Just one more

It was three, not two. Three humans showed up for auditions last night. I guess I should be happy we snagged a whole other person to come in. Happy enough to say the three that did show were decent, and we’ll probably use them all in the production.

Ah, man…it was cool to sit in the back of the room with the director, like the cool kids. It was cool to give the text to the actors and go out for a smoke while they rehearsed. It was cool to see them get through my words, interpret my directions. And it was cool to see and hear their enthusiasm. My play. My script.

Lots to learn and accept, tho. I heard some lines delivered absolutely opposite to the way I wrote them. I just thought, man! how can you screw up the delivery of that line? But…let it go. This is where it begins to breathe. The director was helpful, pointing out that he finds it a good idea to let people go and do there thing first whether or not it’s good. That way, they feel like their creativity isn’t stifled. I saw that in action, and it worked well.

Hashed out role ideas with the director. We both want to see everyone, give everyone a chance. But knowing some of the actors coming in, we’re already honing ideas. We know, for instance, that the two females coming in next week are both solid performers and either could do any of the roles in the script. We know the scope of one of the male actors who’s always around, and narrowing down the role he can play.

Ugh…okay. And I felt a tug at my heartstrings when roles were discussed. I guess I really do want to play in this, tho I’m also very firm with my decision that I’d like to give everyone a chance. I had this moment of realization: shot forward after a performance, seeing the small venue and small audience. Heard the applause, saw the reaction. The usual reaction: the audience tends to react to the actors more than the writer. Someone in the crowd might say ‘It was a good story!’ but that’ll only be the one. The rest will be saying things like ‘You did so well!’ or ‘I really liked it!’. Their comments will not come to me. Trying to mentally prep myself for that, tho I think it might end up being like the whole role thing – I’ll do my best to say it’s all okay, and I’m okay with it, and expect nothing more, but when that moment finally comes I’ll feel a bit stung.

Well…scout rule. Be prepared. Expect to feel disappointed at some point.

Counter that reaction with your mantra: I’m a real playwright. The US premiere of my work happens in 2019. Yes, another theatre group is doing my work. That’s what happens when you’re a real playwright. Oh, yes…it’s a theatre festival. Possibility of more than 10,000 people seeing my work. No, I can’t fly out for it. Not this time.

And remember to do your happy dance once a day. Shake your butt, swing your arms in the air, and say “I’m a real playwright”.

Hope to stop all this napping. I get up, do some things in the morning, get tired from the medicine, sit down in my chair, and the next thing I know I’m falling asleep. I know it’s what I need to heal, and I’m trying to not fight it. But I feel very out of shape, unhealthy. It’s time to kick this cough and get back to the gym. Back to moving, breathing, pushing my body a bit. We finally have some rain, so that should help pull all the crap out of the air that’s making my nose so bad. Crossing my fingers that this will be it; whatever set me off is done now and I can just get thru the rest of summer.

Tomorrow is my shrink appointment. Meh. Gotta think in Dutch. Try. Maybe I should put on one of my Dutch films this afternoon. Hear it a bit, get it back into my brain. There’s a lot of info I’d like to communicate to him, but I can’t do it in Dutch.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t got back to my artist friend. I haven’t got online and responded to something I need to. Still getting headaches, tho I feel like I’ve just got to deal with it now and then and get some damned work done.

Here comes the lethargy. Took my allergy pill an hour ago.

Maybe one more day of napping. One more day of chilling out.

Just one more.

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When will I learn?

My brother began shoving decongestants down my throat yesterday. I’m sick from these allergies, and I think you are, too. Sure enough. Stuff began to drain out of my head. I was so knocked out I spent most of the afternoon sleeping in front of the tv. Snot, coughing, drainage…it’s a fun ol’ time in the household lately.

But DAMN! I shut myself down too fast. I’m not listening to my body. He knew I was sick before I did?!? Holy Hell, I’m off track with myself.

As usual, I’m just out of it. Never really been able to concentrate while I’m ill. When I finally admit to being sick I’m so sick all I can really do is sleep, eat, and drink juice. The grand trifecta of health.

Woke up to see the winner of Eurovision plastered all over the news. Didn’t watch last night; see above for my reason. Gods, they’re letting themselves into the shit next year, aren’t they? Have to say, I can’t support it. Especially after the comment from the winner. Might actually write to the head of the NL Eurovision board and ask them not to go. I don’t believe Israel’s rhetoric any more than I believe the rhetoric from the states. And I don’t trust that it won’t turn into a horrible situation, either with severe political backlash or some sort of attack to prove a point. Nope. Wouldn’t touch that with a twenty foot pole.

Been trying to get my way thru my homework. Lucky for me, the homework isn’t that tough. Back to simple verb conjugation. It’s easy to move on, try to learn other stuff, but it’s important we keep working what we already should know. Been a few months since we’ve had this type of homework. And all the advanced grammar rules are mixing with the basics in my head now: is it a T on the end of that word, or a D? Does it get a “ge-” prefix, or is it one of those pesky irregular verbs? Good to go back and re-work this stuff. If I get 100% on it I’ll feel like I can really move on. It’s in my brain, cemented, correct. If not…well…my teachers have hundreds of more exercises like this one.

