And so are you

Yesterday’s get together with the theatre group went well. I felt unsure of myself, a little stiff at first seeing everyone again after months of being apart. But I was welcomed in typical Dutch fashion: kiss, kiss, kiss, first to the left then the right then back to the left and given big hugs. How little these people understand that these simple social graces make all the difference in the world to me. I worked to put my best foot forward: ask, listen, smile, participate, be there. Don’t go too deep into anything, don’t talk at length about my pain or problems, don’t crow about the film group or the premiere. I had a long list of what to do and what not to do as I walked in. I kept to it, and had a pleasant exchange. From time to time I wondered if others had a list like mine, those subjects you don’t bring up in casual company, those things you don’t talk about in order to make sure no one feels bad. Doubtful. I heard a bit of crowing. Well, more than a bit. But I recognized the corner it came from, and didn’t rise to the bait. I felt comfortable with my accomplishments over the break: the film, my writing. When asked about the film, I made two or three glowing comments about the crew and a self-depreciating joke about my body issues and seeing myself on ‘the big screen’. Got a laugh, and left it at that.

Left the question about my script ’til the very end, when things were winding down. The answer I received…well. The board member I directed my question to lifted his eyebrow and looked pointedly at the director. The director said ‘I’d like to do it’ and that was apparently that. The director said we need to meet and discuss the script and how we might be able to get it on stage. Hoping we can do that this week right here in my home so my bro can also sit in on it for the sound production.

But…honestly, it was the least enthusiastic affirmative I think I’ve ever received. I know the director likes it; he’s told me he thinks it’s very akin to Lovecraft (a writer he admires and enjoys), so I’ve no qualms there. The rest of the group, though…especially the board member, who was at the reading…totally flat. No interested smile, no sitting up a bit straighter as we talked because the idea just energized them that much, nothing. They were closer to a bunch of Sunday stoners to whom I’d just suggested we leave the house to get some munchies. ‘Yeah…that might be cool…’ as they sat there unmoving, eyes glued to the tv. Gee. I saw more interest in that crap play we just watched, and it WAS a crap play.

So, it seems I’ve got the go-ahead. But I don’t feel secure. I don’t feel it’s cause for celebration. Getting my first real script produced should be cause for celebration, right? No matter how rinky dink the group doing it. It’s acknowledgement, something I’ve craved for forever. But…I don’t even feel sure enough about this to actually claim my script will be done. I feel like at any moment I might hear ‘we can’t do it’ and that will be the end of it.

Maybe, just maybe, I owe the group a thanks for NOT being all excited. It was difficult enough for me to settle after I got home; just being in the presence of other people winds me up with excitement. If they’d been clamoring over my script, hyped on the idea of doing it…I might not have been able to sleep at all last night. Okay. Thanks, group, for your luke-warm response. I didn’t spaz out into a full blown manic episode (tho I did wake up with a headache). Still. I find it difficult to deal with, like the group collectively said ‘Go on, be excited about this if you want to but understand it’s you being excited about it, not us’. Didn’t help that on the heel of my question, one of the actors announced he wouldn’t be participating on stage this year, too busy, too whatever, but he’d put together the flyer for it. That makes two of our core group who won’t be on stage this autumn. And I need 9 actors for the script as it stands. Color me a little worried. I’ve seen the type of ‘actor’ that typically comes cold to one of our meetings or auditions. It’s not good.

Shuffling through a lot of thoughts. First, just get it produced. You’ve said it can be done by a group of not so great talent because the story is that good. Stand by that. Second, actor quality is a concern of the director, not you, so let that go. He’s made poorer plays with bad actors come off okay, so trust him. Third, this is not your only option. This story is too big to contain, and you know it. The podcast will go through, no matter what happens on stage. And you can always present it to your film group and work on it from that side.

Listen here, missy: you might be doing incarnations of this script for years to come. And you’re well aware of that. How many crappy LLR attempts were done before the big release? Loads. How many shitty Spider Man films got canned because they were just too cheesy? Even more. You know this. Let. it. go.

Let it live on its own. It’s good enough. Strong enough. And so are you.


The door now stands open

But…if I search it, will they come after me?

Oh, brava, Beeps! You wrote that well. The above is quickly becoming the number one question everyone asks after they read part one of my trilogy. Especially when I tell them I based the story on a real web site. lol! The idea that a cyber boogieman will come and get you is all my imagination, but I did it well enough in 30 pages that everyone’s asking this of me. I couldn’t be happier about it.

