Tell him

Somedays I’m in danger of allowing this blog to become a thing in my mind. Almost didn’t post because I said to myself ‘well, you didn’t do much; maybe you should take a break ’til you give your readers something to read’.

*ahem* This is for you and no one else. You do not advertise, you do not give out this address, you do not link, you do not push, you don’t do any of those things. This is for you. If people happen to read it, that’s their business. Stop worrying about how other people feel and take care of yourself. That’s why you started this. That’s why you’re out here almost every day. Not for them. For you. Only you.


So…was irritated yesterday beyond belief for a few hours after my bro came home. I’d spent five hours mega-cleaning the house and exhausted myself. I was so tired I didn’t have the energy to take the now full garbage bag downstairs to the trash. Instead, I took a hot shower and washed the day’s work and dust off me. My brother noticed the bag in the hall when he came home and said he’d take it down “since you’re so tired from whatever it is you did”. Whatever it is you did?!? Wait. I had to clean the hoover bag out twice from all the dust I picked up. There used to be a stack of DVDs by the tv over 30cm high that is now gone and all the DVDs are put away. There used to be scraps of paper, things left everywhere – it’s all tidied up now. And he says ‘whatever it is you did’ to me?

Goddess!! Sometimes my brother can be such a man. Such a guy. Such a dude. Such a how do you even manage to stay upright on two feet type of person. I swear he needs glasses ’cause he just doesn’t seem to ever see the layer of dust or crap around the place!

I let it irritate me for most of the evening. Just…wasn’t quite there in spirit, you know? My bro laughed at the tv programs; I sat there largely unsmiling. Realized it was a perfect little example of what goes on with me: something is said or done that hurts or irritates me, I say nothing, I end up not enjoying my time because I can’t stop thinking about why I’m hurt or irritated. So I took a look at that.

My first reaction was: say nothing. Let’s see how long it takes him to say something about the DVDs. My brain wagered me that it would be at least two weeks; my spirit upped the anti by claiming it would take him at least a month. While my brain and my spirit argued, I paid attention. I had two sides of me squabbling, raising my blood pressure and anger with everything they said, and I simply stepped in and quietly asked, ‘What is it you want?’

That stopped everything. The rolling comments that were winding me up, the anger, the back and forth arguing that got me nowhere.

I admitted to myself I wanted acknowledgement for my hard work. I’d done a great job and wanted someone to notice. Since my bro’s the only person who’s here to notice, the job falls to him – whether or not that’s fair. So that same calm and quiet voice in me then asked ‘And if you let it go and wait for him to notice, are you going to get what you want?’ Those arguing voices of brain and spirit sounded like reticent schoolchildren: ‘No-o-o-o….’

The answer became clear. I had to point it out to him. I feel like I shouldn’t need to do that. I feel like anyone who’d see the before and after would have enough perception to notice a lot of hard work had been put in on cleaning. But I also had to acknowledge that, love my brother as I may, he’s a product of poor upbringing as well as I. Some of his communication habits are very destructive. I can’t expect him to be perfect all the time. But he has this bad habit of throwing blame. Some of it is simply the words he chooses to use; quite often if I have him break it down, his meaning isn’t as mean as I’m taking it to be. Still…knowing I am someone who takes too much blame onto herself, this verbal habit of never acknowledging one’s own responsibility in a situation is trying. I feel blamed, whether or not he means to do it. And I’ve got to fight against that feeling every damned minute. I’ve yet to teach him better communication skills. …Well, I say that, but truth is I probably have. We communicate better now than we did thirty years ago. Still! There’s plenty of work to be done.

So I pointed. I spoke up. Oh! he said. Where’d the DVDs go? I pointed out that I’d inserted them into our collection in the appropriate sections: action, comedy, horror, kids. Then: And what about the DVDs you took out to make room for the new ones? Am I gonna have to look for something I want to watch now? No, I told him. I only removed the DVDs we’d both watched and both agreed were sub-par films and maybe we should give them to a charity shop. Once his concerns were addressed, I received the acknowledgement I wanted and went to bed feeling better. But his reaction to this bears scrutiny; his first thought was to ‘what did you do wrong’ rather than ‘good on you’. This is…typical. Sadly. I’ve learned to hear beyond his words because we’ve had innumerable arguments over poor communication in the past. I know, tho, that part of me cringes every time it happens. I’d do better with a different approach from him.


Good on you, girl! Double good on you! You worked hard and asked for what you wanted. You weren’t even bitchy about it.

Now, go and do something nice for yourself today. This is me, your superior, giving you an order. Do it. Find that CD you want. See if you can buy it.

And don’t ask your brother if you can do this. Tell him.


Be open to it

I can’t figure people out. Not until time has passed and I’ve been able to review over and over what went down. I dislike that aspect of me; it makes me feel inordinately dumb. Why can’t I understand what’s happening while it’s happening? But, no. My comebacks come to me too late and I am left replaying the incident ad infinitum, wishing I’d said or done things differently.

Woke up thinking of my play. My head was obviously reviewing Sunday’s get together with the group. All those disparate parts came together – the two players who said they weren’t going to act this season, the cool reception I received on my work, the lack of enthusiasm or even the follow through on the commitment of coming to the read through, and the situation I walked in on two years ago with the poor group of actors and the director who walked out… I realized the group may allow me to use their name and their director, but the group may very well have nothing to do with this. I think I’m smacking my face against some good, old snobbery. I think most of the group will not participate or even audition for my play; they will feel it beneath their dignity. They will not take the chance on a newbie playwright unless said playwright has some medals or awards behind their name. They’ll smile, say ‘sure, we can do that’, but in the end they’ll all have excuses about why they can’t be in the play, how busy they are, etc., and it will fall to walk-in actors like I had at the read through.

