I want to remember

Not certain what I’m feeling. I wanted to come out here and say ‘yep; all is well – I worked out and did some Dutch and tidied up the house and it’s all good’. I did do all that, and I do feel good about it but…and…there’s something else niggling at me, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Maybe it’s the recognition of my higher language use. I feel lately like I’m moving beyond the other students. They seem to have problems with things that are very basic, stuff I’m surprised even trips them up. And I know I’m the only real reader in class. Guess I’m feeling like it won’t be too long before I hear ‘you really need to move up a level’ again. And I don’t want to hear that quite yet. I’ve already heard how I could move up, I’m ready and can handle the task. Soon, I’ll have to move up because they’ll be repeating lessons I already know and I’ll be bored. Just have this feeling… Had a couple of word puzzles as homework, and one was particularly tough. I got thru it, but I don’t imagine the other students will have.

Or maybe it’s the whole theatre group thing. Still nothing. May is literally only a few days away and not one plan has been made to even call for auditions. I’m totally uncomfortable with that. And I’m not sure why the group feels they can master my work in less time than they allowed for other plays. Sure, it’s action driven and all that, but most of the group haven’t even read the story yet.

I have not, of course, done the one thing I really need to do: check back with the doctor’s office on the last round of tests. *sigh* Starting with that will probably help. I don’t sit on things well.

Keep forgetting to take my pill. What began at 11 a.m. is now 4 in the afternoon, and I hope it doesn’t swing all the way to my bedtime. I suppose that shows the medicine is working; I’m feeling good enough and engaged enough that I don’t think about it. Still. I do NOT want to miss a day. Don’t think that would help me one bit. Thus far, I’ve only managed to remember taking the damned thing two days in a row at the same time so I’ve no pattern set up to help me remember the ritual. Damn, damn, damn. Not sure what to do to help me remember. Thought about setting my alarm, but then I have to remember to set my alarm every day and turn it off every night so it doesn’t wake me up in the middle of sleep (because yes, I have an old fashioned alarm clock of only 12 hours, not a digital 24 hour clock). Yeesh.

…Guess I’m just feeling my sorrow. That deep disappointment that sits within me. I find the manner of people around me – especially those I grew up with – so utterly fucking disappointing. And it’s not coming from so much a judgmental viewpoint; I’m not saying how horrible they are. It’s more…I keep kind of seeing things thru their eyes. Seeing me thru their eyes, hearing their responses anew from their perspective. I get what they tried to do. I also acknowledge they did a really shitty job of it.

I acknowledge that every time my sister called me a liar, she was loudly proclaiming that is SHE who was the liar. I acknowledge my oldest brother and sister are narcissistic shits. Spoiled fucking rotten, brought up to think they’re the hottest shit on earth and let me tell you, they’ll never let you forget that. Again: they spewed that at me, and I recognize that anything said repeatedly by one person is a better indication of what THEY’RE doing rather than anything else. They are spoiled. They are brats. They are narcissists. They are sluts, and thieves, and liars. I do not like them.

…I do not like them. *sigh* I shoulda run away at 17, when that impulse was so strong in me. Left and never looked back. I stayed to honor my parents. First, my mother – whom I thought I loved, and I suppose underneath all the complicated crap she set up in me I do love her but I’m having a damned hard time feeling it these days. Then my father, and I’ll never regret the time I spent with him or what I did those final weeks of his life. I exposed myself to my siblings’ bullshit on purpose, knowing what I was walking into, counting the cost and finding it worth the price. But it took it’s toll on me. I see that now: the mess of mourning, regret, sorrow, and then the added blame and guilt and anger.

And the deepest sorrow sits in me because I long for what we could have been. We could have been a family that supports each other. I’ve met them now; they’re out there. We could have been a family that stays close, despite geographical distances. Somehow writing to my uncle is more important to my siblings than responding to a message from me, tho I don’t know why and I gave up trying years ago. …I can imagine how we could have been stronger together. Instead, we tore each other apart.

For my part…I’m still too angry. Still too willing to whip out the big guns in my head to use against these two people. To my sister, with a cool disdainful look: Tell me, are you still taking it up the ass or has your boyfriend managed to find your vagina? To my brother, with a sneer: So tell me, how much of your thinking brain did they actually scoop out with that tumor?

That is not someone willing to forgive and forget.

But maybe that’s the difference between us. My siblings do an awful lot to help them forget.

I want to remember.

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And so it goes…

Blank wall. Been trying to remember lately. Nothing worse than trying to force something; it never comes when you want it. I’ve had repressed memories surface. A strange, disjunct experience that disturbed me greatly. I quickly learned to tell myself it was okay, that I was protecting myself until I felt I could handle the memories. I’m telling myself that again. That whatever comes up, it’s okay. I’ll be here for myself.

But there is a wall of grey nothingness. Just…fog. I see that younger me, I feel her. But there’s nothing. No surfaced memories of long repressed angst or abuse. No ‘oh, yes, I remember that incident; it changed my life’. Just that teenaged awareness, that awkwardness, and the same old body issues that have plagued me forever.

