They shall receive

I was ready for a lot last night. As usual, I got something I didn’t expect. All in favor of making Beeps our newest Board Member say ‘aye’. And there it was. I am officially the theatre’s PR person, their go-to bundle of energy on marketing. My name will be listed with the government as a board member.

My planned look was as good as I expected it to be. The outfit looked great on me and I took my time with make-up so I didn’t fuck anything up. I asked my bro, before I left, how I looked. You look like you. Okay. Not over the top, then. Good. Down to the restaurant.

Two members were there when I walked in. They didn’t even blink at my look, and said nothing. Then, the director walked in and I received the reaction I was looking for. Wow…you look really great. You’re all…you’ve got make-up on. He then proceeded to tease his girlfriend, telling her that I could replace her at a drop of a hat. That went on for most of the evening, until we parted.

I heard more reservations from the director’s girlfriend. Maybe it was a knee jerk reaction to her boyfriend’s teasing. I don’t know. But she gave voice to her concerns, and I was glad of it. She really thinks this will tough to pull off because the group is used to doing comedy rather than horror. She wanted to know if I’d be willing to change dialogue if people thought lines were clunky or unnatural. She had a lot of conditions and concerns, actually. Did my best to assure her, told her I consider this a dry run of the play and of course I’m willing to have dialogue changed as long as the story remains the same.

Possible bad news: one of the board members who has a role is expecting a child with his wife in April. That means performances have to come before mid March or after summer. We discussed the possibility of early performances and autumnal performances. And they mentioned an international English theatre festival that will come to Den Haag in two years; they’d like to submit my work for consideration. So I’ve walked away with the feeling that they’re willing to take this play and work with it for a while, showcasing it in different venues. I feel good about that.

Heard a lot of negativity couched in polite terms. Gentle laughter when I said I’d like to earn enough from my writing to live off of. Reminders that, since I’m an unknown, I shouldn’t expect much in the way of audiences.

Held back on many ideas. No reason to blow them away like that; they were blown away by the newsletter rough I’d printed up. I’ll prove myself by the audience numbers. They’ll learn. I can get 70 people in a city this size to come to a performance. I know I can.

Have the green light on securing a domain name for their website. The newsletter is a go, as is the open meeting. The director’s girlfriend wants to hold the general meeting in the back room of a pub/club that’s having a Halloween karaoke party on the 31st. Her idea is to do everyone’s make-up in the back and then party in front. Not sure if that’s the best idea, but I’m staying silent on it. Gotta let other people run with their ideas. But I feel she’s putting some pressure on me. I mentioned that I wanted to visit the theatre supply shop here in Rotterdam and ask if they have a make-up artist who’d come and show us some make-up effects. Asking someone to come downtown at night to the back room of a bar (which, let’s face it: are always grotty) to do some make-up for free… Tough. Anyway, I gotta wait on announcing the meeting now because she’s got to do the leg work on the venue.

…So here I am, a board member. Active, dependable, part of the group. Me, part of the group. I feel a bit overwhelmed by it. I’ve moved from the back stage person, the fly on the wall props person who works in the dark, to playwright, actress, and Board Member in two years.

🙂

Oh, how little they ask. And oh! How much they shall receive.

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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.

Please hear me

Oh, blessed silence! Why do people have to make so much damned noise the moment they wake up? TV goes on, radio goes on, coffee maker goes on, shower goes on, and talk, talk, talk. Some people seem to go from the quiet of sleep to full volume in under ten seconds.

How can you even think?

Amazed at how well my face/empty tooth slot is doing. Seems to swell up a bit during the day with talking, and it’s still tender. But damn! Healing very well, very fast. Happy about that.

Happy about not smoking much, too. It’s pretty easy for me to sit and not smoke for most of the day. I’m allowing myself one to two Js if I want, tho I know it’s better if I don’t. But I am no longer reaching towards an ashtray every ten minutes to grab a joint and take a hit. That action is already gone. Want to stay at this level. Only smoke a J in the evening – one J – while I watch tv? Only think about a second joint if I’m really fucking upset and out of sorts and I’ve already tried my reading and game playing and other distractions? Yeah, that’s pretty fucking good.

