Lost

I had hoped to write today that I’m back from Amsterdam, forms notarized, and all is well. But you know the old saying about the hopes of mice and we fools who hang all our perceptions on our outer trappings rather than our inner selves, and it held true today.

I got bunk, people. Nadda. Nothing except a very long, very early morning with a lot of traveling in a big circle. Never have I been so damned disappointed in Dutch trains.

It all began by picking up the earliest metro possible: 6:02 a.m. From there, a short hop to the closest train station. I had all the info printed up. And we caught the train we were supposed to catch, and rode into Rotterdam Centraal. Found the next train platform – only to notice a blinking red line under our train’s notification, saying CANCELLED. Shit. Okay; another train to Amsterdam was leaving in 15 minutes from the same platform. But unfortunately, it was a slow train. After starting out the morning anticipating that we’d arrive in Amsterdam with almost an hour to spare, we found we were ending up half an hour late – and THAT was pulling into the station. Then it was find the tram, take it, walk 20 minutes, wait in line – in the rain, desperately holding onto a pee – then no, sorry, make another appointment…but wait! We were called back and for an additional half an hour I thought maybe they’d bend their tight-assed rules and let us in. Instead, we got an another little slap in the face, standing there, holding onto our bladders, asking again, only to be let in the first door and handed a half-sheet page of instructions that (wait for it) told us sorry, we need to make another appointment and be the fuck on time.

Fuck.

There’s only one ray of sunshine in my otherwise abysmal tale: the small print on my NS post delivered freebie train ticket. It’s good for two days. Oh, don’t be impressed. Everyone in the country gets them delivered to their door; I’m not special. But it comes to me at a convenient time. Today, we only lost the cost of one of us traveling in that big circle. Tuesday, our next scheduled appointment, will fall under the same category. So in the end, other than our time (and loss of sleep), we aren’t going to spend any more than we would have had we paid full price for both of us to train up to Amsterdam once.

It’s little consolation to me, though, because time is our big enemy on this. We’ve got 30 days to refile. Thirty days from our last letter. But the letter was written under one date, stamped with another, and received by our attorneys on a third. So when, actually, is our deadline? No effing idea, and that’s the wrench in the entire system. All I know is it gotta be done soon.

Does not help that I got a ‘if I’d taken care of this, this would never have happened’ line from my bro. Really? You want to absolutely guarantee that everything would have gone just swell had you made the train calculations rather than me? …And yes, I should have signed in at 4 this morning to check the fucking train schedules with NS. And yes, I should have written down six alternatives to the train I wanted to take. Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda… I could beat myself senseless with shoulda.

I’m choosing to take responsibility without guilt. Yes, there were back-up preparations it would have been a good idea to make. Let this be a lesson to me: I may love this country passionately, but I shouldn’t suppose for one minute that it’s perfect. And the last minute cancellation was not my fault. The delays and hiccups we encountered at every corner were not my fault.

Will anyone think less of me if I confess my mind’s first thought at my brother’s words: ‘oh, gods! you should just kill yourself! the best you can do is get in people’s way!’? Melodramatic? Sure. But I noticed the pattern. The guilt for bloody everything that falls on my shoulders followed by that ‘you’d be better off dead’ response in my head. It comes at me no matter what. Even when I’m bloody prepared to fail miserably and just get through it, those thoughts come to me.

I do not like being so fucking changeable. Okay one minute and desperately hating myself the next. And I’ve seen this in other people. I know how unnerving it is to hear that level of self-hate spew forth from someone’s lips. While I reacted to my brother’s statement angrily, I did not give voice to these haunting nymphs that never leave me. These words may stand as my only note of them this time ’round. Because…because I know it was an awful morning for both of us, and no one should have to hear about suicidal thoughts at ten in the fucking morning. Even if it IS raining. And note: I did remember to say ‘it makes me feel’. Not ‘you’re doing this again’, but ‘it makes me feel’.

So, good on me. I suppose you never really know how far you’ve come until shit hits the wall. It’s easy to be good or stable (or sane, or whatever word I’m looking for) when all is la-la-lovely in life.

Heard from the director. Heads up for heavy rehearsing next week ’til performance dates. No big surprise. I’ll hit those words later on. My brain’s too fried from the early morning and the stress and the travel today. Anything I’d try now would just end up getting…

Lost.

Pacing

I may never learn why pacing helps me sort out plot lines; all I know is it works.

Spent most of the morning viewing online unexplained mysteries vids. Current on the chop block is an idea I’ve had banging around in my head for a while. I’ve got the rough outline sitting on my desk top. There are a few areas I need to expand, and loads of foreshadowing I’ll need to weave into the story, but…I think I got it. The basics, anyway. Enough to let my head rest for a while.

And yesterday, I had one of those ‘clicks’ deep in my brain. A click that brought me out of my musings and into a seat further back from the immediate action. I realized the story I’m currently working on can be tied to a previous script (both are thrillers). In fact, I saw an expanded thriller trilogy – written for the stage. Sort of a Three Colors series for theatre – though far more chilling than those beautifully captured films. I like. A lot. A lot a lot. The third idea is still in its infancy, and that’s precisely where it should be right now. But I’ve got the rough idea, and I know how to tie all three together. No idea how long these next two might end up being. Have a feeling this second thriller can match the length of the first, which is on the short side. Great. I could pair them together. The third? Might get a bit more expansive. Might not. Won’t be able to say before I get the next idea out and finished.

