Feelin’ it

Yep. I’m feelin’ it.

Worked on the home page of the theatre site. Saw a tab called “contact forms” and hit it. There sat a 12 June email from a national press journalist requesting info from the group – unanswered. Short note out to the board resulted in a request for me to ‘handle it’. Actually, it was written like this: Gee, I’m not sure anyone got back to her. Could you…? I’m still not authorized for the group’s email account, so I responded from my personal gmail account and hope and pray it won’t get lost in the junk. Kept it bright, brief, and perky with a ‘contact me with any questions’ sign-off.

Finished off SEO codes for the home page. At least for now. Began brainstorming for the other pages. Need to interview the board for a fresh ‘about us’ write-up. Wrote some questions up for the director specifically about his job as director. Thought about standard stuff for our members: vital info, links to other pages, a question or two to get what I want from them.

Got to the gym. My body is getting ready to go. Found myself hurrying on the treadmill, walking faster than I had it set. Hoo-fucking-rah and finally! Not pleased to say I still have a pull in my right side that’s a bitch. Hurts to raise my arm, and keeping myself upright is tough. Next physio appoint is a week from today. Rub me, rub me, rub me!

Was rewarded by the Universe with a working lift in the building. Surprise, surprise! Noticed all the notes hanging on the call bells were gone, so I tried it. I was not the only person surprised; when I came back from grocery shopping three other very shocked residents popped into the lift with me.

The rain scheduled to come in was a total strip tease. Big cloud build-up, flashes of distant lightening and the smell of sweet rain falling somewhere: we had it all, except the water. Still bone dry, and forecast to get even hotter in the next two weeks. I am happy about two things. One, my hair’s grown long enough I can get it all up in a clasp off my neck and none of it falls out. Two, this flat. East and west windows ensures we get the best air flow possible, and the UV treatment my bro did on the windows keeps us cool. It usually feels 5-10 degrees cooler in the house than outside, and that, at least, is assuring and takes away some of my growing fear over our climbing temperatures. But I have to face facts: my room is the smallest and hottest in the house. I’ll be sleeping sans pjs in the coming weeks.

…I should look around today and find a damned summer hat. Keep telling myself to buy one and I haven’t…

Began fiddling with my Dutch homework. Idioms and sayings; just the sort of thing I was looking for. Every language has them, and Dutch is no exception. I’ve been stumbling across quite a few in my reading. Seems I have some sort of secret upper hand with sayings. I can usually just figure them out, or get damned close to the meaning. But it’s great to go over them. Loads I don’t know. My teacher gave me a website address that lists almost every common saying in Dutch, grouped by topics. Got lost on it yesterday; fascinating stuff.

Today: Injection. Breakfast. Tidy up the kitchen. Gym. Homework. Website. Did not venture out to buy the fabric yet. Considering the forecast, that was probably a mistake. And probably not my last mistake, either! Oh, well. Wanted to give myself two weeks on the website and start video shooting in August. I’ll stick to that schedule for now.

Received some sobering news yesterday. Heard from R, my bro’s friend and sensei. He’s terminal. Explains the long silence from him. Neither my bro nor I find it surprising. R’s health has been on a steady decline for the last year. I don’t know R well enough to feel saddened by the news. Am I terrible to say that? I am sobered by the news, respectful of what he’s going through, but he was never a large enough part of my life to feel a huge impact. Sometimes I wonder if that indicates something really wrong with me. If I should feel sorrowful over this news. Should I? Am I callous and self-absorbed? I’ve seen videos of people crying for strangers. I’m not someone who’d do that. I feel for them, just not to the extent of crying. I mean, if I cried for every stranger, I’d cry every day all day long because there’s always someone dying somewhere. No. Death is a part of life in this reality, and we all get to face it someday. I can’t cry over such a normal occurrence. I can only cry for my own loss and grief. I suppose that does make me selfish. But, then…death is selfish. We think about our loss, how not having that person around will affect us, how much we’ll miss them, how much we ache to see them or hold them again. Rarely do we turn our minds to the loss of others when we are in the center of the storm. It is left to the fringe elements, the co-workers and friends, to comfort those in the center. We go the wakes, we hug, we give them what words we can – if we can find any words at all to give.

*sigh* Neither my bro nor I know any of R’s family. When the time comes, we will go the service to pay our respects. If R is up for visiting we’d love to see him, but having nursed two parents thru this process I’m well aware of the depression that settles in around a terminal patient. He may not want to see anyone. So, we wait.

Feelin’ it.

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Warpaint

It’s been many years since I’ve thought of make-up as something you normally use on your face. I call it warpaint for a reason: it is, truly, paint for your face and once ‘made up’ you become something other than just yourself; you become the person ready to handle the world and everything it has waiting in its catapults to throw at you.

Aging does things. Makes your skin texture different, increases those fine wrinkles where make-up gets bunched up into visible lines, screws with the elasticity of the skin around your eyes. I haven’t actually considered wearing make-up as a thing for over 10 years.

So color me surprised, because my first ‘test run’ on make-up was pretty damned amazing. I ended up taking several years off my face and looking very much the way I looked about 15 years ago. And I’m using the cheapest stuff I could find! Good to know. When heading out for looking for sponsors, I’ll wear it. It works, it looks good, and most people expect that…gee, what do I call it?…that sort of made-up on the cover of a magazine look. Especially from women. Especially from women coming at them asking for money. (Gee, Beeps, are you sure you want to continue down this line of thought? You’re making yourself sound like a lady of the night!)

