How deep it goes

The doc said my new pills might make me sleepy. What he didn’t say was that they were going to give me the first fully rested night of sleep I’ve had in I don’t know how long. So often I go to bed and toss and turn, waking up several times during the night, trying to just lie there and rest. Last night I slept. And slept. Even got up to pee in the middle of the night and fell right back asleep like someone bashed me over the head.

That’s unheard of in my life. Totally.

It is Saturday, and once again I’m amazed at the balls on my brother as he stands in the living room and announces ‘he thinks he’ll go down to the comic shop, since it’s Saturday and there’s not much to do’ while the dust bunny collection sits under the table, every plate in the house is dirty and stacked by the sink, and the garbage and recycling are overflowing. Yeah. Not much to do at all. Why don’t you take a last big shit in the toilet before I don my rubber gloves and go scrub it out?

Meh.

Got to the gym yesterday. Almost didn’t. I really didn’t want to go. But I asked myself for one hour. One hour of time. I had plenty of time to spare; it was more than possible to get to the gym and watch a full film in the afternoon. It was a good con, and once I got out I stayed out for longer than an hour. Kept it to walking on the treadmill. I’m off my regular routine and playing things extra cautious right now. Just gotta start getting out of the house and moving on a regular basis.

Today’s a whole other ball of wax. I know if I clean the way I want to, I’ll be too pooped to go to the gym. Similarly, if I go to the gym first I won’t have the energy to clean the house the way I want. Decision time.

Doing my best to keep up with headlines without triggering myself. But honestly…I’m getting pissed off. No surprise there, I guess. There’s plenty to be pissed off about, no matter what view you hold. …*sigh* I read an article about a man who’s suing a woman for sexual intimidation. I’d like to just side-step all morality issues surrounding this, and just say I’m FUCKING DISGUSTED by the damned coverage this case is getting. This type of sexual intimidation isn’t the norm. We all know the norm: women get if from men. We get it so much and so often that it’s ignored and downplayed. Oh, ho hum! Another woman claiming sexual harassment from her male superior. Well, she’s a woman. Probably exaggerating the situation. And no doubt she used it to her advantage; all women do, after all. The proliferation of accusations against women in sexual harassment or assault cases – everything from encouraging the abuse to asking for it – is mind blowing. Oh, but turn the tables and watch how much coverage one man gets! This is nothing more than a continued assault on women. Men’s grievances are addressed so much quicker, with so much more attention and, perhaps most importantly, belief in the accuser. I’ve not read nor heard whisper one that this man in question is exaggerating the situation, nor that he encouraged it or used it to his advantage. Not. one.

And while I’m on my feminist soapbox, let me address another tricky issue: transgender. Let me state I don’t care how you want to look. Want to tattoo and pierce your whole body? Okay, if that’s your thing. I might not say it’s beautiful, but go ahead. Want to run around looking frumpy and unkempt? Well, you might get dissed for certain things, but go ahead. I don’t care. Want to dress up in high heels and make-up? It’s bad for you, and I don’t condone that sort of dress-up on a regular basis, but go ahead if that’s your thing. Really don’t care. But I don’t understand why men have to be a certain way and women another. Current studies (finally! goddess! it took a long time) have come out stating that men’s and women’s brains are the same. There is no ‘male’ nor ‘female’ brain, just a brain. All that sexual identity shit comes from our cultures and surroundings. I don’t want to diss the problems transgender people have. I’m absolutely sure they face a lot of discrimination. But changing your outer look doesn’t make you into the opposite sex. This is what’s sticking in my craw: transgender men into women, who now want to be identified as women and take their share of women’s accolades. No! I apologize if I offend people with this, but if you transition into a female at some point you’re not a woman. You haven’t grown up with being a woman, with facing that daily negation. You haven’t gone thru menstrual cramps, you haven’t been dissed for what you think or feel just because your body is shedding its uterus lining. You haven’t been called ‘dried up old hags’ when you age. You haven’t faced unwanted pregnancies, or being told you can’t have children when you’ve been brought up to believe that’s all a woman really is: a mom. These things are NOT part of your reality, but they are part of every woman’s reality. Every woman knows another woman who’s been raped. Every. single. one of us. Most of us know of someone who’s faced an unwanted pregnancy. And a great many of us know someone who’s got the shit kicked out of them by their partner.

Even if I dyed my skin, crimped my hair, and did everything I could to look black, I couldn’t even begin to call myself a person of color. I have NONE of their background experiences to draw on. My opinion is the same with transgenders.

Am I the only person who sees? Am I the only person to raise these questions?

And the fact that most transgenders then dress up with heavy make-up and push up bras does NOTHING to support their cause for me: you are perpetuating this stereotypical view of women. Look at me! I can be more of a woman than women are! THAT’S what it says to me, and that disgusts me. Not your choices, not your sexuality, but the blatant sexism inherent in the way you view women.

Can’t you see how deep it goes?

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All the world’s a stage

Someone who sees 5 a.m. as a regular thing shouldn’t have to set an alarm.

Yeah, I replied, but it’s been a long time since I woke up at 5 a.m….

And so I cursed myself. Hello, 5 a.m. You’re as grey and quiet as I remember.

Leaving the house today before my brother even gets out of bed. Have to be downtown at my rheumatology appointment by 8:45. Ho-hum. Go there, wait, see my doctor, get a new prescription for my meds, leave. Figure I’ll nap this afternoon.

