My house is clean

Housework. It’s one of those things I tend to do when my bro is out of the house. For one, he’s out of the house – that means no ‘could you please move so I can hoover there?’ or other awkward incidents of him trying to “help” in some way. For another, I find it well worth the effort to get it done and have an hour or maybe even two in a totally clean house before The Fuzz and Dirt Monster returns. It’s not something he tries to do, but he does. Rubs his socked feet together so the floor is filled with little bits of fallen cotton, misses the ashtray so his side of the table is full of ash and filth, doesn’t seem to see the drips and spats around the kitchen after he’s done cooking. It adds up to one big job, and a thankless job at that, because I think my brother’s close-up vision is going and he really doesn’t see this stuff. Up side is he doesn’t get upset about any of it; down side is he never sees how much I actually do.

My room was first up. More than six months since I tore through it. It is spanking clean, with fresh sheets on the bed and tidy shelving on the walls. I still hadn’t put away my jewelry from the film premiere in January, so I’ve been living in an increasingly messy spot for a while. Now, naturally, I’m doomed to forget where I put things so the minute I need something I’ll panic and rip everything apart again. In the meantime, I’m letting myself enjoy it.

Worked so hard and did so much that by 3 in the afternoon all I could do is sit, drink a cola, and chill. Finally hit the shower around 5 and deep conditioned my hair. Rubbed in my new body lotion (in a pot, thick and creamy), put on fresh clothes, and ate dinner.

It was glorious, sitting in my chair last night. Feeling fresh and clean, yet smooth and soft (thank you, body lotion). Knowing that the tv was wiped down, the stand was dusted, the floor hoovered, the plants watered – it was a rare, simultaneous, the-house-is-clean-and-so-am-I moment.

Remembered about 8 pm that I hadn’t touched my homework. Again.

Have not heard squat from the director. That’s a bit worrying. Need to accept that if that last body isn’t found for the role, we’ll have to look at a different script. He said as much to me last audition. He also emphasized the ‘we’. Whatever the fallout on my story, I get the feeling I have been recruited as the director’s go-to person. The aide, the second director, the props master, the marketer, the make-up guru. I feel good about that. Good that he trusts me, that he finds my input valuable, my help valuable. I am not someone who needs to prove herself worthy; I’ve already done that. And who knows? With a letter of recommendation from the director, I might be able to get a job at a theatre. A paying job.

Today I have to take a crack at Dutch. Two letters to write. I did go to the trouble on Friday of translating them, making sure I understood all the nuances. They’re big asks: lay out a reasoned argument in one, prep up a “well-informed” request in another. Plan to finish one. The other I’ll leave for next week. Just a bit too much stuff going on, mixed in with a bit too little oomph to get the work done.

And get me to the gym! I’m still tired from the super cleaning yesterday, but I’m dyin’ to get back on my exercise routine. Stretch, move, sweat. I want it today.

Little by little, I’m getting there. My hair is as soft as a deep conditioner can make it. My nails are neat, trimmed, and the cuticles are pushed back and healthy. My feet are lotioned, buffed, and pampered. My body is clean and soft. I’ve even pondered buying some make-up. Saw a good offer on a big kit the other day, and I might go back for it. Partly for any theatre work in future, partly because I want to play with the colors. That feels very girly. As does the new hair clip I bought to whip my hair off my neck. It’s strong and tight, and does the trick without losing its grip (paid more for it; guess I get what I pay for). Have thought about painting my nails – just for fun. But I don’t want to go from frump to dazzle in one jump. That’ll garnish too much attention. I just want to gradually move into a better look. Subtle. Something that in six months people who know me will ask ‘gee, when did that happen?’ – like when you lose weight: you don’t see every pound, you just become aware at some point that the weight is off.

Feels a bit odd to gather myself up this late in life. To say at 52 ‘Yes, I’m still attractive and I’m going to show it’ or ‘I’m worthy, smart and valuable’ or even ‘I’m sexy’. But I reminded myself (in the middle of cleaning, when I was full of sweat and dust) that I still get asked out once in a while. Not every day. Not even every week. But I get offers, and they’re not from the worst guys out there.

So much has been cleaned up for me lately, I’m not sure what to do anymore. I’m standing in my own life, looking around and thinking ‘Damn! It’s clean in here!’ Worrying or thinking about family: almost down to zero. Beating myself up: almost never. Feeling stupid: that one comes more often; every day gives me occasion to feel stupid. But I’m forgiving myself faster. Positives: Feeling more attractive. Wanting to do more. Being more social. Getting along better with others. Not taking so much to heart.

My house is clean.

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Right where I am

Round 3. I suppose there was a certain symmetry going on last night. The first audition brought very few people. The second a lot. The third…well, only the actors we asked to show up and give us a bit more came. Problem: we are one body short. Prefer it to be a man at this point; we’re women heavy (did not think I’d be saying that!). Hoping one of the actors can and will pull in some people. Messages are being sent out today, and we should know soon.

