The animal

How I wish there was anyone – anyone! – else sitting in the WH right now. I’m so sick and tired of seeing his face every damned morning. Can’t get away from that sexual predator and narcissistic liar. And every time I see him I think ‘Yep. That’s who my family voted for. That’s who they support. And that’s exactly what each and every one of them are like.’

Bullying? Yep. Shouting out how anyone who tells the truth is a liar? Check. Sheer ignorance? Yeah, they got that in spades, too. Controlling, manipulative, power hungry? Yes, yes, yes. Cut out 45’s face and plaster the face of anyone from my mother’s DNA family and you’ve got what I grew up with.

It’s a constant trigger.

I’ve grown to believe in the idea that all children, ultimately, want to kill their parents. I think that’s our animal nature: the drive to usurp the old alpha dog and take charge of the pack. And we’ve developed all sorts of coping mechanisms to deal with it, but from time to time it, as well as most of our animal centered natures, comes to the fore. Aggression. Violence. Rape. War. These are some of the ugliest ways humans try to assert control. Older generations have attempted to solidify their power base by sending the younger generations off to be killed in battle. That happens time after time historically. Time after time historically there are lines drawn between ‘them’ and ‘us’, and those labels are usually meted out by those old cronies in power. In effect, our ‘parents’ give us something to fight – something other than our parents themselves. That’s how they retain power. That’s how they manipulate. That’s how they control.

Calling them ‘leaders’ is a misnomer. We should actually call them ‘controllers’ or ‘manipulators’. They do not lead; they enrage us into action. They bully us into action.

It is sickening.

…*sigh* Told my bro about my name issue, and how I’m calling myself by my childhood diminutive. He asked me if he should call me by that name, too. Bless him! I said no, and for now that’s the correct choice: I don’t need yet another trigger locking me into my 13 year old self. I am continuously reminded of that, continuously triggered. Wish I would have just taken care of my issues back then. But older me acknowledges this is tricky stuff, and it scares me. I’ve got more coping skills than my younger self, so I’m cutting her some slack. Telling her she did the best she could, and no one could ask anything else of anyone in this position.

My bro was pleased to come home yesterday and find I hadn’t sat around inside all day. He’s especially pleased I went downstairs to yet again buy a little noon-time food for myself. He’s encouraged that for years decades, and it’s always been difficult for me to do it. Just going somewhere or stopping somewhere to pick up something to eat, maybe a drink: I don’t feel worth it. It’s a waste of money. The only time it isn’t a waste of money is when I’m on the edge of passing out from too few calories or dehydration. So me doing this for two days in a row is a big deal.

Managed to tackle the worst of the housework, too. Dishes, hoovering up dust bunnies, garbage and recycling. Even (as promised) made my bed. Finished my homework, read three chapters in my book. I’m happy about all of that.

Received an email yesterday from the theatre group. It basically said ‘hey, you’re the one with the videos…maybe you should contact L and make sure she has the ability to use your format.’ …O-o-o-oh? All news to me. This is a get-together to see the vids my bro put together. Not the long-promised cut together vids that were going to be made from the ten people somehow allowed to film the play even tho filming wasn’t allowed. Lucky for me, my bro was close at hand. I read him out the message, and his reaction was very like mine: first a disbelieving and ironic laugh, then a ‘Oh! Didn’t know they wanted to see those videos!’ I took care of it, but it brings to mind another thing I want. This type of situation happens to me when working in a group. Other people drop the ball, then I feel put on the spot and under pressure to perform and perform quickly in order to have things proceed smoothly. Let’s be clear: I wasn’t even aware the date to watch the videos was approaching until I received a reminder message about it. I didn’t know a date had been chosen. I didn’t know I’d have to supply the videos. I didn’t know I’d have to think or deal with the format of said vids. This information was dumped on me less than 36 hours from the supposed viewing. While I’m capable of dealing with this on a timely basis, I feel ill used and put out. Angry to be asked or expected to deal with this mess on such short notice, and unable to communicate those feelings to the group without alienating them.

I know I need to communicate something along the line of ‘Next time I’d appreciate having more time to prepare. I feel uncomfortable if I think there’s a time limit or too much pressure.’ Simple, and without that whine in my voice that says ‘you used me and I’m pouty and unhappy now, boo-hoo’. Do not feel up to it yet.

I’m also aware that on some level this could be a bit of group hazing. The ‘test the new member’ stuff that so often occurs in group situations. Not saying they’re conscious of that, just that it might be going on on a subconscious level.

It’s that animalistic behavior that drives these repetitive cycles of humanity.

That part of us we can’t escape.

The snarling beast. The wounded anger. The very desire to destroy, and taste blood.

The animal.

[Note to self: well written. In re-reading this, I experienced a click of recognition from the theatre group’s perspective. I won’t jump on them; this is a case of miscommunication. My bad as well as theirs. I made assumptions, and I see now where and why they made their assumptions. …And wow, that puts my pouty feelings to rest. Goodnight, animal.]


The truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give. me. more.

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

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

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

That’s the truth.

