Look At Me

I don’t like the way some people on my Social media feed are being influenced by large companies. There’s nothing I can do about it, of course, and by pointing it out I’ll simply be accused of not understanding their feelings. The fact remains, I watch daily as people are far too easily manipulated. No, I’m not imagining this. There is no tinfoil involved. In the Wild West of Social media, the law is not fast enough to keep up with offences. It is the moral turpitude of people involved in making fake news, ‘innocently’ promoting their brand using cheap emotional hooks or simply wanting to draw attention to themselves BECAUSE THEY MATTER DAMMIT that stands between here and social disintegration. Therefore, EVERYBODY has a responsibility, yet very few are prepared to even think about consequence

If you cannot clearly discern reality from the invented, everybody is in trouble.

There are too many problems effectively to solve if you go and stare at the negative for too long. If I have to isolate one that seems to be endemic to all the issues I personally experience, it would be emotional blackmail. I’ve watched this used by the alt-right against Florida schoolkids who simply want to live without fear. I watch politicians use it as a means to justify Brexit, not Brexit and all points in between. The most depressing form, however, is undoubtedly the format that seems to afflict everybody, from nobody to celebrity, which is beautifully encompassed by the desire to be noticed, but at the same time not ending up looking like an idiot.

Considering Social media as a ‘game’ must be done with a great deal of care.

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It seems to me that by far the best means by which you survive in this lawless land at present is to keep everything at arm’s length. It works, to a point, until someone appears with their Emotional Blackmail Joker and shoves it in your face. We’ve been ‘friends’ for X years, you can’t do X, Y or Z because I will take this as a personal affront and you will back down. Except for the problem, inevitably, is that you aren’t friends, and never really were. Unless the definition of friendship is quite clear, in this modern world, NOTHING is to be expected or anticipated. NOTHING AT ALL.

If it matters enough that someone is friends with you, then you tell them. That’s why I spent a month last year doing just that. It is why the people I care about have time taken to read their tweets, or blogs, or consider what it is they have to say. I can support people I do not know well, and help them, but this does not make us friends. That only happens when both parties agree to the transaction, and never before. If you believe, whilst reading this that we are friends and that’s something that matters to you, yet we have never discussed whether we are or not? It is time to reassess your definition.

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I refuse to use Social media as emotional blackmail any more. I have followers, of whom a VERY small number (probably less than 70) are people I talk to regularly, of which maybe 25-30 are friends. Of that, less than ten are good friends. I communicate with one person with whom I share a genuine friendship on a daily basis. Just the one. There are three others I’d consider as close or comparable, so that’s four people. Everybody else, let’s be honest, I don’t have a clue about. Some people obviously think we are friends because they talk at me on a daily basis, but many of these ‘conversations’ make me feel uncomfortable. The emotional attachment others have to me is undoubtedly weighted in their favour.

If I cannot accurately discern intent, what chance does anybody else have?

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Smart people don’t have these conversations in public, but I’m getting to a point where there has to be some disconnect between the people who believe I’m their friend and the truth, which is I’m not, they’re just a follower. In the end, it is easier to just remove these people from my followers’ list and hope they get the point. The last time that happened, however, it ended in tears because the person concerned believed they deserved to be my friend and that I should return the favour. I don’t need toxic attitudes like that in my life, and to be fair to everybody else here, you shouldn’t be getting attached like that to me, to begin with. It’s unhealthy and ultimately self-destructive.

Sometimes the truth is what everybody needs and deserves.

Enough is Enough

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This morning, I woke up itchy. I have 12 insect bites on the go currently, and my body is less than happy about the entire state of affairs. In fact, I’m nauseous, irritable and ready to sort the World out.

Frankly, I’ve had enough of those people whose sole purpose on Twitter is to say they’re successful when all they’re doing is using robots and ‘social engagement’ tools such as Crowdfire to build a perception of popularity. With the spectre of robot algorithms already dominating large portions of my daily life, I don’t need real people pretending they’re successful when really, its all cheating. I spent an hour flushing out everyone who isn’t participating, and once I can confirm the validity of these accounts they’ll either stay or go.

In case you’re wondering, I poke all new followers for real. The last time it happened and a human response came back, the guy running the ‘social media content’ account tried really hard in an attempt to get me to repost his stuff. I had to give him credit, news was targetted at me and showed he understood my interests. The fact remains however that his noise was just that: reposted articles, carefully curated with only one aim in mind, to further his follower numbers, building only a notional sense of reality. Social media is supposed to be personal as well as informative, after all.

