History

When Anj and I were chatting and I gave her the nudge to start blogging again she asked me, “How long have you been blogging for?” Looking down the archive on the side column of this blog you could say I had been blogging since July, because it was July when I first posted on this most recent iteration of my blog:

“I wanted some place to write stuff down which overruns the 140 character Twitter limit. This is it. I’ll try and keep things interesting and short enough to hold your attention. I’ll always appreciate any comments from anyone who happens to drop by.”

But of course July 2016 isn’t entirely accurate. I started blogging, actually first started writing stuff and having it appear online in 2005. Eleven years ago. In that time my blog has gone from self-hosted to wordpress.com hosted. It’s been renamed a dozen times, and it’s been taken down and put back up more times than I care to remember.

But that conversation with Anj made me think about all the history I had sitting in a text file on my computer. All those memories, and the angst, hopes, dreams, and lots of bitterness and resentment. I am not the same person who started bashing keys eleven years ago. I have matured (mostly), become more refined (kinda), and I’m certainly less angry.

Just because the me of 2005 isn’t the same me as 2016, it doesn’t mean I should hide it away. With that in mind I have imported the old blog archive into this site. It will take some cleaning up. It’s raw, it’s dirty, it’s in need of some new-me TLC. You’re going to have to bare with me as I go through over a decade of history, but if you ever cared to know anything about my past, it’s probably in here.

Love is bravery

I’m incapable of withstanding the heartbreak of love.

I loved once. I was brave once. That bravery was repaid with hurt. Before that bravery I was a coward. I shunned connection. I shunned the possibility of hurt and pain. It took a special woman to encourage and nurture my ability to be brave. To risk heartbreak. 

Since she left me I have returned to cowardice. I’m not brave enough to risk hurt again. And that, more than anything, is the reason for my perpetual single status. 

In a previous post I criticised those who pre-empt rejection. Those who jump before they’re pushed. How dare I criticise those who expose themselves to risk whilst I stand back from the edge? They’re braver than me for putting themselves out there, even if just for a fleeting moment. What must happen for me to be capable of taking that risk again? When you risked it all once before and you’re still dealing with loss years later? Who is going to give me the strength to find my bravery once again?

It takes two

We live in a modern world, do we not? We live in the 21st Century. Modern day. Gender roles have blurred. Sexualities have blurred. Expectations have blurred. None more so than in the world of dating and relationships. Boys make the first move, girls make the first move. Relationships are casual, monogamous, polygamous, open, sub/dom, DDLG, permanent, transient, relaxed, serious. It seems that anything goes. And I like that. I like that there are so few typical expectations placed upon relationships, regardless of gender identity.

Listen, if two people are attracted to each other, it should not fall to just one of those people to steer the course, make the moves, push to see the other. If you want to see someone, ask. If you want to speak to someone, call. If you miss someone, tell them. If you want something, go and get it. Do not expect the other person to do that for you.

And, finally, if you throw your toys out of the pram because the other person doesn’t make the first move, doesn’t send the first message, doesn’t make the first call, don’t be surprised when you’re dismissed as the petulant child you have proven yourself to be.

Relationships are tough. I hope you all find what you are looking for out there.

The Rocky Horror Show

“On the way to visit an old college professor, two clean cut kids, Brad Majors and his fiancée Janet Weiss, run into tyre trouble and seek help at the site of a light down the road. It’s coming from the Frankenstein place, where Dr Frank’n’furter is in the midst of one of his maniacal experiments…”

The weekend got off to a great start with a trip to the theatre to see Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show. I’ll admit, not all of the entires on the ‘challenge’ are all that challenging. Some are up there just because it’s something I want to do. This is the latter. I adore Rocky Horror. It is one of my favourite things ever. I’ve seen the stage show eight times so far; three times this year alone. One of the standout points of Rocky Horror is the audience participation and dressing up aspect. I had never had the desire guts to dress up before. That had to change this time. My previous experiences of audience participation had been shouting ASSHOLE! after the narrator mentions Brad Majors, and SLUT! after he refers to Janet. That too had to change.

Costume wise we decided to go as Brad and Janet following their disrobing at the hands of Riff Raff and others. Prepare yourselves:

It’s the massive pants, isn’t it?

Hey, I never said it was going to be pretty, but dressing up certainly made the experience richer – even if it took a little bit of dutch courage. Others also dressed up wanted to get photos with us; there was a spirit of camaraderie. Lots of laughs. Quite a lot of drinks too.

Throughout the show there are times where the audience is encouraged (that’s might not be the right choice of word) to shout out, engaging with the performers. The narrator speaks, ‘It’s true there were dark storm clouds.’ Yours truly shouts out, ‘DESCRIBE YOUR BALLS!’ He continues, ‘Heavy, black and pendulous.’ Just before Riff Raff first speaks to Brad and Janet my companion shouts, ‘WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE LIONEL RICHIE SONG?’ Riff Raff answers; ‘Hello’.

