I am home

Taking care of myself: check. Getting really bored: check.

I was right to treat myself as if I was ill. I was! Now I’m on the other side of it, stuff draining out of my head. Getting over it quickly, thanks to all the down time and juice and vitamins and throat lozenges. But I’ve run thru every film I’d recorded off telly. I’ve napped as much as possible every afternoon. I’ve played on my computer and eaten more than I usually do. *sigh* And it is boring.

Suffered thru a few days of lousy internet access. Whether it was the fog and rain we had, our provider, or just the left over hiccups from getting hacked, I couldn’t get online. Everything timed out. Glad to be here today, to have access again. Didn’t really want to say to my bro that we HAD to get that stripped down internet tablet for me right now. Yeesh! Money scares. Do not need any more of those.

Heard from J. He’s found a lump, and he’s panicking. Can’t blame him. I’d be doing the same. It took me a few hours to reply. Just…didn’t know what to say. So I re-read his message. Tried to read between the lines, because his words were all technical: a bit of medical history, a description of what’s going on, etc. If you’re old enough, you know what I’m talking about. You’ve received one of these messages from someone you care about. The slight disconnect the message has, the total and utter stand-still shock and fear – it all comes thru. No matter how it’s put, it comes across blunt and shocking, because the news is shocking and they’re just putting it out there. Boom! I’ve found a lump and I’m scared I have cancer and I’m seeing a doctor on Wednesday. I’ve been in the mindset that creates that type of message. It’s shock and fear. Did what I could in my reply to address all he didn’t say to me. Told him his first priority is to chill, if he can. Getting himself wound up with worry will only compound the problem. Taking care of himself, no matter what that looks like, is his second priority. I thanked him for sharing, knowing how hard it was for him to tell me his news. I assured him he was doing the right thing, going off to the doctor right away. And I told him I loved him. I said what I knew I needed to say, right then and there. How much he means to me. How grateful I am to have him in my life. I have lived too long to do anything else. Say it, now.

Read thru The Grove again. I want to fall out of love with it a bit. Get myself used to the thrills and chills so I can see it clearly. But I’ve already begun changing a word here or there. Thinking of two passages that are clunky, and how I’d like to re-write them. And I need to go back out and check on the horror market. Length, pay, rights… Sort it all out (again).

Been contemplating writing. In general, as an abstract, as well as specific story lines. I remember the all hallowed phrase that was hammered into my head as a young kid. Probably by some wanna-be hack. Write what you know. That’s what I was told: write what you know. But that’s all I was told. Not how to discover my voice, not how to turn that rather cryptic four words into something real. My question at 19 was always the same: But…what do I know? The life of a young woman in the Midwest during the 80’s. To me, it was boring. Normal. Average. I hadn’t yet learned that my life was far from average; that would come later. I was not hailed as a wunderkind. The people around me did their best to keep me down, as a matter of fact. I wrote fantasy and sci-fi, because those were the genres I read and loved. I did okay. But I still hadn’t accessed the real me or what I really knew. Now, it’s clear to me. There’s one thing I really do know. One thing that’s been my constant companion thru the years, day after day: fear.

Never would I have thought that I’d throw all my angst and anxiety into my writing. Never in a million billion years. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to handle my own fear, much less write about it. Thank the Goddess for the Netherlands! Between the culture, the health care, and re-wiring my brain to learn Dutch, things have really changed for me. I have a handle on things, or at least I feel like I do. I don’t panic at every drop of the hat. That’s immensely useful. The bluntness of Dutch society, the confidence these people have… There’s very little negativity. I mean, the Dutch will tell you if they think you’re an asshole. They won’t hold back. They’ll call you out on every uncomfortable thing you do. So they think themselves negative. But by being upfront about that rather than passive aggressive, they nullify the effect and come off as positive. At least, to me. I love it. I have been amazed at the stories I’ve heard and seen: the support amongst family and friends, the kindness to strangers, the incredulity I receive when I share my very different experiences.

This quiet place built out of the ocean floor… It’s true healing energy. I felt it the first time I holidayed here, and am now enjoying the benefits of daily contact. This is a safe haven, not just for ocean faring ships, but for your soul.

I am home.


The last vestige

Start to heal, and feel worse. Anyone else suffer through this? Three days on the anti-viral and the exhaustion hit me – couldn’t stay awake for anything. Now, it’s a stuffed nose and cold-like symptoms. Joy. Reminding myself to feel happy about it while I cough and blow my nose, tearing through the facial tissues in the house until all the garbage cans are full of my used product. It’s coming out of my body. The nose blowing, the navel goo, the exhaustion…all side products of this illness.

Gods, healing is gross.

Sent a text to my teacher, telling her I had shingles and wouldn’t be coming to class. Waited nervously for a reply. Kept thinking she’d tell me no one wanted me back in class after my outburst. Went through the whole thing in about fifteen minutes: shame, guilt, anger, acceptance. Finally my phone jangled with a note: get well, and we hope to see you next week. I find my reaction and…well, everything that’s going on worth mentioning. Because I’m getting this reply from the teacher I call Ms. Hard Ass. Make no mistake about it: she IS a hard ass. But I think she also understands me better than most. I think she’s sussed out that I’m bipolar, maybe a bit autistic. And I think she’s dealt with this type of behavior before. She was the only one who dared to continue speaking to me normally after my outburst. I remember her even asking ‘may I point a few things out to you?’ before giving me some corrections. Of all the people in that room, I feel she’s the one who understood what was going on with me, so her kind reply is doubly appreciated.

