Broken Levee

C’mon…who didn’t think of this when they saw the headlines? How could you not? Most of the headlines quoted the chorus. Bet I’m not the only one posting the song today.

On the heels of one of the worst natural disasters pampered America has had to deal with, my uncle sent me a link to an article discussing the melting of the arctic permafrost level, with a note saying in HIS opinion, this was being caused by a change in the inner most core of the earth, the magma center – even though he’s not a scientist, and probably (from his comment) hasn’t opened a scientific book since he was in school.

Goddess, save us from idiots!

How did I come from such inbred, backwards-thinking stock?

Took the day off yesterday, as the temp soared above 30 degrees. Watched a rather non-thrilling thriller out of Sweden. Interesting to see Swedish landscapes, but other than that, I couldn’t recommend it. Far too slow. In fact, my attention kept popping in and out of the story – as it did all day long. My brain is cooking up part three in The Terror Trilogy.

In between the master dish being prepped somewhere in the back kitchen of my head, I’ve also been aware (somewhat) of the shit that’s been dished up before my eyes. Caught a line last night about an older woman – ‘She’s held up well’. Held up well? You couldn’t actually spit out that a woman over 40 was still sexy and attractive? “Held up well”! Like we’re a bridge or a building. Gee, those supports have held up pretty well over the years… Ugh.

Can’t seem to finish Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. Can’t get beyond a sentence before I interject (often aloud) ‘Because he’s a man!’. So many male dominated religious overtones I just can’t take it.

And you know what? That shit’s got under my skin, too.

I’ve been writing my trilogy with all female characters taking the forefront. Why not? So many stories are all about men, and have men as central characters. They don’t need to be male characters, it’s just a sign of the culture. But the thought occurred to me that my work will get dissed because I used all female characters. That the idea that I’m representing the effect on ALL humans through using female characters will somehow get twisted into it ONLY affecting women, and that’s not the case. I’m just using women to convey the story.

I’ll bet my bottom dollar some man gets the issue confused.

And then we’ll have to have the discussion, and I’ll get accused of being a this or that lesbian, feminist, and/or left wing radical.

But there’s nothing like telling me no to get me to do it. My determination is ramping up, and right now I kind of regret ever writing a story with a male lead in it. I don’t want to go THAT far. I don’t want to write men out my stories entirely. After all, they still dominate this planet. Can’t really write a story without including them. Oh, they seem to be perfectly able to write stories about themselves without including women. Yes. Yes, indeed. But I flatter myself that I’m a broader thinker than those closed minded individuals. I don’t think any story can truly be told without all sides being presented. Women have to deal with the fallout of men’s actions all the bleeding time. We’ve been doing it since the beginning of time, when they started to blame us for being ‘evil’, ‘weak’, and ‘subservient’.

…One more thing. I am so sick of seeing/reading/hearing stories about women written by men. They never get it right. It’s true; they really don’t understand women. They can write about what they see, what they hear from us – but they don’t understand the inner workings. They don’t understand that continual pressure, that continual diss in every aspect of society.

Sick. of. it.

Oh, I’m angry. I know. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a real issue underneath my rants that SHOULD anger people.

And once that wall breaks, that bit of peer pressure or societal pressure that we’re subjected to every second of our lives…Well, everything just comes pouring out. The built-up resentment. The anger, and the frustration. At least; that’s the way it is for me.

‘Cause, baby…It’s been raining a long time now, and my levee’s broken…

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Some days I hate being a woman

Woke up to a blessedly cool 15 degrees. Such a big difference in temperature I needed a hoodie on to feel comfortable. It’s supposed to heat right back up to 31 today, but for now the air is cool with that hint of fallen-dew smell, and I feel if it stayed like THIS all summer, I could be a happy person.

Rehearsal last night. Surprise: my acting partner came home from holiday early and showed up for last night’s work. MUCH better. I like working with my director, but I need to pick up the timing and habits of my acting partner. And the director needs to see both of us interact in order to do his job. One-upped my partner (and for all I know, everyone else working on this play) by having my lines memorized so well that when we began the run thru I didn’t need the script – which the director noted with a smile. Disagreed on a minor point of dialogue; the director feels a few of my lines are all double entendre. I disagree; a person may use double entendre, but for a whole paragraph? Didn’t feel right to me, but he’s the director so I’m delivering the lines the way he wants them done.

