Kept writing yesterday. Whatever was triggered in me just kept going.

Had another message from my uncle. Naturally. I knew he was testing the waters with his first message. Now he cheerily writes ‘Haven’t heard from you in a while! How are you?’ as if he never insulted me, we never had that online argument, and everything is just peachy. Been thinking of replying with ‘Learning to accept your beloved sister terrorized and physically abused me as a child. How are you?’ but that just opens too many cans of worms. I will probably leave it at ‘Taking care of myself; hopefully you are doing the same’ which should both answer his query and shut him the fuck up. It is once again noteworthy to say the timing of my uncle’s queries is oddly coincidental. I am far more likely to hear something from my family while I confront an uncomfortable truth about my past than I am any other day of the week. I post nothing of my inner struggle on social pages. And they are the last people on this planet to whom I would talk about this blog. So there’s no way they can check or know anything; it’s just that sick and twisted spider sense my family has. They know when their prey is weakest.

Reassured myself several times that it was okay to remember. I feel fairly certain that I woke from a memory/dream yesterday, the one I don’t want to remember. The one that really fucked me up. Zero recall in my conscious mind. But that’s okay. I know I remember it; I can feel it in my body. My mind will reveal it to me when I feel safe enough.

And I am safe. Safer than I’ve ever been. Able to completely cut off every member my DNA family if that’s what I choose to do. The stalker can’t find me. No one can get to me. No one can bully their way into my life and turn it upside down. I am safe. Safe. And I have more support than I’ve ever had before. Doctors, a few friends, my brother…the number is still small, but it’s huge compared to what it was. I am safe enough to begin to claim my rightful heritage: that of an abused child. That is not to say I want to wallow in it; not at all. But I need a place to start from, and this place is the best and surest foothold I’ve found. Admitting it is the first hurdle.

My mother’s ghost has been haunting me. She stands in front of me, her eyes wide, as she spews out excuse after excuse and denial after denial. I never hurt you! I never told you you couldn’t study acting! And the truth is, no, she never said ‘you can’t study acting’. She just spend decades coldly telling me through her vocal inflections, word choice, and body language that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t do it, that I could never, ever be the best at anything. She convinced me I was a loser before I even tried. She convinced me so well that I’m still trying to un-convince myself. And the physical abuse? Again, no, she never hit me as a small child. As a teen, yes. But she found many ways to cover up her abuse, many handy excuses to use.

And that bitch of a ghost falls utterly silent when I parade out the long line of neglect. All the illnesses I suffered through and was blamed for. ‘It’s your own fault’. The bad reactions to medicine, leaving me so weak I was barely conscious on the bathroom floor. The RA – not being able to use my hands, not being able to walk, so much pain I couldn’t do anything. Time after time after time. From small child to young adult, and always the neglect, the lack of care or support, the complete unwillingness to even take me to a doctor when I needed it.

Go to hell, C. Go to hell and suffer for a few eternities. Then we’ll talk.

I’m glad she suffered while alive, and I’m only sad that I didn’t take more glee in it while it happened! I wish those last three years would have been ten. Or twenty. Longer. Oh, live forever in that ball of fear I knew you retreated into! Stay there, and torment yourself. You deserve to have me taunting you outside your cage and telling you it’s your own fault. I’ll be magnanimous and say nothing, just so long as you do your time. Just don’t expect me to keep the silence any longer. Don’t expect me to avoid the ugly truth anymore. And when the full memory of that ultimate terror comes back to me, we might have another little conversation.

I accept that I’m angry as hell. I accept it’s so big that I have to compartmentalize it, pull it out in small pieces to chew on. Once again: that’s okay. No one can do this for me, no one can tell me how to do it, so however I do it, it’s okay. I will accept no less of a judgement for myself.

There is no right or wrong answer. No way to get 100% correct. In effect, there is no zero. No point you can put your finger on and say ‘Yep; this is it’. And no matter how wise we like to think ourselves, we’re still pretty damned ignorant. About ourselves and the world(s) we live in.

It’s all just soup.


So be it

“Mijn dokter heeft een briefje voor me…a-a-achterlaten. …Is dat correct?”

Yes, my Dutch was correct and yes, I actually stuttered. Stuttered, for fuck’s sake. I tried to be smooth, fluent. I practiced before I went to the doc’s office. But when the time came, I got got that hit of anxiety/excitement/self-doubt and the words stuck in my throat. I don’t ever remember doing THAT before.

Physio. I like my physiotherapist for my jaw. She’s very nice, and we chat mostly in English but she’ll throw some Dutch words at me so I can hear them. Back and forth, little phrases and words. I’m so grateful when people let me do that – throw in Dutch words when I can but use English when I must. I’m also grateful for the little corrections and help people give me. Not that I’ll remember most of it; it isn’t written down. Nonetheless, I love them for trying. As usual, my jaw hurt post therapy. She really pulls on that big muscle on the side of my face. On my ‘taking care of myself’ kick, I decided to pop some pain pills to make sure, once again, that my jaw didn’t go wonky at night when I slept. Better to drug it away than experience that level of pain again. I’ve one more appointment with her as a follow-up. Could probably use more; that muscle is as tight as a band of iron. And, honestly, it feels good to be a bit pampered, to have someone rub my facial muscles and soothe my aches – even if it does set off that burning sensation afterwards.

