The Departure

Modern life right now is pretty hard work. It is easy to see why so many people really can’t be bothered, would rather be out shopping, pooping on a beach or getting off their faces with their mates. It’s easier than dealing with the consequences of what is going to destroy us all in the end: ourselves. After months of being forced to confront our demons, everybody just wants to run away.

It’s not just race either, a lot of subjects that weren’t really up for discussion before Lockdown are now on the table. Attitudes are shifting faster than most extremists can keep up with. Being tech-savvy has never been more important: could YOU tell a real tweet from a fake…? Oh, and truth. Yeah, the reality of modern life is coming at some people extremely fast indeed.

Knowing you are part of the problem, that you have contributed to it before, but will never do so again is an extremely significant step forward in my life. I don’t recall at any point ever being this comfortable with a process, either: I have to change. This isn’t up for discussion or negotiation either. The ONLY way the world alters is when I am there, making sure it does.

I know where to go to do this too, that was previously not immediately clear to me. The paths which before were unmarked and overgrown are amazingly beginning to beckon me, in directions that would not previously have been considered. Next week will be a watershed. I have an important email to write tomorrow, with my big business trousers on.

You are the arbiter of the journey. Nobody else. Just you.

Intellectual superiority is an insidious, disturbing thing. It extends into so much of my life that to point out when people are being self-absorbed, arrogant wankers has, in the last couple of weeks, pretty much become a full-time job. Exposing smart people who think they are somehow above all of this, or better, is beginning to reap some tangible alteration on a wider stage.

It also shows, as bunches of right wing activists take their narrow-mindedness off to Parler that many won’t ever listen. That’s fine, because if they carry on sacrificing themselves to the Twitter Gods, it proves they really don’t understand the wider changes at play. The future is not your white bread, class-based ecosystem. A Revolution really is on its way.

The Planet itself has decided we don’t get to dictate terms any more.

The Sea

I know the answer to the first bit: they know better than us. These people are more knowledgeable than victims or experts. They use their extensive experience of life and trauma to pronounce a more sensible, practical way of solving the problem. I’ve spent a lifetime of being told how to better cope with my anxiety, by people whose idea of support is a clap on the back followed by ‘cheer up, it might never happen.’

I took a day off yesterday, but it didn’t go away. There are other stories, disturbed in the silt, that are asking me if I want to deal with them or not. Do we continue to pretend they didn’t happen or is it time to finally clear the mental tank, once and for all? One series of events (documented on this blog) is so good it ought to become a short story and I think that’s not a bad way to put the past to rest.

However, that’s nowhere near the whole story.

I’ve let too much stuff slide again at home, and this is not acceptable. I have a duty of care to other people that is not being fulfilled, and in the next couple of weeks I need to get the domestic side of stuff back to a stage where it is not the subject of friction. I’m entirely to blame for this, nobody else. My own trauma has consumed everything else.

That means more time away from a screen, and some hard work to clear the surrounding space to a state where I look professional instead of just pretending to be. I can’t expect to be respected if that isn’t sorted in other places. This isn’t just about being one thing without accepting there are consequences elsewhere and finally, as an adult, I understand what that really means, probably for the first time.

The only way any of us gets out alive from this thing is by being better.

Believe

I knew who this was. I’d upset him somewhere else and so this was his revenge. I have an email from him as well, desperately trying to get me to be ‘friends’ again, telling me he’d been undergoing mental health counselling and that was why he’d been so awful. If you truly think this shit will work, you came to the wrong woman.

This person’s still on Warcraft twitter, like that guy who I also have an email from, and that girl who decided to be an enabler… because people are fucking stupid, and all that matters is them. I am, AND NEVER WILL BE people, and that’s why people get upset when I shut them down and won’t be their friend online.

The fact that I won’t be your friend is a good thing.

I’m not asking you to be a professional, there are not rules to be followed but honestly, being an adult is a good start. Also, if you won’t respect my boundaries when they are laid down, that’s a red flag and a half. There are many, superb reasons why people don’t get in my DM’s any more: yes, I will bite your hand off. I’m not here to fulfil your fantasies or empower your progress up the ladder.

I’m here to work. Twitter is where I get my ideas. I use what other people say and over time it distils into everything that’s written or produced. So, you don’t shit where you work, that’s the rule here. I’m in a happy, loving relationship and will never need anything as extras. All you people letting your sexual emotions rule the Tweet button? NOPE.

However, I should warn you. I am quite angry right now.

Last night I recalled a conversation between the person who cured me of my belief that if you spoke to people on Twitter, they must be your friends. This person who had edited my work for a couple of years, suddenly filling my DM’s with the assertion that I was stepping on them to be more famous. All this was instigated by a pretty famous streamer, as I recall, someone whose shitty behaviour got him a decent gig in the end.