Maybe I’m all off on this but…my spidey sense is tingling. It’s been going off since Sunday, despite the pleasantries. Just a few too many silences, too much eye contact avoidance, too little enthusiasm. Can’t help but wonder if this is what happened when I first joined the group. They had a second director, one who also wrote scripts. The first production I worked on was one such written by him (a dismal play, poorly written, horrible in almost every way). It didn’t escape my notice then that the ‘core group’ largely didn’t participate in the acting. I was never give any reason for that, but could it have been they were unwilling to do something that wasn’t sent via a publisher? I can’t totally rule out the idea that they all thought the script was crap and didn’t want to be in it, tho why they’d approve the script if they thought it was crap is beyond me. *sigh* Considering some of the other stuff I’ve seen and heard from them, I wouldn’t be surprised if plain old snobbery were at work.

That director/writer left the group and is now in Den Haag working with a different set of people.

I find this whole idea doubling upsetting because I wrote the trilogy and tailored it for them. Wrote characters thinking of particular actors in mind. Wrote the story, the settings, the needs with the venues I’d seen, the abilities I’d witnessed, the resources I knew the group had at hand. To have it dissed out of hand, when most haven’t even taken the time to read my words… The prospect is disheartening.

But it isn’t something that’s going to stop me.

I’ve worked with less and done more. To hell with their procedures, to hell with what “they normally do” – I’ve seen their average audience size, and what they normally do doesn’t cut it. I will work my magic for my production. If the results are such that everyone wants me to do it for them and their upcoming plays…well, then I’ll have real bargaining power, won’t I?

Began honing ideas. Roughed out a flyer for advertising. Outlined an ad video I want to make and put online to hype the performances. I’ve already scoured the internet for must invite names: artistic directors of bigger theatres that do English productions, reviewers, journalists. I will look at radio, public television, and internet vloggers and podcasts. I know how to market on a shoestring. I know about product placement, tag lines, what’s kitschy and what’s catchy.

The goal is to give my work as much chance of success as I can without killing myself.

That means taking control of some of these loosely performed aspects of the group. They’re all teachers at the school of business, but none really know about marketing. That much is obvious when they can’t fill an 80 seat theatre. Every production, they have flyers and posters printed. Where they put up the posters in this city, I don’t know. Never saw one up. Never found a place to put one, either – there are restrictions almost everywhere. Flyers are easily overlooked and most just end up in the trash bin. I’m not opposed to flyers, but…cut the size down, and rather than putting stacks of them at drop points, take a few afternoons and head down to the neighborhoods surrounding the theatre and put them in people’s mail slots. Chances are much higher they’ll at least be glanced at. Maybe you’ll only snag 1 out of 100 that way, but that’s one more than we’ve got now.

…This means, of course, that I’ve largely mapped out this year’s activity. I’m booked; don’t ask me to do more (and let’s stick to that!).

Well…good. Lateral thinking helps me. I like the full aspect of projects like this: take it start to finish (with help). Help is the area I’ve largely been lacking in past projects. One look at my vids would tell you that: written by me, directed by me, starring me, edited by me… I got so tired of it I filled in all those jobs with my pseudonyms just to make it look like I wasn’t an ego-centric mad old woman.

And…you know what they say about help; it comes from unexpected quarters.

Remember to be open to it.


Out of jail. That’s how my head feels: I’m out of jail. Finally.

This delightful feeling of lightness comes from another notch in my understanding of Dutch. They said reading would help. I didn’t believe them as I slogged through text after text, never enjoying it, always feeling like it was homework because there were just too many words I didn’t know. Yesterday I reaped the benefits of my hard work. Every word from my instructors was crystal clear. I heard the ‘-ie-‘ used for ‘hij’ after a verb that ended in T. I heard ‘raad’ (guess) and knew what the meaning was. I heard ‘ingewikkeld’ (complicated) and caught on right away. I heard ‘om’ and ‘toe’ and ‘maar’ and ‘al’ – those pesky words that flash by in a blink with native speakers. I was so excited I just sat there vibrating with joy and excitement. I didn’t just follow the gist of the conversation, I got every word.

My teachers took my suggestions to heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We spent the day going over prepositions. Not just over or under, which are the baby prepositions you learn with A,B,C, but those larger prepositions that can get split in a sentence. I was not the only one excited by the lesson; everyone seemed to respond that way. We were more jovial, more verbal, there were more questions, more examples, and when we broke for coffee midway we ended up sitting around a table together and continuing to discuss prepositions, our lives, and the language. We were all so into it, as a matter of fact, that everyone – students and teachers alike – stayed an extra 15 minutes to finish up some reading.

I didn’t want the lesson to end. I didn’t want to take a break. I just wanted to keep hearing the language so clearly. Keep reading, keep learning. I don’t ever remember feeling so fired up, tho I imagine I once felt this way about English.

*sigh* Real satisfied joy. Boy, that’s a great feeling!

Today’s my appointment with Dr D, my GP, about the pain killers. Almost forgot about it with everything else. It’s small potatoes now, and I wonder why I ever thought it was a big deal. Go in, have my say, head out. No big whoop.

Yesterday was the first day I truly felt back to full health. No hunger pains or problems from almost starving myself. No headaches or jaw aches, no toilet problems or sleep problems. I had energy, I was alert, and I felt good physically and mentally. Happy I’ll be able to say all that to my doc. Worry was becoming a constant companion to me. Who’d a thunk my biggest problem was food? Not me, certainly. I have an almost non-stop litany of ‘you’re so fat’ going in my head. So I skip meals, cut back on what I eat, and never feel like I’m really doing enough. But I’m not 15, or 25. My body can’t do this any more, as evidenced by the migraines and other accompanying pain I experienced. And I shouldn’t feel like I need to ask it to do this.

