Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Friends

I never had a dog growing up.

They always freaked me out if I'm being honest, I'm not sure why. It's hard to believe looking at me now, at just shy of 6"3 but I was a really small kid growing up and they always seemed massive.

When I started the final year of high school in 1995 I was 5"4, when I finished I was 5"11. That helped me out quite a bit in all honesty because my brother is really tall.

I couldn't have dealt with being loads shorter than my big brother. I mean he'll always be taller than me, that's a given but still, not by much these days.

There were all manner of animals around our house growing up from cats to fish and even a tortoise, who my dad drilled a tiny hole in the back of his shell and attached a red ribbon so he wouldn't get lost in the grass.

I had a cat later on in life when I lived on my own, not through my design, and I ended up giving her to a lovely old lady who'd recently lost her cat when I moved back to my mum's house. I knew I'd be moving to a new house and that I probably wouldn't be able to accommodate a pet. I was sad initially but I knew that Mookie had gone to a nice house so I didn't give it too much thought.

A few years back I was helping my brother clear out his late mother in law's house and managed to inherit a budgie who didn't have anywhere to go. He'd been on his own a bit because of hospital visits and you could tell the situation had stressed him a bit. I'd try and minimise the amount I'd spend apart from him wherever possible and always left him the radio on if we had to go out.

He got used to the situation pretty quickly, he even escaped at one point and shat on my brand new TV but that's another story for another day.

My wife, impulsive as a young Cyndi Lauper, bought another budgie as a present I believe initially but we ended up keeping her. Harper was her name and she was loads bigger than Bobby and a lot more tame and confident.

The two still tweet away like they've know each other forever. It's so heartening to see them chattering away hour after hour. It kind of reminds you that we all need people; like minded souls to share the day and to enjoy experiences with.

The central drive to my wife's strategy regarding pets however, was clear from day one.

She wanted a dog.

I didn't.

We'd talk about it for hours and weighed up various options but it became obvious, to me at least, that I couldn't stand being the person that made the person I cared about the most, unhappy for whatever reason.

I knew that at some point it'd happen but it became more about the timing than anything else and also, because I'm such an idiot sometimes, about me squashing my own ridiculous sense of stubbornness.
When we first drove to pick little Larry the Dachshund up I was equal parts nervous/excited really as I didn't know what to expect, but over the first few weeks I noticed myself spending more and more time wondering about what he was doing whilst I was at work or away somewhere. I passed it off mentally however. I was right. I had to be. Everyone else was wrong.

Everyone I spoke to though asked me about him, loved him, fussed him massively however, but somehow I never quite seemed to get it. He was adorable, quite comical and at the same time and a little bit curious but in my head I wondered if that was as far as this relationship would go.

Fast forward to this past weekend, a glorious sprawling Easter Bank Holiday spectacular, which involved hanging out and eating like an absolute cretin, and something changed.

Yesterday I was sitting on the floor with my hoodie on and Larry wandered over to see what I was doing and climbed up on my chest as I watched television. This was nothing new really, he'd been doing this for a while but this time I noticed that he seemed a little cold so I wrapped him up in the warmness of my hoodie without even thinking too much about it.

I'd never really done anything that impulsive before with him and, looking back at it, I guess it was a big step.

He took one look at me, snorted a little and then settled down for a nap. As he lay there on my chest I could see that he was still struggling to get comfortable though, so I zipped up my top over him while I watched the TV.

I never even noticed that he fell asleep until I looked at him.

He looked so peaceful that I didn't even want to breathe properly in case I woke him up. I could feel myself getting a little drowsy because, as he got warmer and more relaxed, his breathing was quite hypnotic and he almost became like a hot water bottle.

I took one last glance at him before I shut my eyes and it all made sense at that point.

I get it now. I completely get it.

I'm back at work today, but I'm already wondering about what the future with Larry and Vanille will hold. We're not designed to do this on our own, others make up the most important parts of what we do why we do.

Until next time my friends.
Take care.
Speak soon.

Ben

Monday, 3 April 2017

Dad

I try and keep this space free for when I need it now.

Whenever I've got something to say more than glib romanticized witticisms or observations about being stuck in a lift somewhere.

It's 10 years since I lost my Dad.

I don't know where to begin or how to start.

I figured I'd just sit here, write a bit and things would happen.

