That’s life

Life has returned. My memories are back in the closet, not forgotten, but filed away. Time to move on.

Writing is going well. Not enough time to do it lately. Seems it’s all run this errand, pick that up, and of course the ever present necessity to get to the gym and move so I don’t hurt so much. Haven’t even cleaned the house in I don’t know how long, and it shows it.

Today I’m keeping to my life commitment. Heading out with my brother to the comic book shop. Say hi to the guys. Hang out. Talk. Be a part of the world. Got to keep in practice with that, at least a little bit, or I’ll forget how to do it.

Been feeling very alone and lonely. The two don’t always go together, but right now they do. In the wake of my reaction to the news about L, I feel friendless. Want to change that, but I find my physical condition works against me. Last time I tried to schedule a get together with potential friends I woke up with laryngitis. Shit happens. Just the excitement of looking forward to getting out and meeting people can make me ill. Do that enough times to a potential new friend and they lose interest in pursuing a friendship. Seen it happen.

And I don’t like this double life I live. The reality is, my health isn’t good. I do fall ill very easily. I’m not strong. But then there’s my gym life: the nods and notice I get while working out. Maybe they’re not all dyin’ to do me, but they do acknowledge I work hard (beginning to think that most of the smiles I receive are ‘she’s a tough old bird’ type of thing). Most people drop out after an hour of exercise. Most people are shocked and think two hours is extreme. Oh, god, I could never make it for two hours! Then they look me up and down, decide that maybe not all physical strength translates into slim, tight bodies, and put me in that ‘healthy as hell’ category, which I do not deserve to be in.

…At least my physiotherapist understands.

Speaking of, looking forward to seeing him next week. Realized a long time ago our sessions are half physio and half talk therapy. Why can I do that? Why am I so open with someone like him, yet so closed if I see someone called ‘therapist’? One of those mysteries about myself I’d like to solve. …I need him on both levels right now. Despite my physical movement, I’ve got some pain building up. And although I don’t know what I’m going to say, I do know I’ll probably bring up L.

Been a few months since I’ve been able to get my hair done. Upshot is, I’ve got grey showing. Maybe for the first time in my life. A couple of silver hairs by each temple. I’ve looked at it closely in the mirror. It’s not unattractive. In fact, I find myself more distressed by the shaggy outgrowth look I’ve got right now than those grey hairs. …Don’t think I should wear my hair this long. It looks strange on my face. A 20 something tousled hair style on a 50 something woman. But what am I supposed to do? That’s my hair. It just looks that way, naturally. Hope to get it all spruced up before September.

Have not worn my orthopedics, despite the cooler weather. Do not want to wear my orthopedics. My cheap tennis shoes (with added insoles) are lovely: they give me plenty of support, and they don’t bite my feet at all. Plus they were a quarter of the cost of my orthopedics. But I’ll need to get back on that. No use in doing it in August; this entire country goes on holidays. Another thing to write in for September.

Bought some cheap eye gel and dark circle remover. Cosmetics that promise the impossible. But I figure any improvement is an improvement. And I’m guessing it helps to just go through the motions. Applying lotions, massaging them in – that’s a form of self love. I care enough about myself to do this, it says. Or at least that’s how I see it. So, I’m doing it, and hoping it will buy me a few years of looking not so tired and worn out.

Have let myself off the hook for tomorrow’s exercise. My bro is on me to read the final chapters in his book, one of the comic book guys leant me a run of stories by George Romero, and of course I have my own writing to get to. Today will largely be shot, between traveling to and fro and all the time spent visiting. Tomorrow is my make-up day: do the writing I should be doing today, finish up those comics, and start reading my brother’s work.

Wish these things didn’t always pile up on me.

…Wish I could just say no like so many people have said to me. I’m too busy with my own shit. Deal.

And that takes me right back to who I want to be. Do I want to be that person who’s always too busy for friends? Do I want to show the people I care about that I care about them, or will I just perpetuate that lip service shit my family gave to me? It always comes up for me at times like this. And I get angry, and pout, and whine that it isn’t fair, isn’t fair, isn’t fair…

But that’s life.

Sated

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I am no Wilbur Force. I do not seek out purposefully painful dental work. I am, in fact, on the terrified side regarding dentists and dental work: too much pain too many times to feel too comfortable in that chair.

So when I say I had the best ever dental experience this morning, I want to be fully understood. No genie could have magicked up a dental hygienist more compassionate, more careful than the one I met today. In 40 minutes of deep cleaning, I experienced only one flash of discomfort, and it was over almost before I could register it.

Another pleasant surprise: I was greeted back to my Friday lesson with an enthusiasm that really touched me. So many smiles, so many happy faces, wanting to talk to me, to say hello. Understanding and compassion when it came to my hearing problem, as well.

I feel so full up of compassion I don’t quite know what to do.

Makes me feel bad about going off on the world, and thinking every single person on the planet is a fuck-wit.

Here’s the weekend again, two days without much to fill them. I’ve got the normal stuff; cleaning, writing, fresh air and walking. But I’m wishing I had another meeting, something else to get me out of the house and into a group of people.

Damn! Did I just say I want to be social?

That’s what I get after so long in the house, waiting to feel better. Any little thing, any show of friendliness or just human decency sets me a-spin. When your only input is the news or television, you begin to forget that there are just people out there, too. Normal people, living normal lives. They’re not out to take everyone, to use and abuse; just to live. Part of that is smiling, nodding, saying hello and thank you – and when you don’t get that for an extended period, it’s amazing what it does.

It’s like daffodils blooming in my chest – a bright burst of sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops right where I needed it.

