Saturday. I actually slept in and got 8 hours last night. It’s weird how long an 8 hour sleep seems to me these days. It’s equivalent of a 12 hour sleep in when I was 15. I feel so much more refreshed today it’s almost a night and day type situation (and if the weather was 10 degrees cooler, that’s just what I’d say. it isn’t and i’m damned hot).
Spoke to my brother yesterday. I hate telling him when I’m having a bad time. I hate telling anyone when I’m having a bad time. I feel stupid, like when I get a bone fracture in my foot (currently nursing one). I know nothing can be done; my bro can’t help my emotions and doctors don’t do shit for a hairline fracture near a toe. Oh, but tell them (everyone says). Well, I’ve told my brother but not my doctors. It’s too f***ing hot to go to hospital and get irradiated only to be told what I already know – got a hairline fracture, stay off of it. Wow, tough diagnosis.
Anyway, here I sit with my slightly damaged foot and my jumbled mind. My bro knows and is on the look out for all the signs that I’m falling too far, too fast. I feel pretty good today. Must have been the extra sleep. Or maybe my head is quieting down all by itself. Is that possible or am I just kidding myself now? Don’t know; don’t care. Just pleased enough that I’m not off the rails this morning. I didn’t shout at the tv or start to grind my teeth while watching the news. I did tear up a bit at a comment on my last post, but those were tears of gratefulness because someone else out here took the time to make a comment and reach out to me. It’s not what I started this for, and not what I expected. But since I often feel like a lone pimple on society’s ass, it hits home when someone says to me ‘I get it. I know what you’re saying and feeling. I’m right there with you.’.
Made a decision WITH my brother yesterday, which is kind of new for our dynamic duo. Usually, one of us takes the forefront and becomes the leader, making decisions while the other does the back up support system role. Yesterday we spoke frankly about our financial situation, and decided to NOT go ahead with language courses this month. It was a tough decision; we both know our limited language skills are holding us back from fully enjoying life here. But with Greece ready to exit the EU, Austria holding a referendum to leave, and Spain looking at the exit, it’s just stupid to spend cash right now. I fully expect to experience closed banks here at some point during the summer. So we’re tightening our belts, paying off debts, and hoarding cash. I just don’t want to be caught off guard. I’m glad my bro agreed with me. It was touch and go for a bit on the language course. We’re both smart but very lazy, and we know we need a regular class along with a teacher who has expectations of us in order to get us actually working! So I’ve doubled down on my commitment to try and learn on my own. The more words I can add to my vocabulary, the better. I know I’m forming sentences like a 3 year old. I know I mix up the tenses, and get the definitive articles wrong sometimes. But I’m also understood. Any time I can get through a simple transaction completely in Dutch I feel like I’ve won something. In fact, I usually celebrate with a happy dance (yes, the Dutch have seen me and yes, they must think I’m a little crazy but they mostly smile at my antics).
farewellmelancholia made a comment to me and asked ‘isn’t it funny to finally be the foreigner?’. I wanted to make a public answer to that. Immigration is a big issue in the world right now. It’s certainly right in my face at the moment. And I went out to read farwellmelancholia’s blog; she’s facing the fish-out-of-water syndrome as well. So here’s my answer, farwellmelancholia. I LOVE being the foreigner. I’ve cried over some of the racism and nasty comments and behavior I’ve received (yes, there are bigots here in Nederlands). And I haven’t even received many nasty remarks or looks! It’s given me an entirely new perspective on people in general. I hate that there’s hate out in the world; hate for not being a certain color or religion or sexual preference or language speaker. But there aren’t any lines drawn in the sand; these borders we impose are of our own making. For the first time in my life, I’m looking at people as PEOPLE. It doesn’t matter where we’re born. It doesn’t matter where we grew up. It doesn’t matter what language we speak. It doesn’t matter our religion or political affiliation. We all have common ground. Everyone smiles when they’re happy and everyone cries when they’re sad. That SHOULD be enough to clue us into the idea that we’re ALL human, and holding prejudices towards strangers whom we know nothing about is completely wrong. So leaving the safety net of home-spun English speaking society has been the best thing I ever did. And how ever much I struggle with Dutch and gripe about my slow progress, it’s all worth it. Even the language has things it’s teaching me. I’ve had to strip my conversation of localisms and phrases that don’t translate. I’ve noted how Dutch does things differently; being someone who’s struggled with weight and body image for ALL of my life, I was startled to start saying ‘I have hunger’ rather than ‘I’m hungry’. It put a different mental spin on the entire issue for me, and began to free me from my food addictions. Just by studying the frigging language! I can only imagine what differences I will feel when I become fluent. The Dutch are accused of being too forthright and it’s true: they don’t pussyfoot around with niceties or subtle putdowns. If they want to tell you to fuck off, they’ll tell you to fuck off, not insert some snide comment to eat away at your self esteem and guts for the next 40 years. Since I recognize a very big people pleaser inside of me, I’d love to be able to adopt this forthright, up front way of talking. Hell, I’m having a hard time pulling up the truth when I talk to a counsellor right now. And why? Because I was taught to lie right from the start. English does it all the time. I’m beginning to think it’s built into the language.
And how weird is it to say we’re foreigners on our own planet?
Sometimes I wish I could live to see the next 100 years. Other times I’m grateful to know I won’t be around. I honestly don’t know if humanity can survive. If climate change doesn’t get ya, wars will. I don’t believe any space travel will save us; it’s too little, too late. Terraforming should have been started 30 years ago. Sorry for the bleak outlook. It’s what I see. And it’s why I never had any children. Who could send someone they love out into a future that looks like it ends? I couldn’t. I can’t. I feel guilty enough thinking about the possibility of a pet or a plant outliving me.
But if I’m wrong, if all the horrible things I see in motion can be avoided, if humanity can SOMEHOW pull themselves out of this shit and work together…I want to say it will be better. That people will stop exploiting other people. That by reaching out to the stars, the divisions we feel here on Earth will melt away. I don’t know if that’s true. I DO want to believe it. Can we rise above what we are? Can we take a leap of faith without grasping at the entangling safety net of religion? Can we work in harmony without enforced compliance? Can we learn to share our resources so that no one goes without food, shelter, or health care?
In part, the answer to these questions is being formed right now. It’s what we decide to do TODAY that will make an impact tomorrow. I can’t do much. I can’t change the world. But maybe I can learn a little bit more about it, change a few people’s minds about the world or other people, or, just by my actions as a caring individual, help to tear down the walls of prejudice just by my presence. I think I’ll hold onto that thought this morning. It’s a good one.