Really really?

Wrote and sent off an extended fight scene to the director. Been thinking long and hard about the final scene; it’s more action than dialogue. When I wrote it, I thought I was writing for two male characters. But now, the agent is being played by a woman. …Maybe I’m sexist in this thinking, but I don’t imagine a female character would throw a punch as readily as a male. I imagine female characters might go for containment over physical superiority – less punch drunk and more hold ’em tight so you can lock ’em up. There’s also the inherent physical differences between men and women, because the agent is female but the protagonist is male. While there may be plenty of women out there confident of their ability to punch a guy straight in the face, women just don’t bulk up on muscles the way men do and therefore a punch from a woman is a bit less intimidating. Jabs to the throat: now that, I can get on board with. It’s fast and effective, and something every woman should know how to do.

Used my little toy soldiers, moving them around on my desk like it was a stage. Wrote and wrote and wrote: at this point, so and so should be facing the audience. Turn, now the other character faces the audience. The blocking is vital; throw a fake jab at the wrong angle and no one will believe it. Do it at the correct angle and everyone will gasp.

Per usual, nadda back from the director. I wonder what he thinks. He teases me that I bug him, but I’m getting it as a point of teasing rather than real irritation cloaked in a joking form. I think we’re on the same path, and I’m just providing him the elements he’d ask for if I dragged my feet. But I ain’t sure. I hope he looks on all my messages as helpful. That’s the way they’re intended.

Still trying to amuse myself during evenings with 24. Not easy. I’ve found the entire experience is better by leaving the tv on while we watch it. I tune the tv to something colorful and bright to combat the continual blah look of the series. That works. But…my head wanders. At one point last night my bro turned to me and said: Aha! That’s a vital plot point! – and I’d missed it entirely. Have noticed, by episode 6, the story is turning to something more people may be able to empathize with: the story of the kidnapped maiden. The senator’s story is devolving into a story about his kids; daughter raped and son implicit in the death of the rapist. Ah. Guess they agreed with me: give people something to bloody well care about. …But. And. Points of griping: Did no one think to try and track the daughter’s mobile phone? Keifer keeps harping on how he doesn’t have any leads, but that’s bullshit. His wife told him about one of the boys who kidnapped their daughter. He’s a damned federal agent. Run the fucking name through the system. Find out where he lives, track him down. A cop show would do these things. I don’t understand why 24 isn’t. The portrayal of Keifer’s office looks high-tech. In the background. But that’s it. Once they’re out of that room, it’s all lost. No one uses their smart phone for anything other than talking (with the exception of the grunt teaching Keifer how to scan from his mobile; obviously a sponsored thing). Really? Really really?

It struck me last night how European I’ve become. How I expect good wifi, public transport, certain amenities. I remember those long, unpopulated stretches of the states. I’ve been through and in many of them. But…really really? Last night I heard a character use dial up access on 24. Dial up access. And they were in a hotel in a big city. Really? I’d always heard the US is 10-20 years behind the EU in culture; now, it seems, I have proof. Seventeen years ago, when the series began, I was here in NL on a working holiday. And a highlight at the place I went was a souped up wifi service that was so instantaneous in its connection ability it took my breath away. It was a preview; the country didn’t have (and still doesn’t have) that kind of speed. But, that was the threshold. Dial up was a thing of the past. Not so in states. It just reminded me how poorly the US is constructed. The cities all decay because they’re shit to begin with. Tiny kings buy up tracts of land to build expensive castles on which they can’t maintain. It’s not for me. At all.

Remembered to order my injections from the pharmacy. Made an appointment for delivery on Wednesday. The cotton circles I’m using for wound trials are dry from their tea-staining. Still gotta dig out my old camera and see if I can breathe life into it.

… Been contemplating how, when you do your job really well, the tendency is to only receive negative comments. How everyone thinks you know you’re doing a good job when things are just silently taken care of without fuss or muss. It’s tough. Really tough. Case in point: did some tidying up the other day, and the only thing I heard from my bro was an admonishment not to use a certain shopping bag for recycling. He didn’t acknowledge the dishes I’d done, all the work I’d put in. Just that negative comment. I feel the same about the theatre group: that I’m only hearing the negativity because I’m doing my job so damned well that no one thinks I need to hear what a great job I’m doing. They only open their mouths when something isn’t perfect. I don’t know how to turn this around.

And this. is. life for me. Always has been, which is why I feel like I’ve received more negativity than positivity throughout the past 50 plus years.

But…

Really? Really really?

