The truth

It came as a demand: Send some pictures of yourself and your area. I’m sure your cousins would be interested. This is my uncle’s response to my two line ‘taking care of myself’ reply. Perhaps he didn’t mean it to sound like a demand. Perhaps that’s just his shorthand; I do it all the time, dropping words in sentences because of casual writing. But for a man so willing to fully type in his right-wing ideology, I can’t help but feel it is a precise reflection of his real, inner attitude. Demand, command, do not ask, and twist that bit of guilt in at the end to make sure people follow thru.

I deleted the message, and will not take any pictures for my family.

Yo! I am not some performing monkey here for your fucking entertainment. You can’t demand anything from me. And gee! Your attitude on those pictures I have posted has been quite cutting and negative.

😀 LOLOL! Perfect. Just realized I still have the pix from the premiere. I’ll send those. They show me, a gala event, and my friends. Let them chew on that for a bit. You didn’t bother to say anything at all, much less anything nice when I posted it publicly. Now, have it privately. I dare you, mother fuckers. I dare you to cut me down now. Go on; I know you want to do it.

Wondering about my wisdom here. I want to send those premiere pix. Make ’em squirm. But isn’t that just feeding the fire? And if the only reason I’m doing it is to test them, to see if they’ll react in the same negative way they’ve always reacted, aren’t I just allowing it to go on and on? Encouraging it, even. …Yeah. Gotta admit, that’s true. I want to pull their noses. I want to show them up, shut them up, portray for them exactly why they’re so wrong. …Fuck. That isn’t a healthy reaction.

Well. I’ll let it sit, and no doubt my head will work hard to forget it. Maybe I really will forget it…

Ah. Lovely. My computer alarm just went off, alerting me that tomorrow I have my surgery. Knew I really wouldn’t need the reminder, but I also know how I can let time get away from me and I sure as hell didn’t want to sit another 2 weeks waiting for another appointment and clamping down on my anxiety. So, ding. Yes, I know. Can’t stop thinking about it. Working hard to see past it. Moving my mind onto my language class on Monday, my upcoming appointment with the psychiatrist, the play performance in Amsterdam. There’s this big thing called LIFE that happens after my surgery. Remember that! I’m straddling it pretty well right now, but I’m not going to guarantee I won’t have a few moments of real panic tomorrow.

Did not get out yesterday. We’re in a big freeze, and my brother expressed real concern about me walking in the cold wind after sweating at the gym. I listened to him. Trying to listen to other people right now, especially if they’re telling me to take care of myself. They’re seeing something I’m not. Hold up! So far (knock on wood), I’ve remained flu and cold free this winter (was going to say I remained healthy but we all know that’s not true) and I want to stay that way. Plus…anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. Don’t feel I’ve handled that well, so I’m trying different things.

Have not gone back to my book on audio. The reader isn’t that good. A native speaker, yes. But a good speaker? No. And his delivery isn’t…magical. Good enough, but you can tell he doesn’t love the story. He’s just reading. Almost through with the book my teacher gave me. I’m learning more words. Nouns I didn’t know, verbs I didn’t know… It’s coloring in my world. I know the word for ‘so cold your teeth chatter’. I know the words for trembling, for nervousness, for worry. I see things get laid ‘aan’ or ‘bij’, people go ‘naar’ and ‘heen’ (sometimes ‘af’ and ‘toe’), birds ‘fladderen’ and dogs ‘blaften’, people have ‘benen’ and animals ‘poten’.

Give. me. more.

Plan on holding onto my audio book and just reading thru the text. It looks and sounds about my speed, and I’ll be done with the other book in a few days.

Truths I must remember to tell the psychiatrist. First, I’ve gotta mention the fact I can’t usually figure out what I’m feeling until after I write. My doc thought that was an interesting fact, and it’s not one I’ve talked about before. Second, I want to tell him I never loved my extended family. My immediate family, yes. I shared my day to day experiences with them. But I never understood why I was told to love the others. I saw my grandparents the most often, and that was two times a year at best. And it’s not like I sat down and talked with them often. The adults sat around and talked. I was expected to entertain myself. Aunts, uncles, and cousins were worse; I saw them even less. I didn’t feel any love for them. They were strangers. People I didn’t know. I grew up with ‘don’t trust strangers’, so this created a catch 22. These were strangers I was supposed to trust immediately, feel something for, even tho I knew nothing about them and spent no time with them. Throw in the fact that there were many huh? moments, times when I overheard something or saw something that wasn’t right or okay. But gloss it over. Tell them you love them. Say the words, you bad little girl!

…I never recognized my DNA family as my family. Never loved them like I was told I should. They were dangerous strangers, with sharp consequences for their children that looked pretty damned bad to me (and reinforced that ‘fairy tale’ lie about my own family).

That’s the truth.


The door now stands open

But…if I search it, will they come after me?

Oh, brava, Beeps! You wrote that well. The above is quickly becoming the number one question everyone asks after they read part one of my trilogy. Especially when I tell them I based the story on a real web site. lol! The idea that a cyber boogieman will come and get you is all my imagination, but I did it well enough in 30 pages that everyone’s asking this of me. I couldn’t be happier about it.

Saw S. I was right; we talked for hours. And yes, my secret came out and in typical S fashion, she followed up with a secret just as big on her side. We are two peas in a pod in many ways. Family issues, physical issues, self care and confidence issues… The one thing lacking is full comprehension on S’s side regarding the American lifestyle. She kept asking ‘But why would someone do that if they said they wanted children?’ It was difficult to explain the pervasiveness of that cold culture to her. Difficult to get across how individualistic and cut throat it really is, even amongst family. There’s a book for me to tackle some day: explaining American behavior to the Dutch. Or, as I’ve begun to call it in my head, ‘the American sickness’.

