Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

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Last week’s emotional breakdown was triggered by a few things. Weight was one of them, with the realisation that I’ve been trying to lose the same fifteen pounds of weight for over a year. I needed some rationalisation of what exactly is going on inside my body, and have turned to science for the answers. I am genuinely staggered by what I have found.

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This is my latest weigh in using the impedance scale at my Gym. It passes a small electrical current through my body, and as different types of matter return differing electrical impulses, I can see what I am made of. The 1kg of extra weight there is, I can tell from the scales, all water, so there is nothing there to be concerned with. Everything else is telling me that I am, like it or not, most efficient at converting fat to muscle. The fat that isn’t muscle remains stubbornly unburnt/unused, and this will be because of the sweet tooth that I keep falling back on when stuff gets tough, and on Sunday was banished to at least Christmas.

It is time to make my body work in a way it seems frankly unable to entertain.

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The plan is simple: maintain the calorie count as it stands, but remove as much sugar as possible from my diet: no more honey in tea and the ‘healthy’ snacks which still contain sugar enough to promote my body to burn them before I attack my fat ‘reserves.’ That doesn’t mean fruit sugars (still having the pomegranate with breakfast) because that is part of the important fuel required by my body. This is removing all the superfluous shit that I felt I’d deserved by working hard but was crippling progress. That also means not taking a take away at the weekend and cutting out all the stuff I know is a hindrance until this weight can finally shift. The last 72 hours shows that the water weight is being nibbled away at: it will be the next 10 days that are key. I promised myself not to obsess about weight but now I want this excess gone for good.

It has become a means of showing myself that self-control and hard work is more than a reward.

This is my new exercise of choice at the Gym: it has the air of looking incredibly simple but, as is the case with most things, is hugely dependant on upper body strength. A year ago I couldn’t even manage to hang. Now, I have the strength to do 12 raises in 30 seconds. It means that pull-ups are not far off, and this was one of the reasons why I began this journey to begin with. I can feel a major move forwards coming, with a lot of the disparate parts of my life coming together. Once this bit of the puzzle is placed?

We’re a long way towards achieving a ton of personal goals.

It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World

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I’m going to talk today, both here and on the writing site, about my NaNoWriMo choice. The latter gets a more clinical attack on subject matter and motivation but here I feel compelled to discuss an issue that continues to irk, and has made me stop and think about what it is I write and how. My main protagonists in this story are a white man and an Egyptian woman. There’s a really good reason for this: I feel really comfortable writing them.

On many days, I believe I’m a true mixture of both.

There is absolutely no doubt I am completely happy being biologically female, especially now the curse that used to afflict me monthly has gone. I’m at ease with the body I am rebuilding and feel no desire to alter the fundamental construct. However, it would be disingenuous to say I believe I think and act in the way I see a large number of women do. Makeup holds no allure. I do not desire to dress or act in an overtly feminine manner anymore, and the same is true of tending towards masculinity as an alternative. In terms of appearance, androgyny is increasingly appealing. However, my sexual appetite and desires remain unchanged.

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There is a part of me that wishes we didn’t need to make specific social groups the enemy, but feminists need white men to hate them and people of colour and ethnicity deserve the right to hate everybody who is white because they’re in charge. I get all this, I really do, the complex social and ethnic strata that now damns and defines every action taken as a writer. Yes, I could make my male protagonist Afro Carribean but I don’t feel comfortable appropriating because no, I sure as fuck don’t have permission. 

My Egyptian woman comes from a time period I know a lot about and (again) feel I can write with a measure of conviction. The key here is confidence, not political correctness or social mirroring. I am very much a product of my age, but the characters that are chosen as my cast need to have believability in the story told. In that regard, supporting characters mirror the ethnicity of the World but are not at its core. There’s a reason for this, as will become clear in the narrative, but for now, I’m happy with why my fictional people are the way they are.

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A lot of this is down to simple biology, as this is a story with science at the core. There has been a crucial change however to the sexuality of a number of characters, based on acceptance of what I am becoming as a human being. In many ways, this story has the potential to become hugely autobiographical, if I allow that to happen. However, what matters most is the sanctity of plot and action. I’m not here to make a political statement, simply reflect what I am when writing.

Mostly, last night I stayed up late and stared at my work in progress and found myself thinking ‘somebody will hate this because I made a white man the hero.’ Then came the more significant revelation: whatever happens, someone will be upset. If I spend my life worrying about the reaction of others and don’t simply do what matters most to me, then there will be no progress at all. This is about narrative on my terms, and as a result… we stay with the plan, and I stop stressing.

Whatever I produce will be the best of what I am.

The Man Who Told Everything

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I need to make some new headers. Hang on whilst that goes on the To Do List.

Today, I’ll be wibbling about Poetry (a lot) on the Writing blog because it’s now become a part of daily life. I’ve written a ton of stuff, in the vain hope something might get me noticed. After all, if you don’t try, you’ll never know.

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Again, this could end up as an exercise in disappointment. Brits don’t like the hard sell very much, and aggressive marketing often can backfire on itself. The problem for me is not being willing to sell myself over the years, mostly due to the fact it is quite hard to do so. Now, however, I’m learning to be wrong about a lot of things. It’s often a tough task, but this is probably the better means by which decades of bad decision-making and thoughtless outlooks are unwound. There is also the realisation that other people need to be left to make their own mistakes without a continual pronouncement of judgment. Yeah, let people enjoy their stuff. Then, allow them to get it wrong and learn too.