Tore through more than 50 pages in my Dutch book yesterday. Now there’s one thing I’ve rediscovered: my obsessive love of a good story. I’m gobbling it up, so enthused I have to share every bit of the adventure with my bro (who is getting sick of hearing about it). In the last 10 years, I set myself the task of reading more ‘classics’. Many I’ve enjoyed, but some have left me feeling like I’m back in school. Read it because. Because it’s listed as a classic, because people talk about it, because. Not because I enjoy it.

I’m loving this book. Both for the story, and for the fact that I’m understanding the language. It’s a reinforcing circle. Haven’t felt this way for…well, since I was a teen.

Forecast today is for snow. The country is on yellow alert. The Midwesterner in me laughs; this country is much like Texas or Florida. They shut down for a dusting. Today we might get 1 to 3 cm. Ooooo! lol. But it’s good warning. They put out alerts because it isn’t the Midwest, and people don’t normally carry shovels and a bag of sand in the trunks of their cars. Same with sidewalks. Shovel…sidewalks? What, are you picking up the cobblestones and re-laying them? This leads to some icy patches until it warms up enough to melt everything. That’s a serious subject for me. Icy patches mean risk of falling and hurting myself. Plans are to get out and do what I need to do early, then return home to snuggle under my blanket and READ.

Have to get back to writing, too. Didn’t finish my homework yet. But later, later…after I find out the next bit of the story. Or maybe after the next chapter. Or…oh, hell! There’s only 50 odd pages left in the book. Just finish it!

…On the heels of rediscovering my love of reading, I’m also rediscovering a very uncomfortable guilt. I feel guilty reading all day. Isn’t that silly? But I was raised that way, getting yelled at if I read books all day long. That probably tells you everything you ever needed to know about my mother: she bloody well yelled at and belittled me for improving my mind. No wonder I’m all hung up about excelling intellectually or just giving myself the pleasure – the pleasure – of reading all afternoon. Unwinding that guilt is tough. It’s all tied up in my mother issues and my feelings of self-worth.

*sigh* I compare myself to others to try and figure out if I’m a wimp or not. I know it isn’t healthy or ‘right’. I’m just admitting to it. Pain levels in particular are something I’ve had to do that with: I was taught my pain was nothing, I shouldn’t even complain about it. Now, as adult, all I get are confirmations that that idea was wrong. Doctors look at me in horror. Everyone asks why I let things get so bad. …The thing that’s strong in my mind this morning is when my mother told me about her bout with shingles. She said it was the most painful experience of her life. Caveat: that was before the cancer. Nonetheless, it’s important. Because I can say with 100% certainty that the pain I complained about and was told I should ignore was much worse than shingles. My mother was the wimp, not me. She was the whiny one, gobbling up pain pills three times too powerful for what she had. She was the one who drugged me as a child. And she drugged me a lot: when I got sick, when I went to the dentist, when she got sick of me. Not when I complained of pain in my hands or feet. No. Those were growing pains, and must simply be endured. Deal. [And…erm…WHO taught me to use drugs recreationally??]

I hope some small part of my mother’s soul is still aware, and knows just how fucking much I hate her for what she did. It was such a head-fuck.

Two days into exercises for my jaw and OW! Took one of my last morphine pills last night because it just had that sharp, painful ache going. I might have to get a refill on those. Do not want to be caught without pain pills and then have it hit me like it did. Haha! And here it is Friday, and me with only two pills left. Better sign into the pharmacy and order them right now.

Ye Gods!

And so it goes…

The most difficult thing of all

Get yer head on straight.

Somehow that phrase always seemed to implicated guilt and shame for me. Having your head on straight is a good thing; anything else is weird, wrong, and must be changed that very moment. I recognize the controlling factor in the statement. The ‘think this way; any other way isn’t acceptable’ undertone.

Don’t tell me how to think. It’s a trigger for me, an invasion of my most private space. How dare you come into my being and point negative fingers! Get the hell out of my mind.

Nonetheless… Been pacing in front of the tiger’s cage, wondering if I’ve got her sedated enough to take on tour. Can she sleep through the public parade? Will she just lay there quietly, or will she try to break free again? I don’t know. That scares me. I don’t want to go out there and start yelling at people.

Didn’t even crack open my homework. My bro pointed out to me that I was exhibiting all the signs of burn-out. He reminded me how much work I do on a regular basis. He gave me strict instructions to play and fuck off all weekend (though he was pleasantly surprised and pleased about the clean house). …Do not feel ready to go back to class. Not mentally, anyhow.

I can feel the drag of depressive thoughts. They’re mixing with my mania, creating a real shit storm. Non-stop pacing and restlessness while I write is one thing; non-stop pacing with circular negative thoughts is another.

Several nights now wearing my mouth guard. I was right to fear the intense back-lash. I feel like a 13 year old every damned morning, taking it out of my mouth and rinsing it off. Can tell when and where I hurt myself. I wake up biting down on the guard, or wake up with aches in certain teeth. Push, pull, grind, bite. Oh, no! No anxiety there! Just a regular night’s sleep. Wednesday I see the physiotherapist for my jaw. Hoping it helps. And despite the surfacing memories of my younger years, despite the aches in my teeth telling me how much damage I do to myself at night, the overall pain in my jaw is receding. Good Goddess! I’m brutal to myself.

