Pearls before swine

I’ll start with this morning, ’cause it’s in my face.

Another uncle comment. This time, it’s a ‘You need some coffee’ with a Google link to coffee houses (NOT coffeeshops) in Amsterdam after I called him out on NOT being funny and NOT making a joke. Here’s my reply:

What does my caffeine level have to do with our discussion? And why are you trying to change the subject and blame me for your poor “joke”? A joke is supposed to be amusing – yet your original statement, “I won’t be in that area then” isn’t amusing, it’s simply a fact. There’s no cause for laughter. No cause unless you feel uncomfortable for some reason. Shifting attention to my caffeine intake is simply a distraction from your discomfort. Why are you uncomfortable? ..Plus, get it right. I live in Rotterdam, not Amsterdam.

I’m proud of my reply. Called him out on it. Kept my cool. Even left with a little jab about him getting the city wrong. Ha fucking ha, uncle. Are you laughing now? I’m particularly proud over pointing out his discomfort (several times) and calling him out on his attempt to distract and blame me.

You wanna play games? With words? You DO know I’m a wordsmyth, right? Plus, I was taught by your sister – my mother. Your OLDER sister. The woman who knew every game you ever played and one upped you continually.

You ain’t gonna win.

I said I fucking had it with this shit.

…NEWS ALERT: Just had a notification from FB. An instantaneous reply from my uncle. DAMN! I really got him. Here’s his reply (including the typos; he was obviously in a hurry to say what he needed to say): “I was hoping some caffeine would wake you up and you would see my joke…;.clearly you have seen my joke all along. And….I won’t br in Rotterdam to see the show either.” Oh, I’ll continue with this charade. If it winds him up so much he’s got to reply the moment he reads what I say, I’ll continue.

Give him a little tit for tat. Generally I’m against that type of behavior, but some people just don’t learn!

Onto happier things.

Three point seven kilometers in thirty minutes. Wanted to write that out, because it deserves that much respect. That’s topping 7 km an hour on the cross trainer. And I felt flipping tired. Have the last several times I’ve gone to the gym. But I keep amazing myself, pushing more and running faster than I ever imagined I could. I believe soon to be 52 year old me could easily lap 22 year old me. Upped repetitions on my arms. That’s difficult, and I have to stop often and take a break. Still hate doing my abdominal exercises, but I might be ready to add a few more crunches to my routine. Walking is, as always, the easiest – though I’ve got to confess I feel awful slow walking at 5km an hour after running on the cross trainer. Find myself wanting to pick up the speed on the treadmill. Haven’t, yet.

Feeling strong in my body, my mind, and my soul. A bit unshakeable. Like I’m suddenly too together for anyone (including my uncle) to get under my skin. I like this. If this is the level other people operate at, I can see why they don’t understand when I fall apart. Doesn’t give them license to be assholes about it, but I get why they might not fully understand why someone like me struggles so much. It’s easy to let things slide off your back when you’re here. World trouble? Yeah, always is. Emotional turmoil? Yeah, it’s a pain, but what are ya gonna do? Financial trouble? It’ll sort itself out somehow. All those pat answers spewed ad infinitum via memes suddenly make sense.

I blame the endorphins. I’m getting a regular blast of them when exercising. And let’s face it: they say ‘peptide’ and ‘hormone’, but in reality they should say ‘drug’. It’s an all natural drug, I’ll give you – but it’s a drug. You get a drug response, it’s addictive, you need more to keep getting off – it’s a drug. More: it’s a drug I like. So I keep pushing to get it. Now…doctors get very pleased when they hear about an exercise regime. Oh, good! You’re getting regular exercise, toning your body, and losing weight. What could be better? No one acknowledges the drug interaction in your brain, unless it’s to say something like ‘well, exercise is GOOD for emotional turmoil’. Why is it that a drug naturally produced in our bodies is better or good, while drugs we take are bad and evil? I just don’t get that. It’s a drug, either way.

Blanket fucking statements. They ruin the damned world.

Today, I work. A few errands to run, and I plan on using the travel time on the metro to read Dutch. Then it’s time to tear into Taman. Make those changes I keep talking about. Start arranging a read through. Want to read through the play I’m doing, too. Keep my lines fresh over this break. And I need to call for an adjustment to my shoes (more Dutch; ugh!).

First, though, I will fashion a reply to my uncle. He doesn’t get the last word on my page. Even if that means this discussion goes on for another year, back and forth. And I know what I’m doing. I’m staying coolly disconnected. I know the necklace is tearing, and the mud is thick.

I know I’m casting pearls before swine.

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Kill them all

How many times have I woken up far too early, thinking ‘I should have just killed them all’? More than I care to count, and this morning numbers among them.

Funny thing, my morning moods. Never know what’s gonna come out of me. Sometimes it’s hate – pure, unadulterated. Sometimes it’s understanding – a compassion I often lack, but always aspire to.

This morning, it was a no-nonsense approach.

