The Old Fashioned Way

Three a.m. …Three a.m.!

I tried to stay in bed. Honest I did. But the season’s first buzzing insect came in and dive bombed my ear – probably something that, if I heard like a normal human being, wouldn’t bother me but I DON’T hear like a normal human being – and that was it; I couldn’t stand the noise, my head started to race and after an hour of tossing and turning I said fuck it and got up. If I’m dead tired by the time my lesson begins, I just won’t go.

In that strange way that my life persists in unfolding, waking up so early was a good thing. My bro left the windows open last night, and guess what’s happening outside the windows? Yep. Full on storm. I’d have had a very wet kitchen and living room if I hadn’t got up.

As it is, I sit now in the dark, a cup of coffee and a smoke by my hands, listening to the howling winds and pounding rains.

…C’mon. Gimme some thunder and lightening.

Got to the gym on Tuesday, felt damned good about it, too – evidenced by my post. La-de-dah. Is it perhaps possible to have TWO good days in a row? Or is that just way out of line?

Wrestling with formatting the script. Damn, damn, damn. Now I remember why I searched out software for my computer. Bleeding frustrating internet connection and cloud service! Meh. Sorry; I know I sound like a crotchety old lady when I talk about technology these days. But REALLY?!? I’ve lived long enough to see phone service start from shit, go to great, then go back to SHIT with the advent of mobiles. I was there at the hail of the business computer system. Oh, we’ll go paperless, they said. You know what happened? Twice as much paper was WASTED because of the manner that everything got printed out, and copies had to be run because COMPUTERS FUCK UP. And audio? Children, don’t even get me started. I know y’all can’t hear, anyway.

Grumble, grumble, grouse, and bitch.

You know, progress is a clear step forward. Not half a step forward while your other foot slides back into the muck. Humanity’s slipping. Sacrificing quality for speed. Not a big surprise. So many on the planet think it’s okay to sacrifice all sorts of things for another buck.

Haven’t you paid attention? You don’t have more time with all these electronic gadgets. You aren’t better informed. Just the opposite. You’re down to reading tweets as news, and spend all your time with your heads buried in your phones playing games or messaging or doing some bullshit that’s NOT NEEDED.

Like anyone CARES you just took the biggest dump of your life.

Goddamn it!

……Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. I hate starting a day this way. 

Prospects for going to class are diminishing rapidly. *sigh* All I want to do at this point is get my head on straight. After that – class or no class, sleep or no sleep, gym or no gym, work or no work – doesn’t matter.

Oh, I’m off. Well off. Bad dream? Some storm rider, come into my dreams thru the window? Don’t remember. Only remember the buzzing insect, the tossing and turning, then the storm.

It’s a mini bad day. I get them once in a while. Only real solution is the old fashioned one: let it run its course. Get up when I can’t sleep. Write. Watch tv. Nap when I can. My entire schedule will get turned topsy turvy, but them’s the breaks. I’ve tried these days the other way: pushing thru. Does not work well. I snap and bite and generally drive people off. Better to hermit the day away, and fall asleep to the pounding rain.

Responsibility for the Now

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After an hour of tossing and turning in my bed, trying to recapture that elusive thing we call sleep, I got up. There’s only so much hoping you can do; for me, that’s about a dozen turns on either side: left, right, no left again ’cause it’ll be so much more comfortable, damn it! try the right again – and so on.

For some strange reason, I can’t get George Michael singing ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ out of my head.

And I’m not even a big George Michael fan.

Sticking in my craw: a little tidbit I floated past my bro yesterday afternoon, as we SIM’d and gamed our way through the late afternoon with South Park playing on the telly. South Park – which is truly our repository of all social commentary – gave me the clue (again). I realized that Americans tend to think of their country like a sports club – go team, no matter what. That’s not right. A country is supposed to be a group of people who work together for their common good. I mean, if everyone’s just out for themselves, it’s hardly a country, right? Just a bunch of yahoos grabbing everything they can. Sounds like the Old West, which, btw, was a territory. Not a country, not a nation, not even states yet – just a territory. No. A country works together. A country realizes the benefits to such things as proper infrastructure (roads, trains). A country realizes they need to keep their people healthy in order to continue producing. It’s a simple matter of economics.

