Playing with others

Ah, yes. Medication is like a tiny assistant you swallow. It helps you stay calm. It doesn’t override every bloody thing that happens. It doesn’t mean you can stop trying.

It’s too early, and I’m up again. But yesterday was my work with the director, so I’m not shocked. I was wound up as the time approached, wound up during the meeting, wound up after the meeting, wound up during sleep (can’t even count how many times I woke up biting down hard on my mouth guard), and now I’m awake – begrudgingly. For the record, 5 a.m. Better than 3 a.m., tho not by much.

Ach…I still can’t say with 100% certainty that we’ll do my script. The cast is large, and if we can’t find enough good people…well, the director said he’d rather not do it than do it with a shit cast. I am exactly where I don’t want to be: stuck in flux, with no certainties to hang my hat on. …No. Not true. I can hang my hat on the fact that the director really wants to do the script, he really likes the story, and he thinks we’re capable of doing it. Whether or not the production comes off shouldn’t be my main focus. Right. Hang on to that, Beeps. Your work is appreciated.

It was fun, yesterday, working. We pulled everything apart; took 5 hours. I was prepared to make major concessions. Geared up for major re-writes. What I heard was stuff like “I don’t think you need the word ‘on’ in this sentence” or “Did you see that typo here?” Minor corrections, minor adjustments. A few hours and it should be done. Mostly, we talked about what I didn’t write: the back stories of characters, the hidden ideas in the scripts. We discussed sound: how to approach it, what to mix together, what we needed for the venues. I was shocked when the director brought up the possibility of adding a video element to the show. Last discussion I’d had about adding video was that it’s expensive to do so the group just didn’t do it. But, hey! At this point, it’s the director talking to the board. He’s selling his vision, and if that includes video, let him argue the point. I’d love to do it. I wanted to get my hands on a camera anyway. Showed the director my rough cut trailer for YouTube, which he loved, and the flyer. As I explained my reasoning on the flyer layout, he just grinned and nodded. ‘I was thinking of something similar,’ he said. Our ideas were in-line for many elements, and my bro ended up chiming in some key ideas we all loved.

lol. And one mystery solved. I’d been wondering why the director kept saying my work was like Lovecraft, and yesterday I heard that reasoning. He feels Lovecraft wrote about things that just exist. They are not evil; they simply are. We’re terrified by what these things do, but they’re not malicious. They’re more like children, simply not knowing what they do is harmful. I laughed when he told me all this, because it’s bang on. I hadn’t torn apart Lovecraft to realize all that, but I knew it about my own work. I’ve written demons from Hell whom you’ll end up loving and cheering on, murderous elementals whom you’ll identify with and bear no ill will towards, and now the thriller trilogy with what ends up being, in short, a force of nature. Things that are just evil…they don’t really scare me. I’m sure they would, if they popped up in my life, but…outright evil is easy to combat. You know you have to fight it. What do you do with something that just is? What do you do with that grey area? How do you react when the unimaginable is stated in the softest and most reasonable voice? I find that disconnectedness more terrifying than fire and brimstone. I suppose that says a lot about me.

…In some ways, I feel like yesterday was the shrink session I really didn’t get with Dr. T. I am painfully aware my writing tells all to anyone clever enough to read between the lines. That knowledge knots my stomach and makes me wince. Discussing the back history of each character, bringing up what’s driving all of them…naturally, I was discussing myself on many levels. The director chuckled many times. He pointed out snippets of dialogue, things like ‘yes, here’s where her narcissism comes in’ or ‘you have a lot of psychologically based male/female dialogue here’. He questioned me on some statements, and I found myself very able to defend my reasoning. One thing in particular was a married couple exchange. A few things are clear to me, in retrospect. One, the director isn’t an outright narcissist. He didn’t know the moves. Two, he doesn’t know any outright narcissists because he didn’t know the psych behind it. Three, I heard a click in his brain when he asked me ‘How many Jims did you know?’ (Jim being the cheating husband), and I quickly said ‘too many’. We discussed self harm, suicidal thoughts, uncontrolled rage, helplessness, fear, obsession – all of them in the third person, all of them safely, all of them in regard to the story and the characters I wrote. I even started the meeting like a therapy session, with a warning that (a) I was really manic about the production and (b) I have control issues, so fair warning, and I’ll do my best to let go.

Most of all, tho, I stressed the idea that I know the power of a group. I don’t want to control every element. I don’t want to make every decision. I’ve got a lot of good ideas, and I want to put them to use, but I also want to have other people in on it. Have their ideas expand mine. Let them flesh in the corners I left dark.

Does this mean I’ve finally learned how to play with others?



The Dutch call it ‘zin’. Zeal. Zest for life. Interest in things other than how much toe jam has built up under your big toenail.

I felt it flood back in me yesterday. Got on the cross trainer. Took it slow; it’s been a month and I’ve been smoking like a chimney. Got my heart rate up to the 140s, did my 30 minutes, and ended up picking up speed throughout so I did a decent distance.

Wish I could say it’s been pain free, but it hasn’t been. My back is still a problem, and if I chew regular food on the right side, that tooth hurts. Gods. Like I want to tell the fucking dentist THAT. I’m afraid it will result in more tinkering, which will mean more pain, and more money because Goddess knows the damned dentist won’t do anything for fucking free even if he’s screwed up your teeth and it’s probably all his fault anyway. I don’t want to pay either price.