Gobbled up more words. Just sat and read. I spent the day with Dan and his father out in the woods, poaching pheasants. …My brother was right. Again. I can feel how I’m eating this – the phrases, the prepositions, the grammar. I am again reminded of my earlier years, reading and re-reading the same books over and over again until I could quote passages from them. It’s how I learn to use words. How I find things that help me describe my feelings and viewpoints. The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, LLR, Asimov’s entire catalogue – these were my meals when I was younger. Doing this in Dutch just makes me that much more aware of it. I keep catching myself thinking things like ‘oh, it’s aan, not bij’ or ‘so that’s how you say that’. My emotional link to these stories is intense. I remember one time – vividly. Was reading LLR for the 12 time (or something close to that) and making food at the same time. Big mistake. Popped into the next room to ‘just read a paragraph or two’ and the next thing I knew my mother was at my side, berating me for letting the food burn on the stove. She threatened to take my books away. I knew it was an empty threat at that point, that books would always be available to me and there was nothing she could do about it. I also remember being ready to take sides, and if my mother was asking me to choose between books and her, she was gonna lose. Every time. She could never feed my soul like those stories could.

I’ve a scant 30 pages left in the Roald Dahl, and I’m already feeling sad because I know the end is coming. However, I must admit to curiosity in the new book my teacher gave me. Another kids’ story. I opened the book up, just to take a look at it, and immediately my eyes focused on the words and I began to read. …There’s a part of me – a small part – who’s ashamed and embarrassed to sit in a public place and read a book written for someone 40 years younger than me. I had to overrule her yesterday as I waited for my physiotherapist. I’ve actually resorted to taunting myself in my head ‘Oh, c’mon! Who cares? You’re reading! You’re not so chicken shit that you’re just gonna sit there, are you?’ [And, as a side note, once I overruled that part of me I fell right into that deep reading trance. So deep my physiotherapist had to speak to me to catch my attention.]

My brother has already taken the time yesterday to once again tell me our house is damned clean, that I don’t need to do much, that I should really just stay chillin’. I verbally compromised, scaling back my tall ideas of a total scrub down to ‘running the hoover around and cleaning up the table’ which was acceptable to my bro. Gotta stick around until my injections are delivered. They usually come in the afternoon, so that means (yes!) I’ll have loads of time to read.

And phone. calls. Must do, or try to do. Picked up that referral letter from my doc. Two pages long. A third was a listing of diagnoses – including depression. A third was a listing of my medications – numerous, and depressing in their own right. The last third she gave over to a short explanation of my back and forth, up and down, smoking and swearing I’ve got it under control at this point. There was one line that caught my eye. I haven’t fully translated it, just gave it as good a read through as I could. But it’s a note about by-passing the traditional clinics and just getting me to someone ASAP. I’m not sure I want to translate that sentence. If she thinks I’m really bad, that’ll make ME feel bad for being in such bad shape, and it’ll just feed on itself. …Hm. Maybe I’ll just let that one go. But…time to pick up the phone. The good house phone, not my crappy mobile. I’ll give myself as good a chance of being able to understand the Dutch as I can. And if the words get stuck in my throat and I have to use English, well…so be it.

The last vestige

Start to heal, and feel worse. Anyone else suffer through this? Three days on the anti-viral and the exhaustion hit me – couldn’t stay awake for anything. Now, it’s a stuffed nose and cold-like symptoms. Joy. Reminding myself to feel happy about it while I cough and blow my nose, tearing through the facial tissues in the house until all the garbage cans are full of my used product. It’s coming out of my body. The nose blowing, the navel goo, the exhaustion…all side products of this illness.

Gods, healing is gross.

Sent a text to my teacher, telling her I had shingles and wouldn’t be coming to class. Waited nervously for a reply. Kept thinking she’d tell me no one wanted me back in class after my outburst. Went through the whole thing in about fifteen minutes: shame, guilt, anger, acceptance. Finally my phone jangled with a note: get well, and we hope to see you next week. I find my reaction and…well, everything that’s going on worth mentioning. Because I’m getting this reply from the teacher I call Ms. Hard Ass. Make no mistake about it: she IS a hard ass. But I think she also understands me better than most. I think she’s sussed out that I’m bipolar, maybe a bit autistic. And I think she’s dealt with this type of behavior before. She was the only one who dared to continue speaking to me normally after my outburst. I remember her even asking ‘may I point a few things out to you?’ before giving me some corrections. Of all the people in that room, I feel she’s the one who understood what was going on with me, so her kind reply is doubly appreciated.

Been imagining me apologizing to the class. I have to; it’s the only way I can work up the nerve to do it. Have to add that my imaginings always seem to include someone (one person in particular) piping up with ‘suggestions’ on how to stay calm or stay healthy or whatever. Assumptions, really. The same sort of thing I have to suffer through when someone tells me of some home remedy for rheumatoid arthritis. Dudes! I studied herbal remedies. Whatever you’re going to tell me about, I’ve tried it or looked into it and decided the science can’t back up the claims. Don’t lecture to me about eating right, or sleeping, or getting exercise. I’m on top of all that. I’ve been juggling this illness since I was 10. I dealt with it undiagnosed for 25 years, and now diagnosed for another 17. I’ve done more than you could ever imagine. But it always comes up. And I have to paste that smile on my face, the one that hurts even me to use (can’t you SEE how unhappy I am with what you’re saying?), and listen, and say ‘yes’ and ‘really?’ like I’m truly interested because doing anything else is viewed as rude. Very few people seem to understand how rude it is from my side. …I understand I’m being triggered. My experience with apologizing has been that the apology is never really accepted; I must go through lectures and reminders for the rest of my life. So I’m naturally leery. Afraid it’ll happen again. It’s hard to remember that there are people out there who aren’t gonna react like my family. Doing my best to offer myself alternative fantasies: apologize, and have the apology accepted. People smile and nod at me. I am forgiven. I want that, and I want to trust that it’ll happen. It’s the last part I’m snagged on: trust.