Have decided I need to invest in a backdrop for my vids. Shot one during the first test; it was good, and I may use it, but the area behind my head is unappealing and busy. I should head down to the big market this week, stop at one of the many stalls heaped with bolts of fabric, and buy several meters. Don’t need much for my make-up vids, but I’ll buy extra. Plan on using the same technique (simply hanging fabric as a backdrop to cover up ugly walls) when shooting the theatre troupe (that’s shooting as in video filming…). Not usually what I’d do, but this time, I’ll buy red fabric. Red for the theatre, red for our newsletter…hmm. Red for lady of the night again.

Fine. I’m a marketing whore.

Looking up the biggest suppliers in Rotterdam. Make-up, electronics – anything, really, I can think of. It’s not like I want to spend my time talking to these people. I don’t. But I want their help. Their stuff. So I’ve got to try. Telling myself the worst thing that’ll happen is they’ll say ‘no’. A supplier giving us €100 worth of make-up is a LOT to the group but next to nothing for the store. I’ll plaster their name and logo over our newsletters and playbill. I’ll remind all 10 of the cast that THAT’S where we should go if we need anything. I will push. I also figure it’s a small ad campaign in and of itself. I gotta go out there are explain myself – the group, the production, what I want. Could really use a native speaker by my side to help with translation, but I’m not counting on it. And I hope if I can talk stores into giving us anything that’ll make a ready made-interest. Here! Come to the show and see what you gave us! See how we use it! Might even give away 2 free tickets to a show to entice managers (and fill the audience).

But that’s future stuff. Gotta run all of it past the board members, who are all out in the sun on holiday. Last message I received was more than slightly garbled, and probably sent to me while the owner of the phone was driving, drinking, or trying to water ski. I’ll do the leg work now. Find out who I need to talk to: store managers, or headquarters. Get names, start that contact work. Feel them out.

Terribly proud of what I’m doing. Keep opening up my newsletter rough to look at how good it is. Keep watching that first vid for the same reason (tho the ugly background bugs me). Keep giving myself pats on the back. To me, it all looks great. Appealing. I’ve learned to edit myself, to keep things short and punchy. No long credits in the vids, no unwanted this or that. Fast, tight, clean. The newsletter is shaping up the same way: short, but tight. Marketing, but informative. It’s a strong combination. Hope others think so, too.

Today is my first summer school day. At most, I’m expecting three other students to show. That’s at MOST. It’s forecast to be really warm and sunny today, and I might end up being the only person there. Want to clear out my school folder, lighten up the load. It’s grown thick and heavy over the term with my homework assignments. I expect pretty much the same as what we’ve been doing: dictation, reading, drills, talking. Don’t really want long assignments, and I’m sure the teacher (who’s doing this totally out of the goodness in her heart) doesn’t want to spend hours correcting poor Dutch, either. I am pleased. I won’t lose my skills over the next few weeks because I fall out of practice.

Already getting worried about time. Will I be able to get all this done by September? Can I keep juggling this and that? One thing I’ve learned: worrying about something takes up time. Don’t worry; do. Put that worry aside and work. Then you’ll have less to worry about. The lists I use to keep myself on track with work are growing. And growing. And growing. Get those lists too long and I’ll discourage myself. Keep them too short and I’ll forget a vital element. Back to balance.

I feel encouraged to know I can put make-up on and look good. That I can go out in public and not look old. Ach! Sorry; I should be more of a feminist and say it doesn’t matter to me, right? Well…it does. Even at my age. But it helps to have that layer between me and other people. Especially when I need to talk to them.

It’s my warpaint.

It’s a go

The last role is cast. Barring disaster, the production will happen.

Showed up around quarter past 6. The director was in the cafe, as usual. Found him deep in conversation with someone. We went out for cigarettes and a chat, all three of us. Sadly, I can’t tell you the other guy’s name. And I do mean sadly: he was one of those few that gave me that ding! feeling. Immediate connection. I talked up the play, he talked about joining the theater group. He’s Russian, very cool, and someone with whom I could indulge in a bit of flirting from time to time. Hoping he actually will come to the play and get involved.

Saw two actors last night, both female. One was (in the director’s words) a weirdo who contacted him on FB. She’s just in from Italy, and her messages told us she didn’t speak English fluently. But she had long experience in Italian theatre, so he wanted to meet with her. The other actor was a friend of someone already in the cast. She’s from Dublin, and we immediately hit it off in that easy manner that makes me think we could be real friends outside of the group.

The director chose two scenes, and asked me to stand in as the extra characters. I snickered to myself. While these are scenes we’ve used before in auditions, he hadn’t seen my interpretation of them yet and I got this feeling that THAT’s what he was really after. And it was fun to be grumpy Ted, grunting out his replies. It was fun to be fearful Alex, shamefully admitting to self mutilation.

