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.

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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.

Shallow footholds

Breathe.

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

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

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

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

Now THAT’S sad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holding Pattern

There may be no such thing as a perfect day, but yesterday tried damn hard to get there.

Weather: gorgeous. Autumnal sunshine, fallen leaves smell, warmth enough to sit outside and have a meal. That alone gave me heart.

Got to immigration before noon. Had the entire metro trip to figure out what to say (in Dutch) when I got there – and I nailed it…but then I went blank when a forty foot high wave of Dutch came back at me (know I had that deer in the headlights look). Took a number and waited.

Twenty minutes later, I walked out with my new residency card.

Shocked. Shocked at the speed, the efficiency, the ever present politeness and common courtesy shown me at this government office. Shocked, too, that the card was in my hand. No photos, no fingerprints; they used my file from last time. I came home to find another letter from immigration telling me just that – that there was no need for me to have a photo or my fingerprints taken, I just needed to pick up my new card. Ha! Guess they didn’t count on me being as efficiently speedy in my response as they were in their work (note: almost spelled that ‘werk’, the Dutch way, and right now using a ‘o’ looks weird).

And this is the pink residency card. When I first got here, I received a pink card. It’s the top of the top in residency cards. The do not stop all access guaranteed card. I had one of three to be issued in the entire country. Don’t know if they’re still that rare, but I do know someone out there likes me. These things are difficult to get.

By noon, my bro and I were staring at each other outside the immigration office. We have our cards. That’s what we kept saying to each other. The question came up of what to do next, and I answered with the only place I KNEW would card us: a coffeeshop. Btw, it’s not that we look all that young anymore, it’s just that you’ve got to have an ID on you if you go to a coffeeshop. Usually, they have bouncers outside. Naturally…they didn’t. Walked straight in. Still enjoyed it, just sitting there and knowing we had our IDs. We’re official.

Back home, I found myself restless. Off to the gym for stretches and an hour’s walk on the treadmill. Want to do more, but holding back right now. I will not risk my knees or wrists just before performing.

Dinner was a semi-fast food sampler. Gotta say semi-fast food because it wasn’t McD’s or Pizza Hut: this was Dutch fast food. Dutch fast food means you go somewhere and they make your food to order fast. You don’t walk in and ask for something that’s been pre-made and sitting under a warmer. You order, they jump. And the ingredients are higher quality, too. Had some Turkish pizza and loempias. Nothing like mixing your ethnicities up with dinner, but the two vendors were close together and it just so happened that change from one purchase was the precise amount asked for by the other vendor. Therefore, Turkish pizza and loempias. Doesn’t everyone think like this?

Went to sleep after watching some Heroes (found a dirt cheap DVD copy of Season 2) and knowing I read through the first 30 pages of a book in Dutch. Felt good.

Hiccup this morning – from my uncle. Another comment on FB. Noticed his comments are becoming less and less inflammatory – so much so I’m feeling that guilt creep up on me when I hit delete. I’m also reminding myself how angry I was, and my promise to take care of me. So, delete it was, and will continue to be. I’ve no time nor temperament to deal with him at the moment.

Another language lesson today. For the first time, I’m not worried about a lag in my lesson. Just the opposite: I’m concerned I’ve too much material to go over, especially if the other student shows up.

Wanted – still want – to head out today and try to get a few posters up for the show. But it’s very grey, and very wet. Bad timing on me. Maybe it will pull back enough this afternoon to allow me a decent walk without the risk of getting too wet or too cold. Until then, plans are on hold.

Keeping calm, staying distracted. Not thinking too much about the play other than to be careful because it’s coming up.

I’m in a holding pattern.

Stop!

Down time for RA. One of the worst things ever was growing up not having this disease diagnosed. I experienced a lot of pain, and was told I was being over dramatic. Truth was, my bones were minutely fracturing and my inflammation at a level that should have put me in hospital. But I didn’t know. I listened to the hateful people in my life who blamed me. I told myself I was weak and stupid. So I’ve still got a real problem with taking time off for pain I didn’t actually cause. This time, it’s in a foot, and bad enough I’ve been limping. Lovely.

