Friday, 7 March 2014

You're grieving wrong

Loss is quite a thing. The brain has built in functions that will set  it aside indefinitely until you are ready to deal with it. 

Yet even while you are setting it aside, allowing yourself to perform whatever task you decided subconsciously required the delay of that loss, the brain is iterating through it one small chunk at a time. 

The greatest piece of advice I ever got about dealing with a loss was this:

"There is no wrong way..."

As in, whatever you are doing, that is the right way. That is what you need to do. It's terrible to be lost without that knowledge. To feel guilt because you don't seem sad enough, or you're functioning how you need to, to carry on.

The only people who will tell you you're doing it wrong either have no concept of loss, or no mechanism for analysing what they themselves are doing, or they have lived with a guilt for not doing it by somebody else's standard for some time. 

Screw standards. This is your future, and your recovery. Whoever you lost, they would not wish you to live with guilt as well as the pain of loss. 

The other thing that struck me today, after 19 years; you cannot underestimate the trauma that surrounds death. The loss itself is entirely separate to the trauma of witnessing it, and the pain, suffering and degradation of quality of life that leads up to it. 

Today I broke down in tears as I shaved my head. There was no trigger. I am not even sad. Perhaps my brain just finished another chunk. Go brain...

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Facebook - It isn't clever

Tonight I woke up and found it difficult to get back to sleep. This has perhaps put me in a foul mood...

I trawled facebook just to keep me quietly occupied, as everyone is asleep. The more I looked the more I had to resist the urge to jump down some poor thread's throat and tear it a new arsehole. 

Thread after thread of complete drivel. Its like somebody is genuinely attempting the old 'give infinite monkeys a typewriter' experiment. 

I'm not talking about the opinions of my friends (necessarily ;)), although it is always sad to see someone taken in by baseless, wishy washy bullshit written in big words to dazzle and confuse; by a sacked off buzzfeed journo for a 'the world is magical' organisation who can't face the reality that we're probably not telepathic until proven otherwise!! OK maybe I am talking about that a little bit. 

Proven, by the way, does not mean that it is said in another book. Nor does it mean that you heard a person tell a story that someone else heard about their great Gran while she was exploring drugs. Proof is measurable and can be cited. 

As I was saying I wasn't annoyed about that. But scrolling through the waves of drivel I found myself compelled to get involved several times and I suddenly realised that I was probably about to offend someone. So I stopped. I posted, edited and finally deleted several posts that were not meant to offend in the slightest. So I thought to myself; "If I don't want to offend them, and this is not going to achieve anything else... what am I trying to do here?" 

So here I am ranting away at Blogger. At least Blogger won't care that there is zero proof that our earlobes give us a sixth sense by wobbling at the exact fucking resonant frequency of a unicorns fart! At least Blogger will not take offence at me making this face *makes face*. 

I suppose all I'm saying is, if its written on a meme or a thread on facebook, it is almost 100% likely to be utter bollocks!

Rite of Passage

I've been with my girlfriend now for about 18 months. So much has happened it seems a lifetime. Not in a bad way. Time has not dragged, but I have the unshakable notion that so many events cannot happen and so much love and trust cannot be accrued in such a short time.

Before this relationship I was something of a bachelor. I was a 31 year old self employed martial artist. I wasn't badly behaved but my life was very different. Thinking back, I was lost. 

I did not dislike being single. In fact I believe strongly that until you have found the right person you should choose to be single, and bloody well enjoy yourself. Entering a relationship and dogmatically, blindly holding onto it even if it doesn't work is not the way forward.

"Easy for you to say Med. Mr 'When you know, you just know!'"

Not so actually. While for the most part I enjoyed being single, there were times that could only be described as crises.The culmination of loneliness, fear of said loneliness, futile attempts at success in career and love, unstable home-life, poor living conditions and irrational existential episodes brought about a short to medium length period of my life that I do not wish to repeat. 

People mock the 'mid-life crisis' quite a lot. They see older fellas in fast cars and think "criiiiisiiiiis". I was guilty of this once or twice myself. But if these events are anything like I experienced then a) They are not funny and b) All power to them.

I have no stats, but I think men in general do not take care of their mental health very well. Our standard response to poor mental health is booze or mockery. When faced with this crisis though, I needed to take more drastic action. Yet at no stage did it occur to me that I should go to the quack, which I have paid for with my taxes. 

Instead I researched self help, motivation and positivity. Usually I can't hack very much of this generally american dominated industry. But I did what I recommend any of you do should you be in need of a little help in this way. Research a buttload of it. Listen to as much as you can stomach and take action straight away to turn your brain around.

I digress; the original motion for this post was to talk a little about what it's like to be a new dad with a ten year old.

In a lot of ways that I didn't expect, the boy 'found' me. If I was lost, he was definitely key to navigating my way back to the right path. I had never wanted or needed children in the past. Not in the sense that I felt a yearning or a biological clock ticking away. But it would seem that, that was exactly what was happening, to an extent at least.

Interaction with him used to be a lot easier, because originally I was his Aikido teacher. So on the mat I was strict, and off the mat I was just an adult that he knew.

Now everything I say has consequence. Every position I take on every subject is analysed carefully and every tone of voice I take has an influence on his upbringing. This is so easy to forget and quite tough to maintain. It is also irreplaceable in ones life. If men have a final right of passage it is simply to be a true father figure.

I say father figure because being a father is as easy as... well you probably have some idea of what I mean by that. Actually taking on that responsibility is hugely different. I never wiped his bum when he was a baby, or helped him with his first steps. But how he grows now, in his formative years is partly up to me. This is one of the best things in my life, and yet I have never found a bigger challenge.

The mirror that is held up by having this responsibility is ruthless. It tells you exactly what you think of yourself. It shows you completely naked, casting aside your self image for the immature bullshit that it is worth.

The growth and beauty that you witness is incredible and profound. You share a part of yourself that may have hidden from you until this moment.

This experience is refreshing and beautiful, if you are up for it.

Site updates

I've made loads of updates to in the last hour (taking a well earned break from a morning of maths). Notably to the 'games' section with a new project in the pipeline. I've also made quite big changes to the 'learn stuff' links. Separating out the guitar and Aikido tutorials and adding a lot of material for the guitar section.

This is all old stuff that I have been meaning to post for ages, with the exception of the game, which is an ongoing procrastination.