Event Anxiety

Last Friday I attended The Christian O’Connell Show live on-stage event, in celebration of their 1000th show. The event was held at the Yarraville Club and it was an amazing evening, I had a great time. The team are just as entertaining in person as on air and I’m so glad that I went. Even though I was struggling with anxiety, being around so many people. It seems ridiculous to have had so much anxiety over something so small considering events I’ve attended in the past. I guess the reality is that I have not been to a large scale event since before Covid. Add in the mental health issues and everything is amplified that little bit more.

I even arrived over an hour and a half before the show due to anxiety over car parking. Since I had time to kill I thought I would find somewhere to eat, but I was just too anxious. Inside the club everyone was mingling near the bar, as more people arrived my anxiety got worse. When I saw Christian and his wife arrive, I felt a sense of calmness. That’s when I realised it was the crowd making me anxious, not the team or event itself.

Mingling

When the bar got a bit too crowded for me I decided to go outside and get some fresh air. I started to walk around outside, just up and back doing laps out the front. Only came back inside around 7pm when the doors where due to open. Figured once inside it wouldn’t feel as crowded and my anxiety would calm down. Whilst standing outside the entrance of the room I started talking to some fellow attendees. I spoke with a nice lady and it turned out her partner Ron is also a Garbo, what a coincidence.

Chatting to this couple and mingling with new people, helped to calm my anxieties. Probably being able to talk to someone else about work helped to. I guess you always feel more confident when you talk about a subject you know well. When it comes to The Christian O’Connell Show I’m a fairly new fan so I don’t know all the history. That’s probably another reason why I felt out of my element and anxious. As we entered we got to take a photo with the photobooth, not the best photo but a good memento.

Conversations

when being led me to my seat, I saw Christian’s wife Sarah in the corner, I waved and said hello. It took her a moment but she recognised me and then came over and sat with me for a while. It was very lovely of her and we had a good conversation, one that I really appreciated. Last time I saw them I had spoken to them about my mental health struggles, so we talked about that. I spoke about being nervous around so many people. She commented that it takes a lot to come out, to get out of your comfort zone. After suffering from mental health issues we often tell ourselves we will do something when we feel better. But that activity will make us feel better, so you just have to push yourself to do it.

I’ve been saying that a lot myself lately, especially regarding doing art, I need to be in the mood. However, art calms me in a way that nothing else ever does so I know it will help. I mentioned that to Sarah, and she had a fantastic suggestion. Something I’ll have to try, it’s about giving yourself a time frame and seeing what you can do with it. Then deciding if you want to continue on afterwards. She is right though; you just have to push yourself to do these things and they’ll make you feel better.

Last Encounter

We also spoke about the last time I met them and how important a step in my recovery it was. That it was in ways a breakthrough, how important it was when Christian commented about Smiley being the perfect nickname. I mentioned writing a blog and how that after that encounter, I was finally able to write it all down. That I was finally able to put all the feelings and emotions into words and explain everything. Sarah is such a lovely and amazing person I very much appreciate her taking the time to talk to me.

I hope I get to see her and Christian again in the future. These conversations have had a significant effect on me. They’re really helped me, especially given everything that’s happened over the last year. Sometimes I worry that my obsession or fandom is too much, but I am just very appreciative. I’ve met a lot of different celebrities over the years, but I’ve never had such honest and open conversation. At least none involving so much talk about mental health. I’ve had issues with mental health in the past but nothing as significant as this last year.

Front Row

When purchasing my ticket I decided to pay slightly more to get a front row seat. All seats in the front few rows had a goodie bag on them. It was a nice show tote bag with a pen, keyring, bottle of water and a mug inside. The mug is a “I’m knocking on with the Christian O’Connell Show” one. I was not expecting the goodie bag so it was a nice surprise. The people in the two seats to my right didn’t actually attend. Sarah walked past and said she should sit there if they don’t turn up. She said Christian would hate it, having her watching him from right there. I thought it would have been funny, but in the end they stayed vacant.

The Show

The show started with Christian coming out on his own at, he shared some funny stories. With a lot of inuendo and of course some swearing, it wouldn’t be an after hours show without it. It was obviously a little different than an on air show, a little less clean. It was not too out there though, it was entertaining and enjoyable. Christian is brilliantly funny and very entertaining; I mean of course he is or we wouldn’t listen every day. But he is also British, and British humour is the best, or it’s definitely my favourite kind of humour. Seeing him perform live on stage, it gives you another level of respect for him as a person and comedian.

Christian then introduced Jack and Pasty, Patsy had her own thrown up on the stage, it was brilliant. They started off by showing the social media profiles of some of the people in attendance. Such as the guy whose profile picture is him on the toilet. Then they did some non radio friendly misheard lyrics, there were a lot of penis’, assholes and shits in them. There was an auction where they auctioned off a few items, including a breakfast and studio tour with Christian. This sold for $3,000, I wish I’d had the money for something like that, but I don’t and that’s okay. Patsy did some funny news stories she couldn’t share over the radio. Such as the one about the man who got a potato stuck up his butt, because he ‘fell on it’. It was hilarious and Patsy was so good, very entertaining.

Timewaster Time

Then it was time for the timewaster, a segment that they do every morning on the radio. It’s where you change the title of a song, movie or band and add words from a certain topic. The topic this evening was Bogan Movies, which is one they have done on air before, not that long ago. I remember they were so funny that Christian was laughing so hard he could barely read them out. There were some good ones tonight as well, and they had prizes to give out for best in show.

I’ve never been good at the timewasters. However, when Christian read mine out, Jack liked it and gave me a gold. He said I’d won a kettle and then Christian asked that I come up to the stage to collect it. When I walked up Christian said “We’ve met before, nice to see you again Smiley”. Made me feel special that he remembered me. He then handed over the kettle and I went back to my seat. I know that I’m often remembered my celebrities, but it’s always a special moment. The kettle I won is a gold SMEG kettle, and the Red Dwarf fan in me was over the moon. I’ve always wanted to own a SMEG product, now I just need to get the matching toaster.

My Timewaster:

THE GOODBAGIES

Brilliant Show

This was such an amazing show and the guys were brilliant on stage, I had a great time. After the timewaster they threw it out to the audience for some Questions, there were some good questions too. After the Q&A it was time to wrap things up, so they finished on stage. Then everyone started queueing for photos. I’ve never really been much for waiting in queues, I normally just hang around until things calm down. Then I just jump in at the end, tonight was no different.

I stayed in my seat for a while, then Ron came over and congratulated me on winning the kettle. I grabbed my things and went to speak with them, they were waiting for the queue to die down too. We had a good chat, it was nice to mingle with other fans and talk about general life topics. And it was good to talk to someone about being a garbo too, someone else that understands what it’s like. We have added each other on Facebook so we can keep in contact.

Whilst waiting around I used my drink voucher for a lemonade. Then went and had a look at the merchandise stand were they had 1000th show merch. I purchased myself a T-shirt, but they were just for preorder, so it’ll get sent out later. When everything started to dwindle down I started chatting with Sarah again. I was talking about work and showed her some photos of my work truck. As mentioned, she’s really easy to talk to and a lovely person, I feel honoured to have had the privilege.

Photographs

I walked up for my photo with my kettle box in hand, figured it had to be in the photo. Christian came up to me and gave me a big hug, I wasn’t expecting this but it was nice. I then got the photo taken, Jack turned the kettle box around so it was facing the camera. We had a bit of a laugh over it, I didn’t get much chance to talk to them. It was the end of the evening and things were finishing up, but that’s okay. It was still lovely to meet them all and get such a great photo. They really are lovely people and I have a whole new level of respect for them.

I have had many photos taken with celebrities, mostly at events where I have had to pay for them. A photo was taken this night that I absolutely adore and that is the photo of Christian hugging me. There is something special about such a candid photo. No posing, just a nice sweet moment caught on camera. This photo is special, seeing the genuine smile on Christian’s face as he hugs me means a lot. I’ve had the same thing happen many time with different guests I’ve met, but never had a photo of it. I wonder, has that been the same reaction every time it’s happened? I like to think so, that they’ve all been as genuine as this one. It’s giving me a whole new perspective on things.