Tonight’s the first audition. Don’t really expect many people; they called it quick and their advertising leaves loads to be desired. Had a message from the director. He’d like to meet early, to discuss the roles and go over things. Cool; I was thinking the same thing. And, thanks, because he assured me he really wants to do this by saying if we don’t get enough people with the first two auditions, he’ll call a third. My plan is to print up some notices and get them around to the libraries for the second audition. Been scouring the web for some sort of theatre call site. Found stuff for films, stuff for Dutch productions – all in Amsterdam. Nothing I felt was appropriate for putting out an English notice for a non-paid role. Haven’t heard from my film buddies, other than getting a thumbs up on the post. So far: two people have said on FB that they’re coming tonight. Two. I expect more to show, but…two. It might be a very early evening.

Well, I’m used to working hard on productions. Can’t quite figure out why the group doesn’t have certain things in place, like automatic notifications about auditions. But maybe they’ve been waiting for someone like me. Someone with the drive and the interest, someone who just does it. And I get it! I wasn’t willing to do this last year, for someone else’s script. But mine? Oh, honey! I’ll walk over hot coals to get this done – or close enough. Besides, it’s a labor of love.

Began working on a LinkedIn page. I don’t really expect to get anything from it. LinkedIn is for computer programmers and shit, not playwrights. Still. It’s my legit social page. Got stumped on the ‘summary’ section. Summary? I’ve only been at this for…what, a year and a half? Two years, max. As far as the theatre industry is concerned, I’m a bloody virgin. Not sure what to say yet. Hey, yeah, I’ve got loads of stuff the industry has rejected. Finally getting a production done; look at me! Ugh.

I’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, I’m just happy. Happy to know my words are appreciated. Happy to say I’m a real playwright. Gotta keep reminding myself of it.

*sigh* Thinking I might have to go and get my eyes checked. Told my bro I think it might be time for bifocals. Not happy about the idea of spending more money – again. But these headaches are a bitch, and I can tell eye strain is part of it.

…My bro made a comment the other day about me hating men. Didn’t know what to say to that. My first impulse was to defend myself. But I just stopped, and thought about that. Thought about what my feminists rants sound like from the outside. I can see why someone might think that. I am very angry at men as a whole. I am very upset over the way women are treated like second class citizens (if even that well). And I am vocal about it because, baby, there’s plenty to be vocal about. But if push comes to shove I’ll choose men over women almost every time. I’m more comfortable in the company of men. I can just be me – the scruffy tomboy. The woman who’s ‘not like any other woman’. I feel more judged in the company of women. I see them look at my clothes, or my hair, or my lack of make-up or hangnails, and I feel it. It’s a combination of pity and disgust. If only she’d take some time with herself, try a little harder. She could be so pretty. Men, on the whole, don’t care. If you’re in a place with lots of people, men might care. They might want you to be attractive so other men get jealous of what they’ve “got”. But I have never met a man who confessed to liking to kiss a face full of make-up. Most men I’ve known (friends and lovers) have professed to preferring a woman in no make-up. It’s the women who think I should be doing my eyes, wearing lipstick, high heels, whatever. That’s where the real judgement comes from. Underneath it all: compete. Compete with me for men’s attention. Try and get the most desirable mate. Dude, I don’t want to compete with you. And I don’t think women have to be that way.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Show us the way. Be the model for it. Don’t think about it; just do it. No problem. This is my nature. It’s the prejudice and judgment I don’t like. So I keep pointing those things out. That’s sexist because… or Gee, they’re acting like that’s something new just because it’s a man saying it… All of it true. All of it building this reputation for me as a man-hater. Problem is, I do have a lot of anger over this. I am frustrated that so many people don’t see the same things I do. That comes out, over and over, in my statements.

…Why is all this coming out this morning?

Maybe it all has to do with the roles we play. The roles I’ve written, the roles I’ve played myself – and yes, I’ll admit to (in my 20s) playing the damsel in distress in order to get some guy to do something for me, like change a flat tyre.

I’m not a fan of Shakespeare. But he did get some things right.

All the world’s a stage.

Plenty to burn

My first thought today was to send out a prayer of thankfulness for fast food. Only the days we grab something to eat from Verhage or the fish guys out front do I wake up to a clean kitchen sink. And man! It’s nice. Nice to feel that moment of ‘oh, gods, there will be a pile of dishes waiting for me’ and then realize that no, there are no dishes. Only spartan cleanliness.

One look at the garbage can (full to the brim) dampened that feeling.

Class yesterday went really well. My bro backed off his autistic driven need to make a point on the antonyms list my teacher gave us. We worked on words and definitions, reading and writing. Only four of us showed up, so it was very intensive. Ach, my fellow students are really giving me the nod – continually asking me if they have the correct answers on their homework. Continually looking at my work, making changes to their own. I do my best to help them and not get upset when I notice they’re ‘stealing’ my answers. My teacher took the time to talk to my bro and me after class. She doesn’t feel T is ready for our class; he’d struggle a bit too much. But he’s definitely ready for more work. I told her he’s sat in the same class for three years and no one’s moved him up. She’s going to write the group that organizes the classes and tell them in her opinion he’s ready for a higher level. I’m really pleased. I didn’t expect any of that; I just asked my bro to come along and meet my teachers, who’d helped him with his book translations, and check out what a real class felt like. T got some real compliments and support on his work, and I think he feels heartened by it. And I’m so grateful to my teachers for their patience with him (and me) and their kindness. They don’t have to intervene in this situation, but they will. I really appreciate that.

Came home and found no note left for me by a delivery person trying to give me my medications while I was at class. Crossing my fingers that sometime today the doorbell will ring and there it’ll be, all taken care of. I’m not used to things going well. To others following thru. Wish I could just trust that it would happen. I can’t yet. Of course, going into things as the Doubting Thomas means I get to experience that delightfully light feeling after everything works out. Gee, the person at the pharmacy SAID she’d changed that delivery date and she did! Look at that. I didn’t have to worry at all. I’d like to just by-pass the worry, tho.

