Reverse Hibernation

Tired. Like, down to my bones. Every limb feels heavy and stiff. Slept 10 hours and considering a nap. Trying not to, ’cause naps fuck me up more than it’s worth most times, unless I’ve been on a crying jag (which I’ve not)…then it resets me.

Consciously smoking. Cutting down. Reigning in. …It’s as much a pain in the ass process as active listening is right now.

Just want to sleep.

My brain has shut down. It refuses to think of anything more than putting one foot in front of the other. It offers no inspiration, gives me nothing from story-land to occupy my time.

It’s bleak, but comforting. And I think this is the way death comes to us. It tires us down, bit by bit, until we welcome the unending slumber. At least, I hope so.

I hope that’s the way it happens.

Happy thoughts to while away the day, yes?

Ugh. I hate my body when it’s like this. Far beyond just exercise back lash. Fronts have been moving through the area, and long observation has lead me to the conclusion that fast moving weather fronts affect my RA. Summer is always hell. I use selective denial, and choose to remember summers as fun. But the truth always hits me mid-way. Summer tires me out terribly.

Been rehearsing my role. Really have the first seven pages down. Recorded in my partner’s lines for the last half of the script. Now it’s repetition. Perfecting. I keep finding deeper and deeper nuances of body language to use. So much can be said with a turn of the head.

Trying not to worry. Tough, when I’m like this. If I could keep active, keep going…then maybe my mind wouldn’t go so dark. But I struggled to get the dishes done. It was a big job, or it felt like it. Going outside, committing to other activities…I’d drop over unconscious within an hour. I need an extra boost of caffeine to even begin reaching a state of ‘normal’ alertness. A big boost.

Feels like I’m slipping into some reverse hibernation. Sleep away the summer rather than the winter.

…On a cosmic level, that makes sense somehow…doesn’t it?

Francis-stein

Allowed that despair to overtake me yesterday. Just for a moment or two. Enough time to sob deeply and feel a tear drop from my eye. Then I shook myself, sighed, and went to the gym.

Exercise has become a time waster. A thing to keep me from smoking. Not a thing I enjoy. Not a thing I do to get in shape or lose weight. Just a thing that keeps me out of the house, away from my ashtray. The goal is to spend as much of the afternoon at the gym as possible.

Hope to tire myself out. Get back here and almost fall asleep for the rest of the day. Wouldn’t need to smoke then. Wouldn’t need to do anything, other than chill.

Doesn’t quite work, of course. The more I do, the better shape I’m in, the longer it takes to tire me out. Half hour on the cross trainer. Half hour on the treadmill. Half hour on the bikes. Half hour on the free weights. Was surprised all evening long. Kept expecting my eyes to close while watching tv. Nope. Wide awake.

Telling myself I shouldn’t feel all wimpy and weak. My stamina has improved. I’ve moved up settings on everything, including heavier free weights because a 15 year old BOY had to go and pick up the lightest free weights in the gym to exercise. Really, kid? I didn’t want to, but I picked up the 4 kilo weights and started working – after I shot him a dirty look. He’s a healthy BOY CHILD and should be working harder. I’m an OLD WOMAN and should be working less.

Gave a lot of thought to what I wrote about yesterday. Thought so much about it I think I might have handled one of those disagreement points better than usual. It came up in conversation. I could hear it in our words and the slightly harder edge in my brother’s voice. My head said ‘this is one of those times when he feels you’re not hearing him’. So I stopped trying to get my point across. I acknowledged what he said ‘I hear you, and agree’. I dropped the pitch and volume of my voice. And I heard him stumble a moment, expecting a fight and getting none. Then he dropped his voice volume and tone, and suddenly that horrible argument moment was over and done with without our getting into a shouting and/or blaming match.

….And no, it didn’t escape me that in handling and defusing the situation I had zero opportunity to speak my own mind. That could be an issue, so I hope nothing too important comes up. This whole thing began in part because I feel un-listened to. While I’m very pleased to have no arguments or bad feelings to overcome this morning, as far as the subject goes my brother has NO IDEA HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT. He’s assuming I feel one way or another because I haven’t spoken up. But I can’t speak up without causing an argument. And I can’t prevent and argument AND speak up. That’s two conflicting things for me. Either I concentrate on keeping the peace or I speak my mind. And if I continually choose to keep the peace, I end up feeling like my opinions and thoughts don’t matter anyway – which is exactly what started the whole fucking thing in the first place.

Why does this shit always fall to women? I never hear men talk about compromising themselves in order to keep the peace with someone. NEVER. They just bulldoze over. Me, me, me. Hear me. Listen to me. Honor MY fucking opinion. Oh, you have one too? Well, that’s just silly. You should think like me. You do, don’t you? Oh…you don’t? What’s wrong with you?

