Can’t just sit there

Sort yourself out, woman. Turn off the talking carrots and say something.

One day has blended into the next. The weather’s cooled off. Been getting some exercise by just walking, then (because the lift is still out) climbing up four flights of stairs. It’s starting to become less of a thing. Housework is always there for me: the dishes my bro just can’t seem to dry or put away, the bed, laundry, and chasing down dust bunnies.

Can’t seem to get anywhere with my writing. Tried several new story lines, wrote a bit, then fizzled out. Have to admit I’ve intimidated myself with the thriller. Worried that’s it, the best thing I’ll ever write. I know that’s silly. I know what I’m capable of. Still. I’m feeling it.

Worried about a lot of things. The EU is changing. The feel of this neighborhood is changing. Money is tight and getting tighter, plus we feel the pinch of needing to show real investment here – more money tied up that we can’t use for basics like rent or new clothes or just keeping our hair looking decent. My health doesn’t help. Doctors bills, hospital bills…I always feel guilty over how much it costs just to keep me alive.

Mentioned to my bro that I wondered if I’d qualify for an assistance from the government. He said to check it out. I don’t like the idea one bit, and I don’t know that it would really make me feel any better to take a hand out for not being able to do what a person my age should be able to do. On the other hand, even a hundred euro a month would make a great deal of difference to me. I’d feel like less of a burden on my bro. More of a burden on society, of course. But maybe with a little help we could keep our heads above water. Maybe with a little help my work will be able to thrive because we won’t be so damned tight every fucking minute.

And I am scarred from my time in Ireland. Every year we were threatened with our residency. Every year, we felt pressure. And although we supposedly were all okay and totally legal – which by law should have opened up a lot of options for us – we were told on the local level that any application for anything from the government would result in our getting kicked out. My bro’s been assuring me we’re no longer under that repressive (and quite possibly illegal) system. Still. Old habits die hard…

Fuck, fuck, fuck. You’re asking me to trust. I’m not good at that.

You’re also asking me to have enough self worth to stand up and say ‘Hey! I deserve a little help!’ That’s another thing I’m not good at.

…I’m not making any promises. Nope. Too much pressure either way. Just…leave it for now.

Other things…

A friend of mine has promised to take a look at a comic script I wrote 10 years ago. She’s a great artist, and I’m jazzed just over the possibility. Mentioned it to my bro, who said he’d be happy to get it printed up because he could insert an entire page to market his company and his music (which is absolutely true). He’s even got an in at the comic shop in town, and it’s an easy give away. I just think it’s a cool project to spend my time on.

Finished James and the Giant Peach and have moved onto some JK Rowling – The Tales of Beedle the Bard (in Dutch). Getting thru it, but it’s tough. Different language use. Dahl uses many of the same words book to book. It’s a great way to cement in the definitions in my head. Rowling has a different vocabulary. Plus I’m tussling my way thru the magic references. I mean…Dumbledore isn’t Dumbledore in Dutch. It’s Perkamentus. Have not figured out why yet. Might have to ask my teachers. I’m finding it less enjoyable than Dahl simply because I have to work hard on comprehending so much of it. Trying to just get thru it without using my dictionary too often.

Have to hit my Dutch homework today, too. Geen zin, as the Dutch say (no interest). *sigh*

Keep wondering if or when I’ll start an upswing. That semi-maniacal interest in things. That doggedness, that keeps me working for 12 hours at a time. It’s late this year. Is that my medication working? Not sure I’m pleased it’s taken the one thing out of my condition that I really enjoy.

Moved into summer foods. You know how it is…the windows are open, the neighbors are grilling…it’s hard not to do. Have finally managed to put together the Dutch version of a BLT. Took a while; bacon really isn’t a thing here, and I had to hunt for the right ingredients. It was worth the wait. I feel about BLT’s the way The Tick feels about BLT’s – it’s the best sandwich ever, but it’s GOT to be right. The Dutch version is so good it curls my toes in ecstasy. I might not eat anything else this summer.

Gotta get up and get going. Do fucking something. In the immortal words of Milo (Descendents): Can’t just sit there.

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I’m learning

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

I be the Queen of Second Guessing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m learning.

Drudge

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Stereo! The ringing in my ears is the same, both ears. That means I’m hearing the right as much as the left. Improvement? A few times over the last couple of days, everything in my head has sloshed from one side to the other. I can feel the pressure changes. Another improvement?

Wow, a few more of these “improvements” and I might feel as sick as I probably am.

Got my butt back to working on Dutch. What a slog! Ugh, erk, and sigh. Can’t say I’m at 100% correct response rate, either. Still making enough mistakes to feel like I’m not quite getting it. But I figure if I manage to do a page of work every day, something will sink in.

