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…


1 Comment

Thursday Thirteen: I am worth loving too

Last week, boldkevin launched the ‘I am worth loving too’ challenge on his blog Voices of Glass.

“Get a pen and paper (or pull up a blank word file on your computer) and compile a list of songs which remind you how loved you are and/or remind you that you are worth loving.” [Read the full post]

So for today’s Thursday Thirteen I’m sharing sixteen of the songs that remind me I am worth loving because – quite frankly – I’m an amazing human being, even if I don’t see that most of the time!

Why sixteen songs for Thursday Thirteen, you ask?

Well, what CD these days doesn’t come with some bonus tracks? Beginning with the only tune that could open my compilation, courtesy of the single greatest moment in contemporary cinema history!

Applejack – The Triangles

Many years ago, this song used to play on community radio station 3RRR virtually every morning. Usually when my girlfriend was partaking in her daily yoga session. Thus, not only is it the happiest song in the history of music, it will always remind me of watching my girlfriend perform the downward dog every morning :p

I am the Doctor – Murray Gold

This piece of music defines the character more than any other theme in Doctor Who history. It is, quite simply, magnificent.

Somewhere Only We Know – Keane

This song is a principal track on the soundtrack to my Inverness Chronicles and constantly reminds me of my imagination and creativity; two aspects of my personality that I am immensely proud of.

Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

A song that reminds me of good times whilst backpacking, good times whilst in a relationship and my love of creative cinema. If you haven’t seen it, just watch Shaun of the Dead; you won’t miss this song!

Victoria’s Secret – Jay Semko

Due South; a TV series I adore with a fiery passion. This track, featured in the episode ‘Victoria’s Secret’, scores quite possibly the greatest ten-minutes of television I have ever seen in my life.

Hearts of Olden Glory – Runrig

I have no words to describe my love of this song; nor how it endlessly reminds me of my love for my adopted homeland.

Stronger – Britney Spears

This song is one of the tracks that received heavy radio play whilst I in Vancouver at the beginning of my Canadian odyssey. Forever more it will remind me of my inner strength to beat down my fear of flying and my constant desire to push myself whenever I can.

The Song That Goes Like This

After breakdowns, assaults, mental health chaos, severe anxiety and a shedload of other painful crap…I still managed to find the confidence to see Spamalot during a weekend in London, 2008. This musical – and this song – fills me with immense joy.

John Simmers – Wolfstone

Whilst writing a very difficult scene (in which a character kills her sister in order to protect her daughter) I needed a simple piece of piano music that the sister is playing as her sister approaches from behind to commit the terrible act.

Like Somewhere Only We Know, this song will always remind me of my love of writing and my deepest passions.

Song from the Sixteenth Floor – Paul Kelly

A song that features heavily on the soundtrack of my first relationship, bringing back memories of stolen love-making sessions in my parent’s house, the long wait to come to Australia, and the joys of beginning anew in a foreign land. I cannot hear this song without thinking of the love Louise and I shared.

Georgia on my Mind – Ray Charles

Another piece that reminds me of my writing; in this instance writing the suicide of a principal character.

Australian Idol – Kate Miller-Heidke

Port Fairy Folk Festival…watching KMH with my parents during their visit in 2006…a time when I was happy and loved by my girlfriend and social network; all things I think of when hearing this song.

Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations

This is another song that reminds me of when I had a social network; in this instance, a random karaoke session in Inverness. It’s also a pretty awesome song that cannot fail to make you smile and sing along!

Bonus Track #1: Into My Arms – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Louise. Enough said.

Bonus Track #2: The Legend of Zelda (Orchestral Theme)

One of my favourite pieces of music of all time! If I’m feeling down, low, depressed or just not quite with it, playing any Zelda game lifts my mood and reminds me that from time to time we need to allow ourselves to enjoy things we love, regardless of how other people may view such activities.


