Good morning, folks! How are we all doing this morning? I am knackered. The short of it is I’ve not slept properly for over a week now. When I do sleep its not good sleep. I more often than not wake up feeling like I’ve been in a street fight.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to take the rest of the month off from writing. I’m not writing at the moment, so this kind of feels like one of those things where I’m making an announcement that’s not going to change anything. It is though. I will guilt trip myself till the cows come how if I don’t do any writing, which just adds to my anxiety levels (which are always worse when I’m tired).
So, the vague plan is to not do any writing work till October. I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment and this’ll let me refocus my attention properly. It’ll give me time to try and catch up on sleep via naps, and not slamming myself for napping and not writing will help.
Sometimes we all need to take some pressure off ourselves. This is me doing that. I do have a lot going on, and the next ten days or so I’ve got a lot I need to focus on.
I have got a couple fantastic little irons in the fire at the moment with writing, so this isn’t because I’m feeling down about writing. It’s just something needed to give, and writing is the most flexible part of my DNA.
When I dit down again in October I’ve got NaNoWriMo to think about (YAY!!!!!), and a couple of short stories I’ll be looking to get drafts of done.
So, lots going on with writing. The passion is still there and strong, I just need a breather from it to focus on other areas of life. And not for nothing, when I get back to it in October I’ll be very reenergised.
I edited 9694 words today on a story called Robert. Yes, I’m still holding off editing on Sweet Danny. Just need to get my head around it more.
I like Robert. I think it’s a good story and is part of a bigger universe that I’m enjoying working on.
At the moment I feel like my head is being pulled in twenty different directions when it comes to writing. And I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere at the moment. I know I am, but it feels like I’m not.
I need to change that, I’m making progress but it’s just not as quick as I’ve convinced myself it needs to be.
After work I ended up having a bit of a busy afternoon with some errands that needed to be ran that I wasn’t expecting today. They’re done and dusted and out of the way now though. It did mean I didn’t get any writing done. By the time they were done, combined with the early start and the lack of sleep that early starts treat me too, I’m wiped out.
Tomorrow I want to edit Sweet Danny. I’m pretty sure I know what changes I want to make with it to get it where it needs to be.
I would love to get some words in as well, but I’m kind of on a position where I’ve got more editing to do. Not the kind where I’m editing the same story a billion times, but short stories that I’ve written over the last few months that need a little tidying up before I shoot them off to beta readers.
I’ve been playing a lot of GTAV online recently as part of working on my self-care. Gaming for me is an escape for me. It’s one the few things that turns my brain off from everything going on around me.
With GTAV I used to play it a lot but my anxieties would get to me. Mostly I’d just drive around robbing convenience stores, stealing and selling cars, and occasionally working for another player as bodyguard or associate. I had a Motorcycle Gang clubhouse but rarely did anything with it. When I would do the missions I’d get very frustrated when another player would thwart my efforts. And after a while it felt like it was becoming toxic to me. I was literally driving around doing nothing in the game. So I deleted it.
A few weeks ago Stefan from Stefan’s Daily Gaming mentioned playing it so I loaded it up again. Unfortunately we’ve not been able to make playing together happen, yet. But I’ve got a few plans for when it does happen.
The first few sessions I didn’t really do a lot, but then I had my day out at Broadstairs and that realisation that fear is ruining my life and I started doing more. I’ve bought a ID counterfeiting business via my motorcycle gang and have done a couple of the Survival challenges. I used to never do anything like that. The one time I did I got a little shit talking from the other players, and that put me off. Now I don’t think I’d be as delicate to it, but I also think I’m not going to be doing many of these missions with strangers. I think I just need to find my people on there. With Stefan I think it’ll be good. We’ve done a fair bit of gaming together and I think we’ll work well together.
I would like to have peeps I play with on there. You see others doing it and I think it would enhance the experience. It’ll make earning cash easier as well as some of the contacts for example need at least two people and even the ones that don’t an extra gun would be handy. You can recruit players in game to work for you, with a Motorcycle Gang they start as Prospects. I’ve had next to no luck with this, but I will persist as I want to expand that experience of the game.
