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?

 

 

 

 

 

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 best stories to tell

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I have a full page of stop-and-start writing that’s supposed to be an attempt at a synopsis for my script. I’m having a hard time getting beyond the first sentence. In fact, truth be told, the entire page is filled with various first sentence attempts. Synopsis writing has always been my Waterloo. Ask me to create a story, a poem, a logical argument ready to be debated in senate, and I can do it. Ask me to write a synopsis and I tank on it every time. So I’ve turned to my friend J., who reviews films for a partial living, for help. Fresh eyes, an expert hand at succinct writing – should be no problem for him.

Then there’s my CV. I’ve roughed it out to one page, and highlighted my writing credits no matter what pseudonym I used to send stuff out. Meh. While I never lie on a CV, I do add a bit of spin. My stories aren’t unpublished; they’re out for consideration at various publishing agencies. That kind of stuff (which is true; all the stories I’ve listed ARE out at publishers and I haven’t heard back). Still. I hate it. Someday I’ll have an assistant to do pesky shit like my CV and synopses.

Someday.

So today’s the day I’ve got earmarked to get back to the gym. Winter’s moved into Rotterdam. I haven’t said much about it because I’ve seen the news, and Rotterdam’s winter is so nothing compared to the blizzards throughout Europe and North America that it’s akin to complaining about a cold to someone who’s got pneumonia. The truth is we’ve had freezing rain, and freezing conditions, for several days now. I haven’t wanted to venture out because of the risk of falling – which, I find, I’ve developed a deathly fear of. But last night was dry, and I’ve a good chance today of clear sidewalks from here to the gym. And I am so in need of getting back to regular exercise that I’ve flipped: I’m sluggish, don’t want to move, don’t want to get started, and would just rather sit in my sloth for another week. Very much time to crack that mental whip and get back to it. It will help me relax, help me write the crap I still need to write, and help me get back into the swing of my regular routine.

My smoking continues to be too much. I’m holding off, here and there, from chain smoking. Keep thinking ‘is this the one that gives me cancer?’. Not a healthy place to be. I need to fill my time again with outside things: the gym, the pool, language lessons, errands. Most of all, I need to get away from my computer. I’m still so mentally there with writing it’s hard to break. And when I do break, I sit and play repetitive games until the sun goes down.

Still in a state of flux with immigration. My bro received a letter asking for a piece of paper he hadn’t included in the original packet. Everyone says don’t sweat it. I try not to think too much about it. Not too bad with that, actually. My head has focused on more morbid thoughts than simple immigration. Not that THAT’S a great thing to say. But I guess when I’m contemplating death or being left alone for the rest of my life because my bro dies, little stuff like pieces of paper from governments just don’t mean too much.

Been thinking I should allow myself to write a drama/tragedy. My head’s there a LOT. Just put it down. Let it out. It doesn’t have to go anywhere. I don’t have to try and get it done. But write it. On the other hand, I’m a bit concerned doing that would drag me down into it. When I get in the groove, I get in the groove. Live, sleep, eat, shit my stuff. Comedy is far better to go into like that. Drama or tragedy…I don’t know that I have the time to cry as much as I’d need to to get it out of me.

Deflection. Just watched a show last night where a character was talking to a shrink and made a joke. The shrink observed that humor, in that instance, was being used to deflect from the real hurt the character felt. That’s an idea I can sink my teeth into. I do it a lot. So much that in this particular instance, ‘a lot’ really should be written as one word: alot. I recognize a number of things. One, that using humor to deflect was taught to me. Two, that I didn’t get it for a long time and was accused of not having a sense of humor before the age of 20. And three, that anything can be a drama and anything can be a comedy, depending on the spin you put on it. That’s what it all comes down to: the way you look at it. The spin. AbFab is an excellent example. Edina is a bleeding horrible person, as is Patsy. They do it as a comedy, but it can easily be done the other way. Take out the bright colors in the wardrobe and the mugged faces they occasionally pull, and you’ve got a story of an abusive family being abusive. I’ve even see Saunders take it to the edge. In one episode, Edina gets so mad she throws a cup of yogurt. You can hear the audience gasp in shock at this display. It’s a moment of straight up rage tucked away in this comedy that takes everyone by surprise. So it’s all how you play it.

