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.

The End

We present as part of Time To Talk’s national day of discussion about mental health (Feb 7th) a week’s worth of posts about how this 52 year old finally made a difference and started listening to herself and others, before determining to improve life for the better…

These views are mine alone, and absolutely 100% do not mesh with anybody else’s opinion on anything. WELCOME TO HOW BLOGS WORK.


Day 7:
Next verse, same as the first…

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I’ve spent a week talking about mental health.

Now, it’s up to you.

Start talking, look for help, and move forward. Even if they’re tiny steps, that’s better than nothing. You can make a difference not just to other people’s lives but your own.

Time to move forward.

Friends will be Friends

We present as part of Time To Talk’s national day of discussion about mental health (Feb 7th) a week’s worth of posts about how this 52 year old finally made a difference and started listening to herself and others, before determining to improve life for the better…

These views are mine alone, and absolutely 100% do not mesh with anybody else’s opinion on anything. WELCOME TO HOW BLOGS WORK.


Day 6:
Learning to listen is important.

Advice

If you are lucky enough in life to achieve your dreams, however small or large they may be, a moment will undoubtedly occur where someone will present you with the means to help you enjoy that experience more. Normally, these people are the individuals who have already experiences a portion of those dreams, and are now off pursuing other aspirations a little way up the corporate ladder of achievement. I was given a massive piece of advice at my reading last night: it’s the outward breath that matters. Just like exercise, learning to control that  is a big deal. This nugget will go with me for the rest of my life.

My best mate told me how to not freak over people in the room with me. My husband just reminded to be myself, and was incredibly supportive of the journey. All of this advice is offered without prejudice, and is so immensely useful for someone who is only now learning how to interact correctly with the world. That’s why, over the next few weeks, I’ll be stripping out people who don’t seem to care about the stuff I do, and in some cases, are only interested in the sound of their own voice.

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Friendship needs to be a reciprocal process for it to work properly. That means, when  this is done, I gotta write some thank you letters to those who have been hugely helpful in getting me to this point. Their support and understanding is as much the reason that this all works, to be honest. Remembering that is a really significant part of a process that is increasingly lost via the Internet. Real friends do exist out here, of course, and anybody who tells you otherwise is an all out liar.

Also, I can see you people pretending you’re doing that, when you’re so totally not.

Living on an Island

We present as part of Time To Talk’s national day of discussion about mental health (Feb 7th) a week’s worth of posts about how this 52 year old finally made a difference and started listening to herself and others, before determining to improve life for the better…

These views are mine alone, and absolutely 100% do not mesh with anybody else’s opinion on anything. WELCOME TO HOW BLOGS WORK.


Day 5:
In which there is more than one revelation.

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Today’s hugely important for me, as has been stated, but not for the reasons some of you might think. Sure, we all love validation, but in the end it isn’t that I’m off to London for. Tonight is a step into light from darkness. I’ll be handing out business cards (note to self, need to get some new ones made) and hoping that maybe someone will be impressed with my performance. The only way, after all, that you ever get noticed is by being around to begin with. Social interaction’s never been a strong point.

That really has to change.

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That also means, that once my daughter’s room is decorated and I’ve managed to edit a few things for re-submission, there ought to be video blogging. Operating parameters need to be reassessed, so that there’s more outward and less inward facing stuff. This desk isn’t practical for purpose, having used it since late August, so it will be time to see what can be re-purposed to make that happen. I’d like to recycle wherever possible. The future, at least for me, is reusing old shit for good.

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It works with the .GIF content, after all. Today’s post is shorter than the rest of the week’s output because this point doesn’t need much explanation. It just needs me to believe it.

You are Part of the Problem.

Start listening to other people. Take advice. Actually DO THAT. Then LEARN and LISTEN some more. Try not to be so hard on yourself either. Stuff goes wrong, of course it does. The fact remains, that if any of this shit is ever gonna change for the better, that’s your job.

You are not Alone.

