Today

Today, especially, this is the truth that matters above everything else. I’ve spent a large portion of my life either being desperately unhappy, or conforming to someone else’s definition of the word. Now, if I’m honest, neither is true. To find true happiness is to accept the faults and shortcomings of yourself and to learn to fix them. Not paper them over with words, or dull them with distractions.

It is hard, HARD work. It makes you cry, and scream and hate your own existence and there are times when you truly wish you’d never existed. Then, in the quiet moments between chaos and enlightenment comes a realisation that if you are really going to live well, it will never be without pain and loss. Once you truly accept these limitations, everything can and will become possible.

If you’re afraid nobody cares, it’s a lie. If you want something enough, the work has to be done, like it or not. That’s where I am right now, in the midst of reconstruction work which is tearing down large portions of my existence in anticipation of major redevelopment. No, it isn’t all going to happen overnight, but it will be finished. When it does, we’ll tear the stuff down that’s no longer for for purpose in that new context.

You don’t ever fix your life. It needs permanent, thoughtful maintenance.

Never forget this.

I Go To Sleep

This week, I stopped feeling lonely.

It’s got nothing to do with needing friends, or feeling left out. I don’t require some miracle cure or displacement activity. All that has been required is basic understanding. Living in the past is potentially dangerous. However much I may have convinced myself that I wasn’t there, so not true at all. Not for the first time, gaming provided the metaphor. Validation is no longer mistaken for consent.

I can be this person and that’s no longer bad.

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Now, all I need is a decent night’s kip to cement it all.

Sunrise

This is new.

The responses to this were many and various: some made me sad, others were encouraging. Being honest always produces varying results. The truth, from where I stood, had nothing to do with people who’ve been here for months, even years. In the middle of April I took a decision to follow a bunch of people on spec, seeing if they were interested in proper interaction or were simply playing the ‘I wanna be famous’ game.

I am genuinely concerned at how little interaction took place.

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I see concerns over how to write blog pots, posting frequency, that people struggle with keeping timetables and consistency: all issues I’ve had (and mostly overcome) just by posting every day. That’s when it becomes apparent that blogging for me has become the equivalent of Instagram or SnapChat or WhatsApp for others, meaning that this is a completely different world for me than it is for others.

Judging yourself on other people’s benchmarks is never wise: knowing what others consider as important however is a good way of grasping mood and general intent. It’s why being honest in my Twitter timeline has consequences beyond the ones I’d initially expected: how other people read and interpret what I say isn’t ever in my hands. That’s the consequence of speaking your mind: not everything will fall as you anticipate.

The wider the reach of your followers, the more likely change will create conflict.

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What is craved right now isn’t friendship or empathy, but simple conversation. I do not possess the metal faculties at present that are required to start making new friends, or creating the conducive environment for that to happen. All of this, purely and simply, is attempting to get other people to talk. By doing so, this then may grant the opportunity to understand better what exactly is going on in an evolving brain.

I just need to keep talking.

The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

We present the most important revelation thus far this year.

I’ve started feeling emotions other than anger. Of course, they all existed before, but I wouldn’t let myself actually experience them. I know why. No, not telling you, my revelation to hold onto and keep until such times as it’s correct and right to do so. It means last night’s massive tearfest at the end of Blaze wasn’t simply exhaustion but a combination of many things. Allowing myself to feel again is odd.

It means that I sat in the car for 10 minutes this morning and let music move me to tears, as I became one with it and it literally pulled relief and beauty out of me. It’s why right now I’m sitting here with every single nerve tingling from fingers to toes. Welcome to the realisation that experiencing things is perfectly okay and not wrong, and you don’t have to punish yourself any more for being this person.

Emotional resonance is perfectly okay.

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Leave this one with me.

Juice

I had not expected Monday to begin like this but, as it happens, that’s not a problem. Still have a plan, which will be executed, and we’ll be ahead of the curve by teatime. Also, today is Donation #7 in my plan to achieve a badge from the Blood people at ten pints. Form is filled, it’s (again) a teatime slot and yes, I’ll be Tweeting live. Still hate needles, still struggling to integrate exercise into the game-plan. We’ll work it out.

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Having a plan has helped me enormously in the last couple of weeks. Knowing that I’m solid and sound has also given strength to situations where previously such belief didn’t exist. There are still the same, persistent issues, but noticing them is undoubtedly getting easier. Then we get to a stage where the serious and frivolous interface, and how enjoyment will subsequently occur going forward. Maybe I should take some famous advice.

There are undoubtedly not enough tit hats in my life, or random humour, or moments of pure unadulterated WOW THIS IS AMAZING and that is what needs to be addressed going forward. The family holiday this year isn’t abroad (because my mother in law is unwell and her health may deteriorate suddenly) but is at a family holiday centre, in the woods. This means a week of exercise and relaxation, which is absolutely, totally awesome.