It’s such a blessing to be on this side of it. And as I look for the words to explain what happened to my Dutch friends and acquaintances, I’m finding my own answers.

S thinks I need to talk this out. Mostly because that’s what she’s done and it worked for her. I think not, but I heard her out. She feels I need to speak my truth a bit more, and a therapist is there for that. I tried explaining to her that I can rarely even sort out my own feelings before I write, so talking isn’t a great option for me. But…well, I didn’t write it out first, so naturally I couldn’t explain it.

Talk is cheap. I’ve had enough lip service and empty promises from other people. And enough lying to my face. Part of my conversation yesterday with S included a rehash of R, the actor who’s part was cut from the film. Ah. I was not alone in receiving a private message from him. Everyone got a few. In each, R hid a nugget of hate – a diss on someone else in the group. Apparently I can’t act at all, S is a bitch, the director is awful, the script was terrible, no one did a good job, etc. etc. S was really pissed off, and I can understand. They worked hard on that project. I checked on FB before coming out here. Most of the crew have unfriended R. Only myself, the director, and my other co-star remain on R’s friend list. Thought about un-friending him in a show of solidarity but I probably will just leave it. It didn’t escape my notice that this “actor” had only 26 friends and more professionally staged pix than anyone else I know. He’s trying real hard to be someone, and frankly, I pity him. Shouting all the time, demanding undue praise and attention, totally unaware of just how awful his performances are… He’s pitiable. Plus, he’s shown his true colors and my general rule of thumb is know your enemies. Better to keep an eye on him.

Flew off into orbit last night. Couldn’t help it; my long talk with S riled me up in many ways. I found it exciting to have a friendly exchange with someone who’s company I enjoy. I spoke my truth, and was heard. And I can’t help but have hope that yes, my film posse will get together to do my script. S is already hooked on the story, and I know the core group wants to work together again. Last night I saw a path possibility. One that’s a gamble, one that carries risks. But it’s also one I want to explore. For the first time in my life, I’m assessing this realistically. I’m looking at the long haul. My head didn’t shoot out to interviews post film, congratulating all of us and stroking my ego. I saw the work. The year or more of traveling to Den Haag every day to work on the story and script, be there for auditions, set up, lighting, talk, fun. The knowledge that ahead of me lies compromise and team work, allowing each person leeway enough to do their job.

Feels like I can do this. Like I can make the film happen. I’m very, very close. I already have a good support team, and people who will welcome my ideas (and honestly, the film feels closer to reality this morning than the production of the play). All I need to do now is wait for the right moment. Let the last semester hub-bub die down for them. Let S finish reading the script (she was on page 20). I know her; part of me feels I need to put her on my payroll as my private cheerleader. Once she’s set on something, she follows through.

My word du jour is flexibility. That’s the biggest sell my script has. I know the core story. I know what can be changed, modified, swapped around. I know what can be cut and what can be added. I can change gender, location, timing, language… You name it; the script can take it and survive and STILL be good.

Target: end of April. As students, they’ll be wrapping things up and prepping for their internships. NL has a week off for King’s Day. That’s my window. Send the script out as is to the director with full explanation. Get him the story before summer, so he can find a chance to read it. Their required internships last 6 months. Time enough to prep what we’d need to prep…

The door now stands open.

Crack that nut

Jokes that fell flat. Worry that my film friends have moved beyond me and no longer want to be my friends. Yet another message from my uncle. The amount of chemical backlash in my body from sheer terror is massive.

Goddess, where do I start?

Sent out a group message to the film crew. Made a joke about the director just telling R he was cut from the film (2 months late) and the ensuing conversation. Received one reply: we already knew about that. No laughs, no giggles, just cut short. That’s the biggest thing on my mind. I know they’re busy with job hunting, etc., but…well. I expected at least a giggle emoji in reply. Especially from S, the casting director to whom I thought/hoped I had a real connection. Maybe the time of that friendship is over. That happens. Circumstances make you friends, and circumstances can pull friendships apart. My biggest fear is that I’ll get an even bigger bite from someone in the group, some comment along the line of ‘Gee, the film is over. You’re an old woman. You’re nice and all, but we’re not really friends.’ That fear prevents me from asking if something is going on, if I’ve misstepped or said something that threw a wrench into the whole thing.

On the flip side, ran into B, a fellow ex-pat who’s been coming to my script readings and calls me by my pen name, and O, her friend. Saw them at the library yesterday when I renewed my membership. Talked for over two hours, left with hugs and hopes that we’ll get together after I’ve recovered from surgery. That felt good. My bro doesn’t like B nor her husband. That sucks; I can’t come home and say ‘I had a great conversation with B’ because he doesn’t like her. Always a nasty comment in return. I like B, and her husband. They’re very pleasant with me, very understanding and supportive. And I feel a real need to have a few friends. People who know ME, who like ME. Not people I’ve met through my brother, who are my brother’s approved friends. I’ve done that. For years and years. And it’s helped keep me safe. But now I have to do things differently. I’m moving beyond the sphere of influence my brother has and into a separate arena. Music, fine. My brother’s heavily involved, very educated and skilled, and very adept at putting projects together. I nod to his expertise. But he’s nothing to do with theatre, or writing. I need other people now. Other supports, other critiques – even if my brother doesn’t like them.