The official photographs from this event are with thanks to Lizzy Jacobs Photography. Thank you for capturing such a special moment for me.

Charity

I hope these guys do another live stage show like this, because it was so much fun and very entertaining. Over the entire evening over $26,000 was raised for Backpacks for Vic Kids, the charity this event supported. What an amazing achievement and it’s great to be apart of it all. I wish I could have donated more, but I know that I have to be frugal with my money lately. Which means no impromptu spending, which is why I limited myself to only purchasing a shirt.

1000th Show

It felt appropriate to publish this post today given that this morning The Christian O’Connell Show broadcast their 1000th show. What an amazing achievement, I know that I’m fairly new to being a fan. In fact I feel like a bit of a fraud in some ways. I have always listened to Gold 104.3 ever since I was at a kid. But there was a long period of listening to my own music or Spotify. I only started listening to the radio again about a year ago. The role I was doing didn’t allow me to fully listen being in and out of the truck.

It’s only been this year that I have been able to properly enjoy listening to the radio again. Listening to this show helped to pull me out of a really dark place. It made me laugh again and enjoy music again. It gives me the motivation to get up and keep going every day and I mean that with complete sincerity. When they were away for a few weeks I felt that darkness trying to creep it’s way back in. I just have to push through and keep going and I like that this show helps me do that. But I’ve already gone into detail about that in my previous post Meeting Christian.

Below are two posts I shared on Instagram: One about this event and another congratulating them on their 1000th show. In these posts I shared my appreciation and gratitude for this show and what it means to me.

Goodbye Len

Recently my family had to farewell a loved one, my Mum’s older brother Len passed away. It was sudden and unexpected, which shocked all of the family. Grieving is always harder when it’s suden. I guess in the grand scheme of things is a blessing because he did not have to suffer long. Then you think of yourself as a bad person because you didn’t want them here anymore. Even if it was because you didn’t want them suffering, it’s one of the hardest parts of saying goodbye.

My uncle passed away in Queensland so people weren’t really able to say their goodbyes before he passed away. I’m just thankful that he’s daughter arrived only a minute before. The strength and will of people in their last moments is truly amazing, and very special. You just know that they have chosen that moment to go, that they were waiting for that person to arrive. The same happened with my Pa, he passed only moments after my uncle arrived.

Grief and Grieving

I know that everyone grieves differently, but I think it sometimes takes me a lot longer to process it. I don’t think you ever really process the loss of someone you love. Not until you do something or go somewhere an they are no longer there. Guess that means that the closer you are or the more often you see that person that harder it is. The more often you are hit with all those emotions of grief and loss.

I can’t really remember the last time I saw my uncle, not specifically. I know that doesn’t determine how close you are to a person. You don’t have to see each other, or talk to each other every day or often. Loving and being close to someone can be just keeping up with what is going on. Knowing what is going on with each others lives, even if it’s not through direct contact. My Mum was close with her brother, I’m glad that they have each other to help them through this. Because they have been close I’ve always felt a closeness because she keeps me updated on what they’ve been doing.

In some ways I am lucky, I can still have these close relationships because of my parents. They have taken on the mantle on letting us know when things happen. That was something our grandparents always did so now that responsibility has fallen onto our parent. I always loved spending time with my Nan and I miss her every day. It was always special sitting there and learning about what everyone in the family was doing and how they were.

A New Way of Grieving

The last few years have been hard for me, especially in the area of grief and loss. Although with this loss I honestly feel emotionally numb. Maybe I just don’t know how to deal and cope with it anymore. Kind of like my emotions have just decided to check out, like it’s just too much. I understand it, but I grieve pretty strong and there’s been a lot in a small amount of time. At least smaller than I’ve ever dealt with before. I know that I am still capable of showing emotion so I’m not completely numb. But I’m also very empathic so sometimes those emotions that I feel and show aren’t always my own.

Getting Older

I think losing Uncle Len has made me realise that we’re all getting older. He was almost 83, but he lived a great life. Married to my Aunty for over 60 years with children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren. It’s made me realise that I’m getting closer to 40 and my parents are heading towards their 70s. I’m scared, I have anxiety that dealing with death and grief is going to be a part of my life now. That I won’t be able to grieve the way I’m used to because it’s happening too often. With not enough time for me to properly grieve in between. I don’t think I am ready for that yet.

Grief is hard and the last few years I’ve had my fair share. Right now I’m trying not to let the sadness and negativity overtake my thoughts. There are still so many people in my life that I love, I need to cherish spending time with them. I need to lift myself up and get myself out of my own head. And remember to reach out and catch up with people more often and I’m trying to do that. There are also many things to look forward to as well. I have a few events coming up in my life I need to remind myself to be excited for. To put myself out there and do everything I can to enjoy myself.

My Comfort Kitty

The biggest thing I am grateful for during this time of grieving is my little fur baby. She has been my rock and I don’t know what I would do without her. When I drove up and back to my Uncle’s funeral I had her by my side. In the car with me and she was amazing, I am so proud of her. I used to travel with her in a travel cage and she would meow half the way. Now she sits in the passenger sit in her harness with a seat belt. She is calm and enjoys the ride and having her with me is good for me too. She keeps me calm and gives me company. Knowing I can just reach over and pet her whenever I want, is special.

Recovery Breakthrough

Last week I had a little breakthrough in my recovery and I want to share that experience with you, and the reason why it was and has been significant to me. Plus the majority of this blog has been me sharing my experiences with the world, so I thought this needed it’s own post. Last Saturday the 10th June, I decided not to go to Oz Comic Con and instead I went and met Christian O’Connell, who is a radio presenter.


However, I feel like this needs a little bit more context. If you had seen my recent blog post Mental Breakdown and Recovery you would know what I have been going through lately. I have always loved, it brings me joy and a sense of peace, but in my darkest moments that was impossible. I had completely disassociated with the world and as I began my recovery journey I started to feel that love and joy return, it helps me to keep a sense of peace in my mind and body. A big part of my recovery has been listening to the radio and especially The Christian O’Connell Show in the mornings, when I’m in the truck.

Live on The Christian O’Connell Show

Not only did I get to meet Christian on Saturday, but earlier in the week on the Wednesday I had called in for their ‘Knock on Wednesday’ segment. Yes me, the person who has had a phobia of phones forever, rang a radio station and went live on air. It wasn’t until after it was all over I questioned myself and then I spent the rest of the day regretting it. After I work I went and listened to the recorded podcast and realised that it wasn’t too bad.

To hear me on the radio, skip to 11:16 on the below podcast:

Meeting Christian

During their Friday show, Christian mentioned that he would be working at a little shop on the Saturday and for anyone to stop by if they wanted. It took a lot to convince myself to actually get out of the house and do this, but it was on of the best decision I could have made. It ended up being a real breakthrough in my recovery, even though I didn’t realise this until after I left.

When I first arrived I was very nervous and felt very sheepish as I walked into the store, but both Christian and his wife Sarah were absolutely lovely and sweet, I felt very comfortable in their presence. I introduced myself and explained that we had spoken earlier in the week, we talked about my job as well as my injury and recovery. As always I was very open with them and I spoke about my struggles with mental health as well, they were both amazingly kind and understanding. Internally I felt almost a sense of peace at the whole experience.

The most significant moment of this experience was when Christian went to sign his book for me, I mentioned that my nickname was Smiley and he commented that it was the perfect nickname for me. At the time it made me smile and giggle, but what I realised afterwards was that I have not felt like ‘Smiley’ in a really long time. I feel that Smiley is who I am at my core, and sometimes in the darkness it gets lost, so this special moment made me realise that my soul is healing and finding it’s way to being me again.

Conversations

It’s nice to be able to open up and talk openly to people about mental health, especially to someone who you have never met before and who has a much higher standing than yourself (meaning he is famous and I am not) but you can both relate and understand each other. He asked what my plans were for the rest of the weekend, I explained that I’m only really just getting back into socialising so keeping things simple which he understood.

