My house is clean

Housework. It’s one of those things I tend to do when my bro is out of the house. For one, he’s out of the house – that means no ‘could you please move so I can hoover there?’ or other awkward incidents of him trying to “help” in some way. For another, I find it well worth the effort to get it done and have an hour or maybe even two in a totally clean house before The Fuzz and Dirt Monster returns. It’s not something he tries to do, but he does. Rubs his socked feet together so the floor is filled with little bits of fallen cotton, misses the ashtray so his side of the table is full of ash and filth, doesn’t seem to see the drips and spats around the kitchen after he’s done cooking. It adds up to one big job, and a thankless job at that, because I think my brother’s close-up vision is going and he really doesn’t see this stuff. Up side is he doesn’t get upset about any of it; down side is he never sees how much I actually do.

My room was first up. More than six months since I tore through it. It is spanking clean, with fresh sheets on the bed and tidy shelving on the walls. I still hadn’t put away my jewelry from the film premiere in January, so I’ve been living in an increasingly messy spot for a while. Now, naturally, I’m doomed to forget where I put things so the minute I need something I’ll panic and rip everything apart again. In the meantime, I’m letting myself enjoy it.

Worked so hard and did so much that by 3 in the afternoon all I could do is sit, drink a cola, and chill. Finally hit the shower around 5 and deep conditioned my hair. Rubbed in my new body lotion (in a pot, thick and creamy), put on fresh clothes, and ate dinner.

It was glorious, sitting in my chair last night. Feeling fresh and clean, yet smooth and soft (thank you, body lotion). Knowing that the tv was wiped down, the stand was dusted, the floor hoovered, the plants watered – it was a rare, simultaneous, the-house-is-clean-and-so-am-I moment.

Remembered about 8 pm that I hadn’t touched my homework. Again.

Have not heard squat from the director. That’s a bit worrying. Need to accept that if that last body isn’t found for the role, we’ll have to look at a different script. He said as much to me last audition. He also emphasized the ‘we’. Whatever the fallout on my story, I get the feeling I have been recruited as the director’s go-to person. The aide, the second director, the props master, the marketer, the make-up guru. I feel good about that. Good that he trusts me, that he finds my input valuable, my help valuable. I am not someone who needs to prove herself worthy; I’ve already done that. And who knows? With a letter of recommendation from the director, I might be able to get a job at a theatre. A paying job.

Today I have to take a crack at Dutch. Two letters to write. I did go to the trouble on Friday of translating them, making sure I understood all the nuances. They’re big asks: lay out a reasoned argument in one, prep up a “well-informed” request in another. Plan to finish one. The other I’ll leave for next week. Just a bit too much stuff going on, mixed in with a bit too little oomph to get the work done.

And get me to the gym! I’m still tired from the super cleaning yesterday, but I’m dyin’ to get back on my exercise routine. Stretch, move, sweat. I want it today.

Little by little, I’m getting there. My hair is as soft as a deep conditioner can make it. My nails are neat, trimmed, and the cuticles are pushed back and healthy. My feet are lotioned, buffed, and pampered. My body is clean and soft. I’ve even pondered buying some make-up. Saw a good offer on a big kit the other day, and I might go back for it. Partly for any theatre work in future, partly because I want to play with the colors. That feels very girly. As does the new hair clip I bought to whip my hair off my neck. It’s strong and tight, and does the trick without losing its grip (paid more for it; guess I get what I pay for). Have thought about painting my nails – just for fun. But I don’t want to go from frump to dazzle in one jump. That’ll garnish too much attention. I just want to gradually move into a better look. Subtle. Something that in six months people who know me will ask ‘gee, when did that happen?’ – like when you lose weight: you don’t see every pound, you just become aware at some point that the weight is off.

Feels a bit odd to gather myself up this late in life. To say at 52 ‘Yes, I’m still attractive and I’m going to show it’ or ‘I’m worthy, smart and valuable’ or even ‘I’m sexy’. But I reminded myself (in the middle of cleaning, when I was full of sweat and dust) that I still get asked out once in a while. Not every day. Not even every week. But I get offers, and they’re not from the worst guys out there.

So much has been cleaned up for me lately, I’m not sure what to do anymore. I’m standing in my own life, looking around and thinking ‘Damn! It’s clean in here!’ Worrying or thinking about family: almost down to zero. Beating myself up: almost never. Feeling stupid: that one comes more often; every day gives me occasion to feel stupid. But I’m forgiving myself faster. Positives: Feeling more attractive. Wanting to do more. Being more social. Getting along better with others. Not taking so much to heart.

My house is clean.

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Nice to meet you

Three hours to go before my appointment with Dr T.

My bro almost forgot band practice last night. Good thing he’s set his phone up with reminders. Ping. Left himself enough time to grab his stuff and head out without being late. I found myself unexpectedly alone for the evening.

First thing: check for hot water. Yep. Then I did something gross. Something I can’t wholeheartedly recommend. Two egg yolks, olive oil, whisk, and on the hair. I’ve used straight olive oil, but not this thick mixture. Just kept wondering if I’d end up pulling scrambled eggs out of my hair. I didn’t, of course. The smell wasn’t something I found pleasant. And the fact that 20 minutes later my hair was shellacked into a hard helmet didn’t help matters. The result, however, is pretty damned good. Cut the frizziness way down, and my hair feels much softer. And you can’t beat the cost.

