Get shrunk

Time to get shrunk.

Yeah, Dr. T…doing fine. No more crying first thing in the morning. Concentrating on the production. My Dutch is for shit because all I’m doing is thinking about the play, which is in English. But having loads of fun. Taking my meds. Need a bit more exercise, but other than that…can’t complain.

Boom. Five minutes, mic drop, walk out. It’s really all I need.

The director managed to call a read thru without me nagging him. Looking like it’ll be Monday. We’ll be missing 2 people, but none of the dates can be made by everyone, so we’ll need to compromise. Again (get used to it, spotty!). Not thrilled that the 2 that will miss Monday are newbies; they’re the most important to get into the group right away. The rest of us have history with each other. I want the newbies involved, connecting, feeling comfortable with everyone.

Not. my. problem.

Ran the bruised look past the director. Don’t know if I fooled him for a second or two; he didn’t say. But I sent it out with the title ‘had a fall’, then followed up with a ‘Shit! Does it look bad?’ and the pic I took. Left the ‘reveal’ it was just make-up ’til the end. He did think it looked pretty realistic, so maybe I caught him out for a moment. 🙂 I hope so.

Fiddled with gaunt and exhausted looks yesterday. Counted; need 3 progressions in the act. Realized a couple of things. First, I can practice on myself but I won’t really know about the other actors until I work with them. We don’t all have the same skin tones, so making notes that I’m using this shade or that on my pale skin is just plain silly. I’ll have to customize the look to each actor. Second, due to the progressive nature of the make-up, the first look won’t be very noticeable. It’s just a bit of shading around the eyes. I can see it in my before and after pics, but I don’t notice it if I just look at the after pic. Figure that’s okay, and I’m probably on the right track. The first signs of exhaustion are subtle.

Decided the easiest thing will probably be to make a few ‘how-to’ vids and post them to the group. Here’s how to do this look, here’s how to do that one. We’ll need one or two practice sessions, too, but that won’t take much. Fifteen extra minutes before or after scene rehearsal should do it.

Thinking, too, on playbills. It’s not something the group has used in the past, and I think that’s a mistake. Give people something to take with them. Give them our names, give them our web links, give them the play info. Even if it ends up in the trash after the performance, it’s an hour or two of them looking at it – and they will look at it. Figuring on a half-sheet of paper. Small, easy to take with you. And cheap to create.

…Yeah, I know. Obsessed, aren’t I? Can’t help it. This is the way my mind works: it runs out in divergent lines, hundreds of them stemming from one bleeding idea. I don’t just get the idea of a story, I get the idea of a production, of special effects, of marketing, of the whole shebang. I think I’d be happy if I came up with a small idea that was limited to one flipping thing. It would be refreshing. Instead, I create an effect. Last time I did this I exhausted myself so much it took me years to recoup. My only limits are money and how much I can fit into one day. Creativity is never limited with me.

Managed to look at my Dutch homework and do the reading and simple Q&A’s. Read thru the needs for the letters, too, but I haven’t begun writing them. Finding it difficult to slow down enough to tackle the language. I’m irritated with it right now because I can’t move at lightening speed and that’s my tempo. BOOM! New idea. Flesh it out, start to finish, in five minutes. Watching tv: WHAM! That’s how I should do that. Think about it, and miss a portion of the program because I’m not paying attention. It’s too fast to slow down. Too much to mull over, decide, work out.

And I don’t want it to stop.

Doesn’t everyone *POP* run around with neurons *POP* firing off at this *POP* speed? Gods, you people are slow!

My computer says: Alert! Alert! Dr. T at 13:45. Yeah, I know (she says as she rolls her second J of the morning).

How do I even begin to communicate this to him?

… … … Sigh, ugh, and groan. An explosive outpouring of irritated confusion. Because I don’t know how to communicate this. I’m used to being cut off, told not to talk about this or that. I’m not used to someone sitting across from me and really being interested in exactly what I’m experiencing.

Trust him, Beeps. Maybe this is nothing. Maybe it’s just normal excitement; you don’t know. If you have to use English, use English. Tell him about the obsessive thoughts. Tell him about tossing and turning while your mind churns. Tell him you can’t concentrate on Dutch right now. This is what he needs to know. – And, bleeding hell, woman! Tell him you don’t want it to stop completely if you don’t want it to stop. We both know you need a bit of this to see the project thru. But we also both know you’re perfectly capable of killing yourself with work, and this is a prime example you’re setting up. You want Dr. T. to visit you in hospital in four months? No? Then talk to him, and take care of yourself.

*sigh* Okay. I’ll get shrunk.

Advertisements

Checking In

Time to check-in.

A short note to the director elicited not only a meet-up tonight, but also an audition tomorrow with two actors. Just like that, my evenings are busy. Seems the occasional reminder isn’t a point of contention but a needed thing.

Meanwhile, my head is finally flipping into Dutch. Had a thought that I needed to contact some friends via email, and the first words that popped into my head were in Dutch: Hoe is it met jou? Took me a minute before I realized I was forming the email in Dutch, and the people I needed to write to didn’t speak Dutch. lol! I’m thrilled about it.

