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…

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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.

Seems that way to me

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Sat looking at the WP link on my browser. Why bother? Then I remembered that I don’t do it for you, I do it for me. I write for me. Yes, it’s depressing to get up, open up my email, and see 23 messages that have jack shit to do with me come in. They’re all ads, or notifications that groups I never said I wanted to be part of out on FB have new posts. It’s depressing to know this is public, to know people see it, and to know no one gives a shit. Doubly depressing right now, as no matter how much I tell myself to forget about waiting to hear from the director I find myself still hoping, each time I open up my computer, that I’ll see something from him.

Still waiting on my immigration card, too, which has become an ironic activity in the last few days with 45’s new executive order (45 refers to the Great Orange Oompa-Loompa running LaLa Land; new nickname I heard and I love it). Goddess! To feel guilty over having the damned opportunity to even be here! Thank you, 45, for ruining everything you could in 24 hours. You’re one hell of a bulldozer.

To the American lawyer in the Hague who falsely accused the Dutch police of racially motivated violence: why did you do that? Why do you live here and not speak a word of Dutch? Go home, girl. You don’t belong in this society. That much is obvious if you don’t even try. I just can’t wrap my head around why you’d lie about something so big. Are you trying to make problems here? Trying to stir up racial violence? That’s what it sounds like. The video shows the police didn’t hurt you at all. Just the opposite: you put up a fight against them. For Christ’s sake! You’re a bleeding lawyer! Didn’t it ever occur to your legal mind that maybe, just maybe, the police wanted to see your identification? Duh-uh! Like, that’s the first thing out of their mouths in ANY country. So let me give back some of the shit I got: if you don’t like it, get the fuck out – but don’t stir up trouble where there’s none.

Yesterday was a bust; ended up slothing. Tv, juice, films, sleep. Guess I needed it. Wasn’t until 9 p.m. that my headache finally left. And I slept a deep, long sleep last night on top of my afternoon naps.

Wish I had more in me to give. The org that runs my Friday lessons is asking for volunteer help in lieu of cash for our lessons. Come in, they say. Help in the kitchen, with admin, with cleaning, with shopping, with visiting the elderly. Loads of stuff, much of which interests me. Doing anything will squeeze my time, though. If I volunteer, it will be with the same attitude I bring to class: it’s a commitment, and not one I’ll walk away from lightly. That means I’ll keep showing up, week after week. So I need to consider my long term schedule. Mornings are out; those are filled with exercise, language classes, and doctor’s visits. That leaves afternoons – which means cutting into some other time slot I’ve got marked in my head; on my own language work, or writing, or just chilling out. And I need to remember that sometime this season the theater group will be getting together. That’s early evenings, and there’s travel time and making sure I’ve had dinner and down time prior to leaving. Juggling my exercises, doctor’s appointments, language classes, and theater rehearsals is tough enough. Asking me to add in another commitment, every week….I see overload on my horizon. And overload comes so easily, so naturally to me anyway, I’m hesitant to add anything that might set it off.

…I’m not good in groups. Don’t know how to act. If I’m me, completely, I’m told I come off as bossy and ‘know it all’. If I hold back, hesitate to participate, I get bored easily and my concentration wanders. And let’s face it: human interaction is not my strong suit. Not in the real world, one on one. On paper; great. Face to face and my people pleasing kicks in, or my triggers are tripped, or my magpie mind flits around so quickly no one can keep up and I’m thought ‘eccentric’ at best. I want to work well in groups. Part of my theater work has been just that – my attempt to integrate myself in a new group. To work with them, socialize with them, maybe find one person who might make that leap from associate to friend. Let’s face it: I’ve been griping and moaning about my group interactions as soon as I began. Some of it’s very exciting. Much of it I don’t understand. I don’t understand the compunction to say one thing and do another, and it feels like that’s what I run into a lot in groups. People who say they’ll take care of something, say they’ll do something, then they don’t. How do I react to that? Do I confront? My confrontations look angry, because generally I wait and wait until I’m at the boiling point before I confront. I don’t like confrontations. Why? Because I don’t like hearing the truths uttered at that point. I’ve been told I focus on the negative, and I know I do, but deep inside me is the belief that people’s TRUE view of you, themselves, and the world comes out in moments of anger. These hateful, hurtful things truly do lie deep inside people. For instance: I really do want my sister to die. Just die. I hate her that much. And she really does think me a lying, cheating bitch. But I’ve heard plenty of people – seen it even in films, read it in books, written it myself – who forgive. Who accept the ‘I’m sorry’, no matter what was said. While I accept that people are sorry for letting those hateful things come out of their mouths, I don’t accept their denial of their truth. “I didn’t mean it.” Yes you did. You think it all the time, it lives in the back of your mind. You meant it, alright. You just didn’t want it to damage the relationship beyond repair, so you regret saying it. But I must question why people feel that way. What’s so valuable in a relationship with an obviously inferior person? Why, the opportunity to exploit them in some manner. That seems the obvious answer to me, because that’s what’s happened to me. And I don’t see those things in people. I’m blind, mostly, to that side of their nature until after I’m left empty and used.