Showered, watched a film, tried a new BBC show, read some Dutch before lights out. Most importantly: I wasn’t so squirrelly I couldn’t sit still. Got a bit restless during the BBC show (didn’t really like it), but even that was on the low side.

Been trying to marshall my thoughts. I’m not sure what to say to the doc today. I’m not waking up crying. That’s good. And I’m not so angry. All true. I don’t know…maybe I should just say it in English. I’m really trying to assimilate here, tho, so I feel the push to use the language no matter how much I struggle. But once again I’m seeing Dr T after a run of English and no Dutch. Gods! I wish I were one of those people who just ‘pick it up’. I’ve picked up a bit, but I can’t converse well.

What I want to say: I have a new level of understanding regarding my mother. I still haven’t forgiven her, and I realize I may never really forgive her. But I do understand her a bit more. I even feel pity and empathy for her. My anger is fading. That’s an important step. Similar with my sister; pretty sure I’ll never actually forgive her, but I see now how she was getting triggered with her own shit. The realizations I’ve come to regarding my family do not make me want to reconnect. Just the opposite; they’ve confirmed for me all the reasons why it’s better to have nothing to do with those people. I see, now, how sometimes my fears and anxieties were warranted and sometimes not. And I see why I was so confused. I was taught to be confused. Hurt, and told I was loved. Abused, and told I was spoiled. I was taught to not trust at a very early age. Do not trust your own perceptions; we will tell you what you should feel. All the while my truth was I couldn’t trust my own family, my own mother, and deep down I knew that.

Things to remember: the unaccepted truth makes you run. If you find yourself running, look for that truth. It won’t be easy; you’re running from it. You won’t want to look at it. It will be that thing in the corner of your eye. The thing that makes you uneasy when you’re alone. The thing that gives you those nightmares. The thing your mind flits over time and again so fast you might not even be aware of it.

Accept it, and stop running.

As if it were that easy, right? If it were easy, I would have done it years ago. If it were easy, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. But it’s one of those stupid things in life that once you get it, you do say to yourself ‘Hm! That was easy!’ because things just fall away.

Or maybe the doc just finally got the dosage right with my medication…

Sometime yesterday I blew out the last of this illness. I can feel the difference. Might hold off on the allergy pill for a bit. See if I can go without it. I feel ready to start that long journey back to good health.

My nails actually look good these days. I don’t paint them, but I have been keeping up with cuticle maintenance. Been keeping them filed and buffed, too. I’m not ashamed to show my hands. Now that it’s summer weather, I’ve even been working on my toenails.

I wake up and think about today. Not yesterday, or years ago. Today. What I’ll be doing, how I’m feeling – all very in the now.

It’s very different. No wonder some people seem to have so much time. They don’t think about the past the way I did. I couldn’t get OUT of the past. I was stuck there. I’m feeling more capable of moving on now. Maybe I won’t get things right. Hell! lol! I’m sure I won’t. But I’ll be doing it consciously. Thinking about the present. Seeing things as they are, not veiled by the dark truth I didn’t want to accept.

Honestly, I wish everyone could feel this way. It’s not happy, exactly, tho there are elements of joy in it. The joy of being free. Of having my mind free. The freedom – and power! – to stop those destructive thoughts before they take hold. There’s an excitement, too. Knowing that whatever I choose, this is a new path for me. I’m not bound by those old chains anymore. It’s liberating.

In some ways, I’m a brand new person. This is my first meeting with the doc.

Hi, Dr T. Nice to meet you.

The Month of My Mother

There is no uglier sound on earth than a machine that whirls ’round and ’round. Chainsaws, weed-eaters, and dentists’ drills all fall into that category. You can hear the destruction in the notes they make: the standard note while working, that half to whole step up when they’re revved up, and most horrible of all, the half to whole step down when they encounter something tough and really begin to rip away at whatever it is they’re trying to destroy. And rip they do: tear, pull, yank, grind, shred, slash, and hack. They are not kind machines. They do not severe cleanly. I dislike them intensely.

But summer is here, so I’m hearing it a lot.

It’s May, and that means like it or not I just can’t get away from memories of my mother. May was her birthday, her anniversary with Dad, and Mother’s Day. I am being bombarded by Mother’s Day ads when I turn on the tv. Most of the tat they’re peddling looks like Valentine’s Day leftovers: pink and red, with hearts all over. Disgusting, mass produced crap that will end up in the garbage bin within a week. Did any of these businesses ever think of THAT underlying message when they designed their shit? Doubtful. But for the first time in many years I can think of my mother and not go ballistic. There is a mix of good and bad, certainly, and I finally have the strength to admit to both. I can give C a silent nod this year. No praise, no candy coated memories. Just a nod. She gave birth to me. She raised me. Hard jobs, both.

You know…I don’t actually remember the date my mother died. Some people do that. They burn the date of death into their brain and re-mourn every year. I’ve never had anyone die suddenly. The deaths I’ve witnessed have all been slow, years long affairs that in memory become “the death”. When did the death of my mother occur? When she was first diagnosed with colon cancer? When her bowel became obstructed and she had to have emergency surgery? When she actually swallowed the pills that sent her into her death coma? Her last breath? Or was it years earlier, when her symptoms began to show and she choose to ignore them? All of those years had death written all over them. In her eyes, her mannerisms, the way the family reacted. There was no one date.

