So far, so good

Nine hours. Wake up. This medication is like the gentlest alarm clock in the world. I just wake-up. No dragging myself into consciousness, no yawning or stumbling, just open my eyes and be awake. Don’t even need coffee in the a.m. Still enjoy the taste of it, but I in no way need it to get going in the morning. Effing unbelievable, people.

Cleaned the house. Took a shower. Fiddled with make-up effects. Dragged my ass thru my Dutch homework. Even finished (last night) my latest Roald Dahl book. Did not get back on exercise, but I still feel it’s a drop the mic situation. Took care of loads.

Writing is temporarily on pause. I want my routine back. Asking myself for an hour here, and hour there. I don’t need every minute of every day to write this, and pushing myself – while productive in some ways – is ultimately the wrong thing to do. Not concerned about it; whatever this world is I’m creating, it’s so strong it just birthed itself. I don’t have to do much other than sop up the afterbirth.

I am comfortable these days. Comfortable in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. My hair reflects my mood; I am, truly, a being whose lives in her hair. If I feel tight and constricted, my hair is pulled back into a tight knot. If I feel loose and easy, I’ll wear it down. These days I’ve adopted a half and half look: a loose knot with curly strands near my face. It’s soft and gently, easy and sexy – and not something I can do in front of the mirror. I can only get it correct by doing it by feel. Put me in front of a mirror and I pull a Mom: pulling my hair back severely. It’s functional, but not at all sexy. Let me do it by feel, tho, and it’s perfect every time. Soft, magical, inviting. I don’t know why it works that way.

Got a few more drawings in from my artist friend. They are AMAZING. Not only are they great for what we wanted them for, they’re so great I think they’ll have a lively market plastered on the front of T-shirts. Adding the idea of searching all that out into my ‘list of things to do’ in my brain. Really should start putting that stuff in writing; I’m gonna forget something sooner or later…

Been hearing a revamped version of one of my old songs. My brother is doing a cover of it for his next release. The original was instrumental; he’s adding words. The original was all keys; he’s writing parts for guitar and bass. So it’s a big re-do. And exciting. He’s trying different tempos, different drums. I’m hearing my work in a whole, new way.

My RA has been quiet. The temp has been in the comfortable range, so I’m good in that way. My pustular psoriasis is another matter. All over both feet and hands. Screwed up, I know. Official summer holiday begins next week and I don’t have any more creme for my condition. Shoulda called the doc earlier. Hope a nurse will take pity on me and issue a refill for summer even if I can’t get in to see the doc ’til later. Meanwhile, it’s ugly and, in some places, painful. Mostly it’s an embarrassment. I feel terrible exposing it to the world. Always feel like I have to say ‘It’s not contagious’.

…Just trying to get used to this new feeling. A bit worried we don’t have the night-time med high enough. I’m still obsessing. If not the production, the new idea. If not the new idea, an old song over and over in my head. I can stop it, tho it takes a few attempts and somehow keeps creeping back up on me. On the other hand, I feel like I’m resting at night for the first time in many years. But just yesterday my bro told me to sit down and roll up because I was goin’ too fast… I suppose this is a question for the Doc. Let it go.

Still little to no appetite. Doing my best to remember to take my vitamins at night, have a juice or fresh fruit, and eat when I can. But…food just isn’t on my mind. I reminded myself yesterday at 11 that I still hadn’t had breakfast, then proceeded to go off and work for another 2 hours only to remind myself again at 1 in the afternoon that I was still going on nothing. I can eat, if I remember to sit down and do it. I’m just having problems remembering to do it.

*sigh* Can feel that look on my face. That intense staring. I don’t like to let that out often because it has power. What exactly it does, I can’t say. But it does have an effect. Things happen. My bro would say I’m tapping into the other realm, creating things on the astral plane – and I’ve come to think, reluctantly, that he’s correct. Our thoughts have power over this reality, and it would be blatantly irresponsible of me to let my thoughts wander too much. Nevertheless, it’s there – and I know it well. I’ve learned to put it into my art. Use that deep concentrating trance to my advantage. I call it my ‘sponge’ mode. I am totally open, not just accepting but grasping to hold everything coming in. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the words, the actions – no judgement, just receptiveness. In that receptiveness, there is creation. A free-form association that happens in my brain, tying all sorts of strange ideas together.

I only want the medication to allow me to rest. Stop when needed. Sleep, eat, take care of myself during these times of intense concentration.

Not too bad. I do feel awkward and ungainly in my new schedule, but that always happens when I flips my schedule around. Similarly, I usually have little appetite in summer due to the heat.

So…so far, so good.

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Pop the cork

Pop the cork, and watch it flow.

Not exactly sure what cork I popped yesterday, but it was defo a blockage. After signing out here I began writing in earnest. No outline, no format, no idea what it wants to become, just pure writing. I’ve had flashes of this…er, let’s call it a story for now, for years. But it sat there without substance in my brain. Great set up; now what happens? Still don’t know. But I’m allowing myself to get it out. The thought occurs that there is no story here – not really. No action to speak of, no thread of continuity other than my consciousness. It’s more like these blog posts than anything else.

Whatever. Let it go, see what happens.