How do I change that? Can I somehow teach myself to see people that way? Isn’t that true cynicism, to always look for ulterior motives?

Do I even want to become that person, who sees hidden agendas and the wolf’s smile behind every sheepskin?

What is this I’m chasing? Is it something that never existed in the first place? Is there no honesty in the world? No safety? No real communication? Is it all innuendo and metaphor?

Seems that way to me.

Catching Ghosts

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Act 2 is done.

I gotta say, it’s great working on a script. You get to the end of the act and you type ‘curtain down’. Boom. End. Finito. Real closure. I took the time to read what I’ve got so far. Found plenty of typos, and I’m sure I’ve got some stage direction errors to work out, but I was well pleased to find my stop and start writing style didn’t show in the reading: it flowed, flowed well, and made me laugh. I’ve also found it dead easy to hit the mark on suggested word count; this morning it stands at just over 12,000 words. My quick read through revealed something else to me, too. I saw where lines could be cut to make time and where lines could be inserted to stretch time. Always before, a story was a story to me – couldn’t tell it any other way but the way I laid it out. Not so for the script. It’s alive. The setting and characters have achieved self awareness, and know what their jobs are: entertain, be funny, and underneath it all talk about the art of communication. Earlier, the characters ran away with the narrative, pulling some unexpected stunts that helped show me who they really are. Now, they are cooperative, willing to take back long rants in order to keep to tale we’ve all agreed we’re telling. Characters I imagined as flat and unsympathetic have shown me other sides, fleshing themselves out and making me like them despite my preset conceptions about them. No one is ‘the bad guy’. No one is without a moral compass or a sense of compassion. Even the oldest son’s wife, who I designed to be a bitch and say the nastiest things my memory holds, has shown another side to herself.

It’s a revelation. While I think I’d like, someday, to write an archetypal script with strict adherence to one main characteristic per character, it’s not today and it’s not this script. No. This script has shown me – me, personally – that if I write deep enough I can find understanding and empathy for anyone. Even my family, because that’s what I began with. They’re skewed, naturally. I’ve turned the mother into a woman who repeatedly talks about babies. That is a trait my mother held; she loved babies (not so much children). But I’ve blown it out of the water for the sake of humor, taken comments that I remember a sting in and made them laughable. Good therapy. The father is much as my father was: irascible, roaring goddamns at this and that every other minute, and as funny as I remember my dad could be. The oldest son is as wishy-washy as my oldest brother is, right down to looking at the mother helplessly anytime there’s a hint of housework to be done. Not sure what I’ll end up doing with the daughter. I think she’s still got a surprise in store for me; I can feel her highjacking her storyline and wrenching it into another direction. The youngest son, the depressed one, has been as fun to write as I imagined him. Yes, he’s depressed. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t laugh and joke once in a while. After all, everyone is quick to point out my own depression even when I’m cracking wise, and since he’s my dark side he does that, too.

I AM stuck on the poem for the father. That’s the youngest son’s gift. For narrative’s sake, I just breezed past it. Right now there’s just the stage direction ‘reads poem’. The poem might bother me more than the rest of the script. I don’t want it to be shit. And I need it to be original. So I’m waiting on myself to write it. If I really pull a blank I can use an older piece of work, but I’m hoping to get into the proper frame of mind and churn out a stanza I can use.

That may end up being the last piece of the puzzle, and a tough one to do.

Since the tumbleweeds of silence continue to roll through my inbox and I’ve heard nadda from the theatre group, I think I’ll end up printing a copy of my rough draft and using some dolls to do the walk through. At least it’ll be visual for me. Pretty sure I’ve misplaced a few people, or not said who’s sitting, standing, or doing whatever while the scene plays out. Using visual aids will help me quickly see what I’ve done wrong. And since I really don’t know if I can trust the group to even be interested in what I’m doing, I want to make it as bullet-proof as possible before sending it out into the world.

Fly, my pretty!