Maybe it’s one of those you had to be there things. If so, I encourage you to book to go see this awesome musical.

If you’re that way inclined you can also watch the stage show on YouTube:

You can visit the official website here: http://rockyhorror.co.uk

TRUMPED

Lament with me, because the unthinkable has happened. A man, a megalomaniac, a liar, an abuser of women, an unstable personality, a racist, a fraudster, a failed business mogul, a reality tv star, an exploiter of the working class, has become the most powerful man in the world; the President of the United States of America.

I genuinely fear for the future.

POTUS
When the Jews return to Zion and a comet rips the sky, and the Holy Roman Empire rises; then you and I must die.
From the eternal sea he rises, creating armies on either shore, turning man against his brother, ’til man exists no more.

The Boy

I’m worried about the boy.

He’s nine years old, just two years away from senior school, and I’m concerned.

First a little bit of back story: I stopped living with the boy and his mum in November 2011 when he was just four years old. So began a period of much difficulty. I met Clare, I was stopped from seeing Tom, that interrupted him staying over at my house on a regular basis, I fought to see him again, I won that fight – but he stopped staying over – I then changed jobs and started working shifts. That reduced the amount of time that I could see him. Recently he started staying over again, occasionally, nothing set it stone, and most recently that stopped too.

During that period of time when he was not staying with me we got some troubling reports from school. The boy wasn’t concentrating, he wasn’t paying attention in lessons, he was being disruptive, he was not fulfilling his potential. I sat down with his mum and we worked out the issue was as follows; a bit of a vicious circle.

Stays up late – no set bedtime – gets up late & tired – doesn’t have time for breakfast – goes to school tired, hungry and grumpy – doesn’t pay attention – gets into trouble – comes home – stays up late… 

We decided that we would have to intervene and get the boy back on the right path. For a week, just a week, I went over to his house each night and ensured he was in bed at a suitable time (8pm). He was then up early, had breakfast, went to school, behaved/concentrated/excelled, before coming home happy with himself. This repeated for a week, that’s all it took for the school to say, ‘he is like a different boy.’ Result!

That lasted two weeks before falling through and reverting to how things once were, that vicious circle of late nights and unhappy days.

Recently he started staying with me again and it was working well. He’d stay, it would get to 8pm and it was bedtime. Bed without issues, without complaints, up in the morning for breakfast then to school. Sorted. Last Tuesday he was due to stay and at the last-minute he didn’t want to. I was disappointed. I didn’t understand. I asked him why not, he said he didn’t know. Infuriating. From a purely selfish perspective I get such limited time off that I like to maximise it. I had plans for a nice night in for me and my boy. He changes his mind – and I’m not going to force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do – which then leaves me wasting a rare night off. I told him it was best if he just didn’t stay over. That way we both knew where we stood at all times. I took him home and ask his mum to see if she could get any reason from him for his change of mind.

On Thursday, two days later, I was summoned to school by Tom’s behavioural teacher for a meeting. He was upset, he had told his mum and she had asked the school to assist. She told me that the boy didn’t think that I like him very much. Funnily enough, I said similar on Twitter that same day: “I have a feeling my child doesn’t like me very much.”

She told me that he wanted to stay at my house but couldn’t work out why he also didn’t want to stay. I remarked that the reason was probably that I have rules and boundaries; a set bedtime and some structure. And quite the opposite, when he’s at home he doesn’t have any of these things. She commented that I was probably right, informing me that the previous night Tom had been awake still at 10:30pm, refused to give up the iPad at that time, and pushed his mum to the stage where she had to turn off the wifi to finally get one over the nine year old.

A kid with no boundaries and no discipline will grow to be a man with no boundaries and no discipline. I see that kind of man all the time. Used to getting his own way, who is rewarded for not being naughty rather than punished for being so. I see that kind of horrible, horrible man, all the time at work. I am gravely concerned that the boy will grow to be such a man if we don’t do something about it.

The boy was then invited into the meeting. We talked. He said that the reason he didn’t want to stay at my house was because he didn’t have to follow rules at his mums. Boom! There it is. The crux of the matter.

Tonight is parents evening. I wonder what they’re going to have to say about it all. I know I’m going to have to sit down with his mum and talk this all through. He needs rules, he needs discipline, and I cannot be the one to give it if she won’t let me.

 

Start reading books

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

I used to read. I mean, I used to read an awful lot. Recently I have tended to find something else to do. TV, movies, Twitter, games. It seems that as I have grown older my ability to pick up a book and sit in silence and read has diminished. Seems I seldom bother these days. I have shelves full of books. Some read once, others read innumerable times, some attempted and discarded, others not even glanced at.

Speaking to Tweeters about reading has got me thinking about diving back into books. I’m going to give myself a target of one book a month, starting right now, with Trainspotting. One book a month should be easy right? Let’s do this.

Comment below with your favourite book, or recommendations for me to read.