The Great Escape

Well, here we are at the start of a holiday that normally filled me with dread. Not this time around. Even the scheduled Monday dinner with the parents is not nearly as stressy in advance as was previously the case. We might actually be getting somewhere.

I have a lot of body issues right now. There’s a ton of stuff about being organised and on top of stuff to deal with. I finished Blaze last night and was shattered, then worked out I did harder work in the class before than where it should really have happened. Everything’s a bit arse about face, if truth be told, but the shoots of change are unmistakably there.

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The journey right now is comfort: how to I find it, how to keep it, what matters most. Finding a style that suits me, being relaxed in my own skin. All you people who just be and don’t have to stress about stuff like this are unbelievably lucky. Really, you have no idea how amazing this is. ‘Normal’ is often a foreign country, full of people speaking and talking a completely different language.

Finding the comfortable spaces has been ignored for far too long.

The Black Parade

I’m supposed to be taking a Social media break. It’s mostly working. Coming back properly on Friday, no issues, but in the interim, some things should be cleared up.

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Communication is becoming a significant obstacle for progress: once upon a time, it was okay for people to moan 24/7 in my timeline, I’d just mute them and move on. This is no longer an effective coping strategy. As I struggle to improve myself, that constant backwash of selfish muttering needs to be removed, and so I am. 

It doesn’t have to be 24/7 positivity either. What matters more than anything else is dialogue. More people will be engaged in conversation, less stuff retweeted if it doesn’t contribute to discussion. The days of long, rambling paragraphs are over, and everybody was very relieved as a result. It is time to engage Precision Mode.

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My long-form writing over the last decade undoubtedly exists as part of another complex (and often wildly self-indulgent) coping strategy. I’m not ready as yet to dive into all of those works and decide what needs to be salvaged. For now, there’s a new narrative beginning to form, timeline slowly illuminating. It’s already making me extremely happy.

That’s not a lie either. Part of the reason I’m taking the break is to be able to focus on buttoning down a timeline, working out what happens where, but most significantly to work on dialogue. Talking matters a lot in this new canon. That’s a surprise that’s taking a bit of getting used to, and it’s rather amazing.

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I’ve dispensed with a lot of distant past over the last few years: the other part of this puzzle is eliminating more recent detritus, deciding what needs to stay and go. With a long weekend coming up, this is a perfect opportunity to start attacking the last piles of stuff that lie untouched, and to re-define the space I’m a part of.

Deciding what matters has always been a continuous, articulate process of in and out. Reassuringly, there needs to be very little in, but a quite careful process of marking what stays and goes. I have plenty of ‘things’ in my life, really no need for anything else. What exists, undoubtedly, should be better used. That’s a goal going forward.

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This is a careful, considered progress through the recent past. It also acknowledges that however bad things are, there has to be some individual culpability in the mindset. If I’m not happy, complaining isn’t going to fix that. Asking for help will. Finding solutions is better than being fatalistic and not wanting to change.

Yes, this shit is incredibly, horribly hard. Nobody disputes that. Change is the hardest part of life. How you choose to approach it, or how that change is communicated, tells others a frighting amount of detail about what you are. I have no fear from sharing. What scares me most, right now, is going silent.

That’s not ever going to happen again.

Beautiful

Yesterday, I was tested. Asked some big questions, answers were confidently offered, then explored. I know who I am now. Not owned by the past, weighed down by events or expectations. This is not history controlling future or present. There is, however, some work to be done with exposure therapy, but that’s not a problem.

Everything else is in flux.

Normally, such readjustments to the World view would be a source of panic: last week’s initial session caused a lot of event and emotional displacement. This week, that’s minimal, mostly because there’s not the fear of exposure that was initially the case. Anything that has happened before is not the issue. That’s why I’m here in the first place.

Those were the things that made me require maintenance.

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It is a unique but hardly unusual set of circumstances that caused schisms in the first place. Not knowing how to react, what was right or wrong, lacking the basic instruction manual for human behaviour. Over all this time, the fundamentals are now finally being grasped. I know how to ask for help, say sorry, when to stop talking. Now, the reverse actions need to take place.

Most importantly of all, a lot of my fictional work has suddenly became redundant.

Many of my narratives were created, I realise, as deeply personal coping mechanisms, in which I would lose myself when stressed. These are no longer required: returning to them is difficult, and in at least one case makes me feel physically unwell at present. That was last week’s revelation; this week’s is that as it stands, I now really don’t want to go back to anything that old again.

So, what happens next?

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That’s a really good question…

Paris

Yesterday was tough. Paris has enormous personal significance for me, since my early 20’s. I said a lot on the personal feed yesterday, and history will recall that I learnt about the fire, almost moments after it started, because of Social media. In fact, I knew about it in a house on the East coast of England well before major news outlets reported the fact. This is why this medium has become so important.

The world, quite literally, is at my fingertips.

