Puberty at 51

It is a source of continual amazement to me that people who voted for 45 – restricting human rights, killing the environment, degrading women – are shocked when I inform them we can no longer be friends. I’ve been told to ‘grow up’ and ‘get over it’, or better yet: ‘it’s just stupid politics and you’re far less of a person than I thought’.

Wow.

As a measure of my self restraint, I’ve said nothing in reply. Good on me.

Feels like I’ve taken the first step towards adulthood. Sticking to my ethics. Saying “no”. No more! I won’t take it.

And you’re fucking surprised.

Seems you didn’t know me at all.

Now I may have to deal with a troll on FB. My ex pen-pal, who voted for 45 and said ‘it wasn’t a big deal’ (among other language that PISSED ME OFF) sent three messages telling me to fuck off then three more emojis throughout the night to make sure I knew he wasn’t okay with any of it.

One more message from him and I’m reporting him. I DO not and WILL not take being fucked around with on a social network.

And what goes through people’s minds? That this kind of behavior will reflect any better on them? That I’ll change my mind and say ‘oh, sorry! you’re so upset; let me take it all back’? Um…nope. Should be a clue that it took me as long as it did to say what I said. Time = thought. I thought long and hard about it. Thought about my ethics and moral stance, thought about the friendship, forgiveness, taking the higher road – all of it.

So let me make this utterly clear one more time:

I am not some messiah, willing or able to turn the other cheek after you abuse me.

Expecting me to be is on YOUR head. Telling me I’m wrong for my feelings is on YOUR head.

I’m not wrong. Now let me throw back your own language at you.

Suck it up, snowflakes. You big fucking babies! Whine, whine, whine. Sorry you’re so fucking stupid you don’t realize that when you shout obscenities at me and my friends, when you take away our rights, or when you destroy the planet I react with anger. I think your ignorance is on your own head, too. Read a book!

Went to the gym yesterday to try and burn it out. Two hours. I was tired, less angry afterwards, but not completely calm (obviously).

Didn’t help that my language lesson lacked ANY sense of direction. First, we were asked to pull random words out of the fucking air and make sentences. Then we were told to use ‘omdat’ (because) and corrected on grammar without being told the grammatical rules. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be learning. Couldn’t take anything down because the instructors said the correct sentences once and then quickly moved on. I was bored, angry for having my time wasted, and frustrated because I now KNOW how much better a lesson can be.

Fucking hell!

Happy news: have all of next week off. Thursday is Hemelvaartsdag (Ascension Day), and Friday a lot of stuff is closed to ensure a long weekend. Perfect for me! An entire week free of classes or appointments. I can write. Get the radio script loaded into the software, make the formatting changes, send it out and move onto the next script. Already stepped out the scenes for the next one in my brain. I think I can do it with 4 actors and very minimal set dressing. Can’t wait to get started; it’s timely, creepy, and easy to do as a production.

…You know, if I keep coming up with these horror/Twilight Zone plays, I’m gonna get a reputation for being able to write them. Maybe I can; it IS what I’m coming up with. But I think it’s all a fluke. I’m just stumbling into them. Discovering them by accident. I’m not setting out to write them. Gotta admit, they’re fun to create. And maybe I should let go of any expectations I have of myself. If I turn into a female Clive Barker, well…that’s not all bad, is it?

Ha! Listen to me. Dodging the flack thrown at my head and accepting my limitations and abilities. Now, that IS really growing up!

Can a person hit puberty at 51?

 

A whole new animal

Sorted through the umpteen million PDFs of writing opportunities I’ve got on my desktop. Good thing, too. While many are just getting catalogued – found them too late for this year, so I’m saving the info to have a head start on next year’s calls – a couple caught my eye. One call is for a 30 minute play due September 1. I can make that. I can write Night Witches and still make that. So now my schedule is sorted. First up, my radio script. Transferring it into Scrivener, a writing software designed to handle real projects: scripts – radio, theatre (US and UK), film – research papers, books. There’s so much in Scrivener I’m having a difficult time getting through the instructional information. Pretty sure I’ll pop for the full version. It’s loaded and it works on my older operating system. But I’ve gotta see what happens when I transfer in something I’ve already written. How much formatting will hold? Probably none. I won’t kid myself there. Good news is, formatting is the easiest (tho most boring) part of writing a script. So, in goes the radio script. Add a few things here and there for the next place I’m submitting to. Take a deep breath, ’cause there’s no break allowed – straight onto the 30 minute script. One month max for it while simultaneously reading the book on the Night Witches. Have time to schedule a read through with the local theatre group if anyone’s actually around during summer (other than me). Send it out, start writing Night Witches pronto. Leaving myself a couple of months to flesh in the story, call for a read through, and still have more than 30 days left to fix any problems and polish it up before I submit it.