I guess I’m done playing my life as a drama or tragedy. I’d rather laugh, anyway. And sure, that’s deflection in process. It hurts to think on the words ‘abuse’ and ‘neglect’. It hurts to remember a lot of my past.

But I’ve always said: the best stories to tell are the worst stories to live through.

The Dame’s Still Got Game

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It’s good to know I still gots da touch. The blueberry muffins I baked and took to the comic shop did a magic trick and disappeared before my eyes. And there were only two guys at the store! I’d been there once before, and met one of the owners. Yesterday I finally met the second owner. Good thing, too! Oh, I’ve heard so much about you! Yes, my partner said he had a chance to meet you before! I guess the first guy I met has been lording it over his partner; I got to meet her and you didn’t. Now the second partner has something to crow about: she brought me blueberry muffins! Did you get any? My brother laughed, and said now there’s no way I can go back without baking more. Happy to do it, too. For one, they always give T good deals on the comics he wants. For another, once again I was given free comics, this time in Dutch, because they’re just nice guys. And finally, what more could a baker ask than to see her baked goods fly off the plate to be devoured with ecstatic eye rolls and muffled exclamations of oh my god, these are so good?

Who knows? Maybe that small bakery everyone has told me I should open will become reality. I don’t know where my life is headed.

I do know where my day is headed: catch-up work. The house needs cleaning, I have even more Dutch to read now, and my body isn’t getting any thinner with me sitting around eating blueberry muffins. Everything is twice as hard as it was before I got sick. The house is twice as dirty as usual, I’ve found no way out of my muddle with the language yet, and I’m so fat and lazy at this point it’s hard to not just sit around playing computer games all day. Just getting motivated to begin work is tough and seems to take half the day.

*sigh* And J, the comic store owner I met yesterday, made a comment that’s nagging at me. He said, ‘In my experience, you don’t ask parents, you tell them’. My reply was that had I done that, I’d be in a very different place right now. That’s true. It’s also true that J didn’t have my experiences and had he gone through them, he might have done the same as I. But I’ve been feeling bad about it, and it’s showing no signs of going away.

I’m guessing I needed something to beat myself up over.

And hey! I’d love to stop blaming myself. I’d love to do the impossible, and just not think about that kind of stuff. I’d love to have the confidence to be want I want to be. I don’t. Not one bit. I’m not sure how, exactly, my mother managed to convey to me that I was worthless, but she did. And as with most things my mother did, she did it impeccably well. Just as my mother would rise half an hour early to tidy up the house before everyone else woke up, making it “magically” appear neat each and every day, she somehow slipped in under the surface of the perfect mother enough derogatory language to make sure I knew just what a total loser I was.

That’s living with a narcissist. I’ve read up on narcissism. How you…How I may never fully ‘get over it’. I don’t know that I’m ready to face up to that. Hasn’t a pill been made for this shit yet? C’mon! You’re telling me they’ve got virtual reality game play but can’t help people drop the crap that got programmed in from childhood? And no, going through CBT is NOT gonna do what I ask. I want something easy. Why do I have to work so hard? I’ve been working twice as hard most of my life: trying to please everyone else so they’ll at least tolerate my presence plus accomplish one or two things that are important to me. Now I’m told that to shed what my mother drilled into me will take more years of hard work – and it’s all on me. CBT. What a fucking load! The damned therapist sits there, never sharing anything to make him or her vulnerable, while the patient does all the work. I mean, really! If I walked into any other doctor’s office and was told I had to get over a sinus infection or cancerous growth by myself I’d sue for incompetence. But with therapy, it’s a given.

Christ! I don’t want fucking therapy. I just want to feel better.

I guess it’s kind of a good thing that no matter how I feel, life goes on. Happy or sad, angry or blissful, things like grocery shopping and dishes always need to be done. Dust always needs wiping up. The floor could always use a good cleaning. Somehow between my feelings and all those normal chores, I’ve been living my life. I’m not entirely unhappy with my choices. But it’s not what I would have chosen for myself long ago, either.

It’s just that every once in a while, I’m granted a vision of what could have been, and that makes me sad. That always makes me sad. Deeply sorrowful to never have experienced a supportive family growing up. Deeply sorrowful over what I imagine I might have been, had I had the courage.

I feel small, and insignificant.

But that’s me looking back.