Saw S. I was right; we talked for hours. And yes, my secret came out and in typical S fashion, she followed up with a secret just as big on her side. We are two peas in a pod in many ways. Family issues, physical issues, self care and confidence issues… The one thing lacking is full comprehension on S’s side regarding the American lifestyle. She kept asking ‘But why would someone do that if they said they wanted children?’ It was difficult to explain the pervasiveness of that cold culture to her. Difficult to get across how individualistic and cut throat it really is, even amongst family. There’s a book for me to tackle some day: explaining American behavior to the Dutch. Or, as I’ve begun to call it in my head, ‘the American sickness’.

It’s such a blessing to be on this side of it. And as I look for the words to explain what happened to my Dutch friends and acquaintances, I’m finding my own answers.

S thinks I need to talk this out. Mostly because that’s what she’s done and it worked for her. I think not, but I heard her out. She feels I need to speak my truth a bit more, and a therapist is there for that. I tried explaining to her that I can rarely even sort out my own feelings before I write, so talking isn’t a great option for me. But…well, I didn’t write it out first, so naturally I couldn’t explain it.

Talk is cheap. I’ve had enough lip service and empty promises from other people. And enough lying to my face. Part of my conversation yesterday with S included a rehash of R, the actor who’s part was cut from the film. Ah. I was not alone in receiving a private message from him. Everyone got a few. In each, R hid a nugget of hate – a diss on someone else in the group. Apparently I can’t act at all, S is a bitch, the director is awful, the script was terrible, no one did a good job, etc. etc. S was really pissed off, and I can understand. They worked hard on that project. I checked on FB before coming out here. Most of the crew have unfriended R. Only myself, the director, and my other co-star remain on R’s friend list. Thought about un-friending him in a show of solidarity but I probably will just leave it. It didn’t escape my notice that this “actor” had only 26 friends and more professionally staged pix than anyone else I know. He’s trying real hard to be someone, and frankly, I pity him. Shouting all the time, demanding undue praise and attention, totally unaware of just how awful his performances are… He’s pitiable. Plus, he’s shown his true colors and my general rule of thumb is know your enemies. Better to keep an eye on him.

Flew off into orbit last night. Couldn’t help it; my long talk with S riled me up in many ways. I found it exciting to have a friendly exchange with someone who’s company I enjoy. I spoke my truth, and was heard. And I can’t help but have hope that yes, my film posse will get together to do my script. S is already hooked on the story, and I know the core group wants to work together again. Last night I saw a path possibility. One that’s a gamble, one that carries risks. But it’s also one I want to explore. For the first time in my life, I’m assessing this realistically. I’m looking at the long haul. My head didn’t shoot out to interviews post film, congratulating all of us and stroking my ego. I saw the work. The year or more of traveling to Den Haag every day to work on the story and script, be there for auditions, set up, lighting, talk, fun. The knowledge that ahead of me lies compromise and team work, allowing each person leeway enough to do their job.

Feels like I can do this. Like I can make the film happen. I’m very, very close. I already have a good support team, and people who will welcome my ideas (and honestly, the film feels closer to reality this morning than the production of the play). All I need to do now is wait for the right moment. Let the last semester hub-bub die down for them. Let S finish reading the script (she was on page 20). I know her; part of me feels I need to put her on my payroll as my private cheerleader. Once she’s set on something, she follows through.

My word du jour is flexibility. That’s the biggest sell my script has. I know the core story. I know what can be changed, modified, swapped around. I know what can be cut and what can be added. I can change gender, location, timing, language… You name it; the script can take it and survive and STILL be good.

Target: end of April. As students, they’ll be wrapping things up and prepping for their internships. NL has a week off for King’s Day. That’s my window. Send the script out as is to the director with full explanation. Get him the story before summer, so he can find a chance to read it. Their required internships last 6 months. Time enough to prep what we’d need to prep…

The door now stands open.


Sometimes, the Universe is very, very kind to me.

…Or, perhaps that’s always true, and I’m just too stubborn or blind to notice. Bears some deep thinking. Whichever; this morning I received an olive branch, of sorts. Finally a reply from the US theatre group on my work. The artistic director has been busy as all get-out, but she hasn’t forgotten about me and will read the trilogy as soon as her schedule chills. She also gave me a heads up that the fest she wants to take my work to has a time limit of one hour – which means chances of her taking the full story to the fest are nil. But I’m pleased to be remembered and acknowledged, even in this small manner. It’s all I ever really ask for. Sure, I want more but…in the end, I’ll be satisfied if I’m treated like a human being.

This long awaited note comes on the heels of introspective questioning. Do I judge too much? Is it time to let all that go? My conclusion was that yes, in some ways it is time to let it go. It is not time to let go of my truth, nor forget the forces that made me. But it is time to let go of holding the past so close to my heart. I have a new start here, with new people. Those diseased roots that grew me…I’ve cut them off. I’m branching out now, digging into new surroundings.

