Vroooooom…

I’ve had a lot of nightmares about being in the back seat of moving vehicles. Cars, roller coasters…anything, really, that my mind could use to portray a terrifying image of me being out of control. The dreams plagued me all during childhood and into my teens. Often I’d wake soaked with sweat, the image of what I’d dreamt burnt into my memory so deep I still remember those subconscious night-time movies.

These days, I’ve installed a brake system. Or, one’s been installed for me.

Two short conversations with my bro changed things yesterday. One was a bit of feedback on the letter I sent to the journalist who’s request for info was still languishing in the theatre’s inbox (btw, she received it and answered me very politely). The second was a re-think on video backdrops. I have some blue cloth that’ll work just fine. Red would match everything, but my bro used the magic words on me yesterday to pull my head out of the clouds: anything you do is an upgrade. Just making the vids is an upgrade. I don’t have to go 110% and have everything match like some demented housewife let loose on decorating her house.

Put out the pix of my first make-up test on FB. Lots of great comments. One ‘experienced’ twenty-something gave me a few ‘tips’. Just say thanks, Beeps. Let go of reminding people of all your experience. Not the easiest thing for me to do this morning. Guess I feel the need to justify myself. To remind people I’m in my 50s with decades of experience under my belt. Feels an awful lot like people ride over me, and I suppose they do. I don’t crow about myself in public. I’m not the person who’ll sit in a theatre meeting and list out all my albums, all my performances, all my films to every single person. I just say ‘I’ve done a lot on stage and on camera’ and generally leave it at that. I’ve had all sorts of comments come my way, trying to peg me into some square hole. Oh, amateur performances. Sure, we’ve all done those. …Oh, just a little one person show, huh? Nice you had a few people show up. …I’ve never heard of that director or that film. Was it actually released? …You’re a singer? Sing something for us. It’s got to the point I just say I’ve been working in entertainment for over 20 years. Think what you will; no amount of my listing my accomplishments will change your mind. But then, naturally, I have to live thru the disses. The people who tell me how to do something I already know how to do. The well intentioned acquaintances who give me advice about stuff over which they have zero experience or knowledge. *sigh*

It isn’t always easy being a 52 year old whom people treat like a 20 something.

Got to the gym yesterday. Took what I hoped was going to be a great and well deserved shower, but the hot water was a ghost thing in the building and within 2 minutes I was standing under an unheated water supply. Amazing how cold you can get in an unheated shower. The water wasn’t cold, just cool. But it sucked any and all heat off me. Didn’t even bother with conditioner for my hair, just a quick shampoo and get the fuck out of there. Despite it being a less than ideal shower, I felt refreshed afterwards.

Still having problems on my right side. Looking forward to my physio appointment.

Today I’m not going to the gym. Today I’m setting up for video shoots. Pull out and clean up the blue fabric I’ve got. Rearrange my desk area so I can use the backdrop. Mark off my desk with tape so I set up for pictures in the same place each time. Also need to head to the store to seek out blusher and lipstick. I’ve become quite fond of my make-up needs shopping. I’m not there for me, I’m there for the group. I stand in the aisle, looking at my choices, picking up packages to examine them more closely, dithering. It’s the only time I really shop like a normal person. My aim today is to get a cheap color selection for the vids. Still plan on asking for sponsorship for the final make-up for the group; this summer work just allows me to play with colors and figure out what we really need. I have a whopping €10 in my wallet to pay for both blusher and lipstick, so it’s off to the discount shops as usual to look thru the bins.

Made a start on my homework. Need to put in an hour or so defining the words I don’t know. Shouldn’t take long to get it done.

Wondering when and if I’ll have time to write for me. Haven’t gone back to the new script yet. Lots of ideas for it; just haven’t made the time. Hm. Note to self: make the bleeding time! I’ve nine months before the premiere. Plenty of time to make and release vids, update the website, create the playbill, and find sponsors. I can find a day a week to settle down and just write. Great that I have so many ideas on how to market this play, but I also want to move forward as a writer. Spending all my time on marketing is like spinning around in a vehicle: you make a big mark, but you don’t go anywhere.

My vehicle goes. Always has.

Vroooooom…

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Control

There is nothing wrong with your computer screen. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. Beeps is controlling transmission. You are about to participate in a great adventure…

I’ve been given absolute control. M opened up the theatre group’s website to me. With one click, I went into webmaster status. …Shit! It’s a lot to learn on the fly. My bro does our website (via coding, for Goddess’ sake!) so I’m next to an idiot. Lucky for me, it’s all point and click: the idiot’s version of a website. Spent several hours navigating the pages, finding out what everything does, what I can add, move around, change. Worked on updating the home page first. It still had ‘Tickets for our current production are now on sale!’ scrolled across the top; that’s 3 months old at best. Created a special picture for the site to advertise my play. It’s based off all the other marketing that will come, so it ties in nicely, but it’s a little different so it stands out. Put out a very short (3 sentence) description to tease the audience. Pulled all the pix I could from our FB page and made a slideshow to add some oomph to the front page. Still have the SEO codes to change. The site that hosts us makes it easy to change SEO codes on every page. I looked at them – all blank. No wonder our website shows up on page 2 or 3 of a Google search! Will keep working on the home page ’til I’ve got it all, then move on. Several more pages to do.