1 Comment

9 Loves…

Anyone who’s read more than a few posts of this blog knows I love writing, photography, creating, challenging perceptions, advocating for change, Doctor Who, reading, movies, lots of kinky things and jam.

But how many times can I write about these things without getting boring? Aren’t there any other things I love? Of course there are…


1. Hairy Coos (aka Highland Cows)

If you’ve never been to Scotland, shame on you! If you’ve been to Scotland and never saw a Hairy Coo, to the Headmaster’s Office with you! If you’ve been to Scotland and seen a Hairy Coo, you’ll understand why I love them as much as I do.

Cute, intelligent, orange, gigantic horns…what more could you want in an animal?

2. Body painting

One of my favourite memories is spending hours body painting my girlfriend. After practising with painting a bra over her breasts I turned my attention to her back and buttocks whereon I created an abstract masterpiece of colour and contour. Think Jackson Pollock meets Patrick Butcher meets Richard Bell; only with bare flesh as a canvas.

I long for the day to be able to indulge in this art form again. So…any volunteers? ;)

3. Omelette sandwiches

Just so we’re clear – I was making omelette sandwiches approximately eighteen years before Subway starting selling them as part of their breakfast menu. If I ever decide to treat myself for breakfast at this fast food outlet my order is always the same: Italian Herbs and cheese bread; omelette; double old english cheese; salt and pepper; a dash of bbq sauce; fresh, not toasted. Mmmm, hungry now :p

4. Dressing Up (aka Cosplay)

Previous dress ups include: Superman, a pirate, Lando Calrissian and Killer Bob.

Future dress ups will hopefully include: Indiana Jones, Link, Spider-Man and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (with a group of Ghostbusters, of course!)

5. Kissing in the rain!

Seriously, I need to explain this one? I’d do it all day if pneumonia (and social isolation) weren’t an issue :)

6. Red and Purple

I can’t differentiate between my two favourite colours as I love them both equally. Fortunately, these colours can crop up quite frequently in one of my favourite hobbies :p

7. Standing Stones

One of my favourite things about Scotland is the sheer number of standing stones that populate this great land. From Brodgar to Callanish via the Mull of Kintyre and the Clava Cairns, if there’s a stone circle, I’m there!

Hours upon hours of my life have been spent sitting within these powerful monuments, relishing the absolute tranquility of soul they provide.

8. Midna

My all-time favourite video game character and, like yesterday’s Lego Catwoman, someone I have developed rather a crush on.

If you have yet to discover her mischievous, is she pure evil or just a bit naughty, personality then I highly recommend you do. She can be found in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess; although I’m hoping she will take a starring role in any future Super Smash Bros installments as well a much-needed return to the land of Hyrule at some point.

9. Giving massages

I have serious issues with receiving massages courtesy of my anxiety. There’s nothing guaranteed to stress me out more than having a complete stranger fondle, manipulate, pound and crush my back for half an hour! If it’s not a complete stranger (i.e. a girlfriend or trusted friend) I love it. But nowhere near as much as I love giving them. All three of my girlfriends told me I gave fantastic massages (once I’d got to know their bodies a little) so I take some modest pride in that.

Much like body painting, I may be a bit rusty, but I’d love to indulge in this activity again…so, anyone in need of a massage? :)

 


1 Comment

Day #1: Five ways to win my heart…

After successfully completing the 20 Day Challenge I began a new challenge on Tuesday, which failed spectacularly because of the events of this week. Thus, I have decided to begin a whole new challenge that, once again, has been pinched (with affection) from The Bipolar Place.

1. Be open-minded

However much I think fondly of our respective times together, however much I loved being with them, each of my three girlfriends inflicted long-term psychological damage on me regarding a single aspect of my personality.

I often refer to it as a fetish, but people who have read my Fifty Shades of Addy (Password Protected) post have informed me that it is such a tame fantasy they cannot understand why the women who claimed to love me informed me I was: disgusting, repulsive, grotesque, disturbed and downright evil (in the Satan eating babies sense) regarding this part of my personality.

