It ain’t my fault

Ugh. Let’s vent.

Merry, merry. My return to morning posts has generated a few more readers. That’s what I’d hoped. I mean, writing English while in the EU…there’s got to be a joke in there somewhere, tho being as I’m living it right now, I can’t see it. My goal was to reach more English speakers and, thank you, it seems I’m doing that.

…Which leads me to my first vent. Some likes on yesterday’s post (now dim in my memory, after 24 hours of crunching more words out of my brain) made me go back and read my own words. All well and good, and a little stroke to my ego because I thought the post was pretty good, too. But it made me notice the advert WP puts on the bottom of my page (making money off my words, while simultaneously wanting to charge me money every month so I can get a piece of the ad revenue). And what lay there, asking/begging/demanding you go and check it out, even pony up some funds to buy? Scrivener. That software I gave a go, the shit that’s not worth even the trial version (if you’re a playwright) because it lacks the standard formatting 99.9% of places want.

Ye Gods….really?

Second vent: news. Nothing new about that. I’m not even reading the articles anymore, just skimming the titles. Trying to keep up on world news while not being triggered. Tough. Wish there weren’t so many pix of 45 out there. Is it possible to snap a photo of him when he DOESN’T look like a self-satisfied snobby bastard? Doesn’t seem to be.

Third vent: this current “free speech” bullshit the far right in the US is pulling. Let’s be clear: there is no free speech. There isn’t even any freedom. Not in the US, not anywhere. If the US had free speech, why did everyone come down on a certain female comedian when an obviously staged and comedic photograph came out with her holding 45’s head? Oh, no! I believe she got fired for that one. I believe she got death threats. And she sure as fuck got shamed beyond reason for it. Yet, that was her free speech. And the far right, who are now screaming that they should be able to call anyone anything, they should be able to say these people are all lazy, or rapists, or criminals – they’re the ones who put this pressure on her. …More than that, even. “Freedom” would be you’re able to do whatever the fuck you want (that is, actually, the way I’ve heard most right-wingers define it). So from that stance, it must mean you support the laziness, the raping, and the criminal behavior. They should all be free to do that, right? Oh! And how about pedophilia? That would be covered under your definition, as well. My point is that NO society is absolutely “free”, and thinking that you are is a child’s fantasy. For every individual to be free, societies would fall – because absolute individual freedom is counter to civilization. It’s an ‘all for me’ attitude, and that kind of thinking does not build roads, or schools, or hospitals. It does not pay a fair wage; it may not even pay its bills at all. It’s the kind of thinking that serial killers and narcissists have.

Fourth vent. A lovely link to a nonsense feature on the internet about how someone ran 1000 Hollywood scripts through a computer program to “find out” that women’s roles have, on average, thousands of fewer lines of dialogue than men, that taking women out of most stories doesn’t change the tale, and that women are underrepresented and dissed in almost every fucking way. Again, seriously? Can I be angry and bold enough to say I bet it was a man who came up with this idea? Because women have been saying that for ages and not taken seriously. The only reason I can think of why this particular bullshit shows up as “news” is because it’s a man’s study. A man’s article.

…And all that before 7 in the morning.

Other: worked on my script. Read it through, made a few changes. Prepped up a different script to send out again. Got to the gym, did my thing. Got on the scale, horror, horror…After all my sweating and straining, the damned scale said I lost a grand total of .3 kilo. That’s not even a pound. For months of hard work. The thought hit me that I should begin to accept my body for what it is. I’m not 20, or even 30 anymore. I’m 50+. That big number that always seems to have so many black colored birthday wishes in greetings card shops. Time to let that size 10 ideal go…

Had a thought strike me as I sat on the thinking chair (toilet). Yesterday I talked about reconciliation, and how I yearn for it. And I do. But I also realized that in my life, I’ve been the one to walk away from people. I’ve done it to protect myself, because being in their presence meant continual dissing and put-downs on a level I found very self-destructive. Of course, they faulted me for it. I’m the baby for walking away and terminating communication. I’m at fault. But I’ve never been able to make them see that loving someone means you make a choice. A choice about how much hurt you’ll take from someone. Everyone will, eventually, hurt you. They leave, they die, you argue, they betray you – something will happen, and you’ll feel let down. It’s inevitable. So for me, loving someone has meant I have to know where that line in the sand is drawn; what kinds of abuse I’ll take from people and still care. My family has crossed that line so many times, in so many ways, I can no longer trust any of them. Because even if I try to talk to them about it, all I get is blame, blame, blame – it’s my fault.

