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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Saturday 9: Call Me Maybe

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.

call-me-maybe

I’ve never heard of this singer or the song – does that make me uncool or just Un-Canadian?

1) Do you owe anyone a phone call?

Probably. Ah well…I have no credit, they’ll have to wait! :p

2) Do you still have a landline phone?

If I could afford one, I would, as it would also give me access to landline internet instead of relying on dodgy (and crazy expensive) pre-paid mobile “broadband”.

But I can’t afford one, so I don’t.

3) When was the last time you looked up a number in the phone book?

I have absolutely no idea, so I’ll just say it was on the 30 April 2003 and hope no-one cross examines me on the subject!

4) Do you receive more calls or texts?

I receive very few phone calls because, you know, social isolation and all!

Thus, courtesy of the junk texts the phone company inundates me with, I definitely receive more texts than phone calls.

5) Carly Rae made the Final 3 on Canadian Idol. Can you name another cultural import from Canada?

There’s a Canadian Idol!? How did I not know this?

Anyway, as for cultural imports, we have Canada to thank for: Charles de Lint, Jason Priestly, Paul Gross, Rachel McAdams, John Candy, Elisha Cuthbert, Avril Lavigne, Bryan Adams, Rick Moranis, Sarah McLachlan, Thomas Wharton, Michael J. Fox, Don McKellar, Sarah Polley, Elias Koteas and Robin Sparkles. To name but a few! :)

6) Sam grew sick of this song by hearing it too often on the radio. Where do you listen to the radio most often? Car? Work? Somewhere else?

At home; it’s the only place I have access to the radio!

7) Mother Winters can work wonders with an iron and a can of spray starch. Every blouse and shirt she presses looks good as new. Is there a domestic chore you excel at?

Vacuuming. Which is really annoying as I don’t have a vacuum cleaner at the moment (damn you poverty!) so have to sweep the carpets instead.

This is not as much fun as it sounds! ;)

8) Do you consider yourself competitive?

No.

…fingers crossed this will win me the award for ‘shortest Saturday 9 answer’ this week! ;)

9) Tell us your superhero name — as determined by the color of your shirt and an item to your right. For example, Crazy Sam now fights crime as The Light Blue Coffee Mug!

By day I am mild-mannered, socially anxious Addy…but by night I take to the streets to spank the criminal element and save small kittens in my crime fighting alter ego The Red Helmet!

Fear him! :p


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Saturday 9: Pour Some Sugar on Me

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.

Def

1) Do you have a favorite “hair metal band?”

I’m not really a big fan of this type of music. In fact, I think I’m the only human being in the history of humanity who thinks Spinal Tap is incredibly overrated and not all that funny. If I had to choose a favorite it would be Europe; because they are responsible for The Final Countdown :p

However, I’d much rather listen to Deaf Shepherd than Def Leppard any day of the week :)

2) Def Leppard got their start in South Yorkshire, England. Have you ever been to the UK?

I spent twenty-three years, nine months living in the UK.

Although some people are highly critical of the UK it is actually a quite wonderful place. Yes, it has it’s faults; a random ability to grind to a halt with the appearance of three flakes of snow, a knack of forgetting that everything north of London exists, Jonathan Ross and a nationwide belief that Marmite is better than Vegemite. But it’s love of prawn cocktail crisps, the law that states if it gets hotter than 21.3 degrees you have to strip down to swimwear, John Virgo, the fact people travel to the country from all over the world in the hope to see a real-life dinosaur in the wild and hedgehogs, often beat the countries flaws into submission.

And that’s even before taking into account it was the British who brought us the television show Doctor Who, the phenomenon that was Harry Potter and One Direction.

3) Who would you rather chat with, one-on-one: Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William or Prince Harry?

If I had to choose from this rag-tag assortment of misfits, it would probably be Prince Philip, partly because the guy is rather awesome and partly to see what sort of politically incorrect statement he would make about me.

However, I’d much prefer buying the Queen a pub meal or share a few beverages with Pippa, purely because they seem far more interesting than the above quartet.

4) Do you use real sugar, or a sugar substitute?

I rarely – if ever – use sugar. In my days of non-poverty I would use real sugar as I hate the taste of sweeteners (one of the reasons I find ‘diet’ sodas so unappealing) but these days, although it’s not all that expensive, it’s an expense I don’t really need as I can live without it.

5) Valentine’s Day is big for candy sales. Did you indulge in any Valentine-themed, sugary treats this week?

