Something significant has happened this week. I decided not to enter a poetry mentorship. Even though I’m writing it, and will continue to do so, I don’t feel this is something that would benefit being focused on right now. In all honestly, it is time for storytelling and to experiment with that. Also, confession time; I’m not a great fan of a scheme where you are effectively expected to pay for your own tuition. So, a long term plan of editing stories and entering poems for contests seems to be the most appropriate path forward.


I went to bed at 9pm last night with the reminder that, on days when I’m driving and exercising, six and a bit hours sleep a night is just not enough. Yesterday’s Push Day at the Gym has left arms aching, which tells me I’ve done some good on the muscle front. This weekend’s bike ride won’t happen because Mr Alt’s doing Hockey umpiring on Sunday: so, I need to find 24k steps from somewhere, and probably throw some extra steps in there if possible. Whether I run or not I don’t know, but I’m tempted to walk the distance normally ridden tomorrow and take a camera with me. Husband will be up stupidly early, so that would make sense, that I could do all my exercise before the kids are even awake.


For now, I have an afternoon of laundry and chores, before I go out (either gym or woods.) Today is a boring, mundane Saturday and frankly I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Get Off


I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I can now state I’m loving the mountain bike.


The thing about exercise is that it is addictive, but not in a way I’d recognise from previous flirtations with obsession. Yesterday was a glorious Sunday afternoon, out on the 2012 Olympic Mountain-biking track built just down the road from us. There’s impressive views of the Estuary, some absolutely bonkers mental downward runs, and a sense that when this country bid on the Legacy Olympics ticket, they really meant to inspire future generations and not just line the pockets of the already rich. In fact yesterday reminded me of what a thoroughly amazing place this town is to live in.

Yesterday also made me realise that FUCK ME LOOK I HAVE TRICEPS. The sun-cream makes arms all shiny, I know, but seriously people… MUSCLES!11!1!!1 I can now hang comfortably for 20 seconds on the monkey bars, once I hit 30 then its time to start considering how pull ups fit into my exercise routine. Monday PT today is the last for a week, and I won’t be exercising in the Gym after Wednesday for at least a week. This means doing workouts where its just my body as resistance: squats, push ups and probably some running. The seafront where we’ll be staying is lovely and flat: I’m sure I could do something with that. In fact, I think it will be time to start exercising outside.


Today’s liberating start will be part of a week where lots of stuff ends up, I suspect, a massive disappointment. I’m confident I’ll fail to get a Mentorship I applied for, that the poetry contest I entered will show me not as winner or indeed worthy of notable mention. However, unless I keep applying for this stuff, I’ll never move forward as a writer. Failure is a very important part of the writing process. It gives me incentive to move forward, keep trying, and not lose hope. All these things matter too. You just need a sense of proportion, and understanding that if the momentum remains forward, then that’s better than nothing.

You just need to keep moving, and never stop.

Audacity of Huge


This morning I was reminded of how Twitter, like it or not, is just as manipulative as all other forms of social media. That’s not the fault of the platform, has very little if anything to do with the people who use it. What the above graphic reminds me is that how we as individuals perceive ourselves is often radically different to the view others hold. This ‘meme’ above doing the rounds right now is a case in point: you know how much I like a decent .GIF, but I’d NEVER ask other people to use one to describe me.

That’s because I understand that if I did, there’s the chance someone’s going to tell me the truth.


The main reason why ‘abuse’ is categorised as such by people is the level of hurt it is able to inflict. If you’re Twitter, for instance, for every 1000 ‘shut up and fuck off’ account abuse reports received there’s probably one that will be considered as a credible threat. The difference between casual abuse and a potential court case will also depend on the type of person being threatened, and I suspect it will take a high profile Twitter stalking (plus fatality) of a ‘normal’ person for that to change, if it does at all. The issue is simple: what you will class as an insult someone else might regard as funny. If you’re stalked obsessively for months, only then is it likely anyone might care. However, if you want it to stop? Evidence will have to stand up in court, and that could take years.

What has all this got to do with a harmless meme, I hear you ask? It is potentially more damaging when someone you trust posts something you don’t understand, or more significantly doesn’t post anything at all to a participative event like the Meme Game. You hope someone will, and then if that response is not what you’d hoped or wanted then BOOM it all goes Pete Tong in short order. I realised quite quickly as this meme gained traction that I couldn’t get away with just posting the .GIFs I wanted without explaining them to people who I know, after extended periods of interaction, don’t think the same way I do. I’m very big on .GIF use, but also like the moral ambiguity an image can bring, subtlety involved in being able to ‘read’ the visual in different ways. As soon as I realised the images I wanted to use could end up being considered as less than flattering?


Here is the inherent issue that has existed back since Usenet opened up the World to ‘group’ discussion: ambiguity. It will also have a lot to do with the intelligence of the person you’re posting to, their current mental status… and a ton of other stuff that you’ll never be able to understand until you’ve been a victim of abuse. That could be as simple as complimenting your breast size to threatening to set fire to your car. When those are the extremes of what is considered casual abuse on the Internet? You can see why a simple image suddenly gains a great deal of power. It is also undoubtedly true that however ‘good’ a friend on the Internet says they are, however close you might feel the connection, everybody has the potential to wake up and fundamentally change forever. Yes, this happens, people, and more often than you might believe.

Everybody has the potential to become a toxic maniac that stalks you.