How can I trust S and the film crew so easily, yet be unable to trust other people? I’m having the same issue with the theatre group. I don’t trust they’ll follow through with my piece. Or am I asking the wrong question? Is it ME I don’t trust in these situations? Do I feel incapable of taking criticism, of hearing ‘no’? *sigh* Again, my experiences are not great. I’ve rarely had the thing known as ‘constructive criticism’ given to me. Rip you to shred criticism, yes. In abundance. Meant to hurt you as much as possible criticism. I’m afraid of that. It hurts. No matter how much of it you get, it hurts. Maybe I’m being a drama queen, but it does seem I draw more of that to me than most people. I’ve heard things like ‘you can’t even write a grammatically correct sentence; don’t even BEGIN to think you’re a writer’, or the always deadly ‘gee, you’d be really pretty if you just lost 20 pounds’. That’s not even mentioning the times I was called childish, ignorant, stupid, arrogant, and just plain wrong in every way imaginable (and no, my inner defeatist attitude is NOT something bred in me, but moulded onto me – these are simply echoes of things I heard about myself growing up). So yes, I’m touchy. Begin to attack me personally and I’ll go off on you. Point things out to me calmly and without judgement, and I’ll be fine. I don’t think I’m asking so much there. Am I?

If life is a mirror, then I’m in trouble here. Because things point to the fact that I’m too judgmental. If I feel judged, then (by mirroring standards) I must be putting out too much judgement. …Oh. Well. I DO judge. I’ll admit to thinking ‘gods, people are STUPID!’ about three hundred times a day. And I judge my mother, and my sister, and all my family. I judge them all to be lacking, and all to be dangerous to my mental stability. *sigh* Yet it’s only after leaving them – finally leaving them, all the way through me leaving them, not just in words or distance leaving them – that I’ve met people I can love. I’ve found places I fit in, even if it’s just a short film shoot. I’ve gained self respect.

My doubts and fears…they are just the remnants, the last vestige of the damage done.


Lick your wounds

Healing. My least favorite thing to do in the entire world. I’ve got to be on death’s door before I allow myself to lay back and rest. So exhausted, in such pain, that I can’t lift my head or do the dishes or even think. But give me even a hint of strength and I feel lazy, shiftless, and so damned greedy with time and energy that it’s a struggle to relax enough TO rest.

Somewhere in my past I must have been burned badly with the words ‘wasting time’. That’s my hiccup. I’m wasting time. I can make even the smallest reason into a justification, but not when it comes to healing. I can justify going to a party in order to ‘socialize’. I can justify not going to the gym because of my mood or fear of hurting myself. I cannot justify sitting on my ass the entire day long, watching tv, and doing nothing. I’m not in enough discomfort.

My meds, however, list dizziness as a side effect. Maybe I shouldn’t have read that; I might have retroactively triggered myself to feel it. But I do feel dizzy, within 30 minutes of taking my pills. So…rest. I’ve got an entire week of this.

Been refusing to put any more Dutch into my brain right now. I won’t even look at the subtitles on tv, tho I’ve got to admit that’s a tough one; my eyes keep shifting down to them and I’ve got to snap my attention back to the actors. English and Dutch are melting together. Half the time I don’t know what language a word is from. Is that…Dutch? English? Sounds and letter combinations are roiling around in my brain, all becoming mush. Thank you, Goddess, that sometime in my life I anchored this automatic writing in English. I will ALWAYS be able to get up and do this, even if my brain ends up flipping into Dutch or mumbo-jumbo for the rest of the day.

Meh. I suppose language is dependent upon your desire to communicate. I don’t know how strong that desire is for me right now. I feel less inclined to speak, and more inclined to sit silently observing. I get that way. It’s not a bad thing, tho some people find it annoying because I do grow reticent. But…there comes a time when I think, why speak? Why say all that I’ve said before? I have no new words to express myself. I have no new metaphors to light the darkness, to expand my consciousness or enlighten the ignorant. Just…hit play on the recorder; you’ll hear it. I don’t need to say it.

And frankly, I think you need to take time to internalize. You can’t live that way; that’s a mire of mental un-health if ever there was one. But you’ve got to get the words from your head to your mouth to your heart. Your heart is where it lives, those old pains and wounds we keep picking at and picking at. Your head can scream the truth at you, your mouth can form the words, but if you don’t get it inside you’re not gonna learn. You’ll just keep picking at those wounds, making yourself hurt, and not understanding.

I don’t want to hurt anymore.

