There’s already enough

Heavy sigh.

If I were to take as long healing from all the crap I got growing up as it took to brainwash me into thinking I was a piece of shit, I’d be 76 and counting before I got over it. That’s the thought that elicited the heavy sigh, a depressed feeling, and anger over time never fucking being on my side.

I hate my family.

Gods…I know I look awful when I’m at the gym. Catch myself too often too deep into emotion. I tear up, my face turns red – I’m sure I look either like I’m about to have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Or both. It’s what happens. My body moves, stuff shifts and suddenly I am overwhelmed by memories and emotions. Therapists really should think about doing sessions during work-outs. At least in my case.

Gotta go through it. Free up whatever got blocked. Breathe. Fucking breathe. That’s the only thing I can think of, when it hits me. My feet move, time ticks on, but I’m unaware of any of it. Just stuck somewhere deep in a half hidden memory that’s full of old, built up muck. I’ve only impressions left over. Impressions of regret, and anger. Why did it go down that way? Why couldn’t I have been one of the lucky ones born into a family that cared?

Don’t talk to me about fate. I’ve always felt like I’m paying forward in this life, and it sucks. I was never a kid who enjoyed frying ants or ripping off the wings of flies. I don’t have that mean streak in me. If I’d been a shit in a previous life, wouldn’t it have shown up early on? I think so. But I was that weird kid who’d get up at 4 am to sing the sun up. I talked to trees, and cried over injustices.

And if the secret to reaching zen is dealing with people shitting on you all the time, I must be some freaking holy zen master.

So why do I find all of this so fucking difficult?

Haven’t I learned anything?

But, hey. I don’t have social niceties. Was never taught them. Don’t get hidden agendas, or most faux pas (what IS the plural on that, anyway?). And if I had a nickel for every time I heard about how ‘different’ I was…well, I still wouldn’t be rich. But I could buy a cheap meal for myself.

So what’s stuck in my craw today?

Other than the welling up of old memories and feelings, I guess I’d have to say it was what happened at my language lesson. Yeesh. You know, questioning any of this makes me wonder if I’m not just some drama queen timing things out and demanding my fair share of attention. Nonetheless, I noticed a definite difference between how I am treated and how my fellow student is treated. The effect was heightened for me because we had another new volunteer teacher sit in with us, to learn how a lesson might be. I think she looked at me twice. The remainder of her eye contact was reserved for my fellow student. And rightly so; the majority of conversation took place between my teacher, the newbie, and the other student. I was not included. I was not asked questions. I searched for things to say, to include myself…didn’t feel it was well received. They turned, they listened, but they didn’t follow up with statements or questions. Am I being paranoid? So difficult to tell. The other student is not as far along as me, and both instructors might have felt she needed more practice speaking. That’s logical. Still. I’ve an undeniable feeling that something else is going on, something I’m not catching onto. I hate that.

Mm. That’s the second thing I’ve said I hate.

Decided something. Had a weird few minutes during the script read through. I was outside with the director and someone the director knew was leaving. The guy asked me – twice – if I was the director’s wife. My reaction: laughter. I’ve thought a lot about that, and realized it might have sounded derisive to the director. Like I was laughing at the idea that we could be married because I found him unattractive or whatever. I wasn’t; I was laughing over the idea of anyone even conceiving ME of being capable of marrying someone. I’m just a bit worried that my hilarity will be taken the wrong way, and I don’t want any misunderstandings over my lack of social skills. So I’m gonna bring it up to him. Remind him of that moment and explain myself because I didn’t at the time. And I don’t need anyone else thinking I’m a shit.

There’s already enough.

Dizzy

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How have you been?

I answer in the physical: my rheumatoid arthritis answer. Not too much pain, but far too much hair loss. I’m back in the gym. At the pool. Getting stronger.

Are you still going to Addiction Central?

Realization floods over me. Oh! She’s asking about my mental state, not my physical state. I shift gears. No, I say, but I mention my advancements: more exercise, writing. I fib over the amount I smoke. The lie doesn’t sit well with me, but I’ve learned a thing or two. While coffeeshops abound and most turn a blind eye to toking a J publicly, the medical personnel here are sharply divided on their opinion of marijuana use. I know which side of the fence my doctor sits on. I want her to leave the question alone. I’m fine; let’s not talk about it. Let’s not talk about the crying times, the times I can’t sleep, the manic writing sprees. Let’s not bring up my questions over my self worth, the state of the world, mortality and morality.

That’s just my normal.

It’s the way my head works when my eyes are open. Want me to get fuzzy, forget about all that? Sure, we can do that, too. I thought that was called avoidance.

Lately, I’ve been dealing. Crying times are short and easily stopped. Sleep isn’t too much a problem. Writing sprees I revel in, and the rest of it…well, if you don’t ponder those things, I pity you. You must live a small life.

My confidence is getting blasted left and right these days. The jelly roll around my middle disgusts me, and the knowledge that I’ve got to carry around an extra fanny pack that isn’t detachable except through a lot of hard work at the gym makes me just feel tired to the bone. Some days I feel pretty good with Dutch, others a complete moron – the yo-yoing of that mindset isn’t helping. And yesterday I received a velvet-footed kick in the stomach in the form of J’s synopsis of my work. It was a huge compliment; one I was not ready for, one I’m not sure I live up to.

I’ve never been good with compliments.