Exercise. Went to the pool, paddled around all the people not drowning, avoided the children (who were brought into the deep end for some reason)…. Ended up swimming the short way across the pool to bypass all the nonsense. Felt like I took three strokes and turned, three strokes and turned again – the whole time. Unhappy because my brother made a half-joke the other day about not being able to afford my gym membership (a whopping €14 each month) if I can’t use the facilities. Makes me feel like I must go and workout, whether or not I think I’m ready for it. Pissed off because for some reason we can afford take out a couple of times a month, but now my gym membership is in danger because I haven’t gone for 4 weeks.

Really, really unhappy to have no source of income for myself.

Been writing often. Close to the end of the first act in the play I’m working on. Not sure if I should end it and let it be a one-act thing or not. I could. But there’s also room for expansion. Think I’ll give it a read today and let my head ponder it. Naturally, I took a look for theatres seeking one act plays and naturally, I couldn’t find one.

Gods, I feel useless.

R supposedly thought my theatre workshop idea a good one, but I haven’t heard from him, so I don’t know if anything is gonna happen or not. The theatre group I’m waiting on is still dragging their feet; this makes 4 weeks since the last meeting, and over a week since they posted on FB that auditions were coming soon.

Feel like a drudge. I get up, do the housework (never thanked for any of it). I find various ways within these four walls to amuse myself so I’m not out using up the money on my OV-chipcard and I’m not out throwing money away on cups of coffee or useless items we really don’t need for the house. And still, the little cash I’m given to use each month gets chiseled away. Somehow it’s perfectly fine for my bro to buy things, but if I do I get a lecture about how there’s no money for anything. I feel guilty over my medical expenses, and try to save enough change from my allowance to cover what I can. I don’t feel I deserve any pleasure or fun, just work, work, work, ’til I drop over dead.

The sunshine outside my window doesn’t help. It feels like one more thing I can’t enjoy, or shouldn’t enjoy. Close the drapes; there’s work to be done. Don’t look at anyone; you’re not good enough to gaze directly into the eyes of people who actually work for a living. Don’t complain; you’re lucky to just have a roof over your head.

Drudge.

Day 3: 3 Day Quote Challenge

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Thanks to socialworkerangela from iammyownisland.wordpress.com for nominating me. I’m not big on nominations, but a few of you may get a note from me to spur you on to take the challenge. Just a warning.

In light of the recent Brexit upheaval, I searched for and found an applicable quote: “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” Mark Twain

Statistics is – or was, when I went – an entire field of study at University level. It’s the flash dance of mathematics; the trashy and showy bit that will whore itself out to anyone willing to crunch the numbers. The same batch of numbers can be used by both sides to try to drive home a point.

Let’s take a very simplistic form of this beast. A sample group of 10 people, 5 men and 5 women. The question is irrelevant; we will only deal with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses. Two men say yes, three say no. Four women say yes, one no. There’s all sorts of statistics you can get out of this basic scenario. In all, 6 out of the 10 say yes. They like it, they’re for it – whatever. That’s a rate of 60%. But what happens when we begin to pick apart our sample group? Now that’s where it gets interesting. Rather than saying 60% are positive and 40% negative, you could make the any of the following claims:

  • Only 40% of men say yes (2 out of 5)
  • 60% of men say no (3 out of 5)
  • 20% of women say no (1 out of 5)
  • 80% of women say yes (4 out of 5)

While overall this simple survey shows a positive view, if you push the fact that 60% of polled men say no, it comes off sounding negative. And this is just using one variable – sex. If you add in age, race, religion, education level, income level, housing area, or a thousand other factors you can get many, many more numbers out of it. You can, in fact, search for a subgroup among your sampled people to make your stats say anything, back up any claim. You can make it seem like everyone is against, or everyone is for this thing.

Here’s a tip-off. These days, when stats are quoted from polling, fine print needs to be run across the screen telling you how many people actually make up the sample group. Be wary of small numbered groups – they can easily be targeted by taking the polls in wealthy or poor neighborhoods to skew them one way or another. Be wary, too, of sample groups with odd numbers of people in them. If you see a sample group of 171, ask yourself why 171 people rather than 200 or 150. Odd numbered groups are often formed at the last minute by seeking out responses pollsters want to hear. In other words, if they want to show a positive result, they’ll go to places and ask people most likely to give them that result. And they’ll keep asking until their sample group is large enough to negate any answers contrary to the result they want to show.

It’s a scam.

Unfortunately, that level of mathematical manipulation does not stop at polling stations. It just keeps going. At the risk of setting off any and all financiers, I’ll say the following: everything you ever heard about the stock market is nothing but mathematical manipulation. A scam. A lie.

