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.

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Whittling away at life

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Going to take a moment to blow my own horn, ’cause yesterday I did something nigh impossible for me: I wrote a synopsis.

WOOOHOOOO!!! *TOOT*

A true industry synopsis is the driest piece of writing in the world. Give me an instructional text over a synopsis any day of the week! As a writer, I’ve long been aware the synopsis is my Waterloo. Been horrible at writing them ever since I learned what they are. I say too much, am too poetic, and get so frustrated by the process that I’ve learned in my old age to delegate synopsis writing to someone anyone else.

Ah! And yet, there a synopsis sits: dry as a bone, not one flavor of the real story in it, just action, action, action. Took me close to two hours to write a half page synopsis; that should tell you how much I hate it and how difficult I find it.

I’m pleased with myself.

Yea! ūüôā

Got to the gym yesterday for an hour and a half work-out. It did NOT clear my head and it did NOT make me feel better, other than a slight satisfaction over knowing I least got up and moved my fat ass. Today is swimming, and dodging people perilously close to drowning. Meh. What I’d give for an hour alone in the pool. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll all be out sick.

Still no word from the theatre group.

Feeling a little put out lately. Did a lot of work on spring cleaning over the weekend, getting to all those hard to reach places you don’t usually do ’cause it’s just too much trouble. And what’s sitting on my floor today? Dust bunnies. Where the fuck did they come from? I almost knock myself out climbing and kneeling and reaching to clean up every bit of dust in this tiny, tiny space and within 48 hours there are dust bunnies running wild on the floor again?!? Yeesh! I mean, I like the whole clean look, but is it worth it?

Asking myself to do a page of language exercises and a page of reading in Dutch each day. No more than that. I keep having to make the commitment to learning the language, over and over again. Ach! It’s such a slog. My reading is about a 10 year old level, but I’m still unable to flesh black and white Dutch words into full color pictures in my head. Yes, if you give me a simple sentence I’ll understand what’s going on, but I’ve got no nuance to go with it. When I read English, it’s like watching a film in my mind. I don’t get that with Dutch, and it’s bugging the hell out of me. Yet I also know the only way to get to that point with my reading is to keep bloody reading!

Reached part seven of Anna Karenina. My left hand now bears the brunt of that huge tome as I read. Just can’t help thinking that if I was to hand in a manuscript with paragraph long sentences, interspersed with dozens of commas, that were actually several sentences strung together, but used the old English writing, in the mode of the classics, to push the boundaries of what we now take as simple sentence structure, surely and without a doubt said manuscript would be cast aside the moment the first acne faced assistant, paid far too little and embittered over his own flagging writing career, laid eyes upon it. ūüėČ The only way to even begin getting away with that is to do a re-write; Anna Karenina: Zombie Killer (not a bad idea, tho I don’t know if it’s worth typing the entire manuscript in my computer in order to do it).

Next on the English chop block: The Iliad by Homer. Figure I’m doing two things at once with my reading list. First, I’m reading the classics I haven’t read yet; and second, maybe if I keep my English reading at an equal (tho different) difficulty level I’ll be more tempted to read in Dutch.

Still can’t hear a bass guitar play. The Police are topping my music rotation because they shelf their instruments high enough even I can hear them.

…How can everything seem to take so long, yet I often feel there’s not enough time in the day? Waiting to hear from people takes forever, yet I can go out and do a few things and suddenly BAM! It’s mid to late afternoon and I’m sitting down to write or read my stuff for the first time. Couldn’t those things get reversed for once? I hear from people promptly and my errands take a fraction of the time so I’ve loads of writing opportunities? But no. Instead I worry I’m counting my remaining years by how many times I do the fucking dishes.

I’m just whittling away at life.

The Bad, The Ugly, and The Good

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Been working on my script, doing spring cleaning, even managed to get out for a walk during the spring-iest spring day we’ve had so far.

Also feeling fat, worthless, and that nothing I do matters anyway.

The Bad: The ringing in my left ear is down a bit, at least to the point that now I’m sure I’ve got ringing in my right ear as well. I can hear things – it’s a lot like listening to a crappy¬†little AM radio, tho: tinny, high end, and ugly, ugly sound. Tried my iPod the other day and it sounded so shitty I just put the iPod away on a¬†shelf for now.

