Saturday, 5 July 2014

Stop moaning; just be honest with yourself!

Blimey! It's been a long time since I last posted on here. Do I have to apologise? No, I don't think I have to; mainly because I'm not sorry. Isn't blogging all about saying what you want whenever you want? To be honest I didn't feel like ranting about anything much, really. Instead I've been busy working on bikes, building wheels, you know, being a mechanic--something that makes me very, very happy. As weird a career change it may be: from author/editor to grease monkey, I've not looked back once. And, anyway, who says I can't be a poetry writing bike mechanic? No, no, don't worry, that's possibly never going to happen. Me, writing poetry, that is. I won't rule out novels, given that I've still book 3 of the Branded series to finish, and a wonderful sci-fi story line, in addition to some other books banging around my head; I'm just waiting for inspiration to drop down on me. Thing is, with inspiration, you don't see it coming. It just hits you when you expect it the least. BOOM! It's like a calling which forces you to sit down and write, obsessed with finishing, eager to share it with others so they can enjoy the temporary new reality you've created. Once published, you crave the feedback--mostly the positive comments, of course--and revel in the satisfaction of having produced something worth readers' time.
And a recent post on Facebook was what inspired me to write this half-rant. You see, I have a lot of writer friends and I still, even after 1.5 years of abstinence from the writing community, see the same moans and complaints, the promoting, the sharing and whatnot every time I log into Facebook, and it gets on my nerves.
People complain about other authors not promoting them, or not helping them to spread the word about their new book, others moan about the lack of sales, whereas a few boast about theirs. Let alone the invites to like author pages; it drives me insane!
I recently mentioned (jokingly) that I may write a book about bicycle maintenance and what was the reply? 'I've heard the money's in non-fiction.' Oh, for fuck's sake! Does everything have to be about the money? I admit that I wanted to sell my books. As I said many times: once you hit the 'publish now' button, you want hard cash for your hard work, but I was always mainly writing to challenge myself, to grow as a writer and editor, and to entertain my readers. This should always be the priority. I'm not a whore to the market who writes what sells. If I wanted that, I'd write up another Fifty Shades of Grey, or go formulaic. Something I've never managed with any of my books and I'm proud of it. That comment about 'the money being in non-fiction' made me angry and smacked of much desperation. I think it's an aura many self-published authors have around them: the sick urge of becoming rich through writing. If you're in it for those reasons you'll be disappointed. Yes, believe in your work, but don't force it down other people's throats as you'll disgruntle a lot of them. It'll most likely backfire, too.
With so much distance to writing and the whole glass bowl of a community, I've noticed something: money's taken a back seat. I acknowledged a long time ago, that it's unhealthy to expect success or sales and I stopped promoting, too. Couldn't be arsed, you know? Okay, I monitor the sales of my books, but it's hardly more than say 30 or so. They either happen or they don't. And that's exactly how I feel 'real' writers should handle it: just bloody write and let things happen the way they're supposed to happen. All this faffing about the lack of sales, promoting or lack of thereof, is seriously putting a downer on inspiration. As someone who's in pain every single time when writing, I'd recommend to be grateful if you can't stop the rush of words coming out of you. Use this to your advantage. Write what you like, challenge yourself, grow. Be critical--be very critical--don't listen to those who blow smoke up your arse. To become successful in writing you need:
--most of SP authors lack this
--far too many wouldn't be able to efficiently edit someone else's book, so how can one expect they'd be capable of writing, let alone editing, their own?
And, what's really important: honesty. If you don't at least have talent, then you shouldn't be surprised by the lack of sales or negative feedback. And people who will let you know if you're talented of not are definitely not fellow authors, but readers--those who aren't your Twitter or Facebook friends, those readers who randomly got their hands on your books without preconception, those who don't owe you anything; they'll be brutal. Listen to them.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Oh, go on then, have a nibble!