Good goddess, did the earth just open up and swallow me? Nope. Still here.

Let’s talk stock prices, shall we? There’s the P/E ratio, the EPS, the P/S ratio, and the PEG rate (don’t worry; we’re not going to do any maths). If any or all of that sounds like mumbo jumbo to you, you’re not alone. The problem is – and this was a problem back in the stone age, when I went to school for this shit – is that before beginning any of these ‘calculations’, financiers BEGIN by manipulating the financial data given them by accountants. Certain items counted for financial purposes are removed from companies’ numbers prior to calculating the information that’s used on the stock market. If you’re sitting there asking why, I was right there with you. It doesn’t make sense. The financials of a company are based on legal and tax law. They show the information of a company in a certain manner and for a certain reason. Yet the financial sector tosses those numbers out the window when valuing stock.

This is why I say the stock market is nothing but a big gambling table. It’s Vegas on a world wide level, playing with companies and people’s lives.

The idea of the stock market is a rather good one. It allows companies to raise needed cash for investment. But, as with many good ideas, the reality of the way it’s played out has been rather hellish. Once ON the stock market, companies are under pressure to produce financial numbers that look a certain way. Investors want dividends from their investments. Management bonuses are tied to year end numbers. This leads to behavior like mass firings near Christmas time in order to make the last numbers for the year look good. It encourages the unscrupulous movement of money from one sector to another, or from one shell company to another, to avoid tax.

None of this is illegal.

I know this subject matter is as dry as the Mohave desert. I also know that as soon as the ‘experts’ are called in and start to use language exclusive to the financial sector most people kind of tune out. But it’s one of the most important things facing the modern world. Deregulation has led to complete fucking chaos. We need to reign them in.

And do not believe anyone who says this current financial upheaval is a ‘good’ thing. The only reason anyone would say that is because they’re personally reaping the financial benefits bought at the expense of the working man’s back. We haven’t seen yet the full backlash from the Brexit vote. We’ll see what England says once people start to really lose their jobs.

As for me, I vote for tighter regulation in the financial sector. I vote for high restrictions and even higher fines for breaking the law. Because it isn’t their money they’re playing with, it’s YOUR money. It’s YOUR job. It’s YOUR home, YOUR education, YOUR health care.

Besides, 100% of the people we polled think all statistics should be done away with. [Sample group: 100% of people writing this blog.]

Prove Me Wrong

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Pretty fuckin’ hard to deal when you open up your email, see 113 messages, and only 2 end up actually being for you. The rest is all notifications: you missed this, don’t forget that, check over here, loads of activity there.

Yeah, well fuck you too, world.

My mood continues to be in the fucking toilet and you’re not fucking helping.

The only thing that helps is smoking and Ativan, two no-nos. Or probably both are no-nos; why should anyone want me to have relief from my fucking pain? Isn’t that the fucking point of life: pain? Oh, fuck you. Come over here and deal from MY fucking shoes. I don’t tell you to put down that ice cream or stop drinking every fucking night or cease fucking your partner because ALL OF THAT can be used as avoidance methods and MOST people DO use them to avoid – yet that’s fine. Oh. So I should become an ice cream eating, scotch drinking, fucking machine and all will be well? I believe I’ve said this before, but if you haven’t caught it yet: FUUUUUUUUUCK YOOOOOOOOU!

“You just need to get laid”, “Sex is such a great natural stress reliever”, “Eating ice cream doesn’t compare to your smoking a joint”, “I only drink to be social” – Go on, motherfuckers. Throw a few more inane statements my way. I fucking need some batting practice. Let me just line up here and – BOOM! Gee, your head makes a great fucking baseball. Let’s do that again. BASH. I’m feeling better, are you? BOP. Why don’t you have any more witty things to say to me?

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Oh, I see. The silent treatment. I’ve got that before. Know what? I talk to myself all the fucking time. Silent treatments don’t scare me or irritate me, they give me a chance to finally say everything on my fucking mind. Hope you’re not one of those pansy assed mothers who can’t stand to hear the word ‘fuck’, because fuck is said a fucking lot. And even if you are, I really don’t give a fuck.

To myself: I know we’re angry to prevent us from being sad. I get that. Thank you. Thank you for doing everything we can to prevent depression again. Thank you for protecting us. Thank you for standing up for us. I’m not even gonna suggest anything different, ’cause we’re doing the best we can right now.

😡😠😟😞😢😖😭

I’m still thankful for this blog. It really does sort out of my head before the day begins. Even if I’m in a shit mood, I can now COMMUNICATE that clearly to the only person in my life who matters – my bro. Much less friction in the house. Much less second hand blame thrown around. I’ll take it. I’ll take that one positive point – can’t think of any other right now.

