Get it Right Next Time

What day is it again?

I shouldn’t be blogging today, Thursday is my day off, but so much has happened: there needs to be a record of where this next part of the journey begins. Without too much detail (which might come in retrospect, I dunno) yesterday saw a self-referral to a mental health organisation for counselling. Trying to work through my doctor has not produced either results or care that should be expected under the circumstances. This is a time of massive change within that particular sector of healthcare and my practice is run by doctors in their 70’s, so this is not as massive a surprise as it could be.

I’m able to function as a human being, depression being very much under control. My mental issues neither restrict or hinder daily life. I have developed a raft of coping strategies that allow an extremely competent illusion of stability and normality when high function and reasoning fail. Being a mimic is a fantastic means by which truths can be hidden, but there comes a point where this is not enough. Yesterday was the day therefore to go ask someone else to fix things that are so broken I cannot repair them alone.

The process has begun.

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My PT’s on her way back from a much needed holiday. All my health data has been shared with her via the Red Belt of Unavoidable Truths so, when she’s back in the game next week, we can start working out how I get stronger. That’s really easy: more hard work, less bad food, a desire to improve. Just gotta keep putting in the effort. Talking of which, it is Thursday, and tonight I don’t worry about what my belt is doing and just focus on doing what is asked.

The Next Chapter Bar

The first rejection of the year arrived yesterday, and it will not be my last.

I’m still angry. It’ll pass, and that has nothing to do with failing. It is everything to do with how that failure was communicated.

I wonder if the organisers of such endeavours learn from feedback or whether they consider anything constructively presented as nothing but negative criticism… Hang on, this is a metaphor for how disagreement plays out over Social media, isn’t it?

There needs to be more tea.

Timebomb Zone

Day 4: Wow, that’s a two hours I never want to repeat again. I’m utterly with Duncan Jones: kids are hard work. I know, they didn’t ask to be born and you were the one who make the choice [and therefore accept the responsibility], but BOY some days is it tough. Anxiety-producing, pain inflicting, nerve shreddingly tough. If the sun was out and the country hadn’t just imploded, it would be easier. Today therefore is penance, and I’m surprisingly okay with that.

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There’s a significant fork in the road up ahead. Watching my husband cycle last night, his level of fitness is a reminder that if things matter enough, you will find a way. I don’t eat badly, exercise more than has ever been the case before and slowly, so very slowly, improvement is coming. It is on days like today when I’m mentally wiped that those gains matter so much more. Pushing beyond comfort zones might not be the answer for some, but for me there are days when if I don’t, the consequences can be catastrophic.

I should have started this particular journey with more vigour about 20 years ago.

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Decided to enter a book contest with the manuscript that keeps getting rejected. It’s really good, deeply personal and largely autobiographical, and I know full well why nobody I’ve sent it to thus far has shown the slightest bit of interest. So, if it gets rejected AGAIN it doesn’t get rewritten a third time. It stays this way, and we look for specialist publishers to send it to, and if that fails I fucking publish it myself, because sometimes it isn’t about compromise. Sometimes, what matters most is the idea, as you wrote it, not how someone else wants you to tell the story.

Occasionally you don’t write in the hope someone else validates you. You need to validate yourself.

Yesterday’s Men

Day 3: My mother in law has gone into hospital. The prognosis, from distance, is not good. She is in her 80’s, and a Cancer survivor. Whatever may now happen in the next few months, her legacy is significant and will be long-lasting. The world she knew at my age, over thirty years ago when I first met her son, has in many places vanished and in others altered beyond belief.

An awful lot has changed, on reflection.

This video has split Twitter, apparently. It’s an advert with a message embedded within it. If I believe half the crap being generated around the reception, this is the first true Horseman of the Apocalypse. Or, on the day when my Country is set to implode under the weight of it’s own fucking stupidity, it’s just another metaphor for how fast some parts of society shift compared to others.

However, this is significant from an advertising point of view for one reason alone: Gillette know better than anybody else the state of their business right now. It is VERY rare that such a company will embark on a project of this significance without full possession of the facts. This is not an advert aimed at Racist Dad, or any pompous wank-stain TV commentator who might hold an opinion on everything, for the sake of exposure.

This advert targets men who are already listening, and not those who embrace ignorance.

I get angry at those who will retweet the ravings of idiots as a means of pointing out that they’re wrong, because by doing so you’re giving that person the impression they’re agreed with and, by extension, popular. If The Orange Twat currently running the USA was unfollowed by millions of people as a protest, he’d complain to Twitter they were censoring him, not grasp that maybe the tide of social media use might be changingThere’s some pretty basic double standards at play here: we all have a responsibility to step up our games and make a difference.