At the moment I am building funds so I can expand my empire. I have something that’s beginning to look like a plan building. I’ve done a little reading online for tips etc. and I’m beginning to get an idea of where I want to put my money. I’ve just got to earn it first, and I’m not buying funds from Rockstar. I’m not necessarily against that, but its not for me. A) I don’t really have the budget to spend on games outside of my Xbox Game Pass each month and B) I want to earn my money. I don’t want shortcuts. I want to hustle and earn my wealth.
Now, other players do bother me. Some, I think they’r recalled Griefers, although I prefer trolls, are just out to ruin others enjoyment. I can understand trying to screw up someone as they’re trying to transport goods. You earn cash and RP (Respect Points) in doing that. It’s the ones who’ll do that, and then spend the next ten minutes just trying to kill you. These people normally have vehicles which are hard to destroy, like military grade fighters, when all I wanna do is get back onto another money earner. I even had one troll message me on Xbox (not even the in game messaging system) bragging about a gaming chair and calling me a noob. Firstly, I’m not sure what the chair has to do with it, secondly, I’m nearly level 100 on the game, so although I’m not a gifted gamer calling me a noob wasn’t accurate, and thirdly I’m not rising to that bait. I’m past that. I haven’t got time to get in a dick waving contest over a video game. If you’re someone that gets pleasure from ruining someone else’s enjoyment then you really need help. I’ll also not back down. I’m not quitting a session due to someone trolling me. Stuff that, I’ve given into too many bullies in my life, and I’m not going to do it anymore. Especially not on a video game.
I’ve made a few missteps cash wise but I’m on a decent road to recovery with it and am getting close to instigating my next major purchase.
I know I’m not the most gifted gamer, but some things in the game I do well. I’ve found I’m pretty damn good on a motorbike (which is shocking cause in real life I’ve never been on one), but I do feel exposed and would rather be driving my armoured sports car. Especially in a session where there’s a lot of hostility going around. I will admit that when I’m in those sessions I tend to be a little more passive and not as pro-active when running my MC (motorcycle gang), but I think I’ll change that. Loosing a payday or dying in game isn’t the end of the world. I’ve not found anything on this game that can be lost and not recovered one way or another.
I feel like I’ve made a commitment to build something in this game. To be successful in it. It’s not going to be easy and I’ve got to keep a strong nerve and not quit when it gets hard.
Since writing this post yesterday morning I have added a nightclub to my growing empire and I think this is gonna help me step up a level.
Well, I think I did have the productive day I was aiming for.
I got up at a decent time, made tea and sat in the chilly morning air in the garden wand wrote some more thoughts down. I’ll put those in another post. After the tea and morning thoughts I ran into town for a few bits for my folks. I finally got Max a couple more balls for him to chase around the garden.
I got some writing administration work done, then I got stuck into some words. A nice 710 was written on a short story. Then I gamed, took Max for a walk, read, then gamed, dinner, washing up, and now I’m watching a movie and writing this post.
I don’t normally break my days down like this, and looking back it doesn’t feel like I’ve done a lot today but that’s because I only wrote 710 words. I keep reminding myself its not just about words. It’s about progression of the story, and I progressed the story today.
I’ve got plans tomorrow afternoon, but in the morning I’m going to try and get some words wrangled again. I was planning on getting a lot of writing done this week, but I’ve spent the week working on myself. It’s been freeing this week, and I need to keep that forward progression of myself as well as my fiction going as well.
I managed to write 417 words this afternoon. I’ve put writing on the back burner this week while I’ve been off work, and focused on a lot of self-care and improvement. it finally feels like I can start opening up about a lot of things and I’m keen to keep going with it.
I will be blogging about a lot of this stuff. Not all, obviously. There’s somethings I have no intention of sharing publicly but I’ve got a lot I think I will share. Men aren’t mean to show weakness, which is bullshit. If me opening up about the struggles I’ve had in life help others feel confident enough to speak up and ask for help then it’s all worth it.
