Kept writing yesterday. Whatever was triggered in me just kept going.

Had another message from my uncle. Naturally. I knew he was testing the waters with his first message. Now he cheerily writes ‘Haven’t heard from you in a while! How are you?’ as if he never insulted me, we never had that online argument, and everything is just peachy. Been thinking of replying with ‘Learning to accept your beloved sister terrorized and physically abused me as a child. How are you?’ but that just opens too many cans of worms. I will probably leave it at ‘Taking care of myself; hopefully you are doing the same’ which should both answer his query and shut him the fuck up. It is once again noteworthy to say the timing of my uncle’s queries is oddly coincidental. I am far more likely to hear something from my family while I confront an uncomfortable truth about my past than I am any other day of the week. I post nothing of my inner struggle on social pages. And they are the last people on this planet to whom I would talk about this blog. So there’s no way they can check or know anything; it’s just that sick and twisted spider sense my family has. They know when their prey is weakest.

Reassured myself several times that it was okay to remember. I feel fairly certain that I woke from a memory/dream yesterday, the one I don’t want to remember. The one that really fucked me up. Zero recall in my conscious mind. But that’s okay. I know I remember it; I can feel it in my body. My mind will reveal it to me when I feel safe enough.

And I am safe. Safer than I’ve ever been. Able to completely cut off every member my DNA family if that’s what I choose to do. The stalker can’t find me. No one can get to me. No one can bully their way into my life and turn it upside down. I am safe. Safe. And I have more support than I’ve ever had before. Doctors, a few friends, my brother…the number is still small, but it’s huge compared to what it was. I am safe enough to begin to claim my rightful heritage: that of an abused child. That is not to say I want to wallow in it; not at all. But I need a place to start from, and this place is the best and surest foothold I’ve found. Admitting it is the first hurdle.

My mother’s ghost has been haunting me. She stands in front of me, her eyes wide, as she spews out excuse after excuse and denial after denial. I never hurt you! I never told you you couldn’t study acting! And the truth is, no, she never said ‘you can’t study acting’. She just spend decades coldly telling me through her vocal inflections, word choice, and body language that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t do it, that I could never, ever be the best at anything. She convinced me I was a loser before I even tried. She convinced me so well that I’m still trying to un-convince myself. And the physical abuse? Again, no, she never hit me as a small child. As a teen, yes. But she found many ways to cover up her abuse, many handy excuses to use.

And that bitch of a ghost falls utterly silent when I parade out the long line of neglect. All the illnesses I suffered through and was blamed for. ‘It’s your own fault’. The bad reactions to medicine, leaving me so weak I was barely conscious on the bathroom floor. The RA – not being able to use my hands, not being able to walk, so much pain I couldn’t do anything. Time after time after time. From small child to young adult, and always the neglect, the lack of care or support, the complete unwillingness to even take me to a doctor when I needed it.

Go to hell, C. Go to hell and suffer for a few eternities. Then we’ll talk.

I’m glad she suffered while alive, and I’m only sad that I didn’t take more glee in it while it happened! I wish those last three years would have been ten. Or twenty. Longer. Oh, live forever in that ball of fear I knew you retreated into! Stay there, and torment yourself. You deserve to have me taunting you outside your cage and telling you it’s your own fault. I’ll be magnanimous and say nothing, just so long as you do your time. Just don’t expect me to keep the silence any longer. Don’t expect me to avoid the ugly truth anymore. And when the full memory of that ultimate terror comes back to me, we might have another little conversation.

I accept that I’m angry as hell. I accept it’s so big that I have to compartmentalize it, pull it out in small pieces to chew on. Once again: that’s okay. No one can do this for me, no one can tell me how to do it, so however I do it, it’s okay. I will accept no less of a judgement for myself.

There is no right or wrong answer. No way to get 100% correct. In effect, there is no zero. No point you can put your finger on and say ‘Yep; this is it’. And no matter how wise we like to think ourselves, we’re still pretty damned ignorant. About ourselves and the world(s) we live in.

It’s all just soup.


The perfect slave

Can’t stop shaking. Much worse than normal shivers or shakes. Like palsy or I had a stroke.


Woke up crying. 5 am, in bed, crying yourself awake.


I will happily murder the remainder of my mother’s family, too.

