When I was younger I spent a lot of time with my aunt and uncle, they were the “cool” ones and I would spend hours going through their music collection. On one particular visit to their house when I was 9 I found “World of Noise” by Everclear, as soon as I played it I loved it; the muddy depth of the base, the heart wrenching, sometimes distorted highs of the guitar and the poetic simplicity of the lyrics spoke to me. Being on the Autistic spectrum my world WAS noisy and at times beautifully discordant, although I was very quiet this music was what I sounded like inside. It was like the echo of being me. Everclear have been my favourite band ever since, many albums and years later (years where I fell off the rails as a teen and the years where I tried to build myself a life) it’s still what I listen to when I need to feel like I’m not alone – I still sit with my ear up to the speakers rocking and know that I’m not the only one who is nervous and weird and I’m not the only one still learning how to smile.
In April last year for my birthday I was given tickets to see Everclear in Sydney in October. The best present I’ve ever been given, the only problem was that my social anxiety had gotten so bad that I hadn’t left my house in almost a year. But I was determined to make it, I couldn’t let my fear ruin this for me.
It started off well enough. I booked a loft suite at BLUE Sydney and made a holiday of it. I had locations all over the city where I planned to do some street photography and also had a body calligraphy piece scheduled based on Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”. I was terrified of all the people in the lobby but once I got to my room I calmed down and took a few photos.
*Some photos shot with my formal work camera & some shot with my phone.
My partner fell asleep and I started to get a little scared. Luckily I had my friends on Twitter and room service to keep me company, so I had a few drinks, ate a lot and took a stupid picture of myself. The last one is my friend Rosie “virtually” holding my hand.
So I got through the 1st night. The next night was the concert; I spent the whole day frightened and it honestly felt like I was digesting nails. But still there was no way I could let this stop me, after all, I had come this far. I got ready for the concert and took 2 quick photos before I left:
I shot about 60 seconds of the gig, to be honest I’ve missed out on a lot of my life hiding behind a camera and I decided I couldn’t let it happen this time. Anyway here is the clip (apologies for the sound quality, my phone wasn’t up to the job)
It was fantastic, I loved. It was Everclear’s 1st tour in Australia since I was a little kid and I was there. I was so proud of myself, not only was I out of the house but I was moshing up the front at a crowded concert. About 3/4 of the way through the gig though, things went wrong; I felt sick, I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t see and my heart was like a frightened bird in a cage. I ran to the bathroom and started to be physically sick, I couldn’t stop. I missed the end of the show, I was sick and shaking all the way back to the hotel. I vomited and felt scared all night. It didn’t stop. I spent the next 7 days in and out of hospital and nobody knew what was wrong with me. I ruined my entire holiday, I couldn’t leave the room. rather poignantly the only shots I took the entire time are these – all taken from my hotel room window. I took photos of normal people living real lives and having fun and the world around me which often seems out of my reach.
I lost 8kg and in the end the hospital diagnosed cyclical vomiting syndrome or CVS (apparently common in those with autism). After further investigation they decided it coincided with a “nervous breakdown” and working too hard. I promise you I’m back on track now though – I’ve changed my life and I’m now living peacefully in the country and I have a beautiful body calligraphy post for you tomorrow.
* These photos will also be part of my “1st 10,000 project” but I’m unsure of their exact number & placement yet. I will update them accordingly soon.