Moanin’

Ah, Sunday. I ignored yesterday for writing, and instead did some submitting. Gonna pull together a collection submission today in a similar vein, because the words ‘we’ll accept already submitted works if you let us know they’ve been accepted elsewhere’ is the gift that keeps on giving. Mostly yesterday I played with video options. Lots now I can be doing.

There’s suddenly a phenomenal amount of stuff that’s possible.

Except, today is one where I look after myself, walk around for as long as possible in only my PJ’s, find my desk again after two weeks of chaos, throw away the packaging, plan some poetry whilst hoping that this new routine of exercise and concentration will start granting the gains I’m really looking for. Success is one thing, progress quite another.

I can’t do 87% every day, it’s just not feasible, so starting next week we organise around maintenance and intervals. There is a calendar on which to map everything out, it cannot be impossible to sort a routine. As a grown-up woman who understands how her body operates, it is time to put all this understanding to good work. Also, I gotta stop snacking. It’s not good for the plan.

Better get started, then.

Simply The Best

Life is best, at least for me, when nothing of any real interest is taking place. I realised yesterday that, given the choice, excitement can be someone else’s job. In the general scheme of things, glam and bling and beauty and celebration are better experienced on your own, very specific terms. Being in lockdown has granted insight into what really matters. The superficial is definitely NOT on my list of stuff missed.

With the train wreck news currently resembles, this is a weekend to do as little as possible. I’m not gonna lie, not getting up tomorrow at 6.30am will be very easy to achieve. Doing nothing will not be a stretch. My obligations for the day, once dispatched, will lead to a state of relief that’s not been felt or experienced for quite some time. This is a week, done well.

That’s all.

Becoming More Like Alfie

Yesterday was a triumph of form over function. Who thought that a prose piece would cause so much damage, and that defending other people would be used as a means to attack my position. It is indeed all fun and games until someone’s ego is damaged and then all you have is memories and a far larger block list. Welcome to October, where everything is in free-fall.

Except, as it transpires, this is perfectly fine. No .GIFs of cartoon dogs have been burnt in the making of this blog. I have a minute of video this morning utilising two webcams and Discord, which is fucking light years ahead of where I was two months ago. Knowing how to use it, of course, is a different matter entirely, and now the tech needs to percolate in my brain.

I might be able to manage a poem a week on YouTube, though…

These are all small steps. Seeing my own work up is a step in a decent direction. It all works well in my own mind’s eye. That’s what this is all about, when everything is said and done. It is a slow, measured progression of ideas that started on paper. Now I can plan, and consider new ways to evolve myself, in new forms and possibilities.

All of it, in the end, is only working towards a single goal: expression.

The Needle and the Damage Done

Then, there is the day you realise that something is just fundamentally being missed, overlooked, a crucial part of a process has gone astray. You suggest to someone that’s the case, before they take that concept and borrow it. It’s not stealing, because this isn’t the kind of place where that happens. They borrowed an idea, which becomes a huge success.

You feel sick some nights worrying about responsibility: what was signed up to, what is the true end result. Just satisfaction, that’s how this works, because money is non-existent, validation should be enough except, in this case, it isn’t, because you’ve done ALL the work and now someone else will use that as their credit, a stepping stone, new way they impress their peers.

The images of a lifetime, wasted and irredeemable, haunt your dreams.

The world is no longer a place where it is easy to be comfortable: grown men bicker on television, across social media. Women attack other women because they need to feel as if they are doing something, anything to keep their version of reality intact. Newspapers and social media make money from the fallout, become facilitators of distrust and deceit, don’t care whose in charge as long as their quality of life is maintained.

Through the cracks fall the marginalised, the disabled, anyone with empathy or honour, those who refuse to play the pathetic playground games or who engage the bullies and are dog piled as a result. Many, many innocent lives are shafted for the sake of principles which, on close inspection, disintegrate into the non-sequiturs they always were. All that matters is that the rich get richer, and nobody is massively inconvenienced.

The planet groans, close to death, unheard by all but a few saviours.

In the midst of it all is an epiphany: change begins with you. The process begins to alter your outlook, readdress the imbalances. Your ideas are still stolen but you make it impossible to erase personal influence from the picture. It is your drive and determination that makes others stop and think about themselves, address the shortcomings, alter their outlooks. Slowly, gradually, change begins to happen.

