Fairytale

Quite early on in my online career, it became apparent that other people expected significantly different things from relationships than I did. Inevitably, it is impossible to reasonably control who decides to follow you, or indeed how they operate when interacting with you. Being kind, generous and understanding should be the default settings for everybody but inevitably this becomes unrealistic in reality.

I’ve spoken at length in other places over the issues that inevitably rise from being female and high profile in any kind of gaming capacity. Earlier this year, when asked if I’d want to talk about that in public, there was really no desire to do so. Pulling up past events as a signpost to the future might be useful in certain situations, but in this case…? it’s probably best that these sections of my history are consigned to obscurity.

Except, it is apparent, these issues never really go away.

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There’s been a bit of drama around my sphere of late over the business of online stalking. Knowing that it doesn’t matter what you do and that sometimes, people will latch onto you as some kind of personal saviour, is the lesson I wish more would take seriously but inevitably never do. Inevitably, enlightenment has to come from learning the lesson: you don’t even have to be generous to a stranger in reality to become a victim.

In fact, many people are learning that just existing and refusing to think or act as others expect they should is often enough to receive abuse. So many women in high-profile positions run the risk of becoming the fixation, crux of increasingly demented obsession, because other people’s perception of their personality is as far away from reality as it is normally possible to get.

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So, what can you do if you’re caught in a situation that makes you uncomfortable? Even as an obscure writer, there are ways and means to assert control. The most important thing of all, undoubtedly, is to not generate personal capital off the back of it or to allow the individual any indicator that their actions are affecting your existence. In that regard, at least, it is very easy to take back ownership of personal domain.

That last lesson is still one I’m working on, it has to be said.

Was It Worth It?

Once upon a time, I got quite obsessed over the number of people who followed me on social media. This coincided with Twitter’s public and high profile attempts to remove the legions of robots and fake accounts from their platform. The reality of this change is pretty stark: I’ve seen zero follower growth since April 2018 on the ‘other’ account. Ironically, this was the exact period that this project began to gain momentum: interest here is far and beyond what was ever thought possible in such a short period.

In my lessons and observations of Social media over the last few years, there’s been a veritable legion of people in the background, advising me how to ‘influence’ in all its forms. What is abundantly apparent is that the best success stories, people who genuinely deserve all the plaudits and numbers on their teams are those individuals who do, in fact, put in the hard graft. It doesn’t have to be sitting on Social media, either. The right combination of immediacy and backroom work pays massive dividends.

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I do love me some good organisation, but in the end none of it is worth the Post It notes you wrote it on unless summat budges. I’m pretty sure now the path that was originally trodden with what’s now very much a personal Twitter is the absolute opposite direction things need to head: if anything, I’d be going backwards. So, it is time to stop selling myself, and to start ‘selling’ myself. Those two quote marks are actually quite vital too. Before it was all far to serious. Now, if summat good happens, it’s a bonus, but honestly I’m not fussed.

Last time out, there was an agenda and I HATE THOSE. I’m not an influencer, just a woman with stuff to say and her own shit to sell. Not anybody else’s mouthpiece or spokesperson, just my words and stories that need to be told and might well find a larger audience if I push them. So, here we go. Gonna give it a year and see where we go. If all else fails, I might luck out and get summat published in the meantime, who knows?

It gives me something to do apart from the housework and exercise, if all else fails…

Look Out Any Window

Lots of things matter to me. Some are fairly frivolous (see Bond fan fiction) but others come from a lifetime of noticing stuff other people seem to overlook. Environmentalism has been in my life since my teens, donating to Friends of the Earth for over thirty years. We don’t send gifts to close family and relations any more: instead the money that would be spent goes to charities so that it can be used in the most productive fashion possible.

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In the last couple of years, I’ve really learnt to appreciate the value of other people in my life, and how seemingly random interactions can add up to significant and meaningful online friendships. For the last two years therefore there’s been the desire to spread love as far and wide as possible, and I’m in the midst of a new crop of thank-yous delivered via Twitter. Follow the hashtag #FromMeToYou as the month continues to get the full range of haiku, and (as was the case last year) they’ll all be archived here for posterity when we’re done.

Finally, there’s the gift that just keeps on giving: the .GIF file. One day, I will write a set of poems eulogising the significance small pieces of looped video have bought to millions of lives. The .GIF Advent has run for a few years now, and is one of my consistently most-watched features on the other Twitter account. It’s also a little ray of daily sunshine for yours truly, because, let’s face it, this stuff can make you happiest of all.

The gift of giving is a beautiful thing.

Negotiations and Love Songs

This is #Blogmas, and welcome to a month’s worth of posts which are supposed to act as a shop window for the site and my content. All the images you’ll see this month are pulled, in roughly historical order, from the archives of various websites, pages and social media forum in which I have existed, since the Internet was downloaded on a modem and all you had was text.

In the main these were either made for me, or I did it myself, and looking at my archives there appears to be quite a lot of them.

Let’s begin therefore with a quick overview.

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And You Are?

I have an actual biography page. It has existed for as long as my personal site has been here, which (according to the files) is October 6th, 2011. My Warcraft site came into being on February 2nd, 2009 which means, as of next month, it will be almost a decade since I started blogging. It’s like a completely different world between there and now.

What am I saying, it IS a completely different world, and if anyone tried to write this as fiction, nobody would believe it.


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What Do You Do?

I love to make graphics, and did that for nearly two decades, with lots of other stuff, often in an attempt to impress people who really didn’t really care that much at the results. I’ve been in and out of numerous fandoms. My daughter worries that she’s got no consistency in that regard, but considering my track record… it’s clearly genetic.