Also just spent time thinking about my personal schedule. I’ve got this tendency to diss myself and everything I do – you might have noticed. So I counted. Counted the hours I spend exercising for my RA, the hours in language class, the hours for doctors and physio and dentist visits, and with a mere 4 hours given over to writing Monday through Friday I’m topped out at 40 hours a week. To take care of myself, and do a little bit of writing. 40 bleeding hours – full time shit. No wonder some part of me balks at volunteering time anywhere; must have already known I’m maxed out.

Rehearsals are called for next week Monday. Three hours in the evening slated to read through the entire play (all 4 skits) and talk about character development (or some such theatrical jargon that’ll make everyone feel like they’re involved and participating when it’s really the director giving instructions to actors too dense to understand their roles). Want to watch and listen with my writer’s perspective; I tend to distance myself emotionally from the situation when I fall into observation mode. I stay calmer because people become characters acting things out in front of me. They’re not mean or nasty towards me; they’re showing me a scared and callous side of themselves. Remember that! I intend on watching the girlfriend of the director closely. Big surprise she made the cut – not. At the moment, I’ve got her pegged as the biggest see-saw of the bunch: loudest mouth, most unsure about her talent (as am I; never seen her try to act), and most likely to get thrown off balance by something not connected with the production.

My head’s wagering on what’s gonna happen. This chick is the one who was disruptive during my reading. I think I’ve sussed out all the possibilities for that behavior. Now she’s got to deal with me in this production. Cold shoulder, or false best friend? How will she react? Odds are I’ll get the false best friend. Forced cheerfulness. Inclusion when possible in order to sneak in those barbs that can’t be called out because they’re too deep in entendre. Oh, yes. Been there, done that. It’s what I expect.

But I’m not the person I was thirty years ago. I’m not so easily disrupted. I’ve a few good foundations to cling to, to remind me of what’s true and what’s not. Don’t know what she expects of me. Maybe she doesn’t know either. What I do know is this: I believe I have the capability to handle whatever she throws at me and not lose my cool. Because one thing is absolutely clear to me – I don’t care if she likes me or not. I saw her real face early on, at one of our meetings, and had that analysis confirmed during my script read through. I don’t like her, and I don’t want to be her friend. She’s got nothing to hook me with, nothing to hold over me, nothing to use against me. Wanna diss me on my work, my looks, my age? Go on! Nothing I haven’t said to myself. Nothing you’re gonna say that’s any worse or harder than what my own brain comes up with to taunt me. I shall laugh. Laugh at her, laugh at her attempts to unhinge me.

No, I’m not the child I was. I’m a whole new animal.

Down to the bones

It’s happened. I’m a true Rotterdammer. At least, I’m true in the sense that I can make my way around the city sans map and reach my destination no matter what the road block. Good thing, too, since I had to reach the hospital to have my x-rays done and the entire city came to a crashing halt to hold tribute to their victorious football team. Oh, it was all jerseys and scarves downtown, mad mobs bent on having a good time despite it being Monday. When I realized all the trams were down, my head reached into some hidden compartment and out popped a map, complete with metro, tram, and bus lines (backup: the line of taxis always present around Rotterdam Centraal). No sense of panic. Hopped on the D line metro, off at a stop my English speaking mind continues to insist calling “Melancholy Way” even tho that’s not the translation, and a quick northern line tram hop to the hospital. My butt didn’t even hit the chair before I was called in, stripped down, x-rayed, and sent back out.

I was on my way home by 9:50, the time of my actual appointment.

Short break at home to tidy up: dishes, garbage, ashtrays, bed-making.

Off to the gym, where my body hit its stride after 40 minutes of exercise and things really started to kick in for me. The sweat flowed down my face. My heart rate reached 140 and hovered there. Didn’t want to stop, so I just kept going. Full on work-out, complete with free weight reps.

Had that satisfactory aching butt muscle feeling last night. Good.

