Whatever it takes

I am too anxious to count victories or pat myself on the back. Too future-fixed to do more than just write.

It amazes me how my mind can decide ‘do whatever it takes to stay calm’ and within 10 minutes the same mind is telling me ‘boy, you’re weak if you have to resort to that right away’. My mother trained my brain well; it took over her job the moment she kicked it. Crack open that proverbial space between a rock and a hard place and you’ll find me, shivering and squirming in indecision.

Yesterday should have gone better. I did my homework, I read my book, I listened and worked on the language all week. But everything was slightly out of focus. I experienced that fritz out sensation on a lesser scale. I kept up, mostly, with the verbal assault in Dutch. But I seemed to lose a lot of words and a lot of grammatical rules. Loads of correction from my teachers, which meant loads of patience from me. I didn’t lose it, I didn’t grow angry or have an outburst, but I know I didn’t do ‘well’. Not as well as I should have done. Gods, woman, just fucking say it! Okay. I’m too smart to make such dumb mistakes. There. That written in stone fucking shit that was drilled into me the moment C got a whiff of where my IQ sat. I can’t escape it, and I continue to beat myself with it every time I fuck up. I’ve heard variations on that theme from my teachers, too: slow down and think about it; you know better than this. Obviously no, I don’t, because I keep fucking up, don’t I? If I “knew” it, I wouldn’t do that, would I? So why keep repeating that I should know it, that I’m too smart for it, that I’m not thinking, that I’m making so many fucking mistakes?

Can’t smart people make mistakes? Why do I continually get messages that make me feel like I must be perfect 100% of the time?

Finding myself more and more ready to make those mistakes – at least, in language class. I think I’ve been going about this all wrong. I’ve always worked my ass off to do my very best. That leads to this assumption that I’ll always be that good and never make any mistakes. So, fuck it. I’m gonna stop doing my best for other people. I’ll just do whatever. A half-assed attempt. See my mistakes: I’m human. Fucking deal. Allow me to fuck up! Please! Why is it okay for everyone else to fuck up but not me?

…*sigh* I suppose, if I think about it, there’s reason in this to feel good. I must do such an amazing job most of the time that when I DO fuck up, it’s very noticeable. People must judge me very highly to always have this reaction, right? Don’t know that I’m happy about that. I mean…it just ends up making me feel awful about myself, and always, always brings me back to that horrible circular statement of being too smart to make such dumb mistakes.

Then people ask me why I feel so shitty about myself. Or why I’m so sad and depressed most of the time. Or why I don’t even want to try some days.

For fuck’s sake!

…I gotta break this. Already my thoughts are circling the drain… Someone just fucking kill me is top of the list.

Up this week: buying that CD. That’s a downtown trip during the day. Into public. Doing all those things normal people do: ride the metro, walk around, interact. Anxiety issue number 1, that is. Number 2 is the psych appointment. Really getting wound up over it. My bro’s b-day is Friday, so I’ve got to do some baking (which includes both before and after kitchen cleaning because for some reason it’s okay for my bro to leave a mess in there but not me). Also expect to meet with the director and hash thru the script (another anxiety ridden thing: can I let go enough to actually get it produced?). In between all that I need some gym time, some homework time, game time, and the bare necessities of sleeping and eating and keeping my body groomed enough to do everything else.

The best I can manage on ‘keeping calm’ is to balance one anxiety with another. When I think too long about the psych appointment, I counter it with my script anxiety and vice versa. If I worry too much about my trip downtown I concentrate on going to the gym. It works, to an extent. It doesn’t allow any one thing to become too big in my head. But it doesn’t take my overall anxiety down, which is what I want. Thinking ahead a week doesn’t really do the trick, either: then begins the countdown to my Amsterdam performance, which brings up all the associated issues of relearning my lines, hitting the marks, etc. …Fine. If I flip my computer calendar to April, it’s not so bad. As long as I ignore the alert in the first week about the upcoming performance, my schedule is clear and free. April it is, then.

Let’s see… It’ll be getting warmer by then, so maybe I’ll open up some windows. The sun will be out longer; perhaps I’ll be taking strolls in the evenings during twilight. The issues that are coming up this week and causing me anxiety will be in my past by then. Over and done with. Yes. And progress will have been made. Decisions about the production(s). Maybe some movement on some sound effects. Maybe I’ll have heard from the theatre in the states by then. Maybe the local theatre group will have already called for auditions. I’ll have written more – something. This blog, at least. Yes. I can feel good about all of that.

And remember what you said, woman. How do you feel in your skin? …Not so good at the moment. Then let it go. Seek that comfort in yourself. Don’t listen to that other part of you that wants to make you feel bad.

Whatever it takes.


Lay it out

I didn’t ask. I laid it all out. I’ve been wanting new music for years now, and I searched online… The new CD is still expensive, but I can pick up their first for only ten euro, and I like some of the songs on that album, so I’m gonna get that. On a whim, I added: And if I happen to smell something good as I walk around, I give myself permission to buy something for a couple of euro and eat it, too. My brother: ‘Hell yeah! Here! Take this extra money for food. Go and have some fun.’

Yeah. There it was, me laying out every reason, every line of thought and justification for going out and spending money on myself, and my bro totally onboard, totally supportive, totally knowing how difficult something like that is for me.

I prepped. Ventured out. Walked among people. Looked at things. Sadly, I didn’t find what I wanted and, being Sunday, I wasn’t sure the shops downtown would be open, so I called it and came home. I picked up a meal snack and a cake snack downstairs to console myself.

