You’re Not Alone

My mate Russ is back on Social media after he went away and did his own thing. When he came back, there was a comment on how easy it was to just reintegrate into the world he’d left behind. The fact this was a surprise to him got me thinking… how you see the world really is just one part of a larger, intractable whole. You can leave things, then come back to them, and it’s perfectly okay. If you’re a basically decent person, that’s how life is supposed to work. Russ is absolutely good people.

Then, this morning, I woke up to see someone in my Socials that I’d not clocked for a while. Their name had changed, just enough for me to remember who they used to be, which was someone who did some pretty horrendous stuff when previously active. The block came without a thought, and then it occurred to me to go look at who was following them. Just because I used to be in a fandom does not mean I’ll refollow everyone who decided to come back after absence. Some were distanced for a reason.

These are the perils of being digitally omnipotent.

There’s a lot of reasons why this .GIF is simultaneously brilliant and depressing, quite apart from the fact the guy who made this film has turned out to be a bit of a dick in old age. If I tell you not to touch something, most will ignore me, because I told you not to. You won’t assume it’s for your own good, that some things never stop being dangerous, to know for yourself is the only education that will stick… and that’s why I refuse to point out the bad people any more, and only support the good. I’m not living your life, that’s your job.

Most of this commentary falls on deaf ears, I realise, because only a few people are experiencing this version of Reality [TM]. When someone asked this week how I was managing to be so dedicated to my exercise goals, the reply was a reflex: the consequences if I don’t are unacceptable. You can complain you don’t want to, or there’s no desire as much as you like but really if it matters enough, you will find a way. If it transpires there is a mental health issue stopping that from taking place? Support exists.

Everything else comes down to your idea of what matters more.

From time to time people will reappear in my life and profess surprise that ‘ooh, you’re still here’ when she never left. I’ve owned this domain since the 1990’s, people. If you’d been paying even the most basic of attention it is not hard to seek me out, but most of you have forgotten how this works, because if you can’t locate me in a Facebook search, or I’m not on Instagram, I’m obviously dead. Honestly, if that’s the mindset we’re working with, its probably for the best you don’t have a clue.

I’m not here to pointlessly recollect on the point in your life where you were happiest either. That should be here, right now, every moment in the present. If that stuff’s not happening, then you really should be looking at the reasons why. Memory serves a vital function, and it is not to restrict your options. Going back to the time when things were great because right now they suck? Well, you can see the consequences of that all over the shop. We’re supposed to feel sorry for those people too because they made mistakes and are now trying to atone?

Some things you cannot ever forgive, and that’s that.

What you perceive is not the Truth, like Opinions are not Facts… all these things are being measured from a subjective standpoint that will never, EVER encompass everybody’s version of Reality. Once you grasp this, everything gets a fuck of a lot easier to cope with. Of course, some people will never do this: their Reality is the only one: give them enough power and everybody’s screwed. It’s why Government, increasingly, is not your enemy. Gaming companies are not your friends. That person vanished off the Socials last time for a reason.

Think more, whilst you still have the opportunity to do so objectively.

It’s a Sin

Sometimes, you wish you weren’t built the way you are.

Loneliness isn’t because there’s nobody to talk to, it’s because there’s no-one around who really understands. You wish, more often that you would ever care to admit in public, that it would be great sometimes not to have all this stuff going on in your head. Trying to explain what you see normally goes one of two ways, too: people get it, or they think you’re the sad one, because you won’t let other people be themselves. That’s not what this is about, I didn’t come here to piss on the fireworks. It’s just how I work.

Being alone is soul-destroying, and in the days before you could just go sit somewhere or do something when it was bad. You’d just sit, and watch the other people who were lucky enough to not be burdened with this and pretend everything was fine. You’d start conversations with strangers just because it was great to have someone to talk to. No, of course these people weren’t your friends, but it didn’t matter. You just wanted to talk to someone, anyone. It just made you feel as if being here was important.

If you don’t understand why this is a Thing, I doubt you ever will. You’re lucky enough to not need that connection, that you don’t ache when someone else doesn’t ‘get it’… this has taken a very long time for me to get my head around. Other people mistake it for things too, think that perhaps this isn’t just about a dialogue and that you want something more. No, it really isn’t. This is finding empathy, and trying to encourage better dialogue, and if it were an exact science I’d not need to sit here, aching to work out how I stop feeling so fucking empty.

Sometimes, you wish there was a simple answer to your problem.

Open Up

Today, as I though might be the case, is the fastest I’ve done 5 km for almost a year. This time last year I was in the midst of RED January but yesterday, I had a day off. It wasn’t because I was that tired either, it just felt like a good idea, having covered 10 km for the first time the day before. Tomorrow, I have quite a challenging virtual climb to deal with, and we are into the realms of new and unexplored in terms of exercise.

