Reverse Hibernation

Tired. Like, down to my bones. Every limb feels heavy and stiff. Slept 10 hours and considering a nap. Trying not to, ’cause naps fuck me up more than it’s worth most times, unless I’ve been on a crying jag (which I’ve not)…then it resets me.

Consciously smoking. Cutting down. Reigning in. …It’s as much a pain in the ass process as active listening is right now.

Just want to sleep.

My brain has shut down. It refuses to think of anything more than putting one foot in front of the other. It offers no inspiration, gives me nothing from story-land to occupy my time.

It’s bleak, but comforting. And I think this is the way death comes to us. It tires us down, bit by bit, until we welcome the unending slumber. At least, I hope so.

I hope that’s the way it happens.

Happy thoughts to while away the day, yes?

Ugh. I hate my body when it’s like this. Far beyond just exercise back lash. Fronts have been moving through the area, and long observation has lead me to the conclusion that fast moving weather fronts affect my RA. Summer is always hell. I use selective denial, and choose to remember summers as fun. But the truth always hits me mid-way. Summer tires me out terribly.

Been rehearsing my role. Really have the first seven pages down. Recorded in my partner’s lines for the last half of the script. Now it’s repetition. Perfecting. I keep finding deeper and deeper nuances of body language to use. So much can be said with a turn of the head.

Trying not to worry. Tough, when I’m like this. If I could keep active, keep going…then maybe my mind wouldn’t go so dark. But I struggled to get the dishes done. It was a big job, or it felt like it. Going outside, committing to other activities…I’d drop over unconscious within an hour. I need an extra boost of caffeine to even begin reaching a state of ‘normal’ alertness. A big boost.

Feels like I’m slipping into some reverse hibernation. Sleep away the summer rather than the winter.

…On a cosmic level, that makes sense somehow…doesn’t it?

Francis-stein

Allowed that despair to overtake me yesterday. Just for a moment or two. Enough time to sob deeply and feel a tear drop from my eye. Then I shook myself, sighed, and went to the gym.

Exercise has become a time waster. A thing to keep me from smoking. Not a thing I enjoy. Not a thing I do to get in shape or lose weight. Just a thing that keeps me out of the house, away from my ashtray. The goal is to spend as much of the afternoon at the gym as possible.

Hope to tire myself out. Get back here and almost fall asleep for the rest of the day. Wouldn’t need to smoke then. Wouldn’t need to do anything, other than chill.

Doesn’t quite work, of course. The more I do, the better shape I’m in, the longer it takes to tire me out. Half hour on the cross trainer. Half hour on the treadmill. Half hour on the bikes. Half hour on the free weights. Was surprised all evening long. Kept expecting my eyes to close while watching tv. Nope. Wide awake.

Telling myself I shouldn’t feel all wimpy and weak. My stamina has improved. I’ve moved up settings on everything, including heavier free weights because a 15 year old BOY had to go and pick up the lightest free weights in the gym to exercise. Really, kid? I didn’t want to, but I picked up the 4 kilo weights and started working – after I shot him a dirty look. He’s a healthy BOY CHILD and should be working harder. I’m an OLD WOMAN and should be working less.

Gave a lot of thought to what I wrote about yesterday. Thought so much about it I think I might have handled one of those disagreement points better than usual. It came up in conversation. I could hear it in our words and the slightly harder edge in my brother’s voice. My head said ‘this is one of those times when he feels you’re not hearing him’. So I stopped trying to get my point across. I acknowledged what he said ‘I hear you, and agree’. I dropped the pitch and volume of my voice. And I heard him stumble a moment, expecting a fight and getting none. Then he dropped his voice volume and tone, and suddenly that horrible argument moment was over and done with without our getting into a shouting and/or blaming match.

….And no, it didn’t escape me that in handling and defusing the situation I had zero opportunity to speak my own mind. That could be an issue, so I hope nothing too important comes up. This whole thing began in part because I feel un-listened to. While I’m very pleased to have no arguments or bad feelings to overcome this morning, as far as the subject goes my brother has NO IDEA HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT. He’s assuming I feel one way or another because I haven’t spoken up. But I can’t speak up without causing an argument. And I can’t prevent and argument AND speak up. That’s two conflicting things for me. Either I concentrate on keeping the peace or I speak my mind. And if I continually choose to keep the peace, I end up feeling like my opinions and thoughts don’t matter anyway – which is exactly what started the whole fucking thing in the first place.