I like that picture

One hour ago, I triggered my brother into calling me “wrong”. It was not my intention to hit his hot button. And…quite often I forget I’m not the only person in the world (or this house) who struggles with life. So I acknowledge my…not so great attempt at communication this morning, or saying the wrong word, or whatever set him off. My bad.

I do not accept his judgement.

Have not and will probably not say this to him. Why risk more fighting? He’s triggered, I don’t know by what, and if I continue it’ll just get worse. I realize what came out of his mouth was programming, and if I pointed it out to him he’d realize that, too. It would be great to modify our communication to rid ourselves of this crap. Right now, I just want to acknowledge it and not buy into it.

Faulty programming. Ignore.

Aren’t I doing well this morning? Not triggered myself, aware enough to put some distance between me and what I would typically consider a trigger situation. Good on me! Stayed calm, backed down, not holding onto anger that’ll manifest itself in some twisted passive-aggressive shit.

What is best for me? That’s foremost in my mind today. Getting upset was not on that list, therefore, I avoided it.

Spent yesterday in zen mode, making cookies. Lembas is a long process and a hand-intensive recipe. I considered my options and felt my stomach needed the acid soaking properties of my cookies more than my ass needed to walk, so I made cookies. It was a good choice.

Headed downtown in a few hours to meet S. Looking forward to seeing her. She texted me last night, asking me to bring a bottle of my cordial for her dad. That makes me smile. One of my herbal products that’s found a fan. S also mentioned she’d like to discuss her script. Again, this deference to my skill and experience makes me smile. It’s good to be acknowledged, no matter by whom. And…it feels good to pass along a bit of my knowledge, to hopefully help someone else avoid the pitfalls I encountered. Go, girl! I find myself willing in many ways to pass the baton onto the younger generation. Go. Do what I couldn’t do. I am so proud of you for all you’ve already done, all you’ve already accomplished. Just…remember me from time to time. That’s all I ask.

S brings out the mother in me. Or the big sister. Someone caring and kind. Someone who wants to put this young woman above herself.

It’s someone I like.

…Calm exchange with my bro. Neither of us wants to fight. That’s good. Feels like a little plaster on that owie from this morning.

I am reflective and absorbing. Reflective on reality, my perceptions, my feelings. Absorbing on the language. The two go in hand in hand for me, and I credit learning Dutch as the unconscious key that unlocked my brain. Words carry meaning to each of us. Some words become attached to traumatic experiences and become triggers, setting us of on illogical courses of action without understanding why we’re doing it. Dutch has no triggers for me. It’s all just sound and syllables that I am now, as an adult, attaching meaning to. So the phrase ‘ik hou je van’, which is the Dutch equivalent of ‘I love you’, doesn’t set me off on those old patterns. ‘Ik hou je van’ means to me that someone’s got your back, someone will always be by your side, in your corner. It doesn’t mean you won’t disagree or go through hard times. Just the opposite: to me, it means you acknowledge the hard times and still choose to be there.

That’s the adult me, with all my foibles and English triggers, putting meaning onto the phrase. But I can say it without the strings I always felt were attached to ‘I love you’. ‘I love you’ means one of two things to me: I control you or I want to fuck you. I don’t like either of those definitions, but those were the ones taught to me. Not the verbal teachings; I know what ‘I love you’ is supposed to mean. But in my house, verbal and non-verbal lessons were always at odds with each other.

…Which means, if I let myself think it through, that I can tell myself ‘ik hou je van’. I can’t love myself. I’ve tried, over and over and over. But I can have my own back. I can always be on my side. I know my brain can play tricks on me, focus on the negative, say those terrible things to me repeatedly. But it’s MY brain, and in the end, I am not a slave even to myself.

Oh, that’s a good one. Say it again: I am not a slave, even to myself.

…Just felt a moment of…I don’t know what. Juxtaposition of my world, I guess. Everything kind of went boom in my head.

A moment of total control. Me. I’m the one who decides. I’m the one who acts. I’m in control. Not my mother, not my family or my siblings, not “them”, not even my head. Wish the feeling would have stuck around longer. But it’s a start. I’ve felt it. I can build from there.

Take that out into the world today. You don’t have to act on it. You don’t have to try and force the feeling to return. Just remember you felt it. Remember how it felt. And consider living with that feeling. Think how it might feel to head downtown on the metro, knowing 100% you’re the one in control. No fighting tears behind your sunglasses. No angry imaginings forcing you to ‘try’ to calm yourself down. Think about what that might look like.

…Yeah. I like that picture.

One giant leap

Up late. I believe we have new neighbors. Neighbors who believe in allowing young children the run of the house all hours of the day and night. Hearing these kids run around and yell, play loud music and generally make a nuisance of themselves, well past 11 at night. I have to stay up later now, because going to bed earlier won’t result in sleep. It’s too noisy. I have to wait out the kids, and hope they settle down by midnight.

Heard from S yesterday. First a text, then a call. We’re meeting tomorrow in downtown Rotterdam for coffee and a long chat. I was correct in letting go my anxiety over S. Last we spoke, her grandmother had just died. Yesterday I learned that her grandfather died a few weeks later. She’s been in mourning, and had interviews and stress. It wasn’t me. Her life just got very busy. Looking forward to seeing her in person. We’ll probably talk and talk and talk and still not get to everything we want to talk about. That’s okay. It’s what friends do.

