Start

There is an awful long way to go until ‘things’ are ‘better’. I think we can all agree that the quiet, understated means by which a number of contentious statues have been removed over the last 24 hours shows at least some people have considering the consequences of doing nothing. Listening to the Bristol Chief Constable justifying his actions in policing yesterday was a breath of fresh air.

Then Boris got really upset and suddenly a lot of us became really rather determined that this shit is stopped, once and for all. History is everybody’s to share and experience as they see fit. You don’t get to glorify murderers or idiots, and revering people comes with some very specific caveats. It takes a long time to become a saint, for a damn good reason, but maybe the Church isn’t really a shining example to hold up in the wider context.

Abuse takes many forms. It helps to recognise it, and when it has happened to you for a sustained period of time, that becomes quite easy. For those of you lucky enough to live in the rarefied areas of abuse-free existence, spotting people who could potentially be avoided is largely akin to being able to see a giant, red flashing dot appear above their heads whenever they speak.

Trust me, its something you will always be grateful for.

This is your scheduled reminder that life is not supposed to be easy. This is the whole point: if you’re sitting, bored right now, thinking that the world owes you something? That’s not how this works. This is not how ANY of this will work going forward either. The truth is that life in general has now changed for EVERYBODY in a position of privilege.

If you’re here, thinking this is all just going to blow over?

Time to read the room.

Dignity

Once upon a time, history was made by the people who were destined to become statues. The problem, over time, is their success nearly always involved some form of subjugation in the process, so heroism becomes less about being a good person and more about how you made people rich. Many interesting points emerged yesterday, the main one over why anyone would stick a racist on a plinth in the first place.

This is not commemoration. It is idolization, and to understand why you just have to look at the nutters who popped up with suggestions of who could now be erected in Colston’s place. Statues are the remembrance of a past other people feel needs to be recalled for centuries to come, except after a while the population will forget who that person was if history refuses to teach why they were put there.

The fact so few people know who Colston is outside Bristol remains significant.

The gaps in this country’s history are shocking: one might say they are intentional because if you don’t teach people their hands are covered in the blood of their ancestors, it is far easier to keep them subservient and willing to work. Reality for most of us sits between what history chooses to remember and what our families decide to forget.

What continues to be glaringly apparent however is the language that is used by those in power shows that their assertions this country is not racist is a lie. It remains a lie, and is perpetuated still from an early age. It is a very stupid leader indeed who chooses to consider those who desecrated the public property in Bristol yesterday as ‘thugs.’

I am utterly confident this man knows EXACTLY how that term is defined.

Suppression is still a thing, guys. We walked over the entire planet and destroyed a great many things. Giving land back to those we occupied does not absolve our blame. We still have a PHENOMENAL amount of work to do on that front, and eventually, if we’re lucky, these people might forgive those who held them down. However, don’t bet on it.

That’s right, we should be grateful that this isn’t about revenge, because if it was… white people would be extinct by now. What was built by others’ hands, and not our own, kept safe through decades of ignorance and wilful unseeing. If you ascribe to the concept of karma… this might be a pivotal moment.

That all depends on the guilty’s response to their culpability.

Broken Dreams

I have misread a vital submission guideline. I am 1000 words too long on a short story, and the world’s worst editor. I would like to crawl into a hole and die right now, but amazingly brain is not letting me do so. Instead, thought is being given to making this work. If there were ever proof needed that life has changed between January and now, this is probably it. No, you can’t give up. Find a way to make it work.

However, some stuff has been done right today. There was a ton of good shit in the Gym. I have loads of ideas for October. It’s certainly not world-ending if nothing goes out but it should not be a huge ask to trim 4000 to 3000 words: the question is whether that improves the story or not. In this case, honestly, cutting out some flab is not going to harm the narrative that much.

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Mostly I am annoyed with myself. Let’s be honest here, it’s a dumb thing to do. 

Be less dumb in the future, doofus.

Not a Job

I was on holiday. Then I was a proper A&E Emergency after which, everything else became largely academic. Of the eight days scheduled to relax, one and a bit were without major incident. This is not optimal. I’m also nowhere near well yet: prescribed drug courses all end on the day I was admitted (Friday) with the maths required to ensure everything is taken at the right time already painful to process.

Nothing else matters now except clean underwear and getting better. When both exist in sufficient quantity, I’ll be with you.

These Foolish Things

There’s nothing I can do about the people others follow. Occasionally however, that stuff ends up in my Social media feeds. If I like you, then that means by extension I respect your interests, particularly if they don’t intersect with mine. That’s how being a grown-up works. There are months however when I am reminded that I was once part of several groups of people who I did everything possible to try and integrate into, but with a better understanding both of them and circumstances it was just never going to work. 

Today I find myself asking why it’s taken me this long to realise.

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Someone in another group from which I was quietly ejected a few years ago accused me of being a ‘pointless troublemaker’ and this point is something that’s been thought about at length. If it were genuinely true, others believe I look at groups of people and decide who it is possible to wind up the wrong way… honestly this is never how it works. I am the person who is always looking for worthwhile connection. ALWAYS.

