Out of jail. That’s how my head feels: I’m out of jail. Finally.

This delightful feeling of lightness comes from another notch in my understanding of Dutch. They said reading would help. I didn’t believe them as I slogged through text after text, never enjoying it, always feeling like it was homework because there were just too many words I didn’t know. Yesterday I reaped the benefits of my hard work. Every word from my instructors was crystal clear. I heard the ‘-ie-‘ used for ‘hij’ after a verb that ended in T. I heard ‘raad’ (guess) and knew what the meaning was. I heard ‘ingewikkeld’ (complicated) and caught on right away. I heard ‘om’ and ‘toe’ and ‘maar’ and ‘al’ – those pesky words that flash by in a blink with native speakers. I was so excited I just sat there vibrating with joy and excitement. I didn’t just follow the gist of the conversation, I got every word.

My teachers took my suggestions to heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We spent the day going over prepositions. Not just over or under, which are the baby prepositions you learn with A,B,C, but those larger prepositions that can get split in a sentence. I was not the only one excited by the lesson; everyone seemed to respond that way. We were more jovial, more verbal, there were more questions, more examples, and when we broke for coffee midway we ended up sitting around a table together and continuing to discuss prepositions, our lives, and the language. We were all so into it, as a matter of fact, that everyone – students and teachers alike – stayed an extra 15 minutes to finish up some reading.

I didn’t want the lesson to end. I didn’t want to take a break. I just wanted to keep hearing the language so clearly. Keep reading, keep learning. I don’t ever remember feeling so fired up, tho I imagine I once felt this way about English.

*sigh* Real satisfied joy. Boy, that’s a great feeling!

Today’s my appointment with Dr D, my GP, about the pain killers. Almost forgot about it with everything else. It’s small potatoes now, and I wonder why I ever thought it was a big deal. Go in, have my say, head out. No big whoop.

Yesterday was the first day I truly felt back to full health. No hunger pains or problems from almost starving myself. No headaches or jaw aches, no toilet problems or sleep problems. I had energy, I was alert, and I felt good physically and mentally. Happy I’ll be able to say all that to my doc. Worry was becoming a constant companion to me. Who’d a thunk my biggest problem was food? Not me, certainly. I have an almost non-stop litany of ‘you’re so fat’ going in my head. So I skip meals, cut back on what I eat, and never feel like I’m really doing enough. But I’m not 15, or 25. My body can’t do this any more, as evidenced by the migraines and other accompanying pain I experienced. And I shouldn’t feel like I need to ask it to do this.

It’s time to tackle my body issues. Among other things.

…Well, at least I’ll be doing it on a full stomach, for Pete’s sake…

Sent out some emails expecting them to be answered quickly. Naturally, they aren’t. One was to the director asking about meeting this week to go over the script. Hope my messages didn’t fall into a black hole. Again. There are black holes in cyber-space, and there are servers and areas where emails typically go missing. I’ve had it happen to me before. Best to give it a few days. Every time I follow up fast, thinking my message has gone missing, all I end up doing is annoying the other person because yes, they actually did get my first message and they’re just not as fast on response as I want them to be.


Thinking I might head to the gym after my doc’s visit. I feel good enough to go and get a walk in. Yippee! That’s real progress. Trying to not dwell on how long I’ve been off my routine, or how long it will take me to get back to where I was physically. The goal is simply to get some movement. I still want to break 5km in 30 minutes, but I’m not ready to even get back on the cross trainer quite yet. I’ve been real good on taking care of myself, being gentle with myself. Getting on the cross trainer at this venture…oh, that’s asking me to push too hard and hurt myself. Nope. Won’t even give myself the opportunity.

I’ve very aware how close I am to tipping into full blown mania again. I’m too excited and excitable, too easily wound up, too easily thrown off from my normal sleeping and eating patterns. Nine days before my first psychiatrist appointment, and I hardly expect to be given a prescription after my first visit, so the number one rule is (as it’s been for quite some time now): take care of myself. Don’t judge what that looks like, just do what it takes. I cannot afford another three months down because of TMJ. I do not want more pain. I do not want to take more pain pills. And I have firm commitments coming up, goals to achieve. I need to be in good health to do all these things.

Prisons come in all shapes and sizes. My prison… I was going to say it was ‘all in my head’, which technically it is, but I don’t want to feel discounted by my own words. My prison was is was (which is the correct verb?) very real. A prison of anxiety and fear, self doubt and self hate. I walled myself off years ago to protect myself, never fully realizing how much I would cut myself off in the process.