No plans to reveal my big secret to S at this time. Not unless our conversation naturally swings that way. I don’t need her to know; I don’t need anyone to know. I was the one who needed to know, who needed to accept it. Telling other people is just an explanation now. Why can’t you like yourself? My mother abused me. Why can’t you take a compliment? My mother abused me. It has become my first line of defense, the first thing I want to whip out when some aspect of my behavior or demeanor is cause for comment. Once again, it’s not a full explanation. A full explanation would be: I know I’m screwed up because my mother abused me when I was young. Can’t quite put that sentence together in my mouth. That’s okay. I’m still assessing how ‘screwed up’ I am, and until I form some conclusion that’s comfortable for me and fits, I won’t say anything to that effect. Res ipsa loquitur; the thing speaks for itself. You see it, I know it…it’s no secret.

It was always just one of those things that was totally evident and never discussed. That’s a very American attitude: ignore it, don’t talk about it, just gloss it all over and when someone finally pops you can all claim innocence and ignorance. Oh, we had no idea she was so depressed! No, he always seemed like the most normal guy! Bullshit. You all saw the signs; it’s just that American secretive attitude that keeps everything shoved under the rug. You don’t want to talk about it, because if you did you’d need to admit how pervasive it is, how cold the American life, how empty the American ‘dream’.

Squeeze a rat colony and watch how quickly they become cannibals. I watched this pervasive attitude that the world is dying and we’re running out of room, food, clean air, water, and energy increase throughout my lifetime. And it’s true; keep polluting the world and everything will run out. But that underlying information has fed fear into humanity’s subconscious, and helped give rise to this ‘all for me, I’m the greatest and deserve everything’ attitude. If we’re all going down and doomed anyway, grab everything you can because it doesn’t matter anyway. We are the rats, turning on each other.

…Yeah. Lots to unload today.

Hope to get a few things done. Go to the gym for a long walk. Start to mix some cookie dough because we’re almost out of lembas again. Water the plants. Take a shower. Read.

Still have not replied to my uncle’s last message. Purposefully keeping a spam email in my box so when I open my email my uncle’s message isn’t the first thing I see because it’s the last message. Do not want that visual nag every day.

Reminding myself to take things one at a time. First, the dental surgery and time to recover. Then, call to have my shoes finally taken care of so I’m comfortable when I walk. After that, see the psychiatrist. Then I’ll be concentrating on the Amsterdam performance of the play. When all that’s over, I can start on other things – seeing my doc about my poor digestion or going back to the dentist because the tooth that had the root canal still isn’t right. It’s too tall a stack of NEEDS to tackle at once, and I know that, but my head tends to pile everything up in one place and label it THINGS YOU MUST DO – which then just makes me feel anxious because it’s all so much.

…And I’m shrinking those pix in my head. Taking the screen down small, turning down the volume, reminding myself it’s not that big a deal. It’s my anxiety that blows things out of proportion, my focusing on one aspect and one aspect only that makes it seem so damed difficult.

One positive thing to report: I can breathe easier. This is a bit of an oxymoron, because it’s repeating ‘my mother abused me’ that helps me breathe – the very sentence that I first fought so hard against and had such anxiety over. But it fits. My whole body clicks into a more comfortable, relaxed position when I say it to myself. While I am verbally hanging onto that phrase, I think I’m beginning to let go of it in my body. I’m encouraged by that, and frankly, it feels real good to breathe easier and release some knots in my stomach. And my shoulders. I carry a lot there.

Top of my list today (and every day from here on out) is: take care of yourself. Whatever that looks like. Hiding, reading, watching films, writing, crying… Does not matter. It doesn’t matter what I do or what it looks like. It doesn’t matter if I’m ‘successful’ or not; the only thing to judge success on now is how at ease I am in my own skin.

One small step for Beeps, one giant leap for Beeps’ mind…


Kept writing yesterday. Whatever was triggered in me just kept going.

Had another message from my uncle. Naturally. I knew he was testing the waters with his first message. Now he cheerily writes ‘Haven’t heard from you in a while! How are you?’ as if he never insulted me, we never had that online argument, and everything is just peachy. Been thinking of replying with ‘Learning to accept your beloved sister terrorized and physically abused me as a child. How are you?’ but that just opens too many cans of worms. I will probably leave it at ‘Taking care of myself; hopefully you are doing the same’ which should both answer his query and shut him the fuck up. It is once again noteworthy to say the timing of my uncle’s queries is oddly coincidental. I am far more likely to hear something from my family while I confront an uncomfortable truth about my past than I am any other day of the week. I post nothing of my inner struggle on social pages. And they are the last people on this planet to whom I would talk about this blog. So there’s no way they can check or know anything; it’s just that sick and twisted spider sense my family has. They know when their prey is weakest.

Reassured myself several times that it was okay to remember. I feel fairly certain that I woke from a memory/dream yesterday, the one I don’t want to remember. The one that really fucked me up. Zero recall in my conscious mind. But that’s okay. I know I remember it; I can feel it in my body. My mind will reveal it to me when I feel safe enough.

