Breathe

Last night was an 80%, but also a challenge in other ways. The young lady that had an asthma attack next to me was conscious when the paramedics arrived. All I hope is today is better for her than yesterday was. After that, I really don’t want to talk about what happened, until it is properly processed. At some point, learning first aid is going to be worthwhile, just because.

If you can help, make sure you do.

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There wasn’t much sleep last night either, so brain and body are considerably slower than is optimal. However, there’s been some good work done before lunchtime. As long as there’s a decent night tonight, and that should not be hard, it’s back on target tomorrow. Also, as I’ve had physio this morning, there was an opportunity to jump on the biometric scale. This makes me happy.

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If I could get that to sub 80 kilos before Christmas… well, that would be fantastic, because it is less weight to lift when pull ups finally happen.

That’s it, nothing else, off to find more caffeine.

Baba O’Riley

I did not want to get out of bed this morning. Yesterday was a tough one for eating discipline, plus exercise. For the first time I can remember, there was a scrabble to find a snack before my scheduled class: I was light-headed. It would have been a struggle to do 55 minutes without it. As it transpired, by the end of the class, there was not a part of me that did not hurt.

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The killer, undoubtedly, was being pushed out of comfort zones: having to pick different weights for the strength portions of the workout, being asked to run on a 10% incline (I didn’t, walking was enough to kill both hips) and to spend approximately half the time lying on my back, exercising chest and core… there’s enough of an understanding now about these graphs to grasp that 75% effort from that is a massive bonus.

This however is not an exercise post. Today is about happiness, and how it feels to be out in the fields, watching the rest of the world around you throwing their toys out of ridiculously decorated prams, arguing about petty insignificances in their lives that somehow end up being so much more important than they need to be. There’s a lot of that going on in my corner of existence too. People forget what really matters.

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I thought it would get harder as age advanced to separate what’s worthwhile and isn’t… except, it is getting easier. It’s really easy to be stupid, to act on your own desires ahead of common sense and considered reason. That’s what has caused so much trouble for me over the years, allowing obsessions to overtake reality. That’s what’s happening around me now, on Social media… people who should know better, losing their grip on reality.

Having dragged myself out of bed, to do the day despite feeling like body was broadsided by a truck, all of this boils down to choice. Nobody is making me eat this cleanly except… well, me, and it would have been easy to not attend last night’s exercise class. 18 people were booked, only 12 showed. All these decisions are based on the realisation that even on shitty days when everything hurts, this path is worth walking regardless.

Back it comes to principles and ethics, every time, that innate sense that whatever happens, more than at any point before humanity requires a moral compass that is unshakeable. It’s why attacks on free speech matter just as much as those using fake news to try and sway the unsuspecting. This isn’t just innocence or ignorance that needs to be addressed either: smart people are being stupid. We should not facilitate this.

That means, on any given day, making sure I don’t retweet the people being stupid but simply comment on them. It demands I look for voices of reason and objectivity, because from them comes the means by which we can be set free of our own restrictive and often damaging thinking. To reinvent ourselves in the modern world is an absolute requirement: it needs to take place, often on a daily basis.

True happiness does not manifest without considerable personal effort.

Stardust

I earmarked this post to be a post-meeting discussion on how the small mental health crusade is going in reference to my Gym, but amazingly, despite being told the person I needed would be available today, they’re not. Plan B it is then, e-mail in their inbox on his return. However, this does now mean I have no subject for today’s post…

That’s not true at all.

I’m gonna talk about short stories on the writing blog today, and what’s been learnt since Mslexicon in July. It has taken this long to get everything else back on track, so that I could return and effectively finish off August’s attempt. It was such a good story too, that the closure needed to happen. By doing so, another door has opened, and I’m back in the groove. Next month’s story, as a result, is almost completely planned.

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Undoubtedly the progress I’ve made with NaNo this year is creating a more fertile environment for ideas to grow. What hasn’t happened in previous years is the means by which to capitalise on those positives, but that’s all going to change. Next year is going to be HUGE. Redefining myself becomes easier with each new revelation or progression. I have absolutely got this.

I hope I can really surprise people with what there is in store.