Replied to my uncle. Simply wrote “What’s so funny that you put ‘LOL’? You didn’t make a joke.” Straight up called him out on it. It’s a method I’d prefer to use on a daily basis, but I must admit my own emotions often get in the way. Today was a mix of disgust and anger, cooled by the knowledge that he couldn’t touch me, couldn’t hurt me, and nothing he was going to say (or no tirade he was going to throw) could ever really affect me.

To quote a sample used in a very old song I participated in, I’m sick of this shit.

So if he’s mean, I’ll tell him he’s mean. If he’s wrong, I’ll tell him he’s wrong. If he’s an ignorant shit (most times) I’ll have to find the courage to say that, too.

Fuck “saving” this relationship. There’s nothing to save but a board my family uses to strap me down to while they whip me with lies and old, unrelated shame.

I hate them.

Shoulda taken one of the hundreds of guns they keep ‘in stock’ or ‘for sporting purposes’ and blown every single one of their heads off. That includes the small children, because I know from experience that if they were raised in THAT family, they’re fucked. Forever. Might as well free their souls and let them try again.

That’s horrific, isn’t it? A terrible thing to say or think (or at least that’s MY knee jerk reaction).

Stuck in the usual place: hating, and hating myself for hating so much.

…Spent time yesterday doing all those chores I haven’t done for a month. Cleaning. Ev-er-y-thing. Laundry, dishes, floors, cabinets, bedroom, toilet – you name it, I did it. Not perfectly. It was a nice day, and a Saturday, and I didn’t want to work that hard. Got it back to livable standards. My bro’s radar was on full blast when he got home. First thing out of his mouth? Wow, look at how clean everything is! Walked into the toilet: Wow! Everything shines! Yeah. Funny how appreciative he is of cleanliness, yet how reluctant he is to join in on the work to get there…

Today it’s back to the gym to be stared at as I stretch, and sweat, and push. Watched a recorded Graham Norton show last night during which a guest commented that she doesn’t have very good eyesight, but that worked to her advantage because audiences just became a blur. I can relate. My eyes aren’t terrible, but my long vision is fuzzy. Things are soft. All the ugly and hard edges are taken off, and the world is one big bouncy castle. Much different when I put on my glasses or stick my contacts in! But I don’t wear my contacts or glasses at the gym, so everything is in soft focus. I can’t tell if people are looking at me or just in my direction unless they happen to be close enough. And any facial expression of shock…well, that’s just blurred away. It’s as good as blinders. I don’t register anything directed at me, so I act like nothing is directed at me. Unless someone actually speaks to me, I’m totally alone in my head.

But I gotta admit…I might start facing the wall during my stretches. ‘Cause I now know they watch me. For sure.

Haven’t found the head space to begin work. Determined first to make the changes I know I want to Taman. That should take all of an hour if I’m really slow. Then it’s on to part 2 of the thrillers. Know what to change there. It’ll take a re-write, but hey! When I know what I want, a re-write barely takes any times at all. Been cooking up part 3. Bringing back a character from part 1. Have a particular actor in mind for this role – one of the troupe I’m working with. Not sure why. He’s not a great actor. Not even very good. But I’ve seen him in a couple of things now, and…he’s getting type cast. If there’s a gay man, he’s the actor playing it. Always. Great that they want a real gay person playing a gay person, but…he never gets another role. And they’re always the same type of gay person. Flamboyant. Never anything else. The character I’m writing for him IS gay, but not flamboyant. And he’ll have to stretch. In part 3, he’s close to a nervous breakdown.

Realize as I mull over the trilogy that I’m asking a LOT of this troupe. It’ll take more than memorizing lines to pull this off – but in them I see the desire to do more and, oftentimes, the boredom over not being challenged. Am I projecting? I realize those are MY emotions. But now I see the tiny habits of everyone. The surreptitious phone checking, the whispering, the fidgeting and distractions. The yes, we can do this and it’s fun but it’s not really challenging us attitude. And I sense they’ve worked, as a troupe, in one direction: improv. They stress it, they’re good at it. I want to see them stretch in another manner.

I want to see them act.

It could very well end up a disaster.

But I’ve my ace in the hole: sound. I know exactly what I want and how to get it – plus I’ve the skill and equipment to do it. Set your audience on edge with sound, and the acting can be a bit sub-par. It’ll still work.

And I really want to do this. Why? Because in my writing, I really did kill them all.

No One Makes it out Alive

Success. Responses to enquiries, searches that reveal that yes, Virginia, my press release about the upcoming performance is out there. Sadly, there’s only half a dozen sites in Rotterdam written in English – but I hit them all.