And I am safe. Safer than I’ve ever been. Able to completely cut off every member my DNA family if that’s what I choose to do. The stalker can’t find me. No one can get to me. No one can bully their way into my life and turn it upside down. I am safe. Safe. And I have more support than I’ve ever had before. Doctors, a few friends, my brother…the number is still small, but it’s huge compared to what it was. I am safe enough to begin to claim my rightful heritage: that of an abused child. That is not to say I want to wallow in it; not at all. But I need a place to start from, and this place is the best and surest foothold I’ve found. Admitting it is the first hurdle.

My mother’s ghost has been haunting me. She stands in front of me, her eyes wide, as she spews out excuse after excuse and denial after denial. I never hurt you! I never told you you couldn’t study acting! And the truth is, no, she never said ‘you can’t study acting’. She just spend decades coldly telling me through her vocal inflections, word choice, and body language that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t do it, that I could never, ever be the best at anything. She convinced me I was a loser before I even tried. She convinced me so well that I’m still trying to un-convince myself. And the physical abuse? Again, no, she never hit me as a small child. As a teen, yes. But she found many ways to cover up her abuse, many handy excuses to use.

And that bitch of a ghost falls utterly silent when I parade out the long line of neglect. All the illnesses I suffered through and was blamed for. ‘It’s your own fault’. The bad reactions to medicine, leaving me so weak I was barely conscious on the bathroom floor. The RA – not being able to use my hands, not being able to walk, so much pain I couldn’t do anything. Time after time after time. From small child to young adult, and always the neglect, the lack of care or support, the complete unwillingness to even take me to a doctor when I needed it.

Go to hell, C. Go to hell and suffer for a few eternities. Then we’ll talk.

I’m glad she suffered while alive, and I’m only sad that I didn’t take more glee in it while it happened! I wish those last three years would have been ten. Or twenty. Longer. Oh, live forever in that ball of fear I knew you retreated into! Stay there, and torment yourself. You deserve to have me taunting you outside your cage and telling you it’s your own fault. I’ll be magnanimous and say nothing, just so long as you do your time. Just don’t expect me to keep the silence any longer. Don’t expect me to avoid the ugly truth anymore. And when the full memory of that ultimate terror comes back to me, we might have another little conversation.

I accept that I’m angry as hell. I accept it’s so big that I have to compartmentalize it, pull it out in small pieces to chew on. Once again: that’s okay. No one can do this for me, no one can tell me how to do it, so however I do it, it’s okay. I will accept no less of a judgement for myself.

There is no right or wrong answer. No way to get 100% correct. In effect, there is no zero. No point you can put your finger on and say ‘Yep; this is it’. And no matter how wise we like to think ourselves, we’re still pretty damned ignorant. About ourselves and the world(s) we live in.

It’s all just soup.

Crack that nut

Jokes that fell flat. Worry that my film friends have moved beyond me and no longer want to be my friends. Yet another message from my uncle. The amount of chemical backlash in my body from sheer terror is massive.

Goddess, where do I start?

Sent out a group message to the film crew. Made a joke about the director just telling R he was cut from the film (2 months late) and the ensuing conversation. Received one reply: we already knew about that. No laughs, no giggles, just cut short. That’s the biggest thing on my mind. I know they’re busy with job hunting, etc., but…well. I expected at least a giggle emoji in reply. Especially from S, the casting director to whom I thought/hoped I had a real connection. Maybe the time of that friendship is over. That happens. Circumstances make you friends, and circumstances can pull friendships apart. My biggest fear is that I’ll get an even bigger bite from someone in the group, some comment along the line of ‘Gee, the film is over. You’re an old woman. You’re nice and all, but we’re not really friends.’ That fear prevents me from asking if something is going on, if I’ve misstepped or said something that threw a wrench into the whole thing.

On the flip side, ran into B, a fellow ex-pat who’s been coming to my script readings and calls me by my pen name, and O, her friend. Saw them at the library yesterday when I renewed my membership. Talked for over two hours, left with hugs and hopes that we’ll get together after I’ve recovered from surgery. That felt good. My bro doesn’t like B nor her husband. That sucks; I can’t come home and say ‘I had a great conversation with B’ because he doesn’t like her. Always a nasty comment in return. I like B, and her husband. They’re very pleasant with me, very understanding and supportive. And I feel a real need to have a few friends. People who know ME, who like ME. Not people I’ve met through my brother, who are my brother’s approved friends. I’ve done that. For years and years. And it’s helped keep me safe. But now I have to do things differently. I’m moving beyond the sphere of influence my brother has and into a separate arena. Music, fine. My brother’s heavily involved, very educated and skilled, and very adept at putting projects together. I nod to his expertise. But he’s nothing to do with theatre, or writing. I need other people now. Other supports, other critiques – even if my brother doesn’t like them.

I’m not willing to exchange one kind of control for another. I listen to my brother’s gripes, his opinions. I take that as advice: be aware. Be careful. On certain levels, these people could be untrustworthy. I acknowledge that as a truth. And I hope, with my brother’s constant judgements, to hold an even keel and a steady head as I work my way through this jungle of networking.