And it’s sort of like BC and AD. There’s the time before all that. And then there’s the time after all of it. In between is fuzzy. How long it actually lasted…I’d guess three years. It was a bad three years. We never learned how to pull together as a family. Instead, we pulled apart.

Maybe that’s been for the best. I’m certain it is, actually. I do not want to think of where I’d be now if I’d stayed. It would not be pleasant, and happiness would remain a distant and unattainable thing.

But the tearing of my family was like that ugly machine sound: we couldn’t severe our ties cleanly, so we ripped each other up. It was – and remains to this day – nasty. I know I am not the only one with scars left over from it.

Oh, C. You should have never had children.

Been struggling with pain. My back’s been acting up, the gout in my foot is still bad, and I keep getting headaches. It’s all come on slowly – so slowly I’ve failed to pay attention to it until it came to a head and everything was there at once. Had problems getting comfortable in bed last night. Sent an email to my physiotherapist asking for an appointment. Trying to not stare at my computer screen all day (which is what I think is causing the headaches). Feeling rather crappy, and considering blowing off everything, taking a pain pill, and chillin’ with some good films.

What the fuck. It’s Saturday.

Been recording the Eurovision song contest and watching it the day after. Too many host inserts trying to be funny. Best to just record it and fast forward thru those bits. Have been very disappointed with what’s on offer until Hungary came on. Damn! A great metal band there. Haven’t liked any of the tipped favorites to win – Israel, Australia, Ireland. Ugh to all. Every single one of the ‘favorites’ are back to the tried and true Eurovision formula for a song. Israel’s banking on their kitsch. And then there are the politics: who’s in favor, who isn’t, who wants to win and who doesn’t. Pretty obvious on those fronts. From what I’ve seen, give it to Malta. They want to win, and they have the money to host it. Plus, they’re not on anyone’s hot list at the moment. No upheavals. No banning this country or that for whatever made up reason. Tonight’s the final. Might actually watch it live just to vote for the metal band.

Eight in the morning and I feel like I’ve been hacked by a chainsaw. My head hurts. My back hurts. My feet hurt. Down time is becoming more and more likely.

What the fuck is going on with me? Am I getting sick again? Do I have a brain tumor? Is this all a backlash against May, The Month of My Mother?

Shit.

I want to remember

Not certain what I’m feeling. I wanted to come out here and say ‘yep; all is well – I worked out and did some Dutch and tidied up the house and it’s all good’. I did do all that, and I do feel good about it but…and…there’s something else niggling at me, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Maybe it’s the recognition of my higher language use. I feel lately like I’m moving beyond the other students. They seem to have problems with things that are very basic, stuff I’m surprised even trips them up. And I know I’m the only real reader in class. Guess I’m feeling like it won’t be too long before I hear ‘you really need to move up a level’ again. And I don’t want to hear that quite yet. I’ve already heard how I could move up, I’m ready and can handle the task. Soon, I’ll have to move up because they’ll be repeating lessons I already know and I’ll be bored. Just have this feeling… Had a couple of word puzzles as homework, and one was particularly tough. I got thru it, but I don’t imagine the other students will have.

Or maybe it’s the whole theatre group thing. Still nothing. May is literally only a few days away and not one plan has been made to even call for auditions. I’m totally uncomfortable with that. And I’m not sure why the group feels they can master my work in less time than they allowed for other plays. Sure, it’s action driven and all that, but most of the group haven’t even read the story yet.

I have not, of course, done the one thing I really need to do: check back with the doctor’s office on the last round of tests. *sigh* Starting with that will probably help. I don’t sit on things well.

Keep forgetting to take my pill. What began at 11 a.m. is now 4 in the afternoon, and I hope it doesn’t swing all the way to my bedtime. I suppose that shows the medicine is working; I’m feeling good enough and engaged enough that I don’t think about it. Still. I do NOT want to miss a day. Don’t think that would help me one bit. Thus far, I’ve only managed to remember taking the damned thing two days in a row at the same time so I’ve no pattern set up to help me remember the ritual. Damn, damn, damn. Not sure what to do to help me remember. Thought about setting my alarm, but then I have to remember to set my alarm every day and turn it off every night so it doesn’t wake me up in the middle of sleep (because yes, I have an old fashioned alarm clock of only 12 hours, not a digital 24 hour clock). Yeesh.

…Guess I’m just feeling my sorrow. That deep disappointment that sits within me. I find the manner of people around me – especially those I grew up with – so utterly fucking disappointing. And it’s not coming from so much a judgmental viewpoint; I’m not saying how horrible they are. It’s more…I keep kind of seeing things thru their eyes. Seeing me thru their eyes, hearing their responses anew from their perspective. I get what they tried to do. I also acknowledge they did a really shitty job of it.

I acknowledge that every time my sister called me a liar, she was loudly proclaiming that is SHE who was the liar. I acknowledge my oldest brother and sister are narcissistic shits. Spoiled fucking rotten, brought up to think they’re the hottest shit on earth and let me tell you, they’ll never let you forget that. Again: they spewed that at me, and I recognize that anything said repeatedly by one person is a better indication of what THEY’RE doing rather than anything else. They are spoiled. They are brats. They are narcissists. They are sluts, and thieves, and liars. I do not like them.