Here it is. I knew I wasn’t feeling it. I knew there was more to it. My head could process the hate but my body couldn’t.

Why I am so sad?

Ah, who gives a fuck? Get it out of your system. Of course you’re fucking depressed; look at your life. Look at what you were taught. Look at how you were and are treated. Surprised you didn’t pop sooner than this.

There is nowhere to go when your mind fucks with you. Nowhere you can hide, nowhere that’s bright enough or fast enough or overwhelming enough to take over that tyrant in your head, showing you those things you don’t want to see.

I feel so damned alone.

And it’s all so sad. Those wasted years, not understanding why I was doing what I was doing, why I felt the way I felt. I’m bright, I’m accomplished, I’ve done some great things and I can’t take any of it in. Just the negatives. Just the shit, please. I’m used to that.

Today’s fantasy of choice is a gun. Usually my mind sees knives. Sees me stabbing my family, again and again, over and over and over until they’re dead, dead, dead and can never say another nasty thing to me again. Today, it’s a pistol. Shoot them in the head, shoot them several more times because they fucking deserve it, shoot them, shoot them, shoot them down. And oh, yes, I’m fully fucking aware now is a bad time to say this and I’m fully fucking aware of how sensitive the subject of weapons is right now. This is all fantasy in my head, and it tells me something about myself: I’ve upped the ante. I might let someone live if I stabbed them with a knife. Shooting them is an up. An increase in anger and rage. It also shows me I’m starting to disconnect from them – I no longer have to “feel” the knife go into their bodies in my fantasies; they are not worth that close of contact. Shoot them before they can get to me. Shoot them so I don’t even have to touch them. Disconnect: these people are not my family, they do not love me, and I will not allow myself to be hurt by them any longer.

C is so fucking lucky she didn’t live to see this day.

Because I’d fucking kill her.

The whole thing with the film crew is still eating away at me. Shouldn’t. I know that. I “should” just let it go. Isn’t that the very first thing to pop out of the mouths of those assholes who don’t struggle with this? “Let it go”, like we want to hang onto this, want to wake up crying and shaking, want to go through any of this. Oh, fuck you! It hurts, and I’m blaming myself, and that hurts even more but it’s what I’m fucking USED to because that’s the way I was raised. Sorry I’m such a fucking head case. Sorry you don’t have a fucking clue and can’t even fucking imagine what it is to feel this way.

Most of all, I’m sorry you’re such a sad sack of shit that you lack basic empathy.

I’ve never had many friends. Well…one time. When I was the cocaine connection for everyone between 19 and 30. Then, my mother was pleased because so many people called me to hang out or come to this party or do that. It was all cocaine, mother. They didn’t want me there for me. They were using me, just like you. …I’ve tried to have more friends. I find it really hard. Hard to make that connection on my side, and harder still to have that connection returned. I get a lot of pleasant acquaintances in my life. People I can hang with, if the situation warrants. People I can talk to on some level or other. But those acquaintances never seem to grow into anything else. We never overcome that awkwardness, never really open up to each other. Part of the problem is just me. I don’t have tons of cash to go to this event or that, and even if I did there’s my health to consider. Say no enough times and people stop asking. I try to explain that, but…well. People have loads of reasons for not understanding it fully, and I hope most of them never find out what reality looks like when that kind of shit manifests in your life.

Some of them, tho, could do with a good kick in the pants from reality.

I want to kill my mother.

The shaking has stopped. Good thing, too. Almost spilled my coffee a couple of times.

How deep the rage goes. Pretty damned deep. It’s in the animal, in that knee-jerk reaction part of me far beyond the intellectual daydreams of my mind. It is in prey part of me, and it ignites the fight or flight reaction. I understand why the little girl froze. She was too small. No surprise, then, my recurring nightmares of being hunted by giants or spy helicopters in the sky. I was overpowered right from the start. Who wouldn’t have been? I grew into the mindset of being a slave, with no free will of my own. That wasn’t my fault. Nor was it my fault to take as long as I did to wake up. It’s a lot to wake up to, and I had zero tools to deal with it.

My mother physically abused me. It was covert; I was not the child on the playground in dirty clothes who sported a black eye or cigarette burn. I was smartly dressed, in ironed clothes, my hair pulled back so tight it hurt. I was the child from the good family, the respected family. I was smart, shy, and prone to outbursts. I couldn’t play well with others and I didn’t have many friends. 