Sickening jolts of fear running through my body. It’s like a timed flush, or a menopausal hot flash. I can feel it coming on. Feel the chemical dump, my heart rate race. I hate it. And I breathe deeply, do my best to calm myself. Got so bad at one point last night I couldn’t talk. Only breathe. Telling myself it’s like pain; it’ll pass, just get through it. And I do get through them, but the next time it hits me it’s just as bad, just as frightening, just as sickening.

Message from my uncle. Meh. What do I say? Yet another attempt – a blatantly obvious attempt, at least to me – to test the lines of communication between us. It’s what my family does: insult you to the hilt, ’til you can’t take it anymore and throw a fit, then come timidly back, testing the waters to see if you’ll still bite their head off. They never apologize, never approach the topic head-on. Don’t speak of the past; pretend it never happened. I hate that. Hate that approach, hate everything about it. One more way to enforce silence.

I will no longer be silent.

My mother – my uncle’s “saintly” sister and beloved nurse anesthetist – physically abused me. The physical abuse was covert; I never had a black eye or broken arm. But it was there. It happened. Of course, the physical abuse was just a set up for the mind fuck she pulled on me. Still not quite used to that look of shock that comes over someone’s face when I tell them some of my childhood secrets. She did that to you? Yeah. Yeah, she did. Repeatedly.

And the shock registered here, in the Netherlands, is far beyond anything else I’ve seen. Because they really care. Mental health isn’t an “issue” to be feared, and people with problems aren’t freaks. Many people have sought counseling for things that, when I hear them, I can’t help but have a moment of ‘wow, you thought THAT was bad?!?’. So when I tell them about things like the old adage of ‘you’re too smart to make such a dumb mistake’, or the fact that the first time I had my hair washed at a salon I was convinced they did it wrong because it didn’t hurt, they look at me with real bewilderment.

Getting well…it’s kind of like writing. You start with just spewing out everything. But eventually you get around to editing. You get down to the nitty gritty. I began my journey with my stories, no judgements, no classifications, just ‘this is what happened to me’. Then, I adopted the idea of physical abuse. Just the idea; I could write it, but I couldn’t say it. Now, I’ve edited it down. I can lead with ‘my mother was physically abusive to me’. It’s hard to say. Hard to say just that and nothing else. But that’s the kernel of truth behind all my stories.

Crack that nut, and everything else gets a little easier.

The most difficult thing of all

Get yer head on straight.

Somehow that phrase always seemed to implicated guilt and shame for me. Having your head on straight is a good thing; anything else is weird, wrong, and must be changed that very moment. I recognize the controlling factor in the statement. The ‘think this way; any other way isn’t acceptable’ undertone.

Don’t tell me how to think. It’s a trigger for me, an invasion of my most private space. How dare you come into my being and point negative fingers! Get the hell out of my mind.

Nonetheless… Been pacing in front of the tiger’s cage, wondering if I’ve got her sedated enough to take on tour. Can she sleep through the public parade? Will she just lay there quietly, or will she try to break free again? I don’t know. That scares me. I don’t want to go out there and start yelling at people.

Didn’t even crack open my homework. My bro pointed out to me that I was exhibiting all the signs of burn-out. He reminded me how much work I do on a regular basis. He gave me strict instructions to play and fuck off all weekend (though he was pleasantly surprised and pleased about the clean house). …Do not feel ready to go back to class. Not mentally, anyhow.

I can feel the drag of depressive thoughts. They’re mixing with my mania, creating a real shit storm. Non-stop pacing and restlessness while I write is one thing; non-stop pacing with circular negative thoughts is another.

Several nights now wearing my mouth guard. I was right to fear the intense back-lash. I feel like a 13 year old every damned morning, taking it out of my mouth and rinsing it off. Can tell when and where I hurt myself. I wake up biting down on the guard, or wake up with aches in certain teeth. Push, pull, grind, bite. Oh, no! No anxiety there! Just a regular night’s sleep. Wednesday I see the physiotherapist for my jaw. Hoping it helps. And despite the surfacing memories of my younger years, despite the aches in my teeth telling me how much damage I do to myself at night, the overall pain in my jaw is receding. Good Goddess! I’m brutal to myself.

But I need to pick myself up and get back out there this week. No more hiding. No more excuses. See the physiotherapist, attend class. Get back to the gym. Do those things I’ve been lax on. That includes making a long overdue call about my shoes, and setting an appointment with my doc to talk about finding help for my mental health issues. BIG issues. BIG and SCARY. I don’t wanna. Don’t wanna think about it, don’t wanna do it, don’t wanna leave the house. Sure as hell don’t wanna tackle as much Dutch as I need to.

…Yes. Very much like the 13 year old me.

I can see her, standing in front of me. The long hair I hated so much. The buck teeth. The outfit, even. She’s an odd mix. Not quite historically accurate. She keeps telling me she’s 13, tho she looks more like 10 or 11 to me. But hey! I won’t argue. She wants to be 13, I’ll treat her like she is. I was much more aware at 13 that life just included some shitty experiences that you HAD to go thru. No getting around them, no understanding or pity from the people around you. Just deal, ’cause everyone has to at some point. Or so I was led to believe.