Or two. Or many, and then wash it down with bottles of wine, or cans of lager. As you probably know, in December 2012, I've looked in the mirror, in front of which I'd stiffly waddled in my my stand-in-only jeans and my reflection stared back at me in disgust. Yep, I'd got far too fat for my own liking and my tight trousers--all of those I owned--had become far too uncomfortable. I've always said that I'd refuse just buying bigger clothes as it's not the solution to the problem: my rising like a dough.
So I did what was necessary: followed the less (eating) and more (control and activity). I started by walking (quickly) for an hour every day, and core, arm, and leg exercises, then began with skipping; bought a road bike which made cycling even more fun, took up boxing, and the kilos just dropped. Slowly, but steadily. In about a year, I'd lost 15kg, which is quite a healthy way of losing weight. But from then on I struggled to lose more. I've got roughly ten more kg to lose, which shouldn't be this hard since I got into a routine of cycling for hours a few days a week (I get quite agitated if I can't go for a ride), but my habit of eating/drinking when I'm upset has thrown weight into the other bowl of the scale. Fortunately, I haven't gone backwards, thanks to my exercising, but I haven't gone forwards either. Standstill--a most frustrating experience--particularly for someone with ADHD. I lack impulse control and, combined with alcohol, it means I get this 'don't care' state of mind. No idea why I struggle to keep it up since I'm not dieting, or denying myself anything. I'm not a fan of either, for that only creates cravings. I blame Kettle for their rather delicious seasonal Lime and black pepper crisps and the breweries, whose lager just seems to run down my throat after long rides on warm days, or the cool deep yellow juice the Chardonnay grapes produce. Oh, heck, I blame everyone who lures me with their tasty offerings. No, I'm just taking the mick here. I know I need to rein it it, summer's almost here, I've started my own business, and there's nothing to be upset about. If only I could find the reins now ...

So, kids, my advice is: don't try this at home, because if you have too much of this:

You'll soon look like this:

And want to do this:

If you find some Easter eggs, give them to those you don't like. :-)

Monday, 10 March 2014


That's how I feel as I type. Just recently I said that it's been a while since the iguana bit me and how sweet he's been, but that I have to be on my guard at all times. Today, I was a bit too cocky and promptly paid the price. Although I admit it was my own fault and Zorro was just telling me he didn't like my 'rough' playful treatment. Fair enough. I now he likes a bit of playing, but on his own terms. Anyway, he jumped forwards and bit in my arm, but let go rather quickly, too. If he'd been really angry, he'd just taken a piece of flesh. Lucky me. I'll only have a bruise and a sore arm for a few days.

A couple of hours after the iguana attack
Since the big boy is entering mating season, I'll have to be double careful; he doesn't like certain hairdos or colours. Oddly enough, they seem to change. Only red is still a big no-no, as is pink; black, grey or lilac can be worn if I'm calm.
You may not believe it, but iguanas are sensitive to mood swings (or periods in women) and since I'm a little off-kilter at the moment, he's reacting. Ah well, it means I've got one more shirt for the workshop as he bit right through it. He's now fast asleep, looking very cute, though probably dreaming of his brief moment of victory.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The incomprehensive absense of happiness

My happiness, that is. I've been feeling pretty low of late, literally off-balance, and I'm struggling with piecing myself back together. Okay, admittedly, I haven't been happy--I mean really happy in months, but I think it's got more to do with my constantly anticipating the big whack over the head. Yes, I may be even scared of being happy, because up to now I've always been pulled down so quickly after a brief period of feeling good, I normally don't even know what's hit me.

At the moment--for the past few weeks--I've been feeling like life's a constant fight, with my landlord war, a few jobs falling through, people not keeping their promises, and other interpersonal issues, etc., it struck me rather hard; yet I kept going on auto-pilot, getting up every day, doing the things that need to be done. I assume I pushed myself forward to avoid a massive depression. Depressions are like cold sores: they just pop up out of nowhere; your body knows best when your soul is suffering--most certainly before you know. Like a latent virus, it lays dormant, until someone goes and pokes it. I know when that happens and have then to run some extra power to keep it under control. It's a bit like you're downloading a massive file to your computer and it slows all your other applications down. I'm constantly aware of my depressions and, although trying to not let it affect me, it does. All I want then is to withdraw myself, avoid lots of contact with people. Of course it doesn't work like that, so I go for bike rides, out into the sun, away from situations that involves interaction as I'm not sure what can happen. Of late, I've been worried I may just break down. It happened to me once; a nervous break down and it ain't pretty. Okay, it's been many, many years and those were the early signs of my depressions I never thought I'd had. Back then I had a lot going on and kept pushing myself to function until one incident set the whole thing off. I'm worried it may happen again as I'm currently not myself. Quite frankly I don't like myself much at the moment; I'm whiny, mostly anti-social, and am destroying everything around me with my negativity. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm walking about with a sign, saying 'I'm depressed and I hate life', far from it; if you saw me when interacting, laughing, joking, being the sunny me, you wouldn't even know what's going on inside my head. To the observer, I'm a normal woman, enjoying life, but it's a mask. Possibly, because I don't want to be a burden to others, or let them inside my head. Yet, those I really like and trust are suffering and that will most certainly end up in them taking a step back, which then upsets me and here is when the circle closes. My mood swings are almost unbearable. They've become more frequent; one minute I'm fine, the next I'm fighting with tears. The tiniest situation/set back can trigger a change and me, being well aware of what's just happening, is gathering all strength, pride, mostly supported by the fear of embarrassment, in order to avoid bursting into tears there and then. It feels as if a stronger me is trying to protect the weaker me, and it all happens without others even realising what's going on in me.
I remember when I was going out a lot, always partying, surrounded by a good group of people, I was asked by one of the bouncers if I were ever unhappy or sad. I was bemused as to why he'd asked such a question. Well, he explained, he'd always see me happy, smiling, laughing, having lots of fun and he found it odd. On reflection I can safely say that I felt unhappy, just like I feel at the moment, and have just shoved it aside, mainly to please others. You could easily call me at midnight, when I'd just gone to bed, to come to the club and I'd have a shower, get dressed up and cycle into the city to party till the morning hours. I don't do that anymore. Nowadays I listen to what my soul tells me. If there's one person I need to please then it's me.
It doesn't make me happier, though. If I ever find the recipe of happiness, I'll share it with you. For sure.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Help, a dragon's on the loose!

