Pick one

Vomit.

Wish I could. Wish I could vomit all this out of me. The anger, the burning hate that threatens to consume my mind. I want to strike out, to hit, to hurt, to kill. Make ’em bleed ’cause they fucking deserve it. I am very wary of this feeling; I know it does nothing but breed more problems. But I feel like I could just punch something or someone and keep punching until my hand breaks.

The weather is not helping. High winds and hail storm against the window, echoing the warfare I feel inside. Noisy shit that just won’t leave me alone no matter how many times I decide to let it go. Keeps coming back like some rabid dog determined to fucking bite me.

Did well yesterday. Give me a gold star. Homework, gym, and held back on smoking too much. Still want to cut down further, but real progress.

…Meh. I recognize this is part of the process. Increased irritation and anger while going thru withdrawal. Doing my best to keep that in mind. It prevents me from killing anyone, but it doesn’t help me sleep.

Dentist tomorrow. Joy. Have to tell him about my teeth. Oh, gee. Yeah, they still hurt. Sometimes here, sometimes there. Sometimes not at all. I can’t figure it out, and I can’t stop it. And I’m fucking fed up with it. Please don’t fucking touch this one nor that one. And please don’t hurt me anymore.

Don’t want to go out there today. The winds and hail are scheduled to continue, and it just makes me want to hole up under my blanket. I could. I know what I need to do before the premiere and it’ll take one day if I’ve got my shit together. I have the time to skive off. Tempting. But staying home means tempting myself with smoking all day long. It’s so easy to light up and let my worries drift away. So I don’t know.

I also don’t know about my hair. My bro has officially given me funds to go to the salon and do whatever. Now that I have permission, I’m really wondering if I want to cut my long locks. Managed to sneak in that shower yesterday, and as usual when faced with this type of decision, the alternatives all make themselves attractive. I stepped out of the shower with my hair already hanging in soft ringlets – the type of hairstyle some women work hours to achieve. And I wondered…do I really want to chop all that off? Isn’t it pretty? Yes, it is pretty. That’s a plus on the long hair side. But it’s also a pain. It’s so long now I HAVE to blow dry it because air drying it takes more than 8 hours. I don’t like that. I don’t like the fact that when I sit with my head relaxed against the back of my chair, my hair gets caught behind my back. I don’t like the extra heat I feel in bed, either. It’s heavy, and hot. …That’s a lot more negatives than positives. Should be an easy decision.

Fucking dithering. I’m worrying about possible future regret. That’s a moot point. It doesn’t exist, it may never exist. Kudos to me for trying to think ahead and consider the full consequences of my actions – but stop getting caught in ONE scenario. Many possible futures exist. Pick one, and work towards it.

Pick one…

There’s my problem. I want conflicting things. I want, in essence, the impossible. Long hair without the hassle. Smoking without the detrimental health effects. Weight loss without the work. Everything is conditional. If you want that, you must put up with or do this.

Even love. Humans have this intellectual construct called unconditional love. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist; even the “impossible” exists on the e curve, but I believe it exists in flashes of temporary feeling rather than as a stable, common emotion. One cannot feel loved without expecting certain things. We feel loved if people listen to us. Are there for us. Share their lives with us. Laugh with us. Hug us. But that means we expect these things to create this feeling – we put those conditions on our feelings of love. Can you feel loved when someone spits at you? Hits you? Degrades who you are, what you believe or feel? And wouldn’t someone who could say yes, I feel loved when people treat me like shit, be viewed as mentally unfit? Out of the norm? Strange and unwell for feeling that? …I think “unconditional love” is just a misnomer. What we’re really saying is ‘understand me, forgive me for what I think are my sins’. Is that even possible? I wouldn’t know. My immediate family was the type that never forgot, and never really forgave. My sins were repeatedly brought up and thrown in my face, every time things went wrong. “You always”. “You never”.

The hypocrisy I can’t forgive them for is expecting me to forgive this behavior, while simultaneously never forgiving me.

Intellectually, I think I’m at the point where I realize I have to forgive to move beyond this point. That doesn’t mean letting them back in my life; protecting myself is still the most important thing, particularly while I’m feeling vulnerable. I get it. I know what I eventually have to do. I just don’t know how to get there. This is so deep in me, I feel it’s burned into my DNA. – Which is why most of posts degenerate into family gripes, like this one.

*sigh* Your future is out there.

Pick one.

 

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Give me strength

The dress fits. More than a quarter century on, and the dress fits. More than pleased; no need to spend funds on another outfit. Just shoes, and I can go cheap with those. Basic black pumps, no frills, low heels. Yippee.

Language lesson was far less of a drudge than I’d feared. I enjoyed it, as a matter of fact. Probably because I worked hard, I understood what was said, what was read, what was expected of me and I answered correctly 98% if the time. It’s a rare thing for me to make a mistake on my homework now. And I’ve moved into understanding nuances of words.

Got back the Dutch kids’ story, with corrections. Again, less than I’d feared. For 12 pages of handwritten material, I made very few mistakes – and those I did make, once pointed out to me, were obvious.

Pulled info on screenplay formatting, and began roughing a few lines in. I’m enjoying re-thinking the script, visualizing what I could do with a camera and editing rather than live action stage actors. It’ll be a nice project to putter on in between everything else.

