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.



Out of jail. That’s how my head feels: I’m out of jail. Finally.

This delightful feeling of lightness comes from another notch in my understanding of Dutch. They said reading would help. I didn’t believe them as I slogged through text after text, never enjoying it, always feeling like it was homework because there were just too many words I didn’t know. Yesterday I reaped the benefits of my hard work. Every word from my instructors was crystal clear. I heard the ‘-ie-‘ used for ‘hij’ after a verb that ended in T. I heard ‘raad’ (guess) and knew what the meaning was. I heard ‘ingewikkeld’ (complicated) and caught on right away. I heard ‘om’ and ‘toe’ and ‘maar’ and ‘al’ – those pesky words that flash by in a blink with native speakers. I was so excited I just sat there vibrating with joy and excitement. I didn’t just follow the gist of the conversation, I got every word.

My teachers took my suggestions to heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We spent the day going over prepositions. Not just over or under, which are the baby prepositions you learn with A,B,C, but those larger prepositions that can get split in a sentence. I was not the only one excited by the lesson; everyone seemed to respond that way. We were more jovial, more verbal, there were more questions, more examples, and when we broke for coffee midway we ended up sitting around a table together and continuing to discuss prepositions, our lives, and the language. We were all so into it, as a matter of fact, that everyone – students and teachers alike – stayed an extra 15 minutes to finish up some reading.

I didn’t want the lesson to end. I didn’t want to take a break. I just wanted to keep hearing the language so clearly. Keep reading, keep learning. I don’t ever remember feeling so fired up, tho I imagine I once felt this way about English.

*sigh* Real satisfied joy. Boy, that’s a great feeling!

Today’s my appointment with Dr D, my GP, about the pain killers. Almost forgot about it with everything else. It’s small potatoes now, and I wonder why I ever thought it was a big deal. Go in, have my say, head out. No big whoop.

Yesterday was the first day I truly felt back to full health. No hunger pains or problems from almost starving myself. No headaches or jaw aches, no toilet problems or sleep problems. I had energy, I was alert, and I felt good physically and mentally. Happy I’ll be able to say all that to my doc. Worry was becoming a constant companion to me. Who’d a thunk my biggest problem was food? Not me, certainly. I have an almost non-stop litany of ‘you’re so fat’ going in my head. So I skip meals, cut back on what I eat, and never feel like I’m really doing enough. But I’m not 15, or 25. My body can’t do this any more, as evidenced by the migraines and other accompanying pain I experienced. And I shouldn’t feel like I need to ask it to do this.

It’s time to tackle my body issues. Among other things.

…Well, at least I’ll be doing it on a full stomach, for Pete’s sake…

Sent out some emails expecting them to be answered quickly. Naturally, they aren’t. One was to the director asking about meeting this week to go over the script. Hope my messages didn’t fall into a black hole. Again. There are black holes in cyber-space, and there are servers and areas where emails typically go missing. I’ve had it happen to me before. Best to give it a few days. Every time I follow up fast, thinking my message has gone missing, all I end up doing is annoying the other person because yes, they actually did get my first message and they’re just not as fast on response as I want them to be.


Thinking I might head to the gym after my doc’s visit. I feel good enough to go and get a walk in. Yippee! That’s real progress. Trying to not dwell on how long I’ve been off my routine, or how long it will take me to get back to where I was physically. The goal is simply to get some movement. I still want to break 5km in 30 minutes, but I’m not ready to even get back on the cross trainer quite yet. I’ve been real good on taking care of myself, being gentle with myself. Getting on the cross trainer at this venture…oh, that’s asking me to push too hard and hurt myself. Nope. Won’t even give myself the opportunity.

I’ve very aware how close I am to tipping into full blown mania again. I’m too excited and excitable, too easily wound up, too easily thrown off from my normal sleeping and eating patterns. Nine days before my first psychiatrist appointment, and I hardly expect to be given a prescription after my first visit, so the number one rule is (as it’s been for quite some time now): take care of myself. Don’t judge what that looks like, just do what it takes. I cannot afford another three months down because of TMJ. I do not want more pain. I do not want to take more pain pills. And I have firm commitments coming up, goals to achieve. I need to be in good health to do all these things.

Prisons come in all shapes and sizes. My prison… I was going to say it was ‘all in my head’, which technically it is, but I don’t want to feel discounted by my own words. My prison was is was (which is the correct verb?) very real. A prison of anxiety and fear, self doubt and self hate. I walled myself off years ago to protect myself, never fully realizing how much I would cut myself off in the process.

