Nice to meet you

Three hours to go before my appointment with Dr T.

My bro almost forgot band practice last night. Good thing he’s set his phone up with reminders. Ping. Left himself enough time to grab his stuff and head out without being late. I found myself unexpectedly alone for the evening.

First thing: check for hot water. Yep. Then I did something gross. Something I can’t wholeheartedly recommend. Two egg yolks, olive oil, whisk, and on the hair. I’ve used straight olive oil, but not this thick mixture. Just kept wondering if I’d end up pulling scrambled eggs out of my hair. I didn’t, of course. The smell wasn’t something I found pleasant. And the fact that 20 minutes later my hair was shellacked into a hard helmet didn’t help matters. The result, however, is pretty damned good. Cut the frizziness way down, and my hair feels much softer. And you can’t beat the cost.

Showered, watched a film, tried a new BBC show, read some Dutch before lights out. Most importantly: I wasn’t so squirrelly I couldn’t sit still. Got a bit restless during the BBC show (didn’t really like it), but even that was on the low side.

Been trying to marshall my thoughts. I’m not sure what to say to the doc today. I’m not waking up crying. That’s good. And I’m not so angry. All true. I don’t know…maybe I should just say it in English. I’m really trying to assimilate here, tho, so I feel the push to use the language no matter how much I struggle. But once again I’m seeing Dr T after a run of English and no Dutch. Gods! I wish I were one of those people who just ‘pick it up’. I’ve picked up a bit, but I can’t converse well.

What I want to say: I have a new level of understanding regarding my mother. I still haven’t forgiven her, and I realize I may never really forgive her. But I do understand her a bit more. I even feel pity and empathy for her. My anger is fading. That’s an important step. Similar with my sister; pretty sure I’ll never actually forgive her, but I see now how she was getting triggered with her own shit. The realizations I’ve come to regarding my family do not make me want to reconnect. Just the opposite; they’ve confirmed for me all the reasons why it’s better to have nothing to do with those people. I see, now, how sometimes my fears and anxieties were warranted and sometimes not. And I see why I was so confused. I was taught to be confused. Hurt, and told I was loved. Abused, and told I was spoiled. I was taught to not trust at a very early age. Do not trust your own perceptions; we will tell you what you should feel. All the while my truth was I couldn’t trust my own family, my own mother, and deep down I knew that.

Things to remember: the unaccepted truth makes you run. If you find yourself running, look for that truth. It won’t be easy; you’re running from it. You won’t want to look at it. It will be that thing in the corner of your eye. The thing that makes you uneasy when you’re alone. The thing that gives you those nightmares. The thing your mind flits over time and again so fast you might not even be aware of it.

Accept it, and stop running.

As if it were that easy, right? If it were easy, I would have done it years ago. If it were easy, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. But it’s one of those stupid things in life that once you get it, you do say to yourself ‘Hm! That was easy!’ because things just fall away.

Or maybe the doc just finally got the dosage right with my medication…

Sometime yesterday I blew out the last of this illness. I can feel the difference. Might hold off on the allergy pill for a bit. See if I can go without it. I feel ready to start that long journey back to good health.

My nails actually look good these days. I don’t paint them, but I have been keeping up with cuticle maintenance. Been keeping them filed and buffed, too. I’m not ashamed to show my hands. Now that it’s summer weather, I’ve even been working on my toenails.

I wake up and think about today. Not yesterday, or years ago. Today. What I’ll be doing, how I’m feeling – all very in the now.

It’s very different. No wonder some people seem to have so much time. They don’t think about the past the way I did. I couldn’t get OUT of the past. I was stuck there. I’m feeling more capable of moving on now. Maybe I won’t get things right. Hell! lol! I’m sure I won’t. But I’ll be doing it consciously. Thinking about the present. Seeing things as they are, not veiled by the dark truth I didn’t want to accept.

Honestly, I wish everyone could feel this way. It’s not happy, exactly, tho there are elements of joy in it. The joy of being free. Of having my mind free. The freedom – and power! – to stop those destructive thoughts before they take hold. There’s an excitement, too. Knowing that whatever I choose, this is a new path for me. I’m not bound by those old chains anymore. It’s liberating.

In some ways, I’m a brand new person. This is my first meeting with the doc.

Hi, Dr T. Nice to meet you.