Time to turn my head around. I’ve enough on my plate right NOW without adding yesterday’s regrets to the pile. A new year is right around the corner. A fresh page, to start my story anew. There is no rulebook that disqualifies me because I’m over 50.

And the dame’s still got game, baby.

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. 😉

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…

Cranking up the intensity

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Today’s the day.

Oh, my sore ass!

In the gym. Half an hour on the bikes, half an hour on the treadmills. Kept my heart rate between 128 and 130. Then onto free weights. Two sets of 30 reps each, 4 positions hitting biceps, triceps, deltoids, and full arms.

I crawled back home, barely able to stand upright because I’d used up absolutely everything that was easy for my body to use. Felt like I hadn’t eaten in days. Begged my bro to go downstairs and buy some fish from the guys out front. Scarfed down two and half sandwiches before I felt like I wasn’t gonna cave in around my midriff.

This morning was my one on one language lesson. The other student showed up briefly but had to leave to take her kids to the doctor. So very happy I get a flu shot every year. This year’s variety includes a fever and a bad cough. Our instructor made us read from a random paper, then talk about what we understood. Ye gods! Once again I heard how clearly I speak. Yes! Bleeding yes! I should hope so after driving myself batty with vowel sounds. And I can read well. Very well. Better than the other student, by far. I just don’t understand all these words I pronounce and read so bleeding well. That’s pretty much where everyone agrees I’m at: I just have to widen my vocabulary. My grammar is good to excellent, my pronunciation for words I know superb. But cramming more words in too fast can make me forget other things and confuse me. I’m committed to the long haul here.

Went down to the theatre group last night at the very last minute. Got the email in about 5:30, and they were meeting by 7. Pulled my act together, grabbed the script and out the door. I was obviously VERY focused on handing off that piece of work. There was one of those meet and greet things in the lobby where the theatre group generally meets, and I spent 15 minutes searching for them – which included a short time of locking myself out of the building in a sealed off construction area that I had NO chance of getting out of. Did I panic? Did I even sweat? No. Just banged on the door unashamedly and yelled ‘help’ ’til someone heard me. I’d hoped to find the group early, talk to the director a bit about the script. I had less than 30 seconds. When I said I’d written it for the group the director’s eyebrows shot up with interest, so I must have said the right thing. He promised to take a look at it last night. Then it was sit and enjoy, watch and learn. It was just the director, the actors, and me – no one else. lol! I guess I’m the only hard core person who wants to show up at all these things. Every once in a while the group would break, and they’d explain the next scene so I could enjoy it fully. And I made a couple of suggestions to the actors, which they readily accepted and adopted to great effect. Plus I found out that if they ARE going to have me do the sound during the shows, the first time I’ll see the equipment is the afternoon before opening night. They have to pay for the venue, and a full dress rehearsal the day before would cost more. Understandable. A bit of a crunch on me, perhaps, but I’ve got my ace in the hole – my brother, the superior sound engineer, who’s promised to show up on the afternoon and help me check the equipment. All in all, a great night. I felt accepted and included and had a lot of fun even tho I just sat around. I hope I can join them a few more times before their performance.

So I been a good girl. Been such a prat, as a matter of fact, that I over did my homework – as usual. Fully wrote out things where one word answers would suffice. Dat’s okay. I be ahead of most in the Friday group. An’ I do so like to shine when I cans. An’ I can shine. Bright. Put on those sunglasses, baby. I’m cranking up the intensity.

Boot Camp

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Another day wiped out.

Swimming was tough. Pulled up with a cramp in my calf the size of a golf ball. Just too much after the gym. One woman approached me as I clung to the side, massaging my leg – alles goed? Ja, I replied without even thinking that I was speaking in Dutch. From there we proceeded to talk for 10 minutes, back and forth, in English when I didn’t know the Dutch. Rolled out my new words – lidmaat and lidmaatschap (member and membership) – when I spoke about the gym. Handy to have new Dutch words to go along with my new activity. Makes it easy to incorporate the words into my vocabulary.

Came home and almost died. Ended up sleeping in my chair for an hour, completely exhausted. Then I had to eat because I’d used everything up. Spent the afternoon in a haze that only the pain in my biceps could cut through (ow). Ten hours solid sleep last night, and I’m still a little wobbly today.