Those walls are coming down. The language barrier is coming down.

And I’m free.

Second Childhood

One small victory. I helped someone to ease their own discomfort. Thanks, SJ, for letting me know my suggestion worked. That gets marked up in the column that says ‘See? Talking helps. And you do have experience and ideas that can benefit other people.’ We all need a few more marks on that side of the column.

Found I was starving. I’ve been light on food for months since all this began, and the last week I was down to a small can of soda and a very small bit of one meal as ‘food for the day’. So I ate. I forced down a breakfast yesterday, which wasn’t fun. I picked up a small snack like meal for noon at the store downstairs. I ate a full dinner, loaded up with healthy carbs to absorb the excess bile in my stomach. Lo and behold, the headache stopped. Much of the pain stopped. My system, while still screwed, is better. I can tell I’m beginning to recover.

Good Goddess! The girl who couldn’t stop eating now can’t eat enough.

Getting together Sunday with the theatre crew to finally see the vids from last season’s performance. Both looking forward to it and dreading it. Looking forward to getting my ego stroked; I know I performed well. Dreading it because…well, it’s the theatre group. I’m trying my best to make friends, but I feel that barrier. Can’t seem to get past the acquaintance bar. And I don’t know why. Is it because they hold back from revealing themselves, and I’m naturally reacting to that? Is it because I sense some deeper, slightly less savory aspects of their personalities? No idea. Also expect to hear that they will NOT be doing my script this autumn. Too long since the reading, and no word. That’s never good. I’m already building up my defenses; getting ready to say ‘Yes, I expected that was your answer – and that’s okay. I know the group is pressed for time this year.’ Steeling myself to feel disappointed. Reminding myself of the US interest, and my plans to take it to podcast. The still relevant future possibility of taking it to film. I don’t want to feel that sinking out of body feeling when it gets rejected. I hate that.

Burying my head in reading. I am such a child, reading at this slow rate. Dragging that inner voice through these big, complex words. Sounding things out. Pondering, then understanding. It is annoying and delightful in equal measures. Don’t know if I’m dreaming in Dutch yet or not; I’m not remembering any dreams lately. But I can honestly say I was talking aloud to myself and I slipped in the Dutch word ‘wandelen’ (a walk or stroll) and I couldn’t for the life of me come up with the English equivalent tho I knew full well the meaning of the word. So, something is changing up there in my brain.

Studiously avoiding thinking about my upcoming visit with Dr. T, the psychiatrist. I get too wound up when I think of it. I know, vaguely, what to expect. I know, vaguely, what I want to say. That’s good enough. I don’t need to prep out a full speech (like I usually do). I don’t want to do that. I want him to see me struggle for words, English or Dutch. That’s the truth I hide. It’s why I talk aloud to myself: run through every variation of every conversation, every question, everything I can possibly imagine so I can come up with a pat answer ahead of time. And I use it. Every day, I catch myself paraphrasing my own answers – mostly from these early morning writing-rambles. If you don’t know I’m doing it, I can sound pretty damned together. Coherent, and on top of it. Oh, what a font of wisdom! Glad it appears that way to you. But now, it’s my time. Now it’s time to talk about me. To reveal my real struggles and problems. Not just my post struggle understanding of my problem(s), but the struggle itself. I don’t plan on going in there and ‘fritzing out’, as I call it in my head, but I don’t think it would be bad thing if it happened.

Picking up the day to day again. Got some fresh air yesterday. Today I plan on tackling the cleaning. Getting myself back on small tasks: short walks, dishes, making my bed. Have to sit and drag myself through some homework, too. Especially since tomorrow is a bust for time.

*sigh* I’d rather just sit and enjoy my book…

For all the years I was lost in confusion, unable to even make the simplest of choices for myself, I’m finding that I hold a strong core of very definitive likes and dislikes. The girl in me likes to read. So much so that she’ll fight doing all sorts of things in favor of sitting in a chair with her favorite book. And while the girl in me acknowledges the fact that my ever present back-pack is a far more handy way to carry my incidentals when I leave the house, she wants to be girly and carry a purse sometimes. Entertainment? Make the girl shiver. She likes horror and creepy stories, things that frighten her so much she turns the lights on. Food: while she likes it, she also hates it. She is a proponent of starving. Skip meals, don’t eat, lose weight.

It’s difficult to integrate all that. Especially when it’s so in my face right now.

Meh. Second childhoods suck.