Update: Wishing the ringing in my left and right ears was at least in harmony. Unfortunately, it’s slightly dissonant. The more my the sound in my left ear diminishes, the more I hear the right. If I ever get my full hearing back, I’ll create something based on how I hear right now (I promise, promise, promise – now please make it stop). Dizziness is the same. Wore my orthopedics outside yesterday, gave them the best chance possible to NOT hurt my feet. That was a failure. Gotta make an appointment to go in and have them adjusted again. Checking FB every day for a new post from the theatre group regarding auditions. Wondering how long “soon” is. Wrote a letter to my bro’s friend, R, who might be able to arrange a room for me to use to workshop my script. Pitched an English-speaking theatre workshop to him. Decided I’d step slowly with all that; my bro’s brought up a performance poetry class, and R himself has discussed me teaching English as a language – all of which interests me. I just don’t want to stretch myself too thin, particularly with my health issues.

For right now, though, I am happy and satisfied. My soul ate a big meal of human compassion and kindliness this morning, and I hadn’t quite realized how hungry I’d been.

*Burp*

My compliments to the chef.

Kuiper Belt

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Loneliness. It’s beating down on me today. My own damned fault, of course. Just got off Fuckbook Facebook. Looked at all the posts my family and friends have been putting up for the last week. The bullshit memes. The angry declarations. Oh, there were one or two people I checked who were still the sane and thinking individuals I remember them as. But many were not. And it occurred to me that maybe they were never really the sane, thinking individuals I perceived them to be in the first place.

That thought made me feel lonelier than ever.

My first reaction was an old one: rock. I rock in my chair. It’s a comfort thing. Did it a LOT as a kid; I mean almost all my spare time. Tried to hide it as a teenager. Closed the curtains, did it in secret – like I was masturbating or something. Did my best to rid myself of the need to rock. Yet…Yet I still need it, time to time. Still need to hold myself in my arms and bang my back against a chair. Don’t know quite why.

I should be feeling pretty good. Got out on a walk today for fresh air. Joined the gym. Finished formatting the script. Even thinking about trying some Dutch language drills later on.

But I feel like a lost little girl. Like my family has forgotten about me. Like I’m in one of my nightmares from childhood, when my family denied they were my family.

I don’t know these people.

I realize that’s partially my fault. Certainly, I haven’t kept up my side of communications. Then again, I make no secret of the fact that my family often triggers me, and usually it’s in my best interests to NOT communicate with them. Double bind. Talk, and get triggered. Don’t talk, and feel left out.

Naturally I won’t even consider that they should get off their asses and try to communicate with me.

…*sigh* So. The play. Found an online cloud based formatting software for free, so I tried it out. It’s…formatted. To some standards. I’m not sure it’s theatre standards. But it’s something. The formatting took it down to 24 pages. Don’t know if that’s going to be enough. May have to bulk it out. But I checked and double checked, thought, checked some more, and decided I’ve just got to bring it to the group at this point. Find out how long it is with a read through. See what everyone thinks.

And of course I have the play material based on my dysfunctional family on one hand and my real live dysfunctional family on the other. Synergistic disparity. That’s what I’ll dub it. My ability to allow my play family to have epiphanies about their lives – I can’t do that with my real life family. I can’t make my oldest brother understand how disgusted I am over Trump (yes; he supports that asshole). I can’t snap them out of their ingrained, narcissistic reactions. I want to. Desperately. So I take my longings and give them to my writing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t change anything in real life. And sometimes I wonder if my flights of fancy don’t feed this unsettledness that creeps up on me regarding my family. If my continued investment – at least in my mind – of “saving” my family from themselves doesn’t keep me stuck.

That rubs raw.

Almost like my shoes rubbing my feet raw. Yes, I wore them out walking. Yes, I warmed them up before I walked and I walked carefully and not too fast or forcefully or anything else that could, in any way whatsoever, make me wrong or responsible for the raw spots on my feet. Goddamn it! My trial pair gave me none of this gripe. I wore them out of the shop the first day and never bloody took them off. But these! From day one, they’ve been hurting me here or there. Wear them in. Break in the leather. Allow them to stretch. I have HAD it. I think after THIS long and so many fucking adjustments to the fucking things that I can say that. Fix ’em, make ’em right. What, did you mix things up and make these for someone else’s feet? Sometimes that’s what I think: that they used the wrong moulds. And naturally it’s up to me to call the shop, get in there, convey all of that without blaming anyone too much or coming off like a bitch.

Fuck.

I don’t like being grown up. Can I say that? Well, tough, I just did. I don’t like having to take the high road. I don’t like having to do things that make me nervous or make me feel bad about myself. I don’t like feeling like I always have to keep putting myself out there, time and again, no matter what the fucking consequences and never lose it, never cry, never give up.

And yes, all of that is being grown up to me. And keys. Lots of keys. ‘Cause grown ups have lots of locks to open because they own lots of stuff.

I don’t have a lot of keys.

And I usually don’t feel very grown up.

…And I’m having a real hard time today. Don’t want to cut myself any slack.

This is the point where I should turn it around, right? Find something to calm myself. Find something to reach for. Problem is, I am reaching. Too far. To Jupiter, and beyond. Can’t stop the manic fantasies. Which unsettle me even more when I force myself to come down and frankly assess my own life. Ugh! The crap I find there!

I’m hanging on. Kinda. Asked a friend to tell me I’m not a terrible person. Telling myself I’m not a horrible person. That I’m a little out of whack because I haven’t exercised properly on a regular basis this last week. That I’m a little fried from writing so much.

