Illusion of Purity goes to the Netherlands!

Next destination: the Netherlands!

On Sunday 3rd May, Illusion of Purity will be on stage in the Netherlands for the very first time. The participation in a poetry event in the city of Eindhoven marks the first of hopefully many performances on Dutch soil. Of course, everyone is invited to attend the poetry event, with Illusion of Purity and several other poets on stage.

The event takes place in:
Café Gouden Bal
Hoogstraat 112-a
Eindhoven (NL)

Assumed start of the event is between 14:30 and 15:00, and the end is scheduled around 18:30 or slightly later.

Gerrit looks forward to present some of his poems to the Dutch audience, and socialise with other poets as well as poetry fans from the Netherlands. So maybe/hopefully see you on Sunday 3rd May in Eindhoven!

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Sprekende Ezels performance

Last Wednesday, 25th February, Illusion of Purity participated in the monthly Brussels edition of the open microphone event "De Sprekende Ezels". In a crowded café Monk in the center of Brussels, the following poems were recited by Illusion of Purity:

"Destination: Nowhere"
"Mood Swings"
"Tomorrow on my Side"
"Scrub"
"Another Scar" (slightly shortened version)

The whole event used a guitarist and drummer as "background band" during all performances. Gerrit had asked to not use any background music because of the intimacy aspect of poetry. However, during the last poem the background musicians started to play anyways. Luckily the distraction lasted only a second, and the poem could continue to be recited properly, with relatively low-key music on the background. Hopefully the audience appreciated this unexpected surprise!

The organisation named the darker poems perfect for this time of the year, the cold February month, … But hopefully the 2 more hopeful and optimistic poems got the attention of the audience just as well, it was a deliberate choice to end the set with a more hopeful poem.

The next Illusion of Purity performances, both solo performances and participations in open microphone events, will be announced as soon as they are officialised. Keep an eye on this website. Those willing to help to find places to perform can get in touch using the contact form on this website.

Gerrit wishes to thank the organizers of De Sprekende Ezels in Brussels for offering time on stage, and to thank the audience for their attention and appreciation. A few people came to say thanks and congratulations after the performance, and that obviously means a lot to any performer. Thanks to anyone that was present in Monk last Wednesday, and hopefully new performances will follow soon.

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Return to stage: new performances in open microphone events

After a (too) long absence from stage, in a period mainly dedicated to writing, Illusion of Purity has finally made its comeback on stage due to participating in a few open microphone events! With equal enthousiasm as before, and still loyal to its goal of breaking taboos, and spreading a message of hope towards those who suffer of psychological difficulties or other issues in daily life!

Last Thursday, 19th February, Gerrit participated in an open microphone event in Cercle des Voyageurs in downtown Brussels. In a very old basement (which looked a bit like a dungeon) below the actual café/restaurant, Gerrit recited the poems "Run" and "Mood Swings" while also adding an improvised outro reflecting the values and goals of Illusion of Purity.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 25th February, Illusion of Purity is on stage again as participant in the open microphone event "De Sprekende Ezels" in Brussels. "De Sprekende Ezels" is a setup offering one event per month in different cities across Belgium, offering time on stage to poets, musicians, cabaret and spoken word. It is a very well-established re-occuring event across the Dutch speaking part of Belgium and in Brussels. Illusion of Purity will be on stage during tomorrow’s "Sprekende Ezels" event in Brussels.

Those who are interested in attending a night of arts and poetry in a cosy café in the heart of Brussels, are more than welcome to attend. In total, approx 10 acts (the exact number may vary slightly) will be expected on stage.

The event will be hosted in Café Monk, Sint-Katelijnestraat 42 / Rue Ste-Catherine 42, 1000 Brussels. Start of the event is expected around 20:00, 20:30 latest. Monk is located at walking distance from the Bourse building in the city center.
More info can be found at www.monk.be and www.desprekendeezels.be

Being back on stage now, we hope to get plenty more Illusion of Purity performances scheduled soon. Both as part of poetry events and open microphone events, as well as solo poetry lectures. We are constantly looking for places and opportunities to organise new performances, both across Belgium and in the surrounding countries.

Do you know a good café that offers a stage to poets? A nice event where poetry could be welcomed? A small cultural center that is open to poetry readings? Even a living room with enough space for a small crowd could be possible! We are open to all kinds of proposals. Use the contact form on this website to get in touch!

If new performances will be scheduled, you will find the announcements on this site. For now, we hope to see you tomorrow at Café Monk in Brussels!

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Taboo wall against sexual intimadation and abusive language, 17th Oct, Brussels

A small announcement which is in fact somewhat off-topic, but it regards an initiative totally supported by Gerrit, as it has taboo breaking intentions too.

The initiative was started by a 15 year old girl from Brussels who has experienced sexually verbal abuse and intimidations, and whose female friends also experienced similar things on the Streets of the city. Sadly enough this is a taboo subject, not many girls/women will report these things and often the unacceptable behavior continues because of the lack of attention given to the problem. This 15 year old girl therefor started a "taboo wall" at school, where people can write on that wall the things shouted at them or the nasty experiences they have had regarding sexually abusive or intimidating language.

