I need some help today

My computer screams the Golden Question at me. I made a meme for my desktop: bright green and yellow. Can’t miss it. Not sure how long I’ll keep it up, but for now it’s a good reminder. Always asking that question behind my browser, or the files I keep out on my desktop.

Got to the gym. Disappointed to find the CD I bought (and loaded into my iPod) was 20% rockin’ and 80% downtempo. I was hoping for the reverse. I have no need for downtempo music right now. I want tribal beats, and throbbing bass. I want my feet to move, I want to get up out of my chair and go, not sit there and sob, thinking about my past mistakes. Still. It’s new, and I enjoy the EQ of the band. Decided I am too flabby and gone to hit the cross trainer; went to the exercise bikes instead. Just get moving, woman! You’ll pick back up that enthusiasm for the gym if you can just break out of this inertia.

Practiced saying no. I’d told my bro about the Twin Peaks revival on sale, and he calculated and found enough money to purchase it. Yesterday morning he came out with a pre-paid credit card, slapped it down on the table, and proceeded to tell me there was enough cash on it to get the DVDs so I could just head downtown and buy it if I wanted. Although I was pleased and excited, it wasn’t what I was planning on. Suddenly, my day tipped: I felt my head scramble to rearrange all those ‘taking care of myself’ things in order to run downtown. I sighed, and thought. My brother said: You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. I can stop and pick it up. I thought some more, then tried something different: While I’m excited about getting the DVDs, and I want them, I don’t really like unexpected things to pop up in my schedule. I find it unsettling. That still wasn’t clear enough. Do you want me to just pick them up? Deep breath. Yes. Yes, I do.

That was difficult for me. My brother does a lot of the running around for the house: grocery shopping, errands, etc. There are many days I don’t step outside the door. When something like that comes up on a day I know he’s got other plans, I feel like I should go and do whatever he’s suggesting. But I stuck to my guns. Me, me, me. I needed the gym like I sometimes need a shower. I felt it right down to the most inner part of me. Good on me for that!

Watched the first four occurrences of the new Twin Peaks. One can hardly say ‘episodes’, can one? Episodes is an American term reserved for things like Dharma and Greg: simple set-up, repetitive plots, one basic set. David Lynch is an occurrence. It happens. You watch, because you can’t not watch. Lynch has a rare gift, in my opinion. He mixes the surreal with enough easy to understand reality based action to give you a sense that you kind of know what’s going on, but you’re left puzzling over many elements, wondering what symbolism the imagery held (because when Lynch wants you to see symbolism, he makes it bloody obvious that it’s symbolism, even if you don’t get the meaning behind it). Hm. I am not yet at the point where I could write some of the scenes I witnessed last night. Though there’s one thing I would have done differently, if I was Lynch. I would have had Cooper smash that white marble statue he keeps seeing in the red room. Cooper in the red room is very much a visitor, led by others, reacting. After 25 years, I’d think he’d try something different: take action, not just react. But, that’s me. My characters take action, even if that action isn’t the best choice for the moment. Cooper is very passive. I guess that tells me something about Lynch. …I don’t know what to think of the new series yet. I’m geeking out on everyone who’s in it. Thrilled that Lynch and Frost wanted to pick up the thread of the story again. Dyin’ to get further into the story. Happy to be watching such open ended imagery right now; it shuts my head up like nothing else. Huh. What the fuck -? 

…My question for myself today (and a little test I set up for myself) is: Can I ask for help? I left all the housework undone. The place needs a full top to bottom scrub, and it’s a big job. My brother is not scheduled to head off, so he should be here. Now…I want him to get off his ass and hoover the place. I’ll do dusting, and sink and toilet duty. I’d really like to clean my own room, and that’s the only way possible I’ll have enough energy to do it all: with help. Fu-u-uck. Will he just see it if I complain loudly enough? Hm… Maybe. Maybe not. And that’s not the point of the test. The point of the test is to speak up. Say it. You said ‘no’ yesterday, now say ‘please help me’. You can do it.

I’m prompting a very reluctant toddler in my brain. She is pouting and silent. Asking for help is bad. Weak. Something to be avoided. …You know who else did that, right? You know who you’re sounding like more and more, don’t you? And you said a long time ago that you don’t want to be anything like her. You see her flaws more than ever now. Learn from them. Don’t go down the same path.

I guess parents do teach their kids something, even if it’s just the stubborn refusal to end up like their elders.

I need some help today.

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Freak

I was told I had the cutest ‘nose holes’ (nostrils) ever. That is, without a doubt, the strangest compliment I’ve ever had. Admittedly, my nostrils are unique. Each has a tiny notch by the cartilage. It’s natural; always had it. Just like my eye thing: one pupil massively big, the other middle to small sized.

Strange to get compliments on things you think make you into a freak.

…Took a walk outside yesterday. It was too nice to go to the gym, and I wanted fresh air in my lungs. Besides, in a month it will be too hot to walk outside and I’ll be back in the gym to protect myself from UV (cloudy yesterday, early April, and the index still hit 4). Did the shopping, the dishes, and made cookie dough.

