Learn to Let Go

I have been criticised by certain people, over the years, in relation to a need to know who is no longer following on Twitter. The reason why it matters, as much as it inevitably does, is that I don’t just press buttons and let anyone into my feed. A fair bit of research takes place before that happens. Inevitably, as numbers now fall (mostly at my own behest, it has to be said) there’s the realisation that lots of people are a lot less intelligent than they’d originally been given credit for.

However, of late, it is inescapable that even the idiots are learning how to curate better.

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I am continually staggered at how many people followed me because they thought it would benefit them personally in some way, through some belief that a shared interest somehow got everybody more views. Growth has never been about who you knew. 

The true success stories on my feed (and there are many) have become so due to their own hard work, determination and sheer chutzpah. Sure, it helps those people to get thrown across as many feeds as possible, but you need to possess the material that encourages others to do that in the first place. That’s the key. Actual content.

Without it, you have no excuse to be angry no-one is interested.

This month was always going to be hard financially for me. If I was playing a game I pay for six months up front, the expense could probably be justified, but that’s not happened since before Christmas. That cash will now pay for keeping a website open for another year, go towards reprinting my business cards.

There’s a large social gathering that takes place every year that many people will be booking tickets for soon, where tens of thousands of dollars is spent in very obvious consumption activities. I would never dream of telling people what they do with their cash, but this year, I’m not watching that happen.

Once upon a time this was depressing to watch, now it just makes me angry.

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Then, this week, I had an epiphany. A good friend of mine suggested that maybe, if something wasn’t making you happy, it might be an idea to just stop doing it. When I agreed with her, and argued that the problem wasn’t ever the thing causing upset but how we as individuals react to it, someone very notable upped and left my feed.

This person was the last remaining member of a group of individuals which I was desperate to join, before making the fatal mistake of pissing off the girlfriend of their peer group with my attitude. Ironically, had those circumstances been different, I wouldn’t be here now. By blocking that desire, they forced me down another road, which ultimately not only has provided massive personal and mental salvation but is now reaping significant other rewards.

The only downside, thus far, is that I can’t afford to keep paying money to a game company even though I love their product. The only difference now is that it is impossible to be critical of said game without someone making life a living hell, and that’s now where love isn’t enough any more.

Other people’s anger has driven me away from the game they claim to love.

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The ultimate straw however is the fact that my old Twitter handle was hijacked by someone after I dropped it, in what seemed to me like a pretty cruel way of trying to piss me off that I’d not been smart enough to hold onto it. To add insult to injury, when I called this person out for doing so they almost too politely removed all the previous content and left a polite message telling people to go look for me at my new handles.

Not only is this creepy beyond belief, that person (who clearly thought they were doing me a favour) has been the catalyst to convince me I NEVER want to tell people where to find me in a public game ever again. By remaining anonymous, and acting in the manner of an online stalker, any desire to be associated with such negative behaviour has been comprehensively destroyed.

Angry need to be dealt with, and I won’t do that playing online.

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The only thing I care about right now is honesty: if you can’t be up front and truthful, it is just hurtful. If you leave without saying goodbye or an explanation, a block is what you get. It is time to look after my mental health above everything else and the last couple of weeks has just gone to show just how selfish and arrogant other people can be when all that matters is their own desires above everything else.

It is tiring enough right now, without inviting stupidity. However well-meaning you might think you are, ultimately, it isn’t if you frighten people and assume you know better, when you don’t. Anger, like everything else, allows positives to emerge from negativity. You just need to stop and give yourself the opportunity to do so objectively.

The main one I’ll take from the last month is that the people who really care are the ones who tell you without fear, and are not afraid to be critical of your actions regardless. They are the true friends: most are enjoying themselves far too much to complain online, or simply do other stuff when they get bored than moan about being bored online. That’s the key.

My problem is I’ve forgotten how to enjoy myself anywhere.

Distant Past

I use the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ analogy/metaphor a lot more than is probably healthy, but it remains the best means of showing people how my brain tends to cut through layers of imposed meaning and societal restriction before pointing and yelling (yes, quite loud) ‘that’s total bollocks!’ On the flip side, this highlights wanton disregard for other people’s feelings and sensibilities. I’m the cleftest of sticks, when all is said and done.

If you wonder why I suddenly stopped talking to you, here’s your reason.

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The problem of course isn’t ever that black and white, but for the purposes of this exercise that works well enough: being quiet has become by far the best way of dealing with realities that don’t sit comfortably in my psyche. There are exceptions to the rule, and occasionally it does help if you can release a bit of pressure. It occurred to me, last night on a treadmill, all those people who treated me like dirt are still out there, potentially doing the same to others. Do I have a responsibility to expose them?

It’s a difficult situation: knowing the venom and anger that I’ve already been exposed to in the past for daring to upset the status quo, the consequences of standing up are fairly traumatic. Mentally, I’m not ready to do that yet: there needs to be a strength possessed that currently just does not exist. I’ve been accused in the past of hijacking other people’s situations to further my own career, which is as far away from the truth as it is possible to get. With that level of suspicion at play, silence really is the only option right now.