Hard to hear when you’re out beyond the Kuiper belt.

I been caught

[Disclaimer: I have NOT been caught stealing. That’s not why the song is here. I’m just a punk.]

Where the hell am I and what am I doing? Oh, yeah. Tuesday, post-swim. Always seems to do a number on my brain. Don’t know if it’s the early morning start, the smoking – or lack thereof, or just my reaction from pushing my body so hard, but Tuesdays are just damned difficult for me to remember.

Did my shopping yesterday, and spent a whopping €49.95 (could I have gotten closer to €50 without trying?) at a department store. I am now the (not so) proud owner of probably the ugliest pair of sneakers they had in the place. Don’t really care; just so happens they fit my feet the best, were in my size, and 30% off to boot – tho I must admit I find them really, really ugly. I have two new pairs of sweatpants (side query: why do we say PAIRS of pants in English?) that don’t fit me too terribly. Two new T-shirts, so pristine they’re gonna shove some of my older T’s into work-out gear, and a pair of gloves that I needed for cold weather.

I was in and out of that store in 30 minutes. Now THAT’S what I call shopping!

Had another appointment to tinker with my orthopedic shoes. I hope it’s the last. So far, so good, but we’ll see how I feel after the first two to four hour walk I take them on.

Today was swim time, lovely, lovely, swim time, with the lights on just so that they sparkle under water. Didn’t want to get out. Just wanted to keep swimming, back and forth, watching the lights. Goddess, I love the water. I pretend to be a ninja in class, punching and kicking out with all my might. Then I am a mermaid, gliding through the water. A fish, diving. A sea lion turning and splashing just for the sheer joy of it.

Some days I think I’m gonna grow gills.

And now: quiet time. My brother has left the house for a few hours, the tv is off, and even the downstairs neighbors are silent and still. It’s welcome after the music at the pool and the general noise of people talking and not drowning. I can hear myself again. Hear that voice in my head. Hear the words begin.

I’m NOT a fast typer. When I worked as a secretary I think I topped out at 50 words a minute. But when I write I guess I forget to type slowly. My fingers fly, the keys clack, and I’ve been threatened on more than one occasion to have a mic set up to record the noise I make. I don’t hear it. All I’m aware of is the words appearing on the page, the thoughts coalescing out of nothing. But it might be nice, once, to record me while I write. I always think I’m so damned slow!

Writing. The script is going well. Very well. Still basically writing itself. Did a little research on formatting; I’ve only written one other script and it was for the British publication 2000 A.D. so it was for comic books, not actors. A little different. I know a word count and page total to shoot for. My head’s already divided it into three distinct acts: before the meal, during the meal, and after the meal. And I guess it’s a black comedy. Two marriages are going to break up and someone will try to commit suicide; that’s not standard ha-ha material. Still. I can’t stop writing it as a comedy. Can’t stop with the jokes, inside and completely upfront. Can’t stop with any of it. The weirdest thing is – and it IS completely weird – I’m having deja vu through the entire thing. Every. bleeding. word. Like I’ve already written it a hundred times over. The core idea is true to life; I saw my family disintegrate in a very short period of time. And some of the lines the characters say are right out of my personal experience. But the fictional side of the story, the jacket I’m dressing it all up in, if you will, is also very familiar to me. I don’t have to think about who does what, or what anyone says. It’s all right there. It’s almost as if I’ve dreamt this a million times, and now I’m just pulling it out of my subconscious.

Freaky!

And yes, my head is off in orbit. Dreaming of fame and fortune. Padding out my inner ego. I keep pulling my feet back to the ground. Remembering that first I must finish this. Everything else comes later. Knowing I still have 16,000 words to write is a sobering thought. Then someone has to DO it. I’m crossing my fingers the theatre group I’m working with will perform it, but my flights into hypomania are no guarantee that I’ll get what I want. Still…I enjoy letting my mind run free, feeding my ego from the inside. Sometimes that’s what gives me the confidence to actually put myself out there. And that can’t be all that bad.

Because yesterday I heard the words from my brother: she’s got no confidence. His friend, R, had stopped by; they’re still working on taxes and immigration. R speaks Dutch fluently, but he’s rarely heard me speak the language. I rolled some sentences out on him and as usual got that very surprised look followed up by the ‘you speak Dutch very well’, which then prompted the statement from my brother on my lack of confidence. My bro was very specific on his meaning; he stated I’ve got no confidence in speaking Dutch but I know more than I think I do. I heard all of that, and acknowledge it. And my head still walked away with just ‘she’s got no confidence’ because it hit me. Just that right time and place, you know? Went straight down to the core of me.

Every once in a great while, we’re gifted with short bursts of understanding. Yesterday, in my brother’s words, I saw me as probably many people see me: lacking self confidence. It was illuminating. It threw a spotlight on my quietness, my holding back, my lack of participation that I hadn’t expected. It’s true, too. I thought I was passing it off as shy, but I’m not.

I been caught.

Here’s hoping

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Someone please stop me next time I say I look forward to any challenge.

I should be getting my shoes taken care of right now. Instead, I’m sitting here at my computer. Somewhere between yesterday and today I lost my OV chip card, the vital little piece of plastic that allows me to use public transport. I retraced my steps. I used what Dutch I have to enquire at every place I went yesterday. All to no avail. A whopping sixty euro out the window. Had to use my language skills again, this time to cancel my appointment this morning.

And you know what? I succeeded. Everyone understood me, and I understood what was said to me. But my victory today came at the expense of my inner calm. For 40 minutes this morning I sweated, berated myself, and generally felt pretty damned shitty for being such a dunce as to just lose the damned thing.