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Sometimes it is important to grasp that order and control only do so much. The happiest medium, it is now apparent, is a balancing act between order and chaos so delicate as to be dangerous. However much the belief exists that a quiet life is a key to unlock true happiness, that is not the case for me. I thrive on the extremes. So, there needs to be a way to do everything, upset nobody and yet still feel the highs and lows of sensation in the same breath. Yeah, it is no wonder I am often fucked by my own ambition and inability. This is hard work mentally, but worth every second.

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When the vultures are circling, you always need to be ready to come out fighting. Once upon a time, I would have run away. Not anymore.

Now, I’m feisty and ready to engage.

One Better Day

This last weekend was, on reflection, EXACTLY what was needed after a tough week. Yesterday’s change of location for writing was, it transpires, a masterstroke, because it has ungummed the wheels of creativity. Being able to define and steer my own future is, I know, what ultimately needs to happen, and the confidence and optimism bought to the keyboard this morning are all the encouragement needed to know that this is the right way forward. Nothing of what was written was a terrible mistake, and ultimately the key to continuing this progress is simply the same, repeated. Maybe that’s why that burger above last night tasted so good. I really enjoyed it, just like the salad the night before. They tasted better because there’s the ability to appreciate what a great sensation it is to be in control and not lost or uncertain.

Now comes the task of keeping the momentum going.

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Normally there’d be planning on a Sunday evening but yesterday was chauffeur duty after 100 miles of Velo Birmingham for my husband. That means that, after this, there’ll be a protein bar and my planner, to catch up on what is going to be a packed week of content. Thursday is National Poetry Day, and I’m at least part of the way through my allotted ‘content’ planning. There’s Wednesday’s short story to finish too, plus (hopefully) a return to my favourite MMO without a lot of the baggage that used to accompany it. There’s also been a move to introduce more ‘silence’ to my day: only checking Social media via this machine, not while I’m out (unless it is justifiably work related) and NEVER at bedtime or in the early morning. If I want to read in bed now on, it will be a real book.

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Last night was the best night’s sleep for weeks. I have no idea why this is, whether my changes have done the trick, because it will need several weeks to be able to conclusively prove that with statistics. Whatever happens, this new enthusiasm and drive needs to be seized on.

Time to do all the things.

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?

New Life

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This week I’ve watched the weight closer than I’d normally do, which before in my mind would have been a tad unhealthy. This time around however it is to see how the strict carbs/sugar regime is affecting my body, and I’m beginning to notice what can only be described as shrinkage. As body sea-saws between the same scale points, body begins to lose fat. Under arms, at the top of my legs, around waist, across the stomach. All of these places where before fat was obvious and often frustrating have reduced in the last week. I don’t normally look at my body at length anyway, but right now the state of arms and shoulders is cause for celebration.

This is what was wanted when I was younger but never knew how to achieve.

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Today is a self-imposed rest day, because yesterday I did 26k steps, which is almost eleven and a half miles. It also doesn’t help that one of three bites I got on Friday’s gone full on zombie apocalypse near my knee joint, with a blister the size of a five pence piece. I’m assuming this is as a result of recovery from surgery and the fact I’m now pretty much dormant in the hormones department: my body loves to overreact at intrusion, but that’s always been the case. The blister’s healthy, no infection as yet and so I think this is a way of entry site saying ‘just take it easy today, ‘kay?’ I’ll do my 250 hourly steps, and probably grab a nap after writing is done to help with healing.

I suspect today will involve minimal physical effort.

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The first week of ‘proper work’ has gone incredibly well. Looking at the planner to my right, apart from Thursday where Twitter drama rearranged the schedule, everything has gone more than totally to plan. Once done here I’ll turn the page and start on next week, which already has a number of things planned (apart from the scheduled work) that I can honestly say I’m quite excited about. Then I have Patreon pledges to complete, the first of which I started on yesterday and will be continued with today.

I decided to test yesterday whether it is possible for me to write ‘in public’ and it was, rather usefully, a very good exercise in concentration. This is the first time that I’ve applied real process to writing in this way, going through several forms in one place so that my ‘thinking’ can also form a physical reward for the $10 Patreons. It is worth at this point stating I’ve managed to pass the $100 pledge mark:

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The next yardstick is $180, which is how much I’d earn a month with the paying gigs I gave up to commit to this. I couldn’t do both, and so in my mind I was going to give myself to the end of this year to make that figure: to have reached over that total in what is effectively less than a month is beyond staggering. It gives be real hope I can achieve everything I want.

Time to start planning for the week.

Beautiful Day

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I can be quite perverse sometimes, I make no bones about this. This was the child that when parents told me I couldn’t do something would not only do the exact opposite but would give the finger whilst doing so. I realise how destructive this mindset can be, and as a result there are days when it is best for everybody I just leave the Internet well alone. This would be a good descriptor of today, were it not for the fact that both emotionally and physically this is the best I have felt since… well before the operation. Probably months before, because for lunch today were food groups previously potentially capable of making me ill. Personal pronouns do not bother today either.  I’ve managed to complete more in a morning than has happened in… seriously, three months.

That’s gotta count for something.

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I can’t tell you about sleep last night either, because being so tired the Fitbit never went back on my wrist after prepping for bedtime, but I wasn’t awake until 5.30 so that’s a  whole hour extra from Wednesday. Once I’ve done the last of the domestic stuff and written about Warcraft, I’ll wander down to the shops for my 30 minutes of exercise and see how the abdominal muscles are healing. I can’t carry anything seriously heavy anyway but there’s a few personal odds and ends that will fit in my backpack without causing an incident and then, if it’s not too painful, there’s going to be treadmill time tomorrow, so I can say I’ve only been off equipment for 11 days. These little things matter, after all.

Mostly, today is a VERY Good Day. Long may they last.