Fuck You

We’re working well right now. I have lots of plans, but very few of them involve stressing about paying people to validate me. We have officially reached the ‘fuck this shit’ portion of the year and December is already being planned, and will be taken as Holiday, because honestly I have had enough of sending stuff to people and getting not even the acknowledgement of failure.

What is becoming increasingly apparent is how bigger forces than I are dealing with the change in focus: no longer looking totally inward, many are beginning to realise the true consequence of their actions, or in many cases complete inertia. The rules here remain predictably intractable.

It’s not your job to curate your content but other people’s to remove it if they don’t like what they hear. You can absolutely be critical of said content, but expecting people to change it is unacceptable as it is a) theirs and b) you need to respect the work. That ‘respect’ can mean constructive criticism, creating your own version of reality or indeed just rejecting the work completely and leaving. You don’t get to demand it changes.

I kopped so much grief as a Gaming writer on this stance. Gamers ‘have a right’ to demand change. If it doesn’t work, the Devs HAVE to fix it. No, really, they don’t. If they choose to because economically half the player base fucks off in protest? Different scenario. That’s not like a book or a TV show where you make the creative decisions and people just have to live with it, and do.

Entitlement has fucked so much of modern existence. It really has, and the people who fucked me up over it will never be forgotten as a result. I have a list of people that could be cited, confidently blaming for a number of mental stutters in the last decade. It’s easy to see how fandom attacks and warps the fabric of our daily existence.

Except, learning the value of moving on is something so many fail to do.

So, this is me, moving on. You were warned well in advance. Some old stuff is coming back, some other stuff going away for good. I’m tired of the assertion that you somehow have to preserve some level of content civility, or else people won’t listen. That’s bollocks, it really is. I’ve seen how people like Mona work. Her reach, her work ethic, her honesty.

This is the future more people should be aspiring to.

Vampire Money

Three whole days. Been a while, blog. If ever there were conclusive proof that things have changed, then it’s the last three days. I have begun to trust my gut again, after a long period of complete inability to judge what I have seen around me, and how conversations pan out. Right now, there is at least 90% confidence when I see someone who clearly is making an effort to remain interested, it isn’t just my imagination.

There have had to be some big decisions this week too, and all of them have happened with quiet confidence. There is this continuous beat, nobody will do this but you, and that is the gift that keeps on giving, often in unexpected ways. After the weekend I am reasonably certain it will be time to start looking for new places to hang out and some different people to help me through the next part of proceedings.

It is apparent that I have yet to arrive at a permanent destination.

Maybe it is my lot in life to keep moving, because what is being searched for is constantly changing. It has occurred, at least over the last three months, that travel is really missed. It would be great to get away to somewhere, anywhere, just for a few days, because it is the routine that ends up sucking creativity from my soul. So, for the next few months, it is time to travel within myself.

There will be more Estuary time, more video work, a proper flexing of creative muscles, NaNo preparation (and quite possibly some writing) a second anthology sent for reading to a select group and, undoubtedly, exercise. I went back to Blaze yesterday and, after two minutes in the red, realised that the ability to work hard was being held back by what I was being asked to do. Once I stopped doing as I was told? Easy game.

I just wish some days I was less naive, and far faster on the uptake.

Go Up

I’m quite excited this morning. A Kickstarter which I backed nearly two years ago will arrive (according to UPS) on Friday. This piece of equipment delivers the end to a story which began on my birthday in 2018. No, really, the date on the video below is October 23rd, 2018. It is a story about meditation, from a woman I greatly admire.

Pull up a chair.

As a result of this video, Simone started a Kickstarter to purchase your own Every Day Calendar. As you can see by the progress page it has been a really, REALLY long road to get here which has included along the way the reoccurrence of health issues for Ms Giertz which initially bought her YouTube Channel to my attention. To say she’s an inspiration would be a MASSIVE understatement.