Why does this shit always fall to women? I never hear men talk about compromising themselves in order to keep the peace with someone. NEVER. They just bulldoze over. Me, me, me. Hear me. Listen to me. Honor MY fucking opinion. Oh, you have one too? Well, that’s just silly. You should think like me. You do, don’t you? Oh…you don’t? What’s wrong with you?

Round and round. Get ready, women. If you haven’t hit this shit in life yet, prepare yourself. It’s gonna happen, and you’ll be blamed no matter what you do. It’s what men do. How they react. It’s their fragile male egos, which we pamper and coddle because some of us like to get penises shoved up our vaginas. Or maybe all of you put up with it because you think you need men. We don’t, you know. Plenty of sperm in the sperm banks. We can kill every man on this planet and be just fine. Better than fine, with their male egos out of the way. We can make real peace, real change. And never, ever let another person with a penis think they’re better than us. Never, ever let them take over again. Return to a matriarchal society. Burn every book that uses ‘he’ as a gender neutral pronoun or ‘mankind’ to describe humanity. Destroy every testosterone driven film. And yes, cut off all the dicks of every male ever born because frankly I’d find it cathartic.

Right about now is the time when some man usually pops up and asks ‘are you a dyke?’

No, for the record, I’m straight. I just see men the way they really are. Oh, got a problem with that? Can’t reconcile the idea of a strong willed woman who’s not gay? You are so immature.

But that, of course, is just another male put down. Oh, if a woman has a strong opinion, she must be a lesbian. Regular women don’t talk like that. Real women don’t think like that. I’m rolling my eyes as I type.

No wonder I remained single all my life. Sure, part of it was choice. Part of it wasn’t. No one ever wanted to spend their life with me. And I suppose that’s got to do with having a strong opinion. Dad told me long ago that I’d scare men off. Too smart, too opinionated, too outspoken.

Odd, then, because he’s the man who made me this way. Encouraged me to think, to debate, to challenge his viewpoint at every opportunity.

I feel like a freak. Some Francis-stein that’s half modern woman and half old fashioned lady. Don’t know where I fit in, don’t know HOW to fit in.

Hanging on

Communication is a two way process. You can talk and talk and talk, but if you’re not communicating, nothing’s going to change.

I’ve been accused of being a poor communicator because sometimes (oh, goddess forbid!) I use uncommon words. Which means I dig below the surface layer of the average vocabulary and pull out a word that fits my definition perfectly rather than being a half-assed synonym.

Okay. I get that. If I use an unfamiliar term with no supporting language, it could be difficult to figure out what I’m driving at.

And that statement should hold true for everyone.

But, alas! In my household, it’s not. I am held accountable for my ‘high language’ as well as not understanding ‘common slang that everyone uses’.

This is coming from my brother, and it’s something I really hate about his communication style. Don’t know if he can accept he’s blaming me both ways, or at least that the words and facial expressions he chooses to use make me feel that way. I’ve done my best to say that. He doesn’t hear it, no matter what words I use.

And herein lies my problem, people. I’m damned well aware this is NOT a healthy communication style and it’s not good for me or my damaged self. Every time we come to loggerheads over something along this line I’m left feeling angry and unheard. Dissed. And of course my damaged brain goes that step further – it must be because he just tolerates me, he really doesn’t care, he’d rather I leave, etc., etc.

I hold onto something else, though. The idea that he does care, that this is just a left-over from our poor upbringing. My brother has seen me through some terrible times. Physically and emotionally. He’s watched me break, cried by my side for my unending self-hate, bolstered up my ego as much as humanly possible – all these actions say he does care, that my brain is turning on me, that I must keep my faith.

It’s difficult. Difficult to have my feeling conflict with the evidence at hand. Am I not being petty? Should I not call this what it is – a learned behavior of poor communication and blame? Is it not on me to rise above it, find a new way? He’s probably just as frustrated by these disagreements as I am.

Where do you draw the line?

They say you can’t fight every fight, and that’s an adage that holds true. You can’t. It’s exhausting.

But how does someone like me, who knows they’ve got issues and triggers, find that balance? Can I honestly say I’m reacting to all of this in a balanced and well rounded manner? Hell no! I’m being triggered by a billion things, including a lot of very old family shit. So am I doing that knee jerk reaction when I shouldn’t be? Or am I justified in my feelings?

Round and round with this question. I can never make up my mind.

Maybe it’s a bit of both. He’s wrong AND I’m wrong. He’s right AND I’m right. We both have valid points. And perhaps I never feel my point of view is acknowledged by him because he never feels I acknowledge his point of view. That’s what I’d expect a therapist to say. If you want to be listened to, listen to other people.