I have many words to get out of me. Dutch homework, reading, two messages I need to reply to. All of that is going on the back burner for a few hours. First up: me, me, me, and my script writing. I might just sit there and stare at the page, but I’ll give myself the time to try. Have not thought my way out of my sexual role set-up yet, and I’m telling myself that’s okay. Just write. I’ve months of hot weather to think up another thriller. This is just another exercise, remember? No pressure. Stop turning it into something.

Flipped thru the news pages I’ve got bookmarked. I usually do that every morning, reading headlines. It’s hard to stay informed without getting triggered. There was a day, once, when journalists worked hard to remain unbiased. Facts were reported. Articles were dry. Reading the news was boring, because there was nothing there to color it. Now…now I can’t open up any ‘news’ article anywhere without reading inflammatory words. When did using so many adjectives become acceptable in factual reporting? This is no longer news, no longer just journalism. It’s sensationalism. In my day, we called it Yellow Journalism.

But hey! The news stations finally found a way to interest viewers. Their ad revenue is up and they’re happy. Well done for bending down to the lowest level possible. Well done for revealing your true parasitic nature. I’m glad it’s all out in the open. You’ve just given me permission to disregard everything you push. Thanks.

Was watching a satyrical comedy program the other night and became disturbed. They had a guest on who really didn’t understand it was all satire. The guest kept reiterating how the host supported and liked 45. If the guest had ever seen the show, he should have realized in about two minutes it was all tongue in cheek. But see, there’s the problem. Satire takes a bit more intelligence to understand, and there’s a lot of people out there who take satire at face value. It has an opposite effect than intended. It whips them up, entrenches them in their ignorance.

Frankly, I think some things need to have control on them. We have parental controls for children so they don’t get exposed to porn. Why not idiot controls? You can’t watch certain shows or films if you’re too stupid to understand them. But no! For some magical reason, once a person becomes an “adult” that’s it: you’re let loose on the world. Everything’s open, as long as it’s consensual. So idiots go out and pick up half the meaning of an idea, then parade around self-righteously with incorrect information that really makes them look like a TWAT. And they don’t even get it. What’s worse: they get support from other twats for doing it. And it snowballs.

Ach, griping about twats is a long way from my first thought of thankfulness. But it’s the twats that drive me. Without them, I’d have very little to gripe about. I’d have very little to feed the fire. I suppose I should be thankful for the twats, in some weird way.

They give me plenty to burn.

I want to remember

Not certain what I’m feeling. I wanted to come out here and say ‘yep; all is well – I worked out and did some Dutch and tidied up the house and it’s all good’. I did do all that, and I do feel good about it but…and…there’s something else niggling at me, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Maybe it’s the recognition of my higher language use. I feel lately like I’m moving beyond the other students. They seem to have problems with things that are very basic, stuff I’m surprised even trips them up. And I know I’m the only real reader in class. Guess I’m feeling like it won’t be too long before I hear ‘you really need to move up a level’ again. And I don’t want to hear that quite yet. I’ve already heard how I could move up, I’m ready and can handle the task. Soon, I’ll have to move up because they’ll be repeating lessons I already know and I’ll be bored. Just have this feeling… Had a couple of word puzzles as homework, and one was particularly tough. I got thru it, but I don’t imagine the other students will have.

Or maybe it’s the whole theatre group thing. Still nothing. May is literally only a few days away and not one plan has been made to even call for auditions. I’m totally uncomfortable with that. And I’m not sure why the group feels they can master my work in less time than they allowed for other plays. Sure, it’s action driven and all that, but most of the group haven’t even read the story yet.

I have not, of course, done the one thing I really need to do: check back with the doctor’s office on the last round of tests. *sigh* Starting with that will probably help. I don’t sit on things well.

Keep forgetting to take my pill. What began at 11 a.m. is now 4 in the afternoon, and I hope it doesn’t swing all the way to my bedtime. I suppose that shows the medicine is working; I’m feeling good enough and engaged enough that I don’t think about it. Still. I do NOT want to miss a day. Don’t think that would help me one bit. Thus far, I’ve only managed to remember taking the damned thing two days in a row at the same time so I’ve no pattern set up to help me remember the ritual. Damn, damn, damn. Not sure what to do to help me remember. Thought about setting my alarm, but then I have to remember to set my alarm every day and turn it off every night so it doesn’t wake me up in the middle of sleep (because yes, I have an old fashioned alarm clock of only 12 hours, not a digital 24 hour clock). Yeesh.

…Guess I’m just feeling my sorrow. That deep disappointment that sits within me. I find the manner of people around me – especially those I grew up with – so utterly fucking disappointing. And it’s not coming from so much a judgmental viewpoint; I’m not saying how horrible they are. It’s more…I keep kind of seeing things thru their eyes. Seeing me thru their eyes, hearing their responses anew from their perspective. I get what they tried to do. I also acknowledge they did a really shitty job of it.

I acknowledge that every time my sister called me a liar, she was loudly proclaiming that is SHE who was the liar. I acknowledge my oldest brother and sister are narcissistic shits. Spoiled fucking rotten, brought up to think they’re the hottest shit on earth and let me tell you, they’ll never let you forget that. Again: they spewed that at me, and I recognize that anything said repeatedly by one person is a better indication of what THEY’RE doing rather than anything else. They are spoiled. They are brats. They are narcissists. They are sluts, and thieves, and liars. I do not like them.

…I do not like them. *sigh* I shoulda run away at 17, when that impulse was so strong in me. Left and never looked back. I stayed to honor my parents. First, my mother – whom I thought I loved, and I suppose underneath all the complicated crap she set up in me I do love her but I’m having a damned hard time feeling it these days. Then my father, and I’ll never regret the time I spent with him or what I did those final weeks of his life. I exposed myself to my siblings’ bullshit on purpose, knowing what I was walking into, counting the cost and finding it worth the price. But it took it’s toll on me. I see that now: the mess of mourning, regret, sorrow, and then the added blame and guilt and anger.

