Burnt marshmallow

I gotta be a bitch. B – I – T – C – H, bitch.

I do not feel bad for the people who’ve died in the US from the current hurricane. In fact, I think those fools who stayed behind and then needed emergency rescue should be billed for the rescue. I also don’t feel bad some jerk gotten eaten by a shark around Cape Cod. Again: stupid Americans ruining the environment and then getting bitten by bigger predators does not cause me one night’s bad sleep. In my book, you deserve it.

Do I lack empathy? I really don’t think so. Or, if I do, I only lack empathy for idiots. Nonetheless, I feel a bitch. A real bitch.

*sigh*

Been seeing the Sharknado series. One of the Dutch stations has run the films, and I’ve been recording them. Wow. What a catch-all for every has-been actor in Hollywood. Between Tara Reid still wearing the same hot pink shade of lipstick she wore at 20 (get over it woman, it looks awful on you now), sharks in space, and every ‘nado you can think of (including a ‘cownado’) it’s absolutely ridiculous. Oh, I got some good laughs. Naturally. But this is beyond a MST3000 type film franchise. They aren’t just B grade films, they’re trash. Silly, nonsensical, totally unbelievable – and the franchise is going strong. This is what bothers me. Not that people would find it funny, but that it’s become a thing. One more ‘Family Guy’ nail in the coffin on intellectual heights. Let’s all get stupid because a lot people just can’t be smart. Bah.

My right shoulder is giving me gripe. Well, my whole right arm, actually. It seems to radiate down from my shoulder, ache a few places in my arm, and end somewhere in my hand. Took a few heavy duty pain pills yesterday that gave me some relief but didn’t solve the problem (in other words, it wasn’t an irritated nerve or muscle that needed rest). Might need to see the doc on this one; it got me up early today.

Tomorrow is my language class. Looking forward to going back, seeing my teachers. Not sure I’m looking forward to seeing the other students. Only good thing is the slowest student in the class dropped back to a lower level after trying to keep up during our summer lessons. Good. She was terrible at Dutch, and I don’t know why she got moved ahead. Haven’t done any of the homework I was given over the break. It was all optional, and my option was not to do it.

In anticipation of needing to listen more, I watched a Dutch film last night – Zombibi. Amsterdam taken over by zombies. It was typical Dutch fun, and even tho some of the speakers spoke so fast I couldn’t catch a word of it, it was pretty easy to follow. My collection of Dutch movies is growing. I even feel like I’m beginning to understand the Dutch sense of humor, which is a big step. And I can see work for me in film: both as writer in other positions. They need my skills. At least…if they want to break the Dutch ceiling on films, they need my help. Chroma has to be adjusted. The make-up has to be better. Yes, I can see a niche for me.

Began some earnest make-up playing. Shot for a vampire and ended up looking like Harley Quinn from Batman. Meh. More research needed. Gotta start practicing wounds, too. Thank the Goddess I can do this in private, and my disasters aren’t seen by anyone.

Happy to say that is seems the hot water got fixed in the building. Either that, or a hot water hog further down the line moved out. For almost a week, we’ve had hot water. Morning, afternoon, and night. For the first time ever yesterday we made dinner and did dishes right afterwards because we could. Plus, I took a shower in the afternoon. Unbelievable how wonderful it is to have hot water. Unbelievable how good I feel being able to take a shower more than once every two weeks. My mood and my brother’s mood have taken a sudden upswing.

Time today for one last long walk in the sunshine and fresh air. The sky is blue, the air is fresh, and I can barely keep myself here long enough to finish this post. The day is calling me.

Oh, I miss George the duck right now. I miss how easily I could find him. How eagerly he snatched the bread from my fingers. How he always made me smile.

…I miss many of my friends. Two and four legged.

Oh, fuck Sunday and its reflective mood! I don’t want to get mired down by memories and sorrow.

I think I dreamt of my friend, L, last night. Part of me feels she is alive, even tho I’ve read her death notice on the ‘net. I know it isn’t real: I see her as I remember her, not as she’d be today. I only wish her to be alive. Out there, somewhere. Even if she doesn’t want to talk to me. But I know it’s only a wish. I know she’s gone.

Ah, there’s my soft spot. The one I work so hard to wall off from the world.

Oh, Goddess. I do it for my own protection. You know that, right?

If you read my words and think me a bitch… Well, you’ve got that right. But I’ll tell you right now: beneath my scabby and hard outer shell is a marshmallow center. A marshmallow center that’s been held over the fire for 50 some odd years. I’m all gooey, and if I didn’t have that crusty outside I’d fall apart.

So, go on. The bitch in me has been burnt into my flesh by the world. It’s there for all to see. That burnt marshmallow.

Advertisements

Rest

Rest!

Got an email in from a friend who’d read my post ‘Guilt’. She was worried about me. Worried that I’d overdo it yet again. I didn’t, and assured her I didn’t. But it sure feels good to have someone care enough to send out a worried email.

