Out Come the Freaks


Counselling is done. I’m on my own now: that means being able to trust judgement when it comes to knowing when I’ve made the right call on something. Slowly but surely, adjustments are being made across all parts of existence that make me progressively happier with each choice. Sure, I can’t control everything, but most of it is doable.

For everything else, it is time to hit and hope.

When I look back at the last decade and what has been achieved, it is increasingly about addressing areas where I failed to act as appropriate. This normally involves a judgement call: should there be some kind of admission of defeat? Is it sound to accept your shortcomings in public with a determination to make things better?

It took a while, but now I’m comfortable leaving the past where it is for good.


I’ll tell you what, though, with each passing day I look at those people who caused me grief or with whom I had a less than stellar relationship with leading to this point and realise it wasn’t just my fault. Blame, such as it exists now, remains not just one person’s to shoulder. It makes me even more determined than ever before not to give people the idea that I am anything I am not.

Life isn’t just about blaming other people, or attacking those who don’t agree with you. It isn’t about assuming that the World owes you something, or that you are some kind of self-appointed arbiter for other people’s thoughts and feelings. Friendship is hard graft, requires constant input and is never, EVER just a one way street. If you’re under the impression you’re friends with someone, you need to put in some work.


Also, if you overstep the mark, the first thing you do is apologise. You don’t pretend nothing happened, or say nothing in the vain hope it will all go away. Silence is as much an admission of guilt online than actually standing up and admitting you fucked up. Occasionally though, we all just want a quiet life, and then you just leave because honestly it’s just easier than making more fucking drama.

Why people can’t think before they type is beyond me, but that’s where we are.

Games Without Frontiers

I’m getting tired of this. It happens everywhere. People are lazy, and especially when online if you want attention, honestly doesn’t work. The way to get your Tweet noticed is to make it more controversial than it really is. As it happens, this article’s quite interesting: people are challenging convention. You don’t need to have all your limbs or look like an athlete to be a personal trainer. It doesn’t matter about your religion or your dress size. That’s far less dehumanising than leading with ‘fat people’ but hey, whoever was scheduling the weekend tweets for The Guardian’s clearly past caring.

This shit should matter, and it never does.

Last night, someone tweeted this into my timeline. Now it’s been deleted, I have to tell you that the person running the I L0VE the 80’s account clearly got a bit annoyed about last night’s Doctor Who (which was set during the partition of India in the 1940’s) and decided to make his own comment using a picture of Tom Baker. ‘His’ Doctor, he told us, would fight Cybermen and Daleks, and not social justice issues. The responses that followed were, it must be said, not unsurprising, and came from both sides of the current spectrum of reaction to a woman, doing a traditionally man’s job.

This however, wasn’t controversy. I genuinely believe this was anger in response to the alteration of an institution that’s remained staunchly male for over 50 years. This wasn’t in an attempt to generate interest for the account either, it was using a platform that has 196k followers to make a political statement.  I suspect the reactions that were garnered were enough to make him delete the tweet. They were certainly enough for him to block a number of respondees. It is perfectly acceptable to hold a differing opinion to others, but if you choose to share it? Yes, there will be consequences.


Everybody posts stuff they regret, it is a symptom of modern life, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve done the same. However, that doesn’t happen now (except for the occasional typo correction when I’m using a Tweet to start a Thread or as a daily entry to a Thread.) I will no longer get involved in arguments before there’s been at least one cup of tea consumed, and often I just won’t bother at all. Undoubtedly, the best lesson ever learnt in the last seven years is knowing when to keep my mouth shut. Both of these things yesterday were commented on, because this is the kind of shit nobody needs and is of no help long term.

Most of the problems in the World could be solved with better communication, and yet people still don’t think beyond the sensational or confrontational to make their points. It’s not hard to be smart.

Really, you don’t have to show the World how you feel all the time.

