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…

Jilted John

From presidents to paupers, there are points in existence where things don’t go your way. Those of us who don’t have the ability to make people do what is required to maintain sanity, however questionable in legality that might be, are forced to deal with consequences. This can be a particularly tough ask. Who am I kidding, it’s incredibly stressful and difficult. Being asked to act completely contrary to character because circumstances dictate might well appear selfless, sure, but the potential for destruction is strong.

It has been a tough week for lots of people, as uncertain future beckons for many.

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What can you do to help other people? Well, the number one thing NOT to do is to make their trauma all about you, which is what a number of Social media commentators have managed to demonstrate very successfully across the week. Sensibly a lot of people haven’t done Twitter at all, and all power to them for sensibly getting on with the task in hand of healing themselves before trying to take on the World. Learning when to walk away from contentious situations is half the battle to beating them.

What has happened this week is an awful lot of other people stepping back from themselves, to reassess what they do and how it happens. This is, all told, a really good way to help other people too, because there’s the space and ability to ensure your responses and support is the right kind of words and deeds and not fuelled by ideas or concepts that don’t fit the particular situation. For those of us who are very emotional however, this is the worst time of all.

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You want to go and help, but know if you do that emotional instability is far more likely to make things worse, so you are forced to sit on the sidelines and bottle everything up until it becomes possible for you to not react in a manner that is hugely counter-productive for everybody. This is where meditation, mindfulness and objectivity come into their own, and why sometimes someone like me just won’t take part in your discussions. If you’re hoping I do and it doesn’t happen, you’re not being ignored.

This is knowing you’re no use as help when you can’t help yourself first.

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It’s why I’m eternally grateful to people like @SwearTrek for giving me the means to express incredibly complex forms of upset and anger in simple, colourful animated pictures, because the rest of my life does not have such simple means to do so. It’s become the ability by which sanity can be maintained when everything around me is in tatters. Being unable to express yourself is incredibly frustrating. Knowing what the problem is and being unable to solve it is even more soul destroying.

These are grown up problems, and have been left unsolved for far too long.

Do You Love Me?

Being honest can be a dangerous move in the modern world. Most people are so tired and jaded that a compliment is largely pointless. The only time that changes is when you’re able to hit someone so far out of your follower reach that they really aren’t expecting anything positive at all. Yesterday, I managed that twice, and two people I hugely respect and enjoy following got a moment when they felt brilliant about themselves. It will have been brief, but was worth the effort.

All compliments are worth the effort if you care.

One line is all it takes. Four words, in this case, is worth more than a KoFi contribution. There are those, fortunately for me, who have been showing their care with cash, and each one will continue to be acknowledged publicly and with enthusiasm when it happens, but the fact remains most of you aren’t poetry fans. I know the short story fans on a first name basis as a result, am looking for non-fiction pathways to draw more people in. The fact remains, Social media is words and pictures, and I can do both with increasing confidence.

Now I need to get people to show me they care.

This is a tough ask for the person who gets cross when people mansplain at her when she knows they’re just trying to help. It’s difficult when it’s annoying that someone just favourites all you work and never retweets it. You can’t make people into a support network, it has to be their choice. Just randomly following people coz they ask you to is not really the answer either. So, here’s the deal. I really need people prepared to listen and respond. I’m looking for interaction, NOT followers.

More people need to want to respond, and that’s what the aim is going forward.

Yes, I need to make money. Yes, you can donate to me if you feel the urge, the details are to your left at the top of the page. More importantly however what matters more is feedback and communication, and it is time to learn how those things work again.

Nothing is ever going to get better if I don’t do the legwork.

Do I Love You?

The plans for decorating my daughter’s room starting on Monday got tossed when she got sick, and now she’s better there’s a chance of getting paint and stuff before the weekend. However, this means that my plans for NEXT week are now completely arse about face, and that there needs to be a digit extracted today so I can be in some kind of position to get everything done within the time budget.

I’m also regretting last night’s Blaze change, but it will pass.

I’ve cracked doing stuff for longer. That’s the key in all of this, to be able to keep going and not get tired. Stamina. I’ll grant you this morning my body is feeling the effect of last night, but it isn’t nearly as bad as it was last week, or indeed the week before. Like writing, if you practice enough, it becomes habit. Habit allows relaxation into the material, understanding both body and mind. It is all part of a larger, more complex process.

Also, it’s kindof cool to be able to do all this stuff now and look like I know what I’m doing. A lot of life is acting, of course, but when the strength exists within you, that’s a task that is progressively easier too. Having actual numbers to back up your words and deeds is hugely useful, and it’s why the lack of communication and feedback in publishing has become so fucking frustrating. I‘ll write about that in a minute.

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In the meantime, the bar’s there to be cleared.

I just gotta do it.

