A little about me, I guess…

This is the part where my mind goes blank. What am I about, what am I into? The second that questions like that start circling through my head, everything else goes out the window. Best start with the basics and work my way up, I reckon.

So, as the title suggests, I have Asperger’s and am therefore on the Autistic Spectrum. Because of where I sit on said Spectrum, my behaviour has often been described as being… weird. Which, for most regular folk, is true. To them, I was weird. But on the flipside of that, I found them particularly weird. And, in the case of school, utterly repulsive and not worth the time. I did not have a particulary happy childhood, you may already be able to tell.

What else is good to talk about? Hobbies! Perfect, I have at least one. The more creative of which is writing. Reading and writing had always been an interest of mine but through ignorance and a lack of direction, I let that passion slowly wither. Now, with more time to think and reflect, I’m trying to reclaim some of that passion and creative energy. Will I be successful? Sadly, no one knows. That’s part of what this blog is about, to a degree.

The next hobby that springs to mind is Photography. I kept seeing these beautiful images on social media and felt a pull, something telling me that I wanted to try that. So, the old camera came out. I tinkered and practiced, then took the plunge and bought an entry level DSLR. Taking photos of random things became a favoured past time. Then, the last couple of years happened and the chances to get out with the camera lessened as the days went on. I never considered myself good but I took quite a few shots that I was happy with and that was enough for me.

Right, let’s see about getting more in depth. I suffer with Depression and some level of anxiety. Sadly, they go hand in hand with Autism. Just a great way of making things just that little bit harder to handle. But, handle it I do, because you gotta keep on keeping on, am I right? Like many that suffer with this, my emotional and mental state has been all over the place, up and down like a rollercoaster. But, with the right tools, a balance can be found. I recommend Mindfulness personally, it’s helped to keep me centered more than once.

A slightly odder revelation that only recently came about. I’m pretty certain I’m a Nihilist. I find a strange comfort in believing that, one day, death comes for us all and we only get given the one life. You can go through life and affect everything or nothing. No matter which way you swing it, we’re all going to die and in the far future, our lives will be but a footnote in the history of our random existence on this rock hurtling through space. But that’s okay. All we can do is take control of the life we have and make ourselves happy. Just because the inevitable comes doesn’t mean we have to be miserable about it.

I think that covers the highlights, for now. Knowing me, I’ll think of something to add later on. But for now, thank you for visiting my corner of the internet, have yourself a lovely day.

I almost met my grandmother

She died before I was even born. Before I was even a thought. My older brother was two when she passed. Heavy smoker that succumbed to cancer, as I seem to remember being told. I didn’t ask much about her or much of anything growing up. But an event took place recently that sparked me into thinking about it.

My mother has Covid. She’s had her vaccinations and boosters and the like, so she’s got a bad cough and feels fatigued and that’s it. She’s fiercely independent and doesn’t use her time off work to actually relax. I always knew it would take her being sick to actually properly rest. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to be a severe case and she should be her normal self again before long. But the other day, me and my brother and his friend decided to pop up and see her, drop off some things and have a socially distanced chat with her for a while, something to break up the day. As part of the journey, my brother’s friend asked that we go to the nearby garden of remembrance, as his nana was there and he wanted to take her some flowers.

So, off we went and, having never visited this part of the cemetery before, I was taken aback by the number of beautiful flowers and how green the grass was kept. My brother’s friend went off to his nana’s plot (whilst also discovering he’d lost his phone on the journey) and I stood by with my brother, who promptly said something like: “I think grandma has a plaque or something somewhere around here”.

That grabbed my attention. I had no idea that she had anything to signify her existence anywhere in the area. Never thought to ask, it never seemed important. But now, knowing that she might be here, I started to slowly wander around the gardens, looking at all the plaques for what I believed to be her last name. The gardens aren’t big but before long, our time here had concluded and since we were going to see my mum, who would know where she was anyway, it made sense to leave now and ask her. Better than wandering around aimlessly.

The time with mum was fairly short, due to her being tired and my brother and his friend wanting to find that runaway phone. But I asked her to confirm if my brother was right and if she had a spot in that garden. She shook her head and said she was nowhere near here. Didn’t mention where. I didn’t ask. Maybe I should have. And when we double-checked my grandmother’s name, we were miles off anyway. So staying at the garden and looking at all the plaques would have been extra pointless.