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I still don’t know

I heaved a sigh of relief when my computer connected with WP. A sigh of relief! ‘I’m getting sick of hearing about shit that those people should hear, that’s all.’ Mild statement from my brother. Yeah, I’m trippin’ out.

Struggling with doubt. Maybe I’ve been inactive too long and my endorphin rushes have all been used up. Maybe replaying the negative statements I’ve heard has just taken its toll. Don’t know. All I do know is that I’m full of doubts. Doubt that the theatre group will do my script, doubt that the production will go ahead, doubt that they’ll ever understand my reasoning behind the story. What began as a chink in my armor has led to a full-out attack in my head.

Told my bro, once again, that I must at times verbalize my frustration in order to get it out of me. Even apologized that he’s the one who has to hear it. He acknowledged the apology, but he’s still unhappy.

Does not help my feeling of isolation.

Still…T took the time to reassure me of the sound and the work load ahead. He’ll be there, helping. I won’t have to do it all alone.

He’s off now, down to the library to print some things up and stop by MediaMarkt to pick up Seasons 2 and 3 of The Magicians, a series we’ve both gotten into. The tv is off, the internet connection is working, and I can (hopefully) get this out of me before he returns.

Received one rather cryptic message from the director. He acknowledged the motivational analyses I did, and said he’s ‘sending rehearsals tonight’ – though I didn’t receive a link to a calendar. Must have meant on their phone app they all share (but me, naturally). One more thing that keeps me out of the loop.

*sigh* So, no idea. Still don’t have my hands on the camera I’m gonna use. Still don’t know when rehearsals are. Still don’t have answers on the scant half-dozen queries I sent out. Just sitting here, spinning my wheels and re-hearing ad infinitum in my brain the negativity I feel I’ve received.

NL is still in a warm spell, so I’m staying off wound creation. Wanted to do it today, but last time I used the hair dryer on a warm day I blew out the fuses to half the flat. So…wait for cooler weather, just to be safe. Took a shower to wash off the dust and grime; spent a few hours yesterday cleaning the house (and made SURE my bro knew about all the work I put in). Have to put in 30 minutes on Dutch homework today. Other than that, I’m twiddling my thumbs…

Interesting perspective my bro brought to my attention yesterday. I was griping, naturally, about the theatre group. He said that they may be very intimidated by my approach, and mentioned the possibility that they really want to keep this group low key. Have to admit he’s got a point; they certainly haven’t stretched themselves trying to advertise their stuff. I’ve been going on the idea that they just can’t put what they know into practice. Maybe I’m wrong. Made the executive decision that I just won’t overload them. Ideas about hidden codes, press coverage, reviewers – I should keep all that under my hat and not tell them. Do what I do, bring in the audience I know I can, but keep silent.

Gods, this is tough stuff! More than ever I’m aware of my verbalization during these manic periods. The continual line of thought I spew out. I need that, on some level, to organize. But I see how it’s intimidating and tiring, and others don’t really want it from me. Really need to talk to Dr T about this! I’ve done my best, turning this unending flow into writing, but obviously I’m still verbalizing the spew. I’m hearing the backlash. And seeing it. Feeling it. …Shit.

Deep breath.

My head has begun working on the book version of the script. Or, should I say, books. In the plural. Because each act is gonna get its own. That’s the plan, anyway. Learn from the production, keep fleshing things out, write from there. Starting to get a handle on the teenager who commits suicide and the side characters not really in the play. …By the time I get around to writing the book version, it’s gonna be more an ordering of my notes than creation.

… … Ugh. I just want the people in the play to be happy. To look forward to some fun. For the most part, that’s what’s happening. I shouldn’t let one or two comments bug me so much. Experience has taught me how one or two comments can spiral out of control, though, so I’m cautious. I’d like to address people’s concerns and feel like we reach an understanding. That may not be possible with everyone, and I’ve got to accept that. I’ve got to step back and let the director handle it. If I feel too under attack and that I’m continually looked to for answers, I’ll mention it to him. I feel I’m being clear, and restating the same thing ad infinitum. If I’m saying it in a manner that’s not being understood, someone else (ie, the director) has to step in and handle it. I don’t know how to rephrase myself or say it any differently.

And a reminder to myself that I’m walking a thin line here. Remember: be careful what you write. The deeper I delve into this semi-conscious thing I’m writing about, the more likely it is that I see the effects of it in my own life. It’s a double edged sword: it’s both what makes a good story, and what drives some writers to a paranoid edge. Have I already experienced that odd glitch or shift I sometimes see in groups of people around me? Yes. I’ve never known if this was me, or something else. I still don’t know.

