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.

Urg!

Should have been here yesterday, apologies for absence, there’s a lot on. Therefore, this is going to PRETEND it happened yesterday, and most people won’t even realize the difference.

Existing work is being repurposed for new gains. I am slowly pulling myself back to full capability. I have some backlog to deal with but nothing that can’t be sensibly rationalized. Really that’s what I should be doing right now and not posting here.

Also, this poetry is VERY good :D

Hey Ya

Yesterday, I made three videos in one day. Once upon a time, it took me a week to do that just once. Of course, it helps that it’s just me that needs to be edited, and there’s no extra elements at play. However, we’ve entered a new realm after the chaos of Christmas, and there’s a desire to keep the momentum going for as long as is conceivably possible. In the middle of all this, it undoubtedly helps that there is nothing else to do that focus on working: no School Run, nor any real stress from my family.

I also made it outside to exercise. There was shopping done, though the reality in my supermarket of choice is that Brexit is having more of an effect on supplies than anyone is really letting on. After writing this, I’ll pull a yoga mat out and see if I can’t do an hour or so, because there’s undoubtedly some benefit in having a decent stretch once a week. Then, it’s just more of the same for as long as I can, because there is this feeling that if I do stop, everything will just summarily disintegrate around me. A niggle with my left inner ear is a case in point… it’s better now I’m awake and upright. Let’s see how changes in balance affect it, shall we?

No, I’m absolutely sure I won’t crumble, but just in case…

The disturbing thing about this email that I was sent was, undoubtedly, that its title was indeed an old Facebook password. This tells me all I need to know about how safe (or otherwise) the platform was back in 2009 and that I’m really very grateful I have nothing anywhere, any more, that is of any interest at all to Zuckerberg. The next job on my list of Tech Related Gubbins is to delete WhatsApp once and for all off my phone. After that, people will just have to text me. I’m sure we’ll all cope just fine.

The more I go off grid and force people to have to interact on my terms, the happier I become.

Patience

For the longest time, all I have ever done is move my life around. The same shit, identical groups of things, rearranged from place to place without a goal. Two days ago, all that changed. Some would have waited for a new year in order to triumph this as some glorious, orchestrated start, but I’m tired of that bollocks, so very annoyed and angry at anyone who uses their existence as a lifestyle brand or the means by which people care about their social media. So, I threw things away, in some cases for the first time since my teens.

Nobody expects you to be a living history. In many cases, the weight of that baggage crushes your soul to a point where it is difficult to discern a consistent identity. Only through the process of poetry, over the past three years, has this fact become clear to a brain that was increasingly distracted by other people’s idea of what was good for me. Coming out of my husband and son’s Covid infections, it is clear how we create versions of reality with which to assuage terrors that are often never really confronted. In my case, 2021 will be where a combination of philosophy and dance music sets me free.

It is time to properly put certain timelines to rest.

I am, undoubtedly, in the best shape of my life. The resilience worked for will remain in place. There will be a return to places lost and forgotten, due to fear and disbelief. There needs to be a reinvention that isn’t because it looks good or someone else decided that was a ‘good’ idea. The only books read this year should be those that challenge my mindset… whilst creatively, everything is in flux. Blogging remains a consistently decent means by which the World is rationalised and summarily understood, so we’ll shove our face to the words for a bit and see where everything goes.

Then, when this is done, I’ll get on a static bike and then lift some weights.

There is no need to change that which already grants me strength.

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.

Arrival

I missed today’s blog in normal time for many reasons. The main one is that there really is no desire to write, which has not been an issue for some time. It’s not like I’m tired or without reasons to do so, it’s just the World right now is not making me happy.

Covid stress is back, and it will take a few days to readjust to the rest of the world working out what smart people predicted would happen in June.

What bothers me most right now, undoubtedly, is the inertia of others. I saw it play out first-hand at the weekend and, like it or not, this is what many feel is enough. I’m used to being disappointed by reality, it’s why I don’t get involved in as much as was the case a few years ago.

Yes, there are things to be excited about, and things to look forward to. The biggest issue right now is those individuals… well, appearing not to care about anything except themselves.

So, I’m not posting blogs to Twitter unless I want to make a point and today, let’s be honest, the best thing for my mental health is to be as far away from the rest of the World as it is reasonably possible to be.

