POETRY [UNTITLED SERIES] – 21

For you, always

In a language you speak

It will wait for you to seek

Me But Not Me

Everything you could need.

About Me

Specious is a Game Critic, Tech Journalist & Accessibility Advocate | Bylines @Phandroid, @MobileNations@GoodWritingVG |@FreeFoodBankAp1 | Poly | Bi | He/She/They.

They have an eclectic career; being involved from everything from all forms of editing, writing and proofreading to developing software, processes and games.

What People Say

You helped me become way more aware of accessibility in games and writing, and I always enjoyed working with you. Our time together at GGW made me a better writer. I also really loved the Spec Special show for your humor and insight. The way you care about people is so admirable.

Another forgotten act, the power of kind words. It takes a moment but can last a lifetime to someone. It could save a person’s life, that’s immeasurable good in the world. This made a difference in a week where I felt alone in every aspect of my life, thank you @ThisIsSpecious!

Thomas Frantz (@ADHIForgotOhYaD)

If being kind and thoughtful were an Olympic sport, you’d be Usain Bolt. You’ve been through so much and instead of becoming withdrawn and cynical, it seems to have made you more empathetic. I only hope I can return to you some of the love and support you pour into others.

Mim McDonald (@crinolinerobot)

The credit really goes to @thisisspecious who brought this up with me and helped me come up with a system. It’s still being tinkered with but I’m quite happy with the state it’s in!

Olly Smith (@ollywrites)

you’re generous about sharing your knowledge and great at articulating difficult concepts related to accessibility. we’ve had some conversations that helped me frame things in a whole new way, and I’m very thankful for that. both for my own life and for “the cause.” thank you!

Jim Dodge (@dodgethistweet)

your strength and resilience are fucking inspiring and you look damn fine in a suit

Link (@CHICKENDINOSAUR)


Let’s build something together.


Publications

A Study on Video Gaming & Language Learning – Lambert Academic Press

Android Central

iMore

iMore

iMore

iMore

Windows Central

Issue #1 – Panel X Panel

Issue #6 – Analog

Android Central

Android Central

Android Central

Android Central

Android Central

Android Central

Android Central

Android Central

Android Central

For you, always

You’ll get out. I’ve never had more faith in that than now.

I know you don’t recognize your reflection.

I know you’d have hated who you’ve become and I know you hate who you were so there’s no use in being anywhere other than present.

I know it’s torture.

I know that you make it through.

I know that you don’t believe it. I know that you don’t have to.

I will. We will.


Maybe you and I could talk before we write one another off?

Maybe we could both be quiet.

Maybe we could decrease or maybe we could rally our likeminded and fight it.

Maybe we could broadcast our dissent.

Maybe it will hurt.

Maybe it will heal.

Maybe it with mar but

Maybe it will mend.

Maybe I don’t have every answer I thought I did but, God, Damn them, I still have You.

Continue reading “For you, always”

POETRY [UNTITLED SERIES] – 16

I have always loved the sea

It’s been a place of refuge and safety for all of my years

It’s the place I return to when all things go

Much like the sky, and how I feel about stars

I’m always returned to wherever they are


You were like the waves that crashed on the shore

Consistent

Soothing

Enevitable

I never thought I could drown in your sea

In the blue of your eyes

In the vastness of that ocean


I remember now that I was born of shards of twilight

of whispers

of promises

of boundless beauty

of light

I am what lights the way when all other lights go out

I am the magician

I am the revealer of truths

I am what pulls you to meet the shore


Without me there would be no sea

Nothing to ground yourself upon

Nothing else to reap


If you cannot guide my way home, I must light a path for myself

Just know, as my light turns blue, you were the only thing I needed before I realised I needed my light more.

“Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone.

Without a dream in my heart.

Without a love of my own.”

POETRY [UNTITLED SERIES] – 15

There is a rush in the tide as the storm breaks through to land

Knowing what you have done and how blind you are to it

How you’d hurt him without knowing what is going on

How you still call me sick

Your words break like waves upon the shore

You don’t control me

The air roars and the rain clatters

Little do you know that I’m more powerful than anything you can summon

I am a master of my own ship

The sea belongs to me

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GoFundMe – Support Spec in their time of need

For those who know Spec, it’s very likely that they have been there to support you at your time of need, but now they need us. 

