Help

This is a True Story. I’m not sure of the exact day when the event transpired, but it wouldn’t be hard to pinpoint, as it clashed with a series of real life events that are well documented. It was before the Summer Holidays, that I can be certain of, so happened at least in recent memory. No names will be used either, except mine.

The reason why I’m mentioning it now will become apparent in due course.

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I’m about to go to bed one night, and see someone on my Twitter feed post a quote from a Movie I really like, so (as often happens) I send a suitable response. This prompts me to go and take a look at their profile website, and discover they’ve moved quite a distance to start a new life. I remember being younger and wishing I had the balls to do this, but never did. I lied about the possibility to impress someone though, pretended an elaborate falsehood, and this exchange highlighted that moment. Then it prompted the desire to ensure I’m never that person again.

A couple of days later, whilst I’m prepping at breakfast to make a longer than usual car trip, the same person posts, clearly either drunk or in genuine distress. I’ve seen a lot of Twitter ‘attention’ posts in my time, and you get a sense after a while whether the person trying to attract sympathy or understanding is in genuine trouble, or angling to get someone to just talk. In this case, the alarm bells wouldn’t stop ringing, and so I pushed for more. This person was obviously unhappy, compromised and (it appeared) trapped by their own volition. I suggested that this could easily corrected, but this person wouldn’t budge.

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Enter another Twitter ‘friend’ who is, it has to be said, a total heroine. She is kind, caring and understands the mindset of this individual, because it transpires they have already spoken. It then becomes apparent that the truth behind the wider narrative is not something they want to share (with very good reason) but their distress is genuine and now, at least for me several thousand miles away, increasingly alarming. Once it becomes apparent that there could be a firearm involved, I realise I am totally out of my depth.

I can still taste the fear and confusion from the car trip I made that morning, phone by my side as I followed this situation playing out, thousands of miles away, with nothing more that I could do except hope my reassurance had been enough to help the individual find a way forward. Then, I get a message: the person is safe, with someone else who has, simply out of the kindness of their heart, offered to help and offer shelter. Shortly afterwards, a single Tweet told the story, and a few days afterwards another appeared as a quiet and unassuming postscript. After that, there was nothing. I’d check, and wonder, and assume that if I heard nothing, that was enough.

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Fast forward to this morning: for the first time in months I see a message from this person. I want to ask them how they are, if they struggled after what happened, but part of me knows I don’t want to post that Tweet.

Sometimes, that’s not how life works.


When you ‘live’ with people in large virtual communities, often it isn’t just about the good stuff. I’ve watched some genuinely frightening abuse in the time I’ve used Twitter, and in some cases that has escalated to real life over spill which isn’t just mortifying, but frankly unbelievable. That old adage that ‘it always happens to someone else’ is true right up to the point when you’re the one in the spotlight: then, it becomes a case of putting money where mouth is and being the decent person, not just pretending you are. With the exception of two close friends and the other person involved in this? Nobody else knew about that morning until now. Having seen this person moving on with their life, I just want to wish them well, but if I contact them again what could easily happen is that I’ll just drag up all the hurt and bad feelings from that point, and that just wouldn’t be fair.

If it were me, I’d just pretend that nothing ever happened and move on.

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So, here I am, feeling the need to remind the World that you can be strong enough. Life does go on, you do cope, and things will get better. Often the way that happens is through the random kindness of strangers, who it doesn’t matter that you’ll never know. That’s what makes Life worth living, and why if you’re ever in a position to help someone stuck in a corner, you should absolutely and totally do everything you can to do just that.

One day, that person might be you.

Reality

Last night, I had a dream about the nature of linear time. It involved two travellers, man and woman, and I suspect it had a lot to do with Tanith Lee’s The Silver Sky being a seminal influence in my childhood. They key difference in this fiction was that my travellers were slowly evolving themselves, that the further backwards and forwards they moved in time, the less reliant they were on bodies until the moment when they dispensed with them altogether and simply became energy. However, the most significant part of the dream came when I awoke and was, for quite a while, convinced I’d evolved myself. Removing the pint of blood from my system had triggered a regenerative process I’d never experienced before, and suddenly there was no pain, or niggles from long-term injury. I was calmer than I’d ever been, and my body being forced to remake blood had somehow moved me forward to something not quite human.