In all honesty, neither do I.

So, if you want to win my heart, you need to be open-minded. Not just about this, but about everything.

2. Prefer board games over mind games

Having been on the receiving end of emotional abuse I abhor mind games. If you employ manipulative, blackmail, insulting or controlling techniques to get your own way I suggest re-enrolling in kindergarten as this is where this sort of behaviour belongs.

From my experience, board games are much more exciting – especially when combined with a little bit of sexual creativity; Strip Hungry Hippos, Spankabble, Underwear Pursuit (basically, you strip every time you get a question wrong until you’re both in your underwear, then only the loser of the overall game removes them – otherwise, unless you’re a trivia god, you’re both gonna be naked far too quickly!) to name but a few.

3. Cook me a jacket potato with butter and cheese

I cannot recall a single time any of my girlfriends cooked me a jacket potato with butter and cheese. Granted, it’s unlikely this rather simple gastronomic delight would be the winning dish in a series of Masterchef, but I love them!  Cook me one and you’ll win far more than my heart :p

4.The three C’s: creative, caring and compassionate

I suffer from a mental illness. Even when I’m medicated there are going to be periods where I’m a grouchy b’tard. There are going to be times when I don’t make any sense. There are going to be times when I have trouble crawling out of bed. There are going to be times when I might not be able to say the right thing. Someone who has the compassion to understand it’s an illness and not my personal choice, is well on the way to winning my heart.

I have a history of homelessness. If you’re caring enough to walk up to a homeless person and have a conversation with them to find out if they’re okay and/or make their day with a friendly smile, rather than turn your nose up in superiority as you walk past, you’ll be well on the way to winning my heart.

I like being creative. I love making people birthday, Christmas and anniversary presents. I might write you a story or organise a random treasure hunt-esque date of adventurous mystery. You don’t have to do any of these things, but as long as you’re open to finding new ways to express yourself and cherish others who do the same, you’re well on the way to winning my heart.

5. Understand that you cannot change me into somebody I will never be

Throughout my life I’ve only met a handful of people who accepted me for who I am. I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. I do not want to be perfect. I like having flaws and foibles. I like being wrong sometimes. But understand I’m always working to be a better version of myself.

I’m fully aware that women enjoy changing a man, by all means help me change into the person I want to be, but if you can’t understand that you will never change me into someone I will never be, no matter how hard you try, your heart and mine are not compatible.

I fall in love with a person. Their heart, their soul, their beliefs.

I do not fall in love with the idea of a person and I have no desire to be that ‘template’ for someone else.

Not again.

Those five things are in no particular order and are not an exclusive list of things I want. In in all honesty, there is only one thing you need to do to win my heart. Something so simple most have forgotten how to do it…

Tomorrow: Day #2: Something I feel strongly about…


Leave a comment

Sunday Stealing: How long have you got?

Sunday Stealing originated on WTIT: The Blog authored by Bud Weiser. Here we will steal all types of memes from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent memes.

This week, we have the final part of a three-part meme. (You can can find part one here and part two here!)

41. WHAT ARE YOUR NICKNAMES?

I’ve had numerous nicknames throughout my long and varied lifetimes. When I was at primary school, they consisted mainly of insults: Fatso, Fatty, Blubberbutt, Four Eyes and Recorder Girl. In secondary school, I became: Haggis (a reference to my Scottish accent) and then Zakey (I don’t know), Mad Zakey (because I was apparently insane), Captain N, The Gamesmaster (because I was a video game geek) and Brainiac (a reference to the fact people thought I was too intelligent, not the Kryptonian Brain InterActive Construct).

Between leaving secondary school and emigrating to Melbourne I don’t remember anyone loving me (or hating me) enough to bestow a nickname on me until 2006. My first girlfriend was never one for ‘pet names’ but my second girlfriend began referring to me as Addy because Andy sounded ‘wanky’ and sometimes Andrew was just too long. It was the first time in my life I’d been given a nickname out of affection rather than insult and even though it was from she who ultimately abused me to annihilation, the nickname has stuck.

