A note for a mind-locked friend

I won’t cross swords with you. I don’t claim to be an expert. I don’t have an arsenal of cherry-picked statistics to throw as and when they fit. But what I am totally, irrevocably sure of is your misguided confidence – your blindness to the opinions which lie outside of your, let’s be honest, restricted scope of the world.

I can see that people suffer no less under the rule of your phony lord, that the leader whom you stand behind, like any other, touts the mantras and feeds the flames they know the darkest core of your mind wants for its gratification.

You follow one science, assembled of fragmented hate and competition. I follow another which, though I dare not say is better, seeks what I believe is a better cause: love. But that’s the crux of it, right? Your belief versus mine.

As I said, I’m no expert, but at least I know where my morals lie, and by God I will stick to the symbol which best depicts them. If you wish to stay my friend, please, please don’t be so stupid as to argue that your belief, as much a hash of biases as any other in this post-truth world, is any more credible than mine.

Hello again

A little bit of distance has shown me how easy it can be to lose track of one’s state of mind. As much as it sounds like the spiel of some awful corporate strategy to enthuse workers, self-reflection really is key if you want to be happy with yourself – at least for people who, like myself, are prone to over-thinking.

I’m still battling with a sense of lost control – it’s as if, without reminding myself of the things I do to feel successful, I will lose them. With this in mind, I’ve made a short list of these things and – stay with me here – mapped them onto a ‘personal timetable’.

Now, I know this could be a disaster, a clinical attempt to strap down my personality, but I’m goign to give it a short., Ironically,  I planned this post to revolve around not taking life too seriously. I guess I’m vaguely hoping that, through these quite ‘organised’ means, I’ll be allowed to relax… We’ll see.

Be self-loving, not selfish

Hey all, I just read through a scrap doc I wrote a few weeks back after a long night. It somehow feels important to share it, in case anybody feels a little bit ‘bleurgh’ about the world right now.

It’s time to write again, and whilst I still have faith in the buoyant optimism of my last post, I find myself picking up pen and paper (not literally, in this case) only when I feel compelled by frustration or sadness.

Today is a grey day, reminding me of polystyrene, or disused factories. There’s a flicker of mortality in the air – not in a macabre way, though. It’s rather a mortality of the mind, the soul, that I see when I look through the window.

And why do I feel like this? Likely from a night of little sleep. But, more relevant to the matter at hand, for various reasons yesterday I was made bitter. I felt old in my skin, and I felt unwanted by one whom I’ve called my closest friend for years.

But, as is so often the case, I have a choice now: let it bother me, or don’t.

I know I have my life ahead of me. Anybody who decides to attach a particular priority to one year – a dreamy age where all is achieved and nothing regretted – is a fool. Life is not a competitive sport, it’s a fun run. We do what we can, strive to be our best, but know that each and every one of us has a different reason for running as they do.

I know I did nothing wrong yesterday, and didn’t deserve to feel depressed. So, I am refusing to take it. Let the world pout all it wants, I am sure of myself and my dignity. All that’s left for me is to forge my own road ahead; be self-loving, not selfish; pay no mind to how the earth spins around me as I strive to be happy with myself. I’ve spent far too much of my life giving people – albeit, often close friends – far too much consideration. Let them think what they think. If I’m a bad guy, I’m sure somebody will let me know.

Career Wake-Up Call

So, I just got off the phone with an old expert in the field of my dream job – a rare books librarian. The half-hour conversation was certainly useful, but if I’m honest, I spent quite a large portion of it squirming in my seat. As I tumbled over my words, admitting sheepishly to what was quickly feeling like an interviewer that I could not remember the meaning of ‘incunabulum’, I felt completely out of my depth (it’s an early printed book, by the way – printed before 1501, one of the first wave of printed texts. And I knew that!)

I’m aware that my self-perception is skewing what was a good talk (I knew what EEBO and ECBO were, as well as who the first European printer was!) but I can’t help feeling that this is a haughty, specialised area of work and no matter how academic my interests are, I’m simply too rough around the edges. I don’t know Latin. My history degree is only a BA. I didn’t even go to a grammar school.

But, even as I write, I’m deciding to say ‘Screw that!’ The world is our oyster, and I want this job. I’ve got some great tips from this experience, and a fire under my backside which will encourage me to, as an example, keep up the Latin classes. Anything is possible.