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It was such a vivid set of circumstances I can still feel the calm even now. I was somehow different, better than I had experienced before, and I suppose that’s not far off the actual truth. The last few months has seen an awful lot of personal change, and it makes logical sense that my brain will react to that. What this did spur me to do was push today, despite only managing six hours sleep. I am feeling it now, that much is unmistakable, but as I pulled my wobbly legs home after rescheduled PT, it was with a sense of clam and satisfaction that I don’t want to lose, and have hung onto all day, even as my ability to function’s been eroded by the fatigue.

I am evolving; becoming better than I was. It’s an amazing feeling, and I love it.

Move On

Last night, I gave Blood. I’m not gonna bore you with trying to conjure an entire blog post on the thing many, many people do every day without either thanks or thought. The church hall was packed, yet I’m reliably informed it was a quiet night. There’s a bruise where they inserted a needle that itched the entire time it was set, an appointment in February 2017, and that’s that. I’ll do this every four months, assuming I’m able, from now until I’m 70, because this matters. Change dictates that you must push past obstacles to become better. Remaining ‘the same’ is no longer a state I wish to exist in.

For now, I’m going to suffer if things don’t keep moving.

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I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is supporting me in this shift out of many and various previously comfortable zones. It really helps to know that people are supporting your efforts, and in turn I’m doing my best to pay it forward. That means giving some cash to a friend who’s struggling because I have extra in my pocket this month. It is the conversation with my husband over e-mail that could have been a disaster but that ended up as a triumph. Most significantly, it’s my son understanding that finally he might have crossed a line that requires more than the minimum amount of effort to correct, and that this is the most encouraging sign of all in a week that I’ve not exercised in on medical advice thus far. I wasn’t sure how I’d cope with a pint less of blood in me, and on reflection I’m really glad I start my week on Wednesday. If I can do two walks this week I still will however, BECAUSE I CAN.

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Having lost a staggering two and half pounds overnight (and having woken up starving at 4am, presumably as a result of my body creating more blood) the temptation now is to eat everything in sight. Even the word BACON is enough to make me salivate.

I’m gonna be healthy, and we begin again with PT tomorrow.

The Closest Thing to Crazy

Today has not started well.

I get that I’m the problem in many situations. It is clear to me that the way I have acted or felt, the means by which I have communicated or responded, has generated drama. This happens both in reality and in the purely fantastical World of the Internet. In both cases, I am well aware of what I could do to prevent issues to begin with, and that is to just say nothing and move on. Except as I get older, and the number of days I have left on this Planet undoubtedly diminish, there is the understanding that sometimes, maybe, silence isn’t the answer. There’s multiple variants on the ‘if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything’ adage that I can roll out ad infinitum. However, there are just days when listening to the same complaints and being fed recycled lame excuses is just… well, enough.

If I am the source of drama people will often bend over backwards to point and accuse. When they are the lazy, selfish and thoughtless ones? Not so much. Making people aware of their own failings is a difficult and dangerous game to play, and I know full well how this has hampered my progress in the Real World in the past. My problem back then was I wouldn’t call people out. I’d just let them pile the shit on me and let it pass, or I’d take advantage of people’s shortcomings and use that to avoid my own pain. That’s the old me, and not this version. If I get hurt because I want to point out what I consider is an issue? I’ll take the hit, if I am confident judgement is sound. This morning, in the cold and dangerous Real World, I did just that. I’m prepared to be hurt to make a point.

It makes me wonder what lies other people tell themselves to avoid the reality of pain.