Effort to expose hypocrisy absolutely does not match the reward.

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I can’t fix everything, and shouldn’t be trying to. What’s more important now is to address issues that can be changed and improved first. Once that’s done, we’ll see where things stand.

That’s a far better use of my time.

Go Up

I have always been a prolific tweeter: the platform very much gets used ‘as intended’ in that regard. As part of my ongoing process of enlightenment, there’s been some time given to what has happened to get me here. Twitter last week suggested following someone who I’d not spoken to for several years: looking back, I realised that they’d been blocked, and then needed to remind myself of why. Going down that rabbit hole was eye-opening, reminding how the platform has changed in just a couple of years.

It’s never your friends that are the villains. It can’t possibly be the sweet, kind individuals who very intentionally hide their true natures when online knowing full well the consequences can be devastating. The more you live a lie online, the more likely it is that someone will find you out. The behaviours are there for all to see: eventually, it just needs enough people to put together the pieces.

It means, over time, continually reassessing what it is I am and how it appears. All the contentious people that I’ve clashed with, over the years, fit into some fairly distinct categories. Most feel I’ve made a mistake, and they’d be right. I shouldn’t have gotten halfway through that community project and shelved it: the reason why it was never completed very simple. I lost confidence in the people I was supposed to be championing.

That was the moment reality finally broke my self-imposed fourth wall.

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Nearly all blocks imposed are the means by which I can exert control over situations that I feel threatened by. However, an increasing number are there to prevent people returning to read me, because they’re the quick and dirty means by which a feed can be instantly curated. As long as there’s gmail addresses still left to claim, it’s an academic task to set up a sock account and bypass any restriction: that act alone says far more about a person’s level of obsession than anything else. Take it from someone who knows.

The history of my past, littered with remnants of other people’s actions, nearly always paints me as the villain. I’m the one who seemingly shuts down conversations (clearly because I’ll lose) or I’m the one whose hijacking someone else’s feelings or personal sanctity. In nearly every case, there’s a realisation that the person you’re speaking to has either been dishonest, or is projecting onto you far more significance than actually exists in relation to the relationship.

That’s the killer: this other person thinks we’re friends, when we’re not.

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A lot of this comes from being burnt, an awful lot across the years, by people who decided I was their friend when it was apparent the entire relationship was convenience. It still happens: you have a historical association, clearly enough to grant rights to complain, control and ultimately dismiss one side of a story because clearly, that can’t be true. It’s why I refuse to Facebook, accept requests from people who I used to know on the basis you need to be able to feel comfortable with all the mistakes of your past.

I will become the shitty friend, and am more than happy to accept the mantle of arrogant, selfish, intractable. I’m the toxic element you needed to remove from your life,  yet so many people seem to find it really hard to let go. It’s odd, that: how many of those who complain so vociferously about being rejected will forget all that perceived mistreatment the moment they change behaviour. I know my shortcomings only too well. Learning those lessons is absolutely worth the effort.

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There are many consequences to living life online. This week, I’m watching someone I knew very well for about a year and a bit get dragged through the media: part of a fairly high-profile, rather unpleasant court case. We met online, communicated regularly: their Christmas compilation CD has significantly shaped listening tastes. Of course, I didn’t ‘know’ them at all, just the piece of themselves they decided to share with me. That’s all online life is about, in the end.

Reality is no easier, and far messier. Maybe that’s why we’re all here to begin with.

Your Cheating Heart

Considering how desolate things felt on Friday, Monday is surprisingly optimistic. There’s lots to do, a clear and well-defined list to complete, tangible progress over the weekend. I’ll be at PT shortly, cycling tonight… yeah, this is all good. So, why am I so jittery? Well, that’s easy enough to answer. Once Tuesday is out of the way each week, it’ll be easier. It helps that it’s a 12-1 slot. I’m even thinking of walking there and back for the miles, and then doing a massive cycle session in the evening.

I don’t remember anything about what to expect, and this is not helping.

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Expectation for me right now is a revolving door: never stops moving, almost impossible to successfully navigate, makes me nervous using it. The Girl who Obsessively Overthinks Everything is desperately trying not to do that with too much of anything, which is why yesterday there was poetry when there should have been short stories, because for now the former’s got a bit more traction. Going on instinct is helpful. My gut, normally quite sound when it comes to doing the right thing, is pretty much useless.

The answer, of course, is to just get on with each day as it comes, whilst organising the shit out of everything within my remit. Everything else, then, just gets slotted in wherever there’s a space, and I don’t allow annoying stuff to overwhelm. I don’t get dragged down rabbit holes either, or give attention or interest to those people who would clearly love that to happen. It’s a tough ask but we’re getting there.

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Therefore, this week, let’s see how much I can get done without being bogged down by expectation.

A Whiter Shade of Pale

It’s good to know that intellectual exercise has borne fruit. I was in the Gym for a secondary, unscheduled Saturday PT. I pay for this using a voucher system, so when my trainer goes away, the vouchers pile up. The hour was, it has to be said, some of the hardest stuff I have done for some time. Kettle bell work, clean and press, hanging: it’s been many months since my arms and core ached as much as they did after the session.

