Reverse Hibernation

Tired. Like, down to my bones. Every limb feels heavy and stiff. Slept 10 hours and considering a nap. Trying not to, ’cause naps fuck me up more than it’s worth most times, unless I’ve been on a crying jag (which I’ve not)…then it resets me.

Consciously smoking. Cutting down. Reigning in. …It’s as much a pain in the ass process as active listening is right now.

Just want to sleep.

My brain has shut down. It refuses to think of anything more than putting one foot in front of the other. It offers no inspiration, gives me nothing from story-land to occupy my time.

It’s bleak, but comforting. And I think this is the way death comes to us. It tires us down, bit by bit, until we welcome the unending slumber. At least, I hope so.

I hope that’s the way it happens.

Happy thoughts to while away the day, yes?

Ugh. I hate my body when it’s like this. Far beyond just exercise back lash. Fronts have been moving through the area, and long observation has lead me to the conclusion that fast moving weather fronts affect my RA. Summer is always hell. I use selective denial, and choose to remember summers as fun. But the truth always hits me mid-way. Summer tires me out terribly.

Been rehearsing my role. Really have the first seven pages down. Recorded in my partner’s lines for the last half of the script. Now it’s repetition. Perfecting. I keep finding deeper and deeper nuances of body language to use. So much can be said with a turn of the head.

Trying not to worry. Tough, when I’m like this. If I could keep active, keep going…then maybe my mind wouldn’t go so dark. But I struggled to get the dishes done. It was a big job, or it felt like it. Going outside, committing to other activities…I’d drop over unconscious within an hour. I need an extra boost of caffeine to even begin reaching a state of ‘normal’ alertness. A big boost.

Feels like I’m slipping into some reverse hibernation. Sleep away the summer rather than the winter.

…On a cosmic level, that makes sense somehow…doesn’t it?

Fear is a weighty burden

Five a.m., 23 degrees. My eyes wanted to keep sleeping, but my head hit that anger button – hard. One moment I was tossing and turning in my bed, trying to get comfortable, the next I was half dreaming of a family reunion and running towards my bitch of an older sister to repeatedly smash her in the face. How I would love to do that. I’d hit her and hit her, until blood flowed. Then I’d hit her some more, until my hands broke. That’s how much I hate that bitch. Physical violence, all the way. Killing her by any means other than wrapping my hands around her overly-fat neck and squeezing wouldn’t be satisfactory. It’s harsh, but true.

And of course I want the truth to come out. How everything she accused me of was her projecting her faults onto me. I want the family to see it, to KNOW that to be true. I want vindication.

I am unlikely to get any.

I know I’m scared right now. Somehow the lid on that container got taken off, too. Been having small panic attacks over the last 24 hours. Been thinking about walking off and allowing myself to die. Holding on, but it’s getting harder. I’m slipping.

Falling into summer depression mode.

Telling myself right now that it’s temporary. Somehow, though, the thought that I’m only ever REALLY okay for a few months in spring and a few months in autumn makes me feel that this is my default, and those few blessed months away from self-doubt and overwhelming anger aren’t my true baseline.

Naturally, my body reflects my horrid self-image. My psoriasis has gone wild, and my feet look like they belong to a leper. Just in time for summer sandals. It’s even spread to my hands again, which makes me very self-conscious. I feel fat and bloated. Hate my hunger; my body’s too fat, it doesn’t need to eat! Wish I could live on popsicles alone. They’re cold and sweet, and only 40 calories each.

Have to sit thru a language lesson this morning. Don’t want to. I’ll give myself props where props are due: in the past few days I’ve overheard some Dutch – mostly from the tv – and understood. That’s overhearing understanding, not concentrating understanding. Big difference. Maybe I don’t know many Dutch words, but a few have wormed their way into my subconscious. I don’t need to think about them; I KNOW. Been picking up my Dutch book to read at night, too. Don’t feel I’m doing well, or reading fast, or getting everything. Need to re-read some passages a couple of times. At least I’m trying.

