Cold hug

Daily Prompt: You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.


Except for me, old and grey, sitting in a cold metal chair, watching a shiny robot with buttons on it.

The buttons show large icons, a pill, a platter with food and a heart.
A sign says: push pill & food button 3 times a day.
I can push the “heart” button every time I need…a hug.
Then the robot’s metallic voice says: “good girl” and its shiny cold hand taps my head.

Apart from many big and small fears, like fear of heights, fire, floods, dead people…. this one giant fear haunts me the last couple of years, namely that when I get old, there will be nobody I love around anymore, to give me a big hug from time to time…  in a cold, fully automated world….


Texel – Holland
i-Phone image


The opposite of the teacher’s pet…

WordPress’ Daily prompt : Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?


When I read this daily prompt there was one name that immediately came to my mind, Mrs Verhulst, my elementary school teacher at the age of 10.  And although most of my teachers were the anonymous or inspiring kind, this one, well…
I still see her in front of me.  Beautiful but arrogant woman, impeccable make-up and dress, high heels… get the picture?

I was a “good” student, both behaviour wise as grade wise.  Suddenly, in Mrs Verhulst’s class, my grades dropped like a rock.  Nothing seemed good enough anymore, be it math, language, creative… you name it.
My mom and dad were quite upset about it, especially because, when they asked me if something was wrong, I just shrugged and said “not that I know of, I do my best as I always do, but somehow, it’s not good enough”.
So, next parent’s contact evening, my mom and dad inquired the vain Mrs Verhulst… Without blinking an eye, this would-be-queen-of-Sheba answered: “Well, I just can’t stand her – that’s it – period.  She can do whatever she wants the rest of the year, her grades won’t go up”
Can you imagine how my mom and dad felt?  And there was so little they could do.  If they would talk about it to the head teacher, she would discuss it with Mrs Verhulst, and it probably would have gotten worse.
Changing school was not an option either as the year was already 3 months gone.
So, I stayed, feeling demotivated, disappointed, left down and…. not good enough.   Next year, I left my beloved school and went to a neighboring city.

I’m not saying that this… this… woman… is the sole reason of my terrible perfectionism nor of the fact that I never feel good enough, but I am sure she didn’t help either.

Nowadays there are school councils who would tell that teacher that this is not the way you handle a 10-year old, but we’re talking 45 years ago and the spirit was totally different back then.
Lucky that attitude has changed, although it might well be that the bullying was taken over by some fellow students…

When Helpless meets Fear

“Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?”

This is the first time I participate in the Daily Prompt… I guess I feel a little helpless right now…  So here goes…

When did I last feel that? What do I do about it?
The kind of helplessness I’m talking about, is reoccurring.

You know those situations in a hospital or at the doctor’s after you had a check up, or – for the women amongst us – a mammography? And some assistant asks you to wait “a bit”?  And while you are waiting for 5 minutes, 10, 15, half an hour… nobody tells you what’s going on… You ask that same assistant – sitting at her/his desk, or maybe passed you by already a couple of times – what’s taking so long and she/he gives no information whatsoever?

Well, that’s when I feel helpless, totally, terribly helpless.  And there is nothing I can do about it but wait until someone ready to communicate, shows up.
That’s also the time when the most horrid scenario pops into my head, unstop-able and, the longer I have to wait, the more horrid the scenario gets.  That’s when helplessness meets fear!  And those two together get along soooo well! They are best pals. And they laugh at your face!
There’s little I can do about it, except, with getting older and practicing a lot, I try some visualization techniques.  I go to my happy place, hoping that this mind boggling fear and helplessness will calm down.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t…

And afterwards, when the doctor finally turns up, telling that everything is o.k. and that I can go home… that “dull, sick feeling”  shifts shape and turns into fatigue, numbness and I feel as if all energy has been drained from my body.
An odd feeling, but anything is better than that helpless fear or fearless helplessness.