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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Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

This week’s photo challenge is big and throughout my life, few places have made me feel as small as the Northern Territory of Australia.

Standley Chasm, NT © Addy

“No dreamer is ever too small; no dream is ever too big.”
~ Anonymous ~

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big
(windagainstcurrent.com)
Weekly Photo Challenge: Big
(scottseyephotos.wordpress.com)
Weekly Photo Challenge; Big
(annarashbrook.wordpress.com)
Weekly Photo Challenge: Big
(drndark.com)
Weekly Photo Challenge: Big Xmas tree
(patriciaddrury.com)


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Saturday 9: Life is a lemon and I want my money back

Saturday 9 is a weekly blogging meme hosted by Crazy Sam Winters (she added the crazy, not me!).

Every Saturday there will be nine questions – sometimes they will be around a common theme, other times completely random – to be answered however we like. I’m a little later than usual today because of my fluctuating moods but at least it’s still Saturday :)

English: Kate Miller-Heidke at the Byron Bay B...

Kate Miller-Heidke (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. When was the last time that you asked for your money back?

This is something that I rarely – if ever – do. The only thing that is coming to mind is that in May 2012 I saved up over a number of weeks to buy my dad the new Kate Miller-Heidke album for his birthday. Due to my lack of funds it took me longer to organise than I’d intended and I was unable to send the package until after his birthday. When I spoke to him that day I discovered he had brought the album as a present for himself so I took my copy back and exchanged it for something else. So, not technically getting my money back, but close.

2. What was the last thing that you did to help someone?

Approximately seven hours ago I was moseying down the road when I saw an elderly woman drop her bag and spilled her groceries down the street. I, and two other samaritans, helped her collect everything together. Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours talking to a woman suffering from depression online. The day before that, I spent an hour talking to a homeless man who looked lonely, what can I say, I related to him.

Basically, I try to help at least one person a day, if I’m mentally able, in whatever way I can.

3. At what point of your life do you think you started to understand who you are?

Late 2006/early 2007, just before the breakdown, I thought I had a good understanding of who I was, why I was here and what my purpose was. After the last five years, I know exactly who I am, I just don’t like him.

4. Are there times when you thought you had taken a fall, only to discover more about yourself?

Although I always knew I had a tremendous amount of inner strength, the period I’ve been homeless, in combination with everything I’ve been through, has taught me a lot about what this strength is as well as help me understand far more about myself than I could have imagined.

The period I spent homeless I learned/re-learned several life lessons that most people spend their whole lives not fully understanding.

5. What was the last thing you did where you could not believe in what you were doing?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a comment for a website that I still cannot believe I posted. I’m rather proud that I did, and in no way am I ashamed of the information I relayed, but due to the intimate nature of this information I couldn’t believe I was even considering posting it – let alone hitting the post comment button!

6. Do you think that you must struggle to become strong?

Yes. Absolutely. We learn from our mistakes, from our failures, from the trials that life thrusts upon us unannounced. If we were to go through life feeling no pain, remaining unchallenged from birth to death, we would never discover what we’re capable of.

(Un)Fortunately, I have.

7. Do you feel that your dreams have meaning or are entirely random?

If by dreams you mean the phantasms that visit us in our sleep, then yes, I do believe they mean something. Several elements of the last dream I had had particular resonance to various parts of my life and I can see the connections and messages my subconscious was trying to impart.

If by dreams you mean our goals and aspirations, they always have meaning for nothing we do is ever random.

8. What was the last promise you broke?

I promised to be there for a friend. And I’ve never forgiven myself for letting them down. I never will.

9. Do you collect anything?

I used to collect several things; Charles de Lint novels, books about Scotland (particularly older books), badges, key rings and DVDs.

Now, I have neither the money nor housing security to collect anything. Any day I could end up on the streets, something that does not lend itself to keeping a collection. Although, I do have two small collections I manage to keep a hold of, both of which are personal.

 


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The only time I can be myself is in my dreams

“People think dreams aren’t real just because they aren’t made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes.”
~Neil Gaiman~

The only time I can be myself is in my dreams. Not the waking aspirations that tease me with promises of a better future but the phantasms my mind concocts in those brief hours of sleep.  During those short bursts of merriment I am Addy; strong, confident, desired, free from the safety-bar of the mental health roller-coaster I find myself riding through the volatile hours of daylight.

In my dreams I can converse freely without fear of embarrassment or shame, walk unhindered through sunlit parks, greet strangers with kind words and believe in my abilities to the point of success.

