The Death Knell

My brother announced yesterday that I’d spent quite enough time sitting inside, thank you, and it was high time I get myself out of my chair and do something. His proposal was a meal at our favorite Indian place tied with some early evening entertainment shopping.

The weather cooperated. Everything cooperated, from the moment we left the house. Got to the metro station with the train pulling up in 1 minute. Headed downtown, missed the afternoon shoppers because we were a bit late and there were zero evening shoppers out. It was almost as if we had the city to ourselves.

Hit the used DVD shop first, before they closed. The two of us went thru every rack, pulling thru the DVDs, looking for anything that might entertain us. When you pay full price, you’ve got to pick and choose what you want. But when everything falls within the fifty cent to 2 euro price range, you can take some chances. Yep, that looks entertaining enough to spend a euro on. Get it. 

Off to dinner: the owner/chef knows us by sight, so we walked in to a loud and warm welcome. We ordered our favorites, eating our fill and getting the remainder wrapped up to take home (the food is ALWAYS too good to leave any scrap behind). Kicked back with cups of chai tea and chatted with the owner after eating.

Headed over to Pluto for a smoke; too early for TrefPunt to be open. Again, luck was with us. Pluto’s a small place and one of the most popular coffeeshops in Rotterdam because it’s decorated and plays cool music. In fact, Pluto is one of two ‘Amsterdam-like’ coffeeshops, by which I mean tourist coffeeshops, in Rotterdam. Most places here are bare roomed nothings, you just walk in, buy your smoke, and leave. This is Rotterdam, bitches: we don’t play to tourists like Amsterdam. But Pluto (and The Reef) are two exceptions. Decorated, dimmed lighting, good music, the full monty. I don’t go into them often because you have to buy their smoke and a beverage from them before using their smoking rooms and they’re always overpriced. And since there’s only 2 tourist smoking places in Rotterdam, they tend to be full almost all the time. Last night we walked in and found a free table for the two of us. Just hung by the window, watching people walk by as we toked. It was very relaxing.

Off to MediaMarkt to look at the bargain racks. Again, take chances with some stuff. I always figure just about anything is worth 2 euro to me. One view pays for itself. If I watch it twice, I’ve more than used the money I spent on it. Picked up a few more deep discount DVDs.

Home. I’d barely changed into my jammies for the eve and put my new slippers on when my phone went nuts. Eleven messages before I could open it up. F, the actor in act 3 playing Ted, is out. He’s from Ireland and can no longer stay in Rotterdam (I suspect it’s because he hasn’t found a job). Well. That explained his poor performances in rehearsals; he was distracted. Wish he would have mentioned this months ago. Not sure why he was so eager to sign up with us when his own situation was so precarious.

Our Board chat on FB went nuts, too. Everyone chiming in: this is the end. Boom. Current plans are to call a meeting with the actors left and see who’s into trying to do something else this year. It’s got to be an all-female cast; we’ve lost all the men. And we’ve still got to find a script to do. It’s possible. Just like doing my stuff was possible. But I’m not holding my breath.

So the newsletter is gutted. I’ve no idea how to fill the 2 pages I was going to use for cast interviews. I’m not working on it for now. Hoping to have something positive to add before I have to release it saying: we’re not doing the trilogy, everyone was a total shit hole, forget about us for a year while we work out who’s an ass and who isn’t.

My bro and I discussed taking the trilogy to podcast form. What we would need to do for it. T’s on board so much he’ll even pay for some sound-proofed room time to get good recordings. Definitely want to use some of the theatre people. They’ve put the time in and really have a good handle on the story. Some of them. Seeing as I’m director of any podcast project, M won’t be playing Val because she sucked shit. Everything coming out of her mouth had an upward inflection like a question. I pointed that out to her, saying Val was more self assured and she’d make more statements. But M never really got it. She’s in D’s camp: I’m a controlling bitch for asking the actors to play the roles the way I wrote them. Same with G; I won’t put up with her shit. I’ll find someone else, or do an accent and cut my voice oddly so it doesn’t sound like me. My way, or the highway.

Tomorrow I see my shrink. Lots to tell him. T keeps coming out from his room and saying stuff like: Don’t forget to tell him about your headaches, or Remember to mention that to your doc. I’ve gone crazy, Dr T. Do something about it.

Lots of nothing on my plate. Might go out and search scripts for all female casts just to see what’s available. But even that may be a waste of my time. We’d have to push performance dates back if we start on a new script, and not everyone committed to our first dates. We may only have three people willing to do anything.

One thing I’ve learned: L is a driving force in this group. She’s on top of messages, venues, coordination. I’ve learned to appreciate her skills on many levels. And her kindness to me. And if it ends up just the two of us willing to do something this year, we can. We’ll find something. The two of us could learn our lines and be ready to perform something new within 2 months.

Waiting for the director to send out the final word. The production is dead. Dead, and gone. The death knell tolled.



I’ve learned three or four actions in Garage Band really well. Forty-seven dialogue lines, gone thru, effected, finished. Didn’t sweat the clean up much; these are roughs. They’ll stand as is. Test: play some of it for my bro, the big producer.