Yeesh!…I’m in that place again. About to become Ms. Superstar. The go-to, reliably enthusiastic, million ideas superstar. The one who gets the work done. Anything I do to update the web is gonna look good, and I’m not a slouch. Just because I can’t code doesn’t mean I can’t put together a really snazzy page.

Should I have gone into marketing as a career? Not the first time I’ve wondered that…

Much to do, and the summer is shortening as my list of tasks grows. Stay. on. point.

Happy to say I took no shit from myself yesterday and headed to the gym. The lift in the building is broken yet again, and the heat’s been high, and I’ve a hundred other reasons why I haven’t gone to the gym on a regular basis. None of that matters now. Unless I’m dying – literally, not figuratively – I’m going.

K reminded me meds help, but you still have to help yourself. You have to do everything you can to work with the meds. I haven’t been doing that, and it shows. Love the explosion of creativity. Love it. But this is when I need to really be strict with myself. No excuses or alibis accepted. Move first, work second. And get your homework done, too, while you’re at it.

Got 3 weeks before I see Dr T again. I’d like to honestly be able to say I’m doing well, keeping my work and mind balanced, and feeling good. I don’t want the appointment to go like this: Yeah, the first week on the med was great, really great. Slept loads and felt good. Got busy, tho. Created a newsletter for the theatre group, then they asked me to update their website, and I’m working on sponsorship and props and make-up videos and general meetings and strengthening our connections with other theatre groups and getting the word out to the public and I really hope by the time the play happens I’ll have a few hundred subscribers on both YouTube and to my new newsletter that I’m writing. That’s a more accurate picture of me right now.

Today’s a day that the main market is open. I could go downtown and wander the aisle of hundreds of tables heaped with food, electronics, clothing, and bedding. Find that red cloth I want for vids. Shouldn’t be expensive; I imagine ten euro will get me what I want. Then I could set up for the make-up instructional videos and get those done. Most importantly: I have no lighting for the vids, and now’s the time to take advantage of the bright sunlight streaming through the windows. Wait ’til September and I’ll lose that light. Hm. It’s late July. Maybe I should do that today. It’ll take me a few days to shoot what I want anyway, and then there’s editing.

Doing my best to keep myself in check. That’s tough with total control. Ideas: create a page that contains head pix and short descriptions of all our members. Which productions they were in and what role they played. Link up those pages with any social network pages of the actors: filmpeople.nl or FB or LinkedIn. We have nothing like that, and I think it’s needed. Need to connect our YouTube page with the website as well, plus copy all the videos that are released on FB and get them over to YouTube. Monetize the YouTube site asap. Check all our social pages for continuity. We don’t have a logo, and that’s bugging me. Trying to match font look, background pix, and other key elements to provide that ‘yes, I’m on the right page’ feel to visitors.

Meh. Like I said: for people who teach marketing, they really don’t have their shit together.

So I’m dreaming. Imagining full audiences. Audiences of people who don’t personally know this or that actor. Audiences of people who’ve crawled out of the woodwork due to my work. I’m imagining long lists for the newsletters, hours answering this or that query, and the occasional bit of help from someone.

But even my greatest flights of fancy include a touch of concern: I never see the director’s girlfriend as happy. I expect her to continue to be a naysayer. In fact, I imagine her animosity may grow with time. She’s proven herself to be insecure; I pegged that one pretty quick. *sigh* And it’s not like that jealous reaction is something I haven’t run into before…

You had your chance, honey! This is mine.

Sit quietly, ’cause I will control all you see and hear.

Who I could be

Negative. The celiac test was negative. On one hand, that’s great. Pizza is still on the menu. On the other hand… Well. Still have more tests to do.

Got down to it. Ran thru the trilogy, made the changes. Opened up the lighting and sound notes, finished them off. Left checking all the page references ’til later. Brainstormed videos, made notes on what I think would work for the director. Ran my lines for Saturday.

Trying to break my inevitable early morning grousing about people who are related to me via DNA. It keeps coming up, and I keep reminding myself it’s not worth it. Not worth another round of circular, angry thoughts. They’ve been proven to be assholes. They’ve been proven to be abusive. I understand where they’re stuck, and why they can’t move out of their patterns.

Have been assuring myself they don’t waste time thinking of me. I’ve been reluctant to own up to being “the writer” in full – at least, out in the real world. Concerned that at some point down the road the family will come at me again. For so long, all I wanted was to disappear. Fall off their radar, escape their derisive notice. Now, I’m feeling like I want to stand up and take the acknowledgement I’ve earned. The people I’m worried about…they barely read much less go to plays. They’ll never find out. I can have my life, do what I want, without fear of any repercussions in the future.

I guess I’m finally feeling safe, and a bit stable.

Or maybe I’m just clawing my way out that hamster wheel.

Thank you, medication. It does not banish my repetitive thoughts, but it does make it a hell of a lot easier to say ‘fu-u-u-u-uck you!’ to them. I can shift my brain so much easier into forward, happier thoughts. Calming thoughts. Hopeful thoughts.

Sleep is getting easier and better. Still have occasional sweaty hands, but that seems to be pulling back, too. Good appetite. No headaches to speak of.

Still not back to the gym. I’m too feline at the moment, stretched out head to foot, completely relaxed, completely at ease. It’s a kind of rich relaxation I rarely experience, and honestly, I don’t want to jinx it. As long as things are good, just chill.

