It’s been a weird last couple of days.
Firstly – after having blocked ears for an entire day last week (that spontaneously cleared up the day after) I now know that what developing was the start of a really icky head cold.
My nose is streaming, my head is pounding – and very unlike me – I barely left the house yesterday.
I feel sick.
Everyone gets ill mind you, and it’s been almost a year since my last cold – but this meant my Satuday (weighing in, walking and other plans) got completely derailed.
Honestly that’s not always a bad thing – because I barely spend any time in my house at all during the day. In some respects it was nice to just sink into my armchair with some tunes, a blanket and a video game.
I’ve been exploring the bargain bins after my stellar Beastie Boys find the other day and my new favourite album (coming in at a frugal 95p) is Northern Star by Groove Armada (link).
I completely missed this one too when it was first released and it’s flipping excellent!!!
It’s great to walk to and the tempo swings from upbeat bouncy tracks to thoughtful chilled electronica.
I particularly recommend ‘Fireside Favourite‘.
Being ill and sitting at home has affected my exercise stats for the month though and I’ll admit to suffering from a bit of irritable OCD because of this.
Yesterday I missed out on an Apple Watch achievement to double my move goal every day for the whole of September by about 200kcal.
Still – it’s just a silly little badge on a silly little app and I’m being silly caring about it.
On the flip side these kind of things motivate me and keep me focused – so I’m not going to stop caring.
The obsessive side of my nature has created as many opportunities for me recently as it used to create problems – and as long as I keep it directed towards tasks like this I’m hopefully not going to go far wrong in life.
That was the relatively normal bit of my day.
Later in the evening however things went all ‘parallel universe’ and I was contacted by a random person on my public Facebook page.
Since the whole MOTY thing happened I’ve created another public one, hidden my private profile and separated the two with very good reason.
As soon as I hit the media an avalanche of friend requests started.
Quite a few were genuine and in some cases I accepted them in the spirit of openness because the people seemed nice and I felt I could genuinely help them.
There were also very odd ones that I did not accept.
I’ve had friend requests from gun nuts in America, a ‘high priestess’ from Jamaica, a surprisingly large number of women from south east Asia and (whilst being very open minded) a few gentlemen that are… maybe a little more amorous than I generally expect in my everyday life.
However – it’s nice to be wanted, regardless of who wants you.
It doesn’t mean I have to reply though and more often than not I don’t.
There are however some things that pique my attention and prompt a response.
It seems that my easy going relationship with the internet has taken a turn for the surreal without me noticing it was happening.
Late yesterday evening I was contacted by a lady informing me that she’d been scammed after a four month online relationship, and that someone had taken her for a lot of money.
They were using images of me from my Facebook and Instagram pages to pass off as themselves. They’ve clearly deployed them to attract at least one lady that I (now) know of.
Apparently my pictures have been sent en-masse to a woman in America and unbeknownst to me I’ve been in a relationship with her since the start of the summer.
After telling me this (bearing in mind that I’m intensely skeptical at all times) she then asked me ‘have you ever posted a picture of yourself online in hospital?’
‘Ummm… no…’ I replied, wondering what was coming next.
Then she sent me this – which I assume is the picture that the scammer used to convince her to part with her money – presumably to pay for for his fictional medical bills.
Honestly at this point I had no idea what to say.
How on earth do you react to a (badly) photoshopped image of your face pasted into a guy in a hospital bed?
If nothing else I couldn’t help but think that I look a bit like Dengar – a bounty hunter from The Empire Strikes Back – which (although I probably shouldn’t) I find oddly amusing.
The lady earnestly reminded me that I too was a victim in this whole sorry affair (I was polite and sympathetic throughout) but honestly the more I thought about it during and after the conversation the more I decided that the mantle of victim just didn’t fit.
Sure it’s very unsettling that someone is using my face to scam people – but I’d be foolish to think I can stop anyone doing anything like this.
Sure – I can immediately lock down my life and shut up shop on social media – but where will that get me?
Thanks to my own blogging and the Slimming World publicity I’ve received in the national and international press related to my award it’s going to be practically impossible to put this particular genie back in the box.
For the time being at least the benefits I’ve experienced from my very open social media presence (that’s generally brought only a wealth of human positivity to my doorstep and has at times also helped others facing similar challenges too) are something that I’m unprepared to give up.
So – am I a victim in the way that this lady suggests I am?
Not in my view.
I move on.
Unfortunately though she’s a victim (if indeed I believe all this – which I’m not sure I 100% do) and I hope she gets redress – but I’m going to carry on posting and not be consumed by fears about what if’s.
If it’s not my image being used it will be someone else’s – and it’s nice to know that someone finds me attractive enough to pay my fictional medical bills.
I continue to believe wholeheartedly that pushing positivity out into the world is still the right thing to do.
Blogging and honesty changed my life and I’m damn sure that there’s waaaaay more good than bad to be found in the world.
So – if you are getting private messages from a guy that looks like a Star Wars bounty hunter in a hospital bed please do not send them any money.
If on the other hand you want to send it to me then go right ahead – but bear in mind that I’m not going to join your cult, enter into a same sex relationship, travel to the Philippines, join the NRA or help you make America great again.
What I will do internet is keep on writing about who I am, how I feel and what goes on in my mind and my life.
After my head stops banging and my nose stops running.