Over the years I’ve given myself numerous online nicknames, including: werepez, silent_gwyllion, sleepylizard, straythoughts, naughtyaddy and Otmuawcope (Officially the most useless and worthless c**t on planet earth; needless to say this was after my emotionally abusive relationship and it’s rarely used these days!)

42. WHAT CAR DO YOU DRIVE?

I do not drive. If I did drive, it would be a motorcycle, with a side car.

43. BEST DATE YOU’VE EVER BEEN ON? (IF MARRIED, before your present spouse)

Three immediately come to mind:

1. My first “date” with Louise; when we went to a fancy restaurant, spent the whole evening flirting and then returned home for…well, you all have imaginations, so perhaps now’s the time to start exercising them!
2. My first with Kathy; Kenny, cuddles and nerve-wracking first kisses.
3. A day I spent with Kathy on Sandringham beach, followed by a sunset on Brighton Beach, followed by fish and chips in St Kilda, followed by us making love for the first time. One of the happiest and most beautiful days of my life.

44. WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?

Water (that tasted a bit salty) came out of my eyes. I made some weird gasping, wailing noises that were altogether embarrassing and (at times) disturbing and had an overwhelming need for a hug.

But instead I sat on the floor until I could cry no longer and then ate ice-cream whilst watching Spider-Man 3.

45. LONGEST SHIFT YOU HAVE WORKED AT A JOB? WHAT WAS THE JOB?

Many years ago I was working in a backpacker hostel in Melbourne. Although I loved the job and was immensely passionate about the hostel and its staff, I was undervalued, woefully underpaid and treated appalling by head office. Throughout the years year I regularly worked 60-80 weeks (no overtime) and more double shifts than I could shake a stick at.

The most memorable being when I started work at 7am and worked through til 7pm. Upon finding out the night porter was unable to come in I had a short break before returning at 11pm to work through until 7:30am whereupon I immediately opened reception and continued working until 7pm. Four hours break in 36 hours is seriously (seriously) not enough!

46. FAVORITE MOVIE?

I abhor this question on a base level. It’s not conceivably possible for me to choose one out of the millions of films I’ve watched throughout my life, no true cinephile could. However: Fight Club, It’s a Wonderful Life, Local Hero, Say Anything and Twelve Angry Men are all magnificent, as are all those listed here and in the list of movies that have defined my life.

47. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SANG IN PUBLIC? WHAT DID YOU SING?

I used to sing drunkenly in public with unashamed abandon, but these days not so much. The last time I terrified people with my atrocious singing voice was with a drunken rendition of Pulp’s Common People when I was in Glasgow with Sammi.

48. WHAT WAS YOUR LAST FIGHT ABOUT?

I had a fight with one of my hallucinations at 2am this morning. It was about one of my regrets.

49. WHAT STUFF DO YOU NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT?

Keys. Clothes. Wallet. Soap.

50. FAVORITE ITEM OF TECHNOLOGY?

Rice cooker; I couldn’t live without one.

51. FAVORITE WEB SITE?

I mentioned several of my current favourite blogs here and I’ll throw in Mind of Mine, You are Doing That Wrong and Broken Light.

As for websites – as opposed to blogs – my love for the trifecta of Mamamia, The Drum and The Conversation is well-known.

And I shall avoid listing the naughty sites I adore, however tempted I may be to throw them out there :p

52. DO YOU SMOKE?

It is one of three principal crutches I use to control my mental illness(es), so yes, I do. From as far back as I can remember you can tell  my mood based on how much I’m smoking. For example, if I’m not smoking anything, I’m the frigging definition of awesomeness. Whilst if I’m chain-smoking my way to an early grave, I’m severly depressed and borderline suicidal.

Funny how no-one ever worked this out, it’s not exactly complicated.

53. IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, HAVE LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS WORKED?

I thought they did.

