Monsters ahead and behind

One, two, three – send. The script is out to the competition it was written for.

Worked on my synopsis. Asked my bro for advice; he IS the person in the house that’s gone to a Uni scriptwriting class. Was surprised. I worked hard on the synopsis, particularly the opening three lines – which, after I read them aloud, is where my brother stopped me with a ‘Right there! That’s perfect!’ Thought I needed more, but my bro feels I should just let this loose on the world with a three line write up.

So it’s out. Sent. Available to read. Again. Hopefully I will NOT receive a reply stating the terms and conditions have been changed.

Bolton may get a mini-teaser. A short 700 word scene that ties into this script. I want a few things done first, tho.

Today: memorize. Seven pages to learn for the play. Rehearsal is scheduled for Tuesday and I’ve barely begun to learn my lines. Been reading it through, but reading isn’t the same as memorizing. Put in the time now. Not particularly worried; as I’ve said before, I say a lot of “yes” and “uh-huh” in the first pages. One larger monologue to work on, but I already have the general flow of dialogue.

Get to the gym. Tidy up the house. Do those weekend things that always need doing.

Had a nose bleed this morning. Usually blood doesn’t bother me, but my nose hacked up a bloody mass that looked (apologies ahead of time) like an aborted fetus, and I almost threw up. It stopped fairly fast, and it wasn’t really all that bad. But it was my first nose bleed ever, and I really didn’t expect such a stomach turning reaction from myself.

Haven’t buckled down on my research yet. Still need to take notes, check some online documentaries, and order the book I want. I think…MAYBE…I’m learning to accept my timing and writing rhythms. I know what I can do, and how quickly I can do it. I also know the longer I allow my head to think, the shorter the writing time is. So I’m not freaking out despite my apparent foot dragging. I’m not actually dragging my feet; I’m working. Just on a different level.

Boy, do I wish I could tell that to my mother!

…Boy, do I wish I’d stop thinking that thought! Maybe I do look backwards too much. Oh, hell. There’s no maybe about it, and I know that. Just trying to soften the blow for myself.

But, you know…rear view mirrors were created for a reason. ‘Cause every once in a while, shit creeps up on you from behind. And as every horror film shows us, if something creeps up on you from behind, it’s up to no good.

Looking back isn’t a bad thing. As long as you don’t run into the monster right in front of you, that is!

I’m well aware of the monsters behind me. Narcissism, neglect, self hate, depression. They’re all still hot on my tail. But what’s the monster in front of me? That’s easy: fear. The future. Uncertainty and doubt.

One thing I’ve learned: that monster in front of me is gonna come no matter what I do. But the monsters behind me…now those, I can fight.

The Dame’s Still Got Game

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It’s good to know I still gots da touch. The blueberry muffins I baked and took to the comic shop did a magic trick and disappeared before my eyes. And there were only two guys at the store! I’d been there once before, and met one of the owners. Yesterday I finally met the second owner. Good thing, too! Oh, I’ve heard so much about you! Yes, my partner said he had a chance to meet you before! I guess the first guy I met has been lording it over his partner; I got to meet her and you didn’t. Now the second partner has something to crow about: she brought me blueberry muffins! Did you get any? My brother laughed, and said now there’s no way I can go back without baking more. Happy to do it, too. For one, they always give T good deals on the comics he wants. For another, once again I was given free comics, this time in Dutch, because they’re just nice guys. And finally, what more could a baker ask than to see her baked goods fly off the plate to be devoured with ecstatic eye rolls and muffled exclamations of oh my god, these are so good?

Who knows? Maybe that small bakery everyone has told me I should open will become reality. I don’t know where my life is headed.

I do know where my day is headed: catch-up work. The house needs cleaning, I have even more Dutch to read now, and my body isn’t getting any thinner with me sitting around eating blueberry muffins. Everything is twice as hard as it was before I got sick. The house is twice as dirty as usual, I’ve found no way out of my muddle with the language yet, and I’m so fat and lazy at this point it’s hard to not just sit around playing computer games all day. Just getting motivated to begin work is tough and seems to take half the day.