Accepting the limits of my body… Every time I think I’ve mastered it, something new comes along. Oh, but that’s the trick to life! You never stop learning, never stop moving. Change is the only constant you can count on. You must dance on these change-lines. That’s how you progress. Every move you make modifies these lines, and the new configuration modifies your ensuing moves. It’s an internal feedback process. That’s the reason some people have come up with positive self-talk or smile therapy: put out positive vibes, and positive vibes will start to come back to you. That’s a recognition of the feedback process: change your dance, change the lines. The problem most of us run into is the lag-time. The time between changing our dance – a difficult and sometimes painful thing to do – and seeing results. Sadly, that’s only our poor perception. We move in space as much as we move in time, and when you recognize that you realize the vast amounts of area you must traverse to get from one place to another. It’s the difference between being next door to something or being all the way across town. Next door is easy to get to. Across town might take several stops or connections, some twists or turns that you don’t expect. I have an excellent example right here in NL. If I want to get from my house to Den Haag, a trip I’ve made several times, I either have to go out of my way to the west or out of my way to the northeast due to the train and metro connections. Life is like that: sometimes you have to head off in what looks like the wrong direction because that’s the only real route to get where you want to be. And when we bull-headedly head off in the wrong direction, thinking we’ll just power our way to our goals, we are often met with blockades.

…My words tell me what my head has so far failed to catch on to: I’m ignoring a flow. I’m trying to power my way somewhere upstream.

What’s the first thing you do when you get a cramp while swimming? Stop fighting.

Stop. fighting. your body.

Okay, animal. I understand you’re not doing well. You are tired, and ill. You are wounded, and in pain. You have allowed me to fight these symptoms many times. We have done wonderful things together. But now, I will listen to you. I will lay you down in a soft spot, warm and secure. You have been whimpering and I have been ignoring you. I’m sorry, my old friend. Rest, sleep, and lick your wounds.



That’s shingles.

The diagnosis was out of my doctor’s mouth within a second of seeing the wound on my shoulder. She made a call to my rheumatologist, who recommended I come off my medications for RA for a week and go on an anti-viral regime: 42 pills in 7 days. Good news is there’s very little risk that I infected anyone else. However, I sent out a message to S, warning her that I might have exposed her dad to it. His system is even worse than mine, and I know how easily I fall ill.

Good Gods! Make way for the walking dead. That’s what I feel like: my body is flipping falling apart on me but I just keep on going.

I am all too aware right now that the Universe just offered up a big, fat excuse for not attending my language class on Monday: shingles recurrence. It’s painful at best. Add into that the pumped up meds I’ll be taking, and it’s probably best overall if I just chill out this week and avoid too much people contact.

Um…thanks? I mean, I know I was looking for a way to squirm out of Monday because of my outburst. I didn’t really want it to come in this form. But that’s what you get, and it’s also why you’ve gotta watch out what you ask for: the Universe is likely to give it to you.

Today I’ll cook up a batch of my homemade remedy. I used it in 2014 on my first bout of shingles, and it worked very well. Sadly, I’ve already scarred myself by ripping the blisters off and creating these wounds. But I can prevent any further damage, and hopefully limit this incessant itching and burning sensation.

*sigh* This is the way you go, you know. It just becomes one thing after the other until your body can’t fight anymore. …Shit. Happy fucking thoughts.

Distract. Rest. Do what I can to stay calm. Anxiety isn’t helping me heal.

…Ah. Good. S just sent me a text. Her dad is okay. And now he knows, so if something happens in the next few days (please don’t let him get sick!!) he won’t blow it off (like I almost did).

And here I was thinking I’m doing so flipping well. I haven’t caught the flu. Not even a cold this winter. But my body just insists on falling ill every winter. It’ll flipping MANUFACTURE something if I don’t catch anything. …I’m trying to be understanding, to say ‘oh, my poor body, going thru so much’ but all I really am is disappointed. My body has let me down again. I didn’t expose myself to anything, I didn’t push myself beyond my limits, I didn’t do anything to myself – and yet, my body battles me. Pulls me down.

Some people get Lamborghinis or Porsches for bodies. I’ve got a damned Studebaker or Gremlin. It isn’t just shitty, it’s downright dangerous.

On the good side: first, I didn’t stop myself from going to the doc. That’s a biggie. I almost didn’t go. And I needed to go. Trying to learn that lesson. My doc realizes this, and told me I was right to come in, I didn’t waste her time, and if I have a fever or any other symptoms to come back immediately. Second, I probably didn’t pass this on to anyone, so let go of that guilt! Third, I’ve got people who actually care about me right now. Who are worried that I’m once again ill, and send their healing thoughts my way. Take that in. Fourth: I can blow off Monday language lesson or not; it’s up to me. My physical condition certainly warrants some down time. That’s up to me, and while I feel right now that I’ll be sitting home on Monday, I’ll wait to make that final decision. Fifth: there is smoke in the house, and entertainment on my tv system. I can wallow in it, and probably should for a day or two minimum. Sixth, and perhaps most important to remember: it’s only pain. Shingles isn’t life threatening. Annoying and painful, yes. A bit more dangerous to someone like me who’s got a bad immune system. But in the end, it’s just pain. A physical sensation like hunger. Something you can get through.

My disappointment in my body…now that’s not so easy to ‘get through’. I can’t hide my disappointment from myself. I can’t hide the immediate thoughts that come to my mind: damned body! What a train wreck! 

Can I ever learn to love this lemon?