Right, I’m just settling into a movie. I’m going to try and have a ‘get shit done’ day tomorrow. Check back here tomorrow to see how I got along.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my time at Gap House boarding school over the last few days. Especially after visiting it on Wednesday, you can read my post about the day here. Here are some thoughts about my time there. I hope you enjoy.
It’s ten past nine in the morning and I’m sitting out in my garden with a cup of tea and Max the doggo mooching about, and I’m think a little about the last few days. Wednesday in particular.
The purpose of my trip down to Broadstairs was to go down and see what had become of my old boarding school. I knew it wasn’t a school anymore but I didn’t know what had become of the building and the grounds. In short, nothing. It’s just been left. Abandoned to to let nature and time slowly break it down. It will take some doing though, because that building has a strong core.
It breaks my heart to see it like that though. It’s a pipe dream but I’d love to buy it all and make it into an artists retreat and youth centre. Somewhere people can come and create in a peaceful environment, and where youngsters can spend time and socialise and I’d have people there who could help and advise them on the adult world. I’d make a safe space for all who came there. It’s something I’d love to do in my home town as well, but it is just a pipe dream. The odds on me having the funds to do anything like that are slim. But I can dream.
The reason I’d love to include Gap House in that is my memories from there, and how safe a time in my life it was. Gap House changed my life. Apparently I was a little sod when I was a kid (hard to believe, I know!), but in the two years at gap house I feel like I learned how to communicate much better than I had been able to. My dyspraxia was considered a severe case and I think I’d act out because I did struggle to communicate so much.
I don’t really remember much of it. My childhood in general is kinda fuzzy, but I remember speech therapy being difficult. I remember having to stand outside the staff room during a break as punishment (no idea what I did twenty years later), but my dominant memories from that time are happy ones. Playing football cricket in the paddock, going into Broadstairs (both through the houses and along the beach), cinema trips. We went ice skating one time which was a lot of fun, although a house parent broke their arm. So it might not have been as much fun for them! We’d go swimming, and for days out around Thanet.
I was one of the children who would stay for two weeks at a time. There wasn’t often many of us, in the second year it was just three of us. Those weekends were when I had some of my favourite times. We’d build a fort in the gym with whatever we could find. We’d use blankets to make camps between the beds. There was a little sneaking around after lights out. We had a load of animals there, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas and more that I just can’t remember now (my memory is like a blackhole unless someone reminds me of something!).
Something I distinctly remember doing is burring a time capsule in the sorta of overgrown bit of the garden. I say overgrown, if I remember right it was let to grow like that as a sort of nature habitat. I hope it’s still there. I hope the land doesn’t get bought by a developer and a god awful apartment building is building in its place.
We had a dining room, that looking back I want to say was a little snug when full but was nice. On a Saturday evening we’d sit and eat dinner in the TV room watching Gladiators, and I want to say a couple of other Saturday night shows. Maybe Noels House Party? I can’t remember for sure now.
One of the highlights was being chosen to play Christopher Columbus in a Christmas play which was basically Christopher Columbus, This Is Your Life. I can remember that very distinctly. We also went to the Isle of White Camping one year for a week. This was amazing! We saw The Mary Rose before we left the mainland, which was fascinating. Then on that week on The Isle of White, I just remember it being a lot of fun. Walking down to see the Needles, the actual camping in tents. Toast cooked on an open fire. We also went to France the year after for a week. We camped in the garden of one of the home of one of the staff at Gap House and if I remember right, it absolutely threw it down for the week and we ended up sleeping on the kitchen floor of this beautiful house in France.
My post the other day got comments from a couple of the fantastic people who worked there. Whether it was the teachers, the house parents, or even the cooks, they all worked to make Gap House a fantastic place to be. I spent two years there. In that time I grew in confidence (which was then snatched from me when I was a teenager, that’s another post though), and I’m only now truly beginning to appreciate just how important all at Gap House were in helping me as I learned to live with dyspraxia.
Thank you all for giving me those skills and those fantastic memories.
I’ve not done any writing today, but have been seeing to a few other bits and bobs. Spent some time in the garden as well this afternoon.
