Friday, 23 December 2011

The Twitter Days of Christmas

My Christmas Follow Fridays.  

This lot have been amazing to me this year and I couldn't have got through it without them.  Much love to everyone who has supported me through this year.  Merry Christmas!

*sings lustily*

On the first day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @PrincessofVP

On the second day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @AndyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

On the third day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @AntiJanner, @AndyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

On the fourth day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @Aitchess @AntiJanner, @andyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

On the fifth day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @EllaSimone @Aitchess @AntiJanner, @andyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

On the sixth day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @SharonGOONer @EllaSimone @Aitchess @AntiJanner, @andyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

On the seventh day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @ijclark, @SharonGOONer @EllaSimone @Aitchess @AntiJanner, @andyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

On the eighth day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @nosweetnothings @ijclark, @SharonGOONer@EllaSimone @Aitchess @AntiJanner, @andyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

On the ninth day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @Miss_alaynius, @nosweetnothings  @ijclark, @SharonGOONer @EllaSimone @Aitchess @AntiJanner, @andyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

On the tenth day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @AliB68, @Miss_alaynius, @nosweetnothings  @ijclark, @SharonGOONer @EllaSimone @Aitchess @AntiJanner, @andyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

On the eleventh day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @PantherPants, @AliB68, @Miss_alaynius, @nosweetnothings  @ijclark, @SharonGOONer @EllaSimone @Aitchess @AntiJanner, @andyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

On the twelfth day of Christmas my Twitter gave to me @PJMardy, @PantherPants, @AliB68, @Miss_alaynius, @nosweetnothings  @ijclark, @SharonGOONer @EllaSimone @Aitchess @AntiJanner, @andyJamesHicks and @PrincessofVP

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Last night a bookshop and a choir saved my life


Actually, they’ve been saving my life for the majority of this year, but last night saw my favourite choir singing carols in my favourite bookshop and having them both together gave me tingles and a warm love-filled glow.

I won’t dwell on it too much, but what with Stalker from Hell (AKA The Person) a work investigation into my mental health, the worst and most elongated episode of depression I’ve ever had and the heart-breaking, mind-fucking  consequences of it all, 2011 has been one heck of a bastard year.

Tottenham Community Choir has been a mainstay in my life for over two years but this year I have needed it more than ever.  Knowing that no matter how dreadful I am feeling, there are 70-plus friends who don’t judge or poke their noses in, who just care and want to enjoy singing with you has been a huge motivator in helping me come to terms with being afflicted with depression and has also been a massive reason to get out of bed.  I can’t even begin to express how much I owe the choir, even though the circumstances that led to The Person blighting my life are so intimately connected with them.  I feel I truly belong.

As for The Big Green Bookshop, I don’t think Tim and Simon have any idea just what they’ve done for me.  My weekly trip to have a natter, a cuppa and a mooch around the bookshelves were not just the random visits of a supposedly poorly girl who couldn’t be arsed going to work (as The Person suggested to my work), they were goals.  I set myself tasks to try and re-integrate myself with the real world. “Come on Bearface, put some clean clothes on and see if you can get as far as the bookshop” has been my mantra for months now.  I’ve also made some fantastic friends through the shop.  It’s such a community hub that you just can’t fail to meet people you connect with and I’ve been lucky enough to become part of that community, which is full of understanding, funny and supportive people.

People need people.  It’s easy to feel alone, isolated and unworthy of other people’s attention when you’re depressed.  Knowing that you are surrounded by those who just accept you as you are, listen when you need them to and make you laugh when nothing else can is a wonderful thing and I feel privileged to count choir and bookshop folk as my friends. I hope I can be there for them if they need me.

I don’t make new year’s resolutions as the pessimist in me thinks it’s just setting yourself up to fail, but I will make this one as it will be a piece of cake to keep; in 2012 I will sing songs with Tottenham Community Choir, read books from The Big Green Bookshop and nurture and cherish the friendships I have made in both.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Stigma


This weekend Stan Collymore took the brave step of tweeting about his experience of depression which struck a cord with many people, not least with me.  He writes eloquently and honestly and I found it a painful thing to read, chiming as it does with my own ongoing health.