But Americans….They’re very much the half naked painted fat guys you see at the Superbowl, drunk out of their minds on a cold winter’s day, screaming for their team to kill, kill, destroy the other side. They have a sense of victory when someone from the other side gets taken off the field with an injury. They are small, and petty, and demand daily confirmation that they’re the biggest and baddest bully on the block.

The only thing Americans come together for is mayhem.

Other than that, they’ll let you rot. No money, no help. You can die right outside the hospital grounds and no one will lift a finger. I tell that to people here, and they don’t quite believe me, just as they don’t quite believe me when I tell them that American food products that carry the word ‘cellulose’ contain wood pulp.

When I speak of Americans, I also speak of my family. The two are intertwined; it was my family who raised me on the motto ‘If you don’t like it here, get the fuck out’. This despite a firm and rather desperate need to keep all their children from entering the armed service – the most patriotic thing you can do, according to their lip service. But not for them. No! My eldest brother even made sure to pave the way for his son way back in ’00. Contacted me and planned an escape route up to Canada, where I was living, in order for his son to escape a possible reinstatement of American conscription. It didn’t happen at the time, but my point stands: typical two faced behavior from my family. Say one thing, do another.

Sometimes I wonder how I learned to function at all with those people around me.

I know just a few days ago I was saying how understanding and compassionate I felt towards my family. I know this is a flip. I don’t know why, particularly. The news has been bad for quite some time now. Nothing jumps out at me, nothing is bugging me, other than George Michael (still singing) and my irritation towards Americans and, thus, my kin. It simply IS today.

Formatting on the script is complete. I’ve got a PDF waiting to be printed at the library. I hemmed and hoed, re-read the script again, made a few on the fly subtle changes, and walked away completely convinced I don’t have a cohesive story at all, I haven’t made my point, and it’s not very good. I’ll call it the final stage of editing madness, and it’s a thoroughly unpleasant malady to suffer from. The only real remedy is rest, the one thing I find myself incapable of doing. I am a manic sloth; antsy to sit and waste my time with games, ready to lie down in bed yet unable to stay there.

Wake me up, before you go, go….

I wanna go. Why is the world asleep? Because it’s dark? Hardly a reason! Wake up! Wake up! Open your shops, start the coffee, make some noise. If I ever buy fireworks for New Years, I’ll get up early one morning like this and set a few off. Just because I can.

Gods. And it’s Sunday! A day when people are even slower than usual.

Naturally, this will throw my whole day and perhaps my entire week off. My sleep patterns will be off, one way or another. My routine is set for a shake-up, too, with an old friend breezing thru the city for two days on a whirlwind tour.

Trigger, trigger, trigger, down the line.

Ah. Old friend. Memories. Been looking at those with different eyes lately. Eyes through which I see myself differently. It’s not a pleasant picture. The beginning of accepting that I chose this. One form or another, I chose it. I chose each little step along the way, all adding up to the big NOW. And I think about the blaming I’ve done. Sure, it would have been nice to grow up in a supportive family. A family that doesn’t play narcissistic games. But how long can I point my finger at my family, my mother, my sister, my brother, and say ‘this is because of you, because of how you treated me’? Yes, what happened back then influenced the decisions I made, and in that respect, they are responsible for a lot of shit. I’m afraid I may never be free of that influence. That scares me more than anything.

But the now…that’s mine. I can destroy it, or I can play with it. I can make friends, or create enemies. I can look back, or plan for the future.

The responsibility for the now weighs heavily on me today.

For her; for me

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Today I want to give my Mommy issues a rest. Instead, I find the girl in me wants to let loose on my siblings, D and K. [Caveat: None of what’s about to come out includes anything to do with the brother I live with, T, who is kind of like my twin. We’re very close in age, finish each other’s sentences, and always have each other’s backs.]

D and K. What a fucking pair of fuckwits to be brought up with.

It was a dark 4 a.m. when my head started tormenting me. And it was D and K’s voices and nasty faces I saw. Telling me how spoiled I am. Telling me what a baby I am. Telling me how I can’t, it isn’t possible, I’m not that good, I’m not wanted, I was a mistake, I’m a horrible person, I deserved it.