And I’m taking a role.

Yes, yes…I wanted it. I wrote it; I wanted it. I knew where I’d put myself in the mix, and that’s precisely where I landed: Elizabeth, mother of the girl who kills herself in act 1. The writer in me found it a bit odd. I began with Elizabeth, focusing on her sorrow. She was a very clear cut, in depth character to me. All I heard from the other actors, tho, was that she was tough to do. Difficult to get right. The director finally had me get up and read a scene as Elizabeth with another actor. It was a scene we’d been doing all three auditions, and no one really got Elizabeth. I, naturally, nailed it. I sat back down by the director and he leaned towards me: Yeah. No one can do Elizabeth like you.

Have been told the production will be in 2019, not this autumn. While a tad bit disappointed (do it, do it, do it!), overall I’m okay with that. I was worried about the timing, the push on the actors, the need to pull everything together in a few short months. Now I can stretch out. February, maybe March. We’ve time to find and buy a decent computer to do the recording on, everyone has plenty of time to rehearse, time to look for props, make-up, practice the fight scenes.

Best of all, tho, was the reaction from everyone when the news came out that we were one person short: concern, worry, real angst over the idea of not being able to perform this particular play. I was told by one actor how much she loved the writing because it wasn’t tied to any particular gender. Oh, man! Someone caught on to that!! I couldn’t be happier. They love the weirdness of it, they love the explosion of emotion in the characters. Eeee! If that’s what I get in a sample of seven people, I’m gonna be overwhelmed at the production. These things always follow percentiles. For instance, I consider it a good blog day if I get about 5% of my followers to like a post. That’s a decent sized percentile when you take all the variables into consideration. Positive feedback on work in person tends to be higher due to social pressure; people don’t like to say negative things (in general) in situations like that. They’ll find something positive to say, even if their hearts aren’t in it. But you can suss those people out. They’re the ones who give you a limp comment, half smile, nod, and then amble away. They never walk away. Too direct. They amble. Shuffle. Wander. Do their best to make it seem like they’re not leaving the conversation when in fact they are. Social pressure positives last night: zero. They may be actors, but none of them are good enough to sustain that level of interest for that long. I should know; I’ve watched them audition.

I am ready to grab life by the balls today. Get to the gym and do a full round of work. Tackle my homework. Smile, keep myself occupied and moving. I feel good.

Dare I say it? I feel so good even my bowels operated at peak efficiency. I almost took a picture of my morning dump because it was so damned shiny and perfect.

… Saw someone go down the grove last night. Two people, actually. Of course, that was just from one side of it; I didn’t see them emerge from the other side. They might have disappeared. My heart doubts it, tho. I think that thing can only emerge during certain times, or to certain people. I haven’t figured out the mythology yet. That’s my problem: I don’t know what I’m dealing with. It’s a puzzle I want to crack – or, from the audience’s perspective, create. And even if I never reveal my reasoning in any of my stories, I need to know it. Without it, you’ve got a story based on old hat scare tactics. If you don’t buy into the FX, you’re not frightened. With it, tho, you can scare the bejeezus out just about anyone.

😀 I like scaring people.

Ba-ba-de-doo-dah. So here’s something that’s bothering me a bit: I was told by the director last night that most people in my age group wouldn’t join our theatre troupe because they’d expect to be paid by this point. Either that or they’re real amateur, and expect very little from any production they’re involved in. Hmmmm. Yeah, I know. I should be getting paid for my work. I should be getting paid as a writer, too. I have been; I’ve got the cheque framed. But, you know – small cheque, and it was the only one (other than some meager royalties from my book sales). *sigh* I am not of the mindset to be financially successful with my art. I do it because I must. Because I love it. Because I want and need that surprise, interest, and support from people. And I’ve always felt that if my art is good enough, it will garnish the finances I need. Which is a double screw, because every time I’m not financially successful I tend to end up thinking my work is shit. But to purposefully hold out just for money… That doesn’t feel right. It makes me feel like a two bit whore.

That thought is so incongruous with my totally good feeling this morning that I reject it utterly.

I’m good, right where I am.

I’m good

Thirty-three degrees celsius (that’s over 90F if you can’t make the conversion). Little to no breeze. Burning sun. It didn’t feel like a school day. I wasn’t the only one who thought that, either. Class size: three. Even one of my teachers was gone.

Found I’m in need of some Dutch mouth warmer uppers. I stumbled over sounds and words while reading. I can tell you haven’t spoken Dutch for two weeks, my teacher said. Yep. But my mind is still powerful. I am now the ‘Look To’ student.

Can’t answer the question? Ask Beeps. Everyone has the wrong spelling? Ask Beeps. Don’t know how to explain what that word means? Ask Beeps.

My homework is special, too. Asked for and received more word puzzles in Dutch. Have a few more letters to write. No one else got these assignments.