Dinner by 4, because I skipped lunch as I generally do and once my work-out is done I need food and need it NOW. My bro volunteered to get Turkish pizzas and of course I said yes. Who can say no to a Turkish pizza? So I stuffed my face with flat bread wrapped savory meats and veg topped with hot sauce. Yummy.

Heard from the theatre group. The director is organizing rehearsal time. Amazingly, this group is scheduled to rehearse from now ’til July, when summer holidays begin. Then we’ll rehearse AGAIN post summer holiday. Don’t know why they need so long to memorize such short bits. Also noticed the people who were notified; other than myself, I saw no new members – just the same old people who make up the core group. Mm. Bit of favoritism? Can’t say for certain, since I wasn’t present for all the auditions. Happy enough to be included this time, tho I’ve got to admit to a sad feeling for everyone else who wasn’t chosen. Sure know how that feels, and it’s not nice.

Organizing info on theatre submission opportunities. Pulled a lot; now I’ve got to schedule it if I’ve a hope of making any deadlines. Found one or two places to try sending out my radio script, as well. Really need a helper. Someone to take care of this scheduling and sending so I can concentrate on writing more. Been saying THAT for years.

Click, click, click. I can feel the gears moving. Something in the grand scheme of things has shifted. Starting to understand Dutch without trying. Still have to listen closely; there’s still plenty of mumblers out there! But when a person does speak clearly enough, I don’t have to work quite so hard anymore. Noticed it on the metro yesterday. Reading Dutch has just become reading; not figuring out a foreign language, but reading a story. Yes, there are still words I stumble over but my head thinks less on that and more on the tale. And writing…writing has become something else, too. I no longer feel I’m stumbling around, trying to write. I’m just doing it. Cutting out the fat, closing the loopholes, catching the grammar mistakes earlier on – there’s no longer a question of whether my material is good. The question has become have you streamlined this piece down to the skeleton? You can always add back in a few lines, fluff it out if needed for timing – but you gotta get that story down clearly first. Condense your message down to one sentence, and stick to it.

Take it down to the bones.

Fill it up

Saturday. Summer heat is here. Nights are still blessedly cool, but you can tell the dog days are coming: the shady areas under trees are no longer colder than the sunshine. The earth doesn’t have to suck up every bit of warmth to wake up and get the day started. It’s warm already.

There are a very slim few weeks after the bitter cold leaves and before the real heat sets in when I feel GOOD. That time is now. Taking advantage of it by walking outside in the sun with no jacket on. So pleasant! To not shiver when a breeze blows; ach! That’s a slice of heaven.

Began a bit of research for my next writing project. Reading what’s available on the web. Taking notes. Not really believing it because, well, it’s on the WEB. The web is not an accredited source, which is pretty evident once you begin taking notes and find that just about everything out there contradicts some other information.

Working to get the hate out of my heart. And oh, how I hate these days! There are more than a few people I’d gladly kill. Blow them the fuck away because I think the world actually would be a better place without them.

I’m not the fucking messiah. I can’t turn the other cheek (it’s black and bruised and torn). And unlike Sting, I can’t write an upbeat pop song about it.

Woke up and realized I’ve decided to tell my long term FB pen-pal he can go hang himself. Haven’t done it yet. Haven’t decided on the exact wording. But I can’t be friends with someone who voted to destroy the environment, illegally withdraw human rights from millions of people, and restore male dominance over a woman’s body. This decision goes against my people-pleasing. It’s hard to tell him to fuck off. But…I just can’t imagine continuing any discourse with this person. I don’t want to tell him anything about myself. He’s violated my trust, as surely as if he’d raped me himself.

Hm. Maybe that’s how I should put it. Think he’d get it?

Reading Dutch now with little hiccups. Still many words I wonder about. Do my best to catch the meaning from the sentences. I think I’ve read enough to get a flow going. My inner voice speaks the words out (sometimes VERY slowly, especially if it’s one of those 36 character compound words the Dutch love so very much). Not sure I’m pronouncing some things correctly – syllable emphasis is everything, and when I’ve got four or five syllables to choose from…well, YOU tell me which is correct. And naturally, being a story, it’s all past tense verbs. But my grammar is improving. That was evident in Friday’s language lesson. I heard less correction from my teachers, and saw more nods and smiles. Maybe my Thursday teacher doesn’t like me – I don’t really know, and probably never will. But there’s no reason for me to feel like an idiot. I’ve been studying with volunteers in a haphazardly taught program for two years and I’m doing pretty well. Yeah, the book I’m reading is “only for teens” and maybe the way I pronounce some words does reveal my American roots (two comments from Thursday that are still bugging me), but I’m making progress.