And it ain’t my fault.

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.

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.

Hanging on

Communication is a two way process. You can talk and talk and talk, but if you’re not communicating, nothing’s going to change.

I’ve been accused of being a poor communicator because sometimes (oh, goddess forbid!) I use uncommon words. Which means I dig below the surface layer of the average vocabulary and pull out a word that fits my definition perfectly rather than being a half-assed synonym.

Okay. I get that. If I use an unfamiliar term with no supporting language, it could be difficult to figure out what I’m driving at.

And that statement should hold true for everyone.

But, alas! In my household, it’s not. I am held accountable for my ‘high language’ as well as not understanding ‘common slang that everyone uses’.

This is coming from my brother, and it’s something I really hate about his communication style. Don’t know if he can accept he’s blaming me both ways, or at least that the words and facial expressions he chooses to use make me feel that way. I’ve done my best to say that. He doesn’t hear it, no matter what words I use.

And herein lies my problem, people. I’m damned well aware this is NOT a healthy communication style and it’s not good for me or my damaged self. Every time we come to loggerheads over something along this line I’m left feeling angry and unheard. Dissed. And of course my damaged brain goes that step further – it must be because he just tolerates me, he really doesn’t care, he’d rather I leave, etc., etc.

I hold onto something else, though. The idea that he does care, that this is just a left-over from our poor upbringing. My brother has seen me through some terrible times. Physically and emotionally. He’s watched me break, cried by my side for my unending self-hate, bolstered up my ego as much as humanly possible – all these actions say he does care, that my brain is turning on me, that I must keep my faith.

It’s difficult. Difficult to have my feeling conflict with the evidence at hand. Am I not being petty? Should I not call this what it is – a learned behavior of poor communication and blame? Is it not on me to rise above it, find a new way? He’s probably just as frustrated by these disagreements as I am.

Where do you draw the line?

They say you can’t fight every fight, and that’s an adage that holds true. You can’t. It’s exhausting.

But how does someone like me, who knows they’ve got issues and triggers, find that balance? Can I honestly say I’m reacting to all of this in a balanced and well rounded manner? Hell no! I’m being triggered by a billion things, including a lot of very old family shit. So am I doing that knee jerk reaction when I shouldn’t be? Or am I justified in my feelings?

Round and round with this question. I can never make up my mind.

Maybe it’s a bit of both. He’s wrong AND I’m wrong. He’s right AND I’m right. We both have valid points. And perhaps I never feel my point of view is acknowledged by him because he never feels I acknowledge his point of view. That’s what I’d expect a therapist to say. If you want to be listened to, listen to other people.

I just don’t know how so many things can get turned around to feel like it’s my fault no matter what I do or say.

Speaking of my fault, I grumbled the other night over my dental hygiene routine. Takes a long time every day, especially after some of the problems I’ve had. Heard this reply: “Well, maybe if you’d taken care of your teeth like this from the start you would’t have had all those problems.”

My brother was quick to follow up with all the advances in dental hygiene, how the tools we commoners can access are so much better…. All I heard was it’s my fault. My fault, I deserve it. All of it.

Made me wonder if I’d hear something similar, lying in hospital battling cancer. My fear says yes.

I don’t want to be blind-sided by that kind of thing.

The worst of all of it is my powerlessness. I have zero control. I’m only here under the graces of my brother, who’s basically supporting me right now. Chances of getting and holding a real job are very slim. I’m old, and my health is bad. I have no income, no savings, nothing of value to offer or sell.

I don’t think often on that part of reality, because it throws me into panic. But…and…this is why I say it’s better for me to just check out.

My brother, however, weaseled a promise out of me at one point. A promise to hang on, no matter what. To not voluntarily check out early.

When everything else goes haywire, that’s my rock. I sling a rope around that idea and hang on for dear life.

I’m hanging on now.

This is me

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This picture is not me; it’s just really cool.

Two nights of uninterrupted sleep. I’m finally on the mend. Still spewing a rainbow of colors out of every orifice, but it’s less than it was. And I can stay awake for the entire day without a nap. Definite improvement.

Ran into a hiccup with immigration. They sent forms, we’re preparing answers. I don’t like that the process is held up, don’t like not having every t crossed or i dotted. Don’t like the fact my ID card is out of date, as is the stamp on my passport. Don’t like being told ‘relax, everything will be fine’ when it’s clearly not.

