Lovesick

*deep, lovesick sigh* Will I ever be able to have a physio appointment and NOT fall in love with my therapist? …Doubtful. I seem to be made hard-wired to like this guy. Everything about him – his looks, his voice, his mind, his attitude – I can’t help but like him. I’ve tried to keep cool. Be distant. But after each and every appointment, I feel love sick. I hoard up memories of his words and the jokes we share as if they mean something. Ach! I could spend a fortune on appointments just to have more time with him.

Today I’m getting walloped by a side comment he made about my hair. I told him the day is coming; it’s getting chopped off. Immediately his voice took on a slightly pleading tone: Why? I’ve heard that response before, in that tone of voice. It’s a ‘I really find your hair attractive, please don’t cut it off’ thing. And the very female response he brings out in me is now screaming to keep the hair long, deal with it. He likes it. Never once does this side of me ask if I like my hair this long. She’s only concerned with the impact it makes on other people. Especially people she finds intensely attractive.

…Still nothing in my inboxes regarding my work. I’m beginning to bite my nails.

I did manage to finally finish J’s story, and after several attempts, a note to him about it. Oh, that note! I re-wrote it and re-wrote it. I wanted to be up front about some technical issues. I wanted to be clear. Not mean, not cutting, just truthful. And bless J’s heart, he read it as I intended. Thanked me for pointing out the tech side of things, and admitted that he knew these were problem areas in his writing. I received a very long reply, detailing his ideas for his world and the characters. The message wound up with a ‘I’ve got low energy and loads of depression right now, so I’m not writing at the moment’. I replied, telling him to try and use that. His world is depressive; let that reflect in some of his characters. He ended up asking if he could quote me on FB. I said sure, thinking it would be one or two lines from my message. Nope. The whole thing, with praise heaped on my head for bringing these ideas to his attention. He told me he never once considered putting his depression into his stories. In his blog, yes. But in his stories? No. I could hardly believe it.

Please don’t tell me the majority of stories about depression are written by non-depressive people. It’s probably true; it has that ring of ‘yep, that’s reality’ in it.

No wonder the world is so fucked. We’ve been fed one viewpoint – a false viewpoint, with limited and restricting stereotypes laced throughout – our entire history. Stories about black people written by whites. Stories about women written by men.

Good Goddess! Write what you know!

More: write what you are. If you’re a man, write about men. If you’re gay, write about homosexuality. If you’re a woman, write about women. Don’t try to get tricky, don’t think you know what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes. You think you know, but you don’t. Leave the truth telling to the people who’ve been through it every damned day of their lives. That, more than anything, seems to be lacking. The overriding, all-encompassing shit we ‘minorities’ face day in and day out. If you haven’t had to deal with people ignoring you because you’ve got big breasts, or dissing what you say out of hand because of the color of your skin, you don’t get it. Our minds are not wired to imagine such slurs on a regular basis, such degradation in everything we see and hear and touch. And it changes everything. People like to imagine themselves being strong and brave in these situations. People get it wrong. Because when you’re a dog beaten for no reason and locked up in a cage all your fucking life, you develop certain behaviors and attitudes that are not strong nor brave. It’s easy to be heroic when you step into a bad situation after a lifetime of support and real love. But if you’re that beaten dog, heroics are something you dream about, not something you do. You’re too enmeshed in freeing yourself from your restraints.

*grumble, grumble, and grouse…*

…So today I need to walk into my language lesson and tell them I’m not continuing this semester. Thursday lessons just aren’t worth it. There’s no lesson plan, no structure. The room is big and loud. It’s difficult at best to hear. I think my time is far better spent doing my Monday homework, extra reading, and watching more films and programs in Dutch. Structure, repetition, and clear speaking. That’s what I need. Not a teacher who’s half afraid of me and half doesn’t like me. Not a ‘lesson plan’ that dithers here and there without any clear direction. Not an extra student who, when she shows up, pulls the entire experience back to a lower level I’ve moved beyond. I need to keep moving forward. Not sure what to expect today. My plan is to take nothing; I’m not staying. Just show up and talk to my teacher. Tell her I can’t afford to pay for both Monday and Thursday lessons, and since I must choose, I choose Monday lessons. The other reasons…if I was offered Thursdays for free, I’d go. No skin off my nose. Then I’d view it as one more opportunity to just use the language. But it’s not worth paying for. Last semester, my fellow student didn’t have to pay. We’ll see if that occurs for me. I don’t expect it.

Get to the gym. Make sure I’m ready to head to Den Haag tomorrow.

*sigh* And work, once more, to free myself from this lovesick feeling.

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Happy Holidays

Season’s Greetings. That’s as Xmas as you’ll get from me. First, I’ve too many people in my life who aren’t Christian. Second, I ain’t big on the holiday.

