Dissolve those blocks

A block is a block is a block. And I found my block: my silence regarding my uncle and family communication issues. All it took was one statement, one time standing up for myself –

And it flowed.

I’ve spent the last few days divvying up my time between pacing and writing. My head’s so there I can’t even concentrate on tv at night. My eyes watch, but my mind is far, far away. Tying together plot threads, modifying scenes, adapting new ideas and new information into the story.

Honestly, it was almost an explosion. I’ve pages and pages of notes and rough drafts. Hammered out all the loose ends I was unsure over. Found solid reasons for people to do what they do. More: I was able to articulate the core premise of my thriller trilogy, something I hadn’t been able to do. And I’ve got to chuckle, because the core premise is connected to all my family issues.

People are affected more the more they are in denial.

The effect is cumulative – the more you hear or see, the worse it is, but people not in touch with themselves quickly succumb.

The issue of denial – denying everything, from the insults slung to their real feelings over important issues – is a bone of contention between me and my family. It’s a long, old ache I can’t rid myself of. Essentially, I’m writing about a phenomena currently underway – in my family, and in the states. Everything is twisted. Neo nazis scream about genocide and claim that’s their right under free speech. Then they blame anyone who tries to stop them, calling them enemies of free speech. Denial. Denial of their bigotry and hate. Denial of their calculated twisting of the facts. It’s killing every bit of humanity, and it’s a disease that’s rapidly spreading. My premise is that people like that – people so caught up in denial they can’t even begin to admit the truth of what they’re doing – they’re the ones affected. They’re the ones who flip out and kill everyone (literally and metaphorically). Don’t know how many people will get that connection when they watch the trilogy. But it’s in there.

Now there’s that layered depth of meaning that’ll win me an award!

But that little gem of thought is costing me re-writes. It’ll be well worth the price; I’m just noting it. Noting that I need to increase tension in this character, have a few more verbal spats in that area… Nothing major. Subtle. I’m down to subtle writing. Taking that fine sand paper and working on the last hard edges. That’s often the more difficult kind of writing. Hacking out the rough ideas – that’s easy. Take a swing, chop, chop, and there you go. Viola. But fine tuning – that’s tough. Reading and re-reading. Changing one word in a sentence to open up multiple interpretations of meanings. Moving this, editing that – if you’re not careful, you can get stuck in this mode forever.

Lucky for me, I have readers. Willing readers. People who want to read my scripts, want to participate in the evening get togethers, want to give me feedback. Yes, I called a read thru for Taman and am getting many positive responses. I need 12 people capable of reading English to do this properly, and I’m half way there. Hope I get enough. We could double up, but that always muddies a read thru. Plus, I want the input. I want to hear people’s opinions and ideas. Used to think other people’s opinions were judgements: good or bad. Now I hear them as suggestions. Hm, she wants me to change that sentence because it isn’t clear to her…maybe she has a point. Or gee, he thinks this wouldn’t happen. If it doesn’t happen, then this might occur. Wow, that would mean… etc., etc. It takes me in new directions.

And it’s taught me (again) about communication. You can use every word in the dictionary – you can speak at the highest level, using the best grammar in the world – but if no one understands you, you’re not communicating. People have to understand you before you can claim to be communicating. If you use words they don’t know, or introduce ideas that are beyond their comprehension, you’re not communicating. You’re just being obtuse (and there’s a perfect example: if I said that to my autistic brother, he wouldn’t comprehend the use of ‘obtuse’ in this sentence). Side note: Goddess! I should throw that word ‘obtuse’ at my uncle!

…Now it’s time to reign it all back in. Back to the grind this week: classes, gym. Last rehearsal on Thursday and the performance on Saturday. Week after that, my read thru for Taman. I feel confident that by mid-November I’ll be done with Taman; it’ll be off my desk and sent out. That sets me up nicely for finishing the trilogy during Xmas break, which means I could present it to the group in January.

Beyond that, I haven’t thought. It’s a big enough deal to be back in the flow and writing again. Still surprised over how quickly all my mental blocks came crashing down the moment I stood up for myself.

Remember that. Dissolve those blocks.

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Francis-stein

Allowed that despair to overtake me yesterday. Just for a moment or two. Enough time to sob deeply and feel a tear drop from my eye. Then I shook myself, sighed, and went to the gym.

Exercise has become a time waster. A thing to keep me from smoking. Not a thing I enjoy. Not a thing I do to get in shape or lose weight. Just a thing that keeps me out of the house, away from my ashtray. The goal is to spend as much of the afternoon at the gym as possible.

Hope to tire myself out. Get back here and almost fall asleep for the rest of the day. Wouldn’t need to smoke then. Wouldn’t need to do anything, other than chill.

