Hotel California

It’s 6.30 am, and I’m awake with cramp in my left leg and insane urge to pee. Having drunk and emptied my bladder, I sneak back into bed, only to be met with the following:

“You’ll never guess what happened last night,” says my husband, and I’m already imagining what new horror 2021 has presented. Was there an explosion somewhere, or some huge disaster that has taken more lives?

“They finally took his Twitter account away.”

I find myself wondering how the World ended up in the mess it has, and then remember that most people consider success as being rich and powerful. The reality of this stupidity is pretty much impossible to ignore, whatever future you decide to pursue: for instance, as a writer it is drummed into you from childhood that to become successful, there had to be a book deal. Publication matters above everything else. Last year, I self-published my first chapbook, and the thrall of other people’s success was summarily exploded.

Twenty copies currently have been sold, and I know every single person who bought one. My joy, every time someone else hands over money to read it will never, ever diminish. If this were all there was, if tomorrow I ceased to exist, this would be the happiest I’ve ever been. It will never be a bestseller. Graham Norton will never interview me on a chat show. That’s not the reason this journey’s being undertaken. I’ve seen famous writers, and what they do with their fame. I’m frankly embarrassed and depressed at what other writers consider a good use of their power. That is never happening in my world.

Validation is yours to dictate and nobody else’s to own.

It’s incredibly liberating, only having myself to compete with. For decades, all those moments when impressing others probably destroyed my own chances of personal development… there’s no point hand-wringing any more. The future is what matters, ensuring less stress to hamstring creativity, resulting in constantly improving output. Doing exercise every day has been a massive boost too, being physically tired used to completely wreck any ability to move forward. Now, rest comes in different ways. Lots of stuff has been redefined for the better.

If you read back though this blog, that evolution has been a long time coming. Some people would delete that ‘expired’ content and somehow mystically pretend that things were always this great. I will never, EVER be most people. All that I am, good and bad, is here for the world to see, progression from There to Here, with all points in-between, testament to a now fundamental belief that life is only worth living if you are true to yourself. That means admitting the mistakes, embracing the shortcomings and in my case, on a semi-regular basis, setting everything on fire before planting new ideas within my own ashes.

Never again will there be a pretence of living life under someone else’s auspice.

Things will be submitted this weekend, because the only way confidence is ever built is by being rejected. However, this year it’s not about being upset or frustrated when I fail. Instead, the lessons will be learnt. All this good work will be used, in one way or another, and nothing will ever go to waste. As body becomes leaner, mind is sharpened. I take with me the story of a woman who found my blog by accident whilst waiting with her mother for cancer treatment. She read every post I’d written, then sent an email as thanks for such an honest, uncompromising read.

Every piece of criticism is read and digested. Every compliment, filed away and remembered. You don’t get better by ignoring others.

You only improve with quiet, continuous effort.

Sabotage

That was 36 hours that will live long in the memory, and it’s not over yet. Of course, it’s not even close to being done but what happens next isn’t a test of the man who’s still in charge, it’s a check and balance of everything else. Now we see who works out what. Now we see who is punished. Time to watch how modern democracy evolves.

I have a lot of thoughts on this, but it’s not time yet, because too much is happening too fast, and I learnt that lesson last time something like this took place. It is not about deciding to be that person when that’s everybody else’s job right now. There’s work that needs doing and opportunities going to waste and frankly, with me in the best writing shape I’ve been for some time… using the energy for good is what matters most right now.

Therefore, I’ll be back.

Go

I promised myself no Patreon work across weekends, and so this weekend I’m doing all the stuff that didn’t get done in the week because of Patreon. I KNOW, this is not how it is supposed to pan out, but it is going to take some months to establish a viable working criterion. More importantly, I am more than happy to be working.

That means website faff, mostly, but there is some other stuff in there too.

Best crack on, then.

Fragments of Self

Yesterday, lots of stuff got fixed. Some of it is permanent, other bits are just beginning. My exaggerated anterior pelvic tilt is now well on the way to being far less of a problem: this will help enormously with benching the weights I want to be playing with in the months that follow. The exercise that fixed this is the reverse crunch, which I cannot do successfully as yet, but am well on the way to achieving. It’s all in the plan.

The PostIt notes on the wall from January, finally, have been cleared. Tomorrow we start afresh: 30 pushups, 30 roll-outs. Zero to just fruit sugars. Lots of focus on technique, and a metric shedtonne of exercise. Rest days that matter, and a measurement of vital statistics. It is time to stop fucking about with this whole weight loss gubbins and get down to 75kg. I know it’s there, inside me. It just needs a good talking to.

Then we need to talk about making money.

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No, this isn’t going to happen, and actually these are not my aspirations either, which should come as some surprise. However, there needs to be a living.Β So, I’ve created one that I really want to pursue, whilst at the same time poking the other stuff. It’ll all launch in 10 days from now. Never launch anything on a Monday, I was once told, and I grasp this implicitly.