Finished my book in Dutch. Just in time to turn it in during class. Began reading the CS Lewis I checked from the library. That’s tougher, and I might just return it and find something else. I don’t mind reading something that every few paragraphs throws me a word or phrase I don’t understand. But when that frequency jumps to every sentence, I find it hard to keep going. It becomes a drag, stopping and looking up every word, trying to figure out these long Dutch sentences. My head shuts down, and I don’t want to read. And I want to want to read.

Anxiety is very high. Keep reminding myself to relax my shoulders, let them drop naturally. Five minutes later and I’ve got my shoulders hunched up again. Keep breathing deeply, trying to reset or find some zen point. Must not be doing it right, because it’s not sticking at all. And I never really do relax.

Thinking about real goals. Concrete goals, not that thin soup of ‘I want to be happy’. What a fucking lame request. ‘I want to be happy’. Too vague, and not enough signposts to even know if I’ve reached my goal or not. I don’t know what the fuck happy looks like. Last time I thought I was in the ballpark of happy I clenched my jaw until I hurt like hell and ended up breaking one of my teeth. That doesn’t sound happy to me, and that’s the closest I think I’ve got.

So. Simple, but concrete goals. First: really relax. Really feel all my muscles turn to mush. Really let myself sleep just as long as I want. I want 24 hours (minimum) without finding I’m holding my shoulders tight, without having to deep breathe through anxiety, without that sick feeling in my stomach. I’ve gotta know what that physically feels like, ’cause right now I’m clueless. Second: chill. I’d like to walk out my front door without my heart rate jumping up into the hundreds because I’m afraid. Sometimes Often that happens with simple things, like going to the supermarket or the gym. It makes life difficult. Third: I want the first two goals without turning me into a zombie. I want to still be able to think, to do my homework, to write. Don’t chain my mind down. It’ll make it worse in the long run.

Everything else is kind of gravy.

Things I don’t want to hear: I don’t want to hear this is a long process. I don’t want to hear I’ll ‘have to talk it out eventually’. I don’t want to be told what to do, how to act, what to eat. I don’t want to be told what I already know, either. No tired old memes thrown out at me verbally because you don’t know what the fuck else to say. I don’t want to be ignored. If I say I do something (or don’t do something) I’m being honest. Remember honesty? It’s something old fashioned, and I’m old fashioned, so I still do it. Don’t nag at me about something I’ve already told you I’m all over. It tells me you don’t believe me, and if you don’t believe me, why the fuck should I believe you?

Suggestions: Refer to any appointments with the psychiatrist as ‘check-ups’. Just a verbal check, seeing how I’m doing, a little chat, and that’s it. No in depth therapy. Nope. Just a chat. That doesn’t scare me. I’ll chat away about all sorts of things. That’s never been the problem, and anyone who’s talked with me in the last six months knows that. I’ll talk about the abuse, my lack of self confidence, the mania and the depression.

Most of all: don’t push me. I am a stubborn animal. I don’t mean to be, but when someone tells me I must or I will no matter what, I balk. Dig my feet in and say ‘No!’ Case in point: my dad always harped at me that I’d have to learn how to drink coffee. Outcome? I wouldn’t even try coffee before I was 30. Don’t tell me what I must do, because I’ll do my damnedest to avoid it.

I want help I can accept. If you make it into something I can’t accept it’ll just frustrate me and make me quit. So, chats. Check-ups. Nothing heavy. Don’t say long term.

Please, please, don’t freak me out any more than I am.

And…allow me time. Allow me thought. I do things differently. Just accept that, okay? I’ve heard it for 52 years. I’m okay with it. I need YOU to be okay with it, too.

This is me asking for what I need.

Please hear me.

Goals ahead

Pain free. Not now; I’ve run out of paracetamol. Sounds inconsequential while I’m on morphine, but trust me – paracetamol is needed. But the low level ache that woke me up at 4 in the morning was the first I’d felt in 24 hours. My Sunday was pain free. First day in a week. Gives me hope that this will get under control. With drugs, at least.

