And that’s okay

I’ve got a thin veneer of “fine” over me. Read thru my script; found less than five errors. Whipped through the paperwork for immigration. Rested my knee. Concentrated on the positive, the steps forward.

Underneath, things are simmering. Fear, naturally. Fear over my status here. Got an appointment on Thursday in Amsterdam to get some paperwork notarized. Bleeding 8:15 in the morning, which means traveling at a time I’m usually asleep (at least lately). Hope to push both me and my bro thru at the same time; we did last time, and our cases are tied together, so it makes sense. Otherwise, there will be another fly up to the big city on a different day to take care of my stuff. Last minute travel plans add to my anxiety. Not that they should; trains here run on time. Still…I feel it.

Physically, I’ve become a slug. Very little movement during my days. And I can tell I’ve let it go too long. To be fair to myself, I did get out on some walks. But it wasn’t the same, and I can tell I’m beginning to jones out on the lack of endorphins. Must get to the gym and sweat. Really don’t want to do it now that inertia has set in. But, no choice. I am determined to stay on top of my mind, and regular exercise is a big part of that – like it or not.

Been pulling news articles about the strange and wonderful – or things that could possibly be strange and wonderful. I like the idea of anchoring my stories in reality. What a change from twenty years ago, when I concentrated on sci-fi and fantasy! Now, give me some concrete, real fact I can hang my fancies on – that added dimension gives me extra shivers. And, wow. Thrillers have become my mainstream. What creepy thing happens? What fear can I inject into the audience? Those are my only questions these days.

Happy to say that with enough time and pull back from my creation, the rape scene included in my script didn’t hit me as hard when I read it as it did when I wrote it. Still a trigger potential. Still a short, terse paragraph for a gripping scene. But I saw beyond the rape, to the whole story. My message is very clear throughout. No role should feel jilted by lack of lines or interesting subtext. I kept tech suggestions to a minimum, with only one or two sounds used and simple blue lighting for nighttime. I suggest, in the production notes, to pull copyright free photographs from the web and project them in the theatre. But only a suggestion! I hope the scant tech needs attract people, and the suggestions encourage them to explore the depth of the material.

Feels like I’m finally on holiday. And I suppose I am; I was stuck in 1943 for a number of weeks as I wrote. So I’m not riding myself for my lack of interest in learning Dutch, or my reluctance to do a super-clean of this corner or that. I find I just want to be right now.

And that’s okay.

That’s life

Life has returned. My memories are back in the closet, not forgotten, but filed away. Time to move on.

Writing is going well. Not enough time to do it lately. Seems it’s all run this errand, pick that up, and of course the ever present necessity to get to the gym and move so I don’t hurt so much. Haven’t even cleaned the house in I don’t know how long, and it shows it.

Today I’m keeping to my life commitment. Heading out with my brother to the comic book shop. Say hi to the guys. Hang out. Talk. Be a part of the world. Got to keep in practice with that, at least a little bit, or I’ll forget how to do it.

Been feeling very alone and lonely. The two don’t always go together, but right now they do. In the wake of my reaction to the news about L, I feel friendless. Want to change that, but I find my physical condition works against me. Last time I tried to schedule a get together with potential friends I woke up with laryngitis. Shit happens. Just the excitement of looking forward to getting out and meeting people can make me ill. Do that enough times to a potential new friend and they lose interest in pursuing a friendship. Seen it happen.

And I don’t like this double life I live. The reality is, my health isn’t good. I do fall ill very easily. I’m not strong. But then there’s my gym life: the nods and notice I get while working out. Maybe they’re not all dyin’ to do me, but they do acknowledge I work hard (beginning to think that most of the smiles I receive are ‘she’s a tough old bird’ type of thing). Most people drop out after an hour of exercise. Most people are shocked and think two hours is extreme. Oh, god, I could never make it for two hours! Then they look me up and down, decide that maybe not all physical strength translates into slim, tight bodies, and put me in that ‘healthy as hell’ category, which I do not deserve to be in.

…At least my physiotherapist understands.

Speaking of, looking forward to seeing him next week. Realized a long time ago our sessions are half physio and half talk therapy. Why can I do that? Why am I so open with someone like him, yet so closed if I see someone called ‘therapist’? One of those mysteries about myself I’d like to solve. …I need him on both levels right now. Despite my physical movement, I’ve got some pain building up. And although I don’t know what I’m going to say, I do know I’ll probably bring up L.