It becomes apparent that if enough people are prepared to do the same, real alteration is possible. The key is finding what amount constitutes critical mass, and watching other people walk away and refuse to take part breaks your heart less and less each time it happens. People are the problem. Other people’s inability to alter themselves is the issue. Those who can and will continue to offer the only sensible solutions.

Their hope and enthusiasm shines brighter than sunshine.

You know the damage you’ve done. The past is best left well alone, and so you do and even when it comes back and tried to derail, there’s strength enough to ignore it. You can only hope others understand how much you care, and that this is all you will ever do. After that, trying to change the everything is a complete waste of time.

You learn to pick your moments, and they are glorious.

Fresh

Can’t believe it’s only Tuesday. Yesterday went on for MONTHS and, to be honest, it is still going on, and I feel horrible. I’ve let other people down, and I absolutely fucking HATE it when that happens. I end up massively overcompensating and then in turn end up remembering that this is another inherited behaviour I really need to stop falling back on. TELL PEOPLE HOW YOU FEEL AT THE TIME DAMMIT.

Anyway, it is only Tuesday. I probably need another cuppa.

In anticipation of the much-hyped and finally here launch of YouTube on Thursday, I have revamped a few things. This typeface and me clicked quite early on in my relationship with Canva, and the background’s evolved a bit from its original use. As I really have been here since 1992, maybe it is time to make that a selling point. Let’s face it, most people don’t think anything happened before 1990 anyway.

There’s also a bit more honesty in my posting over the last few days. I know why. This is really me talking, not the version of myself I often use when there is no desire to really interact with other people, but I feel obliged to. That obligation has shifted to other places, and to be honest that’s probably the best place for them. There is no need for such bollocks here.

Being authentic was never more important as it is now.

Nobody else cares about this as much as I do for a reason. It’s not their job to. If I want these things to be successful, and I desire traction moving forward, it’s simple: I have to do the work, it’s entirely up to me.

So, let’s work.

Fame

That’s my poem IN THE SUNDAY FUCKING TELEGRAPH, that is. I’d assumed, when they did the interview, that all that mattered was the serious stuff. I’d fully expected anything contentious to be edited out (as it appears was the case with the other poet they spoke to) and to have my mental health shout out left in was, it has to be said, quite satisfying.

For a poem I don’t really like that much, this is already FAR more traction than could have been reasonably expected. This morning, something else I’m not that particularly enamoured with either has unexpectedly picked up a consent form request. At some point however it might be useful to get some payment somewhere, because this stuff doesn’t feed anybody.

The attention however is, it must be said, worth the effort.

It’s odd, how certain things move on their own. My concern about diversifying too much is still niggling, but as I’ve already got video ready to roll with imagery for a poem this week after trying to do this since March, it is apparent that that wasn’t the real issue. Once the work’s attacked, it gets done. The real issue is planning effectively to get to that stage.

Looking back on previous disasters, planning was always the weak link. It would support me when creativity flagged, and would propel me forward when things got emotionally fraught. Now it’s shit hot, and happens before ANYTHING else takes place, the difference to just about everything is not only noticeable but reassuring. Why did it take me so long?

Well that’s a stupid question, you didn’t believe you could do it.

Belief is undoubtedly the key. Knowing there is nothing to prove at this stage also helps enormously… what, I’m gonna fail at this by the time I’m 30? I should be sitting at home drinking wine and watching daytime TV at my age: no woman 50 is any kop for anything, unless you’re a Hollywood actress with a skincare contract and an expensive wardrobe. Fuck all your preconceptions, and screw anyone who thinks they get to tell me I’m wasting my time.

Trust me, I did pull a shirt over my head and run around the room when that poem got chosen for publication, and every time I succeed it will be celebrated with a similar level of joyous enthusiasm because honestly, truthfully, I never expected to get here at all. It was all just possibility. Now I am here, you’ll have to extract my existence from cold, dead hands before I’ll be prepared to give it up.

Welcome to the New Routine.

Let Me Entertain You

Everything got shifted to one side yesterday, in order for me to finish something, which I summarily did. I have learned an awful lot about editing and video producing in the last month, and all of these things will now be put to good use elsewhere going forward. I’ll also be appearing in a Sunday paper tomorrow: not sure in what form as yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.

