Fresh

Can’t believe it’s only Tuesday. Yesterday went on for MONTHS and, to be honest, it is still going on, and I feel horrible. I’ve let other people down, and I absolutely fucking HATE it when that happens. I end up massively overcompensating and then in turn end up remembering that this is another inherited behaviour I really need to stop falling back on. TELL PEOPLE HOW YOU FEEL AT THE TIME DAMMIT.

Anyway, it is only Tuesday. I probably need another cuppa.

In anticipation of the much-hyped and finally here launch of YouTube on Thursday, I have revamped a few things. This typeface and me clicked quite early on in my relationship with Canva, and the background’s evolved a bit from its original use. As I really have been here since 1992, maybe it is time to make that a selling point. Let’s face it, most people don’t think anything happened before 1990 anyway.

There’s also a bit more honesty in my posting over the last few days. I know why. This is really me talking, not the version of myself I often use when there is no desire to really interact with other people, but I feel obliged to. That obligation has shifted to other places, and to be honest that’s probably the best place for them. There is no need for such bollocks here.

Being authentic was never more important as it is now.

Nobody else cares about this as much as I do for a reason. It’s not their job to. If I want these things to be successful, and I desire traction moving forward, it’s simple: I have to do the work, it’s entirely up to me.

So, let’s work.

Fame

That’s my poem IN THE SUNDAY FUCKING TELEGRAPH, that is. I’d assumed, when they did the interview, that all that mattered was the serious stuff. I’d fully expected anything contentious to be edited out (as it appears was the case with the other poet they spoke to) and to have my mental health shout out left in was, it has to be said, quite satisfying.

For a poem I don’t really like that much, this is already FAR more traction than could have been reasonably expected. This morning, something else I’m not that particularly enamoured with either has unexpectedly picked up a consent form request. At some point however it might be useful to get some payment somewhere, because this stuff doesn’t feed anybody.

The attention however is, it must be said, worth the effort.

It’s odd, how certain things move on their own. My concern about diversifying too much is still niggling, but as I’ve already got video ready to roll with imagery for a poem this week after trying to do this since March, it is apparent that that wasn’t the real issue. Once the work’s attacked, it gets done. The real issue is planning effectively to get to that stage.

Looking back on previous disasters, planning was always the weak link. It would support me when creativity flagged, and would propel me forward when things got emotionally fraught. Now it’s shit hot, and happens before ANYTHING else takes place, the difference to just about everything is not only noticeable but reassuring. Why did it take me so long?

Well that’s a stupid question, you didn’t believe you could do it.

Belief is undoubtedly the key. Knowing there is nothing to prove at this stage also helps enormously… what, I’m gonna fail at this by the time I’m 30? I should be sitting at home drinking wine and watching daytime TV at my age: no woman 50 is any kop for anything, unless you’re a Hollywood actress with a skincare contract and an expensive wardrobe. Fuck all your preconceptions, and screw anyone who thinks they get to tell me I’m wasting my time.

Trust me, I did pull a shirt over my head and run around the room when that poem got chosen for publication, and every time I succeed it will be celebrated with a similar level of joyous enthusiasm because honestly, truthfully, I never expected to get here at all. It was all just possibility. Now I am here, you’ll have to extract my existence from cold, dead hands before I’ll be prepared to give it up.

Welcome to the New Routine.

Let Me Entertain You

Everything got shifted to one side yesterday, in order for me to finish something, which I summarily did. I have learned an awful lot about editing and video producing in the last month, and all of these things will now be put to good use elsewhere going forward. I’ll also be appearing in a Sunday paper tomorrow: not sure in what form as yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.

That’s it. I’ll be back on Monday.

Breathe

Last night, I switched my brain off for two hours and watched Enola Holmes. For a very long time, Sherlock has been the annoying fuckwit in the Holmes family, it was always Mycroft who seemed more relatable. Of course, that’s changed over various adaptations and this time around having the elder brother who shouted at his teenage sister was, amazingly, exactly what the plot required.

Stories are great ways of teaching. Although that movie was clearly not didactic, it unintentionally becomes a metaphor for modern feminism that it is abundantly apparent most of the male reviewers totally failed to grasp, even when very obviously telegraphed by certain characters. It is perfect evidence, if it were needed, that two people can see the exact same thing and devolve totally different experiences.

It is partly why the World is undoubtedly in the fucking mess it is now.

There are a lot of people who think they know how stuff works. There are those who are so confident in their wrongness that they don’t care what they say or do. There are far too many people who’s first assumption when stuff goes wrong is to blame someone else, and not to look to themselves. Most importantly, sometimes it really is the tech that fucks up.