Doing my best to cut back on smoking. Ugh. This is one I do NOT want to do. However. I need the time, the brain power, and the money in other areas right now, so cut back it is. Want to ride that line between cutting back and irritation; no need to make myself into a total bitch at the moment. I’ll self medicate as I feel I need. But ONLY when I need.

Followed up on our health insurance changes. Think I’ve got all the info we need to make a decision. I feel sort of dumb; in the end, getting thru it wasn’t that tough, and I’ve been dragging my feet for three years on this. Still. My language ability took a big leap recently, so I won’t be too hard on myself. Six months ago and this breezy attitude of ‘it wasn’t so difficult’ would not have surfaced – I was still mired in trying to understand.

More Dutch films. Ran ‘Sint’ last night with Dutch subtitles. Heard more. Understood more. But oh! I’m so happy I ended up here, in Rotterdam, rather than Amsterdam. Amsterdammers drop the last syllable of every word. No idea how they can tell the proper verb form on anything. It all sounds identical. And no wonder some immigrants just begin putting an ‘ah’ sound on the end of every word. It’s what it sounds like. Unfortunately for me, Amsterdam is still the center of the world here, so I need to learn their dialect because it’s in every radio broadcast, film, and tv program.

Getting close to asking someone why there are close to zero Dutch programs other than talk shows. Oh, their talk shows. Panels of people that discuss this or that. Close to 100% of what they do. No soaps, no sit-coms, no dramas. Panel shows and game shows. Snore! Why not a story? Why not something more? They’ve got the skills in media. Their films are top quality, and the stories they tell in film are wonderful. So why not tv?

Woke up crying. Don’t ask me why; I’ve already blocked the thoughts from my mind. But tears were there. Telling myself to hang on. It’s okay. Just part of the process, right? Pain leaks out of us in every sort of manner. This morning, it was tears from my eyes. This afternoon it might mean me feeling like shit because I still haven’t heard whisper one on anything I’ve sent out. And tonight I might snap at my brother because I feel unheard or unappreciated. Never happy about that, and I try to not turn my hurt on others. But it happens, and I realize why it’s happening. Too much pain. Something’s got to give.

Need to get to the gym. Put money on my metro card, and go hunting for shoes. See if the building has enough hot water to take a shower today. And go thru some more Dutch (already put in over an hour this morning).

*sigh* I feel disconnected from myself. And this, too, shall pass… Withdrawal. Yep. Feelin’ it already. I really miss my morning smoke.

Goddess, give me strength.

Can’t see the forest

And so…

Did some pacing, and some self-talk therapy. Needed to walk out those feelings that were overwhelming me. Got to the gym, burned hard and didn’t tear up once. Back home to hit my homework. Meh. Will I ever learn this language well enough that I don’t have to look up umpteen frigging words in my dictionary every time I do homework? Begrudgingly, I’ll admit my comprehension in general is higher. But there are words I’ve done before in homework, and I just can’t retain their meaning. Don’t know why, but every damned time I think ‘Oh, shit! That word! I know it. What the fuck does it mean again?’ It’s slow going.

Have replayed Friday in my mind so often I’m growing a bit paranoid. Did I go overboard? Ye gods! STOP IT! Stop thinking about it, analyzing it from every little angle. It was fine; you were fine! Stop…looking for something to throw you. Hate it when I do that. And I do it more often than I want to admit.

Now it’s back to practicalities. Get prepped for the premiere. Try on my one good dress (almost vintage now, at 28 years old) and see if it still fits. Shoes are a priority: I only have sneakers and ankle boots. Clean the jewelry I think I’m gonna wear. Think about what the hell I can do with my hair. Wear it up? I’m tempted. There’s so much of it, tho. Will I have the time and funds to get it done? Nice thought, but doubtful. My brother has already been generous with extra money for shoes and a dress if needed; this month is financially tight, as every month seems to be. I can’t ask for more, nor do I feel right splashing out a lot on myself. I’ll try to make do.

I look forward to a day when getting my hair done isn’t viewed as ‘splashing out on myself’.

Smoking: been uppermost in my mind. I am hyper conscious of every time I smoke. Beginning to put it off. Wait a bit longer each time. No great strides, but a bit of progress. A little bit less than the day before. I’ll take it.

…Have to admit to something difficult now. I’m disappointed, and I shouldn’t be. Or, that’s what I’m feeling. …*sigh*… Right. I’ve already acknowledged that even tho I’ve broken off contact with many members of my family, I still want their praise. That’s a common theme in my life. So it shouldn’t be so hard for me to say I’m disappointed that not one member of my DNA family whom I have so many frigging problems with said ANYTHING about the film trailer I posted on FB. Even the ones I still have contact with – no likes, no thumbs up, nothing. Nadda, with a silent exclamation point because it’s that damned quiet. It is difficult, tho. I feel like it’s not appropriate. I made the choice, I cut them off – what the hell am I bitching about now? But if I’m not honest about my conflicting emotions and nonsensical desires, well, what the hell am I writing this for? …Right? (Asked with a desperate need for confirmation..)