Spent the day playing with make-up. Decided that I really just had to have a test day. Needed to find out if I was allergic to anything and to see how the make-up would wear over several hours. Good on me for picking a nothing, don’t even need to go out of the house day for it. I DID go out – in the evening, for smoke. And I wore the make-up. But there was zero pressure on me to do anything other than pick up smoke, which I could do even if the make-up created creases in every wrinkle and the mascara ran and gave me raccoon eyes. Side note: it didn’t. I’m very impressed by this “cheap” make-up I’ve bought at the discount shops. After six hours I needed a little touch up under my eyes and on my lipstick, but that’s normal.

Heading out was a bit of a thing. Had to talk myself up for it. Felt odd going out with paint on my face. I dressed nicely, brushed my hair, made myself feel attractive (*groan*) for a woman of my age. Gotta get used to that one. Didn’t feel I got too many stares, which was good. I also didn’t get too ignored or overlooked; people saw me. So in my opinion, I did well both on the make-up used and my attitude. Yippee. Now that I’ve ‘broken the ice’ (so to speak) on wearing make-up in public, it’ll be easier next time. I didn’t look ridiculous.

Received another subscription to the newsletter (yea!) out of Mexico (awww!). Um, okay. Half way around the world, another language, but you want to read it. I’ve done that myself, but it’s weird to get it coming in rather than putting it out there. Well, at least my SEO tactics work wonders. The theatre group’s website has now moved to the first page of a search for English speaking theatre groups in Rotterdam. It sits in 3rd, after the group’s FB page and the website for the umbrella org that groups all theatre troupes in the Netherlands under one site. I’m cool with that ranking. For now.

Another quick search on my playwright name pops me up damned quick. Including pictures for the upcoming production. Not a lot of competition on the name, which is good. It’ll be easy to find me.

Should get to the gym today. My body is rested and it no longer feels like I’m dragging myself around the place. But it’s a beautiful autumn day. Blue sky, just after a rain, everything is fresh. I really don’t want to go the gym that smells like it’s a gym and sit inside looking out at all that sunshine. I’d prefer to go out in it. Been saying I need to get back and buy another sweatshirt – a REAL sweatshirt. You’ve no idea how difficult they are to find here. I’ve been wearing the one I bought non-stop, and I want another. And I need talc powder. It’s the easiest method to create that pale look for zombies, wounds, and vampires. So…maybe I just head out and do things today. Get some fresh air.

Have hit a bit of a stride with my reading. It’s still difficult, and I’m reading slowly. Damned slowly. Some sentences I have to read and re-read, putting the pieces together to figure out what it says. But I’m getting through it. More importantly, I’m enjoying it. That’s the key: get me to enjoy it. Then I’ll power thru the tough stuff. I’ll take the time to look up pesky words that keep popping up. I’m already past the first hundred pages and roaring thru the next. Yeah. This time, I’ll get thru it and move onto the next in the series.

Doing research on a new provider for our internet, phone, and tv. The current service is real crap. We’re having interruptions left and right, and over the past year they’ve moved from plenty of free films and series on their package to 98% HBO extra subscription. I’m sick of it. Found a small carrier that’ll increase our internet speed and give us more options for only €2 more a month. My bro wants to stop by our current service to lodge a complaint. It’s only fair to inform them we’re having problems. But I don’t expect them to change their on demand service just for us, so I expect we’ll swap before the end of the year.

Speaking of swapping, our site has finally moved to our new server here in NL. Starting to get emails in again. Still some kinks in the system. For instance, it seems I have to enter my password every time I log on. And my system can’t read our new site. Yeah, well…I’ve been getting messages that I’m out of date for over a year now. I’ve been expecting it.

*sigh* It’s the last big breath. The last lolly-gagging days I have before the push begins in earnest. Soon I’ll have to start recording those bits I need to do. Meet with the board and my shrink. Start talking in Dutch and conjugating verbs. Get the newsletter out, and talk up the October meeting. Play with a board member’s camera and figure out all the settings before I start filming everyone.

I’m not really ready for everything to start. I’ve finally relaxed, and I always follow the Law of Inertia: a body at rest tends to stay at rest. I am at rest! lol! You’ve no idea how funny that is to me. Perhaps someday I’ll share that bit of madness.

Rest.

Satisfied

Curl. your. toes.

Let’s talk about sex. Usually it’s not a subject I bring up. I don’t get any, my libido is legendarily next to dead, and it’s just not something I discuss much any more. Even my masturbation episodes tend to be disappointing, and end up me with me just stopping because my wrist hurts too much to continue. So when I say I not only reached orgasm but a toe curling orgasm last night, just know it’s a big deal. The big O is something I rarely reach: either I’m too uptight, or too tired, or just not there. Always been like that. There’s only one guy I really orgasmed with during sex. The rest were fun, pleasant, and stimulating – but not curl your toes explosion. Did not know what a full orgasm was for many, many years. Too many years.