Having said all of that however, none of that is relevant to how you feel right now. That’s how this works, up close and personal. If you cannot function, and do what you’re doing correctly, that’s the quality of life issue that requires intervention. It’s how certain doctors judge whether you require treatment. It’s what a private psychologist said to me after they pronounced if I wanted to pursue an autism diagnosis, I was looking in the wrong place.

The only way to find the answers you need is to start listening.

I can see the people who are learning right now, and can also point out those for whom this will always be about them, before anything else.

I know who I associate with more.

Believe

Today is already quite important.

Loneliness is a big deal for me right now, which may seem incredible under current circumstances. After all, Lockdown is making people variously crave or be genuinely afraid of human contact. For me, however, the mental processes are different, and two incidents over the last 24 hours have finally allowed me to quantify why, right now, it really does feel like all I’m doing is yelling into a void.

It takes me a PHENOMENALLY long time to properly make friends with people. Sure, I can slip into conversations all day and night, hide in plain sight and never, ever feel as if those moments are anything other than totally natural. I’ve also become excellent at reading and taking stuff from other people in without ever needing to interact with them. That comes from decades as text as, in many cases my only contact with other people.

The problem, ultimately, is finding other people like me.

I attended a Time to Change Virtual Networking event yesterday, which was incredibly life affirming and made me realise, yet again, that I’m not alone when it comes to struggling with mental health issues. However, I’m not going to lie, there were moments where I felt unbelievably anxious and very alone indeed and, it’s apparent from distance, that’s because there is no individual interaction in a group of 80 people.

When I ended up in a Breakout room, or in a smaller group for feedback, the whole thing changed. When I’m talking to my local Hub or on a one-to-one with a fellow champion, none of the anxiety or disconnection exists. It is the need to talk to someone but, crucially, for them to share some kind of common bond. It isn’t just the conversation that matters. It is the possibility that someone might care enough to become a friend.

The significance of that realization is still resonating within me.

I have words that explain why I feel this way, that are accompanied by concepts that were introduced during counselling last year. I know full well why the emotions within me exist, and how in the past they pushed me to do things that were harmful and ended up hurting the people I cared about. So many of my issues drift back to never having the information required to be whole growing up. A lot of that was wrapped around my sexuality.

Understanding that I was attracted to both boys and girls several decades after those feelings first became apparent was part of my process of redemption. It has allowed everything to find its correct and proper level. It won’t deal with the consequences however, or make certain anxieties and phobias vanish. That is my job to address and deal with, and it is happening.

It may be self-indulgent, but honestly it should not be a surprise.

Knowing how my physical state affects mental well-being has been a revelation in recent months. Sleep plays a massive factor in understanding. However, more than anything else right now I crave empathic, intellectual connections. It’s why Patreon is so important as a creative tool, to allow me to explore the parts of my brain that so need to become as strong as my legs or arms.

It is why, on Bi Visibility Day, it matters to remind people that I am. It’s why those who malign social media need constant prompting that it isn’t the delivery system that needs work, but how people choose to use it. All of these things make life worth living. They give me purpose, paths and goals to achieve, and without them the Void is very big and it can become increasingly depressing shouting into it.

The problems are mine to fix. I cannot, however, do it alone.

Shout

It is a truth personally acknowledged that peace is my ultimate aim. I fucking hate fighting with anyone, for reasons which are now clearly and inextricably linked to trauma. It’s why my pulse races in situations where other people are being unpleasant. it’s the reason certain circumstances and situations are now actively avoided. It’s also crucially why criticism used to be the hardest thing in the world to take.

Lots of things have improved in the last two years. Being able to conduct myself with calm, to be able to rationalise those situations and step back objectively from them is a massive step forward. Criticism is now sought, positively encouraged, and has becomes the means by which significant steps forward have been taken in approach. It’s why what gets written and outputted from now on will different from what has come before.

This morning, as the UK begins to move into Second Lockdown, it is really important not to go backwards in terms of momentum. Therefore, everything will be readdressed and reconsidered. Output in various places is already being streamlined. There are other issues to consider this time around too, and all of them are as important as my professional goals, if not more so. Looking after myself is a real priority.

I’m dreadful at self-care at the best of times, and this can’t continue. If it means stepping away from social media for an early night, or rearranging the order things are attacked in the day, there has to be a change from what is undoubtedly ‘normal’ behaviour. The result, it must be said, is already significant. That’s not going to be lost in panic again.

This time, we keep moving forward, and with optimism.