Those walls are coming down. The language barrier is coming down.

And I’m free.


Lick your wounds

Healing. My least favorite thing to do in the entire world. I’ve got to be on death’s door before I allow myself to lay back and rest. So exhausted, in such pain, that I can’t lift my head or do the dishes or even think. But give me even a hint of strength and I feel lazy, shiftless, and so damned greedy with time and energy that it’s a struggle to relax enough TO rest.

Somewhere in my past I must have been burned badly with the words ‘wasting time’. That’s my hiccup. I’m wasting time. I can make even the smallest reason into a justification, but not when it comes to healing. I can justify going to a party in order to ‘socialize’. I can justify not going to the gym because of my mood or fear of hurting myself. I cannot justify sitting on my ass the entire day long, watching tv, and doing nothing. I’m not in enough discomfort.

My meds, however, list dizziness as a side effect. Maybe I shouldn’t have read that; I might have retroactively triggered myself to feel it. But I do feel dizzy, within 30 minutes of taking my pills. So…rest. I’ve got an entire week of this.

Been refusing to put any more Dutch into my brain right now. I won’t even look at the subtitles on tv, tho I’ve got to admit that’s a tough one; my eyes keep shifting down to them and I’ve got to snap my attention back to the actors. English and Dutch are melting together. Half the time I don’t know what language a word is from. Is that…Dutch? English? Sounds and letter combinations are roiling around in my brain, all becoming mush. Thank you, Goddess, that sometime in my life I anchored this automatic writing in English. I will ALWAYS be able to get up and do this, even if my brain ends up flipping into Dutch or mumbo-jumbo for the rest of the day.

Meh. I suppose language is dependent upon your desire to communicate. I don’t know how strong that desire is for me right now. I feel less inclined to speak, and more inclined to sit silently observing. I get that way. It’s not a bad thing, tho some people find it annoying because I do grow reticent. But…there comes a time when I think, why speak? Why say all that I’ve said before? I have no new words to express myself. I have no new metaphors to light the darkness, to expand my consciousness or enlighten the ignorant. Just…hit play on the recorder; you’ll hear it. I don’t need to say it.

And frankly, I think you need to take time to internalize. You can’t live that way; that’s a mire of mental un-health if ever there was one. But you’ve got to get the words from your head to your mouth to your heart. Your heart is where it lives, those old pains and wounds we keep picking at and picking at. Your head can scream the truth at you, your mouth can form the words, but if you don’t get it inside you’re not gonna learn. You’ll just keep picking at those wounds, making yourself hurt, and not understanding.

I don’t want to hurt anymore.

Accepting the limits of my body… Every time I think I’ve mastered it, something new comes along. Oh, but that’s the trick to life! You never stop learning, never stop moving. Change is the only constant you can count on. You must dance on these change-lines. That’s how you progress. Every move you make modifies these lines, and the new configuration modifies your ensuing moves. It’s an internal feedback process. That’s the reason some people have come up with positive self-talk or smile therapy: put out positive vibes, and positive vibes will start to come back to you. That’s a recognition of the feedback process: change your dance, change the lines. The problem most of us run into is the lag-time. The time between changing our dance – a difficult and sometimes painful thing to do – and seeing results. Sadly, that’s only our poor perception. We move in space as much as we move in time, and when you recognize that you realize the vast amounts of area you must traverse to get from one place to another. It’s the difference between being next door to something or being all the way across town. Next door is easy to get to. Across town might take several stops or connections, some twists or turns that you don’t expect. I have an excellent example right here in NL. If I want to get from my house to Den Haag, a trip I’ve made several times, I either have to go out of my way to the west or out of my way to the northeast due to the train and metro connections. Life is like that: sometimes you have to head off in what looks like the wrong direction because that’s the only real route to get where you want to be. And when we bull-headedly head off in the wrong direction, thinking we’ll just power our way to our goals, we are often met with blockades.

…My words tell me what my head has so far failed to catch on to: I’m ignoring a flow. I’m trying to power my way somewhere upstream.

What’s the first thing you do when you get a cramp while swimming? Stop fighting.

Stop. fighting. your body.

Okay, animal. I understand you’re not doing well. You are tired, and ill. You are wounded, and in pain. You have allowed me to fight these symptoms many times. We have done wonderful things together. But now, I will listen to you. I will lay you down in a soft spot, warm and secure. You have been whimpering and I have been ignoring you. I’m sorry, my old friend. Rest, sleep, and lick your wounds.