Also had my first laugh yesterday. My face has been in too much pain to laugh. Hell. It’s been too painful to chew or talk. I’ve been talking with my jaw clamped shut, like a ventriloquist. Made me think back to when I was 8 – got a ventriloquist doll for Xmas. Worked on it, too. Never got good at it, but I learned how using an ‘n’ rather than an ‘m’ can work; people listening to you anticipate your words, and their ears fill in any discrepancies (only works if you KNOW a language). So I amused myself briefly with an old skill, trying out different words and phrases. Found if funnier than funny that the two words I could articulate best were ‘drugs and alcohol’ (you’d need to intimately know my history to understand the humor; trust me that it’s there). Guess it’s a good thing to know that I can still ask for what I need even when I’m in that much pain. Drugs and alcohol.

Sent out Taman. Dithered about it, mostly because of how doped up I felt. That, and I needed to write a 100 word bio as a playwright. Ye Gods! Finally just did it, ignoring my flinching ego as I typed away. It’s hard to write about how great I am as I writer. But, a bio is like a CV. You’re expected to pump yourself up. I used the words I heard given to me over my writing: Lovecraftian, intense, raw. Thank the Goddess I had some compliments to draw on. Made it much easier. Otherwise I’d just sit there and say ‘Yeah, I write. I wrote this, I wrote some other stuff. I think it’s good.’

My doctor’s appointment is at 9:10 this morning. I feel I know what she’s gonna say. She’ll ask about my pain, and have that worried look on her face when I tell her I had to take more morphine than anticipated. She’ll tell me she wants me to see a specialist. She’ll mention TMJ, or the Dutch equivalent. And she’ll tell me to keep taking the drugs, get a refill, and she’ll give me more if I need it because ain’t nothing stopping this except drugging it out (if I am reluctantly turned into the drug addict I’ve been accused of being I’ll…well, I don’t know what I’ll do, but it’ll be ironic).

Meh. Plenty of writers were/are drug addicts.

Finally ate. Managed during the last week to choke down stuff like half a cup of oatmeal or a scrambled egg, but never more than 400 calories a day. Had a real meal last night. Still soft food, but it had more calories than I’d eaten for days. Have to take it slow. Food now makes me feel a bit ill. Good at first, then a bit ill because my body isn’t used to it. Drinking more water. Discovered how hungry I was just for water once my bro got me some straws. Long, long drinks of water. Feeling good enough to wonder if I managed to shed a few pounds during this. Don’t want to check the scale. Goddess forbid I do that and find the number still hasn’t changed. Nope. Better to feel like I dropped weight. Sometimes you need the psychological edge more than the real thing.

Pretty sure at this point I won’t be going to language class. Even if I’m not hurting, I woke up before 4 a.m. I be tired, and on morphine. Yes, I can think again and yes, I think I can even do some Dutch if pushed (like when facing a doctor who doesn’t speak much English). I just don’t want to push. I’ve been pushing, or feeling like I have, all week just to stay sane and not claw my brains out of my cranium with my fingernails. And today of all days, I’m taking the advice of everyone who’s ever met me. I’m being easier on myself. So, no school. I be lolling around and napping. I will go to the lesson and deal with the teachers in person rather than via text. The class is very important to me, and I want them to know that. So I’ll write it out – my problem, how I shouldn’t talk, the pain, the meds, the regret at not being able to sit in class and pay attention during the afternoon. In Dutch. Or I’ll try.

Not so with Thursday’s teacher. She’ll get a text.

Finding myself writing again. In the evenings, as I watch tv. My eyes are open, I react when my brother does, but I’m not really seeing anything. Zero retention of anything I’ve watched. Nope. I’m deep in scripts and story lines. Plotting out scenes. Contemplating mysteries to write about. It’s a bit annoying, really. I get to see the opening of a show, then I’m gone during the bulk of it, only to come back to watch the end. The upshot of this is I feel I’ve seen too much of the show to watch it again, yet missed too much to know what really happened.

😉 Kind of like my life.

Still. I feel like a wide, clear path is opening for me. Always knew were I wanted to be, just didn’t know how to get there.

Goals ahead.

Ready to step out

My brother hauled me out of here yesterday. Said I was going clothes shopping. Didn’t matter if I kept to the minimum or not, my b-day’s coming up and he thought it high time I had a couple new pairs of sweat pants and a fresh set of pj’s to lounge around in during my off days. He took me to a mall we don’t usually go to because we have to swap metros to get there – but it’s the only place I’ve found frozen soy “ice cream” that I can eat to my heart’s content because it doesn’t contain cow milk, and I hadn’t bought any for months and months and months, and…well, I like it.