Been a few months since I’ve been able to get my hair done. Upshot is, I’ve got grey showing. Maybe for the first time in my life. A couple of silver hairs by each temple. I’ve looked at it closely in the mirror. It’s not unattractive. In fact, I find myself more distressed by the shaggy outgrowth look I’ve got right now than those grey hairs. …Don’t think I should wear my hair this long. It looks strange on my face. A 20 something tousled hair style on a 50 something woman. But what am I supposed to do? That’s my hair. It just looks that way, naturally. Hope to get it all spruced up before September.

Have not worn my orthopedics, despite the cooler weather. Do not want to wear my orthopedics. My cheap tennis shoes (with added insoles) are lovely: they give me plenty of support, and they don’t bite my feet at all. Plus they were a quarter of the cost of my orthopedics. But I’ll need to get back on that. No use in doing it in August; this entire country goes on holidays. Another thing to write in for September.

Bought some cheap eye gel and dark circle remover. Cosmetics that promise the impossible. But I figure any improvement is an improvement. And I’m guessing it helps to just go through the motions. Applying lotions, massaging them in – that’s a form of self love. I care enough about myself to do this, it says. Or at least that’s how I see it. So, I’m doing it, and hoping it will buy me a few years of looking not so tired and worn out.

Have let myself off the hook for tomorrow’s exercise. My bro is on me to read the final chapters in his book, one of the comic book guys leant me a run of stories by George Romero, and of course I have my own writing to get to. Today will largely be shot, between traveling to and fro and all the time spent visiting. Tomorrow is my make-up day: do the writing I should be doing today, finish up those comics, and start reading my brother’s work.

Wish these things didn’t always pile up on me.

…Wish I could just say no like so many people have said to me. I’m too busy with my own shit. Deal.

And that takes me right back to who I want to be. Do I want to be that person who’s always too busy for friends? Do I want to show the people I care about that I care about them, or will I just perpetuate that lip service shit my family gave to me? It always comes up for me at times like this. And I get angry, and pout, and whine that it isn’t fair, isn’t fair, isn’t fair…

But that’s life.

Never quite whole again

Went to the gym. Did dishes, made my bed. All that stuff I promised I’d get back to – I did it. Even opened up my script and wrote 2000 words.

And it felt right to get back to the day to day. Solid, real. Reminded myself where I am. When I am. Who I am.

But I am still mourning, and it’s a private grief. There is not one person in my life today who met L, so for them it’s like saying a celebrity died – distant and cerebral. Even heard from someone I shared my sob story with, who said just that, which is why I bring it up…because the statement felt cold. Really? You’ll compare my losing someone I spent every day of my 20s with the death of a celebrity? You think that compares? Cold.

Maybe I’m just being a bitch. Maybe the person who said that really did get shaken down to their bones. Maybe, in secret, they flew off to the UK and spent many long afternoons and evenings with their hero, David Bowie. Maybe they remember Bowie shooting pool with them. Being at their side when their parents died. Maybe they spent hours on the phone, all hours of the day or night, talking. Just like I did with L.

Or maybe not.

No one says ‘I love you’ to me. Not even in writing. I do. I tell people I love them at the end of my letters. That is, I tell them I love them if I truly do love them. I don’t just write it for everyone. It’s a select bunch, I’ll give you that. Not many I’d say it to. And I know not everyone is comfortable saying it. Not everyone can say it, even in the written word. There are several people in my life who aren’t in the habit of saying it, yet I know they care about me because of how they treat me. They are there for me, consistently. To talk, to help, to console. They never say ‘why are we talking about this again’ or ‘gee, I just don’t have time to deal with your crises anymore’.

Still. I’d like to hear the words echoed back to me.

Writing has become a thing. A real thing in my life. Not something I do when the mood strikes me, but something I sit and do regardless of my mood. And thank you, Goddess, for it! Hours typing away, creating dialogue and story lines…hours I don’t think about myself, or my sorrow, or the (possible) lack of love in my life.

I think I could finally write for a living now. Punch in the hours, type in the words.

The script is going well. Strong. Strong characters, strong statements. I need to modify a few things in Act 1. Add in one or two historical references. Make sure I’m not using contractions (I know I have to comb over the beginning for those). But I don’t want to modify Act 1 yet. Keep moving forward. Get through the whole thing. Otherwise, I run the risk of spending the rest of the week editing Act 1 – which is truly silly, since I haven’t written the end yet. Finish it off, THEN go back and tinker with the beginning. You know that!

Go! Write! Forget!

Forget.

Strange how I bury my sorrow in words that remember.