Been imagining me apologizing to the class. I have to; it’s the only way I can work up the nerve to do it. Have to add that my imaginings always seem to include someone (one person in particular) piping up with ‘suggestions’ on how to stay calm or stay healthy or whatever. Assumptions, really. The same sort of thing I have to suffer through when someone tells me of some home remedy for rheumatoid arthritis. Dudes! I studied herbal remedies. Whatever you’re going to tell me about, I’ve tried it or looked into it and decided the science can’t back up the claims. Don’t lecture to me about eating right, or sleeping, or getting exercise. I’m on top of all that. I’ve been juggling this illness since I was 10. I dealt with it undiagnosed for 25 years, and now diagnosed for another 17. I’ve done more than you could ever imagine. But it always comes up. And I have to paste that smile on my face, the one that hurts even me to use (can’t you SEE how unhappy I am with what you’re saying?), and listen, and say ‘yes’ and ‘really?’ like I’m truly interested because doing anything else is viewed as rude. Very few people seem to understand how rude it is from my side. …I understand I’m being triggered. My experience with apologizing has been that the apology is never really accepted; I must go through lectures and reminders for the rest of my life. So I’m naturally leery. Afraid it’ll happen again. It’s hard to remember that there are people out there who aren’t gonna react like my family. Doing my best to offer myself alternative fantasies: apologize, and have the apology accepted. People smile and nod at me. I am forgiven. I want that, and I want to trust that it’ll happen. It’s the last part I’m snagged on: trust.

How can I trust S and the film crew so easily, yet be unable to trust other people? I’m having the same issue with the theatre group. I don’t trust they’ll follow through with my piece. Or am I asking the wrong question? Is it ME I don’t trust in these situations? Do I feel incapable of taking criticism, of hearing ‘no’? *sigh* Again, my experiences are not great. I’ve rarely had the thing known as ‘constructive criticism’ given to me. Rip you to shred criticism, yes. In abundance. Meant to hurt you as much as possible criticism. I’m afraid of that. It hurts. No matter how much of it you get, it hurts. Maybe I’m being a drama queen, but it does seem I draw more of that to me than most people. I’ve heard things like ‘you can’t even write a grammatically correct sentence; don’t even BEGIN to think you’re a writer’, or the always deadly ‘gee, you’d be really pretty if you just lost 20 pounds’. That’s not even mentioning the times I was called childish, ignorant, stupid, arrogant, and just plain wrong in every way imaginable (and no, my inner defeatist attitude is NOT something bred in me, but moulded onto me – these are simply echoes of things I heard about myself growing up). So yes, I’m touchy. Begin to attack me personally and I’ll go off on you. Point things out to me calmly and without judgement, and I’ll be fine. I don’t think I’m asking so much there. Am I?

If life is a mirror, then I’m in trouble here. Because things point to the fact that I’m too judgmental. If I feel judged, then (by mirroring standards) I must be putting out too much judgement. …Oh. Well. I DO judge. I’ll admit to thinking ‘gods, people are STUPID!’ about three hundred times a day. And I judge my mother, and my sister, and all my family. I judge them all to be lacking, and all to be dangerous to my mental stability. *sigh* Yet it’s only after leaving them – finally leaving them, all the way through me leaving them, not just in words or distance leaving them – that I’ve met people I can love. I’ve found places I fit in, even if it’s just a short film shoot. I’ve gained self respect.

My doubts and fears…they are just the remnants, the last vestige of the damage done.

Enjoy me

Permission granted.

I got through to myself. Obviously. After posting yesterday, my energy was sucked down a giant vortex. The animal and I were ready to rest.

However. My bro brought home some fresh pears a day before we realized I had shingles. He gleefully told me he’d bought them in the hopes I’d make a pie. You know pears: perfectly great right up to the moment they go. I didn’t want to disappoint my brother yet again, so I pulled out my recipe books and took a look. Had a lime sitting on the counter, left over from an Indian dish, and two pears. Many a times I’ve used lemon with pear or apple in a pie, but never lime. What a mistake! Pear and lime pie is out of this world fantastic. I’ll never use lemon again in this dish. Must note that, and if you haven’t tried it, do it asap because you’ll love it. While I’m thrilled I didn’t disappoint my bro, and I made pie that’s not only delicious but also stunning in its presentation, I didn’t really rest. Between prep, cooking, and cleaning, I was on my feet most of the afternoon.

Maybe it was a good thing. Burn out the remainder of that energy in me doing something constructive. That’s what I’m telling myself. But today, I feel beat. Bone tired. It’s only the caffeine in my coffee that’s keeping me awake.

Ah…at least I’m not crying every minute. That’s where I was. Not just exhausted, but exhausted (literally) to tears, crying every five minutes without knowing why I was crying. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, being so emotionally affected by my physical health and vice versa. People say being disconnected from your body is somehow wrong, a bad thing. I seem to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m not just connected to my body, I’m integrated. Hurt me physically and I feel it emotionally. Hurt me emotionally and it manifests itself physically. That can’t be good. It doesn’t feel good.