This is an interesting time in terms of knowing what’s possible and what should be avoided. For the record, yesterday’s rest day was the first one taken since December 23rd. That’s not meant as a flex either, it’s just a statement of how much more adjusted I am to working hard and recovering differently. It’s also got a lot to do with the fact I’m not lifting anything hugely heavy and that endorphin burst, as a result, needs to come from somewhere else.

The biggest step forward, undoubtedly, is pulling this level of effort in the real world and not hidden in the shed. A lot of that has to do with a growing confidence from elsewhere: I submitted the NaNo to a contest yesterday, which would NEVER have happened this time last year. There’s a choice, simple and inescapable: either move yourself forward or never know how good you could be. Balancing the options can happen for the rest of my life but nothing ever changes.

It’s time for some positive, assertive action.

Fragment

Objectivity in crisis is a hard ask. It’s why you have to feel for all those people unable to move forward right now, and there are a fuck of a lot of them. How will you ever shift away from the permanent, almost omniscient panic that accompanies not knowing what might happen if you get sick? These are difficult times, and they require unusual bravery to navigate. What this really means is so subjective as to often defy any ability to quantify.

Right now, forward is about realistic aims, in sensible timeframes. When I sat down to try and plan the next year on Patreon, there was the immediate and inescapable understanding that being creative whilst the world is on fire is great, but other stuff matters more… like keeping healthy, and self-care, and most importantly finding time in chaos to allow it all to settle and make sense. That means that there needs to be more time for me, or else we’ll just repeat the same shit that happened last time and no-one learns anything.

In this case, rest has become preferable to change.

It’s odd how we perceive things differently to other people. It’s almost as if everybody is different, and that our interests often need work to remain aligned. Hugh uses three words here, none of which I’d have picked to describe the content, but all of which are both understandable and relevant in context. The amount of assumptive posturing that has taken place as a result of it is unsurprising too. You can make anything relevant to your cause, given enough intelligence and creativity.

I appreciate that other people also view social media in a vastly differing manner to me. This is a fact, not an opinion. Knowing this should mean that you grasp that sometimes, like it or not, you’re never going to get along. Heading these people off at the metaphorical pass has never been more important as it is now. However, crucially, it means that what you hear and see will remain more sanitised and less realistic a view of the true unmitigated horror of reality, and it is horrible. I’m not talking fascism and populism either.

Your biggest enemy is the one with nothing to lose.

What I am is so complicated and multi-faceted even I really don’t have a total handle on what it means. However, one thing that’s inescapable is the need now to survive, and to minimise damage whilst doing so. That means looking for the right people to help and support, and quietly realigning my priorities. That’s what most people try and do at the start of years. This has been going on since the middle of the last one.

Finally, we are beginning to see some real, actual progress.

Harmonium

Sometimes, it isn’t about the right thing, it’s just ANYTHING. Yes, of course you want to move forward and get better, but simultaneously everything is hard and painful and often just easier to rationalise your way out of. I spent most of December convinced the next day would be the one I got sick. With two days to go, my left foot/ankle has begun to spasm, there’s a sore point behind my left kneecap and these things previously would have sent me into meltdown. Now, frankly, I don’t fucking care.

This is a space between different people. The woman who existed before my husband’s positive test, on the back of the eldest testing positive too was really, truthfully, not nearly brutal or ruthless enough. This woman knows what needs to happen for the tide to turn. How you view the world is absolutely key. It’s the difference between 40Β km and 100Β km, when there’re easier means to do both than the ways you initially thought were, in the main, intractable.

It’s the difference between capable and assertive.

How I look and how I feel are now two distinct, separate beasts. When I’m done here I’m going upstairs to throw quite a lot of stuff away for good. There kept being this promise it would happen, but it never did, because the part of me remained that thought what was needed was to fit back into the lives I left behind, instead of burning them to ash. This was never about going back to where it all began, either. This should always have been a push away, as far as possible from what is still there, taunting and being generally unhelpful.

Really, truthfully, everything needs to burn, this time for good.

There are plenty of matches.

Hello, Hello

This is the longest blog break here for a while. I’d like to explain why.

If all I had to do was be more organized, this would be easy. The fact remains there is a lot more to my evolutionary step this time than just writing more lists. I have a body to properly alter, rather than just the (often) token efforts that have been made thus far. Lockdown 2.0 came at a bad time for me. I refuse to lose my progress. Therefore, there’s a lot of hard work to do.

The NaNo has literally written itself. I have my next novel project organized, which is unheard of. Next week I need to look to start editing an existing work too. I’ve not done with poetry, far from it, but right now the storytelling matters more, so that is what I am focussing on. There have been domestic issues too, that have mattered more than being here or using this as routine. Right now, that is NaNo.

