Just one more

It was three, not two. Three humans showed up for auditions last night. I guess I should be happy we snagged a whole other person to come in. Happy enough to say the three that did show were decent, and we’ll probably use them all in the production.

Ah, man…it was cool to sit in the back of the room with the director, like the cool kids. It was cool to give the text to the actors and go out for a smoke while they rehearsed. It was cool to see them get through my words, interpret my directions. And it was cool to see and hear their enthusiasm. My play. My script.

Lots to learn and accept, tho. I heard some lines delivered absolutely opposite to the way I wrote them. I just thought, man! how can you screw up the delivery of that line? But…let it go. This is where it begins to breathe. The director was helpful, pointing out that he finds it a good idea to let people go and do there thing first whether or not it’s good. That way, they feel like their creativity isn’t stifled. I saw that in action, and it worked well.

Hashed out role ideas with the director. We both want to see everyone, give everyone a chance. But knowing some of the actors coming in, we’re already honing ideas. We know, for instance, that the two females coming in next week are both solid performers and either could do any of the roles in the script. We know the scope of one of the male actors who’s always around, and narrowing down the role he can play.

Ugh…okay. And I felt a tug at my heartstrings when roles were discussed. I guess I really do want to play in this, tho I’m also very firm with my decision that I’d like to give everyone a chance. I had this moment of realization: shot forward after a performance, seeing the small venue and small audience. Heard the applause, saw the reaction. The usual reaction: the audience tends to react to the actors more than the writer. Someone in the crowd might say ‘It was a good story!’ but that’ll only be the one. The rest will be saying things like ‘You did so well!’ or ‘I really liked it!’. Their comments will not come to me. Trying to mentally prep myself for that, tho I think it might end up being like the whole role thing – I’ll do my best to say it’s all okay, and I’m okay with it, and expect nothing more, but when that moment finally comes I’ll feel a bit stung.

Well…scout rule. Be prepared. Expect to feel disappointed at some point.

Counter that reaction with your mantra: I’m a real playwright. The US premiere of my work happens in 2019. Yes, another theatre group is doing my work. That’s what happens when you’re a real playwright. Oh, yes…it’s a theatre festival. Possibility of more than 10,000 people seeing my work. No, I can’t fly out for it. Not this time.

And remember to do your happy dance once a day. Shake your butt, swing your arms in the air, and say “I’m a real playwright”.

Hope to stop all this napping. I get up, do some things in the morning, get tired from the medicine, sit down in my chair, and the next thing I know I’m falling asleep. I know it’s what I need to heal, and I’m trying to not fight it. But I feel very out of shape, unhealthy. It’s time to kick this cough and get back to the gym. Back to moving, breathing, pushing my body a bit. We finally have some rain, so that should help pull all the crap out of the air that’s making my nose so bad. Crossing my fingers that this will be it; whatever set me off is done now and I can just get thru the rest of summer.

Tomorrow is my shrink appointment. Meh. Gotta think in Dutch. Try. Maybe I should put on one of my Dutch films this afternoon. Hear it a bit, get it back into my brain. There’s a lot of info I’d like to communicate to him, but I can’t do it in Dutch.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t got back to my artist friend. I haven’t got online and responded to something I need to. Still getting headaches, tho I feel like I’ve just got to deal with it now and then and get some damned work done.

Here comes the lethargy. Took my allergy pill an hour ago.

Maybe one more day of napping. One more day of chilling out.

Just one more.

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High Noon

3:15. Some people feel noon is the day’s midpoint. I disagree. Midpoint sits at 3:15 (afternoon or early morning, doesn’t matter; it’s always midpoint of the day or night). I think it’s because of all those years of waking up precisely at 3:15 a.m. What was it? 10 years? More? As a kid, I was convinced it was because 3:15 a.m. would be my time of death. I still could be right.

Today’s 3:15 is p.m., which rarely gives me the kind of problem that its a.m. partner does. However, this 3:15 revolves around my appointment with Dr. T. I would prefer to see him in the morning. I prefer to do most everything in the mornings; my head is clearer and I’m far less tired. But I’ll deal. The day promises to be warm and pleasant, so I plan on taking my time and walking over there. I’d like to shower before I go, but alas! That decision lies on whether or not the building has hot water more than my mood.

Culled thru my own writing, made notes. Sleep issues, sweaty hands, upset tummy, performances, ups and downs. I’m clear, and won’t make the mistake of saying everything’s okay just because I slept decently last night or the majority of my immediate stressors are done with for now. I do that. How are you? I answer in the moment: Fine. Okay. Well. The better question would be: How have you been since I last saw you? That would prompt the correct response in me. But if I nitpick over such things, I’m told I’m being too literal. I’ve learned, through time, to just jump ahead and interpret what people say to me rather than listen to their actual words. But then that gets me into trouble, too. I didn’t mean that or You’re twisting my meaning is said, and once again I am wrong. Why am I the problem here? Aren’t I responding correctly, and it’s all you poor communicators who are lacking in this situation?

Geez Louise!

My bro had band practice last night, so I was left alone for the evening. Ran DVDs on the tv and watched YouTube vids at the same time. Had to; doing only one of those two things wasn’t enough to keep me settled. Both at the same time kept me occupied. Slowed myself down enough to go and read for an hour before sleep.

Mild headaches lately, but it’s Spring. Allergy season. I’m not shocked nor surprised. And my head’s been stuffed up.