Ah, it feels good to be a prat! Good to know, to feel that confidence. Maybe that’s the real reason why I want to stay in this level lesson for a bit longer – to build my confidence. I need to know I know, and not just know but fully understand. We went thru prepositions drills yesterday, and I sat and listened to a fellow student (who spent thousands on a daily lesson private school for Dutch) struggle with figuring out how to describe snow lying on a roof. She tried in, over, above. Pretty obvious she doesn’t have these meanings really down in her head. It felt good, too, to go thru our dictation drills and come out with only one mistake (a word I’d not encountered before). Everything else 100% perfect, no question in my mind about the words or their meanings.

A little worried that I’ll grow bored with this level by mid-term next year. I can see it happening in the lessons, tho I also see my teachers more than willing to work with me on harder issues – not dragging the class into it, obviously, if they don’t even know that snow lies op a roof.

*sigh* I’ll have to move on sooner or later.

I am reminded of my last days in kindergarten. Hearing I had to leave and say good-bye to the teacher I loved was one of the worst days of my young life. But I knew, even then, I was ready for more in the way of learning. Just like I know it now. The only difference is, now I’m an adult they can’t make me do anything. It’s my choice to move up or not. I guess I’m giving the child what she wants: another year with her kindergarten teacher. Lucky for me, my kindergarten teacher this time ’round recognizes my level and is willing and able to keep encouraging and teaching me.

Ye Gods! And put some effort into it. Running around talking pidgin Dutch with your friends doesn’t teach you jack. When I speak Dutch, I ask the other person if I’m saying something correctly, or to please correct me if I make a mistake. And the Dutch are, by and large, very willing to do that. But not speaking correctly – well, that’s a big reason why I don’t speak much. I don’t want to talk to foreign speakers who don’t know the language, who make mistakes in pronunciation or grammar. I want fluent native speakers. I need someone to correct me, not the other way around. Also, READ. Every day. I cannot believe these fellow students who claim they read and then make these obvious mistakes. You don’t read. You’re like the piano or guitar student who swears they practiced all week long on that piece. Well, you know what? Your teacher always knew when you were lying about that. Just as I know my fellow students lie about reading on a regular basis. Ipso facto: if you’d read, you’d learn. You haven’t learned, so you don’t read.

Still no thunderstorms. Been waiting. They’re in the forecast every day. We’re definitely in a heat cycle. Other than my hair being too thick and hot on my head and neck, I’ve managed to keep pretty cool. Part of that is I’m far more willing to jump in a pair of shorts these days. Even with my lily white legs, even with my cellulite. I’m more accepting of my body. And I can look at myself in lighter clothing and not cringe. Even find something attractive about myself. That’s all…weirdly solid. Like it was always there, underneath all that negativity. I don’t feel I have crowing rights in the world; there are far more beautiful people than myself out there. But I do have crowing rights within myself: I am pretty. I am blessed with a pretty face. My features are arranged in a manner that’s pleasant to look at it. You may find me beautiful; you may not. It’s one of those faces. But the nose isn’t misshapen, the cheekbones are good, and I don’t have warty growths anywhere. Nothing to call me ugly. I’m accepting that.

Have a slightly pulled muscle on my left side. Did it the other day; felt it go. Ouch. Wishing my appointment with my very cute physiotherapist was a bit sooner. Trying to work it out myself in the meantime. Should really get to the gym for a stretch and a walk. Ignore the heat and humidity – which gets easier to do the hotter it gets, because the gym has air conditioning.

My head… I’m a bit feather brained lately. Just ditzy. There, but not there. Getting flashes of stuff, ideas. So disjunct and quick I can’t even describe them yet. Letting that go. The chef will serve up that dish when it’s ready. Meanwhile, kick back with a drink and enjoy some appetizers: summer days, more auditions for my play, sheer relaxation and joy at the simplest things in life. Seeing the sun rise. Having my smiles and greetings returned. Enjoying a cold drink from the ‘fridge during the hottest part of the day.

I’m good.

You get used to it

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.

Own it

Been wondering if the the things I’ve been blowing out of my nose get up out of the trash and walk around when I’m not looking. You know; like that Doctor Who adipose episode. Gross, but…I swear I’ve seen some fully developed things when I’ve built up enough courage to look after blowing.

Joking aside, I’m healing. Slowly.

Headaches are finally easing off, too. Seems to have been a combination of sinus pressure and eye strain. Had to stay off the computer all week, other than fast email checks. No gaming. Haven’t really missed it; the cough medicine I’m taking knocks me out.

With the latest ‘gods, am I gonna die this time?’ cold finally going away, I’m able to think again. And my thoughts are lovely, because I’m a real playwright. 🙂

That’s my new mantra. I’m a playwright. A real playwright. My work is finally being appreciated. Just letting that knowledge sit inside me. It’s very different to feel so good about myself and my work. It’s very difficult to take everything in and not discount it one way or another. I don’t want to jump around or draw a lot of attention to myself. I just want to own it.