Over and Over


Even with eight hours last night, I’m still tired. Clearly this weightlifting shit is working. Once I’ve sorted out the skeleton of the week, it’ll be back to the Gym for a cardio session, because arm muscles need a day off. I can’t do this 24/7 any more but there does need to be something, daily, to keep me keen. Having come to a couple of new, interesting conclusions over the weekend, it is probably the right moment to start working towards one attainable goal at a time. We’ll start with weight. After that, endurance, and after that, participation.

One step at a time.

Eventually, in all our lives, something we once loved becomes the thing we hate. If you don’t possess such extremes in emotion, of course, none of this will make any sense. Everything’s just okay. This is not a World I’d ever want to inhabit, where everything is the same, thinly drawn line of comfort. Pushing out of the Zone used to scare the crap out of me, I won’t lie. Now, however, not so much. It also helps when you get a much needed reality check from time to time.

Mine today came from someone who has no idea who I am, my history or my relationship with people who have proven historically to be toxic and frankly rude. When you don’t take the time to know the World around you and pronounce judgement in a manner which suggests you are the only important part of a conversation, I’m already walking away. It’s a shame really, but no surprise. On reflection, this is pretty much the response I thought I’d get.

If you’re that transparent, you’re doing it wrong.

Really looking forward to the weekend, where there will be running and photography. Who knew those two would go together a decade ago?

Brilliant Mind


I am noticing a disturbing trend on Social media. I hope this is just isolated incidents, and the people involved realise that there’s a very fine line to be skirted here that maybe, possibly, is being overstepped by the zealous.

There is an increasing feeling that some people are using mental health as a way to sell themselves.


First off, let’s be clear: having mental issues being discussed openly is NEVER something I want to stop. It’s an important, nay essential part of removing the stigma and increasing awareness. However, as has been the case in the last few weeks, I’m seeing people using mental health issues to promote websites (that aren’t anything other than personal portals) and to sell items, where I’m told the money goes to help mental health charities, but the implication remains that they’re also allowing individuals to profit from the exposure. I appreciate the sentiments behind sites like this, but honestly? That’s not the way this works.

Twitter wins with charities like Time to Change whose presence is 100% not about selling me something or offering suspicious advice that may only work for a minority of people. The sometimes broad-brush nature may annoy those who feel there are better ways to deal with these illnesses, but the fact remains the generic nature of their campaigns reaches the widest possible audience. Accepting you have a problem will be the hardest thing most people ever do. After that? Then you get the chance to work out the details.


Watching other people using mental illness as the means by which to further themselves has always been a prickly subject to address, especially on Social media where it is almost impossible to tell who’s being honest (or not.) I know where I stand on this, that my mental issues are very much real and historic, but can’t speak for anybody else. What I would absolutely never do is use that as a means to market myself. I make headers for posts to alert people to the discussion, but you won’t see it used in the Patreon as a selling point at any time. My personal life is something I talk about, but which doesn’t get sold. If I help somebody by sharing, then great, but there’s no way that becomes my stock in trade.


Without the Mindfulness Course, my life would be a lot more stressful right now. I’m very grateful for the lessons learnt and an ability to step out of myself objectively. I just hope those people jumping on the coattails of the mental health ‘revolution’ currently taking place are well aware of the depth of responsibility everyone shoulders when they talk about their illness. Using it to sell your product is wrong. Using it to sell yourself may be even more insidious.

Hope for the Future


I didn’t get my mentorship. It wasn’t a surprise. In good news, they sent the e-mail nice and early, so I didn’t have to stress about it all day. Not that I would have, of course, because I already know how this is going to pan out.

What mattered more this morning was bettering my own standard.

I woke up at 7am with a mission.