I’ve given up on trying to control my food habits. I used to be very regimented: oatmeal every day, right after or with my coffee. Felt pretty self-righteous about that, knowing the health benefits. Now…I haven’t had oatmeal for months. Can’t stand the stuff. Even thinking about it makes my stomach clench. And I find I do not want breakfast food for breakfast. My body craves savory food first thing. I’ve taken to eating rice and Greek tomato sauce with feta and olives. It’s so much better on my stomach! Everything about it is better for me right now. It isn’t ’til around 8 p.m. that I crave breakfast cereal. Then I have a big bowl, watching tv, crunching away and drinking up the excess milk. Cannot get my dad out of my head, who noted this food behavior in me as a young woman (I did it throughout my 20s, flipping around breakfast and dinner meals). He, of course, complained about it. I’m just going with it, and the father in my head be damned. It is my control, my freedom, my body – and this is what it wants. My body knows what it needs; the first time I came down with shingles, I craved licorice – a natural healer.

…Not sure if the last few weeks have been a good test ground for this medication. I’ve had lots of excitement. Been wound up over the good things that have happened. On the other hand, it’s the good things that get me into trouble. I’m used to being dumped on. I’m used to hating myself. I’m used to all that negativity. I know how to handle it. Be nice to me, give me a compliment, and watch me fritz out. It’s my weakness, and it’s what I need to work on. So maybe, all in all, it’s not a bad thing. Here it is, and this is small! I’ll be in up mode all year long with the production. Yep. This is it, Dr. T. And I’m doing everything I can to keep a lid on it. Sleep problems. Sweaty hands. Headaches. Strung out feelings. Weird dreams. Anger. Circular, repetitive thoughts. Grandiose ideas. It’s all there, under wraps. I learned long ago to not talk about these things. I was cut to the carpet every time I did: you’re being overly dramatic, everyone feels like that, just stop thinking about it, you’re lying, you’re crazy, you have no idea what you’re talking about, you think you’re so special but you’re not! Now, that’s a list I should translate and give to Dr. T. Title it Things my Family Told Me.

*sigh* So much of what I’d like to say I can’t. My Dutch isn’t there, and I can only look up so much ahead of time.

I’m apprehensive about today. Nervous. Nervous about being misunderstood. Nervous about misunderstanding. Fuck. Not helping.

Fine. Walk in there with a page of translated material from Google. Hand it to him. Tell him my brain isn’t working well, and Dutch is difficult for me right now. Give him the physical notes. Make it as easy on myself to communicate what I feel I must.

For the world, it will just be ‘afternoon’.

For me: high noon.

Strung out

Everything becomes a little more difficult when your hands sweat uncontrollably. It’s disgusting. I keep wiping the palms of my hands on my clothing, trying to dry them, but within seconds they’re again covered with sweat. It’s pouring out me.

Strung out. That’s how I feel. Like I’ve come off a cocaine binge or something. Sleep is still off. Food is off. The sweating. That feeling like part of me is jumping up and down, or should be – a restlessness that keeps me moving even when I’m damned tired. Truth is, this happens to me after every performance. …Which is why I don’t perform often. It takes it out of me. I admitted to myself years ago that I could not do the kind of schedule needed to reach a certain star status – not unless all restrictions were gone (like money, so I could go to first class hotels and indulge in a private masseuse to travel with me). I could, however, do more if I had help. This physical kickback is not a choice. It’s just a physical reaction like my RA.

And other than the two beers post performance, I thought I did very well. Stayed away from caffeine. Ate a rice meal. Kept up on fresh air, and movement, and all sorts of things I’ve not bothered to do before. In other words, I really tried. Tried this time to make the transition back as smooth and as easy for myself as I possibly could. And what did I get?

Sweaty hands.

Oh, and don’t tell me to not perform. Don’t tell me to let it go. I can’t. I just can’t. It’s too important to me. The last person to drill that idea into me sent me into a spiral of depression and self hate for 35+ years. I don’t have another 35 years to figure this out!

Thursday I see Dr. T. That alone is pushing me to class this morning. To say my head isn’t on Dutch would be an understatement. I’ve really got to slow down to form any kind of coherent sentence. Therein lies the problem: go to class this hyper and unfocused and risk an outburst, or stay in and go to my appointment on Thursday barely able to say anything. Hm…

I’ll decide after I eat. If I eat (and Red Velvet Cake doesn’t count).

Seeing M yesterday was great. She has such style! Perfect hair, clear skin, her outfit form fitting without being too tight (and all in black, naturally). Gods, I envy her that. We talked about my script, and the possibility of her auditioning for it. Can I say – WOW! She laid it out for me: her schedule, the fact she’s living near Amsterdam so travel one way would be an hour and a half, etc., and she still seemed like she wanted to do it. I feel so…I don’t know. Apologetic, I guess. I didn’t realize all that. I’d love her to do it, and I think she’d be great and have fun, but…honestly, I’d say no. It’s a lot to ask. She’s got that youth on her side, though. I sent her the script this morning, so she could look at the story, and said I’ll let her know when the group holds auditions. The best thing for it is just to see if she can make an audition and talk to the director about her travel and time restrictions.

Heard from S, too. I wrote to her last week, filling her in on my new medication. Guess I was a little too blunt about my condition; she said she’d been afraid to answer me, because she wasn’t sure what to say. I apologized for frightening her and assured her that the main point was I’m doing better, and happier for it.

