Category Archives: Silly Girl — Another Day You Thought You Knew What You Were Doing

Scared

072407_fear_poster

It’s bed time.  Past bed time.  It’s late, is what it is, but my fears are working over time.

I start imagining things.  Things like, What if it never gets better?  What if this is it?

Shit.

My hopes are nothing but day dreams.   Aren’t they?

:::crickets:::

(I hate the silence that remains after I ask questions like that.)

At night, all that seemed possible, all that seems worth fighting for, all that seemed important, all the little, daily tasks that I have to do before i can do the things I want to do — are bigger, more formidable and time-consuming than the work I must do before I will ever know if my “work” matters.   My hope, as if it is a platitude painted on an old crumbling wall begins to chip off.  The dried paint flakes away and the reveal underneath terrifies me.

What if he never comes back? What if he never finds his way?

What if I never find my way OUT?

What if I am still sitting here next year, with my list of plans, the same list of plans I’ve carried with me now since — forever?

What if he does  come back and we still only talk about our hope, but never see, touch, feel, know, smell, taste, wear or hear the results of all those hopes?  What if our children grow up, grow away and I am left here still hoping for something in my life that I know is my home, is my refuge, is my peace and is something that gives me the will to continue?

What if my children look at me one day and wonder what do we do with her?

Oh. My. God.  Cannot allow that.

Can Not.

It’s you and me, God.

Must kick fear in the fucking ass.

fear

Advertisements

A Little Better

“…A dense fog fills our valley this morning.  I drove the kids to school despite my truck lights that work some days, but not all.”

Something like that rolled around in my head.  I can’t quite remember, but I intended to write something that started with the fog (it was an analogy to my heart and soul’s confusion and sadness) as an early morning warm-up post.

But the day pushed on before I had a chance to write.  I looked up screenplay contests.  Shorts.  Right now I am looking for contests that specialize in shorts.  I found one or two on the WITHOUTABOX website.

I have one new short.  I want to clean it up this week and enter it somewhere.  And I have another short I started, but couldn’t remember the punch line.  I had a dream the night before: Someone knocks on a door and drives this guy (the lead) nuts and then it ends up to be…. I couldn’t remember the end.   And what I did remember wasn’t funny after I woke up.  I wrote it anyway.   Two days later, I think I have an idea that will work, but wasn’t part of the dream.  I meant to write it today.

But I didn’t.

Here’s what I did.

  • looked up contests ( as I said)
  • took my youngest daughter to the doctor for an annual check up and to get her flu and HEP A shots. (She was none too thrilled).
  • wrote out bills.
  • Laundry, straightening, urged and cajoled for Nick to do his homework.
  • Found out I owe a HUGE medical bill that I was not aware of before today. (Where’s that dough gonna come from — ?  crap.
  • Emailed J to let him know the bad news.
  • Picked up my daughter from school.
  • More laundry
  • Went to my 11-year-old son’s orchestra concert with my buddy, my youngest daughter.
  • Warmed up leftovers for dinner.
  • Cleaned up.
  • Cleaned litter box.
  • poured my second glass of cheap vodka and Welch’s grape juice

and here I am.

Now.

p.s.  the fog cleared and as usual, it became a sunny, glorious autumn day.  So — Where’s the story, morning glory?  Tomorrow, I will finish the other short and then…  rip into the feature.


Here It Comes

 

I’ve fought it for months.  I’ve listened to inspirational recordings by prominent TV pastors, read inspirational, uplifting newsletters and articles, read The Secret, and I receive inspirational emails.  These things have helped – and yet, I feel it coming.

It’s a slow storm moving toward me.

I think I know what causes it.  Constant fear and a wall of regret.   It’s the fear I’ll never be happy again.  I’m faking it as best I can, but  it’s just not working.

What I need to stop it — for me — it’s a matter of accomplishment.  I think.  I need to accomplish something that will allow me to remove this shame.

Tonight, as I listen to the dishwasher hum and bump the dishes clean with sprays of water, I am praying.

Dear God — please hold me up.

I’ve started a new script — a short – about couples and their conversations at various stages of their lives, and I am praying.

A call tonight from J.  He tells me that a board fell and hit him in the head while he was at work.  He doesn’t think he suffered a concussion.  He says he “saw stars, though.”

Great.  1300 miles away and what can I do?

Nothing but  write.   And pray.  Lord, have mercy on us.


Smoke

I’m thinking it’s the smoke in the air.  Have I mentioned the smoke?

No?