The words would come along nice and easily but it's harder than that somehow.




Dad,

There's so much I wish I could tell you. There's so many things that have happened. I've got a wife, she's amazing. You'd love her. She's called Alison and she's probably the best human being I've ever met. She's pretty and kind and thoughtful and makes everything worth doing.

I've got a small dog called Larry and two budgies called Bobby and Harper. Larry's adorable and quickly becoming my favourite thing.

I've got a nice house and a nice job and a good car as well, not that that's super important but I know that you always think it is.

You were right by the way; getting that teaching qualification was probably the best thing I've ever done because not long after you left I started teaching regularly and 10 years later I'm still doing it.

Mum's doing fine as well but I guess you knew she would. She's strong like that, I moved back in home for 3 years to help her out and to save a bit of money as well. It made the whole transition easier for both of us. I moved out in 2011 and still live in the same house. We'll probably move soon though because I can see us getting another dog at some point and we'll need a bit more room.

I wrote a bit, for a few magazines, websites and various publications. I could always imagine you being happy about that, because I know you were so passionate about writing and everything to do with that. I wrote primarily about mixed martial arts but there's been quite a bit of other stuff as well in the meantime.

Speaking of mixed martial arts, I judge fights now and have been doing so for about 7 years. I've been all over the place and been privileged to see some fantastic things and meet some wonderful people. It's probably the one thing I do out of everything I do that I feel I do the best if that's not too convoluted.

I also play a load of old computer games on a channel on YouTube. I'll never forget you walking me down to Longton on a Saturday to play all those arcade machines. I loved that.

I should be really happy but on a day like today that seems next to impossible.

I miss everything about you.
I miss being able to talk to you about nothing.
I miss important talks but most importantly I miss that I never had the opportunity to make you properly proud of me. Everything that I'm most proud of in my entire life happened after you went, so I never got a chance to show you what I could become. I'll never stop trying though, I promise you that. I'll always try to do the right thing like you taught me and to try and to always help out anyone who needs it.

Take Care Dad
Love Always
Ben

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Lost for a day


I'm sorry I've not been here for a while.

Those who know me will know that I recently started a videogaming channel on Youtube and it's taken up quite a bit of time. In a good way though you understand.

It's not like I don't get the thoughts to write anymore, it's just getting the process right to let them tumble out of my head in good order.

Yesterday was one of the best Saturdays I've had in forever. All I did was play Mario and drink tea. It was a dark, cold afternoon and I stayed warm indoors and played videogames.

I'm working on a Super Mario World 96 exit clear so I needed to practice a little bit before I sat down to record, which I think will happen next week. It's frightening how lost I became in the whole process. It's literally like nothing else existed.  I took this photo before I started and I've been unable to get away from looking at it ever since.

It's just perfect.

It's dark but the lights seem warm.
It's comforting and full of amazing memories.
It's the beginning of a fantastic journey and I've got everything I need.

I'll never stop doing the things that make me happy.
That's the key people, that's truly the key.

Take care
Speak soon
Ben

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Places

There's places I've been that I've started to wonder how people have ended up at.

A million and one sparkling lights and colours through the night as we pass silently, miles above nests of clouds. These places tell stories that we'll never fully understand or experience but intrigue us inevitably.

They're people just like me and you but living lives in other spheres. They're linked to each other without ever realising it.  They could be me and you but they're not.

We're the special ones because even when I'm stored safely in the great blue beyond, I'm still thinking about all the things we'll do.

We don't need to do anything that's the joy of it all, but as long as there's you and there's me, then there's everything I'll ever need.

It's always been you.

Take care
Speak soon
Ben


Friday, 7 October 2016

Order

I'm writing to put handles on thoughts that don't have purposes, so I can file them in boxes and in cupboards and forget about them.

I'm writing to reach people I'll never meet, stuck behind the confines of a desk that retains an almost sarcastic shine, whatever the weather.

I'm writing to look back on how I got to where I sit, and what comes next if I don't steer the ship.

I'm writing so you'll understand that you're the alpha and the omega of this whole process, without you even realising it or doing anything about it.

I'm writing so the time goes quicker, is that wrong? I think it's wrong but it's all I have at the moment.

I'm writing to reach back to that simpler time, when the world spun slower and days didn't retreat too fast into the solitude of order and model.