Headed to the gym early. The woman never showed. Kept an eye out for her – which is why I saw, for the first time, the way people look at me while I stretch. That woman is not alone in stopping whatever’s going on and standing still with a slightly open mouth while I move. Everyone in the gym did it at some point during my warm-up. Don’t you people stretch? – Oh, wait… You don’t. I ‘member now. You’re all about jerk lifting heavy weights, and running on the cross trainer for 10 minutes. Yeah…

There’s not much reason, in my opinion, to be jealous of me. I’m not super beautiful, or super fit, or super rich, or, (seemingly) super talented. Just a bit of this and that. But my flexibility…Now that I can acknowledge as a thang. You can be jealous of me over that: next month I hit 52, and I can still take my forehead to my knees and straight down to the floor while stretching. Don’t know anyone who gets turned on by that, nor any way to market it as a talent and make money off it. But it’s mine, and when I stretch deeply I automatically begin Ujjayi breathing – a thing I learned long ago as a child, watching Hatha Yoga on PBS. I focus. It’s one of the beautiful feelings I can create in my body without thinking or trying.

Surprised to find more energy in me than I expected. Did my full-on work-out, no holds barred. Pushed hard, sweated loads.

Doubly surprised then, to find myself pacing at 7 p.m. Up and down, back and forth, maniacally stalking the tiny walkway in the apartment. I was unsettlingly unsettled last night. My bro was out at a band rehearsal (second band; they REQUESTED his uber talented presence – yea!) for the evening, so I was solo for tv time. That never goes very well – I prefer, in the evenings, to have someone with me so I can talk to them and have a bit of companionship to slow me down. But I expected, after such a push at the gym, to be tired.

Ha! 

Had to force myself to slow down. Forced myself to sit in the chair, watch the film I’d chosen. Forced myself to keep lighting up (thought: good Goddess, something has to slow me down!). Took it down to reading. Quiet, still. Relax, I told myself. Finally began feeling less manic. Slept.

I’ve time off from language lessons this coming week. Need to read thru Taman and make a few corrections and changes. Also need to begin the process of a read-through. Ask the teachers if they’ll come so I can use a classroom at Erasmus. Set a date. Get emails out.

But what I really want to get back to is my thriller trilogy. My experience with the theatre group has made me re-think a few things. What I once envisioned as three stand alone one-acts that have an arcing storyline are now expanding for the stage. I’m pulling the surviving characters through the one-acts for continuity. Wasn’t part of the original plan. However, while performing this play I’ve noticed what people have said to me. The number one thing people comment on is my tiny cameo in Act 3, where I’m seen dancing at a party held in the other room. Part of that, I know, is because it’s the last time they see me on stage. But there’s a definite glee the audience gets, seeing a character from an earlier story inserted into a later story. It offers a thread of continuity to the audience, and seems to bring the entire play into some sort of reality: this is the real world, and people’s paths cross. Here you go; proof. Okay. Good. I’ll use that. It’ll take a bit of re-thinking, but the basic story lines can hold.

Might use the following as a tag line for the production: No one makes it out alive. It’s a good overriding line for a thriller trilogy done over Halloween – though I’m concerned it’s too old hat and cliche for my production.

…It’s not a bad tag line for life. …Damn! I might have to get a T-shirt with that on it. Just for me.

Reality check: another comment from my uncle on FB. Ugh. Meh. Not even sure if I want to honor it by deleting it. Maybe I should just let them stand, without comment, and let the world see what a fucking eejit the man is. This one was strange. Or, at least, I found it strange. Re-posted one of my press releases from a site I successfully loaded the info into. This is not the first post about the play on my FB page. Maybe the 10th. Something must have finally clicked with my uncle, because for the first time he’s commented on it: “I imagine this will be funny….sorry, I won’t be in the area then. LOL”

LOL? Um…I realize he probably thinks he’s making a joke (which is weak in and of itself, because there’s nothing joke-like about his statement), or that’s what he’d claim. But is it really? I see a pandering to me in the first half (I imagine this will be funny: note, though, the comment is in general and not directed towards me or my acting ability) and a discount in the second half (he lives half way around the world and I never imagined for even a split second that he’d come for a performance). Pat on the head, and a slap in the face. Or so I see it.

For now, it stands without reply.

I got bigger fish to fry.

‘Cause it’s true. No one makes it out alive.

Yes, it is

Two weeks from Saturday is our last performance of the play. So I checked. Did a Google search – even setting the search parameters to the name of the play and the name of the group. Found a couple of notices on page one…in Dutch…for the first two performance dates. Nothing for our upcoming show.

It AMAZES me how all these business school teachers (who all say ‘yeah, yeah, we know all about marketing’) fall off the bus when it comes to actually doing any marketing work.

And maybe the director doesn’t want the group too big… He said that during the last performance. Doesn’t want the group too big, doesn’t want things to get out of control, doesn’t want to step aside to allow other people to do things with the group. Okay. I get that. But we at LEAST want to break even, right?

I sure as hell don’t want to continue ponying up money for the privilege of performing.

Found the group’s write-up about the play in English on their FB page (had to HUNT for it). It was half a press release – all teaser info but no facts. So I did what I do: I fixed it. Added in the missing data. Corrected some clunky English. And found half a dozen online Rotterdam agenda sites that’ll publish the info for free. Spent half an hour on the headline… The play isn’t well known enough to push that as the opener. The playwright isn’t well known enough to push that aspect. The group isn’t well known enough to carry the headline. In the end, I choose ‘English Comedy in Rotterdam’ because I’m posting to English language sites targeting ex-pats and I figured those four words were the most important in the entire thing. It’s in Rotterdam, it’s comedy, and it’s in English. The info is already sent to two places, and I’ll tackle the remaining sites after my language class.