I’ll take the stars

Well. I took my time off right to the edge. Don’t think I could have sat around on my ass for another hour without going ballistic. Headed to the gym, ready to kill anyone in my way or myself if no easy victim showed up between home and there. Did not hold back – couldn’t hold back. Impressed myself with my iron stomach muscles, easily lifting both legs off the floor and holding for a count of 10. Impressed myself again on the cross trainer, blowing thru an 8 minute kilometer and topping 3.7 km at 30 minutes. And then the free weights – DAMN, girl! Is that muscle I see in your arms? Lift, lift, pant, think about the meaning of life, lift, pant some more.

I’m going back for more today.

My rheumatologist is happy. My condition is stable, and my joints show no signs of decay since my last x-rays. Yippee. Even said I could try to take the methotrexate down if I felt up to it. Assured her that although my hair loss continues, I know I can’t go without these drugs – and if I do go bald, I’m tattooing my entire head. Got that gold star I always want from someone plastered on my forehead: good on me for exercising, good on me for weight loss, good on me for doing so much. I needed that.

Upset with myself. Realize I’ve got a mother-thing going with one of my teachers. They gave us a spot check test just before class ended – those pesky irregular verbs. Oh, the look of disappointment that crossed my teacher’s face when I didn’t get the answer correct! And the gut wrenching hit of guilt that washed over me – I didn’t do enough, I didn’t try hard enough, I’m not good enough or smart enough or – … That shit has got to stop. Right here and now. I am NOT learning Dutch from a mother substitute. I refuse. For the last 36 hours I’ve been telling myself I’m doing what I can, when I can. I’m learning faster and faster, more and more. I’ll get it. I’ll get it. But Gods! It feels like one of my old nightmares. I get surrounded by these huge, disappointed faces (in my head; I’m not actually surrounded by monster faces – tho mentally, that’s the picture I have). I feel small, ashamed, and trapped. It’s not a good combination. Working to shrink those disappointed faces down to mini-size. Being as triggered as I am, it’s a real challenge.

Bolstering myself up with my newly grown confidence in my English writing. Think I’ll take time – this morning, while it’s quiet – to read part three. Haven’t had the time to do so since I banged out the first draft. I’m already reviewing it in my head, making mental notes of changes to add. But I want to just experience it, front to end, without interruption. How well did I capture what I see?

Had a good, long, hearty laugh yesterday. Was talking to my bro (big surprise) about social situations. We’ve both got our problems. Mentioned my lack of filters, how I can’t stop blurting out these deep truths. My brother laughed, and said ‘What do you expect? You learned your social skills from an agoraphobe.’ Yeah. Dad was very anti-social. More than six people in a room and he got real nervous. As a kid, I didn’t realize this. I knew Dad was less social than my mother. But he didn’t talk about it. It wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 and we had tickets to a show downtown that I realized Dad had problems in public situations. He became more and more wound up the further into the city we drove. He was tense, angry, swearing a lot. After the show was even worse: the crowd let out, and I thought Dad was going to have an heart attack. And Dad…he said whatever was on his mind. I grew up thinking politics, religion, and sex were good to go topics at a dinner table. Had a lot of missteps with friends and acquaintances. Still do. Dad welcomed my input, welcomed me to these cultural and philosophical debates. Even, I think, wanted me to speak my mind. Why was that? Now that I think about it, why did he do that? I’m replaying memories in my head right now, and I see him encouraging me to lay out a sound argument. Back up my statements with facts. I don’t remember him acting that way with anyone else in the family. My oldest brother would say something in support of what Dad said. He’d get a nod, maybe an additional exclamation. My sister would add in her two cents: generally a snide comment, again in support of my father’s statement. And then Dad would look at me. Challenge me with his eyes. Say it, his eyes would plead. Bring out your views. Tell me how wrong I am. As I grew older, these debates would get hotter. My logic improved, my access to facts to back up my statements was wider, and I think I was cutting too close to the center at times.

Did my father think that at some point I’d change? That money would change me? Or was that part of the original challenge I read in his eyes: can you stay true to who you are right now for your entire life? Can you hold onto your innocence, your faith, your dreams, in the face of everything life has to throw at you?

In the end, Dad was very clear about what he wanted for me. I want you to be happy, he said. Over and over. Not rich, not famous, not thin, not smart, not skilled, not useful, but happy. I know happiness is a mode of travel, not a destination. I can look at life with stars in my eyes or a sour pussed expression that will ruin everything before I even touch it.

I’ll take the stars.


It be jammie-time

Een, twee, drie…

AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaargh! Fer frickin’ fuckin’ goddamn it all hell!!

After achieving a certain ‘I got this’ feeling about Dutch, or at least about carefully conjugating verbs, I’ve been corrected this morning on pronunciation and conjugation until I feel like my head is going to fucking explode and I’m far, far more stupid than I thought. Dialects. Don’t think too much about it in English, or at least not American English. A Southerner doesn’t correct a Northerner to ‘y’all’ or other regional idioms and pronunciations. But damn it to hell! Just when I feel confident on pronouncing something, I get corrected. Then next time I get corrected by someone with a different dialect. Well, which one is it? Who do I listen to (or, if you want to get nit-picky with English, To Whom do I listen)?