After an insanely bad bout of anxiety at my Hearing Voices Support Group yesterday I purchased a Cadbury’s Creme Egg. Partly because chocolate is supposed to help people relax, partly because it was on special at Coles and partly because I used to rather like Cadbury’s Creme Eggs.

But this wasn’t Valentines themed, so it doesn’t really count, does it?

FYI, I don’t do Valentines Day. If I care about someone, if I love someone, I’m not going to wait for a single ‘consumerist’ day to show it. I’m going to divulge in random present giving, surprise dates, spontaneous massages and all sorts of lovey-dovey shenanigans on any of the 364 other days of the year!

6) Do you regularly balance your checkbook?

I don’t have a checkbook so, nope.

7) What was your last impulse purchase?

The aforementioned Cadbury’s Creme Egg. It was a stupid thing to do as it was far too decadent an expense.

8) When Sam was a girl, she had nightmares about snakes under her bed. When did you last have a bad dream?

I wrote recently of a rather random dream that saw me being whacked with carpet beaters wielded by rather angry women. Not sure if this would count as a bad dream though! :p

Because of my PTSD I am generally afflicted with half a dozen dreams a week revolving around the various instances of abuse I’ve received in my life. They are terrifying, upsetting, unsettling and something I would never wish on my worst enemy.

9) We’re ordering pizza. Do you want deep dish or thin crust?

Thin crust. Preferably wood fired. With fresh ingrediants…and I mean fresh, not fresh then frozen, fresh!

Sorry, I’m rather picky about my pizzas :p

wood fired pizza


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Saturday 9: Blue Christmas

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.

Upon seeing the ‘theme’ for this week’s Saturday 9 I was immediately reminded of a post I wrote a few months ago:

Elvis Presley…
Look, I get he is universally loved, I get that his music was hugely inspirational, I get that for some reason people enjoy dressing up in white jump suits and going uhhhuhuh in a deep voice, but I just don’t like him. I’m not a fan of his music, I don’t like his movies (bar a couple of scenes) and the whole Elvis thing in general just annoys me. (from 7 People I Hate)

So I approach today’s Saturday 9 with a pinch of salt after contemplating boycotting it based on my hatred for this annoying man.

Blue Christmas

1) Do you ever suffer the blues during the holidays?

Ohhhhh god yes!

Even though Christmas is still a couple of weeks away my moods are fluctuating rapidly. This week I’ve been hypomanic; spending money as if it grew on trees and thinking of sex 24/7 (not as fun as it sounds!). Based on my experience from previous years, next week will see a sharp drop into a full-on depression that will last until at least the third week of New Year.

Thus, I am stockpiling library DVDs, junk food and anything I can think of that I may need to help me survive the most horrible time of the year.

As I was quoted as saying in the local newspaper last year (yes, I was in the paper!):

[Addy] said if he hadn’t gone to St. Stephen’s lunch he probably would just be sitting in his tent listening to the rain.

Mr Lake said Christmas wasn’t the happiest of times for many people. “The paper at this time of the year is all about presents and celebrations, but you don’t do any of that when you’re alone. It is depressing,”

Obviously I was playing down the severity for the mainstream media consuming masses. In 2007, I spent Christmas self-harming. In 2008, I spent Christmas trying to deal with the fact my girlfriend chose that day to sleep with someone else behind my back. In 2009, I spent Christmas self-harming. In 2010, I spent Christmas self-harming. In 2011, after that lunch, I spent the remainder of the day sitting in my tent listening to the rain whilst, you guessed it, self harming.

For people like me – the lonely, the isolated, the traumatized, the mentally ill, the homeless – Christmas is not a time for cheer and happiness. We don’t get awesome presents, cheeky lingerie or bloated bellies from tonnes of fattening food. We get nothing but constant reminders of the mistakes we made and how society has deemed us unworthy of being happy or having a life.

I hate Christmas and I cannot wait for this horrible time of year to end.

2) More than 18 million visitors have toured Elvis’ home, Graceland. Have you ever been there?

No.

I have however been to a pub in Melbourne called the Grace Darling. For a time it was my home-from-home and I would go there every week for a few whisky’s and music whilst sitting by the fire writing my novella ‘Behind Closed Eyes’ (a present for my then girlfriend who dumped me before I was able to give it to her!)

I am adamant (based on my hatred of Elvis Presley) that this pub is far more worthy of 18 million visitors than Graceland ever will be.

3) Elvis dyed his naturally light brown locks black. Do you dye your hair?

I’ve dyed my hair twice in my life.

Once in 1998 when I was lost to a depressive episode and didn’t want to live anymore. I dyed it black and it looked horrible!