I am suffering some sunburn from yesterday! And I’ve felt quite reflective today as I process all the emotions of that day. I’m feeling good overall though. I feel like I’ve got a bit of a bounce in my step and I’m feeling more settled. And I dare say when I was in town I felt a wisp of confidence tickle itself through me. Self-confidence is something I’m eager to work on and build up more. Each day I’m feeling better in myself. I’ve not felt this calm in as long as I can remember. I feel more capable than I have in a long time as well.
I’m just feeling good! I’m a little scared this energy is going to seep away again, but I’m learning new ways each day to keep my mindset strong.
Right, that’s all for today. I hope you’ve all had an awesome day! And I’ll be back tomorrow.
Today I went to where my old boarding school at Dumpton Gap is. I wasn’t planning on documenting the experience at all let alone as I did, which is why it might seem to start suddenly. I’m going to write it verbatim, as I wrote it. I hope you all enjoy it.
As I sit here on the concrete water break thing I have a desire to go and walk through the surf, bare feet. I have the urge to go into the English Channel up to my waist. Up to my chin even. I didn’t bring a swimsuit. I don’t even own one that fits. I don’t even have a towel!
I have no reason to be scared of the sea. I do fear open water. The sort of water that my feet will never touch never be able to touch the bottom. I’ll never go too deep in the water. Chin deep, no. but waist deep, why not?
For today I’ll sit here and drink this can of Pepsi Max. I’ll let the breeze off the sea wash over me, giving me that hit of sea air salty sea air I remember from so strongly from childhood.
It’s emotional sitting here. Seeing my old school abandoned and left to crumble is heart breaking. My two years there changed my life in many ways. Most of which I hadn’t haven’t even realised yet.
If I had the money I’d buy it and makin make it into a retreat and a centre for young people. That’s a pipe dream though. In this world of raping our heritage it will likely be torn down and an ugly block of flats built that doesn’t fit.
On a clear day we’d look for France on the horizon. Today it’s a clear, beautiful day but I can’t see our European neighbour. I see Haze. I’ll be buying some binoculars, a beach towel and some swim shorts for my next visit to the coast.
I am going to go into Broadstairs, but I’ll take a gentle drive and save the walk along the beach front for another day. I can feel wisps of anxiety creeping in, in and I don’t want to push myself too hard.
This is so much more overwhelming than I thought it was going to be. The salt air, the sound of the waves gently crashing in. The wind across my bare skin. The beautify of it. Why did I allow fear to stop me ex exploring this for so long?
I finally get the courage to sit on the breakfront. My hands are shaking and I need to pee, but the wave splashing mere feet from my feet occasionally splash on my legs and it feels good.
I only realise now how crippling this irrational fear had been.
The water in my eye I tell myself the tears in my eyes are because of the breeze but I know that’s a lie. Its emotionally overwhelming.
I get the best view of my old school from here. Such a beautiful building. The one that replaced it, I drove by. I’m sure its very good and but it lacks the character of Gap House.
I’d forgot how the sea could be two different beautiful colours.
Sitting in my car I see seagulls atop the roof of Gap House. Its character is still there. A lack of maintenance, no care for it will ever erase that.
I’m going to take a slow drive into Broadstairs town now. Curious for the memories and emotions that’ll conjure.
Does this qualify as a pilgrimage?
The beach is called Dumpton Gap. This is my second stop in as many minutes since I pulled away from where I was parked.
I couldn’t park in Broadstairs. So I drove back to Dumpton Bay, having decided to walk along the seafront.
I have a yearning to be here. For the sound of the sea and that salty sea air. Even the raucous seagulls. My parents go on holiday to Paignton each year. my dad spent a small part of his childhood there. I thin kI understand why he is drawn back there now.
Is this where I belong? on the coast? Id This feels like somewhere I shoaled be striving to end up.
Time to walk the short walk into Broadstairs.
Those two shades of colour of the water, the greener of the two seems to be where the bay begins. I’m sure theres a scientific reason for this. for me its just beautiful.
This time down here I look at the haze on the horizon and can just see darker shapes. Is this France? or boats.
Is this just nostalgia? or is this where I belong.
