Jokes that fell flat. Worry that my film friends have moved beyond me and no longer want to be my friends. Yet another message from my uncle. The amount of chemical backlash in my body from sheer terror is massive.
Goddess, where do I start?
Sent out a group message to the film crew. Made a joke about the director just telling R he was cut from the film (2 months late) and the ensuing conversation. Received one reply: we already knew about that. No laughs, no giggles, just cut short. That’s the biggest thing on my mind. I know they’re busy with job hunting, etc., but…well. I expected at least a giggle emoji in reply. Especially from S, the casting director to whom I thought/hoped I had a real connection. Maybe the time of that friendship is over. That happens. Circumstances make you friends, and circumstances can pull friendships apart. My biggest fear is that I’ll get an even bigger bite from someone in the group, some comment along the line of ‘Gee, the film is over. You’re an old woman. You’re nice and all, but we’re not really friends.’ That fear prevents me from asking if something is going on, if I’ve misstepped or said something that threw a wrench into the whole thing.
On the flip side, ran into B, a fellow ex-pat who’s been coming to my script readings and calls me by my pen name, and O, her friend. Saw them at the library yesterday when I renewed my membership. Talked for over two hours, left with hugs and hopes that we’ll get together after I’ve recovered from surgery. That felt good. My bro doesn’t like B nor her husband. That sucks; I can’t come home and say ‘I had a great conversation with B’ because he doesn’t like her. Always a nasty comment in return. I like B, and her husband. They’re very pleasant with me, very understanding and supportive. And I feel a real need to have a few friends. People who know ME, who like ME. Not people I’ve met through my brother, who are my brother’s approved friends. I’ve done that. For years and years. And it’s helped keep me safe. But now I have to do things differently. I’m moving beyond the sphere of influence my brother has and into a separate arena. Music, fine. My brother’s heavily involved, very educated and skilled, and very adept at putting projects together. I nod to his expertise. But he’s nothing to do with theatre, or writing. I need other people now. Other supports, other critiques – even if my brother doesn’t like them.
I’m not willing to exchange one kind of control for another. I listen to my brother’s gripes, his opinions. I take that as advice: be aware. Be careful. On certain levels, these people could be untrustworthy. I acknowledge that as a truth. And I hope, with my brother’s constant judgements, to hold an even keel and a steady head as I work my way through this jungle of networking.
Sickening jolts of fear running through my body. It’s like a timed flush, or a menopausal hot flash. I can feel it coming on. Feel the chemical dump, my heart rate race. I hate it. And I breathe deeply, do my best to calm myself. Got so bad at one point last night I couldn’t talk. Only breathe. Telling myself it’s like pain; it’ll pass, just get through it. And I do get through them, but the next time it hits me it’s just as bad, just as frightening, just as sickening.
Message from my uncle. Meh. What do I say? Yet another attempt – a blatantly obvious attempt, at least to me – to test the lines of communication between us. It’s what my family does: insult you to the hilt, ’til you can’t take it anymore and throw a fit, then come timidly back, testing the waters to see if you’ll still bite their head off. They never apologize, never approach the topic head-on. Don’t speak of the past; pretend it never happened. I hate that. Hate that approach, hate everything about it. One more way to enforce silence.
I will no longer be silent.
My mother – my uncle’s “saintly” sister and beloved nurse anesthetist – physically abused me. The physical abuse was covert; I never had a black eye or broken arm. But it was there. It happened. Of course, the physical abuse was just a set up for the mind fuck she pulled on me. Still not quite used to that look of shock that comes over someone’s face when I tell them some of my childhood secrets. She did that to you? Yeah. Yeah, she did. Repeatedly.
And the shock registered here, in the Netherlands, is far beyond anything else I’ve seen. Because they really care. Mental health isn’t an “issue” to be feared, and people with problems aren’t freaks. Many people have sought counseling for things that, when I hear them, I can’t help but have a moment of ‘wow, you thought THAT was bad?!?’. So when I tell them about things like the old adage of ‘you’re too smart to make such a dumb mistake’, or the fact that the first time I had my hair washed at a salon I was convinced they did it wrong because it didn’t hurt, they look at me with real bewilderment.
Getting well…it’s kind of like writing. You start with just spewing out everything. But eventually you get around to editing. You get down to the nitty gritty. I began my journey with my stories, no judgements, no classifications, just ‘this is what happened to me’. Then, I adopted the idea of physical abuse. Just the idea; I could write it, but I couldn’t say it. Now, I’ve edited it down. I can lead with ‘my mother was physically abusive to me’. It’s hard to say. Hard to say just that and nothing else. But that’s the kernel of truth behind all my stories.
Crack that nut, and everything else gets a little easier.