Burnt marshmallow

I gotta be a bitch. B – I – T – C – H, bitch.

I do not feel bad for the people who’ve died in the US from the current hurricane. In fact, I think those fools who stayed behind and then needed emergency rescue should be billed for the rescue. I also don’t feel bad some jerk gotten eaten by a shark around Cape Cod. Again: stupid Americans ruining the environment and then getting bitten by bigger predators does not cause me one night’s bad sleep. In my book, you deserve it.

Do I lack empathy? I really don’t think so. Or, if I do, I only lack empathy for idiots. Nonetheless, I feel a bitch. A real bitch.

*sigh*

Been seeing the Sharknado series. One of the Dutch stations has run the films, and I’ve been recording them. Wow. What a catch-all for every has-been actor in Hollywood. Between Tara Reid still wearing the same hot pink shade of lipstick she wore at 20 (get over it woman, it looks awful on you now), sharks in space, and every ‘nado you can think of (including a ‘cownado’) it’s absolutely ridiculous. Oh, I got some good laughs. Naturally. But this is beyond a MST3000 type film franchise. They aren’t just B grade films, they’re trash. Silly, nonsensical, totally unbelievable – and the franchise is going strong. This is what bothers me. Not that people would find it funny, but that it’s become a thing. One more ‘Family Guy’ nail in the coffin on intellectual heights. Let’s all get stupid because a lot people just can’t be smart. Bah.

My right shoulder is giving me gripe. Well, my whole right arm, actually. It seems to radiate down from my shoulder, ache a few places in my arm, and end somewhere in my hand. Took a few heavy duty pain pills yesterday that gave me some relief but didn’t solve the problem (in other words, it wasn’t an irritated nerve or muscle that needed rest). Might need to see the doc on this one; it got me up early today.

Tomorrow is my language class. Looking forward to going back, seeing my teachers. Not sure I’m looking forward to seeing the other students. Only good thing is the slowest student in the class dropped back to a lower level after trying to keep up during our summer lessons. Good. She was terrible at Dutch, and I don’t know why she got moved ahead. Haven’t done any of the homework I was given over the break. It was all optional, and my option was not to do it.

In anticipation of needing to listen more, I watched a Dutch film last night – Zombibi. Amsterdam taken over by zombies. It was typical Dutch fun, and even tho some of the speakers spoke so fast I couldn’t catch a word of it, it was pretty easy to follow. My collection of Dutch movies is growing. I even feel like I’m beginning to understand the Dutch sense of humor, which is a big step. And I can see work for me in film: both as writer in other positions. They need my skills. At least…if they want to break the Dutch ceiling on films, they need my help. Chroma has to be adjusted. The make-up has to be better. Yes, I can see a niche for me.

Began some earnest make-up playing. Shot for a vampire and ended up looking like Harley Quinn from Batman. Meh. More research needed. Gotta start practicing wounds, too. Thank the Goddess I can do this in private, and my disasters aren’t seen by anyone.

Happy to say that is seems the hot water got fixed in the building. Either that, or a hot water hog further down the line moved out. For almost a week, we’ve had hot water. Morning, afternoon, and night. For the first time ever yesterday we made dinner and did dishes right afterwards because we could. Plus, I took a shower in the afternoon. Unbelievable how wonderful it is to have hot water. Unbelievable how good I feel being able to take a shower more than once every two weeks. My mood and my brother’s mood have taken a sudden upswing.

Time today for one last long walk in the sunshine and fresh air. The sky is blue, the air is fresh, and I can barely keep myself here long enough to finish this post. The day is calling me.

Oh, I miss George the duck right now. I miss how easily I could find him. How eagerly he snatched the bread from my fingers. How he always made me smile.

…I miss many of my friends. Two and four legged.

Oh, fuck Sunday and its reflective mood! I don’t want to get mired down by memories and sorrow.

I think I dreamt of my friend, L, last night. Part of me feels she is alive, even tho I’ve read her death notice on the ‘net. I know it isn’t real: I see her as I remember her, not as she’d be today. I only wish her to be alive. Out there, somewhere. Even if she doesn’t want to talk to me. But I know it’s only a wish. I know she’s gone.

Ah, there’s my soft spot. The one I work so hard to wall off from the world.

Oh, Goddess. I do it for my own protection. You know that, right?

If you read my words and think me a bitch… Well, you’ve got that right. But I’ll tell you right now: beneath my scabby and hard outer shell is a marshmallow center. A marshmallow center that’s been held over the fire for 50 some odd years. I’m all gooey, and if I didn’t have that crusty outside I’d fall apart.

So, go on. The bitch in me has been burnt into my flesh by the world. It’s there for all to see. That burnt marshmallow.

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Feed your soul

I feel hungry.

Not in my stomach, and not for food. It’s centered around my solar plexus, and feels somewhat like a black hole – like it’s sucking all the sunshine and fresh air and vibes into me. Never quite know what to do to fill it up. So, here I am, writing it out.

Got down to the store for that extra sweatshirt. Whoohoo. Actually made it before all the shirts in my size were sold out. Stopped by Etos and picked up talc powder and contact lenses. Even popped an extra four euro for eye drops so my eyes don’t dry out.