It was only later that evening that I started to fully ruminate on it all. What would I have done had I found her there? What would I have said? I never knew her. I don’t believe that any questions I asked would get an answer, so why ask them?

None of these questions stopped me from thinking about how I would have felt had I found her plaque or spot in the gardens. It doesn’t matter, in a completely realistic viewpoint. Nothing would have dramatically changed. But the thought lingered for a while, until it slowly started to drift into the incredibly dusty recesses of my mind… I should really get a cleaner in there someday.

But it was enough to get me writing. Maybe I just needed to write these thoughts down, even if it is only to launch them into the cold, dark void of the internet. I’d like to think that grandma would have been happy to know me. Not proud, I haven’t done all that much to be proud of. But at least happy when I came to visit. Some might say it was a cruel twist that people ae robbed of such a chance to form such a bond. I suppose they’re right but if the universe was fair and good, we as a species would have had a our teeth kicked in centuries ago.

Do I regret not knowing her? I guess so, it would have been nice. My family is a pretty small unit and is not likely to get any bigger any time soon. Best to let non-existent regrets lie.

So I let this thought go and return to my day to day life of wondering about the mundane things to come. Like making sure we have enough bread and milk. Such fun.

Crufts: It’s like Comic-Con but for dogs

There’s not much more to say about it, other than how awesome it is. It’s a dog lover’s heaven, with so many different breeds of dog on display, you’re bound to fall in love at least a few times. I know this post comes a tad late but in all fairness, that could sum up a large portion of my life so far. Might make a nifty plaque or headstone, actually

“Here lies An Aspiring Aspie. He was a tad late”.

Hmmm. On second thought, maybe not. Anyway, the day in question was amazing. My friend, the amazing doglovingwriter, picked me up at about 3 in the morning so we could make our way to the venue. It was a good few hours drive but the chance to meet my friend and have a fun day out was worth it. I had plenty of time to mentally prepare for it and, despite dropping off a couple times on the way there, we had a blast.

Once we got there, we ventured forth to find our place, which was with the perhaps hundreds of other show dogs that were there that day. Held at the National Exhibition Center (NEC for short), Crufts has anything and everything you could need for a dog. Toys, leads, treats, books on dogs, endless stalls with anything dog-related that you could think of. On top of that, plenty of stalls for humans that take their dogs for walkies, like winter weather gear and clothing. And the food stalls, oh my word, those were amazing too. I’d go just for the hot doughnuts, honestly.

But my mission that day, as well as being a travel companion to my friend, was to photograph as many dogs as I possibly could. And by gosh, I did just that. As many as I could until I actually drained the battery that had only been fully charged a few days before. But it was worth it. So many adorable dogs, so little time. We were only there for one day, so I made the most of it. Sitting with my friend and her dogs, two gorgeous Springer Spaniels, we had a lot of people coming by to say hi to them and ask various dog questions. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do too much talking, as my knowledge of dogs is limited. But once things quietened down, I was able to get out and about with the camera and grab a few shots.

Look at the cuteness!

And so many of these lovely dogs made such adorable poses. Look at this guy up here, he’s just so happy. I’ve always been one for candid photos, shots in the moment, so when the dogs just happened to give a big smile, I had to capture that moment on camera. I took around 1400 – 1500 photos that day. Sadly, my skills as a photographer are a bit lacking and maybe 100 of those shots were usable. But the ones that came out nice are just oozing with cuteness!

Bit of a shaggy one

Some of these dogs could have been better described as bears, they were so big. Sadly, despite my best efforts, I can barely remember any names of the various different breeds. But I have the photos and the memories of an amazing day out, so that will do it.

A selection of cuties!

It was worth the sore feet and exhaustion at the end of the day. And I hope that one day, I’ll be able to go back and do it all again. The journey home wasn’t quite as fun as the route the satnav took us on was closed and required some manual map following to get us back on track. But we both made it to our respective homes safe and sound. I promptly fell asleep shortly after getting in, then spent far too long editing these photos to put up on social media. Which, apart from here, I still haven’t done.