Throw all that out the window. You know for a fact your childhood was screwed up. You know for a fact you were raised by a mentally caged person. Don’t cling on to one part of that while trying to let go of all the rest. Let it all go.

Try being brave. Remember?

…And, little girl, I know how afraid you are. Of everything, all the time. And you know what? You’re one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. Because you keep trying. You just pick yourself up and go. Don’t even complain about the wounds, the pain, the horrible gut-wrenching shame and guilt you feel. You tried to see everyone in the best light. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You worked so hard to be the daughter you thought your mother wanted. You hid everything from everyone. Never let them see you cry! That was our motto. And you didn’t. In private, yes, we let go. We had to. But never in public. They never saw you cry or back down. I remember the shaming. Having to hold our head up high, gather up the dregs of dignity and walk away. It was hard. Real hard. As hard mentally as it was physically when our feet gave out on us. All that pain. All those looks. And all that neglect. Day after day, month after month, year after year. Tormented at school by bullies, tormented at home by your sister.

This is a different kind of brave, little one. You need to say your bit. I don’t care how you do it. Just do it. Say ‘ow’ if that’s all you can manage. Say it softly, to yourself. No one else has to hear. No one else has to know. But you HAVE to say the words. You have to take that step. It’s that icky experience no one wants to go through. Pull out the splinter, rip off the plaster.

…And so our head isn’t on straight. We’re crooked, like our teeth. So what? It adds character. Yes, we have triggers. Learning more about those every day, aren’t we? And yes, we think outside the box. Other than the norm. For most people, that’s a plus. You were just raised by ignorant bigots.

Take it in: this is you. Allow yourself to be. In all your crooked, mixed up glory, allow yourself to be.

… … That might be the most difficult thing of all.


Sometimes, the Universe is very, very kind to me.

…Or, perhaps that’s always true, and I’m just too stubborn or blind to notice. Bears some deep thinking. Whichever; this morning I received an olive branch, of sorts. Finally a reply from the US theatre group on my work. The artistic director has been busy as all get-out, but she hasn’t forgotten about me and will read the trilogy as soon as her schedule chills. She also gave me a heads up that the fest she wants to take my work to has a time limit of one hour – which means chances of her taking the full story to the fest are nil. But I’m pleased to be remembered and acknowledged, even in this small manner. It’s all I ever really ask for. Sure, I want more but…in the end, I’ll be satisfied if I’m treated like a human being.

This long awaited note comes on the heels of introspective questioning. Do I judge too much? Is it time to let all that go? My conclusion was that yes, in some ways it is time to let it go. It is not time to let go of my truth, nor forget the forces that made me. But it is time to let go of holding the past so close to my heart. I have a new start here, with new people. Those diseased roots that grew me…I’ve cut them off. I’m branching out now, digging into new surroundings.

I’m finding respect for myself in the eyes of others, something I don’t have much experience with. And I find I walk a fine line these days. My behavior and way of thinking is aberrant. Strange. I am often called upon to justify my actions: why didn’t you speak up, why did you just walk away, why do you feel that way about yourself? It’s the shock in people’s reactions that’s waking me up. They’re shocked. They view me as together, intelligent, a role model, even… They can’t imagine someone like me feeling as bad as I do about myself. I hear it in their unspoken words: if I had what you have, I wouldn’t feel that way. That isn’t true, of course, which is where the explaining comes in. But it’s hard to explain without getting wrapped up in it. I am learning the words. Abuse. Neglect. They are difficult for my mouth to form. Never thought speaking one or two words aloud could cost me so much. It does, though.

Washed the illness gook off me. Feels good to be clean of it. Still another day of anti-virals, and more monitoring to make sure I’m truly recovered. Mild headaches have become a daily thing, and I can’t quite figure out why. Probably just from staring at my computer so long, playing games to distract myself.

Been reminding myself of real time passage. My original estimate was to finish the trilogy around this time. I’m wa-a-a-a-a–ay ahead of myself. Must acknowledge this latest manic streak. No wonder I fell ill. Truthfully, it’s been going on for a while. Since the play. Kept saying to myself ‘just get thru this; then you can be sick if you need to’ but it was one thing after the other. Play. Film auditions. Film shoot. US theatre interest. Holidays. Trilogy. Premiere. And my body kept up with it all. Allowed me to go, go, go. Long have I known about my tendency to lose time, to work until I drop. I have done it on a few occasions. It’s just one more reason why my brother is needed: he tells me when to stop. I don’t always listen, but he’s there with healthy food, good advice, and understanding when I finally give out. [Thank you, Universe.]

…Yeah. That’s a lot of mania in the past few months. No; nip that in the bud right now. That’s a lot of mania in the last TWO months. November was just a wind-up. AND you did it over winter, a time you generally fall ill from something or other. Props, girl. You finished an amazing amount of work in a very short time period. But…uh…you DO know we can’t keep doing this, right? You’re gonna have to make a decision. If you can’t handle the mania generated during certain events, you’ll have to avoid them. We were doing fine with the play and writing. Maybe a bit manic, but manageable. The film, now! That threw us. It continues to throw us. Perhaps we should concentrate on the writing side. Being in front of the camera… Could you even survive a full length film? Months of shoots? You sent yourself into a world of pain after TWO DAYS. Don’t make excuses, don’t deny it. Let it sit there. Think about it.