Ach! And I still have glue on my eyelids from those false eyelashes…

Better sleep last night. A full nine hours. Headache this morning I can’t pin down. Tension? Anxiety? Hypomania? Dehydration? Sinus infection? Brain tumor?

Who the hell knows?

Particularly sensitive to smell right now. Just opened a window. Usually, the house has very good ventilation and even tho we both smoke, you don’t smell it. But now is one of those times: I smell it, and I can’t stand it. Open the fucking window. And close the curtains, because even tho it’s cloudy it’s too bright (tho then I’ll need the lights on because it’s too dark in the room).

Like I said: strung out.

Time to shut down

I can never sleep well after a performance. My body, like it or not, is set on its schedule and performances and the world be damned if it’ll stay in bed an extra few hours because I’ve been up late.

Ah! And now I understand. I’ve heard so much about performing in Amsterdam; the audiences are tough, the standards are high. Yes, the audience was tough. By the time the third act rolled around, they were laughing loudly but the first… The first act’s job is to warm up the audience, and I was never so aware of that as I was last night. Sure fire gags to get a big laugh stuff suddenly fell on silence. It was a cold audience, no friends or family there to cheer us on, just people who came to see a show. I felt it and folded it right back into Wendy’s nervousness. I looked towards the audience more often, used that fake smile that fell in an instant showing she really wasn’t enjoying the situation, fidgeted, blew my nose loudly, belched, whined in that whiny voice, and finally – finally! – near the last 10 minutes of the act began to get real laughter in response.

The owner of the place met us in the afternoon. He shook my hand and said hello. The group went to dinner at a place nearby (good food), and when we came back I transformed: the lashes, the blue eye shadow, the bright red lipstick, the ugly leopard print blouse, the hair pulled back with two garish clips, the glasses. The walk came in, and the voice came out. The owner passed me again, in make-up, and said hello: Wendy responded. We did our thing, hitting lines and marks the entire time. Curtain call. Then I hurried backstage to take Wendy off before joining everyone at the bar. The owner was serving, and I had two beers on tap. Finally, after most of the guests had left, the owner stopped by our celebrations to speak to us once again. He looked straight at me and a puzzled frown came over his face. Sorry, what was your name again? he asked me. I introduced myself. Then the penny dropped. Oh my God! You were in the first act! I would have never recognized you! Jesus, what a transformation! You’re one hell of an actress! The owner looked dazedly around at the other members of the group, as if to ask do you people know what you have here?

Most of the conversation before the performance was geared towards the performance, as you might imagine. We were all focused on the task. But the conversation afterwards… I have been accepted as a full-fledged member of the group: they’re teasing me. One would ask: So, do we have any idea what script we might do next? And the director would answer: Oh, I don’t know…maybe I’ve found one… all the time with sly looks aimed at me and grins they couldn’t quite hide. Auditions were discussed. Timelines. I found more enthusiasm from the members than I initially expected.

Oh, they’re not doing it because they feel they have to, or just because they can do without paying royalties! They like having me there! I was included in backstage pix, crowding around and hamming it up for the camera just like I see other people doing. I was hugged both formally and informally – sometimes just an arm slung around my shoulders in an inclusive camaraderie that I felt on a new level. Yea! I’ve found it so difficult for so long to find people I have anything in common with. And although I still would like a bosom buddy, I find having a circle of friends like this is almost as good. It is immensely gratifying to honestly say I’m not worrying about what was said or done last night; there is nothing to hash over. Nothing other than the warm memory of the smiles and the laughter, the excitement and expectation.

Wow. Put that one down on the calendar! I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that before.

Class on Monday is looking less and less likely. I heard from my friend and film co-star; she plans to be shooting until the evening, so I’m looking at a late night again. Good time to catch me, when everything’s topsy turvy from the performance. I’ll nap this afternoon with the tv on and stay up later.

Snick. Wendy is gone; the magic silver ring is back in my ear.

Auditions might be called yet this month. The re-writes are done. Still have to check page numbers on tech notes. Still have to think about the legal end, too: I want releases for recorded voice and/or video sequences, and I want something between myself as the playwright and the group just to cover my ass. Those things fall to me to write. I don’t need complexity, just clarity. This is mine, you can’t do it without my permission, you understand your voice will be used in a performance and all rights to the recordings remain ours, etc. I’m not a fan of legal writing, but I can do it.

Will need another meeting with the director. Need to map out the schedule, especially the sound which I suspect will take longer than the actors. I want to move on that over summer holiday, so we have at least the roughs to use in rehearsals. …Ach, I will not have my notes fully made for any podcast/audio versions. I just won’t. It’s too much to pull it apart and re-write. Damn. Oh, well.

This production will help me in the next. And the next will help me in the first film version. And the first film version will help me the next time, when it goes full-length and big budget…

Yeah, yeah. We all know where that line of thought takes us.

…It’s Sunday. Time to shut down.

Calm before the storm

I am on holiday. From myself. I’m not letting myself bully myself. I’m not jumping on every job, working through the holiday weekend. Telling myself everyone else is taking several days off; I can, too.

It’s weird. And slightly unsettling. Can’t entirely rid myself of that guilty feeling every time I pass the script on the table, or my homework, or see a dust bunny in a corner. The only thing I can’t take time off is thinking about my role in the upcoming production, but that’s well underway. I snort-laughed last night while watching tv; that’s Wendy, not me.