There are an awful lot of assumptions about how you control what appears in Twitter, and many of them are not sound. This is not a place where you get to pick and choose what goes on unless there’s a lock on your account. The only means to ensure true privacy is by removing yourself from mainstream/public eye completely. Sure, you can choose to ignore people who don’t provide a phone number, but most victims know their attackers. Random is very rarely the problem. If you have to ask people to explain why they do things, it could well be that your actions also require assessment, and that’s a blog post for another day. In short, shit like this might start innocently enough, but in the end somebody always gets hurt.

If you really want people to describe what you are, just ask them up front.



I’d considered changing my icon for the site in anticipation of the IoW event, but on reflection the flowers are quite joyous. The simplicity of this layout is what I need right now, when everything else around will have formal structures and planning. There is not enough of that in my life, I realise. That’s why last night, without husband (working) and kids (at Grans) I struggled to know what to do other than work. There’s still quite a lot of personal change to instigate.


I don’t do relaxation: procrastination yes and definitely laziness, but finding ways to unwind still elude. I’ve been meaning for months to create some new playlists on my phone, for instance, and there never seems to be the right moment to sit and make it happen. Maybe now I’ve written that down it will happen, after all, I’ve had a fairly productive week. I also managed to sort out a mistake that wasn’t my fault and had some fairly drastic consequences, and now all is well with the World. I am SuperMum again.


Once I’m done here it’s time to leave Husband sleeping in (as he got back from an 18 hour day after midnight) and go do a Hard Bastard Session at the Gym. I managed 11/12 hours active yesterday again, and fully intend to make it 12/12 today, plus extra steps on top. The changes to digestion are a pain, I won’t lie, but it isn’t anything I can’t work around long term. It would help, of course, if it wasn’t so bloody hot right now and I sweated less when I exercised, but you can’t have everything.

Let’s get on with the day.


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.


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.


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.


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

The Test

I had a lovely day out yesterday, in which a lot of truths were revealed about my progress in the last year. It seems largely appropriate therefore to list these for future reference.


The biggest single obstacle to Progress is yourself.

If you want something badly enough, you can make it happen. I had a cracking argument about this on social media a while back, with someone who stated because they were too tall for something, I was just talking bollocks. Sometimes, you can’t argue with individual logic. Their way is the only path, like it or not. That is, undoubtedly, because the person has decided that there is no other way but this. There are those I know like this who can get away with it too, because their reasoning undoubtedly is a damn sight more sound than mine has ever been. For me, however, I’d been talking bollocks for decades and enough was enough. This was my biggest single problem, up until about (almost) a year ago when I scared myself shitless riding a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. Suddenly, the World concertinaed out in front of me and I realised there was a choice: pretend for the rest of my life I couldn’t, or actually shut the fuck up and scare myself into progress, before I lost the chance. Most people don’t worry about shit like this, they’re out there doing it.

Now, I am one of them.

Yesterday I felt useful. I could contribute to a relationship, and be helpful. I wasn’t a mother, but a friend, and the moment mattered in a way that I don’t remember happening for many years. In fact, if I’m honest, this is the first time that, in the Real World, I think I’ve grasped everything that has to happen at once. Normally I’d panic about one thing or another but yesterday, I just was.

That’s a big step forwards.

If it Hurts, don’t Stop.

Pain is normally an indicator it is time to stop. It’s your body’s very wise way of making you think twice and not do more damage. Except sometimes, your body lies, and with an overactive imagination? The World is going to end. A great deal of my physical progress recently has hinged on knowing that when it hurts, sometimes, you don’t stop. That’s the moment to go and dig deep, and move past the panic. Mostly, as an asthmatic, it is now grasping what’s an attack and what’s strengthening my lungs. That’s why yesterday I came out of the station, looked at the hill I’d normally slowly work my way up and thought ‘fuck it.’ Then I put on this piece of music, and I almost ran.

As I passed people struggling upwards, I pushed faster, and when I hit the top I didn’t slow down, but kept going. Before I’d only test myself in the Gym but now, I’m confident enough to extend the remit. Given the choice I’d far rather be outside anyway, and as the weather deteriorates I will do my utmost to keep walking to and from the Gym, to make the miles count on pavements and not treadmills. The mental clarity this process is affording is not to be overlooked either. I’m in a different place than I was, and I love the focus this process is affording. Now it’s becoming less about knowing what to write, but more around finding the time to do so.

I can live with that.

Just Be Happy.

There have been, in the last couple of months, a lot of things that have vexed me. Many of these are completely beyond my control, but those that are not are being addressed. I no longer just sit by and let shit happen without consequence. I am confident fighting my own battles in a way I cannot ever remember being before, and as it happens, I think I’m quite good at it. No, it’s not perfect and yes, there is definitely room for improvement, but that comes from the continual process of refining and reassessing how I deal with the World, and sometimes asking politely it do the same for me. I’m not looking for validation nearly as much either, I just turn up and get on with shit. Giving things the finger has definitely, positively, absolutely helped with this progression.

Happy now is not needing the cake until such time as I can eat it without doing damage. It’s looking at work I wrote a year ago and knowing it’s good. It is understanding my judgement on things is never going to be 100% accurate but frankly, I don’t care is I’m still able to maintain a level of objectivity and comfort. Most of all it is sitting here, sharing this with the World, and being confident that is the right thing to do, because this has the potential to help someone else. I can’t tell you what’s wrong with your life, but I can use my life as an example of how things have changed, and will keep doing so for the foreseeable future. If you really want a different life? It could be possible, even in the dark place you currently inhabit.

The only person with the answers, ultimately, is you.