Learned something, too. There’s a short bit in the scene where I notice a photograph that’s been cut in two. I’d been playing it exactly the way I’d react – when my partner talks about it being his ex who left him for a guy on holiday, I widened my eyes in shock and concern. HOWEVER, I was told cutting people out of photos is now a normal thing to do. Everybody does it. It’s not a sign of psychosis and I shouldn’t have any concern or fear over it. …Really? Have things got that bad out there? I was taught that behavior was wrong, wrong, wrong. A sign of immaturity. An inability to deal with anger. Something to fear: someone who’d do that might snap and pick up a gun at any moment. And now it’s “normal”. Accepted behavior.

Dear Goddess! What are you people thinking?

…And it’s no wonder we have so many mass shootings. So much violence. If you think THAT’S fucking normal…!

*sigh* Gotta say, it’s nice to be back on my blog. A place where no one can interrupt or override me. The real world ain’t that nice. Felt like I had a big dose of that last night, as well. There came a time near the end when my partner and the director began discussing the education system here – something both have worked in. Something I know nothing about. So there was a long lag when I had nothing to say, nothing was said to me, and any attempt of mine to add in a thought or statement was talked right over. Then I got home, tried to talk about it to my bro – who interrupted me and overrode my line of thought, interjecting with HIS night, HIS work, HIS thoughts. I did what I always do: clam up. If I’m not important enough to be listened to, fuck you. You don’t get to know anything about me. But then, as ALWAYS, I’ll be blamed for ‘putting up walls and not letting anyone in’. What a fucking load of twat! And sorry, but this SHIT always comes from MEN. Can’t quite shake the feeling it’s all chauvinistic bullshit from the start.

Yeah, there’s quite a bit of anger in me today. Had to read another article about burkinis from a man’s perspective. Piss the fuck off!

Does not help I was told last night I look 40 something. I should be pleased, right? It’s still 10 years junior my actual age. Instead, I find my ego punctured and deflated. What? I don’t look 30 anymore? Fu-u-uck! Horrible to feel so torn – to want (at the moment) every man’s penis to fucking fall off and rot, yet still want to look young and attractive.

Some days I hate being a woman.

Tell me

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Six plus weeks of hearing trouble, and I finally have the go-ahead to consult a specialist. Interesting examination with my doc this morning; she put a tuning fork to various places on my head and asked me where I heard the sound and how long it lasted (the best sound I’ve heard in the past six plus weeks). Hm. My spidey-sense tells me ever more strongly that I’m headed for surgery.

Saw my v.c. (very cute) physiotherapist yesterday. Haven’t referred to him that way for a while. He made it clear he was seeing someone, blah-de-blah, and I figured I’d just better get over my infatuation. But he greeted me with that smile of his, and bowed me into his office with the sweeping motion of a gallant knight of old, and my heart just went BOOM! So I’m right back to my fantasies, ignoring what’s going on because I can’t stop thinking about kissing him all over.

Tonight is the first night of auditions for the theatre group. I’m not on the schedule, but I’m going anyway to say hi to people I’ve met and surreptitiously ask a few members to help me with my own read-through. Been rehearsing, and prepping to step up and audition tonight despite being scheduled for Tuesday – because that’s the way my life generally works (prep for one thing, and another happens: in this case, if I prep for Tuesday I’ll be asked to audition tonight, but if I prep to audition tonight I’ll have to wait ’til Tuesday). Am blowing off language class this morning and tomorrow. My Friday teacher told us last week that everyone could bring their kids, because kids’ schools are off for Easter. Kids! Walking germ factories. I’m not exposing myself to that risk just before auditions and just before MY time off to write scripts. Uh-uh. Probably being overly cautious, but I’d rather that than another four to six week illness.

Back to the gym. Can’t say I look forward to it, but I’m doing it. Was appalled at how quickly my mood sank over the weekend. Gotta keep on it. A day off here and there, but no two day break anymore. Not ’til I’m over this mountain of anxiety (which, let’s face it: I may never get over).

No word from any place I’ve sent out emails to. I know my new email works; I’ve received a couple of things in my inbox. Why nothing from the important places? How long does it take to send an automatic response? Wondering how soon is too soon to send a second request.

Meh. And I got a look at my hair in bright daylight. The new color doesn’t even come close to matching my old.

Trying to not feel frumpy. That’s difficult right now. Seems every time I catch a glimpse of myself somewhere, all I see is this horrible old woman. Lines down my face, dark circles under my eyes, sagging skin, fat folds, wide hips, fading skin color…. Yet, I can look in a mirror on occasion and think I still look pretty good. I hate it; it’s like two copies of me. One, the woman I want to be; the other, the woman I’m afraid I am. Can’t honestly say which is the truthful version of me. Maybe both.