Did not go to the gym, but I did take a good walk in the sunshine later on. It feels good to walk out there. Good to have my orthopedics on again – it’s cool enough to wear them. Good to use long strides, swing my arms, look up at the blue sky and clouds, smile. Maybe I’ll head up to the lake today.

My rheumatologist suggested I try lowering my methotrexate. That’s the one drug I really don’t enjoy taking. Need it, definitely. But that’s the one that raises the risk of various cancers thru the roof. It’s the one that dampens my immune system so I get sick at the drop of a hat. My RA seems fine, at least so far. It’s cumulative, so I might not feel the effects yet. But my system knows! That damned pustular psoriasis is back in spades. On my hands, on my feet. Really need to make that appointment. It’s ugly, itchy, and painful. Plus I look like a damned leper.

I’m flipping my agenda around. Been working on it for months now, anticipating later nights with the theatre group as well as being so keyed up after rehearsals and performances that I won’t go down for hours. Last night I cracked the lights out threshold: I stayed up later than my bro. Trying to get used to not feeling guilty for being up later, walking around in a dark house, reading ’til 1 am. If I can break that cycle now, before things really wind up, I’ll be in much better shape come April when we begin performing. Still…woke up at 8 am today. Must get used to sleeping in! That’s the whole point of this exercise.

Been having headaches. Every day. I think it’s just nasal congestion. I think. Could also be that my eyes have just reached that point where I really need glasses. Been using my glasses around the house more, but I can’t use them when I read or do close work. So it’s on and off, off and on. I don’t think that’s doing me any good if the problems stems from eye strain. I’m also painfully aware of how much I’ve been smoking, and know that I could just be doing it to myself. So I haven’t said anything to anyone, and just pop some paracetamol. Most of the time I don’t even feel it unless I cough or blow my nose – which is what makes me think that it’s really a congestion thing. *sigh* I’ll watch it. If it’s congestion, it should get better after autumn.

Or, I could try quitting smoking. …Why do I find that a depressing thought?

Haven’t even thought about writing anything for me. I need to keep focused on the tasks ahead, and just can’t get lost in some new story. Must say, that’s one of the hardest things I’m doing. It’s unnatural. Keep promising myself I’ll find the time to fall into something and let myself write. But I don’t know when that will be.

And I don’t want to let anyone down. Not my brother, not the theatre group, not myself. That’s tough to juggle. I’ve learned so well to say ‘no’ to myself, but I’ve not yet mastered saying it to others. I’m so tired of getting the short end of the deal. Of giving more than I want of myself in order to make things happen. I know my drivers in this. I know why I’m compelled to do what I do.

Funny but probably valid thought: I should begin ‘no’ practice. Stand in front of a mirror and repeat ‘no’ for three minutes every day. Get used to saying it. Say it angrily, funnily, sadly, thoughtfully… As many ways as I can come up with, over and over. Why not? I rehearse so much in my head before I come to it, why not this? Surely it would help me. The word would come faster from my lips, be easier to breathe through, become less anxious than it is now. Side note: the Dutch ‘nee’ is easier to use than the English. I say ‘nee’ all the bleeding time.

…Sunshine outside. I might be able to finally get that playwright pic I want for LinkedIn; there may finally be enough light in the house. Hm. That means more make-up play. Maybe not a bad idea. I do have to master a few things for the meeting.

Well, what do you know? That hungry feeling is gone, at least for now. Guess I just felt a need to check in with myself. Remember that one!

Feeling hungry? Talk to yourself. Listen to yourself. Comfort yourself. Lay everything out in a row and look at it dispassionately.

Feed your soul.

Not today

Meh. It’s finally happened.

My uncle realized I unfriended him on FB and he’s sent me a message about it. And a friend request.

Really hoped all this would just fly under the radar, but no… Now I need to be firm but not bitchy. Tough.

Thinking of passing it off to my shrink, saying something like ‘my doctor advised me to limit any social contact that tends to trigger me’. He didn’t, but I’m really wanting to say that rather than: just about everything you say pisses me off and I don’t fucking want to hear it. I mean, he already sends me every bullshit link and mass post he does, and it usually sets me off. There just comes a time when you have to say no for your own sanity. That type of blunt honesty isn’t appreciated by my family, tho.

Perhaps I’ll address this with Dr T next time.

And what the fuck -? So I finally heard back from the director’s girlfriend on graphics. She’s settled on a choice I didn’t actually single out ‘for now’. Apparently she’s having problems returning the graphic back to the color scheme I liked. There you go: she didn’t even save roughs of her work. Even I do that, and I’m a graphic moron in my book. Meh. She didn’t really use one of my ideas; not the graphics, not the font, not the look, nothing. And then she sends me something I didn’t even pick out of the three variations she gave me! For fuck’s sake! Grumble, grumble, bitch and moan…

On the flip side, I’m jazzed to open up my google account today and see two – TWO! – people have subscribed to the new newsletter now that I’ve got the site turned on. Haven’t even sent anything out on our FB page; that’s just people finding us. Out of the blue. Because of my coding (I’m so damned proud!).

Spin, spin, spin. The wheels are turning.

Also received a link from the Dutch reporter who had her article published. It’s a short mention in a list of English speaking theatre groups in NL. Still. It’s press. National press. Another feather in my cap.

And to top off my manic-depressive split, I received a lovely compliment today that I really had to breathe through because I woke up feeling totally frumpy and ugly.