In many ways, I was the perfect slave…

Crack that nut

Jokes that fell flat. Worry that my film friends have moved beyond me and no longer want to be my friends. Yet another message from my uncle. The amount of chemical backlash in my body from sheer terror is massive.

Goddess, where do I start?

Sent out a group message to the film crew. Made a joke about the director just telling R he was cut from the film (2 months late) and the ensuing conversation. Received one reply: we already knew about that. No laughs, no giggles, just cut short. That’s the biggest thing on my mind. I know they’re busy with job hunting, etc., but…well. I expected at least a giggle emoji in reply. Especially from S, the casting director to whom I thought/hoped I had a real connection. Maybe the time of that friendship is over. That happens. Circumstances make you friends, and circumstances can pull friendships apart. My biggest fear is that I’ll get an even bigger bite from someone in the group, some comment along the line of ‘Gee, the film is over. You’re an old woman. You’re nice and all, but we’re not really friends.’ That fear prevents me from asking if something is going on, if I’ve misstepped or said something that threw a wrench into the whole thing.

On the flip side, ran into B, a fellow ex-pat who’s been coming to my script readings and calls me by my pen name, and O, her friend. Saw them at the library yesterday when I renewed my membership. Talked for over two hours, left with hugs and hopes that we’ll get together after I’ve recovered from surgery. That felt good. My bro doesn’t like B nor her husband. That sucks; I can’t come home and say ‘I had a great conversation with B’ because he doesn’t like her. Always a nasty comment in return. I like B, and her husband. They’re very pleasant with me, very understanding and supportive. And I feel a real need to have a few friends. People who know ME, who like ME. Not people I’ve met through my brother, who are my brother’s approved friends. I’ve done that. For years and years. And it’s helped keep me safe. But now I have to do things differently. I’m moving beyond the sphere of influence my brother has and into a separate arena. Music, fine. My brother’s heavily involved, very educated and skilled, and very adept at putting projects together. I nod to his expertise. But he’s nothing to do with theatre, or writing. I need other people now. Other supports, other critiques – even if my brother doesn’t like them.

I’m not willing to exchange one kind of control for another. I listen to my brother’s gripes, his opinions. I take that as advice: be aware. Be careful. On certain levels, these people could be untrustworthy. I acknowledge that as a truth. And I hope, with my brother’s constant judgements, to hold an even keel and a steady head as I work my way through this jungle of networking.

Sickening jolts of fear running through my body. It’s like a timed flush, or a menopausal hot flash. I can feel it coming on. Feel the chemical dump, my heart rate race. I hate it. And I breathe deeply, do my best to calm myself. Got so bad at one point last night I couldn’t talk. Only breathe. Telling myself it’s like pain; it’ll pass, just get through it. And I do get through them, but the next time it hits me it’s just as bad, just as frightening, just as sickening.

Message from my uncle. Meh. What do I say? Yet another attempt – a blatantly obvious attempt, at least to me – to test the lines of communication between us. It’s what my family does: insult you to the hilt, ’til you can’t take it anymore and throw a fit, then come timidly back, testing the waters to see if you’ll still bite their head off. They never apologize, never approach the topic head-on. Don’t speak of the past; pretend it never happened. I hate that. Hate that approach, hate everything about it. One more way to enforce silence.

I will no longer be silent.

My mother – my uncle’s “saintly” sister and beloved nurse anesthetist – physically abused me. The physical abuse was covert; I never had a black eye or broken arm. But it was there. It happened. Of course, the physical abuse was just a set up for the mind fuck she pulled on me. Still not quite used to that look of shock that comes over someone’s face when I tell them some of my childhood secrets. She did that to you? Yeah. Yeah, she did. Repeatedly.

And the shock registered here, in the Netherlands, is far beyond anything else I’ve seen. Because they really care. Mental health isn’t an “issue” to be feared, and people with problems aren’t freaks. Many people have sought counseling for things that, when I hear them, I can’t help but have a moment of ‘wow, you thought THAT was bad?!?’. So when I tell them about things like the old adage of ‘you’re too smart to make such a dumb mistake’, or the fact that the first time I had my hair washed at a salon I was convinced they did it wrong because it didn’t hurt, they look at me with real bewilderment.