So, yippee. My lady parts still work.

NL is headed for another heat wave. National warnings out for the rest of the week. I feel fat – really fat. But I still won’t go knock myself out when the weather is like this.

Pleased with myself. Got out and ran my errands yesterday before the sun got real hot. Walked into the chemist and bought toothpaste, floss, and dental picks. Asked at the cashier if anyone knew of a dry cleaner – and received six answers in Dutch. Everyone in the store tried to help me. Heard ‘tegenover’ – a word that means ‘opposite side of the way’ in Dutch. Ah, yes. Found the place with little trouble. Inside, a lone woman stood behind the counter. I began with my usual saying (should get it on a T-shirt): My Dutch isn’t very good. From there sprang a conversation in Dutch for the next 15 minutes. She was friendly, intelligible, and kind. I felt buoyed up. She told me how well I spoke, congratulated me on my skills, and asked the standard, first year questions: where do you come from, how long have you lived here, do you like the Netherlands? I answered in perfect past tense, using prepositions and proper verb tense. Still feel good about that. Thinking I may return to the store before my stuff is back and talk some more. Introduce myself properly (we didn’t exchange names), and see if maybe she’d like to get a coffee during her work break. I’d like a native Dutch acquaintance/friend to talk with. She fits the bill perfectly: my age category, clear speaker, very friendly and open. I’d like to get to know her.

Bought some glue. I have a very old bottle of professional make-up sticky gum from when I bought a fake mustache and eyebrows. It’s so old the gum has separated and I don’t think I should even try it anymore. My research tells me I can use non-toxic kids’ glue, so that’s what I’m trying first. I’ve a week before my backdrop is returned from the cleaners, and I need to use that trying out wound creation. So I’ll be tearing and gluing tissue paper to my skin, drying it with a hairdryer, and applying make-up to see how it goes. I need something that looks good and that can last under a wrap for two acts. Also need to make sure it’ll hold during movement; I wanted a wound on my knee and that means it has to bend and work with me during the entire play before I reveal it. Fun, fun, fun! I so enjoy playing with face paint when the goal isn’t to entice some sexual liaison.

That’s it. I’m staying lazy and fat because it’s just too damned hot to exercise. I’m playing with face paint and experimenting for the production. I’m curling my own toes at night, and saying a heartfelt thanks for the experience. I’m doing my Dutch: reading, speaking, homework. Finding more and more things just falling out my mouth. I know I’m correct; I just don’t know how I know I’m correct (think it’s all the reading). Most of all, I’m just relaxing. I have myself honed to a fine point right now. Everything that can be done ahead of time, is. Everything that can’t be done ahead of time is all set to fire off the questions I need answered.

Damn! I think I’ve finally satisfied myself.

Just. be. me.

Why don’t you leave your notebook at home and just treat this as a social outing?

I got that freaky funny laugh, the one that comes from nerves and uncomfortableness. And I thought, yeah, why aren’t I treating this as a social outing? That was 6 pm last night, as I was walking out the door for our theatre group meeting.

I left my script and notebook at home. Downtown to a student bar that had hundreds of beers. Couldn’t resist a raspberry beer…two, actually. Seven of us made the meeting, and it was, as my brother had pointed out to me with his question, more of a social gathering than a work gathering. The night was warm, the beer was good, and the conversation lively.

Difficult to remember most of these actors hadn’t read the full script. They didn’t attend my first read through. Many thought their characters were gonna live thru the play; I had to correct them: everybody dies. If you survive an act, it’s just so you can die in another act. How do I die? I went around the table, telling them each what happens: you set yourself on fire, you get strangled, you’re shot, etc. And oh! The shining eyes that greeted me upon that gruesome news! Never believe an actor who tells you they don’t want to do a death scene. We all want that chance.

Tonight the director and I are meeting with a few people for the last role. Two, maybe three should show up. I very hesitantly put it out there that if we found someone spectacular for my role I’d step down. The director quickly said: No way. The subtext in that, I felt, was that no one can do that role like I can. Maybe he meant he didn’t want to go thru the whole audition thing again, but that’s the way I’m taking it. I’m more than pleased by that.

Much of the work conversation was kept to a minimum. Instead, we did the sort of thing that generally happens when a group of people don’t know each other well. Questions like Do you have children? or What do you do as a living? came up. I was surprised (a bit) at the drug discussion. Even tho marijuana is okay here, it’s still a little taboo. Everybody’s used it, or at least tried it. But most Dutch people don’t partake. Last night I heard about ‘the time I got really stoned’ or ‘when I had a few extra pills and rode the day out on them’. I’m still rather hesitant on admitting I’m a stoner, but did own up to smoking marijuana on a regular basis. I just…I know what most people think of regular smokers. You’ll see their mimicry of stoners all the time. That wasted, hungry, not really moving or thinking version. The ‘Duh-uh Dude’: catatonic and unfocused. That isn’t me, and I don’t want people to think it is. I haven’t yet told them they’ve all been seeing me high this whole time. I haven’t once gone to a theatre group meeting, audition, or rehearsal without first toking. I wrote the play stoned. I got my degrees stoned. And yes, I’m learning Dutch stoned. Pretty obvious I don’t go to that stereotypical state. But despite the culture here, that stereotype still lives on. I don’t know. Maybe I’m one in a million in that respect. I just chalk it up to my artistic temperament. All the greats had something: heroin, cocaine, alcohol. It’s too late in my life to be worried about it. But I still find myself reluctant to own it due to what I perceive as this bias against it. Maybe that’s just me, and the scarring I received about it during my lifetime.