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The Month of My Mother

There is no uglier sound on earth than a machine that whirls ’round and ’round. Chainsaws, weed-eaters, and dentists’ drills all fall into that category. You can hear the destruction in the notes they make: the standard note while working, that half to whole step up when they’re revved up, and most horrible of all, the half to whole step down when they encounter something tough and really begin to rip away at whatever it is they’re trying to destroy. And rip they do: tear, pull, yank, grind, shred, slash, and hack. They are not kind machines. They do not severe cleanly. I dislike them intensely.

But summer is here, so I’m hearing it a lot.

It’s May, and that means like it or not I just can’t get away from memories of my mother. May was her birthday, her anniversary with Dad, and Mother’s Day. I am being bombarded by Mother’s Day ads when I turn on the tv. Most of the tat they’re peddling looks like Valentine’s Day leftovers: pink and red, with hearts all over. Disgusting, mass produced crap that will end up in the garbage bin within a week. Did any of these businesses ever think of THAT underlying message when they designed their shit? Doubtful. But for the first time in many years I can think of my mother and not go ballistic. There is a mix of good and bad, certainly, and I finally have the strength to admit to both. I can give C a silent nod this year. No praise, no candy coated memories. Just a nod. She gave birth to me. She raised me. Hard jobs, both.

You know…I don’t actually remember the date my mother died. Some people do that. They burn the date of death into their brain and re-mourn every year. I’ve never had anyone die suddenly. The deaths I’ve witnessed have all been slow, years long affairs that in memory become “the death”. When did the death of my mother occur? When she was first diagnosed with colon cancer? When her bowel became obstructed and she had to have emergency surgery? When she actually swallowed the pills that sent her into her death coma? Her last breath? Or was it years earlier, when her symptoms began to show and she choose to ignore them? All of those years had death written all over them. In her eyes, her mannerisms, the way the family reacted. There was no one date.

And it’s sort of like BC and AD. There’s the time before all that. And then there’s the time after all of it. In between is fuzzy. How long it actually lasted…I’d guess three years. It was a bad three years. We never learned how to pull together as a family. Instead, we pulled apart.

Maybe that’s been for the best. I’m certain it is, actually. I do not want to think of where I’d be now if I’d stayed. It would not be pleasant, and happiness would remain a distant and unattainable thing.

But the tearing of my family was like that ugly machine sound: we couldn’t severe our ties cleanly, so we ripped each other up. It was – and remains to this day – nasty. I know I am not the only one with scars left over from it.

Oh, C. You should have never had children.

Been struggling with pain. My back’s been acting up, the gout in my foot is still bad, and I keep getting headaches. It’s all come on slowly – so slowly I’ve failed to pay attention to it until it came to a head and everything was there at once. Had problems getting comfortable in bed last night. Sent an email to my physiotherapist asking for an appointment. Trying to not stare at my computer screen all day (which is what I think is causing the headaches). Feeling rather crappy, and considering blowing off everything, taking a pain pill, and chillin’ with some good films.

What the fuck. It’s Saturday.

Been recording the Eurovision song contest and watching it the day after. Too many host inserts trying to be funny. Best to just record it and fast forward thru those bits. Have been very disappointed with what’s on offer until Hungary came on. Damn! A great metal band there. Haven’t liked any of the tipped favorites to win – Israel, Australia, Ireland. Ugh to all. Every single one of the ‘favorites’ are back to the tried and true Eurovision formula for a song. Israel’s banking on their kitsch. And then there are the politics: who’s in favor, who isn’t, who wants to win and who doesn’t. Pretty obvious on those fronts. From what I’ve seen, give it to Malta. They want to win, and they have the money to host it. Plus, they’re not on anyone’s hot list at the moment. No upheavals. No banning this country or that for whatever made up reason. Tonight’s the final. Might actually watch it live just to vote for the metal band.

Eight in the morning and I feel like I’ve been hacked by a chainsaw. My head hurts. My back hurts. My feet hurt. Down time is becoming more and more likely.

What the fuck is going on with me? Am I getting sick again? Do I have a brain tumor? Is this all a backlash against May, The Month of My Mother?

Shit.

No more ow

Gout. Wanna know why they call it that? Because if you’ve got it, you gotta say OW really loud. OW FUCKING OW. That’s gout. My left big toe is affected. Not my right foot, not my other toes, just the one. Feels like someone’s got it in a nut cracker and is trying to crush it. The pain’s been getting worse for days; a combination of summer coming on, lack of regular exercise, and my dumb luck. I’ll say it again: OW.