But I need to pick myself up and get back out there this week. No more hiding. No more excuses. See the physiotherapist, attend class. Get back to the gym. Do those things I’ve been lax on. That includes making a long overdue call about my shoes, and setting an appointment with my doc to talk about finding help for my mental health issues. BIG issues. BIG and SCARY. I don’t wanna. Don’t wanna think about it, don’t wanna do it, don’t wanna leave the house. Sure as hell don’t wanna tackle as much Dutch as I need to.

…Yes. Very much like the 13 year old me.

I can see her, standing in front of me. The long hair I hated so much. The buck teeth. The outfit, even. She’s an odd mix. Not quite historically accurate. She keeps telling me she’s 13, tho she looks more like 10 or 11 to me. But hey! I won’t argue. She wants to be 13, I’ll treat her like she is. I was much more aware at 13 that life just included some shitty experiences that you HAD to go thru. No getting around them, no understanding or pity from the people around you. Just deal, ’cause everyone has to at some point. Or so I was led to believe.

Throw all that out the window. You know for a fact your childhood was screwed up. You know for a fact you were raised by a mentally caged person. Don’t cling on to one part of that while trying to let go of all the rest. Let it all go.

Try being brave. Remember?

…And, little girl, I know how afraid you are. Of everything, all the time. And you know what? You’re one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. Because you keep trying. You just pick yourself up and go. Don’t even complain about the wounds, the pain, the horrible gut-wrenching shame and guilt you feel. You tried to see everyone in the best light. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You worked so hard to be the daughter you thought your mother wanted. You hid everything from everyone. Never let them see you cry! That was our motto. And you didn’t. In private, yes, we let go. We had to. But never in public. They never saw you cry or back down. I remember the shaming. Having to hold our head up high, gather up the dregs of dignity and walk away. It was hard. Real hard. As hard mentally as it was physically when our feet gave out on us. All that pain. All those looks. And all that neglect. Day after day, month after month, year after year. Tormented at school by bullies, tormented at home by your sister.

This is a different kind of brave, little one. You need to say your bit. I don’t care how you do it. Just do it. Say ‘ow’ if that’s all you can manage. Say it softly, to yourself. No one else has to hear. No one else has to know. But you HAVE to say the words. You have to take that step. It’s that icky experience no one wants to go through. Pull out the splinter, rip off the plaster.

…And so our head isn’t on straight. We’re crooked, like our teeth. So what? It adds character. Yes, we have triggers. Learning more about those every day, aren’t we? And yes, we think outside the box. Other than the norm. For most people, that’s a plus. You were just raised by ignorant bigots.

Take it in: this is you. Allow yourself to be. In all your crooked, mixed up glory, allow yourself to be.

… … That might be the most difficult thing of all.

I knew her

I called the number I found for L. There was a pause, while the lines made the long connections across the Atlantic. And then – a ring. My heart jumped. Two rings. What was it I was going to say? Three rings. I was ready to hear my old friend’s voice.

When a Midwestern drawl answered, I barely comprehended what was said. I kept on the line, listening as a pre-recorded message read off a list of extensions.

It was a company line.

Which means, of course, that the number’s been recycled. No one ever tells you that. That the new phone number you feel all shiny and happy about in your brand new home is probably from someone who died. Goddess! We pick the electronic bones of the dead.

Found a handful of photos. All of them were from one trip: our infamous Grand Canyon/birthday bash in Arizona. Most are too distant. L along the handrail by a huge backdrop. A few were taken at night, when we rented a limo to take us out to the clubs. I had a lousy camera at the time, and all of the nighttime pics are overexposed from the flash. But there’s one. One picture that shows the L I remember. We were in the car, taking some back roads to an out of the way hot spring we heard about. She’s driving, with sun glasses on. I must have told her to look at me for the pic; she turned, and in typical fashion of L at that time, she stuck her tongue out at me. That’s the picture. Not the ones of her and I trying to look grown up as we stood by the limo. Not the ones in the hats. That one, with her tongue sticking out. That’s the one that made me cry.

My brother was gone all afternoon; he’s found a band to work with and he was at his first rehearsal. When he came home, he was full of energy, full of stories about the day. I kept quiet, my responses limited to short exclamations of happiness on his behalf. It kept on that way all thru the evening: me wanting to bring all this up, yet saying nothing.

11 p.m. The last episode watched for the evening, I muted the tv. And in that heartbeat of silence, I told my brother what happened.

Not just about the phone call. About all of it. This obsession that came over me the last 48 hours. How, while waiting to make that phone call, I googled other things. Pictures and videos of my old home town. Walked the google street views from my old high school through the local village and up the hill to my dad’s house. Took a car trip along Lake Michigan. Places I’d travelled thousands of times in my youth. Places I could have driven blindfolded when I was 21.

There was little I recognized.

Buildings downtown, large skyscrapers – they’re still there. Still look the same. The lake is still there. Fair grounds: just as I remember.

