Back to Blogging

As you may have noticed I have not been blogging for a while. This is not due to a lack of experiences or subjects that I am formulating comments on but because I have actually become overwhelmed by the magnitude of events entering my once simple, ordinary life on a daily basis.

If I actually described how I felt right now or everything that has happened to me since the beginning of 2008 then this blog would never end and would become longer than War and Peace combined with Ulysses and Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (all books which I am dying to read but need to create a clone of myself to be able to ever achieve this goal).

So I will try to be succinct. I have a lot to say as I have experience a lot in a small amount of time. However, we live in a quick fix instant gratification age where people have short attention spans (myself more than others) and so no one, not even I would bother reading through all my diverse and over complicated thoughts in just one blog  post. So I propose to commit some of my current thought to digital cyber code in a series of blog posts on specific subjects.

Compartmentalising the different aspects of our lives, thoughts, characters and experiences may be anathema to me, as I feel one loses a great deal of meaning by disconnecting various interwoven threads, but at least it will be easier to read and compose. Hopefully you will find something in there that you relate to, a conflict I am facing that you may have faced before, or are currently facing and maybe we can conjure up some useful insights by the process of transferring my thoughts and your feedback using the power of modern technology (i.e. this blog.)

To Keep this blog post short I will just list some of the various topics that I will write about as they have been a big part of my life since January 2008. That may seem an arbitrary year to begin my cyber “memoirs” but it has some significance. 2008 was the year in which my first child was born and was the year in which I was made redundant from a job I would have never left and then went to work in a modern day professional office “sweat shop” and fell ill having contracted a serious of viruses and developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, to add to my already debilitating Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diarrhoea.

2008 Was also the year I started CBT – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, sessions, in order to combat my worsening IBS-D, and that forced me to start dissecting my thought processes and lifestyle to uncover the root causes of my various physical and pyscholigical illnesses.

In 2009 I continued with the CBT, took up Yoga, joined Weight Watchers, lost 2 stone in weight in 5 months, put back on most of that 2 stone since November 2009, honed my skills as a multi-tasking househusband, babysitter cum live at home father, dogsbody son and son-in-law (carrying out various time consuming duties for my family), was put on various trials of medication to try and combat my CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), such as Vitamin B12 injections on a weekly basis and a variety of polypharmacy solutions.

I also developed asthma and Hay fever just to add to the myriad of medical conditions attack me. I quit smoking (not because of a less stressful life – life was ever more stressful, but due to the asthma), supported my beloved wife as she completed her Doctoral thesis, whilst working and being a mother and stressed out wife and daughter all at the same time.

My father-in-law had a sudden major stroke in late October 2009, 2 days after I had booked non refundable tickets to a wedding in Houston that I couldn’t afford to go to but was a reward for my wife’s year of constant stress, struggling and no sleep. We didn’t go to Houston over Christmas but instead shuttled between hospitals and funerals through the sudden snow storms of 2009/2010 as I began to start job hunting seriously, having realised we were on a financial precipice.

I got a job interview and job offer after 30 job applications, for one of my favourite Consumer electronics companies, only to be told that they had messed up and in fact the company had a recruitment freeze so the job I had been given was taken away from me bringing back into the same frustrating, anxious, stressful place of being broke, jobless, overweight, confused, conflicted and struggling to re-train as a web designer whilst finding a temporary finance job and supporting my wife as she cares for her bed-ridden father and physically drained mother (whilst she herself is still working and raising our daughter with me).

On the plus side I got to spend a lot of time with my daughter, which taught me a lot about myself, about fatherhood, the trials and joys of parenthood and has made me re-learn many subjects and pieces of knowledge that I have forgotten over the years (such as astronomy and geography, not to mention grammar and basic maths).

I have also been forced to grow and challenge myself and my preconceptions due to marriage and my never ending crisis situations, and I have discovered that adaptability is a very under rated skill that is vital to success in life.

I have also had the good fortune to discover the artistic genius of TV shows such as The Wire, The Sopranos and Battlestar Galactica (re-imagined) whilst getting more involved in social media experiences like Twitter and blogging.

