Pearls before swine

I’ll start with this morning, ’cause it’s in my face.

Another uncle comment. This time, it’s a ‘You need some coffee’ with a Google link to coffee houses (NOT coffeeshops) in Amsterdam after I called him out on NOT being funny and NOT making a joke. Here’s my reply:

What does my caffeine level have to do with our discussion? And why are you trying to change the subject and blame me for your poor “joke”? A joke is supposed to be amusing – yet your original statement, “I won’t be in that area then” isn’t amusing, it’s simply a fact. There’s no cause for laughter. No cause unless you feel uncomfortable for some reason. Shifting attention to my caffeine intake is simply a distraction from your discomfort. Why are you uncomfortable? ..Plus, get it right. I live in Rotterdam, not Amsterdam.

I’m proud of my reply. Called him out on it. Kept my cool. Even left with a little jab about him getting the city wrong. Ha fucking ha, uncle. Are you laughing now? I’m particularly proud over pointing out his discomfort (several times) and calling him out on his attempt to distract and blame me.

You wanna play games? With words? You DO know I’m a wordsmyth, right? Plus, I was taught by your sister – my mother. Your OLDER sister. The woman who knew every game you ever played and one upped you continually.

You ain’t gonna win.

I said I fucking had it with this shit.

…NEWS ALERT: Just had a notification from FB. An instantaneous reply from my uncle. DAMN! I really got him. Here’s his reply (including the typos; he was obviously in a hurry to say what he needed to say): “I was hoping some caffeine would wake you up and you would see my joke…;.clearly you have seen my joke all along. And….I won’t br in Rotterdam to see the show either.” Oh, I’ll continue with this charade. If it winds him up so much he’s got to reply the moment he reads what I say, I’ll continue.

Give him a little tit for tat. Generally I’m against that type of behavior, but some people just don’t learn!

Onto happier things.

Three point seven kilometers in thirty minutes. Wanted to write that out, because it deserves that much respect. That’s topping 7 km an hour on the cross trainer. And I felt flipping tired. Have the last several times I’ve gone to the gym. But I keep amazing myself, pushing more and running faster than I ever imagined I could. I believe soon to be 52 year old me could easily lap 22 year old me. Upped repetitions on my arms. That’s difficult, and I have to stop often and take a break. Still hate doing my abdominal exercises, but I might be ready to add a few more crunches to my routine. Walking is, as always, the easiest – though I’ve got to confess I feel awful slow walking at 5km an hour after running on the cross trainer. Find myself wanting to pick up the speed on the treadmill. Haven’t, yet.

Feeling strong in my body, my mind, and my soul. A bit unshakeable. Like I’m suddenly too together for anyone (including my uncle) to get under my skin. I like this. If this is the level other people operate at, I can see why they don’t understand when I fall apart. Doesn’t give them license to be assholes about it, but I get why they might not fully understand why someone like me struggles so much. It’s easy to let things slide off your back when you’re here. World trouble? Yeah, always is. Emotional turmoil? Yeah, it’s a pain, but what are ya gonna do? Financial trouble? It’ll sort itself out somehow. All those pat answers spewed ad infinitum via memes suddenly make sense.

I blame the endorphins. I’m getting a regular blast of them when exercising. And let’s face it: they say ‘peptide’ and ‘hormone’, but in reality they should say ‘drug’. It’s an all natural drug, I’ll give you – but it’s a drug. You get a drug response, it’s addictive, you need more to keep getting off – it’s a drug. More: it’s a drug I like. So I keep pushing to get it. Now…doctors get very pleased when they hear about an exercise regime. Oh, good! You’re getting regular exercise, toning your body, and losing weight. What could be better? No one acknowledges the drug interaction in your brain, unless it’s to say something like ‘well, exercise is GOOD for emotional turmoil’. Why is it that a drug naturally produced in our bodies is better or good, while drugs we take are bad and evil? I just don’t get that. It’s a drug, either way.

Blanket fucking statements. They ruin the damned world.

Today, I work. A few errands to run, and I plan on using the travel time on the metro to read Dutch. Then it’s time to tear into Taman. Make those changes I keep talking about. Start arranging a read through. Want to read through the play I’m doing, too. Keep my lines fresh over this break. And I need to call for an adjustment to my shoes (more Dutch; ugh!).

First, though, I will fashion a reply to my uncle. He doesn’t get the last word on my page. Even if that means this discussion goes on for another year, back and forth. And I know what I’m doing. I’m staying coolly disconnected. I know the necklace is tearing, and the mud is thick.

I know I’m casting pearls before swine.

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Kill them all

How many times have I woken up far too early, thinking ‘I should have just killed them all’? More than I care to count, and this morning numbers among them.

Funny thing, my morning moods. Never know what’s gonna come out of me. Sometimes it’s hate – pure, unadulterated. Sometimes it’s understanding – a compassion I often lack, but always aspire to.

This morning, it was a no-nonsense approach.