For less than a hundred euro, we both walked away with new sweatpants and matching hoodies. I also got a spare set of sweat pants (seems I can never have enough, going to the gym like I do), a new light grey sweater that’ll be nice for class or going into town somewhere, my pj’s (men’s, top ‘n’ bottom, a cottony soft set I might not take off today, good day or bad), and 5 frozen cartons (bought them out) of chocolate soy deliciousness.

Gods, that frozen chocolate soy whatever-you-want-to-call-it is good!

Received a surprise email from a board member of the theatre group. They’ve had a request for actors from some film students, and I was asked if I want to participate. No pay, but reimbursement for travel costs and food and drink on site. Plus, the credit. Can’t forget that. Yes, yes, I’m interested! Hope to hear back this weekend. Hope they just send me the script and the shooting schedule (plans are to shoot between 7-10 December in Den Hague).

And I know! I know. Just shot myself in the foot, didn’t I? Yesterday’s post I bemoaned the idea of not having time to do what I want, and here I am making plans to jumble up my agenda and give myself even LESS time.

But…it’s a film. A real acting credit that might be seen by someone else. Something I can add to my IMDB page (yes, I have one).

And after all my crying and epiphanies and moments of self-realization, I can’t say no to my dreams when opportunities to make them happen are just handed to me on a platter.

Following that email was another email regarding the vids from the play. Nothing terribly important about it, just a ‘can’t wait to see them’ statement – but it came from the father of the board member who sent me the film opportunity. I feel a little pressure being put on me. Talked to my bro about it and decided I’ll proceed like a real, live grown-up. I’ll use his video work as a bargaining chip. I’m not gonna say ‘give me the role and get the video’, but I also feel if the role IS given to me, I need to make sure the group (and in particularly the board) stays sweet, so I’ll release it. Had to get my bro’s ok before I used his work like that. He’s all for it, naturally. He’d be all for me killing (literally) the competition if it got me what I wanted.

Now, I wait to hear from them. Have it all set to fall like dominoes at the word go.

And so, the Universe brings to me a solid damned reason to create boundaries. A real, live commitment that will force me to say at least once to my Monday teachers: I’m sorry, but I can’t do this homework. I’m too busy. Too busy with what? they’ll ask. And I want to learn how to say this in flawless Dutch:

I’m busy with making my dreams come true.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Meantime, the daily drudgery continues. Top on my list is to get Taman going. Dutch is going to the side-lines today. Maybe I’ll get a lot done and be able to work on Dutch tomorrow; maybe not. I’ve already put in a lot of time on my homework. What I will NOT do is sit around on my ass and create an emergency situation where I’m trying to finish Taman, do Dutch, and film at the same time. Forget it. I know what’s likely to come. I’ll prep for it. That includes doubling down on hand washing, eating well, getting to the gym, and sleeping enough – all that pesky shit I have to do to stay healthy. I had a passing thought of ‘well, if I fall sick now at least the play is over’. Uh-uh. Nope. Stay on the up. The wheel’s turning and I’ve got to be healthy and strong enough to grab it this time!

Goals within goals within goals. Other people stack plans or lies like that. For me, it’s goals. Stay healthy, so I can get the role. Get the role, so I can make connections. Make connections, so I can find someone interested in taking my work to film. Get someone interested in taking my work to film, so I can really have a career in writing. And if it just so happens that I become well known for my acting along the way, I won’t be complaining.

*snort* That’ll be a change of pace.

I find it difficult to stay calm in the midst of all these possibilities. Difficult to stay anchored, difficult to meld the heady dreams with the cold and somewhat greyed out reality of what it takes to get there. Difficult, too, to take the disappointments that come out of living like this. …Honestly, I don’t know that I’m ready. Don’t know that the world is ready to really see me. I’m not medicated (yet; the subject was touched on again by my bro). I still struggle with that concentrated emotion I seem to have so much of. There’s so much of me that’s unfinished.

But I’m ready to step out.

Right here, right now

The script is out. Finished the A4 formatting, checked the entry page, wrote a short intro letter, and clicked send. No more thinking.