The other time was in 2007, a couple of months after my breakdown when I was locked in a suicidal spiral and convinced that (a) I would be dead soon and (b) I would be losing my hair courtesy of a medical procedure so may as well do something silly with it before this happened. On this occasion I dyed it a dark red and yes, it looked horrible!

4) He also insisted his young girlfriend, Priscilla, dye her hair jet black. If your lover asked you to change your hair, would you?

If he forced her to dye her hair against her will then he was abusing her and I have yet another reason to hate this individual.

No-one should force their lover/partner/friend/anyone into doing something they don’t want to do.

Ever.

5) Elvis served his country at an Army base in Friedberg, Germany. Have you ever been to Germany?

No.

But I have been to Belgium, which is like Germany only with Tintin and waffles.

6) Elvis famously had an affair with Ann-Margret during the filming of Viva Las Vegas. Have you ever indulged in a dalliance with a coworker?

Nothing physical.

I once flirted with a co-worker for a few months when I shouldn’t have done as I was in a relationship at the time. It’s not something I’ve ever been proud of and have stated for over six years I regret my behaviour that year and tried for a long time to make amends.

However, I would like to add that I do not think this deserved me to be emotionally abused to the point of suicide and homelessness, as this flirting was the primary reason given by my friends for me deserving to receive such treatment.

Personally, I don’t think anyone deserves to be abused, especially for something that everyone (including my abuser) does from time to time.

7) Thinking of his movies … Elvis was, by and large, unhappy with his film career and once said, “The only thing worse than watching a bad movie is being in one.” Are you happy with the way your career is going/has gone?

Unhappy with his film career? I can only think of one scene out of all his movies that I like, and that enjoyment stems from something other than Elvis’ presence! His films were, on the whole, awful and I’m glad he’s acknowledged this for those of us unfortunate enough to have seen any of them.

That said, I think it’s a fairly safe bet to say I’m not happy with the way my career has gone. No-one sets out to be a mentally ill, socially isolated homeless man; especially when he’s such a talented, creative, passionate b’tard!

Perhaps one of these days I’ll finally get the chance to show the world what I’m really capable of.

8) Elvis lost “the battle of the bulge” toward end of his life. Are you happy with your weight?

No. I’ve written about that before, and doing it again would make me more depressed. Which wouldn’t be good leading up to Christmas!

9) As a teenager, Elvis worked as an usher at a movie theater. What was your first job?

My first job was as a newspaper delivery boy when I was eleven. It was monumentally boring and I was attacked by more dogs than I care to remember, but there was one kindly elderly lady who would leave me KitKats and Smarties as a reward for delivering her paper each morning :)

Smarties

Mmmmm…Smarties :p


6 Comments

Saturday 9: Beer Barrel Polka

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.

Polka

1) Have you ever danced the polka?

I’ve danced the waltz, tango, salsa, paso doble.

I’ve break danced, swing danced, drunk danced and dad danced.

And nailed every single one of them in ways that Dancing with the Stars contestants never will!

But I’ve never danced the polka…however I’ve danced in a purple and white polka dot skirt, does that count?

2) Frankie Yankovic was a stellar accordion player. What instrument have you mastered, or would like to learn?

I am the Master of Good King Wenceslas on the recorder, courtesy of my recorder group in Primary School.

Many of my fellow male classmates gave me a lot of grief for being the only boy in the recorder group…never once taking into consideration that this meant everyone else in the recorder group were gorgeous, cute, deliciously attractive girls. Which, at a time when my eyes were opening to the wonders of the opposite sex, was rather awesome ;)

3) When Frankie died in 1998, his obituary proclaimed him as “America’s Polka King.” Lucille Ball was “The Queen of Comedy” and Michael Jackson was “The King of Pop.” What royal title do you deserve?

I don’t believe I deserve a title. Even if I did, it’s not something I could give myself…so I’ll throw it open for suggestions :)

4) Do you like light beer?

I don’t like beer, period. Horrible, disgusting stuff that tastes worse than yak’s piss! How anyone can enjoy drinking it is beyond me.

Give me a single malt any day of the week, much more satisfying.

5) In 1901, daredevil Annie Taylor successfully went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She was badly bruised but otherwise fine. How much money would it take for you do to do something that dangerous?

No money, all it would take for me to do something that dangerous is love.

6) When was the last time you visited a pet store?

Alice Springs, 2008. My girlfriend wanted to get a dog. Thankfully, given my fear of dogs, we didn’t end up getting one.