Because of forest fires (every year, every summer) smoke fills the air and its presence alters everything.  Bicycling, running, walking, talking, and otherwise healthy activities become a twinge yucky and questionable.   Throats are sore.  Asthmatics wear masks.  Contact wearers (me) squint and sport red, drippy eyes. Though it is warm outside, windows remain shut —  keeping the smokey air from creeping in.  The horizon which is usually beautiful with its mountains, looks more like Wisconsin than Montana.  A sea of seeming flatlands and gray, humid skies have replaced the mountain view.  The sunset is strange and murky — dirty like a typical day in L.A.   At night the moon is the color of a blood orange and when morning comes, I confuse the sun with the moon, because it, too, is orange.  I suppose it is a bad idea to look at it…  Smoke has obscured everything.

We’ve been breathing in this smoke-filled valley for a month or more now.  I checked the Weather Channel website and nope, seven days out and still no rain in the forecast.  Some say the fires won’t be out until snow falls.  That could be two months or more of waking up to this dirty cloud and worse, feeling the fog internally as well.  I cannot say for sure that it is the smoke causing me to feel so down, so tired, so like giving up, but it could be.  Maybe.

I am not the only one complaining about feeling sluggish and lethargic.  My theory?  As beekeepers use a smoker device on the bees to calm them, therefore making it easier to harvest the honey,  we too, feel numb, droopy and unable to fight our individual and necessary daily struggle.

Other than that — what is it?  What causes my listless, yet restless feeling? I just can’t seem to pull myself out of it.

It couldn’t be the seven-year mark approaching of when my husband left us to make his way forward, to a better future for himself, for us.  It couldn’t be that my oldest daughter is gone, in her third year of college and clearly — gone and moved on.  I think of her: It is good.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Good for her. Don’t stop. But I miss her.  I miss the fun and excitement she brought into the house.  Always something to look forward to, but now… I wake and forget what it was I wanted to do the night before:  Write.  Write ten pages.  Push the story forward.  Do it.  Fight the urge to quit.  Or could it be the exhaustion from fighting for my son (with autism), the same endless, year-after-year fight with the school, with him, with his homework or lack of it, with the world of disabilities, the warehousing, and the isolation we all feel as a result of it.  It could be that I need a job, but can’t take a job, but need a job, but… caught in another loop.  I have enough hope to sustain me, thinking I could write my way out of this mess, if  — I just would do IT.   Write and write until I’ve found my way, but like Alice in Wonderland, I wander through a perverse maze of distractions that lead to nowhere.  Could my spirit feel so drained simply because each time I look in the mirror, I see nothing that makes me want to smile?  I see nothing that gives me hope.  I feel shallow.  I feel that I have no new thoughts, nothing, or is it the other way around?  That if I were looking truly forward to something hopeful, inspirational — would I then see a reflection of beauty?  Or if not beauty — at least a genuine smile?

I have my kids here.  My three little ones — growing so fast that I can barely stand it.  I worry about being enough for them.  I worry that I’m distorting their view of life in all the wrong ways.  They need their dad – They need him.  What can I do to be more?  What can I do to be enough? I want my family back, in tact and whole again — and the thought that  stops me and causes me to stumble within my daydreams is this: by the time we’ve figured it out — they’ll all be gone and here I will be.  Just me. I did all I could not to be alone — and funny, but that’s just not the way it’s gone. It is me and whatever tool I have within reach that I can write with, be it a pencil, a pen, paper, typewriter or this current machine.
Writing. Writing. Writing.  Here I am typing words but they mean nothing to no one, not even me.  My story (my script), my in the weeds story … has lost its way, much like myself.  I am not sure the why of that either.

I am tired.  I refuse to think of it as depression.

I blame the smoke.


F Words

Perhaps using this virtual space as my own personal confessional for a non-Catholic girl such as myself is not such a good idea.  Perhaps referring to myself as a girl is offensive to girls and women everywhere, but tough.  This girl is going to write what she damn well pleases…

Yet I question why I felt compelled to confess my epic fail as a mother in my previous post.  Maybe it was not such a good idea. Just a thought.

I wouldn’t have had this thought, except I sent the link to my blog to a couple of trusted friends and so far… I feel worse about what I did.  Not cleansed.  Not forgiven.  I suppose that is what I was hoping for:  Forgiveness.

