Lost

I had hoped to write today that I’m back from Amsterdam, forms notarized, and all is well. But you know the old saying about the hopes of mice and we fools who hang all our perceptions on our outer trappings rather than our inner selves, and it held true today.

I got bunk, people. Nadda. Nothing except a very long, very early morning with a lot of traveling in a big circle. Never have I been so damned disappointed in Dutch trains.

It all began by picking up the earliest metro possible: 6:02 a.m. From there, a short hop to the closest train station. I had all the info printed up. And we caught the train we were supposed to catch, and rode into Rotterdam Centraal. Found the next train platform – only to notice a blinking red line under our train’s notification, saying CANCELLED. Shit. Okay; another train to Amsterdam was leaving in 15 minutes from the same platform. But unfortunately, it was a slow train. After starting out the morning anticipating that we’d arrive in Amsterdam with almost an hour to spare, we found we were ending up half an hour late – and THAT was pulling into the station. Then it was find the tram, take it, walk 20 minutes, wait in line – in the rain, desperately holding onto a pee – then no, sorry, make another appointment…but wait! We were called back and for an additional half an hour I thought maybe they’d bend their tight-assed rules and let us in. Instead, we got an another little slap in the face, standing there, holding onto our bladders, asking again, only to be let in the first door and handed a half-sheet page of instructions that (wait for it) told us sorry, we need to make another appointment and be the fuck on time.

Fuck.

There’s only one ray of sunshine in my otherwise abysmal tale: the small print on my NS post delivered freebie train ticket. It’s good for two days. Oh, don’t be impressed. Everyone in the country gets them delivered to their door; I’m not special. But it comes to me at a convenient time. Today, we only lost the cost of one of us traveling in that big circle. Tuesday, our next scheduled appointment, will fall under the same category. So in the end, other than our time (and loss of sleep), we aren’t going to spend any more than we would have had we paid full price for both of us to train up to Amsterdam once.

It’s little consolation to me, though, because time is our big enemy on this. We’ve got 30 days to refile. Thirty days from our last letter. But the letter was written under one date, stamped with another, and received by our attorneys on a third. So when, actually, is our deadline? No effing idea, and that’s the wrench in the entire system. All I know is it gotta be done soon.

Does not help that I got a ‘if I’d taken care of this, this would never have happened’ line from my bro. Really? You want to absolutely guarantee that everything would have gone just swell had you made the train calculations rather than me? …And yes, I should have signed in at 4 this morning to check the fucking train schedules with NS. And yes, I should have written down six alternatives to the train I wanted to take. Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda… I could beat myself senseless with shoulda.

I’m choosing to take responsibility without guilt. Yes, there were back-up preparations it would have been a good idea to make. Let this be a lesson to me: I may love this country passionately, but I shouldn’t suppose for one minute that it’s perfect. And the last minute cancellation was not my fault. The delays and hiccups we encountered at every corner were not my fault.

Will anyone think less of me if I confess my mind’s first thought at my brother’s words: ‘oh, gods! you should just kill yourself! the best you can do is get in people’s way!’? Melodramatic? Sure. But I noticed the pattern. The guilt for bloody everything that falls on my shoulders followed by that ‘you’d be better off dead’ response in my head. It comes at me no matter what. Even when I’m bloody prepared to fail miserably and just get through it, those thoughts come to me.

I do not like being so fucking changeable. Okay one minute and desperately hating myself the next. And I’ve seen this in other people. I know how unnerving it is to hear that level of self-hate spew forth from someone’s lips. While I reacted to my brother’s statement angrily, I did not give voice to these haunting nymphs that never leave me. These words may stand as my only note of them this time ’round. Because…because I know it was an awful morning for both of us, and no one should have to hear about suicidal thoughts at ten in the fucking morning. Even if it IS raining. And note: I did remember to say ‘it makes me feel’. Not ‘you’re doing this again’, but ‘it makes me feel’.

So, good on me. I suppose you never really know how far you’ve come until shit hits the wall. It’s easy to be good or stable (or sane, or whatever word I’m looking for) when all is la-la-lovely in life.

Heard from the director. Heads up for heavy rehearsing next week ’til performance dates. No big surprise. I’ll hit those words later on. My brain’s too fried from the early morning and the stress and the travel today. Anything I’d try now would just end up getting…

Lost.

Pacing

I may never learn why pacing helps me sort out plot lines; all I know is it works.