It’s time to tackle my body issues. Among other things.

…Well, at least I’ll be doing it on a full stomach, for Pete’s sake…

Sent out some emails expecting them to be answered quickly. Naturally, they aren’t. One was to the director asking about meeting this week to go over the script. Hope my messages didn’t fall into a black hole. Again. There are black holes in cyber-space, and there are servers and areas where emails typically go missing. I’ve had it happen to me before. Best to give it a few days. Every time I follow up fast, thinking my message has gone missing, all I end up doing is annoying the other person because yes, they actually did get my first message and they’re just not as fast on response as I want them to be.


Thinking I might head to the gym after my doc’s visit. I feel good enough to go and get a walk in. Yippee! That’s real progress. Trying to not dwell on how long I’ve been off my routine, or how long it will take me to get back to where I was physically. The goal is simply to get some movement. I still want to break 5km in 30 minutes, but I’m not ready to even get back on the cross trainer quite yet. I’ve been real good on taking care of myself, being gentle with myself. Getting on the cross trainer at this venture…oh, that’s asking me to push too hard and hurt myself. Nope. Won’t even give myself the opportunity.

I’ve very aware how close I am to tipping into full blown mania again. I’m too excited and excitable, too easily wound up, too easily thrown off from my normal sleeping and eating patterns. Nine days before my first psychiatrist appointment, and I hardly expect to be given a prescription after my first visit, so the number one rule is (as it’s been for quite some time now): take care of myself. Don’t judge what that looks like, just do what it takes. I cannot afford another three months down because of TMJ. I do not want more pain. I do not want to take more pain pills. And I have firm commitments coming up, goals to achieve. I need to be in good health to do all these things.

Prisons come in all shapes and sizes. My prison… I was going to say it was ‘all in my head’, which technically it is, but I don’t want to feel discounted by my own words. My prison was is was (which is the correct verb?) very real. A prison of anxiety and fear, self doubt and self hate. I walled myself off years ago to protect myself, never fully realizing how much I would cut myself off in the process.

Those walls are coming down. The language barrier is coming down.

And I’m free.


And so are you

Yesterday’s get together with the theatre group went well. I felt unsure of myself, a little stiff at first seeing everyone again after months of being apart. But I was welcomed in typical Dutch fashion: kiss, kiss, kiss, first to the left then the right then back to the left and given big hugs. How little these people understand that these simple social graces make all the difference in the world to me. I worked to put my best foot forward: ask, listen, smile, participate, be there. Don’t go too deep into anything, don’t talk at length about my pain or problems, don’t crow about the film group or the premiere. I had a long list of what to do and what not to do as I walked in. I kept to it, and had a pleasant exchange. From time to time I wondered if others had a list like mine, those subjects you don’t bring up in casual company, those things you don’t talk about in order to make sure no one feels bad. Doubtful. I heard a bit of crowing. Well, more than a bit. But I recognized the corner it came from, and didn’t rise to the bait. I felt comfortable with my accomplishments over the break: the film, my writing. When asked about the film, I made two or three glowing comments about the crew and a self-depreciating joke about my body issues and seeing myself on ‘the big screen’. Got a laugh, and left it at that.

Left the question about my script ’til the very end, when things were winding down. The answer I received…well. The board member I directed my question to lifted his eyebrow and looked pointedly at the director. The director said ‘I’d like to do it’ and that was apparently that. The director said we need to meet and discuss the script and how we might be able to get it on stage. Hoping we can do that this week right here in my home so my bro can also sit in on it for the sound production.

But…honestly, it was the least enthusiastic affirmative I think I’ve ever received. I know the director likes it; he’s told me he thinks it’s very akin to Lovecraft (a writer he admires and enjoys), so I’ve no qualms there. The rest of the group, though…especially the board member, who was at the reading…totally flat. No interested smile, no sitting up a bit straighter as we talked because the idea just energized them that much, nothing. They were closer to a bunch of Sunday stoners to whom I’d just suggested we leave the house to get some munchies. ‘Yeah…that might be cool…’ as they sat there unmoving, eyes glued to the tv. Gee. I saw more interest in that crap play we just watched, and it WAS a crap play.

So, it seems I’ve got the go-ahead. But I don’t feel secure. I don’t feel it’s cause for celebration. Getting my first real script produced should be cause for celebration, right? No matter how rinky dink the group doing it. It’s acknowledgement, something I’ve craved for forever. But…I don’t even feel sure enough about this to actually claim my script will be done. I feel like at any moment I might hear ‘we can’t do it’ and that will be the end of it.

Maybe, just maybe, I owe the group a thanks for NOT being all excited. It was difficult enough for me to settle after I got home; just being in the presence of other people winds me up with excitement. If they’d been clamoring over my script, hyped on the idea of doing it…I might not have been able to sleep at all last night. Okay. Thanks, group, for your luke-warm response. I didn’t spaz out into a full blown manic episode (tho I did wake up with a headache). Still. I find it difficult to deal with, like the group collectively said ‘Go on, be excited about this if you want to but understand it’s you being excited about it, not us’. Didn’t help that on the heel of my question, one of the actors announced he wouldn’t be participating on stage this year, too busy, too whatever, but he’d put together the flyer for it. That makes two of our core group who won’t be on stage this autumn. And I need 9 actors for the script as it stands. Color me a little worried. I’ve seen the type of ‘actor’ that typically comes cold to one of our meetings or auditions. It’s not good.