Most fun of all, tho, was the glowing interest showed by the actors. There will come a time – soon – when I’ll step down as the writer and be the actor. I will not correct other actors to my vision or my interpretation; I’ll let them do it their way. But during auditions, I am still the writer. I am still the genius with the inspiration, the master of words, the holiest of holy. And I get a bit of that, especially last night. The actor from Dublin is also a writer, and we chatted away, she giving me gushing admiration for the script, my book, etc. The questions like: How did you come up with this? The slightly fearful and hesitant look everyone gives me when I tell them this is based in fact. Heady, heady stuff. Aaaaaah! 😉

Down to earth. I must admit to some trepidation. We’re set to premiere in February or March, depending on venue availability. Those are the months I’ve typically had massive health problems. So I’m already looking ahead. Reviewing my behavior in the past to figure out how better to protect myself. I will NOT be the reason this has to be pulled at the last minute. My priority is clear: the play is number one. I will forgo my language lessons, my exercise, any socializing, anything that endangers that priority.

I’m old enough to have experienced those rare moments in life when everything just comes together. You’ve got to be ready to seize that. Go for it. Those are the doors to step thru, to get you to another level. I recognize that now. This is one of those moments, or can be if I can juggle things just so. That’s the trick. You’ve got to juggle all the elements, keep things exactly where they should be. And the longer the set-up, the harder it is. This is a nine month set-up. A full pregnancy. And you betcha; this is my baby in every sense of the word.

So, like any expectant mother, I’m gonna be extra, extra careful. The baby takes priority, and becomes my reason for saying no to some things and yes to others. I am excited and a bit frightened. I have dreams for my baby, dreams that it lives and grows beyond me and the small start I help to give it. I’m worried, too, about what could happen to it. But I want it – I need it – to go out there. Pit itself against the critics and nay-sayers, and find out how strong it is. Support it, no matter what.

Was going to say I’d go out for a walk and do this or that today, but the truth is these last two later nights have really thrown me. I’m tired, and could use a day down in front of the tv, napping. So I’ll take it. Errands be damned. Homework be damned. Exercise and fresh air be damned. This is expectant mother stuff. I’m napping.

Taking care of myself starts today.

It’s a go.

Just. be. me.

Why don’t you leave your notebook at home and just treat this as a social outing?

I got that freaky funny laugh, the one that comes from nerves and uncomfortableness. And I thought, yeah, why aren’t I treating this as a social outing? That was 6 pm last night, as I was walking out the door for our theatre group meeting.

I left my script and notebook at home. Downtown to a student bar that had hundreds of beers. Couldn’t resist a raspberry beer…two, actually. Seven of us made the meeting, and it was, as my brother had pointed out to me with his question, more of a social gathering than a work gathering. The night was warm, the beer was good, and the conversation lively.

Difficult to remember most of these actors hadn’t read the full script. They didn’t attend my first read through. Many thought their characters were gonna live thru the play; I had to correct them: everybody dies. If you survive an act, it’s just so you can die in another act. How do I die? I went around the table, telling them each what happens: you set yourself on fire, you get strangled, you’re shot, etc. And oh! The shining eyes that greeted me upon that gruesome news! Never believe an actor who tells you they don’t want to do a death scene. We all want that chance.

Tonight the director and I are meeting with a few people for the last role. Two, maybe three should show up. I very hesitantly put it out there that if we found someone spectacular for my role I’d step down. The director quickly said: No way. The subtext in that, I felt, was that no one can do that role like I can. Maybe he meant he didn’t want to go thru the whole audition thing again, but that’s the way I’m taking it. I’m more than pleased by that.

Much of the work conversation was kept to a minimum. Instead, we did the sort of thing that generally happens when a group of people don’t know each other well. Questions like Do you have children? or What do you do as a living? came up. I was surprised (a bit) at the drug discussion. Even tho marijuana is okay here, it’s still a little taboo. Everybody’s used it, or at least tried it. But most Dutch people don’t partake. Last night I heard about ‘the time I got really stoned’ or ‘when I had a few extra pills and rode the day out on them’. I’m still rather hesitant on admitting I’m a stoner, but did own up to smoking marijuana on a regular basis. I just…I know what most people think of regular smokers. You’ll see their mimicry of stoners all the time. That wasted, hungry, not really moving or thinking version. The ‘Duh-uh Dude’: catatonic and unfocused. That isn’t me, and I don’t want people to think it is. I haven’t yet told them they’ve all been seeing me high this whole time. I haven’t once gone to a theatre group meeting, audition, or rehearsal without first toking. I wrote the play stoned. I got my degrees stoned. And yes, I’m learning Dutch stoned. Pretty obvious I don’t go to that stereotypical state. But despite the culture here, that stereotype still lives on. I don’t know. Maybe I’m one in a million in that respect. I just chalk it up to my artistic temperament. All the greats had something: heroin, cocaine, alcohol. It’s too late in my life to be worried about it. But I still find myself reluctant to own it due to what I perceive as this bias against it. Maybe that’s just me, and the scarring I received about it during my lifetime.

Made a few age jokes about myself last night. Find myself doing that more and more. Conversation zoomed off into games played as kids: remember this console or that game? I sat there, thinking about my first video game: Pong. Yep, you heard me. Pong. Two paddles and ball, back and forth. And later: gee, I had to use a typewriter back when I was in school. My reply: when I was a kid, we had to use a chisel and hammer on stone. I got the laughs I wanted. But I know myself well. I’m using my humor to cover up my uncomfortableness.