Got to the gym. In fact, for the first time in maybe forever, my drive and impetus inspired my brother to get off his butt and take a bike ride for some exercise. Usually, it’s the other way around. Well, well, and my, my! Look at what a little commitment and discipline can do.

Met with the accountant and got some filled in forms we need for immigration. Must admit to feeling uneasy; it seemed to me that the accountant had his doubts over our case. Perhaps that’s me, reading into it with my own anxiety colored glasses. Perhaps not. In either case, I understand the need to remain calm, and the uselessness of allowing my anxiety to rule over me. To that end, I’m not dwelling on it. Reminding myself he’s an accountant, not our lawyer. He doesn’t know the ins and outs of the law. …Still. I’d rather not have seen his little mannerisms that got me thinking this way. It would be much easier if I hadn’t.

Glad to say that turning it off – my anxiety, that is – is easier now than when I was younger. Maybe I’ve just lived through enough instances when my worrying came to nothing, other than making me sick, to know I’ve just got to let it go. Maybe I’ve learned to put up other defenses. Or maybe it’s the marijuana I smoke. Whatever. I’m glad to be able to sleep when night comes, and I do not miss that continuous knot in my stomach at all.

Went out for dinner last night (Papaya again), and ran into one of the other students in my language class. Ach! Immediately I spoke Dutch, or tried to. Damn, it took time to pull the words out of memory. Another reminder I should try to listen to more Dutch, or do some homework, or reading, or something. …Though my guilt is lessened by finding out the other student hasn’t worked on the language at all over the summer break, either.

Things feel a bit muddled for me lately. Like all my thoughts are bleeding into each other. Immigration is mixing with the creepy thriller feeling. Emails with friends are blending with videos I’ve watched. Even days are getting hard to remember. What is it? Tuesday? What’s happening tomorrow? Oh, yeah. Nothing. It’s the day after tomorrow I need to remember…

I don’t like it. Not feeling clear.

Guess I need to do some more pacing.

And that’s okay

I’ve got a thin veneer of “fine” over me. Read thru my script; found less than five errors. Whipped through the paperwork for immigration. Rested my knee. Concentrated on the positive, the steps forward.

Underneath, things are simmering. Fear, naturally. Fear over my status here. Got an appointment on Thursday in Amsterdam to get some paperwork notarized. Bleeding 8:15 in the morning, which means traveling at a time I’m usually asleep (at least lately). Hope to push both me and my bro thru at the same time; we did last time, and our cases are tied together, so it makes sense. Otherwise, there will be another fly up to the big city on a different day to take care of my stuff. Last minute travel plans add to my anxiety. Not that they should; trains here run on time. Still…I feel it.

Physically, I’ve become a slug. Very little movement during my days. And I can tell I’ve let it go too long. To be fair to myself, I did get out on some walks. But it wasn’t the same, and I can tell I’m beginning to jones out on the lack of endorphins. Must get to the gym and sweat. Really don’t want to do it now that inertia has set in. But, no choice. I am determined to stay on top of my mind, and regular exercise is a big part of that – like it or not.

Been pulling news articles about the strange and wonderful – or things that could possibly be strange and wonderful. I like the idea of anchoring my stories in reality. What a change from twenty years ago, when I concentrated on sci-fi and fantasy! Now, give me some concrete, real fact I can hang my fancies on – that added dimension gives me extra shivers. And, wow. Thrillers have become my mainstream. What creepy thing happens? What fear can I inject into the audience? Those are my only questions these days.

Happy to say that with enough time and pull back from my creation, the rape scene included in my script didn’t hit me as hard when I read it as it did when I wrote it. Still a trigger potential. Still a short, terse paragraph for a gripping scene. But I saw beyond the rape, to the whole story. My message is very clear throughout. No role should feel jilted by lack of lines or interesting subtext. I kept tech suggestions to a minimum, with only one or two sounds used and simple blue lighting for nighttime. I suggest, in the production notes, to pull copyright free photographs from the web and project them in the theatre. But only a suggestion! I hope the scant tech needs attract people, and the suggestions encourage them to explore the depth of the material.

Feels like I’m finally on holiday. And I suppose I am; I was stuck in 1943 for a number of weeks as I wrote. So I’m not riding myself for my lack of interest in learning Dutch, or my reluctance to do a super-clean of this corner or that. I find I just want to be right now.

And that’s okay.

Feels like a Monday

Meetings, paperwork, questions, look it up, more paperwork, more meetings. Ugh. Pulling together the new application for residency. Horrid shit. Hate having to fill in the blanks myself. Hard to believe anyone with “knowledge” of this process charges thousands to do just that, but they do, which is why I’m dragging myself through it. Gods. Nothing like sweating every little stroke of the pen to make you fuck up. I could write those answers out a thousand times on a blank sheet of paper. Doesn’t matter. When it comes to committing my answers to THE FORM, I freeze and make mistakes.

Strained my knee at the gym earlier in the week. Nothing bad, but had to take some days off. I’ve had knee problems, and I don’t want them again.

Watching tv. Reading ‘Perelandra’ from CS Lewis (again). Doing my best (per my bro’s request) to stay calm. Not working well, obviously. Here’s another five a.m. I’m seeing.

I’m tired and I’d like a break. No time! Next week begins my language lessons. Have I tried to wrap my tongue around Dutch lately? Hell, no! Have I run thru my lines for the upcoming production? Hell, no! Feel kinda bad about that, but only kinda. I did have my shit down cold before the break. And language…well, that’s a constant struggle. But hey; I deserve a holiday, too. Maybe I can’t go anywhere or do anything, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve simple time OFF. Time to fuck off and do my own thing.