…Felt a bit nostalgic, as you do during holidays. Pulled up my oldest brother’s LinkedIn profile. Never took a look at it before, and I should have. His work history is nothing to crow about: a long line of employers, most jobs held for just over a year. Honestly, it made me feel better about myself. Here I’ve been allowing him to shame me through the decades over my choices, and his personal history is shit. Puts a new spin on it.

Been thinking, too, about being poor. Usually it’s not something I ponder much. Plenty of things I want to do but can’t afford; that’s life. But lately it’s been more in my face. Obvious differences I’m seeing between myself and others. That’s harder to take, especially when those same people turn to me and expect me to be able to cough up cash like they do. Or worse, when they pussy-foot around things because they know I don’t have the money.

Hm. I’d spend more if I had more. No doubt. But I find I’m not very materialistic. I’m not a fashion plate. Don’t need a closet full of clothes, don’t need 20 pairs of shoes, don’t need make-up. Too tired most times to go out at night, so no clubs or bars on the list. And I’m far more a peasant food lover than top shelf: give me a great rice dish and I’ll be much happier than serving me lobster. I’m not a great traveller, and my health has just made that more pronounced. All in all, I’m okay with hanging around the house in my sweat pants eating well prepared meals that cost less than three euro total.

I accepted a while ago that I live in my head. And I think if I had more trappings of modern life, I wouldn’t do that so much. I’d allow myself to become distracted. It’s happened before in my history. Then I go through long spells of not writing. Not creating. Feeling, but not knowing why. It’s never been comfortable for me. In fact, it’s always driven me so far that I’ve had to take time off because I break down emotionally and/or physically.

One thing age brings is a strong sense of what’s right for you. Although a part of me would love a penthouse apartment with beautiful furniture and fascinating paintings all done up in a stylized, modern look, I don’t think I’d be able to create in it. Nice to visit, like a hotel. Walk in and stay a day or two. But I need my mouse hole to create: eclectic, slightly too busy, a little disheveled, and very lived in. Make everything feng shui and zen and I’ll just go with it. But give me clashing motifs and bright colors, and I’ll create.

I suppose that would be my ideal: two homes. One the perfect zen, a place I could return to evenings and during my time off to kick back and chill out entirely; the other my mouse-hole, busy and bright and odd, for work mode. I’ve done the best I can with what I have, but when you live with a pack rat in a small space you can hardly achieve monk-like zen in any room. lol. And I know myself. I’d hardly spend any time at all in that zen room. My brother would have to lock me up in there, like it was a punishment: Go to your zen room! Now!

…I just made that into a zen room. Interesting. I’d been thinking I needed a zen living space, but I don’t. I just need a zen room. …So, what’s in that zen room? Carpet, for warmth and comfort. Pale walls with paintings and photos. Music. Plants. Bright light, big windows with curtains that can be pulled if needed but access to sunshine and lots of it. One comfortable couch, to lay or sit on as desired. Floor space, for yoga and contemplation and pacing.

*sigh* Sounds nice. At least I can construct it in my mind. Maybe that’ll help in visualizations.

Things to note: sleeping better. Longer. Feeling more and more like I’m healing physically, gaining strength. It’s…almost orgasmic. I eat and my body gains strength; I can feel it. Don’t really feel like challenging myself, so I’m sticking with walks around the neighborhood rather than going to the gym. Continually being amazed at how good ‘healthy’ feels. Really did not know how run down I’d become.

Controlling sights and sounds around me. Been burning through DVDs again, avoiding commercial content. Much better than sitting through hours of peddlers hyping their wares. I just sit at my computer, mindlessly playing solitaire while show after show plays. It is as if I’ve shut down on some level. Once in a while I try another game, something else, but… I keep returning to solitaire and eyeing the tv. This is a sign I’m working on something. That back burner is going and doesn’t want to be disturbed by frontal lobe thoughts. In fact, that back burner is singularly mysterious; usually I have a sense of what I’m working on. This time: Nadda. Niks. Rien. Nic. Zilch. I am as clueless as I’ve ever been.

And I’m letting that be okay. Regular me…she’d be upset. But I’m not regular me right now, I’m holiday me. If holiday me wants to spend her time zoning out, she can do that.

This is my calm before the storm.

Change what you can

Self-care: 1. Anxiety: 0.

Went to see my GP this morning about my stomach problems. It’s a long time coming; been having bouts on and off for at least 6 months now. I apologized for that. She laughed – I doubt she has many patients who apologize for NOT coming in right away. Anyhoo. She’s testing for celiac disease and blood in my stool. Joy. I’ve a bruise on my arm from my vein bleeding (ouch) and a packet-load of info in Dutch to read.

Still not sleeping great. Waking up too early, but I can’t seem to stay up any later to shift my timing. I am annoyed with myself every time I see 5 a.m. I tell myself to turn over, get some more rest – but then my head starts, and I toss, and turn… It’s worthless to stay there. Aggravating because it reminds me I can’t sleep and I want to. Better to get up and do something. Anything.

On the heels of yesterday, when I felt bloody damned discouraged with Dutch because I’d received my homework back littered with corrections, I feel better today. The nurse who took my blood talked Dutch with me, gave me a few words, and was just very kind and understanding. I understood her better than I would have 6 months ago, and I’m reminding myself of my progress. I do not expect perfection from myself. I’m not perfect in English. But I’d like to get a good deal closer to perfection than I currently am.

