Blend me

There. Downtime taken. Not easy. I was super squirrelly. Couldn’t actually nap, but I rested as much as possible and applied arnica lotion to my bruises throughout the day. Kept getting little jolts of excitement every time I went online, seeing posts from my film friends and friend requests and happily confirmed friendships and DAMN! I’ve never felt like I’ve had this many friends before.

Those feelings from the set are still oozing out of me. No longer from my hands; that part is over. Now it oozes from my eyes, as I tear up thinking about how much fun we had. I just felt so included and wanted. I still do, because of the continued online explosion.

But today it’s back to reality. The big equalizer: scrubbing out the toilet. Doesn’t matter if you’re King or Shit-Sweeper; scrubbing out a toilet brings everyone down to the same level. There’s dishes to clean, garbage to take out, a few items to pick up at the store, laundry to shift around. Get up and get moving again at the gym. Try to keep it all light, drink juice, take a break if I need it.

I still don’t have my holiday lights up yet.

Winter has come to the Netherlands. It’s been here for several days, but I’ve been too busy to pay much attention. Hail, sleet, and snow rain down from the cold skies every day. We might even get a little accumulation before the day is out. Almost hope for it; some of my new friends are from warmer climates and they talked about wanting to see a real snow. 🙂 I refrained from saying anything about ‘real snows’ or drifts five feet high when they said that. Dutch snow, I can handle. Even if a lot comes down, it doesn’t stick around.

…Have to admit, my deepest dreams are for family members to notice my posts about the film and show some interest. Maybe say ‘well done!’ I’m not holding my breath. They’ve had 52 years to tell me ‘well done’, 52 years to support me doing what I love, and so far all they’ve offered me are half-assed jokes at my expense. But I’d be lying if I said any different. I want that recognition from them. I want my mother to be proud of me. I want my father to acknowledge my beauty. Even with both my parents dead, and voluntarily cutting myself off from the rest of the family, I still want it. There’s the saddest thing of all, because I know I’ll never get it. Not from my mother or father. Not from my oldest brother or sister. Not from any of my aunts or uncles on my mother’s side. The extended family from my father’s side has always supported me from the moment time I met them. That was my very first clue: here were family members who took me as family, shared their lives with me in words and pictures, and supported me. Said ‘wow!’ or ‘well done!’ or ‘I’m so excited for you!’ They barely know me – we’ve never actually met in person – and yet they are so much more open and loving than my real family. It told me so much.

And it made me so sad. Oh, I’m done asking why. At least for today. The why doesn’t bloody well matter in the end, does it? The only thing that ends up mattering is what the hell you’re going to do with the mess you got dealt in life.

I see now, in hind sight… Ach! I was going to start saying I should have this or that. Fuck that. I did what I did. Chose how I chose. It taught me things, things I wouldn’t have learned any other way. I’ll embrace that. It’s hard to say thanks for it. Felt like a lot of shit to go thru, but maybe that’s because I’m bull headed and stubborn.

For now, I feel inspired. Fired up with standing up and being noticed. Moving forward for reals. Feels like my feet are firmly planted on the ground. I’m not building castles in the air. I’m not living on pipe dreams. I’m doing. I’m being.

And while part of me wishes I could take this knowledge back to myself and change things, let me make this abundantly clear to the Universe and anyone who’s listening: I DON’T WANT TO GO AROUND AGAIN. I want to see and be in the now, take the joy I can, love who I trust, do what I’m meant to do.

Holy fuck. Am I saying I want to…live?

That word has new meaning for me now. Live used to mean exist. I existed. I put up with the pain. But there’s a whole other dimension to that word. To truly live. Wow. It’s an immense feeling.

I want to keep that feeling, even when I’m scrubbing out the toilet today. I’ll live it. It’s just a tiny seed in the huge fruit of life. It’s hard, and tasteless. You might hurt yourself if you bite down on it too hard. It might be a bit bitter tasting, or slimy, or just gross. Don’t eat it. Consume the fruit. Spit the seeds. Everyone’s been telling me that, in their own words. Stop focusing on all the bad in life. Look on the bright side. Why can’t you take a compliment? But I didn’t have enough fruit. I was getting all seeds. My life was a pomegranate. And I don’t like pomegranates.

