So Here We Are

Whenever two or three people I know and follow, on Twitter, get together and have a conversation, Twitter actively attempts to involve me. Even on Tweetdeck, that interaction appears unavoidable. With my tech hat on there are clearly very good reasons why doing this is a good idea for the growth of the platform overall. Talking is, after all, the point.

However, it’s a lie, clear falsehood. It’s the equivalent of what used to happen in the playground at secondary school when someone wanted gossip to make them the centre of attention. I am well aware of the level of interaction at play on any given day, and these people would not, do not include me. It is an attempt to drive passive engagement, and I detest it.

It also drags me into issues I am often already trying to avoid.

This is, I will freely admit, the reason why some people I really like are at present muted. Mutes don’t stop the direct @ when someone talks to you with your username. Crucially it doesn’t remove likes or retweets being visible on Tweetdeck, at least initially. It allows me to acknowledge those who are my more enthusiastic supporters, who refuse to engage directly (for whatever reason).

However, of late, it means that certain discussions and arguments are unavoidable, however hard I attempt to curate. Part of this journey is realising I cannot fix everything, and I would be foolish to try, because the energy expended by doing so does and has deflected me from my path. Many people have commented on the downsides. I am going to take their advice too, because they care about me personally.

I know this not through here say, but through personal interaction.

It is apparent to most now how important virtual interactions are in modern life, and being able to place a measure of control on what takes place is as important as keeping your real life manageable. Watching other people make the same mistakes you have does make you want to wade in and point out the hypocrisy. It is not worth the effort.

Asking people if they need help is a better way forward. It requires far less assumptive reasoning: if someone says they are struggling, then that’s your cue. Again, it can’t (and won’t) help you save everybody. That remains the impossibility that it takes a lifetime to shake and will, if you are that person, wrack you with guilt when it becomes apparent you missed someone else’s cry for help.

All you will ever do is your best.

What bothers me the most right now are those people who depend on the Internet for their livelihood, who know what good can (and does) happen here yet continue to malign it because it gets them attention. We all know someone like this, and I watch people do this daily, in the hope it might illicit some sympathy. That’s not how this works. We see right through you.

By far the most successful people on Twitter are ignoring the fact they’re not being successful and just doing what needs to be done. When your creativity and enthusiasm shines through, amazing things happen. I’ve only just discovered this revelation, and it is still sometimes a bit hard to balance with everything else but the results are, it must be said, transformative.

Stop talking a rubbish game, and start changing your outlook.

Pick Up the Pieces

Attention spans are absolutely not what they used to be. Thought processes seems to have lost some of their edge. Investigative journalism leaves a lot to be desired. All of these statements are undoubtedly true in certain lights, but won’t hold up to scrutiny in others. It’s the classic tale of Perspective. What one person thinks is an apple, is absolutely an orange to someone else, when facts know full well that’s a banana.

This has been part of the Human Condition for as long as people have argued that their way is clearly best, because they’re right and you’re wrong. However, as has become more and more inescapable with the march of human evolution, there are some questions with only one answer. That’s where science comes in, and history, and those people who record facts without the taint of personal bias.

When I grow up, I wanna be one of those people.

shadow_government

There’s a very good reason why the sky is blue, and trying to argue anything else is really a bit dumb. Similarly, when people are surprised that I offer them virtual food as means by which to feel better, increasingly not on their birthdays, they haven’t picked out the fact this is part of my irrefutable personal makeup. The issues with comfort eating will never go away, it appears, because it is very much rooted into my issues with trauma.

However, having been able to identify this objectively, life becomes easier. It’s a roundabout way of linking the irrefutable: I am exactly the way I am for an increasing number of very good reasons. Unless those are communicated to the wider world, people will not grasp why decisions are being made. Therefore, it is up to me to communicate this, in the vain hope people might actually start listening.

I can but hope, after all.

April 8th

Therefore, apologies in advance for those of you who might have heard some of the stuff that now starts appearing via social media and though my blog channels. It appears much of what I am could indeed bear repeating, now more individuals are paying attention. I’ve never been a big fan of repeats, because the assumption is that you picked up the point the last 15 times you were told.

Maybe humanity hasn’t yet evolved as far as I’d hoped…

The Real Thing

Star Wars, despite its title, is not an accurate depiction of the battles between the Rebel Alliance and the Imperial Empire. They are undoubtedly cyphers around the underlying  narratives of love, devotion and loyalty. I also reckon George Lucas is a Lover, and not a Fighter as a result. I know there’s been a lot of muttering about The Mandalorian, many of them based around the concept being too much western and not enough sci-fi.

