Vroooooom…

I’ve had a lot of nightmares about being in the back seat of moving vehicles. Cars, roller coasters…anything, really, that my mind could use to portray a terrifying image of me being out of control. The dreams plagued me all during childhood and into my teens. Often I’d wake soaked with sweat, the image of what I’d dreamt burnt into my memory so deep I still remember those subconscious night-time movies.

These days, I’ve installed a brake system. Or, one’s been installed for me.

Two short conversations with my bro changed things yesterday. One was a bit of feedback on the letter I sent to the journalist who’s request for info was still languishing in the theatre’s inbox (btw, she received it and answered me very politely). The second was a re-think on video backdrops. I have some blue cloth that’ll work just fine. Red would match everything, but my bro used the magic words on me yesterday to pull my head out of the clouds: anything you do is an upgrade. Just making the vids is an upgrade. I don’t have to go 110% and have everything match like some demented housewife let loose on decorating her house.

Put out the pix of my first make-up test on FB. Lots of great comments. One ‘experienced’ twenty-something gave me a few ‘tips’. Just say thanks, Beeps. Let go of reminding people of all your experience. Not the easiest thing for me to do this morning. Guess I feel the need to justify myself. To remind people I’m in my 50s with decades of experience under my belt. Feels an awful lot like people ride over me, and I suppose they do. I don’t crow about myself in public. I’m not the person who’ll sit in a theatre meeting and list out all my albums, all my performances, all my films to every single person. I just say ‘I’ve done a lot on stage and on camera’ and generally leave it at that. I’ve had all sorts of comments come my way, trying to peg me into some square hole. Oh, amateur performances. Sure, we’ve all done those. …Oh, just a little one person show, huh? Nice you had a few people show up. …I’ve never heard of that director or that film. Was it actually released? …You’re a singer? Sing something for us. It’s got to the point I just say I’ve been working in entertainment for over 20 years. Think what you will; no amount of my listing my accomplishments will change your mind. But then, naturally, I have to live thru the disses. The people who tell me how to do something I already know how to do. The well intentioned acquaintances who give me advice about stuff over which they have zero experience or knowledge. *sigh*

It isn’t always easy being a 52 year old whom people treat like a 20 something.

Got to the gym yesterday. Took what I hoped was going to be a great and well deserved shower, but the hot water was a ghost thing in the building and within 2 minutes I was standing under an unheated water supply. Amazing how cold you can get in an unheated shower. The water wasn’t cold, just cool. But it sucked any and all heat off me. Didn’t even bother with conditioner for my hair, just a quick shampoo and get the fuck out of there. Despite it being a less than ideal shower, I felt refreshed afterwards.

Still having problems on my right side. Looking forward to my physio appointment.

Today I’m not going to the gym. Today I’m setting up for video shoots. Pull out and clean up the blue fabric I’ve got. Rearrange my desk area so I can use the backdrop. Mark off my desk with tape so I set up for pictures in the same place each time. Also need to head to the store to seek out blusher and lipstick. I’ve become quite fond of my make-up needs shopping. I’m not there for me, I’m there for the group. I stand in the aisle, looking at my choices, picking up packages to examine them more closely, dithering. It’s the only time I really shop like a normal person. My aim today is to get a cheap color selection for the vids. Still plan on asking for sponsorship for the final make-up for the group; this summer work just allows me to play with colors and figure out what we really need. I have a whopping €10 in my wallet to pay for both blusher and lipstick, so it’s off to the discount shops as usual to look thru the bins.

Made a start on my homework. Need to put in an hour or so defining the words I don’t know. Shouldn’t take long to get it done.

Wondering when and if I’ll have time to write for me. Haven’t gone back to the new script yet. Lots of ideas for it; just haven’t made the time. Hm. Note to self: make the bleeding time! I’ve nine months before the premiere. Plenty of time to make and release vids, update the website, create the playbill, and find sponsors. I can find a day a week to settle down and just write. Great that I have so many ideas on how to market this play, but I also want to move forward as a writer. Spending all my time on marketing is like spinning around in a vehicle: you make a big mark, but you don’t go anywhere.

My vehicle goes. Always has.

Vroooooom…

Advertisements

How deep it goes

The doc said my new pills might make me sleepy. What he didn’t say was that they were going to give me the first fully rested night of sleep I’ve had in I don’t know how long. So often I go to bed and toss and turn, waking up several times during the night, trying to just lie there and rest. Last night I slept. And slept. Even got up to pee in the middle of the night and fell right back asleep like someone bashed me over the head.

That’s unheard of in my life. Totally.

It is Saturday, and once again I’m amazed at the balls on my brother as he stands in the living room and announces ‘he thinks he’ll go down to the comic shop, since it’s Saturday and there’s not much to do’ while the dust bunny collection sits under the table, every plate in the house is dirty and stacked by the sink, and the garbage and recycling are overflowing. Yeah. Not much to do at all. Why don’t you take a last big shit in the toilet before I don my rubber gloves and go scrub it out?

Meh.

Got to the gym yesterday. Almost didn’t. I really didn’t want to go. But I asked myself for one hour. One hour of time. I had plenty of time to spare; it was more than possible to get to the gym and watch a full film in the afternoon. It was a good con, and once I got out I stayed out for longer than an hour. Kept it to walking on the treadmill. I’m off my regular routine and playing things extra cautious right now. Just gotta start getting out of the house and moving on a regular basis.

Today’s a whole other ball of wax. I know if I clean the way I want to, I’ll be too pooped to go to the gym. Similarly, if I go to the gym first I won’t have the energy to clean the house the way I want. Decision time.