Doesn’t quite work, of course. The more I do, the better shape I’m in, the longer it takes to tire me out. Half hour on the cross trainer. Half hour on the treadmill. Half hour on the bikes. Half hour on the free weights. Was surprised all evening long. Kept expecting my eyes to close while watching tv. Nope. Wide awake.

Telling myself I shouldn’t feel all wimpy and weak. My stamina has improved. I’ve moved up settings on everything, including heavier free weights because a 15 year old BOY had to go and pick up the lightest free weights in the gym to exercise. Really, kid? I didn’t want to, but I picked up the 4 kilo weights and started working – after I shot him a dirty look. He’s a healthy BOY CHILD and should be working harder. I’m an OLD WOMAN and should be working less.

Gave a lot of thought to what I wrote about yesterday. Thought so much about it I think I might have handled one of those disagreement points better than usual. It came up in conversation. I could hear it in our words and the slightly harder edge in my brother’s voice. My head said ‘this is one of those times when he feels you’re not hearing him’. So I stopped trying to get my point across. I acknowledged what he said ‘I hear you, and agree’. I dropped the pitch and volume of my voice. And I heard him stumble a moment, expecting a fight and getting none. Then he dropped his voice volume and tone, and suddenly that horrible argument moment was over and done with without our getting into a shouting and/or blaming match.

….And no, it didn’t escape me that in handling and defusing the situation I had zero opportunity to speak my own mind. That could be an issue, so I hope nothing too important comes up. This whole thing began in part because I feel un-listened to. While I’m very pleased to have no arguments or bad feelings to overcome this morning, as far as the subject goes my brother has NO IDEA HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT. He’s assuming I feel one way or another because I haven’t spoken up. But I can’t speak up without causing an argument. And I can’t prevent and argument AND speak up. That’s two conflicting things for me. Either I concentrate on keeping the peace or I speak my mind. And if I continually choose to keep the peace, I end up feeling like my opinions and thoughts don’t matter anyway – which is exactly what started the whole fucking thing in the first place.

Why does this shit always fall to women? I never hear men talk about compromising themselves in order to keep the peace with someone. NEVER. They just bulldoze over. Me, me, me. Hear me. Listen to me. Honor MY fucking opinion. Oh, you have one too? Well, that’s just silly. You should think like me. You do, don’t you? Oh…you don’t? What’s wrong with you?

Round and round. Get ready, women. If you haven’t hit this shit in life yet, prepare yourself. It’s gonna happen, and you’ll be blamed no matter what you do. It’s what men do. How they react. It’s their fragile male egos, which we pamper and coddle because some of us like to get penises shoved up our vaginas. Or maybe all of you put up with it because you think you need men. We don’t, you know. Plenty of sperm in the sperm banks. We can kill every man on this planet and be just fine. Better than fine, with their male egos out of the way. We can make real peace, real change. And never, ever let another person with a penis think they’re better than us. Never, ever let them take over again. Return to a matriarchal society. Burn every book that uses ‘he’ as a gender neutral pronoun or ‘mankind’ to describe humanity. Destroy every testosterone driven film. And yes, cut off all the dicks of every male ever born because frankly I’d find it cathartic.

Right about now is the time when some man usually pops up and asks ‘are you a dyke?’

No, for the record, I’m straight. I just see men the way they really are. Oh, got a problem with that? Can’t reconcile the idea of a strong willed woman who’s not gay? You are so immature.

But that, of course, is just another male put down. Oh, if a woman has a strong opinion, she must be a lesbian. Regular women don’t talk like that. Real women don’t think like that. I’m rolling my eyes as I type.

No wonder I remained single all my life. Sure, part of it was choice. Part of it wasn’t. No one ever wanted to spend their life with me. And I suppose that’s got to do with having a strong opinion. Dad told me long ago that I’d scare men off. Too smart, too opinionated, too outspoken.

Odd, then, because he’s the man who made me this way. Encouraged me to think, to debate, to challenge his viewpoint at every opportunity.

I feel like a freak. Some Francis-stein that’s half modern woman and half old fashioned lady. Don’t know where I fit in, don’t know HOW to fit in.

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.

onetwothreefourfivesix

Step 1: Turn off the news.

Step 2: Cut my long fingernails.

Step 3: Turn on the Trance station. Aaaah! Soothing.

Step 4: Close the curtains. Need darkness.

Step 5: Clear my head.

Step 6: Write.

Spent time yesterday frustrating myself by trying out that new Scrivener software. Ugh! Horrible formatting for radio. Fucking horrible! Ended up returning to my simplistic Word template and fudging it around until I got PDF print that looked good to me. It’s sent out already to a theatre in Florida. Had the whole week scheduled to dick around with it. Shoulda known I didn’t have the patience for a week of editing.