Due to personal circumstances over the past few months, Spec is now living alone with a very limited support bubble around them. That’s why I’m asking Twitter to be the bubble they need right now. 

Whether its a few pounds or more, I’m hoping we can give Spec some extra support to allow them to buy food shopping and keep a roof over their head during this difficult period in their life. 

Spec has helped me so many times over the past few years, without the expectation of anything in return. So I hope I can help return the favour by providing the financial support they need while they find their new normal and get back into work. 

I appreciate that this is a tough time for everyone, but anything you can donate will help

gf.me/u/ykbn5m

POETRY [UNTITLED SERIES] – 14

Everyday I dress up in my own words

Pulling Strength from what lies on the floor

Unable to breathe any Hope from a closet

The Comfort in a black oversized t-shirt

Oh god I want to feel again

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POETRY [UNTITLED SERIES] – 13

Cameras & a rear view mirror

You don’t drive a car by looking backwards. if you do you’ll crash.

Cameras and rear view mirrors are only there for glimpses at the past.

You’re not meant to stay there.

I’ve stripped all the photos from my walls.

I’ve pulled the bricks apart in order to reshape it to something I recognise.

To reshape myself into something I recognise.

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How to break the cycle of fear in habit formation

Recently we covered self care ideation and how there are practical and realistic ways to love yourself beyond the keywords and SEO. Today we will talk about aversion, procrastination and habit forming when it causes some fear response or avoidance behaviour. Being able to form new habits and behaviours is complex and difficult as it requires a lot of internal rewiring. So, we will start from the beginning of the process. We’ll talk about why this happens to begin with, what causes it and strategies to change it.

Why we do what we do?

There is no correct answer to this, as depending on the severity and context of the issue it can be one of many things. However, it all breaks down to one key thing – it is something that ultimately serves you. I’m reluctant to use the word benefits, as no one has depression or anxiety because it benefits them. In saying that, your brain is smart, and it tries to adapt to the environment and the chemicals it produces to function, even in states when it is not optimal.

But this isn’t an article about the chemical compositions of major and minor mental illnesses. It’s about habit formation, but it’s important to understand how these mental states can really affect your ability to form new habits for yourself, even if they are beneficial to you.

For instance, in my personal life I’m having a hard time keeping up with personal hygiene and other fundamental things to keep my body healthy. But my mind is so overwhelmed just existing right now that it’s just not prompting me to do things beneficial for my health. So, not showering – taking medication that involves touching myself or anything that requires an incision into my body. Even though I know – logically and emotionally that I need to take these medicines to be well.

It’s causing for me an adverse reaction. Even thinking about doing these things cause me a certain amount of physical anxiety and emotional strain. Thus, me not doing these things or thinking about them causes me to get that bit of a dopamine hit for not doing them as a reward. As far as my chemical body is concerned, it’s gotten me out of danger and therefore my body should be rewarded for running away from the reaction.

So it is now associating not taking my medicine and that running away from discomfort with a sympathetic chemical reaction.

This can work against us, chemicals in are body are impossible to reason with. They are the things that keep our body together and informs our bodies on what to do. If I continue this pattern of not taking my meds or fighting the urge to take my meds with success, it will only be harder to implement taking my meds because it’s chemically associating itself.

For me, avoidance is how these things manifest in me. For others, this can turn into something much harder to combat, which is fear or phobia. Have you ever wanted to do something so much that you ended up becoming just pure afraid of doing it or having any association with it? It doesn’t have to be anything to do with self care. It could be a fear of heights or spiders, which it is in my instance.

But what happens when you get to a stage where you are so anxious and upset around the thoughts of being in contact with things like water that you become hydrophobic? So, this makes drinking water, taking baths or showers far more complex. Fear increases the stress hormone cortisol in your system. If you have previously seen times like brushing your teeth or taking baths as something that was a relaxing activity but is now not sending those reassuring chemicals associated with calmness and relaxation and have been replaced with a stress response. This can be a challenging thing to overcome.

There are a few things you can do to change your associations around things that had been a source of relaxation and now cause you stress or anxiety.

Key among them is to be exposed to the thing you fear.

Exposure therapy in controlled situations is a well-researched tactic to combat some specific phobias. This does not mean that I’m telling you to jump into a pool to cure your hydrophobia! What you need is slow and controlled exposure in a way that you can incorporate it into your life without its existence being seen to your body and your mind as a threat.