Doing my best to keep up with headlines without triggering myself. But honestly…I’m getting pissed off. No surprise there, I guess. There’s plenty to be pissed off about, no matter what view you hold. …*sigh* I read an article about a man who’s suing a woman for sexual intimidation. I’d like to just side-step all morality issues surrounding this, and just say I’m FUCKING DISGUSTED by the damned coverage this case is getting. This type of sexual intimidation isn’t the norm. We all know the norm: women get if from men. We get it so much and so often that it’s ignored and downplayed. Oh, ho hum! Another woman claiming sexual harassment from her male superior. Well, she’s a woman. Probably exaggerating the situation. And no doubt she used it to her advantage; all women do, after all. The proliferation of accusations against women in sexual harassment or assault cases – everything from encouraging the abuse to asking for it – is mind blowing. Oh, but turn the tables and watch how much coverage one man gets! This is nothing more than a continued assault on women. Men’s grievances are addressed so much quicker, with so much more attention and, perhaps most importantly, belief in the accuser. I’ve not read nor heard whisper one that this man in question is exaggerating the situation, nor that he encouraged it or used it to his advantage. Not. one.

And while I’m on my feminist soapbox, let me address another tricky issue: transgender. Let me state I don’t care how you want to look. Want to tattoo and pierce your whole body? Okay, if that’s your thing. I might not say it’s beautiful, but go ahead. Want to run around looking frumpy and unkempt? Well, you might get dissed for certain things, but go ahead. I don’t care. Want to dress up in high heels and make-up? It’s bad for you, and I don’t condone that sort of dress-up on a regular basis, but go ahead if that’s your thing. Really don’t care. But I don’t understand why men have to be a certain way and women another. Current studies (finally! goddess! it took a long time) have come out stating that men’s and women’s brains are the same. There is no ‘male’ nor ‘female’ brain, just a brain. All that sexual identity shit comes from our cultures and surroundings. I don’t want to diss the problems transgender people have. I’m absolutely sure they face a lot of discrimination. But changing your outer look doesn’t make you into the opposite sex. This is what’s sticking in my craw: transgender men into women, who now want to be identified as women and take their share of women’s accolades. No! I apologize if I offend people with this, but if you transition into a female at some point you’re not a woman. You haven’t grown up with being a woman, with facing that daily negation. You haven’t gone thru menstrual cramps, you haven’t been dissed for what you think or feel just because your body is shedding its uterus lining. You haven’t been called ‘dried up old hags’ when you age. You haven’t faced unwanted pregnancies, or being told you can’t have children when you’ve been brought up to believe that’s all a woman really is: a mom. These things are NOT part of your reality, but they are part of every woman’s reality. Every woman knows another woman who’s been raped. Every. single. one of us. Most of us know of someone who’s faced an unwanted pregnancy. And a great many of us know someone who’s got the shit kicked out of them by their partner.

Even if I dyed my skin, crimped my hair, and did everything I could to look black, I couldn’t even begin to call myself a person of color. I have NONE of their background experiences to draw on. My opinion is the same with transgenders.

Am I the only person who sees? Am I the only person to raise these questions?

And the fact that most transgenders then dress up with heavy make-up and push up bras does NOTHING to support their cause for me: you are perpetuating this stereotypical view of women. Look at me! I can be more of a woman than women are! THAT’S what it says to me, and that disgusts me. Not your choices, not your sexuality, but the blatant sexism inherent in the way you view women.

Can’t you see how deep it goes?

Theatre people

Theatre people.

Had an email yesterday asking if I wanted to attend an English speaking play downtown. Our theatre group had discounted tickets, and a group was going. Sure! I said last minute, worrying about the discounted price. Managed to get money on my OV chipcard, borrowed a tenner from my bro, tidied up, and headed out.

More than anything, I felt I was appeasing the Gods of Theatre. I’m a big believer in karma: if I want people at my play, I have to support others in their efforts. Plus, it was a kick to be asked and included in the group. All of that was proper and good. The production was at a theatre we use every year, and it wasn’t that full. We were noticed, thanked for coming, and talked to as fellow theatre performers.

But Goddess! I had to sit through a show that was the reason most people don’t like going to the theatre. Two monologues, back to back. Zero action. It was two hours of someone sitting in a chair on an otherwise empty bloody stage, jabbering away. How fucking pretentious can we be? The acting was good – that I can’t fault. I can rip the writing apart, tho.

Typically British writing (white, white, white). Obviously 30 to 40 years old (bigotry, racism, and such stereotypical and old set-ups I had problems staying awake). And it’s a well known author and play. Afterwards, I had to hear the gushing praise of various people: Oh, the author! His words are so fantastic! or The deeper psychological impact of the statements were in direct opposition to the characters. They might as well have said something like ‘The synergy of empty space and lack of action perfectly mirrored the desolation and depression the author wanted to portray’. Utter bullshit. I call it lazy writing. Can’t think of anything new? Well, try one of the stereotypes. The gay man who still lives with his mother and can’t quite admit he’s gay. The vicar’s wife who’s sex starved and begins drinking and having an affair on the side. Ho, hum!

I just sat there, pleased with myself, imagining the action I’ve written. The actual story – something that seems totally lacking in many “professional plays”.

Tried out calling my stuff horror. We were asked, as a group, what we’ll be performing next. Everyone looked at me, smiling. Actually, we’re doing one of her scripts this year. So I put it out there: it’s a horror trilogy. Found some interest, some back stepping, and a lot of ‘oh, gee, isn’t it sweet that they’re willing to do your little writing attempt’ attitude from the actors. I smiled, and didn’t feel bad at all. Just kept thinking You have no idea what you’re in for with my script. Hopefully one or two from last night’s audience will attend our performance. But I realized very quickly: this is NOT my crowd.