…I do not like them. *sigh* I shoulda run away at 17, when that impulse was so strong in me. Left and never looked back. I stayed to honor my parents. First, my mother – whom I thought I loved, and I suppose underneath all the complicated crap she set up in me I do love her but I’m having a damned hard time feeling it these days. Then my father, and I’ll never regret the time I spent with him or what I did those final weeks of his life. I exposed myself to my siblings’ bullshit on purpose, knowing what I was walking into, counting the cost and finding it worth the price. But it took it’s toll on me. I see that now: the mess of mourning, regret, sorrow, and then the added blame and guilt and anger.

And the deepest sorrow sits in me because I long for what we could have been. We could have been a family that supports each other. I’ve met them now; they’re out there. We could have been a family that stays close, despite geographical distances. Somehow writing to my uncle is more important to my siblings than responding to a message from me, tho I don’t know why and I gave up trying years ago. …I can imagine how we could have been stronger together. Instead, we tore each other apart.

For my part…I’m still too angry. Still too willing to whip out the big guns in my head to use against these two people. To my sister, with a cool disdainful look: Tell me, are you still taking it up the ass or has your boyfriend managed to find your vagina? To my brother, with a sneer: So tell me, how much of your thinking brain did they actually scoop out with that tumor?

That is not someone willing to forgive and forget.

But maybe that’s the difference between us. My siblings do an awful lot to help them forget.

I want to remember.

Beginnings

Beginnings are tough. The first word on a page. The first day of a new job. Seems just about everything in life turns into a metaphoric pair of shoes: you gotta wear ’em in a bit and get used to them. And until you do, you’re a bit uncomfortable. A little too aware of where they are rubbing at your heel or pinching your toes. Hopefully the shoes give a bit with time, and the heel rubbing and toe pinching stops. Meanwhile, you hang in there with that new pair because you just bought them, or they look good, or you so want them to work for you.

My metaphoric new shoes were my return to the gym. I found it tough just walking thru the door because it’s been too long. Kept to the exercise bike and treadmill. Too long = I’m weak as shit, so no big push until I can do the bike and the treadmill without sweating. No weights, either, until I know my wrist won’t start hurting again (this is the third day without pain, and I’m just enjoying it). Felt good to stretch out and use my muscles. But now I’m telling myself how I need to go and do it again and… Ugh. Again? And again and again and again? Is there no end?

…You were expecting an end?

That’s the topper, isn’t it? We live in a false world full of ends. Stories end, films end, days end, years end… But that’s not true. The story continues, the film could go on, and we live in an unending time continuum. It would be better just to say ‘here’s where the story stops’ or ‘here’s where this day becomes the next’. ‘End’ is a misnomer.

We have come to expect ends. An end to life, an end to pain… We tend to call the culmination of our dreams ‘the end’, although it’s really just another beginning. Dieters dream of their restricted meals ending, schoolchildren long for the end of the school year. Focusing on ends pushes our vision into the past: the end of an era, the end of ‘the good old days’, etc. We want to wrap things up in tight bundles: here it is; finite and complete. Take a picture, and bemoan about your memories for the rest of time.

This behavior blinds us to the continuity surrounding us. To the flow. To seeing how one thing leads to another, then another.

Too many people seem to be asking ‘how did we get here?’ when the answer seems obvious to me. Stop viewing time as frozen bits of truth. The past does not contain our truth. It only contains the seed of what we are now, and if you’re blind to that you’ll never recognize it even if it bites you on the nose.

Look to the past to discover who you are. Look to the future to find who you can be.

I have looked to my past. Kept my eyes inwards, downwards, searching, asking. I can’t bemoan any of that right now. It’s served me well in many instances, and made me a better person.

But now I look up. Literally. Used to walk down the street looking down, watching where I put my foot so I didn’t trip or turn an ankle. Now I look at the sky and trees. It’s amazing what I see when I stop looking at the ground. I forgot the world held so much color and variety.

Often I’ve been called a ‘starter’ rather than a ‘finisher’. I can finish projects – make no mistake about that. But I’ve started more than I’ve finished. In the past, that’s been used against me. Shamed me. This morning I can only see my behavior as evidence of my underlying optimism. I kept starting. Kept trying to reset. Toss away the shame of ‘not finishing’ and see what you were really doing: continual movement, continual attempts to change things in positive manners. Me grasping for me. Oh, little girl! You did so well! You just never gave up, no matter what. You hated yourself, you hated life, you didn’t understand so much, but you just kept at it. … Now, that’s a solid feeling. One that doesn’t flutter in briefly and leave me the next moment. It is deep and heavy, yet light…

I have allowed so much shame to cover me in the hopes that it would bring me love. I let myself be used physically, like a bag of garbage. I let myself be lied about, let the worst be thought about me, without one word of defense. I let others’ judgements rule me: how I should act, what I should want, how I should look or be.

…I suppose in my world, being yelled at for this or that was the only attention I really received. Being good never got it. I was never good enough to be praised for being good, only told I could never be the best, the prettiest, the most talented because there would always be someone better than me. Getting yelled at, though… Now, that I excelled at. I was the worst ever. The most base slut on the planet, the worst drug addict, the biggest liar, the most horrible thief, the worst person you could ever know.