A week free. What new project can I take on?

Ah, yes. A bit I began on January 6 (computers ARE useful for keeping track of things like dates for you). Google: monologues and duologues. Bing! Found a fest calling for work due July 1. Funny thing is, it’s in a city I performed in. So I know what they want, what they’re used to, and what I should expect.

Good mini project to take on. Enough time, certainly. Even enough time to write it in Scrivener and give it one more chance to wow me.

Heard from my ex-pen pal on FB. Again. Still blaming me, still justifying himself. Now stating conflicting things, and I don’t know what to believe. The only thing I know for sure is he’s showing me his true face. The name calling, the manipulation games, the attempts to coerce me into guilt. If he’d come at me gently, asking for me to talk to him please, I might have responded. But not this! I know what this is – a narcissist’s game. I grew up with that shit and will not deal with it anymore in my life. Screw you. Still. In deference to our friendship, I’m giving him his one last shout at me without blocking him. I know he’s hurt, and lashing out. But that’s it. He’s used up all my gentleness and compassion.

And maybe I should just block him now. My history shows I have a habit of attracting stalkers and weirdos. I know he doesn’t get that this is me being kind to him. I could have written a long, torrid message explaining exactly why I found everything about his stance so offensive. I could have ripped him a new asshole. I didn’t. I chose to quietly say goodbye. Why bring any of it up? He obviously doesn’t understand. He’s one of those people who’ll nod and say ‘uh-huh’ while simultaneously thinking the opposite. Best I can ever do is take it, and use it in my writing. Create the character. Show him, not tell him. Far more effective.

…Odd to think I once felt at a loss over what to write. I struggled to find story material. Now, there’s so much to write about. So very much. It’s almost formulaic. Follow the rules, and begin. Keep to your outline. Trim, trim, trim it down. And in onetwothreefourfivesix you’ve got it.

Take the flag

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It’s a hell of thing to be sitting somewhere in public, waiting patiently, minding your own business, nothing at all wrong, and then, when you try to stand, you freeze with pain. Don’t know what sound escaped my mouth or which facial expression spasmed across my face, but I can tell you this – it caused five grey haired pensioners to gasp, get up, and try to help me.

Gods!

Must not have looked too good.

Spent yesterday morning growing ever more paranoid during my language lesson. The other student was present again (surprise), and I noticed my teacher took ten to fifteen minutes to catch up and chat with her but far less to chat with me. Now, I know I’ve surpassed the other student in language use. I’ve come to lessons regularly, worked hard, and made a lot of progress. So it’s only natural that the teacher would try to draw out the other student more than me. Get her talking again. …Right? I was careful to note the teacher’s body language. Not too skewed, but she did seem to lean a bit towards the other student. …Does my teacher not like me? *sigh* What have I done now?

I guess that’s the risk anyone takes when they choose to not be a milksop. Have opinions, state them. Have energy when you communicate! For pete’s sake, don’t talk to me like it’s the closest thing to death; deadpan and distracted. Look at me! Fire up your soul! Maybe we’ll come to loggerheads but at least we’ll know we don’t like each other. But don’t hide yourself. Don’t say ‘uh-huh’ to everything, never offer an original thought, never let anyone see anything of the real you. …That’s my opinion, anyway.

But I’ve been told I can be a poor communicator. Not because I’m unclear or uninformed; just the opposite. Because I’m too clear, too informed. I’ve been told many people don’t like to discuss big issues in life. It makes them uncomfortable. But big issues is where my head is at. Big issues were what I discussed at the dinner table as a kid.

After 50+ years of big issues, I can say that there are a whole lot of people out there who don’t like discussing them. And they don’t like me because of it.

That always makes me feel bad. I don’t mean anything improper about it. Just the opposite. I want to know where people stand on this stuff. I want to know their reasons for their choices. So I ask. And people get put off, or offended, or feel so uncomfortable around me that they choose to not hang out or be my friend.

It’s the risk I take, being me. Because for all the disappointment and lost possible friendships, every once in a while I find a real gem out there. Someone who fires up just as quickly as I do. Someone with a magpie mind fast enough to keep up with me.

That ain’t my Thursday teacher. Nor my Friday teacher.

Not that I expected either of them to be my friend.

…Well, I can move freely enough today – so far. I’ll try going to class, but I’ll take my heavy duty pain pills with me. Or maybe I should just take one now. Get a jump on the stiffness and pain. Probably the smart thing to do.

This ain’t gonna stop me. Not the pain, not the stiffness. Not the idea that my teacher doesn’t like me. Not the embarrassment over forgetting words I knew a few weeks ago. Not my slight dyslexia that always makes me screw up numbers.