7) What’s your favorite salad dressing?

I particularly enjoy a citrus dressing. But if this isn’t available, I’m a classic ‘balsamic vinegar’ guy.

8)  Sam Winters is crazy about her smart phone. She uses it to take pictures, record videos, listen to tunes, answer emails and surf the net and, oh yeah, she even uses it to make calls. How indispensable is your mobile phone in your day-to-day life?

I rarely use my mobile phone.

Unlike the rest of society, as regular readers of my blog know, I live in poverty…and when you live in poverty you’re not allowed access to things like smart phones (or televisions, decent computers, iPod’s, tablet computers or internet access). I think this has something to do with society being terrified of giving people who live in poverty a voice.

But I adamantly believe that these people deserve the biggest voice of all!

So, other than the occasional phone call to remind me of appointments or chat to my family, I rarely use my phone.

9) “Kocham cię” is “I love you” in Polish. Can you say “I love you” in a language other than English (and Polish)?

Scottish Gaelic: Tha gaol agam ort

French: Je t’aime

German: Ich liebe dich

Spanish: Te quiero

Icelandic: Ég elska þig

Italian: Ti amo

Inuktitut: Nagligivaget

"Eskimo Kiss" - Interior illustration for Santa Goes Green

Eskimo Kiss by Elisa Chavarri


9 Comments

Saturday 9: Live and Let Die

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.

1) “Live and Let Die” was nominated for an Oscar as best song. Do you have a favorite movie song?

If I had to choose a favourite movie song, the one that comes instantly to mind is:

The Call (Regina Spektor; from Prince Caspian)

But I’m much more likely to be drawn to film scores than film songs:

Hans Zimmer

John Powell

Hans Zimmer (again)

2) The latest Bond movie, Skyfall, is crazy successful. Have you seen it/do you want to see it?

I have not seen Skyfall, in fact I’ve not seen any of the Daniel Craig movies. I may watch it one day but I’m not all that fussed to be honest.

3) What do you think makes Bond movies so enduringly popular?

Honestly, I have no idea. Aside from The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Goldfinger and The World is Not Enough, I’m really not a Bond fan. But I guess their popularity has something to do with humanity’s lust for violence, single entendres and a desperate need to escape the mundane lives we live.

Some guys (and gals) want to be Bond whilst other guys (and gals) want to be with Bond.

I don’t.

4) Do you have a favorite among the actors who have played “Bond, James Bond?”

1 January 2007.

A crowded restaurant on Brunswick Street, Melbourne.

Me: So who’s your favourite Bond?

Ex: Sean Connery. He was my dad’s favourite too.

Me: So he reminds you of your childhood.

Ex: Definitely. All those afternoons curling up the couch with him, spending time with him, having fun with him. Good times.
So who’s your favourite Bond?

Me: Timothy Dalton.

(Ex picks up a glass of water and pours it over my head. Water cascades over my hair, face, table and clothing. She laughs hysterically as everyone turns to see what’s going on. I blush deep red, completely embarrassed as other patrons start giggling under their breaths.)

Ex: You deserved that.

True story, and most likely thousands of people around the world will enjoy this real tale of actual public humiliation because I dared to share an opinion of my favourite Bond actor. I have never forgotten this moment, nor the intense humiliation I felt sitting there.

After that I didn’t bother continuing the conversation, nor did I risk sharing any other personal opinions.

For the record, my primary reason for loving Timothy Dalton is this:

When I was young my father and I reserved a copy of ‘License to Kill‘ when it was released on video. He dropped me off at the video store and waited in the car whilst I dashed inside to collect it. However, given I was younger than the classification of the video they wouldn’t give it to me, so I had to dash back outside to get my dad to come in and collect it. We then went home, sat on the sofa, and watched it together.

What was it my ex said moments before publicly humiliating me for daring to share an opinion? Oh yes…Definitely. All those afternoons curling up on the couch with him, spending time with him, having fun with him. Good times.

5) Bond orders martinis — “shaken, not stirred.” What’s your regular drink order?

Non-alcoholic: depending on my mood; coke, blood orange juice or water.

Alcoholic: depending on my mood; white wine, WKDs or (rather obviously) whisky.

Note: the whisky should not be mixed with anything, it should be Scottish and should be savoured slowly.

6) Moving from the bar to breakfast — do you have a favorite cereal?

Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut

7) Let’s daydream about warm weather. Would you rather swim in a lake, the ocean, or an outdoor pool?