Dreamt of icebergs. Huge, city-block sized things in the water: massive and frightening by their sheer size. I was on a boat, sailing past them. I felt no fear that the boat would hit an iceberg, it was just that they were so big and solid and powerful I felt frightened. I have always dreamt of things that were huge and towering over me: monsters, helicopters, tornadoes, icebergs. And in real life, I had the same fear reaction. I remember my Dad once took his boat into the city via the river… The huge cranes and bridges overhead scared me. I don’t know why. Tall buildings don’t frighten me. Natural heights like cliffs don’t frighten me. But bridges, cranes, and lifts (or elevators, if you will), do. Particularly frightening: freight elevators. Terrified of them.

I’ve always supposed that was a control thing. A reaction to what my mother did to me; the abuse, etc. No one will prompt an epiphany in me by noting that I must feel out of control. Duh-uh. I’ve known that for a long time. It’s one of the reasons I take control when and where I can, to help remind myself I’m not just a mote driven by every chaotic wind that batters me here or there. Sadly, my head operates at two levels. While I assure myself I can take and am in control of myself, I am also aware of what happens when we move beyond our ideas of dimension: time collapses. This is where “fate” comes in: there is no time, there is no choice. Our path is already over. I am both alive and dead at the same time. And…I can operate there. It’s not a very happy place, but I get it. The idea doesn’t drive me mad. I am also very aware that once I theoretically step outside of time and our known dimensions, I walk into the multi-verse: that place where every action has it’s equal, where all possible outcomes are played out in ‘bubble’ universes that exist both within and separate from our own. There are connections between these bubbles. Ley lines, if you will. Find the right place, at the right time, and perform the right action with the right words…and you can make the jump. I think we make those jumps all the time. The changes are generally too small to notice: suddenly, you’ve misplaced your keys. Or someone who you used to be on friendly terms with now takes issue with you. Our literature always makes the changes obvious: purple stop lights, flying cars, dinosaurs. That’s silly. That would take a big jump. And while big jumps are possible, they’re not very probable.

Truth: I once witnessed a park moving. It was in Canada. I lived several blocks from a very beautiful park. Walked to it almost every day. Knew every path, every route. Then… One day, it changed. It took longer. I kept expecting to see the park at every turn, but it was further than I’d mapped out. My brother was with me on this occasion, and noted it as well. After that, the park stayed there: further from our place than it originally was. I noted no other changes, but then, that was only in my local ‘burb.

While we’re on big truths… I once – no, more than once, it happened over an extended period of time – saw something impossible. It was in Ireland. One of the places we rented was on a hillside, overlooking a valley. You could see a few cottages dot the far hillside. One in particular always stood out: a pretty pink cottage, all alone in a sea of green. In Ireland, I’d wake up early and go surf the internet by the window overlooking that valley and cottage. And while I waited for the very slow dial-up to connect, I looked across the valley towards that cottage. There was something there. It looked to me like a huge earthworm with a humanoid face. It was wrapped around the cottage sinuously, it’s head up, looking straight at me. I was stunned. Transfixed. Told myself over and over it was in my head, an optical illusion. Then one day I had enough: I went down the hall and woke up my brother. And he saw it, too. So, hallucination? No. Optical illusion? Maybe. But it happened for months, every morning. You’d never see it in the afternoon or evening. Just those mornings. Over and over.

…Right. Now I’m starting to sound like one of those creepy pastas. Thing is, I’m not making it up. I couldn’t dream up some of the shit I’ve experienced.

Which brings me back to…freak. Ghosts sitting on the edge of your bed? Yep. Unexplained dreams that come true? Yep. Contact from the other side? Yep. Knowing things that were impossible to know? Yep. Physical evidence of something outside the norm going on? Yep.

These are things I won’t tell Dr. T. Too concerned he’d see it all as psychotic manifestations or something. It isn’t. I’ve considered it all: what condition I’ve been in, my stress levels, logical explanations. Over time, I’ve even had witnesses to various occurrences.

I’m a freak.

Always first an artist

For the first time in many years, I’m in love with a new song. It used to happen a lot when I was younger. Music was life for me in many ways. But as musical tastes changed I found it happening less and less. I didn’t like the EQ’s of new music. I didn’t like the instrumentation of new music. I didn’t like the chordal arrangements, the vocalizations, the words. I tried to like something. Anything. But it just never hit the G spot for me. Been spending quiet time with the radio on, most of it blending into that meh of pop muzik that I detest. Then the above song came on.

Different sound, different EQ, different chordal progression…

And the words.

*sigh* I like the song so much it gets me past that horrible keyboard sound in the lead section…

Attitude. A bit of dirt on that bass and guitar. A bit of slop in the manner of performance. Now I know what happened to rock. Thought it all got dissolved into R&B trills and hip-hop raps.

Oh, Goddess! There’s still life out there…

So. I know what I’m splurging on. This week. Gotta find the CD; I want the real, full sound files. Gotta find a bit of cash for it, too. Hope it’s in the 15 euro range rather than the 30 euro range.