My bro used my list of things to do as target practice yesterday. He saw I was pressuring myself and feeling like that turd stuck on your shoe, so he held up my list and gave me all the reasons why none of it was important. In the end, only two things remained: buy my lotto card and go and see George. I was really hoping for some ducky medicine, some disaster proof good feeling to brighten my day.

George is gone. I think a new group of ducks – clutch of ducks? what do you call a bunch of ducks? – has moved in. And I think – I THINK – that George and his buddies moved one canal over. He’s easy to spot; he’s a small mallard, smaller than usual. And then there’s his bag of tricks: no other duck does what he does. On my way home I noticed a small mallard swimming in another canal, so I’m hoping it’s him. Bad weather has closed in again this morning. Rotterdam is getting battered with it. I’ll wait for the next break in the weather and go out to see. I really hope it’s him. Kind of silly to miss a wild animal so much. But I do. I miss George.

My leg is still sore from the cramp I experienced in the pool on Thursday. That was a bad motherfucker of a cramp. Trying to ease it out, lots of massage and gentle stretches. Really feel like I got a valuable lesson on too much swimming. Well, I was asking for it. I gotta start to think more carefully about what I ask from the Universe. It has a funny way of giving me precisely what I ask for in an unexpected manner.

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Let’s see…Universe, I’d really like to know about the problems of having too much money. ‘Cause I don’t think there really ARE any problems connected to having too much money. All I can foresee would be easing of my stress. I wouldn’t need to worry about my ability to financially take care of myself. When the apartment gets to feeling too small I can take a holiday somewhere. I could fly to London and Paris and Berlin. I could seek out other artists and people I want to work with. I could get a group of workers in to hang up the rest of the shelves we need here and move stuff around so we don’t hurt ourselves. See? There’s no down side to it.

Prove me wrong.

Lotto draw tonight. I’m ready for lightening to strike.

Barking Mad

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It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new 5:30 a.m. to get up and face. WTF? I thought for SURE I’d sleep for at least 8 hours. C’mon! My body feels like dead weight I’m shifting around it’s so goddamn tired. No 8 hours shut-eye? No?

Mega mega mega. Mega mania? Naw, had it worse. Just antsy. Terribly antsy. My MIND wants to get up and pace; my BODY can’t leave the chair (or bed; it was just the bed, now it’s the chair. Take your pick). These are the days I wish I was still in a 20 something body. Blow through it and STILL go out tonight.

Yesterday should be encapsulated in one of those snow globes for me. It was a damn nice day, in every sense of the word. The temp hit a comfortable 18C, the sun was shining, George was happy to see me, and my bro suggested Indian takeaway as a dinner treat (YUM!). Funny side note – my bro suggested take away ‘because the phone call came in’; I was flexing my muscles and going ‘hell yeah! hard swim – I deserve a treat’. Funny how we chose what seemed most important to each of us.

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My Goddess, the world is spinning and THIS time, it seems, the spin might actually work in my favor. I’ve gotta spew some rainbows here – apologies, but the penny’s been showing face up lately, not face down. Got notice that half the debt to my uncle is now paid back; the wire transfer went through and he got the cash without a hiccup. It was supposed to be a six month loan, which became a year long loan, which is now stuttered out into next year so we can get past the holidays without resorting to selling matches on the street corner. It’s a huge weight on my conscience, so to pull half of it off my back in one go is a BIG relief. Speaking of weight – no, I haven’t been scale hopping – I’ve lost some. Been feeling like that whale of a stomach has been a bit smaller, so I measured last night before passing out with exhaustion. I’ve lost 7 centimeters on my stomach (that’s about 2- 2 1/2 inches). It’s no longer a whale, just a Michelin tyre. Yippee! Did not measure my hips because I didn’t want to spoil the news by finding out my hips haven’t lost anything yet…probably not the case, but I didn’t want to take the chance. My Dutch is progressing; I now watch Sesame Street and every once in a while an entire sentence pops out. It’s kind of: yadda yadda yadda Hello my name is Anna. How are you? yadda yadda. My brain is learning, even if I feel stoopid.

So let’s talk about the phone call ’cause I’ve noticed how for a couple of days in a row I’m just mentioning this whole counseling thing and then blowing right past it. Seems I can dance quite well on the page, despite having two left feet in real life. …Fuck. Other assorted curse words. That’s what my head is saying; it don’t want to spill nuttin’ this morning. Tight lipped motherfucker.  I KNOW my anxiety is high right now; the whole hysterical laughter thing tells me that. Damned if I can access it. Must have shoved it right down the u-bend. Behind the anxiety over language, behind the financial anxiety and the body anxiety.