*sigh* And J, the comic store owner I met yesterday, made a comment that’s nagging at me. He said, ‘In my experience, you don’t ask parents, you tell them’. My reply was that had I done that, I’d be in a very different place right now. That’s true. It’s also true that J didn’t have my experiences and had he gone through them, he might have done the same as I. But I’ve been feeling bad about it, and it’s showing no signs of going away.

I’m guessing I needed something to beat myself up over.

And hey! I’d love to stop blaming myself. I’d love to do the impossible, and just not think about that kind of stuff. I’d love to have the confidence to be want I want to be. I don’t. Not one bit. I’m not sure how, exactly, my mother managed to convey to me that I was worthless, but she did. And as with most things my mother did, she did it impeccably well. Just as my mother would rise half an hour early to tidy up the house before everyone else woke up, making it “magically” appear neat each and every day, she somehow slipped in under the surface of the perfect mother enough derogatory language to make sure I knew just what a total loser I was.

That’s living with a narcissist. I’ve read up on narcissism. How you…How I may never fully ‘get over it’. I don’t know that I’m ready to face up to that. Hasn’t a pill been made for this shit yet? C’mon! You’re telling me they’ve got virtual reality game play but can’t help people drop the crap that got programmed in from childhood? And no, going through CBT is NOT gonna do what I ask. I want something easy. Why do I have to work so hard? I’ve been working twice as hard most of my life: trying to please everyone else so they’ll at least tolerate my presence plus accomplish one or two things that are important to me. Now I’m told that to shed what my mother drilled into me will take more years of hard work – and it’s all on me. CBT. What a fucking load! The damned therapist sits there, never sharing anything to make him or her vulnerable, while the patient does all the work. I mean, really! If I walked into any other doctor’s office and was told I had to get over a sinus infection or cancerous growth by myself I’d sue for incompetence. But with therapy, it’s a given.

Christ! I don’t want fucking therapy. I just want to feel better.

I guess it’s kind of a good thing that no matter how I feel, life goes on. Happy or sad, angry or blissful, things like grocery shopping and dishes always need to be done. Dust always needs wiping up. The floor could always use a good cleaning. Somehow between my feelings and all those normal chores, I’ve been living my life. I’m not entirely unhappy with my choices. But it’s not what I would have chosen for myself long ago, either.

It’s just that every once in a while, I’m granted a vision of what could have been, and that makes me sad. That always makes me sad. Deeply sorrowful to never have experienced a supportive family growing up. Deeply sorrowful over what I imagine I might have been, had I had the courage.

I feel small, and insignificant.

But that’s me looking back.

Time to turn my head around. I’ve enough on my plate right NOW without adding yesterday’s regrets to the pile. A new year is right around the corner. A fresh page, to start my story anew. There is no rulebook that disqualifies me because I’m over 50.

And the dame’s still got game, baby.

Just DIE already

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I don’t get it. I don’t get how or why people are supposed to love extended family members. These aunts, uncles, and cousins you may see once every five to ten years. Even grandparents. I saw my grandparents twice a year, a few days at a time. Grandpa terrorized me with his two day unshaved face, swooping me up in his arms to rub my tender three year old cheek against his rough old one. I hated it. I squirmed and screamed. His beard hurt. I felt it was punishment, and I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. Yet he did it, every time he saw me. And I was supposed to “love” him. It wasn’t until two years AFTER my grandfather’s death that I saw a vision of him in my dreams and finally received the love I felt I never got. Only THEN did I cry for him. Only THEN did I mourn. Only THEN did I understand that yes, underneath all that sadistic cheek rubbing was someone who genuinely cared for me.