I’m finding respect for myself in the eyes of others, something I don’t have much experience with. And I find I walk a fine line these days. My behavior and way of thinking is aberrant. Strange. I am often called upon to justify my actions: why didn’t you speak up, why did you just walk away, why do you feel that way about yourself? It’s the shock in people’s reactions that’s waking me up. They’re shocked. They view me as together, intelligent, a role model, even… They can’t imagine someone like me feeling as bad as I do about myself. I hear it in their unspoken words: if I had what you have, I wouldn’t feel that way. That isn’t true, of course, which is where the explaining comes in. But it’s hard to explain without getting wrapped up in it. I am learning the words. Abuse. Neglect. They are difficult for my mouth to form. Never thought speaking one or two words aloud could cost me so much. It does, though.

Washed the illness gook off me. Feels good to be clean of it. Still another day of anti-virals, and more monitoring to make sure I’m truly recovered. Mild headaches have become a daily thing, and I can’t quite figure out why. Probably just from staring at my computer so long, playing games to distract myself.

Been reminding myself of real time passage. My original estimate was to finish the trilogy around this time. I’m wa-a-a-a-a–ay ahead of myself. Must acknowledge this latest manic streak. No wonder I fell ill. Truthfully, it’s been going on for a while. Since the play. Kept saying to myself ‘just get thru this; then you can be sick if you need to’ but it was one thing after the other. Play. Film auditions. Film shoot. US theatre interest. Holidays. Trilogy. Premiere. And my body kept up with it all. Allowed me to go, go, go. Long have I known about my tendency to lose time, to work until I drop. I have done it on a few occasions. It’s just one more reason why my brother is needed: he tells me when to stop. I don’t always listen, but he’s there with healthy food, good advice, and understanding when I finally give out. [Thank you, Universe.]

…Yeah. That’s a lot of mania in the past few months. No; nip that in the bud right now. That’s a lot of mania in the last TWO months. November was just a wind-up. AND you did it over winter, a time you generally fall ill from something or other. Props, girl. You finished an amazing amount of work in a very short time period. But…uh…you DO know we can’t keep doing this, right? You’re gonna have to make a decision. If you can’t handle the mania generated during certain events, you’ll have to avoid them. We were doing fine with the play and writing. Maybe a bit manic, but manageable. The film, now! That threw us. It continues to throw us. Perhaps we should concentrate on the writing side. Being in front of the camera… Could you even survive a full length film? Months of shoots? You sent yourself into a world of pain after TWO DAYS. Don’t make excuses, don’t deny it. Let it sit there. Think about it.

And then there’s all those triggers from seeing yourself on ‘the big screen’. All. those. flaws. So big. Bigger than real life. Your teeth never looked so crooked. Your skin never seemed so wrinkled. And those under eye bags! Wow! You could pack enough clothing for a week’s holiday in those things. That thick, thick torso of yours. Seemed terribly thick next to your co-star, didn’t it? And do you even HAVE a jaw line?

Well. None of THAT’S changed.

Maybe I should just copy and paste this in a note to S. She’s the one who can’t believe I have body issues.

…And I know – I KNOW – because Goddess knows this is one thing I’ve actually learned: in ten year’s time I’ll look at that film and wonder why I had such gripes about the way I looked. I’ll see myself for reals, not the way I see myself now. Same thing happens when I look at pictures of myself from my 20s or 30s. I wasn’t fat. Nor ugly. I felt I was, all the time. And why? Millions of reasons. Thousands of comments.

Now, the Universe is showing me a kinder face. A gentler side.

I’m not sure how to handle it.


Make it count

I do not like waking up with my life in review. Legend has it your life flashes before your eyes as you die. Makes me wonder if I die every morning in bed. If I’ve already passed over, and this is my limbo. A place I’ve been put to sort myself out and where I can learn how to play nice with others. And maybe it is. We assume, when we speak, that there is one reality: this one. But what if there are realities stacked on reality, if birth and death are just the passages between? What if I’ve died and been born a thousand times over already?

What if nothing changes?

…I’d call that Hell.

So I must, by definition, call my inner mindscape Hell because nothing to little has changed up there. I’m still angry. Still want to beat the living shit out of my mother, my oldest brother, and my sister. I want them to hurt. Hurt, and regret the hurt they’ve caused – and I want to see it. I want to see their pain because of all the pain they’ve caused in my life. I want to see their tears, hear their cries of ‘I’m sorry!’ so I can coldly tell them that yes, they are sorry pieces of shit and I have no empathy for their suffering. That desire burns in me, unabated no matter how many epiphanies or moments of clarity I receive.

I judge that part of me to be small, and weak, and mean. I don’t like it, nor the person I become when it takes me over.