Day one on the new med: very relaxed. The conundrum of to do or not do the housework or my exercising seemed small and petty. Enough work will get done around the house to prevent it from becoming a total pig sty, and same goes with my exercising – I won’t allow myself to get too lazy or out of shape. Did the big stuff: dishes, laundry, garbage and recycling. But I let the rest go. Too zen, and far too enjoyable to fall into writing mode – which, sadly, was interrupted about half an hour after it began by my brother returning from the comic shop. Didn’t get upset about it. I know just to shut down. He needs to talk, get out whatever it is that he needs to get out. I don’t really need to reply, just grunt at appropriate times – but if he tells me something he considers important and I don’t remember it because I wasn’t paying attention in the first place – well, then… Hell to pay, a toll which is totally avoidable if I just listen to him. But once he’s broken my train of thought, that’s it. Difficult to return to it. My train of thought is pure and unbroken, and once I’m there I can’t have additional input from anywhere. Just leave me alone and let me get it out. Even saying ‘hello’ to me can throw me. A greeting? What made that happen? What flows from it? …No, just leave me be. *sigh* But, naturally, he didn’t know I’d fallen into that state, nor that he was interrupting me. By the time I could have said something, he’d already spun my head out into a thousand different directions. Too late to pick up the pieces. Allow the interruption to happen, get past it, calm my spirit once again.

I hope to get back to it today.

Dutch, and Dutch homework: can’t be asked. Two weeks left, and I hardly think my teachers would love me for handing in a four page piece of homework they’ll need to spend hours correcting. I know I wouldn’t appreciate it. So I’ll hang onto the homework, and prep it up for my first class after vacation. I should be able to get to it in six weeks. Maybe. I’ll try to be disciplined enough to do it, I swear. My intentions are good on this (and yes, I know, that old saying is enough to imagine me merrily skipping my way down the path to hell, but I really will try).

The read through for the script is called for tomorrow, Monday. Didn’t even have to harp at the director about it! Would like to get a new print up of the entire play. My copy is marked up with red pen: change this or that. Get a good final print for myself. Take a shower so I’m somewhat clean when I go to the meeting. Buy a packet of cigarettes for the director to make up for all the ciggies I’ve bummed from him during breaks. Maybe even pick up a pack of cookies to share out during the reading. That always goes over well.

Think I’ll go back to some make-up today. Took another look at the series of ‘gaunt and exhausted’ make-up I did, and I’m not sure I like the final results. Difficult to say when I’m doing it in my home, under natural light. Stage lighting will change everything I see. I guess I’m pleased I at least have enough experience to know that. I know the make-up needs to be heavier than normal lighting because it won’t show up on stage otherwise. But I feel like my first attempts on the look were too greyed out, too zombie-like. I need to try again and stick to the browns for shading.

Looking forward to July. I’ll spend a few euro on getting some supplies I need and begin running the blood effects tests. And no, at this point I really don’t give a damn if we end up using the effects or not. I’m having way too much fun trying it out to care about that! Will also be buying a packet of make-up sponges. Want to try an idea I have for my wounds, sort of an in-between of the tissue and make-up version I saw and the latex buy it from the shop version. Tee, hee, hee! You have no idea how giggly and exciting I find all this.

…Dr. T said my new med would eventually stabilize me. Get me off my obsessive train and onto a ‘normal’ track. I feel it. It is so easy to say ‘no’ and not be bothered by it. To let it all go. To say ‘okay, you’ve thought enough about that’ and really be done with it. Geez! Is this normal? Really? This is what all you people have been talking about when you told me to ‘just stop thinking about it’? No fucking wonder you could be so complacent about it, so amazed at my inability to stop worrying. Holy Hell! It’s easy on this new med. Like a switch turned on or off.

Or an old cork that finally popped.

Bipolar II

We said we’d treat this as we go. And this isn’t a new thing in your life; it’s been going on a long time. (I nodded.) But it’s going to mean extra medication…

I’d calmed down dramatically by 13:45. If Dr. T had seen me at 11 am, pacing the house, wide-eyed, and talking a mile a minute to myself, he might have prescribed a higher dosage. I’m glad he didn’t.

Quetiapine tablets. Very low dosage of 50mg. Dr. T told me that’s nothing on paper, and most people start at 150mg, but he’s seen some good results from very small doses and considering all the meds I’m on for my RA he wanted to start me out small. I’m on board with that. This increases risks on my kidneys, and means even more blood tests. Maybe they should just insert a shunt into my arm; it would save me scar tissue.

But I was honest. And glad he understood me: I’ve nine months to go on this production and if I keep on obsessing like I’ve been doing this past week I’ll be in hospital in four months.

These are time-released pills, so I have to take them at the same time every day. Dr. T said to take them at night because they might make me drowsy. Decided to move my schedule around a bit so I can take them at 11pm. I’ll be off stage at that point, no matter when the play begins. It means staying up a bit later from now on, whether or not I’m on stage, but only by half an hour. Picking the pills up today.

More determined than ever to get my ass back onto my routine. You don’t have to remind me that regular exercise will help me maintain balance; I know. And I know I’ve been lax on myself. Now that I’ve a wee bit of help to break my obsessing, I’ll be right back on it.

I want the 50mg to work for me.

Here it is Friday and I still haven’t made a start on those homework letters I’m supposed to write. Guess with only two weeks of classes left I’m not that worried about it. Wish I was a bit more concerned about it. Wish I had that impetus to push myself with Dutch. It’ll be harder than ever to maintain over the summer. Oh, there’s always my Dutch films and every advert on tv is in Dutch, but it isn’t the same as talking to someone. I recall I made a vow to find a language cafe to go to every week. Where’s that resolve? Easily answered: out the window, bloody and bruised. That’s where it is.

Haven’t done my weekly house cleaning for a while, and the place shows it. Well, good test for the new pills: slow me down enough to do it. A little toilet scrubbing should remove any last stains of delusions of grandeur. I always say, you can’t be a king or queen while scrubbing out a toilet, and that’s true. It just brings you down to that base level: cleaning up shit. There’s no way to feel grandiose while doing that. No. bleeding. way.