As usual, I was hit with a wave of manic energy afterwards. Bad enough my brother mentioned it was affecting him. I headed to the gym.

Think I might have turned the corner on my weight issue. Think I might have dropped some excess weight without quite knowing it. I mean, I wear sweat pants almost 24/7. It’s hard to judge where your body is when you’ve always got elastic waisted pants on. But I caught a few glimpses of myself that didn’t make me look wider than I am tall. A few sidelong looks where I thought gee, my stomach doesn’t stick out as much as it used to. And, hallelujah, I’ve found my collarbones again. Don’t even have to sink my chest in to see them – I can just stand there as usual and out they pop.

The house is pretty clean, thanks to my bro helping me on Sunday. I felt bad for a fleeting moment; he did the hoovering and ended up in a sweat because…well, it’s hoovering. Means you gotta move all the furniture and get underneath. It sounds like an easy job, but it isn’t. And I reminded myself of all the sweaty hours I spent cleaning this place, and the last one, and the one before that – and suddenly I didn’t feel so bad or guilty for allowing him to take on this tough task. Sometimes I think my bro needs to be reminded that hoovering sucks, that doing the dishes every day can make you lose your mind, and that housework doesn’t just get done all by itself.

No rehearsal Monday. The director bowed out with a sore throat. More than happy about that; I’m over anxious about staying healthy and my number one freak out is being exposed to other people’s illnesses. No rescheduled date yet.

Strangest thing this morning. Two strangest things. One, my hoodie is missing. It’s not in my room nor the living room, and I was just using it yesterday. Two, my coffee cup is missing. Gone. Non-existent. Had to use a secondary cup, not my normal one (didn’t feel right). Can’t for the life of me figure out why someone would come in, grab my hoodie and coffee cup and split. But I’ve been up and down this tiny place and see zero sign of either of them.

Finished reading the book on the Night Witches my director gave me. Need to make some notes. The bibliography lists several sources to check on for factual info. I’m well pleased with the info provided in this book. Gives me a good grounding on the groupings within the military and how they work in such a strict hierarchal system. And I’m beginning to see the play. Found my main character the other day. She’s still developing, but I caught the first glimpse of her. Beginning to know some of what the characters will face in the play. It’s big – and exciting. The setting I’ve chosen to write about allows me to bring in as many famous flyers as I want. It’s a strong skeleton, and I’m pinning my ideas down with factual points – dates, names, deaths.

First, tho, finish the US formatting for the current script. Get it out to as many places as I can find, because I think this one is a doozy. Do my Dutch homework. Keep getting to the gym. Keep following through on my commitments. Keep myself focused and busy in the now, not the past, not the unwritten future.

Right here, right now. This is where you make the change.

It would be nice, though

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Got up this morning extra early and on purpose so I could write, and now I’m staring at the blankness of my post and wondering what the hell to say.

Start with the good. I can walk without pain. That’s a biggie. Off pain pills, down to an occasional paracetamol in the evening. Want to get back to the gym today for a long, slow exercise session. I am very aware my attitude goes to shit when I experience pain (note: pain for me lies somewhere between 5 and 8 on the 1 to 10 pain scale; anything less than a 5 is just discomfort). If more people were aware of that…but they aren’t, and they’re all too busy with their own thoughts and lives to think to ask why I’m in such a shitty mood so often. The answer is simple: pain. I’ve a lot more of it than I talk about.

It’s May. The Netherlands celebrated the coming of this merry month with a 20C sunny day – warmest to date, and followed up by a grey, dingy morning promising rain and feeling twice as cold as it actually is because it falls the day after such summery warmth. Nonetheless, May means movement; time has marched on. There’s the script read through. Several doctor appointments. More language lessons. Deadlines to meet. And I must begin haunting some of my online emails for replies to earlier script send-outs.

Worried about a lot. Worried my ears are gonna get sliced and diced at the doc’s, and I’ll have to spend the summer keeping out of the water. Worried the ear doc is gonna say there’s nothing they can do to rid me of this continual ringing. Worried I’ll get yet more rejections on my writing. Worried about my residency status. …There’s so much to worry about it kind of cancels itself out. Just becomes a wall of grey noise.