Today is another gym day. Get my ass over there and sweat. Regret, after 7 minutes, getting on the cross trainer. Feel I’m gonna vomit after 20 minutes on said cross trainer. Then over that hump. Into the endorphins. Smile, when my legs burn. Laugh at the sweat dripping off me. I wonder if L kept up on exercise. Is this the reason I’m living longer than my mates? Because I get off on it? Do I have an addictive side that’s so hung up on exercise highs I return to physical activity throughout my life in order to feed my need?

Fucking hell. Can I finally turn that weakness into a strength?

Find my soul a little more forgiving. My urge to grasp happiness a bit more conscious and aware. My weaknesses are not insurmountable mountains in my path, hampering my every move, but flat spaces of nothingness I can build on.

If the value of a person lies in the lessons they teach us, L was valued very highly, indeed.

No wonder they say growing old is scary. It sure as fuck is! Hearing about or, worse yet, seeing the people you know and care about die – fucking die – is terrifying.

…People want to talk so much about money and finances these days. What’s your 401K look like? How much is in your portfolio? But no one ever talks about our emotional investments. How we invest so much in the people in our lives. Not just the big memories, but the day to day stuff. The dreams, even. Dreams of them, of seeing them again. And when we lose someone, we go bankrupt. Immediately. All of that is lost. The comfortable chit-chat and grousing over our routines. The irritating habits we snap at each other for, then later regret mentioning. The things we think we’d like to be rid of, and the things we think we can’t live without. Gone, in an instant.

We are left in an open wound of love and sorrow, and facing the huge obstacle of putting our lives back together again. But we are missing a piece.

And while working a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle maybe be fun even if a piece is missing, the picture is never complete.

We are never quite whole again.

I knew her

I called the number I found for L. There was a pause, while the lines made the long connections across the Atlantic. And then – a ring. My heart jumped. Two rings. What was it I was going to say? Three rings. I was ready to hear my old friend’s voice.

When a Midwestern drawl answered, I barely comprehended what was said. I kept on the line, listening as a pre-recorded message read off a list of extensions.

It was a company line.

Which means, of course, that the number’s been recycled. No one ever tells you that. That the new phone number you feel all shiny and happy about in your brand new home is probably from someone who died. Goddess! We pick the electronic bones of the dead.

Found a handful of photos. All of them were from one trip: our infamous Grand Canyon/birthday bash in Arizona. Most are too distant. L along the handrail by a huge backdrop. A few were taken at night, when we rented a limo to take us out to the clubs. I had a lousy camera at the time, and all of the nighttime pics are overexposed from the flash. But there’s one. One picture that shows the L I remember. We were in the car, taking some back roads to an out of the way hot spring we heard about. She’s driving, with sun glasses on. I must have told her to look at me for the pic; she turned, and in typical fashion of L at that time, she stuck her tongue out at me. That’s the picture. Not the ones of her and I trying to look grown up as we stood by the limo. Not the ones in the hats. That one, with her tongue sticking out. That’s the one that made me cry.

My brother was gone all afternoon; he’s found a band to work with and he was at his first rehearsal. When he came home, he was full of energy, full of stories about the day. I kept quiet, my responses limited to short exclamations of happiness on his behalf. It kept on that way all thru the evening: me wanting to bring all this up, yet saying nothing.

11 p.m. The last episode watched for the evening, I muted the tv. And in that heartbeat of silence, I told my brother what happened.

Not just about the phone call. About all of it. This obsession that came over me the last 48 hours. How, while waiting to make that phone call, I googled other things. Pictures and videos of my old home town. Walked the google street views from my old high school through the local village and up the hill to my dad’s house. Took a car trip along Lake Michigan. Places I’d travelled thousands of times in my youth. Places I could have driven blindfolded when I was 21.

There was little I recognized.

Buildings downtown, large skyscrapers – they’re still there. Still look the same. The lake is still there. Fair grounds: just as I remember.

But the trees were all different. Many were too tall, and now obstruct the view I grew to know as a young woman. Streets were widened. Shops had changed hands.

The more I looked, the more nostalgic I grew. It was a strange nostalgia, though. A ‘member-berry nostalgia. Because it wasn’t real. I knew that even as I felt those tugs at my heartstrings. These pictures didn’t include the heat, the humidity, the insects. The audio didn’t include the crassness, the ignorance, the bigotry. And even as I felt I’ve missed so much! I knew I hadn’t. I left because nothing ever happened.

Ended by searching my eldest brother. Figured I needed to see what info was available on him, someone I knew, before I could make a judgement on the info I had on L. Odd thing. I found a sales record of the family home in 2005. And a new address for my brother. He never mentioned selling the house or moving.