I still don’t know.

I can do this

My patience is being tested.

Now, I’m well aware my patience level is generally low. I do not suffer fools, I do not hang back and wait to see what happens. I do. So I find myself in a difficult place.

Theatre meeting. Walked in, ordered a small water for €2.60 – highway robbery, even if they did include a lemon slice for that price. Some of the actors showed, not all. The decisions made at our board meeting were revealed. The agenda was discussed. We pretty much walked thru all of it, including taking one of the acts to the fringe fest in Den Haag.

“Hm. Well, we’ll see. I don’t think we’ll be able to do this.”

The comment came from my right, from one of the actors. I tried to address her concerns, to draw out from her what she was so worried about. In the end, all I got was that she didn’t like the story, didn’t understand the motivations of the characters, just didn’t get it. Truth is, I heard a bit – quite a bit – about changing my script.

Now, if you want to convey the info I’ve written in your own way, go ahead. Paraphrase. If you think your character should pace or punch the air, give it a try. Let’s see how it feels. But do not – DO NOT! – tell me my base story doesn’t make sense. I wrote from motivation. I never let up on that; oh, this character’s motivation is this, so they’d do that in this instance.

Yeah, I’m pissed. Why did she audition if she didn’t like the story? Why did these actors all nod and agree with everything said up to this point and NOW I’m hearing this shit?

Grrrrrrrrr!

Couldn’t help but wonder if Shakespeare had to put up with this shit. Probably. He probably got shit from all sides, too. Breathe! Remember Van Gogh: dissed during life, revered after death. People are idiots. People are idiots.

Very happy that I’ve got Dr T right now. Said as much to my bro last night: I wouldn’t want to do this without Dr T’s help. To have that outside source, that person who’s not involved in any of it, to go to and bounce ideas off or express my frustration – that’s invaluable. I know in future I’ll need to compromise on some things and stick to my guns on others. I need help doing that. I need someone telling me that my ideas are worthwhile. That my views are important. And I need help and guidance to learn how to handle my new authority – because I do have authority in the group. Board member and playwright; doesn’t get much more authoritative than that. There’s no need to get wound up or excited about anything. My oomph is enough. All I need to do is state my case: No, I don’t want you to do that here because your character is thinking this or dealing with that. Simple. Gotta a specific question about why you’re doing what you’re doing? Then ask. Can’t relate to your character? Then, let’s break it down. I know these people intimately.

But I feel a bit…what’s the word?…cat-scratched by negativity. Yes, this production is different. It will take your acting skills, special effects, and well planned action to pull off. If you’re a nothing, it’ll be tough. If you’re an actor you’re reveling in your upcoming death, the thrills, the scares. I’m hearing this negativity now, from the nothings. I know – in my gut – that all we’d really need to do is sit on stage and read the script out and people would be frightened. Acting it, even if the acting is bad, is just cake. And sure, if you’re worried (suddenly, for some reason) about your kids or your schedule or what your role demands of you, I’m not really sure why you didn’t bring it up in the first place but… Deal with it. I’ve got triple duty: I’m expected to be at almost every rehearsal, whether or not I’m in the scenes. I’ve got to take pictures, interact, and be there as playwright. I’ve got to develop good marketing and make sure others follow through – which usually means allowing them to fail and then stepping in to make sure things get taken care of the way I want.

I miss my film crew. Everyone on the set was so positive, so caring, so supportive! Night and day now. Theatre egos are a thing unto themselves.

…And I know what I gotta do. I gotta be that example. Again. I was told once – long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away – by a psychic/medium that all I ever had to do was be the example. It didn’t matter what job I had, whether or not I had a family, if I ever found the success I craved so much. All that mattered was being the example. You teach by doing. That’s all you have to do. Whether or not said psychic was a sham, those words have been prophetic. They have come back, time and again, to bite me. It was all I ever heard as a child; my sister was allowed the most abusive behavior but the moment I lashed out I was chided beyond belief. I cannot act out. Ever. It’s my curse, the load I must carry, and my gift all wrapped into one.

… … … That’s given me something to chew on. They key is changing the source: me. I see, now, how different I was during the film shoot. Yes, I loved those kids more than I could have ever believed. But I came into it open. Loving. Caring. Right now, I’m on defensive mode. I’m setting myself up to fail, or at least have a terrible time because I’m putting out the wrong vibe.