Yesterday’s class was good. Real good. Getting up to the 98% correct range. My teacher gave us some reading and questions to do in class, and I was the first done. She began a conversation with me over the heads of the others: I really think you’re ready for more. Have you thought about taking a real language lesson? I replied that I wanted to know the basics so well I had to move on. A child has years in this mid-range, honing their grammar and word usage. I need more time to do that. When I consistently score 100% on everything, when I consistently finish first in our lessons, when I can write a full letter without any mistakes, then I’ll move on. I want the language so cemented in my brain it’s second nature.

I want to write my plays in Dutch. I’m here, and with a bit more work I can write in two languages. Translate my English work, and write purely Dutch stories. Speak (at least on a casual basis) fluently. Full comprehension when spoken to or on any written material.

And yeah, when I finally take the Dutch citizenship test I want to blow the scores out of the water. Score so high, do so well, it’s impossible for me NOT to find real paying work.

…Must admit to a few high level flights of fancy. I’m hanging a lot of hope on my thriller trilogy. More than I want. Doing my best to keep myself in check, but it’s hard not to imagine the audience giving me a standing ovation and yelling ‘Brava!’ as I take a bow as the author. I want that. I want the audience to be excited, to chatter lively, to tell me they’ve never seen another story like it. It doesn’t help that I’ve experienced just that type of thing in the past. And holding an audience captive, drawing them in even against their will… Oh! That’s heady and powerful stuff.

Been actively seeking out creepy stuff on the ‘net. Searching for unexplained mysteries, strange occurrences. I want to feel afraid. Find that skin-crawling feeling, and write from there. Have a list in front of me of serial killers and strange phenomena. Much of what I want to do is too film oriented; fast cuts, shock scenes, special effects needed. But I keep mulling over how I can accomplish these things on stage. Live, and with very little funding. It’s a very tough nut to crack.

Thinking ahead: Must put some time in on wardrobe. Learned over the last two years that dark clothing isn’t good on stage. The lighting tends to end up dark, and most theatres have dark curtains or backdrops, so wearing black makes you kind of disappear. Also, some roles will need two sets of clothing because one set will get ripped up or full of blood. So cheap, identical stuff that isn’t black. And some people should have a few changes of clothes; days are supposed to pass, especially in Act 2. Must take stock of make-up, too. Most needed: brushes and sponges to use on actors. Black, grey, purple, and a full shading set. Must test make-up, too, and take pix to keep for reminders. Not too worried about props; most are easy. Hardest: an old short wave radio, or something that we can turn into something that looks like an old short wave radio.

Hm… I think I’ll take some time today and write this out.

Humidity is high right now, and my RA feels it. Staying away from the gym right now both because of that and I don’t want to tire myself out before two busy nights. Six to ten is my chill time with telly, and without it, I’ll end up excited and off my natural sleep schedule. Have kept my ice cream consumption to a minimum. Surprised at that; usually I eat ice cream until my lactose intolerance kicks in. But it’s too humid to want to gain weight right now.

And somehow, it’s become the 19th of June. How the hell -? I mean, I know time moves on, but somehow it’s just been…odd lately. I feel like I sit outside of time. I do things, days and nights pass, yet I’m left feeling that no time has passed at all. I suppose part of that is the sameness of what I do: the housework, the telly, the sitting in front of my computer writing or watching strange things on-line. There are unique things that occur, but they’re sporadic and, other than my language lesson, not tied to any particular day of the week. Soon I’ll lose my language lesson for six weeks. Then I’ll get really unstuck in time.

Even writing this blog has become… I don’t know. Maybe I feel like I don’t need to do it. I have this strange sort of focus on the production, of what I need to do, yet simultaneously a weird un-focus on life itself.

If this is me slipping into some semi-manic episode, it’s the weirdest episode I’ve ever experienced. I’m sleeping well. Eating well. Managing to take care of myself. But I’ve got some sort of schism occurring in me, and I don’t know what the fuck it is.

So I’ll keep writing.

I’ll keep checking in.

The Goddess within

Girls’ Night. I find it much easier to be a girl when my brother isn’t around. That’s a truth. And last night, I wallowed.

Olive oil on my hair to condition it, moisturizing masque on my face, hot shower ready to clean everything off, and nail paraphernalia out and ready for use. I am clean, my hair is far less frizzy, my face is smooth and soft, and my nails are trimmed and brightly shining. I felt good doing all that for myself. I feel good with the results.

Heard about the long-awaited auditions. The director said he’ll be using this next week’s holiday time to choose text and set a date. I told him about my film co-star and asked for some lead time for her; she’ll need it if she’s going to make auditions. Cool. We’re on the same page. And I got a message out to my film posse, letting them know auditions will be called in a few weeks and I’d love to have them involved somehow or at least come to the production. Yea! Good on me for reaching out, even tho I know they’re all busy with their internships. Usually I just discount that type of stuff, figuring they’re too busy anyway so why ask. That’s a mistake; let people decide for themselves if they’re too busy or not. And the film director wants to read the script (I told him this was the the story I’d mentioned months back), so I’m hoping that my life will unfold gently in this order: theatre production, film brain storming, film work, marketing, larger theatre productions, screenings, awards. One can hope, right?

