A whole new animal

Sorted through the umpteen million PDFs of writing opportunities I’ve got on my desktop. Good thing, too. While many are just getting catalogued – found them too late for this year, so I’m saving the info to have a head start on next year’s calls – a couple caught my eye. One call is for a 30 minute play due September 1. I can make that. I can write Night Witches and still make that. So now my schedule is sorted. First up, my radio script. Transferring it into Scrivener, a writing software designed to handle real projects: scripts – radio, theatre (US and UK), film – research papers, books. There’s so much in Scrivener I’m having a difficult time getting through the instructional information. Pretty sure I’ll pop for the full version. It’s loaded and it works on my older operating system. But I’ve gotta see what happens when I transfer in something I’ve already written. How much formatting will hold? Probably none. I won’t kid myself there. Good news is, formatting is the easiest (tho most boring) part of writing a script. So, in goes the radio script. Add a few things here and there for the next place I’m submitting to. Take a deep breath, ’cause there’s no break allowed – straight onto the 30 minute script. One month max for it while simultaneously reading the book on the Night Witches. Have time to schedule a read through with the local theatre group if anyone’s actually around during summer (other than me). Send it out, start writing Night Witches pronto. Leaving myself a couple of months to flesh in the story, call for a read through, and still have more than 30 days left to fix any problems and polish it up before I submit it.

Also just spent time thinking about my personal schedule. I’ve got this tendency to diss myself and everything I do – you might have noticed. So I counted. Counted the hours I spend exercising for my RA, the hours in language class, the hours for doctors and physio and dentist visits, and with a mere 4 hours given over to writing Monday through Friday I’m topped out at 40 hours a week. To take care of myself, and do a little bit of writing. 40 bleeding hours – full time shit. No wonder some part of me balks at volunteering time anywhere; must have already known I’m maxed out.

Rehearsals are called for next week Monday. Three hours in the evening slated to read through the entire play (all 4 skits) and talk about character development (or some such theatrical jargon that’ll make everyone feel like they’re involved and participating when it’s really the director giving instructions to actors too dense to understand their roles). Want to watch and listen with my writer’s perspective; I tend to distance myself emotionally from the situation when I fall into observation mode. I stay calmer because people become characters acting things out in front of me. They’re not mean or nasty towards me; they’re showing me a scared and callous side of themselves. Remember that! I intend on watching the girlfriend of the director closely. Big surprise she made the cut – not. At the moment, I’ve got her pegged as the biggest see-saw of the bunch: loudest mouth, most unsure about her talent (as am I; never seen her try to act), and most likely to get thrown off balance by something not connected with the production.

My head’s wagering on what’s gonna happen. This chick is the one who was disruptive during my reading. I think I’ve sussed out all the possibilities for that behavior. Now she’s got to deal with me in this production. Cold shoulder, or false best friend? How will she react? Odds are I’ll get the false best friend. Forced cheerfulness. Inclusion when possible in order to sneak in those barbs that can’t be called out because they’re too deep in entendre. Oh, yes. Been there, done that. It’s what I expect.

But I’m not the person I was thirty years ago. I’m not so easily disrupted. I’ve a few good foundations to cling to, to remind me of what’s true and what’s not. Don’t know what she expects of me. Maybe she doesn’t know either. What I do know is this: I believe I have the capability to handle whatever she throws at me and not lose my cool. Because one thing is absolutely clear to me – I don’t care if she likes me or not. I saw her real face early on, at one of our meetings, and had that analysis confirmed during my script read through. I don’t like her, and I don’t want to be her friend. She’s got nothing to hook me with, nothing to hold over me, nothing to use against me. Wanna diss me on my work, my looks, my age? Go on! Nothing I haven’t said to myself. Nothing you’re gonna say that’s any worse or harder than what my own brain comes up with to taunt me. I shall laugh. Laugh at her, laugh at her attempts to unhinge me.

No, I’m not the child I was. I’m a whole new animal.

It would be nice, though

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Got up this morning extra early and on purpose so I could write, and now I’m staring at the blankness of my post and wondering what the hell to say.