And then there’s all those triggers from seeing yourself on ‘the big screen’. All. those. flaws. So big. Bigger than real life. Your teeth never looked so crooked. Your skin never seemed so wrinkled. And those under eye bags! Wow! You could pack enough clothing for a week’s holiday in those things. That thick, thick torso of yours. Seemed terribly thick next to your co-star, didn’t it? And do you even HAVE a jaw line?

Well. None of THAT’S changed.

Maybe I should just copy and paste this in a note to S. She’s the one who can’t believe I have body issues.

…And I know – I KNOW – because Goddess knows this is one thing I’ve actually learned: in ten year’s time I’ll look at that film and wonder why I had such gripes about the way I looked. I’ll see myself for reals, not the way I see myself now. Same thing happens when I look at pictures of myself from my 20s or 30s. I wasn’t fat. Nor ugly. I felt I was, all the time. And why? Millions of reasons. Thousands of comments.

Now, the Universe is showing me a kinder face. A gentler side.

I’m not sure how to handle it.

The last vestige

Start to heal, and feel worse. Anyone else suffer through this? Three days on the anti-viral and the exhaustion hit me – couldn’t stay awake for anything. Now, it’s a stuffed nose and cold-like symptoms. Joy. Reminding myself to feel happy about it while I cough and blow my nose, tearing through the facial tissues in the house until all the garbage cans are full of my used product. It’s coming out of my body. The nose blowing, the navel goo, the exhaustion…all side products of this illness.

Gods, healing is gross.

Sent a text to my teacher, telling her I had shingles and wouldn’t be coming to class. Waited nervously for a reply. Kept thinking she’d tell me no one wanted me back in class after my outburst. Went through the whole thing in about fifteen minutes: shame, guilt, anger, acceptance. Finally my phone jangled with a note: get well, and we hope to see you next week. I find my reaction and…well, everything that’s going on worth mentioning. Because I’m getting this reply from the teacher I call Ms. Hard Ass. Make no mistake about it: she IS a hard ass. But I think she also understands me better than most. I think she’s sussed out that I’m bipolar, maybe a bit autistic. And I think she’s dealt with this type of behavior before. She was the only one who dared to continue speaking to me normally after my outburst. I remember her even asking ‘may I point a few things out to you?’ before giving me some corrections. Of all the people in that room, I feel she’s the one who understood what was going on with me, so her kind reply is doubly appreciated.

Been imagining me apologizing to the class. I have to; it’s the only way I can work up the nerve to do it. Have to add that my imaginings always seem to include someone (one person in particular) piping up with ‘suggestions’ on how to stay calm or stay healthy or whatever. Assumptions, really. The same sort of thing I have to suffer through when someone tells me of some home remedy for rheumatoid arthritis. Dudes! I studied herbal remedies. Whatever you’re going to tell me about, I’ve tried it or looked into it and decided the science can’t back up the claims. Don’t lecture to me about eating right, or sleeping, or getting exercise. I’m on top of all that. I’ve been juggling this illness since I was 10. I dealt with it undiagnosed for 25 years, and now diagnosed for another 17. I’ve done more than you could ever imagine. But it always comes up. And I have to paste that smile on my face, the one that hurts even me to use (can’t you SEE how unhappy I am with what you’re saying?), and listen, and say ‘yes’ and ‘really?’ like I’m truly interested because doing anything else is viewed as rude. Very few people seem to understand how rude it is from my side. …I understand I’m being triggered. My experience with apologizing has been that the apology is never really accepted; I must go through lectures and reminders for the rest of my life. So I’m naturally leery. Afraid it’ll happen again. It’s hard to remember that there are people out there who aren’t gonna react like my family. Doing my best to offer myself alternative fantasies: apologize, and have the apology accepted. People smile and nod at me. I am forgiven. I want that, and I want to trust that it’ll happen. It’s the last part I’m snagged on: trust.

How can I trust S and the film crew so easily, yet be unable to trust other people? I’m having the same issue with the theatre group. I don’t trust they’ll follow through with my piece. Or am I asking the wrong question? Is it ME I don’t trust in these situations? Do I feel incapable of taking criticism, of hearing ‘no’? *sigh* Again, my experiences are not great. I’ve rarely had the thing known as ‘constructive criticism’ given to me. Rip you to shred criticism, yes. In abundance. Meant to hurt you as much as possible criticism. I’m afraid of that. It hurts. No matter how much of it you get, it hurts. Maybe I’m being a drama queen, but it does seem I draw more of that to me than most people. I’ve heard things like ‘you can’t even write a grammatically correct sentence; don’t even BEGIN to think you’re a writer’, or the always deadly ‘gee, you’d be really pretty if you just lost 20 pounds’. That’s not even mentioning the times I was called childish, ignorant, stupid, arrogant, and just plain wrong in every way imaginable (and no, my inner defeatist attitude is NOT something bred in me, but moulded onto me – these are simply echoes of things I heard about myself growing up). So yes, I’m touchy. Begin to attack me personally and I’ll go off on you. Point things out to me calmly and without judgement, and I’ll be fine. I don’t think I’m asking so much there. Am I?