Getting well…it’s kind of like writing. You start with just spewing out everything. But eventually you get around to editing. You get down to the nitty gritty. I began my journey with my stories, no judgements, no classifications, just ‘this is what happened to me’. Then, I adopted the idea of physical abuse. Just the idea; I could write it, but I couldn’t say it. Now, I’ve edited it down. I can lead with ‘my mother was physically abusive to me’. It’s hard to say. Hard to say just that and nothing else. But that’s the kernel of truth behind all my stories.

Crack that nut, and everything else gets a little easier.

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.

It never really stops

It is done.

I’ve a few typos and formatting mistakes to fix. But the story is done. Did a full read through of all three parts plus the prologue. I’ll be the first to say it: brilliant. I’ve woven this story brilliantly. Each piece is tense and frightening. Each piece stands alone. Do them front to end, though, and an entirely new picture emerges. Pieces of a puzzle. A magnificent, full length, 90+ page puzzle.

The excitement over finishing it matches the flatness I feel now that it’s done. What the fuck am I gonna do now? Now that I no longer need to think scenes through. Now that all considerations are done and over with. I’ve been working on this for so long – the original first story was concocted in my brain over a year ago. It just never stopped. I put it on pause during Taman and my other work. But it never stopped.

Good Goddess! I may need to go through a mourning period, if that makes any sense. Feels like a big part of me just…turned over in bed, got up, and walked away.

Did not wake up to a merry email in my writer’s account this morning. And yes, for the first time in my life, I was expecting it. The theatre group in the states was scheduled to meet on Friday, and the director said she’d be getting back to me after that. Hoping their work ran late, she was tired, and she decided she’d wait until after she slept before writing those emails. But meh. I know those are all patch kits against a wave of disappointment threatening to leak thru my dyke. The longer it takes to hear from someone, the more likely it’s a rejection.

I’ll put that off. The disappointment can wash over me when I actually hear that no, my work wasn’t selected. For now…try and topple me. I don’t think you’ll get too far. I know what I did on the re-writes of the first part. I know what I just finished. It’s good.

Woke up and opened my personal email to have an old picture of my mother stare back at me, with a message from my uncle: “My niece K posted this on Facebook. A beautiful woman, inside and out.” *projectile vomit* Leave it to the damned family (maybe I should start calling them The Damned Family) to get all sappy and sentimental at this time of year. They’re all drinking too much. *sigh* And I know – I know! – what narcissists do. How they twist shit around. Still. I’ve been playing a dangerous game, occasionally checking in on family members’ pages. They work so hard to make everything seem normal. They make me doubt myself. My own memories. The only thing that keeps me sane is that very, very old memory I pulled up of not knowing whether good mommy or bad mommy was walking into the room – and the accompanying fear. No. Not fear. Terror. I was bloody terrified of my mother. That can not be written off as a ‘drug induced paranoia’ or whatever else they call my claims (guessing on that, but considering I’ve been called a drug addict I think it’s a good stab in the dark). That’s a very early memory, and sadly, very real. I’ve never brought any of this up to them. Why? I’ve already experienced my sister calling me a liar when I said I remembered things from a very young age. You’re lying! No one remembers when they were that young! Yeah. That protest has denial written all over it.

Still having pain in the right side in my mouth The tooth that had the root canal work is the worst, but there’s also a tooth on my lower jaw that hurts. Hard to brush around those areas. Still taking morphine. If this is what I think it is, it’s just got to stop fucking hurting for a while. So keep drugging it. Tuesday I’ll go to the doc’s office and set up an appointment with this physiotherapist she wants me to see. Soft foods, and as little stress as I can manage. Hope it quiets down soon.

I have no hope of my brain quieting down anytime soon. Already dithering between several possible new scripts. The work on Taman has made me want to write more historical dramas, and with an eye towards future work for the same competition, I’m now thinking about Mata Hari and Maya Deren. I’ve also got an idea written down that’s been bugging me. Another sort of thriller. I’ll probably explore that first; several strong scenes are already in my head and won’t stop replaying over and over.

Want to re-set. Take the last day or two of the year and fuck around, without thinking. I need it. Want some new games, too, but my computer system is too out of date to handle anything new. Oh, well. Make do with what I’ve got. Or try.

Come back to the world, Beeps! Your brother needs you!