Debate ought to be about being sensible, but caring. It should talk to us in a fashion that is fair and truthful, not condescending or unhelpful. Finding someone who cares is a rare and beautiful thing in the World right now, especially under current circumstances in the UK. Giving the time of day to strangers was always a thankless task to begin with, but now there is so much anger and frustration that we are reaching a tipping point. For us, the next 24 hours is crucial, and not for the reasons many might think.

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Extremism is our enemy, BOTH SIDES CARRY THE CAN. Too much one way, too much the other. It isn’t just the Far Right that is the enemy: I see you, Far Left people, and you’re doing nearly as much harm as good. Just because nobody talks about you and you’re not the target of as much airtime and tweets does not mean you don’t get to stand there and be smug. In fact, NOBODY right now is particularly covered in glory.

If you don’t want your future to be remembered like this?

time for ALL OF US to start making things better.

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Day 2: I need to make a phone call. I don’t wanna look too keen. Gonna write this first and then do it, yeah, that’s a good plan.

Today, we explain the difficulties with relationships via the medium of Hairdressing.

The Next Chapter Bar

A woman’s relationship with her hairdresser is both complex and incredibly subtle. You trust a (reasonably) total stranger to make you look fabulous, and not to destroy self confidence in the process. That whole thing with Samson and his locks equalling strength? Utterly spot on. When stuff does go wrong, it often means the end of your relationship. The chances you’ll hand over cash again to someone who turned your hair purple when you wanted blonde? Fairly slim.

I’d been with the same salon for a LONG time. I’d gone there before my son was born, cycled through two stylists, and the day I came home with purple hair having not asked for it was significant. When younger a lot of hairstyles happened, a few colours, but the desire to go 100% mermaid has never stuck. It isn’t me, and to have it imposed accidentally was not really as shocking as might have been the case. It made a tough decision a lot easier: it was time to leave.

When your stylist can’t get your name right… absolutely the right moment to move on.

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So, I’ve bounced between a few places in the intervening period, finding empathy in a couple of stylists, but never the desire to stay, until I took my daughter for a trim at the local hairdressers and found a young lady who is, quite frankly, welcome breath of fresh air. She’s professional and thorough but what I get most from her is the fact that there are no pretensions of anything. She is what she is, and that is what matters. For too long I was simply anonymous. Now, I feel genuinely wanted.

That’s the key in all relationships, I realise. To be a part of something where you don’t feel as if you’re doing all the work, or that you’ve been included because that’s what you think other people would do to look relevant. You shouldn’t be friends with someone  because of who they know, or what that relationship could provide. It just happens. Clicking a button then contributing no effort is not friendship. Reading about another person’s life and adding nothing of value to it is not friendship.

Just because you follow someone does not entitle you to part of their existence.

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Actual copy from a Robot-based ‘we increase your following for you’ website.

Robots continue to create an illusion of care and interest that, in many cases, will never exist. It is all about the business of ‘appearing’ popular and successful, without the genitalia-achingly tough task of talking to every person, establishing trust and belief, before moving on. Truly popular people end up that way because they focus on their desires 24/7, and keep on giving, in a way that cannot be faked or indeed replicated. Looking at my Twitter feed, more and more the genuine hard workers are abundantly apparent, putting lesser mortals in the shade.

It is a fine destination to aim for, continuing to be reassuringly inspirational.

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Not everything online has to be drama, but amazingly that doesn’t stop a lot of people aspiring towards just that. It’s not like there’s no other stress in the World right now either. I get that some of you want online to be your own safe, secure little Utopia of Calm. The reality of existence is that if you wilfully ignore one thing, it’ll happen with others, and that’s never a state of affairs that will ever end well. That lesson has been learnt the hard way. Friendship isn’t just turning up for the good stuff and ignoring the bad. That’s not how this works.

If this matters enough to you, make the effort.

Beautiful Day

Day 1: It was utterly worth the reset.

I’m considering a two day conference later in the year to try to go and meet other writers. It’s probably more money right now than I can afford, which means that it might be the moment to pull out the digit and look at some ideas for funding.

Very important phone-call on Monday. I am already nervous…

Randy Scouse Git

DAY 3: No exercise, wood cooked pizza, video games. How was your Friday night?