During the long-distance chapter of my relationship with Louise we would contact each other regularly. Phone calls, letters and the occasional present. Also, I would arrange random ‘cyber-dates’ for us to enjoy (e.g. I found an online tour of Monet’s garden which we went for a stroll through whilst chatting) as well as other odds and ends to keep us intimate and connected.

Unfortunately, whilst I was trying to keep our relationship alive, she had begun a relationship with her ex-boyfriend. I found out later that during some of the conversations and ‘dates’ we’d been on, he had been a third wheel sitting in her flat waiting for us to finish so he could have his way with the woman I loved.

So maybe they don’t work and I was just being a gullible fool.

54. DO YOU BELIEVE IN ASTROLOGY?

I think there is an element of truth to it, but I dislike how true-believers revert everyone to base stereotypes (i.e all Scorpios are like this, all Librans act like that) and then use these stereotypes to decide the people they have in their life. To me, individuals are just that, individual, and pigeon holing people based on their star-sign is simply another way to tag someone with yet another stereotypical label.

55. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON WHO CALLED YOU?

My dad, on Friday, after seeing the post about my benefit troubles.

56. WHAT WAS THE LAST TEXT MESSAGE YOU RECEIVED?

Centrelink, on Friday, after I had spent all day resolving my benefit troubles. Four text messages in two seconds, a little excessive if you ask me!

57. WHAT ARE YOU WEARING RIGHT NOW?

The only pair of jeans I own, a red shirt, green boxers, black socks. Nothing exciting or special, I’m afraid; clothes are way out of my budget!

58. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON?

Winter. It always has been and always will be.

59. BEST THING ABOUT WINTER?

I love the crispness in the air, the bite in the wind, the fact you can snuggle with your lover in front of a log fire before performing all sorts of naughty to warm each other up. I love the short days and the long nights. I love the rain and the snow. I love the wind. I love Christmas…but then, I haven’t had a winter Christmas for ten years now!

60. DO YOU THINK WTIT IS COOL OR OVERRATED?

I’d side on the cool camp.

61. WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS WEEKEND?

Yesterday, I paid rent, walked around town for approximately twenty-seven minutes before retreating home to suffer through a litany of panic, anxiety, bad memories, writers block and other annoying, crappy mental health stuff I have to endure from time to time.

Today, I’m going to try to write a blog post, reply to comments and hope all that haunted me yesterday decide not to bother today as I don’t feel like another day of unfocused panic and anxiety. But we shall see. Also, eat something, because I haven’t eaten anything for days.

62. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE?

Friend. Husband. Father. It’s all I’ve ever really wanted to be. Sure, writer, film-maker and photographer are things I would like to do with my life, but these three things (that most take for granted) have been my dream for as long as I can remember.

63. WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST REGRET?

How long have you got?

Allowing my anxiety to rule my A-Level choices; being too shy to ask Kathryn out on a date in High School; bottling out of my planned meeting with Miss Beatrix; Annie; choosing love over education in 2001; allowing my mental health to rule my decision-making powers in 2006; not being strong enough to stop the emotional abusive; or the sexual-assault in 2007; not understanding how unstable I was when I tried to return to ‘life’ in 2008 and watching the Halle Berry starring Catwoman in its entirety, are all things that come to mind.

But my biggest regret would be a toss-up between: not doing enough to help Steph, coming to Australia in 2002 (I should have gone to Canada) and not being there for Grace in 2008. All are things I’ve never forgiven myself for and, no matter what anyone says, don’t think I ever will.

64. ARE YOU SMILING? WHY?

No; see (61) above.

65. IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE WOULD IT BE?

Excuse the self-promotion, but I answered this question in my 4 places I would like to visit post on Thursday.

66. DO YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?

I do not. Music is not something I’ve ever really had a talent for – aside from the recorder, but who can’t play the recorder.