Today I see my very cute physiotherapist. I always look forward to that. Half physio, half head shrink session – I come out of his office feeling better physically and mentally. Good. Feels like I need to bounce a few things off someone other than me or my bro. Get an outsider’s take on things. …Okay, there’s really only one thing I need to bounce off him. Therapy. I’ve got a push me/pull me thing going with the idea. Part of me stubbornly says NO with absolute authority, the other recognizes that I really might need someone to talk to. Every time I think I’ve made up my mind, the other part of me starts acting up, talking loudly in my brain, giving me every reason to change my decision. I can’t seem to stick to my choice. More: I don’t know how to commit to that course of action.

Was pleased to find my least favorite pair of jeans (the stretchy kind that always feels a size or two too small for my hips) not only slid on easily, but buttoned up without pulling the fabric together. Geez. Lose a few pounds and those hated pants become not so bad to wear. Not so pleased to know the weight loss comes from just not eating. Had at least a week there when I wasn’t eating much of anything, and another two weeks with food intake very low due to mouth/head pain. I’d like to lose the weight without feeling like I need to go extreme with my measures. That doesn’t seem to work so well for me. Keep things steady with diet and exercise and my body stubbornly refuses to let go of one ounce. Go extreme, and the weight drops off me. Bugger.

No word on anything I’ve written. Really would have expected to hear something from the local director by now. He’s had the full trilogy for 10 days. Have paranoia creeping up on me. Everybody hates it. Hates me for something I said or did. I’m on the out, and no one will tell me. The local group won’t do it, the US group thinks I was too pushy in even offering it, and S hates me for the comments I made on her writing. Reminding myself of all those things you have to remind yourself of when paranoia grips you: I’m not seeing the whole picture, all sorts of things could have happened in other people’s lives to slow the process, take a deep breath, dude – you’re being paranoid.

The factory that is my brain is always going. Three shifts, round the clock. Ideas are beginning to take shape. I’m beginning to feel that excitement that takes hold me when I’m working on a story. Before I allow myself to dive into it, tho, I must take care of some outside things. Get back to J on his story. Do that work my bro asked me to take care of. Think about and do Dutch. And get back into exercise full swing. I really want to say fuck it to all of that and just sit here, smoke J after J as I spin out my tales. Allow myself to fall back into it. Trying to be more than that, tho. Trying to be a good person, a good sister, and a good student. My writing is in direct conflict with those goals. I am selfish when I write. I don’t think about other people; don’t even listen to other people. Only my inner voice, the writer: she gets all my attention, and she’s an attention hog. But she only works with imaginary people, whom she can control totally. I want the full monty, with real people. That takes work. So my brain is on notice: half speed only. If you work, you work in private. On the back burner, quietly simmering. Someone else is taking the forefront for a while, and if you can’t outright support her the least you can do is shut the fuck up.

I need to stop smoking so much. Burning thru stuff. Not only is it bad for my health, it’s bad for my pocketbook. If I want to get my hair cut this year (and I’d desperately like my hair cut soon), I need to cut back. If I want to buy some new clothes, I need to cut back. Ipso facto. Smoking is currently the biggest expense in my life. But I’m also terribly bored, which leads to me wanting to smoke more. It’s a vicious circle. I cannot do some things, like Dutch, non-stop. It’s counter productive to my learning. And I don’t have much to do if I’m not writing. Exercise, sure. But that’s a short time period each day. There are hours to fill before and after. And then there’s my general health to consider: get out more, do more, and I fall ill more easily – which sends me right back into hermit mode.

So…I got the ‘zin’…what now?

That’s life

Life has returned. My memories are back in the closet, not forgotten, but filed away. Time to move on.

Writing is going well. Not enough time to do it lately. Seems it’s all run this errand, pick that up, and of course the ever present necessity to get to the gym and move so I don’t hurt so much. Haven’t even cleaned the house in I don’t know how long, and it shows it.

Today I’m keeping to my life commitment. Heading out with my brother to the comic book shop. Say hi to the guys. Hang out. Talk. Be a part of the world. Got to keep in practice with that, at least a little bit, or I’ll forget how to do it.

Been feeling very alone and lonely. The two don’t always go together, but right now they do. In the wake of my reaction to the news about L, I feel friendless. Want to change that, but I find my physical condition works against me. Last time I tried to schedule a get together with potential friends I woke up with laryngitis. Shit happens. Just the excitement of looking forward to getting out and meeting people can make me ill. Do that enough times to a potential new friend and they lose interest in pursuing a friendship. Seen it happen.

And I don’t like this double life I live. The reality is, my health isn’t good. I do fall ill very easily. I’m not strong. But then there’s my gym life: the nods and notice I get while working out. Maybe they’re not all dyin’ to do me, but they do acknowledge I work hard (beginning to think that most of the smiles I receive are ‘she’s a tough old bird’ type of thing). Most people drop out after an hour of exercise. Most people are shocked and think two hours is extreme. Oh, god, I could never make it for two hours! Then they look me up and down, decide that maybe not all physical strength translates into slim, tight bodies, and put me in that ‘healthy as hell’ category, which I do not deserve to be in.

…At least my physiotherapist understands.

Speaking of, looking forward to seeing him next week. Realized a long time ago our sessions are half physio and half talk therapy. Why can I do that? Why am I so open with someone like him, yet so closed if I see someone called ‘therapist’? One of those mysteries about myself I’d like to solve. …I need him on both levels right now. Despite my physical movement, I’ve got some pain building up. And although I don’t know what I’m going to say, I do know I’ll probably bring up L.