But I’m hanging on.

Tonight is the long awaited theatre group meeting. So, naturally, we’re inundated with rain. Wet, wet, wet – it’s been banging on the window since I went to bed. To add to my list of things I don’t like right now, I don’t like the idea of having to walk in this wet weather when I’m still not 100% healthy. I’m also in a bit of a dither over the meeting itself. What’s going to happen tonight? Will I get blown off? Again? My mind wants to take it to the extremes. Keep pulling myself back to the now, telling myself to allow things to happen rather than try to predict the future.

Heard from an online friend. We ‘met’ over ten years ago. Been correspondents ever since. He seems a decent enough guy. But it’s been since before the election that I heard from him. Wise man; he was anti-Hillary. Not that I was pro-Hillary; I wasn’t. I was (and am) anti-Trump. Still. He mentioned it, in passing – the whole election, the huge divide the country faces right now – and he said ‘I didn’t know what we were getting into’. Now how the hell am I supposed to say anything to that? Tough titties, dude? It’s one of those you made your bed now sleep in it times. Frankly I think anyone who didn’t work to stop that asshole deserves whatever the fuck they get. Unfortunately, all my friends who failed to stop 45 are also suffering, and that I don’t like to see.

Too bad the world won’t accept the idea of refugees out of America. They should; it’s far from free, and far from a pleasant place to live. But everyone buys the Friends myth: that yes, you can all live in a place like New York working on a barista’s salary. You can all have your hair done at expensive salons, wear the latest fashion, go out, buy things on minimum wage. Yeah (oh, and the apartments are big and rat and cockroach free). The same people also feel real bad about the gang on Gilligan’s Island. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there like that. I’ve met people from around the world who absolutely 100% believe in the American dream – even when I, a native, born and bred, tell them what I’ve experienced. I understand how that happens. I had a very naive idea about what Middle Eastern countries were like, until I began to meet people who lived there. All I ever saw on the news was desert nations, desert cities. Dust. A scraggly tree standing somewhere, small and alone. I didn’t know about the forests, the mountains, the rivers and lakes. No one ever talked about them. No one ever showed them.

What we need right now (and feel free to take the idea and run with it) is a Video Free America. A place where ordinary people could post real videos of real places. Show the slums, the ghettos, the inner cities that look like they were hit by bombs. Show the abject poverty in the countryside. Tell your stories about not being able to afford health care, food, clothing. Talk about the long waits in government offices. Show the cost of food, the cost of things. Really and truly – not the Hollywood version. Because no one out here knows. No one out here can even begin to fathom how much you pay for anything. The only thing on par with costs in the US is rent. And even in that category, I’ve seen nothing in the EU that can touch the high rental costs of America. Not when hovels in the US cost so much, and equivalent rental costs on the continent give you a clean and safe living space. And let’s talk about public transport. I know there are trains in the Eastern US, even light rails in some cities. But can you hop on ANY public transport near your home and take it to the furthest reaches of your own country? I can. I can get to any place on the planet from where I live. Hop the metro, three stops to the train, two stops to Rotterdam Central, and from there the world is mine. Hell’s bells! Do you even HAVE public transport where you live?

…The core of me is so sick with the actions of the elite. Not just now, but always. Still reading Tolstoy, and a few chapters last night mentioned the annual income of some of the characters. Hundreds of thousands a year – and that’s during the 1800s. Imagine. I don’t care what currency you’re talking about; that’s a LOT of money. More than anyone needs. I’ve heard all the arguments: these elites are the patrons, the ones who paid the merchants and workers to make fine things, thus giving them an income and a ‘leg up’ in the world. That’s propaganda. It was the rich pissing on everyone’s heads back then, and it’s the rich pissing on everyone’s heads now.

Too political? Perhaps. It is my heritage.

The one thing I find is that the more I hear – excuses, lies, taunts – the more intransigent I become. It is not the higher path. I know that. But I will not climb back into my cave. I will not re-learn to fear what need not be feared. I will not re-learn to hate what need not be hated.

Been looking for the upside of 50+, and maybe this is it: the surety to stand by my convictions. The firm knowledge of what I’ll take and what I won’t take. There’s a quiet calmness that comes with it. Do what you will; my mind is already made up. And that part of me, that ‘last inch’ as the film V for Vendetta called it, you cannot touch.

