I fucking hate positive thinking and all that happy pop-psychology become-a-smiling-consumer adjust-yourself-to-a-profoundly-sick-society bullshit.
That brigade seem to have co-opted the concept of gratitude, which kind of sucks, because counting your blessings can be helpful. Especially for people like me, with a very emotion-dependent memory. When I feel bad, my brain only goes to bad things, a never-ending referential wormhole of backwards-looking negativity. So finding something to be grateful for can arrest that spiral.
Today I’ve been feeling like shit, exhausted and coughing, like I’m an automaton made of lead and my movement mechanisms haven’t been oiled in the last 100 years.
So, here is a gratitude list. Right now, I am grateful for:
My room, my own room.
My house and my parents and not having to fend for myself in the scary world
My brother, who just sent me this and cheered me right up.
My cool as fuck tarot cards which I’m just getting to know. It’s a journey into a whole new world, and the art there is amazing.
I have friends
I have a cool Bullet Journal to try organising my life with, and the motivation/capacity to try. I didn’t have that a year ago.
Never get bored. So much to do, so much to dream…
Ooh, today is my one year anniversary of DBT group! Thank you Facebook memories for reminding me. I can’t believe so much has happened over a year. I’ve met and shared support with amazing people who have become real friends. I think I’ve made progress. If you’d asked me a year ago to make a gratitude list while I was in a mood like this, I’d probably have tried to glass you. You know what, just writing that, I realise that I don’t feel bad anymore. This stupid shit actually works. Anyone reading this who’s kind of on the fence about therapy and trying, because it’s uncool as fuck and also really hard to care when your mental illness is distracting you with how much you hate yourself, you should totally try. As a bitter and cynical person, sometimes you’ve just gotta make an idiot of yourself, do things you think will never work, but do them wholeheartedly, or as heartedly as you can muster, and eventually, something will change. Something you try will have some kind of effect.
I’m not promising miracles, but well…
This was my Card of the Day. Everything changes. The wheel always turns.
Has seen some blessed times, but now I’m sad and sulking for missing my first gig of the year because I’m ill and skint and just not up for doing things. 2016 exhausted me. Had a beautiful time last weekend seeing friends though, drawing on happy memories to drg through. That and plans of better times ahead.
So, here are my plans/goals/wishes for this year:
learn to drive
perform at some more places
get some performance videos done
perform at festivals
get my show on the road
write a new book of conceptual stuff
actualise some visual/video/multimedia creation
get some decent boots and walk
walk long ways
get strong – lift weights, run, yoga, eat food that isn’t cheese
blog and diary and record everything
get some proficiency in tarot reading
graduate from DBT having learned all the skills and able to use them in life
carry on helping out at Derbyshire Refugee Soidarity
do more Belper stuff
get new glasses
get my stupid painful tooth sorted out/stop moaning about the tooth
go to more amazing camps and festivals
visit many friends, especially the ones I haven’t visited in years
learn/revise Basic First Aid
learn a few tunes by heart on the tin whistle
learn to crochet
sell a load of stuff to declutter and fund all this
apply for a Masters (finance permitting)
don’t drink all the damn time
get some independent self sufficiency
get some community
Edited to add: Run the Tenby Half Marathon again! What am I even doing?! My family talk me into these ridiculous things.
I think that’s enough to be going on with. I’ve made a start today by putting a couple of things on ebay, and I’ve been keeping organised with a Bullet Journal and to do lists. I know Bullet Journal sounds like an enraging gimmick, but I was doing the basic form for half of last year and found it really helpful,so I’m carrying on. Got no memory in general, so writing it down helps.
Keep your peepers open though folks, maybe some interesting things will happen this year…
However, my physio now says, no more running until my wonky knee is fixed 😦
I was doing a Youtube yoga course, and it was good. But, I drifted away after a couple of months. I should get back on this.
I still eat a lot of cheese. But also I cook some delicious healthy vegetable and fish based meals. Goal still in progress, I guess.