Feels like I’m gearing up for war. A war on everything that’s going to try to stop me. I know what my goal is. I know what I need to do to get there.

Time to take the flag.

 

Show Me Who You Really Are

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Damned pre-set, prejudicial internet! It’s bad enough anything you try to type on these days “corrects” your spelling – often to words you didn’t mean to type in. Yes, that’s bad enough (and I have a deep pity inside me for anyone working on a fantasy novel with made up names and places). But now I face, head on, the problem of my email. Oh, yes. Because I have a unicorn email. I know you think they don’t exist. It’s all just marketing bots now. But once upon a time, they did exist, and I still have mine: a dotcom email. Unfortunately, it’s truly become a unicorn; most people have their systems set to ignore dotcom messages because, well, all dotcom messages are spam, right? That’s what they’ve been for the past ten years, all spam and bullshit. No one’s really got a dotcom address anymore.

Yeah. Right.

And while my messages don’t get returned, they also don’t get answered. Automatically dumped into the trash folder. So I have to go out and use some bullshit online free email because no one believes a dotcom message is really me. But it is really me. And fucking around with other emails is a pain in my ass. More, I don’t care to have every goddamn fucking bullshit “free” system on the internet – which is only “free” so they can garner your information and SELL IT ON TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER – know every damned detail about me.

Why did this happen? Greed. Personal and corporate greed.

Humans are, in so many cases, such a worthless race.

So don’t look at me funny when I try to explain my numerous nom de plumes. Half of it is the internet’s fault. I can’t use this name or that name or goddess forbid, my real name, because someone’s already using it. So make something up.

Guess I have to give myself a pat on my back for being smart enough to start a new email out there just for my writing. No one rejects a ‘@gmail.com’ or other mail system message. Nope. There may be millions of spammers out there using those systems, but no one will automatically block those messages.

After all, it’s not like they’re dotcoms.

However, I’m pretty sure my message about volunteering where I have my lessons has gone astray. Which means I have to begin again; pick one of those blow off emails I don’t really check and send it out one more time. Then remember to check said blow off email because no, I’m not hooking it up with my real email – you don’t get that info. Just like you don’t get my phone and my email hooked up. Oh, once in a while I think it would be cool to be set up like that, but more often than not I’m thankful. Thankful I’m not that connected, thankful I’m not bothered by the two hundred groups on Facebook I’ve somehow become part of and can’t leave, thankful I don’t hear my phone bleep with every fucking stupid notification or post of the snack you were having or note about how the bathroom at the concert is so dirty you just can’t believe it.

Fucking hell! And people tell ME to get a life!

… No, I have not been to the gym this weekend and yes, I’m wishing this morning that I’d braved the snow and possible ice and just walked over there yesterday to burn off this whatever it is. I didn’t, though. Chose to stay in and super clean a few areas – which led to my hands being burnt out by the end of the day, with me popping my horse-sized paracetamol pills and trying not to let my brother know how much pain I was in. It’s a real joy to sit here at my clean computer desk, with my clean keyboard and clean mouse pad, but it cost me (as did the clean sinks, the shining bathroom, and the scrubbed up door handles and light switches throughout the house).

Fish, Lizard, Chicken. It’s the working title of my new script, and it’s beginning to consume me. I can’t get the mantra of it out of my head. Can’t stop seeing scenes acted out. Right now it’s more sound and color than dialogue and action – which might make it all the more distracting as I try to focus in on what’s really happening in my imagination. Doing my best to prevent it from boiling over. Taking the cover off once in a while to let the steam escape. It’s not easy; I’m a little unstuck in time and can’t conceive of when the next holiday from my language lessons occurs.

Ach! And another thing that won’t leave me alone: Do you speak perfect English? I was asked that on Friday by my language teacher when I said I’d volunteered to teach English. What could I say? No. No, I don’t. I speak Midwestern American English, which is far from perfect. I do, however, know the difference between ‘proper’ English grammar and ‘improper’ English grammar – though I can also give you long argument that the English language is actually divided into several subsets; Southern English grammar is not the same as Midwestern English grammar, and both of those differ dramatically from British English grammar or Irish English grammar. I’m sure the same could be said of Australian or New Zealand English grammar, tho I’m not that familiar with them. Unfortunately, the question was asked of me in Dutch and I was expected to reply in Dutch – so she got the ‘no, I don’t’ but not the rest.