I’d been eating life raw. Very raw, and with no help from a cheery television chef telling me how to make this shit edible. Now, it feels like I’ve got a fully stocked kitchen with all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Just hit a switch and all the work is done for you.

Go on; do it.

Blend me.

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Mainlining

When it rains…

Oh, baby! Flood me! C’mon! I think it’s safe to say I have never experienced the type of upswing currently underway in my life.

Signed into my pen name email yesterday. Usually there’s nothing there. So often, as a matter of fact, that I complain about tumbleweeds rolling thru. And, to be honest, there was only one email waiting for me. But it was a doozy.

The group I sent my first thriller, Blue Whale, to has contacted me again. They loved my story, but at the time they thought the tech requirements were beyond them. Do not know what’s changed, but they want to consider it again. And they contacted me. I’m just in a tizzy. Theatres and artistic directors don’t do that. They say ‘we’re open for submissions’ and sit back and wait for stuff to come to them. They do not pursue writers, they do not contact writers days ahead of notifying the general public to say ‘please, please, can we try your work?’. It just don’t happen.

I’m living a dream.

They’ve also asked if I’ve anything else. Think I’ll send them Taman. It’s done, it’s tight, and they might really like it. I have nothing to lose; they’re going to consider Blue Whale no matter what. So enthralled and thrilled I don’t dare ask if their tech requirements have changed. Talked to my bro about it, and he thought maybe they’ve been thinking about BW this whole time. Considering what they can do, how they could make it work.

Erk (that’s me, choking a bit). People…are thinking about my work for months?!?

…And here I am, emailing back and forth with a bleeding ARTISTIC DIRECTOR of a theatre like we’re old friends! I – I – I….I’m stuck on amazement.

More coffee, and another J.

Feels like I’ve hit a wall. A wall of excitement. I can’t be any more excited. I maxed out days ago. This…just stuns me. And I think that if more excitement comes my way, if things keep up this momentum, I’ll find that new balance of living IN this. Get the role? Exciting, yes, but no reason to jump up and down. Blue Whale gets done? Same again. Taman gets noticed? Ah, yes, add that to the list.

I’m waiting now to see if the last piece falls into place. If, when my teachers get a hold of the children’s story I’m writing in Dutch, I hear that I should send it out to get published.

Got a feeling that might happen.

Today is all mine. Did as I said, and contacted my Thursday teacher to tell her I wasn’t coming to our lesson. Got to the gym, stretched, did a long walk on the treadmill. Today I run lines, shower, prep for tomorrow. Hell! I even did my nails last night – cuticles and polishing – because I figure most women my age would do that type of thing, and it’s the small details that make a role.

…You know, I’ve had shit hit me like this. One thing after another ’til I felt like I was gonna break. Being on the flip side is weird

Weird.

So weird, it’s completely blanked out my anxiety over finding my audition tomorrow. I’m too up. I’m also too focused. Not the usual drive myself ’til I drop manic focus. Oh, no! This is a down to earth, get enough rest, think long term focus. No amount of excitement will prevent me from sleeping. No amount of excitement will prevent me from doing what I need to do – like getting to the gym for regular exercise. No amount of excitement will rile me up to the point where I can’t write. …Good Goddess, do people operate on this level as a regular thing? Or have I flipped into some hitherto unknown hyper-mania?

Television has been shit lately, so yesterday evening I ran some of my recorded Futurama episodes during dinner. Watched the one where Calculon comes back from the dead. Kept laughing at his hammy acting and inflated ego, right up to the point when someone in my head said, ‘That’s what Mom was afraid you’d turn into.’ *groan* I examined that idea, and you know what? I find it fucking insulting. You thought I’d turn into that kind of ego maniac? What made you think that? The way I was so quick to backtrack, so fast to take the blame in any situation, so immediate with my ‘I’m sorry’ exclamations? Or maybe it was how proud I always was of myself – after all, I’m the woman who allowed herself to beaten at the hands of partners and raped multiple times; obviously my ego is out of whack. What. the. fuck -?