I think I recognize now that both D and K retreated into different worlds from me. If I suffered abuse – physical, sexual, and/or emotional – then I’m sure they did, too. For one thing, they’re both fucked up. Seriously. My sister, K (who I usually refer to as SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED) took on the mantle of serial narcissist abuser. My brother D was told he suffered from antisocial personality disorder while still in high school. Older than me by six (brother D) and four (sister K) years, to me they were practically adults. They were always ‘in charge’ when it was just us kids. They knew more, were stronger, and far more devious than I ever was.

It was like tying up a lamb in lion country and just waiting for them to come in for the kill.

When I look back, the most brotherly or sisterly thing those two ever did for me was to introduce me to alcohol and marijuana. And that’s not saying much.

They’d deny everything. Tell you it’s my fault. It was my choice to drink heavily, smoke heavily, go out all night, get involved with abusers, get into trouble, mess up my life completely. That’s all true.

What they’d gloss over would be my side of the story. How pushed away I felt from the two of them. How once I began drinking and smoking marijuana I became ‘cool’ enough to hang out with, and how much that meant to me. How they often enabled that behavior in me, to the point of excess.

Sounds like a set up to me.

D encouraged my risky sexual behavior. There was nothing – and I mean nothing – he enjoyed more than hearing about my nights out, my conquests and exploits. Maybe he didn’t mean to do that, but that’s the message I got. *sigh* Though I’d put nothing past him. D is the one who was sexually attracted to me. He once fucked a friend of mine because it was the closest thing to fucking me (his words). I don’t ever remember him hugging me when I was little. Once we got older, though, we hugged. Always with his hips at least a foot away from my body, like he was afraid that if he got too close I’d feel his hard on (speculation, but probably dead on). D was the one who told me (calmly, which might have been the weirdest part about it) that he regularly killed people in his mind to relieve tension, and that of course he’d killed me many times in his head.

To K, I was a person of convenience. Feel lonely? Call on me to keep you company. I was not someone to share much with. I was someone to compete with.

I don’t want to talk about her.

The two of them together, hitting me (figuratively) from either side while mom flat out ignored me was a twisted situation. Straight out of a Tennessee Williams play.

And all this happened while T was in the military. We lost touch, not so much a bad parting as just an inability on MY part to accept that what the family was doing to me was fucked up. T’s experiences away from the family warrant a Tolstoy sized novel, but they’re not my stories to tell. But I will tell you this: during that time, he went thru homelessness, misdiagnosis, and what amounts to abuse. He did not have an easy time of it. What he did have was a stronger sense of himself than I ever did.

I missed that. His conviction. His rational arguments. The rest of the family relied on emotional manipulation. T has always appealed to my brain. He takes me down, line by line, irrefutable with each statement, until I have to admit he’s got a point. He only addresses the emotional side to the extent that he acknowledges how wrapped up in it I get, and he does his best to first soothe my nerves before asking me to do anything else. Rational arguments we can talk about.

Emotional manipulation we can’t. It just IS. It’s done TO you. There’s no exchange. It’s akin to fucking mind rape.

And baby, I’ve been mind raped for years.

I am smoking waaaaaaaay too much this morning.

So. don’t. care.

Well, the girl got me up early. She knows she’s got time today to do whatever she wants. Right now, she wants to play. Opened up my games online yesterday to see SIXTY PERCENT OFF so I coughed up a whole €19 for five new computer games. Silly stuff, and I love it. Got one where I’m a fish and all I do is eat smaller fish to grow and grow. You get big enough to eat people and helicopters and cities. The sound effects make me laugh. That one ALONE was worth the €19. Got 4 others, too.

So that’s it. Be safe. Safe enough to feel like writing a bit later on. Doesn’t matter if the words are ‘good enough’ (don’t ask me what that entails; even I don’t know). All that matters is that time is allowed for whatever. For her. For me.

It’s Up To Me

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Nothing like waking up at 4 a.m. and remembering suddenly that this is the year I’ve got to get my passport renewed. The thought just came to me on the heels of a dead sleep. After that it was just toss and turn as more and more thoughts sprang to mind. Today’s appointment with Yoda. The meanness of my sister. Having to put my cat to sleep.

It was the thought of my cat that got me up. I’m still not able to think too much about that. All I do is cry. I don’t even want to write much about it, so I’ll just leave it by saying it’s a very depressing thought.