Got my first script rejection yesterday, too. That doesn’t help. I know – one more notch in the belt, right? I’ll add it to my pile of rejections (someday, when I’m famous, I’ll wallpaper a room with all of those rejections and make interviewers walk through it before talking to me). Felt a bit like all my mental defenses came crashing down, tho. I had that *whimper* why try? in my head. Yeah, well…get ready. Sent out to a lot of places during my last up phase. I’ll probably see the fruits of that come back to me now, when I least need it.

I’m worried I’ve wasted my life, dithering around, trying this and that. And it feels too late to try anything new. Feels like my only alternative is to keep trying, keep hoping. And I worry I’m living on a pipe dream. A nice fantasy I tell myself to keep the boogie man away at night. I keep saying someday. Someday when I have a bit more money, someday when I’m famous, someday…. I’m tired of saying it.

Afraid of telling my brother all this because I was doing well for a while there. Purposeful, forward movement. Now…now all I am is a mass of insecurities. And I feel like I can’t or shouldn’t keep relying on someone else to help me feel better. All I do is add to his worries.

Through all of this is the deep seated knowledge that I must, above all else, keeping taking steps forward. Keep on my exercise, keep trying to get some sleep. Keep sending my stuff out and to hell with all the idiots who can’t see how good it is. Funny how in this hottest of hot weather I feel like I’m moving through molasses in January. Slow, difficult steps. Things that drag on me, and weigh me down.

Fear is a weighty burden.

I wonder

Thirty minutes on the cross trainer. No more fucking around. The additional ten minutes were easier than the first ten. Thirty minutes on the bikes – giving my feet a rest from the treadmill. Thirty minutes lifting weights and getting eyed up by all the men pushing their bulging biceps just a little bit further.

I sweat a lot at the gym. Not because I’m that fat, or because I abuse alcohol, but because I drink copious amounts of water each and every day. Doesn’t take much exertion to get sweat going with me – and I consider that a good thing; sweating is a natural cleansing process. Sweat pours off my face, soaks my shirt. I drip.

And people look at me. Never know exactly why. Do they think I look ridiculous, working so much while in this old body? Do they worry I might keel over from too much exertion?

…Why does anybody look at anybody in the gym? Is it a diss thing? Does it allow shallow people to judge and find you (or me) lacking so that they feel better about their own pathetic existence?

I’m not so stupid as to forget the basics: the gym is the new meat locker. No, I didn’t spell that wrong. I said meat locker and I meant meat locker. It’s the place to go and scope the sex you’re attracted to. See it all – the muscles and the flab. Make your choice whether to fuck or not fuck based on the daylight, stripped down version rather than the nighttime dolled up version at a club.

So I gotta ask – why look at me? Don’t you know how old I am?

Honest answer: no. No, they don’t know how old I am. And thanks to a certain disgusting American “comedy” show that birthed anagrams like MILTF, they don’t even care that I’m older. Because even an older bitch is still worth a ride. Not a relationship, mind you, – but a ride. Once in a while.

Ignore. Got a pair of psychic blinders I put on that helps me studiously ignore all such nonsense – and usually the soundtrack is something heavy duty, too, like Lacuna Coil or Queensryche.

Have found a temporary balm for my troubled soul in the form of a tv show. Yeah, I know. Keeps me on my ass, sitting around, and all too easy to smoke. Tough. It’s soothing my angry spirit, calming my worried mind – so it’s worth it right now.

All the wind is knocked out of my sails right now with the script. Still got formatting to do, and my head screams with boredom so loudly when I think of it I swear it’s audible in the room. Hope I’ll find my enthusiasm again soon, and everything will get done in that lickety-split manner that happens when you’re all ready for the long haul. If not…well, I still got two weeks to complete it and get it out before the deadline. Even if I’m screaming out loud by then, I can get it done.

Sleep is my friend again. Seems someone out there listened to my fevered prayer. The Sandman doesn’t just sprinkle my eyes at night, he whaps me over the head with his full sandbag and I’m down for 10 hours minimum.