My brother is encouraging me in this exercise regime. He’s very serious about buying me a bike next year. I’m a bit anxious about that for a lot of reasons. Like, it’s got to be a three wheeler because I can’t ride a regular bike well and if I fall I’m fucked. But I’m a little ashamed (okay, a LOT ashamed) of having to ride a three wheeler. So I want it, but I don’t. I think it would be fun to get on a real bike and make my way around the city, around the parks, around all the areas I can’t get to right now because they’re too far to reach by foot alone. But once again, something I could use ends up being expensive. A three wheeler is bloody three times the price of a regular bike. Argh! Bad enough I’ll go through heebie-jeebies once in a while just riding it because I’ll be afraid I look the fool. Then you got to add in the factor that my bro will pay a LOT for me to ride it and look the fool, so I’ll feel obligated to ride it and look the fool often.

Oh, I hope I’m not as embarrassed about it as I fear I will be!

Realized something yesterday. My legs are rather long. I carry my extra weight around my thighs and butt, so I generally see myself as wide and rather squatty. But my torso is the short part of me, not my legs. I guess I have been dropping weight; how else could I have realized this earth shattering fact after only 50 years in this body? One tiny shift of perception and I went from wide and squatty to long with some extra weight around the middle.

Sometimes walking around in a partial haze is a good thing. For instance, this morning I had occasion to post an article to Facebook. That led me to the actual site so I could log out. And there sat my uncle’s comment, waiting to be answered. I clicked it, typed, and posted,

“I find it difficult to believe that an admitted sexual predator and obvious chauvinist WOULDN’T enact laws that affect my body. After all, to Trump, I’m just a pussy to grab.”

That is not something I’d normally write to my uncle. It IS, however, what I think. This morning I guess I was just punch-drunk enough to put it up. There ya go, uncle. My full honesty. Like it? Wanna ask another question?

Go on and poke the bear again.

I expect today to be topsy-turvy. Still haven’t heard from the theatre group. I imagine my day going something like this: breakfast and shower, dishes, head to physio. Pull my head together, pack a bag, head off to the language café. Discover while at the language café that yes, the theatre group will meet tonight and I’m more than welcome. Grab a cold sandwich dinner at the Uni, get about four tokes on a J, then head in to socialize with the group. Find the director, stumble my way through explaining about the script, and finally hand it off to someone. Laugh. Enjoy. Over think. Come back late on the metro and set my alarm for class in the morning. Toss and turn. At last, sleep.

Now, since I’ve put that out there, I’m certain I’ll get something else thrown back at me.

Fun, fun.

I’ll admit to having some pretty wild sexual fantasies lately, all involving my very cute physiotherapist. He’s a nice fantasy to have! Safe. Just something I think about now and then. Something that makes me feel alluring and desirable. A friend suggested I hint around to see if there’s something there. Part of me has actually been thinking I should try that. The other part (the part that’s winning so far) is terrified of doing that and coming off as one of those aging women who delude themselves into thinking they’re still desirable to younger men even tho the guy they’re fixated on isn’t interested. *shudder* Goddess, save me from that fate! No, my very cute physiotherapist has to be a bit more upfront and obvious for me to take a risk like that. In the meantime, imagining some kissing and touching – even some fucking – is a safe going-to-sleep activity.

Takes my mind off the boot camp I’m putting myself through. And make no mistake about it: this IS boot camp. Body, mind, and spirit. I’m asking myself to go further than I think I can and do more than I know I’m capable of. I’m testing my limits, finding where I’m at, and working at strengthening myself. I know it’s gonna hurt. I know it’s gonna be hard. It already does hurt, and it already is hard.

Thank Goddess I’m a bit of a masochist. Gotta love boot camp.

Taking control

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Talk the talk, walk the walk.

Got my ass in gear yesterday. Down on the floor for sit-ups. Dishes. Rolled up my sleeves to tackle a few big jobs only to find the hoover was stolen away by my brother, who insisted on running that machine, moving the furniture, and helping to an extent that surprised me. I was damned angry to just sit there as he did a number of things I couldn’t help with because (as I’ve said before) this place is rather small. Later, as I scrubbed down the tiled walls around the stove I realized there was more than enough work for two to keep busy with.

Upshot is the kitchen sparkles and a small problem I was having with the washing machine is now fixed, thanks to my own patience and fortitude. Had half of an hour of feeling damned good about the house, the work, and following through on my commitment to myself. Even tho that faded, it gave me hope for myself. I can pull thru this.