Had a real surprise yesterday at the gym. Went in for my second day in a row (yet another attempt to raise my activity level). Saw, out of the corner of my eye, a woman watching me while I stretched and warmed up. Sure enough, she came over and began talking with me.

Surprising enough to me that I slipped into Dutch like a comfortable shoe. Didn’t even bother with my traditional ‘my Dutch isn’t very good’ line – she got that from my stilted use of the language. But we communicated (she spoke very clearly). Talked, even! She asked me about the exercises I was doing. Did I make them up, or did I learn them somewhere? A bit of both, I told her. Then she asked if I knew of any exercises that were good for a person’s balance. I actually had the audacity to question her – is it your hips? I asked, remembering the word for ‘hips’. Yes, she told me. Ah! We’ve the same problem. Do you go to the physiotherapist? Yes, but she doesn’t like him and he’s not doing her any good. How about these exercises? I asked, showing her the three golden rule exercises my physiotherapist gave me. Never saw them before. I walked her through them, told her to do them every night. When are you here? she asked me. I want to come back and exercise with you.

Wow. Seriously? This hip heavy old woman? You look at me and think ‘yeah, she’s got it together’? Don’t get me wrong – I’m pleased as punch. Pleased to have an opportunity to get to know someone, pleased to pass along what knowledge I do have about staying in shape, pleased someone thought that much of me. I’m just really, really surprised.

What I’m NOT thrilled about is the idea I’ll be opening up my head space during exercise time. Exercise time is a very inner thing for me. I’ve got the best drill sergeant I know under my skull, and all I need is her egging me on and really loud, fast music in my iPod. If I’m helping someone else, though, I won’t be able to lose myself in loud music. I’ll need to talk, be present…which will be DAMNED difficult, because I blast the music and close my eyes so I don’t HAVE to be uber present in my body while it works and sweats.

Saw the woman talk to a few other older women as she left the gym. Oh, nelly. In a few weeks time will I be writing that I’m leading a handful of mature women through some basic stretching and yoga exercises?

As long as they let me be on the cross trainer. That’ll be my one rule. I get on that machine, and no talkie-talkie with me. Let me sweat. I’ll be done in 30, and very pleased to help you then.

Sounds reasonable.

Also, in my searches for websites to post the press release for the theatre group, I stumbled across a call for writers. Writers in English, right here in the Netherlands. It’s all free lance, pay as you go, first come first served on story ideas. But I’m thinking I might give it a go. Even if I only get one or two stories a month, it’s something. A bit of cash to get my hair cut. Maybe I could take my brother out to dinner for once. Pay for my own metro card top up.

And isn’t it nice to get some sort of recognition for your efforts outside of your own head?

Yes. Yes, it is.

Shallow footholds

Breathe.

My uncle, who claims to have been “inoculated” against bubonic plague (yes, you read that correctly; he’s that ignorant) is on the commenting rampage again. This time? A superfluous comment on a post about the theatre group’s last performance. No idea what was going thru his mind…if anything. The damned post was in English, but he seems to have translated it. A tag that caught his eye was ‘Friday in Leiden’, which was a reference to our Friday night performance in the town of Leiden. His comment? What’s Friday in Leiden? Free day later? – or some such nonsense. Deleted it. I’m not talking to someone that stupid.

Saw a Graham Norton show on which a guest said he loved Twitter because ‘it was created to wind people up’ and he found ‘winding people up was a lot of fun’. I believe that puts my uncle’s behavior into a nice box. He enjoys winding people up. If I was his child and went to him to complain about being bullied, he’d say what those people always say: Ignore it. Yet, when I do that, I receive all sorts of negative comments about how immature I am, how I can’t even hold a conversation, etc. etc. Same double standard their president is trying to pull, and it’s the same obvious bullshit manipulation.

My brother has this idea that he’ll post the video of my performance and somehow THAT will open up my uncle’s mind. I expect flak. Bullshit wind-up comments. Back-handed compliments that aren’t really compliments. Stuff I’ll delete immediately, because I don’t want to deal with it.

Reminding myself I must apologize to the group in case anyone saw his comment. I’m sure my uncle would be angry if he knew I felt I had to apologize for his behavior. But I do feel it. I feel I must apologize for much of what Americans say and do.

Now THAT’S sad.

Language class: oh, I’m a prat and I know it. Brought along the book on Anne Frank that I finished reading. I believe that’s what prompted the teacher to ask all of us for impromptu book reports. I was the only person who had read more than a few pages. Swapped for a new book – a detective story. Lots of words in there that I don’t know. But that’s good; picking up meanings while reading is the BEST way to get it into your brain. Sometimes I have to resort to the dictionary, but hey! I did/do that with English, too. There are always words you don’t know. Did pretty well with my homework. A couple of mistakes; that’s okay. I learn even more from my mistakes than I do simple repetition. Really appreciate the level of this class. High enough, but not too high. Stressing what I need stressed. Feel myself falling into my student mode: open, accepting – almost like a sponge. Absorb first. Question later.