Do not want to begin writing on a new project before I’ve wrapped up my last, so I’m keeping myself busy. Playing games. Watching Twin Peaks again. Doing what I can to help around the house. Giving my brother as much time as possible each and every day for him to do his writing. Keep telling myself thank you. Thank you, Beeps, for doing the dishes. Thank you, Beeps, for cleaning under the bookcase in the hall. I gotta say it, because my bro is too wrapped up in writing mania to acknowledge it. I understand; been there often myself. Feels a little lonely, tho. The only conversation I get is about his book, his writing, his graphics. Wears thin after a while.

Well, now I know what it feels like…and next time, I’ll try a lot harder to pull my head out of my ass when my brother talks to me as I write.

*sigh* But I need concrete, real stuff right now. I need people contact, and laughter. I need things to look forward to. I need my appointments and classes, my weekly and monthly routine. Feels like my dreams are pulling away from me; all the old comforts I told myself for years and years don’t offer the same protection as they once did. Realized I still dream as a 20 year old. The only difference is now I dream with the sole purpose of escaping my worries. I don’t really think any of it will happen.

It would be nice, though.

Take the flag

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It’s a hell of thing to be sitting somewhere in public, waiting patiently, minding your own business, nothing at all wrong, and then, when you try to stand, you freeze with pain. Don’t know what sound escaped my mouth or which facial expression spasmed across my face, but I can tell you this – it caused five grey haired pensioners to gasp, get up, and try to help me.

Gods!

Must not have looked too good.

Spent yesterday morning growing ever more paranoid during my language lesson. The other student was present again (surprise), and I noticed my teacher took ten to fifteen minutes to catch up and chat with her but far less to chat with me. Now, I know I’ve surpassed the other student in language use. I’ve come to lessons regularly, worked hard, and made a lot of progress. So it’s only natural that the teacher would try to draw out the other student more than me. Get her talking again. …Right? I was careful to note the teacher’s body language. Not too skewed, but she did seem to lean a bit towards the other student. …Does my teacher not like me? *sigh* What have I done now?

I guess that’s the risk anyone takes when they choose to not be a milksop. Have opinions, state them. Have energy when you communicate! For pete’s sake, don’t talk to me like it’s the closest thing to death; deadpan and distracted. Look at me! Fire up your soul! Maybe we’ll come to loggerheads but at least we’ll know we don’t like each other. But don’t hide yourself. Don’t say ‘uh-huh’ to everything, never offer an original thought, never let anyone see anything of the real you. …That’s my opinion, anyway.

But I’ve been told I can be a poor communicator. Not because I’m unclear or uninformed; just the opposite. Because I’m too clear, too informed. I’ve been told many people don’t like to discuss big issues in life. It makes them uncomfortable. But big issues is where my head is at. Big issues were what I discussed at the dinner table as a kid.

After 50+ years of big issues, I can say that there are a whole lot of people out there who don’t like discussing them. And they don’t like me because of it.

That always makes me feel bad. I don’t mean anything improper about it. Just the opposite. I want to know where people stand on this stuff. I want to know their reasons for their choices. So I ask. And people get put off, or offended, or feel so uncomfortable around me that they choose to not hang out or be my friend.

It’s the risk I take, being me. Because for all the disappointment and lost possible friendships, every once in a while I find a real gem out there. Someone who fires up just as quickly as I do. Someone with a magpie mind fast enough to keep up with me.

That ain’t my Thursday teacher. Nor my Friday teacher.

Not that I expected either of them to be my friend.

…Well, I can move freely enough today – so far. I’ll try going to class, but I’ll take my heavy duty pain pills with me. Or maybe I should just take one now. Get a jump on the stiffness and pain. Probably the smart thing to do.

This ain’t gonna stop me. Not the pain, not the stiffness. Not the idea that my teacher doesn’t like me. Not the embarrassment over forgetting words I knew a few weeks ago. Not my slight dyslexia that always makes me screw up numbers.

Feels like I’m gearing up for war. A war on everything that’s going to try to stop me. I know what my goal is. I know what I need to do to get there.

Time to take the flag.

 

A Tall Order

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Saturday, and I can’t sleep. Up after seven hours. Up because my side hurt. My sciatica hurt. I felt everything in my ears shift and my left side kinda got blocked again. And I’ve a ghost of a headache that won’t stop haunting me.