Blood, bleeding, bruised…my language reflects my obsession even when I’m trying to not talk about it.

So talk about it.

Roughed in a playbill. Half-sheet, black & white, just like I said. It looks good to me. The joke I’m telling everyone is the little game I played with director, teasing him with my made-up bruises. It’s going over well, and people are showing an interest both because of what I’m talking about and my sense of humor. Will probably need to ask the director about read-thru dates. As usual, he was on top of it enough to create a Doodle sign-up page, but he hasn’t declared this or that date to be the one. Or maybe he has on Snapchat; that’s the app all the Dutch are using – except me, of course. My phone can’t handle it. [You want Snapchat?! You can’t handle Snapchat! (Sorry, I just had to do that.)] Anyhoo. Will need to follow up with that.

My obsession has not translated into going thru production notes. Yet. I’ve created this mountain of uphill crap in my mind: Oh, Gods! What a drag! It’ll take so long and be so fucking boring! Well, it will take some time and it won’t be the most enjoyable thing to do, that’s true. But it won’t take as long as my head now thinks it will. I feel like my mother, telling myself that. A truism the younger version of me just stubbornly refuses to believe, even tho she has a sense of precisely how true it is. Gods, I’m an obstinate cuss.

Have researched creating fake wounds. Saw a couple of great vids using only paper tissue, glue, and make-up. Still would like to visit the theatrical supply shop here in Rotterdam, but I’m also thinking on creating my own look. A lot will depend on the shop’s pre-made wounds. The on-line tissue and make-up wounds looked a lot better in the vids that the pic the shop showed me of their fake stuff. My problem is that creating my own wounds means I have to do it before the show starts and have them under my clothing the entire time. So I plan the full gambit: create the look, then wrap it up under gauze and wear it around the house for the day. Pull the gauze off in the evening and see if it survived. I’ll only have 5-8 minutes to do it all: bruising, wardrobe change into pre-torn clothes, blood. So it’s got to be quick and easy.

…As for finally being able to put ‘bipolar’ back into my tags because it’s on a sheet of paper… Well, I’m not surprised. Nor shocked. Nor much of anything, other than grateful to Dr. T for listening to me and for making it easy to be honest with him.

I’ve always known what I am.

Get shrunk

Time to get shrunk.

Yeah, Dr. T…doing fine. No more crying first thing in the morning. Concentrating on the production. My Dutch is for shit because all I’m doing is thinking about the play, which is in English. But having loads of fun. Taking my meds. Need a bit more exercise, but other than that…can’t complain.

Boom. Five minutes, mic drop, walk out. It’s really all I need.

The director managed to call a read thru without me nagging him. Looking like it’ll be Monday. We’ll be missing 2 people, but none of the dates can be made by everyone, so we’ll need to compromise. Again (get used to it, spotty!). Not thrilled that the 2 that will miss Monday are newbies; they’re the most important to get into the group right away. The rest of us have history with each other. I want the newbies involved, connecting, feeling comfortable with everyone.

Not. my. problem.

Ran the bruised look past the director. Don’t know if I fooled him for a second or two; he didn’t say. But I sent it out with the title ‘had a fall’, then followed up with a ‘Shit! Does it look bad?’ and the pic I took. Left the ‘reveal’ it was just make-up ’til the end. He did think it looked pretty realistic, so maybe I caught him out for a moment. 🙂 I hope so.

Fiddled with gaunt and exhausted looks yesterday. Counted; need 3 progressions in the act. Realized a couple of things. First, I can practice on myself but I won’t really know about the other actors until I work with them. We don’t all have the same skin tones, so making notes that I’m using this shade or that on my pale skin is just plain silly. I’ll have to customize the look to each actor. Second, due to the progressive nature of the make-up, the first look won’t be very noticeable. It’s just a bit of shading around the eyes. I can see it in my before and after pics, but I don’t notice it if I just look at the after pic. Figure that’s okay, and I’m probably on the right track. The first signs of exhaustion are subtle.

Decided the easiest thing will probably be to make a few ‘how-to’ vids and post them to the group. Here’s how to do this look, here’s how to do that one. We’ll need one or two practice sessions, too, but that won’t take much. Fifteen extra minutes before or after scene rehearsal should do it.

Thinking, too, on playbills. It’s not something the group has used in the past, and I think that’s a mistake. Give people something to take with them. Give them our names, give them our web links, give them the play info. Even if it ends up in the trash after the performance, it’s an hour or two of them looking at it – and they will look at it. Figuring on a half-sheet of paper. Small, easy to take with you. And cheap to create.

…Yeah, I know. Obsessed, aren’t I? Can’t help it. This is the way my mind works: it runs out in divergent lines, hundreds of them stemming from one bleeding idea. I don’t just get the idea of a story, I get the idea of a production, of special effects, of marketing, of the whole shebang. I think I’d be happy if I came up with a small idea that was limited to one flipping thing. It would be refreshing. Instead, I create an effect. Last time I did this I exhausted myself so much it took me years to recoup. My only limits are money and how much I can fit into one day. Creativity is never limited with me.

Managed to look at my Dutch homework and do the reading and simple Q&A’s. Read thru the needs for the letters, too, but I haven’t begun writing them. Finding it difficult to slow down enough to tackle the language. I’m irritated with it right now because I can’t move at lightening speed and that’s my tempo. BOOM! New idea. Flesh it out, start to finish, in five minutes. Watching tv: WHAM! That’s how I should do that. Think about it, and miss a portion of the program because I’m not paying attention. It’s too fast to slow down. Too much to mull over, decide, work out.