Walking despite the toe problem: check. Tiding up the house and keeping my personal space neat: check. Doing those pesky things like brushing my teeth and hair, or trying to look a little better than I generally do when I leave the house: check.

The Universe seems to be on board with my whole celebration this weekend. The powers that be resurrected our dead hoover. Last we checked it, it just sat there all quiet in its corner doing nothing. Got some SUCK power going again (maybe I should be worried). But in my wisdom I wanted my weekend free, so I did the housework yesterday. Four loads of dishes, hoover the place while the machine works, water the plants, take out garbage and recycling. The place isn’t perfect, but it’s better. And I feel better for it.

Headed outside for a walk. A check with the weather forecast told me yesterday was the only day possible for a pleasant walk; heat is returning with a vengeance (my toe could have told me THAT). I looked up at the blue sky. At the trees, with their leaves almost fully out. I said hello to everyone I passed and was rewarded with smiles and greetings in return (this is the only city I’ve found where people actually DO that anymore). Had a bit of happy magic passed onto me by a child. He just said hello to me when I greeted him and his parents. But it was such a musical hello, such a happy hello, I felt like I got a real gift from that two year old. He made me smile.

Plans today to head off to another mall. There is one mall in Rotterdam that has a natural foods shop which carries the frozen yogurt I like. Tried to find it other places, closer places. Nope. That’s their specialty thing. So my bro gave me a fifty and suggested I take the cold pack and go get some. ‘And take a look around, if you feel like it,’ he said. In other words: here’s some money, go spend it on yourself if you find something you want. He’s also made sure to automatically transfer a bit of money into my back account every month from his, so I can use my bank card for transactions. I know it’s a small allowance, and I know doing all that isn’t too much in the grand scheme of things, but I’m very pleased. I get more opportunities to feel like a real Dutch person and just swipe my card to pay for something. And he’s given me everything I need (permission included) to have a really enjoyable day at the mall.

The only thing I’m trying to judge right now is if my foot will let me do the mall walking I’d like to do.

Cleaned out a lot of clutter in my brain. I was able to think clearly and coherently as I took my walk yesterday. Centered on my new piece. I like the idea, think it’s fun, but it’s too squishy and undefined to continue as is. Was bothered by building up the space crew so large – large casts are always a problem for the local group, and I’m using them as my example of what to look for when writing plays. Scheduling 10 or 12 people is just damned difficult. So I began cutting. Who’s necessary? What’s really driving it? Took the idea down to 6 people: 4 space crew and 2 others they can interact with. As I pruned the story in my head, new ideas came to me. Ah, yes! That’s what was sitting under that morass of loose ideas! Beginning to feel the pacing of the play, when everything happens. Good.

Still no word from the director. This is another holiday weekend, so that’s it. Cough it up, buddy. You put the deadline as ‘after the holidays’, and we’ve just a few short days left to go before that condition is reality. My bro hopes to get a new computer by July, so any thoughts of recordings need to just be stored away until then at the earliest. lol! And I’m not noting any of that because I’m nervous about it. I’m noting it because I’m telling myself I’ve still got a few months available to lose myself in a new story before real work on this year’s production begins.

…Realized, too, we just passed the anniversary of my mother’s birthday. Some part of me must have been mulling that over. Feels a little odd to think about C now. I feel like I’m seeing her for the very first time – and maybe I am. If she were here today, I could look her straight in the eye. Not as her daughter, just as a person. And I’d let her see my empathy and understanding: I get it. I feel that way, too. In my imagination, C hangs her head a bit after that look. She feels regret over the past. She is proud of me, too, but she’s a bit shy of her feelings because she’s not quite sure how I grew into the person I am.

I have never before in my life envisioned that sort of calm exchange between my mother and myself. Screaming, fighting, crying – yes. But one look and all those chains melt away like nothing? One look and the balance tips in my favor? That’s brand new.

Hm. The pain in my toe has vanished.

No more ow.