Might ditch Beedle the Bard and move onto another book. It’s a step up in reading level, and I’m down to “So and so did something to this thing, and then that happened”. Getting the gist, but not all. Some sentences are just too far beyond me. I don’t recognize one bleeding word in those damn things. Others are simpler. And, nod to myself, I caught another name change and this time got the joke of it. But I’ll need to hang onto this book, and try it again later. It goes on the ‘work on this’ pile.

Here it is mid-May and still no word on the theatre production. I feel like I can’t prod the director again. Thought he was clear in stating ‘after the holidays’, but then I realized May is littered with Dutch holidays, so it might actually end up being the end of the month. I just hope once we get working everyone shows a bit of enthusiasm for the story. I’m beginning to feel like they think my work isn’t worth putting time into, that they feel it’s ‘just her story’ so they can slap it together haphazardly and it won’t matter. Telling myself that’s just my paranoia and bad experiences; it’s not happening this time. Also reminding myself that I held a room full of Dutch people spellbound just by reading one of my stories aloud; anything up on that will be just fine. It’s a strong idea. Even if it gets flipped by performances into the black comedy range, my core message still comes across.

Gonna try to get a shower in today. Nap, because I’m already feeling tired again. See if I can worm my way thru the rest of my homework, even if I do make mistakes. Just get something in on every blank spot. …Gods, I’m so bleeding tired.

Guess it’s a good thing it’s Sunday. A day you can sleep away and never feel too guilty over; it’s Sunday, for pete’s sake! Nothing’s really open and the focus is all on tomorrow. It’s a no-day. A day you catch up on whatever you didn’t finish during the week.

The only thing I feel up to ‘catching up on’ is my health. I’ve allowed my focus to shift off taking care of myself, and I fell ill.

There’s only one thing that matters in all of this: me. Take care of me, and the rest will fall into place. Take care of me, and I can see it through.

*sigh* One step forward, two steps back. When will I learn?

Unstuck in time

A-a-agony! I’ve sat on my arse long enough to waken the back monster. Ow. I suppose lugging my heavy books around yesterday didn’t help.

Class was fun. Me and my bro and four other students. My teachers were welcoming to T, and he got a chance to show off his translated music theory book to them. He did well, too – keeping up with our in-class work and getting at least 50% of the answers right (he, of course, focused on the 50% he got wrong – a good reminder of what I must sound and look like). Next week is screwed up with holidays as well, and the teachers asked him if he’d like to come back. After that, he needs to apply for a class transfer thru the org that gives lessons. Two lessons with us will give him a good idea if he can make the move up. I think he’s more than ready. And, if I’m honest, worrying about T – whether or not he knew a word or understood the instructions – kept me from worrying about me. I just answered as best I could and laughed at myself when I didn’t know what to say. So it ended up being one of the lightest and most fun classes I’ve had.

And after starting the day with so much nothing in me, having fun by the afternoon was a real relief. I grinned for real, laughed for real, relaxed for real. Gods, I love school. So much. Learning is fun. Okay, I sound like some public service announcement, but it’s true for me. I get a real rush of excitement when I spell a word correctly or answer a difficult question well. Yesterday we worked on antonyms. I’ve done some of that: left, right; up, down, etc. This was, naturally, a step up in difficulty. My teachers know I’m a big reader, so they chose a hard word for me: ordinary (gewoon). I barely use the word at all, and have only sussed out the meaning thru my reading. My first guess was ‘ongewoon’, adding on the ‘on’ in Dutch that is akin to the ‘un’ in English. That got everyone to laugh. Then, out of this fog of unknowing, a word popped up for me: bijzonder. I knew it was correct, tho it is yet another word I don’t use when I speak because it’s only a word I know thru my reading. Same thing happened again later: I came up with the correct answer even tho I’m not using the word. It’s all thru my reading; I know more words than I think I know. Same thing happened to me with English when I was a kid. I find it freakier in Dutch than in English, tho.

Today: gotta go to the gym. Agonize my way over there, hurt for an hour on the treadmill. Get moving again. Open up that back. Well, there I go: in the end, the pain will drive me back to some sort of exercise routine. Shouldn’t sweat it so much.

Will tackle homework while my enthusiasm is so high. I always do more when I feel like this. Still have lots to do, and I have a new word puzzle to wrestle with this week.

It’s been raining for days on end now. Greyed out, wet, windy, colder. Does not entice me to go out much. At least there’s no chance of drought in the foreseeable future.

Want to get back to this comedy I’m tinkering with. The first act is turning into a set-up. I’m using stereotypical archetypes familiar to us thru television and film. Setting: a space ship. So yes, there’s a captain who’s pulling off the impossible, a first officer who’s offering up all sorts of suggestions (and who’s a ladies’ man), a science officer devoid of emotion, a hot-shot pilot, a sexy communications officer, and a combative security officer. I want it played hammy, shown exactly for what it is. Act 2 is where the twist comes in, and things change. Still don’t know how or if I’ll get them ‘home’ again. Most of these types of stories end by bringing your characters back to the original set point having learned something about themselves. Hm. Tho an idea did just pop into my head…

Boy, I like my computer. Typing is so much faster and easier than writing things out by hand. Pull up the file, make notes, add question marks where I’m unsure of my ideas (???), and boom; I’m done. I have a chance of keeping up with my head by typing. I’d need to learn shorthand to do it by hand.