Spent most of the morning viewing online unexplained mysteries vids. Current on the chop block is an idea I’ve had banging around in my head for a while. I’ve got the rough outline sitting on my desk top. There are a few areas I need to expand, and loads of foreshadowing I’ll need to weave into the story, but…I think I got it. The basics, anyway. Enough to let my head rest for a while.

And yesterday, I had one of those ‘clicks’ deep in my brain. A click that brought me out of my musings and into a seat further back from the immediate action. I realized the story I’m currently working on can be tied to a previous script (both are thrillers). In fact, I saw an expanded thriller trilogy – written for the stage. Sort of a Three Colors series for theatre – though far more chilling than those beautifully captured films. I like. A lot. A lot a lot. The third idea is still in its infancy, and that’s precisely where it should be right now. But I’ve got the rough idea, and I know how to tie all three together. No idea how long these next two might end up being. Have a feeling this second thriller can match the length of the first, which is on the short side. Great. I could pair them together. The third? Might get a bit more expansive. Might not. Won’t be able to say before I get the next idea out and finished.

Got to the gym. In fact, for the first time in maybe forever, my drive and impetus inspired my brother to get off his butt and take a bike ride for some exercise. Usually, it’s the other way around. Well, well, and my, my! Look at what a little commitment and discipline can do.

Met with the accountant and got some filled in forms we need for immigration. Must admit to feeling uneasy; it seemed to me that the accountant had his doubts over our case. Perhaps that’s me, reading into it with my own anxiety colored glasses. Perhaps not. In either case, I understand the need to remain calm, and the uselessness of allowing my anxiety to rule over me. To that end, I’m not dwelling on it. Reminding myself he’s an accountant, not our lawyer. He doesn’t know the ins and outs of the law. …Still. I’d rather not have seen his little mannerisms that got me thinking this way. It would be much easier if I hadn’t.

Glad to say that turning it off – my anxiety, that is – is easier now than when I was younger. Maybe I’ve just lived through enough instances when my worrying came to nothing, other than making me sick, to know I’ve just got to let it go. Maybe I’ve learned to put up other defenses. Or maybe it’s the marijuana I smoke. Whatever. I’m glad to be able to sleep when night comes, and I do not miss that continuous knot in my stomach at all.

Went out for dinner last night (Papaya again), and ran into one of the other students in my language class. Ach! Immediately I spoke Dutch, or tried to. Damn, it took time to pull the words out of memory. Another reminder I should try to listen to more Dutch, or do some homework, or reading, or something. …Though my guilt is lessened by finding out the other student hasn’t worked on the language at all over the summer break, either.

Things feel a bit muddled for me lately. Like all my thoughts are bleeding into each other. Immigration is mixing with the creepy thriller feeling. Emails with friends are blending with videos I’ve watched. Even days are getting hard to remember. What is it? Tuesday? What’s happening tomorrow? Oh, yeah. Nothing. It’s the day after tomorrow I need to remember…

I don’t like it. Not feeling clear.

Guess I need to do some more pacing.

And that’s okay

I’ve got a thin veneer of “fine” over me. Read thru my script; found less than five errors. Whipped through the paperwork for immigration. Rested my knee. Concentrated on the positive, the steps forward.

Underneath, things are simmering. Fear, naturally. Fear over my status here. Got an appointment on Thursday in Amsterdam to get some paperwork notarized. Bleeding 8:15 in the morning, which means traveling at a time I’m usually asleep (at least lately). Hope to push both me and my bro thru at the same time; we did last time, and our cases are tied together, so it makes sense. Otherwise, there will be another fly up to the big city on a different day to take care of my stuff. Last minute travel plans add to my anxiety. Not that they should; trains here run on time. Still…I feel it.

Physically, I’ve become a slug. Very little movement during my days. And I can tell I’ve let it go too long. To be fair to myself, I did get out on some walks. But it wasn’t the same, and I can tell I’m beginning to jones out on the lack of endorphins. Must get to the gym and sweat. Really don’t want to do it now that inertia has set in. But, no choice. I am determined to stay on top of my mind, and regular exercise is a big part of that – like it or not.

Been pulling news articles about the strange and wonderful – or things that could possibly be strange and wonderful. I like the idea of anchoring my stories in reality. What a change from twenty years ago, when I concentrated on sci-fi and fantasy! Now, give me some concrete, real fact I can hang my fancies on – that added dimension gives me extra shivers. And, wow. Thrillers have become my mainstream. What creepy thing happens? What fear can I inject into the audience? Those are my only questions these days.