That’s good. Think of positives.

Smoking less. That’s because I made hash brownies. Still. It earns a check mark. Getting fresh air and regular movement. Not my heavy duty work outs, but maybe that’s a good thing, too. Pretty much pain free. Can walk, bend, turn, lift, and use my hands without wincing. Definite positive. Still got great hearing. Ignore the ringing; ignore my stray thoughts that make me wonder if I’m hearing all the life getting sucked from the planet. I can hear, and hear well. Positive.

Now all I need to do is fill up my time…

What a f***in’ joke

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An orange dot on the upper right hand side of the WP screen alerted me to the fact that today is my two year anniversary on this blog-o-sphere. Whoop-de-doo. The occasion should be marked by stating unequivocally that I’m in a better mental state now than when I began. Still don’t know if I’m “happy” or not, but at least I’m not miserable.

Ear specialist appointment today. No slicing or dicing, thankfully. But odd. Had a hearing test first with the nurse. Twenty minutes later I was being congratulated by the doc for ‘having the hearing of a 10 year old kid’. Really? This is good? You people are deaf. Have a prescription for extra strength nose drops (should create an excellent momentary sense of drowning; really looking forward to using them – not). Told to see a special physiotherapist, someone who (apparently) can manipulate my jaw to help any built up pressure from scar tissue formed by my RA. Ach! Another one? More money out? Seriously? And I’m supposed to wait an additional 6 weeks before making another appointment – and then it will only be to set up a further appointment for “therapy” and “counseling” to deal with the continual ringing in my ears. Like I bleeding need therapy to deal with my hearing!

In other words, I still got my bionic hearing and no one can figure out what I’m bitching about.

Story of my life.

The radio drama is out and I’ve already received notification that they’ve got it. Also feel the fool. Noticed on my writer’s email account a tiny, dark grey number by the spam folder. Yeesh. There were the two replies from the competition answering my requests for a submission form. Took me half an hour to figure out how to get them out of the spam folder, and I’m still working on letting go of feeling a right ASS for not noticing it sooner.

Brutal appointment with my physiotherapist. I asked for it, and I got it. He hit a point by my tailbone that was sore, and he began with his usual gentle touch. I was quick to point out he shouldn’t be afraid of hurting me and within half a second I was almost regretting telling him that. Bore down on the area with his full weight. OW! But for the first time he got a deep crack in the area, and my back’s felt better ever since.

Getting back to gym time. Not easy with my hearing complaint. I can’t submerse into sound with my iPod; it doesn’t sound right to me, and the high end is ALL wrong. But I can’t keep using that as an excuse. My angry outburst the other day proved that to me beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I am just done making excuses for myself. The truth is, I’m a woman of extremes. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. Always tried to prevent it, always tried to tread the middle path. Doesn’t work for me. And I’m tired of trying. It is what it is. I push more, feel more, think (and doubt) more than most, believe weird things, and apparently have the hearing of a pre-nubile goddess. At 51.

What a fuckin’ joke.

It would be nice, though

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Got up this morning extra early and on purpose so I could write, and now I’m staring at the blankness of my post and wondering what the hell to say.

Start with the good. I can walk without pain. That’s a biggie. Off pain pills, down to an occasional paracetamol in the evening. Want to get back to the gym today for a long, slow exercise session. I am very aware my attitude goes to shit when I experience pain (note: pain for me lies somewhere between 5 and 8 on the 1 to 10 pain scale; anything less than a 5 is just discomfort). If more people were aware of that…but they aren’t, and they’re all too busy with their own thoughts and lives to think to ask why I’m in such a shitty mood so often. The answer is simple: pain. I’ve a lot more of it than I talk about.

It’s May. The Netherlands celebrated the coming of this merry month with a 20C sunny day – warmest to date, and followed up by a grey, dingy morning promising rain and feeling twice as cold as it actually is because it falls the day after such summery warmth. Nonetheless, May means movement; time has marched on. There’s the script read through. Several doctor appointments. More language lessons. Deadlines to meet. And I must begin haunting some of my online emails for replies to earlier script send-outs.

