Pick one

Vomit.

Wish I could. Wish I could vomit all this out of me. The anger, the burning hate that threatens to consume my mind. I want to strike out, to hit, to hurt, to kill. Make ’em bleed ’cause they fucking deserve it. I am very wary of this feeling; I know it does nothing but breed more problems. But I feel like I could just punch something or someone and keep punching until my hand breaks.

The weather is not helping. High winds and hail storm against the window, echoing the warfare I feel inside. Noisy shit that just won’t leave me alone no matter how many times I decide to let it go. Keeps coming back like some rabid dog determined to fucking bite me.

Did well yesterday. Give me a gold star. Homework, gym, and held back on smoking too much. Still want to cut down further, but real progress.

…Meh. I recognize this is part of the process. Increased irritation and anger while going thru withdrawal. Doing my best to keep that in mind. It prevents me from killing anyone, but it doesn’t help me sleep.

Dentist tomorrow. Joy. Have to tell him about my teeth. Oh, gee. Yeah, they still hurt. Sometimes here, sometimes there. Sometimes not at all. I can’t figure it out, and I can’t stop it. And I’m fucking fed up with it. Please don’t fucking touch this one nor that one. And please don’t hurt me anymore.

Don’t want to go out there today. The winds and hail are scheduled to continue, and it just makes me want to hole up under my blanket. I could. I know what I need to do before the premiere and it’ll take one day if I’ve got my shit together. I have the time to skive off. Tempting. But staying home means tempting myself with smoking all day long. It’s so easy to light up and let my worries drift away. So I don’t know.

I also don’t know about my hair. My bro has officially given me funds to go to the salon and do whatever. Now that I have permission, I’m really wondering if I want to cut my long locks. Managed to sneak in that shower yesterday, and as usual when faced with this type of decision, the alternatives all make themselves attractive. I stepped out of the shower with my hair already hanging in soft ringlets – the type of hairstyle some women work hours to achieve. And I wondered…do I really want to chop all that off? Isn’t it pretty? Yes, it is pretty. That’s a plus on the long hair side. But it’s also a pain. It’s so long now I HAVE to blow dry it because air drying it takes more than 8 hours. I don’t like that. I don’t like the fact that when I sit with my head relaxed against the back of my chair, my hair gets caught behind my back. I don’t like the extra heat I feel in bed, either. It’s heavy, and hot. …That’s a lot more negatives than positives. Should be an easy decision.

Fucking dithering. I’m worrying about possible future regret. That’s a moot point. It doesn’t exist, it may never exist. Kudos to me for trying to think ahead and consider the full consequences of my actions – but stop getting caught in ONE scenario. Many possible futures exist. Pick one, and work towards it.

Pick one…

There’s my problem. I want conflicting things. I want, in essence, the impossible. Long hair without the hassle. Smoking without the detrimental health effects. Weight loss without the work. Everything is conditional. If you want that, you must put up with or do this.

Even love. Humans have this intellectual construct called unconditional love. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist; even the “impossible” exists on the e curve, but I believe it exists in flashes of temporary feeling rather than as a stable, common emotion. One cannot feel loved without expecting certain things. We feel loved if people listen to us. Are there for us. Share their lives with us. Laugh with us. Hug us. But that means we expect these things to create this feeling – we put those conditions on our feelings of love. Can you feel loved when someone spits at you? Hits you? Degrades who you are, what you believe or feel? And wouldn’t someone who could say yes, I feel loved when people treat me like shit, be viewed as mentally unfit? Out of the norm? Strange and unwell for feeling that? …I think “unconditional love” is just a misnomer. What we’re really saying is ‘understand me, forgive me for what I think are my sins’. Is that even possible? I wouldn’t know. My immediate family was the type that never forgot, and never really forgave. My sins were repeatedly brought up and thrown in my face, every time things went wrong. “You always”. “You never”.

The hypocrisy I can’t forgive them for is expecting me to forgive this behavior, while simultaneously never forgiving me.

Intellectually, I think I’m at the point where I realize I have to forgive to move beyond this point. That doesn’t mean letting them back in my life; protecting myself is still the most important thing, particularly while I’m feeling vulnerable. I get it. I know what I eventually have to do. I just don’t know how to get there. This is so deep in me, I feel it’s burned into my DNA. – Which is why most of posts degenerate into family gripes, like this one.

*sigh* Your future is out there.

Pick one.

 

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So easy to fly

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

52. I can no longer say I’m barely in my fifties. You can get away with that at 51, but at 52 you’re officially IN there. Two years since the big 5-0 and running towards 55. I gotta say, it don’t feel bad. Especially since I really can run towards 55 – if I’m so inclined.

So. *ahem* I got the film! I got the film!! Signed into my google account yesterday (I’ve several email accounts under my pseudonyms) to find a message from the casting director asking me to contact her. Sent out an excited email in reply. Then I signed in FB to find she’d also contacted me out there. With two messages sent to me in quick succession, both containing phone numbers, I weighed my desire: did I want this bad enough to pick up my mobile and call a Dutch number? Yes. Yes, I did. And, oh Goddess! She’s a fan. She saw me in the last play – even spoke to me after a performance. Her picture is cut off online, but I think I may remember her. She sure as hell remembered me, and I had that weird moment when someone remembers you and your memory doesn’t dredge up a corresponding memory to remember them. Ach, I’m so naturally bad at that type of thing! Anyway, she was VERY excited to have me – ME – onboard. So very excited I got excited, and had a damned difficult time winding down last night. It’s a psychological thriller, and my part is big. Not the main part; that’s left for the 20-something actor who’ll play my son (can you imagine? me as a mother?). But I’ll be needed every day for filming (must be a mother issue psychological thriller…gee, I can relate). I look forward to some real acting – crying, screaming, trembling with fear or anger. Letting it all go on camera.