Tomorrow night is another play rehearsal. Have not even opened the script. On some level, I feel it’s not necessary. We’re still blocking the piece out. Trying different pauses and inflections. Why memorize my role one way, then have the director tell me to do it differently? Better to get his take on the whole thing, then rehearse it with his notes.

Dutch is a little better. My head took my language frustration seriously, and I can tell I’m really trying to zero in on the words again. Not back to reading the novel; when I’ve the energy to read, I’m researching for my next script. But I am trying to do a page of exercises in my books before classes. …Oh, yeah. And I skipped on Friday. Can’t help but think skipping the most stressful lesson of the week helped me to refocus. My teacher really ramps me up, and that doesn’t help me learn.

My brother has promised to help me today with housework. I bitched yesterday morning about it. Loudly and clearly. Didn’t blame, just whined that the continual grind of it makes me forget what day it is. Doing the same chores every single day in the same manner at the same time with no variation can really fuck you up that way. And I’m always too bushed from doing the basics to do any of the bigger stuff. So I hope with help today to get the hoovering AND the dusting done, all in one go. Clean the mirrors, scrub out the sinks. If we can do enough that I don’t feel I’ve got to clean something every damned day, I’ll feel better.

At least for a week.

Very much feels like I’m trying to get ahead of my darkness. If I can stay a half step ahead of it, if I eat right and get enough sleep and exercise regularly, maybe, maybe I won’t go down again. I know that’s a lie. I’ll go down again. I always go down again.

And I’ll be honest here. As a writer, or a wanna-be writer growing up, I wanted to go down. I wanted to know rock bottom. How could anyone effectively write about something they know nothing about? It seemed to me that all the great writers went down, found that pit of base humanity from which to write – and thus, all the great stories were born. So I said to myself, yes, I want that. I need to know what it is.

Did I drive myself mad? Did I embrace insanity at some point to know? I wonder.

Three Facts

I am up too early and smoking too much.

Did my best to hang onto my high yesterday, but it wore away under the relentless pounding it got from everyday concerns. Dutch lesson: a tragic disaster. My head’s been writing in English, thinking in English – so my Dutch felt more than rusty. Don’t know if I put together a coherent sentence. Didn’t help that my teacher picked a page out of a workbook that was way too advanced for me, conjugating verbs that use ‘zich’ in a sentence. I felt dumber than dumb. By the end of the lesson my head was beginning to come back to Dutch – but then we were saying good-bye, and I was walking home knowing it’s up to ME to keep the Dutch alive in my brain until next week.

Off to the pharmacy to pick up my meds. Contemplated the whole way there. What was the correct question form? Is the word I’m looking for krijgen? Gekrijgen? Am I even in the ballpark? Settled on using a half sentence – I have a text message from you/Ik heb een SMS van jullie. Not great grammar, but I was understood. Stocked up on pills. Oh, goodie.

Off to the gym for a light session. I banged my ankle last time on a machine edge, and yes, it’s black and blue, so I took it easy.

Then there’s the headlines this morning. – !

I’m tired and smoking isn’t helping. But I’ve got a lesson this morning with the teacher who riles me up 75% of the time without trying, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna walk into that classroom without something to soothe my nerves.

Wanna delve right into more English. Edit the last script. Read it, at least. I shouldn’t. I should let it sit. Got class this morning and meeting acquaintances on Sunday for a coffee and chat (see? I AM trying to get out and be social). Should keep my head on straight. …*sigh* Somehow that makes the temptation even greater.

…Oh, I wish I were different. Stronger. More self assured.

Wish I knew what the fuck I’m doing, too.

Right.

Fact: no one knows what the fuck they’re doing. If they claim they do, they’re lying.

Fact: everyone feels insecure sometimes. If you never see them down, they’re faking it well.

Fact: everything I’ve heard about my progress with Dutch is someone’s opinion. I’m doing well, I’m not so hot – all just opinions. I’ve got more comprehension than when I began. I can generally make myself understood. Everything else is cake.

Three facts I need to burn into my consciousness this morning.