Except subtlety and diplomacy have never been strong points. That’s a spade, you’re a creep, that’s not the only way you can play... honesty is the problem. When someone interviewed me for a podcast and said with sincerity ‘my aim is to be friends with everyone’ they were living a lie, and I began to feel slightly creeped out. In fact, on many occasions, it was podcast appearances that helped me grasp a truth that only now makes sense.

So many people are too caught up in their own lives to ever be a part of yours.

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This is the point when it’s important to accept my own share of blame: I have responsibility here. You could have made better choices. Not everybody is going to give themselves as freely as you do. Wanting to do things with people who aren’t comfortable and confident with you should have been the hint you took, on several occasions, but you kept trying. If someone else is offended with what you do, that’s their problem.

Just because you really like someone doesn’t mean they will like you.

I will not resort to manipulation of circumstances. It’s easy to finally get the hint when someone just stops communicating. Lives are going on, all the time around you, and just because others [mutuals] are involved does not mean you need to be, or have to. However, when stuff is offered in good faith and summarily ignored… yup, you have the right to be aggrieved. That’s when you get to write the blog.

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Except, there’s no point. Maybe it’s because the last time I directly used my blog as an instrument, someone else decided I was trying to use them to forward my career. That was the straw that finally broke my back, pushing me away from these people for good: two years on it is undoubtedly the best career move I ever made. That’s quite ironic, on reflection.

When I handed in my notice to the website I wrote for, there was genuine surprise that I’d have something better to do. Only now does it register that this was the wider problem all along. If there’s an assumption wanting to better yourself somewhere else is a surprise, the lack of perception this suggests should start ringing warning bells. There is ALWAYS more to do: nobody is perfect, everyone has something to learn, however big a fish they may perceive themselves to be.

Too many people think there’s nothing they ever need to do to improve.

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I keep thinking that one day I ought to just burn all the bridges and name names, all of them, because the town in which all these people continue to work in is never one I’d ever, EVER want to visit ever again. That however would indeed be the petty and vindictive action of a woman who would love to see the world burn. This is never who I’ve been, because you were wrong to assume I was the enemy. You still are.

Because I got out, learning lessons in blood and tears, there is no point in making anyone look like the fucking imbeciles many still remain. Be warned, however, one day someone else is more than likely to do just that, and when it happens, you will only have yourselves to blame. Understanding I was part of the problem is what lead me to counselling. I can’t turn back the clock, neither would I want to.

One day, reckoning comes for everybody. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Ashes

I have no idea how I just drove from Leeds to here. Most of the journey was performed via caffeine and luck, if truth be told, and here I am, back at home, with a husband who completed the Dunwich Dynamo last night. Between us, not much sleep’s been had this weekend, but the benefits OH THE BENEFITS. I’ll do the grown-up write up starting tomorrow on the Work Blog but honestly, life changing is an understatement.

It is going to take WEEKS to unpack all of this stuff, and I’m not just talking about my luggage.

There is undoubtedly a bunch of hyperbole about how certain experiences alter your view on the world. I just typed the phrase ‘quite literally changed my life’ and thought ‘is that actually true? am I different now than I was on Friday?’ and undoubtedly, absolutely the answer is yes. Old me would NEVER have driven to Leeds, or struck up conversations with total strangers, or believed she actually had an idea that might have real merit.

All this happened in one weekend.

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Validation does matter, and in the real world it can be incredibly difficult to find. If there is one single thing that transformed me this weekend, it was that. People I never met hugged me, allowed me to be vulnerable, and were inspired by what I am. That’s not even the half of it really, but for now it is more than enough. The journey, the memories and (most importantly) the ideas I’ve been given are altering the fabric of perception.

Strap in, things are about to get awesome.

Two Days in the Valley

I think it would have been at about 2pm yesterday that something fundamentally altered in my head. Playing my new game of choice, I was trying to get back to the point where I expired, having dropped all my cash when doing so. Then I realised something fundamental: you don’t need to stay here. Go make another world, start from scratch, you can just begin somewhere else. You are in control.

Once upon a time, there was no patience when I failed at learning new game mechanics, would just give up and stop playing. Warcraft taught me persistance, showed rewards for doing so, but then it became destructive. I realise now I made a job out of that need to keep playing, which eventually wasn’t enough. There had to be a separation of action and consequence.

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There’s a June 1st deadline for a novel writing prize that’s been causing some stress: should I enter or not? Yesterday, whilst playing, my brain confirmed that yes, I should, but not until I have something that is actually finished, which nothing really is. I’ve got to the end of three stories, but editing is woeful, and that’s what has to be worked on. You don’t have to do everything now. What is more important is a focus on ability.

A narrative has been picked to work on, which is happening, but the poetry project is more important. Being distracted from what matters most is probably my biggest single problem when it comes to completing work to deadlines, and if the plan is to work on one issue at a time, then this is the one that deserves the most attention. Therefore, we will be changing the habits of a lifetime and making this happen.

Needless to say, gaming has helped me unknot brain in ways I didn’t think was possible.