…You know, some idioms are like onions: so many layers, it takes a lot of peeling to get down to the core. You can’t go home is an idiom heavy on my mind today. Thought I fully grasped that one years ago. Turns out there was a whole other layer to it that I didn’t even know existed until it was ripped away.

I’m leaving the past behind. Letting it go. My brother agreed that, when we have a bit of extra cash, I can pay for a death certificate search for L through the state records. Just don’t know if I’ll ever hear anything from her daughter. For all I know, I was demonized in her eyes. The bad girl that led her mother astray. So I’ll rely on that cold confirmation of public records. But for me – I don’t want to lose today because I’m caught in memories of the past. So I’m snapping myself out of it. When I’m done with this post, it’s dishes and bed making, then off to the gym. Gonna run my lines for the play, and get some writing done. I’ll listen fully to my brother, engage in real conversation. Later in the week, I’ll take the metro downtown and just walk around, window shopping. Remind myself of where and when I am.

I could get that picture of L reproduced in a larger size. Get it framed, put it up on my wall. And maybe I will. But more than that, I want to write her. I don’t know that I’ll ever capture the person or entity I remember. I feel it my duty to try, though. She was and will always be someone who had a great influence over me.

And I have no doubt that I will see her again. Not in the same form, obviously. But I know we will meet again. Our friendship was one of those strange old soul things; we knew each other the moment we met in this life. It’s strange to say that, because I can’t honestly say I know that much about her physical life here. Who were her friends, other than me? I don’t know. What happened all those years we didn’t speak? I don’t know. But that…that’s surface stuff.

I knew her.

In my mind

Opened up my outline and began writing in earnest this week. I feel almost as if I’m writing a term paper. My outline is so detailed I can’t stray far from it, so it’s just check the next line, think, and write it out. My biggest stumbling block right now is my determined decision to use zero contractions when my characters talk. It’s a little dialogue trick to emphasize the people are not native English speakers. But I don’t want to sound stilted or weird, so I must think from time to time and turn my phrases so they sound both foreign and natural (using Tolstoy as a big example). In other words, I must think more like a Russian in my dialogue. It’s a mind set I can use, but it’s like anything else: once my head is there, it’s difficult to pull out. My inner dialogue has shifted to a bad Russian accent (much like Moose and Squirrel), and I find myself giggling over idioms and sayings running thru my brain.

But I’m discouraged, even as I write. The Russian allegations, the hysteria, the hacking and propaganda accusations – Gods, I’d have to be Hemingway to get this play produced in today’s clime.

I’m still putting my all into it.

Realized more than ever that my first act must be both introduction to and education about these women. Too many people I speak to have never even heard of this regiment. So the first act may be the furthest from the ‘truth’. I have to explain the situation, their bad equipment, the sexism and opposition, and why the regiment was formed in the first place all thru dialogue. In real life, this was all known. In the script, we have to allow the audience to discover this – educate them. It’s a fine line, to give all that info without being heavy handed. But I think I’m managing to do it, through personal perspectives and stories.

Case in point: the soviet agent. Every soviet regiment had an agent, called the Politruk, attached to it. The Politruk was the long arm of communism. Often times, they were harsh and unforgiving – and just as suspicious of their troops as they were of the enemy. But how many Americans know that? How many would even recognize the word ‘Politruk’? Not many. So I introduce the term, but make it clear thru the dialogue exactly what this person’s role was in the military. A similar thing happened with the woman responsible for forming this regiment. No one in the US (or very, very few) will know who she is, even tho she’s a well known aviation star in Russia. So I have to give some background on her, explain why she’s a big deal – even tho she’s not even in the play. Her story is related thru another character’s personal history – this is the woman who inspired the character, who showed her that women can be more than just mothers and wives.

The entire first act will just be introducing all the characters, their relationships to one another, and enough historical information so the audience will understand the story. Like I said, I gotta stick to that outline. Eleven characters to give fully rounded roles to…that takes a lot of words.

Today’s a pimple on the ass of summer. We’ve had several cool days, back in the mid 20s. Today’s temp is shooting up to 30 or higher, out of the blue. And we’re supposed to pop with severe thunderstorms later on this evening. I sure hope so. My tiny bedroom always stays three to five degrees warmer than anywhere else in the house.

Off, soon, to the gym. Get my arse moving. Hopefully after that, I’ll still have a few hours to tinker with the script and get some more work done.

Heard from my acting partner, who is working as an extra in an upcoming film. Passed my head shot on to him, and he promised to pass it on to the casting director. Also heard from the director’s girlfriend, who put together the promo poster. While she wants to use photos of all of us in various promotional shots, they’ve decided to keep the photo with me and my partner as THE picture. Think I’ll get a large print out for my wall. I’m pleased she responded; never sure how that relationship is going. Doing my best to be warm, friendly, and non-threatening.