Yeah. That’s another thing. My bro’s let me write and write and write, without thought towards him or anything else. He waited until I read everything through, then we talked. And I’ve gotta be present, in the here and now, and work a bit of magic for him. Support him, because he’s gonna need it. Cheerlead a little. Pick up a bit more. Help him reach his goals, ’cause in the long run, we both need that.

The door is closing on 2017. It’s been a long and sometimes painful road. But I’ve made more progress this year than ever before. Personally and professionally. And I can acknowledge that.

It’s a good way to end this chapter of life, and start the next. Because it never really stops.

The tracks of my tears

Around noon yesterday I headed to the toilet and saw in the mirror some dark, wet splashes on my T-shirt. Didn’t know until that moment that I’d been crying. I continued to cry…hot, heavy tears that literally leaked out of my eyes.

I was mourning the death of my dreams.

Step back: yesterday I had my one-one-one language lesson. Or should I say I sat in one a one-on-one conversation. The other student showed up, having been told that she didn’t have to pay for the lesson. I had to pay or I’d get kicked out. She gets a free ride. A bit of reverse discrimination that doesn’t sit well with me. It was obvious my teacher preferred talking to the other student. So little was said to me that I actually didn’t even have to be present or try to weave coherent sentences together for answers. And I heard two things. One, I need to calm down. Two, everyone is bloody well convinced I’m a fucking genius and with that conviction comes the expectation for me to do more.

Nothing – and I mean nothing – could have sent me back into 17 year old mode me like that. It’s not something I expected or was even aware of. It was my tears that tipped me off: I’ve been triggered, and I’ve got something going on.

This burden I feel to do more, be more, simply because I catch on quickly or register high on an IQ test is overwhelming. Making mistakes isn’t good enough: I’m too smart for that. Doing average isn’t good enough: I’m too smart for that. Doing only what’s expected of me isn’t good enough: I’m capable of more because I’m so fucking smart.

Oh fuck you fuck you fuck you!

Constant nagging. Constant expectations – and constant disappointment in those around me when they judge I haven’t lived up to their expectations.

I. hate. it.

It was like a memory bell going off in my head – aha! Yes! Now I remember. Now I remember why. And thoughts of teachers mingled with memories of my mother, and I heard echoes of those terrible words: You can’t. You can’t keep writing in English and master Dutch. You can’t be an actress or a musician because you’re too smart. You can’t do what you love because. Because.

I was told I need to establish boundaries. Yeah, says my brain, if I was capable of establishing boundaries I doubt I would count the rapes I experienced as three. Three times I’ve been violated. Plus the guy who liked to hit me, the stalker, and so much other sexual harassment and lack of boundary issues that it’s bloody well evident to ME that I have a real problem saying “no”.

And my heart and chest felt full. Congested, like your nose feels when you’ve got a cold. I found it difficult to take a deep breath. The full force of that terrible day – the day my mother quashed my dreams – came back to me. I felt every bit of me break. And finally the word I have so much trouble saying came screaming out at me in full lit-up neon letters:


You want boundaries? Here it is – and if you try and cross it again I’ll rip your goddamn arms out of their sockets.

…And why do other people need boundaries? Don’t they know how fucking rude they are? How wrong it is to harass, harangue, belittle, scold, or shame another person? Have other people NO empathy whatsoever?

Did I not say I was a writer? Did I not make it clear how necessary this is to me? Did you not see my face light up and my eyes glow as I spoke of my work? Did you not grasp that this is my reason for living?

*scoff* Put it aside! Like that’s gonna happen.

Ended up talking to my bro, getting it out of me. Went to the gym and burned hard; passed the 2km mark at 15 minutes. Spent the evening quietly, soothing my brain every time this issue resurfaced (and boy, did it resurface!).

What’s really bugging me is this insistent belief I have that I can do it all. Write my plays in English like a madwoman and turn around and ace Dutch. I’ve just been easy on myself. Lazy. I can do more. And the truth is, I can do more. I have, many times in the past. But…I also become a raging lunatic. Crazed. Angry all the time because I’m always doing something I have to do, or feel obligated to do, or shamed into doing, rather than doing what I want to do.

I mean…who’s life is this, anyway?