That’s shingles.

The diagnosis was out of my doctor’s mouth within a second of seeing the wound on my shoulder. She made a call to my rheumatologist, who recommended I come off my medications for RA for a week and go on an anti-viral regime: 42 pills in 7 days. Good news is there’s very little risk that I infected anyone else. However, I sent out a message to S, warning her that I might have exposed her dad to it. His system is even worse than mine, and I know how easily I fall ill.

Good Gods! Make way for the walking dead. That’s what I feel like: my body is flipping falling apart on me but I just keep on going.

I am all too aware right now that the Universe just offered up a big, fat excuse for not attending my language class on Monday: shingles recurrence. It’s painful at best. Add into that the pumped up meds I’ll be taking, and it’s probably best overall if I just chill out this week and avoid too much people contact.

Um…thanks? I mean, I know I was looking for a way to squirm out of Monday because of my outburst. I didn’t really want it to come in this form. But that’s what you get, and it’s also why you’ve gotta watch out what you ask for: the Universe is likely to give it to you.

Today I’ll cook up a batch of my homemade remedy. I used it in 2014 on my first bout of shingles, and it worked very well. Sadly, I’ve already scarred myself by ripping the blisters off and creating these wounds. But I can prevent any further damage, and hopefully limit this incessant itching and burning sensation.

*sigh* This is the way you go, you know. It just becomes one thing after the other until your body can’t fight anymore. …Shit. Happy fucking thoughts.

Distract. Rest. Do what I can to stay calm. Anxiety isn’t helping me heal.

…Ah. Good. S just sent me a text. Her dad is okay. And now he knows, so if something happens in the next few days (please don’t let him get sick!!) he won’t blow it off (like I almost did).

And here I was thinking I’m doing so flipping well. I haven’t caught the flu. Not even a cold this winter. But my body just insists on falling ill every winter. It’ll flipping MANUFACTURE something if I don’t catch anything. …I’m trying to be understanding, to say ‘oh, my poor body, going thru so much’ but all I really am is disappointed. My body has let me down again. I didn’t expose myself to anything, I didn’t push myself beyond my limits, I didn’t do anything to myself – and yet, my body battles me. Pulls me down.

Some people get Lamborghinis or Porsches for bodies. I’ve got a damned Studebaker or Gremlin. It isn’t just shitty, it’s downright dangerous.

On the good side: first, I didn’t stop myself from going to the doc. That’s a biggie. I almost didn’t go. And I needed to go. Trying to learn that lesson. My doc realizes this, and told me I was right to come in, I didn’t waste her time, and if I have a fever or any other symptoms to come back immediately. Second, I probably didn’t pass this on to anyone, so let go of that guilt! Third, I’ve got people who actually care about me right now. Who are worried that I’m once again ill, and send their healing thoughts my way. Take that in. Fourth: I can blow off Monday language lesson or not; it’s up to me. My physical condition certainly warrants some down time. That’s up to me, and while I feel right now that I’ll be sitting home on Monday, I’ll wait to make that final decision. Fifth: there is smoke in the house, and entertainment on my tv system. I can wallow in it, and probably should for a day or two minimum. Sixth, and perhaps most important to remember: it’s only pain. Shingles isn’t life threatening. Annoying and painful, yes. A bit more dangerous to someone like me who’s got a bad immune system. But in the end, it’s just pain. A physical sensation like hunger. Something you can get through.

My disappointment in my body…now that’s not so easy to ‘get through’. I can’t hide my disappointment from myself. I can’t hide the immediate thoughts that come to my mind: damned body! What a train wreck! 

Can I ever learn to love this lemon?


Have you lost weight?

Oh, thank you, thank you! To an overweight person, particularly one not satisfied with her size, the above statement is probably the greatest opener you can use when you haven’t seen someone for a few months. I had the joy of hearing it yesterday, and even tho the scale stubbornly refuses to move (beginning to wonder if it’s broken), I felt uplifted.

My brother said I looked thinner because I was wearing my hair pulled back.

…Um…thanks for the honesty?

Tho I’m still not thrilled with the thickness of my body (that’s the problem, really – not the bulges or cellulite, but the thickness of my torso), I’m buoyed by my growing strength. 3.65 kilometers on the cross trainer. Go, baby, go! Did a little look-see online for cross trainer info. Apparently, that machine is supposed to mimic stair walking without the joint stress. I disagree. It’s more like walking through sand than it is walking stairs. Nonetheless, whether it’s walking stairs or walking through sand, 3.65 kilometers is impressive.

