’s release just a few hours ago, everyone left and right has accused Taylor of releasing yet another victim song. This is something I personally disagree with, at least to a certain extent. The lyrics are something I read as hyperbole, not only meant to reshape the narrative around Taylor, but also to create buzz around the album. Lyrics like ”I don’t like your kingdom keys / they once belonged to me” and ”All I think about is karma / Maybe I got mine, but you got all yours” Tell me there’s a certain type of self-awareness in this song, disguised by anger and frustration. Not to mention ”I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me”, letting us know that she’s aware of her own portrayal in the media, mistakes she’s made in the past and how it has affected her and how people view her persona.

With the song, Taylor is pointing out her own imperfections. It shows that she’s petty and holds grudges, that she never forgets or lets go. She’s not presenting herself as a hero here, she’s presenting herself as a master manipulator ready to attack. And that’s not a flattering portrait.  Continue reading “The Old Taylor Swift Is Dead: Writing A New Narrative”

personal · tips

The Week After A Sexual Assault

A little more than a week ago, I stepped onto a tram after a football match. It was a lovely day, and I had enjoyed myself so far. Of course, after a match in a stadium that holds over 50 thousand people, public transport to and from the stadium will be busy. I knew that, and didn’t think much of it.

Public transport was so busy that everywhere people pushed into each other to make sure the doors could close. At most, I thought it was hot on the tram. In the end, I only had to be in there for a few minutes. I was standing close to lots of people, wearing a skirt and a sweater. Just hoping that the minutes would go by fast so I could get some fresh air.

Then I felt someone’s hand go under my skirt, groping me inappropriately. Not knowing what to do, I froze for a second and shifted my weight, trying to turn myself away from this person. This person I had never talked to before, that I didn’t know, that was touching my most intimate parts in a tram stuffed with people.

Then, he did it again. More aggressive this time. I’m someone who usually knows what to say and do. I’m someone who is not easily scared of people. Most people know me as quite a tough girl with a foul mouth, not scared to put up a fight and stick up for my friends and family. But at that moment, I froze. It’s like I lose my ability to speak and the panic took over my entire brain.

Then, I managed to push his hand away, having to use quite a bit of physical force to do so. On my right side, someone else on the tram noticed what was happening and immediately put himself between me and the assaulter. I’m really thankful for this person physically putting himself between us, and in that way protecting me.

Feeling like I couldn’t breathe, I got off the tram early. At that point, I felt so scared and not in control. I felt violated, dirty and small. I was reminded that for some people, I’m not considered a whole person with emotions, desires and boundaries, but merely an object for them to touch whenever they please.  Continue reading “The Week After A Sexual Assault”