Used to be. Xmas used to be a big thing in my life. But then C, my mother died, and Dad kind of lost his heart for living, and everything just stopped. Xmas became a time when my father transferred money to his children to avoid taxes. No lights were put up. No trees were cut down. No turkeys were roasted. Just money and tax. Sometimes we bought things we wanted for ourselves, but they were never wrapped, never set under the tree to entice and make you wonder. The holiday died. Completely. And I’ve never quiet been able to (or wanted to) bring it back.

Xmas is a lie. To me, at least. All that bullshit about good feelings and forgiveness – just lip service in the house I grew up in. None of it lasted the day much less the entire year. So no, Virginia, I don’t celebrate Xmas. Get over it.

Been doing what the shortest day of the year always makes me feel like doing: celebrating the dark, the horror, the things that go bump in the night. The original pagan celebration was a celebration of light – due to primal fear that the sun wouldn’t return. I’m not going to celebrate something that started because of fear. And honestly – shouldn’t we be celebrating Halloween right now? The most hours of darkness in the Northern Hemisphere – sounds like a reason to think about the horrors, the creepy things, the stuff that scares us. But no! Humans! They have to turn on the lights in terror, make a bunch of food, and sing as loud as they can into the darkness to convince themselves they’re safe. Year after year.

Bah, humbug.

…I took control the other day. Opened up the first part of the trilogy and just began writing. Went much, much faster than I’d planned. At the end of three hours, I was done. The script stands at 6000 words on the dot. Very pleased with the re-writes. It’s tight and smooth. Also wrote up a prologue; just a very short scene to take place at the beginning of the play. Oh, Universe! You so want me to tell this story, don’t you? Months into thinking about this tale, and up pops a news article about scientists recording the hum of the Earth. Gotta use that! Fits right into my premise. Now I’ve just the middle bit to write – or re-write, depending on how much of the first draft I use.

But not today. I may not celebrate the holiday, but it’s a day off for me. Plus, I recorded Guys and Dolls on tv. Haven’t seen that film for ages, and I’m looking forward to a great, uninterrupted viewing this afternoon.

My brother bought a set of lights and put them up in the front room. Gotta say, they really give the room a cheery feel. I like them a lot. So much so that he might have to buy another set for his room because I might not let him take down the ones he put up. That’s the one thing I really like about the season: the lights. The little girl in me has always seen them as pretty.

…Doing my best to remind myself how different my life is. I’m here, not there. All I need to do is hit delete on anything from my family. It’s not the easiest. Everyone is posting crap about the holidays, and being with loved ones and family. Constant reminders of what I never had. At least now I know it was all bullshit. No more kidding myself that I really had it good. I’m not kidding myself that it was the worst, either. I know better. But I’m acknowledging the damage done.

To myself: Well done!! Look at all you’ve accomplished. Now, take a deep breath. Take two. Someday I hope we look back on this post and laugh over our inability to handle good things in life. Right now, we’re struggling, and I don’t want to diss that. Hear me clearly. You deserve good things. You deserve friends and people who admire you. You deserve professional praise and acknowledgement. I know it’s a flip. I know you’ve met every single person on this planet who’ll shit on you. And you took it all to heart. Told yourself they must be right because you heard it from so many quarters. …Honey, they weren’t right.

It doesn’t escape my notice that these good feelings are coming from people younger than I. Maybe that’s the real reason humans have children: to boost their egos. Oh, there’s always the sassy kid, sooner or later. But many people have a built in respect for those older than them. It comes across in everything, from how they look at you to how they treat you. And you never really get that acknowledgement from your elders – or, if you do, it comes grudgingly after the younger generation has embraced you so strongly those old dinosaurs can’t ignore you. It’s the people coming up who look at you with fresh eyes and say ‘Wow! That’s so great! You’re so cool!’. And those things are said when you present the same opinions, work, and statements that your elders have dissed you for, ridiculed you over, and told you you’re a stupid idiot and go back to school, Spotty.

Makes me appreciate children all the more. Children, not parents.

So find the child in you and appreciate her. Pull out that wide-eyed wonder at the world. Recover your innocence.

And may the world have a very happy holiday season, indeed.

Blend me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go on; do it.

Blend me.

Thank the Goddess for pizza!

More phone calls. My audition is moved back half an hour. And, I’ve been told, they’re swamped with appointments. Tons of people coming. Sitting on the fence at the mo: do I go 150% today? I’ve read the script, feel I’ve a good handle on the character. I could dress appropriately, wear the blond wig and jewelry that I chose, bring the apron for the scene…but I was told none of that mattered, that the director was focusing on the acting.

Hm. Don’t know I believe that. This is film.

Do I go comfortably? It would be best for my acting. No worries about clothing that doesn’t sit well, no worries about a wig falling off, etc. etc. On the other hand, directors are notoriously single minded and unimaginative, and if you don’t present them with the look they want they might have a difficult time seeing you in the role.

Hm. Really don’t know what I’ll do.