It’s weird and odd being the oldest person at a table. I’m sure it’s a bit of a lark if you’re dealing with children, but when it’s adults… Then it’s another matter. Especially when I don’t feel like I’m the oldest adult sitting there. In fact, it makes me feel more child-like and immature than ever. No, I don’t own a home. No, I don’t have children. No, I don’t have investments or a large bank account, nor do I go on holidays every year. I don’t even have a concept of ‘retiring’. My ‘retiring’ is just death.

Also found myself joking about Dr. T. Used the old ‘my shrink’ a couple of times. That’s me getting used to owning up to it.

And I caught the director looking at me a couple of times, as if he saw beyond my jokes and knew what was going on. I wouldn’t be surprised at that; he’s perceptive. He approaches scripts looking at the psychological aspects of the play (and yes, another actor made a comment about what my mind must be like to write something like this).

I’m finding something in this group I didn’t expect: acceptance. Their acceptance is making it easier for me to accept myself. To own up to my depression, my mental health treatment, my problems without shame.

This is a whole new level of social interaction for me. No pretense, no feeling like I have to go along with the group just to have friends. I’m finding how I can be me without coming off overly aggressive or angry.

I can just. be. me.

Pineapple and ice cream

I pulled the old diet coke with a piece of cake trick yesterday. Except in my case, I did it with pineapple and ice cream. I’m not proud of myself. But oh! Ice cream! Real ice cream! It does a number on my stomach, and I can only have a little bit at a time or my lactose intolerance kicks in but DAMN!!! It’s good.

Plus, I put on some clothes that were tight on me last November and found them very roomy. So I guess I can take a small scoop of ice cream once in a while.

Got back on the cross trainer. Didn’t try for anything other than to keep going for 30 minutes. Did pretty well. Gasped for air, naturally, and my heart rate was faster than I’ve seen it in awhile, but I kept on. Did my stretches, my abdominals, my weight lifting, and walking, too. Thought to myself: yeah, now I’m getting back on track.

Came home to my brother, who suggested we go out to eat for a biryani. I stood there in the hallway, sweaty, disheveled, and still red in the face, while he said this to me. Oh, man! So I took a break, cleaned up, had a cold soda, and headed out with him. It was a great meal – chicken biryani, garlic nan, tarka dahl, and mixed veg. I ate and ate and ate.

Saw my very cute physiotherapist. Did my bendy trick for him; I can bend straight over and put both hands flat on the ground. He said: Ah! No wonder you have back problems. It’s great you’re so flexible, but it also means your muscles have to work twice as hard as mine to keep you upright. Ding, ding, ding! So that’s why my back hurts so much when I stand for too long. He pushed at the sore spots, apologizing. I reminded him we’re the perfect pair; he’s a bit of a sadist on the physio and I’m a bit of a masochist, so push away. Pretty obvious he doesn’t get a lot of patients saying that.

Have heard nothing more from the theatre group, and if it goes the way it’s been going it’ll take me messaging the director before an actual meeting date is set. I’ve no problem being the Mom in this situation if he needs me to be, reminding him of dates and time lines. I just don’t want to be an unwanted Mom. Must remember to ask him about it (some people, unlike myself [pat on the back] have problems asking for what they need from others).

Still can’t quite get over the fact that I’m not falling into a horrible depression this summer. I’m actually feeling good, both physically and mentally. Good enough to contemplate getting out of the house more, doing more, going to a few free festivals or music events. It’s very strange. Been years since I felt good enough in summer to go out and enjoy it. But I’ve actually been thinking how pleasant it might be to go to the beach for a day. Lay in the sand, swim in the cool water, buy an iced treat from a near-by stand. Maybe wind the day up with a meal in a beach-side restaurant. I haven’t had that urge for 30 years.

Today is Saturday, meaning my bro is headed out to the comic shop. I have the day to myself. There’s cleaning to do, and the gym. That’s my daily pineapple. Sweet in their own right, and good for you. Dicking around with writing or just playing games…now, that’s my ice cream. Sweeter by far, easier to take, not really good for you, and far too easy to overindulge in. And just like that urge the other day in the supermarket when I picked up the ice cream in the first place, it’s difficult to ignore.

…We-e-e-ell, a little ice cream never hurt anybody. Right? Besides, soon I must face the pineapple of writing: the production notes, the script changes, the accommodations of this or that for the actors. I know what’s coming.

Don’t get me wrong. I like pineapple. A lot. I just like ice cream more.

But the pineapple is piling up. Still haven’t called for an appointment with the dietician. Still need to get back to the dentist for a check-up. Have to get over to my doc about a clogged hair follicle on my head. Must finish my homework for Monday. Need to call the dermatologist at the hospital and ask for more creme for my feet. Pineapple chunks litter my path: left here and there, easy enough on their own to pick up and eat but put all together and you’ve got one big assed pineapple to munch down.

Like any pineapple, you’ve got to slash off the prickly bits and cut out the core. The prickly bits are mostly made of up my language anxiety. The core is that I just don’t care enough about myself to do these things in a timely fashion. So I’ll do my best. I’ll try to take care of one thing on Tuesday morning, after I’ve had my language class. That’s when my ear is most attuned to Dutch. Monday is out of the way with its catch-up from the weekend and weekly meetings. Do one thing. If it’s easier than I imagined, I can try another. But no pressure. This is a big pineapple, and it’s not quite ripe.