Getting older sucks.

I’m obsessed with radio script format. Began work yesterday with five items open on my desktop so I could view all the notes, the template, my original story, and the file I was working on, all at once. Slow going, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. Roughed out an outline with a min of eight scenes to get the story told properly. Keeping in mind that those eight scenes should stick within the 3-4 page range, since I’m shooting for a 30 minute finished piece. Thinking of casting requirements, and which roles can be doubled up. Figuring out how to write proper sound notes. Most of all, I’m working out how to tell the story sans narrator. Might have to fall back on some narration if I can’t get the script within 30 pages with all the dialogue needed to convey what simple narration can do, but I’ll save that as a last minute thing. I know it’s  a stronger story without voice overs.

Did not get to the gym yesterday. All good intentions setting out, but by the time I returned home after my language lesson I was so wound up by one of my teachers I just couldn’t head over there. Worried I was a bit of a bitch in class yesterday; had to call said teacher on what I considered a real mistake: he made the claim that ‘ankle’ and ‘heel’ are the same thing. Hey; my Dutch isn’t great, but your ankle is your ankle and your heel is your heel – two very different things, no matter what language you’re talking. I felt berated by said teacher over a new word, which my Dutch to English dictionary defined as ‘stationery’. As a Midwestern US expat, ‘stationery’ is very specific to me: it’s a printed letterhead. Here, it’s pens and pencils (what I’d call writing instruments). But no. I was told I was wrong. I was needled over my answer. I explained myself. I was told I was wrong again. I asked what the correct answer was, and was told to guess yet again. This is the behavior I get on my Friday lessons, and it drives me UP THE FUCKING WALL. I don’t guess my least likely answer; I give you my best informed choice. Don’t keep asking me to throw out words AT RANDOM to try and figure out YOUR idioms. This is CLASS. Fucking TEACH ME. And this was on top of him disagreeing with my Thursday teacher and telling me two of her answers were wrong, then bashing her a bit by asking ‘who is she? a professional teacher?’, like HE’S a professional teacher (he’s not; he’s a volunteer) or anything special.

*GROWL!*

… Just a wee bit pissed off about that.

So a few days after posting a notice on FB, the theatre group has sent me an email reiterating the dates for auditions and providing a link to the script text. They’ve also asked for my preference on audition dates, and I think I’ll go for the latter night. I’ll show up the first night, to watch, to listen, and to ask a select few if they’ll join me on my own script reading/workshop project. But I’ll leave the actual audition for the second night. You know how it goes: people are more apt to remember the last couple of acts than the middle five at a big show, and the same thing goes for auditions. Plus, I want an opportunity to see how other people interpret the roles, I want to hear what the members of the group say for feedback or suggestions, and I want some time to figure out if I’m really going to audition or not. These people have yet to convince me they’re not all dicks.

Has my brother somehow been reading this blog? I have no idea. I can tell you he’s been extra supportive of me lately, and even listened to me when I talked about the radio script I’m writing. It’s a pleasant change to hear supportive comments rather than the same blow-offs I’ve had recently. My guess is he’s feeling the pressure is off him now regarding our immigration situation. I hope that gives me reason to hope (note: it’s all going down on the coming Tuesday).

Forgot to make an appointment to see the doc about my hearing. Putting it on my calendar for Monday, along with getting my roots done at that student hair salon. That’s setting up Monday to be a wash, with little to no time for my own work, but that’s the way it’s got to be. Maybe dishes won’t get done. Somehow they’ve magically been finished every day, neatly cleaned, dried, and re-stacked. That fairy might take time off to write a few lines in her new script.

Meantime, there’s loads to do. Move, so I’m not in so much pain. Write to make my deadline. Saddle up and do a dust bunny drive. Hit one of my last three big cleaning jobs and get it done. Most importantly: don’t freak out, don’t hurt myself, and try to keep my smoking in check.

Ye, Gods! That’s a tall order.

I Have Purpose

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Didn’t take the time to blog yesterday. I planned a full day and felt mining my own brain was bit too much, so not blogging was my kindness to me. With hoovering, dusting, dishes, making the bed, finishing up laundry, and taking a walk on my plate I thought maybe I’d appreciate a morning of playtime rather than introspection. By 10 a.m. playtime was over, it was time to get dressed and down to work.