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I am already looking forward to a week where there’s nothing to stress me out, I get to paint pottery and run and cycle on my terms and there can be planning of body-weight exercises and YES this is exactly what is needed this year. Sometimes, it is not about the business of going big, or indeed fulfilling dreams. Stop and heal is the mantra right now, and it is really working. Trying not to get angry, and addressing the bigger issues at play.

Sometimes, all that matters is moving forward.

The Sun Rising

Three weeks worth of counselling done. One quarter of my set allocation. Will I need any more after this? I dunno, but if there’s honesty over the usefulness of the process thus far, I’m a good distance forward in progress than was true at the starting point. It is NOTHING to do with what’s being asked of me either, but what is willing to be given and dispensed with to move forward. That’s a big deal. It’s not you, it’s definitely me.

Last night’s Blaze was paced. Actual, proper understanding of what I had in terms of energy, what was doable in the space, how much energy got burnt. Core strength has been the perennial weakness up until now, not any more. I’ll heart rate belt myself for both sets of exercise tonight and yes, we’re gonna go for it. I’m no less physically prepared, mental strength is the key to that door being unlocked.

There is also a wonder this morning: is this what it’s like for everybody else? Does ‘normal’ allow ability to build on progress in a structured, unemotional fashion? Can you move forward without all that shit that seems to disable or derail? Is it about understanding yourself and the abilities within, or releasing the need to be a certain way, acting in a particular fashion… I wonder.

Part of me knows the answer to this, and it won’t be popular.

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No, I’m not. I’m wrong and hold myself back from potential progress because there’s not the proper understanding of capability. I become the hindrance to progress and progression because of fear, and trepidation. Releasing myself from those emotions is incredibly, staggeringly hard but once it takes place (as it did last night) the transformation is unbelievable. So much is possible, if I can believe.

Once you can, the normal coping mechanisms become unnecessary. Historical desires become largely unnecessary. Once upon a time I’d have been really hyped for the Bond 25 launch today, for instance: really don’t care any more about either franchise or direction. It’s a dinosaur, relic of past interest, and is no longer required for future progression… and is being recycled, in most wicked fashion possible.

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The latest long form work, allowing me means to move from old fiction practices and into new ones, is a story about spies. The influences littered within owe a debt of thanks to the two pieces of Bond fan-fiction I remain insanely proud of. I have no idea if this is any good enough but I am having IMMENSE fun writing it, and losing myself within the narrative. The three main protagonists are all strong, brilliant women.

Honestly, I’ve never been happier.

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This week, undoubtedly, nothing matters except the Endgame. Except, I’ll be honest, I’m not desperate to consume the end of an era instantly, because once I’ve watched it, that’s this part of the MCU done. I will undoubtedly lose a couple of characters I love for good, one at least (allegedly) in a way that, if true, is a bit of a kop out with my writer’s hat on. That’s the trouble when you create worlds for a living.

Other people’s narratives piss you off when you think you could do it better.

I know why arrogant’s a metaphor that gets thrown at me a lot, but honestly, don’t care. MCU is not my world, it belongs to you people and I just watch at a distance. You enjoy the final hoorah, and I’ll be over here getting far more excited over Godzilla because this, frankly, is the hokum I am here for. Marvel built the benchmark from which all genre movies will now be measured.

I’ve got other stuff to worry about.


The increasingly larger concern going forward is how I watch arrogance manifest online, under the auspice of opinion. I did it up there, did you notice? So much of the MCU is sacrosanct now, you can’t abuse particular movies, because of the important cultural diversity demonstrated… and yet that’s exactly what happens. Find a thing that a minority enjoys, then destroy it, when you could just say nothing at all. Except, of course, that defeats the object of owning Social media. You’re not the problem. Other people are.

You won’t find me pissing on anybody’s fireworks however this week. Everybody gets to enjoy their stuff, you don’t wander in and give them grief. The number of things I’ve seen where a comment could have started a fight this week is a lot higher than normal, and we’re only at Wednesday. Something is fundamentally wrong with the picture when saying how you feel will cause conflict, that others are being so thoughtless and selfish in their pronouncements to provoke such reaction.

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‘Hot Take’ Culture is giving people legitimate excuses to be idiots, and then blaming others for getting upset at them when all they’ve done is speak their minds. Once upon a time, if you saw something and didn’t like it the polite thing to do was just to keep quiet. Not any more. Get more views by upsetting other people! Insult their race, culture and attitudes, and at the same time become the centre of attention! No experience or intelligence is required, please leave your empathy off the Internet.

The bigger problem then comes with those people who attempt to be objective and who are simply accused of the exact same crime, when nothing is further from the truth. This is especially rife in gaming culture: you either love a game unconditionally, or you shut the fuck up. Constructive criticism has literally become impossible due to the reaction you’ll get for not being a 100% complete and utter fangirl. Objectivity in gaming design criticism is dead.

