Can’t see the forest

And so…

Did some pacing, and some self-talk therapy. Needed to walk out those feelings that were overwhelming me. Got to the gym, burned hard and didn’t tear up once. Back home to hit my homework. Meh. Will I ever learn this language well enough that I don’t have to look up umpteen frigging words in my dictionary every time I do homework? Begrudgingly, I’ll admit my comprehension in general is higher. But there are words I’ve done before in homework, and I just can’t retain their meaning. Don’t know why, but every damned time I think ‘Oh, shit! That word! I know it. What the fuck does it mean again?’ It’s slow going.

Have replayed Friday in my mind so often I’m growing a bit paranoid. Did I go overboard? Ye gods! STOP IT! Stop thinking about it, analyzing it from every little angle. It was fine; you were fine! Stop…looking for something to throw you. Hate it when I do that. And I do it more often than I want to admit.

Now it’s back to practicalities. Get prepped for the premiere. Try on my one good dress (almost vintage now, at 28 years old) and see if it still fits. Shoes are a priority: I only have sneakers and ankle boots. Clean the jewelry I think I’m gonna wear. Think about what the hell I can do with my hair. Wear it up? I’m tempted. There’s so much of it, tho. Will I have the time and funds to get it done? Nice thought, but doubtful. My brother has already been generous with extra money for shoes and a dress if needed; this month is financially tight, as every month seems to be. I can’t ask for more, nor do I feel right splashing out a lot on myself. I’ll try to make do.

I look forward to a day when getting my hair done isn’t viewed as ‘splashing out on myself’.

Smoking: been uppermost in my mind. I am hyper conscious of every time I smoke. Beginning to put it off. Wait a bit longer each time. No great strides, but a bit of progress. A little bit less than the day before. I’ll take it.

…Have to admit to something difficult now. I’m disappointed, and I shouldn’t be. Or, that’s what I’m feeling. …*sigh*… Right. I’ve already acknowledged that even tho I’ve broken off contact with many members of my family, I still want their praise. That’s a common theme in my life. So it shouldn’t be so hard for me to say I’m disappointed that not one member of my DNA family whom I have so many frigging problems with said ANYTHING about the film trailer I posted on FB. Even the ones I still have contact with – no likes, no thumbs up, nothing. Nadda, with a silent exclamation point because it’s that damned quiet. It is difficult, tho. I feel like it’s not appropriate. I made the choice, I cut them off – what the hell am I bitching about now? But if I’m not honest about my conflicting emotions and nonsensical desires, well, what the hell am I writing this for? …Right? (Asked with a desperate need for confirmation..)

Shit, Beeps. You’re looking in the wrong direction…

Remember? Don’t look back. Your elders will never give you what you want. Look forward. Look to the children. It’s they who are excited over you and your knowledge. They’re the ones to call you a role model. You can never be that to your elders. Never, ever, ever. Let it go. And take what you’re given, because what you’re given is precious and wonderful. S looks at me and wonders why I give myself such a hard time. You’re so beautiful, and talented, and brilliant! she tells me. Everything I wanted my mother to say to me. Everything she never said. Take it, Beeps. Without reservation, without self degradation. Hold your head up, smile, and take it as it’s meant. This is your payoff, finally. Allow yourself to enjoy it.

I give myself permission to be happy. I give myself permission to be happy…

People say ‘give it time’. Whatever the hurt or problem, ‘give it time’ is the answer. What people really mean is ‘have more patience with yourself’. And that is far harder than giving it time. Time you can while away through many shiny distractions. But patience for yourself! Now, that’s something you’ve got to work on. Consciously. It is a moment by moment thing, and it’s tough. Doesn’t help that while you learn your new conditions or language or habits, time drags. Tick, tick, tick…Your days become filled with the ticking of the clock, counting off every begrudged minute devoted to whatever it is you’re trying to heal from or learn or change. Once you’ve got it, that stops happening. Time goes back to normal. Sometimes, it even speeds up. But until then…it’s just a slog.

Why do the good and fun things in life seem to fly by so quickly, while the horrid things we’d rather not put up with go on and on and on?

If that holds true, this week should last a few months. I’ve got my language lesson (not ready for it, but then I don’t know that I ever will be), shopping for shoes (ugh. don’t even go there.), and a dental appointment for a mouth guard fitting (dread; more crap in my mouth). Must call about my orthopedics – that’s a double whammy: Dutch on the phone combined with shoes angst. Find out if I’m too fat for my good dress or not (MEGA dread).

Hm. Well that list gets me back to my normal anxiety/stress level. *ironic chuckle*

I walked into this year thinking it was all gonna pop for me. Everything just go, go, go. Now, I don’t know. Now I’m in the daily muck of it all, and I’m getting lost in the small shit.

I can’t see the forest for the trees.

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Hugs

You can tell a lot about your relationship with someone by the way they hug you. Space left between, loose arm hold, fast release…you know when the hug is social, something they feel they must do rather than something they want to do.

I received one such hug yesterday. It came from the student who had to leave the country; her visa is up and she’s going home in a week. I noticed she sat a seat or two apart from the rest of us as we watched the film, and she didn’t join in the conversation often. Maybe the final production was tough. Maybe there was tension and some sort of fight over the film. Or, more likely, she was already feeling too much and she didn’t want to ache worse by engaging with us and then saying good-bye. I’m sad to think that. But I totally understand. The rest of the hugs I received ranged from true friendship to intense love. And I was a glutton, asking for hugs when meeting and hugs when leaving. Gimme, gimme, gimme. I don’t get many hugs, and I wanted to store them up. Plus, I love these people. Totally.