It’s a decent mind-state to carry into the world.

Keep telling myself I’m gonna cut back on smoking. Keep failing. Keep making excuses for myself, too. I’m still stressed from performing (true). My system hasn’t settled yet (true). But I’m bending the rules, being too easy and forgiving of my bad behavior. It’s got to stop.

Going to the gym today. My big excursion into out there. Want to come back so worn out I can barely keep my eyes open. Want it. Need it, even.

Keep telling myself to hang in there. Just a bit longer. A bit longer to what I’m never sure. Success? Easing of some of the financial restrictions? I’m afraid things might get worse before they get better. Once again, I have tumbleweeds rolling thru my e-mail. Not word ONE on my script, which I sent out a month ago to half a dozen places with very high expectations. Winter is coming on, which means more watching my health and being all over hand washing and juice sipping. All of that is discouraging, as are the bills that come in unexpectedly, throwing our budget out of whack.

But doors are opening. Just a crack – enough to get my foot in. Checked the film website my acting partner told me about and it’s everything he promised. Casting calls for all sorts. Already found one I’d really like to apply for. Need to get my info online. Told my bro about it, because there’s plenty of calls for sound engineers, something he’s more than qualified for.

Do not want to jinx myself, so I’ll just say all of this is on the table. As is the production of my scripts via the theatre group. Stepping slowly, cautiously. Nothing is settled or for sure, so there’s no real reason to get worked up. There’s just…interest.

Another note: J, the other feminist in the theatre group, asked for my blog address. I was thrown, dithered a lot by saying it’s nothing, just my empty thoughts. Truth is, I was and am afraid to share this blog. Whether or not I have anonymity, I feel as if I do, and that makes all the difference in how I write. But with my last post on sharing, I wonder if I’m being a bit hasty to pull back on this issue. How better for someone to understand me than to read my words? Must say, I’m honored that she cared enough to ask. That alone weighs heavily on the ‘give her the address’ side.

My head keeps playing back compliments I received for my performance. Particularly compliments from the group, because these are the people who’ve seen me do it over and over. These are the people who’ve heard some of my opinions, talked to me, gotten to know me a bit better… Truth is, I have no idea what they might say about me when I’m not there. Last autumn, I was a fly on the wall, so I know shit happens.

They might end up being very shallow. But even a shallow foothold is better than none.

Life isn’t like riding a bike

Slothing – proper slothing – is as fun and time consuming as anything else. Is it Sunday already? Yes, Virginia, it’s Sunday already and Monday is barreling towards us.

No homework done. No heavy duty anything done. I did get the dishes done, but that’s my thing: can’t stand a sink full of dirty dishes. Everything else is backed up, from the recycling to the dust bunny corral, which is full to bursting.

My voice is still with me. And my feet didn’t fall off of their own volition. That’s two good things right there.

Began looking at the acting website my partner told me about. All in Dutch, naturally. But he’s right; there are casting calls for fluent English speakers. Of course, most of the female roles are looking for 20 something attractive women. I’m hunting in the “motherly” categories – Goddess! Motherly! The one adjective I’d never use in reference to myself. Oh, well. I guess that’s why they call it ‘acting’.

Pooped. Need to make an appointment for my new orthopedics; another blister point in the heels that needs attention. Need to get to the doc’s for a flu shot. Need to get back to my routine, get back to the gym, get back to writing and sending stuff out.

Beginning to wonder about my death. I’m getting happy lately, and I’ve always had this feeling that I’ll finally achieve happiness, self confidence, and full understanding just before I die. So for me, being happy is a bit of a trigger. I enjoy it; don’t get me wrong. But it does carry its own set of worries. Foolish? Probably. But I am speaking from a lifetime of irony here, and I’ve always felt dying when you’re finally really happy with yourself and your life to be the ultimate irony.

Maybe I should just keep complaining…

How is one supposed to walk the line between your personal life and the outer world? If I focus on world news, I get upset and frustrated. If I focus on my personal life, I can forget the horrors out there and appear callous.

Wish I had more answers. Wish my mother would have thought it important to teach me things like how to deal with my emotions (other than denying them, stuffing them down, or ignoring them). That, apparently, was not as important as teaching me to iron a handkerchief perfectly. So here I am, fifty years later, still griping about my emotional issues and not touching an iron with a fifty foot pole.

Will I ever grow up?

Been wondering about myself. I know I’m smart, but there just seems to be something missing. Something I don’t get. And I don’t know what it is that I’m missing. Am I just a head in the clouds person? Someone kind of ditzy? It’s frustrating. I know I’m different. Unusual. Not like the others. It’s something with other people…understanding their facial expressions, hidden agendas, trust issues…something I can’t quite get a grasp of. And it’s barely there. I fake it well. But I see it, and every once in a while something happens and others see it, too.