A plan for treating hydrophobia and being able to work up to incorporate water-related activities into your life is by working on it step by step and this is something that needs to be done over months, not weeks or days. The risk of doing exposure therapy too quickly is that you end up building up that fear response instead of disarming it, which is what you want to do.

The goal is to reincorporate these instances into your life again like they have always been there are as little of a threat to you as a cushion you have on your sofa. Trust is a muscle. We build it up. It is understood or implicity given. For example, when you go to sit down on a chair you trust that the chair will support your weight and that you will not fall over because you’ve sat on chairs before and know what to expect. The same is what we’re trying to develop with building in a new habit or breaking free of something that doesn’t serve us.

In our instance with hydrophobia. For the first two weeks, all I’d want someone to do is to have a glass of water beside the fridge or bathroom. (Yes, even if you’re not cripplingly afraid of water) I’d want you to place it in a place where you go by it regularly in your day to day and you don’t have to interact with it. It can just be placed there without you really considering it and go about your days as normal.

That’s it. This is around changing the relationship of how we view something that threatens us. If we can prove to ourselves through non threatening exposure that things will not hurt us, that is the reassurance we’re giving to our mind and our bodies.

After a while, you’re not even going to notice it’s there. It will blend into the background, much like a piece of art on your wall. It’s just going to be there, and it’s all gravy.

When that happens, I want you to put another glass in another common place like your bathroom. You don’t have to interact with it; you don’t have to do anything with it. Just have it there and repeat the exercise till you feel you don’t even really notice its presence anymore.

How does this help me take a bath? You may be wondering. But much like all of this is manifesting for you didn’t just happen overnight similarly neither will the cure. You will build up your trust with a system is in place to help support you, and this should be a plan that you should curate as appropriate to your needs with the support of your personal support network.

This process has no timeline – it will take as long as it takes. But these are the foundations for changing your associations emotionally, physically and chemically to a phobia or habit that you are trying to change. Remember something key, emotion = motion.

If we can catch each other when we’re in a loop of emotions or frustration, we can change it by changing our state.

Tony Robbins goes into this a lot and this is because it physiologically changes what is happening in your body when you are feeling a set of emotions or doing something in a pattern.

An example I can give you is today. When I was writing up this article, I was just out of surgery and got diagnosed with another set of nasty stuff. It’s something I’m hoping to cover in another article, but I was ruminating a lot about Mark. There was a part of me that in some fairy tale imagined him being there when I woke up and that things would be ok. Then I started falling down the emotional rabbit hole of “what if he doesn’t come home” “I’m in so much pain and discomfort and I have no one here.” and I just was spiralling but at one stage I could catch myself and I stood up and at the top of my lungs I screamed NEXXXXXXT!!!!

And I felt better.

I could control and choose my state.

You can too. It doesn’t matter how able-bodied you are, whether or not you can stand. This is about changing your state, to change the chemicals in your brain from you keeping from patterning it out the way you normally do.

Mel Robbins (unrelated to Tony) deems this as pulling the emergency brake.

None of these responses are your fault, your body and brain do so much on autopilot that it has this in place for you because it’s trying to protect you from something. Or is making things as easy as possible for your daily brain to cope with it. But what is important to know is that through the right strategies and mechanisms you can control your life and make the changes you wish to see.

POETRY [UNTITLED SERIES] – 12

Over and Over


I sit disassociated and numb

Between a sleeping cocker spaniel and the noise of the street

I’ve been crying all day and every time I feel like I’ve gotten some sort of closure only to be pulled back to April over and over.

They tell me how well I’ve done. That April’s Spec wouldn’t have believed it.

My car that sits in the drive. The job I have from home. Paying for my mortgage. My food prep and my cleaning.

Words and words I never thought I’d say. Simply pushing on day after day.

If this is what moving on is then I don’t want it. How could I stay in a place most haunted?

Every time I feel like I’ve gotten some sort of closure only to be pulled back to April over and over.

I’m lonely for the touch of Clouds fur and that goofy smile.

I’m lonely for your eyes and warmth of your smile and how your touch could hold me in time.

I’ve filled notebooks of witchcraft and spells, of affirmations and hope. All for your safety, your freedom, your heart, your hope.

Every time I feel like I’ve gotten some sort of closure only to be pulled back to April over and over.

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