Happy to say that with enough time and pull back from my creation, the rape scene included in my script didn’t hit me as hard when I read it as it did when I wrote it. Still a trigger potential. Still a short, terse paragraph for a gripping scene. But I saw beyond the rape, to the whole story. My message is very clear throughout. No role should feel jilted by lack of lines or interesting subtext. I kept tech suggestions to a minimum, with only one or two sounds used and simple blue lighting for nighttime. I suggest, in the production notes, to pull copyright free photographs from the web and project them in the theatre. But only a suggestion! I hope the scant tech needs attract people, and the suggestions encourage them to explore the depth of the material.

Feels like I’m finally on holiday. And I suppose I am; I was stuck in 1943 for a number of weeks as I wrote. So I’m not riding myself for my lack of interest in learning Dutch, or my reluctance to do a super-clean of this corner or that. I find I just want to be right now.

And that’s okay.

Feels like a Monday

Meetings, paperwork, questions, look it up, more paperwork, more meetings. Ugh. Pulling together the new application for residency. Horrid shit. Hate having to fill in the blanks myself. Hard to believe anyone with “knowledge” of this process charges thousands to do just that, but they do, which is why I’m dragging myself through it. Gods. Nothing like sweating every little stroke of the pen to make you fuck up. I could write those answers out a thousand times on a blank sheet of paper. Doesn’t matter. When it comes to committing my answers to THE FORM, I freeze and make mistakes.

Strained my knee at the gym earlier in the week. Nothing bad, but had to take some days off. I’ve had knee problems, and I don’t want them again.

Watching tv. Reading ‘Perelandra’ from CS Lewis (again). Doing my best (per my bro’s request) to stay calm. Not working well, obviously. Here’s another five a.m. I’m seeing.

I’m tired and I’d like a break. No time! Next week begins my language lessons. Have I tried to wrap my tongue around Dutch lately? Hell, no! Have I run thru my lines for the upcoming production? Hell, no! Feel kinda bad about that, but only kinda. I did have my shit down cold before the break. And language…well, that’s a constant struggle. But hey; I deserve a holiday, too. Maybe I can’t go anywhere or do anything, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve simple time OFF. Time to fuck off and do my own thing.

Kept the words of my excellent rejection in mind over the past few days. I’m a good writer. Keep telling myself that; it’s difficult to cut through years of feeling like and being told I’m a loser and actually grasp that truth. Of course, even my best intentioned thoughts are tinged with negativity: being a good writer is no guarantee of success. And I noticed certain family members who insist on commenting on everything bleeding thing I do (generally using subtle to not so subtle put downs in the process) have managed to stay quiet about the feedback I got on my script. Oh, got nothing to say now that someone has something NICE to say about me and my work? Well, no worries. It IS still a rejection, after all. You remain top dog in your own pathetic little world.

Gods, I hate my family. I mean really, really dislike them. A LOT.

Have not committed myself to anything just yet. I’ve more stories floating in my brain. Stories that pop up in the middle of watching tv, or on a walk. Letting it all be right now. My last script taught me that I can write off a strong outline no matter what occurs in my own life, and I trust myself enough now to back off a bit. Let those ideas rest. I’ll start to commit to paper in a few weeks. Ideas, sketches, characters. There are two strong contenders for my next project. Which one is chosen will probably depend on how full the outlines become. I suppose I should check on submissions calls; what people want, how limited the cast sizes are, etc. But I’m feeling like I just want to write. I’ve got a handle on most limitations, and it’s never a bad idea to just have stuff ready to send out.

…Checked out a couple of ‘playwright’ web pages. People who claim to be professional playwrights (don’t know and can’t say for sure, because I never heard of their works). Found one woman with 25 scripts to her name. I was impressed – until a deeper look revealed five of those scripts to be 10 minute affairs. Really? Isn’t that like a jingle writer claiming to be a song writer? Maybe I shouldn’t be such a bitch about it. Just take a look at one of these so-called 10 minute scripts. Not sure what kind of a “story” can be told in that short of time. …And then there was the rest of the so-called 25 scripts. Included a lot of shorts. A lot a lot. Very few full length pieces. By the end, I wasn’t impressed with her “credentials”. Though, DAMN! She listed a lot of awards.

Does humanity really suffer from ADHD? Seems so. Anything more than 500 words on a blog post is just asking to be ignored. Tweets have become the norm for communication – even from the American presidency. Ten minute plays, flash fiction – short, short, short! Is the illiteracy rate really so high? Seems so.

