Fill it up

Saturday. Summer heat is here. Nights are still blessedly cool, but you can tell the dog days are coming: the shady areas under trees are no longer colder than the sunshine. The earth doesn’t have to suck up every bit of warmth to wake up and get the day started. It’s warm already.

There are a very slim few weeks after the bitter cold leaves and before the real heat sets in when I feel GOOD. That time is now. Taking advantage of it by walking outside in the sun with no jacket on. So pleasant! To not shiver when a breeze blows; ach! That’s a slice of heaven.

Began a bit of research for my next writing project. Reading what’s available on the web. Taking notes. Not really believing it because, well, it’s on the WEB. The web is not an accredited source, which is pretty evident once you begin taking notes and find that just about everything out there contradicts some other information.

Working to get the hate out of my heart. And oh, how I hate these days! There are more than a few people I’d gladly kill. Blow them the fuck away because I think the world actually would be a better place without them.

I’m not the fucking messiah. I can’t turn the other cheek (it’s black and bruised and torn). And unlike Sting, I can’t write an upbeat pop song about it.

Woke up and realized I’ve decided to tell my long term FB pen-pal he can go hang himself. Haven’t done it yet. Haven’t decided on the exact wording. But I can’t be friends with someone who voted to destroy the environment, illegally withdraw human rights from millions of people, and restore male dominance over a woman’s body. This decision goes against my people-pleasing. It’s hard to tell him to fuck off. But…I just can’t imagine continuing any discourse with this person. I don’t want to tell him anything about myself. He’s violated my trust, as surely as if he’d raped me himself.

Hm. Maybe that’s how I should put it. Think he’d get it?

Reading Dutch now with little hiccups. Still many words I wonder about. Do my best to catch the meaning from the sentences. I think I’ve read enough to get a flow going. My inner voice speaks the words out (sometimes VERY slowly, especially if it’s one of those 36 character compound words the Dutch love so very much). Not sure I’m pronouncing some things correctly – syllable emphasis is everything, and when I’ve got four or five syllables to choose from…well, YOU tell me which is correct. And naturally, being a story, it’s all past tense verbs. But my grammar is improving. That was evident in Friday’s language lesson. I heard less correction from my teachers, and saw more nods and smiles. Maybe my Thursday teacher doesn’t like me – I don’t really know, and probably never will. But there’s no reason for me to feel like an idiot. I’ve been studying with volunteers in a haphazardly taught program for two years and I’m doing pretty well. Yeah, the book I’m reading is “only for teens” and maybe the way I pronounce some words does reveal my American roots (two comments from Thursday that are still bugging me), but I’m making progress.

That’s good. Think of positives.

Smoking less. That’s because I made hash brownies. Still. It earns a check mark. Getting fresh air and regular movement. Not my heavy duty work outs, but maybe that’s a good thing, too. Pretty much pain free. Can walk, bend, turn, lift, and use my hands without wincing. Definite positive. Still got great hearing. Ignore the ringing; ignore my stray thoughts that make me wonder if I’m hearing all the life getting sucked from the planet. I can hear, and hear well. Positive.

Now all I need to do is fill up my time…

What a f***in’ joke

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An orange dot on the upper right hand side of the WP screen alerted me to the fact that today is my two year anniversary on this blog-o-sphere. Whoop-de-doo. The occasion should be marked by stating unequivocally that I’m in a better mental state now than when I began. Still don’t know if I’m “happy” or not, but at least I’m not miserable.

Ear specialist appointment today. No slicing or dicing, thankfully. But odd. Had a hearing test first with the nurse. Twenty minutes later I was being congratulated by the doc for ‘having the hearing of a 10 year old kid’. Really? This is good? You people are deaf. Have a prescription for extra strength nose drops (should create an excellent momentary sense of drowning; really looking forward to using them – not). Told to see a special physiotherapist, someone who (apparently) can manipulate my jaw to help any built up pressure from scar tissue formed by my RA. Ach! Another one? More money out? Seriously? And I’m supposed to wait an additional 6 weeks before making another appointment – and then it will only be to set up a further appointment for “therapy” and “counseling” to deal with the continual ringing in my ears. Like I bleeding need therapy to deal with my hearing!

In other words, I still got my bionic hearing and no one can figure out what I’m bitching about.

Story of my life.

The radio drama is out and I’ve already received notification that they’ve got it. Also feel the fool. Noticed on my writer’s email account a tiny, dark grey number by the spam folder. Yeesh. There were the two replies from the competition answering my requests for a submission form. Took me half an hour to figure out how to get them out of the spam folder, and I’m still working on letting go of feeling a right ASS for not noticing it sooner.

Brutal appointment with my physiotherapist. I asked for it, and I got it. He hit a point by my tailbone that was sore, and he began with his usual gentle touch. I was quick to point out he shouldn’t be afraid of hurting me and within half a second I was almost regretting telling him that. Bore down on the area with his full weight. OW! But for the first time he got a deep crack in the area, and my back’s felt better ever since.

