Pride and Prejudice

Dear Patreon:

Once I’ve sent out Christmas Haiku to everyone who were subscribers to my campaign on December 18th, my relationship with your platform as a creator is over. I’ll still continue to pledge to three people whose work deserves my respect and support, but I won’t be reinstated pledges I cancelled, and I certainly won’t support anyone else who uses the service again. I think it is worth explaining to you why an about face over the ridiculous issue of fees doesn’t change a single thing for someone like me.

I’m still not convinced you grasp what the problem is to begin with.

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The main reason I chose your service was not, I now realise, the convenience of a one-stop crowdfunding experience. Being busy with other things did make the platform really attractive, and that was backed up with the appearance of a group of people who appeared to genuinely care about creative process and not the bottom line. Of course it matters to get paid for your work, but with this being problematic at present in the real world, virtual success will undoubtedly begin to mirror issues elsewhere. Not everybody will be bringing in thousands of dollars a month and now you realise just how many people depended on the tiny gifts of faith to keep them sane, I suspect there could well be some pause for thought.

However, my biggest complaint, and the reason why even with the about face in your attitude I won’t return, is the belief that for every creator, money matters more than  process. It is the modern, hugely misguided belief that how much you earn is the best reflection of any true success, and when companies like you define modus operandi for the platform in financial statements… Principles matter, and cannot be swept under a carpet: when you decide to provide handy links for creators to help claw back lost cash it is clear that principle is far less important than your initial assertions would suggest. If this were just about money however it could be far more dispassionately rationalised, but there is an integrity gap that continues not to be filled, and that bothers me greatly.

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It may also seem disingenuous for me to continue funding people on your platform, but I have pledged support to these people and that will not be affected by whatever suspect business decisions you make, either now or in the future. I’m fairly confident, looking at my cancelled pledges, that those people won’t lose a lot of sleep over my principled stance either, so nobody that I care about really loses, except myself, which continues to be of some interest to those who are now approaching me with surprise. Why, if the platform was so convenient and useful, do I now decide to leave and not come back?

Your exit surveys are criminally vague when it comes to challenging pledges over reasoning: you have to care enough about someone when you take their money away to then admit the real truth as to that withdrawal of funds, and most individuals when they choose to crowdfund to begin with won’t want to admit they can no longer afford to do so on departure. Amazingly though, nobody was backwards in coming forwards around the reasons why they cancelled over this affair. Looking objectively at my individual cases, I don’t believe any more that Patreon really does care about people like them or me. From what I have seen and heard, what I believe is that it matters more to produce a profitable business model that can be sold in time to the highest bidder. I am not special or individual, we are simply users to be counted as assets.

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However, without all of this I would not have been encouraged leave and go it alone: without six months where it became apparent I had material that could be sold, there would no be the confidence to move forward and pursue my dreams. I think that’s what makes this whole sordid affair even more upsetting: I trusted your platform to mirror my own integrity, and it failed. My good opinion once lost is lost for ever. I might say that in jest, but there’s a good reason why Darcy is one of my favourite characters in English literature. He and I are both shy, nervous and reticent to reveal ourselves in public. Once we put faith in something and it becomes a personal experience, to have that faith ignored and effectively dismissed as not important is not a blow that we will easily recover from.

I don’t want to be a successful businesswoman. I need to be a happy creator. Your platform seems to believe I have to be one to become the other, and that’s not true. I don’t want to be associated publicly with people who aren’t interested in artistic integrity, unless it makes them a profit. Therefore, I’ll find another way to help support myself, and you are no longer part of that process.

I hope you think long and hard about the damage you have done, not only to your brand, but to people like me whose trust is lost forever.

Being Boiled

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It’s been eight days since the Operation. Let’s recap.

  • I woke up today feeling better than yesterday. This is now a three day trend, as is the increase in Active Minutes exercising since Sunday.

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  • This is the longest uninterrupted sleep since before the Op. It was achieved with no caffeine after 2pm and two Paracetamols before bed. This is now the plan going forward until my chest stops hurting. Right now, pain is about a 1, it went up to about a 3 when I walked to the Gym earlier.
  • First Rehab Gym session is booked for 12.30 on Monday, because I’m not going to sit here and just wait to get better. I need to be doing stuff.
  • This assumes I’ll be given the okay by the Surgeon tomorrow that nothing is horribly bad and wrong and all these people telling me how I great I look are not lying.
  • Appointment with Surgeon at 7.45pm tomorrow, because that’s how he rolls.

