The Chain

We all know the World is on fire, and as a result it is important not to give too much thought to the superficial. Far bigger things matter more: people’s lives, their livelihoods, the long term futures of millions of people all hang in the balance. Therefore I tell this story here for one reason, and one alone. Today was the day when I realised I have what is needed to begin making a difference, and I will.

It began in the Gym. I can’t bear to look at myself for too long in the mirrors. I don’t do mirrors generally, it’s why looking at cameras in Zoom meetings makes me uncomfortable, why most of my video projects will be pictures and voice. It’s why makeup continues to be a non-starter. I just don’t feel at ease with myself on most days… except today. This was the day I looked at myself and was happy.

Months and months and months of hard work is finally beginning to make me look like the person I want to be. I know who they are, hidden inside. I don’t talk about them very often because that me is hugely fragile, and pretty scared. However, that was who I saw lifting weights today, pushing themselves on a cross trainer. The person inside is growing.

Then I helped some individuals with an idea they have over Zoom, and felt as if I was hugely useful. This is a brilliant, well-considered plan that, if it succeeds, could alter thousands of people’s lives for the better. It is exactly the kind of change I want to get behind, and it will provide comfort and support for those who need it. It’s going to be a pleasure to take part in the process.

All that I’ve ever wanted is to be worthwhile. Anonymous, but useful is my modus operandi. It looks as if some of my lifelong ideas may finally see the light of day and the feelings that is producing are new, interesting and very, very uncertain. I’m sharing them here because it is important for other people to know and understand that everybody is different. Changing need not be frightening, but undoubtedly is.

Sharing those feelings, as I can now attest, will make things easier.

Changes

I walk the same 6k circuit near my house with increasing regularity. As of today, it will become a daily occurrence, because I got on the scales earlier and realised that there’s some more work I could be doing, but I digress. A phenomenal amount of construction is taking place right now. That means a lot of builders.

Yesterday, I could see the cat calling happening from distance, because I can lip-read. I didn’t hear any of it, because I wear in-ear headphones when I walk. They’re noise-cancelling for a reason: if I’m not aware enough of traffic and cars when I walk out the door, I won’t walk, hearing is not required to be safe. Common sense matters far more.

There was an epiphany yesterday of quite significant proportion.

There is a phenomenal amount of shit online about how to become successful: everybody has an angle, or is claiming that they used X to get to Y and it’s the best way. It’s bollocks, of course, because nobody’s idea of success is ever really going to properly align with your own. However, if the person telling you what to do is yourself?

That might sound odd, so let me quantify: lots of great achievers will throw buzz phrases at you: don’t do it unless its fun, find your own aesthetic, fake it till you make it… the list is endless. None of this matters one iota until you’re able to hear those words and understand them. Individual comprehension is the key to all progress. When YOU hear the words and YOU grasp the significance, only then comes change.

If you can’t hear negativity, it won’t affect you.

Here’s where the headphones’ analogy kicks in: I can’t stop the building site gomers catcalling: only they can do that, eventually, if one of their mates tells them to knock it off. They aren’t going to listen to me, and never will. So, by definition, wasting my time and effort on them is just that: you let it go… or in my case, you stop listening and focus on the music.

I’ve grasped this week that my response to internet trolling has become exactly this too: these people aren’t listening. I’m far better off targetting them as a symptom of the larger disease we’re all being destroyed by. They’re more insidious than a virus, which is crucial: this is long-term, systemic abuse that needs to be addressed, and it will be.

However, if they keep distracting me from task, nothing will get done.

Abuse is not criticism, just like opinions are not facts. When someone throws abuse at you online, as a result, ignoring it and shoving the headphones in is perfectly warranted. In fact, it’s positively encouraged. People turn up online to offer opinions that are often never warranted or asked for. It’s why Twitter thought if it offered users the opportunity to limit who we interact with, this would make everything better.

Except that’s not attacking the problem, that’s effectively limiting conversation, which needs to take place so that those who are hateful, angry, racist bigots might have a chance to see that their opinions are no longer acceptable or palatable. That’s why loads of them left and went to Parler, where everybody will agree with them and it’s boring as a result.

Change occurs through conflict, a constant nobody can ever change.

How you find your path is as unique as each snowflake that still believes they’re special. They’re right, but don’t tell them that, it’ll make it worse. Fact remains, no two people will approach success in the exact same way. For me, right now, that word means doing my chores, eating right and using energy positively. The days of negative energy are done.

We are here to be better for everybody.