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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One Day in Glasgow

Glasgow

For Samantha,
the world is a lesser place without you.
xox

Introduction

Ever since writing the post One Night in Adelaide I’ve wanted to write its sequel: One Day in Glasgow, yet every time I sit down to chronicle the events of (what is possibly) the best day of my life, words fail me. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, I do, it’s just that I cannot assemble the words to form coherent, emotional sentences. And this post is an emotional one, at least for me, as it deals with the last time I ever saw my friend Samantha face-to-face.

Samantha was an incredible woman; intelligent, charming and ravishingly beautiful. She had a mature, almost philosophical outlook on this crazy thing called life, yet despite this maturity there was a delicious immature streak running throughout her soul; equally at ease playing with crayons as she was debating the age-old question of why we’re here.

It was almost impossible to meet Samantha without falling in love with her on some level. She never judged, never held grudges and had an almost super-human ability to draw the best out of people.

But none of this means she was perfect, far from it. Samantha worked too hard; filling almost every moment of her life with a project, scheme or double-shift at work, all of which leaving little time for play or relaxing. And when she did relax, she ventured far too easily into the world of illegal narcotics, with ecstasy and speed being her drugs of choice; a choice that would ultimately spell her untimely end.

But this post is not about her death, nor my reaction to it, that will follow in good time. This post is about my memories of her. It is about the day Samantha took time off from her life to hang out with a slightly overweight, mentally ill man who, according to her journal, made her feel happiness like no-one she’d ever met.

Because it has taken so much to get this post out of my system, I’ve decided on three things:

1) That instead of retelling the events of the day in intimate detail, I will instead focus on extrapolating the principal memories of that day; for in these memories lives the essence of who Samantha was; and it is she that I want you all to meet.

2) I have decided to write each memory in the style that Samantha preferred (and encouraged me) to write in, namely, freewriting. Rather than focus endlessly on each sentence, each punctuation mark and the meaning behind chosen words, I have just allowed each memory to flow from my mind before moving onto the next. Hopefully, by doing this, I will be creating a post that Samantha would be proud of.

3) With Samantha’s preferences still firmly in mind, I have also chosen to tell the tale of our twenty-four hours in Glasgow in a non-linear format. Each of the illustrations below depict one of the memories of my time in that great city. They have not been arranged in any particular order and you are encouraged to dip in and out of the memories in any way you see fit. For as Samantha used to say, rarely in life do things return to us in the exact order that they happened.

Hopefully by choosing to write this post to the above specifications, I will be creating a post that Samantha would not only have enjoyed reading, but one she would be proud to be the inspiration behind.

   
Please note, the items marked with a padlock are password protected.
Should you wish to read these memories, please contact me via email.


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Try Looking At It Through My Eyes – Day 10: The Time Machine

Day ten of the “Try Looking At It Through My Eyes” challenge asks:
If you could go back and watch one day of your life,
what day would it be, why and what do you expect to see?

Glasgow

Glasgow | Image from Wikipedia

I have been alive for 12,795 days; so how am I supposed to pick just one to re-live?

Do I pick one of the days that I was manic, so I can have a greater understanding of how much of an arsehat I was during that time, or do I choose one of the days lost to depression, so I can show my younger self some of the compassion he greatly deserved?

Do I select a long forgotten day of childhood innocence, a random date from my better-forgotten teenage years or a serious moment of adulthood? Do I go down the obvious route and choose a day of intense pleasure, or the not-so-obvious route of one of my hazy dissociated days?

Will the day I pick be chock-full of friends and familiar faces, or a day in which I was isolated and alone? Will it be an important date; a pivotal turning point in my life, or just ‘one of those days’ that come and go eventless?

With so many days to choose from I fear that there is only one way I can answer this question. And that is to close my eyes, take a deep breath, and see what my mind propels onto the page.

[Closes Eyes]

Oh, to spend the day with Samantha again!

[Opens Eyes]

[Smirks]

With the anniversary of her death steadily approaching, it’s not much of a surprise that that day was the first that came to mind. A twenty-four hour period I spent in the Scottish city of Glasgow with a woman who, in another life, could easily have been my soul-mate.

We had met briefly in the Australian city of Adelaide before rekindling our friendship online later that year. For months we communicated by email, chat-room and the occasional snail-mail before finally synching our calendars so we could meet up again in real-life.