Ran the lines, broke the scenes down. Learn the story, the logic of the dialogue. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Did a fast internet search on dream imagery and found yes, cannibalism in dreams often represents some taboo sexual desire (thought so from the way the script was written). That changes things. It tells me they’re not looking for the motherly type. They’re looking for a woman who’s still sexually attractive to some extent. (Oh, Gods! Sorry. Just dissed every mother everywhere as not being sexually attractive. I meant the older, heavy breasted woman who played mother to everyone…oh, shit. Just shut up, Beeps.) So double hm. Yes, I could do the wig and all but…it doesn’t look that great. I think I’m more attractive with my natural hair. And if that’s what the role calls for…well, maybe my dark, curly locks are best left alone in their glory.

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

For the last 24 hours I’ve sounded like the stereotypical actor prepping for a role. Repeating singular lines with different emphases: I think you’ve been working too hard, I think you’ve been working too hard, I think you’ve been working too hard… Almost laughable, even to me.

Okay, be smart. Use that logic. You’ve acted, directed, and written roles. You know what this role needs. (1) Sexual undercurrents. (2) Tension. (3) The mad flip. The insanity. The crazy look. (4) The fight scene. (5) Scheduling availability. (6) A physical appearance that lends to the credibility of this being a family unit, with DNA connections.

Can’t do jack about 6, but the rest I can work on.

And – dare I say it? I need to be a little less relaxed. Insanity takes energy to perform. And I have to draw it up in a few seconds. Don’t feel I’ve hit it yet in my rehearsing, tho I know what I want. Focusing, as usual, on the minutiae. The pitch of my voice. Hand gestures. Eyes. Facial expressions. …What I want, at the critical moment, is a mix of ecstasy and mania. An almost orgasm of horror.

I have a few hours to work my way up to that.

Feels like a lot to do in a short time. Can’t believe everyone will have the lines memorized. Not in such short a time. Doing my best to hit every word. Was told I’ll have 30 minutes to wow the director. Asked if a particular scene would be run and the reply was, ‘Just be ready to do it all’. Um…okay. You do know I’m fast on memorizing dialogue, and if I’m scrambling… Well. My efforts should put me ahead of most.

Thinking now of tomorrow. Sunday. Monday. Still have homework. Still have housework (gods, it’s the weekend again; how did that happen?). Still have to prep Taman — twice, now – to send out. Still have my writing to get to.

Boy, I’m looking forward to Xmas break. Just to have a break!

Tired. Wish I could sleep more, but my body keeps waking up around 6 a.m. And I fell asleep last night during tv – again. Damn. Hate it when I do that. Just glad the program I’m watching now has a ‘previously on’ before every episode. I get to catch up on what I slept thru.

…And I’m still stuck in the past, and dreaming of the future. Worried when I come back to Earth. The time is coming when I’ll need to address that worry. See doctors, get checked out for various problems. But I’m not kidding myself. I’m probably in the last great hurrah. In ten years, I might be too tired to do much. And if my health isn’t the best now, I can’t imagine it being better with 10 more years of use on this body. So…go, girl. Do it. If you drop, you drop. At least you tried.

After yesterday’s headiness, I feel almost flat. Like, why bother? I know that’s just the dregs of a mania hangover, and the push on this role. I’ve allowed my thoughts to be undisciplined. And this is the last I think of myself this morning. When I sign off, it’s all my role (ooo! better not ramp it up too high or I’ll freak my bro when he wakes up). Think! Be her. You know how to do it. Do not let your thoughts stray. The past has NO place in your mind today. Nor does the future. It is only this moment, in that kitchen. The dream. Today, you must dream. But not your dream! Someone else’s. Pay attention. Play your part. Be what you need to be.

Okay. My bro has already scheduled in a pizza day today. He laughingly told me that pizza was a good choice: order it in whenever, and it works whether I think I nailed it or flopped at the audition. And he’s right. It does work that way.

Thank the Goddess for pizza!

So easy to fly

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

52. I can no longer say I’m barely in my fifties. You can get away with that at 51, but at 52 you’re officially IN there. Two years since the big 5-0 and running towards 55. I gotta say, it don’t feel bad. Especially since I really can run towards 55 – if I’m so inclined.

So. *ahem* I got the film! I got the film!! Signed into my google account yesterday (I’ve several email accounts under my pseudonyms) to find a message from the casting director asking me to contact her. Sent out an excited email in reply. Then I signed in FB to find she’d also contacted me out there. With two messages sent to me in quick succession, both containing phone numbers, I weighed my desire: did I want this bad enough to pick up my mobile and call a Dutch number? Yes. Yes, I did. And, oh Goddess! She’s a fan. She saw me in the last play – even spoke to me after a performance. Her picture is cut off online, but I think I may remember her. She sure as hell remembered me, and I had that weird moment when someone remembers you and your memory doesn’t dredge up a corresponding memory to remember them. Ach, I’m so naturally bad at that type of thing! Anyway, she was VERY excited to have me – ME – onboard. So very excited I got excited, and had a damned difficult time winding down last night. It’s a psychological thriller, and my part is big. Not the main part; that’s left for the 20-something actor who’ll play my son (can you imagine? me as a mother?). But I’ll be needed every day for filming (must be a mother issue psychological thriller…gee, I can relate). I look forward to some real acting – crying, screaming, trembling with fear or anger. Letting it all go on camera.