So yes, a tad late is a very apt description of my very existence. But I got there in the end. If you can travel or live in the UK and have a fondness for dogs, get yourself to Crufts one day. It’s worth the travel for an excellent trip. Despite not handling crowds and loud days at the best of times, we planned all this well in advance and the preparation time in advance allowed me to survive it all and avoid a complete autistic meltdown afterwards. I did need some time alone to recuperate afterwards but it was worth every second.

Stay safe and happy folks, and have an amazing life.

Autism: My regular day-to-day

It’s… almost always too loud. Everywhere I go, I need something with me to block out all the external stimulation that encapsulates me. Busy, crowded streets. Bustling everywhere. Every footstep, every brush past me as I move by, desperately trying to get where I’m going without becoming hopelessly lost amongst everything around me.

It’s always too loud. Not enough to deafen me and leave me defenceless in a sea of humanity. But enough to always keep me on edge. Never quite able to settle until I’m somewhere quiet or safe. Somewhere I know. There are times I can push past this. I used to regularly go to rock and metal nights in town, where the alcohol I imbibed surely help to drown out the anxiety until I was happily lost in the head-banging crowd. But all the other times, it’s just too loud. Noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs work wonders. But most of the time, if I’m with someone, they will simply become irritated because I’m ignoring them. Especially with my wife, though she has become used to it.

I’m not ignoring you. I’m trying to hold myself together so that I can continue caring for you, looking after you. I can’t do that if I keep falling to pieces every few minutes. I wish I could walk this world and not have to mute it, not have to drown out everything around me. Even now, I’m sitting in my local Costa. A nice little coffee shop that I’ve been coming to for years. Even with the familiar surroundings, I need to drown out the noise. The people, the clattering of cups and saucers, the babies crying, the door banging closed when people come and go. I don’t want to need some aid to go anywhere beyond my front door. But… it’s too loud.

Most days, it’s too bright. Even when it’s cloudy or overcast, it’s too bright and I need to squint my eyes. Every little bit of light feels like it’s trying to burn my retinas, trying to take my already waning sight from me. So I try and stay in the shade or the dark, keeping away from anything that is too bright. It makes Summer an absolute catastrophe. Not able to truly enjoy the sun, I stay away as often as I can. Which is easier said than done. Have you seen the sun? It gets everywhere.

It’s always either too hot or too cold. I feel so sensitive to temperature, it’s maddening. Like my inner thermostat has been broken for years and my landlord doesn’t know how to fix it and doesn’t employ and actively lobbies against handymen. I wear a hooded jumper to keep warm, I boil. I take it off to try and cool down, I feel the second ice age upon us. I’m never fully able to feel comfortable.

When I get stressed or overstimulated, I shut down. My brain screams at me, in desperate need of quiet, as anxiety and panic grip me tight and won’t let go. On my good days, I communicate well. With people I know, I can joke and laugh and it all flows quite wonderfully. But when arguments arise and I’m not able to handle it, everything stops and I become a dead weight. Rocking in place, unable to speak. Unable to vocalise just what it is that I need. My wife hates it when I go quiet. She demands that I speak and talk to her. She doesn’t understand… she can’t understand what I’m going through. No matter how many times I tell her. It doesn’t happen enough. But it creates a huge rift between us when it does. She can only see what I’m going through. She can’t feel it like I do. Just give me peace… the time that I need to put myself back together. You’ve no idea how much worse you make it when you don’t let me be.

This is what I feel the most but I know that there is so much more that I probably don’t even realise. All the stimming, the other little nuances that are clear traits. To me, it’s just more… little pieces of me. It’s hard for me to distinguish. Or maybe hard to define, I’m honestly not sure. But all I can do is address the main points that affect my day to day more severely. With the right tools and coping mechanisms, taking my medication and staying on top of my mental health, it’s a little easier. It doesn’t take away the bulk of the problems. It takes the edge off them. But on the good days, that’s enough.

Given my mindset over the last few days, which hasn’t been great, it pays to remember that it isn’t the end of my world just because I’m different and this world seems engineered against people like me. I’ve tackled this challenge before and will continue to do so every day that I live. And I’ve been doing pretty damn good overall for the last 30 years. I don’t intend to stop that anytime soon.