The weather is as schizoid as me: sunny periods broken up by massive rainstorms. Can’t tell if the weather is influencing me or I’m influencing the weather. Or maybe I’m just nuts.

Already sensing that nagging at me – I haven’t written anything new in a while. Began something, rethought, put it aside, haven’t gone back. And I sure as hell haven’t sent out my work to anyone new in a long time. Need to do that. Get back to the searches and enquiries.

Need to get back to my LinkedIn page, too. Still haven’t taken a picture for me as my writer persona.

And then there’s the gym…

Right. So. I knew all this was coming. In some form or fashion. I didn’t really expect to get away with unfriending my uncle on FB without some comment or explanation. I didn’t really expect the director’s girlfriend to really be a graphics guru. And I knew I may feel inconvenienced with my own creative process due to time schedules and agendas. I also knew the article was coming out, and I hoped to see a website response. The compliment was the only real unexpected thing, and if I don’t know how to take a compliment at my age I really need to rethink myself.

…Compliments do throw me. I’m just not used to them. My memories do not hold moments of praise from my parents. Just the opposite. They hold negativity: you could have done better, this means nothing, etc. And I have never, ever been very comfortable being treated like ‘a lady’ – by which I mean the full romance thing. Went on a two dinner dates. Two. One was just uncomfortable, the other resulted in a date rape. Not for me. Take me out for pizza and a film. Hang out and play pool or darts. Don’t get dressed up and present me with flowers. I mean, I’d like to get flowers someday from some guy. But not for any particular reason. Too much pressure. And please don’t give me any gifts. Not for the first month, anyway. I can move into formal, into romantic gestures – but I don’t trust them if they’re just given to me willy-nilly.

Gods, why am I talking about this? Obviously it’s on my mind.

…*sigh* Okay, that’s three sirens past the window. Something is brewing in the neighborhood.

Great distraction, hey?

Shit. I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Just…not today.

Wish you were here

I feel that awkwardness that can occur when seeing an old friend whom you haven’t seen for years. Sure, you’re excited and even looking forward to it. But those first few moments can be difficult. So much to say, but unsure how to begin.

Have been enjoying some down time. Just sitting on my ass, watching tv and playing games. First it was a defense against the heat. Then it was just enjoyable. My head stays on topic (unless my brother comes in and chatters away to me for an entire episode of telly, which he’s been doing quite often). It’s thoroughly enjoyable to have one thing in my head at a time.

Saw Dr. T yesterday. I wonder if he’s tested me a couple of times. Yesterday (again) he was almost 15 minutes late for our appointment. I just sat quietly, reading my book. Quite a difference from the rage fueled sharp retorts I gave him last time he was late. Dr T spent a whopping 15 minutes with me. I really don’t know how long our appointments are supposed to last. I don’t know if he’s clocking me in at a half hour and claiming mega money from the system but cheating me of time. Could be. Right now the treatment he’s got me on is working, so I won’t complain. Besides, who wants to spend even more time in a shrink’s office? Not me. We’re keeping my meds at the same dosage. Yeah, it’s really small amounts. What can I say? I’m super sensitive to meds. Feel it’s because I haven’t clogged up my system with a bunch of non-toxic fillers or crap. My night-time seroquel still knocks me out. Just can’t get over how well I sleep now. As I said to Dr T yesterday: I no longer feel like my bed is my enemy. I thanked him for offering me a distraction. The 8th was my sister’s birthday and due to the bad blood between us it’s often a date I can’t stop thinking about her or the unjust way she’s treated me. This year I was focused on not forgetting my appointment with Dr T, and the 8th came and went without me giving my sister one thought. Naturally, he asked me about her. I told him the basics: I can’t forgive her or my older brother, tho I know they both suffered in their own ways at the hands of my mother. I told him about her narcissism, how the moment I said anything she didn’t like she shouted out to everyone I was a liar, a whore, a drug addict, and a thief. No specifics. No ‘she did this when my father died’ or ‘she said that to my entire family’. Just the narcissism, and my decision not to have any contact with them because it wasn’t good for me. He clacked away on his computer, entering his notes. I have a feeling we’ll be exploring that area a bit more in future.

Picked up my cleaned back drop curtain for videos. Today I’m planning on some furniture moving and house cleaning. Get everything set and start filming tomorrow. That should be fun – playing with make-up. Hopefully my bro will go to the comic shop and I’ll have most of the day to myself. That would be ideal.

We’ve had a bit of rain. Not enough – that’s for sure. But yesterday soft rain came in with darkened clouds. Unlike in some parts of Europe, the rain here fell gently and slowly. Plenty of time for the ground to soak it up. I literally watched the grass grow in the playing field out back. It was brown, brown, brown when I got up but by 3 in the afternoon it was almost all green.

I’m loving not feeling the push to get things done. It bugged me for a while, but now I’m just into it. No, I don’t really want to get my ass over to the gym. No, I really don’t care if the dishes are piling up again. Don’t care about the dust bunnies or the laundry (as long as I have clean underwear). I am on holiday from myself.

My summer vacation is wonky. Since I went to summer school, I was in school when others were off. Now I’ve one week to be ‘off’ with everyone else. Then they’ll go back to school and I’ll have off ’til late in September. So…I guess I want this one week of ‘real’ summer vacation. The vids don’t really count in my mind as work because I find them too much fun. But the rest of it -! I’d like to get up to the lake and walk barefoot in the sand while the weather is still nice. I’d like to scope out some summer sales set up to entice shoppers. I’d like to just fuck around for week and remind myself it’s summer holiday. Be a kid, totally.