No one else will


Sick. I feel sick. All the time. It’s a side effect of the antibiotics I’m on: upset stomach and diarrhea. Right now I’m running to the toilet so fast I’m not sure I even want to step outside the house. Does not help that I can still see an infection in my mouth. I’m gonna have to go back to the dentist. And he’s gonna want to tinker more. And I don’t want him to.

Wondering if I’m just old now. If I’ve reached that point when all my teeth just have to come out because I’m fucking falling apart. I ain’t dying; no such fucking luck. I know the signs of the body going into shut-down, and I’m not there. I’ve still got color in my cheeks and red lips. Which means one thing: I gotta suffer thru it. No matter what. Death ain’t that close.

Telling myself I’ve one day more on my anti-biotic. Telling myself that this IS livable, many people have false teeth and live a full life. Telling myself all that and more, but between the number the pills are doing on my stomach and my anxiety I’m not in a good place.

And the world ain’t helping.

Had a call from my GP about the morphine pills. I asked for another refill; not getting it, unless I go in and explain myself to the doc. Been on them “too long”. It was hard enough to ask for help in the first place. I don’t feel worth it. I’ll just sit here and let the pain come until I can’t take it anymore, then go to hospital and cry and scream. It’s all I deserve anyway.

…Fucking yeah. Fucking really depressed this morning. I know it. I know I’ve been battling it back for days.

News just heaps more anxiety and hate on my head. Can I call like I see it? I’d like to get three people I can think of out of the states. Then bomb it. Totally. Wipe it out. Kill everyone. They’re a mad bunch of psychopaths who are ruining the world. Let’s do everyone a favor and stop it. I sure as fuck don’t want to keep hearing about how they love their guns and hate their children. And the rest of the world wonders why American children who escape that prison hate their country and their ‘people’ so fucking much.

You know what I heard the other day? That Americans made a ‘mistake’. That’s how 45 was referred to, as a ‘little mistake’. Yeah. Electing a dictator was a ‘little mistake’. Electing a man who’s proud of the fact he’s a sexual predator was a ‘little mistake’. Electing a racist liar was a ‘little mistake’.

The sheer wall of ignorant hatred coming from the US is stifling. Horrifying.

And yeah, you’d better keep me out of those borders. ‘Cause if I have to go back, I ain’t goin’ down alone. Got it?

Goddess damn them all!

…*sigh*… And the sheer hypocrisy over the fact that no one seems, on a day to day basis, to get it. How can you be happy when there’s all this shit in the world? How can you feel good about yourself when you support an autocratic, dictatorial regime? How can you feel so ‘right’? Doesn’t it bother you that slavery still exists? Doesn’t it bother you that kids are killing kids? Doesn’t it bother you that human life is so fucking cheap we’ve got throw away people? But no. Those of you who can hold your shield of denial tight in your little hands are ‘okay’ and ‘normal’. I, who feel everything, am ‘wrong’ and ‘abnormal’.

I fucking hate the bell curve.

Just because I grew up in a time when most people were clinically insane makes me the odd one out. Doesn’t matter if their view on the world is skewed; it’s the ‘norm’, that high point of the bell curve that most people fall under and anything else is outside that norm and must be, by definition, ‘wrong’. There’s an old saying that a one eyed man in a land of the blind would be king, but that’s not correct. A one eyed man in a land of the blind would be locked up and medicated because no one else would be experiencing what he’s experiencing and thus he would be deemed ‘insane’. Doctors would spend their lifetimes trying to teach the seeing man that he’s just imagining it, or that he needs to breathe through it, or that if he just talks about his mother or father or the boy who bullied him enough everything will be fine and he’ll stop seeing what he’s seeing.

THAT is how I view the world. You’re fucked, not me. I’ve been asking for a lobotomy or some sort of equivalent on and off for years because it seems to me that’s what it’ll take for me to forget all the horror on this planet and just fucking smile and talk about the latest tv episode of the latest show everyone has to fucking watch like fucking zombies without a fucking thought in their own fucking heads. Go on. Maybe then I’ll smile as I kneel down to suck you off, you fuckers. Maybe then I’ll forget how much I hate you. Maybe then I’ll think like you: that sex is the pinnacle of human existence. That’s it. Just sex. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Up the ass, in the vagina, in the mouth, just fuck everything and everyone as hard and as fast as you fucking can because that’s it. There is no more, no greater reason, nothing more to aspire to. Forget intellect. Forget spirituality. Humanity is all about the orgy. Blood and semen and sweat mixed, violence and sex mixed, all in one big groaning and gyrating ball of legs and arms.

You’re all so empty.