I’m not willing to exchange one kind of control for another. I listen to my brother’s gripes, his opinions. I take that as advice: be aware. Be careful. On certain levels, these people could be untrustworthy. I acknowledge that as a truth. And I hope, with my brother’s constant judgements, to hold an even keel and a steady head as I work my way through this jungle of networking.

Sickening jolts of fear running through my body. It’s like a timed flush, or a menopausal hot flash. I can feel it coming on. Feel the chemical dump, my heart rate race. I hate it. And I breathe deeply, do my best to calm myself. Got so bad at one point last night I couldn’t talk. Only breathe. Telling myself it’s like pain; it’ll pass, just get through it. And I do get through them, but the next time it hits me it’s just as bad, just as frightening, just as sickening.

Message from my uncle. Meh. What do I say? Yet another attempt – a blatantly obvious attempt, at least to me – to test the lines of communication between us. It’s what my family does: insult you to the hilt, ’til you can’t take it anymore and throw a fit, then come timidly back, testing the waters to see if you’ll still bite their head off. They never apologize, never approach the topic head-on. Don’t speak of the past; pretend it never happened. I hate that. Hate that approach, hate everything about it. One more way to enforce silence.

I will no longer be silent.

My mother – my uncle’s “saintly” sister and beloved nurse anesthetist – physically abused me. The physical abuse was covert; I never had a black eye or broken arm. But it was there. It happened. Of course, the physical abuse was just a set up for the mind fuck she pulled on me. Still not quite used to that look of shock that comes over someone’s face when I tell them some of my childhood secrets. She did that to you? Yeah. Yeah, she did. Repeatedly.

And the shock registered here, in the Netherlands, is far beyond anything else I’ve seen. Because they really care. Mental health isn’t an “issue” to be feared, and people with problems aren’t freaks. Many people have sought counseling for things that, when I hear them, I can’t help but have a moment of ‘wow, you thought THAT was bad?!?’. So when I tell them about things like the old adage of ‘you’re too smart to make such a dumb mistake’, or the fact that the first time I had my hair washed at a salon I was convinced they did it wrong because it didn’t hurt, they look at me with real bewilderment.

Getting well…it’s kind of like writing. You start with just spewing out everything. But eventually you get around to editing. You get down to the nitty gritty. I began my journey with my stories, no judgements, no classifications, just ‘this is what happened to me’. Then, I adopted the idea of physical abuse. Just the idea; I could write it, but I couldn’t say it. Now, I’ve edited it down. I can lead with ‘my mother was physically abusive to me’. It’s hard to say. Hard to say just that and nothing else. But that’s the kernel of truth behind all my stories.

Crack that nut, and everything else gets a little easier.



*deep, lovesick sigh* Will I ever be able to have a physio appointment and NOT fall in love with my therapist? …Doubtful. I seem to be made hard-wired to like this guy. Everything about him – his looks, his voice, his mind, his attitude – I can’t help but like him. I’ve tried to keep cool. Be distant. But after each and every appointment, I feel love sick. I hoard up memories of his words and the jokes we share as if they mean something. Ach! I could spend a fortune on appointments just to have more time with him.

Today I’m getting walloped by a side comment he made about my hair. I told him the day is coming; it’s getting chopped off. Immediately his voice took on a slightly pleading tone: Why? I’ve heard that response before, in that tone of voice. It’s a ‘I really find your hair attractive, please don’t cut it off’ thing. And the very female response he brings out in me is now screaming to keep the hair long, deal with it. He likes it. Never once does this side of me ask if I like my hair this long. She’s only concerned with the impact it makes on other people. Especially people she finds intensely attractive.

…Still nothing in my inboxes regarding my work. I’m beginning to bite my nails.

I did manage to finally finish J’s story, and after several attempts, a note to him about it. Oh, that note! I re-wrote it and re-wrote it. I wanted to be up front about some technical issues. I wanted to be clear. Not mean, not cutting, just truthful. And bless J’s heart, he read it as I intended. Thanked me for pointing out the tech side of things, and admitted that he knew these were problem areas in his writing. I received a very long reply, detailing his ideas for his world and the characters. The message wound up with a ‘I’ve got low energy and loads of depression right now, so I’m not writing at the moment’. I replied, telling him to try and use that. His world is depressive; let that reflect in some of his characters. He ended up asking if he could quote me on FB. I said sure, thinking it would be one or two lines from my message. Nope. The whole thing, with praise heaped on my head for bringing these ideas to his attention. He told me he never once considered putting his depression into his stories. In his blog, yes. But in his stories? No. I could hardly believe it.

Please don’t tell me the majority of stories about depression are written by non-depressive people. It’s probably true; it has that ring of ‘yep, that’s reality’ in it.

No wonder the world is so fucked. We’ve been fed one viewpoint – a false viewpoint, with limited and restricting stereotypes laced throughout – our entire history. Stories about black people written by whites. Stories about women written by men.

Good Goddess! Write what you know!

More: write what you are. If you’re a man, write about men. If you’re gay, write about homosexuality. If you’re a woman, write about women. Don’t try to get tricky, don’t think you know what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes. You think you know, but you don’t. Leave the truth telling to the people who’ve been through it every damned day of their lives. That, more than anything, seems to be lacking. The overriding, all-encompassing shit we ‘minorities’ face day in and day out. If you haven’t had to deal with people ignoring you because you’ve got big breasts, or dissing what you say out of hand because of the color of your skin, you don’t get it. Our minds are not wired to imagine such slurs on a regular basis, such degradation in everything we see and hear and touch. And it changes everything. People like to imagine themselves being strong and brave in these situations. People get it wrong. Because when you’re a dog beaten for no reason and locked up in a cage all your fucking life, you develop certain behaviors and attitudes that are not strong nor brave. It’s easy to be heroic when you step into a bad situation after a lifetime of support and real love. But if you’re that beaten dog, heroics are something you dream about, not something you do. You’re too enmeshed in freeing yourself from your restraints.

