Gonna be a tough week, for lots of reasons, none of which have anything to do with football. However, I had an amazing weekend of recycling old work into new collections for different places and, let it be said, that this really is the best it’s been for some time. I could do with more than six hours sleep, and my vocabulary is creaking a bit, but there is still lots to do under the circumstances.
Validation is a funny thing. It rarely happens when you want it, and even less so when you’re stuck in a hole requiring the energy to climb out. It’s also absolutely NOT the stuff you think it is. Not everybody wants to be loved and adored, you know. Many just want to be told that what happened to them was wrong, and that there’s a better way to live. When that happens, whole lives just become better, and you become determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Some you won’t ever avoid though, and only now, at this moment, do I really understand why.
When you assume the world is like you, nothing will ever function correctly, because of the disparity between your own perception and everybody else’s. Ironically, it’s taken a TV show to bring this home to me. It’s amazing how validating it is to have something presented to you on screen that becomes the perfect metaphor for that thing which ails you. In my case, that means I’m Tom Hiddleston, and this becomes a blog post about Loki.
Forget everything else about the show, and just take the protagonist’s dilemma alone: this Loki left his timeline when he shouldn’t. At the second that happened, a divergent branch of time was created, and the TVA turned up to make sure it didn’t and that Loki’s glorious purpose was fulfilled. He was born to die in the Sacred Timeline, and that’s it. Like all the other Loki who strayed off the path, all that mattered was his removal.
However, all those splinters of the same personality, all still Loki, continued to live past their removal. One never had the chance to live at all (in the case of Sylvie) whist presumably all the others got shunted out to the Void to be erased for good. What this gives us as viewers is a brilliant means by which we show Hiddleston’s version grow and understand that when he’s not selfish and thinking about himself, he opens himself up to becoming not only likeable, but noble. When his view of the world is so fundamentally altered for good, change becomes essential to survive.
Loki learns from the versions of himself: he brings peace to Sylvie in the moments before both think they will die, and their ‘relationship’ has a power that literally manifests as the most powerful Nexus event anyone in the TVA has ever seen. It’s not for nothing, I think that Richard E Grant’s Loki backstory involves him spending a long time in solitude either, that when he sees what Möbius intends to do now he’s learnt he’s been brainwashed as a Variant, it is enough to transform a bitter old Asgardian into a hero.
In its most didactic form, this show is telling us that bad people have good in them: Prime Loki says it himself to Möbius, before they head off to Pompeii to prove the theory of Sylvie hiding in apocalypses. He knows the difference between good and bad, he’s not a scared child… and as an adult, his reaction to the Loki bowling alley fight is priceless. All your personality splinters, vying for control, and all of them utter idiots. It’s no wonder there’s a fan theory circulating that this could be happening inside Loki’s brain the whole time.
Prime Loki knows what he is by Episode 5, what that actually means, and how he uses his powers for good and evil if he chooses. The whole TVA experience is the equivalent of an instruction manual on how to live life well in the Marvel Universe. It’s the moral code, laid down well and reinforced correctly. Nobody is irredeemable, but you have to want it, there needs to be work: when Prime Loki potentially gives his life, so Sylvie can have a shot at enchanting Alioth, it’s the validation of his journey. That’s the payoff. Here’s a new Loki, who’s accepted he can never return what he was.
That’s a very powerful storytelling element, and it’s an extremely clever means by which to build your Multiverse. All things are possible, past and present, old and new. It puts the ‘Original’ MCU down as a foundation that will work forever at holding up and increasingly diverse and colourful structure above it: as audience tastes change, so can it. In the end, this will annoy those who cannot think past the linear, that want their stories to matter more than anybody else’s, and if that’s not a metaphor for modern living, I don’t know what is.
You’re wondering what all this has to do with me, aren’t you? There’s a moment in Episode 5, as Prime Loki and Sylvie face up to Alioth: as they stand side by side, Loki moves. He places himself behind the variant who’s strongest, because that’s what you do. There’s a point where validation isn’t just about what you think it is, but it becomes something else. The validation you receive from other people is rarely recognized at the time, because you’re normally too busy fighting fires or just coping to grasp any actual significance.
Once in a while, something happens that justifies what you are: it’s that moment where judgement is proven to be sound. You make the right call, and here’s the proof: you didn’t enchant a monster or save the Universe. You just did you, to the best of your ability. This is the way, without feeling awkward or unhappy, and it is apparent, just for a moment, that there is a glorious purpose to be fulfilled. It is when humanity is recognized, then embraced.
Change begins with you, people. Never forget this.
Truth, let’s be honest, is often very hard to come by in the modern world. If I believe the Government over half the things they tell me, I’d be doubting myself on an almost daily basis. Being told that we have to live with Covid is, however, probably a realistic take on the next ten years of life, until at least the point when there’s a new SuperBug to contend with… by which time, one can only hope, we’ll have got our fucking act together.
