Where I Stood

Why didn’t you write a blog yesterday?

This is a very good question. One part of the answer is me, sitting here now, waiting for a phone call. NOBODY EVER calls me so when it happens, you know it’s important, and that really is all I want to say about it, for reasons which will become clear next month. Another part of the reasoning is that yesterday, summat needed to give. I couldn’t do everything.

More and more (as I wrote on the work blog) it is becoming apparent that what used to be needed to keep me sane on a daily basis is no longer required. This, undoubtedly remains a good thing. Therefore, as long as there is work somewhere, what it is becomes largely irrelevant. It’s the logical development that’s been happening for months now.

Prolific is only useful when it suits the game plan.

It makes me laugh when I watch the ‘pro’ bloggers happily state they’re recovering after having written their four blogs for the month. People aspire to live in a world where just doing enough becomes something of an art form, vital insight being used as fuel for lectures, virtual events and seminars before being referenced in countless ‘clever’ Tweet sequences.

The Internet is destroying everything: it’s time to step back and focus on reality. This is undoubtedly a true statement, in a certain light. However, if used as a selling tool you instantly become those very people exploiting the Internet to destroy everything, and that transparency is laughable. It’s why I refuse to play anybody else’s Instagram game any more, and why Facebook remains a slur.

Just enough is the reason why nothing ever really gets done.

Time to start doing more things properly.

These Boots are Made for Walking

It has been mentioned here a few times how utterly woeful I am at doing Me Time. However, slowly but surely, this last part of the self-care redefinition is getting looked at. Next Friday, I’ll have new hair again which is good because I’ll be recording stuff on Zoom in August and looking fly will undoubtedly be an advantage.

My local Gym also opens this Saturday, and that means next week PT is back, but outside where it is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. I’m not happy being inside without a mask, and exercising with one may prove problematic, we shall see. Whatever happens, there will be more of the stuff I enjoy doing as well as work.

However, I have other interests that really need consideration.

I know Patreon’s supposed to be a job, but I have invented a New Thing that is already making me very happy. As long as I can keep doing it just for me, and it doesn’t become a millstone, this has the potential to be a significant source of enjoyment. Add to that being able to build my own empire from scratch, and yes, this is good distraction from reality.

If I can get this stuff to pick up interest, then I am really getting somewhere.

Don’t Believe the Hype

My husband is a very, VERY keen cyclist. That means, in our house at any one time, there are SQUILLIONS of water bottles: some vintage, some too big to fit into bottle cages, some promotional and all prone to getting very mouldy if not cleaned properly. The best ones, undoubtedly, are minimal in their design and easiest to keep sanitary.

Doing just that this morning, I realise it is (yet again) time for a clear out. Detritus increases quickly in the modern world, so much stuff given away ‘free’ when it would be better for us and the environment if you didn’t feel the need to chuck me a bazillion tote bags and charging cables under the auspice of ‘look, we care about our clients.’

Then it hit me, yet again, that all of this faffing is a metaphor.

If I am going to succeed in business, finally, after all this time, making life harder for myself is not going to work. There is no need to reinvent the wheel every month, despite the fact it will make me look cool and edgy. Maybe, just possibly, introducing some consistency to my work might be an idea. That means finding a game plan, and sticking to it.

When it comes to Instagram, I am an utter Noob. Ideally, I should be using what is available to me without attempting to invent anything else right now, however smart or funny it might look. Therefore, today we have started a Plan of Action that will move through until Christmas. It’s hard to think that far ahead, I’ll be honest, but it seems a decent timeframe.

Let’s see if this new format will pay any dividends at all.

It is tough on the brain right now, so much to have to try and juggle. Watching stuff go out in the world and not have hundreds of people proclaim it a marvel, a wonder, the content they’ve been waiting for is difficult to cope with, when all you’re ever really after is someone telling you what you’ve done is great.

Expectation management is the toughest job of all.

Scattered Black and Whites

After a decent night’s sleep (and proper hard pushing myself on the bike yesterday) I have woken up with the scales very much fallen from my eyes. It’s hard to describe the feeling when you know that something quite seismic’s taken place in your head, an odd combination of validation, comprehension and self-belief.

