Belief

This week, I am going to do things differently. You won’t notice most of them, but trust me when I say to you that this is already happening. It did for a couple of hours yesterday and the sense of well-being it created was palpable. This is what is needed more in my life right now.

There’ll be a longer post when I’m done with the day.

Aquarius (Let the Sun Shine)

Yesterday was important for a couple of reasons. Let me talk to you about the one you didn’t see talked about at the time or retweeted.

Last year, someone told me that I was exhibiting a great many symptoms of autism, but was not in a position to confirm formal diagnosis. If I wanted that to happen, it would require a period of counselling, and then some effort on my part to get access to the specific testing mechanics that allow that to be considered. Having finished the counselling portion of proceedings last month, something significant has altered.

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It has, inevitably, required time for what was pulled up from counselling to settle and be digested. Part of that happened yesterday. As of right now, I am finally confident pushing for an autism diagnosis would be a waste of everybody’s time and resources, that others deserve those valuable things more than I do. There’s an incredibly complex set of reasons behind this decision, which I’m not as yet prepared to discuss in public.

Having a reason for why I was what I am became an obsession, for a while, until the truth emerged. This is the first time in my entire existence that everything feels at peace. It makes sense to me why I am what this is, right here, writing these words. Of course, there will be contentious issues, and returns to the heat of my fears but my ability to deal and process, to manage what I am, has improved vastly.

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After a night when dreams were full of things that had been forgotten, the future more optimistic than I ever remember it being, I’ve changed a line in my Twitter bio. Right now, I am dealing with multiple incidents of Trauma. Once that’s been managed and measured satisfactorily, we’ll look again at where I stand. For now, this is a journey that, on reflection, was never going to be easily labelled and then dispensed with.

At least that lesson is now learnt and taken to heart.

Fear

This month, so far, has been a bit of an eye-opener and we’re only three days in. Personally, I’m gaining great satisfaction as my personal confidence grows with reacting in the exact opposite way to that which is clearly expected of me when emotional manipulation takes place. Once you can see it, this shit becomes remarkably easy to deal with. After that, it’s whether you want to or not.

As long as I have time for a cuppa and werds each day, right now I’m pretty sanguine over everything else.

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Once upon a time, it was my dream to have a massive follower count, until I grasped that that very much depends on who starts following your account in the first place. Starting again from scratch, the writing Twitter account currently shows the kind of growth I dreamed about, back in the day, because I’m doing that in the right place. My ‘personal’ account’s stuck in a demographic where if I’m not gaming, nobody notices.

What this means effectively is zero growth unless I drive it. It also means that, like it or not, when I check for unfollowers at the start of the month, this (more and more) is the message I see:

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In the last three months, I’ve been the one solely responsible for decreasing my own follower count, and I couldn’t be happier. Mass unfollows have been wildly successful, mutes allowing me to concentrate on what really matters and not get distracted by stupidity. I’ve realised crucially too that those people I thought shared the same interests as I do really don’t. If they did, I’d be kopping a lot more flack for my actions.

In many cases these individuals have become redundant: not doing anything except keeping themselves happy. Understandably, the dopamine hit from doing this is pretty potent, but as I am no longer work in the industry you followed me for… there’s no loss in quietly removing those who don’t care, or think that just because I responded to them a few times makes us best mates.

A lot of people are creeping me out too, and that’s got to change.

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So, what have we learnt this week, kids? Don’t get dependant on any one thing as a means to survive. There always has to be a back up plan. Expecting people to be friends with you (as was discussed yesterday) is no a given, and your own shortcomings may be far more obvious than was at first apparent. Oh yeah, and you have them. That’s the kicker: no, you’re not perfect, and if your internal monologue tells you otherwise, it’s lying.

EVERYBODY gets to do better.

These Foolish Things

There’s nothing I can do about the people others follow. Occasionally however, that stuff ends up in my Social media feeds. If I like you, then that means by extension I respect your interests, particularly if they don’t intersect with mine. That’s how being a grown-up works. There are months however when I am reminded that I was once part of several groups of people who I did everything possible to try and integrate into, but with a better understanding both of them and circumstances it was just never going to work. 

Today I find myself asking why it’s taken me this long to realise.

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Someone in another group from which I was quietly ejected a few years ago accused me of being a ‘pointless troublemaker’ and this point is something that’s been thought about at length. If it were genuinely true, others believe I look at groups of people and decide who it is possible to wind up the wrong way… honestly this is never how it works. I am the person who is always looking for worthwhile connection. ALWAYS.

Except subtlety and diplomacy have never been strong points. That’s a spade, you’re a creep, that’s not the only way you can play... honesty is the problem. When someone interviewed me for a podcast and said with sincerity ‘my aim is to be friends with everyone’ they were living a lie, and I began to feel slightly creeped out. In fact, on many occasions, it was podcast appearances that helped me grasp a truth that only now makes sense.

So many people are too caught up in their own lives to ever be a part of yours.