Sarah asked if I would like a photo with Christian, so I took the opportunity and I love the photo. Not only because Christian was kind enough to pose for a photo with me, but also because I look happy. It the first time in a while I’ve taken and looked at a photo of myself and saw myself.

We did have a great little chat about conventions I mentioned how I have almost 20 years experience going or working events, but that I had decided to come and meet him rather than go to Oz Comic Con. I mentioned travelling to England for events and how I was a huge Red Dwarf fan, Christian too is a fan and of course he knows the actors, we had a laugh as I recalled the time I saw them in England.

Time to Go

When others started entering the store I automatically moved myself out of the way, the convention staff member in me kicked in and I let them have their moments. Internally I wanted to just stay and talk to them for as long as I could, I guess that had a lot to do with the socialising aspect. You go to all the effort to get yourself up and out there and then it all goes by so quickly and you just want to savour it as much as possible.

Christian and Sarah were amazing and I’ll remember this moment and it’s significance for a long time. As I went to leave, Christian told me that I should be proud of myself, for calling into the show and for everything else. I said that I am, but that it also takes time for me to process it, after all it took my six months to feel proud of myself for buying a house.

Thank you

I was very appreciative of this experience, and I know this post is more about the significance of the experience rather than than just meeting Christian. I just wanted to share the reason why I have become such a huge fan and how much it has helped in my recovery. Which in turn has lead to why this experience was so significant for me.

Listening to the radio has made me feel myself, for the first time in a really long time. When something effects you in such a profound way, it’s hard to really show your appreciation. I feel embarrassed at how deeply I have fallen into an obsession for this show, but that’s just how I show my appreciation.

Please check out Gold 104.3 and The Christian O’Connell Show, they’ve helped me a lot the last few months and it’s like having company even when you’re all alone.

Life is Hard

Sometimes life can be difficult, and sometimes we have a mental breakdown. Things have been incredibly hard for me lately and I want to share my journey with you. It has taken a long time, but I have now finally been able to sit down and write this post. This is a sign that I am getting better and improving in my recovery. From my last post, you would be aware that I was going through a rough patch. Unfortunately, that escalated and by mid-February I had been broken. As I’ve mentioned, things happened at work, I was placed into a different role within the hard-waste collection team. This role was extremely physical, something that I was unprepared for and not even capable of.

Talking about Mental Health

I managed to stick with it and keep going for as long as I could, longer than I should have. It was a complete mental breakdown that stopped me from continuing. When I was incapable of ignoring all the negative thoughts and they took over. To a point where I feared what I’d be capable of in that mindset. Drained and exhausted, my usual coping mechanisms weren’t working; the stress, anxiety and depression took over. I was so emotionally exhausted that I could barely even speak.

I put on a brave face and kept going for far too long, I pretended to still be functioning. When really, I had stopped functioning well before this year even started. Through the first few months of this year, I didn’t go a day without having a breakdown of some kind. Whether that was because of a conversation, a song I heard or a situation that pushed me over the edge. There were times when the simplest thing pushed me over the edge, then I’d get embarrassed, and it’d escalate.

Self-Hate

I think it’s important to share how I was feeling, but it’s also hard for me to talk about. This is the first time I have ever suffered such a severe mental breakdown. It’s difficult to reflect on those feelings, without putting myself back there. Which at this stage of my recovery, I can’t really afford to do. The reality of it is, that for a long time I was not myself. I had disassociated with the world and morphed into a non-functioning empty shell. Not completely empty, but empty of any light and happiness, instead filled with negativity and hatred for myself. I had turned into a sad, sorry, miserable person. I felt like I was incapable of doing anything right, that I was constantly making mistakes. That I was utterly useless to those around me.

In those moments of self-hate, I was incapable of reaching out or asking for help. I was lost in the negativity and the feeling of being a burden. And I did not want to pull others into my all-consuming negative space.

Thankful.

I struggled to see it at the time, but am thankful to those who were there for me. Mostly my parents, family, and the few friends that I had forced myself to stay connected with. I am also thankful for my gorgeous Izzy; I cannot imagine surviving this experience without her by my side. She was the reason I got up and kept going every single day. During the darkest part of my breakdown, she was my only saving grace, she made me feel human.

Learning to be Proud

To stray away from the negativity, I want to say that things are much better now. I am in a much better place and can now share my story. In September last year I moved into my own house, this was a massive change for me. It wasn’t until recently that I actually acknowledged that though. I should be proud of myself for these accomplishments. Now I am able to finally see that and feel that.

The biggest change in this whole experience is in myself. I am proud of myself for standing up for myself and saying enough is enough. It might have taken me a little too long to get there, I could have done with the mental breakdown, but I eventually did. I put a stop to the mistreatment I was feeling, and I got help for myself. I spoke to the appropriate people at work, and I got help there too.

Work Lead to Breakdown

I’m grateful with myself for being a very meticulous person, I had kept a written document about incidences at work. I had written down everything including dates, conversations, comments, actions, and injuries. This meant that I could easily refer to moments when asked about them and the specifics. There have been several times when I’d been injured, and I never felt those injuries had truly been acknowledged.

I mention feeling like injuries were ignored only because it is significant as to why I let it go on so long. The main injury I sustained from doing such a physical job, was increased pain to my lower back. This in turn effected all other muscles in my body as they compensated. My body was so drained and exhausted that I would end up getting physically sick almost weekly. Each time I got sick I would visit my doctor. He would advise me that my body was physically shutting down from the strain. That it had reached it’s limit and I had needed to change something.

He suggested a reduction in work hours, I knew that that would be hard to manage but I went to work and asked. When I didn’t seem to get anywhere, I then got medical certificate from the doctor. This is what eventually lead to my full mental breakdown, being forced to keep going when I couldn’t.

Unrecognisable

This photo was taken in early December last year. I don’t recognise the person in this photo, that is not me. I look at this photo now and I realise, I had already dissociated back then. Scary to think that I still kept going for over two more months.

I didn’t realise how significant this photo was until I showed a friend recently. She commented that, had she seen me then, she would not have recognised me. That comment gave me validation for how I was feeling about myself. It is nice knowing that other people noticed the different, it wasn’t all in my head.

Return to Work

In sharing stories about work, I don’t want to paint the company in a bad light. It was not the company that mistreated me, it was just certain individuals. Since I stood up for myself and spoke my truth, my work has been really good. I was honest with them and I told them what state I was in when I had my breakdown. It was hard to talk about, it’s hard to be honest about emotions and mental health in a work environment. You don’t want to show your vulnerabilities and weaknesses, you don’t want them to know you are suffering. Even though the situation is dyer to you, you still feel weak for not being strong enough to cope.

As of now I am back to working full time hours which is at least eight hours a day. I am working in a similar role to the one that I applied for, driving the Heavy Rigid trucks again. My current role is going out in a small side-loader garbage truck. Driving out to different addresses where the bins were either missed or put out late. I get to drive in different areas and different councils. Working at my own pace and on my own. Most importantly I get to stop for toilet breaks whenever I need them.

Breakdown and Recovery

Due to the sever decline in my mental health and the fact that my body had started shutting down. I ended up taking almost three weeks off from work following the mental breakdown. During this time, I was able to get myself functioning again. I also had a lot of different medical appointments to attend. But amongst the appointments and stress about not getting any pay, I was able to take some time for myself. I even got the utilise my new garage studio and do some art for the first time in almost a year.

During this period my doctor referred me to get an x-ray of my spine after I explained the pain I felt. The x-ray showed that my lower spine was out of alignment by over a centimetre. Apparently, this was caused by a birth defect that I was unaware of. However, it had been aggravated by all the heavy lifting.

Since the discovery of this medical issue, I have had several appointments with a physiotherapist. I have had to go to two different orthopedic surgeons. Thankfully, I don’t need to have surgery to fix the problem, just work on strengthening my core muscles. I’ve had appointments with my psychologist and have spoken with a therapist and a psychiatrist. All of which have helped in my recovery. I’m very thankful for my psychologist, I don’t know what I would do without her support.