Speaking up about mental health is frightening for anyone, especially as you anticipate there might be a negative reaction from some people, but I can’t imagine how it must feel if you've got well-documented incidence of adultery and domestic violence attached to your name.  

Not being a football fan, I have to admit these incidences passed me by, or at least I don’t remember the press coverage from 1998 and 2004, so when I tweeted earlier today “I might love Stan Collymore” I was taken aback to discover these things in his past and the subsequent implication that because of these things I ought to think differently about what Stan is doing. It made me pause. Can I really respect a man who cheated on his wife and beat up his girlfriend? Well yes, I can.  I’m not condoning what he did, of course I’m not, but do I have faith in the idea that people can change, regret and repent for their actions? Of course I do. What kind of a world would we be in if our entire personality and moral code was based on the very worst examples of them?  I doubt any of us would come up smelling of roses.  Just because you’ve done bad things in your past doesn’t mean you should not be valued and supported for the good things you do in the future.

To publically discuss your depression on  TalkSport radio and write about it when right in the middle of a bout is hugely commendable and an important step forward in the public comprehension of such a prolific and misunderstood illness.  

The overwhelming majority of people I see tweeting about what Stan wrote are people who either have suffered depression themselves or know someone who has, and this gives me real hope that with time, and the bravery of fellow sufferers famous or otherwise, we will someday reach a point where mental health is no longer stigmatised and we who suffer are given the compassion  we warrant and deserve. 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Man and The Mouse

22:32
He laughed at the brazen mouse, poking his head above the parapet of the platform.  The other people stood waiting for the High Barnet-bound train turned their judgemental eyes towards him and looked not at all at the mouse.

22:33
The mouse sniffed, looked about him and disappeared. The Edgware train roared into the platform and paused, for breath.  He hoped the mouse was not caught beneath its wheels.

22:34
The mouse shook.  The ache and grind of the the monster's wheels never ceased to scare him.  He was a sham of an underground mouse. Hardy, fearless, thumbing his nose at the Big People - the mouse had never been that mouse.  He revelled in the "art of the tube" posters, he gorged on the 1930s prints of London attractions gone by. If he'd have known what it meant, he would have described himself as an Arts mouse, an aesthetic mouse, a mouse destined to appreciate greater things.

22:35
The man on the platform shuddered slightly as he watched the mouse scuttle across the tracks, fearless and brazen;  the people on the platform entirely disregarded by the mouse.  Suddenly the mouse poked his small, inquisitive nose above the platform edge.  The man jumped back and involuntarily emitted a scared squeak of his own.   Ashamed, he glanced about him.  His fellow platform dwellers feigned disinterest. What, he wondered, is worse? Disparagement or studied indifference?


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Sing, even when you're not winning

My earliest memories are of my mum singing. She sang doing the washing up, she sang doing the hoovering, she sang all the time and it’s something that’s rubbed off on me. Unfortunately I don’t have anything like the voice she had – she had the chance of a recording contract in her late teens but never followed it up; marriage, kids, life got in the way – but the love of it has always been with me.

I stopped singing when I auditioned for my sixth form production of Sweet Charity. I’d never sung on my own in front of anyone except my family and I was beyond nervous. Consequently the noise that came out of my voice was more akin to an elephant passing wind through a badly tuned bagpipe than Shirley Maclaine and I ran from the room, mortified and crippled with embarrassment, vowing never to sing in front of anyone ever again.

Fast forward a decade and the confidence that comes from a few too many teamed with a karaoke night in the local led to me occasionally getting up and belting out a bit of Patsy Cline to the late night stragglers propping up the bar. One of said stragglers was my then partner who, for whatever reason, found my getting up and singing in front of a bunch of drunks incredibly shameful and he’d often storm out in a mood.

Then in 2009 that relationship ended and my love affair with singing was re-kindled. I ventured along to a rehearsal of a new local choir. You didn’t have to audition, or be able to read music, or even think you could sing, perfect for an unconfident, shy and emotionally bruised woman such as I. The joy I felt on hearing and actually being part of a group of people singing together in harmony is one I’d never experienced before – falling in love, sex, getting my degree, becoming an aunty, nothing came close to the all-encompassing feeling of pure uplifting happiness I felt. I left that rehearsal feeling like I’d come home.

