Monsters ahead and behind

One, two, three – send. The script is out to the competition it was written for.

Worked on my synopsis. Asked my bro for advice; he IS the person in the house that’s gone to a Uni scriptwriting class. Was surprised. I worked hard on the synopsis, particularly the opening three lines – which, after I read them aloud, is where my brother stopped me with a ‘Right there! That’s perfect!’ Thought I needed more, but my bro feels I should just let this loose on the world with a three line write up.

So it’s out. Sent. Available to read. Again. Hopefully I will NOT receive a reply stating the terms and conditions have been changed.

Bolton may get a mini-teaser. A short 700 word scene that ties into this script. I want a few things done first, tho.

Today: memorize. Seven pages to learn for the play. Rehearsal is scheduled for Tuesday and I’ve barely begun to learn my lines. Been reading it through, but reading isn’t the same as memorizing. Put in the time now. Not particularly worried; as I’ve said before, I say a lot of “yes” and “uh-huh” in the first pages. One larger monologue to work on, but I already have the general flow of dialogue.

Get to the gym. Tidy up the house. Do those weekend things that always need doing.

Had a nose bleed this morning. Usually blood doesn’t bother me, but my nose hacked up a bloody mass that looked (apologies ahead of time) like an aborted fetus, and I almost threw up. It stopped fairly fast, and it wasn’t really all that bad. But it was my first nose bleed ever, and I really didn’t expect such a stomach turning reaction from myself.

Haven’t buckled down on my research yet. Still need to take notes, check some online documentaries, and order the book I want. I think…MAYBE…I’m learning to accept my timing and writing rhythms. I know what I can do, and how quickly I can do it. I also know the longer I allow my head to think, the shorter the writing time is. So I’m not freaking out despite my apparent foot dragging. I’m not actually dragging my feet; I’m working. Just on a different level.

Boy, do I wish I could tell that to my mother!

…Boy, do I wish I’d stop thinking that thought! Maybe I do look backwards too much. Oh, hell. There’s no maybe about it, and I know that. Just trying to soften the blow for myself.

But, you know…rear view mirrors were created for a reason. ‘Cause every once in a while, shit creeps up on you from behind. And as every horror film shows us, if something creeps up on you from behind, it’s up to no good.

Looking back isn’t a bad thing. As long as you don’t run into the monster right in front of you, that is!

I’m well aware of the monsters behind me. Narcissism, neglect, self hate, depression. They’re all still hot on my tail. But what’s the monster in front of me? That’s easy: fear. The future. Uncertainty and doubt.

One thing I’ve learned: that monster in front of me is gonna come no matter what I do. But the monsters behind me…now those, I can fight.

3 (not so) Easy Steps to Trusting Yourself

  1. Say  you’re going to do something.
  2. Do it.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2.

I’m gonna do something. Don’t state unmeasurable goals. Don’t say ‘I’m gonna lose weight’ – there’s no time limit and no weight stated. Say instead ‘I’m gonna go to the gym three times a week’ or ‘I’m gonna eat a salad every day before I have my dinner’. These are concrete and measurable goals.

Do it. No excuses, no alibis. Commit, and follow through. As long as you follow through, no self-bashing allowed. If your head starts to berate you, saying ‘Sure, you went to the gym but you never even worked up a sweat’ or ‘Great, you had salads but they were slathered with dressing’ – tell your head to go to hell. The trick to part 2 is just to do it, not do it well, not master it or get it all done in one go. Just DO it. All that crap your head is telling you in step 2 should be shoved off to step 3.

Repeat steps 1 and 2. Now is when you master it. Now is when you find your stride. In the repeats. It’s called practice, and everyone needs it. Push a little harder at the gym. Use less salad dressing. Take what you began with in step 2 and build on it.

We have this weird self denial going on: sometimes – even when we know a thing will take a long time to manifest – we act like it should be happening instantaneously. I see people at the gym like that all the time. They come in, they put heavy weights on, they power lift for 20 or 30 minutes, and then they don’t come back for a week or more. Or someone ‘diets’ for a week and expects to see a big change in the scales.

If you’re making a real change in your life, it’s long term. Long term not just to get there, but also to maintain.

And kiddies, trust is all about long term.