I walk along the top of the sea break. Yes there is fear a section of concrete will break away and I fall, but I was sitting on it not that long ago. I know the chances of it breaking are slim to nothing. I walk along it in the hope of the surf splashing up.
I remember walking along here when I was young. With fellow students, teachers and house parents. The older children could walk into Broadstairs town without adults but in at least pairs. Not along the beach though. We had to have an adult with us if we went onto the beach front.
It feels good being out in this air. This is not a million miles away. It’s a simple drive. There is nothing except my own fear holding me back.
This overwhelming but it feels good.
I’m craving the sand between my toes. The sea water on my feet and around my ankles. I must be able to find a beach towel somewhere. I know I don’t need one but I feel like I do.
As I approach Broadstairs town and beach it strikes me me how I’ve just walked a walk I haven’t done since I was eleven. That’s 28 years ago. I wouldn’t have been able to do this even three weeks ago.
I’m looking at hotels and wondering what their rates are. I need more time down here.
Walking on sand in trainers remembering how different it is to walk on. On the walk back I will be barefoot.
I always forget how big, and arrogant seagulls are.
I’m full of regrets and a little anger at not having done this before now. Of not exploring more.I’ve been saying for years I want to get out more, see more of the UK to start with. Realising how much fear and anxiety has held me back, that I’ve allowed to hold me back, hurts. But I’m not letting this sour the day. This is fuelling the urge to get out. The more I can do this, the more I overcome these fears that have no reason to exist.
The next time I come to Broadstairs I will park at Dumpton Gap and make the walk. It’s good for my soul.
This feeling is alien to me. My head should be screaming at me to flee, get back to my car and get home as quickly as I can. Even the fact my car is a ways away should fill me with anxiety. It’s not though. This calmness, this peace isn’t alien. It’s what I should be feeling. Not fear and anxiety.
I don’t find a beach towel, but I do walk through the sand barefoot. The sand is cold in the shade and hot, but not unbearable, in the sun.
I almost walk back along the concrete barefoot but it’s just a little too harsh for comfort.
I’m looking forward to the walk back. From Dumpton Gap to Bay to Viking Bay, and back again.
I’ve brought trinkets and notebooks (they had awesome notebooks!) in th a couple of the shops at Viking Bay. I spend a few minutes w off the seafront in the town, but not long.
As I start my walk back I realise the tide is slowly going out. I stop to watch th as seagulls skim the surface of the with a precision that I can’t comprehend.
The seaweed is so pretty as the retreating tide exposes it.
I watch the people swimming and admire them. I we don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough or a strong enough swimmer to do that. I’m okay with this.
Is promenade the right word for this concrete path? It seems to fit but I’ll look it up later.
As I walk back to my car I feel I’m walking a little quicker. Not much but just that bit faster. I don’t think it’s anxiety. I think it’s where that feeling of being overwhelmed is softening. There’s been times where I’m feeling almost fuzzy headed. So much to feel. So much to take in. I think It’s going to be a few days at least as I’m processing all this.
Maybe this quicker pace is an urge to get home? I think my mind, mind body, and soul are ready to be in my safe space again. I’m not panicking though. There’s no tightening in my chest. No thumping heart. I’m just ready to take a nice and steady drive home.
Thinking of driving I realise I wasn’t nervous or anxious or scared driving down. This pleases me.
It has struck home just how much I’ve let fear and anxiety ruin me and my life. I’m not going to dwell on it though. I’m not going to let it fester.
My brother has inflatable canoes. Maybe we could bring them down here one day.
This urge to go home isn’t stopping me from stopping and writing my thoughts down.
I hadn’t planned to document they but I had that need to. I’m glad I brought my bag with notebook and pen. Although I haven’t touched my iPad of the book I brought with me.
Money is tight at the moment. But I can afford the fuel and I had a small budget that I’ve stuck to. I’ll be more prepared next beach trip.
I’ve always had a fascination with the sea. I wish I hadn’t let my fears suffocate that.
I haven’t spoken to many people. I regret this but thats something hat will come with more time and exploration.
I feel a little silly and weak with what I’ve felt today. Even sillier for realising just how much I’ve let fear and anxiety ruin my life.