My uncle is yanking my chain again. Asks my opinion on something and then blows me off with a single dismissive sentence. I spent six hours yesterday hot under the collar, trying VERY hard to settle down. I paced. I smoked. I listened to soothing music (even wrote a new piece). The culmination of my effort was my ability to turn on my computer and delete the conversation without comment. Then I had another few hours, telling myself I did the right thing. More pacing, more clenched gut.

It is days and times like these that I used to get a lot of ‘don’t let it bother you’. Still do. I don’t bother pointing out that giving me a negative statement (using ‘don’t’) isn’t the best way to go about letting it go. Nor do I point out the fact that I had I been able to let things go throughout my life I’d probably be in a very different situation. Nor that the people who tell me to let it go and calm down generally have problems letting go and calming down themselves.

Like my brother. We disagree on some very basic ideals and when we argue, that’s it. We can find no common ground. Worst of all is his tendency to cut me off mid sentence because he THINKS he knows what I’m going to say. He puts his words in my mouth. Doesn’t listen to me at. all.

None of my family angst is helped right now by my recent viewing of Absolutely Fabulous The Movie. *sigh* Two things are now terribly clear to me. One, Jennifer Saunders has been riding the same jokes for 25 goddamn years with her characters. Two, as Saunders ages she looks more and more like my mother (the hair is wrong, but the face and the wrinkles she’s sporting give a pretty good imitation). That’s the real kicker.  I was a big fan of Ab Fab series 1. Loved the second and third series, too. But then…then Jennifer began to age noticeably on screen. Then she began to do this thing with her mouth that set off such a hard reaction/memory in me I really kind of freaked. Now, all I see is my mother and old jokes I’ve seen since series one. It’s really a turn off. I’d like to like the series again but I’m finding it impossible. And I couldn’t really like the movie. It was bigger, it had more money put into it. But better? Not really. Just a rehash of every episode you’ve already seen. There was Saunders, doing the same gags she’s done since the pilot. The same jokes. Even Patsy’s ‘Gabon? Gabon?’ line was resurrected and reused. Characters and guest stars we’ve seen on the show for ages made cameos, doing and saying things very similar to what they did and said in the original episodes they starred in. And Saunders orchestrated it all, in my mother’s face. The wrinkles around her mouth and eyes. Her thinning upper lip. Her sneer.

It was an unsettling 90 minutes.

How am I supposed to feel something warm and fuzzy for people who don’t care enough about me to listen to what I say? I’m not asking for AGREEMENT, just hear me through. Give me a nod and say ‘we don’t agree, but I’ll respect your opinion’.

I’ve never heard that. Ever. Not from ANY family member.

And do NOT give me some holier than thou advice. Do NOT say I’m the one that needs to rise above it. That if I want respect, I must give respect. I was raised in this manner – verbally beaten down so bloody often I have a hard time making ANY choice as an adult. I feel guilty for just about everything in the world because at some time, somewhere, I’m to blame.

I am TIRED of trying to be the better person. Sick to fucking death of it. It’s so goddamned bad that it throws me right into suicide ideation; might as well bloody kill myself since no fucking person in my family is even decent enough to give me the most basic of respect due any person alive. Fuck them. Fuck them for fucking with my head so fucking much. These are the people who are supposed to be my support system. Instead, they’ve always been the most damaging to my self confidence. They’ve always made me feel wrong and bad. They’ve always made me angry. I just feel like if my FAMILY treats me this way, no one else is gonna treat me any better so I might as well just check out.

But I hang on. I LIVE for the time when they’re all dead, when I no longer have any echo of the childhood shit that’s been pressure sprayed under my skin. And here, the only place I have to speak my mind and NOT be interrupted or made to feel bad, here I will say what I haven’t said to those family members that treat me this way.

Just DIE already!

House of Mirrors

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Yesterday I decided the best thing I could do would be take a walk. Right after posting I got out into the air. Pumped my lungs full of freshness. Looked up at the sky. Listened to the birds. My treat to lighten my mood wasn’t food (for once). It was fresh flowers. Wound up at the supermarket with the best flower selection and spent several minutes dithering in front of all the bouquets.