Rx: smoke a joint, woman. I know; yesterday wasn’t good on smoke. And we both know it’s not an ideal solution. But remember our number one priority? Take care of ourselves. You’re on the edge of busting a gut, or making yourself so sick from anger and anxiety that you’ll cause real long term problems. You’re gonna feel better once the meds are done. You will live through whatever comes your way. Smoking now, or smoking today, isn’t gonna change much. So take care of yourself right now.

No one else will.



I’ve been told I’ve been wrong before

Imagine, if you will, a thin, eerie whistling. …You’ve just entered the empty inbox zone.

Okay. Now it isn’t just mania. Going on five days since I heard about the possibility of performing in Amsterdam. Same amount of time with the read through, and still nothing. Nothing…nothing…nothing. The nothing is so LOUD it echoes. Feels like there must be worlds of conversation going on without me. Plans being made, ideas being discussed – and I’m out of the loop. Maybe that’s just paranoia, tho it won’t be the first time I’ve actually been left out. Seems to happen an extraordinary amount of times to me. I was ignored and left out of my family. I was ignored and left out by people I called my friends. Can’t help but get triggered by the silence; it’s so damned familiar to me. I can feel myself built walls: Well, I don’t need them or Next time I’ll be a bit more stand-offish. Defense in this case is okay; offense is not. I cannot take the lead. I must only react to what’s given me. Don’t ask me where that law is written. If I knew, I’d go and destroy it.

…Part of it, I know, comes from long and old memories of being told I was interpreting situations incorrectly. No, people weren’t ‘making fun of me’ like I felt they were or I was just ‘in my head and over-thinking as usual’. I’ve been taught to doubt myself at every turn. Have to remind myself those lessons came at the hands of people with whom I’ve broken contact because they’re totally screwed up. …Difficult, tho. Those early experiences get so burned into your soul.

In this case, my recourse is simple: ask. I’ve full rights to send out an email or two, asking about Amsterdam and the status of my script. Amsterdam is easy to ask about. The script…not so much. I face rejection on a couple of levels with the script, and I find myself reluctant to begin poking the bear just to get a reaction. Timing in life – as in comedy – is sometimes everything. Ask at the wrong time and you’ll get rejected big time. Wait, wait, wait until the wheels are in the correct alignment and you can ask for the moon. My instinct tells me to wait on the script and I’m gonna listen to that part of me.

Got a lot of nothing on my plate today. Cleaned the house before the web people came for the meeting with my bro, so that’s kind of already done. My homework is finished. I finished reading Roald Dahl and am well into the other book. And, biggest of all, it’s my bro’s comic book day so he’s out of the house all afternoon. Not sure what I’ll keep myself occupied with, tho a horror film spree while I play games sounds quite inviting. I should go and run the animal, too. Tho I’ve got to admit, I feel pretty damned lazy right now. Don’t know I’ll even get out of my pj’s.

…You know, maybe I should learn to clarify that pj point. I’ve said to doctors that I often stay in my pj’s all day and they get that look on their faces (you know the one) and then write ‘depression’ in my file. I’m not sad in my jammie-jams. I’m happy. It’s freeing and fun. It says ‘I don’t care what the world throws at me, I’m safe and warm and can do whatever I want, including closing my eyes and going to sleep right now’. Don’t you get that? I’m far more depressed in grown-up clothes, all tight and uncomfortable. Can you sit in a cross-legged position easily with jeans on? No? Then why wear them? I want freedom, full movement. Give me a big, soft bag to wear and I’m 100% secure. And when I feel secure, I’m better able to be happy. To allow myself some time and care.

While I’m on a rant, the same thing goes for make-up. Why, oh why, do people assume if a woman doesn’t wear make-up she’s either (a) depressed or (b) a lesbian? Why is it “okay” to wear a bunch of war paint that isn’t you out into the public arena? Why is it socially acceptable to feel good about yourself if you do up your eyes, your lips, wear high heels and dresses, but NOT okay to be happy bumming around in rags? I’ll admit: the make-up and tight clothes and high heels ARE attractive. Even I find them so. But I spent years doing that, and you know what? I’d rather not do it anymore. I’d rather my feet be comfortable in sneakers or my orthopedics. I’d rather my waist bands be loose so I can turn and run and do things. I’d rather my nails be short so I can type fast. I’d rather my hair be out of my face so I can see what I’m doing. I’d rather my skin be healthy and free from dead animal secretions and toxins. Why is that wrong? And why do you think I’m depressed for feeling that way?