Wonder if someday I’ll meet someone who’ll put it all in perspective for me. Like finally telling someone with dyslexia about dyslexia – no, it’s not your fault and yes, it’s a real thing. Oh, you’ve got this, or there’s a touch of that about you. Not a you’re wrong for doing this, or feeling this, or learning this method. Just a oh! Like that lightbulb that finally comes on. Of course, of course. Why didn’t anyone see this earlier? Here; take this pill once every morning and all will be right with the world.

Meantime, I do what most of us do: battle on. Handle the stress and fear as best I can. Get up, get dressed, and get out in the world. Try to be friendly, polite, considerate. Try to not think only of myself. Do my best in each and every situation.

No one ever tells you ‘growing up’ doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop at 18, or 21. It doesn’t stop at 30, or 40. It just keeps going, relentlessly opening up your mind through experience. For me, it makes me feel small and foolish. Damn! Didn’t I learn that years ago?

Maybe so, but life isn’t like riding a bicycle. It’s not a deep seated motor skill that, once learned, is never forgotten. It’s more like language skills: you can read about a language, even learn TO read it and understand it, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into being able to speak it. And if you don’t use it, you lose it. You get rusty, forget stuff, stumble, make mistakes.

Oh, hell. I never was good at riding a bike…

Limits

Finally a bit of real rest. Didn’t feel like I slept after opening night; it was a light sleep, at best, with several times coming to and thinking about the matinee performance. I wasn’t alone. Everyone was dragging yesterday.

Flubbed. Missed lines, experienced that wonderful brain fart feeling – which, as I said later, really DID feel like my brain fell down somewhere around my ass leaving my head completely empty… Still got laughs, got through it. Still feel okay, though I know it wasn’t my strongest performance.

Had two people come to see me yesterday. Whoohoo!!! Two people! I wasn’t sure anybody was gonna show up. Felt real good to see them after the show, to have someone I sat with and talked with while everyone else chatted with their friends. Talked so much and so long the lounge emptied around us and we didn’t even notice. The director had to come and get me to help everyone strike the set.

Yea! Friggin’ yea! I know in the grand scheme of things two people aren’t a lot, but it’s good to know I’m not a complete social pariah. I can meet and make friends, be social, and have people HAPPY to come and share in what I do. That feels real good.

Got to talking about my writing, because I’m known by my pen name with these…friends? Can I call them friends? I hope so. Anyway, they know me by my pen name. The name I perform under in the play is different, as is my real name…Beginning to think maybe all these pseudonyms aren’t the best idea. Makes me look a little psycho. At the very minimum, it’s telling as to how much I hate being me. But I digress. Talked about scripts and read throughs. Told them about the Night Witches script. One of them knows some Russians from Russia, and said she’d ask them along. DAMN! Could I get a better sampling for a reading? Don’t think so. Very excited by the prospect. Had to warn her that I wrote it for Americans, so heads up to the Russians: don’t expect a lot; more than half of it is educating the audience. Crossing my fingers they appreciate my approach and like the story.

All this is good, because at the moment I feel very cut off online. My spam filter is working better than ever, but the upshot is I’ve had days go by without anything new showing up in my email. Not sure if an empty inbox is better than an inbox filled with spam. At least with a lot of spam, you know the world thinks of you as alive. You feel remembered…even if it’s just by advertisers.

Barely a clean pot, pan, plate, or spoon in the house. Garbage and recycling have piled up, too. The plants are gasping for water. And the dust bunny population has exploded. Will try to get to the big stuff today and tomorrow without hurting myself.

Language class later. Gotta try this morning to switch into Dutch. Maybe do some reading. Right now my head is all English.

Need to get back to the gym, too. Keep moving, keep that back pain free.

*sigh* Taking care of myself is a full time thing.

Friday I head to Leiden for another performance. Good news is, I have a lift. Bad news is, I’ll be going at noon and having another long, LONG, full day. Those are hard on me.

One day at a time. Lots of daytime appointments this week. Gotta buy new false eyelashes (found the limits on wearing falsies; the lashes fall out after a while). Catch up on a bit of rest each day. Do some laundry, chill, and run lines so (I hope) I don’t have any more flubs.

Couldn’t do this full time. Couldn’t do a play six or seven times a week plus live a life. I mean…one weekend gone and the house is a wreck, nothing’s clean, and I’m pooped. Good to know: if I ever DO get an opportunity to do more, it’s got to come with enough money to buy me help. A maid to come in and tidy up the house, a personal assistant to help me keep everything together while I perform. And a bleeding chauffeur to drive me around so I don’t have to sit at the theatre for six to eight hours at a time.

Good to know my limits.

Comin’ home

Being good is boring. Am I allowed to say that? It’s healthy, it’s how I should act every damned day, but it DOES make for a bland life. My focus is on staying healthy, so plenty of sleep and juice and hand washing. Meh.

Good news is, my health is strong. No sign of anything sneaking up on me. My back began aching yesterday, and I was quick to head to the gym to stretch out and walk on the treadmill; problem fixed. My bro is ready and willing to whip up anything I might want or need in the way of food. A few days to go to curtain up and I’m doing well.