And the deepest sorrow sits in me because I long for what we could have been. We could have been a family that supports each other. I’ve met them now; they’re out there. We could have been a family that stays close, despite geographical distances. Somehow writing to my uncle is more important to my siblings than responding to a message from me, tho I don’t know why and I gave up trying years ago. …I can imagine how we could have been stronger together. Instead, we tore each other apart.

For my part…I’m still too angry. Still too willing to whip out the big guns in my head to use against these two people. To my sister, with a cool disdainful look: Tell me, are you still taking it up the ass or has your boyfriend managed to find your vagina? To my brother, with a sneer: So tell me, how much of your thinking brain did they actually scoop out with that tumor?

That is not someone willing to forgive and forget.

But maybe that’s the difference between us. My siblings do an awful lot to help them forget.

I want to remember.

That’s the way to use it

So, now I’m pissed off. Yesterday’s discussion of my problem with my fellow students was an intellectual note. Something that nagged at me, but that was all. Today it pisses me off. Lucky for me, I’m reading Roald Dahl. He specializes in long, insulting sentences. I’m ready to whip out something along the lines of: You’re a horrible, slimy, nasty, mean, and evil bitch of an witch – and I can do it in Dutch. Fair warning, Universe. If I am laughed at one more time, or dissed, or spoken over, they’re getting it. I’ll write it the fuck down and memorize it. I am not putting up with that shit any more. As for the break issue, I’ve determined I’m just bringing my reading with me from now on. Screw everyone.

My teachers have asked me not to swear in class, and I’ve obliged because I care about their opinion and respect them as people and as teachers. But I can still put people down – thank you, Dahl! You’ve drilled those words into my head with every book.

And if all else fails, I know two Dutch insults to sling at them. One: drop dead. Effective in any language. Two: tell them they’re cancer. That’s a strange one; a big Dutch insult is calling someone a disease. But, okay. I’ll go with it. You’re cancer.

I prefer the long winded, descriptive sentences of Dahl, tho. Use what I’ve learned.

*sigh* The hoover broke. Overheated and didn’t recover. The only thing I’m not unhappy over is the fact that it happened while my bro was using it. Thank the Goddess! I do not have to hear about what I should have done, or what I should have noticed, or anything negative. He did it. Not me. I grew up hearing I was a mechanical jinx, that I broke any machine I came within three feet of. It wasn’t true, of course, but it was repeated to me so much and so often I’ve developed a real complex about it. I was 32 and still hearing about a lawn mower I “broke” at the age of 4. So if the damned hoover had to break, I’m breathing a sigh of relief it didn’t do it while I was using it. My being a jinx is a family myth that’s hard to shake. Unfortunately, it happened at a time when I haven’t cleaned the house regularly, meaning we have dust bunnies in every room. My room, in particular, was on the list of ‘needing to get clean’. Now I have to wait ’til I don’t know when. ‘Til we can find a decent, inexpensive hoover, I guess.

Meanwhile…

Opened up and looked at the production notes. Did a fast spot check and, yes, I found pages moved. Shit. That means going thru it line by line, checking 13 pages of notes against the script. Not a fun job. Did manage to work on the dialogue I needed to pull apart; tabled it, diagrammed it, and ended up pulling out 50 cuts to record separately. May not use them all, but it’s a good place to start, I think.

Got out for a walk. Spring is here. It pussyfooted around, timidly playing with us for a month. Now it’s moved in and pregnant with summer. In one day, the trees went from that feathery bud stage to leaves out. I passed four freshly cut lawns. There was so much green smell in the air it was rushing up my nose and tickling my brain with an almost electric feel of excitement. Gods, bottle that! I’ll buy it. It was so warm even I didn’t need a jacket or hoodie. Just a t-shirt. In 48 hours, temps are forecast near 30C. Well, that was it, then. That’s too hot. My wrist already hurts from the temp increase. Time to shift to summer life: early wake ups from the sun and the noise, afternoons in the gym where there’s air conditioning, open windows rather than turned on radiators. Makes me glad I got outside for a walk when I could.

Tapping my feet a lot more. I try to stop, but then I get busy with something on my computer and the next thing I know I hear that tap-tappa-tap-tap rhythm that I do. Palms still sweating, tho not as bad. Sleep is something I do. Something I tell myself to do. It’s bed time; turn the light off. Or it’s light out; get up. How rested I feel has very little to do with anything. Food…desire comes and goes. I eat, twice a day minimum. And it’s not the food; it tastes good. My mouth waters. I just…I think I’m hungry, then I drink some water or something and I’m not, and I just go back to whatever I was doing for a few more hours until I start to feel cold. That’s when I know I need food: I’m cold. Not hungry. Cold.

I’ve got a plan. I just gotta stick to it. Get up, blog. An hour on Dutch. Eat. Go to the gym. Back home, work on the script. Dinner. A little game playing, then tv time. Read, sleep. It’s a solid plan, guaranteed to get me thru the work I need to get done. Honestly, though, I just want to sit here. Don’t know why. I’m tired of every damned computer game I’ve got. I don’t even pay attention to what’s on the tv half the time. But I keep finding myself doing it: droning out, playing solitaire of all things. Mindless. Repetitive. Nothing surprising, nothing challenging. A few strong story plots surfaced the other day while I was on my walk. One came complete with characters, plot line, and scenes played out in my head. Fairly obvious what my next play will be.

And I owe it to my fellow students. That nagging feeling, that anger…it’s turned into something. It’s given birth to a veiled woman. Mysterious. Intriguing. Heartbreakingly sad.