The Next Chapter Bar

Happiness is an odd thing. You can be down and annoyed at one thing and then, suddenly BANG you’re on Cloud 9, giddy with possibilities that never even existed a moment previously. That, I realise, is why coping with success must be quite tough for those whose emotions don’t normally work this way. I’ve spent a lifetime swinging crazily from one extreme to another, often without warning. Only now come the realisation how useful this is going to be moving forward.

No word on what happened yet, but there will be, you can bet many things on that. What yesterday has done in my brain is dislodge a lot of concern over Stuff in the Past where, it is likely, brain was far too harsh on self’s ability and capability to produce what was needed. There’s also a realisation that, quite probably, that not gaining opportunities that were craved so badly in the past have nothing to do with my ability, but people not liking what I was.

I was the toxic person others wanted out of their lives. I was the one who caused trouble and instability by calling a spade a fucking digging implement. You didn’t diss the hand that fed you, certainly never capitalising from it. Looking back on the last ten years,  the irony that this was ahead of my time makes me laugh.  Crucially a living was never made a from the very thing so many people accused me of being. I cut my teeth writing honest, loving and often really difficult pieces that I’m still immensely proud of, ultimately fuelling hope.

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The people who attacked me and made drama with me at its core did so for their ends and nothing else. The straw that broke everything was so fucking petty and trivial that even now it makes me laugh out loud: after that point, however, the lesson was learnt. If people are so lost in their own worlds that they only ever see themselves in what you write? You don’t get it, do you? We’re all the same. Everybody is human. 

When I wrote that thing in my timeline to remind myself that not everything needs to be shared, you assumed it was about you… every time, for years on end, it was the same, sad realisation that how I speak is interpreted however the fuck everybody else wants and there’s not a damn thing that will change that. However clear and basic a point that is made, somebody will decide you’re attacking them, or using them to fuel your own delusions of grandeur.

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Strong people scare everybody. Not because they’re destroying your lives or taking your jobs, but because they could, unless you stop them first. Notice the lack of personal pronouns here too. I don’t need to wave any sexual cards around this argument, this is not pronouncement at a section of society. This is EVERYBODY. Those of you who don’t like the potential that anyone could turn up and ruin the lovely Utopia you created to protect you from the horrible people in the world who want to change things and move evolution onwards… I see you. Welcome to Armageddon.

People use sexuality as a means by which pronouncement is made, battle lines are drawn. It’s why girls can’t play video games. It’s why girls can’t do most things, and we know how THAT is currently working out in society right now… but there’s more insidious things that make me realise that many people just don’t want anything to change ever. Defining your own gender is wrong, attacking those that do the only sensible way to keep humanity pure.

These are the desperate thoughts of individuals who can never look forward.

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As my audience widens, and it is, someone will undoubtedly come back to these blogs and comb through them, trying to find a sense of what I really am. When you get to this one, you can draw a line. BEFORE this, and that post in the week about finally being able to define myself with words, everything else was leading up to this point now. HERE is where the game really changed, and a new direction was forged. This is the culmination of all the work over a decade to finally release myself from Depression.

Here is where everything moves forward.

I’m Only Sleeping

Day 2: Welcome to the Age of Saying What I Really Wanted to Say. Today’s nugget of interest? I don’t like having my midriff uncovered. It makes me feel physically uncomfortable at present: is this a deep-seated issue or is it just too fucking cold to be wearing anything than about 35 layers? Leave that one with me.

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Blaze was… well, HARD. 2 minutes in the red zone (according to my MyZone Heart rate belt) was enough to make me physically sick. Also, FUN FACT, you wanna see what an anxiety attack looks like from my heart’s perspective? Here you go:

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With the benefit of over two hours of deep sleep and a lovely long chat with my Physio I am much better mentally. Physically however, I am exhausted. There needs to be lots of tea and quite possibly a very large sandwich because really, truthfully, this needs to be more fun than it is right now and last night was not fun.

Weigh In:
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Next up on the list of priorities is edit the novel that I want to enter for various things. It’s in a corner and won’t come out right now, which is going to require some work from me that, probably up until yesterday I wasn’t capable of doing. Then, it is probably an idea to sit down with all the other half-finished pieces of work and set up some kind of priority order with them.

There’s a phenomenal amount of work to do on some: is it worth it? Should I be brutal and start from scratch? It will be considerably easier going forward to ignore a lot of old content, but some of it will have value. I’m going to need to learn how to edit again: simple enough, but brutality is not one of my strong points. It will help that this weekend I’m away and that my brain doesn’t have to think about anything important or stressful.

Yes, I really am very tired.