Round and round. Get ready, women. If you haven’t hit this shit in life yet, prepare yourself. It’s gonna happen, and you’ll be blamed no matter what you do. It’s what men do. How they react. It’s their fragile male egos, which we pamper and coddle because some of us like to get penises shoved up our vaginas. Or maybe all of you put up with it because you think you need men. We don’t, you know. Plenty of sperm in the sperm banks. We can kill every man on this planet and be just fine. Better than fine, with their male egos out of the way. We can make real peace, real change. And never, ever let another person with a penis think they’re better than us. Never, ever let them take over again. Return to a matriarchal society. Burn every book that uses ‘he’ as a gender neutral pronoun or ‘mankind’ to describe humanity. Destroy every testosterone driven film. And yes, cut off all the dicks of every male ever born because frankly I’d find it cathartic.

Right about now is the time when some man usually pops up and asks ‘are you a dyke?’

No, for the record, I’m straight. I just see men the way they really are. Oh, got a problem with that? Can’t reconcile the idea of a strong willed woman who’s not gay? You are so immature.

But that, of course, is just another male put down. Oh, if a woman has a strong opinion, she must be a lesbian. Regular women don’t talk like that. Real women don’t think like that. I’m rolling my eyes as I type.

No wonder I remained single all my life. Sure, part of it was choice. Part of it wasn’t. No one ever wanted to spend their life with me. And I suppose that’s got to do with having a strong opinion. Dad told me long ago that I’d scare men off. Too smart, too opinionated, too outspoken.

Odd, then, because he’s the man who made me this way. Encouraged me to think, to debate, to challenge his viewpoint at every opportunity.

I feel like a freak. Some Francis-stein that’s half modern woman and half old fashioned lady. Don’t know where I fit in, don’t know HOW to fit in.

Hot, and dead

I shouldn’t even be here. I should be finishing up my coffee and getting my butt to the gym.

Two days of 35+ degrees, though, and I’m sapped. Everything is hot. Been sucking on popsicles to try and keep cool. Feel extra extra tired: not sleeping well due to the heat, and naturally my RA is flaring up a bit. My joints (not the fun ones) feel thick and fat.

Got rehearsal tonight. I’m ready for it, tho I’m not ready to take a hot metro ride down in the evening sun (which is still damned hot) to a classroom which is ALWAYS hot to rehearse for a couple of hours. Hope we can do it outside.

Feel bad for the kiddies who are still in school. Sure hope those buildings have some air conditioning. And let’s face it: doesn’t take much in the way of cooler air to feel pretty good. An A/C that sputters out tepid air would be very welcome.

I’ve got a couple of fans.

Resisting the urge to shave my head. So far, anyway. Can’t guarantee that I won’t chop all my hair off before the month is over. Have to use every single hair pin I’ve got to keep this thick mass off my neck. Nine, in total. And my hair still escapes.

Smoking too much. Way too much. Hate it. Hate how often I find myself reaching for a smoke. How often I hold a lighter in my hand, waiting. Telling myself to take timed breaks – don’t smoke for at least an hour. Hold off ’til after dinner. Small goals. Somehow, tho, the total keeps going up.

It’s not even Summer Solstice and it’s too damned HOT! Goddess! Can I even make it through this summer?

……Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. I think I fucked up my meds. Just had an alert on my computer to take my methotrexate today, but I think I took it yesterday. 98% positive on that. Fuck. Okay. Don’t panic. Just don’t take the pills today. Trust your memory. If I’m wrong and I’m skipping a dose, I won’t keel over.

Go away, summer! This constant heat makes it harder than ever to keep track of time.

Don’t even know the last time we had rain. All the grass outside is dead. It just lays there, yellow and harsh. The kind of grass that hurts bare feet because it’s so damned dry. The world has become a waffle iron, searing its pattern into people’s back and shoulders as they try to enjoy the sun in the manner their ancestors did: by going out in it. Utter madness. It’s too hot, and every thing is dead. Get it? The grass is dead. The trees are dead or dying. Everything is getting seared. Take a hint!

But they don’t, of course. Instead, people body check ME because of my too-white legs or arms while they sport the color of lobsters. Mob mentality. We’re all doing it; if you don’t, you must be wrong.

Go on. You’ve got your manner to kill yourself, I’ve got mine.

It’s too hot to argue, and in the end we’ll all be dead, anyway.

Hangin’ in there

One of the hardest things to do is to keep going even if you feel you’re not making any progress or doomed to failure from the moment you begin. Two things are gnawing at me today (and they’re no big surprise): my writing and my weight.