Shuffling through a lot of thoughts. First, just get it produced. You’ve said it can be done by a group of not so great talent because the story is that good. Stand by that. Second, actor quality is a concern of the director, not you, so let that go. He’s made poorer plays with bad actors come off okay, so trust him. Third, this is not your only option. This story is too big to contain, and you know it. The podcast will go through, no matter what happens on stage. And you can always present it to your film group and work on it from that side.

Listen here, missy: you might be doing incarnations of this script for years to come. And you’re well aware of that. How many crappy LLR attempts were done before the big release? Loads. How many shitty Spider Man films got canned because they were just too cheesy? Even more. You know this. Let. it. go.

Let it live on its own. It’s good enough. Strong enough. And so are you.


The animal

How I wish there was anyone – anyone! – else sitting in the WH right now. I’m so sick and tired of seeing his face every damned morning. Can’t get away from that sexual predator and narcissistic liar. And every time I see him I think ‘Yep. That’s who my family voted for. That’s who they support. And that’s exactly what each and every one of them are like.’

Bullying? Yep. Shouting out how anyone who tells the truth is a liar? Check. Sheer ignorance? Yeah, they got that in spades, too. Controlling, manipulative, power hungry? Yes, yes, yes. Cut out 45’s face and plaster the face of anyone from my mother’s DNA family and you’ve got what I grew up with.

It’s a constant trigger.

I’ve grown to believe in the idea that all children, ultimately, want to kill their parents. I think that’s our animal nature: the drive to usurp the old alpha dog and take charge of the pack. And we’ve developed all sorts of coping mechanisms to deal with it, but from time to time it, as well as most of our animal centered natures, comes to the fore. Aggression. Violence. Rape. War. These are some of the ugliest ways humans try to assert control. Older generations have attempted to solidify their power base by sending the younger generations off to be killed in battle. That happens time after time historically. Time after time historically there are lines drawn between ‘them’ and ‘us’, and those labels are usually meted out by those old cronies in power. In effect, our ‘parents’ give us something to fight – something other than our parents themselves. That’s how they retain power. That’s how they manipulate. That’s how they control.

Calling them ‘leaders’ is a misnomer. We should actually call them ‘controllers’ or ‘manipulators’. They do not lead; they enrage us into action. They bully us into action.

It is sickening.

…*sigh* Told my bro about my name issue, and how I’m calling myself by my childhood diminutive. He asked me if he should call me by that name, too. Bless him! I said no, and for now that’s the correct choice: I don’t need yet another trigger locking me into my 13 year old self. I am continuously reminded of that, continuously triggered. Wish I would have just taken care of my issues back then. But older me acknowledges this is tricky stuff, and it scares me. I’ve got more coping skills than my younger self, so I’m cutting her some slack. Telling her she did the best she could, and no one could ask anything else of anyone in this position.

My bro was pleased to come home yesterday and find I hadn’t sat around inside all day. He’s especially pleased I went downstairs to yet again buy a little noon-time food for myself. He’s encouraged that for years decades, and it’s always been difficult for me to do it. Just going somewhere or stopping somewhere to pick up something to eat, maybe a drink: I don’t feel worth it. It’s a waste of money. The only time it isn’t a waste of money is when I’m on the edge of passing out from too few calories or dehydration. So me doing this for two days in a row is a big deal.

Managed to tackle the worst of the housework, too. Dishes, hoovering up dust bunnies, garbage and recycling. Even (as promised) made my bed. Finished my homework, read three chapters in my book. I’m happy about all of that.

Received an email yesterday from the theatre group. It basically said ‘hey, you’re the one with the videos…maybe you should contact L and make sure she has the ability to use your format.’ …O-o-o-oh? All news to me. This is a get-together to see the vids my bro put together. Not the long-promised cut together vids that were going to be made from the ten people somehow allowed to film the play even tho filming wasn’t allowed. Lucky for me, my bro was close at hand. I read him out the message, and his reaction was very like mine: first a disbelieving and ironic laugh, then a ‘Oh! Didn’t know they wanted to see those videos!’ I took care of it, but it brings to mind another thing I want. This type of situation happens to me when working in a group. Other people drop the ball, then I feel put on the spot and under pressure to perform and perform quickly in order to have things proceed smoothly. Let’s be clear: I wasn’t even aware the date to watch the videos was approaching until I received a reminder message about it. I didn’t know a date had been chosen. I didn’t know I’d have to supply the videos. I didn’t know I’d have to think or deal with the format of said vids. This information was dumped on me less than 36 hours from the supposed viewing. While I’m capable of dealing with this on a timely basis, I feel ill used and put out. Angry to be asked or expected to deal with this mess on such short notice, and unable to communicate those feelings to the group without alienating them.

I know I need to communicate something along the line of ‘Next time I’d appreciate having more time to prepare. I feel uncomfortable if I think there’s a time limit or too much pressure.’ Simple, and without that whine in my voice that says ‘you used me and I’m pouty and unhappy now, boo-hoo’. Do not feel up to it yet.

I’m also aware that on some level this could be a bit of group hazing. The ‘test the new member’ stuff that so often occurs in group situations. Not saying they’re conscious of that, just that it might be going on on a subconscious level.

It’s that animalistic behavior that drives these repetitive cycles of humanity.

That part of us we can’t escape.

The snarling beast. The wounded anger. The very desire to destroy, and taste blood.

The animal.

[Note to self: well written. In re-reading this, I experienced a click of recognition from the theatre group’s perspective. I won’t jump on them; this is a case of miscommunication. My bad as well as theirs. I made assumptions, and I see now where and why they made their assumptions. …And wow, that puts my pouty feelings to rest. Goodnight, animal.]