I’m gonna be in a mo-vie! I’m gonna be in a mo-vie!

I’m just so excited! This may be the best birthday present ever.

My head’s just flying. Imagining people asking me to work with them again. Imagining bigger directors seeing my work and contacting me for roles. Imagining, even, collecting awards for roles I haven’t played yet (yes, I’m THAT far into the future). Then there are the writing fantasies: I’ll talk about my work. Someone will get interested. Someone will say, gee why don’t you take that to film? And on and on and on…

Here’s how full my head has been: I haven’t even had time to dream of Taman being well received.

Did clear my scriptwriting desktop. Whatever faults lie in Taman, stand. I think I got most of them. Now I’m ready to load up the thrillers.

Came to a very clear decision yesterday on my Thursday language lessons. I’m not continuing them after this semester. Just. not. worth it. The room is too crowded, and my teacher…well. I think she’s got a problem with me. Was nagged yesterday on pronunciation of a word I’ve known for over two years. Do not know what she was on about; she kept repeating the word and telling me I was saying it wrong. I told her I couldn’t hear any difference between what she said and what I said. She kept nagging at me. I told her I didn’t actually CARE if I made a few mistakes here and there in Dutch pronunciation, as long as I was understood. “People will know you’re American”, she told me. So? I asked. I then clearly stated that I’ve never claimed to be anything OTHER than a dumb American, and I wasn’t going to pretend I was. Besides, I said, everyone has a bleeding accent. Even with your own people. And then there’s the mumblers. To tell me that there’s only ONE way to say a word, and that if I don’t say that word exactly the way she tells me I’ll look or sound like an idiot (or whatever she meant to imply), is complete and utter bullshit. Especially when, post this discussion, my co-student read a sentence aloud that made ME cringe at her poor pronunciation of every word – and she received no nagging nor correction.

Homey ain’t gonna put up with dat no more.

Side note: I kept my temper. My teacher might not have felt that was true; she brought out that passionate side of me that drives my words with a forcefulness some people find intimidating. But I didn’t lose my cool, and I knew that. How she perceived it is her own thing.

I feel like I stand on a knife’s edge. There’s a tipping point at my feet. Something’s in the air. One way lies success; the other, oblivion. I know it as sure as I’m sitting here (or I’m just really, really lost in a manic spree…that could be true, too). Feels a little unstuck in time, if I’m honest. My mind’s eye shoots out, far into the future, but my real eyes see my reality. Then I get a jolt, coming back into my body. Doing my best to anchor myself: this is real, this is true, this is life. Even if I get many more film roles or get my own writing produced some things will still hold true. I’ll still sit with my brother watching tv in the evenings. I’ll still get up, shit, make coffee, and write. That’s life. That’s my anchor. My armpits will still stink, I’ll still sweat at the gym, and it will still be difficult to say no to cakes and sweets. Reality. No amount of success will take that away. Remember that.

Today is all fun. Play games, enjoy films, and go out for some Greek food later on. Even if it rains (and it sounds wet outside), that rain will be magical.

Because today it’s so easy to fly.

I have value

Sunday, and I’m still on a high from all the praise I received at the script read thru. My brother admonished me for trying to jump right back into my routine. Take it easy, he said. Give yourself the weekend to sort yourself out. Did not help my flightiness to receive a note from the producer about the first part of the thriller series.

He likened it to Lovecraft’s work. Lovecraft. That’s like…classic.

My head’s spinning to be compared to such a well known author.

Too excited and jumbled to do much, but I did make a start. Payed for my gym membership (late; it was due on the first), picked up some groceries and needed items, took out the garbage. Spent more time on my feet than I have lately due to my ankle, and I felt it. So I lolled around in the late afternoon, and seemed very much a lady of leisure when my bro returned from the comic book shop.

Ach! And I have a weird complaint. My hands are not so good anymore. The RA’s done its thing, and my grip is generally pretty weak. Seems to me I’m always asking my bro to open this jar or bottle, or pick something up for me. And just this past week I dropped a bottle, shattering it, due to a poor hold. So what I’ve got to say doesn’t make a lot of sense. But, here it is. Every once in a while, I get super-strength. Like Hulk smash super-strength. The latest evidence of this is a now ruined pepper grinder, which I apparently twisted so hard I broke the entire thing. I swore up and down to my brother that it must have already been broken, that I didn’t even turn it that hard. He just laughed at me. No, it wasn’t broken. Yes, he was absolutely sure of that. He doesn’t blame for these things. He’s seen them too often. And he knows I have no intention of breaking anything. There are just weird moments when all the strength that’s left my hands comes rushing back, and I’m more powerful than I think. Then things twist and break like dry twigs. …I’m lucky this time it was only a pepper mill.