Shit, Beeps. You’re looking in the wrong direction…

Remember? Don’t look back. Your elders will never give you what you want. Look forward. Look to the children. It’s they who are excited over you and your knowledge. They’re the ones to call you a role model. You can never be that to your elders. Never, ever, ever. Let it go. And take what you’re given, because what you’re given is precious and wonderful. S looks at me and wonders why I give myself such a hard time. You’re so beautiful, and talented, and brilliant! she tells me. Everything I wanted my mother to say to me. Everything she never said. Take it, Beeps. Without reservation, without self degradation. Hold your head up, smile, and take it as it’s meant. This is your payoff, finally. Allow yourself to enjoy it.

I give myself permission to be happy. I give myself permission to be happy…

People say ‘give it time’. Whatever the hurt or problem, ‘give it time’ is the answer. What people really mean is ‘have more patience with yourself’. And that is far harder than giving it time. Time you can while away through many shiny distractions. But patience for yourself! Now, that’s something you’ve got to work on. Consciously. It is a moment by moment thing, and it’s tough. Doesn’t help that while you learn your new conditions or language or habits, time drags. Tick, tick, tick…Your days become filled with the ticking of the clock, counting off every begrudged minute devoted to whatever it is you’re trying to heal from or learn or change. Once you’ve got it, that stops happening. Time goes back to normal. Sometimes, it even speeds up. But until then…it’s just a slog.

Why do the good and fun things in life seem to fly by so quickly, while the horrid things we’d rather not put up with go on and on and on?

If that holds true, this week should last a few months. I’ve got my language lesson (not ready for it, but then I don’t know that I ever will be), shopping for shoes (ugh. don’t even go there.), and a dental appointment for a mouth guard fitting (dread; more crap in my mouth). Must call about my orthopedics – that’s a double whammy: Dutch on the phone combined with shoes angst. Find out if I’m too fat for my good dress or not (MEGA dread).

Hm. Well that list gets me back to my normal anxiety/stress level. *ironic chuckle*

I walked into this year thinking it was all gonna pop for me. Everything just go, go, go. Now, I don’t know. Now I’m in the daily muck of it all, and I’m getting lost in the small shit.

I can’t see the forest for the trees.

Hugs

You can tell a lot about your relationship with someone by the way they hug you. Space left between, loose arm hold, fast release…you know when the hug is social, something they feel they must do rather than something they want to do.

I received one such hug yesterday. It came from the student who had to leave the country; her visa is up and she’s going home in a week. I noticed she sat a seat or two apart from the rest of us as we watched the film, and she didn’t join in the conversation often. Maybe the final production was tough. Maybe there was tension and some sort of fight over the film. Or, more likely, she was already feeling too much and she didn’t want to ache worse by engaging with us and then saying good-bye. I’m sad to think that. But I totally understand. The rest of the hugs I received ranged from true friendship to intense love. And I was a glutton, asking for hugs when meeting and hugs when leaving. Gimme, gimme, gimme. I don’t get many hugs, and I wanted to store them up. Plus, I love these people. Totally.

Was happy to find the people I felt most strongly about also felt the same way in return: their hugs told me so. Did not want to leave their company. I also did not want to force them into hanging out with me all day, so we did eventually end the afternoon. But the end came with promises of more calls, more visits – after exams and deadlines, which all seem to be happening in the next ten days. Asked S if I’d offended her with any of my comments on her writing. How I love this young woman! She turned shining eyes – really, her eyes were shining – to me and said ‘Oh, no! You gave me so much great information; I really appreciate it!’ and went on to tell me about the exam and deadline schedule. We have plans to get together once her calendar quiets down, to really talk about the script. And she’s promised (like a teenaged best friend) to help me with my hair and make-up on the night of the awards ceremony (which is black tie – gulp!).

Oh! I have a friend!

Talked a bit about my writing. Mentioned how I want to take my work to film. Everyone wants to continue working in the industry. And the director said, on the way out, ‘maybe we should just do another one’, meaning maybe we could get together and film MY story. He mentioned how little some films are made for, the funding and support available here in NL. I responded enthusiastically, saying my stuff is made for the stage so it’s already story heavy and FX light. …I know it’s not Ridley Scott or some other famous director, but the very idea has me all a-tingle. It might happen. I might see my script on the big screen.

Speaking of the big screen, OH MY GODDESS! Now I understand why Hollywood actors starve themselves. That screen blows you up to inhuman proportions. It doubles your size, and doubles your flaws. The part of me that always wants to look attractive winced. We used overhead lighting in the shoot – the type designed to throw shadows under any puffiness and exaggerate every crease and wrinkle. Ugh! I looked awful. And when I tucked my chin in, the skin on my neck just hung there all flabby and gross. But the part of me still addicted to being attractive is pretty weak. She gasped once or twice in my head, horrified at our appearance. Then the rest of me shut her up. We’re clay, I told myself. This is what they wanted. Look at the final product. And even she had to admit it added to this off feeling in the scenes, the tension and the something’s not right here that we wanted the audience to feel.

Oh, the excitement! The joy! All those times I was forced to work in groups, all those times I was told to pull as a team… I never felt it, and I never was in a group I felt included in. Not until the film. Now, I get it. I get the power of a team. I get the power of working together. It. is. amazing. And it’s effortless and fun and full of so many good feelings I often find myself near or in tears.