Oh, Beeps! Drop the labels. It is what it is.

Noting a tendency to gravitate to family programming. I want that fairy tale, everything turns out all right in the end story right now. It’s as much chicken soup for my soul as the chicken soup my bro made for dinner last night was for my body. It feeds me, nourishes me, makes me feel whole and strong again. I know that’s probably silly. Or childish. But losing faith in the inherent rightness of things is a hollow feeling. And yes, I’m one of the first to cry out in horror when that rightness isn’t met in real life – and I do it a lot. Yet, I still have that thread of faith. As I’ve grown older, I’ve likened it in my head to believing in Santa Claus. People begin to tell you Santa doesn’t exist, that’s not the real world. There are even people out there who aren’t just willing but who want to shove your face into the shit, mushing it up your nose, sliming it across your face, to prove to you once and for all that there is zero reason for believing in anything good. It’s hard to keep your faith. In anything: God, yourself, Santa. But I decided a long time ago I didn’t want to become a hollow person, and I’ve fought to keep hold of that innocence in me. It is precious, and oh so rare. And it is why, I think, people always say I seem so ‘young’. I’m not young. I’m very experienced, in many ways that might turn your hair white. But despite the experience, I haven’t grown a hard shell. I did, once. I ripped it off, and it was as painful as you might imagine. It’s been painful ever since because to keep this attitude, you’ve got to be willing to keep feeling that hurt. You’ve got to go out there and hope for the best. Be willing to be taken for a ride because you won’t pre-judge. Be willing to let go, when needed. It hurts. No amount of previous scarring prepares you for the next bout of pain, and it HAS to be that way.

Your love has to be absolute. No strings attached. Given, without asking for anything in return. It is the most vulnerable thing you can ask yourself to do. But, as so often happens in life, it is in that vulnerability you are actually strong. You can’t expect yourself to walk around in it 24/7. But you can reach for those times when it’s possible. You’ll find it in yourself at the oddest moments, when you least expect it. Give it, and watch what happens. I’ve rolled over people with anger, with dignity, with piety and all sorts of emotional back-lash stuff. But roll over people with joy and love! It’s a tidal wave. They don’t know how to react.

And isn’t that a sad thing? That when faced with that kind of behavior, most of us stop completely because we don’t know what to do. It’s tricky, I’ll give you that. Too much schmaltz in any direction and your absolute love without strings becomes enmeshed in some philosophy or intellectual pursuit and loses all its power. It must be raw, and pure. Unspoken, even. It is a light that fills me, and I know when I radiate it.

It’s been my life goal to radiate that light full time. To live there. I have an instinctual feeling that if I did that, I’d burn out fast. It’s a conundrum. Reach without reaching. Burn without burning. Be, without asking.

I must appear so small to the Universe. A dust mote, hanging in the cosmic sunshine. Something that may temporarily catch your attention, but too short-lived to enjoy for more than a moment or two.

Well, this is my moment.

Enjoy me.

My kind of Monday

Pain. Let’s talk about it, because yesterday it was my entire world.

Started having trouble on Saturday. Pain in my right upper jaw. I’ve got a tooth up there that hurts sometimes – like when I get sinus infections. So I wasn’t too worried. But it got worse. And worse. Spread to my whole jaw, and my ear.

By yesterday I couldn’t sit still. The pain was too much. I also got a bit woozy and light headed from it, but I couldn’t stop pacing. Wanted to try to make it to Monday before seeing someone. Couldn’t. Called the emergency number for my dentist and made an appointment.

Now, my film friends got their wish. We had snow. Real snow, with real accumulation. And on that one day of winter white-out, THAT’S when this had to happen. Had to travel in slush and cold, deal with delayed metros, the works.

They were late getting to me, naturally. Everyone must have had dental problems at the same time. Waited for an hour and a half in agony, pacing the floor, holding the right side of my head, and occasionally wincing.

Abscess? Nope. Cracked tooth? Nope. Infection pocket somewhere? Nope. They did full 360 x-rays of my mouth – absolutely no frigging problem anywhere. He tested my teeth and got zero reaction other than a normal one. But then a wave of pain hit while I was in the chair, after he’d injected me with numbing agents. It took me right back up on my feet, and the dentist was worried. That shouldn’t be happening, he said. A few more tests – this time, he hit a spot that almost made me jump through the roof. Yep, that’s the one. But I puzzled the dentist. He finally chalked it up to an irritated nerve that wouldn’t stop hurting.

Emergency root canal. Yeesh. You can hardly find three such intimidating words to string together. I was bloody shaking in my boots – not only was I in agony, I was terrified three times over. I hate dentists in general, and here it was a damned emergency. But at that point, I didn’t care if he pulled all my teeth. Just make the pain stop.

At first, it was fine. After the wave of pain left me, the area was numb. He began the procedure. Drilling: no pain. Start the work: no pain. It was the last bit, the final nerve and cleaning that was pain personified. I held up my hand as he’d asked me to – Stop! It hurts! He gave me about 10 second to catch my breath before continuing. And I squirmed. Tried not to squeal or cry out. It hurt like hell, and he kept saying ‘almost done’ for what seemed like forever.

