Beautiful

I have a story for you.

I’ve  wanted this for over a decade. On two occasions, at my previous hairdressers, I was talked out of it. I literally did not have the means within me to make the point that perhaps if I don’t care about femininity as you define it, my desire could be listened to and you could do as asked. Today, when telling my hairdresser I’d wanted this, she did a little jig of joy around the Salon.

We are getting somewhere.

The plan, moving forward, is to use exercise as fence-posts, around which everything else is laid out. Then, it is important that this new voice is put to work on various tasks. There’s a sort of temptation to throw everything else out the window but it won’t happen, instead it’ll get quietly tidied up and put away with an increasing amount of other, now largely redundant stuff.

I already have some exciting things to try. One happened in the Gym at lunchtime and went very well indeed. It is a reminder that strength is not just about what other people consider as capability. Your benchmarks matter more when tied together. I have a week of non-PT unsupervised stuff to deal with, which will involve making sure everything heavy is lifted, and a phenomenal amount of running gets done.

Over 400 calories a session is my new goal for effort.

Every day needs to be better than the last. Eminently doable, I reckon.

Begin Again

Yesterday was a revelation for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I stuck a ton of clear air between me and my future. If all this is going to work, there needs to be an acceptance not simply of responsibility but focus. Sunday was supposed to be a bike training day, but instead there’s understanding I’m already capable of the physical goals that are being presented. I can do the rides being asked of me, without a problem, but the writing and planning goals that are important need work.

Sunday was when everything changed for the better.

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There’s still tons to do, but now I’m not stressed or worried about running out of time. I have plenty of hours left, if they’re used properly, and I don’t allow the bad things to consume everything else. It’s the same mantra I repeat every few months, but this time there’s a tangible difference.

I like this feeling.

Turn to Stone

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Tomorrow, I get up at 6am to go to a Hospital on the fringes of the M25 to have a Health Assessment. Primarily it is being done to check my level of physical fitness, to gain a V02 Max reading after a year of exercise. However, there is going to come a point where a doctor sits and asks me if mentally I’m okay or not, and up until about 3am this morning I’d have probably refused to answer, on the grounds I could seriously incriminate myself as being anything but. However, sitting in a lay by at 8.30am, crying my eyes out, there was a revelation of the sort I only thought happened in movies when you’re pressed for time and the exposition all needs to happen right now.

‘Yeah, I’m fine,’ I’ll say to the female doctor when she asks me. I’ll explain to her I understand why it’s important to talk about mental health, that I’ve coped with depression alone for many decades and now, as it happens, I’ve done the same again. Except on this occasion there’s been light shone in corners that were previously left dark by design, and what they have illuminated is important. I still don’t need drugs to function correctly. There is no requirement to talk to someone to understand what’s going wrong. I now know EXACTLY where some of my issues began, and that there’s not anything that requires a diagnosis. In effect, this is a surprisingly good place for me.

I am reminded this morning of the person who DM-d me in the early days of my life on Twitter and questioned my mental illness credentials. So many people lie for attention, she said, I want to make sure you’re not one of them. I know how desperate I’ve felt in the last few days, feeling the hole in my chest as I sit and type now, even though my brain is able to step back and allow words from brain to fingers to screen. Somehow, in my journey to make expression matter not simply as a storyteller but as an educator, I’ve developed a new and impressive means of internal separation. The panic remains but somehow I learnt how to cope with it and make things better.

Last night, I was able for the first time to tell somebody how much I miss them. Today, I was able to tell a friend that ‘yeah, I’m fine but I don’t want to talk right now’ and these things to individuals who are not my family are huge, enormous steps forward. The thing that snapped inside me on Tuesday night wasn’t a break, but a memory recalled from when I was very young, and the understanding that I’m not simply a copy of somebody else’s failings. What I have become is important, worthwhile and relevant. Most importantly, I am free to not repeat the mistakes of the past if I spend enough time learning to understand myself in the present.

After that, I don’t have time to spend contemplating my navel, mortality or indeed anything else. There is simply too much to do, that matters more. I don’t require the time to assess or understand, all that has already taken place. This, as someone said to me a while ago, is coming out into the light after having spent a long time only in darkness. I know I’ll end up back there as time goes on but this time I know where the exits are. I learnt the skills required to wriggle free of restraints.

I’m no longer lost when the blackness comes because I learnt to see in the dark.

You’re never cured of a mental illness. The bad shit never goes away, there is just an ability to cope with what is presented, and then deal with the consequences. Amazingly, nobody got hurt in this revelation. Everything is awesome, and that’s not hyperbole.

Yes, you really can fix things when they’re broken.

The Last Time

The truth, such as it is, remains different for everybody, until you reach the point where grey has been completely eradicated. Then, entering the realm of the unavoidable, come the yes/no answers. Are you my father? Will this kill me? Are you an idiot? On days like today, when I’m not 100% awake and it is impossible to properly function without a drug as support (endorphins or caffeine, nothing else) that I normally end up going backwards. However, today is going to be different, because I will take Mr Ledger’s advice. Sometimes it is not about removing yourself from a difficult situation in order to function and move forward. Occasionally, staying is the only option, especially when it becomes clear that you’re not the problem.

The problem, at least for me, is that the notion of entitlement in various areas of society is now so glaringly obvious as to be funny. Indignation of the airbrushing of a Christian festival from a commercially-sponsored event, splashed over my feed, increasingly juxtaposed with real issues that should, in the mind of the poster, be taking precedent. Everybody’s ability to arbitrate and pass judgement on everything has been elevated to an art form, but with so many disparate voices, you simply stop listening. It’s like the situation that transpires every time a game I know people play introduces ANYTHING that takes more than a notional definition of ‘effort’ to complete. There’s no ‘skill’ any more, its all about gear and time. The truth, I’m beginning to grasp, doesn’t matter. The right answer becomes an irrelevance. For the sake of a quiet life and my own desires, winning fails to count as achievement. I don’t need validation any more, and the more it becomes the benchmark for perceived ability, the less I desire any part of the process.