And I don’t want it to stop.

Doesn’t everyone *POP* run around with neurons *POP* firing off at this *POP* speed? Gods, you people are slow!

My computer says: Alert! Alert! Dr. T at 13:45. Yeah, I know (she says as she rolls her second J of the morning).

How do I even begin to communicate this to him?

… … … Sigh, ugh, and groan. An explosive outpouring of irritated confusion. Because I don’t know how to communicate this. I’m used to being cut off, told not to talk about this or that. I’m not used to someone sitting across from me and really being interested in exactly what I’m experiencing.

Trust him, Beeps. Maybe this is nothing. Maybe it’s just normal excitement; you don’t know. If you have to use English, use English. Tell him about the obsessive thoughts. Tell him about tossing and turning while your mind churns. Tell him you can’t concentrate on Dutch right now. This is what he needs to know. – And, bleeding hell, woman! Tell him you don’t want it to stop completely if you don’t want it to stop. We both know you need a bit of this to see the project thru. But we also both know you’re perfectly capable of killing yourself with work, and this is a prime example you’re setting up. You want Dr. T. to visit you in hospital in four months? No? Then talk to him, and take care of yourself.

*sigh* Okay. I’ll get shrunk.

€8.15

Does it look bad? Painful? Did you suck in your breath and say ‘Oh my God!’ when you saw it?

Good. That’s make-up test number one, face bruising. Completed in less than 5 minutes, using a grand total of €8.15 worth of make-up. I’ll flesh this look out with a cut lip and blood dripping from a head wound.

Today I work on the exhaustion progression for Act 3. I need 3 or 4 (have to count them) looks that get progressively more tired and drawn. Doing the effects, snapping pix, taking notes on what I’m using. Already know I won’t have time to do everyone’s make-up back-stage, so I’m planning on a ‘how to’ meeting with the actors. Have a difficult time believing others don’t know how to do this, but…maybe they’re not as ghoulish as I am. I’ve been doing horror make-up since I began playing with make-up.

Oh, it’s fun! Much more fun that doing make-up the normal way!

Spent hours yesterday typing away, making notes. Have my agenda over the next 9 months roughed in, with marketing release dates already set in stone. Went thru my teaser trailer vid idea and picked dialogue from each act I need to record. Will pull more than necessary so I have room to play with length, etc. Thought about my interviews with cast and crew, getting the local tv station interested in doing a piece on us, sketched out a teaser flyer to release a month before the performance.

And blood, blood, blood. When I have a few euro (which may not be ’til next month, considering I spent my last €8.15 on make-up), I’ll buy red food coloring and chocolate sauce to practice squibs and blood capsules.

My bro has already warned me to run this past the director; I’m overstepping my bounds a bit. But…I’ve not been idle these past two years. I’ve been analyzing the group, noting their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve known from the start that doing this production meant more than just being an actor or writer. I have to step in on make-up, fight scene choreography, special effects, props, and sound.

*sigh* And I see it in their eyes. That slightly glazed look I get at first, then realization that no, I’m not asking them to do anything they don’t want to do and I’ve already planned out this or that. Then they’re all on board. I don’t really know if it’s sheer laziness or admiration for my ideas (or both). But I’m glad I’m given the chance to do it all.

Managed to get up and move a bit, walking around the neighborhood. Have not returned to my gym yet, and I’m really beginning to feel guilty (and fat). Better for me to work on this obsession, let it run out of me. I’d only exercise half-assed anyway, not really into it. If I do all the make-up tests I want to do, I can let it go. Besides, I’m really enjoying playing with all the shading and colors.

Two weeks left of language class. My head just isn’t there, and I’m not the only one. We’re doing the usual: dictation, reading, questions. But I told my teacher about my excitement over the production, and the blood effects I’ll be working on. She laughed in that easy way she has, and it was clear to me she heard me say ‘My focus isn’t on the language right now’. Bless her for understanding my hidden text.

Have an appointment with Dr. T on Thursday. Beginning to feel like my appointments with him are redundant. I’m doing well, nothing really to say. I’m not crying, not upset, and focused on the production. All positives. Might be straying a bit into the obsessive side of things, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s keeping me occupied and thinking. Most of all, it’s keeping me positive. Buoyed up by hope and anticipation. Working hard to keep active and take care of myself at the same time. Being kinder to myself. Even liking myself a bit these days.

Managed to keep a lid on my ideas. An additional teaser vid idea came to me: a 3 minute short film related to the play yet not included in the play. It would be killer to do, AND it would offer someone a chance to act a bit even if they’re not in the production. Worried about overloading myself, tho. But I might run it past the director. After filling in my schedule, I realize I could do this over summer. Won’t take long to write, direct, or shoot. And I don’t plan on a lot of edits. Ach! Listen to me. Still arguing with myself.

The sun is shining and my day is ‘free’. Have to use quotes there; plenty for me to do that’s needed but none of it is necessary to do today, so, guess what? It ain’t gettin’ done.

Instead, I’ll be bruising my face. Shading in the dark circles under my eyes, making my cheeks and nose look gaunt and unhealthy. Creating almost every make-up look I want.

All for €8.15.

The Goddess within

Girls’ Night. I find it much easier to be a girl when my brother isn’t around. That’s a truth. And last night, I wallowed.