My brother has this mad plan to go shopping this evening. Friday is the day in Rotterdam when all the stores stay open late so everyone can get what the hell they need without taking time off from work (it’s Wednesday in Amsterdam). He wants to go to the mall after dinner tonight. Most nights after dinner I’m not up to doing much besides watching tv, and even then I fall asleep half the time. And he wants to drag me around the mall? Oh, I’ll never make it. Not after the afternoon that’s planned, which will sit on top of the morning I’m already having.

And it’s not so much that I’ve a million tasks to take care of; I don’t. There’s really only one thing written in big, black marker across my mind today: YODA. Been doing the whole shrink it down visualization, but the appointment is a bigger issue for me and the visualization isn’t working. Too many things hinge on today.

I’ve been talking over the real possibility of me going into the clinic to stop smoking with my brother. In my typical fashion, I’ve been vacillating on the issue. Maybe it would be the right thing to do. Go in, get it over with. There’s a lot of practical issues to confront first. My RA meds, for one. I must have access to them, and some need to be kept at a constant temp in a decent refrigerator. Then there’s the practicality of my diet. Mornings without my oatmeal made with goat’s milk would just screw up my whole system, and oatmeal made with goat’s milk is hardly a common item on a menu – anywhere. Would they let me out to attend my language class? If not, I’ll fall behind and I’m not really willing to do that. And are they ready to handle what might happen with my RA? What if I wake up in the middle of a seizure of pain, like I did once? They can’t blow that shit off or tell me it’s all in my head, because it won’t be. Finally, what about language? Would I just sit there unable to interact much because of my limited Dutch? All of these questions must be answered before I do anything. And a lot depends on Yoda’s opinion. He didn’t strike me last time as someone who saw me as bipolar this or ADHD that. It seemed like he saw me, not the symptoms of my illness.

I’m not sure what will happen at my appointment today. There’s lots to get thru; I think it’s still important to convey to Yoda the problems I’ve had with Heike even tho for the moment she and I have worked thru them. He also needs to hear about the ups and downs over the last 30 days and Heike’s suggestion to take a time out. Plus I know he wants to begin his own assessment of me, which will probably include some tests. At least I still have the afternoon to winnow down what I need to tell him.

My flat spell yesterday broke after an afternoon of horror. Shit. Okay. I can’t say the horror broke it for sure. What broke it was a mini-cry. Some news got flashed across the tv screen; for the record it was the announcement that Trump has the US republican nomination pretty well sewn up. I got angry. My brother said something along the line of ‘stop getting so upset’. That did it. Because in my brain, the ‘stop getting so upset’ quickly became ‘stop what you’re feeling’ and for the first time in my life I became aware of that swap. And just as quickly came the knowledge that my brother wasn’t telling me not to feel, he just didn’t want to see me wind myself up. But I was at that point where not winding myself up was next to impossible. It took a lot of breathing, shutting my brother down on the subject (for some reason, it was okay for him to talk about but not for me to talk about), and a swap to stupid videos before I could let it go. *sigh* And it still bothers the fuck out of me.

A lot of the outside world bothers the fuck out of me. I don’t get people who tell me not to get upset over it, not to worry about it, it doesn’t affect me. What shit are you on? Gimme some, damn it! I can’t NOT think about it. Maybe you’re too much in your own bubble, if that doesn’t bother you. Ever think of that? No, because it’s outside of your box. Here, let me put a pan of water down for you.

Of course I was running low on smoke yesterday and of course I thought I could get thru. This morning things look very different. Of course. Silly me, counting on myself to be strong…Whoa, that was bad. Let me leave it, because the thought occurred, but correct it. I had an error in judgement. It’s easily correctable with a short metro trip. In the meantime, I’ve a few tasks to keep me busy and a bit of grass left to get me thru it. And I have an opportunity to be even more mindful of my moods today. I can leave for my appointment early, stop off at the coffeeshop and have a toke before picking up the train to see Yoda. Or not. It’s up to me.

ut4′,ITW JOR/JL D /ME:MEK`P’`LN`K

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3:30 a.m. It’s that time that’s too early for morning proper but I’ll be damned if I can sleep. Oh, I’m tired enough. My eyes are barely fucking open. But when I lie on my bed…I cough, I toss and turn, I kick the covers off then pull them up. I keep thinking my shoulder hurts – and it does, but not enough to keep me sleepless. It’s just my restlessness that blames the pain in my shoulder: that’s why I kept tossing and turning, to find a position where I didn’t feel it ache or pull or just feel out of sorts and I couldn’t. But I’ve slept on far more pain. This is my brain on overdrive. Hyperdrive.