I said none of that to my doctor. Not a whisper, not a hint passed my lips. She spoke slowly in Dutch, and looked in my eyes and ears. She took my blood pressure sitting down, then standing up. She stood behind me, took my head in her hands, and moved my neck around. Prognosis: low blood pressure, take the pills down from two twice a day to one twice a day. I’ve also got a go-ahead for the physiotherapist to being manipulating my neck. Oh, he’s gonna love that. My hips are uber flexible compared to my neck.

Today was the pool, and for once I got my wish: everybody stayed out my way. I swam unimpeded in my lane. My body feels it, too. Dead heavy with tiredness.

A few more hours on the script, adding in my notes and correcting a few typos. I hesitate to open it. Yesterday I ‘opened it just to take a look at my work’. Four hours later, I had to turn the lights on in the room. Talk about falling down the rabbit hole! Yet as it’s wrapping up, and I do feel it wrapping up, I realize once again that it’s all just been one big exercise. Oh, maybe someone somewhere will do it, but it’s not all that. … Is it? No. Getting a workshop would still be optimal: walk it through, see how it looks, how it feels, what’s right, what needs work.

And the director got back to me to tell me he didn’t read it yet. Another excuse why he hasn’t got to it. I’m beginning to think he won’t read it at all. That it will be this, then that, then another thing. It will get put off, promised, delayed, promised again, and eventually, perhaps, I’ll just stop asking about it. Is that small and mean of me to think that? A negative reaction from all the crap I had growing up?

Or is that just seeing things as they are, or as they might be? Is that my intuition telling me something?

Mm. I’m trying to enter a closed system. No matter how much the theatre group claims to be open to new people, they are closed in the sense that they all have a long history with each other that new people are not included in. Was it even appropriate of me to ask the director to read my work? I don’t know. Once in awhile, they burst into Dutch. Sometimes it’s to tell the lighting guys at the venue what they need. Other times, it’s just something they need to say to each other in their native language. But since I’m not fluent, it’s another barrier. I don’t catch it all. I try. I listen. I watch. I pay attention. But I am outside that circle. And for all I know, I’ve committed more than one faux pas socially.

Or maybe I’m just paranoid.

So I must be patient: my own personal Waterloo. Wait. See what happens. Other people have lives….

Paradox. Time moves incredibly slowly with some things. It’s like some ideas get caught in molasses. They drag through time, taking far longer than anticipated. Other things fly through time. In the blink of an eye, there it is. Think fast, and deal with the consequences.

No wonder I’ve been feeling dizzy.

A Little More Autistic

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Brick walls. They’re everywhere in life. I’ve sure run into them often enough. I’m surprised I haven’t broken my damned nose yet.

Today’s brick wall (let’s paint it black) comes in the form of some stonewalling from my uncle. He claims my eldest brother never contacted him, and he has no idea what I’m on about.

After my last post, I waited until T was up and talked to him. I read my message to him and asked for advice. He thought it was excellent, and only suggested I find a way to end on a lighter, happier note before sending it to Uncle D. I did. After receiving my uncle’s reply, I went back over the entire email conversation with my bro to find out if I was truly insane – did I read more into it than was there? T backed me up; my uncle’s first email asked about Geert Wilders and my voting habits. My reply was very short: I know Wilders, I vote locally, I can’t vote on the EU level. Now, between the original question and my reply, something bloody well happened. Because the message that set me off does not address anything I said. Instead, in reply to my statements about Wilders and voting, I received a four paragraph long explanation of how my uncle voted over the years, why he voted for this chosen candidate, why he left the Republican party and is now a member of the Libertarian party, and how he feels about Trump. His answer pretty much mirrors what I would have expected out of my eldest brother in reply to a short email conversation we had over my birthday. Hm. T’s acknowledgement that yes, something sounds fishy, helps: there’s no logical way to get from A to B without some hiccup having occurred. He also told me that gossipers don’t like getting caught out, and that’s pretty much what I did.

It’s left me feeling melancholy. Not sad, really. I already knew this about my family, and have no surprise over anyone’s reaction. There’s just a dull lump of ache in me. I can’t run away from the truth anymore: my family isn’t brave enough to be honest. They can’t own up to their past, their words, their actions. They lie, they manipulate in order to avoid the truth, they tell me I’m wrong every step of the way even tho there’s not one atom in me that doesn’t quiver and tell me otherwise.

This is how I was taught not to trust myself.

My uncle’s subterfuge – if it exists, and although I must acknowledge the possibility of me being wrong, I’m sticking to my guns here – is not major. I remember as a child shopping with my mother, my sister, and a cousin. My mother was trying on coats. My sister and cousin were laughing at her because she was so fat. My mother asked me if that’s what was going on, and I lied. I said no. Because I thought if I could convince her that wasn’t what was happening, she wouldn’t feel bad. I can liken my uncle’s lie to that: an attempt in his mind to save me from some perceived greater hurt. He’s a good guy. I think he’d be motivated in that manner. So I can’t hate him or be angry over anything he does.

*sigh* Naturally I’ve considered the possibility I’m being paranoid. That’s something else I’ve heard before: you’re being paranoid. Somehow it always seems to crop up at a time when a lapse of logic has occurred, when something shifted that can’t be explained away without introducing a lie somewhere.

Perhaps that’s the element missing in my understanding of social interactions: lies.