If someone with a perfect track record fucks up – badly – even once, …well, you doubt him or her next time, don’t you? Even if you don’t want to. Even if that person is your closest friend. Some part of pipes up and reminds you of that disaster and the possibility that it could happen again. Same is true with yourself. Fuck up on a commitment to yourself just ONCE, and you’ll have to work twice as hard to regain the trust you just lost.

Two tips:

  1. Start small. Build your trust in yourself like you would with a child. Ask yourself to stand up, first – not run full out like an Olympic champion. You’re a baby. Stand up and keep your balance, then give yourself a gold star. Yeah, it’s tough. Tough to tell yourself you’re doing well when you feel a fool, or when you feel you should be able to do more. Ignore it, and praise yourself. After you stand, take a step. Then two steps. Expect to fall on your ass more than once. Get up, and try again.
  2. If it helps, make a list. If you’re a self doubter, a self hater, make a list of everything you want to accomplish every day, like a grocery list. Then check ’em off. At the end of the day, praise yourself for all the checked off items. Move unchecked items to tomorrow’s list. Keep at it.

The good news: once you begin to establish trust with yourself, it snowballs. The process becomes easier.

And just like anything else, keep at it. Fail a few times. Take time off from it. But always – ALWAYS – come back to this basic equation. It’s a key component to life, and one most of us aren’t taught.

Take it upon yourself to learn it.

When in doubt, ask

Seems keeping my cool – literally and figuratively – has become the game of summer.

Friday’s language lesson sucked. Mince no words. I was not the only student bringing the mood down – plenty of reticent people in that room. No hands up, no volunteers. Our time consisted of writing down words and creating sentences from them. Okay with four or five words. Hit the ten word mark and you’re talking about prepositional phrases inserted somewhere in the basic framework. I was told I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Still don’t understand why the verb placement is where it is. Still don’t understand why MY conglomeration of the words was wrong, when an earlier sentence used the same structure and was perfectly fine.

Class broke early.

Came home to piled up dishes by the sink, a full garbage bin and overflowing recycling. Cleaned it all up AND ran down for more cool beverages and milk. Even remembered to turn in our old batteries (the pile was HUGE).

Today: a bullshit message from my uncle, the gist of which is ‘I don’t believe in climate change’. You can imagine how that went down with me. Managed to not say anything  – again. Do I get any points for preventing an argument?

Looking forward to an afternoon alone so I can read through my latest script. I’m waiting with baited breath, actually. Get up and get out of the house, bro! Is it creepy? Can it work?

Should get to the gym, too. Keep on with the basics.

Bleh. Like I want to take care of the basics right now.

Beginning to feel bogged down by the heat, the Dutch, the relentless get up and do the same fucking thing again – because all those pesky jobs like making your bed or keeping the house clean are never really ‘done’. Reminding myself I voluntarily took on more housework while my bro is working on his book. And some part of me replies – Yeah, yeah. You always make some sort of excuse for him, don’t you? He doesn’t do dishes now that he’s writing; he didn’t do dishes before because he was busy with music or comics or some other excuse that you let him get away with. Just admit it: the chores in the house are rather one-sided.

…Can’t really argue with that.

And I’ll admit I get fed up enough with it that, from time to time, I let everything go to Hell just to remind my brother how much work I generally do around here. It’s a nasty habit, formed out of years of not being able to ask for help when I need it.

So this is my reminder to me: I don’t like dust bunnies. They annoy me to no end. Better to just pick them up. Don’t count how many times you bend over to pick them up, just remind yourself how nice it is not to see them anymore. Same goes with the rest. I/You like a clean house. Keep that way for me/us. …And ask yourself this: if you lived alone, would you let the housework go? If you wouldn’t, not doing the chores because you’re pissed off at your brother for not helping ISN’T an excuse [wonderful multiple negative statement – SEE how your brain works?].

Ohm. Calm. Do not lash out. When in doubt, stay silent. – Whoa! Maybe that’s my problem. How about -‘when in doubt, ask’? …Oh, I like that better. Calm. Do not lash out. When in doubt, ask.

…Um…help?

