The Chain

The last time new headers were produced was October, which seems like a lifetime away, I’ll be honest. It might be time to schedule some artwork, and other gubbins of that sort. In fact, serious thought is being given to a week off, plus cessation of regular ‘features’, which is likely to happen at some point around Easter. The boost to creativity this gave was considerable when it happened in August, though there was a massive downside: routine keeps me sane. So, the jury is currently sitting with their cuppas, considering options…

I dead-lifted 55kg at Saturday Bonus PT yesterday. That’s a new Personal Best.

notdoingthatagain

There are a lot of potential irons in my Fire of Creative Passion right now. Some are practical, others (frankly) downright ridiculous. Deciding what matters most is, of course, always a bit difficult: stay with safe and what you know, or go off piste for a grin?Β As time goes on, the grin options become increasingly more attractive, simply because there’s never any idea of such opportunities will ever present themselves again. Then there’s the need to keep pushing forward, which is why increasing weights are now a Thing again.

There’s no point unless there’s progress. It feels like the right thing to do.

notevenmad

Days like today are great for getting these kind of issues addressed and concluded. They’re also useful for editing and submitting (both happening today) and running. Yes, there will be lots of running, which reminds me… I must charge my headphones…

No More Heroes

We present as part of Time To Talk’s national day of discussion about mental health (Feb 7th) a week’s worth of posts about how this 52 year old finally made a difference and started listening to herself and others, before determining to improve life for the better…

These views are mine alone, and absolutely 100% do not mesh with anybody else’s opinion on anything. WELCOME TO HOW BLOGS WORK.


Day 1:Β That moment when it becomes apparent that if you want any job done properly, you have to do it yourself:

Day One Quote.png

Occasionally, we all need a little help. Even the smartest person in the World can’t solve all the issues they face, at least without the occasional supportive ‘you got this!’ or a motivational picture of a cat in their timeline. However, there is a point where all the support and understanding in existence is pointless if you decide you won’t.Β It might not be a won’t, as it happens. You could say you can’t, or mustn’t, or maybe even that’s just impossible.Β How does anything change in your life as a result, if it is easier to provide excuses than solutions.

Excuses are easy. Solutions are hard, and that’s where I keep finding myself.

standby.gif

I realise just how lucky my life is, at this point, that opportunity even exists for improvement.Β It is incredibly easy to say ‘sort yourself out’ and there will be those who (quite rightly) in many cases might consider this as victim blaming or shaming. So, to be clear: I’m not a victim.Β My life, which is the only thing I can reasonably talk about with confidence, is not underpinned by any kind of issue where being told to get better is somehow making matters worse.

What my life has been ruled by is fear.Β This is something that’s only recently become apparent, as it happens: a complex combination of factors, which (with other mental shortcomings that will hopefully be better defined after I’ve spoken to some professionals about them) made for a potent cocktail of restriction. I can’t do that becauseΒ used to precede far too many conversations. Lungs won’t work, can’t interface with people, unable to combine the mental processes required. All my shortcomings.

Nobody to blame but me.

I-will-not-have-a-nice-day

I had to hit rock bottom for my reset. Considering suicide, wondering what the point really was if nothing ever seemed to work in my favour, came the realisation that actually, I was the problem.Β This is still something to remind myself of in moments where life throws me a curve, that often brain is working against body in order to hamstring progress for no other reason than it’s easier than making the effort. Undoubtedly, that adage thatΒ you get what you give / you give what you getΒ is spot on.

Everybody’s answer is different, too, and that’s the problem with finding a mentor of becoming enamoured with a guru/influencer/snake oil salesperson who’ll offer an easy answer in exchange for your cash/follow/first born. I’ve followed so many people via Social media who think that selling their salvation is the solution: it’s never true, and so I unfollow and move on. This is the woman who read a ton of self-help books and nothing ever stuck, until the day I was willing to forgive myself and move forward.

Excuses are Easy, Solutions are Hard. Never forget this.

butyoucant.gif

The trick, it appears, is to pick the right metaphors for your journey. I am never going to win a beauty pageant, nor would I ever enter one… however, I can be strong. Telling me I’m beautiful will be met with short shrift, but praise my ability to think through problems or write a decent blog post and you’re on the right track. Seriously, that whole ‘you’re so beautiful’ stuff is creepy, however well intentioned or based on actual perception it might be. Tell someone they’re inspiring, or dedicated. Intelligent or capable is great. Leave the surface stuff for people who won’t look past appearances.

You can be the most beautiful person in the world on the outside, and a mess inside. Given the choice, I’d rather look a mess but have my internal shit under control, but to do that you gotta work out what needs fixing.

That’s Day 2’s conundrum.

The Second Time Around

Today, we upgrade to two Blaze classes a week. I tried this once before Christmas, but didn’t like the person who took the class. Amazingly it matters who screams at you to get in the Red Zone, who knew?Β This is also a night-time affair, thus freeing up days for more thrashing about with words. This whole exercise is a carefully-constructed set of move and counter move, as the world around me gets adjusted to most effectively sustain everything required in current existence.

Finding joy in the process of evolution is absolutely doable.