And I gotta ask a Dutch native about something. A Dutch guy, specifically. Some of the young men who work at the gym have a habit of winking at me every time I’m in there. I get winks when I check in, and winks when I leave. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s a ‘hey, you’re an older woman but you’re a tough broad, so I’ll give you a wink’ or a ‘hey, you’re an older woman and I’d like to do you’ thing. Or maybe it’s just a thing shop owners do. The Dutch say hello to me as I walk far more than other nationalities. So maybe winking at regular customers is just a friendly gesture. A ‘we’re all in this together’ thing. I don’t know. Wish I wasn’t so dumb about these things.

Very little thought to anything that frightens me. Too wrapped up in everything else. That’s good; saving me from needless anxiety. I worry sometimes that I use my work to distract me from all that. That all I’m really doing is pushing it away.

But, hey. A little distance from my fear isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a mental holiday from myself. Leave those doubts behind. Allow myself to feel powerful for a little bit. Sexy, even.

So in answer to the ever-present summer question are you going away on holiday?, the answer is I already am on holiday. In my mind.

Swimming

Lesson learned. When I began this whole theatre thing, I didn’t know if my health would allow me to do it. It’s always been precarious, and with all my meds (and this older body), my health has become downright rickety.

Needed two days down after ‘performing’ for our small group. Planned to be tougher than that, but woke up Friday dead to the world; had four cups of coffee to put an end to my caffeine headache and promptly fell asleep for another three hours. I’ll say performing is performing (pretty much), so I’ll use a two day gauge as my guide. Or as my minimum. Maybe that’s better: minimum. Standing around in a crowd of fans for an hour after performing might just add a day or two to that schedule.

My manic episodes have almost ceased, if that’s what they are. Mostly, they consist of me garnishing huge laughs on stage and then standing around gathering praise afterwards. Sequels to what I felt on Wednesday night, only bigger (because you know the sequel has to be bigger).

And time off was needed; woke up Thursday with a full nose and a scratchy throat. Babied myself. Scolded myself into sitting around and resting on Friday.

I think I’m ready to get back to the day-to-day.

First up is exercise. Of course. Said to a fellow actor that I have to move or I feel pain. Nothing like being accurate with your own Catch 22s. A couple of days down, and my side pain is kicking up again, aggravated. Off to the gym for a light session today. Still have a scratchy throat, still not 100%, so keep it light.

This prolonged lag has me a bit worried. I’ve got to do back to back performances on our first weekend, then be ready to go again the weekend after. It might take me all week to recoup.

My brother is more than supportive right now. Well…he sees it. The joy. The sheer, unbelievable JOY I experience just having this opportunity again. If my knees were in better shape, I’d get down on them to thank the Goddess for these precious memories.

Because I no longer doubt. For so many years, I questioned myself. Was my mother right? Was I just not talented enough to give acting a chance?

No. The bitch was wrong. Every bit of me is screaming it.

But, then, my mother…We’re talking about a person who could make a fish feel guilty for swimming.

And let me tell you (seeing as I am that fish), allowing myself to swim again after so long is an unexpected treasure. I knew I enjoyed it. I knew, even, that I loved it. But I forgot how much. I made myself forget it when I gave up on my dreams.

It hurt so much to turn my back on myself.

Now, more than ever, I’ve got strikes against me. I’m older. Have this illness to contend with. It’s going to be an uphill battle all the way.

But I have to. I am the salmon, returning up stream to spawn. It’s in my nature to battle the rapids, the rocks, to take on the odds and win.

I’m a fish. And baby, I’m swimming.

Wallow

Fighting that down side. That ever present, soul dragging weight that refuses to let me feel good about myself. I know it’s bad. My work out routine should effectively kill off any bad feelings – yet here I am, day after the gym, working to feel anything other than flat or slightly irritated.

I wanna hide inside today. Watch too much tv, and smoke.

Got an email from the director. Seems we’re all getting together on one evening for promotional pix. Oh, don’t be so impressed. Our promotional pix will consist of someone grouping us together and capturing the moment on their smart phone (they’re all too modern to own an old fashioned camera). And, with no costuming or make-up…Can you see where I’m going here? I don’t expect much.

In fact, I don’t expect to be in the promotional photo at all. I expect the mysterious board will choose the prettiest people to be in the ad. Oh, they’ll take my photo a few times. But use it? I really don’t think so.