This is me.

I just keep paddling

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My head is on backwards. My eyes are turned inwards.

Neither is conducive to happy living.

So I am melancholy. Am I in love with melancholia? Wanting to hold it close out of some long forgotten childhood thought that this was romantic, brave, inspiring?

Sometimes I wonder….

I find myself feeling sad lately. Sad because I spent so much time looking back, leveling blame. And that’s not to say that people in past weren’t to blame. They were, each in their own way. Yet I recognize they were all human, all reacting to things that, as a child, I was ignorant to. Am I ready to move on now? Can I let go of all of this and live in the now, feel the now, not react out of some old, hidden trigger that inevitably ends up causing trouble in my life and pain to me and the people I care about?

I want to be.

But I’m not sure I am.

Yet isn’t this life, to take what’s happened and move beyond; to reach for more than we know ourselves to be; to try, in essence, to become what we want to be? Aren’t all our lives tallied up in the minutes we brush our teeth, the number of times we need to piss, the people we’ve loved and even hated?

What is this…coldness that reaches over me? To know that the people before spent their time cleaning their homes and buying their cars and milling through their own lives blindly, all the time never truly believing death awaited them – is that something to be afraid of, or something to give me comfort?

Why can I not settle myself today?

They don’t talk about you. There it is, in five little words. Here it is in one big word: forgotten. Story of my life. According to my uncle, my siblings never discuss me. Never. That cold thought has wormed its way into my heart somehow, without me knowing it. I should have brought it up earlier; I knew it bothered me. But I let it pass, like I let so much pass. Or so I thought. My subconscious latched onto it and grew it into something big and ugly and festering. It seems to me twice the size it actually is, because my own mind is so often filled with the why of yesterday. Is there a day of my life when I do not reflect on my past? No. I think I can honestly say no. Even when I am most present in the now, I am still aware of the past, thinking of it, feeling it shape my dreams and my fears.

Yet I have left no footprint on my siblings.

How small that makes me feel.

How alone.

It makes me think on others I’ve known. Do they sometimes think of me? Or am I truly forgotten? Lost in time and memory, a part of the past – and therefore not to be thought of or discussed?

Have I lived such an inconsequential life that no one’s noticed?

Is it right of me to want to be noticed and remembered?

Haunting thoughts; and I’ve no real power to drive them away. I wonder now, if this moment, might not better be spent. I could be helping to feed the hungry, build homes for the homeless…yet here I sit, whining and whinging on about my mediocre western lifestyle.

I was born in suburbia, and suburbia still runs strong in my veins. I may aspire to greatness, but what greatness has ever come out of the modern white ghettos of look-alike houses and sprinklers on the lawn? We latch-key children, allowed to run like heathens until the setting sun brought our working parents home to a tv dinner or take out in front of the tv – what chance had we? What were we to think as we sat in front of the evening news and saw nuclear detonations, only later to be told by our coddling elders that it can never happen here, never to you, never to us? And how were we to think, as educations standards lowered and lowered until a degree from a University wasn’t enough, or no! That’s now the equivalent of a high school degree; you must earn a masters or a PhD to be taken seriously now.

What fucking hypocrisy.

I watched the film version of the novel my Thursday teacher had me read. The spoken Dutch was near incomprehensible to my ear – I’m guessing the actors were not from Rotterdam. But I caught a bit of it. Enough for me to understand why I first perceived the novel to be funny: the main character is a stickler for literal meanings. It’s something I can well relate to. For one, my brother has that in spades. For another, so do I, in my own manner. Yet that behavior was thrown, in the film, in a negative light. The main character has emotional problems. He’s violent, and angry. His statements make everyone uncomfortable.

Hm. Been there, done that.

And as I watched the film adaptation, although much of the spoken language was beyond me, I understood more of the nuances in the story than I got from reading the book. That, too, has gone into the pot in my mind and set to simmer. I’ve seasoned my soup with the sharp embarrassment of knowing I’m not that great with reading comprehension AND this idea of seeing one’s self from another angle.

Ugh. I’m uncomfortable in my skin, my life, myself.

Yet I keep telling everyone I’m okay. Doing well.

Maybe just the act of committing these thoughts to cyber space helps. I don’t know. Don’t feel I know much at all right now. Don’t know why I started writing this, don’t know what I’m gonna do for the rest of the day…. I’m afloat in a sea of I don’t know.