Now, I know my bro well. I know when he’s coddling me a bit and when he isn’t. This was NO coddle. I got a very shocked reaction from him. Oh my God! That doesn’t sound anything like you! He then went on to ask if these were the finals because he thought they were that cool. No; lots more clean up and layering for the finals.

I did good! The delivery technique I used may make some lines too lengthy. Cutting out the dead air where I took a breath will hurry up some of the bits. Want to send these out to the director today and see how it goes. I may just be hyper manic at this point and think everything should be said in 0.2 seconds. It’s creepy, tho. Considering I’m using only my voice and no other sounds to make it, it’s REALLY creepy.

But I can make it creepier.

Took notepad and pencil to bed for note-making. Planning in a make-up meeting. Just one night when everyone can bring in their own make-up so I can see what we have available between all of us. Also need to practice on a guy. Let’s face it: I can do women’s make-up well but I ain’t a man. I need someone to practice on and my bro won’t let me use his face because of his allergies. Thought about the characters, how each look needs to be. Hair up, hair down, gelled, curled, straightened. Bare make-up, heavy make-up, fake tan. Thinking of it all.

Will start my interviews with the cast this week. After very long consideration, I’ve decided to set the newsletter release dates in September, December, March, and June. I think, overall, that release schedule will work best for the group. So now I need to hustle a bit for the December issue. Hence, start the interviews. Lucky for me, I’m just gonna use my new phone. Ask the questions on the spot and get the recorded answers. I can take off the dictation later. Already spent time roughing in issue 2. I planned on a lot of cast interviews. We’ve 9 people involved in the play and that’s just a lot for a small newsletter. Figure I can squeeze 5 in for December and the rest in for March.

Oh, thank you, new technology! Thank you, L, for giving me this phone. Thanks, T, for setting up all the connections. This is making my job 100 times easier.

Read another 15 pages in my book. Really enjoying it. The reading level seems a wee bit easier than the last book I read. Either that, or I really am getting better! It’s fun, tho, to enjoy a story in Dutch. To really know what’s going on. To once again think that everyone who’s ever told me that Dutch is a clunky and ungraceful language really couldn’t read well. Dutch is very expressive, if you know how to use it.

Today I need to shower and wash my hair. I always feel like my hair throws me sometime back in the 1400’s. It’s so damned thick I can’t really blow it dry. Hairdressers have tried and failed; I always go out with a still half wet head. Best thing to do is just let it dry naturally – for about 8 hours. Seriously. It’s almost 11 a.m. and if I jump in the shower right now my hair will still be damp at 7 p.m. tonight. I envision myself as one of those long haired maidens, sitting in front of the hearth, combing out long locks as they dry. I don’t actually DO any of that, but I feel like I do. And my hair isn’t really long yet.

This week I see Dr T. I’ve calmed down a bit. Or I’m just still tired this morning. Either way, I’m not so anxious about it. But I do think I need my meds upped. So does my bro. So does the director. So, up my meds, dude. *sigh* Dr T will probably want to talk a bit more about the rapes. That was the last thing we talked about last time, and I’m guessing he’ll go over his notes to refresh his memory before he brings me into his office. My head isn’t really there. But I’ll spill it, if he asks. What I’ve got to spill, anyway…

Think I have a fan. J, a member of the theatre group, is being super supportive online. I wanted her in this play and wrote one of the roles with her in mind. Sadly, she’s doing her PhD this year doesn’t have the time. But she’s passing out flyers and reposting everything I’m doing on the site. In fact, she’s the most supportive theatre member we’ve got – and she’s not even in this play. Loving that she’s taking the time. Loving that she’s just there, naturally. Wishing the other active members would be more like her.

Hope to start taking vids tomorrow. Want to just film everything. Will pull the clips I want later on. Busy, busy! Must remember to alert everyone to what I’ll be doing so they’re prepared. Not that most of the people need to spruce up. They’re pretty spruced up on a daily basis. I’m the scruffiest of everyone. But, I’d want to know. So I’ll remind them.

Really need to find a few helpers. People I can send my spews to so they can sort it out and take over. Gotta remember to push everyone on that, too.

Twenty days ’til my birthday. This year I’ll be up to my ears in excitement. Rehearsals, videos, recordings, marketing, laughter, support… It’s like all the b-days I ever dreamed of getting rolled up into one. Money will be tight, of course. When isn’t it? Guess my dental work is my b-day present this year. Kind of like getting a pair of socks for your b-day: needed and appreciated but definitely a let-down.

I’ll concentrate on the gift the Universe is giving me: fun.

One. week.

I should probably put a big red circle around yesterday’s date in my calendar; here’s where it began. Yep. I got back to the gym. Weak as shit, just trying to get moving right now. The quads in my legs are paramount. Lately I’ve taken a few running steps up stairs and felt that weird and awful pull in my right knee that says it’s straining. I really don’t want more knee problems. So build those muscles. Keep ’em strong.

Another rehearsal tonight. Lucky for me, it’s Act 3 which means I’m not in it. I’m there to sit, observe, help when and if I can. Must begin running thru my own lines. I think tomorrow I’m expected to start going off script…

Boy! Did I hit with the flyer. Everyone who sees it is pulled into it. What’s this? Oooo! And then they scan the QR code and start reading. Stats on the group’s website are up 23% over last week. Fan-bloody-tastic! While I want everyone to sign up for the newsletter, my first job is just to get the damned word out. I never again want to hear that we’re the best kept secret in the Netherlands.