So I’m gonna take that week. I’m gonna let go of anything I think I have to do. The world won’t fall apart if I don’t do dishes for a week. We’ll get by. If this cooler weather holds, I just want out. Out of the house, go to different places, enjoy the day. I should scout around for some fests. Something my bro and I could both go to and have some fun. He’s been holed up in his room working on his computers for weeks now.

Find myself liking myself. I like the way my hair hangs around my face. I like the way I feel: no pain, just that lazy relaxation that makes me think I’m being very cat-like. I like my home, my room, the city. I like what I’m doing, what I’m reading, what I’m watching, what I’m eating.

I like my life these days. For that, I’m very thankful. Can’t help but feel thankfulness on the heels of this relaxed semi-bliss state.

I’ll end this as all postcards from holiday spots are ended. With that time worn but true saying:

Wish you were here.

Now they know

…And now, they know.

Kept forgetting only two of the actors chosen for the production were at the original read through. Found that amusing – the questions about the plot, or how each of them died. Last night we had our full read-through.

Heard a couple of comments about how long the script is. Marked those people out in my head; they’re not people who’ve done this often. It’s a 90 page script, not ‘long’ at all – at least, not for a full length production. Had a laugh at myself; did not realize when I was writing how often I used my character, Elizabeth, to begin a scene. But, there it was: me talking the play into action scene after scene. That makes sense to me now. Elizabeth is the character that sets the entire play into motion. It’s her request to her therapist that begins the first act. She drives the doubt in the second act, refusing to believe her husband and brother-in-law are changed. And in the third act, even tho my character is dead, the audience hears statements relating back to Act 1 and the audio clips I’ll use will come from Act 1, so there should be a nice “echo” of Elizabeth in there.

The director’s girlfriend was a bit of a limp fish. Not thrilled by her lack of interest, her low level energy delivery, or her tinkering away on her phone while others read their parts. But I trust that she’ll bring it at the appropriate time. Even if she has a stick in her craw over doing my play, or how easy the exchange is between her boyfriend and me, her ego will push her to do well on stage. Especially after what I did last night.

Read throughs aren’t meant to be big acting situations. It’s a get thru it, so everyone knows the story. Read all your lines for the first time. But let’s face it: I’m the creator. I’m more than ready to bring any of these characters to life at a snap. So, honestly…I didn’t think about it. I just brought it out.

Even tho my eyes were down, looking at the script, I saw the group jump and react. She isn’t faking it; this is real! Almost, people, almost. I was at 85%. I’ll save 100% for intense rehearsal nights and performances. 🙂 And considering I start the action so often, the other actors will need to match my performance to make it work. So, no. I don’t worry about the director’s girlfriend, or the government agent who stumbled over a few words. Eighty-five percent is pretty easy to pull up (even on medication), so they’ll get that rehearsal after rehearsal. And they’ll find a way to match me.

Thrilled at how thrilled everyone was over the story. The glowing eyes, the gleeful smiles! I get smothered to death! I get shot multiple times! I get stabbed! It’s gratifying to me as the author.

Test of the meds: home after an activity that would normally send me tossing and turning for hours. I did stay up later than usual, and I did toss and turn a few times. Then I told myself to stop thinking about it, and slept. Pretty good. My reaction post performance is going to be even stronger, but this definitely helps. A lot. Wonder if Dr. T would allow me to take two pills post performance. Really knock me out. But not as a regular thing. Hm. Better ask him about it.

Happy news. My teachers said they’d be willing to continue our language lessons over summer. It’s not mandatory, and it’s not part of the usual class time. They’ll really do it on a totally volunteer basis – if enough of us will attend. I, of course, said yes. Continuing with the two of them over summer would be ideal. It would give me continued instruction and use, and I know I’ll just learn more if there’s fewer students because I’ll get extra attention. Three students said yes, so we’ll talk about an agenda next week.

And…I think the medication is helping me with Dutch. It’s improving. I’m slowing down and thinking about my sentences and grammar before I speak. I’m catching more and more. Still have to actively listen, which is difficult, but overall I’m pleased. Very pleased. Had to yet again reiterate that no, I am NOT moving on to a higher level. Not until I stop making so many rookie mistakes. My goal is to write in Dutch. And for that, I need a higher percentage of perfection. My teacher pointed out I might get bored because of the newer students coming in. She’s right there; we picked up a new student three weeks ago and she’s barely literate. She can converse it Dutch, but her reading is like nails on a chalkboard. However awful it is for me, I can only imagine what my teachers, native Dutch speakers, feel like. I understand, tho, that this new student has to be given the chance to drag her way thru simple sentences. It’s the only way she’ll learn.

But my status has definitely changed. From one of the crowd who might have been a bit behind everyone else when I began, I’ve become the swot. The student who gets everyone looking at her answers because they all know she’s right (most of the time). The student who sits back, allows everyone else a chance, then exchanges a secret look between herself and the teachers who give her the nod, and out she comes with the correct answer (again, most of the time). More than ever, I’m that go-between. Now that I feel a bit more confident in myself, I can handle that role.