No matter. If the place I take lessons at doesn’t want my services as an English instructor, I’ve got another ace in the hole. My brother’s ex-sensei is hot to trot to have me teach English in the building he works in. I imagine I’ll be in front of a class before the year is over. Now that I’ve embraced the idea, I find myself very invested in it. Helping people to express themselves…that’s always been it for me. Doesn’t matter if it’s music or writing, poetry or teaching, offering a platform to perform or a chance to record your own material. I want to know what’s under the make-up and clothes, the posturing and chatter.

Show me who you really are.

Seems that way to me

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Sat looking at the WP link on my browser. Why bother? Then I remembered that I don’t do it for you, I do it for me. I write for me. Yes, it’s depressing to get up, open up my email, and see 23 messages that have jack shit to do with me come in. They’re all ads, or notifications that groups I never said I wanted to be part of out on FB have new posts. It’s depressing to know this is public, to know people see it, and to know no one gives a shit. Doubly depressing right now, as no matter how much I tell myself to forget about waiting to hear from the director I find myself still hoping, each time I open up my computer, that I’ll see something from him.

Still waiting on my immigration card, too, which has become an ironic activity in the last few days with 45’s new executive order (45 refers to the Great Orange Oompa-Loompa running LaLa Land; new nickname I heard and I love it). Goddess! To feel guilty over having the damned opportunity to even be here! Thank you, 45, for ruining everything you could in 24 hours. You’re one hell of a bulldozer.

To the American lawyer in the Hague who falsely accused the Dutch police of racially motivated violence: why did you do that? Why do you live here and not speak a word of Dutch? Go home, girl. You don’t belong in this society. That much is obvious if you don’t even try. I just can’t wrap my head around why you’d lie about something so big. Are you trying to make problems here? Trying to stir up racial violence? That’s what it sounds like. The video shows the police didn’t hurt you at all. Just the opposite: you put up a fight against them. For Christ’s sake! You’re a bleeding lawyer! Didn’t it ever occur to your legal mind that maybe, just maybe, the police wanted to see your identification? Duh-uh! Like, that’s the first thing out of their mouths in ANY country. So let me give back some of the shit I got: if you don’t like it, get the fuck out – but don’t stir up trouble where there’s none.

Yesterday was a bust; ended up slothing. Tv, juice, films, sleep. Guess I needed it. Wasn’t until 9 p.m. that my headache finally left. And I slept a deep, long sleep last night on top of my afternoon naps.

Wish I had more in me to give. The org that runs my Friday lessons is asking for volunteer help in lieu of cash for our lessons. Come in, they say. Help in the kitchen, with admin, with cleaning, with shopping, with visiting the elderly. Loads of stuff, much of which interests me. Doing anything will squeeze my time, though. If I volunteer, it will be with the same attitude I bring to class: it’s a commitment, and not one I’ll walk away from lightly. That means I’ll keep showing up, week after week. So I need to consider my long term schedule. Mornings are out; those are filled with exercise, language classes, and doctor’s visits. That leaves afternoons – which means cutting into some other time slot I’ve got marked in my head; on my own language work, or writing, or just chilling out. And I need to remember that sometime this season the theater group will be getting together. That’s early evenings, and there’s travel time and making sure I’ve had dinner and down time prior to leaving. Juggling my exercises, doctor’s appointments, language classes, and theater rehearsals is tough enough. Asking me to add in another commitment, every week….I see overload on my horizon. And overload comes so easily, so naturally to me anyway, I’m hesitant to add anything that might set it off.

…I’m not good in groups. Don’t know how to act. If I’m me, completely, I’m told I come off as bossy and ‘know it all’. If I hold back, hesitate to participate, I get bored easily and my concentration wanders. And let’s face it: human interaction is not my strong suit. Not in the real world, one on one. On paper; great. Face to face and my people pleasing kicks in, or my triggers are tripped, or my magpie mind flits around so quickly no one can keep up and I’m thought ‘eccentric’ at best. I want to work well in groups. Part of my theater work has been just that – my attempt to integrate myself in a new group. To work with them, socialize with them, maybe find one person who might make that leap from associate to friend. Let’s face it: I’ve been griping and moaning about my group interactions as soon as I began. Some of it’s very exciting. Much of it I don’t understand. I don’t understand the compunction to say one thing and do another, and it feels like that’s what I run into a lot in groups. People who say they’ll take care of something, say they’ll do something, then they don’t. How do I react to that? Do I confront? My confrontations look angry, because generally I wait and wait until I’m at the boiling point before I confront. I don’t like confrontations. Why? Because I don’t like hearing the truths uttered at that point. I’ve been told I focus on the negative, and I know I do, but deep inside me is the belief that people’s TRUE view of you, themselves, and the world comes out in moments of anger. These hateful, hurtful things truly do lie deep inside people. For instance: I really do want my sister to die. Just die. I hate her that much. And she really does think me a lying, cheating bitch. But I’ve heard plenty of people – seen it even in films, read it in books, written it myself – who forgive. Who accept the ‘I’m sorry’, no matter what was said. While I accept that people are sorry for letting those hateful things come out of their mouths, I don’t accept their denial of their truth. “I didn’t mean it.” Yes you did. You think it all the time, it lives in the back of your mind. You meant it, alright. You just didn’t want it to damage the relationship beyond repair, so you regret saying it. But I must question why people feel that way. What’s so valuable in a relationship with an obviously inferior person? Why, the opportunity to exploit them in some manner. That seems the obvious answer to me, because that’s what’s happened to me. And I don’t see those things in people. I’m blind, mostly, to that side of their nature until after I’m left empty and used.