Lemme state this clearly, because J and his boyfriend were gobsmacked when we took them into the store and they saw prices for flowers. Standard price for a small bouquet (about 7 stems) is €3 or 2 for €5. That includes roses. Every week. Even on Valentine’s Day.

But not for Mother’s Day.

I managed to walk out of the store without spending a lot, but damn! Highest prices for flower bouquets all year long. Fifteen euro as a start price, and they went up from there. Other than a slight annoyance at finding a nice bunch of blooms for a more reasonable price, none of that really bothered me.

The ads for Mother’s Day did. Good Goddess! Always that perfect fantasy picture of mother with grown up daughter. Oh, honey, I’m so proud of you. Barf. I didn’t have it so I make fun of it to hide the fact that my heart aches every time I see something like that. I WANT to believe I had that relationship with my mom. With her dead, I can almost do it. Just remember the good times. Color in things with a bit more love. Fool myself. For a moment. That dream can’t last long for me. Too many hurt and bent pieces inside to sustain it over time.

Today I hear a cruel echo in my mind. Just get over it. Those words were not uttered by my mom, but by my pseudo-mom, ie, my sister. It was not a role she chose to be in. It was not a role she SHOULD have been in. But it IS what happened. I think I’ve come to accept that lately. And I think if I’m ever to get myself out of whatever knots she tied me in, I have to approach the situation as if she WAS my mother because she was, so often, just that. A surrogate mother all the times my real mother was absent due to her job (her job, her job, her almighty fucking JOB!). It’s been easier to deal with this since I’ve accepted both of them fall on the narcissist scale. The word itself – narcissist – is almost a Pavlov’s dog thing for me: say it and my ranting begins to quiet down. I remember WHY, or at least have answers that feel right and true to me.

I DO spend an inordinate amount of time wondering what it would be like to have parents that really support me. It’s an odd feeling. Kind of makes me all shivery/laughy up and down my spine. Not that heavy weight like when I think of the real thing.

And I can’t help but be aware that any problem I have is so first world. So damned inconsequential to the overall picture. AAAAAAaaaaargh! Global guilt on top of everything else. Danger! Danger! Circuits are ready to overload.

I took the Myers Briggs personality test (thanks, Kim). Came out an ENFP-T. I read the description thru, and it’s pretty damned accurate. Here’s the link: personality test. There’s one caveat to the test, tho. You’ve got to be honest. I’ve taken the test before and I’m positive I didn’t score as an ENFP-T. I’m also positive I answered some questions by indicating how I’d LIKE to respond rather than they way I’d REALLY respond (’cause that’s my thing, ya know). A few questions were no brainers for me. A few I spent several minutes thinking about. It’s always the qualifiers that trip me up: frequently, always, usually. My response range is the full rainbow. Look deep enough into my past or present and you’ll find actions across the spectrum. And at times, those extreme behaviors from me stick most in my mind, so I’ll answer yes, I do something ‘frequently’ when in fact I only do it occasionally. That doesn’t give an accurate picture of me. It gives a skewed image.

…Which makes me think. Hard. If I project a skewed image from time to time, I’m only amplifying my problems. Bouncing things from what I say I do to what I actually do. No wonder I get feedback. Piercing thoughts that wake me up at night. Too much static in my brain so I can’t think.

Think. That’s the key. My mind ran down this maze. Now it’s time to find my way out.

*sigh* Been looking for someone to point the way, but I realize I’ve been asking people who are just as lost and afraid as I am.

Everything circles one drain: loving myself. Ach! Just typing that out hurt my fingers. It’s too trite. Too compact for such a complex idea. It’s accepting myself AND turning my arrows outwards. Hearing and accepting others. Seeing the world for what it is, without my rose colored glasses, and dealing with it.

I wanna hold onto those rose colored glasses. I’ve needed them for SO long. To nurse the hurt. But maybe I can take them off now and then. Here and there. Just take a peek. I don’t have to LIVE there.