The play: Rehearsal last night. It was my last rehearsal before Saturday. I was on the schedule every night this week (as was everyone), but our director said that he didn’t think we needed more time. Too true. My partner and I don’t call for line prompts, we have our choreography down to a T, and apparently anything I do at this point on stage is freaking funny. Plans are to open up the scene a bit; at first, we sat through most of it and now we’ve a bit of walking around the room to do. Got stopped at one point for some direction, and my partner asked what he should be doing. Reply? Don’t worry about what you’re doing. No one will be looking at you! She’s walking behind you with a look on her face…Trust me, no one will notice you. Um…thanks, and I hope my acting partner didn’t feel dissed. It’s his performance that allows me to do what I do.

Monday’s language class: Whoa, Nellie! I expected a step up; this is a BIG step up. Felt a little lost, spent a little time making sure I wasn’t just pouting because suddenly I’m not the best student in class. Have two female teachers, both brusque, both crisply prim on grammar. Oi! Made a mess of a sentence and was corrected, word by word, until I could repeat the proper sentence in one go. Got drilled on knowledge, speaking skills, and reading skills. Knowledge: some big gaps to fill in. Speaking: always tough, still not catching every word. Reading: OTT. While I was stopped several times to correct what I said, or correct my answers, I was not stopped when I read aloud. In fact, there was a moment of silence afterwards, then a short ‘Ah…goed’ from the teachers. I be old school. I remember the ‘Hooked on Phonics’ literacy series in the states. Never had to use it myself, but I understood the process: focus on the sounds. Drill the fact that certain combinations of letters always sound the same. I did that with Dutch early on, and it shows. Give me something to read aloud and it’s rare you’ll need to correct me. I might not understand everything I read, but it’ll sound like I’m a native.

Downtown today to deal with immigration. Nice to say that and not cringe with fear. Today I’ll be smiling, no matter how long the wait. It’s photo and fingerprint time. Get me my residency card!

And now I’ve time to get to the gym in the afternoon. Give my back another long walk on the treadmills to make sure it doesn’t seize up on me again.

My Dutch homework is done. All of it.

Even planted the idea that maybe – maybe – I’ll pitch my three one-act thrillers to the theatre group as a Halloween special. This, to the director as we had a ciggie outside. His eyebrows raised and he grinned. Took that as a positive inclination on his part. That’s good, because he might end up directing it.

Feeling good. Calm. Eerily calm. I expected more excitement in me as the first performance nears. I take it as a positive, though. Much easier to keep myself healthy when I’m not out dancing among the stars every night because I’m so damned hyper.

And why should I be nervous or hyper? I know where I belong: I belong on stage.

I’m just comin’ home.

Stop!

Down time for RA. One of the worst things ever was growing up not having this disease diagnosed. I experienced a lot of pain, and was told I was being over dramatic. Truth was, my bones were minutely fracturing and my inflammation at a level that should have put me in hospital. But I didn’t know. I listened to the hateful people in my life who blamed me. I told myself I was weak and stupid. So I’ve still got a real problem with taking time off for pain I didn’t actually cause. This time, it’s in a foot, and bad enough I’ve been limping. Lovely.

In ultra paranoid mode. It’s the last week before the play, and the most dangerous time period for me. I’ll be working every night, up late, with people (who all seem to have sick kids or sick spouses or a nasty cough themselves). That’s a recipe for disaster. Washing my hands dozens of times every day. Pushing juice. Picking meals for health value rather than taste.

Heard from the publisher I was pursuing for my brother’s book. Sadly, they passed. Can’t shake this feeling someone on their side fucked up; we were passed off to another person, and he seemed to discount it out of hand with a ‘we already have enough music theory books’ statement. Which seems odd to me, because they DON’T have a book like this. Theory books are written from piano keyboard standpoints. This one works from guitar and bass fretboards, too. But, okay. I’ll move on. Have pages and pages of publishers to check out.

Have not yet addressed the issue with my uncle. Waiting until after the play. I don’t need the distraction. Must admit to feeling half and half – half anger, half pity. I’m still angry he thinks he has the right to rile me up on my own page. But I pity him, too. Took a look at his FB page, and can I say, it’s little wonder he comes to MY page to get some attention. Nonetheless, it’s got to stop. Lucky for him, that top fresh edge of my rage has worn away. I’ll be gentler now.

…Got to admit to a growing sense of…disappointment, I guess. I feel flat and let down. Almost depressed. Not sure why. If anything, I should be feeling up and excited this last week of rehearsals. Maybe I’m just tired, and the RA flare up doesn’t help. Maybe I’ve been working myself too hard, or worrying too much. I look forward to performing again, and yet…yet I don’t.

