Francis-stein

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.

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Thankful

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There are plenty of times I accept the old adage it’ll get a lot worse before it gets better. The disarray that a large scale cleaning project brings, the slogging work of trying to lose those last five pounds – been there, done that. But I did not expect to experience the workings of that old adage with my head.

The last 24 hours I’ve experienced some of the worst sinus headaches of my life. Pain around my eyes, pulsing at my temples, radiating down my neck and into my shoulders. Stuffiness on a scale I only get during the worst of sinus infections. Coughing, drainage – you name it, I got it. And the dizziness is worse.

Give me a weak laugh because this is me getting well.

My bro expects me to get out of the house today and meet him downtown for a Turkish pizza. I don’t want to disappoint him; he’s been talking about Turkish pizza since our favorite place went down for renovations (it’s open again, so now there’s urgency in his talk). But if I get socked with more of what I had last night, I hesitate to go out. My goal this morning is to ride out the day between codeine pain killers and smoke, doing my best to ease my own discomfort without sending me to sleep. We’ll see how well I do.

Back to script writing. My idea to gender bend the last script set me on fire. As I went thru my writing, modifying the he’s to she’s and him’s to her’s, I began to get a real sense of what I was creating. A lot of what I had in the original script stands, but some I have to write from scratch. This piece is not fantasy; it is not set in a reality where men can get pregnant (which is a problem because pregnancy jokes were a big part of the original). Not doing that. But the rest is getting flipped, even down to substituting ‘goddess’ for ‘god’ every single time, and ‘gals’ for ‘guys’. The point of doing this is to emphasize how our every day language, particularly the way it’s used in the US, is male orientated – and I’m doing that by flipping the references. I figure if anyone gets annoyed by hearing ‘goddessdamn it’ rather than ‘goddamn it’, I’m hitting my mark. But throughout my notes, particularly to the actors, I need to make it clear that this needs to be played absolutely 100% straight. The men, tho shown as caretakers and generally submissive to the females, can NOT be effeminate. The women, tho shown as blunt and abrasive, can NOT be masculine. These people simple are what they are. The behavior they express seems outrageous now: where once I had the father harping on about checking the oil in your car, now the mother is doing it – and it shows how strange that behavior is. The crassness of what was a brother and now is a sister seems doubly crass. The worry and control exhibited by what once was the mother and now is the father almost feels over the top.

And how strange to have my characters keep saying ‘daughter’. Hearing parents refer to their male children as ‘son’ is fairly common, but hearing them refer to their female children as ‘daughter’ is weird.

The cultural references I sprinkled throughout the script are tough to switch up, too. Not many female counterparts to reference, and most are not as well known.

Most of all, this work is an eye opener to me regarding how rigidly my own mind is set in male dominated roles and labels.

Other notes on the script: I’m tossing any reference to dates. This piece shouldn’t be shackled by any particular decade in human history. Actor direction has to include a bit on make-up. I want the actors to use make-up but only to the extent a male would: a bit of foundation, some powder, maybe a hint of blush under the lights, but that’s it. Only one character should wear any other make-up, and that’s a male – but only to the extent of some eyeliner and maybe a bit more blusher. These are people and just people; the paint shouldn’t reflect any particular sub-set of people.

I’ve even thought about the idea of doing as sexless as possible. Removing all references to ‘wife’ or ‘husband’, ‘he’ or ‘she’. I might still write a version like that.

…Whatever ick I feel over this illness is offset by my re-ignited enthusiasm for the script. And for that, I’m thankful.

Make All Women the Norm

International Women’s Day. So far I’ve seen various articles on it. Most are men talking about how the day should be celebrated, or ‘fun’ little articles on how roses are being handed out to random women in a particular city. Would it kill the media to focus on strong female role models? Or even whisper about our pay inequality?

Apparently so.

And all the women shown to me today are thin, young, wearing fashionable clothes and make-up. Not a one over 40 (much less 50), not a one brave enough to show their true, unpainted face.

It brings to mind the very basic arguments of feminism: what and how can we be and act? Why do we even need to ask these questions? Why is every action or non-action we take scrutinized so fully?

Make-up. When I was young, I was all for it. I felt more attractive and therefore more confident. As I sit here sans make-up and with a lot more experience, I understand that the reaction I had when younger was denial: I denied the fact that I felt invisible and therefore used brightly colored paints to decorate my face in attempt to stand out and be noticed. That’s what truly lay behind my earlier viewpoint, tho I was unable to acknowledge it at the time.

And I believe that mindset lay behind much of the back and forth bullshit I’m hearing these days. It’s reinforced by media stereotypes, cultural influences, paradigms and idioms. It’s cemented in by jokes and situational comedies, by cover spreads and centerfolds, by our own desire to be seen, heard, and valued.

See me: we paint our eyes, outlining them in dark colors, adding shading and glints, we glue on false eyelashes, we stick color bits of plastic on our eyeballs to make our eye color change, we draw in dramatic eyebrows. See me; I’m here.

Hear me: we paint our lips, outlining them, plumping them, adding gloss and glitter all in an effort to draw attention to what we say.