For what it is worth my daughter forgives me.  After the ride we hugged and I told her I was sorry.  I explained why I freaked out so badly and told her I was sorry again. I picked her up and held her.  I told her I loved her.  I told her I was scared.  Mom’s do fail.  Surely, I cannot be the only one who fails.  Perhaps others aren’t so dumb as to post details on a blog and then ASK people to actually read it.  Okay — so that makes it a Double Fail.  Had I just kept it in and asked God and my kids to forgive me, I suppose I’d be over it by now.  But no… I made it personal and dumped my guilt on others.  Dummy.   I felt ashamed.  What I did and said in PUBLIC bothered me and still bothers me.  Letting go is not something that comes easily to me. Der…

but then again…

How many things have I done (or anyone has ever done) in private that probably was worse?  The fact that such terrible things are done in private and never admitted to, at least in my mind, makes the sins or the failures all the worse.

This past week a country singer, Randy Travis, was found naked, drunk and lying in the middle of the road.  He is just one of many stars who do things that humans do.   It makes the news because we (their adoring fans), hold them to a higher moral standard.  Either that, we simply love to see how the mighty fall, though it is none of our concern.  The stories of other people’s lives do not affect (or is it effect — Gawd – when will I get grammar?) our own lives, but they reflect upon our view of ourselves.  We watch. We compare.  We judge.  We mock.  We’re better than them… after all. Watching an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey (my favorite) does not alter my life, but I enjoy it in relation to my own. Reading my blog or an email from me does not change the reader, does not change or improve his or her life.  It only serves as a fun house mirror, representing a portion of the truth — and one that the reader gratefully is not a part of.

For me to expect any less scrutiny, any less judgement is beyond stupid. I will remember that the next time I post one of my epic human failures.  Not that I am on par with Randy Travis or any other celebrity,  but I must remember — people generally are not kind and very quick to condemn.  I’d better remember, too, that I am one of them.  Mirrors.  We are all mirrors.

God forgives.

Dogs forgive.

But friends, family, acquaintances, strangers and Cats judge ruthlessly.


The Round Up (or) How I Failed Again At Mother Of The Year

Tonight was the night my kids look forward to all year, other than Christmas and their birthdays. It is the night I succumb to the ritual of taking them to The Fair. I would name the actual title of said, “Fair” but then it would end up in a Google search and all traces would lead back to me — that crazy psychotic mother who screamed at her beautiful seven-year-old daughter, after she forced her to ride THE ROUND UP.

Bad, bad mother. Many points lost already.

My daughter cried at the base of the steps, cried on the platform and cried as I strapped the tiny, absolutely worthless, decaying cable across her chest and said: “Look at me. Look at my face. It’s not scary.”  (I meant the ride, of course. She probably thought I meant my face.)  Either way — she was absolutely terrified.

Inside my head, two, no maybe it was three or more voices argued. One said — Don’t do it. Don’t make her go. She’s a little girl. Let her be. Another voice said: She’ll love it. Once she feels how the centrifugal force holds her back — she’ll absolutely dig the physics of it. After all, that logic worked with the boys. A third voice, no doubt an ancestral voice from the Dark Ages said: If she cries to get out of this, she’ll cry to get out of everything. Make her get on the thing and teach her to face her fears. Burn! Burn!  There were more voices, too, but those were my sons’ actual voices as they pecked and needled: “Please, Mom, make her go. She has to go on it!”

And no, thank you for asking (I heard you mutter it), since I’ve already admitted to the complete loss of  Mother of the Year Award, I also admit I am not beneath blaming my sons ( just a bit) for twisting my mind into being stupidly cruel. Ask any woman with three sons — that woman will never be normal or reasonable again. I gave in or they won — you choose.  Both are correct. But my seven-year-old knows how to work payback…  I am not saying she faked it, because she certainly did not. But her particular level of fear beat us all.

So, the ride starts and before it’s turned once around, my baby girl starts sinking down, her knees buckling…

I held her hand, told her it would be all right, to look at my face, to not look down — but she kept sinking further down, and FORWARD! How the hell is she sinking and moving forward? Do the Laws of Physics not apply to my angel baby? Here is where panic set in and I lost it: As she dropped nearly to her knees and forward, from my perspective it appeared the cable was at her throat and potentially choking her. Her face was colorless —

I screamed for her to stand up. I mean — I am SCREAMING for her to STAND UP!

But she remained forward, her throat seemingly at the cable and her face contorted and crying — not hearing a bloody word I said. Then her older brother yells for her to stand up, then her next older brother yells for her to stand up and then her oldest brother (with autism), starts screaming and yelling because he hears us screaming and yelling and he HATES it when we all start that shit.  It was mayhem. It got worse.