Start with the good. I can walk without pain. That’s a biggie. Off pain pills, down to an occasional paracetamol in the evening. Want to get back to the gym today for a long, slow exercise session. I am very aware my attitude goes to shit when I experience pain (note: pain for me lies somewhere between 5 and 8 on the 1 to 10 pain scale; anything less than a 5 is just discomfort). If more people were aware of that…but they aren’t, and they’re all too busy with their own thoughts and lives to think to ask why I’m in such a shitty mood so often. The answer is simple: pain. I’ve a lot more of it than I talk about.

It’s May. The Netherlands celebrated the coming of this merry month with a 20C sunny day – warmest to date, and followed up by a grey, dingy morning promising rain and feeling twice as cold as it actually is because it falls the day after such summery warmth. Nonetheless, May means movement; time has marched on. There’s the script read through. Several doctor appointments. More language lessons. Deadlines to meet. And I must begin haunting some of my online emails for replies to earlier script send-outs.

Worried about a lot. Worried my ears are gonna get sliced and diced at the doc’s, and I’ll have to spend the summer keeping out of the water. Worried the ear doc is gonna say there’s nothing they can do to rid me of this continual ringing. Worried I’ll get yet more rejections on my writing. Worried about my residency status. …There’s so much to worry about it kind of cancels itself out. Just becomes a wall of grey noise.

Do not want to begin writing on a new project before I’ve wrapped up my last, so I’m keeping myself busy. Playing games. Watching Twin Peaks again. Doing what I can to help around the house. Giving my brother as much time as possible each and every day for him to do his writing. Keep telling myself thank you. Thank you, Beeps, for doing the dishes. Thank you, Beeps, for cleaning under the bookcase in the hall. I gotta say it, because my bro is too wrapped up in writing mania to acknowledge it. I understand; been there often myself. Feels a little lonely, tho. The only conversation I get is about his book, his writing, his graphics. Wears thin after a while.

Well, now I know what it feels like…and next time, I’ll try a lot harder to pull my head out of my ass when my brother talks to me as I write.

*sigh* But I need concrete, real stuff right now. I need people contact, and laughter. I need things to look forward to. I need my appointments and classes, my weekly and monthly routine. Feels like my dreams are pulling away from me; all the old comforts I told myself for years and years don’t offer the same protection as they once did. Realized I still dream as a 20 year old. The only difference is now I dream with the sole purpose of escaping my worries. I don’t really think any of it will happen.

It would be nice, though.

Take the flag

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It’s a hell of thing to be sitting somewhere in public, waiting patiently, minding your own business, nothing at all wrong, and then, when you try to stand, you freeze with pain. Don’t know what sound escaped my mouth or which facial expression spasmed across my face, but I can tell you this – it caused five grey haired pensioners to gasp, get up, and try to help me.

Gods!

Must not have looked too good.

Spent yesterday morning growing ever more paranoid during my language lesson. The other student was present again (surprise), and I noticed my teacher took ten to fifteen minutes to catch up and chat with her but far less to chat with me. Now, I know I’ve surpassed the other student in language use. I’ve come to lessons regularly, worked hard, and made a lot of progress. So it’s only natural that the teacher would try to draw out the other student more than me. Get her talking again. …Right? I was careful to note the teacher’s body language. Not too skewed, but she did seem to lean a bit towards the other student. …Does my teacher not like me? *sigh* What have I done now?

I guess that’s the risk anyone takes when they choose to not be a milksop. Have opinions, state them. Have energy when you communicate! For pete’s sake, don’t talk to me like it’s the closest thing to death; deadpan and distracted. Look at me! Fire up your soul! Maybe we’ll come to loggerheads but at least we’ll know we don’t like each other. But don’t hide yourself. Don’t say ‘uh-huh’ to everything, never offer an original thought, never let anyone see anything of the real you. …That’s my opinion, anyway.

But I’ve been told I can be a poor communicator. Not because I’m unclear or uninformed; just the opposite. Because I’m too clear, too informed. I’ve been told many people don’t like to discuss big issues in life. It makes them uncomfortable. But big issues is where my head is at. Big issues were what I discussed at the dinner table as a kid.

After 50+ years of big issues, I can say that there are a whole lot of people out there who don’t like discussing them. And they don’t like me because of it.