And you know…it doesn’t matter if I’m in the right on this issue. Doesn’t matter one bit. I’m the odd one out: a person who reads. There’s an old saying that a seeing man would be king in a world of the blind, but I don’t believe that’s true. I think that seeing man would be shunned, belittled, cajoled and ridiculed into going along with the mob. Because that’s the true nature of humanity: mob rule. Think differently and risk everything. Oh, maybe in ten or twenty or a hundred or so years the rest of humanity will catch up with you and then they’ll say ‘oh, gee, that person was such a genius!’ but I HATE the Van Gogh effect of dissing and ignoring artists and thinkers until long after they’re gone and then holding up their work, proclaiming it’s wonderful, and isn’t it a shame we didn’t give this person props when he/she was alive.

I mean really….fuck off! I hate this so much that if I actually get enough money together to bother with a damned will, I’ll write in a clause to reject ANY award given to my work post-mortem.

…Why, oh why, does it feel like a Monday?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Remember to take down time for yourself. It works. I know it sucks! But this is the fastest you’ve recovered. A scant 48 hours. That’s two days, not two weeks. Think about it.

Found L’s daughter. Goddess only knows what I was thinking. Twenty-five years on. Must have been all that sitting around, waiting to feel better. Must have got sentimental. Crap! Sent out a note. Why, why, why? Last time I saw L she was all born again. Could not stand to be in her company much. That came more from her sanctimonious blame (and subsequent forgiveness) of me than her choice of church. You’re to blame for me doing this, but I forgive you… One more example of getting the weight of the world shoved on my shoulders. So why did I write? Why open that up? Why see if anything of the person I used to know is there anymore? I already know the answer: no.

The accusation…I agree I was wild. Wilder than wild. I’m sorry if hanging out with me and being my friend at that time in my life made you feel pressured to do anything you didn’t want to do. But the reality is I never forced you. You left, in fact, after our fight – and headed to Phoenix, where you went deeper into the muck than I ever wanted to go. Crystal meth. I still remember that phone call at 3 a.m. You were really jacked up. I was 1000 miles away.

Still want to blame me?

…Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s what’s bugging me. The unsaid words on my part. Will a quarter century of experience temper her reply? Or will she still blame me, still point fingers, and simply turn away?

I miss the person I knew. I will always think of her as my friend, even tho at this point we’ve spent more years not being friends than our time together as comrades. Makes me sad because I’ve never had another friend like L.

I remember L as a woman of conditions. Certain lines drawn in the sand, never to be crossed. I also remember L as wild as myself, without any prompting by me. A pool hustler that convinced me to get my first and only tattoo. The chick in literature class I with whom I smoked my first on-campus joint. She was, in truth, the brave one of the two of us. It was her drive that first got me into the gym, her determination that took her half way across the country, while I looked on in awe and tried desperately to keep up.

Now we’re old. She has a grown daughter. And I think I still need to say a few things to her. Most of all, I want to acknowledge that yes, I was screwed up back then. Very much. So much so I didn’t know how much. I’ll take responsibility for that. And I am truly sorry if she felt pressured into anything during that time. I don’t remember it that way. But I’m willing to admit that my memories are not the only ones in question here. She saw what she saw, and felt what she felt.

…Maybe I’m looking for confirmation on my character. Character witnesses. Maybe I’m trying to absolve myself of past sins. Honestly don’t know. But I think there are unsaid things on my part, which is why I kept looking for her for so long.

I guess if there’s people you can’t let go of, you probably have something you need to tell them. I never told my mother what a bitch she was, ergo, my mother issues. Never fully called out my sister on her lying and cheating. Never said a lot of things to a lot of people – mostly because I couldn’t at those times in my life. Couldn’t articulate what was going on with me. And those people return to me. Their words haunt me, the memories of injustices left unchallenged drives me mad. Sometimes so much that I have to search them out, find them, say what needs to be said, because writing it out for myself just don’t cut it. It doesn’t release me from my bonds. I have to put it out there. I owe it to the younger me.

Gods, I’m scared.

What if it doesn’t work? I’m expecting some lightening of my load here. Some part of me thinks I’ll breathe easier after saying whatever it is I think I need to say. Will it? I think if I can address those times when I’ve been accused of more than I’m guilty of, perhaps I’ll view myself in a better light. Stop beating myself up so much. It’s hard, though. Hard to say I’m a little bit guilty. In my experience, once you admit to any bit of guilt you might as well go hang yourself. You’re guilty, full on, no exceptions, go straight to the guillotine. Or, just shove your toes in the fire. We’ll turn them as we sit fit.