Did not venture out yesterday, and the weather is twice as bad today. Figures. Procrastination typically makes things worse. Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda. Today the evil sprites tinker on my teeth again; not looking forward to that. Then I must find shoes, and some sort of cheap purse I can use rather than my ever-present backpack (fine with jeans, not so great with an evening dress). Meh. I’m both excited and nonplussed about “coming out” as a female – something I haven’t done for decades.

My brother is not coming to the premiere. He doesn’t have any appropriate clothing. I didn’t realize that until he told me last night. All his decent stuff was destroyed in Ireland. Had to tell that to S, who called me last night asking for a list of guests I was going to bring. Had to tell S I wasn’t bringing anyone – and I heard that snag of pity in her voice after I told her. Really? No one? Nope. It’s the pity I felt from her that’s bugging me. I totally understand my brother’s reasoning; he’s got to invest in a few things this month and there just isn’t the money to do that plus buy a suit so he can come to a small premiere for a short film that was made by students and probably won’t ever go any further. In some ways, in fact, I’m pleased. My bro’s autism can…be embarrassing for me at times. His reactions and words. People get offended. They look to me for explanations, and I just don’t want to do that anymore (nor does my brother want that). And…while my brother is my biggest supporter, there’s something else as well. He negates my energy. Not purposefully, and not with anything he does or says. But we both…do things with energies. He adds disruption. I…I do something different. But I can’t do it when he’s there: his disruption level is so high it disrupts me. And I can’t always do it. Don’t know why, or even what it is I do, but I’ve seen it and felt it. Other people have seen it and felt it. In the right groove, I can sway an entire crowd. Bring them under my ‘spell’. It’s…an odd thing to admit to. Sounds crazy. But it has happened my entire life. And whatever it is I DO do, I do it a lot with the film crew. Naturally. It pours out of me. So, if I’m honest, I’m rather happy my brother isn’t coming. I want these people to see that in me. I don’t want that part of me shut down.

…Did I just admit that I can’t share a part of me with my brother? Well, yes and no. He’s seen that part of me. He knows it. He also knows it can get out of hand: this is the part of me that turns into the ever-young party girl. Loads of fun, but she can get in over her head pretty easy. She overindulges. So he tends to be a bit disapproving of that side of me. I know he does it to keep her in line, to keep me from hurting myself. But…it’s also grating. I feel shackled at times.

Sometimes, I have to let myself roar…

And, bless him, my brother knows that. Just as I know that sometimes he has to fly without me by his side.

You never know which roar will be your last, so make it count. I plan on that. One of the reasons I’ve kept this particular dress for so long is that it’s a power outfit for me. I can’t wear it and NOT be there. Even if I feel I look like shit, that dress makes me feel pretty. Attractive. Seen. I will smile and beguile, laugh and listen, be thankful and humble and grateful for the opportunity and time I’ve been give. I may never do another film; I don’t know. No one does. So, give it everything.

…That’s what counts in these daily deaths I go through. The times I gave it my all. Those are the times that do NOT haunt me. Those memories do NOT tear me from my sleep and push me out of bed against my will. I want more of them.

Make it count.



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.


The Devouring Snake

Is this hurting you?

I wanted to tell him no, that it was just my fear that made tears leak out of my eyes. But my mouth was full of dentistry tools, and all I could manage was a negative uh-uh guttural sound, which seems to be understood by everyone in every language. Particularly dentists.

This morning I had the last bit of root canal work done. Sat down and talked first, told my dentist firmly that this wasn’t a tooth problem, took him thru an abbreviated version of the last two weeks. He kept asking me ‘Why did the dentist at Erasmus do the root canal?’ I told him all my teeth could have been pulled at that stage; I really didn’t care. The pain was too much.

The good news is he didn’t hurt me this morning. I told him to please numb the area out heavily because I was still having pain, and thankfully, he listened. So much so that I’m sitting here typing with half my face still feeling dead. The not so great news is I think he’s a bit angry at the emergency dentist for doing a procedure that wasn’t needed. Wouldn’t outright say that, naturally. Doctors tend to stick together. But his repeated questions and puzzlement told me that someone is going to hear about this.

Now I’ve more appointments for a mouth guard fitting. Joy, joy. And I need to get moving on the physio for this.

So, let’s add a bit more excitement to the mix, since it’s excitement and good things happening in my life that set this off in the first place. Signed into my writer’s email and found a message from the theatre group in the states. Blue Whale has made the semi-finals, out of 250 entries. Sent a reply out to the artistic director thanking her for the news and her continued support. Also apologized for not sending out Taman, which was my intention. Played up the health issue a bit – and I’ve gotta say, I’ve no shame in playing the sympathy card at this point in my life. If it gets my work performed and seen, I’m all for it.