Avid theatre goers… They’re a different breed. They like sitting in dark room watching people sitting in chair talking, no action, for two hours. They consider it cerebral and entertaining. Some may even view my script as stupid simply because it has action and a clear story-line.

But I realized long ago I don’t write for the typical audience. My poetry has long been heralded as the poetry enjoyed by people who don’t like poetry. I’ve been stopped innumerable times after performing, grabbed by someone in the audience who says, “I’ve never seen anything like that before! I hate poetry, to be honest, but so-and-so dragged me here. But you! What you do is incredible!” I expect a similar response with the play. I’ve never seen a play like this before! No. No, you haven’t.

Spending long hours looking at creating my own blood effects. Simple and cheap methods. Will be experimenting with water filled sacks over the summer, trying to perfect it. Found a theatrical supply store here in Rotterdam; planning a trip to their warehouse just to check everything out.

Also thinking hard on marketing. I saw the audience last night, and this was a visit from a professional acting group. Didn’t even sell 60 seats. Part of that I blame on the theatre. They’ll announce upcoming productions on their website, but if you don’t know about the theatre you can’t find the info. The location of the place is off an alley-way, so you can’t even count on curious foot traffic.

I have to find a way to get the word out. The real word: You want to see this. This is NOT like your typical play. This is a performance for people who hate theatre.

Rotterdam is a hard nut to crack. Millions of people live here, and a professional theatre group can’t attract 60 people to a Saturday night performance.

…Need to switch gears. Been off with my late nights out, and I haven’t begun writing the letters I need to do for homework. Will try to put a few hours in on it today and get one done. Ugh.

Battling a nasty cough. Still. It gets better, then it gets worse. Total allergy thing; I can feel the drainage down my throat. Having to take cough medicine and allergy pills. Need to assure anyone who hears me cough that no, I’m not dying, it’s just allergies. Bloody annoying, especially since I have to really monitor it and treat it like I’m sick because if I DON’T I will, 100% certainly, get sick.

*sigh* And once again, like with my poetry, I feel I’m stepping into a world I’m not quite ready for. I am a theatre person, an actor, one of the willing. I am not a pretentious prat (a prat, yes, but not pretentious). But here I am, mingling with those who want to delve into the deeper ramifications of a 45 minute monologue about someone’s mommy. So I’ll say it once, and be done with it.

Bah! Theatre people!

Silent

Silence, as a reply, is never good. It indicates opposition, dissension, possible subterfuge and a definite reluctance to be up front with you. *sigh* And it’s now almost 24 hours of silence since I sent a small note out to the director: Any leads on another actor for the play? Well, I have my answer. It’s no, obviously. Here’s when my anti-social tendencies bite me in the ass. No one to call on for this. One body short of making my dream come true, and there isn’t shit I can do about it.

Bloody hell!

Back into physical training. Tiring myself out enormously at the gym; have to do it one day on, one day off right now. Making sure even on my off days to get up and move around, do something, don’t sit in a chair all day long. I’m pleased to feel this physically tired. It’s so easy to not think about anything other than how tired I feel. It’s so easy to drift into sleep at night, to close my eyes and relax fully. And I haven’t even got back on the cross trainer yet!

The weather has been merciful. Cooled off a good 10 degrees. We’re lucky right now to hit 20C in midday. Thank you! Hoping to get my strength back to a good place before the real heat and humidity sets in again.

Sat down and just hit my homework yesterday. I went to class on Monday with neither of the letters I was given as work completed. Found the topics too complex. Had to write an outline in English before I could proceed – that’s how complex I found them. One letter done. Might take a break today; spent 3 hours on it yesterday.

The outside world has been battering at my gates. I try to keep things to headlines, but my bro does like to have news programs on in the morning and I generally end up hearing and seeing more than I want. … *sigh* Let’s put it this way: Monday in my language lesson we did some reading that included the word ‘brutaal’ (bratty). It’s a word Roald Dahl uses almost every chapter in his stories, so I’m well familiar with it. However, the rest of the class wasn’t. My teachers asked me to define the word. I tried, and ended up saying, ‘Donald Trump is brutaal’ by way of explanation, which left one of my teachers in tears from laughing so hard. But it’s true. He’s brutaal. Many leaders are these days. It just gets hard to watch and listen to these people when they’re so…repulsive. Antagonizing. Purposefully nasty.

This is the way of the world, people. In twenty years – maybe ten – the word ‘human’ is gonna have a whole different meaning. It’s said now as something kind: be as human as possible. Act humanely. But think on that. If we begin to accept horrendous behavior as the norm (and we’re way beyond ‘beginning‘ to accept it), then acting humanely isn’t gonna be so nice. Murderers will act humanely. Dictators will act humanely. Terrorists will act humanely. Lying, thieving, manipulating sex offenders will be acting humanely. Because that’s what humanity has become.

I’m glad immortality is unachievable. I’m glad I won’t be here too much longer. I’m glad I never pushed anyone into this shitty, horrible existence. I’m glad there are very few people on this planet I care about. I don’t want to be a part of it, and I don’t want someone I care about struggling thru it. Oh, you can live in your little pockets of make-believe bliss. Your manicured lawns, the gated communities, the afternoon of Friends and Tosh, the evenings drinking wine. But outside, the winds are cold. The landscape bleak. The people are at war. Now, tell me you don’t live in denial.

Take your damned pill, woman.

Yeah, yeah. There are some things that little 10mg package of happiness just can’t deliver. Patience for blatant stupidity comes to mind.