Made a few age jokes about myself last night. Find myself doing that more and more. Conversation zoomed off into games played as kids: remember this console or that game? I sat there, thinking about my first video game: Pong. Yep, you heard me. Pong. Two paddles and ball, back and forth. And later: gee, I had to use a typewriter back when I was in school. My reply: when I was a kid, we had to use a chisel and hammer on stone. I got the laughs I wanted. But I know myself well. I’m using my humor to cover up my uncomfortableness.

It’s weird and odd being the oldest person at a table. I’m sure it’s a bit of a lark if you’re dealing with children, but when it’s adults… Then it’s another matter. Especially when I don’t feel like I’m the oldest adult sitting there. In fact, it makes me feel more child-like and immature than ever. No, I don’t own a home. No, I don’t have children. No, I don’t have investments or a large bank account, nor do I go on holidays every year. I don’t even have a concept of ‘retiring’. My ‘retiring’ is just death.

Also found myself joking about Dr. T. Used the old ‘my shrink’ a couple of times. That’s me getting used to owning up to it.

And I caught the director looking at me a couple of times, as if he saw beyond my jokes and knew what was going on. I wouldn’t be surprised at that; he’s perceptive. He approaches scripts looking at the psychological aspects of the play (and yes, another actor made a comment about what my mind must be like to write something like this).

I’m finding something in this group I didn’t expect: acceptance. Their acceptance is making it easier for me to accept myself. To own up to my depression, my mental health treatment, my problems without shame.

This is a whole new level of social interaction for me. No pretense, no feeling like I have to go along with the group just to have friends. I’m finding how I can be me without coming off overly aggressive or angry.

I can just. be. me.

Are you learning?

Two days of walking and my back is almost pain free. At least I can get up out of a chair without moaning from agony. Thank you, Goddess, for giving me such an easy fix on this one! I swear I’ll do better from now on.

Had a long letter from J, my street bro and friend for decades. He’s had a major blow-out with his DNA sister, and I can tell he’s upset. Need to write back to him today on it. Give him some support and kindness.

Writing a bit. Playing a bit. Telling myself all I need to do now is walk and get my back into shape. Everything else comes second.

Been pondering from time to time my feelings of worthlessness. I keep watching tv and film and wondering how these jerks and idiots get jobs that pay enough for them to live in the manner they live in. Keep remembering how I never felt I was worth that much money, despite my knowledge or degrees. And I’m sorry, but no one’s worth that much money for anything. This person made 36 million last year. For what? Being a jerk? Acting like an asshole? They didn’t solve any crisis, they didn’t save anyone’s life, they just made money. Why do we have such inflated salaries? Who needs that much money to live on?

I don’t want to be – and will never be – that decadent. If tons of money come my way, I’ll use it differently. Invest differently. No stock market schemes, all straight personal investments in people I believe in. People are the only real resource, anyway. Why invest in cyber space or gold? It’s meaningless, worthless. Why invest in real estate or things? You can’t take any of it with you. The only thing worth investing in is people. Changing their lives for the better. Giving those that really struggle just to make ends meet a chance.

I don’t want things. I want people to remember me. My jokes, my advice, my help, my kindness. I want people to stop and ask themselves what I’d do before making any choice for themselves. I want people to think. I want to help people over those hard spots in life, point out the pitfalls so maybe they can do better than me. I want people to try harder to understand others and themselves. I want others to do better in life than I have, and I hope my experiences, advice, and help, are valuable to them.

That’s the only real kind of immortality any of us can ask for. A lot of people have kids to pass on their knowledge to, but after growing up with my older siblings I was all too aware of the idea of how far the apple can fall from the tree; biological children were never the answer for me. You are my children. Everyone and anyone reading this is my child. This is my experiment: to treat every human like my child, to see everyone on this planet as an opportunity to be a bit kinder, a bit better version of ME that leaves people pondering their own behavior and hoping to improve themselves. The only real way I know how to do that is be honest. Destroy the pedestals even as they’re erected: I am not perfect. I yell and scream. I can be petty and purposefully hurt others. I make a lot of mistakes. See me for what I really am, not that rose colored version of me. That version will be built in the future, not in my lifetime. That version will be the myth, the legend, the one that lives on in the tale told ’round the campfire. And hopefully that version will be inspiring, even if it’s not realistic. The problem is, of course, that we all build our our mythos. Our actions build it, day by day. And just like you can’t really see when your body drops a couple of pounds because you look at yourself every day, you don’t realize what kind of mythos you’re building until you get some feedback.