I am Dutch obsessed. Can’t stop with the language. After taking care of myself last night, I ended up in my chair with the tv on and my homework propped up on my lap. I find myself excited by the work. Made notes, outlined, looked up some words, and sat there pondering the correct perfect tense form of a few new verbs. The film I had on ended and I noticed it was almost 10 p.m., my traditional get ready for bed and go read before sleep time. Really? Off to feed my brain more Dutch via Roald Dahl. That voice that reads aloud in my head is picking up speed, discovering the natural phrase breaks. I am stumbling less and reading faster. Gobbling up the words.

Took yesterday off from the gym. Still in build up phase, and that means gentle, gentle, gentle – whether or not I like that approach. Building back strength is a slow and irritating process for me. But I’ve learned – the hard way. Just to remind myself: torn ligaments, torn cartilage in the knees, back injuries, wrist injuries, shoulder injuries. We want none of that.

…*sigh* I honestly don’t know if taking all this on is a good idea. “All this” being the theatre production, the film push, the language, the self care. I’m scared of what it might mean for me. I’ve run on that obsessed mania so many times! Telling myself I’ve got support in my bro (a constant) and my doc. It’s okay to try this. Everyone’s happy that I’m taking better care of myself. Everyone is excited about my script and the production. I just…I don’t want to burn out and let everyone down. Again. I don’t want to overload. It’s a real stressor for me. So I’m trying to let myself feel happy without that restless get up and do something mania. That’s difficult. I said a few days ago I find patience to be passive. I also find happiness to be active. How can people just sit around when they’re excited or happy? How can you, as adults, just drop that and go about your life without any repercussion? I am more child-like. The excitement hangs on me forever. I obsess about it, wind myself up, can’t stop thinking or moving because of it. Usually I just have to burn it out of me one way or the other. Which then leads to my overload and breakdown. Obviously, I’ve tried this before. I know my pattern.

Self-care is the answer. I know that. Valuing myself enough to really understand – fully – that I can do nothing for anyone if I’m not taking care of myself. Part of that is letting go. Accepting help from others. Part of that is saying no. Putting myself first. Two sides of the same coin, really.

Ach! Well, I also said a few days ago that beginnings were difficult. And here I am, right in the muck of it. I now have to look at this coin I hold – my self worth, something I’ve seen for decades as a plug nickel – as titanium. I hate gold, so forget that analogy. It is valuable. I am valuable. My skills, knowledge, and talents are valuable.

See the obvious, woman! This play production could not happen without your skills as a writer. The film group would not have grown so close without you there to be the rallying point on set. It is your warmth that draws people to you, your talent that people seek out. You have evidence of your value all around you. Look up and acknowledge it! See what you can do without even trying.

Trying doesn’t have to upset your apple cart. Trying means being a little more patient with your listening skills. Trying means making sure you’ve got enough time to loll about and do the nothing stuff you find so vital to your head. Trying means getting regular movement, taking your pills, seeing the doctors.

You don’t have to rebuild Rome in a day. Just…wander carefully thru the ruins. Watch your step.

And always, darling girl, respect the altar. You know where it lies and you know what it wants. You know what she wants.

The Goddess within.

Light ’em up

Smoke ’em if you got ’em! Happy 420.

Got in one good pacing session. The weather’s been hot, and my bro has been hanging around a bit more to avoid the sun so I haven’t had many opportunities to get up and talk out everything pouring thru my head. Have one storyline roughed in, another half there with ideas and questions: very productive for one pacing session (granted, it lasted about 2 hours).

Ratta-tat-tat-brrrr-ratta-tat-tat. My brother had to come out from his room four times yesterday to comment on my tapping feet. Just…kept doing it. All afternoon. Please remember to tell your psychiatrist about this when you see him next. Yeah. He’ll probably say it’s depression. That’s what everyone says about everything I say: it’s depression. Depression. Fast feet? Depression. Sweating hands? Depression. Poor sleep? Depression. Repetitive thoughts? Depression. I’m beginning to wonder why I bother mentioning anything. They’ve pegged me, and until they see obvious shit in front of their own eyes they won’t change their minds.

Must. let. go. I’m obsessing over the production. Bless my bro’s heart, he recognized that yesterday and did his best to talk me down. He let me go thru my concerns, talk about the sound layering, the recordings needed, and my worry over time and overloading him. He replied (confidently; damn! I wish I could do that) that he could get all the sound done in one week if push came to shove. And he reminded me that I’ve passed the baton. He’s the sound director, and the director is the director. Let go. If they say they can do it within the time frame they’re setting, they can do it. That’s tough. Had a lot of people let me down. Drop things at the last minute, then look at me like ‘well, if you want it done, do it yourself’. The only thing I know for sure that works is immersing myself in a new story – which is why I took off all restrictions on myself and paced things out. I thought I’d want to be clear headed and focused on the production, but I find my laser beam concentration too much. I’ve got to distract myself.