I just keep paddling.

The Dame’s Still Got Game

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It’s good to know I still gots da touch. The blueberry muffins I baked and took to the comic shop did a magic trick and disappeared before my eyes. And there were only two guys at the store! I’d been there once before, and met one of the owners. Yesterday I finally met the second owner. Good thing, too! Oh, I’ve heard so much about you! Yes, my partner said he had a chance to meet you before! I guess the first guy I met has been lording it over his partner; I got to meet her and you didn’t. Now the second partner has something to crow about: she brought me blueberry muffins! Did you get any? My brother laughed, and said now there’s no way I can go back without baking more. Happy to do it, too. For one, they always give T good deals on the comics he wants. For another, once again I was given free comics, this time in Dutch, because they’re just nice guys. And finally, what more could a baker ask than to see her baked goods fly off the plate to be devoured with ecstatic eye rolls and muffled exclamations of oh my god, these are so good?

Who knows? Maybe that small bakery everyone has told me I should open will become reality. I don’t know where my life is headed.

I do know where my day is headed: catch-up work. The house needs cleaning, I have even more Dutch to read now, and my body isn’t getting any thinner with me sitting around eating blueberry muffins. Everything is twice as hard as it was before I got sick. The house is twice as dirty as usual, I’ve found no way out of my muddle with the language yet, and I’m so fat and lazy at this point it’s hard to not just sit around playing computer games all day. Just getting motivated to begin work is tough and seems to take half the day.

*sigh* And J, the comic store owner I met yesterday, made a comment that’s nagging at me. He said, ‘In my experience, you don’t ask parents, you tell them’. My reply was that had I done that, I’d be in a very different place right now. That’s true. It’s also true that J didn’t have my experiences and had he gone through them, he might have done the same as I. But I’ve been feeling bad about it, and it’s showing no signs of going away.

I’m guessing I needed something to beat myself up over.

And hey! I’d love to stop blaming myself. I’d love to do the impossible, and just not think about that kind of stuff. I’d love to have the confidence to be want I want to be. I don’t. Not one bit. I’m not sure how, exactly, my mother managed to convey to me that I was worthless, but she did. And as with most things my mother did, she did it impeccably well. Just as my mother would rise half an hour early to tidy up the house before everyone else woke up, making it “magically” appear neat each and every day, she somehow slipped in under the surface of the perfect mother enough derogatory language to make sure I knew just what a total loser I was.

That’s living with a narcissist. I’ve read up on narcissism. How you…How I may never fully ‘get over it’. I don’t know that I’m ready to face up to that. Hasn’t a pill been made for this shit yet? C’mon! You’re telling me they’ve got virtual reality game play but can’t help people drop the crap that got programmed in from childhood? And no, going through CBT is NOT gonna do what I ask. I want something easy. Why do I have to work so hard? I’ve been working twice as hard most of my life: trying to please everyone else so they’ll at least tolerate my presence plus accomplish one or two things that are important to me. Now I’m told that to shed what my mother drilled into me will take more years of hard work – and it’s all on me. CBT. What a fucking load! The damned therapist sits there, never sharing anything to make him or her vulnerable, while the patient does all the work. I mean, really! If I walked into any other doctor’s office and was told I had to get over a sinus infection or cancerous growth by myself I’d sue for incompetence. But with therapy, it’s a given.

Christ! I don’t want fucking therapy. I just want to feel better.

I guess it’s kind of a good thing that no matter how I feel, life goes on. Happy or sad, angry or blissful, things like grocery shopping and dishes always need to be done. Dust always needs wiping up. The floor could always use a good cleaning. Somehow between my feelings and all those normal chores, I’ve been living my life. I’m not entirely unhappy with my choices. But it’s not what I would have chosen for myself long ago, either.

It’s just that every once in a while, I’m granted a vision of what could have been, and that makes me sad. That always makes me sad. Deeply sorrowful to never have experienced a supportive family growing up. Deeply sorrowful over what I imagine I might have been, had I had the courage.

I feel small, and insignificant.

But that’s me looking back.

Time to turn my head around. I’ve enough on my plate right NOW without adding yesterday’s regrets to the pile. A new year is right around the corner. A fresh page, to start my story anew. There is no rulebook that disqualifies me because I’m over 50.

And the dame’s still got game, baby.

Make the most of it

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Can finally eat again. Think again. Sleep again.