Waiting has never been a problem for me. Patience is part of the long game plan everyone needs to play, and when this item finally arrives we’ll unbox it, check it works but won’t stick it on the wall just yet. That will happen when I get my new office space, which has now gone from just a dream to actual planning. The biggest irony in all of this remains I now grasp I didn’t need Simone to make me a calendar at all.

I just needed her to share the idea.

At the end of August 2017 I’d completed the Ride London 46, with a fifty mile ride from London to Southend the week before as a warm-up. It was the most exercise ever done, and it gave me a new sense of optimism and enthusiasm for what might be achievable going forward. So, in September that year, I decided to push hard for my real goal.

I was going to try and pursue the dream of being published, to become a ‘proper’ writer and stop mucking about on the Internet. However, for the next year, the same issue would play out, time and again: I’d get so far, before anxiety would let me down. We’d be back to square one. It was almost impossible to make any kind of coherent progress.

Then, on my 52nd Birthday, Simone appeared.

Over the next two months, I realised what it was that was stopping me doing something every day: me. I was the problem, and to fix it would take more bravery than had existed for probably my entire life. As the sun set on the calendar Kickstarter, I make a breakthrough and went from ‘just a poet’ to ‘published poet’ and the World got an awful lot brighter as a result.

In the time it’s taken to make Simone’s idea a mass-produced reality I’ve undergone counselling, made exercise a daily habit as well as using meditation and exercise to alter my physical well-being. I’ve become a Time to Change Mental health Champion, have two poems being published before Christmas, and completed Red January as a successful fundraiser.

Crucially, I have tried to be consistent every day.

The journey to here has been anything but easy. However, two years on the path forward is a lot easier to grasp. Why things happen in my head used to be a mystery: not any more. If I use yesterday as an example, I know exactly what triggered my anxiety, and how it was then summarily dealt with. Understanding those reactions is an ongoing process. It never gets better, just easier. That’s perfectly fine.

My life now is a series of red dots on a calendar that mark the days when no only did I do something, but something better happened as a result. Once upon a time there’d be long periods when I never really participated as myself at all, but an echo of myself, a sliver of representation. Not any more. If I can’t cope, I ask for help. If I struggle, I tell people why.

Asking for help is still the hardest thing of all.

I’m really quite excited for this parcel. However, it’s just a thing, an item. The benefits above and beyond that purchase are only now being properly weighted and appreciated. It’s true, sometimes you’ll have to have a bike or some shoes or maybe a club or a gym to go to in order to make some dreams a reality. Other times, all you really need is to believe in an idea enough to make it real without those things.

Sometimes, you need someone else to tell you it’s a GOOD idea.

Turns out daily progress really was mine to dictate in the end.

Saturday

Just gonna knock one thing off my Saturday To Do List before I start here, two secs…

Been another odd week. Watching people I know succeed in things that were aspirations last year, but were (rightly) ignored this for a bigger picture. Having everything is not attainable, so it is about making the choices that work not just for you, but also circumstance. Being on the right side of history matters.

Most importantly of all, there’s a lot to lose.

Tomorrow I need to be brave and attack some stuff that’s not been touched for some time. There are new windows of opportunity opening all the time. It’s as much about being proactive and flexible as it is attaching discipline to actions, which can sometimes cause something of a conflict of interest.

However, undoubtedly there is change.

Tower of Strength

A bunch of ridiculously rich people worried about being ‘cancelled’ (with no grasp at all what this really means) co-signed a statement yesterday. The two most notable (at least for me) had already come together in conflict earlier in the day on something far more telling.

This is where we are now. There are no precisely drawn lines… except one. Wealth. All of those people have money, and by definition access to anything they might need to ensure their lives are lived without issue. Except, of course, as writers, they are supposed to be revered and loved for their intellectual stimulation and insight or else their reason for being does not exist.

Think it’s time to bring Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs back to the table.

All those rich people are not at the top of their pyramids right now. They might have made it to Tier Two without breaking sweat but Tier Three is the deal breaker for EVERYBODY in Lockdown: when ‘they’ say that money won’t buy you happiness, this is normally the space where the majority of that assertion lies. The shift from Safety to Belonging is fucking HUGE.

