Love Hurts

Something I’ve been stressing over for about a fortnight is now done. The relief, especially in my shoulders, is palpable. I’m also beyond tired all of a sudden and yesterday’s lifts/squats are manifesting in hips and knees. It’s amazing how these things become physical issues when enough time elapses. Stress kills, kids, don’t let anybody convince you otherwise. Try and find ways to relax.

This morning, my mind is full of the lies I tell myself to keep focused.

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Like it or not, I’m part of a problem that manifests all over social media. Success is the goal, key to changing existence, icing on your metaphorical Life Cake (TM) and only through a tortuous, painful journey of exploration and discovery will we all find a particular flavour of Nirvana that is so desperately sought. To allow this to happen, an awful lot gets compromised along the way, including integrity.

It means, like it or not, everything that isn’t abject failure gets celebrated. This includes such moments as ‘hey I made the Longlist of Award X let’s stick that in my Bio’ and ‘you can utterly tweet about how I almost won this thing because there were 600 entries and to make it to the final 25 is progress…’ and the list goes on… and on. I may laugh at the nerd yesterday inventing his own hype to justify existence, but he’s no different than me.

Like it or not, we’re both fooling ourselves to a point.

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Sometimes, I wish there were a magic button to press allowing me to move forward the writing part of my journey. If only everything were like exercise, where amount of effort inserted becomes directly equal to progress made in fitness. Yes, padewan, you have laboured for ten years on the Plains of Blogging, passed the Trial of Being Paid for Content, and now are eligible to One Minor Literary Achievement Per Year.

Why is this not enough for you?

That’s a really good question: can there not be enough satisfaction gained from just having a published book in your hands? Apparently not, according to the woman who managed this at the writing event I attended last month and pretty much complained non-stop that because she wasn’t with a major publisher, it wasn’t enough. I realise, that if the positions were reversed, I’d be unhappy too. Making something out of thin air once sets a benchmark you’re then forced to better.

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My PT asked me yesterday morning whether I need a goal to work towards in terms of training: maybe doing Ride London again, perhaps a marathon, maybe working towards the Nuclear races so many Gym attendees seem to love so much. I asked for notice of the question, and sitting here now, there is real understanding that if you gave me a goal to work at in my hobby, I’d stop exercising tomorrow. I lift weights and run now as relaxation as writing’s now the job, and goals only exist here now, not anywhere else.

It’s why the news of my favourite video game going back to it’s original iteration this month is enough to tempt me back to the fold, until I remember the kind of people who would be playing, and the real possibility I’d want to be really good at it like I was before. It would stop being a hobby and become something else. It was others that finally ruined that for me, plus the realisation those who bankroll said game are here to turn a profit, and won’t ever share my world views as a result.

Winning isn’t everything.

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Some days, it’s tough to know what matters most. Right now, all that’s really important is being aware that lots of things are changing. Let them happen, digest consequences, make informed decisions based on what you know. If you can learn to trust yourself, answers will eventually become clear, as they have in the last few months. Most importantly of all, success will not define you. How you deal with change will.

What matters most is to be true to your soul.

Architecture and Morality

‘If something offends you, go do something else.’

I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my husband about ‘Passengers’, a film which has caused a bit of a fuss over the moral dubiousness of its plotline. I was genuinely excited about this movie when the trailers first surfaced in June, but when it became apparent that what this movie isn’t either pleasant or comfortable in terms of how the two leads end up together? I pretty much lost interest. The biggest problem however for me, on considered thought, was the fact that this movie intentionally skirts those real issues in all of the promotional material, and it was only when the first indignant reviews emerged that it became apparent what you were really buying into. Once that becomes unavoidably apparent? Well, it is obvious that some people didn’t care about anything else except the bad things.

My husband has very rationally and logically pointed out that if you know about the moral duplicity of the plot? It could make things more interesting, and not less so, and this is a very fair point. The problem is however that with the year that’s just gone, I suspect many people went to see this movie in the hope it would be sunshine and rainbows, and not to be metaphorically kicked in the genitalia. As a result, this whole endeavour also suffered as a result of circumstance. However, if your interest is the moral complexity of how to deal with isolation and loneliness? I suspect this movie could be right up your street. In discussion over this, my husband pulled up ‘While you Were Sleeping’ as a perfect example of a movie that, like it or not, is really rather morally dubious, but won’t see people bemoaning Sandra Bullock pretending to be an unconscious man’s fiancee.

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For my husband, the reaction to this whole debacle simply amplifies the depressing ‘echo chamber’ effect of the Internet. That revolves around a subset of people who decide to hate something based solely on exploitation or received moral indignation and doesn’t take at all into consideration the fact the focus of their ire in this case is a) entertainment and b) fiction. Because it is art there should be no need for such a reaction: if you don’t like it, then you can simply ignore the thing and move on. Those who somehow feel better about being part of the lynching party not simply over movies but in every aspect of modern life are genuinely scary, and it is becoming increasingly galling when these flash-points end up splitting up friendships and causing people to threaten others livelihoods or existence. Mostly, this particular episode has been a salutatory lesson for me, to remind him and myself that the only way all this works is when you listen to each other, and learn from contrary viewpoints.

I’m still not spending my cinema money on this however, that will be going on Rogue One.

What happens next for me in personal terms is becoming increasingly better defined as time goes on. Maintaining an open mind needs to be top of my list: engaging, not arguing, making people think and not imposing points of view on others. It isn’t about being right, and never will be, it is far more important to understand WHY and look to yourself as a potential source of change before expecting anybody else to do the same.

I want to talk with you in 2017 and very definitely not at you, and that will need some work.