And it isn’t a linear process

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Something unusual caught my eye. I was hiking along an elevated trail in the woods, and when I looked down into the small valley next to the trail, I saw something that looked like a fresh grave.

The descent was steep and covered in thorny bushes. But because I don’t come across a secret grave every day, my curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to leave the trail to inspect the situation.

I almost lost my balance on the way down, and my leg got stuck behind some bushes. Instead of carefully untangling myself, I took a…


Fiction Friday

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Readers please note: this story includes a description of mental and physical abuse. If you need help, contact the .

She wasn’t sure if she was blind or if it was still dark. It wouldn’t be the first time he literally knocked the light out of her.

Groaning, she inspected her body. Even though she felt shattered, nothing was broken. Inch by inch, her fingers danced over her face. Her fingertips found a nasty cut above her right eyebrow, but no other cuts or swelling around her eyes.

“It must still be dark then,” she thought. When…


When it comes to self-help I am my own target audience

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“You need a niche,” my marketing teacher repeated endlessly. “You need a target audience. A persona.”

I penned down everything she said. I underlined “if you write for no one, you will reach no one” three times.

Even though I dropped out of college twenty years ago, her lessons are etched on my soul. Every time I sit down to write, I still ask myself the same questions;

  • Who am I writing this for?
  • What do I want them to know?
  • Why do they need to know this?
  • What do I want them to do after reading this?
  • How will…


Just because someone likes you doesn't mean you owe them anything

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“Come on, Judith, he came all the way here for you. The least you can do is talk to him.”

I was annoyed and confused. Being an impressionable 18-year-old, my friends' opinions were important to me, but I didn’t want to talk to Ivar.

“I didn’t ask him to come,” I snapped at them. “How did he even know I’d be here?”

Tham giggled. “Because I told him. He overheard us talking about the party and asked me for the details. It’s romantic that he wanted to come all the way over here to surprise you.”

Now I felt panicky…


Checking your phone every 5 minutes makes everything worse

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It was Thursday morning, January 7th. The morning after.

I’d barely slept. I was too busy watching the news, reading Twitter, and sending countless text messages. I’d fallen asleep with my phone in my hand and resumed doomscrolling the minute I woke up.

Even though the world was falling apart, I had a 9 a.m. meeting. Online, because the second Covid wave is so bad in my country, we’re on lockdown again.

I asked my co-worker how she felt about the news. Her response shocked me.

“Why, did something big happen? I only watch the news once a day, so…


You are sexist, and I’m exactly like other girls

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It was the biggest compliment a guy could give me. I was cool. Not like other girls. I could take a joke. I didn't mind burping and farting, and I could throw a punch. I was chill; I didn’t nag like those other bitches. The simple fact that I liked comics, gaming, and science made me a rare creature.

The more men told me I wasn’t like other girls, the cooler I felt and behaved. If I was offended or hurt by something, I didn’t say it. Because then I’d be sensitive and whiny, just like those other girls. …


When you cross the line between cultural appreciation and appropriation

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For those who missed it; a quick recap of the biggest ESCÁNDALO of 2021:

Actor Alec Baldwin has been married to Spanish-American Hilaria Thomas for over eight years. She moved to the US when she was 19 years old. She speaks with a Spanish accent, and their children all have Spanish names. She often talks about her family on the Spanish island of Mallorca and how much she loves the language, culture, and food.

And then last week, it was . She’s not even remotely Spanish. Her real name is Hillary Hayward-Thomas. She grew…


I’m still not sorry

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Even though we hadn’t had the “so what are we” talk yet, I saw him as my boyfriend. I had stopped hanging out with other guys and introduced him to my friends — which in my 18-year-old romantic brain was just one step away from getting engaged.

So when his birthday was coming up, I assumed we would spend it together. I shaved my legs, bought him a lovely gift, and hopped on the train to the office. Not only was he my lover, but he was also the CEO of the call center I worked at.

When I arrived…


#3 Forests can heal broken hearts

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Because a massive second wave is hitting my country and we’re in a strict lockdown, Christmas isn’t very festive. So I did what I do every Friday, and I went to the forest to pick up litter. And doing so, I noticed these seven things:

#1 A trash bag is an invitation for contact during a lockdown

“Excuse me, are you volunteering?”

I’m not even in the forest yet, and I’m already getting attention. Behind my house is a tiny park, and I always start my cleanup there. Beercans, candy bar wrappers, and cigarette butts. …

Judith Valentijn

Failing forward. Writer. Psychology student. Certified Non-Duality Coach. Reluctant marketer. Reach out:

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