I want to own that I’m attractive. Ditch all that ‘I’m so ugly’ bullshit that I’ve hid behind all my life. Ditch my complaints over my ‘huge ass’ which is really quite tight and appealing. I want to ditch the ‘I’m so stupid and dumb’ stuff, too. I’m neither. A bit naive, maybe…okay: more than a bit naive and it’s definitely not a maybe. Still. That doesn’t make me dumb or stupid. It just makes me innocent and trusting. So what if that’s an oddity in this world, especially at my age? Just one more thing that makes me unique. Own it, girl: you be smart. Take it in. Most of all: I can write a damned good story. Piles of rejections from every corner of the industry do NOT negate that fact. The truth lies in the eyes of my audience, those that read my work. I’m gonna stop dissing other people’s opinion of me and start saying ‘thanks’. Just ‘thanks’. No justification, no explanations. Acknowledge it. Own it.

Dreams have become fragmented. Neon colored, bright – memorable in pictures but not in content. All I can say for sure is: no, I’m still not dreaming in Dutch.

Auditions have finally been called. Not thrilled to find the first date is set for this Tuesday, only a couple of days away. Have another date set, a week off. Hoping my film posse can make that one; I asked the director for some lead time so they could make it and he didn’t give me much. As my bro keeps telling me: not my problem. I am the writer, not the director. Also not thrilled to find the notice difficult to spot on the FB page, an old photo from last year’s production used to promote it, and the title of simply ‘auditions’ with no word of the play or what to expect. Hm. Then again, as I mused to my bro, perhaps the director is set on the core group doing this. It’s a bit more challenging to the actors: give me fear, give me rage, let loose with it. Some of these ‘actors’ are really uptight (makes me wonder if that’s why they try their hands at acting). Happy to find the director wants me by his side during the selection process. Tee-hee!! I get to sit there and see everyone. Very jazzed about that. And honestly, I already know pretty much how it will go down. I wrote the damned thing just for this reason: I watched the group over two years, mapping their personalities and their work. I saw how newbies were reluctant to join the group due to their – erm, shall we say relaxed attitude towards productions. I know who’s gonna be in it from the core group: L and J, two core female members and decent actors; and M and E, two core male actors who can definitely do the job. I’ve already said I wrote a part for me, and I did. Add me in, and that leaves one female and three males to find. The director can always step into a role if needed. And yes, I even wrote a few roles that don’t need much from the actors so I feel confident taking on a few newbies. In my head, we’re looking for one female and two males. I’m interested to find out who comes to the auditions. Already heard the people who attended the reading were asking about it. Might we actually have more people than we generally do? Man! That would be uber cool!

And…*sigh* There’s this other theatre group. A bit of a break-away from our group. They’re based up in Den Haag, and run by a director/writer…A director/writer I don’t have much respect for. And they’re going to bleeding Italy with one of their productions. Italy. I mean… Okay, I’m jealous. Envious. Wanting similar for my work, because I know it’s better than his. The group I work with has already mentioned a few possibilities: festivals in other countries we could apply for grants to attend. This is the script I want to do that with. I want to to take it to these fests. At least one, please. Let’s really do this.

It’s a big ask. Coordinating 10 people on a trip like that. Wading thru all the Dutch paperwork. I can’t do it alone. I can’t do any of it, other than possible help on coordination (like finding accommodations). But I want us to try.

I gotta put it out there.

Own it.

I’m not stopping

Life just has to keep giving me evidence of the two opposites I orbit ’round. Up and down, high and low…it gets mimicked in my life so often I’m getting sick of it.

Language class. Definitely a mixed bag. Thirty minutes before I had to leave, I remembered the underlying cause of my reluctance to go: the stone wall of diss I’ve encountered during our class break. I have sat at small tables with people, nodding, trying to get into the chit-chat. But it always seems to devolve into the other students reverting to Farsi, or some other language, and/or totally ignoring me. I sit there, either trying to listen to just zoning out, while they talk back and forth faster and faster, not even making eye contact with me. This has become the norm, and I don’t like it. I’ve gone out for fresh air, headed to the bathroom to diddle around so I didn’t feel so awkward, gone back up to the class early, and sat reading or working on Dutch. One or two women seem to head this up: they’ll see me somewhere, come and join the table, then take over the conversation and monopolize it. Right. I get it; you don’t like me. I don’t think much of you, either. I’m just trying to use my language skills here, and when you don’t give me any opportunity to form a sentence, well…fuck you.

There is one exception to this behavior: the only man in class. He often seeks me out for conversation, at least before class when we’re the only two students in the cafe. Every time he’s done this (and yesterday was no exception), he ends up asking me out for coffee on the weekend. Every time he’s asked, I’ve said no politely, saying I’m too busy. And then…then one of the women walks in and joins us, and he drops it like he never even asked. I suspect that he’s looking for a little something on the side (he’s mentioned a wife and family in our lesson) AND that the other women are somewhat aware of his intentions. It explains his hot/cold potato behavior. Sad. Once again, I am given an example of men’s behavior that I just find repellent. Does the Universe want me to become a lesbian? Sure as hell feels that way. Why do men only talk to me if they want to get into my pants? Why are women so fucking catty to me when I’ve done nothing – nothing!! – to deserve it?

