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.

Good Day Sunshine

This morning, it was time to work out how, after weeks of struggling to provide the momentum to complete two separate workouts at over 75% effort, yesterday was the moment it all fell into place. Like it or not, I believe it was the dirty sugar hit I took before each one that gave me an energy boost needed in the first 15 minutes to make it into the next 30. So, this morning, the cheat drawer in the fridge has been replenished with things that, up until this point, have been very much forbidden. It is time to test a theory.

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It’s not like all sugar is bad for you, after all… the key is a balance of what is healthy for the weight loss, and required to provide fuel. I’ve discovered since having the gallbladder removed that pasta is 100% guaranteed to make me swell up like a balloon. This also means that my favourite ‘healthy’ pizza is also off the menu, as are a number of bread products which were once guilty treats. Carb loading, therefore, is largely pointless for me, because of the physical discomfort it causes.

Therefore, there has been a significant carb deficiency in the diet over the last few weeks, something I’ve corrected over the last seven days with lunchtime meals which contain a decent carb/protein balance. That plus the pre-exercise sugar hit appears to have hit a required sweet spot (pun absolutely intended) which needs to be capitalised on. The last pieces of the puzzle are decent kip, and a body that’s now largely niggle free. After last night’s warm down, very little of me hurt at all. This is definitely progress.

This means I’ll be off to buy sushi at lunchtime, because a) why the Hell not and b) rice + fish = perfect balance. All that’s left is to get my brain to eat more vegetables.

That’s a whole different challenge to consider…

Regeneration

This week had the potential to be tough going but here we are, at Wednesday, and surprisingly the plan’s been stuck to. I managed to get a cancellation for Blaze tonight, am booked up for next week’s two classes without concern, and the scheduling plan in place for writing is pretty much exactly on course. Is this me finally getting brain around the issues, or has this just been lucky? Would I be able to tell right now which is which?

Probably not.

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I will say this, my normal mid afternoon fatigue is beginning to vanish. It will have a lot to do with pushing hard (and getting) eight hours sleep more often. It will undoubtedly also be a bit to do with my (completely painful and stressful) slog back to lower body fitness (see yesterday’s blog) which I was dumb enough to let slip after Ride London last year and which will not happen again.

What’s making everything that bit worse right now is hormones, or rather the lack of them. Menopausal symptoms are back with a vengeance. Seriously, my body can fuck right off with knobs on: it’s especially horrible when a hot flush happens mid-exercise. If I wasn’t on fire before, I am after that. Fortunately, things seem to be calming down a bit after about five days full on, and now cold is the bigger issue. Once it was tops off and on every five minutes. Not right now.

Honestly, if men had been the child bearing sex I suspect life would be massively different for everybody.

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Instead, it’s a constant case of tip-toeing through the swathes of bruised male egos because somebody else had a better idea than they did, or that maybe they are the problem… and no, I didn’t come here today to get angry but that’s the way it goes. Normally, when something makes me cross before 10am the day is a bust, but not any more. Now, we use such emotions to create positive results, and that’s what is about to happen.

I like this new approach. Think we’ll keep at it as a result…

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.

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.