Getting back to gym time. Not easy with my hearing complaint. I can’t submerse into sound with my iPod; it doesn’t sound right to me, and the high end is ALL wrong. But I can’t keep using that as an excuse. My angry outburst the other day proved that to me beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I am just done making excuses for myself. The truth is, I’m a woman of extremes. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. Always tried to prevent it, always tried to tread the middle path. Doesn’t work for me. And I’m tired of trying. It is what it is. I push more, feel more, think (and doubt) more than most, believe weird things, and apparently have the hearing of a pre-nubile goddess. At 51.

What a fuckin’ joke.

Tell me

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Six plus weeks of hearing trouble, and I finally have the go-ahead to consult a specialist. Interesting examination with my doc this morning; she put a tuning fork to various places on my head and asked me where I heard the sound and how long it lasted (the best sound I’ve heard in the past six plus weeks). Hm. My spidey-sense tells me ever more strongly that I’m headed for surgery.

Saw my v.c. (very cute) physiotherapist yesterday. Haven’t referred to him that way for a while. He made it clear he was seeing someone, blah-de-blah, and I figured I’d just better get over my infatuation. But he greeted me with that smile of his, and bowed me into his office with the sweeping motion of a gallant knight of old, and my heart just went BOOM! So I’m right back to my fantasies, ignoring what’s going on because I can’t stop thinking about kissing him all over.

Tonight is the first night of auditions for the theatre group. I’m not on the schedule, but I’m going anyway to say hi to people I’ve met and surreptitiously ask a few members to help me with my own read-through. Been rehearsing, and prepping to step up and audition tonight despite being scheduled for Tuesday – because that’s the way my life generally works (prep for one thing, and another happens: in this case, if I prep for Tuesday I’ll be asked to audition tonight, but if I prep to audition tonight I’ll have to wait ’til Tuesday). Am blowing off language class this morning and tomorrow. My Friday teacher told us last week that everyone could bring their kids, because kids’ schools are off for Easter. Kids! Walking germ factories. I’m not exposing myself to that risk just before auditions and just before MY time off to write scripts. Uh-uh. Probably being overly cautious, but I’d rather that than another four to six week illness.

Back to the gym. Can’t say I look forward to it, but I’m doing it. Was appalled at how quickly my mood sank over the weekend. Gotta keep on it. A day off here and there, but no two day break anymore. Not ’til I’m over this mountain of anxiety (which, let’s face it: I may never get over).

No word from any place I’ve sent out emails to. I know my new email works; I’ve received a couple of things in my inbox. Why nothing from the important places? How long does it take to send an automatic response? Wondering how soon is too soon to send a second request.

Meh. And I got a look at my hair in bright daylight. The new color doesn’t even come close to matching my old.

Trying to not feel frumpy. That’s difficult right now. Seems every time I catch a glimpse of myself somewhere, all I see is this horrible old woman. Lines down my face, dark circles under my eyes, sagging skin, fat folds, wide hips, fading skin color…. Yet, I can look in a mirror on occasion and think I still look pretty good. I hate it; it’s like two copies of me. One, the woman I want to be; the other, the woman I’m afraid I am. Can’t honestly say which is the truthful version of me. Maybe both.

…Is my vc physiotherapist flirting with me, or is he yanking my chain? Do I have a real shot at a theatre role, or is it all a set-up with a pre-determined outcome before I even audition? Will these theatre groups even read my submitted work, or will everything I do end up in the circular file?

Somebody, please…tell me.

Zombified

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Yo.

Accomplished: hair, doctor’s appointment, printing of audition material. Still waiting on: submission form and rules for competition, acknowledgement and answer on proposal. Didn’t even try: housework, exercise at gym.

Woke up Saturday and hurt my index finger. How? I used it. I suspect it’s a pinched nerve, running from the large knuckle on the hand all the way to the tip. Several ‘hot’ spots I don’t even want to come close to touching. Not getting better with rest. Use it and it hurts.

My bro says go to the auditions. Try out. Use the group for social contact; it’s my best option right now and until my own theatre workshop materializes, it’s almost my only social contact. Found the director for the upcoming production is the dude who never answered me about my first script. Don’t hold out a lot of hope that I’ll get chosen for a role; I know how that shit goes. If he’s been avoiding talking to me over a script I sent, he’s sure as fuck not gonna want to see me multiple times over the next several months. Also got notice to “memorize” a passage. Seriously? I saw these people rehearse last year. They used scripts in rehearsals right up to a few hours before the curtain went up. And you want me to memorize a passage in a few days to audition?

Have thought (and thought and thought) about the best approach on my story for a script. Worked out each and every version, what works, what doesn’t, what I need to foreshadow and reveal. Came to one conclusion, which sticks no matter what version I end up doing: I’m using a family to tie it together. It’s tight, compact, and offers the best opportunity to convey everything I want to without losing the audience by having too many characters. I’ve got to have an emotional connection with what’s going on, and if I just have random cops, scientists, and kids with no central hub I’m not sure I can achieve that. A family allows me to center everything: one parent a cop, one parent a scientist, and a kid. Perfect.