Just for me

It’s done. I guess when you go into dental surgery, you want a dentist who’s good and, preferably, fast. I got both. In and out in under 10 minutes. Barely any swelling. Sore, but that’s to be expected.

Can’t help but chide myself a bit. Well, there you go. You wound yourself up about this for two damned weeks and it only took 10 minutes. Once more I’m vowing to myself to do better, to  stay calmer, to not panic the next time something comes up.

Yeah. Right.

Spending the weekend inside. While I woke this morning to snow outside my window, it’s nothing in comparison to what hit Ireland. I’ve been checking on Irish news sources, horrified over what I know is currently going down in that country. To say the Irish aren’t prepped for a lot of snow might be the understatement of the decade. What makes me saddest is the knowledge that the most vulnerable members of society are often the most isolated, which means out on the end of those snowy peninsulas where no one can get to right now there are elderly people without food, without heat, and in need of medical attention. People will die. And no one will give a damn.

I feel lucky to be here. To NOT be one of those people who are dying.

Only thirty pages left to read in my book. Plan on sitting down this afternoon and snuggling up with it. Ms. Polly Perfect in me is very happy and excited; she knows on Monday she’ll be able to turn that book in and clearly state she’s reading another. Gimme a gold star, teacher. I did good. Not that doing good is difficult in this situation. Ms. Perfect likes to read, so it’s no great stretch to find she’s gobbled up yet another book and wants more. Ms. Perfect is also happy with her pronunciation. She doesn’t like the fact she doesn’t know ALL the words, but she’s very happy that every time she opens her mouth native Dutch speakers compliment her on her language. Slow and steady. We’re getting there, Polly. Just be patient with me.

Have a bit of something on my desktop. Can’t really call it a story, tho I suppose that’s what it is. For me, it’s too real to call ‘a story’. It is my memories, my tale, told from my eyes and my perspective. I’m…doing my best to stay away from ’emotional’ language. There’s a bit of a disconnect going on with me; just state what happened. Don’t color it. Don’t say how much the pain hurt; pain is pain is pain. Everyone knows it hurts. Matter of fact statements can slap readers far harder than trying to color everything in. The pain went on. No one interfered, no one questioned it. Later, the child was given a spoonful of sugar that hid something bitter. That’s all you need. If you don’t read that and understand something is wrong in the child’s life then it’s you who has the problem. …Don’t know who I’m writing this for. The psychiatrist? Somewhere I think I can submit it? Who the fuck knows. I’m just writing it. That’s okay. I’m allowed to do that.

Here it is March and still nadda from the theater group regarding my script. I don’t think they’ll have time to do it. Maybe they won’t even have time to do another production this year; lots of foot dragging going on. No call for auditions. No discussion on how or what to do this autumn. And with April’s performance of last season’s play in Amsterdam, I just don’t see it happening. Plus…I really don’t want them to throw my idea together last minute. Give me – and my work – a bit more respect than that. No, you guys can’t do it if you can’t give yourselves enough time to learn the parts. No, I can’t give you audio clips if you don’t give me the time to create them. At the rate the group is currently crawling along, they won’t even hold auditions before May. Then it’ll be a couple of rehearsals before they take their summer holiday. In effect, they wouldn’t be able to really begin work on another play before September. I don’t want my first production to be so haphazard and sloppily put together. I spent a year crafting the story. Let’s give it a bit more effort than that. Both I and my work deserve it. And I hope, if the situation arises, that I’ll be able to state that clearly to the group. I deserve more than the dregs of your time. I’d prefer we put my script on hold ’til next year if that’s the way this year shakes out. Plus, I’ll need more than a month or two to do the sound effects. And I’m not gonna put myself or my bro under pressure to do everything in a short time because the group can’t pull it together in a timely manner. I’ll need to tell them that, because right now I think they think I could do the sound effects in a matter of weeks. Not that I blame them; if you don’t work with sound, you don’t get it. But I’ve had that before. What do you mean, you can’t put this all together in such a short time period? I could. I could just turn on my computer and do it. No, you couldn’t. You can’t do it, and that’s the point. If you think you can get this layered sound I want in just a day or two, you don’t know what you’re talking about. And you don’t know sound production.

Yeah. Speak up, Beeps. They gotta know that one ahead of time: I need time to pull that rabbit out of the hat. It ain’t magic; it’s hard work.

And let’s be clear: it’s hard work I’m willing to do for me. Not for you. Not for the theatre group.

Just for me.


The door now stands open

But…if I search it, will they come after me?

Oh, brava, Beeps! You wrote that well. The above is quickly becoming the number one question everyone asks after they read part one of my trilogy. Especially when I tell them I based the story on a real web site. lol! The idea that a cyber boogieman will come and get you is all my imagination, but I did it well enough in 30 pages that everyone’s asking this of me. I couldn’t be happier about it.

Saw S. I was right; we talked for hours. And yes, my secret came out and in typical S fashion, she followed up with a secret just as big on her side. We are two peas in a pod in many ways. Family issues, physical issues, self care and confidence issues… The one thing lacking is full comprehension on S’s side regarding the American lifestyle. She kept asking ‘But why would someone do that if they said they wanted children?’ It was difficult to explain the pervasiveness of that cold culture to her. Difficult to get across how individualistic and cut throat it really is, even amongst family. There’s a book for me to tackle some day: explaining American behavior to the Dutch. Or, as I’ve begun to call it in my head, ‘the American sickness’.

It’s such a blessing to be on this side of it. And as I look for the words to explain what happened to my Dutch friends and acquaintances, I’m finding my own answers.