Olive oil on my hair to condition it, moisturizing masque on my face, hot shower ready to clean everything off, and nail paraphernalia out and ready for use. I am clean, my hair is far less frizzy, my face is smooth and soft, and my nails are trimmed and brightly shining. I felt good doing all that for myself. I feel good with the results.

Heard about the long-awaited auditions. The director said he’ll be using this next week’s holiday time to choose text and set a date. I told him about my film co-star and asked for some lead time for her; she’ll need it if she’s going to make auditions. Cool. We’re on the same page. And I got a message out to my film posse, letting them know auditions will be called in a few weeks and I’d love to have them involved somehow or at least come to the production. Yea! Good on me for reaching out, even tho I know they’re all busy with their internships. Usually I just discount that type of stuff, figuring they’re too busy anyway so why ask. That’s a mistake; let people decide for themselves if they’re too busy or not. And the film director wants to read the script (I told him this was the the story I’d mentioned months back), so I’m hoping that my life will unfold gently in this order: theatre production, film brain storming, film work, marketing, larger theatre productions, screenings, awards. One can hope, right?

I am Dutch obsessed. Can’t stop with the language. After taking care of myself last night, I ended up in my chair with the tv on and my homework propped up on my lap. I find myself excited by the work. Made notes, outlined, looked up some words, and sat there pondering the correct perfect tense form of a few new verbs. The film I had on ended and I noticed it was almost 10 p.m., my traditional get ready for bed and go read before sleep time. Really? Off to feed my brain more Dutch via Roald Dahl. That voice that reads aloud in my head is picking up speed, discovering the natural phrase breaks. I am stumbling less and reading faster. Gobbling up the words.

Took yesterday off from the gym. Still in build up phase, and that means gentle, gentle, gentle – whether or not I like that approach. Building back strength is a slow and irritating process for me. But I’ve learned – the hard way. Just to remind myself: torn ligaments, torn cartilage in the knees, back injuries, wrist injuries, shoulder injuries. We want none of that.

…*sigh* I honestly don’t know if taking all this on is a good idea. “All this” being the theatre production, the film push, the language, the self care. I’m scared of what it might mean for me. I’ve run on that obsessed mania so many times! Telling myself I’ve got support in my bro (a constant) and my doc. It’s okay to try this. Everyone’s happy that I’m taking better care of myself. Everyone is excited about my script and the production. I just…I don’t want to burn out and let everyone down. Again. I don’t want to overload. It’s a real stressor for me. So I’m trying to let myself feel happy without that restless get up and do something mania. That’s difficult. I said a few days ago I find patience to be passive. I also find happiness to be active. How can people just sit around when they’re excited or happy? How can you, as adults, just drop that and go about your life without any repercussion? I am more child-like. The excitement hangs on me forever. I obsess about it, wind myself up, can’t stop thinking or moving because of it. Usually I just have to burn it out of me one way or the other. Which then leads to my overload and breakdown. Obviously, I’ve tried this before. I know my pattern.

Self-care is the answer. I know that. Valuing myself enough to really understand – fully – that I can do nothing for anyone if I’m not taking care of myself. Part of that is letting go. Accepting help from others. Part of that is saying no. Putting myself first. Two sides of the same coin, really.

Ach! Well, I also said a few days ago that beginnings were difficult. And here I am, right in the muck of it. I now have to look at this coin I hold – my self worth, something I’ve seen for decades as a plug nickel – as titanium. I hate gold, so forget that analogy. It is valuable. I am valuable. My skills, knowledge, and talents are valuable.

See the obvious, woman! This play production could not happen without your skills as a writer. The film group would not have grown so close without you there to be the rallying point on set. It is your warmth that draws people to you, your talent that people seek out. You have evidence of your value all around you. Look up and acknowledge it! See what you can do without even trying.

Trying doesn’t have to upset your apple cart. Trying means being a little more patient with your listening skills. Trying means making sure you’ve got enough time to loll about and do the nothing stuff you find so vital to your head. Trying means getting regular movement, taking your pills, seeing the doctors.

You don’t have to rebuild Rome in a day. Just…wander carefully thru the ruins. Watch your step.

And always, darling girl, respect the altar. You know where it lies and you know what it wants. You know what she wants.

The Goddess within.

Light ’em up

Smoke ’em if you got ’em! Happy 420.

Got in one good pacing session. The weather’s been hot, and my bro has been hanging around a bit more to avoid the sun so I haven’t had many opportunities to get up and talk out everything pouring thru my head. Have one storyline roughed in, another half there with ideas and questions: very productive for one pacing session (granted, it lasted about 2 hours).

Ratta-tat-tat-brrrr-ratta-tat-tat. My brother had to come out from his room four times yesterday to comment on my tapping feet. Just…kept doing it. All afternoon. Please remember to tell your psychiatrist about this when you see him next. Yeah. He’ll probably say it’s depression. That’s what everyone says about everything I say: it’s depression. Depression. Fast feet? Depression. Sweating hands? Depression. Poor sleep? Depression. Repetitive thoughts? Depression. I’m beginning to wonder why I bother mentioning anything. They’ve pegged me, and until they see obvious shit in front of their own eyes they won’t change their minds.

Must. let. go. I’m obsessing over the production. Bless my bro’s heart, he recognized that yesterday and did his best to talk me down. He let me go thru my concerns, talk about the sound layering, the recordings needed, and my worry over time and overloading him. He replied (confidently; damn! I wish I could do that) that he could get all the sound done in one week if push came to shove. And he reminded me that I’ve passed the baton. He’s the sound director, and the director is the director. Let go. If they say they can do it within the time frame they’re setting, they can do it. That’s tough. Had a lot of people let me down. Drop things at the last minute, then look at me like ‘well, if you want it done, do it yourself’. The only thing I know for sure that works is immersing myself in a new story – which is why I took off all restrictions on myself and paced things out. I thought I’d want to be clear headed and focused on the production, but I find my laser beam concentration too much. I’ve got to distract myself.