Value me: we paint our cheeks with blush; too much and we are whores, too little and we are sallow-faced and unhealthy, but just right and we can be mothers, leaders, world changers.

Using make-up isn’t wrong. It doesn’t make you wrong, or less. But with the obvious (tho little discussed) health issues associated with make-up use, it does beg the question why women feel the need to continue using it.

We question why smokers continue to use a product dangerous to their health.

We tell drug users they’re killing themselves, and they need to get clean.

We body shame the fat, tell them they’re costing our health care systems millions just because they’re lazy.

But we don’t address the ‘window dressing’ women feel compelled to do. If we do, we are shunned. Extremists. Un-womanly women.

And everyone seems to think the large issues need tackling first. That’s silly. It’s the small stuff that should be worked on first: build from the ground up. Show real women: women over 40, women over 50, fat women, skinny women, ugly women, beautiful women. Women with make up on and women with make up off. Make all women the norm. We need not be one thing or another, this or that. That truly is extremism.

 

 

 

Small flies of annoyance

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About 5 in the evening yesterday my ‘not as tough as the swimming pool’ workout put me down. It was like a creeper bud: took a long time after the initial incident before I felt what I put my body through. By 9 I said goodnight, brushed my teeth, and don’t even remember falling asleep because it happened so damned fast.

I did get out for errands in the afternoon, too. Down to the market to buy stuff for dinner, back up to make the sauce. Down to the next shopping area over to buy some coffee on safe, lug it back to the apartment. Didn’t do the stairs – at all. I was concerned I may have injured my knee with some of the movements in the gym; it was a bit painful (just exercise; better today). Even stuck to my commitment and did my language lessons.

Saw only 4 stubs in the ashtrays this morning. No wonder I feel a little headachy.

My FB comment has, of course, drawn comments. Most people who know me know it’s one of those small explosions I do once in a while. That burst of anger that comes out fast and is, to the unobservant, uncalled for. My uncle has questioned me on it – again, of course. I’m trying to think of something that is (1) clear, (2) calm, and (3) unquestionable as a reply. Frankly, if you have to question why a woman fears Trump getting into office, well, I think your IQ must be somewhere around 80 then, right? And I’m gonna be completely un-PC right now: if you support Trump, you can’t call yourself a woman. You may have a vagina, but you’re not a woman. You’re a dude. Not even a guy, but a dude. No sane woman would stand up and say ‘Yes! Yes, please pay me less than a man even though I have the same qualifications. Please grab my pussy; it makes me excited. Please call me a dog and a whore – I like it and I call women dogs and whores myself. And of course if a woman claims she’s been sexually assaulted she’s a liar and to blame for the whole incident herself.’ No. You’re insane. Certifiable. Go seek help. And stay the fuck away from me.

And speaking of un-PC, I’m gonna share another very un-PC thought. I’m damned angry over people like Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. I don’t care if they want to fork out money to have their dicks cut off. What I’m angry about is that they support gender bias through they’re “portrayal” of womanhood – primped, pushed up, and padded. I mean, if one of them – ONE OF THEM – when through the surgery and became anything close to a real woman – meaning no make-up, no push-ups, no this or that because that shit is fucking EXHAUSTING, just be a PERSON – I wouldn’t be on a tirade. But they don’t. Look at what society thinks a woman is: she must wear a dress, she must wear make-up, she must wear high heels, she must show cleavage, she must try to look sexy at all costs. Excuse me, but that shit’s got NOTHING to do with being a woman. That narrowed, bigoted, biased view – that stereotype – is proven out every time someone goes through sex identity surgery and comes out looking like a magazine cover.

How fucking dare you!

Goddamn it.

Am I the only one seeing this shit?

Society’s fucked, the planet is fucked, and none of us have to worry about going to hell because we’re already there. Give me one good reason – a good one, mind you – for any of these lines we’re drawing in the sand. Because I sure as fuck can’t figure one out.

So glad I’m going in the water today. Might sit on the bottom of the pool, holding my breath. Think for a moment or two about breathing in liquid because why, why, why go on when there’s so much shit piled up?

Goddess, I hate my family. Hate them to the core of me. Hate them beyond redemption. No wonder I have such a screwed up idea about “love”. I was made to say that word to all these people I can’t stand. I love you. Every holiday. Didn’t matter what they did or said; I had to always say that.

I can’t love someone who tells me in no uncertain terms that they think I’m less than. Put whatever you want in that comparison; I’ve heard them all. And I’ve always come out wanting in the judgmental eyes of my family.

Ach! Shoulda just stayed off Fuckbook. Shoulda just kept quiet – again. Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda.

In this maelstrom, I’ve been trying to breathe. Find that calm spot. You might have noticed I’ve got a bit of anger coming up. I’ve noticed that, too. And yes, I’m doing my damnedest to not bite everyone’s head off but it’s getting fucking difficult. Real difficult.

I guess this is the wall. There’s always a wall. In everything. A time when everything feels too much. A time when you so desperately want to give in. The wall. Christ, I’m fucking tired of facing these.

Didn’t take long to hit it, did it?

…No. No, it didn’t.