Last straw was to realize that the grocery shopping had never been done yesterday, and we had no milk for breakfast and no water for the day.

My mind was quick to jump to the absolute worst thoughts I have. I am worthless. Worse; I cost extra money when I do things like this. I am a drain. People (my brother) would be better off without me around, doing shit like this. I cried some tears, just to release the pent up emotions that I felt were overwhelming me.

As usual, my brother jumped to the rescue. He’s modified his schedule for today to include a downtown stop to buy a brand new chip card for me, as well as doing the grocery shopping and running his own errands. I’m sitting here, typing away. He’s out on his bike, doing stuff. Stuff he HAS to do now, because I fucked up (just can’t let that go completely yet).

Yes, of course. I’ve said it all to myself. It’s a bleeding mistake. I’m not the first person to lose their card, and I won’t be the last. It’s not the end of the world.

I find it real hard to just own up to my mistakes without bearing the guilt of EVERYTHING. You name it. I’m guilty, somehow.

Right. That’s my problem. Good enough wasn’t ever good enough, and my mistakes were to blame for everything. That’s a mind set forced on me by narcissists. I refuse to let it rule my life anymore. Am I hearing myself? No. fucking. more. This is it; the end of that attitude.

The world isn’t held ransom for sixty euro. I haven’t tipped the scales of the Netherlands into bankruptcy. Nor have I tipped my own economic scales into red. It’s a shame to have lost it. And it’s certainly not something I can continue to do every month. Lesson learned; I’d been carrying my card in a separate billfold so I could carry it in my pocket and use it easily. No more. Into the main wallet the next one goes. I’ll force myself to fumble for it each and every time I use the metro so I don’t lose the damned thing again. It’s terribly unfashionable to do that. But I’ve put fashion into the backseat more and more often as I age.

That’s not always been an easy task. I look at my face now in the mirror and see the sags and wrinkles. Don’t know that I would have ever called myself beautiful. Attractive. Handsome, maybe. I think it’s hard to watch your face age, whatever you think of yourself. Or maybe that just shows how shallow I once was (or am), to even spend time thinking about these things. Hard to say – and I sure don’t want to think of my younger self (or me, now) as shallow, no matter what the evidence points to. I certainly don’t spend hours thinking these things, or shed any tears over my appearance. But when I DO glance at my reflection I see all these signs of aging, and it makes me sigh. Sigh for that youthful ease of simply looking your best no matter what. I don’t think I ever fully appreciated it when I had it.

*sigh*

But that’s nothing to mope too long over; not when I fumble I screw up in so many other ways. I’ve got bigger things to make myself feel bad over. That’s half honest sarcasm, and half joke.

At least I can muster up HALF a joke.

Reshuffle, rethink. Now that I know I’ll have a new card by tonight, I can call the shop (again) for another appointment. It would be great to just get my shoes done. Not quite mentally up to it yet. I still haven’t had breakfast on this topsy-turvy morning. No rush. I’d rather call later in the day than have to explain that I need a new appointment tomorrow and not today because my brother hasn’t yet returned with my new card. Too many words and ideas for me right now. And unnecessary. I said I’d call back after I had a new card. Just stick to my words. No reason to attempt something I’m not ready for.

Yikes. I guess it’s too late to go back to sleep and pretend it’s a brand new day when I wake up, right?

Better not. I might dream of seeing giant chip card like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. And then who knows where I’d end up? Next thing you know I’d see myself on my death bed and hear a voice saying ‘I’m sorry, Beeps, I’m afraid I can’t do that..’ while aggravated monkeys surround me and beat me with dead fish.

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Me and my chip card, oh my

I don’t want THAT to happen.

Back to mundane tasks: dishes, laundry, language drills. Today will be what it is, and if I don’t waste it feeling bad over a simple mistake it might actually turn out okay.

Here’s hoping.

Orthopedic Shoe Poster Woman/Child

After all my waiting, planning, and anticipation, I was shocked – SHOCKED – yesterday when the appointment to pick up my new shoes came and went with nary a notice. Wonderful to realize you’ve missed something 15 minutes after the time you were supposed to be there. Lucky for me they had time later in the day. So here they are:

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There’s been loads of compromises on these shoes as well as indulgences in exactly what I want. I think they turned out pretty damned cool. I need to go back to the shop today; one heel is too tight and I didn’t notice it until after I’d been walking with them for half an hour. But I’m confident that they’ll fit me in for a simple adjustment like that. Because I have become

Orthopedic Shoe Poster Woman/Child.

Yes. They snapped pics and asked me to come back for a special meeting of rheumatologists, headed up by my own rheumatologist, to discuss orthopedic shoes in general for RA sufferers. I’m back Monday evening to be a model and a spokesperson. Guess I’m that perfect blend of chronic sufferer, optimist, and affable person for them. I don’t mind. If every person who suffered from RA got a pair of these shoes, I think there’d be less of those damned chairs that zoom around. Who wants to sit and ride when they can walk? Wait…that’s just me again, isn’t it? Whatever, man. Get that heel adjusted and I might not take these shoes off all summer long. They don’t even make my feet look big.

Ah, I’m at that point again. I’ve let things slide long enough that now I’ve a mountain of work. Writing to people, cleaning, following up on notifications from this and that. I must like it. Like the challenge of tackling a lot of stuff at once. Because I do it all the fucking time. *rolls eyes* And damn me if it doesn’t come at times when I’m busy with life. There’s 50 things I WANT to do before rolling up my sleeves and tackling the bleeding HOUSEWORK. Meh.