That always makes me feel bad. I don’t mean anything improper about it. Just the opposite. I want to know where people stand on this stuff. I want to know their reasons for their choices. So I ask. And people get put off, or offended, or feel so uncomfortable around me that they choose to not hang out or be my friend.

It’s the risk I take, being me. Because for all the disappointment and lost possible friendships, every once in a while I find a real gem out there. Someone who fires up just as quickly as I do. Someone with a magpie mind fast enough to keep up with me.

That ain’t my Thursday teacher. Nor my Friday teacher.

Not that I expected either of them to be my friend.

…Well, I can move freely enough today – so far. I’ll try going to class, but I’ll take my heavy duty pain pills with me. Or maybe I should just take one now. Get a jump on the stiffness and pain. Probably the smart thing to do.

This ain’t gonna stop me. Not the pain, not the stiffness. Not the idea that my teacher doesn’t like me. Not the embarrassment over forgetting words I knew a few weeks ago. Not my slight dyslexia that always makes me screw up numbers.

Feels like I’m gearing up for war. A war on everything that’s going to try to stop me. I know what my goal is. I know what I need to do to get there.

Time to take the flag.

 

Seems that way to me

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Sat looking at the WP link on my browser. Why bother? Then I remembered that I don’t do it for you, I do it for me. I write for me. Yes, it’s depressing to get up, open up my email, and see 23 messages that have jack shit to do with me come in. They’re all ads, or notifications that groups I never said I wanted to be part of out on FB have new posts. It’s depressing to know this is public, to know people see it, and to know no one gives a shit. Doubly depressing right now, as no matter how much I tell myself to forget about waiting to hear from the director I find myself still hoping, each time I open up my computer, that I’ll see something from him.

Still waiting on my immigration card, too, which has become an ironic activity in the last few days with 45’s new executive order (45 refers to the Great Orange Oompa-Loompa running LaLa Land; new nickname I heard and I love it). Goddess! To feel guilty over having the damned opportunity to even be here! Thank you, 45, for ruining everything you could in 24 hours. You’re one hell of a bulldozer.

To the American lawyer in the Hague who falsely accused the Dutch police of racially motivated violence: why did you do that? Why do you live here and not speak a word of Dutch? Go home, girl. You don’t belong in this society. That much is obvious if you don’t even try. I just can’t wrap my head around why you’d lie about something so big. Are you trying to make problems here? Trying to stir up racial violence? That’s what it sounds like. The video shows the police didn’t hurt you at all. Just the opposite: you put up a fight against them. For Christ’s sake! You’re a bleeding lawyer! Didn’t it ever occur to your legal mind that maybe, just maybe, the police wanted to see your identification? Duh-uh! Like, that’s the first thing out of their mouths in ANY country. So let me give back some of the shit I got: if you don’t like it, get the fuck out – but don’t stir up trouble where there’s none.

Yesterday was a bust; ended up slothing. Tv, juice, films, sleep. Guess I needed it. Wasn’t until 9 p.m. that my headache finally left. And I slept a deep, long sleep last night on top of my afternoon naps.

Wish I had more in me to give. The org that runs my Friday lessons is asking for volunteer help in lieu of cash for our lessons. Come in, they say. Help in the kitchen, with admin, with cleaning, with shopping, with visiting the elderly. Loads of stuff, much of which interests me. Doing anything will squeeze my time, though. If I volunteer, it will be with the same attitude I bring to class: it’s a commitment, and not one I’ll walk away from lightly. That means I’ll keep showing up, week after week. So I need to consider my long term schedule. Mornings are out; those are filled with exercise, language classes, and doctor’s visits. That leaves afternoons – which means cutting into some other time slot I’ve got marked in my head; on my own language work, or writing, or just chilling out. And I need to remember that sometime this season the theater group will be getting together. That’s early evenings, and there’s travel time and making sure I’ve had dinner and down time prior to leaving. Juggling my exercises, doctor’s appointments, language classes, and theater rehearsals is tough enough. Asking me to add in another commitment, every week….I see overload on my horizon. And overload comes so easily, so naturally to me anyway, I’m hesitant to add anything that might set it off.