I miss bass. Thumping, deep, soul shaking bass. Of all sound frequencies, the deep rumble of a good bass is what gets me going. It moves me, it vibrates me, it makes me feel better. The high end doesn’t have the same effect. Music is pleasant, but only pleasant in the manner that sun on your back on a spring day is pleasant; a bit is okay, but you can live without it and too much isn’t nice at all.

The dizziness is ongoing. Just when I think maybe it’s better, I bend over or twist my torso and everything goes wonky. I experience a moment when I feel I’m falling, even if I’m not. Over and over again: put my head on the pillow and I fall 12 feet, turn around too fast and I fall 5 feet. Almost think¬†like I should go bungie jump just to remind myself what falling really feels like.

The Ugly: My brother’s autistic quirks have all focused on one thing: his music theory writing. He’s been doing it a long time, and is finally working on pulling together all his tidbits into a book. A book I hear about 24/7 – me, the writer. I hear about how my brother thinks it will sell. I hear about maybe some publishing house¬†picking it up. I hear about how difficult it is to sit in front of a computer and churn out the writing itself.¬†How the layout is tough. How he needs me to proofread. All in all, the topic of my brother’s book is THE topic in the household, and sets everything – me, my health, my own writing – a distant concern.

He’s so caught up in his book that he didn’t even ask me how my appointment with the doctor went the other day.

Sometimes he won’t even let me complete a thought about my work. He cuts me off mid-sentence to tell me something else about his graphics or his writing or his layout frustrations.

It’s not helping.

I’m headed out back into life this week, come hell or high water. Fuck the dizziness; I’m going to the gym and if I fall and die on one of those machines I only hope the gym pays out for my fucking funeral. I’m going back to class, too, and screw the deafness. I’ll ask ‘what’ a thousand times over rather than sit here one more fucking day, alone with my thoughts.

I’ve had enough.

My mind is made up regarding the theatre group as well. IF I hear from them again (no guarantee in my mind), I’ll go to their meetings, I’ll participate in their silly warm-up exercises, I’ll audition for a role. I’m also going to pull together my own group to help me with my script ideas and just have fun. The theatre group’s loose scheduling isn’t good enough for me. We don’t meet often enough, don’t get to participate in actual acting opportunities enough, don’t move fast enough. I don’t plan on actually starting a theatre group. But people interested in acting, who want to have a bit more social interaction and group fun, coming together every week to act something out or read something aloud or improv a scene – yes, that I want to create.

That, I need.

The Good: I’m pleased with the work I’ve accomplished. The spring cleaning was needed, and you’re never really aware how much cleanliness affects you until you get things polished up. It’s subtle, I’ll give you that. The gleam and shine on everything, just out of the corner of your eye – it cheers me. The script is turning into something more than interesting. I’m pleased with how often I find the female references a bit grating; that’s the point in switching them. Listen up, boys. This is the type of thing we hear all time. Decided I’ll take it to the next level and remove every gender reference. I want to find out how it reads completely sterile. But I’ll work on a duplicate file, and save this version. Not sure which version will end up being ‘the one’.

Fin.

This, too, will pass

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My brother is one of those people who like to have some sort of background sound on 24/7, and to that extent, the modern age of iPods and streamed tv works for him. He pops his personal playlist into his computer and lets it run all day and night in his room. He surfs the tv channels to find something non-offensive to both of us (usually Comedy Central) to run a continual stream of sound in the living room. But one must always prepare for the worst to happen, and for my brother (and myself, since I’m the one stuck in the apartment), that means keeping the tv remote close in case re-runs of Melissa and Joey come on (or goddess forbid, Tosh).

Feels like I’m prepping for the worst quite often lately. My mind has begun contemplating the idea that this is it, my hearing will not improve and I will endure with only half my hearing for the rest of my life. I’m considering tackling the Big Clean in the apartment in case everything with immigration goes wrong and we’re asked to leave. And as always, I circle the drain of life vs. death: what’s the point? How much longer must I suffer this existence?

Been watching tv, trying to distract myself from my ongoing hearing problem and associated dizziness. Don’t know if it’s the best thing for me, but I still don’t trust myself with more than walking down the hall or short jaunts through easy passages – still staggering a bit from dizziness. Every morning I hope to hear more than that buzz in my left ear. Every morning I’m disappointed. Crap is flowing out of me; it could be my brains, now liquified from too much self-contemplation. Find I don’t care much. I can’t care much; I’m in overload. But my tv watching exposed me to an episode that discussed ‘dreamers’ and ‘losers’, and made special mention of ‘you don’t want to turn into a 50 year old dreamer who has nothing and has to sleep on someone’s sofa’.