More talk with my brother. Apologies and reassurances. Why do you feel the need to force this when you’re not doing well? Because when I’m doing fine I don’t want to talk to anyone; don’t need to. Because the timing is never right for me to stop smoking and begin the entire process of letting people diagnose me. Because. Do I need another reason?

Hell’s bells. I was even told that the elusive R, my brother’s ex-sensei and friend, was willing to talk to me about therapy. Like I need someone who isn’t qualified tinkering in my head, or someone who’s never read a word I’ve written here to tell me what they think I should do. No. If I can’t make friends on my own, I’m not borrowing them from my brother.

More walking. Less thinking. Distract, distract. A day has a lot of hours to fill, and I can’t walk them all. Bought some games for my computer again. The browser is out of date and I can’t upgrade, so sooner or later that’ll be it and I won’t be able to buy any more games for myself. Buy ’em now so I got something to do. TV sucks right now. It’s autumn and there’s shit on. Nothing new. WTF? And my mind is made up (for now) – NO LANGUAGE ON THE WEEKENDS. I get it enough without trying. No pushing. No opening my books, no mouthing words to get the vowel sounds right. Throwing myself into overload does me no good. I mess up on simple things and my head feels like it’ll explode.

*sigh* I also heard all about how no one on this planet thinks I’m a failure but me. How I judge myself too harshly. How my long-standing web status and many works intimidate most people. How I look too big. Certainly musicians I’ve worked with can feel that way, especially when they’re out trying to get some attention for a new band or release. But babies, I’ve been doing the internet thing since 1996. Building my on-line presence. Putting out my stuff, getting a fan base. It hasn’t been overnight. I don’t have a marketing agency behind me that set up 10,000 pages with my name on them. I’ve done that over the past 20 years, either through direct work or getting noticed enough that other people have added me automatically.

The really awful thing about it is this: newbie musicians just getting online with their bands and music think I’m big and get too intimidated to talk to me. Big musicians know I’m not there yet and don’t BOTHER talking to me. So I’m left in limbo. Some musician’s purgatory. Can I spout off about the thousands of streams I get every month? Sure. Sure I can. I’m also a bit too honest, and tell people that .003 per stream doesn’t get you far.

Life echoes. Similar things happen when I look for friends. Finding a 40-60 something female with no kids or husband who’s still a punk at heart but understands if I’m too tired or aching to go out is really tough to do. About as tough as breaking thru the invisible membrane my music career is stuck on. Or my writing career – you could add that in, too.

I’m just covered with sticky tape and getting nowhere. That’s what it feels like. Move one foot and get the other stuck. And it seems the more I struggle, the worse it gets.

So I’m letting it go. Again. I’m choosing to let go of my worries. To not think of them. Not easy; I fell asleep in front of the tv last night by 9 p.m. and toddled off to bed. But once there, I could find no rest. For two hours I tossed and turned, combating this angry thought and that angry thought. Tried to find a calm spot. Tried a soothing beach at sunset. Didn’t work. Tried a mountain glade with a running stream. Didn’t work. It was the buzzing of the intercom at 11 p.m. by some drunk that got me up with an explosive ‘GET THE FUCK OFF THE INTERCOM YOU MORON’ and finally gave me the release I needed. Got chided for that behavior, btw. But I rolled and toked, shivered in my pyjamas, and when I did go back to bed I didn’t have to fight any negative thoughts; I just dropped off.

I dunno. I think sometimes you just gotta let go with a good vocalized burst of anger to get it out.

Won’t say I’m doing well. But better. If I don’t run into anything that tips me off balance again I should recover in a few days. Didn’t cry this bad spell, something I usually get down to. That’s different: a no tears tantrum. What does that mean? That I didn’t get to the root of it, or that I did better than I generally do? I suppose it could be spun either way.

Know what? I’m not gonna bother with that. It’s just another way to judge myself.

Today’s a brand new day. I’m gonna try to go and make the most of it.

Hoe gaat het?

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Ugh. It’s 5:30 and my body couldn’t decide if it was hot and sweaty or cold and shivery. I pre-empted it and told it it was time to wake up. Or, more accurately, I said to myself if I’m gonna toss and turn for the next two hours I might as well get up and have some coffee.