Cycle

Things that don’t suck even when I feel bad:

  1. A wedge of aged feta drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano, served with olives, thinly sliced red onion, and fresh pita.
  2. Hanging with my bro.
  3. Looking through comic book bins for black and white weird releases that I like so much.
  4. Walking around in sunshine despite the forecast rain.
  5. Having a metro show up within 4 minutes of walking into a station.
  6. A poorly named but funny as hell film called ‘I Could Never Be Your Woman’ that had me belly laughing.
  7. New comics to read.
  8. Riding the tram.
  9. Playing hooky from language class.
  10. An extra two inches of space around my waist when I put on a pair of old sweat pants.
  11. Being able to zip up my winter coat without having to wrangle it past my fat butt.
  12. My shiny nails after my home manicure.
  13. Finding innumerable English speaking theatre groups asking for new plays from anybody. Even found 8 other groups right here in NL.
  14. Hearing from my friends.
  15. Getting a really good night’s sleep because I found a sleep mask for only €2.50 rather than the whopping €30 they were asking online.

Yesterday was better. Didn’t have much hope it would be when I got up, and when my bro suggested going to the comic shop with him I agreed because I didn’t know what else to do. It was to a part of town I’d not been to, so that was new and different. The rain parted every time we stepped outside. I found one or two weird comics to give a try – my taste is very eclectic. Watched some barge traffic on the river. Had lunch at a Greek place I really like. Walked around looking in the cheap shops and found a couple of things, like my sleep mask. Came home and watched some films I really found enjoyable. Heard myself laughing, then forgot about feeling bad and just went with it.

Still won’t go to language class this week. My mood is too tenuous. Play it safe: gym, shower, a little relaxation, a bit of getting out. Not smoking is getting easier. Had a couple of small hand rolled cigarettes to combat the head pain. Don’t crave tobacco or marijuana, just get headaches. My smoker’s cough has left me.

Sleeping better. Eating better. In fact, yesterday might be the only day in over a week I actually consumed something CLOSE to a normal amount of calories. Which might be a big part of why I feel better. I know. It was the first time I felt I could eat more than a few bites in one sitting.

Out of frustration I did a search for theatre groups just to SEE if there was anybody out there willing to take a chance on a new play. Found more than ‘anybody’. More like ‘everybody’. While I still feel frustrated over not hearing anything from the group I’m trying to get involved with, I do feel a bit less anxious over the whole thing. It could take me six months just to prep and send a play out to all the places around the world that would be willing to take a look at it. And yeah, that’s pretty much my plan. Finish it off, tinker here and there, then send it out into the world. All at once. Oh, I know they say never do that. Publishers are famous for that caveat – only send your stuff to one party at a time, giving each a minimum of eight weeks to accept or reject it. Screw that. Everyone is getting it asap. And if anyone wants “first rights” – well, pay me. You want it for free? Then you put up with the fact that some other little known amateur group half way around the world is doing it, too. And if everybody wants to do it…Well, I’ll cross that bridge only if it presents itself.

Even found plenty of places willing to take a risk on musicals. Hm. That’s got me thinking.

And while I’m feeling better, I still doubt myself. Don’t know that I can pick all this up again and keep going. Don’t know that I want to. Telling myself nothing is mandatory. I can sit here and not speak the language for the rest of my freaking life if that’s what I want. Also telling myself that expecting a one year old child to get every bit of grammar and language correct 100% of the time is silly, and that’s what I am – a one year old child as far as the language is concerned.

I don’t know. Feels like I brow beat myself to within an inch of my sanity and I got nothin’ left anymore.

Including answers.

If I ever had any answers to begin with.

So that’s me. Stripped down of everything. So beaten up by myself I just sit here. Can’t tell you why I did it. It just happened, like it’s happened before.

That’s my cycle.

Boot Camp

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Another day wiped out.

Swimming was tough. Pulled up with a cramp in my calf the size of a golf ball. Just too much after the gym. One woman approached me as I clung to the side, massaging my leg – alles goed? Ja, I replied without even thinking that I was speaking in Dutch. From there we proceeded to talk for 10 minutes, back and forth, in English when I didn’t know the Dutch. Rolled out my new words – lidmaat and lidmaatschap (member and membership) – when I spoke about the gym. Handy to have new Dutch words to go along with my new activity. Makes it easy to incorporate the words into my vocabulary.