That’s the way to use it.

I’m trying

I snapped. At Dr. T. My voice rang out over the entire waiting room. *sigh* I feel bad about it, but then, there’s my problem in one go. See? I am not stable.

To be fair to myself, it was a wind-up. My appointment time came and went. I waited patiently for 15 minutes, knowing he’d been five minutes late before. By 25 minutes, I was truly wondering if he was ill and not working. Asked at the front desk, interrupted by a small child whose question over his magazine was oh so much more important than anything any adult could be asking about (the child was not yelled at, tho that took every ounce of my self control). No, Dr. T is here; he’s just busy, please wait. Hmph. Took a seat again, waited another five minutes, this time with zero patience: sighing, checking the time on my phone, rolling my eyes, tapping my feet, and muttering under my breath. Sent off a text to my bro; the plan had been for my bro to head off and order some Chinese food while I was at the doc’s and then we’d meet back home and eat. With me cooling my heels for 40 minutes I didn’t know when I’d get out. Finally, Dr. T. came and greeted me. And that’s when it happened.

Dr. T is Asian, so he’s a bit shorter than I am. So there I am, in the waiting room, towering over this man, angry as all hell. Oh, and I was angry! Really damned angry at that point. Didn’t even LOOK at him, just had that clipped anger in my voice that I know – I know! – sounds precisely like my mother (oooh, I hate myself just thinking about that). He apologized. Twice. Even pulled up his computer schedule to prove to me he’d written the time down incorrectly – that’s how angry I was. I told him my Dutch was horrible, and it was. I tried. Tried to hear, tried to speak. Most of his words went over my head. Too much, too fast. He said we’d keep the appointment short since he was late, and I was thankful for that, at least. Caught the gist of a sentence or two: how have you been? Told him. Got a lot more words thrown at me. Then he talked about my medication. Heard ‘double to 10 milligrams’. He spent time assuring me that I’d been on 10 mg in Ireland, it was nothing to worry about. I know. I know. I also know he was quick to up my meds because of my mood.

Fifteen minutes later I was on my way home. The cynic in me noted how Dr. T got away light today: full pay for a 15 minute session. Can’t quite shake that one, tho I know it’s mean and petty of me.

And for fuck’s sake! It seems I can blast off to the moon, go hyper speed, but all of that – all of it! – is marked as ‘depression’. Really? Really really? The sweating hands, the short and bad sleep, the racing thoughts. That’s depression? Have you redefined the word? Um, okay. You’re the doc. But you’re sure? Okay, okay. I’ll take the pills.

My next appointment is set for the end of May. He’s out on holiday or some such thing; the explanation came in Dutch and I only caught part of it. I left, a little apprehensive. Managed to tell him my script is being produced, and I’m worried about myself this year due to work load and excitement levels. By the end of May I could be well into it. Wound up beyond what he’s seen me before. Maybe that’s what needs to happen. It’s not like I want to go there. I’ll be working as hard as I can to stay stable, but… It’s a big project. I know what I’m like.

So, you know…fair warning, Dr. T. You caught the edge of the beast’s teeth yesterday. You do not want that beast biting into your flesh.

Things I need to do: Finish my current book (20 pages left) and get it back to the library before I get a late fee. Buy that CD I talked about last month while I’m downtown at the library. Get back to the gym, back to my exercise routine. Comb through my lighting and sound notes, checking all the page numbers. Cull through the dialogue for the recorded voice in part one, tightening up the lines. Contact the group and nudge them to get their asses in gear for auditions. Laundry, cleaning. It’s a packed weekend for me.

Also need to get back to the dentist. That tooth is too high and it hurts every time I bite down. Oh, hell! And I need to check at the doc’s office about the last test I had. Don’t want to do either of those things.

Can’t I just sit here and magically have these things taken care of?

No-o-ope. Don’t have the mother or that kind of cash to make it happen.

Meh. This is the part of being an adult I don’t like. It’s up to you. I’m beginning to realize it’s the fact my mother never let me make any decisions that’s been the most damaging. I had little to no say in what I wore or how my hair looked for years. I was banned from getting a job as a teen and told to concentrate on my studies. I was told what friends to have, how to act, what to do, how to feel, even what I should want. Little surprise I now find it difficult as hell to make up my own mind.

Well…here I am. Imperfect and totally flawed. I never feel like I’m quite done, if you know what I mean. Too many rough spots left all over my marble. Too many poorly patched scars.

Can I love this ugliness that I am?

I’m trying.

How woke is that?

Yeah, I’m woke.

Oh. …So you wake up crying over all the children dying in war, all the women raped and shamed, all the injustice in the world, every morning?

…Ah…no. No, I don’t.

Then you ain’t woke.

It’s become the fad du jour to post environmental and cultural memes. Oh, look! I’m aware of this bad thing; ain’t I great. I’m here to tell every single one of you that those problems you’re all so up in arms about were the same fucking things I was screaming about when I was 20. Nothing’s changed. This isn’t new. Don’t fucking act like it is, or that you’re so fucking much better than my generation because you can generate a fucking MEME to tell the world how fucking ‘woke’ you are.

You think you be woke while you sit in your castle giving interviews over your success? Oh, yes, well…I live in a gated community, naturally, and my children attend private school because they couldn’t go to public school, but I’m woke. I know about the problems. I recycle.

Go fucking kill yourself.