I just don’t know how so many things can get turned around to feel like it’s my fault no matter what I do or say.

Speaking of my fault, I grumbled the other night over my dental hygiene routine. Takes a long time every day, especially after some of the problems I’ve had. Heard this reply: “Well, maybe if you’d taken care of your teeth like this from the start you would’t have had all those problems.”

My brother was quick to follow up with all the advances in dental hygiene, how the tools we commoners can access are so much better…. All I heard was it’s my fault. My fault, I deserve it. All of it.

Made me wonder if I’d hear something similar, lying in hospital battling cancer. My fear says yes.

I don’t want to be blind-sided by that kind of thing.

The worst of all of it is my powerlessness. I have zero control. I’m only here under the graces of my brother, who’s basically supporting me right now. Chances of getting and holding a real job are very slim. I’m old, and my health is bad. I have no income, no savings, nothing of value to offer or sell.

I don’t think often on that part of reality, because it throws me into panic. But…and…this is why I say it’s better for me to just check out.

My brother, however, weaseled a promise out of me at one point. A promise to hang on, no matter what. To not voluntarily check out early.

When everything else goes haywire, that’s my rock. I sling a rope around that idea and hang on for dear life.

I’m hanging on now.

Intimidation

Sometimes, when I’m playing one of my computer games, I hit a level where I get intimidated and must stop. I do too well and worry I’ll screw it up. Silly, right? I bought the game to bleeding play, and it’s no competition. Still, there it is: intimidation. Eventually I get over it, and continue.

Been intimidated on stage. Many times. By the crowd, the heat, the lights, my own jitters…. There have been mornings and nights I’ve vomited my fear up, but it didn’t stop me from going on when I needed to.

Today I faced a different intimidation. One deeply layered – almost insidiously so. It’s tied into rape and physical abuse…and I realize even as I’m writing this that I’m only touching the top of it.

The guy in my Friday language class – the one I’ve mentioned before – …well, he showed up today. Class begins at 9:15 and runs to noon. He banged the door open at 11 and sat as near the door as possible. Fifteen minutes later he slammed the door shut on his way out.

A ripple of fear ran around the room. Literally; you could feel it. One of my teachers – the male – tried to pass if off when someone asked what it was all about. Said he thought maybe the guy was just going to the bathroom. Yeah, right.

Btw, the rest of us are women. And it doesn’t take a genius to look at us and realize I am not the only one with abuse and rape in my history.

Couple that with current news. Dare I mention, in this context, terrorism?

I am NOT comfortable with this guy. Purely on the anger issue. Add in whatever happened with the female teacher, and I’m on edge. Douse that with today’s event and I’m unsure I want to go back if he keeps showing up.

I don’t feel safe.

I don’t want to condemn out of hand, either. I’m completely aware that all of this blatant anger in class might be because of something else. Other stressors in his life. What I’d like is an explanation, but considering his tight-lipped reluctance to say anything (leaving his comments purely in the form of angry stares and slamming doors), I doubt I’ll get one. And, you know the saying – better safe than sorry. He’s displaying behavior that’s intimidating all of us, so I’ll err on the side of caution and say get this guy the fuck out!

But – what to do, what to do? Do I lodge a complaint? Nothing has been directed purely towards me. I did not see whatever happened that made the female teacher tell him to keep his hands to himself and stay away from her. I do not want to cause more trouble in a perhaps already deeply troubled life. And, bloody hell, you know they’ll make me say it in Dutch (a small, yet troubling snag in this situation). Yet…what if we’re really in danger? What if something happens? Something more than what we’ve already been subjected to?

And how about our rights? Don’t we have a right to learn in a safe space, without this intimidation?

Why was he even allowed back in the building after what happened with the teacher? …What did happen?

I was worried enough that I shifted in my seat slightly to keep the corner of my eye on him. He was sitting next to L, a really nice woman I’d like to call my friend. I didn’t want anything to happen and have L be too afraid to say something.

If I’m that worried, isn’t it possible there’s something to worry about?

Our school year is almost over. Two more weeks to go. The timing of it all adds to my uncertainty. Maybe he won’t come back in September.

Maybe I should let it go. Doesn’t seem either teacher said anything.

But maybe they’re struggling with it, too. They’re volunteers. I’m sure they don’t want to appear to not be able to handle half a dozen adults.

I’m also sure I’m not imagining the ripple effect around the room today.

Not a one of us wants that anger pointed directly at us.

We’re all intimidated.

