Living in Rotterdam offers some strange sites. I once watched a guy walk down the sidewalk in his bathroom robe (a plaid affair) and slippers. In the unexpected summer heat and humidity we’re currently having, you’d probably be surprised to see so many people kitted out in full downy jackets with their hoods up. For me, it’s become the norm. All I see is immigrant. That’s not a diss, just a recognition that they’re used to temps much hotter than this. But it’s weird. White people in shorts and t’s, black people in down jackets zipped up.
It all comes down to what you’re used to.
I’ve become used to sitting around on my ass all day long. Sleeping during the afternoon, doing a bit around the house, resting. It’s high time to shake up ‘what I’m used to’.
Got out for a walk yesterday. Made it out before the heat really took hold. The area I live in is so un-city, so un-urban, if I told you all I encountered you might not believe I live in Rotterdam. Within a 10 minute walk from my front door there’s a stable with horses. Five minutes gets you to pastureland with grazing sheep and cows. I have woods to walk thru, lakes to bathe my feet in. Obviously, I don’t live downtown – and I’m glad of that. I like the energy downtown, sometimes think it would be cool to have an apartment somewhere in one of those high-rises, but I prefer it out here (even if that does make it difficult to head out on a late night adventure due to public transport shutting down). I can make it on my own two feet to a quiet place. Somewhere I can let my mind relax. And for a brief moment or two, I can pretend I’m not in a city. I like that.
But yesterday, the only thing relaxing my mind seemed to bring was disdain. I came home and popped in some horror. Been going thru them, watching, learning. What scares you? Sadly, not the films I put in yesterday. Ho, hum. Could drive a huge lorry thru their plot holes. And now that I’m really dissecting the genre, you gotta do better than that. Plus, fine that you can create scary scenes with cuts and edits, killers leaping out from spots where someone must have seen them, even tho no one in the film seems to use their bloody eyes, but what about on stage? And if you can’t create horror and fear on stage, how scary IS your story?
Things to avoid: human killers. Obvious dumb shit. Stuff no one in their right minds would do. Oh, a 10 year old hears a weird whispery voice coming from their heating grate and thinks ‘yeah, I’ll let whatever that is out’? Seriously? You want me to swallow that one? No. Get your story straight. And your bleeding mythology. It isn’t scary to just throw things in randomly and hope someone gets triggered by it. Other things to avoid: explanations. Religious overtones. Any reasoning.
Fear is fear. The power of fear is what happens to us. Explain it, give it a tangible source to fight, and fear becomes less effective.
I will never explain my monsters, other than to say they’re unexplainable. Beyond this world.
Dream a little dream. Or, a big dream. How cool would it be to get government funding to develop and open a theatre solely built for horror productions? Trap doors, wires strong enough to hang stuff on, special sets. Answer: uber cool. I’d bloody well love it. And considering any horror story – stage or screen – relies on unexpected sounds, it feels like a ready made thing for my bro to get involved in, too. He’s even got experience building haunted houses for Halloween. And he’s damned handy with tools.
…Yeah, that’s a big dream. Still… It would be cool.
That might be the only cool thought I have for today. Forecast: temps near 30C and high humidity. Possible plans: head downtown to a Vegan food and drink fest. Meh. The idea of showing my lily white legs in public is less than appealing. My arms tan. My face will even pick up some color. But my legs? It’s like their bleached. Permanently. And then there’s my problems with walking in shorts: my thighs are fat enough they rub together. Sweat and cause problems. So I try to not let that happen, and then I walk weird. Oh, I could wear pants. And if I go, I probably will. Which means my legs won’t get sun again, and they’ll remain lily white… See my problem? That’s not even mentioning my anxiety over my cellulite. Oh, I’ve seen worse, and every time I see worse I think ‘if she can show that, I can show mine’ but when it comes down to it…When it comes down to it, I’m ashamed of my flaws even if they’re not that noticeable. It’s hard to break out of hiding once you’ve put yourself in there.
Hiding has its downside. You avoid people, so you don’t have any friends. You avoid public spots, so you feel a bit trapped and in a rut. On the other hand, you began hiding for a reason: you were afraid. You got hurt, and retreated into yourself. And just like anything else, you got used to hiding. You took the bad parts of it – friendlessness and isolation – because you were at least safe. You didn’t face whatever it was that drove you there in the first place. And that part of you that adapts, that tries to go on no matter what the circumstances, that part accepted the limitations of your new life. It became your norm.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Moving out of your current comfort zone is like beginning anything else: the first step is the toughest. But once you’re out there, once you’re doing it, you adapt.
You get used to it.