Okay. Blah got me to open up and spill my guts in a comment; that comment deserves to be written down here and admitted to: I self-hurt. I slap myself. I do all sorts of dancing on this subject: oh, I take it out in exercise, no I don’t really hurt myself on PURPOSE. Yeah. Right. The truth is I slap myself on the face. It happened the other day and I saw out of the corner of my eye the LOOK I got – horrified. Someone was fucking horrified that I slapped myself across the face. *shudder* I still don’t want to admit that’s self-hurt. I want to say I’m jogging my memory, or correcting a verbal glitch (I do it most often when I stumble over words). But I saw the look. Hello, my name is Beeps, and I self-harm…

My mind is made up. The docs and counselors may insist I stop toking while they try meds out on me. I’m freaking a bit with that, but I refuse to say ‘I’ve given up toking’. I’ll just be on a temporary hiatus. I love herb too much to chuck it all away. For fucks sake! I TRUST that toking will calm me, settle me down. I don’t trust anything else right now. I’m especially nervous of having to go all cold turkey around my bro. He doesn’t deserve ANY backlash that may come out of me. Really, docs! You want me to go through this; you should have to go through it with me. In the room, 24/7.

I’m borrowing trouble again. Not there yet. Calm the fuck down and smoke a bit!

Maybe this is why my brain has nothing to say about the phone call: I’m doing my best to (once again) have ZERO expectations. It’s just someone wanting to ask me some questions. Though I doubt they’ll be as fun to answer as Steph’s Qs in the Leibster Award. That was uber fun; she made me put on my creative fedora (I wear fedoras; they look uber cool on me). I’d answer stuff like that all day. Is there a job out there like that?

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On to real life. Classes are back in session. This week, for the first time, the schedule doesn’t intimidate me. If I can power swim for a full hour two days in a row and NOT fall asleep for an evening nap (having KICKED my 6 p.m. coffee habit), than I can do my classes. Time to stop questioning and absorb. Put on that dog face – the quizzical half turn of the head – when I don’t understand. Woof! Woof! I should probably walk around my entire life with that tilt of the head.

Does that make me barking mad? 😉

Be, and Breathe

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Back from the pool. I didn’t swim today, my shoulder hurts too much. I really fucked it. Tried a lap or two but just couldn’t. Ended up hanging onto the edge and just swinging my arm back and forth in the water to loosen it up. Yeesh. I guess I should be pleased on some level. I DID get more exercise than just sitting here on my ass all morning. Still. No big release from a good swim, either.

Well okay. I can grouse about shit today, no doubt. Seems there’s almost always something I can bee-yitch over. It’s not where I want my focus today.

Today’s words of wisdom: hope for the best, plan for the worst, and expect nothing. It’s the last bit I have problems with. I expect a lot. I expect the sun to rise, I expect to be able to get things done during my day, I expect to feel rested after sleeping. Those expectations, when not met, are what drive me crazy. So I’m trying to let them go. Just see what happens. Yeah, it’s another experiment. I do like to tinker with myself.

So far, I had and had to let go of my expectation to be able to swim today. Sort of sitting on the fence with this. Like I said, I got up and MOVED this morning. That’s one up from most mornings, so good for me. Okay, the shoulder is fucked. I kind of knew that. I can only sleep if I clamp it to my side and don’t let it slip one way or the other – rather uncomfortable, and it takes thought to keep it that way. Been laying off it for several days and the pain has lessened but it’s tight. Real tight. Very hard to get myself dressed. Shit, it’s hard to pull my pants up after I pee. That’s how bad it is. But I got it loose in the water. Maybe I didn’t burn 1000 calories, but I can move my arm without pain right now and that’s a step in the right direction. Good. I got something I didn’t think I’d get. My pain has lessened. Certainly if I’d held to my expectation to swim and pushed it, I’d be screaming about it right now.

There’s something positive. Hang onto that.

…Trying to pin down what I expect of myself today. A lot, and nothing. There’s a lot I’d like to tackle: dishes, laundry, cleaning, writing, studio work. There’s nothing I HAVE to tackle. That’s usually the way it is in my life; lots to do but none of it is do-or-die. It’s not as nice as it sounds. A lot of times I feel like nothing I do is worthwhile. Everything I work at is future orientated. I may or may not sell the story I pounded out. I may nor may not get sales from that song I’m working on. The only concrete, real work I feel like I do IS the housework. I can do the dishes or clean up the front room and SEE it – there it is, look at what I did, doesn’t it look nice? Doesn’t feel that way when you spend your time creating stuff that doesn’t have enough marketing money behind it to sell well.