So, things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. Kind of the opposite; everywhere I went I ran into crowds of people and long lines. Kept my cool – if you don’t count rolling my eyes at the delays. For me, that’s a win. No muttering darkly from my far spot in the queue, no face of thunder as I clomped around. Nope. Casual walk, relaxed face. Just the eye roll – which was justified at the supermarket when I popped into the shortest line in the store to purchase my two items and ended up waiting 5 minutes while a guy two people ahead of me argued some charge on his receipt with the cashier. I just stood there, knowing that Murphy’s Law would kick in if I dared to move to another queue. That’s just a fact of life for me; sometimes, the Universe makes sure I get delayed somehow and no matter what I do, I’ll be delayed. I’ve found in the long run it’s just best to accept it and go with it. Supermarket queues are the pièce de résistance of such a fact. …I believe I could, conceivably, be caught in supermarket queues for the rest of eternity if I tried hopping between them.

Dreamt the other day of blood in my mouth. Just…spitting out a lot of blood. It was gross. Experienced the second bloody nose of my life yesterday. Again, just a lot of blood and again, it was gross. Not thrilled about the dream nor the bloody nose. Not thrilled they had to fall on the heels of each other: dream of red blood, experience red blood. Kind of like a double whammy.

My head is beginning to gnaw on my upcoming psych appointment. This Thursday. Doing what I can to calm and distract myself. Allowing myself to think, if that’s what it seems I need to do. Trying to keep all my imaginings in Dutch, but that’s difficult because I just don’t have a full vocabulary in Dutch. It’s about half and half right now. I think I’d like it if my doc knew enough English that I could speak half and half. Some words in English are best avoided. I can state things much more calmly in Dutch than in English. But…like I said, I don’t have a full vocab yet, so I must resort to English for some ideas. A part of me has decided to treat this like a homework assignment, and write everything out in Dutch. My ‘why are you here’ answer, which is bound to come up. My short and edited version of what I think my main problems are. How people keep telling me I’m different, immature, child-like. The anger. The frustration. The fritzes. Most importantly, tho, I want ground rules. Been thinking about those a lot. What I need to feel safe and okay.

First up: I swear. I cuss. I use expletives. While I am perfectly capable of curbing my ‘sailor’s mouth’ in company, I do find the need to burst out with bad language now and then; it’s warranted in certain situations and while discussing certain subjects. Know it and deal with it. Second: I really don’t want to discuss my sexuality. I don’t adhere to the idea that sex is the pinnacle of existence. When I drank, I had a lot of sex. When I stopped drinking, I stopped being so sexually active. Without the influence of alcohol, I meet someone I’m sexually attracted to maybe once every ten years. And I don’t want to pursue a sexual relationship for a myriad of reasons. I’m okay with those choices. I need my doctor to be okay with them, too. Third: I need to know I’ll be believed. To that effect, I need my doc to understand I’ll be telling him my truths. Truth is a tricky thing; I’ve said it before. And I know in my bones other people would have versions of their truth if they were here to chime in on these topics. What’s important is my truth, the way I saw it, the decisions I made about the world and myself. Not the lesson that was trying to be imparted, not the intentions of the other people involved. I’m aware of those other facets of existence, but none of that negates my truth. Fourth: no access to my blog. I’ll print things up, I’ll ping him PDFs, but he does not (ever!) get this address. It’s my secret, my safety blanket, that teddy bear I hold at night to feel warm and secure. No one’s ruining that for me. Fifth: He must know I’m a chronic people pleaser, which is the main reason I feel talk therapy will never work for me. I will always give the answers I think my therapist wants to hear. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to sit across from a person and get the hint that they want me to say something along the lines of this or that because I’ll do it whether or not I consciously want to.

This is the time to say those things I’ve always been afraid of saying. This is the time to take that risk.

A different ‘him’ today, but just as valid: tell him.

Lay it out.

The harder I try, the faster I go

Where is my baseline? When I’m depressed, I think ‘yep, this is where I normally live’, but when I’m manic I think ‘yep, this is where I’m meant to live’ and honestly, I just don’t know. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be happy or excited without being manic. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be sad or blue without being depressed. I don’t know that I’ve spent one minute of my life in a “normal” human mode without an extreme taking over.

My fears and frustrations did what they always end up doing to me: they pushed me into action. In the last 48 hours I’ve designed and prepped a flyer for my play; designed and prepped a teaser video for said play; brainstormed on marketing and advertising strategies (three pages worth); searched in English and Dutch for venues, bloggers, and anything remotely connected with theatre and the arts; and brainstormed, researched, and decided upon a tag line for the entire production. That’s in addition to reading several chapters in my book, writing three pages of narrative in Dutch, finishing my homework, getting to the gym, and keeping up on the housework.

Just a little manic (and yes, that’s sarcastic, I’m out in the fucking stratosphere, people).

In some ways, this is just my life. My pattern is to think for a long time. It looks like I’m doing jack shit, but in truth I’m working my ass off contemplating whatever it is I’ve got in my sights. When I finally do make a move, I’ve thought it out so completely that it goes at lightening speed. The flyer I designed was a perfect example: thought about it for days but the physical process of putting it together took me less than 30 minutes, and that includes searching for and manipulating a copyright free picture to use in the background. Same with the teaser video. Boom, boom, boom – one, two, three – and it’s done. Now both projects must sit on my desktop because neither can be released before I have performance dates and venues. … But, yeah. I’m always in feast or famine mode. It’s the natural of the way I work. Catch me in famine mode and you’ll think I spend my days sitting around on my ass playing games and watching tv. Catch me in feast mode and you’ll think I never sit down nor stop working.


The internet cut me off. Yeah. Even the Universe is flipping telling me to STOP.