Still cooking things up in my brain, so my body’s been allowed to be the slug. Sit. Go thru the motions of playing solitaire. Unfocused eyes on the tv. Uncomprehending hearing. My bro is indulging me. Encouraging me, even. He sees the obsession and the manic traits even if the doc doesn’t.

My phone rang about 10 minutes before my pizza was delivered. I knew before looking at it that it was S. She’s the only one who calls me. Bless her, she was trying to multi-task a bit; she called me while she was on the train. Unfortunately, the noise made for a difficult phone call. I hung in there, responding between bites on my pizza. I know that’s an instance I should probably say ‘could you call me back in half an hour? my pizza just came’, but I can’t. I have so few friends and people in my life, and I know how busy they all are. I’m grateful for whenever S’s calls come, whether it’s 10 minutes before my pizza or just after I’ve turned the light out in my room and I’m ready to sleep. Plus, I know it’s my schedule that’s weird and off. Sometimes I’m sleeping at 6 in the evening. Sometimes I eat dinner at 3 in the afternoon. So I do my best to accommodate those phone calls because…well…I don’t get many. And I know I’m the oddball.

Anyway, she’s fine. Busy. Happy at her internship. I’m so thrilled for her! A bit jealous, too. Or envious. Wishing I could be in her shoes – trained in what she loves, just heading out and beginning. If she doesn’t succumb to hating herself, she can go far. I find it interesting to hear her. We’ve talked deeply enough that I know a few of her issues, and she mine. We connect on several levels; our problems aren’t dissimilar. It is almost as if I’m talking to a younger version of myself. She’s half on the track and half lost. She knows she struggles with depression and self hate, but she thinks repeating those tried and true memes will get her thru her shit. Had a good laugh (internally) when she told me: It’s all in your head. Yes. Depression is all in your head. But she seems to want me to be able to talk things out and get to an ‘end’ (or perhaps she’s hoping to see that so it gives her hope that her own issues will, eventually, come to an ‘end’). I have not the heart to tell her there is no end to it. And I do not have the courage to let her see the hag in me: that older, wiser woman with keen perception. I allow her to tell me her youthful wisdom, full of hope and rainbows. I do not point out the deeper issues I see lurking behind her words or actions. To me, they are obvious. She is on the right track; she’s told me about the competitiveness between herself and her older sister. That was my first step, too. I recognize the overeating, the family issues behind the nice facade (no diss on her family; I’ve met her parents and they’re both very pleasant to strangers but it’s obvious to me she’s not getting what she needs from them).

Well. You’re the wordsmith. What would you have listened to when you were her age? You can’t tread her journey for her. You can’t put her feet down on the right path. She’s got to do that. The only thing you can do is try to illuminate her mind. Connect with her. Let her know she’s not alone.

Light ’em up.

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.

I’m not strapped in

“We’ve never done a play by a female playwright, have we?”

“Sure – but only one: Agatha Christie.”

Okay, so there might be a million reasons why the local theatre group haven’t done more plays by female writers. Nonetheless, I felt like my name was tagged right up there with Christie’s: this is a worthy writer. The director grinned, his enthusiasm for my Lovecraftian work (he keeps saying it, so I’ll keep reminding myself that’s what he truly thinks) evident. Another support: I’d sent the script to a co-actor, one whom I’d had in mind for a specific role when I wrote the script. She’s finished it, LOVES it, and is determined to take part in the production even tho she lives in another town. I felt interest from several of our core members, which encourages me. Thought maybe they’d all take a pass on it, since I’m basically an unknown factor. But it seems like most of the group is onboard and enthusiastic.

Ran my lines before rehearsal. Gotta say, it reminded me very sharply why I grew annoyed with this writer in the first place. There wasn’t much to remind myself of; I’ve only one speech in the entire thing. Other than that, it’s ‘Yes’ or ‘Oh, dear’. As I watched the others rehearse, I realized just how chauvinistic this play is, how stereotypical. The women are either timid mice or roaring bitches, the dialogue is pat and based purely on old and tired cliches, and the men all have longer speeches than the women.

Not so with my work. I’m a bit female biased, as you might imagine. And I’m not afraid to put a woman in a lead role as a heavy. I’ve a bit of stereotypical word exchange between the male and female characters in part 2, but that’s in relation to older married couples. The rest…the women think. They take action. They make strong decisions, curse, and get right into the thick of things. I’ve one female character who’s a bit of a ditz, but I also have one male character who loses it, too. The rest run on logic, action and reaction, and basic human interplay. As I’ve said before, any of these characters could be male or female. I’ve swapped around the genders enough to know.