So I’ve been ‘outed’. As creator, actor, and swot. No more hiding, no more denying.

Now they know.

Bipolar II

We said we’d treat this as we go. And this isn’t a new thing in your life; it’s been going on a long time. (I nodded.) But it’s going to mean extra medication…

I’d calmed down dramatically by 13:45. If Dr. T had seen me at 11 am, pacing the house, wide-eyed, and talking a mile a minute to myself, he might have prescribed a higher dosage. I’m glad he didn’t.

Quetiapine tablets. Very low dosage of 50mg. Dr. T told me that’s nothing on paper, and most people start at 150mg, but he’s seen some good results from very small doses and considering all the meds I’m on for my RA he wanted to start me out small. I’m on board with that. This increases risks on my kidneys, and means even more blood tests. Maybe they should just insert a shunt into my arm; it would save me scar tissue.

But I was honest. And glad he understood me: I’ve nine months to go on this production and if I keep on obsessing like I’ve been doing this past week I’ll be in hospital in four months.

These are time-released pills, so I have to take them at the same time every day. Dr. T said to take them at night because they might make me drowsy. Decided to move my schedule around a bit so I can take them at 11pm. I’ll be off stage at that point, no matter when the play begins. It means staying up a bit later from now on, whether or not I’m on stage, but only by half an hour. Picking the pills up today.

More determined than ever to get my ass back onto my routine. You don’t have to remind me that regular exercise will help me maintain balance; I know. And I know I’ve been lax on myself. Now that I’ve a wee bit of help to break my obsessing, I’ll be right back on it.

I want the 50mg to work for me.

Here it is Friday and I still haven’t made a start on those homework letters I’m supposed to write. Guess with only two weeks of classes left I’m not that worried about it. Wish I was a bit more concerned about it. Wish I had that impetus to push myself with Dutch. It’ll be harder than ever to maintain over the summer. Oh, there’s always my Dutch films and every advert on tv is in Dutch, but it isn’t the same as talking to someone. I recall I made a vow to find a language cafe to go to every week. Where’s that resolve? Easily answered: out the window, bloody and bruised. That’s where it is.

Haven’t done my weekly house cleaning for a while, and the place shows it. Well, good test for the new pills: slow me down enough to do it. A little toilet scrubbing should remove any last stains of delusions of grandeur. I always say, you can’t be a king or queen while scrubbing out a toilet, and that’s true. It just brings you down to that base level: cleaning up shit. There’s no way to feel grandiose while doing that. No. bleeding. way.

Blood, bleeding, bruised…my language reflects my obsession even when I’m trying to not talk about it.

So talk about it.

Roughed in a playbill. Half-sheet, black & white, just like I said. It looks good to me. The joke I’m telling everyone is the little game I played with director, teasing him with my made-up bruises. It’s going over well, and people are showing an interest both because of what I’m talking about and my sense of humor. Will probably need to ask the director about read-thru dates. As usual, he was on top of it enough to create a Doodle sign-up page, but he hasn’t declared this or that date to be the one. Or maybe he has on Snapchat; that’s the app all the Dutch are using – except me, of course. My phone can’t handle it. [You want Snapchat?! You can’t handle Snapchat! (Sorry, I just had to do that.)] Anyhoo. Will need to follow up with that.

My obsession has not translated into going thru production notes. Yet. I’ve created this mountain of uphill crap in my mind: Oh, Gods! What a drag! It’ll take so long and be so fucking boring! Well, it will take some time and it won’t be the most enjoyable thing to do, that’s true. But it won’t take as long as my head now thinks it will. I feel like my mother, telling myself that. A truism the younger version of me just stubbornly refuses to believe, even tho she has a sense of precisely how true it is. Gods, I’m an obstinate cuss.

Have researched creating fake wounds. Saw a couple of great vids using only paper tissue, glue, and make-up. Still would like to visit the theatrical supply shop here in Rotterdam, but I’m also thinking on creating my own look. A lot will depend on the shop’s pre-made wounds. The on-line tissue and make-up wounds looked a lot better in the vids that the pic the shop showed me of their fake stuff. My problem is that creating my own wounds means I have to do it before the show starts and have them under my clothing the entire time. So I plan the full gambit: create the look, then wrap it up under gauze and wear it around the house for the day. Pull the gauze off in the evening and see if it survived. I’ll only have 5-8 minutes to do it all: bruising, wardrobe change into pre-torn clothes, blood. So it’s got to be quick and easy.

…As for finally being able to put ‘bipolar’ back into my tags because it’s on a sheet of paper… Well, I’m not surprised. Nor shocked. Nor much of anything, other than grateful to Dr. T for listening to me and for making it easy to be honest with him.

I’ve always known what I am.

€8.15

Does it look bad? Painful? Did you suck in your breath and say ‘Oh my God!’ when you saw it?

Good. That’s make-up test number one, face bruising. Completed in less than 5 minutes, using a grand total of €8.15 worth of make-up. I’ll flesh this look out with a cut lip and blood dripping from a head wound.

Today I work on the exhaustion progression for Act 3. I need 3 or 4 (have to count them) looks that get progressively more tired and drawn. Doing the effects, snapping pix, taking notes on what I’m using. Already know I won’t have time to do everyone’s make-up back-stage, so I’m planning on a ‘how to’ meeting with the actors. Have a difficult time believing others don’t know how to do this, but…maybe they’re not as ghoulish as I am. I’ve been doing horror make-up since I began playing with make-up.