Oh, yes! And before I forget. Had an apology – APOLOGY! – from Celtx about their original email. Ye Gods! I really will burst with one more thing.

The words of my hated sister ring in my ears this morning. You don’t know how to handle success. Can’t stop thinking about it because she was right. She said it as an accusation, obviously. My sister’s modus operandi: shame me. But it’s also a statement of fact. I don’t know how to handle success, because my family never let me succeed. Not in their eyes! Now that I’ve basically cut myself off from them (excepting my occasional nostalgia driven internet searches), I’m free – FREE! – to experience success. But no, I don’t know exactly how to handle it. It’s all new to me. The good feelings, the flattery…the sheer headiness of it. None of that underhanded nastiness I’m so used to. At least, not yet. It’s out there; I know it is.

But for now, it’s pure, and clean. Real admiration. Real compliments. I feel like they’re raining down on me in one, huge burst from the Universe.

And baby, I’m mainlining.

Try, learn, and do better

I really must learn to stay off social media.

Found a FB post from my eldest bro. He left a comment on his own page – not tagged to me, not sent to me – saying ‘happy birthday to my little sister even tho ya don’t give a fuck about yer American family’.

Do not want to admit it, but my heart is beating damned fast right now. And my angry replies are bubbling to the forefront – “listen, you sexist racist bigoted mother fucker…”.

Wish crap like that didn’t affect me. At all. Wish I could have seen it and coolly just moved on. Still want to defend myself, lash out, blame, make them SEE. Since I know going direct to the source is a waste of my time, I came out here. To be safe. To say what I needed to say.

Ow.

Odd how, even knowing what a piece of shit I’m dealing with, I let it affect me. I guess that’s programming at its basest level.

Here is my flaw: I want too much to be loved. And I’ve been made to feel that it’s my fault that I don’t get what I want from my family. They were never wrong. They ARE never wrong. It’s me. My fault for wanting, my fault for feeling, my fault for thinking and hoping.

I have met strangers who were kinder to me than you. People who wanted nothing from me, and gave me everything. And you dare to call me family? You dare to approach me with guilt and shame, bullying and controlling tactics? You hurt me, I walk away, and I am accused non-stop of being a child, being wrong, being whatever it is you call me in the depths of your oh-so-perverted mind. Fuck you ’til the end of time. I hate you. With every fiber of my being, I hate what you are, what you stand for. Your ignorance, your total disregard for anyone other than yourself, your fixation on money, money, money, your blatant LACK of caring on the most basic of levels. You have no right to shame me, you piece of shit.

…My oldest brother will die before hearing from me. That’s his punishment. And maybe some people think I’ve no right to mete out my own punishment. Maybe that’s even true. But I’m tired of waiting for the Universe or some Goddess to make things right. I don’t want to strike out; that will be detrimental to my own psyche and THAT is what I’m concentrating on. Not him or his “feelings”. I’ve no time for the latent incest-ridden fantasies my eldest brother holds.

And yeah, that shows a distinct lack of character on my part. I’ve witnessed people stand in the midst of an emotional storm and keep their balance. It can be done. Those that have done it have earned great respect from me. They’ve shown me what can be done, if you stay centered and grounded. I want to be like that. To be able to have my say, take the backlash, smile sadly and turn away without hurting anyone.

I ain’t got enough drugs to make that happen.

So I protect myself and everyone else by staying silent. I say nothing, again.

You know…I should at least give myself credit for having the strength to do that. To walk away, rather than engage.

Good. on. me.

In 20 minutes, I need to begin verb conjugation. Write out the irregular verbs. Again. Try to mash them into my brain one more time. I will get this. I will get this!! Try, make mistakes, learn, do it better next time. That’s the level I’m reduced to. No grand schemes, no lofty goals. Just try, learn, and do better.

Yep. That’s a good motto for today.

I have value

Sunday, and I’m still on a high from all the praise I received at the script read thru. My brother admonished me for trying to jump right back into my routine. Take it easy, he said. Give yourself the weekend to sort yourself out. Did not help my flightiness to receive a note from the producer about the first part of the thriller series.