Spent time on my Dutch. Reading. Wasn’t really going to. Just wanted to take a look and see where I was in the book. But I began reading a few lines to remind myself where I left off, and suddenly I was sitting back, turning page after page. Only one chapter to go before I’m finished. Should be able to finish up the story and write out some verb conjugations today. Meh! Notice how I left the verb conjugations for last – my least favorite thing to do. But I feel pretty good. I’m done with the writing, almost done with the reading, and (while not looking forward to it) ready to work on verbs.

Today is laundry and dishes, hoovering and dusting. Hoping to get some guilty assistance out of my brother, which is why I left it for Sunday, when he was home, rather than Saturday, when he’s at the comic shop. Could use it. The place is bit dingy. A little too much dust on everything, a few too many pieces of grit on the floor…just dingy. I think I’ll just ask my bro to help me. Why wait to see if he volunteers? One hour of his assistance will wipe this place clean. Then I can gaze around and not feel guilty over the way it looks.

That would be nice.

Been walking the calendar out, assuring myself I’ve plenty of time to adhere to my schedule and write my scripts. It isn’t the easiest thing to do. I mean, planning time – that part of it is easy. Assuring myself that I’ll stick to my plan, that I can focus and write when needed and not freak the fuck out – that’s the hard part. Seems like a lot to do. I break it down into small bits. Do this part first, then work on that. For long term things like language, that means promising myself I’ll work an hour a day. For short term projects like my script, it means telling myself to take care of typos first and then worry about re-writes. But both those ideas are like promising myself I’ll stop eating cake and cookies. I can make that vow with incredible intensity – and have just same amount of intensity pulling me in the opposite direction when the moment of truth comes. End up having to use a combination of tough love and reward system: berate myself into doing it, then reward myself for completion. I’d like to love myself into doing it, but, one step at a time. Right now, results are more important than method. It’s important to me to finish my writing. To complete the trilogy, to send out Taman. To keep going, and not let anything hold me back because for once – once! – I really know I’ve got something here.

I’ve no mother to disparage me, no father to lovingly hold me back. No DNA siblings to shame and humiliate me, or make me feel lesser than. There is nothing to make me stop. Nothing but myself. And I won’t let that happen. I won’t let me sabotage myself. Do I hear me? Because what we’re doing is too good, too well crafted to allow to go to waste. You hear me?

I’m saying I have value.

Sip, sip

I’m a damned good writer.

Let me say that again: I’m a damned good writer.

I walked into last night’s read thru of my script feeling pretty good. A little nervous, as always, when my work comes under scrutiny. But good, because I heard from J in the afternoon. She couldn’t make it to the read thru – insert unhappy face ’cause I wanted her there – but she said ‘I hope the group decides to do this because I really want to audition for it’. And she didn’t just tell me, she made sure to tell a couple of other people in the group.

Caught some typos and grammar problems. Nothing like having six to eight people read your stuff aloud to catch things no amount of proofing or grammar check on your computer could ever find! But they loved the story. Loved the characters, loved the whole set-up. Even discussed (briefly) their ability to pull the script off – because they liked it that much. I assured them I hadn’t written it for them, but I was working on something I wanted them to do. Then came more discussion: a bit about the thrillers, and many questions from me regarding their limitations on cast size, sets, and other bells and whistles. I asked if anyone had stage fighting experience – if they’d be open to a scene that called for a fist fight.

Feels like I have a number of people on my side right now. I’ve fired up their trust in my writing by sharing my work, and I’ve fired up their imaginations by teasing them with the thriller. I feel there’s no question in the director’s mind anymore: he’s doing the thriller trilogy. But I spoke to one of the board members and got all positives in response, which felt good because I know, in the end, the board has final say.

The only little monkey wrench in my whole happy pie is the fact that this group, unusually, has more men than women involved on a regular basis. I’ve been in this women, women, women, mind set – lots of women on the stage, powerful roles for women, women pushing and leading the storyline. But I can’t diss the men, especially if I’m writing specifically for this group. Lucky for me, my stories are fluid. Usually it doesn’t make any difference if the role is male or female. I don’t write stories about having babies or prostrate cancer. Those are gender specific stories. I did write them…once. But a gender flip on my own work showed me the holes in my writing. The result was so unfunny, unappealing, and unworthy of my skills I just said forget it, no more of that. Now I just write people. And I remember the words of the scriptwriter responsible for Alien – Ripley was originally a man. Characters should be strong, interesting, and non-gender specific. And as a writer, I should be able to flip the gender on any character and still make the story work. If I can’t, I don’t have a real story to tell.

So, flux in my head because I’m thinking on the limitations we discussed last night in relation to the thrillers. A bit of pressure, because I said I’d have a finished script for everyone to read by the end of January or beginning of February. Simple brain static, caused from remembering the typos and corrections needed in Taman.

And I gotta get back on sending out my brother’s work. I gotta get back to the gym. I gotta buckle down on language. I gotta…

I gotta stop telling myself what I gotta do.