Feels like I’m a bit unstuck in time. Just floating. Tuesday? Yeah, I guess it is. Feels like a Friday, tho. Fridays are days to begin shutting down and concentrating on me and my stuff. Tuesdays are days to take care of things in the world: work, errands, stuff you need to do but don’t really want to do. Like…going to the gym and walking for an hour.

Well, that still leaves me a lot of hours in the day. And hopefully my back will feel better.

…Holy shit. It’s May. Didn’t quite realize that.

I’m more unstuck in time than I thought.

I be so ignorant

Gentle and patient. That’s what I said, and that’s what I went with out into the world.

I took some time choosing my clothing. Brushed my hair and teeth. Washed my face and applied some moisturizing lotion. The weather’s cooled off and it feels like spring again rather than summer. I wrapped up warm, not caring that other people were walking around in hoodies or lighter clothing. Get sick if you want; I’m staying healthy.

Language class. …I know my teachers are babying me a bit. They used to be a bit tougher on me – right up to the point where I broke the tooth and told them it was from stress. Now, they emphasize the positive. Um…is it okay for me to say I like it? I like the support and the positivity. I like the assurances that I’m gaining ground and getting better. I like feeling like it’s okay for me to speak up and ask the definition of a word I don’t know, or to mess up and make mistakes or draw blanks on answers I really should have down. Doing those things more and more now, and my learning is improving because of it.

Remembered to take my book to class to read over the break, and I had the occasion to be damned happy about it. Total shut-out, and there were only 5 of us in class so it was pretty damned obvious. Once again, people were willing to speak to me before class but not during the break. Difference? One of those two women who seem to be spearheading this ‘ignore her during the break’ movement walked in a bit late to class. She wasn’t there before the lesson. But she was there for coffee. I hesitantly tried, choosing a seat next to their four person table that was full. I half turned my body towards them and dithered around, pretending to check my phone and sort thru my backpack. All things to give them a chance to turn their chairs slightly and include me, say ‘hey! come join us’. They didn’t. So I took out James and the Giant Peach and began reading. Only took two sentences to fall into the story. Then I was reading for real, at my regular pace. I smiled to myself, enjoying the language, the story, the jokes. It didn’t matter to me that I wasn’t talking. Let those people with their pidgin Dutch talk about homework or their husbands or children or the immigration process. I want more.

Ach! And one woman had the gall to complain to me that all the reading in class was ‘too childlike’ for her. This from the person who’s lived here twenty some years and can’t speak properly or read with any great comprehension. My response was simple and un-confrontational: Oh. I have noticed a great difference between myself and the other students: they are still grasping at the big words thinking they’ll have the language if they learn all the 36 letter long shit that stumps me, while I am concentrating on those pesky little words that pop up over and over in every sentence knowing that’s where the real communication lies. It’s not in the big words; it’s in the small words that color every sentence. I know I can look up a long word, or ask what the hell it means. But it’s the ‘just’, ‘only’, and ‘yet’ words that everything tips on. Even, maar, toch, al, nog… The words that seem, at first, easy to fly by in reading – yet when you get them, you realize it’s precisely what you need to fully understand the message.

Have the option of coming in next week, a scheduled holiday, for an extra lesson. Of course I said yes, and of course the teachers weren’t surprised. Three or four of us said we’ll come class. More one on one with two women I respect the hell out of! Oh, they intimidate me. I sweat in class, trying hard to do my best. But I know they hold the keys to learning, and I am so hungry for that. They see it.

I’ve finished the first viewing of the third Twin Peaks event. Wow. Got off into a discussion of alternate realities and time loops with my bro. He thinks Cooper and Laura have jumped into an alternate reality, one where Laura never existed. I think they’ve time travelled to earlier, before Laura’s family bought the house. I need another viewing. And another. But I recognize the tight loop Lynch created and hats off to him for it. It’s a great nut to crack.

Chop block today: wear in that new pair of shoes again. Back to the gym, more movement. Work on Dutch; I’ve a pile of homework. Work on tech notes. Find time to take care of me – something I’m doing without bitching and moaning. Been working on my cuticles, applying some moisturizer late at night while I watch tv and can I say they’ve never looked better! Nor felt better; those pesky fly away pieces of flesh that often bled and hurt seem to be a thing of the past. Didn’t realize with a little perseverance I could help myself so much.

And there we go, because I need to learn to persevere with being gentle and patient with myself. Somehow being gentle – and particularly being patient – seems to be at loggerheads with persevering. Patience seems passive to me. You patiently wait. You have patience with a tantrum throwing child. I am only aware of working on being patient when it becomes difficult to maintain, when I must persevere with patience in the face of whatever the hell is setting me off. …In other words, I feel I need to practice being patient. Is that even possible?