As someone with a long-term history of depression I can honestly say singing is good for your soul. No matter how bad I am feeling (and if you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know that how I’ve been feeling over the past eight months or so is pretty fucking dreadful) two hours in the comforting, motherly arms of my choir on a Tuesday night is a balm to my aching, frayed mind.

When I sing now I still get the same sense of joy I felt at that first rehearsal even when I am feeling isolated, melancholy and crippled with fear. I’d love to syphon off that feeling, decant it into those old-fashioned blue-glass bottles and give one to everyone I know.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Why having a locked account doesn’t make you dick

I hate having a locked Twitter account. It is intensely irritating that I can’t reply to people in my timeline who don’t follow me back, if I reply to a mention which includes non-followers they don’t see it and probably think I’m ignoring them, people often assume having a locked account means I’m up my own arse and full of my own self-importance. I am passionate about sharing information and I’m a right bloody chatterbox so being behind a locked door doesn’t sit well with me at all.

I have to protect my tweets because I am being harassed by someone who appears to only understand Twitter as a means with which to make me life hell. This began back in January, I wrote my first blog post about it. All went quiet for some time and I began to put my life back together. At the beginning of the summer I hit a major depressive episode and had time off work with it. I began to recover and went back to work to be told that The Person had written again, this time using any tweets that referred to me leaving the house, drinking and socialising as evidence that I was in fact faking depression and asking my employers to investigate the claim. I still don’t know how The Person knew I was signed off with depression as I never explicitly said it on Twitter. Creepy, eh? I know depression is an often misunderstood condition, so I blogged about it in a bid to explain that being sociable and being depressed aren’t mutually exclusive.

Knowing your every move is being tracked by someone with a grudge against you is unnerving in the extreme. I share a lot, that’s the way I am so what could I do? Delete another account, not tweet anything relating to my personal life or say fuck The Person and continue to tweet openly and publically? Much as I wanted to do the latter I just couldn’t - this is my mental health and career we’re talking about here, not a crusade for open comms - so I locked my account and went through my 570 or so followers, forensically checking them to see if I could identify The Person. I couldn’t so I blocked 226 of them and felt like the biggest bitch going.

Obviously the police are involved although given that their main response has been essentially “dur, leave Twitter stoopid” I don’t hold out much hope of them being particularly useful. My employer is indeed investigating the claim that I have been faking depression – you can imagine how helpful that is in terms of making a full recovery from a major mental health episode – and I still have a locked Twitter account and will probably have to continue to have one for the foreseeable future; until either The Person gets bored, I stop being such an open person or, as currently seems most likely, I have a complete mental breakdown and get carted away to the nearest psychiatric unit.

So if you’re one of those people who feels the need to take the piss out of people with locked accounts, or smugly refuses to follow people back because their account is protected, remember there is a real person behind the avatar, with real reasons for locking themselves behind the door of Twitter and perhaps give them a chance.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

I know it’s not me, it is you.

At the risk of going all Carrie Bradshaw on you, I’d like to ruminate on a recent love-happening that occurred via the not-actually-a-dating-site medium of Twitter. I think my basic point’s applicable to any environment you meet someone in though. So anyway Boy follows Bearface, Beaface follows back, conversations takes place and we tentatively, inch by inch, start dating. Well, I call it dating, but it was more like courting. Actually it was a series of direct messages on Twitter, texts and phone calls interspersed with a couple of daytime meetups over the course of about seven weeks. It’s not really dating I suppose but let’s call it that for ease.

Now I am quite big enough to accept that sometimes people don’t quite match up in real life to the version of them you have begun to find attractive at something of a remove. It’s a consequence of the increasingly online world we inhabit; people can be more awkward and less articulate, more reticent, less funny that their online persona would lead you to believe. However, there is a basic etiquette that dating should adhere to, no matter where and how you met.