*grumble, grumble, and grouse…*

…So today I need to walk into my language lesson and tell them I’m not continuing this semester. Thursday lessons just aren’t worth it. There’s no lesson plan, no structure. The room is big and loud. It’s difficult at best to hear. I think my time is far better spent doing my Monday homework, extra reading, and watching more films and programs in Dutch. Structure, repetition, and clear speaking. That’s what I need. Not a teacher who’s half afraid of me and half doesn’t like me. Not a ‘lesson plan’ that dithers here and there without any clear direction. Not an extra student who, when she shows up, pulls the entire experience back to a lower level I’ve moved beyond. I need to keep moving forward. Not sure what to expect today. My plan is to take nothing; I’m not staying. Just show up and talk to my teacher. Tell her I can’t afford to pay for both Monday and Thursday lessons, and since I must choose, I choose Monday lessons. The other reasons…if I was offered Thursdays for free, I’d go. No skin off my nose. Then I’d view it as one more opportunity to just use the language. But it’s not worth paying for. Last semester, my fellow student didn’t have to pay. We’ll see if that occurs for me. I don’t expect it.

Get to the gym. Make sure I’m ready to head to Den Haag tomorrow.

*sigh* And work, once more, to free myself from this lovesick feeling.


Save yourself

Slept decently. Yea! Small victories are sometimes the most important.

Woke, however, with one thing on my mind: the friend request on FB from an ex-neighbor who done me wrong. I’ve let it sit for a month, as I do when I’m unsure of what action I should take. I finally woke this morning finding I had something to say.

We are not friends. Not since you so coldly shut me out over the farmers’ market. Why are you asking to be my friend now? Do you think I’d simply forget your refusal to give me a lift, your refusal to talk to me at the time? Do you think friends simply ignore past problems and they’re magically white-washed away?

I was, and still am, hurt over your actions.

In fact, every single one of the women involved in that incident can go to hell. You all wanted to cheat the system, to by-pass the law, to sell illegally, and, most importantly, to sell substandard and dangerous products to the public. I didn’t call in any inspector for you or anyone else at the market, it was for me. Of course the inspector then saw the signs in town, and of course she checked things out. That was her job! And the law. And if people got in hot water because their kitchens were filthy and they were finally found out, it isn’t MY fault. Never was. It’s THEIR fault. Yet, I was blamed and ostracized.

I suppose in a strange way I should say thanks. I didn’t know at the time what a den of thieves and liars I was getting involved with, and that incident showed me beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are people I do not want to associate with.

Live your life out on your tiny plot of land at the end of that peninsula. Take what joy you can from the life you’ve created. I wish you no ill.

But stop asking me to be your friend.

Again, this is sitting on my desktop unsent. I’ll think about it for a few more days before I do anything. All I want from this communication is to state what I feel and think. How easy to tell someone how I feel if I don’t really care about them! Easy! This is it; you fucked up and I’m hurt. Wish I could do that with everybody.

But, I can’t. The more I care, the more I risk by telling my truth. And the more difficult my truth becomes to state.

I don’t trust a lot of people with my truth. That’s a mess. Don’t state the truth, resentment builds, eventually there’s an argument – which I don’t want in the first place. I’m working on it. Still haven’t got to the point I can say something like ‘Ow, that hurts’ when people say hurtful things to me, but the day is coming. I have some fresh, powerful memories of feeling good about myself and being around positive people. That helps immensely. I’m less likely to take shit right now because I’ve had a taste of what good relations feel like.

And I don’t want to be angry about this. I don’t want to stand up for myself with a red face, yelling or screaming.

I just want to be able to stand.

…That’s not asking too much, is it?

*sigh* And the thought occurs that I may have to do this over and over. Tell my truth to the people I was too afraid to say it to before. Seems to keep cropping up. Just when I think I’ve shaken off the last of my past, someone comes creeping back with a message or a friend request. …The weirdest part is that I know I’m making this harder than it needs to be. I’m the one reluctant to take the chance. And I’m the one who needs to be brave right now. Do it. I risk nothing by stating my truth; they’re already out of my life.

Shatter that last barrier.

No. more. abuse. Not physical, not mental, not spiritual. I have my foothold now. I know what it’s supposed to look and feel like. I found that ‘click’ with people I’ve been so desperately searching for. They’ve made me see a part of me I didn’t know I kept hidden. And they loved it, and loved me, and I loved them in return.

Your family shouldn’t hold you back. Your friends shouldn’t drag you down. If you’re out there in whatever time and space you occupy and the people around you make you continuously feel shitty about yourself, get the fuck out. Now. Don’t think about what you’ll be losing. You’re trained to think that way. You’ve been conditioned, subordinated, brainwashed. Just get the fuck out. You’ve a lifetime to sort thru everything, so give yourself that lifetime. Get. out.

And yes, you’ll be called a runner. A coward, for leaving. These people will try to shame you even as you attempt to save yourself. Ignore them. Leave. Cut all ties. Change your name. Whatever you have to do to get away from them, do it.

Save yourself.


May I have another?

Behold, the knees. I’m on the left, with the grey socks. My 21 year old co-star is on the right. After cut was called yesterday, we went up to change clothes and compare bruises. Don’t know how many times we ended up doing the death scene, but as you can see, we put everything we had into it.