*sigh* Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards solving it, right?

Right!

Remember your thankfulness. Find your center. Rely on your support system.

I can do this. I can do this.

Here we go!

Tonight’s the board meeting.

I’ve planned my day. Chill. Take a shower by noon so my hair has a chance to dry before I leave. I know what I’m gonna wear. I’ve practiced my make-up. Even printed up a newsletter rough for them to look at and a list of topics we need to discuss.

Not thrilled to find the meeting turned dinner party is being held at a place where main courses run €20. Yeesh! Couldn’t we have sat around a room at the University and ordered pizza? Plus they want drinks… Planning on sticking to water. May have one beer, but honestly, drinking just isn’t worth it anymore.

I’m loaded up with pertinent facts and interesting ideas. Undoubtedly that means the ‘dinner party’ will degenerate into a ‘drinking party’ and little to no work will actually get done. Will do my best to get answers on the most immediate needs and then back off, if that’s what happens. Don’t want the reputation of the wet blanket in the group.

My bro came back from choir rehearsal last night so wound up I had to sit up with him ’til 12:30 – and even then he was still manic. Yeah. This is why I went with him the very first time, to avoid what happened last night. Hoped that it wouldn’t happen like this. But there he was, walking in, that half crazed, half desperate smile on his face that says “See? I’m dealing with this,” when in actuality he isn’t dealing at all. Then it came: the outpouring. An hour and a half of talking, complaining, bitching, whining, pointing out a thousand arguments he probably should have said to them and not me. His frustration led him to lash out, too. I heard what had him worked up: pressure to perform, to bring in money via the company. So I got a “hit”, too: a very loud complaint about the play and how it wouldn’t do him any good. I think differently. I think it’s a great way to get the word out and build a solid reputation. But the play was bashed, and I was bashed for getting caught up in it rather than concentrating all my efforts on promoting my brother and his work.

Now, I’ve tried to explain ad infinitum to my bro how his frustrations put people off. How his voice raises, his face grows angry, and he looks bleeding intimidating. I’ve tried to teach him some tact, too, pointing out easier ways to phrase things that wouldn’t be so offensive to others. But, no. He wants to be offensive when he’s wound up. He wants to be confrontational. Then after he calms down he comes back to me and whines about no one wanting to be his friend, no one wanting to work with him, etc. But somehow it all comes back on me; I’m not supporting him enough and that’s why he doesn’t have this or that.

Worse still: if I hold his hand through life, he gets angry at me for that. If I let him handle it on his own, he gets angry for that. I can’t win. He won’t listen to my advice, he never tries to do anything different.

It’s not my fuckin’ fault, dude!

…Class yesterday was mixed. Fun to be back, fun to find my brain more focused on Dutch. Did well on homework, even scoring 100% on one of my papers. My teachers said I didn’t have to keep doing the verb conjugations, but I will until 100% becomes common place. A few mistakes during dictation, but not too bad. I even managed to slip in a Dutch turn of phrase during the lesson (which P, the woman who did our summer lessons, noticed and praised me for). Loaded up with letters to write, along with a warning to keep my letters to one page only. Gotcha. Brevity. I’m all for that. I enjoyed everything that happened in the classroom. It was the time during the coffee break that was the problem.

No one was at the front desk when I entered the building, so I still had to sign in and collect my tickets for free coffee or tea. The woman at the front desk was on the phone when I went down. I stood quietly to the side of her, waiting. Then two other students joined me. When the woman finally got off the phone, she ignored me and served the two other students first even tho I’d been standing there at least 3 minutes longer than them. Why? Well, they were all from the same country, of course. They knew each other. Okay. Not happy about that. Missing some basic Dutch courtesy. Sat down at the table with everyone else, a little to the side. Tried to open up their tight conversation ring, but it didn’t work. I sat there, sipping my tea, listening. No eye contact, no word sent my way, until one of the women touched me on my knee (I later described it to my bro as if she’d reached out to stroke a dog that had been hanging around the table) and offered me a bone. I said two sentences, and was then promptly ignored again.

Now, if I sit there and read my book my teachers come over to ask why I’m not talking with everyone. But when I try joining the conversation, this happens. They all sit there talking about their homelands and children, two topics I can’t really join in on other than as an interested by-stander.  I dislike this break time. I only need ten minutes to pee and get a tea. Then I’d like to return to the lesson. But, no. Talk. Socialize. With people I have nothing in common with. With people who ignore me, week after week. It’s not fun.