Oh, it’s fun! Much more fun that doing make-up the normal way!

Spent hours yesterday typing away, making notes. Have my agenda over the next 9 months roughed in, with marketing release dates already set in stone. Went thru my teaser trailer vid idea and picked dialogue from each act I need to record. Will pull more than necessary so I have room to play with length, etc. Thought about my interviews with cast and crew, getting the local tv station interested in doing a piece on us, sketched out a teaser flyer to release a month before the performance.

And blood, blood, blood. When I have a few euro (which may not be ’til next month, considering I spent my last €8.15 on make-up), I’ll buy red food coloring and chocolate sauce to practice squibs and blood capsules.

My bro has already warned me to run this past the director; I’m overstepping my bounds a bit. But…I’ve not been idle these past two years. I’ve been analyzing the group, noting their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve known from the start that doing this production meant more than just being an actor or writer. I have to step in on make-up, fight scene choreography, special effects, props, and sound.

*sigh* And I see it in their eyes. That slightly glazed look I get at first, then realization that no, I’m not asking them to do anything they don’t want to do and I’ve already planned out this or that. Then they’re all on board. I don’t really know if it’s sheer laziness or admiration for my ideas (or both). But I’m glad I’m given the chance to do it all.

Managed to get up and move a bit, walking around the neighborhood. Have not returned to my gym yet, and I’m really beginning to feel guilty (and fat). Better for me to work on this obsession, let it run out of me. I’d only exercise half-assed anyway, not really into it. If I do all the make-up tests I want to do, I can let it go. Besides, I’m really enjoying playing with all the shading and colors.

Two weeks left of language class. My head just isn’t there, and I’m not the only one. We’re doing the usual: dictation, reading, questions. But I told my teacher about my excitement over the production, and the blood effects I’ll be working on. She laughed in that easy way she has, and it was clear to me she heard me say ‘My focus isn’t on the language right now’. Bless her for understanding my hidden text.

Have an appointment with Dr. T on Thursday. Beginning to feel like my appointments with him are redundant. I’m doing well, nothing really to say. I’m not crying, not upset, and focused on the production. All positives. Might be straying a bit into the obsessive side of things, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s keeping me occupied and thinking. Most of all, it’s keeping me positive. Buoyed up by hope and anticipation. Working hard to keep active and take care of myself at the same time. Being kinder to myself. Even liking myself a bit these days.

Managed to keep a lid on my ideas. An additional teaser vid idea came to me: a 3 minute short film related to the play yet not included in the play. It would be killer to do, AND it would offer someone a chance to act a bit even if they’re not in the production. Worried about overloading myself, tho. But I might run it past the director. After filling in my schedule, I realize I could do this over summer. Won’t take long to write, direct, or shoot. And I don’t plan on a lot of edits. Ach! Listen to me. Still arguing with myself.

The sun is shining and my day is ‘free’. Have to use quotes there; plenty for me to do that’s needed but none of it is necessary to do today, so, guess what? It ain’t gettin’ done.

Instead, I’ll be bruising my face. Shading in the dark circles under my eyes, making my cheeks and nose look gaunt and unhealthy. Creating almost every make-up look I want.

All for €8.15.

Theatre people

Theatre people.

Had an email yesterday asking if I wanted to attend an English speaking play downtown. Our theatre group had discounted tickets, and a group was going. Sure! I said last minute, worrying about the discounted price. Managed to get money on my OV chipcard, borrowed a tenner from my bro, tidied up, and headed out.

More than anything, I felt I was appeasing the Gods of Theatre. I’m a big believer in karma: if I want people at my play, I have to support others in their efforts. Plus, it was a kick to be asked and included in the group. All of that was proper and good. The production was at a theatre we use every year, and it wasn’t that full. We were noticed, thanked for coming, and talked to as fellow theatre performers.

But Goddess! I had to sit through a show that was the reason most people don’t like going to the theatre. Two monologues, back to back. Zero action. It was two hours of someone sitting in a chair on an otherwise empty bloody stage, jabbering away. How fucking pretentious can we be? The acting was good – that I can’t fault. I can rip the writing apart, tho.

Typically British writing (white, white, white). Obviously 30 to 40 years old (bigotry, racism, and such stereotypical and old set-ups I had problems staying awake). And it’s a well known author and play. Afterwards, I had to hear the gushing praise of various people: Oh, the author! His words are so fantastic! or The deeper psychological impact of the statements were in direct opposition to the characters. They might as well have said something like ‘The synergy of empty space and lack of action perfectly mirrored the desolation and depression the author wanted to portray’. Utter bullshit. I call it lazy writing. Can’t think of anything new? Well, try one of the stereotypes. The gay man who still lives with his mother and can’t quite admit he’s gay. The vicar’s wife who’s sex starved and begins drinking and having an affair on the side. Ho, hum!

I just sat there, pleased with myself, imagining the action I’ve written. The actual story – something that seems totally lacking in many “professional plays”.