That’s a good reminder to myself to take control. I’ve got such a thing about those words. ‘Taking control’ is very negative to me, so I guess in some ways I avoid it. Especially of late. But…there’s been no news allowed on the tv for two days now. No commercial tv, actually. I’m running DVD series I own (at the moment, Black Adder). Gods, commercial tv is fucking annoying. We tend to just put up with it; I advise against that. Invest in good entertainment and shut that shit out. No annoying jingles. No nagging about all that stuff you can’t afford. No ‘you’re not cool unless you do/own this’. If you really want to see something on broadcast tv, record it. Nothing more gratifying than fast forwarding through that hated advertisement.

Gah, people are such sheep!

You know… I used to think sheep were cute. That was when my personal experience with sheep consisted of looking at fluffy caricatures of the actual animal. My time in Ireland taught me different: sheep are stupid, smelly, and damned annoying. They respect no fences. Adhere to no boundaries. Shit everywhere. Eat everything. They move in mindless mobs, and startle at the slightest provocation.

I no longer think sheep are ‘cute’.

Hm. Now, is that my statement on sheep or people? Hard to say. It fits both so well. But I’m not in the mood for deep delving into my psyche. Feels like I’ve done too much of that.

So, silly stuff. Comedies. Games. Simple food, regardless of the test. A bit of work, a lot of play.

The world is coming into focus. Balance. Calm. Work. Hope. Simple tasks done every day. Simple things, small things that add up over time.

I’m beginning to see who I could be.

 

Be open to it

I can’t figure people out. Not until time has passed and I’ve been able to review over and over what went down. I dislike that aspect of me; it makes me feel inordinately dumb. Why can’t I understand what’s happening while it’s happening? But, no. My comebacks come to me too late and I am left replaying the incident ad infinitum, wishing I’d said or done things differently.

Woke up thinking of my play. My head was obviously reviewing Sunday’s get together with the group. All those disparate parts came together – the two players who said they weren’t going to act this season, the cool reception I received on my work, the lack of enthusiasm or even the follow through on the commitment of coming to the read through, and the situation I walked in on two years ago with the poor group of actors and the director who walked out… I realized the group may allow me to use their name and their director, but the group may very well have nothing to do with this. I think I’m smacking my face against some good, old snobbery. I think most of the group will not participate or even audition for my play; they will feel it beneath their dignity. They will not take the chance on a newbie playwright unless said playwright has some medals or awards behind their name. They’ll smile, say ‘sure, we can do that’, but in the end they’ll all have excuses about why they can’t be in the play, how busy they are, etc., and it will fall to walk-in actors like I had at the read through.

Maybe I’m all off on this but…my spidey sense is tingling. It’s been going off since Sunday, despite the pleasantries. Just a few too many silences, too much eye contact avoidance, too little enthusiasm. Can’t help but wonder if this is what happened when I first joined the group. They had a second director, one who also wrote scripts. The first production I worked on was one such written by him (a dismal play, poorly written, horrible in almost every way). It didn’t escape my notice then that the ‘core group’ largely didn’t participate in the acting. I was never give any reason for that, but could it have been they were unwilling to do something that wasn’t sent via a publisher? I can’t totally rule out the idea that they all thought the script was crap and didn’t want to be in it, tho why they’d approve the script if they thought it was crap is beyond me. *sigh* Considering some of the other stuff I’ve seen and heard from them, I wouldn’t be surprised if plain old snobbery were at work.

That director/writer left the group and is now in Den Haag working with a different set of people.

I find this whole idea doubling upsetting because I wrote the trilogy and tailored it for them. Wrote characters thinking of particular actors in mind. Wrote the story, the settings, the needs with the venues I’d seen, the abilities I’d witnessed, the resources I knew the group had at hand. To have it dissed out of hand, when most haven’t even taken the time to read my words… The prospect is disheartening.

But it isn’t something that’s going to stop me.

I’ve worked with less and done more. To hell with their procedures, to hell with what “they normally do” – I’ve seen their average audience size, and what they normally do doesn’t cut it. I will work my magic for my production. If the results are such that everyone wants me to do it for them and their upcoming plays…well, then I’ll have real bargaining power, won’t I?

Began honing ideas. Roughed out a flyer for advertising. Outlined an ad video I want to make and put online to hype the performances. I’ve already scoured the internet for must invite names: artistic directors of bigger theatres that do English productions, reviewers, journalists. I will look at radio, public television, and internet vloggers and podcasts. I know how to market on a shoestring. I know about product placement, tag lines, what’s kitschy and what’s catchy.

The goal is to give my work as much chance of success as I can without killing myself.

That means taking control of some of these loosely performed aspects of the group. They’re all teachers at the school of business, but none really know about marketing. That much is obvious when they can’t fill an 80 seat theatre. Every production, they have flyers and posters printed. Where they put up the posters in this city, I don’t know. Never saw one up. Never found a place to put one, either – there are restrictions almost everywhere. Flyers are easily overlooked and most just end up in the trash bin. I’m not opposed to flyers, but…cut the size down, and rather than putting stacks of them at drop points, take a few afternoons and head down to the neighborhoods surrounding the theatre and put them in people’s mail slots. Chances are much higher they’ll at least be glanced at. Maybe you’ll only snag 1 out of 100 that way, but that’s one more than we’ve got now.

…This means, of course, that I’ve largely mapped out this year’s activity. I’m booked; don’t ask me to do more (and let’s stick to that!).