This has to rank as the number one experience of my life. Been trying to think what might even come close to topping it, and I’m drawing a blank. The dedication of these young film makers – barely any sleep, push, push, and keep a great attitude. The sheer professionalism of them, from the camera work to the thought behind the shots. And damn! They were all so nice. I think I’m in love with each and every one of them.

That love translated into good work. When it came time for the big scene I drew it up – the tears, the despair over watching as your own child turns and kills you. Time after time. It was right there, behind my belly-button, and all it took was a bit of breathing. M, my costar, locked eyes as I went into it. And the further I went, the further she went. We began to feed off each other – the kind of thing you hear about on celebrity talk shows. The room faded, the crew were a background noise. It was the two of us, staring into each other’s eyes, falling into a world of pain and torment. And it. was. glorious. The best work I’ve ever been able to do, because everyone around me was that good.

…To be able to do that… To have an opportunity like that… I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much it means to me.

Oh, Goddess! And to work with an actor who could match me!! That was another world. Gone were any inhibitions, any doubts. Had the director asked us to strip naked to do the shot, I think we could have without blinking an eye. That’s how intense and personal it was.

My hands never stopped leaking an oily sweat the entire shoot. That was the mania: uncontrolled, and oozing out of me even when I didn’t want it. But I didn’t shake. I didn’t falter. I didn’t back down or compromise. And it all got funneled into the role.

And there’s a story within a story here. Because not only was the shoot itself fabulous, the time around the shoot was fabulous, too. We did the filming at the home of the casting director, and her parents were around for most of the time. Her father honored me several times – he tried my homemade cordial for my voice, loved it, and promptly shoved some money in my hands to buy two bottles. He shared a family photo album of a trip to India. He spoke to me of his daughter, and his life. And his daughter! Oh, she’s a bright one! Found myself, as usual, spilling my guts in that no-nonsense way I seem to have these days. She said, ‘It’s kind of like therapy for you, isn’t it? I can tell by the way you say these things’. And yes, she’s right. I knew that a while ago. She’s just the first person to bring it up. She also told me how difficult it was for her to think of me as 52. ‘You’re very young. Like part of you hasn’t aged at all.’

Oh, I’d love to spend more time with her, and with her family! Good people. Straight talk, unafraid to say those things that need saying. Unafraid to hear what I have to say.

…I’ve had a taste of being a film star. Not just in name, but truly being a film star. Because it’s not what you do, it’s how people treat you that makes all the difference. I can only assume this translates into whatever field you study; that finally getting the accolades and notice you’ve worked so hard for always feels this good. I have been passed over so much – wait! I’ve allowed myself to be passed over so much! better! – , and these past two days are a big wake-up call on that front. Gratitude. Real gratitude for who I am and what I do. I feel accepted. In full, and without having to apologize for my weird sense of humor or the funny voices that sometimes burst out of me or anything else I do.

This is amazing. Absolutely amazing.

And all I want to do is fall down on my very bruised knees and scream THANK YOU! at the top of my lungs because prayer is far too quiet for what I feel.

This is me, actualized. In total. Giving it my all. Burning the way I know I was made to burn. Not turned away. Not ignored because other people were uncomfortable or didn’t know what to do or say. I was watched. I was admired – and TOLD. I was – dare I say it? – loved as much as I loved. I saw it and felt it. I was hugged not because that’s what you do at the end of filming, but because our emotions were overbrimming, because we knew we’d all shared something special and unique.

…I’ve no real plans, other than showering and babying my injuries. Thinking of maybe making a surprise visit on Monday to the set. I still owe the casting director’s dad a bottle of my cordial, and, well… As I was saying good-bye, and telling everyone how sad I was that it was over, someone said ‘you could always come visit on Monday’ and that’s just been turning in my brain overnight. I could see everyone again. Take care of the cordial, and pick up the lights. Drop off my expenses.

The more I consider it, the more reasons I find for going one more time.

Thank you. May I have another?


Pretty fuckin’ crude

Feelin’ good about yer English? Cool. Now let’s do Dutch.

Was worried my recent writing high would make me feel twice as bad about mistakes in language class. Just the opposite; yesterday I cut myself more slack and was more understanding of myself and my mistakes than I usually am. It’s okay, I thought. Look how far you’ve already come. Must admit it helped that most of the class wasn’t up to speed. Some hadn’t written their story for homework. Many hadn’t worked on the irregular verbs.

I picked up my third novel in Dutch. Yep! Only one in class to finish any book – and I’ve finished two so far.

And, English or Dutch, my twat side comes to the fore. The teacher’s eyes popped when she saw my story – two pages stapled together. The writing is big, and I’m using every other line so there’s plenty of room for corrections. Still…it was the longest of any student’s story. By far.

But I’m a writer. I think I’ve accepted that fact now, right down to the tips of my toes. I write, and I write well. Another language? Well, don’t expect that to slow down my brain. You’ll still get startling statements from me. They’ll just be a little immature and have a few grammar mistakes.

This week’s assignment: write something in Dutch every day. Nothing fancy, just what we did during the day. Like a diary entry, my teachers said. Yeah…like I have any hope of keeping THAT simple. And it could hardly be like a diary entry, in truth. My blog entries are stilted, many sentences lack full grammatical structure because of the casual nature of my writing, and once in a while I pull a purposefully poor sentence and/or spelling out of my hat because…well, I just do (either I think it adds color, or it’s an echo of what I think my family would say to me). I’ll get marks off if I pull that in class. Full sentences, proper grammar, proper tense.

And it ain’t so much my sentence structure I be worried about, it’s the thoughts and ideas behind my words I got the willies for.