Been a few months since I’ve been able to get my hair done. Upshot is, I’ve got grey showing. Maybe for the first time in my life. A couple of silver hairs by each temple. I’ve looked at it closely in the mirror. It’s not unattractive. In fact, I find myself more distressed by the shaggy outgrowth look I’ve got right now than those grey hairs. …Don’t think I should wear my hair this long. It looks strange on my face. A 20 something tousled hair style on a 50 something woman. But what am I supposed to do? That’s my hair. It just looks that way, naturally. Hope to get it all spruced up before September.

Have not worn my orthopedics, despite the cooler weather. Do not want to wear my orthopedics. My cheap tennis shoes (with added insoles) are lovely: they give me plenty of support, and they don’t bite my feet at all. Plus they were a quarter of the cost of my orthopedics. But I’ll need to get back on that. No use in doing it in August; this entire country goes on holidays. Another thing to write in for September.

Bought some cheap eye gel and dark circle remover. Cosmetics that promise the impossible. But I figure any improvement is an improvement. And I’m guessing it helps to just go through the motions. Applying lotions, massaging them in – that’s a form of self love. I care enough about myself to do this, it says. Or at least that’s how I see it. So, I’m doing it, and hoping it will buy me a few years of looking not so tired and worn out.

Have let myself off the hook for tomorrow’s exercise. My bro is on me to read the final chapters in his book, one of the comic book guys leant me a run of stories by George Romero, and of course I have my own writing to get to. Today will largely be shot, between traveling to and fro and all the time spent visiting. Tomorrow is my make-up day: do the writing I should be doing today, finish up those comics, and start reading my brother’s work.

Wish these things didn’t always pile up on me.

…Wish I could just say no like so many people have said to me. I’m too busy with my own shit. Deal.

And that takes me right back to who I want to be. Do I want to be that person who’s always too busy for friends? Do I want to show the people I care about that I care about them, or will I just perpetuate that lip service shit my family gave to me? It always comes up for me at times like this. And I get angry, and pout, and whine that it isn’t fair, isn’t fair, isn’t fair…

But that’s life.

This is where I live


Heard from a friend; she’s having ECT. I feel sick. There’s nothing I can do from here; she’s in another country. On another continent. Telling myself it’s not Ulla all over again. For one thing, I still hear from this friend. Ulla went silent well before, so I hold onto hope that I won’t see another repeat. Please.

None of this makes me want to go and get diagnosed. It’s just a deterrent. If you don’t give them what they want to hear – oh, yes, I no longer feel that the world is complete shit and I should just die – they hook you up. Cook your brains to try and get that fucking idea out of it.

I don’t want my friend to be so depressed. I don’t want her to cry all day and feel like she has no reason to be here.

I don’t want them to hurt her, and I’m not sure about ECT. Especially ECT performed in other countries. Here, I’d trust. Some other countries in the EU, I’d trust. But, sorry, – I don’t trust everyone. Especially not after Ulla. Yes, I know….It’ll probably be a completely different treatment facility. Doesn’t matter. The stark black and white photos from Ulla’s blog, her straight up manner telling us about the people who go there for treatment, the gruel served for meals, the non-existent cleanliness or means to stay clean at such a place…this is what I’m thinking about this morning. This is what I’m afraid of. My friend going into a place just like that and never coming out again.

…That’s the friend I hear from. The rest are quiet. I hope that means they’re busy and happy with life.

Script out. All that dragging of my feet, and in the end it only took 10 minutes to prep up a letter and hit send. Far more to go, far more to do, but it’s out, sent to someone else to look at. Didn’t take more than half an hour after sending it out before I opened up a new document and began ‘typing, just to get some ideas down’. Lost myself for over an hour. What I’m allowing to be typed out is a drama, straight up. That’s where my head goes; that’s what’s truly meant by ‘edgy’ or ‘unconventional’ – people rarely use those words to describe comedies. They want drama, serious drama. And I see, now, as I look through my notes on theatres, that there are two distinct categories out there: one, the established and professional group that seeks the edgy and unconventional; and two, the amateur and non-professional group that seeks to just fill all the seats in an audience.  My bro harangued me yesterday as I told him a bit about my new script idea. Why do you always have to get so serious? he asked. I then heard a mini-lecture which I could have given on how amateur groups are looking for something simple and accessible, not big heavy dramas. No one wants to come and see Aunt Marge play a heavy. But Aunt Marge in a comedy guaranteed to give you a chuckle or two – that they’ll sit through. I know, I told him. But I need to get this out. And some ideas shouldn’t be made light of. Maybe if I can get this ugly muck out of me I’ll be able to turn it on its head and make it into a comedy, but I doubt it. My brother doesn’t understand that rape is just a topic for women, something we need to be aware of and work against, like carrying an umbrella on a rainy day. It happens. A lot. Sorry you think it’s too heavy, sorry you don’t want to hear the story. It’s vital, and women are still getting blamed (and burned alive) for being raped, so I think it remains a topic with teeth.

I find myself crying now and then. Just crying over memories or realizations. I can pull myself out of it fast enough, but it’s the fact that it’s happening at all that bothers me. I don’t want to lose it again. Don’t want to go back to the docs or begin with a new therapy. Don’t want labels on me. Don’t want to talk to anyone about this, don’t feel the need to explain it to anyone. I’m bleeding sad, dude. My mother was a bitch, my sister is the head bitch of the world, my older brother always wanted to fuck me and made no secret of it, my dad never thought I was beautiful. I was taught to blame myself for everything. I’m aware of all of that, and don’t need to report to someone once a week to tell them how much or how little I smoke, what I ate, how I slept, and all my little thoughts and fears.