 

 

 

 

 

Puberty at 51

It is a source of continual amazement to me that people who voted for 45 – restricting human rights, killing the environment, degrading women – are shocked when I inform them we can no longer be friends. I’ve been told to ‘grow up’ and ‘get over it’, or better yet: ‘it’s just stupid politics and you’re far less of a person than I thought’.

Wow.

As a measure of my self restraint, I’ve said nothing in reply. Good on me.

Feels like I’ve taken the first step towards adulthood. Sticking to my ethics. Saying “no”. No more! I won’t take it.

And you’re fucking surprised.

Seems you didn’t know me at all.

Now I may have to deal with a troll on FB. My ex pen-pal, who voted for 45 and said ‘it wasn’t a big deal’ (among other language that PISSED ME OFF) sent three messages telling me to fuck off then three more emojis throughout the night to make sure I knew he wasn’t okay with any of it.

One more message from him and I’m reporting him. I DO not and WILL not take being fucked around with on a social network.

And what goes through people’s minds? That this kind of behavior will reflect any better on them? That I’ll change my mind and say ‘oh, sorry! you’re so upset; let me take it all back’? Um…nope. Should be a clue that it took me as long as it did to say what I said. Time = thought. I thought long and hard about it. Thought about my ethics and moral stance, thought about the friendship, forgiveness, taking the higher road – all of it.

So let me make this utterly clear one more time:

I am not some messiah, willing or able to turn the other cheek after you abuse me.

Expecting me to be is on YOUR head. Telling me I’m wrong for my feelings is on YOUR head.

I’m not wrong. Now let me throw back your own language at you.

Suck it up, snowflakes. You big fucking babies! Whine, whine, whine. Sorry you’re so fucking stupid you don’t realize that when you shout obscenities at me and my friends, when you take away our rights, or when you destroy the planet I react with anger. I think your ignorance is on your own head, too. Read a book!

Went to the gym yesterday to try and burn it out. Two hours. I was tired, less angry afterwards, but not completely calm (obviously).

Didn’t help that my language lesson lacked ANY sense of direction. First, we were asked to pull random words out of the fucking air and make sentences. Then we were told to use ‘omdat’ (because) and corrected on grammar without being told the grammatical rules. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be learning. Couldn’t take anything down because the instructors said the correct sentences once and then quickly moved on. I was bored, angry for having my time wasted, and frustrated because I now KNOW how much better a lesson can be.

Fucking hell!

Happy news: have all of next week off. Thursday is Hemelvaartsdag (Ascension Day), and Friday a lot of stuff is closed to ensure a long weekend. Perfect for me! An entire week free of classes or appointments. I can write. Get the radio script loaded into the software, make the formatting changes, send it out and move onto the next script. Already stepped out the scenes for the next one in my brain. I think I can do it with 4 actors and very minimal set dressing. Can’t wait to get started; it’s timely, creepy, and easy to do as a production.

…You know, if I keep coming up with these horror/Twilight Zone plays, I’m gonna get a reputation for being able to write them. Maybe I can; it IS what I’m coming up with. But I think it’s all a fluke. I’m just stumbling into them. Discovering them by accident. I’m not setting out to write them. Gotta admit, they’re fun to create. And maybe I should let go of any expectations I have of myself. If I turn into a female Clive Barker, well…that’s not all bad, is it?

Ha! Listen to me. Dodging the flack thrown at my head and accepting my limitations and abilities. Now, that IS really growing up!

Can a person hit puberty at 51?

 

Moving Rock

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I GOT IT! I DID IT!!

Two days before the next scheduled audition date for the theatre group, and the director knows he wants me for the role of Wendy (NOT Peter Pan’s Wendy; we’re not doing panto). Doesn’t even have to see the other people try out. !! There’s plenty of other roles, so I don’t even have to feel guilty over this:

I decided I definitely want you as my Wendy from act 1 together with JR as Jonathan. I thought you both represented the characters very close to my view of the act and the chemistry was certainly there! Very impressed indeed 🙂

Very impressed indeed.

Oh, thank you!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I know I wasn’t going to get all wound up about anything connected with the theatre group, but – WOOHOO! Just gotta celebrate. I haven’t auditioned for a role for 30 years, so going thru the process and winning a position is cause to blow my own horn for a change.

Eeeeee! I feel as giddy as I did when I was a kid and won a role.