Right. Temporary set-backs. Small flies of annoyance. Things trying to distract me. Ohm. I don’t have to respond. Ohm. I have the luxury of staying off social media and not opening my email. Ohm. No one is gonna force me to talk to anyone I don’t want to. Ohm.

And as for small flies of annoyance, I need to remember this: flies are born in shit. They live one fucking day and then they die and return to shit.

Ohm.

Just Call Me Fred

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Beginning to wish days were 27 hours long. Seems I want to be awake 18 or so hours and then sleep a good 9 after. Not caffeine, just that annoying 10pm surge of energy that gets my feet bouncing at the end of my recliner. Bed time? Absolutely do not want to sleep no way, no how. Wake up time? Oh god I can’t open my eyes. Sucks, ’cause right now I got my timing down pretty good. Up early to swim or exercise (another day off today after my marathon walk yesterday), go to bed around the time most of the city does. Trying to live my life like a real life, you know? Not let myself sink into that  27 hour cycle that eventually whips me around so I’m awake and going when the entire world is asleep. That can be fun for a night. Two gets annoying. Three and I’m crying, wishing I could sleep when it’s nighttime.

It’s laundry day. Got to be; running short on my smalls. Laundry day is akin to making my bed or doing dishes: hardly seems worth it when it all gets dirty and has to be done over and over and over again. I’d rather just hop in the shower with all my clothes on, soap up and rinse off. Get everything clean in one go. Seems more logical to me.

So I did NOT end up wearing the sundress all day yesterday. Had fun, but the time came as it always does when I had to relax, take off that iron corset of a bra, and put some sweat pants on and let my legs splay open like a dude. Just my preferred way of being. The girly feelings were fun, and I HAVE actually got some cleavage now with the right bra on. Cool. Just seems like too much work, getting dressed and primped and what for? To look pretty? Can’t I feel pretty without all that shit? Seems like I should be able to. Seems like I should be able to feel just as girly in my sweat pants as I did in that dress, but DAMN! I just don’t.

Been a little worried about my own psyche for a few years now. Little to no contact with women. Yeah, I see them everywhere. I even talk to a few. On the street, casually. In the doctors’ offices. But I have no female friends. Only men. For years. I’ve been one of the guys for about 20 years, in fact. Hangin’ with dudes, talkin’ like dudes, actin’ pretty much like a dude. Or enough like a dude that for all the men I’ve hung out with over the last few decades, none saw me as a real female. I was the dude/woman, the one they could come to and complain about women and get a little insight but no backlash. Which is ok for my personal space. I wouldn’t have wanted any of those relationships tarnished by sexual desire. But then, every once in a while, a guy comes along who sees me as a desirable WOMAN and I just don’t know how to fucking handle it. Really. I do one of two things; either I go along with it, flirting and having fun until it goes too far and I begin to feel uncomfortable, or I freeze up and become this ice queen that shuts guys down in like 2 minutes. I can’t just BE. I can’t enjoy the attention but not draw more in. I can’t step away from flirting; it’s like an addiction for me…..

And it always has been. This is not the first time I’ve noticed I flirt beyond what’s healthy because I so NEED attention and approval, and sexual approval/desire is one sure way I can get it.

*sigh* Which is why I don’t wear dresses more often. Why I avoid makeup. Why I don’t even go out often. I can’t do it without searching the crowds, making eye contact, TRYING to flirt.

Feel like I should go and search out a damned app writer right now. Tell them to do their programming magic and give me an app that will send me some sort of gold star every day, some sort of approval system. Maybe that would fill the need in me. Doubt it. But shit! I gotta fucking find SOMETHING. Sex doesn’t fill it. Drugs don’t fill it. Cartoons and crying and screaming at the sun doesn’t do it.

Right NOW I really do wish I had a penis. Wish I was a guy and could just sit back and LAUGH at my own nonsense. Not worry about being a girl. Not worry about how having a vagina is just DIFFERENT, damn it. Slut is still a word that hurts, it was DESIGNED to hurt. Doesn’t matter how many young role models own the word on telly. And that word can and will be slung at any female who flirts (like I do), has sex with multiple partners (like I did), or really just has a strong sex drive (like I at least acted out on; don’t know if I actually HAD a strong sex drive). Suck-ola. And if you’re not sexually active, sexually strong, then you hear the opposite – ice queen, tease. Oh FUCK YOU WITH ALL YOUR FUCKING LABELS!

Why can’t I feel comfortable in a dress? Why do I feel disapproval from my brother (not enough courage to ask if it’s all in my imagination right now)? Why do my behavior and feelings CHANGE when I put on a dress? WTF?!?

Can I just say it? Fuck you, mom. Don’t know how you figure into this, but I’m sure you do, somehow. You figure into fucking everything these days.

Afraid to own up to it: I should wear dresses for a while and find out what the fuck this is. Have to BUY more dresses and ain’t got the cash. So, like, not a good idea ’cause we’re only just getting over the financial hump the move caused. Also, sounds risky. I could really go off into someplace where I don’t even know me anymore. I like the leg splayed punk in me. I like the dude in me. It’s comfortable. I don’t know. Just call me Fred.