My Home

Moving away from the cause I want to focus on how they have affected my personal life. I moved into my own house, I was excited to get back into art again, to get back into streaming. Most importantly be able to invite friends and family into my own space.

Unfortunately, I was unable to do any of those things, I was in such a state that they felt impossible. In moments when I thought I could use company, I just couldn’t invite people over. My anxiety and depression would kick in and remind me no one wants to be around someone so miserable. I know that was my mental health affecting me, I also know I have people I can reach out too. It’s only in our darkest moments we can’t see that, everything else is too overwhelming.

I have only ever had my parents and a couple of friends over for a visit. In my spare bedroom, sat a collection of birthday and Christmas presents. I kept telling myself they were a reason to invite people over. In the end they became unbearable and a reminder of how useless and a bad friend I was.

A few weeks ago, on Mother’s Day I invited my family here for a BBQ. It was the first time my brother and nieces had seen my place and it was a great day. I felt proud of myself for having new people in my space, another step in the right direction regarding recovery.

Return to Normalcy

Over the last few months I have been slowly getting back to a semblance of normalcy. There are still many things that overwhelm me and I know I’m not fully recovered. I still suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, but being aware of it is a good start. It means the next step is to find the triggers and put into place coping mechanisms.

During my return to normalcy I have tried to put myself back out there, I’ve attended birthdays and other gatherings. I have been reminded of all the people I have in my life, those that would be there for me when I need it. That I have their love and support, which means the world to me. I just need to remember that if the darkness ever returns.

I was also able to get back into art again, I had not drawn, painted or anything in over a year. Art is one thing that helps to keep me calm and at peace, so being able to return to it was important. I actually managed to create something from start to finish and that is an incredible feeling. Especially since it was something I wanted to do since moving into my place.

Special Events

In the months since everything happened at work, there have been some amazing moments in my life. Even though for some of those events I was still feeling a bit disassociated. I have been very grateful for the people in my life who helped me, so I could enjoy these moments. At the end of February my step-brother got married, and my family officially grew by five people. It was a good evening spent with family and that was what I needed.

The first weekend of March, my friend Jodie and I went to the Air Show together. This was once again an amazing day, nothing will ever compare to the feeling I get when a jet flies past. It was a little overwhelming though, a lot of people and a lot of things happening. I still enjoyed myself and lost myself in the feel of the day.

My Aunty Liva authored a book, sharing her stories and accomplishments with the world. I am so incredibly proud of her for all she has accomplished, and for sharing it. Writing and publishing a book is just another huge accomplishment. I was honoured to be invited to her book launch at Melbourne Airport, in the Virgin Australia Lounge. I am incredibly proud of her for all she has accomplished, and writing and publishing a book is huge.

Please check out and get yourself a copy of Island Girl to Airline Pilot
‘A story of love, sacrifice and taking flight’

Recovery Breakthrough

I have been trying to write this blog post for a few months now. I just could not find the words or was not in the right headspace for it. Now is the right time, and it’s thanks to a little breakthrough in my recovery that I had yesterday. I took myself out of my comfort zone, I went out and I met a radio presenter. One who I have been listening to a lot and has helped me to find the joy in music again. I listen to their show in the truck, and I feel like I have company. It’s helped me a lot more than I ever would have imagined.

Yesterday I went and met Christian O’Connell from The Christian O’Connell Show. The significance behind this meeting was that I felt like my true self again. I felt like ‘Smiley’ again, and he acknowledged it was the perfect nickname. Sometimes it’s the smallest of things that make the biggest impact. I will write a more detailed post regarding this experience. But I’m thankful for the small opportunity and the change I felt in myself. I wrote a separate post regarding this experience: Meeting Christian.

Suffering in Silence

This year has been a crazy, like a roller coaster of change. I’m sorry that I haven’t been around a lot. It was never intentional, life got in the way and I have struggled to do many things I love. I stopped streaming, being artistic, playing games and hanging with friends. I stopped doing a lot of things that brought me joy and calmness. Maybe that has added to all the stress and anxiety I’ve had this year. It’s just been so hard, even when everything isn’t so exhausting. I haven’t been around much for many reasons and not just because life got busy. Another reason is because my world and my self-worth has been filled with so much negativity lately. I haven’t wanted to put that negativity on anyone else. I’ve not had the energy to continue putting up a façade. I’ve been quite content to suffer in silence which I realise is unhealthy.

This year started in a low with being unemployed after losing my job in December. I was unsuccessfully looking for work and had no idea what I wanted to do. I just knew that after two years working from home I wanted a change. But my future was uncertain and that alone was stressful.

The Big Change

Things got better when I got the job at Cleanaway and I got to start on an amazing new adventure. Another huge change for me, but I was so grateful for the opportunity and couldn’t wait to start this new adventure. Unfortunately, with the excitement in the career area other parts of my life started to go downhill rapidly. I found out the house I was living in was going to be sold. I only had a couple months to find somewhere to live. Hard to do with a new job and no real job security, I didn’t even know where to start.

It did work out in my favour in the end, I was able to buy my own little place. My own place for Izzy and I to call home, to have a freedom I’ve not had before. It was a huge change and it took a long time to get from panicking about finding somewhere to live to being in my own home. Things are settling down now and for the most part I’m happy, we are happy. I’m so proud of my girl Izzy on her adjusting to the new place, such a proud fur mamma.

My Home

Loss and Grieving

Another huge part of this year has been loss, with love comes grief. This year I have had to grieve twice, once for my Grandpa and once for my cousin Mark. Death is never an easy thing, emotions are hard to deal with. They can surprise you, one minute you’re happy and laughing. Next thing you have tears running down your cheeks.

Something else that I struggled with this year, was the second anniversary of my Nan’s passing. I thought by now it would be a little easier, but there has been a lot going on this year. Many accomplishments I wish that I could share with her. It’s not just that though, I miss everything about her especially her smile and those amazing cuddles. Life is not the same without her and never will be. I know I was lucky to have her as long as I did, doesn’t mean I don’t miss her.

Maybe experiencing loss again has made it a little harder. My cousins funeral was only days before the anniversary, and he was her eldest grandchild. Maybe that had a lot to do with it, seeing all the old photos of them together. Just seeing my family having to grief another loved one again, was hard. I know I don’t have to have a reason to still be grieving, everyone grieves differently.

To my Grandpa and Mark,

I probably never spent as much time with you as I should have or wanted to. I will never forget you and I will love you forever. It hurts that you are no longer here, and I miss you. I am grateful that your suffering is over, and thankful you are no longer in pain. Hopefully you have found peace.

I love you.

Work Change

On top of all of that I have been dealing with difficulties and change at work too. It’s been very hard and quite disappointing, I’ve been having an incredibly stressful experience. This new career started off with such grand excitement, filled with positivity, it was something new and different. I was excited and I had made a new family with the women I was in the academy with. We were bonded by our experiences and learning these new roles together.

Like all things, they change… I was very happy and proud of myself when I started. I learnt to drive the trucks and I successfully got my truck licence. Things were not so easy though, when I had my medical done I found out I have severe sleep apnea. Due to this I was at risk of losing not just my truck licence but my licence all together. I needed to get treatment in the form of a CPAP machine, which was and still is a struggle. I was also struck down with Covid in August, which made it even harder using the machine. At work, they would not let me drive until I had started using the machine correctly. In the end after much stress, panic and worry I managed to sort out the issues and can now use the machine enough to do my job.

I’m a Failure

A month following the CPAP issues when there was another huge change at work. I was once again taken off the road, just as I was getting ready to move house. I knew how sick my cousin was and that he could pass at any moment. On top of that I was made to feel like an absolute failure at work. This sent me into a spiral, I felt like I was letting everyone down. Felt like no matter how hard I tried I was always getting things wrong. I felt useless and worthless and I went to a dark place, very quickly. With so much other stuff going on and knowing the people around me were also suffering. Couldn’t find the strength to reach out, I didn’t want to tell anyone. Didn’t want to be a burden on others and I felt I deserved to feel that way. I felt so pathetic being torn up over something so trivial in the grand scheme of things.