T’s book is officially out and for sale – in Dutch. He’s so proud. And he should be! It looks really sharp and the sheer amount of work he’s put into the translation should earn him a gold star from someone.

Continuing having problems with my email connected to my bro’s company. Somehow we got blacklisted from our own site. Our new server sorted it out, and in came over 200 emails. Neither my bro nor I are happy with our new server. Compared to the last, they’re really not on the ball. But they’re here, in NL, and the annual cost is about 25% of what we were paying. For many reasons, this new server is the best choice right now. But as soon as we get some money in we might look for somewhere new.

Out of boredom, I took my Dutch homework to bed. Read the short story and began on the exercises. Have a feeling I’ll once again hear from my fellow students that they found it difficult. Me? It takes time to go through it and look through all my options, but I’m not finding it difficult. These are words I have, in a story. The exercises just ask me to use the story’s words in new sentences. Easy-peasy, or as they say in Dutch, ‘het staat als een paal boven het water’ (it stands like a pole above the water, a saying for it’s blatantly obvious). See? I can even use Dutch idioms in casual conversation. I’m getting better.

Trying to keep my ear open and listen for a time period when the house is quietest so I can record in the lines I need to do. The downstairs neighbor often plays loud music during the afternoon, and there are still workmen tinkering in places. Thinking I may just set my alarm, get up at 3 in the morning, turn on the computer, and record the lines then. It’ll be quiet; I can guarantee that! And…hm. Maybe I’ll even get a new and interesting delivery out of myself.

Had a good, long laugh at the director the other day. He gave the actors some instructions; wanted one of them to really engage in some horseplay. He asked one actor to hit the other on the back hard enough to throw him off balance, and then proceeded to run the scene several times in a row. I mentioned directors who put actors into dangerous and frightening conditions in order to keep them in the mood and get what they want on camera. The director looked me square in the eyes, smiled in a devilish manner, and said ‘Yep.’ He’d do that. And, in some ways, so would I. I’m willing to get bruises, bumps, and cuts. I’m willing to go that extra mile for a role.

Hell! I want to.

I guess it’s a 3 a.m. recording session for me…

At least the wet weather has blown itself out. For now. I’ve sunny skies outside and I find that heartening this morning. Maybe I’ll just go for a walk in the sunshine. Clouds are supposed to come back by this evening. Feels too long since I’ve felt sunshine on me.

Keeping up on juice and hand washing and everything I can do to keep myself healthy. I feel tired a lot. No big surprise; either my body is going or my head is. I feel like I’m holding a stallion back. Like I’m in the starting box of a big race and the horse I’m on is straining to take off and run. Letting the horse run isn’t wise. Holding him back is difficult and tiring.

One. more. week. Then Dr T will give me more meds and hopefully this will ease off.

Pleased to find I’m pretty comfortable talking about my mental health issues with the director. I use ‘shrink’ rather than doctor and kind of make fun of myself when I mention it – one of my big defense mechanisms. But the director is listening to me. He asked me on Tuesday if I was still doing okay. I told him I’m going a bit fast and I want the med that’s supposed to stabilize me upped. He doesn’t give me much feedback on any of it, just lets me say it out loud without judgement. That helps. Told the director I’m strung out, feeling like I’ve been going on nicotine and caffeine. Did not say it’s rather like the day after a cocaine binge – no need to admit to all my horrible past at once – tho it does feel like that. But the only upper I’ve been on (other than my paltry few cups of coffee in the mornings) is adrenaline. This is my version of mania.

Oh! And the venue we’ll be using has video projection capabilities and we can do it at no extra cost. I have the camera. My schedule might become tighter still…

One. week.

I was not to blame

When you find yourself in danger, if you cannot fight or flee successfully, freezing is your next best survival instinct.

I’ve been allowing these words to sink in. Yesterday was the first time anyone ever said that to me. Of course, I’d never spoken about the guilt I carry for freezing up during the times I was raped and “allowing” it to happen. I know I did what I did because I was scared to death. But I’ve always had a part of me that said: if you’d have fought harder, it wouldn’t have happened. Dr T set me straight, and it was difficult to hear.

Did not walk into my appointment thinking that was what I’d be talking about. I thought I’d be talking about the sibling rivalry problem between myself and my siblings. But, no. Somehow Dr T got me to open up. Maybe it was because we were talking in Dutch.

I’m practicing saying ‘no’, I told him. But it’s easier in Dutch. I told him I knew how important it was for me to say no and take care of myself first. And then…and then the word ‘verkracht’ (raped) came out, and he asked when and I said it wasn’t so much when as how often, and then I started talking about the stalker and the beatings and how I felt like a caged animal for years. The conversation flowed from Dutch to English to Dutch in a comfortable manner. So now he finally knows that bit about me.