Whenever I dream I always wake with a grin on my face, lost in the chance to be un-shackled from my waking insecurities and insanity. Something I last relished in on Sunday morning, after dreaming a quite odd little dream.

I walked into the brand spanking new three-story building with a cheeky grin plastered on my face. Every ounce of my being knew I would be walking out with a job in online publishing. My briefcase was empty, my qualifications non-existent, but the job was mine; all I needed was my quick-witted intellect and spell-blinding repartee.

Scaling the glass staircase past palm trees housing miniature monkeys and exotic flowers feeding hundreds of multi-coloured butterflies, I was met by a young woman with a red clipboard.

“Mr. Addy?” She said, with a slight Tasmanian brogue. ”Welcome to Intercourse.com. Follow me,”

With a sparkling smile I did, taking in the flock of Parakeets that frolicked in the wide open atrium above me. As we ascended to the second floor an Indian Elephant plunged his trunk into a mail trolley and began delivering the mail to each of the desks that littered the space. All around there was the hum of computers and the delightful symphony of click-clacking keyboards with various beautiful people glancing up from their work desks to greet me with a suspicious smile.

“Don’t mind Gertrude,” The young woman said, patting the elephant lovingly. “You get used to her,”

My interview was on level three, a single expansive office owned by the director of the organization; an imposing man with wide-set shoulders, a Commissioner Gordon style moustache and a new suit that the Emperor would be proud of. After complimenting him on his shoe-size the young woman departed to allow the interview to commence. Four hours of intensive interrogation later I was the proud owner of my own sleek, wooden desk nestled amidst the neatly kept gardens of the second floor.

Eager to work I threw myself into the routine of brainstorming, report writing, elephant fondling and fiery debate with aplomb. Unaware of my lack of qualifications, all but two of my colleagues accepted me with open arms; a twenty-something woman who was aware of the lies I’d used to secure the job and an arrogant thirty-something male who thought elephants and parakeets were un-necessary intrusions into what should have been a serious working environment.

The latter, Edgar, made it his purpose in life to destroy my career; poaching article ideas to pass them off as his own, hacking into my computer to re-edit my work so it was littered with spelling and grammatical mistakes and creating a fake Twitter identity to troll as if he were me.

The former, Francesca, would balance assistance and sabotage with equal determination; defending me spuriously from the Edgar’s attacks whilst simultaneously informing Emperor Gordon of my sabotaged mistake-riddled articles by providing him with printouts of the articles with all mistakes highlighted in red marker pen. All so could relish in my twice daily summoning to the third floor for corporal punishment; the regularity of these paddlings earning me the nickname Lee.

In spite of all this my courage and conviction saw me through. Shrugging off the punishments with well-timed jokes and refusing to allow the barrage of criticism to affect me in any way, shape or form, I began to flourish. Several of the pieces I put forward (The effect of diminishing cheese production n Indonesian Mice, Explainer: What is Tadpole Reflexive Disorder, The Climax Tax: How it will impact your relationship) became the most read articles on the site and, as a result, I began being sent on investigative assignments.

Such assignments involved conducting interviews and photography sessions with celebrities and public figures, often making use of Intercourse.com’s time bubble technology; a way to bounce through time and space to allow for increased research of historical incidents and conundrums.

It was during one of these assignments when Francesca, accompanied by her stowaway seven-year old daughter, became trapped in the past following an act of sabotage by my male-nemesis in the present. Unfortunately we had become marooned during the onset of the infamous Port Arthur spree shooting and I was shot four times in the buttocks after throwing myself upon my Francesca and child in a valiant act of protection/stupidity/selflessness.

Throwing me into the back of a taxi she told me to stop complaining and informed the driver to drop me at the hospital, thus beginning a 70s style car chase through the Tasmanian wilderness during which…

…I promptly woke up wondering what the hell my subconscious was playing at! Not that I was complaining, for that wonderful euphoric sensation was surging through me as I replayed the blissful memories my dream had provided.

A euphoric sensation I wish I could feel whilst waking.

Disclaimer: I do not, nor have ever wanted to, work for any organization that may or may not resemble the one contained within my dream. Also, I would also like to emphasize that I do not condone the use of corporal punishment within the workplace. Although saying that, some of the glaringly obvious errors contained within articles and news reports I’ve read online (weather instead of whether, seriously?) are probably deserving of a sound spanking.