Most of my dirt was never screenshotted, which I regret. If your faves are being this mean and cruel to me, there will be others. There always are. Even if you play it as part of the ‘brand’, the truth is that if you’re unable to respect someone else’s attitude or approach to the thing you do, and you consider that as being either wrong or bad because yours is the right way? PART OF THE PROBLEM.

This won’t be the last time there’s a reckoning over bad behaviour, that’s for sure. If you have anything to hide in a position of power, the truth comes for everybody eventually.

It’s how you deal with it when it does that matters most of all.

Breathe

Today, the air quality is shocking, and I am all about the long game.

I was up early and took my turn. The result is pretty good, I think:

Everything right now has a mental health slant. It’s a good means by which I can act as a decent ally to those whose voices continue to need to be heard. Along the way, it is becoming increasingly apparent who is really listening, and who clearly feels they have nothing to learn. Every day is a school day; yesterday was very enlightening.

It also occurs to me that going forward, educating white people should be a full-time job. There is so much ignorance and horrendous arrogance that needs removing. This seems like a decent plan going forward. I have again this morning educated myself about the amount of sugar in my diet: as that’s something I keep forgetting…

Lots of things are different today, and I like it.

Heartbeat

Consent is probably the biggest single issue in your life, controlling pretty much everything that happens around you. Allowing people into your personal space, now than ever before, could be fatal. Except, where I stand right now, that consent is a thing men ignore. I can grasp Scott’s experience, but the more this tweet is liked, the more uncomfortable it makes me.

I feel the need to explain why.

It’s clear that being in a situation where men are intimidated by women is not right. NOBODY should feel their own personal boundaries compromised like this. The fact remains however that the vast majority of cases of sexual assault go the other way, and it is men who are the offenders. It’s the whole White Lives Matter/All Lives Matter concept, only with sexual assault: this discussion needs to be about people who require help.

Making spaces on the Internet safe for people to do so is vitally important, and it must happen. Trying to sympathise, looking supportive via understanding is laudable, but it isn’t actually that helpful. To watch this tweet be picked up and liked, time and again, is almost a confirmation that the vast majority of us just accept this shit happens. It is normalising that behaviour, and that’s absolutely wrong.

What matters more is supporting those who have been taken advantage of.

I’ll be sending Scott a DM after I’ve written this, alerting him to my concerns. There’s other guys in the same thread, talking about being upskirted in kilts, and the same applies to them. I appreciate your concerns, but this is not helpful right now. Sexual consent needs to be redefined for everybody. Porn needs to be a thing that far less people openly indulge in.

If any of these events led to you being sexually assaulted, then it’s different. Otherwise, they are experiences that are not relevant in this discussion, in fact they make women look like the predators. If that’s true, and you have a negative sexual experience where you felt sex took place without your consent, then it’s relevant. Otherwise, it’s not up for discussion.

Consent is everybody’s responsibility, and it starts with you.

Staying Out for the Summer

Okay then, MONDAY. The plan today, such as it is, will be to try to better attack the level of ‘work’ I have placed upon myself. I can catch up on backlog this week without everything collapsing in a heap, because the pressure of that previous deadline has passed. The next major submission window is August: instead of planning that a couple of weeks in advance, we’ll stick it in with plenty of lead time.

It’s a long game, after all, juggling a bunch of different requirements simultaneously. I also realise that some people think updating a blog weekly is more than enough. I do not understand this. These are people just here doing their business in a different place to mine. For me, writing has to be a daily endeavour, in some form… so if I’m not doing it online, it will be happening offline.

These things are now part of my DNA.

I’ve decided to start a twelve-week training plan on the bike: I would have been doing a 50km ride twelve weeks from yesterday (mid September) so it makes sense to do the training regardless, as a way to build stamina and keep my momentum going. That means this week I hope to complete the 14 bits of exercise a Week goal I set at the start of June.

We got in 12 last week, with almost six hours of high intensity effort. I’m feeling pretty good about the process ahead: walk Tue/Thur/Sat, ride every day. Some will be less stressful than others, obviously, but there will always be something going forward. I’m thinking of doing the rides early and the walks later, or we might vary them according to my mental workload.

Either way, I am ready for some major effort going into the Summer.

Umbrella

You and me are gonna talk a bit more going forward, mostly because I feel I may have done you an injustice over the last six months or so. Looking back on the end of January, how optimistic I was for this year going forward and looking at now… it’s a completely different world. That’s no bad thing, of course, however much other people might malign the change.

I walk past pubs and restaurants who never got around to updating external advertising. It’s still February for some, Spring for others. Their worlds just stopped, whilst other places have undergone almost grotesque transformations. Twitter is becoming unrecognizable from the place that used to be. This week has been truly horrific.

I sometimes wonder whether the people that call themselves my friends have ever asked me outright if that is the case. Those who I respect and follow from distance are always considered as ‘mutuals’ and will be referred to as such in conversations with others. I watch behaviour from some and wonder, do you really understand what friendship means?