But the trees were all different. Many were too tall, and now obstruct the view I grew to know as a young woman. Streets were widened. Shops had changed hands.

The more I looked, the more nostalgic I grew. It was a strange nostalgia, though. A ‘member-berry nostalgia. Because it wasn’t real. I knew that even as I felt those tugs at my heartstrings. These pictures didn’t include the heat, the humidity, the insects. The audio didn’t include the crassness, the ignorance, the bigotry. And even as I felt I’ve missed so much! I knew I hadn’t. I left because nothing ever happened.

Ended by searching my eldest brother. Figured I needed to see what info was available on him, someone I knew, before I could make a judgement on the info I had on L. Odd thing. I found a sales record of the family home in 2005. And a new address for my brother. He never mentioned selling the house or moving.

…You know, some idioms are like onions: so many layers, it takes a lot of peeling to get down to the core. You can’t go home is an idiom heavy on my mind today. Thought I fully grasped that one years ago. Turns out there was a whole other layer to it that I didn’t even know existed until it was ripped away.

I’m leaving the past behind. Letting it go. My brother agreed that, when we have a bit of extra cash, I can pay for a death certificate search for L through the state records. Just don’t know if I’ll ever hear anything from her daughter. For all I know, I was demonized in her eyes. The bad girl that led her mother astray. So I’ll rely on that cold confirmation of public records. But for me – I don’t want to lose today because I’m caught in memories of the past. So I’m snapping myself out of it. When I’m done with this post, it’s dishes and bed making, then off to the gym. Gonna run my lines for the play, and get some writing done. I’ll listen fully to my brother, engage in real conversation. Later in the week, I’ll take the metro downtown and just walk around, window shopping. Remind myself of where and when I am.

I could get that picture of L reproduced in a larger size. Get it framed, put it up on my wall. And maybe I will. But more than that, I want to write her. I don’t know that I’ll ever capture the person or entity I remember. I feel it my duty to try, though. She was and will always be someone who had a great influence over me.

And I have no doubt that I will see her again. Not in the same form, obviously. But I know we will meet again. Our friendship was one of those strange old soul things; we knew each other the moment we met in this life. It’s strange to say that, because I can’t honestly say I know that much about her physical life here. Who were her friends, other than me? I don’t know. What happened all those years we didn’t speak? I don’t know. But that…that’s surface stuff.

I knew her.

Vigil

The internet is so not free. Nor open. Searching for an old friend from overseas is frustrating, to say the least.

I have an address and land line.

I also found a death notice that claims L died at the age of 45.

Searched for an obit. All afternoon. Found nothing. Plenty of places I could cough some money up to, places that may or may not have any further info on her. No word from the message I sent out to her daughter. Found her husband, after a prolonged search. His online status lists him in a relationship with someone other than my friend.

I’m thinking of dialing that land line number this afternoon.

…Not even sure I want to know the truth. In some ways, people who live only in your memory are already dead. You think of them in terms of the past.

Keep telling myself it’s just an online mix up. One of those bullshit things that happen. I searched for her name and a death certificate; obviously, some site out there is gonna claim to have one. Thinking how silly I’ll feel if I call and she picks up. Of course she’s still there in Wisconsin. Of course she’s alive. How silly, how silly!

Yet…we’re talking about someone who was working with computers before computers became the thing. I have a difficult time believing she would have no social pages, no posts, no professional links whatsoever if she were alive.

Dead? At 45? That would make it 2010. Seven years ago.

And what does that make me? If ever you’d ask me, I would have said L was my best friend ever. Never had another connection with anyone that rivaled the bond between us. If she’s been dead for seven years…and I didn’t even know…

Can’t wrap my head around this. I’m in denial.

Want to find her photograph in my pile of memories. Look at her face. Demand her to be alive, be real.

…Goddess. I have to make that phone call.

Is it silly to mourn so belatedly?

The strange thing is, when people from your past die, a part of your memory dies. All those things we did, we crazy 20 something young women – now, maybe, I’m the only one to carry those memories. There is no one to reminisce with. The memories becomes stories, the stories become legend, the legend fades away and becomes forgotten. Somehow, thinking of L as alive – even tho we lost touch and hadn’t spoken for years, even tho we parted on less than ideal terms – it made the world a little less cold. There was someone out there who remembered me.

Now…now I have a four hour wait before I can dial the phone. A four hour wait to think, and remember.

A vigil. Light a candle, and pray like hell.

Triple F

I found it hard, as a child, to reconcile the memories voiced by my mother’s family with the truth. After all, what is a four year old to think, listening to her elders talk bout ‘gettin’ whooped’ while laughing heartily? I imagined a Dennis the Menace scenario. Something non-threatening and, ultimately, funny. Not a one of my aunts or uncles ever seemed to be angry over their past. ‘Whoopins’ were what you got. With a belt. Sometimes until you bled. But ha, ha, we all laughed about it in the end so it’s okay.

My dad, too, had stories. Stories in which he was always alone. Stories in which his parents grieved (and grieved and grieved) so much over the death of their first born that they seemed to forget they had another son.