Fear is a weighty burden

Five a.m., 23 degrees. My eyes wanted to keep sleeping, but my head hit that anger button – hard. One moment I was tossing and turning in my bed, trying to get comfortable, the next I was half dreaming of a family reunion and running towards my bitch of an older sister to repeatedly smash her in the face. How I would love to do that. I’d hit her and hit her, until blood flowed. Then I’d hit her some more, until my hands broke. That’s how much I hate that bitch. Physical violence, all the way. Killing her by any means other than wrapping my hands around her overly-fat neck and squeezing wouldn’t be satisfactory. It’s harsh, but true.

And of course I want the truth to come out. How everything she accused me of was her projecting her faults onto me. I want the family to see it, to KNOW that to be true. I want vindication.

I am unlikely to get any.

I know I’m scared right now. Somehow the lid on that container got taken off, too. Been having small panic attacks over the last 24 hours. Been thinking about walking off and allowing myself to die. Holding on, but it’s getting harder. I’m slipping.

Falling into summer depression mode.

Telling myself right now that it’s temporary. Somehow, though, the thought that I’m only ever REALLY okay for a few months in spring and a few months in autumn makes me feel that this is my default, and those few blessed months away from self-doubt and overwhelming anger aren’t my true baseline.

Naturally, my body reflects my horrid self-image. My psoriasis has gone wild, and my feet look like they belong to a leper. Just in time for summer sandals. It’s even spread to my hands again, which makes me very self-conscious. I feel fat and bloated. Hate my hunger; my body’s too fat, it doesn’t need to eat! Wish I could live on popsicles alone. They’re cold and sweet, and only 40 calories each.

Have to sit thru a language lesson this morning. Don’t want to. I’ll give myself props where props are due: in the past few days I’ve overheard some Dutch – mostly from the tv – and understood. That’s overhearing understanding, not concentrating understanding. Big difference. Maybe I don’t know many Dutch words, but a few have wormed their way into my subconscious. I don’t need to think about them; I KNOW. Been picking up my Dutch book to read at night, too. Don’t feel I’m doing well, or reading fast, or getting everything. Need to re-read some passages a couple of times. At least I’m trying.

Got my first script rejection yesterday, too. That doesn’t help. I know – one more notch in the belt, right? I’ll add it to my pile of rejections (someday, when I’m famous, I’ll wallpaper a room with all of those rejections and make interviewers walk through it before talking to me). Felt a bit like all my mental defenses came crashing down, tho. I had that *whimper* why try? in my head. Yeah, well…get ready. Sent out to a lot of places during my last up phase. I’ll probably see the fruits of that come back to me now, when I least need it.

I’m worried I’ve wasted my life, dithering around, trying this and that. And it feels too late to try anything new. Feels like my only alternative is to keep trying, keep hoping. And I worry I’m living on a pipe dream. A nice fantasy I tell myself to keep the boogie man away at night. I keep saying someday. Someday when I have a bit more money, someday when I’m famous, someday…. I’m tired of saying it.

Afraid of telling my brother all this because I was doing well for a while there. Purposeful, forward movement. Now…now all I am is a mass of insecurities. And I feel like I can’t or shouldn’t keep relying on someone else to help me feel better. All I do is add to his worries.

Through all of this is the deep seated knowledge that I must, above all else, keeping taking steps forward. Keep on my exercise, keep trying to get some sleep. Keep sending my stuff out and to hell with all the idiots who can’t see how good it is. Funny how in this hottest of hot weather I feel like I’m moving through molasses in January. Slow, difficult steps. Things that drag on me, and weigh me down.

Fear is a weighty burden.

Some days I hate being a woman

Woke up to a blessedly cool 15 degrees. Such a big difference in temperature I needed a hoodie on to feel comfortable. It’s supposed to heat right back up to 31 today, but for now the air is cool with that hint of fallen-dew smell, and I feel if it stayed like THIS all summer, I could be a happy person.

Rehearsal last night. Surprise: my acting partner came home from holiday early and showed up for last night’s work. MUCH better. I like working with my director, but I need to pick up the timing and habits of my acting partner. And the director needs to see both of us interact in order to do his job. One-upped my partner (and for all I know, everyone else working on this play) by having my lines memorized so well that when we began the run thru I didn’t need the script – which the director noted with a smile. Disagreed on a minor point of dialogue; the director feels a few of my lines are all double entendre. I disagree; a person may use double entendre, but for a whole paragraph? Didn’t feel right to me, but he’s the director so I’m delivering the lines the way he wants them done.