Seeing my doc on Thursday morning. Would have liked it to be any other time than my one on one language lessons, but I’ll take what I can get. Almost feel like I shouldn’t even bother. I’m old. Hearing fades. Maybe this is it for me. Always having to ask people to speak up. Cupping my hand around my ear in a crowded room to make out a few words of conversation. *sigh* It would be nice to have the ringing stop.

Worried about today. Worried about my future. Worried I won’t die fast enough or easy enough and I’ll fuck everything up again, even in death. Worried people (the theatre group) are laughing at me behind my back. Worried about my hearing, my health, my always semi-poor mental state.

Pushing it all back, doing my best to not think down those paths. Positive thoughts for positive outcomes and all that crap, right? But I feel a bit zombified.

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.

On, Teb

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Good or bad, my new script is out. Hard to stop beating myself up; the place I sent it to had an on-line submission page, and only allowed one PDF file to be uploaded – yet it asked for the script AND a cover letter, two completely different things. Couldn’t make it work any other way; I had to go back to the on-line software I’m using and insert a cover letter at the beginning of the play text. It’s not where a cover letter should sit, and that’s bugging the hell out of me. But if anyone knocks me down for what I did, they can suck the balls of a donkey. It was the only way to give them everything they wanted. So, that’s California. Now I’m haunting the website of a New York theatre, waiting for their submission period to open. Gotta keep checking online, too: never know when a new notice will be posted.

Still really fucking scared. I get moments of heart stopping anxiety. My body goes cold, the never ending pit to Hell opens up in my stomach, and I completely leave my body. Those moments are less frequent now than a week ago, so I guess I’m making progress. Can’t say it feels like it.

I’m probably making progress on losing weight, too. But again: I don’t feel like it. My body looks (to me) as wide and as fat as ever before. Lately I’m at the gym for extended periods to prevent me from smoking all afternoon, not for weight loss. Two hours a day should accomplish both: no smoking and loads of caloric burn. Yet somehow my smoking level remains fairly constant (according to the butts in my ashtray the next morning), and my body is still flabby and thick.

The sciatica pain is better. That’s something.

Hearing: same. High end ringing and fizzy popping like you just opened a can of soda and put it right up against your ear to listen to the carbonation bubbles – all the freaking time. Get up, that’s what I hear. Go to sleep, that’s what I hear. It’s at a low enough level I can hear most other things as well, and in noisy situations I can’t make out the ringing or the fizzing popping, but put me in a quiet space and it’s the first thing I’m aware of. Bass frequencies are difficult or (in some cases) even missing from my audible range. High end frequencies cause all the fizzing popping to get even worse, and I’ve found some music on my iPod tweaked too high on mixing boards; it hurts me.

Handled a bread knife yesterday doing the dishes and didn’t think once about cutting myself.

Experiencing fear and a bit of amazement over the idea of being able to reach out and make things happen in my life. Case in point: been talking about getting a read through of my first script since I began writing it. Now – BOOM! Have two English speaking and reading volunteers, and a possibility of using the comic guys’ new shop one evening if nothing else pans out for me. Suddenly it’s become real, and not just a stray thought. And I find myself shy about doing it. Scared. Nervous. Worried, even. How can that happen so fast for this one thing, yet so much of my life involves waiting around for months at a time?

Going on six weeks now with the local theatre group. Still waiting for that announcement that’s “coming soon” for auditions.

Speaking of waiting, I was treated to a rejection email the other day from a publication I sent a piece out to over a year ago. Gee! Like I couldn’t figure out you didn’t want to use my stuff after not hearing from you for thirteen months. But thanks for the standard automatic reply.

I am flying blind, and terrified.

Still. On, Teb.

jack

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Still deeply unhappy. Smiling is something I’m thinking about now. I paste one on my face when I think it’s appropriate. And yes, sometimes a real laugh comes out of me, but then it’s back to stone-face, as I call it: too unhappy to twitch the muscles of my face into a smile unless something in me says ‘hey! put a smile on; you look weird’.

So unhappy on so many levels I don’t even want to talk about it.

Gotta go out and be among people today. Talk to them – in Dutch. Gods. Will go to the gym after class. Keep trying to get those endorphins to a level they take over and make me feel better no matter what.

Can’t remember exactly how long I’ve had my hearing problem. I think this is the third week. Still not right. Still have continual ringing. Still can’t hear some things. Next week I’ll make the four week appointment with my doc to complain about it.

Smoking too much. Don’t actually know I want to stop. The goal is to die BEFORE my bro. That thought scares me. It scares me to think I value myself so little. It scares me to think I’m that scared. But I still see the alternative as destitution and loneliness, and that scares me more.

Think I just have to stop with all news. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. My anger levels rival that of a 20 year old; I’m too wound up and passionate about these things and I can’t find any sense of calm.

No hot water in the building this morning, so no morning shower. Lovely. That always seems to happen to me: plan to take a shower first thing and there’s no hot water. Nothing to wash this grump off of me.

Don’t want to do this. Don’t want to be alive. Don’t want to try so fucking hard anymore.

And don’t ask me what I do want. You can’t give it to me. You can’t give me a healthy body. You can’t guarantee me a safe future.

There’s nothing you can do, and talking about it ain’t gonna do jack.