The biggest change because of this situation was that I got moved from garbage collection and placed into the hard-waste collections team. Working in hard-waste meant driving a smaller truck and added an insane amount of physical activity I wasn’t prepared for. It hurt more than I care to admit, I loved driving the garbage truck and picking up bins. I enjoyed it more than any other job I have ever had. Being alone in the truck and just being able to listen to music and go at my own pace. It was hard having that taken away. Being moved into a position where I felt I was constantly being watched made me feel like a complete failure.

Still Struggling with Change

Things at work are still hard and I struggle every week just to get through it. I’m so exhausted that any time I am not working I’m too tired both physically and mentally to do anything. Hard rubbish collection is extremely physical, and painful, my body hurts more than ever. Even when I was suffering through my medical issues and having surgeries, I never felt this drained. I at least had the energy to do the things I loved.

Now I never have the energy to do anything, whenever I’m not working I’m too tired to enjoy life. All I want to do is curl up and sleep. It’s not just that my body is suffering a lot, my muscles hurt constantly. I’m covered in bruises all the time and I have eczema all over my hands. From the gloves and the stress. Dealing with these issues doesn’t help with the exhaustion. With physical exhaustion comes mental exhaustion. The more exhausted you are the harder it is to keep your mental barriers up. I feel like they are falling all around me all the time. The only positive is that I have lost some weight which makes me hate myself a little less. But is it worth it? I haven’t decided yet, I’m honestly struggling so much. I don’t know realistically how long I can keep going before I completely break. That’s hard to admit, but it’s the truth.

When it comes down to it all I am lucky to still have a job. It could have been much worse, can always be a lot worse. I’m going to do everything I can to keep going, but I just don’t know if I’m strong enough. I feel broken and that feeling keeps growing every day, every week.

End of Year Nears

I know this year isn’t quite over yet, but I wanted to get this out there now. It’s hard to share your feelings when you feel weak and embarrassed. I know that I have already been keeping these things too myself for too long, it’s unhealthy. I can’t afford to let it sink me further. I’m sorry that I haven’t felt comfortable or strong enough to share my struggles. I am now though and that is a start. I hope that when the new year comes around things will be different. Maybe I won’t feel so exhausted and can slowly get back into the things I love. Those things that bring me joy and help to clam all the anxiety and stress inside me.

Wishing you all the best for the end of your 2022. Hoping you enjoy the holiday season and get the chance to spend time with family and friends. I know from personal experience that this time of year can be hard for many people. I hope you still manage to find some joy.

2023 will be a new year and I hope a better one. Wishing you all the best and I will be back again next year with more updates. I’ll try my best to be open and honest, I want to be better at sharing my feelings. As much as I struggle with keeping my feelings to myself. I understand that talking to people helps. I will try my best to not to dig a deep hole for myself to hide in. Here’s to a year of less change, one can only handle so much change.

Photo Dump

Life is a Mess

My life has just been one big overwhelming mess for the last six months and it’s been hard to think and function. I started my new job, I have lost a couple of family members, had medical issues. Have also had to change living arrangement and been living out of boxes for the last six months.

Sometimes you just try and take it a day at a time. But all the things in life don’t let that happen. Stresses have been absolutely insane for me this year and I have had my fair share of bad moments. Given how crazy and emotional the last few years have been. It’s crazy to think that out of them all this year has been harder than any of the others.

Hard to Function

Some days it’s been hard just to function but you have to function because life goes on. You have to get up and do what you have to do to keep going. Even if it feels like the hardest thing you have ever done. There have been moments over the last few months that I honestly don’t know how I was still functioning. Everything was way too overwhelming, but I did manage to keep going. Even though it was hard, and in reality I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out.

That doesn’t accomplish anything though. The things in life that were overwhelming were so much, that I didn’t even know how to talk about them. I could never find the words to explain or describe it and that is why I have been so absent.

Moved House

Thankfully things should start settling down now. I have moved into my own place. I still have some things to do but for now it is comfortable. Starting to feel like home and Izzy has settles in so well.

Sometimes it still feels like I’m staying in a hotel, because it’s so much newer and brighter than the old house. I have my computer set up again and can hopefully start streaming soon. I just need to sort some things out but for now it’s a good start. Hopefully I’ll be back to doing that soon. This place is a lot smaller than the last but I have still managed to find space for doing my artwork. It’s in the garage but that is better than nothing so it will do. I love the little studio space I have created, just have to move the car out when I wanna get creative.

Overwhelming Work Stresses

Things at work have been very stressful and unsure. I took a giant leap when I applied for this job and it hurts me to admit it. Perhaps it was not the best job for me as I have really been struggling. I have felt completely embarrassed and humiliated because of things that have happened. The stress has been overwhelming and my self-hate was deep and dark. It took me places no one likes to go. I am the type of person who thrives on positive comments and reinforcement. This job is filled with negativity and always being told what you are doing wrong. Not what you are doing right. It’s hard to build yourself up and feel like you are succeeding. When all you have to focus on is all the things you are doing wrong.

This on top of everything else has been hard and over the last few weeks there have been so many bouts of crying. So many tears when my self-hatred overpowers everything else. The fact that I feel like a failure even though people around me keep telling me I am. That feeling always lingers. I also feel like a disappointment, that I have let myself and everyone else down. Let down the people who were proud of me for doing this job and driving the trucks. That has probably been the most emotional part, especially because I know the people I love who have passed away were proud of me and I feel like I’m letting them down the most.

Greif and Loss

Grief is something that is never easy to deal with either and sometimes it takes a lot time. Things can really hit you and with all the craziness of this year that has been what has happened to me.

Earlier in the year my Grandpa passed away, he was my Step Dad’s Dad. He has been apart of my life since I was eight years old. I may not have been that close to him, or seen him as often as I would have liked. That was because they lived further away and I didn’t get to visit often. It does not mean that I loved them any less I have always appreciated having them in my life.

Going to my Grandpa’s funeral was much harder than I thought. Not only was I grieving for him but so many emotions were hitting me as the last funeral I had been to was my Nan’s. In lockdown when people weren’t allowed to attend. There were a lot of emotions swirling in me that day. Funerals are never easy but there is always one thing I appreciate about them. Seeing all of your family that you haven’t seen in a long time, and being able to share stories and reminisce about the person who has passed.

Another Life Loss

Unfortunately I have another funeral to attend this week. My older cousin Mark passed away from brain cancer and even though it was expected it’s still hard. Due to his illness it was a blessing in the end, you hate having to see people you love suffer. It’s still so raw that I don’t think I have properly processed it. The funeral will help with that.

I think the reason it’s been hard to process is because so much happened all in a short period of time. I got the call that he had passed about half an hour before I got the call that settlement had gone through on my house. When the real estate agent rang me, I just stood there on the phone crying, all the emotion hit me at once. The crying has happened a lot over the last couple of weeks, that is grief. It is never easy to experience, and it is different every time it happens. And everyone deals with it differently.

Family Life

I am very grateful that a few weeks ago we all got together as a family. I was an emotional event, it was the first time we’d all gotten together since losing Uncle Ken and Nan in 2020. We also knew that it was the last time we would be together with Mark.

It was an amazing day, and I am thankful to have had that experience. Spending time with my family is one of the things I love the most in life. It was also pretty amazing watching all my cousins kids and my brothers kids playing and interacting with each other. It is a special memory that will stay with me forever.

Thank You

I thank you for reading my blog and once again apologise for it being such a long time since the last post. I appreciate every single one of you and can’t wait to get things back up and running so I can get back to being social with you all over again. Much love ❤️

Women’s Drivers Academy

Three weeks ago on the 14th February 2022, I started my new career working for a company called Cleanaway. I was hired as a member of the inaugural Women’s Drivers Academy and am currently in training. This training includes getting my truck licence and also learning to be a side-lift truck operator, collecting bins. This role is completely different to my previous role which was office based. This job gives me the opportunity to try something new, to learn new things and challenge myself. In ways that I never thought about before.

Applying for Jobs

In November 2021, I found out that I would no longer have a job at the University. Before this was confirmed I had applied for a role at Cleanaway. I was so excited about the role, the challenges and opportunities it could give me. I had my heart set on this new career, but originally I didn’t make the cut.