Got a dose of my own medicine last night from my bro. He had band rehearsal, and I didn’t know when he was coming home, so after relaxing for an hour I decided to head off and read in bed. Heard him walk in the front door as I was doing my back exercises. Came out of my room to chat. He was going a mile a minute. I’d already done my wind-down, tv on a good program, playing a few games on my computer. I saw in him what he sees in me every time I come home from performing: wide eyes, fast movements, angry outbursts. I asked him how his rehearsal went and he proceeded to dump everything out for 40 minutes. Finally, when he got it all out, he asked me how my night went. Ah, so that’s what it looks like! Well, it was a good lesson, especially on the heels of my last post. I will continue to work on winding down properly post-work.

Had my shoes adjusted yesterday, and wore them all night. No blisters, which is great. I was all ready to say no to a new pair of shoes, to tell them I just couldn’t afford it this year, so naturally the subject didn’t come up. Undoubtedly, they’ll accost me by phone when I least expect it. I dislike having to put my ‘no’ on hold. When I’m ready to say it, I’m ready to say it. It takes me a while to build up that courage. Then to ask me to sit on it and be just as clear and concise when someone decides it’s time to jump on me and finally ask… Ach! I do not like.

Still intend on taking it easy. I’ll get back to the gym soon enough. But last night I put on a pair of pants I haven’t worn in some months, and I noticed they were damned loose. While I’m always happy to say I lost weight, losing it from illness is not the way to go about it. Noticed I have color in my face again. I was so pale, so deathly pale for so many months! Now I have a warm glow in my skin. The difference between the before and after is drastic, and I’m taking note. My body was very run down. Reminding myself I just had 4 months on the edge. Taking two or three days (or a week!) is merited.

Want to get to the corrections and changes in the script this week. Need to look at my Dutch homework too; don’t want to let that go ’til the last day. But although I feel the mania just there, the reality of the work it will take to make my dreams come true sobers me up right quick. It doesn’t stop me from dreaming and hoping. The wind-up still occurs. But I never stop thinking about the work: the writing, the rehearsing, the sound work, the video work, the marketing. I find myself constantly on the look out for new and innovative ways to entice the general public. Latest brainstorm: drop info at the only goth shop in town. This is right up a goth’s alley. Besides, I’ve been meaning to walk into that shop and take a look. I like what they’ve got in the window. Reaching the public when you operate on next to zero cash is damned difficult. Your best bet is word of mouth, which means being social. Not my forte. But…I’ve done more with less. Hell! I drew in a family to Ireland from the states to see one of my shows. I know how to market.

…The palms of my hands have been dripping with sweat lately. Icky. And it keeps happening. I know what that is; it happened to me during filming: hypomania. My body’s taking off whether I want it to or not.

*sigh* And I’m not strapped in.

Here we go…

Another day of hibernation. Hard to not feel the slug, but at least I stayed calm.

My bro decided to take control with our food and put me on a gluten free diet before we know the results of my test. Must say, my stomach is better today than it’s been in weeks. I ate better, felt better all night, feel better this morning. Aw, crap! That means no more take away pizza. It also means ditching all the wheat flour in the house and searching out for the alternative flours I use for my gluten-free stuff. *sigh* And I never did hit on a gluten-free bread I really liked…

I’m worried over how readily we accept this gluten-intolerance diagnosis. It’s a new phenomenon. Our question should really run to why this is happening. What’s going on with our food that’s causing this? But, no. Doctors come up with a new catch phrase diagnosis that everyone latches onto and that’s it. The diagnosis becomes the full monty: the cause and the reason all rolled into one. No other answers are searched for, other than new chemical combinations to ease the symptoms of this new disease: a money-making combination if ever I heard one.

Heard from my film co-star. She asked about my Amsterdam performance because she’s up there doing her internship. Sadly, she’s busy that day but happily she’s in Rotterdam the next day and we’re going to meet up. Cannot tell you how gratifying it is to find my affection for these young people returned in this manner. They want to see me, want to meet up. Thank you, Universe, for sending me people I can love so easily. It’s opened my eyes. Want to pass on a hard copy of my script to her. I’ve already asked her to think about auditioning for the play, and that I want to take it to film. I want her excited about the story. So far, everyone who reads it is.

My bro printed up a copy of a radio script I wrote. I sent it out and hit the typical black holes: over a year now, and not a word – even a rejection. We both figured it would be the first script to do a podcast of, since it’s written purely for sound. Wanted a hard copy for when we eventually start to tear through it.

Trying to think ahead right now on the podcast issue. Especially in relation to my current play. I’ll be doing the bad guy voice (highly affected, so it’s nondescript). What I’d like to do is write out the dialogue I might need to change the non-speaking scenes into audio scenes and get everything recorded at once. I’ve worked long enough in audio to know a slight shift in electrical current can result in a very different sound recording, and I don’t want to re-record everything for the audio version. Getting it all at once guarantees I’m working with similar raw files.

Ach, this will call for a lot of juggling. Juggling the play, rehearsals, sound work. Juggling ideas for the podcast. Juggling ideas for the film version. I think I can do it if they don’t overlap too much. Well aware it will take continual effort from me to remain calm and grounded. That’s what’s worrying me. I’ve said it before: I like to fly. Like to run on the mania or hypomania or whatever. Not doing that feels unnatural, like I’m holding myself back. It’s both difficult and annoying. It’s also necessary; I’ve found that out the hard way.

