Celebration

Birthday was smashing: same people forget every year, I tell them it matters a lot, they promise to be better and so on. I’ve been dreadful with birthdays this year however, so I’m gonna get proper reminders this time. That’s part of the upcoming plan. Then, when people still forget, I can ask myself if there are other reasons because making the effort is not hard.

This week there are submissions, poetry and newsletters to finalise. Half-term could not have come at a better time, frankly.

I’ll be here when I can.

The Needle and the Damage Done

Then, there is the day you realise that something is just fundamentally being missed, overlooked, a crucial part of a process has gone astray. You suggest to someone that’s the case, before they take that concept and borrow it. It’s not stealing, because this isn’t the kind of place where that happens. They borrowed an idea, which becomes a huge success.

You feel sick some nights worrying about responsibility: what was signed up to, what is the true end result. Just satisfaction, that’s how this works, because money is non-existent, validation should be enough except, in this case, it isn’t, because you’ve done ALL the work and now someone else will use that as their credit, a stepping stone, new way they impress their peers.

The images of a lifetime, wasted and irredeemable, haunt your dreams.

The world is no longer a place where it is easy to be comfortable: grown men bicker on television, across social media. Women attack other women because they need to feel as if they are doing something, anything to keep their version of reality intact. Newspapers and social media make money from the fallout, become facilitators of distrust and deceit, don’t care whose in charge as long as their quality of life is maintained.

Through the cracks fall the marginalised, the disabled, anyone with empathy or honour, those who refuse to play the pathetic playground games or who engage the bullies and are dog piled as a result. Many, many innocent lives are shafted for the sake of principles which, on close inspection, disintegrate into the non-sequiturs they always were. All that matters is that the rich get richer, and nobody is massively inconvenienced.

The planet groans, close to death, unheard by all but a few saviours.

In the midst of it all is an epiphany: change begins with you. The process begins to alter your outlook, readdress the imbalances. Your ideas are still stolen but you make it impossible to erase personal influence from the picture. It is your drive and determination that makes others stop and think about themselves, address the shortcomings, alter their outlooks. Slowly, gradually, change begins to happen.

It becomes apparent that if enough people are prepared to do the same, real alteration is possible. The key is finding what amount constitutes critical mass, and watching other people walk away and refuse to take part breaks your heart less and less each time it happens. People are the problem. Other people’s inability to alter themselves is the issue. Those who can and will continue to offer the only sensible solutions.

Their hope and enthusiasm shines brighter than sunshine.

You know the damage you’ve done. The past is best left well alone, and so you do and even when it comes back and tried to derail, there’s strength enough to ignore it. You can only hope others understand how much you care, and that this is all you will ever do. After that, trying to change the everything is a complete waste of time.

You learn to pick your moments, and they are glorious.

Let Me Entertain You

Everything got shifted to one side yesterday, in order for me to finish something, which I summarily did. I have learned an awful lot about editing and video producing in the last month, and all of these things will now be put to good use elsewhere going forward. I’ll also be appearing in a Sunday paper tomorrow: not sure in what form as yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.

That’s it. I’ll be back on Monday.

Shout

It is a truth personally acknowledged that peace is my ultimate aim. I fucking hate fighting with anyone, for reasons which are now clearly and inextricably linked to trauma. It’s why my pulse races in situations where other people are being unpleasant. it’s the reason certain circumstances and situations are now actively avoided. It’s also crucially why criticism used to be the hardest thing in the world to take.

Lots of things have improved in the last two years. Being able to conduct myself with calm, to be able to rationalise those situations and step back objectively from them is a massive step forward. Criticism is now sought, positively encouraged, and has becomes the means by which significant steps forward have been taken in approach. It’s why what gets written and outputted from now on will different from what has come before.

This morning, as the UK begins to move into Second Lockdown, it is really important not to go backwards in terms of momentum. Therefore, everything will be readdressed and reconsidered. Output in various places is already being streamlined. There are other issues to consider this time around too, and all of them are as important as my professional goals, if not more so. Looking after myself is a real priority.