I keep coming back to The Emperor’s New Clothes as my favourite metaphor: once you see a naked, middle-aged man waving his dick in a timeline as a desperate means by which he can validate an existence, it’s pretty hard to unsee. The women who do this too are, I would posit, practising a version of the dick wave. They’re appropriating male values. Some of them then stop being women, in my head, which is significant. [*]

It is time to start seeking out the truly unique, diverse voices of truth.

Once upon a time, everything was about being right. As I have matured, and grasped the subtleties of a reasoned existence, that argument is only acceptable to a point. At this point, everything that makes me think is where interest lies: even if the responses that result aren’t those what I’ll agree with or think worthwhile of further discussion.

Once you see one person using a platform for their own agenda, it also becomes pretty impossible to ignore: more and more ‘smart’ people who do this for their own, unspecified ends, are failing to grasp the speed at which their surrounding environment is changing, and it is. All this bollocks over ‘white’ values being attacked is just that.

We’ve been hearing only white values for far too long.

I realise this approach will not be popular. However, frankly, I do not care at this stage. This is not about appeasing some random gomer who thinks suddenly they’re the answer to everything. I know just how much there is to learn right now, how values and viewpoints need to shift and alter. This isn’t a brand realignment, it’s a fundamental alteration from soul upwards.

Hang on kids, here we go.

[*] More on this in the week.

Closing Shot

Last night, I heard of the first COVID case in my orbit, then pretty much lost the plot. If this is the beginning and that above is where we will be in two months, this is already a nightmare. Every time I’ve thought nothing could get weirder, it does. The baseline threshold for Reality (Such As It Is)ย has moved so many times since Monday that, quite honestly, I have no clue where to pitch anything.

All that can happen now is control of my own environment, such as it is. Even that is proving problematic.

Hand cream is now not as useful as skin healing cream on my hands. Knuckles have split. Hay fever and dust allergies are making me sneeze and cough, and going anywhere right now is an exercise in holding my breath. The physio this morning was a total hero, and if the state of his hands is any indicator, he is taking duties extremely seriously indeed. Everybody is offering me refunds.

This doesn’t get better, only worse. Time to find where the real helpers are, friends to bed down with (at distance) who will be those who support and not criticise. Yeah, I get some of you don’t want me in your feeds because I was the noisy cow who caused trouble a while back.ย Your choice. Gaming now is the last thing on my mind, though if isolation gets really bad, I might return to a favourite god sim or two…

The biggest plan right now is exercise, and how it happens in a ten foot square space, so all those lovely gainz I made in the last six months are not pissed up the wall. Fortunately I have a TOP TEAM of supportive people ready to provide practical advice, plus raw materials to facilitate progress. It also helps that static bikes have been a fixture in this household for many, many years. Cycling will save us, oh yes.

Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been training for this moment for years.

The Flood

Once Upon a Time, the Bible was all anybody needed to make sure Humanity knew what was what. If you didn’t like Christianity, lots of other religions popped up to do the job in other places, with their own Haynes Manuals on ‘The Right Thing to Do.’ There are those who will readily point out that the Church of England only came into being because a king wanted to have his end away with someone whilst being told divorcing wife after wife in search of a male heir was immoral.

Once humanity had enough money to realise that free will beats religious doctrine… well, a lot of things did indeed go down the hole in the ground round the back of the hovel. We are, undoubtedly, the arbiters of our own downfalls. I know some of you will blame corrupt government, unavoidable circumstance and the selfishness of others. You’d be right, of course, but only to a point. As human beings, all of us inevitably have some blame to shoulder.

How you do that is becoming an interesting measure of humanity in general.

Somebody took their life this weekend and it was front page news. Many other people committed suicide this weekend too but none of them will be held up to such scrutiny. I suspect none of them will be forgotten either, loss of their existences resonating through countless lives. We spend so much time reacting to other people’s tragedies as this will grant us absolution from our own shortcomings, but it won’t.