Kept the words of my excellent rejection in mind over the past few days. I’m a good writer. Keep telling myself that; it’s difficult to cut through years of feeling like and being told I’m a loser and actually grasp that truth. Of course, even my best intentioned thoughts are tinged with negativity: being a good writer is no guarantee of success. And I noticed certain family members who insist on commenting on everything bleeding thing I do (generally using subtle to not so subtle put downs in the process) have managed to stay quiet about the feedback I got on my script. Oh, got nothing to say now that someone has something NICE to say about me and my work? Well, no worries. It IS still a rejection, after all. You remain top dog in your own pathetic little world.

Gods, I hate my family. I mean really, really dislike them. A LOT.

Have not committed myself to anything just yet. I’ve more stories floating in my brain. Stories that pop up in the middle of watching tv, or on a walk. Letting it all be right now. My last script taught me that I can write off a strong outline no matter what occurs in my own life, and I trust myself enough now to back off a bit. Let those ideas rest. I’ll start to commit to paper in a few weeks. Ideas, sketches, characters. There are two strong contenders for my next project. Which one is chosen will probably depend on how full the outlines become. I suppose I should check on submissions calls; what people want, how limited the cast sizes are, etc. But I’m feeling like I just want to write. I’ve got a handle on most limitations, and it’s never a bad idea to just have stuff ready to send out.

…Checked out a couple of ‘playwright’ web pages. People who claim to be professional playwrights (don’t know and can’t say for sure, because I never heard of their works). Found one woman with 25 scripts to her name. I was impressed – until a deeper look revealed five of those scripts to be 10 minute affairs. Really? Isn’t that like a jingle writer claiming to be a song writer? Maybe I shouldn’t be such a bitch about it. Just take a look at one of these so-called 10 minute scripts. Not sure what kind of a “story” can be told in that short of time. …And then there was the rest of the so-called 25 scripts. Included a lot of shorts. A lot a lot. Very few full length pieces. By the end, I wasn’t impressed with her “credentials”. Though, DAMN! She listed a lot of awards.

Does humanity really suffer from ADHD? Seems so. Anything more than 500 words on a blog post is just asking to be ignored. Tweets have become the norm for communication – even from the American presidency. Ten minute plays, flash fiction – short, short, short! Is the illiteracy rate really so high? Seems so.

And you know…it doesn’t matter if I’m in the right on this issue. Doesn’t matter one bit. I’m the odd one out: a person who reads. There’s an old saying that a seeing man would be king in a world of the blind, but I don’t believe that’s true. I think that seeing man would be shunned, belittled, cajoled and ridiculed into going along with the mob. Because that’s the true nature of humanity: mob rule. Think differently and risk everything. Oh, maybe in ten or twenty or a hundred or so years the rest of humanity will catch up with you and then they’ll say ‘oh, gee, that person was such a genius!’ but I HATE the Van Gogh effect of dissing and ignoring artists and thinkers until long after they’re gone and then holding up their work, proclaiming it’s wonderful, and isn’t it a shame we didn’t give this person props when he/she was alive.

I mean really….fuck off! I hate this so much that if I actually get enough money together to bother with a damned will, I’ll write in a clause to reject ANY award given to my work post-mortem.

…Why, oh why, does it feel like a Monday?

I know it

Editing. Formatting. All that crazy shit a writer does that makes our eyes go wonky. Honestly, sometimes I think I stare so long at the computer screen my eyes dry up completely. It even hurts to blink.

All of that is good. Well, maybe not good as in good for me, but definitely good as in I’m on the right track. And way the hell ahead of my deadlines.

Had occasion to pause and bless my brother the other day. He’d met with R, his friend, in the morning. In the afternoon, he came home and told me: our appeal was rejected by immigration. Without skipping a beat, he informed me he’s already met with lawyers and accountants, and a clear plan of action has already been instigated, so, keep cool and relax. We are re-applying this year. Basically, starting our entire residency over again from day one. It’ll cost. Naturally. But our team has informed us it’s the way to move forward – and, apparently, a fool proof plan. There are no grounds to reject us if we re-apply.

I heard that, and the first thing I thought was ‘he doesn’t trust me with the news; he had to get everything settled before telling me’. Second thing was ‘Goddess, what other action could tell me how much he cares about me? He didn’t want to throw me or worry me or have me slip into a depression. He kept it from me until he had answers.’ My mind has settled on the second thought, and once again I find myself feeling small and petty for any and every argument I’ve ever brought up against him. Here I am, bitching because I think he doesn’t always listen to me or do the dishes in a timely manner, and there he is, dealing with extremely stressful questions about our future and not wanting to stress me out. And when I asked him why he didn’t tell me immediately, he simply answered: I knew you were upset about L, and I didn’t want to add to your worries.

Small. Teensy-tiny. Miniscule. Whip out your microscope and see me cringe.