This is the first time I’ve seen at least that someone’s pulled the military tactician card. Of course, they’re applying 21st Century Tactical Ability to a show that’s… you know, set in space, where doing the exact opposite of what happens on Earth could easily be considered as military genius. The fact someone’s applying their labels to this approach is increasingly where we are in fiction: this is the state of play.

Communication is becoming a Problem.

I wonder, is this statement is blanket, or does it depend on the person speaking. I don’t have any more context, just this one line, which I feel needs a bit more meat on its bones, but frankly at this stage I’d feel genuinely afraid to approach the author. If we were in the same room, face to face, that would not be the case. Instead, as this is Social media and I am not a mutual, it remains a retweet and no more.

The means by which I am able to learn about diversity right now is dependant on quite a strict set of rules as a result: mostly, I listen. I am often afraid that what is said and done could not be interpreted as the support I’m trying to show but in fact the exact opposite. I’ll look superior, or act as if that’s how things ought to be, and that’s why quantifying a lot of queries right now is becoming something of a worry.

How do you ask questions you never had until now without looking like an idiot?

A lot of it, of course, comes with time and patience. If I’d have waited and watched, this tweet would have appeared and given me context. Following this person, listening to their tweets should, in time, give a decent grasp of what it is they’re attempting to communicate. The biggest single issue with so many of us right now is not taking those vital moments to stop and think. The author, I’d say, is worth following too, if he was prepared to offer what was required for better comprehension.

The reality of life right now is that doing this, thinking through what we see and read becomes increasingly difficult on top of everything else being asked. Someone I really like unfollowed me overnight, and I’m fairly confident that my output over the last few weeks will have been the reason. It’s been political, controversial for some. I could ask for the real reason, it would be really easy.

However, I’m not sure I will end up liking what’s heard as a result.

I did that once. A person I really enjoyed reading, and interacting with, cut me off so suddenly that I had to ask why. That email is kept, printed out, as a salutary warning: sometimes, your heroes are the villains. The people who play a certain role because it keeps people interested are, in reality, nothing like what you wish they were. They end up knowing that what you are is not what they want in their lives.

Trying to work out the reason for that is pointless: it goes back to that word, ‘tolerance.’ Eventually they grasp that perhaps you don’t belong in their feed: too preachy, not fun enough, don’t get the point of the way they use their platform… because it is their platform. They are the main point of it. Everybody else is there because they allow them to be. Is it pedantry, or is it arrogance? Is there even a difference online?

It doesn’t matter. All that matters, in the end, is how it is said.

kindness

I read something yesterday that was amazed at how those who advocate kindness can then be so angry and combative when challenging other’s opinions. Passion, I realise, is not a good emotion to try and demonstrate in a text-based medium. Undoubtedly, people just look at you and decide you’re angry instead. So, if you want to communicate better in the modern world..? Learn how to make your points in 280 characters or fewer… 

Before you reply, consider the consequences of your words. Pedantry is becoming an art form. Everybody’s looking for that unique angle, when what really ought to happen is honesty. You can do it without starting a fight, if it’s done well, with thought and application. Most importantly, you can be kind and still make your point. It just takes more thought than many people can afford to spare online.

That’s what I need to work on going forward.

These Foolish Things

Won’t mention it here again, because thirty days of telling people you’re exercising when they’re quite happy not to is quite likely to result in losing friends. This morning is noted here for two reasons alone: I turned up, at the Gym, and had to awkwardly stand in reception until they officially opened at 10am. That’s a first. It’s also hugely satisfying when your instructor tells you she thinks you were the only person actually pushing themselves in their class.

That’s a massive compliment.

It’s two weeks before my scheduled Cholesterol and Anaemia blood tests. If I eat REALLY well and am not a complete idiot, both of those are more than likely to come back normal. If they don’t? I’ll cope. A month ago, that might not have been the case. A lot has changed since the start of October, mind. The biggest single problem however will not be falling off the sweet wagon. However, not a single mince pie or Christmas Pudding has passed my lips this year. NOT ONE.

strawberrycake2

Lots to sort this evening, then it is back to rough approximation of normality tomorrow. School runs recommence on the 6th, and I’ll be making the most of every lie-in until then.