This fellow was a nice guy, bit backwards in coming forwards, bit reluctant to talk about himself but hey, we can’t all be forthcoming and willing to share; variety is after all the spice of life. As things progressed however, it became increasingly apparent to me that this man, despite being full of the compliments, goodnight messages and daily phonecalls, wasn’t really that enamoured of me or rather, he was enamoured of me, but there was someone else who already held sway in his affections. Which leads me to my point; if you actually like someone else more than the person you’re dating, you shouldn’t be doing it at all.
It’s not cheating, but it’s being untruthful about the very basis of your burgeoning relationship which isn’t going to do either of you any favours. And actually, when the person you’re dating guesses, all you do is make yourself look like a bit of a shit and ruin what could have been a decent friendship, had you only not tried to replace the lack of affection from one person, with the potential affection of another. It’s emotional deception and it’s quite hurtful that someone I had grown to care for would basically use me as a distraction.

Now let’s not get all hatey and stabby towards this bloke, he’s not a bad person and I’m sure most of us have tried to get over one person by getting involved with another – hell, I know I have – but having been on the receiving end, I know I won’t do it again and I really hope he doesn't do it to someone else either - it's just bad manners.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Flippancy is a defence mechanism

I've had depression my whole adult life. Most of the time it doesn’t affect me and people are quite surprised to discover it is something I suffer from; I am outgoing, loud and fairly opinionated, I am sociable, communicative and the first one to get up and shake my thing on an empty dancefloor. I take medication that keeps me on an even keel and I am lucky that I have a wonderful group of friends I can talk to when I am feeling particularly down - they take me out, let me talk and do their level best to show me that I can be happy. But sometimes that isn’t enough and recently I have been signed off work by my doctor with a particularly significant depressive episode.

It isn’t easy to explain. During this bout there have been days where I have literally been unable to get out of bed, to get a drink, go to the loo, to eat. There is emptiness, followed by despair, followed by panic and fear. Fear that I’ll never be free of this seemingly endless cycle of my own introverted thoughts. Some of the symptoms of depression are an inability to concentrate, a heightened level of emotional sensitivity, lack of motivation and difficulty making decisions and interrupted sleep; these things make going to work during a significant episode very difficult. But it is unpredictable and there are better days, where I’ve been able to take the focus away from myself and go out and do some food shopping, meet a friend for coffee and dare I say it, have evenings out, having a drink and feeling free of the black dog for a few hours. A lot of that is putting a brave face on it and afterwards the depressive thoughts come back tenfold, but yes, there are times in the midst of a bout when I feel alive again. There are people for whom this indicates that I can’t really be that ill, and certainly shouldn’t be off work – in essence that I am the very worst kind of malingerer. You might agree with them. If you do, that’s your choice, I am not going to justify myself to anyone. It is what it is, I am who I am.

Depression is not about strength versus weakness, coping versus falling apart. It’s as real a condition as any other – other people just can’t see the symptoms like they can a rash, a stammer or a fracture. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone but the main reason for that is still because of the stigma surrounding mental health. Diagnosed depression can be managed with medication, talking therapies and the like but the attitude of other people to it is for me, a definite obstacle to being free of it. For every friend who gets what it’s about, there are countless others who don’t, for every friend with depression, there are countless others in denial and refusing to seek help because when all is said and done, we still have a culture of shame and fear around depression.

“What have you got to be depressed about? You’ve got a great job/lovely home/wonderful partner!” doesn’t even come into it, it’s got absolutely fuck all to do with financial security or whether you’re seeing someone as so many people seem to think. Sure these things can make anyone feel a bit depressive - who hasn’t been unhappy in a job, home or relationship at some point? But there is a vast difference between the unhappiness we all must feel at times in our lives and the condition Depression, diagnosed according to standardised, recognised medical guidelines.

I don’t go around advertising that I am a depressive, I wouldn’t be shouting my mouth off about any other illness I had either, but on the other hand I will not be shamed into not talking about, because it is not a fake illness. It is unpredictable, frightening and exhausting, but it won’t beat me and nor will the attitudes of other people.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Not to be morbid..

I never intended this blog to be morbid and depressive, I envisaged it being witty and insightful and laugh a bloody minute. But I have just found my way, by accident, into my sent mail from 2008/2009. I wrote this on 30th July 2008, when I was engaged to be married, but knew deep down it wasn't for me. It's a letter to I don't know who, about my mum who died 21st May 2007.

"My mother is dead. I don’t know who this is for. I like to think it’s for anyone suffering the loss of their beloved but probably it’s just for me. A self-indulgence.
We all knew it was coming; she’d been like a cat with nine lives. No one could be that ill, for that long and continue to fight and fight and fight. We’d been told she had months, not years. In the end it was days.