Ouch.

Thanks for that. Thanks for the confirmation that yes, even in liberal Hollywood prejudice is alive, well and very active. Thanks for the social diss. Most of all, thank you for putting it all in perspective: my life, my work, and myself are nothing in your world.

So why do you keep trying to tell me suicide isn’t a good option? Why do you fight me so hard when I mention I have no reason to live? Why do you prevent me an easy option, with people I care around me, where I could just close my eyes and go to sleep peacefully? Why do you continue to force me to endure something I find tortuous?

Why, when I point out this hypocrisy, do you ignore it all and blame me for what I see as truth?

Find myself falling back on an old habit: rocking. Rocking in my seat, rubbing my hands over my pants. Again, and still. Every single pair of sweatpants I have in my possession has the same marks: pulled up fabric knots over the thigh area, where I rub and rub and rub in a useless effort to calm myself (it’s also why I have to replace my sweatpants at such a fast rate; I ruin the way they look within 10 days of buying them). Rubbing my pants is¬†my adult version of rocking. A physical tic I can get away with in grown up company. But in private, I do what I have always done: I rock myself. Back and forth. The rhythm is automatic. It is also something I do unconsciously; I catch myself at it, like coming out of a trance. Geez, I’m rocking again.¬†I don’t think about it. I just do it.

Tears come easily. My mind wanders at will, and I often have to drag it back to whatever is in front of me. Missing large chunks of tv episodes that way. Sometimes I’m aware of only the start of a show. Then next thing I know, I’m hearing the end credits. Conversely, I’ve been able to lose myself for hours in research on legal contracts for my brother – a mind boggling language that demands high levels of concentration. It’s like getting through a maze. I find myself getting lost in side arguments and ideas, rather than concentrating on the main problem. And although my bro is very thankful for any help I can give him on this, I can’t say I feel like I’m making much progress. But it does pass the time.

Nothing is moving fast enough. Everything drags, takes too long. What’s taking so long?!? The days, the nights, the waiting to hear from this person or that, my heath, the dizziness – a week is packed into every day, a month into every week, a year into every month – and yet somehow time flies past me, too: here it is, Saturday again, another week down the fucking drain with little to nothing to show for it.

Side note on smoking: been restricting myself a lot. Four is my top number.

Wish I’d do the same with food; feels like I’ve been gaining weight again. Pudgy. Everything is slack from lack of exercise.

Hang on. When it comes down to it, that’s the only thing left. Hang on. I have great moments of clarity, usually when I’m writing to a friend. It’s not that I don’t mean to share myself with them. Not at all. I do worry about overloading them because I’m well aware I’m in the middle of some sort of episode. It’s outside the norm of my behavior. So I say I’m not bad (which I’m not; at least, not at that exact moment), and continue to act out less than what I’m inclined to. Is that causing this weirdness in me? My attempts to remain calm?

Breathe. This, too, will pass.

You hear me, Santa?

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One and a half days up. That’s all I really got. Enough to meet with the theatre group and get to my Thursday language lesson. By Thursday night my throat was on fire and I could barely swallow. I am back, sick again, and under doctor’s orders to sit the fuck down and do nothing but sleep and drink juice until everything’s rosy again.

There are often times when I gaze at our DVD collection and despair a bit – gods, there’s so many, or geez! who needs all that. I do. I need all that. Been burning through the DVDs like mad. Up before 6 a.m., sleeping between 10 and 2, back to watching and resting ’til dinner, then more watching and resting until I fall asleep. Wish I could still play the marathon MST3000 tapes. They’re too valuable to use before getting them transferred onto a different medium, but damn! They’re set up for my sick days. Twelve non-stop hours, edited with loads of surprises and fun stuff. I used to sleep to them. Put them on, lower the volume, and sleep. That’s back when I had a room large enough to accommodate my bed AND a tv. Years ago. But I really miss them now. One of those tapes would last me the entire day, and I haven’t seen them now for years.

