Breathe

I went to bed fine. I have NO IDEA what happened between that point and 2am, but waking up with an inability to lie horizontally without feeling I was drowning in my own lungs was not ideal. Shifting to the sofa so the rest of the house was not woken up by coughing meant there was little to no sleep there either. Going upstairs at the Gym this morning got me out of breath, but I was able to do a fairly robust one hour PT session, plus walk to and from there in the cold without issue.

Maybe this is the year hayfever could be out to kill me.

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Other than that I’m feeling pretty good. Changing gears in the car can happen now so there’s a supermarket trip in my immediate future (just have to avoid reversing, because pressure plus one movement too many at current levels.) Physiotherapy tomorrow is already looking up because there’s so much more straight in my arm than was there last week. I have everything organised and am confident it will happen. Plus, a new sushi restaurant has opened, so it’s time to scope out what’s on offer…

BRB staring at raw fish.

Crying

What a weekend.

I’m on five hours sleep right now, and maybe this isn’t the time to be starting something quite complex and potentially life-changing, but that’s how this works. Today begins a sixteen-week Cycling training course, which is how long before I go on holiday. An awful lot could and might happen between now and then, but this is how major change takes place.

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It’s meant for Ride London athletes, but the whole thing is organised around Zwift’s workout mode, and is linked to your FTP, so (ideally) it only pushes you as far as your body itself is capable. It is a change from just doing a weekly goal and has the potential to fundamentally alter me physically. I have no idea how long I can keep it going, and what the consequences of doing it might be, but this is my plan going forward. I have my starting weight as a guide, and I’ll be able to judge physical fitness by the end in terms not simply of my FTP, but endurance and stamina.

They say everything should have a goal, right?

If all else fails, that’s four month’s worth of content taken care of.

The Other Side

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Yesterday did not run to plan. However, the consequences of not getting what I wanted to be done are variously awesome: a couple of large domestic issues are solved, there’s a brand new shower door, and a lot of my daughter’s workspaces are considerably less cluttered and crowded than was the case. There’s four bags of recycling prepared, another three of rubbish, and I’ve managed to set up my Pedometer with the Zwift app so can start running/walking online tomorrow. All in, all, yesterday exceeded expectation.

It’s a chastening experience when you grasp that a lot of your own frustration is borne from the fact others won’t do stuff in the order you wanted. It is part of my own selfishness that has always run over into home life, and it takes a series of events such as the ones that happened yesterday to make me grasp the wider significance. It meant dropping everything and spending an hour cleaning old mastic off tiles, and making it possible for my husband to go buy the stuff needed to finish the shower door job. It was, and really is, remarkably mundane, and illuminated in my head a basic understanding.

I suspect this is all completely normal thinking processes for everybody else.

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Therefore, this morning the schedule’s gonna be rearranged a bit too. Always on the cards was a trip to a Retro/Vintage Fair in town, but this afternoon after I’ve worked a bit I’ll reorganise my plan from yesterday: clear out crap, increase space and generally make the world around my working space more conducive to, you know, working.

Let’s get started.

Sail Away

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There is now no escaping the understanding that I am looking at things differently. My clothes fit differently too, body parts doing things that were never the norm before. The last 23 days are the base layer of something quite unique and separate to that which has come before, at any point in my whole life. I realised last night, as husband urged me to sprint to a new personal best on Zwift, this is no longer about proving I can. This new year is understanding what I really want. Previously after having done a leg day at PT I would have (sensibly) relaxed for the evening. Not anymore. If I have the energy to do it, that is what will happen.

It also means embracing what matters most in the projects I’m working on and listening not simply to body’s capability. This is also hearing and attending to inner desires.

When I started my drawing project the belief was that I simply needed to be able to reproduce what was in my head onto paper. As time has gone on, the subconscious has begun to sublimate that desire, reminding that my art is not solely reproduction. I love photography, and increasingly the use of collage to tell stories. In fact, the comic strip is heading that way so that when I start telling a story at the beginning of February, there’s the ability to back up my feelings with appropriate imagery.

I’m getting quite excited about the ability to draw what I see, however, and that the ability exists at all. There was a concern I didn’t possess that capacity to begin with, but now I feel I could make a decent fist of still life work with enough time and focus. The next step, therefore, is to make time, and the change in working practices that’s currently in progress should allow that to happen without too much fuss.

I am surrounded by artists on my Twitter feed, and all of that disparate (and very brilliant) creativity is undoubtedly aiding the evolutionary process. It is true what they say that conducive environments create more possibilities to be creative if you choose to take them. I’m confident at this point I’ll do a year of strips too, and maybe beyond because this is a part of the expression process that is becoming increasingly vital. However, what is apparent is that pictures won’t just be hand-drawn, but created from other materials.

This is a development I’m more than ready to embrace.

Ain’t No Easy Way

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For the last week, I’ve been staring at this page of the British Heart Foundation’s website. Right now I can do approximately 20 miles in an hour, but that’s on a static bike with no distractions and nobody else to worry about falling into. If it is just me, everything is fine. If there is anybody else then a lot of other stuff comes into play, and I panic.

