Nothing

There has never been a better time to have an opinion than RIGHT NOW. Social media allows everybody the opportunity to not only hold a point of view but be able to express it, regardless of any ability to do so either well or politely. Once upon a time, if you disagreed with a review of a play or film, the only means to ensure that the writer was aware was a green pen and some A4 lined paper (if you were a certain type of complainant) or Basildon Bond and a fountain pen, at the other end of my cliched, stereotypical scale (for effect only.) Now, if you don’t like what’s been said, it is simply one click to make sure that your opinion is registered. If you’re lucky and that burst of righteous fervour catches the right wave of popular algorithmic indignation, you’ll be viral just before tea.

A lot has changed in a very short space of time, and language is struggling to keep pace with this evolution.

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It is apparent that the issues in most of these short lived, inflammatory discussions is how one person uses language and how that is subsequently interpreted by others. I am reminded of a fervent debate over quest text in my favourite MMO as a perfect example: one person saw casual racism, whilst I understood a historical reference that was based in definition from hundreds of years previously with no relevance to an insult. Then there was that time where I used the word ‘inclusion’ to someone who decided I meant their grasp of a related concept and not the strict dictionary definition… and the list goes on. It is one of the main reasons why the Internet of Words was born as a concept, that how we use language online is often vastly different to the manner in which we both communicate and exist in the Real World. When all you had before was paper and a pen, you had to make every word matter, and interpretation was perhaps even more of an issue.

Now you can delete your words, except the smart Internet users will happily inform you that never happens. This place remembers everything. If you don’t want your awful tirade to be remembered, never type it to begin with. In twenty years, a huge swathe of early internet content might have supposedly been lost to time, but you’ll be amazed what remains, or what others will keep ‘just in case.’ Then there’s the increasing trade in image manipulation, how a basic understanding of how webpage markup can be accessed and then altered can make it look like the President actually said that. The bigger irony, of course, is that certain people’s comments remain ridiculous and hugely ill-conceived regardless of the ability to paint them otherwise.

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There is a wonderfully simple answer to all of this, why suddenly the opportunity to have more than five seconds of fame matters so much to so many. The Internet is not a place to game or play, is so large as to make it virtually impossible to control outright. Many companies may like to think they can do just that, but the sheer nature of this beast means that anyone still can be the hero, or the overnight sensation. There is a chance for everybody, regardless of their sex, race or anything else to become the Next Big Thing. If you are to be remembered on your brief and often painful stay upon the Planet, this is as good a place as any to start. However, there’s no guarantee that it will work but at least while you are alive you’ll be known as the person who topped 10 million subs of You Tube or who condemned civilisation to robot servitude in the 22nd Century as the inventor of Facebook.

Mostly, you’re here for the validation. I totally understand that feeling.

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I have written my fair share of complaint blogs in my time, and I stand by pretty much every one of them. At that moment my indignation was enough to temper a response I wouldn’t have written if it didn’t matter. That’s my mantra for all of these things: if it’s important enough to spend time on a blog, then press send. There is an important caveat now to those rants, and that is if I cross a line drawn only recently, as a result of my adventures on Social media. I’ve learnt the important lesson of personal involvement only too well. You can never plan for the stalker, anybody has the potential to become that obsessive individual, but there are certainly means by which you can a) not make things worse or b) inflame already confrontational situations. Very rarely now will I get into discussions with total strangers on contentious subjects. Far easier to write a blog post on the subject and stay friends with everybody, than risk losing someone over a difference of opinion.

This is where people end up mattering more than principles.

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I need my opinions heard because it is the way I can judge whether what I think is worthwhile. I’m not here to be right, or to win. I’ll leave that to other people to control and dictate. For now, I’ll simply continue to say what I feel, without attempting to antagonise too many people, and see what happens. For the record, my complaint letter would have been created using a typewriter. I would have handwritten it several times first, then redrafted until I was happy, before the blue A4 paper would ever have been stuck in the machine. Because I wasn’t using white paper, correction fluid would have been a safety net I didn’t have. It would have taken HOURS, a letter at a time.

That’s probably why it’s taken me so long to find a public voice.

Surrender

This week, there have been mood swings. Huge honking changes of happiness and confidence, that resulted in me shouting at the entire family yesterday and then making sure I went and apologised to everyone, before ending up hiding in a corner. I’ve not managed more than six hours sleep a night since Sunday, and waking up at 5am is beginning to get a bit depressing. I’ve been trying my best to self-care wherever possible, but it has resulted in varying degrees of success. Today I decided that I was going to try and wear myself out for a decent night’s kip: 1KM run, 1KM Cross-Trainer, a ton of really intense upper body exercises and now I am quite definitely having trouble staying awake, which is frustrating and encouraging by turns. In fact, I don’t remember being this tired for a very long time.

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I still have NaNoWriMo words to write, and a much anticipated curry to eat, but once that’s done I can just see myself passing out where I drop. Whether this results in an improvement in sleep quality remains to be seen, but I have tried, and I’m most definitely making further progress towards both waist reduction and muscle mass. I can feel new tissue on both sides of my upper torso, and on my arms. At some point I should get some pictures taken so I can better see where the progression is happening, but until I can get the mental side of this whole thing sorted, I’m not that fussed. For now I’m having to concentrate on every key pressed, and that’s never a good thing.

Please let me sleep tonight.

The Numbers

Today was the last massage with my lovely sweet student chiropractor/masseuse, who’s off now to have a better paid job in Brighton. I will really miss her ability to make my body feel better, and it makes me think that I should seek out some chiropractic care locally going forward. I also spent two hours after this eating and drinking in the Gym bar/restaurant, editing the first chapter of MMXCI. As of tomorrow, I’m in full on NaNo mode, with the second novel ‘on the side’ because you can never have enough editing and writing, people. It is totally impossible. Without words, I will simply wither up and die.

On that front, I may have trouble walking tomorrow. My PT pushed me to a place where I just wanted to run away screaming, but she wouldn’t let me and now everything is jelly whilst ability I didn’t know existed got me to a place I am willingly going to return to for a month’s worth of ‘Challenge’ exercises. I did 50 reps, then another 50, then another of a different thing and couldn’t believe how capable I was. in the end, I was just exhausted, and now I’m in a curious place where I know there’s still energy but my entire body is just… well, floating. This is like being drunk but without the cost.

I’m just really glad to be on the treadmill again, figuratively speaking.

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I’m also getting really frustrated with, in no particular order:

  • ‘I’ll tell you what’s wrong with X’ rants on social media which then proceed to just make me feel utterly depressed about things I’m trying really hard to remain cheerful about,
  • Feeling increasingly disconnected from people who say we have lots of things in common but actually SO NOT TRUE;
  • Generally struggling with feeling as if I fit in (or that I am indeed relevant.)

What this means, in effect, is that social anxiety is back. I’ll deal with it like I always do: push through, not gravitate where I think it will be exacerbated, and simply put my head down. It will be tough this week because there’s a convention going on that a lot of people I know will be a part of and I’ll be watching from a distance. It might actually be too painful to even do that, especially with the number of people I’d like to meet but can’t/won’t/cannot get close to/want to see but am not sure I’d cope with everybody else. Mostly right now its making my head hurt. As a result, probably a good idea to just stop worrying about it and get on with the words. They don’t hurt nearly as much.

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All in all, hardly the most auspicious start to a Monday.