In the midst of all this desire to achieve, I’m in real danger of losing site of my main goal: happiness. I want to master Dutch. I want to write plays. I want to get in better shape. Goals aplenty; I’ve never had problems with that. But drive me too much, work me too hard, and I forget the basic axiom: be happy. I consider it a personality fault. A weakness. I’ve seen other people do more with less. Though, to be honest, I can’t speak as to their level of happiness.

All I’m really left with is a desperate wish that people would stop telling me how smart they think I am.

Stop expecting so much from me. Why is it you can be delighted with the offerings of morons, yet look on my contributions and efforts with a ‘eh, you could have done better’ attitude? Don’t I deserve a little cheerleading?

Don’t you see how much work I put in to look so smart?

…This is nothing I asked for. I was born with it. And, like so many of us, I pay the price for what I was born with every damned day of my life. And. it. sucks.

That much is evident in the tracks of my tears.

I’ll take the stars

Well. I took my time off right to the edge. Don’t think I could have sat around on my ass for another hour without going ballistic. Headed to the gym, ready to kill anyone in my way or myself if no easy victim showed up between home and there. Did not hold back – couldn’t hold back. Impressed myself with my iron stomach muscles, easily lifting both legs off the floor and holding for a count of 10. Impressed myself again on the cross trainer, blowing thru an 8 minute kilometer and topping 3.7 km at 30 minutes. And then the free weights – DAMN, girl! Is that muscle I see in your arms? Lift, lift, pant, think about the meaning of life, lift, pant some more.

I’m going back for more today.

My rheumatologist is happy. My condition is stable, and my joints show no signs of decay since my last x-rays. Yippee. Even said I could try to take the methotrexate down if I felt up to it. Assured her that although my hair loss continues, I know I can’t go without these drugs – and if I do go bald, I’m tattooing my entire head. Got that gold star I always want from someone plastered on my forehead: good on me for exercising, good on me for weight loss, good on me for doing so much. I needed that.

Upset with myself. Realize I’ve got a mother-thing going with one of my teachers. They gave us a spot check test just before class ended – those pesky irregular verbs. Oh, the look of disappointment that crossed my teacher’s face when I didn’t get the answer correct! And the gut wrenching hit of guilt that washed over me – I didn’t do enough, I didn’t try hard enough, I’m not good enough or smart enough or – … That shit has got to stop. Right here and now. I am NOT learning Dutch from a mother substitute. I refuse. For the last 36 hours I’ve been telling myself I’m doing what I can, when I can. I’m learning faster and faster, more and more. I’ll get it. I’ll get it. But Gods! It feels like one of my old nightmares. I get surrounded by these huge, disappointed faces (in my head; I’m not actually surrounded by monster faces – tho mentally, that’s the picture I have). I feel small, ashamed, and trapped. It’s not a good combination. Working to shrink those disappointed faces down to mini-size. Being as triggered as I am, it’s a real challenge.

Bolstering myself up with my newly grown confidence in my English writing. Think I’ll take time – this morning, while it’s quiet – to read part three. Haven’t had the time to do so since I banged out the first draft. I’m already reviewing it in my head, making mental notes of changes to add. But I want to just experience it, front to end, without interruption. How well did I capture what I see?

Had a good, long, hearty laugh yesterday. Was talking to my bro (big surprise) about social situations. We’ve both got our problems. Mentioned my lack of filters, how I can’t stop blurting out these deep truths. My brother laughed, and said ‘What do you expect? You learned your social skills from an agoraphobe.’ Yeah. Dad was very anti-social. More than six people in a room and he got real nervous. As a kid, I didn’t realize this. I knew Dad was less social than my mother. But he didn’t talk about it. It wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 and we had tickets to a show downtown that I realized Dad had problems in public situations. He became more and more wound up the further into the city we drove. He was tense, angry, swearing a lot. After the show was even worse: the crowd let out, and I thought Dad was going to have an heart attack. And Dad…he said whatever was on his mind. I grew up thinking politics, religion, and sex were good to go topics at a dinner table. Had a lot of missteps with friends and acquaintances. Still do. Dad welcomed my input, welcomed me to these cultural and philosophical debates. Even, I think, wanted me to speak my mind. Why was that? Now that I think about it, why did he do that? I’m replaying memories in my head right now, and I see him encouraging me to lay out a sound argument. Back up my statements with facts. I don’t remember him acting that way with anyone else in the family. My oldest brother would say something in support of what Dad said. He’d get a nod, maybe an additional exclamation. My sister would add in her two cents: generally a snide comment, again in support of my father’s statement. And then Dad would look at me. Challenge me with his eyes. Say it, his eyes would plead. Bring out your views. Tell me how wrong I am. As I grew older, these debates would get hotter. My logic improved, my access to facts to back up my statements was wider, and I think I was cutting too close to the center at times.