For this writer, I can absolutely attest that once you move into the Esteem stage of proceedings, an awful lot of stuff that was not previously possible becomes just that. The self-imposed obstacles that are set previously simply cease to exist. You can and do attain things that were previously impossible. It is, ultimately, all about your own personal journey into enlightenment.

Wealth then becomes far more than material fortune.

Except, for many of these writers being unchallenged on frankly vile opinions for decades is coming to an end. Having an ‘opinion’ is finally beginning to mean accountability. The more insidious upshot of this, at least for me, will always be the mental health consequences of having opinions and outbursts in a public forum, in front of a massive, often highly susceptible audience.

Never more was that apparent than when this particular piece of video appeared yesterday lunchtime.

I know this might raise some eyebrows here, but this is dangerously close to doublethink tactics. I saw the term ‘psy-ops’ used in a few places by some notable players and had to go look it up. They say every day is a school day in this parish and that it is.

First off: THESE GUYS HAVE GABRIEL AS THEIR PATRON??? Quite apart from the numerous WTAF’s that resulted from this rabbit hole, it is apparent that mental warfare is now a big deal. Undoubtedly, having looked at the tell-all book a member of the Orange Twat’s family has now been allowed to publish, it’s quite clear that childhood trauma’s got a part to play in proceeedings.

Speaking as someone already waist high in the same shit another writer’s sold for a fortune, objectivity becomes the defining feature for absolutely everything. If I was holding the keys to a massive nuclear arsenal, I’d fucking demand other people made me accountable. That’s not happening right now, and needs to change. Toxic behaviour is no longer acceptable, however fucking rich your books have made you.

It is possible to put everything in place and it still to work.

Some rich, white people will be casualties. Whether there are enough of them, and whether the right ones are quietly shifted aside remains to be seen. Psychological warfare is the tool they have used for decades to subjugate others, and if we’re being all biblical here in terms of revenge then one good tooth extraction deserves reciprocation.

Except these aren’t the white people who will turn on us and attack our friends. That’s far more likely to happen in a supermarket or a public space. It won’t just be extremism from one direction any more. It’ll be everywhere… except, of course, that’s been the case in certain places for a long time. Maybe that will be noted and dealt with.

There are more problems here currently than solutions offered.

Art for Art’s Sake

Overheard on Friday night, in Westminster…

In a certain light, a lot of the indignation over the arts looks staged. I know that’s not true, but it is REALLY easy to see how the conspiracy theorists are earning crusts during the Pandemic. It won’t be enough either. It never will be enough to undo the destruction wrought during austerity. However, the arts will endure, because of exactly the reason government seems not to give a flying fuck.

In another world, there are better solutions to these problems.

Publishing is a bombsite right now: nobody is covering themselves in any glory amongst the major players. Yesterday, She Whose Name is Not Spoken decided to yet again try to explain her position as being tenable. She failed spectacularly, and I’ve lost patience with people who think it’s okay to still like her and what she does. Sorry, but that’s your lot.

Then this morning, a guy who has done blackface in living memory won’t lose his publishing contract either, but at least people are now prepared to stand up and state how fucking awful his kids books are, because they are. In both cases, publishers have said and done nothing. Why would they? These people make them squillions of pounds.

That’s part of the problem.

However, it is possible to embrace your shortcomings and move forward. L-MM is a case in point, and as the discourse over Hamilton continues to rumble on, we are all wise to start reassessing the choices made when younger in a more current light. A lot has changed in a short period of time. Some creatives are prepared to accept their shortcomings. Others are digging in their heels. I know who I think looks better at distance.

Objectivity is a big ask for those who were never flexible to begin with.