People have called me naive. I’m the gal who falls for silly jokes, over and over, because I just don’t get people who do that type of thing. My tendency is to believe people until they prove they can’t be trusted. And there have been times and circumstances in my life when I continued to believe, despite the proof….Oh, who am I kidding? I let people walk all over me for a good, long time, and then I finally explode like a spitting bobcat. That’s something I’ve been trying to change. Call out these people earlier on. Say what I need to say up front. If they’re cool, they’ll deal. If not, they can fuck off.

But speaking up is difficult.

It’s doubly difficult when you don’t trust your own instincts.

…So I fall back, time and again like a crutch, on my brother’s advice and thoughts. I run my logic past him and ask him to check my answer: is it right? Did I make a calculation error somewhere?

And underneath that: Am I bad for thinking this way?

Lower still: I’m scared.

T knows this. All of it, right down to the deepest muck there is. He’s always understood that part of me, just like I’ve always understood his sometimes cryptic replies to questions. That’s that weird twin-like connection we have. It’s so deep it’s difficult to explain. And his autism has, oddly, been a strength for me. He lacks many filters non-autistic people have; he just blurts stuff out. It can be really hard to take in. He’s also a hard ass on many subjects: knowledgable, articulate, and dangerous to debate.

I used to try to help T be a bit “less” autistic. I’d remind him of the types of things he shouldn’t say or bring up. Give him a couple of social niceties to use to break the ice.

I don’t do that anymore. If anything, I strive to be more like him: bluntly honest, sometimes to the point people find me repellent but DAMN IT! I’m true to myself.

Frankly, I think we should all be a little more autistic.

 

I’m a dick

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9:48 and I’m just settling into my chair to blog. After careful consideration and a lot of help from friends, I decided I’m not going for coffee this morning. The guy creeps me out.

My walk this morning was not as paranoid as my walk the other day. Only looked over my shoulder once today; the other day I was checking every 15 minutes, just to be sure. Still sticking to main streets rather than the parks. And I think I’ve ruined one park for me: I told him I liked to walk thru it. I’m also avoiding the street area where I ran into him. Can I ‘fess up to all that and still claim to be okay? I’m not freaking out horribly – but feeling like I need to avoid certain areas does point to my remaining discomfort. My friend, J, thinks women are conditioned to not trust our instincts. And it’s true. We’re told we’re being paranoid or overreacting all the while we’re fighting to keep hands off of our bodies. Yes. I have that particular memory in my own horror-flavor. And yes, it’s been coming up a lot lately.

Whether or not avoiding this situation is mentally healthy for me doesn’t matter right now. I need to know I’m physically safe. Been un-safe too many times in the past.

So. I now walk with my iPod on low, so I can hear things around me. My keys are kept in my right hand pocket, so I can grab them as a weapon. I keep my head about me, and my eyes sharp for who’s close to me.

I don’t like feeling unsafe.

IF, in the future, the dreaded confrontation comes with the guy – the why didn’t you show up or text questions – I hope to have enough courage to state it simply: you scared me when you locked the door. Boom. Don’t have to say anything after that. I was raised to lie in situations like this: say you got ill, you lost the number, etc. I don’t like that at all, and I’m not good at it. Just don’t know how brave I’ll be if it comes up. Just hope it never does come up.

…And no matter how many times I go thru this, how much I tell myself I need to listen to my gut, I feel guilty for sitting here right now rather than showing up and telling him face-to-face what’s going on.

That’s my bad, and I own it. Maybe a little too much.

‘Cause this isn’t a simple thing for me. It’s a big thing. A big, BIG thing. It’s okay to not get it right a few times. I did what I didn’t do before; I made my concerns known to the people around me. Got some feedback and support. I’m saying no the only way I know how right now: by not showing.

And that’s okay. People do it all the time. Better a clean cut than a prolonged bunch of bullshit, anyway.

A bit of me time today. A shower. Maybe a facial masque while I watch some more Awkward. Got into the series yesterday on my tv system. Sometimes I think I enjoy watching programs about much younger people because some part of me is stuck back there and I’m still trying to figure things out. But I do find the show more enjoyable than others I’ve tried recently, so what the hell. I’m looking for entertainment, not some deep epiphany on my own behavior. I can acknowledge I’m showing great courage in discussing my fears, even in my decision to not show up today. I’m taking control of me and my body. I just need a little self pampering.

Gods…I just can never acknowledge the pain that could be on the other end of a bullshit move until I’m there, you know? Not showing is a bullshit move. I should just show up, tell him he scares me and I don’t want any kind of relationship with him and leave. That would be the brave thing to do. But I’m not ready to do that. Too fucking chicken. So I make the bullshit move of not being on the up and up but I want empathy and understanding for the pain that makes me do it – GODDAMN it! If I ask for that, I have to give it in return, which then brings up a whole bunch of other shit.

So I’m not ready. I’m a dick for saying I’d be there and then ditching. I can live with that.

I don’t know that I could live with some of the scenarios my brain insisted on showing to me.

 

Call it what you will

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You honestly don’t remember THAT?!?

I still find this question jarring, even though it was said to me over 24 hours ago. Because I realize that no, I did not remember what my brother thought I should remember. Zero recollection. The reason for the question is mundane and unimportant. What is important is how I felt, how I reacted, and what I might have learned about myself.