Was happy to find the people I felt most strongly about also felt the same way in return: their hugs told me so. Did not want to leave their company. I also did not want to force them into hanging out with me all day, so we did eventually end the afternoon. But the end came with promises of more calls, more visits – after exams and deadlines, which all seem to be happening in the next ten days. Asked S if I’d offended her with any of my comments on her writing. How I love this young woman! She turned shining eyes – really, her eyes were shining – to me and said ‘Oh, no! You gave me so much great information; I really appreciate it!’ and went on to tell me about the exam and deadline schedule. We have plans to get together once her calendar quiets down, to really talk about the script. And she’s promised (like a teenaged best friend) to help me with my hair and make-up on the night of the awards ceremony (which is black tie – gulp!).

Oh! I have a friend!

Talked a bit about my writing. Mentioned how I want to take my work to film. Everyone wants to continue working in the industry. And the director said, on the way out, ‘maybe we should just do another one’, meaning maybe we could get together and film MY story. He mentioned how little some films are made for, the funding and support available here in NL. I responded enthusiastically, saying my stuff is made for the stage so it’s already story heavy and FX light. …I know it’s not Ridley Scott or some other famous director, but the very idea has me all a-tingle. It might happen. I might see my script on the big screen.

Speaking of the big screen, OH MY GODDESS! Now I understand why Hollywood actors starve themselves. That screen blows you up to inhuman proportions. It doubles your size, and doubles your flaws. The part of me that always wants to look attractive winced. We used overhead lighting in the shoot – the type designed to throw shadows under any puffiness and exaggerate every crease and wrinkle. Ugh! I looked awful. And when I tucked my chin in, the skin on my neck just hung there all flabby and gross. But the part of me still addicted to being attractive is pretty weak. She gasped once or twice in my head, horrified at our appearance. Then the rest of me shut her up. We’re clay, I told myself. This is what they wanted. Look at the final product. And even she had to admit it added to this off feeling in the scenes, the tension and the something’s not right here that we wanted the audience to feel.

Oh, the excitement! The joy! All those times I was forced to work in groups, all those times I was told to pull as a team… I never felt it, and I never was in a group I felt included in. Not until the film. Now, I get it. I get the power of a team. I get the power of working together. It. is. amazing. And it’s effortless and fun and full of so many good feelings I often find myself near or in tears.

Guess I haven’t let myself care this much very often. I’ve wanted to, I’ve just not found people I felt I could trust with…all of this. I want to dance and sing, jump up and down. Show them all how much I love them. Support them, cheerlead for them, listen and help and be happy as I see them succeed in life. And I don’t want to freak any of them out, either. This old woman who’s so odd. Who just walked into their lives and now has set up camp. Trying to limit myself. Give a lot, but hold back from the all because…well, it almost overwhelms me. I don’t feel right burdening someone with it – and that’s what it feels like, even tho I’m so very focused on their happiness. Too much of anything isn’t good. So I shine that light on them, that bright burning joy I have around them, when I’m in their presence. Then, I try to tone it down. Not hound them every minute with it. I could; I’d like to write to each of them right now and tell them how much I love them.

I said it yesterday. Not with my words. That might sound weird. I told them how proud I was of them, how happy I am with the film, how much I loved being a part of it all, how I knew they’d all go on to be great successes. But my hugs said more. That’s how I told them I loved them.

Float

My Thursdays are now free. No surprise from my instructor, no empty attempts to get me to continue with the lessons. My entire body feels lighter. I feel, in fact, as if a great deal of clutter just got swept away. Ah! No more getting up early for a 9 a.m. start. No more frustration with my teacher’s unclear sentences. No more boredom, sitting there as the other student and the teacher chat and do lesson plans that I’m not included in or that I’ve moved beyond.

Spent my time well. Worked on real world language application. I had to sort through our health insurance information. Read through all the paperwork, went online and checked their site, then wrote a message to them with several questions regarding upgrading our policies. Took me a full hour and half, the exact time I would have sat in my language lesson, AND I got something accomplished. Much better! Feels like I have a chance of staying on top of things without my Thursday lessons.

Today I travel up to Den Haag. The film group have the finished cut, and we’re all getting together to watch it now because two of the crew have to leave before the awards ceremony. Can’t wait to see everyone. A little afraid, too. With the holidays, I’ve been out of touch with most of them. I see their FB posts and comment/like them, but it’s not the same. I think they’re feeling it, too: will we all have the same deep connection we felt on the set? Or will we gather together as near strangers, awkward with each other and not sure how to proceed? Determined to make that connection again. Just…let myself feel it and show it. Let those days of not being together melt away. Put my best self forward, and keep in mind the kindness and support I felt during the shoot. They won’t hurt me. I might hurt myself from too much positivity, but THEY won’t hurt me.

…And I feel the need of a little positivity right now. Still nothing from ANYONE on my scripts. Beginning to feel like maybe I didn’t get the story across. Maybe it’s all old hat. Maybe I’ve just been real manic (as usual post-writing) and it’s not that fucking great. Oh! Like it, like it, like it!! Please.