… … …

I am up early so I don’t think. My hands stopped sweating yesterday, eventually. Talked to my bro, asked for some support and advice on the school issue. His mania has always been over the top, something no one could ignore, while what I do…I hide it. Sit on it. Clamp down hard on myself to make myself stop. I do that so well, most people never even notice. He’s always seen the signs, and given me what help and advice I was willing to take. I laid it out for him; the strung out feeling, the sweaty hands, the inability to focus. Even when I’m in crisis, my brother tries to teach me. He said: Well, it sounds like hypomania or hyperactivity to me. And let’s face it; you’ve had more social contact this weekend than you generally get all year ’round. You’ve been keyed up for days. But, you’ve got to decide for yourself. You know if you can’t go. I told him I didn’t feel like I was going to snap. I just felt a bit tired and out of it. He laughed. But you know it’s when you’re tired that you snap the easiest… I thanked him. I just needed someone else saying ‘yeah, it seems like you’re hyper and it’s probably a good idea for you to stay home and chill’. Still feel a bit guilty over skiving off. Back to solitaire and DVDs: mindless droning, allowing my head to rest. By evening I could sit in my chair without fidgeting too much. Headed off to bed around the normal time and managed to read through (albeit a little poorly) 20 pages in my book.

…*sigh* I don’t want my subconscious to work on my family issues any more. I know it’s happening while I sleep, which is why I think of those same issues first thing upon waking. It’s those repetitive cycles that push me up out of bed. I do not want to rehash. I want to live. Why won’t my head let me live? My subconscious obviously has power over my conscious mind. Can’t the reverse be true? Can’t I tell myself “enough is enough” and just move on?

Good Goddess, I’m sounding like my family!

Confront it. Okay.

Felt the sting of poverty on Sunday as my friend paid for our lemonades. Silly, really, right? But I felt it. Felt the difference in our clothing, in the way she groomed herself. I looked shaggy, as usual. A bit too unkempt. This is a thing. I am ashamed of being poor. Ashamed of obviously not taking care of myself. Part of me feels like that’s just peer and social pressure; fuck it. The other part of me sees how I must look to others: the hair that’s always a bit frizzy and unkempt, the clothes that are very casual and un-ironed. Maybe I could get away with spending next to no time on myself when I was 20, but that’s no longer the case.

Oh, fuck. This is a ‘it’s one of those things you should have learned when you were ten’ thing, right? I had the same thing happen when I hit Uni for the first time: I found out I never learned how to learn. Never had to study, never had to try at school. Ever. So I was totally unprepared to handle Uni, with it’s heavy reading and work schedule. …I used to be… I won’t say beautiful, but I didn’t need to do much. Didn’t need to spend hours on my hair; it just fell in place naturally. Didn’t need to use much make-up. Didn’t even need to think too hard about style. I just put together what I wanted to wear, and it looked good because…well, youth can carry off a lot. None of that is true anymore. I need to learn how to groom myself in the manner other people have done all their lives.

Shit.

What a drag.

…Don’t know that I can. I try, once in a while. Do my cuticles. Try to get my hair to behave. Darken my eyebrows a bit. To make it a regular thing, or something more regular than I do now… You know I don’t think it’s worth it. I’m not looking for anything. Why would I send out any signals? I’ve been misconstrued before, and let me tell you: there’s nothing less comfortable. Don’t look at me like that. That option isn’t on the table.

I’d do so much better in the world if everyone were blind.

…But then, I suspect a lot of people might say that.

There’s the solution. Everyone voluntarily poke their own eyes out. No more war, because no one could aim a weapon. No more judgements based on what you look like or your skin color or the clothes you wear.

Now, how woke is that?

Change what you can

Self-care: 1. Anxiety: 0.

Went to see my GP this morning about my stomach problems. It’s a long time coming; been having bouts on and off for at least 6 months now. I apologized for that. She laughed – I doubt she has many patients who apologize for NOT coming in right away. Anyhoo. She’s testing for celiac disease and blood in my stool. Joy. I’ve a bruise on my arm from my vein bleeding (ouch) and a packet-load of info in Dutch to read.

Still not sleeping great. Waking up too early, but I can’t seem to stay up any later to shift my timing. I am annoyed with myself every time I see 5 a.m. I tell myself to turn over, get some more rest – but then my head starts, and I toss, and turn… It’s worthless to stay there. Aggravating because it reminds me I can’t sleep and I want to. Better to get up and do something. Anything.

On the heels of yesterday, when I felt bloody damned discouraged with Dutch because I’d received my homework back littered with corrections, I feel better today. The nurse who took my blood talked Dutch with me, gave me a few words, and was just very kind and understanding. I understood her better than I would have 6 months ago, and I’m reminding myself of my progress. I do not expect perfection from myself. I’m not perfect in English. But I’d like to get a good deal closer to perfection than I currently am.

Hm. Bringing up my homework reminds me of my first thought when I looked at it: Damn woman! You were manic as hell when you wrote this. My teachers are right; I’m making mistakes on stuff that I shouldn’t.

The thought’s occurred to me that I’m more depressed than I realize. I saw a chart a few days ago…it showed what depression was supposed to be like. Emptiness, self-hate, rage, sorrow. All on the chart. I wondered if, once my rage and self hate were calmed, I’d feel even more depressed because that’s what’s really underneath it all.

Or maybe I just need a higher dosage of meds.

…Ach, it’s not a subject I like to think about. Which tells me it’s very possibly my problem (or one of them)…

One of the other students in class told me I shouldn’t write so much. You won’t make so many mistakes if you don’t write such long stories, she told me. This from the student who had me held up as an example by our teacher: (Beeps) writes longer stories for practice. This week, she wrote a child’s story about a mouse and a squirrel. You should try that, too… So, you know, take it with a grain of salt because I’m sure she didn’t like hearing that. Still. I got frustrated and angry. Defensive. I told her I’m a writer, I must write, it’s what I do, and I want the practice. My underlying message: fuck you if you don’t want to do the work. I do; it’s important to me and nothing you say will stop that.