My first reaction: I’ve lost my mind. Alzheimer’s. Old age. Senility. The marbles are out of the bag. All of it was bad me. That continued until another statement triggered the memory my brother was looking for, and I realized I’d simply filed it in my brain under another label. My brother said red, the memory was filed under maroon. That’s all.

It brought to mind a suggestion from a friend of mine, that perhaps underneath all my self analyzation and blame lies a hint of what my bro suffers from: autism. Specific memories stored by specific words that can’t be accessed without the proper trigger word. My loss of all verbosity at times; it is not that I don’t want to speak or write, I literally cannot think of the words I need to communicate. My recurring nightmares over being mute and unable to speak.

*sigh* I don’t know. Perhaps. Maybe. Probably. It’s not something I even want to approach. For one, if I do fit on that scale it’s way on the end – just a touch to make some things difficult for me. For another, I suffer from severe Bobbsey-twin Syndrome (copyright 2016, Beeps). The times I have felt I am only me and not some half-version of one of my siblings have been few and far between. My mother dressed me as a mini-me of my sister, and my aunt never could get our names straight. Worse; my mother told me she picked my name because it was an alternate version of my sister’s. Friends and peers consider my brother and I as a team. Even tho he’s adopted, we’re so close that most think we’re fraternal twins. Finding a singular identity in the midst of so much gee, you’re just like your sister (or brother) is damned difficult.

And my siblings are, quite often, overbearing. I am queried as to my financial status, my savings account, my taxes – all from a tell me everything while I sit in judgement type of view. I have been confronted with questions over cyber friends and connections: why are you friends with this person? Are you planning something? I have been told what to do, why I’m doing it wrong.

I have rarely been listened to.

Not that I can really blame them. When I was younger I couldn’t even tell anyone I didn’t have the words to explain myself. Instead, I wrote poetry. I got noticed. People thought I ‘got’ more than I did – from words to sex and everything in between. And I faked it as best I could, because I wanted to belong, I wanted to be taken seriously. But I didn’t get it. I didn’t get the sexual innuendos older men gave me when I was 13. I didn’t get the reason for so much, but my intellect and lightening ability to mimic those around me hid my confusion from everyone very, very well. They didn’t know; I was a consummate actress.

That blindness to what’s really going on around me has led me into some very dangerous situations. It is a true hinderance in my life.

Now I look back and see. Really see. I’m beginning to understand my acting out, the drugs, the alcohol, the sexual escapades. The deeper I begin to understand myself, the more these jarring questions that come from my siblings disturb me. They are controlling you, part of me says. Even T, my compadre in arms for all these years. Sometimes I think he only wants me to see things his way, and when we disagree I feel wrong for disagreeing with him.

But I’m trying to look at the whole picture. Not just part of it. Most of all, I’m trying to not react. To observe without making decisions. My brother does suffer from autism and ADHD; his communication has never been very good. He often blurts things out. I get upset over his choice of words, and an afternoon is spent trying to reach an understanding.

And I AM questioning what the hell I’m so upset over. Is it the ghost of senility? A feeling of being manipulated? Plain old paranoia? All of the above?

The only way to find those answers is to stop, to be calm, to observe and not react. This is moving without moving. A familiar place to me, tho not always reachable.

Feels like the world around me has erupted in a whirlwind. Things are on this week, and my previous confidence is slipping away. Yet for all I feel I’m doing it wrong, I know I’m doing it right: just at the moment it seems it’s time to jump, I wait. To go willy-nilly into the world right now would be to repeat my pattern again, and I am so tired of doing the same thing over and over.

So I wait. Stick to my schedule. Remember that words are poor substitutes for real communication. Most of all, I trust. Deeply, and in myself. That’s what I’m finding right now. I trust myself enough to sit through all this stuff that’s trying to flip me out. I will ask, and learn. The fear I feel – and it IS fear, underneath everything else – will pass.

A pill to take all this away would be nice. Something to alleviate my anxiety and paranoia. Something to calm me so I can continue to communicate and not freeze up. No one’s offering anything, and honestly I don’t know that I’d take it if it WAS on offer.

This is my journey; call it what you will.

 

Isn’t it funny

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Funny how a little water leaking from my eyes will drag my ass out of bed faster than anything else. Now that I’m fully conscious (or a damned good imitation of it) I can’t even begin to remember what might have made me cry. No big things going on in my life at the mo. No ugly memories in my mind. Just…water leaks.

Headaches, too. Or the same one. Never really know, and half the time it feels more like I have one long headache that just gets interrupted now and then. I went to sleep last night with a raging headache coming on. Thought okay, I’m getting a headache from being tired, perfect time to head to bed. Even took a pain relief pill to make sure I slept long and well. But I didn’t. I didn’t sleep ‘long and well’. The headache plagued me for a quite a while as I tried to drift off. And now it seems like sleep was just one of those temporary interruptions. The pain is creeping back.

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One more thing to bitch about: my back. Still stiff. Still occasionally hurting enough to make me suck my breath in. Been out walking, but it seems walking irritates the area. For hours after a 30 minute stroll the section around my tail bone feels grouchy. Tender, aching. Then it goes cold/hot, like I applied one of those mentholated balms (my favorite time ’cause at least it doesn’t hurt). Finally it ends up with just a deep ache that no massaging or paracetamol can touch. Lovely stuff, and SO much fun to live thru.