It is no wonder many people are genuinely concerned at what AI is capable of doing, when it already allows a section of the population to pretend they are some kind of deity on the back of the most basic of use. I’ve decided that if you want me to consider a follow going forward, unless you’re willing to demonstrate your account’s as genuine as mine, I’m having nothing to do with you.

It might seem an irrelevant line in the sand to you, but for me this stuff matters.

Jilted John

header79At the start of July, I had a plan to lose weight. With two days to go until August 1st? Well, let’s see how that went:

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I’ve been beyond good. I’ve stuck to a strict calorie goal for the entire month, limited both carbs and sugar, never exceeded my totals once. Yesterday’s totals, according to My Fitness Pall, should have put me around the 11 stone, 5 pound mark (159 pounds.) Except My Fitness Pal does not understand how my body works:

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Now, I might have cause to be angry after four weeks of living so strictly, but these numbers are, as it happens, a step forward. That is the lowest fat percentage I’ve clocked in over a year. My BMI, for the first time in several years, exists in the 25 range (albeit not far but still.) However, if I was the kind of person who just looked at numbers and didn’t understand the fat exchange with muscle process that is going on? I could see myself being really upset.

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Here is where science, yet again, doesn’t serve someone like me very well. I do all of this work, put in a pretty superhuman effort to limit the two things that should affect my weight, and my digestive system just becomes more efficient at converting energy whilst continuing to ignore superfluous body mass. The physical changes to my body are so noticeable for it to now be inescapable, too: areas that never had muscle before now possess it, I’ve lost close to three inches off my waist… but I may not get close to my weight goal for some time, until the most stubborn and (currently immoveable) fat deposits start being eaten into. However, all is not yet lost. I still have things to do in order to make the scales move, and that means August is not only more exercise, but more protein.

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I’ve had a treat today, favourite chocolate bar that I’ll see again over the August Bank Holiday. Until then, all bread is off the menu. The carb content will be trimmed back further, replaced with more veg, chicken, fish and meat. I have options that will allow me to continue to train well, and hard, provide the calories I require but not the stuff that I think by body’s burning instead of taking my own fat. Carbohydrates will be eliminated as the potential source of the issue and if, by the end of August I’ve still not dropped some weight, we’ll go zero sugar.

I’m going to crack this bloody puzzle by process of elimination.

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I’ve also completely reset My Fitness Pal to take into account all the changes, setting a desire to lose weight in a measured and graduated fashion. It will mean having to avoid a lot of stuff that I’d normally live on, and making meals for myself, but I think that’s entirely doable under the current mindset. Then, it’s all about getting my arse properly in gear and doing the work. That doesn’t scare me any more either.

Time to make things happen.

Silence

The last days of good weather are on their way out. It won’t be long before GMT is back. Most importantly, in a week I’ll be on a train, coming back from Paris. Late on Friday night, my husband spilt the beans on a surprise both he and the kids had planned: a trip on Eurostar, to our favourite restaurant in the shadow of Notre Dame. I’ve wanted to do the trip from St Pancras since forever, and to have all this arranged (plus a night at a hotel) was something I really wasn’t expecting. In fact it took a full fifteen minutes of guesswork to finally arrive at the conclusion. I haven’t stopped smiling about this ever since.

Good things like this never happen to me.

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Walking this afternoon, it occurred to me just how lucky I am. There’s no point in getting stressed that 50 is coming: I can’t avoid it, ageing is inevitable and inescapable. On my walk I travel past a bungalow that has been converted into a ‘chemical procedures’ surgery: liposuction, botox, minor cosmetic surgery all under one roof. I understand why many woman pursue these things, that the notion of beauty is as subjective as just about everything else, that these procedures matter. Feeling whole, complete and satisfied with yourself is something many people just never have the chance to experience, and when there are so many factors at play…? Is it any wonder so many of us never find a sense of satisfaction.

Happiness, I am beginning to grasp, is as much about you allowing it to happen than it is having ‘things’ or ‘people’ involved. Being able to give yourself up to a feeling of contentment is often a pretty big ask, when everything else gets in the way. That’s why I have nothing but respect for those who are able to prioritise what matters above what others consider important. It’s probably why I’m drawn to mavericks and brilliance, because those who are capable of rising above the conventional to live life on their own terms deserve nothing but respect. It might seem obvious to some of you but for me? A lot of this is still revelation. You people really don’t know how lucky you are.

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Simple things are beginning to matter far more than ever before.

Maybe that’s the future for me moving forward.