Today my physiotherapist begins work on my neck for the dizziness I’ve been experiencing. It ain’t good. Turn my head too fast and the world spins. Worried about falling and hurting myself. Beating myself up because I’m not going to the gym and I feel any minute I’m not exercising is a minute the fat can grow back (will I ever get over having such an obese sibling? probably not).

My own little corner of the world is what it is. It’s kind of empty; not many people want to know me. It’s kind of dusty, because I’m not that good at housework. But I’m comfortable there. I can lounge in my pj’s. Talk or not talk, write or not write. My little corner is what gets me through the days. Turn off the tv, shut down social media, and just be. You can put your own label on it: avoidance, denial, running and hiding. I don’t care.

This is where I live.



How have you been?

I answer in the physical: my rheumatoid arthritis answer. Not too much pain, but far too much hair loss. I’m back in the gym. At the pool. Getting stronger.

Are you still going to Addiction Central?

Realization floods over me. Oh! She’s asking about my mental state, not my physical state. I shift gears. No, I say, but I mention my advancements: more exercise, writing. I fib over the amount I smoke. The lie doesn’t sit well with me, but I’ve learned a thing or two. While coffeeshops abound and most turn a blind eye to toking a J publicly, the medical personnel here are sharply divided on their opinion of marijuana use. I know which side of the fence my doctor sits on. I want her to leave the question alone. I’m fine; let’s not talk about it. Let’s not talk about the crying times, the times I can’t sleep, the manic writing sprees. Let’s not bring up my questions over my self worth, the state of the world, mortality and morality.

That’s just my normal.

It’s the way my head works when my eyes are open. Want me to get fuzzy, forget about all that? Sure, we can do that, too. I thought that was called avoidance.

Lately, I’ve been dealing. Crying times are short and easily stopped. Sleep isn’t too much a problem. Writing sprees I revel in, and the rest of it…well, if you don’t ponder those things, I pity you. You must live a small life.

My confidence is getting blasted left and right these days. The jelly roll around my middle disgusts me, and the knowledge that I’ve got to carry around an extra fanny pack that isn’t detachable except through a lot of hard work at the gym makes me just feel tired to the bone. Some days I feel pretty good with Dutch, others a complete moron – the yo-yoing of that mindset isn’t helping. And yesterday I received a velvet-footed kick in the stomach in the form of J’s synopsis of my work. It was a huge compliment; one I was not ready for, one I’m not sure I live up to.

I’ve never been good with compliments.

I said none of that to my doctor. Not a whisper, not a hint passed my lips. She spoke slowly in Dutch, and looked in my eyes and ears. She took my blood pressure sitting down, then standing up. She stood behind me, took my head in her hands, and moved my neck around. Prognosis: low blood pressure, take the pills down from two twice a day to one twice a day. I’ve also got a go-ahead for the physiotherapist to being manipulating my neck. Oh, he’s gonna love that. My hips are uber flexible compared to my neck.

Today was the pool, and for once I got my wish: everybody stayed out my way. I swam unimpeded in my lane. My body feels it, too. Dead heavy with tiredness.

A few more hours on the script, adding in my notes and correcting a few typos. I hesitate to open it. Yesterday I ‘opened it just to take a look at my work’. Four hours later, I had to turn the lights on in the room. Talk about falling down the rabbit hole! Yet as it’s wrapping up, and I do feel it wrapping up, I realize once again that it’s all just been one big exercise. Oh, maybe someone somewhere will do it, but it’s not all that. … Is it? No. Getting a workshop would still be optimal: walk it through, see how it looks, how it feels, what’s right, what needs work.

And the director got back to me to tell me he didn’t read it yet. Another excuse why he hasn’t got to it. I’m beginning to think he won’t read it at all. That it will be this, then that, then another thing. It will get put off, promised, delayed, promised again, and eventually, perhaps, I’ll just stop asking about it. Is that small and mean of me to think that? A negative reaction from all the crap I had growing up?

Or is that just seeing things as they are, or as they might be? Is that my intuition telling me something?

Mm. I’m trying to enter a closed system. No matter how much the theatre group claims to be open to new people, they are closed in the sense that they all have a long history with each other that new people are not included in. Was it even appropriate of me to ask the director to read my work? I don’t know. Once in awhile, they burst into Dutch. Sometimes it’s to tell the lighting guys at the venue what they need. Other times, it’s just something they need to say to each other in their native language. But since I’m not fluent, it’s another barrier. I don’t catch it all. I try. I listen. I watch. I pay attention. But I am outside that circle. And for all I know, I’ve committed more than one faux pas socially.

Or maybe I’m just paranoid.

So I must be patient: my own personal Waterloo. Wait. See what happens. Other people have lives….

Paradox. Time moves incredibly slowly with some things. It’s like some ideas get caught in molasses. They drag through time, taking far longer than anticipated. Other things fly through time. In the blink of an eye, there it is. Think fast, and deal with the consequences.

No wonder I’ve been feeling dizzy.

Catching Ghosts


Act 2 is done.