Been shielding myself from anxiety over immigration by making plans for the future. One of those plans is to get a group together to do a read-through of my script. Oh, man. I can feel a PROJECT coming on. Not a small thing, but a big thing. PROJECT. I can see my volunteers saying ‘oh, let’s find a way to do this; it’s so much fun!’ and then they’ll all look at me because why not? I’m the organizer. And why shouldn’t I? If I use the people the theatre group tosses away, I’m not hurting anyone. If I find a way to use a room for free, I’m not encroaching on what the group wants to do. If I find people who want to see the play done, I’m not competing for audience members or money or time or space. None of that’s happened yet, naturally. I haven’t even mentioned needing volunteers yet. But I’ve seen the hunger in these people’s eyes. How much they want to participate and have fun. I’ve just got this sense that I may be stepping off into unknown territory. After all, this is similar to the way it started last time.

‘Last time’ was in Ireland. It began with a visit from a fellow poet, who asked about pubs or places where he might be able to get up and read his poetry. It ended with a fully registered charity, an annual poetry festival that included an adult’s night with performers from around Ireland, the UK, and the continent, a room of video feeds from artists around the world, a music room with guests from all over, and a night devoted entirely to children and children’s poetry.

Yeah, I went a little overboard.

I gotta lotta flack for it, too.

But I did find there was a real hunger for what I did, offering performance space to anyone willing to get up and strut their stuff.

It could happen again.

Meanwhile: I might as well put up a desert scene on my computer desktop, because the tumbleweeds just keep blowing through my email. Ugh. Gonna expend what energy I’ve got this weekend on sending the script out to two theatre groups; forgot last weekend, and I do so want to keep my promise to myself of getting it out to one group a week. Really hope this latest phase of my illness passes quickly so I can use my time off from lessons this coming week and get some writing done. I feel loaded up with Hollywood stories lately, and everything in me is concocting harsh tales¬†in response. No, there is no happy ending. There is no justice. There is only dominance, power, and the will to use it. Those are the roads my mind has been wandering lately. Perhaps I should set a challenge for myself. The first script resulted from me challenging myself to try writing in that format. Why not have the second one include all this horrible crap my head continues to ponder? Make a list and include everything – rape, murder, betrayal, greed, drugs, hate, bigotry, racism, sexism. Put it all into one place. … You know, it sounds like a good idea to me. Let it all out. Who gives a fuck if no one ever reads it or does it?

Give myself a chance to write real life.

And that’s got to include some good things. Because my philosophy is that we’re already in Hell. This is it. Hell isn’t pokers up your ass and unending pain. Unending pain can be endured. You’d be surprised at how much your body can carry and forget it’s even there. Nope. Hell is having something nice for a time, caring about it, depending on it’s existence, and then having it ripped away from you. Hell is having people tell you they love you while they beat you down. Hell is facing blind bigotry, racism, and sexism. Hell is being a sane and caring person in this world. That’s Hell.

When we are children, we buy into fairy tales. Magic exists! Then we get a little older and learn that no, fairy tales aren’t real. Magic is only an illusion. Problem is, that keeps happening. First go the obvious things: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny. Then the next obvious: you learn about lying and cheating, usually by getting lied to or cheated in some manner. Later on, you learn about hidden agendas and people who’ll pretend to be your friend because they want something from you. As time goes on, more and more illusion gets ripped away. And you begin to understand why we tell children fairy tales: life is Hell. You hope for some happy memories in between disasters. Loving means losing. Pain is inevitable.

I never wanted a pony for Christmas. I only ever wanted to be happy.

You hear me, Santa?

 

I just keep paddling

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My head is on backwards. My eyes are turned inwards.

Neither is conducive to happy living.

So I am melancholy. Am I in love with melancholia? Wanting to hold it close out of some long forgotten childhood thought that this was romantic, brave, inspiring?

Sometimes I wonder….

I find myself feeling sad lately. Sad because I spent so much time looking back, leveling blame. And that’s not to say that people in past weren’t to blame. They were, each in their own way. Yet I recognize they were all human, all reacting to things that, as a child, I was ignorant to. Am I ready to move on now? Can I let go of all of this and live in the now, feel the now, not react out of some old, hidden trigger that inevitably ends up causing trouble in my life and pain to me and the people I care about?

I want to be.

But I’m not sure I am.

Yet isn’t this life, to take what’s happened and move beyond; to reach for more than we know ourselves to be; to try, in essence, to become what we want to be? Aren’t all our lives tallied up in the minutes we brush our teeth, the number of times we need to piss, the people we’ve loved and even hated?