Today I’ve a huge…why am I typing this? I’ve got my camera. THIS is what I’ve got:

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Flowers. Yes. More than that. These flowers were picked up at my local market. Outdoor market, not supermarket. Three large bunches for five euro. That’s less expensive than at the stores, and these blooms are much fresher. The guy wrapped them all up in brown paper, so I walked home with this HUGE bouquet in my arms. I’ve never won anything like a beauty contest and I KNOW these aren’t roses, but walking home with them wrapped up made me FEEL like I was wearing a crown.

I now believe every woman should, once in her life, walk down the street with a huge bouquet of flowers in her arms. Sounds silly, I know. But it really is quite an experience.

Since my camera is out and ready, I’ll share with you some of the other things I’ve been excited about. My new dining room table (remember – it was FREE) with green and purple chairs:

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Ignore any clutter. The place isn’t finished.

And here’s one of my new chairs:

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A comfy seat and probably the one you’ll be sitting in if you visit.

Pretty cool, right? It feels good to have a few items of furniture that don’t look like I’ve had them for 20 years. It feels even better to know we got everything at a good price. I mean, how can you beat FREE?

I’m doubly glad for the flowers and few nice items considering the state of the world. Things are shaky again, and just to be safe we need to quiet down and save money this summer. Currency exchange rates have gone haywire since Trump’s been announced the presumptive Republican candidate. Every country in the world is selling off dollars and US assets. If it keeps going like this, the dollar will be the same as a junk bond – worthless, and risky to invest in. Americans better start to think for once in their lives.

But when has THAT ever happened?

Ach! No. more. politics. It’s hard for me at times because what’s happening politically has a huge impact on the day to day here. Very different from the states, where a federal law or decree can be issued but nothing much changes in people’s lives. Here it has real consequences.

What I can tell you, without grousing over politics, is that I’ve got a lot of new neighbors these days. None of them are Dutch. None of them look Dutch, speak Dutch, or act like the Dutch. Case in point: the downstairs neighbor had a full on fight a few days ago, complete with screaming and bloodied participants. The entire building turned out to find out what was going on. One guy left with his shirt ripped off, his pants almost down, and blood dripping down his face. Not really what you think of when someone says ‘Holland’.

And hey! I don’t expect these people to be in good shape. They’ve all suffered through a lot, and undoubtedly all of them need PTSD counseling. The clothing doesn’t bother me, the language doesn’t phase me. What DOES phase and bother me is the culture clash. The Dutch are open, friendly. When you walk around your neighborhood it’s kind of expected that you greet other walkers with a hello and a smile, or at least a nod. The newcomers don’t. Not even the women; let’s not get started on the men who, at times, won’t even look at you if you’re female much less acknowledge that you just spoke.  And no, it’s not ALL of them. Many are open, friendly, willing to learn and make friends. Just. not. all. It’s those few who are closed down and refuse to integrate that stand out and cause the problems. And yes, those few make me feel a wee bit unsafe. It doesn’t even seem like they WANT to be here.

I want to be here. The next decade may be a very trying one on the European continent. Hell! It’ll be trying no matter where you live on this planet. But I’ll stay where I am, be a patriot – YES, a patriot – for my new homeland. After all, how could they cope without Orthopedic Shoe Poster Woman/Child?

C’mon, Jackpot!

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Ah! Back to my preferred order in life: wake up, coffee, and blogging. I can do those other days but they’re just not the same.

Big, big plans today. Whirlwinds of cleaning. We’ll see how long my body can keep going. Dust sucking might just knock me out; there’s still a lot of moving and bending and maneuvering involved even with the new shelves and new storage spaces. Then there’s window cleaning and getting out on the balcony (might need to wear hazmat clothing for THAT job). And of course, the inevitable dishes that need doing.

Or maybe my brother will wake up and say ‘Hey! It’s a great day. Let’s let the housework sit and go do something’, in which case I won’t get anything done around the house. I never know.

And it IS supposed to be nice weather…

The longer I contemplate it, the more I think I should let all the ‘work’ I usually reserve for weekends go. Get outside today. Go somewhere different. Have fun.

Been saying that a lot lately – have fun. Maybe it’s my mortality creeping up on me. Seize the day, have a laugh, because tomorrow you may die.

Fuck. I’m a cheery camper, aren’t I?

Okay… I’ve deliberately shorted myself on a cup of coffee this morning. That’s a damned good reason to get out and have a cuppa somewhere public. Be social. See and be seen.

Do something.

Stop. Right now. You just made it sound like you sit on your ass doing nothing all day long. That’s not true. Want to back up and restate that?

I want to do something different today. Outside. In the nice weather.

Better.

Finally got all the print outs of the paperwork I need to renew my passport. AND the letter to Heike. Got to sign that sheet and dump it in the post. Today. Get it off my back, good-bye, sayounara, so-long.

I might be paranoid, BUT…It sure seemed to me that my rheumatologist was taking an awful lot of notes, clacking away on her computer during my visit. And I think she was mirroring me deliberately, testing my mood. Of course I was excited about my shoes, chattering away non-stop. She slipped a comment in, something along the lines of ‘It’s so much easier to be energetic and happy when your feet don’t hurt so much’. That just makes me go Hmmmmm. Medical files are very integrated here; the fact that I was seeking help at Addiction Central as well as any notes like ‘depressive’ or ‘bipolar’ would have come up when she pulled my info.

Well. So be it. I never said I was anything but what I am. Maybe if someone compiles all the notes from all the doctors visits they’ll see it.