Grumble, grumble, bitch and moan…

Somewhere in my brain is a piece of information that says Dutch has somewhere around 300,000 words. Don’t know if that’s correct or not, and I sure as hell don’t know if that includes every possible conjugation or not. What I do know is that I’ve been here 3 years. To master every damned word by this point would be… Well, a dream for me. Some people can do it, I guess. Or I’m being made to feel like some people can do it. I’m doing the best I can. Feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of homework and sheer listening I’m doing these days. So when I say I don’t know a word, I don’t fucking know a word! I don’t know if the stem of the word contains two e’s or not, and since every single person I encounter seems to say things a little differently, how the FUCK am I supposed to just pull this out of my ass? Seriously?

And, by the Goddess! It did not help that I found myself, once I decided to treat myself to an in-town coffeeshop visit and smoke, writing in bleeding Dutch. Handwritten? Dutch now. It’s in my fucking fingers from all the homework. The sentences are probably for shit in a million different ways – wrong verbs, wrong grammar, wrong sentence structure – but I couldn’t help myself. I was frustrated in Dutch, and it came out in Dutch.

This isn’t even counting my frustration over occasionally being ‘reset’ in my brain, and having to go back to the basics on ‘oo’ vs. ‘oe’.

Overload. That’s where I’m at. I recognize it. Turn the damned Dutch off. Stop writing it, stop reading it, stop listening to it. My brain is all hay-wire.

And I got so much writing to do in English!

Two needles today. One taking blood, one giving medicine. Going to have bruises from both. Loverly. So hate when that happens.

…And, ya know…I feel like a damned pincushion. Not just from the needles, but also in my brain. Feels like all sorts of stuff got shoved in there, helter-skelter. Poking here, poking there, rip this seam out, pull the stuffing, and viola! A mess, and a good analogy for my head.

Slept like shit last night. Pain in my back no matter how I positioned myself. Just a low, dull ache. Nothing you couldn’t sleep over, but nothing you could totally ignore, either. It feels better today. Or I’ve blocked it enough that it’s no longer registering. Never really know which it is. I AM the person who’s repeatedly injured herself without noticing. Done all sorts of shit I should never have done. Guess all I can say is, I’m thankful for whichever ’cause it ain’t bothering me right now.

Tomorrow I sit. And sit, and sit. Have to wait for my injection delivery. It’ll probably come in the afternoon, but I don’t know for sure. Hope to get some work done on Taman. Really want that off my desk so I can give whatever brainpower I’ve got left over to the thrillers. My brain’s been plotting too much as it is; it should be concentrating on the re-writes I MUST do. *sigh* Alas, no. Thinking far, far too much on the thrillers. Determined I’ll go ahead and write the third before re-doing the second. The third is very nailed down; certain things just gotta happen. But the second…that one is fluid. Flexible. Pliable to my needs. Modes of death, dialogue, scene set-ups…all of that can shift depending on the first and the third sections.

And I want…more with the second. The set up is predictable: a small group of people in a cut-off location. While what I’m playing with isn’t predictable, there are elements that seem obvious. A little too obvious. So…what else can I do? Can I set up an audience member to scare? Maybe, in the dark, touch him/her with a creepy hand? Limitations are always an issue. Money, man-power, skills or lack thereof. But there’s gotta be something. Something outside the box…

There I go again! Off on the Great Thriller Trilogy I’m currently fucking obsessed by.

For now, tone it down. No challenging myself with more Dutch. Gotta cool those engines. Game playing is top of my list. Zone out. Think of nothing. Nothing. Just a big blank nothing. Calm.


A storm is moving in, the darkness is gathering, and I’m beginning to feel safe. Go on, wind! Take my anger and frustration and whip it away in your fingers. Take it far, far away. I don’t want it anymore.

Think I’m gonna go get in my pj’s. I need to take care of myself. And even tho it’s barely three in the afternoon…

…It be jammie-time.


Pretty fuckin’ crude

Feelin’ good about yer English? Cool. Now let’s do Dutch.

Was worried my recent writing high would make me feel twice as bad about mistakes in language class. Just the opposite; yesterday I cut myself more slack and was more understanding of myself and my mistakes than I usually am. It’s okay, I thought. Look how far you’ve already come. Must admit it helped that most of the class wasn’t up to speed. Some hadn’t written their story for homework. Many hadn’t worked on the irregular verbs.

I picked up my third novel in Dutch. Yep! Only one in class to finish any book – and I’ve finished two so far.

And, English or Dutch, my twat side comes to the fore. The teacher’s eyes popped when she saw my story – two pages stapled together. The writing is big, and I’m using every other line so there’s plenty of room for corrections. Still…it was the longest of any student’s story. By far.

But I’m a writer. I think I’ve accepted that fact now, right down to the tips of my toes. I write, and I write well. Another language? Well, don’t expect that to slow down my brain. You’ll still get startling statements from me. They’ll just be a little immature and have a few grammar mistakes.

This week’s assignment: write something in Dutch every day. Nothing fancy, just what we did during the day. Like a diary entry, my teachers said. Yeah…like I have any hope of keeping THAT simple. And it could hardly be like a diary entry, in truth. My blog entries are stilted, many sentences lack full grammatical structure because of the casual nature of my writing, and once in a while I pull a purposefully poor sentence and/or spelling out of my hat because…well, I just do (either I think it adds color, or it’s an echo of what I think my family would say to me). I’ll get marks off if I pull that in class. Full sentences, proper grammar, proper tense.

And it ain’t so much my sentence structure I be worried about, it’s the thoughts and ideas behind my words I got the willies for.