The director liked me. I did well. The don’t hate me for whatever reason. I’m going to have loads of rehearsal time, getting me out of the house, away from smoking, and into social situations.

Ah! That’s a better wake up call than a cup of coffee, any day of the week.

Now, let me add to that good feeling.

Wrote out seven pages yesterday; the climax scene in my radio drama script. Kept to my notes, and for once I didn’t add in shit loads of side line conversation like I generally do. Straight to the points on my outline. Haven’t taken the time to read it, but I liked what I was getting while I was writing it, so, fingers crossed it won’t take too much editing.

Took a walk outside in the fresh air and sun.

Saw the first of the new Doctor Who series.

Enjoyed a home delivery pizza. Three, actually. My bro and I built a half and half pizza online, and got an extra veggie pizza with my bonus points (so it was FREE) – so really, tho there were only two pizzas delivered we got three flavors. YUM! An informal household poll last night showed 95% of participants were interested in ordering two half and half pizzas next time so we get four different kinds [polling error: +/-5%].

The one thing I cannot say ‘woohoo’ about is my smoking. Too many butts in the ashtray every morning. But (and I remind myself, here), that’s not bad. It’s just something I want to improve on. It’s like someone forgetting to clean the toilet. It’s gross and nasty, but it isn’t “bad”. It’s a habit that should be changed for health reasons. That’s all.

I had a good 24 hours.

Now, I’m gonna take that goodness and make another good 24 hours. Can’t expect the next 24 to be as exciting as the last, but it can be real, it can be solid forward movement to build more good days in the future.

I find it rather odd that ‘real’ and ‘solid forward movement’ for me consists of getting exercise, cleaning the house, and attending to my responsibilities – all the things that, due to their repetitive nature, can make me feel like I’m standing still. But there it is. There’s that movement by standing still stuff again. Keeps cropping up in my life, reminding me that’s the way forward.

I am a moving rock.

The waiting game

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Relief. That was my reaction this morning as I turned on the tv to see the Dutch election results. The people of this country didn’t let me down; they turned out in droves and made sure Wilders learned he’s not the big dog in the yard. Not everyone on this planet is insane.

Been out in the world. Walking in the sunshine. Going to class. Trying to reach the world again. Since my hearing went wonky, I’ve felt there’s a wall between me and everything else. It’s hard to hear, I don’t taste much, and I can’t smell much. Case in point: I made my morning oatmeal as usual and didn’t notice the milk had gone sour until I tasted something “a little off” in the first bite. But I’m trying.

The gym is still a far off dream for me: turning my head, or worse still, tilting it, results in so much dizziness I don’t feel safe on any of the gym equipment. Hell! Walking straight is tough. And I should know; I’ve more than noticed how much I stagger down paths, never keeping a straight line. I have to pay attention, purposefully put my feet down straight, purposefully keep correcting my path to a somewhat straight line – and it’s hard.

Have cause to say yippee today – yippee! Received the bill from the dentist and it’s less costly than I feared. Tomorrow I’m back there, seeing the hygienist. Ugh. Not looking forward to it, but telling myself by noon it’ll be all over.

Language class today was difficult. I’m rusty speaking Dutch, and my teacher has the habit of holding her hand near her mouth and half-covering it as she speaks, which makes it tougher to understand her. But I got through it. Really want to find a book in the language I enjoy reading. While I’ve been tackling Bridget Jones, it’s not easy, and it’s not written in full, proper sentences. I’ve got a recommendation written down, and hope to get out this weekend to buy a copy. Goddess! Let it be something that captures my interest and gets me to read more. Slogging through a book in Dutch is so damned annoying! I don’t want to read silly stories about giants or a family of squirrels. But adult subjects often come with adult language and grammar, which are still beyond me. So I slog through adult stories I want to read, and lose interest in the giant and squirrel family stories I can read.

Meh. I want to do so much more. Physically, with the language…and all of it is out of reach right now. I believe I’m receiving a lesson in patience.

I’ve never been good at the waiting game.

What have I got to lose?

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The weekend was tough. Lots of sleep, lots of not being able to breathe through my nose, lots of feeling almost better so I squirmed and got antsy in between my naps.