I gotta say, it’s great working on a script. You get to the end of the act and you type ‘curtain down’. Boom. End. Finito. Real closure. I took the time to read what I’ve got so far. Found plenty of typos, and I’m sure I’ve got some stage direction errors to work out, but I was well pleased to find my stop and start writing style didn’t show in the reading: it flowed, flowed well, and made me laugh. I’ve also found it dead easy to hit the mark on suggested word count; this morning it stands at just over 12,000 words. My quick read through revealed something else to me, too. I saw where lines could be cut to make time and where lines could be inserted to stretch time. Always before, a story was a story to me – couldn’t tell it any other way but the way I laid it out. Not so for the script. It’s alive. The setting and characters have achieved self awareness, and know what their jobs are: entertain, be funny, and underneath it all talk about the art of communication. Earlier, the characters ran away with the narrative, pulling some unexpected stunts that helped show me who they really are. Now, they are cooperative, willing to take back long rants in order to keep to tale we’ve all agreed we’re telling. Characters I imagined as flat and unsympathetic have shown me other sides, fleshing themselves out and making me like them despite my preset conceptions about them. No one is ‘the bad guy’. No one is without a moral compass or a sense of compassion. Even the oldest son’s wife, who I designed to be a bitch and say the nastiest things my memory holds, has shown another side to herself.

It’s a revelation. While I think I’d like, someday, to write an archetypal script with strict adherence to one main characteristic per character, it’s not today and it’s not this script. No. This script has shown me – me, personally – that if I write deep enough I can find understanding and empathy for anyone. Even my family, because that’s what I began with. They’re skewed, naturally. I’ve turned the mother into a woman who repeatedly talks about babies. That is a trait my mother held; she loved babies (not so much children). But I’ve blown it out of the water for the sake of humor, taken comments that I remember a sting in and made them laughable. Good therapy. The father is much as my father was: irascible, roaring goddamns at this and that every other minute, and as funny as I remember my dad could be. The oldest son is as wishy-washy as my oldest brother is, right down to looking at the mother helplessly anytime there’s a hint of housework to be done. Not sure what I’ll end up doing with the daughter. I think she’s still got a surprise in store for me; I can feel her highjacking her storyline and wrenching it into another direction. The youngest son, the depressed one, has been as fun to write as I imagined him. Yes, he’s depressed. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t laugh and joke once in a while. After all, everyone is quick to point out my own depression even when I’m cracking wise, and since he’s my dark side he does that, too.

I AM stuck on the poem for the father. That’s the youngest son’s gift. For narrative’s sake, I just breezed past it. Right now there’s just the stage direction ‘reads poem’. The poem might bother me more than the rest of the script. I don’t want it to be shit. And I need it to be original. So I’m waiting on myself to write it. If I really pull a blank I can use an older piece of work, but I’m hoping to get into the proper frame of mind and churn out a stanza I can use.

That may end up being the last piece of the puzzle, and a tough one to do.

Since the tumbleweeds of silence continue to roll through my inbox and I’ve heard nadda from the theatre group, I think I’ll end up printing a copy of my rough draft and using some dolls to do the walk through. At least it’ll be visual for me. Pretty sure I’ve misplaced a few people, or not said who’s sitting, standing, or doing whatever while the scene plays out. Using visual aids will help me quickly see what I’ve done wrong. And since I really don’t know if I can trust the group to even be interested in what I’m doing, I want to make it as bullet-proof as possible before sending it out into the world.

Fly, my pretty!

Naturally, I’m having a hard time reigning my thoughts in. Immediately my brain envisions rave reviews and interest in more work. And you know, considering the piles of rejections I’ve actually experienced, in some ways it’s wonderful of my head to immediately imagine the absolute best reaction from the world. It tells me I believe in myself to some extent. The ghost of my mother (always present in a corner of my brain, no matter how often I evict her) whispers I should expect to hear no thanks, we’re not interested, better luck in the future, and all that pat language that rejection comes wrapped up in. We are at odds, the ghost of my mother and I. Always have been. So I fly and she tugs on my string. I am not happy being caught and caged, and she is not happy fighting me to stay put.

At least on paper I can resolve it. Put it to rest with a laugh and a little tug at your heartstrings. I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again. I’m very, very grateful for that.

Outside my window, a wall of white sits waiting, expectant, like a cat sitting before a mouse hole. Ghosts float by.

Time to capture a few on paper.

The Dame’s Still Got Game


It’s good to know I still gots da touch. The blueberry muffins I baked and took to the comic shop did a magic trick and disappeared before my eyes. And there were only two guys at the store! I’d been there once before, and met one of the owners. Yesterday I finally met the second owner. Good thing, too! Oh, I’ve heard so much about you! Yes, my partner said he had a chance to meet you before! I guess the first guy I met has been lording it over his partner; I got to meet her and you didn’t. Now the second partner has something to crow about: she brought me blueberry muffins! Did you get any? My brother laughed, and said now there’s no way I can go back without baking more. Happy to do it, too. For one, they always give T good deals on the comics he wants. For another, once again I was given free comics, this time in Dutch, because they’re just nice guys. And finally, what more could a baker ask than to see her baked goods fly off the plate to be devoured with ecstatic eye rolls and muffled exclamations of oh my god, these are so good?

Who knows? Maybe that small bakery everyone has told me I should open will become reality. I don’t know where my life is headed.