Naturally, I’m having a hard time reigning my thoughts in. Immediately my brain envisions rave reviews and interest in more work. And you know, considering the piles of rejections I’ve actually experienced, in some ways it’s wonderful of my head to immediately imagine the absolute best reaction from the world. It tells me I believe in myself to some extent. The ghost of my mother (always present in a corner of my brain, no matter how often I evict her) whispers I should expect to hear no thanks, we’re not interested, better luck in the future, and all that pat language that rejection comes wrapped up in. We are at odds, the ghost of my mother and I. Always have been. So I fly and she tugs on my string. I am not happy being caught and caged, and she is not happy fighting me to stay put.

At least on paper I can resolve it. Put it to rest with a laugh and a little tug at your heartstrings. I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again. I’m very, very grateful for that.

Outside my window, a wall of white sits waiting, expectant, like a cat sitting before a mouse hole. Ghosts float by.

Time to capture a few on paper.

For Better Or Worse

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, all the children were screaming their little voices hoarse…

Truly amazing what the correct writing voice can do. In this case, it’s far funnier in the written version than the actual. One ten a.m. Christmas morning and I was woken to kids screaming. Not screaming with joy. Terror. Pure terror. A man yelling. A woman screaming. It went on for 20 minutes, until a door slammed. No child should ever sound like that, especially not at 1:10 in the morning. My brother spent a few hours yesterday finding and filling out a police report online.

Merry fucking Christmas. I found being subjected to the sounds of domestic violence at 1 a.m. Christmas morning a perfect way to break the last vestiges I had of fond holiday memories.

Part of me would like to begin 2017 by killing my FB account. Just take it fucking offline. I hate FB anyway, and I’ve only been using it to keep in touch with a couple of people who do use it. In fact, part of me would like to post on my FB page that I’m dead. Dead and gone, so sorry, all of you mourn me in whatever way you see fit, good-bye.

More of that circumstantial timing in my life that makes me say hm. Less than a week since I sent my long missive off to my uncle regarding my oldest brother and lo and behold! I’ve a friend request from said older brother on FB (I un-friended us; he just pissed me off too much). My goodness! Two coincidental timing incidents back to back, first the message from my uncle and now this.

Tell me again how they’re not talking about me.

Already I feel the pressure to hit the friend button. That’s a built in feature of this 1965 model – guilt. They made sure of that. So I am avoiding FB. I deleted the notice that came into my email so I didn’t have to look at it. And in my fevered brain, deleting my entire account is easier than having to explain (or try to) ONE MORE TIME to my brother why I find his politics, his opinions, and himself so abhorrent.

If he was so damned concerned about keeping in touch with me, he could use the account that’s been my private email for the last 20 years. Does he? Of course not. A yearly note of 2 or 3 sentences on FB, that’s all I get. And mostly, it’s about his political views. Like I don’t know what his political views are! His opinions haven’t changed for the last 35 years. I do not need one more right wing asshole telling me (a) my politics are shit and (b) I really do need to vote for old white guys who think women should be grabbed by the pussy.

It’s like having my own mini-Trump right in my family.

This morning, I feel I’m done with explanations. They want to sling mud at me? Then they got a fight on their hands. And babies, when I want to fight, I can be REAL mean. As I’ve said before, I’m the truth-speaker in the family. I know the ugly secrets, and the reality behind them. All I have to do is tell it like it is.

Why not? They’ve already called me every dirty name in the book.

But I don’t want a war. I don’t want to wake up thinking about this shit or go to bed dreaming of revenge.

I want to be left alone by my family. I’ll find my own support network that doesn’t include them. I don’t want to hear from them, I don’t want to answer their questions, I don’t want to explain my views anymore.

This is MY life. It doesn’t include any narcissists. It doesn’t include the people who automatically think I’m a piece of shit. It doesn’t NEED to. I don’t need that. I put in my time, sacrificed a lot for my parents out of respect and love. “Love thy parents” – there’s one mantra I took very seriously.

No one ever said jack shit about loving thy siblings.

Like it or not, I know I have a war on my hands. Now that the idea that we must be friends is in my oldest brother’s head, he won’t let it go. I’ll get cryptic messages from my uncle, who’ll claim he still hasn’t talked to my bro about me because they’d never gossip behind my back, yet the messages will tell another story, addressing via circumvention all I’ve laid at my brother’s door.

I’m sick of it. Right now, all I want is to outlive the rest of my family by ONE DAY. Just one day of peace!

That’s what Christmas is supposed to be about, right? Peace on Earth and all that jazz. Well, let me tell you – you can’t ever have peace on earth until every person has peace within themselves and right now I DON’T HAVE PEACE WITHIN MYSELF.

