All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Twenty (more) things I’d like to do before I die

The latest prompt in the 15 day blog challenge asks:
write about something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t.

bucketlist1

Just before Christmas 2005 I wrote my one (and only) things to do before I die list. Given seven long years has passed since writing that expansive list, I’ve decided it’s about time I updated it…and today’s prompt in the challenge is a wonderful excuse to do just that.

So here are twenty brand spanking new things I’d like to do before I die!

1. Visit the Table Mountains of Southern America

2. Publish an e-book about the journey I’ve taken through mental illness and homelessness

3. Participate in a nudie run

4. Be someone’s ‘best man’

5. Spend two weeks in Iceland

6. Achieve a better relationship with each of my voices (primarily Vanessa and Shay)

7. Have a beer with Serena Ryder

8. …and give the divine songstress a hug! :p

9. Read every book on the BBC’s list of ‘100 book to read before you die

10. Participate in a Russ Harris led Acceptance and Commitment Therapy training session

11. Perform in a stage-version of any Shakespeare play

12. Obtain a Wii U so I can play (and complete) the only Zelda game I’ve never played: The Wind Waker.
Note: Completed in June 2014 after my brother lent me his Wii U and a copy of the aforementioned game. Not the greatest Zelda game (that remains Link’s Awakening) but certainly not the worst (that remains The Adventure of Link).

13. Learn how to play the piano

14. Visit every state of America

15. Visit Prince Edward Island; home to Anne of Green Gables

16. Live to see a film adaptation of every novel in the Chronicles of Narnia series.

17. Cycle from Melbourne to Sydney

18. Live to see the 100th Anniversary of Doctor Who

19. Create my range of “Spank the Stigma” merchandise…
Note: this is a range of T-Shirts, underwear, bikinis, other miscellaneous clothing, temporary tattoos, key rings, badges, car stickers and other miscellaneous giftware that I’ve imagined. Each item is emblazoned with a logo related to giving mental health stigma and discrimination the spanking it rightly deserves.

20. …and establish a website to sell said merchandise to raise money for mental health related causes.

Only time (and my own personal hard work) will tell if I’m ever able to cross any of the items from the list. But rest assured, should I ever do so, you wonderful people will be amongst the first to know! :)

Previous installments in the Challenge:
Day One | Day Two | Day Three
Day Four | Day Five


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The dinner party of my dreams!

The fifth day of the 15 Day Blog Challenge asks if you could have a dinner party with any five people, who would they be? But because today is Thursday, I have decided to share thirteen people whom I would love to have over for an epic (and I’m sure, incredibly enjoyable) dinner party!

Dinner Party

1. Serena Ryder

I’ve been an uber-fan of Serena Ryder since first hearing her perform at the Port Fairy Folk Festival in 2005. Her music has assisted me through breakdowns, breakups and breakthroughs; it gave me solace during my time on the streets and has provided me with countless moments of happiness and inspiration. Having witnessed her wit and raconteuring skills during live performances, I would definitely wish to spend a few hours in her company at a dinner party.

2. Charles de Lint

Like the music of Serena Ryder, de Lint’s writing has been a source of companionship, inspiration and hope for longer than I’d care to remember. Even before you take into account my love of his work, his skills as a musician, storyteller and folklorist would score an invite to the dinner party of my dreams.

3. Joss Whedon

C’mon, who wouldn’t want this creative genius at their dinner party?

4. Marius Romme

5. Sandra Escher

Marius Romme and Sandra Escher are the people responsible for the Hearing Voices Movement. Not only would their inclusion on the guest list provide people with the opportunity to learn about this most stereotyped of issues, but their presence would make my own people exceedingly happy!

6. Karen Gillan

I haven’t included Karen just because she’s super-beautiful. I’ve included her because (a) Meadhbh has a bit of a crush on her and (b)  she hails from Inverness. Thus, whilst Meadhbh swoons all over her, I could share anecdotes of this great city whilst sharing a slice of chocolate gateaux.

7. Rory Macdonald

8. Calum Macdonald

Rory and Calum Macdonald, two brothers from the Isle of Lewis, are the founding members and songwriters of the greatest band in the known universe; Runrig. Like Serena Ryder, Runrig’s music has been the soundtrack to some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life. It would not be an exaggeration to say that without their music, I would probably be a dead man.

9. David Tennant

C’mon, who wouldn’t invite the hottest man in the world to their dinner party?

10. Lauren Rosewarne

Lauren Rosewarne is an Australian writer and academic. Her regular column on The Conversation, which focuses on issues prevalent in popular culture, is intelligent, inspired, hilarious and poignant. All attributes that could turn any dinner party into the most memorable of evenings.