Trying to divvy up my time. An hour here, an hour there. Move around and don’t stay with anything too long. It isn’t really working. I’m fighting it, wanting to keep going once I get going. Or I get up and try something else to little effect and return to my obsession. Try this, write that idea down, search that. If I don’t slow down I’ll have all the ‘jobs’ finished before I even talk to the director about the production.

And no matter what I cajole my body into doing, my head stays on topic, never leaving it for long, never ceasing to think of new ideas, new approaches, new considerations. Mentally, I like being here. It is full of hope and energy. I also know it’s a danger point.

Food is never far from my thoughts these days. Don’t skip meals. Eat something. Mornings I feel like I have to shove food down my throat. Evenings I feel like I can’t eat enough. Been trying to just go with the flow as best as possible, but working out at the gym or any other afternoon activity throws a wrench into it: go too hard in the afternoon and I drop. Ergo, I need food before I do my afternoon activities. But I then I’m shoving food again, feeling like I’m eating unnecessarily when I’m not hungry. Tried riding out the morning and eating after the gym, which works to an extent. It screws up my dinner time, tho, and I don’t like that. The experience just serves to bring me back to the beginning: gods, I wish I didn’t have to eat at all.

Fucking three dimensional carbon based life forms! What a wet sack of shit we’re all caught in. My body just slows me down. The pain, the need to sleep, to rest, to eat. It disrupts my work, and that irritates me. I do my best to remind myself that this is reality as I know it; the animal is part of me, treat it like a well loved pet rather than an often kicked dog. Gah! It ain’t easy.

Thinking about tackling those big cleaning jobs around the house, the ones I do once every six months or so. It’s time; the place needs it. It would also be something else to keep me occupied and at least physically away from obsessing (and it would allow me ample time to just think about things). That’s hardly ‘rustig’, tho. My best bet is to try reading again, tho lately I’m so squirrelly I have a difficult time sitting even for that.

I can feel my routine break down. See it, even. I was so stable for so long. Get up, eat oatmeal, exercise, Dutch, afternoon writing, evening tv, sleep. Now, it’s all out the window. Can’t eat in the mornings, exercise is a vague maybe, Dutch homework is still a drag tho reading has become a joy, my only writing is my obsessive marketing information collection, evening tv is on but largely unwatched because I’m fucking obsessed and only thinking of my work, and sleep is a toss and turn and check the clock to see if I can get up and start again.

I’ve been here before. I know what this is.

And the harder I try to slow down, the faster I go…


Out of jail. That’s how my head feels: I’m out of jail. Finally.

This delightful feeling of lightness comes from another notch in my understanding of Dutch. They said reading would help. I didn’t believe them as I slogged through text after text, never enjoying it, always feeling like it was homework because there were just too many words I didn’t know. Yesterday I reaped the benefits of my hard work. Every word from my instructors was crystal clear. I heard the ‘-ie-‘ used for ‘hij’ after a verb that ended in T. I heard ‘raad’ (guess) and knew what the meaning was. I heard ‘ingewikkeld’ (complicated) and caught on right away. I heard ‘om’ and ‘toe’ and ‘maar’ and ‘al’ – those pesky words that flash by in a blink with native speakers. I was so excited I just sat there vibrating with joy and excitement. I didn’t just follow the gist of the conversation, I got every word.

My teachers took my suggestions to heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We spent the day going over prepositions. Not just over or under, which are the baby prepositions you learn with A,B,C, but those larger prepositions that can get split in a sentence. I was not the only one excited by the lesson; everyone seemed to respond that way. We were more jovial, more verbal, there were more questions, more examples, and when we broke for coffee midway we ended up sitting around a table together and continuing to discuss prepositions, our lives, and the language. We were all so into it, as a matter of fact, that everyone – students and teachers alike – stayed an extra 15 minutes to finish up some reading.

I didn’t want the lesson to end. I didn’t want to take a break. I just wanted to keep hearing the language so clearly. Keep reading, keep learning. I don’t ever remember feeling so fired up, tho I imagine I once felt this way about English.

*sigh* Real satisfied joy. Boy, that’s a great feeling!

Today’s my appointment with Dr D, my GP, about the pain killers. Almost forgot about it with everything else. It’s small potatoes now, and I wonder why I ever thought it was a big deal. Go in, have my say, head out. No big whoop.

Yesterday was the first day I truly felt back to full health. No hunger pains or problems from almost starving myself. No headaches or jaw aches, no toilet problems or sleep problems. I had energy, I was alert, and I felt good physically and mentally. Happy I’ll be able to say all that to my doc. Worry was becoming a constant companion to me. Who’d a thunk my biggest problem was food? Not me, certainly. I have an almost non-stop litany of ‘you’re so fat’ going in my head. So I skip meals, cut back on what I eat, and never feel like I’m really doing enough. But I’m not 15, or 25. My body can’t do this any more, as evidenced by the migraines and other accompanying pain I experienced. And I shouldn’t feel like I need to ask it to do this.

It’s time to tackle my body issues. Among other things.

…Well, at least I’ll be doing it on a full stomach, for Pete’s sake…

Sent out some emails expecting them to be answered quickly. Naturally, they aren’t. One was to the director asking about meeting this week to go over the script. Hope my messages didn’t fall into a black hole. Again. There are black holes in cyber-space, and there are servers and areas where emails typically go missing. I’ve had it happen to me before. Best to give it a few days. Every time I follow up fast, thinking my message has gone missing, all I end up doing is annoying the other person because yes, they actually did get my first message and they’re just not as fast on response as I want them to be.