Yesterday was a day out. (And here’s another thing about my bro, if you don’t already think he’s fabulous.) Every once in a while, my bro takes me out. Gets me out of the house, forces me to go downtown, eat a meal in public, walk around. We window shop, he encourages me to look at new clothes, once in a while we buy something. Yesterday we were on a mission for new headphones for both of us. Into Media Markt by Alexandrium. Wall of headphones. I chose a mid range set – not the cheapest, but not the most dear, either. Then an attempted casual ‘since we’re here, why don’t we look at entertainment?’ from my bro. Upstairs to DVD heaven. They were having a massive sale; found dozens of films for only five euro each. Walked out without spending too much, yet still have loads of hours of good watching. Then it was off to Papaya – literally, a little buffet type hole in the wall. But Goddess! THE best food ever. Came home to that companionable feeling we have after a fun day out. We laughed a little easier, talked a little more animated – all because we got out of the apartment for the afternoon.

And, I got a new hoodie. One that doesn’t look old or scruffy. One that hasn’t been washed a thousand times. Might go back and buy a nice blouse. Something that’s NOT a T-shirt. I’ve only got a few non-T-shirt shirts; I’d like some more.

Today I must tackle the housework. It’s piled up. I’ve managed to keep up on dishes and the big stuff, but the floor -! I can’t even consider getting down to do abdominal exercises with all that crap lying around. It’s too dirty. So I’ve lined up a day of hoovering a dusting, washing and ironing. Probably won’t get to the gym because of it.

Oh! And I have an answer. Anything I ever fantasized about my very cute physiotherapist was all one-sided. During my last appointment, we talked about the upcoming play – and I teased him that I have a whole two months to convince him to come to one of the performances. Hitch. I could feel it. His response: I’ll think about coming. Not sure, I’d love to come! So, now I know. Any interest on his part should have resulted in a bit more enthusiasm in his reply. I dithered on at the appointment. I said how I don’t know many people, how it would be good to have some support, etc. Tried to mitigate the disaster I just opened up. Oh, well. Can’t feel too bad about it. I am talking the production up, and I am inviting everyone I say more than two words to (other than shop workers; I often say five or six words to them, but I’m not inviting every cashier I meet). I tried, you know? Put it out there. I suppose it’s better to know for sure than to wonder forever if…. If. That wonderful two letter word! In my mind, it only becomes a curse if you put ‘only’ behind it: if only…. Do that, and you might as well shoot yourself in the foot. But if…Truly, that word sums up all that we can be.

I digress.

…I may sit at a unique crossroads in my life. Don’t know that I’ve ever received such not so good news yet still felt so okay about it. I mean…I’m not happy about the residency thing. The idea that we’ll need to cough up thousands yet again in order to stay here doesn’t sit well with me. But we will be able to stay. Right now, that’s everything. As for my fantasizing…A little bit of that, especially (ouch!) at my age probably isn’t such a bad thing. But I don’t necessarily want that to manifest into my reality. I’m too busy with my own life to share it with anyone else right now.

I’m 51. And selfish.

I know it.

I needed it

Perhaps another person, after a two hour wait in the doctor’s office only to finally be noticed, asked, and told by said doctor ‘What are you doing here? You’re not on my schedule’ – perhaps some other person would have taken it in stride, talked calmly to the receptionist and gone about her day.

I’m not another person.

While I can hardly blame my doctor for the snafu of her subordinates, I did take a rather firm stance with the receptionist, who tried to palm me off to yet another nurse who’d look in my ears, declare that no, there’s nothing up there, not even a build up of wax, then ask again if I have a fever or any pain associated with this continual deafness. Perhaps my voice took a harder edge than necessary; but after getting up with my alarm to be there right when the office opened my famous lack of patience had reached its very end. Before the other waiting patients and her and everyone else’s God, I declared that no, I would NOT see yet another nurse to go thru the same three procedures and questions and then tell me that I needed to see the doctor – that happened yesterday, and I was assured twice that all I had to do today was show up between 8 and 11 and the doctor would fit me in as an emergency case.

Another 24 hour wait for a now set in stone appointment with a real doctor who’s gonna do the same fucking things: look in my ears, comment that there’s some redness, ask if I have a fever, ask if my ear hurts me, and ask if I’ve used nasal spray for a week. Good Goddess! I went in the first time saying this was an inner ear problem; no one listened. The second time I said it was an inner ear problem; no one listened.

I’m real fucking tired of this.

And while this goes on, I demand everyone speak English to me. Hearing is difficult enough; Dutch is more than difficult.

So I have missed my language lesson today, and will miss another tomorrow and the universe only knows how many more lessons I’ll miss because I can’t hear properly.

AAAAAAARRRRRRRGH!

Did not want to be this frustrated at this point of the day.

Of course, I’m only able to be this frustrated over my hearing issue because I’ve received some good news on the immigration front. New attorneys love the contract I’ve drawn up, and everyone on the team agrees they see no impediment to our retaining our residency rights. We’ve even been assured of secondary and tertiary plans if the all-seeing eyes and minds of our team are wrong.

We will not be kicked out of the country or forced to move.

That’s good, and comforting. Not entirely free of immigration issue anxiety, but it’s now at a very low ebb and my mind is, I find, free to worry about other things.

Like going deaf.

The worst thing is now I miss my language lessons more than ever. They’re a reason to get me out of this house and thinking about other things.

Nothing to distract me for the rest of the day. Or tomorrow. Or the weekend, for that matter.

The table is strewn with medicine boxes. Another reminder I live in a sick body. I’m pleased with my own foresight; I ordered up the big pain relief guns that include enough codeine to put me down and have already scarfed one down my throat. Drug me. I can’t take the waiting and the worry anymore.