Well…good. Lateral thinking helps me. I like the full aspect of projects like this: take it start to finish (with help). Help is the area I’ve largely been lacking in past projects. One look at my vids would tell you that: written by me, directed by me, starring me, edited by me… I got so tired of it I filled in all those jobs with my pseudonyms just to make it look like I wasn’t an ego-centric mad old woman.

And…you know what they say about help; it comes from unexpected quarters.

Remember to be open to it.

I like that picture

One hour ago, I triggered my brother into calling me “wrong”. It was not my intention to hit his hot button. And…quite often I forget I’m not the only person in the world (or this house) who struggles with life. So I acknowledge my…not so great attempt at communication this morning, or saying the wrong word, or whatever set him off. My bad.

I do not accept his judgement.

Have not and will probably not say this to him. Why risk more fighting? He’s triggered, I don’t know by what, and if I continue it’ll just get worse. I realize what came out of his mouth was programming, and if I pointed it out to him he’d realize that, too. It would be great to modify our communication to rid ourselves of this crap. Right now, I just want to acknowledge it and not buy into it.

Faulty programming. Ignore.

Aren’t I doing well this morning? Not triggered myself, aware enough to put some distance between me and what I would typically consider a trigger situation. Good on me! Stayed calm, backed down, not holding onto anger that’ll manifest itself in some twisted passive-aggressive shit.

What is best for me? That’s foremost in my mind today. Getting upset was not on that list, therefore, I avoided it.

Spent yesterday in zen mode, making cookies. Lembas is a long process and a hand-intensive recipe. I considered my options and felt my stomach needed the acid soaking properties of my cookies more than my ass needed to walk, so I made cookies. It was a good choice.

Headed downtown in a few hours to meet S. Looking forward to seeing her. She texted me last night, asking me to bring a bottle of my cordial for her dad. That makes me smile. One of my herbal products that’s found a fan. S also mentioned she’d like to discuss her script. Again, this deference to my skill and experience makes me smile. It’s good to be acknowledged, no matter by whom. And…it feels good to pass along a bit of my knowledge, to hopefully help someone else avoid the pitfalls I encountered. Go, girl! I find myself willing in many ways to pass the baton onto the younger generation. Go. Do what I couldn’t do. I am so proud of you for all you’ve already done, all you’ve already accomplished. Just…remember me from time to time. That’s all I ask.

S brings out the mother in me. Or the big sister. Someone caring and kind. Someone who wants to put this young woman above herself.

It’s someone I like.

…Calm exchange with my bro. Neither of us wants to fight. That’s good. Feels like a little plaster on that owie from this morning.

I am reflective and absorbing. Reflective on reality, my perceptions, my feelings. Absorbing on the language. The two go in hand in hand for me, and I credit learning Dutch as the unconscious key that unlocked my brain. Words carry meaning to each of us. Some words become attached to traumatic experiences and become triggers, setting us of on illogical courses of action without understanding why we’re doing it. Dutch has no triggers for me. It’s all just sound and syllables that I am now, as an adult, attaching meaning to. So the phrase ‘ik hou je van’, which is the Dutch equivalent of ‘I love you’, doesn’t set me off on those old patterns. ‘Ik hou je van’ means to me that someone’s got your back, someone will always be by your side, in your corner. It doesn’t mean you won’t disagree or go through hard times. Just the opposite: to me, it means you acknowledge the hard times and still choose to be there.

That’s the adult me, with all my foibles and English triggers, putting meaning onto the phrase. But I can say it without the strings I always felt were attached to ‘I love you’. ‘I love you’ means one of two things to me: I control you or I want to fuck you. I don’t like either of those definitions, but those were the ones taught to me. Not the verbal teachings; I know what ‘I love you’ is supposed to mean. But in my house, verbal and non-verbal lessons were always at odds with each other.

…Which means, if I let myself think it through, that I can tell myself ‘ik hou je van’. I can’t love myself. I’ve tried, over and over and over. But I can have my own back. I can always be on my side. I know my brain can play tricks on me, focus on the negative, say those terrible things to me repeatedly. But it’s MY brain, and in the end, I am not a slave even to myself.

Oh, that’s a good one. Say it again: I am not a slave, even to myself.

…Just felt a moment of…I don’t know what. Juxtaposition of my world, I guess. Everything kind of went boom in my head.

A moment of total control. Me. I’m the one who decides. I’m the one who acts. I’m in control. Not my mother, not my family or my siblings, not “them”, not even my head. Wish the feeling would have stuck around longer. But it’s a start. I’ve felt it. I can build from there.

Take that out into the world today. You don’t have to act on it. You don’t have to try and force the feeling to return. Just remember you felt it. Remember how it felt. And consider living with that feeling. Think how it might feel to head downtown on the metro, knowing 100% you’re the one in control. No fighting tears behind your sunglasses. No angry imaginings forcing you to ‘try’ to calm yourself down. Think about what that might look like.

…Yeah. I like that picture.