It seems I could be the best at something, then.

…Yikes. That’s a hard one to swallow. Years of bad behavior in a textbook case of an unloved and unwanted child seeking attention.

That’s my seed from the past. It grew me into who I am today. But who I am today, when I step outside the door, is totally up to me. I can go out there loaded for bear, ready to take issue with everyone and everything.

Or I can take my seed and go out with gentle patience and understanding. Knowing my seed can’t grow under certain conditions. It’s part of what it is.

My new beginning.

High Noon

3:15. Some people feel noon is the day’s midpoint. I disagree. Midpoint sits at 3:15 (afternoon or early morning, doesn’t matter; it’s always midpoint of the day or night). I think it’s because of all those years of waking up precisely at 3:15 a.m. What was it? 10 years? More? As a kid, I was convinced it was because 3:15 a.m. would be my time of death. I still could be right.

Today’s 3:15 is p.m., which rarely gives me the kind of problem that its a.m. partner does. However, this 3:15 revolves around my appointment with Dr. T. I would prefer to see him in the morning. I prefer to do most everything in the mornings; my head is clearer and I’m far less tired. But I’ll deal. The day promises to be warm and pleasant, so I plan on taking my time and walking over there. I’d like to shower before I go, but alas! That decision lies on whether or not the building has hot water more than my mood.

Culled thru my own writing, made notes. Sleep issues, sweaty hands, upset tummy, performances, ups and downs. I’m clear, and won’t make the mistake of saying everything’s okay just because I slept decently last night or the majority of my immediate stressors are done with for now. I do that. How are you? I answer in the moment: Fine. Okay. Well. The better question would be: How have you been since I last saw you? That would prompt the correct response in me. But if I nitpick over such things, I’m told I’m being too literal. I’ve learned, through time, to just jump ahead and interpret what people say to me rather than listen to their actual words. But then that gets me into trouble, too. I didn’t mean that or You’re twisting my meaning is said, and once again I am wrong. Why am I the problem here? Aren’t I responding correctly, and it’s all you poor communicators who are lacking in this situation?

Geez Louise!

My bro had band practice last night, so I was left alone for the evening. Ran DVDs on the tv and watched YouTube vids at the same time. Had to; doing only one of those two things wasn’t enough to keep me settled. Both at the same time kept me occupied. Slowed myself down enough to go and read for an hour before sleep.

Mild headaches lately, but it’s Spring. Allergy season. I’m not shocked nor surprised. And my head’s been stuffed up.

I’ve given up on trying to control my food habits. I used to be very regimented: oatmeal every day, right after or with my coffee. Felt pretty self-righteous about that, knowing the health benefits. Now…I haven’t had oatmeal for months. Can’t stand the stuff. Even thinking about it makes my stomach clench. And I find I do not want breakfast food for breakfast. My body craves savory food first thing. I’ve taken to eating rice and Greek tomato sauce with feta and olives. It’s so much better on my stomach! Everything about it is better for me right now. It isn’t ’til around 8 p.m. that I crave breakfast cereal. Then I have a big bowl, watching tv, crunching away and drinking up the excess milk. Cannot get my dad out of my head, who noted this food behavior in me as a young woman (I did it throughout my 20s, flipping around breakfast and dinner meals). He, of course, complained about it. I’m just going with it, and the father in my head be damned. It is my control, my freedom, my body – and this is what it wants. My body knows what it needs; the first time I came down with shingles, I craved licorice – a natural healer.

…Not sure if the last few weeks have been a good test ground for this medication. I’ve had lots of excitement. Been wound up over the good things that have happened. On the other hand, it’s the good things that get me into trouble. I’m used to being dumped on. I’m used to hating myself. I’m used to all that negativity. I know how to handle it. Be nice to me, give me a compliment, and watch me fritz out. It’s my weakness, and it’s what I need to work on. So maybe, all in all, it’s not a bad thing. Here it is, and this is small! I’ll be in up mode all year long with the production. Yep. This is it, Dr. T. And I’m doing everything I can to keep a lid on it. Sleep problems. Sweaty hands. Headaches. Strung out feelings. Weird dreams. Anger. Circular, repetitive thoughts. Grandiose ideas. It’s all there, under wraps. I learned long ago to not talk about these things. I was cut to the carpet every time I did: you’re being overly dramatic, everyone feels like that, just stop thinking about it, you’re lying, you’re crazy, you have no idea what you’re talking about, you think you’re so special but you’re not! Now, that’s a list I should translate and give to Dr. T. Title it Things my Family Told Me.

*sigh* So much of what I’d like to say I can’t. My Dutch isn’t there, and I can only look up so much ahead of time.

I’m apprehensive about today. Nervous. Nervous about being misunderstood. Nervous about misunderstanding. Fuck. Not helping.

Fine. Walk in there with a page of translated material from Google. Hand it to him. Tell him my brain isn’t working well, and Dutch is difficult for me right now. Give him the physical notes. Make it as easy on myself to communicate what I feel I must.

For the world, it will just be ‘afternoon’.

For me: high noon.

How woke is that?

Yeah, I’m woke.

Oh. …So you wake up crying over all the children dying in war, all the women raped and shamed, all the injustice in the world, every morning?