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One of the most beneficial positives from my journey into exercise and fitness has been the understanding that pain comes in many forms, and often what you think is bad is nothing of the sort. I have a well-documented physical issue with both inner ear and neck that makes rollercoasters anything but enjoyable. Now, I can pretend that doesn’t exist and ride, but the physical discomfort remains considerable. Once upon a time I had a problem with running and breathing, but that’s been overcome because the pain involved from both wasn’t ultimately as significant as my brain had me believe. One of these is a true impediment, the other is in my imagination. Trying to distinguish these two states is, I know, difficult for many. Pain ultimately means fear, and that makes it just simpler to succumb to the latter and not deal with the former.

That’s why I have an immense amount of respect for people who live with long term illness with dispositions and outlooks that ultimately put everybody else to shame. The perceived frailties of human beings is well documented. Your ‘First World Problems’ really are just that when you put them against those who survive through 24/7 pain, and yet do so with an outlook some people may spend their entire lives attempting to even briefly grasp. Also, and this is crucial, your individual tolerance to these things is a really significant barometer on how you will cope long term. I realise I’ve been complaining a lot about being tired, at least some of which can be levelled at a life change I can do absolutely nothing about. This morning I decided to just get up and do the day. Now I’m wishing I’d stayed in bed.

However, I refuse to give up.

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I do therefore what I have always done in these situations to cope: I write. I use words to try and explain why things have happened. I used them to describe what I’ve seen and how I think that needs to change. When someone else sees the darkness in a situation and all I can perceive is light? Sometimes, I think, it is not a bad thing to point out that disparity. I can do this without being rude, or disparaging, because I’ve learnt to do so. What the World needs to remember is that if you start conversations, there is always the chance someone will respond and not give the answer you either wanted or were prepared for. When that happens, you have a choice. You’re either honest, or you’re not. This is probably the biggest fear of all, in the end. What happens when you say something to someone and they don’t agree with you? How do you cope with the possibility of being wrong?

The reality of course is that, unless you’re dealing with maths questions, universal constants or gamers, there are no right answers. There are only ways of dealing with issues that ultimately involve a lot of effort, hard work and often commitment. Yup, you gotta want this stuff to get better and not just turn up and hope someone else does the work. Committing yourself to a relationship means taking the rough and the smooth, and finding ways to make everything work well. That doesn’t just mean the other people either. You’re part of the equation, like it or not. If you came here to get an easy ride and just hope everyone has sympathy for you? Not gonna work like that. Sometimes it is hard, and you gotta put in the hours.

Every day really should be a school day.

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Reality checks are useful, and if you ever believe you don’t need someone else to read your fortune? You’re wrong. If you continually baulk at objective, critical appraisal, the chances are that it’s not the rest of the World with the problem. There are consequences to every action, and conveniently forgetting this does nobody any good. Today, in my case, this is the moment to concede that even I can’t do everything, all the time, and not suffer the consequences. It hasn’t helped that this week has been the most hormonally difficult for some time. However, once I grasped that sometimes there is nothing you can do but ride out the problem? It all got easier.

What I’m not doing well is factoring rest into the equation, plus considering what I drink.

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I could have walked on Thursday had I not thrown myself into the task with such enthusiasm on Tuesday: as my PT likes to point out, every trip doesn’t have to be a Personal Best. I struggled on Friday to maintain the pace for a 7.30 kilometre, and it had nothing to do with physical issues and everything around the energy to do so. Recovery time is being dictated a lot by how my hormones effect sleep. I need to watch how this dictates my actions throughout the week and amend my exercise accordingly. Most importantly, however, and it will hurt when I type this, I gotta cut my excessive tea drinking. I don’t do cups, I’m a bucket or nothing kind of girl and when you shove milk and honey into this, it is beginning to be detrimental. As a result, I’m going to count every cup as 200 calories from now on, and there is going to be a limit. That means I’ll want to get some green tea into my diet that doesn’t compromise on taste and allows me a notion of freedom.

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This week however there is an enforced change to my routine, because tomorrow evening I’m giving blood for the first time. I signed up after the weekend of the Miami Club massacre but it has been this long to get me an appointment. The venue is the Church I walk past every time I go to the Gym, so it’s as local as I can probably get. I hope this will be a regular event too, and I can start giving back and making a difference. My PT as a result’s been shifted to Wednesday, whilst on Friday I’m having a check up at the Doctor’s Asthma clinic. This will show how much better (I hope) my lung capacity has become since I started exercising.