Why, too, is it wrong to not want a sexual relationship? Why must we all fuck, fuck, fuck, right up to our dying day? Don’t you realize how much time that takes away from what I find truly important? Don’t you recognize the same old patterns, played out time and time again through the fucking eons? Don’t you see how empty the word “love” has become?

…I’m just flabbergasted that people don’t recognize this shit. Wonder at it, as I do.

*sigh* But I’ve been told I’ve been wrong before…


So be it

“Mijn dokter heeft een briefje voor me…a-a-achterlaten. …Is dat correct?”

Yes, my Dutch was correct and yes, I actually stuttered. Stuttered, for fuck’s sake. I tried to be smooth, fluent. I practiced before I went to the doc’s office. But when the time came, I got got that hit of anxiety/excitement/self-doubt and the words stuck in my throat. I don’t ever remember doing THAT before.

Physio. I like my physiotherapist for my jaw. She’s very nice, and we chat mostly in English but she’ll throw some Dutch words at me so I can hear them. Back and forth, little phrases and words. I’m so grateful when people let me do that – throw in Dutch words when I can but use English when I must. I’m also grateful for the little corrections and help people give me. Not that I’ll remember most of it; it isn’t written down. Nonetheless, I love them for trying. As usual, my jaw hurt post therapy. She really pulls on that big muscle on the side of my face. On my ‘taking care of myself’ kick, I decided to pop some pain pills to make sure, once again, that my jaw didn’t go wonky at night when I slept. Better to drug it away than experience that level of pain again. I’ve one more appointment with her as a follow-up. Could probably use more; that muscle is as tight as a band of iron. And, honestly, it feels good to be a bit pampered, to have someone rub my facial muscles and soothe my aches – even if it does set off that burning sensation afterwards.

Gobbled up more words. Just sat and read. I spent the day with Dan and his father out in the woods, poaching pheasants. …My brother was right. Again. I can feel how I’m eating this – the phrases, the prepositions, the grammar. I am again reminded of my earlier years, reading and re-reading the same books over and over again until I could quote passages from them. It’s how I learn to use words. How I find things that help me describe my feelings and viewpoints. The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, LLR, Asimov’s entire catalogue – these were my meals when I was younger. Doing this in Dutch just makes me that much more aware of it. I keep catching myself thinking things like ‘oh, it’s aan, not bij’ or ‘so that’s how you say that’. My emotional link to these stories is intense. I remember one time – vividly. Was reading LLR for the 12 time (or something close to that) and making food at the same time. Big mistake. Popped into the next room to ‘just read a paragraph or two’ and the next thing I knew my mother was at my side, berating me for letting the food burn on the stove. She threatened to take my books away. I knew it was an empty threat at that point, that books would always be available to me and there was nothing she could do about it. I also remember being ready to take sides, and if my mother was asking me to choose between books and her, she was gonna lose. Every time. She could never feed my soul like those stories could.

I’ve a scant 30 pages left in the Roald Dahl, and I’m already feeling sad because I know the end is coming. However, I must admit to curiosity in the new book my teacher gave me. Another kids’ story. I opened the book up, just to take a look at it, and immediately my eyes focused on the words and I began to read. …There’s a part of me – a small part – who’s ashamed and embarrassed to sit in a public place and read a book written for someone 40 years younger than me. I had to overrule her yesterday as I waited for my physiotherapist. I’ve actually resorted to taunting myself in my head ‘Oh, c’mon! Who cares? You’re reading! You’re not so chicken shit that you’re just gonna sit there, are you?’ [And, as a side note, once I overruled that part of me I fell right into that deep reading trance. So deep my physiotherapist had to speak to me to catch my attention.]

My brother has already taken the time yesterday to once again tell me our house is damned clean, that I don’t need to do much, that I should really just stay chillin’. I verbally compromised, scaling back my tall ideas of a total scrub down to ‘running the hoover around and cleaning up the table’ which was acceptable to my bro. Gotta stick around until my injections are delivered. They usually come in the afternoon, so that means (yes!) I’ll have loads of time to read.

And phone. calls. Must do, or try to do. Picked up that referral letter from my doc. Two pages long. A third was a listing of diagnoses – including depression. A third was a listing of my medications – numerous, and depressing in their own right. The last third she gave over to a short explanation of my back and forth, up and down, smoking and swearing I’ve got it under control at this point. There was one line that caught my eye. I haven’t fully translated it, just gave it as good a read through as I could. But it’s a note about by-passing the traditional clinics and just getting me to someone ASAP. I’m not sure I want to translate that sentence. If she thinks I’m really bad, that’ll make ME feel bad for being in such bad shape, and it’ll just feed on itself. …Hm. Maybe I’ll just let that one go. But…time to pick up the phone. The good house phone, not my crappy mobile. I’ll give myself as good a chance of being able to understand the Dutch as I can. And if the words get stuck in my throat and I have to use English, well…so be it.