67. DO YOU WISH YOU COULD SEE ANYONE IN PARTICULAR RIGHT NOW?

Yes. I’ve been missing Sammi a lot this week, partly because of my Fifty Shades of Addy post, partly because she’s just crept back into my mind. There are also other people I would love to see again and most readers of the blog would know who these people are. Two have, once again, been mentioned in this post.

68. LAST THING YOU WATCHED ON YOUTUBE?

When I was writing my language post yesterday I couldn’t help but think of this scene (Yes, Niles, that’s just what we need, a fourth language!) so I had to track it down to give it a watch.

69. WHY DIDN”T YOU DECIDED TO TAKE OVER STEALING?

However much I was tempted to, my fluctuating moods and inconsistent internet access convinced me it was not a good idea. Perhaps if I was more stable I would have done, but I’d rather it be taken over by someone who can give it the time, love and affection it deserves :)


2 Comments

9 Movies that I love…

Okay, after posting this I will pull out the A4 notepad and begin writing I must learn to obey the rules five hundred times, because for the second time in this challenge I’ve bended the rules. Do you have any idea how hard it is for a filmophile to just choose nine movies? It’s impossible, that’s how hard it is!

So, I have chosen 27 of them: nine lesser-known movies that I love, nine well-known movies that I love and nine movies I love/hate in equal measure. To keep the post short I’ve written only a one line comment for each film – I could easily get a whole post out of all of them, especially the love/hate ones – and I deliberately didn’t feature my favourite films (as everyone knows they’re the work of genius, Fight Club and all time classic It’s a Wonderful Life)

So, whack the popcorn in the microwave and take a gander at some of my favourite movies of all time.

Nine lesser-known movies that I love

Young Adam
A masterwork from my equal favourite director and one of the best book-to-screen adaptaions ever.

Box of Moonlight
A movie of quiet perfection from indie auteur Tom diCillo, one of my favourite movies of all time.

Beautiful Girls
Nowhere near as well known as it should be, especially given a scene-stealing performance from Natalie Portman.

The Hanging Garden
One of the greatest Canadian films ever, with a soundtrack so good it practically hurts.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil
I didn’t think I would like this movie. I was wrong. I LOVED this movie. Comedy-horror done to perfection!

The Killer Inside Me
A difficult novel to adapt and arrived to mixed reviews but if you can stomach the content, it’s definitely worth it.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
This Finnish love child of Tim Burton and the Coen Brothers. This evil Santa horror-comedy is an absolute must see.

Seach
Never heard of it? Don’t worry, virtually no-one has. A Scottish gaelic movie that is as moving as it is beautiful.

New Waterford Girl
I saw this in Canada with Rachel. I have wanted to see it again for twelve years but haven’t found it anywhere.

Nine well-known movies that I love

Shadow of a Doubt:
Hitchcock’s favourite Hitchcock movie. My favourite Hitchcock movie. Watch it and you’ll understand why.

Local Hero
Some criticise it for being boring. They are wrong. One hundred percent wrong.

Dazed and Confused
Richard Linklater is one of my film-making heroes, and this movie is magnificent in every detail.

12 Angry Men
I can watch this classic drama multiple times in a day. If you haven’t seen it, to the naughty corner with you!

The Descent
My favourite horror movie of all time, it’s just a coincidence it’s from a Scottish director!

Bandslam
I don’t care what you think, I adore everythinig about this movie. Best ‘first kiss scene’ ever!

Roman Holiday
One of the most perfect movies of all time!

Zodiac
A marvellous film about obsession from my favourite director, David Fincher.

An Education
My third favourite actress in one of the best films of the last ten years.

Nine movies that I love/hate in equal measure

Mirrormask
I love Gaiman, the design, acting and story. But it reminds me of my abuser so much I can’t watch it.

A Dangerous Method
All the elements are there – Cronenberg, Psychiatry, Kinkyness – but it doesn’t work, however much I want it to..

Snowtown
My pet hate is noisy eaters, and there are so many in this film I can barely watch it! Otherwise, brilliant.

The Dark Knight Rises
Too long. Too many characters. Way too obvious ending. But it’s Batman. It just could have been better.