We talked about sexuality, about relationships. Have you been able to have a successful relationship with a man after the rapes? No. No, I haven’t. Not unless I can take sex out of the equation right away. If I can get a guy to just see me as a person, someone to hang out with and eat pizza, it’s fine. If they think me in anyway as a woman, as a female, as attractive – it’s a mess. Treating me nicely, taking me to dinner, asking me to dress up; all of it freaks me out. I suppose the two date rapes that happened to me do not help this situation. *sigh* Never trust a man that drops a hundred bucks on a meal for you. Never. The more they pay, the more the feel they’ve paid for you and the more likely they’ll take what they think they’ve paid for. That’s been my experience.

Did you ever tell anyone? No. None other than my brother, who’s had the overview but not the messy details. And then came the biggie: I thought my family would blame me. And I was right; they would have. They would have blamed my clothing, the fact that I was drinking, the fact that I went out ‘looking for it’.

I once built up the courage to tell my eldest brother that the stalker was hitting me. His response was a cool So? No ‘you’ve got to get out of there’ or ‘how dare he’. Just So? Like I’d just told him a bulb was burnt out in the house or something.

I was right to say nothing. I know I was. With that attitude, all I would have heard was how much of a slut I was, that I was already practically a whore so I might as well make it official, on and on, ad infinitum.

Trust your instincts, Beeps. The doc just told you you have good survival instincts. Trust them.

People here think I exaggerate. About my family, life in the states, etc. I’m not, naturally. A strange thing happens to people. They begin to act like they know an area because they spent a few days on holiday there. I’ve had loads of Europeans say ‘Oh, yes, I know the US’ and then go on to tell me how last year they spent a week in NYC or Boston. I look these people square in the eye and ask ‘If an American spent a week in Amsterdam would you say they know the Netherlands?’ Here in Rotterdam that’s a kicker; no one will say ‘yes’. Then I move on to explaining how large the US is. How different the states are from each other. The language, the customs, the laws, the taxes – all different. And finally I get them to admit that no, they don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m happy that their logic allows them to follow my argument, that they can readily and easily admit their mistakes. I’m not happy that I have to lay the argument out, over and over, to each fool I meet. I feel like I’m having the same conversation continually loop. Goddess! And why do I have to be the one who teaches everyone? Can’t someone else do if for a few decades?

…How do you change the world? One human at a time.


The dregs of a hurricane from the Mediterranean are hitting NL today. High winds, rain. I’d like to get to the gym for a while. Work out and think on Dr T’s words. They’re having a big impact on me. They wash the last self-imposed blame from my body: I was not to blame. Nothing I did merited what happened to me. I went into survival instinct.

And they must have felt my head pulling away, or trying to pull away, as they shoved it down on their cocks deeper and deeper until I felt I was going to gag. They must have felt my fear, my frozen unwantingness. How dry my vagina was. How quickly I left afterwards. My lack of touch, lack of desire. It was all there. And they raped me.

I was not to blame.

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.

Get shrunk

Time to get shrunk.

Yeah, Dr. T…doing fine. No more crying first thing in the morning. Concentrating on the production. My Dutch is for shit because all I’m doing is thinking about the play, which is in English. But having loads of fun. Taking my meds. Need a bit more exercise, but other than that…can’t complain.

Boom. Five minutes, mic drop, walk out. It’s really all I need.

The director managed to call a read thru without me nagging him. Looking like it’ll be Monday. We’ll be missing 2 people, but none of the dates can be made by everyone, so we’ll need to compromise. Again (get used to it, spotty!). Not thrilled that the 2 that will miss Monday are newbies; they’re the most important to get into the group right away. The rest of us have history with each other. I want the newbies involved, connecting, feeling comfortable with everyone.

Not. my. problem.

Ran the bruised look past the director. Don’t know if I fooled him for a second or two; he didn’t say. But I sent it out with the title ‘had a fall’, then followed up with a ‘Shit! Does it look bad?’ and the pic I took. Left the ‘reveal’ it was just make-up ’til the end. He did think it looked pretty realistic, so maybe I caught him out for a moment. 🙂 I hope so.

Fiddled with gaunt and exhausted looks yesterday. Counted; need 3 progressions in the act. Realized a couple of things. First, I can practice on myself but I won’t really know about the other actors until I work with them. We don’t all have the same skin tones, so making notes that I’m using this shade or that on my pale skin is just plain silly. I’ll have to customize the look to each actor. Second, due to the progressive nature of the make-up, the first look won’t be very noticeable. It’s just a bit of shading around the eyes. I can see it in my before and after pics, but I don’t notice it if I just look at the after pic. Figure that’s okay, and I’m probably on the right track. The first signs of exhaustion are subtle.

Decided the easiest thing will probably be to make a few ‘how-to’ vids and post them to the group. Here’s how to do this look, here’s how to do that one. We’ll need one or two practice sessions, too, but that won’t take much. Fifteen extra minutes before or after scene rehearsal should do it.

Thinking, too, on playbills. It’s not something the group has used in the past, and I think that’s a mistake. Give people something to take with them. Give them our names, give them our web links, give them the play info. Even if it ends up in the trash after the performance, it’s an hour or two of them looking at it – and they will look at it. Figuring on a half-sheet of paper. Small, easy to take with you. And cheap to create.

