Wannabe

I love this random Twitter account. They found me, and now I will happily admit the mix of articles and outlooks to weight training and exercise has me hooked. It is a no frills affair, pretty much 90% curated content, with the rare greeting interspersed. If you were looking for peak Social media with minimal baggage, then this is it. There are thousands of such feeds too, covering a kaleidoscope of different subjects, but it’s rare that any of them pique interest, because of the amount of recycling that goes on with content.

It’s a rarity to find something with so much originality.

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This is one of the reasons I insist on writing all my own material, and not simply taking four blog posts a month and simply reposting them every few days. I appreciate this is acceptable as content for most people, but I can do better. It also helps that this is still the best therapy on difficult days to keep me sane and to allow an often overactive brain the ability to sort itself out.

More importantly, as AI becomes increasingly capable of taking facts and producing copy that is pretty much indistinguishable from reality, originality is going to come into its own. Being able to produce quirky and honest content, to grasp what other people do best and then disseminate that to a wider audience… this will become a better means by which true, compelling output will end up in people’s feeds.

The wider issue of course is if anybody really cares.

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I know why you’re really on Social media, and so do you: chat channel, cat pictures, occasional sharing of group experiences. You’re not here to read or learn, it’s just an adjunct of Facebook and all those other displacement activities. Except, things are slowly beginning to change. Whether the end result of this is good or bad is yet to be seen. The inescapable reality is that the means by which information is trusted is becoming far more significant than the words themselves.

There is a storm coming, and there is going to be a lot of collateral damage.

Higher State of Consciousness

It’s been a while since I was challenged online. As a result, this is the note that’s now being left to remind me that when that happens again, here’s how you sleep at night, safe in the knowledge that you were perfectly justified to do what was done.

It isn’t just STEM where this happens, and (ironically) it isn’t just men who reply. Potentially everybody has the ability to be a twat when presented with Social media. Last night, I was Pedanted.

Sticking anything online immediately holds you up for criticism, and increasingly that will have nothing to do with what’s been written, and more to do with why you bothered to do so in public. This would place my commenter very much in the ‘they mean well’ area of Reply Guys, right up until the point they came to look at my profile page, noticed I’d registered my displeasure at their initial comment with the above Tweet, and then proceeded to quote that straight back at me.

Hmm, where have I seen this before?

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Looking at it in the cold light of day, if I’d have just been happy someone spoke to me online and not objected to the fact the person didn’t care about my work but was a pedant… we could be following each other by now. Instead, I scored my first legitimate block on the work account, and was rather disappointed that my clearly quite intelligent adversary decided to run away without a decent tussle.

However, when going to look at their account this morning, and having spent time reading their last few weeks worth of output, I feel this was absolutely the best outcome for everybody. What, you don’t go and do that before you follow someone? Really? It is why #FF (Follower Friday) on Twitter used to fill me with such dread… it still does. Throwing out a bunch of people just on the say-so of one person in your feed is all very well if all that matters are the numbers, but if you care about learning from interaction…?

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Motivation is not just about eating well and pushing exercise. It is the means by which I maintain sanity and sanctity online. That requires, on certain days, a level of patience that would elevate most normal people to sainthood. If your task is to reach out to total strangers and attempt to start an argument, one should not be surprised when that’s exactly what happens. If you express an opinion and someone disagrees, you should not then automatically counter with a defensive stance.

I expressed initial displeasure that my combatant chose to focus on semantics and not on the point of the post, which (on reflection) was clearly my downfall. However, if the person had wanted to discuss the actual post, they could have done. The choice here was to pick a hole in my reason for posting. In that regard, they went about trying to start a dialogue with me in completely the wrong way. The result, inevitably, was stalemate. The cosmic ballet of Internet Interaction continues unabated.

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Some people might wonder why I do this to myself, continually pick apart interactions that most normal people would just dismiss and move on from. I’m not normal. This is what I need to do to remain sane, helping an overactive brain cope with the issues that present themselves on a daily basis. Now it’s unpacked and understood, I can move on, and this post is marked as reminder that when this happens again (and it will) as long as you’re polite, pleasant and make your point, that’s all that can be done.

Motivation isn’t just about accentuating the positives.

You’re the One

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Yesterday I drove to a Westfield that is normally visited by train, because other people doing the work whilst I sit in carriages and write poetry is the preferred method of transport. However, as I took the youngest to see her first movie alone (you should all do it, it’s a rite of passage) she was not keen on anything other than being chauffeur driven… and it was alright. Still prefer trains. Just saying.

Yesterday was also part of a promise to myself to be properly measured for bras for the first time since I began hard bastid weight training. I now wear a 34F bra, except when we get to the land of sports bras where it appears that only a 36 E will do, and I’m not sure entirely why that is, but the lovely lady in John Lewis is spot on. This is the most comfortable bra I have worn in fuck knows how long. There’ll now be a short break to see if Amazon can provide me the same, but cheaper.

[UPDATE: They could.]

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Tonight is the start of Back To Back Blaze. The plan, such as it is, will be to try and exceed 80% effort on both nights. Doing this means not looking at screens and so there’s a good chance I’ll do both evenings with glasses off. If I can’t read the totals, it won’t stress me. Then it’s all about concentrating on doing the work and not fixating one the woman next to me running when she would be walking and the CrossFit guy who just never gets tired.

I gotta stop letting other people give me anxiety and just focus on the work.

The Name of the Game

[Sensitive men may wish to look away now.]

The menopause has effectively redefined who I am over the last couple of years. Sure, the same basic person remains that started the journey from periods that would effectively keep me housebound in the last months before they stopped, so much blood loss that I’d occasionally faint. Now, there’s a lot of things that are different, and a fair few things that are missed. One thing most definitely isn’t.