S thinks I need to talk this out. Mostly because that’s what she’s done and it worked for her. I think not, but I heard her out. She feels I need to speak my truth a bit more, and a therapist is there for that. I tried explaining to her that I can rarely even sort out my own feelings before I write, so talking isn’t a great option for me. But…well, I didn’t write it out first, so naturally I couldn’t explain it.

Talk is cheap. I’ve had enough lip service and empty promises from other people. And enough lying to my face. Part of my conversation yesterday with S included a rehash of R, the actor who’s part was cut from the film. Ah. I was not alone in receiving a private message from him. Everyone got a few. In each, R hid a nugget of hate – a diss on someone else in the group. Apparently I can’t act at all, S is a bitch, the director is awful, the script was terrible, no one did a good job, etc. etc. S was really pissed off, and I can understand. They worked hard on that project. I checked on FB before coming out here. Most of the crew have unfriended R. Only myself, the director, and my other co-star remain on R’s friend list. Thought about un-friending him in a show of solidarity but I probably will just leave it. It didn’t escape my notice that this “actor” had only 26 friends and more professionally staged pix than anyone else I know. He’s trying real hard to be someone, and frankly, I pity him. Shouting all the time, demanding undue praise and attention, totally unaware of just how awful his performances are… He’s pitiable. Plus, he’s shown his true colors and my general rule of thumb is know your enemies. Better to keep an eye on him.

Flew off into orbit last night. Couldn’t help it; my long talk with S riled me up in many ways. I found it exciting to have a friendly exchange with someone who’s company I enjoy. I spoke my truth, and was heard. And I can’t help but have hope that yes, my film posse will get together to do my script. S is already hooked on the story, and I know the core group wants to work together again. Last night I saw a path possibility. One that’s a gamble, one that carries risks. But it’s also one I want to explore. For the first time in my life, I’m assessing this realistically. I’m looking at the long haul. My head didn’t shoot out to interviews post film, congratulating all of us and stroking my ego. I saw the work. The year or more of traveling to Den Haag every day to work on the story and script, be there for auditions, set up, lighting, talk, fun. The knowledge that ahead of me lies compromise and team work, allowing each person leeway enough to do their job.

Feels like I can do this. Like I can make the film happen. I’m very, very close. I already have a good support team, and people who will welcome my ideas (and honestly, the film feels closer to reality this morning than the production of the play). All I need to do now is wait for the right moment. Let the last semester hub-bub die down for them. Let S finish reading the script (she was on page 20). I know her; part of me feels I need to put her on my payroll as my private cheerleader. Once she’s set on something, she follows through.

My word du jour is flexibility. That’s the biggest sell my script has. I know the core story. I know what can be changed, modified, swapped around. I know what can be cut and what can be added. I can change gender, location, timing, language… You name it; the script can take it and survive and STILL be good.

Target: end of April. As students, they’ll be wrapping things up and prepping for their internships. NL has a week off for King’s Day. That’s my window. Send the script out as is to the director with full explanation. Get him the story before summer, so he can find a chance to read it. Their required internships last 6 months. Time enough to prep what we’d need to prep…

The door now stands open.


I like that picture

One hour ago, I triggered my brother into calling me “wrong”. It was not my intention to hit his hot button. And…quite often I forget I’m not the only person in the world (or this house) who struggles with life. So I acknowledge my…not so great attempt at communication this morning, or saying the wrong word, or whatever set him off. My bad.

I do not accept his judgement.

Have not and will probably not say this to him. Why risk more fighting? He’s triggered, I don’t know by what, and if I continue it’ll just get worse. I realize what came out of his mouth was programming, and if I pointed it out to him he’d realize that, too. It would be great to modify our communication to rid ourselves of this crap. Right now, I just want to acknowledge it and not buy into it.

Faulty programming. Ignore.

Aren’t I doing well this morning? Not triggered myself, aware enough to put some distance between me and what I would typically consider a trigger situation. Good on me! Stayed calm, backed down, not holding onto anger that’ll manifest itself in some twisted passive-aggressive shit.

What is best for me? That’s foremost in my mind today. Getting upset was not on that list, therefore, I avoided it.

Spent yesterday in zen mode, making cookies. Lembas is a long process and a hand-intensive recipe. I considered my options and felt my stomach needed the acid soaking properties of my cookies more than my ass needed to walk, so I made cookies. It was a good choice.

Headed downtown in a few hours to meet S. Looking forward to seeing her. She texted me last night, asking me to bring a bottle of my cordial for her dad. That makes me smile. One of my herbal products that’s found a fan. S also mentioned she’d like to discuss her script. Again, this deference to my skill and experience makes me smile. It’s good to be acknowledged, no matter by whom. And…it feels good to pass along a bit of my knowledge, to hopefully help someone else avoid the pitfalls I encountered. Go, girl! I find myself willing in many ways to pass the baton onto the younger generation. Go. Do what I couldn’t do. I am so proud of you for all you’ve already done, all you’ve already accomplished. Just…remember me from time to time. That’s all I ask.

S brings out the mother in me. Or the big sister. Someone caring and kind. Someone who wants to put this young woman above herself.

It’s someone I like.

…Calm exchange with my bro. Neither of us wants to fight. That’s good. Feels like a little plaster on that owie from this morning.