Get on with it

Did not sleep well. Up at midnight for a very late smoke and games, which then turned into reading and finally drifting off. Woke myself up several times from biting on my mouth guard. And for the second night in a row, my bed looks a disaster area as I’ve kicked and squirmed until most of my bedding material lay on the floor.

Learned once again through example that I am the person most likely to grind myself into the ground through shame and guilt. No one at my language class said ‘boo’ to me about my “terrible outburst” (something I’m now thinking wasn’t so bad at all and I’ve just blown it way out of proportion in my brain). A few sought me out for some simple conversation. No frowns, no scoldings, no fretful staying away from this horrible person. Ended up feeling comfortable enough to stay ’til the end. Had a ready made excuse; I was ready to lie to get out of class, in other words. As usual when I think through worst case scenarios, I didn’t end up using my out. But having the out is like a safety blanket. I hold onto it. It helps me be brave.

Found the class at an even slower level. We began the semester with loads of homework, fast listings of grammatical rules and irregular verbs. A huge push. Then, we slowed down to master the grammar and verbs. Now we’re at a snail’s pace, working on punctuation. I’ve a huge lead over my fellow students; I’m the only English speaker in class, and Dutch punctuation is only a hair’s breadth difference from English. Plus, I write. And read. Was pleased not to feel too behind everyone else. And I’m happy to report that everyone is getting that micro-pickiness on pronunciation now. I felt very singled out for a while. Now I’m just one of many.

Tearing thru the Roald Dahl. I’m really enjoying it. Never read the story in English, so it’s all new to me. And I HAVE to find this out: do all Dutch writers use that terse, dry style? Or is it just that I’m a newbie to the language, so that’s the books they’re giving me? Because DAMN! Reading Dahl in Dutch is like opening a flower – petal after petal of loveliness. Description. Scores of prepositional phrases. Dahl takes the time to tell you not just what something looks like but how it feels. It’s at the perfect reading level: difficult enough to present a challenge now and then, but easy enough to really engage me. I want more. My brother suggested I renew my library membership, and I think I will. If I can find more books like this, you won’t be able to stop me from reading.

…All I really need is an outbreak of acne, and then I truly will be a mirror to my younger self. The triggers, the mouth guard, the bad sleep, the reading. Throw in my persistent crush on my physiotherapist, and that’s it. Thirteen year old me. I feel strange. To have lived this long, yet to find myself having come full circle in so many respects… I once had a dream when I was a kid. I don’t like to talk about this since the movie Inception, because they discussed it and I just don’t need people thinking I’m borrowing memories from pop culture. Anyway. I dreamt an entire life. I grew old. Very old. When I woke up, still that pre-teen youngster… I remember feeling very strange, very odd for many days. I was an 80 year old grey haired woman caught in that body. …That may have been when I “lost” my sense of humor. Went through a long period (10 years) of not being able to laugh at many things. I was told, of course, that I had no sense of humor (because Goddess forbid my tormentors would ever take any blame on themselves). The more I think about it, the more I feel like that’s right. That’s when I stopped laughing so easily. That’s when things changed. That damned dream. If it was a dream… These days I’m wondering if I’ll dream I’m her again. If the dream will be reversed, from this side. I’ve always expected it, since I had the original dream.

Well. Still a few years to go. I’m not grey yet.

I know how nuts that sounds. Just another reason why I don’t mention it often. To explain myself means I have to explain the ‘e’ curve, and my take on reality, which will either land me in some think tank or a mental asylum. But time isn’t infinite. It’s big. It’s bendy. But it’s not infinite (if dimensions exist outside of time, a mathematical concept, then time must be finite because something can exist outside of it). And the path to get from one place to another is often crooked and meandering. Do I think it’s possible for an older me to suddenly re-awaken as a pre-teen? Yes. Not likely, but possible. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve already done just that. If this life was my second (or third, or sixth, or hundred and fortieth) time ’round. That takes me into the possibility of time loops, and hell, and that type of thinking is just too heavy for me to tackle today. But it’s something I’ll keep in mind.

Heading back to the gym today. I think the scabs on my shoulder can take a sports bra. Thank you, body, for allowing me to rest without causing pain in my back. Time to get back out there. Start the animal moving, put her through her paces.