Some good old fashioned burnout

Struggling with burnout and getting back on my feet

So. The original plan after bloganuary was to keep up on the regular blog posting, keep that momentum going for as long as possible, find some new daily blog prompts. Fast forward a month and a bit and not a new word to be seen. Yep, that about sums things up lately.

Shortly through February, I feel that I burned out a bit. Didn’t want to write, barely wanted to motivate myself to do anything. I know it’s fairly common in the early months of a new year but never felt it rob me of one of the few remaining passions that I have. But getting caught up in life and doing a fair bit of job hunting, I suppose it makes sense. A local service (Moving on Tyne & Wear) I have engaged with has connected me with some wonderful people that work with folks who are unemployed and are disabled or have learning needs or have autism to get back into work. A local service, completely free, that helps people in my position get back into work? Like a gift from the damn heavens.

They’ve been amazing, helping me look for jobs with a writing angle. I’ve been through the experience of working a job I hate, not eager to return to that experience. No, I’m more in need of a job that is both flexible and also won’t take the essence of my soul, shove it into a grinder and set it to maximum power. Writing always made me feel at peace and I believe that I am skilled enough to look at this as a road of employment. Been slow going but I am honing my sights on a fairly specific field that may not be exactly common. Most postings for jobs I see in my area are for bar staff. Between bars/pubs and fast food places and supermarkets, it’s a minor miracle there’s room for anything else.

Some fruitless hunting through the likes of Indeed led me to broaden the search to freelance work. Pay isn’t great unless you’ve been doing it a while but that flexibility is to die for. Being a carer for my wife, who I’ll circle back to in a moment, means I need a job that allows me to either work from home or is within a half an hour travel distance of home. Again, more restrictions on an already narrow search for employment. But my internet searching led me to Copify, a seemingly small website for freelance copywriters. You apply with your CV and all the usual details and then a small exam. In my case, the exam was 400 words on the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and I had an hour to do it. Nervous as I was, I filled in the forms and happily completed the sample article. It was quite interesting to learn more about the Olympics and how the 2012 event helped shape the city of London and how it still has an effect in the UK to this day. Fast forward a day or two and I get an email to tell me that I’ve been accepted and I’m a professional Copify writer. Not going to lie, the little dopamine kick from that was much needed.

To this day, I’ve completed a few jobs and have earned almost £20 in a week. May as well retire now, I need nothing else until the end of days. Jokes aside, the fact I’ve made some headway with it has me feeling proud of myself and perked me up when I needed it. With slow and steady work, it will become a great way to make a little extra cash doing something I love.

Now, circling back, as I mentioned. One big thing that may have contributed to the burnout was the wife’s health. Since new year’s and again quite recently, she displayed symptoms of a heart attack. We’ve been for tests and consultations and it looks like it may have been angina attacks, especially as both her parents had it. The last attack had her in hospital, where I wasn’t allowed to be with her due to Covid restrictions. Between that and trying to contend with the suspected Angina and worrying at home when she was in the hospital, I just felt wiped out. Couldn’t even pick her up as I can’t drive and slept maybe four hours that night. Wasn’t the most pleasant of days. But we will soon be getting an MRI, which is one step closer to a definitive answer to her debilitating chest pains. And some minor relief for us all when we get a plan of action in place.

But, in the meantime, we wait. As is the way of life, the long wait with our finite time before the grave. I’ve bounced back after enough time out and hope to get back into the swing of things. To all that read this, I hope this post finds you well and that you have a lovely rest of your morning, afternoon, evening or night.

Bloganuary 31: How do you feel when you look at the stars?

The Final Bloganuary post.

One of my regrets this month has been not joining this challenge as soon as it started, it’s been fun!

But also, it comes to an end and with such a lovely prompt. Stargazing isn’t something I usually get involved in, mostly because it is nearly always cloudy in my neck of the woods. But on the few nights that I remember being able to, it’s a lovely little pastime.

The night sky, when illuminated by those little pinpricks of light, serve as a reminder of just how small we are. A single glance into the sky can show dozens of stars. I envy those that live in places residing under a blanket of stars at night. So very far away, it’s easy to start wondering just how long that star has sat in the sky. Not that it’s just one star, most of what we can see is either a binary star system or two-star systems close together. Maybe in this lifetime, technology will let us see them closer, let us learn their secrets.