Still cooking things up in my brain, so my body’s been allowed to be the slug. Sit. Go thru the motions of playing solitaire. Unfocused eyes on the tv. Uncomprehending hearing. My bro is indulging me. Encouraging me, even. He sees the obsession and the manic traits even if the doc doesn’t.

My phone rang about 10 minutes before my pizza was delivered. I knew before looking at it that it was S. She’s the only one who calls me. Bless her, she was trying to multi-task a bit; she called me while she was on the train. Unfortunately, the noise made for a difficult phone call. I hung in there, responding between bites on my pizza. I know that’s an instance I should probably say ‘could you call me back in half an hour? my pizza just came’, but I can’t. I have so few friends and people in my life, and I know how busy they all are. I’m grateful for whenever S’s calls come, whether it’s 10 minutes before my pizza or just after I’ve turned the light out in my room and I’m ready to sleep. Plus, I know it’s my schedule that’s weird and off. Sometimes I’m sleeping at 6 in the evening. Sometimes I eat dinner at 3 in the afternoon. So I do my best to accommodate those phone calls because…well…I don’t get many. And I know I’m the oddball.

Anyway, she’s fine. Busy. Happy at her internship. I’m so thrilled for her! A bit jealous, too. Or envious. Wishing I could be in her shoes – trained in what she loves, just heading out and beginning. If she doesn’t succumb to hating herself, she can go far. I find it interesting to hear her. We’ve talked deeply enough that I know a few of her issues, and she mine. We connect on several levels; our problems aren’t dissimilar. It is almost as if I’m talking to a younger version of myself. She’s half on the track and half lost. She knows she struggles with depression and self hate, but she thinks repeating those tried and true memes will get her thru her shit. Had a good laugh (internally) when she told me: It’s all in your head. Yes. Depression is all in your head. But she seems to want me to be able to talk things out and get to an ‘end’ (or perhaps she’s hoping to see that so it gives her hope that her own issues will, eventually, come to an ‘end’). I have not the heart to tell her there is no end to it. And I do not have the courage to let her see the hag in me: that older, wiser woman with keen perception. I allow her to tell me her youthful wisdom, full of hope and rainbows. I do not point out the deeper issues I see lurking behind her words or actions. To me, they are obvious. She is on the right track; she’s told me about the competitiveness between herself and her older sister. That was my first step, too. I recognize the overeating, the family issues behind the nice facade (no diss on her family; I’ve met her parents and they’re both very pleasant to strangers but it’s obvious to me she’s not getting what she needs from them).

Well. You’re the wordsmith. What would you have listened to when you were her age? You can’t tread her journey for her. You can’t put her feet down on the right path. She’s got to do that. The only thing you can do is try to illuminate her mind. Connect with her. Let her know she’s not alone.

Light ’em up.

Playing with others

Ah, yes. Medication is like a tiny assistant you swallow. It helps you stay calm. It doesn’t override every bloody thing that happens. It doesn’t mean you can stop trying.

It’s too early, and I’m up again. But yesterday was my work with the director, so I’m not shocked. I was wound up as the time approached, wound up during the meeting, wound up after the meeting, wound up during sleep (can’t even count how many times I woke up biting down hard on my mouth guard), and now I’m awake – begrudgingly. For the record, 5 a.m. Better than 3 a.m., tho not by much.

Ach…I still can’t say with 100% certainty that we’ll do my script. The cast is large, and if we can’t find enough good people…well, the director said he’d rather not do it than do it with a shit cast. I am exactly where I don’t want to be: stuck in flux, with no certainties to hang my hat on. …No. Not true. I can hang my hat on the fact that the director really wants to do the script, he really likes the story, and he thinks we’re capable of doing it. Whether or not the production comes off shouldn’t be my main focus. Right. Hang on to that, Beeps. Your work is appreciated.

It was fun, yesterday, working. We pulled everything apart; took 5 hours. I was prepared to make major concessions. Geared up for major re-writes. What I heard was stuff like “I don’t think you need the word ‘on’ in this sentence” or “Did you see that typo here?” Minor corrections, minor adjustments. A few hours and it should be done. Mostly, we talked about what I didn’t write: the back stories of characters, the hidden ideas in the scripts. We discussed sound: how to approach it, what to mix together, what we needed for the venues. I was shocked when the director brought up the possibility of adding a video element to the show. Last discussion I’d had about adding video was that it’s expensive to do so the group just didn’t do it. But, hey! At this point, it’s the director talking to the board. He’s selling his vision, and if that includes video, let him argue the point. I’d love to do it. I wanted to get my hands on a camera anyway. Showed the director my rough cut trailer for YouTube, which he loved, and the flyer. As I explained my reasoning on the flyer layout, he just grinned and nodded. ‘I was thinking of something similar,’ he said. Our ideas were in-line for many elements, and my bro ended up chiming in some key ideas we all loved.

lol. And one mystery solved. I’d been wondering why the director kept saying my work was like Lovecraft, and yesterday I heard that reasoning. He feels Lovecraft wrote about things that just exist. They are not evil; they simply are. We’re terrified by what these things do, but they’re not malicious. They’re more like children, simply not knowing what they do is harmful. I laughed when he told me all this, because it’s bang on. I hadn’t torn apart Lovecraft to realize all that, but I knew it about my own work. I’ve written demons from Hell whom you’ll end up loving and cheering on, murderous elementals whom you’ll identify with and bear no ill will towards, and now the thriller trilogy with what ends up being, in short, a force of nature. Things that are just evil…they don’t really scare me. I’m sure they would, if they popped up in my life, but…outright evil is easy to combat. You know you have to fight it. What do you do with something that just is? What do you do with that grey area? How do you react when the unimaginable is stated in the softest and most reasonable voice? I find that disconnectedness more terrifying than fire and brimstone. I suppose that says a lot about me.