I’ve a few short hours to drop all of this and concentrate on today.

And now my brother just woke up.

Joy, joy. Here we go!

Competition

I turned on my computer this morning to find everything on it was open. My brother used it last night and obviously didn’t bother to close shit. Two apps popped open while it tried to wake up, plus it connected immediately with the ‘net – before I’d even typed in my passwords. Please! I said, You’ve got remember to shut that stuff down before turning off my computer. I really don’t like seeing that. The response I received included three expletives in two short sentences.

Right. Well, sorry to rock your cool this morning. But I didn’t scream at you, I just said you left everything open and I hated that so please close everything next time. Three expletives were three too many. It’s not my fault you forgot, or that you feel in a rush this morning to get down to the comic book shop. You don’t have a fucking appointment, dude. And it’s Saturday. Chill.

Stayed out of the hurricane fueled storms yesterday. Every time I began to think that maybe I should just head to the gym, we were hit by a whopping gust of over 70kph. I began wondering if I could make it to the gym and stay on my feet, or avoid being hit by flying debris. Or at least that’s what I said to myself.

Managed to polish off the write-up in Dutch for my bro. I went thru it first alone, then with google translate, then ran it past one of my teachers. Five sentences took almost a week to get right. Sure, I did well. My teacher praised my work, and only had one change to suggest. But…a week of looking at it, searching out words in my dictionary, puttering, conjugating verbs, etc. I gotta get faster.

…Ach! I’m not okay with my bro’s attitude this morning. I see in it something he’s not telling me, and that worries me. Something that worries him, that makes him snap at me like that. Damn. Shoulda caught that before he left for the day. My bad. Then again, I had only been conscious for about 5 minutes.

Finally got a newsletter in from the theatre group in Den Haag. It’s…interesting. They say more on that newsletter than I’ve been able to get out of them so far. What they’re up to, etc. But…wow. Talk about self-promotion. I thought I was bad. In a whopping two page PDF, one and three quarters pages were devoted to the playwright/director and his works. 75%. My newsletter has a lower self promote percentage: 25%. I’ve also got to say that this group’s newsletter contains nothing in it that makes you want to hold onto it for any reason. A couple of blurbs about the plays. A call for auditions, a reminder to attend a workshop. That’s it. I’m striving to include info you may just want to hold onto: places to connect with, hints and ideas for any performer, etc. But there’s the difference in our approaches: he’s using it to promote, I’m using it to connect.

Yep. Keep your goals in sight. Do not become distracted by what other people are doing. Keep an eye on it, watch them, learn if you can – but keep your own goals in mind. What I want and what he wants are two different things, even tho you could probably say both of us want our works publicly shown and known.

I read a passage in my book last night (in Dutch) that really made me think. The main character got himself into trouble, and he was worrying about the outcome. The author side-stepped the action for a moment and became introspective, pointing out that the character’s fears over not being supported came from a present day perspective when a person’s word means nothing (the character has time traveled to the past). It was a sharp little paragraph to read, and I took my time with it. And the author is correct: we live in a time when a person’s word means shit. Promises are only temporary, as is love or security or anything else we so desperately desire. An entire generation has now come of age with the slogan ‘Trust No One’, and we think nothing of it.

Do you not see what’s happening? How humanity is curling in on itself, chewing its own tail?

I have lived long enough to become an oddball. Everyone says it: Beeps is a bit odd. For one, I keep my word. I do not lie or exaggerate. I do not have hidden agendas when dealing with people. I don’t want to cheat or steal my way anywhere. I value honesty and kindness over money. As the saying goes, a sane woman in a crazy world is deemed insane. So I am an oddball, because I am not the norm. And take a minute, because everyone I’ve ever spoken to admits (when they think about it) that in order to get ahead in this constructed reality we’ve created you’ve got to lie and cheat and steal. Building ‘wealth’ these days means taking away from someone else, because there’s only so much to go around.

Why, why, why? Why do I turn on the tv and see such inane programs? Is everyone on much heavier drugs than I? We have turned everything into a competition. Who’s the best cook, the best athlete, the best singer, the best dancer, the best mother, the best weight lifter, the best make-up artist, the best liar? And if you don’t make the grade, you’ve had it. There’s your 30 seconds of fame, baby. Why not write a book about losing?

I refuse to compete with anyone but myself. I am only trying to better my last attempt. Write better, run faster, lift more, go longer. What you do is only a distraction. And if you think for a second any of this is about you, it only shows how self centered you are.

I am not competing with you.