The woman she wanted to be

Whoohoo! I am okay. Went to the doc for my test results. Figured either way, she’d want to see me. I was dreading it. I knew the chances were low, I knew I had none of the signs, but after seeing C die slowly for years from colon cancer, I think I had reason to be concerned. Had a substitute doctor, actually. Mine was on holiday for a week. But she was very nice, and spoke very clearly. I did the entire appointment in Dutch, and am proud of myself for staying calm enough to use my language skills. I’ve a referral to a dietician. Ooo! Always saw dietician on those placards at the doctor’s office; physio down this hall, dietician down that one. Never been sent to a dietician before so I don’t know what to expect. All I do know is that no one’s gonna shove anything up my ass to ‘just take a look around’, nor will they make me swallow gross radioactive goo so my insides light up on an x-ray. And for me, that’s enough.

My bro took me shopping at the mall after my appointment. I noticed his sneakers are falling apart and I saw a sale advertised for cheap canvas shoes, so I suggested we go and take a look. Walked around the mall three times. My feet were sweating in my orthopedics, and by the time I came home I found I’d built up a blister on my pinkie toe (weird place to have a blister, and incredibly painful). I also did something else; the nail on my middle toe was bloody. Must have popped another blister or something. Not happy about that, but I’ll accept that my feet sweat a lot and in warmer weather I just can’t wear my specially built heavy leather shoes. We did not find shoes for T, nor sandals for me (nor anything other clothing to tempt either of us into spending a bit of cash), but we did raid the cheap DVD store and found a second hand copy of Blade Runner 2049 and bought some really cheap (€1,49 each) T-shirts to replace the worst ones in our collection.

Oh. And it was ten p.m. before I remembered to take my pill. *sigh* At least I remembered to take it…

Feels a bit like I’m on holiday. This huge, tilting weight that threatened to crash down on me just got moved out of my life. I don’t have to prevent myself from thinking about it because I’m okay. No more appointments to dread, no more tests to worry about.

I think I’ll find something extra special nice to do for myself this weekend. A little celebration, just for me. Yes. I deserve that. And I really want to emphasize the positive with myself: I faced my fears and went to the doc. I did not do what C did and just ignore it or pretend to myself it wasn’t happening. That’s the one thing that kept me moving forward: saying over and over to myself that I’m not my mother. I am stronger and braver than she ever was.

I am the woman my mother wanted to be.

…Whoa. Take a minute or two to absorb that.

Gods. Admitting that means I have to tip my hat to C for teaching me what she did. I grew up getting nagged over procrastination. C was on my ass for everything important, reminding me of deadlines and pushing me constantly. It’s made me into the nervous wreck I am today. And I’ve been damned angry at her for decades now, because it’s obvious to everyone she had signs of colon cancer for years and she chose to do nothing. She, a nurse and the family medical expert. She, who nagged me every day about procrastinating. She, who pulled the famous ‘do as I say, not as I do’ shit on me. But she never taught me the way she thought she was going to. She thought her nagging and constant harassment would make the difference to me. But she made the difference. I saw what she did, how she acted, and resolved to never be anything like her. So if she procrastinated on the medical side of things, I sure as fuck won’t.

…And I see it, now. I see how C pushed my Dad to take care of his diabetes and heart problems. I see how she cared for everyone as best she could except for herself. I see how worthless she felt. It was there, in every move, every word.

The difference between her and me is that I’m willing to admit to it. I’m willing to talk about it. I’m willing to own it.

But if a parent’s real wish is to have their children do better than they did, if a carer’s real desire is to make sure others don’t fall into traps and problems they’ve encountered… Well, my mother accomplished that on some level. She did not manage to convey a sense of self worth to me or my siblings. She did not manage to make us feel safe or loved. But her example – right up to the day she took her own life – has stood for all of us as…well, as the thing we measure ourselves against. My oldest brother calls my mother a coward for committing suicide. Or, he did that once then reverted to the lie that C died of colon cancer. My sister hated my mother for years, called her a martyr, and always argued with her. She desperately tries to not be our mother, but she does so with no understanding and thus is doomed to repeat a lot of C’s mistakes.

…Holy crap. I think I’m ready to let go of that measuring stick. I don’t need to compare myself to my mother anymore because I’ve already surpassed her.

I am more than what she was. I am braver, smarter, stronger, happier, calmer. I am, truly, the woman she wanted to be.

Are you learning?

Two days of walking and my back is almost pain free. At least I can get up out of a chair without moaning from agony. Thank you, Goddess, for giving me such an easy fix on this one! I swear I’ll do better from now on.

Had a long letter from J, my street bro and friend for decades. He’s had a major blow-out with his DNA sister, and I can tell he’s upset. Need to write back to him today on it. Give him some support and kindness.