Got to find a way out of this. Not for my family; screw them. For me. I can’t write comedy when my mind has these pus-filled pockets of ugly that keep bursting all over me, poisoning me with old hurts.

I’m gonna play the eccentric artist card. Just ignore the world for as long as I can. Write out my angst so I can get back to what I want to write. Be blunt – be crazy, if that’s what it looks like. Talk to thin air, not shower, smoke too much, and laugh at my own jokes. Either I’ll fall deeper into mental illness and really lose my way or I’ll come up with something brilliant.

In the end, I realize everything has an impact on me. The screaming kids downstairs, my uncle, my brother. My past, my present, my possible futures. It’ll all filter into my writing. That’s as it should be: take what you know, and use it.

For better or worse.

The Darker Side of Christmas

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My bro took me out for Indian food last night. Onion bhaji, lamb biryani, and chai tea. It was fun to do something different and unexpected. We walked through downtown, gawking at all the lights. Heard what HAS to be the saddest sounding Xmas band ever in ‘t Centrum; they were playing some song I didn’t know, tho it had snippets of several songs I was familiar with, and they did it at dirge pace. My brother said it sounded like a band of skeletons playing Christmas carols. It was so incongruous to all the lights and trees and shoppers I laughed for an entire block. Down to the coffeeshop to stock up on smoke for the holidays (what a pleasant thing to be able to say!), a fast walk to the metro because the wind was biting cold, and back at home to watch a film we’d recorded.

As I walked through the city, I kept my iPod off and just listened. My recent bout of frustration with the language seems to have passed, and with its absence has come a deeper understanding of the spoken word. I’m eavesdropping on my fellow Rotterdammers, and finding I’m catching more and more of what they say. Words jump out at me, capitalized and in bright neon colors. And I had occasion yesterday after class to reflect on how much I’ve learned over the past year. A thousand words? More? I’m still at the point where I either speak painfully slow or make numerous grammatical errors, but my reading and my comprehension are both better. I’m even appreciating simple jokes in the language.

I find it mildly bittersweet, then, to discover that the voice-over recording for the metro telling passengers what stop is coming up has been redone to include full English for the major stations. The multi-lingual Dutch have long been teaching their children English. It’s only the older Dutch who might not speak it. Right now, I’m laying odds on that the Netherlands makes a complete swap to English as their second language just when I fully grasp Dutch. That would fall in line with the ironic theme in my timing. When and if that happens, I’ll laugh. Hartelijke (I think that’s right; an ‘e’ on the end when used as an adjective to laugh). Because I can see ME becoming the hard core Dutch speaker once I’ve got the language. Me who will answer American or British tourist’s questions with a geen Engels. Maybe a fast burst of Dutch to make them shut up. Why? Just because I can.

But then, that’s not communication. And I am all about communication. It’s why I started writing, why I started music, why I do anything: to communicate. Because some things sit so damned deep in you that you can’t put them directly in words. The small syllables we utter don’t do those things justice. They need altars: altars to our pain, past and present. I have built many altars. I’ve bled on them, weeped over them, done my best to pulverize them into atoms. I’ve loved them, hated them, sent them out into the world and buried them deep in the ground.

Sometimes, I think it’s all I can do.

She licked her fingers by placing them in the middle of her tongue, as if doing so would absolve her digits of the blood and shit that were inevitably, indelibly there after years of self-flagellation and social crucifixion. How sweet, she thought, as she tasted only sugar.

Well I’m in a persnickety mood, aren’t I? …. Problem is, I like it. I may have to save that one. But I’m definitely not in the space to start back on the script – slated to be a comedy. OH no! In fact, I hereby absolve myself from all guilt over the next two days. One, it’s the weekend. Two, it’s the holidays. Three, everything is closed anyway, or will be soon, so it’s pointless to feel bad for not accomplishing something. Four, I may be bipolar, but I don’t want the script to be. Five, like the Dutch language, if I can relax, it will be easier.

Relax. Ri-i-i-ight.

If I must don my black clothes and be macabre for a stint, I guess I could begin with worse material. And what the hell? If my brain can cook up the above its obviously got some heavy things going on. Spread them out, let them see the light of day – or at least the light of the holiday decorations. Ugly is the new beautiful. How tragic, how ugly, how beautiful in its agony!

But that’s true, isn’t it? Ugly can make you feel things beauty can’t touch. And it hurts to touch those places, yet it feels right, too, to acknowledge them. How brave, we think, when we hear the tale of a survivor of an ugly situation. Our minds turn inward, to how we would react in their place. Fight, or flight? Courage, or fear? Both? Perhaps we seek the ugly to explain what we don’t understand, to give us insight into another’s pain – and thus, to our own.