Did my father think that at some point I’d change? That money would change me? Or was that part of the original challenge I read in his eyes: can you stay true to who you are right now for your entire life? Can you hold onto your innocence, your faith, your dreams, in the face of everything life has to throw at you?

In the end, Dad was very clear about what he wanted for me. I want you to be happy, he said. Over and over. Not rich, not famous, not thin, not smart, not skilled, not useful, but happy. I know happiness is a mode of travel, not a destination. I can look at life with stars in my eyes or a sour pussed expression that will ruin everything before I even touch it.

I’ll take the stars.


Down time for RA. One of the worst things ever was growing up not having this disease diagnosed. I experienced a lot of pain, and was told I was being over dramatic. Truth was, my bones were minutely fracturing and my inflammation at a level that should have put me in hospital. But I didn’t know. I listened to the hateful people in my life who blamed me. I told myself I was weak and stupid. So I’ve still got a real problem with taking time off for pain I didn’t actually cause. This time, it’s in a foot, and bad enough I’ve been limping. Lovely.

In ultra paranoid mode. It’s the last week before the play, and the most dangerous time period for me. I’ll be working every night, up late, with people (who all seem to have sick kids or sick spouses or a nasty cough themselves). That’s a recipe for disaster. Washing my hands dozens of times every day. Pushing juice. Picking meals for health value rather than taste.

Heard from the publisher I was pursuing for my brother’s book. Sadly, they passed. Can’t shake this feeling someone on their side fucked up; we were passed off to another person, and he seemed to discount it out of hand with a ‘we already have enough music theory books’ statement. Which seems odd to me, because they DON’T have a book like this. Theory books are written from piano keyboard standpoints. This one works from guitar and bass fretboards, too. But, okay. I’ll move on. Have pages and pages of publishers to check out.

Have not yet addressed the issue with my uncle. Waiting until after the play. I don’t need the distraction. Must admit to feeling half and half – half anger, half pity. I’m still angry he thinks he has the right to rile me up on my own page. But I pity him, too. Took a look at his FB page, and can I say, it’s little wonder he comes to MY page to get some attention. Nonetheless, it’s got to stop. Lucky for him, that top fresh edge of my rage has worn away. I’ll be gentler now.

…Got to admit to a growing sense of…disappointment, I guess. I feel flat and let down. Almost depressed. Not sure why. If anything, I should be feeling up and excited this last week of rehearsals. Maybe I’m just tired, and the RA flare up doesn’t help. Maybe I’ve been working myself too hard, or worrying too much. I look forward to performing again, and yet…yet I don’t.

Coming to some hard realizations, too. Deeper levels of understanding. I’m beginning to really understand my 20-something self, why I did what I did. Started calling my mother by her first name in conversation and in my head. Found it helps me disconnect a bit from that ‘but she’s my mother; I’m supposed to love her’ shit. C was a bitch, and should have NEVER had children. Full stop. Found an article about daughters of unloving mothers. Had that ‘oh my god, they’re talking about me’ thing happen with a couple of items they noted, particularly a bit about children not knowing if the good mommy or the bad mommy was present. That hit home. Hard. I’ve also been admitting to myself how often I sabotaged my success, or turned away from opportunities because I just didn’t feel worthy. I take responsibility for these actions. But I lay the blame on C. She boxed my mind in, she made me feel helpless and worthless. I hate her for it.

Unfortunately, there ain’t no do-overs in life. I can’t go back and reclaim those lost opportunities. I can’t go back and make myself feel worthwhile. Wish I could. I’d like to see how far I might have actually gone if I was unfettered by self-hate. If I was given just a tiny bit of real support and love.

I am so jealous of people with loving families!

But even if I could go back, I know now the only things that would change would be how quickly fights would escalate and how early I left home never to return or talk to C again. Because she wouldn’t change. The rest of my family doesn’t ever change; why should she? It’s not like she wanted me. She didn’t. And she sure as fuck wouldn’t change her martyrdom for her children. I could only go back and tell them to fuck off. Say the things I should have said. I couldn’t spare myself hurt or pain, because that would still happen. I could just get out of it sooner, stop acting out against C earlier.