The answer is obvious, if I just ignore that fifty foot wall of self hate I’ve built up: I am drop dead gorgeous. …Feels good just to say that for once. I do not mean physical beauty; there are many women more beautiful than I am. But there’s a combination in me that’s hard to pin down: something between my intelligence and my sense of humor, that kid or big dog that comes out in me wanting to play…people find that attractive. Combine it with looks that aren’t hideous, maybe even a bit attractive on their own, and boom! You got me. I have always believed it is my soul people are attracted to, not really my body. Men…they react to the body. Anyone sexual reacts to the physical. I don’t truly believe for one second that’s what’s behind all this. And the physical reaction…I find it tiring. Good Goddess, can’t we get beyond your penis? So many can’t. Then they find they’ll never get what they want from me, so they leave because they have no idea how to be friends without being sexual. I’m am tired of that. I just blow them off before they even start.

*sigh* Still. I am uncomfortable with the reaction from the women. They’re pleasant enough in class, in front of the teachers. But on break, it’s a whole other ball of wax.

More separation. Our teachers talked to us a bit about another, higher level language class. They thought some of us might be ready for it, and they invited us to check out a class or two this spring to see if we liked it. The man popped up and said he thought he could go to the lesson. The teachers were quick to point out his problems with the simple prepositions and sentences we’re working on. You’ll be lost. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go. Then their eyes focused on me. You could do well in that lesson, but it’s up to you. Go to a few and see what you think. It’s your choice. A few other students were talked to, their progress discussed. No other student was told so boldly that yes, they were ready to move up if they wanted.

And if I have to choose between my fellow students or my teachers, I’ll choose my teachers every time. Hands down. One had done some spring cleaning, and came to the lesson with four hard cover children’s books for me. Three Roald Dahl even the big library downtown doesn’t have, and one JK Rowling I’ve not read. I am thrilled. Even when I have to puzzle over an idiom’s meaning, I’m thrilled to be able to read and understand at the level I’m at. Ha! to everyone who ever said to me that Dutch was a clunky, unexpressive language. It is rich and full and beautiful. You don’t read well, do you?

Give me more, please.

So. Super high on my teachers. Super low on my fellow students. It’s so like school during my childhood I feel like I’m on a continual, low level LSD flash-back.

And, like school during my childhood, I’m ignoring what I can from my fellow students and holding onto my hunger for learning. They can sit on their asses if that’s what they want. They can do the minimum if that’s what they want. They can even resent me for it, for whatever they perceive in me that trips their trigger.

I’m not stopping.

Screw the rules

Did you take your pills?

That’s one, I thought. Yes, I replied, two, two, twoExcellent verbal skills, no? Well, I was a little hyper, which is why the question was asked in the first place. But, Lordy Loo! We are at that point. The first go-to question will now be did you take your pills? *sigh*

It wasn’t so much that I felt hyper, I just did things yesterday. It didn’t start that way. I left off from my blog, still pondering my long ‘to do’ list, wondering where to start. Laid out my tasks to my bro, who asked me what was on my mind (a rarity). He got me to laugh at myself by pointing out how far ahead of everything I already am. I relaxed enough to ask myself the Golden Question: what would you do if you really cared about yourself? The answer was obvious.

First up: pick up my meds at the chemist. I had enough to get to Monday, but I didn’t want to add stress on a future day (that’s not caring about myself), so that was the biggie. Second: give myself that CD. No more delayed positive reinforcement. I need it when I need it. Third: get to the library, turn in my old book and find a new one. Before I left, I began my laundry – much needed, as I was down to ankle or heavy, wool ski socks.

I dressed in fresh clothes. Brushed my hair and teeth. Fussed a bit over how I looked, and headed out.

The chemist was far less busy than I thought. I took my number and waited. In walked a couple. The woman was there for something, her boyfriend (obviously, no husband quite hangs on a woman like a boyfriend) just stopping in with her. They paused at the machine, nudging each other the way lovers do, taking three times as long as needed. Then – the man looked at me over his girlfriend’s shoulder. Thought nothing of that first glance until it was followed by a second, and then a third. Took a while to dawn on me: he was checking me out. I judged him to be 10 years my junior at least. My thoughts were harsh and judgmental. That’s men for you, I thought to myself. They can be with any woman and they’ll still look and wonder about every other woman they come across. Then I checked to my left. A younger, 20 something darker skinned woman sat there four seats away, complete with four inch high spike heels. Was he looking at her, not me? I checked and judged the angles of our seats versus his stance. Nope. He didn’t see her at that angle, and his eyes met mine. Then I thought: Racist. There’s a much prettier woman sitting just to my left, and the only reason I can see that you won’t look at her is that she’s darker skinned.