Planning on making use of my alone time when my bro is at band rehearsals. I don’t generally like to write late at night. It’s hard to get started at that time of day, and harder still to stop. But I can’t let a couple of nights every week go to waste in front of the tv. I’ve got work to do. I opened my mouth and made the verbal commitment – now it’s up to me to see it thru. Thought about this before I went to the reading. The time I’d need, the nights spent writing rather than relaxing, the increased pressure I’ll feel trying to juggle all this at once. As always, I hope I’m not stretching myself too thin.

But I had to own up to the truth. I really want to do this.

I really want to write plays.

Maybe even more than my desire to be in them.

Because I know. I know my words have a chance of living beyond me. A performance…while entertaining, maybe even great, isn’t quite the same. I can enjoy the performance of someone no longer alive thanks to film and video. I enjoy many such performances. Many times I’ve thought to myself, ‘Gods, that person could really act!’. But words…words that make you think. Words that catch your imagination. Words that stop you suddenly, that make you see the world and even time as a small thing because here, out of the millions, perhaps billions of possible words and authors and word-author combinations, someone put something down that made you realize that no, you’re not alone and yes, someone else sees it that way. It can come from current literature or the classics. Known or unknown authors. Does not make ONE whit of difference. When it’s there, it’s there – and it’s a powerful thing.

It’s a power I’ll likely never taste. Not in full. I’d have to have a rocket engine ride to fame to achieve that. That’s unlikely to happen. So I’m trying to walk that line between dreaming of greatness and expecting nothing. – It’s the second bit of that statement that I’m working on. Meh. Tough to do.

Meanwhile, I’ll sip a little from the power of my words. People like my writing. It’s hard not to feel like a cook who’s just pleased she didn’t burn dinner, tho…

Sip, sip.

Choice

Yesterday, I chose to care about myself. Just a little bit.

Hauled back two heavy bags of groceries late morning. Noticed my ankle hurt a wee bit with every step. Didn’t matter how careful I was, how I placed my foot – when I stepped, there was an edge of pain. I was all fired up to go to the gym, to push, to not care. Dare I say it? To hurt myself. But the reality of that bit of pain with each step weighed on me. I sat in my bedroom, a large bandage in my hand all ready to wrap that damned ankle up, and suddenly my bad mood telescoped out into the future. I saw myself hurting my ankle – badly. Saw the weeks, the months down. Saw the just sitting there feeling like a fucking idiot on a thousand levels. And some quiet voice in me spoke up and asked, ‘Do you really want to risk sitting around and going even deeper into this for months due to injury?’

It was hard to say no. Because I wanted to hurt myself. That’s my thing: go to the gym and push my body until it breaks. And I suddenly realized it wasn’t about health or endurance, it wasn’t even about getting some endorphins going so my mood improved. It was about punishing myself.

Hating myself.

Self-flagellation comes in all forms.

Acceptance of the moment, my reasons, my self-hate, was the key to opening my mouth. I’d not said much to my brother up to that point; still in a hissy fit. But once I stopped and accepted what was going on with me, I communicated. And I found it easy to avoid angry communication. In fact, it wasn’t even part of the equation. My anger left me as soon as I realized what I was doing. I had no need to harangue my bro over his SIM game. He enjoys it; why should I spoil that for him? And I found no reason to nag about the housework, either. It never really takes that long to tidy up. No. I admitted to my bad mood, my twisted anger, my desire to hurt myself – and all that surface shit just slid away.

So I did not go to the gym, despite my angry ‘no matter what’ declaration yesterday. And I learned something. Thought it was only exercise that would release my anger in this fashion. But it isn’t. If I can get to the core issue and admit it, I can let it go without all the sweat and effort. That’s a big IF. Everest height. And it’s not a mountain I care to scale too often. I suppose I shouldn’t say that. It should be my goal to handle my mood swings in such a manner, right? Find the cause, accept it, move on. No acting out, no mad blog writing at 5 a.m. But I am comfortable with my old methods, with the exercise push and mad writing, the slamming of doors and gut-churning anger. …How utterly sad to say that. I’m fucking used to such horrors.

…I’m fucking used to being such a horror.

Ah! I was going to say I see my sister in all this – the acting out, the hissy fits, the slamming doors. I do see it, and I do hate it. But I also realize now what’s probably at the base of my sister’s actions. Self-hate. Makes me have a drop of empathy for her this morning.

Could we just stop with the epiphanies? Just for a little while? This hyper awareness…I welcome new levels of understanding, but hey! You’ve got to give me time to digest one bit of info before shoveling a new load into my head. Feels like there’s just too much to grasp, too much to know, and as soon as I get a hold of one idea something else loosens and gets away from me…

It’s like learning Dutch. If I concentrate on the correct verb and sentence structure, I’ll get the verb tense wrong. If I think too much about the verb tense, I’ll screw up the syntax. I can’t seem to hold all that info in my brain at once. I know it’s a matter of practice. Go slow, go steady, and keep trying.