Stars go through so much, as we do. They are born, so to speak, then live and die. But not all fade, as they can become supernovas or immense black holes if the mass of the star is big enough. There are stars out there 100 times bigger than our sun, and there are billions of stars just like our sun out there in the galaxy. And with roughly 400 billion stars in our Milky Way alone, the human race may never see them all. But we’ll never stop trying.

Look up into the sky at night, pick a Star. The one that catches your eye might be home to a system much like ours, with planets brimming with other civilizations, far advanced beyond what we could ever hope to achieve in this lifetime. Maybe, as you’re looking out into the endless void, there’s another being out there doing much the same, staring back out into the starry sky. Despite knowing more about up there than we do about the deepest depths of our oceans, there’s still so much left to discover. But that’s for the big brains to ponder on. Me, I think I’ll try and get out somewhere one day, where the night sky is clear. Pick a star and let my imagination run free, see where it takes me.

It’s easy to get lost in the wonders that lie those many thousands of years away. So as you’re adventuring amongst those stars, don’t forget to take a moment and keep yourself anchored here, so you don’t float away entirely.

Bloganuary has been amazing, I think my next goal is to find somewhere that gives regular prompts for blogging, it works wonders for keeping me engaged.

Thank you all to those that read my nonsense and well done to everyone that took part!

Bloganuary Daily Prompt: Describe yourself as a tree

I’m not going to lie, I had no idea where to even begin with this one. Never have I stopped to think about myself as anything other than what I am. Which is a guy bumbling through life, working things out one thing at a time. I can’t imagine myself as something else, my mind can’t wrap my head around that and my creativity isn’t powerful enough to reach that peak.

So, what do I do when faced with such a query?

Google! Help me!

Personally, not a huge fan of quizzes like ‘what kind of insert random thing here are you‘ but I had no clue how else to approach this one. So, to Google I went to see what came up. The first search result brought me to onetreeplanted.org and finding out your tree personality via Celtic tree astrology. So, I’ve learned a new thing today, as I never would have guessed that existed. Based on my birthday, I was… Ivy. Which… is not a tree. It grows on trees. So, into the bin with that one.

Next up, the WWF website, otherwise known as World Wildlife. And on there, a handy little quiz to determine what kind of tree you are. With only seven questions, I got it filled in quickly and took in the results. Upon inspection… I can agree with some of the points raised.

Apparently, I am a Red Alder (Alnus Rubra).

Native to the western United States, the red alder is a deciduous tree that has been used in Native American cultures as medicine and dye. It’s an important forest tree, as it grows rather quickly and helps cover disturbed land.


That much tells me little, other than the basics of this particular type of tree, which is an interesting little tidbit of information. The next couple points, I’m not sure how they relate this to trees but they read as:

  • A quiet observer, you think before you speak and often ponder the larger questions life has to offer.
  • Friends know they can depend on you to be there in times of need and that you’ll remain a reassuring constant in their lives.

Okay, so I recently wrote about not being a big picture kind of guy, so pondering the larger questions life has to offer isn’t something I often do. Not that I’ve never done it, there has been the odd occasion. But I do find that the title of a quiet observer does fit me. People-watching in a cafe or places like that, I find myself doing that a lot. So it kind of fits.

As for the friends depending on me part, it again brings me back to my last blog post, to a degree. Part of what I try to do, in my attempts to be something of a good person, is to try and be there for my friends as much as I can when they need help, in any way that I’m able to. That one feels pretty spot on.

If I were to take this description at face value and believe it to be true, then I would say I very much am a Red Alder. How this tree is a silent observer when… all trees are? As part of my research, I tried to find a tree that I… connected with? I’m still not sure. But I found the Ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) to be a wonderful tree. In Norse Mythology, Ash was the tree of life, perhaps better known as Yggdrasil. And it has had a great many uses for hundreds of years.

Do I know where I’m going with any of this? No. But if I were to describe myself as a tree, then I would say that my roots go deep, representing my beliefs and my branches spread wide, to try and shelter those close to me. I help those close, which may be represented by the fruit and nuts my branches drop, I stand tall through harsh conditions and weather them as best as I can.