Been working on the second installment of the trilogy. It’s a big re-write – but I knew that. Needed gender flips, different deaths… Still working on the last four scenes. And I’ve cut and cut and cut because it swelled up to over 7000 words. May have to add in another scene, but at this point I’d rather be pumping it up than cutting it more. Have two pages of notes/self talk written out as I work. Mostly stuff like ‘What are you doing here?’ or ‘If this is gonna happen in scene 7, you need to do this in scene 2’. The number one question I keep coming back to is: Does it drive the scene? Oh, yes. I’ve become one of those. Every word, every glance has to mean something. I don’t have time for fluff in this format. And so I’m analyzing my own work. This has to be there; it establishes this and that. If I want this, than I’ve got to have that somewhere earlier. And spread out the scares. Had them bunched up one on top of the other, with long stretches of important but not-so-scary dialogue.

I think I’m close. Don’t plan on much today after the dental work and anticipated soreness once the numbing agent wears off. But a few more days should do it. If I’m in the groove, I should be able to finish if before New Year’s.

January hangs in front of me, full of unscheduled pops of excitement like the fireworks that are already being set off in the neighborhood. I know the theatre group is going to get together to finally watch the vids of the play. I know the film group will get together, once to watch the finished film as a group and once for the awards ceremony at school. I’ll be hearing one way or the other from the theatre group in the states on Blue Whale. And it’ll be back to language classes, back to trying to write the children’s story in Dutch. That’s enough excitement to be dealing with, and I’d bet my last euro that something else is gonna pop up, too.

Mm. Can’t tell you how pleased I am that my refill on the morphine pills came with another refill.

Need to start pulling it together. Smoking too much. Not going to the gym. Gotta finish up my work and get my head out of my ass. My bro’s working on re-writing the lost chapter of his book, which means I’ll need to start sending out feelers for that. Gotta wrap my head around Dutch again. It’s there, almost, but it’s floaty. Indistinct. I know I should know it, but the meaning escapes me and I’ve reverted to just using English.

Geez…and I don’t want to start beating myself up again about doing this or that. The list above looks like my justification to begin berating myself. And I know I need to still rest and relax.


…Is this hurting you? Hell, yeah! I hate sitting here feeling like I need to start accomplishing things again but holding back because my body needs to heal. Fucking hate it. Especially when I know it’s me hurting my body. It becomes one big circle: hurt yourself somehow, need to take time down, beat yourself up for being lazy, continue to hurt yourself… And it’s all the more bitter knowing it’s come to me from mania, from joy, from overloading excitement and amazement at good things suddenly showing up in my life.

I am the snake devouring it’s own tail.



The more I physically heal, the more anger I feel. Old stuff. Same old stuff. No need to go thru it again.

Trying to monitor this shit for real, ’cause…well, pain. That, and I figure I’ve had enough of it at my age.

Spent two hours on the phone talking to S last night. It’s strange to have a friend who just wants to chat on the phone. But I was happy to catch up with her, happy to feel good enough to talk normally. She made me laugh – hard – when she told me the guy who played my husband in the film got cut. The crew got to the editing suite and no one like his footage or performance. Even their teacher watched his stuff and said ‘cut it’. Now S is ducking the actor because she doesn’t want to tell him he’s been completely cut out of the film. Oh, I empathize with her dilemma! I wouldn’t want to tell him either, tho I suggested to her that she play to his ego and start with something like ‘I know you’re a real professional, so you’re aware that sometimes scenes get cut in the editing room…’. But, you know, in the nugget of perfection on that shoot, he was the sore spot. Things were a little less fun, a little less together while he was there. And he was a lousy actor. Best they could find, and I’m sure he’d work in some situations – but he was bad. Everyone knew it at the time. S thinks she might tell him the premiere got cancelled by the school. She’s also considering sending a special cut with his scenes to him, just to appease him. I don’t want to sound like a bitch, but…it’s funny. If you’d heard him speak about his acting, you’d understand.

I’ve been told I’m on the posters and marketing info. Apparently, my tongue is now the director’s screen saver, too. I be everywhere. And according to rumor, my ass and tits look great on screen. So glad I’m old enough to know the difference between the illusion and me. No worries about trying to look like that all the time…tho, honestly, if I someday find members of the press outside my door, I’ll at least brush my hair before I leave the house.

Received an excited confirmation on Taman. Good golly! Must have really written a great 100 word bio. They don’t know me from Eve. I was apologetically informed my entry was early, most authors don’t get their work in before December 31, and it would take months to sort thru everything and make a decision. I was thanked sincerely for my work, and left with their hope that I would continue to work with them and write about more women. Not what I was expecting. Again, it’s more. More than I dreamed of getting.

Coming to the realization that I’ll need new pages under my writing name and as an actor. Hi, this is the new me. Again. This time, tho, I’m not fluffing things out with nonsense. I’ve already got concrete realities to talk about. Scripts, films, plays, interest and excitement. One more project under my belt and I’ll hire someone to help me on the side. I so hate social media pages.