I also managed to buy a Nintendo Wii, using vouchers from my credit card provider, so if things get too much and I am in need of some techno salvation i can always fire off some stress with my Wii Zapper gun (so long as the wife is away, she is not a toy gun fane).

I also completed a Career Change programme with a Career coach that was a real eye opener into the way I live my life and how I can take back control and start living more of my “truth”, rather than the crowd pleasing facade I have become so accustomed to wearing almost permanently.

I managed to read some Chekhov Short Stories and finish reading Dune by Frank Hebert, which was an immensely enjoyable read, and A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway, the first Hemingway book I have ever read, which was also a revelation.

And finally, most important of all, I managed to get in game of Scrabble, which I haven’t played in years, although the joy was short lived as I was beaten by my wife. So much for my aspirations to become a short story writer and novelist!

P.S. See the next post for the promised list of topics I will blog about and put links for.

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Escape into Reality

Chewing on my weight watchers friendly homemade smoked ham sandwich and listening to Radio 1 I have decided to update my blog.

The theme of my blog and indeed its very purpose has never been made clear to the cyber sphere or even me. The main aim was to provide me with an outlet to express my pent up thoughts and feelings. This would help clear my head and aid the process of clarifying my increasingly hazy, frazzled thoughts, tangled up in the complex web of lies, facades, masks and inner conflicts swirling within my unstable psyche. That is not a clear aim. It does, however, make for interesting reading, if the author is entirely honest and open with his audience about the experiences he has undergone. Having been transported to the edge of my own precarious sanity and staring down into the deep, spiralling vortex of self destruction, I find it hard to be honest and open without fear of sending myself and my readers into a fit of horror.

I want to be honest. I need to be honest. However, it is not that easy. My current myriad of problems, both physical and psychological, can all be attributed to years of hiding my inner truth behind thickets of masks and facades, acts that i put on to tell people what they want to hear and what I think the world wants me to be like. I only ever wanted to fit in. The irony is that the more I lied to those around me, the deeper the masks penetrated into my soul, the more I alienated myself form, well, myself. Cutting through the jungle of half truths and cloaks with the scythe of self awareness and new found insight has been a painful process, and I am not ready to tell the tales that have scared me to the point I find myself in today.

I need to get a job. Yes, you heard it here first. Although I am struggling to battle ill health, debilitating Irritable Bowel syndrome diarrhoea, chronic fatigue syndrome, yo-yo weight loss and gain, and depression, making it hard to have the energy and motivation for even the most basic tasks, I am so close to the edge, and so lonely, that even me, the king of isolated contemplation, wants to get back into the real world and connect with other people and feel that I have some useful purpose in life, other than watching documentaries about World War 2 or Hunter S. Thompson.

I have read one too many psychologically complex short story and need to escape into conversation with characters less troubled and scarred than the cast of a Dostoevsky novel. Yes, the real world can be dull, it can be mind numbing and soul destroying, but at least it is real. Too much time spent in virtual online worlds like Second Life, or in the lives of emotionally inept protagonists form a William Boyd short story, is not good for the soul either.

I love to write, and I will still write, but I need to go out there and earn some real money. I need to reconnect with the everyday rat race of suburban London life. It will not be fun and I won’t like it, but i am starting to feel that I need it. If I sit in this claustrophobic, dusty study surrounded by the mess of a failed business enterprise and unfiled receipts, trying to spend 8 hours a day working on my novel, all I will end up doing is going even more insane and producing nothing but an incoherent diatribe of angst ridden prose. Reality stimulates me, even dull reality, on the subconscious level, and I need that stimulation. I also need to talk to someone, anyone. Even if it is about a Dan Brown novel. (OK maybe I don’t need to go that far).

I like my alone time, and I thrive on it, but not this much alone time. Everyone else is out there doing things. I am stuck here in a self absorbed daze relating to Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson and analysing why they pulled the trigger and killed themselves. That fascinates me. It is a dangerous fascination.