He likened it to Lovecraft’s work. Lovecraft. That’s like…classic.

My head’s spinning to be compared to such a well known author.

Too excited and jumbled to do much, but I did make a start. Payed for my gym membership (late; it was due on the first), picked up some groceries and needed items, took out the garbage. Spent more time on my feet than I have lately due to my ankle, and I felt it. So I lolled around in the late afternoon, and seemed very much a lady of leisure when my bro returned from the comic book shop.

Ach! And I have a weird complaint. My hands are not so good anymore. The RA’s done its thing, and my grip is generally pretty weak. Seems to me I’m always asking my bro to open this jar or bottle, or pick something up for me. And just this past week I dropped a bottle, shattering it, due to a poor hold. So what I’ve got to say doesn’t make a lot of sense. But, here it is. Every once in a while, I get super-strength. Like Hulk smash super-strength. The latest evidence of this is a now ruined pepper grinder, which I apparently twisted so hard I broke the entire thing. I swore up and down to my brother that it must have already been broken, that I didn’t even turn it that hard. He just laughed at me. No, it wasn’t broken. Yes, he was absolutely sure of that. He doesn’t blame for these things. He’s seen them too often. And he knows I have no intention of breaking anything. There are just weird moments when all the strength that’s left my hands comes rushing back, and I’m more powerful than I think. Then things twist and break like dry twigs. …I’m lucky this time it was only a pepper mill.

Spent time on my Dutch. Reading. Wasn’t really going to. Just wanted to take a look and see where I was in the book. But I began reading a few lines to remind myself where I left off, and suddenly I was sitting back, turning page after page. Only one chapter to go before I’m finished. Should be able to finish up the story and write out some verb conjugations today. Meh! Notice how I left the verb conjugations for last – my least favorite thing to do. But I feel pretty good. I’m done with the writing, almost done with the reading, and (while not looking forward to it) ready to work on verbs.

Today is laundry and dishes, hoovering and dusting. Hoping to get some guilty assistance out of my brother, which is why I left it for Sunday, when he was home, rather than Saturday, when he’s at the comic shop. Could use it. The place is bit dingy. A little too much dust on everything, a few too many pieces of grit on the floor…just dingy. I think I’ll just ask my bro to help me. Why wait to see if he volunteers? One hour of his assistance will wipe this place clean. Then I can gaze around and not feel guilty over the way it looks.

That would be nice.

Been walking the calendar out, assuring myself I’ve plenty of time to adhere to my schedule and write my scripts. It isn’t the easiest thing to do. I mean, planning time – that part of it is easy. Assuring myself that I’ll stick to my plan, that I can focus and write when needed and not freak the fuck out – that’s the hard part. Seems like a lot to do. I break it down into small bits. Do this part first, then work on that. For long term things like language, that means promising myself I’ll work an hour a day. For short term projects like my script, it means telling myself to take care of typos first and then worry about re-writes. But both those ideas are like promising myself I’ll stop eating cake and cookies. I can make that vow with incredible intensity – and have just same amount of intensity pulling me in the opposite direction when the moment of truth comes. End up having to use a combination of tough love and reward system: berate myself into doing it, then reward myself for completion. I’d like to love myself into doing it, but, one step at a time. Right now, results are more important than method. It’s important to me to finish my writing. To complete the trilogy, to send out Taman. To keep going, and not let anything hold me back because for once – once! – I really know I’ve got something here.

I’ve no mother to disparage me, no father to lovingly hold me back. No DNA siblings to shame and humiliate me, or make me feel lesser than. There is nothing to make me stop. Nothing but myself. And I won’t let that happen. I won’t let me sabotage myself. Do I hear me? Because what we’re doing is too good, too well crafted to allow to go to waste. You hear me?

I’m saying I have value.

I’m learning

The only time during the last 24 hours that my head has managed to shut the fuck up has been when my distinctly short sleep post performance caught up with me and I dozed off from exhaustion. Other than that, it’s been nag, nag, nag…

I be the Queen of Second Guessing.

