aleke dekker has ten years of experience as a professional in social services and another ten+ as a volunteer. Her writings are—mostly—derived from meeting people whom she admires for their resilience and for their tenacity to exist . . . for their life—their humanity.
She writes because she feels—not to find the palatable answers in the narrative, but to struggle with the difficult questions underneath and to ask for answers only when trust and respect have been earned.
Her genre is Creative Flash Nonfiction: short-shorts, savage, and mostly grey—is there black and white?—with the occasional colourful disruption.
Riveting reflections on life and death and anything between, to probe our souls and make us wonder—as we often do after a hard day—if our well-meaning efforts to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of the individual in the margins of society actually made a difference . . . to them.
-a little longer-
She studied theology (M.Div.) and landscape architecture, was a housepainter, entrepreneur (knitwear fashion and landscape design) and bookkeeper. Then she spent seven years as a full-time volunteer in Amsterdam, where she found her passion for people in the margins in the Red Light District in the city, after which she entered her career in community and social services.
Her ultimate goal in life is to continually study, explore, learn from everyone and everything and . . . to laugh.
My skills vary as much as my life experience.
I have a passion for people, a strong sense of justice, am tenacious in pursuing advocacy for those who cannot speak for themselves, and desire for all to achieve their full potential.
My abilities range from the extreme practical to innovative and artistic.
I started writing while working with street-involved “human beings.” I say it that way because for many, part of their humanity had been destroyed, erased, had been lost, in childhood, as a teenager or adult, in a single act or over an extended period of time, by making a wrong choice or by being coerced, forced or violated.
Isolated, excluded, excommunicated from society.
The act of writing, the concrete disclosure—even if only to myself—of putting “on paper” my helplessness and hopelessness made me grasp the infinite despair I was continually confronted with. At times I hardly dared put words to it; to engage pain to the point of having to accept death, admit its welcome.
Those who are forgotten, ignored, and isolated by society are preyed upon, both intentionally and unintentionally—the cracks in the system—or they willingly become prey,
in order to belong . . . somewhere
to feel . . . something
to be loved . . . by someone
for a moment in time.
I learned to understand it, find a place for it, but still refuse to accept it.
Those who see the wrong and try to help, the weary ones tempted to give up or turn to stone—due to no fault of their own (necessarily)—so easily fall into the trap of fixers. It is not the difference we make that counts, but the difference it creates in us.
I quote an ancient saying from 1 Corinthians 13:13,
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
No matter what our faith consists of, it will waver. Our hope will be destroyed. But to continue to love is our choice.
I speak occasionally and I have taught many classes on “being present.” Even if our actions are inadequate and often fall short of providing real relief, sharing humanity—one-on-one contact—changes a moment in time, though the past and the future remain the same.
I have kept my writing mostly to myself and am just starting to enter the world of exposure, submission, rejection, affirmation and critique.
-more- About Me
I am often asked why I like real-life movies with depressing endings—which closely reflect my work—life is real, Hollywood is not.
I wear black because I like it. It started in Amsterdam with Goth and Punk, and even though I occasionally dabble in other colours, I always have about half a dozen packages of black dye ready to go back to black.
I am a Belgian-beer snob. I like it sweet, high (%) and served in its proper glass. Don’t mess around.
I love camping: take a suitcase and pack your house in it—tent, self-inflatable mattresses, sleeping bags, pillows, towels, cutlery and cold-coffee filters—all the rest goes in a carry-on; rent a car at your destination and you are free to go wherever!
I am captivated by water—the sight, sound, the feel, the feeling: melancholy, power, silence . . .
I believe, I wonder, I empathize, I laugh; I bitch, I pray, I question, I laugh;
I search, I preach, I cry, I laugh . . .
Lastly, if I take myself out of focus, and focus on what’s before me, I will learn from all I encounter . . .