THE ONE ABOUT BEING A NEW YORKER
FROM AMSTERDAM WITH BELGIAN ROOTS
I just read about Peter Stuyvesant, and that he was the founder of “Nieuw Amsterdam”, so of New York.
Well, ain’t that interesting?
Just some random facts in a tourist guide, on a Sunday afternoon…
And I’m thinking, all of a sudden: so that’s it!
I’m a New Yorker!
Always have been!
-I knew it.
From the moment I came to Amsterdam, I felt at home- really at home.
My Dad used to say, whenever I wondered about that:”Of course you do! Amsterdam is an enclave of Flemish immigrants, basically! Since the seventeenth century and the Spanish inquisition…! Don’t you know?”
-I didn’t. But I surely loved this gorgeous, vital and creative city which can feel like an exciting, vibrantly alive metropole and a quiet, smalltown village at the same time.
Especially because of its people, who welcomed me with open arms and hearts from day one. The way they wear their hearts on their sleeves, felt particularly charming to me. Probably cause I’m not unfamiliar with this trait myself and I’ve never understood what all the fuzz was about when I was just being honest. Or: maybe I didn’t want to, OK.
I don’t like it when people are mean on purpose, but I do appreciate authenticity.
Personally, I feel it takes courage to be and express your true self. To me this is a form of love in action-which is the opposite of being mean which stems from fear.
It’s a fine line, I realize that. And I’ve absolutely faultered, failed and fallen of that cord, trying to balance on it. But I appreciate someone else’s honest try as much my own.
Rather that than someone who’s hiding behind a lot of excuses, hidden meanings, formalities, out of fear to be really seen, as his or her real self and to feel vulnerable. I guess that ‘s still behind all those masks and tricks- I don’t know?
While it’s so much more fun to be you and to connect with someone else as the real you.
You can come to the point much more quickly. So it’s a real timesaver, one could say.
And I find it so much more fulfilling as well: whether you’re talking to a perfect stranger or your longtime lover, doesn’t make a difference. Cause the contact and conversation you have starting from your true, authentic self, will be exactly that: true and authentic. From there you will build authentic relationships with other people. Which is what we’re all craving for, I feel.
Superficial won’t do. It will never fulfill your need for connection. Not really.
But to get there with another person you will have to start with yourself.
So: you will first have to build a fulfilling connection with yourself.
To feel at ease with you, with who you are.
To like the youness, the youniquess of you: to see it, be it and dare to express it.
Which is, if I may say so, a true joy.
Once you start doing it, you can’t stop. Won’t stop. Don’t want to stop anymore. Cause it feels too darn good.
And that’s just how we’re supposed to feel, in my opinion.
Happy to be you and to express yourself.
-I do thank the city of Amsterdam, its awesome people and the vibes they are sending out into this world, for inspiring and encouraging me since day one to just be and do that: happy to be and express my true self!
It’s been a wonderful ride, living here.
Of course… it might have been within me all along, cause I’m Flemish, right?
And now I’m reading…that I’m actually a New Yorker!
-Well: that Peter Stuyvesant founded “New Amsterdam” which happens to be New York nowadays.
I’ve lived here in Amsterdam for most of my life now…
Ergo: may we conclude that, at least, I’m kinda related to the people of New York?
Because of its roots. The founders. Its historical connection with Amsterdam?
-Well: it certainly feels like it.
I always felt a special connection whenever New Yorkers came to our school for exchange projects: to me it was just like talking to and having fun with other Amsterdam folks.
Anyway, just so you know:
I’m a New Yorker.
Maybe you are, too?