…I’m not good in groups. Don’t know how to act. If I’m me, completely, I’m told I come off as bossy and ‘know it all’. If I hold back, hesitate to participate, I get bored easily and my concentration wanders. And let’s face it: human interaction is not my strong suit. Not in the real world, one on one. On paper; great. Face to face and my people pleasing kicks in, or my triggers are tripped, or my magpie mind flits around so quickly no one can keep up and I’m thought ‘eccentric’ at best. I want to work well in groups. Part of my theater work has been just that – my attempt to integrate myself in a new group. To work with them, socialize with them, maybe find one person who might make that leap from associate to friend. Let’s face it: I’ve been griping and moaning about my group interactions as soon as I began. Some of it’s very exciting. Much of it I don’t understand. I don’t understand the compunction to say one thing and do another, and it feels like that’s what I run into a lot in groups. People who say they’ll take care of something, say they’ll do something, then they don’t. How do I react to that? Do I confront? My confrontations look angry, because generally I wait and wait until I’m at the boiling point before I confront. I don’t like confrontations. Why? Because I don’t like hearing the truths uttered at that point. I’ve been told I focus on the negative, and I know I do, but deep inside me is the belief that people’s TRUE view of you, themselves, and the world comes out in moments of anger. These hateful, hurtful things truly do lie deep inside people. For instance: I really do want my sister to die. Just die. I hate her that much. And she really does think me a lying, cheating bitch. But I’ve heard plenty of people – seen it even in films, read it in books, written it myself – who forgive. Who accept the ‘I’m sorry’, no matter what was said. While I accept that people are sorry for letting those hateful things come out of their mouths, I don’t accept their denial of their truth. “I didn’t mean it.” Yes you did. You think it all the time, it lives in the back of your mind. You meant it, alright. You just didn’t want it to damage the relationship beyond repair, so you regret saying it. But I must question why people feel that way. What’s so valuable in a relationship with an obviously inferior person? Why, the opportunity to exploit them in some manner. That seems the obvious answer to me, because that’s what’s happened to me. And I don’t see those things in people. I’m blind, mostly, to that side of their nature until after I’m left empty and used.

How do I change that? Can I somehow teach myself to see people that way? Isn’t that true cynicism, to always look for ulterior motives?

Do I even want to become that person, who sees hidden agendas and the wolf’s smile behind every sheepskin?

What is this I’m chasing? Is it something that never existed in the first place? Is there no honesty in the world? No safety? No real communication? Is it all innuendo and metaphor?

Seems that way to me.

Everyone

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My annoyance level was maxed out this morning in the swimming pool. Most days I manage to let all the not-drowners just do their thing. Sure, I roll my eyes when they get in my way. But then I take a breath and shoot past them, my head in the water. Today was a little different. Today I had a Klingon. A purposeful Klingon. A Klingon whose whole thing was to get in my lane – repeatedly, even after moving over 5 feet to another lane. I finally blew up and made my opinion clear to anyone within ear shot. Goddamn idiots. What the fuck? I get ONE shot a week at the pool. One. Is it so fucking surprising that I feel the need to swim in the swimming pool? And is it so fucking surprising I get annoyed when every time I turn around there’s someone in my way? It’s a big pool. You’ve got to WORK to continually be in my way. That’s more than just being a moron. That’s being an asshole.

And no, I could give a shit that this particular asshole was a pregnant woman. Pregnancy doesn’t give you the right to be a cunt or a dick or an ass or whatever the hell else you want to call fuckers who do things just to annoy other people.

Been thinking about my upcoming birthday. I have the luxury of claiming two days for my birthday now; I was born in the states at 6:55 p.m. and with the time change it’s the next morning here when it’s my exact birth time at my birth place. Hey – any excuse to make growing another year older a celebration. I’m far from thrilled with the lines and wrinkles on my face or my flabby upper arms (yeesh! flabby no matter WHAT I do). Wishing now I still had an older woman in my life. My mother, or an aunt. Someone. Someone who’s been through this. Someone who could help me a bit. ‘Cause I don’t know how to do it. Don’t know how to grow old. Especially if you tag on ‘with dignity’. Grow old with dignity. What the hell does that mean, anyway? I have no idea, other than it comes with assumption to ‘act one’s age’ – another concept I have a hard time grasping. I’ve always just been. When I was young, I was told I had an old soul. Now that I’m old(er), I’m told I have a young soul. Seems to me to be another smoking type of situation. Tell a new doctor I smoke three times a day and I hear how awful smoking is and I need to stop now. Tell a older doctor who’s familiar with me that I smoke three times a day and I hear how great I’m doing at cutting down.

