Monday 13 July 2015

I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon.

Look at this! A blog! An actual blog from what can only be described as the single worst blogger in the related sphere given I have not done this for months.

So what could have driven me to get off my rear and put finger to key? Well, me. I thought it was time to say something about what it is like to be an advocate. An unpaid e-cig advocate. A volunteer that probably doesn't know when to stop and even if she did, wouldn't! A person perpetually on the brink of an eye-ball gouging, table throwing, running-through-the-streets-dressed-in-coloured-recycling-bags-claiming- to-be-batman-whilst-screaming-incoherently breakdown.

I am by no means alone in this. Although the details might be different, damn near all of us are in the same position.

I thought it was about time to talk about what it is like being an advocate. Not about the abuse we have had or the accusations of shillery and corruption. But what it is actually like being a normal human being (don't anyone DARE leave a comment containing the word 'lettuce'! Fergus - I am looking at you!) living a normal life (I am serious Fergus!) with either a job or a family, suffering with physical or mental illness, maybe supporting others that do. We are a varied bunch but the fact is, this advocacy business is on TOP of what we already do.

Last week and this weekend I was asked to do these things;

Attend the new APPG and speak on behalf of NNA and by extension, consumers. (This week)

Attend the launch of and speak at the new BSI industry standard written by ECITA with input and support from myself and a group of others (The Steering group). (This week)

Arrange a trip to an SSS near Manchester in order to support an advisor who wants to turn the SSS E-cig friendly and needs help to get everyone onside.

Support (ongoing) another PH professional who contacted me asking for help to deal with a high level colleague come round to vaping from a position that appears to be in-line with some of  our most absolute favouritist Anti-Ecig Activists.

Attend and speak at a vape expo in another country.

Read and respond to more people than I can count who have concerns and questions and worries via email and Twitter. (Always)

Now, do not think for ONE SECOND that of all the advocates you know that I am the only one with a week like this. I am not. I can almost guarantee that virtually every one of them had a similar week, we just rarely talk about it. Partly cos we relish all the different challenges and partly as we do not want anyone to think they can't or shouldn't add any further pressure. I will close on this bit specifically.

So what about my life? That thing that happens 24 hours a day outside of e-cig related matters?

This week:

Monday -

Take youngest son to Dr's to discover he has tonsillitis and a stomach virus to go with the broken arm he got last week. He is off school.

Book train tickets to APPG and BSI launch event. Read confirmation emails and realise I have booked to go to London twice on the same day. All left till last minute as unsure I can leave youngest.

Tuesday -
Get on train at 10:03
Get off train at 13:44. Make way to Parliament.
Get on train at 23.45

Wednesday -

Get off train at 6:45am
Drive 40 minutes home,
Organise small ppl for school - unknown if youngest well enough to go.
Drive 40 minutes to eldest's school for 13:40 for meeting (unknown what is happening with smallest)
Get back in time to pick up middle-sized at 15:15 in home village.
Feed small ppl to get back to school for 17:00 for school play
Attend school play at 18:00
Take children home around 21:00.
Drive to train station.
Get on train at 23:09

Thursday -

Get off train at 06:30
Make way to Standards Launch.
Speak (give Katherine big hug knowing she knows just how I feel)
Get on train at 14:06
Get off train 18:06
Drive home in time to read bedtime stories
Wrap presents
Make birthday cake till early hours

Friday  -

Wake up swearing I am not making birthday cakes anymore
Sing Happy Birthday to my middle-sized who will be 8, give presents.
Sort monkeys for school
Finish birthday cake
Organise food for birthday visitors.
Collect monkeys
Do Birthday.
Watch hours of cake-making labour be destroyed.
Enjoy evening with family.

Saturday -

Start putting contingency plans in place for my inevitable breakdown.

So this week IS particularly troublesome, I can't deny that. But to some degree or other this is sort of normal. Add into the mix personal things like school runs, street dance and ballet classes for monkeys 2 and 3, football training and related activities for monkey 1, unfeasible levels of laundry, cooking, cleaning, PICKING STUFF UP!! OMFG I seem to spend my whole damn life picking stuff up! Does nobody else notice it? Is it just me? Does it exist in some alternate reality into which I only can see in order to bring it back to our world and find it a home?

I digress...excuse me whilst I take a calming breath or twenty...

My point is, it is the same for everyone, every advocate in every country. It would be easy to think that I have written this for sympathy or kudos, but you would be mistaken. I think this just needs to be said and it needs to be said because it explains why accusations of astroturf and shillery hurt so much. We are doing our very best and often at the expense of something in our own lives. I gave up waitressing to do freelance writing, which went well at first, but then a whole lot of personal stuff happened and new and interesting e-cig related things arose and as a result, I have not been able to focus on writing and find myself work. This is no-ones fault but my own.