No more of that

Finished writing my essay for class. Still have to recopy it, but the many grammatical and spelling checks I do are done. Think I have a couple of wonky sentences, but I don’t know how better to write them. Dahl showed up in my writing a few times. His word tempo, prepositional phrase use…he even taught me the word ‘schemering’ (twilight), and of course I used it. Found myself using a few words he taught me, in fact. That’s something I just do, and as I’ve grown as a writer I’ve become more cautious in allowing myself to read while I write. Give me Jane Austen and I’ll give you Pride and Prejudice 2. Feed me Roald Dahl and I’ll puke out a children’s story. Immerse me in Tolstoy and the Russian side of me will surface. It’s a fact about myself I refuse to see as a weakness. It’s just a literary tic, and, in fact, it’s got its uses. I found it particularly easy to slide into the Russian lilt during Taman because I’d just recently finished Tolstoy.

This behavior does make me think I’ve a touch of autism. That suck-it-all-up and spit it back out habit. If you don’t give me the words to begin with, I can’t start. I don’t know where to start. And it’s short phrases and idioms that trip my trigger. Learning ‘huis’ or ‘loop’ is fine for simple things, but I’ve gotta have the ‘time to get out of Dodge’ phrases. In Dutch, it’s been ‘Ik ben in de war’ (I am confused – a handy phrase to know) and ‘Wat is er aan de hand?’ (What’s going on?). I feel like my entire understanding of the language has been built on these two phrases. And the more of those phrases I get, the stronger becomes my foundation.

This dual language thing, now…that’s new to me. Refreshing. I can run at two speeds: high speed intellectual verbosity in English, and then what I think of as gear 2, Dutch. Gear 2 is simpler, more descriptive…more innocent, even. It has to be, seeing as I’m still learning. I judge myself to sit somewhere between a 10 year old and a 14 year old in comprehension. More difficult than that and I’ll catch the gist, but not the full meaning. But not too bad for only three years of work.

Yesterday, I figured out what the very best thing is about being in an adult body: you have full rights to say ‘no more of that’. As kids, we were all forced to do things we didn’t want to do. Eat our vegetables, do our homework, go to bed on time. We have even formed societal rules that reinforce this behavior on us when we’re full grown: timetables and agendas to stick to, taxes to pay, social niceties to observe. We give ourselves so little space to put our foot down it’s little wonder so many of us forget we have that power. Often it then comes out all screwed up – power plays, physical and sexual abuse, lying. I was reminded yesterday of my power to say ‘no’ in a very simple way: I changed the program on the tv. I’m one of those people who likes to put the tv on quietly in the background while I’m gaming or cleaning. I run Comedy Central almost all day, because I don’t want drama or news or negativity, and I find a quiet day long laugh track generally is the best thing for me. But lately CC’s been running Family Guy all day long. That program grates on my nerves. As usual, I quietly submitted for days, grousing in my mind that so much Family Guy was being shoved in my face (along with Friends – ugh!) but doing nothing about it. The simple act of putting in a DVD with NO commercials and NO Family Guy or Friends was amazingly freeing. It was with a heady feeling of power that I hit the button on the remote and said ‘no more of that’. My brother laughed. And that incident got locked in me. It’s so on my mind this morning that I can think of little else.

‘No more of that.’

I imagine myself with the power to do that to my unwanted repetitive thoughts. Holding a remote and hitting a button. ‘No more of that’. Yes. I’ll use that in future. The screen goes blank. Maybe some evil pixie will turn it back on over and over. I’ll keep turning it off.

No more of that.

This is the full power of being an adult. Saying ‘no’. It is why rape is such a horror to live through. It’s not just the physical assault, which is disgusting and sickening, but it’s the fact that our ‘no’ is disregarded. It puts us right back into two or three year old bodies, saying ‘no!’ firmly to our parents and just as firmly being forced to comply. It is an assault on the youngest and most innocent part of ourselves, a hideous reinforcement of the idea that we are not masters of our own fate.

…*sigh* And then they blame us for it…

No more of that.

Tomorrow is full. Doctor’s appointment, language class, script read through. Today is full, too: write out my essay, tidy the house, shower, make lembas. Wishing I’d bit the bullet on that last hated task and taken care of my orthopedics, but, oh well! Say it with me: no more of that.

Keep waking up at night, biting my mouth guard. Not hard, and not enough to cause pain. Just enough to wake me up. It’s made me aware of how often I do it. Answer? Very often.

My reaction to that is the same as my reaction to just about everything today.

No more of that.

Set-up

Tuesday was a set-up all the way. From my uncontrolled rage late Monday night to getting turned around and almost taking the wrong tram in Den Haag on the way home, it was one thing after the other seemingly designed to throw me, upset me, and make me lose my cool. Keeping said cool – and I did, thankfully – was costly. I’m taking today down. Maybe tomorrow, too, after I see my GP about that shoulder wound (redder and more irritated now than when it happened). Maybe even the rest of the week.

Our student film won two awards. Two out of five total, and the only group to win more than one. My co-star won for overall acting. I’d be lying if I said my ego didn’t take a small twinge on that one, but I reminded myself these awards were designed for the students, not some random actor they pulled in off the street. And the group/family feeling was there: we hung out together, sat together, took pictures, and celebrated together. If there’s one thing I can and should feel proud of, it’s this: I made it crystal clear to these kids that any award we won was a group effort; not one of us could do what we did without the others doing an equally excellent job. That sentiment was echoed back to me by their acceptance speeches. Every single one of them spoke about the team. No one was left out. I did a good job there. They didn’t just mouth the words, they felt them. They knew.

It helped, naturally, that a few people singled me out to tell me loved my acting.