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This is the point when it’s important to accept my own share of blame: I have responsibility here. You could have made better choices. Not everybody is going to give themselves as freely as you do. Wanting to do things with people who aren’t comfortable and confident with you should have been the hint you took, on several occasions, but you kept trying. If someone else is offended with what you do, that’s their problem.

Just because you really like someone doesn’t mean they will like you.

I will not resort to manipulation of circumstances. It’s easy to finally get the hint when someone just stops communicating. Lives are going on, all the time around you, and just because others [mutuals] are involved does not mean you need to be, or have to. However, when stuff is offered in good faith and summarily ignored… yup, you have the right to be aggrieved. That’s when you get to write the blog.

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Except, there’s no point. Maybe it’s because the last time I directly used my blog as an instrument, someone else decided I was trying to use them to forward my career. That was the straw that finally broke my back, pushing me away from these people for good: two years on it is undoubtedly the best career move I ever made. That’s quite ironic, on reflection.

When I handed in my notice to the website I wrote for, there was genuine surprise that I’d have something better to do. Only now does it register that this was the wider problem all along. If there’s an assumption wanting to better yourself somewhere else is a surprise, the lack of perception this suggests should start ringing warning bells. There is ALWAYS more to do: nobody is perfect, everyone has something to learn, however big a fish they may perceive themselves to be.

Too many people think there’s nothing they ever need to do to improve.

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I keep thinking that one day I ought to just burn all the bridges and name names, all of them, because the town in which all these people continue to work in is never one I’d ever, EVER want to visit ever again. That however would indeed be the petty and vindictive action of a woman who would love to see the world burn. This is never who I’ve been, because you were wrong to assume I was the enemy. You still are.

Because I got out, learning lessons in blood and tears, there is no point in making anyone look like the fucking imbeciles many still remain. Be warned, however, one day someone else is more than likely to do just that, and when it happens, you will only have yourselves to blame. Understanding I was part of the problem is what lead me to counselling. I can’t turn back the clock, neither would I want to.

One day, reckoning comes for everybody. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Regeneration

Never start ANY project on the first of the month. If it matters enough, procrastination won’t help. Begin when the idea strikes you, straight away. Planning can be refined about a week in. Of course, sometimes, you don’t need the organisation. Stuff just works.

I switched my 55 to a 45 Blaze for good on Wednesdays. Reasoning is simple: 55 is not helping me work hard, but teaching more how to build up stamina. Because the extra minute per zone demands a lot of work on managing energy, it’s less simple to just go flat out. This has been confirmed by lots of weeks where I’ve genuinely struggled to feel as if anything was progress. Therefore, a change was facilitated.

More importantly however I don’t (as yet) know anybody doing the 45 in this group. I was a stranger. This was an added advantage because the sense of being in contest with people you know did not exist. It helps in some ways, but hinders in others. I managed red zone time last night in combat (though not enough to register on the app) and on the treadmill, and this is something that’s not happened before. Change holds a lot of value.

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That’s a lot of yellow. More importantly, I came out of the class awake, aware and more functional than has been the case for weeks. I walked home. That would have been unheard of a month ago. The improvement to physical fitness is only part of the picture, however. Last night I did the whole class without my glasses on, so the worry of steaming up was alleviated. Mentally, I didn’t care about anything except effort, and it happened.

Let’s be honest, it’s the mental change that is the biggest shift, and that happened last week. Since then, everything is just a little bit brighter. I could have waited until today to start this change, but then a whole week would have been wasted by doing so. All the momentum I’ve built since being in a pile on the floor in the heat, crying my eyes out, would simply have been lost.

You really are the catalyst to make major change to existence.

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I also know how easy it is to ignore your own issues. It will still happen, of course. However, that likelihood’s now far less of a certainty.

The lesson has been learnt.

Personal Jesus

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I remember when I first saw someone on LiveJournal had joined Twitter. ‘What’s the point?’ I wondered, ‘I can’t write anything worthwhile there.’ It’s coming up for eight years now since that attitude changed, and on the main account, I’m well into six figures of content outputted. I’d love to know how much of that is GIF-related. It’s gonna be a bit. I was doing THAT before the company added the UI functionality.

It’s good to know you’re a trailblazer.

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It’s not healthy to dwell on the negatives in your life, everybody. Down that road only stress and anxiety lie. Except, from time to time, it is worthwhile reminding yourself that other people are the ones who take offence at your attitude and outlook, and that’s not your problem, but theirs. When Internet Dinosaurs smell blood, it’s never going to end well. This week, I have been reminded of one person in particular.

Except, the more I examine what happened, the more it became apparent at just how common this behaviour has become. There was a belief initially it was just guys who’d do this until a woman trumped all the male stupidity in the space of 48 hours. The sexual orientation of your idiot is largely irrelevant. What matters is manner in which you are targeted and person’s aim when doing so.

Control is the key to absolutely everything.