The morphine is doing its job. Brushed my teeth last night without any electric feeling jolts in my molars. Determined to stay on three a day until Monday. I want this thing down. Quiet. Subdued. A week from today I get my temporary filling replaced, and I want to be pain free for days before going in. Feels a bit like cheating. I’m not screaming in agony any more. I could probably get by on less. But it’s so damned pleasant to not feel pain. I just want a little more of that. And I don’t want the nerve to start up again.

The time is coming. My hair is getting chopped and changed. I’ve been thinking about it more and more lately, a sign I’m well acquainted with. I want to go back to auburn. That color looked particularly good on me. And I think my new cut will be jaunty and asymmetrical. That also looks real good on me. I’m dithering a bit. There are elements of longer hair I enjoy. Mostly tying it back or up. But it’s hard to keep nice. My hair tangles easily, so when I do wear it down and free I always have snarls to deal with. It’s a pain to wash, a pain to dry, a pain to keep out of my eyes. Other than that, I like it. But, new me, new hair. And I’m ready for the ta-da! of a new ‘do.

Hell! I’m ready for the ta-da! of a new me.


Thoughts and thanks

Ninety minutes.

I’m not a big phone talker. Maybe when I was 14, but not since then. Use the phone to make a date or a plan to talk in person. So much better! But last night, I was on the phone for an hour and a half with S, the casting director from the film. Unexpected? Absolutely. But not unwanted, even tho the call came in around 10 at night (she’s a night owl).

I think I might have found a real friend.

Heard about the last day of filming, which went great. Heard how much everyone missed me, which felt great. And then, it was just talk. Talk about life, relationships, self confidence, our past…Well, we had a long conversation, so we covered a lot.

She said I was a role model. That she thought I was brave. I’m a bit stunned. Me? Brave? Maybe in front of the camera, but other than that I know how deeply chicken shit I tend to be. Yet, there it was: I was tagged as brave. I think that might be the first time in my life I’ve earned that particular label. I don’t feel like a role model. But then, I’m older. I’ve let a lot of stuff drop. I used to worry about people finding me attractive. Now I think about being a good person. I used to worry about saying too much, being too blunt. Now I state my opinions simply, without an argumentative tone in my voice. I understand how, as a younger woman, that might look brave and like someone you want to emulate. And good if that’s what it is! If I can take one day off of another woman’s internal suffering because they admire how I deal with life or men or politics or whatever, then I’ve lived a life worth living. I know how long I’ve sat in the shit. I don’t think anyone deserves to feel as bad about themselves as I have.

And I am so tired of seeing women tear themselves down. That shit that surfaces from competitiveness and petty jealousies. The nasty comments behind the back and to the face. The use of male branded put downs, male dominated ideals, male led lives. We have allowed ourselves to be led around the ring by our noses, just like the pieces of meat so many misogynists see us as. And those of us caught in that web deny it: I’m not jealous; she’s just a whore.

Can we be honest? Can we say that a lot of that surfaces because we’re all dick hounds after a good fuck? Because we all want this fairy-tale ideal we were fed from birth, that a perfect life includes a husband who has a good job? Okay, I know I’m ignoring the lesbians (sorry) and the non-sexual people out there. I’m making a point. This shaming of women BY women comes out of competition. It’s insidious, and it’s been instilled in us for forever.

Every time we do it, we play their game. Every time we do it, we support their foul opinions of us. Every time we do it, we kill ourselves and hamper our futures and the futures of all our daughters.

It’s got to stop.

If the only way you feel you can get ahead in life is to tear someone else down, you’re not making any progress.

I guess considering the world these days, that attitude alone should make me a role model. Embrace it, Beeps. You’re a knight in shining armour. Hm. And thus, comes understanding of how roles are thrust upon us. You just…live long enough that you become an oddity. An oddity that people admire, but an oddity nonetheless. And then they tell you, and you begin to monitor your own behavior. You start to become what they see you as, because a part of you doesn’t want to let them down. So you try. You reach for the bigger part of yourself. You keep doing that, keep trying.

And so you become.

That’s not to say you buy your own marketing. Therein lies the problem. I guarantee you that at the base of any star’s suicide is a deep seated belief that they didn’t really live up to their image. Maybe it’s not the ultimate tipping point, but it’ll be in the mix. It’s a big and ugly problem. Because people need those heroes. People need role models, the personalities larger than life to inspire and lead them thru dark times. But it can feel like a lie. I’m not really that good, I’m not really that smart, or that talented, or that beautiful… You need to balance what is and what is perceived.

Tread lightly, oh walkers of life! You never know when you will become. And you never quite realize, from where you are, just how difficult that balancing act is.