And yes, for the most part I remain silent on these issues other than here in my blog. Because why bother? People are set in their ways. And the more ignorant they are, the more set in their ways they are. If someone is intelligent, you can talk to them. Discuss options logically, argue the merits of one path over another, think of so many variables that it’ll make your head spin. But you can’t do that with idiots. Their basic assumptions are wrong, ie, flat-earthers. Nothing you say, nothing you do is gonna shake their belief. You can show them pictures, film a flight around the globe, and they still won’t believe it. Their basic assumption is flawed, and like any computer, if you begin with a flawed assumption you will end up with a flawed answer. I’d like to open up the brains of every idiot on Earth and reprogram them to not be idiots. Change those inaccurate assumptions that throws everything a-kilter. Then, maybe, I could talk to them.

The saddest thing in all of this is the fact I understand (totally) why violence happens. There just comes a point when you get exhausted trying to compel, logically talk to, or work with idiots. There is no way to stop these fools from their belligerent, pompous manners other than hitting them. Taking them down physically. Allowing brute force to rule the day. But while I understand that urge, and have reached it myself on many occasions, I do not believe it’s the way forward.

So I sit. Watching. Listening. Crying in my heart every day.

Silent.

I live in the grit

Disappointment. Yesterday: swing up. Felt good. Enjoyed the day. Today: disappointment right down to my toes, and it isn’t even 8 a.m.

One of the actors I was counting on – one of the actors I wrote a specific part for – has pulled out. Won’t even be coming to auditions because of her ‘big items on my annual to-do list’. What annual to-do list? Cleaning your house comes before a role I wrote for you? Shit. I guess her note was a little too breezy for me this morning. Saying Hey darlings or I know it sucks or I would really love to but and then giving me some flimsy excuse doesn’t cut it. If you ain’t getting an operation cutting you open, you could make it. You just decided against it.

I’d rather hear she was just too poor to pay for the train trip down to rehearsals.

Thunderstorms finally came thru and cooled us off. Now, they won’t go away. Every day this week is marked off on the forecast with thunder and lightening. I’m so disappointed right now all I can think is Great; the storm will drive off even more people from auditioning. Gotta be pretty low for a thunderstorm not to cheer me up.

Telling myself (and a bit excited about it) that this opens up that role for me. But…I was all set on being the writer. Sitting by the director, offering up psychological insights to characters as the actors need it. We may get a hot-shot walk-in last minute. That’s how they found me, after all. I ain’t holding my breath on it, tho.

Shit. Fuck. Truth is, I knew she could have done a great job with it. Raised the bar on the whole production. Now…now I’m right back to feeling like the core group thinks my work is rinky-dink, not worth the bother, a small something to do in-between their real plays. Total core members who have thus far auditioned: one. We’ve one more scheduled tonight, if she shows. Out of eight die hards, that’s it.

Reminding myself the director is sticking by me, sticking by my work. Reminding myself of the 2019 US production, which may be seen by thousands of people. Reminding myself of the times I’ve been published and praised.

Whatever the core group members think, I’m still a real playwright. I’m a real author, and a real poet. You can find me out there. People have bought my work, praised my words, stood up and clapped at my performances.

No one can take that from me.

…Right. The actors are the director’s problem. There’s enough other stuff to do. Sound, lighting, props, make-up; we could use three people back-stage as helpers. Marketing, for fuck’s sake. Loads to keep me busy whether I’m on the stage performing or not. Focus on that. I always knew I’d be the last minute understudy in this thing.

Tried to take in some Dutch last night. Recorded a Dutch film, Flodder 3. Oi! Too much, too fast, and far too much Amsterdam dialect. Barely caught a word. The humor was very physical, so it wasn’t hard to understand what was [supposed to be] funny. Not my thing. I was more interested in the lighting, the sets, the costumes. I saw the typical Hollywood stuff: the homes only millionaires could afford, the clothes no one really wears, the poses, the fake quality of all of it. And, you know – this was camp. An over the top thing. Silly. I’m not faulting the actors nor the director. I’m just saying that films typically show untruths. They portray stories that are supposed to be about average people, yet they never show an average life. The homes are huge and well appointed. The clothes are pressed and expensive. The make-up and hair flawless. No wonder everyone on this planet has the wrong idea about the rest of the world! No one ever shows it to them. Films and stories are edited down to the most exciting bits. You don’t roll with the characters thru their boring routines, unless it’s an edited montage shot to give you the idea that this person has a boring routine. I’ve spoken to EU youth who think all the excitement is in the US. When they say that, I remember the long boring afternoons out in the ‘burbs with nothing to do and nowhere to go. There’s shitloads of places that have nothing. Literally nothing. But that’s not the way it’s portrayed to them, and until they go and experience it themselves they won’t believe a word I say. Conversely, don’t you go thinking everything in the EU is so fabulous. Don’t you think that people live the way I saw last night. Sure, some do. But most don’t. I’ve been in enough people’s homes to know that now. Filming in a real Dutch home would be difficult. They’re small and tight. Nowhere to set up cameras and lights. That’s true of much of Europe: if you see a large room, a big and spacious home, you’re looking at the upper 1%.

*sigh* Disappointing. I can’t be the only one out there getting frustrated with this, can I? And yes, I know there’s “edgy” stuff out there. That’s what it would be called: edgy or urban or gritty. In other words: portraying reality is hard and dirty. You narrow the market down because it’s not all colorful and lush. I know that. Put your story in the tropics on a beach with swimsuits and it will always do better because there’s a certain percentage of people who’ll watch it just to see the beaches and swimsuits. It’s better to put hard issues outside of our own time: if you want to talk about race injustices, do a historical piece rather than a current piece. Current pieces invite people to question their reality, and most aren’t comfortable with that. They want reality served up in neon lights, with fluffy throw pillows.

My reality is different. I live in the grit.