Came home and almost died. Ended up sleeping in my chair for an hour, completely exhausted. Then I had to eat because I’d used everything up. Spent the afternoon in a haze that only the pain in my biceps could cut through (ow). Ten hours solid sleep last night, and I’m still a little wobbly today.

My brother is encouraging me in this exercise regime. He’s very serious about buying me a bike next year. I’m a bit anxious about that for a lot of reasons. Like, it’s got to be a three wheeler because I can’t ride a regular bike well and if I fall I’m fucked. But I’m a little ashamed (okay, a LOT ashamed) of having to ride a three wheeler. So I want it, but I don’t. I think it would be fun to get on a real bike and make my way around the city, around the parks, around all the areas I can’t get to right now because they’re too far to reach by foot alone. But once again, something I could use ends up being expensive. A three wheeler is bloody three times the price of a regular bike. Argh! Bad enough I’ll go through heebie-jeebies once in a while just riding it because I’ll be afraid I look the fool. Then you got to add in the factor that my bro will pay a LOT for me to ride it and look the fool, so I’ll feel obligated to ride it and look the fool often.

Oh, I hope I’m not as embarrassed about it as I fear I will be!

Realized something yesterday. My legs are rather long. I carry my extra weight around my thighs and butt, so I generally see myself as wide and rather squatty. But my torso is the short part of me, not my legs. I guess I have been dropping weight; how else could I have realized this earth shattering fact after only 50 years in this body? One tiny shift of perception and I went from wide and squatty to long with some extra weight around the middle.

Sometimes walking around in a partial haze is a good thing. For instance, this morning I had occasion to post an article to Facebook. That led me to the actual site so I could log out. And there sat my uncle’s comment, waiting to be answered. I clicked it, typed, and posted,

“I find it difficult to believe that an admitted sexual predator and obvious chauvinist WOULDN’T enact laws that affect my body. After all, to Trump, I’m just a pussy to grab.”

That is not something I’d normally write to my uncle. It IS, however, what I think. This morning I guess I was just punch-drunk enough to put it up. There ya go, uncle. My full honesty. Like it? Wanna ask another question?

Go on and poke the bear again.

I expect today to be topsy-turvy. Still haven’t heard from the theatre group. I imagine my day going something like this: breakfast and shower, dishes, head to physio. Pull my head together, pack a bag, head off to the language café. Discover while at the language café that yes, the theatre group will meet tonight and I’m more than welcome. Grab a cold sandwich dinner at the Uni, get about four tokes on a J, then head in to socialize with the group. Find the director, stumble my way through explaining about the script, and finally hand it off to someone. Laugh. Enjoy. Over think. Come back late on the metro and set my alarm for class in the morning. Toss and turn. At last, sleep.

Now, since I’ve put that out there, I’m certain I’ll get something else thrown back at me.

Fun, fun.

I’ll admit to having some pretty wild sexual fantasies lately, all involving my very cute physiotherapist. He’s a nice fantasy to have! Safe. Just something I think about now and then. Something that makes me feel alluring and desirable. A friend suggested I hint around to see if there’s something there. Part of me has actually been thinking I should try that. The other part (the part that’s winning so far) is terrified of doing that and coming off as one of those aging women who delude themselves into thinking they’re still desirable to younger men even tho the guy they’re fixated on isn’t interested. *shudder* Goddess, save me from that fate! No, my very cute physiotherapist has to be a bit more upfront and obvious for me to take a risk like that. In the meantime, imagining some kissing and touching – even some fucking – is a safe going-to-sleep activity.

Takes my mind off the boot camp I’m putting myself through. And make no mistake about it: this IS boot camp. Body, mind, and spirit. I’m asking myself to go further than I think I can and do more than I know I’m capable of. I’m testing my limits, finding where I’m at, and working at strengthening myself. I know it’s gonna hurt. I know it’s gonna be hard. It already does hurt, and it already is hard.