…Is my vc physiotherapist flirting with me, or is he yanking my chain? Do I have a real shot at a theatre role, or is it all a set-up with a pre-determined outcome before I even audition? Will these theatre groups even read my submitted work, or will everything I do end up in the circular file?

Somebody, please…tell me.

Thankful

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There are plenty of times I accept the old adage it’ll get a lot worse before it gets better. The disarray that a large scale cleaning project brings, the slogging work of trying to lose those last five pounds – been there, done that. But I did not expect to experience the workings of that old adage with my head.

The last 24 hours I’ve experienced some of the worst sinus headaches of my life. Pain around my eyes, pulsing at my temples, radiating down my neck and into my shoulders. Stuffiness on a scale I only get during the worst of sinus infections. Coughing, drainage – you name it, I got it. And the dizziness is worse.

Give me a weak laugh because this is me getting well.

My bro expects me to get out of the house today and meet him downtown for a Turkish pizza. I don’t want to disappoint him; he’s been talking about Turkish pizza since our favorite place went down for renovations (it’s open again, so now there’s urgency in his talk). But if I get socked with more of what I had last night, I hesitate to go out. My goal this morning is to ride out the day between codeine pain killers and smoke, doing my best to ease my own discomfort without sending me to sleep. We’ll see how well I do.

Back to script writing. My idea to gender bend the last script set me on fire. As I went thru my writing, modifying the he’s to she’s and him’s to her’s, I began to get a real sense of what I was creating. A lot of what I had in the original script stands, but some I have to write from scratch. This piece is not fantasy; it is not set in a reality where men can get pregnant (which is a problem because pregnancy jokes were a big part of the original). Not doing that. But the rest is getting flipped, even down to substituting ‘goddess’ for ‘god’ every single time, and ‘gals’ for ‘guys’. The point of doing this is to emphasize how our every day language, particularly the way it’s used in the US, is male orientated – and I’m doing that by flipping the references. I figure if anyone gets annoyed by hearing ‘goddessdamn it’ rather than ‘goddamn it’, I’m hitting my mark. But throughout my notes, particularly to the actors, I need to make it clear that this needs to be played absolutely 100% straight. The men, tho shown as caretakers and generally submissive to the females, can NOT be effeminate. The women, tho shown as blunt and abrasive, can NOT be masculine. These people simple are what they are. The behavior they express seems outrageous now: where once I had the father harping on about checking the oil in your car, now the mother is doing it – and it shows how strange that behavior is. The crassness of what was a brother and now is a sister seems doubly crass. The worry and control exhibited by what once was the mother and now is the father almost feels over the top.

And how strange to have my characters keep saying ‘daughter’. Hearing parents refer to their male children as ‘son’ is fairly common, but hearing them refer to their female children as ‘daughter’ is weird.

The cultural references I sprinkled throughout the script are tough to switch up, too. Not many female counterparts to reference, and most are not as well known.

Most of all, this work is an eye opener to me regarding how rigidly my own mind is set in male dominated roles and labels.

Other notes on the script: I’m tossing any reference to dates. This piece shouldn’t be shackled by any particular decade in human history. Actor direction has to include a bit on make-up. I want the actors to use make-up but only to the extent a male would: a bit of foundation, some powder, maybe a hint of blush under the lights, but that’s it. Only one character should wear any other make-up, and that’s a male – but only to the extent of some eyeliner and maybe a bit more blusher. These are people and just people; the paint shouldn’t reflect any particular sub-set of people.

I’ve even thought about the idea of doing as sexless as possible. Removing all references to ‘wife’ or ‘husband’, ‘he’ or ‘she’. I might still write a version like that.

…Whatever ick I feel over this illness is offset by my re-ignited enthusiasm for the script. And for that, I’m thankful.

Heroes

For the past 24 hours I’ve either been sitting or laying down, OR making spectacular pain faces as I try to get up or get down. Once again, that spastic muscle in my back has gone on a rampage and I’m reminded how much one uses one’s back muscles in so many ways. Not just getting up or down, but turning and reaching, too. Of course I have no big gun pain relief in the house; it’s the weekend, and once again this has caught me unaware. So I’m limping thru with popping paracetamol, drinking as much valerian tea as I can handle, and smoking. I’ve promised to see the doc by Monday if it hasn’t eased, knowing full well that chances are high by Monday my back will feel fine.

