Underneath it All

header12

You cannot choose the people you inspire, or that will like you and most crucially of all, however hard you try, some people will never be your friends. I’ve learnt this lesson the hard way over the years: there’ll always be someone who you think you’d like to get to know better and then something will happen to ensure that never comes to pass. The last situation in which this transpired came back to haunt me at the weekend, a mutual tweeting someone who I reached out to but… on reflection, it wouldn’t have worked. They wouldn’t have been the problem, either. I would have ruined it.

The people that have helped chart the course over the last few years have been getting thank you’s this month (as I mentioned back at the start of November) and with the last four this week comes to pass an event that has made a lot of sense in the wider scope of what I’d like to happen going forward. You can give blanket thanks to people on Social media all day and night, knowing that many users simply read what they need or want into situations regardless of your desirers. Naming names is the way people understand how much they matter to you, pure and simple.

magicdove.gif

Sometimes, people get disappointed. They put a lot more emphasis on you than is the case the other way. When I do a cursory account check of new people to follow, it is always with half an eye on who else they consider interesting. It means if you’re reading this and your Twitter friends list is full of female ‘online personalities’ and porn robots, I’m fairly confident we won’t have a lot in common. I’m pushing more and more for those people who understand that participation isn’t just complaining online about how unfair life is, those willing and prepared to give back more than they take out. Thinking needs to be the default these days, however tough that might be on a daily basis. That means not only considering what you say, but more crucially what you don’t.

think_patrons.png

Having survived the early stage of Patreon, it is time to start raising the bar. Persuading people to give you money (especially in this day and age) is a tough ask. I have big plans starting this week, and need to get more people on board, who are prepared to take a chance on me and what I believe in. We don’t need to be friends for this to happen, either. However, that might happen, or it might not… a lot of it isn’t up to me to begin with. Life isn’t a predictable set of occurrences. If we get lucky, then so be it.

Sometimes, just inspiring people to be better is enough.

Bad Day

header98

There’s a trend of late, that disturbs me greatly. Someone who clearly has an axe to grind at the actions of someone else will post something via Social media to the effect of ‘oh my God this is terrible and WRONG and as a result I won’t buy/watch/take part in this thing any more.’ Let me give you an example that Duncan Jones tweeted into my timeline late yesterday evening:

Of course, all of this indignation hinges on your definition of wrong. As men have been kissing each other since Roman times, I see no problem with television showing the action. I also see no problem with people calling someone out who mistakenly has decided that allowing this in a sci-fi show is somehow appealing to a demographic, when that show has historically broken cultural barriers since debuting in the 1960’s. Some people have short memories, and many others need to understand that the wrong they’re seeing is not somebody else’s problem, but their own perception at fault.

More people need to admit they’re wrong in public.

The last month has seen a palpable sea change in the US over what counts as decent behaviour. There’s a realisation emerging that shallow, indistinct indignation is no longer enough to make the changes people want, and more and more individuals are taking matters into their own hands. Slowly, but surely, the swamp might yet begin to drain, but not perhaps in the way many Republicans expected. The acid test is whether telling other people someone is wrong works in the same way as that person admitting the fault themselves. In this case, silence seems only to confirm culpability, as has been the case for Weinstein and an increasing number of high profile celebrities.

judgingyou

However, sometimes sorry is not enough. Sure, its great to be vindicated, and refreshing to be proven correct, but when apologies come from people you cannot believe understand the value of either contrition or remorse… it is a very human emotion to want justice, and to demand acceptance. However, nobody learns anything until the fundamentals are grasped with considerably more willingness. Teaching people it is weak to admit failure is bollocks. Knowing how to fail is a skill far more people need to learn and accept as part of life. The trick, as is the case with most things, is finding the balance. I can build myself up and knock myself down without anyone else involved. Sometimes, that’s essential to get the day done.

Mostly, if you could stop thinking that what two blokes do on screen is corrupting your society that seems happy to attack women, ostracise anyone who’s not white and condemn other religions that aren’t Christianity? That might be a start. However, please don’t go too far the other way. Listening to people on my Social media feed publicly blaming other people for their own inability to self-help, self-care or make the best of what are incredibly privileged situations to begin with seems to be flavour of the month. Maybe the answer isn’t to sit there feeling sorry for yourself but start effecting long term change. I began with 30 minutes around the block every day. The first step is the hardest, but the benefits (trust me) are enormous.

After that, if you’re happier pretending everybody else is wrong but you, you’re probably on your own.

Royals

header92.png

There’s an inspirational image out there somewhere if I could be bothered to look for it, that would state something like the following: Don’t worry about the haters. Just be you. That’s what I’m doing right now. Just being me.

Amazingly, this shit appears to work.