And it’s Tuesday. You know what that means. Pick one of the dreaded tasks and do it.

…That’s got me so stuck I don’t know what else to say.

Guess I’ll just shut up and get on with it.


Learning to take care of myself

Good! Just sit there. Watch a movie or play a game. You’ve already been working for an hour. Don’t deny it; I saw you! Just…take a nap or something. – My brother, yesterday.

Scolded into taking care of myself. Again. Don’t know how my brother can always mix that slightly teasing tone with serious concern in his voice, but he can and he gets it 100% right 100% of the time. This time it came on the heels of pulling sound notes from the trilogy. It’s not terribly difficult, but it is wearing on me – staring at the screen, scrolling down slowly, checking every single page for every single sound notation.

My brother really should have saved that sure-fire scolding for a few hours later.

Spat out an outline for a new script. Just…paced about five minutes, opened up my computer, and began typing like a madwoman. It was just there. Scenes, dialogue, characters… Not a real surprise, I guess, since it’s based on my novel. In effect, I already wrote the story (just not in script form). But it made me confront the truth about my past work: I have no driver. It’s a funny story, with funny characters, outrageous scenarios and very laughable dialogue, but it has no driver. I kept looking at it and saying ‘yeah, this is amusing, but where are you going with it?’ Still don’t know. Took time to watch a few comedy films in the afternoon, looking for patterns to use. My arm chair analysis has led me to conclude there are two ways to handle comedy: over the top farce/slapstick, or twist something you think you know. OTT farce and slapstick works best in film; fast edits, special effects, all that. So I’m looking at the twist. But I need that final goal. It doesn’t even need to be addressed in the script, but I need to know it. The easiest is the simplest: save the world. Overriding, un-arguable…it’s used a lot. I’d like to be a bit more original, but I might have to fall back on it like a safety net. Besides, the old ‘save the world’ gag is a lovely vehicle to hide true motives that lurk beneath the surface. *sigh* What to do, what to do…

Worried this new idea will end up offensive. Oh, hell! It WILL be offensive to some; don’t think I can get around that. Anytime you turn something on its head you run the risk of offending someone. You poke fun at the un-laughable, you say the un-sayable.

I am pleased, at least, to find my mind has moved off death and violence and petty little human actions and onto more amusing topics. For close to a year I’ve been locked in small rooms with my characters, in the dark, in fear. It’s had to have had an effect on me psychologically. Now, my inner film screening room is running comedy. At least the ‘rushes’ of the day. I’m allowing it. Taking notes (obviously). Somewhere in me I have something funny to say…

Eight days to the script read through. Been thinking of what I need to say before we start. Practicing it, because I’ve a tendency to go on and on if you let me. I have to hone it down to the bare essentials, just like I do my writing. And I must note that my head is there, and focused on that task, rather than fretting over heading to language class tomorrow. That’s okay. I’ve distracted myself from the shame I feel over my behavior. But I don’t want to blow off my apology. I want to move forward, and to do so, I have to open my mouth and say the words (even if one of my teachers corrects my grammar instantaneously). That’s my path. I know it.

Zero homework done. Didn’t even open my books. Comforting myself by reading Roald Dahl in Dutch as my bedtime reading; at least I’m doing something. Have the occasional word to puzzle over, but most of the text is within my grasp. And I’m enjoying it.

A bit worried that my mouth guard is going to trigger me in my sleep. Two days of using it, and I’m reminded sharply of my teen years wearing a retainer. Teen years…now there’s a mess of muddled thinking. Not sure I want to connect with the me of back then. Or, let me rephrase that: I’m not sure I want the me of back then to take over. I’m connected to her. Always will be. I remember my first cigarette. I remember the shame I felt walking down the school hallway. I remember turning to writing, pouring my young heart out as best I could on the page. …Hm. Truth is, I might not have turned to writing without her. Maybe I shouldn’t be so afraid.

lol! Now there’s a phrase I should put on a poster: maybe you shouldn’t be so afraid. Just as a daily reminder. Just…try it. Try not being afraid for a day. Or an hour. Or a minute. You don’t have to commit to it, you don’t have to force yourself into submission and change your life from head to toe. Just sample it.

Not a bad slogan to take out into the world today. Saturday is easy as a trial date.

Now. A kind return. I do that, I try it, and I get something back. Figure it out. A coffee, a treat, a walk in the woods – figure out your reward. Sounds like a good time to deep condition my hair and apply a moisturizing face masque. A me mini day. No. A ME mini day. ME is important; ME deserves capitalization. ME. I will watch a film I wouldn’t dare suggest to my brother, knowing his tastes. I’ll turn the heat up a bit so I’m not huddled under my hoodie. I’ll cut my nails, maybe even do the cuticles.