That’s it. I’ll be back on Monday.

Breathe

Last night, I switched my brain off for two hours and watched Enola Holmes. For a very long time, Sherlock has been the annoying fuckwit in the Holmes family, it was always Mycroft who seemed more relatable. Of course, that’s changed over various adaptations and this time around having the elder brother who shouted at his teenage sister was, amazingly, exactly what the plot required.

Stories are great ways of teaching. Although that movie was clearly not didactic, it unintentionally becomes a metaphor for modern feminism that it is abundantly apparent most of the male reviewers totally failed to grasp, even when very obviously telegraphed by certain characters. It is perfect evidence, if it were needed, that two people can see the exact same thing and devolve totally different experiences.

It is partly why the World is undoubtedly in the fucking mess it is now.

There are a lot of people who think they know how stuff works. There are those who are so confident in their wrongness that they don’t care what they say or do. There are far too many people who’s first assumption when stuff goes wrong is to blame someone else, and not to look to themselves. Most importantly, sometimes it really is the tech that fucks up.

Having said all of that however, none of that is relevant to how you feel right now. That’s how this works, up close and personal. If you cannot function, and do what you’re doing correctly, that’s the quality of life issue that requires intervention. It’s how certain doctors judge whether you require treatment. It’s what a private psychologist said to me after they pronounced if I wanted to pursue an autism diagnosis, I was looking in the wrong place.

The only way to find the answers you need is to start listening.

I can see the people who are learning right now, and can also point out those for whom this will always be about them, before anything else.

I know who I associate with more.

Believe

Today is already quite important.

Loneliness is a big deal for me right now, which may seem incredible under current circumstances. After all, Lockdown is making people variously crave or be genuinely afraid of human contact. For me, however, the mental processes are different, and two incidents over the last 24 hours have finally allowed me to quantify why, right now, it really does feel like all I’m doing is yelling into a void.

It takes me a PHENOMENALLY long time to properly make friends with people. Sure, I can slip into conversations all day and night, hide in plain sight and never, ever feel as if those moments are anything other than totally natural. I’ve also become excellent at reading and taking stuff from other people in without ever needing to interact with them. That comes from decades as text as, in many cases my only contact with other people.

The problem, ultimately, is finding other people like me.

I attended a Time to Change Virtual Networking event yesterday, which was incredibly life affirming and made me realise, yet again, that I’m not alone when it comes to struggling with mental health issues. However, I’m not going to lie, there were moments where I felt unbelievably anxious and very alone indeed and, it’s apparent from distance, that’s because there is no individual interaction in a group of 80 people.

When I ended up in a Breakout room, or in a smaller group for feedback, the whole thing changed. When I’m talking to my local Hub or on a one-to-one with a fellow champion, none of the anxiety or disconnection exists. It is the need to talk to someone but, crucially, for them to share some kind of common bond. It isn’t just the conversation that matters. It is the possibility that someone might care enough to become a friend.

The significance of that realization is still resonating within me.

I have words that explain why I feel this way, that are accompanied by concepts that were introduced during counselling last year. I know full well why the emotions within me exist, and how in the past they pushed me to do things that were harmful and ended up hurting the people I cared about. So many of my issues drift back to never having the information required to be whole growing up. A lot of that was wrapped around my sexuality.

Understanding that I was attracted to both boys and girls several decades after those feelings first became apparent was part of my process of redemption. It has allowed everything to find its correct and proper level. It won’t deal with the consequences however, or make certain anxieties and phobias vanish. That is my job to address and deal with, and it is happening.

It may be self-indulgent, but honestly it should not be a surprise.

Knowing how my physical state affects mental well-being has been a revelation in recent months. Sleep plays a massive factor in understanding. However, more than anything else right now I crave empathic, intellectual connections. It’s why Patreon is so important as a creative tool, to allow me to explore the parts of my brain that so need to become as strong as my legs or arms.

It is why, on Bi Visibility Day, it matters to remind people that I am. It’s why those who malign social media need constant prompting that it isn’t the delivery system that needs work, but how people choose to use it. All of these things make life worth living. They give me purpose, paths and goals to achieve, and without them the Void is very big and it can become increasingly depressing shouting into it.

The problems are mine to fix. I cannot, however, do it alone.

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.