There’s a new note about language lessons in my inbox this morning. Found a short message late yesterday saying they’ve found someone to give me one on one language lessons and would this week work to start. I replied late, seeing it late, and now have this:

Ive sent him a message this afternoon, I suppose he will be there tomorrow

Don’t know his name. Don’t know the time. I am flying blind this morning. Completely. Best of all for my personal angst, it’s in the same building I walked out of a few weeks ago. Oh, yea. I get to go back where I burned a bridge. That always makes me feel about two inches tall.

My very cute physiotherapist has been on my mind a lot the last 24 hours. He usually is after a session because he IS cute. Yesterday he said a couple of things that made me think. Think like maybe he might be hinting about dating me. Christ, that feels completely egotistical just typing that out. But he told me he has problems with women, that he always seems to choose the wrong ones, that he’s single and lives and alone with his cat. It seemed a bit too personal of info for a doctor’s visit, you know? He didn’t have to go into details. It felt like he wanted to tell me he was single. Or maybe that’s just my overactive imagination. I mean – other than introducing himself, the first thing out of his mouth was ‘take off your shirt’ so he could see my back….That usually does not lead to anything; I don’t have THAT great a set of knockers. And he’s younger than me. Maybe not by that much. He’s got some salt and pepper at his temples (just enough to give him that REALLY perfect look) so it’s not like he’s a baby.

Fuck. I’ve been trying to put that to rest for the last 24 hours. Just get it out my head. I won’t see him for two weeks. Now it’s all there on the page and I can’t stop thinking about his soft brown eyes…

And it’s bleeding ridiculous because I wouldn’t know what to do with a guy in my life anymore. I don’t want sex. Not really. The few times I do feel aroused it’s very short lived. A sexual partner might have a five minute window once or twice a month when I feel frisky. Usually I’m yawning by 9 p.m. I know part of that is there’s just nothing in my life to make me feel any other way. I mean, get me out to a nightclub with some good music and a drink and I might go very late indeed. And maybe if I had a really cute physiotherapist gazing at me with his liquid brown eyes I’d be in the mood more often. But there’s more. More I haven’t been brave enough to admit to.

For the few of you who do read this, let me preface this by asking that you don’t judge me. I have this innate sense that if I can’t even commit the words to paper I’ll never be able to say them out loud, and the day may come when I need to say them out loud, so here goes. An ex-boyfriend gave me herpes. There. It’s awful and I’m fucking ashamed of it. I shouldn’t have hooked up with him, shouldn’t have had those drinks, shouldn’t have, shouldn’t have, shouldn’t have. And I KNOW he was a dick for doing it. That knowledge doesn’t stop me from kicking myself. The why he did it is almost comical. He cheated on me and broke up with me in a public place. I was so angry I wanted to hurt him, so as I left I shouted ‘Good luck; you’ve got herpes now’ and left. I didn’t have herpes at the time, I just wanted to make him feel bad. However…he developed it. Whether through the woman he cheated with or someone else, very soon after I shouted that at him he developed it. So he thought I gave it to him. He said nothing of this until we’d slept together again, then brought it up. I laughed and told him I’d just been angry, even apologized…and then he told me.

My words really came back to bite me in the ass on that one.

Now that you know what a hollow shelled slag slut whore person I am…Why the fuck even bother finishing that? Either you’re grossed out or not.

What I need is a bit of acid – LSD would be fun, but I was thinking more the car battery variety – to scour my brain clean. Pour it on and watch those memories dissolve.

I’m gonna be a fucking head case for this first lesson with a person I don’t even know the name of. Yee-ha (said in the most monotone voice ever). Let’s go and have a language thrown at me when my brain can barely grasp the truth of my own life. Sure! Why not? Add something else to the jumble. Maybe genius will spring forth. Maybe I’ll just put my head down and die, too.

Apologies. Let me gather my armor.

…First thing is I’ve got to find a good head space. Set aside the cute physiotherapist, set aside the burnt bridge I’m BOUND to see when I walk in this morning, set aside the guts I’ve just opened up and splayed over the page. These things are; that does not mean I have to react to them. Reaction is my choice.

When everything seems too much I revert to the basics. Making sure I breathe. Fighting to stay in the present. Even my language goes back to the first thing I learned: hoe gaat het (how goes it)?

The one question I don’t really want to answer.

Deep…

“Is it always up to me…?” Pause, replay. “Is it always up to me…?” Pause, replay.