Of course, it matters a great deal in these situations who you follow: I have a number of Parisians on my feed thanks to that computer game. At a point in proceedings someone decided that the way to go with reaction wasn’t ‘this is horrible’ but instead that ‘yay, organised religion is burning’ was a better angle. Once upon a time, that might have been a great way to pull in the more radical fringes to your cause. Not any more.

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There’s a consequence to being in the public eye: if you fuck up with an audience, it is increasingly difficult to hide your crime. This was the fate of a Sky news anchor  yesterday who said all the wrong things on camera and when apologising via a Tweet forgot to actually say they were sorry. Words really matter, especially on a text based medium. Using the right ones is a skill many don’t grasp.

Individual culpability on an instant message network has never mattered more than it does now. Knowing when to say stuff, or more importantly, when to stay quiet is a life skill that so many have never successfully grasped. It’s something only now I’m comfortable with, after (I think) nearly eight years on the platform. It’s also why I’ll never, ever EVER go back to Facebook.

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I remember the day when it became apparent that even if I was interested in leaving my past behind, other people weren’t. The perpetual obsession with marking yourself against those you were educated with, social groups you felt uncomfortable with and subsequently left, is a source of constant amazement. The human obsession with maintaining such bonds when the knots they are tied with are inherently flawed has never made sense.

This is the place where I am happiest after half a century, without doubt, divested from the distractions of the past. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of that via my husband’s need to be reminded of those people and their achievements, and am reassured that nothing significant is either lost or missed from removal. After all, if these people truly cared about me in the first place, they’d be here now, reading what I do.

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The fact no-one bothers beyond the spoon-fed auspices of mass media hubs is a lesson in itself: I know this is possible, because individuals have made that move. Some came and stayed, others got frustrated with my attitude and again left. I’m not here to personally entertain anyone or conform to your view of what I should be. This is about evolution, development and expansion.

If that matters enough, you find a way.

Bad

I wasn’t sick per se yesterday: my throat’s been scratchy and uncomfortable since Friday, if truth be told. It was the two night’s worth of terrible sleep because of that which did me in on Sunday: instead of working, I relaxed. I dozed. A lot of sport was watched along with playing basic tablet games. By teatime, balance and comfort had returned; rest of the evening spent happily pottering on nothing important. Significantly, there was no exercise.

Today has dawned with a renewed sense of optimism.

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This is cycling for last week, done. Not as much as I’d hoped for but setting the benchmark for what ought to happen next: bit more effort, slightly less grumbling. After Easter, one of the 45 minute classes per week adds a 55 minute variant. I have to decide this week whether I take the challenge or not. It has to happen at least once, so there’s an idea of the difficulty curve.

It’s really lovely to have a lot of exercise options on the table.

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This month has been absolutely transformative. Good and bad, both have shifted so much of the bad away. The more good that can be built as a result, the better things become.

Thank you for sticking with me as I evolve.

Avenue Q

The worst part about life right now, undoubtedly, is knowing who I can trust. Immediate family have been brilliant, above and beyond the normal care and consideration, especially when I’ve struggled to keep everything together. The house is quite literally covered with PostIt Notes, helping me remember to be organised, what needs to be done or sorted on any given day. I still forget things, though. Stress is tough.

I have homework to do for next week that I am dreading. It is not necessary, but I see it as vital, because of the inability that currently exists to express myself to others. There needs to be a quiet time and place to complete it tomorrow. I also have pretty much all the lymph nodes on my neck up, which means body’s fighting some kind of infection. This may explain a few things, if truth be told…

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Today’s important because there was a bunch of things that needed to be done which have been left alone too long. I’ve fucked one up royally, but the other couple of things that were supposed to happen are at least started. There’ll be another go at cycling an hour tonight (knee said no last night, hopefully the hour’s lunchtime kip will help) and then tomorrow it’s time to do more stuff with the garden.

None of this needed to go in a blog, of course, but this afternoon I realised a number of people, since I was public with my counselling, have simply stopped talking to me. Is that the reason, or is it the process of removing myself from a fandom which has, like it or not, ruined a part of my existence? I dunno, but it is time to work out who the real friends are, the ones that will stick with you through thicc and thin…

Deliver Me

Lying awake at 2am this morning, unable to sleep, the sense of arranging a 9am PT session seemed somewhat pointless. However, as it happens, it was exactly what I needed to get the day off to a useful start. By that I mean not only am I awake, but aware of how much there is to improve on life right now. My problem, like it or not, is getting stronger. Fighting injury, confidence issues, body stamina and a voracious appetite is HARD WORK.

I feel there might be protein pancakes in my future this week.

waffles

The lure of the waffle is great, mostly because SUGAR YES GIVE IT TO ME and so looking for ways to squash that desire have become a priority. The ‘eat little and often’ regime is one I can totally ascribe to. As a result a second breakfast today was pretty much essential this morning, but with an afternoon bike ride on the cards, it’ll all even out.

Also today, my lunchtime fruit will be rhubarb FROM MY OWN PLANTS \o/

UPDATE: tasted amazing.

This has made me insanely happy.