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  • No, I’m not going to go mad, yes I KNOW I’m still healing, and I realise that if I go too fast I’ll fuck myself up long term. This will not happen. I can prioritise getting better and not overdoing anything. It’s okay. I also LOVE ALL YOU GUYS for looking out for me and taking the time to tell me you care. That’s totally lovely.
  • There’s a separate post at some point dealing with how I will never complain about constipation ever again. Let’s leave that for another time.

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There’s other stuff too, especially on the back of Manchester, the first passing of a Bond actor and writing fiction again. For now however, this will do.

Every Day is like Sunday

Ah, Easter. This is the time in our house where chores get done, shit gets thrown away and long-overdue promises are finally fulfilled. Today therefore is a fairly typical day of Resurrection: the garden is now cleared of all the rubbish from last week, and we have a man scheduled to come properly remove the last two stubborn tree trunks and roots, so that’s a boatload of progress. Husband is recovered enough from his second bout of elective surgery to go ride a bike, and with the kids at my parents, I have the house to myself. As the end of the Easter break looms large, I find myself thinking about how much has changed in the last four months because, like it or not, I’m in a vastly different place YET AGAIN to where I was this time last year.

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I love the life I have. It wasn’t awful before, but now there’s a measure of real control and confidence that simply didn’t exist previously. There’s been a couple of genuinely fuzzy days since last Thursday, I won’t lie, but coming out of the back of everything there remains an optimism that I don’t ever really remember owning. Having cast the die on the Patreon, I’m ready to order the Tier rewards to offer to people to sign up with, because I’m absolutely determined to make this entire venture as professional and polished as possible. That means four tiers of participation, from Casual to Hardcore (and yes they’ll be named after game styles because HEY I CAN IT IS MY PATREON) and a real excitement of what this could mean long term. I’m still quietly stunned that with the minimal amount of advertising the @InternetofWords Twitter account already has followers in double figures. That alone makes me think this whole amazing thing MIGHT JUST WORK.

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Then, there has to be content, and there’s already lots of ideas on the table. I’m going to be consulting with some trusted people in the next week as to whether they think these ideas have merit long term, and which should be developed as a priority. Once that’s all in place, starting the beginning of May it is time to just dive in and work on as much as possible so when everything goes live in June we’re future proofed until the end of the year. I hope I’ll have some of you along for the journey, and the plan is to use CoPromote as a means to see if there’s new followers to pick up along the way. There’ll be other means to generate interest too, if it all works out. Only time will tell.

For now, it is time to enjoy a lazy Sunday for all it is worth.

The Bones of You

The last couple of days have been hard work, but this morning I got a lie in (9am!) and a leisurely chance to reflect on where I am. Writing every day has now become a habit I’m really happy with. All those gross and bad ones I can now work on shifting, but this one stays, because the comfort it gives me is becoming as vital as the occasional packet of (low fat) crisps or that first morning cuppa. In fact, some days it is the replacement for sweets or a sit down, but when I can’t adequately vocalise my issues, or there’s undue stress… I still find it tough, and there’s an area I need to work on going forward.

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My legs hurt this morning, but not nearly as much as they did the first time I did the Gym Challenge, so now I can move forwards and do a bit more. I may well be addicted to fresh sushi, if my desire to run out and buy it for lunch is any indicator (I will, but not yet.) I’m simultaneously joyous and disgusted by the news, and as a result have started regularly reading the Guardian’s online newspaper (and am happy at the political affiliation that automatically affords me.) No, I don’t agree with every extremist theory that’s thrown at me: some are genuinely funny, others quite sad. I’m more green than red and always have been, and you won’t win me over by fixating on a viewpoint that intentionally excludes the wider issues. However, this is an interesting time to be political.

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The NaNo projects is going almost worryingly well. There are two elderly men in an office I need to write a scene for this morning. Both their lives are intractably shaped by women they loved and lost and this is a viewpoint that is causing some longer term thought in terms of motivation. I’m also wondering if I can get away with a MacGuffin that might actually end up as being a scientific possibility, and which could end up underpinning a large proportion of my narrative. Options are, at this point in proceedings, fairly limitless. I love having an idea that I can write without stress: a lot of the times writing myself into corners is an occupational hazard. Not with this story. I keep finding ideas just opening up ahead of me and asking for a choice. I don’t think so far I’ve made a wrong turn. Time will tell.