End of the year holidays. They’re bringing up a lot of stuff for me. I’ve been enjoying the lights, the season, even the nip in the air. Maybe it’s time to look at the darker side of Christmas.

Digging Up Little Treasures

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I’ve got bad timing. I’m the type of person you tell “I need to be right where you’re standing” ten times a day. My bladder is perfectly fine until someone ties up the toilet; then I’ve got to cross my legs to not wee on myself. It’s something I’ve come to expect.

So no big surprise on Wednesday, when I walked into my physio appointment, to find out that yes, he’s got a girlfriend and no, the crush was probably all my side. Oh, I didn’t need to ask outright to find that out! What, do you think I have no subtlety? No, no, no, grasshopper! I used the holidays (as you do) to get the info out of him. What plans do you have for the holidays? It’s such a perfect undercover question, it’s a pity we don’t have more holidays like it to use. Ask a person what they have planned for holidays, and you can learn a lot about them. I heard about his dad, not his mom (dead? divorced? definitely out of the picture; he didn’t mention her once). His friends. Then the word came from his mouth, a little reluctantly: girlfriend. I’m guessing she’s new in his life. Obviously she found him while he was dithering over not having a girlfriend and I was too insecure to speak up and ask him out. There’s my bad timing again. My question about the holidays was actually a warm up query that was going to lead to a suggestion we get together for a holiday drink – right up to the G word, of course. Then I just lay on that table as he worked on my back and talked about his plans for the next two weeks. I thought of course someone snatched him up, why wouldn’t they, he’s a great guy, now he’s seeing someone, I missed my chance, and why would he even want to go out with ME, an old woman? I watched his pupil dilation when I could. They weren’t tiny dots of hate and disgust, but they also weren’t large pools of desire. Now it’s all back off, back off, stop daydreaming and fantasizing.

Of course I’m ambivalent about it. I’m disappointed I blew my chance, but I’m happy it’s over with so I can get back to my ‘normal’ routine. I can drop all those feelings and put my mind back to work: writing. Dutch. Being happy. Somehow most things have lost a little sparkle along the way, though. I still find it all interesting, I still want to get back to writing, but…and….*sigh* Life is just a bit dull.

Oh, and I finally asked. He’s 28. A very cute 28.

Can I add one more thing here, then I’ll drop the subject? He body checked me. He’s never done that before. Don’t know why. The part of me that wants to keep fantasizing tells me it’s because yes, he really does like me and he was comparing me to the new G.

I’m telling that part of me to shut the fuck up.

Now. I stand on the brink of my holiday vacation. One more Friday language lesson to go today, then a blessed two weeks off. I’m looking forward to it, and plan to make good use of my time. I know putting that down in writing increases my chances of everything going to hell and not getting one word written, but I am gonna try. Sometimes I need to just say ‘Hey! I planned it different. Things didn’t work out’ to explain my apparent sloth. I’ll get it in ahead of time this once. Maybe that’ll make a difference. There’s not much scheduled in my life over the next two weeks. Exercise, when the gym is open. Eat well, but not too much. Write, or try to, every day. My bro’s been doing a home corning treatment on a roast, and plans to cook it up for the New Year. I promised him I’d make my Marzipan Creme Bars. New Years has already begun; every evening fireworks get set off in the neighborhood. Strictly speaking, it’s illegal. No one is supposed to set off fireworks before the 31st. But it happens. How could it not? Every household here gets three ads for fireworks suppliers delivered four times a week to their postbox. My bro and I discussed buying some this year, but it seems silly to spend €50 on something you’ll literally let go up in smoke for a single burst of light. Besides, something makes me think that there may be extra fireworks this year. Last year was a bit light: the city designated quiet areas where no fireworks could be shot off. In theory, it was done for the wildlife. Under the cover of the law, everyone talked about how New Years must be traumatic for some of the immigrants coming in. The celebrations sound like a war. But now there’s Trump, and Geert Wilders. Now I think a few more big boomers may be set off locally as a little protest against all the immigrants. I’ll do what I always do: head out on the balcony to safely watch the madness. There are a few neighbors that always splash out on big fireworks, and the balcony faces them. We can also see three neighborhood fireworks shows from there. Not a bad spot at all.