I’m dreadful at self-care at the best of times, and this can’t continue. If it means stepping away from social media for an early night, or rearranging the order things are attacked in the day, there has to be a change from what is undoubtedly ‘normal’ behaviour. The result, it must be said, is already significant. That’s not going to be lost in panic again.

This time, we keep moving forward, and with optimism.

Feelings

It is human arrogance which has assumed, up until this point, that for a planet to be inhabitable it would first need to capable of supporting human life. This is, of course, utter bollocks and if it now transpires that life exists here, on Venus… well, that throws quite a lot of stuff into disarray. Again, we are back at the point where thinking in one, very linear way, is just asking for trouble.

It’s odd right now, watching people begin to grasp uncomfortable truths that have perhaps not previously been obvious to them. The most stark one of all is the realization that people have been used as product online for some time, and are only waking up to this as there’s nothing else to distract from reality, and an inescapable truth.

‘Directly support the Creator’ is one of those horribly glib statements that could just as easily mean ‘then Twitch don’t have to charge you for making content’. The publicity blurb for this is worryingly upbeat too: ‘Ads are an important part of Twitch – they help keep Twitch free for creators and viewers, and enable us to continue to craft new and innovative features and supply unique and engaging content for our community.’

Except, of course, that’s not a profitable business model, and this planet is all about those. Yet again, this is one group exploiting another for massive material gain. It should be making far more people uncomfortable than is currently the case, but it still doesn’t. People are happy to let this stuff wash over them. As long as they are not massively inconvenienced, what’s the problem?

Only when stuff becomes personally frustrating or annoying do we react.

This comfort v discomfort dichotomy (go look it up) is a big deal right now. I watch it play out almost daily on my timeline. Sometimes it’s about summat petty, yesterday it was about politics, sexuality, gender and public accountability. For me, I rationalise these things in two ways, with a feelings v reality death match.

It’s very simple: how I personally feel about something is stuck in a mental space alongside the truth of what is happening, and one of two things takes place. My feelings will either a) align with the reality or b) they won’t. If the former is true, everybody is on the same page and I get to have an early second cuppa. If the latter pans out, then I will be face down on the canvas with a boot on my face, and will only have myself to blame.

The truth matters now than it has ever done at any point before.

Smart is a hard task. Distinguishing what is real and what isn’t has become the schism in so much of our lives and accepting you got shit wrong… well, it’s a hard ask for many people. I’m going to have to admit I seriously misjudged some timescales this morning, in a meeting, but I will still meet a deadline. It’s okay, I’ve got myself covered.

Feelings v reality ought to be a far bigger deal than is currently the case.

Lies

I wrote in my diary this week that a longlist acknowledgement would be due for an award I’d entered for. Last night, there was a large Chinese take out as commiseration that, yet again, I’ve not made the cut. This served two purposes: it’s my last ‘big’ meal for two months as of this morning, I have some eating changes that need to be instigated, so plans for exercise will fall in the right place.

I’ll talk about this part of my mindset change in more detail next week, but the TL;DR version of it all is that I am not enough any more. Mentally an awful lot of stuff is working well, but it not in the right places, and therefore starting today there will be rearrangement (yet again) of my spaces. You won’t notice a lot of it, but to me it is pretty much everything.

There’s been a lot of singing in the car this week. This is good.

No really, there’s been practice of circular breathing, which I’ve not done since I was regularly playing a musical instrument (I was a bit of a prodigy, as it happens, but we don’t talk about that part of my life any more) It’s use now will be for stamina training during exercise: I’m gearing up for my cycle FTP test tomorrow and once that is done, many things are going to get reorganised.

We’ll talk about it all tomorrow.

Across the Universe

It’s been an odd weekend. Once the negative test results came through on Saturday afternoon, a poem fell out of me that wasn’t really poetic until right at the end, but undoubtedly is now the most accurate summation of my life thus far. Considering your mortality is something that happens a lot as you get older. I did it a very great deal this time last year after coming out of hospital.

