Whatever it takes

I am too anxious to count victories or pat myself on the back. Too future-fixed to do more than just write.

It amazes me how my mind can decide ‘do whatever it takes to stay calm’ and within 10 minutes the same mind is telling me ‘boy, you’re weak if you have to resort to that right away’. My mother trained my brain well; it took over her job the moment she kicked it. Crack open that proverbial space between a rock and a hard place and you’ll find me, shivering and squirming in indecision.

Yesterday should have gone better. I did my homework, I read my book, I listened and worked on the language all week. But everything was slightly out of focus. I experienced that fritz out sensation on a lesser scale. I kept up, mostly, with the verbal assault in Dutch. But I seemed to lose a lot of words and a lot of grammatical rules. Loads of correction from my teachers, which meant loads of patience from me. I didn’t lose it, I didn’t grow angry or have an outburst, but I know I didn’t do ‘well’. Not as well as I should have done. Gods, woman, just fucking say it! Okay. I’m too smart to make such dumb mistakes. There. That written in stone fucking shit that was drilled into me the moment C got a whiff of where my IQ sat. I can’t escape it, and I continue to beat myself with it every time I fuck up. I’ve heard variations on that theme from my teachers, too: slow down and think about it; you know better than this. Obviously no, I don’t, because I keep fucking up, don’t I? If I “knew” it, I wouldn’t do that, would I? So why keep repeating that I should know it, that I’m too smart for it, that I’m not thinking, that I’m making so many fucking mistakes?

Can’t smart people make mistakes? Why do I continually get messages that make me feel like I must be perfect 100% of the time?

Finding myself more and more ready to make those mistakes – at least, in language class. I think I’ve been going about this all wrong. I’ve always worked my ass off to do my very best. That leads to this assumption that I’ll always be that good and never make any mistakes. So, fuck it. I’m gonna stop doing my best for other people. I’ll just do whatever. A half-assed attempt. See my mistakes: I’m human. Fucking deal. Allow me to fuck up! Please! Why is it okay for everyone else to fuck up but not me?

…*sigh* I suppose, if I think about it, there’s reason in this to feel good. I must do such an amazing job most of the time that when I DO fuck up, it’s very noticeable. People must judge me very highly to always have this reaction, right? Don’t know that I’m happy about that. I mean…it just ends up making me feel awful about myself, and always, always brings me back to that horrible circular statement of being too smart to make such dumb mistakes.

Then people ask me why I feel so shitty about myself. Or why I’m so sad and depressed most of the time. Or why I don’t even want to try some days.

For fuck’s sake!

…I gotta break this. Already my thoughts are circling the drain… Someone just fucking kill me is top of the list.

Up this week: buying that CD. That’s a downtown trip during the day. Into public. Doing all those things normal people do: ride the metro, walk around, interact. Anxiety issue number 1, that is. Number 2 is the psych appointment. Really getting wound up over it. My bro’s b-day is Friday, so I’ve got to do some baking (which includes both before and after kitchen cleaning because for some reason it’s okay for my bro to leave a mess in there but not me). Also expect to meet with the director and hash thru the script (another anxiety ridden thing: can I let go enough to actually get it produced?). In between all that I need some gym time, some homework time, game time, and the bare necessities of sleeping and eating and keeping my body groomed enough to do everything else.

The best I can manage on ‘keeping calm’ is to balance one anxiety with another. When I think too long about the psych appointment, I counter it with my script anxiety and vice versa. If I worry too much about my trip downtown I concentrate on going to the gym. It works, to an extent. It doesn’t allow any one thing to become too big in my head. But it doesn’t take my overall anxiety down, which is what I want. Thinking ahead a week doesn’t really do the trick, either: then begins the countdown to my Amsterdam performance, which brings up all the associated issues of relearning my lines, hitting the marks, etc. …Fine. If I flip my computer calendar to April, it’s not so bad. As long as I ignore the alert in the first week about the upcoming performance, my schedule is clear and free. April it is, then.

Let’s see… It’ll be getting warmer by then, so maybe I’ll open up some windows. The sun will be out longer; perhaps I’ll be taking strolls in the evenings during twilight. The issues that are coming up this week and causing me anxiety will be in my past by then. Over and done with. Yes. And progress will have been made. Decisions about the production(s). Maybe some movement on some sound effects. Maybe I’ll have heard from the theatre in the states by then. Maybe the local theatre group will have already called for auditions. I’ll have written more – something. This blog, at least. Yes. I can feel good about all of that.