I’m gonna be in a mo-vie! I’m gonna be in a mo-vie!

I’m just so excited! This may be the best birthday present ever.

My head’s just flying. Imagining people asking me to work with them again. Imagining bigger directors seeing my work and contacting me for roles. Imagining, even, collecting awards for roles I haven’t played yet (yes, I’m THAT far into the future). Then there are the writing fantasies: I’ll talk about my work. Someone will get interested. Someone will say, gee why don’t you take that to film? And on and on and on…

Here’s how full my head has been: I haven’t even had time to dream of Taman being well received.

Did clear my scriptwriting desktop. Whatever faults lie in Taman, stand. I think I got most of them. Now I’m ready to load up the thrillers.

Came to a very clear decision yesterday on my Thursday language lessons. I’m not continuing them after this semester. Just. not. worth it. The room is too crowded, and my teacher…well. I think she’s got a problem with me. Was nagged yesterday on pronunciation of a word I’ve known for over two years. Do not know what she was on about; she kept repeating the word and telling me I was saying it wrong. I told her I couldn’t hear any difference between what she said and what I said. She kept nagging at me. I told her I didn’t actually CARE if I made a few mistakes here and there in Dutch pronunciation, as long as I was understood. “People will know you’re American”, she told me. So? I asked. I then clearly stated that I’ve never claimed to be anything OTHER than a dumb American, and I wasn’t going to pretend I was. Besides, I said, everyone has a bleeding accent. Even with your own people. And then there’s the mumblers. To tell me that there’s only ONE way to say a word, and that if I don’t say that word exactly the way she tells me I’ll look or sound like an idiot (or whatever she meant to imply), is complete and utter bullshit. Especially when, post this discussion, my co-student read a sentence aloud that made ME cringe at her poor pronunciation of every word – and she received no nagging nor correction.

Homey ain’t gonna put up with dat no more.

Side note: I kept my temper. My teacher might not have felt that was true; she brought out that passionate side of me that drives my words with a forcefulness some people find intimidating. But I didn’t lose my cool, and I knew that. How she perceived it is her own thing.

I feel like I stand on a knife’s edge. There’s a tipping point at my feet. Something’s in the air. One way lies success; the other, oblivion. I know it as sure as I’m sitting here (or I’m just really, really lost in a manic spree…that could be true, too). Feels a little unstuck in time, if I’m honest. My mind’s eye shoots out, far into the future, but my real eyes see my reality. Then I get a jolt, coming back into my body. Doing my best to anchor myself: this is real, this is true, this is life. Even if I get many more film roles or get my own writing produced some things will still hold true. I’ll still sit with my brother watching tv in the evenings. I’ll still get up, shit, make coffee, and write. That’s life. That’s my anchor. My armpits will still stink, I’ll still sweat at the gym, and it will still be difficult to say no to cakes and sweets. Reality. No amount of success will take that away. Remember that.

Today is all fun. Play games, enjoy films, and go out for some Greek food later on. Even if it rains (and it sounds wet outside), that rain will be magical.

Because today it’s so easy to fly.

This is me

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

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

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

But I’m hanging on.

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

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

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

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

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

Too political? Perhaps. It is my heritage.

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

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

This is me.

Decision made

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Yesterday I received a b-day wish from my oldest brother, who still lives in the states. Dealings with my oldest brother, D, have always been tricky. Something happened to him on one of our family trips. We stopped to fill up the gas tank in Tennessee. He disappeared for 10 minutes behind the station. When he came back to the car, that was it. He changed. He began saying ‘maw’ and ‘paw’ rather than mom and dad, found a Dixie style hat he wore into the ground, and started growing a scraggly and unkempt beard. He was never the same afterwards.

Sometimes I think aliens abducted my real brother and left a fake in his place. That’s how big the change was.

So the message reads “Happy birthday, little sister. I love you. It’s been so long since we’ve hugged and now I think we never will again.” That’s typical. This is the first time in over a year since I’ve heard from him. He always (1) has an overt reason to contact me, like a birthday, (2) calls me his little sister as if to invoke our DNA tie in some ritualistic mumbo-jumbo, and then (3) throws a healthy heaping spoonful of guilt onto the pile to try to make me feel as sad as he does.

This is the guy who supported Trump.

This is the guy who I’m pretty sure was in love with me while I grew up.

And while I admit that everyone is a fluid artwork, changing every minute of every day, that particular work of art turns my stomach. His canvas is filled with black oil and red blood. There are scratches and gouges, huge slashes across his surface. Ash and cement and bones are all mixed in, sticking out here and there, making what could be a smooth and lovely picture into something grotesque.

He is a mockery of a man, and his surface resemblance to my father just makes it all that much worse.

There. I’ve said it. I always go on about my sister – and trust me, she’s a big enough bitch you could go on and on and never reach the end of her crap – but I rarely discuss my oldest brother. Certainly, dodging his covert and sometimes overt sexual advances taught me a lot about *wince* “leading men around by their dicks”. Should I say thanks for that? Goddess knows, it helped shape me. I don’t feel it was one of those things that was good for me, though. I am a skewed monkey.

Pity. That’s what I always felt for him. Pity. Pity that he so obviously fawned over me. Pity that he would never admit to his feelings so he could never move beyond them. So much pity that in the end, I knew my moving far, far away would be as good for him as it was for me.