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Stuffing myself with things to do always makes me happy. Writing is double the fun, and I really can’t get enough of it. My only concern right now is whether I’ll get everything done I want in the time available.

Change

Often, a blog of this type will start its existence with a story. It might be the moment someone decided to change their life, or they began something existence altering or affirming. For some of us, life doesn’t work like this. For people like me, every day is just a step, the way forward, chance to discover more about myself in the process of existence. I’ve often wondered if the epiphany metaphor is overused, or if some people just spend their lives never experiencing the bolt of inspiration from above as the entire Universe suddenly shifts on its axis. I can say I’ve had amazing thoughts or I’ve come to significant conclusions but at no point did I ever feel the need to drop everything and just go another way. That’s just not how this works.

At least, it wasn’t.

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Then, one day, I stopped menstruating. Now I look back on what preceded this event, with amazement it is abundantly apparent that the end had been on the cards for far longer than I’d initially realised. With the benefit of hindsight, a lot of shit suddenly made sense. Now I live in a world where hormonal surges no longer dictate actions: once upon a time it would be PMS, and when that added to my depression, things would sometimes become very black indeed. Now, amazingly, my life has altered in a manner I didn’t think would be possible a year ago. It is almost as if there was a light that switched on, sudden inspiration to push myself away from the person who just survived to the individual now who wants to start to be more. Without the hormonal issues, I’m suddenly more liberated than I ever thought would be possible.

However it is so much more than simply one moment of change.

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The alterations I have made, starting after the holiday to the West coast of the US in 2015, hinged around a very real need to be physically stronger than I was at the time to survive. It has been a year, and I can confidently attest that on that front, there has been significant progress made. Weight loss used to be the reason I’d exercise, now exercise has become the catalyst for so much more . I stopped being about the petty and the details and finally embraced a completely different outlook, and when my periods stopped earlier this year, a whole level of worry simply vanished. It is only then I grasped that if I’m not dictated to but direct physical change, maybe the same can be true of everything else. The key however is a vital and small sliver of understanding that happened somewhere between 2015 and here.

It all revolves around being different, yet wanting to be the same.

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I’ve known I was different since I was a kid, but only now am I able to tell you why. It’s not just a simple descriptor either, there’s a lot wrapped up in the understandings I’ve come to in the last few years. Knowing you are different, it occurs to me is only helpful if you wish to use the knowledge in a particular way: perhaps you hope it will help people better understand what you are, or why you have been the way you have for so long. Certainly for key medical or psychological conditions, that’s probably the case. However, if you conclude that you don’t want anything to change except yourself because of what you now understand to be your situation? That’s gonna be interesting. My family already know how to deal with the exception. What I’ve never really considered is how that goes the other way. 

How do I deal with different, to make it better?

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Today, I gave it a try. In two (potentially) contentious situations with family, I threw away the rules. Instead of the normal approaches, I went another way, and in both cases, things went far better than I could have anticipated. Of course, everyone else will be calling this a triumph for them making me alter my intractable, inflexible ways, and they might well be right, but in my head there’s a re-connection of neurons that’s only been possible after I found discipline and focus via exercise. The peace that routine has instilled allowed me the opportunity to approach parts of my psyche without fear for the first time, and come to conclusions I’m betting other people have been making for years, but because they loved me they just let it pass. In the end, it’s not a bolt of lightning or a massive epiphany, it’s just time and effort finding a way. Except some things won’t change: not because I’m unbending or inflexible, but because I don’t feel the same way I did any more.

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Some will tell you the only way to find salvation is to forgive and find love in your heart for those who before you hated. This is a lie. You find salvation by accepting truths, and moving on. That means I won’t start loving people again I stopped loving before, regardless of their relationship to me. That’s absolutely fine too. No problems with this at all, and life will continue regardless. The difference is I can be polite and respectful now, whereas before I’d be other emotions. That’s all gone, and the hormones make all that trauma so much easier to cope with.

If someone asks you what you’d change about yourself give the chance, normally you’ll think of something that could use improvement. I’m currently altering just about every attitude I have, in a slow and systematic fashion, and I think I’d like to keep doing this until my last day on Earth. It’s not about opening my heart either: that’s never been shut for business and continues to be broken and brilliant by turns. I’ve lied a lot over the years using words but now I just want the truth to be out there, because in the end it is far easier than living a lie. I did that, and it won’t happen again. If I don’t want to let people know stuff? I just don’t write it down.

Everything else however is fair game.