Writing a bit. Playing a bit. Telling myself all I need to do now is walk and get my back into shape. Everything else comes second.

Been pondering from time to time my feelings of worthlessness. I keep watching tv and film and wondering how these jerks and idiots get jobs that pay enough for them to live in the manner they live in. Keep remembering how I never felt I was worth that much money, despite my knowledge or degrees. And I’m sorry, but no one’s worth that much money for anything. This person made 36 million last year. For what? Being a jerk? Acting like an asshole? They didn’t solve any crisis, they didn’t save anyone’s life, they just made money. Why do we have such inflated salaries? Who needs that much money to live on?

I don’t want to be – and will never be – that decadent. If tons of money come my way, I’ll use it differently. Invest differently. No stock market schemes, all straight personal investments in people I believe in. People are the only real resource, anyway. Why invest in cyber space or gold? It’s meaningless, worthless. Why invest in real estate or things? You can’t take any of it with you. The only thing worth investing in is people. Changing their lives for the better. Giving those that really struggle just to make ends meet a chance.

I don’t want things. I want people to remember me. My jokes, my advice, my help, my kindness. I want people to stop and ask themselves what I’d do before making any choice for themselves. I want people to think. I want to help people over those hard spots in life, point out the pitfalls so maybe they can do better than me. I want people to try harder to understand others and themselves. I want others to do better in life than I have, and I hope my experiences, advice, and help, are valuable to them.

That’s the only real kind of immortality any of us can ask for. A lot of people have kids to pass on their knowledge to, but after growing up with my older siblings I was all too aware of the idea of how far the apple can fall from the tree; biological children were never the answer for me. You are my children. Everyone and anyone reading this is my child. This is my experiment: to treat every human like my child, to see everyone on this planet as an opportunity to be a bit kinder, a bit better version of ME that leaves people pondering their own behavior and hoping to improve themselves. The only real way I know how to do that is be honest. Destroy the pedestals even as they’re erected: I am not perfect. I yell and scream. I can be petty and purposefully hurt others. I make a lot of mistakes. See me for what I really am, not that rose colored version of me. That version will be built in the future, not in my lifetime. That version will be the myth, the legend, the one that lives on in the tale told ’round the campfire. And hopefully that version will be inspiring, even if it’s not realistic. The problem is, of course, that we all build our our mythos. Our actions build it, day by day. And just like you can’t really see when your body drops a couple of pounds because you look at yourself every day, you don’t realize what kind of mythos you’re building until you get some feedback.

So no, I don’t really know what I project. No one does. I am heartened, tho, by those few who open up to me. Who come back to me when they’re hurting. My children, wanting a kiss on their boo-boo’s. That’s a bit condescending sounding, and I didn’t really mean it that way. Oftentimes all I feel like I can do is kiss it, remind them how important they are to me, how great I feel they are, how much I care about them. I can’t offer much concrete help. But there are people out there who return to me with their problems, offering them up to me in messages, hoping to get that inspirational letter in response. I know that, and do my best to be there for each and every one of them. I always say I’m not the ‘mothering’ type, but I do have a lot of ‘mothering’ characteristics.

And I guess the word ‘mother’ got a bad reputation in my head. Just like the word ‘lady’ got a bad reputation. Those words were brought out to shame me, to justify horrible behavior, or to constrain my impulses. I can not remember one day of wanting to be a ‘lady’ or a ‘mother’ in the sense C used the words.

But I do want to help people. Protect them, shelter them from the worst in life. Whether that’s lady-like or motherly, I can’t really say. It is a base impulse in me, tho.

…Sorry; I still can’t use the M word in association with myself. I can accept I’m a carer. That’s straight-forward, and clean.

I care.

And I always have.

I cared about my high school prom, even tho I loudly proclaimed I didn’t. I care about my current poverty, tho I do my best to not worry too much. I care about the world, and people, tho I shout and scream and tell everyone to go to hell from time to time.

I care so much I have to shout about how much I don’t care so when I get hurt it’s not as bad and no one thinks I’m as big a wreck as I am…

Are you listening, my children?

Are you learning?

I need some help today

My computer screams the Golden Question at me. I made a meme for my desktop: bright green and yellow. Can’t miss it. Not sure how long I’ll keep it up, but for now it’s a good reminder. Always asking that question behind my browser, or the files I keep out on my desktop.