Goal achieved-ish: Quit smoking, again. I vape a bit. And am still known to steal cigs when drunk. But generally, I don’t smoke any tobacco.
GOAL WAS RIDICULOUS, NEVER GONNA HAPPEN MATE: Drink once or twice a week, at most.
My poetry pamphlet, Thou Shalt Not Suffer, is about to be published
I didn’t manage to do much else though. Polish and submit poems and short stories I already have? NOPE
Write more stuff. Kinda?
Keep blogging. Patchy. Very patchy.
Get some work experience/do some journalism/something something professional writer. Something something not gonna happen, something something too vague.
I did not do NaPoWriMo in April, because I only realised it was April a week into the month.
Still a goal: Daily freewriting
Journalling I do, sometimes. Something else to step up with.
I started helping out with Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity. Sorting donations in the warehouse, lifting heavy things, and raising sponsorship with running.
Do the therapy and homework (without constant sarcasm). As if I thought I could live without sarcasm? What a fool I can be.
I do manage to go to therapy and do my homework (usually). It’s pretty good. I like group.
Everything constantly needs tidying. This does not qualify as a life goal.
I still want to do some art.
And learn to knit. My bro gave me this. Reckon I can do it?
NEW GOAL: Learn to drive. Watch out!
Other new goal: Learn violin. I got my old violin back. I’m sure the neighbours will be overjoyed
Other other goal: Get better at poi.
Adventures will always be a goal
OK, I’ve been semi-successful in some areas. I haven’t achieved absolutely nothing. I was deeply unimpressed with the whole birthday thing, because it underlines how my life is passing by while I waste time. But maybe I’ve done a few things, positive things which are better than nothing.
It’s been a rough week. But I have so much to be grateful for.
One Mic was amazing. Maybe the best performance of my life,and definitely the best audience and the best vibes. It was a room full of love (and a little chaos, and sometimes bread). The other performers were varied, interesting, talented – that’s what I really love about a good open mic, when it’s really open and you get an absolutely surprising selection, from classic covers to the never-before-conceived-of, from nervous poets clutching notebooks to the singer with the sure voice of a lark, all there for the cause of creativity, entertainment, sending a message. All there together, to communicate and celebrate with a roomful of human beings.
I am grateful that people put in the effort to arrange events, that people care to come play, speak, sing, watch. I’m grateful that I got the chance to perform and that people were touched by my words.
I have a skill I can use to make vibrations in the ether. It’s time to start using my words. There’s nothing so ungrateful as wasting a gift.
I know my last post was a pretty full on blast of negativity and rage. I’m not sorry, but I don’t want you to think that I’m just a walking miasma of psychopathology and self pity.
So: Christmas! I usually ignore it aside from the drinking part. The forcest jollity makes me ill and the consumerism is unfathomable. I can’t really remember the last time I made an effort further than handmade cards. Not knocking the cards though, they were made with love and just enough design nous to cover for my appalling lack of actual papercraft skills. People liked the cards.
But this year, I’m trying to do a bit better. Not by spending a load of money on corporate crap to gift to my loved ones (so sorry if you were after anything electric), but with trying some more craft stuff.
This was my Facebook update today.
Done therapy and 75% of Xmas shopping. Now I deserve this £1.49 lunch. Christmas fuckin spirit OK?
This does not signal that I’ve joined the sad dash towards the zombie hordes of Black Cyber whaetevethefuckday Buy Many Things league.
I did buy things, some new, some charity shop. Mostly, ingredients. And of course some random fun girly shit for my laydies, who appreciate that the pantomiming of femininity can be hilarious vodka hi-jinx, highly therapeutic, and serious fucking business. Darlings though, my Xmas present to you is a true get-together. A drunken Princess’tea-party conference and a celebration of our 3 girl love.
*And because I don’t (and do… know who reads this, Girl Love is not a metaphor for lesbian sex.We are not a lesbian threesome.