…In some ways, I feel like yesterday was the shrink session I really didn’t get with Dr. T. I am painfully aware my writing tells all to anyone clever enough to read between the lines. That knowledge knots my stomach and makes me wince. Discussing the back history of each character, bringing up what’s driving all of them…naturally, I was discussing myself on many levels. The director chuckled many times. He pointed out snippets of dialogue, things like ‘yes, here’s where her narcissism comes in’ or ‘you have a lot of psychologically based male/female dialogue here’. He questioned me on some statements, and I found myself very able to defend my reasoning. One thing in particular was a married couple exchange. A few things are clear to me, in retrospect. One, the director isn’t an outright narcissist. He didn’t know the moves. Two, he doesn’t know any outright narcissists because he didn’t know the psych behind it. Three, I heard a click in his brain when he asked me ‘How many Jims did you know?’ (Jim being the cheating husband), and I quickly said ‘too many’. We discussed self harm, suicidal thoughts, uncontrolled rage, helplessness, fear, obsession – all of them in the third person, all of them safely, all of them in regard to the story and the characters I wrote. I even started the meeting like a therapy session, with a warning that (a) I was really manic about the production and (b) I have control issues, so fair warning, and I’ll do my best to let go.

Most of all, tho, I stressed the idea that I know the power of a group. I don’t want to control every element. I don’t want to make every decision. I’ve got a lot of good ideas, and I want to put them to use, but I also want to have other people in on it. Have their ideas expand mine. Let them flesh in the corners I left dark.

Does this mean I’ve finally learned how to play with others?

Take a dump

Beginning to learn why everyone recommends de-stressing. …Yeah, I know the articles all said stress does a number on your body; as usual, I didn’t quite believe it – at least not in the context of my workhorse, which was bred and raised to work. I was meant to drop in my tracks, right? That’s what workhorses do. [Thanks, Dad, for THAT programming.]

Self diagnosis: irritable bowel syndrome. Trust me, it sounds nicer than it is. And it doesn’t sound very nice, does it? For the past 24 hours I’ve been reluctant to do anything outside the house because every time I bloody well fart I have to be on the toilet. Diarrhea, bloating, belching, discomfort, and a disturbing amount of mucus do not make for happy toilet times even if you’re rich enough to afford one of those Japanese toilets that sing to you while you’re taking a dump. Imagine what it’s like in a stripped down WC.

Yeah, thanks Universe! I really needed that constant physical reminder. I really needed that extra added stress of my body not running the way it should. I needed that extra worry, those extra jolts of panic. Oh, good on you, Universe! This is sarcasm, by the way…

To any fellow IBS sufferer out there, I’ve one word for you: licorice. It’s got to be real licorice, with natural ingredients. Go to a health food/whole foods place; it’s out there. Licorice is one of those natural gas easers. It will NOT stop your IBS attack, but it will allow you to belch really, really (REALLY) loudly and get out that gas that causes pain. I just sucked licorice for most of the evening, and about 10 minutes after eating a piece I burped so loudly it almost registered as supersonic (little doubt the neighbors heard it; undoubtedly they’ll think it was my brother). Just…keep eating licorice. You’ll feel better. And it’s an easy and cheap remedy for anyone to try.

Meanwhile…

Ah, yes. Here comes on a morning headache. Good Goddess, I’m a mess! In 24 hours this will all be coming to a head as I wait the last bit before my shrink appointment. Can’t plan or think too much about that. Can’t even try to think out the Dutch I need to use. I tear up, my breathing gets ragged, and I feel totally insecure and afraid. So I’ve been distracting myself. But I know full well my subconscious has continued to gnaw on my upcoming appointment, and my body issues are the product of this. I acknowledge that. I acknowledge also that I do not feel particularly stressed in my conscious mind. Distraction works. It’s painfully obvious to me, tho, that my body is fighting it. I am not dealing with the stress, I’m stuffing it down so well I’m not consciously aware of it and it’s coming out physically.

I mean…what do I do? Sit here for the next 27 hours and let myself cry and shake while I think it all through? That doesn’t sound healthy to me. But then, neither is what I’m doing healthy.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. Go away, headache!

Help!

…To add to this mountain, I heard from the director. This Friday, 15:30, here at my place. That knowledge dumps a lot of adrenaline into my system; I can feel it. Went off on sound ideas for a couple of hours with my bro. Talked about organics, how to record what I wanted, sourcing ideas. I can mechanize the voice to the hilt, but in analyzing the great creepiness of my favorite stuff, I realized it’s the organics that make my skin crawl. And I want people to be afraid. Very afraid (about as afraid as I am most days). Ach! We’ll be hopping between our studio equipment and computers, layering and cutting sounds, and then compressing the hell out of everything. I’m happy to find my bro excited about the idea. If he was nonplussed, I wouldn’t feel so positive about it. But with the master producer and engineer on board, I know the sound will be great. And, hopefully, we can use much of what we create in the planned podcast.

