Tag Archives: Poems

St. Nicholas

I am still having difficulty getting inspired to write regularly on this blog. Ironically, I wrote six posts for my Dutch blog this week. Writing those posts gave me one idea to write about here – books I’ve read in 2014 -, but I’m too lazy to write that post.

I went on the SITS Girls website and looked at the prompts for December. Yesterday’s prompt asked if we celebrate with Santa Clause. Since St. Nicholas or Santa Clause is a particularly Dutch (and somewhat Belgian) tradition, at least in its most well-known form, I thought I’d write about that. A day late – or two, since the St. Nick’s celebration is on December 5 here -, but who cares?

St. Nicholas in some ways is like Christmas in the U.S., in that we swap gifts, there’s an old man with a white beard and a red coat involved and we eat lots of candy. There are specific St. Nicholas candies. For example, people often get a chocolate letter.

We used to celebrate St. Nicholas with my family rather than Christmas. At school, we also celebrated St. Nicholas in additon to Christmas. A tradition in many homes and classrooms is to package your gifts in a surprise package and to draw names to determine who has to gift to whom. Of course, you always thank “Santa Clause” and in some cases, who really gifted you will remain unknown to you forever. Like, I never found out who’d gifted me some chocolates packaged in a box that was made to look like a laptop in seventh grade.

At our home, we usually gave each of our family members a present, at least from the moment we were old enough to have some money for it and not believe that Santa Clause existed anymore. I hated the name-drawaing, surprise-gifting process and to my knowledge I managed to persuade (or tantrum) my parents into never adopting that tradition.

Another tradition which I couldn’t keep my parents from adopting was the Santa Clause poem. The most boring kind goes along the lines of “Santa thought long and hard what to gift dear Edward”. The best ones have some kind of moral advice in them and if they’re really good, they’re humorous too. It was usually easy to tell who had gifted me something by the quality of and tone in the poems. My mother was the one with the hugely moralizing poems, my father incorporated humor and some advice, and my sister would make up words in order to make the words rhyme. I hardly ever wrote poems and hated having to read the ones I got aloud. In fact, I hated the whole pretend play involved in Santa Clause once I was old enough to no longer believe he existed. I never went along with it.

Nonetheless, I liked celebrating Santa Clause, though possibly more for the gifts and a bit because we’d always done it this way than for any other reason. It did sadden me that we stopped celebrating St. Nicholas once I got into the psychiatric hospital. Now we visit my parents every other year for Christmas instead.

To My Baby Self

I have been thinking a lot about my life in the context of premature birth. It may be because I’m currently reading For the Love of Babies by Sue Hall, a neonatologist writing about her experiences treating preemies and other sick babies.

Today I also came across a writing prompt for PTSD survivors, to write to yourself before any trauma occurred. Since my trauma started right with my NICU experience, and I’m over most PTSD symptoms now, I will instead write to my baby self reassuring her that things’ll be okay in the end.

Little baby, born too soon
You feel so insecure
But let me tell you, you’ll be fine
Of that I am sure

You are too young to realize
That you are here to stay
In this world that may be harsh
You will be okay

Times are hard on you, you feel
So often in pain
If you could tell me, would you say
That your life is in vain?

I will tell you, it is not
Your life is worth the fight
I am your older self and feel
That you and I came out alright

Some people may think of you
That you should not survive
But guess what, you did exactly that
And I am here and thrive

You will have many hardships ahead
But please persist and cope
I will wait here to remind you
Not to give up hope

Expressing Myself

Today the Daily Post’s prompt is Express Yourself. I find this a fascinating prompt, and could write on and on about expressiveness and the way I express myself. I write, mostly. Writing has been a hobby of mine since elementary school. Back then, I wrote mostly fiction. I have a few kind of weird tales and a lot of autobiographical fiction. Unfortunatley, as I got older, my skill didn’t get better, so by age eighteen or so, I quit fiction writing.

I trid poetry for a while. Last Thursday during art therapy, the therapist asked whether I wrote poetry and whether she could read one of my poems. They’re not great. In fact, with the exception of a few recent ones, my poems lack metre or rhyme. My older poems are so bad that I’m actually sort of proud of the acrostic I wrote a few months ago.

In addition to writing, I craft. I have tried my hand at art journaling, but have not succeeded. My cards and jewelry are pretty down-to-earth in their design I’d say. In fact, I’m not sure I’m all that imaginative in any of my expressive modalities. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a rich imagination. I’m just finding it hard to express it.

One thing that holds me back is the fact that the more imaginative works aren’t necessaarily the more beautiful ones for me. As I said, my poems, which usually express my authentic feelings, lack metre or rhyme and are little more than emotional diarrhea jotted on paper. Not something I’d like to post on my blog. And something I’ve noticed lately, is that I have a very hard time not sharing something I create. I even have a hard time keeping a private journal and, not havng found a suitable desktop application for it, I ended up with a protected WordPress blog which I ended up giving a few people access to anyway. Maybe I need to relearn that some things belong to me and are not to be expressed to anyone outside of me.