Within hours of her passing people were saying at least it was expected. Why do people think that makes all the difference? It wasn’t fucking expected. I hadn’t been expecting the phone call in the middle of the night, I hadn’t been expecting to see her dead in a side room of a hospital ward, I hadn’t been expecting it to be now.
I say now, but I started writing this just after she died; 14 months ago. I recently got a new laptop so I was copying across all the bits and bobs saved on the old one, when I saw this. I read it, and I cried. It’s still true. 14 bloody months have gone by and it’s all still true.
Even when I made myself face the harshest realities of her illness, I never imagined the actual moment of her passing. Yes, I’d been terribly practical, planning the funeral in my head, organising my father’s life and grief in advance. It didn’t matter in the end. The holes that have been made in my heart, my head, my gut are beyond imagining. You can’t prepare for that.

Funny, how you still function. I’d never understood how bereaved people were able to carry on being human. Truth be told, I’d always thought my grief, when it came, would be so overwhelming, people would see how it is to be truly lost in despair. I was at best na├»ve, at worst supremely arrogant. I know better now. God, she was fabulous and funny and beautiful. But as much as I miss her I wouldn’t wish her back to the life she had. The indignity of a once such vibrant woman being confined to a hospital bed, kept alive by machines while her mind wandered further and further from reality. It would have been an existence not a life.

I dial ‘mum mob’ on my way back from work, even now. I always called her on the walk between station and home. I wish there was a voicemail message so I could hear her, but she never quite got to grips with the whole voicemail thing in life, so I suppose I’m expecting too much to hope to hear it now, in death. I remember she had her own mother’s handbag in the back of our airing cupboard when I was small. I didn’t understand that then. She’s gone, why hold on to the tat? But I’ve got mums handbag, stuffed in the back of a wardrobe because I can’t face looking through it. I know there’s some change in her purse, but what do you do with a dead woman’s coins? Can’t give them away, can’t spend them.
14 months, and I still feel lost. I still feel anger and bitter and I’m raging; at the hospitals for not curing her, at myself for not doing more. And at her, for leaving me when I need her most.

It’s hard to remember the times before she got ill. Try as I might, the memories of sickness and distress will keep pushing out all the happy and fun times. I hope this will pass. It has to pass because I can’t spend the rest of my life with only the sad recollections of a too-short life for company. And I know the other stuff is there, waiting in the wings, anticipating a time when I will look back and laugh and remember and be thankful for the life she had.
I’m getting married. She won’t be there. I never really expected that she would be, but it still puts a pre-emptive downer on the day. She would have loved being the mother of me, the bride. I want to go shopping for her outfit. Actually I do go shopping for her outfit but then I remember she’s gone. Anyway, it would have been a hard task persuading her to splash out and not go for a Matalan two piece. Perhaps I’d have splashed out on her behalf, but then again, perhaps not. I was never quite the daughter I wanted to be. I took too much and gave too little. Maybe that’s just how it is with mothers and daughters.

People tell me I’ll feel her with me. I haven’t yet. But mum, if you’re out there, I miss you. And I could really do with a cuddle."

Monday, 23 May 2011

Laugh? I nearly died!


On Saturday it was the fourth anniversary of my mum’s death, someone I follow on Twitter lost a parent and I met up with a friend whose father is terminally ill. Not much scope for laughter there, is there? Except that, well, there is. I made a joke about my mum being to blame for The Rapture, the tweep got straight back on the joke horse and my friend did what any right-minded person would do and went to a club and laughed at fey indie boys. It all got me to thinking about how we use humour to cope with death and the spectre of it.


When my mum was dying, my family spent many hours in the relatives’ room outside ITU at the Royal Free Hospital. We saw other families come and go as their loved ones improved or ceased to be, and what struck me was how much everyone in that depressing little room laughed.
The whole situation is so absolutely bizarre and terrifying, that a quick dose of mild hysteria is sometimes just what the doctor ordered and allows you to express the sheer depth of your fears without frightening the bejeezuz out of your loved ones or uttering some of the many unspeakable truths about a long drawn out death – namely that once they’re gone you will be wholly relieved not to have to traipse up the hospital any more, you’ll get to talk about something other than catheters and blood sugar levels and you might feel just the tiniest bit of relief that your days won’t be so inconvenienced and you can get back to having a life.