And remember what you said, woman. How do you feel in your skin? …Not so good at the moment. Then let it go. Seek that comfort in yourself. Don’t listen to that other part of you that wants to make you feel bad.

Whatever it takes.


Nobody said it would be easy

Friday lesson: better than I thought it would be. My teacher listened to me, for one thing. Not just listened, but he attempted to implement my suggestions immediately. That felt good. Being heard always feels good.

Weird incident, though. Don’t know precisely what happened, ’cause I was reading along in the book. But this other student, this guy (emphasis on that word because he’s a real character) must have touched or groped the female teacher. She almost jumped out of her chair. Bitched him out and told him to move, that he couldn’t sit next to her. He ignored her. Maybe it was an accidental graze. I really don’t know. What I do know is the dude in question is questionable; he’s always angry and makes no bones about it. And he stares a lot. At me. With a look on his face I can’t quite pin down. Hate? Lust? Both? I’ve found it unnerving in the past, and in future I’ll find it more so.

Nursing a big lump of angry disappointment. Heard from Bolton; suddenly they’ve modified their terms and conditions. Now a script can’t be more than 700 words. 700 words! My blog posts are longer than that. Why the fuck didn’t they say that up front? Don’t know if I’ll write something for them now or not. I can shit 700 words out pretty quick. But I’m still kind of angry. So I guess I’ll just wait and see how long my irritation lasts.

On the up side: plenty of places to send to. Writing up a synopsis (UGH) and updating my CV. Think I might have something that’ll work, so I’m in down mode now. Give it 24 hours before I read it again. Otherwise I’ll just go round and round – very much the proverbial dog chasing its own tail.

Stepping up research on the next script. Still do not know the name of my main character. I want to use real names, but I’m taking full artistic license with the names I choose. This is for an American audience, and if there’s one thing I know about American audiences, it’s this: give them too many Russian names and I’ll lose them. So I want to choose names with simple and familiar diminutives. Right now, she’s just ‘the new girl’. She’s already a pilot, and a little cocky about her skills. I’m getting a sense of the other women, too. How they react to this newcomer. And the men. The slurs, the set-ups. Letting my mind wander through these ultra short scenes. I need to pick and choose the best. Hone it down. Make it run on a limited cast. And figure out how – or IF – I can write a scene while the women are in their planes. Can’t expect them to have big sets. So it’s gotta be lighting and sound again. Hm.

Doing my best to keep up with a gym visit every other day. Not easy. When I get in that groove, I want to push every day. When I’m not in that groove, it’s a pain to just put my shoes on and head over there. Trying to do what’s best for my body – day on, day off. Meh. If only my body and my head would mesh better.

Still find myself just snapping at my brother once in a while. Why can’t I apologize to him for that? I should. Instead I ignore it and privately vow to do better. And I do better, for a while. Then I mess up again.

*sigh* I guess nobody said it would be easy.

Here’s hoping


Someone please stop me next time I say I look forward to any challenge.

I should be getting my shoes taken care of right now. Instead, I’m sitting here at my computer. Somewhere between yesterday and today I lost my OV chip card, the vital little piece of plastic that allows me to use public transport. I retraced my steps. I used what Dutch I have to enquire at every place I went yesterday. All to no avail. A whopping sixty euro out the window. Had to use my language skills again, this time to cancel my appointment this morning.

And you know what? I succeeded. Everyone understood me, and I understood what was said to me. But my victory today came at the expense of my inner calm. For 40 minutes this morning I sweated, berated myself, and generally felt pretty damned shitty for being such a dunce as to just lose the damned thing.

Last straw was to realize that the grocery shopping had never been done yesterday, and we had no milk for breakfast and no water for the day.

My mind was quick to jump to the absolute worst thoughts I have. I am worthless. Worse; I cost extra money when I do things like this. I am a drain. People (my brother) would be better off without me around, doing shit like this. I cried some tears, just to release the pent up emotions that I felt were overwhelming me.

As usual, my brother jumped to the rescue. He’s modified his schedule for today to include a downtown stop to buy a brand new chip card for me, as well as doing the grocery shopping and running his own errands. I’m sitting here, typing away. He’s out on his bike, doing stuff. Stuff he HAS to do now, because I fucked up (just can’t let that go completely yet).

