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?

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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.

One giant leap

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

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

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

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

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

…Yeah. Lots to unload today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The perfect slave

Can’t stop shaking. Much worse than normal shivers or shakes. Like palsy or I had a stroke.

I WANT TO KILL MY MOTHER.

Woke up crying. 5 am, in bed, crying yourself awake.

I WANT TO KILL MY MOTHER.

I will happily murder the remainder of my mother’s family, too.

Here it is. I knew I wasn’t feeling it. I knew there was more to it. My head could process the hate but my body couldn’t.

Why I am so sad?

Ah, who gives a fuck? Get it out of your system. Of course you’re fucking depressed; look at your life. Look at what you were taught. Look at how you were and are treated. Surprised you didn’t pop sooner than this.

There is nowhere to go when your mind fucks with you. Nowhere you can hide, nowhere that’s bright enough or fast enough or overwhelming enough to take over that tyrant in your head, showing you those things you don’t want to see.

I feel so damned alone.

And it’s all so sad. Those wasted years, not understanding why I was doing what I was doing, why I felt the way I felt. I’m bright, I’m accomplished, I’ve done some great things and I can’t take any of it in. Just the negatives. Just the shit, please. I’m used to that.

Today’s fantasy of choice is a gun. Usually my mind sees knives. Sees me stabbing my family, again and again, over and over and over until they’re dead, dead, dead and can never say another nasty thing to me again. Today, it’s a pistol. Shoot them in the head, shoot them several more times because they fucking deserve it, shoot them, shoot them, shoot them down. And oh, yes, I’m fully fucking aware now is a bad time to say this and I’m fully fucking aware of how sensitive the subject of weapons is right now. This is all fantasy in my head, and it tells me something about myself: I’ve upped the ante. I might let someone live if I stabbed them with a knife. Shooting them is an up. An increase in anger and rage. It also shows me I’m starting to disconnect from them – I no longer have to “feel” the knife go into their bodies in my fantasies; they are not worth that close of contact. Shoot them before they can get to me. Shoot them so I don’t even have to touch them. Disconnect: these people are not my family, they do not love me, and I will not allow myself to be hurt by them any longer.

C is so fucking lucky she didn’t live to see this day.

Because I’d fucking kill her.

The whole thing with the film crew is still eating away at me. Shouldn’t. I know that. I “should” just let it go. Isn’t that the very first thing to pop out of the mouths of those assholes who don’t struggle with this? “Let it go”, like we want to hang onto this, want to wake up crying and shaking, want to go through any of this. Oh, fuck you! It hurts, and I’m blaming myself, and that hurts even more but it’s what I’m fucking USED to because that’s the way I was raised. Sorry I’m such a fucking head case. Sorry you don’t have a fucking clue and can’t even fucking imagine what it is to feel this way.

Most of all, I’m sorry you’re such a sad sack of shit that you lack basic empathy.

I’ve never had many friends. Well…one time. When I was the cocaine connection for everyone between 19 and 30. Then, my mother was pleased because so many people called me to hang out or come to this party or do that. It was all cocaine, mother. They didn’t want me there for me. They were using me, just like you. …I’ve tried to have more friends. I find it really hard. Hard to make that connection on my side, and harder still to have that connection returned. I get a lot of pleasant acquaintances in my life. People I can hang with, if the situation warrants. People I can talk to on some level or other. But those acquaintances never seem to grow into anything else. We never overcome that awkwardness, never really open up to each other. Part of the problem is just me. I don’t have tons of cash to go to this event or that, and even if I did there’s my health to consider. Say no enough times and people stop asking. I try to explain that, but…well. People have loads of reasons for not understanding it fully, and I hope most of them never find out what reality looks like when that kind of shit manifests in your life.

Some of them, tho, could do with a good kick in the pants from reality.

I want to kill my mother.

The shaking has stopped. Good thing, too. Almost spilled my coffee a couple of times.

How deep the rage goes. Pretty damned deep. It’s in the animal, in that knee-jerk reaction part of me far beyond the intellectual daydreams of my mind. It is in prey part of me, and it ignites the fight or flight reaction. I understand why the little girl froze. She was too small. No surprise, then, my recurring nightmares of being hunted by giants or spy helicopters in the sky. I was overpowered right from the start. Who wouldn’t have been? I grew into the mindset of being a slave, with no free will of my own. That wasn’t my fault. Nor was it my fault to take as long as I did to wake up. It’s a lot to wake up to, and I had zero tools to deal with it.