In the meantime I’m trying to not groan too loud when I have to turn over in bed, or pull myself up off the toilet. And walking right now is more of a foot dragging affair, at least on my right side, which is where the problem is.

Not thrilled about spending all my time this weekend resting. The pain is taking it out of me; I AM sleeping more. I just don’t know that I can spend another whole afternoon in my recliner. It’s the best spot for my back to rest, other than bed, but after 10 hours in that chair I get this kind of creepy-crawly feeling all over my body and I HAVE to get up, no matter how many faces I make or how much I drag my foot around and groan.

It’s not conducive to healing.

And yes, the question of whether I’ve set this off by attempting to contain my anger HAS crossed my mind. May I say that if that’s the case, it’s rather effective. I have no energy to be angry at the moment. Surprise, disgust over the mess the world is in, yes, but not active anger.

The price is rather high, though. If this is how I stop my anger, I have to sit up and take notice that it also stops ME. Completely.

Of course, that’s all touchy-feeling mumbo jumbo and the cold hard fact is that this is one of those things that hurts me regardless of what I do. It’s a 30 year old problem. I’ll entertain the idea of holding myself responsible for this pain, but I won’t blame myself for it. That’s useless.

*sigh* Back when this started the docs said the only  long term solution they had was surgery, to go in and cut the nerves to that section of muscle. Maybe I should have taken them up on that.

Spent my afternoon watching stuff off my smart tv system. No DVDs or Blu ray discs to change, just hit a few buttons – all from a seated position. Ended up checking out a series called ‘Huff’, about a psychiatrist. After watching 7 episodes, I’m still not sure if I care about the main character or the series. I’ll give it to modern media. They seem to have mastered the art of presenting fully developed characters. No black and white cowboy hats to tell the good guys from the bad these days; everyone wears grey. But I am presented, in Huff, with a fully grey character right from the start and I find it hard to (1) figure out if he’s a ‘good’ guy and (2) find a reason to really like him. There was no defining moment in the pilot that said yes, he’s basically a good guy but he’s human and just makes mistakes like everyone else. No. Huff is, in fact, kind of a wimp. He lets a lot of people use him. I won’t even begin to address the stereotypical portrayal of the patients. That is off the scale on offensiveness. Every patient is either a whining little bitch who really doesn’t have a problem or a complete nutter who’s violent and untrustworthy. While Huff is shown to care about these people – his son even states this aloud, in case the audience hadn’t caught on – he’s also a callous bastard, shown fucking his wife as she just lays there (it almost looked like rape) and using an unscrupulous attorney who’s a substance abuser, a liar, and an unbelievable chauvinist.

The show isn’t from the 70s or 80s. It’s from 2004. So pleased to see how far we’ve come.

Not.

While I’m not going to come out in favor of the old black and white good vs evil, I am going to say this: humanity needs heroes. Fully fledged heroes, not the half dark heroes we’ve had so much of lately. Heroes were developed to represent the best in what we could be. To give us courage, and hope. Pulling every single one of them down to our own level may make them more relatable, but in doing so they lose the essence of what they are – heroes. Heroes DO struggle – and they should be shown struggling. But to portray main characters as half sympathetic and half ruthless narcissist doesn’t give me or anyone else ANYTHING to hold onto.

It only leaves me feeling empty.

We NEED a reason to care about each other, beyond changing our FB pix with the current colored background to show cyber sympathy for the most recent atrocity committed somewhere on our planet. And we don’t need spandex clad heroes, or heroes in some futuristic apocalyptic setting. We need heroes here, and now. In my neighborhood and in yours.

Heroes don’t stop to look at victims’ skin color. They don’t ask ‘are you a Muslim?’ before throwing themselves into the fray. They don’t make judgements about what people are wearing, or what they’ve done in the past.

Heroes just jump in when they see something unfair happening. It can be the unfairness of a four against one fight, or the unfairness of a homeless person on the street. Heroes don’t go into committees or negotiations. They act.

Find the hero in you. Just once today. Speak up for someone. Be kind to a stranger. Do something.

Day 2: 3 Day Quote Challenge

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Cheers to socialworkerangela from iammyownisland.wordpress.com for nominating me. Anyone willing to step up to the challenge is most welcome to do so!