As to the remainder of my Xmas supplies and crafting plans, this is now a tightly controlled secret. Christmas Morning gotta hold some surprises.
They could be shit surprises. If you still get nothing, or some Poundshop chocolates, I still fuckin tried. My only hope, now is that my lack of craft skills and knowledge will be overcome by my essentially innovative nature, Google, and Youtube tutorials.
I got only a couple of weeks to get this right, but I can do it. So family, friends, whoever is ‘lucky’ enough to get a weird handcrafted gift this year: It means I really fucking love you and I really fucking tried.
I know, for countless years into the past, my whole beautiful family have put endless efforts into bringing the family together (a logisitcal feat of no mean skill) and celebrating Christmas. And I’ve always been kind of an ass about it. Just sorta sitting on the periphery, getting as quietly drunk as possible, accepting presents as rightful tribute. (I promise, right here right now, I will post of some the amazing jewelry I previously received, so at least the world can share a look.) So yeah, I am making an effort this Christmas to retire the sulky ‘too good/alienated/sad for this’ persona. It was acceptable as a teen, barely, but now it’s time to step up, at least a little bit, and appreciate the real love of family and friends that is celebrated at this dark time of year.
You may not see me for a while. I may drown in glitter or burn my hand off trying to make candles. But by the end of it, I’m gonna try to do ‘love and good cheer’ or whatever you call it. Reaching out to those people who have always been there for me, and trying, however unskillfully, to show my love.
I performed and I sucked. But saw some amazing poets and artists. Spent time with a bunch of my bestest friends. Boat times, Hive times, flat times with little hypoallergenic cat so I didn’t die!
I didn’t take any photos at all. I never do when I’m actually busy having a good time. Hopefully someone else took some. Also I wish there was a video of Karoo Chanti, amazing spoken word artist who left the room weeping, I’m not exaggerating here, she bared her tears on stage and brought our tears out also, baring witness reading eyewitness accounts of genocide in Serbia and how the ‘International community’ and UN fucked off and left humans to be slaughtered.
LoudSpeka and Cosmic HipHop were brilliant, the whole night was amazing. Apologies, I know I’ve not mentioned some people but my brain is mush right now. I’ll just say that the performers were amazing, the space was amazing, and the audience was incredibly giving and inclusive. Such an amazing atmosphere, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve realised a whole other world exists, and it’s better than the one I usually inhabit. May there be many more events like this.
Just sad I didn’t stay to sneak into the Burning Man Decompression After-Afterparty, which from eyewitness reports was a sweaty glittery genderfuck unicorn fairy cuddle orgy.
Good news everybody! We raised enough money from Spoken Word, for the soup run to carry on until Spring, including some Christmas presents for these folks who would otherwise be looking at a pretty bleak Winter of fuck-all. It’s been blowing a gale with this Hurricane Barney or whatever it’s called, but the soup volunteers went out last night. Nights like that, imagine living on the street. Just the simple gift of warm soup could save your life.
God Bless Brian, who organised the poetry night and who runs the soup run with his church. He’s fighting cancer and fibromyalgia and should be in bed but instead he is running about kicking ass and helping so many people, as well as being a good friend and looking after my stupid ass.
Thank you Brian, thank you Hive for hosting us and being generally cool, and thank you performers and audience alike. You made beautiful vibes, a night to remember, for a cause never to forget. Love. ❤
So this weekend was a mad adventure of concordance and coincidence, facilitated greatly by Hels being lovely and loved; whenever I go out with her, we always find friends. Two nights of partying and sleep deprivation, and we also ended up spending a day at Breaking Convention, the psychedelics conference in the insanely regimented surroundings of Greenwich University. Many neat grass squares and white stone columns.
We were taken there to help out a beautiful old lady who dresses like a shaman and sure as hell knows how to draw people in and create powerful rituals. Honouring the life/death aspects of the sacred feminine, running around screaming ‘CUNT’, and people really wanted to join in, there wasn’t enough room for them all at once to touch the life-size female form, they were really getting into that cunt. Seems like there is a great hunger for that kind of thing, at least amongst the seekers and scientists of that day.
