Begin Again

Religion has an awful lot to answer for: wars, plagues of frogs, beards… the list is endless. At it’s core however we, as humans, should grasp its true significance. This is a system of control. All religions present rules for living a good life, suggest means by which this should take place. Most religions reassure that it’s okay, death is just a transitional state when the reality is a lot more bleak and frankly frightening for most. Religion, simply put, was a requirement as man developed free will and curiosity. It was the means by which people could be dictated to, whilst selfishly playing on basic fears.

The reality for billions of other people however is that religion is an essential, brilliant part of their existence. It allows them peace and focus to become better individuals. Faith provides vital communities that care and clothe, support and understand: nurturing development, granting vital peace to those at the end of their existences. Religion provides means by which existence is both understood and continued, and it is the love within hearts and minds that can bring so much good and happiness to bear.

Both these opinions are equally valid.

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Religion is the first place where, I now grasp, the true value of compromise was learnt. My first direct experience with the devout was not pleasant. However, it taught a lesson that only now after nearly thirty five years has registered as the norm. Allow other people to believe what they wish, and respect that right. Nothing else really matters in the world right now than being able to exist with each other in a manner that will then allow us all to work on the more pressing issues facing the environment.

Except, of course, other people’s priorities are different.

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After a life-changing event on Friday, a lot of priorities have been shifted. Over the next few weeks, as these alterations become more apparent, there will undoubtedly be some changes. That includes making reasoning more flexible. It is becoming apparent that a lot of basic knowledge on interacting with people has never really been properly grasped during my lifetime: this is a very good opportunity to start working out where the holes are.

Every day is a school day, remember.

You Wear It Well

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.


It’s been a tough 24 hours. I’ve been forced to think about a lot of things that really weren’t wanted, but that’s often how this journey goes. There’s not a choice as to what you can ignore or run away from. It becomes a testament to internal strength built and your own ability to cope. It is a salutatory reminder of today’s pretty accompanying graphic.

DAY 3:
You remain the arbiter of destiny’s final course.

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On my Social media friends list are those who happily follow others who have verbally abused me. These people have accused me of being disruptive and argumentative, that my views are contrary to what is required not only in their spaces, but in life generally. The way I think and present myself is part of the Internet’s overall problem, which is a point that probably bears reinforcing at this juncture. Being the contrary opinion to anyone with prominence is your #1 best way to start a fight anywhere.

Except, that doesn’t happen any more.

There are, I’ll grant you, moments when the validity of calling out those people who others believe to be decent and honest seems like a great idea… then comes the reminder that everybody does stupid shit. Lots of us fail to learn from our mistakes. It is, amazingly, a big enough world  to be able to just put distance between me and the abusers and move on. There are those who’d argue this isn’t the answer, but on reflection there’s a bigger issue to address, that is often overlooked.

You won’t be friends with everybody, however much you try.

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Bad stuff happens to everybody. How much bad stuff ultimately depends on not only an individual’s perception, but the amount of time you’re prepared to remain in a toxic relationship. There are, of course, many ways you can be held against your will and if that is the case, it’s already time to get out. The trickiest issue with online relationships are the boundaries: what might seem an incredibly simple solution (just stop messaging them) to one person becomes an impossible task for somebody else, and here is the lesson to learn.

I watched a lot of people in the last 24 hours lament other people’s reactions: calling them exaggerations, not understanding why some people will become as angry as they do. Then there is the counter: why haven’t you spoken up previously? If it matters that much, why aren’t you doing more about it? All of these words show that those involved don’t truly grasp the issues at play. They need to stop making the same mistakes. As my abuser above points out: silence is not agreement.

Silence is the mistake we must all stop making.

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I was targeted by a number of anonymous Twitter accounts in 2016 and, on reflection, there’s a good chance it was the same person behind them all. The email a popular blogger wrote me as a response for a request about his actions is printed out and kept as a permanent reminder: stop making the same mistakes these people do. I can’t reasonably expect to expose and champion every time someone fucked up on line, because everybody is human. What is more realistic is to focus on the stuff I’m capable of changing.

The key to growth and development isn’t being stuck with the same mindset from birth to grave. It is, and always will be, a process of evolution and adaptation. Other people may not change, but without this process of reinvention there would be no point in my mind to existing at all. So, it is time to learn from this week’s events, to suggest others could learn a lot by doing the same, and to carry on forward.

That way, not stuck here.