In the meantime, pardon me if I eat some ice cream.

When the Universe Gives me Closure

Bitch and Ye Shall Receive. Or, Doubt and Ye Shall Be Proved a Moron.

It wasn’t long after posting my whinging yesterday that I received an email from the director. We’ve two interested parties in the last role. All I read was NO, YOUR DREAMS AREN’T DEAD YET. Sweet. Looking for a meeting next week to discuss the production and performance dates. I’m there. Need me two nights because not everyone can make it on one? Great. I’ll be there. I’ll be there every night of rehearsal, if you want.

Still feeling a bit apprehensive. Like if I go off the deep end with anticipation it’s bound to fall apart. So I’m keeping a lid on it. Distracting myself.

Did not make it to the gym yesterday, and I’m glad of it. For the first time in a week I woke up after only 7 hours of sleep feeling refreshed and really ready to start the day. Must remember to just let myself rest when I’m that tired. No pushing.

Today I’ve an appointment with my very cute physiotherapist. We’ve fallen into a regular thing, he and I, and I sometimes wonder if he encourages me to continue regular visits for the same reason I’m so eager to keep going: we like each other. Oh, I know my back will always need attention. It always has. But we’ve an easy back and forth, a real interest in seeing each other, a real enjoyment in our talks (and yes, he’s told me as much). Ah, whatever. If I have to pay for a bit of male bonding, I’ll pay. He’s worth it. And he knows exactly where to put his finger on my back to make me laugh or say ‘ow’. Thirty minutes in his company and I just feel better all around, like I’ve had physical and mental therapy in one go.

Hm. Crushes are lovely, aren’t they? Even if they end up breaking your heart in the long run, that high octane rush is a lovely thing. A smile, a soft reply, can lighten your entire day, lift you up above the shit, and make you feel like there’s a reason to keep fighting. I don’t kid myself that there’s anything on his side other than friendly feelings, I’m just enjoying the tingling sensation. Seems like once every ten years or so I meet someone I’m actually attracted to sexually. Was beginning to think that was all over, then there he was – smiling, a touch of grey at the temples, that easy manner. I’d love to kiss him. To taste his mouth. I think I’d even love to make love to this man. But I recognize what he is to me: an obsession waiting to take hold. I’d lose myself, like I always lose myself. Put my wants second in order to spend time with him. Put everything in my life on the back burner, and make time with him my number one priority.

I’m willing to lose myself like that in my writing. Not in a relationship.

*sigh* Still, it’s nice. Nice to feel this way again.

Four more weeks before Dutch summer kicks in for real. Hm. This time always seems difficult for students. I hear and see it everywhere, and feel it myself. We won’t get a break from school lessons until the third week of July. Trust me, it’s tough. That learning mindset just flies out the window when the weather gets nice. Still, I’ve been in the American system as well, and I don’t think that’s much better. Summer break is too long, and you get too far out of studying and forget too much between school years. Determined to find a language cafe this summer and go every week. I need to keep talking and working with Dutch. Reading is the one area I don’t have to push myself. Dahl is still sustaining me, feeding me new words and ideas, making me work to understand his story. I love grasping the unique turns of phrase the Dutch have. I love reading something and having a light turn on in my brain. It’s nothing you have to make me do. Not like writing, or talking. Writing is less of a chore than talking, even tho I sit with multiple books open and look up every other word while writing. But that’s true in English, as well. I prefer to write.

These posts, or anything else I write, take time. They rarely fly out of me, unless I’m on some hot-headed rant and just go with it. I go deep. Search for the perfect word. Think through all the psychological aspects of what I’m saying. And I prefer the perfect circle writing, coming back to the beginning to wrap things up into a neat package that brings you right back to my original statement (you may have noticed that in my posts).

I like closure.

Hm. Interesting! Did not know that about myself.

But now that I think about it, it makes sense.

In real life, stories rarely have a beginning or end. They are part of the continuous flow. We tell stories, or shoot videos, and they are only a snippet of what really occurs. A small snapshot that moves for a short duration. I believe the best artists see patterns in these small snippets. They see the sign posts, they draw the circle, they create a tiny, perfect bubble of emotion that the audience can sip from time and time again because it never runs dry. This is what I hope to achieve with my own work.

I have nothing to bitch about, and on this early sunny morning I’ve already proven to be a moron. Such is the aftermath when the Universe gives me closure.

Silent

Silence, as a reply, is never good. It indicates opposition, dissension, possible subterfuge and a definite reluctance to be up front with you. *sigh* And it’s now almost 24 hours of silence since I sent a small note out to the director: Any leads on another actor for the play? Well, I have my answer. It’s no, obviously. Here’s when my anti-social tendencies bite me in the ass. No one to call on for this. One body short of making my dream come true, and there isn’t shit I can do about it.

Bloody hell!

Back into physical training. Tiring myself out enormously at the gym; have to do it one day on, one day off right now. Making sure even on my off days to get up and move around, do something, don’t sit in a chair all day long. I’m pleased to feel this physically tired. It’s so easy to not think about anything other than how tired I feel. It’s so easy to drift into sleep at night, to close my eyes and relax fully. And I haven’t even got back on the cross trainer yet!