Doesn’t help my anxiety keeps ramping up. Immigration, no word from this place or that, tumbleweeds rolling through my email and private life – the list goes on and on. Doing my best to keep myself from freaking out. Went back to a Downton Abbey run, because I find it soothing. It’s that or films where everyone dies, and I’m trying to keep positive, so Downton Abbey it is. It helps, a little. Gets me through long afternoons when I got nothin’ to do. Talked with my brother; he’s assured me that no matter what happens the world won’t end. I’m not so sure about that, but I guess he’s right that there’s no bleeding reason to worry about it. If it happens, it happens. Expending energy and thought on future horrors doesn’t do me any good. I can’t solve anything. Can’t do anything to change it. I’m just caught up in the machinery, hooked on a cog that’s spinning around, so I spin with it.

I hate waiting.

Saturday found me just too ill and too bummed to get the script out to anybody. Every time I looked at my list I lost my confidence. No one cares, no one will do it, no one will bother. Very negative (thus, the Downton Abbey). By Sunday my mind hand’t changed much, but I felt a little stronger and was able to work through it. Pick a place from my list, prep it, send it out. Hit that damn button, woman. SEND. The new theatre had an automated response to my email, saying they received the script. Hey! That’s one up from the rest; at least I know my new email works because the message came through.

Was gonna pull back on my smoking today and head out for needed blood tests. Then I saw 45’s face, no messages from my friends, and my will kind of petered out. Just don’t know why I should keep trying some days. Seems like nothing I do makes a difference. So I lit up one, which has led to another, and now I’m just bleeding smoking. Fuck it. Tell me again how my activity is so horrible when we’ve blown up 2000 atomic bombs on this planet. Tell me again how the plastic in our food, the additives, the chemicals in our air and water don’t matter, but it’s my smoking that will kill me.

Fucking liars.

Woke up hating my sister. I always figure I’ve dreamt about her when I wake up like that. Some nightmare, or just a revival of some memory that really was a nightmare for me. Takes a lot of daylight to conquer those nighttime horrors. To let go of the desire to skin her alive. My mind is not inventive with torture ideas, but it is very cruel. I want her to hurt. I want her alive so she can continue to feel pain. It is the basest, cruelest part of me screaming out – and it is also the part of me that is in the most pain. I recognize that. So I did a little chorus of ‘Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead’ – the song I plan to sing when I receive news that my sister is, finally, dead – and pretended she’d already bit the dust. Had a little spark of pure joy at the thought. I know that’s very horrible of me. My own judgement condemns me: I am bad for feeling that way. But if I am to make sense of things, if I am to overcome this base ugliness that sits so constantly in the pit of my stomach, I must confess to all. A part of me looked forward to my mother’s death. Felt very guilty over that for a long, long time. Likewise, a part of me looks forward to my sister’s death. In this, I feel no guilt. She has always been guilty, always been horrible, always been the worst of everything a human being can be. I understand – at least a little bit – that her reaction stems from the same place mine does: my mother’s narcissism. Once in a while I get flashes of understanding from my sister’s viewpoint. I see things through her eyes: the favoritism our mother exhibited, the verbal bashing. I wonder if my sister suffered the kind of neglect and abuse I went through. My mind tells me it’s probable. More than probable. And I begin to see how she may have fixated on me as someone to hate, someone to be jealous of, someone to continually rip down, use and abuse, as a reaction to her own pain. I see all of that in her, because I see all of it in me.

Understanding does not bring forgiveness, though. I’ve never seen her try to change. Perhaps that’s sad; in fact, I feel it so, at this moment. She’ll never get it. She can’t; it’s beyond her way of thinking. At best, I pity her. At worst, I want her suffering. I suppose that’s a step up from only wanting her dead or in pain.

Not a very big step up, though.

Been sketching out scenes for new scripts. Forget actual writing; I can’t call it that. I won’t allow myself to fall into that trance. Too much to do. But I’m allowing little bits to come out, scene roughs. I figure if I do what I did last time, I can take all my little bits and mush them into something when I get another break. Not sure what’s going to take shape yet. I’m not restricting myself. Last time, I wrote specifically for the local group – small cast, small budget, small scenes. I’ve taken those blinders off. Not worrying about HOW something might be done. Here it is; you figure it out.

After all, what have I got to lose?