 

Personal Professional
Finish two ongoing poems. Complete PID assignment.
Finish reading ‘The Beautiful and Damned’. Track down text recommendations AND complete Latin tutorials.
Ongoing
Make any c. writing notes in diary.
Come up with more personal motivators.

Dusting off

“”Yes,” said Maggie. “It is with me as I used to think it would be with
the poor uneasy white bear I saw at the show. I thought he must have
got so stupid with the habit of turning backward and forward in that
narrow space that he would keep doing it if they set him free. One
gets a bad habit of being unhappy.”” (Eliot, The Mill on the Floss)

I may well have cited this quote on here before – it’s one I return to occasionally in my life. Even if I have, however, it does no harm to repeat it.

Habits can be innocuous and silly, but they can also form some of the staple foundations of our… personalities? I’m not sure that’s the right word – surely our characters are made of deeper stuff than biting nails, gambling or cigarettes? – but they do have a significant impact on how the outside world views us. Even if we manage to hide them from all others, they can tinge our self-perceptions and, what’s more, our self-worth.

I certainly feel that a lot of the aspects of our lifestyles which make us unhappy stem from such habits. Indeed, anxiety is apparently little more than a neurological ‘habit’ of releasing particular chemicals from the brain in particular scenarios, resulting in particular responses to triggers. I’m not at all arguing that a problem as complex as mental health can be waived by ‘breakin’ the habit’. But fighting those urges which leave us disappointed yet famished, still unsatisfied but ever more discontent with who we are, may help with the daily battles many of us face.

With this in mind, I’m dusting myself off and scouting around to find my key motivators. They might be familiar, lifetime partners, or new posts in the World Wide Web. Either way, I hope to post some of them up here, along with a couple of thoughts, in the coming weeks. Oh, and I’ll try my damnedest to avoid anything drenched in trite, clickbait-esque drivel (sorry, a bit of useless cynicism there – a terrible habit!)

Above all else, I believe in using the advice of others in supporting emotional well-being. But the opinions of some can be a risky means of relief. Take my posts with a pinch of salt, I beg you – they’re only my thoughts, after all.

 

Personal Professional
Make some plans for Lisbon. Complete essay.
Finish editing a poem. Write up a sketch plan for upcoming report.
Ongoing
Make any c. writing notes in diary.
Come up with some personal motivators.

Yet more resolutions

It’s been a strange few weeks; I feel that the use of this blog for myself (and any others – ha!) might be almost dried up. Whether it’s money, the future, or simply making the best of life, many silly things have been wrestling my mind lately. I’ve not had the headspace to write here properly, let alone set my weekly targets – but they’re coming back, I swear.

Speaking of resolutions, today is the 17th May… we’re already almost halfway through 2017, and what have I done? Well, I’ve had a poem published (albeit by a small publisher); I’ve been to Japan(!) and Belfast; I’ve recently run a triathlon and managed to get somewhere near my desired fitness level; I’ve read quite a lot and trundled on with my MA; I’ve strengthened friendships. But is this enough? Not nearly. What else is coming?

Well, I need to finish the first year of my MA; do more volunteer work (especially around August after I… move to a new flat; go to Lisbon; focus on my writing and get more published; start a new blog about special collections and complete a CPD course (Advanced Rare Books Librarianship); run another event for charity in the autumn. What else? Well, we’ll just have to see.

Recurring dreams

[The following post contains a dangerous amount of clichés. Readers with weak stomachs should not continue].

 

I’ve not written for a while, and I apologise to myself. I’ve been buried by a lot of nothings – stupid, really, but the nothings are the first to bite, and always stick around up to breaking point. They’re slow killers, but killers all the same, perhaps.

There’s so much noise at the moment, we’ve all heard it, and heard others talk about it, and argue about it – you see, we’ve heard it all? Every wonderfully dull particle of our lives is pretty much in sight, if we want. But we’re all becoming so bored of those lives. How many times can you follow the same routine, the same thought patterns you’ve worn through? Our identities are clogged with all the stuff, but what is the alternative?

Just remember – which memory do you want holding your hand, the last visitor at your bedside?

 

Have any more shamelessly airy advice? Share it; it’s worth keeping in mind, you know.