The gentlest and most patient answer I can give myself is: I don’t know.

…I can accept that. Admitting your ignorance is the first step to learning.

And I be so ignorant.

I’m not stopping

Life just has to keep giving me evidence of the two opposites I orbit ’round. Up and down, high and low…it gets mimicked in my life so often I’m getting sick of it.

Language class. Definitely a mixed bag. Thirty minutes before I had to leave, I remembered the underlying cause of my reluctance to go: the stone wall of diss I’ve encountered during our class break. I have sat at small tables with people, nodding, trying to get into the chit-chat. But it always seems to devolve into the other students reverting to Farsi, or some other language, and/or totally ignoring me. I sit there, either trying to listen to just zoning out, while they talk back and forth faster and faster, not even making eye contact with me. This has become the norm, and I don’t like it. I’ve gone out for fresh air, headed to the bathroom to diddle around so I didn’t feel so awkward, gone back up to the class early, and sat reading or working on Dutch. One or two women seem to head this up: they’ll see me somewhere, come and join the table, then take over the conversation and monopolize it. Right. I get it; you don’t like me. I don’t think much of you, either. I’m just trying to use my language skills here, and when you don’t give me any opportunity to form a sentence, well…fuck you.

There is one exception to this behavior: the only man in class. He often seeks me out for conversation, at least before class when we’re the only two students in the cafe. Every time he’s done this (and yesterday was no exception), he ends up asking me out for coffee on the weekend. Every time he’s asked, I’ve said no politely, saying I’m too busy. And then…then one of the women walks in and joins us, and he drops it like he never even asked. I suspect that he’s looking for a little something on the side (he’s mentioned a wife and family in our lesson) AND that the other women are somewhat aware of his intentions. It explains his hot/cold potato behavior. Sad. Once again, I am given an example of men’s behavior that I just find repellent. Does the Universe want me to become a lesbian? Sure as hell feels that way. Why do men only talk to me if they want to get into my pants? Why are women so fucking catty to me when I’ve done nothing – nothing!! – to deserve it?

The answer is obvious, if I just ignore that fifty foot wall of self hate I’ve built up: I am drop dead gorgeous. …Feels good just to say that for once. I do not mean physical beauty; there are many women more beautiful than I am. But there’s a combination in me that’s hard to pin down: something between my intelligence and my sense of humor, that kid or big dog that comes out in me wanting to play…people find that attractive. Combine it with looks that aren’t hideous, maybe even a bit attractive on their own, and boom! You got me. I have always believed it is my soul people are attracted to, not really my body. Men…they react to the body. Anyone sexual reacts to the physical. I don’t truly believe for one second that’s what’s behind all this. And the physical reaction…I find it tiring. Good Goddess, can’t we get beyond your penis? So many can’t. Then they find they’ll never get what they want from me, so they leave because they have no idea how to be friends without being sexual. I’m am tired of that. I just blow them off before they even start.

*sigh* Still. I am uncomfortable with the reaction from the women. They’re pleasant enough in class, in front of the teachers. But on break, it’s a whole other ball of wax.

More separation. Our teachers talked to us a bit about another, higher level language class. They thought some of us might be ready for it, and they invited us to check out a class or two this spring to see if we liked it. The man popped up and said he thought he could go to the lesson. The teachers were quick to point out his problems with the simple prepositions and sentences we’re working on. You’ll be lost. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go. Then their eyes focused on me. You could do well in that lesson, but it’s up to you. Go to a few and see what you think. It’s your choice. A few other students were talked to, their progress discussed. No other student was told so boldly that yes, they were ready to move up if they wanted.

And if I have to choose between my fellow students or my teachers, I’ll choose my teachers every time. Hands down. One had done some spring cleaning, and came to the lesson with four hard cover children’s books for me. Three Roald Dahl even the big library downtown doesn’t have, and one JK Rowling I’ve not read. I am thrilled. Even when I have to puzzle over an idiom’s meaning, I’m thrilled to be able to read and understand at the level I’m at. Ha! to everyone who ever said to me that Dutch was a clunky, unexpressive language. It is rich and full and beautiful. You don’t read well, do you?

Give me more, please.

So. Super high on my teachers. Super low on my fellow students. It’s so like school during my childhood I feel like I’m on a continual, low level LSD flash-back.

And, like school during my childhood, I’m ignoring what I can from my fellow students and holding onto my hunger for learning. They can sit on their asses if that’s what they want. They can do the minimum if that’s what they want. They can even resent me for it, for whatever they perceive in me that trips their trigger.

I’m not stopping.

How woke is that?

Yeah, I’m woke.

Oh. …So you wake up crying over all the children dying in war, all the women raped and shamed, all the injustice in the world, every morning?

…Ah…no. No, I don’t.

Then you ain’t woke.

It’s become the fad du jour to post environmental and cultural memes. Oh, look! I’m aware of this bad thing; ain’t I great. I’m here to tell every single one of you that those problems you’re all so up in arms about were the same fucking things I was screaming about when I was 20. Nothing’s changed. This isn’t new. Don’t fucking act like it is, or that you’re so fucking much better than my generation because you can generate a fucking MEME to tell the world how fucking ‘woke’ you are.