So what’s the plan? How can I pull myself out of this self absorbed physical and psychological mire? I plan to try and find a local part time job in finance, to give some structure and routine to my life. Then I plan to teach myself wed design and go on web development courses. I may even resurrect my once famed website form the early noughties, Razweb.com, which has disappeared so far into the cyber ether that even Google cannot find it anymore. If i can re-train as a web designer then at least I can have a career that is creative, interesting and stimulating, I can then be energised enough by my work to come home and sit at my desk in a disciplined fashion and devote at least 2 hours a day to writing. I have already typed up the synopsis of the 2 novels that make up my first work of fiction. All the characters are there, living, breathing, talking, going through life changing conflicts and resolutions. I just need to bring all the pieces together. To do that I need a clear mind and a stable heart. No more panic attacks and rapid heartbeats and insomnia ridden nights of breathlessness and wheezing.

I have no idea if any of the new treatments I am undergoing to battle my Chronic Fatigue will work but I will try anything. Optimism and hope are the best weapons I can bring to the battle.

I am starting to feel like my life is beginning to find its feet once again. Any new found stability and certainty will greatly lessen the burden on my increasingly nervous and anxious wife, who has her own pressures, and will mean I can spend less time lying to my family and putting on a brave face and assortment of masks to cover up why I am at hope all day too tired to even go for a walk round the block.

On that note all I have left to say is that I am thoroughly enjoying reading “The Woman in the Case” a collection of short stories by Anton Chekhov, the king of short stories. He can transmit an entire philosophy and range of human feelings in just one line, and is a true literary genius. I am also planning to meet up with my wife’s cousin, who is himself a published fiction author, and I have started reading his first novel, “The Bus Stopped” by Tabish Khair. It has already caught me in it’s magical grip and transported me back to the exotic and contradictory land of my forefathers. I can’t wait to delve deeper into it once I push myself and make that walk round the block.

No more running away from life. I need to jump into the sea of reality and swim with the tide, no longer against it. Maybe this way I will finally realise my goals and get to the shore I so desperately seek.

Medium Blogging

It has been a tough week. The week before was tough, but every week gets harder, and the number of outlets to sink my throbbing head into are diminishing as each day passes. I need more positive influences in my life, less stress and responsibility, and more channels for all my pent up anxiety, stress, frustration and disillusionment. Yes, all the madness within me is a great well for creativity and my story ideas and fictitious ramblings have been flowing like the Colorado Rapids but I also need some sanity and order in my life. Order, that is, that leaves me feeling fulfilled and content, not empty, lost and in a psychological state of mind so scary I won’t recount it here in cyberspace. Suffice to say I have hit some very dark places deep within me and had a few chilling experiences.

Composing a new blog entry is not one of the 42 items on my to do list that I need to complete by close of play this week in addition to normal household chores and routine stuff like shaving, eating and sleeping. The fact that I have struggled to complete even 10 tasks is more reason not to waste what little precious time and energy is have typing up a concise, relaxed, non-confrontational account of my current thoughts. So I will do it anyway.

I do, however, feel that I need a medium of expression on the web that is somewhere between Twitter and the micro blogging limit of 140 words, the limitless cyber sheath of electronic viewing that encourages me to babble on incoherently for eternity. I need more than micro blogging, and less than blogging, I need Medium Blogging. Surely I must be able to conjure up a better description than that. My mind is elsewhere. I am in the middle of a blood soaked muddy field under a smoke filled black red sky with a raging inferno that I was the cause of crackling before my eyes. At least the protagonist in mew short story is. He has some issues. He also has a lot on his mind. I won’t explain any further as the more time I spend on this blog the less i spend on the actually story. Even though this blog will get published in a few minuet sand that short story may never see the light of day as anything other than binary codes etched into the memory of my temperamental overpriced computer.

Back to reality.