Been thinking less lately. lol! Not that I’ve been acting like a ditz; Beeps don’t do that (unless I’ve been drinking, then it’s a different story). I just haven’t spent every minute lately analyzing myself, trying to figure out why I’m feeling this way or that way. Of course I can only DO that because I haven’t had any strong negative emotions come up in the past 24-48 hours. Odd. I let myself be happy to just be happy. I won’t let myself be sad to just be sad. No. Sadness needs ‘fixing’. Anger needs ‘fixing’. Anxiety needs ‘fixing’. The only emotion that doesn’t need fixing is happiness.

There’s a flaw in that thinking.

So let me take a minute here….

Okay. I’m happy because I’m looking forward to J’s visit. I’m really getting excited about it. I’m happy because I’ve still got my trial pair of shoes, which means my feet are protected and I can walk. I’m happy because my custom shoes are getting worked on, and to have all that effort and money spent on my feet makes me feel special. I’m happy because I feel I’m making progress with the language. I’m happy because flowers are blooming and the trees look like they have lace hung on them and I LOVE everything that spring brings. I’m happy because finances are getting a bit better, the house is looking neater and cleaner, and I don’t look so scruffy some of the time.

Sounds like logical, real life reasons to be happy. While my thoughts still get ahead of me – stuff like thinking I’ll be able to clean the whole house, top to bottom, in one day – I’ve been able to realize that thinking is ultimately destructive to me, and take a more leisured pace. I haven’t wanted to push myself physically, so I’ve not hurt myself. Just the opposite. When I find myself walking briskly I check my step, pull back a bit to ensure I don’t hurt myself.

Good days, in other words. Drink them up to the last drop.

There’s no great surprise for me in finding that having something to look forward to, feeling less in pain and more mobile, feeling more confident with the language, and feeling less financially restricted all makes me happy. I’d think anyone would feel happier.

Where will the future take me? Don’t know. Had a long talk with my bro last night about a cordial I make. His kickboxing instructor was ill, so my bro took him a bottle of this stuff. It’s my own recipe. Amazing drink; clears your throat like you wouldn’t believe and it tastes great, too. ANYway, his instructor is a big fan of it (as are most people who try it) and he thinks we should get it out on the market. The great thing is that his instructor is a business man first, well versed in the ins and outs of Dutch business practice. He also is a very sociable person, and has many connections. So who knows what will happen? I may just get introduced to someone who wants to license the recipe from me. Ka-ching! That’s money in the bank with zero effort. I’ll take that.

I’m feelin’ lucky. And today is a lotto day. C’mon, jackpot!

Underneath, the same

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I’ve never been much of a shoe person. If it fits and doesn’t kill my feet, it’s okay in my book.

I guess it’s no surprise in some ways, then, that when I was told the shop could do ANYTHING I let my imagination run wild. The multi fabric look I want is very custom, and the shop is emailing their suppliers to see if they have anything in stock that might work. My soles will be custom as well; if I wanted red soles on my feet no problem but me? I asked for purple. The down side of all this custom work means two things: one, I have to wait a bit longer because samples need to be looked at and two, if I don’t see what I want they can still do it – but it will cost extra. Hopefully next week I’ll have samples to look at and an estimate on the work.

Good news is they let me keep my trial pair. The guy was a bit shocked that I wore them all day, 9 to 10. I told him how fast I could walk, how secure I felt on a ladder. I also told him my bunions ached a bit late in the day and he responded that he’d adjust the shoe a little to make it better (they can make them BETTER?!?!). Had to ask how my heels are supposed to sit – like I said, I’ve NEVER had a pair of shoes like this. My left heel needs a little adjustment, the right more so.

He pulled all the pictures I took along. I hope I’m not throwing in everything I want and creating a Homer.

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I’ll take my chances.

Clean-up is going on as I type. New shelving units are up and my bro is securing one to the wall so it doesn’t tip over. I popped by a shop and picked up two ‘designer’ boxes to put stuff in. Okay – to hide stuff in. All that clutter that’s just laying haphazardly on the shelves. Leave it to the Netherlands to offer stock shelving units and stock designer boxes that fit the stock shelving units perfectly. Any other country and there’d be a 1-2 inch discrepancy that wouldn’t work.

And we FINALLY found some pigeon scarers for the balcony. Which is a good thing, because my bro said there’s a pile of shit out there that looks like Gyaos came for a visit.

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Ugh.

So we’re scheduled for a warm up. Supposedly 19C by Sunday. The windows will get thrown open and for a day or two at least, summer will be declared. I’ll bet you won’t be able to walk for five minutes in any direction before smelling a BBQ.

My friend J is coming for a visit near the end of April. Just got his and his boyfriend’s flight info. The timing is perfect; we can catch the metro out in front of the house in the morning and be at the airport by the time his flight is landing. We’ll help the two of them find their hotel and all that. Make sure we get some three day unlimited passes for them so they don’t have to worry about that. Help them with luggage. I can’t wait. Got to say I envy J a bit right now – seeing the Netherlands for the first time. I remember my culture shock the first time I came. Amsterdam is particularly seductive. It’s easy to run your feet into the ground by just wandering down one street and then the next canal to simply see the sights. Pretty soon you realize you’ve been doing that for three hours, your feet are killing you, you need a drink, and you’re now on the opposite side of town from where your hotel is. [Can you tell I took a few holidays here?] We’ll be able to get them to the fastest and easiest public transport. Help with Dutch. And have fun, too. Let’s not forget that.

My teacher gave me a signed copy of the book he co-wrote. He ran a publication for Sarlooswolfhond lovers and he has three at home. Beautiful dogs.