 

That’s the way to use it

So, now I’m pissed off. Yesterday’s discussion of my problem with my fellow students was an intellectual note. Something that nagged at me, but that was all. Today it pisses me off. Lucky for me, I’m reading Roald Dahl. He specializes in long, insulting sentences. I’m ready to whip out something along the lines of: You’re a horrible, slimy, nasty, mean, and evil bitch of an witch – and I can do it in Dutch. Fair warning, Universe. If I am laughed at one more time, or dissed, or spoken over, they’re getting it. I’ll write it the fuck down and memorize it. I am not putting up with that shit any more. As for the break issue, I’ve determined I’m just bringing my reading with me from now on. Screw everyone.

My teachers have asked me not to swear in class, and I’ve obliged because I care about their opinion and respect them as people and as teachers. But I can still put people down – thank you, Dahl! You’ve drilled those words into my head with every book.

And if all else fails, I know two Dutch insults to sling at them. One: drop dead. Effective in any language. Two: tell them they’re cancer. That’s a strange one; a big Dutch insult is calling someone a disease. But, okay. I’ll go with it. You’re cancer.

I prefer the long winded, descriptive sentences of Dahl, tho. Use what I’ve learned.

*sigh* The hoover broke. Overheated and didn’t recover. The only thing I’m not unhappy over is the fact that it happened while my bro was using it. Thank the Goddess! I do not have to hear about what I should have done, or what I should have noticed, or anything negative. He did it. Not me. I grew up hearing I was a mechanical jinx, that I broke any machine I came within three feet of. It wasn’t true, of course, but it was repeated to me so much and so often I’ve developed a real complex about it. I was 32 and still hearing about a lawn mower I “broke” at the age of 4. So if the damned hoover had to break, I’m breathing a sigh of relief it didn’t do it while I was using it. My being a jinx is a family myth that’s hard to shake. Unfortunately, it happened at a time when I haven’t cleaned the house regularly, meaning we have dust bunnies in every room. My room, in particular, was on the list of ‘needing to get clean’. Now I have to wait ’til I don’t know when. ‘Til we can find a decent, inexpensive hoover, I guess.

Meanwhile…

Opened up and looked at the production notes. Did a fast spot check and, yes, I found pages moved. Shit. That means going thru it line by line, checking 13 pages of notes against the script. Not a fun job. Did manage to work on the dialogue I needed to pull apart; tabled it, diagrammed it, and ended up pulling out 50 cuts to record separately. May not use them all, but it’s a good place to start, I think.

Got out for a walk. Spring is here. It pussyfooted around, timidly playing with us for a month. Now it’s moved in and pregnant with summer. In one day, the trees went from that feathery bud stage to leaves out. I passed four freshly cut lawns. There was so much green smell in the air it was rushing up my nose and tickling my brain with an almost electric feel of excitement. Gods, bottle that! I’ll buy it. It was so warm even I didn’t need a jacket or hoodie. Just a t-shirt. In 48 hours, temps are forecast near 30C. Well, that was it, then. That’s too hot. My wrist already hurts from the temp increase. Time to shift to summer life: early wake ups from the sun and the noise, afternoons in the gym where there’s air conditioning, open windows rather than turned on radiators. Makes me glad I got outside for a walk when I could.

Tapping my feet a lot more. I try to stop, but then I get busy with something on my computer and the next thing I know I hear that tap-tappa-tap-tap rhythm that I do. Palms still sweating, tho not as bad. Sleep is something I do. Something I tell myself to do. It’s bed time; turn the light off. Or it’s light out; get up. How rested I feel has very little to do with anything. Food…desire comes and goes. I eat, twice a day minimum. And it’s not the food; it tastes good. My mouth waters. I just…I think I’m hungry, then I drink some water or something and I’m not, and I just go back to whatever I was doing for a few more hours until I start to feel cold. That’s when I know I need food: I’m cold. Not hungry. Cold.

I’ve got a plan. I just gotta stick to it. Get up, blog. An hour on Dutch. Eat. Go to the gym. Back home, work on the script. Dinner. A little game playing, then tv time. Read, sleep. It’s a solid plan, guaranteed to get me thru the work I need to get done. Honestly, though, I just want to sit here. Don’t know why. I’m tired of every damned computer game I’ve got. I don’t even pay attention to what’s on the tv half the time. But I keep finding myself doing it: droning out, playing solitaire of all things. Mindless. Repetitive. Nothing surprising, nothing challenging. A few strong story plots surfaced the other day while I was on my walk. One came complete with characters, plot line, and scenes played out in my head. Fairly obvious what my next play will be.

And I owe it to my fellow students. That nagging feeling, that anger…it’s turned into something. It’s given birth to a veiled woman. Mysterious. Intriguing. Heartbreakingly sad.

That’s the way to use it.

I’m trying

I snapped. At Dr. T. My voice rang out over the entire waiting room. *sigh* I feel bad about it, but then, there’s my problem in one go. See? I am not stable.

To be fair to myself, it was a wind-up. My appointment time came and went. I waited patiently for 15 minutes, knowing he’d been five minutes late before. By 25 minutes, I was truly wondering if he was ill and not working. Asked at the front desk, interrupted by a small child whose question over his magazine was oh so much more important than anything any adult could be asking about (the child was not yelled at, tho that took every ounce of my self control). No, Dr. T is here; he’s just busy, please wait. Hmph. Took a seat again, waited another five minutes, this time with zero patience: sighing, checking the time on my phone, rolling my eyes, tapping my feet, and muttering under my breath. Sent off a text to my bro; the plan had been for my bro to head off and order some Chinese food while I was at the doc’s and then we’d meet back home and eat. With me cooling my heels for 40 minutes I didn’t know when I’d get out. Finally, Dr. T. came and greeted me. And that’s when it happened.

