Life Gets Better

Everyone who cannot understand why these kind of stories won’t go away, I have a question for you. Have you ever been physically groped by a random stranger without your permission? Have you been cat-called in the street? Have you had someone mentally manipulate you in order to get what they want? Have you been pressured into something you didn’t want to do?

How many other questions have I got that prove there’s a problem everywhere?

No, you’re not that person. It’s okay, I know.¬†Except, worryingly, so many people have the potential to be just that. After yesterday’s revelation that the UK’s most prolific serial rapist is gay, there are questions to be asked about how we go about the business of relationships in the 21st Century. It’s not just sexual either: if someone pisses you off, just how nuclear will you go in order to cause them as much damage as possible?

The opposite of course is probably more dangerous: those who can’t talk about abuse, as it destroys them from the inside out. After a week of exercise as a means by which people might part with cash to help others talk about their mental health issues, there’s the understanding we all have a phenomenally long way to go. It doesn’t help matters, of course, when you have rich white twats trying to cheat the system from the top down.

The missing factor in all of this, undoubtedly, is respect. Those who feel that influence, power or simply ego allows them to take what they want, without consequence, have existed in history since that bloke in the cave stole that other guy’s favourite club. It might have been a woman, but let’s face facts, more likely to be a guy. Sorry, men, but this is your world, and as long as it remains that way, lots of stuff stays shit.

I know lots of you don’t like the term feminism. That’s hugely obvious wherever I go on Social media. That one guy whose music taste I dismissed, the bloke who got upset when I couldn’t do proper grammar, the pedants and the blinkered who only see their world as mattering. You know them. You see them every damn day. The problem is, blocking and reporting that isn’t solving the problem. It’s ignoring it.

NOTHING gets solved if we all politely look the other way.

At some point, somebody has to stand up and make the difference. All of the victims of Reynhard Sinaga. Harvey Weinstein’s accusers. Without these people, prepared to expose their lives to public scrutiny, nothing ever changes. If you want the change, all that crap about becoming it actually does work. No, really, IT DOES.¬†I can speak from personal experience. Stuff improves, at a cost. You have to accept the consequences.

That’s the kicker, this is never easy, or stress free. If all you really care about in life is no pain or drama, really, you are doing it wrong. These things happen regardless, the key difference when you dictate at least some of the terms is the potential good it can do you long-term. It’s why getting fit really is as difficult and stressful as it can undoubtedly be, but the benefits… honestly, they beat everything.

You have to trust yourself to take a leap in the dark.

Stop

I’ll be honest with you. Today would be one of those days where I could so easily give all this effort and hard work¬†up. No exercise, full on cake and sugar, the works. I’d be happy to just sit back and forget the goals I have set, and overlook the mental fortitude. The fact I can sit here knowing that when this post is done I’ll be walking to the Gym is testament to how far I’ve come in what is quite a short space of time: I only started the serious exercise push in September, after all.

The fact I went out in a dress yesterday, in public with bare legs? That’s a different issue entirely.

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I think this is probably the larger step forward: my body issues are well known and mostly internalised, but being confident about myself has always been a bit of a thing. There are days, sure, when I can feel great and hugely relaxed, but mostly I’ll hide myself (at present) in leggings and a t-shirt. Except here I am, IN SHORTS, which are normally reserved for holidays where there’s no chance anyone I know will see me. It isn’t just the pear shape, the long body and short legs that is at issue. It is this basic belief that I’m just not happy as I am.¬†For so very long I just couldn’t even think about it, the idea made me ill. Now, there’s a simple reassurance that¬†amazingly? I’m comfortable.

Where on earth did this come from?

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Then there’s the fact the last time I wore make up was for a TV interview somewhere in the mid 1990’s. Oddly, in that respect I have absolutely no desire to hide at all, and the juxtaposition of this with my body issues is… well,¬†worth some research. Maybe its because I have other stuff to worry about with more significance. However, it is more likely to be the opposite, I suppose. Having stopped giving a fuck about a great many things when it became apparent there wasn’t enough time for such stupid? Everything has shifted. It’s making my writing more honest too, which is something I may never actually be able to thank myself enough for. After all, I published a poem today. Actual rhyming couplets.