Let’s see that extra flab stick around NOW!

Need to head out today and find an ugly pair of pants at the charity shop. Keeps slipping my mind. Less than two weeks to curtain up; you’d think I’d remember! But, well…I had to send out a request to the director to please cue me in on Sunday’s dress rehearsal time and address. I’d think THAT would be something easy to remember, too, but seems I’m wrong. So I guess I can cut myself some slack. If the director can’t remember to inform one of his actors about a scheduled rehearsal, I can’t be blamed for forgetting to find an ugly pair of pants I’ll probably never wear again.

Also need to do my hair. Just gonna buy a cheap temporary color to cover the grey. No money for salon treatments. I’m even contemplating cutting it myself because it’s just out of hand. I’ve enough hair on my head for two people.

Got the second letter for my bro out to the publisher. Now it’s the waiting game. Gave them a whole chapter to look at. Hope I did well. Think I did.

Find I have to check my FB account every day for comments from my uncle. That famed social network just doesn’t work very well. I’m supposed to get an alert any time someone comments on my posts, but I find I don’t. I get a lot of alerts for groups I never said I wanted to join but somehow got into anyway. Found another comment, this time on a rather positive article about the Dutch agriculture industry. My uncle’s statement was: great, but what about overpopulation? I dithered for a moment – yep, actually had DOUBT – before I hit delete. Although there was nothing in his statement that I found offensive, it was coming from him – and as I said before, that fact colors everything out of his mouth. But what really tipped it to ‘hit delete’ for me was what I realized was very typical for him: that sideswipe comment that doesn’t really address the issue raised, but instead belittles the original statement or argument by attempting to distract and redirect to another issue HE wants to argue over. That, I take issue with. And that’s something he’ll never understand.

Right now, between the work outs and the upcoming performance, I could care less. Hit delete, then ignore. My focus is coming down to a pin-point. Forgetting what day it is, forgetting about language, forgetting about anything other than rehearsals and my role. Had a passing thought about writing the other day, and laughed at myself. Not gonna fall into that trap. I’ve set myself up for a masterful performance, and I’m not gonna blow it by losing my head in another story. I know who I have to be: her name is Wendy, and she is SO not me.

It’s just for a few more weeks. I know there’s another performance at the end of October, and I’ll need to keep the role fresh. But that’s later. Right now is right now, and I’m counting down to the first curtain up.

…Just a little obsessed. I know. But this is me using my obsession towards a goal. I know what I’m like – that one-track mind once I’ve taken hold of an idea. Perfect. Be Wendy. Not 24/7; don’t think I could stand myself to go that far. But keep her close. Once in a while I ask myself ‘what would Wendy do in this situation?’. I see things through her eyes for a moment. It serves to underscore our differences.

She is passive.

I’m active.

Hangin’ in there

One of the hardest things to do is to keep going even if you feel you’re not making any progress or doomed to failure from the moment you begin. Two things are gnawing at me today (and they’re no big surprise): my writing and my weight.

Hopped on a scale yesterday. Mistake. BIG mistake. I haven’t done it for years and I don’t know what got into my head. Guess I was feeling a bit cocky. A little sleek and fit. I wanted to prove to myself that yes, I’ve modified my body size and aren’t I good little girl for keeping up on my diet and exercise. And I have lost weight since last I was on a scale. Must keep that in mind. A whopping 3.4 kilos.

There’s plenty of sayings about puncturing your ego with a pin – and that’s exactly what it felt like. One moment I was admiring my bicep muscles and feeling pretty good about myself, the next I was poking my pudgy middle and berating myself for being such a fat, old woman. And I thought Holy Fuck! All those hours in the gym, in the pool, walking when I don’t want to walk, denying myself sugary goodies or treats, cutting back on meal size, going to bed hungry – and I’ve taken off a whole 3.4 kilos. I mean, seriously…is it worth it?

As for writing…I search out theatres looking for submissions every other week or so. Pull half a dozen PDFs, put them aside to look at again. And I always think I’ve got some real winners in there – sure fire places that’ll take my work. Look! My stuff fits their requirements perfectly. They’ll love it! Then the time comes for me to really read it through and prep up to send out – and I notice all sorts of things that scare me off. Don’t put in too many acts, keep it to six or less characters, don’t give too much lighting or sound cues, don’t send if you’re not some purple eyed booger monster that crawled out of the deep from a crack opened up in Kentucky. The restrictions go on and on. So much so that I wonder if some of these groups EVER get a submission that perfectly fits all their requirements.