…That’s my real challenge. Not the smoking, not the extra weight, not my issues with my mother and my sister. It’s getting out of that world I built for me. Participating on the same playing field everyone else is on. I don’t particularly care for the rules, or lack of them. I don’t find it safe, and I usually don’t find it fun.

It’s bloody HARD to find your way out of a good house of mirrors. And I’m in a good one.

That Includes Me

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Been trying to sneak a new word or phrase each week into language class. Try it out first with my teacher. Yesterday I managed ‘in de war’ which is the Dutch way of saying confused. Ik ben in de war. Also stretched my memory to come up with herinnering (literally ‘memory’) which is a word I’ve seen often but not tried to pronounce before. I do really well with pronunciation. Exceedingly well. Over my head I don’t even know what I’m READING type of pronunciation.

Fuck. Why am I bringing this up? Because I ran into a word yesterday I didn’t understand. I pronounced it flawlessly and just ran past it as I usually do with a new word, waiting for understanding to dawn on me rather than looking it up. Got tripped up by my teacher, who’s playing a new game. He stops us and asks for the antonym to various words we’re using. It’s an excellent learning tool. Anyway, it was one of THOSE moments. Everyone looking at me with that ‘you didn’t KNOW that?!?’ look on their faces. I owned it; the word was ‘krijgen’ (to get or receive) and I was mixing it up with ‘kijken’ (to look). Gimme a break. The two words look similar and sound similar. I confessed to my confusion and everyone laughed.

And I can’t get their faces out of my head.

My reaction goes way beyond embarrassment. There’s real shame in me for not knowing the answer. For being SO far off base. For being the ONLY person in class who didn’t catch on.

I can handle making mistakes. Mistakes are small things that can be corrected. What I have problems with is flubbing. I flubbed to a major degree. Flubs can’t be fixed. They’re the type of things that get caught on camera and show up on Ridiculousness. They’re the type of things that (goddess forbid!) define you if you’re unlucky enough to have them happen as a teenager (there goes The Flasher…yeah, split their pants right up the middle and didn’t have any underwear on…everybody saw).

Ugh. I’m sure no one else has been ruminating on my mistake. Just me. Just me and my own shame.

Knowing that doesn’t help.

The more I try to pin down the why of it, the more I think it’s a very, very early thing. There is no specific memory that pops to mind. Just the repeated HEAVINESS (and oh! how heavy that burden was!) to be brilliant. Always. With everything. Mom made a point of never telling me what my IQ was when I was young. What she DID do was repeatedly tell me I had too many brains to be stupid. ‘Stupid’ to me included flubbing (which was often scoffed at as temporary ‘stupid’ behavior). And it didn’t matter what the subject matter was; my brains meant I should be able to grasp it and grasp it fast. Getting things wrong didn’t mean getting hit or punished. It meant mom’s mouth clamped down into that thin, white line. That instilled enough terror in me. I still get the willies thinking about that look.

And I was told I was a disappointment. Not with words. Oh, no! Never say it with words. Say it with tone of voice. Say it with body language. Communicate two things at once because that’s what people do, and of the two methods of communication humans will take the non-verbal message over the verbal every time.

Bitch.

So I’m tight in my body because part of me is having a damned hard time letting this go. I’ve stopped myself from a knee jerk reaction of diving off the deep end, intensifying my studies so I never make a flub like that again.

It ain’t easy.

Got to run a couple of errands today in between rain drops. That should afford me enough opportunities to make an ass of myself that I’ll probably stop thinking about yesterday’s mistake and start thinking about all the ones I’m currently making. Joy.

Bright side, bright side, bright side. I guess I’ll never mix up ‘krijgen’ and ‘kijken’ again. That’s something.

And DAMN IT! I’m NOT a machine. I never wanted the mantel of perfection. It was fucking thrust upon me by a narcissistic mother, complete with a dirty hem of SHAME for when I’m not perfect. Fuck her and her ‘gift’. Fuck her and her ‘nurturing’.