As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have a damned thing to fill this page with today. Nadda. I didn’t do anything yesterday. At all. Sat and watched tv. Played some games. Tidied up dishes.

I told myself, get up and get through some of those blog posts you haven’t got to lately. Take a few of the 50+ messages off your email ’cause you’ve at least gone and READ some, for pete’s sake.

Yeah. Read. Sit and let words make sense to me. What a laugh.

But I’ll try because there isn’t much else to do. Not unless I could throw myself into a story or something, and considering how heavy my eyelids feel I don’t know that ‘s such a good idea.

This is my zombie state. I spent a few years here already. Welcome. Come in. I won’t bite you. I’m not that kind of a zombie. I’m the kind of zombie who gets shorted on sleep a lot, so I run around looking perpetually tired. Then you’ll find me asleep at odd times of the day, in odd places. Because I can’t sleep in my bed. Oh, no. Beds are for tossing and turning right now, for getting my thoughts invaded by bad memories and future projections I don’t want to have tattooed on my fucking eyelids. So I get up, because it takes my conscious mind to fight those fuckers off.

Can’t tell you much about what my thoughts were before getting out of bed, except for the fact that SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED showed up. Her ugly face, making that pinched look she’d give me every time she taunted me. When I realized I was angry enough to want to punch her, bed was a no-go for me. I do not sleep well thinking of violence. Especially when it comes to her. I cannot imagine a violent, drawn out, painful enough situation that is worthy of her bitchiness. I chalk that up to my limited imagination.

Oh, the horror story I could write just venting that rage!

Maybe that’s what I should do. Write a horror story. Never tried to before. I’ve done those Twilight Zone type of things with a twist at the end. But not straight out Books of Blood horror. This, people, will/would put the Books of Blood to shame. Those vignettes are far too short; true torture should go on and on and on. With little breaks of puppy dogs to make sure the torture times seem all the fucking worse. That’s my definition of hell. Make it seem nice, like you’ve got a chance to make it or get away from your boogeymen, then rip it all away, show you you have NO chance of escape or rescue. Tear down your self worth, your self image. Induce pain both physical and mental. Then take it to the next level. Make you believe that’s what you deserve so you stay and take it and even the hint of escape won’t tempt you to run because this is your fate – to suffer. And the suffering goes on and on. Without end. No one dies in my horror stories, because death is EASY. It’s living that’s hard.

I’m so fucking cheery, right? Two days ago I was spouting how great things were, and they were great. I felt great. Happy. Up. Now I want to write something to rival the Books of Blood. Fuck bipolar.

Well, I guess my desktop can take one more story that may or may not get finished.

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ut4′,ITW JOR/JL D /ME:MEK`P’`LN`K

That’s me jamming my hands on the keys. Damn! It expresses my feelings rather well. Sometimes words fail. It comes down to sound and body language. In fact, I’d hypothesize that the stronger the emotion, the more basic our communication. Real grief or rage or hilarity doesn’t contain words, just sounds, facial expressions, and movements. We communicate with emotions; we think with words. At our best, we try to combine the two. At our worst…At our worst, we disconnect the two completely and are either cut off from our ability to communicate or our ability to feel our emotions.

Usually I’m cut off from my ability to communicate. I grunt and sigh. Caveman Me comes out, and she expresses herself perfectly well. No one mistakenly thinks I’m having a good day when SHE’S around. Doing my best to at least be cerebral here, in my writing. I can’t always make my mouth form the words. Don’t have the words, other than I feel crappy. Not crappy from pain or crappy because I’m ill, but a general malaise of my spirit that I can’t shake. An ephemeral rage that makes me want to lash out at people.

That rage has a target. Her effigy has been burned hundreds of times already. I’m tired of it; tired of the repetitiveness of it, the energy it consumes, the way it makes me ache throughout my body in a way that almost tickles.

ut4′,ITW JOR/JL D /ME:MEK`P’`LN`K

Too Far

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It’s now 4:15. I got out of bed at 3 a.m. because my shoulder hurt and my sinuses felt blocked and I was doing that tossing and turning that meant get up and do something NOW or lose several hours trying to rest and not getting it. Thought I’d play a few games, check online, roll a joint. Get TIRED and bleeding go back to bed.