And other hints. Frowning brows and dark looks now and then. A sharp tongued remark, quickly retracted. A tear that never fell from an eye.

I am a second gen product of abusive families.

Understanding – full understanding, the kind you only get with age and experience – hit me the other day. This is why my mother never doled out punishment when we were very little. She was too afraid she’d follow in the footsteps of her parents, and really smack us around.

My mother was an abused child.

And my father, a neglected child.

No wonder I am what I am.

I’ve often thought about my parents. How they got together. I know the story – a teacher in high school set them up on a date. What I never got was the why.

My father was very much into physical appearances. Comments on my appearance were usually limited to the ‘you’re a workhorse, honey, not a racehorse’ range. I was told I was beautiful only as a consolation, when I felt ugly and unloved. ‘Ah, honey! You’re beautiful just the way you are’ – which felt like a consolation and a lie. I was never freely told I was beautiful or even pretty. And I figured he had to say it; parents always have to say it, don’t they? Even if their kid is the butt-ugliest person on the planet.

At the time of their meeting, my mother was a slim and young size 12. My father was an extremely huge 350 pound linebacker for the school football team.

My mother claimed she saw beyond my dad’s weight. Saw he was a good person, a good man, and that’s who she fell in love with.

But there was another man in her life. A sailor. I’ve one black and white photograph of the two of them together. He went off to war. Mom never talked about him, other than saying she dated him.

I wonder now if Mom was just looking for a way out. Someone – anyone – to help her leave the house.

And I’m not saying my mother didn’t love my father. Just that the initial reason she got together with him might not be as noble as she would have me believe.

As for my dad…Mom was his first and only love. Again, not surprising when you take into account his past. He was starved for attention. First person to give him even a little bit of time and energy, and he asks her to marry him.

Never did get a straight answer on the pre-marital sex issue. Mom said no, they never did it, and Dad said yes, the were at it like rabbits.

I used to think my parents’ story was this great romance. Now…it’s just grey and bleak, like the weather hanging outside my window.

Bullshit ordinary things I need to keep track of: Tired all day yesterday, ’til I finally broke down and had some more coffee. Left 10 hours open to sleep, so naturally I was up after 8. Doing okay but not great with smoking. Getting down on the floor to do abdominal exercises these days. Sucks big time. Still not writing anything but these morning blatherings. Frustrated. Bored a lot. Feel very out of step with the world.

Everything’s weird. I’m weird. That’s the real problem: me. I’ve got that un-tethered feeling going on. Free floating fear. The dreaded triple F threat.

There’s already enough

Heavy sigh.

If I were to take as long healing from all the crap I got growing up as it took to brainwash me into thinking I was a piece of shit, I’d be 76 and counting before I got over it. That’s the thought that elicited the heavy sigh, a depressed feeling, and anger over time never fucking being on my side.

I hate my family.

Gods…I know I look awful when I’m at the gym. Catch myself too often too deep into emotion. I tear up, my face turns red – I’m sure I look either like I’m about to have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Or both. It’s what happens. My body moves, stuff shifts and suddenly I am overwhelmed by memories and emotions. Therapists really should think about doing sessions during work-outs. At least in my case.

Gotta go through it. Free up whatever got blocked. Breathe. Fucking breathe. That’s the only thing I can think of, when it hits me. My feet move, time ticks on, but I’m unaware of any of it. Just stuck somewhere deep in a half hidden memory that’s full of old, built up muck. I’ve only impressions left over. Impressions of regret, and anger. Why did it go down that way? Why couldn’t I have been one of the lucky ones born into a family that cared?

Don’t talk to me about fate. I’ve always felt like I’m paying forward in this life, and it sucks. I was never a kid who enjoyed frying ants or ripping off the wings of flies. I don’t have that mean streak in me. If I’d been a shit in a previous life, wouldn’t it have shown up early on? I think so. But I was that weird kid who’d get up at 4 am to sing the sun up. I talked to trees, and cried over injustices.

And if the secret to reaching zen is dealing with people shitting on you all the time, I must be some freaking holy zen master.

So why do I find all of this so fucking difficult?

Haven’t I learned anything?

But, hey. I don’t have social niceties. Was never taught them. Don’t get hidden agendas, or most faux pas (what IS the plural on that, anyway?). And if I had a nickel for every time I heard about how ‘different’ I was…well, I still wouldn’t be rich. But I could buy a cheap meal for myself.

So what’s stuck in my craw today?

Other than the welling up of old memories and feelings, I guess I’d have to say it was what happened at my language lesson. Yeesh. You know, questioning any of this makes me wonder if I’m not just some drama queen timing things out and demanding my fair share of attention. Nonetheless, I noticed a definite difference between how I am treated and how my fellow student is treated. The effect was heightened for me because we had another new volunteer teacher sit in with us, to learn how a lesson might be. I think she looked at me twice. The remainder of her eye contact was reserved for my fellow student. And rightly so; the majority of conversation took place between my teacher, the newbie, and the other student. I was not included. I was not asked questions. I searched for things to say, to include myself…didn’t feel it was well received. They turned, they listened, but they didn’t follow up with statements or questions. Am I being paranoid? So difficult to tell. The other student is not as far along as me, and both instructors might have felt she needed more practice speaking. That’s logical. Still. I’ve an undeniable feeling that something else is going on, something I’m not catching onto. I hate that.