And there’s the expectation. To make money, to sell what I do. That’s a nefarious thought. It’s difficult enough to pour hundreds of hours into something. To then feel like you’ve got to get some monetary reward for it…and in today’s market…No. Stop it right there, Beeps. Sorry, people, I gotta go into internal dialogue for a minute.

Are you telling me you’re only writing stories and making music to sell?

No, of course not. That shit would come out of me no matter what.

Then why do you expect money for it?

Well, the bills have to get paid somehow.

Yeah, but does the money have to come from your art?

No, obviously not, you moron. It hasn’t come from my art so fucking far.

Then why are you pressuring yourself?

Because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that if I don’t start to make money somehow I’ll never be welcome anywhere, in any country. I have to show I won’t be a burden on anyone.

But you already are a burden, aren’t you? You can’t take care of yourself. Your physical problems alone ensure that. Why are you adding the extra stress?

Because I want to stand on my own two feet. I want to say I can pay my own bills and take care of myself. I don’t want to ask for help and be at the hands of the ‘just’ and ‘merciful’. 

You want to be in control of your own destiny.

Yeah.

Hm. Control. Sounds like a mom thing, and I’m leery of mom things. Again, it’s a form of expectation. I expect to be able to take care of myself, and I obviously can’t. I haven’t done it so far.

Maybe some people are only here to be a burden. Maybe we crazies are around to test the rest, to bear witness to their treatment of the most vulnerable. I don’t like that thought at all. I don’t like being a sacrificial lamb. It hurts. All the time. Every slash, every cut hurts. And yet…and yet it makes that kind of sick logical sense to me that I’ve seen the Universe exhibit over and over again.

Okay. Can I let go of my expectation to take care of myself? That’s the challenge I’ll look at today. I’m not in control. It’s a chaotic system; control is a delusion. I can only be, and breathe. Be, and breathe….

To Be and Let Be

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Eight and a half glorious hours of unconsciousness. I feel slower and stupider than yesterday, even tho I got 4x the amount of sleep. Dat’s ok. Gotta catch up to my mind.

Shared my feels of self berating with my bro. As usual, he was my immediate feedback machine. ‘Take a walk, find a nice cafe, and go have a coffee and something to nibble on,’ was his suggestion. I went and walked, ending up at an unexpected open air market in one of the shopping plazas. Didn’t do much other than look at other people, spy-fashion while hidden beneath my ever present sun glasses. Up and down the aisles, no real money to buy anything. Watched the vendors, some hawking, some indifferent as I passed. Watched the old women fondle clothing, stop for cheese and fruit. Watched the old man sitting on a bench watching all of US as we passed him by, back and forth through the temporary maze. It worked. I came back, no longer beating myself up mentally.

Plan of action. It’s no longer an ethereal thing for me. Feels solid, like I could walk around it patting all the surfaces and say ‘hmmm…smooth’. It’s a shield for my panic, something I hold up to ward off the incessant shit I just can’t stop from marching through my thoughts. I’m doing something about it. I’m doing something about it. Just a few more months, just hang in there, then the final big debt will be cleared and my guilt can go and take a long walk off a short pier. There will be no more strings, no more shame. While feeling generally despondent over having no money to do much of anything fun, I am determined to clear my name and be done with this.

And of course the household is getting hit with unexpected bills.

I’ll have another bleak birthday, no money to do anything, even go out to dinner.

Oh, whine, whine, miff and cry. Think about getting yourself out from under this debt. You know where other people’s finances are, and you’re far better off, so just stop it!

…Can I have just 5 minutes without something coming up that makes me snap at myself? Doubtful. When I’m in the mood to find fault with myself there’s just no stopping me. It never really ends, just changes direction and comes at me from a different place.

Money IS an issue. Hells bells, I imagine money is an issue even for people who seem to have far more than I do; increased monetary resources just seems to equal increased debt these days. Makes me wonder if there’s any money at all, anywhere. REAL money. Not this paper shit; that’s nothing. And not gold, because despite what rich fat men have always said about gold, it’s not that valuable of a mineral and you sure as fuck can’t eat it. But that’s the problem, you see: money is just a construct, it doesn’t really exist at all. There is no great store house of goods, of anything and everything you could imagine you might need over the rest of your lifetime. That’s bullshit. Money is an idea, cooked up ages ago to represent goods and time and work. It’s a symbol, that’s all. It is not the goods or time or work. It can only be exchanged for goods and time and work because we all agree on it. It’s a ticket your master signed off on, saying you were a good slave and had sweated in the fields for the last year and your crop had yielded an extra 20 tomatoes this season. THAT’s all money is.

None of that helps when you ain’t got that ticket signed off saying you did good and deserve a little something.