The words ‘I need a little sunshine in my life’ escaped my lips sometime around midday. At that moment, ‘a little sunshine’ consisted of a lemon popsicle, licked and slurped like I was a five year old. Part of me noted it, noted my falling mood, noted, too, the yellow I use more and more around me and in my wardrobe to help keep my fickle mind from falling into the depths of depression.

This is the backlash from time off at the gym. No endorphin rush. I’m jonesing. Jonesing so bad I don’t even know I’m jonesing…

My ankle is still ‘soft’ and painful when I take a step.

On the up side (keep looking at it, even if you’re not there), my day off yesterday helped my injuries. My hand is only bruised now – an ugly bruise, spreading from my fingers all the way down the side of my hand – and the swelling is gone. And, hey! My ankle didn’t hurt when I turned over in bed…or not too much. It’s an improvement.

Managed to write my letter yesterday. Took over an hour. Tried just writing it, then checking later on google translate. Some sentences I nailed, some were horribly wrong. All things considered, not too bad. Could be better, but I can say that about a lot of things. Did my best to devote some brain power to memorizing those irregular verbs. But it was an uphill battle against exhaustion, my head-speak, and a hangover. Hopefully I’ll retain some memory of at least seeing the words…

This morning I’ve a dental appointment. Now there’s something I blocked from my memory until the play was over. Ugh. Well, it’s only a cleaning and hopefully now that I’m back on track with dental checks it’ll go quickly and without any pain problems hiccups. Will have to take my school stuff to the dentist’s and leave from there in order to make class on time. Lovely. Get my teeth polished up so I can go somewhere and have a crappy cup of coffee served up that’ll just coat those clean teeth with brown gunk. Hm. Maybe I’ll just say no to that coffee. Then again, I was up early and will probably need the caffeine to get thru all the Dutch in the afternoon. …Time for a Red Bull run?

Been thinking about my honesty-blurting. Realized I got no filters in some places. Hit the right word, and everything comes out of me – no holds barred. I know that’s weird. Especially when you I do that with people who are essentially acquaintances. But I consider it a step up. It’s honest. Maybe it’s harsh, maybe I’ve no social graces anymore, but I’m being honest. Case in point: I remembered (oh, Goddess! The self-flagellation I’ve committed over this one!) that during the evening’s celebrations I came out with my stunned reaction to their casual money conversations. Admitted to envy. Someone – my acting partner, who seems very attuned to my moods – apologized. We didn’t mean to make you feel bad. Oh, fuck! I remember back-tracking a little, or trying to. Then I stopped myself, admitted to the envy, how that kind of spur of the moment travel to another country to buy 16 bottles of expensive wine was just beyond my means. How I couldn’t actually imagine that kind of living. I am deeply embarrassed to have said all that. Deeply embarrassed. …But it’s true. Where and when I was raised…well, put it this way: my parents had to work all the time to afford a little more. A little more to me meant things like a summer cabin to go to over the weekends (said cabin being uninsulated and very, very ‘rustic’ in amenities), or camping in the mountains with our cousins. It did not entail my parents whim-purchasing expensive items. Those were planned and budgeted for, sometimes for years. Holidays were part of that ‘expensive item’ thing; even our simple weekends or camping out (eating mac ‘n’ cheese, because that’s what we could afford) had to be budgeted. …And we were thought of as wealthy because we had that cabin with barely running water and bats in the walls, because we could drive non-stop out to the mountains and go cheap, cheap, cheap for a few weeks in the summer. I caught a lot of flack at school for that stuff. Later, my parents experienced an increase in wealth (their first stock market haul). We began taking holidays other places, staying in cheap hotels. My dad bought his first sailboat – barely 25 feet, not in good condition, and he couldn’t afford to keep it tied up at the marina. None of that helped at school. I was under constant pressure from the kids to not have too much. I was called a princess and stuck-up. And so I began to think what my parents had was a lot. That we were rich, that I was stuck-up, that I was spoiled. But…we weren’t. I wasn’t. And I’m not. My eyes have been opened to the first layer of what ‘rich’ really is, and we weren’t even in the neighborhood.

Here, I suppose, lies the crux of the middle-class: we are shamed by both sides. I was shamed in my youth for having too much. Now I am shamed for having too little.

