Dangerous Game

If the National Football Team progress pass the group stages in the World Cup, I can already see a reckoning coming. Those of us who accommodate the interests of others, without getting upset or judgemental, will find themselves watching others fight over passion. It is already beginning: the polite reminders that ‘not everybody is the same’ and ‘perhaps what I’m watching is more interesting than your mob mentality entertainment’ will undoubtedly escalate to mutes and petty spats, followed by arguments over what people can stick on their own timelines.

I’m going to support my National Side (as I have every four years) and that is not going to change. Those paying attention on my feed will grasp my love of football, despite the fact I don’t follow a team. I love listening to games on the radio, which is as much (normally) as can be coped with. Watching England on TV is roughly akin to torture. When the winning goal went in last night, I was in the bathroom. It was too stressful to be anywhere else.

What Twitter does best, and that has always been the case, is link people together whilst watching events. Whether this is a football game or a niche music band, it allows a shared, participative experience to take place when one is alone. You can feel part of a collective whole whilst stuck in the bathroom. It gives those of us who have issues with large groups or social situations where you can’t trust yourself the vital ability to experience that moment, and it to be valid whilst doing so.

On the flip-side, it makes everybody capable of not only having an opinion over that same experience, but the confidence to challenge validity of others’ participation. Of course, that opinion doesn’t need to be shared, but if you’ve spent all day wading through people’s terror at their own existence, being buffeted by horror over child internment camps and the subjugation of minorities wondering how they’ll survive the rest of the year… there are going to be flash-points.

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Eventually, you’re going to disagree with someone. How that works out isn’t all about you, either, but if the other person matters and you’re smart enough to grasp you could make things worse by pointing out more contention? You don’t do it. That’s the key, and that’s why last night I made a generic, non-specific point. The people I could have targeted should now know what to expect from me: it can be their choice as to how they react to this. I know certain people will mute and come back, some will leave, and for a couple this love of football will become a great way to pick a fight.

Except, I’m not playing that game any more. If you’d like a fair, adult discussion on football, or how ‘sportsball’ is a pejorative term, I’m utterly there. If I make disapproving noises over things I don’t like, then there is an acceptance that by doing so there will be consequences. If you wonder why I stopped talking about certain subjects, it has nothing to do with ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and everything around knowing which people will accommodate reasoned discussion, and who should be left well alone. As a wise computer once typed: the only way to win is not to play.

Sometimes, you make things better by doing nothing.

Is there Anybody Out There?

So, here’s the deal.

On most days, the only people I get to speak to who are known locally are my family. Apart from my trainer, the physio team at the Gym and my Hairdresser, there is nobody with whom regular communication takes place. There’s no-one who I am close to, without a journey of at least an hour. This is undoubtedly why the Internet has become a place that acts more as a support network… except now, there’s a distinct feel that my own needs no longer mesh with many of those of the people around me.

I need to find some new places to hang out, without alienating the people that already really care, and this is something I have no real idea of how to do. There doesn’t seem to be a part of the Internet put aside for instructions on how to do this. Rather than start worrying about it or arbitrarily throwing everything up in the air, it seems better to be honest with everyone and simply state that, as of today, focus needs to shift. The process of new stuff is already setting anxiety on edge, but now it has to be done, before it it too late.

So, as of today, if you see an alteration in feeds, my work ethic or outlook, it is because there has to be a sea change in what matters long-term. I’m already aware that there will be consequences: so be it. Whatever you do, sometimes, somebody gets hurt. Rest assured, however, I’m not changing my life to upset you. I’m doing it to help me survive.

Thank you for your understanding and support, wherever you are.

Not Going Out

On days like today, there is a worry whether the right thing or not has been done. Should the error in certain things be pointed out. Has that Tweet said what it needed to. Would there have been a more effective means by which that thing might have been completed. It is not pleasant when there’s no means to know, and personal judgement has to be enough. I hate having to be my own arbiter sometimes.

Except today, there was a revelation whilst sitting, waiting to deal with an issue.

What if you’d done nothing?

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Sometimes, there comes a moment when the answer is not pulling up the covers and refusing to address issues. However much easier it is, doing nothing is not a solution to certain inescapable truths. It may make you cry in the car for fifteen minutes afterwards and destroy your ability to function in the short term but long term? Everything changes. If it is just your life that is affected then arbitration duties alter, but when you’re responsible for other people?

Making that call could completely alter their lives.

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All the things that were in my hands at breakfast are no longer simply my issue to deal with. I’ve done the best I can. There’s a Physio booked tomorrow to make sure my back issues aren’t more serious than they currently feel. After that, all that can be done, is.

I have to trust that is enough and move on.

Not Going Out

I’ve reached capacity on reality.

Stuff that is scheduled gets done. Everything else can wait.

Stress relief is gaming and the garden.

The weekend is for decompressing, and being in the Gym.

I’ll see you on Monday.

The Pleasure Principle

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For a long time, there was a belief that everything I did had to be justified. Then, as time has gone on, a realisation has dawned that actually, that’s not true. A good friend sent me a piece yesterday which sums this up in four lines better than I am ever likely to do in several thousand words:

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I’ve spent a lot of time feeling as if thought processes need justification, but in the end, they don’t. The actions I take are not random or unpredictable: if people look back at events, the reasons why things take place is, undoubtedly, because of their behaviour. Whether it was the ill-thought out comment that is only regretted after the fact, an NSFW picture that shouldn’t have been posted or the DM sent that really, truthfully, shouldn’t have been said… these details are irrelevant.

I’ve stopped reacting in real time to stupidity when it’s abundantly apparent it won’t listen, or can’t hear. This is an even bigger waste of time than spending hours agonising over what people think of me, or complaining about events so far out of my control as to be pointless to concern myself about. All my time and effort now is dedicated to changing what I can, organising positive action and making good on my own promises.

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Of course, there are the moments when those you have developed affection for leave without giving reasons. I have, in the past, written to people who left suddenly or blocked me asking why this took place. It doesn’t happen anymore, because of what I learnt in those first instances: when someone else sees the World in a way that you don’t, that viewpoint is inevitably considered as harmful, and to be avoided.

That’s not how reality works, and it’s taken a long time to grasp that fact. Others won’t blame themselves for their negative actions. That’s what anonymous Internet relationships are becoming the most use for: shifting emotional baggage that you have run out of places to dump in real life. It’s easier to blame the random person who you upset instead and just move on.

That won’t solve the bigger issue.

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Right now, all of my issues are a world away from the Internet. When I return there to try and relax, what is found is often frightening beyond belief. The number of harmful opinions, the people who seem to think they are some kind of arbiter for my actions, that certain thought processes are unacceptable and harmful… and the number of people who will not consider principle… that bothers me the most.

The trick, of course, is to remember that I don’t owe these people a modicum of validation. I have meaningful, reciprocal relationships that matter more. Those who tell me we’re friends without putting in the work are living under a delusion. Those who keep me on their friends’ list because of some misplaced belief I wouldn’t be here without them… and the list goes on. I know who really cares. They show me.

I am no longer interested in your Stupid.

Fairytale

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Last night’s nine hours sleep has made a lot of the week’s thrashing considerably easier to rationalise. I don’t function well on less than eight, and an average week gives six at best. Today, therefore, I can look back on what was physically the most taxing seven days for a while, and mentally what has become a hugely significant set of steps forward.

Time to walk the walk and just get on with implementing change.

Eyes Open