…Yeah, I know. Obsessed, aren’t I? Can’t help it. This is the way my mind works: it runs out in divergent lines, hundreds of them stemming from one bleeding idea. I don’t just get the idea of a story, I get the idea of a production, of special effects, of marketing, of the whole shebang. I think I’d be happy if I came up with a small idea that was limited to one flipping thing. It would be refreshing. Instead, I create an effect. Last time I did this I exhausted myself so much it took me years to recoup. My only limits are money and how much I can fit into one day. Creativity is never limited with me.

Managed to look at my Dutch homework and do the reading and simple Q&A’s. Read thru the needs for the letters, too, but I haven’t begun writing them. Finding it difficult to slow down enough to tackle the language. I’m irritated with it right now because I can’t move at lightening speed and that’s my tempo. BOOM! New idea. Flesh it out, start to finish, in five minutes. Watching tv: WHAM! That’s how I should do that. Think about it, and miss a portion of the program because I’m not paying attention. It’s too fast to slow down. Too much to mull over, decide, work out.

And I don’t want it to stop.

Doesn’t everyone *POP* run around with neurons *POP* firing off at this *POP* speed? Gods, you people are slow!

My computer says: Alert! Alert! Dr. T at 13:45. Yeah, I know (she says as she rolls her second J of the morning).

How do I even begin to communicate this to him?

… … … Sigh, ugh, and groan. An explosive outpouring of irritated confusion. Because I don’t know how to communicate this. I’m used to being cut off, told not to talk about this or that. I’m not used to someone sitting across from me and really being interested in exactly what I’m experiencing.

Trust him, Beeps. Maybe this is nothing. Maybe it’s just normal excitement; you don’t know. If you have to use English, use English. Tell him about the obsessive thoughts. Tell him about tossing and turning while your mind churns. Tell him you can’t concentrate on Dutch right now. This is what he needs to know. – And, bleeding hell, woman! Tell him you don’t want it to stop completely if you don’t want it to stop. We both know you need a bit of this to see the project thru. But we also both know you’re perfectly capable of killing yourself with work, and this is a prime example you’re setting up. You want Dr. T. to visit you in hospital in four months? No? Then talk to him, and take care of yourself.

*sigh* Okay. I’ll get shrunk.

How crazy is that?

I am not a person with long experience in the mental health game. However, the experiences I have had have been…less than pleasant. Sometimes downright upsetting. Yesterday was the first time I left the office of someone in the mental health care profession feeling hopeful.

Did myself the favor of asking for our session in English. Just didn’t want to struggle so much. Talked about my mother, talked about depression, self esteem. Just light touches, explaining I’ve been reaching a deeper understanding over my mother. Dr T’s laptop went ratta-tat-tat the whole time.

What you’re describing isn’t uncommon. It wasn’t right, but it’s not uncommon.

Felt good to own the words: neglect. Abuse. Felt good to explain myself. I was most happy, though, with Dr T’s focus: now. He’s pleased I’m reaching this new level, but he doesn’t really want to get into the past. He wants me to stop feeling like shit about myself. He wants me to wake up with hope rather than despair in my heart.

My brother said shrinks only put you on the couch and begin to dissect your past when you deny stuff. When you say ‘oh, everything’s great’ or ‘my family was wonderful’. That sure isn’t me.

Apologized, too, for my behavior last session. He said he’d forgotten about it, and he had until I reminded him how angry I was. He assured me (again) it was his fault, and I had every right to voice my dissatisfaction. I agreed, but said it gave me no right to raise my voice or not look at him or get that ugly look on my face – all of which I did. We talked about those angry outbursts. He’s not sure yet if it’s all down to depression or if there’s something else going on. I’m okay with that. He’s watching me closely. That’s all I need to know. And he talked with me at length over the idea that when you get depressed, certain chemicals are released in your brain which then make you feel worse – in other words, it becomes damned difficult to know whether any depression is environmental or physical in nature.

lol. And boy! He’s not like the other guy I saw, who didn’t remember anything about me one session to the next. He was right on the whole playwright thing. There’s lots of positive things going on now in your life. Your play, for instance… Bless him. Bless him for doing his job well, for looking at his notes before talking to me. That felt good, like I mattered. It said my life and my problems were important enough to consider and remember. I was unique, an individual.

Continuing with my meds at the same level. Have another appointment in 5 weeks.

I am ready to get back to life. Will get out for at least a walk today. Maybe I’ll even go to the gym. Want to tidy up around the house. Look at those production notes on the script. Consult with my bro on my friend’s artwork and finally get back to her.

Even my headaches have been easing off…

Boy, it’s good to breathe normally again!

We’ve had rain. Washed all that pollen out of the air. I can smell the freshness. Get up, go! Everything is new again. Pristine. Yesteryear’s memories have dropped to the ground. They have become ash; their only purpose now is to fertilize for new growth. Dance, monkey, dance! Don’t you feel it out there? It’s all crayola colored life, fresh and new. Anything is possible.

Ah, I’m up too late to go dance with Venus. But the feeling is there: I’m joyful.