How do I change that? Can I somehow teach myself to see people that way? Isn’t that true cynicism, to always look for ulterior motives?

Do I even want to become that person, who sees hidden agendas and the wolf’s smile behind every sheepskin?

What is this I’m chasing? Is it something that never existed in the first place? Is there no honesty in the world? No safety? No real communication? Is it all innuendo and metaphor?

Seems that way to me.

The Darker Side of Christmas

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My bro took me out for Indian food last night. Onion bhaji, lamb biryani, and chai tea. It was fun to do something different and unexpected. We walked through downtown, gawking at all the lights. Heard what HAS to be the saddest sounding Xmas band ever in ‘t Centrum; they were playing some song I didn’t know, tho it had snippets of several songs I was familiar with, and they did it at dirge pace. My brother said it sounded like a band of skeletons playing Christmas carols. It was so incongruous to all the lights and trees and shoppers I laughed for an entire block. Down to the coffeeshop to stock up on smoke for the holidays (what a pleasant thing to be able to say!), a fast walk to the metro because the wind was biting cold, and back at home to watch a film we’d recorded.

As I walked through the city, I kept my iPod off and just listened. My recent bout of frustration with the language seems to have passed, and with its absence has come a deeper understanding of the spoken word. I’m eavesdropping on my fellow Rotterdammers, and finding I’m catching more and more of what they say. Words jump out at me, capitalized and in bright neon colors. And I had occasion yesterday after class to reflect on how much I’ve learned over the past year. A thousand words? More? I’m still at the point where I either speak painfully slow or make numerous grammatical errors, but my reading and my comprehension are both better. I’m even appreciating simple jokes in the language.

I find it mildly bittersweet, then, to discover that the voice-over recording for the metro telling passengers what stop is coming up has been redone to include full English for the major stations. The multi-lingual Dutch have long been teaching their children English. It’s only the older Dutch who might not speak it. Right now, I’m laying odds on that the Netherlands makes a complete swap to English as their second language just when I fully grasp Dutch. That would fall in line with the ironic theme in my timing. When and if that happens, I’ll laugh. Hartelijke (I think that’s right; an ‘e’ on the end when used as an adjective to laugh). Because I can see ME becoming the hard core Dutch speaker once I’ve got the language. Me who will answer American or British tourist’s questions with a geen Engels. Maybe a fast burst of Dutch to make them shut up. Why? Just because I can.

But then, that’s not communication. And I am all about communication. It’s why I started writing, why I started music, why I do anything: to communicate. Because some things sit so damned deep in you that you can’t put them directly in words. The small syllables we utter don’t do those things justice. They need altars: altars to our pain, past and present. I have built many altars. I’ve bled on them, weeped over them, done my best to pulverize them into atoms. I’ve loved them, hated them, sent them out into the world and buried them deep in the ground.

Sometimes, I think it’s all I can do.

She licked her fingers by placing them in the middle of her tongue, as if doing so would absolve her digits of the blood and shit that were inevitably, indelibly there after years of self-flagellation and social crucifixion. How sweet, she thought, as she tasted only sugar.

Well I’m in a persnickety mood, aren’t I? …. Problem is, I like it. I may have to save that one. But I’m definitely not in the space to start back on the script – slated to be a comedy. OH no! In fact, I hereby absolve myself from all guilt over the next two days. One, it’s the weekend. Two, it’s the holidays. Three, everything is closed anyway, or will be soon, so it’s pointless to feel bad for not accomplishing something. Four, I may be bipolar, but I don’t want the script to be. Five, like the Dutch language, if I can relax, it will be easier.

Relax. Ri-i-i-ight.

If I must don my black clothes and be macabre for a stint, I guess I could begin with worse material. And what the hell? If my brain can cook up the above its obviously got some heavy things going on. Spread them out, let them see the light of day – or at least the light of the holiday decorations. Ugly is the new beautiful. How tragic, how ugly, how beautiful in its agony!