It’s my duty to pull myself up out of this cloud by the time my bro returns from his language lesson. I’m not the only one in this house juggling worry and physical problems, and I don’t need my frustration to add to his. Telling him I feel frustrated this morning is one thing; taking that frustration out either on him or on any imagined “them” with a tirade of my verbal acid is quite a different thing.

Calm. Ohm. I make no beans about it: that’s the Haze joint I rolled combined with the creep of the codeine, dampening everything to a soft fuzz. Is it right of me to feel so thankful for my stingy combination of prescribed and street drugs? Even that question¬†fades away. It is what it is.

And I needed it.

Elephants in the Room

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Lovely words. How they flow! Another 2000 fluttering ideas snatched from the air. Right now I feel more like a dictation secretary than a writer; I have a tough time keeping up with some of what my characters give me. Funny thing, too: I’m not stuck in writing mode once I close down. It’s like the curtain drops, the characters all go on break, and I can enjoy my evenings like a normal person. That’s new. But then, there’s such a difference between being a puppeteer and commanding your characters to do this and say that versus creating full characters who tell you to sit back and type, we’re just gonna do this thing.

Hope it keeps up.

I’ve one more day of self imposed exile. My (non) lethal injections are being delivered sometime today, and I’ve got to sign for them, so I’m stuck here until they come. Oh, boo-hoo. I just bought a new game for my computer and all that. ūüėČ

My bro does not understand my need for alone time when I write, but he does respect it. He’s been finding reasons to stay out of the house at least four hours at a time. And he always does it so casually. Oh, I’ve got to run to the bank, then head downtown to the library for a few hours. I wanted to stop by the ___ and get some ____. It’ll be several hours before I get home, so if you want to write, you can. How can you not love him for that? He offers me the time I need without any pressure on me to do a damned thing. And when he returns, like yesterday, and I make a comment about having a headache after¬†staring at my computer screen or just feeling a bit out of it, what’s the first thing out of his mouth? Roll yourself a big fatty and chill out.¬†I’ve been smoking, I say. Well, do it anyway. Can’t hurt.¬†I know that’s “enabling behavior” and if I ever take my smoking seriously, it’s something that could be detrimental to me. I also know it’s my bro’s attempt at lessening my guilt over smoking¬†(which is linked to my guilt over everything in the world), and I thank him for that.

Ya do what ya can, right? After detonating over 2000 atomic bombs on this planet, I hardly think anyone¬†can blame my smoking for¬†any cancer that takes hold. C’mon, people! Why’da think cancer rates skyrocketed?

I’ve struck a new deal with myself. For every hour in indulge in Tolstoy, I devote an hour to reading Dutch. I thought it would be a good way for me to hold myself accountable. Instead, I find I haven’t gone back to Anna Karenina. Sneaky me! Always finding a bloody loophole! But I do need to sit down with my books and try to get through another ten pages of something. Ugh. I do not find reading in Dutch to be a joy. Not yet. I hope I get there, though. And the only way to get from point A to point B is to read. So: schedule time, and stick to it. How many times have I made this resolution? Loads. And like most resolutions, I do okay with it for a short period of time and then fail. I’ve got to think my way through this. Convince myself of the long term need so I put the time in now. I’ve done it before, but, honestly, I’m lazy. Dragging myself through the verb conjugations of a ten year old is irritating.

I know, I know! I’ve said it before. Some irritations are like red wine stains on white carpet: you can lighten them up but never really get rid of them.

Tomorrow I’m back in the pool. Been having anxiety over that. Oh, hell! It’s because I had an outburst at the pool that I’m sure more than one person heard – and let me tell you, everyone speaks enough English in the Netherlands to know when you’re swearing! I’m embarrassed to go back. Afraid someone will tell me (like a child) that I was rude and they don’t want me to come back on Tuesday mornings. There. It’s ugly and nasty and completely true. It’s also probably way out of proportion; I do that, and I know it. I haven’t been at the pool for two weeks, and the logical part of my mind tells me that no one – no one but me – has given my slight outburst a second thought since it happened. I probably wasn’t even that loud. My head’s just blown it all up. Nonetheless, there’s a part of me that’s shaking inside, scared of being called out and shamed. I feel I should just apologize to the whole class, but then if no one really noticed or heard my outburst, apologizing would just be weird. And the pool is SO not a place to be weird!

Bloody hell!

As long as I’m ‘fessing up to anxiety issues here, can I add my immigration situation into the mix? My ID card has expired, as has the stamp in my passport, but all the paperwork and fees have been paid. I’m “in process”, which is a nice way of saying not quite technically legal. How in the hell does my residency renewal always – ALWAYS – seem to fall near Christmas? The worst bleeding time of the year! Everyone says don’t worry: the lawyers, the accountants, the people we know. That’s like saying don’t think about elephants. I’ve been told I’ll probably have to suffer this flux status until sometime in January. So I take a deep breath, try not to think about elephants, and move forward.

One elephant, two elephant, three…

A Clean Artist?

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Mondays – always a drag. Don’t care who you are or what you do, nobody likes Mondays (poor old Monday; almost makes me sad for the pathetic thing). My mood matches the day and the grey outside.