Hm. Bringing up my homework reminds me of my first thought when I looked at it: Damn woman! You were manic as hell when you wrote this. My teachers are right; I’m making mistakes on stuff that I shouldn’t.

The thought’s occurred to me that I’m more depressed than I realize. I saw a chart a few days ago…it showed what depression was supposed to be like. Emptiness, self-hate, rage, sorrow. All on the chart. I wondered if, once my rage and self hate were calmed, I’d feel even more depressed because that’s what’s really underneath it all.

Or maybe I just need a higher dosage of meds.

…Ach, it’s not a subject I like to think about. Which tells me it’s very possibly my problem (or one of them)…

One of the other students in class told me I shouldn’t write so much. You won’t make so many mistakes if you don’t write such long stories, she told me. This from the student who had me held up as an example by our teacher: (Beeps) writes longer stories for practice. This week, she wrote a child’s story about a mouse and a squirrel. You should try that, too… So, you know, take it with a grain of salt because I’m sure she didn’t like hearing that. Still. I got frustrated and angry. Defensive. I told her I’m a writer, I must write, it’s what I do, and I want the practice. My underlying message: fuck you if you don’t want to do the work. I do; it’s important to me and nothing you say will stop that.

I will not submit to that fucking competitive pressure bullshit! Heard that in school: you’re breaking the bell curve. Give the rest of us a break. What about me? What about my learning curve? Should I just sit around and twiddle my thumbs because the rest of you can’t keep up with me? Why should I hold myself back? Because you suddenly feel it’s some sort of competition and you’re not up to specs?

Goddamn! People don’t own that shit.

…And it isn’t easy to take. Not for me. ‘Cause I know where this goes: my isolation. Oh, they might always talk to me, but their real agenda is to use my superior knowledge to check their answers against. I’m the barrier between the teachers and the rest of the group. Already I get it: the questions, the people leaning over to look at my papers. I dislike that intensely. I feel it puts double pressure on me: I have to be right for the teachers AND the other students because I’ve performed so well. My teachers, at least, have taken my anxiety to heart. They no longer pressure me to answer if I say I don’t know. That, of course, will cause more problems in the long run because this slightly special treatment will be noticed by the others.

I keep reminding everyone I make mistakes. I don’t know. I can only do my best.

…And, you know…how long have you lived in this country? Twenty-two years? And you still talk that poorly? You still can’t read, you still can’t sound words out? I mean…Good Goddess! I would have thought some of that would have just seeped in over the years. I’m working my ass off every minute of the day to listen, learn, keep up. Don’t come at me with your hidden agenda fucking suggestions on how I should approach MY learning when you’re just so fucking lazy you won’t even make an effort!!

Oh, I’m fucking angry about that – !

What are we gonna do today, Brain? Same thing we do every day, Pinky: try to calm the fuck down. To wit: gym, reading, games, tv. Next week is holiday for Easter, so I’ve a two week gap. Thursday is rehearsal for Amsterdam – still have to run my bleeding lines, but I’m not thinking about that today. Just…calm. Settle. I took a big step this morning and my system is feeling it. Yesterday riled me up. I keep shifting between hope and despondency, and my body gets a jot of adrenaline every fucking time. Still haven’t been able to eat anything yet today.

Answer: take control. Maybe you can’t control your emotions or your body right now, but you can control the lighting in the room. You can control what’s on tv, the sound and sights around you.

Change what you can.

Time to take the time

Yes! Got to the gym. Raised my heart rate up to the 140s and worked up a sweat. Even did my arm reps. The one thing I didn’t push was my abdominals; I don’t know about the wisdom of crunching my midsection when my guts have been squeezing and twisting so much.

Per usual, my sleep is off. Fell into that half sleep with your eyes open trance in the early evening, then could only stay in bed for 6 hours. Tried. Wanted more. But there’s only so much tossing and turning I’ll take before I get up from a horizontal position.

Did not address my homework. I looked at it like this: I was only going to do one thing I didn’t want to do on a Sunday, and the choice was gym or homework. I almost skived off again. Almost lost myself in Dutch verbs and prepositions. But I knew my body needed a work out more than my brain, so I took care of that. Me in action, taking care of myself. Gotta get used to that. Get used to saying ‘no’ because I must put myself first. No, I can’t go see your band and spend fifty euro; I don’t have the money. No, I can’t fuck around ’cause I gotta take an hour and go walk. No, I can’t do that; it’s too much, and I’ll overload. Also, I know I’m a prat. I’ll have written three times as much as anyone in the class the way it is.

Got lucky the other day with my new reading choice. It’s a new copy. No kid has opened these pages: they are still crisp, clean, and fresh. It’s been a long, long time since I read a brand new hard cover book. Another lost joy rediscovered! There’s something about the way the pages turn, knowing no one has read these exact words – oh, I know they’ve read copies of these words, but not the words printed in this particular book. They become mine, all mine. I am the first to have them. It’s a tactile and intellectual joy I didn’t know I possessed.

Finding out, too, how fragile my digestive system is after this last IBS bout. The slightest uptick in anxiety sets me off. That is not a joy. It’s a constant physical reminder that (1) I need to slow down and (2) I’m not handling my anxiety well.