So no, I don’t really know what I project. No one does. I am heartened, tho, by those few who open up to me. Who come back to me when they’re hurting. My children, wanting a kiss on their boo-boo’s. That’s a bit condescending sounding, and I didn’t really mean it that way. Oftentimes all I feel like I can do is kiss it, remind them how important they are to me, how great I feel they are, how much I care about them. I can’t offer much concrete help. But there are people out there who return to me with their problems, offering them up to me in messages, hoping to get that inspirational letter in response. I know that, and do my best to be there for each and every one of them. I always say I’m not the ‘mothering’ type, but I do have a lot of ‘mothering’ characteristics.

And I guess the word ‘mother’ got a bad reputation in my head. Just like the word ‘lady’ got a bad reputation. Those words were brought out to shame me, to justify horrible behavior, or to constrain my impulses. I can not remember one day of wanting to be a ‘lady’ or a ‘mother’ in the sense C used the words.

But I do want to help people. Protect them, shelter them from the worst in life. Whether that’s lady-like or motherly, I can’t really say. It is a base impulse in me, tho.

…Sorry; I still can’t use the M word in association with myself. I can accept I’m a carer. That’s straight-forward, and clean.

I care.

And I always have.

I cared about my high school prom, even tho I loudly proclaimed I didn’t. I care about my current poverty, tho I do my best to not worry too much. I care about the world, and people, tho I shout and scream and tell everyone to go to hell from time to time.

I care so much I have to shout about how much I don’t care so when I get hurt it’s not as bad and no one thinks I’m as big a wreck as I am…

Are you listening, my children?

Are you learning?

N-n-n-nope

Spent the weekend pouring out words. Emails, a new scene I’m playing with, homework. No words left over to blog with. No words left over for me, either. Ask me how I am and I’ll just sit here and think about it…and think about it…and think about it…

Connected with a friend I hadn’t hear from for a while. We talked, back and forth. She thanked me for being there for her. I’m just so chuffed she opened up to me. She tends to hermit out when she’s down (something I can relate to), and I feel honored that she considers me the safe person to talk to when she’s like that. She lives on the other side of the world (literally), so there isn’t much I can do to help but I’m glad what I can do is appreciated. It’s good to have a friend.

Heading to language class today. Our teachers are coming in special, even tho it’s a holiday. I told my bro he should come along with me, check the class out. I think he could do more if he had better teachers, and I think my teachers are great. A little nervous about it. For one, I asked him to come on a spur of the moment thing. Didn’t pass it by anyone first. For another, his autism. He can be difficult on good days. Lastly – and most importantly – I keep screwing up my teachers’ names. Mixing them up. That’s embarrassing. Hoping I’ll get it correct when I introduce my bro to them. No idea what we’ll be doing. I expect a rather normal class: some reading aloud, a few fill in sentences to work on, and some drilling on verbs and prepositions. I know my brother knows some of this, and some of it he doesn’t know. But now that he’s tussled his way through translating his music theory book, I think he’s ready for a higher level of language work.

Listen to me: taking care of a friend, taking care of my brother. So, Beeps, how do you feel? Huh? Got an answer yet?

N-n-n-nope.

Let’s start with the basics, then.

The pustular psoriasis that plagues my hands and feet is back with a vengeance. I hate it; makes me look like a freaking leper. Don’t want to show the palms of my hands because I’ve got it going on there. Between writing, bad weather, and a holiday weekend I still haven’t got back to the gym or done any exercise. My pill time still floats between 3 and 5 in the afternoon (tho at least I remember to take it every day). Sleep is okay. Food isn’t so good. Keep forgetting to eat anything in the morning. Back to one meal a day and quenching any hunger with a cookie. Concentration is alright. I can do my homework for several hours, or read, or write. Not very interested in too much. Avoiding news, per usual. Playing games while watching tv. Trying to listen to my bro, who keeps telling me to relax. Trying not to worry about possible future stuff that might or might not happen.

One thing I haven’t been worrying about is the production. The director told me he was making decisions this weekend, and auditions will be called soon. I’m way ahead on production notes, re-writes, and planning for sound.

Been tinkering with a very tongue in cheek comedy. Not sure where I’m headed with it. Not sure if I’ll even keep writing it. I’m looking at it more as an exercise than as an attempt to actually produce anything. Often I’ve found that I’ve got to get a partial idea out of me before I can get down to the real nitty-gritty. This is what my fingers are typing, so go with it. Run it out. If it works, it works. It if doesn’t…well. I have several ‘comedies’ sitting in my files that I feel aren’t good enough to release.