That truth I can’t stop speaking.

Case in point: this week’s assignment. A little story about your family. I confined it to my dad, someone I felt I could be at least a little bit positive about. But what did I write? I wrote about his depression, and the depression and alcoholism of his father. I wrote about my dad’s brother, who died in WWII. I wrote about my connection with my dad, how I had his blue eyes, his dimples, and his way of looking at the world. …Pretty sure the rest of the papers are going to say stuff like ‘I have two sisters. My oldest sister is married with three children. They live in Timbuktu.’ I mean…yeah. I could write that. I could bore myself silly with that shit. I’m beyond it already, and eager to write more.

There’s so much more to words than just plain facts.

Been being extra, extra good with my ankle. Maybe it was hurt more than I realized. Took longer than I care to admit for it to not hurt when I just touched it. But now, my back is beginning to seize up. I gotta move. Been getting out, doing more each day, but today has to be a gym day. I’ve got to get walking again, for at least an hour. I can’t sit comfortably at night. That shit’s gotta stop. Tossed my agenda around; was going to get my blood work done today, but that means an extended public transport ride into the hospital. Can’t do that comfortably, so put it off a day or two. The doc told me I could get my blood tests done first thing the morning of our appointment and the lab would be able to process everything in time for our meeting, so no time constraints on that side. Tape up the ankle, get to the gym, and walk.

Hoping getting back to the gym will simultaneously fire up and calm my brain. My brain has been working – but it’s often static. Grey noise meant to distract me. Flighty thoughts, with no beginning and no end. Circular. That’s dangerous territory. Often it ends up with me berating myself endlessly, caught in some web of thought that won’t let me go. I want to find my rock, nail down an end of my thoughts, and start spinning. For that, I need a moment of calm, a little quiet pool in the river of my brain. And I can’t get that with static going on non-stop. Gotta turn that tv off.

And how do you turn that tv off? By turning the animal on.

It’s the visceral part of you you must empower. For me, that means exercise. Nothing to wake the animal up like running the body hard. I don’t think about my family or my past while I exercise. All my attention is given over to my heart rate, pumping my legs, working harder, enduring even when I want to give up. Oddly enough, tho…while I’m aware of all that and while it drives the static out of my brain, other things do come to the forefront. Connections I can’t see while I’m caught in some self-imposed web. Sometimes the connections have to do with me, sometimes my writing, sometimes the world in general. But that’s what I want. The animal push quiets that all pervasive low level angst I have over things not being right. It’s not right, what we do. It’s not right, how we treat other people. It’s not right, it’s not right, it’s not right!

How can we all have heard as children the lessons about sharing and caring and turned out to be such SHITS? How baseless, how crude is humanity, truly?

…Pretty fuckin’ crude.


I have value

Sunday, and I’m still on a high from all the praise I received at the script read thru. My brother admonished me for trying to jump right back into my routine. Take it easy, he said. Give yourself the weekend to sort yourself out. Did not help my flightiness to receive a note from the producer about the first part of the thriller series.

He likened it to Lovecraft’s work. Lovecraft. That’s like…classic.

My head’s spinning to be compared to such a well known author.

Too excited and jumbled to do much, but I did make a start. Payed for my gym membership (late; it was due on the first), picked up some groceries and needed items, took out the garbage. Spent more time on my feet than I have lately due to my ankle, and I felt it. So I lolled around in the late afternoon, and seemed very much a lady of leisure when my bro returned from the comic book shop.

Ach! And I have a weird complaint. My hands are not so good anymore. The RA’s done its thing, and my grip is generally pretty weak. Seems to me I’m always asking my bro to open this jar or bottle, or pick something up for me. And just this past week I dropped a bottle, shattering it, due to a poor hold. So what I’ve got to say doesn’t make a lot of sense. But, here it is. Every once in a while, I get super-strength. Like Hulk smash super-strength. The latest evidence of this is a now ruined pepper grinder, which I apparently twisted so hard I broke the entire thing. I swore up and down to my brother that it must have already been broken, that I didn’t even turn it that hard. He just laughed at me. No, it wasn’t broken. Yes, he was absolutely sure of that. He doesn’t blame for these things. He’s seen them too often. And he knows I have no intention of breaking anything. There are just weird moments when all the strength that’s left my hands comes rushing back, and I’m more powerful than I think. Then things twist and break like dry twigs. …I’m lucky this time it was only a pepper mill.

Spent time on my Dutch. Reading. Wasn’t really going to. Just wanted to take a look and see where I was in the book. But I began reading a few lines to remind myself where I left off, and suddenly I was sitting back, turning page after page. Only one chapter to go before I’m finished. Should be able to finish up the story and write out some verb conjugations today. Meh! Notice how I left the verb conjugations for last – my least favorite thing to do. But I feel pretty good. I’m done with the writing, almost done with the reading, and (while not looking forward to it) ready to work on verbs.

Today is laundry and dishes, hoovering and dusting. Hoping to get some guilty assistance out of my brother, which is why I left it for Sunday, when he was home, rather than Saturday, when he’s at the comic shop. Could use it. The place is bit dingy. A little too much dust on everything, a few too many pieces of grit on the floor…just dingy. I think I’ll just ask my bro to help me. Why wait to see if he volunteers? One hour of his assistance will wipe this place clean. Then I can gaze around and not feel guilty over the way it looks.

That would be nice.