I am reflective and absorbing. Reflective on reality, my perceptions, my feelings. Absorbing on the language. The two go in hand in hand for me, and I credit learning Dutch as the unconscious key that unlocked my brain. Words carry meaning to each of us. Some words become attached to traumatic experiences and become triggers, setting us of on illogical courses of action without understanding why we’re doing it. Dutch has no triggers for me. It’s all just sound and syllables that I am now, as an adult, attaching meaning to. So the phrase ‘ik hou je van’, which is the Dutch equivalent of ‘I love you’, doesn’t set me off on those old patterns. ‘Ik hou je van’ means to me that someone’s got your back, someone will always be by your side, in your corner. It doesn’t mean you won’t disagree or go through hard times. Just the opposite: to me, it means you acknowledge the hard times and still choose to be there.

That’s the adult me, with all my foibles and English triggers, putting meaning onto the phrase. But I can say it without the strings I always felt were attached to ‘I love you’. ‘I love you’ means one of two things to me: I control you or I want to fuck you. I don’t like either of those definitions, but those were the ones taught to me. Not the verbal teachings; I know what ‘I love you’ is supposed to mean. But in my house, verbal and non-verbal lessons were always at odds with each other.

…Which means, if I let myself think it through, that I can tell myself ‘ik hou je van’. I can’t love myself. I’ve tried, over and over and over. But I can have my own back. I can always be on my side. I know my brain can play tricks on me, focus on the negative, say those terrible things to me repeatedly. But it’s MY brain, and in the end, I am not a slave even to myself.

Oh, that’s a good one. Say it again: I am not a slave, even to myself.

…Just felt a moment of…I don’t know what. Juxtaposition of my world, I guess. Everything kind of went boom in my head.

A moment of total control. Me. I’m the one who decides. I’m the one who acts. I’m in control. Not my mother, not my family or my siblings, not “them”, not even my head. Wish the feeling would have stuck around longer. But it’s a start. I’ve felt it. I can build from there.

Take that out into the world today. You don’t have to act on it. You don’t have to try and force the feeling to return. Just remember you felt it. Remember how it felt. And consider living with that feeling. Think how it might feel to head downtown on the metro, knowing 100% you’re the one in control. No fighting tears behind your sunglasses. No angry imaginings forcing you to ‘try’ to calm yourself down. Think about what that might look like.

…Yeah. I like that picture.


One giant leap

Up late. I believe we have new neighbors. Neighbors who believe in allowing young children the run of the house all hours of the day and night. Hearing these kids run around and yell, play loud music and generally make a nuisance of themselves, well past 11 at night. I have to stay up later now, because going to bed earlier won’t result in sleep. It’s too noisy. I have to wait out the kids, and hope they settle down by midnight.

Heard from S yesterday. First a text, then a call. We’re meeting tomorrow in downtown Rotterdam for coffee and a long chat. I was correct in letting go my anxiety over S. Last we spoke, her grandmother had just died. Yesterday I learned that her grandfather died a few weeks later. She’s been in mourning, and had interviews and stress. It wasn’t me. Her life just got very busy. Looking forward to seeing her in person. We’ll probably talk and talk and talk and still not get to everything we want to talk about. That’s okay. It’s what friends do.

No plans to reveal my big secret to S at this time. Not unless our conversation naturally swings that way. I don’t need her to know; I don’t need anyone to know. I was the one who needed to know, who needed to accept it. Telling other people is just an explanation now. Why can’t you like yourself? My mother abused me. Why can’t you take a compliment? My mother abused me. It has become my first line of defense, the first thing I want to whip out when some aspect of my behavior or demeanor is cause for comment. Once again, it’s not a full explanation. A full explanation would be: I know I’m screwed up because my mother abused me when I was young. Can’t quite put that sentence together in my mouth. That’s okay. I’m still assessing how ‘screwed up’ I am, and until I form some conclusion that’s comfortable for me and fits, I won’t say anything to that effect. Res ipsa loquitur; the thing speaks for itself. You see it, I know it…it’s no secret.

It was always just one of those things that was totally evident and never discussed. That’s a very American attitude: ignore it, don’t talk about it, just gloss it all over and when someone finally pops you can all claim innocence and ignorance. Oh, we had no idea she was so depressed! No, he always seemed like the most normal guy! Bullshit. You all saw the signs; it’s just that American secretive attitude that keeps everything shoved under the rug. You don’t want to talk about it, because if you did you’d need to admit how pervasive it is, how cold the American life, how empty the American ‘dream’.

Squeeze a rat colony and watch how quickly they become cannibals. I watched this pervasive attitude that the world is dying and we’re running out of room, food, clean air, water, and energy increase throughout my lifetime. And it’s true; keep polluting the world and everything will run out. But that underlying information has fed fear into humanity’s subconscious, and helped give rise to this ‘all for me, I’m the greatest and deserve everything’ attitude. If we’re all going down and doomed anyway, grab everything you can because it doesn’t matter anyway. We are the rats, turning on each other.

…Yeah. Lots to unload today.

Hope to get a few things done. Go to the gym for a long walk. Start to mix some cookie dough because we’re almost out of lembas again. Water the plants. Take a shower. Read.

Still have not replied to my uncle’s last message. Purposefully keeping a spam email in my box so when I open my email my uncle’s message isn’t the first thing I see because it’s the last message. Do not want that visual nag every day.

Reminding myself to take things one at a time. First, the dental surgery and time to recover. Then, call to have my shoes finally taken care of so I’m comfortable when I walk. After that, see the psychiatrist. Then I’ll be concentrating on the Amsterdam performance of the play. When all that’s over, I can start on other things – seeing my doc about my poor digestion or going back to the dentist because the tooth that had the root canal still isn’t right. It’s too tall a stack of NEEDS to tackle at once, and I know that, but my head tends to pile everything up in one place and label it THINGS YOU MUST DO – which then just makes me feel anxious because it’s all so much.