Yes, of course. I’ve said it all to myself. It’s a bleeding mistake. I’m not the first person to lose their card, and I won’t be the last. It’s not the end of the world.

I find it real hard to just own up to my mistakes without bearing the guilt of EVERYTHING. You name it. I’m guilty, somehow.

Right. That’s my problem. Good enough wasn’t ever good enough, and my mistakes were to blame for everything. That’s a mind set forced on me by narcissists. I refuse to let it rule my life anymore. Am I hearing myself? No. fucking. more. This is it; the end of that attitude.

The world isn’t held ransom for sixty euro. I haven’t tipped the scales of the Netherlands into bankruptcy. Nor have I tipped my own economic scales into red. It’s a shame to have lost it. And it’s certainly not something I can continue to do every month. Lesson learned; I’d been carrying my card in a separate billfold so I could carry it in my pocket and use it easily. No more. Into the main wallet the next one goes. I’ll force myself to fumble for it each and every time I use the metro so I don’t lose the damned thing again. It’s terribly unfashionable to do that. But I’ve put fashion into the backseat more and more often as I age.

That’s not always been an easy task. I look at my face now in the mirror and see the sags and wrinkles. Don’t know that I would have ever called myself beautiful. Attractive. Handsome, maybe. I think it’s hard to watch your face age, whatever you think of yourself. Or maybe that just shows how shallow I once was (or am), to even spend time thinking about these things. Hard to say – and I sure don’t want to think of my younger self (or me, now) as shallow, no matter what the evidence points to. I certainly don’t spend hours thinking these things, or shed any tears over my appearance. But when I DO glance at my reflection I see all these signs of aging, and it makes me sigh. Sigh for that youthful ease of simply looking your best no matter what. I don’t think I ever fully appreciated it when I had it.


But that’s nothing to mope too long over; not when I fumble I screw up in so many other ways. I’ve got bigger things to make myself feel bad over. That’s half honest sarcasm, and half joke.

At least I can muster up HALF a joke.

Reshuffle, rethink. Now that I know I’ll have a new card by tonight, I can call the shop (again) for another appointment. It would be great to just get my shoes done. Not quite mentally up to it yet. I still haven’t had breakfast on this topsy-turvy morning. No rush. I’d rather call later in the day than have to explain that I need a new appointment tomorrow and not today because my brother hasn’t yet returned with my new card. Too many words and ideas for me right now. And unnecessary. I said I’d call back after I had a new card. Just stick to my words. No reason to attempt something I’m not ready for.

Yikes. I guess it’s too late to go back to sleep and pretend it’s a brand new day when I wake up, right?

Better not. I might dream of seeing giant chip card like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. And then who knows where I’d end up? Next thing you know I’d see myself on my death bed and hear a voice saying ‘I’m sorry, Beeps, I’m afraid I can’t do that..’ while aggravated monkeys surround me and beat me with dead fish.

Me and my chip card, oh my

I don’t want THAT to happen.

Back to mundane tasks: dishes, laundry, language drills. Today will be what it is, and if I don’t waste it feeling bad over a simple mistake it might actually turn out okay.

Here’s hoping.

Have Brain; Will Travel


I slept in today ’til 7:15. That’s a recent record; been waking up between 5 and 6 each and every morning whether or not I want to. Fine and dandy; our artificial planet bobble of daylight savings time is coming up anyway. Gotta train a bit for that. Yeah, I said train. I train for everything. Choo-choo!

Monday has become a day of rest. No swimming, no language class, no commitments or doctor’s appointments. I am free to do whatever catches my fancy today once I’ve gone through the language homework with my bro. Dat’s good. I need a day of rest.

Turned on my computer this morning to find posted a picture of me at Ben’s party. Geez, I’m glad I insisted on getting someone else into the shot. It was taken out on the balcony, on my third beer. I have the HUGE annoyance to deal with this morning of realizing that my dark hair fades away into the background in a picture like that. When I was super blonde, I hated that happening to me in the sun. Now I’m brunette, and it happens in the dark. Can’t fucking win with that one, can I? And I always – ALWAYS – fucking see a picture taken at the right time and in the right lighting to give the impression that I have NO hair because mine is too light or too dark or too whatever to show up in the frigging thing. So there I am, smiling like an eejit (an Irish idiot) and my eyes are all out of whack. I’ve got this freaky thing with my eyes; a very long technical name attached to it, but what happens is this: the pupil of my right eye doesn’t react to light at the same speed my left pupil does. So I have this picture on line right now where my left pupil has contracted from the flash but my right pupil is WIDE open. It makes me look freaky and weird. It’s all I can see in the picture, pretty much. That and my no-hair. But hey! I did notice that I didn’t have the huge dark streaks of exhaustion under my eyes that I think I carry around all day long. My smile was wide and I looked like I didn’t care too much that my hair wasn’t great or that I didn’t wear make-up. I looked like I was enjoying myself. And I was.