This might finally be starting to stick, you know…

Nothing

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This one’s off the clock, and you can have it for nothing.

There is a moment you reach, as an adult, where the reality of existence can affect you in several ways. After I won the poetry contest thing (reading on Friday, pictures to follow) there was this quite clearly mistaken belief I’d be happier as a result of the validation. I’m not, it’s just made me more determined to work towards the stuff that matters more. If anything I’m less happy, because of the mental issues that have subsequently been exposed through issues with processes.

I’m nearly 13 stone. 182 pounds, for those like me still sitting in imperial splendour, and losing 30 pounds to get back to 150 is, it must now be publicly admitted, an impossible task, because to do that I’ll be having to shed muscle mass. Writing this down is already making that concept easier to grasp. The scales later will tell me exactly how much fat there is left to reasonably shed, but as it transpires there is very little at all from neck to waist.

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Having spent most of my adult life in some kind of weight loss obsession, this is the hardest thing in the world right now to accept, and has been going on for close to a year. Best I’ve ever looked, or felt, without doubt. I know exactly what is now required of me to stay this way, and will be. Whether the fat can be shifted from legs and hips becomes less about willpower and more about sheer hard work, and actually, that’s more doable with each passing day.

I’ll never be the person I was again. 

That’s a really tough thing to say, especially considering where I am now. There was (again) this misguided notion that somehow what was going to happen was an ability to get back stuff that has been lost over the years, but amazingly that’s not how this is supposed to work. This isn’t about being whole again. It is emerging as something better. What gets left behind, as things stand, is a lot of useless shit I didn’t know was unnecessary until writing that sentence down.

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The opportunist in me thought this would be the post to do tomorrow so I could link it in with Time to Talk day, but I can’t wait any longer to fix this. Planning and organising is all very well, but is a poor substitute to just doing and being. There’s really too much of the former and not enough of the latter, and the former needs a rethink to begin with. Normally, this kind of mental gymnastics would be enough to break me, but not today.

After a shocking night’s sleep, where all the mental shortcomings were laid out in front of me without fear, its time to stop fucking about. Do it now, or don’t do it at all.

You Wear It Well

We present as part of Time To Talk’s national day of discussion about mental health (Feb 7th) a week’s worth of posts about how this 52 year old finally made a difference and started listening to herself and others, before determining to improve life for the better…

These views are mine alone, and absolutely 100% do not mesh with anybody else’s opinion on anything. WELCOME TO HOW BLOGS WORK.


It’s been a tough 24 hours. I’ve been forced to think about a lot of things that really weren’t wanted, but that’s often how this journey goes. There’s not a choice as to what you can ignore or run away from. It becomes a testament to internal strength built and your own ability to cope. It is a salutatory reminder of today’s pretty accompanying graphic.

DAY 3:
You remain the arbiter of destiny’s final course.

mistakes

On my Social media friends list are those who happily follow others who have verbally abused me. These people have accused me of being disruptive and argumentative, that my views are contrary to what is required not only in their spaces, but in life generally. The way I think and present myself is part of the Internet’s overall problem, which is a point that probably bears reinforcing at this juncture. Being the contrary opinion to anyone with prominence is your #1 best way to start a fight anywhere.

Except, that doesn’t happen any more.

There are, I’ll grant you, moments when the validity of calling out those people who others believe to be decent and honest seems like a great idea… then comes the reminder that everybody does stupid shit. Lots of us fail to learn from our mistakes. It is, amazingly, a big enough world  to be able to just put distance between me and the abusers and move on. There are those who’d argue this isn’t the answer, but on reflection there’s a bigger issue to address, that is often overlooked.

You won’t be friends with everybody, however much you try.

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Bad stuff happens to everybody. How much bad stuff ultimately depends on not only an individual’s perception, but the amount of time you’re prepared to remain in a toxic relationship. There are, of course, many ways you can be held against your will and if that is the case, it’s already time to get out. The trickiest issue with online relationships are the boundaries: what might seem an incredibly simple solution (just stop messaging them) to one person becomes an impossible task for somebody else, and here is the lesson to learn.