Just back from the rheumatologist. Two appointments, really. Nurse practitioner and rheumatologist. Ugh. Heard how 51 (coming up for me in a few short weeks) is the better side of your 50s – which for me simply underscored what wasn’t said: that in a few short years¬†it’s downhill all the way. Had a lecture about smoking because I admitted to smoking 2-3 ‘smokes’ (see how I get away without blurting out the entire truth?) a day. Of course, they didn’t know I had been smoking 6-8 a day. So I heard how bad smoking is, how I need to quit, blah de blah blah blah. I could say the same damned thing to my GP, who knows the levels I have smoked, and she’d tell me I’m doing well. How easily medical opinion can turn on a bleeding dime! Also heard how repetitive exercise isn’t good for me, how I should be doing 10 minutes on every damned machine the gym has to offer rather than an hour on the treadmill. Excuse me? That bit of info I tossed to the side. Perhaps that’s true of others, but I’ve been doing this for longer than either of them have been in the medical profession, and I’ll stick to what works for me. I know this body better than they do.

So I ain’t happy. Felt I got a bit torn down when I should be getting a clap on my shoulder for increased exercise and decreased smoking.

After my last post, I took the time to talk aloud to myself. Tried to find out what that anger was all about. First thing out of my mouth was ‘I’m not gonna get hooked on some goddamned medication and then have to move and go cold turkey off it again. Fuck no!’. So I listened to me. I heard that, and said okay; we don’t have to do this right now. We don’t have to give up smoking entirely or push to see the doc and get assessed and on something now, now, now. Especially not since I had a very valid point: I’m going thru the immigration thing right now. While I (and my brother, and the attorneys and the accountants we had to pony money up for) all agree there shouldn’t be any problem, until I’ve got my card in my hand giving me permission to be here another 2 years I’m not approaching this mental health thing any closer. I’ll keep my smoking where it’s at. I’ll indulge in marijuana when I bloody well please, as long as it’s kept to 2-3 a day. In truth, I might not even smoke that much. Pulling back has allowed me to see how toking all day really can make me feel tired and not want to do much. I prefer to begin my days clearheaded now – and if you’ve actually following this morass of thought, you’ll know that’s a huge shift in attitude from me. My morning joint used to be a MUST. It was the one I didn’t know I could cut out. Now, I don’t want it. I want to go walking, or get to the gym or the pool.

Still haven’t got back to the script. I hope! Been telling myself that the year end break is coming up soon. Everything will shift to Xmas. No more language class, no taal caf√©s to miss and feel bad about, even the gym and pool hours will change and get limited (oh, god, what will I do without the gym?). Then I will get back to it in earnest. If I can catch the groove of the story again I should be able to finish the first draft within 3-4 days. I know! You’d think if I write that fast I could do it now. Except I can’t. That’s 3-4 days of being in that living room with my characters, not being able to pull out of it. And then there’s the backlash – editing, re-thinking, tinkering, proofing, and layout bullshit. All in all, I figure I need 10-14 days without interruption other than sleep, meals, and occasionally surfacing for fresh air. Sounds like an Xmas break project to me.

And sound. I’ve had the heads up from my bro (and head of the label I’m on) that come spring he’ll be looking to me for something to take to mastering. There’s no question about it: I want my new stuff (new! I’ve been sitting on it for a year now) done. Which means studio work. Turn on and bug the neighbors. Goody, goody! I’ve had it up to here with all their yelling and scraping of furniture! [Caveat: I’m kidding. Not about having it up to here with them, but about bugging them with volume. I don’t produce at that loud of decibels.] The fabulous thing (timing wise, anyway) about producing is that it’s best done over time, so interruptions like language class or taal caf√©s are often welcome to give my ears a break.

Gee. Seems I’ve got the next three to four months planned out. Do ya think I’ll actually get around to getting the mental health thing going as well? I dunno….smells like a set up to fly off into mania land to me. *sigh* And honestly, that sounds pretty good right now. Curve back into what I’m familiar with.

Ooooooooooh. I just had to point that out to myself.

Damn. Now I feel I should address it. Sort it out. Make some commitment.

No.

No.

no.

Now I want to smoke again, and I just finished one.

Okay. Hot spot. I hit something that’s got my skin crawling. It’s something between my work and therapy, between the utterly cool goth/punk I see myself as and the namby-pamby Barbie doll cut out I think they want to make me into. Erk! Maybe I just ‘fessed up. I’m seeing all the quitting smoking and get right with my emotional state as people remaking me into something I’m not, something I never wanted to be.

Can I be a ‘clean’ artist?

Opportunity 1: the long road

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No meeting with the theatre group last night. It’s moved to tonight. Naturally. I did everything I said I was going to do yesterday to prep: took a shower, took care with my hair, carefully chose what I was going to wear AND ironed everything,¬†did a last minute online check on the metro. I was MORE than ready. Of course it was cancelled. Story of my bleeding life. It’s moved to tonight – my post-swim evening. So my hair, despite my best efforts, will be a bit frizzy. I’ll probably yawn at least once, even if I make sure to have some coffee before setting out. And to top off my annoyance today, I’ve been wearing my orthopedic shoes and now have yet another blister on my toe.

All I need to do is drop some food on the outfit I was going to wear and everything I planned will have gone straight down the toilet.

This is one of those times when I just surrender and say, ‘Ok, Universe, for some reason I’m not supposed to go into this meeting looking my best. I can deal. I hear you loud and clear. Now, can you give me some breathing room so I can just get TO the meeting?’ Yeah. That’s how far my expectations have sunk in the short span of 24 hours: I just wanna GET there. No looking my best, no relaxed attitude, just get the fuck there. Yeesh!