Splurged on a few new Dutch films. Both I and my bro feel it’s a great tool to use in learning the language. We run the films first with English subtitles, to make sure we know and enjoy the story. Then, it’s Dutch all the way. And it helps! I re-watched The Boxtrolls the other day, with only Dutch, and was amazed at how much I heard and understood. Beginning to mimic dialogue lines, which is precisely where I want to be. Parrot the language. Repeat back what I hear. Get the flow, the rhythm. That’s what I feel is missing from my language lessons. They push you to read, to talk, to do Dutch – but none of us had those early years with native speakers talking to us. It’s like learning a song: you’ve got to hear it a few times before you can sing it. Sometimes I feel like my teachers ask me to ‘sing’ Dutch cold: just do it. That works most of the time. But then there are the exceptions. The French words thrown in, which are pronounced differently. The Dutch words that are spelled one way but pronounced another (with no reason given, other than ‘that’s the way we do it’). With no native speakers directly in my life, I trip up on that all the time. I miss common words everyone else seems to already know. I need to hear that music! Might suggest to the group running the lessons that they have a clear speaker record some simple stories. Allow students to read the text and listen to a real native speaker read aloud. We all need it; I can hear it in the other students as well, even if they DO know more words than I.

…Have this odd feeling that my hair is turning into a running gag in my life. It’s just always the very last thing on my list. So it grows, and grows, and grows unabated. Don’t even know that I’ll get around to coloring the grey this month. I want to add some red, but I know that’s best done at a salon so nothing weird happens (once had my hair turn iron grey and electric purple from a bad dye job reaction). *sigh* The idea of traveling to the salon, sitting while the work is done, and paying for it… Well. Facts speak for themselves, don’t they? I obviously don’t find the prospect pleasant.

Beginning to pick up the threads of my routine again. I no longer have to put ‘gym’ on my daily list as a kick in my butt, I just do it. Still haven’t touched my homework for Monday, but I do feel I’m working on the language. Watching my sleep, my food intake, all that crap. Trying to slow down my smoking: now that’s hard. I can tell my anxiety is still high, and smoking is something that helps calm me. I also know it’s bad for me, and expensive.

Guess the one thing I really do need to address in my life is my anxiety. And the depression. And all the rest… I’ve been here before. I don’t like being here. I’m stuck between my fear of the whole mental health process and my fear over the damage I’m doing to myself. Either choice seems fraught with danger. Hard times, difficult days that I’ll just have to push myself through. I don’t want that. I feel I’ve done that, every day.

I just want to float…

Lovesick

*deep, lovesick sigh* Will I ever be able to have a physio appointment and NOT fall in love with my therapist? …Doubtful. I seem to be made hard-wired to like this guy. Everything about him – his looks, his voice, his mind, his attitude – I can’t help but like him. I’ve tried to keep cool. Be distant. But after each and every appointment, I feel love sick. I hoard up memories of his words and the jokes we share as if they mean something. Ach! I could spend a fortune on appointments just to have more time with him.

Today I’m getting walloped by a side comment he made about my hair. I told him the day is coming; it’s getting chopped off. Immediately his voice took on a slightly pleading tone: Why? I’ve heard that response before, in that tone of voice. It’s a ‘I really find your hair attractive, please don’t cut it off’ thing. And the very female response he brings out in me is now screaming to keep the hair long, deal with it. He likes it. Never once does this side of me ask if I like my hair this long. She’s only concerned with the impact it makes on other people. Especially people she finds intensely attractive.

…Still nothing in my inboxes regarding my work. I’m beginning to bite my nails.

I did manage to finally finish J’s story, and after several attempts, a note to him about it. Oh, that note! I re-wrote it and re-wrote it. I wanted to be up front about some technical issues. I wanted to be clear. Not mean, not cutting, just truthful. And bless J’s heart, he read it as I intended. Thanked me for pointing out the tech side of things, and admitted that he knew these were problem areas in his writing. I received a very long reply, detailing his ideas for his world and the characters. The message wound up with a ‘I’ve got low energy and loads of depression right now, so I’m not writing at the moment’. I replied, telling him to try and use that. His world is depressive; let that reflect in some of his characters. He ended up asking if he could quote me on FB. I said sure, thinking it would be one or two lines from my message. Nope. The whole thing, with praise heaped on my head for bringing these ideas to his attention. He told me he never once considered putting his depression into his stories. In his blog, yes. But in his stories? No. I could hardly believe it.

Please don’t tell me the majority of stories about depression are written by non-depressive people. It’s probably true; it has that ring of ‘yep, that’s reality’ in it.

No wonder the world is so fucked. We’ve been fed one viewpoint – a false viewpoint, with limited and restricting stereotypes laced throughout – our entire history. Stories about black people written by whites. Stories about women written by men.

Good Goddess! Write what you know!

More: write what you are. If you’re a man, write about men. If you’re gay, write about homosexuality. If you’re a woman, write about women. Don’t try to get tricky, don’t think you know what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes. You think you know, but you don’t. Leave the truth telling to the people who’ve been through it every damned day of their lives. That, more than anything, seems to be lacking. The overriding, all-encompassing shit we ‘minorities’ face day in and day out. If you haven’t had to deal with people ignoring you because you’ve got big breasts, or dissing what you say out of hand because of the color of your skin, you don’t get it. Our minds are not wired to imagine such slurs on a regular basis, such degradation in everything we see and hear and touch. And it changes everything. People like to imagine themselves being strong and brave in these situations. People get it wrong. Because when you’re a dog beaten for no reason and locked up in a cage all your fucking life, you develop certain behaviors and attitudes that are not strong nor brave. It’s easy to be heroic when you step into a bad situation after a lifetime of support and real love. But if you’re that beaten dog, heroics are something you dream about, not something you do. You’re too enmeshed in freeing yourself from your restraints.