The weather has been merciful. Cooled off a good 10 degrees. We’re lucky right now to hit 20C in midday. Thank you! Hoping to get my strength back to a good place before the real heat and humidity sets in again.

Sat down and just hit my homework yesterday. I went to class on Monday with neither of the letters I was given as work completed. Found the topics too complex. Had to write an outline in English before I could proceed – that’s how complex I found them. One letter done. Might take a break today; spent 3 hours on it yesterday.

The outside world has been battering at my gates. I try to keep things to headlines, but my bro does like to have news programs on in the morning and I generally end up hearing and seeing more than I want. … *sigh* Let’s put it this way: Monday in my language lesson we did some reading that included the word ‘brutaal’ (bratty). It’s a word Roald Dahl uses almost every chapter in his stories, so I’m well familiar with it. However, the rest of the class wasn’t. My teachers asked me to define the word. I tried, and ended up saying, ‘Donald Trump is brutaal’ by way of explanation, which left one of my teachers in tears from laughing so hard. But it’s true. He’s brutaal. Many leaders are these days. It just gets hard to watch and listen to these people when they’re so…repulsive. Antagonizing. Purposefully nasty.

This is the way of the world, people. In twenty years – maybe ten – the word ‘human’ is gonna have a whole different meaning. It’s said now as something kind: be as human as possible. Act humanely. But think on that. If we begin to accept horrendous behavior as the norm (and we’re way beyond ‘beginning‘ to accept it), then acting humanely isn’t gonna be so nice. Murderers will act humanely. Dictators will act humanely. Terrorists will act humanely. Lying, thieving, manipulating sex offenders will be acting humanely. Because that’s what humanity has become.

I’m glad immortality is unachievable. I’m glad I won’t be here too much longer. I’m glad I never pushed anyone into this shitty, horrible existence. I’m glad there are very few people on this planet I care about. I don’t want to be a part of it, and I don’t want someone I care about struggling thru it. Oh, you can live in your little pockets of make-believe bliss. Your manicured lawns, the gated communities, the afternoon of Friends and Tosh, the evenings drinking wine. But outside, the winds are cold. The landscape bleak. The people are at war. Now, tell me you don’t live in denial.

Take your damned pill, woman.

Yeah, yeah. There are some things that little 10mg package of happiness just can’t deliver. Patience for blatant stupidity comes to mind.

And yes, for the most part I remain silent on these issues other than here in my blog. Because why bother? People are set in their ways. And the more ignorant they are, the more set in their ways they are. If someone is intelligent, you can talk to them. Discuss options logically, argue the merits of one path over another, think of so many variables that it’ll make your head spin. But you can’t do that with idiots. Their basic assumptions are wrong, ie, flat-earthers. Nothing you say, nothing you do is gonna shake their belief. You can show them pictures, film a flight around the globe, and they still won’t believe it. Their basic assumption is flawed, and like any computer, if you begin with a flawed assumption you will end up with a flawed answer. I’d like to open up the brains of every idiot on Earth and reprogram them to not be idiots. Change those inaccurate assumptions that throws everything a-kilter. Then, maybe, I could talk to them.

The saddest thing in all of this is the fact I understand (totally) why violence happens. There just comes a point when you get exhausted trying to compel, logically talk to, or work with idiots. There is no way to stop these fools from their belligerent, pompous manners other than hitting them. Taking them down physically. Allowing brute force to rule the day. But while I understand that urge, and have reached it myself on many occasions, I do not believe it’s the way forward.

So I sit. Watching. Listening. Crying in my heart every day.

Silent.

How crazy is that?

I am not a person with long experience in the mental health game. However, the experiences I have had have been…less than pleasant. Sometimes downright upsetting. Yesterday was the first time I left the office of someone in the mental health care profession feeling hopeful.

Did myself the favor of asking for our session in English. Just didn’t want to struggle so much. Talked about my mother, talked about depression, self esteem. Just light touches, explaining I’ve been reaching a deeper understanding over my mother. Dr T’s laptop went ratta-tat-tat the whole time.

What you’re describing isn’t uncommon. It wasn’t right, but it’s not uncommon.

Felt good to own the words: neglect. Abuse. Felt good to explain myself. I was most happy, though, with Dr T’s focus: now. He’s pleased I’m reaching this new level, but he doesn’t really want to get into the past. He wants me to stop feeling like shit about myself. He wants me to wake up with hope rather than despair in my heart.

My brother said shrinks only put you on the couch and begin to dissect your past when you deny stuff. When you say ‘oh, everything’s great’ or ‘my family was wonderful’. That sure isn’t me.

Apologized, too, for my behavior last session. He said he’d forgotten about it, and he had until I reminded him how angry I was. He assured me (again) it was his fault, and I had every right to voice my dissatisfaction. I agreed, but said it gave me no right to raise my voice or not look at him or get that ugly look on my face – all of which I did. We talked about those angry outbursts. He’s not sure yet if it’s all down to depression or if there’s something else going on. I’m okay with that. He’s watching me closely. That’s all I need to know. And he talked with me at length over the idea that when you get depressed, certain chemicals are released in your brain which then make you feel worse – in other words, it becomes damned difficult to know whether any depression is environmental or physical in nature.

lol. And boy! He’s not like the other guy I saw, who didn’t remember anything about me one session to the next. He was right on the whole playwright thing. There’s lots of positive things going on now in your life. Your play, for instance… Bless him. Bless him for doing his job well, for looking at his notes before talking to me. That felt good, like I mattered. It said my life and my problems were important enough to consider and remember. I was unique, an individual.