Then I have afternoons of feeling useless. Oh, they won’t take it because of this, it’s too long for that theatre, too many characters (or too few) for that group, or I don’t live there so they won’t even bother opening it up. The ‘no’s’ become so loud I feel overwhelmed, and just want to hide.

I tell myself it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to feel defeated. It’s just not okay to give up.

So I wait a day or two, until I have some self confidence back. Then I prep up and send out without allowing myself to think too much. Let them make the decision, I tell myself. Let them say no. If I take myself out of the running before the race even begins I’ll never get anywhere.


Doing well with memorizing my part for the play. One or two places I need a memory jog, but considering tomorrow is only my second rehearsal with the director I think I’m ahead of the game. I like this role because it calls for a lot of acting without words. My partner may have the longer dialogue, but I’ve got the reaction to his lines – which is far more powerful (especially the way I plan to play it). There is not one minute of stage time when I’m not wringing my hands or rubbing them together or fussing with my hair – all nervous habits my character needs to display. Big thing I’m working on now: a quick eye shift, left to right. It’s something everyone does without thinking about it, but it’s a lot harder to do it on cue and make it look natural. Same with allowing any emotion to emerge on your face: you gotta make it look natural, and as soon as you think about it, it’s no longer natural. Trying to BE the role more than act the role. Keep myself on edge for the scene. Allow my personal nervous habits to come to the fore. If I’m IN the role, my face will react the way I want it to. If I ACT this thing, it won’t. So I must be a late middle aged lonely woman who’s very nervous about meeting someone for the first time.

Gee. Like I don’t know that.

..Okay, I’m not LATE middle aged. But other than that….

Watched an outstanding documentary on the Night Witches. Took notes from the book my director leant me. There’s still a lot of that story that’s foggy for me. Do I set this at the training facility? Thought I might, but after watching the documentary I’m rethinking that. I’m zeroing in on 9 months in 1943. The regiment is up and active, and the fighting intense. I’d hit the worst months of the war, including the death of their leader. And I’ve built in reasons to write it: it would begin with the first replacements reaching the regiment, and end with the recognition of the regiment as an official guard unit. But I’ve vowed to keep on researching. One idea will come to the forefront, show itself to be superior to my other ideas.

I just gotta hang in there.

Everything a-kilter


Four weeks. It’s a departure from the two week recurring theme in my life, tho I could go on about four weeks simply being a double whammy of my two week running gag. That’s how long I’m supposed to use this new nasal spray and put up with poor hearing: four weeks. To give my doc her props, she did tell me I should notice an improvement every week and if I don’t I need to see her again. Though I wonder if I can properly judge this problem objectively; what’s an improvement? More whistling that obscures people’s speech? It is sound coming in, which is a step up from the dead nothingness I began with. The tubes in my ears are almost completely closed off; the doc said she could see the openings and they were very, very small.

Still can’t tell if I have ringing in my right ear because the left is too loud.

The weather has turned from petulant spring to an overflow of early summer joy. Where once rain dappled every nook and corner, sunlight is drenching the ground, teasing the early flowers up from the earth. Buds swell and burst on the trees in one afternoon.

It makes me want to go, go, go, but I still have to be careful with this dizziness.

More than that, this continued ill health makes me feel like everything’s on hold. Exercise, outdoor activity, language lessons, writing – I even feel I can blame the slow progress (or non progress, since there’s still no e-mail) of the theatre group on my ill health, tho I know that’s silly.


Put on my pair of fat jeans today. Simultaneously glad they looked so good on me and upset I’ve put enough weight back on that they’re not hanging off me. I just can’t win with my weight issues.

Had an exciting thought regarding the script I finished. Part of me feels the story already addresses sexual identity because I chose to make the character most like me a male and not a female, but that’s one of my hidden things that only those closest to me understands. The play doesn’t scream sexual identity. But it could. The characters were built around my own family, who tend to play out stereotypical sexual behavior. But what if I blurred the line? What if the ‘male’ characters were played by women, and the ‘female’ characters played by men? What if the names of all the characters were non-sexual: Francis, Chris, Alex, Charlie, Bobby, Sean? What then?

Then I tip the world on its head. Seems appropriate. The world’s a bit off balance for me right now; let my work reflect that.

Everything a-kilter.

Hoe gaat het?


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.

Taking control


Talk the talk, walk the walk.