It’s difficult to change this aspect of myself. To stop hating myself so much.

Hell! It’s difficult to just stop.

A Nod to Vanity

Forgot for a few days to check with the theatre group about all those pictures. Signed in and found the above, set as THE advertisement for the play.

Yes, that’s me on the left.

After all my moaning and thinking I wouldn’t even MAKE the promotional picture, here it is. Just me and my acting partner (there’s 8 of us in the cast). Can’t help but feel it’s a nod from the group, here’s the people you really want to come and see. Popped a note off to the director’s girlfriend, who did the poster, and thanked her for all her work. Yeah, she’s got PhotoShop and yeah, it’s a simple posterization of the original photo with a few words thrown over the whole thing. Nonetheless, I know what it’s like to work on the behind the scenes – often a thankless job. So I thanked her, and told her I was really jazzed and honored.

So far, no reply.

I’ve thought about using the pic as the desktop for my computer. I probably won’t; that’s more than a nod to vanity, that’s an outright leg-spread.

Can I say, though, that I’m more than pleased to see this picture of myself and say I DON’T view myself as fat? Maybe I’m not a stick, but I’m not a balloon, either. Photographic proof. I have this bad habit of hanging my sister’s body off my head in my mind – obese. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been around many full-length mirrors. Maybe it’s because my mother treated me as a mini version of my sister: matching clothes, hair, and even (reputedly) naming me after her.

But I’m NOT my sister. Nor my mother. That’s a unique person in that picture. Truly unique.

One other thing. I usually don’t pull my hair back from my face like that. Since I was 15, my bangs generally hang low over my face, half obscuring it. It makes me feel safe. Hidden. But I like the way I look with my hair pulled back. It’s open, inviting. Friendly. To me, that looks like someone you could walk up to and begin a conversation. Ask for directions. Comment on the weather while waiting for the metro.

Am I finally seeing myself the way other people see me?

Got to the gym for exercise. Feel much better for doing it. Blew all the calories I burned by buying and eating several fancy little cakes. I know! I know. Counter-productive. And it’s an old coping mechanism. But I have to admit, the past few days with the memory of feeling good, performing well, and now the picture…It’s brought up a few things for me. More than a few things. In fact, it’s brought me right back to my formative years. That frightened and angry kid. Frightened because I half believed my mother, and thought maybe I wasn’t good enough. Angry because I knew it wasn’t right. You don’t do that to someone you care about. So I turned to that old comfort: sugary treats. I’m not proud of it. But I can admit the truth.

And the pic threw me. Got too excited after seeing it. Too wound up. Set my head off on that manic streak again. I allowed it, again. In fact, I vow to do it completely different from the manner I was brought up. Acting wasn’t something that taxed you, and if you took time off after performing you were lazy and weak. That’s not true, of course. And it drove me to many unnecessary illnesses while growing up. Now, it’s an automatic down for several days. It’s an automatic assumption I’ve caught something and need to fill up on vitamins, juice, and hearty food. And the manic thoughts…let them come. They vanish, eventually. Fade back into the half-dreams I console myself with as I fall asleep. But they are not wrong, and I am not wrong for having them. Nor am I wrong for being so wound up after performing that I can’t sleep. Many performers go through that.

I feel bad for my parents, on some levels. They were small, provincial. Their worlds were tiny. My understanding of that brings compassion: they didn’t know any better. I recognize they did the best they could with the day to day. Still angry over the outcome, though. Won’t make any bones about that.

This is all so new. Feeling good about me, and what I’m doing. Taking care of myself while feeling good about all of it. Reaching new levels of understanding. Feeling like I’m letting go of some stuff. Does the past matter now? It gives me a certain perspective. And that perspective colors everything I do. So, yes. But also no. My mother’s doubts, her lack of support and self-centeredness…that’s melting into the background.

I’m not afraid to look in the mirror these days. I see ME. Still beautiful, still vital, always talented.

That kind of talk would have meant a sharp reprimand when I was a kid. Vain! Don’t be vain! There’s always someone better than you, more talented than you, funnier than you. You’ve nothing to be vain about!

But a nod to vanity isn’t always a bad thing, either.