This is one of those things I’m fairly certain everyone in the family picked up on but never discussed. I’m fairly certain of it because of a message I received from my nephew, my brother’s son, a few years after I left. It accused me of ‘abandoning’ his father, my oldest brother. Like we were married. Oh, there was plenty of language in that message just from my nephew, too. If my brother felt that way about me, my nephew definitely thought of me as a ‘mother’ figure. Plenty of hurt to go around between those two.

Small wonder I ran away with the one family member who didn’t make me feel wrong in one way or another. I’ve caught plenty of looks from people when I tell them I live with my bro. It’s always the same, and you don’t even have to speak any particular language to understand it: what’s wrong with her? Like they expect me at any moment to begin shouting obscenities and twitching due to Tourette Syndrome, or say that I’m in the last stages of some illness and about to drop dead. I don’t know how, yet, to put my life into a nutshell. To state in one or two sentences the full why of my situation. Usually, I slough it off with my RA. These days that statement is truer than ever before. I just couldn’t live alone; it’s too much for me. But that’s not how it began. In the beginning, it was my choice. And it was a hard choice to make; at that point in my life I had difficulty stating what I preferred watching on television much less what I wanted to DO with my life. That’s how screwed up I was. Couldn’t make any choices because I’d been made to feel that all my choices were wrong. My bro helped me through that. Kept reminding me of the person I was before. Before the abusive ex, before the stalking. Before the full psychosis of my family let loose on me and me alone as my bro went into military service. He kept giving me choices. He kept telling me it was my job to heal.

He still says that to me.

I don’t know if now is the time to stand up. Say what I need to say to my oldest brother in a last message – I certainly wouldn’t expect to hear from him again if I ever do send it. Or do I listen to my father whispering in my ear ‘don’t burn your bridges‘. But, dad – D was never a bridge for me. Never a healthy bridge. He’s a diseased bridge. A bridge that could collapse any moment, taking me down with it. And look at me! A full post moaning and explaining. I shouldn’t have to explain this much. I shouldn’t feel that awful ‘oh, goddess!’ feeling every single time I have to deal with someone. No, dad, some bridges should be burned. In fact, they NEED to be burned to make way for the new.

What do you know: decision made.

Flowers and Fears

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For the first time in 35 years I have fresh flowers sitting in a vase. When I was a kid I’d gather them from outside; lilacs, peonies, and occasionally a bunch of weeds I thought looked pretty. I stopped doing it when I was 15 or 16. Maybe it was the beginning of real depression for me. All I remember thinking was how sad it seemed for the flowers to die off in that vase, cut off from their sisters and shoved into a foreign environment. It didn’t feel right anymore. It made me more sad than happy. Then I convinced myself (and, I think, everyone around me) that I didn’t like flowers by loudly declaring that I thought cut blooms were a waste of money. So I never got them. Correction. I got flowers once. From a friend for my birthday. That’s the only time. But, you know…flowers were expensive and it seemed there were always more pressing things I had to spend money on.

Not so in the land of flowers.

Yesterday I picked up two bunches of tulips that were on sale for €1 each. Yellow and purple. I wanted fresh flowers for when J comes to visit. For me, nothing screams Netherlands like fresh flowers. I know it’s a bit early, but with the sale price I thought what the hell. I’m so glad I did it. Can’t even begin to describe what those bright blooms are doing for me right now. It’s like two dozen bits of sunshine sitting on my table.

I think fresh flowers will be found in my home more and more.

My hair is sublime. The roots are done and I’m sporting a new cut. More layers for the hot weather. Showered yesterday and my hair went complete Shirley Temple. Ringlet curls EVERYWHERE. Not frizzy, out of control stuff, but perfect little swirls that look like I put curlers in my hair.

Shit…okay. Gonna talk about something that I don’t feel so good about. I made the mistake of bombarding my bro with information the other day. He’d just come home and was wound up. I didn’t help. It’s been a long time since I did something like that, but the sting of his reaction – which I KNOW he didn’t mean to so sound so snappish, but he did – really hurt. I’ve been berating myself for it ever since. It was a set-up. I KNOW it was a set-up. Had he been more relaxed or had I been a wee bit less manic myself, none of it would have happened. Nonetheless. I’d like an apology from him. I’d like to apologize TO him, as well. But my gut says I’ll apologize and he won’t. He usually doesn’t. Maybe that’s my fault. I don’t ask for an apology. I always feel apologies should be given freely, not asked for. An asked for apology is kind of worthless. Is that my stubborn pride? I don’t know.

I guess the best thing I could do is just tell him I felt hurt. Not like he attacked me verbally, but I DO feel skittish over broaching the subject with him again. That’s just a basic break down in communication, and should be addressed. There’s no real hurt feelings over it. He didn’t say I was wrong or ‘bad’ in any way. He just got that ADHD/Autism look on his face, which unfortunately conveys a lot of anger and frustration. I took it in. Not my fault and not his fault. But it does need to be brought to light so it doesn’t fester in the dark recesses of my head.

Ugh. I may need to write that down in detail to bring up much later on. The timing isn’t right for a long discussion. We’re both attempting to take care of various tasks before our guests arrive, and we’re both a bit naturally wound up. Talking about it now…smells like another set-up to me. Too easy for one of us to say the wrong thing and set each other off.

Right. Check. Handle this in adult mode. Unfortunately, the discussion involves a purchase. If I wait to talk to him until after our friends leave, the purchase will already have been made and the consequences will just have to be dealt with. If I broach the subject at the wrong time, we might have one hell of an argument just due to our own moods.

DAMN! This really is an adult moment. Make a fucking decision on your own, Beeps. People do it all the fucking time. It can’t be THAT hard.