I’d written an essay for today’s Internet of Words site that, frankly, I was less than enamoured with, far too similar in tone and outlook to the one produced a week before. I realise now that what works best in my four week format is a general essay on the book, and then a more detailed assessment of a portion of the subject matter, but seen through a wider lens. I have tried since the weekend to get a handle on what that view would encapsulate, and yesterday morning it came to me: time travel. So this morning I’ve taken a day’s worth of notes and a week’s worth of general research and produced something new pretty much from scratch. I’ve yet to do my re-read but honestly, I already know it is 1000% better than what I started with.

Today therefore is a resounding success, because I didn’t just stick with what was good. I created something better.



Talking of creating something better… Bond 25 had better not be Diamonds are Forever or Die Another Day.


Last night, the Real World crashed the party on Social media, and today lots of people will be REALLY cross. Be nice, and accommodate discussion. If your mental health won’t support remaining in public places, leaving’s perfectly fine. There’s plenty of us left to give the alt right, extremists and anyone else with stupidity running through their veins a run for their money. A smart person might even consider capitalising on current events.

I think I’d pay good money to see that happen.

Copy Me


One of the first words my daughter learnt at her new school was plagiarism. From the beginning  to the end of the School year, that concept was drilled into her: just copying from the Internet and passing it off as your own work is wrong. I was reminded of this yesterday when reading, of all things, a Teen Vogue article. I followed the site after the US presidential campaign, and the resulting output turned out to be one of the best things to come out of 2016 for me and many others.


This story, of a woman on Instagram effectively plagiarising another (far more high profile) user’s work gave me genuine pause for thought. I know this stuff happens all the time, have seen artists that I follow complain that their work has been wholesale lifted and copied without permission. With the size of the Internet, it is no surprise that even my own work’s been duplicated and used by ‘scraper’ sites: added as filler on websites who’s existence is dubious at best. One of the reasons I finally left Google’s Blogger site after being there since launch was the amount of site hits which went through me that was clearly spam, other people using the URL as a means to direct suspicious traffic. However, it isn’t the nature of this kind of plagiarism that makes me uncomfortable. In the case of our Copycat Instagrammer, there’s almost an artistic reverence to the work which, once upon a time, might have been considered acceptable. Now, with what I know about how the Internet works? It’s just plain creepy.


The note at the bottom of that Teen Vogue article is the real takeaway from any story like this: in my mind I imagine the copycat ‘grammer had done this simply to try and gain new followers by dupicating shots she knew would be popular. The fact she went to the exact same places to do so is no surprise either, because if all that matters in your mind is a simple reproduction? Then you require the same backdrops. In a world where image is everything (and it is if you’re playing the aspirational lifestyle card) then one assumes the effort expended will be, in the mind of any copycat, worth the reward. Except here’s the bigger problem: thought. If you have all the money you need and the time to simply scrape someone else’s life and pretend that you’re living it yourself, does this provide any real notion of satisfaction? Do you get kicks and thrills simply by pretending you are that person? If that is the case, is this ever going to be mentally healthy long term?


I know people online who live like this. There is evidence to support that case too, in at least one case from multiple sources. I’ve considered the wisdom of pursuing an individual but after a long and very interesting discussion with a member of the legal profession, any case comes down to whether your evidence is prosecutable. As soon as it is possible to gather sufficient concrete proof that your copycat/stalker/abuser is just that, Police and Law Enforcement are becoming increasingly willing to take cases to court. For everything else, gaps in international law between countries allows crazies to quietly slip through the cracks. You teach your kids to be careful, watch for the signs, but grown ups rarely do the same for themselves until it is often far too late.

For some, however, online plagiarism has become what they’re best known for. Copying others has evolved into their own ‘signature’ move… and can you blame people, when Hollywood will reinvent itself every 10 years, a movie’s not really a classic unless it’s been remade several times, and fashion relies on recycling trends each season allowing magazines to roll out decades old stock photos of when that trend was popular the last time. Everybody’s guilty from time to time of seeing someone else’s work, going ‘oh yeah I could do that better’ and doing just that. Without that turn of events I doubt that man would have invented the wheel, learnt how to plough crops or how to use plants to make people better. Like it or not, borrowing from others is a basic part of human nature.