Lots of stuff will slowly begin to alter starting tomorrow.

Waiting for the Man

Normally I’d write this blog early, preferably before starting work on the week’s project. Except, today that direction took precedent, then there had to be some PT (more of which at the weekend) and I’ve only just recovered sufficiently from that to be here and ready to write. Needless to say, it’s been a BIG DAY.

It’s my birthday this week: no, there is no celebration scheduled. I’ll go to the Gym in the morning, probably work on some writing stuff, maybe treat myself to a birthday cupcake. There needs to be pictures taken, and some made into blog headers. I can afford to go buy a couple of pairs of new glasses from the discount store down the road. All of this is a world and a bit away from how I felt this time last year.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this positive ever for a birthday week before. Normally summat is bothering me, or there’s a moment of panic the World is getting away from me. This year, none of that: I am truly in the moment. Problems are dealt with as they happen. There’s less worry over everything than has ever existed up until this point. Truly, this is the land of new and unexplored possibilities.

It’s a fucking great time to be alive.

When I grow up I wanna be able to dance like this. I’d love to be a freerunner. All these things that (quite obviously) will not come to pass can at least be entertained in my head, whereas before there’d be just anger that time wasn’t being properly used and that everything was awful, and it was all my fault. I don’t want to go back to that past, the places that existed before. I know where the true joy lies for me now.

It’s great not to be on places like Facebook any more. The people who used to be part of my life are gone, truly history there is absolutely no desire to ever revisit. I’m not interested in my ancestors, or school reunions, or having those moments when others go ‘oh yeah, do you remember that time when…’ because I don’t. My life now is the last decade from time to time, yesterday maybe but pretty much now.

I am here, and ready to roll.

I’ve learnt the lesson. I’m never going back.

Different Class

Day 14 __ Sect.png

It is well established that ‘people’ are frightened of things they do not understand: that list can become quite long when they put their minds to it. This is apparent every time I strap on a heart-rate monitor and hit the Gym: Complexity is a killer, as is effort expended when all that needs to be achieved is to turn up and break a sweat. The notion of effort’s a curious thing, all told. When do you know it’s hard enough?

Having broken that barrier a while ago, effort’s an ability in flux right now. The unexpected consequence of this extends out into other places too: not thinking twice over activities that previously would have caused all manner of anxieties. When you know there’s a palpable difference between how you react to things as opposed to most others around you? Your world view matters a great deal.

It also affects the amount of energy available to deal with any consequences.

sotired

Mental effort’s a killer for me: ten minutes in certain people’s company is the cranial equivalent of running a marathon. Now this is apparent, avoiding the stress becomes easier with each passing day. The key is identifying what it is that causes such issues in the first place: once it’s clear what or who is causing the issues, eliminating that will entirely depend on your ability to cope with the environment around you.

There’s a realisation this morning that I lied to a lot of people in my past because their negative effect on my well-being was worth avoiding. However, more importantly, I then fail to keep up the good friendships because of the need to feel and act self-sufficiently in certain situations. This life things’ quite a delicate balance, when all is said and done. It can often be exhausting just keeping up with the basic stuff.

adeleissorry

Before you say owt, I know I’m not that different. However, there is quite a gap sometimes between the people around me and how my brain deals with daily existence. This isn’t intentional either: perhaps it is time to use these distinctions as a means to fuel creativity. That is certainly emerging in this month’s poetry project, and in the last week I’ve been able to funnel emotions in differing directions.

Perhaps this is a side road that is at least worth investigation.

The Fix

The poem began on the day I forced myself out of the house and into the countryside (such as it exists here) and that really proves the point that sometimes, external stimulation kick starts writing ability. I ended up with an opening line but no more: this morning after a night full of dreams where getting lost would finally provide inspiration to find the path back to my destination, ending became beautifully obvious.

My subconscious when all is said and done can be very easily read.

There’s two poems for this submission: after going to see the eldest at Uni and having a birthday meal (he turns nineteen this week) they’ll both be finally looked over and then sent. Next week is the re-write of an existing poetry collection for submission again. With the changes to style, content and approach that have taken place over the summer, I suspect little may remain of what is started with. We shall see.


I have a confession to make. I watch very little TV these days. It is therefore a bit of a stunner to have a bunch of things approaching that will be consumed, rather voraciously, leading up until Christmas. The BBC’s adaptation of His Dark Materials begins in early November. Tonight, the first proper TV adaptation of H.G.Wells’ War of the Worlds is on BBC1. In anticipation of this, last night, Netflix got fired up, and a new documentary series was begun.