Replied to my uncle. Simply wrote “What’s so funny that you put ‘LOL’? You didn’t make a joke.” Straight up called him out on it. It’s a method I’d prefer to use on a daily basis, but I must admit my own emotions often get in the way. Today was a mix of disgust and anger, cooled by the knowledge that he couldn’t touch me, couldn’t hurt me, and nothing he was going to say (or no tirade he was going to throw) could ever really affect me.

To quote a sample used in a very old song I participated in, I’m sick of this shit.

So if he’s mean, I’ll tell him he’s mean. If he’s wrong, I’ll tell him he’s wrong. If he’s an ignorant shit (most times) I’ll have to find the courage to say that, too.

Fuck “saving” this relationship. There’s nothing to save but a board my family uses to strap me down to while they whip me with lies and old, unrelated shame.

I hate them.

Shoulda taken one of the hundreds of guns they keep ‘in stock’ or ‘for sporting purposes’ and blown every single one of their heads off. That includes the small children, because I know from experience that if they were raised in THAT family, they’re fucked. Forever. Might as well free their souls and let them try again.

That’s horrific, isn’t it? A terrible thing to say or think (or at least that’s MY knee jerk reaction).

Stuck in the usual place: hating, and hating myself for hating so much.

…Spent time yesterday doing all those chores I haven’t done for a month. Cleaning. Ev-er-y-thing. Laundry, dishes, floors, cabinets, bedroom, toilet – you name it, I did it. Not perfectly. It was a nice day, and a Saturday, and I didn’t want to work that hard. Got it back to livable standards. My bro’s radar was on full blast when he got home. First thing out of his mouth? Wow, look at how clean everything is! Walked into the toilet: Wow! Everything shines! Yeah. Funny how appreciative he is of cleanliness, yet how reluctant he is to join in on the work to get there…

Today it’s back to the gym to be stared at as I stretch, and sweat, and push. Watched a recorded Graham Norton show last night during which a guest commented that she doesn’t have very good eyesight, but that worked to her advantage because audiences just became a blur. I can relate. My eyes aren’t terrible, but my long vision is fuzzy. Things are soft. All the ugly and hard edges are taken off, and the world is one big bouncy castle. Much different when I put on my glasses or stick my contacts in! But I don’t wear my contacts or glasses at the gym, so everything is in soft focus. I can’t tell if people are looking at me or just in my direction unless they happen to be close enough. And any facial expression of shock…well, that’s just blurred away. It’s as good as blinders. I don’t register anything directed at me, so I act like nothing is directed at me. Unless someone actually speaks to me, I’m totally alone in my head.

But I gotta admit…I might start facing the wall during my stretches. ‘Cause I now know they watch me. For sure.

Haven’t found the head space to begin work. Determined first to make the changes I know I want to Taman. That should take all of an hour if I’m really slow. Then it’s on to part 2 of the thrillers. Know what to change there. It’ll take a re-write, but hey! When I know what I want, a re-write barely takes any times at all. Been cooking up part 3. Bringing back a character from part 1. Have a particular actor in mind for this role – one of the troupe I’m working with. Not sure why. He’s not a great actor. Not even very good. But I’ve seen him in a couple of things now, and…he’s getting type cast. If there’s a gay man, he’s the actor playing it. Always. Great that they want a real gay person playing a gay person, but…he never gets another role. And they’re always the same type of gay person. Flamboyant. Never anything else. The character I’m writing for him IS gay, but not flamboyant. And he’ll have to stretch. In part 3, he’s close to a nervous breakdown.

Realize as I mull over the trilogy that I’m asking a LOT of this troupe. It’ll take more than memorizing lines to pull this off – but in them I see the desire to do more and, oftentimes, the boredom over not being challenged. Am I projecting? I realize those are MY emotions. But now I see the tiny habits of everyone. The surreptitious phone checking, the whispering, the fidgeting and distractions. The yes, we can do this and it’s fun but it’s not really challenging us attitude. And I sense they’ve worked, as a troupe, in one direction: improv. They stress it, they’re good at it. I want to see them stretch in another manner.

I want to see them act.

It could very well end up a disaster.

But I’ve my ace in the hole: sound. I know exactly what I want and how to get it – plus I’ve the skill and equipment to do it. Set your audience on edge with sound, and the acting can be a bit sub-par. It’ll still work.

And I really want to do this. Why? Because in my writing, I really did kill them all.

No One Makes it out Alive

Success. Responses to enquiries, searches that reveal that yes, Virginia, my press release about the upcoming performance is out there. Sadly, there’s only half a dozen sites in Rotterdam written in English – but I hit them all.

Headed to the gym early. The woman never showed. Kept an eye out for her – which is why I saw, for the first time, the way people look at me while I stretch. That woman is not alone in stopping whatever’s going on and standing still with a slightly open mouth while I move. Everyone in the gym did it at some point during my warm-up. Don’t you people stretch? – Oh, wait… You don’t. I ‘member now. You’re all about jerk lifting heavy weights, and running on the cross trainer for 10 minutes. Yeah…

There’s not much reason, in my opinion, to be jealous of me. I’m not super beautiful, or super fit, or super rich, or, (seemingly) super talented. Just a bit of this and that. But my flexibility…Now that I can acknowledge as a thang. You can be jealous of me over that: next month I hit 52, and I can still take my forehead to my knees and straight down to the floor while stretching. Don’t know anyone who gets turned on by that, nor any way to market it as a talent and make money off it. But it’s mine, and when I stretch deeply I automatically begin Ujjayi breathing – a thing I learned long ago as a child, watching Hatha Yoga on PBS. I focus. It’s one of the beautiful feelings I can create in my body without thinking or trying.