So much like I can object to using women as ornaments at vape expos without being a militant feminist or suffering some crippling jealousy, I can tell you all this about being an advocate without wanting sympathy. I don't HAVE to do this. I could stop anytime I want...

The biggest reason I have held off saying all of this - and this is THE most important bit - is because I was worried about appearing vulnerable. But, Do Not think this is a plea to take the pressure off. Do Not think 'I won't ask Lorien or anyone else cos she wrote that blog'. I doubt any of us realised where this would end up, what it would involve, but I would not change a thing. I am proud of everything we have achieved and all that we have done. It is absolutely bloody amazing!

It is likely to be years before this is over and I suspect most of us will see it through to the end. I am so proud to have met the people I have, work with the ones I do and adore the friends I have made. I have gained so much and learned so much about myself. I have never felt more confident and capable but at the end of the day, we are all ordinary people in an extraordinary situation.

I guess this isn't really for the community, the blog, because I think you all know all of this. It is here for the people who demean and degrade our efforts.

So, now all of that has been said.....


  1. Exhausted reading that! Genuinely uplifting account charting your weekly life

  2. Wow! We are with you! We must take a break now and then or we won't last.

  3. Thank you Lorien for all you do and have done

  4. Loved the rundown Lorien! It seems that it's easy to forget that we not only have lives, but for several of us, it takes time to read through, analyze, propose counterpoints and publish on a regular basis. Some days it's like trying to push on a rope with all the bullshite that gets pushed into the news cycles.
    So, yeah, if we're not publishing all the time it could just be that we're busy balancing life, on life's terms, with the incredible amount of homework that it takes to actually understand what is really going on in the areas of advocacy that we are capable to dealing with.
    H/T to you and everything you do. Keep pedaling!

  5. And we do all this voluntarily... not being paid a penny. Everyday being spat at, shouted at, verbally abused by the likes of Chapman, McKee and Glantz et al, who all have the privilege of receiving a paycheck for "doing their jobs". They have at least eight hours a day, where they don't have to worry about laundry, maintenance on the house, bringing up children (monkeys) and pooring your heart out (wonder if they have one?)
    To Lorien - we are an army - we are warriors - and no one will or can stop us. No matter if we are a "waitress from Cornwall, an architect from Denmark, a doctor from Spain - the fight will go on - and we will succeed - eventually - in time ... because our cause is just, and common sense will prevail.
    The train to success has left the station, and we're taking on more passengers along the way - and we will arrive according to schedule.

  6. I kind of feel a little guilty for suggesting you put this in writing now, but seeing in black & white everything you do both for advocacy and for your family just reinforces my respect and admiration for you and all you do.

    Told you once I have always valued your thoughts & opinions highly, and I value you as my friend.

    What's coming will come, and we (you, me and all the other advocates worldwide) will face it when it does. Together.

    We are Legion, for we are many.

    Don't know about anybody else, but I am damn proud of all that you and all advocates have accomplished so far, if you need to offload stuff you know where I am :-)

  7. Picking things up lol! Oh yes. Fwiw, and I could be wrong, I do think the frequency of the astroturf accusations has lessened. Some, at least, of the doubters have come to take us at face value. Hope monkey no.3 is bearing up.

  8. I don't think this has been done enough:

    Lorien, Thanx for all the hard work and all the effort! We WILL win this fight, as the ANTZ are slowly but surely destroying their own credibility.

    I don't know how you keep it all together, I'd surely crack under the pressure. Thanx again!

  9. Well said Lorien!

    Whilst I am in no way crusading as much as you, I do whatever I can as a keyboard warrior and locally influencing local government policy and speaking to MPs etc.

    On top of 5yo twins, a full time job and MS it's a struggle to do even that but we are fighting the good fight and we are fighting to preserve lives. We must never forget that.

  10. Wow just wow.and thank you.

  11. Not the worst blogger. One of the best :)

    Thank you. Thank you for doing what I can't do. Thank you for the exhausting gruelling heartbreaking effort you put in back when I was still smoking and I didn't know you were fighting. Thank you on behalf of every smoker who will get the chance I had as a result of what you (and the others) do.

  12. One word really............RESPECT! :-)

  13. Wow you put m tree to shame.

  14. I am in awe! Always wondered where you found the time to do everything. Now I know you have found the key to quantum-living. No other explanation possible.

    Also I would like to thank you for the invaluable work, knowledge and determination you and all the others put in to defending vapers' interests. You are all priceless (in every sense of the word).

    Thank you.

  15. We do it for ourselves, we do it for millions of others. Many, many thanks for your incredibly hard- and wonderfully effective- work.