Hopped on a scale yesterday. Mistake. BIG mistake. I haven’t done it for years and I don’t know what got into my head. Guess I was feeling a bit cocky. A little sleek and fit. I wanted to prove to myself that yes, I’ve modified my body size and aren’t I good little girl for keeping up on my diet and exercise. And I have lost weight since last I was on a scale. Must keep that in mind. A whopping 3.4 kilos.

There’s plenty of sayings about puncturing your ego with a pin – and that’s exactly what it felt like. One moment I was admiring my bicep muscles and feeling pretty good about myself, the next I was poking my pudgy middle and berating myself for being such a fat, old woman. And I thought Holy Fuck! All those hours in the gym, in the pool, walking when I don’t want to walk, denying myself sugary goodies or treats, cutting back on meal size, going to bed hungry – and I’ve taken off a whole 3.4 kilos. I mean, seriously…is it worth it?

As for writing…I search out theatres looking for submissions every other week or so. Pull half a dozen PDFs, put them aside to look at again. And I always think I’ve got some real winners in there – sure fire places that’ll take my work. Look! My stuff fits their requirements perfectly. They’ll love it! Then the time comes for me to really read it through and prep up to send out – and I notice all sorts of things that scare me off. Don’t put in too many acts, keep it to six or less characters, don’t give too much lighting or sound cues, don’t send if you’re not some purple eyed booger monster that crawled out of the deep from a crack opened up in Kentucky. The restrictions go on and on. So much so that I wonder if some of these groups EVER get a submission that perfectly fits all their requirements.

Then I have afternoons of feeling useless. Oh, they won’t take it because of this, it’s too long for that theatre, too many characters (or too few) for that group, or I don’t live there so they won’t even bother opening it up. The ‘no’s’ become so loud I feel overwhelmed, and just want to hide.

I tell myself it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to feel defeated. It’s just not okay to give up.

So I wait a day or two, until I have some self confidence back. Then I prep up and send out without allowing myself to think too much. Let them make the decision, I tell myself. Let them say no. If I take myself out of the running before the race even begins I’ll never get anywhere.

*sigh*

Doing well with memorizing my part for the play. One or two places I need a memory jog, but considering tomorrow is only my second rehearsal with the director I think I’m ahead of the game. I like this role because it calls for a lot of acting without words. My partner may have the longer dialogue, but I’ve got the reaction to his lines – which is far more powerful (especially the way I plan to play it). There is not one minute of stage time when I’m not wringing my hands or rubbing them together or fussing with my hair – all nervous habits my character needs to display. Big thing I’m working on now: a quick eye shift, left to right. It’s something everyone does without thinking about it, but it’s a lot harder to do it on cue and make it look natural. Same with allowing any emotion to emerge on your face: you gotta make it look natural, and as soon as you think about it, it’s no longer natural. Trying to BE the role more than act the role. Keep myself on edge for the scene. Allow my personal nervous habits to come to the fore. If I’m IN the role, my face will react the way I want it to. If I ACT this thing, it won’t. So I must be a late middle aged lonely woman who’s very nervous about meeting someone for the first time.

Gee. Like I don’t know that.

..Okay, I’m not LATE middle aged. But other than that….

Watched an outstanding documentary on the Night Witches. Took notes from the book my director leant me. There’s still a lot of that story that’s foggy for me. Do I set this at the training facility? Thought I might, but after watching the documentary I’m rethinking that. I’m zeroing in on 9 months in 1943. The regiment is up and active, and the fighting intense. I’d hit the worst months of the war, including the death of their leader. And I’ve built in reasons to write it: it would begin with the first replacements reaching the regiment, and end with the recognition of the regiment as an official guard unit. But I’ve vowed to keep on researching. One idea will come to the forefront, show itself to be superior to my other ideas.

I just gotta hang in there.

Nobody said it would be easy

Friday lesson: better than I thought it would be. My teacher listened to me, for one thing. Not just listened, but he attempted to implement my suggestions immediately. That felt good. Being heard always feels good.

Weird incident, though. Don’t know precisely what happened, ’cause I was reading along in the book. But this other student, this guy (emphasis on that word because he’s a real character) must have touched or groped the female teacher. She almost jumped out of her chair. Bitched him out and told him to move, that he couldn’t sit next to her. He ignored her. Maybe it was an accidental graze. I really don’t know. What I do know is the dude in question is questionable; he’s always angry and makes no bones about it. And he stares a lot. At me. With a look on his face I can’t quite pin down. Hate? Lust? Both? I’ve found it unnerving in the past, and in future I’ll find it more so.