Wake up, youngster. There’s still music being made out there that you’ll like. There’s still stuff going on you want to be a part of. And yes, there’s still life out there…

…No, I don’t want to get into the heavy psychological examination of why I’m in love with a song titled ‘Sorry’. I think it’s all rather obvious, don’t you? I’d rather focus on my joy over finding a sound I like. The neighbors are in danger of hearing that CD blasted at full volume for days on end once I get my hands on it. Hope they like it, too.

I find it odd how often I’m lead back to my childhood. Like I keep finding little scraps of myself that got cut off somewhere along the road. Oh, yeah. I remember feeling that way. I remember that joy, the sense of my entire spirit being filled with light and beauty. Why did I stop doing that? Why did I stop myself from enjoying that? My suspicion is that I’ve been punishing myself. Telling myself I don’t even deserve that feeling, and taking it away from myself.

Maybe all this childhood memory crap is a good thing. Maybe it means I’m finally forgiving myself.

…That’s…difficult to ponder. Makes me want to cry for all those wasted fucking years, but that gets me nowhere. I’d rather accept it all in one swallow: the good and the bad of it. The bad of it is that I’ve cut myself off from the world for a long time. The good of it is I’ve given myself time to think, time to sort, time to develop outside the influence of out there. The bad of it is I’ve beaten myself up and made myself feel awful. The good of it is I’ve learned so very much, and that’s enriched my writing, my mind, and my life.

I am proud of what I do these days. No hidden qualms, no thinking something isn’t quite right with my work but I can’t put my finger on it. I am confident, assured of my writing. I don’t claim to be perfect, and between typos, my Midwestern upbringing and poor grammatical understanding I never am. There’s always something to correct in my writing. I’ve become okay with that because I know that’s essentially just fluff. The core is good. The core is strong. If once out of every 5000 words I’ve got a typo or grammatical mistake, I’m not that bothered by it. It’s the development of the idea that I’m concerned about. The strength of the story, the lack of plot holes, the ability to drive an audience the way I want. Yes. Now there, I shine. I know it, and I’m not gonna dither around. This is my strength: good plots, good development. I have full rights to feel proud of myself on that note.

That’s good. A foundation to build on. My brother’s always telling me to think about the foundation. Turn weaknesses into strengths. If my bro had a life motto, I think it would be “Know Thyself”. He’s had to; he struggled for 50 odd years with undiagnosed autism and ADHD. He’s taught me to learn to accept what I can and can’t do, and work with it. I’m still new at it, still struggling with the whole acceptance thing. But I am finding reasons to be proud, things to enjoy, alternative paths I hadn’t considered earlier…

Maybe I’m defective. Or maybe I’m dumb.

…But sorry? Truthfully, no. Not in the long run. I know – as I’ve always known – that every step along the way leads me to where I stand now. I knew back when I was 20 what I was doing, what I was allowing myself to step into: that world, that dirt. I knew when I was 30 that my decision not to use my degree and suck up to some middle management toadie would result in certain circumstances. I knew. I always knew. I knew the chances I was taking.

But I won’t blame myself for it. I did what I did. I learned. I grew. Maybe I grew crookedly rather than straight, but who’s to say the twisted trunk of a tree isn’t just as lovely as a razor straight trunk? In truth, isn’t the twisted trunk a more beautiful thing? Doesn’t it scream out to you in its visual representation(s) of pain, the action of time, the determination to persevere?

…I know myself well enough to know this: if I had done everything differently, if I had taken a job and done the marriage/kids/house thing, I’d still be struggling right now. I’d still be in crisis, only it would be from the other side of it. That, above all, is what I’ve always known. I had to choose between the artist in me and what society called ‘successful’.

I am always first an artist.

I like that picture

One hour ago, I triggered my brother into calling me “wrong”. It was not my intention to hit his hot button. And…quite often I forget I’m not the only person in the world (or this house) who struggles with life. So I acknowledge my…not so great attempt at communication this morning, or saying the wrong word, or whatever set him off. My bad.

I do not accept his judgement.

Have not and will probably not say this to him. Why risk more fighting? He’s triggered, I don’t know by what, and if I continue it’ll just get worse. I realize what came out of his mouth was programming, and if I pointed it out to him he’d realize that, too. It would be great to modify our communication to rid ourselves of this crap. Right now, I just want to acknowledge it and not buy into it.

Faulty programming. Ignore.

Aren’t I doing well this morning? Not triggered myself, aware enough to put some distance between me and what I would typically consider a trigger situation. Good on me! Stayed calm, backed down, not holding onto anger that’ll manifest itself in some twisted passive-aggressive shit.

What is best for me? That’s foremost in my mind today. Getting upset was not on that list, therefore, I avoided it.

Spent yesterday in zen mode, making cookies. Lembas is a long process and a hand-intensive recipe. I considered my options and felt my stomach needed the acid soaking properties of my cookies more than my ass needed to walk, so I made cookies. It was a good choice.