I had arrived the day before, a Wednesday, and spent a nervy night wandering the city and having the occasional panic attack in preparation for seeing her again. Given her obvious beauty and outlook on life, I couldn’t understand why she’d be interested in hanging out with a person as unattractive – and broken – as me. Part of me believed it was all part of a grandiose practical joke; that she would arrive with a gaggle of her friends for a traumatizing moment of public humiliation. Whilst another part of me believed that, like my abusive ex-girlfriend, she was merely treating me as a project; someone to “fix”.

Sammi

An avatar version of Samantha, circa the day we spent in Glasgow

I needn’t have worried, for the moment we met up in a bar not far from Queen Street it became blissfully obvious she wanted to hang out with me because she liked me; not like liked me, but liked me in the sense that I made her laugh, I made her think and communicating with her was a delight, not a chore. For in the near twenty-four hours we spent together there was no uncomfortable silence, no what do we talk about now pauses and no moment where we questioned what we were doing.

Looking back on the five and half years since that blissful day, I realise that it was the last time I felt anything even remotely close to “true” happiness. Aside from the to-be-expected moments of anxiety caused by being in the company of someone so ravishingly beautiful, there was barely a single moment in those twenty-four hours where I felt anything other than relaxed, joyous, content and, dare I say it, ecstatic. In fact, when I retreat to my “happy memories”, many of them are moments that occurred in that singular day:

  • Seeing her for the first time since Adelaide; sauntering into the bar in delightfully bohemian attire; a forest green knee-length skirt, black and purple tights, a crumpled light-green sweater and a multi-coloured woolen scarf with matching handbag.
  • Being playfully slapped on the arm for ‘excessive ogling of her posterior’ before she knowingly exaggerated her wiggle to attract my eyes even further.
  • Having her calm me down during moments of anxiety with no judgment, annoyance or frustration from her.
  • Talking about some of the more memorable moments of our childhoods as we chain-smoked cigarettes during the hour-long walk to a second-hand bookstore from her childhood.
  • Laughing insanely every single time she said the word “tangerine”
  • Browsing the second-hand bookstore whilst discussing our favourite and memorable books.
  • Chilling in the park, with her head resting on my lap, as we read each other extracts from the books we’d brought in the bookstore; moments before I agreed to fulfill her lifelong dream.
  • Getting a wee bit tipsy and doing an impromptu karaoke of Pulp’s Common People to alleviate our nerves about the encroaching fulfillment of her lifelong dream.
  • Her ladybug covered underwear (some of the cutest I’ve ever seen!)
  • The ninety-odd minutes I spent meandering the streets before fulfilling her lifelong dream.
  • The actual event of fulfilling her lifelong dream.
  • Cuddling each other on the bed, eating ice-cream, whilst watching My Neighbour Totoro and the pilot episode of Chuck.
  • Waking up in each other’s arms.
  • The moment when she sat down in McDonalds without thinking about the ramifications.
  • Retreating to a park to eat our un-healthy breakfast; and realising that no-one else I’ve ever met could eat a McMuffin more entertainingly.
  • The kiss we shared – that tasted of the aforementioned breakfast – on the dew soaked grass.
  • The elongated hug we shared at the train station as we parted ways.

Even as I write these words there is a goofy, almost painful smile, stretching from ear-to-ear. In fact, given I have such crystal clear recollections of this day I’m starting to question whether this would be the best day to relive. Wouldn’t it be better to relive a day that I don’t remember as clearly, that is a little foggy and uncertain in my mind?

But that day was one of – if not the – best day of my life, and, given the chaos and pain in the last five years, I would give anything for the chance to see Samantha relishing every happy, laugh-filled, painful moment again.

To see all these memories again would not just be downright entertaining, occasionally saddening (but mostly heart-warming); they would also challenge everything I have come to think of myself.

To observe that, however improbable it may sound, people do enjoy being in my company.

To be reminded that, however improbable it may sound, it is possible for me to be blissfully happy.

To witness that, however improbable it may sound, dreams can come true in the least likely of places.

Yes, of the 12,795 days I’ve been alive I can’t think of a better day to relive than this one.

~◊~

If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in this challenge, you can read them here:

| Day 01 | Day 02 | Day 03 | Day 04 |
| Day 05 | Day 06 | Day 07 | Day 08 |
| Day 09 |