You think you be woke while you sit in your castle giving interviews over your success? Oh, yes, well…I live in a gated community, naturally, and my children attend private school because they couldn’t go to public school, but I’m woke. I know about the problems. I recycle.

Go fucking kill yourself.

… … …

I am up early so I don’t think. My hands stopped sweating yesterday, eventually. Talked to my bro, asked for some support and advice on the school issue. His mania has always been over the top, something no one could ignore, while what I do…I hide it. Sit on it. Clamp down hard on myself to make myself stop. I do that so well, most people never even notice. He’s always seen the signs, and given me what help and advice I was willing to take. I laid it out for him; the strung out feeling, the sweaty hands, the inability to focus. Even when I’m in crisis, my brother tries to teach me. He said: Well, it sounds like hypomania or hyperactivity to me. And let’s face it; you’ve had more social contact this weekend than you generally get all year ’round. You’ve been keyed up for days. But, you’ve got to decide for yourself. You know if you can’t go. I told him I didn’t feel like I was going to snap. I just felt a bit tired and out of it. He laughed. But you know it’s when you’re tired that you snap the easiest… I thanked him. I just needed someone else saying ‘yeah, it seems like you’re hyper and it’s probably a good idea for you to stay home and chill’. Still feel a bit guilty over skiving off. Back to solitaire and DVDs: mindless droning, allowing my head to rest. By evening I could sit in my chair without fidgeting too much. Headed off to bed around the normal time and managed to read through (albeit a little poorly) 20 pages in my book.

…*sigh* I don’t want my subconscious to work on my family issues any more. I know it’s happening while I sleep, which is why I think of those same issues first thing upon waking. It’s those repetitive cycles that push me up out of bed. I do not want to rehash. I want to live. Why won’t my head let me live? My subconscious obviously has power over my conscious mind. Can’t the reverse be true? Can’t I tell myself “enough is enough” and just move on?

Good Goddess, I’m sounding like my family!

Confront it. Okay.

Felt the sting of poverty on Sunday as my friend paid for our lemonades. Silly, really, right? But I felt it. Felt the difference in our clothing, in the way she groomed herself. I looked shaggy, as usual. A bit too unkempt. This is a thing. I am ashamed of being poor. Ashamed of obviously not taking care of myself. Part of me feels like that’s just peer and social pressure; fuck it. The other part of me sees how I must look to others: the hair that’s always a bit frizzy and unkempt, the clothes that are very casual and un-ironed. Maybe I could get away with spending next to no time on myself when I was 20, but that’s no longer the case.

Oh, fuck. This is a ‘it’s one of those things you should have learned when you were ten’ thing, right? I had the same thing happen when I hit Uni for the first time: I found out I never learned how to learn. Never had to study, never had to try at school. Ever. So I was totally unprepared to handle Uni, with it’s heavy reading and work schedule. …I used to be… I won’t say beautiful, but I didn’t need to do much. Didn’t need to spend hours on my hair; it just fell in place naturally. Didn’t need to use much make-up. Didn’t even need to think too hard about style. I just put together what I wanted to wear, and it looked good because…well, youth can carry off a lot. None of that is true anymore. I need to learn how to groom myself in the manner other people have done all their lives.

Shit.

What a drag.

…Don’t know that I can. I try, once in a while. Do my cuticles. Try to get my hair to behave. Darken my eyebrows a bit. To make it a regular thing, or something more regular than I do now… You know I don’t think it’s worth it. I’m not looking for anything. Why would I send out any signals? I’ve been misconstrued before, and let me tell you: there’s nothing less comfortable. Don’t look at me like that. That option isn’t on the table.

I’d do so much better in the world if everyone were blind.

…But then, I suspect a lot of people might say that.

There’s the solution. Everyone voluntarily poke their own eyes out. No more war, because no one could aim a weapon. No more judgements based on what you look like or your skin color or the clothes you wear.

Now, how woke is that?

Working on it

Language class. I turned in the Roald Dahl yesterday. Felt like I was giving up something precious, a well-loved toy. But my enthusiastic review of the book has more than one person in class interested in reading it, so…*sigh*…let them read it. Half the class left at break; next week is vacation and many were leaving early to head off to exotic places. The second half of class was warm. Intimate, even. Our teachers asked each of us what we most wanted to learn next semester, and gave us time to chat away (and get corrected on grammar). They also gave us a verbal review of our progress and work. The one thing we all heard was ‘slow down’. Forming Dutch sentences is difficult. Perfect past tense verbs get split, and personally I find it damned hard to remember the last part of the verb pairing in a long sentence.

I am in the top percentile. No more doubt about it. That terribly tricky article we had for homework was discussed. As usual, I went far beyond most. Most of the class hadn’t even read it through. Fewer still had tried to answer the questions. We tried reading it through, stumbling over those terribly long compound words, getting stopped every other sentence to be asked ‘do you know what this means?’. In the end, the teachers’ assessment was that their top three students found it rather difficult, so they weren’t going to push the matter. And yes, I was included in that top three student assessment.