Been trying to think outside the box. That’s hard, when you know your mind is already in a box. When it was grown to fit into a box. But I’m trying. Was hit with a thought the other day while making my bed: What would you do if you really cared about yourself? That stopped me. I had to really think about it; I’m so used to just going or doing. But then I got this vision of myself. I was smiling, relaxed. Better groomed: my hair neater and my clothes nicer. I saw how that version of myself would treat herself: facials, manicures, shopping. She walks slower than I do. She makes the time to meet with friends because socializing is important to her. But always, first, she makes time for herself. She does not rush through her routine, feeling like that hour or whatever it is spent on herself is a waste. No. She needs that time to be who she is. To calmly gather herself before she faces the day. She does that so she has the ability to smile and be patient with the world because she began her day being patient with herself…

Ah. Sometimes if I let myself talk it through I just come right out with it, don’t I?

Meanwhile, in reality, my hair is frizzy and needs some deep conditioning. I’ve got hangnails galore, including bloody ones. My clothes are uniformly un-ironed and rather frumpy. I look more like a ‘before’ picture in a magazine make-over article than the ‘after’ pix. I have told myself I don’t care how I look. That stuff doesn’t matter to me; I am above it and beyond it. And on one level, that’s true. On another level, however…I am not satisfied with this look. It does not reflect who I want to be. It accurately reflects who I am, though.

My real problem isn’t that I allow myself to totally let go of all concepts of fashion and make-up. It’s that I allow myself to stay that way, never moving out of that rut. Doll me up every day and I’ll cry over losing who I really am under all that make-up, but conversely, strip me down to the basics every day and I’ll feel the frump.

Say it with me: bal-ance. Story of my bleeding life; the pursuit of balance. And that’s my balance, not yours or anyone else’s. Some people look at me and try to ‘correct’ me to what they think is a good balance. Move here, do this, stand that way. I’ll listen, to a point. I mean…I don’t know what I’m doing. I’d think that’s obvious. And I’m not opposed to feedback. But…no one stands in this body but me. No one knows it’s quirks and kinks like me. That slight pull to my right because my hips are uneven. The loss of motion in my left neck. The tiny ringing in my ears, the way my stomach feels, the calluses on my toes. Only I can say when these things are “right” or “okay”.

…And the body says: *bu-u-u-u-u-u-urp*. There’s that physical reminder again.

That better version of me is telling me to get up and begin my day. Make breakfast. Re-write my homework so it’s neat. And I’ll have time to think about ironing my clothes, if I want, or trying something with my hair.

Time to take the time.

No one can tell I’m crying when I walk in the rain

It’s 5 a.m. and no huge surprise that I can’t sleep.

In less than 5 hours I’m meeting someone who will probably be a part of my medical team for many years to come. The only way I’ve been able to look at it is that it’s like my RA. It’s incurable, I’ll never be able to stop treating it, never be able to stop seeing doctors about it, and I’ll just have to live with it and all the new complications it brings.

Keep thinking about people. The Dutch just don’t lose it like Americans, so it’s been a while since I’ve been treated to a public display that makes me think ‘wow, they let you loose from that straitjacket a little early’, but I see it all the time on tv. How do they let these people walk around? Why hasn’t it been universally recognized that they’ve got some real issues going and it would better to just deal with them? But, no. The absurd is commonplace now. This unhinged behavior has now come under the mantle of ‘free speech’ and allows everything from outright hate, bigotry and chauvinism to total narcissism. We feed the id, stuffing it with everything possible in order to avoid thinking about how fucking miserable we all are and how shitty life really is. I realize the only difference between them and me is that I recognize I’m miserable, but then, I’ve been asking for a lobotomy in one manner or another since I was 10.

Maybe that’s all mental un-health is. Recognizing how miserable you are. It sure doesn’t hang off of actual behavior unless you go on some killing spree. It sure doesn’t go off social ‘norms’ because they’re always changing and the people who don’t adhere to them aren’t just carted away. There’s no mentally healthy person on this planet to point to as an example. Even the doctor I’m going to see this morning has his issues and problems. He probably sees a shrink on his own; usually, that’s part of the job. Gods, please don’t let him be a closet chauvinist! I just can’t deal with that right now.

Right. So…imagine him in his underwear. Or sitting on the toilet. No one can be intimidating with their pants around their ankles. He’s just a person, with his own problems and issues. He’s been trained to communicate well, but he’s just a person, and people fuck up. Try to remember that. Today is no big deal. A meet ‘n greet. He’s got to get to know you, and you’ve got to get to know him. Don’t unload like a dump truck the moment the door closes. You acknowledge this is going to be long term, so act accordingly.

It’s okay to be cautious.

Another headache, or the same one that never really went away. Don’t know nor care. Just an observation. Same with my continued gut problem, tho that, I’m happy to say, is getting better.

Came to this morning, tossed and turned. Found my bed a mess: covers half off, pillows scrunched up or on the floor. I am aware my nights have been very hectic. Sleep is where I seem to confront my big stuff, and that’s the real problem. I’m not getting proper rest, I’m hurting myself, and I don’t seem to be working thru it. Didn’t help that as I lay there, tears came to my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. First. thing. in. the morning. That happens so often to me… I hate it. I know I must get up; continuing to lay there just makes things worse. But then I’m up in the middle of the night, which does nothing to help me feel rested.