Secretary
If it wasn’t for the film-makers ‘justifying’ her sadomasochim so it would be accpeted I would simply love this film. But I can’t.

Donnie Darko
I want to love this movie. I understand this movie. But it’s just too darn complicated for it’s own good.

X-Men 2
I love X-Men:First Class unconditinoally, the first three could have been so much better, especially this one.

Sabrina
Given I love Hepburn and Wilder I’ve never been able to work out why this film bugs me. One day I will.

Kill Bill
Every Tarantino film annoys me to the point I just don’t like them. This one however I did like…but it’s Tarantino.

So what about you? Any movies you love, hate or love/hate in equal measure? Are Rachel and I the only people to have seen New Waterford Girl?


Leave a comment

10 People I can’t live without…

Given I have lived with only family interaction for so many years, I have absolutely no idea how I am going to answer this question. Do I take a dip into my past and write about the 10 People I couldn’t live without in 2006? Or do I just skip this question as it’s just going to trigger my loneliness and send me spiralling into a flaming pit of perpetual pain for an indefinite period of time?

But if I were to do that I would be failing in this challenge, and that would trigger all sorts of even more unbearable pain, so…

…I will tell you the ten people who have left a gaping hole in my heart, the ones I miss each and every day, the ones I’d have been able to keep as friends if it weren’t for my insanity and selfishness.

I once described Annie as being the first person in my life that I had an instantaneous connection with. Normally, upon meeting someone new, especially someone as ravishingly beautiful, my anxiety would rocket into the stratosphere and I’d be rendered either mute or able to communicate only in monosyllabic grunts and humphs.

Not so with Annie.

We first met at a backpacker hostel in Canada and talking with her was easy. I’m not sure if it was the alcohol or the fact I was feeling overwhelmingly confident because of the travelling, but gone were the grunts and in were the comprehensible questions and sentences. After that first night we made arrangements to visit the hot springs the following night, but she became trapped up a mountain so we altered our plans for the third night, only the car ran out of gas so we had to cancel once again. By now we were spending most of the day together – hiking the wilderness, boating, consuming subways – and on the fourth day we finally got to the hot springs.

After farewelling her I continued my travels but the thought of our time together lingered, and after completing my west to east coast travels, turned around to spend some more time with her. For a little over a week I crashed at her place. We watched random movies, went on tourist trips, hiked up a mountain and camped together. She probably knew I had a massive crush on her – and if she didn’t, she certainly does now – as I’ve been fairly vocal over the years on this blog about the amount of time I’ve spent scolding myself for not sharing my feelings with her all those years ago. But, as I’ve said before, her boyfriend interfered with my annoying ethical code.

I’ve long believed that if we’d lived in the same country I could have had a wonderful friendship with Annie, perhaps this is just looking back with rose-tinted glasses on one of the people who made my Canadian odyssey so special, but whenever I think of her, I think of how happy I was and how, for the first time, I communicated with someone without being held back by my anxiety.

My biggest memories of Annie: she was the first woman I ever applied sunscreen to, her minor panic attack when she realised we may run out of gas in the middle of bear territory, hugging her goodbye, when I used my rancid socks as a fire starter whilst camping, the fact that she made me laugh more than anyone I’d met up to that point and she was responsible for my first taste of cherry. In terms of the fruit! The fruit people!

It should go without saying that I miss both Rachel and Stephanie. Over the years that I’ve been writing this blog I have spoken of them both regularly. Rachel, whom I met in Canada, took her life in Autumn 2000 leaving me reeling with answers that I will never know the answers to.

My biggest memories of Rachel: endless drinking in Halifax, drunken karaoke of Northwest Passage, a public Shakespeare rendition and the fact she physically slapped the anxiety out of me.

Stephanie, meanwhile, took her life in Spring 2009 after we connected online via my blog. Both women are people I sincerely believe I could have remained friends with – Stephanie, especially, as we shared a similar history and odd sense of humor – but alas it was not to be. As I have said before, I blame myself for both deaths, and no matter what that guilt will never leave me.