Surprised to find more energy in me than I expected. Did my full-on work-out, no holds barred. Pushed hard, sweated loads.

Doubly surprised then, to find myself pacing at 7 p.m. Up and down, back and forth, maniacally stalking the tiny walkway in the apartment. I was unsettlingly unsettled last night. My bro was out at a band rehearsal (second band; they REQUESTED his uber talented presence – yea!) for the evening, so I was solo for tv time. That never goes very well – I prefer, in the evenings, to have someone with me so I can talk to them and have a bit of companionship to slow me down. But I expected, after such a push at the gym, to be tired.

Ha! 

Had to force myself to slow down. Forced myself to sit in the chair, watch the film I’d chosen. Forced myself to keep lighting up (thought: good Goddess, something has to slow me down!). Took it down to reading. Quiet, still. Relax, I told myself. Finally began feeling less manic. Slept.

I’ve time off from language lessons this coming week. Need to read thru Taman and make a few corrections and changes. Also need to begin the process of a read-through. Ask the teachers if they’ll come so I can use a classroom at Erasmus. Set a date. Get emails out.

But what I really want to get back to is my thriller trilogy. My experience with the theatre group has made me re-think a few things. What I once envisioned as three stand alone one-acts that have an arcing storyline are now expanding for the stage. I’m pulling the surviving characters through the one-acts for continuity. Wasn’t part of the original plan. However, while performing this play I’ve noticed what people have said to me. The number one thing people comment on is my tiny cameo in Act 3, where I’m seen dancing at a party held in the other room. Part of that, I know, is because it’s the last time they see me on stage. But there’s a definite glee the audience gets, seeing a character from an earlier story inserted into a later story. It offers a thread of continuity to the audience, and seems to bring the entire play into some sort of reality: this is the real world, and people’s paths cross. Here you go; proof. Okay. Good. I’ll use that. It’ll take a bit of re-thinking, but the basic story lines can hold.

Might use the following as a tag line for the production: No one makes it out alive. It’s a good overriding line for a thriller trilogy done over Halloween – though I’m concerned it’s too old hat and cliche for my production.

…It’s not a bad tag line for life. …Damn! I might have to get a T-shirt with that on it. Just for me.

Reality check: another comment from my uncle on FB. Ugh. Meh. Not even sure if I want to honor it by deleting it. Maybe I should just let them stand, without comment, and let the world see what a fucking eejit the man is. This one was strange. Or, at least, I found it strange. Re-posted one of my press releases from a site I successfully loaded the info into. This is not the first post about the play on my FB page. Maybe the 10th. Something must have finally clicked with my uncle, because for the first time he’s commented on it: “I imagine this will be funny….sorry, I won’t be in the area then. LOL”

LOL? Um…I realize he probably thinks he’s making a joke (which is weak in and of itself, because there’s nothing joke-like about his statement), or that’s what he’d claim. But is it really? I see a pandering to me in the first half (I imagine this will be funny: note, though, the comment is in general and not directed towards me or my acting ability) and a discount in the second half (he lives half way around the world and I never imagined for even a split second that he’d come for a performance). Pat on the head, and a slap in the face. Or so I see it.

For now, it stands without reply.

I got bigger fish to fry.

‘Cause it’s true. No one makes it out alive.

Yes, it is

Two weeks from Saturday is our last performance of the play. So I checked. Did a Google search – even setting the search parameters to the name of the play and the name of the group. Found a couple of notices on page one…in Dutch…for the first two performance dates. Nothing for our upcoming show.

It AMAZES me how all these business school teachers (who all say ‘yeah, yeah, we know all about marketing’) fall off the bus when it comes to actually doing any marketing work.

And maybe the director doesn’t want the group too big… He said that during the last performance. Doesn’t want the group too big, doesn’t want things to get out of control, doesn’t want to step aside to allow other people to do things with the group. Okay. I get that. But we at LEAST want to break even, right?

I sure as hell don’t want to continue ponying up money for the privilege of performing.

Found the group’s write-up about the play in English on their FB page (had to HUNT for it). It was half a press release – all teaser info but no facts. So I did what I do: I fixed it. Added in the missing data. Corrected some clunky English. And found half a dozen online Rotterdam agenda sites that’ll publish the info for free. Spent half an hour on the headline… The play isn’t well known enough to push that as the opener. The playwright isn’t well known enough to push that aspect. The group isn’t well known enough to carry the headline. In the end, I choose ‘English Comedy in Rotterdam’ because I’m posting to English language sites targeting ex-pats and I figured those four words were the most important in the entire thing. It’s in Rotterdam, it’s comedy, and it’s in English. The info is already sent to two places, and I’ll tackle the remaining sites after my language class.