Thinking I might head to the gym after my doc’s visit. I feel good enough to go and get a walk in. Yippee! That’s real progress. Trying to not dwell on how long I’ve been off my routine, or how long it will take me to get back to where I was physically. The goal is simply to get some movement. I still want to break 5km in 30 minutes, but I’m not ready to even get back on the cross trainer quite yet. I’ve been real good on taking care of myself, being gentle with myself. Getting on the cross trainer at this venture…oh, that’s asking me to push too hard and hurt myself. Nope. Won’t even give myself the opportunity.

I’ve very aware how close I am to tipping into full blown mania again. I’m too excited and excitable, too easily wound up, too easily thrown off from my normal sleeping and eating patterns. Nine days before my first psychiatrist appointment, and I hardly expect to be given a prescription after my first visit, so the number one rule is (as it’s been for quite some time now): take care of myself. Don’t judge what that looks like, just do what it takes. I cannot afford another three months down because of TMJ. I do not want more pain. I do not want to take more pain pills. And I have firm commitments coming up, goals to achieve. I need to be in good health to do all these things.

Prisons come in all shapes and sizes. My prison… I was going to say it was ‘all in my head’, which technically it is, but I don’t want to feel discounted by my own words. My prison was is was (which is the correct verb?) very real. A prison of anxiety and fear, self doubt and self hate. I walled myself off years ago to protect myself, never fully realizing how much I would cut myself off in the process.

Those walls are coming down. The language barrier is coming down.

And I’m free.

Second Childhood

One small victory. I helped someone to ease their own discomfort. Thanks, SJ, for letting me know my suggestion worked. That gets marked up in the column that says ‘See? Talking helps. And you do have experience and ideas that can benefit other people.’ We all need a few more marks on that side of the column.

Found I was starving. I’ve been light on food for months since all this began, and the last week I was down to a small can of soda and a very small bit of one meal as ‘food for the day’. So I ate. I forced down a breakfast yesterday, which wasn’t fun. I picked up a small snack like meal for noon at the store downstairs. I ate a full dinner, loaded up with healthy carbs to absorb the excess bile in my stomach. Lo and behold, the headache stopped. Much of the pain stopped. My system, while still screwed, is better. I can tell I’m beginning to recover.

Good Goddess! The girl who couldn’t stop eating now can’t eat enough.

Getting together Sunday with the theatre crew to finally see the vids from last season’s performance. Both looking forward to it and dreading it. Looking forward to getting my ego stroked; I know I performed well. Dreading it because…well, it’s the theatre group. I’m trying my best to make friends, but I feel that barrier. Can’t seem to get past the acquaintance bar. And I don’t know why. Is it because they hold back from revealing themselves, and I’m naturally reacting to that? Is it because I sense some deeper, slightly less savory aspects of their personalities? No idea. Also expect to hear that they will NOT be doing my script this autumn. Too long since the reading, and no word. That’s never good. I’m already building up my defenses; getting ready to say ‘Yes, I expected that was your answer – and that’s okay. I know the group is pressed for time this year.’ Steeling myself to feel disappointed. Reminding myself of the US interest, and my plans to take it to podcast. The still relevant future possibility of taking it to film. I don’t want to feel that sinking out of body feeling when it gets rejected. I hate that.

Burying my head in reading. I am such a child, reading at this slow rate. Dragging that inner voice through these big, complex words. Sounding things out. Pondering, then understanding. It is annoying and delightful in equal measures. Don’t know if I’m dreaming in Dutch yet or not; I’m not remembering any dreams lately. But I can honestly say I was talking aloud to myself and I slipped in the Dutch word ‘wandelen’ (a walk or stroll) and I couldn’t for the life of me come up with the English equivalent tho I knew full well the meaning of the word. So, something is changing up there in my brain.

Studiously avoiding thinking about my upcoming visit with Dr. T, the psychiatrist. I get too wound up when I think of it. I know, vaguely, what to expect. I know, vaguely, what I want to say. That’s good enough. I don’t need to prep out a full speech (like I usually do). I don’t want to do that. I want him to see me struggle for words, English or Dutch. That’s the truth I hide. It’s why I talk aloud to myself: run through every variation of every conversation, every question, everything I can possibly imagine so I can come up with a pat answer ahead of time. And I use it. Every day, I catch myself paraphrasing my own answers – mostly from these early morning writing-rambles. If you don’t know I’m doing it, I can sound pretty damned together. Coherent, and on top of it. Oh, what a font of wisdom! Glad it appears that way to you. But now, it’s my time. Now it’s time to talk about me. To reveal my real struggles and problems. Not just my post struggle understanding of my problem(s), but the struggle itself. I don’t plan on going in there and ‘fritzing out’, as I call it in my head, but I don’t think it would be bad thing if it happened.

Picking up the day to day again. Got some fresh air yesterday. Today I plan on tackling the cleaning. Getting myself back on small tasks: short walks, dishes, making my bed. Have to sit and drag myself through some homework, too. Especially since tomorrow is a bust for time.

*sigh* I’d rather just sit and enjoy my book…

For all the years I was lost in confusion, unable to even make the simplest of choices for myself, I’m finding that I hold a strong core of very definitive likes and dislikes. The girl in me likes to read. So much so that she’ll fight doing all sorts of things in favor of sitting in a chair with her favorite book. And while the girl in me acknowledges the fact that my ever present back-pack is a far more handy way to carry my incidentals when I leave the house, she wants to be girly and carry a purse sometimes. Entertainment? Make the girl shiver. She likes horror and creepy stories, things that frighten her so much she turns the lights on. Food: while she likes it, she also hates it. She is a proponent of starving. Skip meals, don’t eat, lose weight.

It’s difficult to integrate all that. Especially when it’s so in my face right now.

Meh. Second childhoods suck.


