Breathe

It’s almost been a month with the Health Wearable not owned by Google and the benefits of this piece of tech are becoming apparent. For a start, it pairs with the static bike trainer I use for virtual cycling without so much of a complaint. It has a problem with units of measurement at present, but we can fix that without too much pain in post-production. All the important stuff still gets saved.

Then yesterday, after the stress of two submissions back to back, it vibrated and asked me if I’d like to do some focussed breathing exercises to relax. It can tell me how uptight I am in traffic (a lot of late it must be said, after a couple of bad experiences in the last few weeks) and as a result I find myself wondering how to get those numbers down. I like the irony of having to reduce output to gain result.

It ought to bother me more that the answers to so many of my questions have been ‘out here’ for a very long time and I’ve just not known which questions to ask. Except that to learn how to be better, one has to also be able to accept what isn’t optimal and then work from there first. To accept knowledge, you have to be prepared to listen and that’s the biggest issue of all. It’s a complex equation based on your willingness to receive.

That’s a fact lost on an awful lot of people right now. Whether it be cultural insensitivity, political affiliation or even spoiling a favourite TV show, there’s a multitude of ways in which we can show just how ignorant and unwilling we truly are. Often you may not even realise it’s happening: in social situations, especially, the truth about prejudice and ignorance can be very hard to hide, ot ignore once seen or heard.

Ultimately, I really want to get better not just at running and weightlifting and writing,  but at interaction with other human beings. I want to start conversations that are difficult, and push through issues that make people uncomfortable. There continue to be no easy answers in life, and although once I was happy to live without conflict, I feel this is the moment to change a long-held view.

Education makes everyone better long term. Understanding does, with help and support, build greater tolerance and accommodation. That has to be a better way for everyone. If it means coming out of comfort zones whilst learning something about myself in the process, then so be it. To want something enough, there has to be a part of yourself given as means for progression. I’m gonna do this.

I know at least my health wearable will be looking out for me when I do.

Think

Following on from Wednesday’s ‘it’s not them, it’s you’ discussion, yesterday’s Twitter flashpoint became frustrating beyond belief, finally resulting in me having to sit on my hands for most of the afternoon. The details, of course, are irrelevant to everybody but the person who, ultimately, decided to make everything about them whilst completely missing the point of the discussion.

We really, REALLY need to have some rules about what is acceptable behaviour when people are critical of something you are involved in. Individual interpretation is unique. It does not represent ‘all experiences’ and when someone is trying to make a larger, more important point, assuming they’ve had a dig at you along the way when that absolutely didn’t happen isn’t just churlish, it’s potentially dangerous.

You’re not brave any more, but ignorant.

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Spending an entire month trying to encourage discussion on mental health has pulled up some very interesting debate: the most important part of which, undoubtedly, being how to react when other people opine. Overcoming shortcomings in your head will end up colouring EVERYTHING that you hear and see: trust me on this. However capable you might feel, it’s incredibly easy to be derailed.

That’s happened two nights in a row for me at Blaze class: on both occasions, there’s been a board of entirely red heart rate monitors, except mine. Being different is okay when nobody can see that difference close up, but once it ends up being splashed across multiple TV screens for an entire room to see? It is really hard to ignore the truth. Then it isn’t about other people being nice to you. It’s you, reality that need to be addressed.

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I know why those red numbers don’t happen. All the really sound, based in science, nothing I can actually fix right now issues sit in my head, clearly defined. I also grasp what needs to take place to make them happen. That’s a task that’s being chipped away at, day at a time. Doing it in public has a useful, constructive consequence. Maybe people will be able to identify with the issue and feel affinity.

The last thing I’d ever do in these situations is engage with people who I feel don’t understand or grasp what I’m going through. It’s really, really easy to make the assumption that people will attack you for being different, and in the modern world it’s almost become a badge of honour. I was brave enough to speak out and then nasty people trolled me. Except, more and more, that’s really not the case.

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Having different ethical ideas to someone else is not an attack. Pointing out your experience will rarely be unique is not abusive either. Using you as an example in a wider issue does not mean that person is trolling you: this is a public platform. I see that Twitter this week will be rolling out tools to allow you to decide who gets to reply to your tweets: soon, if all that matters is saying stuff without being challenged, there’ll be a setting for that.

Of course it’s meant for people who just want to post their news without a bazillion troll accounts hanging onto the tweet for traction. It’ll undoubtedly be used by people who just want to be seen, and never challenged, and this is the bigger problem. Discussion means people are allowed to have an opinion and say it, even if you don’t like it. If you choose to interpret a civil discussion as a personal attack on the state or existence of your backbone?