Guess I haven’t let myself care this much very often. I’ve wanted to, I’ve just not found people I felt I could trust with…all of this. I want to dance and sing, jump up and down. Show them all how much I love them. Support them, cheerlead for them, listen and help and be happy as I see them succeed in life. And I don’t want to freak any of them out, either. This old woman who’s so odd. Who just walked into their lives and now has set up camp. Trying to limit myself. Give a lot, but hold back from the all because…well, it almost overwhelms me. I don’t feel right burdening someone with it – and that’s what it feels like, even tho I’m so very focused on their happiness. Too much of anything isn’t good. So I shine that light on them, that bright burning joy I have around them, when I’m in their presence. Then, I try to tone it down. Not hound them every minute with it. I could; I’d like to write to each of them right now and tell them how much I love them.

I said it yesterday. Not with my words. That might sound weird. I told them how proud I was of them, how happy I am with the film, how much I loved being a part of it all, how I knew they’d all go on to be great successes. But my hugs said more. That’s how I told them I loved them.

Float

My Thursdays are now free. No surprise from my instructor, no empty attempts to get me to continue with the lessons. My entire body feels lighter. I feel, in fact, as if a great deal of clutter just got swept away. Ah! No more getting up early for a 9 a.m. start. No more frustration with my teacher’s unclear sentences. No more boredom, sitting there as the other student and the teacher chat and do lesson plans that I’m not included in or that I’ve moved beyond.

Spent my time well. Worked on real world language application. I had to sort through our health insurance information. Read through all the paperwork, went online and checked their site, then wrote a message to them with several questions regarding upgrading our policies. Took me a full hour and half, the exact time I would have sat in my language lesson, AND I got something accomplished. Much better! Feels like I have a chance of staying on top of things without my Thursday lessons.

Today I travel up to Den Haag. The film group have the finished cut, and we’re all getting together to watch it now because two of the crew have to leave before the awards ceremony. Can’t wait to see everyone. A little afraid, too. With the holidays, I’ve been out of touch with most of them. I see their FB posts and comment/like them, but it’s not the same. I think they’re feeling it, too: will we all have the same deep connection we felt on the set? Or will we gather together as near strangers, awkward with each other and not sure how to proceed? Determined to make that connection again. Just…let myself feel it and show it. Let those days of not being together melt away. Put my best self forward, and keep in mind the kindness and support I felt during the shoot. They won’t hurt me. I might hurt myself from too much positivity, but THEY won’t hurt me.

…And I feel the need of a little positivity right now. Still nothing from ANYONE on my scripts. Beginning to feel like maybe I didn’t get the story across. Maybe it’s all old hat. Maybe I’ve just been real manic (as usual post-writing) and it’s not that fucking great. Oh! Like it, like it, like it!! Please.

Splurged on a few new Dutch films. Both I and my bro feel it’s a great tool to use in learning the language. We run the films first with English subtitles, to make sure we know and enjoy the story. Then, it’s Dutch all the way. And it helps! I re-watched The Boxtrolls the other day, with only Dutch, and was amazed at how much I heard and understood. Beginning to mimic dialogue lines, which is precisely where I want to be. Parrot the language. Repeat back what I hear. Get the flow, the rhythm. That’s what I feel is missing from my language lessons. They push you to read, to talk, to do Dutch – but none of us had those early years with native speakers talking to us. It’s like learning a song: you’ve got to hear it a few times before you can sing it. Sometimes I feel like my teachers ask me to ‘sing’ Dutch cold: just do it. That works most of the time. But then there are the exceptions. The French words thrown in, which are pronounced differently. The Dutch words that are spelled one way but pronounced another (with no reason given, other than ‘that’s the way we do it’). With no native speakers directly in my life, I trip up on that all the time. I miss common words everyone else seems to already know. I need to hear that music! Might suggest to the group running the lessons that they have a clear speaker record some simple stories. Allow students to read the text and listen to a real native speaker read aloud. We all need it; I can hear it in the other students as well, even if they DO know more words than I.

…Have this odd feeling that my hair is turning into a running gag in my life. It’s just always the very last thing on my list. So it grows, and grows, and grows unabated. Don’t even know that I’ll get around to coloring the grey this month. I want to add some red, but I know that’s best done at a salon so nothing weird happens (once had my hair turn iron grey and electric purple from a bad dye job reaction). *sigh* The idea of traveling to the salon, sitting while the work is done, and paying for it… Well. Facts speak for themselves, don’t they? I obviously don’t find the prospect pleasant.

Beginning to pick up the threads of my routine again. I no longer have to put ‘gym’ on my daily list as a kick in my butt, I just do it. Still haven’t touched my homework for Monday, but I do feel I’m working on the language. Watching my sleep, my food intake, all that crap. Trying to slow down my smoking: now that’s hard. I can tell my anxiety is still high, and smoking is something that helps calm me. I also know it’s bad for me, and expensive.

Guess the one thing I really do need to address in my life is my anxiety. And the depression. And all the rest… I’ve been here before. I don’t like being here. I’m stuck between my fear of the whole mental health process and my fear over the damage I’m doing to myself. Either choice seems fraught with danger. Hard times, difficult days that I’ll just have to push myself through. I don’t want that. I feel I’ve done that, every day.