I swore. I dropped F-bombs while DEMANDING she stand up because in my mind all I could imagine was her hanging herself on the friggin’ Round Up and the night ending up as just one of those freak accidents you hear about on the evening news. Meanwhile, all I could do was hold her little hand and watch her go? It was horrible — I mean really — it looked horrible. It was also about then that I noticed how friggin’ terrifying the stupid ride really was! Holy Shit! I mean – GAWD — I could see the ground right in front of me! My attention back on my baby, choking, (she wasn’t actually choking, but she looked like she was), I decided to pull out all the stops to get her to stand up and her throat off that cable wire.  I yelled that if she didn’t stand up right then, I was going to kill her when we got off the ride.

Yes, may God have mercy on my stupid-ass soul, doggone it  — I said THAT. Brilliant.  Now, not only were we all yelling for my baby to stand up and not die, but my youngest son was screaming at me: “MOM! WHY DID YOU SAY THAT? HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT?”  (Please, please understand: I said it for effect.  She’s my love — I couldn’t stop the ride.  I couldn’t make her stand up from that wire.  I wanted to be scarier than the ride so that she would get up).

And this was all done loudly, in public, around many young children not my own, in a Twirling Cage — right next to the “Fun House.”

Thankfully, mercifully, the ride did slow down…

My baby girl took a breath and cried as she finally was able to stand, moving her throat from the Son-of-a-bitch cable wire, “helped” somewhat because I pushed her head up and back to the cushioned part of the ride by her chin.  (I’m sure that looked great…)

Embarrassingly, it was then that I noticed the terrified and rather shocked expressions of all the riders within my view. I did not, could not, look back over my shoulder at the others behind me — but boy — I could  feel them… (If anyone ever said that mental telepathy was a myth or a simple carnival side-show, they were wrong).

Ahh…yes… Drama. It’s what I do.  Apparently, my offspring have the knack, too. : /

Tomorrow — my two oldest boys are going back to The Fair for another day of fun and I am bringing my two youngest swimming at a (nameless) Swim Park.  Have I mentioned I am not a good swimmer and am afraid of heights? Yeah.

I cannot wait for summer to be over.


Steps

For about the four hundred and fifth time, I am finally moving forward. It began before I attended the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (This is the final weekend.) However, the festival, its workshops and parties and mostly the films have inspired me to know that the leap my partner and I made several months back (rather, years back), was the right one. We are not ever going to fit into the corporate world and climb that mysterious ladder told in big-paycheck-fairytales. I am just trying to figure out why fear always seems to slide in and take the seat next to me and how do I tell him to shut up.

Ignoring him, I consider the  TO DO list,  what must be done, in what order, and by what date. At this stage the process is about how to get by with a zero budget until we have enough of a film product or script that we feel confident to start pushing for funds. I wish it were comforting, but it is not: developing a clear story line, a clear explanation to the question “What’s your story about?” is the cheapest thing to establish, but more difficult than coming up with funds to buy equipment and airline tickets.

I have more ideas than are worth pursuing I am sure — but our goal is to self produce both documentaries and narrative features (fiction).  I will produce three of the documentaries as shorts, all done locally, and made with relatively little money. (I am not flying to Africa anytime soon, or Iceland, which is where I would really like to go.)  A fourth documentary entails three cities and several subjects, venues and institutions we need to gain access to. As I ponder my plans and consider some of the things other filmmakers at the festival said about their subjects, the whys about how they came to make certain films with particular themes — I realize that I like to focus on the extraordinary in an ordinary person. This is my focus, always. I suspect because I am hoping to find that within myself.

Then there are my babies: my narrative feature-length scripts — still not where they need should be  – finished and polished. Contest deadlines loom and I will be out of my mind angry with myself if I don’t fulfill the promises I made. One of those promises is to find funding & investors then direct and produce the film within the year. (Can you hear the inflection of doubt? It sounds like a question mark.)  All hinges on the script.

Tonight the festival offers three films I do not want to miss, but this time I am bringing my  kids — a very risky decision. Most of the films show and discuss opinions and thoughts I doubt my kids are ready for, but I want them to see anyway. I want them to see the “event” of it all. The festival is a different world, a place where the watchers celebrate their curious, obsessive nature. If I do not become the quality of filmmaker I strive to be, perhaps one or more of my children will because I opened the door and bought them popcorn. Another possibility is that they will find a place in a corporate job that offers both money and personal satisfaction. Either way, or other ways I’ve not considered, they will be the “right” person as they answer their own question about what is extraordinary within.

Some of us are vagabonds by nature. Kicking Fear in the ass is the hard part.