In my flat! I had to take care of some online business and the sun was literally pouring into my living room, so I let Zorro roam around a bit. He loves exploring and, as mating season seems to approach, gets a little unsettled in his own house. It's also a good opportunity to take some new pictures post them. He's grown so much and is beautiful to look at with his orange-coloured legs and spikes. Unfortunately, my mobile can't capture the colours as well as the naked eye and the turquoise subtympanic shield (the big scale on his jowl). 

He's been a gem most of the past year; a massive relief as I was really out of my depth for a while when he continuously attacked me and I had to make a trip to A&E. I always dreamed of having an iguana his size (or bigger), but reality is harsh when you're chased around your own home, or can't go near your animal if he's hurt himself. His calming down makes life a lot easier and I'm glad to have stuck to my guns when people advised me to get rid of him. 
It's been a while since I was able to have him sit next to me on the couch without it ending up in a blood bath. 
By the way, talking of green/orange: I took the opportunity to show off my beloved Werder Bremen jersey from 2004; it's signed by the whole team, including coach and manager. Yes! I used to hold a season ticket and every weekend was dictated by football.  

Monday, 17 February 2014

A year is 28cm

or 11 inches. That's the combined number of cm lost around my belly, arse, and legs. I'd started--sort of--in December 2012, with going for easy walks in the snow and eating a bit more controlled, but the what I called 'exercise regime' started in January last year. I'd got into the habit of floor exercises to whip my abs into shape and wake some of the other muscles from their slumber. Luckily, muscles have memory and my abs was very quickly nice and firm--albeit not visible under the masses of fat, but I knew it was only a matter of time, even though I doubt I'll ever be 'ripped' as I don't find it attractive. Not in men, and not in women. And I like my curves to be honest. However, after I'd reached my 10kg goal in May, I stopped going round the park as 1. it bored me stiff, and 2. I had terrible shin splints, only aggravated by skipping when I took up boxing. Skipping is one of the best fat burners there is. Excellent for HIIT and only a few minutes every other day will do wonders. I mostly did 10 to 15 minutes and lost more weight than in the first few months of walking an hour a day. Plus, skipping is fun and easy to vary. If you're not hopelessly terrible at coordinating feet and hands, that is. I still have some 'tricks' to learn, but I'm doing not too bad. If only it weren't for the damn shin splints. Nasty.
Anyway, shortly after, I stopped all exercising, just riding my bike to and from the shop, working as a mechanic. Okay, that's quite a good workout for your arms and chest, but that's about it. Surprisingly, I kept losing weight; not as much as I'd lost beforehand, but still a good result. In December last year, I started to go on longer rides on my red bike (one to three hours with a few sprints in between) to get back into training. I'm currently in the progress to lose the next 10kg till May and it's going rather well. For the first time in years, those ugly fat rolls on my back are melting, dareisay, they're almost gone. (Yay.), and it shows in my face, too.