Dr. T is Asian, so he’s a bit shorter than I am. So there I am, in the waiting room, towering over this man, angry as all hell. Oh, and I was angry! Really damned angry at that point. Didn’t even LOOK at him, just had that clipped anger in my voice that I know – I know! – sounds precisely like my mother (oooh, I hate myself just thinking about that). He apologized. Twice. Even pulled up his computer schedule to prove to me he’d written the time down incorrectly – that’s how angry I was. I told him my Dutch was horrible, and it was. I tried. Tried to hear, tried to speak. Most of his words went over my head. Too much, too fast. He said we’d keep the appointment short since he was late, and I was thankful for that, at least. Caught the gist of a sentence or two: how have you been? Told him. Got a lot more words thrown at me. Then he talked about my medication. Heard ‘double to 10 milligrams’. He spent time assuring me that I’d been on 10 mg in Ireland, it was nothing to worry about. I know. I know. I also know he was quick to up my meds because of my mood.

Fifteen minutes later I was on my way home. The cynic in me noted how Dr. T got away light today: full pay for a 15 minute session. Can’t quite shake that one, tho I know it’s mean and petty of me.

And for fuck’s sake! It seems I can blast off to the moon, go hyper speed, but all of that – all of it! – is marked as ‘depression’. Really? Really really? The sweating hands, the short and bad sleep, the racing thoughts. That’s depression? Have you redefined the word? Um, okay. You’re the doc. But you’re sure? Okay, okay. I’ll take the pills.

My next appointment is set for the end of May. He’s out on holiday or some such thing; the explanation came in Dutch and I only caught part of it. I left, a little apprehensive. Managed to tell him my script is being produced, and I’m worried about myself this year due to work load and excitement levels. By the end of May I could be well into it. Wound up beyond what he’s seen me before. Maybe that’s what needs to happen. It’s not like I want to go there. I’ll be working as hard as I can to stay stable, but… It’s a big project. I know what I’m like.

So, you know…fair warning, Dr. T. You caught the edge of the beast’s teeth yesterday. You do not want that beast biting into your flesh.

Things I need to do: Finish my current book (20 pages left) and get it back to the library before I get a late fee. Buy that CD I talked about last month while I’m downtown at the library. Get back to the gym, back to my exercise routine. Comb through my lighting and sound notes, checking all the page numbers. Cull through the dialogue for the recorded voice in part one, tightening up the lines. Contact the group and nudge them to get their asses in gear for auditions. Laundry, cleaning. It’s a packed weekend for me.

Also need to get back to the dentist. That tooth is too high and it hurts every time I bite down. Oh, hell! And I need to check at the doc’s office about the last test I had. Don’t want to do either of those things.

Can’t I just sit here and magically have these things taken care of?

No-o-ope. Don’t have the mother or that kind of cash to make it happen.

Meh. This is the part of being an adult I don’t like. It’s up to you. I’m beginning to realize it’s the fact my mother never let me make any decisions that’s been the most damaging. I had little to no say in what I wore or how my hair looked for years. I was banned from getting a job as a teen and told to concentrate on my studies. I was told what friends to have, how to act, what to do, how to feel, even what I should want. Little surprise I now find it difficult as hell to make up my own mind.

Well…here I am. Imperfect and totally flawed. I never feel like I’m quite done, if you know what I mean. Too many rough spots left all over my marble. Too many poorly patched scars.

Can I love this ugliness that I am?

I’m trying.

Change what you can

Self-care: 1. Anxiety: 0.

Went to see my GP this morning about my stomach problems. It’s a long time coming; been having bouts on and off for at least 6 months now. I apologized for that. She laughed – I doubt she has many patients who apologize for NOT coming in right away. Anyhoo. She’s testing for celiac disease and blood in my stool. Joy. I’ve a bruise on my arm from my vein bleeding (ouch) and a packet-load of info in Dutch to read.

Still not sleeping great. Waking up too early, but I can’t seem to stay up any later to shift my timing. I am annoyed with myself every time I see 5 a.m. I tell myself to turn over, get some more rest – but then my head starts, and I toss, and turn… It’s worthless to stay there. Aggravating because it reminds me I can’t sleep and I want to. Better to get up and do something. Anything.

On the heels of yesterday, when I felt bloody damned discouraged with Dutch because I’d received my homework back littered with corrections, I feel better today. The nurse who took my blood talked Dutch with me, gave me a few words, and was just very kind and understanding. I understood her better than I would have 6 months ago, and I’m reminding myself of my progress. I do not expect perfection from myself. I’m not perfect in English. But I’d like to get a good deal closer to perfection than I currently am.

Hm. Bringing up my homework reminds me of my first thought when I looked at it: Damn woman! You were manic as hell when you wrote this. My teachers are right; I’m making mistakes on stuff that I shouldn’t.

The thought’s occurred to me that I’m more depressed than I realize. I saw a chart a few days ago…it showed what depression was supposed to be like. Emptiness, self-hate, rage, sorrow. All on the chart. I wondered if, once my rage and self hate were calmed, I’d feel even more depressed because that’s what’s really underneath it all.

Or maybe I just need a higher dosage of meds.

…Ach, it’s not a subject I like to think about. Which tells me it’s very possibly my problem (or one of them)…

One of the other students in class told me I shouldn’t write so much. You won’t make so many mistakes if you don’t write such long stories, she told me. This from the student who had me held up as an example by our teacher: (Beeps) writes longer stories for practice. This week, she wrote a child’s story about a mouse and a squirrel. You should try that, too… So, you know, take it with a grain of salt because I’m sure she didn’t like hearing that. Still. I got frustrated and angry. Defensive. I told her I’m a writer, I must write, it’s what I do, and I want the practice. My underlying message: fuck you if you don’t want to do the work. I do; it’s important to me and nothing you say will stop that.