The actual very important point of this post maybe:
I met this guy! David Graham Scott, who is actually a Scot, and a film maker whose work I know from years on Youtube. Though he has been shown in more selective places like the BBC. He’s a really really nice guy.
Here is his first documentary, which was one of the catalysts to bringing ibogaine into more mainstream awareness. David was a heroin and methadone addict, but he got clean with this plant and ritual. It’s been over ten years now, and he’s not gone back, he’s making his art and spreading the word, trying to help and inform other people. Ibogaine has been reported to help end addictions to opiates, cocaine, alcohol, and even nicotine, as well as offering insight and recovery into past traumas in a way that can offer a pathway through PTSD and depression. It’s not a magic cure though…
Warning: this documentary is intense.
Seeing someone who’s come so far, from way worse shit than I ever had to deal with, is inspiring. I think this is the first time I ever met someone internet famous/a creator of work I admire, and he was so friendly and caring and genuine that it’s like I actually feel like a better, happier person. Maybe because I disproved my evil internal voice, which says that no one would possibly ever want to meet me, and especially not someone well known who has useful things to do and more interesting people to talk to.
I don’t know if it’s just the antidepressant effect of sleep deprivation, or the effect of spending time with two real close friends and meeting many more new friends as well, but I feel good, still 3 days later, though it’s starting to fade now I’ve fully caught up on sleep. Maybe I just sleep too much…
For reasons I still can’t quite grasp, I did the Tenby Half marathon yesterday. I don’t run. I don’t even want to run, except when things are chasing me. I didn’t run much at all during this running race, either. There were hills. And I’m pretty sure I walk faster than I run, especially if you factor in the extra time spent laying on the ground moaning that running necessitates.
I think I entered this event due to peer pressure. Mother, brother, two of Mother’s sisters and one of their husbands were all in it as well. Cousin, his wife and baby went along as well, and Father was there to drive me and mum around. It was actually a really fun family occasion, and Tenby is a beautiful seaside town. Sadly, there was no time for the beach. We drove in on Saturday, said hi, had a drink and went to sleep. Sunday we were up early, putting on running clothes (yes I bought sport clothes especially for this) and getting into the specially laid on coaches. The day started warm and pleasant, but by the time we got to the start point at Pembroke Castle, cold rain was falling hard from a sky stretching grey to the horizon. Thunder boomed. as we huddled under a marquee in the castle courtyard, staring up at the grey stone walls and trying to avoid the huge drops of water dripping from the edge of the tent.
We had two and a half hours to wait, and the castle grounds were filling up with runners. We took shelter in the museum under a case of military uniforms and those weird helmets with a horsetail sticking out of the top.
The dingy stone-flagged museum, part of the castle keep, was filled with runners. Some were quiet and intense, others gossiped happily. Eventually it was time to go. The half marathon was part of a huge event. There were people already begun running the full length marathon, and on the previous days there had been running and swimming events. A stage was set up on the grass, and from it a guy shouted at us and told us where to run, before sending us on our way in a lyrca-clad procession up Pembroke high street to the start point, following (what else?) an amateur samba band.
On the other side of the road the marathon runners were passing, and the people of South Wales were out to cheer them on, and to cheer us on as we started running. The route wound through secluded lanes and tiny villages, where the people stood in front of their houses ringing bells and shouting encouragement. It looked like they’d made a day of it, some of them waiting along the verges in vans, others setting up unofficial food and water points. At the first village, some kindly (?) person had fixed a garden sprinkler at head level to irrigate us as we passed. It was cold and still raining on and off, but it was a sweet gesture. The levels of enthusiasm were alarming. Village life must be incredibly boring. If a bunch of weirdos decided to run in a line in front of my house, no way would I be encouraging that.