Got my ass in gear yesterday. Down on the floor for sit-ups. Dishes. Rolled up my sleeves to tackle a few big jobs only to find the hoover was stolen away by my brother, who insisted on running that machine, moving the furniture, and helping to an extent that surprised me. I was damned angry to just sit there as he did a number of things I couldn’t help with because (as I’ve said before) this place is rather small. Later, as I scrubbed down the tiled walls around the stove I realized there was more than enough work for two to keep busy with.

Upshot is the kitchen sparkles and a small problem I was having with the washing machine is now fixed, thanks to my own patience and fortitude. Had half of an hour of feeling damned good about the house, the work, and following through on my commitment to myself. Even tho that faded, it gave me hope for myself. I can pull thru this.

Doing my best to remember that this morning. Another have to get up morning because even tho I feel bone tired I just can’t stay in bed any longer. The lines in my face from this constant tired feeling are deep grooves and ruts. I see them every time I get a glimpse of my face and they fucking horrify me. Something inside me insists on repeating that there’s no place in society for old women, that no one wants to see us or hear us. Certainly I can attest to a drastic change from how I was treated at 20 to how I’m treated now. Not all of it’s bad. I no longer have to fend off males left and right, no longer have to dodge groping hands, sweaty palms, seeking slurpy lips. But I’m often left standing, waiting, while everyone else gets taken care of first despite the fact I’ve been waiting longer. At a certain age, women become next to invisible. We’re not seen because no one wants to see us. We are just lumped into these faceless, moving bulks. Female bodies gone all wrong; we are no longer supple or nubile, and therefore deserve no attention. Put ’em in a corner, let them cackle amongst themselves. To be old and a woman is truly to be ignored.

Aren’t I the happy camper?

Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? I was ignored when I was twenty and all the attention was focused on my boobs or trying to get my pants off.

Men suck.

Does not help that I’ve heard some bad news from a friend of mine. I feel bad for her, I’m angry at him, and I’m frustrated that there’s little to nothing I can do from way over here.

Positives. Let’s scramble for some because I’m getting pretty bleak.

Delighted to say my orthopedic shoes are feeling great these days. Found out by accident that simply using thinner socks has solved any crunched feeling in my toes. Been wearing them for 9-10 hours at a time in the house. I think I’m ready to try taking them out for a walk. During my mopey times I’ve had on more SpongeBob Squarepants and feel encouraged by the dialogue I understand. A few more episodes and I may catch all the words to the opening song – btw, I DON’T know the cartoon in English, so anything like the lyrics to the song is an unknown to me, as are the character names. I’m watching sans subtitles, doing it all by ear alone, so bully for me. And thanks to my perseverance with the washing machine I can do laundry again (good thing; stuff was piling up). My sit ups were slightly less horrible than the last time I did them, so I feel I’m getting stronger.

I’m doing well. Really well, and anyone who wants to tell me different is just trying to unsettle me.

That includes me.

The substance that is my brain has come to a decision. Dutch is not an easy language to learn. In fact, my last teacher told me it was one of the more difficult languages on the planet. Not THE most difficult, but pretty damned hard. And from what my poor ear can hear, there’s plenty of lax speakers wiling to tell me how to pronounce something or cobble together a sentence. My brother tried to correct me on some word the other day, claiming his friends have corrected his pronunciation and I was doing it wrong. Yet, I KNOW the pronunciation rules for the language, and the sounds my brother tells me to make do not correspond to the letters in the word. And this is coming from someone I was in class with, someone I heard repeatedly get corrected on pronunciation while I was nodded to, told I was doing it properly, and praised. All this back and forth is only serving to confuse me. I’m ready to go back to my computer exercises, the new book I have, and continued practice on my own because I think I do better that way than having a hundred different things shoved at me by people whose opinion I don’t trust. That decision feels solid under my feet, and I’m sticking to it. Mr. New Teacher gets one more chance to not be a putz and then I say goodbye. There are two lines he can’t cross. One, the first thing out of his mouth better not be ‘did you buy the books I told you to buy?’, and two, he’d better not tell me to just read about the answer the first question I ask. Either or both of those happening will result in me nodding, packing away my things, saying it isn’t working for me, and leaving.

As an old woman I may not have my looks anymore. I may not be important in society, or have a family that cares about me or anyone who even listens to me.

Doesn’t mean I don’t have my dignity. And I’m laying claim to my dignity right here and now. No more confusion, no more angst over my new class.

I’m taking control.

