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Monday, January 01, 2018


It's the 14th anniversary of this blog, so here's my annual navel-gazing post marking the day.

I don’t believe in new year’s resolutions. People set themselves all kinds of unrealistic challenges beginning January 1st, mostly about lifestyles or diets or exercise, and so little of this is sustainable or achievable (or even, a good thing to do…). I also don’t partake in the annual ‘This is what I am grateful for’ lists that many seem keen to share. Forgive me, I just find them pretentious and performative. Say private thank yous to the people that matter, not announce your general love of the world on social media… Anyway, maybe I’m just grouchy about it because I’m so crap. At life, I mean. I’m stuck in a place I don’t want to be, both figuratively and metaphorically, and I feel like I’ve not managed to move on in ways that make me happy, or even content. Depression, and its close friend anxiety, are daily uninvited gatecrashers to the party that is my mind; whilst I generally do a good job in hiding my suffering in public, privately I’m struggling with it, and these impact my ability to get stuff done. This is nothing unique to just me, I know.

I contine to run to help with mental health stuff, though 2017 was filled with illness and multiple health issues, and these impacted my ability to keep up regular training, or even just gentle running for the joy of it. I feel out of shape, and unfit, and my pace is back to being incredibly (and frustratingly) slow, and this isn't really helping ease my black cloud. But still I run, and luckily I have good muscle memory and structure in my legs, so whilst my lungs aren’t yet working at full capacity, my thighs are able to power me on. I’m doing my first ever half-marathon in March (you can sponsor me here, if you wish - all proceeds go to Brook, the young people’s sexual health charity), and I’m genuinely terrified about that, but I will put one foot in front of the other and hope for the best…

I often feel like I’m grasping for things in my life a little too late, like I’ve arrived at the tail-end of a movie and missed the main story. Or, as if I’m in the middle of a Punchdrunk immersive theatre production, and everyone else instinctively knows how to follow the action, but I’m completely lost, wandering around alone in the dark, when the cue lights have dimmed and the performers long gone, wondering where the story is and feeling lost. Ironically though, when I’ve actually been to a Punchdrunk show, I’ve taken risks I never thought I would, chased after things I would be too nervous to in the outside world, and thrown myself headfirst into creating my own narrative. I’ve been rewarded with joy I never thought possible, neverending glee of childish excitement, and feeling that my world has been enriched by art so intense it’s drawn rainbows across my heart. The greyness of my day to day life feels profound by comparison; its lack of colour almost mocks me.

But that’s not to say there isn’t light in my life, because there is, and I greatly value even the small things which give me joy; it’s just that I’d like (and need) more of them. If I extend the Punchdrunk analogy further, I guess I understand that I need to find my own cue light outside: I need to strike out and make my own rainbows happen. Be daring. Take risks. Be bold. That’s what I am telling myself right now: be bold, in everything that I do. Yesterday, I reset my daily phone alarm to say just that in its wake-up message: Be bold (and a heart emoji to remind myself to be kind). I need a reminder that it’s not one big thing that you do, but the small things daily which allow bravery - and joy - to flourish.

So I need to be bold and create more opportunities for myself, from love and sex through to my work. They say build it and they will come, and there’s a bunch of things I want to do this year, which I’m scared about, but I know I need to put them out there. If I don’t risk failure, then I’m not allowing the possibility of success either. Right?

My main objective, for 2018, is to create a lot of content, and for this, I’m launching a Patreon. Yes, I know everyone and their dog has one... The thing is, I have pieces of writing which have no home, because they don’t fit here (though some of them are about sex) and they’re not right for a national paper. And I really miss daily blogging and engaging directly with readers, and this blog’s -ahem- one-track content doesn’t really allow for me to experiment at all (and the comments are broken). I want to test out new ideas, and I’d like to offer snippets of those with people who enjoy my writing. In addition, I will shortly be setting up a regular podcast (on film, art, theatre, sex, and objectification), as well as a few other fun activities planned…. so I want to expand out from text-based things, and offer different creations to those who might be interested.

I’m soft-launching my Patreon here first (for the few people who still read blogs…), and will publish some content in the coming days prior to a proper announcement later this week. If you’ve ever enjoyed my writing, I hope you might consider being a Patron: every person subscribing will help me to create more, and in return you’ll get first-look at drafts of my projects, and also locked content not published elsewhere. I won’t be updating this blog anymore, but I will be blogging over at Patreon. So, come find me there? If you fancy it, that is - and if you don't, well, see you here this time next year. x

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