…Ah…no. No, I don’t.

Then you ain’t woke.

It’s become the fad du jour to post environmental and cultural memes. Oh, look! I’m aware of this bad thing; ain’t I great. I’m here to tell every single one of you that those problems you’re all so up in arms about were the same fucking things I was screaming about when I was 20. Nothing’s changed. This isn’t new. Don’t fucking act like it is, or that you’re so fucking much better than my generation because you can generate a fucking MEME to tell the world how fucking ‘woke’ you are.

You think you be woke while you sit in your castle giving interviews over your success? Oh, yes, well…I live in a gated community, naturally, and my children attend private school because they couldn’t go to public school, but I’m woke. I know about the problems. I recycle.

Go fucking kill yourself.

… … …

I am up early so I don’t think. My hands stopped sweating yesterday, eventually. Talked to my bro, asked for some support and advice on the school issue. His mania has always been over the top, something no one could ignore, while what I do…I hide it. Sit on it. Clamp down hard on myself to make myself stop. I do that so well, most people never even notice. He’s always seen the signs, and given me what help and advice I was willing to take. I laid it out for him; the strung out feeling, the sweaty hands, the inability to focus. Even when I’m in crisis, my brother tries to teach me. He said: Well, it sounds like hypomania or hyperactivity to me. And let’s face it; you’ve had more social contact this weekend than you generally get all year ’round. You’ve been keyed up for days. But, you’ve got to decide for yourself. You know if you can’t go. I told him I didn’t feel like I was going to snap. I just felt a bit tired and out of it. He laughed. But you know it’s when you’re tired that you snap the easiest… I thanked him. I just needed someone else saying ‘yeah, it seems like you’re hyper and it’s probably a good idea for you to stay home and chill’. Still feel a bit guilty over skiving off. Back to solitaire and DVDs: mindless droning, allowing my head to rest. By evening I could sit in my chair without fidgeting too much. Headed off to bed around the normal time and managed to read through (albeit a little poorly) 20 pages in my book.

…*sigh* I don’t want my subconscious to work on my family issues any more. I know it’s happening while I sleep, which is why I think of those same issues first thing upon waking. It’s those repetitive cycles that push me up out of bed. I do not want to rehash. I want to live. Why won’t my head let me live? My subconscious obviously has power over my conscious mind. Can’t the reverse be true? Can’t I tell myself “enough is enough” and just move on?

Good Goddess, I’m sounding like my family!

Confront it. Okay.

Felt the sting of poverty on Sunday as my friend paid for our lemonades. Silly, really, right? But I felt it. Felt the difference in our clothing, in the way she groomed herself. I looked shaggy, as usual. A bit too unkempt. This is a thing. I am ashamed of being poor. Ashamed of obviously not taking care of myself. Part of me feels like that’s just peer and social pressure; fuck it. The other part of me sees how I must look to others: the hair that’s always a bit frizzy and unkempt, the clothes that are very casual and un-ironed. Maybe I could get away with spending next to no time on myself when I was 20, but that’s no longer the case.

Oh, fuck. This is a ‘it’s one of those things you should have learned when you were ten’ thing, right? I had the same thing happen when I hit Uni for the first time: I found out I never learned how to learn. Never had to study, never had to try at school. Ever. So I was totally unprepared to handle Uni, with it’s heavy reading and work schedule. …I used to be… I won’t say beautiful, but I didn’t need to do much. Didn’t need to spend hours on my hair; it just fell in place naturally. Didn’t need to use much make-up. Didn’t even need to think too hard about style. I just put together what I wanted to wear, and it looked good because…well, youth can carry off a lot. None of that is true anymore. I need to learn how to groom myself in the manner other people have done all their lives.

Shit.

What a drag.

…Don’t know that I can. I try, once in a while. Do my cuticles. Try to get my hair to behave. Darken my eyebrows a bit. To make it a regular thing, or something more regular than I do now… You know I don’t think it’s worth it. I’m not looking for anything. Why would I send out any signals? I’ve been misconstrued before, and let me tell you: there’s nothing less comfortable. Don’t look at me like that. That option isn’t on the table.

I’d do so much better in the world if everyone were blind.

…But then, I suspect a lot of people might say that.

There’s the solution. Everyone voluntarily poke their own eyes out. No more war, because no one could aim a weapon. No more judgements based on what you look like or your skin color or the clothes you wear.

Now, how woke is that?

The mask is off

No one wanted to say jack shit to me while I worked on my thrillers. It was all head nods and vacant looks when I discussed it. *sigh* But bring up the suggestion of working on a comedy, and see how many people have to chime in on it. My brother is particularly enthused. He enjoys my weird sense of humor. I sat through at least a half hour of comedic discussion yesterday, pointing out differences between work-place comedies and family comedies.

Ach! A comedy has been in the plans for years now. You’ll notice it’s still on that back burner in my brain because I haven’t written anything. It’s not that I can’t write comedy; I think I can. I just can’t decide on the motives of the characters. Loads of funny things happen up in my brain, I just don’t know the why behind it.

Wish I would not have said anything. Now I’ll get questions. Other suggestions. I’m not there yet.