Headed downtown in a few hours to meet S. Looking forward to seeing her. She texted me last night, asking me to bring a bottle of my cordial for her dad. That makes me smile. One of my herbal products that’s found a fan. S also mentioned she’d like to discuss her script. Again, this deference to my skill and experience makes me smile. It’s good to be acknowledged, no matter by whom. And…it feels good to pass along a bit of my knowledge, to hopefully help someone else avoid the pitfalls I encountered. Go, girl! I find myself willing in many ways to pass the baton onto the younger generation. Go. Do what I couldn’t do. I am so proud of you for all you’ve already done, all you’ve already accomplished. Just…remember me from time to time. That’s all I ask.

S brings out the mother in me. Or the big sister. Someone caring and kind. Someone who wants to put this young woman above herself.

It’s someone I like.

…Calm exchange with my bro. Neither of us wants to fight. That’s good. Feels like a little plaster on that owie from this morning.

I am reflective and absorbing. Reflective on reality, my perceptions, my feelings. Absorbing on the language. The two go in hand in hand for me, and I credit learning Dutch as the unconscious key that unlocked my brain. Words carry meaning to each of us. Some words become attached to traumatic experiences and become triggers, setting us of on illogical courses of action without understanding why we’re doing it. Dutch has no triggers for me. It’s all just sound and syllables that I am now, as an adult, attaching meaning to. So the phrase ‘ik hou je van’, which is the Dutch equivalent of ‘I love you’, doesn’t set me off on those old patterns. ‘Ik hou je van’ means to me that someone’s got your back, someone will always be by your side, in your corner. It doesn’t mean you won’t disagree or go through hard times. Just the opposite: to me, it means you acknowledge the hard times and still choose to be there.

That’s the adult me, with all my foibles and English triggers, putting meaning onto the phrase. But I can say it without the strings I always felt were attached to ‘I love you’. ‘I love you’ means one of two things to me: I control you or I want to fuck you. I don’t like either of those definitions, but those were the ones taught to me. Not the verbal teachings; I know what ‘I love you’ is supposed to mean. But in my house, verbal and non-verbal lessons were always at odds with each other.

…Which means, if I let myself think it through, that I can tell myself ‘ik hou je van’. I can’t love myself. I’ve tried, over and over and over. But I can have my own back. I can always be on my side. I know my brain can play tricks on me, focus on the negative, say those terrible things to me repeatedly. But it’s MY brain, and in the end, I am not a slave even to myself.

Oh, that’s a good one. Say it again: I am not a slave, even to myself.

…Just felt a moment of…I don’t know what. Juxtaposition of my world, I guess. Everything kind of went boom in my head.

A moment of total control. Me. I’m the one who decides. I’m the one who acts. I’m in control. Not my mother, not my family or my siblings, not “them”, not even my head. Wish the feeling would have stuck around longer. But it’s a start. I’ve felt it. I can build from there.

Take that out into the world today. You don’t have to act on it. You don’t have to try and force the feeling to return. Just remember you felt it. Remember how it felt. And consider living with that feeling. Think how it might feel to head downtown on the metro, knowing 100% you’re the one in control. No fighting tears behind your sunglasses. No angry imaginings forcing you to ‘try’ to calm yourself down. Think about what that might look like.

…Yeah. I like that picture.

One giant leap

Up late. I believe we have new neighbors. Neighbors who believe in allowing young children the run of the house all hours of the day and night. Hearing these kids run around and yell, play loud music and generally make a nuisance of themselves, well past 11 at night. I have to stay up later now, because going to bed earlier won’t result in sleep. It’s too noisy. I have to wait out the kids, and hope they settle down by midnight.

Heard from S yesterday. First a text, then a call. We’re meeting tomorrow in downtown Rotterdam for coffee and a long chat. I was correct in letting go my anxiety over S. Last we spoke, her grandmother had just died. Yesterday I learned that her grandfather died a few weeks later. She’s been in mourning, and had interviews and stress. It wasn’t me. Her life just got very busy. Looking forward to seeing her in person. We’ll probably talk and talk and talk and still not get to everything we want to talk about. That’s okay. It’s what friends do.

No plans to reveal my big secret to S at this time. Not unless our conversation naturally swings that way. I don’t need her to know; I don’t need anyone to know. I was the one who needed to know, who needed to accept it. Telling other people is just an explanation now. Why can’t you like yourself? My mother abused me. Why can’t you take a compliment? My mother abused me. It has become my first line of defense, the first thing I want to whip out when some aspect of my behavior or demeanor is cause for comment. Once again, it’s not a full explanation. A full explanation would be: I know I’m screwed up because my mother abused me when I was young. Can’t quite put that sentence together in my mouth. That’s okay. I’m still assessing how ‘screwed up’ I am, and until I form some conclusion that’s comfortable for me and fits, I won’t say anything to that effect. Res ipsa loquitur; the thing speaks for itself. You see it, I know it…it’s no secret.

It was always just one of those things that was totally evident and never discussed. That’s a very American attitude: ignore it, don’t talk about it, just gloss it all over and when someone finally pops you can all claim innocence and ignorance. Oh, we had no idea she was so depressed! No, he always seemed like the most normal guy! Bullshit. You all saw the signs; it’s just that American secretive attitude that keeps everything shoved under the rug. You don’t want to talk about it, because if you did you’d need to admit how pervasive it is, how cold the American life, how empty the American ‘dream’.