*grumble, grumble, and grouse…*

…So today I need to walk into my language lesson and tell them I’m not continuing this semester. Thursday lessons just aren’t worth it. There’s no lesson plan, no structure. The room is big and loud. It’s difficult at best to hear. I think my time is far better spent doing my Monday homework, extra reading, and watching more films and programs in Dutch. Structure, repetition, and clear speaking. That’s what I need. Not a teacher who’s half afraid of me and half doesn’t like me. Not a ‘lesson plan’ that dithers here and there without any clear direction. Not an extra student who, when she shows up, pulls the entire experience back to a lower level I’ve moved beyond. I need to keep moving forward. Not sure what to expect today. My plan is to take nothing; I’m not staying. Just show up and talk to my teacher. Tell her I can’t afford to pay for both Monday and Thursday lessons, and since I must choose, I choose Monday lessons. The other reasons…if I was offered Thursdays for free, I’d go. No skin off my nose. Then I’d view it as one more opportunity to just use the language. But it’s not worth paying for. Last semester, my fellow student didn’t have to pay. We’ll see if that occurs for me. I don’t expect it.

Get to the gym. Make sure I’m ready to head to Den Haag tomorrow.

*sigh* And work, once more, to free myself from this lovesick feeling.

A New Thought

I feel undeserving. Just opened up my writer’s email and found this:

I wanted to let you know that unfortunately, we selected two shows for our spring event and your show was ranked third. However! I think this show would be the perfect for the Capitol Fringe festival (it’s a summer play festival in Washington DC that showcases tons of original works, sponsored by local theaters and actors.) If you are interested, I would like to put together a proposal for the Board of Little Theater of Alexandria[where I am the governor of seasonal planning] and propose that they sponsor it for the summer of 2019. IF they approve and IF it’s accepted to the festival, it would receive several weeks of performances at a venue in DC. In exchange for using your script, LTA would sponsor everything – we’d get a director, audition actors, provide rehearsal space, and cover all associated costs with promotion, props, staging, etc. Because we would be paying for everything, we would not provide any money to you for rights. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in I can work up a proposal to take to our Board (and show to you as well) to see if they would be interested.

I know eventually I’ll need to get paid. Can’t live on kudos alone. And some people would discount this note entirely because there’s no money involved. But I can’t get past the fact that this artistic director and governor of seasonal planning has now TWICE suggested taking my work to another level. She really believes in my script. I mean…look how much work she’s talking about taking on. Prepping for a festival, putting together a proposal, submitting to the board – that’s all her. I don’t do any of it. When I balance out the money they’ll spend on auditioning, rehearsing, travel to the fest and accommodations while there… I’m more than getting paid in my opinion.

Think I’ll offer her the full trilogy. She’ll either love it or she won’t. She’s already hot to trot on the first part.

Going to the gym on a daily basis right now. Had a huge, deep crack from my back yesterday and an immediate release of tension. Feeling better. Haven’t returned to my regular rotation yet; just doing the treadmill to open up my hips and back. But it’s a start.

Speaking of pain, I can brush my teeth now. All of them. Still a bit painful in one or two spots, but I can brush. Hip hip hooray.

Heard from S. We must have got our messages crossed. Either that, or my original message went missing in some cyber space black hole. She sent me her script. I…put on a teacher’s hat and gave her some notes. In fairness, she asked me to. And I was gentle, telling her ahead of time I’m being tough on her script because I think it’s worth the time and effort. English is her second language, so she’s got some basic errors that simply come from unfamiliarity with the phrases. While not technically wrong, some of her dialogue sounds a bit stilted. Gave her some suggestions. Her script is littered with passive writing – again, not wrong, just not in favor at the moment. Pointed these things out, gave her workable alternatives. The story was something else. She pinned it on a possession tale. Horror. I like horror. Sadly, she wrote from a film maker’s perspective – meaning she concentrated on her cuts and shots rather than the story. Her plot line was full of holes, full of unanswered questions. I brought these to her attention, giving her my take on the story. Sometimes writers are just blind to what they write; the story is so strong in their heads they fail to communicate it well. Left my note with a statement that I hoped it wasn’t too much, I enjoyed what she’s got, and I’m willing to talk more with her about these issues.

…*sigh* Made myself climb out of bed early this morning. Trying to force my way back to ‘normal’ hours. Hate that. It takes me 10 days to reset my clock to time off – staying up later, sleeping in, chilling. I get a day or two of bliss and deep sleep, then I have to force myself back to an earlier schedule to try and get ready for life. Almost not worth it.

Dutch. My brother’s been sneaky. He bought several cheap Dutch films over the break for me. Knows that in my current manic state, I’m more apt to take on an unknown film with subtitles simply for something new to watch. Watched 2 of the films. Thankfully, they’ve got English subtitles, so for the first viewing I was at least able to understand the plot. But I listened as much as I could. Found that as the films went on and I got used to the way each character spoke, I could make out more and more words. That’s encouraging. Not asking my brain to decode everything, just hear it. That’s the first step. Every once in a while, a light went on in my head – I know that phrase! Good. It’s coming back.