All I want to do is support my loved ones. If I were a tree, I’d like to think that I would keep doing the same.

Bloganuary Daily Prompt: How are you changing the world?

Bloganuary 29: How are you changing the world?

Well… I’m not?

Not in any way that I can think of. Maybe I’m overthinking it, as I look at just some of the people that have changed the world. All the great philosophers, artists and polymaths that, to this day, are revered for their abilities and actions that secured their places in the annals of history.

I, on the other hand, blog a bit, write a bit of whatever takes my fancy, sometimes try photography and try to be a good husband and carer. Not exactly the likes of Shakespeare, is it?

I’m not one for changing the world, though I do think it definitely needs it. Pretty certain everything is heading in the wrong direction, in some way or form. But it’s been doing that for quite some time. It’s never bothered me, now that I think about it. Changing the world is not something that I ever thought to do. I had much more realistic goals. Like figuring out how to deflect as much of the world as possible as I go about my business when out and about. The joys of being Autistic and falling apart if there is a sound just slightly louder than what I can handle. Thank goodness for noise-cancelling headphones.

One of my more recent self-discoveries is Nihilism. I find a certain comfort in knowing that, no matter what we do, it doesn’t matter. Eventually, everything will be dead and gone. Either the world dies and takes us with it or we as a species become extinct and nature reclaims the earth. Push as hard as we may, that is inevitable. Whilst the world will surely change an extraordinary amount of times before that comes to pass, it will all lead to one form of the same end result. And I’m happy with believing that. There are likely those out there who feel the need to do something to change the world, or perhaps even their own world. And that’s fine too, do what makes you happy, as long as you stay safe and aren’t hurting anyone. But I struggle with the big picture. Seeing beyond my own limited scope of life makes my head spin and I need to keep in check or who knows what I’ll end up like. Probably a crying mess looking for a dark corner to recover in.

How am I changing the world? Well, if I look at the smaller picture, my own picture, I’m doing the best I can to care for my wife and make sure our little world, our tiny place on this enormous planet, keeps working as well as it possibly can. I don’t have lofty goals or daring ambitions, such as the discovery of a new type of… plant that contains… something that would revolutionise science. See? Can’t even think of a good example, the concept is so foreign to me. But I AM looking to discover all the ways that I can cope with the everyday challenges, so I and my loved ones can go about our days in peace and hopefully harmony. Unless I forget to do the dishes. Then there is no harmony.

Saying all this, I don’t mean to make anyone think I hate the world based on my words here. I’m at odds with it but I’m one of many that are in that same boat. The way I would change the world is to try and be kind, to be the best me that I can possibly achieve. That alone is not easy. And whilst I won’t go down in recorded history for some brilliant feat, I just might make someone smile when they needed it or help them with something when they needed a hand.

It won’t alter the course of human destiny but it just might help change the world, even in the tiniest amount. So maybe I am changing the world. Not in the way that I initially perceived when I read today’s daily quote, but in a way that makes a small difference. Not one that is felt all over, not one that rocks the boat. But one that helps a friend onto their feet and puts a smile on a face, gives safe sanctuary to someone that feels lost.

The more that this happens, the more people offer a hand when they can… Maybe that would change the world over time. And that would be pretty astounding to see and feel.

Maybe one day.

Bloganuary: What’s on my music playlist right now?

Bloganuary’s daily prompt for the 28th

Such a nice prompt, I like this one. Mainly because it’s sort of easy to answer. I don’t really have a playlist set up, I just hit shuffle on Amazon Music and see what hits me.

The only playlists that are present are the defaults ones that come with use, like ‘Recently added to Cloud’ or ‘Recently played’. But then, as I look at my phone screen, I do see an old playlist that I haven’t touched in forever.

‘My Country Playlist’.

Forgot all about that one, made it quite some time ago during my Country stage. I say stage, I still quite like Country music. But I’m somewhat eclectic, I like all different genres. My go-to genres are metal and rock, which shocks most people as I look nothing like a metalhead. But that genre of music never fails to produce something that gets my heart pumping and my headbanging. Lately, I’ve become a fan of a small metal group called Seraphim. They’ve done a whole bunch of covers and some original content, all of which is just sublime to my ears.