Maybe that’s for the best. Maybe my earlier high expectations would have led me to some deep and bitter disappointment tonight. At the moment I expect very little: to show up, to shake the hand of M who’s been my email correspondent on this, and then to spend the majority of the time keeping my mouth shut and doing jack shit. I expect no friendly overtures, no fast connection with anyone. Just a first tentative step into a new social circle. Anything above that will seem like a lot to me right now.

This start/stop stuff has its consequences, too. Been “taking it easy” with my exercise, trying to conserve enough energy so I can DO these things in the evenings. Which means for a few days now I haven’t burned like I’ve been doing, haven’t pushed or sweated…And I miss it. An awful lot. The endorphins, the release, the full body buzz – even the exhaustion that follows. And I’m getting cranky without it. Who’da thunk?

My bro has been busy with advocates and accountants, getting ready for our immigration renewal. Other than a lot of meetings costing a tidy sum, things seem to be going well. No one foresees any problem for us. That’s encouraging. After 14 years in Ireland getting eyed up every year like a bleeding criminal trying to rip off the system, it’s refreshing to see smiles and hear everything’s fine. Latest news on my status is that after five years of toeing the line I’ll have the opportunity to find employment. I’m happy and intimidated by that – happy that I’ll have the chance and intimidated that I won’t physically be capable to handle it. My job¬†now remains what it has been: to keep working on my strength and the language. Keep focused. Keep going. For another three years.

I’m not so worried about the language; three years gives me ample time to continue my studies and improve my Dutch on all fronts. But the physical side…now THAT’S what’s scaring me. So much can happen in such a short time span with RA. I could wake up tomorrow and blow my knees out again and put myself down for another year. I don’t want to, obviously, but I’m well aware it’s within the realm of ‘possible’. For me, that’s where the real gamble is. Even my rheumatologist thinks I’m on the edge of incapacity. Finally did a little research on some of the info she gave me for specialty places that do wrist braces, and every single one of them is a bleeding nursing home. Every. single. one. Fuck. While I’m well pleased that these assisted living places exist and DON’T seem to be administered by the devil himself, my feet are firmly dug into the ground on this: I. don’t want. to go. to a place. like. that. Ever. Even the thought of going there to buy the damned wrist braces turns me off.

Christ, I am a young person caught in and old person’s body. Give me a break! My hair hasn’t even really turned grey yet.

Yeah, I KNOW she didn’t give me that info to suggest on any level that I look into a living space there. Or I think I know. Did she?

I haven’t even had the guts to ask if I’d qualify as disabled.

Mostly because I’m not sure I want to know.

Because if she said yes…If she, a professional, called me disabled, I might just give up. I might start to think it’s okay to back off ‘because I’m disabled’.

I don’t want to back off.

No matter how you cut it, this is the beginning of the last phase of my life. I can feel old age creep up on me. I can see it begin to show in my face. Ugh. It’s worse than you could imagine. Sometimes you begin to think it’s okay to give up, to let time overtake you. I suppose that’s the natural order of things. Your body winds down. You die and give way to other, younger generations.

ARGH!!!! SEE what backing off my endorphin rush is doing to me?!?! Fucking with my head now. Making me macabre (tell me that isn’t a chemical imbalance).

Three more years. One day at a time. That’s 1095 mornings to struggle through. 1095 afternoons of studying Dutch. 1095 days of making myself get some exercise.

1095 opportunities to make a difference in my own life.

It seems like a long road, with a lot of unknowns along the way. But I’m gonna try¬†to take what each day has to give me, and do my best with it.

Here’s to opportunity 1: the long road.

Back Burner Boil

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I did well yesterday. Very well, in fact. Enough to put a gold star on my forehead today. I went out THERE for 3 hours – three whole hours – and never bit my tongue. I never even felt annoyed at anyone. I also didn’t stop writing.

Waiting for the metro. On the metro. In the stations. Up the escalator. Down the street. In the shops.¬†There wasn’t a single place I could go where my head wasn’t narrating some epic scene. Popped into my favorite coffeeshop for about half an hour and took advantage of sitting and a table in front of me. Out came the notebook and pen. Scribble, scribble. Strike out. Notes climbing up the sides of the paper like word ladders. The experience certainly reminded me why I now get so much done on my computer. It’s faster. And far neater. There was a time I found a blank screen on my computer intimidating. Now I’d rather face that blank screen than have to pick up a pen and later unravel my own spider-crawl writing. What a mess.

And I wrote my novel long-hand!

Ah, well, you won’t catch me at that again.

More social commentary. Good goddess, I had no idea I had so much to say about society. So much to say about PEOPLE. I get so wound up at times that the only thing that comes out of my mouth is ‘morons’ and curse words. Sure as hell never thought I’d be writing insightful stories, breaking people down into two sentences that smack the truth over your head with a quick slap, slap on either cheek. Of course, this is manic me talking. No one’s published yet. No one may ever publish my stuff. So who the fuck am I to say it’s good? It could be shit, yes, it could. I don’t believe it today, thank you. Try me again tomorrow.

Okay, embarrassing confession coming up. Everybody turn away.

I queefed yesterday in public. Full out fart coming up the alleyway and getting an extra¬†phfft from my labia. It was LOUD, too. I hope my cough, which generated the fucking thing in the first place, covered up most of it. For fuck’s sake! For a moment I thought Terrance and Philip from South Park were going to make an entrance. I mean, that’s a new one for me. I’ve got to age where I let my farts go if I need to and to hell with where I am. I try to be discrete, try to only let them fly when I’m away from other people. But sometimes they just slip out (and yes, a part of me is a little afraid of becoming my dad in this; he farted every time he walked). Yesterday it happened in the coffeeshop with about a dozen people as witnesses. SOoooooooo very happy they were all toking up. Maybe if they heard it they thought they imagined it.