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It’s a bit above my reading skills, but I get a thrill each time I figure out a sentence. So I’ll work on it, slowly. And I’ve got the author right there to ask anything – words, ideas, concepts, history. It’s actually a great incentive for me. The people pleaser wants to let him know I appreciate his kindness and that I’m genuinely interested in his writing. I’m guessing I’ll learn more deconstructing his book that I will just reading the subtitles on the tv (tho that’s STILL a great method for picking up words).

And I’m having freaky deja vu. Many years ago my paternal great grandfather immigrated from Germany to the states. He didn’t speak any English. Nor did he have any money! He ended up camping out in a public library to get some sleep. A kind librarian noticed him, and helped him learn how to read. That’s how he taught himself the language. And he went on to become a great orator, journalist, and author. I feel like I’m doing that in reverse. Going from the states to Europe. Wanting to learn Dutch well enough to write in it. Already having people listen to me as I speak.

Doesn’t help that I always felt I was a man in previous lives. Nor do my ideas of karma and hamingja. But hey! If I was my paternal great grandfather in another life, I guess I’m doing exactly what needs to done. I gave comfort and love to my grandson/father, the lone survivor of the family line I disregarded. I’m returning to the area I came from [okay – not exactly the area I came from, but the general vicinity]. I’m writing. I’m making music. I’m doing all the things I did before.

Can an entire life be a deja vu? Fresh eyes, fresh body, fresh expression, of course. Yet…underneath, the same.

One of a Kind

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I am clean and my hair is drying in ringlets this morning. Got up and in the shower before my eyes were properly open. It wasn’t a bad way to start the day, and reminded me how I used to live when I worked 9 to 5.

Today’s my last day in my trial shoes. I’m trying to accept that. Hoping I’ll get them back before too long. The impact pain they take away from my feet allows me to walk at a brisk pace, something I’ve not been able to do for years. I’m telling myself it’s okay. My new shoes are coming and coming soon. I’ll be able to do this again. I’ll be able to walk this summer. In the meantime, the occasion seems like it needs to be marked, so I’ve showered and plan to wear my new top and better jeans today. Dress up a bit. Because tomorrow I might not feel like it.

I’m ready for my appointment at the shoe shop. I’ve found the basic shape, the fabrics, the buckles, the heel, the cuff and the toe shape I want for my shoes. I’ll load everything onto a memory stick and take it with me. No idea how this is going to go down. If I can just open up the pictures and explain while the guy takes notes, cool. These babies are custom from the soles on up. I’ve never seen ankle boots like them before, and if I get a unique enough fabric, they’ll be completely one of a kind shoes. Uber, uber cool.

Kiss my so cool heels, baby.

There’s a spew to Coillette sitting in my therapy folder. It’s got many full lines of ‘you bitch, you cunt, fuck off’ etc. so I won’t bore you with the details. Just want it noted that I let myself do it. And once it was done, I was able to let it go for the day.

Did some baking. I’m about to enslave a dojo full of kids to my goodies. lol! Yeah. Had some extra bananas so I’m doing the banana thing again. This time they’re being made to take to my bro’s kickboxing class and give away. The only little sorrow for me is I won’t be there to see everyone enjoy them. That’s always the best part for me – hearing the ‘Mmmmm’ as they bite in and seeing the eye roll of ecstasy as the flavors hit them in just the right way. I once baked my famous triple chocolate cake for some kids who came to the studio to nuts around. I let them loose on it, saying ‘help yourself’. 15 minutes later I went to the kitchen to find HALF the cake gone. And it’s not a small cake! It’s a large round layer with three stacks on top. I expect the Dutch kids will be a bit more sophisticated than THAT particular incident, but I still expect they’ll enjoy the treats.

*sigh* I got the letter done for Heike. Feels like a real anti climax now, over a month since my last appointment. I wonder if she wonders what happened to me. Doubtful. She wasn’t that mindful of me when I saw her every week. I doubt she even realizes I haven’t been back. Out of sight, out of mind.

And that’s HER bad.

It only reflects on her incompetence. Her callousness. It does not reflect on my worth as a person.

I’m worth a call back. I’m worthy of a good therapist. Someone who remembers who I am from one appointment to the next. Someone who listens rather than disses. That’s why she and Addiction Central are getting the letter in the first place – to tell them I’m not happy with them and won’t be returning BECAUSE THEY DONT’ DESERVE TO TALK TO ME. Just needed to remind myself of that.

Talked with my brother about my ‘master plan’. How I want to ride the summer out. Be gentle with myself physically. Keep writing. Keep doing what works for me – walking, swimming, just getting up and getting involved with life again. I don’t need to ride myself about smoking. I’ve found that yes, I can quit if I need to and when I get busy with things outside the house I don’t even miss it. I’ve promised to ‘be mindful’ of my smoking, to try to not just sit at my computer playing games all day long while I smoke one joint after the other. I LIKE doing that. I’ll try NOT to. Come September, I’ll return to my huisarts and ask to be resubmitted to the place my brother’s going. Let’s call that place Head Shrink Central, because it IS the main hub for mental health in NL. While I feel (and my brother feels as well) that I’m doing much better these past few months, I have to admit that my suicide ideations – when they come – are much darker and more extreme than they used to be. That worries me, and it worries my brother. As he said, “I can take your highs. It’s the lows I’m worried about”. Yeah. Me too. I don’t like knowing my brother eyes me up while I’m standing on a train platform, just to make sure I don’t throw myself onto the tracks. It’s stressful for both of us.