That truth I can’t stop speaking.

Case in point: this week’s assignment. A little story about your family. I confined it to my dad, someone I felt I could be at least a little bit positive about. But what did I write? I wrote about his depression, and the depression and alcoholism of his father. I wrote about my dad’s brother, who died in WWII. I wrote about my connection with my dad, how I had his blue eyes, his dimples, and his way of looking at the world. …Pretty sure the rest of the papers are going to say stuff like ‘I have two sisters. My oldest sister is married with three children. They live in Timbuktu.’ I mean…yeah. I could write that. I could bore myself silly with that shit. I’m beyond it already, and eager to write more.

There’s so much more to words than just plain facts.

Been being extra, extra good with my ankle. Maybe it was hurt more than I realized. Took longer than I care to admit for it to not hurt when I just touched it. But now, my back is beginning to seize up. I gotta move. Been getting out, doing more each day, but today has to be a gym day. I’ve got to get walking again, for at least an hour. I can’t sit comfortably at night. That shit’s gotta stop. Tossed my agenda around; was going to get my blood work done today, but that means an extended public transport ride into the hospital. Can’t do that comfortably, so put it off a day or two. The doc told me I could get my blood tests done first thing the morning of our appointment and the lab would be able to process everything in time for our meeting, so no time constraints on that side. Tape up the ankle, get to the gym, and walk.

Hoping getting back to the gym will simultaneously fire up and calm my brain. My brain has been working – but it’s often static. Grey noise meant to distract me. Flighty thoughts, with no beginning and no end. Circular. That’s dangerous territory. Often it ends up with me berating myself endlessly, caught in some web of thought that won’t let me go. I want to find my rock, nail down an end of my thoughts, and start spinning. For that, I need a moment of calm, a little quiet pool in the river of my brain. And I can’t get that with static going on non-stop. Gotta turn that tv off.

And how do you turn that tv off? By turning the animal on.

It’s the visceral part of you you must empower. For me, that means exercise. Nothing to wake the animal up like running the body hard. I don’t think about my family or my past while I exercise. All my attention is given over to my heart rate, pumping my legs, working harder, enduring even when I want to give up. Oddly enough, tho…while I’m aware of all that and while it drives the static out of my brain, other things do come to the forefront. Connections I can’t see while I’m caught in some self-imposed web. Sometimes the connections have to do with me, sometimes my writing, sometimes the world in general. But that’s what I want. The animal push quiets that all pervasive low level angst I have over things not being right. It’s not right, what we do. It’s not right, how we treat other people. It’s not right, it’s not right, it’s not right!

How can we all have heard as children the lessons about sharing and caring and turned out to be such SHITS? How baseless, how crude is humanity, truly?

…Pretty fuckin’ crude.


Keep on rock ‘n me, baby

This morning I hit the unfriend button on FB. Unfriended my uncle. Still half on the fence with the whole idea, but I can’t shake the truth that if anyone other than a family member did to me what he did, I’d read him the riot act. Sharing DNA doesn’t allow people to treat you like dirt. So after much deliberation and a lot of anxiety, unfriend it was.

I’m worried about the backlash. The demands to know why I did it, the endless denials and accusations, the being told I’m wrong over and over. Do not know how much I’ll take before I…blow up? Finally get angry? Tell them to fuck off? Report them for bullying and abuse? Any or all of the above. That frightens me, too. So far I’ve dealt with this very level headed. I don’t want to lose it now. More; I don’t want to give them one iota more of anything they can use against me. Losing it is definitely one of those things they’ll use against me.

Found myself thinking the other day that if, when I die, my mother appears to me, waiting to guide me to the other side, I’ll grab her fucking hand and DRAG the bitch to Hell. And if that means I’m stuck in Hell for all eternity, well, as long as I know she’s getting HERS, I’ll deal. Can’t be all that much worse than living here.

Now, that’s a sad fucking thought, isn’t it?

Fuck! I’m screwed up.

…Having a difficult time getting myself motivated. Maybe I finally took the word ‘holiday’ in its entirety. You know – REAL time off. Gym time, writing, reading – even running my lines for memory’s sake has become a chore, a non-emergency, something I can do tomorrow or the day after. For my own peace of mind, I’ve allowed it. I know what I can do when I am motivated; no need to push it if I’m not. One more performance to stay healthy for. One more run thru of the play to do. Focus!

But something’s cooking. I hope my inner eye is focusing on the thrillers. I think it is. I’ve begun pacing again, talking aloud to myself, sorting out ideas. The task of taking my ideas to paper seems monumental, but that’s my lack of motivation. I’m sorting. Thinking. Plotting. Getting that film of the story to run seamlessly in my mind.

Been talking aloud to myself a LOT lately, actually. About all sorts of things. Part of that is my brother’s schedule: he’s out more and more with band rehearsals and other stuff, leaving me alone in the house. Part of it is just ME. It’s what I do, what I’ve always done. I think I give myself comfort this way. I think it helps for me to hear with my ears all those words of support I tell myself. After all, that’s why I think I began it in the first place – to allow my ears to hear those words no one ever said to me. You’re beautiful. You’re talented. You’re brilliant. In talking to myself, I can be brutally honest without fear of being ridiculed. I can be supportive without strings; my self talk doesn’t hinge on me acquiescing to political views or moral stances I find abhorrent. And I feel it, down to my toes. It’s mother-me comforting child-me.

Same reason why I rock while seated. It’s a comfort motion. My torso moves for and aft, back and forth, rhythmically, like I’m rocking a baby. I am rocking a baby: me. I’m telling myself I’m okay, I’m safe, and I can take care of myself.