Finally, thirty very long minutes later, it was over.

The head-splitting agony I’d been going thru was done. I could sit still. I could walk without feeling like I might pass out. And for the first time that day, I felt hungry.

Now I must make an appointment with my regular dentist and get the temporary filling replaced. Heading there this morning. Sad because I was going to go up to the film set and see everyone, turn in my expenses, and pick up the lights. But the echo of the pain I experienced is still with me. Eventually, that will fade. That happens. You kind of forget HOW bad it was – and that’s okay. For now, I remember all too clearly. And I just need some down time. Time to heal. Time to forget, if I’m honest. I don’t want to remember the last 48 hours.

HERBAL INFO TO REMEMBER: Chewing raw garlic for tooth aches works. It is horribly nasty, and you can’t swallow the garlic or the garlic oil in your mouth (stand by a sink and get ready to spit a lot, because raw garlic will really get your saliva glands going). And it’s temporary. I chewed four cloves of garlic yesterday afternoon because the pain kept returning. But damn! It gave me relief for 30-40 minutes at a time, and I was very grateful for it. Kept me from going completely crazy.

Someday, when I’ve left this flesh and moved on, they’ll open up this body to see what made me tick. And I hope to hover above the table, or sit in the corner, just to hear them say ‘Aha! Look at that! So that was her problem! That was why she had this pain, that was why she didn’t respond to this medication, that was why. She was wired differently.’ And they’ll take their notes and pictures, and maybe in the long run it will save someone else from going thru what I’ve gone thru.

Or, maybe they’ll just dump me in a trash container.

Happy thoughts. See why I need a little mental break?

It might be a pj’s all day kind of day. Just call the dentist (even confronting Dutch on the telephone isn’t as scary as what I just went thru). Watch films and cartoons. Play. Baby myself a bit. No scripts, no homework, no guilt over not making it up to the set today.

My kind of Monday.


Ah. Late start; slept in. Gotta get used to this back and forth. Rehearsals (and the soon to come performance) really screw with my timing. I come back home wound up, excited, and nowhere near sleep. So it’s hours beyond my usual bed-time by the time I close my eyes, and the sun is well above the horizon before I wake.

Had fun last night. It was fun to do the role in a new manner, fun to play with make-up, but perhaps most fun was the reaction I received. Walking in freshly done up, I received an overwhelming ‘Oooooo!‘ from the group. Not a huge surprise; they’ve never seen me in make-up before. I’ve got one of those faces that can change into anything because it’s a blank slate. Put different colors on me, change my hair – and viola! Someone entirely new. These days, I don’t wear make-up. Ever. I’m not out for anything, I just want to be a person. Plus it’s really bad for your skin. But I’m still that blank slate. Add in some shading and color, and suddenly I’m a glam bombshell. Or, that’s the way the group treated me. My acting partner told me four times last night he found me terribly attractive – and that’s more than lip service, because he broke character twice and his reason was, both times, my look. My ego got stroked. Don’t care if I want anything or not; being perceived as attractive feels good. In the end, the director decided to retain my original interpretation of the role – though he does want me to keep using the false eyelashes. And may I say, wearing false eyelashes is one WEIRD experience. First, you’re very aware of them, and it feels unnatural. It’s visually odd because you can see the lashes hanging over your eyes. And the initial shock of going from no lashes to thick full lashes…well, it takes some time to adjust. About an hour and a half, to be precise. By the end of rehearsal, I was used to the lashes and the way they made me look. Good news is they hung on, despite sweating, so I’ve got the gluing process down.

Bad news is, the director was sick, so I’m on health watch today.

Still no compunction to write other than an occasional note and this blog. That’s good, actually. I didn’t want to be caught up in something this close to performance. My mind is focused on staying healthy and performing well.

…I’ll confess that in the secret depths of my heart, I hope one of these people I’m working with will be so impressed by my various interpretations that I’ll end up having an in with an acting agency. It’s a long shot, but I know most of these people are involved in various acting areas – other theatre groups, films, etc. They know people. And one can hope, right?

Dressed for the gym, but I’m not sure I’ll go. The weather is iffy; we’ve a warning out for high winds and storms. And I’m tired. Plus, I’ve been exposed. Might just chill. Probably should. …Oh…if I hold to my promise to myself, I have to chill. Forget the gym. Drink juice, nap, relax. I should stop kidding myself.

Great to know I can still pull off the bombshell look. But at almost 52 (just a few, short months away), it really takes it out of me.

There’s already enough

Heavy sigh.

If I were to take as long healing from all the crap I got growing up as it took to brainwash me into thinking I was a piece of shit, I’d be 76 and counting before I got over it. That’s the thought that elicited the heavy sigh, a depressed feeling, and anger over time never fucking being on my side.

I hate my family.

Gods…I know I look awful when I’m at the gym. Catch myself too often too deep into emotion. I tear up, my face turns red – I’m sure I look either like I’m about to have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Or both. It’s what happens. My body moves, stuff shifts and suddenly I am overwhelmed by memories and emotions. Therapists really should think about doing sessions during work-outs. At least in my case.