What We Leave Behind

It’s the first properly cold day of the season, and I am reminded of a moment that had, for many years, been previously lost in a haze of a past that was often uncertain. There’s been a lot of that of late, recollections of things that had been forgotten, buried under what can now be identified as historical trauma. Sometimes it’s TV shows or snatches of a song that was lost under stress. Very rarely is it stuff about being a kid.

Maybe that’s why I end up playing out so much of my adult life with wonder.

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Tomorrow I’m going to go try and have a chat with the management of my health club about the mental health consequences of their policies, amongst other things. The club, as a rule, is only really interested in what it’s done well, or what it needs to fix on a cosmetic level. Actual discussions over ethics and consequence don’t really seem to be registered or indeed acted upon. I do not hold out much hope.

However, as has been previously stated, I have to try. I was not given a choice, mental health issues are what they are. There is a choice therefore: accept your shortcomings, work on your strengths, and for all the time in between find a way to use rational debate and common sense to explain yourself. Tomorrow, we’ll see if that path will provide salvation or not.

It is only recently that having control of my existence has become really important. I am a realist, when all is said and done: sometimes, stuff is just best left alone. However, as is becoming apparent as more of the past emerges to challenge me over my actions and motives, not everything benefits from remaining where it is. A lot of that stuff should be thrown away, or removed with a sense of purpose.

As the world alters, inevitably you do with it. It’s apparent those people for whom this is not an option, or who believe that there is nothing to be gained from even trying. They are, inevitably, perfect as they are. I’m really, REALLY glad that will never be an issue I’ll need to struggle with. As a perennial work in progress, may there never be a day when it’s okay to let arrogance supercede a sense of proportion.

There is just so much that needs work and improvement.

Paradise by the Dashboard Light

I’ve not seen War of the Worlds yet, or His Dark Materials. Reviews for the former are between Fuck Yeah and What Did You Do? so I look forward to watching that on my return from PT this morning. The latter was really enjoyable last week, but it does help if you’ve read the book to fill in the gaps, of which there have been several. However, I am not here today to do TV reviews, that’s someone else’s job.

What is this week about?

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In an amazing bout of organisational acumen yesterday, December is planned. Christmas gifts are planned, what I’m writing and editing and honestly… all of this productivity comes on the back of the realisation I’m no longer the woman who randomly cries in cars for no discernable reason. Yes, occasionally music and circumstance combine allowing the waterworks to start but really, truthfully, we’ve moved past grief.

Yes, I KNOW it never goes away, but right now the consequences of it are better managed than they have been since… well, probably forever. With that out of the way, it is time to shift everything forward. As THAT happens… probably gonna change some stuff around here in relation to layouts and stuff. What with a new decade on the way and everyfink… might be nice to shift shit around.

Oh that reminds me, time to order more emergency rations.

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That’s done. BRING ON THE PROGRESS.

[EDIT: I have seen some TV :D]

Silence is Golden

Social media has always been a popularity contest. Zuckertwat created Facebook to rate girls, remember? When that fact is grasped… well, everything becomes a bit of a wankfest. The dopamine hit of self gratification when you ‘go viral’ is undoubtedly better than anything a cheap bar of chocolate could recreate… which is why exercise is, I now grasp, so much better as a gateway to kicking the habit for good.

As that’s happening with greater frequency (and satisfaction) this week was always going to be about stripping back on crap. It’s all Reddit’s fault, if truth be told: after I deleted my account there was a sense of… well, actual liberation. The platform was rarely used. It’s users are… a colourful bunch, but the fact remains that popularity comes from a particular brand of interaction, that I’m simply not prepared to do.

Once that was gone, there was empowerment to go further.

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In the last week an awful lot has been learnt about how my WordPress blog actually works, which is long overdue. I’d say about 95% of interactions via likes are non-human, and so to remove them and the avatars people use with which to do so was really a no-brainer. The only notifications that will register are when replies are written to posts, the only way to post is when you’re authorised by me.

There are those who undoubtedly would argue ‘this is not free speech’ and they would be correct, but until WordPress allow me better means to curate who can see my work without taking a blog private? This will have to do. However, the silence of the last few days has been utterly glorious. Not gonna lie, this is something I should have done YEARS ago because it removes so much pointless detritus from existence.