… … My brother has often noted I work with fire. Hammer at things until I think they’re perfect. It’s one way to work, and it gets results. But lately I’m trying to be less constraining with myself. Allow the rough chops to be seen sometimes. Allow the imperfections to be noticed. Hell, woman! You just did a bleeding ‘comedy’ with the theatre group that actually contained only one or two good jokes every scene. You know you can do better than that! Okay, okay. I hear ya. I’m sitting here trying to justify to myself – unnecessarily – why I’m writing a comedy. Let the fire do what the fire does. You don’t have to control the burn every single second.

And I still can’t answer how I feel.

Tired. Bone tired. Want to sleep and sleep and sleep. Almost didn’t get up today but it’s been a few days since I’ve blogged and I figured I needed it. A part of me continues to nag at me about exercise, and seeing the doctor. I’m just so…neutral. Meh. Writing: meh. Food: meh. Homework: meh. Taking care of myself: meh. Slouching more. Not making my bed.

I don’t feel more depressed. I don’t feel sad. I don’t feel much at all other than meh. Leave me alone, let me do this. Keep trying, tho. Brushing my hair, doing dishes. Trying to stay present when my bro talks to me. Not doing too well with any of that.

Well, this is new. I’m used to feeling too much. And I am feeling too much. Too much of nothing. Too much emptiness. Too much meh. I can’t quite wrap my head around it. How do you deal with meh? Anger, okay. Sorrow, okay. Mania, even, okay. But meh?

The one saving grace I have is that I feel so much meh I can’t even get excited or worried over not feeling anything but meh.

Great word usage, wordsmith. Can’t you come up with anything other than meh?

N-n-n-nope.

 

Time to shut down

I can never sleep well after a performance. My body, like it or not, is set on its schedule and performances and the world be damned if it’ll stay in bed an extra few hours because I’ve been up late.

Ah! And now I understand. I’ve heard so much about performing in Amsterdam; the audiences are tough, the standards are high. Yes, the audience was tough. By the time the third act rolled around, they were laughing loudly but the first… The first act’s job is to warm up the audience, and I was never so aware of that as I was last night. Sure fire gags to get a big laugh stuff suddenly fell on silence. It was a cold audience, no friends or family there to cheer us on, just people who came to see a show. I felt it and folded it right back into Wendy’s nervousness. I looked towards the audience more often, used that fake smile that fell in an instant showing she really wasn’t enjoying the situation, fidgeted, blew my nose loudly, belched, whined in that whiny voice, and finally – finally! – near the last 10 minutes of the act began to get real laughter in response.

The owner of the place met us in the afternoon. He shook my hand and said hello. The group went to dinner at a place nearby (good food), and when we came back I transformed: the lashes, the blue eye shadow, the bright red lipstick, the ugly leopard print blouse, the hair pulled back with two garish clips, the glasses. The walk came in, and the voice came out. The owner passed me again, in make-up, and said hello: Wendy responded. We did our thing, hitting lines and marks the entire time. Curtain call. Then I hurried backstage to take Wendy off before joining everyone at the bar. The owner was serving, and I had two beers on tap. Finally, after most of the guests had left, the owner stopped by our celebrations to speak to us once again. He looked straight at me and a puzzled frown came over his face. Sorry, what was your name again? he asked me. I introduced myself. Then the penny dropped. Oh my God! You were in the first act! I would have never recognized you! Jesus, what a transformation! You’re one hell of an actress! The owner looked dazedly around at the other members of the group, as if to ask do you people know what you have here?

Most of the conversation before the performance was geared towards the performance, as you might imagine. We were all focused on the task. But the conversation afterwards… I have been accepted as a full-fledged member of the group: they’re teasing me. One would ask: So, do we have any idea what script we might do next? And the director would answer: Oh, I don’t know…maybe I’ve found one… all the time with sly looks aimed at me and grins they couldn’t quite hide. Auditions were discussed. Timelines. I found more enthusiasm from the members than I initially expected.

Oh, they’re not doing it because they feel they have to, or just because they can do without paying royalties! They like having me there! I was included in backstage pix, crowding around and hamming it up for the camera just like I see other people doing. I was hugged both formally and informally – sometimes just an arm slung around my shoulders in an inclusive camaraderie that I felt on a new level. Yea! I’ve found it so difficult for so long to find people I have anything in common with. And although I still would like a bosom buddy, I find having a circle of friends like this is almost as good. It is immensely gratifying to honestly say I’m not worrying about what was said or done last night; there is nothing to hash over. Nothing other than the warm memory of the smiles and the laughter, the excitement and expectation.

Wow. Put that one down on the calendar! I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that before.

Class on Monday is looking less and less likely. I heard from my friend and film co-star; she plans to be shooting until the evening, so I’m looking at a late night again. Good time to catch me, when everything’s topsy turvy from the performance. I’ll nap this afternoon with the tv on and stay up later.

Snick. Wendy is gone; the magic silver ring is back in my ear.