Think

This week is full-on already, and it’s only 1.50 pm. However, the distinct advantage of being like this does mean that I have hardly had the chance to eat anything since getting back from the gym. That’s never a bad thing.

Neither is that.

Gonna spend the next three weeks bigging up a book I have just one poem in, editing some video, making some video, writing more poems, getting a quote for my OWN INAUGURAL CHAPBOOK, shoving a bunch of other poems into an Amazon collection and getting ready for NaNoWriMo. I’m hoping to also use this novel as summat for promotion.

NEED TO PROMOTE EVERYTHING.

Did I tell you we’re promoting EVERYTHING this week?

5-4-3-2-1

Time is doing That Thing it sometimes does when the Universe knows I have a lot on and it needs to cut me a break. I know, it’s all personal perception at play but still, it makes everything far less stressful. I also didn’t blog personally for the second time this week yesterday, and I won’t tomorrow, because there are MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO.

So, if you’ll excuse me…

Where I Stood

Why didn’t you write a blog yesterday?

This is a very good question. One part of the answer is me, sitting here now, waiting for a phone call. NOBODY EVER calls me so when it happens, you know it’s important, and that really is all I want to say about it, for reasons which will become clear next month. Another part of the reasoning is that yesterday, summat needed to give. I couldn’t do everything.

More and more (as I wrote on the work blog) it is becoming apparent that what used to be needed to keep me sane on a daily basis is no longer required. This, undoubtedly remains a good thing. Therefore, as long as there is work somewhere, what it is becomes largely irrelevant. It’s the logical development that’s been happening for months now.

Prolific is only useful when it suits the game plan.

It makes me laugh when I watch the ‘pro’ bloggers happily state they’re recovering after having written their four blogs for the month. People aspire to live in a world where just doing enough becomes something of an art form, vital insight being used as fuel for lectures, virtual events and seminars before being referenced in countless ‘clever’ Tweet sequences.

The Internet is destroying everything: it’s time to step back and focus on reality. This is undoubtedly a true statement, in a certain light. However, if used as a selling tool you instantly become those very people exploiting the Internet to destroy everything, and that transparency is laughable. It’s why I refuse to play anybody else’s Instagram game any more, and why Facebook remains a slur.

Just enough is the reason why nothing ever really gets done.

Time to start doing more things properly.

Feelings

It is human arrogance which has assumed, up until this point, that for a planet to be inhabitable it would first need to capable of supporting human life. This is, of course, utter bollocks and if it now transpires that life exists here, on Venus… well, that throws quite a lot of stuff into disarray. Again, we are back at the point where thinking in one, very linear way, is just asking for trouble.

It’s odd right now, watching people begin to grasp uncomfortable truths that have perhaps not previously been obvious to them. The most stark one of all is the realization that people have been used as product online for some time, and are only waking up to this as there’s nothing else to distract from reality, and an inescapable truth.

‘Directly support the Creator’ is one of those horribly glib statements that could just as easily mean ‘then Twitch don’t have to charge you for making content’. The publicity blurb for this is worryingly upbeat too: ‘Ads are an important part of Twitch – they help keep Twitch free for creators and viewers, and enable us to continue to craft new and innovative features and supply unique and engaging content for our community.’

Except, of course, that’s not a profitable business model, and this planet is all about those. Yet again, this is one group exploiting another for massive material gain. It should be making far more people uncomfortable than is currently the case, but it still doesn’t. People are happy to let this stuff wash over them. As long as they are not massively inconvenienced, what’s the problem?

Only when stuff becomes personally frustrating or annoying do we react.

This comfort v discomfort dichotomy (go look it up) is a big deal right now. I watch it play out almost daily on my timeline. Sometimes it’s about summat petty, yesterday it was about politics, sexuality, gender and public accountability. For me, I rationalise these things in two ways, with a feelings v reality death match.

It’s very simple: how I personally feel about something is stuck in a mental space alongside the truth of what is happening, and one of two things takes place. My feelings will either a) align with the reality or b) they won’t. If the former is true, everybody is on the same page and I get to have an early second cuppa. If the latter pans out, then I will be face down on the canvas with a boot on my face, and will only have myself to blame.

The truth matters now than it has ever done at any point before.

Smart is a hard task. Distinguishing what is real and what isn’t has become the schism in so much of our lives and accepting you got shit wrong… well, it’s a hard ask for many people. I’m going to have to admit I seriously misjudged some timescales this morning, in a meeting, but I will still meet a deadline. It’s okay, I’ve got myself covered.

Feelings v reality ought to be a far bigger deal than is currently the case.