I will not submit to that fucking competitive pressure bullshit! Heard that in school: you’re breaking the bell curve. Give the rest of us a break. What about me? What about my learning curve? Should I just sit around and twiddle my thumbs because the rest of you can’t keep up with me? Why should I hold myself back? Because you suddenly feel it’s some sort of competition and you’re not up to specs?

Goddamn! People don’t own that shit.

…And it isn’t easy to take. Not for me. ‘Cause I know where this goes: my isolation. Oh, they might always talk to me, but their real agenda is to use my superior knowledge to check their answers against. I’m the barrier between the teachers and the rest of the group. Already I get it: the questions, the people leaning over to look at my papers. I dislike that intensely. I feel it puts double pressure on me: I have to be right for the teachers AND the other students because I’ve performed so well. My teachers, at least, have taken my anxiety to heart. They no longer pressure me to answer if I say I don’t know. That, of course, will cause more problems in the long run because this slightly special treatment will be noticed by the others.

I keep reminding everyone I make mistakes. I don’t know. I can only do my best.

…And, you know…how long have you lived in this country? Twenty-two years? And you still talk that poorly? You still can’t read, you still can’t sound words out? I mean…Good Goddess! I would have thought some of that would have just seeped in over the years. I’m working my ass off every minute of the day to listen, learn, keep up. Don’t come at me with your hidden agenda fucking suggestions on how I should approach MY learning when you’re just so fucking lazy you won’t even make an effort!!

Oh, I’m fucking angry about that – !

What are we gonna do today, Brain? Same thing we do every day, Pinky: try to calm the fuck down. To wit: gym, reading, games, tv. Next week is holiday for Easter, so I’ve a two week gap. Thursday is rehearsal for Amsterdam – still have to run my bleeding lines, but I’m not thinking about that today. Just…calm. Settle. I took a big step this morning and my system is feeling it. Yesterday riled me up. I keep shifting between hope and despondency, and my body gets a jot of adrenaline every fucking time. Still haven’t been able to eat anything yet today.

Answer: take control. Maybe you can’t control your emotions or your body right now, but you can control the lighting in the room. You can control what’s on tv, the sound and sights around you.

Change what you can.

Whatever it takes

I am too anxious to count victories or pat myself on the back. Too future-fixed to do more than just write.

It amazes me how my mind can decide ‘do whatever it takes to stay calm’ and within 10 minutes the same mind is telling me ‘boy, you’re weak if you have to resort to that right away’. My mother trained my brain well; it took over her job the moment she kicked it. Crack open that proverbial space between a rock and a hard place and you’ll find me, shivering and squirming in indecision.

Yesterday should have gone better. I did my homework, I read my book, I listened and worked on the language all week. But everything was slightly out of focus. I experienced that fritz out sensation on a lesser scale. I kept up, mostly, with the verbal assault in Dutch. But I seemed to lose a lot of words and a lot of grammatical rules. Loads of correction from my teachers, which meant loads of patience from me. I didn’t lose it, I didn’t grow angry or have an outburst, but I know I didn’t do ‘well’. Not as well as I should have done. Gods, woman, just fucking say it! Okay. I’m too smart to make such dumb mistakes. There. That written in stone fucking shit that was drilled into me the moment C got a whiff of where my IQ sat. I can’t escape it, and I continue to beat myself with it every time I fuck up. I’ve heard variations on that theme from my teachers, too: slow down and think about it; you know better than this. Obviously no, I don’t, because I keep fucking up, don’t I? If I “knew” it, I wouldn’t do that, would I? So why keep repeating that I should know it, that I’m too smart for it, that I’m not thinking, that I’m making so many fucking mistakes?

Can’t smart people make mistakes? Why do I continually get messages that make me feel like I must be perfect 100% of the time?

Finding myself more and more ready to make those mistakes – at least, in language class. I think I’ve been going about this all wrong. I’ve always worked my ass off to do my very best. That leads to this assumption that I’ll always be that good and never make any mistakes. So, fuck it. I’m gonna stop doing my best for other people. I’ll just do whatever. A half-assed attempt. See my mistakes: I’m human. Fucking deal. Allow me to fuck up! Please! Why is it okay for everyone else to fuck up but not me?

…*sigh* I suppose, if I think about it, there’s reason in this to feel good. I must do such an amazing job most of the time that when I DO fuck up, it’s very noticeable. People must judge me very highly to always have this reaction, right? Don’t know that I’m happy about that. I mean…it just ends up making me feel awful about myself, and always, always brings me back to that horrible circular statement of being too smart to make such dumb mistakes.

Then people ask me why I feel so shitty about myself. Or why I’m so sad and depressed most of the time. Or why I don’t even want to try some days.

For fuck’s sake!

…I gotta break this. Already my thoughts are circling the drain… Someone just fucking kill me is top of the list.

Up this week: buying that CD. That’s a downtown trip during the day. Into public. Doing all those things normal people do: ride the metro, walk around, interact. Anxiety issue number 1, that is. Number 2 is the psych appointment. Really getting wound up over it. My bro’s b-day is Friday, so I’ve got to do some baking (which includes both before and after kitchen cleaning because for some reason it’s okay for my bro to leave a mess in there but not me). Also expect to meet with the director and hash thru the script (another anxiety ridden thing: can I let go enough to actually get it produced?). In between all that I need some gym time, some homework time, game time, and the bare necessities of sleeping and eating and keeping my body groomed enough to do everything else.