I set out today with only a vague feeling that I needed to do this. I didn’t know what I was hoping for. What I’ve discovered is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
As I sit on this bench, my car a couple of hundred yards away, I’m fearing that I’ll loose this urge ability to act on the urge to explore. That the fear and anxiety will take it from me again. I can not let that happen.
This was something I had to do on my own. I’d like to these with someone else to share the experience, but somethings I need to brave on my own. To build my confidence.
I’ve stopped at a services close to home. I should have stopped sooner, got a drink as I haven’t drank or eaten enough today. But I did go over my budget a little and I’m close enough to home not to worry about it.
I haven’t been watching the clock on the sat nav on this journey. Not long ago I would have done. I can feel anxiety, but it doesn’t feel as dominating as it used to be.
Now I’m home and reflecting on the day I feel more determined that ever to continue this exploration. Yes, summer is almost over but that’s not going to stop me.
Today was a hard hit. A hard realisation of all the time I’ve lost. Now’s the moment to make sure I don’t feel this way in twenty years time.
This coming week I’m off from work. So I’m going to try and have a productive week. I’ve got non-writing bits and bobs to do but I’m going to have a nice few hours to get some work done. Relaxing and some self-care is a priority this week.
I’m liking where my head is. The new medication is working well and I’m feeling better than I can ever remember feeling since childhood. I’m still having rough moments, but I’m handling them and feel like I’m managing my emotions well. I’m finding doing some gaming is helping, but I’m being thoughtful and not letting it become a negative. I’m playing a lot of Grand Theft Auto V online, which used to have moments when I’d feel like screaming (normally trolls), but playing it now I’m not only not getting stressed out while playing it I’m pushing myself and exploring more of the features. I’m still not fond of doing missions but I’m getting businesses running and being proactive about making money! When I game I turn off from everything else pretty much, which I find helps once in a while.
I am planning on getting out and about, visiting places I’ve always wanted to go to but was always defeated by my anxiety. I’ve got a few hurdles in the way still, but I’m working on it.
Diet wise I’m trying to be more thoughtful about what I’m putting into my body. I’m not doing as well with my lust for sugar, but It’s something I’m conscious of. I think I mentioned in my post about hating my body about being heavier now than I’ve ever been. I know I’m not huge, but I’d like to loose a bit of weight and get back to where I was.
I do like my energy drinks a little too much, that I am pleased to say I’ve got a nice handle on. I’ll admit I had one today but that’s the first I’ve had in a few days. I’m also drinking less cola and more squash.
Getting a little fitter is a thought as well. I’m going to start walking. I’ve got some great scenery around me so why not enjoy it more. I’m sure Max the doggo wouldn’t be against this!
I’m also getting my head back into reading again. I’ve finished two books that I’ve been reading for far too long in teh last month and feel like I’m getting back into the habit nicely.
Sleep is still a struggle (overlaid and was almost late for work today!), but I’m working on sleep hygiene and making my sleeping environment much more calming.
I’d like to talk more about my mental health journey on here. Where I’m not feeling as anxious about it I feel able to open up about certain elements of it. I don’t often see men talking about mental health. I think it’s this sense that we’re seen as weak if we do, or that it’s just not done. That’s one of the reasons why I never used to talk about. Men don’t talk about their health, especially mental health. I think that’s why male suicide is so high, because we bottle it up and then we can’t take anymore and it all explodes and we can’t handle it. I’ve had brief suicidal thoughts. I say brief because I’d have the thought and then I’d immediately shut it down.
Don’t be scared to ask for help. There are organisations out there to help. Like many, I can’t afford therapy but thankfully there are organisations who will provide help. Even if it’s not much, it’s a start and you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference a little help from someone who’s been trained can make. Hell, even if it’s the Samaritans it’s worth calling.
Each day is a small step. Some times its day by day, and as a friend said tonight, sometimes it’s an hour by hour. Reach out for help, speak to a friend who you trust, who will be sympathetic. Men, women, non-binary’s, don’t hold it in. It only makes it worse.
Remember, it can always get better. It just takes patience and work.