It wasn’t until I was walking out that I considered the idea that maybe he just found me attractive enough to look at.

On the metro, downtown. It’s been a while since I’ve been downtown, in the heart of the shopping district. Things have changed. Shops are gone, closed down, replaced by shiny new markets called ‘market’ with all black interiors designed to show off their low, aluminum shelved products at their very best. The first record shop I stopped at was a victim of the Dutch online shopping obsession; it was gone, no sign of it ever having been there. Okay. I knew another record shop a few blocks away. Walked down, found it, searched – what a mess! There are NO OCD people working at that store, let me tell you! But everything was used, and old. Not what I wanted. I sighed, and headed off to the library – walking, for exercise and fresh air. On a whim, thinking it was the slimmest chance possible, I stopped at Media Markt and looked. Took a while, but I found it for 8 euro. Meandered thru the aisles, looking at all the goodies I couldn’t afford (DVD and book shops are the only two places I guarantee I’ll take my time and window shop). Saw the latest Twin Peaks revival for sale; excited about that, but didn’t have the money to pop for it. My purchase paid for, I headed to the library. Up the roltrap (escalator) to the one shelf I know in the entire six floor complex: the Roald Dahl shelf. Chose a shorter book, knowing I’ve been having trouble with concentration and reading lately. Got home at 3.

My brother was cooking, so the the moment I opened the door my nose was hit with a mass of delicious smells: hot sauce, onions and peppers, garlic. He was making his famous enchiladas. Sadly, he kept forgetting needed items. I just got back from the store myself. I forgot I needed tomatoes! And later: Um…I forgot sour creme. I’ll go and get some, if you could just start the rice… My game was closed before he could finish his sentence, and I was up and chopping onions before he left. Dinner was delicious. I finished first, and rinsed my plate off. Hm. The food was still in the pans. Without thinking too much, or dithering, or asking, I just quietly put everything away in containers, rinsed all the dishes, and put them to the side. My brother was watching tv. Later, when he rinsed his own plate off, he looked around in wonder. The food…it’s already put away? Yes, I replied, without snark or any hidden desire to be told what a good girl I am. And later, I sprang out of my chair and checked for hot water – good, we had some. Tackled the dishes.

That’s when I heard the question.

It didn’t bite at me, though I suspect it will in future. Or…it could. I had far too much of ‘are you on your period?’ shit when I was younger.

Meanwhile, I be da woman wit’ da bomb plan: keep asking myself the Golden Question.

Screw the rules.

Working on it

Language class. I turned in the Roald Dahl yesterday. Felt like I was giving up something precious, a well-loved toy. But my enthusiastic review of the book has more than one person in class interested in reading it, so…*sigh*…let them read it. Half the class left at break; next week is vacation and many were leaving early to head off to exotic places. The second half of class was warm. Intimate, even. Our teachers asked each of us what we most wanted to learn next semester, and gave us time to chat away (and get corrected on grammar). They also gave us a verbal review of our progress and work. The one thing we all heard was ‘slow down’. Forming Dutch sentences is difficult. Perfect past tense verbs get split, and personally I find it damned hard to remember the last part of the verb pairing in a long sentence.

I am in the top percentile. No more doubt about it. That terribly tricky article we had for homework was discussed. As usual, I went far beyond most. Most of the class hadn’t even read it through. Fewer still had tried to answer the questions. We tried reading it through, stumbling over those terribly long compound words, getting stopped every other sentence to be asked ‘do you know what this means?’. In the end, the teachers’ assessment was that their top three students found it rather difficult, so they weren’t going to push the matter. And yes, I was included in that top three student assessment.

Ach! They look at me differently. My teachers, that is. I can see it in their eyes. It’s almost an inside joke feel. They know I’m doing the work, they know I’m improving leaps and bounds over the others. My instructions are to keep reading, keep watching Dutch films and programs, keep writing. Had a flash of panic as they talked about my progress; was worried I was going to hear (once again) ‘You need to move up a level’. So I told them I loved the class, thought they were outstanding instructors, but please, please don’t make me go up a level yet because I need more practice right where I am. They smiled. I was assured they weren’t going to make me go to another class, that I was welcome to sit in on these lessons as long as I wanted.

Thank you, Goddess!

Yesterday evening provided me with a good laugh. Just so happened to be online and on FB when a message popped up on my screen. It was from R, my co-star in the film whose scenes got cut. It was totally in Dutch. I understood it immediately, tho I couldn’t reply in Dutch. He said ‘Just heard I got cut from the film. Have you seen the final version yet?’ Now, the job of telling him he was cut from the final was up to S, the director. It was a joke at the premiere that he was dragging his feet on it, and not saying anything to R. My first thought was ‘he finally got around to it’. So I messaged S, telling him I just got a note from R asking about the film. S replied quickly, saying yes, he’d just told R about the film and he didn’t think R was taking it too well. LOL! I am online so rarely and not really connected with my phone, so call it dumb luck or providence, but I found myself involved in ‘The Student Film Scandal’ (which is what I’ll call it, and it gets capitalized because it’s been a running gag for MONTHS now) in real time. Back and forth I went, both R and S online and messaging me.