Doing my best to remember that this morning. Another have to get up morning because even tho I feel bone tired I just can’t stay in bed any longer. The lines in my face from this constant tired feeling are deep grooves and ruts. I see them every time I get a glimpse of my face and they fucking horrify me. Something inside me insists on repeating that there’s no place in society for old women, that no one wants to see us or hear us. Certainly I can attest to a drastic change from how I was treated at 20 to how I’m treated now. Not all of it’s bad. I no longer have to fend off males left and right, no longer have to dodge groping hands, sweaty palms, seeking slurpy lips. But I’m often left standing, waiting, while everyone else gets taken care of first despite the fact I’ve been waiting longer. At a certain age, women become next to invisible. We’re not seen because no one wants to see us. We are just lumped into these faceless, moving bulks. Female bodies gone all wrong; we are no longer supple or nubile, and therefore deserve no attention. Put ’em in a corner, let them cackle amongst themselves. To be old and a woman is truly to be ignored.

Aren’t I the happy camper?

Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? I was ignored when I was twenty and all the attention was focused on my boobs or trying to get my pants off.

Men suck.

Does not help that I’ve heard some bad news from a friend of mine. I feel bad for her, I’m angry at him, and I’m frustrated that there’s little to nothing I can do from way over here.

Positives. Let’s scramble for some because I’m getting pretty bleak.

Delighted to say my orthopedic shoes are feeling great these days. Found out by accident that simply using thinner socks has solved any crunched feeling in my toes. Been wearing them for 9-10 hours at a time in the house. I think I’m ready to try taking them out for a walk. During my mopey times I’ve had on more SpongeBob Squarepants and feel encouraged by the dialogue I understand. A few more episodes and I may catch all the words to the opening song – btw, I DON’T know the cartoon in English, so anything like the lyrics to the song is an unknown to me, as are the character names. I’m watching sans subtitles, doing it all by ear alone, so bully for me. And thanks to my perseverance with the washing machine I can do laundry again (good thing; stuff was piling up). My sit ups were slightly less horrible than the last time I did them, so I feel I’m getting stronger.

I’m doing well. Really well, and anyone who wants to tell me different is just trying to unsettle me.

That includes me.

The substance that is my brain has come to a decision. Dutch is not an easy language to learn. In fact, my last teacher told me it was one of the more difficult languages on the planet. Not THE most difficult, but pretty damned hard. And from what my poor ear can hear, there’s plenty of lax speakers wiling to tell me how to pronounce something or cobble together a sentence. My brother tried to correct me on some word the other day, claiming his friends have corrected his pronunciation and I was doing it wrong. Yet, I KNOW the pronunciation rules for the language, and the sounds my brother tells me to make do not correspond to the letters in the word. And this is coming from someone I was in class with, someone I heard repeatedly get corrected on pronunciation while I was nodded to, told I was doing it properly, and praised. All this back and forth is only serving to confuse me. I’m ready to go back to my computer exercises, the new book I have, and continued practice on my own because I think I do better that way than having a hundred different things shoved at me by people whose opinion I don’t trust. That decision feels solid under my feet, and I’m sticking to it. Mr. New Teacher gets one more chance to not be a putz and then I say goodbye. There are two lines he can’t cross. One, the first thing out of his mouth better not be ‘did you buy the books I told you to buy?’, and two, he’d better not tell me to just read about the answer the first question I ask. Either or both of those happening will result in me nodding, packing away my things, saying it isn’t working for me, and leaving.

As an old woman I may not have my looks anymore. I may not be important in society, or have a family that cares about me or anyone who even listens to me.

Doesn’t mean I don’t have my dignity. And I’m laying claim to my dignity right here and now. No more confusion, no more angst over my new class.

I’m taking control.

No more tears

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No can sleep. Up out of bed after an hour of damned tossing and turning. Amazing how absolutely 100% uncomfortable I can get in ANY position in bed when my body decides that no, we don’t need any more sleep DESPITE the fact our brain is fucking exhausted and wants to drop over.

I’m up now. Put the coffee on. Maybe elusive sleep will return at that inconvenient mid-afternoon point. I could give a fuck .