Auditions might be called yet this month. The re-writes are done. Still have to check page numbers on tech notes. Still have to think about the legal end, too: I want releases for recorded voice and/or video sequences, and I want something between myself as the playwright and the group just to cover my ass. Those things fall to me to write. I don’t need complexity, just clarity. This is mine, you can’t do it without my permission, you understand your voice will be used in a performance and all rights to the recordings remain ours, etc. I’m not a fan of legal writing, but I can do it.

Will need another meeting with the director. Need to map out the schedule, especially the sound which I suspect will take longer than the actors. I want to move on that over summer holiday, so we have at least the roughs to use in rehearsals. …Ach, I will not have my notes fully made for any podcast/audio versions. I just won’t. It’s too much to pull it apart and re-write. Damn. Oh, well.

This production will help me in the next. And the next will help me in the first film version. And the first film version will help me the next time, when it goes full-length and big budget…

Yeah, yeah. We all know where that line of thought takes us.

…It’s Sunday. Time to shut down.

Here we go…

Another day of hibernation. Hard to not feel the slug, but at least I stayed calm.

My bro decided to take control with our food and put me on a gluten free diet before we know the results of my test. Must say, my stomach is better today than it’s been in weeks. I ate better, felt better all night, feel better this morning. Aw, crap! That means no more take away pizza. It also means ditching all the wheat flour in the house and searching out for the alternative flours I use for my gluten-free stuff. *sigh* And I never did hit on a gluten-free bread I really liked…

I’m worried over how readily we accept this gluten-intolerance diagnosis. It’s a new phenomenon. Our question should really run to why this is happening. What’s going on with our food that’s causing this? But, no. Doctors come up with a new catch phrase diagnosis that everyone latches onto and that’s it. The diagnosis becomes the full monty: the cause and the reason all rolled into one. No other answers are searched for, other than new chemical combinations to ease the symptoms of this new disease: a money-making combination if ever I heard one.

Heard from my film co-star. She asked about my Amsterdam performance because she’s up there doing her internship. Sadly, she’s busy that day but happily she’s in Rotterdam the next day and we’re going to meet up. Cannot tell you how gratifying it is to find my affection for these young people returned in this manner. They want to see me, want to meet up. Thank you, Universe, for sending me people I can love so easily. It’s opened my eyes. Want to pass on a hard copy of my script to her. I’ve already asked her to think about auditioning for the play, and that I want to take it to film. I want her excited about the story. So far, everyone who reads it is.

My bro printed up a copy of a radio script I wrote. I sent it out and hit the typical black holes: over a year now, and not a word – even a rejection. We both figured it would be the first script to do a podcast of, since it’s written purely for sound. Wanted a hard copy for when we eventually start to tear through it.

Trying to think ahead right now on the podcast issue. Especially in relation to my current play. I’ll be doing the bad guy voice (highly affected, so it’s nondescript). What I’d like to do is write out the dialogue I might need to change the non-speaking scenes into audio scenes and get everything recorded at once. I’ve worked long enough in audio to know a slight shift in electrical current can result in a very different sound recording, and I don’t want to re-record everything for the audio version. Getting it all at once guarantees I’m working with similar raw files.

Ach, this will call for a lot of juggling. Juggling the play, rehearsals, sound work. Juggling ideas for the podcast. Juggling ideas for the film version. I think I can do it if they don’t overlap too much. Well aware it will take continual effort from me to remain calm and grounded. That’s what’s worrying me. I’ve said it before: I like to fly. Like to run on the mania or hypomania or whatever. Not doing that feels unnatural, like I’m holding myself back. It’s both difficult and annoying. It’s also necessary; I’ve found that out the hard way.

I need a faster internal switch. It takes me a while to ramp up to energy. It also takes me a while to relax from energy. If I could jump from 0 to 60 in one go (or back again), I’d be fine. Hype up for rehearsals or performance, shut down afterwards. Instead, my wind up for performing is a long affair of getting in the skin of the character, and my wind down is legendarily long. Hm…. Don’t ever really know that I’ll be able to do that faster. It is what it is. But if I could manage the entire process a bit calmer, I think I’d do better. Winding down is never calm. Winding down is manic talk, non-stop, one thought after the other thrown at the only other person in the room, my brother, until I start to yawn – and even then, I suffer tossing and turning and a bad night’s sleep. That’s where I most need help.  …Maybe I should work on a wind-down list.

Okay. Don’t know where to start… Um…right. So, what I’ve been doing doesn’t work all that well. Outside the box, ideal scenario: go to the gym after a performance and burn the extra energy out of me. Problem: the gym isn’t open that late. Possible solution: take a walk instead. A brisk walk around the neighborhood. That might work. Of course, that means I’m coming back even later, and my brother will be off to sleep by the time I return. I dislike that. No one to talk to. On the other hand, talking hasn’t exactly helped too much, so…try it. Other possibilities: write it out. Come out and blog. That’s why this is here. Another: when you get home, accept the fact you won’t sleep or go down. Put in a film and watch it. Play games. Just say ‘okay, I’m up for a few hours’ and keep yourself entertained.