To R, I did what I told the crew to do in the first place: I played to his ego. My first reply to him was that yes, he had been cut in the final, that it was sad but I also knew he’s a pro and probably had it happen before. That soothed a lot of anger away. He then asked me what I thought of the film. I replied that I think the crew got what they wanted, and when you take into consideration the lack of lighting equipment and tight spaces we were working with, it turned out very well. I also shared with him that I thought I looked terrible due to the poor lighting. He came back quickly, saying maybe it was better he wasn’t in the film if it had such bad lighting. I replied with a joke, telling him every wrinkle on my face was blown up horribly, so yes, it was probably a good thing he wasn’t in it. He ended the conversation with laughter.

Kept S informed of what I saying to R. Admonished him a bit for not doing it in the first place, but hey! S is young. Probably never fired anyone before, whereas I have had plenty of that experience. In the end, my conversation with S was light and laughter filled. Hell! I made both of them laugh, so I guess I did that pretty well.

What I didn’t say to either of them was that I always see myself as unattractive. Never ugly, just unattractive. I’m an almost. Almost pretty. I see it every time I look at myself. Or, that’s what I think. I’m a little too heavy, my face doesn’t have the right angles to it, my teeth are a little crooked, etc. etc. Almost. It takes decades before I can look back at a picture and just see ME. Then, I can acknowledge it: wow, I was pretty back then. I can’t do it real time. So I wasn’t shocked or surprised at all by what I saw on screen.

I’m learning. Slowly. Both the language and a bit of self acceptance.

I know my vision mind is skewed.

I’m working on it.

Fabulous

The first thing I did this morning was reach up to drag my heavy, long hair out of my face. Then I realized – it’s short.

Somehow, I always ask for the impossible. I always want a color they can’t give me, in this case auburn because I went too dark and no hairstylist wants to bleach my already dry and thirsty hair. They did manage to find a nice in-between, a lighter and redder color they added to the roots and brought through to the ends to blend it all. But I did it again with the cut. Brought in several pix of asymmetrical haircuts, which I just love on me; looks so much better than perfect symmetrical cuts. Then it was snip, snip, snip. Several inches hit the floor in the first pass. I went to a student academy, ’cause prices are half what I’d pay in a regular salon. So I had my stylist/student, three teachers, and a professional stylist puttering with my hair, talking about the length, the fall, the curve. Took more than two hours, but it was worth it. My hair hangs pixie-like and free, curving around my face gently to set it off, and falls gracefully a few inches to the right leaving a long lock that winds around into one gorgeous curl.

Maybe I’m the one person in a hundred thousand who still wants asymmetrical cuts. Or maybe it’s because I walked in there with such long, shaggy hair and it was such a dramatic make-over. I don’t know. But, as usual, I garnered a LOT of attention at the salon. Not just from the teachers, but also from the other students who kept watching the process of my new look getting sculpted out of the old. Are you sure you want this? Have you gone this short before? I found their questions funny. I wanted to say yes, I’m 52 and have done everything with my hair before you were born, dearie. Shaved, purple, multi-colored, rat-tails, super spiky short, long curly locks, blond, brunette, and red-head: you name it, I’ve done it at some point.

And oh! I’m not getting rid of this cut anytime soon. I’ll work hard to maintain it, as a matter of fact – which is not something I’ve said in a while. I like it. Brings back memories of my first asymmetrical cut when I was 17. My mother wanted to send me back to the salon (in fact, she wanted to send me back to HER salon, not one of my choosing). C was very noncommittal with me on most things, never showing too much approval or disapproval no matter what. But that hair! She hated it. Really, really, hated it. Nagged at me every time I wore it in a manner that emphasized that off-set cut. Pin it up, she’d tell me. No one will hire you with that hair. Eventually, she wore me down. I got a job in an office, and cut it.

Now, I’ve no one to tell me to cut it differently. No one to nag at me how it’s not normal, or how someone my age or weight or whatever shouldn’t have hair like this. I did not expect to feel so giddy. So free and uninhibited. Nor did I expect to write over 500 words about my hair.

…I’ve a long list of stuff. Things I need to do, things that have happened that nagged at me over the past day or two… But the headlines, of course, are where my immediate concern lies: government shutdown. Not sure how that will affect my brother’s pension, but I don’t expect it to be good. Refuse to panic or worry. There will be time enough for that later. And if something drastic happens…well, I expect a bit of understanding and slack here. I hope. It’s not something I want to discuss much, because that riles me up and gets me worrying. Just noting it’s happening and I’m doing my best not to freak.