Learned something, too. There’s a short bit in the scene where I notice a photograph that’s been cut in two. I’d been playing it exactly the way I’d react – when my partner talks about it being his ex who left him for a guy on holiday, I widened my eyes in shock and concern. HOWEVER, I was told cutting people out of photos is now a normal thing to do. Everybody does it. It’s not a sign of psychosis and I shouldn’t have any concern or fear over it. …Really? Have things got that bad out there? I was taught that behavior was wrong, wrong, wrong. A sign of immaturity. An inability to deal with anger. Something to fear: someone who’d do that might snap and pick up a gun at any moment. And now it’s “normal”. Accepted behavior.

Dear Goddess! What are you people thinking?

…And it’s no wonder we have so many mass shootings. So much violence. If you think THAT’S fucking normal…!

*sigh* Gotta say, it’s nice to be back on my blog. A place where no one can interrupt or override me. The real world ain’t that nice. Felt like I had a big dose of that last night, as well. There came a time near the end when my partner and the director began discussing the education system here – something both have worked in. Something I know nothing about. So there was a long lag when I had nothing to say, nothing was said to me, and any attempt of mine to add in a thought or statement was talked right over. Then I got home, tried to talk about it to my bro – who interrupted me and overrode my line of thought, interjecting with HIS night, HIS work, HIS thoughts. I did what I always do: clam up. If I’m not important enough to be listened to, fuck you. You don’t get to know anything about me. But then, as ALWAYS, I’ll be blamed for ‘putting up walls and not letting anyone in’. What a fucking load of twat! And sorry, but this SHIT always comes from MEN. Can’t quite shake the feeling it’s all chauvinistic bullshit from the start.

Yeah, there’s quite a bit of anger in me today. Had to read another article about burkinis from a man’s perspective. Piss the fuck off!

Does not help I was told last night I look 40 something. I should be pleased, right? It’s still 10 years junior my actual age. Instead, I find my ego punctured and deflated. What? I don’t look 30 anymore? Fu-u-uck! Horrible to feel so torn – to want (at the moment) every man’s penis to fucking fall off and rot, yet still want to look young and attractive.

Some days I hate being a woman.

Hot, and dead

I shouldn’t even be here. I should be finishing up my coffee and getting my butt to the gym.

Two days of 35+ degrees, though, and I’m sapped. Everything is hot. Been sucking on popsicles to try and keep cool. Feel extra extra tired: not sleeping well due to the heat, and naturally my RA is flaring up a bit. My joints (not the fun ones) feel thick and fat.

Got rehearsal tonight. I’m ready for it, tho I’m not ready to take a hot metro ride down in the evening sun (which is still damned hot) to a classroom which is ALWAYS hot to rehearse for a couple of hours. Hope we can do it outside.

Feel bad for the kiddies who are still in school. Sure hope those buildings have some air conditioning. And let’s face it: doesn’t take much in the way of cooler air to feel pretty good. An A/C that sputters out tepid air would be very welcome.

I’ve got a couple of fans.

Resisting the urge to shave my head. So far, anyway. Can’t guarantee that I won’t chop all my hair off before the month is over. Have to use every single hair pin I’ve got to keep this thick mass off my neck. Nine, in total. And my hair still escapes.

Smoking too much. Way too much. Hate it. Hate how often I find myself reaching for a smoke. How often I hold a lighter in my hand, waiting. Telling myself to take timed breaks – don’t smoke for at least an hour. Hold off ’til after dinner. Small goals. Somehow, tho, the total keeps going up.

It’s not even Summer Solstice and it’s too damned HOT! Goddess! Can I even make it through this summer?

……Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. I think I fucked up my meds. Just had an alert on my computer to take my methotrexate today, but I think I took it yesterday. 98% positive on that. Fuck. Okay. Don’t panic. Just don’t take the pills today. Trust your memory. If I’m wrong and I’m skipping a dose, I won’t keel over.

Go away, summer! This constant heat makes it harder than ever to keep track of time.

Don’t even know the last time we had rain. All the grass outside is dead. It just lays there, yellow and harsh. The kind of grass that hurts bare feet because it’s so damned dry. The world has become a waffle iron, searing its pattern into people’s back and shoulders as they try to enjoy the sun in the manner their ancestors did: by going out in it. Utter madness. It’s too hot, and every thing is dead. Get it? The grass is dead. The trees are dead or dying. Everything is getting seared. Take a hint!

But they don’t, of course. Instead, people body check ME because of my too-white legs or arms while they sport the color of lobsters. Mob mentality. We’re all doing it; if you don’t, you must be wrong.

Go on. You’ve got your manner to kill yourself, I’ve got mine.

It’s too hot to argue, and in the end we’ll all be dead, anyway.