This is a great idea to take the issue into the limelight and present some real experiences collected on that wall, hopefully this will work as a wake-up call and indeed break the taboo atmosphere surrounding this issue.

On Friday 17/10/2014 there will be a taboo wall too on the Muntplein/Place de Monnaie very close to the Bourse, in Brussels. Everyone who is wanting to tell their experiences, can contribute and write on the wall. There will be a small stage with open microphone as well.

It’s in the very heart of the center of the city, so if you are in Brussels, please do support this initiative.

PS; as for Illusion of Purity itself, there has been a period of quietness. This doesn’t mean the project is less active, quite the contrary. Gerrit is writing actively, working on new poems, which will hopefully be finished soon. Some other plans are awaiting too, so keep an eye on this site. There may be some big events in the near future involving Illusion of Purity.

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Book review: The Highly Sensitive Person In Love. Understanding and managing relationships when the world overwhelms you (by Elaine N. Aron)

(Details on the book below article)

While 20 to 25% of people estimated are highly sensitive person (HSP) , the problem for various reasons remains an issue not too often spoken about, not too well known.

For those who don’t know exactly what HSP is: it can mean one is very vulnerable to high sounds, chaotic situations, too many impulses at once to absorb ; or it can mean one is emotionally HSP and will feel every emotion extra intensively. Sadness becomes borderline depression, happiness leads to euphoria and extreme hope. The more moderate zone in the middle, is usually skipped. We just happen to experience, and feel, in great intention. Several HSP (such as myself) have both.

Dr Aron is an authority worldwide when it comes to high sensitive people. She is HSP herself, and has been invited as guest speaker around the world. Several other books of her exist, such as the handbook for the HSP, or the book on surviving when the world overwhelms you.

This book about relations however caught my attention first. I am looking for a girlfriend indeed (*slightly shy*) and being HSP myself of course can cause little misunderstandings. After all, when I meet a nice girl I have lots in common with, I feel euphoric and begin to fantasise about my life with her, the things we could share together, … But if things in the end don’t work out, intense sadness that is close to true depression takes over. It is truly a rollercoaster of emotions.

The book is very well written, very clear, and in a very easy to understand language stripped off most jargon. It is amazing to realise, as HSP, how often I have already recognised myself in the things and situations the book talks about. For that reason, I recommend it every HSP, and even every person who is close to a HSP (especially the partners !)

Below are some examples from the book, however not all. Otherwise there’d be no point to follow my advise and run to your bookstore to buy it!

– A lot of outdated stereotypes are still kept intact, sadly enough. Gender stereotypes being a good example. Note that gender, sex, and sexual orientation are very different things (take that from this person who is masculin, heterosexual but with a strongly feminin personality).

Male HSP often suffer more from such stereotypes than females. Because the stereotypical idea of a man (a ridiculous one if you ask me) is a strong, tough, performing, person who doesn’t let emotions show.
But as HSP, we have no choice but showing emotions. We are highly sensitive. So this means that we can simply not be like that stereotypical ‘alpha male" (why would someone want that ?!). This is called the "Boys code". A lot of males suffering from this have had a depressed youth and were often victims of bullying.

Personally, I do not follow this "code". Yes, I am HSP, I am sensitive and emotional. And I don’t mind showing that. There is nothing shameful about a tear, so hiding it is not needed. I think fragility and showing your emotions is actually a beautiful thing. I never felt interested to join the "alpha male" club, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being emotional and showing it.

– A lot of HSP have a very vivid imagination. Dreaming and self reflection are v very important for the HSP, and we are good in it! So using those dreams for the right reasons, can be a benefit actually. We have a strong imagination, and process things happening around us or which we observe in a much deeper, more intense way than the average non-HSP.

What I loved about this chapter was the encouragment to stay dreaming, and to use those dreams for the good purpose. Rather than stating such dreams are naive, the book encourages to dream, to keep those dreams with you and take the useful elements into real situations. I thought that was lovely to read.

– We tend to fall in love with an intensity beyond average. It is also typical that the HSP will be mainly attracted to one’s personality and character, and that this is the main cause for falling in love, which can be in large extremes. We unconsciously seem to seek a soul mate, someone who is a lot like us and with whom a very strong emotional connection can grow. "Opposites attract" maybe for many people, but for us it’s a different situation quite often.

The average HSP falls in love with greater intensity. There is a large need for intimacy (on non-sexual level), trust, and being able to talk openly about everything.

Also, we tend to have a very detailed image of the man/woman we would like to meet. We have a very detailed idea of what we look for in a partner.

I have this experience all the time. Ask me to describe the woman of my dreams and 80 to 90% will be non-physical, but rather describing her character, her personality. And I know the moment I will meet this woman, the feelings will be very heavily.

Since true love can be a very intense emotion, some HSP deliberately search it. But for other HSP, just telling that you like someone can be a very big problem due to the overwhelming emotions it brings. Sometimes too overwhelming.