Today is scheduled to be a scorching hot one, and I made plans to sit under a plastic cape and get my hair done in the peak of the afternoon. If my hair didn’t look so damned raggedy I might call it off or reschedule, but damn! I just look too scruffy. My biggest dilemma, as I mentioned to a friend, is to find something to wear. It’s got to be (1) cool enough so I don’t pass out, (2) something that won’t frighten little children when they see my cellulite, and most importantly (3), something that won’t let the sweat around my butt soak thru so it looks like I peed in my pants (or skirt) while waiting for my hair to get done. That’s a tall order for my wardrobe.

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Will I EVER get over my paranoia in public? I’m okay if no one looks at me but as soon as I catch one glance my way my head goes nuts. My fly is undone or my hair is frizzed out or I’ve got a bugger stuck on my face. That’s always what I think. It takes a lot of courage to walk around thinking that you might have something really WRONG with your appearance. I do it every goddamned day. Some days it’s not that bad. Most days it’s hell on wheels. I’m constantly trying to make sure my pants zipper or button isn’t undone without making it SEEM like I’m checking my fly. That’s a tough one. And if you saw me, you might mistakenly think I’m a narcissist as you see me surreptitiously check my reflection in every reflective surface I pass. I do it because I’m paranoid, not because I think I look good. I’m looking for that open fly, the bugger on my face, the fly away hair that looks like a rat’s nest, the piece of spinach stuck in my teeth. And I see women heavier than me, women who wear shorts that let their large thighs hang out and women who wear sundresses despite their sagging upper arm skin. I envy their confidence.

But hey. I said I needed to take that first step, and I am. Doing my best to stick to my back exercises and gentle walking until I feel better. That could take some time. I regret now a fall I took some twenty five years ago. It was icy, and I landed smack on my tail bone. I think I cracked it, but of course I did nothing – no health insurance to cover it at the time and I was young. Never gave a lot of thought to long term pain. Don’t know that I would have cared at the time, anyway. But I think that was the beginning of my problem. Me of now would go back and slap the me of then for not going to get it checked. Then again, there would be a lot the me of now would say to the me of then.

I’ll probably be able to say the same thing about the me of now in twenty years.

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…Ugly honesty…been considering death a lot lately. Not suicide, just fading away like any normal old person. Really thinking about consequences of my smoking. Every time I’m there – no matter how afraid I am – I know one thing: I don’t want to outlive my bro. Sorry, but that’s the basic truth of it. I’d rather die first. If I could live beyond him without going homeless it might be another matter, but I don’t think I can do that. I think if the worst should happen I’d be out on the streets. There’s a little money coming in here and there, but not enough to support me. I don’t need to be old, in pain, AND homeless. Besides. My bro is my last link. The last reason I’m here. He’s made me promise I won’t kill myself as long as he’s alive; we’re in this together.

Ugh. So that’s probably it; the reason I woke up crying. I got that on the edge of tears shit right now and it’s so damned incongruous to the noise of the garbage truck outside it’s almost comical. Ha fucking ha.

Isn’t it funny.

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A little summer inside me

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It’s been a few days. I can tell I’m full of unsaid things; it’s hard to figure out where to start. The red is back on my news button. I can walk again without pain, thanks to finding out just how sadistic my physiotherapist actually is. And I’ve collapsed in on myself.

Went out for a walk yesterday, the first actual walk in weeks. I got my lotto ticket – plus a freebie because once again my ticket hit a couple of numbers – and made an appointment to take care of my hair. Felt a bit Frankenstein-ish for the first 15 minutes; I kept expecting pain, so I minced my steps and kept my eyes on the sidewalk because the last thing I wanted was to trip over an uneven paving block. I was also just nervous. Being out in public, dealing with Dutch again first hand…I don’t know. It was weird. I felt overly shy and intimidated, though there was no bleeding reason for it. I realize now what I didn’t realize a few weeks ago: my language teacher wasn’t just teaching me Dutch, he was giving me a lot of confidence to continue to TRY to tackle the language. Feels like I did a runner; haven’t used any of my language skills lately and although there’s much more I can read, I think my comprehension of the spoken language has taken a nose dive.

Not pleased about that.

But it’s great to move without pain or some sort of tugging sensation in my back. And my physiotherapist…well, he said some patients call him a sadist, and I get it now. He took my leg, crossed it over my body, then pulled it up so my foot was about the level of my head. HUGE stretch. I thought my leg was gonna snap off. Then there were the sitting twists, with a pain point on my spine that was SO bad when he touched it I really didn’t think I was gonna twist at all. In the end, though, I sat up, then stood up, without pain. Can’t argue with the result.

Yesterday I woke up to a bloodbath in Nice, today to an attempted coup in Turkey. Portugal is just about bankrupt, Italy’s oldest bank is about to go bust. As I wrote to a friend, I was very excited to be here for the beginning of the euro. These days I wonder if I’ll be here to see it break up. I’ve also been following local news, and a pattern has emerged. There’s a neighborhood half way between me and downtown that’s a problem. If someone’s been shot or arrested in Rotterdam, chances are 60% or greater that they’re coming from this location. I’m keeping an eye on it. And the neighborhood. Things get too hairy and we’ll bug out to a new location. Of course, things have to get a lot worse than what they are now before I’d consider moving. I’m living in a land where one shooting will be talked about for days, even weeks, because it’s that rare.