There is a fuck of a lot of stabilising going on, I should add at this point. I may look elegant and swan-like on the surface, but if you stare beneath the waterline? ALL THE PADDLING. However, I am quietly beginning to grasp that the less I worry, the more stuff coalesces. Finding new things to talk about has certainly helped, and keeping a focus on my novel is really beginning to bear fruit.

laughter

Also, taking the piss out of myself is becoming increasingly less stressful. Yes, you cannot take any of this too seriously. I’ve seen what happens when you do that, and we’re not turning the bus back that way anytime soon. Therefore, genuine laughter has happened at several points this week. I’m still struggling a bit with decent sleep, but the trend is undoubtedly upwards, and yesterday evening’s message most definitely helped, even if I’m a little sore this morning. The bits all end up as part of my whole. I’d forgotten that: not just the sleep, or the training, or the banter or the words. ALL OF IT TOGETHER.

dancing.gif

Strap in, lovelies. Shit’s beginning to get REALLY interesting.

Begin Again

NovemberReboot

Life is too short to wait until January to instigate change. All this stuff about Resolutions following a month of utter excess at Christmas… nope. It isn’t an attempt to be edgy or somehow innovative either. Every day I sit and do nothing will never be given back. That time isn’t suddenly more relevant when a new year starts. All that bollocks at wishing 2016 away was completely counterproductive as if forgetting the bad stuff existed will somehow negate the stupidity. Everybody holds individual responsibility for the life they lead, and the choices made.

It is time for me to step up and really start changing the World for the better.

30 THANK YOUS 2.png

This task, undoubtedly, will be fraught with potential Drama [TM] as a result. I already know there’ll be someone who, after a month of being positive to those who I know have brought me to this point, will attack me for not thanking them. The point of choosing these 30 people was not to exclude you. This attitude will be typical of the problem that makes the Internet the cesspool of negative wankery that it inevitably becomes when you can’t get your own way. If you assume importance in my life to the point where such a slight is enough to make you angry, you’re really not getting the reason why I did it.

Maybe we can all learn from that and move on.

lemmethink

Nobody says any of this shit is easy. If it were, there’d not be the level of noise and angst in the world. It is, in simple terms, the difference between eating breakfast at 7 am and being hungry until 11.30 am. Today, I don’t eat at my normal time and write this post, before I go and do 45 minutes of Yoga, to help the body recover from blood donating on Monday. Then, I make breakfast, which effectively becomes lunch. Sometimes, you have to accommodate change. I’m awful at it. That’s part of my long-term plan for November. Become more flexible in mind and body. Bend like the reed. 

I will never know how much time I have to become better, so maybe it is time to just do what needs to be done NOW and not hope it all gets better on its own.

itried

This month, I want to try and inspire everybody I know to look at themselves with a more critical eye. PLEASE NOTE I am not expecting or asking for change. That’s not my job to do: I’ve come to that conclusion now, after a long time where I hoped others would see sense and do the right thing for themselves. There is no way to get someone to do something if that thing is not attractive to them. Only by a cold, hard look inside yourself can change be affected. It’s why I have no desire to be evangelical, or rebrand myself as some kind of Inspirational guru. Telling people to be happy is bollocks. Reminding people they matter is only ever any use if they will believe that themselves.

Maybe, if you say the same stuff enough times and show it works for you, other people might consider the possibility they’re not alone. You don’t make money from that or sell it as an Instagram-style aesthetic. You just stop fucking about and do shit.

That’s the plan for November. Let’s go.

Panic

header81.png

Yesterday was a hard one for me. I woke up ready to do a lot of important stuff with my son, who completely forgot we’d organised it. This makes me cross,  but I’m trying not to get angry about it, so there was lots of deep breathing and patience. Then my daughter insisted on rearranging my afternoon. I was about 82% cool about this. After all, until both of them are 18, I am still responsible for actions and that means… well, being flexible. There were days I’d really struggle with this when I (and more importantly they) were younger.

By teatime, I was mentally exhausted, and still hadn’t done a weights day at the Gym, so managed to get myself out of the house. Arriving at said establishment, it became apparent that they were holding a ‘Power Hour’: DJ, lots of free instruction, and no way I’d be able to do what I’d planned. If I’d been in private I’d have just gone and locked myself in my bedroom and cried over the change… however I was stuck in the lobby, waiting to get in.

I panicked.

whatisthisfuckery

Except, this time I didn’t just turn and go home, which was normally how I’d deal with these situations in the past. I focussed on breathing and trying to make the feelings of anxiety and fear into something positive. After all, I’ve been practising all this mindfulness for exactly these occasions. This is the moment where I’m supposed to use the shit to good effect… and I was reasonably successful. There were no (major) tears and a surprisingly dispassionate response to all of it. However, my higher brain functions largely shut down, I forgot how to talk and so just ran and Octane-d. However, I did force myself to do the Negatives in front of about double the normal number of Friday night Gym goers.