Ambivalence

Back to the gym, like it or not. The drill sergeant in me just won’t let it go. Get up, get moving, harder, faster, more! Fine. It tires me out, and stops me from smoking so much.

Today is my appointment with Dr T. *sigh* These are becoming like my appointments with my rheumatologist; I know they have to check in with me, but it’s 15 minutes of ‘I’m fine’, a few tests, and then they conclude I was correct about my self assessment: I’m fine. A new prescription written, and I’m out the door. I just…I hate the interruptions to my day. Especially when I know I’m doing well. Couldn’t I just text them say ‘all is good’ and they send a new ‘script to the apotheek? No. I have to brush my teeth and hair, dress nicely, time my travel, wait (inevitably), and go thru the whole thing. Meh.

Supposed to hit my Dutch today. Might as well; it’s one more thing that stops me from smoking so much, and I have to get it done anyway. Plus I’m sure Dr T would find it easier if I could just use Dutch during our appointments.

Life is a lot different when you can avoid things that trigger you. I’m being careful, and the payback is coming in. For instance: 45. I hate the man, and don’t think that’s a secret. But taking away the continual triggers (in other words, turning off the telly when he’s on) has made me realize the wisdom of those who say stop paying attention to this idiot. It’s all he wants. I listen to the newscasters. Somehow they can say the same thing when reporting on 45 that 45 himself says, yet they can make it less offensive. I can take it. Ditto with the right wing extremists. It’s the source I can’t stand. I want to stay abreast with what they’re saying. It’s important.

Gotta know when everything goes to Hell. I am not a proponent of anarchy. I am a proponent of living through what I see as the inevitable anarchy on the horizon. So, many of my skills probably look like those of an anarchist. I know how to defend myself. I know what household items to use as weapons. I know how to ration food, obtain medicinal relief from plants, and heal various ills and wounds. The only questionable factor is my RA meds, which I honestly can’t do without for too long. Six months, top, before I go into wheelchair mode. When the shit hits the fan I’ve got to be ready. Ready to head out to where my meds are manufactured to raid the factory. And yeah, I know how that sounds. Silly. Like the pipe dream it actually is. But…ya gotta have a plan. That’s what they always say, right? Make a plan for emergencies. So I have. Maybe it’s not a good one, but it IS a plan. And one with substantial merit. More than six months off my meds and I’ll be begging someone to put a bullet in my head.

I suppose most people don’t have to think like that. But that’s the constant specter at my door: rheumatoid arthritis. The type that twists your hands and feel into claws. The type that’s listed in medical books as ‘one of the most painful conditions known to humankind’. I was 17 when a doctor first said to me I’d be in a wheelchair within three years. He didn’t have his diagnosis correct, but he did see the damage being done to my body. And I’ve been there. So much pain that turning on a light switch set my hand on fire with agony for days. Having to call out to my brother day and night to help me up from bed and onto the the toilet. Sitting there, crying, unable to do anything else as the disease did its worst to me.

Don’t ever kid yourself. For all that scares me, it’s the RA that scares me most. And that’s the one that’s well hidden. Most people don’t even know I have it. My meds do their job – as long as I get them.

No. I’m not going back to that. I’ll walk into the ocean before I let it happen.

What a fucking rant. No surprise it comes on shot day. That injection… It reminds me weekly of the disease. The pills I can pass off; I take so many anyway. They’re just pills. But the shot I can’t pass off. That stands out as a thing. Here it is: here is what you must do to stay on your feet. The ritual of doing it isn’t bad, it’s the knowledge of what would happen to me without it. It’s like having your breathing air parceled out every week. You gotta have it; there’s no life without it. And even tho you’re thankful every week to get your little allotment, you’re also angry that it’s being parceled out. No one else you see has this restriction put on them. It’s only you. And it never, ever stops. It will go on and on forever, until you die. Plus they’ve packed your little parcel with various poisons that, left unchecked, will kill you on their own.

And I’m supposed to feel grateful? I mean…I do feel grateful, but I’m also angry. Every time I feel one, the other one comes hard on its heels. It’s impossible for me to sort out. Ambivalence at its height.

Fuck!

…Well, at least it gives me something to fight. Something to battle, to let my warrior nature loose on. I have always personified this disease, and I beat the shit out of it every chance I get. In my dreams, in my fantasies, no matter what face those bodies wear when I hit them and kick them and slice their heads off with a blade, they are always RA. That is what I fight. The pain, the fear.

The fucking ambivalence.