I’m so committed to this/these stories that I’m amazing myself. My head is focused continually on the story line, the ways I could change it, the ongoing and side stories that could be written off my original work. I am ready to serialize this shit. Anyone of the three parts that make up the trilogy could have numerous sequels (so many I could really sell out and sign a contract for 20 or more sequels). It’s part of what I’m excited about: creating a perfect, unending loop. The only line indicating where to stop is when the audience stops coming to see the shows.

And whereas I feel slightly concerned over the idea of me immersing myself into this circular, horrific tale for years to come, I must admit it’s a great place to store my fear. I could literally write everything that terrifies me into this tale. This aspect is so concentrated in this work that I feel I could even do silent versions of it and still convey the terror and fear I want (great idea for some film shorts, that; keep it in mind).

…*sigh* Maybe that’s the point. It’s my dump ground. Maybe I should let myself go. Explore some of those side stories. It would keep me on point with the project overall, yet give me something to do and, well…dump into.

I’d like a new camera. The vid cam I’ve used in the past is a rinky-dink affair and cost less than 100 euro when I bought it. I’d like something a step up. Even if I’ve got to borrow it…

Hm. Time to send out feelers. Anyone own a camera I could use? Yep.

But first: write. Plan. Turn this nervous energy into something positive.

lololol! Literally, and metaphorically: take a dump.

The harder I try, the faster I go

Where is my baseline? When I’m depressed, I think ‘yep, this is where I normally live’, but when I’m manic I think ‘yep, this is where I’m meant to live’ and honestly, I just don’t know. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be happy or excited without being manic. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be sad or blue without being depressed. I don’t know that I’ve spent one minute of my life in a “normal” human mode without an extreme taking over.

My fears and frustrations did what they always end up doing to me: they pushed me into action. In the last 48 hours I’ve designed and prepped a flyer for my play; designed and prepped a teaser video for said play; brainstormed on marketing and advertising strategies (three pages worth); searched in English and Dutch for venues, bloggers, and anything remotely connected with theatre and the arts; and brainstormed, researched, and decided upon a tag line for the entire production. That’s in addition to reading several chapters in my book, writing three pages of narrative in Dutch, finishing my homework, getting to the gym, and keeping up on the housework.

Just a little manic (and yes, that’s sarcastic, I’m out in the fucking stratosphere, people).

In some ways, this is just my life. My pattern is to think for a long time. It looks like I’m doing jack shit, but in truth I’m working my ass off contemplating whatever it is I’ve got in my sights. When I finally do make a move, I’ve thought it out so completely that it goes at lightening speed. The flyer I designed was a perfect example: thought about it for days but the physical process of putting it together took me less than 30 minutes, and that includes searching for and manipulating a copyright free picture to use in the background. Same with the teaser video. Boom, boom, boom – one, two, three – and it’s done. Now both projects must sit on my desktop because neither can be released before I have performance dates and venues. … But, yeah. I’m always in feast or famine mode. It’s the natural of the way I work. Catch me in famine mode and you’ll think I spend my days sitting around on my ass playing games and watching tv. Catch me in feast mode and you’ll think I never sit down nor stop working.

………..

The internet cut me off. Yeah. Even the Universe is flipping telling me to STOP.

Trying to divvy up my time. An hour here, an hour there. Move around and don’t stay with anything too long. It isn’t really working. I’m fighting it, wanting to keep going once I get going. Or I get up and try something else to little effect and return to my obsession. Try this, write that idea down, search that. If I don’t slow down I’ll have all the ‘jobs’ finished before I even talk to the director about the production.

And no matter what I cajole my body into doing, my head stays on topic, never leaving it for long, never ceasing to think of new ideas, new approaches, new considerations. Mentally, I like being here. It is full of hope and energy. I also know it’s a danger point.

Food is never far from my thoughts these days. Don’t skip meals. Eat something. Mornings I feel like I have to shove food down my throat. Evenings I feel like I can’t eat enough. Been trying to just go with the flow as best as possible, but working out at the gym or any other afternoon activity throws a wrench into it: go too hard in the afternoon and I drop. Ergo, I need food before I do my afternoon activities. But I then I’m shoving food again, feeling like I’m eating unnecessarily when I’m not hungry. Tried riding out the morning and eating after the gym, which works to an extent. It screws up my dinner time, tho, and I don’t like that. The experience just serves to bring me back to the beginning: gods, I wish I didn’t have to eat at all.

Fucking three dimensional carbon based life forms! What a wet sack of shit we’re all caught in. My body just slows me down. The pain, the need to sleep, to rest, to eat. It disrupts my work, and that irritates me. I do my best to remind myself that this is reality as I know it; the animal is part of me, treat it like a well loved pet rather than an often kicked dog. Gah! It ain’t easy.

Thinking about tackling those big cleaning jobs around the house, the ones I do once every six months or so. It’s time; the place needs it. It would also be something else to keep me occupied and at least physically away from obsessing (and it would allow me ample time to just think about things). That’s hardly ‘rustig’, tho. My best bet is to try reading again, tho lately I’m so squirrelly I have a difficult time sitting even for that.

I can feel my routine break down. See it, even. I was so stable for so long. Get up, eat oatmeal, exercise, Dutch, afternoon writing, evening tv, sleep. Now, it’s all out the window. Can’t eat in the mornings, exercise is a vague maybe, Dutch homework is still a drag tho reading has become a joy, my only writing is my obsessive marketing information collection, evening tv is on but largely unwatched because I’m fucking obsessed and only thinking of my work, and sleep is a toss and turn and check the clock to see if I can get up and start again.

I’ve been here before. I know what this is.

And the harder I try to slow down, the faster I go…