I will not submit to that fucking competitive pressure bullshit! Heard that in school: you’re breaking the bell curve. Give the rest of us a break. What about me? What about my learning curve? Should I just sit around and twiddle my thumbs because the rest of you can’t keep up with me? Why should I hold myself back? Because you suddenly feel it’s some sort of competition and you’re not up to specs?

Goddamn! People don’t own that shit.

…And it isn’t easy to take. Not for me. ‘Cause I know where this goes: my isolation. Oh, they might always talk to me, but their real agenda is to use my superior knowledge to check their answers against. I’m the barrier between the teachers and the rest of the group. Already I get it: the questions, the people leaning over to look at my papers. I dislike that intensely. I feel it puts double pressure on me: I have to be right for the teachers AND the other students because I’ve performed so well. My teachers, at least, have taken my anxiety to heart. They no longer pressure me to answer if I say I don’t know. That, of course, will cause more problems in the long run because this slightly special treatment will be noticed by the others.

I keep reminding everyone I make mistakes. I don’t know. I can only do my best.

…And, you know…how long have you lived in this country? Twenty-two years? And you still talk that poorly? You still can’t read, you still can’t sound words out? I mean…Good Goddess! I would have thought some of that would have just seeped in over the years. I’m working my ass off every minute of the day to listen, learn, keep up. Don’t come at me with your hidden agenda fucking suggestions on how I should approach MY learning when you’re just so fucking lazy you won’t even make an effort!!

Oh, I’m fucking angry about that – !

What are we gonna do today, Brain? Same thing we do every day, Pinky: try to calm the fuck down. To wit: gym, reading, games, tv. Next week is holiday for Easter, so I’ve a two week gap. Thursday is rehearsal for Amsterdam – still have to run my bleeding lines, but I’m not thinking about that today. Just…calm. Settle. I took a big step this morning and my system is feeling it. Yesterday riled me up. I keep shifting between hope and despondency, and my body gets a jot of adrenaline every fucking time. Still haven’t been able to eat anything yet today.

Answer: take control. Maybe you can’t control your emotions or your body right now, but you can control the lighting in the room. You can control what’s on tv, the sound and sights around you.

Change what you can.

Tell him

Somedays I’m in danger of allowing this blog to become a thing in my mind. Almost didn’t post because I said to myself ‘well, you didn’t do much; maybe you should take a break ’til you give your readers something to read’.

*ahem* This is for you and no one else. You do not advertise, you do not give out this address, you do not link, you do not push, you don’t do any of those things. This is for you. If people happen to read it, that’s their business. Stop worrying about how other people feel and take care of yourself. That’s why you started this. That’s why you’re out here almost every day. Not for them. For you. Only you.

Right.

So…was irritated yesterday beyond belief for a few hours after my bro came home. I’d spent five hours mega-cleaning the house and exhausted myself. I was so tired I didn’t have the energy to take the now full garbage bag downstairs to the trash. Instead, I took a hot shower and washed the day’s work and dust off me. My brother noticed the bag in the hall when he came home and said he’d take it down “since you’re so tired from whatever it is you did”. Whatever it is you did?!? Wait. I had to clean the hoover bag out twice from all the dust I picked up. There used to be a stack of DVDs by the tv over 30cm high that is now gone and all the DVDs are put away. There used to be scraps of paper, things left everywhere – it’s all tidied up now. And he says ‘whatever it is you did’ to me?

Goddess!! Sometimes my brother can be such a man. Such a guy. Such a dude. Such a how do you even manage to stay upright on two feet type of person. I swear he needs glasses ’cause he just doesn’t seem to ever see the layer of dust or crap around the place!

I let it irritate me for most of the evening. Just…wasn’t quite there in spirit, you know? My bro laughed at the tv programs; I sat there largely unsmiling. Realized it was a perfect little example of what goes on with me: something is said or done that hurts or irritates me, I say nothing, I end up not enjoying my time because I can’t stop thinking about why I’m hurt or irritated. So I took a look at that.

My first reaction was: say nothing. Let’s see how long it takes him to say something about the DVDs. My brain wagered me that it would be at least two weeks; my spirit upped the anti by claiming it would take him at least a month. While my brain and my spirit argued, I paid attention. I had two sides of me squabbling, raising my blood pressure and anger with everything they said, and I simply stepped in and quietly asked, ‘What is it you want?’

That stopped everything. The rolling comments that were winding me up, the anger, the back and forth arguing that got me nowhere.

I admitted to myself I wanted acknowledgement for my hard work. I’d done a great job and wanted someone to notice. Since my bro’s the only person who’s here to notice, the job falls to him – whether or not that’s fair. So that same calm and quiet voice in me then asked ‘And if you let it go and wait for him to notice, are you going to get what you want?’ Those arguing voices of brain and spirit sounded like reticent schoolchildren: ‘No-o-o-o….’

The answer became clear. I had to point it out to him. I feel like I shouldn’t need to do that. I feel like anyone who’d see the before and after would have enough perception to notice a lot of hard work had been put in on cleaning. But I also had to acknowledge that, love my brother as I may, he’s a product of poor upbringing as well as I. Some of his communication habits are very destructive. I can’t expect him to be perfect all the time. But he has this bad habit of throwing blame. Some of it is simply the words he chooses to use; quite often if I have him break it down, his meaning isn’t as mean as I’m taking it to be. Still…knowing I am someone who takes too much blame onto herself, this verbal habit of never acknowledging one’s own responsibility in a situation is trying. I feel blamed, whether or not he means to do it. And I’ve got to fight against that feeling every damned minute. I’ve yet to teach him better communication skills. …Well, I say that, but truth is I probably have. We communicate better now than we did thirty years ago. Still! There’s plenty of work to be done.