But that’s true, isn’t it? Ugly can make you feel things beauty can’t touch. And it hurts to touch those places, yet it feels right, too, to acknowledge them. How brave, we think, when we hear the tale of a survivor of an ugly situation. Our minds turn inward, to how we would react in their place. Fight, or flight? Courage, or fear? Both? Perhaps we seek the ugly to explain what we don’t understand, to give us insight into another’s pain – and thus, to our own.

End of the year holidays. They’re bringing up a lot of stuff for me. I’ve been enjoying the lights, the season, even the nip in the air. Maybe it’s time to look at the darker side of Christmas.

I am a Vengeful Person

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I have looked strange the past 24 hours. I know it. Because every time I remind myself to think success without revenge, I’ve stopped. Frozen completely – even mid-stride. It’s difficult to remember to change my thinking habits, and even harder to do. Each time I have to build it up from the ground – calm, no family, see it, hear it – bit by bit I construct it, view it dispassionately, then I remember I’m mid-stride or mid whatever and I come back to myself with a ‘huh!’. The things I’ve found in my brain have been small. Simple. And success has lost its frenetic energy; it’s become a calm and measured thing. Most measures of success I have for myself as an artist are things I can already lay claim to: having someone moved to tears by my performance, hearing that something I did changed someone’s life. The only thing I’m missing is being able to cover my expenses by my art.

I think you are too hard on yourself. That’s a quote from my very cute physiotherapist, tho I can’t write in his adorable bleeding Dutch accent. He made me laugh. Obviously, I have been myself with him. And obviously, he’s too hard on himself in some ways since he saw it so readily in me. I got him to really open up and talk about football (soccer, if you’re in the states). He’s on a semi-pro team as goalie and admitted that he’s a hard ass when it comes to winning on the field, which is completely counter to the person he presents to the rest of the world. It gave me a good insight to him that he hadn’t let me see before, and honestly, I feel I can relate to him even more now that his veneer of perfection has a dent in it.

Picked up Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. Man, I love Russian writers! I admit it’s difficult to get past the names, but the writing -! Often I have to pause and consider the perfection of the thought presented to me. This book got me from the start, with the first sentence:

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

That’s a sentence I want tattooed on my bleeding forehead. It’s got to be the single most gorgeous line I’ve ever read, truly yummy in my brain and my soul. Ah! To write like a Russian! Tolstoy just gets me right down to the core.

Went to my language lesson this morning, which more and more often is a one-on-one thing since the other student rarely shows up. I had quite a bit of apprehension: my sick time didn’t include one moment of Dutch, and I felt pretty rusty and out of it. But we kept on, and props to my teacher who found a simpler text for me to read out of. I’m going paragraph by paragraph, getting pronunciation correction when I need it and switching to English when I don’t understand something. Simple things blow me away. In Dutch, you stop something in your mouth rather than put something in your mouth. That kind of stuff trips me up every damned time. Or remembering what lays or what stands on a table. Ach! But I don’t feel so bad about language at the moment, and that’s a new and different (and very welcome) feeling. I’ve been laughing at the irony of reading Tolstoy in English while struggling with Dutch text meant for a nine year old. It’s a perfect example of why I’m frustrated. I enjoy Tolstoy. Really enjoy it. I really enjoy a lot of traditionally ‘hard’ reads. So trust me, struggling to understand simple text is just freaking difficult and to have even the slightest relaxation of that frustration is a cool blessing on my brain.

Tomorrow, of course, I have to deal with a teacher who isn’t so nice to me. But that’s tomorrow, and I refuse to borrow any trouble right now.

What with getting out of the house for hair appointments (yes, it’s done), physiotherapy, and language lessons, I’ve had more fresh air and exercise in the past 24 hours than I’ve had in weeks. It’s served to underscore the fact that I’m not really well yet – I’m damned tired by the end of the day and back to falling asleep in front of the tv. Which is a good reminder, because naturally I’m feeling more and more antsy and a trip to the gym has been crossing my mind with regularity. Not ready for it yet. Maybe next week.

You know…I really don’t know what I’m building here. With the crush on my physiotherapist and my language attempts and all this non-revenge visualization. Not a bleeding clue. I don’t know if I’d go out with my physiotherapist even if he asked me, and believe me, I’ve thought about that one a lot. I don’t know if I’ll ever really feel comfortable with Dutch. Even Dutch people have told me it’s a dull language and English offers so much more expression. And the non-revenge stuff…I’m ashamed to admit to how deep revenge goes in me. How much of a hole is left in my life when I take that out of the equation. Gah! What the hell does that say about me? I don’t like the message. I don’t like what I see.

Maybe that’s my lesson. Maybe it’s been the vengeful part of me I’ve never really liked. Never thought about it that way before. And I know, like an alcoholic, I’ve got to admit it before I can move on.