If life is a mirror, then I’m in trouble here. Because things point to the fact that I’m too judgmental. If I feel judged, then (by mirroring standards) I must be putting out too much judgement. …Oh. Well. I DO judge. I’ll admit to thinking ‘gods, people are STUPID!’ about three hundred times a day. And I judge my mother, and my sister, and all my family. I judge them all to be lacking, and all to be dangerous to my mental stability. *sigh* Yet it’s only after leaving them – finally leaving them, all the way through me leaving them, not just in words or distance leaving them – that I’ve met people I can love. I’ve found places I fit in, even if it’s just a short film shoot. I’ve gained self respect.

My doubts and fears…they are just the remnants, the last vestige of the damage done.

Make it count

I do not like waking up with my life in review. Legend has it your life flashes before your eyes as you die. Makes me wonder if I die every morning in bed. If I’ve already passed over, and this is my limbo. A place I’ve been put to sort myself out and where I can learn how to play nice with others. And maybe it is. We assume, when we speak, that there is one reality: this one. But what if there are realities stacked on reality, if birth and death are just the passages between? What if I’ve died and been born a thousand times over already?

What if nothing changes?

…I’d call that Hell.

So I must, by definition, call my inner mindscape Hell because nothing to little has changed up there. I’m still angry. Still want to beat the living shit out of my mother, my oldest brother, and my sister. I want them to hurt. Hurt, and regret the hurt they’ve caused – and I want to see it. I want to see their pain because of all the pain they’ve caused in my life. I want to see their tears, hear their cries of ‘I’m sorry!’ so I can coldly tell them that yes, they are sorry pieces of shit and I have no empathy for their suffering. That desire burns in me, unabated no matter how many epiphanies or moments of clarity I receive.

I judge that part of me to be small, and weak, and mean. I don’t like it, nor the person I become when it takes me over.


Did not venture out yesterday, and the weather is twice as bad today. Figures. Procrastination typically makes things worse. Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda. Today the evil sprites tinker on my teeth again; not looking forward to that. Then I must find shoes, and some sort of cheap purse I can use rather than my ever-present backpack (fine with jeans, not so great with an evening dress). Meh. I’m both excited and nonplussed about “coming out” as a female – something I haven’t done for decades.

My brother is not coming to the premiere. He doesn’t have any appropriate clothing. I didn’t realize that until he told me last night. All his decent stuff was destroyed in Ireland. Had to tell that to S, who called me last night asking for a list of guests I was going to bring. Had to tell S I wasn’t bringing anyone – and I heard that snag of pity in her voice after I told her. Really? No one? Nope. It’s the pity I felt from her that’s bugging me. I totally understand my brother’s reasoning; he’s got to invest in a few things this month and there just isn’t the money to do that plus buy a suit so he can come to a small premiere for a short film that was made by students and probably won’t ever go any further. In some ways, in fact, I’m pleased. My bro’s autism can…be embarrassing for me at times. His reactions and words. People get offended. They look to me for explanations, and I just don’t want to do that anymore (nor does my brother want that). And…while my brother is my biggest supporter, there’s something else as well. He negates my energy. Not purposefully, and not with anything he does or says. But we both…do things with energies. He adds disruption. I…I do something different. But I can’t do it when he’s there: his disruption level is so high it disrupts me. And I can’t always do it. Don’t know why, or even what it is I do, but I’ve seen it and felt it. Other people have seen it and felt it. In the right groove, I can sway an entire crowd. Bring them under my ‘spell’. It’s…an odd thing to admit to. Sounds crazy. But it has happened my entire life. And whatever it is I DO do, I do it a lot with the film crew. Naturally. It pours out of me. So, if I’m honest, I’m rather happy my brother isn’t coming. I want these people to see that in me. I don’t want that part of me shut down.

…Did I just admit that I can’t share a part of me with my brother? Well, yes and no. He’s seen that part of me. He knows it. He also knows it can get out of hand: this is the part of me that turns into the ever-young party girl. Loads of fun, but she can get in over her head pretty easy. She overindulges. So he tends to be a bit disapproving of that side of me. I know he does it to keep her in line, to keep me from hurting myself. But…it’s also grating. I feel shackled at times.

Sometimes, I have to let myself roar…

And, bless him, my brother knows that. Just as I know that sometimes he has to fly without me by his side.

You never know which roar will be your last, so make it count. I plan on that. One of the reasons I’ve kept this particular dress for so long is that it’s a power outfit for me. I can’t wear it and NOT be there. Even if I feel I look like shit, that dress makes me feel pretty. Attractive. Seen. I will smile and beguile, laugh and listen, be thankful and humble and grateful for the opportunity and time I’ve been give. I may never do another film; I don’t know. No one does. So, give it everything.

…That’s what counts in these daily deaths I go through. The times I gave it my all. Those are the times that do NOT haunt me. Those memories do NOT tear me from my sleep and push me out of bed against my will. I want more of them.

Make it count.