The way to deal with our own shortcomings is to embrace them, improve them. You shouldn’t just sit and admit you’re wrong at something without making a concerted effort to alter yourself. That’s the worst kind of absolution going: yeah, I’m wrong about that but, you know, I can’t change so there, I admit it and that will have to be enough.ย It’s not. It makes you as bad as the people who take that wrongness and embrace it.

There should never have been different rules for those who believe that being ‘right’ means you can ignore all the actual evidence against your stance as being somehow an attack on personal freedom. The about face of those who champion ‘freedom of speech’ to spread hate, disinformation and ALL OUT LIES is, and always will be, the convenient actions of those not capable of considering themselves as wrong.

It’s selfish behaviour, fuelled by a need to ensure that the world around you does not collapse. In my particular case, it was a mind’s way of retaining status quo because the consequences will put you back decades, which was exactly what happened. However, now the damage is being addressed? Watching other people trying to justify that rule set is, at times, rather amusing.

Then there are moments when it isn’t.

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I had one of those at the weekend, and I wrote a poem about it, because poetry has become to me as drawing, painting, theatre, sculpture, cookery is to others… a thousand different responses to the realisation that you have seen injustice and it must be recorded, highlighted, dealt with. It’s not a coping strategy, but catharsis. It’s the language that is emerging as best way to cope with what happened in my life.

Whatever works best for you is a good start.

Sky High

We’ll take the last point first, because everything else is effectively set dressing. I read somewhere that poets need at least a decade to get settled. Having come to this table very late in life, there’s not ten years to hope that everything clicks. This has to happen NOW and so, yesterday, the decision to switch my focus from collection with a niche potential audience to collection with far larger scope has, amazingly, already bloomed.

I’ll write about this in more detail over on the Writing Blog, not just that’s because where it belongs. Amazingly this morning, the details are academic. I’m not touching this again now until after I’ve been away, because brain knows that the time for this is not right now.ย Instead, tomorrow we’ll lay down first draft of the Short Story [TM] and similarly leave it to rise in my absence.

Have I told you how much I’m looking forward to going away?

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The Forest is ALWAYS a means by which creativity arises: it has a lot to do with painting bowls, as it happens. I’ve not decided what happens with Bowl Three yet but know that purple is my colour scheme this time.ย There’s a temptation to make this one more metaphorical than basically practical, but we will see. It’s the highlight of any trip: in the summer I don’t actually remember painting that bowl at all.

Then there will be photography, and this time quite possibly running, because it has to happen at some point and actually, a holiday village with a strict no car rule is probably as safe as I could wish for to begin. Except, this weekend we have a New Storm beginning with the Letter D to worry about. Maybe I’ll end up on a treadmill, who knows. However, I heard an advert on the radio this morning and… is it too soon?

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Leave that one with me. For now, there’s plenty to do to make sure I’m ready to enjoy myself starting Friday…

These Foolish Things

Won’t mention it here again, because thirty days of telling people you’re exercising when they’re quite happy not to is quite likely to result in losing friends. This morning is noted here for two reasons alone: I turned up, at the Gym, and had to awkwardly stand in reception until they officially opened at 10am. That’s a first. It’s also hugely satisfying when your instructor tells you she thinks you were the only person actually pushing themselves in their class.

That’s a massive compliment.

It’s two weeks before my scheduled Cholesterol and Anaemia blood tests. If I eat REALLY well and am not a complete idiot, both of those are more than likely to come back normal. If they don’t? I’ll cope.ย A month ago, that might not have been the case. A lot has changed since the start of October, mind. The biggest single problem however will not be falling off the sweet wagon. However, not a single mince pie or Christmas Pudding has passed my lips this year. NOT ONE.

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Lots to sort this evening, then it is back to rough approximation of normality tomorrow. School runs recommence on the 6th, and I’ll be making the most of every lie-in until then.

Lots of stuff will slowly begin to alter starting tomorrow.

bury a friend

I’m trying to make friends with people. It’s tough. Once upon a time, all that mattered was similar interests… which is why so many of the people I consider as friends right now are tied together by a love of gaming. A couple of bad experiences in the last year have made me realise that even in places that feel like safe spaces, people can be selfish, arrogant fuckers. There is no escaping that. It just happens.