I see a lot of people getting angry about any challenge to their right to own what they please. This whole business of ‘finding joy’ or going minimalist (or indeed however you want to spin it) is important for two reasons. The first is that, without a slowdown in consumption, the planet cannot sustain us. There NEEDS to be a cutback in what you own, buy and consume.

Secondly, and more crucially, the more crap that surrounds, the easier it becomes to miss really significant problems because that material becomes… well, it’s like fat on your body. Sure, you can choose not to reduce it, but if that is your choice there will be consequences not just for you, but those around you. Human beings have evolved not as sedentary, but active. Excess weight can be damaging, both physically and psychologically.

It all boils down to making a choice that some people clearly resent being asked to do.

When you realise what a modern phenomena consumerism is, a lot of the issues become a lot easier to grasp. Corporations take our money, and in return there is the need to feel out money is well spent, that items are worthwhile and hold particular value… but eventually, there is only so much things can help us do.Β Many complex issues will never be solved with consumption: only by looking within ourselves as to why there is such a need to lose a grip on reality via immersion can the answers be found.

You don’t have to be lost in virtual worlds to be an addict, or unable to stop drinking. Food can be an addiction, dieting, collecting, buying things (and even selling them)… all these things were never an issue for our ancestors, because prior to the Industrial revolution there was very little to purchase apart from those things required to survive, and with life expectancy so low, it didn’t matter that much anyway. We are, as a species, at a precarious and possibly fatal tipping point in our history.

How we all act in the next few decades will dictate the future of planet itself.

omgDOOM

It is important to find joy in as much as you can right now, because there’s a better than average chance we’ll be looking back on this decade wistfully, realisation these were indeed the last days of consumerism and greed and how both those things condemned a large section of the Planet to destruction. To those of you gleefully sticking fingers in your ears and deciding this is somebody else’s problem? It isn’t.Β We’re all in this together, and the sooner you grasp that the easier it’ll be for us all.

Time to evolve, and to help save the World from your own greed.

The Great Escape

There’s a certain level of guilt that exists when you blow off an entire day of potential progress to cock about in your PJ’s, but yesterday, honestly, it had to be done. After an early PT I came back home and just ground to an utter standstill, so much so that there was a sneaky nap taken for the first time in what is probably six months. Suitably re-energised, the last thing wanted was to go back to work. So, after about three hours of trying to spawn a two player Civilization: Beyond Earth map that left me a continent away from my opponent, I went for a Supremacy victory, and got it.

This then made me realise that there’s a compelling argument for never letting the zealots and the mad people organise space flight, because if they’re then going to combine themselves with the indigenous wildlife, go back to Earth and wipe out the human population in the name of evolution, it’s all a bit shit, really. As I built unit on Military unit and sent them back to Earth under the auspices of ’emancipation’ there was, I have to admit, a feeling of increased discomfort.

That’s the mark of a good game: makes you think, challenges your choices.

exercisechicken

This week there is a LOT to be done, because it’s February on Friday, and therefore backlogs should be organised and then dismissed. Actually, with a clear run at it, the rest of what needs doing can (and will be) sorted. After that? Still got two submissions to finish for the week, should probably practice reading my own poem a few times, am gonna work on editing two rejected works and then creating a .PDF Pamphlet to start raising funds for travelling.

It’s all go around here.

Future Boy

Day 1:Β Start again: in Good News PT is back today. YAY.

The Next Chapter Bar

Today I am here to remind you that the Future is not as forgiving and understanding as some of you seem to believe.

In the last week, a significant number of people in my timeline have seen some form of bank fraud happen in their accounts. Is it a coincidence that the biggest breach of data ever took place shortly before this? I dunno, but it’s a sage reminder to check your online accounts, making sure you don’t hold excess cash in your main account. Any excess (if you are that lucky) should be stuffed elsewhere, regardless of whether it gets saved or not. Also? Two factor authentication as standard on any app handing your money.

I digress however, but only slightly. It’s time to reference the fact that tons of privately marked tweets were, it transpires, easily accessible to anyone on an Android phone. This isn’t really news at all, because the idea of Private Messaging and Encrypted apps should be ridiculous to anyone who still holds onto any belief that the Internet is some kind of mysterious place like it was back in the 1990’s, where Government never listens and big business cannot capitalise.

Privacy, in a public space, is the biggest issue everybody should be talking about.

When you step back and consider facts, a lot of stuff is pretty well looked after. There are some basic mistakes that shouldn’t be made as consumers: online banking passwords really ought not be the same as the ones you use for porn site access. ANYTHING with a nominal value to your existence on the Internet should have a secondary form of authentication, preferably NOT tied to a mobile device.

However, what is abundantly apparent in recent years is that certain companies don’t really care about the privacy of the data you share. When you forget that Big Brother doesn’t need to watch you if you are dumb enough to use services without thinking through the consequences, the police and other organisations won’t even need a warrant to hack your Facebook account if every message you spew forth is tinged with hate. It’s just there, shouting into the void.

Just because nobody replies to you, does not mean there’s nobody listening.