No serious writing yet. A few outline adds. A few times of looking at the outline and having my bro come in, look over my shoulder (the worst possible thing you could ever, ever do to me), and break my concentration to the point I close everything down. *sigh* And I’m glad his writing is going so well, his book has so many thousands of words, so many pages, so many graphics, so much. I’d like to concentrate on my own now, thank you very much.

Doing okay with the getting out of the house every day vow. At least, so far. Thinking I might take the metro down to one of the city’s charity shops today and take a look around. I really need something other than my six summer t-shirts and one set of shorts. Not that anyone has said anything to me. But I feel it. I don’t like it.

Heard from a friend, whose life makes mine look like a fairy tale. Honestly, I could write down everything that’s happened to this person and it would read like the most made up soap opera of all time. He’s had more bad news, naturally. Sometimes I wonder if he ever has anything happy happen to him at all. I never hear about it. Once in a while he’ll describe things as ‘fun’ or ‘pleasant’, but most of the time he talks about his pain, his anxiety, his money worries. And I’ve never heard him crack a joke. Twenty-five years of knowing this person. No jokes at all.

Makes me feel pretty lighthearted and frivolous in comparison.

Trying to cut back on caffeine at the moment. My morning coffee consumption just crept up and up, until I was almost at 5 large cups. I’ve read caffeine isn’t good for irritable bowel syndrome, so I want to cut back on it and see how my tummy does. Easier said than done. Caffeine really affects me, and cutting back one cup in the morning for two days in a row has already resulted in caffeine headaches and general sluggishness. Well, better now than in autumn, when I have a schedule I need to adhere to.

Maybe I’m due a day off. No cleaning, no exercising, no language, no rehearsing, no errands. Sit, and wallow.

I know my mind is not all happy-happy. Woke up yesterday with five bruises on my arm from my own fingernails. Seems I crossed my arms over my chest at some point in the night, then dug my fingernails into my flesh. That’s not an act of a happy subconscious.

And rain clouds are coming in. It’s not supposed to rain today!

That’s it. I’m wallowing. I liked the idea the moment I wrote it. I’m too tired, too full-on lately. Haven’t had an afternoon off since I don’t know when. Take a nap. Chill-ax.

Wallow.

This doesn’t bode well

I’m 51. Almost 52. Yet, just like any kid, I couldn’t help but feel that rush of excitement yesterday as my very last language class drew to a close. Six glorious weeks of holiday. I know I’m bound to flip, and at some point complain how could I ever have thought this much time off was a good idea? But that ain’t today. Today I’m still a kid, off of school, no more homework or doing things I don’t want to do.

Yippee!

Had the treat of finding another online comment from (yep, you guessed it) my uncle, who seems to yank my chain an awful lot. Props to him; he did it again. I’d posted an article from a German news source that discussed a study of sexual aggression in male apes. It suggested that sexual aggression and intimidation runs in the species; similar behaviors were noted in various monkeys, orangutans, and apes. It also suggested that, humans being closely related to our ape cousins, this trait was present in male humans – which led us down the merry path of ‘rape is just something men do’. Sugar-coated, I’ll give you. But it lay there in the midst of this article’s words, splayed legged for the world to see and jerk off to. Naturally, my comment while posting said article was rather scathing. And how did my right-wing, privileged uncle respond? “This picture isn’t of an ape.” Yes. A stupid comment on the accompanying picture of said article. Nothing on the content. Nothing on my thoughts. Apparently, this was his only way to discount what was being said. You’ve got the wrong picture on top of the article. If that’s wrong, I’m not even gonna bother reading it. Maybe that wasn’t his intention. But it read that way.

The only reason I see for him doing any of this is to needle at me. I just can’t figure out why he feels the need to needle me. I don’t even live on his continent. His life never need intersect mine. And how many times do I need to say thanks for the money loan? It was paid back, with interest. Doesn’t mean I have to shut up with my opinions.

You didn’t buy me, uncle.

I replied, and told him I didn’t write the article and perhaps his comment should be directed towards the news agency that published it.

Play rehearsals went well. Learned we’re booking five performances. Two locally, two in Amsterdam, one in Leiden. That’s so far. Hope there aren’t too many more. If I have to cough up for money towards a venue, plus travel costs, plus perform – well, that’s asking a lot, isn’t it? At the same time I’m glad. Glad I’ll have these opportunities to shine. Glad it won’t be a lot of work for just two nights and then sitting around doing nothing for the rest of the year. I’m puzzled as well. These people think they can do local plus out of town gigs? What’s the draw? Or are there just so many theatre goers in the Netherlands that we’re guaranteed a certain amount of people? It’s not even like they’re active online. Their sites – both the dot com and their FB page – rarely changes. I saw them struggle to draw more than 40 people last year, and that was locally. Well, I’ve not been invited into the inner circle yet. The Grand Poo-Pah has not granted me access. So I don’t know who’s doing what, or why they’re not doing some things that seem obvious to me.