Fuck it. The body will decay. All my worries about this or that aren’t gonna amount to a hill of beans. What really matters is what I do while I’m here. I have no descendants to hang my hopes on and push into the future. I have only my words and music to leave behind. And that’s good, for they shall speak for me more eloquently than any child I could have squeezed out. I mean, look at me. Right now I have a hard time coming up with anything un-acidic to say about my mother. Do I want that legacy? Hell no!

….Gotta switch gears. On that dangerous edge of the tub of morbidity.

FORWARD.

No writing, other than this post today. Been pushing it a little, and I deserve a break before heading back to it. I want to go back into sound today, pull up my next song and begin final production. It’s an easy thing for me to do; I know exactly what I need to do and how to proceed. I could do it sleepwalking. I’ll let the familiar actions soothe me today. I need soothing for some reason, so I’ll apply the balm and massage. It’s pleasant to move forward without question, to know with such certainty which steps to take and how to dance your way through the day. Not to think too hard, to question too much. To just be, and let be.

Follow Through: 2; Wimp Out: 0

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been caught in a ‘you never finish anything’ loop for forever. Or so a lot of people in my life have always told me. They’re wrong, of course. I’ve finished a shitload of projects: one novel,12 albums and counting, 2 university degrees, CPA exam….That short list ALONE should allow me to shut up my inner and outer demons by proving that I can and do finish projects.

Or so you’d think.

I know the arguments on this like the back of my hand….Wait, what’s that on the back of my hand? Oh..nothing, never mind (just kidding). Seriously, this particular merry-go-round rarely lets me off. Yes, most of the memories that pop up in my brain include SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED. But there are other family members guilty of throwing this at me over the years, so for once I can say she’s not the only reason for this post. I know these comebacks to my protests of my own follow through because I lend them credibility. I can understand some of my family’s frustrations over my seemingly erratic behavior: they don’t know me. At. All. Problem is, they think they’ve got me figured out to a T.

What happened:

After mucking around too long in the job market being used for my skills without proper recompense, I returned to Uni. I brought up a 1.3 grade point average to a 3.9. I fucking excelled, and I loved being back at school. I suffered a silent death when it came to placements, tho. Interviewed with some very big firms but (pretty sure) I’d been blackballed by the Dean for not fucking him. Suspected it at the time, but no proof so what the fuck was I supposed to do? I did what I always did: I blamed myself. I didn’t interview well, they wanted younger people…many reasons for not ‘making it’ and my family happily joined me in blaming me for all of these reasons and more. Then came the nagging: why would anyone go to Uni and get a degree in accounting without following through and doing the CPA exam? Day after day. This came from my dad, who was dying. So the pressure was double to please him. I did it, too. Spent $2000 I didn’t have on a review course, worked my ass off, and nailed it. I was able to give dad the results before he died. Result: Dad had one last time to feel good about me, I was $2000 worse off financially, and that was it. I never went into accounting, never got a job because of any of my studies, degrees, or certifications. Now, if I’d got my degree and certification years ago BEFORE dad’s death, I would have been very satisfied pursuing a job at a bank or insurance company or some other faceless and soulless cubicle infected realm where I would have sat out the rest of my natural life growing fatter and more republican by the minute. But my dad’s death changed everything for me. I knew I didn’t want an office job anymore. I knew I wanted to release the music and art that was bottled up inside me. The people who choose to see this time as an example in my life when I don’t follow through harangue me because I spent so much time, effort, and money to get my degrees and certification and then let everything drop. I see it as a major epiphany in my life, and I still don’t regret doing it. As a direct result, I DID go into the arts. However, the people who choose to blame me for not following through with my degree still blame me – my artistic endeavors don’t pay the rent. I’m ‘poor’ (their perception, not mine). I never even follow through with my art projects – OBVIOUSLY – because I don’t make any real money at them.

Yes, I came from a family of staunch republicans. Can you tell? Success = money. That’s my family’s full equation for the fucking universe. They don’t count things like happiness, inner fulfillment, or love. And I feel sorry for them. I’m also angry at the way they perceive me. My choice has been to strictly and severely limit my interactions with them. I’m tired of trying to educate them, and tired of being the dog they kick every time the family gets together. And I’m real fucking tired of hearing their shit continue in my head despite their not being in my life. ARGH!!!