But although I suffer embarrassment over my poor language use, I do not have to go through emotional turbulence over every little word. Setting out to change the way I think…now that’s difficult. I get triggered left and right, have to stop and sort myself out, fight against the depression, reign in the mania…it’s bloody exhausting. There’s no manual out there for this, no instruction booklet to make things easy. What I would give for a big Book of Life with easy to read chapters and answers in the back!

For now, I’m choosing to care about me. It’s not a choice I’m comfortable with. Not. at. all. But I am more afraid of months down, unable to get out or do much of anything, than I am of carrying some extra weight on my body or feeling guilty from missing a day at the gym. Until I can take a step without pain, I’m choosing to be careful. Choosing to not push. Choosing to not hurt myself.

I can do this. I can learn to take care of myself.

It’s a choice.

Coloring outside the lines

The saddest thing in the world may be the moment when someone you depend on lets you down. Doesn’t have to be a big let down. Just a casual comment, said out of haste or distraction. Sometimes those are the worst. Because you know they’re said out of haste or distraction; in other words, this was the first thing that popped into their heads. It’s kind of snapshot of what they think of you.

What happened? Teacher give you a hard time?

No, that’s not something from my past. That was said to me yesterday, by my almost all supporting brother. And while I understand he had things on his mind, etc. etc., I’m having a hard time getting past the childlike aspect of it. Thinking I’m upset because someone ‘gave me a hard time’ – like a child who can’t “handle” the real world. Oh, poor baby. Teacher gave yoo a hawd time. Boo hoo! Crwy. Crwy like a widdle baby.

Or is that just me?

Seriously. I’d like to know.

Not sure why so many people think everyone is just well prepped and mentally able to deal with anything that fucking comes their way. Aging body? Why are you panicking? It happens to everyone. Yeah, but this is the first time for me. Then there are eye rolls and sighs, because damn! Don’t you have enough human empathy to imagine what getting old was like? Everyone has gone thru this. What, you think you’re unique or special? There’s nothing unique or special about you, never was. You stupid, worthless woman.

Yeah. Yeah, I guess I am stupid and worthless ’cause no, I can’t fucking imagine it correctly. And I’m a fucking writer. But there’s always a gap between imagination and reality, and if YOU don’t fucking know that, you’re a moron. And let me tell YOU something, bee-yitch – if I’m stupid and you’re a moron, I’m still smarter than you, so I win. Fuck off.

Anyone know the number of a good exorcist? I think my sister’s hateful soul has somehow landed in my body.

…So I did not talk to my brother about what was up with me. His head was full of rehearsing, and he was rushed, and, to tell the truth, I feel like he didn’t give a fuck. He just wanted me to be quiet so he could continue playing his stupid SIM game on his fucking phone. That’s what he does almost all day long. I came back after close to five hours. Were the dishes done? No. Was anything picked up, rinsed, even moved since I left? No. I came back, upset, a long day behind me filled with anxiety, to a dirty sink and a dirty kitchen without ONE fucking thing changed from when I left the fucking house. And HE was playing his fucking SIM game, in his room, as usual. Then it was that casual, belittling comment. Not a good head space for me.

Do I expect the world to stop turning when I’m upset? Do I expect everyone to drop everything so that I can get some comfort? …I’d like to say no to that, but I’ve been told I act like that’s what I expect. I suppose it could be viewed that way…when I’m upset I generally want to try to talk it out. Try to feel better, somehow. Sorry my problems aren’t any of your concern. Sorry you feel so fucking put out listening to my fucking anxiety issues. Sorry I don’t want to wrap my head around your fucking SIM game parameters. I don’t give a shit about your team, your buildings, your fake sales. I’m involved in REAL life here. Get it? REAL life.

That’s angry, and defensive. …Gee, I wonder why.

Swollen ankle or not, I’m going to the gym. Rain or not, I’m going. Cold or not, I’m going. I’m fucking going and I’m fucking burning this out. Don’t give a fuck if I break my goddamn fucking ankle right now, I’m burning this the fuck out the ONLY way I know how.

Fuck everybody, and everything.

And I know I gotta get past this. Walk into Thursday’s read thru with even a HINT of this shit on my mind and I’ll lose it. It will not go well. My defenses will be up too high, everything will sound wrong and predatory to me, and I’ll end up in tears or screaming or both.

*sigh*

Pull it together. We get thru this one foot in front of the other. One step at a time. One word at a time. One moment at a time. Stop looking to tomorrow for trouble. It might never happen; we could die today.

Should I be concerned that last bit seems to be a glimmer of hope? Is it wrong for me to think of death as something good, something that releases me from this cycle of up and down, happy and sad, manic and depressed? I don’t want to die. I just want this shit to stop. Let me – allow me, please! – more than 48 hours feeling good about myself.

But you can’t ask permission for that. You can’t beg for self-worth. You’ve got to claw for it, every single minute of every single day. Hold it close, keep it warm, remind yourself you’ve got it.