I do know where my day is headed: catch-up work. The house needs cleaning, I have even more Dutch to read now, and my body isn’t getting any thinner with me sitting around eating blueberry muffins. Everything is twice as hard as it was before I got sick. The house is twice as dirty as usual, I’ve found no way out of my muddle with the language yet, and I’m so fat and lazy at this point it’s hard to not just sit around playing computer games all day. Just getting motivated to begin work is tough and seems to take half the day.

*sigh* And J, the comic store owner I met yesterday, made a comment that’s nagging at me. He said, ‘In my experience, you don’t ask parents, you tell them’. My reply was that had I done that, I’d be in a very different place right now. That’s true. It’s also true that J didn’t have my experiences and had he gone through them, he might have done the same as I. But I’ve been feeling bad about it, and it’s showing no signs of going away.

I’m guessing I needed something to beat myself up over.

And hey! I’d love to stop blaming myself. I’d love to do the impossible, and just not think about that kind of stuff. I’d love to have the confidence to be want I want to be. I don’t. Not one bit. I’m not sure how, exactly, my mother managed to convey to me that I was worthless, but she did. And as with most things my mother did, she did it impeccably well. Just as my mother would rise half an hour early to tidy up the house before everyone else woke up, making it “magically” appear neat each and every day, she somehow slipped in under the surface of the perfect mother enough derogatory language to make sure I knew just what a total loser I was.

That’s living with a narcissist. I’ve read up on narcissism. How you…How I may never fully ‘get over it’. I don’t know that I’m ready to face up to that. Hasn’t a pill been made for this shit yet? C’mon! You’re telling me they’ve got virtual reality game play but can’t help people drop the crap that got programmed in from childhood? And no, going through CBT is NOT gonna do what I ask. I want something easy. Why do I have to work so hard? I’ve been working twice as hard most of my life: trying to please everyone else so they’ll at least tolerate my presence plus accomplish one or two things that are important to me. Now I’m told that to shed what my mother drilled into me will take more years of hard work – and it’s all on me. CBT. What a fucking load! The damned therapist sits there, never sharing anything to make him or her vulnerable, while the patient does all the work. I mean, really! If I walked into any other doctor’s office and was told I had to get over a sinus infection or cancerous growth by myself I’d sue for incompetence. But with therapy, it’s a given.

Christ! I don’t want fucking therapy. I just want to feel better.

I guess it’s kind of a good thing that no matter how I feel, life goes on. Happy or sad, angry or blissful, things like grocery shopping and dishes always need to be done. Dust always needs wiping up. The floor could always use a good cleaning. Somehow between my feelings and all those normal chores, I’ve been living my life. I’m not entirely unhappy with my choices. But it’s not what I would have chosen for myself long ago, either.

It’s just that every once in a while, I’m granted a vision of what could have been, and that makes me sad. That always makes me sad. Deeply sorrowful to never have experienced a supportive family growing up. Deeply sorrowful over what I imagine I might have been, had I had the courage.

I feel small, and insignificant.

But that’s me looking back.

Time to turn my head around. I’ve enough on my plate right NOW without adding yesterday’s regrets to the pile. A new year is right around the corner. A fresh page, to start my story anew. There is no rulebook that disqualifies me because I’m over 50.

And the dame’s still got game, baby.

Beating a dead horse


Still not thrilled with life. I laugh at funny circumstances and jokes. I can appreciate the sun shining in the sky and smile at the autumn leaves. But that’s my outside me – the coat I wear over the real me to keep anyone from looking too closely. She can smile. The inside me is sad. Over a lot of stuff. Getting old, driving people away before they can hurt me, never quite reaching that brass ring…there’s a lot on my mind lately. None of it’s nice, or pleasant, or calming.

Made a start on the script. Found a line tucked away in my head (thank you, dad, for some of the most colorful cursing on the planet; I could never come up with that on my own) and thought it was perfect to get me going. And it did. But what followed became an angry, foul mouthed outburst, not a funny monologue. The more I looked at the angry words, the more angry I became. I realized that my anger was just sitting there, a churned up pool with a calm surface. Haven’t dealt with it. Haven’t overcome it. Just been ignoring it.

And no, I don’t want to ‘work it out on the page’. That gets tiring, too. I just want it gone.

I’d rather talk about how people screaming in the road at 5 a.m. on a Sunday must be some sort of proof of the lack of dignity in a neighborhood. How such shits live around me. Obviously people with (1) no volume control on their voices, (2) no shame in yelling at the top of their lungs, and (3) no consideration for anyone else on the planet other than themselves. Obvious, also, that they are not Dutch. Most of the problems I experience with noisy neighbors are not Dutch related. They’re people who’ve emigrated here but who don’t yet understand the culture. My answer this morning, after yet another morning of being woken up by these people fighting and screaming in the street just below my window? Make ’em integrate or get ’em out. Harsh, I know. I’m a harsh woman. I work my ASS off to fit in no matter where I go. The people I’m bitching about in this paragraph do not. They go on about their lives and expect everyone around them to adapt to their loud, uncouth manners. It sickens me.

Or let’s talk about how I’m just stuck professionally. I’ve seen some of your pages – even a few with thousands of followers. Thousands? Really? Anyone want to tell me how that happens? Because the one way I know of making it happen is to pay some company to “find” a bunch of people to “follow” you. In other words, it’s as fake as Trump’s tan. Either that or you’re a social media whore. One of those people hooked into a dozen (not an exaggeration) social media sites that repost every little thing you do – ‘Just took a dump!’. Don’t you get sick of splaying your legs like that? Don’t you crave a bit of privacy? Don’t you feel damned foolish pushing yourself like that?