Right. I need a few questions answered first. That means getting them on my own, not relying on my brother to sort it out. Okay. The question is over some train tickets on offer by a local supermarket chain. They sound almost too good to be true – which is what I want to find out. That means heading downtown to the train station to talk to someone in English. Go right to the source. What, exactly, will these tickets get me? If all seems okay, I’ll buy them. Any flutter of doubt and I won’t.

Great. I can do it tomorrow. I can even talk to my teacher today, in case I don’t get someone with good English at the train station. Get a few easy Dutch questions ready that I can handle. Or maybe my teacher will just look it up on his computer and tell me right there.

Oh, hell. I didn’t count on all this grown up stuff. I guess I can handle train tickets, for Pete’s sake. Still…

One more opportunity to prove to myself I can do it, right? That’s what I need to see. Not a mountain of obstacles to get over, but a chance to say to myself that I did it all by myself and feel some pride, some confidence in myself.

I hope I’m ready.

Pull the right string

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Nothin’ else for it. Time to write that note. Time to clear the air and get it out of my life. I just sent Ben something on FB. Figured I’d do it before I begin my blog. This way, if he starts to message me or something, well, I’m on line with my homies. Already in honest rant mode. Felt I could handle it better than the afternoon, when I feel spent and need to rest. I kept it short and succinct. I told him I was not comfortable the other night. That’s my own shit, and I owned it. I laid no blame. In another lifetime there’d be nothing to blame him for; his advances would have been reciprocated.

So now I have ‘closure’ on this current chapter in my life. I hope it will ease my troubled feelings. I hope I’ll be able to go back out on Facebook without fear. Been avoiding it for the past week. Been avoiding a lot – basic human contact, for the most part. Caught myself shrinking away from men who passed close by me on the metro or in a hallway. Truth is, this past week I’ve given every man other than my bro a wide berth. Sometimes I feel my bro is the ONLY man on the planet who won’t come on to me. Hell, I feel that way a LOT. Which is why I’m so safe with him. Anything can happen; he’ll never grab me or hurt me or force me. Never. It would never cross his mind, which is more than I can say for my OTHER brother left back in the states. HE made it quite clear that he’d fuck me. When I was young. As I grew up. As an adult. Pretty much all the fucking time.

Nothing comes of nothing, and nothing is all I’ve been doing. At least productively. Feels like my hands are full with cravings I’m trying to manage and bad memories I’m trying to deal with. Found the perfect film distractions for me yesterday; Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2. I so love Hit Girl. She’s uber cool. And I want the purple wig. Action AND comedy; who could resist? And who would think I’d allow a Nicholas Cage film in my home? I really don’t like him, but he dies in Kick-Ass and he does a good Adam West impression. So the Kick-Ass run is allowed, despite his appearance in it (besides, it’s hard to hate Nicholas Cage in such a screwed up role as Big Daddy – how could I not like a guy who shoots bullets at his kid?).

Sugar. I want sugar and fat. And smoke. But mostly sugar. I tell ya, give me the fucking munchies ANY day of the week over what I’ve been dealing with. Munchies are EASY to disregard. This…This is much harder to ignore, to not reach for sugar and fats and caffeine to make me feel better (or nothing). Alcohol is NOT a problem in my life anymore; I still have one beer sitting in my fridge and no desire to have it. Now, if it was a sugary-laden drink served up with a dollop of whipped cream on top, I’d be drinking it as I type away.

I am back in the pool today. And – if I need it – every day this week. I found the next closest pool to the house. Disappointingly, it’s close to downtown – an 18 minute metro ride away. Doubt that I can make my first thing in the morning swims; they start at 7 a.m., just about the time the first metro is available. But they do have lane swimming on days when my pool doesn’t. As far as I’m concerned, heading in on the metro to swim is a better use of my cash than anything else I can think of right now. Get me in that water! My bro laughed at me when I told him I could live in the pool and swim all day long. He said I’d poop out eventually…I’d just like to know how long that would take. Two hours? Three? Five? How long could I just go at that easy pace? When I’m in the groove I swear I feel I could swim the channel. And I don’t want to stop; the rhythm of the swim takes over and it’s what I become: just this machine in the water, concentrating on my breath, moving repetitiously in the cool wet. I lose myself, and I love it.

Have a new pack of Ativan – all in the bubble packaging – sitting by my chair, a gift from my bro to help me calm down. The last 10 pill pack took what, 4 months to go through? Six? More? I don’t even remember when he gave me the last one because I’m so tight with them. I’d really like a doctor or counselor to say ‘No. Take them. Take a whole one every night and a half of one every day until we get you settled. You’re struggling too much.’. I’d like that permission. I doubt I’ll get it. So I remain tight with my usage.

Just flitting around different areas of the house. Very much like that hummingbird I thought I was becoming: here and there, unable to settle down to anything. It’s distressing in and of itself; I feel I’m letting my language slip and my work slip and everything slip while I indulge in feeling shitty. I acknowledge I’m in the middle of a process, and that’s what you gotta do when you’re in the middle of a process, but I can’t stop beating myself up for being USELESS right now. I mean, when all I do is make my fucking bed and I feel good about that because it was SOMETHING I did, I don’t think I’m doing all that well.

Where is the goddamn life I ordered? This isn’t it. I distinctly remember asking to be slim, beautiful, and rich. Not that any of that would help me right now. It wouldn’t; it doesn’t. I must admit that if I could shift my perspective a bit, I could see that I am slim and beautiful and rich. Ergo: it is my perspective that’s the problem, not my body or my finances. And THAT particular line of thought does nothing to make me feel better; if I already have everything I asked for, then I’m REALLY squandering it away, aren’t I?

Some days I wish I’d never trained on the fucking debate team.

Scoop my brain out and serve it up in a sundae dish. Just fucking get rid of it.