There’s a worryingly thin line now between respect and abuse. It takes only one idiot to ruin it for everybody, and when there are such people running countries, it is perhaps no wonder we’re all as fucked as is undoubtedly the case. Leadership right now is lacking, in so many places. No-one is actually prepared to take responsibility for their actions. In that case, at least, I can own my shortcomings.

It is so easy to fall back into the comfort of old habits without learning anything. Not any more. I am done with certain paths of my life. Twitter is going to become an indispensable tool going forward, but not for the reasons that were first true. I did only aver come to share and to try and find people who understood what I am.

Then, it became a place where it was possible to understand the consequences of my actions, that if there was to be any success in a wider world, some cold, hard truths would need to be accepted and embraced. Now that’s finally happening, it is time to move forward yet again.

Here is where the real work begins.

Two Months Off

Okay, it was only two days, but at this point I should probably share some stuff with the Internet.

That wasn’t ‘just some poems’ that were written over the last few weeks. The process has rearranged just about everything in my head. Same furniture, carpets and curtains, different positions. There’s light in places, dust-covered for decades. Certain pieces of furniture have turned out to be close to collapse. Others have never seen use.

Welcome to the world where ability to communicate has, for the entirety of adulthood, been held back at crucial moments by anxiety, inertia and naรฏvety. It’s a potent combination, and knowing that for at least some of that time I’ve just existed without any actual memory of how that took place is… well, a bit frightening.

Arriving here, therefore, remains a bit of a surprise.

Suddenly, writing a blog has become really useful, because I can now go back and read about things that have literally been forgotten about. That’s going to be incredibly useful going forward. Pictures help too, and we can go back to about 2012 with a measure of confidence. Before that, however, BOY are there holes. Massive gaping ones.

I’d sort of grasped that this was a problem for a while, but the reality of it is only now beginning to register. I was on autopilot for years. I’d let other people control my entire existence. Nothing of real worth actually took place. There’s no idea of if this is how it works for anybody else either: do the rest of you just do as other people do without worrying about the long-term consequences? Do you even KNOW?

I told my husband earlier this week I felt as if something was very seriously wrong in my head, and that’s where I am right now, except wrong is the incorrect descriptor. I’m still not sure what it is, but this isn’t bad. If wrong is the means by which you become aware that normal processes have altered, I’d be better off using the word different.

Problem solving is taking place in far more sensible fashions. Approaching conflict is far more considered. Dealing with it has become a transformative process. I am still putting together all the verbal tools required to correctly address some issues. Certain things can’t be spoken about and won’t, not until other events take place. They are out of my hands.

Most importantly, I am singing. I haven’t been able to sing for a while.

This is better.

Change

Day Three of having a piece of exercise equipment that can support my weight. I could have gone and found a tree in the woods over there [/points] and really would have. The benefits of lifting my own body weight have already been shown with press-up practice. Now, however, I can do this after a brief walk outside and honestly, it’s a game changer.

My shoulders have always been the weak link in my chain of arm muscles. However, this morning I can feel improvement everywhere. Resistance bands will build muscle and sculpt, but I need some beef in my arms. Legs are getting a daily workout, and that needs to happen with both arms and core. The pull up bar gives most to one and some to the other.

Therefore I need to put together some daily core ‘maintenance’ which will allow me to keep everything in a comparable state, because your core is the key to making everything operate effectively. Fortunately, there’s been a bit of that floating around the curated feeds this week. This means planks, bird-dogs, squats and lunges, plus what my Trainer calls ‘happy knees’ as a daily sub for the push ups.

This is not going to be pleasant, nor should it be.

Yes, I’m also thinking about making walks into jogs, but this is early days and yes they will be baby steps and it will be what lungs dictate first and nothing else, because experience now tells me it’s those muscle groups that need the most work. Core will help with that too. I am also thinking that perhaps I need to relearn how I breathe, if that’s not a massively ridiculous statement in the first place.

There’s definitely some work that needs doing: slow is possible, controlled is doable but finding a way to be active and still keep going is the next step forward. This might explain why swimming is such a had ask when it’s going underwater where I struggle most. Knowing your shortcomings is good, kids. It helps iron out so many other kinks in the lifestyle.

Fear is part of the journey.

The Test

If I wanted a test of how lockdown upper body fitness has progressed since March, here it is. Up on the wall, ready and waiting, this will be a proper test of upper body fitness. There are exercises all planned. It’ll be the core of at least one of three planned upper body/ torso exercises for this week, and I may well hop on it if the urge strikes just to… you know, practice.

Lower body fitness has dropped a bit because of the blood donation, but this week we will get ourselves up to where we were, then attempt to exceed it. The biggest indicator however of how successful I have been will would normally be my biometric weigh in on a Friday but with just my scales… I’ll have to go by eye. I know where the weight should be, and how I look…

We’ll play it by eye.

Don’t worry, still got eyes on the bigger picture.