Got to the gym. Disappointed to find the CD I bought (and loaded into my iPod) was 20% rockin’ and 80% downtempo. I was hoping for the reverse. I have no need for downtempo music right now. I want tribal beats, and throbbing bass. I want my feet to move, I want to get up out of my chair and go, not sit there and sob, thinking about my past mistakes. Still. It’s new, and I enjoy the EQ of the band. Decided I am too flabby and gone to hit the cross trainer; went to the exercise bikes instead. Just get moving, woman! You’ll pick back up that enthusiasm for the gym if you can just break out of this inertia.

Practiced saying no. I’d told my bro about the Twin Peaks revival on sale, and he calculated and found enough money to purchase it. Yesterday morning he came out with a pre-paid credit card, slapped it down on the table, and proceeded to tell me there was enough cash on it to get the DVDs so I could just head downtown and buy it if I wanted. Although I was pleased and excited, it wasn’t what I was planning on. Suddenly, my day tipped: I felt my head scramble to rearrange all those ‘taking care of myself’ things in order to run downtown. I sighed, and thought. My brother said: You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. I can stop and pick it up. I thought some more, then tried something different: While I’m excited about getting the DVDs, and I want them, I don’t really like unexpected things to pop up in my schedule. I find it unsettling. That still wasn’t clear enough. Do you want me to just pick them up? Deep breath. Yes. Yes, I do.

That was difficult for me. My brother does a lot of the running around for the house: grocery shopping, errands, etc. There are many days I don’t step outside the door. When something like that comes up on a day I know he’s got other plans, I feel like I should go and do whatever he’s suggesting. But I stuck to my guns. Me, me, me. I needed the gym like I sometimes need a shower. I felt it right down to the most inner part of me. Good on me for that!

Watched the first four occurrences of the new Twin Peaks. One can hardly say ‘episodes’, can one? Episodes is an American term reserved for things like Dharma and Greg: simple set-up, repetitive plots, one basic set. David Lynch is an occurrence. It happens. You watch, because you can’t not watch. Lynch has a rare gift, in my opinion. He mixes the surreal with enough easy to understand reality based action to give you a sense that you kind of know what’s going on, but you’re left puzzling over many elements, wondering what symbolism the imagery held (because when Lynch wants you to see symbolism, he makes it bloody obvious that it’s symbolism, even if you don’t get the meaning behind it). Hm. I am not yet at the point where I could write some of the scenes I witnessed last night. Though there’s one thing I would have done differently, if I was Lynch. I would have had Cooper smash that white marble statue he keeps seeing in the red room. Cooper in the red room is very much a visitor, led by others, reacting. After 25 years, I’d think he’d try something different: take action, not just react. But, that’s me. My characters take action, even if that action isn’t the best choice for the moment. Cooper is very passive. I guess that tells me something about Lynch. …I don’t know what to think of the new series yet. I’m geeking out on everyone who’s in it. Thrilled that Lynch and Frost wanted to pick up the thread of the story again. Dyin’ to get further into the story. Happy to be watching such open ended imagery right now; it shuts my head up like nothing else. Huh. What the fuck -? 

…My question for myself today (and a little test I set up for myself) is: Can I ask for help? I left all the housework undone. The place needs a full top to bottom scrub, and it’s a big job. My brother is not scheduled to head off, so he should be here. Now…I want him to get off his ass and hoover the place. I’ll do dusting, and sink and toilet duty. I’d really like to clean my own room, and that’s the only way possible I’ll have enough energy to do it all: with help. Fu-u-uck. Will he just see it if I complain loudly enough? Hm… Maybe. Maybe not. And that’s not the point of the test. The point of the test is to speak up. Say it. You said ‘no’ yesterday, now say ‘please help me’. You can do it.

I’m prompting a very reluctant toddler in my brain. She is pouting and silent. Asking for help is bad. Weak. Something to be avoided. …You know who else did that, right? You know who you’re sounding like more and more, don’t you? And you said a long time ago that you don’t want to be anything like her. You see her flaws more than ever now. Learn from them. Don’t go down the same path.

I guess parents do teach their kids something, even if it’s just the stubborn refusal to end up like their elders.

I need some help today.

I’m trying

I snapped. At Dr. T. My voice rang out over the entire waiting room. *sigh* I feel bad about it, but then, there’s my problem in one go. See? I am not stable.