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Life is chaotic and time doesn’t exist. Nothing really fucking matters. Only what I have inside; only the me. Not what I do or how I look or even how I end up living and dying. Because NONE of that is me. It doesn’t matter if I quit smoking or not…

Let me get my own head around that, ’cause my fingers typed it without any thought.

Yes. That fits. That’s right; it rings true. I am more concerned with living well than living long. I would rather any counseling help me on my issues like rape and trust than addiction. It’s all tied into one knot; I know that. But I’m shifting my focus from my addiction to my other issues: that’s what needs tackling in my life. The smoking is a side issue. Help me deal with everything else and the smoking will naturally fall away.

Just pull the right string, and it will all unravel…

Here Begins a New Life

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Another tirade, another hellish day trying to get my emotions under control. I actually think I did pretty well; no screaming or yelling, no slamming anything around, no breaking anything. I didn’t even walk out of language class, tho I was sorely tempted. Today I am paying the price for keeping it in; I feel slightly ill again, I cannot sleep past 5 a.m. tho I am tired, and I am restless and unsure of myself. Seems par for the course lately.

I will NOT go back to my Thursday/Friday language class. Nope. The instructor is an ass-fuck. A complete fucking idiot, and I’ve had my fill of his shit. I tried; I tried to sit through it, to sit through all the nonsense and back and forth and shit that for the last two weeks has made me MORE confused about the Dutch language than ever before. Yesterday was the last goddamn straw. For the umpteenth time, we were given homework that we never went over in class. So I never know if I did well or not. If I need correction or not. Because he doesn’t take the fucking time or have the fucking brains to go over what he gave us last time. Maybe that’s fine for his star pupil, Daisy (NOT her name). Daisy is from Hong Kong, and has lived here for 15 or 20 years. She’s a grandmother and the Dutch flies fast and hard when she speaks. She’s in the class because she can’t pass her citizenship exam. And I think the instructor is gearing everything towards her and her needs. We were given the task of writing short letters to a doctor as a homework assignment. Apparently Daisy walks on water, because the only homework we went over was photocopies of her letter (yeah; the instructor made copies of her letter). First sentence? Wrong verb use. Second sentence? Okay, but fucking too long – I got called out for trying to make long sentences, yet Daisy can apparently fill an entire fucking paragraph with one sentence and that’s perfectly fine. Then there’s also just the goddamn spoken language problem…No one in that class – and I mean NO ONE because even the instructor’s pronunciation is sloppy – speaks without an accent. I got corrected on one diphthong, like it was THE most important thing in the world that I learn how to pronounce the Dutch ‘ui’ property, yet NOT ONE other student speaks clearly or without a heavy middle eastern or eastern accent. And I’m supposed to listen to that shit and learn how to speak CORRECTLY?!? I also do not learn well when I’m asked to write something in class and the instructor comes over and writes OVER MY ANSWER several more sentences that HE thinks I should fucking include. It’s supposed to be a letter from ME. Stop putting YOUR words in MY mouth. I would never say the things he wrote down. Fine if you want me to learn; JUST DON’T DO IT SO FUCKING STUPIDLY AND WE’LL GET ALONG OKAY.

I kid you not: this class is two hours, and yesterday one hour and 55 minutes was a complete fucking waste. My notepaper from yesterday is filled with geometric doodles, the crazy tight kind I make when I’m bored out of my fucking skull. Forget the margins; I filled the entire lower half of the page.

Pft. I’ll be going to the OTHER Thursday class, the one near my home that I can WALK to rather than take the metro. The one that starts at 10 a.m., not 9 a.m. The one my bro’s been in for 2 weeks now and he’s happy, getting one on one attention, and a good grounding in the basics. I can HAVE my Thursday morning hour and a half swim, get dried off, buy an orange juice, and STILL have time to walk my wet swimsuit back to the apt. before class starts. Sounds fucking ideal to me!

Can’t tell if I’m extra angry because of withdrawal symptoms. I’m sure that’s what all the counselors will think first. As far as I’m concerned, this is a return to my normal, non-high state: full of rage. And the first goddamn thing out of my mouth is going to be how pissed off I am that everything that I will say is gonna be slagged off on addiction. Fuck you. Fuck you and your preconceived fucking notions about how humans should act. That’s all this fucking is. I fall outside the norm, therefore there is something ‘wrong’ with me. Oh, you smoke marijuana a lot? You MUST be addicted. That’s your problem. We’ll get you off the herb and everything will be just fine with you. Fuck you. You’re fucking addicted to your dickweed bullshit half assed 80 IQ fucking ideas of the fucking world. Get the fuck over it.

…Apparently, they can’t lock me up here against my will. I don’t quite trust that, but I’m getting more used to the idea…and more and more ready to let loose as soon as they start asking questions. REALLY let loose. With the rage. No one’s seen that yet, ’cause I keep it pretty tight. They’d better not fucking be offended by the word ‘fuck’. They’re gonna hear it a lot.

I’m almost at a half and half state. Half determined to do this no matter what, half ready to run away and never make the next contact. Can’t tell what’s strongest now; it’s too close. Hoping this blog will be my anchor, the thing that keeps me going even thru the fear. I don’t feel strong at all. I know strength is needed to even begin confronting this shit, but really! I’m all limp noodle. Right now I’m worried that by walking in and accepting help from Addiction Central I’ll forever carry certain labels on my record that will taint every conversation I have with any doctor in the future. I have nothing to tell me otherwise….Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe I should just be locked up and pumped full of fucking meds and left to fucking drool in the corner. Keep me away; I’m a biter.