It is NOT just withdrawal. Nope. Indulged after my 4am freak storm. While I felt a bit better, it didn’t stop the feeling of a knife sliding into my temple. It’s a light sensation compared to what I’ve been through but still there. No…this isn’t just withdrawal. This is something else. Neuralgia? Maybe. Not for me to diagnose. Just for me to live through.

My biggest fear in all of this is they’ll end up saying ‘it’s stress’. And then every time I complain about something, that’ll be their first go-to explanation. It’s a discount. And it’s why I don’t go to the doc with every single complaint. I know my body reacts to stress. I know about sleep problems, digestion problems, headaches, etc. because I’ve lived it. This ain’t any of that. Or if it is, it’s at a new, hitherto unexperienced level. That’s scary. Just contemplating it is scary.

Woke up to a shitload of crap in my inbox. Mostly junk. But one email from the theatre group. It was ‘Hey everybody! The date for watching the video is coming up fast. Where are we meeting?’ I didn’t even know the date was coming up fast; no one told me a date had been decided on. I sent a note back saying ‘Didn’t know the date had been set. I know I’m not on your social network, but please let me know when and where. I’d like to see the video with everyone.’ Hope that wasn’t mean or nasty. Didn’t mean it to be. But…really! I have to roll my eyes with these people. They’re all so “connected” yet they can’t keep me informed? If they used the tools they tout, like Facebook (which we’re all on), this wouldn’t happen. It’s their insistence that FB is old school and out of date that creates this situation with me out of the loop. In my eyes, that’s one more way to just exclude me. You’re old school, you’re out of date, no one uses that anymore. Then why try to use it to advertise the group? Why claim you’ll communicate thru one medium and then throw that away and make it difficult by using another medium that not everyone in the group has?

…Gods. Whatever. I’m not putting all my eggs in that basket.

Been talking with my bro about producing my scripts via his company. He’s under pressure to produce something, some product that uses Dutch people and is done right here. I want to see my work done. Yesterday we got a flyer from a place within walking distance that’s got sound proofed rehearsal rooms and a small recording studio. Our home studio is…well, shoved in a corner, under wraps, and currently needs some repairs to be back to 100% usefulness. This new place advertises room rates that we could afford. My brother is beginning to be excited. I’ve been spending loads of time on YouTube, culling through all the unsolved mysteries and creepy stories looking for new subject matter. Why not do my scripts? We can monetize them on-line. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing about internet millionaires while simultaneously seeing such a small trickle of income reach me. So the talk is now of renting rooms, finding actors, producing my scripts. My thriller trilogy is so sound intensive it can easily be turned into an audio script. And I’ve already got a radio script set to produce. Find a few creepy pictures to accompany the productions, and viola. The idea hits all the bases: my brother’s need to produce something here using Dutch people, my desire to have my work done, it’s within our financial abilities, and it’ll be something that can generate some money.

I like that. Something real I can hang my hat on. Something I know I can trust. Not blindly sending out, never hearing squat again. Not teasing me, almost making the cut. Not dependent on some mysterious board decision or someone else’s assessment of whether or not they can pull it off. The sound can be exactly what I want. Oh, I know how to make you shiver!

Managed to get back to reading Dutch. My language skills are weird. Don’t know if everyone goes through this or not. It’s like puzzle pieces falling into place. I look at the sentences; sometimes I get it right away and sometimes not, depending on the words used. If I don’t get it, I stare. I re-read. And then it kind of slides into place. Something clicks in my head, and I get it. I don’t know how I’m doing it. But every time I do do it and run to my dictionary to check and see if I’ve got it right, I’ve got it right. Reminding myself I did this with English. I have one or two memories of doing it. As a kid I didn’t question that kind of nonverbal understanding. As an adult, it scares me a bit. Makes me question myself. I keep asking ‘is that right?’ But the words are coming. My head gobbles them up, whether or not I want it to. I can feel it. A word becomes a stand-out for me. I become uncomfortably aware of it in all its versions. Slowly the meaning gets seared into my brain. It’s weird. Just plain weird. I’m not getting the language from repetition, tho that helps in recognition. It’s something deeper than repetition. Once again, I can’t explain it because I just don’t have the right words. Or maybe the right words don’t exist, at least in English. Maybe I’ll find them in Dutch.

Want to get out of the house today, if my stomach lets me. Go for some fresh air and walk around the neighborhood. I know I need it.

I’ve been off for months.

I need to re-establish balance.

I. you. me.

People say you’re brave if you feel afraid and still take action. Courage isn’t a lack of fear, it’s not letting fear stop you. I’m not quite buying that. If that were true, I’d have full reason to call myself brave. Yesterday I didn’t dither. I marched my ass straight over to the dentist, told them what was going on, and made an appointment for today. But the whole time I was scared shitless. Going home I was scared shitless. Trying to calm myself down afterwards and tell myself that I only had 24 hours to wait, and I was scared shitless. I don’t feel brave. I just don’t want yet more pain, and in my experience not going to the dentist results in worse pain than going to the dentist. So I chose the lesser of two pains. That ain’t brave. That’s chicken shit. [Side note: the infection spot is gone. Completely. Suffered thru a few hours of horrible taste in my mouth; probably it seeped out. Still want the area checked.]

My Dutch isn’t as good as I thought. The pharmacy sent me a text to say my meds were ready to be picked up. Really? I thought the doc put a hold on those. But, sure enough, there were my little pills, handed to me by a smiling assistant. My bro says I should make an appointment with my doctor, that she’s responsible for “heavy duty” drugs, and she might get in trouble if she doesn’t have all her paperwork in order. So I’ll do that today, online. Easy peasy. I haven’t even opened the box of pills. I don’t want to open the box. I just want them on hand the next Sunday morning or 6 o’clock in the evening pain I can’t handle hits me. That’s what happens. Do I feel this awful when everything is open? No. I’m fine then. But close down the doctors and the pharmacies and my body will hit me with everything plus the kitchen sink. Psychological? Maybe. But it’s a pattern in my life, and I’d be stupid to ignore it or say it doesn’t exist.