It was a hard time for me, I just had to put my full focus into applying for jobs. Then Cleanaway rang me and offered me a position. I was more than surprised and accepted without hesitation. I am so glad to have started on this journey because so far it has been an amazing experience.

Career Rejection

I really struggled when I found out I didn’t originally get the position. I remember struggling to get through the phone call without crying because I felt so devastated and rejected. The rejection was really hard on me, I felt pathetic and useless and unwanted. I threw myself into applying for jobs and would apply for jobs every single day. The job market was huge at the time with lots of administration jobs but nothing seemed right. I think I just had this idea of being on the road instead of in an office.

I did what I could and continued to apply for jobs, even though I never heard back. It was very disheartening, I joined agencies and got tips from career counsellors. I could only do so much though. I ended up getting the call from Cleanaway, on the Thursday and started work the following Monday. It was a whirlwind, but I’m glad that I still got to start with the rest of the academy. It’s an honour being a part of such an amazing group of women. It’s been great getting to know them and to be working with them.

Starting New Career

The first week on the job we got to learn a lot about the company and waste management. We learnt a lot about what a career in waste management will be like. It was an interesting experience, so many fascinating things to learn about. Like the different waste facilities and visiting the sites, learning about how we can effect the process. There is so much more everyone could be doing to help the process. The most interesting place to visit was the largest landfill facility in the Southern Hemisphere. It is massive and I think the way they do things is amazing.

The last two weeks have been focused on doing course work for our truck licences. Learning to actually drive the trucks, I have had two lessons driving. Driving the truck the first time was very daunting, you’re in control of such a big machine. The instructors have been amazing and I have learnt so much from them.

Truck Driving Career

This week during my drive I got to have a try at reversing. I also got to drive on the left-hand side, which was a lot less daunting than the reversing. Probably because I wasn’t in the truck all by myself. I am still learning but I feel much more confident after my second driving attempt. I still have three more lessons so hopefully by the time it comes to our assessments I’ll be confident. I know I’ll still be scared or worried about doing something wrong, always the way with tests.

Today marks the end of the third week at this job and I really am enjoying it. I also feel drained not only because I am learning something new. But there has been an information overload. The fact that I went from working from home for the last two years to being around people every day. In a classroom setting, with a lot of talking and a lot of noise I’m not used to. I don’t think I ever really considered how hard it would be, making that change.

Overwhelming

I’m sure I am missing having my girl Izzy by my side all day every day too. She has been my constant companion and I miss her company and her cuddles. Although I have to admit it’s nice to have a conversation with real people for a change. I will eventually get used to the change, it’s just been a little overwhelming this week and I have struggled. I wanted to hide from the world but I know life isn’t that simple.

I’m doing what I can to get through it and I know that there are things that I can do to help. Unfortunately the simple act of being alone and taking some time to decompress is not as easy for me. You would think for someone who is single and basically lives alone I could do that. Some people just don’t understand the need to take care of your own mental health.

I spent three days fighting an internal battle that I needed space. I spent more than three hours writing a text message because I felt the need to explain myself, to someone who I thought would understand. Instead I was made to feel like a terrible person and a bad guy because I wanted to take time for myself. Even though I was scared that I would run myself too thin. That I could lose this job because I couldn’t cope. I have felt so much anxiety over the last few days that my decision would be overruled by someone else. In so many ways I never feel like I am truly in control of my life.

No Supanova

This weekend is Supanova and apart from 2020, I have been to every single Melbourne event. I really wanted to go this year as well because I miss my friends and con family. I know that I would be destroying what little grasp I feel I have left by going. I have sadly made the decision not to attend. I hope that all those that go do enjoy themselves and have a good time. I will miss it and wish I could be there. Hopefully next year things will be different, I can only hope….

Stream Update

I have also updated my stream schedule to fit in with my new job. As of next week I will be starting work at 4am, so having a schedule that finishes at midnight won’t work. I have changed it to 6pm-9pm Tuesday and Thursday. Hopefully a weekend stream thrown in the mix. As always I appreciate your support and everything you do for me.

Happy Christmas Holidays

Little bit late but Merry Christmas, it’s still only single digit days in January so not too late. I hope everyone had a great Christmas or holiday period. Spending time with friends and family, bringing in the new year. Let’s hope that 2022 is better than the last year. It’s been an full-on few months for me and I have taken time away from the computer. And Twitch, only streaming here and there and not adhering to any schedule at this time.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

I hope everyone enjoyed some special time spent with family or friends, or even alone. I enjoyed getting to spend time with my family after another year spent in and out of lockdown. All the other things that happened last year, not as many things as the previous year. In some ways anniversaries are harder to cope with alone than the events themselves at least that’s how I found it. Now it is 2022 and hopefully there will be good things to come.

A little update on me, just before Christmas I was made redundant from my job. Which in some ways was a relief because leading up to it, was over six months of stress. A confirmation was a relief from the uncertainty. Not only was I made redundant but almost all the other members of my team. Only one managed to get another job within the university. Probably a good thing since no one else really knows the collection like we do.

It has been so weird not having anything to do with my life at the moment. Work in some ways definitely kept me sane, I’m keeping it together. As soon as I was advised of the confirmation of redundancy I started applying for jobs. I have had a couple of interviews one has been very promising and I have had to go and get a medical done. It will involve driving a truck which I am very excited to challenge myself with trying something new. So here’s hoping for a good new start in 2022, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead this year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I hope had a very happy new year and was able to celebrate the new year with friends and/or family. Another year is behind us and we have to look forward to what the future holds.

Stream-a-versary

At the beginning of this week on Monday I celebrated my First Stream Anniversary. It was the 22 November 2020 when I broadcast my first stream and it’s crazy realising that it’s now been over a year. I am so very appreciative to everyone who has helped me on my Twitch and Streaming journey. My moderators and my Giggle Gang community, I would not be where I am without their support.

Challenges

In the last two years the world has changed in ways none of us ever could have imagined. With Covid and all of the changes that have come with it the world is a different place. We have each found different ways to survive and it has not been easy. With the lockdowns and the loneliness that comes with the isolation. It’s been a struggle to get through without depression and anxiety getting the better of you. I’m so glad to have had the ability to stream and spend time with my community. Even though sometimes it’s hard to be positive. Real life can be overwhelming, but I do my best to be open and honest with my community. But keeping to keep the sadness and emotions at bay a little but sometimes it’s hard.

My Stream Community

I have an amazing community with my Giggle Gang. They have helped me through a lot of things over the course of the last year. My stream on Monday was as much about thanking all the people who have helped me along the way. It was a celebration for me and I had a great time.

I playing multiplayer games such as Fall Guys aka Drunk Beans with the amazing @petitebluerose and @Narkissios. As well as some laughs in Overcooked 2 with good mate @fiestydreams. I have missed playing multiplayer with friends like this. It was such a joy and something that I really needed and thoroughly enjoyed.

Thank You Moderators

I especially want to thank my moderators, without them I would not be where I am in my streaming journey. They are such an integral part of everything I do and help so much. I appreciate all of my Mods but especially want to thank @CaptainXIT and @BackgroundRach for tuning in and sharing my anniversary stream with me. I know that Captain specifically got up at a ridiculous hour to be there and support me. It definitely wasn’t the same not having the other Mods precent. I really would have liked to have properly been able to thank them on stream. It is what it is and I appreciate them none the less.

Overwhelming

Unfortunately as the night got on I started to have issues with my stream glitching, Mitch was in full force. With the technical issues and as I started to tire, I found it a little hard to put aside the overwhelming emotions of real life. After finishing my stream I felt so incredibly flat and emotional.

After the stream and struggle to hold my emotions in check I made the decision to take the rest of the week off streaming. I will be back, this is not the end, just a break, we all need a break sometimes for our own mental wellbeing.

Thank You All

I really am thankfully for everyone in my community. I am glad I got to celebrate my one year anniversary with those special members of my community. Thank you to those who stopped by, it meant a lot as does your continued support.