By 11 a.m. I was done. With the housework, at least. And YES, I put a dramatic pause in that bit of writing because one hour to do all that WAS dramatic.

All the work my bro (and I; let’s not discount my part in it) has been doing paid off just in hoovering time. Used to take me close to an hour to do this tiny place because there was so much to get around, move, get under. Yesterday I picked up the unit and carried it around the house as I walked because it was THAT FAST. I was done in 15 minutes, and that included getting under my bed.

Similarly, my walk went THAT FAST. Headed out into the nice weather, feelin’ good. My pace kept picking up. The day was sunny, and it felt good to walk, to move my legs and feet. Before I knew it I’d completed a 75 minute walk in 40 minutes. Bam!

I had time to come back, take a shower, and watch a couple of things on the tv system I’d recorded. All before 5 p.m.

The girl’s time lapsed. Didn’t need to talk to her; she’s been talking to me. And she’s sounding like this:

I’m so freaking PROUD of you! Look at all you accomplished this week. All the stuff you kept up around the house, the errands, learning Dutch. And not one hissy fit. Not one self pity party. Not one rage dump. You’ve actually been SMILING, you know that, right? I’m so excited I could jump over the moon!

We were on such a high that when we opened up our browser and saw my bookmarked page for the English speaking theatre group in Rotterdam, I filled in the contact page. Introduced myself. Set the wheel in motion. And I got a response. They’re in production now, but I’ve been invited to help out backstage – which you bet your sweet ASS I’m going to do! Meet some people. Have something to take me out of the house a few times a week. Socialize. I was also told that if I was interested in acting a new production would be underway in September/October. IF I’m interested! ROFL! Perfect timing for me. My RA will be at it’s least painful point and I’ll be flying on my annual autumnal manic period. In the meantime I can meet the people involved, find out where the place is, get to know the in’s and out’s of the group.

The girl’s statement to me is echoed again because I’m so freaking excited!!!!  

Who needs therapy when THAT sort of thing is happening?

Okay….well, maybe the answer is me, but it won’t be because I’m bloody depressed. FINALLY. Finally something to get me out, meeting people who have similar interests. And it’s more than that. Finally I’m going to find out, REALLY find out, if I still love acting the way I used to. If it’s still the secret desire in my heart. If I’m still capable of doing it. Give me one chance. Just one. One chance to bring people to tears, to make them laugh so hard they need to see the production again because they missed some dialogue. I SO won’t blow it.

Right now I feel like I could tackle just about anything.

Time to give props where props are due. A shout (silent, I know; he doesn’t read this blog) goes out to my bro, who’s been everything I ever wished he’d be in the support category. There was a day when the multitude of things I did around the house went unnoticed and unremarked upon. These days, everything I do gets me a gold star. The good is feeding on the good and it’s a cycle I LIKE to see happen.

Suddenly I have goals. Things to look forward to. Real life things, meaty things you can sink your teeth into and get real sustenance from. I’m lapping them up with gusto. Part of me feels starved of that kind of thing, and I guess I have been. I want to shake off every ghost, every demon that’s attached itself to me. Burn them off with this fire.

This is it. In life, timing is everything. The last time this kind of set up occurred to me I was only 17, and I allowed my mother to effectively kill the dream before it even saw the light of day. Not this time. This time it’s carpe diem. Don’t ask me how I know the timing is right. It just IS. I can feel it. The door is open and I can walk through.

In six months I could be more ME than I’ve been in a long, long time.

Bring it on, baby.

…In the meantime, today is today. Back to the here and now. It’s forecast to be a balmy 18C today. Figure it might be the day to go out in the hazmat outfit and try cleaning up the balcony. Scrubbing bird shit should be enough to bring me back to reality. It’s hard to keep up fantasies of super stardom when you’re out cleaning up excrement. There. Just typing excrement sent a bolt of reality thru me. Excrement. Shit-shoveling. Hardly something I’d imagine Dame Judi Dench doing.

Somehow everything is a little bit easier. Saying no to dessert is easier. Getting in exercise is easier. Running errands is easier. Learning the language is easier.

I know this could be temporary. Probably is. But one thing is different now. One thing has changed. That one thing is making all the difference.

I. have. purpose.

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