Gotta go through it. Free up whatever got blocked. Breathe. Fucking breathe. That’s the only thing I can think of, when it hits me. My feet move, time ticks on, but I’m unaware of any of it. Just stuck somewhere deep in a half hidden memory that’s full of old, built up muck. I’ve only impressions left over. Impressions of regret, and anger. Why did it go down that way? Why couldn’t I have been one of the lucky ones born into a family that cared?

Don’t talk to me about fate. I’ve always felt like I’m paying forward in this life, and it sucks. I was never a kid who enjoyed frying ants or ripping off the wings of flies. I don’t have that mean streak in me. If I’d been a shit in a previous life, wouldn’t it have shown up early on? I think so. But I was that weird kid who’d get up at 4 am to sing the sun up. I talked to trees, and cried over injustices.

And if the secret to reaching zen is dealing with people shitting on you all the time, I must be some freaking holy zen master.

So why do I find all of this so fucking difficult?

Haven’t I learned anything?

But, hey. I don’t have social niceties. Was never taught them. Don’t get hidden agendas, or most faux pas (what IS the plural on that, anyway?). And if I had a nickel for every time I heard about how ‘different’ I was…well, I still wouldn’t be rich. But I could buy a cheap meal for myself.

So what’s stuck in my craw today?

Other than the welling up of old memories and feelings, I guess I’d have to say it was what happened at my language lesson. Yeesh. You know, questioning any of this makes me wonder if I’m not just some drama queen timing things out and demanding my fair share of attention. Nonetheless, I noticed a definite difference between how I am treated and how my fellow student is treated. The effect was heightened for me because we had another new volunteer teacher sit in with us, to learn how a lesson might be. I think she looked at me twice. The remainder of her eye contact was reserved for my fellow student. And rightly so; the majority of conversation took place between my teacher, the newbie, and the other student. I was not included. I was not asked questions. I searched for things to say, to include myself…didn’t feel it was well received. They turned, they listened, but they didn’t follow up with statements or questions. Am I being paranoid? So difficult to tell. The other student is not as far along as me, and both instructors might have felt she needed more practice speaking. That’s logical. Still. I’ve an undeniable feeling that something else is going on, something I’m not catching onto. I hate that.

Mm. That’s the second thing I’ve said I hate.

Decided something. Had a weird few minutes during the script read through. I was outside with the director and someone the director knew was leaving. The guy asked me – twice – if I was the director’s wife. My reaction: laughter. I’ve thought a lot about that, and realized it might have sounded derisive to the director. Like I was laughing at the idea that we could be married because I found him unattractive or whatever. I wasn’t; I was laughing over the idea of anyone even conceiving ME of being capable of marrying someone. I’m just a bit worried that my hilarity will be taken the wrong way, and I don’t want any misunderstandings over my lack of social skills. So I’m gonna bring it up to him. Remind him of that moment and explain myself because I didn’t at the time. And I don’t need anyone else thinking I’m a shit.

There’s already enough.

Authoress Theatricus


Four days, non-stop (other than my brother yelling at me to pause for silly things like meals and sleep). The script is finished and I am thrilled. Thrilled to be done, thrilled to have finished at all, thrilled to hope there may be some real funny jokes in the script…thrilled. Did a little victory song and dance yesterday after I wrote the last ‘curtain down’. The world of spell check and formatting comes later, but at the moment, the bulk of the work is done.

Now what the hell do I do?

That’s a joke, of course. I’ve got four days of piled up stuff to do. More, if I care to be honest about how lazy I’ve become. But I’ve been walking around with “that burnt out stare” (according to my bro) that I get after an intensive writing spree. Watch one of the movies you recorded! Don’t you dare turn your computer back on! I had to get up a wee bit early so I didn’t catch hell just blogging this morning.

My bro even topped up the card we use online. He handed it to me yesterday afternoon with a slip of paper. “See? Over a hundred euro all ready. You’ve got fifty for games.” I never spend that much on games, I scoffed. “I know. Break the habit and spend it. Just take a few days from your writing.” – Now, that’s the act of a desperate man!

I like writing the way I do. It’s become something of a ritual with me. When I finally fall into that groove, I don’t want anything to stop me. Not my brother, nor tv, meals, sleep, or any other interruption. I really should have a cage to go sit in. A dark cage with just my desk and computer sitting in it and a plaque on the front saying:

Authoress Theatricus: a rare species of female writer. The Authoress Theatricus enjoys solitude, and working under the cover of darkness. Although she may look warm and fuzzy, the Authoress is extremely dangerous. Do not approach the cage; do not hit the bars of the cage to catch the Authoress’ attention. This animal is known to attack swiftly and violently without provocation.


Right now I need the zookeeper to hose down my cage. Part of that ‘no interruptions’ stuff includes not showering or even changing my underwear. I don’t want to wash the story off my back! Sounds silly, I know, but I have this strange feeling that when I write, I sweat out the story. That sweat becomes part of the story, part of the setting, and when I’m really in the groove I don’t want anything to throw me.

Including my own stink, or lack thereof.

This morning I’ll get the sweat and oils burned off my body in a chlorine pool (don’t gross out; I’ll shower before jumping in). I might just float on my back, grinning, the whole time. I did it. It’s done. I still feel all giddy thinking those thoughts.