So I’ll still seek out help. Medicated help. They can cram talk therapy up their asses. I’m not going to trust anyone soon with that. No, no, no. And if that’s all they offer me, then I’ll go back to managing on my own. With smoke. As much as I want, screw you guys.

That’s not very open of me. And that’s okay, too. I’m doing this my way. Maybe not the way anyone else would like to see me do it, but I’m making progress. And I’m protecting myself, keeping the girl safe while I do it. No fumbling around in my emotions by someone else. No more triggers. Writing here clears my head. Other people’s comments and blogs give me things to think about. If what I seek is my truth, my answer to all the why’s I’ve got, then it’s unique. One of a kind. Like my shoes.

Like me.

Come Out, Come Out!

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Cold, wet, and dark. Welcome to Spring.

Yeesh!

Having a bit of a difficult time today. Spent time with me yesterday; let myself write and chatter and say whatever came to mind. I talked to myself about shoes, and found the girl doesn’t want sneakers, she wants ankle boots. Badly, like a jones you can’t rid yourself of. She even turned the tables on me and became the hard hitting therapist for a bit.

When did this flip around? You’ve become the therapist.

Does that matter? A false illusion is a false illusion. Doesn’t matter if you hold it or if I hold it.

So my problem comes from sharing my desire for ankle boots with my brother who, goddess love him, thinks differently. He thinks I should go for sneakers first, that they’ll end up being more useful to me. And he reminded me of all the great sneakers I’ve worn – Chuckies, VANS – all the shoes that made me strut and put on attitude. I’m back on the fence. In fact, I’ve let myself be swayed more to the sneaker side again EVEN THOUGH I found a very deep desire in me for ankle boots.

The girl isn’t happy. This needs to be rectified.

Let me butt in here. First, you’re talking like I’m not here, and I am. I’m always here, even when I don’t talk to you. Second, we’ve worn sneakers for twenty years because that’s all we could afford and generally sneakers hurt our feet the least. Yes, we’ve dug some pairs. We’ve HAD to. Like your sneakers or die; that’s what it was for a long goddamn time. Can we PLEASE do things MY way – for ONCE? Third, your brother is arguing to get sneakers first and ankle boots in three months, when you can get another pair made. He keeps telling you those ankle boots aren’t that far off. Then why not swap that? Get the ankle boots first and the sneakers second. And if you wear the first pair into disrepute then you KNOW I was right for asking for them and just get a second pair of ankle boots to keep in better condition! It’s a win/win situation! Ankle boots do everything. Dress ’em up; dress ’em down. Skirts to jeans, ankle boots got you covered. Why are we arguing about this?

*sigh* She’s right. Again. [And DAMN! She’s far more persevering than I am.]

She also taught me a thing or two about sex and love:

But how do you combine that safety and friendship with sex? I don’t get it. Sex is always predatory.

Sex isn’t about love?

No. It’s about getting off. Endorphin rush.

So boyfriends or long term partners are just people you like to get off with time and time again?

Yeah, primarily. It helps to like the guy, but it’s sure not necessary.

Okay. So what does love look like?

Caring. Standing by a person. Being with them day in and day out. Laughing together. Struggling against the world together. Hugging each other no matter what. Knowing your life would be poorer and less if that other person wasn’t in it. Wanting to make them happy. Supporting them.

But not sex.

No. Sex is physical, like exercise.

Yep. ‘Making love’ is just a euphemism to me. Never did it; never even came close. And a bit of hypersexuality, anyone?

THINK about it. Your brain used to focus on sex all the time. Who you might have it with, when you’d get it next. Every night out was an attempt to get fucked, not find love. Right?

I think I wanted more.

No. What you wanted was a full time fuck who could always make you cum. Someone you could stand being around, someone your family approved of. Someone who made a decent living so you could have the house and the car and the vacations. I know…Mom and dad were a fairy tale couple. We always said that, and that’s what we truly thought. But look at your siblings. You’re not the only one who’s had problems making a connection with people. You’re just the only one to admit to it.

She’s pretty ruthless in her opinions.

And she’s dead on.

NOW she feels validated. We just had to go that extra step and air our dirty laundry!

I guess a very grown up conversation awaits me today. I’ve got to tell my brother to back off on the sneaker idea and ask him to support my choice. Tell him how much I want what I want, how important it is to me to get precisely what I want, not what I’m told I SHOULD want. Hope his listening ears are on this morning.

My plan is to go mall walking later on. It’s scheduled to rain and rain hard for the next few days. I can kill a couple of birds with one stone by walking in the mall: keep pushing my trial shoes AND window shop for cool shoes and (gasp!) cool summer gear. If ankle boots are in, shorts are out and skirts are making a comeback. That means I need a slip…if they still make slips these days. Do they? Damned if I know right now. Anyway, tra-la and all that shit. I’ll be looking at girly things today, strictly for girls. No boy’s stuff at all. [If I haven’t ever said, a lot of clothes I’ve worn over the past twenty years are guys clothes. They’re cheaper and larger cut.] I think my brother is NOT invited to come with me today. I want to really look, not feel like he’s standing by doing nothing and just WAITING for me to make a choice. That doesn’t help me, especially when it comes to girly things. Boys’ stuff I’ll just grab and put on. Nothing to think about except is it roomy enough in the hips. But stuff for girls…for women..THAT I’m picky about.

A-HAAAAAAAA! I get it!! The girl is thinking about coming out again. THAT’S what this big fashion hang up is all about. She wants to make an entrance, her style. Let’s lay down the red carpet. Come out, come out, wherever you are!