So, here’s what you got:

Words. You got words. Words you use well, words you’re learning to use well. Words in two languages. Use them. Write. You know how to do that. Let it loose. Spill it, baby. Spill it all over the page. Make ’em cry. Make ’em think. This is your gift, and your weapon. Use it.

And stop following all the rules. Life doesn’t have rules. You’ve just made them up, or allowed someone else to make them up for you.

It’s time to start coloring outside the lines.

Pearls before swine

I’ll start with this morning, ’cause it’s in my face.

Another uncle comment. This time, it’s a ‘You need some coffee’ with a Google link to coffee houses (NOT coffeeshops) in Amsterdam after I called him out on NOT being funny and NOT making a joke. Here’s my reply:

What does my caffeine level have to do with our discussion? And why are you trying to change the subject and blame me for your poor “joke”? A joke is supposed to be amusing – yet your original statement, “I won’t be in that area then” isn’t amusing, it’s simply a fact. There’s no cause for laughter. No cause unless you feel uncomfortable for some reason. Shifting attention to my caffeine intake is simply a distraction from your discomfort. Why are you uncomfortable? ..Plus, get it right. I live in Rotterdam, not Amsterdam.

I’m proud of my reply. Called him out on it. Kept my cool. Even left with a little jab about him getting the city wrong. Ha fucking ha, uncle. Are you laughing now? I’m particularly proud over pointing out his discomfort (several times) and calling him out on his attempt to distract and blame me.

You wanna play games? With words? You DO know I’m a wordsmyth, right? Plus, I was taught by your sister – my mother. Your OLDER sister. The woman who knew every game you ever played and one upped you continually.

You ain’t gonna win.

I said I fucking had it with this shit.

…NEWS ALERT: Just had a notification from FB. An instantaneous reply from my uncle. DAMN! I really got him. Here’s his reply (including the typos; he was obviously in a hurry to say what he needed to say): “I was hoping some caffeine would wake you up and you would see my joke…;.clearly you have seen my joke all along. And….I won’t br in Rotterdam to see the show either.” Oh, I’ll continue with this charade. If it winds him up so much he’s got to reply the moment he reads what I say, I’ll continue.

Give him a little tit for tat. Generally I’m against that type of behavior, but some people just don’t learn!

Onto happier things.

Three point seven kilometers in thirty minutes. Wanted to write that out, because it deserves that much respect. That’s topping 7 km an hour on the cross trainer. And I felt flipping tired. Have the last several times I’ve gone to the gym. But I keep amazing myself, pushing more and running faster than I ever imagined I could. I believe soon to be 52 year old me could easily lap 22 year old me. Upped repetitions on my arms. That’s difficult, and I have to stop often and take a break. Still hate doing my abdominal exercises, but I might be ready to add a few more crunches to my routine. Walking is, as always, the easiest – though I’ve got to confess I feel awful slow walking at 5km an hour after running on the cross trainer. Find myself wanting to pick up the speed on the treadmill. Haven’t, yet.

Feeling strong in my body, my mind, and my soul. A bit unshakeable. Like I’m suddenly too together for anyone (including my uncle) to get under my skin. I like this. If this is the level other people operate at, I can see why they don’t understand when I fall apart. Doesn’t give them license to be assholes about it, but I get why they might not fully understand why someone like me struggles so much. It’s easy to let things slide off your back when you’re here. World trouble? Yeah, always is. Emotional turmoil? Yeah, it’s a pain, but what are ya gonna do? Financial trouble? It’ll sort itself out somehow. All those pat answers spewed ad infinitum via memes suddenly make sense.

I blame the endorphins. I’m getting a regular blast of them when exercising. And let’s face it: they say ‘peptide’ and ‘hormone’, but in reality they should say ‘drug’. It’s an all natural drug, I’ll give you – but it’s a drug. You get a drug response, it’s addictive, you need more to keep getting off – it’s a drug. More: it’s a drug I like. So I keep pushing to get it. Now…doctors get very pleased when they hear about an exercise regime. Oh, good! You’re getting regular exercise, toning your body, and losing weight. What could be better? No one acknowledges the drug interaction in your brain, unless it’s to say something like ‘well, exercise is GOOD for emotional turmoil’. Why is it that a drug naturally produced in our bodies is better or good, while drugs we take are bad and evil? I just don’t get that. It’s a drug, either way.

Blanket fucking statements. They ruin the damned world.

Today, I work. A few errands to run, and I plan on using the travel time on the metro to read Dutch. Then it’s time to tear into Taman. Make those changes I keep talking about. Start arranging a read through. Want to read through the play I’m doing, too. Keep my lines fresh over this break. And I need to call for an adjustment to my shoes (more Dutch; ugh!).

First, though, I will fashion a reply to my uncle. He doesn’t get the last word on my page. Even if that means this discussion goes on for another year, back and forth. And I know what I’m doing. I’m staying coolly disconnected. I know the necklace is tearing, and the mud is thick.

I know I’m casting pearls before swine.