What is this…coldness that reaches over me? To know that the people before spent their time cleaning their homes and buying their cars and milling through their own lives blindly, all the time never truly believing death awaited them – is that something to be afraid of, or something to give me comfort?

Why can I not settle myself today?

They don’t talk about you. There it is, in five little words. Here it is in one big word: forgotten. Story of my life. According to my uncle, my siblings never discuss me. Never. That cold thought has wormed its way into my heart somehow, without me knowing it. I should have brought it up earlier; I knew it bothered me. But I let it pass, like I let so much pass. Or so I thought. My subconscious latched onto it and grew it into something big and ugly and festering. It seems to me twice the size it actually is, because my own mind is so often filled with the why of yesterday. Is there a day of my life when I do not reflect on my past? No. I think I can honestly say no. Even when I am most present in the now, I am still aware of the past, thinking of it, feeling it shape my dreams and my fears.

Yet I have left no footprint on my siblings.

How small that makes me feel.

How alone.

It makes me think on others I’ve known. Do they sometimes think of me? Or am I truly forgotten? Lost in time and memory, a part of the past – and therefore not to be thought of or discussed?

Have I lived such an inconsequential life that no one’s noticed?

Is it right of me to want to be noticed and remembered?

Haunting thoughts; and I’ve no real power to drive them away. I wonder now, if this moment, might not better be spent. I could be helping to feed the hungry, build homes for the homeless…yet here I sit, whining and whinging on about my mediocre western lifestyle.

I was born in suburbia, and suburbia still runs strong in my veins. I may aspire to greatness, but what greatness has ever come out of the modern white ghettos of look-alike houses and sprinklers on the lawn? We latch-key children, allowed to run like heathens until the setting sun brought our working parents home to a tv dinner or take out in front of the tv – what chance had we? What were we to think as we sat in front of the evening news and saw nuclear detonations, only later to be told by our coddling elders that it can never happen here, never to you, never to us? And how were we to think, as educations standards lowered and lowered until a degree from a University wasn’t enough, or no! That’s now the equivalent of a high school degree; you must earn a masters or a PhD to be taken seriously now.

What fucking hypocrisy.

I watched the film version of the novel my Thursday teacher had me read. The spoken Dutch was near incomprehensible to my ear – I’m guessing the actors were not from Rotterdam. But I caught a bit of it. Enough for me to understand why I first perceived the novel to be funny: the main character is a stickler for literal meanings. It’s something I can well relate to. For one, my brother has that in spades. For another, so do I, in my own manner. Yet that behavior was thrown, in the film, in a negative light. The main character has emotional problems. He’s violent, and angry. His statements make everyone uncomfortable.

Hm. Been there, done that.

And as I watched the film adaptation, although much of the spoken language was beyond me, I understood more of the nuances in the story than I got from reading the book. That, too, has gone into the pot in my mind and set to simmer. I’ve seasoned my soup with the sharp embarrassment of knowing I’m not that great with reading¬†comprehension AND this idea of seeing one’s self from another angle.

Ugh. I’m uncomfortable in my skin, my life, myself.

Yet I keep telling everyone I’m okay. Doing well.

Maybe just the act of committing these thoughts to cyber space helps. I don’t know. Don’t feel I know much at all right now. Don’t know why I started writing this, don’t know what I’m gonna do for the rest of the day…. I’m afloat in a sea of¬†I don’t know.

I just keep paddling.

The best stories to tell

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

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

Someday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beeps House Rules

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Fun, oh fun.

No one’s talking to me. Like the entire world bugged out at the same time. Not unheard of nor even unexpected – after all, if the Universe is gonna ask me to bend over so it can fuck me up the ass, it’ll do so in private, not public. And I’m well aware that most or all of my friends are having difficult lives right now, too. Which is, of course, part of the reason I’m trying to continue to reach out. But it’s hard when you’ve got a couple of messages backed up with no replies. Like, how many times can I say hello or ask if everything’s okay? I’m feeling sucky here, too. Please don’t make me do this on my own.

I ain’t Ulla. Don’t know how many people she had contact with, but it sure seemed like a lot. And so many of us cared deeply because to us, she was always there with kind words or a wise crack that made us laugh. Seems I can’t do that. I can’t even hang onto three correspondents, no matter how hard I try.