Ow! My ass – !

There is nowhere below my midriff that doesn’t hurt. Butt, thighs, stomach… My back’s been snapping and even my shoulders are popping every night.

Two days back. Back to the gym, back to the dreaded cross trainer. Thought about walking myself into it. Building back up to it. Decided I just needed to power through that first wall and went for it.

Ow! My ass – !

And this is a good thing.

Today is an off day. Give my body a bit of time to heal. Plans were to head out, find the theatre supply shop. At the moment, I’ll be lucky if I just stay awake without a nap. Everything else gets shelved into next week. I have to retrain my body, get it used to the push and exercise, before I let myself do anything else. Any reluctance on my part is totally destroyed by my shaking my butt. Feel that jiggle. Get to the gym and do this. Period.

Have not responded to my uncle. Keep thinking about it, but haven’t done it. Chicken! I know what I need to say. I just don’t want the fall out. Seems to me just holding everything in place and not responding for a bit is my best option. At least until I see Dr T again. Run it past him. Getting a little outside support telling me taking care of myself is the best thing I can do.

Posted D’s write-ups about his plays. Need to add the new graphic to the site. I’m not thrilled with it, so again it’s something I’m dragging my feet on.

Yeah, yeah. Maybe I’ll just fuck off today. The weather is iffy, and promises showers throughout the day. I deserve it, right? Two hard days at the gym, sweating up a storm. …Yeah, I deserve it.

Nothing from the director about getting started. No rehearsals, no messages, nothing. Meh. Might have to poke him to get him going. Set up the calendar dates, at least. He always does that online sign up to see where everyone’s schedule is at. Get it going!

My bro is headed out to a taal (language) cafe this morning. I should be going, too, but please reference my above rant(s) about my ass pain. Me, me, me. Maybe I’ll go next week.

*sigh* Integration is heavy on my mind. The tv is talking about it, and I feel for the first time it’s really in my face. In the last six months, there’s been a lot of turn over in the building. Most living here are immigrants. Smoking on the common ways – halls and stairs – has become a daily pastime. Cans of cigarette butts litter the halls. Arguments and phone calls are held in the halls so everyone can hear them. This is not Dutch behavior. Neither are the open doors, pumping out incense and music. I have not felt truly threatened in my own building, but I do find it intimidating to have to ask several men to move out of my way just to get to my own front door. And on at least one occasion I’ve had to yell at people holding arguments in the halls late at night. Add to that the slamming doors at all times of day and night, and the very loud call to prayer music that’s played every week, and…well. Like I said: it’s in my face.

I guess I just have a very unique mix in my background. Where I grew up, we had something called a Folk Fair every year. It celebrated cultural differences through dance, music, and food. It wasn’t just okay to be proud of your cultural heritage, it was something everyone was aware of. I’m Italian and Scandinavian. I’m German and Polish. I have 10% Cherokee on my mother’s side. Just the way it was. But things here are muddled. So many immigrants still feel their home country is their land. They haven’t truly taken the Netherlands into their hearts as their home. It’s their home away from home. You can sense it in their closed communities, the way they lapse into their native language when they’re grouped together, their utter lack of courtesy as they move around in large masses that shove everyone else off the walkways, their refusal to meet your eyes or return your greeting.  Make no mistake: I feel for these people. I sense their fear and wariness. I even understand their desire to return to the land they consider their true home. But there’s a basic cultural clash here at work. I think it may be based on the way Europeans think about guests and the way the immigrants think about guests. In some lands, guests are sort of kings. Anything they say goes, because they are the guest. I was brought up that guests should be considerate to their hosts. It feels like that’s what’s going on. That some of the immigrants coming in consider themselves guests, and as guests (in their culture), they get to call the shots. To me, they appear brash and uncouth. Lacking any common decency to the point where I wonder what the fuck is going on in their heads.

In that sort of clash, no one is right and no one is wrong. It’s just a culture clash. If we could really talk about it and get down to the point, we might be able to clear things up. Instead, I see resentment building. In all sorts of right wing fanatics. And it’s not just here, it’s everywhere.

Everywhere.

That sort of knowledge hurts as much as my body.

Ow! My ass – !

Foreign Language

Comedy in a second language. Admittedly one of the hardest things to understand. You need the language skills, sure, but you also need enough cultural background to know why something is funny.

Yesterday, my teacher walked us through a little Dutch joke. I read the piece, realized it was supposed to be funny, but I didn’t understand enough to get it. Now I’ve got it in my arsenal, ready to whip out and try on Dutch speakers. I’m hoping to use it first on the teacher who taught it to me. She doesn’t laugh enough (in my opinion).