No. My body did the full wake-up thing. Broke down and made some coffee to keep me warm this morning.

I’m guessing it’s anxiety. 29 hours to my counseling session.

Woke up dreaming/thinking of my family, particularly my sister. Woke up hating her as much as ever, wanting to hit her and drag my nails across her face and make her hurt in every and any way possible. Where oh where are those face-hugging aliens to implant a chest burster in her? I’d watch the video of THAT sucker hatching (because you KNOW someone would video it and put it on YouTube) and enjoy it every bit as much as I do the film versions. Yep. I’d run that video up into the million hits just watching it over and over. Slow motion. Reverse. Frame by frame. Full volume. Thumbs up and a hundred comments of lol and rofl.

It’s mean and evil of me and I could give a rat’s ass.

My hate is so complete it’s a beautiful thing.

Had this strange thought while half awake. About family lines, and repetition. About generations. I trace the family’s illness back to my mother’s parents. Undoubtedly it goes further back than that, but my grandparents are the oldest generation I personally knew and therefore feel okay about blaming (crazy, I know). I think my mom hated my grandmother. Maybe hate is too strong of a word, but I’m fairly sure there was discord between them that was never resolved. That unresolved relationship ended up getting played out again, this time between my mother and her daughters. It’s only the fact that neither I nor my sister reproduced that this particular problem is gonna die out. Nobody’s gonna work on it but me. But my little unit isn’t unique in my mother’s family: she comes from a set of 6 siblings, every one of which had multiple children. Of all these children, only 2 reproduced. The rest of us said fucking forget it.

Family problems. Don’t talk about it! And don’t dare say the family isn’t good to you; look at all they do and have done (guilt, guilt). They never sexually molested you. They never beat the shit out of you. You should be thankful (true words; heard that shit from my mother once. She never got how horrible it was that the only thing to be thankful for was the fact no one from the family molested me. Fuck!). Unspoken solution? No one have kids. Let the family line die out.

*grumble* My apologies for whipping this horse again. I just can’t seem to stop for long.

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So I watched Alien yesterday. Glory, glory! Gods, that film never looses its impact. True test of a classic. First thing always to hit and always to hit well: the soundtrack. Oh, man I love that soundtrack. Creeps me out to no end. Gives me shivers as it comes in, the hollow sound of it and the random clicks. John Hurt’s tiny waves of his hands as the chest burster comes out – no one could have done it better. The smoke and the strobes. *sigh* It was great. As an Alien devotee, I have a full slew of films to watch now: the Alien series, AVP series, and Prometheus. Thank you, Ridley Scott, for coming back! Can’t wait to see you wind this whole thing up into a neat package – ’cause I KNOW you will. Today’s fair is Aliens; Cameron’s take on the story. As usual, the film becomes more about Cameron than the story taking place. Nothing says more than the director’s cuts intros on the Quad. Each director was asked to say a few words about the extended director’s cut. Scott said after 25 years there were a few things he wanted to tweak. Cameron rambles on and on and adds 40 minutes of bullshit that’s not needed. Fincher didn’t make a statement; he was too pissed off about what happened but in MY opinion, the director’s cut of Alien 3 is the best of them all. And Jeunet on Alien Resurrection – OMG. Says it all about the French film industry; he got what he wanted on the first cut. There wasn’t much extra to add because he got. what. he wanted. Don’t mess with the French in filmmaking; they know what the fuck they’re doing.

I am smoking too much, but who can blame me? Especially when this came in yesterday from TrefPunt Coffeeshop as a late Xmas gift:

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The package included an ashtray; a pack of papers, filters, tubes, and a lighter; a HighLife magazine; a postcard; a bong; a grass grinder; a chocolate bar; and an energy drink. It all came in a cool little sack, too. For free. Because we’re good customers. Dudes! This is a smoker’s dream!

And no, I have not fired up the bong yet. Thought I might save it for an occasion, like New Year’s.