Still have not settled on any writing. There are several things floating around. Several things I keep coming back to. Once in a while I think I’ve got it, then it moves away from me. I’m letting it go. No real idea what I’m brewing up there, but I’ve a feeling my subconscious is making connections between some of my lesser story lines – intertwining them into a more complex idea. Two things keep coming up for me. One, use of flashbacks. How to portray that kind of shift in time on stage. Two, the perfect opening scene. Complex, not understandable – until you begin with the backstories. What the framework is, I’ve no idea. Murder? Disaster? A party? Beats the hell out of me. That’s why I’m letting it go.

And I’ve one more thing to note. One of those weird and strange things I don’t talk about much. There’s this grove of trees here in Rotterdam. It’s along a public road. It’s a short path; you can see the other side of it. But it’s not right. There’s something not of this world that lives down that grove. I’ve encountered it, and been glad it saw fit to let me pass. Mentioned it to my bro – it just happens to be near the center he goes to for his shrink – and he knew precisely where I was talking about. It’s a creepy little lane. Right. So a few months ago I had occasion to pass by it on a walk. I was startled, because it was cut down. Now, I’m always on the look out for creepy stories. I consider it my forte these days. Having noted the grove and the thing in the grove, I was startled. Figured I might not be the only person to get creeped out down there, so the city cut it down. Good so far, right? Right. Earlier this week, I was back in the area. The grove is back. In full. There is no evidence of anything being cut down to the ground like I saw a few months ago. And it’s not a replanting. Too much wild undergrowth going on. The trees were too big, too full. The moss on the stones was too heavy and thick. I’ve seen city replants, and this wasn’t that. This was the grove. Remade, in exact detail.

Now, how crazy is that?

High Noon

3:15. Some people feel noon is the day’s midpoint. I disagree. Midpoint sits at 3:15 (afternoon or early morning, doesn’t matter; it’s always midpoint of the day or night). I think it’s because of all those years of waking up precisely at 3:15 a.m. What was it? 10 years? More? As a kid, I was convinced it was because 3:15 a.m. would be my time of death. I still could be right.

Today’s 3:15 is p.m., which rarely gives me the kind of problem that its a.m. partner does. However, this 3:15 revolves around my appointment with Dr. T. I would prefer to see him in the morning. I prefer to do most everything in the mornings; my head is clearer and I’m far less tired. But I’ll deal. The day promises to be warm and pleasant, so I plan on taking my time and walking over there. I’d like to shower before I go, but alas! That decision lies on whether or not the building has hot water more than my mood.

Culled thru my own writing, made notes. Sleep issues, sweaty hands, upset tummy, performances, ups and downs. I’m clear, and won’t make the mistake of saying everything’s okay just because I slept decently last night or the majority of my immediate stressors are done with for now. I do that. How are you? I answer in the moment: Fine. Okay. Well. The better question would be: How have you been since I last saw you? That would prompt the correct response in me. But if I nitpick over such things, I’m told I’m being too literal. I’ve learned, through time, to just jump ahead and interpret what people say to me rather than listen to their actual words. But then that gets me into trouble, too. I didn’t mean that or You’re twisting my meaning is said, and once again I am wrong. Why am I the problem here? Aren’t I responding correctly, and it’s all you poor communicators who are lacking in this situation?

Geez Louise!

My bro had band practice last night, so I was left alone for the evening. Ran DVDs on the tv and watched YouTube vids at the same time. Had to; doing only one of those two things wasn’t enough to keep me settled. Both at the same time kept me occupied. Slowed myself down enough to go and read for an hour before sleep.

Mild headaches lately, but it’s Spring. Allergy season. I’m not shocked nor surprised. And my head’s been stuffed up.

I’ve given up on trying to control my food habits. I used to be very regimented: oatmeal every day, right after or with my coffee. Felt pretty self-righteous about that, knowing the health benefits. Now…I haven’t had oatmeal for months. Can’t stand the stuff. Even thinking about it makes my stomach clench. And I find I do not want breakfast food for breakfast. My body craves savory food first thing. I’ve taken to eating rice and Greek tomato sauce with feta and olives. It’s so much better on my stomach! Everything about it is better for me right now. It isn’t ’til around 8 p.m. that I crave breakfast cereal. Then I have a big bowl, watching tv, crunching away and drinking up the excess milk. Cannot get my dad out of my head, who noted this food behavior in me as a young woman (I did it throughout my 20s, flipping around breakfast and dinner meals). He, of course, complained about it. I’m just going with it, and the father in my head be damned. It is my control, my freedom, my body – and this is what it wants. My body knows what it needs; the first time I came down with shingles, I craved licorice – a natural healer.

…Not sure if the last few weeks have been a good test ground for this medication. I’ve had lots of excitement. Been wound up over the good things that have happened. On the other hand, it’s the good things that get me into trouble. I’m used to being dumped on. I’m used to hating myself. I’m used to all that negativity. I know how to handle it. Be nice to me, give me a compliment, and watch me fritz out. It’s my weakness, and it’s what I need to work on. So maybe, all in all, it’s not a bad thing. Here it is, and this is small! I’ll be in up mode all year long with the production. Yep. This is it, Dr. T. And I’m doing everything I can to keep a lid on it. Sleep problems. Sweaty hands. Headaches. Strung out feelings. Weird dreams. Anger. Circular, repetitive thoughts. Grandiose ideas. It’s all there, under wraps. I learned long ago to not talk about these things. I was cut to the carpet every time I did: you’re being overly dramatic, everyone feels like that, just stop thinking about it, you’re lying, you’re crazy, you have no idea what you’re talking about, you think you’re so special but you’re not! Now, that’s a list I should translate and give to Dr. T. Title it Things my Family Told Me.