Continuing with my meds at the same level. Have another appointment in 5 weeks.

I am ready to get back to life. Will get out for at least a walk today. Maybe I’ll even go to the gym. Want to tidy up around the house. Look at those production notes on the script. Consult with my bro on my friend’s artwork and finally get back to her.

Even my headaches have been easing off…

Boy, it’s good to breathe normally again!

We’ve had rain. Washed all that pollen out of the air. I can smell the freshness. Get up, go! Everything is new again. Pristine. Yesteryear’s memories have dropped to the ground. They have become ash; their only purpose now is to fertilize for new growth. Dance, monkey, dance! Don’t you feel it out there? It’s all crayola colored life, fresh and new. Anything is possible.

Ah, I’m up too late to go dance with Venus. But the feeling is there: I’m joyful.

Still have not settled on any writing. There are several things floating around. Several things I keep coming back to. Once in a while I think I’ve got it, then it moves away from me. I’m letting it go. No real idea what I’m brewing up there, but I’ve a feeling my subconscious is making connections between some of my lesser story lines – intertwining them into a more complex idea. Two things keep coming up for me. One, use of flashbacks. How to portray that kind of shift in time on stage. Two, the perfect opening scene. Complex, not understandable – until you begin with the backstories. What the framework is, I’ve no idea. Murder? Disaster? A party? Beats the hell out of me. That’s why I’m letting it go.

And I’ve one more thing to note. One of those weird and strange things I don’t talk about much. There’s this grove of trees here in Rotterdam. It’s along a public road. It’s a short path; you can see the other side of it. But it’s not right. There’s something not of this world that lives down that grove. I’ve encountered it, and been glad it saw fit to let me pass. Mentioned it to my bro – it just happens to be near the center he goes to for his shrink – and he knew precisely where I was talking about. It’s a creepy little lane. Right. So a few months ago I had occasion to pass by it on a walk. I was startled, because it was cut down. Now, I’m always on the look out for creepy stories. I consider it my forte these days. Having noted the grove and the thing in the grove, I was startled. Figured I might not be the only person to get creeped out down there, so the city cut it down. Good so far, right? Right. Earlier this week, I was back in the area. The grove is back. In full. There is no evidence of anything being cut down to the ground like I saw a few months ago. And it’s not a replanting. Too much wild undergrowth going on. The trees were too big, too full. The moss on the stones was too heavy and thick. I’ve seen city replants, and this wasn’t that. This was the grove. Remade, in exact detail.

Now, how crazy is that?

Nice to meet you

Three hours to go before my appointment with Dr T.

My bro almost forgot band practice last night. Good thing he’s set his phone up with reminders. Ping. Left himself enough time to grab his stuff and head out without being late. I found myself unexpectedly alone for the evening.

First thing: check for hot water. Yep. Then I did something gross. Something I can’t wholeheartedly recommend. Two egg yolks, olive oil, whisk, and on the hair. I’ve used straight olive oil, but not this thick mixture. Just kept wondering if I’d end up pulling scrambled eggs out of my hair. I didn’t, of course. The smell wasn’t something I found pleasant. And the fact that 20 minutes later my hair was shellacked into a hard helmet didn’t help matters. The result, however, is pretty damned good. Cut the frizziness way down, and my hair feels much softer. And you can’t beat the cost.

Showered, watched a film, tried a new BBC show, read some Dutch before lights out. Most importantly: I wasn’t so squirrelly I couldn’t sit still. Got a bit restless during the BBC show (didn’t really like it), but even that was on the low side.

Been trying to marshall my thoughts. I’m not sure what to say to the doc today. I’m not waking up crying. That’s good. And I’m not so angry. All true. I don’t know…maybe I should just say it in English. I’m really trying to assimilate here, tho, so I feel the push to use the language no matter how much I struggle. But once again I’m seeing Dr T after a run of English and no Dutch. Gods! I wish I were one of those people who just ‘pick it up’. I’ve picked up a bit, but I can’t converse well.

What I want to say: I have a new level of understanding regarding my mother. I still haven’t forgiven her, and I realize I may never really forgive her. But I do understand her a bit more. I even feel pity and empathy for her. My anger is fading. That’s an important step. Similar with my sister; pretty sure I’ll never actually forgive her, but I see now how she was getting triggered with her own shit. The realizations I’ve come to regarding my family do not make me want to reconnect. Just the opposite; they’ve confirmed for me all the reasons why it’s better to have nothing to do with those people. I see, now, how sometimes my fears and anxieties were warranted and sometimes not. And I see why I was so confused. I was taught to be confused. Hurt, and told I was loved. Abused, and told I was spoiled. I was taught to not trust at a very early age. Do not trust your own perceptions; we will tell you what you should feel. All the while my truth was I couldn’t trust my own family, my own mother, and deep down I knew that.