I just want to float…

Lovesick

*deep, lovesick sigh* Will I ever be able to have a physio appointment and NOT fall in love with my therapist? …Doubtful. I seem to be made hard-wired to like this guy. Everything about him – his looks, his voice, his mind, his attitude – I can’t help but like him. I’ve tried to keep cool. Be distant. But after each and every appointment, I feel love sick. I hoard up memories of his words and the jokes we share as if they mean something. Ach! I could spend a fortune on appointments just to have more time with him.

Today I’m getting walloped by a side comment he made about my hair. I told him the day is coming; it’s getting chopped off. Immediately his voice took on a slightly pleading tone: Why? I’ve heard that response before, in that tone of voice. It’s a ‘I really find your hair attractive, please don’t cut it off’ thing. And the very female response he brings out in me is now screaming to keep the hair long, deal with it. He likes it. Never once does this side of me ask if I like my hair this long. She’s only concerned with the impact it makes on other people. Especially people she finds intensely attractive.

…Still nothing in my inboxes regarding my work. I’m beginning to bite my nails.

I did manage to finally finish J’s story, and after several attempts, a note to him about it. Oh, that note! I re-wrote it and re-wrote it. I wanted to be up front about some technical issues. I wanted to be clear. Not mean, not cutting, just truthful. And bless J’s heart, he read it as I intended. Thanked me for pointing out the tech side of things, and admitted that he knew these were problem areas in his writing. I received a very long reply, detailing his ideas for his world and the characters. The message wound up with a ‘I’ve got low energy and loads of depression right now, so I’m not writing at the moment’. I replied, telling him to try and use that. His world is depressive; let that reflect in some of his characters. He ended up asking if he could quote me on FB. I said sure, thinking it would be one or two lines from my message. Nope. The whole thing, with praise heaped on my head for bringing these ideas to his attention. He told me he never once considered putting his depression into his stories. In his blog, yes. But in his stories? No. I could hardly believe it.

Please don’t tell me the majority of stories about depression are written by non-depressive people. It’s probably true; it has that ring of ‘yep, that’s reality’ in it.

No wonder the world is so fucked. We’ve been fed one viewpoint – a false viewpoint, with limited and restricting stereotypes laced throughout – our entire history. Stories about black people written by whites. Stories about women written by men.

Good Goddess! Write what you know!

More: write what you are. If you’re a man, write about men. If you’re gay, write about homosexuality. If you’re a woman, write about women. Don’t try to get tricky, don’t think you know what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes. You think you know, but you don’t. Leave the truth telling to the people who’ve been through it every damned day of their lives. That, more than anything, seems to be lacking. The overriding, all-encompassing shit we ‘minorities’ face day in and day out. If you haven’t had to deal with people ignoring you because you’ve got big breasts, or dissing what you say out of hand because of the color of your skin, you don’t get it. Our minds are not wired to imagine such slurs on a regular basis, such degradation in everything we see and hear and touch. And it changes everything. People like to imagine themselves being strong and brave in these situations. People get it wrong. Because when you’re a dog beaten for no reason and locked up in a cage all your fucking life, you develop certain behaviors and attitudes that are not strong nor brave. It’s easy to be heroic when you step into a bad situation after a lifetime of support and real love. But if you’re that beaten dog, heroics are something you dream about, not something you do. You’re too enmeshed in freeing yourself from your restraints.

*grumble, grumble, and grouse…*

…So today I need to walk into my language lesson and tell them I’m not continuing this semester. Thursday lessons just aren’t worth it. There’s no lesson plan, no structure. The room is big and loud. It’s difficult at best to hear. I think my time is far better spent doing my Monday homework, extra reading, and watching more films and programs in Dutch. Structure, repetition, and clear speaking. That’s what I need. Not a teacher who’s half afraid of me and half doesn’t like me. Not a ‘lesson plan’ that dithers here and there without any clear direction. Not an extra student who, when she shows up, pulls the entire experience back to a lower level I’ve moved beyond. I need to keep moving forward. Not sure what to expect today. My plan is to take nothing; I’m not staying. Just show up and talk to my teacher. Tell her I can’t afford to pay for both Monday and Thursday lessons, and since I must choose, I choose Monday lessons. The other reasons…if I was offered Thursdays for free, I’d go. No skin off my nose. Then I’d view it as one more opportunity to just use the language. But it’s not worth paying for. Last semester, my fellow student didn’t have to pay. We’ll see if that occurs for me. I don’t expect it.

Get to the gym. Make sure I’m ready to head to Den Haag tomorrow.

*sigh* And work, once more, to free myself from this lovesick feeling.

Zin

The Dutch call it ‘zin’. Zeal. Zest for life. Interest in things other than how much toe jam has built up under your big toenail.

I felt it flood back in me yesterday. Got on the cross trainer. Took it slow; it’s been a month and I’ve been smoking like a chimney. Got my heart rate up to the 140s, did my 30 minutes, and ended up picking up speed throughout so I did a decent distance.

Wish I could say it’s been pain free, but it hasn’t been. My back is still a problem, and if I chew regular food on the right side, that tooth hurts. Gods. Like I want to tell the fucking dentist THAT. I’m afraid it will result in more tinkering, which will mean more pain, and more money because Goddess knows the damned dentist won’t do anything for fucking free even if he’s screwed up your teeth and it’s probably all his fault anyway. I don’t want to pay either price.