Like last year, I've started to keep a diary of my weight loss in cm, as it's a far more accurate tool than a scale. As soon as you exercise and build muscles you put on weight, but everyone knows that.
The results of my trusted tape measure are as follows:
Belly: 12cm (4.7inches)
Arse: 9cm (3.5inches)
Legs: 5cm (1.9inches)
And that's 15kg (2.3 stones) to you and me. Most certainly not a massive amount, but it shows. And it has been fun so far because I haven't denied myself anything. It's not a diet, but a lifestyle change. All I needed was to move my backside a bit more and boy, do I love it! Today, I was wearing a thick jumper under a jacket which I've had for a few years now; nothing special you may think, but that jacket was always a tight fit with a thin zipper jacket underneath. Today, I still had some space in it! Just wonderful. Unfortunately, most of my fat sits smack bang at my belly, the worst place health-wise, as I'm sure that my poor organs have quite a layer around them, too. Fortunately, it can be reversed and that's what I'm working on.
I've got 5kg to go till May, then another five till end of this year and I'll have achieved my personal target weight, which will put me right in the middle of my personal healthy weight bracket.
And that means I'll have lost 25kg (3.9 stones). Can't wait!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Restless, my ADHD is getting the better of me

I haven't cycled properly for a few days; first it was just miserable out there, windy, cold, rainy, then I got ill and didn't even feel like getting up. Today, though, I felt a tad better and the sun made a proper appearance, beckoning me to come and play. I decided to go for a nice and easy ride with a member of my cycling club and we went through the city, enjoying the weather. When we came back I felt like I could do more, but cautioned myself, knowing I need to be up and fit for the academy tomorrow. However, I felt jittery, as if fireworks are about to go off. Weirdly enough, while riding, a car overtook me too close for comfort, apparently he was about 20cm (8inches) away from me, but it left me cold. I said to my companion that if I lost my cool about such a thing I'd be a busy girl.  Normally, on a full-blown ADHD day, I'd got my knickers in a twist and would have cursed after him, loudly, while shaking my fist. Then again, I generally know when it's such a day, which this one isn't. At least not one of those aggressive ones, but more a 'putting my foot in'. Thinking of it, it looks like I'm finding myself in a series of ADHD days. Just on Thursday I was introduced to a very nice man called Bob. The person introducing him was about to tell me who Bob was and started with: Bob's ... when I, without thinking, opened my mouth and blurted out, 'You're uncle!' earning me two pairs of confused looking faces. Ehem. Yes, it was rather impulsive (and admittedly funny), but as uncontrollable as a tick. No idea where it even came from. Luckily, Bob and I had some good conversations about bicycle mechanics and all was fine. As I said, a very nice man.
So after the ride today, I went to my regular local bike shop to see what's happening and saw that a girl who's worked there on and off, had her new spd pedals on her bike and here I go again: totally uninvited the words tumbled out: 'Oh, you've got your new pedals, gee, they're soo ugly!'
I could have just kept it shut and not say anything, right? It's not that she asked me what I thought of them. We joked a little about my ... how can I put this ... honesty and she was fine, but it brought home again that living with ADHD can be a bit of mine field. My quick mouth has got in trouble on more than one occasion and I'm sure I've hurt some people along the way. Never intentionally, that's not the kind of person I am, but sometimes I say things that make me wish for a transporter beam to get me out of this precarious situation I've managed to manoeuvre myself into. Incidentally, I've shot something at the owner of the shop, a man I very, very much like, which was meant to be banter, but a tad tasteless, I think. Luckily, he knows me well enough to see I wasn't being serious, at least I hope so, but I'll have to double check tomorrow.
And the feeling of something's going to erupt didn't stop there; at home, I settled down for dinner, just to get up again, then sit down, and get up, sit down and get up. I just can't find the calm to keep my arse on my sofa. I got up to clean my smudged glasses, but instead go to the loo, wash my hands, hang the laundry, make a tea, get back into the living room, sit down and try to remember what it was I wanted to do in the first place. Then get up again to rummage for a piece of paper I documented my weight loss last year, since I wanted to look for it anyway, find it, sit down and start comparing figures, then get up again, because I finally remembered I wanted to clean my glasses. Done that, I'm finally sitting down, wanting to watch a documentary, but am forced to get up again, because I just can't sit still tonight. A hot chocolate and another time sitting down later, I'm abandoning the documentary to write this post. I feel that if I have unsolved issues, I'm far less likely to calm down until they're resolved. ADHD, uh? One must love it as there's never a moment of boredom.