Things to remember: the unaccepted truth makes you run. If you find yourself running, look for that truth. It won’t be easy; you’re running from it. You won’t want to look at it. It will be that thing in the corner of your eye. The thing that makes you uneasy when you’re alone. The thing that gives you those nightmares. The thing your mind flits over time and again so fast you might not even be aware of it.

Accept it, and stop running.

As if it were that easy, right? If it were easy, I would have done it years ago. If it were easy, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. But it’s one of those stupid things in life that once you get it, you do say to yourself ‘Hm! That was easy!’ because things just fall away.

Or maybe the doc just finally got the dosage right with my medication…

Sometime yesterday I blew out the last of this illness. I can feel the difference. Might hold off on the allergy pill for a bit. See if I can go without it. I feel ready to start that long journey back to good health.

My nails actually look good these days. I don’t paint them, but I have been keeping up with cuticle maintenance. Been keeping them filed and buffed, too. I’m not ashamed to show my hands. Now that it’s summer weather, I’ve even been working on my toenails.

I wake up and think about today. Not yesterday, or years ago. Today. What I’ll be doing, how I’m feeling – all very in the now.

It’s very different. No wonder some people seem to have so much time. They don’t think about the past the way I did. I couldn’t get OUT of the past. I was stuck there. I’m feeling more capable of moving on now. Maybe I won’t get things right. Hell! lol! I’m sure I won’t. But I’ll be doing it consciously. Thinking about the present. Seeing things as they are, not veiled by the dark truth I didn’t want to accept.

Honestly, I wish everyone could feel this way. It’s not happy, exactly, tho there are elements of joy in it. The joy of being free. Of having my mind free. The freedom – and power! – to stop those destructive thoughts before they take hold. There’s an excitement, too. Knowing that whatever I choose, this is a new path for me. I’m not bound by those old chains anymore. It’s liberating.

In some ways, I’m a brand new person. This is my first meeting with the doc.

Hi, Dr T. Nice to meet you.

Just one more

It was three, not two. Three humans showed up for auditions last night. I guess I should be happy we snagged a whole other person to come in. Happy enough to say the three that did show were decent, and we’ll probably use them all in the production.

Ah, man…it was cool to sit in the back of the room with the director, like the cool kids. It was cool to give the text to the actors and go out for a smoke while they rehearsed. It was cool to see them get through my words, interpret my directions. And it was cool to see and hear their enthusiasm. My play. My script.

Lots to learn and accept, tho. I heard some lines delivered absolutely opposite to the way I wrote them. I just thought, man! how can you screw up the delivery of that line? But…let it go. This is where it begins to breathe. The director was helpful, pointing out that he finds it a good idea to let people go and do there thing first whether or not it’s good. That way, they feel like their creativity isn’t stifled. I saw that in action, and it worked well.

Hashed out role ideas with the director. We both want to see everyone, give everyone a chance. But knowing some of the actors coming in, we’re already honing ideas. We know, for instance, that the two females coming in next week are both solid performers and either could do any of the roles in the script. We know the scope of one of the male actors who’s always around, and narrowing down the role he can play.

Ugh…okay. And I felt a tug at my heartstrings when roles were discussed. I guess I really do want to play in this, tho I’m also very firm with my decision that I’d like to give everyone a chance. I had this moment of realization: shot forward after a performance, seeing the small venue and small audience. Heard the applause, saw the reaction. The usual reaction: the audience tends to react to the actors more than the writer. Someone in the crowd might say ‘It was a good story!’ but that’ll only be the one. The rest will be saying things like ‘You did so well!’ or ‘I really liked it!’. Their comments will not come to me. Trying to mentally prep myself for that, tho I think it might end up being like the whole role thing – I’ll do my best to say it’s all okay, and I’m okay with it, and expect nothing more, but when that moment finally comes I’ll feel a bit stung.

Well…scout rule. Be prepared. Expect to feel disappointed at some point.

Counter that reaction with your mantra: I’m a real playwright. The US premiere of my work happens in 2019. Yes, another theatre group is doing my work. That’s what happens when you’re a real playwright. Oh, yes…it’s a theatre festival. Possibility of more than 10,000 people seeing my work. No, I can’t fly out for it. Not this time.

And remember to do your happy dance once a day. Shake your butt, swing your arms in the air, and say “I’m a real playwright”.

Hope to stop all this napping. I get up, do some things in the morning, get tired from the medicine, sit down in my chair, and the next thing I know I’m falling asleep. I know it’s what I need to heal, and I’m trying to not fight it. But I feel very out of shape, unhealthy. It’s time to kick this cough and get back to the gym. Back to moving, breathing, pushing my body a bit. We finally have some rain, so that should help pull all the crap out of the air that’s making my nose so bad. Crossing my fingers that this will be it; whatever set me off is done now and I can just get thru the rest of summer.

Tomorrow is my shrink appointment. Meh. Gotta think in Dutch. Try. Maybe I should put on one of my Dutch films this afternoon. Hear it a bit, get it back into my brain. There’s a lot of info I’d like to communicate to him, but I can’t do it in Dutch.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t got back to my artist friend. I haven’t got online and responded to something I need to. Still getting headaches, tho I feel like I’ve just got to deal with it now and then and get some damned work done.

Here comes the lethargy. Took my allergy pill an hour ago.

Maybe one more day of napping. One more day of chilling out.

Just one more.