Guess I can’t lose much of anything.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

In my mind

Opened up my outline and began writing in earnest this week. I feel almost as if I’m writing a term paper. My outline is so detailed I can’t stray far from it, so it’s just check the next line, think, and write it out. My biggest stumbling block right now is my determined decision to use zero contractions when my characters talk. It’s a little dialogue trick to emphasize the people are not native English speakers. But I don’t want to sound stilted or weird, so I must think from time to time and turn my phrases so they sound both foreign and natural (using Tolstoy as a big example). In other words, I must think more like a Russian in my dialogue. It’s a mind set I can use, but it’s like anything else: once my head is there, it’s difficult to pull out. My inner dialogue has shifted to a bad Russian accent (much like Moose and Squirrel), and I find myself giggling over idioms and sayings running thru my brain.

But I’m discouraged, even as I write. The Russian allegations, the hysteria, the hacking and propaganda accusations – Gods, I’d have to be Hemingway to get this play produced in today’s clime.

I’m still putting my all into it.

Realized more than ever that my first act must be both introduction to and education about these women. Too many people I speak to have never even heard of this regiment. So the first act may be the furthest from the ‘truth’. I have to explain the situation, their bad equipment, the sexism and opposition, and why the regiment was formed in the first place all thru dialogue. In real life, this was all known. In the script, we have to allow the audience to discover this – educate them. It’s a fine line, to give all that info without being heavy handed. But I think I’m managing to do it, through personal perspectives and stories.

Case in point: the soviet agent. Every soviet regiment had an agent, called the Politruk, attached to it. The Politruk was the long arm of communism. Often times, they were harsh and unforgiving – and just as suspicious of their troops as they were of the enemy. But how many Americans know that? How many would even recognize the word ‘Politruk’? Not many. So I introduce the term, but make it clear thru the dialogue exactly what this person’s role was in the military. A similar thing happened with the woman responsible for forming this regiment. No one in the US (or very, very few) will know who she is, even tho she’s a well known aviation star in Russia. So I have to give some background on her, explain why she’s a big deal – even tho she’s not even in the play. Her story is related thru another character’s personal history – this is the woman who inspired the character, who showed her that women can be more than just mothers and wives.

The entire first act will just be introducing all the characters, their relationships to one another, and enough historical information so the audience will understand the story. Like I said, I gotta stick to that outline. Eleven characters to give fully rounded roles to…that takes a lot of words.

Today’s a pimple on the ass of summer. We’ve had several cool days, back in the mid 20s. Today’s temp is shooting up to 30 or higher, out of the blue. And we’re supposed to pop with severe thunderstorms later on this evening. I sure hope so. My tiny bedroom always stays three to five degrees warmer than anywhere else in the house.

Off, soon, to the gym. Get my arse moving. Hopefully after that, I’ll still have a few hours to tinker with the script and get some more work done.

Heard from my acting partner, who is working as an extra in an upcoming film. Passed my head shot on to him, and he promised to pass it on to the casting director. Also heard from the director’s girlfriend, who put together the promo poster. While she wants to use photos of all of us in various promotional shots, they’ve decided to keep the photo with me and my partner as THE picture. Think I’ll get a large print out for my wall. I’m pleased she responded; never sure how that relationship is going. Doing my best to be warm, friendly, and non-threatening.

And I gotta ask a Dutch native about something. A Dutch guy, specifically. Some of the young men who work at the gym have a habit of winking at me every time I’m in there. I get winks when I check in, and winks when I leave. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s a ‘hey, you’re an older woman but you’re a tough broad, so I’ll give you a wink’ or a ‘hey, you’re an older woman and I’d like to do you’ thing. Or maybe it’s just a thing shop owners do. The Dutch say hello to me as I walk far more than other nationalities. So maybe winking at regular customers is just a friendly gesture. A ‘we’re all in this together’ thing. I don’t know. Wish I wasn’t so dumb about these things.

Very little thought to anything that frightens me. Too wrapped up in everything else. That’s good; saving me from needless anxiety. I worry sometimes that I use my work to distract me from all that. That all I’m really doing is pushing it away.

But, hey. A little distance from my fear isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a mental holiday from myself. Leave those doubts behind. Allow myself to feel powerful for a little bit. Sexy, even.