…So I feel like I need to stop lolly-gagging. My bro is nagging me to take it easy and I agree; I can’t go off and start hauling around a bunch of heavy shit or crawling on the floors to clean something right now. I also can’t continue to sit on my ass like I have been. Or if I AM sitting on my ass, I should be doing stuff like language lessons on my computer. Language is weird right now. My reading skills are above my speaking/hearing skills, so I catch far more from subtitles on tv than I do from listening to dialogue. But the written word has become symbols to me; put a few letters together this way and it I know what it means in Dutch, tho I probably won’t recognize the word if it’s said. I’m not reading with that inner narration voice I use in English. I just recognize the symbols. And I realize I could become fluent in the written word and not be able to speak for shit, if I let it happen. Trust me to do it the opposite way of most people.

Keep finding myself saying ‘no, I don’t WANT to smoke’. That’s weird. And I’ve been having a few headaches, too. Don’t know where my smoking level is at because I haven’t cared to keep track. Whatever level it is, it’s going down.

Off the pain killers, too. That’s good; I’ve managed to stop with 8 pills in reserve for the next emergency.

*sigh* Funny how when I’m up I have nothing to say about my emotions but when I’m down that’s all I can write about. Maybe that’s denial. Or maybe that’s just a touch of normalcy. There’s more things going on outside of me than inside right now (or so I tell myself). Can’t tell and I could give a fuck. All I know is that I need to concentrate a bit on the outer stuff. Walking normally. Being able to respond to simple things in Dutch again. Going out alone without feeling weird. That’s tough, but manageably tough. A challenge, but a challenge I can handle. Though I have to admit I was probably red in the face and sweated up a bit yesterday after Dutch this and Dutch that. I’ve got the weekend to walk out some of my stored up mania. I can go back to some language lessons and listen again. Get my ear back. Move forward.

And I’d like to do something summery. I don’t know what. BBQ, swim in the lake, a festival. Something. Something to tell me that yes, this is summer and I did something that only this season offers. There’s a deep ache in me for summers of old. Running thru the grass. Boating on a lake. The smell of charred meat in the air. The taste of corn on the cob, lathered up with butter and salt. Sitting around in the sun, drinking beer with friends. I miss all of that.

Somehow I’ve got to get a little summer inside of me. A little sunshine nonsense to tell me the world isn’t all that bad. People still have fun. It isn’t all red news buttons and pain and work.

Make This Work

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Blink, blink, blink. Damned annoying, this blinking line on my empty page. It just sits there, accusing me of not writing. Don’t you have anything to say? C’mon. I know you want to.

Friday was a day of utter sloth. Didn’t even get out of my pj’s. I cried and paced and fretted a storm up. Somehow that seemed to make yesterday even more difficult. I felt fragile when I left the house, as if the slightest upset was going to break me. My natural inclination was to avoid all contact with humans. I felt perversely pleased when I hopped off the metro and realized I’d spaced the fact that it was Saturday, and that meant open air markets downtown. A perfect opportunity to prove that natural inclination wasn’t the best thing for me.

Maybe it was the fact that I wore my yellow hoodie out on a semi-rainy day when everyone else was wearing dark colored rain gear, or maybe it was just the dregs of my anxiety reaching up to tinker with my paranoia knob, but it sure seemed to me that I received more than my share of looks as I wandered up and down the market aisles. I don’t know why on the days I most want to hide I seem to stand out, but I do. My iPod was blasting out an album from Sunscreem, my sunglass were on (half to deflect the blinding occasional sun and half to just hide), and my steps were even and measured as I walked and shook my head at each seller trying to tempt me into buying something. I spent no money and talked to no one. But passing through that swift running river of humanity like a salmon jumping upstream to spawn somehow calmed me, as if each person that bumped me knocked off a corner of that shell built up around my heart. By the time I reached the metro I was almost sorry to be heading home.

I felt good enough when I got back to tackle more language. Part of that was translating a letter I received from the hospital that changes my upcoming appointment with my rheumatologist. The missive is brief, and to the point. It tells me nothing I want to really know, other than the date and time of my next visit. And the fact that I’ll be seeing a different doctor. Almost missed that bit of info; it was scribbled in by hand. I spent a good hour online, searching out my rheumatologist’s contact email to ask what’s going on. I want to stay under her care, not go through yet ANOTHER doctor (this would be my third rheumatologist in 2 years). Give me some consistency, please!

And flux is the word…is the word…is the word. Nothing feels stable right now. My doctors are being changed, my language class is gonna change, my brother’s sensei who once seemed so promising seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. It’s like the universe said, ‘Oh, look! They’re feeling a bit more stable. Let’s change things up’. Can I reiterate AGAIN that I really don’t have any friends here, so the people that are leaving and being replaced right now in my life are the ONLY people I have a relationship with outside this house? They are the ONLY Dutch people I know who are helping me navigate this new life. At one time or another, they’ve all been called upon to translate something, answer some questions, or help with this or that.

This is NOT helping my trust issues.