Self reliance


Life is shit: Day 2.

I had a good long time yesterday to figure out if my bro asking me earlier this week to meet his comic-geek buddies or his forgetting he even asked and just leaving the house was worse. The balance tips, depending. Right now it’s on the worse side, as in addition to simply being forgotten I’ve now got a load of other shit on my back that feels like everything that’s being said is no, I really don’t give a shit about you. I know this is my skewed perception mixed with poor communication. I KNOW that. Doesn’t feel better.

Made myself leave the house yesterday. Went to a bookshop downtown to search out these ‘holy grails’ of Dutch my new teacher is pushing at me. Found them. Looked thru them. As soon as I saw ‘subjective infinitive’ and similar terms I put them back on the shelf. Nothing there I don’t already have in half a dozen other books – as I suspected. My eye wandered down the shelf and there I saw the book my last teacher told me to buy. I picked it up and spent the money without hesitation; I TRUST my last teacher. I do not trust my current teacher. And I realize that, more than anything, is my problem: I don’t trust him. I don’t trust what he says, I don’t trust his recommendations, I don’t trust his answers. Not only do I think he doesn’t know what he’s doing, I think he doesn’t care.

I’ve got plenty of not caring in my life right now. Don’t need an additional hour and a half of it each week.

Spent an hour watching SpongeBob Squarepants in Dutch. Felt pretty good about myself as the more I listened, the more I caught. I’m getting it, I thought. Then I received a phone call about volunteering for this local festival and the dude must have used every single fucking word I don’t know. Had to ask for English, and by the end of the short conversation my language confidence went right thru the floor. The rest of the night and this morning I’ve felt I’m just never gonna get it. It’s too much. I’m too stupid. A part of me keeps telling myself that it’s the work I’ve been doing on my own that has caused so many people to tell me I speak well and they’re amazed I’ve only been studying for a year. I CAN do it. Maybe my progress will be slow. Maybe I won’t do it the way other people do it. But I can learn it.

Can’t convince myself of either side of that argument. I’m just ping-ponging back and forth.

Today is loaded with work I hate to punish myself. Not gonna mince words about it; the days I hate myself most are the days I clean with a fury. My dad used to tell me I was work horse and what do work horses do? Drop dead in their tracks working, that’s what they do. I don’t burn myself, I don’t cut myself. I work. Hard. And I don’t stop until I DO hurt myself.

Oh, fuck you, fuck you, and fuck you! You being anyone who judges me over that behavior.

At least I can admit it. And do my best to NOT act on it. But I’d be lying if I said my cleaning sprees are anything other than a way to self harm.

Well, that’s an ugly truth. As with most things right now, it’s not sitting comfortably.

Having a very difficult time clearing my head enough to do anything. I feel stuck. Everything is telling me about this horrible self image I have of myself: fat, old, loud-mouthed, ignorant, unattractive, acidic, angry, and simply not nice. And yes, take that and make sure I don’t become it. Use the lessons learned to be something different. But my insecurities make it hard, and the more I worry the more difficult it becomes to not act out, not strike in anger, not become that which I hate most.

I’m not drowning yet, though. For every hit I take, I’m still getting up and trying again – though my recovery time lengthens with each punch. That worries me. The fact that it’s getting harder and harder to just keep trying. But, you know, sunshine and lollipops. Shifting my focus from the punches to every time I stand back up. Or trying to.

Finding the inner peace to move forward when it seems like everything is piling against you is a struggle that words can’t express. Every single time I’m here I remember that. Every adage I’ve ever spouted comes back to haunt and taunt me.

This. is. temporary. Do I hear myself? It will pass. Your learning curve will take another jump. Your bad self image will fade and be replaced by something stronger. Right now we’re in that place where we can’t see any progress. It’s scary. Damned scary. But we are making progress because right now just continuing is all the progress anyone could ask for. Don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on us.

The promises we make to ourselves are the most important of all to keep. And of all the things happening right now in my life, it is the promise to myself to keep going that is NOT temporary, NOT shifting. I like myself; I hate myself. I feel good; I feel lousy. But thru it all there is one line of steel, one thing I keep falling back on time and again: my promise to myself to keep slogging thru. No matter what.

Time is temporary, shifting. Circumstances change. People come and go. Policies shift. Friends betray each other, lovers fall out of love. My emotions may never be stable.

I, however, continue. I am the one constant in my life, my own Northern Star.

Time to rely on me.