That’s still your problem to solve and not anyone else’s to care about.

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There are too many fragile egos on Social media… far, FAR too many people who don’t get that to survive long term, you will require mental strength. If you sign up to be famous, it comes now with responsibilities and caveats, and those in turn have important mental health implications. There’s a lot of people doing great work on these, across the wider spheres of the internet. Seek these people out, they will educate you.

I keep seeing other people interpreting ‘speaking out’ over mental health issues as bravery. It isn’t, simply an essential part of the process to help yourself get better. Admitting you have the issue in public means it won’t go away. It also means, inevitably, you will be criticised. There will be backlash. Ignorant people will not understand, but others will want to have a discussion.

The LAST THING you want to do is then decide that nobody gets to talk about your issues. If you are prepared to go public, that means you’re also prepared to deal with the consequences. This is how life works. If there’s not a willingness to stand by the courage of your convictions, then why bother saying it in the first place? If you won’t use these experiences to fuel your own evolution, what really is the point?

These are the consequences of your own actions.

King of Pain

Yesterday’s dentistry continues to vex me today. However, if honest, pain is at levels far lower than 24 hours ago, even with the benefit of three times the normal dose of injected numbing shiz… which tastes awful when the dentist fires it into your mouth and almost chokes you with it. It wasn’t all bad though, I got a commission out of it. All that needed was to destroy my mouth in the process.

Easy game.

This morning, I finally went and talked to the Health Club about Mental health and exercise plus other shiz. It all went remarkably well, considering. I had a receptive audience, who understands what needs to be done. We will see.

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Oh yeah, and the Bond 25 trailer’s due on Wednesday:

At least we’ve stopped trying to dress up that Mr Craig’s over 50, but honestly…nothing here screams of the originality that’s supposed to be dragging this franchise into the 21st century. Yeah, I know, it’s only 20 seconds, but what you stick in your promo is a big deal. However, whatever happens tomorrow, this is already a done deal for me. I’ll wait for it to hit DvD.

I’m not shelling out cash to see this at a cinema. The last Bond I did that for was Skyfall, after which this franchise and me were done, and still are. You cannot make this character relevant, and if you did, it would break the concept. So, you either pretend you care, or you move on. It’s time to do the latter. When all is said and done, there are better ways to use my time.

I hear Knives Out is really worth a watch.

Don’t Stand So Close to Me

Yesterday I took my first steps to becoming a Time to Change Champion. It is a process that will be better detailed on the work blog, because poetry needs to be part of the process too. For now, an important epiphany has resulted from a couple of hours in a lovely church annex: difference is perfectly fine. It isn’t like this wasn’t a realisation before, either: it is okay to admit to strangers you are flawed.

By doing so, you become further empowered to do good.

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What has become increasingly apparent is the level of awareness other people have of such personal shortcomings. Ignorance is the biggest single obstacle to overcome when trying to teach anybody anything: wilful ignorance has almost become a fashion accessory for some individuals in the modern world. As long as I am not inconvenienced, what harm does it cause not to be bothered?

Those people will never be reached on massive platforms like this. They continue to be joyfully obsessed with everything that matters to them. Those are not the people who will ever be reached unless you can get them on their own, free of distraction or influence. The best work, undoubtedly, is when unused nerves can be struck, or an unexpected response can be stimulated.

This is where I feel I have a real chance of affecting some change.

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As I said, go follow the work blog if you really care about such things. It will undoubtedly be mentioned in passing here, especially as I start training in January. You can also expect a few changes in other places too, because I am well aware that to make these new directions effective, there has to be places to relax and enjoy myself.  Plans are already in place for some new directions…

This is exactly the right thing to be doing.

Sing it Back

…ooh look, it’s two days into a new month and I’ve not put my belt on yet. Dun worry, that’ll all change tomorrow. For now, it’s probably time to celebrate last month’s achievement.

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4611 MEP’s to beat… that’s gonna take some work. I could strap on the belt 24/7, I suppose, but that rather defeats the object of the exercise. What’s needed here is CONSISTENCY, which is really quite easy to work on. Keep the rest days, know when it’s appropriate not to push, and ensure that there’s a proper balance between cardio and strength training.

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I always knew today would need to be an enforced rest day, and undoubtedly as we get closer to Christmas there will be other days where it is impossible to fit in the exercise required. If there’s a feeling on Tuesday morning there’s enough energy to catch up on today’s missed work I will, but it’s more likely to be a gimme. 22 days out of 31 with summat is brilliant. 

The aim is 20 days minimum on the calendar for November.