The best I can manage on ‘keeping calm’ is to balance one anxiety with another. When I think too long about the psych appointment, I counter it with my script anxiety and vice versa. If I worry too much about my trip downtown I concentrate on going to the gym. It works, to an extent. It doesn’t allow any one thing to become too big in my head. But it doesn’t take my overall anxiety down, which is what I want. Thinking ahead a week doesn’t really do the trick, either: then begins the countdown to my Amsterdam performance, which brings up all the associated issues of relearning my lines, hitting the marks, etc. …Fine. If I flip my computer calendar to April, it’s not so bad. As long as I ignore the alert in the first week about the upcoming performance, my schedule is clear and free. April it is, then.

Let’s see… It’ll be getting warmer by then, so maybe I’ll open up some windows. The sun will be out longer; perhaps I’ll be taking strolls in the evenings during twilight. The issues that are coming up this week and causing me anxiety will be in my past by then. Over and done with. Yes. And progress will have been made. Decisions about the production(s). Maybe some movement on some sound effects. Maybe I’ll have heard from the theatre in the states by then. Maybe the local theatre group will have already called for auditions. I’ll have written more – something. This blog, at least. Yes. I can feel good about all of that.

And remember what you said, woman. How do you feel in your skin? …Not so good at the moment. Then let it go. Seek that comfort in yourself. Don’t listen to that other part of you that wants to make you feel bad.

Whatever it takes.

Tell him

Somedays I’m in danger of allowing this blog to become a thing in my mind. Almost didn’t post because I said to myself ‘well, you didn’t do much; maybe you should take a break ’til you give your readers something to read’.

*ahem* This is for you and no one else. You do not advertise, you do not give out this address, you do not link, you do not push, you don’t do any of those things. This is for you. If people happen to read it, that’s their business. Stop worrying about how other people feel and take care of yourself. That’s why you started this. That’s why you’re out here almost every day. Not for them. For you. Only you.

Right.

So…was irritated yesterday beyond belief for a few hours after my bro came home. I’d spent five hours mega-cleaning the house and exhausted myself. I was so tired I didn’t have the energy to take the now full garbage bag downstairs to the trash. Instead, I took a hot shower and washed the day’s work and dust off me. My brother noticed the bag in the hall when he came home and said he’d take it down “since you’re so tired from whatever it is you did”. Whatever it is you did?!? Wait. I had to clean the hoover bag out twice from all the dust I picked up. There used to be a stack of DVDs by the tv over 30cm high that is now gone and all the DVDs are put away. There used to be scraps of paper, things left everywhere – it’s all tidied up now. And he says ‘whatever it is you did’ to me?

Goddess!! Sometimes my brother can be such a man. Such a guy. Such a dude. Such a how do you even manage to stay upright on two feet type of person. I swear he needs glasses ’cause he just doesn’t seem to ever see the layer of dust or crap around the place!

I let it irritate me for most of the evening. Just…wasn’t quite there in spirit, you know? My bro laughed at the tv programs; I sat there largely unsmiling. Realized it was a perfect little example of what goes on with me: something is said or done that hurts or irritates me, I say nothing, I end up not enjoying my time because I can’t stop thinking about why I’m hurt or irritated. So I took a look at that.

My first reaction was: say nothing. Let’s see how long it takes him to say something about the DVDs. My brain wagered me that it would be at least two weeks; my spirit upped the anti by claiming it would take him at least a month. While my brain and my spirit argued, I paid attention. I had two sides of me squabbling, raising my blood pressure and anger with everything they said, and I simply stepped in and quietly asked, ‘What is it you want?’

That stopped everything. The rolling comments that were winding me up, the anger, the back and forth arguing that got me nowhere.

I admitted to myself I wanted acknowledgement for my hard work. I’d done a great job and wanted someone to notice. Since my bro’s the only person who’s here to notice, the job falls to him – whether or not that’s fair. So that same calm and quiet voice in me then asked ‘And if you let it go and wait for him to notice, are you going to get what you want?’ Those arguing voices of brain and spirit sounded like reticent schoolchildren: ‘No-o-o-o….’

The answer became clear. I had to point it out to him. I feel like I shouldn’t need to do that. I feel like anyone who’d see the before and after would have enough perception to notice a lot of hard work had been put in on cleaning. But I also had to acknowledge that, love my brother as I may, he’s a product of poor upbringing as well as I. Some of his communication habits are very destructive. I can’t expect him to be perfect all the time. But he has this bad habit of throwing blame. Some of it is simply the words he chooses to use; quite often if I have him break it down, his meaning isn’t as mean as I’m taking it to be. Still…knowing I am someone who takes too much blame onto herself, this verbal habit of never acknowledging one’s own responsibility in a situation is trying. I feel blamed, whether or not he means to do it. And I’ve got to fight against that feeling every damned minute. I’ve yet to teach him better communication skills. …Well, I say that, but truth is I probably have. We communicate better now than we did thirty years ago. Still! There’s plenty of work to be done.

So I pointed. I spoke up. Oh! he said. Where’d the DVDs go? I pointed out that I’d inserted them into our collection in the appropriate sections: action, comedy, horror, kids. Then: And what about the DVDs you took out to make room for the new ones? Am I gonna have to look for something I want to watch now? No, I told him. I only removed the DVDs we’d both watched and both agreed were sub-par films and maybe we should give them to a charity shop. Once his concerns were addressed, I received the acknowledgement I wanted and went to bed feeling better. But his reaction to this bears scrutiny; his first thought was to ‘what did you do wrong’ rather than ‘good on you’. This is…typical. Sadly. I’ve learned to hear beyond his words because we’ve had innumerable arguments over poor communication in the past. I know, tho, that part of me cringes every time it happens. I’d do better with a different approach from him.

Nonetheless.

Good on you, girl! Double good on you! You worked hard and asked for what you wanted. You weren’t even bitchy about it.

Now, go and do something nice for yourself today. This is me, your superior, giving you an order. Do it. Find that CD you want. See if you can buy it.

And don’t ask your brother if you can do this. Tell him.