People are off living their lives. Maybe that’s bugging me more than anything.

Finally have an email from the English speaking theater group here. Open rehearsals next week, please come meet the cast and everyone helping out. Just in the fucking knick of time. Had my correspondents fled with nothing to fill the gap‚Ķwell, I’m still climbing out of Self-Hatesville, so something like that would not be good. Maybe. I say that every goddamn time I go somewhere: maybe. Maybe I’ll finally meet a friend. Someone I click with right away, someone everything is easy with, someone with whom I can laugh and cry and do nothing with and still have fun. It’s been about thirty years since I’ve had a friend like that IRL. I think I’m due.

Why is it so hard? So hard to have friends, so hard to be happy?

What’s wrong with me?

Early morning exercise has become my must have. So much so that I’m gonna join a gym here so on shit days I can still use the treadmill or a stationary bike. So much so I’ve been contemplating pushing a 5 a.m. wake up call up Thursdays and Fridays just to make sure I can sweat for an hour and clean up before lessons. Later afternoon exercise isn’t the same. My body is already tired just from existing. I can’t go as long or as strong as I can early in the day. Just‚Ķ5 a.m. Ugh. With two days a week, that’s guaranteed to throw me into that schedule for the whole time, meaning I’m back to a 9:30 p.m. bedtime. Wow. What a party girl. Maybe since there’s no one to party with, I shouldn’t be worried about that. But then you KNOW what happens. I finally do meet people and my lifestyle comes into conflict with these budding relationships. So one or the other has to give, and then I’m topsy-turvy again. Just can’t win, can I?

Answer: no. I’m not enough of an asshole.

Schedule: finish this, walk, do the stairs, cool down. Language drills. Reading in Dutch, which is nowhere NEAR as satisfying as reading in English and yet so much more important to do. Dishes. Tidy up. Find a few other projects to keep me from only smoking throughout the entire day.

Gettin’ real sick of this schedule real fast.

The studio HAS to be turned on. That’s the only thing that’s going to swallow me up whole for the entire day and keep me busy. If my words aren’t reaching anyone, maybe sound alone will. Something has to break this stalemate. And honestly, it’ll be a relief to put on the headphones and crank sound until that’s all that’s in my head. No words, no memories, no ideas half formed; just sound and only sound. Finding the edge, tuning it, creeping it in and out from left to right, cutting it, sculpting it, changing it from one thing to another: in short, magic. With time and the right equipment I can make a hummingbird sound like a lion and vice versa.

So that’s it. Gonna keep on until something changes. I’ve got my duties to do – language to stop being such an idiot about, attempts to reach out no matter what the consequences, communicating at all times honestly, and doing my best to sit in that elusive chair called ‘happiness’.

My brain came wandering back my way, battered and looking the worse for wear (thanks for posting it back to me, Jess). I’m trying to make nice. Not just go off on it for being a whiny so-and-so. What the hell. We’re both feeling alone right now. And when the chips are down (or all your friends are), it’s all you got left. So like it or not, I’m stuck with it. My permanent roommate. Might as well TRY to be friends.

On that note, I’ll tell myself my brain has control today. If it/I feels overloaded by language, we back off. If it/I wants to watch tv, we watch tv. Whatever. You know the house rules up there. No passive-aggression. You want something, speak up and don’t be a bitch about it. No obsessing. You have a problem with something, we write it out or we talk to our brother. No crawling into our shell. We look up, we say hello, we smile. And no giving up. You need to say ‘stop’ and lay down the burden for a day, that’s okay. We can do that. But we’re not giving up, you got that? Abide by all of that, and we can work together.

Beeps House Rules.

Kiss my motherfucking ass

“What have you got to be stressed about?”

“You’re not stable enough to hold a job.”

“Why don’t you quit smoking and go see someone like you said you would?”

“You’re still yo-yoing around. You need some kind of medication.”

Those things were said to me yesterday. No one’s talking to me, barely anyone even fucking sees this shit I’m pumping out – and who gives a fuck anyway for some fucking selfish old woman, huh? I’m just a lump of shit sitting here, being first nice then mean, first happy then sad for no fucking reason. I should just get the fuck out of the way, right? I mean, not like I can have a couple of BAD fucking days. Oh, no. Then I’m fucking bipolar, I need medication, I’m fucking CRAZY for fucking feeling stressed out.

