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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What was I to you?

What was I to you? | Kate Miller-Heidke

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Addy’s Best of 2012: Single of the Year

In addition to the Mental Health Month Challenge I have decided to undertake a more light-hearted challenge this month that I discovered on Heck Yeah Tumblr Challenges. Each day in December I will be issuing an award in celebration of everything 2012, continuing with…

Single of the Year

~ Try (P!nk) ~

Pink - Try

For many this would be a simple category to award, but ever since I became homeless listening to music (especially new music) has been something I’ve had a great deal of difficulty doing. Thus, I’ve probably only heard half a dozen (at best) new singles this year.

However much I wanted to give Stompa this award, I couldn’t in all faith do so, for this is easily my single of the year for reasons that go way beyond my love P!nk.

If you missed my mini-breakdown around October 11, you should count yourself lucky. For those who were around during that chaotic week of bad memories, depression, binge drinking and borderline suicide, you may remember I’ve posted this video before, on the evening of October 11, where I listened to it on repeat for several hours whilst consuming vast quantities of alcohol.

Thus, for the rest of eternity, whenever I hear this song I will think of drunk Addy tweeting random celebrities whilst trying to survive that most horrible of days.

~ Runners up for ‘Single of the Year’ award ~

Stompa – Serena Ryder

Seriously? I still need to talk about how amazing Serena is? My favourite musical artist…of all time!

Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas) – Regina Spektor

I love Regina Spektor. Seriously, if I ever met her it’s entirely possible I would Ted Mosby her! Dom Knight played this song on his radio show several times when it was released earlier this year, making me want to Ted Mosby him for bringing such awesomeness into the life of this formerly homeless man :)

P.S…I want those caterpillars!

I’ll Change Your Mind – Kate Miller-Heidke

Another artist I have cherished for several years released her much-anticipated third album earlier this year. After purchasing it as a surprise present for my dad’s birthday, I ended up taking it back to the shop as he had already ordered it online as a present for himself. A stunning album, a fantastic song and – like Serena Ryder and Regina Spektor – an artist that everyone should listen to. Frequently.

Skyfall – Adele

I’m not the world’s greatest Bond fan. I’m not the world’s smallest Bond fan. But if I had to choose a favourite Bond theme it would be a toss-up between Live and Let Die, The Living Daylights, License to Kilt (sorry, Kill), We Have All the Time in the World or this one.

The only Bond theme in twenty years that has made me want to watch the movie!

 


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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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032. Musical Memories (via Britney Spears, The Fratellis, Nick Cave and Spam)

Thankfully, today’s post for the 365 Day Challenge is on a lighter note than recent writings. However important it is for me to write the heavier self-analysis posts, sometimes I just want to do something a little silly.

When it came to this prompt I was worried. My music collection is nowhere near as extensive as it used to be (at one time bordering on a quarter of a million tracks across 90ish genres!) These days it consists mostly of sentimental songs that I put on an MP3 player many years ago that I recently re-obtained courtesy of my parents and the postal system.

Hence, the majority of the ten that are about to be played will come with dozens of memories of better and happier times. Not a bad thing in itself, may even put a smile on my face!

So, let us begin!

Track 01: Right Out Of Your Hand (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds; from the album Nocturama)

Before I met Louise I had absolutely no idea who Nick Cave was and my only knowledge of bad seeds was the paranoid fear I used to have of an apple tree growing out of my stomach should I accidentally swallow an apple pip.

After Louise played me the classic Into Your Arms I became an admirer then, with each successive trip through his back catalogue, a lover. By the time the album Nocturama was released I was a bone-fide fan.

Memories that come whenever I hear Nick Cave: Louise (obviously) given she introduced me to him in the first place and an old friend who was a huge fan of his work. Also, the handlebar mo I grew for Movember one year!

Track 02: Are You F*cking Kidding Me (Kate Miller-Heidke from the album Live at the Hi-Fi)

With the possible exception of My Friend the Chocolate Cake, Kate Miller-Heidke is my all-time favourite Australian singer/songwriter. My introduction to her came courtesy of the Port Fairy Folk Festival in 2006. I remember being completely blown away by vocal range and the sheer brilliance of her lyrics.

Memories that come whenever I hear Kate Miller-Heidke: sitting just behind her whilst watching Colin Hay play at the festival in 2006 and taking my parents to see her at the Spiegeltent in Melbourne later that same year.