I watched a lot of people in the last 24 hours lament other people’s reactions: calling them exaggerations, not understanding why some people will become as angry as they do. Then there is the counter: why haven’t you spoken up previously? If it matters that much, why aren’t you doing more about it? All of these words show that those involved don’t truly grasp the issues at play. They need to stop making the same mistakes. As my abuser above points out: silence is not agreement.

Silence is the mistake we must all stop making.

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I was targeted by a number of anonymous Twitter accounts in 2016 and, on reflection, there’s a good chance it was the same person behind them all. The email a popular blogger wrote me as a response for a request about his actions is printed out and kept as a permanent reminder: stop making the same mistakes these people do. I can’t reasonably expect to expose and champion every time someone fucked up on line, because everybody is human. What is more realistic is to focus on the stuff I’m capable of changing.

The key to growth and development isn’t being stuck with the same mindset from birth to grave. It is, and always will be, a process of evolution and adaptation. Other people may not change, but without this process of reinvention there would be no point in my mind to existing at all. So, it is time to learn from this week’s events, to suggest others could learn a lot by doing the same, and to carry on forward.

That way, not stuck here.

Only Myself to Blame

We present as part of Time To Talk’s national day of discussion about mental health (Feb 7th) a week’s worth of posts about how this 52 year old finally made a difference and started listening to herself and others, before determining to improve life for the better…

These views are mine alone, and absolutely 100% do not mesh with anybody else’s opinion on anything. WELCOME TO HOW BLOGS WORK.


DAY 2:
Now the hard work begins.

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So, how do I become a better person?

It’s a fucking minefield out here in the Internets right now: abuse, random attacks, duplicity… how does one even begin to live in such a world of wickedness and deception? Well, the simplest answer (at least for me) is to adopt the Fox Mulder School of Thought:

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Now, there are those who will counter that, at some point, you have to have some kind of mutual trust with people to develop meaningful relationships. This is undoubtedly true: assuming all men are predators or all women are victims is just asking for trouble, quite apart from being patently untrue. Handing over a part of yourself only to (potentially) be hurt as a result is the lesson we all get given as kids, after all. You fall down, in order to learn to get up and carry on.

Except, there’s a subtle difference between doing that on a playground surrounded by a couple of hundred kids you don’t know (with maybe your class of 30 tops that you do have some contact with) and doing that on the Internet, where (potentially) ALL THE WORLD SEES YOU. Except, of course, that’s not true either, unless you’re Piers Morgan (shudder) or someone with the rarefied position of being PROPER famous.

Everything else is in your imagination.

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The person I wish to be is fact checking the shit out of EVERYTHING anybody says right now. She’s challenging those people who post stuff without thinking so that it’s clear we’re all on the same page. She is rejecting those people she considers cruel (however well-meaning) and ultimately, SHE IS LISTENING. The person who starts their own drama because they feel aggrieved, left out or simply crave everybody’s attention will be trouble, undoubtedly, at some point.

How can you tell if this happens? PAY ATTENTION. Don’t just trust what you’re presented with as truth. Don’t get caught in the Cult of Celebrity. I’ve refused for a long time to be seduced by the idea of being anybody’s muse, however attractive that might end up feeling. It means that when you follow someone and their first response in return is automated that honestly, this is not about making friends or improving your existence. The Internet, like it or not, is as full of bad people as it is good, and I have to be able to work out the difference.

To become a better person, I am responsible, and continue fact checking all of you, all the time: it’s probably the best idea now you know this. Nobody else gets followed until there’s certainty mind is capable of doing that job better than is currently the case. I really don’t give a fuck if that means there’s never an increase in my online footprint. To learn you don’t just keep doing the same thing, over and again.

Progress means pain, and acceptance of shortcomings.