2018. I’ve got a Dutch children’s story to write this year. Months in the studio fiddling with sound for (hopefully) the performance of my work in Rotterdam. Research on a couple of levels: film script notation, historical references for future stories, weird and unsolved mysteries to base stuff on.

I’m not doing anything different. Or, I don’t feel like I am. So it’s difficult to reconcile this support. I find myself questioning it. Why? Why is this happening? Maybe it’s just a numbers game. Get out there long enough and eventually you’ll find someone who likes your stuff.

Or…maybe this is just karma. Maybe I’ve actually been doing things right. Giving so much, and now finally receiving.

Maybe I really do deserve this.

…Now, that’s a new thought.

Ta-da!

The more I physically heal, the more anger I feel. Old stuff. Same old stuff. No need to go thru it again.

Trying to monitor this shit for real, ’cause…well, pain. That, and I figure I’ve had enough of it at my age.

Spent two hours on the phone talking to S last night. It’s strange to have a friend who just wants to chat on the phone. But I was happy to catch up with her, happy to feel good enough to talk normally. She made me laugh – hard – when she told me the guy who played my husband in the film got cut. The crew got to the editing suite and no one like his footage or performance. Even their teacher watched his stuff and said ‘cut it’. Now S is ducking the actor because she doesn’t want to tell him he’s been completely cut out of the film. Oh, I empathize with her dilemma! I wouldn’t want to tell him either, tho I suggested to her that she play to his ego and start with something like ‘I know you’re a real professional, so you’re aware that sometimes scenes get cut in the editing room…’. But, you know, in the nugget of perfection on that shoot, he was the sore spot. Things were a little less fun, a little less together while he was there. And he was a lousy actor. Best they could find, and I’m sure he’d work in some situations – but he was bad. Everyone knew it at the time. S thinks she might tell him the premiere got cancelled by the school. She’s also considering sending a special cut with his scenes to him, just to appease him. I don’t want to sound like a bitch, but…it’s funny. If you’d heard him speak about his acting, you’d understand.

I’ve been told I’m on the posters and marketing info. Apparently, my tongue is now the director’s screen saver, too. I be everywhere. And according to rumor, my ass and tits look great on screen. So glad I’m old enough to know the difference between the illusion and me. No worries about trying to look like that all the time…tho, honestly, if I someday find members of the press outside my door, I’ll at least brush my hair before I leave the house.

Received an excited confirmation on Taman. Good golly! Must have really written a great 100 word bio. They don’t know me from Eve. I was apologetically informed my entry was early, most authors don’t get their work in before December 31, and it would take months to sort thru everything and make a decision. I was thanked sincerely for my work, and left with their hope that I would continue to work with them and write about more women. Not what I was expecting. Again, it’s more. More than I dreamed of getting.

Coming to the realization that I’ll need new pages under my writing name and as an actor. Hi, this is the new me. Again. This time, tho, I’m not fluffing things out with nonsense. I’ve already got concrete realities to talk about. Scripts, films, plays, interest and excitement. One more project under my belt and I’ll hire someone to help me on the side. I so hate social media pages.

The morphine is doing its job. Brushed my teeth last night without any electric feeling jolts in my molars. Determined to stay on three a day until Monday. I want this thing down. Quiet. Subdued. A week from today I get my temporary filling replaced, and I want to be pain free for days before going in. Feels a bit like cheating. I’m not screaming in agony any more. I could probably get by on less. But it’s so damned pleasant to not feel pain. I just want a little more of that. And I don’t want the nerve to start up again.

The time is coming. My hair is getting chopped and changed. I’ve been thinking about it more and more lately, a sign I’m well acquainted with. I want to go back to auburn. That color looked particularly good on me. And I think my new cut will be jaunty and asymmetrical. That also looks real good on me. I’m dithering a bit. There are elements of longer hair I enjoy. Mostly tying it back or up. But it’s hard to keep nice. My hair tangles easily, so when I do wear it down and free I always have snarls to deal with. It’s a pain to wash, a pain to dry, a pain to keep out of my eyes. Other than that, I like it. But, new me, new hair. And I’m ready for the ta-da! of a new ‘do.

Hell! I’m ready for the ta-da! of a new me.

Save yourself

Slept decently. Yea! Small victories are sometimes the most important.

Woke, however, with one thing on my mind: the friend request on FB from an ex-neighbor who done me wrong. I’ve let it sit for a month, as I do when I’m unsure of what action I should take. I finally woke this morning finding I had something to say.

We are not friends. Not since you so coldly shut me out over the farmers’ market. Why are you asking to be my friend now? Do you think I’d simply forget your refusal to give me a lift, your refusal to talk to me at the time? Do you think friends simply ignore past problems and they’re magically white-washed away?

I was, and still am, hurt over your actions.

In fact, every single one of the women involved in that incident can go to hell. You all wanted to cheat the system, to by-pass the law, to sell illegally, and, most importantly, to sell substandard and dangerous products to the public. I didn’t call in any inspector for you or anyone else at the market, it was for me. Of course the inspector then saw the signs in town, and of course she checked things out. That was her job! And the law. And if people got in hot water because their kitchens were filthy and they were finally found out, it isn’t MY fault. Never was. It’s THEIR fault. Yet, I was blamed and ostracized.