Waited around for a call from my jaw physiotherapist, knowing it would probably be five in the evening before she called but also knowing if I headed out she’d find some free moment to call me right then when it was difficult to hear her and I had no paper to make notes. My bro offered to find a Roald Dahl book in Dutch for me at the library. He came home with Matilda – a story I’ve studious avoided because of the sugary sweet films by the same name I’ve seen advertised. Going thru it with a fine toothed comb, as the saying goes. My teachers keep asking me ‘Are there words you don’t know?’ after I read a book. Sure! But I can either read through them, pick up the meaning from the surrounding language, or look them up. This time, I’m trying to write down every word I don’t know. I’m noting pages and paragraphs, those pesky Dutch phrases that use words I’m familiar with but seem to make no sense when I put them together. And I’m making a list, too, of those short words that pop up everywhere: al, toe, maar, toch. Really, what DOES ‘Nou, toch!’ mean? I understand it’s an exclamation similar to ‘Now, really!’. Doesn’t convey much, which is why I term it verbal garbage. But it’s that important verbal garbage native speakers have and use all the time. I need it.

Tried a couple of times to write something for my upcoming psychiatrist appointment. Goals. Problems. Things I want to remember to say to him. It’s not going well. I’m discounting everything before I even write it down. Second guessing myself. Don’t even know where to start with him. The immediate problem? Sure. But then you need the back story, and to get the back story you gotta go back to the beginning and – ugh. Trying to get some perspective on it. Standing back and saying ‘okay, you can tell all these stories and little details, but can you sum it up in a few sentences?’ I know I’m depressed, but there’s another side of it few people see. I can’t relax. My mind won’t let me rest. And I can work myself into illness, pain, and probably death when I’m excited and engaged in a project. I view my work as either shit or the greatest thing ever; very rarely can I see or feel the in-between. I have problems verbalizing, and need to write before I can coherently speak. When I grow frustrated, I freeze up mentally and don’t have any words in English or Dutch. …Now, how come I can type that but I can’t write it long-hand? Fine. Take it out of your hands. I’ve copied that bit and put it on my desktop. Just translate it into Dutch as best as you can and use that.

Yes, yes: you, I. I mix them up terribly when I talk to myself. The reason for that is this duality I feel; I am both you and I in my writing. I’m screaming at myself, chiding myself, telling myself all these things. I know that. I talks about the things I’ve accepted. You comes in on those things I doesn’t have down pat (think about it; the grammar will make sense). It’s nothing new, and one of the reasons I prefer writing in third person. I don’t fall into it when no one is me.

I know I’m scared. You doesn’t think I’m angry enough. You doesn’t think I’ve got this processed through my body. You sometimes grows frustrated with I, which really gives me a conundrum. You wants me to talk. I doesn’t want to. Or is it the other way around?

I’m lost. I. you. me.

Please hear me

Oh, blessed silence! Why do people have to make so much damned noise the moment they wake up? TV goes on, radio goes on, coffee maker goes on, shower goes on, and talk, talk, talk. Some people seem to go from the quiet of sleep to full volume in under ten seconds.

How can you even think?

Amazed at how well my face/empty tooth slot is doing. Seems to swell up a bit during the day with talking, and it’s still tender. But damn! Healing very well, very fast. Happy about that.

Happy about not smoking much, too. It’s pretty easy for me to sit and not smoke for most of the day. I’m allowing myself one to two Js if I want, tho I know it’s better if I don’t. But I am no longer reaching towards an ashtray every ten minutes to grab a joint and take a hit. That action is already gone. Want to stay at this level. Only smoke a J in the evening – one J – while I watch tv? Only think about a second joint if I’m really fucking upset and out of sorts and I’ve already tried my reading and game playing and other distractions? Yeah, that’s pretty fucking good.

Finished my book in Dutch. Just in time to turn it in during class. Began reading the CS Lewis I checked from the library. That’s tougher, and I might just return it and find something else. I don’t mind reading something that every few paragraphs throws me a word or phrase I don’t understand. But when that frequency jumps to every sentence, I find it hard to keep going. It becomes a drag, stopping and looking up every word, trying to figure out these long Dutch sentences. My head shuts down, and I don’t want to read. And I want to want to read.

Anxiety is very high. Keep reminding myself to relax my shoulders, let them drop naturally. Five minutes later and I’ve got my shoulders hunched up again. Keep breathing deeply, trying to reset or find some zen point. Must not be doing it right, because it’s not sticking at all. And I never really do relax.

Thinking about real goals. Concrete goals, not that thin soup of ‘I want to be happy’. What a fucking lame request. ‘I want to be happy’. Too vague, and not enough signposts to even know if I’ve reached my goal or not. I don’t know what the fuck happy looks like. Last time I thought I was in the ballpark of happy I clenched my jaw until I hurt like hell and ended up breaking one of my teeth. That doesn’t sound happy to me, and that’s the closest I think I’ve got.

So. Simple, but concrete goals. First: really relax. Really feel all my muscles turn to mush. Really let myself sleep just as long as I want. I want 24 hours (minimum) without finding I’m holding my shoulders tight, without having to deep breathe through anxiety, without that sick feeling in my stomach. I’ve gotta know what that physically feels like, ’cause right now I’m clueless. Second: chill. I’d like to walk out my front door without my heart rate jumping up into the hundreds because I’m afraid. Sometimes Often that happens with simple things, like going to the supermarket or the gym. It makes life difficult. Third: I want the first two goals without turning me into a zombie. I want to still be able to think, to do my homework, to write. Don’t chain my mind down. It’ll make it worse in the long run.