I need a faster internal switch. It takes me a while to ramp up to energy. It also takes me a while to relax from energy. If I could jump from 0 to 60 in one go (or back again), I’d be fine. Hype up for rehearsals or performance, shut down afterwards. Instead, my wind up for performing is a long affair of getting in the skin of the character, and my wind down is legendarily long. Hm…. Don’t ever really know that I’ll be able to do that faster. It is what it is. But if I could manage the entire process a bit calmer, I think I’d do better. Winding down is never calm. Winding down is manic talk, non-stop, one thought after the other thrown at the only other person in the room, my brother, until I start to yawn – and even then, I suffer tossing and turning and a bad night’s sleep. That’s where I most need help.  …Maybe I should work on a wind-down list.

Okay. Don’t know where to start… Um…right. So, what I’ve been doing doesn’t work all that well. Outside the box, ideal scenario: go to the gym after a performance and burn the extra energy out of me. Problem: the gym isn’t open that late. Possible solution: take a walk instead. A brisk walk around the neighborhood. That might work. Of course, that means I’m coming back even later, and my brother will be off to sleep by the time I return. I dislike that. No one to talk to. On the other hand, talking hasn’t exactly helped too much, so…try it. Other possibilities: write it out. Come out and blog. That’s why this is here. Another: when you get home, accept the fact you won’t sleep or go down. Put in a film and watch it. Play games. Just say ‘okay, I’m up for a few hours’ and keep yourself entertained.

Not bad for not knowing where to start.

Today I’m getting my shoes adjusted and rehearsing. Long evening ahead of me. Well, I’ve my new wind-down list, so I know what to try if I come back hyper.

And yep, there it is. The influx of adrenaline as I thought about today.

*sigh* Here we go…

The harder I try, the faster I go

Where is my baseline? When I’m depressed, I think ‘yep, this is where I normally live’, but when I’m manic I think ‘yep, this is where I’m meant to live’ and honestly, I just don’t know. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be happy or excited without being manic. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be sad or blue without being depressed. I don’t know that I’ve spent one minute of my life in a “normal” human mode without an extreme taking over.

My fears and frustrations did what they always end up doing to me: they pushed me into action. In the last 48 hours I’ve designed and prepped a flyer for my play; designed and prepped a teaser video for said play; brainstormed on marketing and advertising strategies (three pages worth); searched in English and Dutch for venues, bloggers, and anything remotely connected with theatre and the arts; and brainstormed, researched, and decided upon a tag line for the entire production. That’s in addition to reading several chapters in my book, writing three pages of narrative in Dutch, finishing my homework, getting to the gym, and keeping up on the housework.

Just a little manic (and yes, that’s sarcastic, I’m out in the fucking stratosphere, people).

In some ways, this is just my life. My pattern is to think for a long time. It looks like I’m doing jack shit, but in truth I’m working my ass off contemplating whatever it is I’ve got in my sights. When I finally do make a move, I’ve thought it out so completely that it goes at lightening speed. The flyer I designed was a perfect example: thought about it for days but the physical process of putting it together took me less than 30 minutes, and that includes searching for and manipulating a copyright free picture to use in the background. Same with the teaser video. Boom, boom, boom – one, two, three – and it’s done. Now both projects must sit on my desktop because neither can be released before I have performance dates and venues. … But, yeah. I’m always in feast or famine mode. It’s the natural of the way I work. Catch me in famine mode and you’ll think I spend my days sitting around on my ass playing games and watching tv. Catch me in feast mode and you’ll think I never sit down nor stop working.

………..

The internet cut me off. Yeah. Even the Universe is flipping telling me to STOP.

Trying to divvy up my time. An hour here, an hour there. Move around and don’t stay with anything too long. It isn’t really working. I’m fighting it, wanting to keep going once I get going. Or I get up and try something else to little effect and return to my obsession. Try this, write that idea down, search that. If I don’t slow down I’ll have all the ‘jobs’ finished before I even talk to the director about the production.

And no matter what I cajole my body into doing, my head stays on topic, never leaving it for long, never ceasing to think of new ideas, new approaches, new considerations. Mentally, I like being here. It is full of hope and energy. I also know it’s a danger point.

Food is never far from my thoughts these days. Don’t skip meals. Eat something. Mornings I feel like I have to shove food down my throat. Evenings I feel like I can’t eat enough. Been trying to just go with the flow as best as possible, but working out at the gym or any other afternoon activity throws a wrench into it: go too hard in the afternoon and I drop. Ergo, I need food before I do my afternoon activities. But I then I’m shoving food again, feeling like I’m eating unnecessarily when I’m not hungry. Tried riding out the morning and eating after the gym, which works to an extent. It screws up my dinner time, tho, and I don’t like that. The experience just serves to bring me back to the beginning: gods, I wish I didn’t have to eat at all.

Fucking three dimensional carbon based life forms! What a wet sack of shit we’re all caught in. My body just slows me down. The pain, the need to sleep, to rest, to eat. It disrupts my work, and that irritates me. I do my best to remind myself that this is reality as I know it; the animal is part of me, treat it like a well loved pet rather than an often kicked dog. Gah! It ain’t easy.