This week, therefore, will be making sure I actually use My Fitness Pal to accurately log my calorie intake, and take an enforced break from excessive beverage consumption. After that, I’m hoping my hormones will play nicely and I can improve on the last seven days’ fairly woeful exercise totals.

Your Game

I like to spend time on treadmills and walking, imagining ideas for novels not yet written. One of them this week involved a celebrity couple becoming an item, and wanting to not tell the Press. It wouldn’t be because they were doing anything wrong or bad, simply that they wanted to have a relationship away from the glare of publicity. How long, I wondered, could you go in the modern world without anyone becoming aware you were together?

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So, the guy and the girl decide they want privacy. They don’t move in with each other and continue living separate lives. Friends aren’t let in on the secret, and most importantly their agents are none the wiser. Neither go out in public together and if they do, leaving and arriving at places alone becomes de rigeur. After six months of this the couple decide they want to go on holiday: not to a hotel, but a privately booked apartment. The vendor only deals with the guy, and several hours after he arrives his partner (who was in the country, somewhere else) arrives and they spend the next two weeks in bed. Then, the night before the apartment’s due to be re-let? The girl quietly leaves. So, it goes on, and after three years of this someone sees them together and finally joins the dots. The press then decide they’re an item, and then the couple laugh and admit they got married six months previously.

The press, perhaps understandably, go ballistic. It is up to celebrities to play the game. You ‘tip off’ the press, they help promote stuff. They sell this life, and in turn stories shift many, MANY units and create thousands of shares and retweets. That’s how this branch of ‘journalism’ works. Except, it only ever matters if anybody cares to begin with, and that begins with a long and tortuous process of hawking yourself to the highest bidder, prostituting everything you ever do and becoming a soulless, empty husk. After years and years of this it becomes habit, a drug, fix you cannot ignore and that fills every waking thought.

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Please don’t feel sorry for people when they have lived their lives in front of a camera. If you’re prepared to sell your wedding pictures to a magazine? Frankly, everything is fair game. If you go out of your way to avoid being in the public eye and people drag you into it? Then, I think, you probably earn more respect, but that’s no excuse for stupidity. If you stick your dick in someone else’s wife and expect an easy ride? It should be no different than the woman who cuckolded their husband. Sometimes, actions have consequences. The fact remains, millions of people feed on other people’s broken and battered personal lives. It’s been this way for HUNDREDS OF YEARS. The only difference now is that more people get to know faster. Salacious gossip was around for Jane Austin, and well before.

If you don’t want to be ‘news’, don’t make it.

If you don’t want people commenting on your personal life, stop fucking publishing it in public.

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Occasionally when you write, the process of immersing yourself in a  Virtual World causes some issues with both continuity and believability. In this case, the latest part of my Bondfic made my husband do such a WTF on reading it that he left me an essay on the printed pages I provided. Normally, I’m ready with a suitable response or justification for his ‘objections’ to my direction but in this case? He’s spot on. This is such a leap considering the circumstances that I will need to go and add more to the narrative. Normally it’s about losing stuff, or making flabby dialogue less tortuous, but in this case I desperately require more background.

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Therefore I now need to come up with probably 1000 more words, possibly more, and rather than completely re-writing the whole thing, try and knit two pieces of work together. I have an idea how to do this already, and am gonna sleep on it tonight before coming down tomorrow morning to write it. I could do it now but I’ve learnt the value of letting stuff percolate first, and what I’m trying to do now is locate a suitable piece of music to link my ideas to. Needless to say, I need spoons. That’s not a metaphor for anything, I totally need to write in spoons.

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Oh yeah, and then there’s the small matter of a complete self-contained action sequence.

If I’m going to do this properly?

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You FUCKING NAIL IT. Wearing a waistcoat. AND THEN SOME.