Sometimes life is so eye-wateringly bad that the only way to cope with the prospect of death is to laugh heartily in the face of it. My mum was a funny lady, not always intentionally and never more so than when stroke-ridden and confused. Sorry, but there it is. Watching her try and give herself her insulin injection but not being co-ordinated enough to locate her arse from her elbow (as it were) was terrible, but also terribly funny as she had a major fit of the giggles as she near stabbed herself in the head and we ended up wrestling the needle out of her hand. Of course, I cried buckets about it after; seeing this active, intelligent woman reduced to a bumbling, confused mess is not all that funny, but at the time the only way to deal with the situation was to laugh at it. It was also funny when she rose from near death, drugged up, traecheotomied up, with laboured breathing to vilify my dad for having the cheek to go home from the hospital for a break; “the GALL of that man!” she hissed and we all collapsed in fits. Poor dad, he didn’t deserve it but the sight of this tiny, dying woman screwing up her waning strength to slag off her husband was class!


I’m hardly the first to note the connection between grief and humour; clever people have done studies on it, but the amount of stuff I did find to laugh at in the lead up to and the aftermath of my mum’s death took my by surprise. Some of it made me feel guilty, some of it made me cry but all of it helped me come to terms with losing my mum. It still does.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Twitter blah blah blah.

I realise I am a complete cliche for starting a blog within a year of joining Twitter but who gives a fuck, you don't have to read it. I've had a shitty couple of months and Twitter has been at the heart of it all. Both my nemesis and my saviour, if you will.

I used to have a different ID and was merrily going along gathering followers, swearing profusely and generally getting to grips with having to use astrisks to get my point across where mere words would not suffice. Then someone wrote to my employer to alert them to my Twitter use during working hours. Well you might say, fair enough, I shouldn't be tweeting in a personal capacity during working hours. You'd be right. I hold my hands up to it - nevermind that I don't know a single person who doesn't tweet, facebook, email, text when they should be entering a formula into a spreadsheet, writing a strategy document, developing a marketing campaign or whatever it is they do to earn a living. Anyway I got a slap on the wrists, a kick up the arse and I've learnt my lesson.

What frightened me was this. The Person who contacted my work sent copies of the letter and pages of my tweets to every member of the senior management board. They did this anonymously and left no contact address. They had clearly spent many, many hours, if not days monitoring my output on Twitter specifically pulling out the tweets they thought would do me the most damage. They had even gone so far as to highlight some with a Sharpie. You won't be surprised to hear that I know who is behind it and why they did it. Suffice to say, I don't believe I deserved it. My only crimes were to not be who The Person wanted me to be and to stand up for my principles. Hell hath no fury like a....no I can't say it.

I deleted my old Twitter account as soon as the shit hit the fan and then a couple of weeks later, rejoined as @bear_faced_lady. Word had got about that I'd returned under a new guise and it was quite something to be welcomed back and *hugged* and *kissed* and generally made to feel like a long lost friend returning from the trenches. At first I locked my account, frightened that The Person would start 'twitter-stalking' me again, but then I thought fuck it. If they're that sad that they have nothing better to do than sit in front of a screen feverishly monitoring the endless drivel I spout then frankly, they're welcome to.

I really like being on Twitter and I get something from it that I don't get elsewhere. I get to be coarse and crude or I can shout or cry and generally be the emotional blunderbus I don't get to be in real life (sorry, IRL). It was horrible to think that some one would take advantage of that bond of trust implicit in any kind of social network - virtual or physical. Maybe I have been too trusting and a bit naive in opening myself up as I have on the social web. Maybe, knowing the sort of person The Person is, I should have seen this coming and been a bit more canny. Probably, yes. But the thing is, I have friends on Twitter as well as followers, some started off as followers and became friends, some I've met and some I never will, but friends nonetheless. Friends the likes of which The Person never was and never could be, to me or anyone else.

So I think that really, at the end of the day even though it's a fight I never sought, in the battle between The Person and The Bear Faced Lady, I WIN.