Today I see my very cute physiotherapist. I always look forward to that. Half physio, half head shrink session – I come out of his office feeling better physically and mentally. Good. Feels like I need to bounce a few things off someone other than me or my bro. Get an outsider’s take on things. …Okay, there’s really only one thing I need to bounce off him. Therapy. I’ve got a push me/pull me thing going with the idea. Part of me stubbornly says NO with absolute authority, the other recognizes that I really might need someone to talk to. Every time I think I’ve made up my mind, the other part of me starts acting up, talking loudly in my brain, giving me every reason to change my decision. I can’t seem to stick to my choice. More: I don’t know how to commit to that course of action.

Was pleased to find my least favorite pair of jeans (the stretchy kind that always feels a size or two too small for my hips) not only slid on easily, but buttoned up without pulling the fabric together. Geez. Lose a few pounds and those hated pants become not so bad to wear. Not so pleased to know the weight loss comes from just not eating. Had at least a week there when I wasn’t eating much of anything, and another two weeks with food intake very low due to mouth/head pain. I’d like to lose the weight without feeling like I need to go extreme with my measures. That doesn’t seem to work so well for me. Keep things steady with diet and exercise and my body stubbornly refuses to let go of one ounce. Go extreme, and the weight drops off me. Bugger.

No word on anything I’ve written. Really would have expected to hear something from the local director by now. He’s had the full trilogy for 10 days. Have paranoia creeping up on me. Everybody hates it. Hates me for something I said or did. I’m on the out, and no one will tell me. The local group won’t do it, the US group thinks I was too pushy in even offering it, and S hates me for the comments I made on her writing. Reminding myself of all those things you have to remind yourself of when paranoia grips you: I’m not seeing the whole picture, all sorts of things could have happened in other people’s lives to slow the process, take a deep breath, dude – you’re being paranoid.

The factory that is my brain is always going. Three shifts, round the clock. Ideas are beginning to take shape. I’m beginning to feel that excitement that takes hold me when I’m working on a story. Before I allow myself to dive into it, tho, I must take care of some outside things. Get back to J on his story. Do that work my bro asked me to take care of. Think about and do Dutch. And get back into exercise full swing. I really want to say fuck it to all of that and just sit here, smoke J after J as I spin out my tales. Allow myself to fall back into it. Trying to be more than that, tho. Trying to be a good person, a good sister, and a good student. My writing is in direct conflict with those goals. I am selfish when I write. I don’t think about other people; don’t even listen to other people. Only my inner voice, the writer: she gets all my attention, and she’s an attention hog. But she only works with imaginary people, whom she can control totally. I want the full monty, with real people. That takes work. So my brain is on notice: half speed only. If you work, you work in private. On the back burner, quietly simmering. Someone else is taking the forefront for a while, and if you can’t outright support her the least you can do is shut the fuck up.

I need to stop smoking so much. Burning thru stuff. Not only is it bad for my health, it’s bad for my pocketbook. If I want to get my hair cut this year (and I’d desperately like my hair cut soon), I need to cut back. If I want to buy some new clothes, I need to cut back. Ipso facto. Smoking is currently the biggest expense in my life. But I’m also terribly bored, which leads to me wanting to smoke more. It’s a vicious circle. I cannot do some things, like Dutch, non-stop. It’s counter productive to my learning. And I don’t have much to do if I’m not writing. Exercise, sure. But that’s a short time period each day. There are hours to fill before and after. And then there’s my general health to consider: get out more, do more, and I fall ill more easily – which sends me right back into hermit mode.

So…I got the ‘zin’…what now?

The verbal truth

Having to rethink the Dutch people.

It’s easy to see the Netherlands as a fairy-land. The manicured landscapes, the oh-so-cute buildings stacked one atop the other, the canals. It’s easy to overlook, as a visitor, the graffiti or the garbage, the pushy tourists or short tempered natives. Especially if you partake at the coffeeshops. Then it all blends into one glorious haze. The language becomes the tram lines, the tram lines become your croissant and coffee breakfast, and your breakfast becomes the experience. It is something you cannot pick apart. You cannot explain the difference in food quality without delving into food regulations. And you can’t talk about food regulations without addressing the overriding social structure of humanism. Back home, you just shake your head and tell people ‘it’s different’.

And, it is different. Coming from the US, the Netherlands seems a doll-house world. The “wide open spaces” of the US (aka, suburban sprawl) are replaced by neat, tight neighborhoods clustered around parks, playgrounds, and needed services. I am still struck by the Dutch use of space: toilets in unexpected areas, steps up or down to add variety, whole floors of buildings hanging in the air as if ready to fall. They mix these tight, convoluted spaces with clean-lined furnishings, and the overall effect is one of spaciousness. As a first time visitor I was amazed at how much storage space was available in their rather tiny homes, just as I was amazed at how much orange taste they got in a glass of fresh squeezed juice.

I looked at this land and thought: Wow. Nice. I want to live there.