Lane swimming yesterday was a new experience in queues. Never had a swimming queue like that before; I was sharing the lane with 12 other people. It was not the most zen experience in the bag! My tempo was dictated by everyone else’s tempo; I had to slow down and speed up to try and keep the same distance between myself and the next swimmer. It was something I was a bloody GENUIS at compared to the guy behind me. Had to pull up and let him pass me; if he’d hit my feet or allowed his soft belly flesh to come in contact with my feet one more time I was gonna scream. I mean, ew! It was soft HAIRY flesh, too. Double ew. And relativity came into play; on Thursday morning swims I could use the middle lane, between the fast and slow swimmers. Yesterday I had to keep to the slow lane; the middle lane was too fast. I tried it, and held the line up a bit. So duck back under the floats and scuttle back to the slow lane for me. Still managed to swim enough that I crashed out for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

I got me mini-days going right now. Wake up early, write or exercise or cram my head with Dutch, then snooze for a bit in the afternoon, then up again ’til nighttime. It’s working, but I’m not a big fan of it. My second day within my day is groggy, since I’m still not allowing myself an evening coffee. And I feel like, come on! I can’t even go for an eight hour stretch? Not cool. I know super geniuses tend to do that: short sleep and cat naps. I am NOT a super-genius. I don’t think. Or like to think. My IQ is high enough I could be called that but really! My idea of a super-genius is Wile E Coyote: clever, yet stupid at the same time. And damn if I didn’t grow into that! I guess when I become a super-rich super-genius, I’ll have to commission Hanna Barbera for a new Road Runner cartoon, one in which Wile E has grown wiser as he’s aged. I want to see him finally catch the Road Runner…and then let him go, because Wile E realizes he doesn’t want the chase to end, that THAT is what he’s been living for. And in the end, I want to see Wile E smile as the Road Runner takes off because Wile E knows the Road Runner is gonna keep teasing him and stretching his creativity. 🙂 Yeah, that would work for me.

I want to put this down in writing….So, you can all get out your tiny violins while I play put-upon narcissist for a moment.

It’s goddamn difficult being smart. I know it’s got to be frustrating to not understand quickly, to be slow. I’d hate that: I hate ANYTIME I don’t pick things up right away. But it’s also fucking hard to be smart, and have people EXPECT shit out of you, too. I think my parents didn’t do a good job dealing with this in me. I heard, growing up, that I was afraid of success and THAT’S why I failed all the fucking time. But you know what fucking success was in my house? Everybody staring at you and expecting you to have all the fucking answers, all the fucking time. Say one thing – ONE THING – that wasn’t dead on 100% correct and you FAILED. Continual goddamn fucking pressure on everything. And then, to make things worse, later in life I did learn things very well and NO ONE LISTENED TO ME. Like, all the wrong answers I’d given in the past made them think I was worthless, my knowledge was worthless, my experience was worthless. Didn’t matter if I graduated at the top of my class or got the highest scores in the state. I’d made mistakes in my past, therefore, I couldn’t be trusted in the now to give anyone a correct answer. In many ways, my family made me feel like Wile E Coyote. Elaborate plans, but I was always chasing things I couldn’t really catch and I had NO support when things blew up in my face. And that went on so fucking long that everyone saw me as Wile E, too. Too many fuck-ups over the years to ever be taken seriously again. I’m some fucking cosmic comic relief in my family. Things are too bad? Oh, let’s talk about HER last thing. We’ll all feel better about our lives after hashing out how many mistakes SHE makes. Fuck that.

I found the above pic online. Forgot the tag lines “have brain; will travel”, but I think I’ll make that my motto. The words and the image associated with Wile E just fit my life. Brilliant, but a little crazy. Obsessed. And always, always, planning.