Finished writing my essay for class. Still have to recopy it, but the many grammatical and spelling checks I do are done. Think I have a couple of wonky sentences, but I don’t know how better to write them. Dahl showed up in my writing a few times. His word tempo, prepositional phrase use…he even taught me the word ‘schemering’ (twilight), and of course I used it. Found myself using a few words he taught me, in fact. That’s something I just do, and as I’ve grown as a writer I’ve become more cautious in allowing myself to read while I write. Give me Jane Austen and I’ll give you Pride and Prejudice 2. Feed me Roald Dahl and I’ll puke out a children’s story. Immerse me in Tolstoy and the Russian side of me will surface. It’s a fact about myself I refuse to see as a weakness. It’s just a literary tic, and, in fact, it’s got its uses. I found it particularly easy to slide into the Russian lilt during Taman because I’d just recently finished Tolstoy.
This behavior does make me think I’ve a touch of autism. That suck-it-all-up and spit it back out habit. If you don’t give me the words to begin with, I can’t start. I don’t know where to start. And it’s short phrases and idioms that trip my trigger. Learning ‘huis’ or ‘loop’ is fine for simple things, but I’ve gotta have the ‘time to get out of Dodge’ phrases. In Dutch, it’s been ‘Ik ben in de war’ (I am confused – a handy phrase to know) and ‘Wat is er aan de hand?’ (What’s going on?). I feel like my entire understanding of the language has been built on these two phrases. And the more of those phrases I get, the stronger becomes my foundation.
This dual language thing, now…that’s new to me. Refreshing. I can run at two speeds: high speed intellectual verbosity in English, and then what I think of as gear 2, Dutch. Gear 2 is simpler, more descriptive…more innocent, even. It has to be, seeing as I’m still learning. I judge myself to sit somewhere between a 10 year old and a 14 year old in comprehension. More difficult than that and I’ll catch the gist, but not the full meaning. But not too bad for only three years of work.
Yesterday, I figured out what the very best thing is about being in an adult body: you have full rights to say ‘no more of that’. As kids, we were all forced to do things we didn’t want to do. Eat our vegetables, do our homework, go to bed on time. We have even formed societal rules that reinforce this behavior on us when we’re full grown: timetables and agendas to stick to, taxes to pay, social niceties to observe. We give ourselves so little space to put our foot down it’s little wonder so many of us forget we have that power. Often it then comes out all screwed up – power plays, physical and sexual abuse, lying. I was reminded yesterday of my power to say ‘no’ in a very simple way: I changed the program on the tv. I’m one of those people who likes to put the tv on quietly in the background while I’m gaming or cleaning. I run Comedy Central almost all day, because I don’t want drama or news or negativity, and I find a quiet day long laugh track generally is the best thing for me. But lately CC’s been running Family Guy all day long. That program grates on my nerves. As usual, I quietly submitted for days, grousing in my mind that so much Family Guy was being shoved in my face (along with Friends – ugh!) but doing nothing about it. The simple act of putting in a DVD with NO commercials and NO Family Guy or Friends was amazingly freeing. It was with a heady feeling of power that I hit the button on the remote and said ‘no more of that’. My brother laughed. And that incident got locked in me. It’s so on my mind this morning that I can think of little else.
‘No more of that.’
I imagine myself with the power to do that to my unwanted repetitive thoughts. Holding a remote and hitting a button. ‘No more of that’. Yes. I’ll use that in future. The screen goes blank. Maybe some evil pixie will turn it back on over and over. I’ll keep turning it off.
No more of that.
This is the full power of being an adult. Saying ‘no’. It is why rape is such a horror to live through. It’s not just the physical assault, which is disgusting and sickening, but it’s the fact that our ‘no’ is disregarded. It puts us right back into two or three year old bodies, saying ‘no!’ firmly to our parents and just as firmly being forced to comply. It is an assault on the youngest and most innocent part of ourselves, a hideous reinforcement of the idea that we are not masters of our own fate.
…*sigh* And then they blame us for it…
No more of that.
Tomorrow is full. Doctor’s appointment, language class, script read through. Today is full, too: write out my essay, tidy the house, shower, make lembas. Wishing I’d bit the bullet on that last hated task and taken care of my orthopedics, but, oh well! Say it with me: no more of that.
Keep waking up at night, biting my mouth guard. Not hard, and not enough to cause pain. Just enough to wake me up. It’s made me aware of how often I do it. Answer? Very often.
My reaction to that is the same as my reaction to just about everything today.
No more of that.