Ach! They look at me differently. My teachers, that is. I can see it in their eyes. It’s almost an inside joke feel. They know I’m doing the work, they know I’m improving leaps and bounds over the others. My instructions are to keep reading, keep watching Dutch films and programs, keep writing. Had a flash of panic as they talked about my progress; was worried I was going to hear (once again) ‘You need to move up a level’. So I told them I loved the class, thought they were outstanding instructors, but please, please don’t make me go up a level yet because I need more practice right where I am. They smiled. I was assured they weren’t going to make me go to another class, that I was welcome to sit in on these lessons as long as I wanted.

Thank you, Goddess!

Yesterday evening provided me with a good laugh. Just so happened to be online and on FB when a message popped up on my screen. It was from R, my co-star in the film whose scenes got cut. It was totally in Dutch. I understood it immediately, tho I couldn’t reply in Dutch. He said ‘Just heard I got cut from the film. Have you seen the final version yet?’ Now, the job of telling him he was cut from the final was up to S, the director. It was a joke at the premiere that he was dragging his feet on it, and not saying anything to R. My first thought was ‘he finally got around to it’. So I messaged S, telling him I just got a note from R asking about the film. S replied quickly, saying yes, he’d just told R about the film and he didn’t think R was taking it too well. LOL! I am online so rarely and not really connected with my phone, so call it dumb luck or providence, but I found myself involved in ‘The Student Film Scandal’ (which is what I’ll call it, and it gets capitalized because it’s been a running gag for MONTHS now) in real time. Back and forth I went, both R and S online and messaging me.

To R, I did what I told the crew to do in the first place: I played to his ego. My first reply to him was that yes, he had been cut in the final, that it was sad but I also knew he’s a pro and probably had it happen before. That soothed a lot of anger away. He then asked me what I thought of the film. I replied that I think the crew got what they wanted, and when you take into consideration the lack of lighting equipment and tight spaces we were working with, it turned out very well. I also shared with him that I thought I looked terrible due to the poor lighting. He came back quickly, saying maybe it was better he wasn’t in the film if it had such bad lighting. I replied with a joke, telling him every wrinkle on my face was blown up horribly, so yes, it was probably a good thing he wasn’t in it. He ended the conversation with laughter.

Kept S informed of what I saying to R. Admonished him a bit for not doing it in the first place, but hey! S is young. Probably never fired anyone before, whereas I have had plenty of that experience. In the end, my conversation with S was light and laughter filled. Hell! I made both of them laugh, so I guess I did that pretty well.

What I didn’t say to either of them was that I always see myself as unattractive. Never ugly, just unattractive. I’m an almost. Almost pretty. I see it every time I look at myself. Or, that’s what I think. I’m a little too heavy, my face doesn’t have the right angles to it, my teeth are a little crooked, etc. etc. Almost. It takes decades before I can look back at a picture and just see ME. Then, I can acknowledge it: wow, I was pretty back then. I can’t do it real time. So I wasn’t shocked or surprised at all by what I saw on screen.

I’m learning. Slowly. Both the language and a bit of self acceptance.

I know my vision mind is skewed.

I’m working on it.

Try, learn, and do better

I really must learn to stay off social media.

Found a FB post from my eldest bro. He left a comment on his own page – not tagged to me, not sent to me – saying ‘happy birthday to my little sister even tho ya don’t give a fuck about yer American family’.

Do not want to admit it, but my heart is beating damned fast right now. And my angry replies are bubbling to the forefront – “listen, you sexist racist bigoted mother fucker…”.

Wish crap like that didn’t affect me. At all. Wish I could have seen it and coolly just moved on. Still want to defend myself, lash out, blame, make them SEE. Since I know going direct to the source is a waste of my time, I came out here. To be safe. To say what I needed to say.

Ow.

Odd how, even knowing what a piece of shit I’m dealing with, I let it affect me. I guess that’s programming at its basest level.

Here is my flaw: I want too much to be loved. And I’ve been made to feel that it’s my fault that I don’t get what I want from my family. They were never wrong. They ARE never wrong. It’s me. My fault for wanting, my fault for feeling, my fault for thinking and hoping.

I have met strangers who were kinder to me than you. People who wanted nothing from me, and gave me everything. And you dare to call me family? You dare to approach me with guilt and shame, bullying and controlling tactics? You hurt me, I walk away, and I am accused non-stop of being a child, being wrong, being whatever it is you call me in the depths of your oh-so-perverted mind. Fuck you ’til the end of time. I hate you. With every fiber of my being, I hate what you are, what you stand for. Your ignorance, your total disregard for anyone other than yourself, your fixation on money, money, money, your blatant LACK of caring on the most basic of levels. You have no right to shame me, you piece of shit.

…My oldest brother will die before hearing from me. That’s his punishment. And maybe some people think I’ve no right to mete out my own punishment. Maybe that’s even true. But I’m tired of waiting for the Universe or some Goddess to make things right. I don’t want to strike out; that will be detrimental to my own psyche and THAT is what I’m concentrating on. Not him or his “feelings”. I’ve no time for the latent incest-ridden fantasies my eldest brother holds.