And once again, we talked about working together on more projects. My co-star has an internship at a Dutch film company and said if she gets any more roles in front of the camera she’s going to demand I co-star with her. S wants to market the film to some festivals, see even if she can get some money from it. The director is itching for a story to pull us all together again. I feel buoyed up by their exuberance. Certain that sometime, somehow, we’ll all do another film. Maybe it’ll be my script, maybe something different – it doesn’t really matter. What matters is we’re family.

Family. Now there’s a word that’s had nasty connotation for me. But I was shown a different kind of family last night. Not only with the crew; that alone was great. But S’s parents are the sweetest, nicest people I’ve met in a long time. Her father told me I was always welcome in their home, that I was part of the family. I felt so comfortable with them I fell into using Dutch because their English isn’t that good. And they encouraged me, and helped me, and made me feel okay with using what Dutch words I know. My brother pointed out that they’re probably impressed by me. They’re Muslim, and these days…well. I don’t blink an eye. I ask questions when I’m curious. I’m respectful. And they’re so warm and welcoming and friendly that I’m just gobsmacked that this bigotry against all Muslims has been allowed to fester. But I find it akin to any religion: I don’t really care, unless you try to use your beliefs against me. If I catch a whiff of lecturing or blame or shaming, I’ll come down on you and your beliefs like a hellcat. That’s happened innumerable times with Christian sects. But I’ve yet to hear such blanket disregard of ALL of Christianity. I should. It’s the same. thing.

And please! Who hasn’t been annoyed by certain groups ringing your doorbell on Sundays to preach the word to you?

But no. Similarly, I came across an article today out of the Davos meeting. They’re claiming that AI will replace mostly women’s jobs. One article said ‘women and other low-skilled workers’. My gripe, naturally, is the assumption of what kinds of jobs you’ll find women in. The sexism is blatant to me, yet there it was carried in news articles across the internet with an attitude of ‘ah, yes, here’s some REAL facts we can report’. Zero comprehension about why this is so sexist. Am I the only one who sees this?

Blatant. fucking. bigotry. It’s nasty no matter who it’s directed at. Sex, religion, skin color, ability or disability, gender identification, life choice, lifestyle, body type, age, manner of dress, amount in your bank account – the list is endless, if you want to break it down. We’re just beginning to tackle the big issues. Underneath that there are thousands of subcategories. And all of it comes down to one issue: respect for others. Simple as that. Be open, be honest, and above all, be kind. I realize that for a sadist being kind is inflicting pain; this is aberrant behavior and cannot be allowed to flourish. But if there’s one thing humanity has ALWAYS allowed to flourish, it’s sadism. This idea of ownership. Greed. Gluttony. Power. Control. This trait has, in fact, been glorified. Held up as the pinnacle of all that is “winning the game”.

Shows you how small and despotic the human race really is.

…The winds are high today, never good for my mind. My shoulder is burning, and I’m worried that I’ve had a shingles recurrence and scratched off the blisters. It would be a strange place for shingles blisters, but the wounds look like it and it just gets more and more painful as time passes. Which is why I’m seeing the doc tomorrow. Meantime, I’m sequestering myself. Just in case. Having a hard time believing that’s what’s happened, but there are a few symptoms I can’t just blow off. Headaches. Chills. Been thinking it’s just stress from the premiere and school and such. But…maybe not. The risk to public health is utmost in my mind, so I’m erring on the side of caution.

I recognize I’m in a web of set-ups.

Take control

Time is beginning to collapse. Always happens around year end. You wait and wait for the holidays. Maybe you even enjoy the lights and songs and food of the season. Then sometime around the 18th of December, time crumples and suddenly it’s on you and there’s zero time left to do anything.

I’ve got that feeling. Keep telling myself I have ample time to write, ample time to flesh out the stories, ample time to allow myself to feel better before I begin, but I can’t shake it. Driving me nuts. My head is always half writing, half imagining death scenes and dialogue. Been told by my bro to smoke it down more times than I can count – and he only sees the half of it. He doesn’t see my pacing or hear me talking aloud to myself when he leaves the house.

Two things today: exercise and writing. Been slack on both, and it’s time I get back to it. I need to start walking again. Get me back on those treadmills. And I’m just gonna dive in. Today my bro’s headed to the comic book shop, as usual, meaning I have the entire day to myself – and I’m NOT gonna divide it between pacing like a mad eejit and allowing my head to blank out to some film. Back to part one of the thriller for re-writes.

Re-read the first part again. It’s good. It’s tight. But I can make it better. Most of what I’m facing is easy, but I know my editing will shorten the length overall and I don’t want to lose time, so I need an additional scene. That’ll take a bit more work, but I’ve already thought it out.

How do I market this if the theater group in the states does the original version, and then I re-write it to be part of the trilogy? No flipping idea. *sigh* I’ll just be thrilled to have my work performed.

And I’m thinking ahead. What’s the next story? What do I tackle now? Another tidbit to drive me bonkers. Finish this first. Deal with that later. I’ve a list of story ideas and a folder of weird and unsolved mysteries. More than enough material for another script. In a way, that’s okay. I mean…it’s maddening, and distracting, but it also means I’ve thought out the thriller long enough that I feel it’s old hat. I know the story. I don’t have to think it out again and again. All I gots to do is type it out.

Manic, manic, manic. I’m on a spree. A mostly contained spree, but a spree nonetheless. No wonder I was clamping down on my jaw. I can’t stop my head.