My characters threw me curves right up to the curtain close. My brain fished out a divorce horror story from long ago, and I threw echoes of it into the script via the eldest son and his wife. I had this foggy idea of how the play was supposed to end, but no real idea how to get myself there. But, trust to my subconscious! Even when I don’t listen to myself, it does. It heard and remembered my words about using the script to heal my family in a manner I’m unable to do in real life. And this came out:

I know, Mom. But that’s not a life. And I want a life! It would sure be a lot easier to go and get one if I felt you supported me.

That stopped me and made me think. Brought a tear to my eye, too. From there, the rest fell into place: the denials, the jokes, the confessions – everything.  The real parts of my life are utterly real in this thing. Almost too real, in some aspects. But as my fingers beat down closer and closer to the word count I was shooting for, I wrote what never happened in real life: a change in behavior. A healing, a coming together in support of each other like my family was never capable of.

As the last lines were written and the final running gag punchline typed in, I felt a release. An acceptance. The buzz of irritation and anger I felt around the word ‘family’ melted away.

I didn’t look for this. I didn’t expect it. But I’ve healed myself, at least a little bit. The understanding I needed as a writer to create these characters, with all their foibles and irritating behaviors, got welded into my mind. I wrote what I thought was behind it all: my mother’s narcissism, my father’s bellowing, my brother’s drinking and cheating, my sister’s shallow callousness. The characters were called out, brought up short, and given a good slap in the face metaphorically to wake them up. And I find, today, in my heart, more understanding and forgiveness for my family than I’ve felt in many years.

With the final curtain down stage direction written, the heavy fog surrounding Rotterdam lifted. Quite literally; I opened the curtains to weak sunshine, which grew and strengthened into the nicest day we’ve had since I fell into this trance. Can’t help but feel that’s a sign, or at least a reflection of this brilliantly glowing light inside me.

I done good.

Today, I pick up my old life. The one before the time portal opened and I fell down the rabbit’s hole. It feels strange to face a day of swimming and…and nothing. No plans to write, no need to dream up any more dialogue. I should turn my brain to Dutch again. Get back to the gym later this week for exercise.

Time to draw the curtain down around the cage; this exhibit’s closed for the time being.

Decision made


Yesterday I received a b-day wish from my oldest brother, who still lives in the states. Dealings with my oldest brother, D, have always been tricky. Something happened to him on one of our family trips. We stopped to fill up the gas tank in Tennessee. He disappeared for 10 minutes behind the station. When he came back to the car, that was it. He changed. He began saying ‘maw’ and ‘paw’ rather than mom and dad, found a Dixie style hat he wore into the ground, and started growing a scraggly and unkempt beard. He was never the same afterwards.

Sometimes I think aliens abducted my real brother and left a fake in his place. That’s how big the change was.

So the message reads “Happy birthday, little sister. I love you. It’s been so long since we’ve hugged and now I think we never will again.” That’s typical. This is the first time in over a year since I’ve heard from him. He always (1) has an overt reason to contact me, like a birthday, (2) calls me his little sister as if to invoke our DNA tie in some ritualistic mumbo-jumbo, and then (3) throws a healthy heaping spoonful of guilt onto the pile to try to make me feel as sad as he does.

This is the guy who supported Trump.

This is the guy who I’m pretty sure was in love with me while I grew up.

And while I admit that everyone is a fluid artwork, changing every minute of every day, that particular work of art turns my stomach. His canvas is filled with black oil and red blood. There are scratches and gouges, huge slashes across his surface. Ash and cement and bones are all mixed in, sticking out here and there, making what could be a smooth and lovely picture into something grotesque.

He is a mockery of a man, and his surface resemblance to my father just makes it all that much worse.

There. I’ve said it. I always go on about my sister – and trust me, she’s a big enough bitch you could go on and on and never reach the end of her crap – but I rarely discuss my oldest brother. Certainly, dodging his covert and sometimes overt sexual advances taught me a lot about *wince* “leading men around by their dicks”. Should I say thanks for that? Goddess knows, it helped shape me. I don’t feel it was one of those things that was good for me, though. I am a skewed monkey.

Pity. That’s what I always felt for him. Pity. Pity that he so obviously fawned over me. Pity that he would never admit to his feelings so he could never move beyond them. So much pity that in the end, I knew my moving far, far away would be as good for him as it was for me.

This is one of those things I’m fairly certain everyone in the family picked up on but never discussed. I’m fairly certain of it because of a message I received from my nephew, my brother’s son, a few years after I left. It accused me of ‘abandoning’ his father, my oldest brother. Like we were married. Oh, there was plenty of language in that message just from my nephew, too. If my brother felt that way about me, my nephew definitely thought of me as a ‘mother’ figure. Plenty of hurt to go around between those two.

Small wonder I ran away with the one family member who didn’t make me feel wrong in one way or another. I’ve caught plenty of looks from people when I tell them I live with my bro. It’s always the same, and you don’t even have to speak any particular language to understand it: what’s wrong with her? Like they expect me at any moment to begin shouting obscenities and twitching due to Tourette Syndrome, or say that I’m in the last stages of some illness and about to drop dead. I don’t know how, yet, to put my life into a nutshell. To state in one or two sentences the full why of my situation. Usually, I slough it off with my RA. These days that statement is truer than ever before. I just couldn’t live alone; it’s too much for me. But that’s not how it began. In the beginning, it was my choice. And it was a hard choice to make; at that point in my life I had difficulty stating what I preferred watching on television much less what I wanted to DO with my life. That’s how screwed up I was. Couldn’t make any choices because I’d been made to feel that all my choices were wrong. My bro helped me through that. Kept reminding me of the person I was before. Before the abusive ex, before the stalking. Before the full psychosis of my family let loose on me and me alone as my bro went into military service. He kept giving me choices. He kept telling me it was my job to heal.