Hi, I’m Beeps, and I’m a vengeful person.

Kuiper Belt

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Loneliness. It’s beating down on me today. My own damned fault, of course. Just got off Fuckbook Facebook. Looked at all the posts my family and friends have been putting up for the last week. The bullshit memes. The angry declarations. Oh, there were one or two people I checked who were still the sane and thinking individuals I remember them as. But many were not. And it occurred to me that maybe they were never really the sane, thinking individuals I perceived them to be in the first place.

That thought made me feel lonelier than ever.

My first reaction was an old one: rock. I rock in my chair. It’s a comfort thing. Did it a LOT as a kid; I mean almost all my spare time. Tried to hide it as a teenager. Closed the curtains, did it in secret – like I was masturbating or something. Did my best to rid myself of the need to rock. Yet…Yet I still need it, time to time. Still need to hold myself in my arms and bang my back against a chair. Don’t know quite why.

I should be feeling pretty good. Got out on a walk today for fresh air. Joined the gym. Finished formatting the script. Even thinking about trying some Dutch language drills later on.

But I feel like a lost little girl. Like my family has forgotten about me. Like I’m in one of my nightmares from childhood, when my family denied they were my family.

I don’t know these people.

I realize that’s partially my fault. Certainly, I haven’t kept up my side of communications. Then again, I make no secret of the fact that my family often triggers me, and usually it’s in my best interests to NOT communicate with them. Double bind. Talk, and get triggered. Don’t talk, and feel left out.

Naturally I won’t even consider that they should get off their asses and try to communicate with me.

…*sigh* So. The play. Found an online cloud based formatting software for free, so I tried it out. It’s…formatted. To some standards. I’m not sure it’s theatre standards. But it’s something. The formatting took it down to 24 pages. Don’t know if that’s going to be enough. May have to bulk it out. But I checked and double checked, thought, checked some more, and decided I’ve just got to bring it to the group at this point. Find out how long it is with a read through. See what everyone thinks.

And of course I have the play material based on my dysfunctional family on one hand and my real live dysfunctional family on the other. Synergistic disparity. That’s what I’ll dub it. My ability to allow my play family to have epiphanies about their lives – I can’t do that with my real life family. I can’t make my oldest brother understand how disgusted I am over Trump (yes; he supports that asshole). I can’t snap them out of their ingrained, narcissistic reactions. I want to. Desperately. So I take my longings and give them to my writing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t change anything in real life. And sometimes I wonder if my flights of fancy don’t feed this unsettledness that creeps up on me regarding my family. If my continued investment – at least in my mind – of “saving” my family from themselves doesn’t keep me stuck.

That rubs raw.

Almost like my shoes rubbing my feet raw. Yes, I wore them out walking. Yes, I warmed them up before I walked and I walked carefully and not too fast or forcefully or anything else that could, in any way whatsoever, make me wrong or responsible for the raw spots on my feet. Goddamn it! My trial pair gave me none of this gripe. I wore them out of the shop the first day and never bloody took them off. But these! From day one, they’ve been hurting me here or there. Wear them in. Break in the leather. Allow them to stretch. I have HAD it. I think after THIS long and so many fucking adjustments to the fucking things that I can say that. Fix ’em, make ’em right. What, did you mix things up and make these for someone else’s feet? Sometimes that’s what I think: that they used the wrong moulds. And naturally it’s up to me to call the shop, get in there, convey all of that without blaming anyone too much or coming off like a bitch.

Fuck.

I don’t like being grown up. Can I say that? Well, tough, I just did. I don’t like having to take the high road. I don’t like having to do things that make me nervous or make me feel bad about myself. I don’t like feeling like I always have to keep putting myself out there, time and again, no matter what the fucking consequences and never lose it, never cry, never give up.

And yes, all of that is being grown up to me. And keys. Lots of keys. ‘Cause grown ups have lots of locks to open because they own lots of stuff.

I don’t have a lot of keys.

And I usually don’t feel very grown up.

…And I’m having a real hard time today. Don’t want to cut myself any slack.

This is the point where I should turn it around, right? Find something to calm myself. Find something to reach for. Problem is, I am reaching. Too far. To Jupiter, and beyond. Can’t stop the manic fantasies. Which unsettle me even more when I force myself to come down and frankly assess my own life. Ugh! The crap I find there!

I’m hanging on. Kinda. Asked a friend to tell me I’m not a terrible person. Telling myself I’m not a horrible person. That I’m a little out of whack because I haven’t exercised properly on a regular basis this last week. That I’m a little fried from writing so much.

Hard to hear when you’re out beyond the Kuiper belt.