Worried about a lot. Worried my ears are gonna get sliced and diced at the doc’s, and I’ll have to spend the summer keeping out of the water. Worried the ear doc is gonna say there’s nothing they can do to rid me of this continual ringing. Worried I’ll get yet more rejections on my writing. Worried about my residency status. …There’s so much to worry about it kind of cancels itself out. Just becomes a wall of grey noise.

Do not want to begin writing on a new project before I’ve wrapped up my last, so I’m keeping myself busy. Playing games. Watching Twin Peaks again. Doing what I can to help around the house. Giving my brother as much time as possible each and every day for him to do his writing. Keep telling myself thank you. Thank you, Beeps, for doing the dishes. Thank you, Beeps, for cleaning under the bookcase in the hall. I gotta say it, because my bro is too wrapped up in writing mania to acknowledge it. I understand; been there often myself. Feels a little lonely, tho. The only conversation I get is about his book, his writing, his graphics. Wears thin after a while.

Well, now I know what it feels like…and next time, I’ll try a lot harder to pull my head out of my ass when my brother talks to me as I write.

*sigh* But I need concrete, real stuff right now. I need people contact, and laughter. I need things to look forward to. I need my appointments and classes, my weekly and monthly routine. Feels like my dreams are pulling away from me; all the old comforts I told myself for years and years don’t offer the same protection as they once did. Realized I still dream as a 20 year old. The only difference is now I dream with the sole purpose of escaping my worries. I don’t really think any of it will happen.

It would be nice, though.

Tell me

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Six plus weeks of hearing trouble, and I finally have the go-ahead to consult a specialist. Interesting examination with my doc this morning; she put a tuning fork to various places on my head and asked me where I heard the sound and how long it lasted (the best sound I’ve heard in the past six plus weeks). Hm. My spidey-sense tells me ever more strongly that I’m headed for surgery.

Saw my v.c. (very cute) physiotherapist yesterday. Haven’t referred to him that way for a while. He made it clear he was seeing someone, blah-de-blah, and I figured I’d just better get over my infatuation. But he greeted me with that smile of his, and bowed me into his office with the sweeping motion of a gallant knight of old, and my heart just went BOOM! So I’m right back to my fantasies, ignoring what’s going on because I can’t stop thinking about kissing him all over.

Tonight is the first night of auditions for the theatre group. I’m not on the schedule, but I’m going anyway to say hi to people I’ve met and surreptitiously ask a few members to help me with my own read-through. Been rehearsing, and prepping to step up and audition tonight despite being scheduled for Tuesday – because that’s the way my life generally works (prep for one thing, and another happens: in this case, if I prep for Tuesday I’ll be asked to audition tonight, but if I prep to audition tonight I’ll have to wait ’til Tuesday). Am blowing off language class this morning and tomorrow. My Friday teacher told us last week that everyone could bring their kids, because kids’ schools are off for Easter. Kids! Walking germ factories. I’m not exposing myself to that risk just before auditions and just before MY time off to write scripts. Uh-uh. Probably being overly cautious, but I’d rather that than another four to six week illness.

Back to the gym. Can’t say I look forward to it, but I’m doing it. Was appalled at how quickly my mood sank over the weekend. Gotta keep on it. A day off here and there, but no two day break anymore. Not ’til I’m over this mountain of anxiety (which, let’s face it: I may never get over).

No word from any place I’ve sent out emails to. I know my new email works; I’ve received a couple of things in my inbox. Why nothing from the important places? How long does it take to send an automatic response? Wondering how soon is too soon to send a second request.

Meh. And I got a look at my hair in bright daylight. The new color doesn’t even come close to matching my old.

Trying to not feel frumpy. That’s difficult right now. Seems every time I catch a glimpse of myself somewhere, all I see is this horrible old woman. Lines down my face, dark circles under my eyes, sagging skin, fat folds, wide hips, fading skin color…. Yet, I can look in a mirror on occasion and think I still look pretty good. I hate it; it’s like two copies of me. One, the woman I want to be; the other, the woman I’m afraid I am. Can’t honestly say which is the truthful version of me. Maybe both.

…Is my vc physiotherapist flirting with me, or is he yanking my chain? Do I have a real shot at a theatre role, or is it all a set-up with a pre-determined outcome before I even audition? Will these theatre groups even read my submitted work, or will everything I do end up in the circular file?

Somebody, please…tell me.