New Horizons

When the Labour Party imploded before Christmas, a lot more people should have been surprised. I can remember the rhetoric on Social media when Corbyn was elected leader, that nobody in their right mind would ever trust him as Prime Minister. Of course, that’s no help now, in the darkest days of the Planet, and what is required is someone who can make ordinary people feel as if they truly do have a voice in the void.

If the future entailed voting on someone based solely on the strength of one video, this is pretty compelling stuff. However, as is about to become news once again, The Truth is no longer as black and white as was the case back when there were only four TV channels. Archive footage is irrelevant when placed beside memes and infobursts. Our future is ignoring the memories of old people, because they voted for Brexit.

What matters more than testimonial videos is what That Bloke on Facebook posted an hour ago. Although I may have abandoned the platform some time ago, my husband still sits and watches comedy videos and uses it for Hockey and Cycling groups. I’m fairly confident he’s not being manipulated in any way by fake news, but until he feels physically compelled to leave? Houston, we have a FUCKING HUGE PROBLEM.

That’s not the only issue: no other service is as badly regulated, is as casually used and abused, or easily accessible. Businesses demand employees use it, companies won’t promote themselves anywhere else. It plays on the most basic human need for connection, exploits it mercilessly, and then uses those connections TO SELL SHIT TO YOU. Most people don’t even care, but they won’t be the first to leave.

It is humanity’s inherent laziness that allows this platform to thrive.

I’m still using Instagram, it should be stated for the record, 100% in a promotional capacity. That’s only happening because it is free. However, there was a period before the writing career took precedence that Facebook was considered as a platform. I looked at ads. It scared the life out of me: how much money was needed, where the reach went, how the company pretty much demanded total immersion before anything became worthwhile… and I found myself, not for the first time, considering addiction.

This year is the one I’ve made a conscious decision to stop using Social media as a crutch. Online time is strictly limited on my phone. As this is the last day of the school holidays the tablet by the bed will be removed and left down here so there’s none of that either before sleep or when I wake up. The differences it’s making not only to sleep time but mental awareness is already obvious. Yes, you are addicted to Social media.

Addiction however is acceptable when everybody else is too.

None of this is relevant to anyone else, of course, because they aren’t addicted. It’s just a place to hang out with mates, or watch funny shit your cousin posted. Except there is increasing proof that repeated exposure to bad shit can alter good people. It’s how teens get radicalised, adults become utter morons and Chinese manufacturers convince you that purchasing their cheap generic knockoff is a better bet.

Once you can see through the lies, life becomes easier to rationalise, but no less painful to navigate, because unless EVERYBODY ELSE stops being dependant on the platforms, nothing changes… and eventually, unless we all regress back to a pre-electricity dependant state, someone else will come along and do the exact same thing. The only way life changes now is if EVERYTHING changes, and the chances of that right now seem incredibly slim indeed.

Other people can tell you the horror stories. I can recommend podcasts which explain how Facebook tries to be good, but at a terrible cost. There’s enough conspiracy theories out there to last a thousand lifetimes. The reality is simpler, easier to rationalise. You get one life, it remains finite and right now may not necessarily depend on how long you survive. The planet, for an increasing number of us, may burn before we do.

If that’s the case, this is the moment to stop staring at a screen for whatever reason, and to get out and do some good. Instead of filling social media with complaints and frustrations, this is when we get out there and do some good. Stop looking at other people’s lives and wishing yours was better. Make the change. There’s no statute of limitations on New Year’s Resolutions. Today is a great day to start fresh.

Any day can be the start of something better.

Everyone’s a Winner

Sunday. Ah yes, time for getting next week ready and if that’s done well enough, maybe there’ll be a moment left over to fuck about with something for myself. Next year WILL BE THE ONE where I start doing art and shit for relaxation: having accepted my drawing is restricted to high-quality doodling and not much else, alternatives have been sought. There is an answer. I’ll be gathering materials starting next month.

That bookbinding box of materials will be pulled out over the Christmas break.

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I’ve actually cut back on exercise this month from last: Exercising four days with three days off is beginning to allow more writing time. During the winter months this is not likely to change, but I could certainly shove some more walking into the equation going forward. As the days get warmer next year, I might also drive daughter to school, leave the car parked close and abandon it some days to get extra steps in.

This was part of my fitness plan when I first picked a PT: run the youngest in, find a car park close to the school, pay for a day’s parking and then walk home. That, plus the walk back to pick up the car was a guaranteed six miles every day. The photographer in me could make a lot of use of that time to boot, there’s so much in my town worth preserving for posterity. Perhaps, if the weather’s good starting in the New Year… ^^

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Saturdays will become the rest day in the New Year too, because I’ll be doing my Mental Health Champion training on those days in January, and therefore need to be free. I can also guarantee that there’ll be little or no desire to do anything else after these sessions are done: I was mentally exhausted after the introductory one. There’s some other exercise-related things I gotta sort out as well… all this to look forward to.

Planning is becoming one of my favourite tasks.

One Better Day

Number of Days Since a Debilitating Mental Episode : TWO


The menopause has thrown up an interesting development in terms of mental faculties: the distance down holes has increased in the last few months. To place this in the simplest terms possible, this translates to panic, anxiety and mental shutdown on a scale I have not previously experienced, enough to often bring me to my knees. The last couple of weeks since the holiday have then involved me attempting to not only adjust to this shift, but drag up a lot of pretty painful and emotionally difficult emotions to put into poetry.

This has been a pretty perfect shit-storm of my own creation, but is now beginning to offer some interesting new directions forward. It’s the mental equivalent of taking years of carefully organised notes and references to everything and setting fire to them, before flooding the entire storage area, then expecting to carry on with recall as if nothing happened. There are going to be consequences to all of this, and this will be me, trying to reintroduce order into what was, for a while, total chaos.

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I’m telling you this now for several reasons. The main one is that, in the weeks that follow, there will be a palpable effort to translate into words what it is like inside my head, in the vain hope that a) people might read it and b) then understand what its like to have to deal with this kind of shit on a daily basis. No, it’s not going to be used as an excuse, or a ‘you have to be nice, I’m broken’ stick for me to poke you with. I’m not expecting sympathy, but understanding would be helpful.

If there’s a lack of that, then there needs to be work on my explanation skills.

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I am immensely lost, and quite lonely right now. This is, it is now apparent, not going to be fixed by following more people on Social media or finding new hobbies or things to do. The loneliness is undoubtedly a result of being unable to communicate in a manner that allows brain to feel wanted. Having grasped that revelation over a period of several weeks, dealing with it is not an overnight task. It has to involve a reassessment of how life gets done, and what is written. That starts today.

There will still be observations and ruminations, but no longer will there be the belief that lying to myself is acceptable. Accepting someone for what they are, good and bad, is a tough ask. The new wave of honesty that’s been employed in certain spaces has already had an effect, and knowing that is where all of this deconstruction began. I am, literally and metaphorically relearning some pretty basic stuff, and the consequences are quite staggering. You’re never too old to readjust existence, just too scared.

Sometimes, you just have to do the hard shit and hurt.