Tried out calling my stuff horror. We were asked, as a group, what we’ll be performing next. Everyone looked at me, smiling. Actually, we’re doing one of her scripts this year. So I put it out there: it’s a horror trilogy. Found some interest, some back stepping, and a lot of ‘oh, gee, isn’t it sweet that they’re willing to do your little writing attempt’ attitude from the actors. I smiled, and didn’t feel bad at all. Just kept thinking You have no idea what you’re in for with my script. Hopefully one or two from last night’s audience will attend our performance. But I realized very quickly: this is NOT my crowd.

Avid theatre goers… They’re a different breed. They like sitting in dark room watching people sitting in chair talking, no action, for two hours. They consider it cerebral and entertaining. Some may even view my script as stupid simply because it has action and a clear story-line.

But I realized long ago I don’t write for the typical audience. My poetry has long been heralded as the poetry enjoyed by people who don’t like poetry. I’ve been stopped innumerable times after performing, grabbed by someone in the audience who says, “I’ve never seen anything like that before! I hate poetry, to be honest, but so-and-so dragged me here. But you! What you do is incredible!” I expect a similar response with the play. I’ve never seen a play like this before! No. No, you haven’t.

Spending long hours looking at creating my own blood effects. Simple and cheap methods. Will be experimenting with water filled sacks over the summer, trying to perfect it. Found a theatrical supply store here in Rotterdam; planning a trip to their warehouse just to check everything out.

Also thinking hard on marketing. I saw the audience last night, and this was a visit from a professional acting group. Didn’t even sell 60 seats. Part of that I blame on the theatre. They’ll announce upcoming productions on their website, but if you don’t know about the theatre you can’t find the info. The location of the place is off an alley-way, so you can’t even count on curious foot traffic.

I have to find a way to get the word out. The real word: You want to see this. This is NOT like your typical play. This is a performance for people who hate theatre.

Rotterdam is a hard nut to crack. Millions of people live here, and a professional theatre group can’t attract 60 people to a Saturday night performance.

…Need to switch gears. Been off with my late nights out, and I haven’t begun writing the letters I need to do for homework. Will try to put a few hours in on it today and get one done. Ugh.

Battling a nasty cough. Still. It gets better, then it gets worse. Total allergy thing; I can feel the drainage down my throat. Having to take cough medicine and allergy pills. Need to assure anyone who hears me cough that no, I’m not dying, it’s just allergies. Bloody annoying, especially since I have to really monitor it and treat it like I’m sick because if I DON’T I will, 100% certainly, get sick.

*sigh* And once again, like with my poetry, I feel I’m stepping into a world I’m not quite ready for. I am a theatre person, an actor, one of the willing. I am not a pretentious prat (a prat, yes, but not pretentious). But here I am, mingling with those who want to delve into the deeper ramifications of a 45 minute monologue about someone’s mommy. So I’ll say it once, and be done with it.

Bah! Theatre people!

It’s a go

The last role is cast. Barring disaster, the production will happen.

Showed up around quarter past 6. The director was in the cafe, as usual. Found him deep in conversation with someone. We went out for cigarettes and a chat, all three of us. Sadly, I can’t tell you the other guy’s name. And I do mean sadly: he was one of those few that gave me that ding! feeling. Immediate connection. I talked up the play, he talked about joining the theater group. He’s Russian, very cool, and someone with whom I could indulge in a bit of flirting from time to time. Hoping he actually will come to the play and get involved.

Saw two actors last night, both female. One was (in the director’s words) a weirdo who contacted him on FB. She’s just in from Italy, and her messages told us she didn’t speak English fluently. But she had long experience in Italian theatre, so he wanted to meet with her. The other actor was a friend of someone already in the cast. She’s from Dublin, and we immediately hit it off in that easy manner that makes me think we could be real friends outside of the group.

The director chose two scenes, and asked me to stand in as the extra characters. I snickered to myself. While these are scenes we’ve used before in auditions, he hadn’t seen my interpretation of them yet and I got this feeling that THAT’s what he was really after. And it was fun to be grumpy Ted, grunting out his replies. It was fun to be fearful Alex, shamefully admitting to self mutilation.

Most fun of all, tho, was the glowing interest showed by the actors. There will come a time – soon – when I’ll step down as the writer and be the actor. I will not correct other actors to my vision or my interpretation; I’ll let them do it their way. But during auditions, I am still the writer. I am still the genius with the inspiration, the master of words, the holiest of holy. And I get a bit of that, especially last night. The actor from Dublin is also a writer, and we chatted away, she giving me gushing admiration for the script, my book, etc. The questions like: How did you come up with this? The slightly fearful and hesitant look everyone gives me when I tell them this is based in fact. Heady, heady stuff. Aaaaaah! 😉

Down to earth. I must admit to some trepidation. We’re set to premiere in February or March, depending on venue availability. Those are the months I’ve typically had massive health problems. So I’m already looking ahead. Reviewing my behavior in the past to figure out how better to protect myself. I will NOT be the reason this has to be pulled at the last minute. My priority is clear: the play is number one. I will forgo my language lessons, my exercise, any socializing, anything that endangers that priority.

I’m old enough to have experienced those rare moments in life when everything just comes together. You’ve got to be ready to seize that. Go for it. Those are the doors to step thru, to get you to another level. I recognize that now. This is one of those moments, or can be if I can juggle things just so. That’s the trick. You’ve got to juggle all the elements, keep things exactly where they should be. And the longer the set-up, the harder it is. This is a nine month set-up. A full pregnancy. And you betcha; this is my baby in every sense of the word.