Deep breath and slow movements. Small steps. Same prescription as I give myself for depression: keep going, but slowly. Don’t jump in any direction. Always move with caution or you’ll hurt yourself. And always, always, rest. Be kind to myself. Give myself props for what I can do rather than tear myself down for what I can’t do. …Sounds great on the page, but in reality my head’s putting up a lot of resistance. Scribble noise. If I was using paper and a pencil, there’d be a big scribble mark on the page. Just…frustration given form. Not so easy when you type. But trust me, it’s there.

Beginning to feel off. Out of sorts all the time. Thought I was doing better, feeling better, so I tried some pizza for dinner the other night. Talked normally, laughed. Woke up the next day feeling worse. More drugs. Back to soft food. I suspect the morphine is increasing my manic feelings right now, that antsy can’t quite sit still sensation that keeps me up and going even when I’m tired. Fairly obvious I still need it, tho. Monitoring my water intake, my food intake, my sleep, my pills… I need an assistant just for that. And when I’m not squirrelly tired, I’m so out of it I don’t even hear my phone ringing.

Hoping an hour’s walk will help. Or start to help.

I guess it all comes down to trusting myself. Right? I’m afraid of all the hang-ups that could rear their heads. I’m afraid of my upcoming dental appointment, that it will send me back into searing pain and start the entire cycle again. I’m afraid of spending my holiday nursing said pain, and not writing. …Yep. As if in confirmation, I just got hit with pain on the right side of my head.

Fine. Break it down.

Part one: the areas I need to re-write are already highlighted. I know what to do. The only question is the additional scene, and that – rightly – I should leave for last. Max words to that final scene: 1000. Max time: 2 hours. Time on other re-writes: 3 hours. Even with taking thinking breaks, that puts part one done in two days of work.

Part three: done. Stop thinking about it.

Part two: still fluid. However. I have the first version, and can re-write from there. Have to flip around the characters, female to male to accommodate the group. Have to modify the death scenes; I know what I want now. But the basic story, the creep factor…that stands as is. Even if I take a week with it, which I suspect I won’t, I’ve got the time. More than enough time. Everything else – production notes, sound and lighting cues – that can come later, when I’ve got the green light.

So stop. counting days. on your calendar! Rest! Get back into the swing of your life. Walk on the treadmills. Take your pills, baby yourself. You’ve got this. You can open up those files and tinker with the scripts any time you want. Do it today. Prove to yourself how easy it is, how little time it’s gonna take by doing some right here, right now.

Don’t let time push you around like a wimp. Take control.

Save yourself

Slept decently. Yea! Small victories are sometimes the most important.

Woke, however, with one thing on my mind: the friend request on FB from an ex-neighbor who done me wrong. I’ve let it sit for a month, as I do when I’m unsure of what action I should take. I finally woke this morning finding I had something to say.

We are not friends. Not since you so coldly shut me out over the farmers’ market. Why are you asking to be my friend now? Do you think I’d simply forget your refusal to give me a lift, your refusal to talk to me at the time? Do you think friends simply ignore past problems and they’re magically white-washed away?

I was, and still am, hurt over your actions.

In fact, every single one of the women involved in that incident can go to hell. You all wanted to cheat the system, to by-pass the law, to sell illegally, and, most importantly, to sell substandard and dangerous products to the public. I didn’t call in any inspector for you or anyone else at the market, it was for me. Of course the inspector then saw the signs in town, and of course she checked things out. That was her job! And the law. And if people got in hot water because their kitchens were filthy and they were finally found out, it isn’t MY fault. Never was. It’s THEIR fault. Yet, I was blamed and ostracized.

I suppose in a strange way I should say thanks. I didn’t know at the time what a den of thieves and liars I was getting involved with, and that incident showed me beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are people I do not want to associate with.

Live your life out on your tiny plot of land at the end of that peninsula. Take what joy you can from the life you’ve created. I wish you no ill.

But stop asking me to be your friend.

Again, this is sitting on my desktop unsent. I’ll think about it for a few more days before I do anything. All I want from this communication is to state what I feel and think. How easy to tell someone how I feel if I don’t really care about them! Easy! This is it; you fucked up and I’m hurt. Wish I could do that with everybody.

But, I can’t. The more I care, the more I risk by telling my truth. And the more difficult my truth becomes to state.

I don’t trust a lot of people with my truth. That’s a mess. Don’t state the truth, resentment builds, eventually there’s an argument – which I don’t want in the first place. I’m working on it. Still haven’t got to the point I can say something like ‘Ow, that hurts’ when people say hurtful things to me, but the day is coming. I have some fresh, powerful memories of feeling good about myself and being around positive people. That helps immensely. I’m less likely to take shit right now because I’ve had a taste of what good relations feel like.

And I don’t want to be angry about this. I don’t want to stand up for myself with a red face, yelling or screaming.

I just want to be able to stand.

…That’s not asking too much, is it?

*sigh* And the thought occurs that I may have to do this over and over. Tell my truth to the people I was too afraid to say it to before. Seems to keep cropping up. Just when I think I’ve shaken off the last of my past, someone comes creeping back with a message or a friend request. …The weirdest part is that I know I’m making this harder than it needs to be. I’m the one reluctant to take the chance. And I’m the one who needs to be brave right now. Do it. I risk nothing by stating my truth; they’re already out of my life.