In ultra paranoid mode. It’s the last week before the play, and the most dangerous time period for me. I’ll be working every night, up late, with people (who all seem to have sick kids or sick spouses or a nasty cough themselves). That’s a recipe for disaster. Washing my hands dozens of times every day. Pushing juice. Picking meals for health value rather than taste.

Heard from the publisher I was pursuing for my brother’s book. Sadly, they passed. Can’t shake this feeling someone on their side fucked up; we were passed off to another person, and he seemed to discount it out of hand with a ‘we already have enough music theory books’ statement. Which seems odd to me, because they DON’T have a book like this. Theory books are written from piano keyboard standpoints. This one works from guitar and bass fretboards, too. But, okay. I’ll move on. Have pages and pages of publishers to check out.

Have not yet addressed the issue with my uncle. Waiting until after the play. I don’t need the distraction. Must admit to feeling half and half – half anger, half pity. I’m still angry he thinks he has the right to rile me up on my own page. But I pity him, too. Took a look at his FB page, and can I say, it’s little wonder he comes to MY page to get some attention. Nonetheless, it’s got to stop. Lucky for him, that top fresh edge of my rage has worn away. I’ll be gentler now.

…Got to admit to a growing sense of…disappointment, I guess. I feel flat and let down. Almost depressed. Not sure why. If anything, I should be feeling up and excited this last week of rehearsals. Maybe I’m just tired, and the RA flare up doesn’t help. Maybe I’ve been working myself too hard, or worrying too much. I look forward to performing again, and yet…yet I don’t.

Coming to some hard realizations, too. Deeper levels of understanding. I’m beginning to really understand my 20-something self, why I did what I did. Started calling my mother by her first name in conversation and in my head. Found it helps me disconnect a bit from that ‘but she’s my mother; I’m supposed to love her’ shit. C was a bitch, and should have NEVER had children. Full stop. Found an article about daughters of unloving mothers. Had that ‘oh my god, they’re talking about me’ thing happen with a couple of items they noted, particularly a bit about children not knowing if the good mommy or the bad mommy was present. That hit home. Hard. I’ve also been admitting to myself how often I sabotaged my success, or turned away from opportunities because I just didn’t feel worthy. I take responsibility for these actions. But I lay the blame on C. She boxed my mind in, she made me feel helpless and worthless. I hate her for it.

Unfortunately, there ain’t no do-overs in life. I can’t go back and reclaim those lost opportunities. I can’t go back and make myself feel worthwhile. Wish I could. I’d like to see how far I might have actually gone if I was unfettered by self-hate. If I was given just a tiny bit of real support and love.

I am so jealous of people with loving families!

But even if I could go back, I know now the only things that would change would be how quickly fights would escalate and how early I left home never to return or talk to C again. Because she wouldn’t change. The rest of my family doesn’t ever change; why should she? It’s not like she wanted me. She didn’t. And she sure as fuck wouldn’t change her martyrdom for her children. I could only go back and tell them to fuck off. Say the things I should have said. I couldn’t spare myself hurt or pain, because that would still happen. I could just get out of it sooner, stop acting out against C earlier.

It’s difficult to change this aspect of myself. To stop hating myself so much.

Hell! It’s difficult to just stop.

Active

Have you lost weight?

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

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

…Um…thanks for the honesty?

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

Let’s see that extra flab stick around NOW!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She is passive.

I’m active.

Please

Hmmm…

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

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

Fuck you.

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

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

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

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

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

Best I can do is turn away.

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

Yeah, yeah.

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

Better things to talk about.

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

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

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

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

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

Please.