Oh, and that’s the glass table we got for free. I was verboden (use the Dutch, lady!) to put anything on it, so this display is entirely temporary. I have noticed my brother puts a lot of stuff on the table, tho. Hm…

Speaking of my bro, he told me yesterday how much better I’m doing this year compared to last. How he sees me trying to stay out of depression, doing my best to combat all of this and not lose it. It was good to hear. Can’t always see my progress from the inside. And on days like today, when I can’t sleep more than 5 hours and I wake up thinking along the lines of a mass murderer, well, it doesn’t feel like I’ve come too far.

Manic Tornadoes: We End Up on Menopause

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My sleep routine has begun to topple over. When doctors ask about my sleep habits, I’m honest. I can stay in bed 6-8 hours every night. That leads to a ‘oh, you sleep enough’ or worse, ‘oh, you sleep too much for bipolar’. I should probably lead with this:

I’m laying down on my bed for 6-8 hours every night. I do not sleep 6-8 hours every night. I toss, I turn. I do not know how long I toss and turn because I stopped looking at the fucking clock every ten fucking minutes back when I was 20 something – it’s counterproductive.

Right now my body is trying to turn me completely around. I’m tired as can be sometimes during the day, but round about 10 p.m. I get a devilish burst of energy – an hour before I generally head to bed. I toss and turn so much trying to get relaxed and comfortable I almost drive myself nuts. And that nagging feeling that I’m always sitting on a piss is coming back, too.

I’m going manic. Or hypomanic. Whatever.

No big surprise, really. My last 2 posts have been bleeding POSITIVE, for pete’s sake. Me. Positive. Oh, yeah. That’s a warning sign.

Contrary to what I’ve been undergoing, I actually had an appetite last night for dinner. That’s weird, I know. Most of the stuff I’m reading would suggest people generally need less food when they’re on the up. But up until last night, my evening meals were VERY light. Light enough I was beginning to have concerns for myself (I don’t want to drop the extra weight I’m carrying too quick – dangerous and lousy for your skin). I had an actual plate full last night. A sensible sized piece of meatloaf, 2 big piles of veg, and some bread. And I ate every bite!

Wow, that is weird….me complaining over me NOT eating. I’ve complained over eating too much, not eating the right things, eating at bad times of the day. Suddenly I find myself on the flip side of food: most days I struggle to eat a minimum of 1500 calories. Since I’m also active, I don’t want to drop my caloric intake too far. And frankly since my cooochie-koo has given up the ghost my body’s been changing so bleeding much I barely recognize it.

Menopause…what a fucking trip it is, ladies. Since I have no female role models in my life and HAVEN’T had any for a long time, I didn’t have any foreknowledge walking into this thing other than (1) it’s a natural event and (2) every female goes through it. There’s some things I’ve learned now that I wish I knew then, so I’m gonna share ’em (WARNING! Brutal honesty ahead).

Let’s tackle the bad boy in the room first: HOT FLASHES. Like most women, I knew about hot flashes. I’d heard the jokes. I’d read the warnings about hormone replacements. I was prepared (I thought) to deal with it. Turns out I was no more prepared for it than I would have been for birth. Nothing you think you know about feeling hot is going to make a hill of beans difference when the first hot flash hits you. Nothing. ‘Cause there ain’t nothing out there like it. You’re set on fire from the inside. For me, it was a growing heat in my solar plexus area that spread and grew and kept getting hotter and hotter. There’s no escaping it, no fanning it away. You’ve just got to ride it as best as possible, which means keep fanning yourself, keep using cold items to cool your skin, keep opening windows and doors to step outside until it passes. It’s not fun, and goddess help you if you think you’re going to be able to wear fucking makeup through it. You won’t be able to. Maybe in the first 3 years you can; my hot flashes were small, brief, and infrequent at first. By the time I was in my 8th year of perimenopause (the state when your period is infrequent but still shows up), the hot flashes were something cooked up in the pits of hell. Oh, and if you’re not scared yet, here’s the kicker: they can continue for the rest of your life. Yep. The rest. of. your. life!

Perimenopause. I googled it quickly to make sure I was using the correct term. The definition on-line is (and I quote): “the period of a woman’s life shortly before the occurrence of the menopause”. SHORTLY before? SHORTLY? Whoa! I do NOT consider 10 years to be “shortly”. It’s one hell of a long time. If you live to be 80, it’s fucking 1/8 of your entire fucking life! Fucking shortly my ass! And yes, 10 years isn’t all that rare.