So. I have a friend. Admiration. Dizzying amounts of respect. It is as tough to take as the opposite. Especially after years of having no friends, no admiration, and no (or little) respect. And I don’t want to fuck it up. I want friends. I want people in my life. People who are happy to see me, people who are sad if I’m ill. People to share things with, because fun is amplified a thousand fold when you share it.

I am…at a loss. I don’t know why I’m getting this outpouring. I don’t know what I did so right to deserve it; if I did know, I’d keep doing it. All I can do is be the brightest me I can be. Listen, care. Slow down enough to really interact. Share my sense of humor. Hug people when I know they need it.

Waking every day with a sense of thankfulness. It’s totally new. I’ve had it for short bursts, over little accomplishments. This feels big, and solid. Like a river of lava flowing thru my life: huge, encompassing, and burning away all those truly inconsequential things that have been hampering me for so very long.

Thank you.


Blend me

There. Downtime taken. Not easy. I was super squirrelly. Couldn’t actually nap, but I rested as much as possible and applied arnica lotion to my bruises throughout the day. Kept getting little jolts of excitement every time I went online, seeing posts from my film friends and friend requests and happily confirmed friendships and DAMN! I’ve never felt like I’ve had this many friends before.

Those feelings from the set are still oozing out of me. No longer from my hands; that part is over. Now it oozes from my eyes, as I tear up thinking about how much fun we had. I just felt so included and wanted. I still do, because of the continued online explosion.

But today it’s back to reality. The big equalizer: scrubbing out the toilet. Doesn’t matter if you’re King or Shit-Sweeper; scrubbing out a toilet brings everyone down to the same level. There’s dishes to clean, garbage to take out, a few items to pick up at the store, laundry to shift around. Get up and get moving again at the gym. Try to keep it all light, drink juice, take a break if I need it.

I still don’t have my holiday lights up yet.

Winter has come to the Netherlands. It’s been here for several days, but I’ve been too busy to pay much attention. Hail, sleet, and snow rain down from the cold skies every day. We might even get a little accumulation before the day is out. Almost hope for it; some of my new friends are from warmer climates and they talked about wanting to see a real snow. 🙂 I refrained from saying anything about ‘real snows’ or drifts five feet high when they said that. Dutch snow, I can handle. Even if a lot comes down, it doesn’t stick around.

…Have to admit, my deepest dreams are for family members to notice my posts about the film and show some interest. Maybe say ‘well done!’ I’m not holding my breath. They’ve had 52 years to tell me ‘well done’, 52 years to support me doing what I love, and so far all they’ve offered me are half-assed jokes at my expense. But I’d be lying if I said any different. I want that recognition from them. I want my mother to be proud of me. I want my father to acknowledge my beauty. Even with both my parents dead, and voluntarily cutting myself off from the rest of the family, I still want it. There’s the saddest thing of all, because I know I’ll never get it. Not from my mother or father. Not from my oldest brother or sister. Not from any of my aunts or uncles on my mother’s side. The extended family from my father’s side has always supported me from the moment time I met them. That was my very first clue: here were family members who took me as family, shared their lives with me in words and pictures, and supported me. Said ‘wow!’ or ‘well done!’ or ‘I’m so excited for you!’ They barely know me – we’ve never actually met in person – and yet they are so much more open and loving than my real family. It told me so much.

And it made me so sad. Oh, I’m done asking why. At least for today. The why doesn’t bloody well matter in the end, does it? The only thing that ends up mattering is what the hell you’re going to do with the mess you got dealt in life.

I see now, in hind sight… Ach! I was going to start saying I should have this or that. Fuck that. I did what I did. Chose how I chose. It taught me things, things I wouldn’t have learned any other way. I’ll embrace that. It’s hard to say thanks for it. Felt like a lot of shit to go thru, but maybe that’s because I’m bull headed and stubborn.

For now, I feel inspired. Fired up with standing up and being noticed. Moving forward for reals. Feels like my feet are firmly planted on the ground. I’m not building castles in the air. I’m not living on pipe dreams. I’m doing. I’m being.

And while part of me wishes I could take this knowledge back to myself and change things, let me make this abundantly clear to the Universe and anyone who’s listening: I DON’T WANT TO GO AROUND AGAIN. I want to see and be in the now, take the joy I can, love who I trust, do what I’m meant to do.

Holy fuck. Am I saying I want to…live?

That word has new meaning for me now. Live used to mean exist. I existed. I put up with the pain. But there’s a whole other dimension to that word. To truly live. Wow. It’s an immense feeling.