I suppose in a strange way I should say thanks. I didn’t know at the time what a den of thieves and liars I was getting involved with, and that incident showed me beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are people I do not want to associate with.

Live your life out on your tiny plot of land at the end of that peninsula. Take what joy you can from the life you’ve created. I wish you no ill.

But stop asking me to be your friend.

Again, this is sitting on my desktop unsent. I’ll think about it for a few more days before I do anything. All I want from this communication is to state what I feel and think. How easy to tell someone how I feel if I don’t really care about them! Easy! This is it; you fucked up and I’m hurt. Wish I could do that with everybody.

But, I can’t. The more I care, the more I risk by telling my truth. And the more difficult my truth becomes to state.

I don’t trust a lot of people with my truth. That’s a mess. Don’t state the truth, resentment builds, eventually there’s an argument – which I don’t want in the first place. I’m working on it. Still haven’t got to the point I can say something like ‘Ow, that hurts’ when people say hurtful things to me, but the day is coming. I have some fresh, powerful memories of feeling good about myself and being around positive people. That helps immensely. I’m less likely to take shit right now because I’ve had a taste of what good relations feel like.

And I don’t want to be angry about this. I don’t want to stand up for myself with a red face, yelling or screaming.

I just want to be able to stand.

…That’s not asking too much, is it?

*sigh* And the thought occurs that I may have to do this over and over. Tell my truth to the people I was too afraid to say it to before. Seems to keep cropping up. Just when I think I’ve shaken off the last of my past, someone comes creeping back with a message or a friend request. …The weirdest part is that I know I’m making this harder than it needs to be. I’m the one reluctant to take the chance. And I’m the one who needs to be brave right now. Do it. I risk nothing by stating my truth; they’re already out of my life.

Shatter that last barrier.

No. more. abuse. Not physical, not mental, not spiritual. I have my foothold now. I know what it’s supposed to look and feel like. I found that ‘click’ with people I’ve been so desperately searching for. They’ve made me see a part of me I didn’t know I kept hidden. And they loved it, and loved me, and I loved them in return.

Your family shouldn’t hold you back. Your friends shouldn’t drag you down. If you’re out there in whatever time and space you occupy and the people around you make you continuously feel shitty about yourself, get the fuck out. Now. Don’t think about what you’ll be losing. You’re trained to think that way. You’ve been conditioned, subordinated, brainwashed. Just get the fuck out. You’ve a lifetime to sort thru everything, so give yourself that lifetime. Get. out.

And yes, you’ll be called a runner. A coward, for leaving. These people will try to shame you even as you attempt to save yourself. Ignore them. Leave. Cut all ties. Change your name. Whatever you have to do to get away from them, do it.

Save yourself.

Heaven makes a good cup of coffee

I was real ready for a good night’s sleep. Instead, I couldn’t get comfortable. Seemed even worse than the last few days. Finally drifted off, to wake up at 4:30 FROM A CAFFEINE HEADACHE BECAUSE I FORGOT TO DRINK ENOUGH COFFEE YESTERDAY WITH SEEING THE DOCTOR.

Damn!

So I am awake. Nursing one of those stupid caffeine headaches that will disappear once I drink my coffee. And may I say, I’m pleased enough to be up and grousing about a stupid caffeine headache! Funny how things like that get turned around after awhile.

For the first time in a week, I feel I can think again. Even contemplated writing this morning (serious writing, that is). Not sure I’ll go there, but it feels good to be able to string a few coherent thoughts together without getting interrupted by pain.

Heard from S, my new friend. Actually, she called me twice and sent me a text message while I was out of it. Did not hear my phone go off once. Filled her in on what’s happening, and bless her heart, she sent me a lovely message full of good wishes and asking if there’s anything she can do. My heart is full. Don’t know how or why I grew to love S and the rest of the crew so much so quickly. It’s like I finally met decent people, and my entire being responded without me thinking. I became nicer, more thoughtful, more gentle. I became who I wanted to be, and I guess that made me love them all the harder – because they’re the ones who made it safe for me to feel this way.

Also heard from someone I knew in Ireland. This woman was my neighbor, and for a short while we were friendly. When I began baking for a local farmer’s market, I went about it the way the law was written. I contacted and got cleared for my kitchen. All sorts of stuff. The upshot of this was the government agent saw the local farmer’s market that I was selling at, and that prompted her to stop by and check out everyone selling something – which raised complete and utter hell. Most of those people were operating very dangerously, in very unhealthy conditions. As usual with those types of people, I became blamed for ‘starting the whole mess’. I was ostracized. My up to that point friendly neighbor cut me off and refused to give me a lift to the market so in the end all that work I did to get certified was useless to me. She also refused to talk to me on any level. And now, she’s trying to reconnect on FB. I unfriended her some months back when I realized I’d never done it. Obviously, we’re not friends. But here she is, asking to be my friend. And gee whiz…it’s right on the heels of the posts about my films. Just gob-smacked at the bald balls this woman has. Seriously? After all that? I’d suggest you begin with an apology for treating me like shit. After that, I might talk to you. But, lady, I’ve sampled your kind of friendship – and I don’t want another helping.