Mood swings are a hard thing for me to talk about because I was subject to wild mood swings BEFORE I started down this road. I can tell you they got much, much worse. Everything was amplified, everything was just MORE.  I had to grow a little philosophical about it in the end and tried to see it as a reverse puberty. The forces at work are the same, and the process is just as mysterious and fucking insane. It didn’t help much when I was in the grips of it, tho. About 3 years into perimenopause I hit a depression like no other. My depressive periods up until then had been what I’d now describe as melancholic. I’d be down, but I could function. Three years in and I could no longer function. I couldn’t look at people. I didn’t stop crying. It was a horrible, dark time that made me realize what serious depression was all about. I was put on an anti-depressant. A year later I was soaring, reaching a manic state I’d never seen before. For 2 and a half years I went like nothing else. I WAS superwoman. I set up a charity dedicated to bringing the arts to rural communities. I gathered performers from all over, brought them into downtown Nowheresville and let them do their thing. I set up video performances with some unbelievably high status directors, including an award winning Italian woman I can’t believe even responded to my request. I was EVERYWHERE spreading my message; the most together, with it, continually happy and upbeat I’ve ever achieved in my life. Then the bubble burst and I burnt out. Had to pick up the pieces again. Shut everything down; could no longer handle any of it. Since then I’ve been up and down, up and down. Sometimes within the hour, sometimes days, and sometimes weeks. There is no rhyme or reason anymore, no rhythm to count on. One more thing: sex drive. Mine went from what I’d call a normal state to overdrive. I stole every moment I could to masturbate and fantasized sexually ALL THE TIME. That was the last shout. I now have no interest in sex with another partner. I DO still masturbate from time to time, but many times I disappoint myself and fail to reach orgasm no matter what I do.

And then there’s the hair loss. Down THERE. I can’t even begin to tell you about my horror when I first noticed my pubes were marching down my legs. That’s on top of a good sprinkling of grey hairs, too. Oh, goddess. This point may not be an issue if you’re one of the people who’ve gotten into shaving everything. I was always a trimmed girl; keep it neat but don’t fucking shave it off. Had to be; my pubes tend to be ingrown hairs if I shave them off and no matter how turned off you may be seeing pubic hair it’s a thousand times worse seeing red bumps from ingrown hairs everywhere! It’s also just icky and itchy. So what if I’m hairy? At least I shave my pits.

Oh, but don’t frown quite yet, ladies! Cause hair loss down there is supplemented by hair GROWTH on your face. I mean dark man like hairs. Sometimes spiky sliver grey hairs that you can’t see but you sure as hell can feel cause they poke a whole in your damned finger! Yeesh! I now have to spend a good half hour every fucking night patrolling my face under a magnifying mirror. Pluck, pluck. Tweeze, wax. And the timing of growth spurts has just been fucking with me: I’ll clean up my entire face, no sparse eyebrow hairs or anything poking from my chin or upper lip every DAY yet still I catch these big things dangling from my face like they’ve come from a fucking UFO and just LANDED there while I was walking down the street or something. Geez!

Wrinkles and sagging skin and cellulite, oh my! Think you got some BEFORE menopause starts? Get ready, cuz here it comes! It’s distressing to watch yourself age. Distressing to see your skin begin to sag and all those tiny lines that once didn’t show up unless you were badly lit are now becoming obvious in any light. You learn to love yourself again. And again. And again. ‘Cause from now on, it’s not stopping.

My body odor’s changed, too. I used to smell like flowers when I’d sweat. It was completely nuts. I stopped using deodorant and perfumes all together. Bees followed me everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Can’t even begin to tell you how many times someone asked me what perfume I was wearing when I wasn’t wearing anything at all (I even went to non-scented shampoo and I don’t use hair products). Now, I look back at that time as lucky! I STINK!! The smell from my underarm pits drives ME up the wall. And no amount of bathing gets it off. Never. I can step right out of the shower and smell it on me. BLAH! It’s completely disgusting.

Best advice I can give any woman – EVERY woman out there is to stay informed about your options and keep communicating with the people in your life. It’s important for them to know what’s happening to you. Menopause is a fucking force of nature, people, as terrible and frightening as a tornado. It WILL come through and whip away at things you once thought important. It will fly things into your life that you never would have considered before. It will leave you changed, yes, but changed to a person you may have forgotten you were. Or forgotten you could be.