Had a real surprise yesterday at the gym. Went in for my second day in a row (yet another attempt to raise my activity level). Saw, out of the corner of my eye, a woman watching me while I stretched and warmed up. Sure enough, she came over and began talking with me.

Surprising enough to me that I slipped into Dutch like a comfortable shoe. Didn’t even bother with my traditional ‘my Dutch isn’t very good’ line – she got that from my stilted use of the language. But we communicated (she spoke very clearly). Talked, even! She asked me about the exercises I was doing. Did I make them up, or did I learn them somewhere? A bit of both, I told her. Then she asked if I knew of any exercises that were good for a person’s balance. I actually had the audacity to question her – is it your hips? I asked, remembering the word for ‘hips’. Yes, she told me. Ah! We’ve the same problem. Do you go to the physiotherapist? Yes, but she doesn’t like him and he’s not doing her any good. How about these exercises? I asked, showing her the three golden rule exercises my physiotherapist gave me. Never saw them before. I walked her through them, told her to do them every night. When are you here? she asked me. I want to come back and exercise with you.

Wow. Seriously? This hip heavy old woman? You look at me and think ‘yeah, she’s got it together’? Don’t get me wrong – I’m pleased as punch. Pleased to have an opportunity to get to know someone, pleased to pass along what knowledge I do have about staying in shape, pleased someone thought that much of me. I’m just really, really surprised.

What I’m NOT thrilled about is the idea I’ll be opening up my head space during exercise time. Exercise time is a very inner thing for me. I’ve got the best drill sergeant I know under my skull, and all I need is her egging me on and really loud, fast music in my iPod. If I’m helping someone else, though, I won’t be able to lose myself in loud music. I’ll need to talk, be present…which will be DAMNED difficult, because I blast the music and close my eyes so I don’t HAVE to be uber present in my body while it works and sweats.

Saw the woman talk to a few other older women as she left the gym. Oh, nelly. In a few weeks time will I be writing that I’m leading a handful of mature women through some basic stretching and yoga exercises?

As long as they let me be on the cross trainer. That’ll be my one rule. I get on that machine, and no talkie-talkie with me. Let me sweat. I’ll be done in 30, and very pleased to help you then.

Sounds reasonable.

Also, in my searches for websites to post the press release for the theatre group, I stumbled across a call for writers. Writers in English, right here in the Netherlands. It’s all free lance, pay as you go, first come first served on story ideas. But I’m thinking I might give it a go. Even if I only get one or two stories a month, it’s something. A bit of cash to get my hair cut. Maybe I could take my brother out to dinner for once. Pay for my own metro card top up.

And isn’t it nice to get some sort of recognition for your efforts outside of your own head?

Yes. Yes, it is.

Shallow footholds

Breathe.

My uncle, who claims to have been “inoculated” against bubonic plague (yes, you read that correctly; he’s that ignorant) is on the commenting rampage again. This time? A superfluous comment on a post about the theatre group’s last performance. No idea what was going thru his mind…if anything. The damned post was in English, but he seems to have translated it. A tag that caught his eye was ‘Friday in Leiden’, which was a reference to our Friday night performance in the town of Leiden. His comment? What’s Friday in Leiden? Free day later? – or some such nonsense. Deleted it. I’m not talking to someone that stupid.

Saw a Graham Norton show on which a guest said he loved Twitter because ‘it was created to wind people up’ and he found ‘winding people up was a lot of fun’. I believe that puts my uncle’s behavior into a nice box. He enjoys winding people up. If I was his child and went to him to complain about being bullied, he’d say what those people always say: Ignore it. Yet, when I do that, I receive all sorts of negative comments about how immature I am, how I can’t even hold a conversation, etc. etc. Same double standard their president is trying to pull, and it’s the same obvious bullshit manipulation.

My brother has this idea that he’ll post the video of my performance and somehow THAT will open up my uncle’s mind. I expect flak. Bullshit wind-up comments. Back-handed compliments that aren’t really compliments. Stuff I’ll delete immediately, because I don’t want to deal with it.

Reminding myself I must apologize to the group in case anyone saw his comment. I’m sure my uncle would be angry if he knew I felt I had to apologize for his behavior. But I do feel it. I feel I must apologize for much of what Americans say and do.

Now THAT’S sad.

Language class: oh, I’m a prat and I know it. Brought along the book on Anne Frank that I finished reading. I believe that’s what prompted the teacher to ask all of us for impromptu book reports. I was the only person who had read more than a few pages. Swapped for a new book – a detective story. Lots of words in there that I don’t know. But that’s good; picking up meanings while reading is the BEST way to get it into your brain. Sometimes I have to resort to the dictionary, but hey! I did/do that with English, too. There are always words you don’t know. Did pretty well with my homework. A couple of mistakes; that’s okay. I learn even more from my mistakes than I do simple repetition. Really appreciate the level of this class. High enough, but not too high. Stressing what I need stressed. Feel myself falling into my student mode: open, accepting – almost like a sponge. Absorb first. Question later.