Judgement. That’s all it is. Judgement. And it comes from outside.

Oh, I’ve heard all that crap about you’re only as old as you feel. Well, with my RA some days I feel 150. Does that make me that old? Of course not. And does feeling like a teenager make me a teenager? No; that much is obvious from the side long looks I feel on me when I let myself get a bit ditzy.

No, my confusion over my age is coming from outside. It stems from the assumption that I’m physically capable of doing more than I can coupled with the derogatory glances I get if I goof off. People have me pegged as this or that. Young or old, depending on their judgement. Not mine! Theirs.

Case in point: Like it or not (and I don’t), I’ve been mulling over all that’s been said about my script attempt. One statement has come up for me over and over and got me wondering. It’s not what I expected from you. After such a brief time with these people, to have such strong assumptions about who or what I am that someone would actually say THAT to me just blows me away. Really? In those dozen or so hours that I’ve spent in your company, you think you’ve got me pegged? You think you’ve seen every side of me? You think I’ve even begun to show you all of myself? Such a laugh! I carefully selected everything I presented to the group. What I wore. How I acted with them. What I said. I would not say I was relaxed. I was not tense, either. Alert. That’s the word. I was alert to many things. Social interaction. Theatrical egos. Competitiveness. The dynamics of the group. The dynamics of how the group broke into smaller groups. I felt I handled myself well: I interacted with them without becoming emotionally invested. When I heard a nasty comment, I didn’t react with anger. I acknowledged the truth in the words AND the, shall we say, language the comment was couched in with a smile and no overt judgement. Just friendly openness. Yes, openness. Acceptance. Acceptance of the limitations I saw and the competitiveness I witnessed. Acceptance, even, of the egos. Mr. Bitch does tend to be catty. Yet he’s a decent actor, and I’m very ready to admit to that. The one director needs to be firmer with his directing, but I understand he also wrote the piece he directed – and that was probably his mistake. Too emotionally invested. One actor was terribly wooden. Yet I’ve even imagined a character just for him, drawing on the strength of his woodenness rather than asking him to do something beyond his capabilities. I don’t want to turn any of these people away. In my last post, I claimed to be a fluid piece of artwork creating and remaking myself simultaneously. That’s what we all are. Even the pain in my ass pregnant woman this morning in the pool falls into that category.

And I think that maybe, just maybe, I’m beginning to see that. In everyone.

 

Aren’t I Beautiful?

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One hamburger, some cheesy noodles, and an entire pizza. That’s what it took to fill up all that empty space in me. I suppose I shouldn’t be so shocked; I left the house Friday after a 2 p.m. late lunch and didn’t eat another thing until Saturday post-blog. Still. Well over my daily calories. But damn! I needed it.

The sun doesn’t even have to be up for me to know it’s raining. I hear it. I did have to go out and see if the rain is gonna stick around and (say it with me) naturally it will. For days. In fact, it seems the only non-raining time in the next few days will be while I sleep. Ah, clear up all that noisy clatter of raindrops pounding on the windows so I can better hear the neighbors pounding on each other.

12:30 a.m. Door slam. Loud voices, a man and a woman. A child crying. More yelling. Heavy footsteps. Louder crying from the child. Something falls on the floor. More footsteps, more bickering. A second, louder, door slam. Honestly. Is the landlord advertising for noisy neighbors? Seems like it. The sound insulation in this building is pretty damned good. The only weak point is the ventilation system, which runs through the bathrooms in the building and happens to be installed right next to my bedroom. I hear the ghost of arguments from floors below me. Last night I think it was two floors down. Too distant to be directly below my apartment. But ever since I heard what I’m still sure was a domestic violence incident, my ears prick up for trouble. So despite my sleeping only six hours the night before, I lay awake in my room listening to the argument. Staying vigilant for anything that’s more than just a yelling match.