For day 2, let’s talk about sexism. I received this in my email the other day:

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It was sent to me by my uncle, who probably thought this was complimentary towards women. Can you spot the sexism in the text? No? Let’s see what this says about women. We make babies. We make ‘homes’. We make meals. We love easily. All sexist concepts. Not all women fit this description, and of course the kicker line is just that put-down hidden behind a joke that’s been done to us for ages.

Let’s move on, shall we? How about this gem: “Straight men just can’t imagine the bliss of being in a relationship with someone who finds farting as funny as they do.” – Graham Norton. Whoa! I expected a bit more from that effeminate icon. But, no. Women are women and seemingly deserve putting down, regardless if it comes from hetero- or homosexual men. For the record, I laugh my ass off at a good fart.
Do we need more? Sexist quotes are easy to find:

“While physics and mathematics may tell us how the universe began, they are not much use in predicting human behavior because there are far too many equations to solve. I’m no better than anyone else at understanding what makes people tick, particularly women.” – Stephen Hawking

“Relationships are made of talk – and talk is for girls and women.”- Deborah Tannen

“Were there no women, men might live like gods.” – Thomas Dekker

“Women are frightening. If you get to 41 as a man, you’re quite battle-scarred.” – Hugh Grant

“Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent.”- Friedrich Nietzsche

“Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.”- Phylicia Rashad

“Nature makes woman to be won and men to win.”- George William Curtis

“No doubt exists that all women are crazy; it’s only a question of degree.”- W. C. Fields

“Women will never be as successful as men because they have no wives to advise them.”- Dick Van Dyke

“Emancipation of women has made them lose their mystery.”- Grace Kelly

“Clever and attractive women do not want to vote; they are willing to let men govern as long as they govern men.”- George Bernard Shaw

All of that from a simple search on ‘sexist quotes’, and only 2 pages out of 43 on one site. Some of the people quoted above are well known sexists. Others are, as you may have noticed, women themselves – something I find terribly disturbing. We are lumping ourselves into these boxes, saying all of us are this or that. Simply because I have the physical capacity to bear a child does NOT mean I want a child, nor does it mean if I did have a child that I would suddenly become a ‘motherly’ type of person – a scenario that is, sadly, often portrayed in films. And why do we even say ‘motherly’? Shouldn’t it be some parental instinct present in BOTH sexes? But no. Put a baby into a woman’s arms and we’re all supposed to go gooey and begin that baby talk. That view of women IS sexist.

Sick. Not in the cool sense of the word. In the original sense: unwell, diseased. Sick.

The sickest thing is the blindness of people to this subtle sexism. And the reaction that if any protest is lodged, well, you’ve got to be some man-hating neo nazi feminist. After all, they and the dykes are the only people who really have a problem with this, right? The ugly women, in other words. The ones that can’t catch a husband. You know all the phrases; I’ve heard them ad-infinitum for the past 50 years.

I’ve got a real problem with this, and I’ve never been called ‘ugly’. I’m not a dyke. Nor a neo-nazi. Those are YOUR labels.

And I’m not against a good joke. I like to laugh. What I’m against is this MOUNTAIN of ‘jokes’ against women. This tsunami of narrow thought. This pervasive idea that women are a side salad in life, draped over a car and taken at a man’s whim.

Men, is that REALLY what you think of you mothers? Because there’s no real difference between your mommy and the woman you encourage to dress provocatively and gyrate all over the hood of your vehicle. That’s your mother dry humping the car. Your mom showing her tits off and spreading her legs. Your mom being a bimbo, your mom being raped, your mom getting backhanded across the face.

Women do not become sainted after giving birth. You’d rarely know that from men, though. How often do we hear in real life and in film, ‘don’t say anything about my mother’ as a point of argument? Men somehow think their mommies are the virgin Mary, pure as the driven snow. Mothers never flashed their v’s or fucked in a back alley. That’s what whores do. Right back to that virgin/whore thing again. Why? Because it’s so deep in our society and culture you can barely extract yourself from it.

Sick.

When you counter a woman’s argument by telling her something about her looks, you’re being sexist. When you fail to listen to a human being because they have tits, you’re being sexist. When you lump all women into any category, you’re being sexist.

This isn’t a hard concept to understand, is it? I’m not using too many big words, am I?

The only mystery a woman has is the innate silence of thousands of years of holding our tongues when you put us down. The only reason that ‘women are from venus and men are from mars’ is that this simple concept isn’t understood. That look we give you…Want to know what it is?

We’re thinking what dickheads you all are. We just don’t say it.