…Felt bolstered to get a positive comment on a FB post about my upcoming performance. It came from the producer of a film I worked on, which doubles its weight in my mind. Wow. Yeah. I’ve done films. Plural. Keep that in mind. The comment was to my acting, which strokes my ego just so fine today. Yes, thank you. Thank you for the acknowledgement. I feel I don’t get enough of that in my life, so THANK YOU! for telling me you think I act well. Don’t feel quite comfortable saying ‘I’m a good actress’. Not this morning. But I’m comfortable enough acknowledging someone else’s opinion of my work. It’s a bit of yeah, not everybody thinks I’m shit feeling.

*sigh* I’m all over the place, aren’t I? I’m not even addressing the crying this morning other than noting it. What can I say? That it’s just become a fact of life for me? It’s not an every day occurrence, but it happens often enough that I’m not surprised by it. Maybe that’s what happens when you ignore it, tho. Your body ups the anti to get your attention.

Which is where I currently find myself.

Good Goddess, someone read this and learn from my mistakes because it sure as hell seems like I didn’t!

…Once in a while I ponder the idea that I’m leaving my own legacy behind. As an adherent to the idea of reincarnation, I like to imagine that someday I’ll stumble across my own words, my own work, and find myself again. I’ve run across things that make me hum. Totally, head to toe, vibrate with a deep…a deep what? Longing? Love? Something between the two? It resonates with me, and makes me feel like I’ve found a long-missed piece of a jigsaw puzzle I’m putting together. That’s the best way I can put it.

…I’m not real good at accepting help. I know that. People…tend to confuse me. I often do better if I’m just left alone to suss it out by myself. I do need to learn how to ask for help, tho. Especially when I need it. And I need it now. Not begrudging help, doled out with marks on a chalkboard adding up how much I owe in return. Not weak help, like a slimy fish handed to you that’s still alive and immediately slips out of your fingers. I need help like I’ve rarely received it before, and I need to let myself be helped.

….It’s raining. Well. There’s one good thing.

No one can tell I’m crying when I walk in the rain.

The harder I try, the faster I go

Where is my baseline? When I’m depressed, I think ‘yep, this is where I normally live’, but when I’m manic I think ‘yep, this is where I’m meant to live’ and honestly, I just don’t know. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be happy or excited without being manic. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be sad or blue without being depressed. I don’t know that I’ve spent one minute of my life in a “normal” human mode without an extreme taking over.

My fears and frustrations did what they always end up doing to me: they pushed me into action. In the last 48 hours I’ve designed and prepped a flyer for my play; designed and prepped a teaser video for said play; brainstormed on marketing and advertising strategies (three pages worth); searched in English and Dutch for venues, bloggers, and anything remotely connected with theatre and the arts; and brainstormed, researched, and decided upon a tag line for the entire production. That’s in addition to reading several chapters in my book, writing three pages of narrative in Dutch, finishing my homework, getting to the gym, and keeping up on the housework.

Just a little manic (and yes, that’s sarcastic, I’m out in the fucking stratosphere, people).

In some ways, this is just my life. My pattern is to think for a long time. It looks like I’m doing jack shit, but in truth I’m working my ass off contemplating whatever it is I’ve got in my sights. When I finally do make a move, I’ve thought it out so completely that it goes at lightening speed. The flyer I designed was a perfect example: thought about it for days but the physical process of putting it together took me less than 30 minutes, and that includes searching for and manipulating a copyright free picture to use in the background. Same with the teaser video. Boom, boom, boom – one, two, three – and it’s done. Now both projects must sit on my desktop because neither can be released before I have performance dates and venues. … But, yeah. I’m always in feast or famine mode. It’s the natural of the way I work. Catch me in famine mode and you’ll think I spend my days sitting around on my ass playing games and watching tv. Catch me in feast mode and you’ll think I never sit down nor stop working.

………..

The internet cut me off. Yeah. Even the Universe is flipping telling me to STOP.

Trying to divvy up my time. An hour here, an hour there. Move around and don’t stay with anything too long. It isn’t really working. I’m fighting it, wanting to keep going once I get going. Or I get up and try something else to little effect and return to my obsession. Try this, write that idea down, search that. If I don’t slow down I’ll have all the ‘jobs’ finished before I even talk to the director about the production.

And no matter what I cajole my body into doing, my head stays on topic, never leaving it for long, never ceasing to think of new ideas, new approaches, new considerations. Mentally, I like being here. It is full of hope and energy. I also know it’s a danger point.

Food is never far from my thoughts these days. Don’t skip meals. Eat something. Mornings I feel like I have to shove food down my throat. Evenings I feel like I can’t eat enough. Been trying to just go with the flow as best as possible, but working out at the gym or any other afternoon activity throws a wrench into it: go too hard in the afternoon and I drop. Ergo, I need food before I do my afternoon activities. But I then I’m shoving food again, feeling like I’m eating unnecessarily when I’m not hungry. Tried riding out the morning and eating after the gym, which works to an extent. It screws up my dinner time, tho, and I don’t like that. The experience just serves to bring me back to the beginning: gods, I wish I didn’t have to eat at all.

Fucking three dimensional carbon based life forms! What a wet sack of shit we’re all caught in. My body just slows me down. The pain, the need to sleep, to rest, to eat. It disrupts my work, and that irritates me. I do my best to remind myself that this is reality as I know it; the animal is part of me, treat it like a well loved pet rather than an often kicked dog. Gah! It ain’t easy.

Thinking about tackling those big cleaning jobs around the house, the ones I do once every six months or so. It’s time; the place needs it. It would also be something else to keep me occupied and at least physically away from obsessing (and it would allow me ample time to just think about things). That’s hardly ‘rustig’, tho. My best bet is to try reading again, tho lately I’m so squirrelly I have a difficult time sitting even for that.