Almost thought it was going to be a one-on-one lesson yesterday. And for once, I would have welcomed it. My head was set for Dutch. Got some sections in my homework 100%, others not so great – but at least I’m seeing 100% on my homework a bit more often. One of the other students is well advanced with the language, and once we got going on homework answers it was like a quiz show: rapid fire responses, high excitement, and giggles when we got an answer wrong. The other student is one of the worst students in our lesson. Bless my teacher; she did her best to help the third student but kept the pace fast for we two advanced students. But WHOA, NELLIE! How did this person get into our class? She’s so far behind us she’s not even sure an M makes a ‘mmm’ sound. Getting her to read is painful. She knows zero letter combination sounds. Hard to believe someone thought she was ready to move into our class. She can’t even conjugate simple verbs from the personal to the second, third, or plural forms – much less handle the complex forms of verbs.

Ach! I was not that far behind everyone else when I began. Well…this is why your teachers were concerned over you growing bored. Thing is, I feel it still well worth my patience to sit there because my teachers are so damned good. I’ve heard from others in the lesson; they disagree. A number of them don’t think our teachers are good. I think they’re all mad; I’m learning so much from these two! But then, I’m reading. And doing the homework. And trying.

Lots of rainclouds. Many promises of afternoon or nighttime storms. While you can hear the city sigh with satisfaction over the cooler air streaming in through the windows, it’s still bone dry out there.

Feels like my body clock has re-set. I used to be a breakfast person. Oatmeal every day. I craved it, as a matter of fact. Woke up hungry and wanting it. Now… Now, I’m lucky if I get hungry enough by noon to force something down my throat so I can take the pills I need to take with food. And my real hunger zone is 6 pm to 10 pm. That’s when I get up, stomach growling, and search for ‘a bit of something’. Difficult. Seems I grow especially hungry the closer I come to my evening pill time, which I can’t take unless my stomach has been empty for 2 hours or more. I’ve put myself on a food schedule. Eat before noon, like it or not. Don’t eat after 7 pm, like it or not. Frankly, I don’t like it.

Oh – and Yippee! Confirmed that yes, most school lessons are beginning in the end of August, but our teachers will be on holiday ’til mid September. That means that even tho I’ve humped my way thru summer lessons, I’ll still get a solid 4 week break from everything. That’s pay dirt, people. I’m planning at least a week of lulling around, paying my respects to Mr. Jack Shit. It also gives me plenty of time to do the work I’ve lined up for myself.

Listened to my own music on the metro the other day. My roughs from my ‘latest’ techno release. It’s still in the works: roughs are recorded, but I haven’t gone further. I was enamored with my own work for at least a year, unable to hear any faults. Then I grew sick of it, and stopped listening all together. Now I can finally hear it clearly: what’s good and what isn’t. Have a couple of songs I need to edit. Too long; they end up dragging. Most I just need to mix.

Mentioned all of that to my bro, who sighed deeply. Will you just take a break, please? It’s either the play or the website or now your music! Slow down, sis. I still haven’t seen you really stop. Concentrate on the production, but don’t kill yourself over it. Get past it, then look at your music. Take some notes if you feel you need to. But please don’t open up the studio and start on all that!

Um…okay.

August is here, with its damp breath and hot farts. I’m not a fan. Not of the dog days of summer, not of the sweat the month always brings, not of my sister’s birthday that sits like a buzzard on my calendar, ready to pounce on me when I’m least ready for it. Unlike my friends’ birthdays, I don’t have hers marked on my calendar. I don’t need to. The date stands out for me every year, like the damned day is on fire. This year I find my feelings more mixed than ever. I’ve learned a bit of understanding, a bit of empathy for my sister. I can even imagine the circumstances that created the scenarios I find so debasing and horrible. I see how she was abused. But I have no forgiveness in my heart. I cannot believe she will ever change or feel real responsibility for her part in what happened. My sister will die without me by her side, without me marking the occasion except with a befuddled and semi-amused ‘hmph’ when I hear the news. I guess that’s not a bad thing. I’d rather be non-plussed than triggered.

And someday I hope to write about it. I hope to see past my own anger enough to find what’s funny about it, because I want it to be comedic. It’ll take all my cultural understanding, all my patience, all my work on seeing and understanding my family from another perspective.

Truly… Seeing my family in a comedic light is a foreign language.

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…

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?