My biggest memories of Steph: long email & MSN chats and hope.

 Both Timothy and Lisbeth are people I didn’t know all that well, so perhaps the ‘left a whole in my heart’ tag is a little over the top, but both are perfect examples of how my anxiety affected my ability to make friends.  Timothy and I went to the same school and shared a few classes but didn’t really spend much time together until we ended up working together after school finished.

My biggest memories of Timothy: driving to work, and sharing the shock of Stanley Kubrick’s death.

Lisbeth, on the other hand, I worked with at a hostel much later in life and she had an innate ability to make me laugh. Very intelligent, she had  fantastic personality and was always someone I’d wished I’d been able to get to know outside of work.

My biggest memories of Lisbeth: a brilliant shift we worked together in 2006 with lots of laughs and pointless fun.

Louise is another name that would be familiar to readers of this blog. She holds the honor of being my first relationship and a woman whom I sacrificed pretty much everything in my life to be with. Unfortunately, the relationship did not last, but I have long hoped that her life became something wonderful for after spending so many years living with, it’s hard to want for anything else.

My biggest memories of Louise: too many to list here!

Deborah, meanwhile, was my first real friend. We met in a backpacker hostel in Scotland where we were both long-terming over the winter. A source of great knowledge and compassion, Deb and I slowly developed a friendship that carried on via letters for years. I haven’t heard from her in years, and probably never will again, but I’ve always cherished our friendship.

My biggest memories of Deborah: seeing her again in Canada, lighting a fire for her at 4am, endless late night conversations, wondering if she saw the porn on my computer when she walked in unannounced one evening.

Sammi was the last friend I made in the non cyber-world. I’ve written of the night we met (and my shame over how) in the past but have yet to truly explain the gift she brought to my life. Although we only knew each other for a short period of time, face-to-face even briefer, she taught me that the most important thing in life is to accept who you are and not be afraid of whatever that may be.

My biggest memories of Sammi: the night we spent together in Adelaide and the time we had in Glasgow.

Russell, on the other hand, taught me many things as he was one of my teachers – one of the best I ever had! Often maligned within our school as an easy grade he was a delightfully eccentric man who I often wish I could catch up for a beer to thank him for the support he gave me in my early years of writing and for the bullying I received.

My biggest memories of Russell: the conversations we had over the various scripts and stories I would write.

It’s hard for me talk about Grace; on the one hand she is a source of great admiration, respect and inspiration, on the other, she is a trigger that has the power to shut me offline for days.

I first met her in 2004 when she worked for me for a brief period before she became a full-time colleague in 2005, and then friend the following year. I’ve never forgotten that, until Sammi, she was the only person who seemed to accept me for who I was rather than the myriad of labels that had been applied to me. After my breakdown in 2007 she was the only person to offer me support, rather than the endless stream of criticism and ‘advice’ on how to ‘cheer up’ that everyone else was giving me.

Unfortunately, to my shame, I failed to reciprocate this support in 2008 and I deservedly lost her friendship and sentenced myself to the lifetime of guilt that I have mentioned previously.

She has the honor of being the smartest human being I’ve ever met and to say I miss her would be an understatement. Like everyone on this list, she deserves all the happiness her heart desires.

My biggest memories of Grace: a drunken duet at my leaving BBQ, numerous lunches around Melbourne, numerous heart-to-heart conversations, the fact that she metaphorically slapped the anxiety out of me and my failures.

It should go without saying that my old friends were not Alyson Hannigan, Serena Ryder, Amber Tamblyn, Jenna Louise Coleman, Zachary Levi or the numerous other celebrities I’ve used to illustrate this post. I chose these images for, whether it be physical or personality, these celebrities always remind me of those people who helped shape me into the man I am today. People I miss, admire, respect and feel privileged to have known.

Tomorrow: 9 Movies I love