He still says that to me.

I don’t know if now is the time to stand up. Say what I need to say to my oldest brother in a last message – I certainly wouldn’t expect to hear from him again if I ever do send it. Or do I listen to my father whispering in my ear ‘don’t burn your bridges‘. But, dad – D was never a bridge for me. Never a healthy bridge. He’s a diseased bridge. A bridge that could collapse any moment, taking me down with it. And look at me! A full post moaning and explaining. I shouldn’t have to explain this much. I shouldn’t feel that awful ‘oh, goddess!’ feeling every single time I have to deal with someone. No, dad, some bridges should be burned. In fact, they NEED to be burned to make way for the new.

What do you know: decision made.

Come Out, Come Out!


Cold, wet, and dark. Welcome to Spring.


Having a bit of a difficult time today. Spent time with me yesterday; let myself write and chatter and say whatever came to mind. I talked to myself about shoes, and found the girl doesn’t want sneakers, she wants ankle boots. Badly, like a jones you can’t rid yourself of. She even turned the tables on me and became the hard hitting therapist for a bit.

When did this flip around? You’ve become the therapist.

Does that matter? A false illusion is a false illusion. Doesn’t matter if you hold it or if I hold it.

So my problem comes from sharing my desire for ankle boots with my brother who, goddess love him, thinks differently. He thinks I should go for sneakers first, that they’ll end up being more useful to me. And he reminded me of all the great sneakers I’ve worn – Chuckies, VANS – all the shoes that made me strut and put on attitude. I’m back on the fence. In fact, I’ve let myself be swayed more to the sneaker side again EVEN THOUGH I found a very deep desire in me for ankle boots.

The girl isn’t happy. This needs to be rectified.

Let me butt in here. First, you’re talking like I’m not here, and I am. I’m always here, even when I don’t talk to you. Second, we’ve worn sneakers for twenty years because that’s all we could afford and generally sneakers hurt our feet the least. Yes, we’ve dug some pairs. We’ve HAD to. Like your sneakers or die; that’s what it was for a long goddamn time. Can we PLEASE do things MY way – for ONCE? Third, your brother is arguing to get sneakers first and ankle boots in three months, when you can get another pair made. He keeps telling you those ankle boots aren’t that far off. Then why not swap that? Get the ankle boots first and the sneakers second. And if you wear the first pair into disrepute then you KNOW I was right for asking for them and just get a second pair of ankle boots to keep in better condition! It’s a win/win situation! Ankle boots do everything. Dress ’em up; dress ’em down. Skirts to jeans, ankle boots got you covered. Why are we arguing about this?

*sigh* She’s right. Again. [And DAMN! She’s far more persevering than I am.]

She also taught me a thing or two about sex and love:

But how do you combine that safety and friendship with sex? I don’t get it. Sex is always predatory.

Sex isn’t about love?

No. It’s about getting off. Endorphin rush.

So boyfriends or long term partners are just people you like to get off with time and time again?

Yeah, primarily. It helps to like the guy, but it’s sure not necessary.

Okay. So what does love look like?

Caring. Standing by a person. Being with them day in and day out. Laughing together. Struggling against the world together. Hugging each other no matter what. Knowing your life would be poorer and less if that other person wasn’t in it. Wanting to make them happy. Supporting them.

But not sex.

No. Sex is physical, like exercise.

Yep. ‘Making love’ is just a euphemism to me. Never did it; never even came close. And a bit of hypersexuality, anyone?

THINK about it. Your brain used to focus on sex all the time. Who you might have it with, when you’d get it next. Every night out was an attempt to get fucked, not find love. Right?

I think I wanted more.

No. What you wanted was a full time fuck who could always make you cum. Someone you could stand being around, someone your family approved of. Someone who made a decent living so you could have the house and the car and the vacations. I know…Mom and dad were a fairy tale couple. We always said that, and that’s what we truly thought. But look at your siblings. You’re not the only one who’s had problems making a connection with people. You’re just the only one to admit to it.

She’s pretty ruthless in her opinions.

And she’s dead on.

NOW she feels validated. We just had to go that extra step and air our dirty laundry!

I guess a very grown up conversation awaits me today. I’ve got to tell my brother to back off on the sneaker idea and ask him to support my choice. Tell him how much I want what I want, how important it is to me to get precisely what I want, not what I’m told I SHOULD want. Hope his listening ears are on this morning.