There is a polished edge to life here, a smoothed surface on everything. The food is better. The transport is better. The internet is better. The prices are better. The clubs are better. Everything is that bit up. Nothing can just ‘get by’; there’s too much competition. Before you know it, you’re used to the well presented top quality plates at restaurants, the cleanliness of the metro and public buildings, the efficiency and work ethic presented to you in every field.

But the Dutch are quick to say they’ve got problems. Things they’re not happy about. For some, that’s basic: government and taxes. Most, however, point vaguely to less concrete issues: inequalities, rising violence, kids left behind in the system. They seem to think first of the big picture, the stuff that affects everyone and their society as a whole. The small stuff – personal issues like how much disposable income they have every month – comes later.

For three years, I’ve sampled life here on the edges. Kind of getting involved, but the language held me back. You can do that. You can totally get by with zero Dutch. It won’t always be easy, mind you, but you can do it. But if you really want to climb into Dutch living, you’ve got to embrace the language.

Now that I’m there, it seems I can’t be held back. I want more Dutch films. And not just for the language learning. What I’m seeing, what I’m hearing, is teaching me far more than my visits and spaced-out walking around for three years. Art reflects life and vice versa.

Last night’s film… My brother was unashamedly in tears. It was a film about bullying, and so inclusive in its story and so well executed that – even tho it was geared towards the late teen crowd – I can’t imagine it NOT resonating with everyone. I was…stunned. On a couple of levels. First, it portrayed an environment I thought beyond the Dutch. An environment in which adults ignored the evidence, people turned away and said nothing. In other words, what I would consider a typical American mindset: it’s none of my business. Or, worse (since the object of bullying was an overweight kid), he/she deserves it. Having lived in this doll house cocoon, imagining that all of that was far, far away from me…well, it was a slap in my face. A wake up call. A realization that yes, it can even happen here. And no, I’m not so dense as to think that there aren’t nasty people everywhere on this planet. That much seems obvious. What I’m shocked at is this totality: the victim, the bullies, the other kids, the parents, the teachers. The small, unspoken collusions needed to set up this story in the first place. It speaks of darker problems. Larger issues, harder to tackle issues. Why? Because the bullies were shown in their own homes. A few scenes showed a life most people would want to escape. They did not wear black capes; they were not irredeemable. Just the opposite. Hateful actions, from characters you ended up feeling sorry for. And that brings me to my second level of astonishment: the unblinking stare these artists used in bringing out this story. No holds barred. No lines crossed, either: it was neither over the top nor schmaltzy. But they were not afraid to show us the hateful things. The terrible things. It was as if the filmmakers said ‘This is what’s happening. No frills, no added oomph. This is it. Look at it.’ And it was all the more powerful for that understated, quiet demand.

This is what I admire. That forthright attitude. The outspokenness. The bluntness.

Yet I must grow accustomed to truth-speaking. I do it in my writing, but verbally, I lag behind. I stutter, I avoid topics, I outright lie if I feel under too much pressure. No! Really! It’s fine. I’m fine! All the while I’m dying inside.

There is a toughness to the Dutch I didn’t anticipate. It is not a hard slap in your face toughness, but a softer kind. A ‘I’ll tell you the truth because we’re both worth it’ attitude. More than the grammar or the words themselves, it is that part of Dutch that intimidates me. It is that part of life that intimidates me.

The verbal truth.

It’s right there

Stayed up late so I did NOT have a repeat of my 3 a.m. wake up. Made it a whole 6 hours. What the fuck?! I know I’m more tired than that.

FB: Hit the delete button. So far, no fall out from it. My bro, T… First he wanted to hound the guy himself. Start leaving niggling comments on HIS page. Then I mentioned I was just going to delete it…and my bro apologized. Apologized to me. I’m sorry, he said, I just wanted to mess with this guy. But if it bugs you that much, yes! Take it down! Promised if the dude comes back at me, my bro can let loose with whatever he wants. Before the block goes up.

Happy news: the film group is getting together on Friday to see the finished movie. Can’t wait to see everyone. Can’t wait to hug everyone. I’ve missed them, and posts on FB aren’t the same.

Received notice that Taman is in the system and available to view. Fabo. My name is up on a permanent, long term site as a playwright. I be legit! Guess I should start on that LinkedIn page.

And I’ve got a PDF copy of Fire and Fury on my desktop, curtesy of a friend. Skimmed a couple of paragraphs. I’ll probably never read it. The subject matter makes me want to vomit. Brings out the worst in me: the angry, violent side. I consider it interesting information, but that’s all. I don’t need 45’s handpicked people to tell me 45 is a fucking idiot and sexual predator. I already know that.

Watched an excellent Dutch film last night. It was so good, in fact, that I had difficulty sitting through it. Because there but for the grace of the Goddess go I. The basic story was a woman leaves her husband after getting undeniable proof that he’s a bad guy – gangster, criminal, thug. But the guy who played her husband -! Oh, I hope he won an award. He was so good I’d be nervous if I ever met him. Controlling. Maniacal. Manipulative. The story did not include spousal abuse, tho everything else was in place for it. And on the heels of my recent posts, saying I don’t want to relive the past because of the nightmarish quality of so many memories…there it was. Full color. Full on, in my face. Had to look away from the screen on several occasions, remind myself I wasn’t there, it wasn’t happening to me. I remember that fear. Being hunted. Stalked. Every move watched. No way to get away. No safe place. No one to help. The absolute and utter control by one person over another. …I find it more disturbing than any slasher film out there. In slasher films, at least the cops believe you. Someone tries to help, even if they get killed for it. In films like the one I saw last night, it’s too real. No one helps. Everyone turns away. No one believes you.