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Respect’s a tough thing to earn in the modern world. If my work’s good enough to make someone want to respond, undoubtedly they will, and that means past a click. Likes are no longer worth purpose when they have such a negative psychological effect on people, especially those who are easily influenced. However, the biggest bonus for me in all of this is undoubtedly the opportunity to dictate personal terms in public spaces.

As the future becomes control taken out of individual hands, the ability to pick and choose who and where my information is disseminated is vital. It isn’t just AI that causes concern either: real life nutters and stalkers are a constant, insidious threat, and with little or nothing the average person can do to protect themselves, it is massively  important to know how you can minimise such issues.

Knowledge really can and will set you free.

Bad

Don’t want to talk about exercise or weight today, as it happens. I want to talk about people who do things that to them seem perfectly normal and acceptable. Except, inevitably, they’re not thinking about anybody else but themselves.

Inevitably, in the modern world, victims struggle to be recognised if there’s enough money and/or power behind those accused of abuse. It’s the constant reminder of fact: it does not matter how advanced or enlightened the modern world claims to be, if someone decides to hide abuse, then they will and they do. Effectively, we are still in the Dark Ages.

That fact does not really seem to change however far down the ‘chain’ of abusers one goes. Ignorance is what keeps most abusers in the dark: not other people of their actions, but them of their own. ‘I had no idea I was hurting you, I’m so sorry’  can read as either manipulation or salvation, and at that point in any relationship, it depends on how much trust has been destroyed. Anyone can be an abuser. ANYONE.

If you’ve been abused, it is incredibly easy to see the signs from distance.

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It also makes you struggle to trust people and establish worthwhile relationships, a fact which can then cloud your judgement… except it doesn’t. Believing the person who has been abused should always be the default, and so often it isn’t. I’ve done this myself in the past, and there’s been cause this last week to consider those situations in a different light. Again, abuse has become personal. Does this abuser even realise their crime?

I doubt they grasp that what they’re doing even is abusive… because, you see, this isn’t just about physical domination. Most abuse is mental, psychological attacks, long-term trauma that one can deal but that just keeps coming back, again and again. When massive, household names appear on TV or use social media to highlight abuse, it’s often with no reference to them at all. Except increasingly of late, those rules are changing. Abuse is everyone’s problem now.

All abusers care about is their own welfare, their own happiness, their own professional positions. Telling them to stop, blocking the means by which they can communicate, refusing to engage are all well and good but that does not stop the person from continuing to abuse others. In the two most high-profile abuse cases you’ll find in the press this week, greed seems to be a strong motivating factor.

More significantly, it’s making people choose sides, when that should never be the issue to begin with. Without full grasp of all the facts, everything becomes speculation, hearsay. In such situations, one inevitably returns to personal experience and your own moral code. Inevitably, the same conclusion is always reached, because it is the most sensible. Believe the victim, because inevitably they have the most to lose.

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Except, in at least one very VERY high profile case involving young men and an older man, many people won’t. It would destroy their perceived vision of a legend, and it is easier to let that vision of wholesomeness remain intact, untainted. In the era of what will be called ‘Fake News and the Preservation of Self’, several decades from now, history will remember those who’d rather believe lies than have to accept personal growth.

We’ll stop believing victims because the people they’re attacking have too much to lose. When the world teaches us that the pinnacle of achievement is to be rich and famous, attacking those who have this is unfair. We cannot accuse these people because they have so far to fall if found guilty. It is not right to ask these people to give their money to those who have less, because it is theirs to begin with…

If you people could hear yourselves. Abuse comes in many forms.

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I’ve wanted to write this post for months. The stars aligned this week, and finally the right words arrived to allow it to happen. Your life is nobody else’s to dictate but your own, and the choices you make should NEVER end up stopping progression. This week, not only did I find my voice, but grasped that some people, whatever they have to overcome, will put stones in their own roads to stop that from happening.

I choose who friendship is given to: it is my decision, and mine alone. Perception of me is wrong if there’s not understanding that by refusing to communicate I’ve stopped being a friend. I cannot help how anyone chooses to see me, but I can guarantee it’s not the real me. That only happens with prolonged, personal interaction. Reading my blogs for years does not make anybody my friend. It just means they need a better hobby.

Manipulating others to get your own way is never the answer.