Fuck. Painfully fucking aware of how inward my arrows have become; how everything right now is about me. Me, me, me. Fucking hate that. It’s a fear reaction; I know that. Doesn’t make me feel like less of an ass for not reading everyone else’s posts and commenting like I usually would. It usually works against me: look how selfish I am (the stack of accusations labeled ‘selfish’ are pretty goddamn high in my life). Trying to let it be okay. Trying to remember to ask my brother how he’s doing and what’s going on with him. Trying to not feel dissed when he doesn’t ask about me in return; maybe I’m faking it better than I thought. Or maybe he’s not asking because he’s got his own hands full and just can’t deal with my extra baggage. I don’t know, and right now I don’t even want to ask. I do feel a bit out in the cold, tho.

Strange, cold suicidal thoughts have been popping up for me again. Hard thoughts. No range of movement thoughts. There was a time when my suicidal thoughts were confined to razor blades and pills. These days my suicidal thoughts are of jumping off a building or in front of a train – much more violent. The utter despondency that such a thought brings has been haunting me for the last 24 hours. I’m afraid I’m slipping. That all of this is pushing me down the well, either through withdrawal (I won’t discount it even tho it elicits a ‘bah humbug’ from me) or just my usual yo-yo. Been getting headaches at night again. The kind you can only sleep away. Restless. In the evening watching tv, it’s now ME who can’t sit still, who fidgets and moves and changes position every two to three minutes, not my brother. Tears are too close. Too easy to cry. Too few of reasons to smile. I am fighting, fighting…but I’m afraid I’m going down for the count.

In one instant last night, when I decided to stop going to class, everything changed. Something shifted in me again. Like that part that’s been hanging on by her bloodied fingernails has decided to just let go and free fall. Plans for today have now gone into the trash; I MUST contact Addiction Central NOW. Another 24 hours and I might not do it. Another 24 hours and I might be looking down from high places with anticipation.

Hate this. Hate feeling it come on me again. Hate losing that high. *ironic laugh* Both highs.

“In that book which is my memory, On the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you, Appear the words, ‘Here begins a new life’.”.

Yeah. But it’s a life I don’t want.

Take Your Pick

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My wounded self is still raw this morning. A bit better able to handle the world today, thanks to everyone’s comments and a day of indulgence. Still find myself clamping my body down, legs and arms tightly crossed in front of me. Protection. Keep away; don’t touch. Today I wish there was a floating red tape barrier I could erect around myself and carry like a boat…Stay this far away, come no further. Maybe get a car alarm installed on me somewhere. Whooop! Whooop! You have come to close to the body of Beeps. Please back away two feet. The authorities will be called in 10 seconds. 9, 8…

Took all day and The Guardians of the Universe before I laughed yesterday.

To make everything just that bit worse, as I was reading and crying over comments yesterday my e-mail pinged: a new message on FB from Ben. Apparently morning brought the clarity I wished he would have had the night before: I got an enquiry as to whether or not I was upset and half an apology. I say half, ’cause he really doesn’t know what’s going on with me (how could he? that’s decades of shit) so he’s apologizing for his behavior without being really sure if I’m upset or not. I erased it from my inbox and have not yet responded on FB. I may not; I don’t know how to respond right now. Still want to just avoid it all. AND I want to just say to him ‘No, I didn’t appreciate the gropes that went beyond the kiss I gave you permission for. This will not happen again. Goodbye.’. I’m not even sure if I SHOULD open up the conversation, other than to say I don’t think seeing him is a good idea. If I open the topic up at all, it gives him room to maneuver – apologize and promise not to do it again, which I don’t trust for shit. He said that once already, and already he’s gone beyond it. No. I do not trust him at all. I think he’ll do like every other guy in this situation – promise and plead and nag a bit until I give in, then it’s keep the octopus away AGAIN.

How many times have I been raped? I’ve been contemplating that since yesterday. I count two forced fellatios and two forced sexual encounters – and by forced sexual encounters I mean really feeling like there was NO WAY OUT of the situation; submit or be REALLY hurt. Odd how men can discount all the body language when they have a hard on. The turn away of the head, the tightening of all the body, the frigidity they encounter. Do they really derive pleasure? I know the one rape was a complete power thing; it was committed by my then abusive partner who later stalked me for years. The other one I’m thinking of? I don’t know. As with many of my sexual encounters, it was a one night stand thing. I think in that case he just expected me to ‘pay’ for dinner. It was the 80s. That kind of thing happened a lot.

I did manage to get to the doc’s and get my referral letter for Addiction Central. My GP made sure I understood why I was being sent there. Yeah, yeah. Yadda, yadda. All of you are gonna think my fucking irritation is because I’m cutting down on something I’m addicted to. You are such fucking pricks. Never occurred to you that I was fucking irritated with the world to begin with, which is why I began smoking in the first place – to deal with a world of fucking MORONS. No. I’ll go to Addiction Central, therefore I must be addicted, therefore all my behavior will be chalked up to this or that. I’m already fucking angry that no one will listen to me, and I haven’t even begun this fucking process. Apparently Addiction Central has its own staff of psychologists and psychiatrists and every other -ist type of person you want poking around with your emotions. I asked my GP if I should contact the original counseling center after I ‘dried out’ for 30 days, and she indicated there was no reason to – that Addiction Central was gonna take care of any counseling I needed. Yeah. Fuck that. I do not believe it one fucking bit. I believe they’re gonna oversee my quitting, then get into the morass of my mind and find it’s NOT something they’re prepared to fucking deal with and bounce me back to the original goddamn fucking counseling center once the fuck again. THAT’S what I think will happen. Fucking prove me fucking wrong. Oh, yeah. I was told my first appointment would take 2-4 hours, so I’ve got to juggle (1) contacting yet another place that will want to speak Dutch to me (2) getting them to speak English to me, and (3) finding time to go to the appointment. Not very happy about this. Not at all. I know part of my anger is because I’m afraid. I know that. But really! This just seems like a very long trail of breadcrumbs I’ve been asked to follow all by myself. I’m not sure why all the docs – or maybe it’s just mine – seem to think I can make all these phone calls all by myself when they all know I’m not confident with the language yet and a phone call is THE hardest way to talk to someone. And that’s not even factoring in my phone anxiety.