…Last cup of coffee, last paragraph before I start my routine for class. Wish this year I could gather up all my friends from around the planet and bring them here to celebrate. I miss them, one and all, whether we’ve met in person or not. lol! It would still be a small gathering. Even in cyber space, I don’t have that many friends. But they always respond when I need to talk. My timing doesn’t matter with them. Correspond every day or once a year; either way, they’re there. I look at them all as little treasures: my hidden caches of caring hidden here and there on the globe. Time to dig some up.

A Little More Autistic

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Brick walls. They’re everywhere in life. I’ve sure run into them often enough. I’m surprised I haven’t broken my damned nose yet.

Today’s brick wall (let’s paint it black) comes in the form of some stonewalling from my uncle. He claims my eldest brother never contacted him, and he has no idea what I’m on about.

After my last post, I waited until T was up and talked to him. I read my message to him and asked for advice. He thought it was excellent, and only suggested I find a way to end on a lighter, happier note before sending it to Uncle D. I did. After receiving my uncle’s reply, I went back over the entire email conversation with my bro to find out if I was truly insane – did I read more into it than was there? T backed me up; my uncle’s first email asked about Geert Wilders and my voting habits. My reply was very short: I know Wilders, I vote locally, I can’t vote on the EU level. Now, between the original question and my reply, something bloody well happened. Because the message that set me off does not address anything I said. Instead, in reply to my statements about Wilders and voting, I received a four paragraph long explanation of how my uncle voted over the years, why he voted for this chosen candidate, why he left the Republican party and is now a member of the Libertarian party, and how he feels about Trump. His answer pretty much mirrors what I would have expected out of my eldest brother in reply to a short email conversation we had over my birthday. Hm. T’s acknowledgement that yes, something sounds fishy, helps: there’s no logical way to get from A to B without some hiccup having occurred. He also told me that gossipers don’t like getting caught out, and that’s pretty much what I did.

It’s left me feeling melancholy. Not sad, really. I already knew this about my family, and have no surprise over anyone’s reaction. There’s just a dull lump of ache in me. I can’t run away from the truth anymore: my family isn’t brave enough to be honest. They can’t own up to their past, their words, their actions. They lie, they manipulate in order to avoid the truth, they tell me I’m wrong every step of the way even tho there’s not one atom in me that doesn’t quiver and tell me otherwise.

This is how I was taught not to trust myself.

My uncle’s subterfuge – if it exists, and although I must acknowledge the possibility of me being wrong, I’m sticking to my guns here – is not major. I remember as a child shopping with my mother, my sister, and a cousin. My mother was trying on coats. My sister and cousin were laughing at her because she was so fat. My mother asked me if that’s what was going on, and I lied. I said no. Because I thought if I could convince her that wasn’t what was happening, she wouldn’t feel bad. I can liken my uncle’s lie to that: an attempt in his mind to save me from some perceived greater hurt. He’s a good guy. I think he’d be motivated in that manner. So I can’t hate him or be angry over anything he does.

*sigh* Naturally I’ve considered the possibility I’m being paranoid. That’s something else I’ve heard before: you’re being paranoid. Somehow it always seems to crop up at a time when a lapse of logic has occurred, when something shifted that can’t be explained away without introducing a lie somewhere.

Perhaps that’s the element missing in my understanding of social interactions: lies.

People have called me naive. I’m the gal who falls for silly jokes, over and over, because I just don’t get people who do that type of thing. My tendency is to believe people until they prove they can’t be trusted. And there have been times and circumstances in my life when I continued to believe, despite the proof….Oh, who am I kidding? I let people walk all over me for a good, long time, and then I finally explode like a spitting bobcat. That’s something I’ve been trying to change. Call out these people earlier on. Say what I need to say up front. If they’re cool, they’ll deal. If not, they can fuck off.

But speaking up is difficult.

It’s doubly difficult when you don’t trust your own instincts.

…So I fall back, time and again like a crutch, on my brother’s advice and thoughts. I run my logic past him and ask him to check my answer: is it right? Did I make a calculation error somewhere?

And underneath that: Am I bad for thinking this way?

Lower still: I’m scared.

T knows this. All of it, right down to the deepest muck there is. He’s always understood that part of me, just like I’ve always understood his sometimes cryptic replies to questions. That’s that weird twin-like connection we have. It’s so deep it’s difficult to explain. And his autism has, oddly, been a strength for me. He lacks many filters non-autistic people have; he just blurts stuff out. It can be really hard to take in. He’s also a hard ass on many subjects: knowledgable, articulate, and dangerous to debate.

I used to try to help T be a bit “less” autistic. I’d remind him of the types of things he shouldn’t say or bring up. Give him a couple of social niceties to use to break the ice.