My plan is to go mall walking later on. It’s scheduled to rain and rain hard for the next few days. I can kill a couple of birds with one stone by walking in the mall: keep pushing my trial shoes AND window shop for cool shoes and (gasp!) cool summer gear. If ankle boots are in, shorts are out and skirts are making a comeback. That means I need a slip…if they still make slips these days. Do they? Damned if I know right now. Anyway, tra-la and all that shit. I’ll be looking at girly things today, strictly for girls. No boy’s stuff at all. [If I haven’t ever said, a lot of clothes I’ve worn over the past twenty years are guys clothes. They’re cheaper and larger cut.] I think my brother is NOT invited to come with me today. I want to really look, not feel like he’s standing by doing nothing and just WAITING for me to make a choice. That doesn’t help me, especially when it comes to girly things. Boys’ stuff I’ll just grab and put on. Nothing to think about except is it roomy enough in the hips. But stuff for girls…for women..THAT I’m picky about.

A-HAAAAAAAA! I get it!! The girl is thinking about coming out again. THAT’S what this big fashion hang up is all about. She wants to make an entrance, her style. Let’s lay down the red carpet. Come out, come out, wherever you are!

For her; for me


Today I want to give my Mommy issues a rest. Instead, I find the girl in me wants to let loose on my siblings, D and K. [Caveat: None of what’s about to come out includes anything to do with the brother I live with, T, who is kind of like my twin. We’re very close in age, finish each other’s sentences, and always have each other’s backs.]

D and K. What a fucking pair of fuckwits to be brought up with.

It was a dark 4 a.m. when my head started tormenting me. And it was D and K’s voices and nasty faces I saw. Telling me how spoiled I am. Telling me what a baby I am. Telling me how I can’t, it isn’t possible, I’m not that good, I’m not wanted, I was a mistake, I’m a horrible person, I deserved it.

I think I recognize now that both D and K retreated into different worlds from me. If I suffered abuse – physical, sexual, and/or emotional – then I’m sure they did, too. For one thing, they’re both fucked up. Seriously. My sister, K (who I usually refer to as SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED) took on the mantle of serial narcissist abuser. My brother D was told he suffered from antisocial personality disorder while still in high school. Older than me by six (brother D) and four (sister K) years, to me they were practically adults. They were always ‘in charge’ when it was just us kids. They knew more, were stronger, and far more devious than I ever was.

It was like tying up a lamb in lion country and just waiting for them to come in for the kill.

When I look back, the most brotherly or sisterly thing those two ever did for me was to introduce me to alcohol and marijuana. And that’s not saying much.

They’d deny everything. Tell you it’s my fault. It was my choice to drink heavily, smoke heavily, go out all night, get involved with abusers, get into trouble, mess up my life completely. That’s all true.

What they’d gloss over would be my side of the story. How pushed away I felt from the two of them. How once I began drinking and smoking marijuana I became ‘cool’ enough to hang out with, and how much that meant to me. How they often enabled that behavior in me, to the point of excess.

Sounds like a set up to me.

D encouraged my risky sexual behavior. There was nothing – and I mean nothing – he enjoyed more than hearing about my nights out, my conquests and exploits. Maybe he didn’t mean to do that, but that’s the message I got. *sigh* Though I’d put nothing past him. D is the one who was sexually attracted to me. He once fucked a friend of mine because it was the closest thing to fucking me (his words). I don’t ever remember him hugging me when I was little. Once we got older, though, we hugged. Always with his hips at least a foot away from my body, like he was afraid that if he got too close I’d feel his hard on (speculation, but probably dead on). D was the one who told me (calmly, which might have been the weirdest part about it) that he regularly killed people in his mind to relieve tension, and that of course he’d killed me many times in his head.

To K, I was a person of convenience. Feel lonely? Call on me to keep you company. I was not someone to share much with. I was someone to compete with.

I don’t want to talk about her.

The two of them together, hitting me (figuratively) from either side while mom flat out ignored me was a twisted situation. Straight out of a Tennessee Williams play.

And all this happened while T was in the military. We lost touch, not so much a bad parting as just an inability on MY part to accept that what the family was doing to me was fucked up. T’s experiences away from the family warrant a Tolstoy sized novel, but they’re not my stories to tell. But I will tell you this: during that time, he went thru homelessness, misdiagnosis, and what amounts to abuse. He did not have an easy time of it. What he did have was a stronger sense of himself than I ever did.

I missed that. His conviction. His rational arguments. The rest of the family relied on emotional manipulation. T has always appealed to my brain. He takes me down, line by line, irrefutable with each statement, until I have to admit he’s got a point. He only addresses the emotional side to the extent that he acknowledges how wrapped up in it I get, and he does his best to first soothe my nerves before asking me to do anything else. Rational arguments we can talk about.

Emotional manipulation we can’t. It just IS. It’s done TO you. There’s no exchange. It’s akin to fucking mind rape.

And baby, I’ve been mind raped for years.

I am smoking waaaaaaaay too much this morning.

So. don’t. care.

Well, the girl got me up early. She knows she’s got time today to do whatever she wants. Right now, she wants to play. Opened up my games online yesterday to see SIXTY PERCENT OFF so I coughed up a whole €19 for five new computer games. Silly stuff, and I love it. Got one where I’m a fish and all I do is eat smaller fish to grow and grow. You get big enough to eat people and helicopters and cities. The sound effects make me laugh. That one ALONE was worth the €19. Got 4 others, too.

So that’s it. Be safe. Safe enough to feel like writing a bit later on. Doesn’t matter if the words are ‘good enough’ (don’t ask me what that entails; even I don’t know). All that matters is that time is allowed for whatever. For her. For me.