The problems inevitably surface when you cross a line, which is often far more clearly defined than many copycats might like to believe. Do it once and you’ll probably be smiled at and the duplication acknowledged (especially if you do a decent job) but keep on repeating and people will eventually and quite rightly accuse you of not having any of your own ideas. In fact, if you keep doing it to the point where someone notices and then you stop and simply latch onto something else? Perhaps it might be time to take a look at yourself. If all of this ultimately is an attempt to keep people interested in your life, then maybe the real issue isn’t having an adoring audience to hide within. Speaking as someone who, for many years, never considered the consequences of her actions, you may not be lucky enough to be forgiven. The better option, undoubtedly, is not to fixate on someone else’s life as being an aspiration, and to focus on fixing your own.

In the long term, it will be better for your soul.

All or Nothing at All

Obsession really is a mug’s game. I can recount every point in my life where it has gotten the better of me, and how I am less of a person having succumbed. It’s a step away from jealousy too, all anger and petty blindness to anything except the fact that she’s a bitch/he’s a wanker. On a day where spinning fiction into truth is the norm, I feel I should act as counter. There’s a good reason early man was handed a set of Commandments by its storytelling elders, after all: learning to live your life well is the central tenet of pretty much every Religion, essential to keeping your followers happy. It is how not only you guide a person through existence, but means to make sense of the life they have found yourself within. You may not agree the with the concept of an all-powerful being making your planet in a week, but loving thy neighbour, especially in the current climate, holds a fair deal of merit.


The reason why this works is simple: everybody has a nemesis. Fixation is as much a part of modern existence, the warped consequence of having good and bad in the World. Freud will tell you fixation is sexual (well what wasn’t, Sigmund?) but there’s all kinds of obsessive behaviour, and the Internet has those fingerprints all over it. Twitter is terrible for allowing you to decide somebody has got it out for you: never replying when you talk to them, ignoring you help and support, and simply not registering your existence. That ‘notice me Senpai’ thing isn’t just a meme, people, it has a root in some quite complex psychological behaviour. The counter to the devoted is, of course, that person who exploits or warps innocent behaviour for their own ends and enjoyment. That’s the person I used to be before my kids were born, and why I probably find it a lot easier to identify the obsessives in my timeline.

It’s why this morning I’ve decided, with a new month here, to reiterate some truths.


It is impossible to live a perfect life, however superb some people might paint theirs as being. There was a joke, a while back, about people who’d go take pictures of themselves about to go on long runs in obscure places and never do it, just so they could show off on Facebook. I’ve never understood this need to pretend you’re something you’re not, because eventually, like it or not, you’ll get caught. There’s a couple of people who I interact with, for instance, who work very hard to maintain internet personas which are a very long way from what I know is reality. I draw this conclusion because of the number of people who’ve warned me of their obsessive behaviour, or have found themselves in direct conflict with the person because of clashing personalities. I won’t take sides in such debates, and everyone is welcome here. If, however, I feel people are becoming a toxic influence on my personal well-being I will address that, but don’t expect a big, public meltdown if it happens.

If you want that form of entertainment, I’m no longer the woman you’re looking for.


I promise I never lie to you here. My life is amazingly boring and terrifically mundane, the only issues I have are personal, and I’m too old now to sit and let other people wind me up… except this morning, someone did, and I realised that it was time to start putting money where my mouth is. I really am enjoying my journey right now and what I don’t need as distraction is petty jealousy. As a result, here’s the deal. There won’t be any drama of my own making. I’m not going to start fights or block people for the lulz. I can promise a distinct lack of fixation on anything except what I think matters, what is decent and adult and WORDS. LOTS OF WORDS. We’re just going to carry on in the same vein for as long as we can, and enjoy the life we have for what it is.

Time to get cracking.