Concerned, also, about the premiere. Getting up there, timing, the outfit, finding the place… The list on that goes on and on, too. I will be alone in a not-so-familiar city. Alone and dressed to the nines. At night, and it’ll probably be raining. Need to check with S about helping with my make-up. I don’t want to intrude; sounded like she’s gonna have loads of family at her place that evening. If I do go and get her help, I’ll more likely have time to kill because I’ll want to not step on any family gathering so I’ll be there early. My bro suggested I just head to a coffeeshop to smoke. I just don’t know: me, in fancy dress, with sparkling jewelry and full on make-up, walking into a coffeeshop to smoke weed. It’s more everyone else’s reaction I’m thinking of…not that I make a habit of it, but please! I’d stare at me if I walked in looking like that. Then there’s just the ick factor: coffeeshops tend to be a bit less clean than other Dutch establishments. The bathrooms can be…not nice. And there’s always the concern about burning my outfit from some falling ash. I’ve kept this dress in good condition this long, and I don’t want to lose it because I felt like having a hit or two before the premiere. Similar concerns with getting a bite to eat: messing the dress, smearing the make-up, and dealing with food stuck in my teeth. Um…nope. Drinks? That’s my best bet of staying neat and tidy. Also my best bet at getting out of hand because I don’t drink anymore and a couple of beers will put me under the table. I have this vision of me standing alone in a corner (so I don’t wrinkle the dress), drinking water through a straw (to keep the make-up perfect) for an hour or more in a quiet, out of the way nothing place. Sounds boring.

But I’ll look fabulous.

Ta-da!

The more I physically heal, the more anger I feel. Old stuff. Same old stuff. No need to go thru it again.

Trying to monitor this shit for real, ’cause…well, pain. That, and I figure I’ve had enough of it at my age.

Spent two hours on the phone talking to S last night. It’s strange to have a friend who just wants to chat on the phone. But I was happy to catch up with her, happy to feel good enough to talk normally. She made me laugh – hard – when she told me the guy who played my husband in the film got cut. The crew got to the editing suite and no one like his footage or performance. Even their teacher watched his stuff and said ‘cut it’. Now S is ducking the actor because she doesn’t want to tell him he’s been completely cut out of the film. Oh, I empathize with her dilemma! I wouldn’t want to tell him either, tho I suggested to her that she play to his ego and start with something like ‘I know you’re a real professional, so you’re aware that sometimes scenes get cut in the editing room…’. But, you know, in the nugget of perfection on that shoot, he was the sore spot. Things were a little less fun, a little less together while he was there. And he was a lousy actor. Best they could find, and I’m sure he’d work in some situations – but he was bad. Everyone knew it at the time. S thinks she might tell him the premiere got cancelled by the school. She’s also considering sending a special cut with his scenes to him, just to appease him. I don’t want to sound like a bitch, but…it’s funny. If you’d heard him speak about his acting, you’d understand.

I’ve been told I’m on the posters and marketing info. Apparently, my tongue is now the director’s screen saver, too. I be everywhere. And according to rumor, my ass and tits look great on screen. So glad I’m old enough to know the difference between the illusion and me. No worries about trying to look like that all the time…tho, honestly, if I someday find members of the press outside my door, I’ll at least brush my hair before I leave the house.

Received an excited confirmation on Taman. Good golly! Must have really written a great 100 word bio. They don’t know me from Eve. I was apologetically informed my entry was early, most authors don’t get their work in before December 31, and it would take months to sort thru everything and make a decision. I was thanked sincerely for my work, and left with their hope that I would continue to work with them and write about more women. Not what I was expecting. Again, it’s more. More than I dreamed of getting.

Coming to the realization that I’ll need new pages under my writing name and as an actor. Hi, this is the new me. Again. This time, tho, I’m not fluffing things out with nonsense. I’ve already got concrete realities to talk about. Scripts, films, plays, interest and excitement. One more project under my belt and I’ll hire someone to help me on the side. I so hate social media pages.

The morphine is doing its job. Brushed my teeth last night without any electric feeling jolts in my molars. Determined to stay on three a day until Monday. I want this thing down. Quiet. Subdued. A week from today I get my temporary filling replaced, and I want to be pain free for days before going in. Feels a bit like cheating. I’m not screaming in agony any more. I could probably get by on less. But it’s so damned pleasant to not feel pain. I just want a little more of that. And I don’t want the nerve to start up again.

The time is coming. My hair is getting chopped and changed. I’ve been thinking about it more and more lately, a sign I’m well acquainted with. I want to go back to auburn. That color looked particularly good on me. And I think my new cut will be jaunty and asymmetrical. That also looks real good on me. I’m dithering a bit. There are elements of longer hair I enjoy. Mostly tying it back or up. But it’s hard to keep nice. My hair tangles easily, so when I do wear it down and free I always have snarls to deal with. It’s a pain to wash, a pain to dry, a pain to keep out of my eyes. Other than that, I like it. But, new me, new hair. And I’m ready for the ta-da! of a new ‘do.

Hell! I’m ready for the ta-da! of a new me.