So in answer to the ever-present summer question are you going away on holiday?, the answer is I already am on holiday. In my mind.

Chicken Shit

I guess every generation has its stories. For my grandmother, it was the model T. For my mother, it was the death of Kennedy. I lived through it; I was there. And we each came away with our own perspective. One of my grandmother’s favorite quotes was ‘Men have a place; it’s six feet under’. My mother always harped at me ‘don’t become dependent on any man’. I have to deal with being tagged a cougar or a MILF.

And dare I say how completely disappointed I am in society today? How quickly women’s problems have been shoved to the background in the face of racial tensions, religious fighting, and every other issue de jour you can think of? Yeah, yeah, I’m told, but that’s yesterday’s problem. Today it’s police violence, terrorism, blah-de-blah. And somehow, it’s always from a man’s perspective…

Just another diss by our male dominated society. Because no matter what issue you want to bring up, women are on the bottom of the pile. Our concerns come last. Our voices are heard last (if at all).

And we’re supposed to feel good that there’s the occasional Angela Merkel out there. That every once in a while, one of us is allowed – let’s not mince words here – allowed to come to the forefront.

You wanna talk about silent majorities? Then you need to address the women on this planet.

Oh, I’m becoming militant in my feminism. The more I see and learn, the more militant I become. And nothing makes you aware of these subtle disses throughout history than writing historical based stories. I’ve found the words and set-ups I’m using in my upcoming script to be extremely current. Seventy bleeding years and not much has changed.

That’s my fucking point.

Take away the historical setting, the Russian names, and you have a story that fits today’s attitudes towards women. The same struggles. The same blame. The same unspoken need to be twice as good as any man in order to earn half the respect.

This is the whole underlying reason for the script. To really show it. These women were pushing through the glass ceiling LONG before the equivalent shake up happened in the West, and here we are, SSDD (which in this case, should be read as same shit different decade).

But I digress…

Asked my bro, who’s ex-military, quite a few questions about some of the day to day stuff of military life. Like, do majors run around saluting each other, or do they use first names because they’re the same rank? Is it unreasonable for me to think a group of soldiers might sneak off for a little party in the middle of this war? I got a load of good info, including some really strong ideas for what might be stolen from the men’s regiment. The general story proved believable, even to a military person. So far, so good.

Hit the gym hard yesterday. So hard I was falling asleep around 9:30 last night. My arms are fucking killing me. Moved up on the free weight exercises, and ho-ly hell! Can I feel it!

Today was my last Thursday language lesson before the summer break. We had a few visitors and spent our time walking through the local parks, talking about the artwork scattered here and there. It was a pleasant change. There’s a language course over the summer, but it’s €50, and I just don’t see being able to cough that up right now. Things are too tight.

One look at my hair should tell anyone that.

Have to call my dermatologist for a refill on a prescription. Ugh. Dutch, Dutch, Dutch. You’d think I’d be able to get over this, but it seems no matter who I talk to, they end up using new words I’ve never heard before. Then I get flustered, and anxious, and the existing Dutch in my head goes out the window. Doesn’t help that I just don’t like phones.

Tomorrow is my last Friday language lesson before the break. Then I’m back to drop off my stuff and head out to theatre rehearsal – so my day on, day off exercise thing has a snag this week. Thought I might head over today, but…I’m still tired, it’s hot and humid, and I can’t imagine pushing myself after walking all morning.

Ah, well. If I’m that concerned I can get my fat ass down on the floor and do some abdominal exercises. Any takers? (Obviously not, as I continue to sit here in front of my computer and contemplate getting up to only (1) pee, or (2) grab a sugary cola from the ‘fridge.)

My brain is rebelling, and daydreaming over my very cute physiotherapist. Thought I’d trained myself out of that. It’s so easy to slip back into it, though. Now I ponder asking him to this theatre production. One of those I wanna ask you out but I’m too chicken so I’ll do it this way things. Push the comedy, the fun, tell him I don’t know many people and it would be good to bring a few audience members in with my first role (always add in the sympathy vote), it would make a great date for him and his girlfriend (a fish to find out if he’s still dating someone), and that it would be great to buy him a beer afterwards (a fish for time, and to see if I pick up any signals outside his office). And, honestly, doing it this way, if he says no or doesn’t show up, he’s rejecting the idea of sitting through an amateur theatre production, not me, right? Or, at least, that’s a foothold I can build for myself.

Gods, I’m chicken shit.