Writing is fucking hard people. If you can do it without thinking, you’re monumentally clever.

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I like the idea of setting mental fires under myself. Then I can’t stop moving and have to keep on my toes. The next stage of course, once I hit my target weight and have only maintenance to worry about? What do I do about my residual self-image?

I think maybe I should worry about that only when I get there.

Woke Up This Morning

There’s a look in Catherine Tate’s eyes when she’s mid ‘bovvered’ that speaks to me in a way I’ve only just registered. It is the absolute certainty in my mind that she’s not acting: for the briefest of moments there is an almost brutal honesty to the performance. Despite what people think of me, and I know a lot of bile gets thrown around from time to time, I can only really be honest. Lying used to be the way I’d hide or inflate my worth, but I learnt that actually, that’s just dangerous. If you do that, people get hurt and you look like a twat. Honesty might upset some people and cause others to run away at speed but for me at least? It works, because then there is no ambiguity involved. No, I wasn’t just being polite to you, I actually liked you, right up to the moment when you took offence at how I reacted and then you buggered off. However, I clearly didn’t like YOU nearly enough, because of I did I wouldn’t have upset you by speaking my mind to begin with.

That’s how a lot of my life on Social Media runs at present, and I think it’s high time that stopped.¬†When I speak my¬†truth, people often get upset, and I have always known¬†why. It is very rarely¬†due to me¬†being right. It is more often because I made them think.

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As a rule, people don’t like their world views being disturbed. This normally only happens with major upheaval: death, job loss, falling in love… all that funky stuff is often when self-reflection comes front and centre. I do a ridiculous amount of self reflection because I have learnt this is the only way by which I can keep everything in the right place, and cope with all that gets thrown at me. I’m making up for the decades when I did none at all, and fucked up so many other people’s lives as a result. Call it penance, because that’s actually what this is.¬†I don’t want to stop because the freedom I now have to live as I want is worth the mental exhaustion at the end of long days. Plus, I am making headway into places I was too afraid to tread. That is worth the effort in itself.

However, when people can’t grasp why I’d be so angry? You really haven’t been paying attention, have you? I listen to your woes and concerns but as soon as I have an issue you’re all ‘not my problem, you’re scary’ and away you run. That’s not how life works, and like it or not you won’t ever move forward if you keep legging it away from the big issues. Sometimes, you need to face the truth and deal with it. It’s not fun or easy either, that I can totally attest to. But the rewards are so great and awesome I wonder why other people don’t bother. Maybe it’s because they just don’t want to feel personal development is important, I dunno. I’d rather be a happier person inside than collect stuff, because I tried collecting stuff and ultimately it turned into a waste of my time. The pursuit of happiness can¬†not always be measured with¬†a subscriber count or through¬†Twitter followers.

The closer you are to the end of your journey, the more you realise how much is still left not done.

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Everybody¬†makes choices in life. Some of them are right, others not, but you should be the person deciding that¬†and not others.¬†I’m still learning this lesson: if you can honestly say something to yourself and believe it, you should hold the courage to defend that to others. Sometimes the truth hurts, and is not easy to obtain, but there’s nothing wrong with admitting a mistake if you make one. Right now I know that the last two weeks has seen me be more honest than I think I’ve ever managed, in so many differing places. It’s been liberating, and fulfilling, but what has been the greatest result is how other people have reacted. Because sometimes, when you are yourself, great things happen. Sure, shitty stuff does too, and you need to understand that every action has a consequence, but in the end? That doesn’t matter, because the biggest benefit was for your own mortal soul.

Trusting yourself is the hardest thing. I know, but now I’m not bothered about what other people think when I do, because if they really matter? They’ll tell me I’m wrong. If they don’t they’ll either stay silent or simply vanish. That’s how friends work, people. Real, true, decent friends.

Yes, of course I’m bothered, every single day, but not about this.