Think

Saying nothing, until you are capable of formulating a rational answer. It is a lost art, especially amongst the political. They would rather grasp the immediacy of the visual metaphor. It’s cleaner, easier and only requires your military to tear-gas a couple of blocks and not shut down the whole damn Capitol. Except, of course sometimes that’s the unintended visual metaphor everybody else will make the best capital from.

When we all look back on the last week, properly grasping that ridiculous is defined by the last thing that made us think we’d seen everything but clearly haven’t the visual will be what defines this year. It was when companies finally grasped that just sticking up a black block then pretending to care wasn’t actually enough any more.

The bigger truth is that the lies are now so much more apparent when there’s no other shit to cloud people’s minds. By being stuck inside, many have had epiphanies the like of which never really took place when the fascists were voted into power. It has become the perfect storm of information + comprehension = understanding.

As the scales fall from an awful lot of people’s eyes, will you just decide it’s all too much and walk away, or will you understand this is an opportunity that comes around once in a lifetime. Are you about to grasp the opportunity presented, or simply return to the vacuous life you had before because, in the end, all you really care about is yourself.

You are seen, in every connotation of the Urban Dictionary definition.

Time to make the difficult decisions.

Moonlighting

A lot of people right now will be feeling pretty impotent, for vastly differing reasons. That’s probably no different from any other Friday, with my Bigger Picture hat on, but I know that’s not true. Last night I missed group exercise for the first time, and the reality finally hit me that there is no escaping this without huge, life-changing consequences. The thing is, I didn’t need this now.Β My life was getting better.

I want to be selfish, but know that’s just not possible.

groundhogagain

Change has never been something I cope with well. There is an inordinate amount of thrashing around, plus anger. BOY am I angry right now.Β The last straw last night was my Health Club actually grasping their heart rate belt system has use beyond just being sold to members, and that it could be used for good and not just as a piece of gym equipment. HOW HAS THIS TAKEN YOU SO LONG TO GRASP,Β and more importantly why are you offering a pathetic Β£500 NHS Trust donation for an exercise challenge when you could afford ten times that easily???

Finding ways to let that anger go is becoming a tough ask. It doesn’t help that within all of this shards of past trauma keep appearing out of nowhere and I have to deal with them, but this is not a present that is mine to control.Β As the Twitter dump above states this morning, this is about being in control of what is doable and letting go of what isn’t. Therefore, this blog post is going to count as a cognitive behaviour exercise.

cbt

I’m no therapist, quite obviously, but having been taught how to step back from emotion via counselling, I was told there would be moments going forward where these skills would have a use. It is why being up earlier than usual this morning was important, to let brain sift through everything logically. It’s why I won’t take a phone or tablet to bed going forward: news can carry on without my attention quite happily.

Joy is out there, it just has to be relocated and grasped: exercise is altering, my mindset towards what is possible slowly shifting. I am getting physically stronger, that much is now inescapably obvious. What is needed now is the ability to escape gravity of bad news, negative thoughts and feelings and propel myself away from this crisis on a new trajectory.

Change has to start now, NOT when all of this is over.

surreal1

Life will never be the same again, regardless of what transpires in the next six months. Many people you love and respect will lose their lives. There will, undoubtedly, be reckonings of many varieties. However, this is NOT the time for me to retreat inwards in an attempt to try to stick this out. The future is externalising, rational responses and not letting anger slowly eat away at all my previous good work.

Today, we start doing things differently.

Long Distance

There are two parts to this post. One came after the other, a Friday night surprise. The second bit won’t be spoken about again until there’s a confirmation email. Needless to say, the past has an odd way of coming back to haunt you. That’s why you should always try and do your best work, and live an optimal experience. People have an unexpected way of dragging things back from where you left them for another turn in the light.

Can’t be more specific than that right now, sorry.

How is that possible however when there’s no time to ever do anything else? I have watched a couple of people this week lament how their lives are all work and no enjoyment. That balance is a tough one to strike, speaking as someone who is still attempting to find the sweet spot herself. Your future, always, should be possibilities, not a set of intractables.