Sometime during the film I bit down hard on my teeth because…pain.

Think I will suggest including more Dutch programming during telly time. The first words out my mouth this morning were Dutch. Can’t remember what I said because I was more than half asleep, but it was Dutch, and grammatically correct Dutch. Excellent. I can go into class today and honestly say yes, I’ve been working on the language. Right now, everything depends on the speaker. Clear speaker: close to 100% comprehension. Mumbler: give me subtitles. I don’t know the words well enough to fill in the missing parts when I heard a mumbler. Hell! I’ll hear an accent faster if they at least project their words. But mumblers? Enunciate!! (Btw, I’ve the same gripe in English.)

Two things on my mind that just won’t go away. One is to get my shoes fixed. The other, is to talk to my doc about seeing a therapist or whoever about anxiety/bipolar/whatever the fuck I am. Both are the best things for me. My feet need my orthopedics to be good. My brain needs to stop winding itself up. Determined to make a start this week. Pick up the phone, get thru the Dutch, and make an appointment to have my shoes adjusted. Go the doc’s and make an appointment with her to begin that long process. I…need to allow myself to be happy. To let in success. Thought I was doing well, but proof is proof, and TMJ hitting me when I’m over the moon… Well. I’m just not there, am I?

Finding it difficult to get back to my exercise regime. Finding it difficult to get to the gym. Took advantage of some rare sunshine and walked outside. Something different. Probably needed the fresh air. But I don’t have that drive, that oomph right now to power push my way thru a real work-out. Telling myself it’s okay. Just off the morphine. That’s a real drag on your system. Give it a few days. Keep walking. It’ll come back.

Sounds very much like the mantras I repeat when I’m depressed. I will feel happy again. It’ll come back. And it does, eventually. I always find my biggest challenge is not harming myself too much before it returns. Same with the body. I’ll get back into it at some point. But in the meantime, I’ve got to monitor the daily stuff. The sugar desires. Cakes and goodies. Sitting for hours even tho it’s bad for my back. If I can keep that shit under control, it’ll be that much easier (and that much faster) back to a good mindset.

Feels like what I want is just over there. Just out of my reach. So close, yet so far.

…So, stop stretching. You said it yourself just a few days ago: stop trying so damned hard. I find that thinking counter intuitive. I want to reach all the more because it’s right there.

It’s right there.

3 a.m. crisis

3 a.m. Up for an hour, tossing and turning in bed. Why is my bed the last place I want to sleep?

Fuck it. Get up. On with the lights, on with the tv. Distract myself until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.

…Truth is, I got another blast from the past yesterday on FB. Someone out my past found me and commented on a post I made. He looks familiar, but I can’t place him. That’s bugging me enough. Add onto that his niggling comment: Is that why you left us, K? Whoa. Who’s “us”? And who are you, man who rings a bell in my head but whom I can’t place, to suddenly show up in my life and ask why I left anyone or anything?

Have this horrible feeling I might have fucked him. Or done a lot of drugs with him. Or both. Are there men in my past who I’ve forgotten? Sure. I was wasted thru most of my 20s. Desperate for attention, really low self esteem…you know the pattern. I was it. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’m not so ashamed of it I can’t talk about it. I find it sad above anything else. Sad that the people around cared so little they sat back, watched me try to destroy myself, and did nothing but heap shame, guilt, and blame on me for doing it. But I surely don’t expect random men from my past to pop up in my life 30 years down the road and throw some bullshit comment my way. It took two, asshole.

The name he used when referencing me gives away a certain time period or obvious family connections. That’s one plus on changing my nickname so bleeding often. My given name is one that has a minimum of four diminutives, and I’ve spent certain periods of my life using each and every one of them – each very distinctive. So either this guy knows my oldest brother, who’s always used that version of my name, or he met me when I was at Uni the second time ’round. Could not find a connection between my oldest brother and him, so I’m guessing it’s during Uni. That puts it between ’92 and ’96.

T, my adoptive brother I live with, was not happy when I told him about the comment. He’s on alert right away. My life before I reconnected with T was…chaotic. Unhealthy to the extreme. Got mixed up with a lot of users and abusers. T knows that. He helped me out of it. Gave me a safe place. Talked to me in the middle of the night when I woke up from nightmares. Told me it was okay. Honestly, he saved my life. I had no one else.

…This is a mystery I’m not willing to solve. I’m not willing to open up a conversation with this dude to find out where I know him from. I’m not willing to relive those memories. They are there, and I don’t deny them. But many have nightmarish qualities I’d rather not revisit. Things were bad. For all I bitch and moan about my head now, it was worse then. And the reality I surrounded myself with was degrading. I degraded myself. No denying it. Again, I find that sad more than anything else.

*sigh* Either leave it, or delete it. And you know which one you should do: delete. Block, if necessary. You know how those klingons keep clinging on.

Right. *yawn* Guess that was it, since now I’m feeling tired.

One more 3 a.m. crisis handled.