Squeeze a rat colony and watch how quickly they become cannibals. I watched this pervasive attitude that the world is dying and we’re running out of room, food, clean air, water, and energy increase throughout my lifetime. And it’s true; keep polluting the world and everything will run out. But that underlying information has fed fear into humanity’s subconscious, and helped give rise to this ‘all for me, I’m the greatest and deserve everything’ attitude. If we’re all going down and doomed anyway, grab everything you can because it doesn’t matter anyway. We are the rats, turning on each other.

…Yeah. Lots to unload today.

Hope to get a few things done. Go to the gym for a long walk. Start to mix some cookie dough because we’re almost out of lembas again. Water the plants. Take a shower. Read.

Still have not replied to my uncle’s last message. Purposefully keeping a spam email in my box so when I open my email my uncle’s message isn’t the first thing I see because it’s the last message. Do not want that visual nag every day.

Reminding myself to take things one at a time. First, the dental surgery and time to recover. Then, call to have my shoes finally taken care of so I’m comfortable when I walk. After that, see the psychiatrist. Then I’ll be concentrating on the Amsterdam performance of the play. When all that’s over, I can start on other things – seeing my doc about my poor digestion or going back to the dentist because the tooth that had the root canal still isn’t right. It’s too tall a stack of NEEDS to tackle at once, and I know that, but my head tends to pile everything up in one place and label it THINGS YOU MUST DO – which then just makes me feel anxious because it’s all so much.

…And I’m shrinking those pix in my head. Taking the screen down small, turning down the volume, reminding myself it’s not that big a deal. It’s my anxiety that blows things out of proportion, my focusing on one aspect and one aspect only that makes it seem so damed difficult.

One positive thing to report: I can breathe easier. This is a bit of an oxymoron, because it’s repeating ‘my mother abused me’ that helps me breathe – the very sentence that I first fought so hard against and had such anxiety over. But it fits. My whole body clicks into a more comfortable, relaxed position when I say it to myself. While I am verbally hanging onto that phrase, I think I’m beginning to let go of it in my body. I’m encouraged by that, and frankly, it feels real good to breathe easier and release some knots in my stomach. And my shoulders. I carry a lot there.

Top of my list today (and every day from here on out) is: take care of yourself. Whatever that looks like. Hiding, reading, watching films, writing, crying… Does not matter. It doesn’t matter what I do or what it looks like. It doesn’t matter if I’m ‘successful’ or not; the only thing to judge success on now is how at ease I am in my own skin.

One small step for Beeps, one giant leap for Beeps’ mind…

Soup

Kept writing yesterday. Whatever was triggered in me just kept going.

Had another message from my uncle. Naturally. I knew he was testing the waters with his first message. Now he cheerily writes ‘Haven’t heard from you in a while! How are you?’ as if he never insulted me, we never had that online argument, and everything is just peachy. Been thinking of replying with ‘Learning to accept your beloved sister terrorized and physically abused me as a child. How are you?’ but that just opens too many cans of worms. I will probably leave it at ‘Taking care of myself; hopefully you are doing the same’ which should both answer his query and shut him the fuck up. It is once again noteworthy to say the timing of my uncle’s queries is oddly coincidental. I am far more likely to hear something from my family while I confront an uncomfortable truth about my past than I am any other day of the week. I post nothing of my inner struggle on social pages. And they are the last people on this planet to whom I would talk about this blog. So there’s no way they can check or know anything; it’s just that sick and twisted spider sense my family has. They know when their prey is weakest.

Reassured myself several times that it was okay to remember. I feel fairly certain that I woke from a memory/dream yesterday, the one I don’t want to remember. The one that really fucked me up. Zero recall in my conscious mind. But that’s okay. I know I remember it; I can feel it in my body. My mind will reveal it to me when I feel safe enough.

And I am safe. Safer than I’ve ever been. Able to completely cut off every member my DNA family if that’s what I choose to do. The stalker can’t find me. No one can get to me. No one can bully their way into my life and turn it upside down. I am safe. Safe. And I have more support than I’ve ever had before. Doctors, a few friends, my brother…the number is still small, but it’s huge compared to what it was. I am safe enough to begin to claim my rightful heritage: that of an abused child. That is not to say I want to wallow in it; not at all. But I need a place to start from, and this place is the best and surest foothold I’ve found. Admitting it is the first hurdle.

My mother’s ghost has been haunting me. She stands in front of me, her eyes wide, as she spews out excuse after excuse and denial after denial. I never hurt you! I never told you you couldn’t study acting! And the truth is, no, she never said ‘you can’t study acting’. She just spend decades coldly telling me through her vocal inflections, word choice, and body language that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t do it, that I could never, ever be the best at anything. She convinced me I was a loser before I even tried. She convinced me so well that I’m still trying to un-convince myself. And the physical abuse? Again, no, she never hit me as a small child. As a teen, yes. But she found many ways to cover up her abuse, many handy excuses to use.