…And I’m shrinking those pix in my head. Taking the screen down small, turning down the volume, reminding myself it’s not that big a deal. It’s my anxiety that blows things out of proportion, my focusing on one aspect and one aspect only that makes it seem so damed difficult.

One positive thing to report: I can breathe easier. This is a bit of an oxymoron, because it’s repeating ‘my mother abused me’ that helps me breathe – the very sentence that I first fought so hard against and had such anxiety over. But it fits. My whole body clicks into a more comfortable, relaxed position when I say it to myself. While I am verbally hanging onto that phrase, I think I’m beginning to let go of it in my body. I’m encouraged by that, and frankly, it feels real good to breathe easier and release some knots in my stomach. And my shoulders. I carry a lot there.

Top of my list today (and every day from here on out) is: take care of yourself. Whatever that looks like. Hiding, reading, watching films, writing, crying… Does not matter. It doesn’t matter what I do or what it looks like. It doesn’t matter if I’m ‘successful’ or not; the only thing to judge success on now is how at ease I am in my own skin.

One small step for Beeps, one giant leap for Beeps’ mind…


Learning to take care of myself

Good! Just sit there. Watch a movie or play a game. You’ve already been working for an hour. Don’t deny it; I saw you! Just…take a nap or something. – My brother, yesterday.

Scolded into taking care of myself. Again. Don’t know how my brother can always mix that slightly teasing tone with serious concern in his voice, but he can and he gets it 100% right 100% of the time. This time it came on the heels of pulling sound notes from the trilogy. It’s not terribly difficult, but it is wearing on me – staring at the screen, scrolling down slowly, checking every single page for every single sound notation.

My brother really should have saved that sure-fire scolding for a few hours later.

Spat out an outline for a new script. Just…paced about five minutes, opened up my computer, and began typing like a madwoman. It was just there. Scenes, dialogue, characters… Not a real surprise, I guess, since it’s based on my novel. In effect, I already wrote the story (just not in script form). But it made me confront the truth about my past work: I have no driver. It’s a funny story, with funny characters, outrageous scenarios and very laughable dialogue, but it has no driver. I kept looking at it and saying ‘yeah, this is amusing, but where are you going with it?’ Still don’t know. Took time to watch a few comedy films in the afternoon, looking for patterns to use. My arm chair analysis has led me to conclude there are two ways to handle comedy: over the top farce/slapstick, or twist something you think you know. OTT farce and slapstick works best in film; fast edits, special effects, all that. So I’m looking at the twist. But I need that final goal. It doesn’t even need to be addressed in the script, but I need to know it. The easiest is the simplest: save the world. Overriding, un-arguable…it’s used a lot. I’d like to be a bit more original, but I might have to fall back on it like a safety net. Besides, the old ‘save the world’ gag is a lovely vehicle to hide true motives that lurk beneath the surface. *sigh* What to do, what to do…

Worried this new idea will end up offensive. Oh, hell! It WILL be offensive to some; don’t think I can get around that. Anytime you turn something on its head you run the risk of offending someone. You poke fun at the un-laughable, you say the un-sayable.

I am pleased, at least, to find my mind has moved off death and violence and petty little human actions and onto more amusing topics. For close to a year I’ve been locked in small rooms with my characters, in the dark, in fear. It’s had to have had an effect on me psychologically. Now, my inner film screening room is running comedy. At least the ‘rushes’ of the day. I’m allowing it. Taking notes (obviously). Somewhere in me I have something funny to say…

Eight days to the script read through. Been thinking of what I need to say before we start. Practicing it, because I’ve a tendency to go on and on if you let me. I have to hone it down to the bare essentials, just like I do my writing. And I must note that my head is there, and focused on that task, rather than fretting over heading to language class tomorrow. That’s okay. I’ve distracted myself from the shame I feel over my behavior. But I don’t want to blow off my apology. I want to move forward, and to do so, I have to open my mouth and say the words (even if one of my teachers corrects my grammar instantaneously). That’s my path. I know it.

Zero homework done. Didn’t even open my books. Comforting myself by reading Roald Dahl in Dutch as my bedtime reading; at least I’m doing something. Have the occasional word to puzzle over, but most of the text is within my grasp. And I’m enjoying it.

A bit worried that my mouth guard is going to trigger me in my sleep. Two days of using it, and I’m reminded sharply of my teen years wearing a retainer. Teen years…now there’s a mess of muddled thinking. Not sure I want to connect with the me of back then. Or, let me rephrase that: I’m not sure I want the me of back then to take over. I’m connected to her. Always will be. I remember my first cigarette. I remember the shame I felt walking down the school hallway. I remember turning to writing, pouring my young heart out as best I could on the page. …Hm. Truth is, I might not have turned to writing without her. Maybe I shouldn’t be so afraid.

lol! Now there’s a phrase I should put on a poster: maybe you shouldn’t be so afraid. Just as a daily reminder. Just…try it. Try not being afraid for a day. Or an hour. Or a minute. You don’t have to commit to it, you don’t have to force yourself into submission and change your life from head to toe. Just sample it.

Not a bad slogan to take out into the world today. Saturday is easy as a trial date.

Now. A kind return. I do that, I try it, and I get something back. Figure it out. A coffee, a treat, a walk in the woods – figure out your reward. Sounds like a good time to deep condition my hair and apply a moisturizing face masque. A me mini day. No. A ME mini day. ME is important; ME deserves capitalization. ME. I will watch a film I wouldn’t dare suggest to my brother, knowing his tastes. I’ll turn the heat up a bit so I’m not huddled under my hoodie. I’ll cut my nails, maybe even do the cuticles.

How did I get so old without learning to take care of myself?