Been walking the calendar out, assuring myself I’ve plenty of time to adhere to my schedule and write my scripts. It isn’t the easiest thing to do. I mean, planning time – that part of it is easy. Assuring myself that I’ll stick to my plan, that I can focus and write when needed and not freak the fuck out – that’s the hard part. Seems like a lot to do. I break it down into small bits. Do this part first, then work on that. For long term things like language, that means promising myself I’ll work an hour a day. For short term projects like my script, it means telling myself to take care of typos first and then worry about re-writes. But both those ideas are like promising myself I’ll stop eating cake and cookies. I can make that vow with incredible intensity – and have just same amount of intensity pulling me in the opposite direction when the moment of truth comes. End up having to use a combination of tough love and reward system: berate myself into doing it, then reward myself for completion. I’d like to love myself into doing it, but, one step at a time. Right now, results are more important than method. It’s important to me to finish my writing. To complete the trilogy, to send out Taman. To keep going, and not let anything hold me back because for once – once! – I really know I’ve got something here.

I’ve no mother to disparage me, no father to lovingly hold me back. No DNA siblings to shame and humiliate me, or make me feel lesser than. There is nothing to make me stop. Nothing but myself. And I won’t let that happen. I won’t let me sabotage myself. Do I hear me? Because what we’re doing is too good, too well crafted to allow to go to waste. You hear me?

I’m saying I have value.



Yesterday, I chose to care about myself. Just a little bit.

Hauled back two heavy bags of groceries late morning. Noticed my ankle hurt a wee bit with every step. Didn’t matter how careful I was, how I placed my foot – when I stepped, there was an edge of pain. I was all fired up to go to the gym, to push, to not care. Dare I say it? To hurt myself. But the reality of that bit of pain with each step weighed on me. I sat in my bedroom, a large bandage in my hand all ready to wrap that damned ankle up, and suddenly my bad mood telescoped out into the future. I saw myself hurting my ankle – badly. Saw the weeks, the months down. Saw the just sitting there feeling like a fucking idiot on a thousand levels. And some quiet voice in me spoke up and asked, ‘Do you really want to risk sitting around and going even deeper into this for months due to injury?’

It was hard to say no. Because I wanted to hurt myself. That’s my thing: go to the gym and push my body until it breaks. And I suddenly realized it wasn’t about health or endurance, it wasn’t even about getting some endorphins going so my mood improved. It was about punishing myself.

Hating myself.

Self-flagellation comes in all forms.

Acceptance of the moment, my reasons, my self-hate, was the key to opening my mouth. I’d not said much to my brother up to that point; still in a hissy fit. But once I stopped and accepted what was going on with me, I communicated. And I found it easy to avoid angry communication. In fact, it wasn’t even part of the equation. My anger left me as soon as I realized what I was doing. I had no need to harangue my bro over his SIM game. He enjoys it; why should I spoil that for him? And I found no reason to nag about the housework, either. It never really takes that long to tidy up. No. I admitted to my bad mood, my twisted anger, my desire to hurt myself – and all that surface shit just slid away.

So I did not go to the gym, despite my angry ‘no matter what’ declaration yesterday. And I learned something. Thought it was only exercise that would release my anger in this fashion. But it isn’t. If I can get to the core issue and admit it, I can let it go without all the sweat and effort. That’s a big IF. Everest height. And it’s not a mountain I care to scale too often. I suppose I shouldn’t say that. It should be my goal to handle my mood swings in such a manner, right? Find the cause, accept it, move on. No acting out, no mad blog writing at 5 a.m. But I am comfortable with my old methods, with the exercise push and mad writing, the slamming of doors and gut-churning anger. …How utterly sad to say that. I’m fucking used to such horrors.

…I’m fucking used to being such a horror.

Ah! I was going to say I see my sister in all this – the acting out, the hissy fits, the slamming doors. I do see it, and I do hate it. But I also realize now what’s probably at the base of my sister’s actions. Self-hate. Makes me have a drop of empathy for her this morning.

Could we just stop with the epiphanies? Just for a little while? This hyper awareness…I welcome new levels of understanding, but hey! You’ve got to give me time to digest one bit of info before shoveling a new load into my head. Feels like there’s just too much to grasp, too much to know, and as soon as I get a hold of one idea something else loosens and gets away from me…

It’s like learning Dutch. If I concentrate on the correct verb and sentence structure, I’ll get the verb tense wrong. If I think too much about the verb tense, I’ll screw up the syntax. I can’t seem to hold all that info in my brain at once. I know it’s a matter of practice. Go slow, go steady, and keep trying.

But although I suffer embarrassment over my poor language use, I do not have to go through emotional turbulence over every little word. Setting out to change the way I think…now that’s difficult. I get triggered left and right, have to stop and sort myself out, fight against the depression, reign in the mania…it’s bloody exhausting. There’s no manual out there for this, no instruction booklet to make things easy. What I would give for a big Book of Life with easy to read chapters and answers in the back!

For now, I’m choosing to care about me. It’s not a choice I’m comfortable with. Not. at. all. But I am more afraid of months down, unable to get out or do much of anything, than I am of carrying some extra weight on my body or feeling guilty from missing a day at the gym. Until I can take a step without pain, I’m choosing to be careful. Choosing to not push. Choosing to not hurt myself.

I can do this. I can learn to take care of myself.

It’s a choice.