I find it interesting how, on the heels of me saying ‘no’ to various members of my narcissistic family, my life took a fast upswing. Oh, I know I’ve got new issues to deal with now – acceptance, respect, and love. I’m not saying it’s easy. But I’m looking at a possible 2018 with a new film out, a play in the US, and a play here in NL all in the same year. Two of those things will definitely be happening. And who knows? I might get two plays done in the states; I’ve got enough material over there.

My point is that I dithered on the family issue for…well, all my life. And my life showed it: some upswings, but mostly downers. Shed those blood suckers and finally I bloom. I know I’m still stuck at wanting their approval, but it’s amazing how easy it’s been to get respect for me and my work once I let them go. There’s no one to continually tear me down. No one to niggle at me with ‘jokes’ meant to ‘put me in my place’. Just the opposite. And now that the shits are gone, I find myself better able to let in the positives. I really feel buoyed up by the likes on FB and the positive comments. Everyone’s been telling me I haven’t been letting the compliments get in, I just negate them immediately in my head. And they were right, to an extent. That was programming from my family. All those subtle things they’d say that were digs at me. I felt every single one like a knife.

They ruined my fucking life.

And yeah, I know eventually I’ll need to get past that statement, too. Not yet. I’ve a lifetime of anger stored up. That’ll come out, eventually. I hope. I don’t want to spend the rest of my time blaming my family and ignoring my life. I just want to live happily. Enjoy feeling good about myself. Have friends I trust and love. Maybe be able to prevent this from happening to someone else.

The toughest thing about this was sticking to the decision. I was scared it would be hard having little to no family. Cutting everyone off. But standing up for myself was the hardest part. After that, it got easier. Easier than I’d ever imagined. So easy it’s throwing me for a loop.

Maybe this is all mania and morphine. Like I’d know.

But, oh! To have people I click with, people I trust, people I love so easily…now couple that with respect for my work.

Did I die and go to heaven? Maybe so.

And if so, I gotta say: Heaven makes a good cup of coffee.

Thoughts and thanks

Ninety minutes.

I’m not a big phone talker. Maybe when I was 14, but not since then. Use the phone to make a date or a plan to talk in person. So much better! But last night, I was on the phone for an hour and a half with S, the casting director from the film. Unexpected? Absolutely. But not unwanted, even tho the call came in around 10 at night (she’s a night owl).

I think I might have found a real friend.

Heard about the last day of filming, which went great. Heard how much everyone missed me, which felt great. And then, it was just talk. Talk about life, relationships, self confidence, our past…Well, we had a long conversation, so we covered a lot.

She said I was a role model. That she thought I was brave. I’m a bit stunned. Me? Brave? Maybe in front of the camera, but other than that I know how deeply chicken shit I tend to be. Yet, there it was: I was tagged as brave. I think that might be the first time in my life I’ve earned that particular label. I don’t feel like a role model. But then, I’m older. I’ve let a lot of stuff drop. I used to worry about people finding me attractive. Now I think about being a good person. I used to worry about saying too much, being too blunt. Now I state my opinions simply, without an argumentative tone in my voice. I understand how, as a younger woman, that might look brave and like someone you want to emulate. And good if that’s what it is! If I can take one day off of another woman’s internal suffering because they admire how I deal with life or men or politics or whatever, then I’ve lived a life worth living. I know how long I’ve sat in the shit. I don’t think anyone deserves to feel as bad about themselves as I have.

And I am so tired of seeing women tear themselves down. That shit that surfaces from competitiveness and petty jealousies. The nasty comments behind the back and to the face. The use of male branded put downs, male dominated ideals, male led lives. We have allowed ourselves to be led around the ring by our noses, just like the pieces of meat so many misogynists see us as. And those of us caught in that web deny it: I’m not jealous; she’s just a whore.

Can we be honest? Can we say that a lot of that surfaces because we’re all dick hounds after a good fuck? Because we all want this fairy-tale ideal we were fed from birth, that a perfect life includes a husband who has a good job? Okay, I know I’m ignoring the lesbians (sorry) and the non-sexual people out there. I’m making a point. This shaming of women BY women comes out of competition. It’s insidious, and it’s been instilled in us for forever.

Every time we do it, we play their game. Every time we do it, we support their foul opinions of us. Every time we do it, we kill ourselves and hamper our futures and the futures of all our daughters.

It’s got to stop.

If the only way you feel you can get ahead in life is to tear someone else down, you’re not making any progress.

I guess considering the world these days, that attitude alone should make me a role model. Embrace it, Beeps. You’re a knight in shining armour. Hm. And thus, comes understanding of how roles are thrust upon us. You just…live long enough that you become an oddity. An oddity that people admire, but an oddity nonetheless. And then they tell you, and you begin to monitor your own behavior. You start to become what they see you as, because a part of you doesn’t want to let them down. So you try. You reach for the bigger part of yourself. You keep doing that, keep trying.

And so you become.

That’s not to say you buy your own marketing. Therein lies the problem. I guarantee you that at the base of any star’s suicide is a deep seated belief that they didn’t really live up to their image. Maybe it’s not the ultimate tipping point, but it’ll be in the mix. It’s a big and ugly problem. Because people need those heroes. People need role models, the personalities larger than life to inspire and lead them thru dark times. But it can feel like a lie. I’m not really that good, I’m not really that smart, or that talented, or that beautiful… You need to balance what is and what is perceived.

Tread lightly, oh walkers of life! You never know when you will become. And you never quite realize, from where you are, just how difficult that balancing act is.