To be fair to myself, it was a wind-up. My appointment time came and went. I waited patiently for 15 minutes, knowing he’d been five minutes late before. By 25 minutes, I was truly wondering if he was ill and not working. Asked at the front desk, interrupted by a small child whose question over his magazine was oh so much more important than anything any adult could be asking about (the child was not yelled at, tho that took every ounce of my self control). No, Dr. T is here; he’s just busy, please wait. Hmph. Took a seat again, waited another five minutes, this time with zero patience: sighing, checking the time on my phone, rolling my eyes, tapping my feet, and muttering under my breath. Sent off a text to my bro; the plan had been for my bro to head off and order some Chinese food while I was at the doc’s and then we’d meet back home and eat. With me cooling my heels for 40 minutes I didn’t know when I’d get out. Finally, Dr. T. came and greeted me. And that’s when it happened.

Dr. T is Asian, so he’s a bit shorter than I am. So there I am, in the waiting room, towering over this man, angry as all hell. Oh, and I was angry! Really damned angry at that point. Didn’t even LOOK at him, just had that clipped anger in my voice that I know – I know! – sounds precisely like my mother (oooh, I hate myself just thinking about that). He apologized. Twice. Even pulled up his computer schedule to prove to me he’d written the time down incorrectly – that’s how angry I was. I told him my Dutch was horrible, and it was. I tried. Tried to hear, tried to speak. Most of his words went over my head. Too much, too fast. He said we’d keep the appointment short since he was late, and I was thankful for that, at least. Caught the gist of a sentence or two: how have you been? Told him. Got a lot more words thrown at me. Then he talked about my medication. Heard ‘double to 10 milligrams’. He spent time assuring me that I’d been on 10 mg in Ireland, it was nothing to worry about. I know. I know. I also know he was quick to up my meds because of my mood.

Fifteen minutes later I was on my way home. The cynic in me noted how Dr. T got away light today: full pay for a 15 minute session. Can’t quite shake that one, tho I know it’s mean and petty of me.

And for fuck’s sake! It seems I can blast off to the moon, go hyper speed, but all of that – all of it! – is marked as ‘depression’. Really? Really really? The sweating hands, the short and bad sleep, the racing thoughts. That’s depression? Have you redefined the word? Um, okay. You’re the doc. But you’re sure? Okay, okay. I’ll take the pills.

My next appointment is set for the end of May. He’s out on holiday or some such thing; the explanation came in Dutch and I only caught part of it. I left, a little apprehensive. Managed to tell him my script is being produced, and I’m worried about myself this year due to work load and excitement levels. By the end of May I could be well into it. Wound up beyond what he’s seen me before. Maybe that’s what needs to happen. It’s not like I want to go there. I’ll be working as hard as I can to stay stable, but… It’s a big project. I know what I’m like.

So, you know…fair warning, Dr. T. You caught the edge of the beast’s teeth yesterday. You do not want that beast biting into your flesh.

Things I need to do: Finish my current book (20 pages left) and get it back to the library before I get a late fee. Buy that CD I talked about last month while I’m downtown at the library. Get back to the gym, back to my exercise routine. Comb through my lighting and sound notes, checking all the page numbers. Cull through the dialogue for the recorded voice in part one, tightening up the lines. Contact the group and nudge them to get their asses in gear for auditions. Laundry, cleaning. It’s a packed weekend for me.

Also need to get back to the dentist. That tooth is too high and it hurts every time I bite down. Oh, hell! And I need to check at the doc’s office about the last test I had. Don’t want to do either of those things.

Can’t I just sit here and magically have these things taken care of?

No-o-ope. Don’t have the mother or that kind of cash to make it happen.

Meh. This is the part of being an adult I don’t like. It’s up to you. I’m beginning to realize it’s the fact my mother never let me make any decisions that’s been the most damaging. I had little to no say in what I wore or how my hair looked for years. I was banned from getting a job as a teen and told to concentrate on my studies. I was told what friends to have, how to act, what to do, how to feel, even what I should want. Little surprise I now find it difficult as hell to make up my own mind.

Well…here I am. Imperfect and totally flawed. I never feel like I’m quite done, if you know what I mean. Too many rough spots left all over my marble. Too many poorly patched scars.

Can I love this ugliness that I am?

I’m trying.

Soup

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.

I WANT TO KILL MY MOTHER.

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

I WANT TO KILL MY MOTHER.

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.