Taking a scroll through the artists in my library, you can see all sorts. Black Stone Cherry, Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment. Then some more cover artists like Jonathan Young. Then some more obscure and random entries. Warren Zevo and The Tenors. A variety of rock, metal, pop and some lone Jazz singles hiding in there. Nat King Cole deserves more room in my library, though I prefer the Vinyl records for such artists. Makes it feel more… authentic, I guess.

Making some proper playlists has been on my mind for a while. Now that I’m trying to get back into exercise, my first priority there is to have some music to keep me motivated. Easier said than done, like most services, Amazon music comes with pre-made playlists for various occasions, depending on what you’re looking for.

But when it comes to my music, it’s all just tossed into the Cloud and the shuffle button gets pressed. The main problem here is the lack of organisation. Some songs don’t make me feel the way they used to and get constantly skipped. Perhaps a good long look through my library is needed, followed by a swift purging of the songs that just don’t get the love that they used to.

Maybe someday. But for now, I think I’ll hit that shuffle button again and drift off into some music.

Bloganuary: Some Self Reflection

So. I meant to try and start Bloganuary the moment I found out about it. But, in my typical fashion, it’s been a few days for me to get around to it. And I’ve landed on a prompt that poses, to me, an utterly awful thing to contemplate:

“What is your favourite part about yourself?”

Now, I have come to the conclusion that… I don’t hate myself. Anymore. Not certainly as much as I used to. Took a lot of growing up and coming to terms with who I know myself to be before that stopped happening. Wasn’t an easy journey. But I’ve come pretty far, as I’ve from ravenous self-loathing to a more steady stream of discontent with myself. It’s not stellar progress but it’s progress nonetheless.

How then to begin to answer such a question, when I’m still at such a tentative phase of the journey?

I suppose, if I were to look at it logically (as I try to look at most things), I would find a starting point. A part of me that I have an answer for and work my way from there. Looking at it that way, I can rule out a few parts. My body, from top to bottom, I am not a fan. A rotting corpse is how I often refer to it. Or like a lasagna that’s been dropped and trodden on. Every part of me that is basically external, I can’t really find anything good. Knowing that this is not the best outlook, I have plans to make changes here, changes that will no doubt come over a period of years. But that won’t happen if I don’t start working on it.

In that regard, I look inwards, as there are at least a few parts there that I can probably at least tolerate.

I always seem to be described as ‘cheeky and quite funny’. I do enjoy making people crack a smile when I can. My sense of humour can range from cheeky to just downright filthy and inappropriate, which tends to present itself more based on the company at the present time. A sense of humour can work wonders, it can reveal in an instant who you’re going to click with and who you won’t. But it’s not my favourite part of myself, though it could be deserving of second place.

Running through all the options in my head, I would say that my favourite part of myself would be… I always try to do what’s right.

I stick by those I love, that’s the simple way of putting it. I will do what I can to support them. Whether it be an ear to listen to their stories, a friend to spend some time with, a sudden dash into the cold dead of night because someone took off without warning crying their eyes out. I try to do the best I can to do right in any given situation. It might be an odd thing to call a favourite part but after all the deliberation, I’d say this is as close as I can currently get.

I’ll be figuring out what exactly the inside of my head is all about for years to come, maybe more. Figuring myself out has been one of the banes of my existence since I can remember. But looking at more recent times, whilst my overall self-rating is alarmingly low, this part of me is one that I can smile about. It’s not a huge thing, it’s maybe not even relevant or important. But it’s something. And that’s better than where I was a decade ago.

That will do for now.

Remember them

Remember them – In dedication to my darling wife, who has lost far more than any person should in their lifetime.

Though they are gone
We remember them
Through the hardships that we endured
We remember them
Through the pain of every fight
We remember them
Through the love of every cherished moment
We remember them
Through all the crossed words and dark thoughts
We remember them
Through only the memories we could ever dream of
We remember them
Through the happy days and the innocent times
We remember them
Through all the hardships that this life forces upon us
We will always remember them
Because, if we remember them
Then they’re never really gone

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