Miss You

I still struggle to find the words to explain how much I love and miss my beautiful Nan. For the first time in my life I have lived a whole year without her, but has that really been lived? Feels more like surviving than living. Because of COVID and everything the world was/is facing our times together where cut short. I know that I am so very lucky to have been able to see her and to say goodbye. Even though that is never an easy thing to do I’m glad I was able to, so many others never got that chance.

Last Memories

I’ll never forget the last time I spent time with Nan, when she was still well. It was a sad day, we sat together and held each other as we said goodbye to a loved one. Her son and my uncle, we watched the life stream together. I do laugh when I remember the last time I hugged her, and she was able to hug me back. I said goodbye and left, but I came back because I’d forgotten my phone. It had falling out of my pocket and down the side of the couch. We laughed, we hugged and said I love you.

The last text message I received from my Nan, was her saying she was sorry to hear about Zac the cat. When I remember these last moments with you, I’m reminded how hard 2020 really was. Not only the lockdowns and isolation but the deaths and the grief. The grieving without your family and friends especially hard. I never could have imagined that 2021 could be worse. Even though there have been no deaths in the family this year, it still feels so much harder. Everyday things are so much harder than they ever have been before. Every day feels exactly the same and it’s getting harder to separate things.

Miss Things

This last year really has been difficult and I miss being able to talk to my Nan, I miss those hugs. I miss everyone’s hugs, I miss human contact. I miss being able to see people just because I can, I miss freedom. I miss getting in the car and going for a drive, just because I can.

I have learned to not take things for granted, to spend time with the important people in my life. Whenever I get the chance, which lately is very rarely. I’ve been surviving, even when the simple act of getting out of bed has felt utterly exhausting. When I have no motivation to do anything, I somehow find the energy within to keep going. Continuing to survive, maybe some of that strength comes from my Nan.

I love and miss you Nan even though I know that you are with me, I often find myself talking to you, mostly about mundane things. I know you were always proud of all of us, for what we have done and who we are. There is a memory from your funeral that will always stick with me. It was beautiful and something that felt so natural. With all the emotions of that day the most beautiful moment was when the hearse drove away. One by one we stepped out to wave you off, the same way you (and Pa) always would when we came to visit. That family tradition is so engrained is us all that it made that moment so special.

Tears for Nan

I write this with tears in my eyes because when it comes to talking about my Nan, and remembering moments. I still feel so much grief but as time goes by it does get easier to recall memories. Sometimes I can think of you without tearing up. I just miss you and our connection, life will never be the same without you here. Even though life isn’t the same in general at the moment

Love you forever and always Nan ❤️

Join me for mt first ever Birthday Stream on Twitch.

Lockdown Birthday

Another lockdown birthday, so why not do something special?!

Not being able to see family or friends, or to be able to celebrate the way you’d like. It is necessary to find other ways to celebrate and enjoy yourself. For me I thought it would be fun to stream the day. I have taken the day off work and will be doing my first ever 12 hour stream to celebrate. There will be fun, games, chats, a unicorn onesie.

Birthday Auction

I will be auctioning off some of my artwork. Those that have been completed live on stream and that I had your support and input in making. The auction will start the day of my stream. It will go for three days finishing during my scheduled Saturday stream.

You can check the auction at Birthday Auction when it is live.

Life is Hard

These last two years have been rough and have definitely had it’s ups and downs. Lately I have been really struggling, I feel sad all the time. I don’t really know why or what the cause is other than depression. I’m sure I am not the only person who feels that way, it’s hard on everyone.

Sometimes it’s hard to admit that you’re struggling but unfortunately it is a part of life. Everyone has their moments. The nearing of my birthday has made it harder, always seem to get depressed this time of year. It has gotten worse over the years and being in lockdown hasn’t helped. Feeling isolated all the time does, but having this stream event to look forward to has helped.

Games with Friends

During my Saturday stream I had a lot of laughs playing No Man’s Sky with CaptainXIT. It was the first time I have laughed like that in a long time. It was amazing and now I am really excited about my birthday event. Can’t wait to share my birthday with friends and having a good laugh. I hope to see you all there!!!!

First Event in Two Years

On the 22nd and 23rd of May I attended my first event in two years and it felt amazing. I have been in a bit of a slump lately, feeling quite flat and attending this event and seeing my amazing con family. It gave me the boost I so desperately needed. I feel so rejuvenated and reminded of how much love, fun, friendship and memories I have with these people. Given everything that has happened over the last year or so it felt strangely normal to be at this event. Occasionally there was the awkwardness of whether that person was up for hugs or not but most of us were hugging and it was like old times and felt so good.

The people I spend time with at these events are family and they always will be. This family has so much importance to me because they have been there for so long. I was never good at making friends, I was good at making them and not good at keeping them. So to say that I have known and been friends with them for close to 16 years is incredible. When I think back to my pre-convention days, I could never imagine I’d be where I am now. Being apart of such amazing community is beautiful. I still feel so lucky to be a part of such an amazing community. I share so many memories with people and they will always hold a special place in my heart. Without those people, these memories wouldn’t exist.

Outfits and Purchases

First day of the event I wore my Happy Little Vegemite shirt for nostalgia reasons. The next day I just wore another fandom shirt. I didn’t really buy anything over the weekend, least until on the Sunday. Which is when I found my mate Jase at Gateworld Collectables. He had an awesome signed cast photo from Agents of SHIELD. This being the show that helped me a lot over the last 18 months, I had to buy it.

Event Review

I arrived at the venue and was directed to parking, at the opposite end of the area to the building entrance. A bit of a nuisance given it was a long walk to the buildings. There was also a massive queue to enter the show, even with pre-purchased tickets. I walked the length of the queue before a staff member told me I needed to queue at the end. They needed some better signage or more staff assistance in their queues.

I had only purchased a day ticket and wasn’t really in a hurry to get into the event. I decided to hang around where I was, couldn’t be bothered walking back to the end. Eventually as the queue shortened I just jumped on the end and got inside. The hardest part of often working these events, is that when you attend, there’s queues. I would have volunteered for this event, but I didn’t have the okay from my doctor.

Once you got past the entrance queue there was another queue to enter the main building. Due to restricted numbers because of Covid they had to stagger entry into the building. This of course made sense, there’s only so much they can do with restrictions in place. There was definitely an annoyance from the crowd though.

Unfortunately, the queue was like that most of the day. If you left the building for any reason, you would have queue to get back in. This is why I did by best to avoid having to leave the building. I only did so once before realising the process. Lucky for me I was with friends who had the Supa Q pass and they let me back in with them. The saying “Sometimes it’s not what you know it’s who you know” always important. The queuing was the only really negative thing about the event and the reason for it was understandable.

Great Community

I just really enjoyed spending time with my con family, it was great catching up with everyone. Talking about things that had happened and even having a little cry with friends. Sometimes things get too much and I don’t always talk to the friends closest to me about them. I think the last few years, between medical issues and COVID lockdowns I’ve kept a lot to myself. In some ways I let myself open up with these friends and it happened to be at this event. Which isn’t necessarily unordinary but maybe it was just that there was more to talk about this time.

I think COVID and the lockdowns really made it feel hard to talk to people. Because everyone is going through the same thing, but differently. So you don’t feel like you can talk about your issues when those around you have their own. It was good to talk about it with these friends who I hadn’t seen in ages. And learnt that maybe I had been through a little more than most in the last 18 months. It took me a while to get this post out because straight after that weekend. Only three days after the event Melbourne went back into lockdown. It feels like it has been two week lockdown, two weeks open since then. It is so hard to do things when there is no consistency anymore.


Complete Guest List

Zack Snyder, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Radha Mitchell, Liam McIntyre, Elizabeth Blackmore, Nicholas Hamilton, Luke Arnold, Lincoln Lewis, John Jarratt, Spike Spencer, Aimee Smith, Joe Brumm, David McCormack, Nicola Scott, Tom Taylor, Stewart McKenny, Anthony Christou, Queenie Chan, Jamie Johnson, Dean Rankine, Al Barrionuevo, David Yardin, Darren Close, Gary Proudley, Christopher Sequeira, Steve Proposch, Jack Dann, Steve Paulsen, Janeen Webb, Tracie McBride, Charles Spiteri, Maurice Zanthos, Rebecca Fraser, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Jay Kistoff, Maria Lewis, Amanda Bridgeman, Jodi McAlister, and Astrid Scholte.

