I want to take a moment to reflect upon the men who I admire, both famous and not.
I’m sure I wrote a post a while ago about how I was going to re commit myself to writing on here….. I could probably just copy and paste that here and get ready to go again. Mind you in fairness to me, last year saw a curveball that I did not anticipate. I met a special person and we are very happy together. That took precedent, and it still does.
Moving on into 2019 I still find myself with a lot to say, I perhaps don’t need to use this blog as valve like I have in the past, but there are many things that I see in the world that I want to have my say on.
I’ll be honest I haven’t planned anything before sitting to write this, so we could well be about to go on a journey that goes everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
This year 2019 is going to see a huge amount of unrest, it will see the beginning of the US election cycle, and closer to home it will see the end of the Brexit process. I can’t do much about either of those things but what worries me is that they will most likely bring those that like to “other” people, seeking to look for those that are not cut from a very particular cloth and make life unliveable for them i’e different Race, Gender, Age, Sexuality, mental health. It’s all still there and it is becoming even more polarised and the lines being drawn even more complex.
Today the army released a recruitment campaign for Me Me Me Millennials, Class Clowns, Binge Gamers, Phone Zombies, Snow Flakes and Selfie Addicts or people as they are otherwise known.
It’s only an add campaign, but it shows how young people are thought of, the world has changed but we will take you in spite of that. How are we supposed to come together as a society, when the divide between people is so tangible and it is regularly fired up?
James O’Brien and Owen Jones getting into it over the medias treatment of Corbyn, casting O’brien as a tory supporter because he has a different expectation of Corbyn…. and on and on and on. Really these 2 should be on the same side, but they can’t even decide what that side is.
It is all so frustrating, so that’s me for now at least. I am going to look at these divisive arguments and see if I cant find a reason for us to come together. That seems something worth hoping for right?
So it's twenty to one in the morning and there is just no sign of me falling asleep. I'm laying here wired, and I can't rest and I can't stop thinking at a million miles an hour.
Around about march this year I was doing really well, I had gotten on top of a lot of my personal issues having felt capable of facing them for the first time in years. I was clean and tidy and i could probably pass for semi organised.
In the last month or so, the darkness has started seeping in again. The nagging questions of my worth have started up again. My get up and go has really taken a hit and my flat once again looks like a warzone. My diet has returned to fizzy drinks and junk food. I'm just not looking after myself.
I've been aware of this slow regression for a while, and that the zero hour would arrive when i would have to deal with the fact that the depression was really really back. I knew once I started turning the corner that this would be the case, and that I would have to contend with the black dog again and again through my life.
As I sit here writing this i'm basically just sulking, it's not fair, I've done my bit, I faced the black dog and I came out the other side. Why do i have to do it again? (I really don't want to) Thats the worst bit really, there is something in this experience that tells me I'm never going to be free of this.
I guess the difference is this time I know the things to do, I have to catch when i'm being cruel to myself and stop (with a fresh perspective on the thoughts i subject myself to in this state, I am really good at being cruel to myself, I had no idea).
I need to clean my living space up, and start looking after myself again. I need to get back into the good habbits of looking after myself and not just trying to survive moment to moment.
I need to do it for me, I need to recognise that I deserve better than what I'm doing to myself and make the change. I deserve some happiness or at least some peace and i should fight for it.
Sorry this was quite a self indulgent post just trying get all these thoughts out of my head and process them.
Well you boys have had a bit of a week huh?
Seems like some of it was brought on yourself.... I can relate, I look at timehop daily and some of the shit it shows me I came up with 10 years ago.... I was a dickhead (probably still am).
But here and now you have fans and people that look up to you and want you to lead the way somewhat..... so.... where are you?
I get it, its tough and its shit and possibly not very sensible financially to come out swinging against this stuff..... but if these tweets are legit and they are things that you have said and you are now being made to answer for (regardless of it being fairly done or not and in my opinion it isn't).
We need you guys to be the better people. Come out face these things, acknowledge that they aren't ok, and although you didn't mean any malice when you wrote them accept that they could have been harmful or hurtful to others. Make good on these things. Show the world that you have learned from these mistakes.
Both of you have been waging twitter wars trying to get the right message across, here is an opportunity to lead by example.
As I see it this is a very dangerous attack on the ability to tell right from wrong. There is an attempt here to argue that we all have failings so no one need try to be better. It is being made by bad people trying to do bad things and get away with it. They are using you to create this smoke screen..... don't let them! Show them that right and wrong are still standards that count and we will hold people to them.
I'm sorry it has to be you guys, it's not fair.... but it is what it is. So get back out into the world get back onto twitter, engage with the people who you need to do better by and do better by them.
Everyone will be behind you.
I have been thinking a lot about the place we find ourselves in the world lately.
Things aren't great, from Brexit to Trump, Putin to Separated families and on and on, it really feels like there is a whole lot of darkness in the world right now.
To put it simply everything feels fucked, and I don't see it getting better any time soon, I don't think any of us do. I don't simply mean a left or right bias of fucked either. No one is getting what they want from the Brexit deal, no one benefits from the president of the USA talking almost in openly treasonous ways whilst visiting the Russian President, most of the people who voted for Trump did so on the basis that he would put America first.