Want to get in some rehearsal time today while my bro is at the comic book shop. Not that I need much. I almost got my lines memorized from last night’s three run-throughs. Then it’s dishes, per usual. My bro did a bunch of dishes yesterday while I was busy, but then he dirtied as many dishes as there were earlier by making dinner. So I’m left with a large sink full of dishes to do all by myself. Again. Hoo-rah. Then it’s off to the gym, for an extended-extended work out. What I’ll extend, I don’t know. I just know I want to burn, burn a lot, and burn hard. After that, if I can lift my arms and keep my eyes open, I’ll see about puttering with my outline.

*sigh* And the festivals are beginning. The endless outdoor music and all sorts of fun festivals. No money for entrance fees, so I have to wait for the freebies. But I hear the fireworks at night, celebrations with thousands of people. It’s kind of lonely, hearing that as I lay in bed trying to get to sleep. Gee, listen to that. All those people out there having a good time. All that fun and life and music and activity. Usually I’m too tired to worry about it for long, but in those brief moments before sleep takes me I can feel very alone.

Diving into writing will only reinforce that aloneness. I know that. Going to do my best to get out every day, no matter how hot the writing is going. I don’t want the next six weeks of posts to be about feeling like a ghost, or having no friends, or being disconnected. And I do want to get my work done. So a strict half schedule must be adhered to. Half a day, every day, get the fuck out of the house. Go to the gym. If I have to do the gym every day because it’s the only thing I can afford that’ll get me out for a couple of hours, alright. Then I’ll super push. Go to rehearsals. Take a walk. Look through the charity shops for cheap clothes. Try to meet up with acquaintances. Say hello. Chill. Ask them how they are, what they’re doing.

Anything.

Hm. Two hours officially into my holiday and I’m already finding ways to keep myself occupied.

This doesn’t bode well.

Chicken Shit

I guess every generation has its stories. For my grandmother, it was the model T. For my mother, it was the death of Kennedy. I lived through it; I was there. And we each came away with our own perspective. One of my grandmother’s favorite quotes was ‘Men have a place; it’s six feet under’. My mother always harped at me ‘don’t become dependent on any man’. I have to deal with being tagged a cougar or a MILF.

And dare I say how completely disappointed I am in society today? How quickly women’s problems have been shoved to the background in the face of racial tensions, religious fighting, and every other issue de jour you can think of? Yeah, yeah, I’m told, but that’s yesterday’s problem. Today it’s police violence, terrorism, blah-de-blah. And somehow, it’s always from a man’s perspective…

Just another diss by our male dominated society. Because no matter what issue you want to bring up, women are on the bottom of the pile. Our concerns come last. Our voices are heard last (if at all).

And we’re supposed to feel good that there’s the occasional Angela Merkel out there. That every once in a while, one of us is allowed – let’s not mince words here – allowed to come to the forefront.

You wanna talk about silent majorities? Then you need to address the women on this planet.

Oh, I’m becoming militant in my feminism. The more I see and learn, the more militant I become. And nothing makes you aware of these subtle disses throughout history than writing historical based stories. I’ve found the words and set-ups I’m using in my upcoming script to be extremely current. Seventy bleeding years and not much has changed.

That’s my fucking point.

Take away the historical setting, the Russian names, and you have a story that fits today’s attitudes towards women. The same struggles. The same blame. The same unspoken need to be twice as good as any man in order to earn half the respect.

This is the whole underlying reason for the script. To really show it. These women were pushing through the glass ceiling LONG before the equivalent shake up happened in the West, and here we are, SSDD (which in this case, should be read as same shit different decade).

But I digress…

Asked my bro, who’s ex-military, quite a few questions about some of the day to day stuff of military life. Like, do majors run around saluting each other, or do they use first names because they’re the same rank? Is it unreasonable for me to think a group of soldiers might sneak off for a little party in the middle of this war? I got a load of good info, including some really strong ideas for what might be stolen from the men’s regiment. The general story proved believable, even to a military person. So far, so good.

Hit the gym hard yesterday. So hard I was falling asleep around 9:30 last night. My arms are fucking killing me. Moved up on the free weight exercises, and ho-ly hell! Can I feel it!

Today was my last Thursday language lesson before the summer break. We had a few visitors and spent our time walking through the local parks, talking about the artwork scattered here and there. It was a pleasant change. There’s a language course over the summer, but it’s €50, and I just don’t see being able to cough that up right now. Things are too tight.