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The particular individual in question was unbelievably smart. He began politely picking me up on typos and grammatical errors in my blogs, and as this was a fairly regular occurrence, I was grateful. Then came the moment when we disagreed about my use of question marks in sentences where he was convinced they shouldn’t exist. I accepted his objection, but began to realise that maybe his interest in my work was a bit excessive.

I decided, for the first time, to go look at his followers list and who else he was interacting with. I can still remember how sick I felt scrolling through hundreds of female accounts and pornbots. When examining his interactions, this was taking place with other women, many of them. The behaviour was identical: polite until someone disagreed with taking his advice at face value.

Then he’d go crazy.

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Blocking on Twitter was pretty basic back then, and reporting harassment close to pointless. I can remember being schooled in victim shaming too at that point, because the assumption was that it was at least in part my own fault for not doing my homework beforehand. A smart person would have checked the person I blindly followed before interacting, so it was clear what I’d be signing up for.

It’s a lesson that I’m still learning, even nearly eight years on. You won’t be friends with everybody, and however hard one might try to be polite and adult, some people can and will wind you up the wrong way. Others will decide that you must be talking about them (because everybody else does) whilst a few will be so spectacularly arrogant as to defy belief. The guy whose apology hinged on ‘I’m sorry I stalked you but I was in mental health counselling at the time’ was a classic.

When you speak your mind, other people can get the right hump.

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I find it increasingly fascinating watching other people talk to those I have blocked and no longer interact with. This isn’t the version of reality that used to exist where people would somehow vanish once you’d ignored them. Sure, you can stop reading and listening to those whose outlooks and attitudes were so toxic, but they don’t go away. Nothing bad ever really goes away, it’s about accommodating personal change to deal with those consequences.

The irony, of course, is that occasionally the people who have serially being attacking and abusing people do get caught, and they do end up in the spotlight. I can think of several occasions where that’s been the case: the rush of amazed indignation from some quarters being staggering. People rarely talk to each other any more on Social media, except in very well established friends groups. If they did, an awful lot of behaviour would be on borrowed time.

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I have a lot of social Twitter followers now: they don’t talk, but use the account to read other stuff. The interactivity portion of online proceedings takes place elsewhere: Slack, Twitch, Discord… but not out in a medium that historically can do far more harm than good. That’s a massive lie, of course, and even after multiple incidents of drama, arrogance and abhorrent behaviour, there’s nowhere else I’d want to hang around in.

Me and Lin-Manuel understand the future of Social media’s only a tweet away.

Lies

This is a scheduled announcement that when you’ve been on the Internet as long as I have, you’ve seen an awful lot of stupid shit. In some cases, you were there the first time someone was dumb enough to try something, it got totally forgotten, and now the same old rubbish is being recycled again (and again and again).

Example: I’ve seen the ‘I forced a bot to watch X’ meme a few times now, each with a different subject matter. It’s a great means by which a comedy writer can eke out exposure and flex their social media skills. Good luck to them all, I say, this is a good use of the medium. It’s only the equivalent of that picture of the guy with the pretty girl, staring at another (clearly prettier) girl and the dichotomy that creates in our subconsciousnesses. It’s known as the DISTRACTED BOYFRIEND meme.

Memes are what makes the Internet tolerable. They are the distraction many of us crave in these dark, ugly times. It is also by far the best means to make information stick. It is no wonder therefore that certain commentators, who are incapable of altering the collision course this country appears to have adopted with it’s own self destruction, are using similar tactics to create a picture which is, like it or not, utterly false.

I’m seeing a lot of stuff like this of late: high-profile personalities ‘bigging up’ the fact that once upon a time, this country was fantastic, and it clearly isn’t that way any more, and really, it’s beginning to piss me right off. There are two reasons for this. The first one, perhaps unsurprisingly is that it’s just not true. The Olympics did not somehow make this country a better place to live in. Yeah they were great, and the legacy’s been awesome, but truth remains the UK was shit beforehand too. 

The second one’s more insidious: this isn’t meant as a means to get people encouraged to do anything about the situation, it’s just for views, to create an illusion of participation and interest. The fact that other people don’t get this remains a mystery to me, until I look at a certain type of user on my own feed. They’re the one’s who don’t ever contribute anything of value to any conversation, but try and make you react in order to feed their own attention-seeking status.

If you go look at your feed, you’ll know who I’m talking about.

Occasionally, you have to assume some of the stuff spouted online is stated in total ignorance of what actually takes place online, this tweet being a case in point. I know that this definition has become a slogan and is being used quite extensively by a group of trans-exclusionary radical feminists. I can only assume that someone in Government would do their homework when receiving a gift such as this… that’s how this works, right?

On Social media, a lot of very stupid stuff happens. Most is easily corrected with retraction and apology… except that rarely ever happens. If you’re using your account to talk AT people and not TO them, you are part of the problem. Just being online, posting things, or talking to yourself in the hope people respond… what are you contributing? What’s even worse, of course, is when people respond and you don’t. You’re not in a conversation when that happens. You’re lecturing.

No good comes of discourse that is ultimately one-sided.