So, like any expectant mother, I’m gonna be extra, extra careful. The baby takes priority, and becomes my reason for saying no to some things and yes to others. I am excited and a bit frightened. I have dreams for my baby, dreams that it lives and grows beyond me and the small start I help to give it. I’m worried, too, about what could happen to it. But I want it – I need it – to go out there. Pit itself against the critics and nay-sayers, and find out how strong it is. Support it, no matter what.

Was going to say I’d go out for a walk and do this or that today, but the truth is these last two later nights have really thrown me. I’m tired, and could use a day down in front of the tv, napping. So I’ll take it. Errands be damned. Homework be damned. Exercise and fresh air be damned. This is expectant mother stuff. I’m napping.

Taking care of myself starts today.

It’s a go.

Just. be. me.

Why don’t you leave your notebook at home and just treat this as a social outing?

I got that freaky funny laugh, the one that comes from nerves and uncomfortableness. And I thought, yeah, why aren’t I treating this as a social outing? That was 6 pm last night, as I was walking out the door for our theatre group meeting.

I left my script and notebook at home. Downtown to a student bar that had hundreds of beers. Couldn’t resist a raspberry beer…two, actually. Seven of us made the meeting, and it was, as my brother had pointed out to me with his question, more of a social gathering than a work gathering. The night was warm, the beer was good, and the conversation lively.

Difficult to remember most of these actors hadn’t read the full script. They didn’t attend my first read through. Many thought their characters were gonna live thru the play; I had to correct them: everybody dies. If you survive an act, it’s just so you can die in another act. How do I die? I went around the table, telling them each what happens: you set yourself on fire, you get strangled, you’re shot, etc. And oh! The shining eyes that greeted me upon that gruesome news! Never believe an actor who tells you they don’t want to do a death scene. We all want that chance.

Tonight the director and I are meeting with a few people for the last role. Two, maybe three should show up. I very hesitantly put it out there that if we found someone spectacular for my role I’d step down. The director quickly said: No way. The subtext in that, I felt, was that no one can do that role like I can. Maybe he meant he didn’t want to go thru the whole audition thing again, but that’s the way I’m taking it. I’m more than pleased by that.

Much of the work conversation was kept to a minimum. Instead, we did the sort of thing that generally happens when a group of people don’t know each other well. Questions like Do you have children? or What do you do as a living? came up. I was surprised (a bit) at the drug discussion. Even tho marijuana is okay here, it’s still a little taboo. Everybody’s used it, or at least tried it. But most Dutch people don’t partake. Last night I heard about ‘the time I got really stoned’ or ‘when I had a few extra pills and rode the day out on them’. I’m still rather hesitant on admitting I’m a stoner, but did own up to smoking marijuana on a regular basis. I just…I know what most people think of regular smokers. You’ll see their mimicry of stoners all the time. That wasted, hungry, not really moving or thinking version. The ‘Duh-uh Dude’: catatonic and unfocused. That isn’t me, and I don’t want people to think it is. I haven’t yet told them they’ve all been seeing me high this whole time. I haven’t once gone to a theatre group meeting, audition, or rehearsal without first toking. I wrote the play stoned. I got my degrees stoned. And yes, I’m learning Dutch stoned. Pretty obvious I don’t go to that stereotypical state. But despite the culture here, that stereotype still lives on. I don’t know. Maybe I’m one in a million in that respect. I just chalk it up to my artistic temperament. All the greats had something: heroin, cocaine, alcohol. It’s too late in my life to be worried about it. But I still find myself reluctant to own it due to what I perceive as this bias against it. Maybe that’s just me, and the scarring I received about it during my lifetime.

Made a few age jokes about myself last night. Find myself doing that more and more. Conversation zoomed off into games played as kids: remember this console or that game? I sat there, thinking about my first video game: Pong. Yep, you heard me. Pong. Two paddles and ball, back and forth. And later: gee, I had to use a typewriter back when I was in school. My reply: when I was a kid, we had to use a chisel and hammer on stone. I got the laughs I wanted. But I know myself well. I’m using my humor to cover up my uncomfortableness.

It’s weird and odd being the oldest person at a table. I’m sure it’s a bit of a lark if you’re dealing with children, but when it’s adults… Then it’s another matter. Especially when I don’t feel like I’m the oldest adult sitting there. In fact, it makes me feel more child-like and immature than ever. No, I don’t own a home. No, I don’t have children. No, I don’t have investments or a large bank account, nor do I go on holidays every year. I don’t even have a concept of ‘retiring’. My ‘retiring’ is just death.

Also found myself joking about Dr. T. Used the old ‘my shrink’ a couple of times. That’s me getting used to owning up to it.

And I caught the director looking at me a couple of times, as if he saw beyond my jokes and knew what was going on. I wouldn’t be surprised at that; he’s perceptive. He approaches scripts looking at the psychological aspects of the play (and yes, another actor made a comment about what my mind must be like to write something like this).

I’m finding something in this group I didn’t expect: acceptance. Their acceptance is making it easier for me to accept myself. To own up to my depression, my mental health treatment, my problems without shame.

This is a whole new level of social interaction for me. No pretense, no feeling like I have to go along with the group just to have friends. I’m finding how I can be me without coming off overly aggressive or angry.

I can just. be. me.