And that bitch of a ghost falls utterly silent when I parade out the long line of neglect. All the illnesses I suffered through and was blamed for. ‘It’s your own fault’. The bad reactions to medicine, leaving me so weak I was barely conscious on the bathroom floor. The RA – not being able to use my hands, not being able to walk, so much pain I couldn’t do anything. Time after time after time. From small child to young adult, and always the neglect, the lack of care or support, the complete unwillingness to even take me to a doctor when I needed it.

Go to hell, C. Go to hell and suffer for a few eternities. Then we’ll talk.

I’m glad she suffered while alive, and I’m only sad that I didn’t take more glee in it while it happened! I wish those last three years would have been ten. Or twenty. Longer. Oh, live forever in that ball of fear I knew you retreated into! Stay there, and torment yourself. You deserve to have me taunting you outside your cage and telling you it’s your own fault. I’ll be magnanimous and say nothing, just so long as you do your time. Just don’t expect me to keep the silence any longer. Don’t expect me to avoid the ugly truth anymore. And when the full memory of that ultimate terror comes back to me, we might have another little conversation.

I accept that I’m angry as hell. I accept it’s so big that I have to compartmentalize it, pull it out in small pieces to chew on. Once again: that’s okay. No one can do this for me, no one can tell me how to do it, so however I do it, it’s okay. I will accept no less of a judgement for myself.

There is no right or wrong answer. No way to get 100% correct. In effect, there is no zero. No point you can put your finger on and say ‘Yep; this is it’. And no matter how wise we like to think ourselves, we’re still pretty damned ignorant. About ourselves and the world(s) we live in.

It’s all just soup.

The perfect slave

Can’t stop shaking. Much worse than normal shivers or shakes. Like palsy or I had a stroke.

I WANT TO KILL MY MOTHER.

Woke up crying. 5 am, in bed, crying yourself awake.

I WANT TO KILL MY MOTHER.

I will happily murder the remainder of my mother’s family, too.

Here it is. I knew I wasn’t feeling it. I knew there was more to it. My head could process the hate but my body couldn’t.

Why I am so sad?

Ah, who gives a fuck? Get it out of your system. Of course you’re fucking depressed; look at your life. Look at what you were taught. Look at how you were and are treated. Surprised you didn’t pop sooner than this.

There is nowhere to go when your mind fucks with you. Nowhere you can hide, nowhere that’s bright enough or fast enough or overwhelming enough to take over that tyrant in your head, showing you those things you don’t want to see.

I feel so damned alone.

And it’s all so sad. Those wasted years, not understanding why I was doing what I was doing, why I felt the way I felt. I’m bright, I’m accomplished, I’ve done some great things and I can’t take any of it in. Just the negatives. Just the shit, please. I’m used to that.

Today’s fantasy of choice is a gun. Usually my mind sees knives. Sees me stabbing my family, again and again, over and over and over until they’re dead, dead, dead and can never say another nasty thing to me again. Today, it’s a pistol. Shoot them in the head, shoot them several more times because they fucking deserve it, shoot them, shoot them, shoot them down. And oh, yes, I’m fully fucking aware now is a bad time to say this and I’m fully fucking aware of how sensitive the subject of weapons is right now. This is all fantasy in my head, and it tells me something about myself: I’ve upped the ante. I might let someone live if I stabbed them with a knife. Shooting them is an up. An increase in anger and rage. It also shows me I’m starting to disconnect from them – I no longer have to “feel” the knife go into their bodies in my fantasies; they are not worth that close of contact. Shoot them before they can get to me. Shoot them so I don’t even have to touch them. Disconnect: these people are not my family, they do not love me, and I will not allow myself to be hurt by them any longer.

C is so fucking lucky she didn’t live to see this day.

Because I’d fucking kill her.

The whole thing with the film crew is still eating away at me. Shouldn’t. I know that. I “should” just let it go. Isn’t that the very first thing to pop out of the mouths of those assholes who don’t struggle with this? “Let it go”, like we want to hang onto this, want to wake up crying and shaking, want to go through any of this. Oh, fuck you! It hurts, and I’m blaming myself, and that hurts even more but it’s what I’m fucking USED to because that’s the way I was raised. Sorry I’m such a fucking head case. Sorry you don’t have a fucking clue and can’t even fucking imagine what it is to feel this way.

Most of all, I’m sorry you’re such a sad sack of shit that you lack basic empathy.

I’ve never had many friends. Well…one time. When I was the cocaine connection for everyone between 19 and 30. Then, my mother was pleased because so many people called me to hang out or come to this party or do that. It was all cocaine, mother. They didn’t want me there for me. They were using me, just like you. …I’ve tried to have more friends. I find it really hard. Hard to make that connection on my side, and harder still to have that connection returned. I get a lot of pleasant acquaintances in my life. People I can hang with, if the situation warrants. People I can talk to on some level or other. But those acquaintances never seem to grow into anything else. We never overcome that awkwardness, never really open up to each other. Part of the problem is just me. I don’t have tons of cash to go to this event or that, and even if I did there’s my health to consider. Say no enough times and people stop asking. I try to explain that, but…well. People have loads of reasons for not understanding it fully, and I hope most of them never find out what reality looks like when that kind of shit manifests in your life.