I still feel sick this morning: however, once I’ve eaten and had a cuppa I’ll go and walk back there and do the weights I couldn’t do yesterday, so I have done at least two sessions this week. I can return to three next week as everyone is back at school. On reflection, I know now all the reasons why yesterday ended up as it did. I can work out how to make things better based on a whole day’s worth of data. I can also be reassured that the Mindfulness training has 100% improved my entire existence. Yesterday could have ended up as the first day when I truly went backwards on exercise, but instead, it will now be remembered as the first day I fought, beat and won against a panic attack.

power

I ache a lot this morning, and very little of it is to do with last night’s exercise, I suspect: stress has begun to physically manifest in my body as I have gotten older. My sleep wasn’t stellar last night either as a result but I got a full 8 hours in total, so that’s enough. I wanted to write this down this morning after a night to reflect because I’m only just beginning to grasp how important yesterday was in making sure I’m mentally prepared for what is to come. Doing stuff on my own used to be a fraught experience, but not so much now.

I look forward to the day when I can breeze through everything and wonder what the fuss was about, to begin with.

Skylark

header34

There are pictures on the Mac to my right that form part of a screensaver. They’re of me, wearing a dress for last year’s Works Christmas do held by husband’s favourite supplier. The more I stare at them, the less I recognise the person staring back. Somewhere between December and now, a major shift of being has taken place. Intrinsically, I remain the whole that has always existed but something fundamental has grown, where before there was just empty space. It isn’t just the exercise either. Opening my creative avenues to possibilities that were simply too frightening a year ago, there has come a significant shift in so many outlooks.

I’m still a mess though, and maybe that’s finally something to consider as a positive.

laughter

I don’t stop being shit at stuff. Learning to ‘be better’ doesn’t mean I become some superior human being either: I’ve become more adept at seeing what I do that’s shit and possibly being able to stop that happening before I make a mess of things. That whole thinking before you speak thing’s really got some merit, so when you throw yourself into my mentions trying to be all edgy and cool and I tell you it’s not helpful, I thought REALLY hard about the consequences. Most of the time now, I won’t engage anybody in conversation without some real conviction behind my words.

I also do a lot of watching that never happened previously. As time allows me the measure of contemplation on previous mistakes made, comes an understanding that there’s a better than average chance I’d have fucked all that previous stuff up anyway. The good people, the really decent ones who see the whole picture and not just edited highlights, get what I am, to begin with, the complex combination of neuroses and control, imperfect balance of perception and dispair. There is no need to keep explaining for their benefit. All the narrative is for me as my journey becomes clear.

I’m here to make myself better or die trying.

bookschoose

Right now, I feel like an incomplete sculpture. Piece by piece, hands mould me into a different version of myself, still made from the same basic raw material. It’s like my features were compacted, flattened, old look just not quite right, and a new artist has come in to oversee a makeover. Except this is not dressing the same, or eating as was the case before… or indeed so many other things. It is not a tailor’s dummy being given different materials to fashion over a frame. This is the body itself becoming a new frame onto which and within so much will now need to change.

Internally, my mind is much like the house around me: piles of stuff, waiting to be sorted, things on lists flagged up for alteration once the basic processes are ingrained as repetition. Order, like it or not, is the most vital part of progress. Chaos allows growth, but often without workable form. I the midst of all of this there is a path and a plan, and if I can keep control of my own body’s anger in all of its forms?

There’s a seismic shift not far away.

Mercy Street

header5

My sleep pattern is so badly shot that Fitbit has three distinct blocks of it recorded for yesterday into today. However, this is better than yesterday, and definitely an improvement on Saturday. Today is great, for lots of reasons. First up?

I can clean and press with weight on a bar for four sets of eight repetitions.

I doubt my arms will be up to much tomorrow but right now they’re still celebrating. I’ve flirted with doing this before, but never a full set of anything. This is a MASSIVE improvement. Secondly, I have successfully meditated more than once. I grasped at the tail end of last week that it was that plus the essay I wrote on Friday that made me remember stuff from earlier in my life I’d wanted to forget, which had combined with a hormonal overdose at the weekend to just send brain and body into freefall. Whilst a lot of it is still not really under control, I have a handle on everything else.

There is enough here to work with.

gotthis

After today I promise to keep the navel contemplation to a minimum. I have some REALLY good news on the weight front to talk about, and some discussions to have on the back of the Weinstein furore. Instead of making it about me we’ll focus on other things, and I’ll now go and try and work out what got missed from last week.

We’re all going to head forward now, okay?