Dear Diary: I have to hang up my keyboard …​

Apologies, I am a fan of the UFC, 4 years ago Welterweight great Giles St Pierre said, “I have to hang up my gloves for a little while ….” on Saturday he returned, won the middleweight title, the weight class heavier than one where he had been the unbeatable champion. He put his legacy on the line and rolled the dice one more time and won.

I may not have won 12 Welterweight UFC title fights, with 9 successive defences, nor have I secured myself a spot in any Hall of Fame, but, in 2017, I am very much my own champion, literally, I have a British Title to my name, and in overcoming the struggles of my medical condition, and being honest and open about my depression and battle with suicidal thoughts – not here I am sorry, but in my real life, where, it was important that while people saw me lift a trophy and some almost Rocky-like comeback they realised there was a very dark side and I was paying a very high price for that success.

I hope the battle was evident here, there have been many days where breathing only happened because it was a reflex, because had it relied on will, I would have stopped. The strain became too much; I withdrew from the Worlds, turning out to be a dodged bullet, and I withdrew into a dark place. The reality of life and future lack of change became far to much to handle, and even now, is not something I entirely want to contemplate. With more potentially bad medical news on the way and even a possible recurrence of cellulitis, I am, in truthfulness, out of fight.

I am therefore a little jealous of Giles, I wish that because of what is happening in my life I too could hang up my gloves or a little while. However, I am hanging up my gloves, competitively I have no plans to compete in 18, and in fact, my return to competition is entirely dependent on my training performance reaching a standard I have set, if I do not reach that standard, I do not return.

Professionally, I am retired from work for the foreseeable future, my medical condition is not under control to the extent that any employer could be expected to handle the amount of time off I would take, nor is it actually fair to expect work colleagues or an employer to deal with what happens during a severe hemiplegic migraine attack, and self-employment is beyond my work capacity at this time. That pressure is off, and I have had to accept that this is just the situation, I may have been working 2 jobs at 13, but that is perhaps why I am working no jobs at 45, who knows. I have to deal with it, and be thankful I am in a position where this is possible however tight and uncomfortable it makes the financial reality.

And I am not without a future, I had moved on, and while one project has to be dropped, I had other things that while I will have to do slowly I can do, and my wife’s career is going well with her working somewhere that values her and wants to invest in her development, so I can support her and do what I can to facilitate her success, this man is most definitely not an island.

So in the style of Giles St Pierre ” I have some thing in my life going on, and I have to hang up my keyboard for a while” …. dont use the R word ….

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Thinking Out Loud: I used to try really hard

It seems a very long time ago that I downloaded a blog planner and I was reading pages and pages on how to create content that would engage readers and grow an audience.

I would be carefully timetabling days so I could create content, especially my Monday Night Reflection, which was so very dear to me, that would be valuable and well thought out. Monday Night Reflections were particularly special because I was letting the blogosphere into my thoughts and sharing genuinely hoping that I was helping create something that would be of value to someone.

I knew that staying anonymous would limit way in which I could grow, but I tried my best to use strategies that would create an audience and some organic traction because I wanted engagement, my heartfelt wish was that someone wouldn’t hurt like I did, or would see that, hurting was okay, and that there was through it to get to.

Thing’s changed, and I thought perhaps I could document overcoming the attacks of what are most likely hemiplegic migraine, perhaps documenting survival in a different way, the challenge of having my creative ability taken, robbed even and learning, relearning, sometime learning daily to do something that had been a joy and such a big part of my day would be something I could share.

I found sharing impossible, there was nothing to share, it was blank, you just write rubbish and bin it, till its not rubbish and you feel comfortable sharing what you have. My failed attempts are not something I keep, like falling of a cycle, not something you really need to post for the world to see, failed is failed.

Thing is, you have stats, good old Word Press, and there they are not changing, there I was dedicated as an author to my craft planning and working to create, and there I was dead in the water, lost at sea, struggling to express myself at all.

I care, of course I do, every one who creates cares, I want people to engage, everyone with a blog is really saying look at me, I am no exception, what I mean to say is, I am here creating, I hope you like it, I am sorry if its haphazard, random, without focus or purpose, that’s my life right now, that’s is me, that is my blog and my creativity, I gave the structure thing a go, I couldn’t hack it, it didn’t fit, I am too old, and just a little bit too grumpy to wear things I don’t like.