The world according to Beeps: listen to everything other people tell you, all their advice on how to proceed, then do it your own way.

Ended up googling the fucking place and found…an online sign-up. In English. So I can type everything in, clearly state I need an English speaker, and wait for THEM to call ME. Much better. That site claims they’re open and operating 24/7, and I’ll get a call back within half a day. So I’m gonna fill the form in Friday afternoon and expect a Saturday morning call. That works for me, as does an appointment over the weekend if there’s time. I am NOT giving up my swim time.

Two to four fucking hours. The first phone call with the original counseling center was difficult enough, and that only lasted 45 minutes. And I did it from the comfort of my armchair, with a smoke rolled and available. This means I’ll have to go to their office. No comfy chair. No tv on to distract me visually. No rolled J ready for when I can’t take it.

Better make that appointment for a weekend….I might be really torn up. Where do you want to fucking start? Rapes? Abusive lovers? My narcissistic mother? My bully of a sister? My eldest brother who “loves” me? How I was ignored? My dreams? My anxiety? My nightmares? My body image problems? Take your fucking pick.

In Sync

Yesterday’s count: 4 joints

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Determined to continue posting my consumption rate until I feel confident enough to go day to day all by myself. Right now, you guys are my sounding board, wailing wall, and most importantly my table of truth, so I’ll continue to post and keep me on the straight and narrow (shit. Straight and narrow. Sounds boring, doesn’t it?) by a little self-shaming. If I do bad, I gotta own up to you guys. Maybe not the best way to climb out of this, but hey! Whatever the fuck works right now. Something is working. I’ve rolled my first spliff for the day but I don’t want to light up….When I light up, that means I’ve got to get through the rest of the day with only 3 other Js to smoke, and I do SO want to smoke. *sigh*

Restlessness has been as bad as I feared. Very little can keep me occupied for any length of time right now. My whole play time on video games lasts a whopping 20 minutes before I feel bored out of my fucking skull. Movies better be really fucking good, or I’ll yawn and fidget through everything. I’ve finally found a charity shop here in Rotterdam, a place where I can buy second hand clothing, which is GOOD because I gotta go and get some more €2 pairs of pants because I won’t stop rubbing my fucking legs in nervous anxiety and all my stuff is wearing down and looking bad. My bro offered extra b-day cash for me to buy a NICE outfit, but I said no – until I lose the excess weight and stop with all these nervous habits, I’m gonna stay in my cheap clothes. Rub the pants legs on €2 pants, not €50 pants. I’ll feel just as fat and out of place in the €50 outfit as I do the €5 outfit right now. Keep me on the cheap.

The whole day is stretched in front of me without any appointments to take me out of the house. Gotta rectify that one. Saturday is relatively easy, at least compared to the dog day of the week, Sunday. Goddess save me from Sundays. I think Sunday should be abolished, and its time should be doled out to the rest of the days of the week. I’d much rather have a 30 hour Monday thru Saturday than a 24 hour Sunday. And I think I’d like 30 hour days. Let me really run until I get tired. Really tired, not my usual ‘oh, it’s getting close to bed time so I’d better think about sleeping’ tired. Bleh. I don’t even live the life to have my days the way I want them. There was a day I let myself go and to hell with the rest of the world. I want a 30 hour day; I GOT a 30 hour day. Every night/day, go to bed later. Wake up at odd times. It’s fine until you’ve got to interact with the real world. Then it’s hell. Studies have been shown this whole 16 hours up and 8 hours asleep doesn’t work for people, yet we still adhere to it like some outmoded fucking fashion of our parents. Whip ourselves into a semblance of ‘awake’ or ‘asleep’ according to a ticking clock rather than our bodies.

Is it any wonder we’ve all gone mad?

Doing all I can to just ride this out. Make it ok to tackle things 20 minutes at a time. Get something done, move on. Just keep treading the water. Telling myself I’ll find that new rhythm. Hope I’m not lying to myself. Feels like I am. But then, I’m very aware of a big part of me that doesn’t want to do any of this, doesn’t want to go to counseling or stop smoking or tell the truth. She just wants to go like I’ve been doing, and she’s screaming at me that it’s worked so far for us, why are we abandoning the only way we know how to do things? I tell her I want to think outside the box. She asks, what box? And I shake my head at her. That’s HER problem: she doesn’t even recognize she’s in a box. She likes her box, and wants to keep it.

Box: another word for cage. If I let out my arthritis-maimed tiger (thank you, Andrew, for that little phrase; it works so well!), what’s gonna happen? She may be old, she may be in pain, but let me tell you – she’s still able to be deadly. Has she learned anything yet? Enough to be my bodyguard and follow MY lead, rather than her own? Most importantly: have we learned to trust each other yet? I guess my own ambivalence should tell me the answer to that, and if I’m having a hard time trusting her, I’m sure she’s feeling the same way about me. Any time one of us has taken the lead, we’ve lead the other into shit. We have to work together…

The Ombudsman of Beeps must take control. There have been very few times in my life when ALL of me has been behind anything I do, and right now I’ve got to get all of us lined up together. I need a unified front; dissent must be put aside.

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It is November. A google showed me *cringe* the truth: we’re IN a planetary alignment right now. Man, I HATE being so in sync with the Universe.