YEAH, WELL FUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKERS. Like I need this shit.

And I am MORE than tempted to leave it at that, to not answer anyone’s message ever again, no emails, no comments – just fucking quit this goddamn shit right NOW. ‘Cause why the fuck bother if it gives me no peace? Why do this if I’m still yo-yoing, if living with me is such a fucking pain in my brother’s ass that all he can say to me anymore is that I fucking need medication. Huh? Then just drug me. Oh, but not with the drug of my choice: marijuana. Oh, no! That wouldn’t do at all. No! We’ll put you on stuff that will make you sick, stuff that will make you even fatter than you are, stuff that will make you sweat, not be able to sleep, sleep too much – the list goes on and on, doesn’t it? And I’m supposed to fucking be OKAY with that.

And let’s go talk to someone who could GIVE A FUCK if I live or die other than how it would look on their fucking watch. Oh, yes! I’m fucking THRILLED with the idea. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – talking to someone I KNOW is getting paid to sit and listen to me DOESN’T WORK FOR ME. I KNOW it’s fake. They don’t fucking care; they’re paid to LOOK like they care. I’ve had enough of that fake caring in my life. Fuck off with your fucking psychotherapy bullshit.

I swear I am THIS fucking close to doing something drastic.

AND TRUST ME, IF I DO SOMETHING DRASTIC I AIN’T GONNA WRITE ABOUT IT – I’M JUST GONNA DO IT. Not say shit to anyone. Walk, and never stop. Straight into the fucking ocean.

My ultimate FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKERS to the world.

Not one tear has crossed my face yet. I’m still too goddamn angry.

Maybe I’ll sit and do nothing forever. Just will myself to die. I know I’m not supposed to say that shit after Ulla. I said I wouldn’t fall back into that language. And here it is, so fast to access and so fucking easy to use. I’m too broken to fix, too old to be of use, too fucked up for anyone to care.

Someday in the far future, when science has its head out of its ass over a lot of things, maybe they’ll find some change in the ether when this happens. Some faint disturbance in the world-wide electrical buzz of our minds. And then they’ll say ‘Ah! So that’s why some people seem to just go down to hell on any given day. It’s not them at all! This bipolar stuff is medieval and the treatments they used to make people go through were absolute torture. Wow, mental health was so BAD back then!’ But it’ll come too late for me. So will any great future cures. Maybe they’ll preserve my body for an exhibit: witness Humanus Bipolarus. Come see the freak! We’ve even saved her old pictures, videos, and blogs so you can hear her in her own voice. Only $10.00 admission for adults, children half price.

I’ll bet the fucking exhibit closes for lack of interest.

…It ain’t like I ain’t been tryin’. Regular exercise. No booze. Communication. Distraction. As much honesty as I can give. As much sleep as I can get.

Makes me feel really fucking worthless to try so hard and not be able to reach ‘normal’.

Not to mention the cost. The injections I take for my RA cost ‚ā¨30,000 per month – PER MONTH!!!!!!!! The public is collectively paying that much money for this broken hulk of a THING to exist.

Wanna ask me about guilt again?

Fuck.

For my own record: yes, I walked yesterday. Yes, I did the stairs. Yes, I took a shower. Yes, I talked – or tried to – to my brother. Yes, I turned on the tv for distraction from my own mind. I even had a moment of elation while on my walk I was stopped and asked for directions. Understood everything and answered in Dutch.

And I still. woke up. feeling like shit.

It’s rinse and repeat. Continue to try, even though I’m obviously fucking failing. Not exactly sure why, other than if I give up now it’ll just be fucking worse.

Nothing to do now but wait for the caffeine to kick in. Funny how much coffee they drink here. Don’t know how open they’d be to hearing about caffeine being such a drastic mood altering drug, but if I’m dragged to some fucking office to talk about my ‘feelings’, SOMEONE is gonna hear that because it’s an absolute fucking CERTAINTY I’ll be offered a cup of coffee before talking begins. And if people are gonna be assholes to me over marijuana, then I’m gonna be an asshole to them over caffeine. They can kiss my motherfucking ass.

 

Life on the Ledge

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Swimming today. Didn’t clear my head like it usually did; I found myself muttering not so under my breath about mothers being holier than thou with their children as I clambered out amongst a throng of small, shrill people and their parental units.