Poetry Corner: Migraine

Tears escape, torn up inside

Nothing right, scared to die

 

Too much everything becomes the pain I feel

The light, the sound they hurt so very much

Like a sledge hammer even the lightest touch

 

No such thing as silence, there is no rest

I hear in colour, the sheets like sandpaper at best

I want to sleep, the shadows terrify heart

My days and nights, my conscious drifting apart

 

The sea and darkness surround my art and thought

I would drift or drown, I have forgotten how to even fail

I have no idea about what it is that will prevail

It is dark, I’m lost, drifting to who knows where

Don’t destroy those who dare to be close and care

Dear Diary: Look Down on Me?

Most days a look of contempt or disdain is nothing to me, the opinion of some random non-entity who knows nothing of who I am

Today it bothered me: today I wanted to shake her and ask who are you to think for one minute you are better than me?

No one is better than anyone; we will all die, we will all hurt, we will all feel pain, hurt, we will grieve and feel the burning sear of loss, we will all be scared, we will be both courageous and cowards, we will regret and we will cry.

 

Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls in Wales
Swallow Falls in North Wales

Mr Mouse’s North Wales retreat to Hills and Valleys to find peace and solitude also took in some more well-known locations such as Swallow Falls.

Dear Diary: 19th July 17, At The Head of the Valley

Back from a weekend in Wales.

For many, this is a simple thing, for my Mouse this was a weekend of overcoming fears. Fear of the unknown, a trip to a new and unfamiliar place via new roads, to the countryside. No urban landscape, no hospital, no backup plan, no safety net, the very darkest of unknowns.

However, it was great. I walked up hills, found peace and solitude, walked in the woods and listened to the river whisper.

I cooked in a little cabin kitchen and connected back to myself.

The urban expanse brings neither comfort nor security, it feeds my fears and imprisons my minds, plays tricks on me and convinces me that outside is the enemy. It is people I fear, people are the cruel, random, violent, betrayers of trust.

Nature has no favourites, it is not cruel, nor kind, it is, it does not change, it seasons have always been and will always be, it is not capricious of malevolent, it does not plot or betray, it has no skeletons, no secret past, nature has not lied, nature does not rewrite the past.

Mr Mouse keeps on Moving, keeps in doing, good one Mr Mouse!

Dear Diary: The Night Is Dark And Full of Terrors

My attacks happen in my sleep.

I wake up, sometimes I am ok.

Sometimes I am not.

Sometimes I am paralysed

Sometimes a little.

Sometimes a lot.

Sometimes I can speak.

Sometimes I slur.

Sometimes I make no sense.

One time it didn’t hurt.

But I woke up.

And sound strummed agony for chords

I tried to smile but that didn’t work

Monday Night Reflection: Back to Normal

That is a lie, of course, there is no back to normal. Not in a bad way, but I am not going back. I had decided to move on before any of this dropped on me, I had changed direction, and normal was a fluid state of moving forward towards something new and different.

Normal was not a set routine or structure, I was developing a new business venture, I was practicing my skills, I was growing myself and exploring directions and possibilities to see what and what not plausible or possible, what could be developed for money and what was best left as artistic endeavour for artistic endeavour’s sake. My business was being grown, not pushed, I was learning from past mistakes, and the pace was consciously, in fact very deliberately slow. Each step was small, and consolidated, assessed and embedded, decisions taken carefully, investments very circumspectly undertaken indeed. I was very keen to be in absolutely no rush to spend money, time, or unnecessary effort in a fruitless endeavour. I was keenly aware that every resource I had was very limited and that my project was one I wanted to grow properly, healthily and strong in that organic way of a business finding its rightful place.

None of that has really changed. I have, I have made no secret that my skills and abilities have been affected, and I am relearning things. The timetable has been set back, and along with that, my blog has had to change from what I really wanted to be doing at this point in time and is not really what I wanted to be sharing either. However, my business, my blog, and my personal life are still there, still being developed and I am still working on each of my goals.

I have had a setback, and in the real sense of that, I am working from behind where I was, however, I am still working slowly, and that, ultimately is all that matters.

So while, there may never be, a back to normal, there is a normal service, and that is coming back.