I think it is time to bite the bullet and just do what I know has to be done to save my own soul.

This morning came the scheduled realisation that I cannot fix everything. Yes, I absolutely should continue to try making a difference, however, and it is the opportunity with this sponsored ride to do just that. I effectively ‘buy’ a place on the ride by giving £50 and then promising I can raise £300 minus Gift Aid. This should not be a stretch all told, and it is a very worthy charity that grabs the money… except I realise now what the problem is. I’d want to ride for a mental health charity instead. I should go investigate if that is a possibility, and if it is then go apply to someone whom I feel happier getting my money.

Yet again, this whole thing boils down to principle, and not simply taking the easy road to a solution.

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I know why I woke up like this. Last night, someone whom I follow made a comment about feeling left out on Social media, which linked in with a discussion I had in the Real World with my husband. Life is not about you expecting people to include you, or assuming that because you’re feeling unwell others should treat you differently. Sure, there can be sympathy and accommodation, but at some point feeling sorry for yourself will become detrimental. The best thing I did for myself yesterday wasn’t sit on a sofa and work my way through TV shows, it was getting myself on a bike and challenging my own concepts of self worth and dependence. Your experiences (of course) will vary but for me? If I allow complacency to dictate my actions, good work simply evaporates.

It is high time I grasped that change is constant and often vital at even my lowest ebb.

In the end, I do what I feel is right to move forward. This is not a popularity contest, or a means to become a better person. If you judge people simply by the way they respond to you via Twitter or Facebook? You will eventually be on a hiding to nothing. I need to spend less time worrying about what people think, and more time getting on with making a career for myself, because nobody else is going to do that except me. If principles matter, then it is time to stick by them and move forward.

If I want this enough, I just have to get on with it.

Warm Sound

I have an infection. It is quite possibly viral, sitting in throat and lymph nodes. I am often guilty of overthinking illness, and in previous years would have dismissed all forms of exercise until I knew things were ‘better.’ Yesterday, I did a session of PT and the most productive hour on a bike I can remember since I started using Zwift.

Exercise is now becoming relaxation: once upon a time, I would have slept through yesterday. Now, I’ll freely admit this is will what will happen (but only for a while) after I’ve finished writing here today. I needed yesterday as proof that I am physically in a better place than was previously the case. Having proved this to myself I can relax. All of this is, I now realise, as much a test of stamina and endurance as anything else. The numbers exist as evidence to other people that I’m doing the work. After that, the only person I’m really doing all this shit for is myself.

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I’m also finding drawing my three panel cartoon surprisingly fruitful. There’s a plan in place for the first month or so, leading up to February 1st which is Time to Talk day. I’m planning to spend some time visualising what Depression looks like to me. This is a fairly ambitious plan for someone with no real skills (as yet) in that department but aiming big’s worked in the past. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?

If I need to be reminded how much has changed since this time last year, I’m currently on a three week uninterrupted exercise streak. It won’t be the end of the World either if that finishes today. Life now is about understanding that even with obstacles to health, you can remain so with enough enthusiasm.

There is certainly motivation to spare at present.

Pure Comedy

I heard this song for the first time yesterday. The last time a piece of music affected me this deeply? 1978. I was 12 years old, and at the start of a journey that was never satisfactorily concluded.

Today, I know I’m back on the right road.

I’ve done nothing in the last couple of weeks other than plan a complex, internet-based future for myself. It is only a smaller part of a larger whole, in effect: exercise and self-improvement all happen away from a screen, and long may this continue. I realise that to succeed I need to put myself about far more than is currently the case and that is going to happen. Not today, or by the end of this week, but when January comes to a close I will have stuff to show and progress to capitalise on. By hard work and persistence, so will come reward and peace. I can change the World, and I have.

The slow drip of cash into my Paypal account is testament to this, that people are slowly but surely prepared to take a chance on the unknown girl with the dirty white hair and a gobby attitude. A promise was made yesterday to be more tolerant and understanding of those with whom I don’t agree, but that doesn’t give the world carte blanche to piss on my fireworks without a comeback. Stupidity remains just that, you don’t get a free pass because somehow your opinion’s acceptable to a bunch of like minded strangers. Like the words of the song say:

Oh comedy
Their illusions they have no choice but to believe
Their horizons that just forever recede
And how’s this for irony:
Their idea of being free
Is a prison of beliefs
That they never ever have to leave

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2018 is already my year, and it’s only Day Two. I know this not because I’m an arrogant, feisty woman who’ll use your balls for target practice. Men, not all women are out to get you (you know this, right?) or want to have sex with you (sorry, get over yourselves.) If we can get past those two (seeming) intractable obstructions and just treat each other as human beings? It will all get considerably easier down the line. Maybe this is the year that both sexes release minds from disparate anxieties and expectations, allowing everybody to start working on the stuff that really matters, like fixing the complete disaster area we’re making the Planet via our thoughtless actions.

Strap in lovelies, things are about to get considerably more awesome.