– A lot of us are heavy thinkers, so we easily get overwhelmed. Sometimes help may be needed to deal with this overstimulation. Some HSP feel a strong need for routine and repetitive day structures, because otherwise the sensations experienced may lead to being overwhelmed.

We tend to also have to face the question "who can know that we are HSP?". The book advises openness, to Always be authentic, Always be open about yourself.

This is a great advice, I have applied this long before I have read this book. To me, telling people about Asperger or my phobias, is as normal as telling someone that I have long hair and blue eyes. Sure, some people may take advantage of your honesty, but the majority of people in my experience actually make efford to adapt themselves to the situation, to avoid causing discomfort. The benefits of being open, outnumber the downsides by far.

– As a relationship would grow, sooner or later there may be the need for physical intimacy beyond kisses and cuddling. Yes, we are talking about sex here! This can be very overwhelming for the HSP, first of all because this brings so many sensations and emotions that it may be too much to process. For the not very experienced HSP these emotions will for sure be overwhelming, risking they’d be too overwhelming.
It is not uncommon to hear people talk about pain during making love, despite being turned on. But when the emotions become too intense to handle, being turned on is no longer enough to guarantee a painless experience.

I heavily recommend this book by E. Aron, it is very useful material for both the HSP (who will, like me, recognise a lot of himself in this book) but also for the people that live with an HSP (eg partner) or are close to a HSP. It will also explain them why certain situations can cause overstimulation to their friend who is a HSP.

So run to your book store and buy this book!

Those understanding Dutch can always buy the Dutch translation of the book here: http://www.hspvlaanderen.be/boeken/elaine-aron

Please find below the general info on the book, both its original English version and its Dutch translation I have read.

The Highly Sensitive Person In Love. Understanding and managing relationships when the world overwhelms you.
by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.
ISBN: 0767903358
Publisher: Broadway Books, New York

Hoog Sensitieve Personen in de Liefde: hoe ga je om met relaties als de wereld je overweldigt
ISBN 9789063052874 of 9063050690
Uitgeverij Archipel
(c) 2000 Elaine N. Aron
(c) Nederlandse vertaling: 2003 Marja Waterman

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Documentary film “Love Surfing” featuring Gerrit now screening in Belgium

Friday 24th January 2014 will see the first Belgian screening of "Love Surfing", a short documentary film which is capturing an online dating experience.

Gerrit (Illusion of Purity) contributed to this film with a short testimony and an extract of a poem. The film is a DocNomads production and was directed by Egyptian filmmaker Theresa Khalil, about whose many earlier projects you can read all on www.theresakhalil.net !

The screening will take place Friday 24th January at 19:00 at Pianofabriek CulturenCentrum, Fortstraat 35, 1060 St-Gillis (Brussels). It is one of the 13 short films that will be presented during the event, all films in a different language. The total event will last until 21:00. Fans of documentaries or those who wish to see Illusion of Purity’s brief appearance on the big screen, know where to go. Entrance is free of charge.

Illusion of Purity thanks Theresa Khalil for allowing this contribution, and hopefully those who have supported the poetry project so far will be present. Apologies for the short notice.

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Help Illusion of Purity finding venues and stages

Dear all,

First of all I wish everyone following and/or supporting this project, a happy new year and all the best for 2014! May your dreams and wishes come true, and never forget that as long as there’s hope, there is life.

Last year celebrated the first Belgian gigs of Illusion of Purity, after having done many performances before in Barcelona, Spain. Illusion of Purity is looking forward to stand on stage more frequently in the new year, and is actively searching for places that can organise a poetry reading.

Venues can be pubs wanting to try out a poetry reading, established artistic pubs with a stage that have done poetry before, but it can just as well be a cultural center, a small room in a library, even someone’s living room if there is room enough for at least a 10 or more people! We are open to all proposals. If you do have a place for us and want to host a performance, please use the contact form to send your proposal.

A poetry reading usually takes between 1 hour and 1h30, if prefered a speech can be added.
I thank anyone helping out in advance ; remember that the more performances, the more people hear the poetry, and hopefully the more people will have a better understanding of autism, OCD and related disorders. Because in the end, the goal of this project is and remains the full acceptation (without any conforming) of people who are neurodifferent or face psychological difficulties.

Also, in addition to hopefully a lot of performances all over Belgium, we are looking forward to going abroad for the first time (excluding Spain, where the project was founded) ; we are hoping for performances in France, the Netherlands, the UK, Luxembourg, and/or northwest Germany. Any hint for a poetry venue or any type of stage where this can be organised, would be greatly appreciated. Please contact us using the contact form on this site. It would be a dream coming true to stand on stage in Paris, the capital of literature in Europe (but we’re just as much willing to come to, for example, London, Amsterdam, Köln, Luxembourg, Lille, …)

Another project worked on will hopefully appear on this site soon, as we are looking for suitable photography to decorate this site + photos of Illusion of Purity performances. Keep checking this site for more updates and more performance dates!

Wishing everyone all the best for 2014, and may the taboo wall surrounding psychological differences fall apart or at least be severely bruised…

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