Decks Dark

I’m getting to the stage in life where tolerance becomes a tough ask. After yesterday, you could easily throw the ‘Grumpy Old Woman’ epithet at me and it would not take much to stick… and then something seismic happens to a lot of people there’s a great deal of respect and love for. In the situation when disaster strikes, what do you do? Is it easier to rage and rant at clouds, or more sensible to work on empathy?

Once upon a time I’d have been all about the latter. Then, I had kids, and my entire world view fundamentally altered. Was it as a result of two lives made, that I’m responsible for until my last breath, that compassion became more important… couldn’t tell you for certain. I wasn’t born that way, it was never a trait that was obvious. This has been learnt, over time. That in itself is a significant revelation.

Some emotions are more valid than others.

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A lot of people have gone down in my estimation during the last 48 hours, far more than I thought would be the case. The reaction to this news has been wide ranging, but it was those who decided to make it all about them that disappointed me the most. I’m also mildly disgusted that many of the periphery content producers and service industries won’t say anything about this in case it damages their relationship with the company.

In fact, it is these companies that frustrate me most of all. Once upon a time, I was one of them: making money as a result of writing about a game which, in the end, has caused me as much pain as pleasure if all is said and done. Taking the decision to leave before being pushed was difficult, but in the end not dreadful. I was able to make an ethical choice so many others simply can’t afford to entertain.

That’s why you’ll not find any posts from me on this looking for personal gain.

Superstition

I read an article over the weekend that suggests, quite rightly, that being angry is useful, assuming that ire can be channelled effectively. This has been happening for a while: identifying what it is that causes emotional responses, then dictating the means by which that can be converted into something more useful. It’s not that anger doesn’t have value, either: as a poet, that kind of strong, inescapable emotion has an awful lot going for it. Expression can be a tough ask however: today, we’ll start fixing that too.

Things that Make me Angry, by Sarah aged 52 and a Half

People

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That’s it, nothing else on this list. People are the problem. Watching them destroy environments and fuck up each others lives whilst at the same time choosing to wilfully ignore all the stupid shit that takes place in other’s existences. I also utterly count myself in this Angry List: personal actions sometimes are very much worthy of promoting both rage and disappointment. So, how is it possible to make things better?

I don’t think anybody really can expect to have that kind of affect on large swathes of humanity. Looking at alternatives, by far the best course of action is to attempt to affect change in small doses, a person at a time. That means starting with yourself is a good beginning. So, how do I stop myself getting angry currently. Hmm… it’s a tough ask. So much bad news. So many potential disasters on the horizon. Where do I even start?

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The answer, of course, is to not be so hard on myself. By learning compassion for self it is easier to separate feelings, making a decent attempt to rationalise what’s going on. Then, it is all about the business of being able to adequately describe how things make me feel so that the process can be translated from brain to page, and then becomes easier to explain to strangers.

Having now managed to crack this, at least in part, it is time to take the issues out of brain and onto a page. Therefore, this is my starting point: if you make me angry, there’s a far greater chance going forward that will be explained, using language that effectively communicates both reasoning and response. This is NOT an excuse to cause further conflict however, that needs to be properly quantified.

This is not the means by which things are made worse.

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That whole thing about being the change you wish to see in the world? Ghandi was spot on. This is the means by which change happens, and I can not be scared of it.

So, let’s roll.

Begin Again

Religion has an awful lot to answer for: wars, plagues of frogs, beards… the list is endless. At it’s core however we, as humans, should grasp its true significance. This is a system of control. All religions present rules for living a good life, suggest means by which this should take place. Most religions reassure that it’s okay, death is just a transitional state when the reality is a lot more bleak and frankly frightening for most. Religion, simply put, was a requirement as man developed free will and curiosity. It was the means by which people could be dictated to, whilst selfishly playing on basic fears.

The reality for billions of other people however is that religion is an essential, brilliant part of their existence. It allows them peace and focus to become better individuals. Faith provides vital communities that care and clothe, support and understand: nurturing development, granting vital peace to those at the end of their existences. Religion provides means by which existence is both understood and continued, and it is the love within hearts and minds that can bring so much good and happiness to bear.

Both these opinions are equally valid.

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Religion is the first place where, I now grasp, the true value of compromise was learnt. My first direct experience with the devout was not pleasant. However, it taught a lesson that only now after nearly thirty five years has registered as the norm. Allow other people to believe what they wish, and respect that right. Nothing else really matters in the world right now than being able to exist with each other in a manner that will then allow us all to work on the more pressing issues facing the environment.

Except, of course, other people’s priorities are different.

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After a life-changing event on Friday, a lot of priorities have been shifted. Over the next few weeks, as these alterations become more apparent, there will undoubtedly be some changes. That includes making reasoning more flexible. It is becoming apparent that a lot of basic knowledge on interacting with people has never really been properly grasped during my lifetime: this is a very good opportunity to start working out where the holes are.

Every day is a school day, remember.