I mean….you DO know you can get people to like just about anything if you expose them to it enough, right? Just because you’re making it through exposure doesn’t mean you’re actually any good.

And I’m still jealous of the numbers. Jealous of the ability to do all that, because I bloody well can’t. I have neither the stomach nor the vagina for it. So I take pot shots at people who might not deserve it because I want the thousands of followers, I want the book deal, I want the stuff I hear everyone discussing about their oh-so-perfect lives.

My life is far from perfect.

My personal inflation index is set at the same point it was when I was 12. I had this theory when I was younger that as I grew up money would lose some of its gasp factor for me. If you gave me a $50 when I was 12, I was damned impressed and a bit intimidated to have that much cash on me and in one bill. Problem is, I still feel that way. I’ve never earned enough to become lackadaisical about cash. Fifty is still a lot to me. As is twenty. Even a ten feels like a lot most days. I’m poor, dahling. No way around that one.

If raging would do me any good I’d be up throwing the furniture around. The inner me would like me to do that. The outer me doesn’t want to clean up later. Or make excuses.

Just not sure how to get out of this. How to make myself feel better so I can truly move on. Been doing all they tell you to do. Still feels pretty shitty. I’d like to take some of those ten point lists and shove them up some very ripe asses today. Yes, I exercise. Yes, I eat right. I avoid alcohol and (now) other drugs. I get enough sleep every night. I write. I talk. I bloody well try all the things you tell people fighting depression to do- not just try, but DO and DO with all I’ve got in me – and it’s still not helping. I suppose you could say all of this has kept me from actually sitting on the floor with a razor blade in hand…again. But I sure as fuck don’t feel okay. And I don’t want to hear from someone across a desk that I should try this or that and they’ll see me next week, same time, for an hour. No. Absolutely not. If you’re gonna give me that shit, I’m gonna demand you live my life alongside me for that entire week. You should have to suffer like I do, motherfucker. Not see me for an hour, give me some pat speech you’ve used on a hundred other patients, then send me out while you get up and take a coffee break or call your best friend to talk about your dress pattern or how much you drank the night before.

Ah. There’s the anger I was looking for. I see it’s tied to therapy. Again. Well, gimme my leather. Time to beat that dead horse one more time.

Things to Remember

My psychiatrist didn’t remember me one visit to the next. My therapist seemed forgetful, and always took five minutes to ‘reacquaint herself’ with me. So you’ll understand the irony I feel this morning, after my swim aerobics, when the instructor who’s never even asked my NAME took the time to talk to me this morning because I hadn’t attended her class for several weeks.

Yeah. She remembered me. Welcomed me back to class. The docs…not so good.

My body was reminded why I began that class: several moves took me by surprise, and my muscles feel it. Got to keep in mind that just because the class gets EASY it doesn’t mean I don’t need it. It just means it’s working.

And how mentally refreshing for me today, with no floats in the pool dividing this lane from that. Without all the eager beaver non-drowners, the surface remained calmer and smoother which meant that I was able to glide thru the water, barely lifting my head out for air.

It was a damned good swim.

Yesterday I felt myself slipping away. It’s the only way to describe it. My vision was sitting a few feet behind my eyes (or that’s the way it felt). Did my best to remain calm – which was a challenge. I freak a bit when that happens to me. No idea why it was happening. The girl remained mute on the subject. For a good portion of the time I felt like I was holding her hand, telling her it was going to be okay. That we were okay. And I kept visualizing the river, a base of kindness that flows out of me and into the world. It kept me in my body enough that I didn’t lose it. In fact, I went out into the world and walked around downtown for a short period of time. But it wasn’t until later in the evening, when some comedy finally made me laugh and forget myself, that I really felt I’d returned.

I broke down my ‘tasks’ for the week into small errands for each day. Seems like a better way to go right now than a mega-haul that takes care of everything in one trip. Less stress, and it gives me a reason each day to go out into public.

I may have once been Superwoman, but I’ve hung up my cape.

Now…Now I want to wallow in life, rather than fly over it. That’s pretty much the way it feels, too. Like I flew over most of my life, ran around chasing my tail over this or that rather than just LIVED. Got to give myself props where props are due: I’ve accomplished a lot of work. Finished many projects. But I’ve also rarely allowed myself to enjoy my past accomplishments; once something is ‘finished’ it’s in the past for me. The question of ‘what’s next?’ comes up right away. There’s no holding in one spot, or saying ‘Aaaaah! It’s done; I can relax now’. No. Space gets cleared and the next project gets worked on. Almost immediately. If it’s not my music, it’s writing. If it’s not writing, it’s my head. Always something.

That idea has been twisted and perverted and thrown back at me: why can’t you just spend time with yourself? Why must you always be busy with something?

Why do you hate yourself so much?

Today I say no, no, no! I don’t hate myself. I won’t claim to love myself that much, either. But I AM bored. Bored, bored, bored.

Jobs are boring. Eventually. For the first year or so, depending on the difficulty of the tasks involved, I find new jobs fascinating. After I master what needs to be done, tho, I grow bored. Restless. I want something different. It’s the same with just about everything.

The problem is, move too fast around me, ask too much of me, and I’ll overload.

I’ve got to find my own timing. It’s fast. Faster than average. But it’s not non-stop. A bit of repetition to make me feel safe then a change up for some excitement.