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With the news breaking yesterday that Google’s bought Fitbit, you’ll all soon be able to see my data, all over the interwebs without me needing to do screencaps… ^^ Until the changeover happens, I have plenty of opportunities to work on that 12k a day step total. If I wondered why I was so wiped after Wednesday night this week, I reckon almost 20k including a Blaze with hill incline runs probably had summat to do with it…

That’s tomorrow’s task too, with some heavy lifting thrown in for good measure. Why am I doing all this again…?

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However, I will be very much enjoying not having exercised today, oh yes…

Lucky Number

This weekend, I’m off up to the north of the county for initial training, so I can become a Mental Health Champion. I’m not sure about the last word in that title: most days, heroic is not a state of mind. To be that kind of person (in my head) requires an ability to self-believe, and after yesterday’s news that however healthy I may look and feel, the truth is some way from that… well, this is going to take a bit of work.

It doesn’t help that there’s been a bit of a struggle of late with what really matters as ‘important’ past family and writing. My favourite hobby’s taken a considerable battering in the last couple of months, plus I’ve had a fairly significant disconnect with socialising. It is all stress-related, a sensible brain rationalises, but now comes understanding that there’s more to it than that. My needs, undoubtedly, just do not mesh with the World.

I think this is what could be considered as an existential crisis.

The problem, undoubtedly, is trauma. Although it is reasonably simple to remove the physical vestiges of events, mental detritus requires considerably more effort. It means that in a group of people I don’t know, save for one or two people, it is sometimes impossible to function correctly… by which, to feel like anything except a total impostor. It’s also beginning to put strain on certain relationships, because I’m not ‘normal’ when it comes to reactions or actions.

Is this fixable? If you want to be a part of society, undoubtedly at some point, things need to change from the intractable. Expecting other people to accommodate your world view is largely unreasonable… except that’s becoming the way increasing numbers of people cope with their own existence. To be happy, maybe you do just ignore everybody else and do your own thing, even if it is to the detriment of others…

… except no, that’s not what’s wanted or needed to be happy. Sure, there has to be a level of self-promotion and self-belief to push yourself into a career where words matter, but honestly that can be done with one eye on other people and another on the matter in hand. If true happiness is the destination, then understanding shortcomings will really matter. Only by improving yourself will anything ever alter to the good.

This will, undoubtedly, put me in opposition with those who think and feel differently. It does, on a daily basis, if truth be told. Dependence and delusion in one person’s eyes can very easily be requirement and salvation in someone else’s, facts that are abundantly obvious whenever social media is opened. How others choose to deal with their own issues is up to them: you really don’t get a say.

Lots of people need to grasp that reality is accommodation and frustration combined.

PMA

As to how I deal with disparity inside me? Talking about it is really helpful. Knowing where in my brain requires a clear-out is a definite advantage, although it is not simply a case of shoving everything in a bin bag and dumping it at the tip. Some very difficult and painful memories remain to be unpicked, places and times finally rationalised. Undoubtedly, it is easier to do this with sugary and fatty food as comfort.

Maybe cold turkey is the best answer for everything right now.

Waiting for the Man

Normally I’d write this blog early, preferably before starting work on the week’s project. Except, today that direction took precedent, then there had to be some PT (more of which at the weekend) and I’ve only just recovered sufficiently from that to be here and ready to write. Needless to say, it’s been a BIG DAY.

It’s my birthday this week: no, there is no celebration scheduled. I’ll go to the Gym in the morning, probably work on some writing stuff, maybe treat myself to a birthday cupcake. There needs to be pictures taken, and some made into blog headers. I can afford to go buy a couple of pairs of new glasses from the discount store down the road. All of this is a world and a bit away from how I felt this time last year.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this positive ever for a birthday week before. Normally summat is bothering me, or there’s a moment of panic the World is getting away from me. This year, none of that: I am truly in the moment. Problems are dealt with as they happen. There’s less worry over everything than has ever existed up until this point. Truly, this is the land of new and unexplored possibilities.

It’s a fucking great time to be alive.

When I grow up I wanna be able to dance like this. I’d love to be a freerunner. All these things that (quite obviously) will not come to pass can at least be entertained in my head, whereas before there’d be just anger that time wasn’t being properly used and that everything was awful, and it was all my fault. I don’t want to go back to that past, the places that existed before. I know where the true joy lies for me now.

It’s great not to be on places like Facebook any more. The people who used to be part of my life are gone, truly history there is absolutely no desire to ever revisit. I’m not interested in my ancestors, or school reunions, or having those moments when others go ‘oh yeah, do you remember that time when…’ because I don’t. My life now is the last decade from time to time, yesterday maybe but pretty much now.

I am here, and ready to roll.

I’ve learnt the lesson. I’m never going back.