Track 03: (You Drive Me) Crazy (Britney Spears; from the album …Baby One More Time)

Told you…eclectic! Even though I should be ashamed to admit it, I’m a huge Britney fan. Her music makes me smile, and brings back all sorts of memories of drunken evenings in the late 1990s. Plus, I always want to dance (badly) when I hear some of her tracks.

Memories that come whenever I hear Britney Spears: stripping in the cage of a nightclub during a wild drunken evening, stripping in a pub during a different wild drunken evening and the endless teasing from people with musical tastes much better than my own whenever I tried to defend her music.

Track 04: A Girl Who’s No One Else (Emma Tonkin; from the album The Anchor and the Alabatross)

An album I purchased many years ago for one reason and one reason only; that I knew the singer. She was a friend of Louise who I barely knew but out of some random sense of support purchased the album. Without wanting to sound biased, it has been a particular favourite of mine for coming on five years now. Proven by the fact I have held onto it despite years of nothing.

Memories that come whenever I hear Emma Tonkin: sitting in the middle of the Ness Islands listening to this album on an MP3 player reminiscing, a brief Alexander Technique lesson Emma gave me once when her client didn’t appear and Louise.

Track 05: Love You All (Cloud Cult; from the album Feel Good Ghosts (Tea Partying Through Tornados)

This just reminds me of sleeping in the Kings Domain wishing every minute that I were dead. I used to spend my days in the Melbourne City Library sifting through their CD collection picking up random albums and listening to them during my one hour a day internet session.

Most were uninspiring garbage that didn’t resonate with me in any way shape or form but this album got to me, big time, and in the years since has become not only an anthem for that period of my life but also an album that, even though it was lost long ago, shone a tiny beacon of hope into my soul.

Memories that come whenever I hear Cloud Cult: losing hope whilst homeless.

Track 06: 3 Sheeps to the Wind, Part I (Martyn Bennett; from his self-titled album)

Martyn Bennett is one of the great Scottish musicians of all time. A truly gifted soul who tragically lost his life to cancer in 2005 . A true one of a kind, and a man I greatly admire in so many ways.

Memories that come whenever I hear Martyn Bennett: travelling around Scotland in February 2008, sitting in an alley off Little Bourke Street after being so blown away by one of his tracks I had to sit down.

Track 07: Harvard Blues (Count Basie; from the album Basie Blues)

I became aware of Count Basie whilst concocting a play list for my then friend/future abuser’s 21st birthday party. Over the course of several days she threw nearly 10,000 tracks of music in my direction and expected me to whittle it down to a three hours playlist. Part of this included transferring nearly thirty CDs onto my computer that she’d borrowed from a friend, several of which were Count Basie.

I worked on that playlist from 7pm until 5am, and then woke myself at 6am to continue working on it until 11am, all because I wanted this person to have as wonderful a 21st as people had given me.

Memories that come whenever I hear Count Basie: spending those fifteen odd hours trying to make a cohesive playlist that went from 20s era jazz to naughties top 40 classics and the old friend whose CDs introduced me to such wonderful, beautiful music.

Track 08: Chelsea Dagger (The Fratellis’ from the album Costello Music)

Following two weeks in Scotland in 2008 I flew from Glasgow to Gatwick to spend a long weekend with my brother and future sister in law. On the Friday evening they whacked on Singstar, cracked open the alcohol…and forced me to sing. This was the song my brother and I nailed with absolute perfection. Or at least that’s how I remember it.

Memories that come whenever I hear The Fratellis: that Singstar session!

Track 09: Diva’s Lament (from the musical Spamalot)

There are no words to describe how much I love this song. In fact I love it so much I’m tempted to undergo a sex change, learn how to sing, spend months working out so I’m a sizzling hot piece of ass, trawl through an audition process and overcome my anxiety – all so I can sing this song in front of a full theatre audience.

Track 10: Naked (Louise; from the album Naked)

This was the first single I ever purchased, much to the chagrin of my music loving father. Whenever I’m asked the question ‘what was the first single you ever purchased?’ I tend not to answer. Unfortunately, the follow up question is usually ‘ok, what was the first album you ever purchased?’

Ummm…ditto!

Look…she was hot, I was a hormonal teenager, the album was called Naked…I’m allowed to have one moment where I bow to malicious corporate marketing ploys aren’t I?

Memories that come whenever I hear Louise: you really – really – don’t want to know! :p