Not bad for not knowing where to start.

Today I’m getting my shoes adjusted and rehearsing. Long evening ahead of me. Well, I’ve my new wind-down list, so I know what to try if I come back hyper.

And yep, there it is. The influx of adrenaline as I thought about today.

*sigh* Here we go…

The door now stands open

But…if I search it, will they come after me?

Oh, brava, Beeps! You wrote that well. The above is quickly becoming the number one question everyone asks after they read part one of my trilogy. Especially when I tell them I based the story on a real web site. lol! The idea that a cyber boogieman will come and get you is all my imagination, but I did it well enough in 30 pages that everyone’s asking this of me. I couldn’t be happier about it.

Saw S. I was right; we talked for hours. And yes, my secret came out and in typical S fashion, she followed up with a secret just as big on her side. We are two peas in a pod in many ways. Family issues, physical issues, self care and confidence issues… The one thing lacking is full comprehension on S’s side regarding the American lifestyle. She kept asking ‘But why would someone do that if they said they wanted children?’ It was difficult to explain the pervasiveness of that cold culture to her. Difficult to get across how individualistic and cut throat it really is, even amongst family. There’s a book for me to tackle some day: explaining American behavior to the Dutch. Or, as I’ve begun to call it in my head, ‘the American sickness’.

It’s such a blessing to be on this side of it. And as I look for the words to explain what happened to my Dutch friends and acquaintances, I’m finding my own answers.

S thinks I need to talk this out. Mostly because that’s what she’s done and it worked for her. I think not, but I heard her out. She feels I need to speak my truth a bit more, and a therapist is there for that. I tried explaining to her that I can rarely even sort out my own feelings before I write, so talking isn’t a great option for me. But…well, I didn’t write it out first, so naturally I couldn’t explain it.

Talk is cheap. I’ve had enough lip service and empty promises from other people. And enough lying to my face. Part of my conversation yesterday with S included a rehash of R, the actor who’s part was cut from the film. Ah. I was not alone in receiving a private message from him. Everyone got a few. In each, R hid a nugget of hate – a diss on someone else in the group. Apparently I can’t act at all, S is a bitch, the director is awful, the script was terrible, no one did a good job, etc. etc. S was really pissed off, and I can understand. They worked hard on that project. I checked on FB before coming out here. Most of the crew have unfriended R. Only myself, the director, and my other co-star remain on R’s friend list. Thought about un-friending him in a show of solidarity but I probably will just leave it. It didn’t escape my notice that this “actor” had only 26 friends and more professionally staged pix than anyone else I know. He’s trying real hard to be someone, and frankly, I pity him. Shouting all the time, demanding undue praise and attention, totally unaware of just how awful his performances are… He’s pitiable. Plus, he’s shown his true colors and my general rule of thumb is know your enemies. Better to keep an eye on him.

Flew off into orbit last night. Couldn’t help it; my long talk with S riled me up in many ways. I found it exciting to have a friendly exchange with someone who’s company I enjoy. I spoke my truth, and was heard. And I can’t help but have hope that yes, my film posse will get together to do my script. S is already hooked on the story, and I know the core group wants to work together again. Last night I saw a path possibility. One that’s a gamble, one that carries risks. But it’s also one I want to explore. For the first time in my life, I’m assessing this realistically. I’m looking at the long haul. My head didn’t shoot out to interviews post film, congratulating all of us and stroking my ego. I saw the work. The year or more of traveling to Den Haag every day to work on the story and script, be there for auditions, set up, lighting, talk, fun. The knowledge that ahead of me lies compromise and team work, allowing each person leeway enough to do their job.

Feels like I can do this. Like I can make the film happen. I’m very, very close. I already have a good support team, and people who will welcome my ideas (and honestly, the film feels closer to reality this morning than the production of the play). All I need to do now is wait for the right moment. Let the last semester hub-bub die down for them. Let S finish reading the script (she was on page 20). I know her; part of me feels I need to put her on my payroll as my private cheerleader. Once she’s set on something, she follows through.

My word du jour is flexibility. That’s the biggest sell my script has. I know the core story. I know what can be changed, modified, swapped around. I know what can be cut and what can be added. I can change gender, location, timing, language… You name it; the script can take it and survive and STILL be good.

Target: end of April. As students, they’ll be wrapping things up and prepping for their internships. NL has a week off for King’s Day. That’s my window. Send the script out as is to the director with full explanation. Get him the story before summer, so he can find a chance to read it. Their required internships last 6 months. Time enough to prep what we’d need to prep…

The door now stands open.

I like that picture

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

I do not accept his judgement.

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

Faulty programming. Ignore.

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

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

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

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

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

It’s someone I like.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…Yeah. I like that picture.