Mm. That’s the second thing I’ve said I hate.

Decided something. Had a weird few minutes during the script read through. I was outside with the director and someone the director knew was leaving. The guy asked me – twice – if I was the director’s wife. My reaction: laughter. I’ve thought a lot about that, and realized it might have sounded derisive to the director. Like I was laughing at the idea that we could be married because I found him unattractive or whatever. I wasn’t; I was laughing over the idea of anyone even conceiving ME of being capable of marrying someone. I’m just a bit worried that my hilarity will be taken the wrong way, and I don’t want any misunderstandings over my lack of social skills. So I’m gonna bring it up to him. Remind him of that moment and explain myself because I didn’t at the time. And I don’t need anyone else thinking I’m a shit.

There’s already enough.

Responsibility for the Now

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After an hour of tossing and turning in my bed, trying to recapture that elusive thing we call sleep, I got up. There’s only so much hoping you can do; for me, that’s about a dozen turns on either side: left, right, no left again ’cause it’ll be so much more comfortable, damn it! try the right again – and so on.

For some strange reason, I can’t get George Michael singing ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ out of my head.

And I’m not even a big George Michael fan.

Sticking in my craw: a little tidbit I floated past my bro yesterday afternoon, as we SIM’d and gamed our way through the late afternoon with South Park playing on the telly. South Park – which is truly our repository of all social commentary – gave me the clue (again). I realized that Americans tend to think of their country like a sports club – go team, no matter what. That’s not right. A country is supposed to be a group of people who work together for their common good. I mean, if everyone’s just out for themselves, it’s hardly a country, right? Just a bunch of yahoos grabbing everything they can. Sounds like the Old West, which, btw, was a territory. Not a country, not a nation, not even states yet – just a territory. No. A country works together. A country realizes the benefits to such things as proper infrastructure (roads, trains). A country realizes they need to keep their people healthy in order to continue producing. It’s a simple matter of economics.

But Americans….They’re very much the half naked painted fat guys you see at the Superbowl, drunk out of their minds on a cold winter’s day, screaming for their team to kill, kill, destroy the other side. They have a sense of victory when someone from the other side gets taken off the field with an injury. They are small, and petty, and demand daily confirmation that they’re the biggest and baddest bully on the block.

The only thing Americans come together for is mayhem.

Other than that, they’ll let you rot. No money, no help. You can die right outside the hospital grounds and no one will lift a finger. I tell that to people here, and they don’t quite believe me, just as they don’t quite believe me when I tell them that American food products that carry the word ‘cellulose’ contain wood pulp.

When I speak of Americans, I also speak of my family. The two are intertwined; it was my family who raised me on the motto ‘If you don’t like it here, get the fuck out’. This despite a firm and rather desperate need to keep all their children from entering the armed service – the most patriotic thing you can do, according to their lip service. But not for them. No! My eldest brother even made sure to pave the way for his son way back in ’00. Contacted me and planned an escape route up to Canada, where I was living, in order for his son to escape a possible reinstatement of American conscription. It didn’t happen at the time, but my point stands: typical two faced behavior from my family. Say one thing, do another.

Sometimes I wonder how I learned to function at all with those people around me.

I know just a few days ago I was saying how understanding and compassionate I felt towards my family. I know this is a flip. I don’t know why, particularly. The news has been bad for quite some time now. Nothing jumps out at me, nothing is bugging me, other than George Michael (still singing) and my irritation towards Americans and, thus, my kin. It simply IS today.

Formatting on the script is complete. I’ve got a PDF waiting to be printed at the library. I hemmed and hoed, re-read the script again, made a few on the fly subtle changes, and walked away completely convinced I don’t have a cohesive story at all, I haven’t made my point, and it’s not very good. I’ll call it the final stage of editing madness, and it’s a thoroughly unpleasant malady to suffer from. The only real remedy is rest, the one thing I find myself incapable of doing. I am a manic sloth; antsy to sit and waste my time with games, ready to lie down in bed yet unable to stay there.

Wake me up, before you go, go….

I wanna go. Why is the world asleep? Because it’s dark? Hardly a reason! Wake up! Wake up! Open your shops, start the coffee, make some noise. If I ever buy fireworks for New Years, I’ll get up early one morning like this and set a few off. Just because I can.

Gods. And it’s Sunday! A day when people are even slower than usual.

Naturally, this will throw my whole day and perhaps my entire week off. My sleep patterns will be off, one way or another. My routine is set for a shake-up, too, with an old friend breezing thru the city for two days on a whirlwind tour.

Trigger, trigger, trigger, down the line.