When I was younger I nearly drowned in a swimming pool (had to be rescued by a rather attractive lifeguard) and ever since then I’ve had issues about swimming. I love just kinda floating and playing in water but I don’t like swimming – especially in the oceans, lakes, river and outdoor areas.

I’m much happier sitting there and watching other people swim. Which has absolutely nothing to do with a desire to perve on people in skimpy swimming costumes, but everything to do with an irrational anxiety of swimming.

8) Did you get 8 hours’ sleep last night?

Nope. I got three hours sleep last night. Which is actually pretty good for me :)

But bloody hell I’m tired!

9) What are you wearing on your feet right now?

Nothing. Right now I’m wearing my pyjamas, and I don’t like wearing socks with pyjamas unless it’s toe numbingly cold.

 


9 Comments

Saturday 9: Key Largo

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.

1) This song was inspired by the Bogart/Bacall movie of the same name. Do you have a favorite Humphrey Bogart film? 

Although far from my favourite Hepburn movie, Sabrina is one of the few Bogart movies I can remember seeing. Plus, Billy Wilder :)

2) Where do you rent movies? (Netflix, Redbox, OnDemand, etc.)

When I can afford to do so, I rent my movies from a little known service called a DVD rental store. Back in the day, they used to be rather popular. You could roam the shelves checking out movie after movie, indulge yourself in holding the DVD cover in your hand to peruse the synopsis and stills, spend some time debating whether the cleavage shot is really necessary (yes, Sleepy Hollow back cover, I’m looking at you!) and ask the staff cunning questions to find out just how knowledgeable they are in the realm of film and television.

3) Have you ever been to the Florida Keys?

I have never been to the Florida Keys. In fact, I’ve never stepped foot on American soil in my life. The closest I came was the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Perhaps one day I shall visit, but in all honesty, the Florida Keys would be very low on my list of places to visit. (No offense to anyone in the Florida Keys intended :p)

4) According to government statistics, more than half the people who currently live in Florida were born in another state. Were you born in the state where you currently live?

I was not. I was born in a rather random town in Northern England called Leeds. I lived there for only a few months before we moved when my father got a new job, never to return.

5) To be honest, Crazy Sam really hates this week’s featured song. (Hear it here.) Do you like it? Loathe it? Or are you unfamiliar with it?

I do not know the song or artist. However, he has a remarkably entertaining beard :)

6) Local authorities in a suburb of Sydney blasted Barry Manilow songs into a neighborhood park to keep “hooligans” away after dark. Is there an artist or song that would make you run in the other direction?

New life goal: discover what suburb of Sydney this is so I can move there and begin crooning every night. Barry Manilow rocks!

However, if they were to start playing this song, I would run a country mile without ever looking back:

See also the Paul McCartney’s The Frog Song.

7) Two of the most common fears are going to the dentist and speaking in public. Do either of those really get under your skin?

Given I am open in suffering with social anxiety disorder, I am not afraid of dentists and speaking in public; I have an outright phobia about them! I would rather lock myself into a room playing the above song on repeat for an entire year than go anywhere near these two.

8) We’re having burgers. What do you want on yours?

The burger would have to be chicken breast, for I am not a fan of red meat in any way, shape or form. Toppings? Some crisp lettuce, pineapple, a sprinkling of cheese and a dash of bbq sauce would be lovely, thank you.

9) Here’s your chance to do a shameless plug. What charity or cause do you wish got more support?

“I once heard a story about a homeless man on Hollywood Blvd who really thought he was invisible. But one day a kid handed the man a Christian pamphlet. The homeless guy was shocked and amazed, “what! You can see me? How can you see me? I’m invisible!”

It isn’t hard to comprehend this man’s slow spiral into invisibility. Once on the street, people started to walk past him, ignoring him as if he didn’t exist… much like they do a piece of trash on the sidewalk. It’s not that people are bad, but if we make eye contact, or engage in conversation, then we have to admit they exist and that we might have a basic human need to care. But it’s so much easier to simply close our eyes and shield our hearts to their existence.

The purpose of this vlog is to make the invisible visible. I hope these people and their stories connect with you and don’t let go. I hope their conversations with me will start a conversation in your circle of friends. These are the real people, telling their own, very real stories… unedited, uncensored and raw.

The invisible guy didn’t intend to become homeless. I didn’t plan on living on the street. Everyone on the streets has their own story, some made bad decisions, others were victims, but none of them deserve what they have been left with, and it is a reflection of our own society that we just leave them there.

Please always remember, the homeless people you’ll ignore today were much like you not so long ago.”

from InvisiblePeople.tv