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When historians chart the destruction of modern civilisation, undoubtedly it will be the weight of individual outrage that pulled an awful lot of society down to their demise. So easy to get apoplectic over the minutiae, totally fail to use that anger constructively to save the Planet you’re ignoring and that is slowly choking to death via your consumerism and ignorance. Enjoy your brief moments of glory whilst they still exist.

Maybe, just maybe, consider stopping and thinking before you chat shit online.

Peg

I won’t be long here. Not because there’s nothing to write about, far from it. Today is the first time, in probably at least a year, that I’ve felt that the domestic tasks that often cause so much personal grief are being properly and sensibly addressed. That means next week, on top of the writing and editing, nags of recycling can be delivered to charity shops. Useless parts of my past can, and will be shredded for good.

We move forward into a new place.

Have a lovely Sunday, all.

The Black Parade

I’m supposed to be taking a Social media break. It’s mostly working. Coming back properly on Friday, no issues, but in the interim, some things should be cleared up.

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Communication is becoming a significant obstacle for progress: once upon a time, it was okay for people to moan 24/7 in my timeline, I’d just mute them and move on. This is no longer an effective coping strategy. As I struggle to improve myself, that constant backwash of selfish muttering needs to be removed, and so I am. 

It doesn’t have to be 24/7 positivity either. What matters more than anything else is dialogue. More people will be engaged in conversation, less stuff retweeted if it doesn’t contribute to discussion. The days of long, rambling paragraphs are over, and everybody was very relieved as a result. It is time to engage Precision Mode.

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My long-form writing over the last decade undoubtedly exists as part of another complex (and often wildly self-indulgent) coping strategy. I’m not ready as yet to dive into all of those works and decide what needs to be salvaged. For now, there’s a new narrative beginning to form, timeline slowly illuminating. It’s already making me extremely happy.

That’s not a lie either. Part of the reason I’m taking the break is to be able to focus on buttoning down a timeline, working out what happens where, but most significantly to work on dialogue. Talking matters a lot in this new canon. That’s a surprise that’s taking a bit of getting used to, and it’s rather amazing.

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I’ve dispensed with a lot of distant past over the last few years: the other part of this puzzle is eliminating more recent detritus, deciding what needs to stay and go. With a long weekend coming up, this is a perfect opportunity to start attacking the last piles of stuff that lie untouched, and to re-define the space I’m a part of.

Deciding what matters has always been a continuous, articulate process of in and out. Reassuringly, there needs to be very little in, but a quite careful process of marking what stays and goes. I have plenty of ‘things’ in my life, really no need for anything else. What exists, undoubtedly, should be better used. That’s a goal going forward.

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This is a careful, considered progress through the recent past. It also acknowledges that however bad things are, there has to be some individual culpability in the mindset. If I’m not happy, complaining isn’t going to fix that. Asking for help will. Finding solutions is better than being fatalistic and not wanting to change.

Yes, this shit is incredibly, horribly hard. Nobody disputes that. Change is the hardest part of life. How you choose to approach it, or how that change is communicated, tells others a frighting amount of detail about what you are. I have no fear from sharing. What scares me most, right now, is going silent.

That’s not ever going to happen again.

Regeneration

This week had the potential to be tough going but here we are, at Wednesday, and surprisingly the plan’s been stuck to. I managed to get a cancellation for Blaze tonight, am booked up for next week’s two classes without concern, and the scheduling plan in place for writing is pretty much exactly on course. Is this me finally getting brain around the issues, or has this just been lucky? Would I be able to tell right now which is which?

Probably not.

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I will say this, my normal mid afternoon fatigue is beginning to vanish. It will have a lot to do with pushing hard (and getting) eight hours sleep more often. It will undoubtedly also be a bit to do with my (completely painful and stressful) slog back to lower body fitness (see yesterday’s blog) which I was dumb enough to let slip after Ride London last year and which will not happen again.

What’s making everything that bit worse right now is hormones, or rather the lack of them. Menopausal symptoms are back with a vengeance. Seriously, my body can fuck right off with knobs on: it’s especially horrible when a hot flush happens mid-exercise. If I wasn’t on fire before, I am after that. Fortunately, things seem to be calming down a bit after about five days full on, and now cold is the bigger issue. Once it was tops off and on every five minutes. Not right now.

Honestly, if men had been the child bearing sex I suspect life would be massively different for everybody.

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Instead, it’s a constant case of tip-toeing through the swathes of bruised male egos because somebody else had a better idea than they did, or that maybe they are the problem… and no, I didn’t come here today to get angry but that’s the way it goes. Normally, when something makes me cross before 10am the day is a bust, but not any more. Now, we use such emotions to create positive results, and that’s what is about to happen.

I like this new approach. Think we’ll keep at it as a result…