It’s days like today that I have to list off my recent accomplishments to myself (and they must be recent because geez! if I haven’t accomplished anything in a while then what the fuck use am I?). So I’m holding onto 2 good follow throughs that were actually really hard for me to do. The first is that I finally got through notifying everyone I nominated for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. I had to contact 15 people, and that’s 14 more than I normally would in any one day. I dithered, I delayed. I almost didn’t finish the list, almost didn’t write to the last 3 people because I thought ‘close enough’ and made excuses about how f***ing busy I was. I even put the last of the list in my trash on my computer but saved it before emptying everything out. And then I came back and wrote to those last 3 people. I actually did it! No cutting corners, no easy skating. I climbed the mountain and came down the other side. The second follow through I still must finish today, but I’ve not dropped it: reporting the suspected domestic abuse I heard. I got stymied on the phone number the police gave me to call, so I trolled the internet for any agency in NL I should report to (so much easier! when I run into too much Dutch I can ask google for a quick translate). I found an agency and emailed them. I’ve got a response back in English with a request to call the person who wrote to me. THAT I can do – I know when they get on the phone I can speak freely to them. I’m waiting a few hours for the place to open up and all the Monday morning crap to get over with before I make the call. But by noon today I’ll have spoken to someone, told them everything I know, and done everything I could do in this situation.

WHOOPEE! I don’t know why I feel better about doing these simple tasks than I do when I think about finishing Uni or my CPA exam. Maybe because Uni and the exam were easy for me to do, and these things were hard to do. I SO wanted to let it go, not follow through at all with both tasks. I’m so happy I’ve stuck with it.

To Be or Not Be Controlled…..

I recently got a link from painkills2 for Out of the Fog (thanks, painkills2). Here’s the link:  https://outofthefog.net/CommonNonBehaviors/CPTSD.html. It was suggested I may be suffering from complex post traumatic stress disorder, and this site offers a lot of very valuable information.

For me, it was another checklist: yes, yep, do that all the way down the article. I realize painkills2 is probably correct in thinking I’ve got CPTSD. What I can’t work out is whether my problems are stemming only from CPTSD or whether I’ve got bipolar in the mix as well. I know: questions like that are what doctors are for. I just feel like I can’t wait another 6 months before someone speaks to me and tries to figure me out. I need/want help now, not a year from now. So I continue to try and self help anyway I can: through reading material, blogging, talking to my brother, and a whole lotta thinking. This HAS helped me: I may still feel the same way, but at least with this blog I seem to be able to get closer to the real reasons why I’m feeling the way I do. When my brother gets up I can speak clearly to him about what’s bothering me. So in that respect I’m making great progress.

Today I want to talk about control. I grew up with control freaks – both my mother and my sister demanded complete control of every situation. And they got it, cause nobody – including me – challenged them. I had many, many nightmares of being ‘out of control’: the classic sitting in the back seat of a car while it’s moving, or being on an insane roller coaster. I know when I steamroll over people it’s control that’s really my target: there are times when I feel I must do it all by myself, without help from anyone. Help would be cheating, it would mean I’m less than able, inadequate.

But control is an illusion. Here’s the thing: none of us are really in control. We can’t control anything, though we continue to create the illusions in our lives that we do. We can’t control if we make it to an appointment on time or not. We TRY to control it, we try to allow extra time so if an emergency pops up we still make our deadlines but that is all an illusion. At any time on our journey we could be killed, injured – any number of possibilities crop up as you begin to think about them. And frankly, if you look at the mathematics you’d realize what I’m saying is true. The fact that any of us make it anywhere we try to go is pure chance. And making it on time? Well, then you’re adding variables to the mix, which overall lowers your chances of doing it.

I guess this is rankling in my soul because I recently read the risk of some cancers is now 50-50. In other words, despite all your good intentions, despite eating organic and using natural cleaning products, despite not smoking or suntanning, you’ve still got a 50% chance of kicking it by cancer. Now isn’t that fucking marvelous?

*sigh* Unfortunately, the mathematics bear out for all aspects of life. You’re fucking lucky your computer started up this morning just to sign in and read this nonsense.

Truth is, the only control we can ever hope to achieve is over our own reactions. Emotive responses are chemical so there is no controlling them, only not acting out because of them. Therein lies the trick of life. Humans are fucked from the beginning, you know. The higher the intelligence, the more likely an animal will suffer psychological problems. We’ve sickened ourselves with ideas of society and morality. Yet, we need society and morality in order to move forward as a species. A double bind; no wonder so many of us suffer similar things in the micro circles of our own lives.

…Control. Putting aside my cerebral arguments, however sound they may be….I have no control over several areas in my life and it sickens me. My progress in these areas is slow at best. I can’t control when the doctors will finally see me. I can’t control my own finances (residence permit but no work permit). I can’t control whether or not my sister is bad mouthing me to the rest of the world. These are the things I hate. I work to be patient, to plan and construct a real income producing lifestyle, and to just let go and not care what’s said about me. I feel sometimes that’s all I do; work on these things. If I got paid for trying to help myself I’d be a rich woman, indeed.

I know it’s my choice whether or not I let other people or life or circumstances control me. I know the choice I want to make. I hope I have the strength to carry it through.