Intimidation

Sometimes, when I’m playing one of my computer games, I hit a level where I get intimidated and must stop. I do too well and worry I’ll screw it up. Silly, right? I bought the game to bleeding play, and it’s no competition. Still, there it is: intimidation. Eventually I get over it, and continue.

Been intimidated on stage. Many times. By the crowd, the heat, the lights, my own jitters…. There have been mornings and nights I’ve vomited my fear up, but it didn’t stop me from going on when I needed to.

Today I faced a different intimidation. One deeply layered – almost insidiously so. It’s tied into rape and physical abuse…and I realize even as I’m writing this that I’m only touching the top of it.

The guy in my Friday language class – the one I’ve mentioned before – …well, he showed up today. Class begins at 9:15 and runs to noon. He banged the door open at 11 and sat as near the door as possible. Fifteen minutes later he slammed the door shut on his way out.

A ripple of fear ran around the room. Literally; you could feel it. One of my teachers – the male – tried to pass if off when someone asked what it was all about. Said he thought maybe the guy was just going to the bathroom. Yeah, right.

Btw, the rest of us are women. And it doesn’t take a genius to look at us and realize I am not the only one with abuse and rape in my history.

Couple that with current news. Dare I mention, in this context, terrorism?

I am NOT comfortable with this guy. Purely on the anger issue. Add in whatever happened with the female teacher, and I’m on edge. Douse that with today’s event and I’m unsure I want to go back if he keeps showing up.

I don’t feel safe.

I don’t want to condemn out of hand, either. I’m completely aware that all of this blatant anger in class might be because of something else. Other stressors in his life. What I’d like is an explanation, but considering his tight-lipped reluctance to say anything (leaving his comments purely in the form of angry stares and slamming doors), I doubt I’ll get one. And, you know the saying – better safe than sorry. He’s displaying behavior that’s intimidating all of us, so I’ll err on the side of caution and say get this guy the fuck out!

But – what to do, what to do? Do I lodge a complaint? Nothing has been directed purely towards me. I did not see whatever happened that made the female teacher tell him to keep his hands to himself and stay away from her. I do not want to cause more trouble in a perhaps already deeply troubled life. And, bloody hell, you know they’ll make me say it in Dutch (a small, yet troubling snag in this situation). Yet…what if we’re really in danger? What if something happens? Something more than what we’ve already been subjected to?

And how about our rights? Don’t we have a right to learn in a safe space, without this intimidation?

Why was he even allowed back in the building after what happened with the teacher? …What did happen?

I was worried enough that I shifted in my seat slightly to keep the corner of my eye on him. He was sitting next to L, a really nice woman I’d like to call my friend. I didn’t want anything to happen and have L be too afraid to say something.

If I’m that worried, isn’t it possible there’s something to worry about?

Our school year is almost over. Two more weeks to go. The timing of it all adds to my uncertainty. Maybe he won’t come back in September.

Maybe I should let it go. Doesn’t seem either teacher said anything.

But maybe they’re struggling with it, too. They’re volunteers. I’m sure they don’t want to appear to not be able to handle half a dozen adults.

I’m also sure I’m not imagining the ripple effect around the room today.

Not a one of us wants that anger pointed directly at us.

We’re all intimidated.

Fear is a weighty burden

Five a.m., 23 degrees. My eyes wanted to keep sleeping, but my head hit that anger button – hard. One moment I was tossing and turning in my bed, trying to get comfortable, the next I was half dreaming of a family reunion and running towards my bitch of an older sister to repeatedly smash her in the face. How I would love to do that. I’d hit her and hit her, until blood flowed. Then I’d hit her some more, until my hands broke. That’s how much I hate that bitch. Physical violence, all the way. Killing her by any means other than wrapping my hands around her overly-fat neck and squeezing wouldn’t be satisfactory. It’s harsh, but true.

And of course I want the truth to come out. How everything she accused me of was her projecting her faults onto me. I want the family to see it, to KNOW that to be true. I want vindication.

I am unlikely to get any.

I know I’m scared right now. Somehow the lid on that container got taken off, too. Been having small panic attacks over the last 24 hours. Been thinking about walking off and allowing myself to die. Holding on, but it’s getting harder. I’m slipping.

Falling into summer depression mode.

Telling myself right now that it’s temporary. Somehow, though, the thought that I’m only ever REALLY okay for a few months in spring and a few months in autumn makes me feel that this is my default, and those few blessed months away from self-doubt and overwhelming anger aren’t my true baseline.

