Adventure Time

For the next three days, I am on an adventure. The furthest north I’ve been post Lockdown is Norfolk: this is a lot further afield. Twitter will have pictures, if you are interested in such things.

This is not just time off, though: I am going to film, and to write poetry. It will be interesting to see if a change in location results in a shift in outlook. It will be lovely just to be somewhere else, though, and yes I realize just how lucky I am to have the opportunity to begin with.

Normal service, whatever the fuck that is, will be back on Monday.

Getting Better

It is important to note that I have stopped hoping someone will notice my work. It’s not that I no longer care about critical acclaim or professional progress, rather that I know now, for an absolute certainty, that this shit was never in my hands to begin with.

I can put myself out there and hope, but honestly, it is just that. Nobody knows who the fuck I am until THEY accept I exist. This is the real, inescapable truth. My work ethic is Good Enough [TM] and has been for some while. Now, it is about patience and time.

There are many other things to be doing, and I need to stop berating myself up about how they are conducted: MANY things are part of this process, all of which are enriching my life for the better. It is time to concentrate on them while other people catch up. Allow yourself to fail.

Endless Art

The artwork is doing an important job. It is allowing me to release unexpected mental pressure. That means despite deciding I would stop drawing, tonight it’s continued to leech out of me. Tomorrow I need to tidy and organize to get back to some kind of normality, and to fit that drawing into the process. I’m not sure how it happens as yet, but it will.

This is an important change that needs to be dealt with.

Tears of a Clown

It’s never easy to be honest with yourself, it’s why so many people spend their entire lives refusing to do so. You know someone like this. Maybe today is the day when you go and start a conversation with them and maybe help them talk about what’s bothering them. It doesn’t have to be Mental Health Awareness Week to instigate a change. Any day will do. Except, on this particular Wednesday, why not try summat different. Start a conversation, and maybe potentially change a life.

Freedom 90

It’s been proper mad since Thursday. I’m running on five hours sleep, with a high stress presentation under my belt, and literally only now sat and realized ‘oh yeah, you haven’t blogged anything for three days…’ except of course I have, but that was work, not personal. Anyway, the project above is why I’m not really here right now. That needs to change tomorrow coz I just booked a new Open Mic spot for Thursday. It’s all go here, chums.

A few weeks back, someone forced-unfollowed me on social media who was involved in a local arts project I really wanted to be a part of. This morning, unsurprisingly, I discovered they’d not picked my work. I make no secret of how badly people can be treated in rejection. This one was the final straw. I am not going to be beholden to such folly again. My path is mine to dictate from now on and though there may be struggle, I’m not fucking working with those people ever again.

It takes time to form habits. There is merit in failing, multiple times, in order to finally find the means by which success can be held and nurtured. This is absolutely the way now, under my own steam and on my own terms and woe betide anyone who now tries to stop the march of progress, because not only is it coming, it has already arrived. You will rue the day you decided not to include me.

I have a remarkably long memory.

Manic Monday

Day One Proper of my Big Advocacy Gig went off largely without a hitch. I am really having to work rather hard now to concentrate on writing sentences, however, which probably means that a cheeky nap is in my future. The amount of anxiety generated by trying to be someone who looks both focussed and organized is equal to ten times the normal expended energy output. It is a tough ask, even now, to play the part of someone who’s not panicking internally all the fucking time.

However, it is having an effect. People are listening, and conversations are being started, but as this is only Week One of Twelve, I probably need to do something about better management of my feelings. Also, really, will need more sleep than I’m currently managing. I’m not sure why that is either, but it isn’t about the amount of work I’m doing, that is certain. Once this week’s stress over making video wears off, we’ll be in a better place.

I have one out of seven done, and if a nap is secured later, we’ll make that three before the end of the day. The video is all finished and planned, just have to record audio and do the construction work. You’ll see them in a week, which is Mental Health Awareness Week. I hope I can make every one a part of a cohesive, narrative journey.

Filthy/Gorgeous

Not nearly as angry today as I expected to be, but for large portions of the working portion of business it did feel as if I was being followed around by Tim Curry as IT with a rubber hammer, with which he would hit me on the head every ten minutes or so before cackling demonically. I couldn’t breathe properly when weightlifting, nearly fell flat on my face on the run back. Of course, nobody got hurt, and it was all just minor mental inconvenience… but the point remains. some days it’s the stress that divides good work from just work.

For those of you don’t know, I’ve been accepted by the local NHS mental health unit for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) as part of a longer journey to uncover what is going on in my head. The wait for this has been three weeks to be initially assessed and a week for the okay, and I’ve probably had four good night’s sleep that entire time. I have, effectively, been running on empty and am only now returning to what could be probably considered as normal. It’s also played havoc with eating habits. I need to fix a lot of stuff.