My mother physically abused me. It was covert; I was not the child on the playground in dirty clothes who sported a black eye or cigarette burn. I was smartly dressed, in ironed clothes, my hair pulled back so tight it hurt. I was the child from the good family, the respected family. I was smart, shy, and prone to outbursts. I couldn’t play well with others and I didn’t have many friends. 

In many ways, I was the perfect slave…

Working on it

Language class. I turned in the Roald Dahl yesterday. Felt like I was giving up something precious, a well-loved toy. But my enthusiastic review of the book has more than one person in class interested in reading it, so…*sigh*…let them read it. Half the class left at break; next week is vacation and many were leaving early to head off to exotic places. The second half of class was warm. Intimate, even. Our teachers asked each of us what we most wanted to learn next semester, and gave us time to chat away (and get corrected on grammar). They also gave us a verbal review of our progress and work. The one thing we all heard was ‘slow down’. Forming Dutch sentences is difficult. Perfect past tense verbs get split, and personally I find it damned hard to remember the last part of the verb pairing in a long sentence.

I am in the top percentile. No more doubt about it. That terribly tricky article we had for homework was discussed. As usual, I went far beyond most. Most of the class hadn’t even read it through. Fewer still had tried to answer the questions. We tried reading it through, stumbling over those terribly long compound words, getting stopped every other sentence to be asked ‘do you know what this means?’. In the end, the teachers’ assessment was that their top three students found it rather difficult, so they weren’t going to push the matter. And yes, I was included in that top three student assessment.

Ach! They look at me differently. My teachers, that is. I can see it in their eyes. It’s almost an inside joke feel. They know I’m doing the work, they know I’m improving leaps and bounds over the others. My instructions are to keep reading, keep watching Dutch films and programs, keep writing. Had a flash of panic as they talked about my progress; was worried I was going to hear (once again) ‘You need to move up a level’. So I told them I loved the class, thought they were outstanding instructors, but please, please don’t make me go up a level yet because I need more practice right where I am. They smiled. I was assured they weren’t going to make me go to another class, that I was welcome to sit in on these lessons as long as I wanted.

Thank you, Goddess!

Yesterday evening provided me with a good laugh. Just so happened to be online and on FB when a message popped up on my screen. It was from R, my co-star in the film whose scenes got cut. It was totally in Dutch. I understood it immediately, tho I couldn’t reply in Dutch. He said ‘Just heard I got cut from the film. Have you seen the final version yet?’ Now, the job of telling him he was cut from the final was up to S, the director. It was a joke at the premiere that he was dragging his feet on it, and not saying anything to R. My first thought was ‘he finally got around to it’. So I messaged S, telling him I just got a note from R asking about the film. S replied quickly, saying yes, he’d just told R about the film and he didn’t think R was taking it too well. LOL! I am online so rarely and not really connected with my phone, so call it dumb luck or providence, but I found myself involved in ‘The Student Film Scandal’ (which is what I’ll call it, and it gets capitalized because it’s been a running gag for MONTHS now) in real time. Back and forth I went, both R and S online and messaging me.

To R, I did what I told the crew to do in the first place: I played to his ego. My first reply to him was that yes, he had been cut in the final, that it was sad but I also knew he’s a pro and probably had it happen before. That soothed a lot of anger away. He then asked me what I thought of the film. I replied that I think the crew got what they wanted, and when you take into consideration the lack of lighting equipment and tight spaces we were working with, it turned out very well. I also shared with him that I thought I looked terrible due to the poor lighting. He came back quickly, saying maybe it was better he wasn’t in the film if it had such bad lighting. I replied with a joke, telling him every wrinkle on my face was blown up horribly, so yes, it was probably a good thing he wasn’t in it. He ended the conversation with laughter.

Kept S informed of what I saying to R. Admonished him a bit for not doing it in the first place, but hey! S is young. Probably never fired anyone before, whereas I have had plenty of that experience. In the end, my conversation with S was light and laughter filled. Hell! I made both of them laugh, so I guess I did that pretty well.

What I didn’t say to either of them was that I always see myself as unattractive. Never ugly, just unattractive. I’m an almost. Almost pretty. I see it every time I look at myself. Or, that’s what I think. I’m a little too heavy, my face doesn’t have the right angles to it, my teeth are a little crooked, etc. etc. Almost. It takes decades before I can look back at a picture and just see ME. Then, I can acknowledge it: wow, I was pretty back then. I can’t do it real time. So I wasn’t shocked or surprised at all by what I saw on screen.