Got to the gym yesterday. Kept it light; only 15 minutes on the cross trainer. Part of that was I’ve been out of training for too long. The other part of it was I dyin’. Gasping for air, burning muscles. Thought about powering thru half an hour. Kicking myself up into overdrive. Then that sweet part of me (who’s getting stronger) spoke up and reminded me I’ve only two days ’til Amsterdam, and I really don’t want to hurt myself. I backed off, without reluctance. Walked the rest of my time out.

Mentioned wanting to get my hair done to my bro. He said, ‘Good! And if you need more money in your account, just tell me.’ Thank you, Universe, for his understanding and support.

My brain’s been operating on a different level lately. It’s like a bunch of clutter got swept out of the way: I have a clearer line of vision on the entire world. For the first time in my life, I’m recognizing my brother’s depression. Recognizing how he might feel just as thankful for my company as I do for his. I’ve always felt he was the rock when things got bad. I fall apart, he stays steady. But lately I’ve been noticing other things. How we never seem to run out of things to say to each other. Never run out of things to share. Even his reluctance to take part in the housework has taken on a new look for me. I see how he doesn’t care enough about himself to keep the house clean, but when I do it, it helps his mood. It’s a weird sensation. Not exactly self-congratulatory, but… I see a different value in myself. A value not based on how much money I earn, or how ‘strong’ I am. It’s a value on the lowest level – the foundation of humanity: he just likes having me around. I make his life a little less lonely. I make his life a little cleaner, a little better. I support him, as he supports me.

…Okay. That’s a statement I want to run away from. Move on, distract. …I guess…maybe… Maybe it was just easier at some point when I was a kid to believe that I was wrong or bad rather than everyone around me being such a shit. They kept saying they loved me. But their ‘love’ hurt. And they told me I was wrong to feel that way. Told me I was wrong to do what I did, think the way I thought. It was a perfect circle. That was the manacle that kept me chained for so very long.

So…if I can be a great support to someone, if I can give comfort to anyone just by being, I can’t be too far off the mark, can I? Here’s my proof: I am not the shit my family made me believe I was.

…This is what I’m talking about. That total deconstruction of everything I once thought.

These truths, these proofs were always right there in front of my nose. Always. People have pointed them out to me, from time to time. I just didn’t see them. It was like I’d put up one of those computer masks, or used a green screen technique: the parking lot was replaced by a high and lonely cliff, surrounded by blood-thirsty monsters. Now, I see the parking lot. I notice those ‘monsters’ are just puppets on sticks. And I’m beginning to meet the eyes of those people who stop and smile at me.

The mask is off.

Who I could be

Negative. The celiac test was negative. On one hand, that’s great. Pizza is still on the menu. On the other hand… Well. Still have more tests to do.

Got down to it. Ran thru the trilogy, made the changes. Opened up the lighting and sound notes, finished them off. Left checking all the page references ’til later. Brainstormed videos, made notes on what I think would work for the director. Ran my lines for Saturday.

Trying to break my inevitable early morning grousing about people who are related to me via DNA. It keeps coming up, and I keep reminding myself it’s not worth it. Not worth another round of circular, angry thoughts. They’ve been proven to be assholes. They’ve been proven to be abusive. I understand where they’re stuck, and why they can’t move out of their patterns.

Have been assuring myself they don’t waste time thinking of me. I’ve been reluctant to own up to being “the writer” in full – at least, out in the real world. Concerned that at some point down the road the family will come at me again. For so long, all I wanted was to disappear. Fall off their radar, escape their derisive notice. Now, I’m feeling like I want to stand up and take the acknowledgement I’ve earned. The people I’m worried about…they barely read much less go to plays. They’ll never find out. I can have my life, do what I want, without fear of any repercussions in the future.

I guess I’m finally feeling safe, and a bit stable.

Or maybe I’m just clawing my way out that hamster wheel.

Thank you, medication. It does not banish my repetitive thoughts, but it does make it a hell of a lot easier to say ‘fu-u-u-u-uck you!’ to them. I can shift my brain so much easier into forward, happier thoughts. Calming thoughts. Hopeful thoughts.

Sleep is getting easier and better. Still have occasional sweaty hands, but that seems to be pulling back, too. Good appetite. No headaches to speak of.

Still not back to the gym. I’m too feline at the moment, stretched out head to foot, completely relaxed, completely at ease. It’s a kind of rich relaxation I rarely experience, and honestly, I don’t want to jinx it. As long as things are good, just chill.

That’s a good reminder to myself to take control. I’ve got such a thing about those words. ‘Taking control’ is very negative to me, so I guess in some ways I avoid it. Especially of late. But…there’s been no news allowed on the tv for two days now. No commercial tv, actually. I’m running DVD series I own (at the moment, Black Adder). Gods, commercial tv is fucking annoying. We tend to just put up with it; I advise against that. Invest in good entertainment and shut that shit out. No annoying jingles. No nagging about all that stuff you can’t afford. No ‘you’re not cool unless you do/own this’. If you really want to see something on broadcast tv, record it. Nothing more gratifying than fast forwarding through that hated advertisement.

Gah, people are such sheep!

You know… I used to think sheep were cute. That was when my personal experience with sheep consisted of looking at fluffy caricatures of the actual animal. My time in Ireland taught me different: sheep are stupid, smelly, and damned annoying. They respect no fences. Adhere to no boundaries. Shit everywhere. Eat everything. They move in mindless mobs, and startle at the slightest provocation.