Time to let that go. Let HER go.

I am me. Here, now. I begin today. No one knows me. I can be anyone I want. I don’t have to carry shame over flubs and mistakes. I don’t need to see myself as less than other people.

I can be worthy. Of ME. True to myself. Honest in word, thought, and deed. No subterfuge.

And I can tell myself it’s okay. Even flubbing is okay as long as you learn from it. There’s no lesson of shame in this. Those faces I see in my head – that’s a distortion. The surprise is exaggerated. The laughter is not unkind. In fact, I handled the situation well. Diffused it with a little comedy. It’s only my battered brain that refuses to let it go. It wants to build it into something different, to make it another reason to feel guilty. I’m onto your tricks, you devious bastard…

As for the two people who wanted to start up lengthy conversations with me yesterday..Yes, it was above my head. I was back to catching about 40% of what they said. That does not negate my little victory when I understood the woman asking for directions. It just says there’s a lot more to learn. And no doubt. I feel like I’m a sponge, just trying to absorb words here and there. There’s thousands of words to learn AND I’ve got to learn how to make sentences. Throw in the fiddly sayings of any language and you’ve got a hell of a lot to catch on to.

Considering I began with my current instructor in November, meaning I’ve had a scant 5 months of lessons, I think I’ve come a long way. At this rate yes, I’ll be speaking pretty fluently after a year. And reading even better.

Everyone takes time to learn. Everyone. That includes me.

 

The List

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I made my list. And considered it far more than just twice; I must have sat for a good ten minutes thinking about what I wrote. A lot of it was what began here yesterday. Repeated mantras or borrowed mantras or all brand new shiny mantras I just made up on the spot. But three things caught my eye, made me think, and bear repeating.

People are happiest around you when you’re happy.

Now that’s something tough for me to get my head around. It wasn’t always true; I spent a good deal of my childhood minimizing my own emotions because the two narcissists in my family had to be dealt with very carefully. I know by the time I was ten I was already clamping down on my enthusiasm and faking interest when depressed to ‘hide’ what was going on with me. Calm down. Lighten up. Don’t get so excited. I believe had I been drugged into a stupor my mother and sister would have STILL found something to find fault with, but I got what I got. Feeling everything I do is/was wrong. And even if I feel it, I shouldn’t let it out. Never, ever, ever. Lock up and throw away the key, remember? So allowing myself to be happy is a big thing. Usually I got squashed for it.

It’s a particularly poignant point (Oooo! Three Ps in a row. Look at my alliteration!) right now. Playing hostess can wear me down and make me cranky. Why? Because I spend all my time trying to keep the other person happy; do what they want to do, cater to them, while simultaneously making sure the surroundings stay clean and neat. But when I’m cranky my guests don’t have a good time. And more than that. While I want the apartment to look presentable – AND myself – I’m reminding me daily that J is coming to see me and my bro, not the apartment, not how fat or thin I’ve become since he last visited, and not how much dust is sitting on the shelves. Who could have a good time visiting someone who’s constantly popping up out of her chair to get this, fetch that, pick up something, prepare, prep, cook – WHATEVER? Not me. J’s plane lands and all that goes bye-bye. I’m not my mother; I don’t have to play hostess like she did.

Don’t assume. Ask people what they mean.

Another biggie for me. I get afraid when I think people slag me off. I don’t ask for clarity. I don’t say ‘Did you MEAN to insult me?’ and I should. I’m not talking about walking up to me and calling me a bitch or a slut. Frontal assault I can deal with. It’s that side winding snake behavior, the half hidden insult in a simple statement, that I don’t know how to react to. Again, that relates to how I was raised. I got a lifetime of put downs and insults that got turned around to ‘You’re too sensitive’ type of shit (narcissistic behavior, I know). All my life I’ve swallowed that poison and not said a word. That eats away at you. Inside. Even when you think it doesn’t. It piles up and the nice words get filtered out so all you have left is the negative. I KNOW that was the original intent in the words in the first place (may all narcissists have their genitals burst into flames). I also know that sometimes people say things in the wrong way, or they use a trigger phrase or word without meaning to. Not everyone is suave with compliments. Nor is everyone glib. I’ve just got a hard time telling the difference between someone trying to tell me something and saying it poorly, and an asshole. The best thing I could do in either situation is ASKWhat did you mean by that? If the person is straight, they’ll give you a straight answer. If not, well, I know what THAT looks like.