The plus side of this week is that I finally managed to sit down and read a few short stories. I joined the local library last week and took out 2 short story collections. One is by Anton Chekhov, the king of short stories and the other is a collection called Fascination by William Boyd, which I started sifting through early this week, in an attempt to gain control over my increasingly erratic and anxiety ridden mind. I was glad I too k the first steps on the journey into the world of reading and writing short stories, the first steps being the hardest to take in many cases, mine being a prime example. Just as I cannot justify wasting tie blogging I also cannot justify wasting time reading short stories or trying to write them. However, after reading through 3 William Boyd Short Stories, I was so impressed by them, and the way he managed to develop and project rounded, 3 dimensional complex characters in just 13 pages, that I immediately slumbered upstairs to my pseudo-study and composed my own short story, actually finishing a work of prose that I had started. Yes, that was the great achievement of the week. I actually finished a story I was working on, I never finish my stories, Once I start them, they develop a life of their own and decide to take over and become more complex and run off on their own self created arcs, ignoring my signals to slow down and fit into a small, easy to read and understand box of a plot, so that I will actually be able to hand in a completed manuscript to someone, somewhere and at least pretend I may have a chance of becoming a published fiction author one day. The book demons usually never let this happen. On Monday night they must have been sleeping. I rarely even finish the blog posts I start composing; I am trying desperately to keep this one short to ensure it actually gets posted. Half my problem is my typing is so atrocious I spend needless hours correcting it. I need an assistant, or a typist, someone I can dictate my thoughts to and let them do the hard work. Then I would not be a writer, I would just be a professional rantmeister of wacky ideas. I like the sound of that. Suffice to say I am thoroughly enjoying my trip into the world of short stories and will blog more about it when I actually invent a device to increase the amount if time and energy I have.

Welcome to the Escape

Life has become too complex for me. With an ever increasing number of responsibilities and conundrums arriving through my letterbox every day I have decided to stop running around like an electrocuted Duracell Bunny, trying to fight each and every little fire that pops up around me, and take a break. If I had money and a private jet, or just money, I would take a holiday and go aboard, probably to Southern Spain and bask in the mystical beauty of the Palaces at Alhambra in Granada, letting the cool breeze of the Sierra Nevada mountain air cleanse my hyperactive mind of the neural burn out it is currently experiencing. I don’t have any money so I have resorted to finding solace through sheer escapism and it is to blogs and the pixilated 2-D Virtual universe of cyberspace and the thoughts of the many people who feel the need to commit their experiences and stories to cyber ink that I turn.

My aim is to immerse myself so fully in the world of blogs that I completely forget all the mounting troubles facing me in the real world. Hopefully when i am dragged away from my cheap plastic computer screen and battered keyboard I will be stronger and more centred, and therefore more capable of facing reality and all the punches it throws my way. Whether or not finding inner peace through distraction, avoidance and escaping into a world of diverse blogs will actually give me the ability to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, who knows. All I know is that you do not have to fly 5000 miles away and take a road trip to find yourself or go on an adventure. Although that would be fun.

I am being pro active and trying to use the resources I have around me to go on a journey that will leave me enlightened, centred, stimulated, healthier and wiser. OK maybe forget about the last point, that is a lost cause, but at least I will visit exotic lands and ponder intriguing concepts through the medium of other people’s blogs.

To date this is my 7th blog, and it is the 4th Blog that I have created this year. The aim, as is always the case, is to present my won diverse background, ideas, complexities and adventures (if you can call them that) in a coherent manner. That is why I aim to make this my main, general blog, and it will link to a myriad of other sub-blogs each focusing on a specific aspect of my unpredictable rollercoaster journey.

So Far I have another general, main blog in blogspot:

http://razakam.blogspot.com/

I have 3 other blogs in WordPress:

Escape to Books – my adventure sin the world of literature as an aspiring author/ novelist, avid book lover, literary freak

http://escapetobooks.wordpress.com/

Escape to Weightloss – My journey into the world of WeightWatchers, healthy eating, healthy cooking, brining balance to my usually destructive food obsession (I live for sizzling, juicy Kebabs and Burgers):

http://escapetoweightloss.wordpress.com/

Rebuilding Raza – The blog that charts my current battle with Chronic Fatigue syndrome, that most perplexing of illnesses:

http://rebuildingraza.wordpress.com/

I also plan to create another blog about my forays into the metaverse of online Virtual Worlds, such as Second Life and World of Warcraft, the ultimate escape from reality and immersion in fantasy. I will post the link to this blog as soon as it is created.

Until then enjoy my random ramblings and all the various links, photos and thoughts I post up and any feedback is always appreciated and welcomed!

The Alhambra in Wikipedia

Alhambra Info

Alhambra