This series is pretty much made for someone like me, and the opening episode did not disappoint. I’ll review it properly once all the content has been consumed, as the range of designers covers a fairly eclectic definition of the word. Let’s hope that the BBC does not shonk Wells’ original vision, and that the good vibes over their adaptation of Pullman’s work with all the contentious stuff left in really is as good as the trailers suggest.

At least it gives me summat to write about in the week :D

Acceptance

It’s taken thirty two years to reach this next point, where personal narrative finally diverges from a very well-worn path. There’s no fear either, which is a surprise. Maybe that’s because, for the first time in fifty years, understanding isn’t a problem. Running yesterday, it was fun. You know, the stuff the rest of the world experiences on a daily basis but was somehow lost in the last twelve months.

Just how off course were you on this particular journey?

The last time a book/s affected me so significantly was The Bridge by Iain Banks back in 1986. Thirty years of literature hasn’t so much passed me by, it’s that I’ve not really ever felt it as much as perhaps was possible. That’s the biggest take-way: not you books, most definitely me. I, the party of the first part, am most definitely the one at fault. It’s not just words either: lots of stuff has been eaten, seen and listened to without the correct level of mindfulness applied. There’s a lot to catch up on.

I tried reading this trilogy last year, but my brain couldn’t cope with it. Having finished the final book, the reasoning for that has become abundantly apparent. The chain of my subconscious, delicate silver, remains knotted and dense. It requires patience plus a needle to unravel. Now we’ve established this is not a five minute task, that there’s a LOT of work to do straightening links, it’s time to get working. It wasn’t just meditation and mindfulness that was required, but my own admission of inability.

Last weekend sorted that out for good.

Kirk-youre-a-dumbass

Weeeeellll, yes and no. I get what’s gotta be done now, even if that’s just broad strokes in some places and being oddly specific in others. Life is no fun unless you live it, bad and good. That’s happening: as we get a bit of momentum up, there’ll be time to tweak the plan. The biggest step forward however is that going back to the way I was will never, ever be an option, because that person no longer exists.

That’s a positive I’ll never get tired of celebrating.

Make it Shine

AM Run has become PM run, otherwise, we’re still on target.

Science has always been cool, and is as a result pretty tough to fool. Numbers can be depressing and stressful when they don’t say what you want. However, when used as tools for motivation in the right way, they are beyond useful. The key number up there isn’t the heart rate or the calories burnt, it’s percentage effort. Look, here’s how hard you’re working in real, uncompromising terms. I know you felt flat out in that workout, but it was lower than what you’re actually capable of.

You can ignore the science if you want, but it never goes away.

Psychology is ‘the scientific study of the mind and how it dictates and influences our behaviour, from communication and memory to thought and emotion.’ Thanks to twelve weeks of sitting in a small room, there is now an understanding of how my brain has affected every single decision made in my life, and that an issue at the very start of existence effectively warped an awful lot of subsequent thought processes.

Once you can see a mistake, it becomes quite hard to unsee. 

My issues with dieting and body image could fill a completely separate blog, several novels and probably an entire YouTube Channel. Understanding why that was the case has taken a little longer to fathom, but now I’m comfortable with truth. I eat when I’m hungry, work out hard and slowly, brilliantly, body is changing. I can see the difference, feel it with each workout. Strength comes from belief and dedication to my task.

Going forward therefore, everything else changes too.

Many people find it hard to accept difference. It’s abundantly apparent in the modern world: if you don’t look like me and think like me, you are frightening. If I don’t understand you, that makes you an enemy. Watching people grapple with differences over gender, ability, mindsets and attitude more and more become the things that define us as human beings. Being able to embrace diversity should always be the norm.

Except, of course, that’s simply not true. Everybody has their own horror stories. I am, I realise, responsible for perpetrating a few of my own. Going forward therefore, wiping the slate clean seems like a really sensible idea… except, of course, it never really does become totally clean. There are always the impressions of previous words there, especially if you pressed too hard when writing. Beginning afresh remains a hard ask.

Life is a process of learning and understanding. Sometimes, in order to make progress forward, it is important to take steps back and reconsider how things are done.

If you want me, I’ll be over here reconsidering how a lot of my life now works.