11. Dr. Russ Harris

Dr. Russ Harris is not just a super-practitioner of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, but a successful stand-up comedian. Thus, his invite would not only help people with their emotional strife but provide them with a few belly laughs in the process.

12. Tim Burton

Given my interest in film-making, if I were to throw the dinner party of my dreams there would need to be at least one director on the guest list. As Alfred Hitchcock is deceased, and thus sadly unable to attend, Tim Burton would easily be my second choice because of his incredible style and imagination.

13. Mark Schwan

An odd choice, I’ll grant you, but considering One Tree Hill (which he created) saved my life, I would very much like the chance to thank him – as well as bombard him with questions about my most favourite of guilty pleasures.

One Tree Hill

(Some of) the cast of One Tree Hill

 


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Four…Five…FIRE!

 

The 15 Day Blog Challenge continues with:
Day Four: What’s your favourite childhood memory?

I’m not sure if “favourite” is the right word for this childhood incident, but it’s certainly one of the more memorable of those care-free days of parental embarrassment! It originally appeared on ‘The Voice of Our Song‘; a blog I plan to write again soon.

fire isolated over black background

A few years ago my father attempted to play a practical joke on his uncle. Although the exact details escape me, this practical joke consisted of my father setting up a fake email account in which to respond as a member of the local council in relation to a query my Uncle had asked.

After days of perfecting the email my father sent it and awaited for the inevitable hilarity to ensue.

In all his efforts to write the finest email, my father failed to take into account he needed to put a false name as the ‘owner’ of the email account, instead writing his real name, so when my Uncle received it he knew instantly it was a joke as my father’s name was emblazoned on the screen.

Unfortunately for me, not all of my father’s japes have proved so unsuccessful.

The place, Portlethen.

The year, 1989.

Being the astute boy that I was, by 10am on this Sunday morning I had completed all my weekend homework assignments, deep cleaned my bedroom, mopped the bathroom and kitchen, weeded the vegetable patch and vacuumed the cat.

Now, after a calming bath, I was changing for my next array of chores. Slipping my bathrobe off I deodorized, talced and set about dressing in my usual attire; khaki pants, aged shirt, leather jacket and fedora – what can I say, I was going through an Indiana Jones phase, what ten-year old boy doesn’t?

As I stood in my birthday suit about there was a sudden, deafening, high-pitched beep. I recognized it immediately from the moment, two months earlier, when I had set fire to the couch.

“Four!” I yelped, before correcting myself. “Five!” And with scant regard to the birthday suit I was wearing I bolted out my door screaming the far more apt “FIRE!”

Pounding on my brother’s door to ensure he escaped unsinghed I checked the upstairs rooms before legging down the stairs and rolling 80s action movie style into the downstairs corridor. Suspecting the fire was coming from the kitchen I made sure the downstairs rooms were clear before bolting outside to the prearranged evacuation point.

Skidding onto the damp grass I soon realized no-one else had gathered to watch our house go down in flames so I leaped to the logical conclusion they were inside; possibly unconscious and suffocating.

Breaking into the garage I collected the fire extinguisher and ran indoors, firing a cloud of fire destroying propellant before me.

As the haze cleared all that was revealed were my brother and sister smiling inanely in the kitchen doorway whilst my father perched on a step-ladder beneath the smoke detector he had set off, laughing so hard he threatened to tip himself off the rungs. My mother meanwhile, was upstairs, refusing to partake in such a cruel and humiliating practical joke.

Placing the fire extinguisher gently onto the floor I collected myself and, without a word, marched my nudity back to my room.

Previous installments in the Challenge:
Day One | Day Two | Day Three


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(Some) Clothing that made me super-confident

Ack! “Network upgrades” have been causing all manner of problems for me over the last few days. No matter how much I wish it, I’ve been unable to connect to the internet, so apologies for being so backed up with the 15 Day Blog Challenge.

Today the challenge continues with day three: tell about an article of clothing you’re deeply attached to.

Super-shirt

Who hasn’t hidden a Super-shirt under their work clothes and ripped their shirt open to reveal that familiar logo? I know I have…many times! :)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last few days, secretly glad I haven’t been able to connect to the internet because I’m not sure exactly how to answer this prompt.

When you’re homeless, the last thing on your mind is fashion. You live in a constant state of survival, so when it comes down to clothes you’ll take anything that will keep you warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Unlike when someone is housed, it is exceedingly rare for a homeless person to have access to their own wardrobe or chest of drawers, so clothing is something you shed willy-nilly in order to save space and/or weight in your backpack, rendering emotional attachments to clothing obsolete.

So these days clothes are, on the whole, a means to cover my naked self and nothing more.

However, this wasn’t always the case.