Coming to some hard realizations, too. Deeper levels of understanding. I’m beginning to really understand my 20-something self, why I did what I did. Started calling my mother by her first name in conversation and in my head. Found it helps me disconnect a bit from that ‘but she’s my mother; I’m supposed to love her’ shit. C was a bitch, and should have NEVER had children. Full stop. Found an article about daughters of unloving mothers. Had that ‘oh my god, they’re talking about me’ thing happen with a couple of items they noted, particularly a bit about children not knowing if the good mommy or the bad mommy was present. That hit home. Hard. I’ve also been admitting to myself how often I sabotaged my success, or turned away from opportunities because I just didn’t feel worthy. I take responsibility for these actions. But I lay the blame on C. She boxed my mind in, she made me feel helpless and worthless. I hate her for it.

Unfortunately, there ain’t no do-overs in life. I can’t go back and reclaim those lost opportunities. I can’t go back and make myself feel worthwhile. Wish I could. I’d like to see how far I might have actually gone if I was unfettered by self-hate. If I was given just a tiny bit of real support and love.

I am so jealous of people with loving families!

But even if I could go back, I know now the only things that would change would be how quickly fights would escalate and how early I left home never to return or talk to C again. Because she wouldn’t change. The rest of my family doesn’t ever change; why should she? It’s not like she wanted me. She didn’t. And she sure as fuck wouldn’t change her martyrdom for her children. I could only go back and tell them to fuck off. Say the things I should have said. I couldn’t spare myself hurt or pain, because that would still happen. I could just get out of it sooner, stop acting out against C earlier.

It’s difficult to change this aspect of myself. To stop hating myself so much.

Hell! It’s difficult to just stop.

Active

Have you lost weight?

Oh, thank you, thank you! To an overweight person, particularly one not satisfied with her size, the above statement is probably the greatest opener you can use when you haven’t seen someone for a few months. I had the joy of hearing it yesterday, and even tho the scale stubbornly refuses to move (beginning to wonder if it’s broken), I felt uplifted.

My brother said I looked thinner because I was wearing my hair pulled back.

…Um…thanks for the honesty?

Tho I’m still not thrilled with the thickness of my body (that’s the problem, really – not the bulges or cellulite, but the thickness of my torso), I’m buoyed by my growing strength. 3.65 kilometers on the cross trainer. Go, baby, go! Did a little look-see online for cross trainer info. Apparently, that machine is supposed to mimic stair walking without the joint stress. I disagree. It’s more like walking through sand than it is walking stairs. Nonetheless, whether it’s walking stairs or walking through sand, 3.65 kilometers is impressive.

Let’s see that extra flab stick around NOW!

Need to head out today and find an ugly pair of pants at the charity shop. Keeps slipping my mind. Less than two weeks to curtain up; you’d think I’d remember! But, well…I had to send out a request to the director to please cue me in on Sunday’s dress rehearsal time and address. I’d think THAT would be something easy to remember, too, but seems I’m wrong. So I guess I can cut myself some slack. If the director can’t remember to inform one of his actors about a scheduled rehearsal, I can’t be blamed for forgetting to find an ugly pair of pants I’ll probably never wear again.

Also need to do my hair. Just gonna buy a cheap temporary color to cover the grey. No money for salon treatments. I’m even contemplating cutting it myself because it’s just out of hand. I’ve enough hair on my head for two people.

Got the second letter for my bro out to the publisher. Now it’s the waiting game. Gave them a whole chapter to look at. Hope I did well. Think I did.

Find I have to check my FB account every day for comments from my uncle. That famed social network just doesn’t work very well. I’m supposed to get an alert any time someone comments on my posts, but I find I don’t. I get a lot of alerts for groups I never said I wanted to join but somehow got into anyway. Found another comment, this time on a rather positive article about the Dutch agriculture industry. My uncle’s statement was: great, but what about overpopulation? I dithered for a moment – yep, actually had DOUBT – before I hit delete. Although there was nothing in his statement that I found offensive, it was coming from him – and as I said before, that fact colors everything out of his mouth. But what really tipped it to ‘hit delete’ for me was what I realized was very typical for him: that sideswipe comment that doesn’t really address the issue raised, but instead belittles the original statement or argument by attempting to distract and redirect to another issue HE wants to argue over. That, I take issue with. And that’s something he’ll never understand.

Right now, between the work outs and the upcoming performance, I could care less. Hit delete, then ignore. My focus is coming down to a pin-point. Forgetting what day it is, forgetting about language, forgetting about anything other than rehearsals and my role. Had a passing thought about writing the other day, and laughed at myself. Not gonna fall into that trap. I’ve set myself up for a masterful performance, and I’m not gonna blow it by losing my head in another story. I know who I have to be: her name is Wendy, and she is SO not me.

It’s just for a few more weeks. I know there’s another performance at the end of October, and I’ll need to keep the role fresh. But that’s later. Right now is right now, and I’m counting down to the first curtain up.

…Just a little obsessed. I know. But this is me using my obsession towards a goal. I know what I’m like – that one-track mind once I’ve taken hold of an idea. Perfect. Be Wendy. Not 24/7; don’t think I could stand myself to go that far. But keep her close. Once in a while I ask myself ‘what would Wendy do in this situation?’. I see things through her eyes for a moment. It serves to underscore our differences.

She is passive.

I’m active.