So. I have a friend. Admiration. Dizzying amounts of respect. It is as tough to take as the opposite. Especially after years of having no friends, no admiration, and no (or little) respect. And I don’t want to fuck it up. I want friends. I want people in my life. People who are happy to see me, people who are sad if I’m ill. People to share things with, because fun is amplified a thousand fold when you share it.

I am…at a loss. I don’t know why I’m getting this outpouring. I don’t know what I did so right to deserve it; if I did know, I’d keep doing it. All I can do is be the brightest me I can be. Listen, care. Slow down enough to really interact. Share my sense of humor. Hug people when I know they need it.

Waking every day with a sense of thankfulness. It’s totally new. I’ve had it for short bursts, over little accomplishments. This feels big, and solid. Like a river of lava flowing thru my life: huge, encompassing, and burning away all those truly inconsequential things that have been hampering me for so very long.

Thank you.

Blend me

There. Downtime taken. Not easy. I was super squirrelly. Couldn’t actually nap, but I rested as much as possible and applied arnica lotion to my bruises throughout the day. Kept getting little jolts of excitement every time I went online, seeing posts from my film friends and friend requests and happily confirmed friendships and DAMN! I’ve never felt like I’ve had this many friends before.

Those feelings from the set are still oozing out of me. No longer from my hands; that part is over. Now it oozes from my eyes, as I tear up thinking about how much fun we had. I just felt so included and wanted. I still do, because of the continued online explosion.

But today it’s back to reality. The big equalizer: scrubbing out the toilet. Doesn’t matter if you’re King or Shit-Sweeper; scrubbing out a toilet brings everyone down to the same level. There’s dishes to clean, garbage to take out, a few items to pick up at the store, laundry to shift around. Get up and get moving again at the gym. Try to keep it all light, drink juice, take a break if I need it.

I still don’t have my holiday lights up yet.

Winter has come to the Netherlands. It’s been here for several days, but I’ve been too busy to pay much attention. Hail, sleet, and snow rain down from the cold skies every day. We might even get a little accumulation before the day is out. Almost hope for it; some of my new friends are from warmer climates and they talked about wanting to see a real snow. 🙂 I refrained from saying anything about ‘real snows’ or drifts five feet high when they said that. Dutch snow, I can handle. Even if a lot comes down, it doesn’t stick around.

…Have to admit, my deepest dreams are for family members to notice my posts about the film and show some interest. Maybe say ‘well done!’ I’m not holding my breath. They’ve had 52 years to tell me ‘well done’, 52 years to support me doing what I love, and so far all they’ve offered me are half-assed jokes at my expense. But I’d be lying if I said any different. I want that recognition from them. I want my mother to be proud of me. I want my father to acknowledge my beauty. Even with both my parents dead, and voluntarily cutting myself off from the rest of the family, I still want it. There’s the saddest thing of all, because I know I’ll never get it. Not from my mother or father. Not from my oldest brother or sister. Not from any of my aunts or uncles on my mother’s side. The extended family from my father’s side has always supported me from the moment time I met them. That was my very first clue: here were family members who took me as family, shared their lives with me in words and pictures, and supported me. Said ‘wow!’ or ‘well done!’ or ‘I’m so excited for you!’ They barely know me – we’ve never actually met in person – and yet they are so much more open and loving than my real family. It told me so much.

And it made me so sad. Oh, I’m done asking why. At least for today. The why doesn’t bloody well matter in the end, does it? The only thing that ends up mattering is what the hell you’re going to do with the mess you got dealt in life.

I see now, in hind sight… Ach! I was going to start saying I should have this or that. Fuck that. I did what I did. Chose how I chose. It taught me things, things I wouldn’t have learned any other way. I’ll embrace that. It’s hard to say thanks for it. Felt like a lot of shit to go thru, but maybe that’s because I’m bull headed and stubborn.

For now, I feel inspired. Fired up with standing up and being noticed. Moving forward for reals. Feels like my feet are firmly planted on the ground. I’m not building castles in the air. I’m not living on pipe dreams. I’m doing. I’m being.

And while part of me wishes I could take this knowledge back to myself and change things, let me make this abundantly clear to the Universe and anyone who’s listening: I DON’T WANT TO GO AROUND AGAIN. I want to see and be in the now, take the joy I can, love who I trust, do what I’m meant to do.

Holy fuck. Am I saying I want to…live?

That word has new meaning for me now. Live used to mean exist. I existed. I put up with the pain. But there’s a whole other dimension to that word. To truly live. Wow. It’s an immense feeling.

I want to keep that feeling, even when I’m scrubbing out the toilet today. I’ll live it. It’s just a tiny seed in the huge fruit of life. It’s hard, and tasteless. You might hurt yourself if you bite down on it too hard. It might be a bit bitter tasting, or slimy, or just gross. Don’t eat it. Consume the fruit. Spit the seeds. Everyone’s been telling me that, in their own words. Stop focusing on all the bad in life. Look on the bright side. Why can’t you take a compliment? But I didn’t have enough fruit. I was getting all seeds. My life was a pomegranate. And I don’t like pomegranates.

I’d been eating life raw. Very raw, and with no help from a cheery television chef telling me how to make this shit edible. Now, it feels like I’ve got a fully stocked kitchen with all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Just hit a switch and all the work is done for you.

Go on; do it.

Blend me.