I no longer think sheep are ‘cute’.

Hm. Now, is that my statement on sheep or people? Hard to say. It fits both so well. But I’m not in the mood for deep delving into my psyche. Feels like I’ve done too much of that.

So, silly stuff. Comedies. Games. Simple food, regardless of the test. A bit of work, a lot of play.

The world is coming into focus. Balance. Calm. Work. Hope. Simple tasks done every day. Simple things, small things that add up over time.

I’m beginning to see who I could be.

 

Calm before the storm

I am on holiday. From myself. I’m not letting myself bully myself. I’m not jumping on every job, working through the holiday weekend. Telling myself everyone else is taking several days off; I can, too.

It’s weird. And slightly unsettling. Can’t entirely rid myself of that guilty feeling every time I pass the script on the table, or my homework, or see a dust bunny in a corner. The only thing I can’t take time off is thinking about my role in the upcoming production, but that’s well underway. I snort-laughed last night while watching tv; that’s Wendy, not me.

…Felt a bit nostalgic, as you do during holidays. Pulled up my oldest brother’s LinkedIn profile. Never took a look at it before, and I should have. His work history is nothing to crow about: a long line of employers, most jobs held for just over a year. Honestly, it made me feel better about myself. Here I’ve been allowing him to shame me through the decades over my choices, and his personal history is shit. Puts a new spin on it.

Been thinking, too, about being poor. Usually it’s not something I ponder much. Plenty of things I want to do but can’t afford; that’s life. But lately it’s been more in my face. Obvious differences I’m seeing between myself and others. That’s harder to take, especially when those same people turn to me and expect me to be able to cough up cash like they do. Or worse, when they pussy-foot around things because they know I don’t have the money.

Hm. I’d spend more if I had more. No doubt. But I find I’m not very materialistic. I’m not a fashion plate. Don’t need a closet full of clothes, don’t need 20 pairs of shoes, don’t need make-up. Too tired most times to go out at night, so no clubs or bars on the list. And I’m far more a peasant food lover than top shelf: give me a great rice dish and I’ll be much happier than serving me lobster. I’m not a great traveller, and my health has just made that more pronounced. All in all, I’m okay with hanging around the house in my sweat pants eating well prepared meals that cost less than three euro total.

I accepted a while ago that I live in my head. And I think if I had more trappings of modern life, I wouldn’t do that so much. I’d allow myself to become distracted. It’s happened before in my history. Then I go through long spells of not writing. Not creating. Feeling, but not knowing why. It’s never been comfortable for me. In fact, it’s always driven me so far that I’ve had to take time off because I break down emotionally and/or physically.

One thing age brings is a strong sense of what’s right for you. Although a part of me would love a penthouse apartment with beautiful furniture and fascinating paintings all done up in a stylized, modern look, I don’t think I’d be able to create in it. Nice to visit, like a hotel. Walk in and stay a day or two. But I need my mouse hole to create: eclectic, slightly too busy, a little disheveled, and very lived in. Make everything feng shui and zen and I’ll just go with it. But give me clashing motifs and bright colors, and I’ll create.

I suppose that would be my ideal: two homes. One the perfect zen, a place I could return to evenings and during my time off to kick back and chill out entirely; the other my mouse-hole, busy and bright and odd, for work mode. I’ve done the best I can with what I have, but when you live with a pack rat in a small space you can hardly achieve monk-like zen in any room. lol. And I know myself. I’d hardly spend any time at all in that zen room. My brother would have to lock me up in there, like it was a punishment: Go to your zen room! Now!

…I just made that into a zen room. Interesting. I’d been thinking I needed a zen living space, but I don’t. I just need a zen room. …So, what’s in that zen room? Carpet, for warmth and comfort. Pale walls with paintings and photos. Music. Plants. Bright light, big windows with curtains that can be pulled if needed but access to sunshine and lots of it. One comfortable couch, to lay or sit on as desired. Floor space, for yoga and contemplation and pacing.

*sigh* Sounds nice. At least I can construct it in my mind. Maybe that’ll help in visualizations.

Things to note: sleeping better. Longer. Feeling more and more like I’m healing physically, gaining strength. It’s…almost orgasmic. I eat and my body gains strength; I can feel it. Don’t really feel like challenging myself, so I’m sticking with walks around the neighborhood rather than going to the gym. Continually being amazed at how good ‘healthy’ feels. Really did not know how run down I’d become.

Controlling sights and sounds around me. Been burning through DVDs again, avoiding commercial content. Much better than sitting through hours of peddlers hyping their wares. I just sit at my computer, mindlessly playing solitaire while show after show plays. It is as if I’ve shut down on some level. Once in a while I try another game, something else, but… I keep returning to solitaire and eyeing the tv. This is a sign I’m working on something. That back burner is going and doesn’t want to be disturbed by frontal lobe thoughts. In fact, that back burner is singularly mysterious; usually I have a sense of what I’m working on. This time: Nadda. Niks. Rien. Nic. Zilch. I am as clueless as I’ve ever been.

And I’m letting that be okay. Regular me…she’d be upset. But I’m not regular me right now, I’m holiday me. If holiday me wants to spend her time zoning out, she can do that.

This is my calm before the storm.