Ah. Old friend. Memories. Been looking at those with different eyes lately. Eyes through which I see myself differently. It’s not a pleasant picture. The beginning of accepting that I chose this. One form or another, I chose it. I chose each little step along the way, all adding up to the big NOW. And I think about the blaming I’ve done. Sure, it would have been nice to grow up in a supportive family. A family that doesn’t play narcissistic games. But how long can I point my finger at my family, my mother, my sister, my brother, and say ‘this is because of you, because of how you treated me’? Yes, what happened back then influenced the decisions I made, and in that respect, they are responsible for a lot of shit. I’m afraid I may never be free of that influence. That scares me more than anything.

But the now…that’s mine. I can destroy it, or I can play with it. I can make friends, or create enemies. I can look back, or plan for the future.

The responsibility for the now weighs heavily on me today.

Robots and Doormats

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Meh.

These five a.m. wake ups are better called coming to’s. I come to at some point. Something demands my attention; either my shoulder hurting, my hands going numb, the fact that I have to pee or that I’m hungry (all four this morning). There’s no open my eyes and suddenly I’m awake. There’s only layers of coming to – damn! my shoulder hurts when I lay that way, let’s flip over; shit! my right hand is going numb; oh, wow! am I hungry?; gotta pee, gotta pee, gotta pee.

Then suddenly I’m getting my socks and slippers on. No sense in going back to bed; at a certain point my body just decides it’s time and no matter what I try I become more and more restless until I drive myself up, out of bed, and to my computer.

And there’s something else this morning, too.

Coillette.

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Coillette is a name I borrowed from Futurama. Or should I say my brother borrowed it as a nickname for someone I knew once, for a while. He began using the name to try to diffuse a wind-up situation for me and it stuck. Now I have to think hard to remember her REAL name.

But it was her face this morning, whatever name you use for her. Her face laughing at me while I cried. Her face telling me that people that sleep in the position I do invariably end up dying of cancer, her face (drunk or stoned; never found out which) at my home at 2 in the morning arguing with my brother (she’d let herself into our home; just walked in uninvited) and then demanding an impromptu performance of one of my poems.

I’m angry. Under control angry; you’ll notice I’m not cussing up a blue streak yet. But angry, yes. At Coillette and at myself. All the rants I should have let fly at her head are coming up, and a good dose of ‘you should have recognized another narcissist in your life’ guilt to make me feel even more miserable.

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Fine. This is a fresh one, so let’s talk it out.

Let me take you back to the not so distant past for me: Ireland. Bum-fuck at the end of a peninsula Ireland. If you don’t live there, don’t think you know what I’m talking about. In all my hopping about I’ve never lived another place like it. It’s a hostile environment. Imagine an island with a base of solid, hard rock. Now scatter about 20 feet of gravel on top, then compact it down with five inches of soil. That’s Ireland. No trees to speak of (yes! I know there’s one or two forests in the ENTIRE country – I’m talking about living with trees in your yard or on the street). I heard from more than one Irish national who was afraid of forests and trees. There’s nowhere to sit down. Nowhere. Not even in towns! Public benches are almost unheard of. Nowhere you’d want to go to the toilet, even if the facilities are operational. It’s a place where, at 1 in the morning if you happen on the public square, you’ll witness fist fights and kids pissing in the holy water outside of the Catholic church. I was going to add old men pissing in public, but THAT’S not restricted to 1 a.m. You’ll see that anytime. And the Irish will welcome you, welcome you, when you’re a tourist. Tell them you want to move in and watch them become hostile within 20 seconds – it’s magic grow; watch distrust erupt like a volcano!

So Coilette moved into the area and I tried to strike up a friendship. It seemed perfect; she was definitely a free spirit, an artist, and a toker. I helped her and her husband work on an artist gallery/coffee shop and volunteered to bake up some goodies to sell and work behind the counter. Unfortunately we had very different ideas about the level of cleanliness needed for that kind of thing. She thought her three under the age of 12 children should be allowed free range behind the working counter (even after the health inspector said otherwise), and I thought it was foul and disgusting that she’d allow them in to put their dirty hands everywhere. The last straw for both of us was one day when I received a call at 1 in the afternoon to come down now to man the counter because her mother was visiting and she wanted the whole family to take an outing. I had just put some baked goods in the oven and explained that (plus why didn’t I get a call earlier?). Not a good excuse in her book. A few days after that I was told that I was not needed and my baked goods were not needed. I picked up some jarred stuff I had there and never spoke to her again.

*sigh* There’s a whole other layer in there, too. I’ll admit I was looking for a mother/sister substitute. That’s right about the time I threw my sister out of my life for violating my boundaries and trust (again). So I was a bit more vulnerable, a bit more needy than I should have been walking into the whole thing. I wanted Coillette to fill that female gap in my life. She certainly did that – right down to the projectionism and gaslighting that all good narcissists do. The problem was all mine, she never said any of that, etc. etc. It was such a familiar set up! I could have been dealing with my own flesh and blood.

And just like dealing with my own flesh and blood, there’s a lot I feel I left unsaid. A lot I shut up about because putting up with that shit is just part of having women in your life. That’s what they do. They back stab and take advantage. They run you down, verbally and physically. They use you badly, then come back and expect to be forgiven and welcomed with open arms.