I want to keep that feeling, even when I’m scrubbing out the toilet today. I’ll live it. It’s just a tiny seed in the huge fruit of life. It’s hard, and tasteless. You might hurt yourself if you bite down on it too hard. It might be a bit bitter tasting, or slimy, or just gross. Don’t eat it. Consume the fruit. Spit the seeds. Everyone’s been telling me that, in their own words. Stop focusing on all the bad in life. Look on the bright side. Why can’t you take a compliment? But I didn’t have enough fruit. I was getting all seeds. My life was a pomegranate. And I don’t like pomegranates.

I’d been eating life raw. Very raw, and with no help from a cheery television chef telling me how to make this shit edible. Now, it feels like I’ve got a fully stocked kitchen with all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Just hit a switch and all the work is done for you.

Go on; do it.

Blend me.


May I have another?

Behold, the knees. I’m on the left, with the grey socks. My 21 year old co-star is on the right. After cut was called yesterday, we went up to change clothes and compare bruises. Don’t know how many times we ended up doing the death scene, but as you can see, we put everything we had into it.

This has to rank as the number one experience of my life. Been trying to think what might even come close to topping it, and I’m drawing a blank. The dedication of these young film makers – barely any sleep, push, push, and keep a great attitude. The sheer professionalism of them, from the camera work to the thought behind the shots. And damn! They were all so nice. I think I’m in love with each and every one of them.

That love translated into good work. When it came time for the big scene I drew it up – the tears, the despair over watching as your own child turns and kills you. Time after time. It was right there, behind my belly-button, and all it took was a bit of breathing. M, my costar, locked eyes as I went into it. And the further I went, the further she went. We began to feed off each other – the kind of thing you hear about on celebrity talk shows. The room faded, the crew were a background noise. It was the two of us, staring into each other’s eyes, falling into a world of pain and torment. And it. was. glorious. The best work I’ve ever been able to do, because everyone around me was that good.

…To be able to do that… To have an opportunity like that… I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much it means to me.

Oh, Goddess! And to work with an actor who could match me!! That was another world. Gone were any inhibitions, any doubts. Had the director asked us to strip naked to do the shot, I think we could have without blinking an eye. That’s how intense and personal it was.

My hands never stopped leaking an oily sweat the entire shoot. That was the mania: uncontrolled, and oozing out of me even when I didn’t want it. But I didn’t shake. I didn’t falter. I didn’t back down or compromise. And it all got funneled into the role.

And there’s a story within a story here. Because not only was the shoot itself fabulous, the time around the shoot was fabulous, too. We did the filming at the home of the casting director, and her parents were around for most of the time. Her father honored me several times – he tried my homemade cordial for my voice, loved it, and promptly shoved some money in my hands to buy two bottles. He shared a family photo album of a trip to India. He spoke to me of his daughter, and his life. And his daughter! Oh, she’s a bright one! Found myself, as usual, spilling my guts in that no-nonsense way I seem to have these days. She said, ‘It’s kind of like therapy for you, isn’t it? I can tell by the way you say these things’. And yes, she’s right. I knew that a while ago. She’s just the first person to bring it up. She also told me how difficult it was for her to think of me as 52. ‘You’re very young. Like part of you hasn’t aged at all.’

Oh, I’d love to spend more time with her, and with her family! Good people. Straight talk, unafraid to say those things that need saying. Unafraid to hear what I have to say.

…I’ve had a taste of being a film star. Not just in name, but truly being a film star. Because it’s not what you do, it’s how people treat you that makes all the difference. I can only assume this translates into whatever field you study; that finally getting the accolades and notice you’ve worked so hard for always feels this good. I have been passed over so much – wait! I’ve allowed myself to be passed over so much! better! – , and these past two days are a big wake-up call on that front. Gratitude. Real gratitude for who I am and what I do. I feel accepted. In full, and without having to apologize for my weird sense of humor or the funny voices that sometimes burst out of me or anything else I do.

This is amazing. Absolutely amazing.

And all I want to do is fall down on my very bruised knees and scream THANK YOU! at the top of my lungs because prayer is far too quiet for what I feel.

This is me, actualized. In total. Giving it my all. Burning the way I know I was made to burn. Not turned away. Not ignored because other people were uncomfortable or didn’t know what to do or say. I was watched. I was admired – and TOLD. I was – dare I say it? – loved as much as I loved. I saw it and felt it. I was hugged not because that’s what you do at the end of filming, but because our emotions were overbrimming, because we knew we’d all shared something special and unique.

…I’ve no real plans, other than showering and babying my injuries. Thinking of maybe making a surprise visit on Monday to the set. I still owe the casting director’s dad a bottle of my cordial, and, well… As I was saying good-bye, and telling everyone how sad I was that it was over, someone said ‘you could always come visit on Monday’ and that’s just been turning in my brain overnight. I could see everyone again. Take care of the cordial, and pick up the lights. Drop off my expenses.

The more I consider it, the more reasons I find for going one more time.

Thank you. May I have another?