The route was really, really beautiful. The sun started to come out as I reached the road along the coast. The beautiful views distracted me for a while from the pain and general boredom of trying to make myself move quickly.
I broke my personal best for ‘longest continuous jog’, a record previously standing at 20 minutes, now at 27. Having done basically no training, I was planning to just walk really fast, but everyone at the start was running, and I guess I got caught up in the general enthusiasm.
This was a terrible idea, as once people had seen me jogging, they looked and spoke to me like I was One Of Them, so I felt obliged to break into a run every now and then so as not to disappoint them, or the spectators. My mum was jogging too, so I ended up keeping pace with her. A half marathon is 13 miles long. Half way through, I was pretty tired, but enjoying it. By the time there were 4 miles to go, I felt pain in my leg, left thigh muscles for some reason hating me. It had been hurting the day before as well, one of the random pains I seem to get all the damn time for no good reason. I figured I could write it off as hypochondria like I usually do, but I was wrong.
For the last two miles I was powered only by cursed rage, hate for all the children lining the route with encouraging signs, hate for oxygen and humans and running and most of all, hate for myself for my terrible life choices. Getting back into Tenby, the end was near. I caught up with Mum. Reaching a corner, a woman said, ‘Only two more corners to go. You’ve got to run now, there are people there!’
And there were people. Hundreds of them lining the streets cheering, including brother, aunty and uncle who had already finished and were waiting to high five us on the final stretch. A PA announced our names as we jogged through the streets and through the finish arch which was topped with flames. Tacky dance music (sorry, I mean pumping motivational beats) blared as the mayor of Tenby shook our sweaty hands and I felt momentarily better, ie. I didn’t throw myself to the floor gasping, as I had envisaged, but rather walked to get my medal without falling over.
We finished in 3 hours 3 minutes. I came 273rd, with a pace of 4.2mph. Aunty who did actually walk the whole thing came in 25 minutes afterwards. Bro was the fastest with 1h 55, because he exercises. Other Aunty had actually done the cycling event the day before, because she might actually be insane. I’m really glad everyone finished, and nobody got injured. Everyone seemed to have some kind of fun, possibly. Only one uncle swore ‘NEVER AGAIN!’
I still have no idea why I did that, and today I’m so achy I can’t believe it. I don’t know why I’m surprised, even gentle walks leave me in pain half the time, because for some reason my muscles are persistently shite. My thighs hurt so bad I can hardly walk down stairs, although in a random blessing, my crappy knee is fine. Its movements have the usual weird grinding texture, but no pain. Right shoulder hurts for some weird reason, a lot more than the left one. I don’t appreciate the lack of symmetry. Altogether though, I’m pretty glad I tried that out, if only for the views of the coast and the psychological boost of finishing something. If I do it again I’ll train a bit so that I don’t suffer. Sporty aunty is already asking, ‘Next year then?’
I don’t spend all my time sitting around feeling miserable, moaning at the internet and waiting to die. Especially now I’m trying not to be 100% shit, I do things in the real world and try to go outside.
Today, after the psychiatrist appointment, I chanced to read a friend’s post of Facebook inviting everyone over to do gardening. Over I went, in the beautiful sunlight, to a huge old house which might actually be the nicest home I’ve ever been in without having to pay an admission fee. The kitchen opened out onto the solid wood deck, which opened out onto the lawn and the raised beds. Four of us spent the afternoon weeding, transplanting seedlings into the beds and building cane & string pyramids for the runner beans to climb up. Then our friend cooked us a beautiful meal and we ate and chatted. I’d not met the other two plant helpers before, and their botanical knowledge was astounding.
I ended up spending about seven hours round there, doing useful work, absorbing the sunlight and touching the earth. Even though I knew none of the other people there well, I didn’t feel anxious or like I had anything to prove. And I’m a person who will spend days or even weeks in isolation, hiding from society because human interaction feels like an impossible, terrifying burden. Today broke my month long anti-social streak.