Thinking about tackling those big cleaning jobs around the house, the ones I do once every six months or so. It’s time; the place needs it. It would also be something else to keep me occupied and at least physically away from obsessing (and it would allow me ample time to just think about things). That’s hardly ‘rustig’, tho. My best bet is to try reading again, tho lately I’m so squirrelly I have a difficult time sitting even for that.

I can feel my routine break down. See it, even. I was so stable for so long. Get up, eat oatmeal, exercise, Dutch, afternoon writing, evening tv, sleep. Now, it’s all out the window. Can’t eat in the mornings, exercise is a vague maybe, Dutch homework is still a drag tho reading has become a joy, my only writing is my obsessive marketing information collection, evening tv is on but largely unwatched because I’m fucking obsessed and only thinking of my work, and sleep is a toss and turn and check the clock to see if I can get up and start again.

I’ve been here before. I know what this is.

And the harder I try to slow down, the faster I go…

Be open to it

I can’t figure people out. Not until time has passed and I’ve been able to review over and over what went down. I dislike that aspect of me; it makes me feel inordinately dumb. Why can’t I understand what’s happening while it’s happening? But, no. My comebacks come to me too late and I am left replaying the incident ad infinitum, wishing I’d said or done things differently.

Woke up thinking of my play. My head was obviously reviewing Sunday’s get together with the group. All those disparate parts came together – the two players who said they weren’t going to act this season, the cool reception I received on my work, the lack of enthusiasm or even the follow through on the commitment of coming to the read through, and the situation I walked in on two years ago with the poor group of actors and the director who walked out… I realized the group may allow me to use their name and their director, but the group may very well have nothing to do with this. I think I’m smacking my face against some good, old snobbery. I think most of the group will not participate or even audition for my play; they will feel it beneath their dignity. They will not take the chance on a newbie playwright unless said playwright has some medals or awards behind their name. They’ll smile, say ‘sure, we can do that’, but in the end they’ll all have excuses about why they can’t be in the play, how busy they are, etc., and it will fall to walk-in actors like I had at the read through.

Maybe I’m all off on this but…my spidey sense is tingling. It’s been going off since Sunday, despite the pleasantries. Just a few too many silences, too much eye contact avoidance, too little enthusiasm. Can’t help but wonder if this is what happened when I first joined the group. They had a second director, one who also wrote scripts. The first production I worked on was one such written by him (a dismal play, poorly written, horrible in almost every way). It didn’t escape my notice then that the ‘core group’ largely didn’t participate in the acting. I was never give any reason for that, but could it have been they were unwilling to do something that wasn’t sent via a publisher? I can’t totally rule out the idea that they all thought the script was crap and didn’t want to be in it, tho why they’d approve the script if they thought it was crap is beyond me. *sigh* Considering some of the other stuff I’ve seen and heard from them, I wouldn’t be surprised if plain old snobbery were at work.

That director/writer left the group and is now in Den Haag working with a different set of people.

I find this whole idea doubling upsetting because I wrote the trilogy and tailored it for them. Wrote characters thinking of particular actors in mind. Wrote the story, the settings, the needs with the venues I’d seen, the abilities I’d witnessed, the resources I knew the group had at hand. To have it dissed out of hand, when most haven’t even taken the time to read my words… The prospect is disheartening.

But it isn’t something that’s going to stop me.

I’ve worked with less and done more. To hell with their procedures, to hell with what “they normally do” – I’ve seen their average audience size, and what they normally do doesn’t cut it. I will work my magic for my production. If the results are such that everyone wants me to do it for them and their upcoming plays…well, then I’ll have real bargaining power, won’t I?

Began honing ideas. Roughed out a flyer for advertising. Outlined an ad video I want to make and put online to hype the performances. I’ve already scoured the internet for must invite names: artistic directors of bigger theatres that do English productions, reviewers, journalists. I will look at radio, public television, and internet vloggers and podcasts. I know how to market on a shoestring. I know about product placement, tag lines, what’s kitschy and what’s catchy.

The goal is to give my work as much chance of success as I can without killing myself.

That means taking control of some of these loosely performed aspects of the group. They’re all teachers at the school of business, but none really know about marketing. That much is obvious when they can’t fill an 80 seat theatre. Every production, they have flyers and posters printed. Where they put up the posters in this city, I don’t know. Never saw one up. Never found a place to put one, either – there are restrictions almost everywhere. Flyers are easily overlooked and most just end up in the trash bin. I’m not opposed to flyers, but…cut the size down, and rather than putting stacks of them at drop points, take a few afternoons and head down to the neighborhoods surrounding the theatre and put them in people’s mail slots. Chances are much higher they’ll at least be glanced at. Maybe you’ll only snag 1 out of 100 that way, but that’s one more than we’ve got now.

…This means, of course, that I’ve largely mapped out this year’s activity. I’m booked; don’t ask me to do more (and let’s stick to that!).