Nursing a big lump of angry disappointment. Heard from Bolton; suddenly they’ve modified their terms and conditions. Now a script can’t be more than 700 words. 700 words! My blog posts are longer than that. Why the fuck didn’t they say that up front? Don’t know if I’ll write something for them now or not. I can shit 700 words out pretty quick. But I’m still kind of angry. So I guess I’ll just wait and see how long my irritation lasts.

On the up side: plenty of places to send to. Writing up a synopsis (UGH) and updating my CV. Think I might have something that’ll work, so I’m in down mode now. Give it 24 hours before I read it again. Otherwise I’ll just go round and round – very much the proverbial dog chasing its own tail.

Stepping up research on the next script. Still do not know the name of my main character. I want to use real names, but I’m taking full artistic license with the names I choose. This is for an American audience, and if there’s one thing I know about American audiences, it’s this: give them too many Russian names and I’ll lose them. So I want to choose names with simple and familiar diminutives. Right now, she’s just ‘the new girl’. She’s already a pilot, and a little cocky about her skills. I’m getting a sense of the other women, too. How they react to this newcomer. And the men. The slurs, the set-ups. Letting my mind wander through these ultra short scenes. I need to pick and choose the best. Hone it down. Make it run on a limited cast. And figure out how – or IF – I can write a scene while the women are in their planes. Can’t expect them to have big sets. So it’s gotta be lighting and sound again. Hm.

Doing my best to keep up with a gym visit every other day. Not easy. When I get in that groove, I want to push every day. When I’m not in that groove, it’s a pain to just put my shoes on and head over there. Trying to do what’s best for my body – day on, day off. Meh. If only my body and my head would mesh better.

Still find myself just snapping at my brother once in a while. Why can’t I apologize to him for that? I should. Instead I ignore it and privately vow to do better. And I do better, for a while. Then I mess up again.

*sigh* I guess nobody said it would be easy.

Right here, right now

The script is out. Finished the A4 formatting, checked the entry page, wrote a short intro letter, and clicked send. No more thinking.

As usual, I was hit with a wave of manic energy afterwards. Bad enough my brother mentioned it was affecting him. I headed to the gym.

Think I might have turned the corner on my weight issue. Think I might have dropped some excess weight without quite knowing it. I mean, I wear sweat pants almost 24/7. It’s hard to judge where your body is when you’ve always got elastic waisted pants on. But I caught a few glimpses of myself that didn’t make me look wider than I am tall. A few sidelong looks where I thought gee, my stomach doesn’t stick out as much as it used to. And, hallelujah, I’ve found my collarbones again. Don’t even have to sink my chest in to see them – I can just stand there as usual and out they pop.

The house is pretty clean, thanks to my bro helping me on Sunday. I felt bad for a fleeting moment; he did the hoovering and ended up in a sweat because…well, it’s hoovering. Means you gotta move all the furniture and get underneath. It sounds like an easy job, but it isn’t. And I reminded myself of all the sweaty hours I spent cleaning this place, and the last one, and the one before that – and suddenly I didn’t feel so bad or guilty for allowing him to take on this tough task. Sometimes I think my bro needs to be reminded that hoovering sucks, that doing the dishes every day can make you lose your mind, and that housework doesn’t just get done all by itself.

No rehearsal Monday. The director bowed out with a sore throat. More than happy about that; I’m over anxious about staying healthy and my number one freak out is being exposed to other people’s illnesses. No rescheduled date yet.

Strangest thing this morning. Two strangest things. One, my hoodie is missing. It’s not in my room nor the living room, and I was just using it yesterday. Two, my coffee cup is missing. Gone. Non-existent. Had to use a secondary cup, not my normal one (didn’t feel right). Can’t for the life of me figure out why someone would come in, grab my hoodie and coffee cup and split. But I’ve been up and down this tiny place and see zero sign of either of them.

Finished reading the book on the Night Witches my director gave me. Need to make some notes. The bibliography lists several sources to check on for factual info. I’m well pleased with the info provided in this book. Gives me a good grounding on the groupings within the military and how they work in such a strict hierarchal system. And I’m beginning to see the play. Found my main character the other day. She’s still developing, but I caught the first glimpse of her. Beginning to know some of what the characters will face in the play. It’s big – and exciting. The setting I’ve chosen to write about allows me to bring in as many famous flyers as I want. It’s a strong skeleton, and I’m pinning my ideas down with factual points – dates, names, deaths.