Shatter that last barrier.

No. more. abuse. Not physical, not mental, not spiritual. I have my foothold now. I know what it’s supposed to look and feel like. I found that ‘click’ with people I’ve been so desperately searching for. They’ve made me see a part of me I didn’t know I kept hidden. And they loved it, and loved me, and I loved them in return.

Your family shouldn’t hold you back. Your friends shouldn’t drag you down. If you’re out there in whatever time and space you occupy and the people around you make you continuously feel shitty about yourself, get the fuck out. Now. Don’t think about what you’ll be losing. You’re trained to think that way. You’ve been conditioned, subordinated, brainwashed. Just get the fuck out. You’ve a lifetime to sort thru everything, so give yourself that lifetime. Get. out.

And yes, you’ll be called a runner. A coward, for leaving. These people will try to shame you even as you attempt to save yourself. Ignore them. Leave. Cut all ties. Change your name. Whatever you have to do to get away from them, do it.

Save yourself.

Let loose

I get to be someone’s nightmare.

Received the script for the short film. What a flippin’ joy! Not that it’s superb or anything, no. Written by native Dutch speakers, it has as many mistakes in grammar and spelling as my Dutch homework has every week. But I get to use a knife, and have blood dripping from me, and try out a real fight scene.

Suppose I shouldn’t say I got this 100%. Still have to audition, after all. Tho I’ve little doubt they’ll take me. For one, they seemed to be scrambling to find people to do the roles. For another, I be good, and they’re asking me to do a role that’s weird – my forte. I even have a blond wig, which I’ll wear because the character is written as having ‘long, blond hair’.

Of course…it might not happen. I might be disappointed. But the mentat in me (sorry, I’m re-reading the Dune series again) tells me the odds of that happening are very slim.

Waiting ’til the sun is up before I SMS my Thursday teacher to tell her I’m not coming. I could go. The script isn’t that tough to learn. But I’m not gonna go. I’m gonna get some gentle exercise at the gym, read my lines, prep the role, and get ready to travel all by lonesome up to Den Haag on Friday. A little frightened of getting lost. Always am. Don’t know why; I’ve never been lost and not been able to eventually find my way. But I always get tense. Will I find it? Will I find it in time? Building in an extra half to take (according to Google maps) a 7 minute walk from the station to the meeting place. Figure I’ll buy a city map when I get there; have none in the house. Last time I was in Den Haag, there was a lot of construction going on and the route Google maps gave me was absolutely useless. Worried? Get your back-up plans in place.

And this time, for the first time, I feel comfortable enough with the language to ask directions from anyone. My Dutch is good enough I shouldn’t miss a word, or a turn, or anything anyone tells me.

Fell into writing yesterday. Didn’t plan it. Just…did it. Opened up part three of the thriller. Knew I wanted an additional scene with one of the characters. Read the script. It was obvious where the extra scene should go, who should be in it, and what should be said. My fingers started typing even as my head was asking are you sure you want to open up this can of worms? But it wasn’t a can of worms. It was easy, almost too easy. Another one of those things I’ve obviously thought through and completed in my brain. Do that, and the writing of it becomes almost automatic.

I’m pleased. The extra scene adds to the story. Always a bit worried extra scenes or dialogue will end up detracting from what I have. Guess I should put that worry to rest. I know how to weave it in seamlessly.

Did send out a rant – check that, two rants as of this morning – to Celtx, the online software I’m using. Once again, it won’t let me bring a new project in as a stageplay. Even when I ask it to. I’ve told admin about this before, and today I received a very pat ‘hit the stageplay button on your project folder’ answer. Oh, they got their asses chewed off! Like my original complaint wasn’t clear! I really don’t expect a reply to this morning’s email. It had a lot of CAPS in it, and I asked them if they thought I was a complete moron. Not exactly the tone that will elicit a speedy reply. Must admit, I allowed myself to blow my top. I already decided I’ll take it in as whatever the system gives me. The local group I’m working with…they only need something they can read. It doesn’t have to be bloody perfect. Just readable. So that’s all I’m really after (tho it would be nice to get a fucking stageplay when their system says it’s capable of that).

And if the world blows up and I get kicked off Celtx for bad language in my email? Well, I’ll just format from my word processing system. It’ll be slow, and very un-perfect, but it’s the way it WAS done for years and years. I think I’ll manage.

Screw this half-assed shit that’s trying to pass itself off as something good.

My bro keeps harping about autism. In connection with me. Where once he scoffed at the idea, I think he’s now firmly convinced I suffer from some form of it. It wasn’t noticeable in English. My parents were verbose, and I listened closely. But you can tell now that I’ve moved into Dutch. The memory lapses. The strange way my brain works. How I have to write it before I can speak it. As well as the overwhelming frustration of it all, and the freeze-ups I experience. I’m not particularly happy about that. What’s the point? There’s no medication that could help me; my brother tells me that, too. Why do I have to have some label attached to me? To explain away my behavior when I ‘get out of line’?

Why can’t I just be accepted as different?

Part of me says ‘Don’t you want to get better if you can? Wouldn’t it be nice to not struggle so hard? Look at your bro. He’s better on medication. Better able to work. Better able to control his thoughts.’

But…do I want to control my thoughts? Isn’t it because I go to the edge that I have the ability to act the roles I do, to write the stories I do? Do I really want to hobble myself?

No.

I just want to let loose.