Tears were what made my feet hit the floor. Just…tears. Been doing damned well. Exercise, diet, even watching my smoking. Feels like it’s all just one big water balloon that just burst in my face. Who gives a fuck? Why does any of it matter? Christ, we’re back to the fucking basics again. Don’t know why every time I drop I have to drop right thru to the fucking basement of emotions. Can’t I just hang out on a lower level? No. Right back to the very bottom. Or maybe I just never really left. I don’t know anymore. All I DO know is I’m tired of tears leaking from my eyes. Sorrow without end, and for no fucking concrete reason.

I’m tired of crying for the world and not knowing why.

Time to dig in.

…Oh, this isn’t going to be easy. There’s a lump in my throat and I haven’t even begun. Okay. I got two options. Look as deep as I can and try to figure out what might be un-figure-outable, or try to build myself up, keep my head above water. Five fucking in the morning and I have little hope of either, frankly. Just getting past the NOW I’m so damned uncomfortable in will be enough.

*sigh* One line brush offs are on my mind. Simple sentences that, in five words or less, tear down everything that comes before and make it look like shit. “Oh, that’s just (fill in the blank)”. There you go; the big culprit. “That’s just”. Like anything is “just”. Doesn’t matter if it’s six seasons of Lost or 50 years of my life – when I hear “that’s just” I go ballistic.

Feels like I’m living a “that’s just”. Depressed? Oh, that’s just your negativity. Excited? Oh, that’s you just being manic. Upset over something? That’s just you being triggered. GODDAMN IT! I am NOT a “that’s just”!. I get treated like that a lot, but that’s not what I am.

Can’t tell you how fucking FRUSTRATING it is to be borderline this or that or whatever. Sick enough to know I really do need some help but not sick enough to be taken seriously. Don’t know if I need a pill or just someone to blow steam off at once in a while but this shit isn’t normal. Or it isn’t supposed to be normal. Doesn’t matter how many times I wake up at 4 a.m. unable to sleep or jump out of bed by 5 a.m. because the tears are starting up – this will NEVER be normal. It may be usual for me, but I KNOW it isn’t normal.

Life is hard fucking enough without feeling like shit 75% of the time.

And I am so unwilling to drag someone through my history. Or, more accurately, drag several people through my history. ‘Cause that’s what happens when you go into the system, right? That fairy tale movie version of having one person you go to time after time, someone you build a relationship with through trust, just doesn’t happen. You get bounced around, person to person. You have to tell your story – your painful fucking story – over and over and over ad infinitum. And then they sit across their fucking desks and say ‘hmm’ or ‘aah’ and suggest you eat some fruit and take a fucking walk every day and they’ll see you next week, same time, and in the meantime TRY to not kill yourself.

That. does NOT. help.

It is not beyond my notice that this recent…whatever it is, has hit me just prior to a prolonged hot spell of weather. Seems atmospheric changes affect my mood as much as my RA. It’s been decades since I’ve been able to feel good in hot, sunny weather. No doubt the rather cool summer up to this point has helped me stay a bit better physically and emotionally. Today that begins to go bye-bye. By tomorrow, we’ll be sweltering. My dread over an expectation of feeling more pain AND depression isn’t helping, I know.

I feel like the gates of hell are yawning open at my feet. My poor, tired feet.

At least my rheumatologist gave me a script for paracetamol. 1000mg tablets. They’re horse pills, but it’s easier to take one than swallowing two pills every four hours. Didn’t think I’d be reaching for them as often as I am when I got the prescription filled. Then again, I didn’t think I’d be back down on the floor, asking my body to do all sorts of sit ups and leg lifts, either. It says a lot that I feel good enough to even attempt it. The stiff and uncomfortable way I walk for 5-10 minutes every time I get up after working out says something, too. Not sure if it’s saying I’m not on enough meds or just ‘baby, you ain’t 20 anymore’. Telling myself it’s like my shoes: it’s gonna take time. I’ve got no right to bitch until after the first three weeks of work are over and done with. Got wear in my body as much as those new shoes. Keep doing a bit, every day. Keep hoping it will get better.

Got stuff to look forward to. Autumn is coming; my favorite time of the year, bar none. Friends might visit. The theatre group should be contacting me. Language lessons will begin soon. In few short weeks my mood will do it’s normal pick up and I’ll be flying, feeling good, no more tears. Just like the advertising says.

And if the product worked half as good as the advertising claims, I’d be using that shampoo every day.