It’s a decent mind-state to carry into the world.

Keep telling myself I’m gonna cut back on smoking. Keep failing. Keep making excuses for myself, too. I’m still stressed from performing (true). My system hasn’t settled yet (true). But I’m bending the rules, being too easy and forgiving of my bad behavior. It’s got to stop.

Going to the gym today. My big excursion into out there. Want to come back so worn out I can barely keep my eyes open. Want it. Need it, even.

Keep telling myself to hang in there. Just a bit longer. A bit longer to what I’m never sure. Success? Easing of some of the financial restrictions? I’m afraid things might get worse before they get better. Once again, I have tumbleweeds rolling thru my e-mail. Not word ONE on my script, which I sent out a month ago to half a dozen places with very high expectations. Winter is coming on, which means more watching my health and being all over hand washing and juice sipping. All of that is discouraging, as are the bills that come in unexpectedly, throwing our budget out of whack.

But doors are opening. Just a crack – enough to get my foot in. Checked the film website my acting partner told me about and it’s everything he promised. Casting calls for all sorts. Already found one I’d really like to apply for. Need to get my info online. Told my bro about it, because there’s plenty of calls for sound engineers, something he’s more than qualified for.

Do not want to jinx myself, so I’ll just say all of this is on the table. As is the production of my scripts via the theatre group. Stepping slowly, cautiously. Nothing is settled or for sure, so there’s no real reason to get worked up. There’s just…interest.

Another note: J, the other feminist in the theatre group, asked for my blog address. I was thrown, dithered a lot by saying it’s nothing, just my empty thoughts. Truth is, I was and am afraid to share this blog. Whether or not I have anonymity, I feel as if I do, and that makes all the difference in how I write. But with my last post on sharing, I wonder if I’m being a bit hasty to pull back on this issue. How better for someone to understand me than to read my words? Must say, I’m honored that she cared enough to ask. That alone weighs heavily on the ‘give her the address’ side.

My head keeps playing back compliments I received for my performance. Particularly compliments from the group, because these are the people who’ve seen me do it over and over. These are the people who’ve heard some of my opinions, talked to me, gotten to know me a bit better… Truth is, I have no idea what they might say about me when I’m not there. Last autumn, I was a fly on the wall, so I know shit happens.

They might end up being very shallow. But even a shallow foothold is better than none.

Thank you, me

Time off is a good thing. It gets you out of your rut, changes things up, adds a bit of excitement to your life. It also screws mightily with your schedule.

After more than a week off from hard exercise, I was a bit worried I’d find myself slow and weak at the gym. While I admit my arms are like a baby’s – more flab than muscle, so they ARE weak – the rest of me was more than up to the test. Took it easy; still have a performance on Friday. But I fell into my run/jog on the cross trainer, falling only a little short of 3.5 km in 30 minutes, without a hiccup. Kept an eye on my heart rate (at my age, I feel that’s a public service more than anything: make sure the old lady doesn’t keel over from a heart attack). 120, 130, 140. Then a push and up to 150. Yes! Seems that’s the magic number for me. The sweat pours out of me and the endorphins must kick in because it – all of it, from the sweat to the burn in my legs – feels good.

*sigh* The full force of my addictive personality really leaves me feeling bummed. But I guess I should pat myself on the back; at least I’ve found an outlet for it.

Today is a physiotherapy visit. Haven’t seen my guy in a while – busy with the play and too poor to pay for a visit. Think I now know how to handle my visits. I can keep a good 8 weeks between appointments as long as I keep active. However – wait; I should say HOWEVER – if I have more than 2 days down due to illness or injury, I need an appointment. All it takes is 2 days for the pain to creep back in. The flip side of that is that all it takes is 2 days of movement to make me feel better. And that’s good…great, in fact. But there are times when 2 days of movement is beyond me. Hence, my need for physiotherapy.

Besides, do I really want to give up an occasional visit to the cutest guy I know?

Nope.

Got through half my Dutch homework. Still have 4 letters to write. Spoke up in class when yet another ‘you’re having a party, write a letter to your friend’ homework task was handed out. Can’t we please do a letter to someone else, about something else? How about a complaint to the electric company? Something like that would be more useful. So I got an extra 2 letters for my outspokenness. Good. I do well with homework, and usually have the time. May I have some more, please?

Something has clicked in my brain with Dutch. Was aware of it last night as I watched tv. I like Dutch tv; they run plenty of English programs with Dutch subtitles. Right from the start, I read the subtitles (or tried to; they go by fast for a beginner reader). Doing that has helped me figure out the meaning of many words, particularly when watching a cartoon or program for younger audiences. I see words repeated, hear words repeated, and pretty soon it becomes evident that this word means thus and so. But some sentences have always confused me. Too many words, too many ‘je je’ or past tense verbs or other things I just don’t understand. Last night, though, it was like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle were slid into place. Suddenly no sentence seemed too much: here’s the subject, the verb, the modifiers, the helping verbs. Instant recognition, even if I saw a word I hadn’t encountered before.

By jove, I think she’s got it!