Well…good. Lateral thinking helps me. I like the full aspect of projects like this: take it start to finish (with help). Help is the area I’ve largely been lacking in past projects. One look at my vids would tell you that: written by me, directed by me, starring me, edited by me… I got so tired of it I filled in all those jobs with my pseudonyms just to make it look like I wasn’t an ego-centric mad old woman.

And…you know what they say about help; it comes from unexpected quarters.

Remember to be open to it.

Free

Out of jail. That’s how my head feels: I’m out of jail. Finally.

This delightful feeling of lightness comes from another notch in my understanding of Dutch. They said reading would help. I didn’t believe them as I slogged through text after text, never enjoying it, always feeling like it was homework because there were just too many words I didn’t know. Yesterday I reaped the benefits of my hard work. Every word from my instructors was crystal clear. I heard the ‘-ie-‘ used for ‘hij’ after a verb that ended in T. I heard ‘raad’ (guess) and knew what the meaning was. I heard ‘ingewikkeld’ (complicated) and caught on right away. I heard ‘om’ and ‘toe’ and ‘maar’ and ‘al’ – those pesky words that flash by in a blink with native speakers. I was so excited I just sat there vibrating with joy and excitement. I didn’t just follow the gist of the conversation, I got every word.

My teachers took my suggestions to heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We spent the day going over prepositions. Not just over or under, which are the baby prepositions you learn with A,B,C, but those larger prepositions that can get split in a sentence. I was not the only one excited by the lesson; everyone seemed to respond that way. We were more jovial, more verbal, there were more questions, more examples, and when we broke for coffee midway we ended up sitting around a table together and continuing to discuss prepositions, our lives, and the language. We were all so into it, as a matter of fact, that everyone – students and teachers alike – stayed an extra 15 minutes to finish up some reading.

I didn’t want the lesson to end. I didn’t want to take a break. I just wanted to keep hearing the language so clearly. Keep reading, keep learning. I don’t ever remember feeling so fired up, tho I imagine I once felt this way about English.

*sigh* Real satisfied joy. Boy, that’s a great feeling!

Today’s my appointment with Dr D, my GP, about the pain killers. Almost forgot about it with everything else. It’s small potatoes now, and I wonder why I ever thought it was a big deal. Go in, have my say, head out. No big whoop.

Yesterday was the first day I truly felt back to full health. No hunger pains or problems from almost starving myself. No headaches or jaw aches, no toilet problems or sleep problems. I had energy, I was alert, and I felt good physically and mentally. Happy I’ll be able to say all that to my doc. Worry was becoming a constant companion to me. Who’d a thunk my biggest problem was food? Not me, certainly. I have an almost non-stop litany of ‘you’re so fat’ going in my head. So I skip meals, cut back on what I eat, and never feel like I’m really doing enough. But I’m not 15, or 25. My body can’t do this any more, as evidenced by the migraines and other accompanying pain I experienced. And I shouldn’t feel like I need to ask it to do this.

It’s time to tackle my body issues. Among other things.

…Well, at least I’ll be doing it on a full stomach, for Pete’s sake…

Sent out some emails expecting them to be answered quickly. Naturally, they aren’t. One was to the director asking about meeting this week to go over the script. Hope my messages didn’t fall into a black hole. Again. There are black holes in cyber-space, and there are servers and areas where emails typically go missing. I’ve had it happen to me before. Best to give it a few days. Every time I follow up fast, thinking my message has gone missing, all I end up doing is annoying the other person because yes, they actually did get my first message and they’re just not as fast on response as I want them to be.

Can’t…slow…down…

Thinking I might head to the gym after my doc’s visit. I feel good enough to go and get a walk in. Yippee! That’s real progress. Trying to not dwell on how long I’ve been off my routine, or how long it will take me to get back to where I was physically. The goal is simply to get some movement. I still want to break 5km in 30 minutes, but I’m not ready to even get back on the cross trainer quite yet. I’ve been real good on taking care of myself, being gentle with myself. Getting on the cross trainer at this venture…oh, that’s asking me to push too hard and hurt myself. Nope. Won’t even give myself the opportunity.

I’ve very aware how close I am to tipping into full blown mania again. I’m too excited and excitable, too easily wound up, too easily thrown off from my normal sleeping and eating patterns. Nine days before my first psychiatrist appointment, and I hardly expect to be given a prescription after my first visit, so the number one rule is (as it’s been for quite some time now): take care of myself. Don’t judge what that looks like, just do what it takes. I cannot afford another three months down because of TMJ. I do not want more pain. I do not want to take more pain pills. And I have firm commitments coming up, goals to achieve. I need to be in good health to do all these things.

Prisons come in all shapes and sizes. My prison… I was going to say it was ‘all in my head’, which technically it is, but I don’t want to feel discounted by my own words. My prison was is was (which is the correct verb?) very real. A prison of anxiety and fear, self doubt and self hate. I walled myself off years ago to protect myself, never fully realizing how much I would cut myself off in the process.

Those walls are coming down. The language barrier is coming down.

And I’m free.