Beeps don’t play that game. There’s a line somewhere in my head. I can’t tell you where it is, what will be the last straw. Not until it happens. Just know that there IS a last straw and try not to use them all up, okay? I can forgive a lot, but not everything. Don’t cross that line.

And stop walking all over my back.

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P.S. I realize I never even began to touch on ‘all the things I left unsaid’. I think I’ll go write a private vomit up of THAT. This is long enough as it is.

 

My Body Wins

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I meant to take a day off. Then it turned into a couple of days. Not by choice; just circumstance. Suddenly I found myself yesterday, in the middle of the afternoon WITH my new trial shoes, feeling kind of blue and I couldn’t figure out what the fuck was going on. My bro asked me and I said ‘I don’t know; I haven’t written in a couple of days’. I was surprised at how angry I was just over not writing.

And it’s odd how strange this suddenly feels.

I let the girl have time. She eventually wrote, after being prompted and given a promise I was listening to her. Then she spewed. Same old complaints at the beginning; writing it out was stupid, I’ve said it before, it’s not going to change anything. Then four fast scene sketches of the strongest memories coming up in my brain. While I was writing them, I had no thought over any of it. When I got done and re-read it, I realized all but one of them happened within one year when I was 14. Obviously a pivotal age for me. All of the memories also had to do with sex. With men coming onto me sexually. There was simple flirting (how exciting!):

Kevin is too cute for words and I’ve got a bad crush on him. He kind of flirts with me once in a while. It’s a little dangerous and thrilling, and I wonder if we were alone would he try to kiss me or do more.

Kevin IS flirting with me, I know it, his girlfriend knows it, everyone knows it. His girlfriend hits him.

And there was far more than simple flirting:

An older man begins to talk to me. He seems nice at first, and flirts with me. Then he starts to talk about sex. Sex with me, and what he wants to do to me. When I tell him I am only 14, he tells he that really makes him hard and he wants to fuck me up the ass so hard. I am scared, and leave.

I was naive and didn’t want to appear so, so I faked a lot of conversations at that age and pretended I knew more than I did. Later those lascivious advances from men would become desirable; at 14, it just scared me. I told the girl she did great. We set aside time, she used it, and we didn’t fall apart. I’m not sure what I need to look at in these memories, but they’re foremost in the teen girl’s brain so I’m not gonna diss them.

My sleep has been heavy and long.

My pain level is increasing, seemingly every day.

The truth hit me yesterday evening, as I was walking back from shopping at Albert Hein. I guess I’ve been telling myself the pain in my feet was all due to bad shoes. It isn’t. Don’t get me wrong; these new trial shoes are great. I’ve never in my life had a pair of shoes that fit me like these do. They take all the impact pain off my feet. The pain that’s left OVER, though, that’s what I’m talking about. And it seemed to me that once the impact pain was taken care of, I was able to feel the REAL pain going on and man! It isn’t good. I no longer have one or two spots on my feet that hurt with every step. Now my entire feet hurt every time they hit the ground. Everywhere. Just that deep ache that shouldn’t be there. That deep ache that IS rheumatoid arthritis. Carrying back the few groceries I did set off my wrists, and I spent last night babying my hands while in bed, always waking up enough to make sure I wasn’t holding my wrist in some wonky position for hours.

Gimme more drugs.

I was the reluctant one to go back on heavy doses of methotrexate. I’m ready to stop being reluctant now. Ready to take it in injection form. Ready to be hyper vigilant about colds and silly illnesses that will drag me down.

Mostly, I’m ready to have less pain.

My dermatologist said pretty much the same thing when I saw him: more methotrexate. That will take care of the disgusting pustular psoriasis on my feet.

Gimme, gimme.

Can’t tell you how sad I am to admit that. I really hoped the RA had somehow improved. That I’d need less drugs to keep in under control. It hasn’t and I was wrong. My first rheumatologist classified my RA as ‘virulent and chronic’ and I guess he got that bang on. This disease wants to kill me. It’s taken my body hostage and the only option is to neutralize it however possible, even if that puts the body at risk.

Well. Ten years of living means more than 20 years of slow suffering.

Remind me of that when the 10 years are up.

But let’s face it: falling asleep at 7:30 because your body won’t stay awake no matter what you do just doesn’t cut it. I’m not 90, for fuck’s sake!

Meh…Sometimes I think it would be fine to lay down, go to sleep, and never wake up. That’s how tired I am. I understand old age, if this is the way it feels. Just so damned tired every minute of every day. All you want is release. I’m so tired right now I might just go back to bed.

This sucks.

More coffee. This cup should help keep me awake for another 10 minutes.

Eight days to go before I see my rheumatologist and get more medicine. I can do that. And I’m an old hand at sleeping in my chair.

Tra. la. Life is such a joy.

I also think I might be fighting off something.

I’ll check in when I can. Try to do it more often. In the meantime, if you don’t hear from me, I’ll be asleep. Guess I should look on the bright side: I’m not smoking much at all (don’t need to) and I’m not thinking too much (can’t).

For now, the struggle is over. Off to bed. My body wins.