And cringing.

I’ve found no other word for it. The raised voices and slammed doors make my entire body tense up. Every new sound punctuation sets my nerves quivering. And I get angry, lying there listening to all the yelling and screaming. I think about going down, finding the right apartment, and screaming at them myself. I think about leaving notes in people’s mailboxes, telling them I can hear them all hours of the day and night and unless they shut the fuck up I’m calling the fucking cops on them. Thus far, I haven’t done either. Though I’m sorely tempted to do both.

I hate that I hate the yelling. I hate the way I tense up when I hear it. Hate the way I can go from sound slumber to hyper vigilance in .001 of a second when it starts up.

And yet…

And yet it’s set my mind racing for a new theater script. One called ‘Noisy Neighbors’. One in which all the sound will come from off stage, and the actor(s) on stage react to what they hear with no words.

I see snippets of it in my head.

It could be very powerful.

What more can I do than turn the neighbors into art? I call myself an artist; isn’t that what artists do?

Another piece is there, too. A piece about a theater troupe. All the backstage stuff. Bickering, cattiness, infighting. I saw it on Friday night, as we were setting up. The lighting guys were bringing in a ladder to do their job, but some of the actors were rehearsing and the one dude couldn’t move even an inch for the lighting guys. Completely oblivious, and it had to be by choice because his shoulder was brushed with the ladder as it went up. Plus I’ve been hearing it write itself. The comments. The egos. All I’ve got to do is listen and write it down – The Last Minute Players are giving me this script by living it in front of me.

Although I’m not sure I could ever give them the final product to perform. It would be too obvious. And since I’m the type of writer who’ll slide in word for word what I’ve heard other people say, well, that tips it off. No matter how much someone denies remembering their nasty comments, when they see it in black and white, they recognize their own words. And damn, do they get pissed!

That probably hasn’t helped me with friends.

Yet it IS what a writer does. We draw from our experiences. Some of the things I’ve heard…I couldn’t imagine characters so crass. Plus, I’ve never thought I should feel bad if they feel bad reading their own words. Shouldn’t have said it, then.

….Yeah. If I ever do pen that piece, I can’t give it to the group. Too many people could get hurt, and that’s not what I want to do. I want to parody what I hear. Beef it up beyond cruel to funny. But you know how these things are, these group dynamics. Everyone really IS aware of these comments. You can’t shield yourself from them entirely. Either you overhear something, or there’s some ‘helpful’ person telling you what was said behind your back. Everyone sees the egos. Everyone hears the cattiness. I’m sure there’s been quite a few catty comments already launched my way. I’d expect several derogatory comments on my looks. My age, my face, my weight, the way I dress. The things I KNOW are my weak points. There may also be nasty comments on what I have given them of my true self: bits of information about my work. When asked what I do, I say I’m a writer and composer of music. When further pressed, I say as quick as I can, ‘Oh, I have a book out and some music on iTunes’ and then change the subject. Some people in my position would boast about their monthly numbers. Talk themselves up. I’m not that person. I do what I do. Some people like it. I’m not getting paid much. That’s my truth. Take it as you will.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about any of it. My work, my income, my circumstances. My age, my physical condition, my smoking. I’m a fluid piece of artwork, a flowing sculpture creating and remaking itself simultaneously.

Look at me. Aren’t I beautiful?

Oh, hell

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It’s Friday, the last performance of The Last Minute Players, and I haven’t baked a thing. Been feeling a half-step away from being very ill, so it’s been rest and juice and loads of sleep. Good news is I’m not sick. But I also didn’t whip up any wonderful temptations for the group this evening. I’ll have to settle for store-bought. Not that the group will mind. They’ll be happy for whatever.

…I’m a bit nervous for tonight, if I’m honest. It’ll be my first attempt to socialize with the group when they’re not rehearsing. I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth or do or say ANYTHING that will draw uncomfortable or odd looks. That’s a tall order for me. My default for making sure I don’t do anything stupid is to hang back – but I already addressed how that doesn’t really work for me, either.