And that’s okay. It’s okay to give myself what I need. It’s healthy, in fact. I’m embarrassed by what I do: the rocking and the talking aloud. Embarrassed a LOT. Part of me is afraid it looks insane, and I know what happens when THAT line of thought occurs to someone. Everything that comes after gets discounted, no matter how on the mark or true it is. Part of me is just plain ashamed of myself: here I am, 50+, and still trying to comfort that crying little girl in me. I should be beyond this. Over it. Able to let it go, and get on with my life.

I shouldn’t feel so fucking stuck.

But I do, and saying I shouldn’t is just one more way for me to reinforce that blame and guilt instilled in me as a child. It’s all your fault. If you were better/stronger/smarter, you wouldn’t be here.

Oh, yeah. It’s lovely having a war of confidence go on in your head 24/7.

I always feel so naked when my confidence is shaken. So the worm, wriggling in the mud. Nothing. Contemptible in my lowliness. It is what’s allowed physical abuse into my life: hit me, I deserve it and worse. That’s a mindset I have to fight against every day because no matter how long it’s been since I was in an abusive relationship, I still think that way. I still hate myself that much. I still think that little of myself.

Rock. Or smoke. Or do anything other than think about what you just wrote.

Ugly truths are like scabs. I can’t help but pick at them. And it hurts. Another way to hurt myself…

Run. Hide. Deny. Distract.

But truth will out. Even in my distractions. I know the music I’m including in this is a ‘love’ song. But flip it to me talking to me-the-child – because that’s the way I’m hearing it this morning.

Keep on rock ‘n me, baby.



Allowed that despair to overtake me yesterday. Just for a moment or two. Enough time to sob deeply and feel a tear drop from my eye. Then I shook myself, sighed, and went to the gym.

Exercise has become a time waster. A thing to keep me from smoking. Not a thing I enjoy. Not a thing I do to get in shape or lose weight. Just a thing that keeps me out of the house, away from my ashtray. The goal is to spend as much of the afternoon at the gym as possible.

Hope to tire myself out. Get back here and almost fall asleep for the rest of the day. Wouldn’t need to smoke then. Wouldn’t need to do anything, other than chill.

Doesn’t quite work, of course. The more I do, the better shape I’m in, the longer it takes to tire me out. Half hour on the cross trainer. Half hour on the treadmill. Half hour on the bikes. Half hour on the free weights. Was surprised all evening long. Kept expecting my eyes to close while watching tv. Nope. Wide awake.

Telling myself I shouldn’t feel all wimpy and weak. My stamina has improved. I’ve moved up settings on everything, including heavier free weights because a 15 year old BOY had to go and pick up the lightest free weights in the gym to exercise. Really, kid? I didn’t want to, but I picked up the 4 kilo weights and started working – after I shot him a dirty look. He’s a healthy BOY CHILD and should be working harder. I’m an OLD WOMAN and should be working less.

Gave a lot of thought to what I wrote about yesterday. Thought so much about it I think I might have handled one of those disagreement points better than usual. It came up in conversation. I could hear it in our words and the slightly harder edge in my brother’s voice. My head said ‘this is one of those times when he feels you’re not hearing him’. So I stopped trying to get my point across. I acknowledged what he said ‘I hear you, and agree’. I dropped the pitch and volume of my voice. And I heard him stumble a moment, expecting a fight and getting none. Then he dropped his voice volume and tone, and suddenly that horrible argument moment was over and done with without our getting into a shouting and/or blaming match.

….And no, it didn’t escape me that in handling and defusing the situation I had zero opportunity to speak my own mind. That could be an issue, so I hope nothing too important comes up. This whole thing began in part because I feel un-listened to. While I’m very pleased to have no arguments or bad feelings to overcome this morning, as far as the subject goes my brother has NO IDEA HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT. He’s assuming I feel one way or another because I haven’t spoken up. But I can’t speak up without causing an argument. And I can’t prevent and argument AND speak up. That’s two conflicting things for me. Either I concentrate on keeping the peace or I speak my mind. And if I continually choose to keep the peace, I end up feeling like my opinions and thoughts don’t matter anyway – which is exactly what started the whole fucking thing in the first place.

Why does this shit always fall to women? I never hear men talk about compromising themselves in order to keep the peace with someone. NEVER. They just bulldoze over. Me, me, me. Hear me. Listen to me. Honor MY fucking opinion. Oh, you have one too? Well, that’s just silly. You should think like me. You do, don’t you? Oh…you don’t? What’s wrong with you?

Round and round. Get ready, women. If you haven’t hit this shit in life yet, prepare yourself. It’s gonna happen, and you’ll be blamed no matter what you do. It’s what men do. How they react. It’s their fragile male egos, which we pamper and coddle because some of us like to get penises shoved up our vaginas. Or maybe all of you put up with it because you think you need men. We don’t, you know. Plenty of sperm in the sperm banks. We can kill every man on this planet and be just fine. Better than fine, with their male egos out of the way. We can make real peace, real change. And never, ever let another person with a penis think they’re better than us. Never, ever let them take over again. Return to a matriarchal society. Burn every book that uses ‘he’ as a gender neutral pronoun or ‘mankind’ to describe humanity. Destroy every testosterone driven film. And yes, cut off all the dicks of every male ever born because frankly I’d find it cathartic.

Right about now is the time when some man usually pops up and asks ‘are you a dyke?’

No, for the record, I’m straight. I just see men the way they really are. Oh, got a problem with that? Can’t reconcile the idea of a strong willed woman who’s not gay? You are so immature.