I’m learning. Slowly. Both the language and a bit of self acceptance.

I know my vision mind is skewed.

I’m working on it.

Writer

This. is why. I’m going. to a psychiatrist! So said I at midnight, still bouncing off walls while brushing my teeth.

The read through…wow. First, I’ll note how disappointed I am in the “members” of the theatre group. Other than the director, myself, and the guy who set up the read through, ZERO members showed. Everyone fucking blew it off. Trying to not take it as a diss on me or my work. But we had 9 people who claimed they had interest and said they’d show. Nine. Second: We did have six newbies show up from the FB post. Thank goodness! Without them, it would have been difficult to give it a read through at all. And it’s always nice to meet new people with similar interests. Third: oh, Goddess! Nothing will take the wind out of your sails like a bad read though of your words. And although the first words out of my mouth were and are ‘Thank you’, even I have to admit it was a BAD read through. These people claim they know English? Stumbling through simple words, unable to pronounce half the text…if I read aloud like that in my language class I’d be kicked down a level. Absolutely awful. That’s not even mentioning the flat delivery, or the almost inaudible voice of one person who sat right next to me yet even I could barely hear her! Saving grace: two of the readers were decent. They carried it.

Since everyone who mattered in the decision on this script was absent, it’s still got to be approved by the Board. Glad to say the director and the member who set it up both like the story, so I’ve got two people who’ll vote ‘do it’. No idea when a decision might come down the tube. With their track record, it might be another month. Or maybe it’ll be easy for them: We don’t have to pay her, so let’s just do it.

Best of all, yes – they all got the unspoken meaning and reason for the trilogy. And, as I walked back to the metro with the director, he again brought up Lovecraft and compared my work to that master of terror. The director is a well read, articulate guy, so I have high respect for his literary opinion.

I can write.

But, yeah. Bouncing off walls. Up late, too excited to try to sleep. Oh! And I forgot to mention the kicker (at least for me). Mentioned to the director that as long as he’s taking the helm, I’ll take a role if he needs me to. He turned to me with large eyes and said “I should hope so! I want you in this!” Ah…to be acknowledged on two fronts. My ego is full. And to have a chance to play one of these high-octane characters -! Speak my own words?!? Oh YES! PLEASE!

Full disclosure, I took a morphine pill last night to (1) calm the fuck down and (2) prevent myself from biting down on my teeth again since I knew it began from mania and I was (and am) as wound up as can be.

Today is as full of stuff – or as empty – as I want it to be. My choice. The weather is crisp and clear this morning, and it almost feels like I’m starting anew. Things I may or may not do include a visit to the gym, tackling two needed phone calls in Dutch, reading, and starting on my homework. I could also duck out of the house to meet my brother at the library so I can get a new library card. Might do that…the sunshine out my window is awfully tempting and considering everything a little shake-up of my norm is probably a good idea.

One of those phone calls I could make today is to make an appointment with a local psychiatrist. Saw my doc on Monday regarding my mental health (YEESH! It was difficult to write those words!). Cried a little. She was very understanding. So now I’m holding this phone number. Need to pop by the doc’s office and pick up a referral letter, too. Then call, set a date, get my brain picked, and get some pills. Mentioned to my doc how I often can’t even tell you how I’m feeling before writing. She thought that was interesting. Have to admit I’m a bit curious to see what this referral letter says. My Dutch is good enough I’ll be able to read all of it. Finally.

Follow through. Remember that! Steady, slow progress. You don’t have to tackle the world today, or even this week. Take a bite today. A bite tomorrow. And put on that brave persona. The one you hauled out on holidays, the one who knew she could leave behind all the angst and shyness simply by choice. You can be whoever you want to be. Finally, keep in mind that you’re harder on yourself than anyone else. No one remembers your flubs like you do. And you’ve cut all those awful people out of your life, the ones who liked to nag at you and verbally remind you of all the times you fucked up. …Hell, woman! You’ve got a cheerleading section these days.

Yes. S and the rest of the film crew. The director here. The artistic director in the states. Even my teachers. Such a glow in Monday’s lesson! And why not? Even I could hear how my language popped up a level after reading through that book. …A couple of other students wrote their essays – half sheets, a small paragraph. Me? Five pages of A4 paper with small, tight hand writing. I received a gratifying gasp from my teacher. In perfect Dutch, I said ‘I can make my homework shorter, but I really want the practice.’ She smiled, and said no, please keep writing just as much as I want.

I am, and always will be, a writer.