Amazingly, you can still make time to chase those dreams.

tractordonuts

The key is to identify when you have time, and surprisingly that can come from lots of mundane places. Getting up 30 minutes earlier. Ditching social media on your mobile device. Keeping a diary for a week and being REALLY ANAL about exactly how long everything takes in your day. That crap about ‘these 5 simple things’ you see in dodgy Facebook ads can, amazingly, have a benefit.

The key here is small changes first. If you try and create massive upheavals, the alteration will be too much for your brain to easily accommodate. My classic, much-used primary change was taking an extra 15 minutes walking back from school, dropping off my daughter, to burn a few extra calories first thing in the morning. I could have walked straight home, but instead detours became a part of the routine.

walking2

When I was walking for an hour in the morning and nothing was being upset by that action, it was time to accept I could do more if I spent that hour in the Gym, and so a habit was formed. There’s wisdom that suggests that it will take you 21 days to form a habit. Then, if you can do it for another 90 days? Part of your lifestyle. I’m one of those people for whom about half that time’s more than enough.

It doesn’t have to be exercise. It could be one day a week to go see mates, or get your house properly clean, or maybe start that great novel that’s been demanding to be written. Letting the World stop you from what you desire can be as much an excuse as anything else: if you really don’t want to change those habits, it won’t happen. There’s a door in your brain that needs to open, and stay that way, to allow real alteration.

Deep down, you have to accept that not everything is possible.

alwaysright

That might sound a bit counter-intuitive: but why can’t I have everything?Β The response is simple: you don’t need it.Β What is required for happiness is a balance between the stuff that has to be done and those things that don’t, or aren’t as essential. That means that you do not necessarily have to work as hard as you do, all the time, if you’re prepared to cut back on those luxury items. It will, undoubtedly, all pivot on what you consider success.

If that means buying every new thing on release, or constantly being on the bleeding edge with tech? Yeah, it will feel hard. Taking a step back, looking at what you spend, maybe cutting back on eating out and clothes and gadgets might sound like the stuff of nightmares for some, but consumerism is one of the most odious and insidious destroyers of both time and money.

If you can release yourself, just a little from its grasp, the effects can be sizeable.

twist

I don’t want to sound like a self-help guru here. Everybody’s lives are different. I just know, from experience, how one small change unlocked a puzzle in my head I’d spent decades trying to solve. It is a complex, difficult path to enlightenment, because if it wasn’t we’d all be there by now. No two people are the same, and therefore that whole ‘tell me how to live your life’ thing is pants. You don’t want my life, butΒ need your own.

Therefore you try everything you can, then see what fits. However, don’t change everything overnight. Start small.

Consider everything as a possibility.

Everything is Beautiful

Here we are, with an unexpected day off for my daughter due to a burst water main that’d taken out another two dozen schools and the local Leisure Centre. It gave me an opportunity to make a start on the rebranding I’ve decided is how I go forward with my personal Twitter account, instead of deleting the whole damn thing and starting again. Only time will tell whether it is successful or not.

An awful lot has changed in the last five years or so, and this is exactly as it should be. I’d not want to be the person I was last week, let alone that long ago. This is a far more productive and pleasant space in which to exist. Not gonna lie however, there are things missed; not because going back to those times is more attractive. Occasionally, when everything is disposed of in an attempt to move forward some good stuff is unintentionally dumped.

Then you have the task of working out what life lacks, and in my case that’s quite easy. The harder part of the equation is integrating those elements back into an existing schedule. That’s where we start today, therefore: renaming stuff, refreshing places, trying to introduce back to proceedings some of the desire and enthusiasm for communication and interaction has been lost.

I really need to start following some new people.

boosh

There’s no excuse really, and a world of people out there from whom I can learn stuff. But it’s not just about that, it is paying attention to trends and people who drift by and when someone looks interesting, a hand outstretched will be taken one of two ways. If the plan long term is to try and change people’s attitudes to mental health, then maybe that could also occasionally result in a new person to talk to.

I’ll never know until I try.