How did I get so old without learning to take care of myself?


No reason to rush

This morning’s headline: Ass of Fire. Had Mexican with generous amounts of jalapenos. Yummy to my mouth, uh…refreshing to my butt. Kind of feels like I anally inserted a Halls mentho lyptus.

Went to the dentist this morning for my mouth guard. It’s bulky, hard plastic. Very attractive. Made me glad I sleep alone. Was told that yes, I’ll have pain if I start biting down again. The guard will only protect my teeth. Not thrilled about that. I want to make sure I stop this behavior. The pain level was too intense.

The date for a script read-through has been set: February 12. Will have nine theatre members there. I can feel my mania ramp up every time I imagine it. Yet another reason to finally see someone.

And I’ve been emailing back and forth with my health insurance rep. Like an idiot, I scanned in the docs at high res, and now they’re too big to send via email. The originals are already in the post. Put the file onto a file sharing site and informed the rep. It’s the only thing I could do, considering my system is so out of date.

Speaking of out of date… My bro’s been trying to render a song he’s been working on. Three days of it, and it’s still going. He needs a faster system. Can’t take a week to render everything he does.

Money, money, money. Want to make some; not sure if I can. My doubt springs from my physical limits rather than my skills or experience. Every winter, I’ve fallen deadly ill. The flu, colds, hearing loss, shingles, TMJ – it forces me out of life for weeks to months at a time. It’s become a fact of my existence, and I’m all too aware that that fact will knock me out of the running for most jobs. Or, I’d get the job, run hard for a few months, then be out sick for six weeks. Trying to find non-conventional ways to make it happen, but…frankly, I’m at a loss. If I can’t use my writing skills and work from home, I just don’t know that I can do it.

And then there’s the whole agism thing. Who wants to take a chance on a sickly 52 year old when there’s plenty of healthy 20 somethings around?

…Keep saying to myself ‘you might not even live to see it become a problem’. Is it wrong that I find comfort in that?


Going thru the trilogy, pulling lighting and sound cues. It’s made me realize again how ambitious this script is. I’m still convinced we can do it, tho we’ll need to be careful with the sound files and name them correctly so they’re easy to find – because there’s a lot of them. A larger, more established group could do live sound effects and use off-stage mics. I talked about that with the director, and we both felt it would be easier to just record everything so there was no danger of feedback or the mic being left open. And I knew all this when I began, which is why I’m ahead of myself. I know how long projects can take to create. I know how long the sound files might take – especially if my brother’s using his old system. I know how long the group can take to memorize lines and get to physical blocking. I know the limits of props, back-stage areas, and lighting. And I know what I’m getting into: being the hub of this piece. It won’t leave me much time for anything else.

Nervous about making an appointment with my GP regarding the whole anxiety/bipolar/whatever. Keep putting it off. I’m there; I said I wanted the film stuff done and my jaw taken care of before I made an appointment. Now is the time to talk about it. Especially since I can feel myself tensing up as my body grows healthier.

Trying to break my ‘you’ve got to stay healthy’ self-talk. I find it counter-productive. I’m never casual with my health; I’ve spent too much time down. Repeating that to myself like a mantra only winds me up. I don’t gotta do anything. Not even make that appointment with my GP. It’s in my best interests long term. But I don’t gotta. Stop saying that to yourself!

…Feck. Where is my courage?

Flushed out my ass with the jalapenos, no doubt.

C’mon, Beeps… Start small. Finish this, make your bed, do the dishes. Head downstairs and do the shopping so your bro doesn’t have to. Set some time limits, too. Working on script notes is fine, but only do it a couple of hours at a time. You don’t have to get it done in one day. Take a look at the homework you blew off because you weren’t going to class. Do a bit now. Do a bit tomorrow. Do a bit every day and you’ll have it done in no time. You know this. As for the whole appointment with the doc, just take it easy. You’re going in next week for physio. You’ve still got scabs on your shoulder. Just. chill. out.

…Pushing yourself to relax isn’t relaxing at all. So, I’ve two words for myself today: stop and slow. Feeling tense? Stop. Whatever it is you’re doing, stop right then and there. Then, slow. You have permission to finish whatever it is, but do it slow. Purposefully try to double your time. Take slow steps, make slow decisions, move slowly like a sloth. There is no reason to rush.

There is no reason to rush.



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.