Naturally, my body reflects my horrid self-image. My psoriasis has gone wild, and my feet look like they belong to a leper. Just in time for summer sandals. It’s even spread to my hands again, which makes me very self-conscious. I feel fat and bloated. Hate my hunger; my body’s too fat, it doesn’t need to eat! Wish I could live on popsicles alone. They’re cold and sweet, and only 40 calories each.

Have to sit thru a language lesson this morning. Don’t want to. I’ll give myself props where props are due: in the past few days I’ve overheard some Dutch – mostly from the tv – and understood. That’s overhearing understanding, not concentrating understanding. Big difference. Maybe I don’t know many Dutch words, but a few have wormed their way into my subconscious. I don’t need to think about them; I KNOW. Been picking up my Dutch book to read at night, too. Don’t feel I’m doing well, or reading fast, or getting everything. Need to re-read some passages a couple of times. At least I’m trying.

Got my first script rejection yesterday, too. That doesn’t help. I know – one more notch in the belt, right? I’ll add it to my pile of rejections (someday, when I’m famous, I’ll wallpaper a room with all of those rejections and make interviewers walk through it before talking to me). Felt a bit like all my mental defenses came crashing down, tho. I had that *whimper* why try? in my head. Yeah, well…get ready. Sent out to a lot of places during my last up phase. I’ll probably see the fruits of that come back to me now, when I least need it.

I’m worried I’ve wasted my life, dithering around, trying this and that. And it feels too late to try anything new. Feels like my only alternative is to keep trying, keep hoping. And I worry I’m living on a pipe dream. A nice fantasy I tell myself to keep the boogie man away at night. I keep saying someday. Someday when I have a bit more money, someday when I’m famous, someday…. I’m tired of saying it.

Afraid of telling my brother all this because I was doing well for a while there. Purposeful, forward movement. Now…now all I am is a mass of insecurities. And I feel like I can’t or shouldn’t keep relying on someone else to help me feel better. All I do is add to his worries.

Through all of this is the deep seated knowledge that I must, above all else, keeping taking steps forward. Keep on my exercise, keep trying to get some sleep. Keep sending my stuff out and to hell with all the idiots who can’t see how good it is. Funny how in this hottest of hot weather I feel like I’m moving through molasses in January. Slow, difficult steps. Things that drag on me, and weigh me down.

Fear is a weighty burden.

Three Facts

I am up too early and smoking too much.

Did my best to hang onto my high yesterday, but it wore away under the relentless pounding it got from everyday concerns. Dutch lesson: a tragic disaster. My head’s been writing in English, thinking in English – so my Dutch felt more than rusty. Don’t know if I put together a coherent sentence. Didn’t help that my teacher picked a page out of a workbook that was way too advanced for me, conjugating verbs that use ‘zich’ in a sentence. I felt dumber than dumb. By the end of the lesson my head was beginning to come back to Dutch – but then we were saying good-bye, and I was walking home knowing it’s up to ME to keep the Dutch alive in my brain until next week.

Off to the pharmacy to pick up my meds. Contemplated the whole way there. What was the correct question form? Is the word I’m looking for krijgen? Gekrijgen? Am I even in the ballpark? Settled on using a half sentence – I have a text message from you/Ik heb een SMS van jullie. Not great grammar, but I was understood. Stocked up on pills. Oh, goodie.

Off to the gym for a light session. I banged my ankle last time on a machine edge, and yes, it’s black and blue, so I took it easy.

Then there’s the headlines this morning. – !

I’m tired and smoking isn’t helping. But I’ve got a lesson this morning with the teacher who riles me up 75% of the time without trying, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna walk into that classroom without something to soothe my nerves.

Wanna delve right into more English. Edit the last script. Read it, at least. I shouldn’t. I should let it sit. Got class this morning and meeting acquaintances on Sunday for a coffee and chat (see? I AM trying to get out and be social). Should keep my head on straight. …*sigh* Somehow that makes the temptation even greater.

…Oh, I wish I were different. Stronger. More self assured.

Wish I knew what the fuck I’m doing, too.

Right.

Fact: no one knows what the fuck they’re doing. If they claim they do, they’re lying.

Fact: everyone feels insecure sometimes. If you never see them down, they’re faking it well.

Fact: everything I’ve heard about my progress with Dutch is someone’s opinion. I’m doing well, I’m not so hot – all just opinions. I’ve got more comprehension than when I began. I can generally make myself understood. Everything else is cake.

Three facts I need to burn into my consciousness this morning.