Then, last night, it was time to crack the hour mark on the bike.

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Cycling is a different beast to anything else exercise-related I have ever undertaken. It asks a phenomenal amount of you in terms of stamina and consistency. Neither of these things are particularly my strengths. I could not honestly say there was any real stress last night either, just a phenomenal amount of pain. This was not OW OW OW SOMETHING IS WRONG pain but nope, there’s just no energy here, I need to stop now and have a cuppa and cycling is ridiculous and nope there are better things to do pain.

My legs were effectively useless: the low level discomfort after 15 minutes was tolerable, after 30 minutes annoying and after an hour… BOY. Think of the most irritating thing anybody could do to you and that happens every time you push down the pedals, and so I zoned out. However, without these sessions, you do absolutely never move past anything than just casual attainment. It’s the perfect storm of brain and body telling you there’s no point to anything.

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62% when placed alongside the 80% Blaze output is an interesting comparative benchmark. The former, for starters, is absolutely not a full body workout. More significantly, there are no rest periods. Here’s where my exercise shortcomings come into stark focus as a result: stamina is still very much lacking. To build that, you really do have to put in the miles, which means every session is not necessarily about massive numbers, but just doing the work. I’d forgotten that along the way. 

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The depressing number is the 94W (effectively how hard your legs are working), because this time last year I was running considerably higher that that. However this is not a disaster, just a starting point. My husband also reassures me that the bike I’ve chosen in Zwift is far too heavy and not doing me any favours at all (and I’m sure he knows that this is important) so after I’ve finished typing this, it’ll be time to log into the app and alter my setup. However, there will be no riding, or weights today.

This is most definitely a rest day.

Enough is Enough

This week has not been kind. I slept without my Fitbit last night because sometimes, you don’t wanna know. A 9.30 PT should, I hope, kick-start a day of solid exercise, followed by some good personal advancement. That’s all I can do: say it, do it, hope it works. Nothing else is in my hands, just my own progression. Do I learn the most important lesson of all, finally? Can mental blocks that continue to hamper be overcome?

Yes, they are.

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The greatest advantage of owning devices that track my health is not the data companies sell to other people an ability to clearly signpost progress. Now I’m in a position of strength, quite far down the road to wellness, those numbers become the glue that stick me together. I’ve noted previously that it was writing before that served that purpose: now the lifesaver’s become a profession, except, of course, there’s still an awful lot to learn.

The metric for writing success are woeful, absolutely dreadful. If I were using that as a means to stay mentally strong right now, it would have failed miserably. Fortunately, having found a new means by which progress can be bench-marked without it destroying my sanctity, there’s now breathing space to allow other stuff an opportunity to be approached and attacked with the same enthusiasm.

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I can’t stop time, nor would I want to. With exercise, I can reverse it however: adding sympathetic care returns a measure of flexibility and strength to both body and mind. This week’s writing revelations have been just that: massive insights into the way brain operates, how to stop demons attacking my work. In fact, embracing them this week presented work capable of reopening part of my brain that’s been closed since the 1990’s.

Going through this post now, carefully re-reading and editing as I go, is a new phenomena too. Before the obsession would be to just finish, get it done, not stop and think. Care has emerged in everything. It’s not like it didn’t exist before, far from it. What mattered back then was making the point. Now, considering why, how and even if I should come before a single word is written. This feels a better order to work in.

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Once upon a time there might also have been a desire to ramp up the drama. Nope, that’s not ever happening ever again. Other people can do that, there’s more important business to concern myself with than making the stupid stuff more apparent. For now, that means finishing up here, smashing that bonus Saturday PT of Win before letting Saturday sort itself out.

These are the best kind of days.

Believe

I am not proud of a lot of what has happened in my life. Often, what is talked about is edited highlights for a reason. Finding the words to describe what I was before this moment is painful and difficult, but they are coming. Yesterday, I found some new ones.

Growth is the hardest thing that will ever happen to you. It is no wonder that so many people actively resist or reject those calling on them to alter their outlooks. To embrace change is also painful and difficult, but it must be done.

I am only prepared to offer so much, however. I will strongly resist anyone who attempts to manipulate for their own agenda, or who feels desire to push me in a direction that isn’t positive; placing love before hate must always be the default.

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Perception is the name of the short story that I’ll be entering for the contest a week was spent sweating over. It is speculative fiction, with a twist, written from a standpoint of confidence that has remained singularly unerring in the face of considerable trauma.

I’ve entered my mental health short story this morning. It really doesn’t matter what happens, I wanted to tell the story regardless of it’s final destination. It’s job was to be written, and then read by the person who it was really about.

Now that’s done, its work’s done too.

Your life can be altered from vastly differing directions, through people you never previously thought held that possibility. Once you release emotional restraints that negativity and false perception present, any journey can become considerably simpler.

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Today is the hardest for a while, but already that burden has been eased. I asked for help, and have received it. Grateful people take the time to do so, I won’t waste a single atom of that positivity.

Now, the real change begins.