I'm writing because I don't want to forget what I was feeling when I hit the keys, even if it's there as a stern reminder.

I'm writing because it's the only thing I can do without thinking.

I'm thinking because it's the only thing that makes me write.

Take care
Speak soon
Ben

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Lighthouse

It stirs again.

The lighthouse that shines unfaltering into the night comes full circle, and seems to shudder at the sight of a ship. It's stranded and full of gleaming curiosities but there seems no way to help. There has to be something I can do. I run, down countless stairs and find sight of the door which opens quickly into the seemingly endless night. My feet hurt. I'm running as fast as I can but with little idea of what I'm going to do when I get to where I'm going, or even really where I'm going. The first crystal splashes of icy salt water take my breath away but I can't stop, I don't know why, I just know I can't stop. Everything I try to do isn't working and the tide pulls me further away from my quarry, and in turn pulls it further away from me. This was a bad idea. I battle through the cold night and somehow manage to get within touching distance of the ship; it's smaller than it seemed at first but as I clamber onto the deck I'm immediately aware of a sense of overwhelming vastness. There's too much to do. There's too much to see and I can't carry it all back. I need to pick the best things, the things that'll help the most. Is that two different things? Why should I have to pick between what I need and what I want? Why should any of us? I quickly become aware of the fact that nothing on here would survive the unforgiving brine and unless I dive back and seek the solitude of my lighthouse, neither will I. I need to try and remember everything that's here, absorbing anything that I can make a mental note of and quickly retreat. As quickly as it started, it ends. My breath is taken away by the cold night air and I swim with everything I have left to make the shore. It takes longer and I become aware of my frailties, it takes an effort I didn't know I possessed. I somehow manage to make it back to the sand but this voyage of misadventure has taken a toll on me. I stagger, hunched over and breathing heavily, up the beach and make it back to the bottom of the lighthouse and open the door. The stairs seem more vast than I ever remembered but I somehow am able to drag myself up them to the top and the sanctity of my domain. Warmth and light greet me as I open the door and quickly find a blanket to drape around myself. I make myself a tea and stare out into the night to see the ship has fully submerged and all that I sought to take from it is lost forever. I feel my hands growing warmer and the physical toll of my impulsive adventure seems slightly less now. I wish I could remember what I saw, it could have changed things, could have made me a better person. Foolhardiness or old age will inevitably win the war, but for now it seems I'm safe.

I wish I could write all the time and put down tales that would make people forget everything else. I'm inspired in passing by fleeting instances but I'm too aware that I can't take it all with me. I can't take it all in and I can't change the way I seem to find flashes of what might be something special, only to realise I have no way of transporting them from one place to another.

Take Care
Speak Soon
Ben

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Chasm


The difference between winning and losing at so many things in life is infinitesimal, but the effects are often far greater than most of us could ever comprehend.

I don't really write about mixed martial arts too much these days, there's way too many conflicts of interest. It's not to say that I'm not moved enough to write about these things but it's easier to have these conversations with close friends without the potential headaches.

Saturday night however, made me want to write something down, at the very least so there's a tangible and permanent link to the magic that unfolded.

Every fight I judge is the most important fight I've judged up until that point and it always will be. My focus is complete and absolute when the action starts. It's hard to describe the serenity that overcomes me when I'm judging fights. It's addictive. It's a state where there's nothing else but the kinesia that I'm trying to compartmentalize. Every thing that happens in those minutes is processed, evaluated and understood.



It's only afterwards however, does the magnitude of what I've just witnessed often catch up with me and it's not till I'm generally on my own that the reflections replay themselves. I'll stare endlessly into the sky as every single detail is digested and discussed internally; a million monologues and what ifs that swim around my subconsciousness.

The good people that we see compete in this great sport are the same as us but different. They're different because they're prepared to roll that dice and stare down the barrel of the unknown. They understand the risks, the rewards and the consequences of diving headfirst into a maelstrom of danger and uncertainty. The gap between winning and losing for these unique people may be slight but the repercussions of falling either side of the line are vast beyond comprehension.

It's only when the lights come on, the intensity fades and normality resumes are we left with the realizations that we can never undo what has just taken place. More importantly though, we can never forget the magnitude of supreme sacrifices that were made on every level; to create something so beautifully chaotic that will surely last forever.

Take Care
Speak Soon
Ben