On the days where what matters above achievement is simply progress, you won’t explain to some people that their viewpoint is actually harmful. In some cases you shouldn’t either, because that stands the chance of putting the more vulnerable back weeks, possibly further. That used to be the moment when I’d just stop checking feeds and be elsewhere, but as I discovered at the weekend, my skin is hardening in the right places, and today is the moment to make my point. A lot of the time, you’re not ever the problem. The stupid people, amazing as it might sound for many reasons, have no idea they’re causing the damage to begin with. You don’t have to measure this on a strict IQ score either: I’m watching some very smart people becomes incredibly stupid for the sake of media attention. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d say a lot of these people don’t really care about anything except a very warped notion of significance.

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This therefore is your daily reminder that The Internet does not accurately represent reality. People who don’t look past their own perceptions are often less than reliable as objective barometers. Arguing over religion never ends well, and I maintain the people with real skill in this world are the ones who don’t complain about everything they don’t like. Today’s truth is simple: you are enough, even on days when you think that’s the biggest lie going. Looking past the crap, rhetoric and obsession is hard, but there are times when making yourself do just that are utterly worthwhile, for the larger understanding that ultimately gives.

Sometimes, a crap day is worth the effort.

Things to Make and Do

THINGS TO REMEMBER GOING FORWARD
(An Important List)

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Stop worrying about who left, and concentrate on those who remain. Obsessing over followers is bad and wrong. Charlie Brooker is spot on. The future is Nosedive unless you take control of your own destiny. You can still be positive and focused without the need to pander to everyone. Negativity isn’t the answer either, but for many that solution allows them to feel alive, and here’s the bigger issue. If people can only feel human by destroying others or continually belittling what the rest of the world has but they don’t? They’re the problem. Everyone else is just getting on and living their life. That’s what you need to do. Don’t be the person obsessing over anything. Be better.

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Eating better does not mean making yourself miserable. Honey in your tea will not set you back days, but six buckets of tea in a day will. Woman, you really have to learn moderation in all things, which is tough with your track record. The ‘no cake til Xmas’ thing is doable, but not at the expense of your immortal soul. Keep taking the daily vitamins, for goodness sake up the vegetable/roughage content and after that just remember that the number of calories in should not exceed the number expended to facilitate progress. That’s why you have those Internet apps. Use them more. Try and get excited about things that are not processed sugar and empty carbohydrates. It is possible, if you put your mind to it.

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Stop being so fucking hard on yourself, ALL THE TIME. This is gonna be more difficult than the first two, but you can do it. Stop stressing over the shit you got wrong. There is nothing you can do now except apologise if it matters enough and move on. Don’t EVER hurt anybody else with your stupid, and just stop the problems from happening by thinking more and obsessing less. You can do it, without falling into the pit of despair and anxiety that normally accompanies these episodes. It’s okay to worry, just don’t let it consume everything else along the way. This one matters a LOT, and so I’m going to say it all in capitals. YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY. Just relax, okay?

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Practice being a Better Person by just being better. If you can’t? Learn to accept the compliment as it is. Be grateful for the effort. Understand that it might not mean much to you but it is potentially the World to someone else. Mostly, stop being a miserable fucker. See above (RE: Own Worst Enemy)

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People Love You for What YOU ARE. Yup, they know you have to be better too, and that’s okay, because you can do that now, but don’t get freaked out when people care. Just because you get your heart broken twice a day doesn’t mean you can learn to accept affection over time. It’s not difficult. You just gotta let it happen. Just remember that this is all part of the way life works and that if you give out love, it comes back. That’s cool too.

Really, everything is brilliant right now. Even if the World ends tomorrow, remember this is the best it has ever been. Hold onto that. Cherish the moments, every one of them.

Stop worrying and JUST BE.

There’s No Other Way

By now, on an average day, I’d have drunk at least three large cups of tea. Today, I’ve had just one. I’d have stopped logging food for calorie content too, but that’s not the case as of now. It is time to stop fucking about and go cold turkey on all the things I’ve been using to keep me going. It is the moment to look at my weight and be honest about it. This is where I get serious, and stuff changes.

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I know what’s good in this number and that’s fine. The bad has come from not doing this properly, and by that I mean actually sticking to my task. The rules are now simple: I weigh myself once a week, on a Friday morning. There is no snacking and absolutely no feeling sorry for myself, or moaning about shit to you good people. I withdraw everything and I just get over the cravings and the issues and we see, if I REALLY make an effort, if I can’t at least hit the 160 pound limit by Christmas. I’d love to get to 150 but I’m not actually sure I’ll need to if I can shift these excess inches, and they do exist. I’m not being unfair on my body, I can see it all sitting now on top of muscles that weren’t there before. I only intend to add to those. Everything else needs to go.

Also, if I’m going to survive the hormonal onslaught I know is not over yet by a long way? Sugar’s just going to convert to fat if I eat it. I gotta stay focused and with sources of energy that aren’t destructive. Having a goal is great, sticking to it becomes something else. I can take away the bad, if I work hard enough. Less caffeine, less empty calories, and allowing my body to stop depending on a sugar rush from things that just don’t help. If I can keep myself occupied and stop obsessing about what I’d like to eat, everything will be fine. Focusing on strength, power and attainment is what I should do.

It’s what is going to happen.

I know what I’m capable of, and I’m going to fucking well do it.