Shout

It is a truth personally acknowledged that peace is my ultimate aim. I fucking hate fighting with anyone, for reasons which are now clearly and inextricably linked to trauma. It’s why my pulse races in situations where other people are being unpleasant. it’s the reason certain circumstances and situations are now actively avoided. It’s also crucially why criticism used to be the hardest thing in the world to take.

Lots of things have improved in the last two years. Being able to conduct myself with calm, to be able to rationalise those situations and step back objectively from them is a massive step forward. Criticism is now sought, positively encouraged, and has becomes the means by which significant steps forward have been taken in approach. It’s why what gets written and outputted from now on will different from what has come before.

This morning, as the UK begins to move into Second Lockdown, it is really important not to go backwards in terms of momentum. Therefore, everything will be readdressed and reconsidered. Output in various places is already being streamlined. There are other issues to consider this time around too, and all of them are as important as my professional goals, if not more so. Looking after myself is a real priority.

I’m dreadful at self-care at the best of times, and this can’t continue. If it means stepping away from social media for an early night, or rearranging the order things are attacked in the day, there has to be a change from what is undoubtedly ‘normal’ behaviour. The result, it must be said, is already significant. That’s not going to be lost in panic again.

This time, we keep moving forward, and with optimism.

Think

This week is full-on already, and it’s only 1.50 pm. However, the distinct advantage of being like this does mean that I have hardly had the chance to eat anything since getting back from the gym. That’s never a bad thing.

Neither is that.

Gonna spend the next three weeks bigging up a book I have just one poem in, editing some video, making some video, writing more poems, getting a quote for my OWN INAUGURAL CHAPBOOK, shoving a bunch of other poems into an Amazon collection and getting ready for NaNoWriMo. I’m hoping to also use this novel as summat for promotion.

NEED TO PROMOTE EVERYTHING.

Did I tell you we’re promoting EVERYTHING this week?

All the Rowboats

… and we’re back.

So much of my world right now is red flags. Yes, the world remains on fire, but sitting complaining about it won’t fix anything. It is becoming increasingly depressing watching individuals who’ve been promising all through Lockdown to kickstart their self-improvement regimes still making the same old posts where it is apparent nothing has changed.

We are all here, flailing with various levels of competency. No-one is really winning anything either. The choices therefore are stark: continue to complain or get on with something constructive. I have a plan to be benching 45kg by the end of September. It looked a bit wonky this morning, if truth be told, but as soon as my brain is in the space, it will happen.

I also have some new notional targets to aim for.

This weekend’s cycling was brutal, and the next two weeks are even harder. At the end of that, we do an FTP test and see if three months of pedalling like fuck has had any appreciable effect on our fitness. Then, quite possibly, we’re going back to trying to run for a bit. I really haven’t thought that far forward, though it will start happening now. There needs to be some future proofing.

We’ve begun the slow changeover of work website resources too: now my ‘work’ is Patreon based, that doesn’t need to run every day. However, it will need to be available for selling things, which also gets worked on this week. So much to do, so little time for whining. It’s why I’m really happy to leave that to people who are clearly better qualified.

There are far better things to be doing anyway.

Look Up

Callouses are BACK on my hands, and I can wallow in the understanding, sitting here recovering, just how much I FUCKING LOVE WEIGHTLIFTING. Cycling can’t get close to the endorphin high, plus I can show off just how much work really was done during Lockdown (a lot, lets be honest). If there were money available, I’d find a way to build a weights bench into the house. Lifting is GREAT.

It isn’t about looking ‘a certain way’ either, this is just the means by which the whole of my body turns up and works together. It is a miracle cure for so much else too, not just because of the chemical processes at play. Also, I have REALLY missed my trainer, and realise with a somewhat heavy heart the only reason I was doing classes was for the interaction.

Exercise classes are now no longer what I want to be doing.

Yesterday gave me one important fictional realization too: this vanity project is gonna need a quite serious unpick and rewrite. That would previously have sent me scurrying away in fear but not now: it’s almost a requirement to do so, because the story’s evolving too. I have grown up stuff to do today but will be scheduling more time to attack this as the month goes on.

What was most stressful was the fact I could not easily write down what was needed when the moment came. The brain/page interface for fiction has altered, no doubt as a result of the acceptance of poetry as a workable alternative. It doesn’t help that I’m pretty tired after a week of hot weather and variable sleep, but I can guarantee I’ll sleep tonight. Heavy lifting will see to that.

Starting next week, many things must be rewritten…