Sometime in the last 24 hours the horrible answer came to me: yes. Yes, it IS always up to me. Doesn’t matter if “it” is losing weight, making myself heard, or deciding on life rather than death. What I want is a life interpreter; someone to be by my side day and night to explain me to the world, to stand up for me, to tell me that yes, damn it, I’m gonna hang on for another day and find a reason to smile again. Take all that responsibility off my shoulders and just let me be a baby. Put me in fucking diapers. Hell, I’m 50; I may need them soon anyway.

I’ve looked for a crutch in other people, drinking, drugs, sex (oh, so much sex), exercise, jobs, art, pets. Crutches work temporarily, as you know. I made it this far. But when crutches fail – and they always do – you realize nothing’s really changed for you. Change can only come from inside. Doesn’t matter how many outsides you try on; if you’re the same shriveled thing inside it’ll always turn out like shit.

That sucks on level I can’t even begin to communicate. *groan*

Made an exchange yesterday: a clean house for a bit of back pain. I did it unknowingly, btw. Really worked slow, did my best to not hurt myself. But I’m crooked again. I can feel it. How bleeding appropriate to say “I’m crooked”. That probably sums me up in two words pretty well. Not crooked like a liar, but crooked like off balance. Everything’s just a little skewed; my emotions, my self image, maybe even my line of reasoning at times.

To use a reference from painkills2, I’m “special”.

In all the ways I don’t want to be.

And while I am a unique individual, I’m not unique in this level of “special”. While I am special in this sense, that alone does not make me special to the world. Goddess! I’m beginning to sound like Yoda in my own head. Some guru spouting circular adages that DO mean something, but lose all meaning in the act of stating them.

Hm. I’m grumpy and if I don’t own up to something this isn’t going to go right at all. Okay. Deep breath. Here goes. My memory showed me a little film clip from long ago. An argument with my sister. She, as always, violated my boundaries and said hateful things. I, as always, walked away and refused to continue the argument. She followed, as she always did, and “tried” to heal the wound in her narcissistic manner. But the words out of her mouth… “Why is it always up to ME to try to talk to you?” That’s what’s hitting me. That same feeling of taking on this fucking burden that you don’t want. Aha! Burden. Why did I use that word? Well, it feels that way, doesn’t it? It’s not easy to remain calm when you’re triggered, to continue to communicate even when you feel your words are falling on deaf ears, to invest a lot into someone or something you don’t think you see anything from in return. …So what do I think I’m not getting?

Well. I do feel stuck. Spinning my wheels. I’m still not effectively meeting new people as potential future friends yet. Plenty of on the streets contact, sure, but only in passing. Nothing where asking for a phone number to go and get a cup of coffee wouldn’t sound weird. So that’s troubling. Exercise and sweating and I can’t see much difference in the tone of my body – that’s frustrating. Still struggling with the language; don’t have to go into that one yet again. And then there’s the physical side: continued problems with my back, my feet, my hands. Didn’t think I’d be taking so many of those horse sized paracetamol tablets when I got the script filled, but the bottle is half empty already.

I guess there’s a lot of shit right now that really IS making me feel stuck.

Fine, or as the Dutch say, prima.

I acknowledge that I feel helpless in the face of everything in my life right now. I acknowledge I feel I am making little to no progress, that every action feels like I’m moving through molasses in the middle of January. I acknowledge that continuing to try is getting damned difficult. And I’m gonna lay it all down. Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, my progress is slow. All I’m asking of myself is to keep treading water. Don’t focus on making progress; maybe we can’t do that right now. Just tread water. Keep your head in the air. Don’t worry about reaching some imagined ‘end’; you know very well there is no end to this. Am I listening to myself? Keep kicking your legs, woman.

And this is when the “it’s always up to me” is so vital. I gotta keep kicking. No one can do that for me.

But remember, this is your CHOICE. It is not a burden thrust on you. You COULD give up and just be fat, ignorant, and ultimately dead. You know that damned well. So don’t stomp around like your sister and mother did and make everyone in a thirty mile radius of you feel guilty.

Oooooooo….Just had to make it that bit harder for myself, didn’t I? So much easier to do if I could stomp and scream and blame everyone else the entire time.

Back in the water. Kick, kick, kick. I can do this all day. When I get too tired I can just chill on my back, looking up at the tiles. Kick, kick, kick. Water is my friend. Kick, kick, kick. Doesn’t matter how far the sides of the pool are from me. Kick, kick, kick.

Find that rhythm. Get into the zone. Deep relaxation. Deep concentration. Deep…deep….