Everything else is kind of gravy.

Things I don’t want to hear: I don’t want to hear this is a long process. I don’t want to hear I’ll ‘have to talk it out eventually’. I don’t want to be told what to do, how to act, what to eat. I don’t want to be told what I already know, either. No tired old memes thrown out at me verbally because you don’t know what the fuck else to say. I don’t want to be ignored. If I say I do something (or don’t do something) I’m being honest. Remember honesty? It’s something old fashioned, and I’m old fashioned, so I still do it. Don’t nag at me about something I’ve already told you I’m all over. It tells me you don’t believe me, and if you don’t believe me, why the fuck should I believe you?

Suggestions: Refer to any appointments with the psychiatrist as ‘check-ups’. Just a verbal check, seeing how I’m doing, a little chat, and that’s it. No in depth therapy. Nope. Just a chat. That doesn’t scare me. I’ll chat away about all sorts of things. That’s never been the problem, and anyone who’s talked with me in the last six months knows that. I’ll talk about the abuse, my lack of self confidence, the mania and the depression.

Most of all: don’t push me. I am a stubborn animal. I don’t mean to be, but when someone tells me I must or I will no matter what, I balk. Dig my feet in and say ‘No!’ Case in point: my dad always harped at me that I’d have to learn how to drink coffee. Outcome? I wouldn’t even try coffee before I was 30. Don’t tell me what I must do, because I’ll do my damnedest to avoid it.

I want help I can accept. If you make it into something I can’t accept it’ll just frustrate me and make me quit. So, chats. Check-ups. Nothing heavy. Don’t say long term.

Please, please, don’t freak me out any more than I am.

And…allow me time. Allow me thought. I do things differently. Just accept that, okay? I’ve heard it for 52 years. I’m okay with it. I need YOU to be okay with it, too.

This is me asking for what I need.

Please hear me.

Just for me

It’s done. I guess when you go into dental surgery, you want a dentist who’s good and, preferably, fast. I got both. In and out in under 10 minutes. Barely any swelling. Sore, but that’s to be expected.

Can’t help but chide myself a bit. Well, there you go. You wound yourself up about this for two damned weeks and it only took 10 minutes. Once more I’m vowing to myself to do better, to  stay calmer, to not panic the next time something comes up.

Yeah. Right.

Spending the weekend inside. While I woke this morning to snow outside my window, it’s nothing in comparison to what hit Ireland. I’ve been checking on Irish news sources, horrified over what I know is currently going down in that country. To say the Irish aren’t prepped for a lot of snow might be the understatement of the decade. What makes me saddest is the knowledge that the most vulnerable members of society are often the most isolated, which means out on the end of those snowy peninsulas where no one can get to right now there are elderly people without food, without heat, and in need of medical attention. People will die. And no one will give a damn.

I feel lucky to be here. To NOT be one of those people who are dying.

Only thirty pages left to read in my book. Plan on sitting down this afternoon and snuggling up with it. Ms. Polly Perfect in me is very happy and excited; she knows on Monday she’ll be able to turn that book in and clearly state she’s reading another. Gimme a gold star, teacher. I did good. Not that doing good is difficult in this situation. Ms. Perfect likes to read, so it’s no great stretch to find she’s gobbled up yet another book and wants more. Ms. Perfect is also happy with her pronunciation. She doesn’t like the fact she doesn’t know ALL the words, but she’s very happy that every time she opens her mouth native Dutch speakers compliment her on her language. Slow and steady. We’re getting there, Polly. Just be patient with me.

Have a bit of something on my desktop. Can’t really call it a story, tho I suppose that’s what it is. For me, it’s too real to call ‘a story’. It is my memories, my tale, told from my eyes and my perspective. I’m…doing my best to stay away from ’emotional’ language. There’s a bit of a disconnect going on with me; just state what happened. Don’t color it. Don’t say how much the pain hurt; pain is pain is pain. Everyone knows it hurts. Matter of fact statements can slap readers far harder than trying to color everything in. The pain went on. No one interfered, no one questioned it. Later, the child was given a spoonful of sugar that hid something bitter. That’s all you need. If you don’t read that and understand something is wrong in the child’s life then it’s you who has the problem. …Don’t know who I’m writing this for. The psychiatrist? Somewhere I think I can submit it? Who the fuck knows. I’m just writing it. That’s okay. I’m allowed to do that.

Here it is March and still nadda from the theater group regarding my script. I don’t think they’ll have time to do it. Maybe they won’t even have time to do another production this year; lots of foot dragging going on. No call for auditions. No discussion on how or what to do this autumn. And with April’s performance of last season’s play in Amsterdam, I just don’t see it happening. Plus…I really don’t want them to throw my idea together last minute. Give me – and my work – a bit more respect than that. No, you guys can’t do it if you can’t give yourselves enough time to learn the parts. No, I can’t give you audio clips if you don’t give me the time to create them. At the rate the group is currently crawling along, they won’t even hold auditions before May. Then it’ll be a couple of rehearsals before they take their summer holiday. In effect, they wouldn’t be able to really begin work on another play before September. I don’t want my first production to be so haphazard and sloppily put together. I spent a year crafting the story. Let’s give it a bit more effort than that. Both I and my work deserve it. And I hope, if the situation arises, that I’ll be able to state that clearly to the group. I deserve more than the dregs of your time. I’d prefer we put my script on hold ’til next year if that’s the way this year shakes out. Plus, I’ll need more than a month or two to do the sound effects. And I’m not gonna put myself or my bro under pressure to do everything in a short time because the group can’t pull it together in a timely manner. I’ll need to tell them that, because right now I think they think I could do the sound effects in a matter of weeks. Not that I blame them; if you don’t work with sound, you don’t get it. But I’ve had that before. What do you mean, you can’t put this all together in such a short time period? I could. I could just turn on my computer and do it. No, you couldn’t. You can’t do it, and that’s the point. If you think you can get this layered sound I want in just a day or two, you don’t know what you’re talking about. And you don’t know sound production.