Walls

Probably just did something I’ll regret. Will no doubt catch flack for it. I just deleted a comment on FB from my uncle, and paired it with a post saying I’ve had it and will not tolerate trolls or bigots in any form. Why? Because my sheet wearing uncle sent me a fucking article from a fucking racist paper. Nothing like saying ‘I like burning crosses’ like a link to a right-wing bullshit article like that.

Why do people like my uncle think it’s okay to spew out such ignorant, hateful things, yet still think they have the ‘moral authority’ to bitch at me and what I say?

I hate them. Hate my uncle, hate my oldest brother, hate my sister, HATE THEM.

Have not yet whipped out that big old blocking mechanism but I’m this close.

…I know what my problem is. I want two things: one, I want my family to acknowledge how bigoted and messed up they are, and two, I want them to acknowledge my successes. Both are beyond the realm of reality, and I should know that. …I do know that. But I also have to own up to the part of me that hangs onto the notion that some day they’ll wake up, some day they’ll see, some day they’ll hear.

Really wish right now I had just killed them all.

Been thinking, too, of announcing I’m dead. Leave the FB account open, because that’s what happens these days. But change the status to deceased. Maybe even post a little epitaph. That way, at least, I’d free myself of family shit. They’d have no reason to email me annoying right-wing articles first thing in the morning. The one or two friends I care about would be informed. The rest of the world can fuck off.

The day is coming. What day? The day I blow my top publicly. The day I let loose on the shits that call themselves my family. … I try, each and every time this happens, to remember all the important stuff. Like, they’re obviously ignorant. Their heads are stuck in cages. They’re obviously hurt and angry. But it just seems to me that they don’t change. At all. If I felt there was even the tiniest shift in attitude, the smallest recognition of the larger view…But I don’t. They continue on, beating the same dead horses with the same hickory sticks, saying the same slogans, listening to the same bullshit, believing what they believe because it’s easier to be angry and aggressive than it is to THINK.

The outcome? Well…I was pretty sure my nephew was abusive to animals when he was young. My feeling is that if he didn’t evolve into a serial killer, that was just sheer luck on the part of humanity. He’s raising a son, so I expect the family to include a newspaper headline grabbing racist within 10 years, when he comes of age.

And I know how bad they are. Who do you think has carried the brunt of their disdain all these years?

…Sent out a letter yesterday to a publishing company on behalf of my bro. It was as tight and exciting as I could make it. Didn’t go so far as to represent myself as an agent, but I implied it. I know how those letters are seen: appearance is everything. More than half the publishing places won’t even look at a letter if it’s written by the author. Did my best to get him the attention I think he deserves. Need to cull through some other publishers, and continue to send out feelers.

I’ll have a good laugh at myself if it turns out I find my niche representing other authors…

Skipped the gym yesterday. Didn’t care, didn’t want to go, didn’t have the motivation to get out of the house. Told myself that was okay. Really should go today, just to clear my head – rain or no.

Got that extra irritation going today because I recognize that if I was zen, I’d just delete the comment from my uncle and be done with it. But I’m not zen, so I’ve gotta go that extra bit. And what’s really getting me is that this is the same behavior I want to call him out on. That little extra nose tweaking that isn’t necessary. Knowing I’m acting out and being petty does not help my cool. On the other hand, I am so SICK AND TIRED of being my family’s kicking dog that I can’t help but cheer myself on: You go, girl! Give it to them! Stand up for yourself! 

What’s a scapegoat in a family of narcissists to do?

Seems to me it all comes down to how much I’m willing to take. That’s the answer in most cases. How much bullshit are you willing to deal with in the name of your career, or love, or whatever? We deal with shit from bosses because of the pay check. We deal with shit from spouses because of sex. We deal with shit from our families because that’s the way we were taught. We even deal with shit from outed racists and bigots under the banner of “free speech”.

And I think people like my family push people like me because they’ve done so for so long they think they have the right. Plus, they secretly want to see us blow up. It gets them off. Gets their dicks hard – or their vaginas wet; take your pick.

…Maybe the fascists are right about one thing. A wall might be a good idea.