When I was a teenager I purchased a Superman T-Shirt. It was a dark blue colour with the red and yellow Superman symbol emblazoned across the chest. I loved this T-Shirt! For some reason it endowed me with an inner-power whenever I wore it. I felt more confident, more self-assured and actually liked how I looked whilst wearing it (which is very rare for me and clothing!) This T-shirt traveled with me around Scotland, across Canada, to Brussels and made the long flight to Australia with me.

Because I was such a ginormous teenager (think Hurley in Lost) it dwarfed everyone else who wore it, making it the perfect night-time attire for my first two girlfriends. By the time it disintegrated past the point of no return in 2007, it had been in my company for nearly fifteen years, making it the longest (and most worn) item of clothing I’ve ever owned.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I’ve looked, I’ve never been able to find a replacement Superman shirt that I like; they’re all odd colours or uninspired designs that neither me or my people connect with.

Another item of clothing that I recall cherishing beyond measure was only in my possession for a few months before it was “borrowed” by my girlfriend at the end of our relationship. They were a pair of bright red flannel pyjamas decorated with Stewie from the Family Guy. Although I’ve never been a huge fan of this television show, I was a huge fan of the ‘spank me’ text that was interspersed between the images of the little tyke. And, like the Superman shirt above, whenever I wore these pyjamas I actually felt more confident with both my physical appearance and emotional well-being.

Alas, for the last five years I’ve searched online and in the real-world for a replacement for these most-awesome of pyjamas but have never seen them for sale anywhere.

Only time will tell as to whether there will be any more items of clothing I bond with in the future. But now that I am housed again, I’m hoping something will come along that fills me with the same confidence and self-esteem as my much-loved (and missed) spank-me pyjamas and Superman Shirt.

Previous installments in the Challenge:
Day One | Day Two


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Six-word memoirs: You have a choice. Chose life!

The second day of the 15 Day Blog Challenge asks:
Write [a few] six-word memoirs

memoirs

What is a six-word memoir? Well, I wasn’t quite sure either, so I headed over to Life of Love’s response to this prompt to find out. There, courtesy of Colette at Caffeinated Convos, I discovered a simple explanation:

“Six word memoirs are exactly how it sounds: your life in six words. The history behind it is that Ernest Hemingway was asked to write a complete short story in as few words as possible. His response was, ‘For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.’ This then erupted into a way to tell sad, sweet, honest tales.”

For my six-word memoirs I’ve decided to write one for each of the different lives I’ve lived:

Childhood (1978-1990): Not a care in the world!

Teenage (1990-1999): Overweight and shy means consistently misjudged.

Backpacking (1999-2000): Bunks, Booze and Booty – oh my!

Twenty-something (2000-2007): Yay! Surreptitious bum squeezes reign supreme!  

Breakdown (2007): There is no love. Only loss.

Homelessness (2007-2012): Soul destroying yet occasionally – surprisingly – inspirational.

Present Day (2012-Present): Lost: hope. Please contact if found.

And one that encompasses my entire life:

cats


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15 facts about me

As a new month dawns, so does a new blog challenge. I discovered this fifteen day challenge on the blog Life of Love and decided that after a month writing about mental illness, a little variety was in order.

The first prompt asks: list 15 facts about yourself. Most people would probably consider this rather simple, but considering I have already written 101 facts about me and 12 more facts about me, coming up with fifteen brand spanking new ones may prove a tad difficult!

But, as always, I will give it my best shot!

01. Last week, I was knocked off my bike by a swooping magpie!

02. My obsession with wooden objects (probably) borders on being a fetish.

03. One of my strongest memories of childhood is playing snooker with my father during football match half-times.

04. If I watch one season of a television series, I feel obliged to watch every season of that show.

05. Courtesy of it being the only film played during a six-day train journey, I know every line of Galaxy Quest.

06. The only song I sing in the shower is Madonna’s Hanky Panky.

07. I once accidentally groped an Australian singer-songwriter at the Port Fairy Folk Festival.
      Note: I shall leave her nameless as my father would probably be incredibly jealous of this fact! :p

08. Back in the days before insomnia, I would have “serialised” dreams over several nights. They were awesome!

09. I used to play in charity netball matches at school; and seriously rocked the skirt we had to wear!

10. Perhaps as a result of those netball matches, if I could wear a kilt every day, I would.

11. My favourite Christopher Brookmyre novel is A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil.

12. One of my guilty pleasures is the Rick Moranis starring Honey I Shrunk the Kids trilogy.

13. People always look at me weirdly when I tell them I read (and enjoy) feminist literature.

14. I point-blank refused to eat pizza until someone forced me to eat a slice when I was twenty-one.

15. One of my dreams in life is to be the host of a pub trivia quiz.

Honey I Shrunk the Kids

12. One of my guilty pleasures is the Rick Moranis starring Honey I Shrunk the Kids trilogy.