Yeah. Speak up, Beeps. They gotta know that one ahead of time: I need time to pull that rabbit out of the hat. It ain’t magic; it’s hard work.

And let’s be clear: it’s hard work I’m willing to do for me. Not for you. Not for the theatre group.

Just for me.

The truth

It came as a demand: Send some pictures of yourself and your area. I’m sure your cousins would be interested. This is my uncle’s response to my two line ‘taking care of myself’ reply. Perhaps he didn’t mean it to sound like a demand. Perhaps that’s just his shorthand; I do it all the time, dropping words in sentences because of casual writing. But for a man so willing to fully type in his right-wing ideology, I can’t help but feel it is a precise reflection of his real, inner attitude. Demand, command, do not ask, and twist that bit of guilt in at the end to make sure people follow thru.

I deleted the message, and will not take any pictures for my family.

Yo! I am not some performing monkey here for your fucking entertainment. You can’t demand anything from me. And gee! Your attitude on those pictures I have posted has been quite cutting and negative.

😀 LOLOL! Perfect. Just realized I still have the pix from the premiere. I’ll send those. They show me, a gala event, and my friends. Let them chew on that for a bit. You didn’t bother to say anything at all, much less anything nice when I posted it publicly. Now, have it privately. I dare you, mother fuckers. I dare you to cut me down now. Go on; I know you want to do it.

Wondering about my wisdom here. I want to send those premiere pix. Make ’em squirm. But isn’t that just feeding the fire? And if the only reason I’m doing it is to test them, to see if they’ll react in the same negative way they’ve always reacted, aren’t I just allowing it to go on and on? Encouraging it, even. …Yeah. Gotta admit, that’s true. I want to pull their noses. I want to show them up, shut them up, portray for them exactly why they’re so wrong. …Fuck. That isn’t a healthy reaction.

Well. I’ll let it sit, and no doubt my head will work hard to forget it. Maybe I really will forget it…

Ah. Lovely. My computer alarm just went off, alerting me that tomorrow I have my surgery. Knew I really wouldn’t need the reminder, but I also know how I can let time get away from me and I sure as hell didn’t want to sit another 2 weeks waiting for another appointment and clamping down on my anxiety. So, ding. Yes, I know. Can’t stop thinking about it. Working hard to see past it. Moving my mind onto my language class on Monday, my upcoming appointment with the psychiatrist, the play performance in Amsterdam. There’s this big thing called LIFE that happens after my surgery. Remember that! I’m straddling it pretty well right now, but I’m not going to guarantee I won’t have a few moments of real panic tomorrow.

Did not get out yesterday. We’re in a big freeze, and my brother expressed real concern about me walking in the cold wind after sweating at the gym. I listened to him. Trying to listen to other people right now, especially if they’re telling me to take care of myself. They’re seeing something I’m not. Hold up! So far (knock on wood), I’ve remained flu and cold free this winter (was going to say I remained healthy but we all know that’s not true) and I want to stay that way. Plus…anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. Don’t feel I’ve handled that well, so I’m trying different things.

Have not gone back to my book on audio. The reader isn’t that good. A native speaker, yes. But a good speaker? No. And his delivery isn’t…magical. Good enough, but you can tell he doesn’t love the story. He’s just reading. Almost through with the book my teacher gave me. I’m learning more words. Nouns I didn’t know, verbs I didn’t know… It’s coloring in my world. I know the word for ‘so cold your teeth chatter’. I know the words for trembling, for nervousness, for worry. I see things get laid ‘aan’ or ‘bij’, people go ‘naar’ and ‘heen’ (sometimes ‘af’ and ‘toe’), birds ‘fladderen’ and dogs ‘blaften’, people have ‘benen’ and animals ‘poten’.

Give. me. more.

Plan on holding onto my audio book and just reading thru the text. It looks and sounds about my speed, and I’ll be done with the other book in a few days.

Truths I must remember to tell the psychiatrist. First, I’ve gotta mention the fact I can’t usually figure out what I’m feeling until after I write. My doc thought that was an interesting fact, and it’s not one I’ve talked about before. Second, I want to tell him I never loved my extended family. My immediate family, yes. I shared my day to day experiences with them. But I never understood why I was told to love the others. I saw my grandparents the most often, and that was two times a year at best. And it’s not like I sat down and talked with them often. The adults sat around and talked. I was expected to entertain myself. Aunts, uncles, and cousins were worse; I saw them even less. I didn’t feel any love for them. They were strangers. People I didn’t know. I grew up with ‘don’t trust strangers’, so this created a catch 22. These were strangers I was supposed to trust immediately, feel something for, even tho I knew nothing about them and spent no time with them. Throw in the fact that there were many huh? moments, times when I overheard something or saw something that wasn’t right or okay. But gloss it over. Tell them you love them. Say the words, you bad little girl!

…I never recognized my DNA family as my family. Never loved them like I was told I should. They were dangerous strangers, with sharp consequences for their children that looked pretty damned bad to me (and reinforced that ‘fairy tale’ lie about my own family).

That’s the truth.