But that, of course, is just another male put down. Oh, if a woman has a strong opinion, she must be a lesbian. Regular women don’t talk like that. Real women don’t think like that. I’m rolling my eyes as I type.

No wonder I remained single all my life. Sure, part of it was choice. Part of it wasn’t. No one ever wanted to spend their life with me. And I suppose that’s got to do with having a strong opinion. Dad told me long ago that I’d scare men off. Too smart, too opinionated, too outspoken.

Odd, then, because he’s the man who made me this way. Encouraged me to think, to debate, to challenge his viewpoint at every opportunity.

I feel like a freak. Some Francis-stein that’s half modern woman and half old fashioned lady. Don’t know where I fit in, don’t know HOW to fit in.


This is me

This picture is not me; it’s just really cool.

Two nights of uninterrupted sleep. I’m finally on the mend. Still spewing a rainbow of colors out of every orifice, but it’s less than it was. And I can stay awake for the entire day without a nap. Definite improvement.

Ran into a hiccup with immigration. They sent forms, we’re preparing answers. I don’t like that the process is held up, don’t like not having every t crossed or i dotted. Don’t like the fact my ID card is out of date, as is the stamp on my passport. Don’t like being told ‘relax, everything will be fine’ when it’s clearly not.

But I’m hanging on.

Tonight is the long awaited theatre group meeting. So, naturally, we’re inundated with rain. Wet, wet, wet – it’s been banging on the window since I went to bed. To add to my list of things I don’t like right now, I don’t like the idea of having to walk in this wet weather when I’m still not 100% healthy. I’m also in a bit of a dither over the meeting itself. What’s going to happen tonight? Will I get blown off? Again? My mind wants to take it to the extremes. Keep pulling myself back to the now, telling myself to allow things to happen rather than try to predict the future.

Heard from an online friend. We ‘met’ over ten years ago. Been correspondents ever since. He seems a decent enough guy. But it’s been since before the election that I heard from him. Wise man; he was anti-Hillary. Not that I was pro-Hillary; I wasn’t. I was (and am) anti-Trump. Still. He mentioned it, in passing – the whole election, the huge divide the country faces right now – and he said ‘I didn’t know what we were getting into’. Now how the hell am I supposed to say anything to that? Tough titties, dude? It’s one of those you made your bed now sleep in it times. Frankly I think anyone who didn’t work to stop that asshole deserves whatever the fuck they get. Unfortunately, all my friends who failed to stop 45 are also suffering, and that I don’t like to see.

Too bad the world won’t accept the idea of refugees out of America. They should; it’s far from free, and far from a pleasant place to live. But everyone buys the Friends myth: that yes, you can all live in a place like New York working on a barista’s salary. You can all have your hair done at expensive salons, wear the latest fashion, go out, buy things on minimum wage. Yeah (oh, and the apartments are big and rat and cockroach free). The same people also feel real bad about the gang on Gilligan’s Island. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there like that. I’ve met people from around the world who absolutely 100% believe in the American dream – even when I, a native, born and bred, tell them what I’ve experienced. I understand how that happens. I had a very naive idea about what Middle Eastern countries were like, until I began to meet people who lived there. All I ever saw on the news was desert nations, desert cities. Dust. A scraggly tree standing somewhere, small and alone. I didn’t know about the forests, the mountains, the rivers and lakes. No one ever talked about them. No one ever showed them.

What we need right now (and feel free to take the idea and run with it) is a Video Free America. A place where ordinary people could post real videos of real places. Show the slums, the ghettos, the inner cities that look like they were hit by bombs. Show the abject poverty in the countryside. Tell your stories about not being able to afford health care, food, clothing. Talk about the long waits in government offices. Show the cost of food, the cost of things. Really and truly – not the Hollywood version. Because no one out here knows. No one out here can even begin to fathom how much you pay for anything. The only thing on par with costs in the US is rent. And even in that category, I’ve seen nothing in the EU that can touch the high rental costs of America. Not when hovels in the US cost so much, and equivalent rental costs on the continent give you a clean and safe living space. And let’s talk about public transport. I know there are trains in the Eastern US, even light rails in some cities. But can you hop on ANY public transport near your home and take it to the furthest reaches of your own country? I can. I can get to any place on the planet from where I live. Hop the metro, three stops to the train, two stops to Rotterdam Central, and from there the world is mine. Hell’s bells! Do you even HAVE public transport where you live?

…The core of me is so sick with the actions of the elite. Not just now, but always. Still reading Tolstoy, and a few chapters last night mentioned the annual income of some of the characters. Hundreds of thousands a year – and that’s during the 1800s. Imagine. I don’t care what currency you’re talking about; that’s a LOT of money. More than anyone needs. I’ve heard all the arguments: these elites are the patrons, the ones who paid the merchants and workers to make fine things, thus giving them an income and a ‘leg up’ in the world. That’s propaganda. It was the rich pissing on everyone’s heads back then, and it’s the rich pissing on everyone’s heads now.

Too political? Perhaps. It is my heritage.

The one thing I find is that the more I hear – excuses, lies, taunts – the more intransigent I become. It is not the higher path. I know that. But I will not climb back into my cave. I will not re-learn to fear what need not be feared. I will not re-learn to hate what need not be hated.

Been looking for the upside of 50+, and maybe this is it: the surety to stand by my convictions. The firm knowledge of what I’ll take and what I won’t take. There’s a quiet calmness that comes with it. Do what you will; my mind is already made up. And that part of me, that ‘last inch’ as the film V for Vendetta called it, you cannot touch.

This is me.