Stuck in the Middle with You

The dentistry is done, but I am mentally fried. Stress does different things to people, for me there’s this rapid inability to be capable of anything except middle-distance staring and comfort eating. Right now both are largely under control, but a lot is left of the day to work with. Praise the Deities for more PopChips Corn Chips, is all I’m saying.

This afternoon I’ll attempt to get to grips with the next part of my Free Marketing Course Journey. Before that I need to write thank you letters to the three ladies that I worked with yesterday who were all unbelievably kind, and who are all light years ahead of me in terms of achievement and personal progress. Instead of letting Imposter Syndrome consume me, I’m going to try and get constructive results from what I have.

If I get through today intact, I will be happy.

If I Had a Heart

Today I should be writing something here, but all my creativity has been thrown into two Patreon videos. The Best Man’s funeral is set for this time next week and I’m still really angry. I cannot find the enthusiasm to do strength workouts at all because I want to be doing them in the Gym and not stuck at home. Right now, there is a lot of frustration and discontent quite close to the surface, and the last time this happened I snapped and it wasn’t pleasant, so here we are knowing there’s a problem and working out how to solve it.

My PC isn’t near smart or powerful enough to run Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, even though I’d love to so this (recommended by a friend on Steam for a fraction of the price) looks like a good alternative. This weekend therefore I will find some time to just sit and allow myself the opportunity to unwind. Work is great and everything, but honestly there comes a point where you don’t want to, and exercise becomes all well and good, but it won’t pull apart the knots in your psyche nearly as well as learning a new gameplay system.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

The Race

Dear Strava,

I’d like a quick word about your business model, if I may.

Before we start, don’t worry, this is not a rant about Summit, I have no issues paying a subscription and never have. You have to fund yourselves somehow, that’s a given. My problem, such as it is, revolves around the countless ‘wellness’ companies and fitness equipment providers who you keep encouraging to turn up and ‘challenge’ me for ‘rewards’ which we all know aren’t really rewards at all. What happens is that they get my email address under the mistaken apprehension I’ll buy their stuff, if of course I even bother now to ‘claim my reward’ in the first place.

I think it might be time to evolve past the digital finishers badges to something more tangible.

We all know you’re only competing with yourself, when all is said and done, except those people who do genuinely enjoy racing and being best. I know they’re out there, and also grasp all too well the significance of that as motivation. The psychology is above fault here. What might be nice, as is now the case in Zwift, would be to have some kind of virtual currency earned from events that could translate to… I dunno, being able to customise my homepage, or which you or a wellness organisation might take and match for a charity donation… because the more this becomes about consumerism, the less I want to take part.

Exercise, I will grant you for some, is a quite lucrative career path, but for most of us the fact we’re running or cycling is because we can’t realistically afford all these high-end ‘luxury’ goods that you seem to think we’ll buy if you offer a discount code. Being more ethical is something I’d like a lot of the companies I interact with at least try and look into, and although obviously you make quite a bit of money from selling us as a captive and aspirational audience, there is more to it than that. Take this group I’ve become a part of…

Mental health’s a subject I’ve always been passionate about, and this group is, like it or not, a reason right now to push hard. I get no reward except knowing other people have formed a community where nobody will /flex at me or try and belittle my progress… in fact, it’s quite the opposite. This is a place where I just feel happy to be, and thanks to this I’m beginning to stretch my legs as a runner… and that’s where my second group comes in. I ‘ve given myself three months to run across the UK, where my progress on a street in my town translates to a medal, thanks to @MedalVirtual‘s setup. Yes, I’ve paid for it too, more than happy to do so. It’s a memento, not a transaction, and that’s a vital difference.

The brilliant nature of Strava’s setup means I could easily enter an event across the planet and take part virtually, and the pandemic has highlighted how the importance of exercise is not just about large, group events but simply the business of getting yourself more active for both physical and mental wellbeing. I’m halfway across the country from both the people who have organised these groups but neither mind, this isn’t about having to turn up on the day and just be seen. I can contribute significantly and still remain at home, and that’s what makes this so brilliant.

So, Strava, if you won’t consider virtual currency for sprucing up my homepage, maybe you might consider working with companies to provide me some better rewards… other people are already aware of the benefits.

Yours, six days ahead of her January mileage total,
S
xxx

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 40 km and 100 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.