And yeah, that shows a distinct lack of character on my part. I’ve witnessed people stand in the midst of an emotional storm and keep their balance. It can be done. Those that have done it have earned great respect from me. They’ve shown me what can be done, if you stay centered and grounded. I want to be like that. To be able to have my say, take the backlash, smile sadly and turn away without hurting anyone.

I ain’t got enough drugs to make that happen.

So I protect myself and everyone else by staying silent. I say nothing, again.

You know…I should at least give myself credit for having the strength to do that. To walk away, rather than engage.

Good. on. me.

In 20 minutes, I need to begin verb conjugation. Write out the irregular verbs. Again. Try to mash them into my brain one more time. I will get this. I will get this!! Try, make mistakes, learn, do it better next time. That’s the level I’m reduced to. No grand schemes, no lofty goals. Just try, learn, and do better.

Yep. That’s a good motto for today.

The spread of my mind

The spread that takes over the dining room table as I work on Dutch is immense. Homework, two dictionaries, past sheets on verbs and grammatical rules I’ve collected, and a large language book that often references exactly what I need when I need it. I can rarely get thru a sentence without turning to at least one of these tools to check a definition, spelling, or conjugation. It’s a pain to haul it all out, set it all up. Even more of a pain to work that way, tossing one book to the side for another, scribbling down two words at a time, and consulting so much I sometimes forget what the hell I’m working on.

Does not help that the other day I couldn’t remember how to spell “could” in English. It didn’t look correct to me, and I sat and pondered why the hell there was an ‘L’ in it in the first place. I realized the three famous rhyming English words – could, should, would – are strange animals in language. They imply shame. You could have done more. You should have done more. This wouldn’t have happened but for this or that. They are nags over the past, blame throwers. They imply things would have been much nicer if only this screw-up hadn’t occurred.

I think a lot can be learned from languages. Not just communication, but culture. It’s the idioms that give it away. Growing up with only one language, one communication style…you get blinded to it. Or maybe I was just ignorant of it right up to the point I began working on Dutch.

American English uses ‘look’ a lot rather than ‘listen’. They mean ‘listen’: look, I didn’t want to be the one to tell you this… or look, we’ll be okay. When you take a step away from it, it sounds funny. It literally makes no sense to use ‘look’. But American culture (if there is such a thing) places value on speed. Get it done and get it done quickly. Their use of ‘look’ rather than ‘listen’ emphasizes that. Your eyes can take in far more than your ear can in the same amount of time. So, looking is quicker than listening, ergo, look. They ask you to understand it instantly. They do not want to waste time convincing you or debating the merits of their statement. They want comprehension. NOW. Similarly, in American English you ‘run the risk’, while in Dutch, you ‘walk the risk’. The difference is speed. Americans do everything faster.

Speed is not an indicator of value.

I was weaned on ‘could, should, would’. Weaned on speed. Do more, go faster, be better, work, work, WORK, you damned workhorse! And honestly, I don’t know my limits. I go until I become such a raging bitch I grow unbearable to be around.

I have never gone ’til I drop. I don’t where that limit is.

That…haunts me. Feeling like I have more in me, if only I could (there’s that word again!) control myself.

Here it is Sunday, and I have not yet begun my writing that’s due on Monday. Too many hours fiddling with homework sentences, conjugating verbs and trying to learn every single word. I feel behind, yet I know that (so far) every week I’ve been the only one in class to hand in every single bit of homework every time. My brother thinks my teachers are searching for my limits. They want to know how much is too much. I want to be Miss Polly Perfect, so I’m sweating. More time, every day. No time for English. No time for my scripts.

I feel myself nearing that anger edge, which is where I don’t want to go. Keep me busy, keep me challenged – yes. But drive me mad? No.

And here’s the crunch: I know that if I work hard now to capture this, it’ll be easier. Right now I spend about an hour of my time on every sheet of homework. Give me 8-10 sheets, and there’s my regular work rotation every day. Add into that writing stories and memorizing irregular verbs and you’re encroaching on ME time. Oh, and I’m forgetting reading. I’m supposed to be reading, too. But…if I was doing this in English, I wouldn’t spend even half that time on it. And I want to get there with Dutch. So either I work hard now, or keep struggling.

My American side is screaming for quick fix. Some leap-frog pill or hypnosis trick that’ll get me over this hump. Bought some fish from the vendor outside for dinner last night. Listened to a conversation in Dutch. Heard SO many words from my homework – recognized them immediately. But I still struggled with the meaning. My head was three steps behind – oh, that word…what does that mean again?

How do I get myself to learn?

Pure repetition is a recipe for madness. As is more work. I’ve got to get it into my writing. Pick up a verb and use it, in all its forms. Maybe I’ll ask my teachers for some of that. Or maybe I’ll just start to do it.