*sigh* So much of what I’d like to say I can’t. My Dutch isn’t there, and I can only look up so much ahead of time.

I’m apprehensive about today. Nervous. Nervous about being misunderstood. Nervous about misunderstanding. Fuck. Not helping.

Fine. Walk in there with a page of translated material from Google. Hand it to him. Tell him my brain isn’t working well, and Dutch is difficult for me right now. Give him the physical notes. Make it as easy on myself to communicate what I feel I must.

For the world, it will just be ‘afternoon’.

For me: high noon.

No one can tell I’m crying when I walk in the rain

It’s 5 a.m. and no huge surprise that I can’t sleep.

In less than 5 hours I’m meeting someone who will probably be a part of my medical team for many years to come. The only way I’ve been able to look at it is that it’s like my RA. It’s incurable, I’ll never be able to stop treating it, never be able to stop seeing doctors about it, and I’ll just have to live with it and all the new complications it brings.

Keep thinking about people. The Dutch just don’t lose it like Americans, so it’s been a while since I’ve been treated to a public display that makes me think ‘wow, they let you loose from that straitjacket a little early’, but I see it all the time on tv. How do they let these people walk around? Why hasn’t it been universally recognized that they’ve got some real issues going and it would better to just deal with them? But, no. The absurd is commonplace now. This unhinged behavior has now come under the mantle of ‘free speech’ and allows everything from outright hate, bigotry and chauvinism to total narcissism. We feed the id, stuffing it with everything possible in order to avoid thinking about how fucking miserable we all are and how shitty life really is. I realize the only difference between them and me is that I recognize I’m miserable, but then, I’ve been asking for a lobotomy in one manner or another since I was 10.

Maybe that’s all mental un-health is. Recognizing how miserable you are. It sure doesn’t hang off of actual behavior unless you go on some killing spree. It sure doesn’t go off social ‘norms’ because they’re always changing and the people who don’t adhere to them aren’t just carted away. There’s no mentally healthy person on this planet to point to as an example. Even the doctor I’m going to see this morning has his issues and problems. He probably sees a shrink on his own; usually, that’s part of the job. Gods, please don’t let him be a closet chauvinist! I just can’t deal with that right now.

Right. So…imagine him in his underwear. Or sitting on the toilet. No one can be intimidating with their pants around their ankles. He’s just a person, with his own problems and issues. He’s been trained to communicate well, but he’s just a person, and people fuck up. Try to remember that. Today is no big deal. A meet ‘n greet. He’s got to get to know you, and you’ve got to get to know him. Don’t unload like a dump truck the moment the door closes. You acknowledge this is going to be long term, so act accordingly.

It’s okay to be cautious.

Another headache, or the same one that never really went away. Don’t know nor care. Just an observation. Same with my continued gut problem, tho that, I’m happy to say, is getting better.

Came to this morning, tossed and turned. Found my bed a mess: covers half off, pillows scrunched up or on the floor. I am aware my nights have been very hectic. Sleep is where I seem to confront my big stuff, and that’s the real problem. I’m not getting proper rest, I’m hurting myself, and I don’t seem to be working thru it. Didn’t help that as I lay there, tears came to my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. First. thing. in. the morning. That happens so often to me… I hate it. I know I must get up; continuing to lay there just makes things worse. But then I’m up in the middle of the night, which does nothing to help me feel rested.

…Felt bolstered to get a positive comment on a FB post about my upcoming performance. It came from the producer of a film I worked on, which doubles its weight in my mind. Wow. Yeah. I’ve done films. Plural. Keep that in mind. The comment was to my acting, which strokes my ego just so fine today. Yes, thank you. Thank you for the acknowledgement. I feel I don’t get enough of that in my life, so THANK YOU! for telling me you think I act well. Don’t feel quite comfortable saying ‘I’m a good actress’. Not this morning. But I’m comfortable enough acknowledging someone else’s opinion of my work. It’s a bit of yeah, not everybody thinks I’m shit feeling.

*sigh* I’m all over the place, aren’t I? I’m not even addressing the crying this morning other than noting it. What can I say? That it’s just become a fact of life for me? It’s not an every day occurrence, but it happens often enough that I’m not surprised by it. Maybe that’s what happens when you ignore it, tho. Your body ups the anti to get your attention.

Which is where I currently find myself.

Good Goddess, someone read this and learn from my mistakes because it sure as hell seems like I didn’t!

…Once in a while I ponder the idea that I’m leaving my own legacy behind. As an adherent to the idea of reincarnation, I like to imagine that someday I’ll stumble across my own words, my own work, and find myself again. I’ve run across things that make me hum. Totally, head to toe, vibrate with a deep…a deep what? Longing? Love? Something between the two? It resonates with me, and makes me feel like I’ve found a long-missed piece of a jigsaw puzzle I’m putting together. That’s the best way I can put it.