Tell me PLEASE what kind of work satisfies THAT kind of need. *rolls eyes*

Tell me what kind of LIFE satisfies that need.

…There I go again. Rubbing my hands on my thighs. Gonna wear down every pair of pants I have with that. It’s become an automatic unconscious action for me. Ask me to stop doing it and I’ll go nuts.

HELLS BELLS! I think I’m flipping around a bit fast this morning.

And I don’t feel quite connected. Not as unconnected as yesterday, but definitely not integrated.

Well. No time first thing this morning. Late sleep, a bit of coffee, off to class, and back with my brother fully awake and jazz on in the living room. Guess I need to make my mornings a priority.

It’s pretty obvious to me when life continuously pops the same lesson in front of me that I don’t quite have the hang of it yet. I’ve got a good memory for a lot of things, but some ideas I just can’t hold onto for long. Be kind to myself. Mornings are important. Breathe, don’t swim. Count to three before opening my mouth to speak. Expect the Dutch language at every turn. Say the hard things.

I can grasp them fully for short periods of time. Over the long run, tho, I ‘forget’. Trip up. Make mistakes. Maybe take a step or two backwards.

It’s tough.

But there’s that repetition I said I wanted. I’m not master of this stuff yet. So repetition it is. Perhaps that’s a good project to try to reintegrate myself today: make a list of all the things I need to remember.

Where’s My Broom?


There’s a candle burning next to me this morning. I had to light that with some flint I dug up; all my lighters have died and gone to lighter-heaven (there are a few stubborn bastards I HOPE went to lighter hell). I’ve got the candle going so I can smoke my morning J. I never smoke the whole thing in one go. I take a few hits, then put it down to type or think or get up and piss or whatever. Probably takes me something like a dozen re-lights to get through a joint, but then again, I can make a joint last over an hour. I am NOT a super-sucker. Stopped doing that shit when I was 30.

Yesterday ended up so much better than I thought it would. I’m a bit red in the face over how I spewed, and then it ended up ok. But that’s me: I over-react. Or so I’ve been told. Too sensitive, highly dramatic, even hysterical – been called all that and more. I can never tell. I just feel what I feel. I know it can be extreme; I’ve learned that over time, which is why I’m working so fucking hard to back down a bit. It’s tough when you feel like you can’t trust your own reactions. *sigh* Then again, my reaction quite often involves tearing someone’s head off and shitting down their throats. So maybe it’s better for me to always take a step back and another look at the situation.

Will the adversarial shit come back between me and my bro? Don’t know. Was it all in my head to begin with? Don’t know. What I DO know is that something fell off my shoulders yesterday, some chip that’s been digging into my flesh and causing me more pain that I let myself be aware of.

I’m gonna get a little crazy here. A little esoteric. You can tune out if you want.

There are a fucking lot of things that exist in this world that we can’t sense. We can’t see it, smell it, taste it, touch it, or hear it, but it’s still there. I’ve got a notion that once in a while something we can’t see or touch or hear clings onto us and causes us pain. Makes our brains go haywire. Maybe these things have consciousness; maybe they’re just a collection of stray neutrinos that act on our chemical balance. Again, I don’t know for sure. What I DO know is that these things can be got rid of easier than one may think IF you get to them early enough. They’re like an infection: let them fester and they’ll dig in, and dig in deep. Becoming aware of even the POSSIBILITY that you’ve got a ‘klingon’ from the non-physical realm is the key. Shit, I’m getting out on a limb with this. But I want to speak truth here, so I’ll say these things. First line of defense is a hard one when you’re depressed: get in the fucking water. Shower, tub, swimming pool, doesn’t matter. Get in the fucking water. If you get it early enough, that crap will slough off you no problem. Second line of defense: if the thing has dug in deep, getting in the water will make you temporarily feel better but it won’t last. Then you’ve got to get it where it lives. Self-heal, or find a healer to work with. Blast the area of entry (you’ll feel it: your temples, your solar plexus; I get it in the middle of my back, right between the shoulder blades) with energy. You’ll literally have to burn the fucker out of you, and it may take numerous treatments. Third line of defense: mental castle. Build a defensive position in your mind, a castle with thick walls and battlements to walk on. This is where you take shelter when you’re under attack. I find it to be the most difficult defensive action to take, but I have hope that someday I’ll perfect my castle and survive the siege.

Okay. All done. You can start reading again. Just had to get that out, I guess.

Must be feeling witchy. The day is foggy, my candle is burning in this twilight of morning, and Halloween is fast approaching. Oh, the kid in me comes out to play for Halloween! It’s been many a year since I allowed myself to dress up for it, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t coveted every glimpse of skeletons and witches and spiders I get during the season. SO brings out the goth in me (dat be old school goth; I’m ancient enough to lay claim to it). Today’s a day to put Bauhaus on my iPod and traipse around in black. At least in my soul. I ditched most of my black clothes in an attempt to lighten my mood. Tried the whole surround yourself with bright color thing, you know? And I think it HAS had a very positive effect on me. It’s not enough. Not nearly enough. But it does help to walk into my room and see bright colors. My continually worn yellow hoodies (I’ve got 2 that are identical) are a visual reminder to lighten myself up. But I’ve kept back one or two things in black I just couldn’t part with yet, like my Squee t-shirt. This is the month to dig them out and wear them proudly. Yeah. I be witchy. Nearing the crone age, too. Or am I crone already? Where’s my broom? 😉