Sometime between 5 and 50


Long, long ago, stairs were fun, an unexpected slide from one level to another all there ready to bump down on your butt. Then stairs got scary, especially the ones that are simply hanging steps with no backing, like the stairs down to my parents’ basement. ANYTHING could have stood behind those stairs to grab a little girl’s ankles. Now stairs are something like a medieval torture apparatus. They still hit me in my butt, just not nearly as fun as when I used to slide down the steps. No. Now I feel the pull and burn. When did this happen? I ask myself. When did it go from fun slide time to torture exercise?

Sometime between 5 and 50.

I planned to sleep in this morning. My hard walk and stairs climbing yesterday left me utterly exhausted by evening. Ten p.m. and I HAD to say goodnight or just let myself fall asleep in my chair. But by 5 this morning I was tossing and turning, coming to enough to realize I had a full bladder, and coughing as my nose seemed to clog up all at once on me. So up to pee, to blow my nose, and to do something other than tussle with my bedcovers.

Today is my new language class. Would have liked to go in fully rested, bright eyed and bushy tailed, but no. It’ll be the usual: slightly out of it because I was up too early and jacked up on caffeine. At least I’m too tired right now to worry about whether or not I’ll like my new instructor, whether I’ll get along with the other student, etc. etc. Screw all that. My goal is reset to simply stay awake and alert for the entire lesson. Not even to speak Dutch; just bleeding stay awake. That’s a real step down on ambition.

It’s been hard to not feel cut off or like a shut in. I’m either hiding from the sun and heat or resting from exercise most days. Outside I hear the world going on: traffic and children, dogs and trains, music and life in general. I feel too out of it to even try to go out and be part of it. Keep telling myself in another week or so my energy will rebound and I’ll get more energized post work-out than exhausted. It’s hard to get there in the meantime. Hard to allow so much to slip by outside my window without even getting up to look. Not that I’d have the energy to lift the curtain to look even IF I got up out of my chair.

Doesn’t help that my posts don’t get much notice. I’m NOT fishing for comments or likes here. I’m just making an observation. Somehow having over 100 followers yet having no one comment on my posts just serves to underline my isolation right now. I’m screaming at the abyss. Perhaps that’s fitting. Maybe all our deepest nightmares are personal and can’t be easily understood by others.

Or maybe I’m just being a wanker.

Discipline, discipline, discipline. My feet are set on this path, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to change directions NOW. Part of me is unsettled by knowing that female doctors have told me to get out and walk (or climb some stairs) for quite some time now but as soon as I heard it from a MALE it got cemented into my brain. Maybe it was just the right time, right place. Maybe it wasn’t. I tend to think it wasn’t. Deep down, I’ll admit to finding my physiotherapist very attractive. It’s utterly silly of me, I know, and I would NEVER act on it or mention it to him. Yet I find a part of myself wanting to be attractive to him – and I wonder if that part of me makes me cling onto his words more than my other doctors. Am I really that shallow? I’m afraid at least a little bit of me is.

Whatever. I’m exercising like I should. Watching what I eat. Writing even tho I fear no one gives a damn. Wishing I was 20 years younger.

…I’ll just let that last statement pass me by……Goddamn, it’s a long train…….

*sigh* Right. I am what I am. Can’t make any progress if I can’t accept where I’m starting from.

I’m out of shape, but not obese. I’m not 30, but I’m not 70, either. I’m not fluent in Dutch but I’m not a complete ignoramus. Middle of the pack in just about everything across the board. Just where I said I was uncomfortable. Damn! I wasn’t kidding about THAT. I am VERY uncomfortable here.

Fitting, perhaps, that I feel alone right now because I’m not in competition with anyone. That’s different. With my brother NOT in my language class, I’ll just be me with no one to compare me to. Without my sister here to reinforce my negative body image I’ve no bloated walking mirror to look at and see myself as fatter than or slimmer than. I don’t know that I’ve ever done this. It’s all stripped down and right at the core it’s only me. How fast I choose to move, how quick I can do things all on my own. There’s no markers in my life to tell me if I’m making any progress. I’m not allowing them. No scales or measuring tapes for my body, no tests to measure my understanding or language comprehension. I’m just floating in the goo, waving my arms about and not having any idea if I’m making any progress…because everything I learned to judge my progress on was based on competition. It was always the grades, the scales, the amount of money in your bank account that defined me as a person. That’s what I grew up with. That’s what I’ve been trying to shake since day one.

I’m not sure when I learned that lesson. Probably sometime between 5 and 50.