The Patreon is made, but there’s a problem setting it to UK currency, so 10 days of letting that get fixed is a good idea. It gives me time to sort out other things. I have the site graphics for the Webpage organised, and a long-term plan on how I shift everything to one, central organisational hub. Should Patreon take off, there’s a YouTube Channel waiting.

It always helps to future-proof where you can.

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This is my life now, and I’m really rather looking forward to it. What needs to happen now is for me to stop procrastinating and get on with the nuts and bolts. There is a PHENOMENAL amount of work to do, and sitting here, staring at it, will not make any of it do itself. That means it’s the moment to crack out a pencil and some paper before poking menu structures.

Let’s work.

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.Β 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.

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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.Β 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.

You May be Right

I did say I wasn’t going to talk about therapy, and the pressure is off for that because it will now be a further two weeks before we start. Yesterday was aborted after my counsellor had a family emergency, which left a lot of emotional energy with nowhere to go. However, it got dealt with more successfully than has previously been the case. On reflection, it was very much more satisfactory a conclusion than previous occasions. I also wrote a wonderfully angry poem. Need to do more of that.

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Everything right now really is a bit shit away from the Internet. Brexit, writing rejections, general stresses and strains… this would absolutely have been the time previously when I’d taken to hiding in computer games to escape reality. Not any more. Today therefore is dealing with all that crap that’s built up over the last few weeks, getting the backlog shunted away, and attempting to at least give the slate a cursory wipe-over, even it it’s impossible to properly clean.

First outstanding issue is already done, and I’m ready to deal with the second. It’ll have to be washed down with copious amounts of tea and a selection of healthy snacks; however… there is a new vice. It’s only small, and incredibly unhealthy, but at this stage in proceedings the fact only one get consumed at a time is a great show of willpower. Needless to say, there will be no falling off the healthy wagon, because of just how much work needs to be done when I do.

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In fact, let’s go grab a protein snack and push through the lethargy…

You’re the One

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Yesterday I drove to a Westfield that is normally visited by train, because other people doing the work whilst I sit in carriages and write poetry is the preferred method of transport. However, as I took the youngest to see her first movie alone (you should all do it, it’s a rite of passage) she was not keen on anything other than being chauffeur driven… and it was alright. Still prefer trains. Just saying.

Yesterday was also part of a promise to myself to be properly measured for bras for the first time since I began hard bastid weight training. I now wear a 34F bra, except when we get to the land of sports bras where it appears that only a 36 E will do, and I’m not sure entirely why that is, but the lovely lady in John Lewis is spot on. This is the most comfortable bra I have worn in fuck knows how long. There’ll now be a short break to see if Amazon can provide me the same, but cheaper.

[UPDATE: They could.]

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Tonight is the start of Back To Back Blaze. The plan, such as it is, will be to try and exceed 80% effort on both nights. Doing this means not looking at screens and so there’s a good chance I’ll do both evenings with glasses off. If I can’t read the totals, it won’t stress me.Β Then it’s all about concentrating on doing the work and not fixating one the woman next to me running when she would be walking and the CrossFit guy who just never gets tired.

I gotta stop letting other people give me anxiety and just focus on the work.

Running on Ice

Okay then, time to be honest.

We are reaching a crossroads in the training regime. I used to kid myself I’d go and ‘run’ at the Gym, but actually it was all HIIT work, no more than 500 meters at a time. Then Blaze came along and suddenly I was forced to run for 3 minutes at a time without a break. That forced a rethink. So now, I try and run a KM at a time, with a break. This is proving quite hard.

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The red line there is my heart-rate, which sat steadfastly in the amber zone when flat out and does not appear to be capable of hitting red which is absolutely fine because honestly, I would have hurled.Β That, today was 1km on, 1km off, and me getting to 800 meters before my lungs pretty much told me to fuck off. I’m not sure how this gets broken, to be honest, other than exhaustion, recovery and then the same again. Building stamina is hateful. Yet, undoubtedly, something has begun to change.

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I’ve booked a second Blaze class.Β Not gonna lie, it is because the teacher made me feel really comfortable, and there’s a definite positive to having someone else teach me other than my PT. My membership supports this so frankly, it’s time to get my money’s worth. If it all works out next week, I’ll reorganise January’s exercise around the change. What needs to happen is more pushing, and less slacking, though considering the number of hours I now do, maybe a bit of slacking can go on over Christmas without getting too stressed.

We’ll have an overview at the end of December, i think.

Beautiful Day

Not gonna lie, would rather be outside. Instead, BRB, seeing if the first 5k of this project is worth submitting.

Moving On Up

I’m not entirely sure, but it does feel as if progress is being made.Β There was a silent promise at the end of August to wean myself off the scales, and that means I won’t weigh myself until October 1st. It is an incentive to go and work REALLY hard at the Gym, plus eat better than has been the case since the holiday. This far, both are being managed without stress.

Once I’m caught up on writing posts, even though it is blowing a gale out there, there’ll be a trip to do some weights. After THAT, there’s four new poems to insert into my collection for next week’s deadline.

Yeah, this is working.