Some of them, tho, could do with a good kick in the pants from reality.

I want to kill my mother.

The shaking has stopped. Good thing, too. Almost spilled my coffee a couple of times.

How deep the rage goes. Pretty damned deep. It’s in the animal, in that knee-jerk reaction part of me far beyond the intellectual daydreams of my mind. It is in prey part of me, and it ignites the fight or flight reaction. I understand why the little girl froze. She was too small. No surprise, then, my recurring nightmares of being hunted by giants or spy helicopters in the sky. I was overpowered right from the start. Who wouldn’t have been? I grew into the mindset of being a slave, with no free will of my own. That wasn’t my fault. Nor was it my fault to take as long as I did to wake up. It’s a lot to wake up to, and I had zero tools to deal with it.

My mother physically abused me. It was covert; I was not the child on the playground in dirty clothes who sported a black eye or cigarette burn. I was smartly dressed, in ironed clothes, my hair pulled back so tight it hurt. I was the child from the good family, the respected family. I was smart, shy, and prone to outbursts. I couldn’t play well with others and I didn’t have many friends. 

In many ways, I was the perfect slave…

Crack that nut

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.

Enjoy me

Permission granted.

I got through to myself. Obviously. After posting yesterday, my energy was sucked down a giant vortex. The animal and I were ready to rest.

However. My bro brought home some fresh pears a day before we realized I had shingles. He gleefully told me he’d bought them in the hopes I’d make a pie. You know pears: perfectly great right up to the moment they go. I didn’t want to disappoint my brother yet again, so I pulled out my recipe books and took a look. Had a lime sitting on the counter, left over from an Indian dish, and two pears. Many a times I’ve used lemon with pear or apple in a pie, but never lime. What a mistake! Pear and lime pie is out of this world fantastic. I’ll never use lemon again in this dish. Must note that, and if you haven’t tried it, do it asap because you’ll love it. While I’m thrilled I didn’t disappoint my bro, and I made pie that’s not only delicious but also stunning in its presentation, I didn’t really rest. Between prep, cooking, and cleaning, I was on my feet most of the afternoon.

Maybe it was a good thing. Burn out the remainder of that energy in me doing something constructive. That’s what I’m telling myself. But today, I feel beat. Bone tired. It’s only the caffeine in my coffee that’s keeping me awake.

Ah…at least I’m not crying every minute. That’s where I was. Not just exhausted, but exhausted (literally) to tears, crying every five minutes without knowing why I was crying. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, being so emotionally affected by my physical health and vice versa. People say being disconnected from your body is somehow wrong, a bad thing. I seem to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m not just connected to my body, I’m integrated. Hurt me physically and I feel it emotionally. Hurt me emotionally and it manifests itself physically. That can’t be good. It doesn’t feel good.

Oh, Beeps! Drop the labels. It is what it is.

Noting a tendency to gravitate to family programming. I want that fairy tale, everything turns out all right in the end story right now. It’s as much chicken soup for my soul as the chicken soup my bro made for dinner last night was for my body. It feeds me, nourishes me, makes me feel whole and strong again. I know that’s probably silly. Or childish. But losing faith in the inherent rightness of things is a hollow feeling. And yes, I’m one of the first to cry out in horror when that rightness isn’t met in real life – and I do it a lot. Yet, I still have that thread of faith. As I’ve grown older, I’ve likened it in my head to believing in Santa Claus. People begin to tell you Santa doesn’t exist, that’s not the real world. There are even people out there who aren’t just willing but who want to shove your face into the shit, mushing it up your nose, sliming it across your face, to prove to you once and for all that there is zero reason for believing in anything good. It’s hard to keep your faith. In anything: God, yourself, Santa. But I decided a long time ago I didn’t want to become a hollow person, and I’ve fought to keep hold of that innocence in me. It is precious, and oh so rare. And it is why, I think, people always say I seem so ‘young’. I’m not young. I’m very experienced, in many ways that might turn your hair white. But despite the experience, I haven’t grown a hard shell. I did, once. I ripped it off, and it was as painful as you might imagine. It’s been painful ever since because to keep this attitude, you’ve got to be willing to keep feeling that hurt. You’ve got to go out there and hope for the best. Be willing to be taken for a ride because you won’t pre-judge. Be willing to let go, when needed. It hurts. No amount of previous scarring prepares you for the next bout of pain, and it HAS to be that way.

Your love has to be absolute. No strings attached. Given, without asking for anything in return. It is the most vulnerable thing you can ask yourself to do. But, as so often happens in life, it is in that vulnerability you are actually strong. You can’t expect yourself to walk around in it 24/7. But you can reach for those times when it’s possible. You’ll find it in yourself at the oddest moments, when you least expect it. Give it, and watch what happens. I’ve rolled over people with anger, with dignity, with piety and all sorts of emotional back-lash stuff. But roll over people with joy and love! It’s a tidal wave. They don’t know how to react.