Also feels like I have a sore point that’s growing to a head, like some nasty boil on your butt. It’s over old tasks that should be simple, yet still aren’t done. Things like taking in some old electronics for recycling (2 years). Or changing the toilet seat (6 months). Due to the nature of these tasks, they’d usually fall to my brother. But he’s in that rut again. I’ve seen it before and waited years for something that ends up taking an hour to finish. The problem is, the only way I know of making it happen at this point is to stand over him and nag or do it myself. Since I’m not limping or in agony, I’m choosing to tackle them myself. I just wish he wouldn’t force my hand like this. Just FINISH the damned thing, will you? Yet he, who has something like 2 dozen releases for sale because he’s a music making machine, seems to have problems following thru with these tasks. It drives me crazy.

A purge is coming soon to my life. A purge of my closet. While putting away my laundry I rooted around in there for a bit and found a T-shirt that (1) I had not seen for over a year and (2) had now grown so shabby that I’ve just got to chuck it into my rag rug pile. Like cockroaches, if I find one, there’s more. So I’m gonna be ruthless. There’s a dress I bought (cheap) that I’ve never worn. It was one of those I’ll lose some weight and then it will look great purchases. That’ll go in the donation bin. The rest – mostly raggedy shirts – will get thrown into my rag rug pile, which, by the way, is by volume the largest thing I’m carrying around. Just old clothes and scraps, all waiting for the day I think my hands are in good enough condition to make rag rugs again. I’m beginning to wonder if my rag rug pile isn’t akin to that dress I bought for some future skinny me that hasn’t materialized. If I’m not stockpiling this stuff for a day that isn’t coming.

Well, you never know. Just yesterday I wanted some sheet protectors and searched high and low through my unpacked boxes until I remembered that I got rid of all of them before the move. Had literally hundreds. Didn’t need them at the time and couldn’t envision a time I would need them. Now I need them and don’t have them. Typical. My life runs that way. It’s part of the reason I want that closet purge: I won’t lose the weight until I get rid of the clothes I bought in anticipation of losing the weight.

Now if I can only make this work in other areas of my life…

Running on Empty

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I’d like so much to not be here this morning. It’s barely 5 a.m., and once again I woke up with tears leaking from my eyes. Fucking hate that. How can anything that so tragic happen to me in my sleep that I wake up crying?

No big surprises; my impending GP visit (3 hours and counting) is triggering me. Has been for days now. This is the grand culmination: 5 a.m., wake up crying, feelings of utter worthlessness. I am MORE than considering blowing this fucking appointment off. I don’t know if walking in to get checked for something I’m not even sure is a problem is worth losing sleep over, crying, and feeling like shit. I really don’t.

Right now I’m on a fairly massive paranoid high. I’m paranoid about the visit, about being blown off and ignored – or worse yet, having another check on my file that says I’m crazy. Don’t give me that line that ‘crazy’ isn’t used on files. Maybe not, but they have their other buzz words that basically mean the same shit: you can’t trust the person sitting in front of you because they have mental problems. I don’t know how many of those checks my file has. Trying hard to reassure myself right now. My rheumatologist never treats me like the pain is in my head or I’m exaggerating. Maybe I should use her as a guide; if any doctor treats me with less respect than she does I should walk the fuck out of their office.

That’s something I can hang on to.

*sigh* The recent massacre weighs heavy on my mind. As does this weird weather. Here it is the height of summer and it’s chilly. Already read one article on the damage this hot-then-cold weather is doing to the local environment: the flowers are blooming too soon and dying too early, which means the bees are very confused and don’t have enough food for the season. Are we seeing the beginning of the end? I tend to think so. Someday a line will be drawn here, in the early 21st Century, as the point of no return in the downfall of the planet.

Christ, my attitude sucks today.

Time for a fucking reality check. Yes, I have an appointment with my GP. The same woman I walked out on last time I saw her. And this massive confrontation I’m so fucking wound up about is scheduled to take an entire 10 minutes of my life. Ten minutes. That’s all I have to get through. Then the day is mine; I can sit and smoke until I choke on my own phlegm if that’s what I want to do. I give myself permission to come back on line and write again if I have to. I give myself permission to blow off the rest of the day if I want. I give myself permission to allow myself permission for all sorts of stuff and STILL feel upset. Damn it! One of these stupid mantras should work. But mantras are only palatable when you’re at least half way to feeling okay. Anywhere on the other side of that 50% grey blotch and they’re like sucking shit from a straw.

Not that I’ve done that.

Let it also be noted that if I DO attend my doctor’s visit this morning, it’s also coming at the expense of my normal swim time. Not thrilled about that. Of all the mornings over the last month or two, THIS is the morning I feel I really need to get into the water.

More caffeine, please. Somewhere inside me there’s got to be something brighter than this tar black vomit currently bubbling up from the pits of hell.

And fuck yeah, I said to myself that I’d sleep in all the way to 7 a.m. this morning to avoid toking before my GP visit. I’ve fallen down on that promise. Smoking right now. What the hell. I’ve still got 2 hours to ‘sober up’ – which in MY book means getting my eyes clear enough that I don’t have an easy tell. Plus, the last thing I want is to walk into her office after a manic panic morning off my routine. The LAST time she saw me I was crying. She doesn’t need to see me that way again.

Aaaaahhh…You know, I watched the remake of The Evil Dead last night, which is just ‘Evil Dead’. They turned it from splat into real horror, and did it well, complete with proper homages to the original madness of Bruce Campbell. But the thing that may well have triggered me was the new set up for the film. In the remake, a group of friends goes to this secluded cabin in the woods to help their friend dry out. When shit starts to hit the fan, no one (of course) believes the girl who’s going thru cold turkey. Everything she says and does for well into 3/4 of the film is blown off by her friends as being a result of getting off drugs.