I don’t do that anymore. If anything, I strive to be more like him: bluntly honest, sometimes to the point people find me repellent but DAMN IT! I’m true to myself.

Frankly, I think we should all be a little more autistic.

 

Shared History

For all the times I’ve been called a ‘baby’ or ‘childish’ by my older siblings, it’s amazing how quickly my eldest brother runs to our uncle with every little thing I say or write. My bitch sister did that, too, as if gathering up the shock and awe of all our aunts and uncles would somehow make her righteous in the matter. Naturally, my uncle gets half the conversation – my rant. Then I receive (as I did this morning), an email from my uncle that pussyfoots around anything that actually matters and only explains whatever my uncle feels needs explaining. Today it’s political views in the US. Almost a word-for-word reply to the message I sent to my oldest brother; which is more than my oldest brother ever bothered to answer with. He ends with “I know you favor the socialists….don’t want to fight…just bounce ideas around a bit.” *sigh* This is the reply I want to send right now:

Uncle D.,  I believe what’s prompted this latest email from you is a message – a private message – I sent my brother, D. This is not the first time a private message I sent to one of my siblings ended up becoming public: I shall never forget nor forgive K’s shameful message, blindly sent to you and my other aunts and uncles to humiliate me. This is a real problem. When I write to someone directly, I am saying what I say to that person and ONLY that person. D has long been an ass politically; he has the temperament of a child throwing a fit saying ‘mine, mine, mine’ with his hard right wing bullshit. I have had to live with that growing up, and I felt it was about time he know how I felt about the ugly rhetoric that falls out his mouth. More than that, uncle….I have never felt my older siblings respected my opinions, my knowledge, nor my experience. I think I understand the dynamics of what’s happening, though that doesn’t make it any easier for me to deal with. What I do not understand is how I can continually be accused of being a baby, acting like a baby, or having a baby’s views, yet it is THEY who continually run to you with every little thing I say or write. If D was so upset by what I wrote, so worried about how I felt, why did he not address me himself? He claims to be an articulate grown up; let him fight his own fights or at LEAST explain himself! You do not need to do it for him. As for D., I noticed that he’s avoided answering the one real question I posed to him in my note. I wanted him to understand that when he spouts off with degrading and nasty comments on any group of people, I tend to stand with those people politically. And D HAS spouted degrading and nasty comments about people; I’ve watched his FB page, and know. I posed to him the question of whether or not he’d line up with a gun to shoot me down if a stand-off like that ever occurred. I wanted to find out if he cared more about his political views or the people he supposedly ‘loved’, because the two seem completely incongruous to me. 

You, uncle, do not need to answer that question for me. You already have, with everything you’ve done. You’ve shown respect for my views even though you don’t agree with me. For that, you have my infinite thanks and equal respect in kind. You’ve helped me, talked to me, and shown me in every way that you care – and I care deeply for you because of it. Please do not let either D nor K bother you with anything I say to them privately; that is between me and my siblings. Behind every word is a long story – and it’s an ongoing story, as I work to sort out my issues. Neither D nor K really know me. They never have. The reasons behind that are three times as long as this message, so I won’t get into them. But take it as a given that I never felt safe enough to be myself with anyone for the first 30 years of my life. I’ve been so afraid of it that I’ve had a difficult time making choices because I didn’t know what I even wanted. I will always be grateful to T for taking me so far away from everything I’m familiar with. Had I continued to live in close proximity to the family, with the yoke of disrespect I felt everyone had for me…well, I can’t say what exactly would have happened, but I can tell you this: it would have been Hell for me. I don’t think I would have ever found myself under those conditions. And I certainly would not have been happy.

I know I cannot tell you to not care about any fighting between me and my siblings. You took up that burden for the family, didn’t you? I find it admirable. I know your health is not wonderful, yet you work to keep connected with everyone. Even me. I wish I could tell you that all is forgiven between me and K or me and D, but I can’t do that with a clear heart. I did it for Mom. I did if for Dad. I want to do it for you, too, but if I do it one more time – if I give in without speaking up just once more – I feel I’ll be giving up forever on myself. I MUST be myself. Perhaps I’m not doing things eloquently or well, and for that I apologize. I apologize, too, for the long buried anger that often finds its way into my words. But I’ve long suspected that, had we not shared DNA and family memories, my siblings and I wouldn’t be friends. If that occurs, it is not on you. It is not on Mom, nor on Dad. It is on the three of us, and our inability to find our way past our shared history.