And isn’t that a sad thing? That when faced with that kind of behavior, most of us stop completely because we don’t know what to do. It’s tricky, I’ll give you that. Too much schmaltz in any direction and your absolute love without strings becomes enmeshed in some philosophy or intellectual pursuit and loses all its power. It must be raw, and pure. Unspoken, even. It is a light that fills me, and I know when I radiate it.

It’s been my life goal to radiate that light full time. To live there. I have an instinctual feeling that if I did that, I’d burn out fast. It’s a conundrum. Reach without reaching. Burn without burning. Be, without asking.

I must appear so small to the Universe. A dust mote, hanging in the cosmic sunshine. Something that may temporarily catch your attention, but too short-lived to enjoy for more than a moment or two.

Well, this is my moment.

Enjoy me.

Lick your wounds

Healing. My least favorite thing to do in the entire world. I’ve got to be on death’s door before I allow myself to lay back and rest. So exhausted, in such pain, that I can’t lift my head or do the dishes or even think. But give me even a hint of strength and I feel lazy, shiftless, and so damned greedy with time and energy that it’s a struggle to relax enough TO rest.

Somewhere in my past I must have been burned badly with the words ‘wasting time’. That’s my hiccup. I’m wasting time. I can make even the smallest reason into a justification, but not when it comes to healing. I can justify going to a party in order to ‘socialize’. I can justify not going to the gym because of my mood or fear of hurting myself. I cannot justify sitting on my ass the entire day long, watching tv, and doing nothing. I’m not in enough discomfort.

My meds, however, list dizziness as a side effect. Maybe I shouldn’t have read that; I might have retroactively triggered myself to feel it. But I do feel dizzy, within 30 minutes of taking my pills. So…rest. I’ve got an entire week of this.

Been refusing to put any more Dutch into my brain right now. I won’t even look at the subtitles on tv, tho I’ve got to admit that’s a tough one; my eyes keep shifting down to them and I’ve got to snap my attention back to the actors. English and Dutch are melting together. Half the time I don’t know what language a word is from. Is that…Dutch? English? Sounds and letter combinations are roiling around in my brain, all becoming mush. Thank you, Goddess, that sometime in my life I anchored this automatic writing in English. I will ALWAYS be able to get up and do this, even if my brain ends up flipping into Dutch or mumbo-jumbo for the rest of the day.

Meh. I suppose language is dependent upon your desire to communicate. I don’t know how strong that desire is for me right now. I feel less inclined to speak, and more inclined to sit silently observing. I get that way. It’s not a bad thing, tho some people find it annoying because I do grow reticent. But…there comes a time when I think, why speak? Why say all that I’ve said before? I have no new words to express myself. I have no new metaphors to light the darkness, to expand my consciousness or enlighten the ignorant. Just…hit play on the recorder; you’ll hear it. I don’t need to say it.

And frankly, I think you need to take time to internalize. You can’t live that way; that’s a mire of mental un-health if ever there was one. But you’ve got to get the words from your head to your mouth to your heart. Your heart is where it lives, those old pains and wounds we keep picking at and picking at. Your head can scream the truth at you, your mouth can form the words, but if you don’t get it inside you’re not gonna learn. You’ll just keep picking at those wounds, making yourself hurt, and not understanding.

I don’t want to hurt anymore.

Accepting the limits of my body… Every time I think I’ve mastered it, something new comes along. Oh, but that’s the trick to life! You never stop learning, never stop moving. Change is the only constant you can count on. You must dance on these change-lines. That’s how you progress. Every move you make modifies these lines, and the new configuration modifies your ensuing moves. It’s an internal feedback process. That’s the reason some people have come up with positive self-talk or smile therapy: put out positive vibes, and positive vibes will start to come back to you. That’s a recognition of the feedback process: change your dance, change the lines. The problem most of us run into is the lag-time. The time between changing our dance – a difficult and sometimes painful thing to do – and seeing results. Sadly, that’s only our poor perception. We move in space as much as we move in time, and when you recognize that you realize the vast amounts of area you must traverse to get from one place to another. It’s the difference between being next door to something or being all the way across town. Next door is easy to get to. Across town might take several stops or connections, some twists or turns that you don’t expect. I have an excellent example right here in NL. If I want to get from my house to Den Haag, a trip I’ve made several times, I either have to go out of my way to the west or out of my way to the northeast due to the train and metro connections. Life is like that: sometimes you have to head off in what looks like the wrong direction because that’s the only real route to get where you want to be. And when we bull-headedly head off in the wrong direction, thinking we’ll just power our way to our goals, we are often met with blockades.

…My words tell me what my head has so far failed to catch on to: I’m ignoring a flow. I’m trying to power my way somewhere upstream.

What’s the first thing you do when you get a cramp while swimming? Stop fighting.

Stop. fighting. your body.

Okay, animal. I understand you’re not doing well. You are tired, and ill. You are wounded, and in pain. You have allowed me to fight these symptoms many times. We have done wonderful things together. But now, I will listen to you. I will lay you down in a soft spot, warm and secure. You have been whimpering and I have been ignoring you. I’m sorry, my old friend. Rest, sleep, and lick your wounds.