*sigh* I don’t know the game rules.

I’m already worried I’ve overstepped and done something incredibly stupid with my old language teacher. We’ve emailed back and forth; he’s been very helpful with my questions. I wanted to give him a bottle of my homemade blackberry wine vinegar for Christmas. It’s a year late as a thank you for all his work in class, but my gift wasn’t ready when he told the class he was leaving. And naturally I didn’t want to tell him what the gift was! So in my last correspondence I simply mentioned I had a small gift that I wanted to give him at the end of our lessons but it just wasn’t ready, and suggested very lightly that perhaps we could meet sometime at a public place so I could give it to him. That was the first of November and I’ve had no reply since.

Fuck.

I never think. I mean, he’s married. It probably sounds fishy. It’s not; not at all. If anything, my ex-teacher reminds me of my dad which is partially why I became so attached to him in the first place. His correspondence really meant a lot to me. Now I’ve fucked it up because I just don’t think about social niceties sometimes. I came at this situation as a friend, with no hidden agenda. But in many places of the world, married men talking to single women (or women they’re not married to) is a social taboo. So I overstep. Try to be a friend when it’s not appropriate. Honestly I think that’s a load of shit, but social taboo is social taboo. No one will tell you about it. You just get that isolation when you overstep. In Ireland, it wasn’t acceptable for me as a single woman to even LOOK at a married man, much less talk to one. I ran into trouble there by meeting an engaged poet for a drink and talk about poetry. It was just for a drink and poetry talk; we both bought along our work, sat in a very public spot so it was perfectly evident there was nothing going on, talked about nothing BUT our work, and STILL there were rumors. I was even friendly with his fiancée and she knew about our meeting over poetry and was cool with it. And she (supposedly) said that to anyone who said anything to her.

Alas, I was still the scarlet woman.

So I’m pretty sure I’ve fucked up any friendship with my ex-teacher. Pretty sure I made him feel uncomfortable when that was not my intention at all. Thought about sending out a last message explaining myself and apologizing. But should it be ME who apologizes? I’ve done nothing wrong.

It’s kind of like being in a room full of thieves. They all expect you to be a thief. And no amount of denial will convince them otherwise.

People are fucking sick.

Seems everyone is willing to cheat, steal, and lie, so everyone assumes everyone else is exactly like that.

You wouldn’t know honesty if it came up and bit you on the nose.

Well, heads up to me. The best thing I could go into this with is the mindset that yes, every man in the production is “taken” (how archaic), and it’s socially unacceptable to talk too much, be too friendly, smile, laugh – be a person, a real live person – with any male in the room. How fucking discriminatory is THAT? Because YOU have issues with your sexual mate, I have to curtail myself to make sure you don’t get the wrong idea?!?

Because in these instances, it’s never the sexual mate. It’s always the “floozy” who’s flirting, distracting, leading them on.

Ah! And that leads my head right back to my last post. What just popped up was ‘that’s why you don’t wear make-up; it just makes it worse’. Yep. Put on make-up, do your hair, wear clothes that look nice, and all that adds up to “floozy”, especially if you’re talking, laughing, and just being a decent person.

When I come out – the real me, the relaxed me – I’m a big personality. I laugh big. Joke big. Smile big. I can fill a room. Make people turn and look. Listen. Not because I’m an annoyance, but because that’s what happens. I can turn on that volume that drove Jimmy the dog to hump my arm all afternoon and tune into the frequency for humans. It’s a well documented fact in my history. But that’s easily misinterpreted, especially if you toss some lashings of jealousy into the mix.

And tonight I plan on having a drink or two, which always seems to bring that part of me to the fore.

My best bet is to keep my feathers hidden. That’s what it feels like. Like I could spread my wings and be a peacock, all glorious and beautiful. Also very distracting. Instead, I’m keeping my wings folded and tucked under my shirt. Not showing my ‘true’ colors, because I’m not sure they can handle my ‘true’ colors. It’s too much. Too overpowering. I’ve had too many people walk away or judge me cruelly when I show that side of myself.

Damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Because if I don’t show that side, I’m not being honest to either myself or them, am I?

Oh, hell.