…My mood has improved. Obviously. That’s two references to favorite childhood films.

Thank you, me, for going to the gym and working so hard. Thank you, me, for sweating and pushing through the wall. Thank you, me, for being so committed to our health that we get to the gym in the first place. Thank you, me, for listening to our concerns, taking them into account, and being careful with our body.

Most of all, thank you, me, for trying so damned hard.

Active

Have you lost weight?

Oh, thank you, thank you! To an overweight person, particularly one not satisfied with her size, the above statement is probably the greatest opener you can use when you haven’t seen someone for a few months. I had the joy of hearing it yesterday, and even tho the scale stubbornly refuses to move (beginning to wonder if it’s broken), I felt uplifted.

My brother said I looked thinner because I was wearing my hair pulled back.

…Um…thanks for the honesty?

Tho I’m still not thrilled with the thickness of my body (that’s the problem, really – not the bulges or cellulite, but the thickness of my torso), I’m buoyed by my growing strength. 3.65 kilometers on the cross trainer. Go, baby, go! Did a little look-see online for cross trainer info. Apparently, that machine is supposed to mimic stair walking without the joint stress. I disagree. It’s more like walking through sand than it is walking stairs. Nonetheless, whether it’s walking stairs or walking through sand, 3.65 kilometers is impressive.

Let’s see that extra flab stick around NOW!

Need to head out today and find an ugly pair of pants at the charity shop. Keeps slipping my mind. Less than two weeks to curtain up; you’d think I’d remember! But, well…I had to send out a request to the director to please cue me in on Sunday’s dress rehearsal time and address. I’d think THAT would be something easy to remember, too, but seems I’m wrong. So I guess I can cut myself some slack. If the director can’t remember to inform one of his actors about a scheduled rehearsal, I can’t be blamed for forgetting to find an ugly pair of pants I’ll probably never wear again.

Also need to do my hair. Just gonna buy a cheap temporary color to cover the grey. No money for salon treatments. I’m even contemplating cutting it myself because it’s just out of hand. I’ve enough hair on my head for two people.

Got the second letter for my bro out to the publisher. Now it’s the waiting game. Gave them a whole chapter to look at. Hope I did well. Think I did.

Find I have to check my FB account every day for comments from my uncle. That famed social network just doesn’t work very well. I’m supposed to get an alert any time someone comments on my posts, but I find I don’t. I get a lot of alerts for groups I never said I wanted to join but somehow got into anyway. Found another comment, this time on a rather positive article about the Dutch agriculture industry. My uncle’s statement was: great, but what about overpopulation? I dithered for a moment – yep, actually had DOUBT – before I hit delete. Although there was nothing in his statement that I found offensive, it was coming from him – and as I said before, that fact colors everything out of his mouth. But what really tipped it to ‘hit delete’ for me was what I realized was very typical for him: that sideswipe comment that doesn’t really address the issue raised, but instead belittles the original statement or argument by attempting to distract and redirect to another issue HE wants to argue over. That, I take issue with. And that’s something he’ll never understand.

Right now, between the work outs and the upcoming performance, I could care less. Hit delete, then ignore. My focus is coming down to a pin-point. Forgetting what day it is, forgetting about language, forgetting about anything other than rehearsals and my role. Had a passing thought about writing the other day, and laughed at myself. Not gonna fall into that trap. I’ve set myself up for a masterful performance, and I’m not gonna blow it by losing my head in another story. I know who I have to be: her name is Wendy, and she is SO not me.

It’s just for a few more weeks. I know there’s another performance at the end of October, and I’ll need to keep the role fresh. But that’s later. Right now is right now, and I’m counting down to the first curtain up.

…Just a little obsessed. I know. But this is me using my obsession towards a goal. I know what I’m like – that one-track mind once I’ve taken hold of an idea. Perfect. Be Wendy. Not 24/7; don’t think I could stand myself to go that far. But keep her close. Once in a while I ask myself ‘what would Wendy do in this situation?’. I see things through her eyes for a moment. It serves to underscore our differences.

She is passive.

I’m active.

Please

Hmmm…

I’ve heard that regular exercise help you maintain your emotions. It’s true, I guess, for the small shit. I feel far less likely to bite someone’s head off for a random act of ignorance when I’m on top of exercise. What it don’t help with is the BIG shit. That, I find, still gets me…enraged. Angry just isn’t a big enough word here. Enraged.

I am enraged, and have been for a few days. Fighting it. Doing what I can to distract myself. It only works until the next nose tweak, the next heavy handed attempt to rattle me. Then I lose it again because GODDESS DAMN IT, I’ve asked nicely that my uncle NOT be a shit and NOT engage in political rhetoric with me and yet he still does. Why? He probably doesn’t even know why. He’s just compelled to do it – because that’s what narcissists do. They act without thinking, and push and push until their victims can’t take it anymore and then they put on that air of innocence – Why are you so angry? Oh, gee. Maybe it’s because of the years of insults that have been thrown out of your mouth and directed towards me and my beliefs. The belittling, the discounting, the blatant attempts to shame me for thinking differently than you.