So I pointed. I spoke up. Oh! he said. Where’d the DVDs go? I pointed out that I’d inserted them into our collection in the appropriate sections: action, comedy, horror, kids. Then: And what about the DVDs you took out to make room for the new ones? Am I gonna have to look for something I want to watch now? No, I told him. I only removed the DVDs we’d both watched and both agreed were sub-par films and maybe we should give them to a charity shop. Once his concerns were addressed, I received the acknowledgement I wanted and went to bed feeling better. But his reaction to this bears scrutiny; his first thought was to ‘what did you do wrong’ rather than ‘good on you’. This is…typical. Sadly. I’ve learned to hear beyond his words because we’ve had innumerable arguments over poor communication in the past. I know, tho, that part of me cringes every time it happens. I’d do better with a different approach from him.

Nonetheless.

Good on you, girl! Double good on you! You worked hard and asked for what you wanted. You weren’t even bitchy about it.

Now, go and do something nice for yourself today. This is me, your superior, giving you an order. Do it. Find that CD you want. See if you can buy it.

And don’t ask your brother if you can do this. Tell him.

The harder I try, the faster I go

Where is my baseline? When I’m depressed, I think ‘yep, this is where I normally live’, but when I’m manic I think ‘yep, this is where I’m meant to live’ and honestly, I just don’t know. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be happy or excited without being manic. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be sad or blue without being depressed. I don’t know that I’ve spent one minute of my life in a “normal” human mode without an extreme taking over.

My fears and frustrations did what they always end up doing to me: they pushed me into action. In the last 48 hours I’ve designed and prepped a flyer for my play; designed and prepped a teaser video for said play; brainstormed on marketing and advertising strategies (three pages worth); searched in English and Dutch for venues, bloggers, and anything remotely connected with theatre and the arts; and brainstormed, researched, and decided upon a tag line for the entire production. That’s in addition to reading several chapters in my book, writing three pages of narrative in Dutch, finishing my homework, getting to the gym, and keeping up on the housework.

Just a little manic (and yes, that’s sarcastic, I’m out in the fucking stratosphere, people).

In some ways, this is just my life. My pattern is to think for a long time. It looks like I’m doing jack shit, but in truth I’m working my ass off contemplating whatever it is I’ve got in my sights. When I finally do make a move, I’ve thought it out so completely that it goes at lightening speed. The flyer I designed was a perfect example: thought about it for days but the physical process of putting it together took me less than 30 minutes, and that includes searching for and manipulating a copyright free picture to use in the background. Same with the teaser video. Boom, boom, boom – one, two, three – and it’s done. Now both projects must sit on my desktop because neither can be released before I have performance dates and venues. … But, yeah. I’m always in feast or famine mode. It’s the natural of the way I work. Catch me in famine mode and you’ll think I spend my days sitting around on my ass playing games and watching tv. Catch me in feast mode and you’ll think I never sit down nor stop working.

………..

The internet cut me off. Yeah. Even the Universe is flipping telling me to STOP.

Trying to divvy up my time. An hour here, an hour there. Move around and don’t stay with anything too long. It isn’t really working. I’m fighting it, wanting to keep going once I get going. Or I get up and try something else to little effect and return to my obsession. Try this, write that idea down, search that. If I don’t slow down I’ll have all the ‘jobs’ finished before I even talk to the director about the production.

And no matter what I cajole my body into doing, my head stays on topic, never leaving it for long, never ceasing to think of new ideas, new approaches, new considerations. Mentally, I like being here. It is full of hope and energy. I also know it’s a danger point.

Food is never far from my thoughts these days. Don’t skip meals. Eat something. Mornings I feel like I have to shove food down my throat. Evenings I feel like I can’t eat enough. Been trying to just go with the flow as best as possible, but working out at the gym or any other afternoon activity throws a wrench into it: go too hard in the afternoon and I drop. Ergo, I need food before I do my afternoon activities. But I then I’m shoving food again, feeling like I’m eating unnecessarily when I’m not hungry. Tried riding out the morning and eating after the gym, which works to an extent. It screws up my dinner time, tho, and I don’t like that. The experience just serves to bring me back to the beginning: gods, I wish I didn’t have to eat at all.

Fucking three dimensional carbon based life forms! What a wet sack of shit we’re all caught in. My body just slows me down. The pain, the need to sleep, to rest, to eat. It disrupts my work, and that irritates me. I do my best to remind myself that this is reality as I know it; the animal is part of me, treat it like a well loved pet rather than an often kicked dog. Gah! It ain’t easy.

Thinking about tackling those big cleaning jobs around the house, the ones I do once every six months or so. It’s time; the place needs it. It would also be something else to keep me occupied and at least physically away from obsessing (and it would allow me ample time to just think about things). That’s hardly ‘rustig’, tho. My best bet is to try reading again, tho lately I’m so squirrelly I have a difficult time sitting even for that.

I can feel my routine break down. See it, even. I was so stable for so long. Get up, eat oatmeal, exercise, Dutch, afternoon writing, evening tv, sleep. Now, it’s all out the window. Can’t eat in the mornings, exercise is a vague maybe, Dutch homework is still a drag tho reading has become a joy, my only writing is my obsessive marketing information collection, evening tv is on but largely unwatched because I’m fucking obsessed and only thinking of my work, and sleep is a toss and turn and check the clock to see if I can get up and start again.

I’ve been here before. I know what this is.

And the harder I try to slow down, the faster I go…