Justifiably, however, a lot of people don’t want to hear this, especially those who don’t have a double vaccination. We don’t need people being gaslit either, and yet it is happening with increasing frequency. I’m really not sure how it got to the point where safety was superseded by commercialism either, but it shouldn’t surprise anybody that is where we now exist. In the months that follow, a lot of stuff is going to disintegrate for good. We don’t have a ‘Normal’ to go back to any more. That’s the problem.
There is less time to blog at present, mostly because my free time has become so precious. However, starting today there will be a proper effort to do Mondays and Fridays, if only to be able to remind myself how badly the World is on fire at any given moment. It’s also a great way to distract myself as a bunch of people destroy my home in the name of progress.
It’s a new week! I’ve been out AGAIN! I went actual shopping and everyfink and there’s clothing for the first time in eighteen months. If it is useful for anything, it’s finding bra tops that aren’t actual bras with clasps that a) fit my peculiar body shape and b) are actually comfortable. This bra, I’m wearing now, is both. Welcome to the Future, boobies.
Yes, I KNOW I should have done this yesterday, but other stuff ended up mattering more.
Monday, quite honestly, about a THOUSAND YEARS AGO.
This week has been everything I said it would be. Stuff is done, more stuff is submitted, and I have a proper plan of action for next week already taking form. There’s extra Patreon work at the weekend (two extra videos for the end of the month) but I am planning to get a LOT done tonight and tomorrow. The lie-in is beginning to look particularly attractive tomorrow morning too. Been a long week of RL stress, on top of everything else. The poetry however has been fucking glorious.
In fact, this is the gift that keeps ongiving.
I have a lot to read going forward. I also have a plan about how I do it. Both of these things are connected, and it will be glorious. Then there are plans to play with poetry in other forms. On that front, I need to go look at some stuff on the Internet…
It was a Good Weekend (TM) and, as a result, this is scheduled from yesterday, because today I have to go out for the day, which is the first time this has happened effectively since COVID. There were moments before it all went horrible, but they were BM (Before Masks) and as a result do not properly count. I’ll be with my youngest and their friend, though, so it won’t be as stressful as might be the case alone.
There will be pictures too, and that’s not happened for a while.
The rhetoric is not stopping out here, it is probably getting worse as time goes on. That’s the way people think they can be when there’s no effective means for anyone to stop them, except there are changes. High profile libel cases, stupid people thinking they can get away with just deleting the Tweet and that’s enough. It won’t be. It’s also reassuring to see the Conservatives rattled, and the Green Party becoming a likely third force in British politics. Let’s just hope it’s not too late for the planet, eh?
Keeping busy stops me from stressing about lots of things.
I have worked my arse off this week, but still got rejected yesterday, because I’m not good enough for the people currently being applied to. How do I get better? I have to do more work, and that’s all there is to it. This is not a big deal, except when I’m tired or there’s other real life issues wearing me down. Right now, a lie in tomorrow is the most exciting thing that can possibly happen, followed closely by the takeaway I just ordered.
I ran out of space in my Stress Bucket on Wednesday morning. Hang on, what’s a Stress Bucket?
I picked this off t’Interwebs because it’s the best example of what details will play on your bucket’s capacity. It also asks you to identify the areas where stress inhabits or comes from and how that will then ‘fill’ the container, the size of which can also change based on your vulnerability. The plan, always, is never to allow stress to overfull the bucket. If you get to that point, it’s time to step back, and I let the blog go for two scheduled days I had planned because, in the end, writing about being stressed has been identified as an unhelpful response.
A good night’s sleep and some quality de-stressing last night has pulled be back down to where coping skills are managing the stress successfully. This afternoon therefore I’m going to not worry about anything else except doing my best to completely empty the bucket, so when we start again on Monday, I possess the most space possible. That will mean lifting some weights this afternoon, and doing some cycling this evening. After all that? I just have to hope the Universe maybe cuts me a break next week.
I should have done this yesterday, but there is a LOT on right now and honestly, this is easier. I thought about time-shifting it back too, but today it’s better to reflect back on yesterday than pretend that this WAS yesterday :D I’ve made some fairly significant weightlifting progress, and the difference between old me and NEW ME (intentional caps) is quite significant. It isn’t just the weight, but it’s how my body reacts to fatigue that is interesting.
I achieved this new weight thanks to a pyramid set yesterday, and at the end fatigued in the way I’m used to when warming up: my lungs literally need time to get comfortable first thing into any exercise. Once I have my heart rate up and running, a lot of stuff becomes quite easy (as demonstrated by the run last week) but it’s that effort to get there which is tough. In the final 12 reps, body told me to stop at six, and there was literal gasping for air.
Once upon a time, after that level of work, I’d stagger home: yesterday the tiredness was apparent in my limbs, but I could still function. Of course, this could be as a result of the second COVID jab too, but honestly I think this is me, getting fitter, and having simultaneously to learn how to deal with the changes that brings… because there is change, and I do need to find the means to accommodate it in a way that is easily digestible to my brain.
Anyway, today is HIIT, as has now become the trend twice a week, and I could not be happier.