Fuck you.

Sitting half and half right now. It’s either block my uncle or declare I’m dead. Blocking my uncle is the only REAL way to know he’ll shut the fuck up on my page. Declare myself dead and he’ll sit out there, posting right wing shit after right wing shit, until my personal page looks like David Duke’s.

Found, and blocked, a new page from my would-be serial killer nephew.

And people think I overreact. Well, if I met a rapist who espoused opinions on women’s roles and women’s rights, I’d discount them out of hand because of what he was – a rapist. Likewise, I feel I must discount any reconciliatory sounding post from my uncle because I know that underneath he’s either making fun of and belittling me, or attempting to pacify me with lies. He’s admitted as much to me; he feels it’s his “right” to poke at any left-wing idea he sees fit, and he shouldn’t suffer any backlash because of it.

I’m so fucking SICK of white ignorant assholes crying because they catch flack for being racists. Oh, poor babies! You get ONE taste of what it’s like to be marginalized, of what you’ve put others through for fucking hundreds – no, THOUSANDS – of years, and you cry like a little bitch.

I have NO sympathy for them. Is that harsh? I suppose so. I suppose I should turn the other cheek and all that. I can’t, though. They broke that ability in me long, long ago.

Best I can do is turn away.

Which, naturally, I’ll be vilified for. I’m the bad guy, I’m the asshole, I’m the one who won’t communicate.

Yeah, yeah.

…For this morning, I just hit the delete button. Again. No one has the right to post ANYTHING on my page that I don’t want.

Better things to talk about.

Second day of the gym went well. Very well. Found far more energy than I expected. I suspect I’m ready to get on the cross trainer two days in a row, though I’ll take it easy through the next few weeks because of the upcoming performances. Got on the bikes, which I haven’t done since hitting the cross trainer hard. Kept adding resistance; couldn’t feel it even after I went up to a level I know I couldn’t handle three months ago. My legs are really strong.

Hammered out the second letter for my bro, and prepped everything to send out. Going to wait until afternoon here. I don’t know where the physical offices of this publisher are, but I suspect North America, so sending it out at noon here will still be only 8 a.m. New York time. A real agent wouldn’t be working on weekends, so I absolutely do NOT want my message coming in saying I sent it out on a Sunday! No. Might even wait until 1 or 2 here; give that illusion that I came into the office, saw the reply, and prepped my answer right then and there. My bro is very excited, and tends to get wound up just talking about this deal. I’m keeping a lid on his mania as much as mine, reminding him it’s only the first step and we’ve a lot of negotiating to get through before anything is signed.

The short time span before performing really hit me this morning. I’ve been reminding myself of it, but somehow this morning it got real. Hope to head to the charity shop today; still need to find a pair of ugly pants for my outfit. Need to find a magazine, too, because somehow my name got on the list of props claiming I’ll supply that, even tho I never put it there. Well, I don’t have much to contribute in way of props, so I feel I should just do it. Somewhere around here I’ve got a poetry magazine in Dutch I’ve kept aside…

Run lines, shower, prep for tonight’s rehearsal. I’ve things to keep me occupied today. Even have two films I recorded, so plenty of tv time just waiting for me to watch.

Good. I’ve things to mull around in my mind. To write the letter or not write the letter; that is the question. I will only ask once. And I will say please. Please refrain from commenting on my page. If that last, final, clear appeal is ignored…well, I have my answer.

Please.

Progress as a verb

Run.

Nothing like watching a horror film to make you remember why working out is important. What if. That’s all you really have to ask yourself: what if. What if disaster struck, what if you were being chased by an axe wielding maniac. Three years ago, my answer would have been ‘lay down and die’ because I was stiff, out of shape, and in a lot of pain. Yesterday, my answer was run. Run fast, run hard – and the great thing was, I found I’m still capable of doing that.

For the record: 8 minutes and five seconds in I passed my first kilometer. Passed the second kilometer in 7 minutes. My knees felt good, I felt strong. Did my stretches and abdominal exercises and free weights, too.

These days, I have a fairly decent chance of getting away from natural disasters and axe wielding maniacs. Not if I’m with a bunch of 20-somethings. But give me an average group, and I’ll be able to outrun a couple of them. I’ll also be able to fight if needed. I’m lifting more, getting some real muscle definition, and while it may be a while since I had any martial arts lessons, I still know how to move.

Don’t underestimate this old broad.

I said I’d laugh at myself if my plan worked, so HAHAHAHAHAHA BLOODY HA! My letter on behalf of my brother was answered – in less than a day. Fastest response I’ve ever seen on flipping ANYTHING. They want a PDF sample. That’s my must-do today: check the text and pick what to send. And since I didn’t send a sample of the manuscript, let me crow because it’s all down to me. My letter, my writing, my pitch got this response. Bloody hell! Wish I could do this for my own stuff! But envy aside, I’m very pleased and working to contain my excitement. This next letter is as important as the first, so I’ll work on it as well. Pleasant, friendly, open and willing to compromise while at the same time holding a high degree of professionalism. That’s what I shot for in the first letter, and I’m holding to the same standard in the second.