Then, there’s moments like yesterday. You think someone is becoming a friend, and then something happens and all there is for you is uncertainty and confusion. How do I make this work?ย Do you lie to hold the person there, or is the truth what matters most? I’m really too old for this shit, when all is said and done. I’ve never been great at being anything other than myself. So, honesty or death it is.

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No, I said HONESTY Eddie, you know cake is off the menu.

The whole concept of friendship’s an odd one. There’s already a person to share my life with, and has been for decades. You don’t need to have someone there 24/7 either or else there are dependency issues that really don’t need to take place. Dealing with loneliness is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and ultimately it is getting easier, mostly because of the coping behaviours that are now in place.

Knowing how to deal with yourself is something a lot of people could do with working at, it occurs to me. Having been, at various points yesterday, emotionally manipulated, massively complimented and used as an example of how to do things right… there’s never really a point where everything is 100% in your hands, however much you may consider life to be otherwise.

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It seems to me that the best way to measure success is via achievement, in these cases. If I see someone on Wednesday night, yesterday’s conversation went better than expected. If I don’t hear anything from somebody else for a while, I’ll consider my actions a success. At all points in between, the calls will just have to be made and if it’s out of my hands, so be it.

Reassurance can also be taken from the fact that it’s been quite some time since I was the one causing drama. That’s the most positive, comforting change in all of this. The longer that fact remains, the happier everything becomes. Once you realise where a problem began, everything becomes so much easier to rationalise.ย Then, it’s just a case of keeping on top of what alters going forward.

Honesty really is the way forward.

Big Time

This week’s been fucking mental, it has.

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The 5 of 7 days with exercise is working out quite nicely: ideally I should break on Tuesday instead of Sunday, which is easily fixed going forward.ย Thus far, Fitbit has recorded 369 active minutes and we’re only at Saturday lunchtime. Steady momentum, meet consistency. I’ve today also exceeded the MEP totals of September and August: not combined, obviously, but this will put me back on track for real progress.

With 12 days left this month, I’ll end up doing summat for at least nine of them.

epiphany

There are a number of key moments to cover: the most important came on Thursday night. That block of eight minutes may not look like much to you, but it represents an important realisation that if I wanna push, it’s there. The key is wanting to do so: eating better is definitely helping. Rest is absolutely vital, and making Tuesday one of my two days will make a huge difference. The biggest shift undoubtedly is psychological.

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The other key change this week is strength, and actual muscle mass. One of my favourite coats is now simply too small to go around my shoulders: arms are being forces to sit back from my chest thanks to improvement in arm definition and bulk. I could do with a couple of leg days as a result, if I’m honest, and Sunday will probably be the right time to go flex the running muscles a bit. I’m back to leg pressing 100kg, which is great.

Lungs continue to be the major sticking point in stamina, and cardio will always be my Kryptonite. It’s not a problem: sometimes, accepting shortcomings is the means by which you are able to become better regardless. I’m not winning any sprints any time soon, but response times are undoubtedly improving. The equation is all wrapped around active recovery, and that’s an ability that is is undoubtedly getting better over time.

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It’s important to note that Thursday and Monday’s sessions (above) were both at 75% effort but the output was a fair bit different. Undoubtedly fatigue will have had a hand in events. Again, rest and common sense need to be considered… but most vitally, I need to think less.ย This is becoming genuinely enjoyable, not just in single session, but every fucking time I walk in the Gym.

When did I alter? That’s easy: in a hospital bed. Alone, lonely and desperately tired, I found myself being grateful for the fitness already built or else I would never have been let go in three days. There was a quiet and determined promise made, early on a Saturday morning, as a woman lay opposite me, crying her eyes out. As long as I am capable, there will always be exercise, because this not only keeps me sane but helps me cope with the World right now. Without it, I would be broken.

It’s great to be strong. I love being strong. Long may strong continue.