My farting gives me pause. If I’m farting this much, how much more is my obese sister farting at this point? She liked to take it up the ass, too. I can’t help but think that served to loosen up her anus even more. She must be a farting machine. lol! Well, that gives me something¬†to chuckle about. Farting too much would be exactly the type of thing she’d never mention, even to her doctor. It wouldn’t fit her perfectly coifed and manicured life. Ha!

Alright. Enough with the farting.

It’s Sunday, a lazy day in any language. Seems the whole world gets a little quieter on Sundays. Dawn breaks a little later, the birds sing a little softer. It’s a recurring¬†pause in our timeline, a point for tidying up last week’s mess and preparing for the days ahead. I got a lot of mess to clean up. And I’m not sure what I’m prepping for. So Sundays can get confusing for me. I can feel a little like an old record stuck in a groove. TV reruns. News re-caps.¬†Oh, please! You can’t tell me nothing happens on Sundays. Still, there it is, every damned Sunday: the week in review. Look at all the violence shoved into one three minute montage. This week the focus is on the sea of immigrants coming to the EU. Yeah, like I said: I catch the news whether or not I want to. So I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve heard about the video of the drowned child. I’ve listened to what the politicians are saying, both the excuses and the accusations. I can no longer say nothing about it. While politics are politics and I refuse to make this blog into a political arena, the situation is encroaching on daily life and thus it IS affecting me, in many ways. And, as usual, I can see both sides of this fence with equal clarity and reason. On the one hand, you have this huge humanitarian crisis. The people risking their lives to get to the EU do so because it’s less a risk than staying in their own country. I think people should stop and give that some thought. Mothers and fathers are risking their children’s lives to get here because it’s LESS¬†a risk walking hundreds of miles or getting crammed into the back of a truck or getting on that overcrowded, leaky old boat than it is to stay. It’s the better fucking option, even if they do die along the way. These people need help, not aggression. On the other hand, this problem is HUGE. Everything carries a price, like it or not, and few of the EU countries involved have a solid financial foothold in the world. Greece is drowning. She may never recover. Hope if you wanted to see Greece, you had your chance. She’s dying and will never be the same. And the infighting! This has reignited those age old adversities between England and France, Germany and Europe, Germany and France. The small kids – Greece, Ireland, Portugal – are going DOWN, people. Good-bye. Not going to survive this. England is doing what England always has; addressing the entire situation with a haughtiness born of empire and never fully beaten out of them.

The EU may crack over this.

I, for one, would be sad to see it happen. Cohesiveness without absolute uniformity IS possible. What I don’t understand is how so many insufferable politicians have managed to secure seats in the EU parliament. Mary Harney from Ireland was a horrible health administer; under her rule millions were wasted building facilities that then lay unstaffed and dormant. She was also the one that got called to task for flying to France to get her hair done – on tax payer’s money.¬†Yet despite all this, she sits in EU parliament serving as CHAIR for¬†European Steering Group on Sustainable Health. Un-fucking-believable. If ya let eejits like her in, no fucking wonder everything is in such a goddamn mess.¬†Bleh. Someday there will be a new story, and Mary Harney will serve as fuel for it.

If I ruled absolute, first thing I’d do would be boring, boring, boring. I’d modify ALL accounting standards across the board. Wipe the slate clean. Make everyone go back to solid, basic accounting principle. Honestly, the rules have become as convoluted as tax law. And about as logical. They were designed that way. So, out with all that. Get back to what we really need to know: CASH FLOW. Not the cash flow offered by accountants these days. REAL cash flow. Real money doing real things. Yes, some of the pretend money flow is valuable information. Depreciating large assets over time not only helps track the value of the assets, it also helps track regular maintenance AND replacement needs. But that shit should be put on a separate page and not integrated AT ALL in the main bulk. It’s not real; don’t fucking include it. There’s plenty of comedic scenes built on people not really knowing how much money they have. Just watched one last night in an Ab Fab episode (Season 2, Poor). Funny, yes. Very real, too. Claiming “invested” money as cash equivalents is ludicrous. Unless you cash them out right then and there the numbers are MEANINGLESS. Keep them off the report, too. And the will-o-the-wisp nothings that financial wizards whip up over night to become the next hot thing to make money on should just be illegal. Full stop. Banks would get their balls snipped and have to go back to being banks, not investment houses. Banks would have extreme regulation, as a matter of fact. No more taking money on both ends to fatten their own pockets. Nope. You earn money the old fashioned way. Worked for a fucking long time. Trickle down economics just let the bear loose. Now we’ve got a really BIG, fat and ANGRY bear to deal with. Shoot the motherfucker. And yeah, 1%. You’d go back to your 50% tax rate and you’ll like because there will be nowhere else to go. Really sorry that you have to give up that golden back scratcher this month, and really sorry that your single master goldsmith won’t get his commission. But that money will feed thousands and fix vital railways and provide wells for water and education for kids. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

*shudder* Sorry. I was just channeling the spirit of the accountant/financier/economist in me.

I guess with all this spilling out of me I shouldn’t be so surprised at the nature of my stories right now. There’s a lot going on with that back burner right now.