First, tho, finish the US formatting for the current script. Get it out to as many places as I can find, because I think this one is a doozy. Do my Dutch homework. Keep getting to the gym. Keep following through on my commitments. Keep myself focused and busy in the now, not the past, not the unwritten future.

Right here, right now. This is where you make the change.

I wonder

Thirty minutes on the cross trainer. No more fucking around. The additional ten minutes were easier than the first ten. Thirty minutes on the bikes – giving my feet a rest from the treadmill. Thirty minutes lifting weights and getting eyed up by all the men pushing their bulging biceps just a little bit further.

I sweat a lot at the gym. Not because I’m that fat, or because I abuse alcohol, but because I drink copious amounts of water each and every day. Doesn’t take much exertion to get sweat going with me – and I consider that a good thing; sweating is a natural cleansing process. Sweat pours off my face, soaks my shirt. I drip.

And people look at me. Never know exactly why. Do they think I look ridiculous, working so much while in this old body? Do they worry I might keel over from too much exertion?

…Why does anybody look at anybody in the gym? Is it a diss thing? Does it allow shallow people to judge and find you (or me) lacking so that they feel better about their own pathetic existence?

I’m not so stupid as to forget the basics: the gym is the new meat locker. No, I didn’t spell that wrong. I said meat locker and I meant meat locker. It’s the place to go and scope the sex you’re attracted to. See it all – the muscles and the flab. Make your choice whether to fuck or not fuck based on the daylight, stripped down version rather than the nighttime dolled up version at a club.

So I gotta ask – why look at me? Don’t you know how old I am?

Honest answer: no. No, they don’t know how old I am. And thanks to a certain disgusting American “comedy” show that birthed anagrams like MILTF, they don’t even care that I’m older. Because even an older bitch is still worth a ride. Not a relationship, mind you, – but a ride. Once in a while.

Ignore. Got a pair of psychic blinders I put on that helps me studiously ignore all such nonsense – and usually the soundtrack is something heavy duty, too, like Lacuna Coil or Queensryche.

Have found a temporary balm for my troubled soul in the form of a tv show. Yeah, I know. Keeps me on my ass, sitting around, and all too easy to smoke. Tough. It’s soothing my angry spirit, calming my worried mind – so it’s worth it right now.

All the wind is knocked out of my sails right now with the script. Still got formatting to do, and my head screams with boredom so loudly when I think of it I swear it’s audible in the room. Hope I’ll find my enthusiasm again soon, and everything will get done in that lickety-split manner that happens when you’re all ready for the long haul. If not…well, I still got two weeks to complete it and get it out before the deadline. Even if I’m screaming out loud by then, I can get it done.

Sleep is my friend again. Seems someone out there listened to my fevered prayer. The Sandman doesn’t just sprinkle my eyes at night, he whaps me over the head with his full sandbag and I’m down for 10 hours minimum.

Tomorrow night is another play rehearsal. Have not even opened the script. On some level, I feel it’s not necessary. We’re still blocking the piece out. Trying different pauses and inflections. Why memorize my role one way, then have the director tell me to do it differently? Better to get his take on the whole thing, then rehearse it with his notes.

Dutch is a little better. My head took my language frustration seriously, and I can tell I’m really trying to zero in on the words again. Not back to reading the novel; when I’ve the energy to read, I’m researching for my next script. But I am trying to do a page of exercises in my books before classes. …Oh, yeah. And I skipped on Friday. Can’t help but think skipping the most stressful lesson of the week helped me to refocus. My teacher really ramps me up, and that doesn’t help me learn.

My brother has promised to help me today with housework. I bitched yesterday morning about it. Loudly and clearly. Didn’t blame, just whined that the continual grind of it makes me forget what day it is. Doing the same chores every single day in the same manner at the same time with no variation can really fuck you up that way. And I’m always too bushed from doing the basics to do any of the bigger stuff. So I hope with help today to get the hoovering AND the dusting done, all in one go. Clean the mirrors, scrub out the sinks. If we can do enough that I don’t feel I’ve got to clean something every damned day, I’ll feel better.

At least for a week.

Very much feels like I’m trying to get ahead of my darkness. If I can stay a half step ahead of it, if I eat right and get enough sleep and exercise regularly, maybe, maybe I won’t go down again. I know that’s a lie. I’ll go down again. I always go down again.

And I’ll be honest here. As a writer, or a wanna-be writer growing up, I wanted to go down. I wanted to know rock bottom. How could anyone effectively write about something they know nothing about? It seemed to me that all the great writers went down, found that pit of base humanity from which to write – and thus, all the great stories were born. So I said to myself, yes, I want that. I need to know what it is.

Did I drive myself mad? Did I embrace insanity at some point to know? I wonder.