Now that’s a topic I can relate to. As a woman, I’ve had real concerns dissed. What’s wrong, you on the rag? And later, Calm down, you’re being hormonal. Or Is this a menopause thing? Now I’m ‘overreacting’ because I’m quitting smoking or I’m ‘irrational’ because I’m depressed or manic.

Right now it feels like I’ve been dissed most of my life on one level or another. And I see no end to it.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. I wanted to get out of this morbid mindset and I’m NOT.

I got NO answers today. No epiphanies. No righteous feelings that I’m gonna keep going. Feels like I’m running on empty.

 

Naked Fear

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Good morning, hello, and all that crap.

I was not brilliant yesterday. Ran full tilt for about 2 hours after writing and then fell asleep. It was that full exhaustion sleep, too. The kind of exhaustion when I can feel an almost giddy rush as my body relaxes and begins to sleep. Thank the Goddess! She’s resting!! Down for 40 minutes, the nap effectively cut my day in two. It also gave me enough oomph to head downtown for the evening. Popped into a Turkish restaurant my bro & I like for some dinner and a chat with the owner. Then it was just wandering around, enjoying the soft air and looking at the all the cool buildings. A very enjoyable evening, and one I wouldn’t mind recreating a few more times.

Somehow I’ve screwed up my wrist. Fuck if I know how. Well…I DO know how. It’s the damned RA fucking with my life again. I just always want to point to something I’ve done when I have pain. Oh, it happened when I picked this up or when I gestured like that. Truth is, it just happens out of the blue. I could put my wrists into casts and never move them and still have this flipping problem.

Have I mentioned in the last 5 minutes how much I hate this disease?

Did a quick scan of the headlines this morning. I see everyone is still acting like a horse’s ass. The older I get, the more I think any and every public service job – including Presidential and Prime Minister roles – should be filled on a rotational basis like jury service. Everybody should have to put in a minimum of 2 years. We’d probably get better leaders out of it. What’s happening now is a joke. A BAD joke.

Tell me again how I shouldn’t let it upset me.

Well. I oftentimes feel humanity is the cockroach of the mammals. Kind of disgusting and not the thing other mammals really want around. If that’s actually true, then humanity will go on no matter what. There. Worries put to bed. Restless little bastards, to be sure. But they’re in their damned room.

Right. Reality check. One: it’s foggy outside. It’s BEEN foggy outside and very, very humid. That’s enough to set off my RA, so I should get off my back (and start bitching about the weather). Two: I know my double yesterday with a shot of espresso screwed up my normal timing. I’m all discomboobulated and turned around. That’s why I’ve got today to try to get myself back on track. Three: Whatever happens, I already know where I want to ride it out – right here. And whatever paranoia wants to tell me, I’m in the system. In fact, I found out yesterday that I am one of 40 people with a pink ID card. Yes, I had to ask what the big deal about a pink ID card is. Apparently, they’re the new thing. An all access back stage pass to the EU. It almost doubles as a passport (almost! not quite). I can go anywhere with this baby. They’re very difficult to get, though. The administrative process for them has been in place for several years, but only 40 have been issued. I guess this is what we paid thousands to solicitors for. All I’ve been told is it’s a gold pass, hard to get, and proof that I’m a fully accepted EU almost-citizen. Still some hoops to get through, but it wouldn’t be easy to kick me out at this point.

g;ieurty;k;

I am a big puddle of mush.

Sitting here going thru my tasks for the day. Run over there, do that. Come back, devote time to language study. Pick this up and take care of that. Gods! Just trying to order my mind into the most efficient pattern so I use as little energy as possible is tiring. Gonna do REAL well out there today.

And DAMN!! I want to smoke. I’m fucking exhausted sitting here and I want to smoke.

My brother brought up more counseling yesterday. More counseling for moi. He admits I’ve been doing pretty good lately, but still thinks I need some mood stabilizer. He also pointed out how my mood fluctuates with my RA. That should be a no brainer. Put me in pain for long enough and how happy do you THINK I’ll be? And how often do I bitch about this disease? A lot. It’s with me every minute of every day, so I’ve got a lot to bitch about. I kind of feel like I went car shopping and walked away with a lemon. My body is the car and I sure as fuck wish the manufacturers would honor their warranty. This sucks.

Chronically ill. Disabled.

There’s gonna come I time when I just have to accept that and stop fighting it, I think. Every time my mind skirts the subject it screams yes BUT NOT YET! So let me ask that part of me that’s screaming: If not now, when? How often do we have to get up in pain before we’re gonna accept it? How often will we live a half life, getting exhausted after a bit of cleaning or a few hours of walking before we say yes, this is it? Do we REALLY have to take ourselves down to not being able to walk at all, not being able to pick up a fork to feed ourselves, before we say we have a disability? Really? Because we’ve already been there. We’ve already had to have help getting on and off the toilet. Aren’t we AT that point, haven’t we BEEN at that point for quite some time?

If we accept it, we’ll stop fighting. And if we stop fighting, we’ll die.

Yep. That’s it. I barely finished typing the words before I reached to roll a J (which I didn’t, btw).

That’s a big goddamn obstacle.

No wonder I don’t want to accept it.

Well. Time to unveil the statue of naked fear.