Anger was, for me, very much hormonally-based. Having lost most, if not all of that white hot reaction is really a bonus for everybody concerned. Sure, I’ll still let stuff get to me but now, it is far less incendiary. What does remain is a remarkable amount of sorrow: tears are a problem, and can often happen with complete unexpectedness. However, that too is beginning to be tempered. Tiredness is the key: making sure I’m getting enough hours rest every night has become an overriding priority.

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If I sleep well, the World pretty much resets to normal around that. Protracted periods of exhaustion mean memory issues, irritation and an inability to effectively communicate. This is normal for most of the world regardless, I just turned up at this point late to the party and am beginning to grasp what a more mellow, laid back version of reality can mean for existence. Becoming hormone free is, in that regard, the best thing that’s happened for decades. I am dictated to by my body no longer.

What this does force however is a different way of thinking about the business of everyday life. Some skills are needing to be re-learnt from scratch. The benefit of routine and goal-setting have become more significant than ever before, because it is this that allows me to maintain sanctity of both body and mind. Starting my exercise programme when I did, in that regard, may end up the most important gift that was ever self- given.

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Exercise is the drug that nobody can prescribe that means the withdrawal from hormone dependency is minimised. It’s also impetus and focus all rolled into one. I have goals and objectives that are set and defined purely on my terms that are not dependant on winning a contest or being popular in a peer group. It is the personal nirvana that defines increasing areas of existence. I don’t need group events to show my ability or skill, just myself. I am the arbiter of this destiny alone.

However, some days it is a wade through neck-high treacle. Yesterday was one of those. Today, with a decent night’s kip and revelation over an injury, everything is indeed considerably brighter than it was. Sure, the rejection and occasional inertia will get me down, because if it didn’t I wouldn’t be me. Today, however, they don’t matter.

All that is of consequence is the motion forward.

Waiting For the Ghost Train

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I couldn’t work out why I was as tired as I was yesterday, after a walk to and from the Gym, until I saw this. Once upon a time, when all there was in fitness terms equalled steps, 84k was a magic number. It meant I’d done 12k every day. Now, of course, there’s that plus weights and classes on top and BOY did I feel tired. That’s also become the weekly goal because even if there’s a rest day in a week (Fridays now by necessity due to the back to back Blaze classes) it’s still reasonably hard to tick over my Fitbit.

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Hello and welcome to Bonkers Ideas Week. I will be applying to become a poet in residence, and for a year’s bursary to go write somewhere other than my house. There is no doubt that neither of these ridiculous applications will be successful, but you never know until you try. The key here, undoubtedly, is getting used to personal statements. Not being great at selling myself is really beginning to tell. That needs to be worked at, and perhaps it is time to stop worrying about applications and work a bit on self-love.

Maybe this is the moment to eject my much-loved toys from the pram.

Why Bother?

Today, after a fair bit of ‘polish’ and undoubtedly some improvement, a collection of poems is now off for yet another opportunity to be read by a bunch of people who it is doubtful will either grasp or appreciate the subject matter. I might be lucky, it could hit the target, but more and more likely is the reality that what I’m interested in writing about is not going to get me published.

This realisation has resulted in a fair bit of frustration and annoyance.

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Write what you know, they said, so I have, except nobody else seems to care. Granted, I’ve not been at this very long (it’ll be two years in July) and yes, I’ve won something but that was very much writing what I was told. There’s another couple of those style of works ready to go for other projects and should those manage to make the cut, it will be even more apparent that my best collection of poems is simply… well, too niche for a niche industry.

THEN we might have to bite the bullet and self-publish, and that’s a possibility already being entertained, but to do so all the financial risk ends up on me. Self-publishing is clearly not credible in many people’s minds and eyes and this is where I get increasingly angry and stuff starts flying about. There needs to be more places sought out to try and publish with. Everything needs to be crossed that I may yet hit a big target with a submitted work.

This is all incredibly difficult to sustain as a viable profession long term.

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The key, of course, is persistence. This work is strong, and patience is the key that will unlock every door, in time. Whether I can stay in these places, or whether they will accept me or not as one of their own is largely irrelevant. The desire is mine alone. It is on days like today, when another ten months of potential failure rears its head that there needs to be confidence and belief. Rant all you want, feel better, then take a deep breath and move on.

I know I’m not alone either. This is a battle being fought by thousands on multiple fronts, and it should not matter whether there’s validation or not, except that’s the biggest lie going, and made it into a poem. Write what you know, they said, and so I did just that, I wrote about my anger at nobody listening and caring. Whether it makes the slightest bit of difference I do not yet know, but at least this makes a sore brain feel better.

Some days, you just want to rant.

The Chain

The last time new headers were produced was October, which seems like a lifetime away, I’ll be honest. It might be time to schedule some artwork, and other gubbins of that sort. In fact, serious thought is being given to a week off, plus cessation of regular ‘features’, which is likely to happen at some point around Easter. The boost to creativity this gave was considerable when it happened in August, though there was a massive downside: routine keeps me sane. So, the jury is currently sitting with their cuppas, considering options…

I dead-lifted 55kg at Saturday Bonus PT yesterday. That’s a new Personal Best.

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There are a lot of potential irons in my Fire of Creative Passion right now. Some are practical, others (frankly) downright ridiculous. Deciding what matters most is, of course, always a bit difficult: stay with safe and what you know, or go off piste for a grin? As time goes on, the grin options become increasingly more attractive, simply because there’s never any idea of such opportunities will ever present themselves again. Then there’s the need to keep pushing forward, which is why increasing weights are now a Thing again.

There’s no point unless there’s progress. It feels like the right thing to do.

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Days like today are great for getting these kind of issues addressed and concluded. They’re also useful for editing and submitting (both happening today) and running. Yes, there will be lots of running, which reminds me… I must charge my headphones…