One look at my hair should tell anyone that.

Have to call my dermatologist for a refill on a prescription. Ugh. Dutch, Dutch, Dutch. You’d think I’d be able to get over this, but it seems no matter who I talk to, they end up using new words I’ve never heard before. Then I get flustered, and anxious, and the existing Dutch in my head goes out the window. Doesn’t help that I just don’t like phones.

Tomorrow is my last Friday language lesson before the break. Then I’m back to drop off my stuff and head out to theatre rehearsal – so my day on, day off exercise thing has a snag this week. Thought I might head over today, but…I’m still tired, it’s hot and humid, and I can’t imagine pushing myself after walking all morning.

Ah, well. If I’m that concerned I can get my fat ass down on the floor and do some abdominal exercises. Any takers? (Obviously not, as I continue to sit here in front of my computer and contemplate getting up to only (1) pee, or (2) grab a sugary cola from the ‘fridge.)

My brain is rebelling, and daydreaming over my very cute physiotherapist. Thought I’d trained myself out of that. It’s so easy to slip back into it, though. Now I ponder asking him to this theatre production. One of those I wanna ask you out but I’m too chicken so I’ll do it this way things. Push the comedy, the fun, tell him I don’t know many people and it would be good to bring a few audience members in with my first role (always add in the sympathy vote), it would make a great date for him and his girlfriend (a fish to find out if he’s still dating someone), and that it would be great to buy him a beer afterwards (a fish for time, and to see if I pick up any signals outside his office). And, honestly, doing it this way, if he says no or doesn’t show up, he’s rejecting the idea of sitting through an amateur theatre production, not me, right? Or, at least, that’s a foothold I can build for myself.

Gods, I’m chicken shit.

Yes Women

Ah! The words every back pain sufferer wants to hear from her physiotherapist were uttered to me yesterday – your back is in really good condition. Yippee! It’s been 5 weeks since my last appointment and I feel I’ve been a good girl with exercising and all that, so no real big surprise. After all, I wasn’t screaming with pain while he was gone. Still, always good to hear it from an expert.

A really, really cute expert.

Honestly, I’m once again left wondering about this man. He went on holiday to Thailand for three weeks. An observer might have assumed an entirely different relationship than the one we have; sure, he showed me into the examination room (as usual), but then it was almost ten minutes of showing me pictures and video from his trip, telling me about the people he met and the scuba diving he did. We had that fast exchange two people who’ve been apart for a while but really like each other do: rapid speech, lots of laughs, and an excitement to share everything the other’s missed in our absence.

Gods, and his eyes! I swear they twinkle.

*lovesick sigh*

Been having trouble finding the information I want/need for my script. Amazing (not) how completely censored the internet is. All I can find is repeated info; the same blurbs a thousand times over, masquerading as new articles and stories while offering the same pat. Wondering if I should even consider contacting the Russian embassy to ask for information. In these days and times, just the act of asking could be construed as ‘wrong’.

Determined to get to the gym today despite the forecast high temp and humidity. I’m strong enough to have doubled my speed on the cross trainer. Still not that fast, mind you. I only cover slightly over 2 miles in half an hour. I hope to increase that speed a bit more before turning up the resistance again. And the only way to increase my speed is to keep doing it. This day on, day off timing is working exceptionally well for me. I don’t get into a two day endorphin roll, then jones out on my off days. My workouts still drain me, and every time I think I’ll do a double day I wake up on the second day sore, stiff, and bone tired. So I’ll stick with the day on, day off thing. I AM over 50, after all.

Running the lines for the last half of my scene. Gotta roll my eyes again at the writer: typical male written dialogue, with a lot of support language for the female characters. Oh! Um – yes. That’s it for at least 50% of the play. I like the physical challenge, being asked to stand silent on stage for long, long moments. But don’t ever try to tell me this writer knows anything about women. He doesn’t, and it’s obvious in the dialogue, stage directions, and underlying messages in his work. We’re silly little add ons, desperately clinging to the men in the scene. Fluffy headed reasons to put a joke in somewhere. He’s left every woman in this play stuck in the fifties, which only emphasizes it’s he who’s stuck.

Pitiful.

Yeah, I know what I sound like.

It does make me determined to write better roles for women. I won’t skew something I see as male just to be a feminist. If the story presents itself to me as a male thing, I’ll write it that way. But no female role I ever write will be some side salad, nothing with any meat in it. Even if they’re not central characters, they’ll be interesting. More than yes women.

I so bloody hate yes women roles. Real life, and scripted.