Don’t fake it. Ask for help when you need it.

Oh, my. Another childhood behavior I’m looking to change. I fake feeling good physically when I’m in agonizing pain. I fake understanding in situations I’m where I’m clueless. I fake a lot to fit in. Usually when I fake something I’m under the impression that everyone else is of one mind; they’re all ready to go or have complete understanding. I put on sheep’s clothing and go with the herd because I don’t want to stand out. Or be a freak. That’s got me into dangerous sexual situations. It raises people’s expectations of me, and does so falsely. Suddenly I’m expected to be able to do more than I can. That puts me under immense pressure. After 12 years diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and another suspected 30 years of suffering it without diagnosis, I’ve got better on asking for help with my physical needs. Gee! That only took 42 years. Wow. That’s a damned long time. I hope I learn faster with the rest of it, or I won’t get this done before the body dies. *grumble, grumble* Damned shame my first time out with therapy ended so badly. It really stacks up a big obstruction against asking for help. I’ve got to get past that this summer.

For the record, here’s the full list. I’m making a point to pull this up and read it each morning right now. Think I need to learn them by heart. Make them my own, so when I’m sitting on the metro feeling a bit freaked I can repeat them to myself. And wow! I came up with 24. Freaky! Number repetition in my life is always a bit of a Twilight Zone experience for me, and my birthday falls on the 24th of November.

  1. Be kind to yourself.
  2. Take time.
  3. Think before you speak.
  4. Count to three.
  5. Mornings are important.
  6. Say the hard things.
  7. Tell people how you feel.
  8. Stick up for yourself.
  9. Smile.
  10. It’s okay to cry.
  11. It’s okay to feel angry.
  12. Expect Dutch.
  13. Look up at the sky.
  14. Sleep when you need to.
  15. Walk.
  16. You deserve a healthy body and the help you need to get it there.
  17. Try to not smoke so much.
  18. Keep your promises.
  19. People are happiest around you when you’re happy.
  20. Be flexible.
  21. You are HERE and NOW.
  22. Don’t assume. Ask people what they mean.
  23. Don’t fake it. Ask for help when you need it.
  24. Use silence to listen to yourself; use music when it feels good. Watch comedy. Watch horror and laugh. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at life. Laugh.

Remember the River

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Summer warmth and sunshine broke through yesterday afternoon, just in time for my walk. And I walked! Further, longer, and without pain. Came back home and rested for a bit, more out of habit than need.

More clean up and organization. My bro and I are trying to find a way to fit two more chairs into the living room so when J and his boyfriend visit they have places to sit. Some of the studio equipment is getting taken down temporarily to make room. J suffers from fibromyalgia and some days has worse pain than I do. Plus I heard back from him; they don’t have many plans, other than to visit with us. So I’m guessing the apartment will be chill central, where we’ll sit down and talk the afternoon away and maybe listen to some music. Or it needs to be set up that way! Another shelf needs to go up to tidy up a corner, and we’ve got to find some very inexpensive small chairs (maybe folding chairs?) to use at the dining room table (Snort! Dining room table, indeed. I should say dining area squished into a corner table). And I want the balcony to be cleared of all hazardous bird poop.

That’s a tall order to get everything ready in time. Oh, there’s a whole month and yadda yadda. I’m talking about energy to do all the work and then keep it clean.

Plus it’s time I get back in the pool.