14

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Busy, busy, busy! Not too busy to smoke too much, mind you. I’ve found the time to do THAT. But I’ve been exercising, going back to language lessons, doing errands, and even baking up a batch of my blueberry muffins. I made a dozen for my bro’s comic book friends, but first my bro had to test one to make sure they were okay, then I tried one, then he tried another one just to make sure the first one wasn’t a fluke. Ah! Good to know I can still bake up one of my specialities and not make a mess of it.

I’ve been vacillating on this whole dating my physiotherapist idea. I need to do the whole pros and cons thing or I’m gonna lose it:

Pros:

  1. I’m very attracted to him. Very, very attracted.
  2. He’s already seen me with my shirt off, so we’re halfway through the body embarrassment thing.
  3. So far, we converse very easily over a wide variety of topics.

Cons:

  1. While we can talk freely, we don’t seem to have common interests.
  2. The sex list: grey pubes, dry vag, old case of herpes that I’d have to be honest about.
  3. The age thing.
  4. I’m really afraid of getting hurt.
  5. I don’t see it going anywhere long term.
  6. The natural conflict that arises between the time I need to create art and the time needed to create a relationship.
  7. My smoking. He’s a sport geek. That’s gonna be an issue at some point.

I did my best, and the cons still outweigh the pros 2 to 1. And I’m still tempted to throw caution to the wind regardless of how long the list of cons is on this one. That’s how strong my number one pro is.

Yeah, I’ve got an appointment coming up on Wednesday, so I’m thinking about this stuff again. Been trying (if I’m honest) to find some way of getting around outright asking him. Finding a way to prompt him to ask me. In my head, that takes away the responsibility for anything that happens. Not true, of course. I still hold the power of yes or no. Still, it would be easier for me to give in to my desire if I was positive it was reciprocated. Yeesh! Listen to me! Do I want it to be easy for me to give in on this?

I guess the real answer is…yes.

Just makes me wonder if behind this isn’t some part of me flailing around, looking for something to take me away from my work (because I know when I’m finished, it goes out, and once it’s out, I’m open to rejection again).

Interesting. It’s pretty close to the mark, because a lot of tension eased out of me. It’s also interesting to think my mind has judged the situation and finds less chance of rejection by a young, attractive man than by theatre aficionados. Gods, is that my ego talking? Thinking I can still pull a guy like that? Or is it my insecurities over my work speaking up, echoing all I’ve heard before? Or (because there’s always a third option; I’m just not the best at seeing it), is it a mix of reading the non-verbal cues he’s given me with the long experience of the hardships in the artistic world? Does my subconscious say Hey, kid! This guy is obviously interested in you! You know how writing goes – you put your heart into it and then spend the next five years trying to find someone who thinks as much of it as you do. Why toss five years away when there’s someone right in front of you that you might find great pleasure with? 

What to do? What to do….

The answer is obvious: speak the truth. The truth is, I don’t have many friends and most of my friends are cyber-friends – wonderful, supportive, loving friends, to be sure, but none are here in the flesh with me. He’s said he’s often lonely, sitting in the evening at home with his cat. If nothing else, we could both use a friend. Maybe a friend with benefits; maybe not – I’m not ready to answer that. But I’ve talked over the past few months about reaching out and trying to make friends here. Shouldn’t I be doing that now? I’ve traipsed across a good portion of this planet and let me tell you: you can meet millions of people, but it’s rare to find someone you just click with instantaneously. I don’t know if that’s what this is, or if I’m trying to make it into that because I’m attracted to him. He may be feigning an increased interest in things I mention because he’s attracted to me. If he’s attracted to me.

Jangled fucking mess! Honesty is still the best way forward. It should help me avoid most of the razor wire and land mines.

Now all I need is a bit of courage. That’s a tall order.

Meanwhile….Dare I say it? Two weeks. It’s become a running gag in my life, ever since Arnie’s version of Total Recall. You know the scene: he’s going thru customs and wearing the woman-masque. The masque gets stuck on the ‘two weeks’ reply. My bro and I stoned very hard and MisTee’d (MST3000; look it up) the film one night, and that scene sent us into spasms of laughter. Ever since then, two weeks has haunted me. It crops up so often I’ve begun to think there’s something behind it in numerology. This time, two weeks is a good thing. I’ve two weeks off for the holidays. That means (barring any dates I get may or may not get myself into), I’ve plenty of time to finish my script. I’m thrilled. So happy, as a matter of fact, that I don’t regret (much) giving up my day today to head down to the comic book shop with my bro. Maybe I should whip up another batch of muffins. Fill up the spaces my brother and I created.

😀 Might as well make it 14.