Thinking I might abandon my written homework this week in favor of my little story. It’s not really on target subject-wise, but the object of our written homework is to get us writing, and it IS writing. Plus…it’s what I want to write. If my teachers give me leeway on subject matter, they won’t be able to stop me writing. That is, when I have an idea. I don’t expect that of me every week. I think it’s the one area of my life I’ve managed to totally eliminate the ‘could, should, would’. It’s impossible – even for me – to come up with decent story material every week.

Once again, I find my comfort in the written word. Doesn’t matter these days if it’s English or Dutch.

I can slow down to tell my stories.

It’s the spread of my mind.

I’m learning

The only time during the last 24 hours that my head has managed to shut the fuck up has been when my distinctly short sleep post performance caught up with me and I dozed off from exhaustion. Other than that, it’s been nag, nag, nag…

I be the Queen of Second Guessing.

The words ‘I need a little sunshine in my life’ escaped my lips sometime around midday. At that moment, ‘a little sunshine’ consisted of a lemon popsicle, licked and slurped like I was a five year old. Part of me noted it, noted my falling mood, noted, too, the yellow I use more and more around me and in my wardrobe to help keep my fickle mind from falling into the depths of depression.

This is the backlash from time off at the gym. No endorphin rush. I’m jonesing. Jonesing so bad I don’t even know I’m jonesing…

My ankle is still ‘soft’ and painful when I take a step.

On the up side (keep looking at it, even if you’re not there), my day off yesterday helped my injuries. My hand is only bruised now – an ugly bruise, spreading from my fingers all the way down the side of my hand – and the swelling is gone. And, hey! My ankle didn’t hurt when I turned over in bed…or not too much. It’s an improvement.

Managed to write my letter yesterday. Took over an hour. Tried just writing it, then checking later on google translate. Some sentences I nailed, some were horribly wrong. All things considered, not too bad. Could be better, but I can say that about a lot of things. Did my best to devote some brain power to memorizing those irregular verbs. But it was an uphill battle against exhaustion, my head-speak, and a hangover. Hopefully I’ll retain some memory of at least seeing the words…

This morning I’ve a dental appointment. Now there’s something I blocked from my memory until the play was over. Ugh. Well, it’s only a cleaning and hopefully now that I’m back on track with dental checks it’ll go quickly and without any pain problems hiccups. Will have to take my school stuff to the dentist’s and leave from there in order to make class on time. Lovely. Get my teeth polished up so I can go somewhere and have a crappy cup of coffee served up that’ll just coat those clean teeth with brown gunk. Hm. Maybe I’ll just say no to that coffee. Then again, I was up early and will probably need the caffeine to get thru all the Dutch in the afternoon. …Time for a Red Bull run?

Been thinking about my honesty-blurting. Realized I got no filters in some places. Hit the right word, and everything comes out of me – no holds barred. I know that’s weird. Especially when you I do that with people who are essentially acquaintances. But I consider it a step up. It’s honest. Maybe it’s harsh, maybe I’ve no social graces anymore, but I’m being honest. Case in point: I remembered (oh, Goddess! The self-flagellation I’ve committed over this one!) that during the evening’s celebrations I came out with my stunned reaction to their casual money conversations. Admitted to envy. Someone – my acting partner, who seems very attuned to my moods – apologized. We didn’t mean to make you feel bad. Oh, fuck! I remember back-tracking a little, or trying to. Then I stopped myself, admitted to the envy, how that kind of spur of the moment travel to another country to buy 16 bottles of expensive wine was just beyond my means. How I couldn’t actually imagine that kind of living. I am deeply embarrassed to have said all that. Deeply embarrassed. …But it’s true. Where and when I was raised…well, put it this way: my parents had to work all the time to afford a little more. A little more to me meant things like a summer cabin to go to over the weekends (said cabin being uninsulated and very, very ‘rustic’ in amenities), or camping in the mountains with our cousins. It did not entail my parents whim-purchasing expensive items. Those were planned and budgeted for, sometimes for years. Holidays were part of that ‘expensive item’ thing; even our simple weekends or camping out (eating mac ‘n’ cheese, because that’s what we could afford) had to be budgeted. …And we were thought of as wealthy because we had that cabin with barely running water and bats in the walls, because we could drive non-stop out to the mountains and go cheap, cheap, cheap for a few weeks in the summer. I caught a lot of flack at school for that stuff. Later, my parents experienced an increase in wealth (their first stock market haul). We began taking holidays other places, staying in cheap hotels. My dad bought his first sailboat – barely 25 feet, not in good condition, and he couldn’t afford to keep it tied up at the marina. None of that helped at school. I was under constant pressure from the kids to not have too much. I was called a princess and stuck-up. And so I began to think what my parents had was a lot. That we were rich, that I was stuck-up, that I was spoiled. But…we weren’t. I wasn’t. And I’m not. My eyes have been opened to the first layer of what ‘rich’ really is, and we weren’t even in the neighborhood.

Here, I suppose, lies the crux of the middle-class: we are shamed by both sides. I was shamed in my youth for having too much. Now I am shamed for having too little.

…I knew finding my balance post-production was going to be tough. Did not expect any perception-altering revelations. I suppose that, more than anything shows it.

I’m learning.