A Burr under the Skin

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Wednesday. I was told to rest up and be ready for a big day today. Class first, then metro downtown for a meal and the new Bond film. ‘Rest up’ was 8 hours; funny how a ‘normal’ sleep can feel like resting up. That’s ok. If there’s one thing I’ve proven to myself over the past few weeks it’s that I can go on less than I think I can. As long as I’m amused. Bore me, and my eyes will droop, I will yawn, and you’re in danger of getting the awake but not awake version of Beeps, who can answer you but please don’t expect her to remember anything that goes on…

Yesterday’s verbal spew helped calm me. It doesn’t help in the minute-to-minute slog through of putting down the smoke, but at least I wasn’t on a tirade for the rest of the day. Well, a few more ‘fucks’ and ‘shits’ passed my lips…More than I should have uttered for the day, but it didn’t continue. I’m NOT gonna stomp all over my brother’s stable mood.

Speaking of my bro (he’d hate to know I write anything about him, but then, he’s a big part of my life), the doc may take him off his meds because his blood pressure is up. Neither of us is thrilled, since we felt the meds were working for him. I’m glad, at least, that the docs here are so cautious. They really don’t want to cause long-term damage to their patients. Just wish my bro didn’t have to go through the yo-yo of meds testing; I’ve done it with my RA: take this new pill then sick as a dog or YES! it works but then it’s taken off the market or some such shit. Just fix me, damn it.

I’ve fixed tomorrow as my quasi-start date to quit. I’m gonna get up and catch the 7 to 8 a.m. swim, then grab an orange juice and head to my computer language class. It’s a bit of a cheat; I know I won’t be smoking before swimming, and then I’ll have class to keep me away from lighting up. Hoping that by the time I get back home I’ll be better able to say no since I won’t have saturated my system since the moment I got up. If I fail, if I smoke, that’ll be ok. It’s gonna be my first try. And if I end up doing what I’ve done in the past – shoving back my first smoke of the day by half an hour every day – I’ll eventually get there. Just gotta keep working at it, like my physical health. I hate shit like that with long term goals. Give me immediate satisfaction. Give me satisfaction yesterday, in fact, because now is too slow and too late. Bleh.

I searched out this new place I’m supposed to get help from…Can’t say I’m thrilled. It’s the Dutch equivalent of a Betty Ford clinic; their motto should just be ‘Got Addiction?’. For fucks sake! I just want a bit of support, a little mental propping up if I have issues. Maybe someone to talk to if stuff is coming up for me during the quitting process. I don’t fucking need a full on dry out and submit to whatever higher power or twelve steps or WHATEVER the fuck they’re gonna use (you know it’s gonna be SOMETHING). Just, you know, give a patch for any nicotine problems and ask me how I’m doing. Give me a phone number to call if I feel weak. Ok? Don’t get in my face with ‘addition’ shit. Fuck! Glad I have my patrol force on high alert out here…I won’t shave my head or go off with the tribe watching what I write (see what a comfort you all are to me?).

And oh! motherfucker…The herb tastes just that bit sweeter this morning, knowing I’ll try to not partake tomorrow.

Beyond the addiction issue:

As an update, I’m not seeing Ben this week. He’s just moved to a new place, and he still feels it’s too messy to have guests. A last minute request for help from his mother took up what time he was going to use to tidy the place. So maybe next week. Or, maybe it was all a blow off: I can’t tell. I don’t think so, and I don’t want to be so fucking cynical as to just THINK that, so right now I’m choosing to believe his words. If it happens again, and again…well, I’ll get the message. I’m neither happy nor upset over this; just noting it. Y’all know how I vacillate on the whole issue.

Do not feel ready for language classes this week, but then, when do I REALLY feel ready? Getting that resignation feeling when it comes to language: I’m an idiot, I know I’m an idiot, I accept I’m an idiot, please teach me. When ya get to THAT point, you’re ready to learn.

Tried to write something the other day. Just got into the deep thought process when my concentration was broken. No bleeding idea if it’s good or not, if I’ll be able to continue writing it or not. I feel a bit emptied of creativity right now. That’s a lonely feeling. However fast my thoughts run, I miss them when they’re not there. Like a thin blanket that offers more warmth against the cold than you’re aware, I’m just shivering without them. Give them back to me. Please. Please let me be able to fall into that world that isn’t a world until I write it mode.

Contemplating letting myself swim every day during my quit time…Don’t know. It won’t do my hair any good. Suppose I may need it, tho.

Damn! I feel restless already. Discomboobulated (oh, fuck off spell correct; it’s a word in my vocab). If it ends up that I GOTTA go swimming every day to wear myself out and PREVENT myself from smoking, then so be it. They’re the ones who didn’t want to see me until I was off it for 30 days even after I told them about how I hurt myself with exercise. What the fuck did they think I was gonna do? Of course exercise is my fall back: bored? Exercise. Restless? Exercise. Angry? Exercise. It takes up time, wears me out, and keeps me from eating or smoking or whatever I’m trying to avoid. I guess, as usual, I need to slug this out myself. But, when the time for counseling FINALLY comes, if I hear word one about excessive exercise or hurting myself or avoiding or any other fucking bullshit they’re gonna try to throw my way I am WALKING THE FUCK OUT. No fucking way. Not after they turned me away and told me to deal on my own. Then I HAVE to get through it the only way I know how, right? Don’t be hypocrites.

No. I will NOT walk out. This time I’m gonna stay. Stay and be a burr under their skin, like this fucking request has been to me. I’ll just go and be fucking belligerent if that’s where my goddamn head is. Fuck them. In no uncertain terms.