Took a few weeks off from water while testing my shoes. Oh, hell! Okay – now that I can walk without pain I feel like I should walk as much as possible. I’ve only got so much energy, so it’s walk or swim, and I’ve been choosing walking. The time off has given a feel for how much I can do on my feet, and I think I should get back in the water. Good news is it’s done my shoulder a lot of good; I can now raise my arm without pain. It’s been YEARS since I could do that. Any aggravation of it will mean the pool is a no-go place for now.

*sigh* I’m backsliding on keeping promises to myself. Every day I promise I’ll be better with my diet, try harder to get more exercise, spend more time learning Dutch…and every night I catch myself having a ‘treat’, sitting on my ass, and falling asleep before even doing the app on my phone for 10 minutes. It’s got to stop. I’ve either got to decide my mega plans for diet, exercise, and a learning curve NO ONE should have to stick to is unrealistic, or buckle down and do it. Problem is, I firmly believe I can do all those things and it’s just my current laziness that’s keeping me from doing it.

You CAN do it. You’ve done it in the past, which is why you KNOW you can do it.

Yeah. And I climbed a mountain during a bad arthritis attack, too. I remember. I am Superwoman. It’s just….Being Superwoman is hard.

Fuck. I’m reaching for more coffee and wanting to just roll up another J. This is a big issue for me.

Mmmm. Let’s apply a little logic.

My mom was fucked up. Narcissism for sure. Other than that? Well…Mom’s shell is a hard one to crack. She may have had ADHD – untold energy, the original Superwoman, juggling a full time career, three kids, a husband, a home, her husband’s business affairs, investment property, finances, taxes, duties of chef and head housekeeper. She always looked tired (unless she was jacked up on tons of coffee).

Add in my own experiences. Every job I ever had began with a surge of energy. I’d be there early, work harder than anyone else, get promoted, more responsibilities, put in extra time, more responsibilities, burn out. One place I left had to hire three people to take on the work load I was carrying.

So yes, I can be my mother in the work place or home. For a short period of time. I can’t do it full time. And she couldn’t, either. There’s a whole knot of reasons why mom got cancer at such a young age.

I don’t want to be my mom.

So why are you trying to act like her?

…Good question. REALLY good question.

I guess I still believe that hard work will get you ahead in life. Even tho that’s not the case. Obviously. It’s the sleaze balls, the worms who weasel their way around who get ahead these days.

The cheaters.

That’s hard to swallow. I actually believed adults when they said cheating hurts no one but yourself, and that cheaters are bad. Yet AS an adult…*shakes head* It’s a basic inconsistency between what I WANT the world to be and what the world actually is.

And that inconsistency flows thru me. Makes ME inconsistent. I vacillate between doing nothing out of rage (why bother?) to doing everything for my art (because it’s the only thing that DOES matter).

It sucks. It sucks because it makes me want to cheat, makes me want to be a weasel. Yet fate is cruel, cruel, cruel. For some reason what others can get away with – even flourish from doing – destroys me. I am found out, exposed, punished as an example to others.

I guess at heart I’m not enough of an asshole to get away with being an asshole.

What a conundrum. Feels like I’m doomed either way.

The only way forward is straight through – sticking to my guns the whole way. Plenty of artists have lived and died in obscurity, only to be hailed as ‘geniuses’ post mortem. I guess it doesn’t really matter. Hailed or forgotten, my art serves to leave my own little mark on life. To say ‘Beeps was here’.

Mmm. Just a little macabre this morning. Feels like I need to remind myself of something today. Something I’m on the verge of forgetting.

Your legacy isn’t your art. Your legacy isn’t your work record, or your voting history, or even your children, if you have them. Your legacy is how you lived. The people you interacted with, good or bad. Every minute of every day you have thousands of opportunities to change things. It begins with one simple concept: kindness. To yourself, first. You can’t be kind to anyone else if you’re not kind to yourself. Build a well of it. Dip into it regularly. Bathe in it. From there, it will flow over the rocks and stones in your life. It will soften their edges so you don’t repeatedly cut yourself on them.

Remember the river.