I’ve treated a lot of people really poorly too, but in my defence only now is it clear why that happened, and I’m really sorry. No, genuinely it’s the truth, but I’m not off to offer any olive branches any time soon. The past, for everybody’s mental health, needs to stay exactly where it was left.

What I wanted to do more than graphics however was to write. It just needed a while to remember how that happened well. It has taken about 18 years more or less; now we’ve arrived at the point where, with some confidence, there is progress.


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Deep Thought

The process of redemptive blogging really began thanks to World of Warcraft. There were blogs before (and a LiveJournal account I still get the odd acknowledgement from) plus a Facebook page which was sensibly closed well before all the real drama began.

I’ve adopted various pseudonyms and now, in the last week, was my my real name attached back to this website. I only do this with the knowledge both mind and body is ready for whatever the consequences of such actions will be.

That’s taken a phenomenal amount of work. I suffered from depression, anxiety and self esteem issues for decades. We’ve reduced that to just anxiety now, and to maintain it that way is a priority. Understanding why all this happened has been a tough ask, but now I am in control of my own destiny.

Most of the toxic elements in my life have been purged. This is the best it has ever been. This is the happiest I’ve ever felt.


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The Grand Plan

Yes, I want to get my work published. No, I’m not expecting miracles. Yes, hard work is its own reward. No, you don’t get anything unless it is worked for. This website is part of a plan to produce content, on my terms. At the same time, I’m entering contests and looking to generate pieces that others will think good enough to reproduce.

There’s at least one epic Science Fiction novel in me, but more and more there’s the pull of something far more personal. What that means going forward is anybody’s guess. I pulled out of NaNoWriMo this year: there’s too much left unfinished. That’s getting fixed starting today.

Lots of things get fixed starting now.


So, this is the starting point. Tomorrow, we’ll deal in some specifics.

Strange Days

I completed the first of two bike events yesterday: 56 miles as a warm-up to 45 might seem a bit excessive, but having never done endurance before a lot of lessons were learnt. Also, the county in which I live’s reputation as being a little bit hipster, a little bit posh but an awful lot of self-obsessed, selfish idiocy remains 100% unopposed. Yesterday’s random poke was just that, and it would be easy to just dismiss it as such, except there’s anger at the fact this kind of behaviour isn’t going away, and is becoming increasingly ‘normal.’

I know I’m supposed to do no harm, but some days it is really a tough ask.

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I’m gonna work hard to get the £500 total donation to Mind for Sunday’s ride covered, and after that I’m wondering how to start making a tangible difference when there are days I have trouble with motivation. The obvious answer is to do something creative, because then the timetable is mine to dictate and cope with. I have a month to think up something suitable, and the idea situation would be to ask people to donate to a mental health charity as a result.

This is something that doesn’t go away, and I need to keep raising money. Not because I might one day need it, or because this is somehow a worthy cause to make my own self look decent and fair. This should just be something people do without thinking, like reading a newspaper or buying a burger. Giving people money to be able to help those in pain express how they feel, when they’re struggling, to find the means by which they can explain what is wrong and how that needs to be treated is an absolutely massive issue.

Some days, I can’t even explain what is wrong, and writing is what I do as a living.

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The trick, I suppose, is to just keep plugging away and to ignore the haters, which is how my life online has taken place since the start.

It’s a Small World

Today, we start a daily endeavour for the next week, which may well be extended as time goes on, depending on reception. I’m using every character of the 280 word Twitter limit to tell tiny stories about technology, and how it might alter our lives as time goes on. I’ll then be adding all the tweets (and the tales) to this thread so that when the week is done, you have a record of them all.

Without further ado, let’s begin:

Torn

At the end of last year, I quietly announced via Social media that 2018 was the year I’d learn how to draw. I suspect that a number of people will have seen the intent and expected this was happening because of a desire to produce art for people in exchange for cash. That has, and never will be the point. The only reason I’m here, lets be honest, is for me.

I’m looking for various means of expression this year, and Inktober awoke in me the understanding that art is not just a full torso shot, or a lovely picture of a dog. It is the means by which I am finally able to take the mess of feelings and emotions inside my brain and makes sense of them in an environment that is non-threatening and helpful. I picked a comic strip format, it is now apparent, not because it needed to be filled with my slowly evolving sketches. I already know that the process of even basic visualisation is having definite and positive effects. So what if I’m beginning with boxes and easily createable metaphors I’m comfortable using? It is still drawing.

Admitting any problem, after all, is the first step to solving it.

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I’m also REALLY conscious of stepping on other people’s artistic toes. This is not an attempt to try and ride coattails or steal other people’s thunder. I don’t admit to being an expert at anything except my own feelings (and even that is stretching the definition at present.) What this daily process allows me to do is make sense of a part of my mind I’ve simply been too frightened to address… and already this is having a positive affect not simply on workload, but the means by which I can become happy. There’s a desire of course to help other people out and try and make thinking more attractive on a wider stage… but the comics need to remain mine. Just for me. It’s satisfying if someone else can associate with them, or compliment me on them but honestly, that’s not whey they’re here. This is not a Twitter account set up just to cash in on the concept. I’m not here to make a story and ask you to back it.

I’m here to learn to live with myself.

The J Word

I made a graphic so when I upload all the art to Flickr at the end of each month I have a space to store it all, and can archive it here. After that, I can look back on the first real and tangible effort to deal with my mental fitness for several years and know this should have happens a LONG time ago.

You live and learn, if you’re doing it right.