I can feel my routine break down. See it, even. I was so stable for so long. Get up, eat oatmeal, exercise, Dutch, afternoon writing, evening tv, sleep. Now, it’s all out the window. Can’t eat in the mornings, exercise is a vague maybe, Dutch homework is still a drag tho reading has become a joy, my only writing is my obsessive marketing information collection, evening tv is on but largely unwatched because I’m fucking obsessed and only thinking of my work, and sleep is a toss and turn and check the clock to see if I can get up and start again.

I’ve been here before. I know what this is.

And the harder I try to slow down, the faster I go…

Figure it out

R-ring! Ring!

My phone doesn’t ring often. So I was more than surprised to hear it ring yesterday at 8:16 a.m. Ran down the hall to my room, pulled it off the charger, picked it up.

Wall of Dutch. Again. I’ll give myself credit; I’m starting to get used to so much Dutch when I answer the phone. I’ll give myself another pat on the back because I didn’t freak out. Just listened until I heard some words I recognized. Ah! You’re calling from my doctor’s office. Naturally. I’d just finished touting the fact I’d made that appointment. What’s that? You need to change the appointment? Of course you do; what was I thinking? Didn’t say all that, but it is what went through my mind. Managed to change the appointment to Monday morning without using English.

Tackled my language homework in the late morning. The printed exercises were fairly easy, and I got through them in about an hour. Then, I began writing. Our essay assignment this week is to describe where we live. …Can I just say ‘Wow’? For a couple of reasons. One, I could tell immediately my Dutch reading has had an effect. My sentences were stronger right from the start. Fuller. Longer, even. Second, I couldn’t stop writing. Didn’t want to. Just kept going and going until my brother came out to make dinner. Oh, it takes me forever. I still have to have two dictionaries and my sheets on prepositions and odd verbs all handy, open, and ready to refer to. But I’m doing it. Six pages of double spaced, hand-written material done and I still haven’t even begun to describe the living room. Next week I might not feel so confident and cocky, but right now I’m flying high. Feels like I’m getting a real grip on Dutch. I hope so.

Slept like the dead. Really whacked myself out; down for 10 hours. Or maybe I’m finally slowing down enough to feel how low I let my body get. Still tired, and I may end up napping today. Oh! Napping! The word makes me shiver with anticipation. To sweetly fall asleep, gently moving into that netherworld… Well, that idea now has me excited enough that I might not be able to do it.

Things I gotta do today: nothin’. Things I wanna do today: sit in my big chair, under my warm cozy blanket, and read my book until I fall asleep. I’ve been reliving my childhood. Mouth guard at night to remind me sharply of my retainer at 13. Little to no appetite for anything that’s not sugar based. I even – and Goddess, I shouldn’t have said anything! – broke out with a pimple. 52 and I have a bleeding pimple on my chin. You couldn’t trigger me more if you’d designed a box with everything that set me off and put me in it. This is such a body experience. My head knows what’s going on, but my body just keeps responding with that jerked knee. If I have to, I’ll take myself out of the game entirely until this blows over. Zero human contact, no leaving the house. Don’t feel I’m there (yet), but I’m keeping it in mind. It’s my safety blanket (and my safety blanket is a light, soft blue…warm cotton with one of those faux satin trimmings).

Teaching myself to think one step beyond. Not one thousand steps; not so high on the pinnacle it’s dizzying. Nope. One step beyond. Anxious about the appointment with my doc? Think about my next language lesson, just a few short hours beyond the appointment. Worried about the script read through? Think about the day after, and heading back to the gym. Trying to get my thoughts unstuck without sending myself into orbit. It’s a different manner of approaching this, and thus far, it’s helping. I feel a bit more balanced, a bit more continuous in time rather than so up and down or in and out.

Went to physio for my jaw. A nice woman. She asked what I hoped to get out of physio. Obvious to me she’s had some patients who think she can end the pain entirely. I’ve had too much physio to think one treatment will ever cure me of anything. Told her I’m looking for some exercises, something that might help the pain when it does strike or prevent me from doing it in the first place. She nodded, thinking. Who first thought you might have TMJ? she asked me. Me. I diagnosed myself, then went to my GP and dentist. Again, a nod. We chatted away, first in English and then a bit in Dutch. I’ve got some exercises. Pulling on my cheeks, manipulating my tongue, moving and exercising the smaller muscles in the jaw.

Sadly, all that manipulation led to more pain last night. And far more biting, so deep in sleep that I barely remember coming to when I gnashed my teeth or turned over or took off my pj top because I’d sweated through it (obviously, I remember some of it).

*sigh* 13 year old me was a real basket case.

Gonna ignore an awful lot today. Close the curtains because no, I don’t want to see the rest of the world go about their lives while I’m in hibernation. Rest. Feels like that item is always on the menu lately. But my brother keeps telling me I’m still too pale, still not back to my old self.

lol! Now that IS funny. Because I am back to my old self. My 13 year old self. I keep saying it.

And I keep exploring it. I say ‘Okay, have that soda, have that sugary treat. You feel 13, you’re getting triggered…where is this going?’ I wonder where my path will lead me. So eat sugar, if that’s what you want. Read. Nap in the afternoon. Find out what it is that’s driving all this gnashing. You’re here and going through this for a reason.

Figure it out.