Streaming

Smidget Bot is here! I’ve been keeping myself busy lately and have started streaming on Twitch. My channel is not just about streaming myself playing video games on the computer. But I also do art streams where I can draw, or paint and this has helped me find my creativeness again. I even started to draw animated characters again and decided to reimagine one of my old drawings. I have now created a character from this drawings and I am going to use them as emotes on my Twitch channel.

Birth of Smidget Bot

Below is the original sketch of my robot, the inspiration behind it was actually Reid from Criminal Minds. I started to reimagine this character with the idea of using him for Emotes after becoming Affiliate on Twitch. I thought it would be a fun idea to modernise the image and that he could easily just be a face. It was also great to get back into drawing in my own abstract style, something different to my norm.

SMIDGET BOT

Smidget Bot Emotes

At the moment I only have one emote of him available and that’s only for Tier 3 subscribers to which I have none. I’m hoping once I get more subscribers I can get more uploaded for people to use. They can be used in not only my chat but others on Twitch and Discord. I was also thinking of creating T-Shirt designs for a merchandise store to sell.

You can check my Twitch channel out here: https://www.twitch.tv/smileygidget

Goodbye 2020

I honestly don’t even know how to put into words what this year had been like for me. I know so many people have had their own struggles too though. This year will definitely be one that I will never forget and I’m sure a lot of people can say the same thing. I’m happy to be putting 2020 behind me, I know that doesn’t mean we leave all the issues behind. I just hope that things get back to a semblance of normal in the new year and we have something to look forward to.

A Year of Struggles

The struggled of this year have been such an emotional roller coaster. From the isolation of the Melbourne restrictions and working from home. To the people I have loved who have left us. I still cry when I talk about them like my boy Zac. I miss him dearly especially when I want one of those fluffy hugs he was so good at. But I have had my girl Izzy by my side and she had been my rock, more than I ever thought possible.

I miss my Nan who left us not so long ago, I miss her so very much that I still cry often. Even though I know in my heart she’d be telling me to stop crying and be strong. All I can respond with is “I’m trying Nan” every time. Crying is not a weakness though, it’s a realisation that you need to let the emotion go. If I didn’t cry this year, I’d be a horrible pent up mess of so many emotions. I know it is better out than in.

I never thought I would be dealing with these medical issues for another year either. Here we are and now I know it could go on for much longer or even end up being something I deal with for life. This year and it’s crazy hasn’t made it such a focus point even. Though the pain is always there and constant it’s been easier to ignore with everything else happening.

The Good Stuff

Amongst the bad, there have been so many good things this year though. I found the world of Twitch and with that I found one of the most supportive and loving communities. It’s great to be a part of such a community have been a part of. This year was the first time since 2005 that I didn’t attend a convention. Or an event of any kind, the twitch community have definitely helped to fill that void. It gave me that family I was missing. I have made great new and amazing friends and achieved goals I never would have thought possible. Such as starting to stream and becoming Affiliate on twitch. Making a little bit of money doing something that I thoroughly enjoy never crossed my mind before.

Here’s to a Better Year in 2021

I hope that 2021 will be a better year, but then again for me the last two years have been especially hard. Even if I don’t think anything will top this year for the emotional struggles. Our lives with Covid and this pandemic is not over yet. We just have to be prepared for whatever comes next. And have to remember to be safe and not take things and people for granted.

Thank you.

To everyone reading this, you are special people to me! I hope that you are able to spend time with the people you love as we say goodbye to a trying year. Enjoy yourselves whether it be in person or virtually, spent precious time with the people you love. Let’s do what we can to enjoy life as much as we possibly can right now.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Much love to you all.

2020 – One second a day video

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas to every single one of you amazing people. Thank you for your friendship and continued support over the last year. It means everything to me and helps me to keep going every single day.


Challenges

This year has been a challenge for everyone and as we approach it’s end. We are hopeful that the year ahead will be better to us. Christmas time is suppose to be a joyous time, when people visit and spend time with their loved ones. For some people this is the first time they’ve been able to see people this year. For others they might be missing their families because they don’t want to take any chances. Or they are unable to due to restrictions. Whatever the case I hope you can enjoy yourselves in any way possible. I have mentioned it many times but this year has been a hard one with so many challenges. Some that we are all going through together. However, we are all having our own unique experiences as we go through it.

Christmas Celebration

My family tends to never actually celebrate Christmas on the day, one side celebrates it before and the other afterwards. This year it all happened beforehand. I don’t really have an issue with that, I just find the actual day a little depressing. Mainly because other family members have partners and other families to go and see. And I’m just on my own with my kitty for company. It’s not terrible, sometimes it’s nice to be on your own it just feels a little sad at this time of year.

Family Christmas was especially hard this year. I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel that, it has been a long yet short year. With both many things happening but also not a lot happening at the same time. It’s honestly just been such a bizarre year but one thing it has been is EMOTIONAL. It’s like you get to a point where you think you are okay. Then something happens and that one thing, causes that dam to break and all your emotions to come running out.

Both Christmas celebrations this year I cried. With my Dad and family I tried so hard to be strong, and hold it together. I cried as I was getting ready to go, I hoped that would have gotten it out of my system. But then I arrived and it all came crashing back again. I know I don’t have to be strong and hold it in. It just hurts knowing that my crying is effecting and making others emotional around me. I also know that sometimes you just need to let it out and I am a lot better with that concept than I used to be. Even if the celebration started with tears I still managed to have a great day with my family and that is what matters.

Enjoy your Celebrations

I hope everyone had a great Christmas day or Christmas celebrations. Whether it was alone or spent with family or friends. As long as you were able to enjoy yourself that is all that really matters. I started my actual Christmas day in a stream. I do scheduled Thursday night streams so it happened to bleed into Christmas day. It was great though, I was doing something I loved with a community full of love and support.

Christmas Streaming

I got to entertain and make people smile and laugh whilst I had fun playing games. I dressed in Christmas clothes and was wearing different Christmas hats. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the different and I’m so glad to have so many amazing friends. I also did a Christmas evening stream which was amazing. I had a lot of fun playing games with friends. Started with some Phasmophobia, then some Fall Guys. And a quick trip into Ark to see what Christmas presents my mate had left me there.

You can join my Discord and see some clips and highlights from my streams here: https://discord.gg/YvHc8xrw

Twelve Days of Christmas

We did the Twelve Days of Christmas as a theme at work. Thankfully with weekends and a day off I had enough Christmas shirts for almost every day. Here’s my collection of ten different Christmas outfits.

Quick Announcement

I have made the decision to stop making my Vlog. I want to focus on Streaming as I have created my own little community there and I prefer the more interactive approach. I’m not sure if I will come back to Vlogging in the future, but I have a feeling I won’t. Afterall, I never really had many views on my Vlog anyway. It was just a way for me to get better at expressing myself in person through speaking instead on talking. I can do this even better through streaming.

I appreciate all those who have continued to support me throughout my journey.

New Vlog

Hey everyone, I have posted a new Vlog!! Trying to keep to posting once a month, please check it out!!

New Stream

I have also started on a new adventure of Streaming, and Gaming. Topics that I talk about in the above Vlog. I have been thoroughly enjoying streaming and gaming, something that I have never really done before.

Below are links to both my Twitch streaming channel ‘SmileyGidget’ and the Discord server:

For more information on my Twitch channel, visit the Twitch page on my website.

The Joy of Streaming

I have only streamed twice so far and the first time I did not record it to be rewatched. So far the streams have included me playing games such as: Among Us and Phasmophobia. I have played these games along with mates and just have such a great time doing so.

I have some amazing ideas for future streaming, but if you go and check out my Discord server there is also a section for suggestions. If you have any ideas to suggest feel free to throw them in there. Check out my Twitch streams and watch me being my goofy self with friends. Playing games and just having a great time.

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