Goddess, please help me not fuck up!

Just a few, short weeks left before performing. Don’t know I’m actually ready for it. You know how things go – once someone knows the jokes, they tend to not laugh. That’s what’s going on. My funniest bits go un-laughed at, and I’m starting to doubt the comedy of it all. And I know how much laughter from the audience can throw you. Hearing other people laugh can set you off. I’d like a bit more indoctrination on that, but it’s gonna be feet in the fire, and keep a straight face because you really only get that experience by performing. I keep in mind that the funniest bits on the old Carol Burnett show were often when they’d lose it a little and struggle to keep straight faces. In other words, don’t be afraid of the process. Or even more simply: trust yourself.

…For the very first time since beginning my heavy cross trainer exercise, I find myself wanting to go to the gym two days in a row. I’m not as exhausted as I’ve been in the past. Tired, but not exhausted. Feeling pretty good, as a matter of fact. That’s why I want to go. And so I will. Not to cross train, but to walk on the treadmill and do some biking and lifting. Won’t let myself fool myself into two hard days. I know how that goes! I’d do it, and burn myself out so much I’d have problems the rest of the week. Nope. Simple movement today. If I can live through that and begin doubling up on days at the gym, then I’ll consider two hard days in a row.

Wow. Can you imagine? When you spend a lot of time sick or in pain, you begin to think that’s it forever. It’ll never get better. And let’s be clear: it ain’t easy. I invite anyone into my brain during my work-outs to experience the nausea, the pain in the push, and all the shit I have to shoulder my way through before I get the endorphins everyone talks about. But it IS getting better. The image of me toddling around barely able to walk, or the one of me using some sort of walking aide…they’re beginning to fade from my possible futures. At least, in my head. I know RA; later today I might not be able to move. It’s a bitch of a bitchy disease, striking when you least expect it, taking you down when you’re not prepared. These are things I always need to remember. I just enjoy not dwelling on them.

*sigh* Got to admit I’m wound up. Received a letter from immigration the other day. It was just to pick up some paperwork, but I thought maybe it indicated a positive response in our case. It wasn’t, yet it was. It wasn’t the magic ‘yes, you can stay’ answer I wanted, and I must admit I feel disappointed even though there’s no reason for it. I also feel a heightened anxiety over the entire issue, which again is nonsensical. What the letter does indicate is movement. Progress. A forward motion in life. The great gears are turning, and things are changing. I’ve lived through this often enough to know I might not be pleased with the outcome, and I guess that’s what’s worrying me.

We risk everything to move forward. I risk my health every time I work out. I risk my brother’s shot at the best music publisher in the biz if I don’t get that package just right. I risk failure on stage. And, the hardest to admit, I risk facing deportation if my immigration case doesn’t go through.

But stagnation isn’t the answer.

Progress is. Not as a noun, but as a verb. I progress through life. Yes.

Distractions

In the past 24 hours, I’ve had to turn down an invite to see a local band and nix my language lesson – all in the name of health. Does not help that I feel manic and am having a difficult time settling. I’m probably erring on the side of caution, but after six weeks ill this spring plus losing my hearing, I don’t really think of that as a minus. Still…it’s hard not to feel like a wimp. I’m not ill. Trouble is, I want to stay that way.

Avoiding class today because we were scheduled for a field trip to the local library. Offered a three month free library membership, which I wanted. But it’s cold and wet and windy again. Chances of getting soaked on the walk to and from the library are high, and even higher for being exposed to something. So I’m bundling down. Drinking juice. Staying warm.

My commitment to the theatre group runs through the end of October. Like it or not, I have weeks of vigilance ahead of me.

Vigilance kept me from a full work out yesterday, too. All went well, topped another 3 km on the cross trainer, felt strong. Then I got off the cross trainer, and felt a twinge in my knee. Tried walking it out, both on the floor and at a very slow pace on the treadmill but it kept giving me gip, so I followed the damned instructions on the machine (the one that said STOP if you’re having pain) and headed home. *sigh* It’s not like I wanted to. But again, experience spoke to me: nine months unable to walk after tearing the cartilage in both knees makes for a powerful memory.

Been watching Ally McBeal again. Very dated at this point. Especially post Ugly Betty and Drop Dead Diva. Had to remind my brother it was a ground breaking series when it came out. Ally McBeal was one of the first shows to portray a single, working woman who didn’t close herself off in a male world. She was romantic, soft, and very flawed. Oh, but there are elements that grate at me! I watch it now and pity my younger self and all women of that era. THIS is what we thought was marvelous at the time. I can only hope that the rapidity of strong female role models emerging in the entertainment industry will be mimicked in reality.

Ach. It comes too little, and too late for me.

Not too late for me to capture what I know, though. My particular brand of family issues and insecurities is brewing into something. Will I leave an opus? Goddess, I hope so. I don’t feel I have much to give as a person. I give what I can, trust when I’m able – but I recognize it’s far too little in most instances, and I judge myself meanly.

…Being left alone with only my thoughts brewing isn’t helping.

C’mon, distractions!