…I’m not real good at accepting help. I know that. People…tend to confuse me. I often do better if I’m just left alone to suss it out by myself. I do need to learn how to ask for help, tho. Especially when I need it. And I need it now. Not begrudging help, doled out with marks on a chalkboard adding up how much I owe in return. Not weak help, like a slimy fish handed to you that’s still alive and immediately slips out of your fingers. I need help like I’ve rarely received it before, and I need to let myself be helped.

….It’s raining. Well. There’s one good thing.

No one can tell I’m crying when I walk in the rain.

Figure it out

R-ring! Ring!

My phone doesn’t ring often. So I was more than surprised to hear it ring yesterday at 8:16 a.m. Ran down the hall to my room, pulled it off the charger, picked it up.

Wall of Dutch. Again. I’ll give myself credit; I’m starting to get used to so much Dutch when I answer the phone. I’ll give myself another pat on the back because I didn’t freak out. Just listened until I heard some words I recognized. Ah! You’re calling from my doctor’s office. Naturally. I’d just finished touting the fact I’d made that appointment. What’s that? You need to change the appointment? Of course you do; what was I thinking? Didn’t say all that, but it is what went through my mind. Managed to change the appointment to Monday morning without using English.

Tackled my language homework in the late morning. The printed exercises were fairly easy, and I got through them in about an hour. Then, I began writing. Our essay assignment this week is to describe where we live. …Can I just say ‘Wow’? For a couple of reasons. One, I could tell immediately my Dutch reading has had an effect. My sentences were stronger right from the start. Fuller. Longer, even. Second, I couldn’t stop writing. Didn’t want to. Just kept going and going until my brother came out to make dinner. Oh, it takes me forever. I still have to have two dictionaries and my sheets on prepositions and odd verbs all handy, open, and ready to refer to. But I’m doing it. Six pages of double spaced, hand-written material done and I still haven’t even begun to describe the living room. Next week I might not feel so confident and cocky, but right now I’m flying high. Feels like I’m getting a real grip on Dutch. I hope so.

Slept like the dead. Really whacked myself out; down for 10 hours. Or maybe I’m finally slowing down enough to feel how low I let my body get. Still tired, and I may end up napping today. Oh! Napping! The word makes me shiver with anticipation. To sweetly fall asleep, gently moving into that netherworld… Well, that idea now has me excited enough that I might not be able to do it.

Things I gotta do today: nothin’. Things I wanna do today: sit in my big chair, under my warm cozy blanket, and read my book until I fall asleep. I’ve been reliving my childhood. Mouth guard at night to remind me sharply of my retainer at 13. Little to no appetite for anything that’s not sugar based. I even – and Goddess, I shouldn’t have said anything! – broke out with a pimple. 52 and I have a bleeding pimple on my chin. You couldn’t trigger me more if you’d designed a box with everything that set me off and put me in it. This is such a body experience. My head knows what’s going on, but my body just keeps responding with that jerked knee. If I have to, I’ll take myself out of the game entirely until this blows over. Zero human contact, no leaving the house. Don’t feel I’m there (yet), but I’m keeping it in mind. It’s my safety blanket (and my safety blanket is a light, soft blue…warm cotton with one of those faux satin trimmings).

Teaching myself to think one step beyond. Not one thousand steps; not so high on the pinnacle it’s dizzying. Nope. One step beyond. Anxious about the appointment with my doc? Think about my next language lesson, just a few short hours beyond the appointment. Worried about the script read through? Think about the day after, and heading back to the gym. Trying to get my thoughts unstuck without sending myself into orbit. It’s a different manner of approaching this, and thus far, it’s helping. I feel a bit more balanced, a bit more continuous in time rather than so up and down or in and out.

Went to physio for my jaw. A nice woman. She asked what I hoped to get out of physio. Obvious to me she’s had some patients who think she can end the pain entirely. I’ve had too much physio to think one treatment will ever cure me of anything. Told her I’m looking for some exercises, something that might help the pain when it does strike or prevent me from doing it in the first place. She nodded, thinking. Who first thought you might have TMJ? she asked me. Me. I diagnosed myself, then went to my GP and dentist. Again, a nod. We chatted away, first in English and then a bit in Dutch. I’ve got some exercises. Pulling on my cheeks, manipulating my tongue, moving and exercising the smaller muscles in the jaw.

Sadly, all that manipulation led to more pain last night. And far more biting, so deep in sleep that I barely remember coming to when I gnashed my teeth or turned over or took off my pj top because I’d sweated through it (obviously, I remember some of it).

*sigh* 13 year old me was a real basket case.

Gonna ignore an awful lot today. Close the curtains because no, I don’t want to see the rest of the world go about their lives while I’m in hibernation. Rest. Feels like that item is always on the menu lately. But my brother keeps telling me I’m still too pale, still not back to my old self.

lol! Now that IS funny. Because I am back to my old self. My 13 year old self. I keep saying it.

And I keep exploring it. I say ‘Okay, have that soda, have that sugary treat. You feel 13, you’re getting triggered…where is this going?’ I wonder where my path will lead me. So eat sugar, if that’s what you want. Read. Nap in the afternoon. Find out what it is that’s driving all this gnashing. You’re here and going through this for a reason.

Figure it out.