Today, I’ll be making a massive effort to eat healthier, and continue to do so going forward. I have an FTP test on Saturday which will redefine the next three months of exercise. There is a lot of work to do, both personally and professionally and it is time to stop mucking about and get on with the process of progression. I am ready to move forward.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. The biggest ones never leave, are permanently rattling around my head, and it is sensible never to dwell on them for too long. There are opportunities now to be a better person, permanently, understanding that penance is never going to remove those actions, but as time goes on the moments themselves will become less relevant.

I’ll be having nightmares over that test on Friday. It’s more than likely that’s not the last one I’ll end up having to self-administer: this thing doesn’t go away now. The world has changed, and will continue to do so for years to come. There has to be a way to meet all these challenges with optimism, and determination. Redefining existence should be a regular occurrence.

It’s one of many plans that are about to be set in motion.

Mirrorball

There will be a moment, not long from now, when I rationalise my personal timeline. That’s nothing to do with social media followers either: this is the task of writing down notable moments in my existence to check the voracity of events. The stuff I can remember is VERY clear, almost technicolour in its brilliance. Everything else… yeah.

Emotional overloads have caused holes. Some are deep and wide enough to have obscured entire years. It was one of the reasons I started blogging, if truth be told. It does mean making time to trawl through everything that still exists as litany to various pasts, and interests, and people who have long since been removed.

It’s why Facebook remains absolutely never an option.

This month will also be the one where I step away from anyone trying to sell the ‘Internet is EVUL’ line ON THE INTERNET in order to sell themselves. It’s becoming really quite easy to spot the idiocy here and you have two choices: embrace and fight or ignore and walk. If the person’s high profile, it isn’t worth amplifying their reach. Anyone else however and I’ll call them out.

People have always been disappointing, the world is full of idiots: if countless people mistake my politeness for a come-on or an attempt to seduce their partner? Nothing really changes in the long run except the baseline level of comprehension. We are miles ahead from where this was 30 years ago, sure, but it’s still the fucking Dark Ages. Make no mistake, if there’s stupid to be had, someone will always ask for seconds.

This month, I’m gonna aim for more interactions and less beef.

Anything else will be a bonus.

You Know My Name

New month. I changed some stuff last night, on a whim, because this is apparently perfectly acceptable if you’re on social media in 2020. I’m also considering some more systemic alterations going forward. As this is the ‘transforming idea’ section of my Change Process diagram, anything is conceivably possible if I have the momentum.

Every year since I started my poetry journey, I’ve taken a speculative punt at the National Poetry Contest. For the first two goes, it was just that. This year I was convinced I could be good enough to at least have a chance. After all, if you can’t believe your own hype, who else is likely to? However, looking at last years’ entries, I remember how angry I got and then really, everything got a bit messy.

Yesterday, I put two entries to bed.

For some time there has been internal conflict over what makes a commercial success just that. I’m also very annoyed reading a lot of ‘current’ poetry because… well, it just doesn’t do the job of being poetic enough. Coming out of what has undoubtedly been a quite intense and emotional period of my life, working out the rhyme in reason has begun to matter rather a lot.

Over the last couple of months I’ve speculated with a ton of other styles of poetry and then, it occurred to me yesterday, that’s not how I do my best work. ‘Rock poetry’ is my best work right now, and by that I mean the poems I’ll conjure as prompts from an image a bloke on Twitter posts, approximately once a day.

Most of this has rhyme in it somewhere too, which is not de rigueur for most places at all and so, based on the considerable success of these works in a poetically sympathetic audience, a decision was made. One poem written in the moment, one written over time. Both submitted yesterday, and that’s it. No more stressing. No more letting it control both mood and thought. They’re gone now, move on. I won’t even know that I’ve failed until February FFS.

There are better things to be worrying about.