Sharp Dressed Man

I promise there will not be too much going on about The New Project this week, but as it all kicks off tomorrow, this seems like the correct moment to explain just how fucking important Arguto is. This is the means by which anything is possible and acceptable as a writer. Sure, there could be an extension of self in any one of the three existing places that are provisioned for writing, but all of them come with a measure of immovable baggage. This place is new, fresh: the most pristine of clean slates. Here can be written the part of me that’s been hidden for decades.

This is where I will finally be free.

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I expect the first steps to be tentative and cautious, but already ideas are germinating that will, in time, become brilliant blooms. Laying down a month of ambient vibes across the other platforms is a means by which brain relaxes into the grooves, and begins to run a better course. The plan, long-term, is to use a number of pre-planned projects as a basis for experience-based writing. This will begin with the ten days in August put aside for the road trip to Rome, ambition finally realised after several decades.

After that, there are plans to use London as a springboard but to also explore the place that is called home. Potentially there’s an infinite supply of source material at my disposal, what is required is the planning and organisation to pull everything together. Crucially, there will be physical evidence of all of this as a paper-based version of the online narrative is produced initially for free, but in time with the possibility of charging people to cover printing fees.

There, I said it.

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I’m grateful to those already preparing to make this journey because it is reassuring to know you are not alone. Rest assured, its already a roaring success without a word being written.

Freedom gives a sense of confidence I’ve never found anywhere else in my life.

Goodbye

The day you first learn to walk, there is no expectation. It is a natural and normal part of your development from child to adult. You decide the right moment, and then it is no longer an issue. I’ve never broken a bone in my life (touch wood) but have had a period where I could not walk unaided. The day you know the crutch is no longer required should not become the be-all and end-all of the dependence, but that is only if you realise that you relied on the support.

Finally, the stage has been reached where it matters that what I write is seen as mine, and mine alone.

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This has been a long, strange journey, but now it is time to stop using a video game to sell me. I no longer wish to use this method as promotion either; finally, there is sufficient confidence to build a brand on my own work and not criticising someone else’s. It’s a crutch that was for a long time an indispensable part of my daily life; now I’ve returned to just enjoying it for what it is. In fact, once I’ve written this I’ll spend an hour sorting out characters and be maintaining an interest.

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Only one person thought they’d try and ruin my day yesterday. Before there have been several. This, in itself, is an important step forward too. I realise just how toxic and frustrating the Intenet can choose to be on any given day, but taking control into my own hands have an important advantage: I make the rules. That means, starting in April, I’ll be promoting myself via Twitter for three months as a means by which to judge whether the platform has any use to me. It’s a risky (and quite expensive) gamble but without trying, I will never know.

This is unexplored territory, and quite exciting as a result.

Hard Rain

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As a rule, admitting a bad day in public is frowned upon by most. Once upon a time I’d be forced to keep quiet if this happened, but fortunately those days have now passed. The only thing preventing me from expressing an issue now are the words needed to do so. You’d think that a writer could describe distress quite eloquently, but that’s not the case here. Trying to depict raw emotion, frankly, has been an almost impossible task. At least it was, until yesterday.

That was when ability finally caught up with desire.

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After two days of frankly awful mental capacity (which at least in part is related to menopausal hormonal chaos) I have woken up feeling close to human. In fairness it began last night, allowing an awful lot of progress on work that’s been irking me. The speed at which things improved was very much dictated by my ability to explain where the problems lay, and then how they should be dealt with. I’ll admit I didn’t get all the resolution I’d wanted, but there was enough to allow all the negative emotions a space to flow away. Mostly, yesterday was a massive success for development as a poet. Trying to describe real feelings, transcribing that from brain to page, has created an ability that simply did not exist a year ago.

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I’m still reeling from that revelation: it has taken half a century for me to be able to adequately describe what’s the matter with me. So many of my problems in early life could have been solved, or simply have just not happened, if I’d found the means to do this sooner. To all you lucky people who can precisely focus on such things, I have nothing but admiration: it is going to take a while to do this consistently, but now I can I think there’s going to be a depth to my fiction work that didn’t exist previously. I’m already considering my September short story as a massive departure from my first two, ‘easy’ stabs at the format. The only way you get better is by practice, after all.

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This revelation also led to me scheduling a day every week just to write, and by that I don’t mean worry about blogging. In fact, starting this Thursday I’ll get up and not even look at a blog post across all of my sites. If I’m a smart woman I’ll also not stare at Twitter either. In fact that might be the better thing to do: schedule everything on Thursday and then walk away. I already have the gaming component of my time pre-planned for the week, so there is absolutely no reason the writing portion can’t go the same way.

What’s the worst that could happen?