I started to think of all the stories of the people who have positively impacted the world, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Gandhi etc. None of them tell a particularly easy story, none of the things that they achieved came without significant struggle and sometimes significant pain.
I think of these people and the lives they lead, and then I look at the state of the world we live in today and think to myself. Am I doing enough... I think the answer is no.
You cant take the weight of the world on your back and fix it all, but what good am i doing here tweeting about the things that I think are going wrong? and every second that I spend doing less than I should, who am I letting down?
There are so many people in the world that deserve so much better and I recognise that and I'm still not doing enough. In its own way thats probably worse than the people who don't care about these things at all.
So tell me, how can I do more? Who can I help? Do you think you are doing enough? What can you change? What can we do together?
So when I first started writing this blog one of the promises I made to myself was that I wasn't going to make the rookie error of posting irregularly. I would commit and make sure I was constantly creating content for my website.... so anyway 6 weeks later... "I'm back"
So my time away isn't simple slackness, I have gone back to work, organised and had surgery on my busted leg. Continued working on my photography and in-fact rebooted my website/brand (although I'm thinking about setting up a different website where i can discuss the inner workings of my mind away from the place I display my photography... maybe? If you have thoughts let me know!).
What I have learned in my time away is that I think this blog is a huge part of what helps me day to day.
As the real world has crept back into my life bad habits here and there have crept in as well, which isn't surprising. Its significantly easier to keep on top of your well-being when you are having a break from everything and the focus of your day-to-day is keeping on top of these things. Once you start making space for work and family and all the other things in life managing it is a skill in itself.
I think what I found was that sitting here at a keyboard rattling off whatever is on my mind good bad or indifferent is a great way of venting my stuff and checking in with myself.
So one of the things that I'd like to check in on was that I have made huge strides in terms of personal care. Self care in the more every day aspects has always been something that i struggle with going back to childhood, and I made a big commitment to turning this around. In the last few months I have been all over new clothes, to wear dentist trips to sort out my teeth, setting up a daily self care routine that looks after my skin/hair/cleanliness etc. This was not cheap and that is where the problems arose. I was so hell bent on making these changes that I didn't check in on my budget and then spent the following few months living on a shoe string while I got the books to balance again.
Maybe this is the lesson for me currently, balance. It's all well and good making these changes but if I make myself feel good in this area at the expense of introducing stresses of affordability elsewhere have I actually helped myself at all?
In this instance I think a lot of this was all necessary stuff, things that I hadn't looked after for a very long time needed dealing with, and there is no getting around the fact that they cost money. Could or should I have phased this over a few months and limited the amount of batch cooking needed to survive this? Or is it good that its all done and when payday comes I'll be more or less back to the beginning? I guess it doesn't matter as it has been and gone now, but it's probably good for me to sit and write this and spend a while thinking about this to help myself down the line, or anyone else who has done similar things you ain't alone.
One of the worst things about depression is how it robs you of your life while you are living it. I have spent countless evenings just hiding in bed from the world not doung anything. The fear of rejection or someone making fun of you or seeming silly made it so easy for me just to keep myself to myself.
As I have found myself recovering it I have started to find it easier to break these trends. I have found that I wholeheartedly live photography, this will get me up early in the morning or keep me going to the night.
The more comfortable I have become with this the mire uncomfortable I find the thoughts of slipping back.
I got up the other morning to capture the sunrise, I ended up with this shot...
As I have been writing lately about how to be better and owning my own problematic behaviour, one question has loomed in my mind.
I received this tweet the other day which was lovely.
This has made me think about the things I say and do and where it comes from, I would love to claim that I'm a great guy and that is just who I am. In truth though a lot of my behaviour is dictated by the fact that I want to be seen to be a good guy. I often see someone behaving in a way I find unacceptable on the internets and feel the need to say my piece, often I do so away from the main thread because I am weary of being a self perceived white knight. I then struggle with telling people about the fact that I have done so, part of me wants to do it for the 'atta boy' points, part of me doesn't because i don't want people to think I'm looking for 'atta boy' points. Having made an argument about how to behave on the internet I don't want to undermine that that point by behaving in a self-serving way.
It goes around and around, and there are points for and points against, there has been no uniform answer to this, sometimes I make it known about my actions sometimes I don't.
I have been watching the Good Place lately a very good sitcom about a person who ends up in heaven by accident. One of the core ideas it explores is how doing a good thing with the idea of having something in the bank so that you can get into heaven is not in itself a morally good act.
I have been wrestling with this idea, how can i be truly selfless in these acts? I'd be lying if I said that part of my behaviour online and being outspoken on progressive issues is undoubtedly about feeling good about myself. I would be lying if I said that it wasn't also in part about being the person I want to project myself as being to other people, and then I might as well call it as it is there is a hope that it makes me attractive to other people too.
I don't want that to be it though, I want to be good and i don't want other people to feel they have to second guess my behaviour or the motivations for it. The conclusion that I have come to is that be aware of the more selfish aspects of my behaviour and hold it in check or at least hold myself publicly accountable for it.
So I'll say this, if you are going to accuse me of being an internet white knight the truth is you are probably right, but there is much more to it, and I am working at being much more than that.