The most amazing thing of all, of course, is that all this data combined adds up to an amazing way to unconsciously propel lots of industries forward. Targeting the right people online; not smart enough to grasp their news is fabricated but capable of casting votes, is one high profile example of using freely available data to influence all our futures. Yet people complain their privacy has been invaded, despite the unavoidable truth that this is not totally the fault of those doing the exploiting.

Let’s take an example: let’s say you wanted to train a camera to more accurately distinguish how faces age over time, as part of wanting to employ face recognition software for law enforcement. Picking the same person with… a ten year age gap between two pictures would be a decent starting point, wouldn’t it…?

[FX: Removes Tinfoil Hat]Β Okay, so maybe not everything is a government conspiracy, but on the other hand if you people could just stop sharing every single thing about yourselves 24/7 then the AI would have a far harder time deciding what you really like, before serving it up to you on a lovely, buy now and save 21%Β platter. I know that’s not going to happen, and a lot of people are betting on the same being true, or else I wouldn’t have a ton of people trying to invite me to a bazillion new ‘gamer only’ or ‘writer only’ social networks, or using my ratings to condemn delivery drivers and private cabs to personal hell if they don’t turn up on time.

‘Leave a review’ they say. Response to my blog posts is largely non-existent. What future is there in the writing world if you’re required to have a 3.6 star rating or above on your Blog before anybody will even retweet you? Has anybody thought through these systems properly, or are we condemned to a future where a Black Mirror episode looks more like a documentary of how life in the future was perfectly represented from a fictional past?

When I was a kid, the Future was shiny suits and flying cars. Now it’s all data and peer pressure and living a life online that should never be there in the first place. If your privacy really matters, stop doing shit online. It is terribly easy, and takes no effort at all to achieve: get your dick picks out of my DM’s, stop posting your cleavage in order to make you feel good about yourself. It isn’t difficult. You are the arbiter of your own destiny.

The only person making you share everything is yourself.

This is Not a Love Song

Day 6: So then, last night’s Blaze.

769 calories for the night. I’m not gonna lie: I didn’t do everything I was asked to do. There wasn’t really any slacking per se, however. There are red lines. ACTUAL RED LINES. They didn’t last very long mind, but HEY I don’t really care.

I am getting stronger. It is getting easier.

This may be a part of my life that can be very much improved.

The Next Chapter Bar

Yesterday I got into a conversation with a random person who seemed quite keen that they deserved a follow back. I’ve been trying to start a conversation with someone for months who lives locally to meet up, and every time a suggestion is sent off, there’s silence. Doing friendship on Social media’s a fucking mug’s game. Some people just drift in and get upset when they don’t understand WTF is going on in your Timeline (because they don’t read your feed except at a certain point in the day) and then others just retweet everything that looks important. Some days, I can’t cope.

That was yesterday. Today is better.

tometoyou.gif

There is an effort to get out of the comfort zones, obviously, and that’s happening now too as well as exercise and MIND EXPANDING WORDS but some days, when it’s just me and me alone in my head, I wish more people understood what that was really like. The ultimate irony of course is that those thoughts have existed here since… well, 2011. Trying to find someone to read them who a) I’m likely to get on with and b) isn’t a stalker ends up as the most ridiculous of asks, because if that happened…

Yesterday, something significant finally registered.

What I’d like now is people who I don’t know to be part of my life. Starting from scratch might be stressful for some, but actually it would be great to find individuals who don’t already know all the emotional baggage from the rest of my life. Maybe then, I get the opportunity to explain everything a bit better than the wibblings from my past. Employing that tactic with the people I have so far has been reasonably productive, too.

boosh

Watching other people rave about ‘their internet friends’ can begin to be demoralising, after a time, especially when yours live a long way away and you don’t get to hang out very much. The more thought is applied, the more comes realisation that perhaps the next stage of my life isn’t best organised in this way, but might well be best served looking for inspiration in other places. It is, after all, a very big world ‘out there.’

Maybe I’ve just gotta watch out for the opportunities when they appear.

Freedom ’90

Life is funny.

If you ask me what has gotten me here, in 52 years of existence, I’m betting only a very few would know the part Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd had to play in that process. Moonlighting was an almost vital part of my late teens, and although it is fair to say it has not aged well, its part in my mid 1980’s life was… well, indispensable.Β This song, and the Billy Joel album it comes from, had been lost from my memory until first thing this morning. Suddenly, it demands another listen.

The lyrics to this song are amazingly apposite as a metaphor for myself.

Day 8.png

When I got to Mulberry Street for the first time the significance of past to present didn’t really register. It’s taken all this intervening time, with exercise and writing, to grasp that an awful lot of my past has been suppressed. The reasoning behind this isn’t a massive surprise, and isn’t the point of this post.Β I’m here this morning safe in the knowledge that I don’t need to panic.Β Hard work is it’s own reward, that’s not just one of those stupid things people say because they can’t get the critical notoriety so craved.

Yes, you can change your life to suit your soul’s desire.

I’m also amazed that after thirty two years of not hearing an album the words to every track exist with perfect recall, but I can’t remember the names of any of the people I studied with at either school or college. How exactly does that work?