One of the things I’ve stopped doing is blogging, mostly because once a week I record twenty minutes of video blog for Patreon and, at least over the last few weeks, after that there’s been no extra mental space to accommodate anything else. Last week however I did a Zoom event, a Poetry Book launch and an Open Mic poetry/prose evening. It’s beginning to fit into place. The only problem, such as it is, remains getting other people to appreciate my poetry enough to publish it. However, as we come up on four years of doing this shit, there is undoubted progress. If there wasn’t, I wouldn’t be leaving the old life behind for good.

In a certain light, things appear to be going very well indeed.

Therefore, having tried to do a Newsletter and having had nobody really that encouraged to keep reading, I’m going back to what I know best. It helps that there is now a regular stream of actual life to report on too, that I’m pushing myself into things properly for the first time in probably six months. Let’s be honest, a lot of the time when there’s been no desire to share has coincided in when my mental health was sub-optimal. With a haircut (finally) and some genuine encouragement on my work, it is all just better.

Yes, I KNOW my own validation is all that matters, but sometimes it really helps when someone else turns up and reinforces that.

Unfinished Sympathy

This was written today, because if it were tomorrow, I would have not yet moved on, and that’s what needs to happen. That’s the problem with the World now: all these time zones, so much difference between what’s not for me and then for others. I could have scheduled for Monday but, by then, this is history. It’s taken a year, give or take, to decouple myself from an online persona that effectively saved my life. Some might want to use that as fuel going forward, but after I watched a grown woman on Friday night tell me how she stopped herself from taking her own life, something fundamental altered inside.

Knowing you are not alone is great: believing it is a different concept entirely.

When all is said and done, I have always thrived when nurtured. The problem in this Existence of Noise, which it undoubtedly has become right now, remains filtering out the stuff that is harmful. An awful lot of it isn’t, far more than you might think. So many good ideas come from Social media, staggering depth and breadth of beauty, and if you’re not smart enough to understand the difference between a need and an ask, it can all get terribly difficult to rationalize. It’s why it took so long to sort the transition out properly.

I remember someone long gone from what is now my personal feed, someone I’d loved as a mutual and wished for as a friend, staging the most impressive exit from the platform. I should have gone when he did, on reflection. That moment has been thought on for the longest time, that he did it right, and I’ve spent years hanging on hoping certain people might stop thinking this was what my life was, when it became just a place I lived in and stayed part of for so long out of an obligation to others. Those who interact and give back have kept me sane, and there’s hope that many of those will come and join me on this new journey.

However, many won’t, and now I have to move on.

Undoubtedly the problem before was the thought I couldn’t cope without that presence as support. When it became apparent that it was perfectly possible to cope on my own, the requirement was redundant.

If you’re reading this from the pinned tweet on my personal account: yes, I’m still there, but its no longer where I work.

I have finally accepted that, and moved on.

The Motor

It’s that moment when you realize that, actually, these people aren’t actually your friends, they are just Mutuals being polite because if they WERE your friends they’d have worked out how fucked you are right now and will have reached out and offered to help. It’s the comprehension that you are running at a different frequency to everybody else: mostly just out of their field of vision, undoubtedly over their range of hearing.

It’s the time to be polite and let people know what’s going on, whilst accepting most of them won’t even fucking notice anyway. Those who do understand that this isn’t like the other times either, she’s not doing it for attention but actually quite the opposite. She doesn’t need you to agree with her any more either. This is not about a fan club. It’s the realization this voice in her head is NEVER going away and that the cadence has existed for a very long time indeed.

It’s all here, like it’s always been for the entirety of my life but only now do I have the physical strength to mentally manage that workload. Six years to get tough enough. Absolutely worth the effort, and it’s not like I’m going to stop here either. The next twenty-four hours is gonna feel like a month, but on the other side is progress. That prolific work rate should have been the red flag a lot sooner, but it’s okay now, we’ve got this. The problem comes when people do actually start listening… but really, after all this time…

Is anyone really that bothered except me?

Inside Out

As I was working in the Gym this morning with my PT, she remarked how I seemed to be thriving right now in my exercise goals. Except, I’m not. This is me, coping. It’s hard work, and I am always tired and progress is just the next thing I can do without having to spend all my time thinking about it, and therefore wearing myself out even further. It’s an interesting observation, that on the outside I look assured but on the inside, it’s actually a mess.

I’m also writing a selection of mental health poetry for Patreon, and this morning a poet of some note remarked how my choice of titles was far more optimistic than she herself would have considered, and now I’m absolutely positive there is a disconnect at work between how I see the world and how the world sees me. This is going to make for an interesting conversation with the mental health people on Thursday.

This week is one to watch, people.