Thank Goddess I’m a bit of a masochist. Gotta love boot camp.

Make the most of it

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Can finally eat again. Think again. Sleep again.

More talk with my brother. Apologies and reassurances. Why do you feel the need to force this when you’re not doing well? Because when I’m doing fine I don’t want to talk to anyone; don’t need to. Because the timing is never right for me to stop smoking and begin the entire process of letting people diagnose me. Because. Do I need another reason?

Hell’s bells. I was even told that the elusive R, my brother’s ex-sensei and friend, was willing to talk to me about therapy. Like I need someone who isn’t qualified tinkering in my head, or someone who’s never read a word I’ve written here to tell me what they think I should do. No. If I can’t make friends on my own, I’m not borrowing them from my brother.

More walking. Less thinking. Distract, distract. A day has a lot of hours to fill, and I can’t walk them all. Bought some games for my computer again. The browser is out of date and I can’t upgrade, so sooner or later that’ll be it and I won’t be able to buy any more games for myself. Buy ’em now so I got something to do. TV sucks right now. It’s autumn and there’s shit on. Nothing new. WTF? And my mind is made up (for now) – NO LANGUAGE ON THE WEEKENDS. I get it enough without trying. No pushing. No opening my books, no mouthing words to get the vowel sounds right. Throwing myself into overload does me no good. I mess up on simple things and my head feels like it’ll explode.

*sigh* I also heard all about how no one on this planet thinks I’m a failure but me. How I judge myself too harshly. How my long-standing web status and many works intimidate most people. How I look too big. Certainly musicians I’ve worked with can feel that way, especially when they’re out trying to get some attention for a new band or release. But babies, I’ve been doing the internet thing since 1996. Building my on-line presence. Putting out my stuff, getting a fan base. It hasn’t been overnight. I don’t have a marketing agency behind me that set up 10,000 pages with my name on them. I’ve done that over the past 20 years, either through direct work or getting noticed enough that other people have added me automatically.

The really awful thing about it is this: newbie musicians just getting online with their bands and music think I’m big and get too intimidated to talk to me. Big musicians know I’m not there yet and don’t BOTHER talking to me. So I’m left in limbo. Some musician’s purgatory. Can I spout off about the thousands of streams I get every month? Sure. Sure I can. I’m also a bit too honest, and tell people that .003 per stream doesn’t get you far.

Life echoes. Similar things happen when I look for friends. Finding a 40-60 something female with no kids or husband who’s still a punk at heart but understands if I’m too tired or aching to go out is really tough to do. About as tough as breaking thru the invisible membrane my music career is stuck on. Or my writing career – you could add that in, too.

I’m just covered with sticky tape and getting nowhere. That’s what it feels like. Move one foot and get the other stuck. And it seems the more I struggle, the worse it gets.

So I’m letting it go. Again. I’m choosing to let go of my worries. To not think of them. Not easy; I fell asleep in front of the tv last night by 9 p.m. and toddled off to bed. But once there, I could find no rest. For two hours I tossed and turned, combating this angry thought and that angry thought. Tried to find a calm spot. Tried a soothing beach at sunset. Didn’t work. Tried a mountain glade with a running stream. Didn’t work. It was the buzzing of the intercom at 11 p.m. by some drunk that got me up with an explosive ‘GET THE FUCK OFF THE INTERCOM YOU MORON’ and finally gave me the release I needed. Got chided for that behavior, btw. But I rolled and toked, shivered in my pyjamas, and when I did go back to bed I didn’t have to fight any negative thoughts; I just dropped off.

I dunno. I think sometimes you just gotta let go with a good vocalized burst of anger to get it out.

Won’t say I’m doing well. But better. If I don’t run into anything that tips me off balance again I should recover in a few days. Didn’t cry this bad spell, something I usually get down to. That’s different: a no tears tantrum. What does that mean? That I didn’t get to the root of it, or that I did better than I generally do? I suppose it could be spun either way.

Know what? I’m not gonna bother with that. It’s just another way to judge myself.

Today’s a brand new day. I’m gonna try to go and make the most of it.