Pull it back.

I’m on the uphill side of down these days. Still have that gaping hole of I’m a piece of shit and don’t deserve anything in sight, still find my grip sliding and slipping back into it, still reaching for another, stronger hold to pull myself up. Fucking sucks when every other ounce of energy is spent containing the negative, breathing thru the worst of it, and building myself back up to face yet another moment of blistering reality.

But I’ve laughed in the last 24 hours. Briefly. It was enough to remind that I can.

Put on my orthopedic shoes for my first walk around the neighborhood. Took 45 minutes before I began to feel the pinch in my left foot, where the blister was last time. That was just as I was entering the building post-walk, so I chose to use the lift, something I’ve been avoiding. Not a big deal; I had occasion to run out for something later on and took the opportunity to do the long slog up, gasping as I always do on floor 3 (or 4, if you don’t count ground). Best of all, I had my jeans on for the first time in weeks and found that my belt slipped down a notch without me even noticing. That’s the first confirmation I’ve had that all my work is paying off, and it felt damned good.

Stuffed my brain with more Dutch words. Wishing for the thousandth time I had a job or a husband or boyfriend or anyone or thing to get me out of the house and talking more. The info I studied today all had to do with job related ideas; not something a technically unemployed person comes up against every day. And that’s my problem: so much of what I’m studying is not something I use every day, so the knowledge is hazy and gets forgotten easily. It IS a lot of what other people talk about, so I have to learn it first to know what the fuck people are saying -! Kind of a Catch 22. Just have to buckle down, repeat the lessons a few times, and try to use the words asap. Nothing cements in knowledge for me like using a word various times, in different conversations and contexts.

It’s come to mind that this is what I need to convey to my new teacher if he has any hope of remaining my teacher. My old teacher seemed to understand that about me without me having to tell him. Either that, or we were always on the same wavelength. It worked really well for me; he’d allow me to read and study at my own pace, from all the sources available. When I was ready to try out a new word I’d do it with hesitation, waiting for confirmation that I got it right or correction if I messed it up. Then I’d move on from there – but anyone paying attention would easily hear I used what I knew as much as possible. Give me something new to chew on, let me mull it over, try it out, give me encouragement, and viola! Idea learned. Throwing a hundred new ideas and words at me all at once and expecting me to just be able to batt them back at you without blinking an eye is beyond me. Sorry; I guess I’m not THAT smart or that kind of smart.

And that’s perfectly fine. I want strong language skills, not fast language skills. I’ve heard fast language skill users, and they don’t speak clearly. They can’t write for shit. A lot can’t read. I want it ALL, everything the language can give me and I’m not willing to take one bite less.

Been observing myself as much as possible lately. Not easy when I’m in it, but I’m doing my best. I noticed that imagined scenarios always turned bleak. My thoughts over this new teacher always include him snubbing me. My thoughts over the upcoming volunteer work for this weekend’s festival were similar. I was sure they’d just not call me. Especially after the first phone call, when I had to ask for English. But no. Got a call last night. Very friendly, very happy I’m willing to give my time. I’m wondering if everything that set me off last week in my language lesson was all in my head. Imagined. Things that looked and felt like triggers, so that’s the way I reacted. Frankly, I don’t know. Which brings me right back to my need to observe. Everything. It’s important to not discount myself. If I’m feeling triggered left and right, well, that’s no place to put myself even IF it’s not intended. On the other hand, if the intention is not there, I’ve no right to just go off on anyone.

Oh, I’m right back to standing up to my sister. I KNOW that’s at the heart of this. That evil, evil, bitch.

She’s not here. It’s not happening. She can’t get to you. This isn’t that. Stop it¬†right now.

*groan* Think I found the hot spot in my emotional baggage of the moment…

Oooooh yeah.

Handhold: I’m right. She’s not here. The nightmares my mind is conjuring aren’t¬†actually what’s happening. Handhold: I’ve got the power – and the right – to say no. To walk away. Handhold: I have available, viable alternatives. Handhold: Snap decisions are the weakest. I want strength. Remember that. Handhold: I AM getting stronger each and every day. Handhold: I AM learning new words and ideas each and every day. Handhold: I CAN do this, no matter what my fears are telling me. Handhold: I AM doing this. Every single minute.

Can’t say I’ve reached the top, but I did get to a ledge. And damn it, I’m clinging on.