I won’t Shonk again this week, the audio’s now out of date, such is the speed that the world works, so we’ll sort it for next week instead. That’s a lot of the problem right now, I am not a fast mover, which is no more apparent than at present. However, with the benefit of a CRACKING night’s sleep… it is true that I need to work more physically to wear me out.

Let’s see if we can keep this up.

Good with my Hands

I’m behind on some things but ahead with others, and to fix everything is a case of concentrating for a bit and moving forward. Some stuff I am still in the habit-forming period of existence, others were just not summat I’ve wanted to do, particularly. Patreon is keeping up to date, which is what matters most.

Video, as it happens, is going extraordinarily well. Gonna redo my Patreon introduction as a result of a tech development today. Should have another video poem finished for Friday. Honestly, all going GREAT, but the best thing of all undoubtedly is exercise. I am now exceeding 2018 levels of fitness. More importantly, Strava is doing good work at reminding me :D

Nine days ago I was beginning to push at 2018 levels. Last night, when I tried and took 46 SECONDS off my personal best… Yeah, there’s a change. I’m gonna keep working at it. Protein shakes are really helping. Muscle mass is on the way up. I got off the bike and felt stronger than has been the case for a LONG time.

More news as it happens.

Becoming More Like Alfie

Yesterday was a triumph of form over function. Who thought that a prose piece would cause so much damage, and that defending other people would be used as a means to attack my position. It is indeed all fun and games until someone’s ego is damaged and then all you have is memories and a far larger block list. Welcome to October, where everything is in free-fall.

Except, as it transpires, this is perfectly fine. No .GIFs of cartoon dogs have been burnt in the making of this blog. I have a minute of video this morning utilising two webcams and Discord, which is fucking light years ahead of where I was two months ago. Knowing how to use it, of course, is a different matter entirely, and now the tech needs to percolate in my brain.

I might be able to manage a poem a week on YouTube, though…

These are all small steps. Seeing my own work up is a step in a decent direction. It all works well in my own mind’s eye. That’s what this is all about, when everything is said and done. It is a slow, measured progression of ideas that started on paper. Now I can plan, and consider new ways to evolve myself, in new forms and possibilities.

All of it, in the end, is only working towards a single goal: expression.

Believe

Today is already quite important.

Loneliness is a big deal for me right now, which may seem incredible under current circumstances. After all, Lockdown is making people variously crave or be genuinely afraid of human contact. For me, however, the mental processes are different, and two incidents over the last 24 hours have finally allowed me to quantify why, right now, it really does feel like all I’m doing is yelling into a void.

It takes me a PHENOMENALLY long time to properly make friends with people. Sure, I can slip into conversations all day and night, hide in plain sight and never, ever feel as if those moments are anything other than totally natural. I’ve also become excellent at reading and taking stuff from other people in without ever needing to interact with them. That comes from decades as text as, in many cases my only contact with other people.

The problem, ultimately, is finding other people like me.

I attended a Time to Change Virtual Networking event yesterday, which was incredibly life affirming and made me realise, yet again, that I’m not alone when it comes to struggling with mental health issues. However, I’m not going to lie, there were moments where I felt unbelievably anxious and very alone indeed and, it’s apparent from distance, that’s because there is no individual interaction in a group of 80 people.

When I ended up in a Breakout room, or in a smaller group for feedback, the whole thing changed. When I’m talking to my local Hub or on a one-to-one with a fellow champion, none of the anxiety or disconnection exists. It is the need to talk to someone but, crucially, for them to share some kind of common bond. It isn’t just the conversation that matters. It is the possibility that someone might care enough to become a friend.

The significance of that realization is still resonating within me.

I have words that explain why I feel this way, that are accompanied by concepts that were introduced during counselling last year. I know full well why the emotions within me exist, and how in the past they pushed me to do things that were harmful and ended up hurting the people I cared about. So many of my issues drift back to never having the information required to be whole growing up. A lot of that was wrapped around my sexuality.

Understanding that I was attracted to both boys and girls several decades after those feelings first became apparent was part of my process of redemption. It has allowed everything to find its correct and proper level. It won’t deal with the consequences however, or make certain anxieties and phobias vanish. That is my job to address and deal with, and it is happening.

It may be self-indulgent, but honestly it should not be a surprise.

Knowing how my physical state affects mental well-being has been a revelation in recent months. Sleep plays a massive factor in understanding. However, more than anything else right now I crave empathic, intellectual connections. It’s why Patreon is so important as a creative tool, to allow me to explore the parts of my brain that so need to become as strong as my legs or arms.

It is why, on Bi Visibility Day, it matters to remind people that I am. It’s why those who malign social media need constant prompting that it isn’t the delivery system that needs work, but how people choose to use it. All of these things make life worth living. They give me purpose, paths and goals to achieve, and without them the Void is very big and it can become increasingly depressing shouting into it.

The problems are mine to fix. I cannot, however, do it alone.

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.