Resilience is when you fall down, you graze your knees, you hurt yourself badly and you cry – and then you get up again.

Resilience is knowing that there’s one place better than down in the gutter: up on eye level, where you can see the world from a little higher, with a tiny little bit more perspective.

Resilience means that despite the pain, the sorrow, the anxiety, the hurt and shame, you give it one more try and get up again – sometimes against all odds. But there’s no point in staying down, so you get up and try again.

Resilience means you keep believing, keep going, even after the umpteenth fall and zillionth blow. It takes a bit of folly to get up time and again, but what’s the alternative? Right.

That’s resilience.

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Don’t tell anyone, but I love the word ‘jerk’. It’s one of my favourite terms of abuse in English. Mind you, I use it in the most loving way, because, oddly enough, I reserve it only for men I really like. (And sometimes for women, for lack of a female equivalent.) That’s how weird my mind is. If they get on my nerves and push my buttons too hard because they know me too well, I throw the J-word at them. I know they won’t mind. Some of them even consider it a term of honour. And rightly so, because that’s exactly how I mean it.

I like the liberating distance that foreign language speakers have towards terms of abuse and ‘bad’ words in that language. There’s no taboo on a word until you learn there is one. Until someone tells you ‘Don’t use that word in public’, it’s just a word. You can even like the sound of it, without paying much attention to the meaning.

I do cringe when foreign language speakers use swearwords in Dutch, though. When someone throws a ‘godverdomme’ at me just for the heck of it, I back off and cringe a little. I want to cover my ears and yell at them: ‘Not so loud!’ It’s like they’re throwing a bomb at me and saying: ‘Hey, ain’t this fun? Look at the colours and the sound effects!’ That’s the playful attitude only a foreign language speaker can have towards swearwords and ‘bad’ language.

And that, dear audience, is why I reserve the word ‘jerk’ for only my most favourite of men (and sometimes women). Friends and dear ones who I know can take it. If they push my buttons, I will push back. I will throw a bit of verbal firework at them. It’s just another way of saying: ‘Hey, I really like you, but don’t tell anyone.’

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My hands typed this new creation of their own accord. I like it. It reminds me of the Sirens in the Odyssey. Or that line from the film Australia: “I will sing you to me.”

When you stray from your right path in life, the roadsings will let you know. They will sing a dark and gloomy song until you return to your main road. Then other roadsings will begin to hum a nice little melody.

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