…I knew finding my balance post-production was going to be tough. Did not expect any perception-altering revelations. I suppose that, more than anything shows it.

I’m learning.

Dissolve those blocks

A block is a block is a block. And I found my block: my silence regarding my uncle and family communication issues. All it took was one statement, one time standing up for myself –

And it flowed.

I’ve spent the last few days divvying up my time between pacing and writing. My head’s so there I can’t even concentrate on tv at night. My eyes watch, but my mind is far, far away. Tying together plot threads, modifying scenes, adapting new ideas and new information into the story.

Honestly, it was almost an explosion. I’ve pages and pages of notes and rough drafts. Hammered out all the loose ends I was unsure over. Found solid reasons for people to do what they do. More: I was able to articulate the core premise of my thriller trilogy, something I hadn’t been able to do. And I’ve got to chuckle, because the core premise is connected to all my family issues.

People are affected more the more they are in denial.

The effect is cumulative – the more you hear or see, the worse it is, but people not in touch with themselves quickly succumb.

The issue of denial – denying everything, from the insults slung to their real feelings over important issues – is a bone of contention between me and my family. It’s a long, old ache I can’t rid myself of. Essentially, I’m writing about a phenomena currently underway – in my family, and in the states. Everything is twisted. Neo nazis scream about genocide and claim that’s their right under free speech. Then they blame anyone who tries to stop them, calling them enemies of free speech. Denial. Denial of their bigotry and hate. Denial of their calculated twisting of the facts. It’s killing every bit of humanity, and it’s a disease that’s rapidly spreading. My premise is that people like that – people so caught up in denial they can’t even begin to admit the truth of what they’re doing – they’re the ones affected. They’re the ones who flip out and kill everyone (literally and metaphorically). Don’t know how many people will get that connection when they watch the trilogy. But it’s in there.

Now there’s that layered depth of meaning that’ll win me an award!

But that little gem of thought is costing me re-writes. It’ll be well worth the price; I’m just noting it. Noting that I need to increase tension in this character, have a few more verbal spats in that area… Nothing major. Subtle. I’m down to subtle writing. Taking that fine sand paper and working on the last hard edges. That’s often the more difficult kind of writing. Hacking out the rough ideas – that’s easy. Take a swing, chop, chop, and there you go. Viola. But fine tuning – that’s tough. Reading and re-reading. Changing one word in a sentence to open up multiple interpretations of meanings. Moving this, editing that – if you’re not careful, you can get stuck in this mode forever.

Lucky for me, I have readers. Willing readers. People who want to read my scripts, want to participate in the evening get togethers, want to give me feedback. Yes, I called a read thru for Taman and am getting many positive responses. I need 12 people capable of reading English to do this properly, and I’m half way there. Hope I get enough. We could double up, but that always muddies a read thru. Plus, I want the input. I want to hear people’s opinions and ideas. Used to think other people’s opinions were judgements: good or bad. Now I hear them as suggestions. Hm, she wants me to change that sentence because it isn’t clear to her…maybe she has a point. Or gee, he thinks this wouldn’t happen. If it doesn’t happen, then this might occur. Wow, that would mean… etc., etc. It takes me in new directions.

And it’s taught me (again) about communication. You can use every word in the dictionary – you can speak at the highest level, using the best grammar in the world – but if no one understands you, you’re not communicating. People have to understand you before you can claim to be communicating. If you use words they don’t know, or introduce ideas that are beyond their comprehension, you’re not communicating. You’re just being obtuse (and there’s a perfect example: if I said that to my autistic brother, he wouldn’t comprehend the use of ‘obtuse’ in this sentence). Side note: Goddess! I should throw that word ‘obtuse’ at my uncle!

…Now it’s time to reign it all back in. Back to the grind this week: classes, gym. Last rehearsal on Thursday and the performance on Saturday. Week after that, my read thru for Taman. I feel confident that by mid-November I’ll be done with Taman; it’ll be off my desk and sent out. That sets me up nicely for finishing the trilogy during Xmas break, which means I could present it to the group in January.

Beyond that, I haven’t thought. It’s a big enough deal to be back in the flow and writing again. Still surprised over how quickly all my mental blocks came crashing down the moment I stood up for myself.

Remember that. Dissolve those blocks.

Six Easy Steps to Stopping a Narcissist Cold

October 16, 2:05 p.m. (my time)…That’s the last time I received a comment from my uncle on the play notification I posted on FB. Almost two entire days of silence. This morning, of course, there was an email in my mail. One of his mass sends to friends and family. The email was a picture of a patch – one of those embroidered things people put on their shirts and jackets to make them feel important (like a Boy Scout). The pic was two buzzards, with the caption ‘patience my ass – I’m gonna kill something’, and I can’t help but feel I had at least a little to do with the level of frustration and anger it reveals. Side note: my DNA sister was the first to respond to my uncle’s email, posting a laughing meme back (her communication style is exactly the same as his, so no big surprise there).

The following is the conversation in full. I’m copying it here to make sure I don’t lose my words, because this is one of those RARE times I actually shut up the narcissists in my family by turning the tables on them, and I want to remember it.

uncle: I imagine this will be funny…..sorry, I won”t be in that area then. LOL

me: What’s so funny that you put ‘LOL’? You didn’t make a joke.

uncle: K-, Yes I did….when I said, I won’t be in that area then. That was my joke.

me: Oh. But you don’t live in the area. In fact, you live on the other side of the world – a fact I know. So…where’s the joke?

uncle: you need another cup of coffee Ms. !

me: 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.

uncle: 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.

me: Actually, I don’t see your joke at all – which is why I queried you in the first place. However, if you’re referring to me noticing your discomfort, yes, I did see that. It’s pretty obvious. I also noticed you continue to sidestep my question: why are you so uncomfortable?

uncle:  I’m not uncomfortable…..just made a joke about the show sounds good but I won’t be in the area to see it. I thought it was a funny comment.

me: Well, we already established it wasn’t a joke. You didn’t say anything unexpected or funny even tho you keep insisting you did. So you’re either uncomfortable for some reason, or the LOL isn’t actually because there’s a joke in your statement, but because you’re making it into a joke. Returning to the stage is important to me. Why do you feel the need to make it into a joke? I don’t understand. Please explain.


Since asking him to explain himself, he’s been silent (other than the patch email today). Hallelujah! I called him out on it and didn’t let him get away with SHIT. Notice how I turned things on him? Needling him with the idea that he was uncomfortable? That was deliberate. I wanted to wind him up on that point, knowing it wasn’t on the mark, so he’d admit he wasn’t uncomfortable – which led him straight to the point I was making: he was being a bully. There was nothing funny about his comment; he was belittling me. Note: he didn’t like my post about the upcoming production. He just made his ‘joke’. And the fact that, half way through the conversation when he realized I was getting the upper hand, he had to make ANOTHER joke just showed that yes, his goal was to belittle me. That joke was all about ‘you’re not even worth replying to; I won’t answer you directly, just make a silly joke with you the butt of it’. The last few sentences are the real corker: Returning to the stage is important to me. Why do you feel the need to make it into a joke? I don’t understand. Please explain. Straight up statement: you’re making fun of me; why? Explain yourself.

Oh, how I made him run!

Distilled down, here it is:

  1. Destroy their first statement. This isn’t true because… Stay calm, and state the facts.
  2. Explain how, if their first statement isn’t true, then the following must be what’s really going on. This is where the turn happens. We already established it wasn’t a joke. So you’re either uncomfortable for some reason, or the LOL isn’t actually because there’s a joke in your statement, but because you’re making it into a joke.
  3. Push the alternative you know isn’t true. Why are you so uncomfortable?
  4. Make them admit the false alternative is false.
  5. Point out that the only thing left is precisely what they don’t want to admit to: they’re being an asshole. Don’t say asshole. Don’t accuse them of being mean. Again, turn it. This is important to me. Why do you feel the need to belittle it?
  6. Ask them to explain themselves.

The sheer I wanna get up and do a jig JOY I feel over mastering one conversation with a family member!! If only someone had told me it was THIS easy to shut them up!

Six easy steps to stopping a narcissist cold.

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.

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.